feijoada: black bean & meat stew

March is my husband’s birthday month. What do you get at the Theis home on your birthday month, you ask? Well the answer is simple: whatever meal(s) you want. So far it’s been very meaty: stew, sandwiches, and pot pie.

My birthday was in February, so in my case I wanted lots of salads, french fries, and sushi. Bret, however, is the stereotypical “man” when it comes to food. So, if you are a woman, a newlywed, or you’re just wondering what to get the boys in your house to eat and thoroughly enjoy – look no further. May I present to you, what I call, “Man Stew” or “Feijoada: Black Bean & Meat Stew.”

This stew has everything a man could want:
Beans – check. Pork shoulder – check. Bacon AND chorizo – check!
Light on the veggies and heavy on the garlic – check.
I hope your man will enjoy this meal as much as mine does.

As much as this stew screams, “I am man! Hear me roar!”…it’s looks really pretty  when you’re making it! That’s always fun. Look at all that goodness…

stew prep

feijoada 2

  • Makes 6-8 servings


  • 1 pound (or 2 cups) of dry black beans
  • 2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp. of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. of black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. of granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of bacon
  • 1/2 pound of spicy chorizo
  • 1 and 1/2 onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) of chicken stock
  • Large (6 quart) heavy bottomed pot/casserole
  • Garnish with sour cream and diced green onion


  1. {This first step could be done in advance} Thoroughly rinse your dry beans, then place them in your large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce it to simmer. Cover the beans and let them simmer for 90 minutes or until tender, but not mushy. Once the beans are done, transfer them and all their cooking liquid to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut your pork shoulder into bite sized cubes. Season and coat your pork shoulder pieces with the kosher salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. In batches, brown the pork shoulder pieces on all sides with the olive oil in your large pot over high heat. When all your pieces are browned, transfer them to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Dice the bacon and cook it in your large pot over medium heat. Break the chorizo up with your hands into small pieces and add it to the pot also. Cook until golden brown.
  4. Small dice the onion, celery, and jalapeño and mince the garlic cloves. Add the onion and celery to the bacon and chorizo mixture and cook until softened, still over medium heat, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and stir until you can smell all the amazing fragrances, about 1 minute.
  5. Return the pork shoulder pieces to the pot with the black beans and bay leaves. Pour the chicken stock over everything and stir well. Bring stew to a simmer and cover to cook for 3 hours. Meat will be tender and the smell will be mouth-watering. Enjoy!


Let the “man stew” eating commence. Recipe inspiration from Martha…mine does not have pig ears or pig tongue though (sorry…except, I’m not sorry). I think I might try some tomatoes in there, next time!

I hope you try this recipe for yourself.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

xo sarah


our full life: week nine


This week was FULL of family, friends errands, dates, good food, and general busy body things. Overall, it was a blessed week!

First of all, the sky has been absolutely gorgeous this week. Praise God for spring!sky

Coffee date with this beautiful lady. We indulged and got frappuccinos. IMG_3217

We also indulged our super silly side and made up a romantic-comedy for this duck. She has a cleft bill and her name is Wanda. She’s beautiful on the inside.  Photo credits go to P-town.IMG_3216

What a gift it was to get together with some of my family. I met with my Grandma and my Aunt Margi. Three generations of women! 3 generations

We had breakfast at Hans & Harry’s Bakery in Bonita. SO yummy. SO lovely.hans and harrys

hans and harrys 2

I dream about having a tree like this one day. Aunt Margi has the green thumb.aunt m's tree

I made stew. Bret is obsessed with this stew: bacon, chorizo, pork shoulder, beans…man food. Recipe soon to come!stew prep

I also made Croque Monsieur sandwiches. I call them croques. More man food for my man. Recipe also soon to come.croques

And Let’s be real. This is what my sink situation looked like most of the week. And just imagine what my laundry was like….sink situation

I had the great pleasure of seeing my niece FOUR times this week! She is way too cute and has the best expressions.lucyCollage

And my sister was pretty popular with the babies! Long live the Gerber puffs.puff babies

Lastly, the week wouldn’t be complete without a work-related Costco run. At least it was warm enough to wear shorts! And yellow flats, of course.costco run

That’s all friends! I hope your week was spent enjoying the grace of our GOOD God.

xo sarah

our full life: week three

This week consisted of all our favorite kiddos and a handful of meals shared with the people we love. Week three…you were good.


First, I don’t have a picture for it, but we found out this week that Bret got accepted to Talbot School of Theology for his masters degree program! Insert a mental image of huge smiles, lots of thumbs up, and congratulatory hugs and kisses. Huge deal, babe!

In much less exciting news, breakfast this week was yogurt with blueberries and cinnamon. Delish.


Cooking with millet for the first time was pretty fun. I made some honey banana oatmeal muffins. Super healthy snack!

IMG_2661 IMG_2662

I got to celebrate my friend Stephanie’s birthday with a delicious lunch together. Her adorable kiddos came too!


This is Sawyer. Look how adorable that little guys is.


I made dinner for by best friend. Homemade tomato soup and my Sweet Kale Salad. Our husbands had a guys night at Outback. So we took advantage of that time and spent the night in with her kids and ate like rabbits.


I had to take a quick shot of the sunset from her front yard.


This is Uriah and Zeke. They are wonderful. We had a blast screaming and singing about bananas.


Relaxing in bed. Reading blogs, flipping through Real Simple, and thanking God for some much desired rest.


Thursday was Family Night at Bret’s parents. I made a chocolate cobbler for dessert. No good pictures. It gotten eaten up too quickly!

The best part of the night was spending time with my niece Lucy. I am bias…but isn’t she THE cutest baby girl you’ve ever seen. Its a fact. Plain and simple.

lucy at Fam Night

It was so fun playing with her during that last spurt of energy before bedtime.

playing w lucy Collage

Bret took me out on the town for our monthly date night! Benihana and Les Miserables. It was just lovely.


One of the best things to happen this week was a family BBQ at my dad’s house. I got to see my brother for the first time in a while. He lives out in Utah for his job. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like his picture taken, but here are some other fun pictures.




That was our week for the most part. It was such a blessing to be able to cook, spend time with friends and family, and have some restful moments. Thanks for reading!

xo sarah

the perfect turkey chili

Hi friends!

It is COLD outside! I am a Southern California girl and this 40 degree weather is way too intense for me. The upside: I can warm my little family with a hot bowl of chili. This recipe has taken a good amount of time to get just right, but I think it has finally happened: The Perfect Turkey Chili. It’s just the right amount of spice and hearty ingredients to make anyone feel warmed body and soul! Please excuse this picture and don’t let it fool you. It was taken at my desk during my lunch break because I ate my bowl from the night before too fast to take a good picture.



  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans (soaked over night and drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry black beans ( soaked over night and drained)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large can (1 lb.) of diced/crushed tomatoes.
  • 2 boxes (64 oz.) of good chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar


  1. Brown the ground turkey in non-stick skillet with all the spices.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a large soup pot or large crockpot.
  3. Add the list of spices for a second time and stir to combine.
  4. If you are doing your chili on the stove in a large soup pot, bring it to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. If you are cooking your chili in a large crockpot, cook on high for 9 hours. NOTE: As long as the beans get cooked through you are good to go!
  5. Enjoy! Top with sour cream, cheese, and scallions. Serve with some crackling corn bread muffins!

NOTE: This will feed about 6-10 people…so, if you are a small family, chili makes great leftovers. That’s what we do!

I hope you try this recipe and I hope you love it! We sure do. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

xo sarah

sweet kale salad

Tonight was a soup and salad kind of night. It’s cold and dark outside, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be warm and bright in our little apartment!

Fact: I really love making soup. Maybe it’s because my husband loves eating soup? Tonight seemed like a great night to try out a new recipe, and it was a huge success (if I do say so myself). It was posted in my this abundant list post from last week, but here it again: White Bean, Escarole and Chicken Sausage Soup. I doubled the recipe so that Bret and I could have it for lunch the rest of the week. Also, I only had one can of cannellini beans, so I added a can of garbanzo beans and it still turned out great! This recipe is definitely worth filing away in my recipe box for another cold day.

BUT, what really made the meal was my Sweet Kale Salad. It was sweet, tangy, crisp and super clean. And even though salad is a cold dish, this one makes your tastebuds happy and warms the heart. Here’s my recipe:

salad 1


  • 3-4 cups of fresh kale (packed tight)
  • 1 small green apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium size carrot, peeled in thin strips
  • 10 basil leaves, pulled of stem and cut chiffonade
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries


  1. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together.
  2. Drizzle with your favorite tangy or sweet vinaigrette. Homemade dressing is usually the route I take, but for this salad I used one of my favorite store-bought brands – BRIANNNA’S Real French Vinaigrette. YUM.
  3. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you have any questions and, if you try it, let me know how it goes! What is your favorite meal to have on a cold winter’s night?

xo sarah

roast pork sirloin & bacon rosemary potatoes

Dad is coming over for dinner tonight! I’m so excited!

In case you were wondering, I am a daddy’s girl all the way. I am so blessed by his unconditional love and support. God was so good to give him to me.

Here’s the situation: My dad is a health fanatic. No carbs. No sugar. Lots of hot sauce and jalapeño peppers on EVERYTHING (I’m not kidding).

That being said, cooking dinner for my dad can be a little difficult. He has a routine of meals he likes to eat daily and doesn’t really venture outside of that. However, I think treating him to something classic and hearty, like a roast pork, will be good for him.

And, can I just say, YUMMM! This is the perfect dish for fall and winter months. It really hits the spot. It’s also really easy to make it your own style!


  • 1 2-3 pound pork sirloin tip roast
  • 4-6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2-4 russet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped or sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves torn off
  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Salt and pepper, or other desired seasoning


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Chop bacon into bite size pieces and fry bacon in a heavy bottomed skillet until crispy.

3. Chop potatoes and onions. Set aside.

4. Remove meat from package and lightly coast the roast with oil and season as desired. I just used coarse salt and black pepper. Place in a oven safe roasting dish.

5. Assemble the potatoes, onions, bacon and fresh rosemary around your roast.

6. Cook for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

7. Remove from oven and let rest for 3 minutes.

8. Slice across the small end of the roast in 1/8 inch slices and serve!

Here is the bacon. Beautiful, right!?

Here is my pork roast & bacon rosemary potatoes before it went in the oven. You can toss the bacon into the potatoes and underneath the roast, too. It’s a shame that we gobbled it all up before I could get a picture of the roast and veggies plated all pretty! However, I think you can get an idea from this photo that it was quite mouthwatering!

Suggestion: I like to serve this delicious roast with a side of sautéed garlic green beans and peas. I would also suggest homemade apple pie for dessert! 

Here’s hoping my dad is a fan of this “out of his regular routine” dish! Let me know if you have any questions!

xo sarah

tea time

God has blessed me beyond measure. He saved me, He forgave me, He leads me.

Another way God has blessed me is by giving me a great group of girlfriends that have been in my life since Jr.High. They are all so important to me and I can’t imagine going through the hard times and good times without them there.

An interesting fact about us is that we LOVE tea. Hot tea, iced tea, tea lattes, tea inspired desserts, tea pots, tea cups, tea accessories, and especially tea parties! Every year around Christmas time we all get together for a tea party with our moms and its such a wonderful tradition. However, this past year has been a busy one for all of us and we haven’t been able to see each other quite as much as we would like to. We had to remedy that! Thankfully, we got together last Saturday, even though it wasn’t Christmas time, and did a tea party! Also, it was an extra special treat to have our friend Katie come who is visiting from Ireland!

What happens at our tea parties, you ask? Lots of tea drinking, eating, and talking! There is always so much to catch up on, laugh about, and pray for. We shared three pots of tea: thai chai, rose chai, and a black peach tea, YUM! We also had lots to eat: tea sandwiches, salad, mini panini’s, scones, cookies, fruit, chocolate covered strawberries! We probably all gained 5 pounds that day, but boy was it worth it! I highly recommend having a tea party of your own and just have fun with it. If you are not convinced here are some of our pictures:

Because we all pitch in on bringing food to share I was in charge of making a salad and bringing cookies. I decided it would be the perfect time to introduce my friends to my “Theis Family Salad” and see what they thought. This salad recipe is sure to satisfy! I would say it is most reminiscent of an italian chopped salad.

I am proud of this salad for a couple of reasons:
1. I threw it together last minute with what little I had in my fridge and pantry, but it was an instant hit.
2. The first time I made it brought it over to a potluck with a couple of picky salad eaters, they raved about it and actually went back for a second helping!
I hope you enjoy this delicious salad. But like most recipes, I recommend making it your own and using what you have! Chicken would be excellent in this!
RECIPE: Theis Family Salad
  • Romaine Lettuce and/or Fresh Spinach (generous amounts)
  • 1 can of Black or Green Pitted Olives, chopped
  • 1 can of Artichoke Hearts, sliced
  • 1/4 Head of Red Cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Asiago Cheese
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • EVOO
  • Vinegar of your choice (balsamic, apple cider, red wine, champagne, etc.)
(NOTE: When I bring home fresh lettuce and spinach from the market I always chop, wash, and throw it in large ziplock bags before putting in into the fridge. Then when I want a salad its all ready to go!)
1. Toss your romaine and spinach into a large bowl.
2. Individually drain the olives and artichokes in small strainers. Then chop into bite-size pieces.
3. Run your knife through the red cabbage and red onion in thin slices.
4. Chop the bell pepper.
5. Toss all the ingredients together with dressing of choice. I usually just pour a little balsamic vinegar, EVOO, and S&P.
6. Grate the swiss and asiago over the top then sprinkle some red pepper flakes. ENJOY!
I also brought some cookies that I had never baked before, but thought that they would be a great addition. Elana’s Pantry Lemon Lavender Cookies. They were such a great mix of tart lemon and refreshing lavender. I would definitely make them again!
xo sarah

simple pleasures

I love the simple pleasures in life. What girl doesn’t love a little treat every now and then, right?! I especially love when those treats help me make my little apartment more of a home; those are some of the best kind!

My husband and I have been married for about a year and a half now and until a couple of months ago I had been doing all my ironing on a towel laid down on the carpet….not the best! But it was pretty comical:

So after multiple subtle hints, my hubby took me to get the perfect ironing board! It is great quality and has a light blue polka-dotted fabric cover. It is made by Real Simple so you know it has to be good! To top it off, he picked me out some pink peonies from Trader Joe’s. Pink peonies are one of my favorite flowers and they always remind me of my wedding bouquet! Yes, these things may seem silly, but I really felt appreciated and spoiled all at the same time.

Another simple pleasure for me is getting creative in the kitchen. Lately, the weather has been boiling, even in Carlsbad! Bret and I like to cool down with a frosty treat. My special Blueberry Green Tea Slushies always do the trick (and they’re so nutritious)! Here’s the recipe:


  • 3 ice cube trays
  • 4 cups of your favorite green tea
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp Honey


1. Brew your tea in boiling water. Cool to room temperature.

2. Place 3-5 blueberries in each slot of your ice cube tray.

3. Pour tea into ice cube trays

4. Freeze over night. Transfer cubes into gallon freezer bag once frozen.

5. Place desired amount of “tea cubes” into blender with a bit of water and the honey. Blend to desired slushie consistency and ENJOY!

What are some of the simple pleasures you have been given or like to indulge in?        I would love to see or hear them!

xo sarah

roasted miniature eggplant

I was at Sprout’s Farmers Market the other week and there were miniature eggplant on sale: 15 for $1.00! Holy cow!

You can’t get 15 of anything for $1.00 these days, so I snatched some up!
However, once I got home I realized I had no idea what to do with them. And, like usual, I visited one of my favorite sites for inspiration: Pinterest!
It’s so fun to take the beautiful and delicious ideas on Pinterest and make it for real!
I found a recipe for Oven Roasted Mini Eggplant that was simple, but looked pretty tasty.

This miniature eggplant dish would be great as a vegetable side dish to dinner, an appetizer served with a dipping sauce and paired with cheese, or on a slice of fresh baked artisan bread with EVOO. I adopted what I loved from the original recipe and modified the rest to my liking. Here it is:


  • 15 miniature eggplant
  • 2 Tbsp of EVOO or oil of choice
  • 1-2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1-2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Rinse each miniature eggplant in a strainer and pat dry. Then poke all sides of each eggplant with a fork.

3. Place eggplants on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss together to coat each eggplant evenly.

4. Put in your oven for 30-40 minutes for roasting.

5. Serve hot, room-temperature, or cold! I prefer hot.

*Note: The color on the miniature Eggplants changes to a reddish brown after they have been roasted. This means they will not be as visually appealing, but still just as tasty. These would be great dipped in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and oregano!

What deal or special ingredient have you taken a chance on lately? I’d love to hear it!

xo sarah

the perfect roast chicken

This one of my husband’s favorite dinners. I make it at least twice a month in our kitchen. And then we have leftovers to use in other dishes -like classic chicken pot pie, cheesy chicken enchiladas, or fresh chicken noodle soup!

It quite literally is the PERFECT roast chicken.

At first it seemed daunting…but the truth is, when you are following a Barefoot Contessa recipe, there is not much that can go wrong. I did make a few variations, catering to some of the things Bret and I like (root veggies, for example). This meal is sure to impress any dinner guest, and (as an added bonus) it is one of “the world’s easiest dinners.”

Here’s my recipe adopted from the amazing Ina Garten:


  • 1 5-6 pound chicken
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • 1 hefty bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 2 tbsp of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp of butter, melted
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped in large slices
  • 2 large carrots, chopped in large pieces
  • 2 large potatoes (any kind), chopped in large pieces
  • 6 inches of cooking twine


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Prep all ingredients and chop the veggies prior to handling the chicken.

3. Remove the giblets from inside the chicken cavity. Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken. Remove any excess pinfeathers or fat. Pat dry. Place the chicken on it’s back (legs facing upward) in a cast iron skillet or other roasting pan.

4. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the inside of the chicken with all the lemon, garlic, and thyme.

5. Brush the top of the chicken with the melted butter and sprinkle with S&P. Tie the legs together with your cooking twine and tuck the wings under the body as much as possible.

6. Place the onion slices, carrots, and potatoes around the chicken in the skillet.

7. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between  the leg and the thigh. Cut off cooking twine, carve & serve immediately with the roasted veggies. Lastly, enjoy!

Below you will see a photo of a roast chicken with all the veggies from the recipe above and another photo of a roast chicken with just onion (no carrots or potatoes).

I hope you try this recipe and see for yourself how perfect a roast chicken can taste!
Let me know if you have any questions!

xo sarah