Love, Life, Cooking, Crafts, and Everything in Between :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Delicious White Chicken Chili

This morning Christy at The Girl Who Ate Everything posted a delightful looking recipe for white chicken chili. I decided that I just HAD to make it for dinner tonight! Not only was it SUPER easy but it was also SUPER yummy!! The only differences between Christy's recipe and what I did was exchange Great Northern beans for Garbanzo beans, exchange Monterrey Jack cheese for Mexican cheese, and skip the Tabasco sauce.

  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil(EVOO)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 (15-1/2 ounces) cans Garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • (optional) Tabasco sauce
Super Simple Steps:

1. Saute chopped onion in olive oil.
2. Add broth, beans, chicken, chiles, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper.
3. Simmer (stirring occasionally) for 30 minutes.
4. Add sour cream and cheese. Mix until cheese is melted
5. Serve and Enjoy! :)

Yields 6-8 servings.

Note: This picture of my bowl of soup does NOT do it justice!! :)

Enjoy :)

Winter White

Today was gorgeous! The weather was perfection. A coat was unnecessary during the day (which I love). I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day. I kept it bright on the bottom with white skinnies (Kohls) and wore a lightweight 3/4 sleeve wool sweater on top (JCrew). For a little pizazz I decided to layer a gray and black striped tee under the sweater. For the love of comfort I finished the outfit off with my suede moccasins (JCrew/Minnetoka)...or slippers (as C likes to call them! lol). The lovely necklace you catch a glimpse of is a gift from my hubby from a few Christmas's ago. :)

Do you wear white during the winter? Or do you still follow the old wives' tale that there shalt be no white after labor day? :)

Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree...

Last night Ryan and I had a BLAST decorating our Christmas tree. :) It's not 100% finished yet because there are a few crafts that I would like to do (God-willing...futures posts will come), but it is lovely and home-y. :)

As we put the tree together (we use a faux tree) we played wonderful, old-school Christmas music (I'm talking Frank Sinatra...etc). Loved it! I love when we can goof off and sing and just plain old have fun together.

Once we had done all the tree-stuff that we were planning to do, we attempted to take a couple of pictures with us and with the puppies!! You'll see... :)

How do you decorate your tree? Do you keep it traditional or go for the trends?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fuchsia Cardigan

I have a white, flowy, super low cut tank top that I thrifted a while back. I've never worn it. When I say super low cut I mean SUPER low cut (you'll see). I never knew how to wear it. I've been in a  somewhat experimental mood lately so I figured I'd give this top a shot today.

I paired the white top over a fuchsia tank (thrifted) and under a fuchsia cardigan (thrifted--NY&Co.). I wore this all with my gray skinnies (Kohls) and my new favorite black suede boots (JCrew...see here, here).

I must have looked good because my hubby asked if he could take me out to dinner when I got home! lol We went to Outback. What a treat! Yum!! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Camel Cardigan

So, I thrifted an awesome camel cardigan (JCrew) a few weeks ago. I have been dying to wear it, but wanted to concoct the perfect outfit for its debut. I think I did a pretty swell job. You decide. :)

I paired the cardigan with a beloved striped tank (thrifted--Madison), and red skinnies (Kohls). I finished the outfit with my awesome suede boots (Jcrew). P.S. I cannot stop touching those boots!! That sounds creepy but I don't really care. Seriously, the outside is made of the SOFTEST suede and the inside is more super super soft leather! Love them. :)

So, from what I've researched, this cardigan was officially named the "Tartine Cardigan." It is merino wool BUT it is lined with a silk chiffon ruffle at the neck and hem. Love it! :) Here is a picture from Polyvore so you can see the details a little better (this is the chocolate colored version).

 I love the little details. That's generally what I fall for. How about you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Suede Boots

Today I got to have coffee and watch a movie (What to Expect When You're Expecting) with my friend E. We always have a great time chatting and catching up. :) It's always an awesome time when you are dying laughing (in this case at the was pretty funny).

Anyway, for this fun, laid back day filled with errands, lunch with my hubby, cleaning, and friend time, I wore a simple outfit. Today's outfit truly encompasses my typical, most comfortable and simple style. I wore a navy, lace trimmed cardigan (Jcrew--warehouse sale); a gray and white striped tank (GAP--thrifted); jeans (Kohls); and black, suede boots (Jcrew--warehouse sale).

Here I was making sure Ryan would take a pic of my boots! lol

Now, for these boots...I love them! They are super comfortable and the suede is definitely high quality. I would highly recommend these boots if you are looking for some flat, black boots.  I love pretty much everything JCrew. I may even dare to say that they are my FAVORITE store! Now, I will admit, their prices are quite high...but that is why I only buy things from them with gift cards, on sale, at the clearance stores, at the warehouse sales, and at consignment shops. Shop smart people! :)

What brands do you like for boots?

Triple Chocolate Cake Bread

I saw a recipe for a chocolate bread a few weeks ago. I love anything chocolate and this seemed different than your typical chocolate cake so I saved the recipe on my browser for the perfect craving-filled day. The original recipe was enough to make 4 mini loaves. I halved the recipe (which is what I've given you below) to make one regular loaf.

I want to start with a picture of my final product:

Overall it was pretty good. The bread was a little on the dry side(though that could easily be fixed with some more applesauce). I'm not completely sure if I will make it again at this point. I'd like to try other chocolate bread recipes (so if you have a good one feel free to share!). My personal favorite part of this recipe was the chocolate glaze. I had a lot of the glaze left over so I put it in the fridge. After a day it was fudge!! Yum!!! I really want to make some fudge now (I'm drooling). is the recipe for one loaf!

Ingredients for bread:
  • 3/4 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for glaze (I made the full amount of glaze recommended for 4 mini loaves in case I wanted could truly 1/2 this as well if you please):
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips; set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add egg and cooled chocolate; mix well.
4. Add applesauce and vanilla; set aside.

5. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

6. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
7. Spoon into greased bread pan.
8. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
9. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks.

10. For glaze, melt chocolate chips and butter in a small heavy saucepan; stir in cream.
11. Remove from the heat; stir in confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt.
12. Drizzle over warm breads. Cool completely.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks

Today is a day that American's donate to Thanksgiving and we recognize the many blessings in our lives. I try to be thankful everyday, but in honor of this holiday I will share some of the many things I am thankful for.

In pictures, here are some of the people/things I am thankful for!
My Husband! Photo Courtesy of Evan Taylor.

The AMAZING relationship Ryan and I share.

Petey Puppy!

Bailey (the newest addition to our family!!)
I am also thankful for the rest of my family, my friends, quality time spent with others, the roof over my head, the food in my belly, the bed I sleep in, the opportunity to further my education, my health, and love.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Polka Dots & A Military Jacket

The church Ryan and I attend is filled with casual dressers. On any given Sunday there are multiple men up front, playing instruments, wearing skinny jeans and vneck tees (it's almost embarrassing! To each his own. :) Anyway, I decided against wearing true blue jeans and instead opted for my dark grey skinnies (Kohls). To keep my toes comfy and warm I wore my suede moccasins (JCrew/Minnetoka). It wasn't TOO cold so I kept it simple with layers up top. I wore a hot coral long sleeved tee (thrifted), a black military jacket (Aeropostale from....8 ish years ago?), and a blue/grey polka dot pashmina (Kohls). I love that the outfit was casual and comfortable with a couple of fun color pops! :)

I'm not quite sure why I even own long sleeved tops....I pretty much ALWAYS roll them up anyway! :) Oh well...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coffee Date with My Love and A Pop of Coral

Ryan and I planned a little Starbucks date to take advantage of their buy one get one free deal regarding holiday drinks. I LOVE their peppermint mocha! Delicious! :) I greatly enjoy when Ryan and I are able to take some time to sit down and just talk with one another over coffee. It is relaxing and reminds me a lot of when we were dating. Fun!!

What did I wear? Simple. I wore jeans (Kohls), a striped tee (JCrew), a vest for warmth (thrifted--Kenneth Cole), and for a pop of color....a coral "pashmina" (Kohls). Oh yeah, and grey bow flats (thrifted--Jcrew)!

This is my favorite way to tie my scarves..."pretzel-like"!

No vest. I hate how the straight lines of the shirt get distorted!

Errand running days can be made simple with the following equation: jeans + 3/4 tee + scarf (or statement necklace) = fun and casual. :) Sweet and simple!

What are your fall/winter staples?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rust Cords: 2 Ways

Have you ever had an item of clothing that was slightly obscure? Did you struggle with finding outfits to wear that item with? For me, that was (at one time) my rust colored, skinny JCrew corduroys. I have since come up with a few outfits that utilize them, but it took a little while!

Outfit #1: Rust Cords (thrifted--JCrew), 3/4 sleeve striped tee (JCrew), driving shoes (thrifted--Via Neroli), statement necklace (thrifted).
Outfit #2: Rust Cords (thrifted--JCrew), Striped Tank (thrifted), Cardigan (JCrew), driving shoes (thrifted--Via Neroli).

I'd love to here what else you would pair these cords with! I'd also love to hear what pieces in your wardrobe you struggle with outfitting. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Addicted to Stripes

Seriously, I am addicted to stripes. I don't know what it is that makes me love them so much, but whenever I see a striped top I am like a kid in a candy store. Last week I saw a super cute, striped sweater at a local thrift shop. I just had to have it! Luckily I had some credit on my account there (I consign there) so it was "free!" Exciting!

I wore that striped sweater (thrifted) with my black vest (thrifted--Kenneth Cole) and new bubble necklace (diy). I paired this with a pair of black skinnies (thrifted) and red flats (Target). All in all there was lots of black with a pop of red! :) I liked it. :)
Do you like doing black and white with a little pop of color? Or would you prefer lots of color everywhere?? :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Green Cardigan

I used to have a green cardigan that I wore far too often. I loved it. It was my go to. A friend from college gave it to me and I adored her and it. :)

Well, after a few years of my secondhand use it somehow made it out of the wash with a big bleach spot. :( It was time to retire the beloved old cardigan. I searched and searched for a proper replacement to no avail.

One day I walked into the back room at work to find that one of my co-workers, C, saw a JCrew merino wool cardigan for me on her weekend excursions! She had no idea that I had been looking for a green cardigan for months now, but lo and behold...her find was green! Yay! What a sweet lady. :) :)

My outfit on Friday was centered around my new cardigan (JCrew). I Layered a black tank (Target) under it with a pop of texture found in my beaded necklace (thrifted). I paired this all with my gray skinnies (Kohls) and black driving loafers (Via Neroli--thrifted).
Have you ever had to replace a beloved but worn out piece of your wardrobe?

Pudding Parfait

This weekend the hubby and I had a couple of friends over for dinner and dessert! It was so fun just sitting, relaxing, and catching up with the M's. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to make for dessert. I would run ideas past Ryan and he didn't seem overly thrilled about most of them. He can be a little picky and is like me in the sense that he has to be in the mood for certain foods. Eventually I decided to make mini cannolis. Yum! I was super excited...until I talked with my mom about the recipe I chose. Ultimately, I changed my mind and decided to make some chocolate pudding parfaits. They were super simple and super yummy!

I used JELL-O Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix (follow the directions on the package). I then took 1/2 of the pudding and folded Cool Whip into it.  I took 4 wine glasses out and dusted the bottom of the glasses with crushed Oreo's. I then layered pudding, pudding/Cool Whip mix, pudding, and pudding Cool Whip mix on top of the bottom layer of crushed Oreo's. I topped them off with a dollop of Cool Whip and garnished it with more crushed Oreo's. Yum!
Do you have a go-to dessert for when friends come over? I don't but I am always open to new ideas! :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bubble Necklace and Driving Shoes

Today I got to wear my newly made bubble necklace (DIY Bubble Necklace) to work! I was SO excited. :) I have been waiting for MONTHS to rock a bubble necklace (though no one knew...). I wore it with a short sleeved, gray and black, striped tee shirt (thrifted-LOFT). I layered it with a red, long sleeved cardigan (Hollister). I rocked my bright blue skinnies (Kohls) and a pair of black driving loafers (thrifted).

How do you feel about driving loafers? Do you rock them?