Umm that wind was wild

Soooo the wind this weekend was absolutely insane.  I thought our house was going to blow over at least 3 times!  This is the part of dog ownership that totally sucks.  Going out in 20 degree wild wind is not my idea of fun at 8am…yuck.

The cold weather does lend itself to crazy heavy and delicious meals though, which I love.  I made tortilla soup on Sunday without a recipe and it came out really really great (going to share in a minute).  Every single recipe (even the ones that said “easy”) online had 55 ingredients.  I am a good cook, I can handle making something difficult, what I don’t want is to have to spend $30 on spices I will only use once, and waste vegetables that I won’t cook with again soon enough.  Plus, the grocery stores were so busy this weekend, I nearly had a fist fight in Trader Joe’s (ok I didn’t, but I wanted to!).  Anyway, here is what I did, and like I always say (and mean it) it came out really great!

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1 1/4 lbs of chicken breast cubed((ish)
15 oz can diced tomato & green chilies fire roasted (Traders! or buy separately)
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (this decides the heat)
1 chopped medium onion
2 boxes Swanson Mexican Tortilla Broth (greatest product ever)
1/2 tbs garlic (to taste)
Some garlic salt, onion powder, s&p
Lime, Avocado, Tortilla Strips, Cheese, Sour Cream (all optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Put chicken, tomato/chile, chipotle peppers, onion, garlic, & broth in the crock pot on high.  Let this cook for about 2 hours.

2. Use a ladle to take out the chunks of chicken, onion, tomato & pepper.  This doesn’t have to be exact, but make sure to get the big pieces of chicken.  Put this in the blender and blend it up quickly. Don’t purée this, just give it a light, quick mix.

3. Put it all back in the crock pot (do the blending in batches) and add the seasonings you are going to want.  I added about 1 tsp of onion powder, garlic salt, and just a pinch of salt. Now let this cook for another couple hours (or 10 minutes if you need dinner).

4. You’re basically done.  Scoop it out and enjoy with whatever toppings you like.  I did some lime juice, pinch of cheddar, tortillas and sour cream, but honestly, it would have tasted great without these additions too!

Mmm.

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On a totally different note, thanks to Jay for being my cheerleader.  Saturday I really missed my friends.  Everyone was together in NYC &  NC and I was struggling a bit with how much I missed them.  I love our new life here, but there will always be days I miss the ease of having my best friends right around the corner (whether it’s college or Brooklyn).  Thankfully, I have Jay, who not only completely understood, but got me ground beef disturbing Taco Bell for dinner, played a flower game with me, and reminded me of how lucky I am.

xo-j

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Thanksgiving Table

We are having Thanksgiving at our house this year, and I’m really excited, and also terrified!  I’ve never made a turkey or hosted a legit dinner for 14 people before…but I’ve made a million lists, and purchased (I think) everything we need.  Anyways, the best part has been getting to plan for the table and making decorations.  I found the cutest mason jar mugs last week, and have been picking up all different glass bottles/jars over the past month to make different groupings for the centerpieces (need a bunch since the table will be so long!).

Here is some of what I’ve done so far:

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(Place Cards / Remember which drink is yours / Thanksgiving Party Favor)

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I’m so happy with how everything turned out!  Now, as long as I don’t destroy the turkey we are good to go!

xo-j

Warm Fall

Yesterday was bizarre, it was 65 degrees!  I decided to eat at my desk and take Rondo to the park for my lunch break since it was so beautiful outside, and before I know it there will be snow.

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Not the same as wandering around midtown at lunch, but I’ll take it!

xo-j

Door Test

Well, it’s been a couple weeks and I’m still obsessing over the idea of making a “vintage” door for our wedding.  I decided this weekend, before going out an buying a door, paint, and spending money I don’t have, I should do a test run to make sure it is even going to work out.  I thought I would share what I did because you can basically do this to any furniture, shelf, door, etc.

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Some side notes to this project: 1. make sure you are well ventilated.  2. don’t clean your brushes in really hot water because you will breathe in the chemical steam 3. once you have breathed in the chemical steam make sure to freak out and call family members and poison control…ha seriously, I’m a mess!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Brushes – I got some 99c ones
Paint – I used acrylic since it was a small project. You need white and whatever color you like
Wood Stain or brown paint
Sandpaper
Tea Candle

Optional: helper
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DIRECTIONS:

1. Sand your surface.  I used both medium and fine paper.

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2. Paint the white, allow to dry, and then paint the brown, or use stain.

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3.  Make sure you have allowed both layers to dry, then give it a bit of a wipe, here is what mine looked like after paint and stain:

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4. Take the tea candle and rub the wax off on any surface you are going to want to look old and come through the color.  I did this on the edges, by the clasp, and throughout the box in different places.

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5.  Wipe off excess wax bits lightly with a clean brush, and then paint your color.

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6.  You want to then take either a small butter knife or sandpaper and rub off where the wax was, this will make the white/brown come through.  I ended up sanding this a bit too while it was still drying which came out nice.

7. Enjoy!  All done!

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I’m really glad I tested this out on a smaller project.  When I do this next I will use a full brown paint instead of just the stain over white, and I will wax in a lot more places so I don’t have to sand as much after the color layer.  I do think it came out great though.  I’ll use it for Christmas cards!

xo-j

Celtics

Last night we went to the Celtics game which was great!  Jay’s family has season tickets and we are so lucky to get to use them!  Fun Monday night, problem is it made me think today was Friday and it’s Tuesday…yuck.

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A mini insta vid here

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And clearly these have nothing to do with the game, they are just from the past couple days…except we did name him Rondo.

xo-j

Sausage & Brussels

We eat chicken sausage probably once a week.  They are so delicious, and not SO horrible for you!  How I have never combined my bizarre love of Brussel sprouts and sausages before I don’t know.  The hardest part of this recipe is chopping the sprouts, seriously. Anyways, wanted to share another simple one that ends up really really tasty!

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Chicken Sausage & Brussels

What You Need:

Chicken Sausage (I get Aidells garlic & gruyere)
Ziti
Brussel Sprouts (I use the frozen ones)Olive Oil
S&P

Directions:

Make your sprouts! Preheat oven to 425*.

1. Defrost the sprouts in mic with 2 tbsp of water and then cut them in half/quarter

2. Toss the chopped sprouts in olive oil and about 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt (change this to taste)

3. Spread them out on an aluminum foil lined pan and bake for about 30 minutes, but this depends on your oven and how brown you want them.  Keep on checking and shaking and tasting and salting throughout the cooking process.

4. In the meantime boil your water, cook your pasta, and cook your sausages.  I slice the sausages up while cooking into bite size pieces.

5.  When it is all cooked, toss it all together with a little bit of olive oil and done!

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Hope you guys make this one and enjoy it, it has become a staple over here!

xo- J

The other site…

Our wedding website is up and running and I wanted to post it here for those of you who had the info on your magnets but probably went to jandjforever.com which, is hilariously not us…  Please visit:

http://jandjforever.us/

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YAY!  June 8th!