Wedding Photoblog 1 - Engagement, shower, bachelorette party

A year is a long time to be engaged, but in some ways, it's awesome to have so much time to plan and celebrate. I'm a BIG planner, so though we've already knocked out some of the most important details (venues, hotels, date, dress, etc.), there are tons of little things to work on whenever there's time. A goal for me during this year is to plan because it's fun, and to do so in a way that will ultimately allow for a stress-free event. I really want to enjoy the planning process - and upon thinking of this today, I realized how many awesome wedding things have already happened. Not wanting to let them slip away so quickly, I've posted some pics below that capture the highlights. I think I'll keep doing this throughout the year, too - sort of like an online scrapbook. Enjoy!

Morgan proposed at a scenic overlook of the Dallas Divide, which is
en route to Telluride. Truly, a most beautiful place!

The ring has its own tales to tell; all of the diamonds
are from Morgan's paternal grandmother.
In August, I met my mom and sister in CA to spend a weekend
with Tete Bonnie, Uncle Paul, and cousins Annie and Rosie.
On night one, they all surprised me with a shower! 
Tete Bonnie makes a KILLER shower cake! Even better  eaten
cold, for breakfast!

My wonderful friend, Tina, created these amazing bachelorette party invites.
The party was actually a Hanson concert, and (I think) everyone had an
awesome time! The success of the evening can be attributed entirely to
Summer, Tina, and Kasey, who worked so hard to make it fun for everyone.
I just love those ladies.

We waited in line for several hours, killing time with food, drink, and games.
It was a blast!

Summer, Kasey, Katie

So close to the stage - with Tina and Janelle

Hanson  ♪ ♫ 
Tina, Janelle, Robynn, Elizabeth, Ryan
Such a great night - so lucky to have friends who are such incredible women! 

Scenes of Autumn Photoblog

Historic Golden

Golden Farmers Market

Mini Mines fan

Leaf peeping

Near Eldora, CO

Nederland, CO

Pumpkin patch

Pommer tots



Cincinnati Chili

In 2010, I had the great pleasure of visiting Madison, WI, on two separate occasions. Madison is probably one of the only cities in the Midwest to where I would wholeheartedly move – such liveliness and charm! There’s a restaurant downtown called The Old Fashioned, a place that ranks in my top 10 of favorite dining establishments. The beer cheese soup! The cheese curds! The cherry and blue cheese salad!

Ahh, anyway, my immense love for this restaurant will be left to a later blog, as this one is all about a dish I saw on The Old Fashioned’s menu: Cincinnati Chili. To sum up, it’s a giant bowl of chili with the works (onions, sour cream, cheese)…ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI. Yes, yes, you read that right – chili spaghetti. Apparently, Cincinnati Chili is a big deal – a quick Wikipedia search rendered multiple recipes, photos, and instructions for ordering the dish (bowl, 2-way, 5-way, etc.). I will admit that my original thoughts on chili spaghetti were strangely close-minded. Honestly, it just sounded weird.

A few months after my second visit to The Old Fashioned, I decided to taste test this Cincinnati Chili at home. I was admittedly nervous – how odd, too, for the ingredients add up to carb-and-comfort-food heaven, a place I like to visit often. In a bowl, I layered steaming spaghetti, shredded cheddar, piping hot chili, and topped it off with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of scallions. As the sour cream melted and oozed over the surface of the chili, I jabbed a fork into the mix and twirled. The cheese, trapped between tendrils of pasta and chunks of chili, had melted into a delightfully gooey sauce.

Oh, my.

One perfect bite and my mouth was filled with an amazing combination of textures and flavors. I cannot even accurately explain it other than to ask you to imagine all of the components of comfort food (soft, warm, cheesy, creamy, hearty) in one place at the same time. I’m not sure what is more unbelievable – that such deliciousness exists from such simple ingredients, or that I lived 33 years of my life without this dish.

Suffice to say, Cincinnati Chili is now a year-round staple in my kitchen, though I especially love it in the autumn and winter seasons. I made it for Morgan a few weeks ago, and he wasn’t quite as impressed…he prefers regular, tomatoe-y spaghetti. So now I just freeze single servings of chili, which make for a quick trip to carb-and-comfort-food heaven on any chilly eve. 

It should be noted that an authentic Cincinnati Chili recipe includes cinnamon, cloves, and chocolate, but I'm partial to my own chili recipe. Also, the picture above is not my own - I'll be sure to update with a photo of my version when I make it again. 

Cincinnati Chili

For the chili:
1½ lb. ground beef or turkey
2 pkg. chili seasoning (low sodium)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 clove garlic
2 cans kidney beans
3  15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 can sliced black olives
1 T. sugar

Dice all three peppers and mince the garlic. Brown meat in a large Dutch oven and drain fat. Add pepper and garlic to meat; cook on med-low for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chili seasoning in and stir to coat. Add beans, sugar, and tomato sauce. Simmer on low for 2-3 hours, adding water in small amounts if chili gets too thick. Add the olives in the last hour of cooking.

Now, layer the following items in a bowl, in this order:
- whole wheat spaghetti, cooked/drained
- shredded cheddar
- chili
- sour cream
- scallions

This dish is massively filling, so go easy on your portion sizes at first. Allow to cool just enough to eat without scalding one’s tongue, and enjoy! J