Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

An etched ice bucket filled with GOLD pine cones...we love anything with a touch of bling!

One of my very favorite Christmas decorations is this wreath that I got at Z Galleries a few years ago. It is faux fern absolutely covered in silver glitter! I included a close up for you!

Our entry way all decked out by my talented mom!

I collect shell boxes so I have lots of them...I think these baby brown ornaments look right at home on top of this very old box!

Our limestone mantel is covered in seashells and glass ornaments!

Tucking this sweet bottle brush tree under a bell jar makes it even more special!

I love the way my mom showcased silver laced pine cones, seashells & silver ornaments on top of my mercury glass cake stand!

These vintage lime green ornaments on some of my all-time favorites! Trust me...It's not easy to find this color...
This cute little tree sits on our table in our breakfast nook. It is covered in tiny old glass balls...oh they make me so happy just looking at them!

In my book, you can NEVER have too many jars filled with ornaments! I have lots more to post, BUT REALLY need to finish designing our Christmas cards...will share later this week...promise!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tinsel Time Continued...

I promised (over a week ago!) some pictures of our Christmas decorating!

I love the contrast between the natural seashells & the shiny ornaments!

Mom made a mini winter wonderland on our dining room table!

The tinsel tree is right at home perched on mirror tables!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tinsel Time

It is Saturday morning and I'm recovering from a week of family fun (and a little cold that is zapping my holiday buzz). My mom and I pulled out the Christmas decorations yesterday so she could help me get inspired. I love how she decorated the entry way (will post pictures soon!) and our dining room. We bounced from room to room with bowls of vintage ornaments and Christmas wreaths, making sure everything found its perfect place! Something about the dusting of imitation snow around the baby bottle brush trees and ALL the mercury glass makes me very happy! I can't wait to get started on the tree...

Thank you dear heavenly Father for the precious gift of our baby Jesus. I pray that I will be in constant reminder of the real and perfect gift you have already given me and worry less about the gifts under the tree! May I remember to thank and give praise to you as I decorate our home in honor of celebrating your birth! Amen...

Sunday, November 15, 2009


COMFORT FOOD. Maybe it's the changing of the seasons or the recent changes in my life, but in the past few weeks I have found great joy in cooking comfort food for my family ! Last week I whipped up a batch of homemade beef stew, cornbread muffins, apple pie, sausage risotto, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, meatloaf and macaroni cheese. I am finding it quite therapeutic to cook! Thankfully, I don't feel compelled to over indulge on all these feel-good meals. I enjoyed a taste or two, and then went back to my low carb diet (sooo boring but pretty effective)!

(This is a modified recipe I found in a Southern Living a few years ago.) I really like this jazzed up twist on meatloaf. In fact, it reminds me more of a taco or tamale pie than meatloaf! I paired it with homemade macaroni cheese and a green salad. I also think it would be yummy served with green chile macaroni & cheese or garlic mashed potatoes!
Tex Mex Meatloaf Bold
2 lbs. ground round

2 1/2 cups of crushed tortillas chips

1 (10 oz) can of diced tomatoes w/ green chiles, drained

1 tablespoon of chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 can of red enchilada sauce (use 1/4 cup in meatloaf & the remaining 1/4 on top of the meatloaf)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

This meatloaf would be delicious served with taco toppings: sour cream, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, sliced olives and guacamole. Instead of making a meatloaf sandwich with the leftovers, wrap a wedge up in a tortilla and top it off with salsa!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together ground round, 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (save rest for to top the meatloaf later), tomatoes, onion, garlic, eggs, and spices. I have picky eaters so I pureed the can of diced tomatoes with the garlic, onion, cilantro & 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. I then added this sauce to the hamburger mixture. Mix with hands until well combined.

Pat mixture into large (prepared w/ baking spray) pie plate. Evenly spread remaining 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce on top of meatloaf. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle remaining tortillas chips over meatloaf, followed with shredded cheese.Align Left Bake 15 more minutes or until center is no longer pink. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into wedges. This made so much that I put the remaining mixture in ramekin dishes. These make the cutest little meatloaves (perfect for freezing & quick defrosting!).

I also baked the macaroni & cheese in ramekins!

This is my new favorite dessert that is sooo quick & easy! I use one packet of Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix (follow recipe on back). I roll into small balls (1" diameter) and make a soft impression on the top of the cookie with the bottom of a measuring spoon. I bake for about 8 minutes until lightly brown. I immediately press 3-4 semi-sweet chocolate chips into the top of cookie. Serve with a cold glass of milk and don't forget to be thankful!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Ralph

Today is Ralph Lauren's 70th birthday...America's iconic designer! Ralph was certainly an influence in our home growing up. We not only slept on his sheets, but wore his preppy polos and madras sundresses. I remember spending hours admiring his bedding and fabrics with my mom. I've never grown tired of his vintage florals and crisp, classic designs. To celebrate this legend, here are photos of Ralph and Ricky's beach side home in Jamaica (which I adore!) featured in Architectural Digest a few years ago.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Green Chile Pork Stew

If you have had the green chile stew at Z'Tejas or the Roaring Fork, you know how fabulous it is. It is a dish that I craved over and over until one day, I decided to make it for myself!
This has definitely become a family favorite over the past year. In fact, it even took over the spot for regular beef stew which used to me one of those meals the boys couldn't get enough of during the winter.

  • 5-6 thick boneless pork chops, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces (I get mine at Costco!)
  • Olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves crushed and minced
  • 1 – 1 ½ cans of chicken broth
  • 1 jar of Cookwell Green Chile Soup mix (sold at HEB) OR 3 cans of Hatch green enchilada sauce
  • 2 small cans of chopped Hatch green chilies
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 3-4 potatoes cut into bite size chunks (add during last hour of cooking time)
  • Optional: Monterrey jack cheese (sprinkle on top of stew before serving)

Saute garlic and onions in oil. Remove from oil and set aside. In a gallon Ziploc bag, add 1 cup flour and 2 tbsp of Montreal steak seasoning. Add pork chop to flour until well coated, and then brown in oil in cast iron/dutch oven pot. I usually have to do mine in 3 or 4 batches since it won’t all brown at once. Add all browned pork back to pot, along with the rest of the ingredients (including cooked garlic/onion). During the last hour, add potatoes and stir well.

Bring to boil and then SIMMER for 3 hours…I have even cooked for 4 hours…the longer the better! The pork should fall apart easily with a fork. Stir every 30 minutes so it does not stick/brown to bottom of skillet. If it gets too thick as it cooks, you can add more chicken broth.

You can also do this meal in the crock pot! Brown pork and then add all ingredients to the crock pot. Cook on high for at least 3 hours or 5 hours on low!

Sprinkle with Monterrey jack cheese and serve with warm flour tortillas! If you have leftovers (we rarely do!), you can make green chili pork enchiladas the next day...so yummy! A cool front just came in so guess what's for dinner?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Five Star Product of the Week

Okay, I admit it. I am a shampoo fanatic. With baby fine hair and proudly in my 40's, I can't get away with using just ANY shampoo! I have spent way too many hard earned dollars over the years trying to find a shampoo that not only gives my hair body and volume, but leaves it healthy and shiny too! My verdict is that this isn't an easy job! If you are one of those people that buy fancy shmancy brands that ring up at $35 dollars a bottle, you very well may have already found the miracle shampoo. But being the thrifty shopper that I am, I can't bring myself to pay that much for something that I rinse down the drain.

To complicate matters even more, I stopped using soaps and shampoos containing sodium laurel sulfate about a year ago. (Why? I decided that bathing in harsh chemicals couldn't be good for me! I have noticed that both my skin and hair don't seem to dry out like before.) The pool of shampoos without SLS is still fairly small so it is even more challenging than before to find something that cleans your hair while not damaging it!

If you have read my blog on a regular basis, you will remember that I once recommended Organix Coconut Shampoo for a reasonably priced sulfate free shampoo. Well, I have found one that I love way more for so many more reasons! Read on...

First of all, this sulfate free shampoo actually makes a silky lather (not many sulfate free products can make this claim...trust me!). According to the label, this shampoo is designed for color treated hair. I don't usually color my hair, but the fact it was sulfate free led me to give it a try. I loved the way my hair rinsed clean and didn't feel dry or coarse. In fact, I almost skipped the conditioner altogether since my hair felt so soft after one shampoo. Okay, it felt silky and smelled great while washing, but more importantly, what did it do to my hair? I have to say that my hair had more bounce and body than it has had in years. In fact, it almost looked liked I had used a curling iron and then combed it out...now that's volume you can write about. I couldn't believe how soft my hair felt. And just between you and me, I kept touching it all day yesterday and admiring the shine in the mirror.
Bottom line, Loreal's EverPure Sulfate Free Volume Shampoo is totally worth $5.99 and has solved my hair problems for now. I can mark this one off my list and move on to solving how to lose 10 pounds in one week or finding the perfect shade of makeup that makes me look 10 years younger. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Tawnya's Texas Chicken Chili

I don't know about you, but what's for dinner is often determined by what's in the pantry! After lots of grilling this summer, the cooler weather definitely had me craving soup or chili! So, after surveying the pantry, I decided that chicken chili was what was for dinner tonight!

Here is how I made my version of Texas Chicken Chili:

1 can of Bush's chili beans

2 cans of black beans, drained

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1/2 can of chicken broth

3-4 cooked and cubed chicken breasts

3 large minced garlic cloves

1/2-1 red or white onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, minced

3-4 heaping tbsp. chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin powder

1/4 cup of minced Cilantro sprigs

3 healthy dashes of Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. of honey mustard

grated cheddar cheese

sour cream

sliced avocado

Saute garlic, onion and jalapeno in olive oil. Add beans, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to boil and return to simmer. Add chicken and stir well. Add chili powder, cumin, dashes of Worcestershire sauce and honey mustard. Stir well and simmer covered for approx. 15-20 minutes. Add minced cilantro.

Top with cheese, sour cream and sliced avocado. Serve with fresh cornbread or tortillas chips.
Enjoy with family and friends!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


After a very long drought, we have finally had some real rain here in central Texas. It had been so long that I had forgotten what it felt like to pop up an umbrella in the wind or soak my shoes in a mud puddle. The rain also reminded me of how much I love the amazing rain boots that you see splashing around town. You can't beat their price (so cheap that you could even make a case for getting a pair in every color under the rainbow!).

If you are in the market for some new rain boots for the soggy months ahead, you have to check out the selection on Target.com. Right now if you buy one pair (only $25), you get the second for 50% off! And, if you spend $50, you get free shipping! Did you know that they sell warm liners for rain boots? There really is just NO excuse for the boring black boots of the past!
Here are few of my favorites...Allison Floral

Tan Leopard

Zahar Pink

Sasha Bias Madras

Black and Silver Zebra

Pinky Plaid