Saturday, October 31, 2015

Football Schedule Chalkboard

In all honesty, and despite being raised in a huge football household, I'm not a big football fan. I do, however, love a good rivarly game, a close fourth quarter, last minute upsets, etc. etc. The family I grew up in are Michigan Wolverines and USC Trojans fans. In recent years, I've come to love the Navy Midshipmen, mostly because I didn't have a choice. ;)

We kicked off this year's college football season in Annapolis together! Prior to leaving for Maryland, I made this football schedule on one of our chalkboards. My husband was beyond stoked when he got home from work and saw it hanging near the television.

I put the date and "vs." or "@" the opposing team.  (Yes, my chalk writing needs some help-- I'm working on it... this is not reflective of my actual handwriting.) ;) ;)

As we work our way through the football season, I wipe the date away and add a "W" or "L" (out of the past 13 games Navy has played, they've won 11, and the two losses have been to Notre Dame-- hoping to beat them in coming years!).

This is an easy way to convince your husband that you need to buy that super cute chalkboard you saw in the store. ;)

GO NAVY! Beat Army!

Love & Best Wishes,

Thursday, October 29, 2015

White Chicken Chili

As the weather cools (which means from 100 to 85 here in AZ, haha), I always develop a craving for home cooked, warm, delicious, comfort food. Tonight, I am delivering chili to our squadron Marines who live in the barracks (generally the younger, single Marines). The squadron spouses and I are doing this to bring them a taste of home and to show them how much they are appreciated for all that they do. There will be a variety of chilis, along with cornbread, dessert, drinks, and all of the fixins (Fritos, etc.). I decided to make a White Chicken Chili in case there are some Marines who don't prefer a tomato based chili. This chili is somewhat reminiscent of tortilla soup. I've adapted my recipe from the Neelys. *Disclaimer: while I tend to solely use organic & natural ingredients for the most part in our home cooking, I did not for this recipe due to the cost & the fact that those consuming are not typically organic consumers since they usually eat in the air station chow hall. However, this recipe is still relatively healthy, and I do suggest that you use as many natural and organic ingredients in your own cooking as you can possibly afford and obtain.*

 I roasted salted and peppered chicken breasts in a glass dish at 425* for 20 minutes.
Then placed one at a time in the mixer to shred.

Easiest way to shred chicken!

Next, I roasted the jalapenos on each side under the broiler.

Seeded them.


Repeated this process for the green chiles.

I had rinsed and soaked these Northern beans since morning.


Divided in half.

Blended half.

Added some broth to assist in blending.

This bean paste will help to thicken the chili.

Then, I chopped and sauteed onions.

Added spices (cumin, chili powder, S&P) with the jalapenos and green chiles, then sauteed for a minute or two.

Then, I added the chopped garlic & chicken broth. I decided to follow a suggestion of another blogger who changed this recipe add frozen corn to make it heartier.

All of these little guys will soak up the flavorful goodness around them.

Simmered for two hours.

Enjoyed a glass and a taste of home while I waited.
Love that Ancient Peaks logo. ;) ;)

I added the shredded chicken, cheese, and juice of a few limes and stirred.
Then it was ready to serve (for taste testing purposes of course)! ;)

Plated the chili with blue tortilla chips.

Topped with avocado, cilantro, green onions, pico de gallo, sour cream,
and a lime to squeeze for extra zesty flavor.

Our "taste test" was DELICIOUS! 
I know the Marines will love this tonight, and it'll taste even better 
after sitting in the pot overnight and being simmered to reheat again! 

I hope you enjoy it, too!
Love & Best Wishes,

I tripled and changed the following recipe.

White Chicken Chili
Recipe courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely

2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans (I used dry Northern)
1 tablespoon canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped (I used green chiles)
1 large onion, chopped (I used yellow)
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (I did not add coriander)
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 limes, juiced, plus lime wedges, for serving
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded (I used chicken breasts)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Sour cream, for topping
Tortilla chips, coarsely crushed, for topping
(I added corn while cooking, and topped with additional toppings of avocado, pico de gallo, and green onions)

Drain and rinse the canned white beans. In a medium bowl, mash half of the beans with a potato masher until chunky (I used the blender). Reserve the beans until needed.

Add the canola oil (or EVOO) to a large Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt, and pepper, to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and continue to saute for 1 more minute to toast the spices. Stir in the chicken stock, and lime juice (I added the lime juice at the end) and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes (I simmered much longer to cook the beans and have the flavors come together).

After 20 minutes of simmering, taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and cilantro (I left the cilantro out to be a topping in case someone didn't prefer cilantro) and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes. Serve the chili in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.
© 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BIY // DIY Open Console

Hi Friends! I wanted to share some photos of the open console that my husband built! I have not yet finished styling it, as I had to order some items, but this is temporarily styled with items that I already had around the house. Enjoy!

We stained the top with Minwax Special Walnut, and painted the lower portion with Valspar Chalk Paint in Her Dainties. More to come on the actual building process soon. Plus, another post to follow once I've received my order in the mail and re-styled the console! :)

Love & Best Wishes!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Outdoor Italian Dinner

This past weekend, our friends gathered to celebrate my husband's (and two others) recent promotions. explains, "Whenever an officer is promoted, he customarily holds a 'wetting-down party.' At this time the new commission is said to be 'wet down.' When several officers are promoted at the same time, they frequently have a single wetting-down party."

 We went with an outdoor Italian dinner theme, and strung globe lights across the yard and had a few Italian touches. We had an Italian dinner catered, had an Italian soda bar, and played bocce!

I got the florals at a very reasonable cost (including delivery) from Sam's Club.

The caterers did a nice job setting up the tables. We had Italian bread with EVOO and balsamic on the tables prior to dinner, and guests also munched on a variety of types of bruschetta during cocktail hour.

 The caterers set up on the back patio.

Dining tables were set up on the lawn, along with cocktail tables between those and the bocce court.

 We kept the bar menu relatively simple, and with a large group of military men, we crushed the bar in the single evening. 

 I brought out lamps for the bartender, and they actually ended up looking pretty cute!
 This was the Italian soda bar and instructions.

The caterers did a great job and dinner was delicious! I typed a menu so that guests knew ahead of time what would be offered (this especially helps those with food allergies such as myself)...
...which means I didn't get to have any of those^^ :-/ 

The guys enjoyed bocce and cornhole.

Happy hearts.

Cocktail hour and dinner.

Boys + booze + pool = midnight swimming... luckily, us ladies managed to stay dry.  Last guest (who didn't fall asleep) left just shy of 2 AM, so I'd say it was a successful wetting down! ;)

MAJOR congratulations, guys!! ;) ;)