For the Joy of Life.






© Aleigh Moore - For the Joy of Life Blog 2015. Powered by Blogger.

Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

First things first, I just want to say thank you to all of you that follow along with Tasty Tuesday and trust my recipes enough to feed them to your families!
It makes my day when I get an email, snapchat, or facebook message saying that you tried and loved a recipe. 
Seriously, it's the greatest!
I have loved cooking since I was a little girl.
Experimenting in the kitchen has always been a creative outlet for me and I just love sharing those creations with all of you!
So once again, thank you! :)
This week's recipe is the perfect fall soup!
Butternut squash reminds me a lot of pumpkin.
The way it feels, smells, and even tastes. 
However, I think butternut squash soup is quite a bit tastier than pumpkin soup ;)
I was pleasantly surprised that Hunter liked this recipe so much!
Especially since I just kinda went with it and hoped for the best ha!
I had to pair it with chicken because soup alone is not a meal to him, but he had two bowls!
I'll definitely be making it at least once more this fall and then I'll probably say see ya later to it and make it one of my seasonal dishes :)

- 1 butternut squash ( I have no clue how much it weighed but compared to the others it was "medium sized")
-2 tbsp butter
-1/2 cup water
-1 large onion diced (please don't skip this! Even if you don't like onions, it gives the best flavor!)
-4 cups chicken broth 
-1 tbsp honey
-1/2 cup whipping cream 
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1 dried bay leaf
-1/2 tsp dry thyme
-1/4 cup sour cream
-sunflower seeds

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it is heating, split your squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and fibers just as you would a pumpkin.
2) Season meat of squash with a few pinches of salt and place skin side up in a lightly buttered glass baking dish. 
3) Place 1/2 cup water in the dish and bake the squash for 1- 1 1/2 hours or until skin is slightly browned in color and meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Seriously though, make sure it is really tender. 
4) Scoop meat out of skin and set in a bowl. Try so hard not to burn your hands during this step. If you have all day, just try to let it cool before handling. If you don't, try a cookie scoop!
5) In a large soup pot, add your butter until fully melted. In the mean time dice your onion. Once the butter is melted and onion is diced cook together until onion is translucent. Don't let the onions brown! Add in your thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and bay leaf.
6) Add squash and mush it all together. I used a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and make it easier on me. Add in a few dashes of salt and pepper to taste. I added about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp pepper. 
7) Add in your chicken broth and honey once squash and onion are combined. Bring to a simmer and let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. At this point you'll get the general taste so decide if you want to add any more salt and pepper. 
8) Remove the bay leaf and now puree your soup one half at a time in either a blender or food processor. My little blender worked just fine! (see if you're an onion hater, it doesn't even matter anymore!) While it's blending rinse out the pot and dry. The reason for this is strictly in case there are leftover chunks that will not work with the now pureed texture. 
9)  Once pureed, put the soup back in the pot and bring to a light simmer. Stir in your 1/2 cup of cream and nutmeg. Make sure to heat through. Add in some more salt an pepper to your taste. I always add a touch more ;)
10) Serve into bowls and garnish with a bit of sour cream (put in a ziploc and snip the corner to swirl) and some sunflower seeds!

Obviously this one is a bit longer than my usual weeknight meals.
I made this on a Saturday when Hunter was working all day and Oaks and I had nothing to do.
She loved helping me and licking all the spoons ;)
I saved it in the fridge and we had it as a side for Sunday dinner the next day.
It kept really well in the fridge for a few days and I just reheated it on the stove.

As always, let me know if you liked this recipe!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

With You Every Step + Giveaway!

I remember vividly the first time I felt inclined to protect and be there for my daughter.
Obviously those instincts came right from the start, literally the moment I saw her sweet face... but it wasn't until later that I realized just how strong those mama bear instincts are. 
As you may already know, Oaklyn has an eye issue.
We caught it very quick and have been working with a specialist to figure it all out since she was 9 months old... so for more than half her life.
The first time I ever noticed was when she was 5 months old.
I had posted a picture of her and saw that one of her eyes wasn't really looking at the camera the way the other was.
Long story short, we found out she has Brown's syndrome and the specialist is watching her closely to decide if we'll need to fix it with surgery.
Around the time we started meeting with the eye specialist, I started receiving some rude comments about her eye.
That's just what happens when you put your family out there on the internet, but it really got to me.
There were a few DM's, snapchats, emails, and even comments on Instagram posts with rude remarks about her eye.
I felt like a monster was going to unleash every time I read them and after that fiery mean side of me thought up every crazy thing I could do to defend her, the only thing I really did was snuggle my baby girl and let her know that she is absolutely perfect.
Because she is, she is beautifully created and means everything to me.

From that moment forward, I made sure to let her know that mama would always be there for her, no matter what life may throw at us.
With every literal step she took and every figurative new step in life, I would be right there with her supporting and encouraging her. 
It warms my heart when she turns and looks for me because she knows I'm not too far away in case she needs me.
She's starting to play at the park without me right next to her and as much as I'm loving watching her grow up, I also love that she still looks towards me until our eyes meet so she knows it's all okay.

I remember when Oaklyn started to walk on her own, and I also remember tearing up when I noticed my baby was growing up right before my eyes.
When she got going on her own two feet, she really took off.
But, who did she look for when she needed an extra hand to hold?
Her mama of course :)
I loved holding her hand and watching her take those first steps in her Freshly Picked Moccs.
I wanted to ensure her feet were covered and protected while also comfortable.
We chose Freshly Picked for those reasons alone, but the style factor happened to make it the easiest choice for me on my motherhood journey ;)
The color and pattern options Freshly Picked offers will suit any mama's wants and needs.
 I also assure you that the quality will win you over in a heart beat.
Not to mention, they stay on the absolute best! There is an elastic band around the ankle that keeps them from slipping off.
Just as I strive to always be there for her, I know that Freshly Picked will be too.
They helped her when learning to walk, protected her feet from the hot ground during summer, kept her warm during the frigid winter, and they were the perfect accessory during her first birthday.
I'm so glad Freshly Picked has their "Next Step" option of hard sole moccs so they will literally be with her every step of the way.

So Oaklyn Joy, I'll be there for you through every walk of life, and I'll strive to always be there when you need someone to turn to.
I'll be right there waiting for the day to end when we part for your first day of school, I'll be there when the girls at school act like anything but your friend, I'll be there when you score your first goal or stick your first backhandspring, I'll be there watching during your first school play, I'll be the first hug when you get hurt, I'll help you choose your prom dress, I'll drop you off at college, I'll help you plan your dream wedding, and I'll love your future kids as much as I love you.
There's so much you have yet to experience and I want you to know, I'll be there with you through every single step.

All my love,

Because we love Freshly Picked SO much, we have teamed up with them to give away a pair of moccs! This is a company I fully support and believe in and I know you will too! To enter head to my instagram and follow the simple steps :)

I'm Gonna Pop Some Tags

Back in the day, (more like before getting married) I loved going thrift shopping.
Like seriously, I think I went once a week.
I love the treasures you can find in a thrift store and that they feel more "one of a kind."
Not to mention, nothing beats the price of shopping second hand.
With my style preference and wardrobe wants changing with every season, I can't justify spending hundreds of dollars every few months.
While I really enjoy a crisp new shirt, I might like getting "new" thrifted clothes just as much!
There's always such a sense of accomplishment when you find something you absolutely love, for pennies.
I haven't gone as much since having Oaklyn and moving to Utah because a) I couldn't find a thrift store I really liked and b) I just don't have much time these days.
However, that all changed last night

Last night I attended the VIP night at Uptown Cheapskate in Sugarhouse to celebrate their 2nd anniversary.
I walked in not knowing much of anything about the company and left with a ton of beautiful clothes for an amazing deal, and a love for my new favorite thrift store. 
I'm so happy that I now know about this company because they have over 40 locations in the US.
Yep, you read that right!
The founders of Uptown are actually the children of the founders of another one of my favorites, Kid to Kid.
They are both opening franchise opportunities all over the US.
I was pleasantly surprised by their selection of clothes and I was seriously beyond happy with what I found.
I tried on Hudson jeans, J crew sweaters, Steve madden shoes, Free People tops, and several other well known brands for over half off the original price. 
Everything was in great condition, no stains, rips, or tears.
It was also really organized inside which is huge for me, and the staff was more than helpful.
Seriously though, I had about 3 loads of at least 20 items I took into the dressing room and the guy helping me didn't even mind.
I got 5 sweaters, one cardigan, a necklace, a pair of leggings, and perfume for under $80.
Can you say score??
I'm so excited to go back and find more treasures!

However, a big reason for this post is also to share with you guys some awesome news!
The Sugarhouse, Utah location is celebrating their 2nd anniversary this weekend with 20% off their already super cheap clothes!
Their neighbors, freebirds world burrito, is also giving customers 20% off!
Basically, you'd be silly not to go because you'd be finding deals that cannot be matched ;)

Hope to see you all at one of their locations sometime!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Tasty Tuesday: Honey Siracha Chicken Bowls

These bowls were a complete experiment.
When I told Hunter what I put in the sauce I think he seriously doubted me haha.
It definitely is a different assortment of ingredients, but just trust me on this one because it was good.
I make different variations of the same meal every Sunday.
You know, meat in the crockpot, veggies, rolls, potatoes...
This week though, I just wasn't feeling it.
I'm glad I switched things up and played around a little in the kitchen because this is a meal I plan on making several times in the future!
The goal was to be similar to cupbop and all of us eating it agreed it was pretty darn similar with my own twist!
So what can you expect from this recipe?
A spicy/sweet, tender chicken, fluffy white rice, and siracha mayo that ties it all together.
Oh, and a full tummy ;)

-1-1.5 pounds chicken thighs (no skin)
-1 cup water
-1 tbsp siracha + 1 tsp
-2 Tbsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp honey + 1 tsp
-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar + 1 tsp
-1 Tbsp dijon mustard
-1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce + 1tsp
-2 cloves garlic chopped
-1 tsp ground ginger
-3 tsp corn starch 
-3 cups fluffy white rice

1/4 cup mayo (use vegenaise or greek yogurt as a sub)
-1/2 tbsp siracha (more or less depending on your spice level)

1) In a saucepan whisk together water, siracha, brown sugar, mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger in a medium saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil on medium high heat stirring occasionally. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes.
3) Put chicken in the bottom of crockpot (I did frozen) and add sauce over the top.
4) Save saucepan to use later. Let chicken cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7. The longer it goes the more tender it will be. Flip chicken halfway through.
5) Once chicken is cooked through, remove it from the crockpot and put in a separate bowl. Add sauce back to saucepan and whisk in the extra teaspoon of siracha, honey, vinegar, and soy sauce. Bring back to a boil. 
6) Once sauce is boiling, add in three teaspoons of cornstarch and whisk completely. 
7) Return chicken back to crockpot and pour sauce over the top. Shred chicken and keep warm until your rice and siracha mayo are ready.
8) To make the siracha mayo, literally stir the two together and wa-la! I put the rice in the bowl first, then chicken, then put the mayo in a zip lock and snipped a corner to squeeze out of the bag. In the future I think I'll also add sesame seeds and green onions. Yummmmm!

I hope you all like this recipe!
As always, feel free to pin it to pinterest and comment to let me know if you liked it!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Finding the Perfect Pillows and Mixing Patterns

A trend I feared for quite some time, was mixing patterns.
I loved every outfit I saw on Pinterest where someone wore a striped shirt with a floral skirt, yet I couldn't seem to get myself to do it!
I saw it everywhere I went and I loved it more and more each time.
I loved that it broke all rules of how you are "supposed to match" and left people with the freedom to do what they want.
I also loved seeing combinations I never would've thought of myself.
There's a very good possibility your grandma won't like it... but just know I do ;)
Then I started noticing pattern mixing when it came to home decor and I fell in love.
Who would've thought throwing a whole bunch of different patterns, shapes, and sizes of pillows on a couch would look phenomenal? 
There's definitely a way to do it tastefully though.
And while I'm no pro... my mom is. 
So I asked her what some of her tips were when it came to picking the right pillows, and I added a few of my own.

Choose a pillow with a pattern you love. Then stay within the color scheme you want and pick another pattern. Then find a solid pillow with a common color. You can even add in a graphic (a birdcage, a bicycle, or maybe a pumpkin for fall). I also love all the pillows my mom has with words on them. You could do black and white stripes with pink and white damask. Then add in a sequin black pillow and maybe a smaller white rectangular pillow.

On that last note.. let's talk about size. I think it is so important to add different sizes of pillows on your bed, couch, or anywhere else you put pillows. You aren't going to achieve that "pinterest look" without adding several different sizes. Try for a few large, a few medium, and a couple small all mixed in with each other. 

Shape is another important one. We all have bigger pillows on our bed to sleep on, but what about the decorative ones? I have 6 larger rectangle pillows so the smaller decorative ones aren't right up against my headboard. I then added 2 square pillows from Overstock, one square from Hayneedle, and one bow pillow from Target. Oh, and I'm definitely not done ;)

Those are just a few tips that will help you when deciding what pillows to add to a newly decorated space, or a space you just want to freshen up. If you need more advice or even want a consultation, here's my mom's business. Also, make sure to check for all your pillow needs. I found so many awesome options and I love the pillows I chose. They are all affordable and there are so many awesome brands to choose from. They have several different shapes, sizes, and patterns so you are bound to find something you like ;)

I added a few of my current favorite pillows out there with a more shabby chic/farmhouse look below... so it's now time to put your knowledge to the test... which ones will you choose to mix and match? ;)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Tasty Tuesday: White Chicken Chili

I was between sharing this recipe and the butternut squash soup recipe for Tasty Tuesday this week and this one won by a landslide on snapchat, so here it is!
If you voted for butternut squash, no worries, it'll be coming later!
I really love regular chili but it's just such a hearty meal and I have to really be in the mood for it.
White chicken chili on the other hand... I could eat this once a week and still love it!
There's something about it's creamy yet spicy flavor.
It reminds me a little of chicken tortilla soup but I probably would prefer this one still!
Make sure you add a little dollop of sour cream and you can't forget the crushed tortilla chips ;)
This recipe was even Oaklyn approved, and trust me, that's saying a whole lot with how picky she has been these days!
Have it on a rainy day while in sweats and watch Hocus Pocus while you're at it ;)


-2-3 Chicken Breasts
-1/2 of an onion, chopped 
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 cans great northern beans
-32 oz chicken broth
-2 tsp salt
-1 tsp cumin
-2 tsp oregano
-1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp pepper
-2 cans chopped green chiles
-2 tbsp chopped jalepenos from a jar (optional, adds more spice!)
-2 cups sour cream (or plain greek yogurt)
-1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

-Shredded cheese
-Crushed tortilla chips


1) Boil chicken breasts in water until cooked through
2) Either shred or cube chicken. I go back and forth on which way I like better but if you shred it, leave it in bigger pieces.
3) Heat oil in soup pot. Once heated, add onion. Cook until translucent but not colored.
4) Add chicken and combine for a few minutes stirring occasionally.
5) Add beans, broth, salt, cumin, oregano, pepper, and garlic powder. Give it all a good mix.
6) Let simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
7) Switch to low heat and add heavy whipping cream and sour cream. Stir until combined and let sit for 10 minutes. Season with extra salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
8) Serve with all the yummy toppings and enjoy!

I hope you guys like this recipe just as much as I do!
It makes enough for about 8-10 people and lasted us a few days of leftovers.
I can be pretty weird about leftovers but this is one I could do over and over again!
Just make sure to store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Let me know if you tried it and liked it!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Washi Tape Clothespin Magnets + Halloween Coloring Pages

Oaklyn is definitely getting more and more fun as she gets older, but she's also getting quite a bit busier!
Just playing with random toys isn't cutting it anymore...
She wants to be exploring new things and learning new skills every minute of the day.
It's keeping me quite busy on top of everything else I have to do, but I love watching her little mind learn and grow.
I've been trying to think of more arts and crafts projects to do with her since the weather is starting to get colder.
We still have a few park days left, but once the snow hits we'll be inside most of the day.
I've recently introduced her to coloring and she loves it!
Sometimes she isn't all that interested, but most of the time she thinks it's so fun that she gets to create.
She definitely got that gene from me ;) I've always been more on the creative side.
I did an instagram promotional post with Scotch and we had so much fun with this Halloween craft that I thought I would post it on my blog as well!
This craft is so simple and fun and would be perfect for every age.
I think I'll be making some for every holiday and season!

Supplies Needed:
-Washi Tape - I used Scotch brand from Walmart
-Orange paint (or whatever color you want, orange is perfect for Halloween)
-Mini magnets (I got these at Walmart too)
-My coloring pages!

How To Make:
1) Paint your clothespins. Only paint one of the top sides since you will be putting washi tape on one side. I only did one pretty thin coat and they look great!
2) While letting them dry, print out coloring pages! Page One | Page Two | Page Three
3) Apply Washi Tape! Just place it like normal tape edge to edge trimming the excess.
4) Hot Glue Magnets to the back
5) Color with your kids while listening to Monster Mash ;)

See, so easy!
This was our Sunday craft and our whole family got involved. 
As you can tell, Hunter and I had fun coloring too ;)
Now we really feel like parents with Oaklyn's art hanging on our fridge!

Now I'm off to go work on our Halloween costumes!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy