May 24, 2012

In the garden and made in the USA

Happy Thursday! I'm so excited because it's my Friday today! We have the day off tomorrow at my office (bonus!), so I can't wait to start the long weekend. Heading back to Pure Michigan to spend the weekend with family and get in some nice beach time.

I finally got all my flowers planted this past weekend. Feels good to have that all done and I'm really happy with how everything turned out. One of the best parts of Spring/Summer is getting to pick out gorgeous flowers and plan out my patio! I'll be back with a full tour of the patio and front planters later, but here's a little sneak peek (because I know you guys are on the edge of your seats waiting, ha)

And for the Made in America bit, I had been wanting some garden clogs that I could leave on my deck and just slip on when I go out in the backyard. Look what I found at Target! I always love finding Made in America goods unexpectedly at regular stores, these were only $9.99 and so far I'm loving them. You can find them in the garden section at Target or by going to the Sloggers website. 

Hope everyone has a great Holiday weekend! Sounds like it's going to be a steamy one in Chicago and Michigan, bring it on!

Linking up to fellow Chicago Blogger, It All Started with Paint today! She has a great Outdoor party going on, lots of patio and gardening ideas and inspiration.

May 23, 2012

Words for Wednesday

image created by a little ditty

I stumbled on this quote somewhere and the words just spoke to me. I'm in my late twenties (relatively young I think) but still, lately I've not exactly greeted my birthdays with excitement. I'm not sure what it is that makes me feel that way, maybe the expectation to have certain boxes checked off by this age, but whatever it is, it's time to get over it. How many people didn't get the chance to reach this birthday? I think about the birthdays denied to my first love, who I lost earlier this year, and think how absolutely absurd it is to worry about getting older when he won't get a chance. I've decided, no matter what, I'm going to welcome each and every Birthday I'm lucky enough to get.

May 15, 2012

In the Kitchen: Pdub's Simple, Perfect Beef Enchiladas

You know I love a good Mexican feast, which is why I was so excited to make these enchiladas from my Pioneer Women cookbook. Pdubs calls them "simple and perfect" and I really can't disagree. They're easy to make and full of cheesy, Mexican goodness. The recipe is in the Pioneer Women's first cookbook and posted online here. She splits it up into three sections, the sauce, meat and the rest.

1 tbs canola oil
1 tbs flour
1 can (28 oz) enchilada sauce
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbs chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp each slat & pepper

1 and 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (4 oz) diced green chilies
1/2 tsp salt

The Rest:
10-14 corn tortillas
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (I've gone the PW way on cheese, shredding it yourself somehow tastes so much better than the store bought shredded, it's cheaper too!)
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. I like a little kick so I used one can of hot jalapenos instead of the second can of green chilies. Set aside.

Preheat the over to 350 and pour enough red sauce into your baking dish to cover the bottom. To keep this a little bit healthier, I didn't fry the tortillas, to soften before filling I just dipped each one into the sauce using tongs. Once all the tortillas are ready use a cookie sheet for the assembly. Spoon a little meat, grated cheese, black olives and green onions in the tortilla and roll up, placing seam side down in a baking dish.

Pour extra red sauce over the tortillas and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. And really, is there anything better than bubbling cheese?! Sprinkle cilantro and green onions for garnish. The recipe is also perfect for freezing. I always have enough to make a few containers for the freezer. Right before the step of putting everything in the oven, freeze a few portions with sauce and cheese and you'll have a super easy meal for another week.

If you're an enchilada lover like me, check out my other recipes:
Spicy Chicken Enchiladas
Bean Enchiladas a la Ali

Linking up to Tasty Tuesday's on my Sister's blog today, lots of good recipes posted over there!

May 4, 2012

Steal of the Week: Frappuccino happy hour @ Starbucks

Just in time for some 75 degree weather in Chicago today -- icy cold Frappuccinos are half off at Starbucks from 3 to 5 PM. I don't know about you, but 3 is the perfect time to me because that's always when it feels like the day is starting to drag and I need an "afterschool snack". The happy hour runs from May 4th through May 13th. If you seriously don't want to miss out on half priced icy goodness,  you can text HAPPY to 697289 and you will get a daily reminder. Enjoy!


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