Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I give you, our pumpkins!

Have a great day! Ours began with some delicious pumpkin pancakes!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tricks and Treats

Happy Halloween weekend!! I am deeply looking forward to the next few days as we're doing the wine tasting thing with some dear friends, watching game 3 and 4 of the World Series {GO GIANTS!!} and celebrating Halloween with family where we will, of course, be handing out candy to dressed up little sweetie pies!

Have a spooky weekend!

ps~ If you couldn't already tell, we LOVE the wine country!

{photos from one of our trips last year}

{fitting that he's wearing Giants attire}

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Pie Oatmeal

This week I wanted to put my homemade applesauce to use and was craving something new and different with my morning oatmeal-enter delicious apple infused oats! And now I'm a little obsessed. Though I suppose there are worse things to be obsessed with!

Apple Pie Oatmeal

1/2 cup oatmeal (steel cut oats would be great too!)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 tsp Apple Pie Spice
A sprinkle of raw sugar

Cook oatmeal as usual. Stir in applesauce and sprinkle the top with Apple pie spice and raw sugar. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sharing the Love

According to Google Analytics, I have a very popular recipe on the blog. Who knew? Ever since I posted my version of Slow Cooker Chicken Cassoulet last November, it has been searched and clicked on countless times. In fact, it is by far my highest viewed post and has been viewed so many times, my post now comes up on the first page of a google search! Crazy, right! Apparently people love chicken cassoulet. But who wouldn't once you've tasted it!

So I feel obligated to share with you lovely readers, once again, the somewhat humble recipe that has certainly become a favorite cold-weather comfort meal for the Hansens. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cassoulet
Recipe adapted from Clean Eating

1 (15 oz) can navy beans, pinto beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and well drained
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 2/3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
4 garlic cloves passed trough a garlic press
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 T. thyme
2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley

And just a side note, fresh herbs can be substituted for dried herbs, just make sure to use a bit less since they are more concentrated.

1. Spread half the beans in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Season chicken with pepper and sea salt. Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. Brown the chicken on both sides (about 2-3 minutes each side). Place the browned chicken on top of the beans in the slow cooker. Top with remaining beans and chicken broth.
3. Saute the onion, celery, sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, garlic and herbs using the same skillet. Spread this mixture over the chicken. Cover and put on low heat for several hours.

**My special tip is to shred the chicken before serving to make this more like a stew. Trust me on this one!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keeping Warm

Chilly mornings have set in and I would like nothing more than to wrap myself in a cozy sweater, build a fire and watch old movies! I just came across this yummy find (which also happens to be on clearance at Anthropologie!). I think it fits the bill perfectly-paired with boots or a warm cuppa Earl Grey...

Wishing you warm and happy thoughts this Tuesday!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Rainy Weather Chili

Hearty, delicious and well-flavored-exactly how I would describe last night's dinner. Ever since reading about Bob's Redmill soup mixes in the latest issue of Clean Eating, I've been intrigued, so I bought some to try for myself. After a few weeks of mulling over what to add to the grain and bean mix, I finally settled on chili. And oh my, was that a good decision!

Whole Grain and Bean Chili
2 cups Bob's Redmill Whole Grain and Bean soup mix
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans chopped (no salt added) tomatoes
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 gloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp Southwest Spice blend

Soak grain and bean mix in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Add seasoning, tomatoes, 5-6 cups stock and Grain and Bean mix. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding stock as necessary. Serve warm with homemade cornbread! Enjoy!

Can't wait to get my hands on the Vegetable and 13 Bean mixes!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Hill

As usual, Apple Hill was everything I expected and more! This year we stopped at a new place called Jack Russel Brewery, which will definitely become a regular Apple hill lunch stop - hello tri-tip sandwich and vanilla stout! Yum-O! It rained pretty much our entire time up there, but we were well prepared. Have I mentioned I love this season?

Our first stop, Bill's Apples. Pretty grounds and this cute little shop.

At High Hill, were I pretty much go solely for their hot cider and apple fritter! And yes, I did share this ginormous thing with the hubs:)

I spy apples! We left with 6 lbs., I think.

Our last stop was Boa Vista Orchards for their pumpkin patch.

This picture makes me happy!

The rain has yet to let up, but I am totally okay with it because it is the perfect excuse to stay in my yoga pants and sweat shirt, making homemade applesauce and other apple treats with yesterday's fare!

Happy Sunday!

Psst~If you've never been to Apple Hill, you don't know what you're missing out on! Come visit us, we'll be happy to go again:)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Handpicked Goodness

The wonderfully talented sellers on Etsy never fail to spark my imagination. The "handpicked items" today are lovely and all inspired by a teal/cream pallete, which I just can't get enough of! Here are some of my fave finds today~

Pretty and useful business card holder by Etsyfabric

Fine Art Photography by NatalieFrench

Charming little greetings by OhHiShop

Vintage globe on wood base from opendoorstudio

Sheer love!

Sweets & Treats

Now that we're smack dab in the middle of Fall, the time has come to take a weekend jaunt up to Apple Hill! Oh how we love this Northern California tradition! Endless varieties of apples, apple butter, apple doughnuts, the best ever apple cider (unpasteurized, as it should be!), caramel apples, apple pie, basically everything apple you can dream up. And then there's the pumpkin patch, craft fair, face painting and any other imaginable Fall festivity. And this weekend promises to be a bit chilly with some rain - even better!

Can't wait to share our apple-y finds with you! Have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Tornado in Cali?

Last night we kind of decided last minute to go out to dinner with our parents. We hadn't been home yet, but reluctantly decided to do dinner before going home to let the pups out...

A) Probably not our best judgment call since, even though Max is potty trained, he can't hold it all day like Abby.

B) We've never left him alone that long so keeping him in the bathroom (where he can reach things) probably isn't the best plan of action long term.

Now, this is what our bathroom usually looks like: clean and always company ready!

And this is what it looked like after tornado Max destroyed it:

We've got towels taken from the open shelf, toilet paper roll shredded to bits, water bowl dumped over, carpet chewed and the gate haphazardly up and I didn't take a picture, but he also managed to pull down my Sonicare and Chris' electric shaver from the counter...

Oy vey! Thank you husband, for taking care of this ginormous mess!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's the Skinny?

On a recent outing for new jeans, I routinely stepped into Express. Which, by the way, is where I have been buying my jeans for years. I love them, and they are always long enough for my long legs. So imagine my complete disappointment when I grabbed several pair to try on and was highly disappointed in the fit and quality of every single pair. It's bad enough that the prices keep creeping up on me, but now the quality just stinks!

Oh well, I'm over it, and have decided I will no longer be making Express a regular part of my shopping trips, but more importantly, I am at a loss as to where to buy jeans now. And I should probably mention I don't have the budget to spend $150 on a single pair (as was recommened by a few friends...).

I've heard from several people that Gap is the place to try. Apparently their skinnies are amazing! Any thoughts on the matter? Where do you shop for jeans??

I do like the selection I found at Gap. And for $70 and under, they are more budget friendly.


Just Say No

To getting sick, that is! Keep your immune system strong this cold and flu season with these 9 immunity boosting foods!

It seems like everyone at work has been sick these last few weeks and I have managed to somehow dodge the bullet. Maybe the fact that many of these items are regulars on our menu has helped to pack that extra anti-cold and flu punch! Hmm, this also sounds like a good excuse for my husband to get more beef...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Whole Enchilada

This past weekend I made, for the very first time, my Mom's enchiladas. I know, I know, you're probably thinking that enchiladas are pretty basic, but my Mom has always done them a little differently. In her family, instead of rolling up tortillas with meat and sauce, the enchilada is more in pie form. It's a super simple dish to put together and I actually like them best this way (not that I'm bias). Growing up we always had them with ground beef (now Mom uses ground turkey) but I personally prefer chicken, so I substituted the meat, but change it up according to your tastes.

Mom's Enchiladas
serves about 3 or 1 and a very hungry husband

3 whole wheat tortillas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
enchilada sauce (we like green sauce, but red works too)
green chilis
reduced fat cheddar cheese

First, begin by placing the chicken breast in a slow cooker and cover in about 1/2 cup green enchilada sauce and let them cook on high for 2 hours. When they are cooked through, shred the chicken.

Next, take a round baking dish and begin layering the enchilada in the following order: tortilla, about half the chicken, enchilada sauce, green chilis and cheddar cheese. The amounts are really to your liking.

Then begin another layer starting with tortilla, the remaining chicken, enchilada sauce, chilis and cheese:

Finally, cover with a third tortilla, enchilada sauce, chilis and cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

And the delicious finished product:

Serve like a {very messy} pie and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Even though the first official day of Fall was almost a month ago, we in Northern California have been stuck with Summer weather. At first it was fine, I kept telling myself this happens every year and the chill of Fall would soon come. But it lasted weeks and the weather just kept creeping up (even to the 100's!). And by last week I decided I had had enough. Then the most wonderful thing happened this weekend-it RAINED! It was spectacular and in perfect timing! I was out Sunday afternoon running errands with my Mom and suddenly the sky turned gray and it started to drizzle. And you know what? It lasted most of the day; the yummy chilly temps and on-and-off sprinkles, making football, a pumpkin spice candle and an apple crisp dessert all the better! Welcome, Fall!!

{Loving my new mugs!}

{Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Stout cupcakes}

{Yummy apple crisp}

{New cozy slippers}

{Just some things that make this season wonderful!}

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Planning it Out

Woot! As we got home last night our Farm Fresh to You box was graciously sitting at our doorstep, bursting with delicious produce! I think I got a little too excited about the green beans (one of my favorite veggies) and was pleasantly suprised to find Kale among our goods (another fave of mine!). Which also gives me a chance to try out kale chips this week. Ever since my friend Blythe raved about how delish they were, I can't seem to get it off my mind! And of course, my husband was pretty stoked about the oranges. Oh, the simple things in life!

Here's everything we got and how I plan on incorporating this delicious fare into our menu next week.

The Goods

2 Valencia oranges
2 Fuji apples
1.5 lbs green beans
1 bunch Kale
1 bunch Spinach
1 bunch celery
1 head baby lettuce
2 large heirloom tomatoes

Plan of Action

Sunday: Mom's enchiladas
Monday: Salsa chicken salad with fresh guacamole
Tuesday: Lemon pepper grilled chicken, sauteed green beans, brown rice
Wednesday: Bean and grain soup, big spinach salad
Thursday: Brie, Apple and Arugula quesadillas (we will be substituting for gouda, hubby's fave!)
Friday: Turkey burgers and kale chips


Oh, Weekend...

What do you Lovelies have planned for the next few days? My friend Nicole and I are having breakfast and hitting up the farmers market tomorrow morning and then I will be occupied baking lots of mini cupcakes for a dinner party with co-workers! Doesn't that sound fun? Oh, I also hope to give my Mom's classic enchilada recipe a try! Have a lovely and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Winning Combo

Ever wonder how to fuel your body after a great sweat session? Allow me to take the guessing away because I've got a delicious solution packed with good-for-you ingredients that is sure to restore those muscles and put some pep in your step!

Each month I expectantly wait on my Oxygen magazine to arrive and almost immediately flip to the shake of the month for some new smoothie inspiration. This month's may be my favorite yet! Behold, this simple 5 ingredient creation~

Peach-Ginger Recharger
Recipe courtesy of Oxygen

1 peach, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender and blend thoroughly. Makes 1 serving.

Good to know: Buttermilk has probiotic qualities, which help aid in digestion, nutrient absorption and also increase your body's defense against disease.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tasted and Approved

Have you heard about the new flavored Via at Starbucks? Neither had I until late last week when Chris and I made our usual end of the week stop and were warmly greeted by our favorite baristas with samples. So we tasted and truth be told, were quite impressed.

In my humble opinion, Via is great in a pinch. I especially love it when I get that rare, mid-day need for a warm cup of coffee (when green tea just won't do). I just whip one out of my bag, pour half a packet into a steaming cup of water and viola!

So I was definitely excited when we tasted the caramel flavored Via and found it pleasing to my tastebuds. Though I should caution, while you don't need to add any addditional sweetener, one little packet contains 13 grams of sugar. And even though it's real sugar and not that artificial junk, one should still remember that the moderation rule applies here. But at only 60 calories, it is still a better alternative than say a tall non-fat caramel macchiato!

I did in fact purchase a package of the caramel Via, for those times I just must have a caffeinated treat:) Next time you're at Starbucks take the baristas up on their offer to sample the new Via, maybe you too will be impressed!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Hello lovelies! How was your weekend?

We had a blast at our photos session with Sarah! Though I am literally chomping at the bit to see the finished product! And don't get me started on the amazing halibut tacos we had at my parents house. My Dad caught the halibut on their Alaskan cruise, so it was basically out-of-this-world! So yes, the weekend was pretty wonderful...

And then I woke up Monday morning...

and noticed the side of Max's face was smeared with blood! It would be an understatement to say I was freaked, especially because I couldn't tell exactly what was causing it. Although it helped that he seemed perefectly normal, no pain or whining whatsoever. So I called our vet and asked if I could switch our routine appointment from Friday up to that morning and casually threw in that he had a wound I would like them to look at (I was trying to avoid any extra fee for an emergency visit!). Luckily we got in within the hour and it became apparent, once the blood was wiped off, that he had a deep cut on the top of his snout.

We're pretty sure it was from Abby the night before. They had gotten into a little scuffle while playing a little too rough the night before, but it wasn't evident he was hurt until the next day. (I swear they love each other! )

Thankfully our little guy is okay, after some cleaning up, a little shave around the wound area and some antibiotics to avoid an infection. Look at that sweet face!

Unfortunately for him, we can't seem to keep him from scratching the wound. So it's come down to this...

The cone of shame! Is it awful that we laughed at him?

So my day off wasn't exactly the relaxing day I had planned, but thank goodness our little guy is doing just fine! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Good Advice

I just came across this list of marriage advice on a friends blog (check it out here) and absolutely love it! The original list is quite long so I decided to only include some favorites, though the whole thing is great! Note: this is written in prospective of a father to his son.

{Thanks for sharing, Jennifer!}

Praising your wife in front of other people does wonders for her self-esteem.

Criticizing your wife in front of others, even in jest, is always a bad idea. Always.

Sometimes, she doesn't want you to solve the problem. She just wants you to listen. I know, I don't understand it either.

Credit card debt is a monster. Don't fall for it, even for the short term.

Live on less than you make. In fact, learn to live on one income. Swim against the tide.

Tithe. Not only does it honor God, it also brings focus to the rest of your money decisions.

Laughing together is even better for you than exercising together.

Don't be so afraid of hurting the other's feelings that you never really talk about how you feel. It took five years of marriage before I finally told your mom I didn't like grape jelly, which she'd been putting on my peanut butter sandwiches every day.

Don't be too embarrassed to talk about sex together.

Praying together every day might be the most intimate thing you can do. Even more than sex.

Pray together before any big decision and most small ones. The ultimate decision is far less important than the fact you are praying together about it.

Find regular times of quietness, both together and alone. Watching a Cubs game doesn't count.

Hold your career with a light touch. It's not who you are, it's only what you do.

Find a good church and get involved. Don't just be spectators. Churches have enough of those.

If you wait until you feel confident and ready to have kids, you will never have kids.

When you fight, fight fairly and cleanly. No yelling, no escalating, no pouting.

Approach each day with a thankful heart. It's a freeing thing to realize that no one owes you anything. First Timothy 6:6 says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain."

Your wife is an amazing gift from God. Treat her that way.

No marriage is bulletproof. Guard it with everything you have, and entrust it to God.

Weekend Love

Happy Friday! With a long and interesting week behind us, I am definitely ready for a long 3-day weekend! Looking forward to our photo session with Sarah tomorrow, a 5k run where I hope to meet some new potential clients, yummy dinner plans and a relaxing day off Monday. Exactly what we need. Have a lovely few days!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

I've been tagged my our sweet friend Rheanna. Feel free to read on for some tidbits about me and definitely check out Rheanna's adorable blog Cammo Style Love!

1. Where do you picture yourself in 5 years?
Wherever I am I hope to be a little bit wiser, kinder and more patient...with a couple of little Hansen's:)

2. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Hmm, how much are we talking? First things would definitely be paying off our student loan debt, buying reliable cars, stashing away a good chunk for the future (kids college, etc.) and taking off to Hawaii for a few weeks. Do you think I could purchase an unlimited Starbucks card for all of the coffee lovers in my life? That would be wonderful! From there, the possibilities to help others are endless:)

3. What is your favorite season?
Spring, no Fall, no wait Spring, or Fall...let's call it a tie!

4. What is your favorite sport, if any?
I love playing volleyball and deeply enjoy live baseball games, but my real love is good old fashioned weight lifting and some running, oh the endorphines!

5. Do you have any pets?
Indeed, two precious pups who make me smile everyday. They're our canine kids. Yes, we're "those" people!

6. Where is one place you hope to go in your lifetime?
I'm thankful to have crossed a lot European destinations off my list by traveling in college, but I have yet to visit Boston or Maine. Some day I would love to take an East coast trip.

7. Can you describe your dream home?
Something Chris and I can take from a drab to fab and preferably an old Craftsman style house! We love the idea of totally remodeling a home! But it would definitely be on a lot of property and have a ginormous garden and a wrap-around porch {swoon}.

8. Do you have any blogging secrets or tips to share?
In a nutshell: post consistently and early in the day, keep it real and when possible, write blogs ahead of time and autopost (a brilliant little blogging secret I've learned!).

And that's 8 questions or less:)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I really needed this little reminder today...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

When things are uncertain, as they are right now, we can rest assured there is hope! Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


we break the rules and throw tradition out the window. In the Hansen house we occasionally have breakfast for dinner. That's right, we sometimes forgo the salad and lean meat and have a bowl of cereal or an egg white scramble and on a very rare evening-waffles. It's all about balance, right?!

And may I suggest that if you're going to do it, you should either go big or go home. So last Sunday we went big and savored every last drop of these scrumptious pumpkin waffles (we find any excuse to use our new belgian waffler!).

As I said last week, this was our first attempt at them, but I'm definitely impressed to have found a keeper on my first try! The recipe comes from Health and was certainly more health conscious than most I found. And the touch of ginger and cloves really gives them that something special. Perfect fall treat-for breakfast or dinner!

Pumpkin Waffles with Maple-Walnut Syrup

Recipe courtesy of Health

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk, well shaken
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine first 7 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl. Whisk together next 6 ingredients (through oil) in a medium bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add wet mixture. Stir just until moist.

Preheat waffle iron, and coat it with cooking spray. Add about 1/2 cup batter, and spread it to edges; cook until the steaming stops. Repeat with remaining batter, setting waffles aside until all are cooked. Place on baking sheets in oven for 5 minutes to crisp.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add walnuts; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add the maple syrup; simmer 2 minutes. Dust waffles with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve with warm syrup. (Serving size: 2 waffles, plus syrup)


Monday, October 4, 2010

Glitter Me Festive!

This weekend I took at stab at glitter pumpkins. And now I've got my own little display of colorful beauties! But be warned, they are not as easy at they look. It's all about the glue application. But once you get the hang of it, it's quite fun - though I had the advantage of doing these with my friend Parris, who always makes things more fun!

Here's the finished product! What do you think?

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