A few photos of me and the littles.

I love my little dog, Alabama.  I love my big dog, Winston.  In fact, I just love my dogs, so here are some funny photos of them from this weekend.

Stay Sweet,
Kem

TexMexMas (tex mex Christmas 2010)

A long time ago, myself and a friend were rummaging through a thrift store, when what to our wondering eyes, we stumbled upon stacks and stacks of old cooking light magazines.  This doesn't really seem like a great find, but to a couple of new brides looking to expand their cooking repertoire this was a gold mine.  

On this particular day, at this thrift store, anything you could fit into a paper sack was only a $1. We shoved all the magazines into two paper sacks and got away with tons of new recipes to try.  


Fast forward to Christmas 2010.  My dad and siblings always make sure that our dinner together for Christmas is NEVER Ham or Turkey.  Last year it was soups and mini sandwiches.  The year before homemade chinese food.  This year....Tacos...or as I am calling it TexMexMas.  The following recipe was gleaned from the Thrift Store shopping trip and has become on of my families favorites.  


The three bean mixture can be reheated if you have leftovers and put on top of chips with cheese and sour cream for a delicious taco salad the next day.

Three Bean Tacos
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 taco)

Ingredients

  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  diced onion
  • 1/2  cup  diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup  diced green bell pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  chili powder
  • 2  teaspoons  dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1  cup  canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 12  taco shells
  • 3/4  cup  shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 3/4  cup  diced tomato
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2  cup  salsa

Preparation

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (onion through garlic), and sauté 2 minutes. Add chickpeas, beans, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thick.
Prepare taco shells according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup bean mixture into each taco shell. Top each with lettuce, 1 tablespoon tomato, 2 teaspoons cheese, and 2 teaspoons salsa



Stay Sweet,
Kem

Sweetness Overload

Along with all the friend and family time that the holidays bring, one should always remember to be thankful.  Not just in mind and heart, but on paper too!

A BIG thing that I learned very, very young, was a handwritten thank you note will take you far in life.  So make sure to pick up some pretty thank you notes while you are out spending your Christams cash or gift cards.  The people in your life that were nice enough to give to you should garner enough respect from you to know how much you appreciate them and their thoughfulness!

Here is an example of a outline for a Holiday Thank You:

Dear [Name of person],
Thank you for the [description of gift] [name of gift]. (Ex: Thank you for the fuzzy brown scarf.). [Sentence about the item.] Ex: It matches many of my clothes and I know I'll use it on my trip to Iceland.). It was so thoughtful of you to think of me.
Best wishes for the new year!
Love, (or Sincerely or Regards)


Stay Sweet,
Kem

Shoot for the Moon, land amongst the stars.

Yes, every new year I make resolutions.  Sometimes I get them checked off the list.  Sometimes, I make them knowing I will never accomplish them, but that is the fun of it...knowing that you should strive for newness or greatness. 

Resolute.  The dictionary defines this as
1. firm in purpose or belief; steadfast
2. characterized by resolution; determined: a resolute answer. 
I love this concept.  Being firm in purpose or belief.  Resolutions should be made in firmness with the mindset of conquering. 

2011 Resolutions or Things I want to accomplish :)
  1. Read the Top 100 Best Novels.  Some of these I have already read, but I will mostly re-read them as it has been years ago.  I love a good book! 
  2. Become a Big Sister.  (Finish application process)
  3. Revamp my kitchen and office space. The inspiration in the office is a bit of mary engelibreit mixed with vintage.  My kitchen wish is white walls, tin backsplash, jadeite collection and stainless steel shelves.



4.  Develop my "teeth" at photography.  With my new Canon Ti1, it should be a breeze.
    This list isn't long, but to me, it might take all 365 days!

    Stay Sweet,
    Kem

      Special Christmas Baking Day!

      I must first apologize, as our house has been the "sick" house lately. First Tim got sick, then i got sick, so no blogging.

      On a lighter note, I did enjoy my annual Holiday Baking Day with my good friend Bianca Pitts yesterday.  Every year we get together right before Christmas and bake to our hearts content.  We double, triple, and sometime quadruple our recipes to make baskets of goodness for our friends and families.  Every year some of the items change, as we stumble upon new recipes, but there are still some timeless items that we keep stuffing into our baskets each and every time!  The baking day usually last hours, like 7 hours this year, but it is a nice time to catch up with old friends, snack all day, and make something wonderful!

      This year I added a new item.  Homemade Granola.  I have never made granola, so I was a little scared that it wouldn't turn out.  Let me just say, it is one of my new favorite things!

      Master Granola Recipe

      (Makes 1 quart)

      2 cups old-fashioned oats
      1/2 cup wheat germ
      2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
      1/4 tsp. salt
      1 cup Extra Ingredients (see complete list below)
      1/4 cup maple syrup
      3 Tbs. flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
      1 Tb. water
      Flavoring (see below)

      Crunchy Granola

      Extra Ingredients: 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 2 Tbs. sesame seeds, 6 Tbs. currants
      Flavoring: none
      Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and Extra Ingredients --except dried fruit -- in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, water and any Flavoring indicated below to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.

      Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool. (Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.) (source)


      I hope that you give this a try! It would be wonderful on some frozen yogurt drizzled with honey and chocolate chips or heated up with some warm milk for a delicious breakfast!

      Makeout Monday ~ Things I love this week!


      1. Stephen Webster Jewelry.  This jewelry is amazing.  It is classic with an edge.  (That is what I like to think my personal style reflects)  I first was introduced to this line of jewelry at Tivol in Kansas City at a Girl's Night Out function.  Needless to say, I fell in love with his collection.


      2.  Band of Horses.  Still in heavy rotation.  I love, love, love this band and their music.

      3. Moroccan Oil.  If you are not on this bandwagon yet, you need to get on it.  This stuff is great! I wasn't sure about this stuff before I tried it because, I am a blonde, and a lot of times oily products make my hair look greasy and just down right gross.  This product leaves my hair silky, shiny, and smelling wonderful!  Moroccan Oil has a full line of products, but this is the one I use and love the most:
      THE ORIGINAL MOROCCANOIL®
      OIL TREATMENT
      • Revives hair
      • Strengthens and conditions
      • Reduces drying time
       

      Vegetable Soup

      One of my favorite things to make is vegetable soup in a slow cooker.  The magic of this it that you just put a bunch a delicious ingredients in the slow cooker before work, turn in on low, and presto you have dinner ready when you get home!  Love it!

      Vegetable Soup
      1 carton of vegetable broth (you can sub chicken broth or beef broth of 4 cups homemade stock)
      1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
      1/2 c. frozen corn
      1/2 c. frozen peas
      1 can green beans, drained and rinsed
      1 medium onion, diced
      1 tsp minced garlic
      2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (or cheat and use canned potatoes, I won't tell)
      1 can tomato sauce
      1 tbsp tomato paste

      Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and 1 bay leaf.  Turn slow cooker to low.

      This makes a LOT of soup, so either invite over some friends or prepare for leftovers!

      Stay Sweet,
      Kem

      Makeout Monday ~ Things I love this week

      Very few things get me really excited.  Very few.  One thing that makes me incredibly happy is coming home to find a HUGE Zappos box on my front porch.  Very happy indeed.

      After a long month of work in November, I was able to order some much needed, well deserved boots that I have had my eye on since as long as I can remember.

      Boots are my favorite fall/winter accessory.  What is yours?

      1. 20 eyelet Doc Martin Boots.


      2. Green Hunter Wellies

      3. Doc Marten Black Suede Boots
      Stay Sweet,
      Kem