Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

We love black beans! I found this recipe awhile back but decided to make it on one of the hottest days of summer because we all know how great a hot bowl of soup is on a hot summer day! Ha! Our place is air conditioned so it wasn't so bad. In fact, it was awesome. This was a hit with my hubby and oldest daughter.

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
1 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. chili powder
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chicken broth
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn
1 c. crushed tortilla chips
1 T. lime juice

Heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and chili powder for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, corn and 1 c. water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring this to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add chips; cook until softened. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Your family will love you, but might love you more if you wait until a cooler day next time to make this!

Tuesday Night Rambling

IT.IS.HOT! We are under a heat advisory and watch for the rest of today and all day tomorrow. It is miserable outside. I don't like heat like this. If I have to be out in it, I get grumpy. I thoroughly enjoy the temperatures that come with fall. I am not ashamed to say that I am very much looking forward to fall.

I could not live in an area that doesn't have seasonal changes because I could not make it without seeing my world transform from green to brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. It is magical. I love everything about fall, the aromas and the sights. I also dearly love to walk outside and not be hit by a wall of heat and humidity.

My one hope for fall is that is will last. It seems to be over as soon as it arrives. I am hopeful for a fall that will hang on this year so that we can enjoy each and every minute of beauty and crisp air.

Watching God's hand at work as he creates a masterpiece of color in the trees is absolutely brilliant. His is an amazing artist in each season.

We purchased a new children's Bible story book for our daughter's 4th birthday. I had read about the book on Angie Smith's blog Bring the Rain. I also knew some friends that had it for their children. I can't say enough about it. Peanut looks forward to it each night, anticipating the upcoming story. She sleeps with it and some nights I hear her retelling the stories that we have already read or making up stories about the ones we haven't. I love that each story ends with foreshadowing of what or Who is to come.

The name of the book is PERFECT, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. That is exactly how each story ends. The story doesn't end, it fills you with anticipation for what is to come, the Rescuer. I have enjoyed reading it with her each night almost as much as she enjoys hearing the stories.

I am thrilled to see her excited about these stories and for her to hear how God has helped his people since the beginning of time. How He has never given up on us, even when we are in the mire of sin.

I highly recommend this book if you have littles at home or for a family with littles.

On a completely different note, I am getting close to 150 posts. I am thinking of doing a giveaway or something for that post. I'll keep you in suspense though! A giveaway would be a great way to actually get some comments on here again though. Ha! Keep checking back to see if I do it or wait until 200 posts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Butter Chicken

There is a block on a beautiful tree lined street in our community filled with old homes that have been turned into ethnic restaurants. There is Korean, Mediterranean, Tibetan, Irish, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian (among a few others). Each place we have tried has been so good. My favorite has been Indian. There is a newer Indian restaurant on this block that we have tried a couple of times and where I found the most amazing chicken dish, Butter Chicken.

After having it the first time I came home and looked for a recipe online. The recipes that I found all called for a bunch of spices that I didn't have and probably wouldn't use that much.

Then lo and behold the Pioneer Woman wrote about a recipe she had found on her Tasty Kitchen site for Butter Chicken. Upon checking it out I found that I had all the spices it needed except one, ground coriander. I made the recipe on Sunday and it was fantastic. It tasted pretty similar to what we had at the restaurant too.

Hubby was a happy man and proclaimed, "I would pay $15.00 to eat something like that." Later he said, "I could eat like that all of the time." I replied with, "Ummm...no you wouldn't. That was made with a full pint of heavy whipping cream." Haha!

I served the butter chicken over brown rice. Also the recipe calls for 1/2 t. of cayenne pepper and says that you might need to cut back as it can make it spicy. I used the full amount and we didn't think it was very spicy at all.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


All summer long I find myself saying that my favorite fruit is whatever is in season...strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, raspberries...BUT THEN peach season comes and I remember...Peaches are my favorite. I love peaches. They are delectable. They are pricey too but today I splurged and bought a box at our local farmer's market. Fresh Smells
(Image found HERE.)

After searching online for a bit, I found a great Peach Pie recipe to use my delectable peaches in. The recipe is a WINNER! This will be my go-to peach pie recipe now.

For the crust I used the easy Pat in the Pie Plate crust.

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oil
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 T. milk
Mix together all ingredients with pastry blender. Pat into pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Go...Buy peaches...Make this pie!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I AM IN LOVE WITH BUNTINGS! I have been looking at them online for ages, wanting to make some but I hadn't. Then my oldest daughter's birthday came and I brought out the scrapbook paper, hole punch, yarn and went to work. It was so easy! Why did I think it wouldn't be? It added just right amount of pop and festiveness that I wanted for our simple little party.
Paper Bunting
So then I looked at the big window in my living room that has no cute curtains and thought, "Hmmm...Why couldn't I make a more elegant paper banner and hang that over the window?" I did and I love it! We live in an apartment so I am trying not to put too many holes in the walls so the bunting is perfect. I just have it taped up and it looks so simple but elegant.
Paper Bunting
This space needs something more but it really helped it not look so plain and expansive. This is so cheap too! I found the beautiful papers at JoAnne's. I had the ribbon already so it was only a few dollars to decorate!
Paper Bunting
This all spurred me on to finish a fabric bunting that I had started last January but got overwhelmed and quit. After looking at different ideas online I came up with a way to really simplify the bunting I wanted to make for the girls' room and LOVED it. It again was super easy and cheap.
Fabric Bunting
I used 3 different fabrics and cut out a bunch of triangles using a template. I also cut triangles out of batting. I then sandwiched a triangle of batting between two pieces of fabric and sewed around the triangle edge. Then I sewed a few more inside. I did not worry about being exact. I was totally going for a shabby, scrappy look.
Fabric Bunting
Next I cut around the outside seam leaving about a 1/4 inch edge. Then snip all the way around the triangle just to the seam. Throw the triangles in the washer and then the dryer. When they come out, the edges will be frayed to give them a scrappy look. I then sewed all the triangles together with a long piece of ribbon.

I love how it turned out and want to make more! I have yet to decide where I will actually hang this in the girls' room. That is why it is draped over their mirror, but I kind of like it there for now.

I love buntings!!!!! I love crafts that do not have to be exact! That is so freeing!

New Recipes for the File

I made a couple of new recipes this week for the family and wanted to share them with you. I know we all need some encouragement in the area of cooking once in awhile. I was in a cooking rut again. I hate getting stuck there but this week I jumped out and my Hubby is so happy.

One of the things that I made was a Tomato Mozzerella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust. This was super, super good. It was very rich so I probably wouldn't make it alot, only when I need to a recipe for tomatoes and basil.

Today for lunch I made a WINNER that will be made more frequently. It was a Chicken Alfredo Pizza. It was superb! Hubby was grinning from ear to ear after biting into this delightful taste adventure. The next time I make it, I will:
1.) Make a roux at the beginning of the sauce. I will add flour to the butter so the sauce thickens up. She does not call for flour so the sauce was very runny. I added 1 T. of flour to the sauce and that worked. It thickened right up.
2.) Be sure to add spincach again. I added a layer of spinach after spreading the sauce and it made it even extra yummy. It also helped me think it was a little healthy!

Also I sliced some chicken breasts and sauteed them in olive oil with salt and pepper. They were delicious on the pizza and cheaper than buying the pre-made chicken slices.

I had a girl's day out on Tuesday with some really great friends and needed a crock pot meal for Hubby and the girl. I used another one from The Farmer's Wife. It was Crockpot Baked Ziti. It was really good. I do recommend making sure you have enough sauce. I used 26 oz. instead of the 32 oz. the recipe calls for and it needed more sauce. Don't skimp on the sauce. This was good and a great go-to recipe when I need something in the crockpot quick. I really like her blog. I found some great recipes that I want to try.

Then yesterday I was craving chocolate and remembered we had a container of chocolate frosting, so my daughter and I made a Wacky Cake. YUM! I love this cake because it isn't overly sweet and you don't need eggs or milk for it. It always turns out great.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The only wreath I have to hang on my door is a Christmas wreath. For obvious reasons I don't leave it hanging year round. I have been looking online for a low costing wreath to make that I like. I had found some ideas but then I found THE ONE on The Pretty Poppy. It was so super cute and the items needed were so cheap.

All you need is felt, a grapevine wreath, some ribbon, an old cd, scissors, and a hot glue gun.

You will need to cut out a BUNCH of felt circles using the cd as a template. I just held the cd on the felt and cut around it. Then start from the outside edge and cut a spiral all the way to the center.

Next start wrapping the spiral from the center out to shape a rose. The bottom of the rose will be flat. Hot glue the end of the spiral to the flower so it will stay together and hold its shape.
Felt Rose Wreath
Once you have a large pile of roses, start hot gluing them to the wreath. Be sure to attach a loop of ribbon that you can use to hang the wreath if you want to.

This was so easy, so cheap and I LOVE the results. I want to make some more roses but make them into hair clips or head bands. The uses for these are limitless.

I love my new wreath!
Felt Rose Wreath