M.I.A Part Two

So as i mentioned in the last post, I’ve been in Arizona and on the lake for the last two weeks. Man, i needed a vacation. So last week was a dream! A great friend of ours has a house right on the water and offered to let us stay for the week. Just me, Marissa and her roomie, Emily! It was beautiful, relaxing and so much fun!

To kick the week off, the weather decided to go nuts. We had one of the craziest thunderstorms I’ve ever been in. It was an intense downpour, the power kept turning off, the sky looked like a light show and there was the loudest, scariest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life. It would shake the entire house, it was that crazy. I didnt fall asleep till 5am because i was so in awe of everything. Marissa, of course, slept like a baby. No clue how.

Anyway, the next day we went grocery shopping and got to cooking! Now… i love to cook. But im bad at it. Marissa loves to cook and she’s AMAZING at it. One thing you need to know is that she is a nutritionist/dietitian/food genius. Just look at what we got at check out. I’ve never been in the produce section longer in my life. So not only does she cook amazing food, its super healthy too!

ITS DELISH. Seriously. So the first night, we had a shrimp salad. Pretty basic right? Nope. Theres beets in there. And mangos. And awesomness. Oh and the best tasting shrimp I’ve ever had. Did i mention beets? And they were insane. Seriously, who eats beets? Dwight Schrute would even be impressed with how freaking good these beets were.

I did a TON of reading all week. While tanning. So I’m pretty burnt.

Mimosas and Sense and Sensibility. love.

I think Maggie had a good time too. She basically rolled in the grass like this for about 4 hours. Every day. I love that crazy pup.

Enjoyed painting while staring at the beautiful lake.

Ok so this has to be one of my favorite nights of the week.

This is Marissa sayin “halla!” to the awesome lake.

Ok just pause. Seriously… stop scrolling and just look at this next shot. This is a small yet oh so lovely shot of heaven. We sat on a table right on the dock and ate the best meal of my life. Salmon smothered with mango chutney and an onion/avacado sauce with grilled onions and asparagus and delish potatoes. Of course a salad with bell peppers, some fruit ive never heard of, and other types of rock-your-face-off awesomeness. Come on. You know you’re hungry.

Afterwards I was challenged to make a fire in the firepit next to the house. Of course i love a good challenge. BUT because of my friend’s impatience, they decided to soak my beautiful, well built, could-have-stayed-lit-by-itself fire in lighter fluid. I may or may not have eyebrows. It was around this time that our lovely, very country neighbor, Larry, decided to bless us with his presence. This guy was awesome. He brought us over marshmallows, hot dogs (though we were pretty stuffed already) and a ton of wine (like we really needed it). He gave us some quality advice on the Do’s and Don’ts of dating, marriage and life in general. Our favorite Larry quote of the night was when he was talking about his wife of three years that he was insanely in love with “I was on her like a cat on a junebug!”

On thursday we went for a little drive through Kingsland, Texas. Check out those freakin blue bonnets!

We went to a local winery called Lost Creek Vineyard (who desperately need me to design them a new webpage) and they also had a restaurant called Tree House Bistro. A friend highly recommended them, said the wine and the food was delish and at 15 bucks a plate, totally worth it. Whelp, since it was really 25 bucks a plate, that was a downer, but the food was fantastic. We had a sample of all their wines as well which was super. Their Sinfonia De Ranas wasnt worth paying for since it was basically grape juice (i am no wine buff so this is coming from someone who doesnt know what shes talking about). But really… if you like super sweet wines that are CRAZY juice like… then buy a case. Im not down with the juice type so i downed it and quickly moved on to their white. A 2006 Blanc Du Bois was incredibly dry but went really well with an appetizer (we got the Calamari). The last, my favorite, and of course the most expensive was their red called “Buddy’s Select Reserve”. I’m down with reds and always dig a good blend, though it was slightly strange to find out Mr. Buddy was actually a dog. Did he select the grapes? Was puppy Buddy the inspiration for this delish Merlot/Cab blend? We will never know.

Initially we were the first people in the entire place (for happy hour, of course) so we were slightly concerned that this “great eats” wasnt so great. But as you see, by the end of our third taster, people decided to show up.

Emily, Me and Marissa!

Here we are finally seated and enjoying our lovely grub. I got the stuffed chicken because it was the cheapest (Lord knows i wanted that $38 Beef Tenderloin) but i was actually blown away by a fabulous meal. Marissa and Emily both got the Chili-Cumin Fried Snapper because well… Marissa loves her some chili powder. No, for serious, she puts it on everything.

Most of the week was just spent reading, painting and spending time with friends and the Lord. What a blessing! Love you ladies (and gents!) that came out for the week! Have you guys had any relaxing vacations lately? Or crazy ones?




“Just call Bill”

First off, i wrote this post maybe 2 weeks ago… thats just how crazy my head is right now. Wedding planning is nuts… i dont think i’ve mentioned that enough. Without further adieu, here is past Rachel…

Yesterday, (aka 2 weeks ago) Kenny, Ashley (my good friend and planner) and I went to our dinner tasting. First off, let me just say that was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while… granted i eat a lot of pizza and mac & cheese… but holy cow. And for half the cost of all the other caterers i found heres advice i took that you should too… Just call Bill. A good friend of mine is a wedding planner and i starting talking about all the ridiculous quotes we were getting on food and she gave me a number and said “Just call Bill”. This guy is awesome… we had a 3 hour 8 course meal that was absolutely delish.

Everything is Tapas (not topless… dont mix up the two) so its small portions but everything is delish and filling. But not that too-full-i-can-no-longer-enjoy-how-good-that-food-was type of full. I dont like that full. Side note: the first time me and Kenny hung out it was for my BFFs bday at a Tapas bar and Kenny was very confused when i invited him. I then told him “The food is delicious!” Which i think just confused him more since he thought i was at a topless bar eating chicken wings. So understand TAPAS not TOPLESS.. moving on…

So anyway, this isnt at all what we ate but its a good example of what it looked like. I lied. What i ate looked 20 times better…

First off, here is the menu:


Clove, Szechuan Peppercorn and Star Anise infused Pomegranate Juice

Hibiscus infused Agua Fresca


Croustade of Double Cream Brie, Carmelized Pear, Pancetta- Red Onion Relish Micro Arugula


Pumpkinseed Crusted Goat Cheese Mouse. Paquillo Pepper, Blue Corn Tuile, Pumpkinseed – Red Chili Oil – Micro Cilantro

“Peas and Carrots”

Galangal, Kaffir Lime and Coconut Milk infused Carrot “Panna Cotta,” Pea Tendri, Mint Garnish


Sandwich of Spanish Style Smoked Pimentono Egg Salad. Applewood Smoked Bacon Baby Arugula


Frittata of Hot Italian Sausage, Spinach and Caramalized Onion Grated Asiago


Skewered 5 Cheese Tortellini Cilantro Pecan Pesto


“Martini” of Shrimp Escabeche, Black Olives, Mint


Brochette of Malaysian Style Grilled Sirloin Shitake Mushroom, Shiso, Kaffir Lime – Soy Syrup, Dijon Mustard Cream

Back to present Rachel. I know its probably a bad idea to post this… and post about my dress, and post about my shoes but heck, I’ve always been an open book, why stop now? Plus after reading my delish menu, thats even MORE reason (like you needed more) to come to my wedding! I really wish i took pictures of everything, im definitely kicking myself for not.. but i definitely would have felt unbride-ish if i broke out my dslr in the middle of a fancy dinner. Then again, i dont think im a typical bride…

And for those who have no idea what a lot of those fancy words meant… heres the official Rachslation…


Pomegranate Juice with stuff in it

Fancy flavored water


Cheese, on toast with Pear stuff on top.


Cheese ball, red pepper, fancy blue corn chip on top

“Peas and Carrots”

Carrot soup stuff thats not a soup since its solid but its really nom nom nomable


 Egg Salad sandwich with bacon. We’re not talking the lame egg salad but a really really good kind.


First off, who ever calls this frittata? Its called quiche with sausage and cheese.


Skewered 5 Cheese Tortellini Cilantro Pecan Pesto – well that one actually is exactly what it sounds like. Except only the most amazing tortellini and pesto ever invented.


Shrimp in stuff


Beef + amazing sauce + mushrooms = heaven on a stick. I call dibs on 12 of these at the wedding. Im the bride. i do what i want.

So the moral of this story is, never ever ever take your first offer. Or your first caterer. I definitely got someone tons cheaper plus tons more of the yummy. Yup, i does grammer good.


$13,000 for hors d’oeuvres?!

I have officially realized that everyone needs to quit their day job and just work weddings. There is a RIDICULOUS amount of money in them. I always knew there was a lot but dang! So first off, let me tell you that i have a wedding planner. Pretty much a must unless you  have no job and really nothing else to do but plan a wedding…t this is definitely a full time job! My wedding planner is the bomb dot com. She takes away any stress, makes me laugh and reminds me daily that weddings are supposed to be FUN! Who knew, right? Anyway, so we’ve decided to go fairly inexpensive on the food side of the budget. Sorry if you’re coming… no lobster for you! We just have a lot of other places are bigger priorities – like the photographer – seriously, unless i had someone fabulous, I know i would be correcting them the whole time, telling them what to do and stressing that they will just mess everything up.

So the plan was to have lots of fun hors d’oeuvres! Check these guys out:

Why hello there, Tiramisu shot glasses…

Mini tacos? I just died…

Oh my goodness, how cute is this table? Love it!

So you’d think serving up fun little foods would be delish and not too much $$$. Umm, wrong. Apparently it’s about half the budget! Forget that. You guys are getting peanuts.


*As always, click on images for original sources!

And the organizing begins…

I think I am one of the only women in the world to not yet do this but here we go… what do you get when you mix a basket and 2 cute $1 cups?

A mani/pedi basket!

I’m sure everyone reading this has already done something similar… but for some reason i never did. And yesterday I wanted to do my nails and realized my clippers were in one place, my nailpolish remover in another and then nail polish in about 15 different places… So voila!

Of course i had to do my nails after i put together this fun lil kit… so went crazy with some french tips and purple toes! So though this was no huge feat but it is definitely a step towards organized. This also works for anything else you might have cluttered all over your home. Think of something that you have a lot of a organize! Jars, baskets, drawers, trays… be creative and get organized!

Oh, and heres my delish lunch!

Spinach + chicken + teriyaki sauce. Its inexpensive, fast, healthy and delish! What more could you ask for in a 2 minute lunch? BTW, go out and get Soy Vay Teriyaki sauce… NO, im not sponsored by them (though i should with how much of it i eat) but it is by far the best I’ve ever tasted except the stuff you can get in Tianjin which really, you cant compete with authentic but its close!

Eggnog Snickerdoodles!

i know, right?! PLEASE someone make these and tell me how they taste! See the original post here by Let’s Dish!

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons rum extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar + 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, for coating cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs and rum extract.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Beat the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.  Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg in a small bowl. Shape the dough into rounded tablespoons; roll in sugar and nutmeg.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are just set and starting to crack.

Let’s Dish
Snickerdoodles are the perfect base for this quick, festive holiday cookie.  Straight out of the oven, the eggnog taste isn’t as strong, but give these cookies some time and the eggnog flavor will develop.  Sometimes, I add a dash of nutmeg right into the batter, along with an extra splash of rum extract, for a little more eggnog flavor.

Thanks Danelle! Cant wait to try out your brilliant recipe…