Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Weekend Recap and a Recipe!

I cannot believe that it's already the last day of October, where has this year gone?! In my mind, the holiday season starts tomorrow and you better believe that I will be busting out the Christmas music! But back to today...I didn't dress up for Halloween this year, but we did have a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

Oh, and Lola dressed up. As a hot dog.


Saturday, we took Lola to a dog Howl-a-ween party (that's really what it was called, so clever...) at a place near our house called Zoom Room, which is a dog agility gym. It was actually a lot of fun, and I loved seeing all the dogs in their costumes because dogs in costumes are freaking adorable. Plus, Lola had a blast. 


These people actually dressed up in scuba suits to match their dog's shark costume...I may be nuts, but I'm not that crazy!

Well this is awkward...
I'm proud to say that Lola took second place in the costume contest! Woo!! She won five sessions of open gym, and I'm excited to take her back and work on some agility skills. 

The Howl-a-ween party was pretty much the highlight of the weekend (seriously though), but did do a few other fun things this weekend as well. Saturday morning, we went and watched the Michigan game at one of our favorite breweries in Longmont, and it was another victory for our Wolverines who beat Purdue 36 to 14. 

My blingy Michigan shirt (you're welcome for this super sweet bathroom pic)
Cam is too into the game/growing his beard to smile
Yesterday, we drove around Rocky Mountain National Park and it was beautiful with the we got some good pictures of our little fam that I'm planning on using for our Christmas card.

Then last night we carved our pumpkins and I'm really happy with how they came out.

Cam's pumpkin--he's a traditionalist, he only likes to do a face on the pumpkin
My Go Boo (ha) pumpkin, I was actually pretty proud of my carving skills! 

Also, I have seriously been cooking a storm lately and I have a backlog of recipe photos that I need to put up. So stay tuned for some tasty eats in the near future (or whenever I actually have time to put them up!) I do have one recipe from the weekend that I thought I just had to share today and it's for the best roasted pumpkin seeds you'll ever have. No really, they are so good! I was just going to do something boring and put a little oil and salt on them, when I found this recipe and thought it sounded interesting. I'm so glad I did because the result was delicious. If you have pumpkin seeds, you need to give it a try.

 Cumin Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 350º and line two small baking sheets with parchment or foil.
-In two small bowls, combine all ingredients for each batch of pumpkin seeds.  Stir to coat completely.  Spread evenly onto the two prepared baking sheets.
-Bake for 8-14 minutes, or until seeds are crunchy.  This will depend largely on the size of your seeds, so check them frequently.

*Recipe Source:  Cook Like a Champion

I've seriously been snacking on them all afternoon. Yum yum. 

That's all for now, tonight's agenda consists of passing out candy to trick-or-treaters slash eating the candy that we don't pass out...yay! Have a happy Halloween everyone! Xoxo

Friday, October 28, 2011

TGIF Randomness

I am so SO happy it's Friday people. Seriously.

Cam has been out of town for work this week, but thankfully he gets back today and I can't wait to see him! Every time he has to travel for work, it always creates a lot of anxiety for me because I do NOT like being home by myself. I know that I've addressed this issue before and while it's something I'm trying to deal with, it's still difficult for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my own company and it is nice to have some time to myself. The problem is we don't really know many people in Colorado (in large part due to the fact that we've pretty much been traveling or had out of town almost every weekend since we've been here) and so it gets pretty lonely coming home from work and not having anyone to talk to. Also, it's hard not having family or friends around because I worry who I would call in case of an emergency. I know plenty of people live alone and love it, but it's something I've never done so it makes me uncomfortable. I also still struggle with my irrational fears that someone is going to break into our apartment when I'm sleeping (yes, I realize that is totally nuts) and so I never really sleep all that well when Cam is traveling. (And I totally check all the rooms/closets/under the bed before I go to I said carazay).  I know that he's going to have to travel for work in the future, so this is something that I'm really trying to work on. I feel like I'm making progress, but I feel that I still have a long way to go...

So this weekend, I'm really looking forward to getting some much needed rest and spending time relaxing with my hubby and Lolz. We don't have any big Halloween plans, and that's perfectly fine by me. I'm just happy the weekend is here, and so in honor of that I thought I'd share a few cell phone photos of things that put a smile on my face this week:

Lola and I got up early this morning and went for a walk just after the sun came up, and while it was freezing, it was also really peacful and the mountains look so gorgeous with all the new snow.
The views from where I walk Lola in the mornings...

Lola being confused about the world around her, per usual.
View driving in to our apartment complex
Due to lack of sleep this week, I was loving me some Starbucks. We've got a lot of great local coffee shops here in Boulder, but sometimes, I just want Starbucks. I hadn't tried their fall scones yet, so I tried them each (on separate days) this week. I need to find a recipe to replicate these at home ASAP because they were both so delicious!

Maple Pecan
In addition to the great views I get right around my apartment, I'm really blessed to have some awesome places where I run/walk on a regular basis. Colorado is a gorgeous place and I'm trying to get out and enjoy the beauty as much as I can. I'm definitely still not used to seeing mountains everywhere all the time, and I still constantly driving around awestuck (not the safest way to drive...oh well). We're so lucky to be able to live here and I don't ever want to take my surroundings for granted.

View from the lake near my house aka my new favorite running spot

Sidenote: I took these the DAY before it snowed...shows you how quick the weather can change out here!
View from the trail behind my office where I usually walk or run at lunch
I am loving another one of my Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polishes, this time in Plum's the Word. It's a pretty grayish purple that's great for this time of year. (Ignore the awkard photo of my hand...) You can buy it here.

And last but not least, I had to include this photo because it's just ridiculous.

I know that y'all probably think that I am nuts for how much I post about my dog, but seriously, she's awesome. I so appreciate her company when Cam's out of town, and she makes it much easier for me. I want to send this picture in to Hipster Puppies. Ha.

That's all for now kiddies, have a great weekend! Xoxo

PS: My blogging buddy Ashley from Adventures of Newlyweds just opened up an Etsy shop to raise $$ for her puppy's surgery. You can read more about it here on her blog, so if you're interested in picking up some adorable jewelry for a good cause, definitely go check it out! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

I'm a little behind on posting recipes I've made recently, but I just couldn't wait any longer to share this delicious and healthy dinner that I made (a few weeks ago now I think). I know that I often post recipes for my more indulgent baking experiments, but I thought I'd change it up a little with this nutritious main dish. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers are a great vegetarian meal (I swear we do eat meat sometimes, but usually my vegetarian recipes are a little more creative!) that is full of protein thanks to my favorite superfood, quinoa! I've always had stuffed peppers with rice, but the quinoa is a nice alternative that helps to give this meatless meal a little more substance. As always, I'm sharing the original recipe (which is from Sweet Peas Kitchen) with my modifications in parentheses.

Here's what you'll need: 

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced (I always double the garlic in any recipe)
1 8-oz. package mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced very thin (I omitted these) 
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
3/4 cup quinoa
3 large carrots, grated (1 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 ounce) can low-sodium vegetable broth (I used chicken broth instead)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed (I used green instead as the red peppers at the market the day I shopped for this recipe were not looking so great, plus I think you get more visual appeal with the green peppers in this recipe!)

Here's what you'll need to do:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and poblano pepper and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. 

Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. 

Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. 

Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in quinoa, carrots and vegetable broth. 

Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and stir in black beans, corn and 1 cup cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour reserved liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. 

Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. 

Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving. 

Enjoy!! Xoxo

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday: Snow Day Edition

This morning, I woke up to this: 

So crazy. And it's still snowing. It's supposed snow all day with an additional 4-8 inches of accumulation on top of what we already have. I am not very happy about this. I'm told that an October snow storm is fairly typical here in Colorado, and it's supposed to be in the mid-60's all weekend, so I know it won't be around for long. But still. Not happy. 

I made the executive decision to have a snow day today. I'm from Michigan so I can drive in the snow (that's a lie...I'm still terrible at it) but I just didn't want to risk getting stuck at work since the roads are supposed to get worse, not better. 

So instead of being negative, I'm linking up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday and focusing on some of the good things about today's little snowstorm:

+I'm currently listening to Christmas music...snow in October definitely justifies Christmas music in October thank you very much! I also just ordered this album from Amazon, and I'm so excited to listen to it non-stop for the next two months. Zooey Deschanel is my fav. 

+Last night, I turned on our fireplace and Lola is obsessed. She's been sitting by it all morning staring at the snowdrifts. Precious. 

+In preparation for last night's storm I made my first cup of hot cocoa of the season. Definitely necessary. Also, if you haven't tried this hot chocolate yet you should because it's worth the splurge. 

+I also busted out my cozy Christmas socks and my holly PJs last night...and I'm still wearing them right now...snow day protocol.

+I've got a big stack of magazines with my name on it. Love. 

+I'm starting to work on some Christmas presents seems fitting with the snow, and after all Christmas is now less than two months away, yay!

+I plan on baking something yummy at some point today...recipe/photos to come! I also plan on watching this movie because I love it and it's kind of Christmas-y. 

+Last but not least, I'm loving some of Christmas Pinterest finds...

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Alrighty, back to enjoying my winter wonderland...hope y'all are having a great (read: warmer) day! xoxo


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