Friday, February 5, 2016

Cooking Together

Expand your appetite …take a chance and try it

When I met Dale 10 years ago, he was the typical, Midwest, farm guy.  Meat, potatoes, corn (the only vegetable in the world), bread and desserts were family meals.  I had lived that myth for several years myself, except for the vegetables.  I was raised with a variety of them.  Milk and water is what you had to drink.  In my young adult years, I was able to expand my tastes by going out to eat with friends at various restaurants and trying new things.   I like to cook, eat and drink (does not always have to have alcohol in it).

Nevertheless, I started cooking for Dale.  I cooked what I thought, a variety of food.  I expanded his horizons with more vegetables (green, orange and red ones), cooked different ways, seasoned, or added in recipes.  He started enjoying more foods and trying more.  We started cooking together.  We tried different recipes since Dale had become addicted to 

After a few years, we were very fortunate to have new neighbors, Chris and Laura, move in that loved to cook, eat and drink.  We became very good friends and were invited to join them for dinner once a week for a unique meal.  Chris is the chef in the house.  He fixes his meals “fancy”, design cut veggies, sauces drizzled on the plate, plates warmed in the oven prior to plating food, etc.  We had eaten deer before and never cared for it, but we had never had it fixed by Chris.  Laura assists when needed and takes care of the cleanup.  We always started with a cocktail.  The options were endless, all types of wine, margaritas, beers, Sake, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Cognac, sparkling water, lavender water, rose water and the list goes on.    Along with your drink of choice, you had cheeses, nuts, olives, etc.  The meals were outstanding.  We were introduced to lamb (shank and meatloaf), quail, squirrel, rabbit, duck, smoked bluegill and bass, whole lobster (different that lobster tail) and mourning doves.  All very delicious.  New Year’s Eve was always a very special meal consisting of foie gras, truffles, rack of fawn and breast of mourning dove.

But as if that wasn’t enough, we were invited to go to France with them in 2012.  Dale was a little skeptical about the food options available in France, but we took the adventure.  What a cultural experience, not just the food, but the way of life.  We had the privilege of eating the following foods:  escargot, horse, wild boar, liver meat loaf, head cheese, pheasant pate, squab, tartiflette, flaming baked Alaska, duck confit, many fresh breads and cheeses.  The wines were exceptional.  We sipped Chartreuse, Chambord and Cointreau along with extraordinary desserts.

Cooking is something Dale and I love to do together.  As most children, ours aren’t always open to trying the “different” foods, so we welcome anyone who is willing to try new foods.  We love to entertain and have often thought of having a Bed & Breakfast and/or winery.  You never know you like something, if you don’t try it.  You won’t die from trying food.



Friday, January 22, 2016


My favorite little girl, Miss Collyns Elizabeth Wood, and I (and her mom, Kacie J) created a snowflake together for a snowflake contest held by LSB recently.  We traced Collyns’s hands, nipped the traced paper here and there, glued them to a board and added sprinkles.  The sprinkles were Collyns’s job.  She did a great!  Such simple things can mean so much.


Submitted by Amber McDowell

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Elf on the Shelf

My oldest daughter is 11 years old and this Christmas I really thought was going to be the explanation of Santa Claus.  Until Thanksgiving Day rolls around and out of no where appears an Elf on the Shelf.  Now if you are not familiar with Elf on the Shelf, this little Elf arrives at your house to watch your children and then flies back to Santa each night and reports how your child was behaving or the wishes and wants of your child.  Each morning when your children wake up the Elf has moved into a different location and the children must find it.  So, each day until Christmas, Dot (the name our elf was given by my daughters) moved and reported to Santa accordingly.  My oldest daughter never skipped a beat, each morning she was on the hunt for Dot and never questioned me about anything.  So Christmas Eve rolls around and Dot is getting ready to fly back to the North Pole with Santa, my daughter leaves an extra cookie and some milk for Dot just in case she is hungry on the ride home.  Christmas morning Dot leaves a note to both of my daughters explaining that she will be back next year and how much she is going to miss our family.  My girls were just elated!  Thank you Dot for making the Christmas magic last one more year, I don’t know how much longer we can pull it off but I will take whatever I can get.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning

My FiancĂ© Emilee and I got engaged July 4th of 2014; we decided that we would get married June 25th 2016. For most people this is a really long engagement but we wanted to wait until Emilee was finished with school before we got married. She will graduate from Central College in May of 2016 so that’s why we decided to wait so long. Even though we had two years to plan the wedding we pretty much started planning right away. At first we moved pretty quickly getting most of the big things booked. We booked venue for both the wedding, and the reception, booked a DJ, caterer, booked the honeymoon all within the first few months of our engagement. We were off to a great start. Once we started to get into the little details that is when things started to slow way down.

The whole process has been a huge learning experience for me. There are so many things that you need to think of while planning a wedding that I would never think of. At first when we were booking most of the big stuff I was very involved and helpful. Since then I think my involvement and helpfulness has dropped significantly. Emilee and her mom now are planning all of the little details. Which I think is great because most of the things I truly do not have an opinion on.  For example the recent task we have been working on is selecting invitations for the wedding. Emilee has spent countless hours online searching and creating invitations. She has made several sample ones online then she shows them to me and asks what I think. I give her some feed back but ultimately I don’t have a huge opinion on invitations. Most of the guest will hang the invite on the fridge for a month then once the wedding is over they will throw it away. I am very glad that Emilee and her mom love planning all of the little details since that is not my thing. I also have no doubt the invites will look way better with Emilee in charge of them, than they would if I was.

Overall planning our wedding has been a smooth process and we are having fun planning it. We have about six months to go until the wedding so still plenty of time, even though I’m sure it will go fast.