Thursday, November 13, 2014

Remembering David R. Stoecklein

Do you ever really appreciate or realize the affect someone's life has on you?  Even loved ones...who you tell often that you care for and are grateful for.....can you ever really conceive how big of an impact they have on your life.
Dave has been a family friend since I was small.  Photoshoots, horse ropings, hours spent in the saddle shop visiting.  All I really knew was….Dave was a picture taker guys and I saw pictures of my family on magazines, books, and calendars.  He always sent cool Christmas presents.  (Seriously, I still have a cheese slicer from one of those fancy meet and cheese baskets)

After college, my first real job was for Dave, working as a rep for the Stoecklein publishing company.
This job would make such a big impact on my world.  Dave and his family were always so good to me and treated me like one of the family.  During this time I would also get to see and learn so much more from this amazing man.  He was still a picture taker guy, family friend, but I got to see a small glimpse of the passion and vision that drove him. 

People…..relationships…..time spent… friends…old friends….It is AMAZING the human connections that would come into my life because of my Stoecklein time. 
Stoecklein employees….the gallery, the warehouse, Denver markets, store owners all over the west, booth neighbors (seriously…after 2 weeks next door….we were all besties!  Cocktail hour always drew a crowd) , models, cowboys, cowgirls, photography students, family, lol …..I even had a boyfriend or 2 from my Stoecklein travels. Dave definitely screened more boyfriends that my Dad ever has!  Hahahaha….Dave probably met more of them than Dad did too. 

Even existing friendships were strengthened.  While traveling, I would often schedule my circles so I could stay with friends along the way instead of hotels.  It is amazing, as everyone goes there different directions in life…….Taking the time to stay in touch….really matters. 
Time spent is the most valuable gift!  Grateful for time spent loved ones!

Another amazing gift, Dave’s passion was preserving the Spirit of the West!  His photography and moments he captured are such a gift to the world.  Personally, the family photos captured in time Dave’s work, I will be forever grateful for.  Being able to open a coffee table book and take a trip back down memory lane.  Those moments made even more precious when the loved ones were no longer there to take pictures of anymore.   

It’s funny the moments you remember

  •  Peaking out from my bedroom into my Mom’s saddle....I think they were doing interviews for a book or looking for the next Marlbro Man...I was supposed to go be in bed I'm guessing....but who could resist all the excitement.   
  •   Photo shoots were you rode a pony and where told to stay out of shot because you were wearing red pants ( I still think they were “cool” at the time 
  •  Photoshoots were you are wearing your Mom’s high top boots that are too small, a weird leather vest, and a scarf….I swear it was 90 degrees.  Running horses back over the top of the camera…over and over …and over.  I was in 7 th or 8 th grade…. The whole time I was just mad because I was missing the church dance in Dubois.   
  •  Photoshoot in my favorite shirt and red gloves
  •  Photoshoot ….. You get told you  look like a boy. True.  I didn’t know I was going.  Hadn’t showered and was rocking 2 awesome braids like a little girl and wearing my Dad’s coat. 
  •  So cold and riding in a cowboy hat.  Sweat is FROZEN on the horses as we are trailing in.  I remember Dave telling me to smile. hahaha.....pretty sure my face was frozen in position and I was drooling.
  •  First real job out of college (ok, ok….only real job since college) 
  •  Always donated to my college rodeo auction books and pictures 
  •  Calls to check in and see how I was doing.
  •  Places I’d never been before…..Travel that didn’t involve a rodeo grounds…..Houston, Denver, Vegas and WEEKS in those big towns!  
  • The time we talked 2 nice English men into helping us tear down the PBR booth.  We became friends and later one would come to Idaho to have fullfill a life long dream of Riding a Bull :
  •  First veal dinner…with Dave and Jack Goddard after building the “house” we called a booth for the next 2 weeks 
  •  Surviving his crazy driving from the show to make it to the Thomas and Mack in time for the rodeo 
  •  Rancheros Party at the top of the Hilton
  •  Cocktail hour at  the Vegas booth and the great stories
  • Always letting me stock chocolate milk in the cooler : ) 
  •  Fans…how people flocked to him.  Magnetic personality….they could see a glimpse of his vision and wanted to be in the glow of his brilliance 
  •  Amazing LOVE he had for his family!  The way Dave spoke lovingly of his wife and the time he dedicated to being with her.  The pride and love that he had for his boys.  When he spoke of them, you could see the gleam in his eye.  
  • Special way he had for making people feel important and included.  
  • Photography workshops…patient, supportive, encouraging….even when I literally didn’t know how to turn my big camera on… 
  • Treating me like family <3 comment-3--="">The entire Stoecklein family has always been so good to me and my entire family.   GRATEFUL for their friendship and the priceless gifts given throughout the years

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eatin Rainbow Stew - My Spicy Sausage Tortelini Soup Recipe

"Eatin' Rainbow Stew in a silver spoon, underneath that sky of blue ..."
A little music to cook by ;)
Doesn't that song just make you smile!  This is a recipe concoction that came together last winter.  Great for days when there is a chill in the air.  First recipe was made with random leftovers from fridge and I spent the next 3 times trying to re-create it. 

Rainbow Stew ~ My Spicy Tortelini Soup

1 package Pork Sausage, well browned ( I used Jimmy Dean, regular)
1 brick cream cheese (cubed)
1 Jalepeno Pepper (Finely Chopped, I used a hand crank chopper from Tupperware)
(Omit if you don't like spicy flavor)
1-2 cups Fresh Spinach chopped (I grabbed a large handful)
1-2 cups frozen brocolli ( you guessed it...I just eye balled it ;) )
1-2 of carrot slices (honestly I forgot to put these in this batch, they will take longer to cook too)
1-2 Cups fresh sliced mushrooms (Yes, I pretty much use what is in the fridge ;)
2 small cans of tomato paste ( I was out so used 1/2 can of spaghetti sauce)
Couple shakes of Garlic Powder
Couple Shakes of Onion Powder
1 box Rainbow Tortellini Noodles ( this is the one this I recommend not substituting, they don't have to be colored but other noodles I tried just weren't as good)
2 cups Chicken Broth
2 cups Beef Broth
2 Cups Water (Soup tends to cook down & I always seem to be trying to stretch it to a few more guests that show up.  Just add to consistency you like)

As you can already tell, recipe is pretty flexible.  You can make it in a crock pot or a pot on stove.  I use the stove method when I'm making a batch bigger than my crock pot.
Brown sausage (drain fat) .
Combine cooked sausage and all ingredients except noodles. 
(Cook time will be longer if using frozen brocolli & spinach)
Simmer  for 30 minutes to an hour
Add Noodles & cook for another hour
Cooking slow helps the flavors to soak into everything

Scoop into your favorite cup or bowl.  Top with freshly grated Ballard's Parmaromao Cheese!
Serve and enjoy!!!
(Click here to learn more about Ballard Cheese:

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bucking Awesome BACON Jalepeno Popper Dip


2 Reasons I am sharing with you.....
2. I LOVE this recipe and by sharing it on the blog I have it at my fingertips when I need it ;)

B.A. BACON Jalepeno Popper Dip
Party Guests Needed:
-2 bricks cream cheese, softened
-1 cup mayonaise
-3 Jalepenos ( I cut ends off and blend them whole in a food processor thing.  If you want less heat...seed them.  I tell myself that hotter....keeps me from eating as much ;) )
 -1 small can diced green chiles
-1/2 cup Mexican Cheese (grated)
-1/2 cup Motzerella Cheese (grated)
*** 2 Confession:  1. For the top two cheeses....I use whatever cheese is in my fridge.  LOVE Pepperjack & Cheddar too. 2. I rarely measure.  Don't like extra dishes so I just grab a handful of each. Probably closer to a cup of each. 
-1/2 cup Parmesean Cheese (grated)
- 1 Package Bacon (cut into small pieces)

This recipe is fool pretty hard to mess up. 
In a bowl Mix following: (Tip: if you use a glass bowl you can cook in, you don't have to wash a mixing bowl & hold heat really well.  If taking to a party, a disosable pan works too)
Mix: Mexcican Cheese, Motzerella Cheese, Chiles, Jalepenos, Cream Cheese, Mayonaise

Put mixture in cooking pan (9x9 size  or close to that....If you do a longer pan like a 9x12, dip will be thinner ...I think that is my favorite because cheese is crispy on top & bacon is spread farther)
Top with Parmesaem Cheese
Place in oven and BAKE at 375 for 25-30 minutes

Over stove top, cook bacon pieces until crispy.
(I place mine on a paper towel & plate to drain extra fat off)

Sprinkle Bacon over top of dip.
(If sending to someone for "Take & Bake" Dip.  Put Bacon on before cooking, cover dish with aluminum foil and remove foil 5-10 minutes before finished cooking so bacon doesn't get too crispy) 
Serve and Enjoy!
Awww..................This is so dang good!!! (Seriously.....having a hard time focusing!  I may or may not have dripped dip on my computer while trying to taste test while typing....just sayin

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Monday, September 29, 2014

A great day to be THANKFUL

 GREAT DAY take a ride trail some bucking laugh until you cry be silly spend time with loved be thankful

Today I am THANKFUL!!!!
  • Thankful to be alive!
  • Thankful to be healthy!  
  • Thankful for GREAT weather today!  Not to hot or to was just right for a cozy coat and wild rag! 
  • Thankful to be able to ride! 
  • Thankful for gentle broke horses you can trust and just enjoy riding!
  • Thankful for a herd of bucking horses to trail!
  • Thankful for RODEOS and a job for bucking horses!
  • Thankful for pastures full of feed!
  • Thankful for fall rains that soften the feed and green grass popping up! 
  • Thankful to be crammed in a semi sleeper with loved ones! 
  • Thankful for the laughing and play that occurs in tight quarters and on road trips.
  • Thankful for hot meals and cold drinks!
  • Thankful for always having more than enough!
  • Thankful for a great car and the freedom to go anywhere! 
  • Thankful for little brothers leaning their head on your shoulder. 
  • Thankful for cameras! So grateful for moments caught in time and the love captured in a memory
  • Thankful for my phone! Thankful for pictures and texts and calls from people you love.  At any moment, if has the potential to carry a message from people all over the world!
  • Thankful for a 2yr old pooping in the tub.  At the time...had a hard time seeing the silver lining ...BUT it Did GIVE me the motivation to scrub my entire tub.  It is shining, spotless and beautiful! ( That is a rarity here...I never clean.  Confession...Clean to me = you can see the floor of the house in every room)  
  • Thankful for GREAT SADDLES!!!  So honored to be able to ride a Harwood saddle.  Reguardless of how often it gets used.  Always feels like royalty when you get to set in the seat. 
  • Thankful for Kilgore and the simple beauty of every view. 
  • Thankful for Good nights & I love yous 

    So many more blessings I could much to be thankful for it will take me more than a lifetime!


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  • p.s. Here is a few more of my favorite things
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Spills, Thrills, and Wagon Trains!!!!

I must apologize.  This was a FABULOUS day and it took me over a year to share it with you.  I don't know why because I told it and re-told it in preson and on the phone. When I set down to write I just didn't know where to start.  Finally, I got the key pad moving! Hold on!  It is a wild ride!

Spills, Thrills, and Wagon Trains............

Grand Adventures…..that is the best way to sum up time with my father. 
You can almost guarantee…regardless of what he says…it will be an ALL DAY event.   Always dress for ANYTHING.  Protective clothing like boots and long sleeve shirts recommended. 

This very adventure would be right along those lines.  Dad stopped in at the house.  He was going to help some friends hook a team of horses…2 across and 2 deep.  (Keep in mind…he’d never done this before but he was going to help them) Now, Dad does have a lot of experience with teams.  He uses them to feed help every winter and now even as part of his summer employment. 

He offers the invitation to go and I accept.  Let the adventure begin.  I have a new big camera and this seems like a GREAT opportunity to use it. 

We arrive and I quickly notice that I am a party crasher : ) This is a “guys club” day.  I only know a few of the guys.  They are all so excited, conversing about the best ways to go about hooking the horses.  I sit back soaking it all in.

They were very kind and let me tag along…camera in tow.  (hahaha…I don’t think they knew what to think about me…especially when I jogged ahead of the team to get the shot I wanted)

Ok ok!  You know my Dad is notorious for wrecks and I know you are anxiously waiting to hear about the wreck the unfolded when they took off with the team.  I was too!!!  I walked a LONG ways away  to get starting pictures just so I didn’t get ran over.  (I didn’t get my “I survived the Hoggan Ranch t-shirt for nothing)   Well, much to my surprise…..they started off like seasoned professionals, not even a bobble!  Well broke horses and well mannered as could be. (No, I am not accustomed to this kind of horse ; )

Taking Off

That's right...they hooked 4 up and they started PERFECTLY!!!!  Drove out through the desert like they'd been doing it everyday. That's right....4 head of horses....5 cowboys...and 2 Wagons.......and it went smooth as can be!  See.....

About now you are wondering…..Mindy.....really….why are you wasting my time right now.  You had a great time with cool guys…..great but….really?!?!?  No, “Hoggan Wreck”??? 

Ok….you got me!     

Changing of the guard and heading home.  Drivers swapped around.  Everyone took a turn being part of the legendary day. 

The lead horses tuckered out from the jog out to open country.  They've made quite the trek today.  One minute we are cruising along like a Sunday Drive.....and seconds later we are messed up like seven days from sunday! 

Tangled in a mess of leather lines and horse flesh, the guys jump into action!  The paint is down and crushing the wagon tongue.  They work quickly to get everything up right and in working order.  (We are a LONG ways from home to have to walk ;)  I hop down to help also but before I do...I very carefully take off my fancy camera.  Incase, I get pawed in the head or something.....I don't want my camera to get hurt. 
Luckily, I'm with a very capable crew!  Horses are up right and safe in moments.  The tongue is bent back into shape and horses hooked again.  They switched the set of lead horses to the fresher set and once again we are headed home. 

As you can see, the lead horses are fresh and ready to go.  Dad and Pat are each driving a team at the lead wagon.  I am standing up at the front with them. The rest of the crew is sitting in the second covered wagon. Both wagons are equipped with brakes.  We cruising along at a decent pace across the desert road.  Pretty soon....we are gaining speed....and more speed and more speed.  Dad has me on the brake by us...soon I am full on standing on the brake, for all I'm worth.  Dad's eyes are getting bigger as he's hollering for the back wagon to give us some brake!  However, the guys in the back just think we are fine because Dad is still smiling and laughing.  (Yes, it was more of a scared Whoa....we are in trouble boys)
Soon we resemble an amusement park ride blazing across the rocky desert road!  The wagons are bouncing up and down wildly!  We are headed straight for a narrow steel post gateway.  (Sidenote...on the way out before...I thought...This is a narrow spot to get through with such a big set up. Increase are speed by ten fold....I was pretty sure it was going to be real bad!) Mach 9....wagons flailing through the air....we make it through the posts.  Our load of hay bales and passengers are being tossed about.  Hay bales bouncing higher than my head and off out through the brush behind us!  Out of the corner of my eye....I see MY CAMERA fly off the wagon with a load of hay!  I hop off the wagon at probably 35 mph chasing after it!  I find it lying back on the dusty trail.  The lens has came off and lying a ways away.  (I gathered it up and I'll tell you what I told the guys....I don't want to talk about it)

They got the team back under control and we continued our trip home.  By the time we got back to roads, everyone was being a model citizen.  Horses were tired and working like well mannered professionals again.

All's well that ends well right ;) ....such an amazing day!  A day spent with true LEGENDS!  So grateful for time spent.  Oh camera survived too!  Little dirt in my zoom of my fancy lends but the camera body was good!  So lucky and grateful!!!
Moral of the Story = Memories are PRICELESS.  That being said, whenever you are with Dad there WILL BE a good photo op.....and You should NEVER take your big is not safe!
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Say CHEESE!!!!!" Ballard Cheese

Ballard Cheese
MORE CHEESE PLEASE!!!!  .......these are the words that will be echoing throughout a room the second  a slice of delicious Ballard Cheese hits your taste buds!!!! 
In my travels, I was LUCKY enough to be served Ballard Cheese at a doTERRA Essential Oil Class I was teaching.  Needless to say.....I instantly knew I had to SHARE with you all!!!!  

Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese Factory not only makes the most delicious cheese I've ever tasted but they are also a small IDAHO family business!  Ballard's were kind enough to let me come visit and I am so excited to be able to share with you a glimpse!  

Arriving at Ballard's Cheese Factory,  I was met with a warm welcome from the matriarch of the family, Stacie Ballard.  Tuesdays are BUSY!!!!  Daughter, Jessica Brockman, was hard at it beside cow-workers, Jane and Rabecca.  Huge THANK YOU to the entire family for taking the time to visit with me!!!! 

That was the my 1st lesson....LOTS of hard work goes into making these handmade specialty cheese.  Mondays usually start at 3:45 AM to pull milk and start pasteurization process and go until 8pm.  While I was there they were packaging cheese curds. Click here to see How the Cheese is Made!  :

The ladies shared a few BALLARD EMPLOYEE FAVORITES while we visited

  • Rabecca's favorite: Tomato Basil Cheese Curds (shown above) or Plain Curds warm out of the vats.  They are creamy, salty, and yum yum yum!!!!
  • Jessica's Favorite: Garlic Pepper Curds
  • Jane's Favorite: Ranch Curds
  • Stacie's Favorite.....She LOVES them all!  That is why she makes them!!!
    She did share a couple tasty recipes she likes! 
    * Homemade Mac & Cheese starring White Cheddar, Danish Pearl, and Pepper Cheddar
    * Garlic Curds with sausage for AMAZING Breakfast Burritos!
    Click here for more recipes to try:

HAPPY COWS at Ballard Cheese Factory
As good as this cheese is I was even more impressed with this IDAHO Business!!!  Not only do they strive to make a quality handmade Idaho product but they also BUY IDAHO!! They milk about 70 head of 100% Jersey cows.  Raise all their young stock. Ballard's also raise some of their own hay and buy locally for the rest.   They have been recognized for going above and beyond to with efficiency, sustainability, and green awards.  Cutting back water and propane use considerably! Learn more here :

Feeding, Raising, and Buying IDAHO HAY!!!
As I mentioned before...I'd tried Ballard Cheese before.  That is why I wanted to share with you all in the 1st place.  Well, It wasn't until the preparation for this little blog that I would fully appreciate the AMAZINGNESS that Ballard's Handmade Specialty Cheeses offers! 
Click here for CHEESE TIPS :
They were very helpful for me when serving and storing these delicious cheeses!

The TASTE TESTS.....Dining in head 1st with cheese tasting, trying, experimenting, savorying, and ENJOYING!!!!  Here are some of our favorites....but don't take my word for it....order a selection of these DELICIOUS Ballard Cheese's and TRY them for yourself!!!!!
Ballard Grilling Cheese
GRILLING CHEESE Salad ~ Ballard Cheese's Grilling Cheese paired with fresh greens, juicy tomatoes, ripe strawberries, and drizzled with a Rasberry Vingerette & Green Chili dressing! Sweet & SPICY deliciousness!
Ballard Grilling Cheese was my favorite before I started this article and if I only could only have ONE cheese.....It would probably still be the grilling cheese. Seriously, look at it in the doesn't get much better than that.  Great on sandwiches, salads, and well.....everything I've tried!  It is so fabulous, versatile, and tasty!  Lucky for me, there are no cheese restrictions...and I can try any cheese I want! 

Let the test testing begin!  I must give a shout out to my awesome neighbors who came over for a night of CHEESE, CHEESE, and More CHEESE!!!  They were great sports for trying anything I served and giving great feedback!  Just when we thought there was a was blown out of the water by the next!

  • JP Picks ~ Baby Swiss, great taste and aged well.
    Idaho Jersey Dream, Creamy deliciouseness that melts in your mouth!
    Favorite Curds ~ Pepper and Garlic, squeaky and so good!!!
  • Houston Picks ~  I like it all!!!  Gouda and Green Apple, Feta, Pepper and Garlic Curds.
    ***Asparagus and Parmarono!!!
  • William Picks ~Parmarono.  Favorite Curds: Pepper and Garlic
 Danish Pearl Gouda paired with a Green Apple ...SURPRISINGLY DELIGHTFUL!  Light and spunky, the flavors complimented each other well!  New favorite appetizer!  (Easy, just the way I like it!)
Parmarono finely grated and melted to perfection over asparagus!  It was so good it went from side dish to appetizer because we couldn't wait to eat it!!
Creamy Tortellini Soup with Ballard Parmarono Cheese
 Creamy Sausage Tortelini Soup topped with PARMARONO grated over ......drooling just thinking about it!

 Ballard Cheese' Idaho Jersey Dream Feta is creamy & AMAZING paired with fresh greens, juicy tomatoes, ripe strawberries, and drizzled with a Rasberry Vingerette & Green Chili dressing! Sweet & SPICY deliciousness!
Ballard's Baby Swiss Melted over hot roast beef!   As you can see....with this fine cheese....the sky is the limit and they take good food and make it AMAZING!!!!!

I Double Dog Dare YOU to pick a FAVORITE Cheese!  Stacie is right.....they are all so amazing!!!  Just when you think that it can't get any will perfectly pair a culinary creation with a Ballard Cheese....aww...SO YUMMY!!!  TRY them ALL
Full list of cheeses! :
"cheddar cheese products range from fresh out of the vat cheese curds to rich and
mellow aged cheddar cheese, we have our
Danish Pearl which is creamy melt in your
mouth, some new one are
Golden Greek (grillin' cheese) .New 2010 Award
 Truffle Cheddar!  Of course, we like to spice things up a bit for you with our
popular variety cheeses curds such as Garlic Herb, Garlic Pepper, Cool Ranch,
Tomato & Basil, Dill, Hot & Spicy Pepper and of course Plain.
" Ballard Cheese

BUY IDAHO ~ Get your BALLARD Cheese TODAY!!!! 
Click here for ordering :

BUY LOCAL: Here is a list of Retailers you can buy Ballard Cheese from in your town! :

If you don't have a retailer locally caring the Ballard Cheese.......Ask your local grocer to carry it!!!! 
 THANK YOU for traveling the gypsy trail with me today!  Hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse at BALLARD CHEESE!!!!  Show them so LOVE!  Visit them on facebook and give them a LIKE!  Tell them Mindy sent ya ;) : 

Happy Trails, Mindy

 OH MY GOODNESS.....Ballard Cheese Grilling Cheese is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Perfectly grilled with a steak & chop delicious!!! I think it will be mind blowing with fajitas.....if you can stop yourself from eating them straight out of the pan!
New Favorite Ballard "GRILLED CHEESE" Boat!!!!

Sliced Turkey and  Ballard Grilling Cheese smothered  Cranberry Salsa all nestled Crispy Romaine Lettuce Leaf!!!!  It is a Lettuce Wrap of Grilled Delightfullness!!!!

  • Rodeo Tales & Gypsy Trails
    is proudly brought to you by
    Lil' Red Roan
    Lil' Red Roan Lovely Lady Leg Knives available now!

    THANK YOU for shopping small! You, our loyal customers, are the driving force behind our small business. Thank you for your patronage and continued support. We are honored to be able to provide quality goods and look forward to serving you again in the future. ~ Mindy
    Visit us ONLINE!!