Pumpkin Patches and Sunflower Fields

Since moving to Findlay, we've headed back to Cincinnati for a weekend about once a month (or more). I love that we made such dear friends last year that going back still feels like going home (I'm also grateful that its only a little more than two hours away because it has made this transition to life in a new place slow but more fun).

Usually we arrive at Casey's on Friday night just in time for a few hours of games and then Saturday the husbands and wives alternate watching the kiddos while the other goes out for tennis/golf or shopping/pedicures, respectively. This time though,  all six of us spent part of the day together at a fall festival (Blooms and Berries in Loveland for anyone local) and it was fantastic. The weather was much more reminiscent of summer, but we braved the sweat and sun for the sake of the gorgeous sunflowers and picturesque pumpkin patches.

Here are a few pictures (after the jump)  of our fall festivities:

Loaded Habanero Sweet Potatoes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All recipes, pictures, cute small bottles of hot sauces, and opinions are mine alone. #collectivebias #sauceon 

This week is already getting away from me and its only Tuesday. You know when you manage to push aside important things to make way for urgent things? It's been the story of my life lately. But at least I managed to restock our fridge and pantry yesterday with mostly nutritious items, so that's something (when we run out of healthy snacks I turn to cereal, all day long).

I've talked about my newfound obsession with baked potatoes this pregnancy on here and instagram but I'm finally starting to branch out. The whole cheddar cheese and sour cream thing was starting to get a little bit boring and I needed something to jazz it up a bit. Using El Yucateco hot sauce to give the meat some extra kick, we whipped up these loaded sweet potatoes for dinner last night and loved them! The mix of flavors is so fun, and its just like a taco on top of a sweet potato.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • 4 small sweet potatoes, cooked (I bake mine in the oven for under an hour)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 packet taco seasoning 
  • El Yucateco hot sauce (we used the red habanero and the new black label reserve) 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can whole kernel corn 
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed 
  • pepperjack cheeese 
  • sour cream
  • cilantro (for garnish) 
  • olive oil 

What You'll Do:
  • Sautee the onions in some olive oil on the stove for 10 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through. 
  • Similarly, add the can of corn to a frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium high and fry until the edges start to brown. 
  • Cook ground beef according to instructions on taco seasoning and add 2-5 drops of hot sauce (taste test so it doesn't get too hot!). 
  • Cut the sweet potatoes in half (you can scoop out a bit of the sweet potato if you'd like so they act more like a bowl) and layer on the pepperjack cheese, taco meat, grilled onions, corn, black beans, sour cream, and cilantro. 
  • optional: lightly drizzle hot sauce over potato (I didn't, but Ben liked more hot sauce on his)
*this makes 4 potatoes - Ben and I usually do half of this, using only two potatoes, and save the rest of the ingredients for tacos the next day

Feel free to add more toppings as desired. Guacamole would be great and you could swap the black beans for kidney beans. Basically, whatever you love with your tacos, will be great on these! 

^^I picked up a variety of El Yucateco hot sauces at Walmart and while my favorite was the red habanero, Ben loved the new black label reserve which is sold exclusively at Walmart. For more hot sauce recipes and ideas, click here or here.

Currently // September 2014


Reading Brain Rules for Baby (still) and working on implementing the "empathy reflex" in our marriage before baby gets here. After intimidating me with stats on what having a child does to relationships, the author/developmental molecular biologist gave one large tip on how to avoid the negative effects. I'll keep you posted ;)

Listening to inspiring words from a meeting I went to on Saturday (The whole thing is available online, but I highly recommend watching this clip and starting at 15:31 and watching the five minutes to the end. The only thing better than hearing that fabulous German accent say "pinterest" is the powerful message of love and encouragement to women around the world.).

Dreaming about autumn leaves in New England and my mom's cooking ....and my October plans that involve both.

Going through pictures from this weekend in Cincinnati while eating these. We spent some time on Saturday at the cutest fall festival with a gorgeous sunflower field. The only thing that could have made it better would have been 32000 less bees and a bit cooler weather.

Smelling a warm pine scented candle I picked up for $3 at goodwill.

Wishing I was smelling pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in the oven (hopefully in a few hours).

Watching "Call the Midwife" - I've seen three episodes over the course of a few weeks and its been simultaneously empowering and terrifying. On the one hand, if women gave birth and babies survived in those conditions, I am going to be just fine. On the other, the whole process of getting this baby from my belly to my arms is a whole lot more terrifying the more I think about it ;)

Feeling blessed, uplifted, and inspired after this weekend ...along with lots of baby kicks. He's throwing a dance party as I type this post. Lately though, he's been more into practicing his boxing punches or his corner kicks - the movements are growing stronger all the time.

Snacking on yummy chocolates from Lindt's new Hello campaign. My mom informed me that it's important to get the baby used to chocolate now so that I can still eat it while I'm breastfeeding (she assures me it worked for baby elisabeth ;). Our favorite flavor is the cookies & cream and Ben approves the snack sticks for eating chocolate in the car (usually I get in trouble for that.. these really do get rid of the mess of trying to eat a whole chocolate bar without getting any crumbs on the seats).

side note: My love for Lindt runs deep. We had little Lindt chocolates for my bridal brunch and bigger boxes in the gift baskets for our out-of-town wedding guests. We even considered used the truffles for for our favors (we did this instead). Now, Lindt always manages to remind me of our wedding and justifies eating a few extra pieces.

You can check out this cute new video series from Lindt here or enter the sweepstakes for more chocolate than one could ever need (if you win please, please remember me). I love the new campaign revolving around relationships "starting with Hello" ... it takes me back to that first first day I really met Ben; all it took was one little compliment and a quick introduction (and you know how the rest went). Thanks Lindt for sponsoring this post...and for providing me with ample ways to satisfy my large need for chocolate. 


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