Saturday, May 16, 2015


I posted some of my daughter's (Staci) engagement photos last week and have been meaning to post more on preparations for the shower, reception and wedding.  This all took place in summer of 2014.  
Naturally, one of the biggest concerns is THE DRESS.  One that matches the personality of the bride, is within budget and is what she has dreamed of.  This can be a time-consuming adventure, albeit a fun, memory-making one.  Living in a rural area, looking online for ideas and dress styles is key.  Of course, we didn't really want to order a dress online but it was a starting point.
We went to Boise for a concert last June (it was great!  American Authors, The Script, and OneRepublic in one great evening) and we did check out a couple of franchise bridal shops.  They had so many of the same dresses and none that stood out to my daughter or matched the style she had in mind.  At least we had  plans to go to a concert so not a waste.
A few weeks later we traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah (my girls had tickets to a Panic at the Disco concert--I went shopping) and Staci had made an appointment to try on wedding dresses at Fairy Godmother's Bridal.  I am not kidding, the second dress she tried on and she KNEW it was the one.  Her sister Ali and I agreed--she looked beautiful!  See for yourself:
The dress was a great price as well! If in the Utah area and looking for lovely, quality dresses and a staff who is extremely helpful and professional, check out
These beautiful photos were taken by a good friend and local photographer, Jerry, at Third Eye Photography in Winnemucca.  He took the time to speak with Staci about her wishes for her reception and the photos and  memories she wanted to cherish for the rest of her life.  Jerry also suggested that Staci have a bridal session prior to the wedding (hers were done about a month in advance of the wedding).  Some lovely photos were taken and it was a fun experience.
Of course, Ali is Staci's younger sister, maid of honor and bestie, so Staci wanted Ali to be a part of the session.
If you can't be fun and silly, what's the point?
We were very pleased that we had THE DRESS and had our photographer for the reception chosen.  Pleased that he had suggested a bridal session beforehand--we have a 16"x24" of the first photo hanging in our home.
Anyone planning a wedding knows this but it is essential that the bride-to-be feels good with her choice of dress and photographer.  The day of her dreams is not a time to be second-guessing the dress or working with someone who is not willing to listen to your plans.  While we were working within a budget and planning on making the centerpieces ourselves, decorating, etc., we wanted this to be a special time for Staci, Jon and the family.  Staci has five older brothers and her dad--they all just did as told:).
More photos and posts to come related to the wedding.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Version of Toll House Cookies

Having a sweet tooth myself, having a husband who likes cookies and having (at one time not so long ago) a houseful of boys, it is no surprise that I have made cookies.  Lots of cookies.
Our favorite is Nestles Toll House cookies.  Sweet, chocolatey goodness.  However, years ago when my husband and I were newlyweds, I was making some of those same cookies when I realized I didn't have butter.  I had already started making the cookies and didn't want to bother with going to the grocery store so I substituted one cup shortening (Crisco) for one cup of butter.
Guess what?  I believed the cookies were better than if they had been made with butter.  They didn't "spread out" as much as they did with butter (we like our cookies chubby haha) and the taste was just as delectable.
Over the years I also learned to not put in the full amount of 2 1/4 cups of flour as sometimes the dough would be dry.  I usually put in 1 3/4 cups to start and then add if I need to.  Just check the consistency.
Do you have a cookie dough fiend in your family?  Who doesn't!  I use pasteurized liquid egg product for my cookies, cakes, and other baking.  The health concern isn't there with a pasteurized product.
I also like to mix it up by using not only semi-sweet chocolate chips but also a mixture of various baking chips such as milk chocolate, butterscotch, white chocolate, and have even been known to chop up various candy bars as an add-in.  No nuts, though.  My family is not a big fan of cookies with nuts.
These are just my ideas and opinions but thought I would share.
Happy Baking!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bacon, Onion, Potato, Beans, Chorizo & Cheese Foil Dinners

To my surprise, my husband came across foil dinners the other day and had never heard of them- so of course we had to make one!  He looked up different kinds of dinners and decided he wanted one that included bacon, onions, and potatoes.

Foil dinners really are simple and you can use just about anything.  Vegetables, potatoes, cheese, many types of meats, etc.  They are quick, easy, and fun!  While we were originally just going to do the bacon, potato, onion, and cheese, my husbands brother had also happened to cook up some black bean and chorizo together.  My husband decided we should add that in with our other ingredients-- and I'm glad he did!
What you will need:
Non-stick cooking spray
Thinly sliced potatoes
Chopped up onions (sauteed to taste)
Cooked bacon (cut up)
Cheese (optional)
Black beans (optional)
Chorizo (optional) - Chorizo is a pork sausage. You can get it ground up or in links.
Seasoning to taste

First you will want to spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.  Then place the potatoes, cooked bacon, and onion in the foil.  If you are interested in adding the black beans and chorizo, simply cook up some chorizo and add some beans and mix them together, then add them in the foil as well.  Top it with cheese, wrap up the foil, and cook for 30-35 minutes at 350.  Top with sour cream if desired.  Enjoy!

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