10.30.2014

Crocktober: Sweet Potato + Black Bean Chili {And a Crockpot Giveaway!}

Happy Halloween Eve! 
Welcome to the 4th Annual Crock-tober!

October + Crock Pots + Cold Weather + Comfort Food= Crock-tober
I meant to get this posted earlier today put that didn't happen. We were up too late celebrating the Giants winning the World Series! WOW! What a game!!!! 
Anyways, back to Crocktober :)
This is always one of my favorite link ups!
I LOVE my Crock Pot.
As a working mom, my Crock Pot is a staple during the Fall & Winter months.
They make my life & dinner time so much easier!
Can I get an Amen?

You are going to love this Crock Pot meal that I am sharing with you today.
It is healthy, delicious & very easy to make!
Here is what you need:
- 1 lb of Ground Turkey (I use Jenni-O)
- 1 (15 oz) can of Canned Pumpkin
- 2 cans of black beans (drained)
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of diced green chilies
- 1 can of Chicken (or Veggie) Broth
- 1 or 2 Sweet Potatoes/Yams (peeled & diced into cubes)
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced (I use the pre-diced ones because my eyes can't handle cutting onions)
- 1 packet of Chili Seasoning

 Directions:
Brown your ground Turkey in a pan. I sprinkle my meat with some garlic powder to give more flavor. I also used a handful of the diced onion to saute with the meat.
While your meat is cooking, cut up your green peppers.
Rinse & Drain your Black Beans.
Peel & cut up your Sweet Potatoes.
(I just used 1 sweet potato for this batch)
Your meat should be done cooking, so now it's time to put everything in the crock pot.
I put the meat on bottom, then I added the diced tomatoes, onions, green chilies, can of pumpkin, black beans, green peppers &  sweet potatoes.
Then, I sprinkle the packet of Chili Seasoning on top.
Give the pot a big stir to mix everything up and then put the lid on your crock pot & walk away!
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.

When you are ready to serve, put in bowls and then garnish!
We like garnishing the chili with shredded cheese, sour cream & avocado!
I serve this with homemade cornbread & whipped honey butter. YUM.
You can serve this with a side salad if you want, but it is a hearty meal on it's own & it has veggies in it....pumpkin, sweet potato & green peppers.
My girls are really picky eaters and they gobbled this right up.
It's packed full of protein also!
It is perfect Fall meal.

I am keeping the Linky open until Sunday, November 9th.
So, you can link up anytime between now & then!
My favorite part is checking out what other people have linked up.
In honor of my 4th Annual Crocktober Link Up, I am giving away a Crock Pot!
One lucky person will win a 6 qt Stainless Steel Programmable Crock Pot!
You can keep it for yourself, give it as a present....the holiday season is right around the corner! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter!
Do you have a favorite Crock Pot meal? Link it up!
You get extra entries for that :)
It can be from your blog, from Pinterest or from another website.
Giveaway ends on Sunday November 9th

Use the Rafflecopter to enter the Giveaway & leave a comment letting me know your favorite meal to make in a Crock Pot!




10.29.2014

World Series 2014

As you may know, I am a huge, huge, huge San Francisco Giants fan.
Growing up in the Bay Area, we have 2 baseball teams, the Oakland A's & the San Fransisco Giants.
I have always been a Giants fan along with my entire family.
I'll never forget going to my first Giants game as a kid, at Candlestick Park.
I went with my parents, sisters and my aunts, uncles & cousins.
It was Mother's Cookies Baseball card day (anybody else remember those?) I remember being so excited that I got a Will Clark baseball card. I still have it!
The past 5 years have been really fun being a Giants fan because we won the World Series in 2010 and also in 2012. And, this year 2014 we are in the World Series again!
One of the items on my "Bucket List" was to go to a World Series game that the Giants were playing in. I was able to cross that item off my bucket list in 2010. 
You can read about it {HERE}
 The only problem about that was that Kevin didn't go to that game with me. The whole time I was there in 2010, I was wishing he got to experience it also.
When the Giants made it to the NLCS this year, I told Kevin that if they go to the World Series, then I am going to buy us tickets so that we can go (Thank you Rodan + Fields for my extra spending money!)
Well, sure enough, the Giants beat St. Louis and were going to the World Series! I bought us tickets for last Friday night.
Friday was a beautiful day in San Francisco. The weather was perfect.
 We took Bart into the city & got off at the Ferry Building so that we could walk along the water on our way to the Ball Park.
 The walk along the water was so fun...tons of people walking to the game & of course the views of the Bay Bridge were spectacular.
Loved seeing the Fire Engines with Giants flags!
 Kevin's sister and her husband were also going to the game and as we were walking to the Ball Park my brother in law texted us to tell us that he just met Willie Mays & shook his hand! What?!?! Willie Mays is a San Fransisco Giants legend! Mike said that he parked right next to him in the Parking Lot.
Here is a pic of Mike next to Willie Mays car.
 So once we got to the parking lot, the 4 of us took a selfie and texted it to the rest of our family saying that we wish they were there :)
 It's always sur-real walking into the Ball Park for a World Series game. The energy is amazing.
 I love that we are playing the Kansas City Royals....I love that they haven't been to the World Series in 30 years and that both the Giants & Royals were both the Wild Card teams this year. 

As we first got into the Ball Park....so excited! Could our smiles BE any bigger?
Announcing the starting line ups:
During the  Star Spangled Banner they had a huge flag on the field:
 Little Big Town sung the National Anthem. They were amazing. I tear up everytime I hear the National Anthem.
As the National Anthem finished playing 2 Blue Angels jets flew over the stadium. CHILLS!
 Time to play ball! Cheers to a $12 beer & souvenir cup!
 Kansas City got off to an early lead, so that was kind off a bummer.  
Our favorite Ball Park sandwich. San Fransicso style Philly Cheese Steak with Tri Tip & Hot Peppers. YUM!
I get this sandwich everytime I go to a Giants game.
If you've never been to a Giants game, I recommend going, we have such a beautiful stadium, right on the water.
 So beautiful.
 McCovey Cove is right behind the Park & that is where some home runs land.
 You can see all the people in their kayaks waiting for a homerun to land in the water
 More views of the park:
 It was a close game 3-2 with the Royals in the lead.
In the 8th inning we almost tied up the game....we all had our orange rally rags out.
 Nail biting game!
We ended up losing 3-2 but it was still a fun night & memorable experience.
 So glad I got to experience a World Series Game with Kevin!
 Game 7 is tonight. 
The Royals kicked our butts last night so now the series is tied 3-3.
I am so stressed out about the game that I even had a dream about it last night!!! #issues
Will you be watching tonight?
Who are you rooting for?
(It's okay if you say Kansas City....we can still be friends!)
Usually, I love rooting for the underdog like the Royals, but not this year since they are playing my team!

And, a few Nuts & Bolts:

Last week, Rodan + Fields Acute Care sold out in 24 hours! Want to get your hands on 2 free samples of it? For people who become a Preferred Customer this week, you will get $20 off your first order AND you will also get a 2 free samples of Acute Care (which is sold out & not available until January) and Free Shipping!
 Email me to place an order or if you have questions!
melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com

********
Tomorrow I will be posting my 4th Annual Crocktober Crock Pot Recipe Link Up!
Click {HERE} to see the previous years.
I got a few emails asking if I was doing it again and YES, I am!
I just forgot to tell you guys about it until now! It has been a crazy month!
This is one of my favorite link ups, I love Crock Pot Meals!
I am so excited to share my recipe with all of you!
You can link up any past or current Crock Pot recipes that you have or that you use.
And, there will be a giveaway, so you won't want to miss out!

GO GIANTS!!!!!!

10.28.2014

1 0 3

October 27, 1911.
Yesterday was my Grandma's 103rd Birthday.
Yes.
You read that correctly.
103.
Absolutely Amazing.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you probably remember me talking about my Grammy and how amazing she is.
I blog about her birthday every year because I think it's pretty incredible that she has lived to be this old.
In years past, I have blogged about how incredible it is that she still lives in her own house by herself at her age.
But, unfortunately, that isn't the case anymore.
You see, 20 days ago on October 7th, we got a call from my Aunt that Grammy had a fall.
My Aunt lives in the same town as Grammy, so she checks on her several times a day.
The morning of October 7th, she went to check on her and Grammy had fallen.
Grammy wears one of those "Help, I've fallen and can't get up" necklaces so she can pull it and it will alert a dispatcher. Well, Grammy is stubborn and didn't pull it, so when my Aunt came over Grammy was on the ground. My Aunt didn't know if Grammy was hurt (because Grammy is stubborn and wouldn't say) so my Aunt called 911 and had Grammy taken to the hospital to get checked out and to make sure she didn't break anything.
The did some tests on Grammy at the hospital and nothing was broken.
They ran some labs/blood work and Grammy is 100% healthy.
The doctors and nurses couldn't believe how amazing her blood work was, they said it was better than most people who are in their 60's! That's my Grammy!
Even though Grammy  wasn't hurt, my mom and Aunt decided that Grammy shouldn't live on her own anymore. She is just too old and even though she can still walk, she is just fragile & her eyesight is going. My Aunt found a nice & clean old person's home for Grammy to live, so they moved her there right after the hosptial, just 20 days shy of her 103rd Birthday.
Pretty amazing that Grammy made it 102 years & 345 days living  by herself.
Even though it is sad that Grammy isn't living in her house anymore, it is the right decision.

This weekend we headed down to Grammy's in the Central Valley to celebrate her 103rd Birthday.
It was very strange seeing her NOT in her house.
The home she is at is nice, there are about 30 people who live there...Grammy is the oldest.
We reserved the outside area for Grammy's party.
  I made my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes (recipe HERE} but I put pink frosting on them because pink is Grammy's favorite color!
I also made the cupcake toppers.
Every year, I get Grammy a balloon & roses for her birthday.
My mom, Aunt & Grammy.
 My sisters & I with Grammy.
 My Aunt & her 2 sons with Grammy (my cousins are SO tall....6'4 & 6'8)
 My family with Grammy :)
 Rebecca & her family with Grammy. This was the first time Grammy got to meet baby Olivia (that is Grammy's 11th great-grandchild)
 4 Generations in this photo. Love it.
Me & Grammy. Can we talk about how she is rocking the side pony? Love her. She is still a spit fire!

It was so wonderful seeing my Grammy & celebrating her 103rd birthday.
It was emotional...seeing her in the home & not her home.
Wondering if this was going to be the last time I see her.
Feeling sad that her memory is fading.
What a wonderful life she has lived.
103...Incredible.

After the party, my Aunt, my mom, my sisters and I went to Grammy's house.
All her things are still there and my Aunt is going to start cleaning it out so they can sell the house.
My Aunt told us we could take things that were special to us.
It was very surreal being in her house knowing that Grammy wasn't coming back.
I had 1 thing that I really, really, really wanted from Grammy's house.
Her recipe box.
Every memory of visiting Grammy includes food & something on the stove or in the oven.
Every time we would go to her house, she was making something.
I think I get my love of cooking & baking from Grammy.
She was always making something.
When we were at her house, I asked my Aunt if I could have Grammy's recipe box.
She said sure, but she couldn't recall Grammy having one, since Grammy had memorized most of her recipes.
I looked through every kitchen cabinet.
I couldn't find it.
I looked in her pantry.
I couldn't find it.
I looked above the fridge and found some of her old cookbooks, but no recipe box.
I was bummed. I really wanted her handwritten recipes. I knew they had to be somewhere.
I looked in one last kitchen drawer and at the very back of the drawer, there they were....stacks of recipe cards held together by rubber bands.
JACKPOT.
I was so happy I could cry. I totally teared up.
Stacks of Grammy's recipes held together by rubber bands that were so old they were crumbling.
Recipe cards with Grammy's handwriting.
Recipe cards typed out with flour dusted on them.
Recipes as far back from 1920's & 1930's
(Grammy dated most of her recipe cards, so I knew exactly when they were from)

It may be Grammy's Birthday, but I feel like I got one of the greatest gifts, her recipes.
Seeing her familar handwriting on the recipe cards is so comforting.
Reading through the recipe cards & recognizing some of my favorite things from visiting Grammy's house....so priceless.

My plan is to go through the recipes and make a family cookbook for all the women in our family so that we can all have a piece of Grammy's cooking in our kitchens.
And, I will be sure to blog some of Grammy's recipes as well.

Happy 103rd Birthday, Grammy.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to everyone who knows you.

Everyone always asks Grammy her advice for living so long & for being in such good health 
Here is her list of advice:
1. Surround yourself with your family and people you love.
2. Drink Coffee every morning.
3. Have a Happy Hour cocktail everyday (Grammy's preference is a Cranberry Vodka)
4. Stay away from hospitals & doctors.
5. Be positive.

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