July 31, 2012

What Reading Fashion Blogs Has Taught Me

I don't consider myself fashionable my any means. I consider my style classic, basic and simple. Not that that is bad by any means. But, then I see magazines and fashion blogs and I love what the ladies are wearing but never think that I can pull that off too. 

You know what I mean? I've started reading a few fashion blogs written my real women. Women who are not models, have real budgets, and who make fashion a little easier to understand. 


So here's what I've learned from some of my favorite fashion blogs:


1. Take risks. Don't make yourself feel uncomfortable with what you're wearing but try different things that you wouldn't normally and see if it works for you. There's so many times I'll see something I love, but just automatically think it won't work on me and so I don't even try it one. Case in point; maxi skirts. I'm short, 5'2'' to be exact and the idea of maxi skirt always intimidated be because of my height. Turns out I really love them, and I'm not to short to wear them. 



2. Layers. Layering shirts under jackets. Or adding a scarf can really make an outfit. Give it a try.


3. Accessorize. Now, this might go with out saying but I'm the type of girl I love accessories but I'm also the type of girl who matches every accessory. Looking and reading fashion blogs has taught me that your earrings don't need to match everything, and you don't have to buy the matching set. Have fun trying things together that you wouldn't normally try, you'll be surprised. Belts, Scarves, Jewelry they are all your friend. Accessories help make the outfit more interesting. 


4. You don't have to buy the whole outfit at one store. I'm so guilty of this, probably because it's just easier than going to a bunch of stores to just buy the whole outfit at the one store. But really what's the fun and interest in that? There isn't when you're head to toe in Old Navy. Mix prints, go to different stores to really make the outfit pop and interesting. 


Some of my fave fashion blogs written by real women:

I hope in the next few weeks to take a risk and show you some of my fashion lessons that I've learned here on the blog. I'm going to get up the courage and take a pic of myself and show you how I'm putting these into practice! 

Stay tuned! What are some of your fashion tips or advice? What have you learned about fashion this year? Tell me in the comments below. 

July 27, 2012

Coffee Date & Some Random Thoughts

Happy Friday friends! Welcome to a coffee date and some random thoughts going on in my mind today.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you once again my cup is filled with tea. (non-caff) And then I would tell you that my mind is filled with lots of random thoughts today. Sit back, grab a cup and enjoy!

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*Maybe it's the fact I am preggers, or maybe it's because of my insane desire to throws things away but I'm having a serious de-cluttering weekend. I've already packed up three bags of clothing to donate, and a box of books.

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*I think Ava maybe dropping her nap time soon, or at least cutting it shorter. This makes me sad.

*We've been fighting tantrums with her lately. This is interesting.

*Potty training is not happening like I thought it would.

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*I can't believe that summer is almost over, but it doesn't feel like it since it's still 115 degrees out. Sunny all the time, and I don't have kids that go to school to make me feel like summer is over.

*Never buy crayons from the Dollar Store, they aren't worth the dollar. And I just threw away all of Ava's crayons this morning. There's a reason Crayola is still in business.

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*I started a 'to-do' list this morning, and I already feel overwhelmed.

I'm so glad we could sit and have coffee this morning, I'm enjoying these coffee dates. I think they're a great way to get personal and share some fun aspects of our lives.

What would you tell me today if we were sitting down for coffee?

*Once again I'll be linking up with the lovely Alissa from Rags to Stitches. 

Psst...the winner of the DoStix giveaway was announced. Go here to see if it was you! 

July 26, 2012

Shopping with DownEast Basics & Blogger Meet Up

I love these nights when the blogging community has a chance to meet up and connect. This time it was over some good shopping, yes please sign me up! There's a great group of Arizona bloggers right here, and it's always really fun seeing all these ladies.

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Down East Basics hosted a shopping night for us, and this time we got to bring a friend to join in on the shopping goodness. I brought my friend Erica, and we enjoyed a night kid free while our husbands watched the babes!

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Down East is a brand that I really love wearing, I actually shop there quite a bit and having been working my Down East pieces into this ever changing preggo body and having quite a bit of luck with their clothing this pregnancy even though it's not maternity wear. Every time I wear something from their store I always get compliments, my Easter outfit was from Down East too! 

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I love all the girly prints, ruffles, accessories and skirts! I could probably go broke buying skirts and tops from this store. And, the thing I love most about this brand is how modest and cute everything is. 

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Couple of my fave AZ bloggers: Kimberly from A Night Owl & Destiny from A Place for Us! Check out their blogs they are some awesome ladies with lots of talent!

Visit the Down East Basics website here.
Visit them on Facebook here. 

July 25, 2012

Butter Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

Nothing makes the house smell better than baking something in the oven. When Renuzit came out with their new line of scents that smell like yummy desserts, I thought this is a great idea. It was my challenge to come up with a recipe inspired by their new air freshener collection. Red Velvet Cake was my scent of choice to be inspired by. #Temptyoursenses.

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When I think of red velvet cake I think of rich flavor, vanilla and Southern Hospitality. I knew immediately the recipe that I wanted to make. These cookies with leave a rich taste in your mouth, they are so good you'll need a tall glass of milk to wash these down.

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Butter Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting (adapted from 101 Gourmet Cookies)

2 sticks of butter, softened       pinch of salt
1 cup sugar                              1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 egg yolks                              1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/3 cups all purpose four

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and salt. Beat until well blended, mix in baking soda and vanilla. Last add flour and mix until combined. Refrigerate for one hour. (or put in the freezer for 30 min, if you're short on time, or make these late at night like I do sometimes.) Form into balls and dip tops in sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and flatten using the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until light golden. Cool completely and top with frosting.

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While my dough is chilling, I like to make the frosting.

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Brown Butter Frosting

1 stick butter                           4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla                            1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until golden brown specks appear, stirring occasionally. Butter will get foamy and if you swirl the pan around the butter will be light brown and you will see brown bits. It will have a nutty toffee smell. Remove from heat and cool completely. Add powdered sugar and vanilla to a mixing bowl add the butter as well. Beat until crumbly, slowly add cream until frosting reaches desired consistency. Spread onto cooled cookies. Refrigerate remaining frosting.

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These are so good, serve with a glass of cold milk. I promise you'll love them! Let me know if you try them and your family loves them to.

I took half the batch to work the next day and they were a big hit there too! Happy Baking friends!

Please visit these sites to find out more about this company and their products: their site, their facebook page.  To see the rest of my shopping experience visit my Google+ album here. 

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Renuzit #CBias #SocialFabric, all opinions and thoughts are 100% my own. 

sharing with: SNAP! Show & Tell, One Project at A Time, Get Your Craft On, Tuesday's Treasures, DIY Project Parade, Overflowing with Creativity , Sundae Scoop, Pretty Things on Thursday

July 23, 2012

Grandma's Apple Pie & A Giveaway

My husband has been begging me for weeks to make him Grandma's apple pie. I finally am starting to get some energy back and decided this weekend was the perfect weekend to whip up this pie from scratch! Friday after Ava's nap time we finished the pie. I started on the crust while she was napping, and then we finished the filling together. This pie is so good, it was gone in 3 days time. Here's the recipe so you can make this at your house and please all the members of your family too!

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Grandma's Apple Pie

Pie Crust:
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Crisco
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl sift flour, sugar and salt together. With a pastry blender or two knives cut in the lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Mix together egg, vinegar and water. Add to flour mixture. Mix until dough is moistened enough so it holds together when it is formed into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Split the dough in half and On a floured surface roll the dough into two 12 inch circles. Fit one into a 12 inch pie plate. Wait to fill the pie with the filling then add the other and Crimp edges to form a decorative border, prick the pastry with a fork. Place the crust in the freezer while preparing the pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling:
3 cups pared, cored and sliced apples (I love Granny Smith)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix apples, flour, sugar and spices together and stir gently. Place mixture in unbaked shell. Dab with putter and pour milk over the apple mixture. Place crust on top. Bake 45 minutes. Filling makes 1 pie.

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Yum!

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Now for a fun giveaway for you! I would love to introduce to you a great product for all you bakers out there. DoStix is a great new product to help you roll even dough every time for cookies, pies and all your baking needs! I was so excited to try out this product while making this pie. DoStix come with three different sticks for three different thicknesses, you choose how thick you want and need your dough to be. Roll it out evenly every time! For more info visit their website here. 

Wanna win a set of your own? Good, I though so too. Use the lovely widget below to enter to win your own set of DoStix! This giveaway will run from now until Friday. Winner will be announced and contacted Friday morning! Good luck, happy baking!


*winner has been notified, thanks to all who entered!*



July 20, 2012

Anchors Away {Maritime Release from Lifestyle Crafts}

Lifestyle Crafts released their Maritime Collection this month, I was able to snag some cute dies that scream summer! How could you go wrong with some of these cute dies?! Anchors, a little crab, a sail boat all summer and perfect enough to jazz up your meal time. Check out the full collection here. 

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Aren't they cute?! Perfect to go on top of each slice of apple pie I baked fresh today.

Snag yourself some of these cute dies too at 20% off.
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Pretty Little Business Card Holder

I've been thinking a lot about my shop and marketing items I want to implement. When Lifestyle Crafts sent us the newest collection for Fall there was this cute little business card holder. I knew it was perfect for what I wanted to add to my shipped packages.

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I started by cutting my die shape.

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Glued the edges together to make the pocket. 

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Slipped in my business card, on the back is a special discount code for customers when they place another order. It's kinda like a sweet surprise.

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Added a "thank you" tag to the front using a stamp, and some 3D foam stickers. 

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Here's the finished product! All ready to be placed in packages for orders! It's all in the details, and I think this is a perfect special touch to what will be coming in the mail for each client. 

Snag yourself some of the awesome Fall collection using my code:
WORLEYHOUSE for 20% off your orders. 
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go here to shop. 

you win some, you lose some.

I've been noticing over the last couple weeks that I will gain a blog follower, and then a couple days later lose one. Every time it happens I take it so personal. I sorta don't know what to think of it or quite what to make of it.

I rack my brain trying to figure out why. I kinda get update for a few hours over it. And then, I get a tweet, and email or a sweet comment from a reader I didn't even know. Or from someone who I didn't think reads my blog and tells me how it really meant something to them on the day they read it.

Source: twitter.com via Andrea on Pinterest


That right there makes up for the up and down numbers in my Google Friend Connect. The truth is I don't think you'd find a blogger out there that doesn't care just a little bit about who's reading. Or how many people read their blog. Isn't that one of the reasons we write anyway? So that people will read it?!

Bloggers want you to look at their projects, read their posts, comment and share the love. I think we all want that as bloggers.

Some people will try to tell you that numbers don't matter. But, the reality is that sometimes numbers do matter. Just like they matter sometimes in ministry or in business. But the truth is they aren't ALL that matters.



Your numbers, my numbers they won't be the end all in my blogging. Want another confession? Sometimes I drop blogs that I've been reading for a while too. Simply for no other reason than they just aren't meeting me where I'm at, and so I stop reading.

As I was thinking about this I had to let these people (the ones who drop my blog) off the hook a bit, as they are probably not reading anymore for much the same reason I stop reading some blogs.

And then I realized matters to me more than anything else is that the people who are reading and following are getting something from these words that are filling up a empty page in cyber space. 

That they are connecting. 


Connecting with me. With others. 


And learning something maybe about themselves or others. 

Source: emilyley.com via Andrea on Pinterest


It's not all about the numbers. I realize that not everyone is going to like me, or my style. Not everyone is going to like that I'm not a crafty blogger all the time, or that I don't share what other people do.

But I have to believe that those who are reading are here for a reason. Somewhere out there is a person who visited this blog one day and something touched their heart and ministered to them.

And that is winning some, my friends.

July 18, 2012

5 Things I've Learned After 5 Years of Marriage.

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Last weekend we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary! Five is a good number, it's actually my favorite number too. Did you know that Orion and I are five years apart in age? It's true, he's old. I'm young. Just kidding ;)

Five years doesn't seem like that long of an amount of time, but it's long enough to have learned a lot about each other and set some really good foundations in your marriage. Did you know that most marriages end in divorce before the couple has reached their five year anniversary? 

We are not by any means perfect, we have learned a lot through trial and error, hurt feelings, and mistakes. We have good days and bad days just like any other couple. As I was thinking and reflecting the other day on these last five years it got me thinking about all the things we've learned. What I've learned about myself, and how it all has made us better. 

I thought I'd share with you today; 5 Things I've learned after 5 Years of Marriage. 

Speak Well:: Speak well of each other in public and in private. The biggest thing I've learned is to speak well of my husband to others. In conversations that is not the time to give a run down list of his failures and mistakes. This is the time to build him up, be his biggest cheerleader and best support system. Speak life into your marriage by speaking well about each other in public to others.

Have boundaries:: It's important early on to establish important boundaries in your marriage. Specifically when it comes to what you will and won't share with others. I've made the mistake of sharing certain details of a fight once with my close family, the end result wasn't good for the image I gave of my Husband to others (speak well of each other, see?) in the end I learned it's important to have boundaries established on what you will and won't speak of, and how you will protect each other. I'm not saying you can't ever share things with close family and friends. You need someone to vent to sometimes, but you also need to protect your marriage as well. Everyone doesn't need to know everything. And the best person to vent to, is the Lord. He will give you the right guidance when you need it, and He will give you the answers when you pray. There are certain things we've decided that we will not talk about with friends or family. Those things are reserved for our conversations only, and with the Lord.

Communicate:: You'd think this goes without saying, but you'd be surprised to probably find out a lot of married couples don't communicate regularly. With busy lives, children, school, and whatever else you'd like to add to your list life can get pretty hectic and it can be really easy to neglect this area of your lives together. One practical thing we do to help communication is once a week, usually on Sunday night we'll go over the week ahead together. We'll pull out our calendar and talk about upcoming appointments, important dates, bills to pay, his school schedule and whatever else we can think of to go over so that we're both on the same page for the coming week. It really helps us to keep on track and gives us opportunity to talk about other things that come up as result of that conversation. In general; always been honest and come to your spouse the moment you are thinking of things, or have an issue to discuss. Don't lie, don't let it fester and build up nothing good comes from those things.

Date Night:: When Orion and I were first married we had a regular weekly date night we did this for almost three years until Ava came along. Then we had to get more creative in our planning and being intentional about this. I encourage you to regularly plan a date night with your spouse, maybe for whatever reasons it can't be weekly but maybe it can be bi-weekly or monthly. Just get it on the calendar, stick to and let nothing come between you and date night. For us, we can't weekly get away always due to lack of baby sitters and help mostly. So we plan around it. Weekly every Friday we have movie night together. We put Ava to bed, and we rent movies. It's our carved out time together. We try to get out of the house and go a date every couple months but the point is for us; we're carving out and setting aside intentional time together. To talk, to laugh and to have fun together. This is what's important. 

Have a regular bed time together:: This might sound silly but I know how easily it can be to get into these habits and routines where one or the other of you stays up way to late and the other is always going to bed alone. Having a regular bed time and going to bed at the same time together creates another form of intimacy and security together. I mean who wants to sleep alone? Right? Going to bed at the same time ensures those things will continue, and may provide a way for the "magic" to keep happening in your marriage. 


July 16, 2012

Put A Bow on It

I love a good bow on something! It can be classy, but it can also be really girly. Ava has a lot of bows. Some for her hair and some for her clothes. We love them.

Mama has some grown up bows too. Currently I'm carrying a white purse with a giant bow on the front.

I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite bow products I've been falling in love with lately.


this cute jem, i own her. and you should too cause she's so cute. 
she has friends and they come in other colors as well. 

Source: etsy.com via Andrea on Pinterest

i saw these adorable bow headbands on etsy, i think they would be perfect for a little one.

Source: coach.com via Andrea on Pinterest

cute Coach bow bangle. how fun.

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My newest creation to the shop; Rock A Bow headbands! A
giant oversized bow you can rock with any outfit from girls to women.
Use code: ROCKABOW15 for 15% off you purchase in the shop. 
shop here.
photo credit: A Place for Us Blog

Happy Monday!

July 14, 2012

Happy 5th Anniversary to My Amazing Husband!

Today is our 5th wedding Anniversary! And although it seems like yesterday we were saying our I dos, I am reminded of how much time has gone by and just how much has changed since that day five years ago. So many wonderful blessings since that day. Some heartache too. But over all we have so much to be blessed and thankful for, I wouldn't have it any other way.


Orion, 
I'm so blessed to be your wife, everyday I thank the Lord that he brought us together. How he's made our lives one and continues to teach us about Him and ourselves. I know that he is our anchor in times when things have seemed unsure. I'm so lucky to live life with you, raise children with you and call you my husband. I'm so proud of you. I'm proud of us. I look forward to so many more years of marriage. I love you.
Andrea

Happy 5th Anniversary my love. 

July 13, 2012

Embrace

Life has been teaching me to embrace lately. Embrace the changes that are happening in our lives. Embrace that everything doesn't always go according to plans, and it's ok.

Embrace that Ava no longer wants to sit and smile for the camera, she'd much rather move around and play. It's teaching me to catch those small moments with her and to drink them in like never before. Her littleness is fleeting, and everyday she's becoming even more of a "big girl."

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Life is teaching me to embrace that things are sometimes out of my control and that's ok, because God has it all under control. So I can let myself off the hook for a lot of things. Because it's HIS job to take care of that stuff anyway.

Embracing all the blessings that God has given us, even though I don't always know or understand what he's doing in the inner workings of our lives I'm so thankful for all he's given us. I'm learning to embrace the feelings that I have and work through them instead of just writing them off because I think things can't or won't change. Maybe God wants to change me instead of my circumstances. Maybe just maybe he'll transform me during this time of embracing.

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Because that really when I sit down and think about it, is what I want. I want God to change me, to grow deeper in Him and know Him more. I don't just want to stay the same, never growing, never getting better, nope I want to embrace what He has for me. 


Today, my friends I'm wondering what are you embracing in your own lives too? What are you accepting more, and letting it change you instead of you changing "it?"


Happy Weekending friends. 

July 12, 2012

She Reads Truth

A couple weeks ago I was following some tweets and some ladies were hash tagging #shereadstruth. I wanted to see what this was all about. She Reads Truth is a community of women coming together to read the Bible together. Holding themselves accountable to each other.

What an awesome idea to read the Bible together, in a community. This is what the church and faith is about. Building up a community of believers. Helping each other, and coming together for the common cause of Christ.

I've been reading a long for a few weeks. Today they started a new plan, and I wanted to encourage you if you aren't already reading the Bible daily or if you need some accountability in this area too, join along with the #SheReadsTruth community and join me.

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join my on Instagram here: photosbyandrea

I've been so encouraged by this, and there's something special knowing that a group of ladies are reading the same thing, writing about it and growing in their faith together. 



SheReadsTruth


Follow along with the community reading their blog. 

Let me know if you join in on the community, I'd love to see you there! 

July 11, 2012

Some thoughts on notes and Encouragement

The last few weeks I've been doing a lot of reflecting during my times in prayer with the Lord, taking a look at myself and pondering how I can be better.

I realized something about myself that I've really become very lax on. Something that at one time was always on my mind and somehow unintentionally I've let go.

I realized I don't pray for my friends nearly enough as I should.

Sure, I try to encourage them, call, text, and email them as much as I can. But more than anything I think as much as I want my friends to think about me I want them to be praying for me. For the things I tell them I need prayer for but also for maybe the things they don't know.

Most of my friends do not live near me, so unfortunately we don't get to meet regularly, because of this I feel even more convicted to pray for them. To pray for the things I know going on in their lives, but more importantly to pray for the things that I don't know, for the things they don't know yet. The things unseen, and the things God has yet to do, but will in their lives. 


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Along with this I wanted to do something practical, something to encourage them daily. I love a good little hand written note in the mail. And since I firmly believe that in order to have good friendships you have to be a good friend and exemplify those qualities yourself that you want in a friend. 

I've started weekly taking a small group of friends (3-5) and writing them a little note of encouragement on Sunday nights. And mailing them Monday morning, so that they get this little note at some point during the week. The next week, I'll pick a different group and send them a note. And so on, and so on. You get the idea. Continually rotating who gets a note each week. I hope it gives them a little happiness as they open their mail box, and gives them encouragement to know someone is thinking about them and praying for them. 

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So here's my encouragement for you today; how can you show someone you love, a friend how much you care about them? How can you encourage them today? 

In my opinion the best things are small, but they are intentional and that's what matters most. 

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I like to get my note cards in the dollar bins at Target, Michael's and the Dollar Store. They always have some pretty note cards, stickers and stamps to make a note extra special. 

July 9, 2012

Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

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Happy Monday friends!

This little recipe is actually very filling. More filling than I thought it would be, we had it as our main dish.

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa cooked according to package directions
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 handful of cilantro
2 juiced limes
1 avocados sliced into chunks
salt to taste

Cook quinoa, once cooked turn down to low and add in the black beans and corn. Stir heating through, then add in the cilantro and the juice of two limes and salt. Once everything is cooked through add the avocados and serve.

Yum!

Let me know if you make this for your family, I was surprised as to how good and filling it actually was. I'd never tried quinoa before and I have to say that I really liked it.

July 7, 2012

Southwest Taco Bake

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Sometimes recipes are born through inspiration, and sometimes they are born through going through your pantry and seeing what you can make.

This is one of those. But, I assure it's good. Really good.

Ingredients
16 small corn tortillas
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 yellow onion chopped
1 packet taco seasoning
1 lb. ground turkey
1 16 oz. bag of Mexican blended cheese (or whatever cheese you like.)
1 handful of cilantro
1 can enchilada sauce

Brown your turkey, add in taco seasoning and other veggies to your meat mixture. Heat through. Add in half of your cilantro, and enchilada sauce stir together.

Spray your baking dish with Pam. Line a 9x13 inch pan on the bottom with six tortillas, spoon meat mixture over top. Repeat laying tortillas and meat over top. Then top with cheese and the remaining cilantro. If you prefer to mix cheese in do so while layering your mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes till cheese is melted.

Cool and serve with chips and salsa.

Yum!

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