Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemade tomato vegetable soup

Fall is here and as I have said before, this is my favorite time of year. I am always craving warm foods, but most of the soups I have found in the grocery store aisle are chocked full of preservatives and words that I can't pronounce--a sure sign that I probably shouldn't be eating them. So I decided to make my own soup from scratch (for the first time ever!) and it actually turned out great! The recipe is very adaptable to what you have on hand, and very easy. Give it a shot!

2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for roasting veggies
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, gluten free
1 12-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup coconut cream

1. Turn oven on broil at 400 degrees, and toss tomatos, bell pepper and zucchini in olive oil and roast until soft, about 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until soft.
3. Add diced tomatos and broth and simmer until vegetables are done roasting.
4. Add roasted vegetables and use an immersion blender to reach desired consistancy. (or use a normal blender!)
5. Add cream and stir.
6. Serve!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekenders, part 1

It's mid October, and I am almost to the point of being excited for the holidays, but also still enjoying the first signs of fall. Crisp, cool mornings, colorful leaves, pretty clothes... it's my favorite time of year.

I was looking back over my iPhone pics from the past six weeks, and I realized that I have done something every weekend since the last day of August. And I am not complaining, because my weekends have been comprised of some of my favorite things in the entire world. So bear with me as I recap what has been an eventful fall season so far!

August 31, 2013
Confession: I did not graduate from OU. But I freaking love the Sooners. Going to football games turns me into a rabid sports monster, and when Daniel went to an OU game with me last season and was NOT terrified of my screaming and craziness, I took it as a very good sign.

Daniel won tickets to the first OU game of the year, and I could not have been more excited to kick off the season in the stadium (especially since the game was PPV only -- BOOO!)

However, it should be noted that it was the hottest game I have ever been to, and people were passing out in the stands. But Daniel and I prevailed and enjoyed the game despite the heat!

And as a bonus I got to see Abby perform as part of the half-time show, which was so cool! All in all it was the perfect way to start the fall of 2013.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Desired destinations

I am currently battling a severe case of wanderlust. Maybe it's my gypsy blood, or maybe it's the fact that I was wrapping up a fab trip to London this time last year. Either way, I am itching for an adventure. Until I can get a vacation on my calendar, these are the places in which I spend my daydreams. Join me?


Ireland (4718121697)

By *christopher* from San Francisco, USA (irelandUploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Maybe this is a cop out, but my thoughts are consumed with going back to Ireland someday, sooner rather than later. I'm going to run an inn in Ireland when I semi-retire, you mark my words. I can't get enough.

By Steve Lyon via Wikimedia Commons
I have had "visit all 50 states" on my bucket list before I even knew what a bucket list was. Alaska has not been crossed off my map yet, and I can't wait to explore one of America's wildest frontiers.

Image via Joyful Reflections Photography

Those of you who know me know the REAL reason that I want to visit Maine. 

Image via
I have been obsessed with Maine since watching Murder, She Wrote with the ever-perfect Angela Lansbury as a little girl. The rocky coastline, beautiful foliage and the charming towns are a siren-call to my small-town sensibilities. Of course, I hope the violence and greed that normally followed Jessica Fletcher's presence will stay safely in her fictional world and not intrude on my future Maine vaca. :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekend movie: Top o' the Morning (1949)

I just got home from Karissa's wedding in Tulsa after a whirlwind weekend of bridesmaid dresses, hairspray, and cake cutting. It was beautiful and perfect in every way. I'll have pictures on the blog later, but while I am editing them, I decided to kick back and celebrate St. Patrick's Day with an old movie. Because, really, what could be better?

This 1949 B&W movie stars Bing Crosby as an American insurance investigator that travels to Ireland in order to investigate the theft of the Blarney Stone. When he arrives, posing as an artist, various mishaps cause him to fulfill an ancient prophesy regarding the daughter of the local police captain. 

The light storyline has all of my favorite elements--music, romance, mystery, folklore and, of course, Ireland. Can I please go back there and sing folk songs for a living? Please and thank you. 

Even though I figured out the "villain" before the main characters did, how the story comes together still kept me in suspense. And overall, it just increased my wanderlust to travel back to Ireland. This was the perfect way for my exhausted self to celebrate one of my favorite holidays.

Friday, March 8, 2013

This is why I love OKC

Well, it's one of the (MANY) reasons. They definitely know how to treat the employees around here! 

Thanks for the lunch, Downtown OKC! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Boyfriend cooking school, part 1

One of Daniel's New Year's Resolutions was to learn to cook more. And since home boy doesn't even know how to fry bacon, I figured that even someone with my level of culinary experience could give him a few pointers. I may not be Julia Child, but I love cooking. Food just tastes better when I've cooked it myself, and cooking with someone else just makes it twice as fun for me.

The first recipe we tackled was the salsa chicken casserole created by Budget Bytes. I accidentally messed Daniel up by giving him brown rice to use instead of white rice (did you know it takes WAY longer to cook in the oven?), and the spice measuring process was a little confusing, but the recipe tasting amazing and now Daniel can add one more dish to his recipe repertoire. I highly recommend this recipe, since it is easy and cheap--a winning combo! And it can easily be adapted to paleo by using riced cauliflower and omitting the beans. There are lots of ways you can make this dish your own!

Friday, March 1, 2013

weekend reads

this weekend I am hosting the first of two bachelorette nights/showers for Karissa. i'm super excited, and also a little nervous about hosting my first on-my-own shower. but now that it is wedding time, I am sure the days will fly by! (fun story: I was cooking for the shower last night and I set off my smoke alarm not once, but twice. and in usual Kaylee fashion, I ran about my apartment frantically until I thought to open a door and fan the smoke away from the alarm.)

I can't wait to break out my camera and document the next few weekends, but until then, here's what I am reading on the internet this fine Friday:

Happy weekend! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Creamy sweet potato soup

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, right? And when you have bare cupboards (and an almost-empty refrigerator) you have to invent some new recipes. The weather has been so winter-like in OKC, I needed soup last night. And I had just enough pantry staples to pull off something Paleo. And, most shocking of all, it actually turned out to be great. Here's what I came up with.

Creamy sweet potato soup
Serves 2-4 people, depending on portion size

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 red onion, chopped
3 chicken breast tenderloins (or you can use 2 chicken breasts)
1/2 sweet potato, cubed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 avocado
1/2 lime

1. Melt the coconut oil over a low heat in a medium sized soup pot. Meanwhile, mix all the dry spices together and set aside.
2. Saute the onion until they begin to sweat, and then add about a third of the spices. Mix well.
3. After the onions are translucent, add chicken and cook thoroughly. Once cooked, shred with two forks.
4. Add the sweet potatoes and saute for about a minute. Add the remaining spice mix.
5. Pour in the tomatoes, the the coconut milk and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Let soup simmer for 15-20 minutes and then ladle into bowls. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each portion and garnish with avocado.

I really liked this recipe. It was easy, filling, and the slight coconut flavor paired with the fresh lime juice was yummy. I also think that a little cheddar cheese would taste fantastic with this!  If you make it, let me know what you think!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Valentine's Day escapades

I was totally overwhelmed with love and chocolate this Valentine's Day. I've always loved this special day--making funny notes to send to friends, baking sweet treats to share with others. And now that I work downtown and park at Main Street Parking Garage downtown, they make every holiday a little more awesome by giving out cookies and having live music. But this year was even more special because I got to celebrate with Daniel (sorry so sappy).

My Valentine's Day prep started the night before when Daniel and I made these to take to our offices the next day. (Yeah, they are totally not Paleo. I knew that I couldn't withstand the temptation so I had a few built-in cheat days.) And then I finally got to use my old school label maker to finish up my gifts.

And I found the cutest valentines to give to my coworkers this year. ( LOVE. I only printed the appropriate ones.

And then I got a few surprises of my own from Daniel and my parents!

Besides the roses, Daniel got me a huge box of K-cups for my Keurig (because I am totally obsessed with it) and I got him a little scrapbook (a work in progress) and a few seasons of Southland on DVD.

Daniel and I went to Blu for their Valentine's Day meal. It's one of Daniel's very favorite restaurants, and we love going to Norman since we both lived there at the same time but didn't know each other yet. It gives both of us a chance to revisit our favorite haunts. Blu was so amazing, but I completely forgot to take pictures while we were there. Here are a few of us from that night.

It was such a happy day! By far one of the best Feb. 14 in my personal history.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

weekend happenings

Weekends are such a wonderful invention. (for some reason, all I can hear in my head right now is the dowager countess of Grantham saying "what is a week end?")

Last weekend I got to go home to Idabel for pageant weekend. Yes, I love pageants. Not the toddlers and tiaras kind, but the Miss America kind. And it was just a lovely, relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of OKC. Because sometimes I just need to be in the country where you can hear crickets and see stars. The only way it could have been better is if Daniel had tagged along, but since two separate pageants were involved, I can't blame him for not tagging along.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Stop planning, start doing

I think this poster could be entitled "10 Ways to Be Happier" and it would be just as accurate for me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My New Year's resolution

Happy New Year!

I know, I know, the year is 1/12th of the way over (where the heck did January go?), and I have yet to write my first post. But Happy New Year anyway!

How are your resolutions going? I hate the word "resolutions" because it has such a negative connotation. People expect you to make and break them in the first six weeks of a new year. So instead, I like to make goals all year round. And the biggest goal that I had this year was to try out the Paleo way of eating.

Recently a few of my friends have expressed interest in Paleo, so I thought I would share more about my experience with Paleo so far, and the unexpected lessons that I've learned.