Thursday, September 2, 2021

Cook2Gether - Our Couples Cooking Class

Welcome to our new Dinner Group 
Cook2Gether, where we are going to 
do couples cooking classes throughout 
the year.  Different couples will host 
the dinner and it will include hands 
on cooking experiences culminating 
in a dinner together.  

My friend Diana and I and our spouses 
had taken a cooking class together and 
we decided this would be a fun 
experience to continue with friends.  

Our first event took place in her lovely 
backyard.  We decided to use some of 
the recipes we had received in our class, 
so the theme was Mexican cooking. 

We had aprons made for the group with 
our logo of Cook2Gether embroidered on them. 
Diana is in the red.   

We couldn't beat the view in their backyard. 

The table was set with Diana's runners, dishes and 
goblets from Mexico.  Her husband was a Mission 
President in Guadalajara, Mexico for our church, 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  
They spent three years serving in that capacity, and 
I and my friend Barb were lucky enough to 
visit them while they were on their mission there.  

She brought home so many lovely things and 
these plates and bowls are just spectacular.  

She brought home goblets in multiple colors and 
these beautiful table runners too.  

We set up a separate table for the hands-on 
cooking, with each couple having a stone 
molcajete to make Rosemary Guacamole 
and Tomatillo Salsa in.  

We made a Mint Limeade that they could drink 
while they were cooking, and we provided 
chips that they could snack on their guacamole and 
salsa with.  

Notice the same runner only in red on this table. 

A sprig of rosemary in the guacamole gave 
it an unusual and amazing flavor.  The serrano 
chili was provided for a little heat if desired. 

The guacamole used fresh garlic, ground together 
with the rosemary, and the Tomatillo Salsa used 
roasted garlic.  Flaked sea salt was used to flavor 

And of course, we needed lots of limes 
for our dishes. 

The couples stood across from each other 
for this and they took turns with the 
molcajete and pestle.  

For dinner, I had made tamales, which I 
demonstrated for everyone.

And we served additional salsas with the dinner, 
as we sat down at the beautiful table. 

We all felt like our first couples' cooking class 
was a huge success and we can't wait to do 
more of them. 

I will be posting this with 
Tablescapes Thursday

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Tales of the Traveling Tote #28 and A Giveaway

Welcome to our September edition of 
Tales of the Traveling Tote, where 
ten adventurous ladies love to explore and 
share their adventures with you as they 
bring along their MacKenzie-Childs 

Guess where Miss Madi K is?  No, it is not on 
an airplane!  She is taking her first ever 
helicopter ride!!!  A couple of summers ago 
she got to pose by a helicopter before I took 
a ride, but she wasn't allowed onboard.  
This time she got to come along!

Miss Madi K has had quite the summer.  We spend 
most of our time during the summer back and forth 
from Lake Powell, and although that is spectacular, 
I have lived here in Utah since I graduated and came 
out to BYU for college, and have not seen all of the 
Five National Parks that we have in Utah.  My husband 
has gone to all of the parks as a Scout Leader, so this 
year I told him I wanted to hit some more of the parks.

Last year we had the good fortune of biking through 
Zion's Canyon.  Since the number of tourists were 
extremely limited last year in the National Parks, 
it felt like we had it all to ourselves.  This year we went to 
Bryce Canyon, which is just under 10 miles from where 
my mother grew up in Tropic Utah.  

We decided to start our adventure with a helicopter ride 
over Bryce Canyon.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  
We had participated in a family reunion many years ago 
down in Tropic, but somehow we didn't make it to Bryce!  
It is a park that is so unbelievably gorgeous.  Of course, 
pictures do not capture the majesty of Bryce Canyon.  

The helicopter pilot gave us a great tour and 
overview of the park.

Afterwards the pilot told us to go check out the 
last remaining airplane hangar from the WPA 
during the Great Depression.  The second to last 
one was in Boise, Idaho and it burned down last year. 
It is a beautiful old building with several airplanes 
parked in it.  Miss Madi K looks so good up 
against the old logs.

Next we headed in to Tropic to see my grandparents' 
graves and drive through Tropic.  
It still isn't much of a town, but 
has quite a few restaurants that 
support visitors to Bryce Canyon.

On the way back to Bryce we stopped for a 
short hike to Mossy Cave.  The hoodoos or rock 
towers in this part of Utah are spectacular.  
Hoodoos are also called Fairy Chimneys. 

Mossy Cave is a place my mom would have 
hiked to growing up.  She was born and raised 
in this area and moved to northern Utah during 
WWII for employment.  She married my father 
during WWII and then they moved to Wisconsin 
after the war ended.  My mom also worked at 
the Lodge in Bryce Canyon during summers.  
This whole area was her stomping grounds.

This waterfall on the hike to Mossy Cave was 
the exact same color as the rocks.  The channel 
the water comes down was created by the 
early Pioneers to bring irrigation water 
down to Tropic.

Next we returned to Bryce Canyon to drive and hike.
Part of Bryce Canyon is known as Fairyland, and 
that truly describes it.  

You can't quite capture the depth and scope 
and colors, but of all of the National Parks 
in Utah, this is just magical. 

Every lookout had something fabulous 
to see.  Because park attendance was 
moderate we were able to drive 
everywhere rather than take the bus. 

The arches are breathtaking but
in many areas the drop offs are a little scary.

We hiked down into Wall Street.  There is nothing 
like being down amongst the hoodoos and 
towering walls. 

Then the next weekend our oldest grandson had 
a pre-season game down in Southern Utah at Moab.
Moab is a little over 3 hours south of us 
and we have been down here for Glamping 
and side by side rides before, but I had 
never been to two more National Parks 
just outside of Moab. 
We decided we would go down for his game and 
on the way down and back we would hit two more 
of the Mighty 5 in Utah.

Our stop on the way down to the football game 
was at Arches National Park. It was just four miles 
outside of Moab.  This is the original 
log home that a family settled in.  It is 
beautifully preserved, although weathered.

We didn't have much time before the 
game started, so we raced up to 
the main arch in Arches, which is Delicate Arch.
Delicate Arch is featured on some of Utah's 
license plates.  You can see someone standing 
next to it to give you an idea of the scope 
and size of this arch.  It was pretty much uphill 
the whole way, but since it was just before 
sunset  it wasn't a bad hike.  We raced down 
the hill to make it to the game. 

This was the view leaving the park.  The variety of 
red sandstone is so spectacular in all of 
this surrounding area.

We raced over to the ball field and although we were two 
minutes late, they had already scored and scored again 
as we walked up. His team beat Moab 
 He is just a Freshman, but he was 
able to get in on the second half of the game and 
catch three passes.  It was well worth the trip. 

The next morning we got up early because we wanted 
to see Canyonlands National Park, which is also 
right outside of Moab.  We had to race back home for 
another grandson's football game, but we were able 
to catch Mesa Arch in Canyonlands with the 
morning sun shining through the arch, and see a 
lot of the beautiful park. 

We left all three parks wanting more, and we plan on 
returning with our bikes and to do more hikes. 
Now, after living in Utah since I came to 
college, I can say I have visited all of the 
Might 5!  I did tell my husband that I 
needed to return to Capitol Reef National 
Park because we visited that too many 
years ago and I am pretty sure we 
didn't spend much time there.  

So Madi K has now visited 4 of the 
National Parks in Utah.  Lucky traveler! 

Now for our giveaway.  Visit Cherry Kay to enter 
our giveaway for these darling Halloween towels.

All of our travelers would love 
a visit from you, so click on the links below to 
see where they have been off to.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 

Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box  
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women 

And stay tuned for our next adventures on Dec. 1st.  
Christmas adventures are always so fun.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Taco Baked Spaghetti Squash

Wow, we have been gone all summer, so I have 
been MIA for blogging.  We were home a week 
and then gone a week, and it seemed like there 
was just enough time to unpack, do a little gardening 
and cleaning, and then repack.
But I did keep the garden going, as a matter of fact,
it was my best garden ever.  This spot that never 
does very well was chosen for spaghetti squash, 
and wow, that plant has taken over and produced 
some of the biggest spaghetti squash I have 
ever seen.  
So I decided to try something new with the spaghetti 
squash, and it is so delicious. I hope you try it.

First cut the squash in half and clean out the seeds.  
Then brush olive oil on it and place it cut side down 
on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45-55 
minutes, or until fork tender.  Let it cool a little and then 
shred the insides with a fork.  

Add the spaghetti squash to your prepared taco mix.
Taco Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe
1 lb. hamburger
2 pkg. taco mix
1 C. water
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 C. frozen corn
1 whole spaghetti squash, cooked
1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the hamburger and drain the grease.  Then add 
the taco seasoning and water and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in 
the beans and corn and heat through.  Gently stir in the 
cooked spaghetti squash.  Refill the spaghetti squash 
halves.  You may have some left over.  Top with cheese 
and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until heated through.  

This makes such a fun summer into fall dish.
Hope your gardens are bounteous too.
Thanks for visiting Purple Chocolat Home!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Tales of The Traveling Totes #27

Welcome to our June 2021 Tales of the Traveling Tote adventure. 
Join all of our lovely ladies to see where there totes 
have gone in the past couple of months.  It is summer, and it 
comes and goes so quickly, so I hope you have some fun things planned. 

As you know Miss Madi K and I have traveled back and forth 
to Cabo quite a bit this past year, as our house down there 
got finished, so this was the first trip we did besides Cabo.

Our 42nd anniversary was coming up in May and we 
decided to return to the Atlantis in the Bahamas to celebrate.  
As my Lunch Bunch friends and I were planning out our year 
of fun, someone mentioned going to the Atlantis. 
 Not everyone had been, and one lady 
had only stopped there on a cruise, so we decided to 
join our trip with theirs.  One of the five couples couldn't 
make the trip because of a death in the family, so we 
were a party of 8. 

We think the place is just magical in every way, inside and out, 
and they had a bonus of newly remodeled rooms in the 
Royal Towers.  Miss Madi K and I are checking out the 
reception area, which just takes your breath away.

Looking down from the foyer you can see window after 
window of their aquariums, which are called The Dig.  

You enter The Dig and are transported in a 
Disney-style experience as if you are part 
of the archeological dig to uncover the 
lost city of Atlantis, complete with sounds 
of archeologists digging.  

The aquariums are massive and you can even arrange 
for an opportunity to snorkel in them.  The tunnels of 
The Dig  are fun to walk through both day and night, 
and on occasion you may see a diver in amongst 
the fish.  

This iconic temple at Atlantis houses several slides.
Two of them go through shark tanks.  Don't worry, 
you are well protected in a plexiglass tube. 

The pools are open every day, but with Covid, the slides 
alternated days, except on the weekends.  
We were there for a week so that worked well for us.  
We weren't sure about how many restaurants would 
be open, but there were plenty to choose from between 
the resort and their Marina Village.  

We all love the ocean, pools, slides, sun and good eating, 
so the Atlantis is a perfect place for us.  

The weather looked like we might have thunderstorms 
every day, but we ended up having perfect weather.  I 
threw in a couple of decks of cards because I was 
worried about the weather, and we ended up playing 
King's Court every night.  We also ended up at the 
Ben and Jerry's store every night.  

They have a beautiful beach beyond their multiple pools.  
The water was incredibly warm so we were able to 
have fun playing and swimming in it.  I am cold blooded, 
so I don't like to play in the ocean if it is too cold. 

One of our favorite things was eating poolside.  These 
amazing shrimp were a dish they served at the pool.  Again, 
we didn't know if they would have food at the pool, as 
my friend had gone to Hawaii and their pool and hotel 
had no food.  They went across the street to an ABC 
store for breakfast and lunch!!  We were thrilled with 
the food and variety that were available.  Of course, we 
didn't know for sure, so we all brought snacks in our 

Behind us is the Royal Towers section of the hotel.  We 
were on the 18th floor, the top floor of our section and 
had amazing views of the entire property and ocean. 

Because of Covid restrictions we ended up not leaving 
the resort.  We were required to get an additional 
Covid test at day 5 free of charge, but that wouldn't 
cover our required test for our flight home.  The kind 
lady at reception said they would give us a one day 
grace period, so we used that and were able to use 
that test for returning to the United States.  To leave the 
property and go into town you needed a current negative 
test which we had the last two days of our trip, but 
everyone said the town was only half open with no cruise 
ships coming into port, so we didn't mind staying on the 

Give me sun, water, food, friends and of course my 
dear husband and I am one happy lady.  And that 
Miss Madi K is sure one spoiled lady - she gets 
to come along everywhere!

Happy 42nd anniversary honey.  

All in all, it was a marvelous anniversary with 
wonderful friends in a very magical place.  

The Bahamians are some of the friendliest 
people I have ever met, and they were so thrilled 
to be able to work again.  They made us feel so welcome.  

We all agreed we will have to make this trip again.  

Now for the MacKenzie-Childs giveaway:

Ricki Jill and the Countess de Monet
at The Sketchy Reader are giving away this adorable MC 
light switch.  The giveaways are always so cute, 
I always wish I could win.  

Visit the rest of our ladies to see where they 
have been off to this quarter.  I know a lot of travel 
has been opening up, so it should be fun.  

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 

Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box  
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women 

And then see how we enjoyed those short summer months, 
when we have another edition of Tales of the Traveling Tote 
in September. 


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