Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Black Beans and Rice withApple Slaw {Healthy and Delicious}

I love trying new recipes. To be honest though, I find that many recipes I find on Pinterest or other blogs never quite live up to my expectations. This awesome and healthy  meal of Black Beans and Rice with Apple Slaw is the exception. It exceeded my expectations! 


 Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home recently shared it on Honey We're Healthy and I immediately pinned it to try out in the near future. Well, the near future happened to be this week. I loved it so much, I just HAD to share it with you all! :)

Since our oven is on the fritz, I've been trying to find meals that I can cook on the stove top or in the crockpot. I made a few adjustments (listed below) that made it possible for me to create this delicious dish without the use of an oven. :)

Isn't it great when your ingredients are so colorful?
Original recipe found here

1 c. brown rice
2 cups roast chicken (from grocery store)
2 tbsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 c. red onion, diced 
1 red pepper, large diced
1 yellow pepper, large diced
I green pepper, large diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
4 c. chicken broth, divided
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Gala apple, cored and diced
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. shallot, minced
1 tsp. lime juice
hot sauce
1. Combine brown rice and 2 c. chicken broth in a medium saucepan.  Follow instructions on box to prepare rice. 

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of canola oil over medium high heat.  Add red onion and peppers and cook until softened, 6-7 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, and cumin and stir for a minute or two.  Add remaining 2 cups of chicken broth and the black beans and bring to a boil.  Simmer uncovered about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Season mixture with salt and pepper. Shred chicken with fingers or two forks and set aside. 
3. In a small bowl, combine apple, parsley, shallot, and lime juice.  Stir together and season with salt and pepper.
4. Layer rice, beans, chicken, and apple salsa on plates and serve. :)

You can find a printable version of this recipe here

A few things to point out:
* The original recipe called for cooking chicken breasts in your oven, letting them cool and then shredding them with a fork. Since my oven is on the fritz, I opted for a hot, rotisserie chicken from the store. Quicker and it tasted great!
* Be sure to prepare the rice according to the box directions. My rice only needed to cook for 15 minutes  and was perfectly done. 
* Since we live in Texas, we put hot sauce on everything. This recipe was no exception! It added an extra kick of flavor.
* This makes four generous portions. We had quite a bit leftover. When storing it in your fridge, be sure to put the apple slaw in a separate container. I simply layered the rice, then beans, then chicken in one container. The next day I heated up that container and put the cold apple slaw on top. It was just as good as leftovers as it was the first night I made it. :)

Have you pinned any great recipes lately?

Friday, October 26, 2012

This Year Will be Different

There's something about this last weekend in October. For as long as I can remember, it's signaled the beginning of the holiday season for me. Halloween is only a few days away and in my childhood, it was often spent trudging through the snow, wearing a winter jacket over my costume as I went door to door to retrieve my candy. :)

I don't know if it's because of the change in the air- that crisp, cool smell, signalling the first snowfall isn't far off. Or perhaps it's just knowing that as a child, there are special days filled with warm, cozy fires, cups of hot cocoa, holidays spent laughing with family and eating good food, and the thought of Christmas presents arriving from Santa in the near future that make this weekend feel so special to me. I do know that this feeling has been lost on me the past few years.

I blame in on the insufferable heat and confused "seasons" that we have here in East Texas. And also the fact that as an adult, Christmas and holidays in general, have become extremely stressful. But, this year, this year is different. I can feel it. Not only was it a cool and blustery day today, I also smelled it. I smelled Fall. And something more.  I can't describe it, but it was as if for a moment I could breathe in all of that joy and excitement I once had as a child.

Perhaps it's because we have decided that we are not going to Ohio for Christmas. That we will be spending it as a little family of four. Just knowing that we I don't have to stress out over packing, flying, and visiting countless family members and friends over the holiday season has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. This year, I'm excited for Christmas! Excited for new traditions to begin for us and our boys. Excited to put up outside Christmas decor for the first time. And excited to just be at home with the four people that I love most in this world.

I'm excited for our house to look like this again. :)
Even though we'll be busy this holiday season, it's wonderful to know that we will be busy as a family. I'm hoping to share my holiday joy with my little ones this year.

It's in the air... do you feel it?

Are you getting into the holiday spirit? Am I crazy for even writing this post when it's only October?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pinspiration {Closet Organization}

We only have two spare closets in our home. One in our foyer and the other a small linen closet situated in the hall next to the laundry room. Since we live in East Texas, we are subject to extremely high flood tables and therefore also have no basement. To say that we are lacking storage space would be an understatement!

Lately things have gotten a bit out of control in our closets. They runneth over with stuff! Shoes, tennis rackets, fish tank accoutrements, coats, board games, linens, towels, cleaning supplies and so many more odds and ends. I purged about half of the towels and bed sheets out of linen closet, but the space still feels small, disorganized and untidy. As for the hall closet? I'm not even sure where to start!

So, I've taken to pinterest for some "pinspiration." Just a few ideas I am keeping at the forefront of my mind as I tackle our closet situation. I thought I'd share them with you. :)

I love the pop of color in this closet, as well as the built-in storage shelves, baskets and hooks on the inside of the door.

The three bottom shelves in this closet are a great touch! I like that they not only hold bins, but shoes, too!

This linen closet is to die for. (I actually have the quilt on the left-hand side of the top shelf!) From the towel bars on the inside of the door, to the small wire shelves that separate the larger towels from the washcloths, it's an organizational dream!

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

What a neat little closet this is. The paper towel holder is genius. And, it's nice that they can actually fit their vacuum inside... ours is stored in the garage!

This mini-mudroom hidden away in a closet is genius. The wallpaper gives it an elegant touch.

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

And finally, these shelving units on casters are a great idea! It makes it easier to move things around and find what you're looking for in a pinch.

Have you been "pinspired"? What has caught your eye lately? Is there an area of your house that needs organizing?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Giving New Life to an Old Chair {How to Reupholster a Seat Cushion}

While cruisin' my local Goodwill store for colorful, mismatched clothes that would complete my "clown-look" for Halloween, I stumbled upon this chair.


Normally I'm a bit hesitant to take home furniture, mostly because our house is small (I'm talking 1500sq feet and NO basement- blast you high flood table!) and I never have anywhere to put said furniture. But, I had to take this guy home. He was only $15... and I knew that someone else would snag him if I didn't.

Sure enough, a lady checking out behind me noticed the chair, commented on how nice it was and asked if there was another! Nothing seals the deal more than having somebody else jealous of your great, thrifted find! :)

I love his clean lines and light wood color. I couldn't find markings on it anywhere, so not sure when or where it was made. But that fabric on the seat? Well, it had to go!

At JoAnn I found the perfect outdoor fabric, made by Waverly. And it was 50% off. I came home with a yard for only $9.99.


To reupholster a chair yourself, you'll need:
* Vinegar/water solution
* Fabric (I only needed 1/2 a yard to cover this seat)
* Scissors
* Staple gun
* Wood glue
* Clamps

First I wiped down the chair with a vinegar and water solution. Then I set it outside to dry off. While the chair was drying, I popped inside and ironed my fabric. I wouldn't skip this step.... you really don't want wrinkled fabric on your chair. Trust me.

Next I pried off the seat cushion with a screwdriver. The seat is held on by four screws and basically popped off when I ran the screwdriver underneath the seat.

 Then I cut my fabric down to 1/2 a yard and laid the cushion on top. Since this was thicker fabric, I didn't have to remove the existing fabric on the seat. It's also still very cushy, so I didn't have to add any extra foam. That definitely saved me some work and time on this project. :)

 Here's how I folded the fabric to get my corners nice and neat. The pictures are pretty self-explanatory.

 Then I started stapling... Be sure to pull the fabric tight. And remember, more is good when you're stapling!


I decided it would be best to glue the seat back on, rather than fiddle with the nails. I used Elmer's wood glue and generously applied it to the top of the seat frame.

After setting the seat back on the chair, I simply clamped all four sides down to make sure it was on there nice and tight. I kept the clamps on for a few hours to ensure that the seat was secure.

And, here's my finished product! The chair perfectly matches our bedroom color scheme. It fits nicely in this little corner... I'm envisioning reading my Coastal Living and Southern Living magazines with my feet propped up on a little stool (that I have yet to find) while the boys nap.

A Mama can dream, right?

And a few more shots of my new favorite piece of furniture. :)

Have you found any great thrift store finds lately? Ever reupholstered a chair? How'd it turn out?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Clownin' Around

I am having a great day. Everything seems to be falling into place. The boys "slept in" until 7:30, and Daddy was kind enough to get them out of bed so that I could snooze until 7:45. :)

After a quick trip to Target for the essentials this morning, we came home so that Connor could take his morning nap.

Aidan helped me throw together this delicious looking meal (with a few tweaks, since I *always* tweak recipes!) for dinner. I plan on serving it over rice with a salad on the side. I'll let you know how it tastes! :)

Then it was out to a garage to work on a little project I'll be sharing with you all tomorrow! Aidan was my "special helper" and managed not to break anything/burn the garage down while I worked. He mostly "cleaned" with the garage broom. Silly boy.

I mentioned on my Facebook page that we were headed to the Zoo this past Friday. I also mentioned that I dressed up. If you follow me on Instragram, you've all ready seen my fantastically thrifted costume. :)

And, since I'm apparently all about embarrassing myself in public and on social media, I'll go ahead and share some pictures here on the blog of our little clown family at the Zoo. Enjoy!

This was the best shot I could get of the two of them together.

Here's their blooper reel. :)

Do you like my glasses?

For the most part, my costume was a hit! Don't get me wrong, there were snickers coming my way, mostly from men. (Of course!) I had quite a few Moms/Grandmas tell me that I was "a great mom" for dressing up along with my little guys. A lot of little kids came up to me too, asking me if I was a clown. And I so desperately wanted to respond, "No, I dress like this everyday. Here's your sign." Bill Engvall would've been proud. But, I don't think their parents would've been too receptive to that... so instead I smiled and said I was. :)

And because this is all ready such a random post, here's a little bit of Bill to make ya laugh!

Happy Monday, folks!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Window Shopping {Pottery Barn Outlet}

I love me some Pottery Barn. The problem is, there isn't one super closer to our home and so I rarely, if ever venture out that way. (Especially with two little boys in tow!) On my recent Mommas Weekend getaway, I was able to get my fix by visiting the Pottery Barn Outlet  in the area. It was actually a Pottery Barn/West Elm/Williams Sonoma Outlet all rolled into one delicious and stylish store!

Here are some of my favorite finds from the day... (Please excuse the fact that these were all taken with my cell phone!)

How fun is this red armoire? It would make a nice pop of color in a more rustic looking space, and would be great storage for any crafter!

This buffett, with plenty of wine storage, was big, sturdy and a great find at only $500!

I love the fun fabric on this chair. What a neat accent to your dining room or kitchen table!

This display was screaming out my name! From the mercury glass vases to white lanterns with the natural candles inside, it was stunning. The only thing I'm not too keen on is the etching on the vases, I'd prefer if they were just a solid color.


They were all decked out for the holidays... Let's start with their Fall/Halloween goodies.

How pretty are these shiny, modern mercury glass pumpkins? They'd look great up on a mantel with some natural fall colors for contrast.

They also had a great assortment of candles and tea light holders. These were my favorites!

This squirrel and nut salt and pepper shaker is one of my favorites! I eyed him up for quite some time, but didn't end up taking him home with me. Maybe next time?

How fun are these sweet little reindeer stocking holders? They'd look wonderful on a Christmas mantel.

There were also larger stick reindeer that I feel in love with. They came in two sizes and would be charming on a bookshelf surrounded by some pinecones and natural pine garland. :)

This cranberry strung garland was such a gorgeous red color. I'm thinking of creating something similar for a Christmas vignette this year. :)

They had so many fun pillows!  These cream colored ones with blue pipingi and little orange bird cages on them were adorable. :)

This multi-colored floral pillow would be a fun addition to your Christmas living room, or could even be used year  round!

How cool is this burlap pillow complete with red bells? I think it'd be pretty easy to make if you were able to score yourself some burlap! Yes?

And finally, these blankets were the softest ones I've ever laid eyes upon! If only it were cool enough here in Texas to light a fire and curl up under this little gem with a cup of hot cocoa and good book.. Some day soon, I hope!

I did come home with something though... what do you think it was? 
Do you love Pottery Barn, too?
Are you lucky enough to have one close to your home?


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