dinner tonight: chili + pretzels

ohhhh, it seems like forever since i’ve posted a dinner recipe. haven’t been making a ton of homemade dinners either since having poppy. unless quesadillas, pumpkin pancakes and meat, cheese and apple platters count? mostly i just want to avoid washing dishes. but the fam is getting sick of the above meals and i’ve exhausted all of my go-to-cheap-ish-healthy-ish takeout restaurants, so it’s time to get back into my apron. these recipes (soft pretzels and chili) are just the thing to get me inspired! they also make a perfect wintery meal and can easily feed a crowd on game day (or any day).


SOFT PRETZELS – makes about 10

(instructions are for twisty pretzels but would work well as little bites and take a little less time)

you’ll need:

  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 packet active instant yeast (or 2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4-1/4 cups AP flour  (1/2 AP and 1/2 whole wheat works but won’t bake as soft)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup baking soda

here’s how:

  1. preheat oven to 425 and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper if desired.
  2. dissolve yeast in warm water in a ceramic bowl. stir until mostly mixed (about a minute). add salt and sugar and stir. one cup at a time, add 3 cups of flour and mix until dough is thick. continue to add small amounts of flour until the dough is no longer sticky – if the dough bounces back after you poke it then it’s ready to knead!
  3. knead dough on floured surface for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. divide dough into about 1/3 cup chunks and roll into an even rope about 18-inches long. next pinch the ends together (to make a circle) then twist, bring towards yourself and press down to make a pretzel shape.
  4. beat egg and pour into a pie dish or shallow bowl. (this next step with water and baking soda is optional… it’s a little messy and takes extra time, but also adds to the flavor and appearance.) boil 9 cups water with 2/3 cup baking soda. dunk pretzels one by one into the mixture for 30 seconds. then dunk into egg wash (both sides), place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  5. bake for 10 minutes  then turn oven to broil and bake for additional 5 minutes until browned.
  6. let cool and serve! extras can be stored for a few days or kept in the freezer.

TASTY (and healthy) TURKEY CHILI – serves 8

you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (or 5 cloves, minced)
  • 2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1, 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1, 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2, 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

here’s how:

  1. in a large pot, heat oil over medium. add onion, garlic and bell peppers and sauté until fragrant and veggies have softened (about 5 minutes). add ground turkey and cook, breaking up into smaller pieces until cooked through.
  2. add chili powder and cayenne, stir to coat and cook until fragrant (about a minute or 2)
  3. add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes to an hour. season to taste with salt and pepper. serve with desired toppings – sour cream, cheese, chips, onions,…- and enjoy!

what have you been eating for dinner lately?

xo . rae



living in seattle, i’m often on the hunt for kid friendly indoor activities, but with colder days ahead and 5 kids to occupy i’m REALLY on the hunt these days. as a big land of nod fan (you too!?), i get excited to see their latest toys and games. they have a knack for designing products that are whimsical and cute for the kids but look clean and stylish no matter where you put them in the house. today i’m excited to partner with them to giveaway the bean bag toss game pictured below.


to enter, simply leave a comment HERE telling me why you love the land of nod or your favorite product they sell. the giveaway closes WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17th at 6am PST. one winner will be chosen at random and announced later that day on this post. i will also send the winner an email letting them know!

when your finished leaving a comment, head to the land of nod to finish up your shopping list because they are in the middle of their HoliDAILY sale and all of their games and puzzles are 20% off, plus free shipping! here are a few stocking stuffers that are hanging out in my shopping cart right now for the kids. i can hardly wait for them to see and play with all of their goodies christmas morning!


happy shopping and GOOD LUCK!

xo . rae

Congratulations Melissa Haigh for winning the giveaway!


winter wreath and crown (simple DIY and printable).

happy second to last friday before christmas, friends! even if your not stressing over a mile long holiday to-do list, chances are you don’t have a ton of extra time on your hands. so poppy and i have a couple easy peasy-10 minute-(maybe 15)-must make-DIY’s to share with you today.


i can’t get enough buffalo check or pom-pons this season so let’s get started!


GEOMETRIC WREATH: full disclosure, i’ve never taken a wreath making class or made a wreath before so i have no idea what i’m doing. however, the end product turned out super cute so i figure i’ll share how i did it and we can just fake it til’ we make it! for those of you who have mad wreath making game, please share tips in the comments!

you’ll need:

  • wire hanger
  • wire cutters
  • greenery (i gathered some from outside)
  • green floral wire
  • mini pom-poms
  • thread and needle
  • ribbon for hanging

here’s how:

  1. untwist the hanger and shape into a triangle (or whatever shape you want). twist closed and cut off excess.
  2. arrange greenery around wire, wrapping with floral wire as you go until it looks how you like.
  3. thread pom-poms to desired length and wrap around your wreath. use ribbon to hang!


BUFFALO CHECK CROWNS: i made these for tilly’s lumber jack and jill bday party but thought they’d be perfect around the holidays. gold crowns make a festive addition too… just use the printable as a template and trace onto glitter paper.

you’ll need:

  • skinny elastic (sold on spools in the sewing + notions section at a craft store)
  • white or colored card stock (poppy is wearing the crown printed on red paper)
  • stapler
  • tape
  • scissors
  • printable crown file

here’s how:

  1. download and print file onto white or colored card stock.
  2. cutout around pattern and tape to make a crown.
  3. cut elastic to desired length (about 9 to 12 inches) and staple ends to either side of crown.

new-fabrics-for-diyingbefore i go for the weekend i also wanted to share a few things i’ve added to my spoonflower shop… 1/2/3/4

the valentine hand warmers have been such a huge hit that i had to make a second, more wintery version. i also added some simple black and white patterns that are perfect for christmas (to make napkins, pillows, tea towels, etc.) but can also last all year long. before ordering, check spoonflower’s shipping deadlines if you need your goodies before christmas!

hope your weekend is full of baking, diy-ing, tradition making and christmas movie watching :)

let me know if you have any questions about the toots above…. i’ll be back on monday with a land of nod giveaway!

xoxo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}


holiday syrups with the land of nod.

land-of-nod-rae-ann-kellybaby it’s cold outside so i’m over at the land of nod today sharing one of our favorite ways to stay warm and cozy – flavored steamers! head over to honest to nod for the full post, recipes and a download so you can package all the yummy flavors and give as gifts {perfect for teachers, neighbors and friends or party favors…} …or go all out and plan a little after school steamer bar for the kids (and coffees for the mamas)! tilly and her friend claira had all kinds of fun adding flavors, whip cream and sprinkles to their drinks.


when your done checking out the post and leaving a comment ;) always love reading notes – land of nod has made it really easy to do my other favorite cold weather activity, online shopping (ha!) with 20% off a different toy category each day over the next 8 days.

speaking of shopping, how is your christmas gifting going!?

xo . rae

//images by stacy jacobsen//


outfit inspiration for thanksgiving.


 i’m usually pretty good at piecing together outfits for the kids to wear for holidays and special occasions but then  find myself scrambling at the last minute to put together an outfit for myself which leads to febreezing the heck out of something from the dry cleaning pile and wishing i had put a little extra thought and planning into it. this year is no different, so if (like me) your still not sure what to wear, head over to mom.me where i shared some thanksgiving outfit inspiration for different destinations. here are a few of my favorites above. we’re headed to the mountains so i’m loving the montana ensemble. thanksgiving in disney world sounds dreamy too.

xo . rae


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