Monday, September 30, 2013

My Favorite Turkey Chili

Over the past few years, Matt and I have compiled our own personal book of favorite recipes. Usually a recipe won't make the cut until we've made it a few times and both agree that it's something we'd want to keep in our regular rotation of dishes, ranging from crepes to tomato basil soup to peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.

See the pot of chili hiding in the background?
One of my favorite fall dishes in our  recipe book is a really simple, but delicious turkey chili. Unfortunately I don't remember where I got the recipe from a few years ago so I will be including the recipe in this post, but I am definitely not taking credit for creating this recipe. It's just too good to not share with you all!

As the ground turkey and onions are cooking, you really start to get the first delicious smells from the kitchen. Right before I was going to add the beans, tomatoes, and mix of spices, Matt already told me that the apartment was starting to smell really good. Well, he was in for a treat seeing as the big punch of flavor and smell was about to come! 

I really love the smell and taste of all the spices in this chili. The combination offers a nice kick of heat and smokiness that transforms this dish from just a regular chili to one packed full of flavor. The kidney beans and ground turkey add a great texture to the chili, making it really hearty and perfect for a cool fall day. 

I always feel so happy and satisfied eating this dish. I feel like I should be at a campground, eating a bowl around the fire. Maybe that's because I was just at a campground a few weekends ago...oh, how I miss it already! Until I can make it back, I will enjoy this chili from the comfort of my own home and reminisce. And for all of you out there - enjoy! I can guarantee your stomach will be very happy after you've filled up on a bowlful of this chili!
My Favorite Turkey Chili

Serves: 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans - drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.

Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic. Season with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm Coming Back!

Sorry wonderful blog followers for the hiatus in posting. I've been traveling the past week to a beautiful campground in upstate New York for a good friend's bachelorette weekend and then off to Atlanta for a work conference. I'll be back up and at it this weekend so stay tuned!

Since I didn't get a chance to say it a few days ago, happy fall! I'm so excited that my favorite season is finally here!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Last weekend, I went to visit my sister, Lisa, and her fiancé, Jarod, in Charleston to accomplish one of the most important wedding planning tasks - choosing a wedding dress! As the wedding madness is starting to ramp up for their April 2014 wedding, I was so happy to be there when she found the one. After going to several wedding dress boutiques with a group of her girlfriends, there were a few top contenders at the last boutique. Luckily, she was able to think about the dresses all day Sunday before we returned first thing Monday morning to try them on once more. Seeing Lisa in her future wedding dress was so special and made me even more excited about being her maid of honor!

Can I live here, please?
In addition to wedding dress shopping, we were all able to relax and enjoy the charm of Charleston for the weekend. The stars must have been aligned because restaurant week started a few days before I arrived! We went to dinner at Muse the night I got there, which is a really cozy two story house that has been converted into a restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't seem prepared for the influx of customers since it took us almost three hours to eat three courses, but at least it gave us plenty of time to catch up! The best course of the night was by far the entree, marinated butcher steak topped with bacon jam and served with sage polenta and broccolini. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the polenta was creamy and earthy from the sage. Jarod and I both got this entree and agreed that it made the long wait more tolerable in the end.

We all had brunch at Hominy Grill, which was fantastic. Jarod and I both ordered the Big Nasty Biscuit (clearly, we both make really good food choices), which has a fried chicken breast and cheddar cheese inside a fluffy biscuit, smothered with sausage gravy. You really can't go wrong with a breakfast like this. Fluffy biscuit, crunchy fried chicken, flavorful creamy gravy that soaks into the bread...I wish I was eating this right now. I also had a side of cornbread, which was very moist and just the right amount of subtle sweetness.

Before I had to go back to New York, I was able to see their wedding reception location! The Wickliffe House epitomizes the Southern charm associated with Charleston, making it a perfect location for a spring wedding.

I'm beyond excited for my sister's wedding and the festivities to come before the big day! Lisa is going to be such a beautiful bride and I feel so special to be her maid of honor. Can't wait for the big day!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Discovery: Pluots

When I was picking up a few things at the grocery store with my hubby earlier this week, I immediately saw a fruit that I had never heard of or seen before - the pluot. I was intrigued by the name and its color so I had to pick one up to see what this fruit is all about!

After doing a little research, I found out that the pluot is a hybrid between a plum and an apricot. While the closely-related plumcots and apriplums are first generation hybrids, meaning they have a pretty even ratio between their parent fruits, the pluot is a later generation fruit with more plum than apricot characteristics. 

The skin of my particular pluot was a beautiful orange and yellow color with some red speckles throughout. Funnily enough, when I went back to the grocery store two days later, the new batch of pluots were much lighter in color. With at least 30 varieties of the fruit, it's not too surprising that there will be variety in the fruit's color and flavor.

The fruit had some bitterness from the skin, as you would expect from a plum, and was very sweet on the inside. The balance of sweet and tart made for a very tasty after-dinner treat. Now that I know what the fruit is and how delicious it is, I'm ready to eat some more and incorporate them into a tasty dessert. Happy pluot-ing!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sweet Potato Mini Muffins with Apple and Dried Cranberry

I hope everyone had a great long Labor Day weekend! I took advantage of my extra day off with some leisurely activities around the city.
  • Watching absurd amounts of tennis - I love the US Open!
  • Getting back into Breaking Bad - I'm just finishing up the second season so don't ruin anything!
  • Helping some good friends move and hanging out late into the night
  • Yoga!
  • Eating chocolate cake, drinking coffee and playing rummy with my love at a local bakery

In preparation for my favorite month of the year and the impending fall weather, I whipped up a batch of sweet potato mini muffins with apple and dried cranberry. These muffins are packed with fruit and the wonderful sweetness of sweet potato.

I tried making these muffins a few days earlier, but was derailed when the link to the blog post wouldn't work. I tried searching for it, but couldn't find it anywhere else other than linking back to the original post. After it finally worked, I realized I had no eggs. Maybe these muffins weren't meant to be? Oh no, I don't think so - it was going to happen. I had already mashed up the sweet potato so there was no going back!

There was more batter than would fill one mini muffin pan so I made a few regular sized muffins as well. I couldn't let perfectly good batter go to waste! Mini muffins are always temperamental since two minutes too long in the oven can produce a dry baked good. Luckily, I took these out at the perfect time as they were very moist and delicious! The mini muffins actually turned out better than the regular sized muffins - pretty surprising, right?

The sweet potato wasn't a very prominent flavor in the muffins, despite the recipe name, as there is only a 1/2 cup in the batter. Despite that, there is a lot of natural sweetness from a combination of the potato, apple, cranberries and brown sugar. I even subbed out the vegetable oil for apple sauce to make them extra moist!

These muffins are a great fall time treat and turn out looking quite beautiful, with the speckled cranberries throughout. I may have eaten 3 or 4 of these the first night - you know you don't feel guilty eating bite sized baked goods! Since September is just upon us, expect a lot more fall-inspired baked goods to come!

Oh! Can you believe the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte is already here? I don't know if I can fully accept it being here a mere day after Labor Day. It feels too soon despite being my favorite drink of the year. What do you think - too soon or just on time?