Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cilantro So Crisp! Avocado So Creamy!

Cilantro So Crisp! Avocado So Creamy!

Soup season! *GROUP CHEER*  Since tacos are one of my main food groups, it only makes sense to put all the taco toppings into SOUP and call it a day.  I’ve made three Mexican dishes this week and I ain’t even mad about it.  Maybe I’ll mix in some breakfast burritos and I can have Mexican food for every single meal of the week.  Maybe I’ll open up a Mexican restaurant out of my apartment.

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Fall Bucket List

It’s officially my favorite season – autumn!  I could burden you with my *actual* fall bucket list.  Pumpkin patch, apple picking, halloween-costume-making, rooting for my maize and blue!  Instead, I’m going to provide a crockpot-cooking, apple-coring, soup-stirring kind of bucket list.  Here are 15 new recipes for fall that I’ll be attempting to make this year!  These are taken from my favorite, inspiring food blogs around the web.

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Pancakes by Two Peas and Their Pod


Pumpkin Spice Granola by Gimme Some Oven


Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts by Joy the Baker


Spinach Bacon Artichoke Dip by What’s Gaby Cooking


Cheesy Pull Apart Bread by The Crepes of Wrath

Autumn Fall Salad by Foodiecrush

Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Whole-Wheat Orecchiette Soup by How Sweet It Is


Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup by SkinnyTaste


Pumpkin Chicken Chili by Kitchen Konfidence


Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta Bake by Pinch of Yum


Sparkling Fig and Apple Sangria by Domesticate Me


The Perfect Manhattan by Smitten Kitchen


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars by Sally’s Baking Addiction


Flourless Apple Cinnamon Chickpea Cookies by Hummusapien


Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Pie Bars by Baker By Nature

Comment below with some of your fall staples that I can try this year!  Enjoy, and happy pumpkin picking!

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What Would Olivia Pope Do? Wine and Popcorn Pairings!

Chipotle Lime Popcorn with Rioja Crianza

Chipotle Lime Popcorn with Rioja Crianza

SCANDAL PREMIERE IS TONIGHT!!! I am beyond excited.  For those who haven’t seen the show, I cannot recommend it enough!  Such a guilty pleasure of mine – all four seasons so far have been amazing, and I have high hopes for this one.  Not to mention, I want everything in Olivia Pope’s closet because her pant suits are to DIE FOR.

So, as those who are avid Scandal followers know, it’s only appropriate for tonight’s dinner to be wine and popcorn.  For those unfamiliar with the show – it’s the only thing the main character is ever seen eating/drinking.  My boyfriend was incredibly thoughtful and got me the actual REAL Olivia Pope wine glasses for my birthday this year and I’m channeling my inner Olivia tonight.  But this isn’t any ordinary red wine and plain ol’ popcorn.  CHIPOTLE LIME popcorn followed with DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER POPCORN BALLS!  Yes, you heard me.  A full meal with popcorn.

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Lightened-Up Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms and Chicken

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FALL IS HERE!  Salads and smoothies MOVE OVER.  Soups, pasta, and oatmeal COME ON IN! While comfort food is a must during the cold months, there’s always an easy way to up the deliciousness and the health-factor to the max.  This recipe takes a classic – pesto – and adds in some healthy fats with avocado.  Adding lean protein and veggies to the pasta makes this a well rounded dish that’s quick and easy!

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Skinny Pizza Stuffed Peppers

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If there’s one food I could eat for every single meal, it would absolutely be pizza.  Growing up with my dad and brother – who can seriously eat some food – I learned that when I ordered my cheese only Domino’s pizza, it required a “DO NOT EAT” sign on the leftovers.  I’d wake up in the morning and savor my cold, delicious pizza for the second time around.  And maybe even for lunch! So sue me!

Then, sadly, I became aware of the evils of regular pizza eating.  Or maybe it was the beer drinking that usually preceeded the pizza eating.  EITHER WAY.  Don’t get me wrong, I can still throw down a pizza if I had to.  Twist my arm.  But my frequency of indulging in cheesy goodness was becoming a problem.  And I found the solution.  PIZZA PEPPERS.  All the pizza flavor without the pizza guilt!  Not so good for drunchies (“drunk-munchies” for my baby boomers out there), but great for a weeknight!

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My new MUMS planted in the blue pots I painted last week!

My new MUMS planted in the blue pots I painted last week!

Thank God It’s Friday. You’re almost to happy hour, so sit back, pretend you’re working, and have a spreadsheet open somewhere. Enjoy these links inspiring me this week from around the web!

I’m on my way to Columbia, MO to visit my little brother at Mizzou for Parent’s Weekend!  Even though it’s an iffy game (vs. UConn) and I’m skeptical about girls wearing dresses to a tailgate as a Michigan alum, I’m beyond excited to see him!

If Your Piggy Bank is Full:

  • After finding this blog about “inspiralizing” – or turning veggies, potatoes, you name it into noodles – I’m jumping at the chance to get my own Paderno inspiralizer with Ali’s Inspiralized cookbook.  Comfort food turned healthy!
  • I told myself I would never do this, but I’m [  this  ] close to buying my own donut pan so I can rival Timmy Horton’s – with a little less guilt and a little more of my own coffee.
  • FALL CLOTHES!  I want this plaid scarf for so many reasons.  Comfortable, cozy, goes with everything…
  • Just bought these brown booties for the fall and I LUURRVEE them.  Check out Sole Society website!  When I visited, I got 20% off, which made these shoes THAT much easier to buy.
  • My mom claims that adult coloring books are the new hot thing for stress-relieving.  I’d go with this ocean animal print version.  Maybe I’ll send it to her as an early…Thanksgiving present?

Weekend Eats:

Link Love:

  • Because I’m a huge fan of thriller novels, this list of 9 page-turners has been bookmarked for some fall reading ideas.
  • While some of these daily habits of highly creative people are a bit overzealous (Yes, Gwyneth, I’d love to sit and eat a croissant every morning, but we all can’t do that.), a lot of them are inspiring.  I love Diane von Furstenberg’s note on “being selfless”.
  • I’m like the whole Disney-classic-to-live-action movement that’s been going on.  The Jungle Book trailer was just released and it looks like one of the best ones yet!
  • NEW FAV BLOG ALERT: Tutti Dolci – for when your cheat day consists of sweet treats and awesome food pictures.  She’s inspiring!

PS: I’m blogging from a plane – which really is the highlight of my morning thus far.

xo, Maddy


3 Ingredient Monkey Bites

Marvelous Monkey Bites – delicious, nutritious, and easy to make!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t go to bed unless I’ve had some sort of chocolate-peanut butter-sumthin’sumthin’.  Downside?  Most sweet treats have a ton of sugar, fat, and calories.   UNTIL I invented these marvelous little treats!  They satisfy the craving, are the perfect size, and you can have TWO and still feel bomb diggity about yourself.

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The beautiful spread at my friend's Iberian Peninsula Winetasting last weekend!

The beautiful spread at my friend’s Iberian Peninsula Wine Tasting last weekend!

Thank God It’s Friday. You’re almost to happy hour, so sit back, pretend you’re working, and have a spreadsheet open somewhere. Enjoy these links inspiring me this week from around the web!

PS: Football is back, and I’ve decided to play in not one, not two, but THREE fantasy teams this year.  Goodbye productivity.  GO TEAMS!

PPS: OH MY GOSH SCANDAL SEASON 5 PREVIEW.  I cannot simply wait.

If Your Piggy Bank is Full:

  • If I had an endless shoe allowance, these casual, over the knee suede boots would be the first things on my list.
  • I want literally everything in this gym-to-streets outfit.  This girl can rock some Nike’s.
  • Because they’re endorsed by Kerry Washington (my idol) and because there are those nights I can’t bring myself to wash my face, I’m totally ordering these Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes ASAP.
  • Ladies, have you ever realized how important a product is when it’s GONE!?  I’ve been using this Laura Mercier Foundation Primer and ran out.  And I can’t get my hands on it soon enough.  It’s a complete game changer!
  • Because I don’t have a full set of measuring cups (shocking, I know) I might splurge and spend $23 to get this Kitchenmade 6 Piece Set.  They’re the best in the business and are so classic!

Weekend Eats:

  • MORE ZUCCHINI.  I can’t get enough of it.  I have three in my fridge and these crispy zucchini tacos have my name on them
  • On an autumn note (I CAN’T WAIT FOR FALL!), I’ll be sure to make some slow cooker apple butter when we visit the apple orchard soon.
  • And since we’re talking about apples.  How about an apple + oatmeal + SMOOTHIE BOWL.  It’s hip, it’s cool, everyone is doing it.
  • MUSHROOMS.  My dinner buddy doesn’t like mushrooms.  Or nuts.  So I’ll have to food-lust after this mushroom penne with walnut pesto.  Or make it when it’s a me + Netflix + the dog kinda night.
  • I was going to make a giant list of football recipes for you all.  And I still might.  But definitely not by Sunday.  So here’s 175 football recipes, created by How Sweet It Is.  You seriously can’t go wrong with anything she cooks.

Link Love:

  • Some Michigan students invented an app that can virtually walk you home at night.  This is a game changer for my lovely ladies out there.
  • Since stay-in-and-watch-a-movie season is upon us, here’s a site that helps you find the best movies on the web.  No more deciding between Scream 4 and Inspector Gadget.
  • The woman behind Ambitious Kitchen wrote a great piece reflecting on her past 4 years blogging, living in her 20’s and navigating the hard stuff.  She was the first blog I followed and is an inspiration every day!
  • I liked this list of 11 everyday items under $25.  I have a lot of them, and the bedrisers and step stool would be super helpful…
  • Your weekly small-space-no-weight workout brought to you by Pumps and Iron (PS, she is a great blog to follow!).  I’ve been struggling to find time to workout with school and work, and this will definitely be added to my repertoire.

xo, Maddy

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Recipe Review: Chipotle Chicken Salad with Warm Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Check out all the fixin's!

Check out all the fixin’s!

I know the title of this recipe is totally a mouthful (haha, punny!).  But I wanted to include all the elements – because each one is as important as the next!  I’ll be the first to tell you, quinoa is weird.  It’s not quite rice, and it’s not couscous.  Why bother, right?  Because! PROTEIN! What quinoa lacks in normal english pronunciations, it makes up for with a big serving of protein in your salad!

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SWAG Salad – Strawberry, Walnut, Avocado, Goat Cheese!

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Look at all the Swag in this Salad.

The first seven days of September have been crazy busy.  So busy that I am working on homework from two weeks ago.  Or I should be – instead I’m writing this post for you all.  Why? Because this recipe is crazy easy.  I accidentally threw it together one day and it’s one of my go-to lunches during the week. I always have the ingredients on hand, and you can mix and match depending on what you have in your fridge!

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