is it chili out?!

Last night I made a nice pot of chili. 
Oh.my.goodness!
It was so good!! 
I haven’t had chili since I lived with my parents…. so… years! 
I really don’t like beans – but that is all most chilies seem to consist of. 
That was until I figured out.. “Hey, I’m cooking it myself, I can put what I want in it!”
Woohoo, go me! 
It helps that hubby doesn’t like most beans (aside from baked beans).

I’ve seen this recipe on Iowa Girl Eats so much that I figured I should give it a try.

Oddly enough, this is perfect to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey!  We had some left in the fridge, and I decided instead of getting the ground turkey out of the freezer, I should use up the leftover turkey.  It worked out wonderfully!  It also really cut down on the cooking time.  I just diced up the turkey, and added it in after I cooked the onions a little.  Just to warm it up and add some color to it.  It was so simple, and everything came together in probably 20 minutes! 

Sweet and Spicy Chili
Original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats (adapted slightly)

Ingredients 

 1/2 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
Salt and pepper
29oz can tomato sauce
16oz can baked Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Cumin

Directions
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ground turkey to the pot, season with salt & pepper, then cook, breaking up the turkey, until no longer pink.

Turn the heat down to medium low and add in tomato sauce and baked beans. Season with chili powder and cayenne pepper to your taste, then add in dashes of onion powder, garlic powder and cumin.

Let the chili simmer for 5-10 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Served with a side of cornbread – and you have a delicious meal!

Definitely a recipe that will be on rotation in our household.

Oh and that chicken and rice soup I made the other day… Hubby is still raving about it!!  YES!!!

On a different note, Christmas came early in our household!!!!
This is what I woke up to this morning.

Oh, how I love my husband!!
I had finished The Hunger Games the other morning and all day yesterday, I was almost pulling my hair out wanting to read the other two! 
Hubby called after he was done with work, we discussed our budget – and the fact that I had $50 from helping my cousin with her ad book – so it was a done deal – I was going to get the books! 
Unfortunately, the Walmart hubby was at, only had the first book.  UGH!!!! 
So, bless his heart, he drove out of his way, to the other Walmart – and searched the book section – coming up with the first and the third books, but not the second. 
Apparently more looking and he succeeded!!  By the time he got home, I was sleeping – so it was a nice surprise to see these sitting under the tree this morning!

I promised myself that I would not open the book and start reading until after I got a workout in today.  I popped in 30 Day Shred, and pumped it out!

This is what I did while baby girl napped today…. And this is how I will be, right after I post this! 

Have a wonderful night!

Dreary Days = Soup

I swear I have not seen the sun for weeks now. 
It is getting quite depressing, to say the least.
It has been so dreary and gloomy out – is it too much to ask for just a little sun?! 
And if it has to be dreary out – why not just rain or snow… I mean, at least something would be going on then! 

Yesterday was the same as today.  Dreary. 
So I spent the day either curled up on the couch, sipping a chai latte and reading.

Or I was in the kitchen making dinner and some food for baby girl. 

I always had the intention of making homemade baby food for baby girl – but never got around to it.  Ugh.  Buying baby food was always much more convenient.  But it’s starting to get expensive!  50 cents for a 4 oz jar of sweet potatoes.  When I can get a pound of sweet potatoes for 79 cents.  Does this make sense to you?!  So, on Saturday we went grocery shopping and I picked up a few things so I could make her food.  I made sweet potatoes and regular potatoes.

I just baked both potatoes, pureed them, then popped them in ice cube trays and froze.  Once frozen I transferred them to labeled freezer bags and tada homemade baby food.  Quick to grab and heat.  And baby girl loved the sweet potatoes!!  I was afraid she wouldn’t like them, since the taste of the jarred stuff is different than homemade, but she gobbled it up. 
I plan to make carrots, peas and green beans… and maybe mash some bananas before they all get too ripe, but I ran out of freezer bags, so I have to wait until hubby picks some up tonight after work. 

Then I got to work on our dinner.  Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup.  I found the recipe over at For The Love of Cooking, and knew I had to try it!  Oh.My.Goodness, it was so good!!  Definitely a keeper in this household.  Even hubby loved it – and he hates veggies.  He actually ate everything in his bowl!  YAY!

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
Recipe from For The Love of Cooking

Ingredients

 1 tsp of olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp dried basil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked chicken breast, diced (more if you like)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed
2 tbsp corn starch
12 oz can evaporated milk

Directions
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrots and celery once hot. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and stir constantly for 60 seconds.
Add the chicken stock, diced chicken, rice, bouillon, basil, sea salt, black pepper and bay leaf.

Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
Turn the soup up until it boils.
Mix the corn starch and evaporated milk thoroughly in a bowl.

Add the milk mixture to the boiling soup and stir.
Lower the heat and add the corn.
Mix thoroughly and simmer for a few more minutes.
The soup will thicken as it sits.

**I ended up using 6 cups of chicken broth, because I used brown rice, which takes longer to cook and was cooking away my liquid.  If you use brown rice, it will also take longer than 20 minutes to cook.  I think I cooked mine for about 40 minutes or so.  I just kept testing to see if the rice was tender. I also used two cups of chicken.**

Yum yum yum!  Go make this!  It is super simple and so delicious!  Definitely good for a dreary day like today!

To finish off the evening, I cuddled back on the couch with the book.  This time I had some hot chocolate.  I had a hankering for something sweet – and I’ve had this in my cupboard for a few months. 

Thought I’d give it a try.
The verdict…. Eh… Not my cup of cocoa…
I drank some of it, but just couldn’t stomach the rest.  I didn’t taste the peppermint in it and it was way too chocolatey for me.
So, I whipped up a new cup – this time with my trusty friend…

Mmmmm. I love this stuff!  So good.  I love that it has real candy cane pieces in it!  You can definitely taste the peppermint and I can control the amount of powder going it.  I don’t enjoy the overpowering chocolate some hot cocoas have, so it’s nice to be in control with how much or how little powder goes in.

Finishing the evening the right way! 

Oh and can we talk about this book?!  If you notice, it says I’m on chapter 3 in the book.  I don’t remember when I took this picture – maybe around 8:30 or so.  I ended up staying up until 3:30am to finish reading the book.  This book is so good!!!  I am a little edgy right now, because I want to read the other books… like… yesterday!  UGH!  I guess the only thing to be happy about, is that I don’t have to wait until they are  finally released.  They are all out, all I have to do is go to the library (or the store) and get them.  Probably the store.  This is a series I need to have in my collection! 
Thank you Hales for letting me borrow the book.  I had no idea what I was missing out on!!

Well, baby girl finally fell asleep for her nap, and I have dishes to do. 
Hope you have a wonderful Monday!  Hopefully it’s less gloomy wherever you are!

Thanksgiving & Holiday Crafts

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Hubby, baby girl and I have had a low-key, amazing Thanksgiving!

It started this morning cuddling in bed watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Baby girl didn’t enjoy that very much though… so eventually we had to move it to the living room.

I really, really wanted to do the Turkey Trot this year, but didn’t pre-register, and we don’t have enough money to fork over $50 to register at the event today.  Boo!  Next year, I’ll be sure to save up the money – and pre-register!

After feeding baby girl, it was time for the Packers game!!!   Oh my goodness… it was not looking like a good game during the first quarter!  Thankfully the Packers actually started to play like…. the Packers – and we came out victorious… once again!!

 TOUCHDOWN!!!!

 She is such a cute little stinker!!  I love her!

Guess these boxes aren’t going to last as long as I thought.  Little girl is learning how to use them to help her stand up.  She is getting so big, too fast! 

Since it is only the two of us eating the turkey, we always just buy the Jennie-O turkey breast.  Pop it in the oven, cook for about two hours and the wonderful smell of turkey wafts through the house.  Some corn, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce and rolls completed the meal.  And let us not forget pumpkin pie!  Yum!!  We usually make way too much food for Thanksgiving, but this year, I’ve learned how to cut things back – and only make enough for two, instead of six!

I made Pioneer Woman’s homemade cranberry sauceso good!! 

Homemade pumpkin pie!  

 The lovely delicious Thanksgiving meal baby girl got to eat…

Our meal!  Turkey, corn, rolls, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.  Oh, and pumpkin pie.  And our drinks… Haha.

After dinner and the game, it was time to set up our Christmas tree!  We have done it every Thanksgiving, since we’ve known each other.  Traditions… I like them!

As I said I was making decorations for the walls.

I found a few things online to print and frame.  I love them!
Both printables were found on A Simply Klassic Home.

I took a few picture frames and wrapped them like a present, bows and all!  So simple.  I have a horrible time hanging pictures straight, so please forgive the crookedness!

I wanted to make a fun ornament wreath.  However, once I had the ornaments on the wire hanger – I realized I didn’t buy enough!  UGH!  And it wasn’t looking the way I imagined it to look.
I tore that apart and found some ideas on Pinterest.  I had wanted to do one with a frame, because it looked so fun and different.  I didn’t have a frame big enough… Double ugh!!  So, what did I do?!  I took two 5×7 frames, and wrapped them together.  Then cut out the holes and created this…

Okay, not your typical wreath – but I’m loving it.  Hubby still needs to warm up to it… he keeps saying, “I like it, but it isn’t a wreath.” New age wreath, hubby… New age!!


Finally, the Christmas tree!  Love it!  
Whoa… Sorry for the blurry picture! 

My favorite ornament.  My great-grandma made this a very long time ago.  It was on my tree when I was young – and eventually it ended up in my collection.  I love it!! 

Our place finally feels like we are approaching the holiday season!

I can’t believe there is only a month left before Christmas!  Oy, where has the time gone?!

Did anyone fight the crowds to shop today?  I’ve stayed put in the comfort of my home.  Hubby has to work (boo, I know), and I don’t do crowds well.  Last year was horrible when I had to work that day…. I just want to relax this year.  Maybe I’ll shop online – so much easier!

Yep – this is going to be a fun keeping baby girl from pulling the tree over!

Stay tuned for Friday Favorites!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

I have a post in the works, that would have been posted today, but hubby has been using the computer.

So, I hope you all had an amazing Turkey Day, wherever your plans have taken you!

And, if you are fighting the crowds tonight, have fun and be safe!
I’ll be enjoying the comfort of my bed!

Take care,
Caylie

Asian Turkey Meatballs & Spicy Thai Noodles

Greetings!
How is this wonderful Wednesday in your neck of the woods?
It’s been cloudy all day here.  The sun will come out.. tomorrow??  Let’s hope for a beautiful day!

I know yesterday I said I was going to show you the Christmas decorations I was working on.  I will show them to you.. but not today.   Tomorrow we will be putting up the rest of the decorations (tree and such) and I just feel the whole picture would be better to see! 

As for today, I have been finishing decorations – and attempting to make the barrier (to keep baby girl in the living room) we have set up between the living room and kitchen better looking.  Right now it is just a bunch of boxes, because we didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the gates at the store.  Once we find them a little cheaper, we’ll buy them… but I haven’t really been looking too hard, because these boxes seem to be working… for now.  But they are so annoying to look at.  A jumble mix of boxes that are just an eye-sore!

See….  Ugly!  It makes the place look so messy, even though it isn’t!  Ugh!

So… what is a girl to do with these ugly boxes?!

Wrap them, of course!! 

I have a lot of old wrapping paper.  Probably from four or five years ago.  I just want to use them up, because they are old and getting smashed from being in my makeshift wrapping paper holder.  I didn’t mind wrapping these random boxes (I mostly wrapped the top and sides… all the bottoms are not wrapped).  Plus, it adds to the festive feeling in the house.  And it is only temporary… but why not have pretty temporary, instead of ugly temporary?! 

I made a delicious dinner tonight.  Asian Turkey Meatballs and Spicy Thai Noodles. 

You know how much I love Spicy Thai noodles!  I wanted some meat in tonight’s dinner.  I knew I had seen Asian Turkey Meatballs on a few different websites – so I thought I’d try it out.  I didn’t have all the ingredients, but it still came out delicious! 

Here’s how I made it:
Slightly adapted from Skinny Taste (only because I didn’t have the other ingredients!)

Ingredients
 1/8 cup panko crumbs
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 500°F.

Mix ingredients with your hands until combined well. Shape mixture into six meatballs and put on baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Here is the recipe for the Spicy Thai Noodles

Super simple and super delicious! 

Well, I’m off to put some finishing touches on the decorations.  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Oh What a Night…

I had a date last night…
With my cousin.
Or, as we call each other, my sister-cousin.
I love hanging out with that chick – and I am in love with the coffee shops she takes me to! 
Pictures were taken from my phone, so definitely not to best quality!

 Last night we hit up Kavarna Coffeehouse in Green Bay.  I’ve been there twice now, and loved it both times!  Not only is it an amazing coffeehouse, it is also a vegetarian cafe.  With amazing food!!

Delicious chai latte!  I love me some chai.  Got me in the holiday spirit – as my friend wrote on Facebook – “Chai tea tastes like Christmas!”  So true, so very true!

Baby girl had a blast there as well.  She loved chewing on the table place card.  Not sure how I felt about that.. but she was enjoying it – and it was probably nice on her gums.  Don’t worry, it didn’t last for long – I took it away shortly after this picture was taken.  I replaced it with her sippy-cup.

Look how well she is using the cup!  Such a big girl!!

Our food came out – looking and smelling delicious!!  Sister-cousin got an order of yam fries for us to share.  Just like I thought, I didn’t enjoy them.  I like my savory food, savory…not sweet.  She enjoyed them though, guess that is what matters!

She got the Cuban Black Bean Quesadilla, which I’m assuming she enjoyed… since, you know, she ate it all!

I got the Feta Portabella Wrap.  Not a very good picture of it, but it had grilled portabella mushrooms, feta cheese, garlic cream cheese, spinach and red onions.  It was so good!!! 

And the grand finale…. Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcake with Cherry Frosting.  Oh.My.Goodness!!!!!!   This was so freaking amazing!  Sister-cousin and I split it… which was definitely a good idea, since the thing was huge – and pretty rich.  But so delicious!!! 

It’s okay to drool a little. 

You done? No? It’s okay, I’ll wait.

Done now?  Yes?  Good – I highly recommend heading over to Kavarna for a real taste.  You won’t regret it! 

I adore the lights on the trees, lining the street in downtown GB.  The holiday feeling is complete seeing these.

I’m off to be crafty!  I have some holiday decorations I need to make.  I am so ready for my house to feel festive!  And I don’t have any Christmas decorations, other than those for the tree.  So, time to get my craft on and make some!  I’ll have an update tomorrow with the final projects!

back in the land of internet connection

Hello There!
Long time.. no blogging.  That makes Caylie a sad girl.
But I’m back!  Back in the comfort of my own home and ready to get back into the swing of things!

Unfortunately, there will be no Friday Favorites today.  Boo, I know!  We got back earlier than I thought we would…. but I have loads of laundry to do… plus straightening up a little.  Mostly just hanging out with the baby girl and the hubby.  I know we were away together all week, but hubby was out at hunting camp, while I stayed at his parents.  We saw each other every day, but there were always other people around.  Alone time with the family is what we need!

It was a good week though.  Hubby shot an 8-point buck… just a little guy though.  I watched with a churning stomach as they skinned the deer… never again!  

  Baby girl, however, enjoyed her daddy’s buck! 
Look closely… check out baby girl’s new boots!!  She made out well this week… Two new pairs of boots (the pink pair and a brown pair), some dress shoes and some sneakers. 

Isn’t her hat the cutest?! 

She started eating those Gerber Puffs this week.  Not completely by herself… but apparently is getting the hang of it, at this very moment!  But while I was giving them to her, she looked like a little bird.  It was so stinking cute.

She also had her first pickle.  Yep.  Pickle.  I had a pickle for dinner the other night, she was sitting on my lap.  She kept reaching over to try and snatch it from my hand.  So, I figured I’d let her taste it… see if she still wanted it after that first taste.  You should have seen her face!!!  Hahaha.  Poor girl. 
But, before you think I’m a mean momma… you should know what happened after that first taste. 
She reached for it again…

She chewed on that pickle forever!!  That’s my girl… loves pickles.

Well, time to call it a night.  Back to regularly scheduled programming on Monday… maybe an update this weekend…