Meatless Monday: Sage Butter Pasta with Figs & Butternut Squash

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Tonight’s recipe has been on our weekly rotation for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of pasta, and it’s just that good!  The recipe developed when I went to the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and bought some fresh Gorgonzola ravioli in the fridge section.  I was trying to come up with a sauce that would work well and decided that some simple butter would be delicious.  For Christmas Eve, I made a cheese ball that called for sage sautéed in butter.  It was amazing!  I thought I could possibly make this into a sauce for my ravioli. 

Turns out, I’m not the first person who has thought of this combination.  I looked at many recipes for ravioli with butter and many of them included sage.  Well, at least I knew it was going to be good!  All of these other people wouldn’t be making it AND sharing it if it were terrible.  Next, I thought about what I could add to make this dish a full meal.  Butternut squash keeps popping up in winter recipes, so it seemed like a good choice.

Finally, with all of this sweet-and-savory thinking, I couldn’t get figs out of my head.  I looked all over for fresh figs, but apparently, they’re not in season right now.  Luckily, I still had the Costco bag of dried figs sitting in my pantry.  Maybe they could work?  You can certainly toss them in as is, which is what I did tonight, but if you want to soften them up a bit, pour some boiling water over them and let them sit while you prep the rest of the meal.  I can’t wait to make this recipe with some fresh figs!  The first time I spot them at the store, I will be buying some!

On a separate but still related note, Hubby and Munchkin went to Fresh Market the other night to get dinner fixings.  Munchkin happened to pick out the best fig and olive crackers.  Hubby picked out a soft goat cheese to go with them.  Seriously – if you live near a Fresh Market, or happen to see these crackers in the store,  buy them!  It was such an amazing combination.  Hubby gobbled them up, too, and he really isn’t a fan of olives.  The figs are definitely the dominant flavor.  Yum!

Raincoast Crisps

Raincoast Crisps

So, after buying the fresh ravioli at the farmer’s market, I was inspired again to try making my own pasta.  My parents went on a big kick many years ago of making their pasta fresh.  I am not exaggerating when I say it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted.  There is just nothing better than fresh pasta.  It’s not really a difficult practice, but I will say there is an art to it.  And, having the right tools definitely helps.  I don’t have any pasta making tools.  I’m putting them on my wish list now.  😉  I bought some new flour and planned to use the last of the eggs in the fridge.  What could go wrong?! 

Well, on a side note, I am a new owner of a Blendtec blender.  Merry Christmas to me!  Our old Breville was finally on its last leg.  It was a good purchase many years ago, but all of the frozen smoothies were finally adding up, and every morning we were getting a perfume of smoking metal.  Not a good thing.  I decided on the Blendtec partly because of its versatility.  You can make just about anything with it!  So, why not use it to make dough?  I put my eggs in first, and then added the flour.  I pulsed.  And, nothing happened.  Just a blob of congealed flour in the blender.  I tried a few tactics to get it to blend, but no luck.  So, I brought out my KitchenAid mixer to see if that could salvage it.  No luck again.  First attempt at homemade pasta = FAIL!  Luckily, I had some whole wheat pasta spirals in the pantry.  So, instead of stuffing my homemade ravioli with blue cheese crumbles, I sprinkled them on top.  Mmmmm! So good!

Tonight, I gave the pasta another go.  I skipped the Blendtec and broke out my KitchenAid from the get-go.  (I still need to experiment with the Blendtec, but I was more concerned with the pasta experiment tonight.)  I combined 3 cups of white-wheat flour with 7 eggs.  Success!  I rolled it out, mixed up some mascarpone and blue cheese, and proceeded to make my ravioli.  I don’t have a ravioli cutter, so I pressed the two sheets together with a fork.  The dough was a little thicker than I would have liked, probably because I couldn’t get it very thin with my rolling pin.  (I already felt like I was getting in my weight-lifting for the week!)  And, because the ravioli ended up thicker and bigger than store-bought, I think I cooked them a little too long.  WAH WAH!  It can be so disappointing to take the time and make the mess for a cooking experiment to have it not turn out well.  Hubby gobbled it up, but I’m not calling it a win just yet.  I still want to experiment with homemade pasta, but I think I’ll be keeping a box in the pantry as a back up until I’ve had some more practice 😉

At any rate, this recipe would be delicious with fresh homemade pasta, or pasta from the farmer’s market fridge, or even your generic dried pasta in a box.  Seriously, you will be loving every bite of the sage butter regardless! 

Sage Butter Pasta with Figs & Butternut Squash

Sage Butter Pasta with Figs & Butternut Squash

Bon Appétit!

Sage Butter Pasta with Figs & Butternut Squash
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  1. 1 butternut squash
  2. 1 TBS EVOO
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  7. 1 lb Pasta Your Choice (ravioli, spirals, etc.)
  8. 1 stick butter
  9. 1/4 cup sage leaves (about 4 stems)
  10. 1 handful fresh or dried figs, sliced
  11. 4 oz blue cheese crumbles
  1. First, prepare the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and cut the butternut squash into 1/2 inch pieces. (For a shortcut, you can also buy the squash already cut, but you may want to cut them into smaller bite-size pieces.) Toss the butternut squash with 1 TBS EVOO, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, about 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender.
  2. While the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
  3. Finally, prepare the sage butter. Melt 1 stick of butter over low heat. When the butter is melted and starting to bubble, add the sage leaves. Allow to cook until the butter turns a soft brown color.
  4. After draining the pasta, drizzle with the sage butter and top with the roasted butternut squash, figs, and blue cheese crumbles.
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Tuesday’s Title: At the Library

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I rarely buy books.  There are several reasons: 1) They’re expensive; 2) They take up space (that we don’t really have!); 3) After about a week, they’ll be sitting on a shelf.  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of books.  I buy the occasional book; if it’s a favorite, or a classic, or if I know that I’m going to want to revisit it.  I’ve received many as gifts.  (A GREAT gift, if you ever need an idea 😉 )  I also have plenty of books sitting on the shelves that are technically “borrowed” from family.  My mom is an avid reader.  She could easily read a book a day.  She has passed along many to me.  Usually, I can just go shopping in her bookshelves without ever having to visit Barnes & Noble.  But, I forget what she has or what I’ve already read of hers.  We also both have Kindles, but they are surprisingly difficult to share books through.  (I think Amazon definitely needs to work on this system.)  So, in lieu of buying and borrowing, I’ve reverted to the time honored tradition of: The Library!

When was the last time you set foot in a library?  For many of you, I’m sure it was college.  There might even be a few of you who have managed to avoid the library since high school.  But, let me tell you, you are missing out!  I LOVE the library!  I actually got my library card many years ago.  It was one of our first budgeting efforts after we became homeowners.  You can find just about anything at the library:  movies, books, magazines.  Atlanta-Fulton Public Library has a huge selection and many locations so you should always be able to find a convenient branch.  The branch I typically frequent is a little smaller, which I happen to like, but sometimes I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for in the branch.  Enter my favorite library service:  the hold.  That’s right, I can log onto my account at home, add the titles I want to read (or watch), select the branch where I’d like to pick it up, and wait for an email notification telling me it’s ready.  It’s awesome!  I’ve always loved this service, but I have to say, I love it even more now that Munchkin is in the picture.  There is no way he’s going to let me browse through the fiction and nonfiction sections, or at least, not quietly.  So, now we can spend all of our library time in the children’s section, and I can pick up my selections on the way out.  Plus, I don’t have to hope that my selection will be at the branch (although the online catalog will tell you which branches have the title available.)  Holds are especially valuable when it comes to the hot titles.  I believe I was number 150 on the list when I added The Girl On The Train about a year ago.  I had forgotten all about it until I received my notification email that it was ready for pickup.  Awesome!

Another great service the library offers is e-books.  These are available through the library’s Overdrive system.  Simply set up an account using your library card, and you have access to the library’s ebook catalog.  You can send them to your e-reader device.  Easy Peasy!   (Next week, I’m going to share with you a great e-book I recently finished!)  Now, similar to hard copies, the library has a set number of digital titles, so you may still have to wait for the newer titles.  But, again, you can set up a hold list for e-books, and you’ll be notified when it’s ready.  This service is great for traveling because I don’t have to guess how many books I’m going to read on vacation.  I can read either on my Kindle or my iPhone.  Definitely check it out if you like e-books!

Finally, the last reason I love the library applies to those of you with munchkins.  STORYTIME!  That’s right, our library offers a weekly Toddler Time.  The best part?  It’s FREE!  Most branches offer some sort of children’s activity.  Munchkin and I go every week to hear some stories, sing some songs, and make a craft.  Then, we hang out in the children’s section and flip through some more books before picking out one or two to bring home with us.  The librarians at our branch are amazing and love having the kiddos around.

If you’re looking for something fun to do this week, either with or without a little one in tow, check out your local library!  Or, at least visit the overdrive system!

Atlanta-Fulton public library system

Happy Reading!


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Money on My Mind Monday: Budget Box

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Last week, I shared with you how we’re tracking our spending.  This week, I’d like to show you the new system we’re trying out for keeping our finances organized.  I’m sure you’ve heard of budget binders, and that’s exactly how we started out keeping our bills organized.  However, several years ago, the system kind of deteriorated.  For the past few years, we’ve been keeping our receipts in file folders, but these have just become so cumbersome.  As I said in my last money post, I haven’t been staying on top of budget tracking, so the receipt mess is all my fault.  I take full responsibility.  So, I started looking for better options.  Maybe we just needed a jump start back with the binder?  Maybe not.  I stumbled onto a budget box.  Aha!  That seemed like a great idea!  I took the idea and created our own budget box.  We only have a few weeks of using this new system, and it seems to be working great so far!  Here’s how I set ours up:

1.  First you need a hanging folder box.  You could also use a drawer, but I like the idea of the box because it is sitting out on a bookshelf in our office.  Every time I walk into the office, I see it, and I’m reminded of our budget.  So far, I’m staying on top of tracking our budget.  I looked around a little bit and decided on this one from Target:

Threshold Hanging Storage

Threshold Hanging Storage

Now, obviously, if it’s sitting out, you want something that is going to look nice and that won’t drive you crazy.  But, also remember that office supplies can be crazy expensive!  If you’re trying to implement a good budget system, blowing a bunch of money on supplies to get you started is probably not the best idea.  (I’ll be honest – I had to walk away from the beautiful braided hanging folder basket with the lid because it was twice the price.  It was painful, but I stuck to my guns!)

2.  Next, you need some hanging folders, some manila folders, and labels for each.  We already had some hanging folders, but I did grab a box of manila folders while I was at Target.  Again, you could spend some extra money for cute designs if you want it to look really pretty.  I chose to use the red folders we already had because 1) saving money! and 2) (more importantly, I’ll be honest) they match Munchkin’s red play table because our office also doubles as a playroom.

3.  Decide on your budget box categories.  This is where you can really customize the box to your needs.  No need to set up folders you know you won’t use, and feel free to add extras that might help better organize your paper trail.  This is currently how I have our folders set up:

Hanging Folders (in Red) then manila folders within each folder

Monthly Budget

Monthly at a Glance

Monthly Check in


12 Monthly Folders (January – December)

Paid Bills (Recurring utilities, etc.)

12 Monthly Folders (January – December)

Taxes (donation receipts and other tax-related documents)



Accounts Summary (Net Worth)

Pay Stubs

Account Statements

Folder for each bank/credit card

Gift Cards/Certificates (We are terrible about using these, so I’m hoping keeping them easily accessible will encourage us to use them more frequently!)

Coupons (Again, I’m hoping keeping them at arm’s length will help us remember to use them!)

Budget Box

Budget Box

The finished product!  What do you think?

Happy Budgeting!


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Thirsty Thursday: Everyday Margarita

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I was racking my brain today coming up with my blog topic.  In the past, I’ve stuck to Throw Back Thursdays in an effort to catch up on old blog posts.  (Ha!  Like that will EVER happen!)  But, I knew that a throw back post would take a lot of time (which I do not have today), and so, I was hoping to come up with an alternative theme.  Last night, we had some leftover Mexican, and I made some margaritas to go with it.  I had them ready for when Hubby got home – tequila, citrus liqueur, and two margaritas waiting.  Of course, I took a picture.  I almost posted it to Instagram last night and was coming up with a possible hashtag when I remembered Wet Your Whistle Wednesday.  Now, that takes me back!

When Hubby and I were first married, we moved into an apartment in the ATL.  We had a few college friends who lived in the city, and we were determined to stay in touch.  So, Hubby had the bright idea to have a weekly cocktail night at our place.  We had a catchphrase for every night of the week!  But, Wet Your Whistle Wednesday was one of my favorites.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, today is not Wednesday.  It’s Thursday.  (Nice calendar lesson for you 😉 ) So, I give you Thirsty Thursday.

This is my go-to margarita recipe, if you can even call it a recipe.  Think along the lines of Sandra Lee’s Semi Homemade.  For starters, you want a decent tequila.  Please don’t buy anything in a plastic jug.  The next day will not be pretty.  We have several favorites that we alternate, but one of my favorites is 1800 Reposado.


Isn’t that bottle pretty?!  So, I really don’t know much about tequila other than I like to drink it.  We first “discovered” 1800 on our trip to Mexico for my 30th birthday.  We stayed on the club level of our resort, which came with a private lounge.  One of the bartenders introduced us to 1800, and we began requesting it for all of our margaritas.  It’s delicious!  At any rate, any tequila you like will do!

Next, you want a citrus liqueur.  Really any flavor will work.  Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, etc.  Hubby has been known to make a mean Limoncello margarita.  He picked out a Patrón citrus liqueur.  Perfect!

Finally, you need the margarita essence:  limes.  Now, I wish I could tell you that I squeeze fresh limes every time I mix a new drink.  Or rather, I wish I could tell you that someone else squeezes fresh limes for me every time I want a margarita.  Where is my butler?  But, I rarely have that many limes on hand.  Plus, then I usually need some sort of simple syrup or other sweetener to tone the tartness of the limes down a notch, and it just becomes a mixology lesson when I just wanted an easy mixed drink.  You may be thinking, “Why don’t you just keep some margarita mix on hand?  They sell it already mixed!”  In a sense, I do use a mix, but it’s not fluorescent green and it doesn’t contain the name of a popular song 😉  My secret ingredient:  Limeade.  But, if you’re heading towards the frozen concentrate, let me stop you.  You want a limeade that comes in a jar.  My favorite:  Santa Cruz Organic.

Santa Cruz Organic Limeade

You can find this at just about any grocery store.  I like to stock up when it’s on sale during the summer.  My second choice is Simply Lime.  If you have a favorite limeade, feel free to use that as well!

Everyday Margarita


Tequila (1800 or your favorite)

Citrus Liqueur (Triple Sec, etc.)


Lime for garnish



Fill a lowball halfway with ice.  Pour tequila until glass is half full.  Add a splash of citrus liqueur.  Fill the rest of the glass with Limeade.  Squeeze a lime wedge and drop into glass.  Stir.  Sip.  Enjoy.  That’s it!

Everyday Margarita



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Wordless Wednesday: Splish Splash

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Splish Splash

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Tuesday’s Title: Goodreads

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In the theme of getting organized this year, I’ve returned to a great website that I used to use religiously to track books:  Goodreads.  I’m not sure why I let this one go, other than I just forgot.  It’s really a great resource, and I really wish it would expand to include movies and TV shows.  (Anyone want to develop that for me?!)

Goodreads is similar to other social media sites where you follow friends and share your own activity with your friends.  However, the best aspect in my opinion is simply being able to track books I want to read.  I’ve tried to keep track of so many handwritten lists over the years.  I started keeping a page in my bullet journal last year, but I could never seem to remember to write all the books down.  I’ve also been pinning plenty of suggested reads on my Pinterest board, but again, these just get lost.  I have SO MANY choices, and it’s just too difficult for me to organize them properly.  I just haven’t found anything better than Goodreads.

Other positives are being able to see what books your friends want to read and have read.  For the overachievers, there is also the option to rate and write reviews, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!  Goodreads also allows you to set a reading goal for the year.  I’ve been trying to carve out a little time at the end of the day for reading.  I used to be so good about this.  It really helps me sleep better to unplug for a bit before shuteye.  When I was pregnant, I used the time to read labor and delivery books, as well as get a jump start on parenting books.  But after Munchkin arrived, I used every ounce of free time to catch up on sleep.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love my sleep, so given the option between anything else, sleep always wins.  But, I’ve discovered that I just feel better when I make that little “me” time every day, and I’ve decided to make some fun reading a priority, too!  What a novel concept 😉

If you’re new to Goodreads, you can start by adding me as a friend!  You can get a sneak peak of what I’m reading. 😉


Happy Reading!


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Money on My Mind Monday: Mint

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2016.  A new year.  Time for new thoughts, new goals, new mindset.  Resolutions often center around health and fitness.  I can’t tell you how many detox plans I’ve seen over the past few weeks.  (If this is you, we’re right there with you!)  But, another important part of healthy living is responsible finances.  If you watch Suze Orman (we used to DVR and watch on occasion), you know that she claims your financial situation has a huge impact on other areas of your life.  People with health problems often have money problems as well.  This viewpoint takes holistic living to a whole new level!  But, I have to say that I agree with it.  Anyone who is having money troubles will most likely be stressed, which leads to other health problems.  So, if you’re looking to be healthier in the new year, don’t forget to think about money!

I’ll admit, we’ve been pretty bad in our house about money recently.  Hubby pays all the bills (not to mention, earning the money to pay the bills – thank you!!), and I USED to track all of our spending and keep track of our budget.  USED to.  Since I’ve been home with Munchkin, I just can’t seem to stay on top of it.  I think part of it is the fact that I’m just not in front of the computer like I used to be.  It used to take me a few minutes here or there to open up our account summaries, log in the info to our excel spreadsheet, and see where our money was going.  It’s a lot more difficult on an iphone.  So, I just haven’t done it.  That changes now!

Part of resolution success lies in accountability, so I’m putting it out here now.  I will stay on top of our budget!  Another part of resolution success depends on the ease of execution.  This is really what I want to share with you today.  There are two things that I’m hoping will really help me execute my goal of staying on top of our finances this year:  the budget box (which I’ll share with you next week) and Mint.  We’ve actually been using Mint for many years.  (Our transactions go back to 2008!)  If you haven’t already checked it out, it’s awesome!!  You can pull all of your accounts into Mint, and then you can see all of your charges in one place.  We’ve always used it to track our transactions, but this year we’re also taking advantage of the budget feature.  Hubby and I sat down to come up with our monthly budget, and then, I was able to enter the categories into Mint.  Now, I can easily see if we’re over budget in a category, and easily see what transactions caused the overage.  You have the ability in Mint to categorize all of your transactions, and you can even split transactions between different categories.  I’m trying to be a little more broad this year in my categorizations so that this part of budget tracking doesn’t take too much time each week.

Go ahead!  Sign up for an account!  Word of warning:  there’s a little bit of time involved in setting up your accounts and budget, but after that initial time investment, it’s very easy to maintain.


Happy Saving!

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Meatless Monday: Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos with Roasted Spaghetti Squash

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Portobellos are one of my favorite meatless meals.  Specifically, this recipe that I’ve already shared.  We literally eat this meal several times a month.  It’s quick and easy, which makes it a good last-minute menu item.  It’s a great meal for menu-planning day or maybe I-forgot-to-plan-a-menu day.  Munchkin LOVES mushrooms, too, so I try to fix them often for him.  Last week, we had an opened jar of artichokes in the fridge that needed to be eaten.  I decided to come up with another portobello variation instead of relying on the old faithful.

Let me just tell you that I think this recipe will be added to the monthly rotation.  It was quick and easy, too, and I think it will lend itself to last-minute prep and improvisation.  (That’s another reason I love the other recipe so well – I can use up whatever cheese or veggies that are hanging out in the fridge.)  I served these on top of roasted spaghetti squash.  Delicious combo!  If you haven’t experimented with spaghetti squash, please try it!

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos with Roasted Spaghetti Squash


6 large portobellos

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup fresh spinach

6 artichoke hearts, chopped

1 TB cream cheese (or any soft cheese)

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 Spaghetti Squash

Salt & Pepper



Preheat oven to 350°. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place flesh-side down on a baking dish and bake for an hour.  Then, scrape the flesh with a fork to pull out the spaghetti-like strands.
While the spaghetti squash is cooking, remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop.  Heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the onions and chopped mushroom stems.  Saute for several minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for a couple minutes more.  Add spinach and artichokes.  Cook until spinach is wilted.  Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese, then season with salt and pepper.  Divide spinach and artichoke mixture between mushroom caps.  Sprinkle with feta cheese.  Bake for about 15 minutes.
Serve mushrooms over the spaghetti squash.
Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos
Bon Appétit!



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One Pot Wonder Wednesday: Boo’s Chili

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Wow – Can you believe I actually remembered how to log into the admin page?!  I’ve had great blog ideas popping into my head, but I just haven’t seemed to sit down to the computer.  In a while.  Let’s just call it a summer sabbatical, shall we?  Yes, let’s go with that.  But, with the start of fall last week, it’s time to get back into the swing of things at Listfull Days.  I mean, these lists don’t make themselves!  And, they certainly don’t take care of themselves!  Wouldn’t that be nice?!  So, for my first blog post back this fall, I wanted to start with the ultimate fall recipe:  Chili!

Last spring, I posted the yummy Chicken Quinoa Chili recipe.  This is a delicious recipe and has joined our normal rotation of recipes.  It’s also a great meal to take to friends who are recovering from an illness or adjusting to life with a new baby.  It makes a ton, so you’ll have plenty for dinner for yourself, too.  But, this is not the classic chili that we all think of when we think of fall and maybe football season.  (Those of you who know me know that football season means nothing more to me than delicious game-day food!)  I filled up the crock pot last Wednesday to celebrate the official start of fall.  You will definitely want to put this on the menu this weekend!

Now, this recipe originally came to me from my sister.  She happens to be the football fan of the family and has hosted many a game-day at her home.  She makes a mean pot of chili!  One of her key ingredients is chili hot beans.  When she originally sent me the recipe, she specified that they had to be Kroger brand.  I trusted her, of course, and bought the Kroger beans.  But, I didn’t know how right she was until I had to make-do one time without the Kroger brand.  How right she was!  Now, I tend to stock up when they are on sale because one can never have too many cans of chili beans just like it’s always chili season.  (I do actually make chili year-round.)  Another one of her key ingredients is Chili-O seasoning.  However, a few years ago when we experimented with g-free eating, I discovered that Chili-O, in fact, contains gluten.  Wait, what?!  Why?!  I don’t usually use pre-mixed seasonings, but this has always been my exception because it is. so. good.  But, after knowing the gluten was there, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it anymore.  Ignorance is definitely bliss in this case.  (Don’t even tell me what is in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte because pumpkin season just began, and there is no way I’m giving that up this year!)  So, I decided to come up with my own Chili-O seasoning.  I’ll be honest:  my chili tastes a little different than my sister’s now, but I don’t even care.  It’s delicious!  I include a little bit of cayenne because we like a little heat in this house (Hubby still adds Sriracha to his bowl), but it can certainly be left out for a milder taste.  I still call it Boo’s chili, though.  It’s even listed in my Pepperplate index as Boo’s chili.  I don’t think she’ll mind a little variation.  Add some Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips!  The leftovers also make great nachos!

Boo’s Chili

(Adapted from my sister’s favorite chili!)


1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (try to find organic, low sodium if possible.  Kroger has a store brand that I usually buy.)

2 – 15 oz cans chili hot beans (Kroger! They have an organic option, now!)

2 – green bell peppers, chopped (chop to your size preference; we like chunky chili, so I chop it coarsely)

1 – sweet onion, chopped

1 lb ground beef

1 TB chili powder

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 TB paprika

1 tsp cumin

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp oregano


Brown beef.  Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook all day.

Boo's Chili

Bon Appétit!






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Meatless Monday: Provençal Vegetable Casserole

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We tend to be very cheap frugal in this house when it comes to entertainment, but there are a few things we willingly spend money on:  music, food, and drinks.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that we subscribed to the Food & Wine publication.  Seriously, this is the only magazine we have paid for.  It is right up our alley.  Recipes, drink recommendations, along with travel highlights thrown in.  When we receive the latest edition in the mail, we both scour it for recipes we want to try.  I’ll be honest:  ALL of the recipes look delicious, but this isn’t a spin-off of 30-minute meals.  There are many that appear too laborious or require too many exotic ingredients.  So, while we enjoy looking at the pictures, we know some of these recipes will never end up on our menu.

Several years ago, we hosted Easter dinner at our house.  We had recently received the April 2011 edition of Food & Wine, and tonight’s recipe was one of the side dishes we chose to serve.  It did not disappoint.  It is fairly easy to prepare, although it does require some time to bake.  It’s a great dish for entertaining because all of the mess is made in the prep, and then you’re left with an hour and half of bake/rest time to clean up 😉  You could also easily prep ahead of time.  (My favorite kind of entertaining recipe!)  The recipe also makes a good portion, so it’s great for a crowd or for leftovers.  There are so many things you could do with leftover roasted vegetables!  While originally I served this as a side dish, the eggplant and zucchini give the dish enough depth to serve as a meatless entrée.  I served it with some tri-color quinoa tonight.

Provençal Vegetable Casserole

(Adapted from Food & Wine)


2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano, chopped
One 1 1/2-pound eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
Two 1/2-pound zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
1 TBS chives, chopped

1 TBS herbes de provence


Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add half of the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat for about 10 seconds per side. Transfer the tomatoes to a large plate; repeat with the remaining slices.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the onion, garlic and oregano, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Season with salt and pepper; remove from the heat.
Oil a 9-by-13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Arrange one-third of the eggplant on the bottom of the dish, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter half of the onions on top, followed by half of the zucchini. Drizzle the zucchini with oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the oregano. Arrange half of the tomatoes and their cooking juices over the zucchini. Repeat the layering, sprinkling the second layer of zucchini with the chives, and ending with a final layer of eggplant. Drizzle with oil; season with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence.
Cover the casserole with foil and bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil. Continue baking for 30 minutes longer, until very tender.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the casserole 4 inches from the heat until browned. Let rest for at least 15 minutes, then serve.
Provençal Vegetable Casserole
Bon Appétit!
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