Archive | 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

I found this recipe on last week and had a perfect cold winters day to try it out.  I switched a few things from the original recipe, but it turned out so good.  A real comfort food for a cold Michigan day.  Enjoy!


Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

1 can chunk chicken

4 medium potatoes, diced

1 can sliced mushrooms

1 cup chopped celery

2 cans cream of chicken soup

6 cubes chicken bouillon dissolved in 1 cup water

2 t. garlic salt

1 T. black pepper

1 bag frozen mixed vegetables

Combine all ingredients except frozen vegetables in crock pot, stirring well.  Cook on high for 5 hours.  Then stir in frozen vegetables and cook for 1 additional hour.  Bake 1 tube of refrigerator biscuits just before serving.  Put on a plate, cover with chicken stew and serve.  Yum!

My Contribution

Just thought I’d share this link to a friend’s blog that I contributed a photo to.  She is running a series for the 12 days before Christmas with the theme of “chasing hope.”  She asked for photo contributions and I offered this one.  Take a look around her blog, check it out.  Enjoy.

Thanksgiving 2012

Just thought I’d share a few pics from our family thanksgiving yesterday.  I tried a bunch of new recipes, but only a few really stood out as keepers.  I made the Pioneer Woman’s soul sweet ‘tators.  I also made a recipe for cranberry shortbread out of Bon Appetit magazine.  My favorite new recipe of the day was the buttered apple cider from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade magazine!  I’ll include these three recipes in this post.  I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving day.  Other than the fact that my husband was sick all day, we had a wonderful day as a family and I felt blessed all day long.


Buttered Apple Cider:

Mix 1 stick of softened butter, 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves until combined.  Put the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a 1-inch thick log.  Wrap and chill 1 hour.  Pour 3 cups of apple cider into a slow cooker, cover and heat on high for 1 hour.  Divide 1 cup bourbon among 6 glasses.  Top each with hot cider and a slice of the spiced butter…YUMMY!
Cranberry Shortbread

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/4 t. salt

1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into slices

1 – 10 oz bag fresh cranberries

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 t. grated grapefruit zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8×8 pan.  Whisk flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  Using your fingertips, rub butter into dry ingredients until mix resembles coarse meal.  Transfer to prepared pan, press evenly onto bottom of pan.  Prick dough with fork.  Bake shortbread until cooked through and golden pale, about 25 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cups cranberries and grapefruit juice to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally until cranberries burst and mix is syrupy, about 8 minutes.  Stir in remaining cranberries and cook until skins begin to split, about 3 minutes.  Let cool.  Spread cooled cranberry topping over shortbread.  Scatter zest over.  Cut and serve.  MMMMM…


Soul Sweet ‘Taters

4 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup white sugar

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1 t salt

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup flour

6 T unsalted butter at room temp

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put the sweet potatoes on the oven rack and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour.  When potatoes are finished cooking, let cool slightly.  Slice them open lengthwise and scrape out the flesh with a fork into a large bowl.  Increase oven temp to 400 degrees.  Add the white sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt to the bowl with the potatoes.  Mash the mix with a potato masher until combined and slightly lumpy.  In a separate bowl, mash the dark brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter until crumbly.  Spread the potato mixture into a large baking dish, sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  AWESOME!

Jamaican Spiced Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I pulled this out of Everyday Cooking Martha Stewart.  Finally found a nice pineapple at Costco today and it reminded me of this recipe.  Time to try it out!  When I tasted the batter before cooking, I was a little nervous.  This is not a very sweet cake, great for those of you that do not like overly sweet frosting.  But when I took it out of the oven and tried a piece, YUM!  It is so good.  Enjoy!

Jamaican Spiced Pineapple Upside-Down Cake:

9 T butter, divided

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced

1 can coconut milk

3 large eggs

2 T lemon or lime juice

2 t vanilla extract

1 T baking powder

2 t ground allspice

1 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt 5 T butter and pour into a 9″ square baking pan, tilting to coat bottom.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sugar and arrange pineapple slices in rows.  In a microwave safe bowl, microwave coconut milk and remaining 4 T of butter until butter is melted, but not too hot.  Mix in remaining cup of sugar.  Add eggs, lemon or lime juice and vanilla.  Add flour, baking powder, allspice and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Pour batter over pineapple and spread.  Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Let cool for 1 hour.  Invert onto platter before serving.  Serve warm.

Jim & Kassie {Engagement Session}

My most recent engagement session!  I just love these pics, so much fun!

Ezra {Senior Session}

This is Ezra.  He is one of the nicest, sweetest, well rounded high school seniors I know.  He is also so cute, and I had a very hard time picking just a few pics for a sneak peek.  Ezra is my pastor’s son, I was honored and blessed to be asked to do his senior pictures.  Ezra is an avid snowboarder and was more than excited that it was only 45 degrees and cold the day we did his pics.  He was wishing all the rain coming down was snow.  While I don’t share his passion for snow and the cold winter months, we do share a passion for Christ and sharing His love with the world around us.  He is involved with Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ and also a team rider for Marhar snowboard manufacturer here in Grand Rapids.  What else can I say, this kid is awesome!

Allison & Mike {Wedding}

I love these pictures.  I am so excited with the way they turned out!  Allison and Mike were an awesome couple to work with and I feel their pictures reflect that 🙂  Not everyone can pull off the “no smile” serious look, but these two rocked it!  The day was perfect and the venue was fabulous.  The ceremony was held on the skydeck of the Loft 310 building in downtown Kalamazoo.  Reception was on the 2nd floor.  The couple were very untraditional, there was not a wedding party and they served donuts instead of cake.  Check out the pics, let me know what you think.  Fellow photographers, give me your thoughts!

Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake

I found this recipe in Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Fall 2012 magazine.  I’ve been waiting for fall season to make this yummy looking cake.  And today was the day.  The recipe below is the single cake size.  I doubled this recipe today and made two 9″ cakes.  My neighbors were the lucky recipient of the extra cake 🙂  Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I did!  This would be perfect for after-church coffee time or even Thanksgiving morning.  Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and divided

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided

3 large eggs

1/2 t. vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 large granny smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 1 9″ cake pan with baking spray.  In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter at medium high speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar, beating until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mix to butter mix alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mix.  Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter.  Pour into bottom of prepared pan.  In a medium bowl, combine remaining 3/4 cup of brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over melted butter in pan.  Arrange apple slices in a single layer over brown sugar mixture.  Pour batter over apple slices.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Carefully invert onto serving dish.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

And my son loved it too!  Homerun!

Summer Photo Sessions

I have been a very bad blogger this summer, with all the weddings I’ve had and vacations, it’s hard to keep up.  I wanted to share just a few shots from some of my favorite photo shoots this summer.  Enjoy!

Apple Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe in the October 2012 edition of Midwest Living.  I tweaked it a little bit, as the original recipe called for sunflower seeds in it.  But I braved the 90 degree heat today and turned on my oven to make this awesome bread!  So yummy and smells great too.  Definitely puts me into the fall mood!  Enjoy.

Apple Pumpkin Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup apple cider

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

1 1/2 cups chopped and peeled granny smith apples

Grease bottom and sides of 2 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  In a large bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.  In an extra-large mixing bowl, beat sugars and oil with mixer.  Add eggs, beat well  Alternately add flour mix and cider on low speed until just combined.  Beat in pumpkin.  Fold in apples.  Spread batter into prepared pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove and cool on racks.  Wrap in foil and store overnight before slicing.