October 2013 - The Surznick Common Room

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Buffalo Turkey Chili

 Buffalo. Turkey. Chili. This is a recipe that you are going to want to keep on your meal rotation because it is the bomb dot com. And I'm not just saying that because you melt blue cheese on tortilla chips and use them in place of spoons (but that might have something to do with it).

At my previous job, we were in a constant state of having dessert days, pot luck lunches, soup & salad days, etc., so this resulted in a lot of exchanging recipes around the office. One day my coworker told me, "I like to make buffalo turkey chili and eat it with tortilla chips melted with blue cheese" and my heart skipped a beat at hearing the words "blue cheese" because I am a blue cheese addict. I ended up making the chili for dinner that night.

Blue cheese aside, this meal is delicious. It's one of our favorite things to make when we have company because chances are, they've never heard of it but are sure to like it.

Here's what you need!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1-1.5 lbs. ground turkey (the package we purchased is 1.2 lbs.)
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves pressed garlic
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1-2 crushed bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup hot sauce
- 15 oz. tomato sauce
- 15 oz. diced tomatoes

Optional (...for some, mandatory for me):
- tortilla chips
- blue cheese

Here's what you do!
- Add olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add turkey and brown.
- Stir in carrots, onion, garlic, paprika, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While chili is simmering, spread tortilla chips flat on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with blue cheese. Warm in oven until cheese is melted.

Like any other chili, this meal is completely customizable. You could add or substitute other veggies and vegetable stock in place of the turkey and chicken stock for a great vegetarian option. Or ramp up your hot sauce for an extra kick! Be sure to try this easy meal and let us know what you think!

Sarah & Nick
Sorry, we're not food photographers.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wine Bottle Lights

Hey everyone! We decided it would be best to start off this blog with a project that is super easy (it literally requires almost no effort) and quite enjoyable to complete, if you enjoy a big glass of wine like Nick and I do.

It's wine bottle lights!

These lights are one of my favorite parts of our apartment. Not only are they original and awesome, they're actually very effective and we use them almost every day.

This project kind of came together slowly over time. It started over Christmas break when I was a senior in college. The liquor store had 750 ml bottles of Yellowtail wine buy one get one free, so naturally I got 6 different bottles. After finishing all of them (what a chore), I decided I would hold on to the empties for a little while in case I got inspired to be crafty.

The bottles made their way back to Indiana with me, and along with them went a set of white Christmas lights. I honestly don't remember deciding, "Hey, I think I'll put these lights IN the bottles!" but at some point, that must have happened. The bottle lights stayed with me when I moved into my first apartment after graduation and have continued to move around with Nick and I ever since. We've slowly added to the original 6 and now we have 14 unique bottles.

Where it all started (what a great display spot... my floor at IUP)
Growing... growing...
For awhile I was looking for a new bottle of Yellowtail every time we went to the liquor store, but for now I've decided to max us out at 14 bottles. Plus, I think I'm running out of different styles to choose from. Our lights are displayed on the mantle in our living room and I think they look gorgeous. They put off the perfect amount of light to make our living room feel warm and cozy and they minimize our use of the bright overhead light.

So now the part you've been waiting for... the tutorial. Step 1: Buy and drink a bottle of wine. Step 2: Fill with Christmas lights. That's it. Perfect, right?

One of the other great aspects of this project is that you can tailor it to your tastes. Not a wine drinker? No problem, use beer bottles, vodka bottles, soda bottles, or any other bottle your heart desires. Change it up and use clear bottles with colored lights! There are so many options to personalize this project to fit your home and your personality.

How would you make your bottle lights? Try this project in your home and share your photos with us!

Sarah & Nick