Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I went crazy with my holiday baking a few days ago and made some new recipes that we loved! Here are a few of the recipes I used that people have requested. This Cookies and Cream fudge was so great and easy to make!!

Cookies 'n' Creme Fudge

3 (6 ounce) packages white chocolate baking squares
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups coarsely crushed chocolate creme-filled sandwich cookies

In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt white chocolate squares, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat; stir in crushed cookies.
Spread evenly into wax-paper-lined 8-inch square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm.
Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off paper and cut into squares. Store leftovers covered in

Neiman Marcus Bars

1 package yellow cake mix1 egg
slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter -- melted

8 ounces chocolate chips
3/4 cup nuts -- chopped

8 ounces cream cheese
eggs -- slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

Mix crust ingredients together well. Press in bottom of 9x13" pan. Press in the chocolate chips and nuts. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, eggs and vanilla. Pour over all. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 300º.

I made all of these right before out Christmas parties we went to this weekend (and right before my gallbladder surgery to go out with a bang!!) I had my surgery yesterday and everything went well besides the 5 hour wait we encountered before the surgery...I am just resting at home today trying to get better! Thanks for all the prayers!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Feels like Winter in Whister!!

We are hanging out in our room by the fireplace while we are in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia! We got here on Saturday and it has gotten a little colder each day - today is only 39! It is snowing up in the mountains but not in the Village quite yet! We have gone out in the Village everyday shopping and eating but this is the off season for the town so it is pretty quite. They are getting ready for ski season in a couple months! Here are a few pictures from our trip so far...

Halloween is right around the corner and I found a cute clown costume for Chief! Enjoy the pictures! (He hated it but was a good sport!)

A picture of all our kiddos - they wait for me on the stairs when they hear the garage door open! Cheese, Chief, Princess and Chad!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting Ready for the Holidays!

This is going to be the first year we are away from our families for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas too! So we decided to make the best of it and have gotten together with our friends here to plan a big Thanksgiving celebration! I am going to host a brunch here with a few good friends so we can lounge and watch football all day...then our friends Jette and Ryan and hosting a big dinner at their house that will be a lot of fun! We will miss our families but I am sue this is something we will have to get used to:)

There are so many cool places to go here around the holidays too! We are going to try to make it to Leavenworth, WA for the Christmas lighting ceremonies in December. It is a Bavarian town set out east in the mountains! Hopefully we will get a chance to go there for the holidays this year!

But anyway, we are off to Whistler this weekend! We leave Saturday and will come back Wednesday! We are really looking forward to going to such a neat town where the Olympics were held earlier this year...It is about a 4 and a half hour drive north and we will go through Vancouver also! We are staying at a neat resort right in the village of Whister and our room has our own private sauna in it! I was checking the weather and it looks like we will get to be there for the first snows of the season on Tuesday and Wednesday, so hopefully we will be able to make it home like planned on Wednesday!

The Village of Whistler!

Our Resort - The Mountainside Lodge! The heated pool is open year round!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

So its been a while! Many new and exciting changes are happening! I was able to go back to Kansas about a week ago for Lucas and Lauren Bingham's wedding...it was good to see the family and Clay was home too!

I also got a new JOB!! I am working with a Financial Planner like I was back in Kansas City. I am really excited about the opportunities I will have working with Bill Sydor with the Householder Group. It is just a part time position for now so I am still working a few days at World Market too! I am keeping busy at work and Traveling!!

We have a vacation booked to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada for October 22-27th that we are really looking forward to! It is supposed to be a very cool town set in the Mountains where the Olympics were earlier this year...

I also have a trip booked to Scottsdale, AZ with my work for the first week in November which will be great training for me!

Well here is a great recipe that Audrey made for me and Mike last time we were home. I have made is a couple times and it is a big hit and very easy! Enjoy!

Sopapilla Cheesecake:

Mix together 1/2 cup sugar with 1 TBS ground cinnamon. Set aside.

Mix (in mixer) 1 cup sugar, 2 packages cream cheese- softened, and 1 TSP vanilla until well blended.

Take 1 package of crescent roll dough and press in bottom of an 8x13 (ish) pan and close seams.

Evenly spread cream cheese mixture over bottom crescent roll dough. Top with 2nd package of crescent roll dough (closing seams).

Pour 1/2 stick of melted butter (or margarine) over top.

Then add the cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes (recipe calls for 30 min but in my experience thats too long. I check it at 20 and go from there. You will see that the crescent layer has risen and the sugar and butter have candied themselves.) Serve warm (and yummy cold, too!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Portland and more...

We went to Portland last weekend! It is a pretty cool city set on a big river...we went to the Saturday market and Voodoo doughnuts where we stood in line for over an hour! We also went to Multnomah Falls! We met Tom and Amanda at the falls and did a mile hike straight up to get to the top of the falls!

We had a great time with Tom and Amanda in town for a few days! We went to Seattle and saw all the big spots along with the Troll under Fremont bridge...It was a perfect day!! We also showed them around Tacoma and took them kayaking on the Puget Sound! It was good to have some old friends come up and visit!

While they were here we grilled out and they taught us how to grill peaches and it is so good!! All you do is cut the peach in half and take the pit out...then dip the peach into a little melted butter and then dip into a brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and grill face down! I think they grilled them for about 4-5 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Travel Travel and more Traveling!

So I LOVE our location here in Washington because we can get to so many places in such a short time! We are about 3 hours south of Vancouver, BC and 2 hours north of Portland...

We booked a weekend trip to Portland next weekend! Tom and Amanda are driving up from Denver and will meet us in Portland on Sunday then they are coming up to stay with us on Wednesday! We can't wait to see them!

I also booked a trip today to WHISTLER BC! I have heard it is such a cool town up in the mountains we are excited to spend a week there in October! Whistler is about 5 hours north set in a valley of some beautiful mountains where the 2010 Olympics were held! We got a loft room that sleeps 6 and had a sauna in the upstairs bathroom so hopefully we will get some people to go with us!

I want to see all that we can while we are up here...we have done a lot but have not even made a dent in all we want to do!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I have started cooking a lot more since we moved out here! I wanted to share a few of my new favorite recipes!

Gnocchi served with a Bacon & Peas CreBoldam Sauce -
I had never had gnocchi till I moved out here, we sell it at World Market and we love it now!


Salt & pepper to taste

Prep the Ingredients

and slice the onion into rings and separate them. Mince the garlic and cut the bacon lengthwise and then into 1-½ strips. Thaw the peas anyway you like and grate the Parmesan.
Assemble the rest of the ingredients and you are ready to go.
How to Make at Home

Start by heating up a large pot of water for cooking the gnocchi. You don’t want the sauce ready and have to wait for the gnocchi to cook although they don’t take but 2 minutes to cook.

Heat your sauté pan over medium-high heat to get it hot. Add the oil and butter to the pan and when the butter is melted and hot, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.

Add the bacon and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until the bacon doesn’t have that white fatty look any more. You don’t want the bacon crisp, just cook through. The down side of using bacon over Pancetta is the bacon takes longer to cook but if that’s what you have available, what the heck.

Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, stirring up any of the bacon bits that may be sticking to the pan. Add the cream and then the peas. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes and you will notice the sauce start to thicken.

Right after you add the cream you want to start cooking the gnocchi. They only take 2 –3 minutes to cook but by the time you cook and drain them the sauce will be finished. You will know when the gnocchi are done because they float to the top of the water.

Add the drained gnocchi to the sauce along with the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Give it a gentle stir and cook to warm up and incorporate the sauce with the gnocchi.

Creamy Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
2¾ hours

Yummy!! Free up your oven and cook this classic dish in your crock pot! I made this is my taller older, 4 qt. crock pot rather than my new larger oval shaped one that tends to run hot. This could also be baked in the oven if necessary.
1 lb
4 tablespoons
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use combination of freshly shredded medium cheddar and extra sharp cheddar)
10 1/2 ounces cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
12 ounces
evaporated milk
1/4 cup
sour cream
eggs, beaten (optional)
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon

Cook macaroni 4-6 minutes, keeping macaroni very al dente. Drain. Toss hot pasta with butter.
In a greased crock pot, add cheese, soup, milk, sour cream, eggs, salt, pepper and mustard powder. Mix to combine.
Add pasta to crock pot. Stir to combine well. Cook on low 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Careful because when I cooked mine 30 min too long, it started to become grainy!).

What a fun weekend!

It was nice and hot in Washington this weekend so we took advantage! We took our friends to the airport Friday and then on the way back we took the scenic route on the way home and fell in love with Des Monies, WA - The waterfront is so pretty!
Saturday we got up early and headed west to the Olympic National Rainforest - We went to Lake Quinault and did some hiking and lots of driving! We saw the worlds largest Spruce tree and one of the largest Oak trees!
Worlds largest Spruce Tree (above)

Oak Tree and inside the tree! (below)

Then we headed another 15 miles west to the coast! We started at Moclips beach and headed south hitting all the beaches on the way down...Pacific beach was our favorite! You can drive on all the beaches here in Washington so we would drive on the highway till we saw a sign for "beach access" then we would cut over to the beach and head south on it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Today is Mikes last day on this detail he has been working since Friday. He has been driving around a 2 Star General that is just in town for a few days. He has they next few days off so we will be getting out to go hiking! We have gotten out and hiked a few places - Little Mt Si / Mount Pete in Enumclaw / Point Defiance / Lime Klin State Park and we have many more that we want to accomplish!

We are looking forward to our trip back to Kansas later this month for Ken and Carley's wedding! I will be home July 28-Aug 4th (wed-wed) and Mike will be home July 30-Aug 3rd (Fri-Tues). We are excited to see everyone but not looking forward to the HOT weather....It is about 65 here today but going to be in the 70's all week! We can get used to this kind of weather! We did have 2 days in the upper 80's-90 and everyone was dying up here because the homes don't have a/c in them! Our condo was up to 87!!

I only work 2 days this week so hopefully will be getting out a lot and enjoying the weather!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So I am going to try "blogging" out and see if I can keep up with it! We have been having so much adventure together ever since we have been married and especially this past year with joining the Army and moving up to Tacoma, WA! We have been exploring so much since we have been here and will hopefully be able to do more this summer! Mike is working a special traning this summer that is keeping him busy during the weekends which is driving me crazy because we are not able to do anything on the weekends...but hopefully this will change soon?!?
Well anyway just want to share what all we have been able to do since we moved here in mid-March.
Victoria, BC - we took the Victoria Clipper Boat from Seattle for an overnight trip we loved!

Snoqualimie Falls - The falls a beautiful and there is a nice 1/2 mile hike down to the bottom!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - It was pretty but we sat in so much traffic so we will not go again!

Little Mt Si - this is a 2.6 mile hike to the summit and it is a tough hike but we did it! We plan to do Mt Si which is a 4 mile one way hike soon!

Downtown Seattle - we have gone to Seattle many times! Pike Place Market - Gas Works Park - Waterfront - Aquarium (not so cool:( ) - Ballord Docks (Deadliest Catch Boats) - The Boat Locks

Ocean Shores - We spent Easter Sunday on the Washington Coast - It was chilly but a neat coast! You can drive on the beach and the waves are the largest I have ever seen!

Puyallup Spring Fair - We went to a country concert - Justin Moore!

My parents came out in May and we did a love of exploring!

Mt Rainier/ North West Trek - This was a fun day! It was a white out snow storm at Paradise Point in the end of May! We also go to feed cute little foxes!

Bainbridge Island & Ferry - We drove up to Bainbridge stopping at a Lavender Farm for my mom on the way - it is a cute Island! Then took the ferry to Seattle!

San Juan Islands/ Friday Harbor - We spent a night in Friday harbor and got to see whales both days!

Deception Pass State Park - This was pretty and the water was a cool green color!

Port Townsend Ferry - This was a tiny ferry that we almost missed! Glad we caught it because it was a cute town!