the vienna

I spent Sunday afternoon with one of my best friends!  Sarah and I go way back.  We met at Ohio State, in a Women’s Studies class, we both took one summer.  It’s so random that we met in that class.  Sometimes things are just meant to be!  Sarah was in school for interior design and I was going for architecture, so right away we had a lot in common.  She has a ridiculous amount of talent and a great style-sense.  This past spring, Sarah moved out to CO, but we haven’t gotten to see each other nearly enough!

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I wanted to take Sarah downtown because there are a lot of fun shops and a million places to eat.  We stumbled on a delicious Mexican restaurant, while walking, called Beach House Grill.  I ordered a huge organic fajita salad, loaded with beans, peppers, + guac.  It was incredible!  It’s hard to impress me with a salad when dining out.  This was perfect!

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Sarah got a rice + chicken bowl.  She said it was really good, especially with the mango salsa.

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Then we walked around a lot of the shops on College Ave.  There were some insanely cute clothes, that were really hard to pass up.  I love small, unique clothing stores.  I get sick of mall stores!  The prices weren’t bad either! 

After walking, we headed to my favorite coffee shop called, The Bean Cycle.  I just love this place.  The menu is huge and they carry baked goods from 3 local bakeries.  It’s quite large inside and has a cute bookstore in the back.

Love this girl!

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I got a coffee called “Vienna.”  It contained – cinnamon stick, vanilla, steamed milk + espresso.  I asked the guy working to go easy on the vanilla syrup so it’s not too sweet.  Well, he made THEE most amazing coffee drink ever.  Honestly, best coffee ever.  And there was indeed a cinnamon stick in my cup!  There was a faint sweetness, with a rich vanilla flavor, a hint of cinnamon, and a perfect creamy/frothy slurp.

It was gone within 7 minutes.

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After Sarah left, I got working on dinner.  I’ve been eyeing up Ashley’s Pumpkin Chili recipe, ever since she posted it.  I was a little hesitant to make it because Chris is a pumpkin hater.  However, her photos made me think it wasn’t going to really taste pumpkiny, because the broth looked red from tomatoes, not orange.  Also, there were no pumpkin spices used, which is another plus for Chris. 

He was well aware what I was making…I didn’t try to sneak the pumpkin on him this time. ;)

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What I loved about making this chili, was that you didn’t have to fiddle with 8 different spices, trying to get the taste just right.  With this, the taste was “just right” and only took 1 main spice, plus some salt + pepper.

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And some fresh sage, if you have it on hand.  Loved this in the chili, but don’t worry if you don’t have it!  It’s extremely delicious without.  I know from all of the taste tests. :)

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While the chili cooked, I decided to take the mutts for a walk.  Well, 2 walks to be exact.  We still walk them separately.  It’s so much easier!

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It was a gorgeous fall evening.  I love sweatshirt weather!

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Right around the corner from my house, is this awesome view.  We are SO close to the mountains.  I love it!!  Last year I didn’t realize how much the trees actually do change here.  I would say they are mostly yellow/orange with some red sprinkled in here + there.  It’s not quite as colorful as fall in Ohio, but it’s still extremely bright + pretty!

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Trying to learn how to photograph things other than my food. :)

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For some reason, I love this photo.  Maybe it’s the wrinkled skin on Dakota’s forehead, or her “I’m on high alert” ear position, or the crunchy leaves on the ground, or the contrast between Dakota + the grass.  Whatever it is, I like it.

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On the move.

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Once I was done walking both dogs, the chili was ready.  It smelled amazing when I walked back into our house!!  You could not taste the pumpkin in this at all.  AT ALL.  What the pumpkin did do is give this chili and amazingly smooth + thick texture. 

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I absolutely LOVED this and Chris really enjoyed it too.  I know he likes something when he wants to take it to work the next day for lunch. :) 

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I changed just a few things from Ashley’s version:

  • added 2 medium carrots chopped + added with onions and garlic
  • added ~3T tomato paste
  • black beans instead of kidney beans
  • regular paprika instead of smoked paprika
  • fire roasted tomatoes crushed tomatoes instead of whole peeled tomatoes – I wanted to give it a nice smoky flavor, since we don’t have smoked paprika.  This worked perfectly. 

I added about 6 chopped fresh sage leaves at the very end.  Thanks for another stellar recipe, Ashley!!

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Time for tea + a little chillaxin’ + bed. 

<3 Ashley