1. Kitchen remodel is still coming along…. The dirty, dusty, gross part is almost over and the fun, decorating, cabinet installing part is about here. Living in a quarter of my house is getting old fast. (Oh ya, this bar/pass through area wasn’t there a week ago! Hellllo natural light!)
2. There have been so many slow cooker meals in my house the past three weeks, I don’t even know what I am going to do with an actual kitchen. I’ve decided that you can basically throw anything in a crockpot and it will turn out well. This recipe is a new easy favorite. (Me cooking in my make shift kitchen… It’s been interesting)
3. These shoes are my everything. I was SO hesitant to buy Birkenstocks because they remind me of mom shoes (no offense to my super cool mom). But these screamed my name, I bought them on impulse and literally where them every single day when I teach. My feet have never been happier.
4. I’m completely in love with our new Tuft & Needle mattress. A full, fun new bedding post coming soon, but spoiler alert- we’ve never slept better.
5. Ikea on the weekends is hell. This $10 orchid made the 90-minute drive and 2-hour shopping stint worthwhile.
6. I’m off to Napa this weekend to celebrate one of my closest girlfriends weddings. My two girlfriends are meeting me in San Fran and we are renting a car and driving up together- should be a fun adventure!
So this could be my new favorite weeknight meal. It’s basically all of the yumminess of Mexican food in a casserole. PS how Southern am I making casseroles? It is super simple to make and can be frozen or prepared in advance (don’t you love when you can do that?).
The base is a simple mix of onions, green bell pepper and turkey. Add in a mixture of beans and tomatoes, top with cheese and chips and bake. Viola. The casserole can have any toppings you want! I liked the addition of fresh tomatoes and some green onions to make it feel healthy (ha-ha-ha).
Turkey Taco Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)
- 2 cups (16 ounces) jarred chunky-style salsa
- 8 to 9 cups (about 7 ounces) corn tortilla chips
- 2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
- Assorted toppings such as sliced avocado, sliced green onions, sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, plain Greek yogurt. additional salsa, hot sauce
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly mist a 9×13-inch baking dish with a cooking spray or oil mister. Set aside.
- To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. With a wooden spoon, break up turkey until almost cooked through (it is ok if some of it is still pink). Add corn, all of the beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne (if using) and salsa. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in the prepared baking dish. Drop half of the bean mixture in dollops over the chips. Sprinkle evenly with half of cheese. Top with the remaining chips, then spoon on the rest of the bean mixture, and finally sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot throughout, about 20 minutes.
- Serve with desired toppings.
1. Oh hey friends- this kitchen reno is kicking my butt! It is all coming together SO well and hopefully the next 5-1000 weeks go by quickly :). I am sort of dying about the amount of dust that is in my house, but just taking deep breaths and looking myself in my bedroom whenever possible.
2. I have found the most fabulous gym down here, Novo Fitness. What I miss most about LA is the abundance of healthy options and workout classes. Well, Columbus finally has an amazing barre studio that I actually love going to each night. I’m still swimming, but adding this into the rotation.
3. Have you heard of Birchbox? They send you 5-6 samples of health/beauty goodies a month. I’m sort of obsessed, although my sample drawer is totally bursting at the seams! I’ve found so many great new products through the company and who doesn’t love getting a box full of fun, new goodies each month?
4. Job… oh about that. I have been searching high and low and far and wide for a fabulous teaching gig. Unfortunately for me, the jobs on the Army base are few and hard to come by and the ones in the public school district are even harder (they let go of 130 teachers this year). So, I’ve been subbing almost every day, putting my name out there and meeting principals. I’m staying busy and honing my craft and praying something fabulous comes my way soon.
5. Did I ever share this awesome cornhole set I had made for Q for his birthday? Cornhole is a very Southern game – basically throwing bean bags into a hole. I think these turned out fabulously and think they would be SO fun for an engagement or wedding gift. (This is the company who made them for us. They ship nationwide).
6. White after Labor Day? I’m a rulebreaker. What can I say? (Pants are J. Crew/ Bag is Kate Spade/ Shoes: J. Crew)
Guys. This weekend Q and I embarked on the first MAJOR house change: the kitchen remodel. Like all couples, when we first started looking at houses to buy, we would walk in and say, “Hmmm, I love it, but maybe a bigger kitchen. While we are at it, let’s just take out that wall, add new cabinets and floors. Yup, that sounds easy enough. Let’s buy it.” Well actually, that is the exact conversation we had about our house. The kitchen was SMALL and outdated and in the middle of the house with no windows or proper ventilation (which is SO much fun when you try and cook salmon. The smell lingers for DAYS).
So we (well I) moved in and settled and used our tiny kitchen and was totally fine with it. Then Q came back from his deployment and started talking about redoing it like we had discussed when we bought the house. My first thought was, “It’s fine! It works! I’ve gotten used to it! Even when the dishwasher and the oven both broke in one week and now I have two ovens and minimal countertops! It works, why change it?” But Q really wanted a change. And the process began…
Step one- Figure out our new layout. We used the Ikea kitchen builder tool, which is a really fabulous 3D way to make your new kitchen. We always knew we would go with Ikea cabinets because 1. we aren’t going to be in this house forever 2. they are affordable and great quality 3. it saves SO much money to buy Ikea and build yourself 4. Q is really really good at making stuff aka assembling Ikea. We went with a similar layout to what we have now. The biggest change is taking down the wall between our dining room and kitchen and also creating a bar/pass through wall in the old dining room. This opens up the room to so much more natural light and creates that “open concept.” And we are adding an island to the center of our now enormous room.
Step two- Get started. We are SO lucky that our next door neighbor (and friend) is a contractor. Once we said we were ready, he jumped on board. To save money, Q and I did all the demo ourselves. Guys- it was hard work. Like 8 hours a day-sweating-dusty-basically crying at all times- work. Q did all the sawing and hammering and pulling things off walls. I did all the haul away. Think 100 trips to the dumpster a day carrying sheet rock and plaster and old nails and boards. It was the best workout I’ve ever done. We took down every single cabinet, an entire WALL and the ugly soffits that were attached to the ceiling. When I look at the photos, I still can’t believe it!
And that’s where we are right now. Demo done. Framers coming today to create our bar/pass through area. Since the demo is in the middle of the house- we basically walk through plastic after plastic to move from the den to the master. I pick a place and stay situated once I arrive home. Oh and cooking has been another joy, but for another day!
So kitchen remodel part 1 done! I’m excited to bring you update number 2 when we get there :).