Graze

My friend Katy has been testing out Plated and Stitch Fix and all these cool little companies. So when I got an invite to get my first box free with Graze, I was intrigued. First of all, each box is only like, $6 anyway, so I can see myself actually paying for this now and then. Second of all, you can choose how often you want boxes and even mark preferences for what you want in them. Last… #snacks. Who doesn’t love ALL OF THE DELICIOUS SNACKS?!

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I confess, I dove into my snacks before even bothering to take a photo…OOPS! But you get the picture. Healthy little treats delivered to your door. Happy Tuesday to me, indeed!

Want to try your first box free? Here’s my referral code – JNHRRN9HP. Don’t forget, you can cancel anytime. You can get yourself one free box and then quit. Or you can just skip boxes until you feel like getting one. All in all, it makes my heart and tummy very very happy!!

If you order it, let me know what you think…I’ve already loved the 1/2 box that I’ve eaten!

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DO IT! You know your taste buds want to…

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chili

It’s savory, I promise.

IMG_6928 My friend Jacob makes this chili regularly, and I loved it, so finally made him send me the recipe. Turns out, it is an adaptation of this Circleville Pumpkin Chili. AND IT’S AMAZING AND SO SO SAVORY. Do not let the pumpkin and the chocolate fool you…

So here we go with my adaptation of Jacob’s adaptation of the Circleville Pumpkin Chili recipe…This makes enough for really large crowd, so cut it in half if it’s just for you…

Pumpkin Chocolate Chili

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped onion
2 lbs ground turkey (any meat, of course)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cumin
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp ground paprika
1 can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 15-oz can tri-blend of beans, drained (so this is pinto, black, and kidney. but two cans of any beans will do. And of course, leave these out if you are paleo.)

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat, then cook onion and garlic until translucent. Add meat and all spices, cooking and crumbling until meat is completely browned.

2. Add in pumpkin, cocoa powder, and tomatoes. Stir and reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer at least 20 minutes, but up to 90 will deliver the best flavor. Stir occasionally.

3. Stir in beans. Allow to simmer for 15 more minutes. Adjust seasoning, and serve.

To make in crockpot, I cooked the chili the night before without any of the simmering. I left it in the fridge overnight, and then turned it on high for an hour, and then low for the rest of the morning in the crock pot. It was ready for a potluck lunch. You could probably leave it on low or even keep warm all day if you wanted it hot when you got home from work.

This chili was a big hit at my office. Either that, or they were just being really nice. Regardless, I really loved it. It’s rich, hearty, and not as tomato-y as your normal chili. Definitely a fun way to switch it up!

The 614 Studio

Yes, I know, we’ve all done a million of these “wine and paint” classes. But still, I do really, truly enjoy these now and then. So when The Ohio State Alumni Association recently sponsored this class at the brand-new-better-than-whole-foods Giant Eagle Market District, I was totally in. The 614 Studio is a traveling version of these wine and paint studios, which is sort of cool since you can book them to host a party anywhere. And I really liked all the girls working with them!

Me and Tareya, rocking both the painting, and the wine-ing.

Me and Tareya, rocking both the painting, and the wine-ing.

What were we painting? Well, the Shoe, obviously. What else? And yes, the outline was sketched out ahead of time. VERY smart, if you ask me.

And here is the almost finished version of mine…I think it turned out pretty okay!

Not too shabby.

Not too shabby.

Puzzle Me This

This winter, I have been determined to keep more busy and less mopey throughout the miserable season. I’m pulling out some old tricks – putzing on the piano, reading, candles, social events, and one of my favorites:

I’ve always, ALWAYS loved puzzles. I would do them while we watched football. I would stay up late working on them. I would wake up extra early before school to work on one. I would fall asleep thinking about my puzzle. I loved them all – jigsaw, 3D, logic, you name it. I have always, always, always LOVED puzzles.

I might even have a small pinterest board with puzzles I want. Judge me. Do it.

So why, I asked myself, have I not done one in a few years?! Preposterous, if you ask me.

A couple weeks ago, I finally dumped one out on our dining room table. It didn’t take long before the hubby joined in too.  I mean, two people can only watch so much Netflix (she says on the day that the third season of House of Cards is released…)

In case you care, here is our great work in three phases! Isn’t it pretty?? Time for a new one, I think…

Oh Hey, Thursday.

No seriously, how is it Thursday already? I swear to you, as I was typing the title of this post, I wrote “Oh hey, Wednesday,” and quickly realized OH SNAP IT’S THURSDAY. This week has been bitter cold and seriously nuts at work. I have barely opened my laptop, let alone thought about blogging.

SORRY!!

So here are a few updates on what’s been happening since we last spoke…

1. Well first, I should mention that I spent Valentine’s weekend on a work trip to Florida, which wasn’t so bad since I saw sunshine, sand, and my Uncle Bob.

2. Then I came back to Ohio where there was much snow, many blankets, and a small but amazing concert by Tim Reynolds.

3. Also, my husby bought me an amazing new bag for work & travel… LOVE IT.

Add and Subtract {Lent}

It’s the usual…giving up sweets for Lent. Or elevators. Or facebook. Or alcohol. Whatever it is that grips your self control and messes with your head. We are SUPPOSED to give up something so that every time during lent we abstain, we remember the sacrifices Jesus made for us not just in those 40 days in the desert, but ALLLLL the sacrifices. Including The Big One.

In recent years though, I’ve tried to use Lent to add something to my life, as well. Something to help focus my life more on my relationship with Jesus. Recently, I’ve been reading The Power of a Praying Wife many nights of the week, but not on an entirely consistent basis. But I can tell that when I’m reading nightly, even just a few nights in a row, it’s impacting my heart. Maybe for you it could be listening to Christian radio in the morning instead of whatever you usually listen to on the way to work. Maybe it’s committing to church every Sunday. Maybe it’s joining a new bible study or church group. Maybe it’s volunteering. What is it you could add to your life that would improve your relationship with Jesus, and maybe even serve others??

So all of this to say, Happy Ash Wednesday. I’m giving up sweets. I’m adding in nightly devotionals with NO EXCUSES. Even if it’s only five minutes, I will spend time in prayer before bed every night. My hope is that every time I say no to chocolate or that I settle into bed with my bible, notebook, and devotional book, I take an extra moment to say, “Jesus, thank you. Thank you for your love and your sacrifices. Thank you for rising again on Easter. Thank you for reminding me that this life is only the beginning. Thank you for helping me keep my eyes on Heaven.”

If you’re reading this, and have gotten this far, and are thinking “well that’s all well and good but I’m not really into the Jesus thing,” I encourage you to use this time of Lent to really think about this. If you don’t pray, start. Just talk to God about the great things in your life, and about the many things you might be struggling with. Read my posts on the Gospel (part one and part two) and reach out to me if you have questions. Open a Bible and just read something. I’d suggest starting with the book of Matthew if you’re feeling like you don’t know how to begin. Ask people around you if they go to church, and where, and then go try one of those churches.

I don’t know you, but God does. And He loves each and every one of you. He formed you in your mother’s womb! He knew you before the stars were ever even made! I’m praying for you today. Peace to you today.