Eat, Uncategorized

Easy Turkey Chili

This is my go to recipe when the weather turns cold and you just need something warm in your tummy.  Just about every time I make chili, I do something different.  I never follow a recipe and will use whatever I have on hand in my pantry.  The following recipe is one that I did and it seemed to be my family’s favorite one so far.  So I quickly jotted down my notes so I can make it again.  Once everything was cooking in the pot, I added a diced up sweet potato.  It gave the chili a little fall flavor as well as nice texture.  Next time I may try butternut squash..or both!  I really liked it. I do add a bit of water if I don’t want it too thick, it’s really up to you.  We like the spice, so I will add more chili seasoning and you could also add a pinch of hot sauce.  Serve with cornbread, sour cream and shredded cheese for toppings.  It’s an easy recipe to double for a crowd as well.

2 TBS olive oil

1 LB lean ground turkey

1/2 C chopped onion

1/2 C chopped green pepper

1 small jalapeño pepper, diced

1 TBS garlic

2 TBS chili powder

1 TBS ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 Can Hunts Seasoned tomato sauce for chili

2 Cans chopped tomatoes with garlic and green peppers

2 Cans Bush’s pinto chili beans

1 Can Bush’s black chili beans

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1 medium sweet potato, cooked and cubed

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add ground turkey, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic. Cook several minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer.

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Easy Fall Decorating Ideas

     

The autumn weather makes me feel rejuvenated and it makes me want to make my home as cozy and inviting as possible. Burlap is one of my favorite fall fabrics, it blends with any decor and is so versatile in what you can do with it. I found a couple tutorials on line on how to do a cute burlap wreath. I’m not very crafty and I have to say it took me a while to put it together, I’m sure much longer than it should have. There are some great tutorials out there and I know it would most likely be easy for most of you crafty folks! The fun part was finding a cute little flower and some fall foliage to hot glue for interest and to match my color scheme. I loved how it turned out and it looked great on my front door.

One of the first places I like to start in my home is to do a quick and simple fall update in the foyer. The foyer is the easiest place for me to start, I really only have a simple foyer table that takes just a few minutes to fix up. I like to bring down my fall decor from storage and just go through it all each year. There are usually items I’m tired of and can put aside to donate. I then put items together by color, trying to just use about three fall tones so that it’s not too cluttered and all the items will compliment one another. I actually do this throughout my home because I like the consistency and easy flow from room to room. In the case of my foyer table, I used decor that worked with the picture and lamps already in place — see easy!! Just some simple fall candle centerpieces worked in with the iron candle holders and metal accessories were all the table needed. I used a green table runner that I can leave in place when I do the Christmas decor, so now I’m already ahead of schedule! Matching fall pieces in with non holiday decor that is already in my home is important so that it doesn’t look as if Fall showed up and threw up everywhere…seriously! I think using subtle tones with strategic placement goes a really long way in decorating.

My dining room was next… I have some super cute plates I picked up years ago at Pottery Barn on clearance that have the perfect fall color palette. A coordinating autumn garland simply placed on the shelf in front of the dishes, pumpkins and a couple chunky weave baskets to bring in additional texture and that’s it! Of course, I love candles and I also found a couple small dried flower arrangements on clearance at Michaels a few years ago so I added them in as well.  Sometimes it takes a while to get it just right but if you stick to just a few coordinating colors and assimilate your seasonal decor in with your homes existing accessories, you can’t go wrong. For me it’s all about the flow.

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Outdoor Party on Halloween Night!

For the last several years we have hosted a Halloween Party for friends and neighbors right on Halloween night. It’s become a wonderful tradition and relatively easy to pull off. I usually send out a FB invite to my friends living outside of the neighborhood a couple weeks in advance and ask them all to bring a dish to share pot luck style. The guests RSVP in advance and let me know what they are bringing. There are a few people who bring different kinds of soups in their crock pots, we have ham sandwiches, a lot of yummy appetizers and of course candy! The other item all the invited guests are asked to bring is a big bag of candy for the neighborhood trick or treaters. A couple of days prior to the event, my husband and I do a quick cleaning up of our garage…usually just pushing junk to the side! I use cheap black plastic table cloths and tape to hang like a sheet in front of anything I don’t want seen just to make the garage look a little more inviting. We have a couple of outdoor tables that I set up with power strips and coordinating black plastic table cloths for the guests to plug in their crock pots and room for the rest of the food. I make up a big batch of chili, some dessert and provide drinks (water, soda, coffee and hot cider) and all the paper products. Once everyone has arrived and the food is set up, it’s very casual and everyone just serves themselves throughout the evening. We have quite a few outdoor chairs, but sometimes I’ll ask some people to bring some additional lawn chairs.

“Trick or Treat!”

For families with young children, they have a great time trick or treating while those not walking around the neighborhood enjoy eating, playing corn hole, roasting marshmallows, meeting new people and passing out candy right in the driveway.
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Some years we set up a fire pit, sometimes we may pull out different yard games but every year one of my favorite things to do is have an outdoor movie playing while the neighborhood children are coming around for candy. It wouldn’t be Halloween night if we didn’t show “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” as the little ghosts and goblins come and go collecting their yummy treats. My husband hangs a sheet up on one half of the garage door opening and we project the movie from behind the make-shift screen…it’s great!!! We usually end the night by playing “Just Dance” in the driveway with our friends and neighbors. It’s so much fun to see the clever costumes each year, visit with our friends and neighbors and just get outside on a brisk fall evening. Clean up is a snap! Everyone pitches in at the end of the night and before we know it, everything is back to the way it once was…except our waistlines!
  • Make it a potluck outside or in the garage for easy clean up
  • Provide a Coffee Bar and Hot Cider
  • Set up outdoor games like corn hole or bobbing for apples
  • All the guests bring a bag of candy for trick or treaters
  • Outdoor movie
  • Create atmosphere: fire pit, photo area, seating, etc.
  • Costume contest!
  • Be creative…Let me know if you have a fun idea!!!!

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Fun with Fall Decor

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Fall has become easily one of my favorite seasons to decorate my home.  Using cues from the natural elements of this time of year is my number one priority when decorating my home.  The warm colors of autumn are so inviting, it’s a great time to take advantage of the beautiful shades of oranges, golds and browns.  I can hardly pass by a pumpkin patch without stopping to take a leisurely stroll, inspecting the alluring bounty of it’s perfectly plump gourds. “Autumn is the season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.” – unknown In the spirit of being content and using what nature has blessed us with and what I already have, I put together some simple fall arrangements as well as using the colors of autumn to dictate my accessories in each room.  Here are a couple of examples of what I did…

Look around your yard

Last year my hydrangea was absolutely going crazy into the early part of fall.  I was able to pick some of it’s last beautiful bounty and incorporate it with some other fall finds.  The pumpkins were purchased from a local farmer’s market but I never find myself in need of pine cones.  We have a gigantic loblolly pine that is not my preferred species of tree but it provides us with free pine straw and endless pinecones, I am thankful for that!
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Ater collecting my backyard treasures, I dusted off an old wooden bowl I had stored away and placed it all together for a welcoming display in the front room of our home.  I found an old burlap table runner I wasn’t using and cut it down to fit on my coffee table. Last fall I painted an old pine coffee table that we bought when we were first married, many, many, many years ago… I used good ole’ chalk paint and did some quick distressing.  I was very impressed at how much I liked the finished product.  

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For my fireplace mantle, I just cut some overgrowth from my Heavenly Bamboo Nandina bush that had started to turn gorgeous dark greens, browns and reds at some of the tips. I flanked the distressed picture frame with the clippings.  I then placed pinecones and a few berries throughout the foliage.  There is no right or wrong way to do it, I just placed the leaves, pinecones and berries to make a festive mantle that took me all the way through Thanksgiving.  And it was FREE!  It’s so fun and easy, just take a little nature walk and collect some of the following things your may find in your yard.
  • Pinecones
  • Berries
  • Pines straw
  • Dried flowers
  • Limbs and twigs
  • Any kind of greenery
  • Produce from your late summer or early fall garden
  • Leaves
  • Nuts
Don’t be afraid to just plop these natural elements in a repurposed jar, with a candle or as a simple centerpiece.  Part of the fun is going through old containers, vases and jars I have stored away to repurpose.  It’s a great way to be creative and an activity to do with little ones that will get you outside on a nature adventure!!!
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