Monday, November 10, 2014

Creamy Vegetarian White Chili Recipe

It snowed today - time for some delicious soup!

I searched the web for a vegetarian version of White Chicken Chili, but I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have chicken but was still white with creamy goodness.  The vegetarian recipes I found were pretty much bean soup and not as savory and rich as I wanted because the true white chicken chili is a winter-time comfort food. 

I decided to make my own using a few ideas from the chicken versions and my own imagination.  It turned out amazing so I had to share, I hope you enjoy!

Creamy Vegetarian White Chili Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Cook: 90 min. MAKES: 8 servings


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces each) red kidney  beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (11 ounces) “mexicorn” – corn with red and green peppers
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) greek yogurt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup soy milk (or your favorite milk)
  • 2 cups grated gouda cheese

1.     In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until onions are soft and transparent.

2.     Add the carrots, broth, beans, corn, chilies and seasonings.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

3.     Transfer to crockpot; stir in yogurt, half and half, milk and cheese. Let sit for as long as you want for flavors to blend.  You can also skip the crockpot and cook for 10 more minutes for cheese to melt.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara by Younique

If I was stuck on a desert island and I could only bring one item from my make-up bag it would be mascara - it's my ultimate favorite. Having blonde eyelashes makes it a necessity. Without mascara, I look some where between a 12 year old and someone who is just really tired...

Part of me wishes I had the time to put on fake eyelashes everyday because they really make eyes pop, but even then I'm always scared one will fall off! And I have a friend who has eyelash extensions from a salon that look gorgeous, but that's out of my budget and also time consuming.

I feel like I've tried just about every mascara on the market because there is always a new marketing gimmicks, they all either curl, thicken, separate, lengthen, thicken, strengthen, multiply, some even claim to look like the fake eyelashes.  Some I liked better than others, but all seemed to fall short of their promises.

Lately, I've friends and beauty blogs post on fiber eyelash extensions and I had to try it.  I first tried L'OrĂ©al Voluminous False Fiber Lashes, but the fibers were mixed in with the mascara and I couldn't tell the fibers were even in there.  Then I tried Better Than False Lashes by Too Faced, which was better because the fibers were separate, but the fibers were white and sometimes my lashes looked gray even after I put black mascara over it.  And the fibers were more fuzzy than lengthening so I wasn't that impressed with the results.

I probably would have stopped there and went back to my old mascara routine, but I was given the opportunity to try Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara by Younique.  This mascara gave me beautiful, fluttery, dramatic eyelashes especially compared to my almost invisible, blonde, wispy lashes.

Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara Results:

I just got this mascara and I thought it was easy to apply without it looking spidery or clumpy at all, just nice and long lashes.  It also says on all day and didn't flake off.  And I feel like I get better at putting in each day.  And all of Younique's products are high-quality and naturally-based!

If you are ready for gorgeous eyelashes, get in touch with my lash guru, Shauna Buno Smith!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ronan turns 1!

Ronan's first birthday pictures photography with words picture

As of his 12 month check up
Weight:  22 lbs 3 oz (64th percentile)
Length: 31.0 inches- (88th percentile)
HC 18.8 in (90th percentile) 

Milestones:  Ronan is growing like a weed and he seems to be learning some new trick everyday. 

He started walking at 10 months and he's getting really good at this walking stuff, watch him walk here at 10.5 months old:

Mood:  Ronan is a total ham!  So he LOVED his birthday party.  He loves to clap, and when he would start clapping after openning a gift, everyone else would clap too.  Ronan thought this was just about the best thing ever:

Happy boy at his first birthday baby clapping excited picture
Happy boy at his first birthday
Loves:  He absolutely loves the dogs, it's the cutest thing ever.  He's not really saying mama or dada consistently, but he always points at Charlie and Sawyer and says his version of "dog."  He also loves giving Sawyer hugs and cuddles.  He comes from a family of animal lovers, so I'm glad to see he is already showing this quality.

Wearing:  He's wearing mostly 12 months and some 18 month and size 4 or 5 shoes.

Sleeping:  One misconception I had before this first year was that once a baby was sleeping through the night, you were in the clear.  SO. NOT. TRUE.  Ronan was sleeping on his own for 10 hours before I went back to work and I thought this sleep thing was a piece of cake.

It's been ups and downs, and I admit that most of it probably had more to do with our strategy and parenting style than anything else.  I have read a million times that you should put your baby to bed when they are sleepy but not asleep and I understand why.  But this doesn't work for me.  Why you ask?  Because holding my sleeping baby after I've been away from him for several hours (while at work) is what I need, and what I think my baby needs.  I craved that closeness and Ronan did too.  After a while, I would need to do something, so I'd pass Ronan off to daddy for more snuggling.

We go through phases of getting Ronan used to sleeping in his own bed, then something like a sickness or teething brings him back to sleeping in our bed.  But we are back to getting him to sleep on his own again, and so far it's going better than I expected.

I wouldn't have expected to be a semi-co-sleeping parent, but seriously, nothing in the world is better than being close to my baby.  But now he's a toddler and it's probably time to make a chance.  But I hope he stays snuggly!

Eating:  Ronan is a good little eater. Some of his favorite foods are black beans (whole or blended), guacamole, cheese and scrambled eggs.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Ronan is 7 months old!

Ronan 7 months old
Sleeping (*):  He slept through the night in his own bed... once!  But it's a start and we are working on moving from co-sleeping to him sleeping on his own.  He has been waking up around midnight or 1am but hopefully this continues to improve. * He can and will sleep through the night if we let him sleep in our bed.

love these pouches!
Eating:  During Ronan's 7 month, he's eaten sweet potatoes, avocados, butternut squash, peas, green beans, banana, carrots, and one package of Plum organics beans & rice with sweet corn.  He seems to be a pretty good little eater but still seems to like breast milk best.

I try to make the baby food, but I’d say so far it’s been about 50% homemade and 50% store bought.  At daycare, the will only do the prepackaged stuff, so I probably should bump up the homemade stuff at home.

I’m also a little unsure what is best for him, and I do research online but I find so many differing opinions that it’s hard to know what’s best.  So for now, I’m holding off until his 9 month appointment when I can discuss it with Ronan’s doctor.  And I totally know I’m being the overly paranoid new mom, but good nutrition is super important!

Mood:  He's a happy, smiley guy most of the time, especially if we are doing something fun.  He got about 4 teeth in during his 7th month, and 3 of them came right at the same time, so there were periods where he wasn't so happy but he's not to blame.  Once in a while, he gets very upset if he doesn't get his way (and he's sleepy or hungry) and puts on quite the show.

Loves:  He loves attention and praise, so when he got good feedback from mom and dad for giving high fives, he loves it.  He also learned how to pull himself up on to two feets and loves to show off what a big boy he is now.

Look mom!  I can stand!!
Wearing:  He's wearing mostly his 9 month gear, but most of his 6 month stuff still fits him.  He wore his first 12 month outfit and I was surprised at how well it fit him, but I really think it all depends on the outfit.  And he bumped up from size 2 diapers to size 3 this month.

Milestones: He has now mastered crawling and can get around fast!  He can also pull himself up to his feet, as I mentioned before, and go from standing to sitting again.

And TEETH!  He got his first tooth (bottom right) on Feb 1st so he was 6.5 months.  And then he got his top right tooth about two weeks later.  Then at about 7.5 months, he got three more teeth all at while... poor little guy!

Mama: The new teeth made breastfeeding a little challenging... and painful.  But he's learning not to bite, but it took a few, not so fun, weeks.  But otherwise, breastfeeding is still going well and everything else is about the same.

Our family looks pretty good with one more... but that will have to wait a little!  But Ronan loves his cousin!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ronan is 6 months old!

As of his 6 month appointment on 01.18.14
Weight:  17 lbs 7 oz (49th percentile)
Length: 27.5inches- (84th percentile)
HC 18.0 in (93rd percentile) 

Sleeping (*):  Ronan sleeps like an angel... when he's in bed with us.  On his own... who knows, but it's not long.  He wakes up frequently and looks to see if someones hold him, and then either goes back to sleep (if he's being held) or starts crying (if he's alone). It's probably time to break this habit because I don't want to co-sleep forever, but honestly I love having him close to me, especially since I work full time and can't be next to him all day.  It's going to be hard on both of us!

Eating: Up until he hit the 6 month marl, he had only had breast-milk.  It's pretty crazy to think that he has gotten all his nourishment from me but also pretty awesome!  Now he has had sweet potatoes, avocados and butternut squash.  He seems to be a pretty good eater, but he's still deciding if he likes it or not.  And definitely still prefers the boob over anything else.

baby's first food sweet potatoes 6 months cute messy face picture
Do I have anything on my face?

Watch him take his first taste here:

He liked them and wanted to hold the spoon himself - I think he is going to be a good little eater!

Mood:  He is happy but busy!  I think I will have my hands full when he gets more mobile because this little guy likes to move!

He also threw his first temper tantrum this past weekend.  He was in a fussy mood and I could tell he was tired but didn't want to sleep.  I was hold him and he got a hold of a shirt I was going to return with the tag attached and of course wanted to chew on the tag.  When I took it away, he arched his back and threw his head back and started to scream.  He was definitely upset I took it away.  But then we ran some errands and the car ride did the trick.  After his nap, he woke up my happy-go-lucky little guy again!

Loves:  He loves being a "daredevil" because he loves it when we toss him in the air - and by 'toss" I mean an inch maybe.  He at first gets this worried/slightly-panicked looked and then this smile:

Happiest little boy!

Wearing:  He's wearing clothes from 3 month to 12 months, it really just depends on what it is.  There have been a few things that I got before he was born, and they always seemed so big.  But then one day it's almost too small, so I hurry up and have him wear it while it still will fit!

Milestones:  On my 30th birthday (1/13/14), and just before he hit 6 months, he started to crawl!  He didn't make it that far, but it was definite crawling.  Of course, by the time I went and grabbed my camera, he was done. By January 31st, he was army crawling across the room.  This past weekend, I saw him working on crawling on all fours, but he still hasn't mastered that.

He was crawling before he could sit, but we've been practicing

Ronan practicing sitting with the help of his nursing pillow - get your's for free with promo code: LJBLOG
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I have used a nursing pillow since day one, it's a definite must even in the hospital.  I'm still nursing and using it every day, but now it has a new use - helping Ronan will his sitting skills!  And you can get your's free with this promo code:

Enter promo code: LJBLOG

Use it and you'll only have to pay shipping! Also, if you want a backup or one for the nursery and one for the living room, you can also use it more than once, you just have to open a new tab but you can use the promo code multiple times.

Mama:  I had pink eye for the better part of 3 weeks... yuck!  So I know how poor Bob Costas feels!  I thought pink eye went away after about 24 hours, but I think Ronan had a little virus (nothing serious) and he must of coughed/squeezed/spit in my face in order to get the virus in my eye.  I wear contacts so that have the virus a nice place to grab on to - has this happened to any other moms?  And now my eyes have cleared up but they are so dry I can barely open them in the mornings.

But other than that, things have been good!  It was my birthday month after all, and I like to stretch my bday out all month!
me and my baby boy - isn't his little hat the cutest?!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Owl always love you! {& Blue Nile Giveaway winner}

If you follow me on instagram, you already know that I love taking pictures of my beautiful baby Ronan. And luckily for me, he is a good sport!

 Lately, I've been kinda obsessed with bokeh, the blurred lights in the background of photos.  I did make some edits to these photos, but the bokeh isn't an effect (although I did multiple it, especially if you compare the photo I added on Instagram and the edited one below).

I used the plain old-fashion Christmas lights - I got both multi-color lights (which I used for these photos) and the white lights to keep with by my camera.  Don't make the same mistake I did and use the LED Christmas lights!  The LED lights must be flashing at a just fast rate, because when I tried taking Christmas pictures of Ronan with them, they looked like they weren't on in about half the photos.  It was very strange but at least some of the pictures turned out.

The trick to bokeh is having your lens wide open (maximum aperture) and having your subject close and the lights far away in the background.  It's that simple, but it's a little tricky getting the right angle when working with a moving baby and one string of Christmas lights!

Sometimes Ronan is all smiles, but he was pretty sober acting during our little photo session.  I love his smile more than just about anything, but I love his sweet and serious expressions too.  I hope you like my photos!

Owl hat via

And congrats to my Blue Nile Branch necklace winner, Whitney from


Friday, January 10, 2014

Ronan is 5 months old!

Sleeping:  I struggled with what to write on this month's photo (hence the wide range)....  Ronan sleeps great in my arms but not so great in his bed.  When he sleeps with me, he nurses while sleeping (which kind of amazing), but still seems like kinda a gray zone.  I’m mostly asleep too, which is nice because I don't feel overly tired.

Eating:  He has only had breast milk and he's a good little eater!  He is still eating a lot during the night time hours, but I'm so happy I'm able to continue exclusively breastfeeding.

baby's first christmas photo family by christmas tree picture
Ronan's first Christmas
Mood:  He's mostly a happy camper, but he wants to be held pretty much all the time.  He still sometimes get cranky in the evening, but usually a little cuddling takes care of that.

Loves:  Other than being held, he loves jumping in his jumperoo, especially when Mom and Dad are watching and cheering him on.  He also loves playing with his feet, us playing with his feet or getting a foot massage. 

baby almost ready to crawl picture
Little wiggle worm baby!
Wearing:  He is still mostly wearing 6 month clothes, but he is already wearing some of his 9 month gear. 

Milestones:  He’s starting to get up on his knees and rock back and forth, like he is getting ready to crawl.  He also had his first Christmas!  We had four Christmases over Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so it was busy but we are so lucky that we can see all our family.  Ronan was a lot more into the Christmas presents than I thought he would be, especially the wrapping paper.  He’s getting so much more interactive, it is amazing how quickly he is growing and gaining skills.

Mama:  I keep feeling phantom baby kicks!  And I don’t think it’s gas or anything else, because this definitely feels like kicking.  Maybe I miss being pregnant already, although I’m not ready for that again now.  And I’ve worked out a handful of times, which is a big improvement.  I like doing the Jillian Michaels workouts, but I got so sore!!!  But I guess that’s a good thing.  It’s hard to find the time while I’m working full time and I don’t want to take any time away from the time I get to spend with Ronan.  But hopefully I can squeeze it in and get back into shape.