Southwestern Kale & Sausage Soup

Life has gotten busy and thus the blog has been neglected. Morgan and I had a wonderful anniversary celebration in Asheville, which I have been remiss in posting about. I’ve also participated in one of my favorite events, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Atlanta. Just this past weekend, Morgan and I were in a community theatre production of “The Bad Seed.”

It’s been a fun fall so far, but sadly all the activities have left me run down and battling a bit of a cold.

Lucky for me I have a wonderful husband to swoop in and save the day with the most wonderful soup to help me get over my cold!

Morgan’s Southwestern Kale & Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

• 1 large or 2 small links chorizo sausage

• 1 small onion, diced

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• half pound of kale, chopped

• 1 carton beef stock

• 1 large can diced tomatoes

• 1 can pinto beans, drained

• 1 Chipotle pepper, chopped

• dash of crushed red pepper flakes

• 1/2 teaspoon cumin

• teaspoon oregano

• salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Brown chorizo in a large soup pot. Once sausage is browned, added in diced onions and saute until translucent. Add in minced garlic and kale and saute a few minutes more. Add tomatoes, broth, beans and seasoning and bring to a boil. Boil for five to 10 minutes then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

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A beautiful ratatouille

The Lush's Blush blog
Homemade ratatouille

I confess that my husband and I are not the healthiest of eaters. We like fried stuff, preferably topped with cheese and bacon. But sometimes you just have to eat your veggies!

If you’re going to eat veggies in abundance, why not also make it beautiful.

A few weeks ago my sweet husband made us the most beautiful vegetarian meal. It was so lovely we almost didn’t want to mess it up by serving it. But we did, and it was delicious. I confess that we did add a little cheese though!

The real trick to making this dish so beautiful is having patience to layer the vegetable slices. I imagine it would taste just as good though if you forgo the precise design and just dump them in the dish.

So here’s how to make

Morgan’s Beautiful Ratatouille

Ingredients

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine chopped onion, garlic, tomato paste and water in a large casserole dish. Place thinly sliced vegetables in a rotating pattern atop the sauce. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Cover with parchment paper and bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Serve with pasta if desired and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

The Lush's Blush blog
Fresh veggies gleam with olive oil just before heading to the oven to make a delicious ratatouille.

The Liebster Award

liebster-awardI am honored and excited to have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the beautiful Bet over at Life According to Bet.

I often wonder if anyone ever even sees my blog, so to know people are seeing it and enjoying it, well, I’m just over the moon. I can’t thank you enough, Bet!

The Liebster Award is for new and smaller blogs to help them gain recognition within the blogging community. Each nominee then nominates 10 other blogs, so the award system creates a chain of great blogs for bloggers and blog lovers to check out. So here goes. . .

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated  you
  • Share the award on your blog
  • Answer the 11 questions you are asked
  • Nominate 10 new bloggers
  • Ask 11 new questions

My questions from Bet

  • What is a quote which you live by? – I have so many favorite quotes, but the one I try most to live by is from the Dalai Lama. We must never underestimate the power of kindess.  “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
  • The food which you can’t live without? – Hmm. . .bacon? I do love bacon. Also, home grown tomatoes.
  • If you had to live without two beauty products, what would the be? I never use primer, so I could definitely live without that. I probably could live without mascara also, as long as I have eyeliner still.
  • TV series which you would recommend? I love Death in Paradise, also Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (all on Netflix in the U.S.)
  • Are you a morning or a night person and why? I’m really sort of a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.kind of gal. Is that a thing?
  • Your dream travel destination. Anyway warm and tropical.
  • The nail polish color which suits you most? One of my favorites is from Butter London, called Tart with a Heart.
  • The item which you can’t live without? Probably my crystals and my wedding ring. I know, that’s two things. Sorry.
  • Your favorite cuisine? Being from the (American) South I guess I’d have to say just good ole southern favorites like fried chicken and biscuits and gravy, although I do love Indian cuisine, French and Italian as well.
  • Favorite way for you to chill out and relax? I’ve been trying to meditate some and I just started doing yoga, but I guess really my favorite way to chill out is just snuggling with my husband watching TV.

My blog nominees

  1. Jessica and Magnolia at Society of Moss and Lace
  2. Mary King at Orb of the Night
  3. Zeinab at ZeinabK
  4. Gigi at It’s a Sparkly Life
  5. Caitlyn at The Mrs Everything
  6. Melissa at The House of Plaidfuzz
  7. Jessica at This Season’s Gold
  8. Bri at The Hoodwitch
  9. Nicole at Life on Barrymore
  10. The Unwed Housewife

Some of the above nominees are folks I know personally and some are new blogs to me, but all have great content that I thoroughly enjoy. Congratulations blogger babes!

My questions for the nominees

  • What is your favorite childhood book or story?
  • What book(s) have you read lately that you love?
  • Tell me about the best meal you ever ate.
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  • What is the most useful tool for you in your spiritual life?
  • What household item can you not live without?
  • What is your guilty pleasure song?
  • What are some of your favorite non-blog websites?
  • What is your favorite social media site?
  • If you could meet any historical figure who would that be?
  • Do you like glitter?

I’m looking forward to reading your responses. Love to you all! And thanks again to Bet for nominating me!

The Liebster Award!!

I was honored and thrilled to be nominated for a Liebster award. My post with nominees will be coming shortly! Thanks, Bet!

lifeaccordingtobet

So, my blog got nominated for the Liebster Award By the lovely Aubre from Aubre Nicole! I was so flattered and loved that she chose to nominate me, let alone read what I gabble on about every week! And I can’t thank her enough. The Liebster Award is an award for new and smaller blog channels to gain recognition within the blogging community! And I have to nominate 10 new bloggers for you guys to go and check out too! Then those nominations have to do the same thing ect, so it’s a big long chain!

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Super simply spicy enchiladas

DSC_0610You can certainly make enchiladas all the way from scratch, even making your own sauce. They are delicious. But sometimes, you want something a little easier and a little quicker.

My husband and I made these super simple spicy enchiladas last week and they hit the spot!

Super Simple Spicy Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (You could substitute ground turkey if you prefer.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies (we used the hot kind, but you can do mild if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (or cheddar if you prefer, we actually used a little of both)
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • flour tortillas

Directions:

In a skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat. Once browned, remove beef from pan and drain the fat. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in pan and saute diced onion until golden brown. Add chilies and stir to combine. Return ground beef to the pan and half the can of enchilada sauce. Season with cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Put half the cheese into the beef mixture and stir to combine. Spread some of the beef mixture into each flour tortilla, roll up and place seam side down into a lightly greased 9 X 13 casserole dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top of rolled enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

 

 

Websites for the newly engaged

IMG_3541Christmas is the most popular time of the year to get engaged. I should know, as my husband proposed last year on Christmas Eve. The holiday season is so magical and it becomes even more special when your love pops the question.

So if you said “yes” this holiday season, here are a few of my favorite websites to get your started with the wedding planning process.

Before you delve into all these wonderful sites, however, I have an important piece of advice to share. The internet (and books and magazines in print) are full of literally millions of amazing wedding ideas. The bottom line, however, is that at the end of the day you need to choose things for your wedding that make you feel happy and are special for you and your future spouse.

Of course along with all these wonderful ideas can come lots of price tags. Don’t get too overwhelmed with all the wonderful ideas. Just find what is special for you and your wedding day is sure to be amazing!

 

Weddings Link Roundup

Here a few sites I used while wedding planning. Purchasing an actual wedding magazine was something I really planned to do, but with a scary budget already looking me in the eye, I couldn’t bring myself to shell out the $10 for the magazine.

The Knot is a good place to start. I will admit I found it a bit overwhelming though I did use it to make our wedding website.

The Broke Ass Bride is one of the cutest and most creative wedding websites I came across. I recommend the book and the website.

If you want to look at beautiful wedding pictures to start getting some ideas of what you want your wedding to look like, I recommend Style Me Pretty. 

If you’re style runs a little more to the eclectic, you’ll love The Rock and Roll Bride.

I also enjoyed The Wedding Bee. You can ask questions in the forum section and get real answers from other brides.

Getting help and advice from friends and family is really what made my wedding come together so beautifully, but the internet was a good place to start getting ideas.

Best of luck to all you new brides and grooms to be!

Blue healers

I’m missing the ocean today so I think I was drawn to pull these stones in various calming shades of blue to be my companions today.
Blue Kyanite – Aligns all chakras.
Campitos and Indian Creek Turquoise – Turquoise offers us so much, wealth, luck, healing and protection.
Blue Tiger’s Eye – A calming stone for strength and motivation.
Azurite with Malachite – The stone of the healer priestess. Awakens inner confidence and brings healing and abundance.
Aqua Obsidian – A stone to bring comfort and strength during times of grief and letting go.