I am...

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Orem, Utah, United States
I am a lover of my husband, adorable children, and last but not least food. I first started baking when I was just a little girl. My mom always had an amazing home-cooked meal on the table and she always encouraged me to help. Much of what I know has come from watching her in the kitchen. I used to love to pretend I owned a restaurant and cook things up for my siblings and their friends. Not much has changed :) Now my sweet husband and kids get to be my taste testers. I love exploring new ingredients and am always looking for the best of the best when it comes to recipes. I hope you enjoy the site as much as I do. Through this blog I will share just a few of my favorite things- my passion for child development, my wonderful family, and my love for food :) Happy blogging!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Noodles & Co. Pasta Fresca Recipe - Food.com - 308516


2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups pre-cooked farfalle pasta
1/4 cup cubed roma tomato
1 tablespoon diced red onion
2 dashes kosher salt, and
cracked pepper
1 ounce baby fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sweet white wine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Sauté Instructions: In a very hot sauté pan, add: extra virgin olive oil, pre-cooked farfalle (bow-tie pasta), roma tomatoes, diced red onions, kosher salt & cracked pepper. Sear noodles, stirring occasionally until steaming hot. Add: baby fresh spinach, 1 oz. fresca sauce. Toss to combine, serve with freshly shaved parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

FRESCA SAUCE: (for 15 servings) 1/4 cup fresh garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup sweet white wine, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.

-I first tried this dish at Noodles & Company about a year back. I was instantly in love! I was browsing what used to be recipezaar.com (now food.com) when I came across this recipe. Whoever found or came up with this was genious! It tastes just like it! First off- my husand and I can eat this all by ourselves. So in our case it serves 2 :) There are a few variations that I use. For instance last night I made this dish and topped it with feta cheese instead. We grilled some cheap salmon with lemon & herbs and voilla! It was a great meal and a healthy one too. I often chop up grilled chicken w/lemon pepper and add it to the pasta. Sometimes I toss in a few kalamata olives. SO GOOD! The fresca sauce recipe they have makes a ton! I revised it to make just enough for what you need. Here goes:

4 tsp. fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. white wine
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

Enjoy! You're gonna love this stuff.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Results of my Thanksgiving Baking Agenda...

Thanksgiving has come and gone! Just thought I'd give you a recap on what I made and how everything panned out.

-The pumpkin pie got rave reviews although I did not eat any myself. The only suggestion I would give is to cover it with foil for part of the time. Mine got more brown than I would have liked around the edges. Cook for the longest cooking time listed (depending on your own oven).

-The apple pie was to die for. I followed the suggestions of others and made a few changes. I brushed the bottom crust with egg whites to avoid sogginess. I also poured 2/3 of the caramel mixture on the apples before covering with the top crust. I then poured on the other 1/3. I added 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 T. vanilla & a dash of nutmeg to the caramel. I used 6 granny smith apples rather than 8. I also cooked the pie at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. It could not have been more perfect. My step-father was disappointed when he found out that the pie was going to the in-laws :)

-The cheesecake also turned out perfect! I followed the directions exactly and baked it for 1 hr. I used granny smith apples. You could experiment with different kinds but I think they were a good combination with the cheesecake.

-The chocolate silk pie was as always a hit. I even used the pie that was already topped with whipped cream the next day and it tasted just as delicious. It is very rich so you probably don't need more than one :) We ended up with one extra.

-The coconut cream pie was fabulous. Follow the recipe exactly.

-The pumpkin roll was nice and moist! Delicious! We used our electric knife to cut it while it was still frozen. It worked out really nicely and was perfect when we were ready to eat it after dinner.

-The blueberry surprise jello was easy and good.

-The strawberry spinach salad was delicious too. The next day my mom used my leftover ingredients and added a pomegranate instead of strawberries. Everyone loved it!

Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with good family good friends and good food :) Talk to you soon!

Turkey Enchiladas Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Turkey Enchiladas Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey cheese blend
1 onion, chopped
1 (2 ounce) can sliced black olives
24 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 (19 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
4 cups cooked turkey, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the cheese, onion, and black olives.
In a small skillet, heat enough oil to lightly coat one tortilla, and cook until soft. Remove and dip in enchilada sauce to coat.
Add turkey and cheese mixture to center of tortilla, roll and place in the prepared dish. Repeat until bottom layer of pan is covered with enchiladas. Spread enough sauce over bottom layer to cover.
Repeat process with a second layer; spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is melted."

Turkey Shepherd's Pie Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Turkey Shepherd's Pie Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


2 cups cubed cooked turkey
3/4 cup turkey gravy
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups prepared stuffing
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups warm mashed potatoes


In a greased 2-qt. baking dish, layer the turkey, gravy, carrots, stuffing and corn. Top with potatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until edges of potatoes are browned.

White Chili Recipe - Allrecipes.com

White Chili Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


1 pound ground turkey, browned
1 cup medium salsa
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup water
2 (14 ounce) cans great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 ounce) package jalapeno pepper Cheddar cheese, cubed


In a large pot or saucepan combine the browned turkey, salsa, corn, water, beans and cheese. Stir together and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through and cheese has melted.

Turkey Tetrazzini II Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Turkey Tetrazzini II Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups chopped cooked turkey


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and place in the prepared baking dish.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour. Mix in chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in about 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat.
Mix chicken broth mixture and turkey with spaghetti. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until surface is lightly browned.

Turkey Wild Rice Soup II Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Turkey Wild Rice Soup II Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
2 cups water

6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups turkey broth
1/3 cup shredded carrot
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup half-and-half cream


Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 40 to 45 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork, and cook uncovered 5 minutes more. Set the cooked rice aside.
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and celery until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, and cook until it turns a pale yellowish-brown color, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the turkey stock until no lumps of flour remain. Stir in the carrot. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook, whisking constantly, until the stock is thick and smooth and the carrot is tender, about 2 more minutes.
Stir in the wild rice, turkey, salt, pepper, and almonds. Return to a simmer, and cook 2 more minutes to heat the ingredients. Stir in the lemon juice and half-and-half; bring the soup almost to a boil, and serve hot."

Cindy's Turkey Salad Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Cindy's Turkey Salad Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


5 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper


In a bowl, mix the turkey meat, celery, jalapeno, relish, and mayonnaise. Season with cilantro, salt, and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator until serving."

Turkey Pot Pie III Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Turkey Pot Pie III Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


2 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 cup cooked, chopped turkey meat
1 (10 ounce) can mixed vegetables, drained
1/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place one pie crust in an ungreased pie dish.
In a medium bowl, mix the mushroom soup and milk. Stir in the turkey meat and mixed vegetables. Pour the mixture into the pie crust in the dish. Top with the other pie crust, and seal the crust edges by crimping with a wet fork.
Bake in the preheated oven 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peppermint Eggnog Punch Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Peppermint Eggnog Punch Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


1 quart peppermint ice cream
1 quart eggnog
4 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles ginger ale, chilled
1 cup rum
24 small peppermint candy canes for garnish


Set aside 2 or 3 round scoops of ice cream in the freezer for garnish. Stir remaining ice cream until softened. Gradually stir in eggnog and rum. Transfer to a punch bowl, and stir in ginger ale. Hang candy canes around the edge of the punchbowl. Float reserved ice cream scoops on top, and serve immediately.

-I have never tried this version before but it sounds delicious and festive! I will keep you posted on how it turns out! Omit the rum if you'd like :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Granny Kat's Pumpkin Roll Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Granny Kat's Pumpkin Roll Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes.
Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.
Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

-I made this for the first time this year. I wrapped it in foil and stuck it in the freezer. The only change I made was my mom's suggestions for the spices. I omitted the pumpkin pie spice and added 1 tsp. ginger 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. I also sprinkled a cup of chopped pecans on top of the batter before baking. I wrapped the cake up in waxed paper rather than the damp towel. I let it cool 1 hr. before frosting. In my oven I baked it at 350 instead of 375. You may need to adjust to your oven. Don't overbake it or it will be tough to work with. Be sure to roll the cake so that it is longer rather than shorter or else you will have ONE FAT ROLL! I made this mistake. Hey the fatter the better when it comes to dessert right?! Enjoy. My mom used to make this every year and it sure is delicious.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Baby Symptom Checker

Baby Symptom Checker: "Wondering what's causing your baby's diarrhea or those red bumps on her arm? Use our Baby Symptom Checker to find out. Select the body part where your baby's experiencing problems, then click on the symptom to learn more about probable causes and treatments."

My Thanksgiving Baking Agenda...

This year our Thanksgiving is going to be packed full with places to go! Every year my mom and sisters get together for what we call "Pie Day". This always takes place the day before Thanksgiving. It is a crazy day! This year my mom has even made cute little aprons for all of the little granddaughters that will be attending (I think little Allie might even get one to grow into!). For myself Pie Day is going to be a busy one. I will be making a few things to take to my parents on Thanksgiving day and my in-laws are having us over for their Thanksgiving dinner that night. I have been assigned all of the pies and a couple sides to take over there. Here's what I've got on my baking agenda...

Granny Kat's Pumpkin Roll
Brown Family's Favorite Pumpkin Pie
Autumn Cheesecake
Ashley's French Silk Chocolate Pie
Old-Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie
Apple Pie By Grandma Ople
Blueberry Surprise
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Mom's Raspberry Slush

Fun huh? We've got a few oldies but goodies and a few new ones to try out this year. All can be found in Your Kitchen.

Autumn Cheesecake Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Autumn Cheesecake Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and melted butter; press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla; pour filling into the baked crust.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss the cinnamon-sugar with the apples to coat. Spoon apple mixture over cream cheese layer and sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped pecans.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. With a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool, then remove the rim of pan. Chill cake before serving."

-This will be a first for me this year. I will be bringing this to my mom's to add the plethera of pies! I will let you know how it goes. Sounds scrumptious!

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


3 cups half-and-half
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract. Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm.
Top with whipped topping, and with remaining 1/4 cup of coconut.
Note: To toast coconut, spread it in an ungreased pan and bake in a 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally."

-This is one of my father-in-laws favorites. I usually make it for his birthday. This year I am bringing it to Thanksgiving! The more pie the better right?

Apple Pie by Grandma Ople Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Apple Pie by Grandma Ople Recipe - Allrecipes.com:

Ingredients :

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft."

-I have made this one before. It is DELICIOUS! Top with ice cream or homemade whipped topping. Mmm Mmm.

Brown Family's Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Brown Family's Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe - Allrecipes.com:


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. Stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour filling into pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. While the pie is baking, prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend in the cold butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the topping over the pie.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 minutes, or until set."

-I'm not much of a pumpkin pie fan but my mother-in-law is. I will be taking this to her house this year for Thanksgiving. The crumble on top may just make me a new fan! Who could resist these crumbs?!

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 Ways to avoid trips to the dentist...

Wednesday I had the tremendous opportunity of taking a trip to the dentist. Marvelous! Years after they came in it's time for the wisdom teeth to be pulled. So it happened. The same day they pulled the little buggers they decided to fill two cavaties. I seemed fine. Went home and cooked dinner. Took care of the baby. That day the nausea set in. Obviously the pain pills and nursing while eating next to nothing don't add up to a happy tummy. No more pain pills. Went to sleep that night and slept pretty well. The second night however...the throbbing began. I called the dentist. Seems that one of the cavaties was pretty deep...Oh what do ya know! Time for a stinkin' root canal!

Tip #1: Brush and floss your teeth.

Tip #2: Don't grow wisdom teeth.

-Now take note that I never said to avoid sugar or anything. I will definitely be enjoying some delicious pie at Thanksgiving :)

Hope your week's going well! Best of luck preparing for Turkey Day! I will be posting some awesome recipes within the next few days so follow my posts :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hello All! My name is Ashley Ray and I am a mother. My days begin with diaper changes before sunrise. They consist of lots of lullabies and trips to the bank. Oh wait did I mention mopping floors and cooking meals? The list could go on. When bedtime comes I know that I will soon start the cycle all over again. It requires an unlimited amount of energy combined with lots of love and patience. Some days seem impossible. So what keeps me going? A tiny grin from a precious rested little girl or a big hug from an appreciative husband make it all worth it. I believe that in order to take care of others you must first take care of yourself. Follow my blog for tips tricks and ideas to conquer any day. It may just become your new best friend! Happy blogging!