Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tomato and Cheese Tortellini Soup

I know I have been doing a lot of soups lately but I just love them in the winter months. They warm the soul after a long cold day. And an added bonus about soups, they are so easy to make and so hard to screw up! I made this a couple weeks ago for Husband and a couple of friends and they all went back for seconds. I call that a win.


  • 1 (9oz.) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 2 (10oz.) cans condensed tomato soup (do not dilute) 
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 c. milk (I used 1% but really I think you should go by how thick you want your soup to be)
  • 2 c. half and half
  • 1/2 c. chopped sun dried tomatoes (the kind in a jar with olive oil)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese (plus a little more for garnish)

How To Cook It:

  • cook the tortellini according to package instructions, set aside
  • in a large pot, combine soup, broth, milk, half and half, tomatoes, and spices
  • heat ingredients through, the soup will thicken slightly, stir frequently
  • drain the tortellini and add it and the cheese to the soup
  • heat through
  • serve with sprinkled parmesan on top

Sunday, December 29, 2013


White Tank: Nordstrom
Denim Jacket: American Eagle
Maxi Skirt: TJ Maxx
Necklace: Forever 21

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Wrapping

Merry Christmas Eve! Do you have all your presents wrapped? Here's how we did ours this year! 

Brown packaging paper from the dollar store and Christmas plaid ribbon make wrapping easy and beautiful!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mixed Berry Pie

Husband's birthday was last week and he doesn't really like cake and ice cream. But what he does love is pie! So every year I make him one. This year he wanted a mixed berry, so I busted out my old fashioned Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (I know, right?) and whipped up this little beauty.



  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening 
  • 6 - 7 Tbsp cold water


  • 2 c. fresh, halved strawberries
  • 2 c. fresh raspberries
  • 2 c. fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 - 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • milk (optional) 
  • egg (optional) 

How To Make It


  • Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. 
  • Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. 
  • Divide in half. Form each half into a ball.
  • On lightly floured surface, flatten 1 dough ball. Roll from center to edges into 12-inch circle.
  • To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. 
  • Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. 
  • Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. 

Weave complete, before trim


  • In a large bowl combine the sugar and flour for desired berries. 
  • Stir in berries and cinnamon. 
  • Gently toss berries until coated. (If using frozen fruit, let mixture stand for 45 minutes or until fruit is partially thawed, but still icy.)

Sealed and milk/egg washed, ran out of sugar so went with brown sugar


  • Transfer filling to pastry-lined pie plate. 
  • Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. 
  • Fill pastry-lined pie plate with desired filling. 
  • Weave strips over filling for lattice crust.
  • Press ends of strips into crust rim. 
  • Fold bottom pastry over strips; seal and crimp edge.
  • If desired, brush top crust with milk and egg wash, sprinkle with sugar if desired. 
  • To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. 
  • Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes (or 50 minutes for frozen fruit). 
  • Remove foil. Bake pie for 25 to 30 minutes more or until filling is bubbly and top is golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Copycat Pottery Barn Christmas Pillow

So I was flipping through the Pottery Barn catalog the other day and I fell in LOVE with this 'Jingle' lumbar pillow. And part of me was drooling and a small voice in the back of my head said 'pshh you can make that yourself'! So I decided to. And I spent a whopping $10... I love Pottery Barn but those psychos want $40 for this thing.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 yard burlap type fabric (I say 'burlap type' because uhhhhh have you ever rubbed your cheek against burlap? you're making a pillow here people!)
  • red fabric paint
  • sponge paint brush
  • jingle bells
  • pillow stuffing
  • a sewing machine and thread
  • red thread and sewing needle
  • Christmas stencil (optional, if you are unlike me and happen to have lovely artistic skills then by all means.. freestyle it)
  • stitch witchery (optional
  • iron (optional)

My cousin Molly did the sewing of the pillow for me because a) I'm not comfortable with even the most basic sewing machine and b) I had had a liiiiiiiittle too much wine to drink at that point in the evening. THANKS MOLLY! 

How To Make It

  • paint the fabric first - I laid an old plastic cutting board under the fabric to a) provide me with a nice hard surface and b) to catch any paint bleeding through - and it DID
  • be very careful that you don't move the stencil as you are painting, you'll wind up with and ugly mess
  • once your paint has dried sew the basic pillow shape (don't forget to leave a hole for stuffing)
  • hand sew your jingle bells into the corners and in your text (if you're doing so) 
  • stuff your pillow to desired plumpness
  • if you're like me and have long since forgotten that one lesson in 8th grade Family and Consumer Studies class on invisible stitching... use some stitch witchery to closeup your stuffing hole
  • ooo and aaaaah over how much money you save on this super cute pillow

Friday, December 13, 2013


This is what it looks like when work has been cancelled for 2 days because of ice and snow and then you have to go back to the office where the building temperature is around 32... You care less about "wear-to-work" fashion and more about "where are my gloves" practicality.

White tank: Charlotte Russe
Gray shirt: Forever 21
Flannel: Nordstrom / True Religion
Pants: Nordstrom
Boots: Target
Scarf: handmade by Momma T!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Copycat Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup

I am OBSESSED with Olive Garden... and before you jump all over me with your "it's not real Italian food blah blah" I KNOW THAT! That doesn't mean it doesn't explode with deliciousness all over the inside of my mouth, so get off me. Sorry. Rant over. Anyway, I found about 50 versions of this recipe all over the internet and after some tweaking, this is the one I've found most successful. Now I'm gonna go eat it...


  • 1 c. ditalini pasta, uncooked
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 (8oz) cans of tomato sauce
  • 3 c. beef broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • romano or parmesan cheese to garnish

How To Cook It

  • brown beef in large saucepan over med/high heat
  • pour beef (and fat) into a bowl and set aside
  • heat olive oil in the same large sauce pan, saute the carrots, celery and onion over med/high heat until tender, about 4 minutes
  • add garlic and saute 1 minute longer
  • reduce heat to low
  • add tomato sauce, beef broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, all the spices, and cooked beef
  • season with salt and pepper t taste
  • cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally
  • make sure veggies are soft 
  • while soup is simmering, prepare the ditalini pasta according to package directions to al dente
  • add cooked and drained pasta to soup
  • add beans to soup 
  • allow to cook 5 more minutes until the beans are heated through
  • serve with cheese on top

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Our First Christmas' Ornaments

We had so many weddings this summer it was unbelievable! I was very honored to be in the bridal party of a couple really close friends. My cousin Molly was as well and decided to do something really nice for a few of our brides. She saved her bridesmaid flowers, programs, and ribbon from the weddings and made them some beautiful "Our First Christmas" ornaments.

What You'll Need 

  • clear glass ball ornaments
  • fancy ornament hooks
  • a pen that can write on glass/plastic
  • dried flowers from the wedding
  • program/invitation from the wedding
  • (optional) if you have ribbon from the bouquet put that in too

How To Make It

  • I would recommend drawing with your pens on the ornament first, without the 'stuffing' you can see your penmanship a lot better
  • while your ink is drying, cut the invitation or program into small strips, it looks nicer if you cut it so the names and date are clearly visible
  • curl your strips of invitation/program 
  • carefully remove the top 'cap' from the glass ball ornament
  • stuff ornament with flowers first and then insert the curled strips of invitation/program
  • carefully reattach the ornament 'cap' and attach your fancy hook
  • BAM, you're done

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Sweater: Forever 21
Skirt: H&M
Tights: H&M
Boots: Nordstrom 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Big City Chili

I got this recipe from my friend Sarah yeeaaarrs ago and just now made it for Husband and a couple friends. They seemed to like it (there's none left) so that's a good sign! We have some leftovers today which makes me really happy because it SNOWED! What's better than hot chili on a cold day? Actually, I can think of a lot of things (Disneyland) but it sounds GREAT right now!


  • 2 pounds ground chicken (I used chicken sausage and it made it soooo much better) 
  • 15 oz (can) stewed tomatoes
  • 15 oz (can) kidney beans, drained
  • 15 oz (can) garbanzo beans, drained
  • 15 oz (can) black beans, drained
  • 6 oz (can) tomato sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Tbsp chili seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock 
  • fritos (optional)

How To Cook It 

  • in a large pot, brown chicken 
  • add onion and cook until onion is soft, then add chili seasoning and cook for another minute
  • whisk together tomato sauce, chicken stock, and brown sugar
  • add beans, and tomato sauce mixture to the pot 
  • stir and let simmer until it thickens just a tad (this is more of a soupy chili, it will be more brothy than goopy like normal chili) about 30 min
  • garnish with fritos and serve

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Cardigan: Target
Dress: Old Navy
Tights: Forever 21
Boots: Nordstrom
Belt: Forever 21

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

I've made these the last two years with my girl friends. I hang a couple on my tree and tie the rest on presents as gift tags. They are a double wammy because they make your tree smell good and when you're baking them they make you house smell like Christmas exploded all over it. Amazing. Be warned: the making of them is very quick but the bake/dry time takes for-ev-ver! So don't do it last minute!

Things You'll Need: 

  • 1 c. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. white glue
  • 1 c. applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. nutmeg
  • Christmas cookie cutters
  • 1 straw
  • string

How To Make Them:

  • mix all ingredients until they form a dough
  • knead dough until it is able to form a ball
  • sprinkle some cinnamon on the counter and roll out your dough ball

  • use your cookie cutters to make shapes and place on baking rack
  • use straw to poke holes in your ornaments for your string/hooks
  • now you can either leave them on the baking rack to dry for a couple of days OR 
  • place baking rack in oven at 200 degrees for about an hour and a half (1.5 hours) or until they are dry and rock hard
  • I left mine in the oven (turned off) overnight to make sure they would dry completely

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fall/Winter Wardrobe

I was just taking a look back through a few wardrobe choices and couldn't help but pick out a few of my favorite for the cozy fall and winter seasons. If you'd like to (and I don't imagine that you would, but just in case you DO) see where I got these outfits, go ahead and click on the links below.

<One>          <Two>          <Three>          <Four>          <Five>          <Six>           <Seven>          <Eight>

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Breadcrumb Pasta

Last week I didn't go to the grocery store. We were only going to be home for three days and I was lazy and didn't feel like shopping, so I scrounged the pantry for some basic ingredients and kind of did this on a whim. It actually turned out pretty good!


  • 2/3 c. bread crumbs, I used Italian Style
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 2 Tbsp of ready minced stuff that comes in a jar)
  • 1/2 package (8oz.) linguine (but really you can use any pasta)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • garlic seasoning, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • garlic pepper, to taste (I don't really know on these four, I just kept going until I liked it...) 
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan (stinky) cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp pesto
  • *OPTIONAL* if you'd like a low carb option of spaghetti squash substitute follow the link here

How To Cook It 

  • cook chicken in olive oil and Italian spices, set aside
  • heat 1 1/2 Tbsp oil in pan on medium heat, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring consistently
  • add red pepper flakes, remove from heat and let sit 
  • cook pasta, drain and place in large bowl
  • add the rest of the olive oil, garlic mixture, parsley, lemon juice, spices, and parmesan cheese
  • toss gently to combine
  • serve with chicken on top and a dash of pesto if you'd like

I was really kind of amazed at how good it was; and husband inhaled it so I'm going to assume he liked it as well. I'll definitely have to remember this the next time I run out of groceries. Happy late Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Scarf: Target
Chambray: H&M
White Tank: Charlotte Russe
Black Pants: Nordstrom Rack
Boots: Nordstrom / Steve Madden
Watch & Bracelet: Charlotte Russe