Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye September

pumpkin flavored everything (pumpkin and gingerbread triffle via here)

football games and parties (how cute are these! via here)

jumping into a pile of leaves (source)

leggings and boots (source)

Let's be honest - the list could go on and on! Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love everything about it! The clothes, the smells, the colors, the food (pumpkin everything!) and snuggling up in a big pile of blankets with the windows open. Nothing is better.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! I can't wait to show you some photos from our shoot and how everything came together! I know I'll be rushing home to start setting up a few things for Sunday :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIAW: Black Bean Soup

Halfway through the week ---> Almost to the weekend ---> Almost to October!

I will say one thing. This weather is insane! Lots of rain in the 70's and then when the sun decides to come out this weekend it's dropping to the low 60's. Mother Nature, I thought we had a talk about this!

One thing I do know for sure is fall and colder weather makes me crave soups. I made cream of asparagus last week and just followed my pea soup recipe substituting asparagus and adding a little lemon zest. It turned out great and leftovers always make great lunches.

 Tonight, I was craving black bean soup. Something hot, a little spicy and topped with a little bit of melted cheese. After searching on Pinterest one image and recipe was added to the to-do list!

Black Bean Soup
Recipe Modified from Our Best Bites 
1 T olive oil - used Wegmans garlic and herb oil
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 C diced carrots (about 3 med carrots)
3/4 C diced celery (about 3 ribs)
1/2 red pepper chopped (i added)
1 C diced onion (about 1 med onion)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 3.5 oz can green chilies
2 cans low-sodium beef broth (i used vegetable)
1 t kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t dry oregano leaves
1 bay leaf (i omitted)
Optional Toppings: sour cream, tortilla chips, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, etc.
Place a large stock pot on the stove-top and set to medium-high heat. When pan is warm, add olive oil.  Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and saute 4-5 minutes.
Add in the black beans, chilies, and beef broth. Stir to combine and then add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf.
Simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf from soup.
Place soup in a blender. (You could use an immersion blender in place of this step) Place lid on blender, but remove the stopper in the lid to let heat escape. Place a paper towel over the hole to avoid splatters.
Puree soup until completely smooth. Optionally you could pulse until a semi-chunky soup is achieved. Squeeze in the juice from one lime and pulse to combine.
Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings.

I served this with a grilled veggie and mexican cheese panini (for CL). Delicious and a great, healthy meal for a cold fall day :)

Since this is a WIAW post which Jenn from Peas and Crayons hosts every Wednesday I decided to share with you what else I have been eating :)

Cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt (protein) with half of a peach and honey.

Multigrain Tortilla Chips and Black Bean Salsa (protein) -morning
Kashi Pumpkin Pecan Fruit and Grain Bar -afternoon

Grilled Cheese sammy and a handful of unsalted saltine crackers

Black bean soup (protein)

I've had a few people ask where I get my protein from since becoming Pescatarian. You can see I get plenty of protein in my day from greek yogurt, beans, fish (very high) or peanut butter.

PS. I shared some of my DIY crafts I made over the weekend (more to be revealed later). Check them out!

DIY Yarn Monogram Letters

Monday, September 26, 2011

DIY Yarn Letters

The first thing I had on my mind to make this weekend was a yarn letter! It only involves three materials and will definitely put you in a trance as you wrap the yarn around the wooden letter!

I chose the letter C for obvious reasons (Cara), but also because it also represents Chris! The funny thing is if Chris and I get married our initials will be the same - C.E.L.

So eventually I will grab an E and L and complete the yarn letter monogram :) I plan on hanging it in our one day office surround by photos of us. 

What you will need:
Glue gun
Wooden letter of your choice
Yarn in the color of your choice

I have a thing for all things golden, bronze, cream, dark chocolate and deep purple. When my mom and I found this color yarn it was fate! It was a beautiful bronze color with silver specs in it. Perfect.

Simply wrap the yarn around your wooden letter and glue in place. Trust me it sounds easier than it is. This is very tedious but the results are worth it! Plus I am sure I saw this at Anthropologie and it was three times as expensive ;)

Yesterday Chris and I ran a 5k at a Pumpkin Farm - Summers Farm in Frederick. We had a blast and even though it was muddy and early we were so happy we went! We finished in 34 minutes which was fine since we hadn't been running as consistently lately... just here and there.

We were given apple cider, water and freshly made apple cider donuts coated in cinnamon sugar after the race. There were games, corn mazes, a petting zoo, slides - you name it, they had it. AND since we ran we got a free admission to come back, which I definitely plan on doing :)

 haha we are dorks! we were definitely hot and sweaty after those miles!

 how freakin' cute are they? adorable and i loved their colors! notice his goat-tee haha yeah, i used that joke today!

and the babies were precious! please someone tell me they made miniature goats because I want to take one home!!

We had a great weekend, the Ravens won and I'm looking forward to new classes at the gym and next weekend already :) Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DIY Lightbulb Vases

Can I just tell you guys how much fun I have had this weekend? I finally stopped by Michaels and picked up some materials for the bajillion DIY projects I have pinned on Pinterest.

I planned ahead and printed out coupons online. See that super cute 8x10 frame? Originally 21 dollars and I got it for 7. :) Love when that happens!!

I have decided every day this week I will try to show you one project I have made. Once we have our photos back from the shoot you'll be able to see them all mold together! Hey, if I can't plan weddings (mine included yet) then I better make the most of this shoot right?!


First up I am starting with the show stopper! DIY Lightbulb Vases.

Super cute right?! If any of you know me in person, please send all your dead lightbulbs my way. I have a feeling I will be collecting them and utilizing for my wedding one day. You heard it here first everyone ;)

What You Will Need:
Lightbulbs - I used ones that were already burnt out
Glasses for eye protection

 First, remove the bottom metal piece with a pair of pliers.

 Once the bottom piece is removed, use your pliers to break the black glass bottom. Be careful! Glass could fly which is why you should be wearing glasses. Use your pliers to remove the big pieces.

 Most lightbulbs will have an interior glass inside of them. Break this with your pliers.

 Remove the insides and glass that might have fallen to the bottom of the lightbulb.

Rinse out with water to remove the powder. Use your wire to tie a handle. String twine from the top to hang from branches!

I hot glued some twine to the top metal pieces for a more rustic look. You could easily do the same with ribbon!

I hope you guys enjoy this and I am so happy to finally be pinning my own creations to Pinterest! The Ravens are currently kicking butt so this has been one happy household!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On the Run

It's the weekend! And it's not raining..yet! So I am off to take the pupper to the park for a walk. 

After that it's grocery shopping... I know I live a crazy life. But I always plan my meals for the week out before going to the store so I get absolutely everything in one trip. I hate forgetting stuff!

This weeks meals:
pesto and spinach grilled cheese
black bean soup
vegetarian sloppy joes
salmon and an asparagus tart

I also am finally going to pick up a few things at the craft store to get a head start on my DIY projects I have in mind.

What I am looking for:
candles (white)
mason jars
metal basket
wooden letters
and maybe a few door knobs if i find ones i like along with some plywood and crown molding

Happy weekend! I have a 5k tomorrow morning then it's Ravens all day! I'll keep you guys updated on my projects :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lentil and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Who caught that sunset today? I don't know what is going on, but the nighttime skies have been killing it lately! So in love with this view on my way home from the gym.

I promise it was 100 times better and my camera didn't do these colors justice!

I finally made my way over to Merritt Fort Ave after work to redeem my 15 group fitness classes I got for free on Living Social. Perfect deal if you ask me since I can walk the one block from my office :)

I took the spin class and it was so much fun! The teacher was energetic, played great music and the time flew by. That's what really makes a spin class good in my book. Oh, and a good sweat. I was soaked!

I knew I needed to make something easy, filling and delicious for dinner so I whipped up some vegetarian stuffed peppers. You'll want to bookmark this because it was so good and you couldn't even tell there wasn't meat!

Lentil and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
1-2 bell peppers cut in half and deseeded
1/2 box TJ cooked lentils
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 tomato, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
olive oil as needed
1 packet of taco seasoning
cheese of your choice for topping
Start by cooking down your onions in olive oil. Once softened add your black beans, lentils, and tomato. After the beans are warmed through add the packet of taco seasoning and about 1/2 - 1 cup of water. Simmer your mixture until it's thickened. Fill your bell pepper cups with cooked stuffing and top with cheese. Place in a toaster oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes - or until cheese is bubbly. Serve over rice. 

In my opinion. Stuffed peppers that are spicy (like mine) deserve a yellow or red sweet pepper. It really helps to cut down the spice. If you like your peppers less crunchy pre-cook your peppers in some boiling water for a couple minutes. 

This hit the spot. Now that I am in a food coma it's off to bed for me! Tomorrow is Friday!! Woohooo :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Beer Battered Avocado and Fish Tacos

Can I just say how excited I am for next weeks weather? Mother nature you better keep your promise of 77 degree weather for our photo shoot because I couldn't think of better weather.

It's time for another WIAW... but per usual I like to mix it up. I showed you guys photos I have been swooning over for our upcoming shoot, but I also have been obsessing over ideas of how to transform areas to make just the right setting.

But first! I made my first ever beer battered avocado fries and fish tacos. I used some cider ale I picked up at the wine market the other night, old bay seasoning (who could live without), minced garlic and your plain ole' flour. It turned out great, but next time I need to make a sauce to go with it! Chipotle Ranch sounds amazing as my girl Sara suggested! She made avocado fries just recently too :)

Beer Batter for Avocado Fries and Fresh Cod Tacos
1-1.5 cups lager beer or ale - I liked my batter less thick
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons oldbay
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely - I used minced garlic
2 large avocados
1 large cod fish filet cut into 2-3 inch sections
salt as needed
vegetable oil as needed
1 small pot
Mix your dry ingredients first in a large bowl. Add your lager/ale and stir. Done! dip your avocado slices (6 slices per avocado) into the batter making sure it is fully coated and shaking off any excess. Heat your oil and cook the avocado until a nice brown. This will happen quickly! I tested the avocados before cooking my fish and they turned out perfectly cooked. :)

 Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Hi, the 1970's called - they want their plates back. I highly suggest sprinkling with salt after you take out of the hot oil.

I also made some homemade mexican salad to serve along side. I chopped up half a jalapeno, half of a small onion, 1 tomato, half of a yellow bell pepper and 1 avocado added lime juice and salt. It was the perfect compliment :) Plus the leftovers are great to add to a bowl of lettuce. Hello pre-made toppings.

 Doesn't that look so fresh and delicious? Thanks to my dad I have a new camera to fill with random pics of food.

Now onto the design stuff...

I think making a few of these and tying to tree branches to hang above us combined with stringing lights would be dreamy at sunset.

Laying out a blanket under the tree surrounded by lights and those lightbulb planters. I'd go with a touch more feminine. I have the perfect pale blue blanket in mind.

Top of a barn shot. maybe with mason jar candles on either side like this...

I may be dreaming, but this is why I am in love with weddings and parties. I love the planning!

Here are a few more shots I love...

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Second Chance

Happy Birthday to my sweet little Chance!!

I can't believe he is already one years old! Besides from unconditional love and an overwhelmingly cute face he has:
chewed the stitching out from my new couch and tore out the stuffing 
couldn't learn how to come until he was 8 months old
found his voice early on in life
scared the poop out of me after his surgery when I rushed him to the ER.

He has brought so much laughter to my life. Hopefully in his old age he will become a better snuggler though... 2 minutes of snuggling is not long enough!

He is almost a chameleon with how much he has changed throughout his first year - looks alone!

The first time I met my little nugget face. I loved how different his colors were from the rest!

He has always resembled a little sleepy bear when all snuggled up! That sweater doesn't fit him anymore!

 The first time he smiled. His colors were getting lighter here!

 His hair hadn't grown out yet!

 Visiting me at work over the holidays!

 So tiny!

 His First Trip to the beach!

 Getting ready for his playgirl shoot

My main man. I love you Chance!