Friday, July 28, 2017

Stuffed Peppers with Grits and Sausage

Oh my...we loved this. Cheesy grits and spicy sausage made for a filling, well, filling. And the addition of grape tomatoes and fresh basil allowed us to use some produce from our garden and made the dish seem more summer-y. Not to mention how pretty is the final result? I served ours with roasted Brussels sprouts. Perfect summer meal.
Stuffed Peppers with Grits and Sausage
{Southern Living magazine}
3 large red bell peppers (about 20 oz.)
1 Tablespoon canola oil
3 hot Italian pork sausage links (casings removed)
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup), divided
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Microwave bell peppers on high 2 minutes to soften slightly. Cut bell peppers in half through the stem. Remove seeds and white membranes using a serrated tomato corer or melon baller, leaving stem intact. Discard seeds and membranes.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage to skillet; cook 4 minutes, stirring to break into small pieces. Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is cooked and onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage mixture from pan. Add cornmeal to skillet; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, milk, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt to skillet; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in parsley, sausage mixture, and half of the cheese. Divide mixture evenly among bell pepper halves. Place side by side on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese is browned and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes and basil; toss to coat. Serve over peppers. (I did this but didn't photograph was a tasty addition to the stuffed peppers!)
Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Summer is winding down, and I'm not happy about it!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Nordstrom Sale Picks

I know I'm the first blogger ever to write a post on my favorite picks from the Nordstrom sale. Right? Ha. I know a lot of y'all are tired of the Nordstrom posts (myself included), so this will be my one and only. I wanted to share my roundup before the sale went live for the public. Right now, it's only available to shop for Nordstrom cardholders, and that's not moi. I *think* and have heard that many of the items that have previously sold out will be restocked, so if you see something you love, I'd grab it early on.

I know it's been said, but it really is a great time to stock up on some fall favorites...and to get those items that you've had your eye on but have been above your price point. It's also a good time to pick out gifts to hold onto for later. That's what I like to do!

So, here's my roundup. Let me know what you think, and let me know in the comments if there's anything you'll be adding to your cart! Happy shopping!

**Affiliate links used.**


A simple grey sweater, but the bell sleeves bring it up a notch. Looks so cozy.
Loving the colors in this blanket scarf.
Everyone's favorite denim. I am so curious to try these. I don't think I've ever read one bad review.
Make + Model makes the coziest loungewear. I'd live in this sweatshirt.
An earring you could wear everyday. Love that it's an ear crawler but isn't too over-the-top.
Purple velvet sneakers! These were made for me. Drooling over here.
The cutest tote bag, and the price is ridiculously good.
A pretty poncho that would look great with denim or black pants.
Adore this cozy throw. And it comes in tons of colors.
Everyone needs a classic chambray shirt, and the ruffled detail at the neck makes this one extra special.
Kind of like the above jeans, I haven't read a bad review on this bra. I always stock up on bras during the Nordstrom sale, and Natori is one of my favorite brands.
Adore this camel color, and the length is perfect. Covers the bum, ladies!
The holy grail of workout pants. I have the cropped version and wear them often.
I'm a candle-holic and have always liked this brand. Would make a perfect gift and comes in a variety of scents.
Y'all know I like a little tie or twist at the bottom of my tops. This one is so cute.
Would add a bit of edge to any outfit. Love that it's suede.
Such versatile sneakers that you could wear with workout gear or with jeans and a simple top.
I have a Lulu DK necklace and wear it daily. Such good quality! And if this wouldn't make the perfect Christmas gift I don't know what would.
Looks like a go-to sweater during the cooler months, and the zippered back is so cute.
I have these pants in two colors and wear them almost every day. They're the softest things ever.
A light jacket that could take you into early fall. And when it's zipped it takes on an entirely different look. Love it.
A perfect neutral bootie. I'm so stoked that bootie season is getting closer.
The comfiest panties on the planet.
How sweet and feminine are these flats? That ankle strap is just divine.
I'm still a fan of the cold shoulder trend...and I like that we can carry it into fall.
I'd keep this sweatshirt on me at all times for something quick to throw on when I get chilly.
Tie Knot Sweatshirt
Blue suede sneakers? Sold! I have a leopard pair of Ugg sneakers, and they're so darn comfy.
This is sitting in my cart as we speak...or as I type. ;) I have a Barefoot Dreams bathrobe, and it's just too bulky for me. If I could cut it off I would, or instead I could get this cardigan. And never take it off.
Such a cute anorak. Love the length and the color.
Another silver sneaker, but I like the fact that this one is more muted. So if the bright silver is too much for you, check this one out.
Another pretty, drapey cardigan that's long enough to cover the bum.
This is probably my favorite item from the sale. What a classic, cool purse. Love the color. Still pricey but discounted nicely.
Well there you go! I had so much fun putting this post together. Hope everyone is able to find some good deals on some things they love. Now if it would just cool off a bit! ;)

Monday, July 17, 2017

To the Lady Who Honked at Me at Chick-fil-A

I was in the Chick-fil-A drive-through a few days ago, minding my own business, merging into one of two lanes before ordering our food. I jumped, hearing the person behind me laying on her horn. She threw her hands up in the air, and I was so confused. Is she honking at me? What did I do? Maybe I have a flat tire, and she's trying to get my attention? So she pulls into the lane next to me, and I roll down my window. I ask, "Did you honk at me?" She replies, "Yes, you merged in front of me and the eight cars behind me. It wasn't your turn." I told her I had no idea (I truly didn't) and told her she was welcome to get in front of me. She said in the huffiest tone, "It's too late now." There was nothing left to do but to apologize and awkwardly sit in line next to her while we waited for our food.

I rolled up my window; my face got hot, and my eyes filled with tears. And then the ridiculousness of it all made me cry even more. Here I was at Chick-fil-A, in the heart of the suburbs, upset over a soccer mom honking at me. There are people in this world who don't know when they'll get their next meal, and I'm letting something so silly ruin my day? Get a grip, I tried to tell myself! But I couldn't control it. The tears kept flowing, and Hadley was in the back seat asking me why I was crying.

You know when you're having one of those days. It seems like nothing can go right; everything goes wrong; and as much as you try to laugh it off you just need a do-over? That's where I was. And this suburban mom schooling me just set me over the edge when I was already teetering there anyway.

The next day brought me my do-over and a fresh perspective. I thought about this interaction again, wondering why it'd made me so upset? Why am I always so sensitive? And instead of focusing on that (I'll probably always be sensitive, darnit), I thought about the many times that I have been that lady honking at the car that "butted" in line. How many times have I reacted to someone or something, without all the details, but assuming the worst? And how does that reaction make me feel?

Does honking at the person who pulled out in front of me (which might have been a dangerous move on their part but turned out to be OK) make me feel better? Or does it really just make me a little more rage-y?

Does saying something to the person who jumped in front of me in line make me feel vindicated? Or does it just raise my blood pressure and make me angry? "Who does she think he is? I'm not letting her get away with that," I often think to myself.

Or in the crowded waiting room, when the young man doesn't offer his seat to the elderly lady who walks in, I say under my breath, "Nice manners, buddy."

Or when the cashier is short with me and isn't as friendly as I expect her to be. "Gosh, what is her problem?"

Or when an acquaintance you stop and speak to isn't chatty and seems aloof and uninterested. "Wow, she's not the friendliest."

I'm not saying we need to let everything go. We don't need to allow ourselves to be bulldozed everywhere we go, or ignore people or situations that continually take advantage of us. But maybe sometimes we do? Maybe instead of assuming the worst, we try to assume the best instead?

When someone butts in front of you in line, instead of "Oh she must feel like she's entitled" instead think, "I bet she has no idea she just did that."

When the young man doesn't offer his seat to the elderly lady, instead of scoffing at his manners maybe think, "Gosh, I have no idea what could be going on with him. He looks healthy, but maybe he's not. Maybe he has to sit."

When the cashier is short, remember that she could be stressed, thinking about her sick child at home, or wondering how she's going to pay this month's bills.

When the acquaintance continuously seems aloof and doesn't have a lot to say, maybe she's not rude...maybe she's just shy and has a really hard time with small talk.

We most often know nothing about what's going on in a person's world. Life is hard, even on the best days. And even for those who seem to have it all together on the outside, we have no idea what's going on inside. That their world may be crumbling.

I think if we all could give grace more often we'd be so much happier and healthier. Right? It feels good to me to just let things go. To not let people or situations really affect me or my day. And choosing to see the best in people, rather than the worst, makes me see the world in a brighter light.

So the next time I'm tempted to puff my chest and be on the defense, I'm going to choose to give grace instead. And the next time someone honks at me (and it's bound to happen), I'm going to extend grace to them (and to myself) as well.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cheeseburger Pizza

When you can't decide between a cheeseburger or a slice of pizza, why not have both? This is a fun recipe too because you could easily add any of your other tried-and-true burger toppings. I may add a few dill pickles next time! The original recipe calls for a homemade pizza crust, but I don't have the time or the patience for that. I always buy the package of 2 premade crusts at Kroger and make 2 pizzas. Makes dinnertime so easy. Kids love this meal too, and I thought it turned out really pretty. Y'all know I love food that tastes AND looks good! :) Enjoy!
Cheeseburger Pizza
{Southern Living magazine}
Premade pizza crust of your choosing
12 ounces ground beef
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup jarred pasta sauce
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups pre-shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/4 cup ketchup
Preheat oven according to premade pizza crust package directions. (Brands may vary slightly.)
Cook ground beef in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high, stirring often, until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Add mushrooms to hot drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden (about 5 minutes).
Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown. Remove mushrooms and onions with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Brush premade crust with olive oil.
Top crust with pizza sauce, beef, mushroom-onion mixture, shredded cheeses, and olives. Drizzle with ketchup.
Place pizza on middle of oven rack and bake for 8-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
Hope everyone has a happy Hump Day!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekend Update + Recipe for Fluffy Slime

Hey guys! How was everyone's weekend? I've always felt that summer is on the downward slope once the 4th is over, and it feels like that even more this year. School resumes in one month. Yikes.
I imagine when people look back at the summer of 2017 one word will come to mind: slime. It's been the summer of slime, right? We finally made our own on Friday, and it was so much fun! I'm going to share the recipe I found below because I found it was not as messy as I thought it was going to be.



Elmer's Washable Glue
Foaming Shaving Cream (the white, fluffy kind)
Baking Soda
Food Coloring
Saline Solution for Sensitive Eyes
Measure 3-4 cups of shaving cream into a bowl. (We used 3 cups.)
Add a few drops of food coloring.
Add 1/2 cup of glue and mix thoroughly.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Mix.
Add 1 Tablespoon of the saline solution and mix well.
Your slime is ready! **I found that kneading the slime with my hands for a few minutes made the mixture less sticky and more fluffy. The mixture will stick to your hands at first. The best way to get the mixture off your hands (and to make it less sticky) is to keep kneading it and keep playing with it! After a few minutes our hands were clean.**
Also important to note, most slime recipes contain a form of boron. In our recipe it was found in the saline solution. I don't know much about chemistry, but experts agree to wash your hands after playing with slime. So that's what we did! :)
Saturday we had donuts on the front porch and spent the afternoon swimming at Pop and J's. We had blue cheese burgers for dinner, and we all went to bed that night tired from the sun and water. Typical summer day!
Yesterday we made more slime (because it really is that fun), and we went to see "Despicable Me 3." It was really cute and clever. Animated movies just amaze me. And there was a Minion in the concession area so that was fun too.
Today starts Vacation Bible School for Lily. Hadley can't attend until she's 5, and I'm the bad mom who didn't sign up early enough to serve as a volunteer. Whoops. Hadley and I have lots of fun errands planned (ha), and then we'll pick sister up around lunchtime and will probably spend our afternoon making more slime. Seriously.
I hope everyone has a great day and a happy week ahead. I'll leave you with two funny pics of my girls.
Below, I caught the stinker on the right mid-hit.