Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Good Kind of Oatmeal

Jake and I have found that we love Trader Joe's oatmeal. Actually we love any oatmeal that is multi-grain (why we still call it oatmeal I don't know) and it can't be cooked to mush. We love our oatmeal flaky.

Here is a rendition where we included Crasins, Sultanas, Raisins, & Nuts. We usually use just a dab of honey to sweeten.

Caught It!!

Helen had this cute smile she would do every now and then. I tried for days to capture it on the camera, but she would always turn her head, reach for the camera, or change her expression. I finally caught it on camera. And ever so glad that I did because she hasn't done in a week or more. It probably really wasn't a smile, just her way of learning to deal with her incredibly sharp bottom teeth. I would imagine those two little things could hurt her upper gums, they have definitely hurt my fingers.



GOT IT!!



Keep Reading into Older Posts

If you are reading this to catch up on all the updated posts that I finally posted you need to continue on past the Mexican Chocolate Bread - I posted some with earlier dates so keep things organized in my mind.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mexican Chocolate Bread

Last month Robin got me thinking about spicy chocolate. While trying to decide what to make for a ward function, I came across this recipe in a new bread cookbook that I have. It was really good. I altered the recipe slightly for what I had on hand. If you have a bread maker it is worth a try!

Here is the one I did:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 large eggs

3 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup Crasins, boiled ahead to make soft
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp dry active yeast

Here is the original from the book:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
1 large egg plus 1 yolk at room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

5 tsp gluten
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dried orange peel
2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

2 tsp dry active yeast

  1. Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to manufacture’s instructions. Set Crust on light, program for Sweet Bread, and press Start. My machine only has a light setting; I can’t program for sweet breads.

  1. After the baking cycle ends, remove bread immediately from the machine to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before slicing (highly important – I found that out).

Mexican Chocolate Bread

Last month Robin got me thinking about spicy chocolate. While trying to decide what to make for a ward function, I came across this recipe in a new bread cookbook that I have. It was really good. I altered the recipe slightly for what I had on hand. If you have a bread maker it is worth a try!

Here is the one I did:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 large eggs

3 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup Crasins, boiled ahead to make soft
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp dry active yeast

Here is the original from the book:

½ cup milk
½ cup water
1 large egg plus 1 yolk at room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

5 tsp gluten
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dried orange peel
2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

2 tsp dry active yeast

  1. Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to manufacture’s instructions. Set Crust on light, program for Sweet Bread, and press Start. My machine only has a light setting; I can’t program for sweet breads.

  1. After the baking cycle ends, remove bread immediately from the machine to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before slicing (highly important – I found that out).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pie Apples for Thanksgiving

The coloring of these apples was gorgeous . After they were peeled they had swirls of color still through the flesh.

Friday, December 21, 2007

French Bread with a Christmas Twist

Here is the Candy Cane French Bread I made:



I love my French Bread Recipe:

1 ¼ cup warm water

1 Tablespoon yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon shortening, melted

1 ½ teaspoons salt

3 ½ cups flour

1 beaten egg

Pour water into large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Stir in sugar, shortening, and salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Knead until smooth (5 minutes). Rise double (60 minutes). Shape into long loaf. Rise double again. Make slash marks on top of loaf and wash with egg. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden. Should sound hollow when tapped.

I just added food coloring to half of the dough and twisted it for Christmas fun!

Pumpkin Soup


I made this pumpkin soup just after Halloween. It was delicious. In New Zealand they serve pumpkin soup all the time. Most Kiwis would gag when I would mention that for the most part pumpkin is only used in the US for sweet dishes like pies and cookies. Pumpkin is a savory item in New Zealand. We should embrace this side of pumpkin more in the United States. It really is wonderful for the taste. I'm sure any type of squash would work, but join with me and love the new side of pumpkins!
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 750 grams pumpkin, peeled and chopped (I just used 1½ cans of 100% canned pumpkin because I was in a rush that night)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups liquid chicken stock
  • salt
  • black pepper (I used white pepper)
  • nutmeg
  • ham hock or bacon bones (optional)
  • grated parmesan cheese and ground fresh pepper for garnish

Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add pumpkin (I didn't add the pumpkin until later), potato, and stock.

Cover, and bring to the boil and cook until vegetables are soft. I added the pumpkin once the potatoes were soft - just long enough beforehand that the pumpkin could warm up before blending.

Purée vegetable mixture in a blender or push through a sieve. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. For extra flavor, a ham hock or bacon bones can be added when cooking the pumpkin. I used just some bits of ham that I broke off my frozen ham bone and put them in when I cooked the potato- I couldn't bear using the whole ham bone. I took the biggest pieces out before I blended the mixture and left them out and the flavor was perfect.

Serves 6.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wait Wait...

This is yet another reason why I love listening to Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me, the NPR News Quiz show. This past Saturday's episode was hilarious. One of the jokes was about the above picture and story. Last time I checked ham would be considered one of the most non-kosher foods. (I am seriously chuckling out load about this at the moment). Really, if you are in a neighborhood where there is a large enough Jewish population to advertise items for Chanukah, I would think the store would know what items are forbidden on the Jewish menu. Like Jake said, that is like advertising beer to make a great General Conference Weekend BBQ. Hahahahehe!

Friday, December 7, 2007

THE Sushi Cake

So it has taken me over a month to get this post ready. I was working on a mosaic of pictures to show my pride and joy of October. Jake was kind and helped me through the whole mosaic. Jake and I found a love for sushi while living in Monterey. Each year I try to make a different cake for Jake, and I have always wanted to try my hand at candy sushi. So I incorporated the two. I have included pictures of the real thing so you have a comparison, which I am sure you can tell which ones aren't from my cake. Both Jake and his brother upon entering our apartment thought it was the real thing (probably the dim lighting). Anyway I now share this joy with you all. My favorite is probably how the tamago turned out.

Amidst pictures of the complete finished cake and real sushi there are pictures of





















  • my prep work
  • the cake similar to the block of wood
  • tamago
  • nigiri
  • unagi
  • wasabi & pickled ginger
  • ikura
  • masago
  • maki sushi
...sushi anyone?!?


8 Nov 2009 UPDATE:
Okay...Here goes a description of how I made everything...to the best of my memory:

Ingredients:
  • yellow cake batter from scratch or box
  • baking cocoa
  • rice krispies (and butter and marshmallows to make according to box directions for rice krispie treats)
  • fruit leather (I used grape, green apple, and raspberry flavors but grape looked the best)
  • yellow marshmallows (got about 10 from a package of mini colored ones, could also use white and some yellow food coloring)
  • Swedish fish candies (red, orange, and yellow colors)
  • caramel sauce
  • milk caramels
  • icing
  • green food coloring
  • pink Air Head candy
  • Orange Heads candy
  • orange nonpareils
  • gummy worms
  • some kind of green strip candy that can be cut to look like grass

The cake was just a basic yellow cake, but I reserved part of the batter and added baking cocoa which I then made stripes with one the cake and drew a butter knife through to make it look like a wood block before I baked it.

The rest of the process has to go really fast before the rice krispie treats set up so it is best to be prepared and have all the candy out, the icing ready, the fruit leather cut into strips (there were 3 appropriate widths) and if the candy needs rolled out have that done too. Leave the wasabi. the pickled ginger, and the grass until last as they don't require rice krispie treats. It is also nice to have a second pair of hands to help. My SIL was wonderful to help me.

Make a batch of rice krispie treats. They need to be hot to mold them so as soon as you can stand the temperature with your hand, get shaping.

tamago - (loved how this one turned out) I melted a few yellow marshmellows in a bowl in microwave for probably 10 seconds, then shaped it into a square as best as I could on a cutting board. Placed the cooled marshmallow on top of rice krispie treat and finished with a strip of fruit leather

nigiri - This is a small amount of rice krispie treat molded to the size of a bite of sushi, then I placed a Swedish fish on top and wrapped a strip of fruit leather around it. To get the leather to stick, barely wet it with a finger dipped in water and press together.

unagi - this is a rice krispie treat with caramel sauce drizzled on then a rolled out caramel placed on top

wasabi & pickled ginger - the wasabi is icing colored green and the pickled ginger is a pink Air Head heated in microwave for a couple of seconds and rolled out with a rolling pin and then made into little bunches

ikura - again rice krispie treat base, then wrapped in fruit leather (grape flavor works well), then icing to hold in the Orange Heads candy

masago - same as the ikura, but used orange nonpareils (found at a kitchen/baking store that sold little bags of individual colors)

maki sushi - put 3 or 4 gummy worms together (I tried to use colors that you would see together in real sushi for instance green and orange for cucumber and carrot) and wrapped hot rice krispie treats around them. Then sliced the rolls into 2 or 3 pieces. Then I placed one of the pre-cut srtips of fruit leather around each roll.

decorative grass - these were some kind of sour candy strips that I cut on a zig zag to create a grass look.

Then I placed the candy "sushi" on the cake to look like a sushi presentation.
Hope this inspires you!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cheesey Hot Cereal - Not Bad, Not Bad at All

When I was in New Zealand I would often see parents give their children a hot cereal similar to Cream of Wheat for breakfast, but rather than putting sugar on it as many Americans do, they would put a slice of processed cheese. I could never bring myself to do this. It may have been the different flavors of cheese that I was still getting use to or the lone fact that it was processed cheese slices. Note pictures at left for examples of the different flavors, and yes the flavor of the bottom one is "tasty"and I still am not sure what that means. Kiwis find our colored cheese as different too - so I guess we are even. I have heard of putting cheese in grits, but as I am really not deeply knowledgeable about southern foods, I can not say much about this.

I typically like savory breakfasts more than sweet ones. Don't get me wrong I love pancakes and syrup occasionally and a good bowl of sweetened rice Chex or Cheerios now and then, but for the most part I'd choose eggs & toast or a breakfast burrito. This post comes to be because this morning I awoke to new snow and it made me feel like some hot cereal. However, I did not feel like sweet anything, and I did not want to eat plain oatmeal. So I pulled out the Cream of Wheat and a slice of provolone cheese. I still don't buy processed cheese. Real cheese has such better flavor and is not plastic like. I made the Cream of Wheat according to box directions and then placed the provolone on top to melt a little. It was really good! Definitely will have this again on cold mornings when I want something a little different.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Past Dinners

that I forgot to post the pictures to:

Fish and Apple Salad



And one of Jake's favorites, Rice & Beans

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

because my food stuffs is me



I have decided that my other blog will be my foods stuff, but I will post each of those posts on this blog as well because it is who I am. If you follow only this blog, and you like reading blogs just to read them there may be posts you want to read from the past...

And here is two photos of Helen just because. The first one is in her new pink pajamas. The second was pulling dirt out of Grandpa's pot the weekend before Thanksgiving. She found this activity quite enjoyable and tried to repeat it many times over Thanksgiving weekend. She did get in trouble by Grandpa for doing it, but really she doesn't understand what being in trouble is all about (especially when Mommy is laughing about it).




Cherokee Purple

Jake and I love Cherokee purple tomatoes (our favorite heirloom breed). Heirloom tomatoes have a much richer taste. Once you've had a heirloom tomato it hard to eat the store tomatoes. I love tomato season. It is always a sad day when I eat my last garden tomato and have to go back to the store ones until the next year. Our last tomato day was a couple of months ago, but I was just thinking about it today because my seeds are still out drying. The great thing about heirlooms is they aren't cross bred so their seeds aren't sterile and you can get offspring next year from this year's seeds.

Jake and I bought a Cherokee purple at the farmer's market in Monterey and saved the seeds. I gave half to my dad and I kept half. Jake and I only got a few this year (we discovered a pollination problem with our pots on our patio - - no bees come down there, and we solved the problem a little late.) My dad got some beautiful tomatoes.

Another thing is heirlooms aren't bred to look good or have long shelf life like store bought tomatoes so beauty must be found in their knobby, distorted shapes. But, oh, the taste is remarkable - nothing like a tomato bred to be perfectly round and bright red with long shelf life to be transported.

Jake used to think I was crazy to eat a tomato by itself in slices or like an apple. That was before I introduced him to heirlooms. Just have to cut it up and a little sea salt, maybe some fresh ground pepper or olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you have a perfect snack or side dish for dinner!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Suni Tagged me with 5 things.

Jeepers, once you are put on the spot it is hard to think of 5 things most people don't know about you, but I finally came up with them. So here it goes...

1. I love NPR, especially the shows "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" and "A Prairie Home Companion". I usually don't get time to listen to them on Saturdays as I am usually busy with my family or something else. So during the week I listen to the previous weekend's programs off the internet while cleaning the house or cooking. I also like listening to the news and interviews.

2. I started cooking very young, I (and some others) consider myself a pretty good cook, and I love to read cookbooks like novels (I can sit down for an hour with one). My mom says I could make scrambled eggs by age four and she would awake to the sounds of me getting out pans and turning the stove on, and then she knew that she had to get up and supervise. When I was ten I learned that when a brownie recipe calls for cream cheese it doesn't mean creamed cheese and you can't beat cubes of cheddar and sugar around in a bowl like you would cream butter and sugar and expect the brownies to be desirable. By the time I was a teen-ager I was told that unless I followed a recipe exactly I would have to buy my own groceries to cook with since most of the time I experimented and many times I learned how to not make something. To this day I still have a extremely hard time following a recipe unless it is for bread, and even then sometimes I try to fudge the recipe.

3. I was originally a photography and history major in college. I wanted to teach high school and be involved with yearbook or be a National Geographic Photographer. As I took classes I realized it wasn't quite what I wanted to do or that it wasn't compatible with raising a family. I still love history and photography. I have owned 6 non-disposable cameras in my life, receiving the first one for my eighth birthday. My really nice film camera (that I spent my complete savings on as a junior in high school) has been broken for years - something happened during my senior year photographing for the yearbook. I've taken it in to be fixed and it always works fine for the store. It is sporadic when it works or doesn't. It is so unreliable that I just quit using it. Jake and I now own a simple digital camera which I am using to get back into photography hobby. Maybe some day I will buy another fancy-dancy one.

4. I love architecture. All through junior high and high school I thought I would be an architect. I drew hundreds of house plans as a pre-teen and teenager. I finally went through the apple box during college and pick out a few that actually were good and got rid of the rest. One year I received a kit for making house plans that I still have. If I buy a magazine to read I will usually choose one of those that is just house plans and study them. I have an intriguing interest in restoring and transforming non-domestic buildings (schools, factories, old post offices, etc) into homes. The most odd thing is that when I picture my dream home I can walk through all the halls and know where each room is located if were in a floor plan, but I cannot draw it up in a plan. I have tried many times and it never comes up matching what is in my head.

5. I love looking at the back side of quilts. When I was little and my mom would have a quilt on the frames in our living room I would lay underneath it a gaze like I was gazing at the stars. When ever I tie a quilt or have a quilt I made machine quilted, the first thing I do when it is finished is to turn it over to admire the back. I don't know why I do this. Maybe I like looking at the pattern made by the tying or quilting. But even my mom knows and when she has a quilt on frames she always asks how the underside looks before we pull it off the frames.

I am going to be the awful end of this tag. I need to get more people onto my blogging list....everyone I know who has a blog has already done this tag.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

'bout me

I haven't posted in a few days. I keep meaning to, but I am trying to get this photo collage made for the post. So today I decided to take the tag from Robin and use it as my post until I am finished. I tag anyone who reads this blog.

Jobs i've held:

florist and wedding manager, Rexburg, ID, Bountiful, UT, & Logan, UT
ice cream server, USU Dairy Bar
Seattle's Best Kiosk coffee maker, Centerville, UT
server, USU Junction
teaching assistant, USU Dietetics Program
mommy

Jobs i'd like to have:

test kitchen coordinator
school lunch lady
working at WIC or Head Start
naming crayons at the Crayola Factory

Movies i watch over and over:

National Treasure
Night at the Museum
Little Women
Pursuit of Happyness
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Favorite reads, recent and old:

What Einstein told his Cook
What Einstein told his Cook 2
Nobody don't love nobody
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Tuesdays with Morrie
I will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
Love is Walking Hand in Hand
any cookbook

Favorite things to do:

grocery shop
organize my photos on my computer
cook
take community classes and cooking classes
go on walks with Helen
travel to non touristy places
read about food and science
and I am learning to scrapbook

Places i've lived:

SLC, & Bountiful, UT
Rexburg, ID
Logan, UT
Manurewa, Hamilton, North Shore, & East Tamaki, New Zealand
Athens, OH
Monterey, CA

Favorite things to eat:

heirloom tomatoes
eggs
sushi
soup
cinnamon ice cream
fresh veggie sticks
rice

Places i'd rather be:

North Pacific coast
NZed or Aussie
a cabin on Maine's coast
a beach in Aruba
in Idaho visiting family
a spa indulging in every service they offer
where I am at is actually quite good

Words i like the sound of:

gimp
Pacific
popovers
envelope
phbbbbhph bbp (Helen’s jabber words)
cacao
my husband calling my name

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cherokee Purple

Jake and I love Cherokee purple tomatoes (our favorite heirloom breed). Heirloom tomatoes have a much richer taste. Once you've had a heirloom tomato it hard to eat the store tomatoes. I love tomato season. It is always a sad day when I eat my last garden tomato and have to go back to the store ones until the next year. Our last tomato day was a couple of months ago, but I was just thinking about it today because my seeds are still out drying. The great thing about heirlooms is they aren't cross bred so their seeds aren't sterile and you can get offspring next year from this year's seeds.

Jake and I bought a Cherokee purple at the farmer's market in Monterey and saved the seeds. I gave half to my dad and I kept half. Jake and I only got a few this year (we discovered a pollination problem with our pots on our patio - - no bees come down there, and we solved the problem a little late.) My dad got some beautiful tomatoes.

Another thing is heirlooms aren't bred to look good or have long shelf life like store bought tomatoes so beauty must be found in their knobby, distorted shapes. But, oh, the taste is remarkable - nothing like a tomato bred to be perfectly round and bright red with long shelf life to be transported.

Jake used to think I was crazy to eat a tomato by itself in slices or like an apple. That was before I introduced him to heirlooms. Just have to cut it up and a little sea salt, maybe some fresh ground pepper or olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you have a perfect snack or side dish for dinner!!

No More Hair Bows :(

Yesterday Helen pulled the hair bow out of her hair and tried to eat it. I didn't know until I heard choking sounds behind me. It took what seemed like a whole minute to get it out, but I'm certain it was 20 seconds or less. Needless to say we are done with tiny hair bows for awhile. We will have to stick to the big head bands with big bows – the kind that can’t go down a baby’s throat. Sad day for me. I loved putting bows in her hair. And it had the added benefit that meant there were fewer comments about "my boy". Although there have been three times that Helen has been dressed in a pink shirt and pink pants with a huge pink bow in her hair and wrapped in a pink blanket and someone has asked me how my little boy is or if it was a boy or girl. After a few times I finally came up with my comeback - "It's a boy, but I really wanted a girl, so I dress him up in pink like this."

Poor Helen is hoarse today. In her learning to jabber she has picked up grunting. She has different grunts for happy, frustrated/mad, and sad. If she grunts for a few days without much babbling she gets hoarse. Her cry sounds so pathetic and it is tugging on my heart strings today. She is acting clingy today to. I wish on a star that her second tooth would pop through - it has been pretty miserable for her. Jake and I can see it, but we can't feel it yet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Favorite Toast Breakfast


I love having a slice of cinnamon toast and a slice of peanut butter toast for breakfast.

Vanilla is neither plain nor boring

Vanilla gets a bad rap sometimes as being plain or boring. I believe this is due to the wonderful and versatile taste vanilla possess which allows it to be a base flavor in many products and recipes.

The vanilla bean is the fruit of an orchid (vanilla planifolia). Native to tropical America, obtaining pure vanilla begins with orchid blossoms, which open only one day a year.

Because this orchid has only one natural pollinator (the Melipona bee) the flower must be hand-pollinated. After pollination, pods take 6 weeks to reach full size and 8 to 9 months to mature.

The mature pods, which must be hand-picked, are green and have none of the familiar vanilla flavor or fragrance. They need curing, a 3 to 6 month process that begins with a 20-second boiling water bath followed by sun heating. Then they're wrapped in blankets and allowed to sweat. Over months of drying and sweating the beans ferment, shrinking by 400% and turning brown.

To use vanilla beans, slit lengthwise and scrape out the thousands of seeds. These seeds can be added directly to foods such as ice-cream mixtures, shortening for pastry dough, sauces, etc. Or vanilla extract can be made and added to recipes.

This seems very exotic and a tremendous amount of work to be labeled plain or boring.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sugar Babies, Spills, & Onions

Here is Helen on Halloween. She was a package of Sugar Babies due to Jake and I calling her Sugar. We toured the pumpkin walk the week before Halloween.We decided to give out treats as we went Trick or Treating rather than gathering candy since it is obvious that Helen can't have candy and it is the last thing Jake and I need. It worked well, except that between Jake and I being sick, we were too tired to keep getting Helen out of the car to show off her costume. I ended up running the pumpkin bars up to the door by myself minus a few houses where we took Helen in. We did walk around the mall's trunk or treat with a neighbor and her boys and then we gave out candy at the ward's trunk of treat.

Helen learned how to pull herself up the night before Halloween. The first time was in the crib. So now she is having many tumbles and spills as she has not yet learned how to cruise the furniture. In her crawling around though she has found that my box of potatoes, onions, and squash is sturdy and weighs enough to support her if she pulls up on it. The other day I could hear her playing around there then all of a sudden she started crying. It wasn't her pain cry so I didn't think she had fallen, but went to go check. She had managed to tear off some of the onion greens. There were chewed up bits all around her and one coming out of her mouth. I imagine that after bland baby food onion greens are pretty spicy. She did recover though once I got them out of her mouth.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

And we're up and running again...

So it has been a very long time since I posted any blogs. I kinda forget about it. Thanks to my cousisns, Suni and Marissa, I have journeyed back into trying to keep this up. I'll have to get some posted later of Nellie, who, by the way, is currently teething. The first one was a breeze to come in, we didn't even know she was teething. This second one is more of like a bi-polar hurricane if there is such a thing. She keeps switching moods so quickly it keeps us on our toes.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Made these the other night.­ They are great! This makes enough for 2 adults

3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used Italian mix)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 Large chicken breast + tenderloin
1 egg, beaten

Mix breadcrumbs cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.­ Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and rinse.­ Dip in egg, then dip in crumb mixture.­ Place on cookie sheet sprayed with PAM.­ Bake for 15 minutes (+ or -­), stirring once 2/3 the way through.

Mission Organize Apartment