Headed towards back to the basics living.


“Do,Do,Do…Looking out my back door…”

Sometimes….like when it’s really windy, (like today), or when I have a headache for the third day in a row (like today) & I’m sad because of a recent death of a loved one (like today) and I’m seriously considering just crawling back in bed and calling it a day (Wah! Okay, thanks for letting me complain and get that out of my system.) I remind myself that life doesn’t have to perfect for it to be good-really good.


Case in point, DH and I went for a drive on Monday-just to see what we could see in our new neighborhood and found some great places to hike or have a picnic in the nearby Sandia Mountains.

This is about 20 minutes from our house.

We had no idea that you could see so far except at the peak. The peak of the Sandias is actually fairly well-known. It can be reached by car or the tramway-the longest aerial tram in the world.

View from the peak. This is about another 10 minutes up the mountains.

Also we found that New Mexico DOES have running water-sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.

Running water! It does exist!

And our labs couldn’t have been happier! I think they were seriously considering diving in!

It was a great day!

And I feel blessed to live in an area where I really enjoy the scenery…lookin’ out my back door.


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Mini Tour of Taos

First impressions can be wrong.

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Such true words to depict my recent visit to Taos, New Mexico. Previous passings through this small little New Mexico town famed for its artists and ski valley had given me the impression that Taos was rather overrated. Thanks to my adventuresome and curious sister I know it’s actually a rather fun place to spend the day.You just have to be willing to do a little pavement pounding and expect a little New Mexico culture to rise up and meet you along the way.

We started with one of the main squares and stumbled upon several local artists, collectors, restaurants and a hodge podge of shops.My most favorite shop by far was called “At Home in Taos. ” We must have spent a good hour in this shop. It’s filled with those little treasures & trinkets that make you feel like you’re a kid in a candy shop when you’re little. Everything begs  to be admired and touched.  I have to admit the  eco-friendly offerings really had me that much more in love with the place. Check out some of the unique goods I found.

Proceeds from these hand crafted baskets from The S.P.I.R.A.L. Foundation help fund medical care and education in Vietnam and Nepal. And they're made from leftover food wrappers-love it!

Also loved these!

Wine bottle toppers made from bottle caps and leftover metal scraps.

And these “Pop-Top” Bags had me drooling-how creative!

Did I mention all the pretty prints to drool over?

But it wasn’t just a one stop shopping expedition! We also found shops with beautiful and colorful spanish influence.

Festive Maracas!

Cheeful Pillows!

Fun, Woven Hacky Sacks!

Also found some green friendly crafts in several of the other stores.

How about a reclaimed Picket Fence Bench?

Or garden decor from old spoons and garage tools?

One of my favorite ideas was reusing old license plates. I’ve been trying to think of something to do with our collection for years!

And lest you think it was shops, shops and no atmosphere I thought you might enjoy the glimpses of nature that surrounded us.

Just beyond the square but not out of reach!

And the guitar player strumming in the warm afternoon sun!

All in all it was a really nice way to spend the day: A little lunch, a little window shopping, a little music and last but not least a scoop of ice cream or chocolate treat! A great glimpse of spring!

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Eating Well: (You gotta try it!!!) 3 Bean Chili

With all the recent weather here (10 inches yesterday) and the weather I have heard headed across the country I just had to share this really healthy, really delicious and  easy recipe we had last night. Mmmm, it’s so good! You have to try!!!!I think it would make a really good hearty meal for the Super Bowl if you planning on watching that. With all the unhealthy chips and soft drinks out there this might make a good hearty alternative if served with some homemade crackers/bread.
The recipe comes from Ellie Krieger, a nutritionist on Food Network with a show called Healthy Eating (in case you don’t know). I just love the variety of beans incorporated into the recipe and if you wanted to make it meatless I think that would totally work. I have made this recipe about a dozen times since I found the recipe a few months ago. Seriously-it’s that good!!! And not very spicy at all -a good bet if you have kids. If your kids aren’t into any sort of heat just leave out the adobo chili and if you want to amp up the heat factor try adding some jalapenos. You could also try the infamous red or green chile New Mexico is known for to increase the heat if you’re feeling brave.

**It freezes extremely well. Just add a cup or two of water when thawing-tastes just as good and helps your dollar go that much further!

Here’s the recipe as seen on the Food Network below:

The Goods:

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 onion, diced (1 cup)
* 1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
* 2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 pound extra-lean ground beef (90 percent lean)
* 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 2 cups water
* 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
* 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

The Grind:

Heat the oil in large pot  over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ground beef; raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomatoes, water, chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano and salt and pepper. Cook, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Happy eating! And stay warm out there!