"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


My Problem...Tell All Tuesday's

 There is absolutely NOTHING like the bounty of summer. At our house we eat like kings. 
I love the farmer's markets that I frequent.
There is something new and different every week.
 My oldest son, Fielding, brought me all this...and more... one day. Oh. my. gosh. It was heaven. 
His grandfather-in-law has a huge garden and LOVES to share.

 Many times in the summer we go without any kind of meat for supper and just pigout eat FRESH fruits and vegies. Sometimes we will grill a steak to go with all the fresh foods.

 LOTS of BLT's (without the L)are eaten at our house. It is even better if I stop by the bakery and get fresh multi-grain bread. 
Is there any thing more simple and delicious than a 
bacon and tomato sandwich?

 But I have a confession to make. While I am eating the wealth of farmer's markets and generous grandpa's; while I am "Mmmmmmmmm" and "Mmmmmmmm" with every bite of the summer freshness; while I thoroughly enjoy each and every bite of savory fruits and vegetables that summer offers....I am reading a cookbook about chocolate and dreaming. 

 Dreaming about that next decadent chocolate treat that I need to whip up.....and eat!
I definitely have a problem!


The Domes Have a New Home

 My mother, who is probably best known for NOT ever having gone to a yard sale, bought me the three glass-covered tiers at a yard sale. 
 To be quite honest, the yard sale was that of one of her best friends that has decided to down-size and move into a smaller home. She is selling many of her beautiful collections. My mother "helped" her get rid of many things by buying them. I think originally, most of the pieces my mother purchased were supposed to be for me. But now she has decided to use some of them "for a few years" then give them to me. HA!!  My mother needs more "stuff" as much as I do. But, I was glad she did pass several pieces from the sale on to me! 
 I left the price tag on just to show you. It is long-gone now. My mother paid just $2 for each of the domed tiers. What a great deal!
 As you can see, there are three different tiers, each at different heights. I think they will work beautifully at our two weddings next year on the brunch table (for Annie) and the reception table (for Luke). 
 My mom gave them to me the first of July and I added some red, white and blue dishes to each of them. I snapped a few pictures THEN I went back and cleaned them and took the price tags off! Nothing like working backwards!
 I don't know that I will always keep them out, but for now they are mingling with other pieces of glassware and china on a dresser in the dining room. 
 This past weekend, we had a very special party where we celebrated our daughter Taylor graduating from radiology school. (I'll post the entire party decor (of skeletons!!) later this week.) I used the trio of tiers to put out several glittery skulls we used for the party. (The large piece in the background is really a drink container with a spigot. I just used it for that party to hold one of the skeletons!) 
As you can see though, the tiers really are cleaned up,
with price tags off too!
This is how they look today. The red is gone. The skulls are gone. They each just sport different blue and white china pieces. They will probably stay this way for..............at least a week!! 
Besides weddings, I have thought of several more ways to use the stands, the domes, and the pieces together. There are endless possibilities. They've come to a good home!
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Spasagna. Yes, Spasagna!

 Spasagna---Have you ever had it?  Have you ever made it?  It's what you get when spaghetti and lasagna get married. And reproduce.
When I say reproduce, just know that this recipe makes a big 'ole pan. But don't expect any leftovers. It is that good. In fact when I was typing this post, my son Luke walked by and said, "Hmmm. That's good. Will you make it tonight?"  To which I answered, "We just had it last week."  To which he said, "That doesn't matter. It's that good."  Take that as expert knowledge of the subject!!
 To create this deliciousness you will need these three (plus) ingredients: A big bowl of noodles.
 Your cheeses and creams. 
 Your meat sauce.
 IF you can't figure this picture out, it is the noodles combined with the cheeses and creams, before the top layer of meat sauce is put on. It is really that simple. 
 And the finished product. After it has baked. 
 I got the recipe from a local restaurant chain called "Cheddars".  In the recipe they bake the noodle/cheese layer then layer on the meat sauce when serving. Honestly, I have done it that way as well (the first time I make it). After that, I just layer the meat layer on top and bake it. I like it better that way. You can do it however you feel like doing it. I give you my permission!

 Baked Spasagna:
1 1/2 lbs spaghetti noodles, uncooked
 2 lbs mozzarella cheese
 8 ounces ricotta cheese (you can use cottage cheese if you prefer)
 8 ounces sour cream
 1 1/2 cups half-and-half 
1/2 cup whipping cream (I added this and ONLY do this, if I have some in my fridge. It can be left out.)
1 cup shredded cheddar (again, this is a preference at our house and can be eliminated)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 2 Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and drain. Place in large mixing bowl.

 3 In another mixing bowl, stir together sour cream, ricotta, half-and-half, mozzarella, and half the Parmesan cheese. (Also if you add the whipping cream and cheddar add it here (only add half the cheddar). 

 4 Add above cheese mixture to the spaghetti.  Mix gently until spaghetti is evenly coated with mixture.

 5 Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish. (I use olive oil spray, but any could be used).

. 6 Gently place spaghetti mixture into prepared dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

 7 Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. 
(I am putting this out, as Cheddar's does their recipe. BUT remember, that I always just layer the meat sauce on at this point. Then I add the remaining cheddar and more parmesan on top of the meat sauce and bake according to the same directions.) 

8 Remove from oven, remove foil and place dish on cooling rack for 10 minutes.

 9 Cut into squares and top with meat sauce below, or your favorite meat or marinara sauce. 

Meat Sauce: 

I just make the same meat sauce I always make for spaghetti. Again, I consider this your own preference. I will say that for my big pan of Spasagna, I always use at least 2 pounds of hamburger meat as the base.

I hope you enjoy this. It is an excellent supper for a family gathering or company's coming! 

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It Might Be Hot, But LOVE is in the Air!!-Tell All Tuesday

 I think I have mentioned it before, but my daughter Annie got engaged (on Leap Day). Her wedding is planned for 4.13.13. She will be weeks away from turning 30. But most importantly, her braces will be off a few weeks before that. (She got herself braces at the age of 28!)  Annie has a terrific job and loves to travel. Her fiance', Geoff, also has a great job and loves to travel.  Annie and Geoff are trying to decide between a huge wedding and reception OR a smaller more intimate wedding and a big European honeymoon. 
Choices! Choices! 

 Then this past week Luke, the baby of the family, surprised everyone by asking his long-time girlfriend, Tiffany,  to marry him. It was Luke's 23rd birthday, and he thinks he got about the best present ever!!  (We think so too.) Luke and Tiffany are planning to get married next August (2013). Tiffany will be out of college by then, but Luke will still be in school. Tiffany has talked about getting a Masters....(so maybe she will also still be in school!!). Luke will be 24 and Tiffany will be (a few weeks short of) 23 when they get married. (Oh yeah, and Luke will have his braces off too!!ha!)
 When did my babies get old enough to be getting married?  How did time go by so quickly? 

 It was quite an eventful and special week. Annie and I spent a day looking at different wedding venues. Then Luke had his big (surprise to most) proposal and Tiffany and I looked at a wedding dress. 

 The first place Annie and I looked at is about three blocks from our house. It is the Scottish Rite Temple of the Freemasons. I believe it is the largest one in the world. It is beyond beautiful. The entire place is filled with unbelievable architecture and stained glass. There are a variety of places to hold a wedding ceremony in the building. The pictures I am showing is the room that Annie was interested in. (I got in trouble for taking pictures. So then I had to be very covert with my camera. Apparently the Freemasons do not understand about blogging!!) 
 This is the ceiling in the room where the ceremony would take place. There is a grand balcony all the way around the room as well. 
 The chandelier was huge and magnificent as well. Our tour guide told us that Larry Gatlin's (the singer) son got married here. Apparently he married a local teacher. 

 This room is where the reception would be held. It too is just unbelievable. Annie is planning a morning wedding and wants a brunch reception. I think that will be SO much fun for all of us. The rooms at this venue  would be beautiful regardless of the time of day. 

 The second place we toured is exactly one block from our house. I have told you (ohsomanytimes) that we live in an historic town. It has so many great places to hold weddings. This place is a former orphanage that sat empty for years. A couple purchased the entire orphanage in 1999 and refurbished it. People have weddings and parties here all the time. We can see many of the wedding and parties from our front yard. It is quite fun to watch. 

 If Annie wanted an indoor wedding it would be in this room. The room is huge and can accommodate hundreds.  But if she wanted an outdoor wedding (which she wants if this is her venue choice), then the gardens are spectacular. They promised they would be already in bloom in April. 
 The next three pictures would be a panoramic picture if put together. That is how the garden looks. The pictures show where the wedding party would stand. This is actually in the back of the house. Of course, you can use the front of the big house for an outdoor wedding as well. 

 This place has everything a bride can think of. The owners of the mansion live on the property in the (5000+ square foot) carriage house. What a great idea they had to bring back this historic property. Some how I did not manage to get a picture (and they were allowed here!) of the ballroom where the reception would be held. Go look on the website. Beau-ti-ful!

 The third place we looked at in our town was the top story of one of the downtown buildings. While it was the smallest of the three local venues, the man giving us the tour could have (as they say) sold ice to the Eskimos. He was so good that he made ME want to have another wedding. The picture above is the area (most usually) used for the ceremony. (This location actually has about four places in the building to get married.) 
 The back area of the room is where the reception is held, unless of course you want your guests there during the ceremony. The smooth-talking host told us how he lets all the drapes down and how the bridesmaids walk up the side of the room. Then (oh-so-dramatically) they pull back the center curtain and the bride appears and meanders her way to the front. SOSOSO much attention focused on the bride at this venue. It is a bride's dream. 
 They close down the street beside this building and the wedding can spill out into the street. He has horses and buggies and old-fashioned cars lined up to go around town. When we told him we wanted a morning wedding with a brunch reception I thought he might cry. Out of happiness and excitement. He wanted us to immediately go across the street to the Bed and Breakfast he owns and try out the breakfast for ideas.  He told us the Princess of Iceland got married here (again to a local). He had all kinds of stories about the Iceland royalty. 
 I told Annie if he started talking in an accent, he would be EXACTLY like the wedding planner in Father of the Bride (which coincidentally has a bride named Annie!!!). 
I have no doubt that a wedding held here would be spectacular.

 Although there are other venues in my historic little town (I hear there is a place with an amphi-theater as well), we headed out to another venue that is near and dear to my heart. I spent most Sunday's of my formative years at this place. My grandparents had a house on property that was once owned by Pawnee Bill of the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show fame. My cousins and I would run through the fields and go to the house (which is now a museum) that was Pawnee Bills. I guarantee that there was a time that we could all recite the entire tour by heart! 
 Annie had mentioned that she was thinking of an outdoor wedding (risky anytime in Oklahoma!), and was thinking about a "glamour meets prairie" idea. She was thinking of a barn location. One day it hit me...... my favorite childhood barn! They don't have many weddings at the museum but they (the museum curators)  were excited by the idea. (The picture above is the tile work that goes across the outdoor porch). 
 The wedding would be held on the porch of the mansion. It is beautiful and very "Oklahoma". 
 Both sides of the mansion have big porches, but the wedding would take place on the front porch in order to take advantage of the views. 

 The porch is plenty big for a large wedding party. 

 This would be where the guests sit. It is hard to tell from the picture, but the views are beautiful and you can see for miles. 
 The reception, if Annie picks this venue, would be in the old, but very beautiful barn. If she picks this place we have great ideas of how to have a fun reception.  Annie was even hoping that she could get a mini-Wild West Show for her reception. (The museum and town put on a Wild West Show in the summer.) 

 I told Annie she could arrive at the ceremony in a surrey, coming up from my grandparents house (which is still in the family). She loved the idea. Then come to find out, Ralph Lauren's daughter did the same thing. (And of course, I am nothing if not in the same league as Ralph!!) Apparently I have great ideas though. I also told her we could use some of the songs from the musical "Oklahoma". For instance, "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" and "Surrey With the Fringe on Top". After all "Oklahoma" has both and Annie and a Laurie!!  
 This venue has unlimited possibilities. Each of the places were spectacular in their own way. And just because I know you are wondering, there is about a $10,000.00 (yes, you read that right), difference between the most expensive and the least expensive.  WOWZA!  By the way, Annie is going with the colors of pink and champagne. Obviously, there is some glamour there! So now you have seen the top choices. Which one do you like best?  Check out the websites I included for each one as well. 

 Tiffany tried on this wedding dress and looked absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in it. AND that is without hair or makeup done. The dress was wrinkled, but of course that will be taken care of. 
 Tiffany is just beginning her wedding planning. She does know that she wants her wedding to be aqua (or Tiffany blue technically) and coral. That combination will be perfect for Tiffany and Luke's dark hair. 
You know the lucky part. (Lucky is a very arbitrary word!!)....YOU will get to hear and see all about these weddings in the months ahead. I'll let you know which venue Annie picks. Of course I will put pictures up of dresses and flowers and Big Ideas. Are you shaking your head?  Well what did you expect?  LOVE is in the air at my house!!
P.S. TECHNICALLY I started this post on Tuesday, so it is still a Tell All Tuesday post! 
Linking with Wow Us Wednesday's
Open House Thursday's


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