Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Artichokes with Lemon Butter

Well, I mentioned that I just got some of the cutest little veggies last night!  Well, you're right, they were these little artichokes!  :)  I was at Kroger and you could either get one regular size artichoke for $3 OR this little box of a bunch of baby ones for the same price!  So....of course I ended up with these.  :)  I had a hankering for something French and out of Julia's book, so I did her artichokes with lemon butter.  And they did sure please!  It was my first time eat an artichoke like that.  Before I'd only ever had them on pizza or in dips.  So this was a first.  But as for my sweet hubby, it wasn't his first.  In fact, I just found out tonight that he loves artichokes.  So, this was a major hit with him!  :)  You can find these two recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking on pages 425 (Artichokes) and 98 (Lemon Butter Sauce).  And I'll post  my adventure below....  :)

Baby Artichokes in package.
So adorable right?
Washed them off, peeled some leaves, cut off the tips and stem.

The beginning of a very beautiful (and tasty) thing!  :)  Lemon Butter.
Did I mention I just love her cookbook, and the whole layout?
My finished product.   Yum!
Thanks Julia! ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato

Want a quick easy dinner idea?  or how about a great homemade loaded potato like they serve at the Texas Roadhouse?!?!   Just bake some potatoes.  Then smear the outside with butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Cut open the top and squeeze a bit.  Then load on the butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon pieces.*
*For a healthier version use margarine, light sour cream, 2% cheese and turkey bacon.  (That's actually what you see above, could you even tell though?  They still taste great!)

Homemade Hostess Style Cupcakes

I don't know about you, but when I think of a good all american cupcake I think of a Hostess Cupcake.  So, when I was thinking about a treat to make for my hubby to take to work for his birthday--I decided to try a go at homemade hostess style cupcakes!  I think they turned out really well too!  My hubby just took them in today for his group meeting (even though his birthday was last week), so I will have to let y'all know just how they went over!  :)  Aren't they adorable!?  See the recipe below...
Hostess Style Cupcakes:
Chocolate Cupcakes (from scratch or box, I did Devil's Food from a box as a time saver.)
You can make regular sized cupcakes or mini for this as well.  I did some of both for variety!  :)
Cream Filling: (Steps 1-5 below)
1/3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened
Pinch (or about 1/8 t.) Kosher Salt
1/4 t. Vanilla Extract
1 c. Powdered Sugar
1-1/3 c. Marshmallow Creme
Ganache: (Steps 6-9 below)
3/4 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
~6 oz. Semisweet Chocolate (chips, chunks or pieces)
1 T. Unsalted Butter
1/2 t. Vanilla Extract
White Frosting: (Step 10 below)
2 c. Powdered Sugar
2 T. Butter, softened
4 T. Heavy Whipping Cream
Before you start be sure that you have all the ingredients you need.  Bake and cool cupcakes before attempting to fill and frost. Once your cupcakes are cool you can start making the cream filling....
1.  With a hand (or stand) mixer whip the heavy whipping cream until soft (to hard) peaks form.
 2.  Add the softened butter, salt and vanilla to the whipped cream and combine using the mixer.
 3.  Whip in the powdered sugar until combined.
 Now it's time for the really creamy goodness of fluff....  Did I mention I love this stuff?  Have you ever had a "fluffernutter"?  No?  Yeah, me neither...but I may just have to try one today....back to this recipe though...
 4.  Whip in the marshmallow creme until all creamy ingredients are one!  You may want to give it a taste just to make sure it's ok. ;)
 5.  Spoon the cream filling into a pastry bag (and any tip will work...but I recommend something pretty big) and insert the tip into each cupcake to fill.  Just fill until the cupcake is noticeably heavier but not overflowing.  :)  Don't worry about the hole int he top, we'll cover that with ganache in a few minutes.  :)
 6.  Now it's time to make the ganache.  Since it's for a frosting ganache the chocolate and whipping cream need to be equal parts.  Anyway, using a double boiler melt the chocolate, whipping cream and butter together whisking every few seconds.  Once the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  It will look about like this picture at this point...
 7.  Let the ganache cool to room temperature.  
 8.  Then with a hand mixer whip it up to a frosting like consistency.  This will give the ganache more volume and an easier consistency for frosting the cupcakes.   Once you are done whipping the ganache, and it is to your desired consistency, give it a stir with your spatula.  It'll look about like this.... yum.....
 9.  Smooth the frosting on the cupcakes with an angled spatula.  Looking good so far, huh?
 Just keep frosting away with the ganache until all your cupcakes are frosted.
 10.  Now you just have the final swizzle to do!  Just whip up the butter, whipping cream and powdered sugar for this simple frosting.  Then fill a piping bag and use a small tip (I used Wilton #2) to make the little swizzle on the tops of all your cupcakes.  :)  I was going to write words like "chemistry" and "electron" on the cupcakes, but I started with mini ones and didn't have enough room.  You could certainly customize these for any holiday or party you'd like though!  "Valentine", "Booooo"....the possiblities are endless.  :)  Have fun!
Mini cupcake...
A peek inside......  :)

Regular Cupcake...
Lots of cupcakes....
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Hope you enjoy these.  I think they are adorable and delicious!  :)

From my kitchen to yours...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blessings and Changes

Hey there my readers!  I hope you are all doing really well!  I hear the weather is going to be just beautiful (and springlike!!!) in much of the US, so I hope you can get out and enjoy it some! :)

As you may (or may not) already know, I recently got a job at a high-end kitchen/gourmet food store.  I just finished my 4th day of work and I'm really enjoying it!  The store itself is amazing, the employees are nice and helpful and the customers are super nice!  So what more could a girl ask for in her new retail job?  God has really blessed us with this job.  It was all in His perfect timing and it's really more than I could have imagined!

I've thought about it all week, and have talked with my hubby and Mom about it.  Anyway, since I now will be working away from home I am going to make some changes with this blog/website.  Since I have been writing this cooking blog for over a year, and already have many recipes cataloged, I've decided to step back from blogging everyday.  I will do this as a trial period for a Month and see how it goes.

I want to keep cooking and providing creative recipes from my kitchen to yours, but I also don't want to get in completely over my head.  So, I will be posting a recipe (or maybe a whole meal from main dish to dessert) each week for the next month.  Let me know what you think, and we'll see where it goes from there.

I do know two things though:  I love cooking, and I enjoy blogging.  And it appears that people like reading what I post about cooking (and actually use my recipes) so....I'm definitely going to keep doing this!  It's just going to have to be a little different for now!  :)  Sound good?

And as always if you have any requests for recipes or ideas for me, please send them my way!!! :)  Thanks!!!!!!  I love y'all!  :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday and New job!

Well, today was a big day!  I mean a BIG day for my hubby and me!  To start it off it was our first morning together in about 2 weeks, and it was great to be able to greet one another....but really, we had a great start because today is my hubby's Birthday!

Yep!  He turned the big 3-0 today!  Cool huh?  (I'm kidding about the big 3-0 part, BTW.  I mean he did turn 30, but we don't think of it like that!)  I can however now say that I'm still in my twenties and he's in his thirties, so that's kind of fun still though!  :)  Happy Birthday honey!!!  I hope you really did have as good of a day as you said you did--you deserve it!  :)  Love you!!!!!!!

Another big thing that happened today was the first day of my new job!  I am now employed at a high end cooking/gourmet food store!  And I had a great first day.  I learned a lot, got overwhelmed a bit but also had fun!  :)  What more could I have asked for in my first day?

I'm working on some great new recipes for this week, and I will get back to blogging about food very, very soon!  In the meanwhile take a look at these sweet origami roses my sweet hubby made me for V-Day.  He made 50 of them, and he said they were the hardest origami creation he's ever done.  Isn't that sweet?  And aren't they beautiful?!?!? :)  Plus, they will last forever, unlike cut flowers! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I hope you all have a great day!!!  Spend some time with someone special! :)  And be sure to tell those you love that you do!  :)
I love my readers so much!!!!  Thanks for being so great!  Happy Valentine's Day!!

It's a Love Story: Chapter 20

While we were staying in Crested Butte we went for a 2 hour horseback ride one day, a few miles of out town at Harmel’s Ranch.  We had a great time, and such a special time together.  We both love horses, but I especially do and have since I was a wee one.  :)  So it was great to be able to do some horseback riding together on our honeymoon.

Then on our last night in Crested Butte we found a great Italian restaurant to eat dinner.  I got some fabulous spaghetti marinara and RS got their special Gnocchi with cream sauce. Our server found out it was our honeymoon and gave us Champagne on the house.  Dinner was great, and then we headed back to the hotel.  We rented the movie iRobot because I’d never seen it, and got it set up in RS’s laptop.  We watched it for about 15 minutes and then, his laptop died.  No not the battery.  It was fine.  No not something simple, he being the Rocket Scientist could fix or anything.  Nope, like died forever.  Sad.  But it was ok, we decided to call it an early night and turned in.

Good thing we called it a good night too, because we had a long night.  RS got really sick on his stomach and around 1am I woke up to him vomiting in the bathroom.  I got up to see if I could help and gave him some sprite and crackers to hopefully help his stomach settle.  It helped for about 2 hours.

Then I woke up at about 3am to him loudly vomiting again.  You know, he’s the type of man who yells when he vomits.  I don’t think he means to, it just happens.  Like the way vomiting always makes my eyes tear up.  It just makes him yell.  Anyway, it’s probably a good thing the hotel was pretty vacant with it being the middle of June and all because he was pretty loud in the middle of the night. :)

I, trying to be the perfect new little wifey, went down to the front desk of the hotel to get some Pepto for my poor hubby.  RS took the Pepto and it helped him until morning.  Then we loaded up the car and made our way to my parent’s cabin.  RS still wasn’t feeling too well, so I drove and we made a stop at the Wal-Mart in Gunnison for some more Pepto.  I continued to drive the rest of the way to the cabin, and I’m pretty sure RS consumed pretty much the whole bottle of that pink stuff throughout the day.  I don’t know what it was that made him sick…but it sure made him sick. :(  And the funny thing is that he still likes Gnocchi and eats it…I don’t think I could after going through that.  Makes an interesting story though….the things that happen. :)

We made it to the cabin by the afternoon, and we both could just relax again.  RS felt better by the next day and we hiked, fished and loafed for the next week or so.  Then after our 12 days of honeymoon we had to go back to reality.  But it was a new reality since it was the first time living together and all.  I moved into the apartment, that was part of campus housing and we started the rest of our adventure together!  :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 19

We woke up early on the 9th of June, ate some more great breakfast from that B&B and made our way out of town.  We were going to do about a two week tour of the mountains of Colorado for our honeymoon.  So our first stop was Ouray, Colorado, where we stayed for 4 nights at the Box Canyon Lodge.

We had a great little road trip down, and stopped and ate lunch at Coney Island in Bailey, CO.   I actually saw a mountain lion while RS was setting up the camera on the tripod for a quick pic of us at lunch.  Crazy huh?  He was just walking up a hill, about 100 feet away from my new hubby.  Crazy.  Anyway, the drive took up most of the day, and was a gorgeous drive.  We got into Ouray around dinner time, and we got a little settled into our room before getting some dinner.

We walked to the main strip of Ouray and took pics as we were looking for somewhere to eat.  I actually can’t remember where we decided on, but I’m sure it was great.  :)  After dinner we rented a movie free from the Front Desk and watched one that night.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we rented one every night because it was a nice, chill thing to do!  :)

During our stay in Ouray we visited:  the Box Canyon, Cascade Waterfall (and accompanying hike), natural Amphitheatre, the Hot Springs as well as other things.  One day we also drove over to Telluride, CO which is just a hop away from Ouray.  We rode the  Gondola in Telluride and saw some really breathtaking views of the Rockies.  We also did some four wheeling and hiking up the backside of Black Bear to get to see Bridal Veil Falls and the power plant.  We also did a walking tour of Ouray while we were there, and ate at a great Mexican Restaurant in Ridgeway that’s near Ouray.

One day, while we were walking to the hot springs tubs at our hotel in Ouray we saw a black bear cub.  He was actually cinnamon colored and quite large, even though he was quite small. If that makes sense.  The only kicker was that, that was literally the ONLY time during our whole trip that I didn’t have my camera on me! :(  So I didn’t get any pictures of that cute little (read: cute but terrifying) bear.  And in turn, we didn’t soak in the tubs that evening.  We did however try to get a pic a couple minutes later.  But no luck.

After our stay in Ouray was over we headed up to Crested Butte, CO.  Our three night stay at the Grand Lodge in Crested Butte was generously provided by my Aunt D and Uncle D.  We had a great time, and the hotel was great.  Crested Butte is a lot different than Ouray.  It’s a really small ski town, and kind of a hippy town.  Well, definitely a hippy town, and super nice!  We found a great restaurant or two and definitely had a memorable time while we were there…

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Guess who I met today??

I've been in Colorado for the last week and a half visiting my family.  I flew here on the 2nd and my sister had her baby on February 3rd.  So it was perfect timing to be able to help her and of course, see her new baby girl!  She's beautiful by the way!  :)  I've had a great time out here, and have gotten to love on the new little one as well as her 5 other siblings a lot.  :)
My Mom and I with the Pioneer Woman! :)
Anyway, as you already know,  my Mom and I keep up with the Pioneer Woman's blog and saw that she was going to be in Denver today.  So, my dad drove my Mom and I down there to go to her book signing!  We had to wait about 4.5 hours to meet her, but she signed our books and we all had a great conversation!  She is even more beautiful in person, and just the sweetest thing ever!  :) It was a great day!!!  I still can't believe we got to meet Ree Drummond--The Pioneer Woman!  :)  (And yes, I was really excited to meet you can probably tell from the ridiculous smile on my face...hehehe)

 The book signing was at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Lodo.  I love this bookstore!!  :)
 PW was promoting her new book.
So beautiful.  So sweet.  And kind.  And nice.  And great.  And she took time for everyone.  :)

It's a Love Story: Chapter 18 (Wedding Part IV)

We cut the cake and fed each other a little piece.  We did it nicely, for a few reasons really, but mostly because we wanted to show that we respected each other. :)  Then we were waiting there awkwardly wondering what to do next, for what seemed like forever.  You know, we’d been to weddings/receptions plenty of times before, but when it’s your day there are just SO many things going on and running through your head, it’s easy to forget some things.

Then we remembered, or realized, it was time for the toast.  So, we raised our glasses of ginger ale, or punch if you were a guest, and the Best Man and an Usher made toasts.  They were very heart-felt words said and I think it brought a tear to each of our eyes.  We all toasted and then the cake was served.

Our cake was great, but of course I’m partial.  We got it from King Soopers, because they are just my favorite!  It was tiered and mostly white with beautiful azalea and lighter pink colored roses on it!  There were three different flavors too;  Almond Poppyseed Cake with Raspberry filling, White Cake with Lemon filling and Chocolate Cake.  Yeah, it was great.  (And for the record, the top froze well and tasted great on our First Wedding Anniversary.)

We danced more, and the rest of the reception just flew by, much like the rest of the day.  We make an exit into a decorated getaway car, and waved goodbye.  Then we stopped by my parent’s house so I could get changed out of my wedding gown and be able to leave it there.  Then we headed over to this great Bed and Breakfast in town.  Even though the wedding had started at 12:30pm, and we left the reception around 5pm, we didn’t want to have to leave for our honeymoon that night.  So, my sweet parents found, reserved and paid for our room our wedding night.  It was great too.  The B&B was cute, cozy and just wonderful.  They also had just the BEST breakfast in the whole wide world!  I’ll never forget that Pecan Crusted French Toast served along with simple fruits smothered in sweet cream.  Yum.  :)

We actually decided to stay at that B&B two nights because we thought it was so great.  So, we just spent the day after our wedding with a series of dates throughout my hometown.  We picked up lunch and ate it in one of my very favorite parks.  Then we placed some Frisbee and walked around.  When it was time for dinner we ate at my very favorite Chinese Restaurant that RS had never tried yet.  It was a great, and relaxing day.  Then we rested up for the long drive the next day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 17 (Wedding Part III)

The Pastor pronounced us as husband and wife. Then RS kissed me, his bride.  : )  Then we turned to our guests and the Pastor announced us as Mr. and Mrs. Rocket Scientist.  Everyone clapped and we walked out to “How ‘bout them cowgirls” by Alan Jackson.  I don’t know when else I have ever smiled that much in my life, as when we walked down those steps and down that aisle.  : )

We went out to the foyer of the Church where we signed the Marriage License with our witnesses.  Then we took a little break with the rest of our wedding party before heading back in for the reception.  Meanwhile, our guests were watching the video we made of our lives. You know, the kind with photos from birth through college, then our relationship.  : )

Then it was time for the Jr. Bridesmaid and her groomsman to walk in.  The DJ announced them, as well as the rest of the bridesmaids/groomsmen.  Then it was time for us, again we were just beaming smiles from ear to ear when we were introduced as Mr. and Mrs.  : )

We sat down for a brief moment, before grabbing some of the food catered by Carino’s. We were the first through line, along with the rest of the wedding party followed by our families. We sat and ate, rather quickly, before we had our first dance to “Your Dreams” by Josh Turner.   (If you remember from a few chapters back, that song was the last one on the CD RS made for me for our one month anniversary. :)  It’s as if we were just floating around that dance floor.  It was great.

Then we had the Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance after that, and we did it to “Stealing Cinderella” by Chuck Wicks.  I just love that song, btw.  So cute.  After that, we had the whole wedding party dance and tried to get others on the dance floor too.

Then RS and I made our way around the room to visit with all of our guests.  I am pretty sure that we actually made our way around to see everyone before they left, which was nice.  It was great to see some that we hadn’t in a while, and it was great to have everyone there to witness our special day!!

We danced some more, and I had to show off my boots some.  You know, when my Mom and I were shopping for shoes for the wedding she asked me what I thought was comfy.  I told her my favorite and most comfortable shoes I had were my cowboy boots. So, we set out to find some pink boots.  We did have to look at several places, but we found some that were comfy, cute and, of course, pink!  And yes, they are real cowgirl boots! :) The other perk is that I’ve been able to wear them since our wedding, unlike other wedding shoes.  So, naturally, I had to show them off a little! :)

To be continued….

Menu Board

So, I've been trying to get back to being more organized about meals (and life in general).  I wanted to have some sort of menu board for menu planning, and also some other space for pics, lists, etc...all in my kitchen.  I also didn't want to spend a fortune.  So this is what I came up with, and while it's still a work in progress.  I am going to post this portion of it now, and then I can do a follow-up post later of the total finished product.  (With all the pieces in place on the wall.)
I started with these four 12" square cork tiles that I got for $6 for the pack at Wal-mart.  Here's what I did....
I really like the way it turned out.  You can certainly tailor it to your liking.  You can do all 7 days or just weekdays like I did.  You can use different colors, shapes, etc. too.  Feel free to use stickers, handwriting or a computer for the lettering on it too!  You could also color coordinate meals by either type of meat (chicken, beef, veg...) or type of food (Mexican, Italian, etc...).  I really like the idea of color coordinating meals, then when you have the stack of meals (like in my basket below) you could easily grab them--by color!  
 I also have this suggestion above for a shopping list you can stuck right by the menu planner.  (I'm going to do this, just didn't get it in the pic!)
 And this cute little basket really came in handy as you can see...  :)

I will post more pics of the final presentation and project, but I can already tell you that I like the way it's turning out!!  :)  I love organizing stuff, and actually getting organized!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 16 (Wedding Part II)

The bridesmaids had walked down the aisle to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by JS Bach.  Then I heard the wedding march start.  It was time.  My dad and I started down the aisle.  All eyes were on me, and it seemed like we floated down the aisle because before I knew it, we were there.  My handsome Groom right in front of me.  My Pastor asked “Who gives this woman?” and my father responded, “Her mother and I.”  Then RS and I were hand in hand.

We walked up the steps together and the bridesmaids/groomsmen took their places on the steps too.  Pastor P prayed and then started.  Although I couldn’t tell you everything he said, I can tell you it was great.  We gave our moms roses and hugged our parents.  The Pastor talked about marriage and the joining of two people to make one.  About leaving your father and mother and cleaving to each other.  And about having Christ the center of your marriage.

There we were standing hand in hand, listening to the Pastor.  At the altar.  With all these witnesses.  All our family.  Great friends. And we were getting married!  Tying the knot. Getting hitched.  However you think of it, it was happening.  Kind of surreal, and definitely exciting, and that’s why I can’t remember every detail from the ceremony.  : )

The Pastor said more, and also took the opportunity to share Christ with the guests.  Then it was time to sing “The Prayer”.  The song went really well.  We lit the Unity candle and took our places again in front of the Pastor.

We exchanged the vows we had written blended with the traditional ones.  RS went first and went to put the ring on my hand.  I was so enthralled and touched by what he was saying that I forgot to get my hand ready for the ring.  I was caught off guard and it gave us a good laugh, and a couple of funny photos.  Then it was my turn, and put the ring on his hand smoothly. (So cute. May I add. I just loved the look of the wedding band on his hand.)  We were almost all done.  Wow that ceremony just flew by…..

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Peanut Cookies

Here's a cookie that's made from peanuts, flour and some other stuff that combines into a great little cookie! 

Peanut Cookies
8 oz. or 1 c. Peanuts (shelled, and preferably roasted)
2 c. Flour
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1/4 c. Oil
2 Eggs
1/2 t. Baking Soda
Additional sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place the peanuts into a blender or food processor.  Process until they start looking like peanut butter.
3.  Add baking soda, eggs, oil and sugars and process until combined.
4.  Add flour and process until well combined.
5.  Scoop out by the tablespoonful and place about 2" apart on a cookie sheet.
6.  Sprinkle with sugar and do the criss-cross fork imprint, if desired.  :)
7.  Bake for 7-9 minutes.
Enjoy!  :)

It's a Love Story: Chapter 15 (Wedding Part I)

So, the day was finally here.  6-7-08.  I woke up around 7:00am, took a shower and gathered the rest of my things for the day and our honeymoon.  Then my dad took me to the salon to get my hair done.  Meanwhile my mom had a busy morning of finishing up details at the Church, which was so sweet.  My sisters, and rest of my bridesmaids met me at the salon at 8am.  We all gout our hair done at the same time and it went really well.

I had a dry run through with my stylist a few days before the wedding, to ensure it’d work out that special day!   So once the bridemaids’ hair was done they headed over to the Church to get ready for the professional pictures that were going to begin at 10am.  Once I had my hair done, my stylist also did my makeup so I didn’t have to worry about it.  Then my dad took me over to the Church to finish getting ready.

My mom and sisters helped me get dressed and we all said a quick prayer together.  I took a look in the mirror, and was quite surprised that I actually felt great.  And I looked like one of those brides in the magazines.  Ok, I wasn’t as thin or anything, but I felt almost as glamorous.  I loved my dress, my hair, my makeup, everything.  Before we knew it, it was time for pictures.

Since we wanted the pictures to be done before the ceremony, so we’d be able to move right on to the reception, we had them at 10am.  And since it we wanted the first time RS saw me on our Wedding day to be special, we set up a meeting.  RS was placed in the sanctuary and then I entered.  The look on his face was so sweet.  His eyes just lit up when he saw me.  You know, it was just like all those guys look in the movies.  Just like every groom I’ve seen waiting for his beautiful bride at the end of the aisle.  I felt like a million bucks.  I felt like I was the most beautiful, cherished and loved woman in the world at that moment.  I could hardly believe the say was finally here.  RS looked good.  No--Actually he looked great.  Our photographer did capture those first moments, and then we invited the wedding party in for pictures.

Most of the pictures were done by about 11:30am, and RS and I just had a few more to finish.  Then we grabbed a snack before the ceremony.  Before we knew it, it was time to get into our places for the ceremony.  The songs started and the men entered.  Then my bridesmaids made their way up, one by one.  Then the ring bearer pulled the flower girls in the wagon we’d fixed up with ruffles and all.  I was still in the hallway with my dad, but I could peek into the sanctuary and see all the people.  I could see all of the Azalea and Silver decorations. My bridesmaids, my groom, the groomsmen….everyone.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 14

It was the morning of June 6th and I had a busy day (couple of days) in front of me.  My Mom, sisters, their kiddos, my BFF R and I had brunch at the Egg and I to start off the day.  Then we went over to the Church to decorate for the wedding/reception.  We’d been decorating for a couple of hours, and then we got some more help from my soon-to-be Mother-in-Law, sister-in-law and aunt.  We got done decorating with a little bit of time to spare to get ready for the Rehearsal that night.

The Rehearsal was at the Church, and started right around 5:30pm.  We talked through everything, walked through everything and did it forwards and backwards.  It was great to get our whole wedding party and family together for some time before the wedding.  The rehearsal went really well too.

RS and I got to run through our song with the sound system which was nice, and everyone there got to hear it for the first time.  We sang “The Prayer” and my very talented and sweet Mom accompanied us.   Since I’ve always loved singing, and RS professed his love for me through song after dating me for just 23 days…I thought it was only fitting to do a duet at our wedding.  : )  (I did the Italian, and he did the English part in that Italian section….)

Here are some of the lyrics from “The Prayer”:

“I pray you’ll be our eyes,
And watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise,
In times when we don’t know.

Let this be our prayer,
As we go our way.
Lead us to a place,
Guide us with your grace,
To a place where we’ll be safe.”

Since we really love our family, and have always been family oriented most of our wedding party was our family in fact. : )  Rocket Scientist’s Best Man was his best friend (who took the pics of our engagement).  Then his Groomsmen were:  his brother, good friend B, and my sister’s husbands.    We had my nephew A be the ring bearer.  I had my sisters be my Matrons of Honor.  Then my bridesmaids were:  RS’s sister, my BFF R and my oldest niece K.  Then our flower girls were my three nieces J, L and K.  We had a few of our good friends be ushers and guestbook attendants as well.  :)

After the rehearsal, we went over to the Rio for the rehearsal dinner.  Our wedding party as well as more family from out of town were there.  It was a burrito bar and very good.  Kind words were said and overall a great time was had!

To be continued. . .

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheese Stuffed Italian Herb Bread

Here's a great recipe for Italian herb bread that's bad even better by being stuffed with mozzarella!  :)

Cheese Stuffed Italian Herb Bread:
2-3 c. Flour
1 pkg. Yeast
3/4 c. Warm water
1 t. Sugar
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. Oregano (or Basil, or both!)
1/2 t. Parsley
1/2 t. Onion Flakes/Powder
1/2 t. Garlic Powder
~4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, sliced or shredded

1.  Dissolve the yeast in the water.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Add sugar, salt and seasonings, then stir.
3.  Mix in flour until it is workable.  Then knead until it is not sticky anymore.
4.  Roll out to about 12" x 8" rectangle.
5. Place slices (or shredded) cheese in the center of the dough evenly.
6.  Fold one flap over, then the next, and tuck in the ends.
7.  Flip over and place on baking sheet.
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy!  Great bread with a cheesy middle.  Yum! :)

It's a Love Story: Chapter 13

May was here, and it was just a month till the big day.  On the 4th, RS and I went to a Colorado Rockies game with a group of people from my work.  Since it was down in Denver, we (RS and I) made a whole day date out of it and had a blast.  We walked around lodo and found this great Crepery where we ate lunch before the game.  RS ordered a “Ratatouille crepe, which was savory with lots of veggies and meat inside.  And I had a dessert crepe with lots of fruit, chocolate and whipped cream.  Everything was just exquisite, and we had a great lunch!  Then we wandered around some more, before we went to the game.  The game was great--the Rockies played well and they won!  (Which is always nice!: )

The rest of May flew by and before we knew it, it was Memorial Day weekend.  We went up to my family’s cabin with my parents for the long weekend.  While we were there my grandparents came up for a day and we all had a nice visit.  The rest of the weekend was very relaxing and nice time to get away before the rush of last minute wedding preparations.  My Mom took some great photos of RS and me while we were at the cabin.  In fact, we used one for the front of our Wedding program! : )

Once we got back to town it was just about a week until our Wedding.  My Mom and I were finishing up the last minute details and double checking deliveries on everything.  RS and I couldn’t wait, yet we were both a bit stressed about it all too….

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 12

So, the new job is going well and life is grand.  Then comes February, the month of Love!  I knew I wanted to do something special for RS, and so I cooked up (literally) a plan.  I managed to find a great big, beautiful brisket (at Sams) that I cooked up with all the fixings.  In fact, I got a bottle of our favorite wine--Reunite Lambrusco for the occasion.

I had RS dress up, but tired to keep the rest a secret.  So when he showed up at my parents house (on Valentine’s Day) to find their dining room decorated as a romantic table for two (with the help of my Mom!) he was pleased.  He, of course didn’t show up empty handed.  He had the most beautiful red roses I’d ever seen.  We placed those on the table, and I serve up dinner.  We had a nice dinner and exchanged our little mementos.

Now, did you know that RS’s birthday just so happens  to fall on the day after Valentine’s Day.  Yep, it is.  Pretty sweet huh? : )   I made him dinner for his Birthday the next night, with leftover brisket from the night before.  I gave him his birthday present which were some grips for his Jeep.  You know, the kind that you just strap on to the roll cage about the doors?  Yep, those, and they were nice and comfy and sturdy, and yes, probably cute.  Oh, and don’t forget useful!  Especially when four wheeling!  : )  Still have them on the Jeep to this day….not that it’s been that long….

We had a couple of really great dates over Valentine’s Day and RS’s Birthday.  I still remember feeling so in love, and truly thinking that was as in love as I’d ever be.  Little did I know, the only way to go was up!  (As in more in love…)

The rest of February was great.  I got to go out to KY with my parents to visit my sis and her fam, for her daughter’s 1st bday.  Then, I had to come back to reality and do taxes.  At least RS and I could spend time together while doing our taxes…not that we could do ours jointly, just in each other’s company.  Which made/makes everything better. : )

Easter was on April 8th, in 2007 and we spent the morning at my home Church and the afternoon with family.  We had a great time celebrating the Lord’s resurrection, and the time with my family was great.  We got to play with my oldest sister’s kiddos which is always a blast.  And then we went to the park to serve an Easter dinner to the homeless in a park downtown.

My birthday is on Tax Day or April 15th, and RS took  me out to dinner at this great Italian restaurant near the place we had our first date!  We dressed up and had a.m.a.z.i.n.g. food and a great time!  We also took a stroll around after dinner, and then RS gave me my gift.  It was this really cool musical instrument I’d wanted.  I’d seen it when we’d visited Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park at the beginning of January, and I could hardly believe my eyes that he’d gotten it for it.

It was SO sweet that he’d done the leg work to find it and order it, and that he’d remembered it, and that he got it in time for my birthday.  And, just that he got it for me.  It was so sweet.  I loved it. Perfect gift, just because so much forethought had gone into it and it was so great. So treasured. So sweet.  It’s a lap harp, called a “Music Maker”.  It’s so cute.  So portable.  So perfect.  And it sounds good too!  : )

To be continued....

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 11

Overall, we had a great Christmas, and a great first Christmas together!  Over the course of the days between seeing each other RS and I would email and call each other.  But, after Christmas, RS’s emails were even sweeter than ever.  He’d write about how happy he was to be marrying me, and how he looked forward to our life together.  I still have all those emails, and as I was looking back through them recently one struck me again.  I think he’d written it after we’d had a disagreement (read: rather big huge blow up fight) and his words still just give me goose bumps.  So here’s an excerpt…. <3

“You, are the woman I want for my wife.  I've spent years searching, and I'm certain no one else will do!  When I gave you that ring, I meant it as a promise to marry you, and I intend to keep that promise. I know God will allow our relationship to be tested, and so refined. So I am confident He will finish the work He started in us, and our love will grow! I know it's quite a mouthful, but this is what I mean when I say "I love you.””

We continued with our usual mid-week date and then a date or two on the weekends.  We really enjoyed spending time together and it didn’t really seem to matter what we were doing, we were having fun.  Even the most simple of things were interesting with RS by my side.  Movies were better, flowers were more vibrant, smells were stronger….ok maybe not all that, but it does help when you have your best friend right beside you! : )

We were counting down the days till the big day, and just couldn’t wait to get married!  In fact, the big day was now only 5 months away.  Time seemed to be flying and standing still at the same time.

I’d been looking for a job since October 31st, when my Engineering Internship had come to an end at CDOT.  So, there I was with a Music degree but still so undecided about what I wanted to do.  All that changed in the middle of January when I got a phone call for an interview with the local School District.

The interview went really well, and the next day I got that wonderful call and job offer!  Of course I took it, and started the following week. The job was working as a Library Assistant in one of the local High Schools.

My first day went really well, and so did the first week.  The teachers were nice, the Librarian was great and the students were fun!  I had never before (and never again) read so much in my life, as I did for that job.  We were supposed to always be reading something, so that we’d have some new book to talk about.  I also just learned so much about the Dewey decimal system, books and people during my time there.  I don’t think I would have changed that opportunity for the world.  You know, I can actually say that about every job I’ve ever had.  But that’s another story… J

My Library Assistant job was for 30 hours a week, so I worked Monday thru Friday 6 hours a day.  It was pretty ideal for anytime in life, but especially when planning a wedding and all!  The contract period was just until May, and if I had the option I would have stayed longer because I grew to love that place, that library.  But, sadly, the discontinued the position, so that wasn’t even an option. : (

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's a Love Story: Chapter 10

The holidays quickly approached and RS and I decided to spend Thanksgiving with my family, and then split time with our families on Christmas.  We had a great Thanksgiving filled with lots of yummy food and fun.  Wedding plans were still getting done and December flew by!  In fact, I think my Mom and I spent more time planning the wedding from October to December than in the Spring….but I suppose that’s how it all goes right?  It was nice to get it things out of the way, but it was pretty stressful.  I’m just glad I had my Mom, who was my best friend, to help me!  And of course RS helped some too. : )

Christmas came and we were excited to spend it together, and with all our family.  We exchanged our gifts pretty early on Christmas morning, while we were at my parent’s house.   I gave RS three things, but the one that really went over well was the watch I got him from Kohl’s.  He still loves it and wears it everyday.  Rumor has it that once he got home after Christmas he had to try on his wedding band to see if it matched.  Cute huh?  Ooops, I probably wasn’t supposed to share that detail.  I think it’s sweet though!  : )

Did I mention before that when he bought my engagement ring and wedding band, he also had the forethought to buy himself a matching wedding band?  I think that’s just so super sweet.  Seriously!  I still have never heard of anyone else doing that.  But that’s my sweetie pie Rocket Scientist! : )  Anyway, back to Christmas, I loved RS’s gifts too, especially the itunes gift card that I proceeded to buy cheesy lovey dovey songs with.  : )

We had Christmas lunch (which my family calls dinner on Christmas because it’s the big meal) with my family at my oldest sister’s house.  There was lots of family, food and fun to be had.  Then when a snow storm started rolling in, we decided it was time to head down  to RS’s parent’s house. We said our “Good byes” and  “Merry Christmas” and left.

RS and I started down the highway and there wasn’t much traffic.  The snow was just pouring down (can you say that with snow?) but the Jeep was doing fine.  So we kept on going.  We were making pretty good time, considering, for the first half of the trip.  But then, there were some slick spots and a traffic jam.  So, what would normally be an hour and half or so drive, ended up being closer to a four hour long drive. : (

Luckily, we had each other in the car.  So we made the most of it.  I made voice impressions and served as the stewardess on board, as well as Navigator and overall good cheer police, while RS kept it between the lines.  We make a pretty good team.  Well, correction, we make a great team.  Once we did make it though, we had a nice time with RS’s parents and siblings, and a great rest of our Christmas!

Needless to say though, we don’t ever plan on doing that again.  Driving on Christmas day, I mean.  As much fun as we had with each other in the car for 4 hours that day, we much rather would have spent it with family.  So, ever since we haven’t driven on Christmas day.

To be continued…..

Mexican Casserole

Here's an easy Mexican Casserole you can make with ingredients right out of your pantry! :)
Mexican Casserole:
1 large can of Chicken Breast (or about 2 c. cooked/diced chicken)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 c. Cooked Brown Rice
12 oz. Salsa 

1 c. MilkCorn tortillas
1/2 c. Cheddar Cheese, shredded

You can either do this in a 9 x 13 pan or some smaller casserole dishes.  I did one medium casserole and two mini ones.

1.  Start out by putting a layer of corn tortillas down on the bottom of your pan(s).  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 2.  Mix together the chicken, soup, milk, salsa and rice. (My salsa had corn and beans in it, just fyi.)
 3.  Put a layer of chicken mixture down, then another tortilla layer.
 4.  Continue layering until you either run out of chicken mixture or get to the top. :)
 5.  Put cheese on the top of the casserole.
 Close up.
 This is one of the two mini ones I made too. :)  Cute huh?
 6.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until it is all heated through and the cheese is melted!
 Serve hot!
Enjoy!  :)

Serves 6 or so, in the 9 x 13 pan. 

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