Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recipe Club: Turkey Taco Bowl

Today I'm linking up for Andrea's Recipe Club and sharing a SUPER simple, delicious and healthy dinner!! What's not to love?!

The past two months I have shared yummy desserts. You can check out my Strawberry Cake here and my Swiss Chocolate Cake here. Before you girls start thinking that's all I can make, I decided it was high time I share something other than a sweet!

And that's where my Turkey Taco Bowl comes into play!
 Most of your time will be spent on prepping your veggie toppings. Other than that, this is really easy to throw together.

First, I prepped everything that I was cooking with the ground turkey. I don't's all about preferences and personal tastes. This is what I added to our mixture:

1 chopped onion
4 small chopped peppers
Crushed Red Pepper
Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper
Ground Turkey

You can add and adjust to meet your family's tastes. There's really no way to mess this up. And isn't that just fabulous to hear?!

Throw all that in your skillet with your ground turkey and cook until done. Drain any excess fat from the meat.

Remaining Ingredients we used:

Cherry Tomatoes
Green Onion
Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream
Black Beans
Whole Kernel Corn
Brown Rice

While the meat is cooking, I cooked the brown rice. 

As far as toppings go, I warmed up some corn and black beans. Chopped a head of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and green onions. We also used shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream. You could also add peppers, olives, tortilla chips, whatever!!

Then, all that's left to do is pick and choose what you put on your plate or in your bowl!

We assembled ours more like salads, but this could easily be turned into nachos, tacos or burritos. So many options!!

It's that easy and dinner is served!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sprucing Up for the 4th!!

First off, thank you all SO very much for the kind, kind words about my last post that I shared on Facebook! Our home is a far cry from fancy, but it’s perfect for us and we LOVE it!

With the holiday weekend quickly approaching, I thought I would share my 4th of July home décor.

Normally, I like to put my pieces up before Memorial Day and leave them up throughout June & July, this year I was a little late in getting them out. Last year, we had just moved into our house and I didn’t put anything out at all until my Fall décor.
This wraps up decorating for every holiday in our new home. I have LOVED getting to doll up different areas, but especially our fireplace mantel! Hands down my favorite space to spruce up with holiday cheer!!

That being said, I’m sharing this special place first!
I’ve had this “Old Glory” metal sign FOREVER. Forever as in, I can’t remember where it came from. I ALMOST want to say Tractor Supply. And I have no clue WHY. I mean, really, who thinks of going to Tractor Supply for home décor?! Ok, maybe the Pioneer Woman or someone living a fabulous ranch life like her. “Honey, I think I’ll stop by the Tractor Supply today….pick up some feed, some fencing materials, maybe a spark plug for the mower, oh and a decorative piece for the mantel!” Said NO ONE ever.

I found this random red gingham bow in a box I had in storage. I just about threw it away and then thought I could mix it in and make it work. It works.
The garland and picks came from Hobby Lobby. I am convinced you can spruce up your normal everyday décor with things like this and they are CHEAP! Quick, easy, inexpensive way to spice things up for a holiday!
Some of the flags also came from Hobby Lobby and the others were ones I’ve had for a very long time. (Define “very long time” as these two flags were on a shelf in my childhood room. Same childhood room that was painted pink and housed a playpen full of Cabbage Patch Dolls, Barbies and a pink Barbie Convertible. I’m almost 32 now. Like I said, “very long time.”)
In our small foyer area, I’ve found another quick, easy and sometimes FREE way to add a festive touch. I change these two frames out with a seasonal printable when I decorate.
For example, I will google something like, “4th of July printable”…search through the images until I find one I like. Click on the source and the MAJORITY of the time there’s a link to download the printable so that it will print in its best quality. I’ve changed these frames out for every season / holiday and so far, I’ve just paid for 2. I found them on Etsy and they were perfect! Etsy has a great selection of printables; most are instant downloads and most are inexpensive. The most I paid was $5. Easy peasy way to decorate!

On to my floating kitchen shelves. I have yet to purchase anything for these shelves. I just use something small that I have and add it to at least one, maybe two shelves. For the 4th, I’ve added a red, white and blue pail and flag painting I did a few years ago.

I also love decorating our table. Even though, it’s just the two of us, we use this table frequently for meals. However, we also use the couch that’s parked in front of the tv sometimes too. (We really love fixing our plates, getting comfy on the couch and watching “Wheel of Fortune” as we eat dinner. What can I say? We live on the edge.)

For Christmas Stephen’s aunt made me a reversible table runner. I have the red side showing now the other is green and white chevron. It’s been such a versatile easy piece to use for literally every holiday. The only one I’m not sure about yet is Thanksgiving but I think I can work with it!!

The milkglass vase came from a local store, The Painted House. The picks and flags are also from Hobby Lobby.

I typically keep a wreath on the inside of our front and side door. My friend Amy made both of these (along with several other seasonal wreaths) for my wedding gift! Talk about a great and thoughtful gift!! I love the 4th of July wreath! She did such a good job!

The “anytime” wreath is made so that I can change out the fabric flowers with various colors to match whatever season or holiday is approaching. The way this color combo turned out has been one my favorites I’ve done since I’ve had it!

And that’s the grand tour!! Hope you’ve enjoyed some of my décor tips & tricks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kitchen Tour

Well friends, I’m doing something today that I wasn’t sure I’d ever really do. I’m doing a room tour of our home. I LOVE seeing these kinds of posts on other blogs, but never thought I had anything “showcase” worthy. Our house is not large and elaborate. It’s 40 years old; but has had major renovations. It’s our HOME and we LOVE it! We love hosting friends and family in our home. In our first year here, we’ve hosted over 125 guests in our home at various times. I’ve hosted 2 Bridal Showers, 1 Baby Shower, our church’s Ladies Christmas Ornament Swap, and SEVERAL family dinners. With each new person that comes through our doors, comes sincere, heart-felt compliments which are very humbling and yet make me so proud!

Our kitchen, like most everyone’s kitchens, is the center-point of the house…where everyone gathers and lingers. It’s my favorite room; my favorite spot. I absolutely LOVE my kitchen. I love walking in there when I first get home from work and sun is pouring in the glass door and window above the sink. I love walking in there first thing in the morning and seeing the back yard glisten with overnight dew. AND I love walking in there late at night when just the light above the stove is on. It’s not fancy but it’s ours!!

Welcome to our kitchen!!

This view is looking in to our kitchen from the hallway / foyer. I love that we can open our front door and see people turning into our driveway as they arrive!
The wall paint is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt cut to 50%. I LOVE this shade. It’s calming and clean and goes GREAT with everything!!
First up is my antique hutch. I purchased this right out of college at a local antique store. It reminded me exactly of the one in Aunt Bea’s kitchen from “The Andy Griffith Show”!! Probably one of the best $100 I’ve ever spent!! 
I use the bottom cabinets to store all of our plastic food storage containers; and the drawers hold my kitchen towels. Behind the glass cabinet fronts are where all the “treasures” lie!! 
I don’t necessarily love collecting antiques but I do love collecting pieces that are from past family members. This hutch stores so many family stories! The lunchbox belonged to Stephen’s dad when he was young. The yellow and red small pitcher is from France that Stephen’s mom gifted me with. The recipe card box was made by a friend. There are several “I Love Lucy” trinkets!! The crocheted piece, metal bowl and pan are from my Great Aunt Dora’s kitchen. The glass bowl on a pedestal was from my Great Grandpa’s house…I’ve been told he kept jelly in this dish and used it every day for whatever kind of bread he had to eat. The ceramic crock with pink heart on the front was my grandmother’s. (Stephen and I stashed our honeymoon savings in this before we got married. Haha, it’s empty now.) The dried flowers are a corsage from one of my Bridal Showers. I have several random cook books on the top shelf. The Watkins box is for my other grandmother, who is still living. When I was young, she sold Watkins products and I thought that was just so cool. She’s still the best! The rest are just odds and ends I’ve collected along the way. On top of my fridge, I have a couple more family items. ( I have a soft spot in my heart for flour sifters. I’m weird.)
Next to my stove, I keep this Pampered Chef Turn-About Tool Caddy….let me tell ya. This thing…is HANDY! I bought this several, several years ago; they since have come out with a bamboo one. I would like to swap out for that at some point. 
Before we got married, we decided to register for Fiesta dinnerware and I am SOO beyond thrilled that we did! I LOVE opening my cabinets and seeing ALL the color! I also love all the serving pieces and “extras” that Fiesta makes! Fiesta is also somewhat of a Stafford tradition. Stephen’s parents have Fiesta and his grandparents have Fiesta. It’s just so FUN! (What’s not so fun are the 257 j-hooks that the former owner left in EVERY. SINGLE. CABINET. I mean, really. How many coffee cups did that woman hang?!)

A random wish list item I had when house shopping was a window above the kitchen sink! We had lived here several months when I decided on a whim one day that I wanted to make a curtain for the window. MAKE A CURTAIN. Folks, I don’t sew. I have many talents. Sewing ain’t one. I can’t even sew a button back on!! So while this curtain looks impressive, just know it’s held together by heavy iron creases and hot glue. I’m just waiting for the morning  I come through the house and it’s all unraveled. It’s just a matter of time. 
Sometime during high school I started having a strong LOVE for Tiffany lamps. I don’t know why or where it came from. But it was intense. My parents TOTALLY SURPRISED me with this lamp for my high school graduation. Some girls get a fancy trip, some get a fancy car….I got a lamp. I also keep my weekly Menu Plan notebook here along with the cutest Scentsy warmer EVER and a Fiesta bowl with grab and go items…chewing gum, mints, mini chocolate bars, etc. 
When we bought the house I knew I wanted to add floating shelves to the empty wall in the kitchen. It would be an easy space to decorate and change out hints of seasonal décor. (Hence, the 4th of July feel.) I found the print on Groopdealz and frame at Hobby Lobby. The shelves came from Lowes; the small ceramic colanders and fruit baskets are from World Market. The old hand-held strainers are from Stephen’s Great Grandmother.

I have had a chalkboard in my kitchen for the past 8 years; and I don’t foresee that ever changing. I often put Scripture on it; or something seasonal depending on the nearest holiday. If I’m hosting a shower, I’ll put something to go along with the theme or specific to the person we’re honoring. I stumbled upon this current design on Pinterest over the weekend and it just spoke to me for some particular situations we’re currently going through. I’ve repeated this to myself MANY times since finding it on Saturday. Our prayers and desires might not be answered the way WE want them to be answered….but God is still good. Things aren’t going the way I selfishly want them to, but God is still good. 
The aprons hanging below the chalkboard are some of my most treasured pieces. I have some newer ones that are just beautiful but the ones that my Aunt Dora, my Grandma Mildred “Mammy” Stephen’s great grandma wore, those are my favorites. All wonderful Christian women, all wonderful wives and mothers, all wonderful cooks…everything that I could hope to be. They spent tireless hours in their own kitchens providing for their families. I love having a piece of them and their examples with me in my kitchen! (We also keep bottled water & canned drinks in the floor below the aprons…it’s not the best look, but it’s real life. Haha.)
Finally, we have my baker’s rack which was a gift from my parents on my 30th birthday. It was the perfect thing to get me!! It basically looks like this year-round. At Christmas time, I add a Snowman print painted by Stephen’s Aunt Jan and a strand of lights on the top shelf. Other than that, it looks exactly like this the rest of the year. It serves two purposes: to display & to store. I use the bottom racks to store Fiesta platters and bowls and all my table linens…cloths, napkins, placemats. I also have several cook books on my baker’s rack and a bowl where I throw coupons and random recipe cards into. 
Two gifts we received for our wedding are also on display. We have very talented friends! 

I love using my Fiesta pitchers when we have guests over. Otherwise, they stay put right here. (I also LOVE Ree Drummond. Probably in an unhealthy, borderline stalkersish way, but that's a totally different story.) 

And this is the view from our living room and door going out to our back deck. 

Like I said, it’s not fancy…but it’s me. The ABSOLUTE BEST compliments I’ve received about our kitchen are the ones that have said, “It just looks like Erica’s touch.” Heart melts. It’s all I ever wanted!! I cannot wait to make so many memories in this space with friends and family and hopefully one day kids of our own running through grabbing something to eat off the island or running out the back door to play!!

This is home. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Around Here...

Just stopping in to share some things from life around here lately!

A couple weekends ago we got the great idea to power wash  / pressure wash our house. (I’m not sure which is the correct term; I’ve heard both.) Anyways….our house is brick with vinyl siding on the ends towards the roof and all the trim work of the house, carport, columns, etc.

We both ended up soaking wet and covered in dirt and grime by the time we were finished, BUT it was well worth it! (You can’t tell it that well here, but I’m covered in little flakes of dirt…so gross.) Everything was clean, bright white & sparkly. (We did our back deck to and that puppy looked like a brand spankin’ new addition when we were done with it!)

We celebrated with the Wilsons on my besties birthday with dinner out and then an impromptu trip to Kroger to pick out a cake. Because every girl needs a cake on her birthday!

We swapped spouses for approximately 5 minutes while she, Stephen and little Ben went to pick out ice cream. While her husband and I picked out the cake and had the nice lady behind the counter write on it for us! After we got back to their house, we revealed the cake to her…

FYI…her name is Emilee, not Barbara. We just decided to spice up her a cake a little….birthdays are meant to be FUN, right?!

A while back, I posted about our roses that are blooming. Because I feel like I’m slowly turning into an 80 yr old woman, here’s the latest pics of our roses. I check on them every day….at least twice a day. I will definitely be THAT mom one day yelling at my kids to stay away from the roses.

Last Thursday night, I volunteered with a group from the hospital to man the phones during our local Great TV Auction. This is our third or fourth year participating and it’s so much fun! It takes place over two weekends Thursday – Sunday nights. Last weekend, I won my first EVER item off the auction! I was so excited!! The Auction is as old as I am….I’ve always enjoyed watching it through the years and seeing so many local faces on TV.

Lest we forget to mention my 3rd favorite holiday that we celebrate today! National Donut Day!!!! Behind Thanksgiving and Christmas it’s my next favorite holiday. I mean, really. It is. This morning we celebrated with a box of treats from two local donut shops!!

I big pink puffy heart LOVE donuts!!

One proud daddy sent me this photo of my painting in their little girl’s nursery! I just LOVE seeing my pieces in their homes!! (It’s a little fuzzy, but you get the drift of how perfect it is!)
Speaking of little girls, I whipped up this chalkboard for a co-worker who was hosting a Pink Lemonade themed baby shower. I LOVE all things chalk (almost as much as my love for donuts!)

We had our two spare bedrooms painted a couple weeks ago. One will be a nursery one day, the other is a guest bedroom already. I finally had time to put everything back in its place in the guest. We have a large cabinet in that room that houses a TON of “stock” items…think shower gel, our travel toiletry bag, etc. The cabinet was running over so I spent Sunday afternoon doing what I do best, purging! I have almost an entire shelf empty now!! The only thing left is to hang some items back on the walls and the room will be complete! (More pics to come in the future!!)

Sunday night, my friend Amy and her little boy, Daniel, came over after church while her husband had a work event to go to. I’ll take any excuse for snuggling with a baby!!!

Stephen looks uninterested, but don’t you worry, he already had his turn!

If you follow me on IG, a lot of these pics are repeats of posts on there, but now you get a bit more backstory behind them!!

Stop back by tomorrow, I’m sharing my favorite room in the house! It’s a Kitchen Tour at Second House on the Right!!