November Goals

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November Goals

I don’t know where October went – but here we are in November.  Only 2 months left in 2016.  The year seems to fly by, and once again we are about to pick out our new calendars.  I personally like this one and this one.

Thought if I wrote down some goals at the beginning of the month, I could follow through with them better – you know like writing down a to-do list:

  1.  Cook more at home.  I want to cook 4-5 meals at home each week.  I do love to eat out, but it is more expensive.  Honestly some of it is laziness because parenting is hard.  But, I do love to cook too and it is bringing out the creativity in my boys to help me in the kitchen. (See this book for more information on this concept)
  2. Book reviews.  I’ve got a giveaway coming for all you moms of littles out there, and some books that are really teaching my heart right now, like this one and this one.
  3. Gearing up for Christmas rush with handlettering projects.  Go take a look at my instagram page and if I can do a custom order for you, let me know.
  4. Finish up the Longmire series (at least for now).  We are also starting back with West Wing.  We took a hiatus because we were so tired and didn’t want a long, involved, good, but depth show each night.  Instead, we’ve been watching Leverage together.  And anticipating the Gilmore Girls show late November.
  5. See my desk and dining room table again.  I don’t know how this will work (see #3), but I know it will bless my husband and I like doing that.  He loves clean surfaces and these two surfaces are in our main living area so we see them all the time.  I wish my desk area could look like this – or even this.
  6. Going to the Pursuit ATL Friendsgiving.  It is a fun time sitting with other creatives and talking about everything!  Also, going to Passion’s Grove – if I can find parking this time!  This is always a great night of worship.  If you are in need of some guidance, listen to this sermon.

How are you gearing up for November and what goals do you have?

 

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Pumpkins Galore

Let the new month begin – and I’m two for two in sticking with the budget.  This week I’m trying to cook more healthy and less meat.  Going hard after this until the half I’m running here in ATL on Thanksgiving Day.  Then, maybe celebrate with a favorite piece of pie!

Lentil Chili & Sweet Potatoes

Butternut Squash caprese salad

Green Smoothies

Chicken Tender Farm Salad

Butternut Squash and Apple Hash

Pumpkin Ravioli with a Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce (ravioli thanks to TJ – sauce, I’ll see what works)

Roasted Fall Veggies

Fall Sweet and Spicy Party Mix

Fall Sweet and Spicy Party Mix

Fall is the perfect time to have snacks.

I mean, there you are, sitting cozily by a roaring fire (or a gas one, or just some pretty candles in your fire place), and you need something to munch on.

Or, you have a bunch of friends over in your backyard for a fire and smores – but you need something to munch on while the smores get perfectly roasted with the charred edges of sticky ooey gooey marshmallow.

Or you have some sports fans over to watch the game and there is an empty coffee table just needing a big bowl of healthy snacks to get every body through the game (or at least until halftime.

Snacks do not have to be bad for you.  I think we often feel that snacks have to be unhealthy to be fun or to taste good – but that is so not the case.  Nuts is on a mission to share recipes that are healthy, fun, and delicious, and will be good for tailgating, watching the games, or just to snack on at night while watching your favorite movie.  And you can get your pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin and do a lot of work, or you can get them delivered to your door.

One of the things my mister always does for me, including this batch, is make the popcorn.  We got some spices for a wedding gift, and have been making a special spicy blend of popcorn a few times a month since we got married almost four years ago.  We took this special Campbell tradition and made it a little sweet too.

Fall Sweet and Spicy Party Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack Mix
Cuisine: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 cups
 
Sweet and Spicy and packed with everything you love about Fall.
Ingredients
  • For the popcorn
  • 5 cups of popped popcorn
  • ½ tsp Penzeys Jerk Seasoning (I've learned that all jerk seasoning is not created equal)
  • fresh cracked pepper and popcorn salt to taste
  • For the candied pumpkin seeds:
  • ¾ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T vodka
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ ground cloves
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • ⅓ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup craisins
Instructions
  1. Season the popcorn and let it get cool, but not stale.
  2. For the pumpkin seeds: put everything in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is dissolved and the sugar starts to caramelize and the pumpkin seeds pop.
  3. Dump out on to parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Spread out.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Break into pieces
  7. Combine popcorn, pumpkin seeds, white chocolate, and craisins all together.
  8. Enjoy.
 

Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Soup

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Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Soup

the charming south kitchen

Fall has (not quite officially) begun,

but when I bring out the old youth group (yay Anastasia) tshirts that I’ve had for some 15 years,

I can make roasted jalapeno soup and call it Fall.

Back in August I attended my family reunion over in Northern Alabama.  Southern cooking and fried chicken and pies and pound cakes are the name of the game.  Woodworking and quilting.  What I also received this year was a giant bag of jalapenos.  Can life really get much better?  Fresh grown jalapenos.  Yes, from people who really know what they are doing in the vegetable garden arena (not me, I kill basil).  What was I going to do with all of these tiny peppers that tasted so good with just a subtle amount of heat?

Make soup of course.  And anything you can put cheese, bacon, and avocado on has got to be a good soup, right?

This has just the right amount of heat.  You may want a glass of milk nearby, but most of you will probably be able to handle it.  I just downed a bowl of it.  My husband will have it tonight alongside a full-loaded baked potato.  Not too shabby for a Monday night.

Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: comfort food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Bit of heat, delciously cream, fresh soup for the start of fall
Ingredients
  • 6 jalapenos, no seeds
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2½ cup chicken broth (homemade is best so you control the ingredients)
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • ¾ cup mexican shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice and seed jalapenos.
  2. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast at 400 for 15 minutes
  4. Chop onion and carrots.
  5. Saute in olive oil over medium heat (in a dutch oven) for about 4 minutes.
  6. Add roasted jalapenos (chop them) and garlic powder
  7. Add in butter and as it melts, stir in the flour.
  8. Once combined, add in chicken broth.
  9. Bring to a simmer.
  10. Add in milk and simmer for another 3-5 minutes
  11. Transfer to a blender to puree (or use immersion blender.
  12. Put back in dutch oven.
  13. Add tomatoes and cheese and heat through until cheese is melted.
  14. Top your bowl of soup with more tomatoes, cheese, avocado slices, bacon.
  15. Enjoy
 

Pumpkin Oats White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin overload – right?  Pumpkins are everywhere, even now that Halloween is past and we are moving headlong into the Thanksgiving season.

Do you know what my favorite Thanksgiving commercials are – ever – the Publix pilgrim little figurines – that get so full from all the Publix food that was served on Thanksgiving that their outfits tend to pop buttons.  So fun.  Growing up in Lakeland, FL – the home of Publix – I saw my share of Publix commercials – and am so glad to be living again with a Publix on every corner.

Anyway, back to pumpkins.  As a Mom, sometimes I stress about my kids’ nutrition.  I mean my older son could down all the fruit he could ever eat if I let him.  My younger son loves those little pouches that are fruit-filled.  We have instituted a donut morning one day every week, and I usually bake something sweet, and we eat out just to make life easier.  So, I’m not the healthiest Mom out there – but that isn’t the end all either. They love their fruits and veggies so that is great!  And neither of them really dig french fries – so that’s a plus!

These muffins – both of them are gobbling up.  I feel good about giving them one because there is no added fat in it from butter or oil – so that makes them healthier, right?  And, they are very yummy!  You can change up the add-ins for the muffins, and this time I had a small amount of white chocolate chips left – they are a very nice addition.

Pumpkin Oats White Chocolate Chip Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A healthy hearty filling pumpkin muffin with a touch of sweetness
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1¼ cup Pumpkin Pie Mix in a can
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Spray muffin tin (makes 12 muffins) and set oven on 375
  3. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with muffin batter.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until done, don't overbake
 

Soft and Chunky Oreo Peanut Butter Cookies

 

Soft and Chunky Oreo Peanut Butter Cookies

Here are two disclaimers for this recipe post about a delicious cookie:

1.  I am a purist when it comes to Oreo Cookies.  None of these fancy seasonal flavors or even the double stuff or reduced-fat. No, give me the original!

2.  I wouldn’t say that peanut butter cookies are my favorite.  There are plenty in front of it.

So, when I passed by the Peanut Butter Oreos in the Wal-Mart aisle today, it could only be my creative streak and giving into my son when he said “cookie” that made me want to whip up a batch of these.

Elijah's first baking

But how would Oreos and Reece’s Pieces (E. T. Phone Home – my husband’s favorite childhood flick) go together.  I guess there was only one way to find out!

Reece's Pieces

Bake!

These cookies were like pillow-soft.  I loved that about them.  Perfect texture.  I loved the chewiness with the texture from the Oreo pieces and candy coating from the Reece’s.  My husband said he wouldn’t change a thing. I’m glad. I adore these cookies.

And the colors work perfectly for the Fall.

Soft and Chunky Oreo Peanut Butter Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: cookies
Cuisine: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-24
 
Soft, chewy, chunky, peanut butter cookies - easy to munch on all night!
Ingredients
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup regular sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos (but not too fine)
  • 1 cup mini Reece's Pieces
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugars for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla - mix for another 5.
  3. Add in dry ingredients
  4. Fold in Oreos and Reece's.
  5. Spray 3 cookies sheets with cooking spray.
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Spoon out onto sheet pans and bake for 10-12 minutes or until set - but don't overcook.
  8. Let cool.
  9. Devour
 

Fall Bucket List with Toddlers

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Fall Bucket List for Toddlers

I feel like my life as a SAHM of two little toddler boys is always crazy.  Whether we are sliding down slides, playing in mall play yards, eating junior frosties, donuts, or mandarin oranges, or anxiously awaiting Daddy’s arrival from work each day – every day holds smiles, tears (of course), and hand holding.

The Fall, being that it is my favorite season, holds more planned activities for my littles.  So, I’ve wanted to come up with a bucket list.  Some of which we have already done, some which we will save for when Oma and Granddad arrive around Thanksgiving, and some which we might not get to get this year.

Savor every moment.

Bake Pumpkin Cookies or muffins or cake – just bake with pumpkin!

Pick apples (and eat them).  This year we won’t get to an apple orchard, but it is a fun activity and I’m sure the boys will love it in years to come. They do love to eat the apples we get from Trader Joes.

apple picking

Paint pumpkins (or other fall vegetables)

Painting Squash

Play in piles of raked leaves (we don’t really have a yard, so this may have to wait until another year or two as well)

Take Pumpkin photos

Elijah at Kinsey Family Farm

Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  A must! (Which first aired today in 1966, shortly after my Mom graduated high school)

Make Thanksgiving garland (we started this last year – adding a leaf a day in November)

Send TY notes to the pastors of your church (October is Pastor Appreciation month)

Watch Luther (ok, this may not happen for a while, but they need to learn about this great man of God and what he did for all of Christianity in the 1500s.

Go on a hayride.  We did this with Elijah during his first fall and missed our opportunity by mere minutes this year, but will certainly aim to do it again in later years.

Hayride in North Little Rock

Boo at the Zoo.  This was incredibly packed but also fun.  Our family doesn’t really participate in Halloween, but it was fun to go see all the cute costumes and get their first Halloween candy this year.  No costume needed and completely safe.  And this is held at most zoos.

What is a part of your Fall Bucket List for your little ones?

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

posted in: The Charming South Kitchen | 0

Orange Bowl - Little Rock

We are at the end of another month.  Fall is slipping quickly away from us.  The nights and mornings are darker and chillier.  Here is what is taking place in our kitchen this week:

Pasta Bake (from my freezer night with friends)

Asparagus Ham Swiss Quiche

Chicken Sausages from TJ

Corn Waffles

Pumpkin Pancakes

Cream Toffee Dip for our Bstudy ladies on Wednesday morning

Lentil Chard Soup that I made over the weekend.

Lots of oats and scrambled eggs and grilled chicken on spinach for me!

 

31 Days of Hymns: For the Beauty of the Earth

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For the Beauty of the Earth

I took a little break in Little Rock, unplugged except for my phone, and didn’t have time to pre-write all the hymn blogs before I left – we had a lot of celebrating going on!

One of the reasons I love this hymn is because of the movie Little Women.  You know the scene where they are all dancing around the canopy at the wedding – singing this song.  Then my Mister includes it on his cd and I love that version too.

So, the reason I include it in this month is because I love FALL (really, who doesn’t?).  I love the crisp weather, all the fun stuff you can do in the kitchen, and football, birthdays, our anniversary, and the colors!

When I read one of the stanzas, I’m also reminded of how much we live by our calendars and our phones – instead of just putting everything down and running through leaves.  Most of us don’t tend to be “lazy” we tend to be too busy.  But then we are too busy with the least important things.  I’m guilty of this too.

But, if we can just take more minutes of our days to play in the earth that God gave us!

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

posted in: The Charming South Kitchen | 0

Eggs

Yay for celebration week!  It is our 3 year anniversary.  I love October (and the last 11 days of September).  It is a great time of the year for our family!

A fall salad with roasted squash, pears, pecans, goat cheese, cranberries – and a maple mustard vinaigrette.  I’ll post recipe later.

The Angus Barn chocolate chess pie

King’s Hawaiian Breakfast Casserole

Turkey Enchiladas

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pumpkin Ravioli (date night in)

The rest will be eaten out – and some of the above will be eaten with friends.  I love sharing food with good friends.