Pioneer Woman’s Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce

Three years ago I made a note to myself that I wanted to make The Pioneer Woman’s Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce. It looked and sounded delightful. But in general when we cook at home we tend to pick healthier meals that don’t cost just a ton. And Rib-Eye Steaks don’t come cheap. ;) Well, the opportunity finally came earlier this week! Monday was Christopher’s first day at his new job and I felt like a steak and potato dinner was needed for celebration. :) So I pulled out this recipe and oh-my-gracious, I am glad I did! It is like a little taste of heaven.

whiskey

First you have to have whiskey. True story, I’ve never bought whiskey before. Ever. I’d never even tasted it. I honestly didn’t realize that you couldn’t get it at your grocery store. It took me a good minute before I realized that you have to go to an actual free standing liquor store. Ha! I walked into the liquor store and immediately someone walked up to me and asked if they could help me. Either I looked totally lost or they figured I was underage. ;)

I explained to him that I needed the smallest bottle of whiskey they had and they told me to just ask the clerk for a “two shot bottle” that they keep behind the desk at the front. Turns out, it was the perfect amount! I used exactly half of my two shot bottle for the recipe which is perfect because it gives me just enough to make it again! :D Oh, and Christopher and I both tried whiskey from the bottle for the first time… he took the smallest sip and I had like two drops in my mouth… and both of us made this horrible face at each other. And then grabbed our noses as they started to burn. It was terrible. I’m not sure how anyone drinks that stuff. But then I guess it’s like a lot of things – just an acquired taste. But I digress…

rib eye steak with whiskey cream sauce

pioneer woman's rib eye steak with whiskey cream sauceClick recipe card to see larger. Original recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Because she’s the bomb dot com. :D

You guys, it’s unreal how good this was. Like, there just are not words for how amazing it is. I actually fudged just a little and bought one rib eye steak and one sirloin steak. I just wanted to know if it would be just as good. The rib eye was better, but the sirloin was pretty amazing too! And rib eye isn’t something we’d buy often (I mean, $14/lb… my gracious!). But we will totally make this recipe again, but with a cheaper cut of meat! And if we have something exciting to celebrate again then we might go all out and get rib eye steak again! :) We plan to make this sauce again and put it over burgers this weekend. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! You guys, make it. Seriously. Do it. You won’t regret it!

Are there any recipes that you save for special occasions? 
Have you made any Pioneer Woman recipes? I love them all!
Love Rach

 

Be Free {Girls’ Retreat}

This past weekend was my last girls’ retreat with my teen girls. Oh my gracious, how are they seniors already?!

my girlsI know I keep writing about “oh my goodness, they are growing up so fast” every time I talk about my girls this year, but it’s just that I know this is my last year with them. And come May, they will be all be graduating on me. I’m so glad that we got to spend this weekend together. I love these sweet souls!

laura jean and rachLaura Jean was our speaker this weekend. It was the first time I had seen her since she was the youth intern for the kids I mentor two years ago. I loved getting to know her back then and it was SO good to catch with her! She and I share some of the same passions and our conversations were a definite answer to some of my recent prayers. I love moments like that when God speaks through His people. :)

be free collageThe theme of the weekend was “Be Free” so at one point the girls wrote down things that they need to be free from. Then we went outside and threw eggs filled with paint at the canvas they had written on. It ended up being a beautiful piece of art. :)

be free artAll the girls with the canvas!

the great steak knife rescueWe started heading to bed around 1am the first night we were there. I was getting ready for bed when one of my girls came running in the room telling me that Sara had gotten locked in the bathroom and couldn’t get out. I went to check out the situation and sure enough, when you twisted the door knob, the latch bolt wouldn’t retract like it’s supposed to. Sara is a little bit claustrophobic so time was of the essence. I needed a flat-head screwdriver, but knew there wouldn’t be one around. So instead I ran down to the kitchen and looked for a regular dinner knife. There was none to be found. So I grabbed the only thing that I thought might work – a super sharp steak knife. I nearly cut my finger off trying to rescue her, but after enough maneuvering of the latch bolt, I finally got it open! She was so relieved! Hence the photos you see above. :) Also, we joke a lot about that last photo because you can see the steak knife so clearly and taken out of context, it’s kind of a terrifying photo. ;) What’s even more funny is that one of the other girls didn’t hear about this happening and managed to lock herself in the same bathroom the next night. I rescued her the same way and felt pretty awesome about it. ;) #beast #macgyver

bee rock - be freeEarly on Saturday morning before the girls got up, myself and two of the other chaperones hiked up and down Bee Rock (at Camp Wyldewood which is where we were) to write out the words “BE FREE” in rocks where the girls could see it from the top of the mountain. This is a shot of it from the top! It turned out great! :)

bee rock singingThe girls singing praise songs at the top of Bee Rock.

Normally our girls’ retreats are held at a place in Alabama, but this year we went to Camp Wyldewood in Arkansas. I actually went to camp there for 6 years and was a counselor there for 2 years. It was SO good to be back. There will always be a special place in my heart for Wyldewood. :)

rach and girlsMe with some of the girls at the top of Bee Rock

girlsAll of us! :)

sunriseSunrise on the last morning. It was absolutely gorgeous. :)

I always love spending time with my girls, but this past weekend was the best girls’ retreat we’ve had. The location was a wonderful bonus, but really it was the conversations we had that made it so great. I love my girls and I love seeing the ladies that they are growing into. :)

- Have you ever had to rescue someone using unusual or unorthodox means?
- Have you been hiking recently? All the hiking this weekend reminded me just how much I love it and miss it!
- Did you grow up going to a camp or retreats? Did you have a favorite year?
Love Rach

A few of my favorite bloggers…

In the 11 years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve had a lot of casual friendships come and go online. And even a couple of ladies who I was really close to at one point that drifted away. Ladies who I’ve shared a year or two of emails back and forth, sharing prayer requests, and our lives. And then life gets busy, and the friend fades away slowly with promises to keep in touch that often don’t happen. I’ve never been upset at someone for doing this. I did it myself when I went to college. I understand that as your life changes, your priorities change. And often, blogging isn’t one of the things people hold on to.

So today, I want to honor a few of my long-term blog friends. Ladies who I have known and been friends with for at least 2 years or more. Ladies who have read and responded to the majority of my posts since they started reading. We have emailed and texted and Skyped and met face to face. We have prayed for each other, supported each other, and loved each other. In order of how long I’ve known them:

Nicole @ Just Live It – 4 years
Liz @ Tip Top Shape – nearly 4 years
Christina @ Hungry Meets Healthy – nearly 4 years
Allie @ Allie’s Life – 3.5 years
Tia @ Tialla’s Tellings – 3.5 years
Brittany @ Blissful Britt – 3 years
Hope @ With a Side of Hope – 3 years
Rachel @ The New Normal – 3 years
Amy @ A Desert Girl – nearly 3 years
Brittany @ Brittany A. Ray – nearly 3 years
Allison @ Nestful of Love – 2.5 years
Janna @ Perception is Everything – 2.5 years
Casey @ Heart of a Woman – 2 years
Christina @ Christina Does it All – 2 years
Jayda @ Avocado Grove – 2 years
Amy @ Taking Steps Home – 2 years
LynAn @ Encounter – 2 years
Elle @ Elle Sees – 2 years

I’ve also become close with several bloggers who haven’t quite met the 2 year mark (I’ve noticed that if I stay in touch with someone for at least two years, then we are more likely to remain friends even if they quit blogging). So next year, I plan to do this again and hopefully each of those ladies I’ve been friends with for this past year will be on next year’s list! :)

What’s funny to me is how many of these ladies are actually friends with each other too! When I see one of my blog friends commenting on another blog friend’s post, I’m always like “hey! I’m friends with her too!” and it just makes the world seem a little smaller. I feel like if we all sat down in a room together, we’d have the best time laughing and sharing stories. :) So check these ladies out, you might just find a new friend!
Love Rach

Why I Blog

I shared with you guys my history of blogging and why I began blogging, but now I want to share with you guys why I continue to blog today. :)

screenshot

I blog because I want to have a recorded history of our life. I love looking back through old posts on this blog and reliving small moments that I would have otherwise forgotten. I do keep a personal prayer journal, but I love that on the blog, it’s easy to put photos and videos alongside my words. I love to have so many of our life stories together in one place. And it helps to keep up with recipes and favorite restaurants and our travels. :)

rach and chris at white rock{the only photo I have of me having coffee with someone, haha! My little sister took this earlier this year in Dallas}

I blog to have a conversation.  It’s like going out for coffee with a friend. Just like when I meet up with a friend here in Memphis to hang out and I share with them about a great place I ate or a meal I cooked or about our vacation or my thoughts about random life things… I do that with you guys here. And what I love is that it’s a conversation… which means it’s two-way. Just like when I meet up with a friend in person and we both share what’s happening in our lives… the same thing happens through blogging. I share, you respond. And then you share, and I respond. It’s a conversation. That’s why the blogs I follow and comment on are the ones who have done the same for me. Not because it’s an “I’m following you, you follow me” sort of agreement, but because there is a relationship there. There are only two blogs I read regularly that don’t comment on mine: the Pioneer Woman’s and a local Memphis blog (to keep up with city happenings). Other than that, I read blogs because they belong to people who are as invested in me as I am in them. You know, my friends. :)

rach and casey2{me and Casey from earlier this year}

This ties into the last one, but I blog because of the support system I have found here. My friendships in the blog world aren’t limited to geography. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Memphis friends and am so thankful for them. But I am also so grateful for my blog friends. We are friends not because we live in the same city and it’s convenient, but because we have so much in common. Because we share passions, because we share our hearts with each other. I have made so many friends through blogging over the years as well as some true best friends. Friendships that happen outside just commenting on each other’s blogs. Friendships that moved to long emails, Skype/phone calls, texting, and even meeting in person. Friendships that include praying for each other and being a true support system.

I wish I could tell you all the details now, but this public blog is not currently the place for this story. But I have to say that I have recently been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from my blog friends. I am beyond grateful for all of you guys. Those of you who I’ve known for years and those of you who I am just now getting to know! Blogging has been such a blessing in my life. This is why I blog. :)

Why do you blog?
Love Rach

My Blogging History

Recently I have been thinking a lot about blogging and the blessing it has been to my life. So this week I am going to share my thoughts on all of this. Beginning with… my very own personal history of blogging. :) 11 years ago I started my very first blog. I had a Xanga way back in high school (anyone else?? anyone? Christopher had one too!).

xanga{source}

I started it as a way to keep in touch with my friends while I was back in the States in the summers. I actually hardly updated it that first summer, but I enjoyed the little writing that I did so when I got back to China, I just continued the blog. I made some wonderful friends through the internet during that time back when the internet was still scary and the only people on it were stalkers. Okay, obviously that’s not true, but that was definitely the stereotype about “making friends online” at the time. But I met some amazing Christians during that time who really challenged my faith and my beliefs. And I am still friends with several of them today. :) So blogging and becoming friends with people I’ve never met has been pretty normal to me since I was a teenager. :)

teen rach on laptopMe in 2000 just after we had moved to Wuhan, China. I actually didn’t start my blog until 2003, but this is the only shot I have of me from those years on a computer so it seemed appropriate. {ps. hello awkward years 13 year old Rach}

When I graduated high school the next year and went off the college, I definitely wrote less, but I would still update every now and then. By the time I graduated college, there was this thing called Facebook and essentially I had begun microblogging there without realizing it. I shared my photos and stories there all just in shorter form. But then I got married and I needed a place to store my recipes.

rach cookin

I was a newly wed and cooking up a storm all the time. My mom and sisters and I were constantly emailing each other back and forth with recipes and our adjustments to them. I realized it would be easier if I just started a blog where I could keep the recipes publicly so we didn’t have to keep up with all the emails. So I started a blog over at webs.com. Had there been a Pinterest at the time, I probably never would have started it. So for probably the only time I will ever say this… I’m glad Pinterest didn’t exist yet at that point. ;) I shared recipes as I made them and I would write out random thoughts on Fridays. I would link the posts to my Facebook and that was all the community/readership I was looking for at the time.

buying a house

Then in 2010 we bought a foreclosure. And we spent the summer fixing it up and videoing our progress as we went. We shared the videos on Facebook and I realized how much I had missed sharing my life with people and hearing them respond. So that November, almost exactly 4 years ago, I started this blog. I still post recipes sometimes, but it isn’t the focus of this blog. It has sort of morphed into an “our life” sort of blog along the way. If we’re eating it, making it, traveling to it, experiencing it… I want to share it with you. And I’ll write more later this week why blogging has become so important to me. But for today, this is just the history of where I came from with blogging. :)

 comments

Early in this particular blog’s life, it kind of exploded. I easily had anywhere from 50-100 comments on each post. And I loved it. I loved feeling heard. That people were reading my thoughts and responding. And I read every blog of every person who commented on my blog. And I would leave comments back. But there were SO many blogs to keep up with that I found myself getting everyone’s stories mixed up. And I would speed read through posts just trying to keep up instead of letting relationships develop. I enjoyed all the comments and attention, but blogging for me wasn’t about building a big popular blog. {not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, I love me some Pioneer Woman!} For me, I wanted to share my life and then in turn get to know my readers. So I started picking and choosing favorite blogs. Ladies who I had a lot in common with. And I pursued those relationships. There was a time when I reguarly (attempted) to read well over 100 blogs. Today I keep up with 30 and most of them don’t update every day.

rach blogging

So yes, I have far fewer comments now. But I know the ladies who comment on my blog. I know about their passions and hobbies and families. I talk to Christopher about them in passing and he knows who I’m talking about. It is no more unusual for him to hear me talk about a blog friend than it is for him to hear me talk about a friend here in Memphis. You ladies are a part of my life. There aren’t just 100 bloggers who I struggle to keep their stories straight anymore, these are some of my best friends. :)

So tell me, what’s your history of blogging? Why did you start? Do you still blog for the same reason you started?
Love Rach

Long Boy Burgers

From the lack of recipes I’ve shared over the past couple of months, you guys probably think we’re starving over here, haha! In truth, we’ve been out of town the majority of the weekends since April and weekdays since then have been slammed too. On the rare occasion that we’re home at a meal time then it’s usually something simple like spaghetti or pizza or one of the chicken dishes I shared with you guys earlier this summer. Not a lot of new stuff being made around here. But fiiiiiiinally life is slowing down. Don’t get me wrong – we have had an amazing year full of awesome opportunities and I have loved all the busy-ness of our life this year. But I am also excited about being home more. And this week I have finally been cooking again. :)

long boy burgers

long boy burgersThis recipe originally from Cook’s Country magazine.

Sorry about the pitiful picture. Dinner was late last night. But it sure was tasty! :) I actually stretched the meat mixture to make 6 of these instead of 4 so we have leftovers for lunch today! I’m definitely looking forward to that. Yum! We will most definitely be making these again.

- Do you find yourself falling into easy cooking patterns when you’re busy?

- If you haven’t already given your opinion on which header is your favorite – go to my last post and let me know! Currently there is a tie between #1 & #3

Love Rach

I need your opinion!

The incredibly talented Ian Voigts (website) who created my watermark and logo for my photography business has just outdone himself again with new headers for my blog. The problem now is choosing which one to use first! So I need your opinion! Which is your most favorite?

Header no1

Header1

Header no3

Ian and Christopher were in the same social club (our college’s version of fraternities) in college and have been friends for a really long time. His wife is one of my best friends and they have two adorable little girls. :)

friends collageThis is us with them in Chicago a couple of years ago. :) Ian’s the one with the bright orange scarf.

If you need design work done – get in touch with Ian! He is incredibly talented and great to work with! Also he’s a great friend and pretty hilarious. I can’t recommend him highly enough. By the way, he didn’t ask me to say any of this – in fact he has no idea I’m writing this post, but I just love his work so much that I can’t help but promote him. :)

So tell me, which header is your most favorite?
Love Rach