Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Chicken Chili

About to enjoy some Sunday Chicken Chili!

For my wedding shower, my hosts had each attendee give me a recipe in a card. I got some terrific new recipes, and that is part of the reason I've spent more time in the kitchen in the past year than I had in every prior year combined :)

One of my favorites was a white chicken chili recipe from my Mom's friend Mary. I experimented with the recipe - adding and changing until I felt I had it just right for my tastes. It's a favorite at our house on dreary winter days and lazy Sundays. Makes terrific leftovers as well!

It's legitimately easy to whip up and I don't feel too guilty when I overindulge - per serving, it's decently low-fat and you can incorporate plenty of veggies.
What you'll need:
  1. 2 or 3 chicken breasts, thawed
  2. Brown rice - I use 1 Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice in the microwave-able packet.
  3. 1 16 oz. jar of salsa
  4. 1 bag of shredded low-fat cheese of your choice. I use reduced fat cheddar.
  5. 1 can of black beans, drained
  6. Other veggies you might like, such as chopped tomatoes or onions. I also sometimes add a cup of chicken broth for a little extra flavor.
The first set of ingredients in the crock pot.
Season chicken breasts with garlic, salt and pepper. Bake or fry until cooked through. While the chicken is cooking, pour salsa, shredded cheese, and black beans into a crock pot and cook on medium. When chicken is done cooking, shred and add to crock pot. Add all other ingredients.

All the ingredients simmering in the crock pot.
Cook in crock pot on medium for 2 hours, or until cheese is liquefied. Once the consistency is thinner, the chili is ready to serve.  Enjoy with tortilla chips and sour cream!
Enjoying some hearty chili on the couch!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dose of Domestic

"The secret of a happy life is continuous small treats."

The little things that brought me big smiles this week.....
Used Sunday to get a little exercise with Teddy - we're not great at tennis, but we had fun!
Enjoyed a sushi dinner with the girls. Great conversation and plenty of laughs as always!

A freshly baked chocolate croissant - enjoyed in bed with a movie on a rainy Saturday morning. It felt totally naughty and wonderful!

Flowers everywhere! Taking a stroll through side streets and enjoying the view.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Old is New Again: Repainted Furniture

Cute pieces found around the web.
What's your take on repainted furniture? I am a huge fan and would love to do more, but unfortunately living in a big city we just don't have the space for a lot of furniture!

I've managed to breathe new life into a couple items in our apartment, but can't wait to move into a house one day and have the space for new and colorful pieces to match our chosen decor!

Here are two that I've repainted, using simple white spray paint or custom-created paint to match another color.

I've had this little glass top metal table for ages - since college. Once I got married, I figured I should tone down the femininity and go for an all white look to match our bedroom. Now it's a great little nightstand!

When Teddy and I moved in together, we needed a second dresser. We found this old wooden one on Craigslist - I sanded and painted it a steel gray that matches my favorite sheets.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Books for Everyone!

Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett; Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis; Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner; White Oleander by Janet Fitch

I love reading. Let me just say that.

I love talking about books and sharing them. I basically read anything I can get my hands on, however I have a tendency to enjoy a certain type of material - that being deep, sometimes sorrowful, epic novels. The kind you can really sink your teeth into for a week at a time.

That being said, everyone enjoys different types of reading material and I have a huge collection of several types of books. Here are a few of my recommendations based on what you might be looking for.

For the sappy, motherly, or nostalgic: Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett
This is a great book about a mother's struggle with her son's terminal illness. Simply and movingly written, it's an easy read that helps you maintain perspective on what's important in life. An ultimately hopeful message, based on a true story, this book would make a great gift for someone that could use some inspiration.

For the trendy, classic, or "too cool": Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
A classic book, not for the faint of heart. Think "Laguna Beach" on steroids. This book is about over-privileged LA teens experimenting with drugs, sex, and rebellion - in the essential absence of parents.  An interesting study on what can happen when people live in a fantasy world of limitless funds and no consequences.

For beach bums, light readers, or enjoyers of Chick Lit: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
I love any books by Jennifer Weiner as I think she really elevates the typical female beach-read genre. This is a great example of her work - utterly enjoyable, witty, and fun to read. Explores the most complex of friendships, both old and new. Will ring particularly true for those sets of friends who have drifted, and reconnected.

For the depressive person who likes to feel sad or "needs a good cry": White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Not that I consider myself a depressive person as mentioned above, but White Oleander is my all-time favorite book. A journey of tumult, struggle, and ultimately hope, it's impossible not to root for the main character as she bounces from foster home to foster home after her mother murders her latest lover. Legitimately harrowing in some parts, this book leaves you satisfied in a way that lighter fare cannot.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Welcome Baby Girl

Baby rompers - Macy's. Pink and Black pop art canvas - Handmade.
Some very special people in my life recently gave birth to a baby girl. This particular family already has one child, who couldn't wait to meet his little sister! I couldn't be more excited for this great couple and was searching for the perfect gift for them. I decided on a hand-made gift, and some adorable outfits that I couldn't resist while out shopping. Baby girl clothes are the cutest - I'm a sucker for the details and want to scoop up anything with those ruffles along the seat!

Shopping for new babies is one of my favorite things! What's your go-to gift for a new baby?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Welcome to The City Nest!

I’m glad you’re here!

The City Nest is the place to follow a twenty-something’s exploration of marriage, career, and living a full life! One of the challenges women today are facing is “having it all”………..I’ve discovered that having it all means managing an awfully full plate! Upon getting married, I developed a boundless enthusiasm for domestic experimentation – but my budget and my time constraints didn’t change! This blog will share my journey toward living the best life possible – without losing my mind or going broke – one recipe, DIY project, and weekend at a time!