October 30, 2013

Plaid Blazer + Wedge Booties

{Black Twill Ankle Pants ~ NY&Co / Ivory Tunic ~ H&M / Plaid Blazer ~ Thrifted / Suede Booties ~ "Sutton Dessert Wedge" via ShoeMint}
Of course I had to pull this blazer from the back of my closet and slip it on yesterday.  Plaid just makes sense this fall season.  I could walk miles in these wedge booties and my feet would not feel a thing.  They are so comfortable.  Waiting for the wine colored ones to become available in my size, I neeeeed'em!
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

October 29, 2013

Three Bean Chili

Cory requested chili for dinner this past Sunday and I happily obliged.  Hearing football on the TV in the background while making a big pot of chili on a Sunday in the fall makes me very happy.  As I mentioned before, I am much more motivated to cook in the fall and winter than any other season.  Especially on Sundays.  And making nice large meals that will provide enough leftovers for work lunches and dinner on Monday sure feels good.  This chili recipe is super simple to make and delicious.  The beef could be swapped out for turkey or even ground chicken for a healthier dish. Spice it up even more too, if you'd like.  :)
2 Pounds Ground Beef {or turkey/chicken}
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, Diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 - 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 - 15 Ounce Can Red Kidney Beans
1 -15 Ounce Can Dark Kidney Beans
1 - 15 Ounce Can Pinto Beans
1 Teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
2 Tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 Can Beef Broth
Garnishes of your choice
{In a large heavy pot, start by browning the ground beef over medium heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Since the beef already has some fat, using the olive oil is optional but I think it aids in the browning.}
{Stir your meat, sautéing for a few minutes to brown.  Halfway through, add your diced onion and continue to cook until fully brown.}
{Add in your crushed garlic, the teaspoon {or to taste} of seasoned salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir well to combine.}
{To the bottom of the pot, in the natural liquid that the beef will give off, add in your tomato paste, stirring it to work it into the pot.}
{Mix this really well to coat the beef with the tomato paste.}
{I think it's best to layer the spices/herbs, splitting the measurements and adding them in at separate times throughout the cooking process. After coating your meat with the tomato paste, add in 1 tablespoon of each of the spices/herbs {cumin, chili powder and oregano}. Coat the meat with the spices and let them heat through over medium heat while you open/drain/rinse your beans.
{I used the above bean combination but you could do any three beans you wish. :)}
{Drain and rinse the beans, reserving one can to crush and add to the chili to act as a thickening agent.  I chose to crush the dark kidney beans.}
{Add the beans to the seasoned meat mixture.}
{Be sure to carefully mix this really well, getting every bean coated in the spices.}
 {Add in the 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and half the can of beef broth.}

{Add in the other tablespoon of cumin, chili powder and oregano.  Also add in your crushed red pepper flakes and sugar.}
{Stir to combine everything and taste for additional seasoning.}
{Reduce the heat to as low as it can go and let your chili simmer for no less than an hour to thicken and become rich and delicious.  Your house will smell divine! :)}
{I served ours 2 ways.  Over Frito scoops and topped with shredded cheddar, chopped green onion, sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro and with pickled jalapenos on the side. SO GOOD!}
{Of course I had to make some buttery skillet cornbread to go with it.  Served it up in a large bowl, topped it with shredded cheddar, and sprinkled on some fresh cilantro.  PERFECTION!}
What's your favorite way to eat chili?
xoxo thanks for reading! ♥

October 21, 2013

Southern Baby Lima Beans with Smoked Turkey

I remember being so excited when my mom made a big pot of simmering lima beans when growing up.  The house smelled heavenly as they cooked all day {so it seemed}.  I enjoyed having to call my mom about a year ago and have her explain it to me; learning this dish and mastering it in a way that I can now whip up my own pot of beans for my family to enjoy.  This is a really simple recipe that doesn't call for a lot of ingredients.  But most of the tried and true, tasty dishes that are passed down from generation to generation are. :)  This is a "let simmer and go ahead about your business recipe", which is perfect for the fall.  This could probably also be done in the crockpot, though I have never tried it.
1 Package of Smoked Turkey Tails {or any smoked meat, from the meat section of the grocery store}
2 Bags of Baby Lima Beans
3 Cans Chicken Broth
2 Large Onions, Dices
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Oil
2 Tablespoons Lawry's Seasoning Salt
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
{Cover your smoked meat with water and let it simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours.  Be sure to check the pot often to be sure the water hasn't evaporated.  If so, add in enough to cover the bottom of the pan and continue to simmer.  You can use any smoked meat you wish.  I have also used smoked turkey wings and smoked ham hocks before. The only requirement for the meat is to be sure it is definitely "smoked" as it adds most of the flavor to this dish.  After the meat simmers for the hour and a half, it will be super duper tender.  Gently pull and shred the meat and set aside.}

{Most simmered bean recipes call for the beans to soak overnight to prevent them from being mushy and bursting while cooking.  I find that to be an unnecessary step and follow the alternate directions on the package.  Add the beans to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  As soon as the water starts to boil, turn the pot off, cover and let the beans sit for an hour.}
{In a really large pot {I use this one} and over medium heat, sauté your onions in the butter/oil mixture until they are translucent.  Season them with salt and pepper.}
{Add in your beans {and the rest of the water that they were soaking in.}}
{Pour in your shredded meat {with the cooking liquid} into the pot of beans.}
{Mix well to combine and get the beans coated with the meat drippings. YUM!}
{These are the only seasonings that go into this dish and they are absolute staples in my kitchen. :)}
{Season the beans/meat and mix well.}
{Pour in 3 cans of chicken broth and 3 cans of water.}
{Let this simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours.}
{Check for seasoning half way through.  Add salt and pepper, if needed.}
{And serve!  Over rice is the best way to have them, in my opinion.  With hot sauce, of course! :)}
{The perfect companion to these smoky and savory beans is a piece of buttery skillet cornbread.  I mean, it doesn't get better than this - especially now since the temperatures have dropped.}
Let me know if you plan on trying these! :)
xoxo, thanks for reading!

October 17, 2013

Fancy Casual


{Sweatpants ~ Phillip Lim for Target / Navy Top ~ Old Navy / Jean Jacket ~ H&M / Silver Boots ~ Urban Outfitters}
I loved dressing these sweatpants up a bit with these metallic boots over the weekend. I actually wore them two weekends in a row; I threw on a pair of dressier flats, a t-shirt and tons of sparkly baubles 2 weekends ago to a casual dinner for my son's 14th birthday.  Easy get-ups with little pops of fanciness are what my weekend outfits have been lately and I am loving it! :)
Hope you are having a great week!  I can't believe it's already almost Friday, YAY! 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

October 9, 2013

Fall Uniform

{Maroon Ankle Pants ~ Target / Black Blazer with Faux Leather Sleeves ~ Target / Pale Pink Blouse ~ Express / Belt ~ Thrifted / Mustard Mini Satchel ~ Phillip Lim for Target / Ankle Strap Flats ~ BCBG}
My work uniform of sorts this fall will most definitely be comprised of simple and polished separates.  An ankle pant with flats or boots, a blazer of any kind, a simple blouse and a cute belt when needed, for good measure.  I am pretty obsessed with this little handbag lately and have been stuffing it to the brim with all of my junk {when I should probably just switch into a larger bag, LOL!}.  It provides the perfect pop of color and gets so many compliments.  It's so adorable, I am glad I snagged it! 
I will be back soon with an amazingly delicious recipe. Stay tuned!  :)
xoxo, thanks for reading!