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Take Two: Cranberry and Apple Casserole

November 24, 2019

So years ago I really LOVED this cranberry and apple casserole. I even blogged about it back in 2011. I made it for Thanksgiving that year and my Nana hated it and complained about it ALL DAY LONG. Needless to say, her vocal criticism had a lasting impact. However, she passed away in 2013 and I figured it had been 8 years…. it was time to try again. We had an office Thanksgiving last week and I made it as a side dish- it was a hit! One of my co-workers asked for the recipe, so here it is. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Base:

  • One bag ( about 3 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 2-3 apples (Honey Crisp apples are my current go to). Dice the apples.
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 heaping TBSP of flour

Topping:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick melted butter

Steps

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. I used a dish that looks to be about 10×7.

3. Mix berries, apples and flour in a bowl. Stir in sugar. Place in baking dish.

4. Mix oats, pecans, and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter.

5. Spread topping mix over fruit

6. Bake for 50- 55 minutes or until fruit is soft and topping is a nice golden brown.

 

It is easy to make and very yummy! Enjoy!

 

Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

November 16, 2019

I think it is fair to say I have particular opinions on food. Anything with ground turkey has never been my jam. And sweet potato not part of a Thanksgiving casserole? Nah. Well, turns out my taste have matured… and these two ingredients are key to my new favorite dish on a cold day: turkey and sweet potato chili. A few months ago a dietitian on campus had us make this and I had a sample. I liked it so much that I have made a version of it TWICE at home in the last month or so. It is healthy, full of flavor, warm on a cold day, and can be pulled together quickly!

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Sweet Potato and Turkey Chili- perfect for a cold day!

Ingredients

  • Olive oil (maybe a TBSP)
  • One pound ground turkey
  • One medium yellow onion
  • One medium to large red bell pepper
  • One nice sized sweet potato
  • 32 OZ low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomato with garlic and oregano or fire-roasted. Go for low-sodium options!
  • 1 can (15 oz) of tri-colored beans (black, kidney, pinto mix). You can really do any type you like.
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, plain greek yogurt, tortilla strips, etc.

 

Steps

1. Prep work: Dice the bell pepper and onion. It is fine if they are mixed together. Peel and cube the sweet potato- keep it separate from onion and pepper.

2. Heat olive oil in dutch oven and saute 1 TBSP of garlic with the onions and peppers until onion is a nice golden brown. About 8 minutes or so over medium. Set aside cooked items.

3. In same dutch oven, brown the remaining garlic and ground turkey over medium heat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink anywhere.

4. Add in the cooked red pepper and onion to the meat. Add in the chili pepper, cumin, paprika, and salt. Cook together for a minute or two.

5. Add in the sweet potato and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stirring often.

6. Add in vegetable broth

7. Add in diced tomatoes, include the juice!

8. Drain and rinse the beans, then add to the pot.

9. Bring the entire thing to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Then make yourself a bowl and serve with whatever toppings you like! It sounds so good typing this, I am going to go and have another bowl!

Awesome Beef Stew

January 29, 2019

I know, I never post anymore. Are blogs still a thing? I still have this, so may be I will take it up again. This is for the Bestie though. I made an awesome upgraded version of my previous beef stew this weekend and she wanted the recipe. So here it is!

2019stew

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs or so stew beef
  • 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 LARGE potatoes, peeled and cut into nice chunks (not quarters)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 40 ounces of beef broth (I go with reduced sodium on all can goods)
  • Olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • lots of granulated garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (this is optional)
  • Costco’s organic no-salt seasoning (optional)

I should point out, that I really kind of just eyeball everything at this point. So these are good estimates of amounts. I really don’t think you can mess this one up though. Just don’t burn the damn onions and you are good.

Steps

  1. Put beef in a large zip lock bag. Add in granulated garlic (at least a tablespoon), a good bit of pepper and little bit of salt. Cover the beef with those seasoning. Then add the flour and get all the beef coated in the seasonings. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot heat some olive oil (don’t skimp on the oil, you don’t want anything to burn or get stuck) and saute the diced onion over medium. I also toss in some minced garlic. Let it all get lightly browned.
  3. Add the beef to the onion/garlic mixture and get the beef nicely browned. Takes several minutes
  4. Add the beef broth to the pot and stir everything.
  5. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes.
  6. Add the potatoes, carrots, peas, and corn. I also added in a sprinkle of pepper, granulated garlic, and that no-salt blend. Cover and cook on low or medium (or somewhere in between) for another 45 minutes.
  7. I serve it all over egg noddles*

I am a huge fan of this! It makes enough for several meals and seriously gets better over time!

Enjoy!

*I know, pasta and potatoes in one dish… it is carb overload, but is how I have always eaten beef stew for my entire life! And it is GREAT!

 

Another Storm, Another Loss

May 2, 2017

I mentioned last week that my mid-thirties had been a bit like a never ending hurricane season. One MAJOR thing after another… for myself and my friends who are in their mid-thirties, just dealing with hard things… time after time. It becomes so crazy that sometimes it seems like the crazy is the new normal.

 

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Part of this for me goes to the downward health spiral of my Grandma Pat and her death this past December. There will be a future blog, or 5, on the impact and aftermath of that experience. She passed away on December 24th and we didn’t have the funeral until March 24th… 3 months to the day after she died. Then last Monday, the day after my birthday, and 4 months to the day that we lost her, we lost her brother. Buddy was her only brother and he was an amazing uncle. He was only 71…. which was way too soon.

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I live in South Carolina. Many of my family live here. My Uncle and his wife live in Nashville, TN and had come to Hilton Head on vacation. He passed away while on vacation. He had been ill for several months and it looks like he just passed away from a heart attack while he slept.

Needless to say, we’re all sad and in shock. The whole thing is a bit of a hot mess…. I mean, they were on VACATION. His wife was in no position to drive back to TN, so my cousin had to arrange a flight from Savannah. My Dad and I then needed to go down and get their car, clean out the vacation rental, get it back to our town and so on. Stress on top of sadness.

The funeral was last week in in TN, and I couldn’t make it up in time. Honestly, the whole week was nuts. He passed away Monday, his wife went back to TN on Tuesday, we went and got the stuff on Wednesday and then the visitation was Thursday, funeral Friday. I wasn’t going to get there for the funeral. There is a plan to do a memorial service and the burial in SC. So at least those of us in SC can say our final goodbyes then.

Buddy was an awesome man. I’ve known him for my entire life, but my first memory of him is when I was 9 or so. I walked into my Grandmother’s house and he was sitting and talking with her in the front room. When he stood up to hug me, I just remember thinking he was the tallest man I’d even seen. He was well over 6’2, so it is not a surprise I thought he was a giant. But even beyond that, he just had this presence that commanded a room. He was funny, opinionated, loyal and so smart. He and my Grandma Pat had STRONG opinions on politics that were the opposite of what the other thought. It was highly entertaining to watch them debate. They were siblings and best friends. He understood overcoming both tragedy and and illness. He helped other people. Loved animals. When I think of a stereotypical Southern guy… someone who liked being outside, riding horses, fishing, exploring, cheering on his favorite football team, and such… I think of him. He was all of those things and he was wonderful. He was part of the first generation of my family who graduated from our alma mater, I was the third  generation. He wore his class ring EVERYDAY and it stuck in my head. I was so thrilled when I got mine in college. As my grandmother’s health declined in the last three years, he and I spent a lot of time working together to make decisions and help her. It was rough, but it was helpful to have someone to go through it all with.

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Buddy and my Grandma Pat 7 or so years ago

The last conversation I had with him was about a month ago. I knew he wasn’t doing great, and I didn’t think we’d have him with us for a lot of years, but I thought we would get longer than we did. I honestly think that the loss of my grandmother was just one of the last straws… he helped her, did all that he could… it was time to go be with her, his parents and his youngest son again. Even knowing that, and being sad for us, my heart truly breaks for his wife, son and grandsons. They were all a unit, and my heart breaks for them.

So, the adventures of being thirtysomething continue and it is hard. Hoping for the storms to pass soon and a nice period of calm to come.

Birthday Thoughts: Life Unexpected

April 23, 2017

Today is my 36th birthday. Crazy. How the hell am I 36 already? I don’t feel 36. Okay… so there are a few more wrinkles, a few more gray hairs and my lower back acts up… but MENTALLY I do not feel 36. For the most part, I don’t think I actually look 36. But what the hell do I know?

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I realize that I’ve abandoned the blog… two years without a post is more than a quick hiatus. What can I say, my mid-30s haven’t been what I expected. Actually, if you had asked me when I was 16 what I thought life would be like in 20 years, I’m pretty sure it would be very different than what it is. There has just been a lot of stuff and life is, well, life unexpected.

My friends and I have been talking lately about how much harder adulthood is than we thought it would be. When I was a kid, I always said I didn’t want to grow up because I didn’t want to have to deal with paying my taxes every year. Ha. I grew up and hired a CPA to process them and get me my refund every year- turns out to be one of the easiest things in adulthood. My twenties were college, grad school, my first job in my career. It was hard work, but it was all a part of the plan, part of the path in figuring it all out. The taxing things were the drama around relationships. Being upset with someone or having someone upset with me, this person said this/did that, pissed me off, etc, etc, etc. It was fun with friends, living it up, and figuring it out. But it was expected at that time in life.

My thirties started out great. Settled in a new job. Moved. Solid friendships, my family dependable, reconnected with people I had lost touch with. The early thirties were smooth sailing. But then the last several years, it has just been like being in the worst hurricane season ever. You get through one thing, start the processing of cleaning up, rebuilding…. and the next one comes through just as you’ve gotten back up from the last one. And these haven’t been little things, they have been big…. job insanity, death, illness, money, major life changes, disappointment, broken hearts, broken trust. So I wake up some days, thinking, is this normal? Is adulthood really supposed to be this hard? I keep thinking it is just a phase in life and that the next year will be better…. but I’ve been saying that for a while now. When will this season of heavy stuff move on? Or, is this really it… is adulthood always like this?

So, I have a lot of questions. And I’ve decided to start talking it out, exploring and putting it out there. I’m 36 and I am not really 100% sure of what I am doing with my life. I’m also not sure what I am doing with this blog. But this is my commitment to myself on my 36th birthday…. trying to figure out answers, look for happiness in all things, being honest with myself- even when it is hard and comfortable and to share it. I’m committed to sharing a day in the life on Instagram, follow along with #thisis36 to see what it is like. I’m also going to share here. We’ll see what it turns into.

But for now:

  • Adulthood is different than I ever could have imagined
  • I adore my family
  • I love my good friends
  • My nieces and nephews bring me more joy than I thought was possible
  • Travel is essential for my happiness
  • A good book can make any bad day a little better
  • Kids probably aren’t in my future
  • I question if true loves exists
  • I believe in God
  • I’m thankful for paycheck
  • I’m terrified I will turn into my mother
  • I cry more in my 30s than I did in my 20s
  • I need to lose weight
  • Hammock days are the best days
  • A long drive with the windows rolled down and singing along to good music can soothe my soul
  • I’m stronger than I think I am
  • There is a soundtrack to everyday, but sometimes I wish I had some foreshadowing music to give me a heads up what is going to happen.

That is what I know. This is 36.

 

Long Time Gone.

April 16, 2015

Two months. Talk about a long time gone. That was actually rather unplanned. I may suck at writing consistently, but some reason plenty of you keep following along. I promise to do better! Needless to say, this semester has been insane. A few snippets of where my time has gone this semester. I will probably come back to a lot of these in detail in the future!

Fun with Friends

I’ve had a lot of fun with various friends this semester. My friends Matt and Claire moved to a new house, so I helped them. Gail, Puff, Bimmer and I try to meet up once a month and when the weather finally warmed up, I was able to get in a baseball game!

January

Got to spend time with sweet little LE while helping her parent Matt and Claire move in January. Bonus, they now live closer to me!

Got to spend time with sweet little LE while helping her parent Matt and Claire move in January. Bonus, they now live closer to me!

Gail and Bimmer came down in January for a fun girls day! We went to the Children's Museum and then had lunch with Biner, Rach and Baby Ford!

Gail and Bimmer came down in January for a fun girls day! We went to the Children’s Museum and then had lunch with Biner, Rach and Baby Ford!

February

Well... I am missing pics from Rach's birthday party. The next weekend though I had fun meeting up with Gail, Puff and Bimmer for lunch in the middle of our two cities! Love this sweet girl.

Well… I am missing pics from Rach’s birthday party. The next weekend though I had fun meeting up with Gail, Puff and Bimmer for lunch in the middle of our two cities! Love this sweet girl.

March

LONG4

Travel

I spent several days in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

I spent several days in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

A week later I then spent a week in New Orleans, LA.

A week later I then spent a week in New Orleans, LA.

Fun with Family

My Dad and Uncle Bri picking lettuce from my Uncle's urban garden for Easter

My Dad and Uncle Bri picking lettuce from my Uncle’s urban garden for Easter

Hanging with my awesome Aunt Wen when she came to town for Easter!

Hanging with my awesome Aunt Wen when she came to town for Easter!

Relationships

via Pinterest  Honestly. For me relationships have been hard this semester. And I mean in all forms this quote can be a bit accurate. From talking about eros love, storage love, agape love or philia love.... they can all be a little touch at times.

via Pinterest
Honestly. For me relationships have been hard this semester. And I mean in all forms this quote can be a bit accurate. From talking about eros love, storage love, agape love or philia love…. they can all be a little tough at times.

Allergies

I think we all pretty much know at this point that my allergies suck. So, plenty of meds and hot tea for me!

I think we all pretty much know at this point that my allergies suck. So, plenty of meds and hot tea for me!

Work Insanity

I have no good pictures to post to show work craziness b/c I don't want to post pictures of my staff or students. So we'll go with a shot of a catering setup we had this week for a luncheon with the school president. This semester has been non-stop. Events, marketing campaigns, reviewing hundreds of resumes and interviewing nearly 100 people, a ton of committee meetings an more. Craziness.

I have no good pictures to post to show work craziness b/c I don’t want to post pictures of my staff or students. So we’ll go with a shot of a catering setup we had this week for a luncheon with the school president. This semester has been non-stop. Events, marketing campaigns, reviewing hundreds of resumes and interviewing nearly 100 people, a ton of committee meetings an more. Craziness.

Hospital Trips

My Grandmother went back into the hospital on March 24th and was there for 2.5 weeks. Two major surgeries later and I was able to research rehab places and she just moved to one for a minimum of 6 weeks of rehab for physical therapy. I spent a lot of the last few weeks in surgery waiting rooms, visiting her, stalking her doctors/nurses, emailing updates to the family and researching rehab places.

My Grandmother went back into the hospital on March 24th and was there for 2.5 weeks. Two major surgeries later and I was able to research rehab places and she just moved to one for a minimum of 6 weeks of rehab for physical therapy. I spent a lot of the last few weeks in surgery waiting rooms, visiting her, stalking her doctors/nurses, emailing updates to the family and researching rehab places.

Adding to that, my Dad has been sick too. This has scared the crap out of me and I may have cried a bit. He has had a headache and blurry vision for nearly 3 weeks. The MRI showed no brain issues (thank God) but they still don't know what is going on. So they did a surgery today to do a biopsy. So I spent my whole afternoon in a different hospital waiting room. I'm still freaked out, but he seems calm. So that is good!

Adding to that, my Dad has been sick too. This has scared the crap out of me and I may have cried a bit. He has had a headache and blurry vision for nearly 3 weeks. The MRI showed no brain issues (thank God) but they still don’t know what is going on. So they did a surgery today to do a biopsy. So I spent my whole afternoon in a different hospital waiting room. I’m still freaked out, but he seems calm. So that is good! We also learned that he is a diabetic, so I am learning all sorts of new things about what is good and not good to eat!

Ok. So I realize that ending on work and hospital stuff makes it sound all awful. They are just at the bottom because they call me the most stress and I like to talk about them the least. While they are big, there has also been a lot of fun stuff too and it has just taken up all my spare time. When I get home at night I am much more interested in catching up with my family or curling up with a book to destress than blogging…. but I am determined to do better! Stay tuned!

Translation Tuesday: I Do Declare

February 17, 2015

I actually use this one and have had it used in my presence by others: I do declare!

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

 

This is generally used at the start of a sentence and is an exclamation of some sort…. frustration, surprise, etc. Example, ” I do declare, I have not seen you in a coons age!”

 

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