Life Changing Recipe: Healthy Mexican Casserole

Monday, March 31, 2014

This time of year, my husband is home for dinner every night. During football I don't cook four nights a week, during basketball, two.

I love having him home, but I've definitely felt the need to expand my recipe box. We've also turned a major corner as far as trying to eat food that is a lot better for us, more organic veggies, less random bad for you things, etc.

I randomly found this recipe on "Pinch of Yum" and last week it fed us so well. I made the Mexican Casserole with hopes for it to be yummy and healthy.. but it was genuinely so delicious! A small portion left me feeling extremely full (because of the protein the beans bring!) but not a yucky full. Just a happy one. :)

Image from A Pinch of Yum

Ben LOVED this recipe, and I happened to make it on a night that was busy for my in-laws, so they both stopped by at different times to grab a piece. It made me so happy for everyone to get their nourishment from something delicious and healthy. We actually ate it the next night too (something we don't often do) and Ben took a large piece to work for the rest of the week. It was just an overall success... and a recipe that comes out on the cheaper side because it's a vegetarian dish. And gluten free! I feel like it would be really good for entertaining. Okay, I'm done declaring my love for this Mexican Casserole.

Healthy Mexican Casserole
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • ½  onion
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon is a good ballpark measure)
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese 
  • 18-20 corn tortillas
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping

(I altered the ingredients a bit, and that's what I shared with you!)
  1. Roast the veggies: Dice the peppers and mince the onions. Heat a large nonstick skillet with NO oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers, sprinkle with chili and cumin, and do not stir. This allows the peppers to roast and brown on the outside. After a few minutes, give the pan a shake or stir and let the peppers sit again for a few more minutes without stirring. Remove and set aside. Repeat the roasting process with the corn, sprinkling with chili and cumin, removing from the heat when browned and roasted on the outside. Sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little bit of salt and toss to coat.
  2. Prep the ingredients: Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Put the refried beans in a bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make them easier to spread.
  3. Assemble: Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: half of the tortilla strips, ALL the beans, half of the veggies, half of the sauce, half of the cheese. Cover with the other half of the tortilla strips, veggies, sauce, and cheese.
  4. Bake: Cover with foil (I usually spray mine with cooking spray) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Serve with guacamole, fresh cilantro, sour cream, or anything in the world that you want.
To make this completely gluten free, make your own enchilada sauce or look for a gluten free brand. I have heard that Old El Paso is GF.

Original recipe found here. (there is an easy printable option)

My Kindred Spirit Dream Home

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Y'all. On Monday I was minding my own business, and came across the perfect home. You know when you see a photo or something and you're like OKAY LOVE IT. This home tour, on Style Me Pretty Living, literally stopped me in my tracks.

I seriously can't get enough. It's so lovely. And neutral. Yay!

Would anyone think I'm weird if I ask for light fixtures for Christmas? :)

33. Central Market Sushi 101 Class

Friday, March 21, 2014

So apparently lately I'm grabbing the bull by the horn and just learning skills out the wazoo. Floral arranging, and now sushi! I loooooove sushi and after I spotted the Sushi 101 class on the Central Market Cooking School calendar it was on my list of dreaming.

Last night, Ben's aunt and I went to the class and it was so much fun!

We made three different rolls: a smoked salmon roll, a California roll, and a tempura shrimp roll. Literally so fun. The first one was kind of a bust because I put too much rice in it and the roll wouldn't close.. but the California roll had the rice on the outside so by that point I was feeling super confident. I really want to try this at home now, they gave us a handy dandy packet with recipes in it. It was really fun to try something new and out of my comfort zone. It was also really cool to see the variety of people attending the class. There were several girls just on their own, and I think I learned that it would be really good to be brave like that sometime. We also found out that they do private classes for the same cost per person as a normal class, so we were brainstorming about doing a class of just family.. wouldn't that be so fun? You get to pick which lesson it is when it's a private class. I think cake decorating would be really fun. There are also couples classes so I'm antsy to bring Ben back with me. Seriously, this was so fun and not something I would have ordinarily thought to do. Speaking of my husband, however....

I just had to record this piece of joy for the future. I love when people send funny selfies to each other. It's not something we have ever done but a while ago I told Ben that we need more selfies in our lives. Which is ridiculous and only of this generation, but whatever. The man struggled. His first selfie was a profile view of his beard. Aka: Not a funny selfie.

But today, this is what happened. Ben has picked up the habit of checking the mail before me and taking all the good mail with him to work.

The man STOLE my Southern Living. The photo and text was funny enough to let me forgive him. :) 

Happy Friday, Friends! 

Embracing Color

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

As you may or may not know, neutrals are kind of my signature move. 
The majority of our home can fit into a small, neutral color palette.. and throughout most of college everything in my closet was navy, blush, white, or cream.

Which is fine. And it's great to find your niche and thrive in it. But lately, a desire for a bit more color has crept in.

At first I acknowledged it in little steps. I was inspired by the photo below, of Emily Ley.

I was like... "Ooooh. What if I wore a bright pink blouse?" So I bought one. 

Slowly, my eye has opened up to color. I've started branching out from my normal nude or red nail polish choices. This openness to color is absolutely more in my wardrobe than in our home. I'll stay snuggled up in my big white cloud of a bed, hiding from color for awhile longer. But I have found myself liking images of interiors with colors more.. so you never know. :) 




I'm learning that there is a way to bring color in, while keeping the classic look that I crave and love. What are some ways that you bring color into your life?

Goodbye, Rut of Mine!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hi, I'm Victoria, and I've been in a major rut.

Yuck. I don't know what it is but I've been lacking inspiration in several areas of my life. "Spring Forward" kicked my tail. I've been bored during my workouts. Not felt motivated to dress cute. I feel like the more I've let it build, the worse it has gotten. Like, I don't know how I want to decorate a little spot so I decide to stop caring about our home and let the hamper overflow. Eesh. I don't know the reason for this, but I know it's going to stop this week.

I'm going to focus my free time this week on getting inspired, brainstorming, and doing some new things. Does anyone else want to try with me?

  • Intentional time with Jesus, reading scripture, and reading other material that inspires me: I'm going to read through the book of John (my favorite gospel book) this week. There are 21 chapters so I'll read three each day and catch up as needed. This is more scripture that I usually process each day but when you're in a rut you mix it up (read that with a 90's rap backtrack).. when you're in a rut you mix it UP. I'm also going to read some favorite chapters from Shauna Niequest's books, and get pumped up to hear her speak next weekend at Hope Spoken
  • Try some new hair and makeup styles: I've been gearing up to learn using a curling iron (I've curled my hair with a straightener since early high school) and was super super super inspired by this last night. This blog is filled with a ton of overall style inspiration. I felt my love for neutral colors being encouraged as I read. I also plan on treating myself to a new lip product with my weekly money. 
  • Learn some new Cleaning Tips: I have a full board of Pinterest tips that I don't apply, and stumbled across this helpful series last night. Even when it feels like nothing else does, I know that a clean house is going to leave me feeling inspired. 
  • Clean the old things off of my to-do list: I have a pile of returns waiting to be dealt with, and a dress that needs to be taken to the cleaners. Plus I'm getting back two hours this week from not spending my time being annoyed at the Bachelor. Yikes. 
Maybe this list seems huge, or maybe it doesn't. I just need a little refresh while I work on some big projects this week. I have lots of fun things to share coming soon! 

Does anyone have any other advice for when you're in a funk? any tips to put the pep back in my step? :) 

Baby Shower Inspiration

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Use Grammarly for proofreading because it's what a smart squirrel would do. 

Lately, I have celebration fever.

I would really appreciate more birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers, etc in my life. I don't know what the deal is. I'm just ready to get my celebration on. I also feel like my entertaining style is constantly evolving, and I feel like I've learned so much in the past year or so about hosting people.

When I shared the news about becoming an auntie this summer, I may have mentioned that there will be a family shower being planned! YAY! Although the shower will be a collaborative effort, I went ahead and called sister dibs on choosing a theme and hosting. :) There will be more planning soon, but I wanted to gather inspiration before figuring out plans for an invitation.

The gender of Baby Strader is remaining a secret until the birth, so my love for neutrals is going to shine all over this celebration.

Lots of things inspired me.. but I kept coming back to these photos from Pottery Barn Baby.

So basically I became obsessed with sheep. Note: Too much time spent on Pottery Barn Baby is VERY dangerous. I have found myself rationalizing that it would be totally normal to go ahead and make our guest room a nursery just for funzies. #crazyloon

Especially because I was gathering inspiration with the invitation in mind, the words Please join us as we celebrate Sam and Kayce's little lamb came pretty quickly. Some variation of that will be used, and I hope to share more about that soon. I was so happy to work with Winifred Paper on this project. I met Kelly (a gem!) at Making Things Happen last year, and I had been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to have her design some paper goodies for me! As I type I'm just staring at those baby sheep and can I just say that baby sheep are so cute. Okay good.

Some other random images that inspired me for the planning of the shower:

From here, here, and here.

What do y'all think of my inspiration? Anyone have any baby shower hosting tips? I've been a part of a few but am looking to become a classy entertaining expert! :)

Ps Kayce if you're reading this... your shower gift is already in the works and I want to cry tears of joy over it. Okay yay!!!

Flower Arranging with The Southern Table

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yesterday morning, Kylie Swanson, a friend from Making Things Happen, got in touch with me. She couldn't make it to a floral design class last minute and wanted to know if I was interested in her tickets. At first I was like "well what would be my reason to do that?" I'm not going to be a professional florist. This isn't a preexisting hobby.... But then I was like, NO! This would be SO fun, and I would learn a little bit of something new that I really would love to know about!

So I called my mother in law and we headed to Dallas. The class we took was through Fullosophie and was taught by Maxine from The Southern Table.

Upon seeing the door, I was smitten. Literally so stinking excited. The class was held at Maxine's beautiful home. I loved that part. Of course now I'm like I want to have a class at my houseeeeee....

We enjoyed some yummy tapas and made some new friends. Then we had a short lesson about building an arrangement grid and composition and how to cut the flowers to keep them fresh. As a beginner, I feel like I truly learned so much. I feel so much more equipped to make beautiful arrangements in my home now!

We then broke off to work on our own arrangements! At first I felt like my arrangement wasn't working at all but it slowly came together as I kept building parts.

Towards the end I was stuck and got some help!

My biggest take away from this class was a ton of encouragement. Am I going to be a swanky florist? No. But that isn't even a desire of mine... I guess I had fallen into a trap of believing that I needed to only try things that I would be good or "the best at"... aka no things. I remember when I wrote my 101 in 1001 list... I wanted to put learning calligraphy on there so badly but was so afraid to, thinking it was impossible. All creative skills are different, but what I was reminded of last night was that I love being creative period. It doesn't matter if its arranging vignettes in my home or making blog posts (things I feel more comfortable with) or trying something new. This sounds crazy but my whole outlook on creativity in my life was refreshed and encouraged. I feel like I can take on the world.

I'm obsessed with my arrangement. Please never die, little friend!

Have you ever taken a class like this, or tried something new and different? If not, YOU SHOULD!!

Happy Friday, Y'all!!

67. Clean Out My Closet

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Whenever I am returning home after a trip, I always have the urge to complete home projects. Small trip or long trip, I'm always motivated. I'm not sure why. We live about three hours from where we went to college at Texas A&M, and this weekend we made a quick trip for this weekend's basketball game.

During our drive, the temperature dropped over 30 degrees and turned from sunny and delightful to icy and scary. I was wearing Nike shorts and sandals. Neat. But we made it home safely. With an afternoon being cooped up ahead of us, I started tackling my closet.

In the fall, I realized that a huge obstacle in keeping my closet clean was that my shoe rack couldn't hold all of my shoes, and that lead to them collecting in a little pile on the floor. Not good. So I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and purchased this little fella.

This is just a random photo I snapped of the situation long ago. As you can see, the rack is long and took a portion of my hanging space away. I was like "Whatever it's fine! I'll just put some clothes in drawers and life will be dandy!!!"

Months later... Not feeling it.

This problem caused me to squeeze all of my clothes together as tight as possible causing them to become smushed and wrinkled and often times they would fall off the hangers. Yesterday I had had enough and I started breaking down the shoe rack. At first I was just like "NEED TO FIX THIS" so I took off the top two shelves. Then I got super carried away and started going through my whole closet. I realized that a lot of the clothes I had were awesome for college, but not super relevant for my life now. I have a huge basket ready to be dealt with at some point! (hopefully sooner rather than later!)

So at this point my clothes are all over our room. And like any other closet cleaning experience, at this point I lost my drive and was over it. Yet my hatred for mess allowed me to plow through. I looked at the remaining two shelves from the shoe rack and CUE ANGEL SINGING.... REALIZED THEY COULD STAND ALONE.

I present to you... my new clean closet.

I'm smitten. Having a space for everything just makes me so happy. I also used a Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift card to snag three sets of these hangers. I printed two 20% off one item coupons (imagining that Ben and I could each complete one transition with a coupon) and at the last minute got the courage to ask the lady if there was any way I could get the deal on all three sets. She immediately agreed and it was super easy... saving us a pretty good chunk of change ($18!) Switching out all my old hangers took about thirty minutes, and the change in the look is amazing. I love that all of my delicate items aren't falling to the ground anymore. I feel like this will be an investment that keeps on making me smile for years to come. This would be a great option for newlywed people with leftover store credit and no idea what to use it for! I kept a bunch of extra in a basket in the top of the closet if they're needed in the future.

What do y'all think? Anyone else need to do a bit of spring cleaning?

Going through my clothes really motivated me to evaluate my personal style and try some new and different things, as well as figure out what works for me daily. Look for some posts about this process.. coming soon! :)

PS. This article on The Everygirl is SO helpful and I wish I had it this weekend, 7 Questions to Ask When Cleaning Out Your Closet
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