Inspired by Life

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Roasted Corn Chowder + Chicken, Cilantro & Lime {Gluten-free}

Pinterest has been the reason for so many delicious meals in my house, lately. And this recipe will forever remain in the Taylor Family recipe book! It was delicious! The cilantro and lime bring out the flavors, the chipotle peppers add that smoky flavor to the dish, and the sweetness of the coconut milk balances the spice. 

You will go back for more! I promise!

Monday, November 19, 2012


I have always loved gumbo! Ever since I had my first taste of it at Lucille's BBQ when I lived in CA.  Finger-lickin' great gumbo! I have tried gumbo at several other restaurants but none have come close to Lucille's. So, when I was searching for a way to use the okra that I always buy and then toss in the trash because I forgot to use it, I came across gumbo recipes, and Paula Deen's recipe appealed to me. 

U.S. Capitol Dome Tour

"We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What other building shows the way of life in all its splendor than the U.S. Capitol. 

On Friday, Aaron got us tickets to tour the Capitol Hill Dome. While most people know about tours of the Capitol building and that they are readily available, it is not widespread knowledge that there is a separate tour of the Capitol Dome.  Don't despair. Although it takes a bit of time and some effort, you can find yourself climbing LOTS of stairs and enjoying a breathtaking view of the dome and the city laid out below.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spinach Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I love to cook but sometimes I find it difficult to cook for one.  Have you ever felt that way? So I did what any woman in her right mind would do—browse Pinterest, of course! I found this recipe and decided I would give it a test drive. It was simple, easy, and delicious! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Historic Mount Bleak House

The gorgeous views at Sky Meadows were not the only attraction we soaked in yesterday. On the grounds of the park stood the historic Mount Bleak House. Aaron and I were lucky to find Bud, our tour guide, alone and ready to give us a private tour of this home that was built in 1843, and still had all its original fittings, down to the yellow pine wood floors that creaked just it probably did in its heyday. If only those walls could talk! 

Sky Meadows State Park

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” 

― John Muir

I woke up this morning to the sun streaming through the autumn leaves throwing distorted rays through my window. I knew sleep was not an option, and I also knew that Aaron would want to go outside and soak in the crisp air the minute he woke up. 

After some deliberation about the best use of our time to commune with nature, we picked Sky Meadows. We had never been there before but my friend and fellow blogger, Jessica, loves this place, and goes as often as she can. Like her, I love Virginia! I love how beautiful everything is, and how close to the country I live. 

We set out on our road trip armed with a bottle of water and some snacks.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio E Peperoncino.

While I was searching for a pasta salad recipe last night, I accidentally stumbled upon this deliciously simple recipe! Spaghetti, Garlic, Olive Oil and Chili Flakes. This seemed too simple to taste good, I thought. But I tried it, anyway. 

It was exactly as it claimed to be. Simple and Delicious.  This dish comes together in under 15 minutes,  using ingredients you always have in your pantry, looks great, and tastes so good—it makes you look like an accomplished chef! 

Homemade Apple Crisp

Last night, while cleaning up, I remembered that I still had some apples lying around from our apple picking trip. I thought I could make some apple pie but, nah, too time consuming. I wanted a more consuming, of the actual consuming kind, and less time involved recipe :D 

What else could be more easy than homemade apple crisp, and not to mention, more delicious?? However you feel about Martha Stewart, I've got to hand it to her (or her army of chefs who actually prepare the food)—this is the BEST apple crisp recipe I have ever tried. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Little Kids - Photo Shoot.

I love these kids! Enough said. 

On Monday, I had the chance to spend some time with the Little family. How I miss them! They used to live across the street from us and we would see them in church every Sunday. I also had special outings with them—watching The Sound of Music, eating cookies, playing in their backyard, trying on all of little Lucy's sunglasses, and so many more. 

When Kirsten asked me if I could take some pictures of her adorable kids, I jumped at the chance.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ben Kacher's Birthday Party

One of our very first friends in Alexandria were the Kachers. Aaron and I had barely moved into the area two years ago and they invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them. We accepted the kind invitation and the rest is history! We have been friends ever since and will continue to be :) Although we now go to different buildings for church, and the Kachers bought a town home in a different neighborhood, we have always managed to spend time with them and their beautiful babies.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala & Garlic Butter Naan

For the marinade:
1 lb Chicken, cut into cubes
1 cup Yogurt
1 tbsp Cumin powder
1/2 tbsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 Tbsp of ginger garlic paste
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Chilli powder
For the sauce:
1 medium sized Onion, cubed
1 can Tomato Sauce
1 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
3 Cloves, 1/2 inch Cinnamon, 2 Cardamom pods
1/4 cup Cream
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp of Chilli powder, or to taste
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish
How to make it:
  • Marinade the chicken with all the ingredients for marination for about 20-30 minutes
  • Grill or pan roast the marinated chicken and set aside
  • In the meantime, heat the butter in a pan. When the butter just melts, add the clove, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin powder and coriander powder and saute until their aroma wafts around. 
  • Add onion and gently saute for 3-4 minutes. 
  • Add the chilli powder and salt and the tomato sauce. Mix well and add the cream.
  • Now add the grilled chicken pieces and toss to coat well in the sauce.
  • Check taste and adjust salt or chilli powder as desired.
  • If you want a thinner consistency add a few more tablespoons of water and a sparing splash of cream. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with Naans (Indian bread) or Basmati rice. (I brushed on some butter on the Naans, sprinkled some garlic salt and stuck it in the oven for a couple of minutes.) 
You can also add some yogurt directly to the sauce if you want it more tangy. Enjoy!