Southwestern Bean & Rice Stew {Recipe}

After a week of freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, today’s 30*F and sunny weather feels warm.  I’m even wearing capri stretchy pants!


When I was at school in Boston, I learned not only about teaching, but I also learned the importance of owning a good winter coat.  My mom suggested that I invest in one when she drove me up to school in the fall, but I refused.  I was self-conscious as any teenage girl is and the last thing I wanted to do was walk around a college campus looking like a NFL linebacker.  That is, until I experienced my first Boston snowfall.

When it comes to my hair I’m very low-maintenance.  I use shampoo and conditioner, no products, and let it air-dry.  When I was younger I would “play” with my mom’s hair products, but every time I did my hair turned out looking like freshly sharpened pencils.  You didn’t want to get close to me in fear you’d lose an eye.  Obviously, I had no clue how to use hair spray or mouse and not much has changed.

Southwestern Bean & Rice Stew 3

The morning of my first Boston snowfall I had class at 8AM.  Freshly showered I layered-up, put on my boots, and zipped up my jacket.  Within moments of stepping out the front door my hair froze and I snapped off a chunk.  I’ll never forget it.  I sent a picture to my mom and Ryan because I knew they’d never believe me without proof.  It was the wake-up call that I needed.  Immediately after class I purchased the biggest, fluffiest, and warmest winter coats that I could find.  I still love wearing it.

When I’m not battling the winter weather and looking like a football player, I love cozying up on the couch with a piping hot bowl of soup or stew.  Plus, using the Crock-Pot on a snowy day is magical.  The house smells wonderful and you can spend the day fawning over the winter wonderland outside your window or binge on old TV shows…  Assuming the baby naps.



Last week, that’s exactly what I did.  On Tuesday we got our first snowfall so I raided our pantry and threw a bunch of things into the Crock-Pot, let it simmer all day, watched the snow cover our backyard with Evie, caught a few episodes of Gilmore Girls while she napped, and enjoyed a hearty dinner once Ryan got home from work.

Southwestern Bean & Rice Stew

Ingredients (4 – 6 servings):

    • 32 oz organic low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes
    • 1 15 oz can organic black beans
    • 1 16 oz can refried black beans with jalapeño peppers
    • 1 cup frozen bell pepper strips
    • salt & pepper {to taste}
    • Tabasco {to taste}
    • 1 cup brown basmati rice

*I found all of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s, with the exception of Tabasco.*


Pour broth, tomatoes, black beans, and refried beans {liquid included} into the Crock-Pot.  Add the bell pepper strips, salt, pepper, and Tabasco and stir until well combined.

Set the Crock-Pot to low and let it do it’s thing for approximately 6 hours.  After 6 hours, add the rice and let it cook for another 2 – 3 hours.  The longer it cooks {or the longer the leftovers sit in the fridge}, the thicker it gets.

Serve with your favorite toppings.  A dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, or shredded chicken would be tasty!

Southwestern Bean & Rice Stew 5

I loved this dish and ate the leftovers for lunch the following two days!  Ryan enjoyed the flavor, but asked to include some type of meat next time.  He’s a “must have meat with dinner” kinda guy.

— Allison


WIAW: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

If you’ve ever been pregnant I hope you will support me when I say PREGNANCY BRAIN IS REAL.  I feel like a total airhead.  I could have sworn that I published this post yesterday.  I thought I was going to be super awesome and post super early for a change, so everyone could drool over my delicious breakfast recipe…  But that never happened because I never hit “Publish.”  Face palm.


Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!



buy these NOW



breakfast: frozen berries {great way to save $$$!}, turkey bacon, & Pumpkin Waffle French Toast with peanut butter chips


mid-morning snack: peppermint tea, Blue Diamond Almonds, & a pear


lunch: an orange, cooked peas + carrots, an avocado + turkey wrap, & baked chips


afternoon snack: an apple & Clif Mojo Trail Mix Bar {salty + sweet = heaven}



stressful day = a trip to Target for nursing bras & junk food



dinner: after spending 2+ hours at Target, dinner at 9PM was burrito night {Monday} leftovers & a couple of Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake cookies + cookie dough ice cream




Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.

Toast waffles in toaster until crispy – you don’t want soggy french toast.  While waffles are toasting, whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium, shallow bowl.  Dip waffles into batter to coat each side.  Use a fork to poke holes into the waffles so they can absorb as much batter as possible.

Cook waffles for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until light brown.  Serve with a little butter and syrup or Trader Joe’s peanut butter chips for maximum deliciousness!

Question:  Do you believe in pregnancy brain?

Question:  Waffle french toast.  What?!

— Allison


WIAW: Fish Stick Tacos with Creamy Cocktail Slaw

Have y’all seen the show on E! called Botched?  Yesterday it poured until about 4PM so Charlie and I spent a majority of the afternoon icing my foot – I did something to my left heel while walking around Philly – and catching up on the DVR.  Bravo and E! are two of my guilty pleasures.


Botched features people who have had plastic surgery and for whatever reason it got botched.  One lady {after a recommendation from her mom!} went to Tijuana for a tummy tuck…  The surgeon didn’t use anesthesia, but rather two nurses placed a large block of ice on each hip to freeze the local area.  Gah, I can’t even imagine!  As another woman said, she’s “a walking mistake.”

Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!

I’ve mentioned in my bumpdate posts {24 weeks, 25 weeks, 26 weeks} that I haven’t been fond of sweets.  Savory and salty eats though, I can’t get enough of them.  In an attempt to use up a few pantry odds and ends before we move this weekend, I made my first stack of pancakes in months.  Sadly, they weren’t as delicious as I remember.  But the bacon, oh the bacon.  I could have eaten the whole package.


cantaloupe, turkey bacon, & homemade pancakes topped with cottage cheese + peanut butter

After tutoring I stopped by Starbucks because I forgot to restock my bag with snacks.  During my first trimester Ryan had to remind me to pack extra snacks because when pregnancy hunger strikes, it comes in roaring and nobody’s got time for a hangry pregnant lady.


  a banana & decaf coffee light frappuccino

By the time I got home from the gym it was past 1PM and I was more than ready for lunch.  While the fish sticks browned on the stove, I munched on roasted veggies leftover from Monday’s dinner and fresh grapefruit slices.  On Sunday I picked up a box of Trader Joe’s Frozen Fish Sticks which make a tasty taco filling…  Especially when topped with a creamy cocktail slaw.


fish stick tacos with creamy cocktail slaw & Trader Joe’s White Cheddar Puffed Corn

Creamy Cocktail Slaw

Ingredients {for 2 tacos}:

  • approximately 1/2 c broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 c Greek or European yogurt *adds a nice tang*
  • 2 – 3 tsp cocktail sauce


In a small bowl, cut broccoli slaw into fine pieces.  Add the yogurt and cocktail sauce.  Mix until broccoli slaw is evenly coated.

Mid-afternoon I took Charlie for a walk around the block since the rain finally let up and then fixed a little snack plate.  I like cheese and crackers, but we’re out of crackers so I improvised with Cheerios.  Apple slices with cheese is one of my favorite current snacks.


apple slices, Swiss cheese, & Cheerios

I’ve had brick oven pizza on my mind since we walked by an Italian restaurant in Philly last week, so for dinner I made a thin crust pizza and served it with roasted artichokes, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts.  If you love a good pizza crust, I highly recommend investing in a pizza stone.  We use it for both homemade and store-bought frozen pizzas.


Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough + marinara sauce + goat cheese + sliced baby bella mushrooms

And just before going to bed, I ate a couple of peanut butter and banana graham cracker sandwiches…  I shouldn’t have been surprised, peanut butter and banana sandwiches are a classic, but the touch of cinnamon made these sandwiches even more delicious!


cinnamon graham crackers + peanut butter + banana slices

Question:  What’s your favorite guilty TV channel/show?

Question:  What are your favorite pizza toppings?

— Allison