Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Crock-Pot Black Bean Soup

Good morning! Did you enjoy your weekend? Mine was great. Mainly because I achieved a "personal best" of walking 20 Miles, well, actually 22.1 miles in one day, tracking  on my Fitbit. Although it was a less than optimal weather day, with 40 miles an hour wind gusts, rain, down pours and walking at the ocean with sand pelting me at certain points, it was a great time walking with my husband at the end of the day and achieving our goal.

Even better, this scrumptious Crock Pot Black Bean Soup was waiting to welcome us home. This soup is so easy, the hardest part is remembering to soak the beans the night before, you basically put everything in the Crock-pot and turn it on.




Black Bean Soup
16oz. Package dried black beans
3 quarts  chicken stock
6 garlic cloves minced
1/2  medium onion
1/2 green pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
11/2 tsp. sugar
1tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes

Rinse and sort beans according to directions on package, soak beans in water to cover in a large bowl for 8 hrs or overnight. Then rinse and drain beans.

Place beans and chicken stock in a crock-pot on high for 3 hours.

Process green pepper and onion in food processor or blender until smooth, scrape down the sides.
Sauté garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 1 minute, then add onion, green pepper mixture and cook for 4 minutes. Stir constantly.

Add onion mixture to beans, the add sugar, oregano, salt, salt and pepper. And tomatoes. Cook and additional 3 hours.




Are you a Crock-pot fan? What do you make? 

How was your weekend? Did you travel, take an adventure or settle in and relax? Did you read something interesting, watch a great movie, make something delicious? Do tell! What were you up to?

I hope that you have a wonderful, successful week!




P.S: If you are looking for something sweet and chocolate to eat, pop over to Once Upon a Chocolate Life and try out these scrumptious brownies. 

linking to:
Coastal Charms

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Friday Favorites from Mark Bittman, 5th & State, Better Homes and Gardens and More!

Good morning! Happy Fall and happy Friday! I hope that your week has been great and that you have been enjoying the beautiful weather. 

I have had a busy week am looking forward to a lazy weekend.  It's funny there are so many people who love to be busy, busy, but I prefer to be at home nesting and relaxing. I will be going just that this weekend. What about you?


Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times via NY Times

Cool weather, and early days call for a comfort meal. This easy Roast Chicken with Honey and Orange from Mark Bittman of the NY Times looks like an excellent Saturday meal. 


Chipolte, Chirzio, Bean Dip

Or how about this scrumptious Chipolte, Chorizo and Bean Dip? This would be a great dip to serve on game days.
Fall is the perfect time to change out your container gardens and who better than to get beautiful  examples from than Debra from 5th and State! Debra designs beautiful containers, gardens, and more. If you are in the St. Charles, Illinois area or Chicago, visit Debra at her stores and if not check out her great blog 5th and State


Great news! Adele is releasing a new album in November! I cannot wait. 

I love advice, especially from elderly women who have lots of experience with life. This video is great, not only showcasing these beautiful ladies as well as their advice. 


What did you dissever this week, any great movies, books, links? If so, please share. I love discovering new things and am always looking for a new book, or movie or blog. 

Have a safe and happy weekend!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall Bucket List






Good morning and Happy Fall to you! Today is officially the first day of Fall and by the way it ends on December 21, so there is not much time to get out and enjoy it. Fall is my favorite time of the year, as it is for many, so I like to make a "bucket list" or a "wish list" of all of the things I want to do, see, make or enjoy. What about you?





This year here are my Top 20 things that I want to do, in no order, this Fall.

1. Savor the first cool, crisp, day. 

2. Watch the geese fly South for the winter.

3. Attend a Fall festival.

4. Build a bon fire, or at least sit at the outdoor fireplace. 

5. Take a road trip to see the changing leaves.





6. Make and eat some homemade caramel apples.

7. Visit the pumpkin farm. 

8. Eat some pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and anything else made with pumpkin.

9. Pick apples.

Apple Pie


10.  Make an apple pie.

11. Go for a hike. 

12. Collect some pine cones, acorns and fallen leaves.

13. Go to a football game.

14. Tailgate.

Chili

15. Host a chili night.

16. Make homemade donuts.





17. Enjoy a cup of cocoa or mulled cider by the fire. 

18. Go on a picnic.

19. Take a hayride. 

20. Give thanks.


What about you? What do you feel like doing, seeing or making this Fall? Whatever it is, I hope that you take some time to slow down and enjoy Fall!

Have a great day!


Linking to:
Coastal Charms
Inspiration Monday
Savvy Southern Style
Katherine's Corner(Thursday)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pimento Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was fabulous! My aunt and cousin came to a visit and it is always nice to spend time with family. We talked and laughed for hours about family, adventures and of course sharing good food and great memories. Isn't that what life is all about, family? 






If you know me I love cooking, especially if I am making comfort food. I prefer comfort food that has lots of cheese, like grilled cheese, casseroles, pastas with cheese and more. A few weeks ago I found a recipe for Pimento Cheese Macaroni and Cheese and thought I would whip up a batch. Oh my goodness, it is so creamy, cheesy and good. More importantly, it is easy! I think it would be a great addition to your Autumn table of even your tailgating parties. 






Pimento Cheese Macaroni and Cheese 


Ingredients:

1 pound macaroni

1 small tub of pimento cheese

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

salt and pepper



Cook macaroni in boiling water for approximately 12 minutes or until pasta is el dente.  Drain and set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir flour into the melted butter until combined. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionaly. Add milk and stir until flour mixture has dissolved. Continue to stir until the mixture has thickened. Stirring will prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Once thickened, add 1 cup of Palmetto Pimento Cheese and remove from the heat. Stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a 9x13 pan combine macaroni and the cheese sauce until mixed thoroughly. Spoon remaining Palmetto Cheese over the top. 



Bake at 350F until bubbly, approximately 25 minutes.


For this recipe I used prepared pimento cheese, if you have your own recipe then by all means use that. Or if you do not have a recipe for pimento cheese, you can try this recipe  that I made in the Spring. 

What did you do this weekend? Relax, travel, have any adventures? Read any good books, see any movies or did you make something scrumptious?


I hope that you have a wonderful week! 




Linking to:

Coastal Charms
Inspiration Monday
Savvy Southern Style
Katherine's Corner Thursday

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday Favorites for Fall from Craftberry Bush, Delightfully E Made, Woods of Bell Trees, Town and Country and More

Good morning! A happy Friday to you and happy Fall, well almost since it "officially" starts September 23rd. I am ready, as I mentioned before to hunker down and nest so this week I thought I would share a few of my favorite Fall inspired Friday Favorites. 


Image Craftberry Bush

If you are looking for some small, subtle Fall touches to add to your home check out Lucy's post at Craftberry Bush.


Fire Starters from Heather at Woods of Bell Tree


There is nothing better on a cold morning, afternoon or evening for that matter than a roaring fire. I love these fire starters made from dryer lint that Heather at Woods of Bell Trees made. 


Fall Book Selcetions from Town and Country Magazine


Once you get your fire started you more than likely have a great big pile of books and magazines next to your favorite chair, if not make sure to check out these Fall Book Selections from Town and Country Magazine.


Pumpkin Apple Strudel Muffins

Pumpkin is my favorite flavor in the world, I love it even more than chocolate, I know that is hard to believe considering I also have a chocolate blog. Perhaps it is because the flavor evokes so many happy memories with my grandmother and mother baking and enjoying the holidays or maybe it is just because everything made with pumpkin tastes great.  From September to April I try to make and eat as many pumpkin filled things as I can and these Pumpkin Apple Strudel Muffins from Delightful E Made look like something that I will be making this weekend!





If you are not a pumpkin fan and I confess I know a few, perhaps you would like a piece of this fabulous Slab Apple Pie? I make this frequently in the Fall because it is a family favorite and something that my grandmother made all the time.


Image from Half Baked Harvest

Perhaps you need something to warm your belly? This Brie-Cheddar Apple Beer Soup from Half Baked Harvest looks like like it might fit the bill. 


Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

Or maybe a little Pumpkin Pie White Hot Chocolate?


Do you have any Fall Favorites that you make, eat, or read? If so please share them with us.

Have a great weekend!


P.S. This link has nothing to do with Fall, it is for fashion lovers. If you are a fashionista and a Dior lover than you must see this Video by Nigel Chia.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cable Knit Sweaters for Fall

Good morning! This week it finally felt a little like Fall; it has been no or low humidity, 60's overnight, and I have been able to wear a sweater. These little things are cause for celebration after a long, hot, summer in the South. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed my summer, but bring on the Fall! I am so ready. 


Image Nordstrom



I am looking forward to sweaters, boots, fires, hot chocolate and more. To celebrate Fall, I have been looking for a few wardrobe essentials and one of the items I have been looking for are cable knit sweaters.


I love the chunky, warm, look of these sweaters. What about you?


Image Here

While perusing Pinerest I picked out a few of my favorite cable knit sweater looks.


Image HERE

Image Here


Image Here

Image Here


Are you a fan of cable knit sweaters? Do you have a favorite source? If so please share because as of yet I have not found the perfect one for me.

Do you have any other wardrobe essentials for Fall? If so please share.

Have a great day!





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Homemade English Muffins

Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was great for so many little reasons, one of which was that for the first time since April it was cool enough to open the windows. No pollen, no humidity, no heat and no air conditioning, just a cool breeze wafting through the house. I guess it really is the little things in life that make you happy.





Fall is not here yet but it feels  like it is coming fast and for me that means lots of comfort food; pastas, soups and of course breads. This week I decided to try to make something I have never made before, English Muffins.  Oh my goodness they were so good. Crusty on the outside and soft on the inside with the customary nooks and crannies that are essential when slathering with butter and jam. 

The recipe is super easy but does take an hour to rise so if you want to make them for a weekend breakfast you might have to get up early. Otherwise make a batch, pop them into the freezer and you can have them whenever you want. 




English Muffins
Recipe from Food Network Magazine Oct 2015

41/2 cups bread flour, more for kneading
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 oz. packet of yeast(21/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
13/4 cups while milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for the bowl
Coarse Corn meal


Directions

Whisk the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg but do not stir it in yet.

Heat the milk and the coconut oil in a small sauce pan until an instant read thermometer reads 110". Do not have the milk hotter than 110" otherwise you will kill the yeast.

Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the flour, do not pour directly on the egg because you do not want the egg to cook.

Using the dough hook, mix on medium speed until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the bowl. About 3-4 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the mixer.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 3-4 minutes. Shape into a ball and place into a large bowl rubber with coconut oil, ruby the top of the bread dough with coconut oil as well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1-2 hrs.

I usually turn on my oven to 350 and set the time for 1 minute. Then I place the bowl of dough in their to rise.

To form the muffins:

Sprinkle two baking sheets with corn meal and set aside. After the dough rises, punch it down and divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten into a 3" disc. Place the discs on a baking sheet.


Cook the muffins:

Heat a 12" cast iron skillet over medium heat. Coat the skillet with cooking spray and sprinkle with corm meal. Working in batches, cook the muffins until golden brown on each side. About 5-9 minutes on each side. If they start to dome, then flatten with a spatuala. Let the muffins cool completely and then split open nd serve with butter and jam.

Tip: To check for doneness, the the internal temperature of the muffin. It should be at least 200. If not, finish in a 350" oven for 10 minutes.


I have eaten these muffins every morning or with eggs, cheese and Canadian bacon. Seriously, they are the perfect way to start your day. 

What did you do this weekend? Did you have any adventures? Did you make anything scrumptious? Did you read a good book or see a good movie? Whatever you did I hope that you enjoyed it!

Have a wonderful week!

Linking to:
Katherines Corner
Rooted in Thyme

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday Favorites from Annie's Eats, David Lebovitz, The Relished Roost and More!

Good morning and a happy, happy, happy, Friday! Can you tell that I am happy it is Friday? Although the week was only four days I just felt like the entire week I was playing catch-up and now I am tired and need a break.  So I say thank goodness it is Friday!





Do you have plans for a relaxing weekend? OR are you headed on an adventure? I hope to have a bit of both, so I will keep you posted.

This week my Friday Favorites are all over the place from travel to more to travel to recipes and more. As always I hope that you find something interesting.

Books are one of my treasured items. I have amassed a collection of them, since I was a teen until now and I cherish each and every one. After watching this video I have come to cherish the rare and special ones even more. Seriously, take the time to watch this video.

Maine is one of my favorite places to visit in the USA, it is prisinte,  beautiful, peaceful and like heaven on earth. I love to see it from the eyes of other friends and this week, Annie's Easts shared her week long trip to Acadia National Park. I cannot wait to visit again!


Image Tish Jett


Speaking of travel, Tish Jett had an excellent post this week about what to do to protect yourself in the event of an emergency while traveling. Although the tale is set in Paris I think that anywhere you travel it is necessary to heed these suggestions. 
There is nothing better than dessert, and a dessert that contains the perfect chocolate sauce drizzled over it is even better. This recipe for the perfect chocolate sauce by David Lebovitz is a family favorite and in fact this week I made it twice to accompany a fudge brownie pie that I gave to two sets of friends. 

Are you looking for something unique, one of a kind and just fabulous to decorate your house with this Fall? Then you must put your order in with Carolyn at The Relished Roost Carolyn paints Chinpisorrie pumpkins and is taking orders!


That's it for this week! I hope that you have a safe and fun weekend. Enjoy!



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bedroom Blues

Good morning! How is your week? I am always a little discombobulated after a long holiday weekend, almost like I need a holiday from the holiday. Thankfully it is already Wednesday.



Image Centsational Girl via Decorpad

We are making some changes around the house, some are still in the infancy and planning stages, like two bathroom remodels. And some ideas are fully germinated in my head like a master bedroom change. I LOVE the color blue and have touches of it here and there in the accents of our house. This time though I am pondering a dark navy blue room, my husband is still on the fence. 


Image Ballard Design

I know a blue room is not for everyone, most people are into light and airy rooms. That is not really my personality I like dark colors, especially for the bedroom as I want it to be cosy, cocoon like and perfect for sleeping.  


Image from The Turquoise Home


My problem is this, there are a LOT of blue paints and I thought I would ask you guys if you have any suggestions?


Image from Apartment Therapy Paint Ralph Lauren

Have you guys used a dark navy paint that you can recommend? I am leaning towards Ben Moore Hale Navy or Club Navy by Ralph Lauren.  Any suggestions are appreciated!

Have a great day!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Blackberry, Peach, and Fig Coffee Cake

Good morning! Happy Labor Day! Are you enjoying your long, four day weekend? I have been relaxing at the ocean, taking long, albeit hot walks, and reading the last books on my "summer reading" pile, oh and doing a lot of eating! Thank goodness summer is over and I get really get back into my routine. 






By routine I mean exercise, not cutting out sweets and tasty treats. Speaking of which, I made this fabulous coffeecake recently for a friend, filled with blackberries, figs, peaches and of course a buttery strusel topping. I think this recipe is a definite "keeper" because not only it is scrumptious but also because it is easy and versatile, any fruit would be delicious!


Blackberry, Peach and Fig Coffee Cake

Recipe from Williams Sonoma


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt 
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange 
  • 2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 pint of mixed peach cubes, blackberries and chopped figs
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the pecan streusel: 

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Dust the pan with a little flour, tapping out the excess.



In a bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest on high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs and then the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, beating until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.



In another bowl, combine the blackberries, figs,  peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon and the 1 Tbs. flour. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Top with the berry mixture, taking care that no berries touch the sides of the pan. Spread the remaining batter over the berry mixture smoothing the top.



To make the streusel, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter. Using your fingers, work the ingredients together until just combined, then work in the pecans. Press the mixture together into a ball and then separate it with your fingers into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cake.



Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Cut the cake into squares and serve. 








I hope that you have a fabulous Labor Day! Be safe and enjoy the time spent with your family and friends!




Linking to:

Stone Gable

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