I Am Thankful for Fall!

The leaves have already changed colors and have been to falling to the ground. One of my favorite fall traditions is going for a drive up in the mountains to see all the fall colors. Last month Dave and I went up Payson Canyon for a picnic. The colors were absolutely stunning! Here are some of the pictures from our picnic.

Box Lake2

Payson Lakes 6


Box Lake

Payson Lakes 14

Here is my sweet husband patiently waiting for me to finish taking pictures.

Payson Lakes 10

Payson Lakes2

Payson Lakes4

Payson Canyon Trail

Payson Lakes5

The next weekend we decided to take  the kids up Diamond Fork Canyon for a picnic and to see the beautiful fall colors. It was so fun! On our way to our picnic spot, we came across some cowboys herding their cattle down the mountain.

Diamond Fork

At one point, we were completely surrounded by cows. My boys were in heaven, I must admit that I thought it was pretty cool too!

Diamon Fork 2

The spot Dave picked for our picnic was absolutely amazing! I didn’t get as many pictures because the batteries in my camera died soon after we got there. Here are a few pictures that I was able to take.

Dry Canyon Bridge

Dry Canyon

I told Dave that I would be perfectly content with selling our house and going to live up there. It was so peaceful and beautiful! My kids always seem to get along so much better when we are in the great outdoors!

I am so thankful that I live in a place where I am surrounded by these gorgeous mountains! I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am that I live in a world that has autumns!

I hope that you are able to find time to get out into the great outdoors and enjoy this fall season as well!

With love from my kitchen to yours,



Cuban Turkey Cranberry Panini

The Cuban Cranberry Turkey Panini is a great way to use up your left over Thanksgiving turkey. Of course, if you don’t have any left over turkey, you can use sliced roasted turkey from your local deli. We love this sandwich at our house! I love anything that pairs turkey and cranberries together!

Turkey Panini

I like to make this panini when I know our night is going to be crazy and we won’t have a lot of time for dinner prep. It only takes a few minutes to throw together and everybody loves it.

When I make panini sandwiches, I like to spray I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of butter on the outside of the bread before I grill it. It is easier to apply and it’s fat free and calorie free. I use Costco’s Torta Sandwich Rolls. They come in a pack of 10 and are perfect for this panini!

Now, let’s get cooking!

With love from my kitchen to yours,



Cuban Cranberry Turkey Panini

Cuban Cranberry Turkey Panini

makes 1 Panini

2 slices of Turkey

2 slices of black forest ham

1 Costco Torta sandwich roll, sliced in half

2 sandwich sliced dill pickles

1 tbsp. of cranberry sauce

1 tsp. of mayo

1 tsp. of yellow mustard

2 slices of Swiss cheese

I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray


1. Spread the mayo and mustard on the bottom half of the bun and place the turkey, ham, pickles, and Swiss cheese on top.

2. Spread the cranberry sauce on the top half of the bun and place the bun on top of the bottom half of the panini sandwich. Spray the top and bottom of the sandwich with the I can’t believe it’s not butter spray and place in a hot panini press. Grill for 2 to 5 minutes or until the panini is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

This recipe was inspired by closetcooking.com


Caribbean Black Bean, Coconut, and Pumpkin Soup

My cousin Erin is a genius! She came up with this recipe after falling in love with a soup at a local restaurant. Wanting to recreate the soup at home, she found a couple of similar versions online and then created her own recipe for this soup.

Friends, I made this soup for the first time last night and to say it is amazing is an understatement! I absolutely love this soup and could not wait to share it with the rest of you.

Caribbean Pumpkin Soup


You can make this soup in the crock pot on on the stove top. Erin recommends you garnish the soup with tortilla strips and shredded coconut. Oh man, my mouth is watering already. I might just eat my left over soup for breakfast because I don’t think I can wait until lunch.

With love from my kitchen to yours,


Caribbean Black Bean, Coconut, and Pumpkin Soup

Caribbean Black Bean, Coconut, and Pumpkin Soup

yields 10 to 12 servings

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. of olive oil

3 cups of chicken broth

2  1/2 cups of cooked chicken, cubed

1 can (15 oz.) of packed pumpkin puree

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 (14 oz.) can of unsweetened coconut milk

1 can of pineapple tidbits, drained

1 tbsp. lime juice

3 heaping tbsp. of fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

2 tsp. of cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. of curry


1. In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a the olive oil until the vegetables are tender.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the soup for 20 minutes or until  it is heated through.  Garnish with tortilla strips and shredded coconut.

* Crock Pot Version– Follow step one and then transfer the onions, bell peppers, and garlic to a 5 quart crock pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients into the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or until heated through.


White Chicken Chili

I came across this recipe for White Chicken Chili fourteen years ago in a church ward cookbook. The cookbook was from a ward Dave and I were in when we first got married. Dave and I loved this recipe so much that I made it quite a bit. When ever we had a party, the White Chicken Chili usually made an appearance.

White Chicken Chili

I hadn’t  made this chili for a few years. Dave recently started asking me to make it again. When I finally did make it again, I remembered why I loved it so much. It is packed with flavor and is so creamy! It is hard to stop with one bowl.

So I am passing this soul warming chili recipe on to you in hope that your family can enjoy it as much as my family has!

With love from my kitchen to yours,


White Chicken Chili Recipe

White Chicken Chili

yields 7 servings

1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, diced

1 tsp. of garlic, minced

1 tbsp. of canola oil

1 (15 oz.) can of Great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups of chicken broth

2 (4 oz.) cans of chopped green chilies

1 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. of cumin

1 tsp. of oregano

1/2 tsp. of pepper

1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper

1 cup of sour cream

1/2 cup of whipping cream


shredded cheese

sour cream


1. In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion, and garlic in the canola oil.

2. Add chicken broth, beans, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for thirty minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and whipping cream. Serve with a side of shredded cheese and sour cream.

* This chili can be cooked in the crock pot. Follow step one and then add all the remaining ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Marbled Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Baked cheesecake is a labor of love! It does require some planning, but it is well worth the effort! For a long time baking a cheesecake intimidated me. It had always been on my baking bucket list so I knew one day I would have to tackle it.  Once I did, I realized it wasn’t as hard as I always thought it would be.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake2


Here are a few tips and tricks for baking a cheesecake.

1. When adding the eggs into the cheesecake batter, turn your mixer on low and gently mix the eggs in. You don’t want to incorporate a lot of air while mixing or the cheesecake will crack while baking.

2. For a smooth satiny cheesecake, the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature.

3. The cheesecake has to cook low and slow. Don’t open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking. Your patience will pay off when you have a smooth and creamy cheesecake with out cracks.

4. It is important to run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake. This will prevent the cheesecake from cracking while it cools.

With love from my kitchen to yours,



Marbled Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Marbled Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake


Cheesecake layer:

3 (8 oz.) pkg. of cream cheese softened

1 cup of granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. of vanilla


Pumpkin layer:

2 cups of pumpkin puree

1/3 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. of nutmeg

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of all spice

1/4 tsp. of cloves

2 cups of cheesecake batter

2 egg yolks



2 cups of ginger snap cookies

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Blend the ginger snap cookies in a food processor until they are a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and brown sugar to the food processor and blend until it is combined well.

2. Press the crust mixture into a 10 inch spring form pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. When the pan has cooled down a bit, wrap it with 3 to 4 layers of heavy aluminum foil (this helps keep the water out in the water bath).

3.Cream the sugar and cream cheese together. Mix in the heavy cream and vanilla. On low speed, gently mix in the eggs  one at a time until the cream mixture is smooth and creamy.

4. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, cloves, sugar, and egg yolks together. Mix in 2 cups of the cheesecake layer batter into the pumpkin mixture.

5. Pour half of the cheesecake batter into the spring form pan. Next pour the pumpkin batter over the cheesecake batter layer, then pour the remaining cheesecake batter on top.

6. Gently drag a butter knife through the batter to create swirls. Place the wrapped spring form pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water in the roasting pan until it is 1/2 way up the side of the wrapped spring form pan.

7. Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 and bake for one hour or until the cheesecake is almost set (still a little jiggly in the center).

8. Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and slide a knife all the way around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen the edges.

9. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, about 4 hours. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator and chill for 5 to 6 hours. Run the knife around the edge of the pan one more time before removing the side of the pan.

10. To cut the cheesecake, use a hot clean knife. After each cut, dip the knife into the hot water again and dry it off. This will insure nice clean lines in your cheesecake.

Tomato Bacon Spinach Soup

I first had this soup years ago at a cafe I use to work at. There was only one chef who knew how to make it right. The problem was that he didn’t really have a recipe for it. He just threw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I loved it so much that I played around with the ingredients at home and made up my own version. I have been making this soup for years now. The great thing about this soup is that even the pickiest eaters love it! My four year who generally doesn’t like anything will always eat this soup. In fact, anytime I am making soup, my kids always ask “are you making my favorite soup“, meaning this soup.

Tomato Bacon Soup

This recipe makes about 10 servings. You can cut the recipe in half if you need to. However, you might be wishing you hadn’t when you can’t get enough of it.

You can make the recipe gluten-free by thickening the soup with cornstarch and water instead of with a roux. Anyway you make it, this soup is sure to warm you up and put a big smile on your face!

With love from my kitchen to your,


Tomato Bacon Spinach Soup

Tomato Bacon Spinach Soup

makes about 10 servings

8 cups of chicken broth

5 cups of half & half, at room temperature

1 onion, diced

1 tbsp.  canola oil

1 (24 oz.) of stewed tomatoes

1  1/2 cup of fresh spinach, washed

1 cup of bacon, cooked and crumbled

2/3 cup of butter

2/3 cup of flour


1.  Melt the butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour to form a thick paste. Continue to cook the roux, stirring constantly until the the roux turns to a light golden brown color and has a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Allow the roux to cool.

2. Add the canola oil and onion to a large pan over medium-high heat and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and stewed tomatoes and bring to a boil.

3. Add the spinach and continue to cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Add the half and half and bacon and simmer for another 5 minutes.

4.  Gently stirring add the roux to the soup. Turn the heat down to medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally bring the soup to a simmer until the soup thickens. Enjoy!

Rope Pumpkins

Don’t you love it when you find a craft that is super cute, easy to make, and light on the pocket book? Well friends, I have just that for you today.

I love the natural look of these pumpkins! They are made with sisal rope and are so easy to make. In fact, it’s kind of hard to stop at just one. You can even make two different sizes of pumpkins. I have the measurements for the large pumpkins and for the small pumpkins. Heck, you might as well make a couple of both!

To make the pumpkins, I  bought a 1/4 in. x 50 ft. roll of sisal rope at Home Depot for around $8.50. You can buy the natural or the light brown rope.  You will be able to make 4 to 5 pumpkins with this rope. I also bought the pvc pipe in a 3 ft. section for around $3.00 and cut it into a 2 inch sections with pvc pipe cutters.

So lets get crafting with these Super cute and very affordable Rope Pumpkins!

With love from my kitchen to yours,


Rope Pumpkins


2 inch pvc pipe

6 inches of burlap ribbon 

13 (11 inch) rope strands for large pumpkin or 13 (10 inch) rope strands for small pumpkin

5-6 (10 inch) rope strands for large pumpkin or 5-6 (9 inch) rope for small pumpkin

glue gun and glue sticks

Spanish moss

3 (7 inch) of twine

1  ft. of 1 inch lace

3 to 4 inch long tree branch



Rope Pumpkins1

1. Wrap the burlap ribbon around the pvc pipe and glue in place.

2. Glue one of the 10 inch rope strands on the inside of the top of the pvc pipe.  Glue the other end of the rope on the bottom inside of the pipe. Continue gluing the strands all the way around the pvp pipe spacing them out accordingly.

Rope Pumpkins2


Rope Pumpkins3


Rope Pumpkins4

Rope Pumpkin5

3. Glue the 3 to 4 inch stick on the top of the pumpkin. Glue the Spanish moss around the stick. Tie the twine and lace around the stick.

Rope Pumpkins6

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

I made this salad yesterday for a teacher’s dinner put on by the PTA at our school. I started out following the recipe on Southern Living but ended up putting my own special twists on it.

I am in love with this Maple Syrup Vinaigrette! It might sound odd, but seriously guys, it is what makes the salad! And the Sugared Curry Pecans are out of this world!

Spinach Salad

My husband loved this salad, I of course am a pretty big fan as well! I can’t tell you what my kids thought about the salad because Dave and I ate it before they had a chance to taste it.

You can also top this salad with some grilled chicken for a main dish. Oh, baby doesn’t that sound amazing?

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope your weekend is filled with lots of fun Fall activities and of course a helping of Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette.

With love from my kitchen to yours,



Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple Syrup Vinaigarette


1 (10 oz.) bag of spinach leaves, washed and dried

2 small gala apples, sliced thin

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 (4 oz.) container of feta cheese

Sugared Curry Pecans

1 (6oz.) bag of pecan halves

2 tbsp. of butter, melted

3 tbsp. of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. of ground ginger

1/4 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. smoked paprika

Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup of maple syrup

1 tbsp. of soy sauce

1/2 tsp. of curry powder

1/8 tsp. of smoked paprika

1 tsp. of salt

1/3 cup of olive oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Toss the pecans in the melted butter. Mix  the sugar and the 3 spices together. Add the buttered pecans and toss to coat. Spread the coated pecans in a single layer over the baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes of until the pecans are lightly brown and toasted. Separate the pecans with a fork and cool completely.

2. For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the first 6 ingredients until well combined. Gradually whisk in oil until well blended.

3. To assemble the salad: In a bowl toss, the 4 salad ingredients. Drizzle the desired amount of Maple Syrup vinaigrette on top and sprinkle the Sugared Curry Pecans on top. Serve immediatly with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

* The Sugared Curry Pecans can be made in advance for up to a week before and stored in a air tight container. The Maple Syrup Vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and covered and chilled until ready to use.

Inspired by the Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple Cider Vinaigrette from Southern Living.






Spell and Potion Books

Spell and Potion Books

Last year I saw these spell and potion books on Pinterest. I found the tutorial on betterafter.net. I was so excited to make them  that I invited my neighbors over to make some with me.

Deadly Spell Book

Don’t let the look of books intimidate you. They are so easy make!

This year I had a craft class at my house and one of the projects that we made were these books. Below I have listed a few tricks that I have learned after making so many of these books.

With love from my kitchen to yours,


Potions Book

Tricks and Tips

1. I use a wodded up paper towel to put under the cover of the spell books while it is drying. That way it doesn’t stick to the other pages.

2. I used a exacto knife to shave the sides of the pages. This gives it a old worn look.

3. I also like to dye the page ends (book closed) with brown paint to make them look old. I used 3 tbsp. of water and 1 tsp. of brown acrylic paint. I brushed it on with a sponge brush.

4. After I distressed the book with the metallic paint, I went back over the words and the skeleton/spider web again with the metallic paint to make it darker so that the details really pop.

You can find the tutorial for the spell books on betterafter.net.

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

When I was younger, I didn’t think that I liked baby back ribs or BBQ ribs in general. However, not liking ribs changed when I got married and wanted to impress my husband. I started looking around for a good recipe and stumbled across the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Cookbook by Todd Wilbur. In the cookbook there were a few different recipes for Tony Roma’s Baby Back Ribs.


I combined a few recipes and tweaked this and that. The result was a very happy husband and a recipe that I have used over and over again. I became a rib lover.

BBQ Ribs


The tricks to making mouth watering ribs is to make the homemade BBQ sauce, marinate the ribs in the homemade BBQ sauce for 24 hours, and cooking it low and slow.

With love from my kitchen to yours,


Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

4 lbs of baby back ribs

Homemade Barbecue sauce (recipe below)

Heavy duty aluminum foil


1. Cut 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil that are 6 inches longer than the ribs for each rack of ribs. Coat the baby back ribs front and back with the homemade barbecue sauce.

2. Lay the 2 strips of aluminum foil over lapping by 3 inches. Place the rack of ribs on top of the foil. Carefully wrap the foil around the ribs making sure that the foil is completely covered. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and place them in the refrigerator and marinate for 24 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the baking sheet with the foil wrapped ribs in the oven and bake for 2  1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat starts to shrink back from the cut end of the bones by a 1/2 inch.

4. Remove the ribs from the oven and smother one side of the ribs with barbecue sauce. Be sure to save some of the barbecue sauce for later. Place smothered side of the ribs face down on a hot grill. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until you start to see charred spots on the ribs. Be careful not to burn them!

5. Smother the side facing you with more barbecue sauce. Flip the cooked side of the ribs over and grill for an other 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Remove the ribs from the grill and serve them hot with a side of the barbecue sauce.


Barbecue Sauce

1 cup of ketchup

1  1/2 cups of red wine vinegar

1 cup of Molasses

1/2 cup of honey

1  1/2 tsp. of liquid smoke

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. of garlic powder

1/4 tsp. of onion powder


1. Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan over high heat. Whisk the ingredients until smooth.

2. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until the barbecue sauce thickens. Let barbecue sauce cool completely.

*If the barbecue sauce gets too thick, you can thin it down with vinegar.

This recipe is inspired by the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Cookbook.