Sunday, June 21, 2015

Grooms Side Part II. Wedding Road Trip!

Wedding Bound to Whales Head Park!
I'm going to be the first to say that I was never a big fan of destination weddings. In my wee small mind, I thought they were expensive, time consuming and eliminate of lot of people who might otherwise attend if it was to be held locally.

That was before I hooked onto the wedding wagon driven by my son Kyle and his fiance Melissa. And it is heading south! Well, south for us, north for others! But whatever direction you're going, this much anticipated event will be held in October of 2016 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. And I am totally caught up in the frenzy of this party on the move!

Ceremony will be out on the far point! 
You would have to know these two to understand  that life for them is something that happens between parties. They love to both entertain and be entertained. Doesn't matter the time of year. Just yesterday, I was shopping and found something I thought they would love for the centerpieces, sent a picture and then called Kyle thinking "where else could he be on a Saturday afternoon but home." He didn't answer but called me back an hour later. "Hey Mom, Sorry I didn't hear the phone. I'm at a clambake and was in the water." Of course you are Kyle. What was I thinking.

And the most amazing thing about this wedding isn't just the good time to be had, it's the way the two of them are planning each and every detail. AND, staying within a strict budget! One look at Melissa's laptop tells the story. Colorful spreadsheets and charts outline their plans and money. They know what they have to work with. They know that more money, over and above what the four parents are offering, will be necessary! And they are working hard to make it's the way they want it.

Yes, a local wedding where just a few had to worry about hotels and travel, would have been so much easier. It's just not what they wanted. I had contacted local venues and caterers for pricing and menus only to get a phone call. "Mom, we want to be married on the beach in the Outer Banks." Then...they proceeded to make it happen.

A real good chance these wild horses will also be guests!
By a lunch date with me, just two weeks later, they had realtors, caterers, hotel prices, contracts, a wedding planner and a minister, all in the mix. I was stunned. Not because I ever thought they couldn't do it, but by the passion and determination they were doing it with! And with an Outer Banks realtor on speaker phone, all of us learned about the reality of beach weddings, "event housing" and septic systems. Subjects more connected than you might think.

They found an ocean front property that will be home to their large wedding party for up to a week. October is a great time to find fabulous rental prices! My sister and I even found a beautiful place large enough to bed our brothers, sister in laws, nieces and nephews, and other family members, at a price much cheaper than hotels. There are many logistics still to work out, but there is time. And, I have full confidence now that this party-loving couple will get it all done!
And of course they want a BBQ reception!

Stay with our journey to the Outer Banks, North Carolina! Not sure if it qualifies as a wedding road trip or a destination wedding. I just know that this is going to be one good time.

Family and friends alert: Save some time for the second week in October, 2016! You won't want to miss this!

Photos by GoogleImage

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Instant Crock Pot Classic..Even In The Summer!

A fabulous meal in the making!
For some reason, most people store away crock pots during the warmer months and I'm just not sure why. Unless you have the time to grill, the dinner alternative is using the oven or steaming up the kitchen with stove top meals. Now factor in that you are causing the air conditioning unit undo stress at the hottest part of the day and it will be evident why we need to rethink our crock pot usage.

I recently received a recipe in an email that just blew away my taste buds and sent my imagination soaring. Not sure where it originated, only know that I quickly stashed it away in my recipe folder and will take it out frequently.

Now, I love recipes that only call for a few ingredients, and this one fits that category. In fact, the only item that caused me an issue was finding the Fiesta Ranch dry mix (and you can't skip this step). I went to all of my favorite food shopping haunts, Wegman's, Shop Rite, Trader Joe's and came out empty handed (well, actually my cart was full, but minus the one thing I went in for). So you can imagine my surprise that when I Googled the product and found that (drum roll please)...Walmart carried it.

Anyway, here is this Couldn't. Be. Easier. recipe:


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 pkg of Fiesta Ranch Dip mix
1 can black beans
1 can of Rotel
1 can of corn (do not drain)
1 block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup of Frank's Hot Sauce (this is optional but strongly recommended!)


Dump all ingredients in the crock pot (was going to call this recipe the "Magic Dump" but you can understand why I corrected my thought process). Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours. Done

So good!
How is that for ease? It not only taste amazing, the smell in your house will entice everyone to the dinner table. It is suggested that you can serve this over rice, noddles or in tortillas. I went the lower carb direction and just ate it out of a bowl. I will also use this tasty concoction as a hot dip by shredding the chicken (after its cooked) and placing it back in the pot. How great would this be using the "scooped" type tortilla chips or pita bread?  

Also keep in mind that you can spice this recipe up or down with the type of Rotel (mexican canned tomatoes, that come in original, mild or hot, hot, hot!) I am a bit of a wimp and went with the mild, which still had plenty of flavor!

So, give this summer crock pot recipe a try and let me know what you think! Me? I'm in love!