Saturday, January 31, 2009

my kids are hard core

So this is where my 7 year old and my 5 year old slept last night.

The cat kept watch through the night.

They were starry eyed when they got up in morning. So we are letting them sleep there again tonight. Their cousins came to visit the igloo. They begged their parents to let them live in the mountains the whole drive home to the valley.

a cake from scratch . . .CURSE YOU!

Looking through a cooking magazine I came across a beautiful lemon three layer cake.  I love, love to frost cake, the satisfaction of the motion, I could do it all day! I have never made a cake from scratch. I am a "modified betty crockers moves" kind of cake maker.  However, this lemon cake was calling my name. So I went a bought some cake flour and was so excited to succeed at this cake, because I'm perfect right?  As you know, I not that good at measuring and following recipes, and you also know that cakes are a science and require strict following of recipes. So I pulled my three round cakes out of the oven, two of them were a little sunk in the middle.  It wasn't too bad, I thought I could still save it. So I go to shake the cakes out of their pan to cool and for the life of me, I could not get them out! Pam wasn't enough! I am assuming when they say grease and flour the pan they mean it! Betty Crocker doesn't really mean it!  So alas, the cake only could come out in pieces. So I made some lemon curd, whipped some cream and turned the cake into a triffle. To which my mother said was the best dessert she had ever had.
The cake tasted really good, but to be honest, with all the grief gave me it tasted pretty much like a modified betty crocker cake. Think about it, what is a box cake? Pre-measured cake flour, sugar, salt and leavening. So I think I am sticking with betty crocker, this is my modified betty crocker cake here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

the super secret family sugar cookie recipe!

So my sweet friend Lori made me and my children some adorable sugar cookies. While I was eating mine, she told me how she came across the recipe. While she was in college her room mate made some wonderful soft, moist sugar cookies. When Lori asked for the recipe, the roommate refused, claiming it was a super secret family recipe. Although annoyed, Lori respected the roommates wished and left it alone. No sooner later that another roommate offered the holder or the super secret family sugar cookie recipe 50 dollars for a copy of the recipe. The greedy roommate agreed, and accepted the money in exchange for the recipe. Lori disgusted by the roommates acceptance of the money, realized the that the recipe wasn't so super secret after all, and decided to sneak into her room and steal the recipe for herself. I guess you could say it was kind of like civil disobedience.
So thank you to Lori and her bravery for sharing this recipe, because they are good!

1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
Cream together, add
Add 3 eggs
Cream together

2 t cream of tarter
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
3 1/2 cup flour

add to creamed mixture. Then slowly add 2 more cups flour.  Chill till ready to cut cookies.  Roll out and cut in you favorite shapes,  ( I would assume about 1/3 inch thick) and bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

1/2 c butter softened
3 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 T milk
3 oz soft cream cheese

whip all together till combined and frost on your sugar cookies!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

lemon ginger salad dressing

Have you noticed salads are all the rage? Well, I can be cool too. Here's a little ditty. This is a nan original.

Lemon Ginger Dressing:

1/3 c fresh squeezed lemon
1/4 c rice vinegar
1/3 c sugar or honey
1 T lemon zest
1 T fresh grated ginger
3 T soy sauce
2 T chopped red onion
3/4 c vegetable oil

Now, I didn't measure out the grated ginger or the red onion. These measurements are just guesses. I cut off a little nub of ginger (peeled) and cut off a little bigger nub of onion (peeled). I put them in the blender along with the sugar, lemon zest (to which I did not measure, I just zested one lemon), vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice. I blended that until the ginger and onion are blended in. While the blend is still going, I slowly added the oil. The dressing is sweet, I like sweet. If you are not a sweet fan, I would decrease the sugar to 1/4 c.

Now this dressing goes good with a salad that has some sort of fruit. In the salad I made, I did romaine lettuce, mangoes, macadamia nuts, avocado, red bell pepper and won ton strips (you can buy won ton strips in the grocery store, usually on the display in the produce section where they have croutons, tortilla strips and almond slivers. I however fried these ones because they were out at the store). 
Now if you added some chicken or some salmon to this, it would make a meal!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

creamy tomato sauce for pasta

So this is a base sauce that I use for a lot of different pasta dishes.  Tonight I served it over spinach and cheese ravioli that I bought from costco (the fresh ones, not the frozen).  It is my dream to start making homemade pasta. If I ever had a whole day all alone, I would go to williams and sonoma, buy a pasta roller (and some other stuff, you can't walk out of there with just one thing!) and I would learn to make fresh pasta! Now I just need to figure out how to get a whole day all alone . . . .  I digress.
As I was saying, this is a one of my base sauces, often times I will add things like artichokes and mushrooms, or zucchini or any other vegetable. 

Ingredient list:
1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1 fined diced onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 t to 1 t red pepper flakes (depends on how much spice you want)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c cream
2 T extra virgin oil

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions and garlic, give them a little salt and pepper. Saute until they are translucent and fragrant.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and a little more salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now here is where you taste it, you should taste the spice, if you don't you need to add more red pepper flake,  when you add the cream it is going to mellow out the spice. You are also tasting to make sure it has enough salt and pepper. If it doesn't taste good, and all you 're getting is the after kick of the red pepper, it means you need salt! Once it is seasoned good, add the cream and stir.  Let it stay on low heat until the cream is well incorporated, and it warms up,  you don't want it to boil. Now what I didn't do tonight, was pull out the flat leaf parsley that was just sitting in my fridge, begging to make this dish look beautiful. So do what I couldn't manage to do. Sprinkle your dish with some fresh chopped parsley.
Use with your favorite pasta! 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Japanese food . . . mmmmmm

When I was 14 years old, I spend one semester abroad in Japan. It was a clever idea my dad had when he noticed that I was getting very cozy with a boyfriend. Instead of banishing him from my life, he asked if I wanted to take a semester abroad, which I cheerfully accepted, not knowing his scheme. It was a great experience and of course the boyfriend thing was over when I came home. I loved Japan, and I loved the food. So much so that I gained 35 pounds in the 3 months I was there! Because their scales are in kgs. I had no idea how much weight I had actually gained. When I got off the plane, all my friends and family were there. They literally all burst out laughing when they saw me! So here are my before and afters . . . .

This is how I looked when I arrived in Japan . . .(notice how I am eating)

This is how I looked when I was saying my goodbyes . . .

Anyhow, you can see why they laughed, and you can see how much I love Japanese food! Tonight we went to my little family's favorite Japanese restaurant in Provo, UT. It have quite authentic Japanese cuisine. It is called Demae, and it is on center street and 100 s. When Porter and Alta were both still in Pampers, we would go there once a week. We would order the just a bowl of cut up tofu with teriyaki sauce and they would eat 2 or three bowls full each. After going in so often and order this off- menu delight, the owner of the restaurant finally put it on the menu! So we are proud to have influenced the menu. It's no, "Happy Sumo" When it comes to sushi, but it holds its own. Its very authentic Japanese food, and we love it there! Be warned they often only have one waiter, so it makes it pretty darn slow. Also be warned, if you go there you might run into us, and my kids have not quite got down the "restaurant voice" (let alone the "church voice") we are still working on it!

My kids all enjoying some miso soup . . .
What I ordered . . .

Recognize it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

my video in progress

As I fiddle with my video on my computer at close to midnight, I thought I would post a little clip of it.  Here's the girls showing their stuff.


I have been at my computer non stop editing a ski video from our trip to telluride,  but nothing takes precedence over food! These empanadas I paired with a yummy tortilla soup. The best thing about this meal is it make the best lunch for like three days!

I always use left over roast beef from Sunday dinner for the empanada filling (you  got to get on the multiple roast thing, it comes in so handy during the week!) I saute a diced onion and a garlic clove minced, judge how much onion you use by how much meat you have left over (or how much you like onions!) Once the onions are cooked down I add the meat, with gravy and my favorite jar of salsa (my favorite is a very spicy jar that I can every harvest season, want to can salsa, start thinking salsa garden!)  That is the filling, easy peasy and it will taste good if you cooked your roast good and made your gravy good.

Now for the crust.
I do this all in a food processor.
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 cold butter  cubed
1/4 shortening cubed
1 egg beaten
1/4 c -ish water

Now if you don't have food processor, if you have 2 hands with fingers, you are still good. You just do it all with your little paws. If you are using a food processor,  measure the flour and salt and give the processor a couple pulses. Add the fats and pulse the processor till the fat is cut into the flour. Next add the egg and water, and turn on the processor and everything should turn into a ball, if it doesn't, you need more water.  If you try it and say "Nan is full of crap! what ball!" it means you plain needed more water at the beginning and its not going to turn into a ball so you are going to have to finish with your hands. I usually use closer to a 1/3 c of water.
Now its time to shape:
Grab a golf ball size of dough and roll it into a ball, smash it flat with the palm of your hand and roll it out just like a mini pie crust. It doesn't need to be perfectly round:

Now it is time to add the filling

Now it is time to make it pretty, just use your finger to tuck in the edges, use a pizza cutter to make it a perfect half circle if you are really anal, and pinch to make it "martha-sque":
Put them on a greased cookie sheet, and brush them all with an egg wash (don't know what an egg wash is you say?  crack and egg, beat it well, get a pastry brush and "paint" the pastry with it). Bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until golden brown.As for the tortilla soup, everything has its season, and you will have to wait for the recipe! This blog needs a long life! When warming up the empanadas for lunch the next day, don't you dare use the microwave! (it would break my heart!)  Just put them in the oven, turn it on to 350, and leave them in there for 5-10 minutes. If you have one of those little nifty toaster ovens, then you are money! To be noted, I usually double the dough, or one and a half it. The original recipe said it made 14,  well its 14 if you are making little baby ones. This recipe I say makes more like 9 or 10.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The rookie cookie's cookies

So in addition to loving to blog about food, I have recently loved reading other peoples blogs about food. One blog that has particularly impressed me is the rookie cookie. Anyhow, today I tried one of her cookie recipes, however I changed it according to how I like to make cookies. I want cookies chewy! They have to taste good not just out of the oven, but also the next day. Not to say her recipe isn't good the next day, I just didn't want to take the risk. I also doubled the salt, salt is my secret lover and I can not deny it. I know one of these days I am going to try a recipe exactly the way it was written, must . . . follow . . . .instructions. . . . resist . . . . extra ingredients . . . . . What was the most significant was she told me that kraft has come out with "Caramel Bits", so no more unwrapping caramels! Genius! priceless! So this is her recipe that inspired me. These are the changes I made:


2 c bread flour
2/3 c unsweetened dutched cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 T milk
2 t vanilla extract
1 c butter melted
half a bag Caramel bits (or you can chop up caramel, but go to wal-mart, buy the bits!)

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl combine, sugar and butter and blend till smooth. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, combine till smooth. Slowly combine flour mixture till combined, add caramel bits. Drop onto two cookies sheets and chill in the freezer till your oven heats to 375 degrees. Cook for 10-11 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet. Enjoy.

They were indeed a hit! Thanks Rookie Cookie!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Can!

Despite the smog in our valley, I am breathing easier today because of the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama! Even if you didn't vote for the guy, you have to admit today felt right! I heard Barack Obama make a speech at the 2004 DNC and I said to my husband, if this guy doesn't become President one day than this country is is done for! I didn't know it was going to be this soon, but it couldn't be at any better of a time. I hope we can all follow President Obama in restoring this country to its greatness! Yes We Can!

Soy Glazed Salmon

I hope all you in the cooking work like to invent food, nothing is more fun! I am good at inventing, but not so good at naming, and not so good at remembering what I did.  I guess I won't be writing a cook book any time soon. Tonight we had an Asian inspired salmon fillet, with fried rice. So here is what I did for the salmon. I used a fresh sockeye salmon fillet with the skin on, but any salmon would work I assume.  While the saute pan heated up, I rinsed the fish in cold water and patted it dry. Then I sprinkled it with kosher salt, then liberally sprinkled it with brown sugar.  Now normally I would put the fish skin side up, but with the sugar in play putting it skin side up would burn the sugar. So I put it skin side down.  Meanwhile, I combined about 1/4 c soy sauce and 2 T of rice vinegar, and 2 T rice wine.  Just as the fish started to go opaque  I flipped it over for about a minute to give the fleshy side a little sear, then I flipped it back over and poured the sauce over it.  By now, it should be about time to turn off the fish and let it rest with the lid on, you will have to be the judge on that one. Then I finished it off with a little lemon and sesame seeds. I served it over some fried rice (which you will have to tune in for the recipe later). All and all a tasty dish and a good way to cook salmon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Los Hermanos . . . .my belly hurts

The kids didn't have school today so we decided to take a late lunch then take the kids to a movie.  There is just something about greasy Mexican restaurants. They lure you in with chips and salsa leave you rolling on the ground in the fetal position . . . moaning. Why is it that a place can make you feel so sick, but some how it still sounds good enough to come back for more? It is an enigma.  After today however, I'm not sure I will ever go back.
I am the one who completely fills up on drinks and chips and salsa.  It is my usual MO to take two bites of my main course, and push it away. My daughter had been complaining about a stomach ache for part of the day. At the restaurant however, she happily ate her cheese enchilada.  So we started to drive over to the movie theatre and Alta said she felt like she was going to throw up. I rushed fairb to roll down the window, and demanded that if she barf she do so out the window. So she put her head out the window and proceeded to hurl. Although her head was out the window, she neglected to move her hand from over her mouth, to which the barf bounced off her hand and went all over her face and hair, her clothes, inside of the car door and seat. It was awful, but it was also hilarious. I really should have taken a picture. With no napkins to speak of,  my sweet daughter remained in her state, refusing to even wipe the puke off her face for 30 minutes till we could get home. Fairb and I argued the whole way home who was going to clean it up. He lost. I helped Alta into the shower and got her clothes into the washer.  She felt great after that.

So food wasn't the first thing on the brain for a while. However, after the kids were in bed, my body informed me that I had in fact not eaten dinner, and that a peanut butter sandwich wasn't going to cut it. I was craving pasta!

I know I said that I don't like ground beef mixed in things. Normally with spaghetti I am a meatball girl.  However, I did grow up on the meat sauce, and the sauce needs meat. So I used a frozen hamburger patty, and it worked just perfect. It was the perfect amount of ground beef, and it was easy. So since I made pasta tonight, I thought I would give a couple pasta tips:

1. if cooking spaghetti, use thin spaghetti.
2. liberally, and I mean liberally salt the water.
3. use the biggest pot you have and fill it with plenty water.
4. be patient, don't add the noodles till the water is boiling.
5. if your pot isn't as big as you would like, stir it often.
6. Please, please don't over cook it, the only way to do it right it to bite into the noodles, none of this throwing it on the ceiling stuff. It's not a timer thing, its a check it often thing.
7. Martha doesn't rinse, I rinse. So if you secretly want to rinse you pasta but don't because Martha told you not to,  she's not God, I rinse and so can you. So crave yourself some pasta!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I survived today!

So today I had the pleasure of speaking in church today,. There was one youth speaker and one missionary farewell talk. When the missionary was done, I was left with 25 minutes! My husband admitted he was nervous for me. However I did indeed pull it off without swearing into the microphone, so a job well done (I did however use the term "gets the shaft" in ward counsel today and am asking myself, is that a crude term? anyone know? There was a bit of reaction and I don't know if its because I was being brutally honest or I was being crude, oh well) So I feel total relief! 
My mother made us dinner today, that hasn't happened in a long long time. It pretty much was the food I cook for her every week, so it was great! Thanks mom! Now that the talk is over I can get back to the kitchen!
Last night I went to my friends Sarah's new home, she moved back to Utah from San Antonio. She asked everyone to bring something, and I brought Dominoes pizza ( something store bought, a cardinal sin, I know! It was the talk! All the pressure! I am so ashamed). Sarah  however impressed me with this.

It was a pita pizza with an artichoke spread, bell peppers, feta cheese and chicken. So this is her recipe, and I hope to post many more of her recipes in the future. I am going to call it Pita Pizza with Peppers and Artichoke Tapenade because I didn't write down what she called it, but I'm sure the name wasn't as fancy, and it needs a fancy name.

Ingredient List

1 small red pepper thinly sliced
1 orange pepper thinly sliced
feta cheese
cooked diced chicken
pita bread
dried thyme
artichoke tapenade (recipe follows)

In a food processor combine,  2 cloves garlic minced, 1/4 c mayonnaise, 1 t olive oil, 3/4 can artichoke hearts, 1/4t crushed red pepper, 1/8 t pepper, ( no salt called in the recipe Sarah? what's the dealio?) Combine till it becomes a paste.

Putting together the pizza's 
Spread the pitas with the tapenade (sarah what kind of pita did you use?)
top with the peppers
                      feta cheese
sprinkle with a tiny bit dried thyme.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 7-10 minutes (ok that is a total guess, not so good at writing down recipes, sarah?)          

note: so I just did spell check and it claims that tapenade is not a word! I can say it is indeed a word because I watch me some serious food network, I know.           

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I am back!

I have returned for the greatest trip ever to Telluride., CO. I cooked for 12 adults and 20 children all week. At least I didn't have to clean up after that many, I left that to everyone else! I come from a family full of high anxiety, zanax chewing people.  The only anxiety I ever get is going on a family vacation where the food is not going to be adequate. That is why I put myself in charge so I know it will be done right!   We skied hard for 3 days, and I am pooped, my children however are crying as I that we are not taking them to sundance today.  So today I have to write a church talk ( I am speaking for the second time in 7 months) and I haven't dealt with this yet . . . . 

So wish me luck! I promise recipes soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In telluride, ride on!

So we are on a big family vacation in Telluride, Colorado. Which means all week I am cooking for 12 adults and 20 children. I only packed my kids one change of clothes, but packed 8 varieties of fruit. That is the important stuff! Luckily, I pre cooked almost everything so I could spend my time on the slopes! Tonight I cooked a beef tenderloin roast, and it came out perfect! Some baked potatoes, corn, broccoli, salad and fresh cherries and it was better than any restaurant in this town! So forgive me for thin blogging this week, I am on vacation! (but not from cooking, am I ever?)

Friday, January 9, 2009

When I knew I didn't need no stinking recipe

So today I made four 15 pound lasagnas. Two to feed thirty people at a dinner party I threw for all the primary, a cub scout workers in the ward, and two to feed 30 people at our ski trip in Telluride. That is the beauty of the lasagna it can feed some people!
My mother made lasagna growing up and it was always good. When I met my sweet fairb, as you know, he was a vegetarian. While we were dating I decided to experiment upon my mothers lasagna recipe ( a recipe I think she got out of a newspaper or something) and replace the ground beef with some vegetables. I started with onions, mushrooms and eggplant. Low and behold, the lasagna turned out great, and it was even better than the original! This was the beginning of the end of recipes for me. I love love love reading recipes, but I almost never follow a recipe to the letter, I always make a change. I go with my gut! and so should you! So when you read this recipe and you think "cottage cheese? that does not sound right!" Go with ricotta. "She didn't weep the eggplant?" Weep it if that is you instinct. "I wonder if I could use fresh basil?" by golly start chopping those basil leaves. That is the fun part of cooking, making every dish your own!
Now today I made a lot of lasagna, but this recipe is for 1 lasagna that would fit into a regular deep casserole dish. With cottage cheese and tons of veggies, I consider this a healthy lasagna.

Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredient list
1/2 c diced eggplant (peeled)
1/2 c diced onion
1/2 c diced artichokes (out of can)
1/2 c mushrooms
1/2 fine diced carrots
1 c chopped fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 t salt
1 T dried basil
1 T sugar
olive oil
1 big can (I think its the 28 oz?) diced tomatoes
1 small can (14 oz?) diced tomatoes
2 small cans or 1 big can tomato paste
extra water if needed

Saute the veggies in olive oil starting with the carrots (cut the carrots first and begin cooking them while you keep dicing) go to onions next, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, artichokes, garlic.
Continue sauteing until veggies are cooked down. Add tomato products, and spices. Stir well and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile . . . . Boil a box of lasagna noodles (al dente) in lots of salted water ( don't forget the salt, you will regret it.)
Meanwhile . . . Combine . . 2 eggs
1 c Parmesan cheese
1 tub cottage cheese ( sorry guys I don't know my sizes, not the small one, not the regular one, the next size up but not the huge one)
2 T dried parsley
2 t salt
1 t ground pepper
Now your sauce should be well simmered turn it off let cool noodles are al dente and rinsed just waiting in the sink, and your cheese filling is all combined. Time to assemble. Oh by the way you need a huge bag grated mozzarella cheese. So it goes, noodles, cottage cheese filling, sauce, mozzarella. Do it three times.

Cottage cheese filling layer

sauce layer
Bake in the oven for about 45 minute at 350 degrees, best to let it sit for about 10 minutes to let it set so it is prettier to serve!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This snow man has a good view!

This is my snowman my children lovingly built, he is a very lucky snowman.

Until I told the children to get into the picture . . . .

pulled pork

Yesterday I slow roasted a giant pork shoulder that I got from costco. My reasoning was I would take it on our ski vacation for good quick sandwiches. One of the first places I go on the Internet for recipes is the food network ( I am a food network junkie) so this is recipe I followed. I marinated it in the dry rub over night, and I also added pepper to the dry rub and extra brown sugar.  I roasted it according to the instructions, but I covered it with tinfoil for about half of the time. I roasted it for about 7 hours, till it read 170 degrees, it wasn't "falling apart" per say,  so it could have used some more time in the oven, but alas it was dinner time so it had to be done enough. I shredded it with two forks. I also made the sauce he suggested, and while making it I though "oohh this is gonna be good!" The little bit on the end of my finger tasted really good. I didn't pour it on the shredded pork because I knew the kids would hate it. When I put it on my sandwich, it was way too much of the same flavor. It sort of makes me shutter to think about it. So I wouldn't recommend the sauce, sorry tyler florence. Luckily, I also had some "sweet baby ray's" BBQ sauce on hand, and it was perfect for the pork.  In conclusion, I liked to pork, a lot.  I made me really want to get a smoker this summer. By golly, I am going to get a smoker this summer, how fun would that be?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

pulled pork and mayo-less colslaw

Good day today. Went skiing with a good friend, and made two new things I have never done before and they turned out great! Today will share the coleslaw because it was simple, and I am tired! I hate mayonnaise very much, but I love cabbage very much. So I made a mayo-less coleslaw to go with my pulled pork. I shredding plain cabbage, red cabbage and added julienne carrots and thin sliced some red pepper. I soaked them all in cold water for like 30 minutes and then thoroughly spun off the water and dried it with paper towels. Then I mixed together 1 part oil, 1 part apple cider vinegar, and 1 part sugar. I heated it on the stove till the sugar was dissolved, then I poured it on the cabbage like I would to a salad and tossed it, I also salted it. It was good. Hate mayo? love coleslaw?  here ya go folks. Tomorrow I will talk pulled pork.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

bread pudding saves the day

So fairb is out of town this week, which as you know means "pork and poultry week" I also like to experiment with food when he is away, for he is kind of a picky eater. So today I decided to have a hand at fried chicken. I have tried fried chicken before, and I remembered it tasted good, but was too browned. Well the exact same thing happened again today, tasted good, but too browned. So my question is, how the heck do you cook fried chicken without getting it to brown while still being done in the middle? I was religiously maintaining the oils temp with a digital thermometer, and I took the chicken out the instant the middle of the chicken pieces reached 180 degrees, but it was still too brown. I guess KFC uses a pressure fryer. My mom used to boil the chicken first, but that doesn't sound right. I followed Alton Brown's recipe after watching his show on fried chicken. Anyway, I don't like it when things turn out bad. My mother made a good point though, why fry chicken when you can bake it so good? Its not greasy and it has the same feel as fried chicken. So I don't know if I will fry chicken again, I'll just buy some if I am feeling like fried chicken. Unless someone can show me the light, can you?
Luckily, I was also trying bread pudding because I wanted to serve it at a dinner party that I am having for the primary workers this weekend.  It turned out muy deliciouso! I always held the belief that bread pudding was disgusting because it was soggy bread, it had raisins in it, and my mother loved it (my mother likes everything gross) Well one day I tried some my mother had made and loved it.  So hear is what I did:

Ingredient list:
loaf of White bread denser the better
4 c whole milk
4 eggs
2 t vanilla

1 stick butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 c sugar
dash of ground nutmeg and clove
2-3 T rum (optional for you, but not for me!)
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda

First mix together milk, eggs and vanilla, lightly beat. Butter all the bread just like you would if you were making toast. Lay the first layer of butter bread, butter side down in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (like you were making cinnamon toast) You don't have to mix the cinnamon with the sugar, just go heavy on the sugar and light on the cinnamon.  Sprinkle with crumbled pecans. Pour a cup of  the milk egg mixture.  Do the same thing 4 more layers thick. Bake in the oven till it is set, when you put a knife in you get no runnies. 350 for about 45 minutes. Cover for half way, uncover for halfway.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.  Combine butter, buttermilk and sugar. Once that has begun to boil add vanilla, spices and rum.  Continue to boil briefly then add baking soda. When  bread pudding in finished, poke holes in it with a knife and pour the sauce over it. Serve bread pudding with fresh sweetened whip cream.

 Note: you can also serve up the bread pudding, then pour the rum sauce over it, then top with cream, it kind of looks pretty that way.

a conversation with a sick kid

After this conversation, I painfully forced motrin down his throat. Thirty minutes after that, he popped out of bed, 
" I want a twinkie!" 

God Bless motrin.

Monday, January 5, 2009

its chili outside

I am addicted to chili. Every time it snows I feel like chili. Next week the whole crew is going on a ski vacation to Telluride,  CO, so this week I am prepping some of the food. There is nothing better to eat after skiing hard than chili! So I made a ginormous pot of chili that I will freeze to take on the trip. The great thing about chili is that it is extremely good for you. The fiber, the vitamins from the beans and veggies, the tomatoes, its like a super meal! 
So I am not a huge fan of ground beef mixed into things, so I make my chili with left over roast beef from Sunday dinner. So here is your ingredient list:

Leftover roast beef with gravy of any amount
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 small can diced tomatoes
1  smaller can tomato sauce
1 pkg chili seasoning (I use mckormick)
1 fine diced red pepper
1 fine diced green pepper
handful fine diced carrots
1 onion diced
1 garlic clove minced
1 c frozen corn

First thing,  I know martha stewart would never use canned beans, nor would she use a chili seasoning package, that is so Sandra Lee. Listen, canned beans are fine, and the seasoning packets are just the spices already measured for you. You can either hand measure out your McKormick cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt, or you can buy the McKormick chili seasoning packet ( you buy them usually by the spaghetti sauce with all the other spice packets for things like pasta and gravy) . So once you have diced your vegetables with this,  heat a little oil in you big heavy pot and saute the veggies till they begin to cook down.  In the meantime,  
ready to put in the rest of the stuff in 
before you add all the cans, add your garlic and let it cook a little. Add all the canned stuff, the corn and the meat and gravy.  Heat it all up till really hot and then turn it to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes or more.   
Alta having her second bowl
Serve with cheese and sour cream. Serve on top of a baked potato with some good crusty bread, or serve with tons of freetos corn chips!

chili on top a baked potato

Saturday, January 3, 2009

primary activity

Oh relief. A successful primary quarterly activity behind me. We are eating boxed mac and cheese after that (ok, that's a lie, I won't eat boxed mac and cheese the kids are eating it and I am eating a piece of homemade lasagna I had stashed in the freezer).The activity was really good (if I don't say so myself). This year's  theme is "My Eternal Family" so the activity was a kick-off the the new theme.  We had the kids come in the PJ's (a tradition started last year) and the concept of the activity was for the children to prepare a family home evening packet for their families. So we taught them how to teach a lesson, helped them prepare a game, taught them to lead a song, and helped them prepare a cookie mix for the FHE treat.  We split the tasks between my incredible presidency, and they all did some awesome stuff. Which part do you think I was in charge of? The treat of course.
I got some clear plastic bags to have the children put the ingredients into, then tied them off with a twisty and and attached the instructions on how to prepare the cookies, and on the opposite side printed "recipe for a heavenly home" that I got off the church's website . I cut the recipe out with my cricut in the shape of a house (got a new cricut for Christmas from my mom and I am getting a little obsessive, you should see my sharing time on the Plan of Salvation tomorrow, went a tad bit over board with the cricut,  the machine isn't the only thing I got from my mother..... OCD). A Cookie made like this isn't the best tasting cookie (this is) but it served its purpose, and the kids were thrilled with the concept.  Every kid got to measure their own ingredients, so sorry parents if you cookies are horrible, it was kind of crazy having a bunch of kids around the table talking to you at the same time!

To make about 15 cookies this is what I  had them measure:

1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c chocolate chips

When they go home they were instructed to blend together 1/2 c butter or margarine (1 stick), 1 egg, and 1 t vanilla. Then add cookie mix and combine. Drop teaspoon size balls on a cookie sheet, for best results chill for 10 minutes before baking. Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Partied Out!

It has been a great holiday. Non stop fun, constant playing. I have had a nice big dose of family and I am full, no dessert thank you! Last night we rang in the new year with the banging of pots, grandpa's fireworks show and cold duck. When we said it was time for the toast and we all just drank sparkling apple juice, my daughter Alta said, "I wanted toast!"  We skied all day yesterday.

Kayler, Porter, and Alta about to drop into Bishop's Bowl and Sundance Ski Resort, skiing the black diamonds!

On the way home we stopped costco for some party supplies (aka food). I made a beef stir fry  and I made this . . .

Don't know what this is? It is seared tuna. Give it to someone and they will love it, then tell them it is semi-raw fish and they will just die! (trust me, I did it to a few kids) If you love seared tuna, then you will love this!

Step one: buy fresh fresh ahi tuna (costco).
Step two: rinse it with cold cold water.
Step three: slice against the grain with a sharp sharp knife.
Step four: let it get to room temp before you cook it, say it twice.
Step five: mix 1/3 c soy sauce, 1/4 c rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of chili paste and 2 T oil together.
Step six: get your cast iron or non-stick pan smoking smoking hot.
Step seven: drop a little oil in your smoking smoking hot pan.
Step eight: drop your sliced tuna into you marinade (step 5).
Step nine: drop your tuna into your smoking smoking hot pan.
Step ten: before you can even say, wow that pan is hot! slide your tuna off onto a plate and serve.  You literally want them on there for 30 seconds or less. You want it barely seared, mostly raw. Notice I repeated myself sometimes? That is because those things are so so important.  
Don't like raw tuna? Go to Happy Sumo order their Tuna Tataki, eat it, love it. Then try my quite different recipe, eat it, love it.
I know I never got around to blogging about Christmas, but I will leave you with a picture of a boy who really believes in Santa. He sat on his lap and talked his ear off, then he interrupted Santa mid sentence, "Santa I have a song for you!" Followed by a rousing rendition of, "Santa Clause Is Coming to Town."