Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Harvest Chili is Delish!

Do you ever wonder if I really  cook the items on my Monday meal plan? Well I do! I am going to prove it to you!

On a side note, I am using my husband's computer this morning so I can exclaim all I want. It stinks that the exclamation mark on my keyboard broke. Perhaps it was overuse?

The October 2011 Better Homes and Gardens featured a collection of chili recipes. I decided a few weeks ago that I would cook one a week until I cooked them all. I am taking a break this week, but plan to get right back on it next week! One of the more interesting recipes was for Harvest Chili. It isn't your traditional chili! I will warn you that this is a recipe that screams fall. I was a little late to the party!

Milo was ready to cook!  Ellie was ready to eat yogurt snacks!

Here is my disclaimer: I hate chopping butternut squash! I made my very ill husband cut it. He did a lovely job! I did chop the onion because he cries. I am not THAT mean! I think he is the better chopper. The original recipe called for two red onions. I chose to use only one. The flavor is way too intense for two.

The recipe calls for apple chicken sausage. It was buy one get one free at Publix! Score! I will have to decide what else to make.

The sausage had to be chopped up into one inch pieces. You brown the chicken and the sausage first.

Then stir in the butternut squash. After five minutes of cooking, add chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.

Pour in some cooking stock. A whole container works perfectly!

At this point my camera battery died. Bummer! The last step is to add apples and pinto beans. I manage to acquire a bit of charge at this point. Here is what it all looks like!

Pretty cool, huh? I really didn't know what to expect! It tasted great. We had debated on leaving out the apples because cooked apples don't appeal to me. I left them in and was pleased with the result. I would make this again! Strange but yummy!

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, October 2011

  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken-apple sausage links, cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 t. minced garlic
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 3/4 inch chunks (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8- 1/4 t. cayenne powder
  • 3-4 c. chicken broth or stock
  • 3 medium Granny Smith or Fuji apples, cored and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed, drained and slightly mashed.
  • Sage or extra apples for garnish if desired


  1. Prepare your sausages and vegetables. Cut the sausage in 1 inch pieces. Chop onions. Peel butternut squash and scrape out seeds. Cut squash in chunks. Squash cook down a lot so your chunks can be bigger.
  2. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and sausage and saute until brown. Stir frequently.
  3. Add squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add in chili powder, salt and cayenne, cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add broth. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer, cover, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook apples in 2 tbsp. olive oil. Heat for about 5 minutes over medium high heat, or until apples are soft and light brown.
  6. Open your pinto beans and rinse them. Use a fork or immersion blender to mash them OR add them in whole.
  7. Transfer apples and beans to chili. Simmer 3-5 minutes.
Look for it on Twisted Thursdays

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal Plan 1/30

Good grief. It is Monday again. I stayed up too late last night browsing paint colors on the Benjamin Moore site. I want to paint our family room something other than white. What is a good color for a family room? I have a lot of brown and blue accents.

 Paint is confusing. I have found a few rooms online that I like, but I am concerned about the lack of light in our family room. Here are the pictures I discovered and liked.

I am drawn to greens at the moment.  We have two bathrooms painted a similar color to the second picture. My husband hates the color. He wants to paint the room a soft orange color. I am not convinced. I am going to order some samples this weekend. The selection part of painting is so much fun.

I am excited about the meal plan. I love homemade mac 'n cheese. I was searching for Valentine recipes and came across the pizza below. It was so cute. I had to add it even if it isn't quite Valentine's day yet.

I just realized the exclamation point is broken on my keyboard. Ugh.  I promise I am excited.

Monday: Honey Glazed Ham and Awesome and Easy Corn Casserole
Tuesday: Steak and Mushroom Florentine and  Spaghetti with Basil Pesto
Wednesday:Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup and biscuits
Thursday: Southwestern Black Bean Soup and corn muffins
Friday: Happy Roast Chicken and  Cumin-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes with Sage
Saturday: California Chicken and Mac 'n Cheese
Sunday: Be-My-Valentine Pizza and salad

More meal plans.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Grateful for Friday

Yesterday was a horrible day. A lot of people around me showed just how low they can sink. I was mad and frustrated. I sunk right down with them.

Mean, mean, mean. That is me! I do bad stuff from time to time, and I don't want to accept the consequences. I certainly hate for others to be mad at me! I am going to have to grow a tougher skin.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were no trouble? I read The Peace Book to students at school. It makes me happy. I am in need of a little peace.

I am grateful for Friday. I am grateful for a two day break. Mostly I am grateful to spend time with people who aren't negative (like me).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crazy Attachments

Attachments can be formed with the strangest things. It is truly amazing. One of the biggest attachments I have is to a silver can. I have a Diet Coke attachment. It became a full blown problem when I gave up one of south Georgia's favorite past times. I am ashamed to admit that I am an ex smoker. I liked Diet Coke prior to quitting, but I can't make it a day without it. Yesterday I didn't have one and I am up like a crazy person at 4:30 in the morning! Seriously, I have an addiction. It isn't just an attachment.

 I am also strangely attached to my black ballet flats. I wear them almost everyday. They go with everything and are super comfortable. It is going to be hard to find a replacement. They had some bead detailing on them that started to fall off about a week ago. I tried to fix them, but they were too far gone. I think I am going to have to toss them! I have no clothing budget left for this month so I am stuck wearing my black wedges. My legs feel like I have been running a marathon. When February rolls around, I am going to get some new black flats. I really liked these by Steven Madden. I don't like the price of $96. My monthly clothing budget is only $100! Geez!

I did find a copycat pair for $20.
I really miss my shoes! It is so silly. Do you have any weird attachments?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fun Project (if your kid isn't named Milo)

Sometimes three year old don't see things the way that you do. Mine is just like me, but totally his own person at the same time. I fear this will bring him trouble later in life, but now it brings me headaches!

Milo's daycare recently posted some cute pictures of them playing in "snow". We live in Florida and the babies were sporting short sleeves. It was fake snow. I loved the idea anyway! I wanted to play with fake snow at our house.

I remembered when I was very young, a teacher put shaving cream on our desks and claimed it was snow. I also knew her REAL reason for doing it was that the shaving cream gave our yucky desks a nice deep clean. Milo loves watching his father shave so I thought it would be perfect! I had totally enjoyed this when I was a kid.

We bought the shaving cream a long time ago. It was still in the linen closet unopened. He liked the idea of doing an activity with it.

I chose our tiny kitchen table to cover with shaving cream. We bought this table when we were super broke at the beginning of our marriage. It was super cheap. We called it our starter table. We had no intention of it going the long haul. Looks like it might. I love it, but the white to looks dirty. It has taken on a shade of gray. We has just eaten lunch and I didn't wipe it prior to this photo. Whoops!

Milo thought the applying shaving cream was pretty fun!

He got it on his shirt and thought that was pretty cool too.

He insisted we cover the whole table. I obliged. Then that lovable monster claimed this was too dirty! He didn't like having the shaving cream on him. He wanted to get clean! Uhhh! You were supposed to help me wipe this off dude. He cried and pouted. I wiped and wiped. Boooo for snow!

Here is how it looked after the meltdown. Yes, I had to clean it up all by myself. Fun, right?

I hate how something so fun can become so stressful! Why can't they just be little robots who do what you want for a while??

Linking up to the Show and Tell Party.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Did you think about your future kids before they were born? I am speaking specifically of the dos and don'ts of their childhood. Were there rules that you intended not to break? I know I had a lot! Here are some:

1) I will never let my kids watch television. 
2) I won't dress my kids in shirts with characters from television or movies. If someone else buys it, I let them wear it. Free=good.

3) I will never allow my child to eat fast food. Yea. I work and sometimes I just can't cook all night.

4) I will never be one of those parents that let their child leave the house with snot on their face. I never realized that snot is the plug. When you wipe it off more comes out!
5) I will never cut my kid's hair myself. This rule came about because I knew I would not do a good job.  I didn't break this one, my husband did the cutting! And the messing up!

We said all kinds of stuff about what we would and wouldn't do before we had Milo. There was a whole new series when we were expecting our first girl.

1) No princess clothing. Again I let her wear it if someone else buys it. She is a baby. She can't read. I will re-examine later.
2) No pink. I painted her room pink with a pink accent wall. I dress her in pink constantly. That whole pink aversion was so blasted silly!

3) I will not dress my kids to match. People do that a lot here! The brother is always left to wear the boring polo that compliments the sister's cute dress. It always makes me feel bad for the boy! I wouldn't want to be an accessory! This is why i am writing this post! I broke this rule for the first time yesterday. We are going to Disney World for the first time soon and I feel all sentimental. I saw this on Etsy (after watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, see rule 1) and I knew that I had to have it!

Ugh! Another rule broken! What about you? Have you broken any of your own "rules"?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal Plan January 23rd

It is Monday again. Here is my meal plan for this week. I built this  recipe around Aaron's barbeque sauce that he got for Christmas.  Classy, huh? I hope you all have a good week. I plan on laying low and flying under the radar. Maybe I can happily survive this work week.

Monday: Chicken Florentine Casserole and garlic bread
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Calzones and sweet potato fries
Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Ranch Dressing and corn muffins
Thursday: Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
Friday: Unstuffed Peppers and Best Black Beans
Saturday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Southern Fried Cabbage
Sunday: Vegetarian Green Chili and biscuits

Check out more meal plans here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Grateful While Grumpy!

Quite frankly I felt like writing a negative post when I woke up this morning. I had a horrible day at work yesterday and I have been dwelling on it since. I have been wallowing in my self pity and pondering the wrongs of the world. Seriously, I am over myself now. I am going to get a grip and move on!

Instead of writing about how the world and everyone in it is out to get me (which I firmly believe is true sometimes), I will pick up posting about being grateful! Gratitude is a much better read than a stark raving mad lunatic! I think.

I am grateful for my local grocery store that has a very nice selection of wine available at almost any hour ;). I am also grateful for humor. It is the best medicine. My three year old is a funny one! He has invented a game called "Running Around in Circles". He plays it around his sister's circular rug. There is a song that goes with it that goes like this " Running around in circles, in circles, running around in circles, and stop, and stop, and jump, and jump". You can speed up the tempo and he runs faster. You slow down the tempo and he goes in slow motion! The baby thinks this is the best thing ever! She laughs hysterically! They make me happy!

I am still a little upset about yesterday. I know that it really isn't a big deal in the whole scheme of things. That is a start to feeling better, I hope. Maybe I will laugh about it someday too!

I hope everyone has a super day! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tune of the Week

I kind of like sharing my favorite tunes with you! This one has been stuck in my head this morning. It is a little slower and less upbeat than some of the previous songs. It also has a country vibe. They play it in my Publix sometimes. It makes me love grocery shopping. Oh, the simple pleasures of life!

We slept eight hours last night! Ellie is now in her crib and life is good! Have a happy day! XOXO

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Styling and Profiling

We had a sleepless night at the inn last night. Milo was up crying and screaming about nothing in particular, on three different occasions. Ellie decided to join in the fun about 2:00 AM. I tried rocking her and feeding her to get her to go back to sleep. It didn't work. Aaron swaddled her and put her in her crib and she didn't even protest. These kids are out to get me.  I almost forgot the best part! How about the time Milo woke up to tell me it was raining? Ugh. I am moving to a hotel room!

My husband and I were daydreaming about the dining room's future last night. He likes most of the plans that I have. He does not like the rug. Want to see? I promised you a style board and I am going to deliver (click here for a refresher on the inspiration). Please keep in mind it is a work in progress! I am constantly adding things to the Pinterest board. I have lots of other ideas for the room that I will add eventually.

Do you like it? Any suggestions?

It is Milo's first day of gymnastics today. My husband is going to need lots of luck after the sleeplessness of last night! I am glad he is taking him. We are also buying Milo a new bunk bed for his room. I will share that later!

I am going to link up to the  Show and Tell Party because Sharon left a sweet comment on my blog the other day! She compared my taste to Candace Olson ;). She is a friend for life now! Check it out folks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Easy Treat

I recently purchased Cake Mix Creations. I had given this cookbook as a gift to my sister in law a few years back. I had enjoyed flipping through the book and I swore that I would get for myself one day. I finally got around to buying it. I have been eager to give the recipes a try.
If I am going to bake something it has to be easy. I still don't always get it right. My husband flipped through this book and requested that I make the Boston Cream Pie. It looked pretty easy. You start with yellow cake mix and follow the directions on the package. Milo likes to "dump" the ingredients in the mixer!

We were popping Gobstoppers the WHOLE time! I love those things.
I let Milo use the cooking spray. You will see later that this was not the best idea I have ever had. Forget about perfection after this point!!! No big deal. This is true life cooking with kids!
 We put the cake mix batter into the pans and went and watched the The Sword in the Stone.
 Milo was too interested in wizards to come back into the kitchen. I got the cake layers out and realized that we did not do a good job with the cooking spray on one of the layers. Bummer. It fell apart. Oh well!
 In between the two layers, you add a layer of vanilla pudding. My husband did this part!
 The last part of the process is the chocolate top! Yum! It is pretty easy. You start by microwaving butter and unsweetened chocolate squares.
 You then mix in confectioners sugar and hot water until you get it to the desired consistency.
 The only thing left to do is eat it up!
It is really good! I was pleasantly  surprised. It isn't gourmet, but it is easy and fun!

***from Cake Mix Creations

Boston Cream Pie
  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water


  • Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  • Bake at 350° for 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Cover and refrigerate.
  • In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Stir in confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve a thick glaze; set aside.
  • Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with pudding. Top with the second cake layer. Spoon chocolate glaze over the top, allowing it to drip down sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.
**I am linking up with Twisted Thursday

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meal Plan 1/16

This is one of the most hodge podge menu plans I have ever done. It is all over the place. My husband is very hesitant to try one of the menu items below. He thinks that the Ricotta and Tomato Sandwich is going to be gross! Anyone had anything like it before? I am trying to off set the cost of the buying fish by making a few cheap meals.

We decided to make fish this week because he wanted to use his Rub From Hell that I gave him for Christmas. He loves spicy food. I am getting tougher about being able to tolerate heat. My little Milo is not a fan of spice. Fish works well because Aaron and I can eat the spice and Milo can have his fish with a little lemon pepper.

Monday- Tilapia with Rub From Hell, Cous Cous, and  Kahlua Carrots

Tuesday- Brown Bean Chowder and biscuits

Wednesday- Chicken Garlic Pizza

Thursday - Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken, Jasmine Rice, and Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Friday- Ricotta and Tomato Sandwich and Basil-Parmesan Angel Hair

Saturday- Harvest Chili and corn muffins

Sunday- Thai Peanut Noodle Salad, egg rolls, and orange slices

What is on your meal plan? More meal plans here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Song for Survival

Hello loves! I woke up late again after a night of no sleep. Ellie was awake from 2:30 to 4:00. I think I might pass out from fatigue. We have got to do something. I made it through my son's babyhood without buying a book on sleep training, but I don't think I will make it this time.

I have a song stuck in my head and I will share it with you. It is a little sad, but so pretty.

Let me know what you think! I have got to head out to work!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Inspired by Nail Polish

I feel like I have been such a downer lately. I have had such a bad attitude. I think it is the lack of sleep that is making me so grumpy. I went for a pedicure yesterday for a little pick me up. I don't get to go as often as I like simply because of scheduling. My husband and I work completely different schedules so one of us is usually alone with the kids with no back up. The pedicure did help lift my spirits a bit! I have to share the color with you. It is a bold teal color that I just love! It is called Suzi Says Feng Shui by OPI. I wanted to share this color with you because it is in the same color family as the teal I want to paint my dining room. Here is a picture I found that shows the color. I really want the dining room to be a bit darker than this.

   The current state of the dining room is sad. It is completely empty! We do have a stack of books in there and our super ugly arm chairs that we should really give away. It has some hideous, faded wallpaper.

This is a close up of the wallpaper. Nothing else in this picture is still in the house. This was as it appeared when we first looked at the house. That candle thing is creepy. This picture is actually of our entry way. They loved the wall paper! It has got to come down, but I am not yet motivated enough to make an attempt. Perhaps when we are on summer break! Look at the lighting! Oh, man! Ellie likes it. She lays on the floor and stares at it. She goos and gaas. I am not so easily impressed.

You will probably think I am crazy, but I really want this light fixture.

I think it would look cool with the teal. Perhaps I should make a dining room style board. I am on it. Stay tuned!
It is weird how you get inspiration from the weirdest stuff. Nail polish? What is something that has inspired you?