Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Halloween is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Growing up in the northeast, Halloween signified the change of seasons - from brisk to cold. I have very fond memories of dressing up and trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids. When my sister and I would get home my mom would need to inspect our candy. While she did this, I categorized mine (anyone surprised?) and "traded" with my sister the candy I didn't want for her candy that I did. I always ended up with lots of peanut butter cups, snickers, and butter fingers. She ended up with all the sour stuff, pretzels, and other random things weird neighbors would hand out other than candy. I'm a great big sister.

Jarrod and I got engaged on Halloween weekend 3 years ago, right after our church Trunk-or-Treat celebration. Earlier that weekend we dressed up as a devil and angel - in theological irony. I don't know why he was so easy to convince to dress up that year - probably because he was still trying to woo me. It's been a struggle ever since.

Two years ago I said I wanted to do something themed, but then ended up working on Halloween and giving up.  Last year I said I wanted to do something themed and Jarrod said no. I decided to go with our young adult group and walk dress like a Egyptian. All of our friends dressed up and we won first place at our church festival. Jarrod refused to participate and wore regular clothes. Seriously.

This year I said I wanted to do something themed. (Are you sensing a...theme?) and Jarrod wasn't interested. I even suggested that we go as skeletons:

Jarrod wasn't interested at all. So I made my own skeleton (more on that tomorrow!) and decided he was on his own.

You're probably wondering why I even care about dressing up. We don't have kids and obviously don't trick or treat in our neighborhood. We do have a festival at church where everyone dresses up and decorates their car trunks - Truck-or-Treat - a great place to have a theme, decorate our car, dress up, and have fun!

So this year I'm on my own again, but next year we'll have a 10 month old baby to decorate! I'm already thinking about themes!
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Pan-roasted Fish with Grits and Green beans

If you haven't heard, my hubby caught some fish. If you haven't heard, you haven't been around Jarrod in the past month or so...I'm pretty sure he's told everyone we've seen in the past month. Since he brought home so much fish, we've had it a few different ways. He fried it with corn meal a few weeks ago but most recently he pan-roasted it and served it with grits and green beans.

I'm seriously spoiled - I get home from work about an hour after Jarrod, go for a 4 mile walk, and come home to the house smelling incredible and dinner almost ready.

For this meal, Jarrod simply pan-roasted the fish he caught a few weeks ago. It was frozen, so Jarrod defrosted the fish in the fridge for 48 hours or so. Once the fish was ready, he seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a little seafood magic. Jarrod cooked the fish in a hot pan with a little canola oil. He covered the pan with a lid and let the fish cook away. While the fish cooked, he prepared the grits and green beans.

While the fish was incredible, the star of the show was the green beans. They were incredible! Here's the recipe with Jarrod's additions.
Lemon Butter Green Beans
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 (2-ounce) package sliced almonds, found on baking aisle - We used pine nuts because we had them.
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper

Toast the nuts in a pan on the stove. Be careful not to over-cook because nuts can burn very quickly. When nuts are toasted, remove from heat and add water to the bottom of your pan. Bring water to a boil and add green beans. Cover and reduce heat. Cook beans until tender and bright green - about 4-5 minutes. In order to ensure that beans do not over cook, you can throw them into a bowl of icy cold water.

Once beans are done and drained, add them back to the pan with the nuts, butter, seasoning, and lemon juice. Melt butter and mix thoroughly. Delicious!

Jarrod served the fish and green beans with a side of yellow grits. He cooked them according to the package - we buy organic grits at the farmers market or health food store. Sometimes when he makes them he goes all out with cream, butter, and lots of cheddar cheese. This night he just used butter and milk because it's what we had on hand. Delicious and slightly more healthy than his normal artery-clogger!

Who does the cooking in your house? Jarrod and I often switch off, but his meals are much better than mine! 

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Baby Shower #1

I am so blessed to have incredible friends-who-are-family and family-who-are-friends. This Saturday most of the people I'd call my inner circle were all in the same room at the same time. It was thrilling. While it didn't go off without a hitch (and I'm more than grateful for everyone who helped host, plan, and loved us!), it was the most beautiful day and everything far exceeded my expectations.

I've always said for me showers are about getting incredible people together. I loved looking across the room to see old friends, new friends, and family, all chatting and enjoying themselves. There were people there who have known me for 11+ years and people Jarrod and I have met just since our move back to Texas. My aunt was there - she's known me for nearly 30 years! Jarrod's family was there - they've known him for nearly 30 years too! ;-) Jarrod wasn't there - he left us have our girl time.

I loved seeing old friends getting to know new friends. I love people talking about Jarrod's Chuck Taylors and how we'll need to get some for the baby. I loved hearing stories and sharing love. Renee set up some beautiful crafts for my friends to do.

 Family writing letters of encouragement for Jarrod and I to read on difficult days and creating pages for an ABC book of love for baby!
 This next craft was one of my absolutely favorites. It's already hanging in the nursery! Hopefully Renee will blog more about it, but basically she drew a tree and had everyone put a finger or thumb print on the tree to signify all the leaves in our family tree. It went in a beautiful white frame and looks gorgeous in the nursery - the colors are perfect and I love that it's the prints of those who love us so much. Jarrod and I even added our own prints when we got it home. You'll see it in the 20-week pregnancy picture!
 Of course there was delicious food and cake! Everyone enjoyed fruit, veggies, and snack foods while getting to know each other.
 And could there possibly be a baby shower without cake? I can't imagine a cuter cake!
While the shower was not all about the gifts for either Jarrod or I, we were definitely showered with lots of beautiful things!

 The title of this book is "On the Day You Were Born" and it's just beautiful. I'm not making a sad face (although it really looks like I am...) It's a "aww... isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen?" look.
 I was SO excited about the pack 'n play! My face doesn't adequately express my excitement. It's already put together and in the corner of our bedroom - all ready for baby!
 My mother in law made this blanket for our nursery. It matches beautifully and is absolutely gorgeous.
 A few of my favorite kids showed up!
 This silky was so soft and very meaningful. It was tested and picked out especially by one of my favorite little girls. I know it will be baby's favorite.
 These little onesie gowns are so cute! I love the ones with the silver stars and I hear gowns are AWESOME.
 This is such an awesome bear! It's currently living in the crib so Lucy the destroyer doesn't harm him before baby gets to play. I can't wait to take pictures with baby and the bear to see how much baby grows over the years!
 Yay for a baby bath! I've kept a mental note of this post for months, knowing that we'd want to minimize the baby items in our home. I registered for this baby bath sponge rather than a bulky baby bath tub. I'm so excited - as this picture shows!

The whole shower was delightful. I am so thankful for such wonderful women in my life - women who have modeled how to be a good wife, create healthy family, and raise loving children. All the gifts have been relegated to their temporary homes - clothing has been washed, sorted by size and put away, books are waiting to go in their permanent homes, and all the ducks are accounted for!

Thank you to everyone who made this day so special!
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Pinteresting Challenge

It's no secret that I adore Pinterest. Not only do I pin things with incredibly regularity, but I also use my boards as resources. I use the recipe board to plan our monthly menu. I started the nursery board when we first found out we were pregnant and our actually nursery came from what was pinned. Our master bedroom inspiration as been recorded on this board and beginning to (slowly) take shape. I've done a handful of crafts on this board and have the supplies to do a few more...Which brings me to the challenge...

The last time Katie and Sherry did a Pinterest Challenge I followed and was very interested, but didn't want to commit myself. This time I'm jumping in with both feet!

I've been hemming and hawing about a Halloween costume that I pinned several weeks ago. It's super cute and this is probably the only year I'd ever be able to wear it. I don't want to put this out there because I don't want to be held accountable, but I figure if I put it out there, I'll be forced to follow through!

Full disclosure:
I've already started on this project. I think it counts for the challenge because I messed up three times already and am basically starting from scratch. That coupled with the fact that I don't know if I'll actually follow through makes it perfect for this challenge!

Here are the rules:

  • Pick your Pinspiration project. Do it. Blog about it. Celebrate!
  • In your blog post, we ask pretty please for everyone to share the link love! Link to the Pinterest item, the ORIGINAL source of the inspiration photo on Pinterest, and it would be soo nice if you also linked to the four Pinterest Challenge hosts above (you have no idea how much we appreciate the linkage love too!)
  • Linky Party at the Bower House! Each host has the option to linky party - so if you blogged about your project, link up with us too so that we can all see your completed projects and we can share it to our readers. 
  • Have fun! No matter what the project is – it can be small, big, super-sized, seasonal, decorative, cooking, crafty – anything goes…just as long as it “Pinned then Spinned” you can consider us fans!
I'm so ready to get this started! Of course my skeleton baby won't have a bow, but I'm pretty sure the baby will still be super cute. 

Watch out because this project needs to be done in one week! I better get moving! 
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Well-Stocked Freezer

I've always looked forward to stocking our freezer before baby comes. Jarrod and I don't mind leftovers and the idea of having delicious, home-cooked food ready to go is always appealing to me! As we began thinking about what we wanted to have in our freezer, I knew that I'd want some comfortable staples, but I also wanted to shake things up a bit. Jarrod and I spent the second trimester experimenting with new meals and perfecting recipes so that we would have delicious and well-tested food in our freezer.

Here's my current plan:
Two loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread
Zucchini Bake
Green Bean Casserole
Tamale Casserole
Baked Chicken and Brown Rice Bake
Turkey and Bean Chili
Chicken stock
Cream of ______ Soup
Eggplant Lasagna (with noodles)

I don't really want to freeze a meal that we haven't tried yet, so we're adding new recipes to our menu plan all the time! We tried several new ones in September and October that made the cut for this list. I've got my eye on some new recipes to test out in November as well. I'm thinking we'll test:

We're pretty organized around our house so I figure we'll probably have a rough plan of when we'll eat what so we know about how long these meals will last us. I'd love to have them last until I start work again in March, but we'll see if our freezer can accommodate that! I'm hoping to set aside at least one full weekend in December to make, bake, assemble, and freeze everything. We'll buy aluminum casserole dishes so we can recycle them when we're done. I can write on the top what it is and how it needs to be cooked in sharpee, which I figure will be helpful as well.

Okay, mamas, what are your suggestions on how much food to freeze?
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Split Pea Soup

My dad used to make split pea soup when I was growing up. I thought it was gross (well, it sorta is!) until middle school when I began to enjoy it. My days would often start with a bowl of generic Campbell's split pea soup.

When I got a little older and stopped using cans, I thought I'd give the soup a try - the way my dad used to make it! I've made it several times over the years - sometimes vegetarian and sometimes with meat. It's always been delicious! When I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I needed to give it a go!

Split Pea Soup
via Eat Live Run
1 1/2 large yellow onions, diced - I omitted because we didn't have any. Next time they are going in!
2 large carrots, peeled and diced - I used about 9 medium carrots sliced.
3 stalks celery, diced - I used a whole stalk.
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 16-oz bag green split peas - I used two bags.
2 ham hocks (they usually come in packs of two) - I used one smoked hock. We purchased it at Sprouts.
8 cups water - I have no idea how much water I used... I filled a pot. It was probably more than 8 cups, though.

To start, I added the water and hock to a pot on medium-high heat. I sauteed the veggies in a separate pan with a little oil until they were soft. I like my veggies really soft! If you don't care about that, you can follow the original directions which were to combine all ingredients in a very large pot.

Once the veggies were cooked, I added them to the pot. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer for two hours. After two hours, remove ham hocks carefully from soup and cut meat off the bone. Place meat back in soup and discard hocks. Bring soup back to a boil and cook on medium/high heat for another 30-45 minutes until desired thickness.

While I didn't get any pictures of our soup, it was relatively thin, just the way I like it. I froze more than half and put the rest in the fridge for lunches and dinners this week. I would estimate that this batch (with two bags) made about 20 servings or so.
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Pregnancy Update - Week 29

What’s Happening This Week: Your baby is growing rapidly now. This week he weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is getting bigger to accommodate his growing brain – which is busy developing billions of neurons. Every day, about 200 milligrams of calcium is deposited in your baby's skeleton, which is now hardening. With this rapid growth, it's no surprise that your baby's nutritional needs reach their peak during this trimester.

How far along? 29 weeks
Weight gain: 25 lbs.
Stretch marks? Still the same on my hips, but they are coming, I'm sure...
Sleep: I am waking up more and struggling to get back to sleep. I have night sweats and get uncomfortable in the middle of the night sometimes. It's not awful, but I'm definitely not sleeping as well as I use to!
Best moment this past week: Our baby shower was awesome! I had a room full of women from all areas of my life (college, seminary, youth ministry, new churches and old, and lots of family) who love me, love Jarrod, and already love our baby. My sister, best friend from college, and Aunt all made special trips to Dallas for the event. It was so awesome to see them.
Movement: Most definitely. The baby sticks mostly to my right side and flips around, wiggling a lot!
Food cravings: Sweets. The cake at the shower was INCREDIBLE! We also got frozen yogurt twice in one week...
Labor Signs: None. Thankfully!
What I miss: Thinking abut things other than the baby. Our lives revolve around baby right now and I imagine they will for quite some time!
What I am looking forward to: taking my nephews to the pumpkin patch next weekend. There will be lots of pictures!
Anxieties: Complications. Just in general.
Weekly Wisdom: Don't make too many plans and learn to go with the flow a little bit. As much as I've mellowed out over the past few years, this was a good one for me to hear.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

When are you due?

This is the most common question I get hands down. I probably get asked this question at least 3 times a day, if not more. My whole world right now revolves around January 4th, 2012. After the holidays this year, my calendar essentially stops and doesn't start up again until February at the earliest.

And yet, only 5% of babies come on their due date. My mid-wife says that many first time moms have late babies...even super prompt mamas like me! Our practice will allow me to go up to 2 weeks late, provided baby and I are both doing well. This means, the baby could come as late as January 18th! Our birth instructor says that Caucasian women have a gestation period closer to 41 weeks and 1 day, meaning baby could easily come on January 12th. I will lose my mind if I just live each day hoping the baby comes from January 1st through January 18th! I need a better plan than simply surviving from day to day.

I always knew that this would be the most difficult part of having a baby - how in the world do you plan things like work projects, preparing for baby, freezer meals, child care, maternity leave, and LIFE around a baby that could come in a window of 30 days without any complications at all!

Thankfully, I'm really not stressed about it today. I will be come January, but today, I feel great. I'm not a procrastinator and know that everything that I want to get done before the baby will either get done or it wasn't that important anyway. While we're very busy every weekend until mid-December, I've blocked out days in December to freeze meals, organize the nursery, and generally prepare for the baby. We're taking our birth classes, doing things a little at a time, and will be ready for baby whenever he/she decides to make an appearance. We're prepared, but not over prepared. I'm working ahead in my job, but still making sure that I have things to do in December and January if I'm still waiting for baby.

Obviously I want the baby to come whenever the baby is ready, healthy, and prepared. I am not wishing baby to come too early or too late and hope to avoid any complications associated with either of those things happening.

What do you do when you're faced with the in between? Baby is healthy and ready, you're uncomfortable, and ready for baby to come, but life must go on. How did you entertain yourself and keep your mind off of your late baby without losing your sanity?
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Dr. Pepper Pork Baked Potatoes

Jarrod loves pork. All kinds of pork. When we have pork, you can very well bet that he's the one who has found the recipe, purchased the ingredients, and made the meal. I'm just not a big fan. I mean, I enjoy eating pork on occasion, but it's definitely not something I'd seek out. Call me a creature of habit. :-)

That said, when I discovered this recipe, I knew I had to share it with Jarrod. It looked delicious and I knew he'd love it. It immediately jumped onto our October menu calendar and the rest is history!

Jarrod decided to make this pork for a family dinner the other day. His parents, brothers, sister in law, and nephews came over for dinner. We don't have a dutch oven (yet!) so Jarrod made this in the slow cooker. It cooked for about 6 hours of low heat. 

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pork
via The Pioneer Woman
1 whole Large Onion
1 whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (or prepare the slow cooker). Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.

Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven (or put the slow cooker on low). Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour. Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Jarrod had to blend the sauce to make it thinner and incorporate the chilis more.

Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.

Ree suggests serving the pork on tortillas, but we decided to go with baked potatoes. We like to have baked potato night one a month or so and doing this with the family was easy. We made a bunch of potatoes and everyone just had their own. I put the pork right on the potato, but some folks ate them separately.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Master Bedroom Photoshop Adventure

I mentioned that our master bedroom is in the midst of transformation. Thankfully we will only decorate using cash we have in our hands otherwise I would have already purchased 11 yards of fabric in hopes that Jarrod likes it. :-) Going slower is definitely more frustrating for me, but it does make it easier for us to really think through decisions and not make mistakes.

The only decision that has been made thus far is the walls - they are a soft gray. My vision for a color pallet is gray, green, blue, and maybe some yellow, with white. We need wall art, a comforter/duvet, pillow shams, throw pillows, and curtains. When Waverly came out with the newest fabrics in their Modern Essentials line, I knew our color pallet would come from this line.

Thankfully, Jarrod liked this idea. Interestingly enough, most of the fabrics in our nursery are also Waverly Modern Essentials.

Because Jarrod is very visual and needs to really think something through before committing to a decision, I decided it was time for a little photoshop fun! While I was throwing things together on the screen, Jarrod and I were able to make several decisions. I was ready to make our duvet so that we could make it reversible, inexpensive, and unique. I whipped up some fabric options and paired them with accent pillow ideas and discovered that I hated them. We immediately decided that if we were going to go with a busy curtain pattern and fun accent pillows, we would need to go with a simple grey duvet. Done and done!

We picked out this one at JC Penney's and I got it on serious sale for $44. Sweet! That's less expensive than I could have made myself. And the quality is great - the original price was $170! Seriously. The duvet was on clearance for $67 and then I got it on a day where everything on clearance was an additional $10 off. We had a Friends and Family 20% discount on top of that! Wahoo! I know it's hard to see from the wonky photo above, but the duvet is tone on tone grey herringbone (that interesting 'v' shape sort of chevron-esque) and has a beautiful sheen.

The duvet didn't come with the standard pillow shams or anything, so we'll have to get those. The ones in the picture above are from Target and are very similar to the brown ones that we have in there now. I suppose I could make them, but I don't imagine I'll do that... The accent pillows (shown in swatches in the photo above) will be pops of color.

Here's the bed with some sample curtains. Forgive the sloppy look of it - this fabric is so new there aren't any pictures of real curtains so I had to improvise. The top image with the polkadots is Jarrod's choice. The bottom one with the floral print is my choice. They both are much larger prints in person. I probably could have adjusted the curtains to show that, but I didn't... What do you think? Floral or polkadots?

There's a third option as well. Jarrod and I hit up Jo-Ann's the other night and picked out another fabric. Unfortunately I couldn't find a swatch of it to impose onto our picture, but I imagine that this third option will eventually make it into our bedroom curtains. You can catch a tiny glimpse of this fabric if you scroll back to the top picture of the Waverly Modern Essentials - the fabric we like is the one to the far left in this picture. IT's much more floral than I ever thought Jarrod would go for, but he says it looks Asian and he likes that. :-)

I was thinking we'd copy the nursery wall art and go for round fabric in embroydery hoops. I was thinking something inexpensive to fill the space above the dresser.
 When I told Jarrod about it he wasn't thrilled. I told him to think about it and let me know what he came up with. I threw out some other ideas - scrapbook paper in frames or on canvases, mirrors, etc. It's a large space because of the tall ceilings and we definitely want to do something cost effective. One night Jarrod said he'd be interested in doing a photo collage with different sized frames in the same finish - grey, nickle, distressed wood, etc. with nature prints inside. I have some really pretty ones from different places we've traveled so I threw this together:

Of course these will look different in person, but I love the idea! The peaceful prints will remind us of the different places we've traveled and bring some nature inside.We looked at some frames at Target this week as well. I like the idea of brushed nickle frames of varying sizes. Jarrod likes white, which I'm not opposed to either. I think all white frames with one or two colored frames (like one of these!)

It's still definitely a work-in-progress. We have some furniture we're in search of in addition to these projects as well. But that will be a little while as the first piece of furniture we'll add to this room is a pack 'n play for the baby!

I imagine it'll be 6 months or more before we get things really looking good in here, but we're definitely on a roll! What are your thoughts?
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turkey and Bean Chili

I have waited a long time for it to get cool enough for chilis, soups, and stews. I don't know if it's quite cool enough to really warrant such a hot meal, but I was tired of waiting and this chili looks delicious!

Turkey and Bean Chili
via Eat Live Run
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups white onion, diced - I omitted this because we ran out of onions...
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 serrano chili pepper, minced - I omitted this as well because chilis scare me...
1 jalapeno pepper, minced - same as above
1 pound ground turkey meat
2 tablespoons chili powder (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup beer of your choice
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper
Leanne additions: 
A dash of taco seasoning
frozen corn

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. I used a large stock pot. Jarrod's still vying for a large dutch oven that is oven safe. Cook the onions and bell peppers until softened—about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, serrano pepper, jalapeno pepper and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the turkey and cook and break up the meat. Continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink—about another 5 minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne---stir and cook for an additional minute. I also threw in some taco seasoning just for fun at this stage. Stir in the tomato paste and then add in the diced tomatoes with its juices. Gently stir in the beer and beans and bring the mixture up to a slow boil. I added the salsa and frozen corn here. I added these two ingredients because we had extra and I thought it would make the chili better. The salsa definitely did and I love corn in about everything, so that was a winner too.

Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the chili partially covered, for about 30 minutes. Stir the chili every 10 minutes or so as it slowly thickens. Once it reaches your desired consistency, taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.

This was absolutely delicious. The beer we used had really great flavor. (Don't worry, the alcohol cooked out!) Don't tell Jarrod's dad, but Jarrod said this chili could be better than his dad's! I'll take that as a huge compliment - especially because it was ground turkey and not beef! This would be delicious served with sour cream, cheese, and corn muffins. I love corn muffins and miss them more than anything else since Jarrod is gluten intolerant. We haven't explored gluten free corn muffins, but I'm about ready to do that!
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People ask me all day long how I am feeling. They normally expect a response more than my typical, "Fine! Great!" I assume this is because women as pregnant as I am becoming are not typically "fine!" and "great!" While I definitely cannot complain, feelings of "fine" and "great" aren't nearly as common as they were in the second trimester. Now the word that I would use to describe my mood most of the time is "fatigue."

I'm not tired exactly. I'm still sleeping fairly well. I'm resting as well as I can during the daytime hours and I'm trying not to overdo it. I'm still walking and eating well - I feel good. And still, I am exhausted. I can't get comfortable. My ribs are sore. I have a general "yucky" feeling sometimes - mostly in the evenings. My poor husband gets the brunt of most of this because it is towards the end of the day when I really feel uncomfortable.

It is definitely worth it - I know that - but right now I am struggling with the bad attitude that comes with being uncomfortable and just generally exhausted. And believe me, I know this feeling will continue through the end of this trimester and beyond! At least now I don't have a little one to care for in the middle of the night!

While I'm doing everything I can to rest when I can, we have had some very big and busy events in our life the past few days! We had two different groups of people at our house last weekend for dinner - the Johnston clan on Friday night and our young adult group from church on Saturday night. It was so awesome to have our home full of laughter and fun two nights in a row.

I also preached a sermon at a church in our area on Sunday morning. It was awesome to be with a new congregation and delightful to meet new people. I think things went really well - I felt good about the message and was really excited to be asked to be there. But definitely exhausting! I don't know how pastors do that every week!

Now we're gearing up for house guests on Friday - Courtney and Aunt Pam are coming in to town for my baby shower! I'm so thrilled to see them and cannot wait for the shower. I'm so thankful for my dear friends who helped put everything together and know that it will be a blast. We're making sure the house is acceptable for house guests - Lucy is even going to get a bath!

Life won't slow down for a little while - I am packing in a lot of meetings at work, weekends, evenings, travel, etc. throughout November so that I can take it easier in December. And of course in 2 weeks I'll be walking 60 miles (or not) in the DFW 3-day for the Cure! I'm really excited about all the events we have on the calendar for the next 6 weeks or so. We're both booked pretty solid until December 10th - that's the last non-negotiable meeting on my calendar. Between now and then, we're booked solid, weekends and everything! After that, I'll be nesting, relaxing, and waddling! Note: Of course I know that EVERYTHING is negotiable when baby is concerned. 

Writing it all down like this and examining my calendar day by day makes fatigue seem like a very reasonable feeling! However, even at my most overwhelmed times, I am overcome with joy. We are so blessed. I often look at Jarrod and say, "We have the best life." We do. We are busy, but have work we love. We are tired, but have a warm bed to sleep in. We are overwhelmed but have people who love us. I am fatigued, but life is so good.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stacked Enchiladas

This recipe looks a lot like tacozagna but we love that and figured we'd love this as well! The flavors are similar, but with the enchilada sauce, it's definitely different. I wasn't sure if Jarrod was going to go for it without meat, but he's actually gotten a lot more adventurous about trying meatless dinners lately.

Because my husband cannot have a meal that doesn't have meat in it, I added ground turkey meat seasoned with taco seasoning. I also omitted the yellow squash and used frozen black beans rather than canned. 

Stacked Enchiladas
adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

1 large red pepper, chopped, seeds removed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (I used frozen from a large crockpot batch)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups red enchilada sauce
12 small corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound of ground turkey, seasoned with taco seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place red pepper, zucchini  and onion on a large baking sheet or 9x13" casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 30-40 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool to room temperature.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Either grease a 9x13" pan and set aside (I used the same casserole pan for the roasted veggies to save on dishes) or remove the veggies and grease that pan. In a medium bowl, combine roasted vegetables, black beans, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir and season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortillas, to completely cover the bottom of the pan. You might have to cut the tortillas to make them fit. Top with 1/3 of the vegetable/bean mixture and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Top with a layer of tortillas, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the pan. I didn't worry much about the layers - I just layered until I didn't have stuff left. :-)
Bake enchiladas for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are bubbling. Remove enchiladas from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

This is delicious, especially if you like enchilada sauce. I am not a huge fan, but Jarrod has LOVED this. He NEVER eats veggies like this so that's definitely saying something. I don't think that he would have been as excited about them without the meat in it. :-)

The nutrition facts are for one serving with the entire casserole producing 8 servings. Sometimes we get more than 8.
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