Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pope is making the news

This month my Dad is retiring from his position as CEO of US Synthetic and he and my mom are moving to Kenya. For the last 10 years, my dad heart has been in Kenya. Striving to help families who face life threatening poverty to become economically self reliant. He started a micro-credit bank in Kenya, and he also plans on starting other enterprises to create jobs while he is there.
KSL featured him on the news (look for my fat face in the red on stage briefly). He was also featured on the front page of the Deseret News last saturday. Proud of you dad, can't wait to get over to Kenya with you!

Video Courtesy of

For information about my dad's exciting projects to help fight poverty click



and here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Brigham Young's Doughnuts


My blog is getting lame. It only took me a year to get bored of it. Blogging is soooo 2009. So it will probably continue to be lame for a while, but my blog is helpful when I have no desire to clean my house. I know I can post a blog entry! Sit down at my nice comfy chair and be in front of my sweetheart, my big screen mac. House work? what house work?

This picture is officially ancient. We now have about 2 feet of snow in our yard. However, these doughnuts will be great for my future sledding parties!

I am the queen of clipping out recipes from magazines and newspapers. I have a huge stack of clippings. This is the first time I have EVER actually used a recipe I have clipped. I clipped it from the Salt Lake Tribune back in July, and have just now used it.

Now I am a cake doughnut person. Yeast rise doughnuts are ok, but I would pick cake doughnut any day! These doughnuts are great and really easy. They are only good the day you make them, the next day they are hard as a rock.

These doughnuts are supposedly the doughnuts Brigham Young ate for breakfast. A real pioneer recipe.

Brigham Young's Doughnuts

5 1/2 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 t ground nutmeg
2 c buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 c sugar
6 T butter, melted

oil for frying

Preheat oil to 375 (I used a fryer). Combine flour, salt nutmeg, baking soda. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk and sugar. Then add the melted butter to the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon till just combined, the dough will be sticky. Let rest for 5 minutes. Roll dough out on a well floured surface to be between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. I cut the doughnuts out with a widemouth canning ring and used a medicine cup (or a shot glass) to cut out the holes. Collect the scraps and make more doughnuts. Frying the holes make yummy little treats. Put the doughnut in the fryer, when the dough starts to crack on the top, it means its time to turn it over. Cook until both sides look golden brown. Drain on paper towels or a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. They taste good plain, or with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Feels like I have been gone a while! Thanks a lot SWINE FLU! I don't really know if it was swine flu, I wasn't going to pay the doctor 100 bucks (thanks America's awesome health care system) to tell me I have a virus. I was totally out for 5 days and completely missed Thanksgiving. My mother was left to cook the whole Thanksgiving meal herself. She pulled it off great despite putting whole cloves and baking soda in the sweet potatoes. I didn't matter to me because I didn't feel like eating anyway.
So I am just barely starting to feel like I might live. So hopefully I can get back to the kitchen.

Meanwhile, my I have a boy turning 5 years old today. I begged him to let us celebrate his 4th birthday again, or better yet his first birthday! I don't want him to grow up. He refused. Although his is a year older, he still is giving me some gems . . .

He said he wants to have his birthday party at Wall-Mart and invite everyone who is at Wall-Mart to his party, that way he will get tons a presents.

Everett is obsessed with sugar cereal, he loves it with all his heart. So for the Thanksgiving break I bought some cinnamon toast crunch. When I gave him a bowl of it he said two things.

"Mom, I can't believe I am eating this right now!"


"This cereal must be from Wal- Mart because all junk food comes from Wal-Mart!"

Yesterday Everett heard the primary song, "I am trying to be like Jesus." and he said,

"Mom I am always trying to be like Jesus. I always try to walk on water, but I take one step and I fall right in every time!"

Happy Birthday Everett!

Monday, November 23, 2009


The super bowl is here! Thanksgiving day. Tomorrow you will see me at Coscto buying food to feed 40 people. Bring it on baby! Last year I did the 12 days of Thanksgiving, please review . . .

  • If you want an easy roll recipe that will knock everyone's socks off, try my family's out of this world rolls recipe. I have been eating them since out of the womb.

  • Want to free up the oven for the rolls and all the other stuff you need to bake, cook your turkey in a roasting pan and make in D good.

  • Delish stuffing only comes around once a year. Ours has mushrooms and pine nuts.

  • Does gravy frighten you? Learn how to make gravy now! (and see me in my kitchen at work).

  • Now I don't do creamed corn, but I do cook frozen corn without water, and it makes it tasty. Try it!

  • This is truly a no fail pie crust and I don't understand why isn't the only pie crust recipe in the world, because it is so easy, and without a doubt the best tasting pie crust on earth.

  • The question is, why are they called mashed potatoes when we all know we should be ricing our potatoes!

So good luck one and all and happy thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Custard and shortcake with berries


Under these berries lies a delicious little secret . . . . .


Now this is one of the most heavenly desserts I have ever put together. This is because I have combined two of my favorite desserts, strawberry shortcake and creme brulee.

First you must make the custard for the base.

4 c heavy cream
3/4 c sugar
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 t vanilla or one vanilla bean scraped (I used the bean)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and get some water boiling. Meanwhile. In a sauce pan heat the cream (first add the vanilla) till just before it boils (its ok if it boils, no biggie). While the cream is heating up beat together the sugar and eggs till the eggs lighten in color and it is smooth. When the cream is hot, ladle the cream into the eggs very slowing while stirring. you want to temper the eggs and not create scrambled eggs. If you introduce the heat slowly, that is called tempering. Once all the cream is combined run it through a fine sieve to get out any accidental scrambles. Pour into six ramekins evenly. Place into a roasting pan. Place in the oven and add the boiling water in the pan. Be careful not to splash water into the ramekins. Insure the water reaches half way up the ramekins. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The custard should look set but be slightly wiggly in the middle.

Once they are done, let them cook in the fridge for at least two hours, but can be done in a day advance.

Next make the shortcakes.

1 c flour
1/4 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 baking powder
1 egg
1/4 c buttermilk

In a food processor (or by hand if you are old school) combine flour sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter by adding it to the flour and pulse a few times with the food processor. Beat the egg and buttermilk together. Add to processor and run until all combine and makes a ball.

Drop dough onto a cookie sheet with a mini ice cream scoop. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until light golden and cooked throughout. Cool.

Top custard with a shortcake and top with fresh berries, then top with fresh sweetened whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To brine or not to brine?

First of all let me say that the hardest part of doing this blog is the photos. You know how many countless great things I have cooked and forgotten to take a picture before we ate it all? It happens ALL the time. Like for instance this Sunday I cooked a dandy of a turkey, but I forgot the picture, I could take a picture of the ziplock full of leftover turkey, but that wouldn't do it justice now would it.

Why did I make a 20 lb turkey for Sunday dinner do you ask? Because I wanted to ask myself the question, to brine or not to brine. I have always brined, because I always want to do things the best way, not the easiest way . . . usually. But frankly, brining is a big pain the rear. My turkey from last year was really good no doubt, but was it the brine? perhaps. So I have been reading turkey recipes and putting my ear to wind every time I hear turkey. So many different ways to do things, cook it upside down, deep fry it, buy a pre brined turkey, inject it . .bla bla bla. Which one shall I try first? What sang to me the most was putting butter and herbs under the skin of the turkey between the breast and the skin.

So this is what I did. The night before I made an herb butter with a stick of butter, three cloves garlic minced, about a teaspoon of sage, thyme and rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I mixed the butter and herbs together and rolled it into a loaf in parchment paper, and put it in the fridge. The next morning before church, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees. I rinsed the turkey and patted it dry. I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and stuffed it with stuffing. Next, sliced my herbed butter loaf into thin slices. I loosened the skin from the breast of the turkey gently and slid butter under the skin all over the turkey. I put it in the roasting pan, coated the top of the skin with olive oil and liberally salt and peppered it. Then I put it in the oven and roasted it for about 4-1/2 t0 5 hours. 2 of those hours were uncovered the rest were covered. I used a digital thermometer to make sure it read 165 degrees (it actually was about 170)

I have to say, it was a great turkey. Moist and flavorful. I felt so much easier not to brine! and I couldn't really see a difference. That being said, I must admit I am not a turkey officianato. Turkey is merely a vehicle to plate all the other great things for thanksgiving, as far as I am concerned. Its no beef tenderloin if you catch my drift.

So this year, I am not going to brine. Its a pain. Hope not to disappoint.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin


So I love pumpkin pie indeed. However, I have never made a pumpkin pie because they are so readily purchased from the store that are really good. I have never tasted a homemade pumpkin pie that tasted any different than coscto's pumpkin pie. They come out of the same libby's can anyway, right? Wrong.

My children go to an amazing school. Their teacher, Mrs. Sorensen, is like the kid whisperer. She is this incredible grandmother who has been a teacher her whole life, and now teaches, pre school through 2nd grade right out of her home. The school is unreal, they do everything, violin, spanish, ballet, tumbling, geography, farming, art, science, math, reading, spelling, religion and the list goes on. I don't know what am going to do next year. Porter has only known this matriarchal teacher who just loves him up, praises him, give him all the attention in the world, and he is will have to join the dark world of the Utah public school system, where with thirty five kids in a class . . . I shutter.

Anyway, on thursdays they always do cooking, and they made a pumpkin pie, which I got to taste. It was special! Can pumpkin pie really be special? It was made from a fresh pumpkin! So of course I had to rush home and try it for myself. I was so excited I forgot to ask for the recipe, so I had to make one up myself. Thats half the fun right?

First get a pumpkin, now there is such thing as a "pie pumpkin" or a "sugar pumpkin" but I am not even sure that is what I bought, I just bought a pumpkin about the size of my head (actually a little smaller, but that is only because I have an enormous head, your head should suffice). Now put it on a cooking sheet, and place in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, till it is soft. Once you pull it off, the skin will just peel off.

Now cut into chunks, removing the center with the seeds and puree in a blender or food processor till smooth. You need 1 1/2 c puree.

Meanwhile, get your pie crust going (use a store bought or the easiest pie crust in the world ) and pre bake it. Now in the picture I did something pretty cool (ok, I stole the part of the idea from martha stewart) I took an extra pie crust and cut out a bunch of triangles and brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled them with sugar, so you can do that too if you want. Don't bake these, but set them aside. Bake the pie crust a little on the under done side. Let it cool completely.

Now to make the filling:

3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 -12 oz can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
dash of nutmeg
dash of clove
dash of all spice

Mix the above ingredients till smooth. Pour into the cooled, baked pie crust. With the uncooked pie crust triangles, line the rim of the pie, over lapping each triangle over the next and pressing down so they stick.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until it is set, but a little wiggly in the center. It will set more as it cools out of the oven.

A pie with fresh pumpkin has a yummy earthy flavor, I love it! Pumpkin pie must be served with cream and not with you know what . . . . . cool whip blaa!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bon Jon


I am finally posting this recipe, I think I have mentioned Bon Jon a couple times, but have never posted it.
This is a family recipe that is in the top 20 of most made dinners. It is a Iranian dish that started with my Grandma Pope (who is not Iranian, but lived in Iran for 3 years) Think of it as a Persian version of beef berginion, but not anything like it. It is my dad's favorite meal in the whole world, and its definitely in my top five. That being said, you might be quite disappointed if you don't like "ethnic tasting foods". This is a slow cooker, and and equally be done in a crock pot, I use the oven.
note: in the photos I am doing a double batch. this stuff freezes great so I always do double!

Ingredient List:
2-3 lbs stew beef
1 eggplant, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
4 bay leaves
2 t cinnamon
2 t turmeric
1 t curry powder
1 t beef base
2 large cans diced tomatoes
salt and pepper

step 1:

Lay out your stew beef on some paper towels and allow it to come to room temperature before you brown it.

step 2:

Brown the meat on high heat. Season each batch with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. I only brown one side because I think that is all you need. Don't crowd the pan, do the meat in batches.

step 3

After all the meat is browned add a cup-ish of water to the bottom of the pan, along with the teaspoon of beef base. Stir to get the brown bits of the bottom of the pan. Pour off the liquid onto the meat that you have set aside.

step 4

Saute the onions (add a little oil to the pan). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until they become fragrant.

step 5

Add eggplant and garlic to the pan and saute a little longer. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 6

Return meat with drippings to the pan with the onions and eggplant. Add tomatoes and all remaining spices. Season with a little more salt and pepper.


Stir everything together. Cover and put in the oven to slow cook. Time and temperatures depend on the time you have. At minimum cook at 325 for 3 hours. I cooked this batch at 275 for 6 hours. Low and slow is the best. This is what it looks like when it is done.

Serve over rice.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homage to one of my first posts ever!


Yo peeps! I have been doing this blog for a year now! I can't believe it! Time has gone by so fast. What is crazy I haven't even posted my all top twenty most used recipes yet. What the flip have I been writing about! I just want you to come back wanting more. . . . .
So I figure, many new readers don't really delve deep into the archives like they should. If you haven't read how to make pizza yet, you should. It has been one the single greatest things I have learned in recent years. My sister in law Krista hooked me up with this lesson, and now I am hooking you up . . . . again!

As for the pizza above, it could be called the Costco pizza, because I bought all the ingredients (besides the dough) at costco.

Chicken Artichoke Pizza

Costco Alfredo sauce
Fresh mozzarella (the pearls from costco)
fresh spinach
marinaded artichokes
cooked chicken (rotisserie from coscto)

Top the pizza dough evenly and cook in a 500 degree oven on a baking stone. Best to make the dough thin!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Inspired from Malaysia


A mall food court is a pit of despair. What is worse, sometimes the food looks like it might be good, then you order it and you can barely eat it. Well not in Malaysia and Singapore. Some of the best food we ate was in a mall food court. This meal is inspired from one of the places we ate.
The place looked like a diner with stools up to the counter. Instead of a counter it was a tempanyaki style grill. So you would order of the menu and sit down any where you wanted, then the cook would grill up the food right in front of you and then you would eat it right off the grill. It was so good, I had to go back again the next day.

What I loved the most was the beans sprouts and the bak choy. The bean sprouts they stir fried in just a tiny bit of oil, salt, pepper and a little soy sauce. Then he add a splash of water and covered them to let them steam. I have eaten bean sprouts but never, just bean sprouts. SOOO GOOOD!
Next it was the bak choy. Same thing, salt pepper, soy sauce and also some fresh garlic. Cooked it the exact same way. Done in about 3 minutes.

The shrimp ( I buy the already shelled and clean frozen raw shrimp at costco, its the best, the tails are still on and you have to remove the smaller vein still) He cooked in oil, lots of garlic and lots of chilies, and a little soy sauce.
I cooked them the same way, but can anyone tell where in the halibut I can buy fresh red chilies? If you know please make a comment. So I used chili paste. Which still worked good. I cooked them in a really hot pan and took them out of the pan as soon as the turned pink, so they were tender.

The beef wasn't really inspired by Malaysia, this is something I cook all the time, and is actually inspired by Korean BBQ.

1/4 c soy soy
1 clove garlic minced
2 T sugar
2 T sesame oil
2 T dehydrated onions (or double that green onions minced)
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 t chili paste (optional if you don't like spice)
1 T toasted sesame seeds

1-2 lbs sirloin steak, super thin sliced (two inches wide 1/4 inch thick)

Add all the ingredients besides the steak together, add the steak and let marinade for at least 30 minutes. Cook on a hot griddle or pan. It should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes to cook.

Friday, October 30, 2009

What are your anxieties?


I was born from a high anxiety person. Like a "go take your pills" anxiety person. Luckily, I am generally a chill person and have almost no anxiety. Although, for everyone some anxiety still exists. Do I have anxiety that my husband is going to die in a firey plane crash, or be murdered on the mean streets of Africa? Some wives would worry a little, but Fairb is golden, nothing is going to kill that guy. I could have a blog just about reasons my husband should be dead. Do I have anxiety that I am destroying my children's lives because I am a completely non sympathetic mom who isn't always thrilled with motherhood and I occasionally loose my temper? I have friends that worry about that, but I don't because that is exactly how my mother was, and I am golden! I turned out great!

My small anxieties rear their heads in the kitchen. Like yesterday, I saw raspberries at the store for 4.74$ for a whole flat. That is a completely unreal price. A regular priced flat would be like 30 $ Our family just started consuming freezer jam, opposed to store bought regular jam. Well it turns out that freezer jam is like 10 million times better than regular jam. Now my kids won't even eat regular jam. So now, I have anxiety that we are going to run out of jam before I can buy raspberries on the cheap. So of course to feed my anxiety, I had to buy the raspberries. Two flats. Yes, I am in the throws of major primary halloween party prep. Yes, I have two sick kids. (probably swine flu, I will not feed into the frenzy!) Yes, I haven't even done the dishes from last nights dinner. But I HAVE to buy these berries, and from the looks of them, the jam has to be made tonight.

So I bought the berries, realizing we haven't eaten that much of the jam I already made, I didn't even have enough jars. I just counted my jar of raspberry jam . . . .50 jars. Good thing I have a big freezerThats a lot of toast and peanut butter and jelly. I better go make some bread.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tis the season for caramel apples


I am no chocolatier, but making caramel apples at Halloween is one of our families favorite traditions. This is what I do know about making caramel apples,

1. a fondue pot or crock pot is the perfect thing to melt the caramel. Which gives away the fact that I did not MAKE caramel, candy thermometer? I am not there yet. Add a couple tablespoons of water for a bag of caramels. Yes, I unwrapped a million caramels. You may say, Natalie it was you who told me about "caramel bits", why didn't you use those? I did use a bag of those, and it was a huge mistake because they just plain didn't melt smooth!

2. Airheads candy is the perfect candy for decorating everything, just use scissors to cut the shapes you want. Airheads come in tons of colors, so its great.

3. Chocolate (including white) are great toppings. Along with nuts, butter finger, m&m's, snickers, Reese's pieces, and anything and everything else candy.

4. Set on parchment that has also been sprayed with cooking spray.

What I don't know about making caramel apples:

1. How to make caramel

2. How to melt white chocolate on the stove without screwing up the first batch.

3. How prevent everything from sliding off the apple

4. how to make them pretty.

Luckily, it all tastes good in the end, and a good time was had by all!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Seasons change


The trees are naked again, the air is cold, we have stacked the wood and let the fire burn again, making our little house on the hill be cozy and happy. Its times like theseyou feel like yummy earthy soup. Mmmm..... I almost called this soup, "cream of mushroom" then I realized "cream of mushroom" only means one thing, bad mormon recipe (hey, even I am not immune to using cream of mushroom soup in one of my recipes, its shames me) So let's just call it "mushroom soup" shall we?

Cream of mushroom soup

Mushrooms of any variety you like (I used shikate, baby portabella, and button) about 2 pkg worth
1 small onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 can chicken broth
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4 T butter
1 c cream

In a large sauce pan sauté the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the butter. Don't try to sauté it all at once, do it in batches as to not crowd the pan so you can brown the mushrooms properly. While sautéing, season with salt and pepper. Be gentle on the salt because you are going to add stock, but be liberal on the pepper because it is the star flavor of this recipe. Once all the mushrooms and onions have been sauteed, put them all back into the pan and cover with the chicken broth. Now add some water, enough to make the liquid cover the mushrooms by about a 1/2 an inch. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Taste to make sure the salt levels are good and you can taste the spice from the pepper. Transfer to the blender and blend till smooth, or use an emulsion blender. Before serving, heat throughout and finish with the cup of fresh cream. Although the bread in the picture is from Costco, want to make your own yummy crusty bread? Try this bread.

nan's note: if you are using any dried mushrooms, reconstitute them by boiling them in the chicken stock.

Friday, October 23, 2009

pumpkin pancakes

Ok, its been a slacker halloween. I haven't even taken my kids to get pumpkins. The problem is, I HATE carving pumpkins for three children. The children are worthless when it comes to pumpkin carving. They are too little to use the knifes, and when it comes to getting the guts out, they cry and moan that it feels "gross". Further our menace dog Rock has an inkling for pumpkin. Grandma Vicki sent some little pumpkins home with the kids and Rock destroyed all of them. So I am trying to lay low on the whole pumpkin thing this year. Think I can get away with it? I made up for it by making pumpkin pancakes instead, and boy were they yum! yum! yummy!


Pumpkin Pancakes

1 c pumpkin puree from a can
2 eggs
1 c milk (might need more)
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

First mix together the eggs, milk, pumpkin, and spices until well combined. Add pancake mix and gently mix to combine, do not over mix. Make the batter to your perfect consistency with milk or more pancake mix.

Serve with butter, syrup and chopped pecans.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nearly whole wheat pancake mix


Did you know Bisquick is basically poison? I grew up on Bisquick, and now I am learning its poison. It has trans fat in it. Come on Bisquick get in the 21 century. It doesn't matter because its over between us, hopefully the damage you have done to me is reversible.
Secondly, have noticed how expensive "healthy" pancake mixes are in the stores? Listen, I am no bargain grocery shopper and even I noticed that buying a tiny box of pancake mix for like 6 bucks is expensive. So I had to come up with a great tasting pancake mix on my own. Now this is nearly whole grain because we've got to keep everyone in the family happy. Here is the mix:

2 c whole wheat flour (preferably fresh ground)
1 c oat flour (I just put old fashion oats in the blender)
2 c all purpose white flour
1/2 c sugar (I use evaporated cane juice, you know the brownish organic sugar, sugar is optional in this recipe)
8 t baking powder
1 T salt

one stick butter, cold (1/2 c)

In your food processor, combine all the dry ingredients. Cut butter into cubes and add to mixture, pulse to cut the butter into the mixture. Store in an airtight container. (if you are butter in the fridge girl I guess you could store it in the fridge, but I keep my butter on the shelf).

To make pancakes and waffles mix with eggs and milk. Use 1 egg for roughly 1 cup of mix. How much milk you use depends on how thick you like your pancakes. I am a make them thin and stack them high pancake girl, so I make my batter thin. If you are a muffin girl (if they are thick, its a muffin not a pancake) then go easy on the milk. I have never in my life measured milk for pancakes. If you are reading this and say to yourself, "I always measure the milk!" Then NOT measuring while making pancakes from a mix is the first step on learning to eye ball stuff when cooking. You can't be a good cook if you can't eye ball. So go practice on some pancakes.

Stay tuned this week for some other great pancakes!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let it snow!!


Forgive me for not giving fall time and halloween its due (this kind of looks like a ghost actually), but we are a family of winter time. We live on top of a mountain where we get FEET of snow. My children sleep in an igloo and make fun of city kids and their "rain". This year Porter and Alta are going to ski on the sundance ski team. Tonight is their equipment night, and we are bringing "snow" to the party.
I own a cotton candy machine. It was a necessity really. Along with me movie popcorn popper. You can rent cotton candy machines at party supply stores, and if you are my BFF, just call me and you can borrow mine. Anyhow, so I made this "snow" with plain white C&H sugar to which I added a little vanilla extract to flavor it. I let the vanilla dry in the sugar before I put it in the machine. In my world the snow is sugar! Welcome to my world!

Friday, October 16, 2009

I am home!

Holy cow, I think Malaysia is the the farthest place on the earth. I have been up for 30 hours. Airplanes smell like butt. Are my kids always this loud? I will start cooking soon, I swear it. Till them I am going to dream of spicy shrimp and bean spouts . . . .

Friday, October 9, 2009


Yes I am on my 2nd honeymoon, and no I am not blogging. I left the on the dock, just in case you missed me. Thank you target for making footsie jammies for all sizes, my kids are in heaven. Except Everett has a small issue with them. See, he sucks his thumb and puts his other thumb in his belly button (perverted I know). So he was so excited to wear them until it was time to get comfortable on the bed while watching Scooby- Doo. Luckily he is smart kid and figured out he just had to zip them down a little, Hasseloff style, to show his chest and he could access the button. Here are to Everettisms . . .

Everett HATES getting sunblock applied, so while in Powell as I struggled to get him lubed up, he was getting increasingly difficult, to vent his frustration he said,
""Aaarrgghh! Why did Jesus make the people anyway!"

Tonight Everett gave the family prayer tonight it went like this,

"Thank you for my shark mom. Thank you for my Shark dad. Thank you for my shark sister. Thank you for my shark brother. Thank you for the ocean. Amen."

To which we disapproved when he was done, and we let Alta give a real prayer. When she was done we told her it was a good prayer. Everett replied,
"Ya, but mine was funnier."

Oh dear.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10 years: 10 days!

Our wedding announcement photo, 10 years ago!

Big announcement! I am actually going to celebrate my anniversary this year! I can't remember the last time my husband was even in town for our anniversary. We are going to Malaysia and Singapore for 10 days! I can see the stress building in my husbands eyes from the thought of not working for 10 days! I love it!
We were married October 12, 1999 in the Mount Timpanogos Temple. 6 months before that, it was a powder day at Sundance I was a BYU student taking a telemark ski class. With no telemark skills, I was struggling down the powdery mountain. Just then, I saw a beautiful creature in a bright red coat gracefully making free heeled turns right past me. I, at the time, was infatuated with all men on telemark skis, so I called out, "Hey will you marry me?" He didn't hear the call, but when I got down to the bottom of the mountain, he was the assistant teacher to the class. That is when we met. It turned out he worked at Sundance, along side one of my roommates. My roommate was going to order me a tent through work that I was going to give my boyfriend who was on an LDS mission at the time. So I called her at work and Fairb answered the phone. Right then and there he asked me on a date, and needless to say I never got the tent. It wasn't long until Fairb and I were in love, and the missionary got his "Dear John" letter.

Now Fairb is wildly successful, an incredible father, and a amazing husband. And I get to go with him to Malaysia and Singapore for 10 days. We practically closed our eyes and put our finger on the map. Malaysia it is! All we have planned is our plane tickets and our first nights hotel. The rest we will figure out when we get there. It is going to be great! I know that food is going to a big part of my trip (otherwise it would be not fun right?) So hopefully I will have plenty to share when I get home. Wish us luck, and wish Grandma Vicki luck who is willing to watch our kids while we are gone. Thanks Grandma Vicki! So see you in 10 days, maybe you will hear from me while I am gone, maybe you won't . . .

our "other" wedding announcement, just to give our friend a laugh and shock our grandparents!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Demi glace

So my BFF Kris (she is becoming totally famous, and she loves it) signed up me and her for a cooking class at Thanksgiving Point for my birthday. Turns out, those suckers canceled the stinkin' class. Jerks. So instead she got me this stuff from Williams and Sonoma that she swears by that makes all sauces and gravys AMAZING! So of course, I was excited to try it. All I can say is Oh LA LA!
So its just a paste for a quick way to get a demi-glace but it also can be used to make your beef gravy taste even more tasty. So I first tried it with tenderloin steak. I used my cast iron skillet. It seems like if you use a non stick pan it is hard to get a nice brown on the meat. Of course I cooked the steaks medium rare, I don't want to dishonor the cow for sacrificing his life for me, the least I could do is cook it right. Once the steaks were done, I let them rest and quickly sauteed a small handful of chopped shallots. Once they were soft and poured in a little brandy to deglaze the pan (you could use water, I need to do a post about cooking with alcohol . . . remind me) and a tablespoon of the demi-glace. Once it cooked a little, it was ready. I sliced the steak and topped it with the sauce. It was delish! Get a friend like Kris and she will buy you some.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Storm


Its a beautiful world when I can sit by the fire and watch it snow and still eat a BLT with tomatoes out of my garden. Its a good world on top of the mountain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Lake Powell Reads

Yes, I take cook books on vacation. Along with a huge stack of cooking magazines. I didn't read MTAOFC cover to cover, but I did look at it quite a bit and I am excited to do some French cooking. However, after cooking all week at Powell, only to come home and the next day throw a formal dinner party for 27 people (thanks to Fairb for volunteering me) I need a break from the kitchen, BIG TIME! So sorry Juila, give me a couple weeks and I will be saying, "Bon Appetit!"

As for the second book, its the complete opposite of MTAOFC, its about food storage. People often ask me when am I going to post recipes using food storage (food storage? confused are you? Mormons are encouraged to store food in case of disaster, whether it be financial, natural, etc). I know some pretty hard core food storage chicks, who can whip some serious goods from their food storage. That ain't me people. First, I have to first admit that I haven't been following the Prophet, I don't have food storage! Ok, I admitted it! Shame me! Flog me! Banish me! When the emergency preparedness person in our neighborhood emailed me to ask me if I was level one certified for emergency preparedness, the only response I could muster was to tilt my head to the side, "da' hell?" When I asked Fairb what our emergency plan is, he said, "Follow me, that's the plan" When I asked what to do if he wasn't around (which he never is mind you) he said, "then follow you". So we are not prepared, we are terrible people.

One of the reasons I have never made food storage a priority is a really stupid superficial reason. When I look at hard core food storage people I kind of see them as crazy, gun wielding, doomsdayer right wingers. There are definitely those people out there, but most people are just doing what is right and trying to keep the commandments, which I am not doing. So I have decided to get going, and get my own food storage.

The book I read, "I Dare You to Eat It" was a good inspiration and it got me thinking on what I need. The best thing I got out of the book was, 1) getting food storage is following the Prophet and 2) food storage isn't just to sustain your family, but to sustain your neighbor, it is intended to be shared if ever needed. 3) There is no reason to not work on building your food storage.
The last thing I got out of it which I don't think the author intended is that I definitely won't be cooking out of my food storage, so no wheat berry and canned chicken recipes here, sorry folks. All the recipes she describes in the book were painful. I don't think I could cook any of them. She dares me to eat it, no thanks, I will take truth. The truth is, I will get food storage to follow the Prophet, but I'm not going to use it unless I have to! Let my enjoy my food till disaster strikes (which it probably won't).

So I am going to store, wheat, beans, rice, oats and pasta. Along with yeast, sugar, salt, some kind of fat like butter and spices. I could eat bread, pancakes, oatmeal, rice with beans to live, no problem. I have no intention of using it, and when it expires in 30 years, I will replace it. In a more rotating storage, I will store peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, canned soup, mac and cheese, Mrs. Butterworths, baking powder/soda and cereal. Maybe I will store powdered chocolate milk, and powdered regular milk. Some evaporated milk, and spice packets. I have a feeling that if there came a time when the Saints were called upon to use food storage, it would all be going to the Bishop's store house anyway. Here's my beans, take 'em. I'll cook on the chuck wagon that will be my other contribution.

So if you see me at the cannery, don't laugh! Just saddle up next to me and chat because I don't know what the heck I am doing!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

off to Lake Powell

So we are off to Lake Powell with the whole crew (am I doing the food? What do you think!). So I know you will all miss me. Let me leave you with some of this weeks Everettisms . . .

"Mom when I grow up I am going to be nothing, like you." (ouch).

For a whole day he added "yo" to the end of every sentence.

"Mom make me some honey toast with butter on it, yo!"

"Mom turn on Scooby Doo, yo!"

I don't buy white bread, but he loves it with all his heart. "Mom when I'm a grown up, I am going to buy white bread."

He clearly has a great trajectory for when his is a grown up, he is going to do nothing and buy white bread ( I am assuming with his food stamps?). I am doing an excellent job if I do say so myself.

Peace Out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sucker for those Costco Samples

Costco samples are meant for people like me. I have more kids than food in the cart, and the only thing keeping us alive are the samples that old ladies are giving to my children. You have been told many times, don't go to the store hungry. I ALWAYS go hungry! Therefore, I always take the samples and I always end up buying what they are sampling (except the dino chicken nuggets, that is just gross). So the latest sample I bought was...

I never buy sausage, but it was tasty! Then they sat there, staring me in the face every time I opened the fridge. So I finally had to use them. Along with some garden tomatoes and some garden basil, I turned it into a tasty pasta.

Ingredient list

6 sausage links, sliced
3-4 garden tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-7 minced basil leaves
splash of white wine
splash of balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
1 T butter

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Add sausage to brown (I was using fully cooked sausage). Add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan. Add tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Splash with about 2 T balsamic vinegar. Simmer till tomatoes cook down a little. Add torn basil leaves and butter. Toss with cooked pasta of your choice. Top with fresh parmesan.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to cook Halibut: in my never to be humble opinion.


Halibut is a good intro fish. If you hate fish, don't start with salmon, start with halibut and you will learn to love fish. Make sure its fresh halibut, not frozen. I buy my halibut, where else? Costco. This is how I cook it.
First things first, halibut smells quite fishy, but some how it doesn't taste fishy at all, if you rinse it first. Always rinse fish in cold cold water before cooking it. Then you have to adequately dry it once you have rinsed it, that is very important. You can do this recipe as a whole fillet, or cut it into portions.

Step 1
Once you have completely dried your fish, season it with kosher salt and lemon pepper (or regular pepper) just in one side.

Step 2:
Take a handful of sliced almonds and a short stack of saltine crackers (or any cracker) and a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese and put it in the blender to make a fine crumb. Also beat an egg with about a tablespoon of water for an egg wash.

Step 3:
Dip the fillet in the egg wash.

Step 4
Dip the fillet in the crumb mixture, coating evenly on all sides.

Step 5:
Melt about 2 T of butter in a large skillet that has a lid. Once the butter starts to get bubbles add the fillets.

Step 6:
Turn the heat down to medium, and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Cooking time will really depend on how thick your fish is. Once fish turns opaque and can easily flake with a fork, its done. Its not chicken people, its better to be under cooked than over cooked. Frankly, fish takes practice and cooking times can not be applied. Also keep in mind it will continue to cook as it rests. So don't cremate it, think just a little more cooked than sushi :). Finish the fish with some fresh lemon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mother Knows Best: Baked Pork Chops


When it comes to food and cooking for the family, my mother gave up her authority a long time ago, and I argue, with it went her mind. She taught me almost everything I know. It was literally a pass on, what she gave me she no longer holds, or so I thought.
She likes to lay on the couch and watch me cook, occasionally interjecting her opinion. Often times I have to respond, "Mother dear, what drugs are you on today?" Because she has the worst memory on HOW she taught me to make almost everything.

"Don't forget the cottage cheese!" she will say.

"Mother dear, we have never put cottage cheese is this in the history of our family." I will say.

"You need to cut the meat cross grain!" I will hear her say from across the room.

"I am mother dear!"

So this week was my Dad's 62 birthday day. I invited the whole clan up to my parents house for a little birthday dinner.

When I asked dad what he wanted for dinner, her requested pork chops and mashed potatoes. Now I like pork chops alright, but when ever I eat a pork chop I think to myself, I wish this was steak. However, this is what he wanted and that is what we would have.
So my mother said, coat the pork chops in graham crackers. To which I refuted, because I said coating them in graham crackers is well and good, but would make some nasty graham cracker gravy. So we argued and argued about it in our normal fashion. Me telling her she was crazy and her saying she couldn't wait till I was old and had a a daughter like me. So she said SHE would make the pork chops and gravy. Mom coming back to the kitchen would be like Muhammad Ali coming out of retirement.
So I bought her some nice thick pork chops from Costco, a box of graham crackers and let her do her thing. I still watched over her shoulder. I chastised her just like she does me. I reprimanded her for being heavy handed on the salt (not even kosher mind you), and I demanded she drizzle some oil over the top before she browned them. When she wasn't looking, I turned down the oven. In my mind I was thinking how I could stubtly let the family understand that the pork chops were NOT by my hand, just in case they were a flop. I've got an image to uphold.
I mixed the flour and water together so Mom could make her gravy. After she was done I gave it a taste. It was great! No nasty graham cracker gravy there, it was very tasty indeed! The pork chops were moist and yummy. My Dad even said we should forget about turkey on Thanksgiving and just go with pork chops. Good on ya' mom! You still gots it!
So this is a public apology to my mother dear. Mom you were absolutely right about everything regarding the pork chop dinner. You are the ultimate cook, and you taught me everything I know. So if you want some great pork chops and gravy, here is the recipe.

Bake Pork Chops with gravy

Ingredient list

Thick cut pork chops
package graham crackers mashed into crumbs
sage (or pork chop seasoning)
salt and pepper
bay leaves

Coat the pork chops in the graham cracker and line in a oiled roasting pan. Season with salt pepper and drizzle with some oil. Brown in the oven at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, add a few pinches of sage and some bay leaves, add a little water, cover and return to the oven to bake for 1-2 hours a 325 degrees, until tender and happy.

Once the pork chops are done, remove from the pan onto a serving dish and tent with foil. Prepared a flour and water mix (approx 1 part flour 2 parts water, mixed well). Add a little extra liquid to the pan (preferably the leftover hot water from potatoes) and get it boiling. Add about a 2 teaspoons of chicken base. Once it is boiling, thicken with the flour mix. Give it a taste, make sure its seasoned properly (you could add more salt, pepper, sage) Finish the gravy off with a tablespoon of butter. Serve with mashed potatoes.