My Beautiful Chelsie…

A year ago was the most amazing time in my life! Our Daughter Chelsie married Ryan on September 14th, 2013 and Craig and I could not be more proud!

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And what a thrilling year! From the engagement, the showers, the Bach/Bachelorette parties & a thousand details in-between!

My Daughter Allie, the Maid of Honor made a beautiful scrapbook of all the events leading up to the big event. She asked all of the important women in Chelsie’s life and all of her bridesmaids to write something special to Chelsie. She was given the book to read the night before her wedding.

I wasn’t sure how to start this post until I remembered the letter I wrote and knew it was a perfect way to convey my thoughts about this special day….
To my beautiful Chelsie,
3:02 in the morning they set a crying baby girl on me – I’m not sure which I said first, I love you or you are so beautiful! I said it over and over until you recognized my voice – you stopped crying immediately, and puckered those sweet beautiful lips…. I looked at Dad and said oh my- she is going to be something else! And here we are, almost 26 years later as you are about to marry your best friend. You are going to be such a beautiful bride and I’m not sure what I’m going to say to you first – I love you or that you are so beautiful- I’m sure I’ll say it a few times!
I’ve had the time of my life being a Mom to you three kids. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I just wanted to be the best Mom and give you all I had. What I have gotten in return has restored a broken soul. All the good, bad and in between is completely immeasurable to me. I truly am blessed to call you my Daughter. Through the years I thought of who you would marry- I always prayed that God would send you your perfect soul mate. I knew that this person would have to love you as much if not more than myself for me to feel that he was the one; I always said that I would know in my heart when I met him and I did! I could not possibly love Ryan more! He loves you Chels and you just melt<3. You two are so beautiful together and I know that the love you two have will be a love of a lifetime! I am so excited to watch you two build your life together and someday start your own little family! What you have is rare and good – I know that God is smiling! In a few hours you will become Mrs. Ryan Michael Langlais and I could not be more proud and excited- What a beautiful girl I have & always remember I love you, Mom

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Trust me when I say that Craig and I never knew the emotions that we would have that beautiful day- Neither one of us ever thought that we would have as many tears as we both did! So proud and happy with a cumulation of 26 years going through our minds! We could not have been more excited to gain a new Son <3 The best way to explain it – The day was TRULY MAGICAL!

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We were so blessed to be joined by all of our family and friends! Thank you all for making it such a wonderful day!

A special thank you to my sister Joanne, Chelsie’s Godmama for the beautiful flowers she made! Not only did she make all the flowers for the bridal party but she made the 30 arrangements for the tables at the reception as well! Endless hours of amazing talent!

Also, a HUGE thank you to Joel of WeddingsMN.com and his incredible eye to detail! Honestly- I cannot believe the talent he has! Joel, we are forever grateful for the work you did in Chelsie & Ryan’s video, it will be forever cherished! You truly have a gift for what you do <3 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thank you to Jessica of D’amico & Sons catering/The Metropolitan – you and your team were flawless! The food was incredible!!! And it could not have gone ANY smoother!

Thanks to the ultra talented Jessica Pafko & Kati of Kalon Salon for all your beautiful work- the girls looked amazing!
And last but not least – love to my friends in our favorite band “Free and Easy” You guys are top notch – not only in what you produce with your passion for music but as the greatest guys that you all are! We LOVE you all and we could not imagine you not with us on the next two kids! Thank you for a beautiful night in the old “Ruperts” and making the night so special!

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So EXCITED!! Here is Chelsie & Ryan’s wedding video, I still can’t get over how it starts off with Craig’s speech <3

 

What a BEAUTIFUL group of friends and a favorite of Chels & Ryan at the reception-1496302_10100641234538236_1693726387_o

 

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A few last notes before a slideshow of my favorite pictures…. The morning after pictures are just plain hilarious! We were all a HOT MESS! Chels & Ry borrowed clothes from the bridal party – their over night bag was not in the car parked at the hotel…

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Ty & Allie were told “CONGRATULATIONS” in the elevator coming down holding Chelsie’s wedding dress… they just kept saying “WE”RE NOT TOGETHER” – too funny !

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This is what was left of Chelsie’s dress- Ryan and Chels danced ALL NIGHT!

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And this was a tearful Mama hug before they left for their Honeymoon …words cannot describe the love in my heart-

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When the speeches were finished, Craig announced the band – we opened up the night with Ryan & Chelsie’s (impromptu) first dance to “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

 

Congratulations Ryan & Chelsie!! May you always be in love, be forever on your Honeymoon & dance every chance you get <3- Love Mom & Dad

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In Loving memory of Ryan’s Grandma Delores Langlais – June 6th, 2014

Ryan, I’m so glad you had this moment <3

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Family Isn’t Always Blood

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile & who LOVE YOU no matter what.” – unknown
On September 16th, 2013 my Daughter Allie’s dear friend Stephanie gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. She named him Brayden <3

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This would be the start to an amazing lifelong relationship for all of us. Stephanie is a wonderful Mother – I am so proud of her and I love my time with her as she becomes Brayden’s best friend. It’s so sweet Steph loves to call him “little B”

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Stephanie and Allie worked together at an assisted living through out her pregnancy and it was so amazing how Brayden recognized Allie’s voice immediately! Brayden & Allie have something very special together.

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Since his first Halloween was just around the corner we gave him this super Brayden outfit. Using my Silhouette Cameo I personalized a cape and wristbands that I made along with a newborn onesie. He was ready to conquer the world! Well, at least his first Trick or Treating!

We are always excited to baby sit this little guy. It is so much fun to watch him grow! He truly melts Allie’s heart and to see them together just makes me smile!

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Now everyone knows just how important your Grandma is and Shelly is the BEST! Brayden loves her and so much joy fills her heart.

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Shelly just happened to take my favorite picture of this little guy…

With those great big beautiful eyes and that darling hat I was inspired and went out on a hunt to make what would become his upcoming Baptism gift from Allie & I.

400581_261734783979347_1188078876_nI saw this owl fabric and knew immediately that it was perfect. I wanted to make Brayden a quilt just his size, soft to snuggle with and also I wanted it to have a purpose.

DSC_0154I wanted the quilt to feature two “owls” and I knew that Steph would have fun teaching Brayden his ABC’s featured on the border. 

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When I embroidered the letter “B” I realized I had an opportunity to implement her nick name for him- I LOVE coming up with those special little personal touches!

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I wanted to put a darling Owl quote on it but for the life of me nothing felt right. I sat with the quilt loaded in my machine with nothing coming to mind that made me happy. As I sat there my phone that happen to be in my lap lit up with a post from Stephanie and it was about her new life with her son. As I read it with tears in my eyes I knew that I had found the perfect quote to write and how special that it was straight from his Mama’s heart. The timing was truly unbelievable- thank you Stephanie for such an incredible post!
It was finished and sent off to my wonderfully talented quilter Norma Riehm.

Stephanie asked Allie to become Brayden’s GodMother! His baptism took place this past June 8th. Allie could not have been more honored <3
I helped out by making the invitations and thank you cards-

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It was a perfect Sunday morning for his lakeside baptism. Godparents Allie & Nicholas, Parents Stephanie and Alex joined by friends and family.

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And we celebrated with an amazing cake! Some of us a little more than others… BRAYDEN!!!

Congratulations Allie & Brayden- wishing you two a lifetime of love
“For he will give His Angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”

(Psalm 91;11)

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What an incredible year filled with such beautiful memories…

“We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.”

Its almost time for your 1st birthday Brayden! You are such a sweet boy and we all love you. And that Brayden is what Family is all about <3

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Chocolate Torte

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This amazing recipe is from my best friend Dorothy <3 She gave it to me when we met 20 years ago and I have made it several times a year ever since! Love that girl!

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It’s been the perfect “go to” recipe for whatever event I go to. You never have to worry about left overs…

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It has ingredients that you can have on hand just incase you need a little something quick.

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Its also convenient,you can even prepare the cake and pudding the night before if your pressed for time. You can make it with or without the Kahlua and either serve it in a pretty glass bowl or have some fun and get out your little party vessels (I have 2 layers shown here)

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This is also a fun recipe to make with your kids – my Tyler was always willing to be my sous chef <3 Just keep an eye on those beaters- they can be tricky….

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And to all you sports moms, camping fanatics & girlfriend weekenders- this was a perfect dessert to haul up and prep on the go : )
1 box chocolate cake mix – make & bake in a 9X13 pan- cool.
1 large box instant chocolate pudding- prepare and chill in refrigerator.
1 – 12 oz. container lite cool whip -unthawed
Optional- Kahlua Liqueur
Heath English Milk ChocolateToffee Bits, 8oz

Use a glass serving dish- this dessert is built by layering ingredients 3 times.
Divide cooled cake into 3 sections. Start by Crumbling 1/3 of the cake and put in the bottom of the bowl; sprinkle the cake with some Kahlua…. Spread 1/3 of the prepared pudding on top of crumbled cake. It’s important to be mindful of the edges of the bowl- you want this to look pretty!!  Next, spread 1/3 of the thawed cool whip topping over pudding. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Heath milk chocolate bits on top. Repeat this whole process 2 more times. You are FINISHED!! Wasn’t that easy?!! Insert large spoon and watch it disappear!!!

Also don’t forget to check out my Rumplemints version I posted last year- perfect for the holidays!!

 

A Sweet Summertime Revisited

Summertime always brings me back to my hometown of Coon Rapids,Minnesota. We had a house in the middle of 5 gardens – always.

Memories of countless hours picking weeds with my sister Jo…. Watching my Mom and sister baking cakes and cookies to enter at the Anoka County Fair as I ran around the yard catching butterflies for money to spend on rides and games there. I loved picking wild raspberries along our dirt road as I raced  my “banana seat” bike down it  and sneaking handfuls of fresh sauerkraut from my moms crock in the dark basement pantry. My Mom made yellow beans with bacon and wilted lettuce salad (I swear) everyday! One thing I’ve kept up year round that my Mom always did is her cucumber slices in vinegar. My Allie just can’t get enough! Its incredible how all of those simple everyday things I grew up with stayed with me.

The thought of not having a garden to grow our favorite things is not even possible for me. I also take advantage of the local farmers markets and laugh every time because I get so excited when I see all the venders and their goods. I get so many ideas of what to make that getting back to my car sometimes takes several trips with deep lines on my arms from the heavy plastic bags <3

August is my canning month..this is something everyone needs to try at least once-  I can’t seem to make enough jalapeño pickles for my family! This year I’ll be adding pickled green beans, both hot and regular.

And even today during those hot summer days just hearing that incredible noise from the cicada insect takes me straight back.

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A big thank you to my talented friend and classmate Curt Erickson for capturing this picture last summer – I had no idea all these years where that big sound could have come from!

It’s amazing to me the impact of how everyday life effected not only me but now my own family. As I get older I’m realizing that sometimes the most simple things are the best. Someday when I’m 89 it’ll be so cool to hear how far some of these traditions have gone.

As busy as I’ve been I just missed writing on here and wanted to share a few pic’s from my summer. I’m still trying to back track a few happenings from believe it or not a year ago !

See you soon! Love, Teri

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Sunrise with my coffee

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My favorite loon <3

Birds, blooms & sweet summer memories!

 

 

The “Not Your Ordinary” Zucchini Bread

 

Many years ago a customer shared this with us girls at my Mom’s craft store. One look at the ingredients and we knew we just had to try it- my family has been making it ever since!

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  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon maple flavoring*
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, unsifted
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat the eggs, then add oil, sugars, and maple flavoring combine until foamy. Stir in zucchini and all dry ingredients- mix just until combined. Stir in nuts.

Using Pam spray- coat 4 mini loaf pans, spoon in batter; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 40- 45 minutes. Check with toothpick to see if you need additional time. If making 1 large loaf, follow instructions above and bake for 1 hour.

*My favorite Maple extract is Mapleine by Crescent (in a bright blue box) – I recently found it at WalMart.

 

 

She look’s pretty good for 60…. Flip #7 – Tyler’s Renovation

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June 10th, 2011….Our Son Tyler bought his first house.

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Tyler transferred to the University of Minnesota and needed to live closer to the school. Craig & Ty went searching- and there she was, a 60 year old beauty. “She” was definitely a “Grandma” kind of house but she had great bones with vast possibilities. That summer would be filled with a ton of work. Many months later we finally finished just days before his classes started. It was a summer to remember – mostly of Allie, Tyler & myself painting tirelessly in the heat. I look back at the pictures and I am amazed not only to see the changes in the house, but of my Son as well <3

Craig & Ty started outside with the landscaping removing all the existing bushes with the exception of one huge hosta which Craig split up enough times to go around the entire house- no, really he did… make sure you look at the final pictures of the outside ; )

Allie & I headed upstairs and scraped off old wallpaper for 9 hours straight. We couldn’t feel our fingers that night…

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The kitchen is always the first area we dive into, delivery of cabinets can take an average of 4 weeks after you order them.

The upstairs was a fun project…

Not sure what the prior owner had intended with this wall but one thing for sure, he need not apply for a construction job-

The “wall” came down, a closet went in, ceilings were skim coated  & sprayed and we continued from there with lots of little extras for a beautiful bedroom for Ty.

I LOVE working with plaster and faux finishes. The venation plaster was completed in 2 days. I believe I broke some kind of record…Ty had a quick lesson when I didn’t feel like sitting on the board- he’s a chip off the ‘ole block…

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We always tear into every room at once when we renovate a house. Eventually the day came for carpet to finish the upstairs space. Somebody was VERY happy!

The living room needed some TLC…Craig tackled a lot in here. Ty, Allie & I prepped and painted every wall, ceiling, door & trim in the entire house – twice.

The two bedrooms on the main floor were not a ton of work-

BUT- the bathroom was! What a disaster! Ty took on that project with our buddy Dan. The tile apparently was never finished…. The boys did a beautiful job matching the tile and finishing it all up.

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The living room was now ready for more venation plaster- out of all the painting I’ve ever done these crimson red walls are my absolute favorite! I think I may have to do them in my downstairs as well!

Ty prepped and painted the original doors- he’s very good with restoring damaged areas – so much time and effort was needed for this project and they turned out amazing- very nice job Ty!

The basement had potential…

Sheetrock, drain tile, and a new look with fresh paint and carpet.

Allie and I are a great team for painting- in this house she learned the art of painting trim work. To me, this is the hardest and most tedious of all painting in a renovation. We discovered that Allie was extremely good at it- lucky for us – not so lucky for miss Aller….

Meanwhile, with the cabinets delivered, it was time to work on my favorite space in the house.


We all love it when the fridge goes in- so much easier when you work long hours and your food is nice and cold. I love this picture- you know when my Tyler is home when you see a spoon and a jar of peanut butter. Seeing it in his new refrigerator made me smile…

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Exterior doors & floors-
What a difference when you update your exterior doors! One of our all-time favorite things about renovating properties is when the people in the neighborhood stop by and comment on the work that we’re doing <3 We got a lot of response to the new front entry door on this house.

When Allie pulled up the old carpeting in the hallway we knew that we for sure could revive the original hardwood floors.

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After pulling a million staples out it was time for Mr. Ty to learn how to sand floors.

IMG_0395Craig’s method of teaching is as such- you are told several times how to do the process and what not to do- then he leaves. This method builds character thats for sure. Ty had everything ready to go and lets just say he learned reeeaaal fast. He got the feel for it very quick and they turned out incredible.

With the hot summer days and many coats of varnish we turned on the heat to speed the drying process. I can officially say that we did “heat yoga”. Ty & I were drenched and sore ! Its times like this with him I treasure- we work incredibly well together and its memories like that I’ll have forever.

With the floors and the majority of his house done (and his school about to start that next week!) it was time for him to move in. I was so excited for for this new chapter in his life… I cried my eyes out for two weeks because he was no longer living with us. He’s my rock with an amazing old soul.

We barely moved everything in and these two just had to try it out…

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Back home I sewed up shades, drapes & curtains-

With every flip house we always find something VERY interesting in the walls or on the premises, nothing was found here except a 60 year old organic garden! Oh my! We were beyond pumped! The original owners had built and lived there for 60 years- their whole life. She grew tomatoes and canned them and he had a little workshop in the basement and built her shelves for all her goods. That is love. Something to be said about the simplicity of the old days. After they passed, the house was sold to some guy (temporarily) who attempted to do the wall in the upstairs and the tile in the bathroom. When I overlooked those things it was fun to see what the old couple had intended. I also try to keep one item from each of the renovations to decorate in my home (it keeps me grounded and reminds me to count my blessings) I didn’t find my item for three years! This past spring I finally found it- an antique hoe in the far corner of the garage <3 Here are the pictures from when we discovered the hidden garden when he bought it to Tyler’s very first garden – no judging the weeds, he was a full time student ; ) He made great use of all the produce that came out of this fertile soil!

Something “hilarious” also usually happens on each property and this definitely was no exception! I had written a post here about how Ty & I were really into practical jokes ( My partner In Crime…)   – but not on April fools day… so the day before April 1st Tyler calls me at home- “What is going on?!!!” well, why? He continued to tell me that a huge 30 yard dumpster was just unloaded in his driveway blocking his truck in!

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Now he was already living there for 2 years and it wasn’t for him! Apparently Craig gave the dumpster company the wrong address! Our Chelsie and Ryan had just bought a house around the corner and both addresses were on Craig’s desk- oh my gosh did we laugh!

Tyler also tackled this backsplash in between his classes- its funny, you teach someone a skill and its amazing to see what they do with it!

Tyler graduated this past December 17th, 2013 and landed a job with a great company here in Minnesota . On January 10th, he left for 5 months of training in Georgia for his new job and the decision was made to sell his house. Craig & I spent the next few months helping him get it ready to sell. He listed it Thursday morning of the Memorial Day weekend and it sold in 1 1/2 days with 5 full price offers resulting in a bidding war. It sold for more than the listing price. Maybe just maybe the economy is back ?!!

Ty had a lot of great times in this house, the videographer even shot some footage for Chelsie & Ryan’s wedding there! (upcoming post!!!!!) and now he’s onto yet another chapter in his life- CONGRATULATION’S Tyler Joe- we LOVE you!!!!

Here are all of the before and after pictures. To view the picture larger, click on the image!

<3 all the best, Teri

Red, White and Blueberry Dessert Squares

Red, White & Blueberry Dessert Squares

This is a recipe I use to make a lot back in the day when Chelsie was the Jr. Queen for our city of Blaine, MN.

She went on to become the 1996Minneapolis Aquatennial Jr. Queen and is the only little Queen to ever represent Blaine in the 50 + year history of the Aquatennial.

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With over 200 plus appearances each year it has greatly influenced her to this day. Best of all, we had a wonderful time together as a family and have such great memories with all of the families that we traveled with! Best of all, we are all highly experienced at catching candy at parades…. and by the way, did I mention this is her Daddy’s favorite desert?!!

Preheat oven to 325 degree’s
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 pints (3 cups) fresh blueberries
1 – 8 oz. package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 – 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 – 8 oz. container lite cool whip, thawed
1 1/2 pints (3 cups) fresh raspberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups water
1 – 3 oz. package raspberry flavor gelatin

The Directions:

Crust- Combine flour and brown sugar in large bowl, mix well. Cut in butter with pastry blender until course crumbs form, stir in walnuts. Lightly press mixture in an ungreased 10 x 15 pan. Bake 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Filling:
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy. Add marshmallow creme; beat just until combined. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust. Sprinkles blueberries over cream cheese layer- gently press berries into mixture. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Make glaze while waiting.

Glaze:
In a medium saucepan, combine white sugar, cornstarch and water; mix well. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and becomes clear. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Cool glaze 20 – 30 minutes tip lukewarm.

Topping:

Sprinkle raspberries over top of cream cheese mixture. Spoon cooled glaze over raspberries. Refrigerate about 1 hour until firm. Cut into squares. Top with whipped cream if desired.

 

Jacqueline de Jonge- Morning Glory

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This quilt pattern is by the amazing Jacqueline de Jonge entitled “Morning Glory”
I made this quilt for a very special couple – Andrew & Jessica Pafko who were married January 31st, 2014.
Let me introduce you….
Jessica is my insanely talented hairdresser that I absolutely adore! She is the owner of Kalon Salon located in Blaine, Minnesota… She is just a doll!

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And this is the handsome Andrew who I’ve watched grow up since he was 6 years old….

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When they announced their engagement I asked them what color they wanted for their wedding quilt and they chose red! Andrews Mom Debbie and I have been best friends for 21 years this summer. The very first story she ever told me was so special- she told me that she and her husband Jay had tried for 7 long years to get pregnant with their very first child. Deb then lost her belovedMom to breast cancer. One starry night shortly after, Deb while kneeling in prayer stared up in the night sky and saw that there was a particularly large brilliant star shining right back. Deb knew it was something special… nine months later she had Andrew who was the 1st of 6 children!
Now I wasn’t sure what pattern I wanted to do for this quilt… It was kinda funny, a quilt I had previously done kept standing out to me. I decided to go for it and when I finished it I realized that this red quilt had one very large brilliant star and 7 stars inside of it. I believe that it was divine intercession to Deb’s beautiful story <3

 

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Congratulations to Andrew & Jessica- your such a beautiful couple with an incredible future together!

The building of the quilt:
I started with a beautiful batik with lots of grown up colors and movement. I felt that with the fabrics I chose it would be a lot of fun for them to decorate around it in future homes.

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Eventually I get enough of it together to feel pretty good with the direction I’m taking it.

The quilt wasn’t quite finished for their wedding, so I took the main fabric as a teaser and made a wedding card for them in the meanwhile…

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Here is the quilt as Jacqueline’s pattern shows, but I needed it big enough to wrap them up so next came the borders…

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With the borders on it was ready to go to my very talented quilter Norma Reihm where she implemented her magic!

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Here it is all quilted- thank you Norma- you are the best!

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Triple Treat Torte

DSC_6646On Memorial Day 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting Shirley Crawford and enjoy a piece of her Triple Treat Torte. I devoured it with my eyes first… I barely made it to the picnic bench and let me tell you- WOW! This dessert is a winner! This is one of those desserts that I cannot be trusted with if you get what I mean….Thank you Shirley for sharing your recipe with us! The original recipe was made with full fat ingredients…. I switched it over to lighter ingredients in hopes of having seconds ; ) It was so delicious! Now, the problem is, I have not been feeling too great with anything “peanuts” like a lot of other people so I decided to twist this recipe up to hazelnuts, white chocolate & Nutella <3 !! It passed big time with my trusty taste tester with big compliments – Thank you Hun!

So here is Shirley’s original recipe and my hazelnut concoction follows.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust:
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup flour
1/2 – 2/3 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese- softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 – 8 oz. cool whip
Topping:
1 – 3 oz. pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 – 3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 3/4 cup cold milk
Cut butter into flour until crumbly. Stir in peanuts. Pat mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan; bake 16 – 20 minutes- cool completely. For filling, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese & peanut butter until smooth. Fold in 1 – 8 oz. container of cool whip. Spread over cooled crust. In another bowl, combine pudding mixes and cold milk; beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Let thicken slightly. Spread over filling. Top with 1 – 8 oz. container of cool whip and sprinkle with chocolate or chopped peanuts. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Mama Carp’s White Chocolate Hazelnut Nutella Torte

DSC_7041Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust:
1/2 cup cold butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 – 8 oz. pkg. 1/3 less fat cream cheese- softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1 – 8 oz. lite cool whip- softened
Topping:
2 – 3 oz. pkgs. diet white chocolate pudding
2 3/4 cups cold skim milk
Cut butter into flour and sugar until crumbly. Stir in hazelnuts. Pat into a greased 9 x 13 pan; bake 15-20 minutes- cool completely and I mean completely…. trust me. For filling, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and Nutella until smooth. Fold in 1 – 8 oz. container of cool whip. Spread over cooled crust. In another bowl, combine pudding mixes and cold milk; beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Let thicken slightly. Spread over filling. Top with 1 – 8 oz. container of cool whip and sprinkle with finely chopped hazelnuts. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

 

Tips, Tricks & Words of Wisdom…

Often people ask me what products I use in my cooking and baking. Here is my list of what I prefer to use in my kitchen as how we are eating and preparing as of late.

As a lot of you know we are always trying to change for the good… so its possible this list will change. I have listed where I buy some of these items- I’m sure you will find them in various stores near you.

The key to my cooking is use good products that are fresh. Cook and bake with love and it’ll be awesome! Whenever possible- buy local! I cannot get enough of our farmers markets! Grow anything and everything you can! The best part is you can have fun in your kitchen preserving your grown goods for months to come! Trust this Minnesota girl- this is a HUGE good thing in the long winter months and your family will love you for it! (especially if you give some of your goodies as gifts)

Salt
I only use Iodized sea salt in all my cooking.
I love the large flake in my cooking and most people are iodine deficient.

Spices
I love love love spices and I purchase 98% of them from The Spice House. Awesome company with a great product. I freeze all my spices to preserve their freshness. And I love giving spices as gifts- you’d be surprised how excited people get!

Oil
I buy Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil from Sam’s Club and fill an oil dispenser thats kept out by my stove. I use this in all my cooking & baking. If we’re frying we use peanut oil.

My House Seasoning
I love this mixture! Taken from Paula Dean- I order my granulated garlic from the spice house.
1 cup iodized sea salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup black pepper
I have given this mixture in a really nice container I find at William Sonoma during their summer BBQ season. I put the filled container in a plastic gift bag sold at your local craft store and tie it off with a bow and handmade tag. I pair this with a favorite cook book and some grill mitts for an awesome wedding shower gift.

Roasting Chicken Breasts
I only buy bone-in skin on chicken breasts. They produce a much more moist and flavorful meat for salads, fajitas etc. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree’s. Spray your roasting pan with Pam cooking spray. Arrange chicken breasts on prepared pan. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the skin side of breasts and season with the house seasoning. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your breasts ; )

Sugars
I only buy C & H sugars. They are made from pure cane sugar. Everything else is produced from beets- nothing else will do. I prefer the bakers sugar which is a finer grade. I started buying the bakers sugar when I invested in a gelato machine and needed my sugar to dissolve faster and now prefer it in all my baking & cooking.

Butter
I only use unsalted butter. Its a better quality butter and you are in control of the salt content. I always have 2 sticks out at all times at room temperature and I keep at least 8+ sticks in my kitchen freezer at all times.

Nuts
I LOVE nuts! It doesn’t matter what kind –  they are wonderful! All of my nuts are frozen to preserve their freshness- NO ONE likes rancid nuts- not even a desperate squirrel.

Vanilla
I love a good vanilla! I only use Nielsen- Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract- the best!

King Arthur Flour
I love their extracts, chocolates, flours and just about everything else they have to offer! I absolutely love their 1/2 sheet parchment paper- saves on clean up big time!

Oats
Believe it or not I still really like Archer Farms (Target brand) Old Fashioned Oats. I choose them over Quaker any day- I know, crazy!

Fruits & Vegetables
We try our best to buy as much organic as possible. Its so much better for you when its real.

Cheese
I think that if you can grate it yourself your getting a far superior outcome. Plus its kind of a work out to cut the cheese.

Eggs
I buy organic, cage free eggs. Brown eggs make me a happy girl : )

Milk
Organic Valley is an AWESOME company! LOVE the milk! Its the best of the best!

Yogurts
Stonyfield organic low fat french vanilla yogurt
Fage Total 0% All Natural Nonfat Greek strained Yogurt

Honey
Trader Joe’s Organic Raw Honey. Always have this on hand! Hot water, fresh lemon and this honey is the perfect RX for a sore throat.

Mayonnaise
I use Hellmann’s Light in place of regular in my recipes.

Hot Sauce
Franks Redhot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce – hands down.

Onions
Vidalia is my all time favorite! I always look forward to my Daughter Allie’s birthday (May 2nd) when we get them here in Minnesota. This onion season lasts sadly to the 4th of July when I sauté them in butter and sugar for our brats. After that is Walla Walla, then Spanish… I’m not big into red although its good in certain recipes. Sam’s Club does carry a sweet onion through the year which I always make sure to have in my cart.

Coffee

The best on the planet! Kona coffee! Trader Joe’s carries 100% Kona medium roast coffee beans. Kona coffee was listed as Forbes best bean- totally agree!

Coffee Creamer
I buy 2 bottles of creamer at a time. Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Vanilla and also in the low fat version. Upon unpacking groceries I shake them and pour half out of the regular into a measuring cup, then refill it with the low fat. Then pour the regular thats in the measuring cup into the 1/2 full low fat – now you have successfully mixed them 1/2 & 1/2… why did I come up with this? because I’m always trying to watch my weight but don’t like the low fat that well. It was a flavorful happy medium and as one gets used and the other sits in a separate fridge in waiting.

Simple Syrup
This is in my fridge at all times- its a one to one ratio, so 1 cup sugar to one cup water. In a pan mix and heat up until the sugar dissolves, don’t let this boil. Cool and store in bottle for upwards of 3 weeks. This recipe can also be infused with other flavors.

Whipped cream

It’s no secret I’m addicted to whipped cream. I buy light real cream in a can, lite cool whip in all my recipes, and on special occasions when only fresh home made whipped cream will do- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream, a healthy 1/3 cup powdered sugar & 1 teaspoon good vanilla (try other flavors!) Put all in a tall bowl and whip on high speed until you get stiff peaks- do not over whip!!! Yummmmmmm!

Cream Cheese

I substitute 1/3 less fat cream cheese in all my recipes- so good!

This is it for now- I hope something in here works for you <3