Counting Our Blessings

blessings

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it’s cliche, but when is it not a good time to be thankful?

Being grateful forces us to recognize others, to enjoy the good and bad in life, and it helps us see past the mundane of the day-to-day. Being thankful literally lifts our spirits and helps push us to be better people and make a better world.

I believe in the power of thanking each other and our Creator.

Today, I’m thankful for:
  • The fact that I get to be an aunt for the first time next year
  • Having special times this week with my in-laws lounging, eating together and sharing good memories
  • Being able to count on two hands (or more) the amount of new friends that I have made in NC
  • Having found new blog friends and places for community on the interwebs
  • Seeing lives changed across the world while being a part of Firefall International
  • Being able to have a full-time job, a few freelance ones and time to still have fun
  • Celebrating another year of a beautiful marriage that blesses me daily

This is not a list to make you feel like you’re missing things or make anyone jealous. This is a list for us to all share in thankfulness for, and to inspire you to maybe even make your own list.

There is always much to be grateful for. Let’s share in each other’s joy.

Made in NC: Shut the Front Door! {Burlaps by Ryann} & Giveaway

Shut the Front Door Burlaps

*Made in NC is a series that showcases North Carolina artisans who make exceptional products. This is not a sponsored post, and all of the opinions here are my own. 

Have I got a treat for you today!

Not only is it the week of blessed Thanksgiving. Not only are images of stuffing dancing around in your head. Today, you get the chance to win a work of art that’s fun, colorful, made in NC and can even be a great Christmas present.

Support local and getting a free Christmas gift- yes, this is real!

I’m also very excited about this post because it features crafts from my favorite former work desk buddy and sweet friend, Ryann McCall.

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My Top Trader Joe’s Wines

top trader joe's wines

Guys, the holidays are almost here!

Can we all just take a deep breath then do a little excited squeal together?

I am anticipating some really great times coming up in the next month. We’ll be heading back to Arkansas to party with the in-laws, and I’m so ready to get some relaxing, eating and board gaming in! Who’s with me?

As I’m thinking about the upcoming season with all of its dinner parties, I’m also thinking about staying on a budget but still having a great time.

And I know that many of us are looking for libations for our celebrations (see what I did there?).

So, in the spirit of budget-friendly wines, let’s take a tour of my favorite cheap Trader Joe’s picks. Any of these would make a great drink to share with your guests.

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Blogsgiving Progessive Dinner Party Part 3

sweet potato pie

Good morning and happy last day of this wonderful week of Blogsgiving.

What fun it’s been, right? I feel like I’ve been newly inspired to host, cook and entertain by the recipes and posts from other bloggers around the country. Have you? I hope so.

IMG_5513

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Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Party Part 2

mushroom spinach farro

Welcome back to our week full of fun and tasty Blogsgiving Dinner ideas.

Today, we’re on to entrees, side dishes and salads. Our meal is well on its way.

I’ve got a Thanksgiving-inspired recipe that is simply easy to make and simply delicious. I really enjoy Thanksgiving, but one thing that I don’t like is spending all day in the kitchen. Even though I love cooking, I love being able to hang out with family even more.

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Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Part 1

carolina apple sidecar

This week, I’ve got some real treats coming up on the think fruitful blog! I’m taking a part in a progressive Blogsgiving Dinner that is going to give you so many Thanksgiving and Christmas food ideas it’s not even funny.

I’ve joined with a team of other bloggers to showcase special holiday-inspired recipes all this week!

So get ready for a full week of comforting, tasty recipes for drinks, appetizers, side dishes and more!

carolina apple sidecar

Today, we’re starting off the week with one of my own concoctions that I’m really excited about.

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Simple Saturday: 2-Ingredient Cheese Dip

2-ingredient cheese dip

Some things are just so simple that you can’t keep them to yourself.

I found this recipe for 2-ingredient cheese dip and just had to try it. No, these ingredients aren’t glamorous (or expensive), but the dip can be ready in a few minutes and is quite tasty.

All you have to do to make it is combine salsa verde with cream cheese and microwave it until combined. If you’re making it for a small group of like 4, use 1 cup of salsa and half of a block of cream cheese, cut into a few pieces. Then, microwave it all for a few minutes, stopping it often to stir together.

2-ingredient cheese dip

There you have it! A spicy, creamy cheese dip that you just made yourself. No need for Mexican take-out this time.

Enjoy and happy Simple Saturday!

Lazy Night Soup

lentil soup

It’s always a good idea to keep a few recipes in your repertoire that are quick, comforting, cheap and make lots of leftovers.

This Lentil Soup is the epitome of those things.

And it’s a recipe from a new blogger friend of mine, The Olive and The Sea. Check out her post for step-by-step photos.

lentil soup

This warming, healthy Lentil Soup is totally comfort food for the soul! Speaking of, do you remember those Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I used to love getting lost in those at a friend’s house or in Books A Million. I’m a sucker for a good story and a good soup, you could say.

For those nights or days when you only have a few ingredients on hand and want something that will give you food hug (worthy of Chicken Soup for the Soul) from the inside out, turn to this no-fail Lentil Soup.

lentil soup

Enjoy!

lentil-soup recipe

*Click on recipe card to enlarge or right click to save.

Fruitful Travels: Washington, D.C.

Fruitful Travels: Washington, D.C.

One big plus of living on the East Coast/in North Carolina, is that we’re only a 4-hour drive away from D.C.!

I have fond memories of going on a trip to the capitol with my family while in high school (we even stayed in the National Cathedral) and visiting with my sister during the Cherry Blossom Festival a few years ago. My husband hadn’t been to D.C. since he was a toddler, so I was thrilled to snoop around the city with him.

I think we both fell in love with the weather (we were lucky to have 70-degree sunny skies), unique architecture and walking-friendly vibe of the city. Oh, and the food was also fabulous.

Here were some of our favorite hot spots:

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