Friday, October 26, 2012

Butternut Squash, Quinoa, & Black Bean Chicken Stew - RECIPE!

This stew is yummy, healthy, and pretty easy! I ran across THIS recipe on Pinterest and felt a little intimidated at first... but I decided to switch up a few ingredients, and had a butternut squash I wanted to use. I loved how it turned out! 

So don't feel overwhelmed with all those healthy ingredients. Give it a try! I am sure the original recipe would be excellent too, but here is my version:

1 1/2 lb Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, & chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 lb Chicken Tenderloins
1 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Medium yellow Onion, finely chopped (OR 1 Tbls Onion Flakes)
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 Can (14 oz) Petite Diced Tomatoes 
2/3 Cup Quinoa
8 oz Black Beans
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp Dried Parsley 

1. Steam Butternut Squash until tender. Remove half the Squash and set aside. Continue to steam the remainder of the Butternut Squash until very tender (another 5 minutes). Mash this squash with the back of a fork and set aside.
2. In a large pot bring the Chicken Broth and Chicken Tenders to a boil over medium-high heat until chicken is fully cooked. 
3. Transfer Chicken to a plate to cool and pour remaining broth into a bowl and set aside.
4. Return your pot to the stove, add in olive oil, onion. Saute until translucent. Add in Garlic and Oregano. Cook an additional minute, stirring constantly. {If using Onion Flakes, saute onion flakes, garlic, and oregano all together for a minute or two only.}
5. Add in Tomatoes, Butternut Squash pieces, and smashed Butternut Squash. Stir to combine. 
6. Stir in the reserved Chicken Broth and Quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until Quinoa is translucent {About 15 minutes}. 
7. Shred the cooked, and cooled Chicken. 
8. Stir in Chicken, Black Beans, Pepper, and Parsley. Simmer, uncovered for several minutes until ready to serve. 


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our Guest Room!

I have finally finished up a few of the projects in our Guest Room and I wanted to share the final product {atleast for now... I always seem to be wanting to change things around!} 
 The wall color is Blue Hubbard by Sherwin Williams. It is such a great color that we loved it so much we used it in our downstairs half-bath as well. Much, much better than the awful green carpet and green walls and green trim, don't you agree?
 This room sorta felt jungle-ish with the bamboo shades and if you look closely below you will notice the closet door pull is a frog. {OH MY!}
Its AMAZING what a coat of paint, new carpet, new blinds, new ceiling fan, and a little bit of taste in door handles can do for a space :)
Our "H" pillow was a wedding gift, and the chevron pillows my sweet mom found at Stien Mart. The Color matches perfectly and I am in love with all things chevron these days. 
I made my super simple pinch curtains from fabric that I fell in love with from {Also with help from my sweet mama!} These were a post-caroline project. I think she was only about 4 weeks old and they took all day for two of us to go back in forth between rocking, feeding, and soothing her to get the babies lined and sewed! 

This is the room my Mama/Gram always stays in when she visits, and as I am typing this I am sorta feeling like I made her decorate her own guest room... Sorry Mama!
 My chalkboard was a fun Saturday afternoon project. I bought a poster frame from Target for super cheap, took out the plexi-glass, and painted the particle board backing of the frame with two coats of Chalk board paint from Lowes. It was SO easy!

{And check out those gorgeous leaves changing outside our guest room window. Fall is simply the best in our back yard. Come for a visit and you'll just want to sit and watch the leaves change out this window.}
I wrapped the thin picture hanging wire with Jute rope that I found in a dollar bin at Micheals to add a little something more to this plain black chalk board. The jute stayed in place great with several drops of hot glue. 

It's fun having a chalk board in my guest room to write welcome messages to our guests!
 I love dried hydrangeas. So beautiful and they hold their color really well for a long time!
 The top of the dresser is currently decorated for fall, and will most definitely be switched out for Christmas decorations {yay!} after Thanksgiving. 

The mirror is a Greensboro thrift store find that fits in with the color of the room perfectly. It was one of those things I saw, I loved, I grabbed, and I knew I would find the perfect spot for it eventually. Got to love a cheap, beautiful find.
 I got the idea for these framed quotes from some of our favorite hymns from Emily at Jones Design Co. Emily's art prints are SO beautiful, but I wanted to create something for a little bigger frames, and in slightly different colors for Fall. 
Now, friends and family- come visit us and stay in our Guest Room! Its ready for you anytime!

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Farm Fun!

Last Sunday we had such a fun day exploring the Pumpkin Farm near our house. It was a PERFECT Fall day, and so nice to have a whole afternoon outside with Miss Caroline. We loved getting to hang out with Chris and Lyndsey, and of course Gavin, and our friends Bruce and Rachel, and their son Josiah.

Caroline went down her first slide, rode her first Carrousel, met her first barn animals {a horse, a billy goat, a pig, and a donkey!}, went through her first corn maze, experienced a hay ride, and helped mom and dad pick out her very first big pumpkin!

Of course it was also the perfect time for lots and lots of photos!
Oh man, I love these two! 
 We simply couldn't pass up on a ride in the Cow Train! It was bumpy and shaky and so, so fun! 
 Here come the Dads!
 And we Mamas had to take a turn too!
Yes, only in our tiny virginia town would Jay have the option of choosing a carrousel horse for our daughter first ride that is named Robert E Lee....
 She LOVED it!
And adored spending a whole day outside!
 The only Family Photo we got, and the sun was right in poor Jay's eyes... oh well, we'll try again next year. Pretty sure I made up for it with the millions of photos of C!
Cousin secrets!

Perfect day for memory making!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Six Months!

Our girl just celebrated her first 1/2 birthday last week. CRAZY! I really convinced 6 months is the best age. I keep saying that at every stage, but she is just plain fun! Caroline is learning so many new things, and so happy and content almost all the time. She loves to be held and cuddled, but also loves to explore and experience new things and be outside. Each day is a new adventure and I love living the newness everyday with her. I have said it a million times but being mom is the best job ever created!

We just went in for the 6 month check-up this morning,and after getting past the tears of too many shots we are having a great monday. Our new tile floors are being installed in out kitchen, and somehow sweetness is napping through quite a bit of loud hammering and banging going on below us. I am grabbing these few semi-calm moments to update on her big girl stats, and share photos from our 6 month photo shoot last week!

Weight: 18 lbs 14 oz (90%... oh my!)
Height: 28 inches (98%... double OH MY!)
and most importantly, Very Healthy!!!

Yes, we have one very long, and fairly chubby girl. My new favorite thing is to dress her in tight baby leggings to show off her leg rolls. Mean Mama? Maybe, but it is SO adorable, and its the only time in life when thigh rolls are found highly cute and attractive.

We are loving the Virginia October weather and are spending lots of days outside. I am so happy with how these pictures turned out because Caroline had so much fun playing in the dirt and pulling up flowers... great memory making!

 "seriously mom, pictures again!?!"
 Kisses from Bella!
 Sweet Cousin time! Gavin is 13 months, and showing Caroline lots of things like digging in the dirt. SO MUCH FUN to have these two in the same house for a couple months. Busy, busy, busy!
little stinker got ahold of a handful of mums... atleast she was drawn to the right color! ;)
 Check out those two bottom teeth! Growing up so fast.. can't believe my babe has teeth....

Caroline - We are loving every second with you. You continue to be such a Joy. Words can't express how much Mama and Daddy adore you. A few big first this past month include getting your first 2 bottom teeth at around 5 1/2 months. You have been a tiny bit fussy in the evenings, and want to chew on most everything, but really have handled the first teething phase SO well.

We also gave you your first solid foods over the past 2 weeks or so. I can't say your a very big fan. You want to hold the spoon, but past that you tend to spit most of the sweet potatoes or apples or avocados out of your mouth. You'll get their baby girl. No rush. Mama is completely content nursing you for now, and we will keep trying yummy fruits and veggies.

You are happy as can be in front of any mirrors and it is the greatest thing to hear you squeal with delight. We love gigglebellie videos, bath-time with lots of toys, sophie the girrafe, watching other kids, Bella, walks in the stroller, doing anything and everything outside, music, your blankets, and sitting up on your own like a big girl.

Thanks for another wonderful month of smiles, and giggles, and memories. There are more to come! We love you baby girl.

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