November 29, 2015

Turkey and Pumpkin Chili

I've had my house decorated for Christmas since the first week in November.  If you think I'm crazy, that's okay - so do my friends and family.  I've just been so excited to spend our first Christmas in our new house!  I did exercise some restraint by not plugging in my outdoor lights until after Thanksgiving.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally let my inner Christmas freak out!  It's been amazing experiencing all of these "firsts" in our new home.  We have so much to be thankful for.  

After our Thanksgiving feast, we had a good amount of leftover turkey.  While I do enjoy a cold turkey sandwich, I'm always excited to come up with new ways to use it.  After cleaning out our gutters (one of the not-so-fun "firsts") yesterday in the cold, I found myself craving a hot bowl of chili.  I decided to use the turkey in the chili and add some pumpkin and sage.  It was so good!  The pumpkin and sage added a delicious depth of flavor.

Yields 6 -8 servings

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c onion, diced 
  • 2 celery ribs, diced 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder 
  • 2 tbsp chili powder 
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely minced 
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 c turkey or chicken broth 
  • 2 c pumpkin puree 
  • 1 can kidney beans, undrained 
  • 1 can chili beans, undrained 
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, to taste 
  • 4 c cooked turkey, chopped 


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, and jalapeno pepper to the pot.  Cook until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute longer.  Pour the remaining ingredients in the pot, and stir well to combine.

Once the chili comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low.  Simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 


October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Almonds

These granola bars are a much better alternative to the processed stuff in a box.  They're easy to make, delightfully chewy, and seriously delicious.  My daughter goes nuts over them, and I frequently catch her sneaking into the kitchen to get "just one more bite".   

September 27, 2015

Peach Crumb Bars

February 22, 2010 is a very special date to me.  That was the day that I began my journey in food blogging.  I devoted every spare moment that I had to creating new recipes, styling the food for pictures, photographing them, and writing about them.  

Fast forward to present day, 5 years later.  After years of saving and living as frugally as we could, we finally did it -- we bought our dream house!  We also now have some land, and I can finally garden in my own backyard.  (The garden that I've written about countless times is one that we share with dear friends and family at a different location.)  Most of my free time now has been spent gardening, harvesting, and preserving.  I have some shelving in my basement where I store all of my canned foods, and I have a pretty nice collection so far.  My husband suggested that I start a section on my blog for canning.  Harvest is nearing an end, so maybe next year!  

I have about 15 quart jars of peaches hanging out in my basement.  It's been quite a while since I've blogged any dessert recipes, so I decided to use some of my canned peaches to make peach crumb bars as a treat over weekend.  These are delicious!  They're like a perfect mix of peach cobbler and peach pie.  My husband and I enjoy them warm, but my little sous chef likes them better cold.  However you eat it, try your best to score a corner piece!   

August 12, 2015

Our Favorite Skillet Beef and Broccoli

Looking for a go-to, restaurant-quality, never-ordering-take-out-again beef and broccoli recipe?  This is it!  No wok required.  It's seriously delicious, super easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes (including marinating time!), and much healthier than take-out. 

Choosing the beef:  Flat iron steak may be more expensive, but is the best choice for this dish because it's more tender.  Skirt (or flank) steak works well, too, but it won't be quite as tender.  Whichever beef you choose, know that they are best when thinly sliced against the grain and cooked quickly to medium-rare.  Cooking beyond medium will cause the steak to be tough.  

Note:  Because my family prefers their broccoli soft, I blanch it ahead of time (while the steak is marinating).

August 10, 2015

Roasted Garden Vegetable & Sausage Ratatouille

When we bought our new house in the end of May, I knew that time was of the essence, so I hurriedly planted a vegetable garden.  I also started a compost pile, which is finally turning into beautiful, rich soil.  Other than dealing with Canada thistles (help!), we have naturally healthy, rock-free soil here.  I can't wait to see how well my garden does when I add compost to it!  If your garden is bursting at the seams like mine is, this is a delicious and healthy way to use up those summer veggies.  Sausage and a splash sherry add beautiful depth of flavor to this ratatouille.  Because I didn't have time to start bell pepper seeds indoors, I sadly went without them this year.  If you have them, thinly sliced bell pepper is a tasty addition to this dish.  

July 30, 2015

Shrimp, Snow Peas & Mushrooms over Jasmine Rice

It's been two months already since we've moved into our new home.  Because of the timing of our settlement date, I got a little bit of a late start with my new garden.  I'm just now beginning to harvest zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, etc.  Better late than never!  I had the exciting discovery of black cherry trees and a Chester Thornless Black Raspberry bush in my backyard last month.  The black cherries are done for the year, but I'm still getting a ton of blackberries.  Maybe jams and jellies will be on the menu soon!  I also have an overabundance of snow peas. While my little sous chef and I have generally been enjoying them raw, I decided to use them in dinner last night.  I don't know why we don't eat snow peas more often.  They're one of my favorite veggies!  My husband and daughter raved over this dish.  It's so full of flavor.  

On a different note, we got the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Active a few weeks ago.  I love so many things about it, but my favorite thing is the camera -- it takes amazing photos!  For the very first time, I decided to use a phone camera for blogging.  Not bad, right?! 

June 17, 2015

Hasselback Chicken Cordon Bleu

Since we're still in the process of getting established in our new home, I've been sticking to quick-and-easy meals for dinner.  Hasselback chicken is a concept that I came up with after getting very frustrated with all the butterflying, pounding, rolling, stuffing, and fastening of chicken breasts for stuffed chicken.  It's seriously easy to make.  My favorite thing about it is that you can easily control the chicken-to-other-ingredients ratio.  The first time I tried it, I made a Cajun chicken with pepper jack cheese and spinach, and it was amazing.  Check it out here.  This time, I had some leftover deli ham that I had to use up, so I decided to make a Cordon bleu.  The results?  My family raved over it. 

Speaking of our new home, we're making progress!  Unpacking has had its ups and downs, but we've been getting through it at a pretty steady pace.  Just 37 a few more boxes to go through in the basement, and we'll be all settled in!  Along with a new house comes the excitement of exploring new local destinations.  I have 4 grocery stores (that I'm aware of so far) within 1 mile of my house, which will make it much easier for me to shop sales.  I also still haven't had the time to set up a food blogging station, so, once again, these photos were taken at my bay window.

June 10, 2015

Quinoa & Chicken Fried "Rice" -- and the reason for my hiatus

What's with my two-and-a-half month hiatus from food blogging?  I've had a very good reason.  We just bought and moved into a new house!  I'm surprised at how quickly this place has felt like home to us.  It is taking me some time, however, to adjust to a new kitchen.  I still haven't had time to set up a food blogging station at my new house, so I ended up taking this photo on the windowsill of my bay window.  Not too bad!  I'm so happy that I can finally food blog again.  I've missed it! 

Even though we're settled in, there are still boxes that haven't been unpacked yet.  Last night, we were craving Chinese food for dinner, so I started gathering ingredients to make fried rice.  I couldn't find my rice anywhere, so I decided to use quinoa instead.  I love how quinoa takes on the flavor of whatever ingredients you cook with it.  Easy to make, delicious and healthy! 

March 29, 2015

Skinny Tuscan Chicken over Summer Squash "Noodles"

Unseasonably cold weather got you down?  This lightened-up Tuscan chicken is sure to incite thoughts of spring!  It's light, healthy, and full of flavor but without all the carbs.  Boiled summer squash is used in place of pasta and paired with a delicious, creamy, veggie-packed topping spooned over juicy, herbed chicken. 

March 25, 2015

Baked Sweet & Spicy Cajun Chicken Drumsticks

Let's not talk about how long it's been since I've shared a recipe.  The wheels in the kitchen have certainly been turning, but my motivation wheels for blogging... not so much.  Don't get me wrong, food blogging is one of my biggest passions.  It's just that I've been spread so thin with lots of "things" over the past few months.  I'm not complaining, though.  I wouldn't change a thing about the life that God has blessed me with. 

Now on to the food - my favorite part!  I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this cold weather!  Uncle!  I've recently been craving picnic foods like potato salad, corn on the cob, drumsticks, etc.  Since it's not quite grilling season yet, I decided to bake some drumsticks in a delicious honey and Cajun seasoning sauce.  You have to try these!  They're juicy, sweet, spicy, Cajun-y (yes, I made that word up), sticky, and they fall right off the bone! 

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