Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tips for a Painless Lake Powell: Part II: Equipment

If you are cooking for a lot of people in a small area like on a house boat, the right equipment is an absolute necessity.

first tip . . .
Ok, so maybe that's not the best way of putting it. What I mean by that is bring as much "disposable" things as possible. I almost never use disposable at home, but for Powell, I make an exception. I will say however, I always like to use real silverware because I really HATE eating with plastic cutlery (plastic cutlery is not worthy of my food). The most useful disposable item is the tin casserole dishes to serve the food in.


At a regular grocery store they are kind of spendy, so always buy them at the dollar store. Its pretty much the only thing that takes me to a dollar store, which infuriates my children because they love it there. Paper plates, bowls, cups and napkins are an obvious must. Make sure to pack a couple black sharpies so people can write their names on their cups (something I forgot to do and we went through way too many cups). Paper towels, and clorox wipes are a must for clean up.
When you get home, walk to the grocery store with your reusable sacks to repent of your environmental sins.

second tip:
Big Bowls, Big Pots, Big Grill
If the kitchen you are cooking in is small, chances are the equipment is small too, so bring your own. Also, if you are a knife snob like me, bring one of your own knives. Now the pots and bowls I brought are HUGE, I got them at orson gygi. What I love the most is the stove top grill. Its a beauty . . .
Thinking ahead to what equipment you will need for each meal makes a big difference on the trip.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tips for a Painless Lake Powell Trip Part I


These tips would work for any trip where you are going to feed a lot of people, but have a kitchen that is small and painful, like a kitchen on a house boat. I fed about 30 people for 6 days all by my lonesome self. So the first must do tip is . . . . .


The following things I precooked and froze:
Bon-Jon (I just discovered I have never posted this recipe! wow! top 20 for sure, stay tuned . . )
Beef Stroganoff (I haven't posted this recipe yet, stay tuned)
re-fried beans (stay tuned)
beef chili (which I used for nachos)

The following things I pre-prepped and froze:

Thin sliced steak for steak sandwiches (still need to post that recipe too)
cut and marinaded chicken for chicken kababs
shortcakes for peach shortcake

The following I prepped to stay cool;
chocolate chip cookie dough that I rolled into log and rolled in parchment so I could cut them into cookie pieces
pancake mix (killer "mostly whole wheat recipe" stay tuned . . . )
apple cider syrup ingredients (stay tuned . . .)

The more you get done at home, the happier you will be. This brings me to a kitchen tool of the week (which I haven't done for months)

A food saver. Yes, they seem like one of those lame, pointless, take up space on your counter appliances, but I use it ALL the time! Once you put food in a food saver bag, vacuum it and seal it, it is bomb proof. Lay it flat in your freezer, and soon enough you have nice stackable frozen foods that won't leak once they thaw out.
If you have lots of frozen foods, nicely stacked in a cooler, you can put a small brick of dry ice just to ease your mind, but really it will stay frozen for up to 7 hours in a cooler till you get to your destination to get it into a freezer.
Sure my kids go no attention while I was home fervently prepping all this food the week before powell. However, my book got loads off attention while I was on the lake because I didn't have much to prep!

note: I read the book "Julie and Julia", way too boring for dropping that many F-bombs, I however, still want to see the movie, despite the book being Lame, (that's right, with a capital L). It did however make me want to make my own mayonnaise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

fresh back from powell, so much to do

Feels good to be sitting in front of my computer in the morning, reading the news, blogs, facebook, all that good stuff. Never mind that I haven't unpacked, I haven't even showered. I have been cooking for 6 days straight on a boat, I need a break!
However, canning season is upon us, salsa to be brewed, tomatoes to be jarred, gardens to be harvested!
My children are returning to school, outfits to be bought, lectures to be given, anticipation to be drummed up in their hearts!
What about all the blogging I must do from Lake Powell, I may just be the BEST Lake Powell cook on earth, I can't deprive the people?
Not to mention Fairb and I had the lamest birthdays EVER! (august 22, and 23rd respectively) we need a redo this week.
My kids are still asleep, I am out of milk and bread . . . . I think I'll just enjoy sitting in this chair a little longer, thank you very much.

note: kids need vacation from their parents! they were so happy to see me yesterday, I haven't even heard, "I hate you mom!" since I have been back! Its nice!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nitro circus seal of approval

On Friday I "catered" a lunch for the cast and crew of MTVs Nitro Circus. They came to my parents house to shoot and episode using the human slingshot and bowling ball cannon. I am clearly not cool enough to know anything about the show, but I guess these guys are pretty dang popular. Travis Pastrana is the premier person for what ever the crap he does, (triple million back flips on motor cycles or something like that). Whatever they do, they were pretty hilarious guys and really nice. Travis had all these fans from the canyon show up, and he was really nice to them, and they all liked my lunch, which makes them tops! So now I can officially say I am a caterer to the stars. I am famous! I told the guys from Nitro Circus I would make THEM famous by putting them on my blog. So stay tuned for their upcoming season to see my dad and the crew (perhaps a little Fairb). For a little sneak peek, they shoot a car with the bowling ball cannon.
Travis Pastrana lighting the bowling ball cannon

Travis running from the cannon

The car they shot

This is me with Jeremy Rawle, I am really that dorky, its not an act, but look at the spread behind us!

Cooking has all been a blur with prepping for Lake Powell and the Nitro Circus thing, so I am off to Powell this week, I promise to divulge my tips into having a flawless Lake Powell trip with amazing food when I get back!
Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Le Crueset can suck it!

Yesterday, I went up to Salt Lake to go to the restaurant supply store, Orson Gygi. I am going down to Lake Powell to cook for my dad's company retreat and we were in need of some mega sized pots. I could lay down a lot of coin in this store, which I did actually. I did see a little piece of heaven, which I just had to purchase..... Photobucket

The picture may not adequately depict this angelic creation. This baby is huge! You could roast a 20 lb turkey in it. My mom has a magnalite pot that she has had since the beginning of time. I was always jealous of it. I have NEVER seen them in stores. So, I and this pot were meant to be. I can't stop looking at it . . . . aaahhhhh . . . .
So when I brought it home and Fairb saw it, he had to make a stink about it. Then I remembered! Its my birthday this week! BAM! I had a justification! and its not just any birthday, I am turning 30! BooYa! I just saved his bacon! I got myself a birthday present.
So I am so happy with my new pot, and it just in the nick of time! I cooking for 30 for 6 days, 3 meals a day at lake powell. I cook nearly everything before I go. I will have to blog about it later. Second, I am catering for the 50 person film crew from MTV's nitro circus who is coming to the cabin to do the human slingshot on friday.
THEN . . I have a primary quarterly activity on saturday which I am in charge of .
THEN, its Sunday which I will be alone in primary conducting, sharing time . . .
THEN, We've planned an outdoor theatre night in our back yard for a canyon FHE, (oh ya, your all invited.)
THEN, its off to powell.
Ok, so my pot didn't have a lot to do with any of that, but it still makes me happy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Roller Coasters make my belly hurt . . .

Fairb is always conveniently absent when Lagoon day rolls around. Which means I am the one who gets to ride all the rides with the kids. Although I myself hate roller coasters because they remind me of what its like to be pregnant, I force my children to ride them. People are stare at me as I block my children from escaping out of the line. I hold Porter and Alta's arms tight as they beg me to not make them. I bribe them with diamonds and gold, and they still cry. Why do I torture my children, why do you ask? First, I know they are going to love it and be so proud of themselves for doing it. As I took Alta on the ride "Wicked" I thought she was literally going to pass out, when it was over I thought for sure she would flip out on me and never forgive me. As the ride stopped I looked over wincing, once she was finally able to breath she said, "that was so awesome! let's do it again!" Phew!
Second, in a safe environment, I want them to get familiar with doing something even when it is scary. You really can't be successful at anything if you don't push forward even when you are nervous. Pushing through fear is a good thing for kids to practice, because its hard to learn as an adult.
Third, I want them to trust that when mom says something is safe, its safe. Maybe they will start trusting the climbing rope. I am still trying to convince Alta that the scariest thing she can do is drive down the freeway without a seatbelt.
I would rather ride roller coasters than be pregnant because the nausea is temporary and there is no baby to sleep in my bed until he is 5. So now that I feel better, lets eat some pasta shall we? (talk about a lame segway)


Chicken Artichoke Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
3 artichoke hearts, quartered (or you can use a can of artichokes)
1 small onion diced
1 garlic clove minced
1 small can diced tomatoes
splash of white wine
salt and pepper
any italian cheese you fancy

box of penne pasta cooked according to instructions

Give a hot saute pan a splash of olive oil and brown the chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken and add the onion, garlic and artichokes (if using canned hold off on the artichokes) season with salt and pepper. Cook till onion are translucent. Give the pan a splash of white wine to release the bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes (now you would add the canned artichokes). Cover and simmer till artichokes are tender and the chicken is tender. Add the penne to the saute pan and combine to coat. Top with some cheese.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mystery Solved!

Who has been eating big bites out of my tomatoes in the garden?

It was heimlich!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let's use up those carrots shall we?

Seeing how I'm not buying packaged goods anymore, I've got to make more wholesome snacks to have around the house, these carrot muffins are perfect, this is merely a wholesome twist to the best carrot cake ever. I can report, that Porter at a whole wheat muffin, and liked it (after he pulled off at the nuts of course)

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

2 1/2 c whole wheat flour (fresh ground if you fancy)
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
dash of nutmeg

1 c sugar
1 stick butter
3/4c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
2 c grated carrots
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple

combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Cream together butter and sugar, add remaining ingredients. Note: instead of just grating the carrots, I put them in the blender to make them fine (I have a vitamix, I don't know what a crappy blender could do) I also blend the pineapple.

Spoon the muffin mixture into buttered muffin tins, optionally top with some chopped pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes clean.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm sure you have more carrots, I do.


These are cookies from my childhood. They are so soft and yummy, you have to keep telling yourself they have carrots in them to justify eating so many of them.

Frosted Carrot Cookies

1 cup cooked carrots, mashed
1 c sugar
1 c butter
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking power

1 stick butter
1 orange rind grated
2-3 c powdered sugar
3-4 T orange juice
touch of vanilla

The cookies:
Cream together butter and sugar, add carrots, eggs and vanilla and blend till combined. Combine flour, salt and baking powder, add slowly to creamed mixture. Drop teaspoon sized balls onto cookie sheet (I chilled the dough, I always chill the dough, its probably optional). Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes till browned. They should be more set then say chocolate chip cookies because these are more cake like, and not chewy.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting like you always prepared frosting. Cream the sugar with the softened or melted butter (and the orange zest), add the liquids until reaches desired consistency. Frost the cookies after they have cooled for about 10 minutes.