Friday, September 30, 2011

Tara and John's Joplin Wedding: Story + Details

Hey everybody!

Tonight I'm sharing the details and story from Tara and John's wedding at Downstream Casino near Joplin. The pavillion at Downstream is a great canvas for a wedding! Tara's details transformed the room into a beautiful setting, and the party was a blast!

Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
I set up a fancy ring shot...
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino
Joplin Wedding Photography at Downstream Casino

Talk to you soon,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tara and John's Joplin Wedding: Portraits

Hey everybody!

It was so great to head back to my hometown of Joplin MO for Tara and John's wedding. (I guess technically it was across the border, but whatev!) Tara is super gorgeous and John is just about the coolest guy I know. For a rainy day, we lucked out and got a window of calm weather and were able to get some super rad shots! Take a look!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I Made: Creamy Potato Soup + Caprese Sticks

Hey everybody!

This is a continuation from yesterday's post about the yummy food I made for the 1000th consecutive blogpost party. Today I'm going to share two recipes (one is super quick and easy, and requires zero cooking).

The first recipe I wanna share is something I made up, but I'm sure there's a million recipes out there just like mine - I haven't checked. Anyway, I love love love baked potato soup. Paired with cheese and bacon and it's the perfect meal for a fall evening!

Here we go.

Dale's Creamy Baked Potato Soup

3 slices of bacon
5 large peeled potatoes (I've used Russet potatoes and Yukon gold - feel free to use whatever!)
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk (I use 2% milk)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I've also used gruyere, so if you like it, try it!)
8 oz cream cheese (I use fat free and it's still yummy)

In a stock pot, boil the 5 potatoes until they can easily be pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
In a stock pot or dutch oven (can be the same one as before), brown the bacon on medium heat. Once brown, remove the bacon but leave the yummy bacon juice. :) Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the stock and let it cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally, then add the milk and cream. Continue to cook on medium for 7-10 minutes until heated throughout.
In two batches, add 1/2 the potatoes to a food processor. Add 1/2 the cream cheese to the food processor and 1 cup of the soup in the pot. Process until smooth. Pour the puree into the stock pot. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and cream cheese. Once all is combined in the pot, reduce heat to low and stir occasionally. The soup only takes a few minutes, but the longer you let it cook on low, the yummier it'll be. :) Five minutes before you serve, add the cheese to the soup and stir.
For the party, we ladled the soup into Asian spoons and topped with a little bacon (I put it in the food processor) that we had from earlier and some cheddar cheese.

Easy Caprese
cherry tomatoes
mozzarella pearls (if you can't find balls, just slice up some fresh mozzarella)
basil leaves
balsamic vinegar

This is super easy and looks and tastes fab! All you have to do is get a toothpick, pierce it through one end of a basil leaf, add the tomato, add the cheese, then pierce the other end of the leaf. Repeat a gazillion times. Then, sprinkle some balsamic vinegar over them and serve!

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What I Made: Sweet and Spicy Deviled Eggs

Hey everybody!

Last night's party was a success! We had a great turnout and saw some of our favorite people! We worked hard to prepare enough food for our honored guests, and I'm happy to say that everybody loved what we made!

Here was our spread...

Our menu:
Dale's Spanish Deviled Eggs (recipe below)
Mere's Tabouli
Dale's Spicy Pineapple Pork with Sweet Asian Sauce
Dale's Potato Soup
Caprese Sticks
Ellie's Pumpkin Cookies with Daddy's Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese frosting
Pumpkin cake (with VBCC frosting)
Mere's Banana Pudding

Today, I wanna share my own recipe for the deviled eggs I made.

Dale's Sweet and Spicy Deviled Eggs

I've had a long-time love for deviled eggs. While no one makes them as good as my mom, I set out to make a new version of one of my favorite foods. I mean, who doesn't like bacon and eggs?! Another great thing about this hors d'oeuvres is that you can make this ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator to finish an hour or so before the party.

for eggs filling:
2 dozen hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise, yolks preserved
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 heaping tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp minced jalapeño + 2 tbsp jalapeño pickling liquid
1/2 tbsp cayenne
pinch of salt and pepper
8oz cream cheese (I use fat free and it's still yummy)

for bacon:
5 strips thick cut bacon (I like pepper crusted)
1 tbsp brown sugar (I use dark brown)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

After peeling and halving the hardboiled eggs, put all the yolks in a medium mixing bowls. Place the eggs (not the yolks) in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Mix the rest of the ingredients into the mixing bowl and put into a ziplock bag and squeeze out excess air and store in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the cayenne and brown sugar evenly over the strips. Place in oven for 9-11 minutes, just until crispy. Take it out and let it cool, then cut strips into 3/4" pieces.
Pull the refrigerated items out, and cut a tiny hole in the corner of the ziplock to pipe the eggs with the mixture. Stick in a the bacon piece, serve, and enjoy!

By the way, those egg serving pieces are from Anthropologie - LOOOOVE!

More recipes from our party coming soon!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, September 26, 2011

My 1000th Consecutive Day of Posting!! The Benfield Blog: Sharing My Life

Hey everybody!

Today is my 1000th day of blogging!!!!!!!!!! (hey, when's the last time you did something for a thousand days in a row without taking a day off?!)

Are you coming to my party tonight? Let's celebrate!!

To end my "sharing" series to recognizing my reasons for blogging, I wanna talk about my final reason: Sharing My Life.

I feel like I can tell you anything. :)

Over the last 1000 days, a LOT has changed in my life.
I got engaged.

Ellie learned to read.

And we taught her about all things fancy.
Ellie, my little girl as Audrey Hepburn

The Rowskabouts, the ska band I was in way back in high school, got together for a reunion show.

I wrote letters from my heart, yes publicly, to my brother, and to my sister.

Ellie started kindergarten.

We bought our house!

Took Ellie to Italy.

And Paris.

And Mexico.

Then, all in one weekend this May...
Ellie had a dance recital on the 21st.

Then, the Joplin tornado hit. I blogged about it here. It was the hardest part of my life, not being able to get a hold of Ellie.

I lost my grandma.

But we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off.
Ellie was in USA Today.

And then started 1st grade at her new/old school.

The best thing that happened over the last 1000 days... I got married!!

(wedding images by Becker)

All in all, a LOT has happened, wouldn't you say?!!

Thank you, readers, for sharing it all with me! I appreciate you! And love you. And I love this blog.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Benfield Blog: Sharing My Passion

Hey everybody!

My 2nd reason for making such a commitment to my followers is that this blog helps share my passion. I realized that once I gained a substantial following that I had the opportunity and responsibility to do some good.

And I'm happy to say that we HAVE done some good! We've changed lives for the better! In addition to the 10s of thousands of dollars we've raised through auctions, donations, etc, and through our own straight up giving and donating, we've made this blog a community of like-minded people who want to raise each other up!

Over the course of the last 1000 days, I've been fortunate to help a lot, and even travel the world to help. The images today are my favorite charitable images...

Of course, topping the list is my trip to Ghana to help Art Feeds.

And of course, after the Joplin tornado, we all really stepped up to help out families in need...

Chloe was able to get all sorts of clothes, supplies, and money donated!

Even Ellie got in on the helping, raising more than 700 dollars at her lemonade stand...

And one of my favorite Ellie images of all-time, snuggling with breast-cancer survivor (and one of the strongest and sweetest people I know), her grandma Denise...

And countless others. I love helping, because I know first-hand the benefits that helping accomplishes. My thankfulness to this blog, and to you the readers are overflowing.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Benfield Blog: Sharing My Work

Hey everybody!

When it all boils down to it, I started this blog to share my work with current clients, future clients, and friends/family. From that, this blog has turned into quite a bit more, so today, tomorrow, and Monday, I'll be sharing the reasons I blog with you, and why I made such a commitment to my readers to blog every single day... for ONE THOUSAND DAYS!

I honestly am so flattered when girls (it's almost ALWAYS girls) come up to Meredith or me at a wedding and say: OMG! I feel like I already know you! I stalk your blog every day! The fact that people spend precious time (isn't time so precious?!) reading what I have to say, and looking at images I want to share still amazes me!

Over the years, and the last 1000 consecutive days, I wanna share some of our most-commented-on images with you, as well as a couple favorites of my own. Head with me down memory lane!

People always ask where is the coolest place we've ever photographed. My answer is immediate: Paris France! Shooting a proposal in Paris, France, and then engagements the next day was such a dream!
Proposal in Paris France - Paris wedding photographer

I of course have to include the engagement shoot in the rain!
Engagement Pictures in the Rain

People still chat me up about the New York Indian wedding we photographed. One of the most beautiful weddings I've ever seen, no doubt! Designed by celebrity wedding designer to the stars, Ed Libby:
Arkansas Indian Wedding Photographer

Here's another water shot: UNDERWATER! My camera and I went underwater to photograph the bride and groom's underwater portraits the day after their wedding in Mexico:
Underwater picture of bride and groom in Mexico

This wedding was published all over the place due to the groom being Casey Dick, the Arkansas Razorback quarterback - this wedding was quite fabulous and fun, and we got to work with our favorite wedding vendors!
Arkansas Razorback Quarterback wedding of Casey and Felicia Dick

Another gorgeous bride... no wonder it got so many comments on all their posts! I love this shot that Lauren got...
Amazing wedding portrait by Lauren of Benfield Photography

This image got a gazillion facebook comments, but I love it because it's of Chelsey, our associate shooter and her super sweet husband, Josh.

Lastly, I know this isn't an image, but I have this video that means so much to me: it's of some of our clients saying sweet things to us at one of our Benny Awards parties... I LOVE our clients!!!

Thank you, readers, for appreciating our work at Benfield Photography! We love that you keep coming back!

Talk to you soon,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Countdown to the Party!! 3 days!!

Hey everybody!

Today is my 997th consecutive day of blogging!! On Monday we're going to celebrate!! Are YOU going to be there??

Over the next few days, I'm going to share some of my favorite blog moments! I'd love for you to see them! Check back!

Talk to you soon,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brianna and John's Springfield MO wedding: FINALE Photographs!

Hey everybody!

I tricked you! There are a LOT more fabulous portraits of Brianna and John from their wedding at MS Gilmore's Carriage House and in (and around) Opus in Springfield! These are actually all my favorites! CAN YOU BELIEVE I KEPT A SECRET THIS LONG??? Me neither!

Take a look... fall in love...

Springfield MO wedding photographer at Gilmore's Carriage House

Ahhh, that was my favorite of the day! So pretty!

But wait...

There's more...

Springfield MO wedding photographer at Opus Cigar Lounge
Springfield MO wedding photographer at Opus Cigar Lounge
Springfield MO wedding photographer at Opus Cigar Lounge
Springfield MO wedding photographer at Opus Cigar Lounge
Springfield MO wedding photographer at Gilmore's Carriage House

Brianna and John... y'all are the coolest! Meredith and I had an amazing time hanging out with you on your wedding day! Lots of love to you both!

Talk to you soon,

Alaska Proposal; The Time I Almost Blew It.

Hey everybody! Did you ever know something 100% in your heart, but you almost screw it up?  So goes the story of my proposal to Tyler. ...