WHITE CHICKEN CHILI – SALSA VERDE STYLE

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It has been a while friends, and I apologize about that. Life has really taken off and between all of life’s craziness I have sort of neglected the blog. I still make things and take pictures with the intent to post them, but don’t seem to actually share them with you. For book club I’ve been reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (and yes my reading effort is about as good as my blogging) and it has inspired me to push back and blog more. One of her ideas is to begin by tackling a nagging task. Well I’m sitting in front of a notebook with 12 posts that I’ve been meaning to finish. So inspired by Gretchen and with a little more free time the next two weeks, I hope to do quite a bit of posting! The quality of some photos may not be great, but I think its a good way to get back into the swing of things.    

I decided today to begin with a twist on a very easy and popular soup. I get that soup season is on its way out so I wanted to share this before I was officially too late. But I think I can be excused because the last food post I did was in September so I practically missed the soup/winter food season all together.  

This recipe was inspired by Ali’s 5 Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili at at GimmeSomeOven. I think her recipe is awesome and I took the opportunity to build on it and add a few more ingredients.  We aren’t huge chili people at our house, and often eat White Chicken chili instead of the more traditional tomato and beef versions. My husband has agreed to eat soup as long as it is filling and good, can you blame him? I look for those same qualities in a soup too. This soup is in his top three, following right behind my chicken enchilada soup. So with his approval and minimal effort and time involved, here it is.

I give you my family’s new favorite White Chicken Chili – Salsa Verde Style. I use just the $2 store bought green salsa (hence the name salsa verde) and a few other things we typically store on hand. Its easy to whip together and takes less than 30 minutes start to finish. I could eat this soup every day. Be sure to have some tortilla chips on hand. We can eat an entire bag with this soup! Also we love avocados and think that it is an absolute must in this soup, but we will forgive you if you leave it out too.

Yield: 4 servings

Time:  30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups Salsa Verde (depending on your mild-medium heat level)
  • 1 uncooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can Garbanzo Beans or Chick Peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • additional garnishments
    • shredded cheese
    • chopped cilantro
    •  sour cream
    • tortilla strips or chips
    • fresh limes
    • fresh chopped tomatoes

DIRECTIONS:

  • Step 1

In a large pot bring chicken broth and salsa verde to a boil. Prepare chicken, and drain/rinse canned goods. Add chopped chicken, beans, corn, and seasonings to the pot. When soup begins to boil once more turn heat to medium/low and allow to simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done.      

While soup is simmering prepare desired toppings. We like to use fresh limes, cilantro, tomatoes, cheese and tortilla chips with our soup. Just before serving add the chopped avocado and garnishments to the soup. Enjoy!  

This quick and easy dinner is sure to be a family favorite.  

Enjoy,

Larisa

EASY 10 MINUTE VALENTINES GARLAND

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Happy Valentines Day! I decided to quit being so bah-humbug about Valentines Day and try and decorate our house a little. I’m not big on decorations at all for any holiday, other than Christmas. And even then, its pretty minimal. So I decided to start small and simple with a garland for our fire place. I figure this in an area that we spend a lot of time and could use some inspiration. I is a decoration that is quick to make and also isn’t breakable if my little guy happens to find it. I’m super pleased with the result and think that I will continue this tradition for other holidays too. So stay tuned!  

This DIY garland costs less than a dollar and literally takes like 10 minutes to make. Its about 5 1/2 feet long with 7 hearts but you can make yours to fit your needs or wants. It would look great on the wall, over a door way, or on a book shelf too. I think I might get more creative and hang garland in a few different places for upcoming holidays. Simple, beautiful and now I can pat myself on the back for feeling festive and creative. I even took some Valentines pictures of my little guy to send to his grandparents for Valentines and used this garland on my wall as the backdrop. It turned out perfect!   

Time:  10 minutes

MATERIALS:

  • 5-6 ft of bakers twine or string
  • 1-2 paper sized pieces red felt from the craft store
  • hot glue gun (tape or thread works too)
  • piece of paper to make your stencil
  • scissors and sharpie marker

DIRECTIONS:

  • Step 1

Gather the materials needed and decide how long you want your garland. I chose to make mine about 5 1/2 feet long with 7 hearts.    

Make your stencil using a piece of paper. Trace your stencil onto the felt using a sharpie. I was able to arrange mine carefully and fit all 7 on the one piece. If you are worried I’d pay the extra thirty cents and buy two. Cut out your hearts, cutting away all of the sharpie so you aren’t left with a line.   

  • Step 2

This step has a few options. You can use a hot glue gun, tape, or sew your hearts in place. I chose to sew mine and next time I think I’m going to use one of the other options. Sewing was fine but changing the bobbin adn thread to match was more work than I needed, hot glue would’ve been so much easier 

Begin by finding the center of your string. If you have an odd number of hearts place the one of the hearts in the center here. I attached each heart so there was about 8″ of string between the edges of the heart. Continue to evenly space your hearts until you are done. 

 I love how this turned out.

Let me know what you do for Valentines and other holiday decorations. I’m in need of a little decor around here!  

Enjoy,

Larisa

A YEARS WORTH OF DATES & ADVENTURES COUPON BOOK

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Happy Valentines Day. Well almost… It seems that the more I try the more I fall behind at this blog. I have good intentions and hopefully those are flowing through the screen to you right now. Maybe next year I’ll actually be able to post some Superbowl treats prior to the actual Superbowl and some Valentines Day decor with enough time to actually make it and enjoy it.

In the mean time I know some of you are probably scrambling to come up with a gift for that special someone. Maybe you are short on the budget, maybe you are out of time, or maybe you are looking for something thoughtful and homemade. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back on all three. Some paper, a printer, a hole punch, ribbon, and some scissors is all you need to complete this easy Valentines gift.

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Today I thought I would share something that has been really meaningful to me this last year. After adding our little one to the family last year date nights suddenly changed (and stopped). Adding kiddos to the family definitely changes the dating scene in marriage.

To try and ensure that we were still strengthening our relationship and setting aside family time and couple time I made this date book for my husband. We haven’t been perfect at doing every single activity but it has helped us carve out some couple and family time. It has also helped us try and do more than watch movies. It is especially helpful after a long week to have ideas already planned out, we simply pick one and do it! It has made for some really great memories. We especially have loved the $2 date, Iron Chef, mini golf, hiking and cultural nights. 

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There are 4 activities per month for 12 months of the year. I’ve tried to make it a variety of couple only activities and family activities, because we all know that if we had to find a baby sitter for everything we’d never go on a date at all. I threw in some wild card activities you can put at the back that can be completed anytime or in exchange for an activity that you don’t want to do.

I’ve tried to make it a mix of things that are fairly cheap, free, and the occasional big spender. Generally though the dates are cheap. I also tried to mix up things that take a bit of planning, and things that take hardly any planning at all. And lastly I also tried to keep it interesting, not every date night needs to include Netflix.

Download each page separately below. 

Cover page (bottom right) and Wild Cards (to be used anytime)

Page 1_ Cover and Wild Cards_NCC

Dates & Adventures for January – April

Page 2_January to April_NCC

Dates & Adventures for May – August

Page 3_May to August_NCC

Dates & Adventures for September – December

Page 4_ September to December_NCC

So take these suggestions and add some date nights and adventure to your next year with that special someone. Feel free to personalize anything and change it to your liking! The page size is set to 12″x 18″ making the cards 3″x 4 1/4″. I printed them on card stock. You definitely don’t have to go have them printed 12″x 18″ at a copy center, try printing them on regular paper at home for a quick easy gift!

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Feel free to download and use these for your own personal use. I just ask that if you share, please direct people back to this original post!

 Thanks guys! Happy V-day. Hope there is lots of love at your house this next week!

Larisa

DIY WINTER WREATH

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Happy New Year! I can’t believe that 2015 is already over and that 2016 is already upon us! I have totally been slacking in posting because so many wonderful things have been going on.  

I thought today I would share a quick and easy DIY project to start the new year. I mean really January is kind of a depressing thought. All of the Christmas decorations come down and you realize how bare your house is. If you are like me, Christmas is the only holiday you even have decorations for and so your house lacks in cuteness 11 months of the year. 

So to keep your house full of cuteness and to especially make that front door inviting I’m sharing this easy wreath to brighten your front door. 

This wreath is inspired by one of my friends. They had a square twig wreath that hung on their front door with a large bow framing the wooden letter of the last name. I loved the twig wreath so much that I had to put my own twist on it. Plus I have not found a wreath that I liked more, so when you can’t find what you like, make it, right?  

Time:  1-2 hours total

MATERIALS:

  • 16-20 sticks broke into 15-18″ long pieces
  • grey or white spray paint (its optional)
  • bakers twine
  • ribbon and command hook for hanging
  • letter, number or other decorative piece
  • pine cones and pine branches

DIRECTIONS:

  • Step 1

Gather 16-20 sticks of varying thickness. I used 1/4″-3/4″ thick and did 4-5 sticks per side. I just gathered them at my local park and broke them into sizes that worked for me. Try and make them consistent in length, this makes it a lot easier to tie them together. I chose between 15-18″.  Break of any side branches down leaving the sticks long and lean for the most part.    

Gather your other materials as well. I found the pine cones and pine branches just outside my house from a tree limb that broke.   

  • Step 2

This step is optional. I chose to LIGHTLY spray paint my branches to give them a unified weathered effect. I just used some grey paint that I had left from another project.  You can see that the upper stick is more grey and old looking compared to the lower stick which is still brown.  

Line all of your sticks and pine cones up on a piece of news paper. Holding your spray paint 12-18″ away lightly dust the wood with paint. You aren’t looking to totally cover the sticks grey, just make them look old and weathered. 

I also lightly painted the pine cones to look old as well before I hooked them on. I love how they turned out.

 

  • Step 3

After your sticks have dried layer your sticks on top of each other to create a frame. You may have to play with it for a minute to get it to lay how you want. I tried laying the top and bottom, then left and right, then top and bottom, etc. That way it did sort of an every other. Loosely tie or hook your corners together to hold everything in place while you do the real lashing.  

Beginning from the back of your wreath tie the bakers twine around the corner. Wrap the twine around to the front. Once you’ve reached the back alternate to come from the other direction.  It doesn’t matter what the back of your wreath looks like, just make a nice pattern on the front. My pattern was somewhat like this:

Top left to bottom right, top right to bottom left, top left to bottom right, top right to bottom left.

Pull it tight as you alternate directions and tie twine from the back.  Repeat for each corner.  

Secure pine cones and pine branches into the lower right corner of finished wreath.  You can use string, twist-ties, or anything else to secure them in place.  

Add any garnishing letters or numbers as well. I got this cute little ‘M’ in the dollar bin at Michaels. 

I love how this wreath turned out. I also love that from our front door it you can see a piece of us and what we are like. We aren’t frilly over the top people and I think this wreath shows that.

Let me know how your wreath turns out!  

Enjoy,

Larisa

FREE CHRISTMAS NATIVITY PRINTABLES

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As you may have noticed by my last post I love Christmas. I decided today to keep it short and sweet and just share one of my favorite holiday decorations I’ve made over the years.

I love the Nativity story. I love the birth of the Savior and the love, hope, and joy that everyone must have felt at his birth. I can only imagine the love that Mary must have felt for her son, and the faith that Joseph must have had. Every year I try and find myself in the story. Last year I related to Mary, and this year I think I’ve found myself among the shepherds who upon their visit from the Angels went to see for themselves. After finding the little family as promised the shepherds made it known abroad the glad message of the birth of our Savoir. I have felt so much love and peace in my life because of the Savoir that I want to share this glad message abroad.

So without any further ado today I’m sharing my Christmas Nativity Printables. They are free for your noncommercial use. Just please link back to this original post if you share them.  I’ve selected a few of my favorite verses about the Nativity story and included them with the silhouette outlines.

My sister is an awesome graphic designer and helped me fine-tune my designs and print them. I printed my copy on a 12×18 but for your easy printing I have included a pdf printer friendly size. Enjoy!

 

 

mary and joseph_nativity_nurturecultivatecreate

Mary & Joseph

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Shepherds

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Wise Men

 

 

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This picture was from the very first year I made this nativity in our very first apartment! Over the years where I have hung my Nativity story has changed, this year it is above our dining room table. It has been a great reminder to focus daily during Christmas on the birth of the Savior and the scriptural accounts of his birth.

Hopefully you enjoy this nativity as much as I do! Feel free to share and comment as to who you find yourself as in the Nativity Story this year.

 

Larisa