Foodie Penpals – November

Happy Friday to ya!!  I am so loving the fabulous”Foodie Penpal” program put together by the lovely Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  {check out some of the past posts} After you sign up {here}, you are randomly matched up with someone to send a package to and another person that will send you a package!  After contacting your person, you put together $15 worth of food yummies {can be anything from local classics, to favorite snacks, to homemade goodies}, package it all up and send it their way!  Then for the bloggers in the world, on the 1st of each month you post about your packages {both the package you received and the package you put together}.  What a fun way to connect with other foodies across the country!

I was paired up with Ashley from Vermont this time around and she sent me the most thoughtful package!  She not only sent me all vegetarian and gluten free items {i’m a tough customer these days} she worked in a bit of her home state love!

Ashley filled this box o’ goodies with a collection of different Vermont apples {so yummy!!!} , gluten free German chocolate cake cookies, Vermont maple kisses {which was the first thing i dug into!}, a handful of different truffles and “Vermints” ginger mints.  YUMMO!!  Such a sweet package filled with the perfect things for this time of year!!!

I sent a package to Renee from Oregon {who just started her own blog, Rainy Day Remarks…be sure to stop by and check it out!!} that included a Potato Corn Chowder soup mix, pumpkin spice granola bars, an old fashioned  cheery pie, a mixture of nut butter samples, some hot tea and a bag of pecans with a recipe for spiced nut mix {yumM!!}

If you haven’t stopped by The Lean Green Bean…you SHOULD!  Check out the blog and be sure to read up on the Foodie Penpal program and join!!

The Lean Green Bean

~ Jillian


Get it!

My dad introduced me to this video…and I can’t help but smile when i watch it. Love this guy.  The story is that this wasn’t the original plan for the music video, but when they saw his sweet moves…they just couldn’t resist! {do i detect a little Carlton in there…sa-weet!}

~ Jillian

On Trend: Herringbone

Herringbone! {originally featured on Burlap+Blue}  Herringbone is a V-shape pattern originally weaved into a twill fabric commonly used for clothing and outerwear.  But this pattern has broken thru into the design world in a major way!  It is clean and linear.  It can be subtle and neutral or graphic and bright.  These days herringbone can be found on everything from rugs and pillows to dishware and furniture!

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One of the great things about Herringbone is that it’s a pattern that crosses over from traditional to modern.  You can easily blend it into a so many different types of spaces {and because its roots are in suit fabric, its an easy sell with the guys too!}  So step out into the world of pattern and add a little herringbone into your world!

Get Inspired!
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: the Key to Life

Hi to all!  I hope you had a blessed {and filling} Thanksgiving weekend!!  We spent time with family & loved ones…and it was wonderful!!!  I stole extra snuggles and kisses from my favorite little turkey butt {aka. my niece Alys} and we successfully pulled off a totally gluten free {but yummy} turkey day dinner!  Who knew there were so many yummy and GF recipes out there!?!  {i’ll be sure to share some of our favorites soon!}  My goal this week is even in times of crazy schedules and stress, to remember the joy and happiness I feel when i’m with those I love most!

“When I was 5 years old,
my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.
When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment,
and I told them they didn’t understand life.” 

~ John Lennon

How was your turkey day?  What wonderful things do you have to be thankful for this time of year?  I hope that everyone has a happy, healthy week!

~ Jillian

Vintage Classic – {Recipe ReDux}

I told you last month {here} that I was recently accepted as a contributor for the fabulous group Recipe Redux.  An online recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians that is focused on creating healthy, good for you dishes that are delicious.  Sometimes this means coming up with new healthy recipes and sometimes it means recreating some of our favorite yummy dishes by making them better for you {but still tasty}.

This month’s challenge was to share a “vintage classic” side dish.   Something that has been a staple in your family for years, maybe even a dish that makes an appearance on the Thanksgiving table and flip it on its head into something healthy and yummy!  So i tossed around a few ideas, perused thru some recipe books when it hit me.  What is more classic, more vintage then Mac N Cheese!!  Especially if you are living in the South, Mac N Cheese is a MUST.  Tasty pasta noodles just covered with melty cheese.  Here in the South you can find it baked, with hot sauce, with breadcrumbs or even with 4 different kinds of cheeses!  Now while its incredibly yummy it is not really filled with lots of good for you nutrition {but it is filled with lots of calories}.  So mission excepted…find something as equally yummy and filling as Mac N Cheese and ReDux it!!  Here you have it…healthier…Gluten Free…all around yummy side dish that is super easy to make and all will enjoy!

Gather your ingredients {keep reading for all the details!} & cook quinoa as directed on the package.  If you have never tried cooking quinoa…Do it!!…its super simple and a great healthy grain to substitute in all your favorite recipes!

While the quinoa cooks, get your egg mixture ready & shred the cheese.  I always recommend shredding your own cheese.  Although the pre-shredded stuff is more convenient, guess what they put in the mix to keep the cheese from clumping together…WOOD PULP!?!?  GROSS!  So this girl tries to shred her own whenever possible.

Mix all of your goodies together and p0p it in the oven.  That simple!  A healthier, less fat, less calorie, higher protein cheesy delight!! {win win…win!}

Quinoa Mac N Cheese


  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa {cooked}
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups {ish} of shredded cheese {i used a mix of sharp cheddar, montery jack & feta}
  • 1 cup of milk {any milk you prefer}
  • sprinkle of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper
  • optional: veggies of your choice
  • optional: hot sauce {we like siracha}


  • Preheat oven to 350°, coat baking dish with cooking oil {this girl’s go to oil – coconut oil}
  • Cook quinoa as directed on package
  • If adding veggies, lightly saute.
  • Whisk together eggs & milk in large bowl, add spices & fold in quinoa and cheese. {and optional veggies}
  • Transfer mixture to the baking dish and bake 30 – 35 minutes

** Options: after removing from oven, stir together with a handful more cheese and hot sauce for a more creamy mixture

{Original recipe found at Around the table }


~ Jillian

* Click below to check out other fabulous Recipe ReDux submissions!! Happy Turkey Day!

a guide thru life

Lily, six year old Great Dane, suffers from an eye disease that caused her eyelashes to grow into her eyeballs causing extensive corneal damage leaving her blind. Madison, seven-years-old bonded with Lily, and together the dogs go everywhere.  Madison is Lily’s guide dog. If they are out and about, for the majority of the time Maddison will lead and Lily will walk nearly touching her so she knows where to go.

Absolutely melts my heart.  Such friendship.  Such trust.  Such love.  If only we could all have a little bit of Lily’s resilience and of Madison’s kind heart.

~ Jillian

Photo Credits: Jonathan Pow /

Monday Mantra: change

It’s a week to be thankful.  Thankful for all of the blessings in our lives, for our loved ones and for our health.  Sometimes its easy to look past all there is to be thankful for when we are ready for change; when there are aspects of our lives that are in need of adjustment.  Striving for something greater in life is good but only if we remember to be thankful for what we already have and to enjoy the journey that leads us to bigger and better things.

” Be okay with where you are, even if you know you want a change”

~ Jillian

Turkey Day Yummies

It’s sooo hard to believe that it’s already November?!?!?  Almost Thanksgiving?!??!  Where has this year gone?  So with turkey day right around the corner I’ve been on a hunt for yummy and Gluten free food goodies.  We have a couple different “events” over the weekend of Thanksgiving to attend but aren’t hosting a dinner so we are more in the market for the appetizers and side dishes to pair with the main course.  So of course I went to my go-to for recipes these days…Pinterest.  So many things caught my eye that even narrowing it down to this list was tough!!  Here are a couple things that are making my mouth water…





Is anyone else’s stomach growling right now?!  I can’t wait to get cooking {and eating}.  What are you cooking up this Thanksgiving?  Trying out any new recipes or sticking with the tried and true classics?
Happy Eating!
~ Jillian
** HSE featured today at Burlap+Blue…Last minute thanksgiving craft ideas!

1 in 3: Inspired lights

Today we’ve got another 1 in 3 for you {originally featured on the fantastic blog Burlap+Blue} where we look at 1 fabulous design find used in 3 different ways.  The feature for this post is a gorgeous hand-made light fixture from the super cool etsy site Flowers in Light.  Their fixtures are definitely a perfect statement piece to base your room around!  As soon as I spotted this beauty I immediately pictured it hanging over a dining room table.  So enjoy these 3 dining room schemes using the Yellow Flower Hanging lamp as the inspiration.

{Inspiration: Yellow Flower Hanging Lamp from Flowers in Light}

This dining room has a hint of farmhouse chic , with a mix of distressed wood and clean lines.

This dining room is a blend of modern and industrial design
with pops of color and funky materials.

This dining room is a modern classic.  Taking more traditional elements
and mixing them with clean lines and a neutral color palette.

{All images source from Crate & Barrel}

Find something that brings a smile to your face and make it the focal point of your room!

Get Inspired
~ Jillian

Last Chance Survey

There’s this lovely little “last chance survey” floating around in the blog-o-sphere lately {I first discovered it on the fabulous Kiss My Broccoli } so I thought today I would give it a little whirl…

Last Food I ate

Smoothie.  Oh how I love you.  On today’s smoothie menu strawberries, cucumber, beet, goji berry, ginger, mint, cilantro, coconut oil, maca root, handful of blueberries & raspberries, avocado {with the pit}, apple & lime.  Such a fabulous way to start {or end} the day.  When I drink smoothie regularly these babies keep my digestive system happy, give me lots of energy and just an overall feeling of awesome!

Last Beverage I drank

My number one favorite beverage of the day…my tea!!  I love me some tea, especially Yerba Matte.  It has become a part of my routine, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and gives me a little boost!

Last workout

Hot yoga with my girl Shannon.  Such an amazing way to start a day.  I love how centered I feel walking out of the class, its a great sweat and a killer workout!

Last thing you pinned

I recently told you {here} that I’m going Gluten free for a bit, so i’ve been on a food and recipe hunt lately.  When I spotted these bad boys on pinterest {thank you to my sweet sister in law for pinning}…Gluten free “pointless” brownies…YUM.  Need I say more.

Last blog you visited

Young House Love…One of my favs!  And they just published their very first book, which I’m LOVING!!! So excited for that cute duo, John & Sherry!!

Last place you visited

Vegas Baby!!  We spent a little time in “sin city” to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.  Even took some time to check out the gorgeous Red Rock Canyon just on the out skirts of town.  If you are ever visiting and need a break from the craziness of the strip, I highly recommend it!

Last time you did ab work

Does laughing & general shenanigans count?  Cuz that happens all the time!

Last thing you baked cooked

I’m not much of a baker.  In fact, when I do bake I try to get the food out of my house as quickly as possible…or I’ll eat it all!!  So instead I share with you my latest crock-pot creation.  I modified a recipe I found on pinterest {there’s a surprise} Jamaican Chicken Stew served over tri-color quinoa.  SO good {and of course i ate my serving with a little dollop of greek yogurt.

Last thing you instagrammed

Only a picture of the CUTEST girl on the planet!!!  Love her.

So there you go.  A little peek into what’s been going on over here at HSE!  Enjoy your day!

~ Jillian