Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via  I'm excited to start an official new tag with you guys today! You've probably noticed many of the different tags we use here on ABM. They are located at the top of each post, just after the title. Our tags can alert you to all sorts of things like if a recipe is a main course (meal idea) or side dish (small bites), or even if something is sponsored. If you click on a tag, you'll get transported to an archive page showing you all our past posts that have that tag. It's a pretty handy tool if you're looking for more ideas in a certain category of if you can't find an old post, but you know a few tags it might belong to. 

And today we're starting a new tag called "freezer meals". Lately I've found myself often cooking twice the amount of food I plan to eat and freezing the second meal so that I have something I can quickly throw in the oven on days I just don't feel like cooking or if I've cooked all day for ABM and I don't want to do any more dishes. :) So far this is has been a weeknight dinner game changer for us. This isn't something I do a lot because I don't have a huge freezer, so I really only need a few easy meals saved at a time. But I thought that I could start sharing some of my favorites here on ABM in case you could benefit from a similar practice. 

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via one is SO flavorful and is super filling while also remaining pretty darn healthy. We're gonna make our own enchilada sauce with just a few simple but surprising ingredients. And then we're gonna smother some corn tortillas filled with loads of good things in that sauce. The story ends with us stuffing our faces AND storing away the same meal to be enjoyed in a few weeks or a few months. 

I'm pretty excited. I hope you are too. OK, let's enchilada!

Bell peppersChipotle & Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas, makes TWO two serving dinners (that's four servings total).

1 bell pepper
1/3 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to season
one 15 oz. can prepared black beans, drained
10-12 corn tortillas

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but any flour is fine.)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

First dice the peppers and onions and mince the garlic. Sauté those three ingredients in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium / high heat for 4-6 minutes until the peppers soften and just begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. 

Peppers and onionsDrain the can of black beans and toss into a large bowl. I like to use a pastry blender to mash some of the beans just to give my filling a different texture, but this is optional. Add the cooked peppers and onions to the bowl and reserve until you are ready to stuff the tortillas.

Enchilada sauceNow it's sauce time! In a good blender, combine the tomato paste, pumpkin puree, chipotle pepper, and 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock. Puree until smooth. In a medium sized pot, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and whisk in the flour. This will make a very thin roux of sorts. Add the pureed pumpkin mix and the remaining 1 cup vegetable stock and whisk well.

Freezer dinners Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via To assemble your enchiladas, simply add about 1/3 cup of the sauce to a small baking pan or cast iron pan. For my freezer version, I used a small aluminum baking pan that came with a paper lid—convenient for my purposes. :) Roll the filling up in the tortillas and place them side by side in the pans. Then top with the remaining sauce. Whether you do decide to add cheese to these or not, don't add any to the freezer version because I find that cheese doesn't tend to freeze well. So you can always add it later before baking if you want it. 

Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Then top with a little fresh cilantro before serving.

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via   I love to top this with half a sliced avocado if possible and I suggest you do it. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)    Please welcome Rebecca! She'll be sharing some amazing hairstyles with us every month. Isn't her hair color divine?!

Do you remember doing a pull-through ponytail in junior high and feeling extra fancy for the day? I certainly do and this hairstyle is a more sophisticated take on that preteen classic--although it's just as easy as the original! Soft and romantic, it's perfect for an evening out or even works nicely on a windy autumn day to keep your hair out of your face. All you need is a few hair elastics and medium to long hair.

Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)   Step One: Tie a small, loose ponytail on the top of your head using a clear elastic.

Step Two: Above the elastic, divide your hair into two sections, then flip your ponytail upside down and push it fully through this opening. 

Step Three: Repeat the previous steps by gathering half of your hair in another loose ponytail. Divide the hair above your new elastic into two parts and flip your ponytail upside down and push it through the opening.

Step Four: Repeat the steps one last time using all of your hair.

Step Five: Finish the look by loosening each twist and allowing some stray hairs to escape for a softer, more romantic look.

Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)     Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)  Easy, but so pretty, right? I like how it looks "fancy" but is fairly effortless and it just continues to look better as it gets messier throughout the day. This is a good style for summer months, but I actually really like up-dos in the fall when it starts to get windy and scarves turn my hair into a rat's nest. We've had awful weather here lately and wearing your hair down is just begging for a mess of tangles when you get home! Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits // Author & Photography: Rebecca Stice.

Easy cranberry pie bars (via now for my favorite part of our Friendsgiving meal: dessert! This year I decided to make cranberry and vanilla bean pie bars topped with vanilla ice cream. These were the perfect combination of tart and sweetness coupled with plenty of pie crumb goodness. Great way to end a good meal with friends. :)

Cranberry pie bars with vanilla ice cream Cranberry pie bars with vanilla ice cream  We were stoked to partner with the Cranberry Marketing Committee again for this post (and our cranberry wreaths) as part of the #FriendsgivingCranberryContest (the winner gets $2,000!). Such a fun, tart flavor and the bright pop of red that they add to everything is just the best. Cranberries are naturally festive. :) And they make great pie bars, let's discuss.

Cranberry sauceCranberry and Vanilla Bean Pie Bars, makes one 9x11 inch pan which is roughly 14 bars depending how you slice it.
*You could easily cut this recipe in half and bake in an 8x8 square pan if you are serving less at your event.

18 oz. fresh cranberries
1 cup brown sugar
seeds from one vanilla bean
juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1 1/2 cups cold butter (3 sticks)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups flour, all purpose
3-4 tablespoons cream or cold water

To make the filling, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds and lemon juice in a large pot with a lid. Cook on medium heat with the lid on for 5-6 minutes until the berries begin to soften and release their juices. Continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes so that some of the juice begins to evaporate. Then stir in the corn starch to thicken the filling. I like to dust the corn starch in through a fine mesh sieve when I add it to avoid getting any big clumps. 

Cranberry pie fillingAfter another minute or two on the heat your filling should be done. You should be able to drag a spoon through it and it will leave a trail and then quickly seep back in. So it's not quite as thick or gelatinous as jelly, more like a chunky sauce. 

Cranberry pie barsThen make the pie crust by mixing together the cold butter, powdered sugar and flour. You can use a pastry blender or your clean hands for this step. (I usually use my hands. Remember to take any rings off you don't want covered in dough.) Blend until your mix resembles very small pebbles. Then add a few tablespoons of cream or cold water and stir until a loose dough ball forms. If the mix seems too dry to hold together, add a little more water or cream. 

Divide the dough in half. In a rectangle baking pan lined with parchment paper plop half the dough in and press into place. It doesn't have to look like a perfect rectangle, but do try to keep the thickness fairly uniform throughout. Bake this for 12 minutes at 350°F.

Then spoon the filling onto the crust and spread. Top with the remaining dough. Just crumble it all over the top. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until the top crust begins to brown.

Cranberry pie bars with vanilla ice creamYou can make the filling and dough ahead and just bake when you're ready, or you can go ahead and bake the bars a day before and rewarm them in the oven briefly before serving. I chose to do the latter so that my event went super smooth—I'm a make-everything-you-can-ahead kind of hostess. :) Top warm bars with ice cream and watch them disappear. Enjoy! xo. Emma

P.S. If you haven't gotten a chance to post your favorite cranberry photo and enter the $2,000 #FriendsgivingCranberryContest yet, read the full details here! Contest is open until 12/14/15.

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Collin Dupree and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Elsie's Den (BEFORE)Of all the things that initially drew us to this home, this room was not one of them. In fact, the dark stone fireplace was such a deal breaker to me that I didn't know if I could ever love it and originally wanted to rip it out and start over (my husband talked me out of that). 

This is the second room you see when you come into the house. The first is the "formal" living room that's immediately after the entryway. Then there is a hallway to your right and this room to your left. 

Of all the rooms in the house, it is by far the darkest. There is a large magnolia tree just outside these windows that blocks a lot of light. 

Our original checklist of items to change was— 1. Paint or replace the fireplace. Like I said above, Jeremy talked me out of replacing it. He said to paint it white and see if it would grow on me. I'm so glad he did because it HAS grown on me. And while it's still not what I would choose if I was building from scratch, I really like it now. 2. Paint walls, trim and shelves. We were VERY lucky that most of the house came with white trim, which is my preference. So we only had to paint the trim in a couple rooms. This was the most tedious because of the double doors and bookshelves. I know a lot of people wouldn't paint those bookshelves. They really were beautiful as they were (and very hard to paint because of 8 zillion coats of furniture polish applied over the years), but for us, white was the right choice. And it really did open up and brighten the space. By the way, we did all of the painting ourselves to save money (and we're not done yet!) 3. Removing that carpet. We weren't a fan of any of the color choices in this room. So goodbye red carpet! One of the first things we did after I snapped these photos on closing day was pull up the carpet to see what was under there. 

SmAR5A4785We were happy to find undamaged wood floors. That's always the BEST feeling after buying an older home. This house was built in the 70s, which is a gray area for original hardwood (meaning it won't always be under there—you just never know until you pull it all up and check!). The color was very yellow, so we realized we'd want to restain them, which we were OK with.

At the time I was considering either WAY light or WAY dark wood stain. We went with the light and have loved it SO much. 

Elsie's Den (BEFORE) Besides that, it was just a matter of changing the finishes. 

Even though this room wasn't my favorite at first, I was pretty sure we could make it what we wanted eventually. This room is going to be the television room, by the way! 

Elsie's Den (BEFORE)   This bookshelf is actually much bigger than it looks in this photo (wide angle lens distortion). Don't hate me for painting it white, and I won't hate you if you say you would have kept it wood. Deal?

With the fireplace, windows and bookshelves, there really wasn't a good place for the television. Unless we wanted to mount it to the wall opposite the fireplace (which I thought would be a bit awkward). It just didn't seem to fit. 

Our friends Ryan and Cayt had a genius television solution in their home. They have a projector screen that comes down (via remote) in front of a bookshelf. I followed "girl code" and asked permission to rip off their idea, then immediately ordered a screen online. Instead of a TV, you buy a screen, a projector and a speaker system. Then the projector can be synched with Apple TV or cable or whatever you use (I think we're going to go with Apple TV this time). I'll share more details about that project when it's complete. I'm really excited to see how it turns out! 

In the meantime, we've been watching TV on our laptops. 

Elsie's Den (BEFORE)    Just immortalizing that red carpet one last time. #RIP 

Elsie's Den (BEFORE)     The drapes were pretty heavy and didn't let much light in. The room doesn't need the extra shade, so we decide to replace them with something lighter. 

Oh! And yes, we're painting those beams. 

Elsie's Den (BEFORE)      See that cute little desk in the corner? 

Elsie's Den (BEFORE)       Here's a closer look. I love this little nook and want to turn it into something really cozy. I'm thinking a pretty chair, a big painting and some pretty artwork. I think this would be the perfect spot to pay bills and write thank you cards. I REALLY want to become a good thank you card writer. 

So our current plans for this space include some white shiplap, some dark charcoal gray, some brass details and a big, cozy overdyed rug. I want it to be a good spot to watch Mindy, to make s'mores and to hang out with family. I mean, I'd love it to be cool and stylish too, but cozy is my #1 priority for this space! 

Thanks for following along! If you'd like to see more updates from my new house, check out my progress tag. xx- Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson.

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)        The classic nude and French manicures have been around forever. They are kind of the "little black dress" version of nails that go with everything and are always appropriate. I love that lately people have been doing slight variations on the classic look that keep the same neutral feel but add a bit more of a modern flair that brings the nude mani into current trends. The good news is that you don't have to be a professional nail technician to pull them off either! Here are 3 of my favorite (and easy to do!) options:

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)
-emery boards and buffing block
-nail clippers
-white nail polish
-nude nail polish
-topcoat polish
-rounded tip guides
-painter's tape
-small paintbrush

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more) Start out by trimming your clean nails and shape them with your emery boards to your desired length. Use a buffing block to buff each nail, and then apply several coats of your nude polish. This will be the starting point for each manicure. Make sure the polish is totally dry before doing any of the manis that use tape.

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)        The Half Moon: For this look, use your tip guide to block off the rounded area near your cuticle and paint in the area with white polish. Complete a second coat of white if needed, and, when mostly dry, carefully peel off each guide to reveal your design underneath. Finish with a clear topcoat.

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)        It's like a reverse French tip—so cute!

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)            The Half Slash: Cut your painter's tape into strips and place them diagonally across your nail to block off the front section of each nail. Use your white polish to fill in the top half of each nail. Use a second coat if needed. When the polish is mostly dry, peel off each strip and finish with a top coat once the white section has set.

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)         I love the graphic quality to this look. It's a bit more bold than the others, but still not so crazy that it can't go with everything.

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)        The Polka Dot: Use a small rounded tip paintbrush to create a white dot right above your cuticle. Use a brush that is thick enough to create your desired size dot by simply placing it once on the nail when it's full of polish. That way, all your dots will be the same size and thickness. Allow the dots to dry and use a topcoat to seal.

Love these! simple nude mani 3 ways (click through for more)        I think this one is my current favorite. It's actually the easiest one to do (even though it looks so precise), but seeing all those tiny dots when I look down just makes me smile. As you can see, you don't have to be a trained professional to get into some of the current manicure trends, and keeping the colors white and nude will ensure that whichever look you pick will compliment your outfits regardless of color scheme. Which mani is your favorite look? xo. Laura

Credits// Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions


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