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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peaches are on! Let's get canning people!

PhotobucketOnce you have eaten home canned peaches, you can never go back to the tin can tasting store bought peaches. And like I said with the tomatoes, canning things at home are more economical and environmental. Opening a can of peaches in the dead of winter when there isn't a fresh piece of fruit in sight is a blessing. I have been canning peaches like a mad woman. The steps are almost exactly like tomatoes, I couldn't take photos to narrate my step by steps because I was doing it solo and had no one to click will I was using both my hands, so look at the tomato pictures and just imagine. . . .
First you have to decide what kind of peaches you want to can. For years and years I have taken the advice of the silver haired ladies at the farm stand and canned Lemon Elberta. Their advantage is that they are very big and firm. They peel really easy, and they hold up really good in the jar. The disadvantage is they aren't as sweet and peach tasting. This year I tried a some Pink Ladies, and they are sweeter and more peachy indeed, however, they are more susceptible to mushy stringiness. I won't be able to tell you what I prefer until I crack a jar open in the dead of winter with some cottage cheese. If it is your first time canning peaches, I recommend the Lemon Elberta. One box (half bushel) will do between 12-14 quart jars.
Getting started--
First prep your jars, the best way is to put them in the dishwasher, that way they will be clean and hot and ready to go. If your jars are clean and you don't want to wait a whole dish washing cycle, just rinse them with hot water and you will be fine. (the canning nazi's would probably disagree). Meanwhile, get a big pot of water boiling to blanch the peaches. Also get your canning pot boiling.
Get out three big bowls, (or you could use your double sinks, I have a farmers sink so it doesn't work) and fill them with cold water. One pot is to drop the blanched peaches into, the second is to drop the peeled peaches into, and the third is to drop the sliced peaches into. In the second two pots, add a few splashes of bottled lemon juice that way the peaches won't go brown. Boil a little water to soak the canning lids in as well.
Next, prepare the syrup that will go in the jars with the peaches. I do a medium to light syrup. I looked up the instructions for syrup that Ball gives and they were needlessly complicated. A med-light syrup is plenty sweet and if you want anything else, look another place. I do a simple ratio of 2 to 1. Two cups water for one cup of syrup. I did 27 quart jars of peaches today (one bushel), and used roughly 9 cups of sugar (18 c water).

Step 1:
Blanch the peaches in boiling water for about 60 seconds, till skin comes off easily (don't cook too long or you will get mushy peaches). Drop into cold water.

Step 2:
Peel the skin off the peach. The skin should just slip off the peach. I just let the skins build up in the very bowl I drop the peaches into from the hot water. Once they are peeled, drop them into a different bowl of cold water (that has lemon juice in it).

Step 3:
Slice the peaches into the third bowl with cold water. You can do halves, slices or quarters. I do quarters. I like halves, but you can't fit as many into a jar. So quarters is a compromise.

Step 4:
Drop the sliced peaches into the clean warm jars. Give the jar a shake so the peaches can work their way comfortably to their place. You want to fit as much as possible in the jar but below were the jar's lid screws.

Step 5:
Pour the hot syrup into the jar, just to cover the peaches (see the tomatoes to know how full).

Step 6:
Stick a knife or a chop stick into the jar to release any air bubbles.

Step 7:
Wipe the jars rim with a paper towel to make sure its free from anything to prevent it from sealing.

Step 8:
Top the jars with a warm sealing lid, and screw down with a a ring.

Step 9:
Immerse it the boiling water and cover with the lid. Boil for 30 minutes.

Step 10:
Remove the jars from the water and let the jars cool on the counter. They often won't seal till after they have come out of the water. Once they are cooled. Check the seal by pushing on the top. If it still have a flex or a pop, it didn't seal. You can try again, but replace the lid.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The smoothie



Now I have this thing about dinner, you all need to have a fresh fruit and a fresh veg at the table. It doesn't seem balanced if you don't. So we eat a lot of fruit salad at dinner. Not cool whip on fruit cocktail and marshmallows fruit salad, but fresh fruit cut into pieces and usually dressed with some yogurt. So quite often, because I feel like I haven't done my job satisfying everyone unless there are plenty of leftovers, there is fruit left over. So I pop it the fridge and later it is fruit all prepped, ready for a smoothie the next day.
Now, many would add a little protein powder. What is protein powder exactly? Its clearly not food. Muscle milk? That is just plain freaky. Instead of adding engineered, processed products, add a little whole grain oats! It is really tasty and really boasts the value to any shake. Some fruit, yogurt (full fat of course, low fat yogurt is a crime against humanity) about a 1/4 c oatmeal and some ice and it is a delicious smoothie that will make your body happy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tassie Cups


Being the P. Prez (aka primary president, aka in charge of the kids at church) I get to go the baptisms. This last weekend I got to speak at the baptism. Only here will I admit that I spent more time on these tassie cups that I took to the celebration party afterwards, then I did on my talk. Luckily, the gospel is simple so I don't feel guilty. My friend Kris, who's son was being baptized, put out a beautiful lunch buffet. Someone commented, (in a rude kind of way mind you) that it looked like a wedding. I think she should have taken it as a compliment because if you were to count the top five most important days in a persons life, your baptism day is one of them, right next to your wedding day. It should be made special and important, because you are making a special and important covenant. So good on ya' Kris!

The bare bones of this recipe I got from Ms. Paula Dean. Get her recipe here. This is great lemon curd recipe that I use all the time for all sorts of different things. What is great about the tassie cups is you do it in the food processor and it is so easy. I have the little pampered chef wooden dowel to shape the tassie cups.

For one filling I did Paula's lemon curd, topped with whipped cream and a raspberry. The second filling I did was chocolate pudding. Now here is the secret to making chocolate pudding taste yummy and homemade. Instead of making the Jell-O packet with milk, make it with half and half. Second tip, make it right in a ziplock bag so it is ready to be piped into the tassie cups. Once you are ready to fill the cups, snip off the end of the bag and pipe it right into the pastry cups. I topped the chocolate with a sliced strawberry. For the next filling, I did a cream cheese filling as the following;

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese softened
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla

First beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar (start slow or you will have mess) then add the cream and vanilla and beat till smooth. Transfer into a ziplock and put in the fridge and let it set until you pipe it into the cups. I topped this with more whipped cream and a peach. When you are prepping the peaches, let them soak in about a 2 cups of water with about a 1/4 c lemon juice (doesn't need to fresh) and a 1/2 c sugar. That way they won't go brown sitting on top of the cream.
The cups can be made a day in advance but don't put the fruit on until you are close to serving time, otherwise the fruit will bleed and look and taste sad.
Other note; Paula's recipe call for a 3 oz package of cream cheese, am I blind when I am at the store, or is there no such thing? I weighed it out from the enormous Costco style cream cheese she is using, but it got me thinking, is there such thing as a 3 oz pkg?
One dough recipe made me 15 cups.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nearly whole wheat banana muffins


I find that my kids do very good with "nearly whole wheat". Since I have banned prepackage treats, I need to make treats that they like. So instead of going hard core on the whole grains, I am opting for nearly whole grain. I am a glass half fun kind of gal. So if its mostly whole wheat, its healthier!

Nearly Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1/2 c butter
1/2 c apple sauce
1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
6 ripe bananas (or any other ripe fruit, I also used apricots)
1 c milk
2 c whole wheat flour (fresh ground if you are cool)
2 c all purpose flour
1 t salt
2 t baking soda

cream butter and sugar, add eggs, apple sauce, bananas and milk. Combine flours, salt and baking soda. Slowing add to wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Fill any muffin tin size you like. I filled lots of different one. This recipe makes a lot of muffins, so freeze half of them and you will be happy.
Yummiest way to eat them is, slice them in half, put them in the toaster to reheat them and some butter, and put both sides back together. yum! Great to pack in those lunches.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I am the youngest in my family. The proof of this is that there are no baby pictures of me. The same is true for my youngest. I put together a video montage of Porter's first year of life, documenting his first solid food to his first steps, all set to sentimental music. Everett doesn't even have so much as a Kiddie Kandid of himself. Thus, he is the last child. Everett is an incredibly intelligent, hilarious child. Since, I haven't been exactly documenting his life, I thought I might record some of the entertaining things he says on my blog. I know its not exactly appropriate for a food blog, indulge me. He says classic things all the time, and I already have forgotten most of them, every time thinking, "I need to write that down!" So here are some gems from this week;

Earlier this week, Everett informed me that when he grew up he wanted to be an evil scientist, just before that he wanted to be on American Idol and sing, "Born to Be Wild"

In primary the 1st councilor in the bishopric was teaching the children about initiative, and how it means you do something without being asked. Everett turns around and says, "Hey, Alta did that once!" Meaning of course, he could never think of a time HE had ever used initiative.

He primary teacher told me that he ratted me out in class. They were talking about eating healthy foods, and Everett told the class I drink coke, and dr. pepper. To which another kids his mom did too, and Everett insisted that I drink more than his mom (I told you he was smart).

Everett is really into Superman, he wears a superman cape 24/7. We were in the car and he told me that he needed to go to Sequoyah's grave (our dog who died about a year ago whom he misses very much and talks about constantly) when we got home. When I inquired, he said it was because he needed to say this;
"Sequoyah, even with all these powers, I couldn't save you!"
Stay tuned for more Everettisms . . .

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Julie and Juila

Ok so I am officially the last food blogger on earth to see Julie and Juila. I finally went out last night with a group of chatty ladies to see it (love you all). We also tried the restaurant, Terra Mia, which is across from the new movie theatre from Costco.
The movie:
I had high yet low expectations for the movie. High expectations because it got great reviews and so many of you food bloggers out there loved it. I had low expectation because the book was so painfully boring, there is hardly FOOD in the book and Julie Powell is kind of obnoxious and I really wasn't interested in her weird friends and her crappy apartment. Plus, as stated before, she drops way to many F-bombs to be that boring of a read. Also the book has nearly nothing in it about Julia Child, just some letters about her, and of course the concept of cooking from her book.
The movie however was FABULOUS! I laughed the whole time, and Myrle Streep was incredible. It made me want to rush home, get me a first edition of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", cook Beef Bourguignon, and watch the "The French Chef". All the while saving my pennies so I can ship myself off to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu.
The restaurant, Terra Mia was not French, it was Italian, and from the looks of it, very authentic Italian! It was VERY delicious. The great news is, it is not a chain but family restaurant, and everyone was speaking Italian in the back. I can't even tell you what I had, because it was the special, and I couldn't pronounce it, but it was pasta with a red sauce that had a smoky hint of bacon, and I loved it. They also have Neapolitan style pizza and gourmet salads. I didn't try the gelato, but it looked really good. The other great thing is that its not a sit down restaurant, its a go up and order then sit down and they bring you your food. So it is a great place to go before a movie. I recommend indeed.
For now, lets get cooking some French food. Ok, maybe not, French food is so complicated, I once saw a chef demonstrate how to make gravy the French way, its was like 10 days later you have gravy (ok, exaggeration, but it was complicated), just thicken the pan drippings with some water and flour already and be done with it, sheesh! So instead, lets go eat some french food and then watch "The French Chef" reruns. We'll make plans over lunch at Terra Mia.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Loving the Provo Farmer Market

I love when Saturday rolls around because we get to go the farmers market! I love buying straight from the farmers and see all the other cool things they have. This is what a took to the church picnic.
All the ingredients I got from the farmers market. Marinated cucumbers and tomatoes!

Orange heirloom tomatoes, red garden tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers and red onions.

Lemon cucumbers, hadn't heard of them till now, they were cool.

Cut it all up, cover it with 2 parts white vinegar, 1 part water, 1 part extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Makes a yummy summer treat.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Canning Tomatoes: Step by Step

Canning makes you feel like a full on pioneer! I love to can foods because 1-- they taste way better than what you buy in the store, 2--they are minimally processed with no chemicals or preservatives, making them healthier, 3-- Once you own the jars and continue to reuse them, not only is more environmental, but it is also cheaper by about 50 percent than buying cans of tomatoes or peaches or pears . . 4-- They make your pantry look so pretty! So stop by a farm stand on your way home and get some tomatoes so you can have fresh garden tomatoes all year long to use in your recipes!
What you will need to do two boxes of tomatoes, or one bushel:

One cold pack canning pot (the big black speckled ones, they are cheap!)
25 quart jars w/ rings and lids (rings and jars you can reuse, you have to buy new lids every year).
bottle of lemon juice
kosher salt

Make sure your jars are very clean and its best to keep them in the dishwasher staying warm while you prep your tomatoes, that way they won't crack when they go into the hot boiling water. Fill your canning pot with water about 2/3 full (add a little vinegar to water so your bottles won't get water spots)
Also get some water boiling in another big pot so you can blanch your tomatoes. Get some water boiling in a tea pot as well for the lids and to top off the jars.


Go get a route 44 diet coke with vanilla from Sonic, you will be glad you did.


Core all the tomatoes


Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 60 seconds then peel off the skin.


Dice the tomatoes.


Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the bottom of your clean, warm jars (7 jars fit in one canning pot, so do it seven at a time).


Add tomatoes to the jars, fitting as much in as possible. Top the jar off with some boiling water, it should be only about 2 or 3 tablespoons, use a stick or a knife to release any air bubbles in the jar. The jar should be filled like the pictures shown here, to full or not full enough could hamper the seal of the jar.


Wipe the rims of the jars so they clean and ready for the lids.


Place the lids in a bowl of hot water for about 3-5 minutes then place them securely on the jars and add the rings and twist them on tight (you don't have to go crazy, just make sure they are on right).


Put seven jars on the wire canning rack and place them in the boiling water. Make sure the water goes at least an inch over the jars. Bring it back to boil and boil them for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes are up, grab the wire rack with hot pad and remove the jars (they are heavy be strong!) and let them cool on the counter. Add the next 7 jars. Once they are are cooled, check the seals by pushing on the top. If seal still moves, there is a problem, and you will have to redo the steps. However, if you did the steps right, the jar will seal. Always check the seal of a home canned jar before you use them.
Now don't blame me if you get botchulism, because this is how I do my tomatoes. There are probably other "safety" things that other people do. I have never had any problems. The biggest thing is to keep the canning area clean, keep the jars clean and sanitary and keep your hands clean so nothing will go into the jars that could potentially get you sick later. and if the jar isn't sealed, its not eatable!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tips for a Painless Lake Powell Trip Part III

Before I start on my final advice for lake powell, let it be noted there are two ways of eating at Lake Powell, one is eat to survive, and the other is survive to eat. I, of course am a survive to eat kind of gal. Like as stated in my above motto, "its not a vacation without good food." For many, Lake Powell is all about the jet skiing, the cliff jumping, the wake surfing and the water skiing at dusk on glass. Not for me, Lake Powell is about being on a gorgeous lake with friends and family and eating GREAT food. I only go out on the speed boat and wave runners as a token for being there, and to impress my children. So, I am giving advice for having great food, the easiest way possible. Of course, there are way easier ways to roll at Powell; cold cereal, sandwiches and hamburgers. What fun would that be?

My last and most important tip is. . . .
Plan Meals Precisely!
Having a well written menu plan, shopping list, and "to bring list" is a must. First lay out the menu in detail. This was my menu for roughly 30 people for 6 days:

Wednesday: No breakfast, no lunch

Dinner: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Garlic Bread
Green Salad w/ olive garden dressing
dessert: store bought ice cream

Breakfast: Whole wheat crunchy french toast w/ buttermilk syrup
fresh berries and bananas, milk, orange juice.

Lunch: Cold cut sandwiches, artichoke dip with baguette , fruit

Dinner: Salmon, chicken kebabs, assorted roasted vegetables and pineapple,
egg rice, corn on the cob, fruit salad
dessert: fresh baked cookies

Breakfast: Eggs any style, hash browns, bacon and toast, orange juice

Lunch: Mexican beef, homemade refried beans, fresh cooked tortillas, fruit

Dinner: London Broil, angel hair pasta, roasted asparagus, poppy seed salad,
dessert: store bought cakes

Breakfast: Nearly whole wheat granola pancakes w/ apple cider syrup, fresh fruit

Lunch: Cold cut sandwiches, pasta salad

Dinner: Beef stroganoff on rice, green beans, green salad w/ ranch, watermelon
dessert: peach shortcake with fresh cream

Breakfast: Old fashioned oatmeal with fresh whipped cream and berries

Lunch: Beef chili nachos

Dinner: Baby back pork ribs, skillet cheese potatoes, fruit salad, green salad broccoli
dessert: Magalby's chocolate cake

Breakfast: Nearly whole wheat pancakes w/ buttermilk syrup and fresh fruit

Lunch: Hot steak sandwiches

Dinner: Bon Jon on rice w/ balsamic strawberry and goat cheese salad, fresh peaches
dessert: homemade lemon pineapple ice cream

Breakfast: cold cereal, leave boat by 9 am

So that was just the outline folks (many of these dishes I have posted before, some I have not, just let me know what you want to hear about later). Once you have the outline, you have to write the mother of all lists.
So you go through your outline and write down specifically what each component of the meal entails. For instance, crunchy french toast-- you will need bread, corn flakes, eggs, cream, oil for the pan, For the syrup; butter, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, baking soda. Then the fruit, and the beverages.
Once you have done that, you have created a huge list. Then you need to organize that list. Put everything into a category of produce, dairy, middle of the isle, etc. Also, into categories of where to bring from, or buy from; from home, from Costco, or to be bought closer to Lake Powell. Make two copies, so you can check it off once it has been purchased, and then check it off once it has been packed, so you know you didn't miss a thing. Also make a list for your equipment. You also have do add drinks, paper goods, snacks and treats.
The only things I buy from a grocery store in Page, (close to Powell) is bread, deli meats, and dairy because I want the freshest possible, and I want to cut back on the number of coolers I have to bring. Everything else I buy from Costco, and prepare and pack at home.
Label your coolers, so you don't have to constantly open them to find what you need once you get there.
Ok, my brain hurts. The good news is, once you have made the list, you can use it year after year.
Remember, good food equals good vacation. This last trip it was adults only (I was cooking for my Dad's company vacation and I was getting paid to do it, holy sweetness) and it was WAY less work then being at home with my kids! Cooking three meals a day and cleaning up afterwards, that's it? No shoe tying, no bum wiping, no reading "Magic Tree House" no yelling, no teeth pulling. Just cooking. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! I read, I napped, I swam, I laid in the sun, I went on the boat. When I came home I was so happy to see my kids, and they were happy to see me. It was great. So I guess what I am saying is, I am for hire! At an outrageous fee of course.