Our Halloween costumes this year!

Happy Halloween, friends! Earlier this week we had Trunk or Treat at the church we mentor teens at so we naturally had to dress up. I’ll be honest, I woke up the day of and came up with this idea. For some reason I completely forgot Halloween was coming and made no plans, haha! Last year we were a Bride and Groom (which was also a last minute costume idea) and it was such a great excuse to pull out our wedding clothes. :) This year we were…

Vendettis On Vacation (aka Tourists)

halloween costume tourists

halloween costume tourists

halloween costume tourists

We bought the shirts while on our cruise to the Bahamas in September and had no idea that we’d be wearing them again so soon. It’s kind of a joke amongst our Memphis friends about how often we are out of town. Sometimes we are on an actual vacation (either just the two of us or with friends), but a lot of times we’re out of town because we’re visiting family and friends. Every year we’ve been married, we have traveled a lot. But this year has been the busiest year yet with travel so after being gone so much (and teased for it so much), this “costume” felt appropriate. ;)

My in-laws are on their way to our house right now so our evening is going to consist of lots of family time (and possibly either Hocus Pocus or Hotel Transylvania). I’m super excited! Hope you guys have a great Halloween!

- If you dress up for Halloween, do you plan it in advance or throw it together at the last minute? I’m normally such a planner that it cracks me up that our Halloween costumes are nearly always a last minute idea.

- Do you travel often? (vacations, visits with family/friends, etc)

Love Rach

Whiskey Bacon Burgers

Oh my gracious, you guys. We made the best burgers ever this past weekend. Seriously, the best. So unreasonably good.

It’s a little ironic that I’m about to share a massively cholesterol filled recipe mere days after talking about how we are working to lower Christopher’s cholesterol level. But I had actually already grocery shopped for last week by the time we got Christopher’s results so it would have been wasteful not to make the burgers we had on the menu plan. Plus, his PCP recommended moderation, not total elimination of cholesterol. And I’m so glad we made these burgers. Because they were, as I said before, the best.

Remember how I made those Rib Eye Steaks with Whiskey Cream Sauce last week? And I raved about them. And mentioned that we wanted to try that whiskey cream sauce over burgers. Yeah, that was a moment of brilliance. Then I kept thinking about it and the things I love most on burgers. Colby jack cheese, bacon, grilled onions… what if these things all came together to make the ULTIMATE burger? Well, this past weekend… they did. I give you what I call the Whiskey Bacon Burger:

whiskey bacon burgersThe next time I make these, I’ll make sure we have better lighting and plating so there’s a prettier picture. But I just couldn’t wait to share the recipe. It was too amazing not to share immediately! :)

whiskey cream sauceOooh the whiskey cream sauce… how delightful! This is the amount that one recipe made (just enough for four burgers). We made them for friends and Brodie said next time we need to double the sauce recipe so he can drown his burger in it, haha! And trust me, we will definitely be making these again!

grilled onionsSome sauteed onions to top off the burgers. As well as bacon. I totally forgot to photograph the bacon. But it was there. And delicious.

whiskey bacon burgersWe made beef burgers and bison burgers and topped them with colby jack cheese.

whiskey cream sauceGoodbye whiskey cream sauce, you were amazing. Every delicious bite!

christopher and brodieOur grill masters in adorable matching aprons. ;) Christopher and Brodie = #besties :D

whiskey bacon burgers

whiskey bacon burgers

The burger part of this recipe was based off Steakhouse Burgers from Once Upon a Chef

The Whiskey Cream Sauce is from the Pioneer Woman

You guys, the pictures do not do this burger justice. The burgers themselves are delicious, but topped with the colby jack cheese, grilled onions, bacon, and whiskey cream sauce… um, oh my gracious. Amazing. The general consensus of the night was that they were awesome and needed to be made again pronto! :) Just maybe after we have a couple of grilled fish dinners first. ;)

Have you ever had a moment of brilliance with a meal idea?

Also, I am still accepting fish recipe ideas! Thanks for the ones you’ve shared so far! :)

Love Rach

Fall Family Photos!

I know most of you guys have seen some of these photos on Facebook/Instagram already, but I still want to share them here so please bear with me for a minute. :)  This past weekend we took my camera, favorite lens, tripod, and remote out to a field and these photos were the result:

fall family photoThis guy. There is truly no one else I would rather live life with.

fall family photoI am a summer girl through and through, but there is something wonderful about snuggling in colder weather. :)

fall family photo2Add in the pup for a full family photo!

fall family photoI love all the photos, but this is one of my most, most favorites! Love my little family!

fall family photoOreo caught sight of the geese flying by and was very concerned about them, haha!

fall family photoThis photo makes me laugh out loud every single time. I was getting the camera set up while Christopher went ahead and picked Oreo up for the photo. Oreo just went total dead weight on him and let his head sink down into his shoulders. He looks like a really fat Dolby (from Harry Potter) with his ears back like that. Christopher couldn’t stop laughing at him which made me start laughing. So naturally I took a photo for a precious keepsake. ;)

So these are just some of my favorites from our little mini session. I’m so glad we went and took photos! It has been way too long since we last did photos with Oreo in them. And I just love how these turned out! :)

Have you taken family photos recently? 
If you have a pet, are they usually included in “family photos”?
Love Rach

As we age…

Christopher and I have always been healthy. We’re young, we eat a balanced diet, we’re active and we exercise. Other than my heart condition (which I control with diet & exercise), we haven’t really had anything to be super concerned about. Well last week Christopher had his yearly physical and his PCP told him that his Cholesterol level is a little high. Not like perilously high, but still higher than what it should be for his age.   It’s technically considered “borderline high.” Normally not a huge deal, but because of family history, his PCP told him that he really needs to watch his cholesterol intake and that they will retest him in 3 months just to see how he’s doing.

christopher and tony{Christopher and his dad}

You guys, do you know what high cholesterol causes? Heart attacks. Stroke. Things leading to death. That’s terrifying stuff. Especially since Christopher’s dad has heart disease and had a series of small strokes several years ago (which caused his early on set dementia). So we don’t take this stuff lightly.

A couple of things are about to happen in our little family.

1. I am finally going to add fish to our meal rotations. I know it’s healthy for us and I know it’s not difficult to make because every time I’ve made it over the years, it ends up being way easier than I expected. We just didn’t eat a lot of fish in my family when I was growing up so I always forget to think to make it.

2. Christopher is going to limit his cholesterol intake a little more. Especially when it comes to changing his breakfast habits (he loves those bacon gouda sandwiches from Starbucks). He’s switching over to oatmeal now (which he also really likes so that’s not a hard change for him). :)

3. I am going to the doctor. I haven’t been to a primary care physician since I was in college (over 6 years ago). I go to my OBGYN pretty close to yearly and she always runs a blood panel on me so I just haven’t been too worried about it. But she doesn’t test for everything (mostly just stuff pertaining to my GYN health). So I need to go to a PCP and have an actual physical done. This requires blood to be taken. Which is no fun. But at least then I’ll know for sure if I have anything I need to be watching.

rach and debbie{Debbie and me}

Debbie, the lady I stayed with for two summers when I was in college (while I interned at a local church) went to the doctor while I was living with her and he made a comment to her about “well as we age, these things start to change…” She came home half offended that he had talked to her about aging as if she was elderly. So Christopher and I have always made jokes along the years about “well, as we age… this or that”. Usually when one of us injures our back or gets sick with something. Just anything. Well now, truly, as we age our health is changing and it’s no longer a joke (though it is still funny and we still totally say it to each other). But now it’s not just something we joke about – it’s our reality. And we are going to make some changes!

Do you go to the doctor regularly? 

Have you had to make any dietary changes for your health?

Do you have any fish recipes I need to make? I’m flying in the dark with what tastes good here!
Love Rach

Talking about the new job

I just realized that most of you guys have no idea what Christopher does for a living. Some of you might know that he’s an accountant, but other than that I don’t mention much about it. Well, technically he’s a financial reporter (which is hilarious because he hated reading/writing in college and now he reports the finances for companies so he does tons of that in his job).

topher

Since we got married, we have always lived only on his income. My income paid off our student loans and paid for our trip to Italy. Currently my income is going towards a “family car fund” (my current car which I adore is a bit tiny for the future family of 12 that Christopher wants). Anyway, I say that to say, he is the main income provider. So his income is pretty vital to our family. Now that our student loans are paid off, if I lost my job, we’d be fine living on his. However, if he lost his job, I’d have to quit my current job to find a higher paying one. Which would be fine, but our hope was that after our student loans were paid off – I’d be free to kind of do whatever I want job wise (hence the nanny job & budding photography business).

will and mal

It chaffs my feminist side just a little bit sometimes when people ask if I’m going to get a “real job” or start a career. For us, it’s more important to both be doing something we enjoy with hours that allow us to be with our family than for us to both necessarily have equally high paying careers (unless we did the same thing, in which case I will REALLY get on my soap box about equal pay and gender equality, haha!). But I know that in our world… we both do something we love and whether he is or I am the main financial supporter, we both are equals in the marriage. Okay okay… I’m getting off my soapbox now, haha!

christopher cornfield

I mentioned earlier this week that Christopher started a new job on Monday so I figured it was about time to fill you guys in on some of the details. The company he’s been at for the past 4 years is going through a merger and there isn’t a lot of certainty about who will still have a job after the merger goes through. We knew this in January when it was announced and ever since then Christopher has kept his ear out for other jobs. Interviewed here and there. But nothing just seemed to be exactly what he was looking for (until now – but I’m getting ahead of myself, haha!).

christopher

Even before this merger was announced, Christopher had been considering other jobs because his current one had begun to require so much overtime. In fact he was offered another job that paid more than he was making at the time, but the hours weren’t going to be any better. I know lots of people work well over a 40 hour week, but that’s not our world. We aren’t ones to pursue money or long work hours. Christopher always says “I work to live, I don’t live to work.” For us, life isn’t about making as much money as we can so we can store it all up or spend it. Life is about relationships. And family. And service. And loving others. And sharing Jesus. And if we’re busy with work all the time, those other things suffer.  So he began looking for a job that not only was something he was interested in, but also something with better hours for our family.

{SIDE NOTE: I understand some people don’t have this option because they are supporting bigger families or have a different income level – this is not a slight on other peoples’ choices – this is just for us in our world}

christopher2

But we also have bills to pay. And we like to travel. And eat. Those things cost money. So we sat down one day and figured out the minimum of what income our family needed (which was lower than what we were already bringing in). So Christopher was able to look at jobs that actually paid less than he has been being paid. We began praying in January for the right job to come along and through a series of random events (or in my opinion: a total God thing), he was offered a new position at a different company still doing something he enjoys with much better hours. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a step up in his career and that it just so happens to come with awesome insurance? Oh… and you know how we were prepared to take a pay cut? Yeah, kind of the opposite happened there. We were a bit overwhelmed with the pay bump that came with this new job.

christopher3

So far Christopher is loving the new job. He misses his friends from his old job, but they went to lunch together this week so hopefully they will stay in touch. He does really like his new boss, though. More than anything we are excited about the better hours for our little family. All in all, this is a big answer to prayer and we are so very grateful!

- Does your job require anything that you typically dislike (like Christopher’s old distaste for reading/writing)? 

- Do you have a job you like? What about your spouse (if you’re married)?

Love Rach

This would be a cute movie beginning…

I have a story for you guys full of coincidences and cuteness that could totally be the beginning of a movie. I got home from the girls’ retreat on Sunday around 2pm. I immediately fell asleep (this girl can’t handle late nights like she once could, ha!) on the couch with our mutt.

napping2Yup, I dug out my Lion King pillow case cover from when I was a kid to take with me on the retreat. And yup, my dog likes to burrow in wherever he can. And yup, from the number of photos my husband takes of me napping with our dog you’d think I take daily naps, but it’s really a rare occurrence (hence why he thinks it’s adorable and takes photos every time).

Christopher woke me up a couple of hours later because I had asked him not to let me sleep too long (usually when I nap during the day, I can’t sleep that night). He brought me dinner on the couch and turned on The Lego Movie (um, I still have “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” stuck in my head, haha!). We normally are dinner-at-the-table kinda people because it fosters better conversation for us. But I could barely keep my head up because I was so tired still so my sweet husband made me comfy on the couch with dinner and a movie.

Then all the sudden I see this little tail bopping across our front porch. We have several stray cats in our neighborhood (one of our neighbors feeds them, but never gets any of them fixed so they just propagate) which is what I thought it might be for a split second. But then I knew. I just knew. That was definitely a dog. You guys, I am so that person that goes after every stray dog I see. Normally they run from me. I’ve only ever caught one other one. But when I walked outside on our front porch, this dog ran right up to me when I called.

bagel the beagle

She had a collar, but no tags. Her fur was well kept and she was a healthy weight. I could tell that she was definitely someone’s pet. And she was so-so-so sweet. She just loved all the attention and petting. I kept thinking about how I would feel if Oreo went missing. So we walked her around the neighborhood and knocked on doors. No one had ever even seen her before so no one knew who she belonged to. The next morning I took her to the vet to see if she had a microchip. Nada. I drove home with the intention of making “FOUND DOG” signs to post around the neighborhood, but as I pulled into our cove, there was a lady I’d never seen before pushing a double stroller. I smiled and waved and she did the same back. Then I pulled into our driveway and hopped out of the car with the sweet beagle behind me. The lady sees us and calls out: “Is that your dog?!” To which I respond, “No! Is it yours?!” And it was! CRAZY timing! She had been out walking through the neighborhood calling for the dog (who’s name is Bagel by the way – too cute, right? Bagel the Beagle). And she just happened to be walking by my driveway as we got out of the car. Oh, and I just happened to not park in the garage because Christopher had been wood working the day before and his table saw was still out. She wouldn’t have seen us if I had done that. It just just crazy timing!

bagel the beagleIgnore the terrible quality of photos. I took these quickly the first night we had her to post on our neighbor FB page and on Craigslist Lost Pets to see if anyone recognized her. She was a sweet girl!

The reason none of our neighbors recognized Bagel was because she belonged to a young family who have only been in the neighborhood for a week! Oh, and Bagel’s tags had fallen off when she escaped. Scary! Laurie (the lady who I met that day) and I hit it off immediately so later that night Christopher and I took cookies over to welcome them to the neighborhood. We intended to just drop them off, but they invited us in and next thing we knew it was after 9pm and our conversation was still going strong. We kind of cut it short at that point because it was so late (yes, we’re old – don’t judge, haha!) with promises to come back by soon. They are also Christians and really active in their church community and we have SO much in common with them. It was such an unbelievable blessing to get to know them. They are definitely Jesus people. You know the type. Where you see the passion in their eyes as they talk about Jesus. And they live just a few minutes walk away from us! (our back yard nearly butts up to theirs!).

You guys, our friendship beginning like this is totally something out of a movie! It makes me think of 101 Dalmatians where Pongo makes sure that Roger and Anita meet so that he can be around Perdita. Ah, sweet stories. :) For us it was just a bunch of coincidences that worked out perfectly! I’m so glad we were eating on the couch instead of at the table so I could see Bagel when she walked down our porch on Sunday. I’m so glad she came to me when I called. I’m so glad her owner was walking by our house just as we arrived home from the vet the next day. I’m so glad I could safely return her to her family. And I’m so very glad that we have some amazing new friends (who are neighbors!!). :)

Have you ever made a new friend in a movie-story-line way?

Do you find yourself drawn to pick up wandering animals? 


Now that I’ve brought it up again, is “Everything is Awesome” stuck in your head?
You’re welcome. ;)
Love Rach

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