All the things in one day

Saturday was the day that all the things happened. We started our morning at the zoo with family and went from there to a photo shoot and from there to meet up with an old college buddy who was in town visiting and from there to play outdoor laser tag with friends and from there to a birthday celebration dinner with the same group. It was quite the day. Exhausting, but fun.

Each of these things would be a blog post on their own normally, but I’m sure you guys have noticed that I’m writing less frequently these days. It’s busy season with my photography business again which means less time spent sharing stories and favorites here on the blog. But even if I don’t have time to share all the stories today, I can at least share some favorite photos from the weekend.:)

 Morning at the Memphis Zoo!

laser tag{photo snagged from Fawn’s Instagram}

If you’ve ever wondered about the church I go to… here’s a good look at some of our leadership.ūüėČ Our preacher & his wife, our youth minister, and our children’s minister are all pictured here. Almost everyone else here is a volunteer or a ministry team leader. We’re¬†a pretty cool group if I do say so myself.ūüėČ

us at laser tag

Both Christopher and I wiped out hard while playing laser tag (he slid in mud just after capturing their flag and I tripped over a root while running full speed as a distraction). He had an egg-sized lump on his shin (no joke! It was scary looking!) and I banged up my knee pretty badly, but we still had such a great time! We’re a little sore this week, but we’re proud of playing hard.:)

Now we need a weekend to recover from our weekend.ūüėČ

Have you ever played laser tag outdoors? This was a first for us!
Love Rach

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

I know a lot of people adore Martha Stewart’s recipes, but I tend to be more of a Ree Drummond or America’s Test Kitchen kind of girl. Not to mention all my family recipes that I love so much. But I do have one tried and true Martha Stewart recipe that I love. I had this for the first time when visiting family several years ago¬†and I loved that¬†it was so simple and full of fresh ingredients so I brought the recipe home with me!

cayenne rubbed chicken with avocado salsa

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Martha Stewart’s¬†Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 (6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
Juice from 1 lime
1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

Recipe originally found here on Martha Stewart’s Website.

The cayenne chicken alone would be really good even without the avocado salsa, but I like the addition of it to help balance out the spice of the cayenne.:)

Do you have a favorite celebrity chef? If I had to pick just one I think it would have to be Ree Drummond. Her recipes are just SO good! But I do love this M Stewart recipe!

Love Rach

Weekend Happenings

Most of Saturday¬†was spent working around the house. Mowing, pulling weeds, planting herbs, Goodwill donation run, and such. And most of Sunday was spent doing church stuff (we were home for about 2 hours mid-day yesterday other than when we were sleeping). It was a good sort of weekend. Very productive. We even ran. Yes, ran. Which is so unlike us. We both dislike running, but Christopher needs to do it for his knee to continue healing (from ACL surgery) so I ran with him to encourage him. I used to love to run in high school and college, but after running last night I have found that I definitely don’t miss it.ūüėČ

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On a more exciting note we attended a wedding for one of Christopher’s coworkers this past weekend. I know it looks like I’m wearing a white dress to a wedding, but I’m really not! Most¬†of the dress is black, just the empire top is¬†an off-white/cream¬†color. But of course at first glance in these photos it looks like a white dress, ha! If it’s taboo to wear an off-white or cream colored top to a wedding, don’t tell me. I asked lots of people before I decided on this dress and they all made me feel good about wearing it. Don’t take that from me.ūüėČ Anyway, the wedding was fun and I enjoyed getting to know several of Christopher’s co-workers better.

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This weekend we also had¬†a going away party/blessing time for Kelsi. She’s been mentioned quite a bit on this blog because she was part of the group of girls I mentored from 7th grade on. She graduated high school last year, but decided to stay in Memphis for college so we have stayed close with her. She’s like a sister to us.:) Anyway, she has an awesome opportunity in New York for the summer so off she goes! You can keep up to date on her travels at her blog: Journey with Kelsi.

letters

As an extra blessing/going-away gift I gave Kelsi a pouch of letters for the summer. 23 letters to be exact. The first few are time sensitive (open on the plane, open on your first day of work, etc), but the rest are on an “as needed basis”. So letters for days when she is worried, overwhelmed, tired, struggling to get along with people, etc. Christopher even wrote one and titled it “Read me when you need advice from your big brother”.:) I tried to think through all the scenarios that might play out this summer and wrote her a letter of encouragement for each one.:) We’ll miss her, but we are so excited for all of her adventures!

Love Rach

My favorite way to eat asparagus

I love asparagus. Steamed, roasted, baked, tossed in a casserole¬†– all delicious. Asparagus drizzled with olive oil and covered in garlic is a common side dish in our house. But do you guys remember that one time when we went to Carrabba’s and I raved about their prosciutto wrapped asparagus with fontina? Right, well we¬†naturally recreated it at home and have had it several times since then and I am finally getting around to sharing it with you guys!

prosciutto wrapped asparagus with fontina (1)

prosciutto wrapped asparagus with fontina (2)

prosciutto wrapped asparagus with fontina (3)

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Fontina
(inspired by Carrabba’s)

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus (thicker stalks hold up better)
Olive Oil Spray
salt & pepper
4 oz fontina cheese, thinly sliced
6 slices prosciutto, each cut into three long strips
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove ends from asparagus and lay each stalk flat on a baking sheet. Mist with Olive Oil Spray and then sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the asparagus. Allow to roast for about 10-12 minutes until asparagus is nearing tender, but not quite there.

3. Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar into a small pot on the stove and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Allow to thicken/reduce for about 10 minutes then remove from heat.

4. Remove asparagus from oven and wrap each piece with a small piece of cheese and then a strip of prosciutto. Pop them all back in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is soft and begins to melt. Remove from oven and serve immediately topped with the balsamic reduction.

¬†If you are looking for an appetizer to delight your dinner guests – this is the one. Or if you want to just make an entire meal out if it like we do sometimes – that’s totally acceptable as well.ūüėČ

What’s your favorite way to eat asparagus?

Love Rach

Destin 2016: Things I want to Remember

We just got back from Destin. And it was lovely. So lovely. We went with our friends Brodie & Lyndal just like we did this time last year and we had a wonderful time!

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us with brodie and lyndal.jpg

soaking up the sun1

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Things I want to remember:

– All the delicious seafood!
– Long walks on the beach (I’m not kidding about “long” – Christopher and I walked 30,000+ steps on both Saturday & Sunday!)
– How incredible Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant was (review & pictures here)!
– Listening to comedians on the car ride (Brian Regan always makes me laugh)
– Coloring (adult coloring books for the win!)
– Communion on the balcony with Brodie & Lyndal
– Soaking up the sun
– McGuires – oh, how we love McGuires (previously blogged about here – we have eaten here every year since 2012 with the exception of 2013 when we went to Italy and didn’t travel much else that year. They make a GREAT steak!)
– The perfect weather. It was 80 degrees, full sun, and breezy. Perfect beach weather. I didn’t break a sweat once!

It was a great sort of getaway.:)

Love Rach

Why we love High Valley

Four years ago Christopher and I went to a Lonestar concert and fell in love with the band who opened for them. Lonestar was great too, but we knew that going into it. What we didn’t expect was to love the opener so much. They were a little known group called High Valley. You can read all about that first concert experience here. Over the years, we have continued to follow their music and just loved it more and more. And now, finally, they have a song in the top 40 which has put them into the spot light a little more.

This past Monday, High Valley was in Memphis so naturally Christopher and I¬†went to see them. It.Was.Awesome. I don’t think either of us stopped smiling the entire time. Their music is just so great! And going to a concert where you know all the songs is awesome too! Not only do they have great music, but they are hilarious. The guys are brothers and they kind of pick on each other and have a lot of laughs throughout the performance. It’s just awesome.:)

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Their lyrics are wholesome which honestly is probably a part of why they aren’t more famous. I love country music, but there are a lot of songs that spend a lot of time objectifying women and/or talking about poor choices with alcohol. Regardless of how catchy the song may be, I don’t want that stuff stuck in my head. And High Valley delivers great music with awesome lyrics.

In their song, County Line, there is a lyric that says “Got¬†my honey on my arm, Jesus in my heart…” and¬†Christopher loves to reference that part of the song as he and I walk around hand-in-hand. He just really relates to them. To their country upbringing, to their deep religious convictions, and to how respectful they are to women in their lyrics.

It’s impossible for me to pick just one favorite song to share with you guys so I’ve decided to just share the one that has reached the top 40 since it’s obviously popular. But my gracious, you guys, all their songs are amazing.

us with high valley

Oh, and as awesome as listening to their music live again was, the best part of the evening¬†was¬†getting to meet the guys. It was a smaller venue so we were able to chat with them for a few minutes. When Christopher told them how much he loved their song On the Combine because it reminded him of his childhood, they asked where he was from. I know that seems like a small thing, but it was awesome to have these guys whose music we’ve been listening to for 4 years, ask about us. They so related to Christopher’s small town up bringing and it was just really sweet. We left the venue with huge smiles and happy hearts. It was an awesome night, my friends.:)

Have you met an artist you really love?
Love Rach

Panama City Beach

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This past weekend Christopher and I went down to Panama City Beach, Florida to photograph a wedding.

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Big benefit of photographing a wedding on the beach… arriving early and hanging out on the beach. ;)¬†Originally we had planned to stay a few extra days at the beach, but we’re headed to Destin again soon so we decided to make this just a quick weekend trip. But we always love the beach so it was awesome!

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The weather was perfect, everything went smoothly, and the photos are turning out gorgeous. I’m still sorting through the 2600+ that we took to find the best-of-the-best to edit and send them, but so far they are gorgeous. I couldn’t have done this without Christopher as my co-shooter. He was incredible!

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One of my favorite parts of the wedding day was when one of the groomsmen gave a speech at the reception about how love grows. I was blinking back tears while trying to photograph it all. It was so beautiful and true. We were so honored to be chosen to photograph this day and to be included in all the wedding festivities.:)

rae and holly

And as an extra bonus, my sister’s family lives close to the beach so we love getting to see them when we go down there. We went to church with them on Sunday morning and then ate lunch together and spent some time together before we needed to leave. It was sweet, sweet time. So glad we got to see them even if it was short!

It was a good sort of weekend, friends. And such a blessing after such a difficult prior weekend. Hope you guys all had a wonderful weekend too!

Love Rach