Friday Five: Soup Weather

Hi friends! Y’all, the weather in Houston has been so good this last week! I’m a total cliche, but the weather has dropped to the low 80s & my sweaters are out! Haha! I will never complain about cooler weather; September through December is my favorite time of year!

Shall we get to my favorite things from the week?

One: Ombre Manicure

Okay, by now y’all know how much I love Olive & June nail polish. Well, I have given myself a Fall inspired ombre manicure to celebrate the first day of Fall. I call this my berry crisp manicure (formerly known as my apple picking mani). 🙂

The O&J colors I used (from pinky to thumb) were: CN, SC, JG, LD, HZ.

Two: New Art Piece

I did it. I finally ordered a piece from Maren Devine Art on Etsy. I had a really hard time choosing which pice to get, but ultimately chose “Sara.” I’m so in love with it!

Three: It’s Soup Time!

I love, love, love soup! It is my favorite food group. This week I made a big pot of minestrone soup, & put store bought broccoli cheese soup atop a bake potato. Don’t mind if I do.

I make a version of Jeff Mauro’s Veggie-Packed Autumn Minestrone. Here’s what I do with his recipe:

  • In a large pot, brown 1 pound of Italian sausage in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 5-8 minutes. (I buy the kind already out of the casings).
  • Add celery, carrots, & onions (I buy this pre-chopped from my grocery store) & sauté for 15 minutes until translucent.
  • Add 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary, & 1 tablespoon of tomato paste – cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in 8 cups of chicken or veggie stock, 1 28oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 15.5oz. can of cannelloni beans (drained & rinsed), & 1 bay leaf.
  • Simmer for 40 minutes.
  • While that simmers, dice & peel your sweet potatoes equaling 2 cups. I like to buy cubed sweet potato from the grocery store. Also, dice 2 zucchini. I use this time to also cook my pasta.
  • After 40 minutes, add the sweet potato & zucchini & cook for about 10 minutes.
  • I put pasta in the bottom of my bowl & serve the soup on top, then sprinkle parmesan cheese liberally over the top.

Substitutions:

  • I like to use either mild or spicy sausage, the recipe calls for sweet Italian sausage.
  • I also like to use butternut squash in place of the sweet potato sometimes.
  • I salt & pepper just about ever layer of soup, – S&P the meat, S&P the mirepoix, S&P the broth.
  • I specifically like small pasta shapes that will hold the broth.
  • Jeff Mauro used spinach instead of pasta, so if you are low carb do that.
  • Store the leftover pasta & soup separately, as the pasta will absorb all the broth.

This is my most requested dish that I make. 🙂

Four: Are you registered?

Last Tuesday, Sept. 22nd was National Register to Vote day. It’s not too late to make sure you’re registered to VOTE. Deadlines for registering start as early as next weekend, so double & triple check! Especially after this past week…

Check your Registration here:

Five: Figs

Okay, this is silly & super random, but I’m kinda obsessed with figs right now. If you have any good recipes for them let me know.

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend, and remember to make sure you are registered to VOTE. This weekend I will be planting my fall garden in my tower!

Kiss Hug,

Friday Five: Fall Colors!

Hi friends! Clearly I didn’t post last week; once again I didn’t have five things to tell you about. But, I’m back! I don’t know about where you live, but the sun has been very intense in Texas the last few weeks, and it basically feels like I live on the surface of the sun. Yea…

Anyway, enough about that. Let’s get to my favorite things from the week.

One: Beautiful Lilac Nail Polish

I found this Olive & June nail polish, TT, on clearance at Target, & y’all it is such a pretty lilac color. It is basically white with a pin drop of purple in it.

I’ve had this polish on for a solid 12 days & it is just now starting to chip. I like to challenge myself and see how long I can keep a manicure looking nice. This particular color has probably lasted the longest.

Two: New Recipe

Okay, I have a new side dish you must try! Katie Lee from The Kitchen first made this corn on Instagram, and then made it on an episode of The Kitchen.

This recipe includes fresh corn, basil, toasted sesame seeds, & butter. How can this be bad? Trust me, this is a crowd pleaser!

Three: Nicholas Palmquist

Y’all, I’m a little embarrassed to admit how obsessed I am with Nicholas Palmquist, a dancer & choreographer that I found on Instagram thanks to Erin Moon. Now, I have zero rhythm unless the instructions are explicitly in the song – think the Hokey Pokey, the Macarena, & Cupid Shuffle. HA!

Nicholas Palmquist makes me wish I could dance. I have gone on a deep dive watching his dances on Instagram & YouTube. Hey, what can I say? Jennifer Garner is a fan too! My favorite thing is how he interprets the music – he celebrates the most subtle nuances of the music, which makes each dance for me. Watch the video below & pay close attention to the hands and how they relate to the music, not the words.

Four: Virgin River

My friend Maureen kept telling me to watch this show, & I’m so glad I finally did. If you like Hart of Dixie, Gilmore Girls, or even Men in Trees then you will like Virgin River. The show has a lot of similarities to Hart of Dixie, but is not cutesy at all. The town of Virgin River is place where most of the characters have gone to start over & start a new life. The characters all have a dark past or tragedy they are trying to move on from.

There are 10 episodes in Season 1, & it has been renewed for Season 2. You can watch on Netflix.

Five: Olive & June’s Fall Line

Two Olive & June things this week! They just released their fall colors & I am so excited because two of the colors are inspired by my “Instagram friends” @WhatKateFinds & @_happygocurly_! The mossy green if for Katie, & the toasted coconut color is for Ailsa. The terracotta color is also for @maddy_gutierrez_.

Okay, that’s it for this week. I’ll be dog sitting this weekend & snuggling with 3 cute pups! I hope y’all have fun plans this weekend too. See you back here next Friday!

Kiss Hug,

Friday Five: I’m not an Oompa Loompa

E69E6C8C-FE02-48C9-9B30-10EAA1E1DDBF_4_5005_c

Hi friends!  I don’t know about where you live, but it is already HOT in Texas!  I feel like I’m getting sunburned as soon as I step outside – it’s too soon for this. 😦 Can I quarantine at the North Pole for the summer?

Anyways, on to my favorite things from the week…aside from my garden of course!

One: A very un-Casey DIY

A few weeks ago I told y’all to follow @philip_or_flop on Instagram.  He does DIY projects, on the weekends, around his home to customize his builder grade house.  Many of his projects are like ASMR to me, I could watch him power wash stuff all day.

A couple weekends ago he used 45% strength vinegar (really strong) to kill some grass that had creeped into his flower beds.  Earlier this week I tried it myself.  Y’all, my grass & weeds died within a couple hours!  Now I plan to till up the weeds, put soil down, plant a tree, & mulch the rest of the bed.

I’m debating between a redbud tree & a Bradford pear.  Both flower & have pretty color in the fall, but the redbud is smaller.  I’m leaning towards the redbud because I can plant it within 8 feet of my house.  Any tree recommendations for the Houston, TX area? IMG_2034

Two: Olive & June’s summer colors!

Have you seen Olive & June’s new summer line?  So pretty!!! 5D2788B7-E0CE-4EB2-9D72-F625C5A456B6

I’m ordering at least 3 of these.

Three: Maren Devine

I have a new artist I’m obsessed with – Maren Devine.  I’m debating which will be my next art piece.

I’m debating on these three pieces:

Four: Self Tanner

Because of @things.i.bought.and.liked, I have finally found a self tanner that does not make my super fair skin look like an Oompa Loompa.

Tan-Luxe The Gradual is awesome!  It does not have a strong smell, & the lotion is very thin & runny so you can move it around a lot before it fully soaks in.  I haven’t had any issues with it staining clothes or furniture.

You can see here where I didn’t spread it out so well on my forearm. IMG_2033

Five: Salads

We are getting to that time of year where all I want is salad.  It’s cold & crunchy & I can’t get enough.  I made a random salad the other day that turned out delicious.

Here’s what I made: arugula & Swiss chard from my garden, romaine leftover in my fridge, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, radishes, couscous, feta cheese, topped with baked falafel, & a lemon vinaigrette.  So so good!

I hope you enjoy this holiday weekend, which I just figured out yesterday.

Kiss Hug,

blog signature

What’s Up Wednesday: March 2020

Hi friends!  It has been ages since I have done one of these. D4181699-7DFE-49CC-9185-B7985BF653C3

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

What I’m eating this week?

So, this past weekend I took inventory of what was in my freezer, fridge, & pantry.  I’m crossing things off as I eat them, and then adding them to the leftovers list to ensure I eat those too.  Not a huge leftovers fan… IMG_1524

I’ve been using what I have on hand to make recipes from The Defined Dish cookbook & Half Baked Harvest cookbook.  Also, Ina Garten is posting simple pantry staple recipes on IG while we are staying home in due to this pandemic.

This week I plan to try TDD Curried Beef Turkey Acorn Squash, and HBH chocolate banana coconut muffins.

What I’m reminiscing about?

Remember like 2 weeks ago when we could leave our house?  Yeah, me neither.

What I’m loving?

So, the last couple of weeks I was “stress buying,” but I’ve since cut myself off.  Oddly enough, I bought art, which is super useful in a pandemic (I’m rolling my eyes so hard). IMG_1526

Both of these artists I found on Instagram.  Top two are from @melremmers, and the bottom two are from @verrier_handcrafted_.  I have another small piece coming from @laureldawn.cornerstudio.  I just need to get these babies framed!

What I’ve been up to?

Luckily for me, I work from home, even before the world fell apart, so it is pretty much business as usual.  If you’re having any network or VPN issues now that you are working from home, reach out to me! 🙂

What I’m dreading?

Aren’t we all dreading the same thing?  The unknowns of COVID-19.  Based on multiple interviews I’ve seen, medical experts are predicting that we are still in the very early stages of this in the US.  We are expected to peak late April.

What I’m working on?

Outside of actual work, I’m working on a hard jigsaw puzzle.  Why I thought it would be a good idea to order impressionist art puzzles is beyond me.

What I’m excited about?

I’m wearing my Nantucket J. Crew sweatshirt today, & I’m excited to get to plan a trip again.  May still be a while yet, but here’s hoping…

You can read about my Nantucket trip here.

What I’m watching & reading?

I’m watching so much Bravo right now.  I’m really into the new show, Family Karma.  I’ll start Tiger King tonight, although I usually don’t love shows that get this much hype.  Still loving Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist too.  I’m also really wanting to rewatch The Mindy Project.  Anyone else rewatching old favorites?

I’m having such a hard time getting motivated to read.  The first two days of social distancing, I read one book.  Since March 15, I’ve only gotten half way through another book.  It’s not that I don’t like it, but I’m just not motivated.  Am I the only one?

What I’m listening to?

Have you listened to my Quarantunes playlist?  You should, it’s pretty good if I do say so myself.

What I’m wearing?

I bought these two shirts from The Shop Forward, all the proceeds go to charity.  Love that!

Also loving this Lou & Grey sweater. C0280101-BF58-45C0-AE65-567FD0E10BDC

What I’m doing this weekend?

HAHAHAHAHAHA, drinking wine & doing jigsaw puzzles.  Obviously.

What I’m looking forward to next month?

I’m going to do a “no buy April,” which is where I can only spend money on food & utilities, but no extras.  Since I think we’ll still be in Quarantine, this should be easy.  Should being the operative word.

What else is new?

Have you seen the new nail polish colors from Olive & June?  They are so good!  Also, Sarah’s (the founder of O&J) IG Live with Katie from @WhatKateFinds is so fun!  Katie does an interview everyday at 3:00pm CST – it is really getting me through these long days.

Hope you enjoyed.  I’ll be back here on Friday for my Friday Five!

Kiss Hug,

blog signature

Friday Five: Watermelon Sugar High

Hi friends!  I’ve set a new goal for myself…  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have posted three new posts in the last 3 weeks.  Yea me!  So, to keep that momentum going I have decided to do a new post every Friday of my five favorite things from the week.  They can range from products, clothing, podcasts, recipes, etc.

So without further ado, here are my favorite things from February 22 – 28.

One: Cuticle Serum

I was introduced to Olive & June a few months ago by Katie from @WhateKateFinds (a must follow on IG).  Y’all, I am in LOVE with the Cuticle Serum!7DC442A4-2863-4D8E-B1A6-A6AC38BA026D_1_201_aI use it at least twice a day (morning & night); my hang nails are virtually gone & my manicures seem to last so much longer.2C6299A0-0CE9-4955-B058-96A09602F726This Manicure is going strong on day 11, and I am hard on my nails.  I pretty much keep a serum on my nightstand, one on my desk, & one in my purse.  I’ve lost one, so I plan to buy a new one today & a couple of the new Spring nail polishes, which I also love.

Cost: $30 – I know it is a little pricey, but totally worth it.

Two: Sea Marie Designs

I recently discovered a new accessories online boutique, Sea Marie Designs.  Casey (great name!) from @Case.Rutherford on IG posted one of Chelsea’s headbands and I was hooked.  It took me a while to get on board with this trend, but I’m here!  Chelsea has been a dream to work with, her customer service & timeliness is amazing.  The price point for everything I’ve purchased has been under $20 each – 3 headbands, a pair of earrings, a bracelet, & a necklace…so far. :).

She came out with Spring headbands this week…looks like I’ll be placing another order soon. 

Three: HBH Pasta Recipe

So, my New Year’s resolution for 2020 is to make recipes out of my cookbooks instead of printing them from Pinterest, blogs, etc.  I’ve been making two recipes a week out of a cookbook.  That said, I did cheat & make one recipe I got in an email from Half Baked Harvest, but I have both of Tieghan’s cookbooks so I don’t feel too bad about it.

On Monday I made her Roaster Red Pepper Alla Vodka Pasta with Cheesy Oregano Breadcrumbs.  Y’all, do not sleep on this recipe!9C95A46B-CA30-4316-AF57-7E6512031865  It was so good & can feed a small crowd; I froze some of the leftovers.  If you do “Meatless Mondays” or are trying to cut down on your meat in take, this could be a great option for you.  VanderPump Rules lied to us, it is about the pasta. 😉355F86DE-EE26-42DF-8C77-599A13E9BA8E

Four: Harry Styles

Y’all, I’m unexpectedly in love with Harry Styles’ newest album, Fine Line.  I bought the album after I saw Harry on SNL.  The first time I listened to it I thought that he was hungry because Harry mentions food in just about every song.  My favorite song on the album is “Adore You” but “Watermelon Sugar” is an instant dance party for me.

Five: Schitt’s Creek ADA5364D-8418-4363-BB7B-0317665420D0

Ew, David.  Y’all, I realize that I may be the last one on the Schitt’s Creek train, but I am OBSESSED.  I have perfected my Alexis impression, ummm you’re welcome.  When I tried to explain this show to Mama J, I told her that it is the opposite of the Beverly Hillbillies.  Instead of poor folks becoming rich, it is rich people becoming poor & the chaos that ensues is this magical show. She started the season this week!  I’m currently on Season 5, and still have Season 6 to go but I think I’m trying to prolong my love affair.

On a totally different note, Real Housewives of NY is coming back April 2.  Should I start recapping episodes again?

Until next Friday…

Kiss Hug,

blog signature