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After awhile, the most perfect turkey chili, all things new & my love of lavender.

Welcome back!

It’s been awhile, and I wanted to jump back in to writing with a new blog layout and hopefully more recipes (because I have been cooking and baking like nobody’s business), more updates, and more fun life stuff. Ben and I are now Mr. and Mrs. Morgan (yay!) and we are having fun figuring out married life together. We like grocery shopping, running errands on Saturdays and watching Jeopardy every night. It’s been so long since I’ve blogged because we went straight from our wedding to the honeymoon and the holiday season…and after the first of the year, a big change happened.

I started a job as a copywriter for the retail marketing division at LifeWay Christian Resources! I work in downtown Nashville, my mornings start early and I go to bed by 10 every night—a bit of a change from full-time wedding planning. I edit catalogs, emails, in-store signage, and anything else LifeWay stores need to communicate well. It’s been truly great so far—the team I work with has been supportive, fun, and encouraging, and I am so thankful to work with words all day and feel confident while doing it. I decorated my desk to feel at home from the start, though I added wedding photos later on, and I now have a computer monitor and an updated MacBook.

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Another new detail: as of a few days ago, I started a new medication for my skin. If you’ve known me long enough, you know I’ve been fighting psoriasis for years and years. I’ve been on all the medications they have (I wish I were exaggerating). The great thing is that research for psoriasis is active and new therapies are developed fairly often. After barely getting my skin under control (by the grace of God and a few stern talkings-to) for the wedding amid stress (which makes psoriasis worse), we discovered that the medication I’ve been on for at least five or six years, Stelara, was not working at all. Because sometimes that happens—your body apparently just finds ways to work around it because it’s just gotta give you those awful red scaly patches. Lovely.
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How I feel about psoriasis and getting shots.

Enter Taltz.

I had my first doses this week, and let me tell you what, I do not report change in my skin unless it is real. After so many years of this, it is not exciting if things change only a little bit. But it’s been a few days, I’m not using any other psoriasis meds, and there’s a difference. It makes the fact that Taltz is administered by an autoinjector pen that I have to ADMINISTER MYSELF a little more worth it. (I have done these types of shots before with a different medicine when I was younger with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and I am happy to report that I endured two shots this week with no tears or complaining. I am a strong, independent woman.) They are mailing me more doses and if I get clear skin from poking myself in the tummy every couple weeks, then sign me up.

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My doctor’s office has these great Nashville posters that always make wait times a little better.
In the name of new beginnings, we’ve been working on getting our guest room set up, and the process has revealed that I really love lavender. I think it’s because my room growing up had lavender walls, and I have had a lavender quilt and sheets for the past 4 or so years. It just looks so pretty, clean, and inviting to me. We used my old quilt and found another semi-matching one on clearance in the kids’ section at Target, and now we have a functional guest room, complete with leftover wedding decor (both being used and crammed into the corners of the room). This finished room plus a living room gallery wall, cute lamps, and moving a ton of furniture means that the apartment is essentially completely decorated and organized how I’d like it. Finally. Come visit us, y’all!
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To wrap up, a recipe:

I usually find it tough to balance getting a real, it’s-October-and-I’m-wearing-a-sweatshirt chili flavor without going too far in the Mexican-flavored-soup direction. Especially when cumin and bell peppers are involved. I do love a good Mexican crockpot soup topped with avocado and eaten with tortilla chips, but it’s a different animal entirely. This chili retains that delicious fall chili flavor (there’s a deep tomato flavor from the tomato paste) and would go perfectly with cornbread or a grilled cheese. You won’t miss ground beef at all! Serve it up in big mugs or bowls with any toppings you’d like—though it’s perfect alone, too.

THE MOST PERFECT TURKEY CHILI
Serves at least 4

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Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T oil (olive or vegetable)
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced*
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 large orange bell pepper, diced
1 can tomato paste
1 can stewed tomatoes (do not drain)
2 cups water + 1 chicken bouillon cube or 2 cups chicken broth
3 heaping teaspoons chili powder
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can corn, drained
1 can chickpeas, drained**
Notes:
*These were simply the colors of bell peppers I had on hand. Any will work, as long as it totals about a bell pepper and a half.
**Since Ben doesn’t like beans, we have discovered the great chili bean replacement: chickpeas. But if you don’t like chickpeas or just prefer beans, I’d go with a can of kidney beans instead.
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In a large soup pot over medium heat, brown ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. When nearly cooked through, add diced onion and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add oil. Add diced bell peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes (until slightly softened). Season again with salt and pepper. Add can of tomato paste and can of stewed tomatoes and stir. Add water/bouillon cube or chicken broth and stir until mixture is completely combined.

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Add seasonings and stir. Simmer for around 10-15 minutes on low heat. Add corn and chickpeas and simmer for another 15-20 minutes (really as long as you have or can wait to eat—it will only get more delicious!).
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