Curry-Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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Instead of the usual sweet marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, we decided to go with a savory dish. We both absolutely loved it! It’s very simple to make, which is another plus. Unfortunately, I did not take good photos while making the dish, so I apologize for that. I hope this sounds unique and delicious to you and that you can make it soon!

Ingredients:

2 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into cubes (skin left on)

olive oil

1/2 t curry powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2-3/4 tsp ground ginger

salt and pepper

1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400*. Toss sweet potatoes in olive oil and spices before placing them as a single layer in a roasting pan. Toss throughout roasting, a total time of approximately 25 minutes or until fork tender.

Transfer potatoes to a large pot on medium heat. Add the coconut milk and mash to desired consistency. Feel free to add fresh herbs such as parsley or other toppings!

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It paired beautifully with our ham as well as the broccoli-pea salad. Enjoy!

Christmas 2015, Complete with the Best Proposal Ever!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Mine was absolutely incredible!

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Christmas Eve outfit complete with my new owl rain boots from my aunt!

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Matt kept the biggest secret from me! Mason usually wakes us up by nibbling on us and purring. On Christmas morning, Matt loosely tied a note around his neck that asked the best question.

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Our sweet baby boy who helped in such a big way!

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I proceeded to begin shaking like crazy and even asked him if he was serious! I had absolutely no idea it was coming. Matt even customized the ring, and my gosh it is so beautiful!

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He didn’t even stop there. He surprised me with an adorable owl tote bag, pillow, and mug PLUS three pairs of TOMS! He spoiled me so much!

Christmas morning bowl of oatmeal and delicious coffee in my new mug.

First photo together as an engaged couple. ❤

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We celebrated Christmas at his mom and step-dad’s.

 

Appetizer plate with our deviled eggs, his mom’s stuffed mushrooms (she used gf crackers too; so sweet!), celery, and tomatoes.

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I could never grow tired of that smile.

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Our wonderful dinner: ham, berry applesauce, pineapple, homemade broccoli-pea salad with pom seeds, and curry coconut mashed sweet potatoes (recipe to come!).

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I splurged big time ($45 worth O_o) on a gf pumpkin cheesecake. It was great, but man it is rich!

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Is this not one of the cutest mugs ever and so appropriate for me! His mom found it! Chai tea and 1/16th of the cheesecake. We have so.much. left.

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Modeling both of my new mugs. 🙂

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We tested out our new selfie stick from his mom. =D

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Leave it to me to ruin a good photo. 😉

One new owl spoon rest from his mom!

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Owl candle holder.

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Another beautiful owl spoon rest from my soon-to-be sister-in-law!

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This melts my heart.

Constant Comet tea latte.

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Van’s blueberry waffles topped with monterey jack cheese, spinach, and hard-boiled egg  on one / mashed avocado and hard-boiled egg on the other and sprinkled with dill and paprika. Cuties on the side.

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Matt had quinoa toastables with the same toppings and a navel orange.

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Now I need to get ready because I’m going to get my ring sized and do some shopping with my gift cards!

 

 

Remedy Coffee // Coffee & Conversation

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Earlier this fall, Remedy Coffee, which was established in 2009, announced that they were moving to a new location at 800 Tyson Street. While I was sad to see them leave their cafe in the Old City, I was very excited to see what new direction they would take. Friday was their grand opening, and I am definitely impressed! As a side note, the same owners of Remedy also are opening Makers Donuts in January, and they are located right next door!

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The space is so bright, open, and I absolutely love how it incorporates both an industrial feel as well as vintage/eclectic.

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They have awesome seating from a large table to a bar at the window, intimate two-chair tables, lounge chairs, and a couch. I can see this location being perfect for business meetings, studying, and get-togethers with friends. After all, their motto is, “coffee and conversation.”

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I met up with Kaci, and she chose their iced mocha.

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Look at that sweet, drippy goodness.

I decided to enjoy a cafe au lait.

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Beautifully steamed and frothed Cruze Farm milk.

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I love this Tennessee sign, and they also brought their beautiful turquoise table that I love so much. I forgot to snap a photo of it or their adorable framed owl artwork. I guess this means I need to make another trip soon! 😉

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It was such a lovely visit and a perfect way to unwind from the work week. I hope you all can visit soon and enjoy all that they have to offer!

Noshing & Painting

 

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On Wednesday evening, Kaci and I met up after work for a lovely dinner at Holly’s 135. The staff at one of my clinics organized a get-together at Painting With a Twist downtown, so Kaci and I knew it be perfect to have a twin date!

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Of course we had to get a few pictures together. 🙂

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I decided to try their creamy cauliflower soup, and I love that it was served in a mug.

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For my entrée, I chose their spinach and mushroom quiche with an artichoke, greens, tomato, onion, and caper salad. I saved about half, and I’m going to be enjoying it with scrambled eggs for a quick dinner after training at the Y tonight.

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Kaci enjoyed a small Caesar salad for her starter and then had the Hollyhock quiche.

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We were going to order dessert, but someone earlier in the day had ordered all that they had in stock! The waitress was oh so incredibly sweet and presented us each with a free dessert voucher when she brought our bills! It was such a lovely gesture.

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Afterward, I made my way just a few store-fronts down to the painting event.

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I didn’t bother taking any progress photos, but here’s the final masterpiece. It’s supposed to be the Smoky Mountains. No worries, I won’t quit my day job! As always, I reminded myself to just go with it and not get caught up in worrying about perfection. It’s quite abstract, but most importantly, I had fun.

Here we are only one week away from Christmas Eve! I still cannot get my mind around it. I hope you all are having a wonderful day so far!

 

Owl-ology 101

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If only I could own this photo AND has a mantle to hang it above. One day.

Ijams Nature Center held a class about owls cutely titled, Owl-ology 101. Matt was a sweetheart and attended it with me, and I had a blast!

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We grabbed a photo together before the program began. 🙂

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Owl Chex mix anyone?

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They had such adorable owl-themed snacks too!

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These reminded me of my childhood because on special occasions, I remember my mom would buy cheese balls. I need to make them soon; these were really tasty!

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Matt has such a fun, imaginative mind, so he told me to use the vegetables to complete the owl’s body.

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A gentleman goes out in search of the owls and takes photos to display and sell at Ijams.

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They are stunning. I especially love the fall foliage behind the first photo.

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They passed around a group of feathers from other birds as well as owls to demonstrate how unique the owl’s feathers are. They are incredibly quiet in flight, allowing them to be such incredible predators. Above is a board with the legs and talons of a Great horned owl, a Barred owl, a Barn owl, and an Easter Screech owl.

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My favorite type of owl, the Barn owl!

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Young Saw-whet owls – so adorable!

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This beautiful Eastern Screech owl received amazing rehabilitation and care but cannot be released into the wild due to a permanent wing injury. This is actually their full-grown size, which is compared to that of a can of Coke. Average weight is only 6 oz. with a wingspan of 20 inches!

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This amazing owl is an albino Barn owl. She was found in the mountains after people heard the crows taunting the poor girl. I learned that albino owls do not live long because both their sight and hearing are impaired, and the stark white makes them easy targets.

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She was absolutely stunning. They are trying to slowly get her used to classes, but she was panting out of fear by the end of her visit. I would too if I couldn’t see well and these giant humans were staring at me!

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They also let us each dissect an owl pellet. Owls eat their entire prey but then regurgitate feathers, bones, and fur that cannot be digested. Matt and I discovered a rodent was this owls meal one day. It was quite neat!

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We went out on an easy hike to try and spot an owl, but with a large group, it didn’t prove easy. Even still, the weather was incredible as was the views.

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Once we got back home, I made a lovely chai latte using Cruze Farm’s vanilla milk. Of course I had to enjoy it from my owl mug. 😉

What a wonderful way to spend our Sunday afternoon!

 

Wild Love Bakehouse

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On Friday evening, Wild Love Bakehouse held their Open House to allow us to get a glimpse of all of the hard work they have been putting in for their official opening on Monday, December 14th. To say it is impressive is an understatement.

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It was tacky Christmas sweater day at work, but some people seemed to love how “in the spirit” I was at the event. =D

Wild Love Bakehouse is owned and operated by the husband and wife duo, Shaun and Meg Parrish, of the lovely Old City Java coffeehouse in the Old City. They purchased OCJ in 2007, and it is safe to say it is a Knoxville staple.

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My first visit to OCJ, winter 2013.
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I fell in love with their atmosphere at that first visit.

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Spring 2014

For years, they have offered amazing pastries to compliment their drinks. When I first heard that they would be opening a location dedicated to these wonderful local baked goods, I was so excited! I knew they would create another wonderful cafe, but I truly had no idea just how magnificent it would turn out to be.

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{I found the sky to be incredibly breathtaking last night, and I absolutely love how their sign “popped” against it.}

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Their Open House coincided with Mid Mod Collective‘s one year anniversary, and I have been wanting to check out their store for some time now. They have such fun furniture and items! As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. Like it was an absolute necessity.

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The weather was unseasonably warm, but I think it was quite perfect. Savory and Sweet was there to provide wonderful warm meals, and Calico was there with so many beautiful clothes and accessories. {The truck was formerly Vagabond, but “Deb” the truck has gone on to help another sweet lady realize her dream of a mobile boutique right here in Knoxville.}

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The sweet staff was providing all drinks on the house as well as sweet and savory baked goods, a beet pistachio hummus, and a lemon feta spread. Multi-colored carrots and crackers for dipping. Both the vibrant hummus and the spread were utter perfection. I love any and all things beets and lemon, so I was in heaven.

I chose a cappuccino with Cruze Farm whole milk, and it was excellent. I decided to try their Earl Grey pear cake, and I ate every last crumb on my plate. Yeah, it was that good.

Their presentation alone was eye-catching, and then as you looked around at the variety of offerings, it was easy to see that Wild Love Bakehouse is going to be “wildly” successful. I’m sorry, but I had to do it. 😉 In all seriousness, this city continues to make me thankful I am a citizen!image

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As I was waiting on my order at Savory and Sweet, the owner stated that based on his travels, he thought that the whole atmosphere of the bakery reminded him of a big city like NYC. Although I have yet to travel to these other places, I too agree that when you stepped inside, you really felt as though you were transported elsewhere. A fun escape of sorts.

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Matt and I later enjoyed the two meals from Savory and Sweet for an easy and relaxed Friday night dinner before curling up to watch the latest episode of Elementary.

I truly hope this recap does them justice, and I urge you to check them out as soon as possible. Please provide support to our local eateries and shops. I for one cannot wait for my next visit!

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

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If you are looking for a quick weeknight chili that will only get better as it does time in the refrigerator, then this should fit the bill. As always, it can be completely customized to your likes or ingredients on hand. If you make a pot, then please feel free to share!

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Ingredients:

Olive oil

1 medium to large onion, peeled & chopped

2 bell peppers, seeded & chopped

several cloves of garlic, peeled & minced

2 t chipotle chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t paprika

1/2 t dried thyme

cinnamon

salt & pepper

1 28-oz can fire roasted tomatoes, no salt added preferably

1 15-oz can each dark red kidney & Great Northern beans

2 c low sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Warm oil and sauté onion and peppers until soft. Add spices and garlic. After fragrant, 30 seconds, add remaining ingredients. Simmer covered for at least 30 minutes. Suggested toppings: avocado, spicy gouda, tortilla chips, and plain Greek yogurt. We split a gf corn-based English muffin, which paired perfectly. Enjoy!

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‘Tis the Season…

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…for many variations of oatmeal! Candy canes are so synonymous with the holiday season, and I knew I needed to try my own chocolate peppermint version. I saw these awesome candy canes at Whole Foods made by Hammond’s Candies, and although there were some fun flavors, I went with the classic.

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I got my ingredients all lined up and ready to be combined for a warm, delicious Sunday brunch.

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Ingredients:

1/2 old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 T chia seeds

1 c milk of choice

1/2 T carob or unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 t real vanilla extract

1/2 bar dark chocolate

1/4 of large peppermint candy cane

several slices of fresh banana

Directions:

Combine oats, milk, chia, and carob. Cook until oatmeal reaches desired consistency. Turn off heat and add vanilla. Top with chocolate, peppermint, banana, and enjoy!

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Sweet purr-baby photo bomb optional. 😉

What is your go-to oatmeal recipe for this time of year?

Sweet ‘n Spicy Breakfast Scrambler

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First, let’s just take a second to admire that gorgeous egg. Matt cooked it perfectly, and I love how it folded up on the side of my bowl right before I mashed it into the oats. 😉

Matt surprised me yesterday morning with such an amazing breakfast! He was sneaky and roasted several whole carrots to add to our breakfast scramblers before I had even gotten out of bed. I was so confused when I woke up and he wasn’t there. Then as I sleepily walked down the stairs, a delicious aroma hit me. He looked so adorable in the kitchen as  he was getting everything prepped for us to cook.

We did not have any fresh greens (so unlike us), so he had decided that carrots would be the next best thing. 🙂 I had picked up an interesting cheddar at Aldi several weeks ago called ‘Mango Fire’, which combines mango and habanero. It’s sweet, spicy, and salty – so delicious and an unexpected combination!

Below is our recipe that I hope you will be able to try soon. I love that he introduces me to new concepts and combinations that always keeps my favorite meal of the day new and fun.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup Love Grown Foods Super Oats

water

garlic powder

fresh rosemary and thyme

2 eggs

unsalted butter

2 oz. natural ham or 2 breakfast sausage patties

1 oz mango habanero cheddar

1 cup carrots (approximately four whole)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400*. Toss the carrots in tamari and ground ginger. Roast until fork tender. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Add the garlic powder to the oats and cook according to package instructions. Stir in fresh herbs. If using sausage, pan-cook it and set aside wrapped in a paper towel to absorb extra oil. Scramble each egg separately in a small amount of real butter.

Portion oats evenly between two bowls. Top each with 1/2 oz. cheese, meat of choice, 1/2 c carrots, and egg.

*I chose to use ham in mine while he cooked Swaggerty’s sausage for his bowl. Both worked beautifully with the other flavors.