Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

The holidays are now in full swing. Thanksgiving is a recent memory and Christmas is just around the corner. Lots of over indulging and validation of said over indulging cause it's the holidays! I am all for that, trust me; however this year I'm trying to take advantage of the days in between celebrations to make up for the over indulging (as much as possible)

If you're in the same boat as me or just want to try a new recipe, here's one for you: Stuffed Bell Peppers with Mexican rice. I made them vegetarian using Yves veggie meat (don't knock 'til you try it, actually really good and SO EASY) but you could also use ground beef or turkey (cause it's the holidays!). The Mexican rice I made along with this batch of stuffed peppers really is easy peasy. In fact, I will never buy boxed Mexican rice again because I think this turned out better. 

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers - the bigger, the better for stuffing
1 package Yves ground veggie meat
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Cheese, grated (i used cheddar)
1 carrot, grated
1 small bunch broccoli, chopped finely
2 green onions, chopped finely
Spices (a dash of each: garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper)
Olive oil 
Veggie broth (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut tops off of bell peppers. Scoop out insides of pepper and rinse out seeds. Chop up any edible part of the tops of peppers and add to mixture below.
Pour 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add carrot, onions, broccoli and any edible bell pepper tops. Add some veggie broth or a little water. 
Add spices and cook veggies until a bit tender.
Add veggie meat and black beans to vegetables mix and stir. Keep in pan until warm.

In a glass dish, lightly oiled, put bell peppers standing up. 
Sprinkle a little cheese into the bottom of the pepper. Spoon some veggie mixture and push down into pepper then sprinkle with some grated cheese. Repeat until pepper is full. 
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until peppers are soft. Turn off oven and put reaming cheese on the top of the pepper. Leave in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Easy Peasy Mexican Rice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, uncooked
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup chunky salsa
Heat oil in a medium or large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix rice into pot and stir until it begins to brown. Stir in chicken broth and salsa. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.

ecipe found here courtesy of the Dish on Delish.


1,032 miles

 Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend we drove 1,032 miles round trip. Not quite the over the river and through the woods kind of holiday for usAlthough we spent quite a bit of time in the car, we had a fabulous trip! We saw a lot of places, spent quality time with family and friends and ate (too much!) good food. 

Here are a few of the highlights along the way: 
- We met the Kruegers for dinner in Glendale (off Colorado St. coincidence? i think not!). Even if it's only an hour and a half, it's always a treat to see C&T!

- Spent Thanksgiving in Surf City USA (aka Huntington Beach, CA)
We watched football, ate delicious food (garlic mashed potatoes and apple pie were my favs), walked off our dinner on the beach, watched Elf and the Taylor Swift special. An all around GREAT Thanksgiving!
 Geraldine & I 

Walk on the beach with the fam: Aunt Christina, me, Aunt Melissa and Uncle Eddie
Buddy  is thankful for the dog beach,
stylish jackets and his tennis ball.

- We spent our Black Friday eating lunch at the Crab Cooker, walking along Newport Beach and the Pier and driving down the coast to Crystal Cove and Laguna Beach. My aunt told us a story about one of the Real Housewives of OC and then we literally walked right by her in Laguna, OMG!

Welcome to the Crab Cooker - an Evans family favorite

Sunset in Laguna Beach
Pretty wreaths on the life guard station (complete with sea shells, of course)

Greetings from Laguna Beach!

- On Saturday we headed to Santa Monica to meet B's college friend to watch the Iowa game. Lucky for me, the bar was on the SM Promenade so I window shopped while the guys watched football. 

- In the evening we headed to Chino Hills to visit B's childhood friend who is currently in med school. I got to eat my favorite salad (and several rolls!) at Wood Ranch. Low key night, but so nice to finally meet a friend I've heard so much about.  

- We woke up Sunday morning to SNOW on the mountains. Rain from the the night before made for a beautiful clear day for our drive. The LA area is gorgeous sans smog!

Gorgeous! Lisa Kay, do you recognize this view? :) 
- As we started our journey back to NorCal, we drove down Hollywood Blvd and saw the stars on the sidewalk and the Kodak Theater, something I've wanted to see forever. We also made a stop in Calabasas for brunch with the Wiedners. It was so nice to see Ris + baby bump and Eric too. It had been far too long since we'd seen them last. It seems every time I meet up with Ris in the LA area we see a celebrity (Eric says she has celebrity recognition in her DNA, probably true). Sure enough we saw Leann Rimes! 

- Our last stops on the way home were Santa Barbara and Paso Robles where we had a snack and sampled the beer at the Firestone Walker Brewery! One of B's favorite, so I'm glad we finely made it there. 

Now it's back to reality, which includes work and lots of holiday crafting! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

i am FULL of thanks.

i am FULL of thanks. what are you thankful for?

Wishing you a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving

and a Happy Birthday to the biggest turkey of all, my Dad!
Speaking of TURKEY, how cute/funny is this hat?
{Turkey Lurkey hat found here on Etsy}

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am thankful for Brian.

i am thankful for Brian. his sense of humor, love of the outdoors, sense of adventure, work ethic, knowledge of football, insurance and electronics (especially thankful for the last two) and doesn't take himself too seriously... just a few of the things i love most.

i am
 thankful for all the great new music he brings to my life. i always thought i had good taste in music. what i didn't realize was that it was all pretty similar (lots of one man bands). i'm thankful for the variety now in heavy rotation on my ipod.

i am thankful for his frugality financial knowledge and understanding. we balance each other out. i'm learning to save more, he's learning to spend just a little more

i am thankful for homemade lattes courtesy of barista Brian, especially in a Denver mug!

Today we're hittin' the road in route to Southern California for Thanksgiving. We'll be spending turkey day with my mom's family in the OC!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

i am thankful for creativity.

i am thankful for creativity. for me it comes in a variety of forms - crafting, cooking, planning parties, music, pictures, blogging - and i thrive on it.

i am thankful for creative collaboration. let's be honest, even martha stewart has a team of people helping her accomplish projects. i love being able to bounce ideas off others (and vice versa) to make a project or craft that much better.

i am thankful for creative inspiration from my dear friends and complete strangers (thank you blogosphere!). i am also thankful for sweet comments and encouragement.

i am thankful for stores like paper source that just ooze with ideas and resources. you can't help but do something creative everyday if you're in that store.

i am thankful for organization. i could not stay sane or be creative without organization in my life.

i am thankful for holidays that give me extra inspiration me to make fun new things, like these pumpkin placecards for Thanksgiving. These were inspired by this and this


Monday, November 22, 2010

I am thankful for family & friends.

 Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  ~ Marcel Proust

i am thankful for my loving family

i am thankful for growing up in a house where i had to do chores, didn't have sugar cereal, was put on skis as soon as i could walk and always had at least one pet in our family

i am thankful to have inherited nice handwriting, thick hair, sense of humor, positive outlook on life and a strong work ethic

i am thankful to have an older brother who protected me from intimidated mean boys on the playground at south lakewood elem, would rollerblade to c+c music factory with me, and is now a fabulous professional (and my personal) mechanic. 

i am thankful, and proud, to be the third generation of my family to graduate from the University of Colorado. we are a family of buffaloes (fans, that is). 

i am thankful for so many amazing friendships

i am thankful for the inspiration, humor, encouragement, motivation, and love you all bring to my life.

i am thankful for all the memories we've made and look forward to many more.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

i am thankful for good health.

i am thankful to be healthy. I rarely get sick and tend to bounce back quickly when I do.

i am thankful for a body that allows me to run, walk, hike, lift weights, do yoga and more.

i am thankful for a gym that offers classes to help me stay motivated to workout. 

i am thankful to be surround by people who maintain a healthy lifestyle.
i am thankful for laughter. It truly is the best medicine. 

i am thankful for a healthy mind. I choose to be optimistic. I offer loving-kindness to myself and others.

i am thankful for access to high quality health care.

i am thankful to work for an organization that is committed to good health for all.
{image via}

Friday, November 19, 2010

i am thankful for home.

{image via vol 25}
i am thankful to have a place to call home, where I am safe, warm and completely comfortable.

i am 
thankful to have a home to decorate, keep tidy, make messes and entertain

i am 
thankful to share a home with B

i am thankful i've had the opportunity to live with my family, in a house with 60+ girls, with best friends, with strangers 
(who were a little crazy) and all by myself. I will never regret not trying any of the options.

i am
thankful i moved to California. it has been a good home away from home.

i am
 thankful to call Colorado my true homei am lucky i was born and raised in a great place. some day it will my permanent home again.
{image via qadesign}

Thursday, November 18, 2010

i am thankful

Be thankful for what you have and you will end up having more. But if you concentrate on what you don't have, you'll never, ever have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to take some time to jot down what I am thankful for. Over the next few days I plan to share them here on the whole enchelleada.

{i am thankful notecards from Paper Source}

Here are a few idea for sharing what you're thankful for at your 
Thanksgiving dinner this year:
Thankful notecards (above)

Want to keep track every day?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I think I'm on a soup kick. Here's why:
a) in the last few weeks I've made lentil soup, chicken taco soup and now roasted butternut squash soup b) the last few times I've gone through my recipes I am drawn to the soups c) it is Fall now (even in California) and nothing feels more cozy than a warm bowl of soup d) I've realized how easy it is to make your own soup, so that gives me even more motivation e) I've been known to go on 'kicks' before, like adding quinoa and couscous to many meals.

Kaci mentioned recently that she made butternut squash soup. I was intrigued and finally decided to make my own this weekend! I was especially drawn to this particular recipe because it's dairy free (hooray). I was happy with the result and would recommend serving with a salad or some form of protein (like your thanksgiving turkey!)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 (2.5 pound) butternut squash
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
6 cups vegetable stock (I used store bought, low sodium version. feeling more ambitious? make your own)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender. Cool. Discard peel; mash pulp.
3. Heat Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add squash, vegetable broth and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
4. In small batches, place vegetable mixture in a blender (I used my magic bullet*). Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure twice with remaining squash mixed. Return pureed mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. 

The original recipe suggested adding parsley and honey into each bowl of soup. I didn't add the parsley but we did try honey. It may sounds strange but it was a delicious addition!


* Since steam cannot escape from Magic Bullet, I blended small batches for 60 seconds or less. I also used a dish towel to handle the bullet so I didn't burn my hands. It worked perfectly! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Bunting Banner

Over the weekend one of my college friends,  a soon-to-be mama, was in San Francisco with her hubby. They are expecting their first baby, Georgia Leigh, on January 22. Since this was the last time we will see them before the big day, a few of us went in on a gift for them. In addition to this adorable owl and a few classic children's books, I made them a baby bunting banner (say that three times fast!).

 I was inspired to make this by none other than the Inspired Honey Bee who made a similar banner for her besties' baby showerWhile I'm still not 100% sure what to call these cute banners (bunting banner? pennant banner? flag banner?), I settled on bunting banner because when you say baby bunting banner you can't help but smile.

Wanting to make the banner bright, colorful and girly, I settled on the pack of paper called Greehouse by K&Company. Not only is the paper really cute, it's also double sided with a large pattern on one side and a smaller coordinated pattern on the back. 

Using the Cricut, I cut 4.5 inch circles from 6 different patterns of paper. Using the same 6 patterns, I free hand cut 12 flags. I then used the Cricut  and plain card stock to cut out 4 inch letters to spell 'Georgia Leigh' in white and a shadow in brown. Since the banner paper was so bright, I knew a shadow on the letters would help them stand out better.

Once I had everything cut out, I layed out all the flags plus their corresponding circle to make sure I had them in the best order (don't want flags of the same color/patternright next to each other!). Then I got busy gluing all the pieces together.

After they all dried I folded the top of the flag back to create a small flap. Using these flaps and a small piece of clear tape, I attached the flags to a long piece of hemp cord.

Once the banner was complete - photo shoot and all - I accordion folded the flags with the hope of keeping the letters in order and the strings tangle-free.

I had tons of scrap paper left over, so I made this card to go along with the gift.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Succulent Success

 Two months ago, during my September Creative Challenge, I took the plunge and planted my first succulents. After not doing so well with an herb garden, I was cautiously optimistic.

I'm happy to report succulent success! Not only are they still alive, they are growing...a lot. In true proud parent fashion, I present to you then and now photos:



 It's the little things in life, right? Hooray!

Share the love

Last week I shared the print I purchased for B (here), you make my heart go BOOM, by Vol 25. When I received the print in the mail I was so excited to find some extra cards in the package. It was completely unexpected but greatly appreciated! I decided the perfect thing to do with my extra prints was to make them into cards, and share the love by mailing them to others.

I turned this business card into a housewarming card. The print is cute on it's own, but a little too small to stand alone. With gray card stock, yellow patterned paper and some oyster gray twine, it's a perfectly warm greeting card.

I really like this print. The art work, colors and quote are fabulous. Not wanting to take away from that, I simply glued it to card stock and now it's an encouraging card!
Last but not least are these postcards. I contemplated making them into cards, but actually really loved the simplicity of the postcard. My grandma, Geraldine,  used to type all of her letters, so when I saw these that's who I immediately thought of her. I sent one to her and one to my other grandma.

I love to shop Etsy knowing I'm supporting a small business. The little extras that come along with a purchase makes it even sweeter!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting creative with Hemp

Just because CA Proposition 19 was defeated doesn't mean we can still enjoy a little hemp in our lives. Whether you enjoy it in your cereal bowl, with a snack or all wound up for crafting, I fully support it. 

As I've mentioned a few times, I LOVE my Divine Twine. There are certain times though that a more neutral twine just looks better (no offense DT). Not to mention hemp cord is much cheaper! Here are a few things I put together this week using hemp cord.

I made this thank you card out of my Paper Source wall calendar + a thank you stamp and a little hemp cord. 

It was perfect for tying up this green care package, which included a reusable shopping bag, granola bars and card (also from Paper Source Wall Calendar).

Here is a birthday card I made a while back using hemp. I'm currently working on another larger banner and will be using the cord to string it up. Will be sharing that fun project later!

Not trying to peer pressure you into anything, but if you're looking for a versatile and affordable twine for craft and projects, I highly recommend hemp cord! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Fabric Wreath

With autumn now in full swing I’ve seen loads of cute, festive wreaths on neighborhood doors and all over the blog-o-sphere. While I don’t know if I trust putting one outside our front door (we do live in Oakland, you know), I really want to make one to display somewhere our the apartment. I even made it a goal before the end of 2010

I love fall colors. So much so that I literally gasp when I see a tree decked out in it's best fall colors. B claims that I will go into sensory overload if I ever go to the East coast in the Fall (true that). However, I wasn't sure I wanted to go the silk leaf route with my wreath. Maybe just incorporate the beautiful colors. 

When I saw this wreath + tutorial by one of my favorite bloggers, Elise, I knew that's exactly what I wanted to make!  Using a hanger, fabric and ribbons I made this lovely fall wreath: 

The hardest part of making this wreath was picking out the fabrics - so many awesome fabrics to choose from. After going to three different stores, I settled on these fabrics and ribbons. While I realize there are no purple or pink fall leaves, I liked the way they complimented the others colors much better than red. 

I cut all the strips of fabric and ribbon 7 inches long. I measured the width of the fabric using the width of the ruler. I cut 20-25 strips of each color. Once all my pieces were cut and organized, I got to tying. 

Here is the wreath 20 minutes later, before I twisted the knots so that the wreath had more dimension. To complete, I added the orange polka dot ribbon to be able to hang the wreath.

And here's what happens to your black pants while you're tying all that fabric. It looks like I was attacked by a large, colorful cat. 

The fall wreath is now happily hanging in our hallway. I love how it turned out and the splash of fall its added to our apartment! 

Chicken Taco Soup

Have I told you about chicken taco soup? If I haven't, I'm shocked. It's my newest favorite soup - delicious, hearty and so, so easy. 

I made a big batch on Sunday and invited over a few friends for a "family dinner". About an hour after I'd put all the ingredients in the Crock Pot, our power went out. We quickly realized it wasn't just a blown fuse, but a power outage on the whole block. My first thought was GREAT no excuse or distractions while I clean. Second thought: oh crap, the Crock Pot! Thankfully a clever friend reminded me that we have a gas stove and can cook even during a power outage! Hooray. The soup turned out just as good on the stove top. Given the choice, I'd still use the ol' Crock Pot. 

So without further ado, I give you Chicken Taco Soup that can be made in the Crock Pot or on your stove top. Make it for yourself and have meals for days to come. Or make a batch and invite over friends and ask them to bring toppings (or corn bread and to.die.for. nutella brownies, like Rachel).

Chicken Taco Soup
2 15oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz corn (frozen or canned, drained and rinsed)
16 oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
15 oz chicken stock
1 small onion, diced
1 package taco seasoning
2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts (I say the more the merrier)

Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, corn bread, sliced olives, cilantro

Directions: Place the first 7 ingredients in the slow cooker and mix well. Place chicken breasts on top of the ingredients and cover the slow cooker. Cook on high 4-5 hours, or low 8-10 hours. Remove the chicken and cool on a cutting board while you prepare the toppings. Once chicken is cool, shred and mix back into the soup.

Enjoy for dinner (2 bowls is totally acceptable) AND lunch the next day. Yep, it's that good. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

To the moon

Last week I received some sad news. My Dad's beloved dog Rocky passed away. 
When I visited at Thanksgiving last year I realized Rocky was getting old. His legs were a little shaky and hearing was on the outs. I wrote about it here

 While everyone was devastated to see him go, it was his time. I hope Rocky made it to the moon, but wherever he landed may he rest in peace. He was a good dog, so he deserves the best!

On Thursday I was at a local book store and the owner had his two pet Samoyeds in the store. They were a lot bigger than Rocky or Schnee (my childhood dog), but it was fun to see them and reminisce. There is something about those black noses and all that fluffy white fur that I just love. 

Halloween 2010

Q: What do you get when you cross a Jellyfish and a Chilean Miner? 

1. A really bad joke.
2. Our Halloween costumes.
3. All of the above.
Halloween 2010: Jellyfish and Chilean Miner
A: All of the above! 

We had a fun, low key Halloween: watched the Giants game, dinner with the Tabers and wandered to a few bars in our costumes. My feeling with Halloween and New Years Eve is less hype always means a more fun evening. Not be to Debbie Downer, but too much time, energy and anticipation can lead to disappointment. I was happy we'd made our costumes: pretty simple, creative and definitely did not disappoint! We also managed to spend less than $50 (which was my goal) - double bonus!!

 Here's how we put the costumes together...
  As mentioned here, I found this costume idea on Martha Stewart's Halloween Central. To begin, I printed these instructions as my guide. I knew I wanted to make it a little more colorful so rather than using iridescent cellophane, I went with purple. I also used packing tape rather than hot glue, in an effort to possibly reuse the costume and/or clear umbrella (I didn't want to melt any holes).

When making the costume I was honestly a little nervous that it was turning out to be a cheesy homemade costume. In the end I was happy with the outcome and received quite a few compliments. For the price and final product, I give this costume two thumbs up! If you are going to a bar or crowded party, keep in mind an open umbrella with tentacles is large and may annoy some. After a few comments I carried the umbrella over my head but slightly closed (as seen in top photo with B).

I you decide to make this costume, here are the materials I used:
- Clear umbrella (Nordstrom Rack, $16)
 - Small and Large Bubble Wrap (CVS Pharmacy, $10 - they were BOGO!)
- Purple cellophane and curling ribbon (Michael's, $8)
- Clear packing tape

B's costume was inspired by the rescue of the Chilean Miners. After a little internet research, the costume was born. All of the items he already owned, except the $8 hard hat (Ace hardware)

To make the costume he found an old pair of jeans and white t-shirt. With a new piece of BBQ charcoal (thank you neighbors) he created his "just crawled out of a mine" look. After not shaving for a few days, and a little mascara he had the scruffy face. The large Blublocker sunglasses were from an old costume. Headlamp from our camping gear was added to the hardhat. To complete the costume, he chanted "Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le" while out and about. It was a hit!

These two are off to the costume box in our storage unit...until next time.