Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's for dinner 9/27/11

3 Bean Chili is what's for dinner! I didn't take pictures of the process because I totally forgot. I 'm not sure how I managed to do that, but oh well. I guess I'll just be extra thorough in my explanations. :) I loved this Chili, and will definitely be making it again. Brad even liked it and he doesn't like a.) beans or b.) spicy things. He did ask me to tone down the seasonings a bit next time, but I probably won't. Haha. It wasn't *that* spicy in the first place. ;) I need to figure out how to photograph my food better. Sometimes it looks awful in these photos. I promise it doesn't taste as gross as it might look!

Recipe (Based on Terry Walter's 3 Bean Chili found in "Clean Food" on page 211). I say "based on" because I didn't follow it exactly and tweaked some things, added others, and left some things out completely.

2 Tbsp Extra virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a really huge white onion (do one onion if it's not as huge :) )
1/2 cup diced peppers (I used Trader's Joe's frozen trio pepper strips and chopped them)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into small peices
1 sweet potato (bake it and take out the pulp :) )
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (two if you really like tomatoes)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp (yes, TABLESPOONS. ;) ) chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can)
1 1/2 cups cooked aduki beans
1 1/2 cups pinto beans
1 32 oz Carton Vegetable or Chicken broth

In a large pot over medium heat, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft (about 3 min). Add in peppers and saute 2 min. more. Add the carrots, sweet potato pulp, tomatoes and tomato paste, wine, oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne and salt. Add the beans. This will render a very thick chili, add broth to thin. I added the whole carton and let it reduce down by simmering for 1 hour. If you don't add quite as much you could get away with simmering for only 30 to 45 minutes.

Notes about Ingredients:
* Wine- The wine is optional. Add less if you don't want a very bold flavor. This is also optional, you could just use tomato juice or add extra tomatoes. Wine is not exactly "clean", but it is not totally forbidden either. Just remember to drink or use wine in cooking very sparingly and no need to feel guilty!
* Beans- cook your beans first if you are using dry beans. The aduki beans are smaller and don't need to soak as long as other beans. For this recipe I put them in a pot, covered them with water, and brought the water to a boil. Then I took them off the heat, put a lid on it, and let them sit in the hot water for 1 hour. Then I boiled them for about 25 minutes to cook them all the way through.
* Pinto Beans- these don't really come canned and I only had time to cook the aduki beans, so I went with 1 can of white kidney beans. Next time I'm using the pintos though, not because the kidneys were bad, but because I think I would prefer to use three smaller beans as opposed to two smaller beans and gigantic kidneys. Just an aesthetic preference, I think haha.

Overall, this is definitely going in our rotation for fall and winter. I have the leftovers in my freezer to enjoy at a later date. Have fun cooking!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Style File 9/23/11

 Well today is the first day of fall! It was actually very rainy and very humid today with a high of about 80 degrees. So I wore a skirt and this denim jacket (which I scored at Salvation Army way back in May!). I always get cold when I am doing grocery shopping, so it's always nice to wear another layer.
 I love this necklace. I wear it a ton. I think you've seen it probably a million times by now?
Ok, this jacket... I love it! It's another thrift find, but it's calvin klein. I was very excited to get it and I have been waiting to be able to bust it out. Summer around here is not conducive to wearing cute denim jackets... but the fall is! Yay!

What is your favorite thing about fall fashion? I have three things I love to wear when the season starts getting more fall like: sweaters/jackets, scarves, and BOOTS! It's not quite boot weather yet, but I am waiting patiently.

Outfit Run Down:

-White Tee- Target
-Jacket- Calvin Klein, thrifted
-Necklace- Vintage (thanks Grandma!)
-Flats- Target

Friday, September 16, 2011

Style File 9/16/11

Again, I feel like pretending it's Fall... haha. I love my scarf, and thought I would use it with my LBD for a little bit of color.

 I like this dress too. It's very comfortable. Easily worn to the office or out depending on how I style it. I love having dresses like that in my closet. Gives me much more flexibility with the things I own.
These are my new black pumps! I got them for a bargain at 9 west during a sale. I've needed new close-toed black pumps for a while now. I'm very excited about these. I love the detail on them.

What do you like to start wearing when the weather gets a bit crisper? I can't wait until it's cold enough to bust out the sweaters and boots!

Outfit Run Down:
Dress: Target
Scarf: Target
Shoes: Nine West

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blogging From My Heart

One of my favorite Scrap bloggers (and mommy, and wife, and a gal who just loves to live life... ;)) challenged her readers to blog from their hearts this morning. I try to keep it real around here because I value authenticity and genuineness. But I thought I would do a special post to tell you all what's been on my heart and mind lately, just because I think it might be carthartic for me. ;) It's going to be in list form, but I think that's ok. I tend to think in lists anyway. ;)

1.) I'm sitting here at 7:58am with my hair still wet and lounge clothes still on. I need to leave for work in less than a half hour, but I find myself not really caring about that. Of course I don't like being late for work, but I am tired and I have a jammed evening tonight... so I'm going to take the five minutes and blog. I'm noticing that at work I tend to feel a bit pressured to stay late and help with events (there's pretty much always an event), or stay late because that's what everyone else is doing. Work is not my number one priority though; nor do I think it should be. Of course I care about my job, but people and relationships are much much more important to me. So that's why I leave work promptly at 5:00pm. Not because I'm lazy and don't do my work, but because I assume that whatever I'm working on can wait until tomorrow morning. Why rush it to get done if I really don't need to? All that does is make my outside life suffer.

2.) Eating Clean is making me feel awesome. I never realized how good I can feel if I cut out processed sugars. While I haven't totally cut them out (I use a bit of it in my bread so the yeast can feed on it, and I refuse to use agave or artificial sweeteners in my baking), I am working on it. After I finish off this bag of refined sugar, I am going to buy raw sugar. I figure I can afford it since I'm not using it all of the time. :) But mostly I just feel better. So excited to keep this going and discover new foods.

3.) I really love the community group we've been involved in this summer. We had been attending a group, but we just never felt like we clicked there. I honestly don't think the people there were doing things on purpose, but we never felt we got to know anyone after being there for a good long while. But with this new group... I felt like I fit in from the very first week we showed up. The girls there wanted to take me out for my Birthday and I almost cried. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's because I just never though they would want to do that for me. They noticed I exist and wanted to celebrate with me. It was awesome and I love them for it.

4.) Lastly, because I really really need to finish getting ready for work, I've been pondering what it means to continually get to know someone throughout your life. This does relate to my marriage, but i've also been thinking of it in a broader sense. You can't possibly know everything there is to know about a person, even if you've known them your whole life. My relationship with Brad is really great (I mean that), but I have noticed that we've definitely fallen into a routine and have kind of lost touch with getting to know one another right now. I think the solution is to break out of the routine a little bit. I'm thinking dancing lessons. :) With friends, I suppose it might be the same. Obviously a little different, but breaking out of the routine will help you see your spouse, sig other, friend, sister, brother, mom, dad, whoever in a different way. You'll get to see another facet of them instead of the same ones you're always looking at.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Here is my first Eating Clean recipe for you all! Here is a modified version of this recipe for  Smashed Kidney Bean Sandwich.

List of Ingredients:
1 tbsp Olive Oil
 Garlic Powder
1 Can White Kidney Beans
Bean sprouts (any kind. I ended up using pea shoots)
Salt and Pepper

 First, take the onion and cook it in the olive oil until the onions are crisp.

 Take the can of beans, drain them, rinse them, and put them in the pan with the onions. Roughly mash them with a fork and keep warm.
 Halve the avocado, wrap half for later. Peel the other half...

 ...and slice it. Toast your bread in the mean time.
When your bread is toasted, spread some of the bean mixture on the bread, top with the avocado and some pea shoots. Make it into a sandwich and enjoy!! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Style File 9-9-11

 I want it to be fall really bad. So I've started dressing more fall-ish lately. :)

 I love this shirt. I just picked it up, and love how comfortable it is. I love the stripes (so in right now!) and the neck line.
This outfit made me feel like Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face".

Oufit Rundown:
Shirt: Gap
Crops: Old Navy
Shoes: Not sure what brand...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summer Update and Big Annoucement!

Hey all! So I thought I would do an update for you all, seeing as how I’ve apparently taken a hiatus from here. I do want to apologize for not being consistent this summer, but life really was crazy. July fourth until this weekend we’ve been jammed! Thankfully, life has settled down a bit for us. So what have we been up to? Well, business as usual with lots of visitors and trips too. It’s been a great summer though, I’m sad to see it go, but I’m also extremely excited for the fall! 

Here's just a peek at what we did this summer:

  • We went to Boston (you've seen all those photos) :)
  •  My friend Audrey Visited
  • My Sister-In-Law Visited:

We went to a Tea House

A little blurry, but I think it's cute. :)

  • My Parents Visited:

Down at the Oceanfront.

At The Nauticus. This is the Battleship Wisconsin.

My Brother. Haha.

Touring the Battleship!

  • We Celebrated our 3rd Anniversary with a trip to DC. We did lots of things, but here are some highlights:

WWII Memorial

We did a Scavenger Hunt thing through lots of the Smithsonian Art galleries. We loved the contemporary galleries. :)

Mark Rothko

Jackson Pollock

Tomb of the Unknowns

Hope Diamond

  • We ran away from Hurricane Irene to spend a weekend in Asheville. We also celebrated my Birthday there. I made my own carrot cake and it was so so so so so yummy.
  • I met for coffee with my friend Lindsey. This was part of the Asheville trip, but it was so important it needed it's own bullet. :) Also, I forgot to add this the first time I posted this... I am a lame friend.
So what is my announcement? Well, in light of the fact that I am joining a fitness program at work and the fact that I discovered I have high cholesterol, Brad and I have decided to make some changes to our diet. We are going to begin the Eat Clean diet (which isn't so much a diet). Basically, it's not that big of a jump from what I already do. You eat five to six times a day, each time consuming a lean protein and complex carb (veggies, fruits, whole grains). You also cut out lots of unhealthy fats and all processed foods and sugars. The theory is to keep your blood sugar levels low, and from spiking through out the day.

We've already made huge steps to cut out these types of unhealthy foods. The biggest change will be eating more often and being more mindful of our protein intake. We also have a few processed foods and sugars to eliminate. I (and Brad) decided to do this primarily for managing my cholesterol better (yay non-meat sources of protein!) but also because as I increase my mileage running I notice that I HAVE to eat that many times a day. Don't worry, I'm not doing this for weight loss, but I am doing it for my health. You should check out her books and the Eat Clean Diet website for more info. I plan to follow it pretty closely, but not totally strictly. For example, I don't think I'm going to give up my coffee creamer or all sugars. The key is moderation there!

So what does this have to do with my blogging? Well, I am bringing back "What's for Dinner?" and will be sharing my eat clean recipes with you. Lots of them will be adapted from the Eat Clean Cookbook, but some of them will be my own too. You'll notice I'm going to be incorporating lots of flax (helps lower cholesterol), oats (also helps lower cholesterol), and lots more veggies (just bought pea shoots for the first time!). I'll be doing a lot more veggie meals and maybe even feature some vegan substitutes. It's going to be great! I'm hoping some of you will also choose to Eat Clean with me. If you do, let me know and we can swap stories. :) My first recipe should go up on Tuesday of next week (so September 13th), if not this Tuesday.

WHEW! Thanks for reading that whole post!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Style File 9/3/11

WHEW!! My life has finally settled down a little bit! I shot THREE style files for you all, so you get to have them for the next three Saturdays. I am so excited about my return to blogging. :)

This outfit is one of my summery work outfits. I don't have too many days I can wear this type of thing left! Not that I'm sad. I am itching for Fall to get here.
 I got this white skirt from a thrift store. I love it. Very light and springy, but also perfect for summer. I also like the shape of it. Every girl needs a skirt like this.
 These shoes again! You've definitely seen them before. :)
 I was having trouble getting my camera to render the colors correctly this time. So I had to edit them, so the colors aren't super true to life. I'm out of practice, what can I say.
And the ruffles. I love the ribbon and lace ruffle on this sweater. Very feminine.

Also, I have a big announcement going up tomorrow. It has to do with the state of "What's for Dinner?". Trust me, it will be interesting. I'm also going to do a bit Life Update post tomorrow.  So... until then!

Outfit Rundown:
Sweater- Macy's
Skirt- DKNY, Thrifted
Necklace- Great Grandmother's, reset by my parents.
Bracelet- gift
Shoes- DSW