5 on 5 november

November was full of wonderful moments.  
I shot my first wedding.  I love these two love birds being totally themselves.  
This little dude was too cool. 
I started watching this little guy.  He is so freaking adorable I can’t handle it.  

We have been super busy this month with family shoots. I love shooting families… especially when they have characters like this guy.

I took this just for me.  I haven’t picked up my digital just for myself in so long, it was kind of fun. I want to do it more.

I am honored to be a part of this project with some amazing photographers.  Start with Second Spring and then roll through the rest of the circle.

sammy’s peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are so easy, they could be in a “your mama” joke.   They are the first cookies I usually teach the children to make.  They only have four ingredients, three if you leave out the chocolate chips. My youngest daughter, Sammy, loves them… and so do I.

You will only need

1 egg
1 cup of peanut butter (We use crunchy, but you can use creamy. Sammy says that extra crunchy doesn’t work as well… and I would believe her. She is the expert at these.)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Set oven at 350.

Mix all ingredients well.

We use a cookie scoop to dish them out.  If you don’t have a cookie scoop, place 1 tablespoon balls onto the cookie sheet.  It makes 12-14 cookies.  Cook at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Let the cookies set for about five minutes.

Enjoy with a glass of milk.

Even clean up is easy with these.

Joy’s Super Easy Chili

Joy, my bonus mom, makes the best darn chili.  About twenty years ago, she gave the recipe to me and now among my friends, it is my chili.  It is so super easy, I wondered if I should even post it here. But after a very scientific facebook poll, I thought otherwise.   
So, here we go. 
1-1.5 pounds of ground meat.  (I used turkey today, but you could use beef.  I have made it with out meat and it is still pretty good.)
5 garlic cloves 
1 large yellow onion (I usually use any onion I have in the fridge.)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending how spicy you like it.)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2  15.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 15.5 oz cans chili beans
1 15.5 oz can black beans
1 15.5 oz can pinto beans
1 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans 
Most of the players.  I left out the meat.  I just couldn’t find his good side. 

Chop the onion and crush the garlic.  Put the garlic, onion, meat and seasonings in the pot.  Put the lid on the pot.  Let it cook on a medium heat. You will need to stir every so often to get the meat properly cooked.  Just remember to put the lid back on.  All that onion, garlic, and seasonings will really blend together nicely. 
Meat, onions, garlic and seasonings. 
While you are cooking up the meat and onions, you can now begin the most difficult part of this recipe… opening all the cans.  Open all the cans and do NOT drain the juices.  Every thing, even the juices are going to go into the pot.  When your meat is all cooked, go ahead and add all the cans.  Give everything a big stir.  Now let simmer. 

 Everything added and simmering. 
Ok… that is it.  This chili tastes best if you let it simmer for a few hours.  However, there have been times when I only let it simmer for an hour.  Read- I forgot to make dinner and I had all the cans of beans and an onion. 
I have learned that as long as you have four types of beans, you are good.  So if you don’t like garbanzo beans, don’t use them.  If you like something else, use that instead.  Also, this makes a huge amount of chili.  With this batch I am going to feed my family of five and two guests.  It does freeze really well. You can make a batch and freeze half of it.  

tears in my meatballs

I was all set to do a blog post on how to make my Grandmother’s meatballs.  I had asked her if I could share the recipe on my blog, something that she didn’t completely understand, and she said, “Oh ya, sure.”  Really, I have been working on it for some time.  You see, when she taught me how to make them, she didn’t use measurements or any real directions.  She cooks like me.  Or, I should say, I cook like her.  We feel and smell and taste our way to a good meal.

After her passing away, however,  I wanted to go a different direction. I had decided to try and just take pictures and document the process without using any really measuring in her honor.  I went to the store and bought everything I needed.  Came home and in a quiet kitchen, I began to cook.  As I started the sauce, her voice rang in my mind.  “Not too much. Ya, ya, ya… more of that.  Basil? No, no basil in the sauce.”  I began to quietly cry.  There she was, cooking along side with me.  Right there in my kitchen.

So pictures were not taken.  I knew that it was to be my moment. All mine.  I mixed the meat.  I soaked the bread.  I beat the eggs.  All the while, hearing her sit in my kitchen and give me direction.  When everything was mixed and ready to be made into little meatballs, I paused.  I cried.  I told her I missed her.  I made secret promises to her.

For now, all I can share are the clean dishes.