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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, November 21, 2013

Apple Pie (NEW FAVORITE!!)

I will admit that I am somewhat of an apple pie snob.... or just a dessert snob in general. A few years back I came across this apple pie that changed my life. I was never before an apple pie lover. Till I ate this pie. Anyone who had this pie was asking me to make it again. So so delicious. WELL. I am also a huge lover of apple crisp. Who isn't? And so I decided today to combine/tweak two recipes to make them one. Can I admit that the pies I was making to give away almost ended up in my mouth instead?? So so perfect and delicious. Enjoy! This pie will definitely be making a grand entrance at our Thanksgiving next week :)

Ashley's Apple Crumble Pie

Ingredients:

1 pie crust
1 egg white
6-8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. minus 1 T. water
1 T. vanilla

Crumble:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg

Directions:

Melt butter in saucepan over med. heat. Stir in flour to form paste. Add brown sugar, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low to let simmer. Peel, core, and slice apples. Brush bottom of pie crust with egg white. Place apples onto crust. Stir vanilla into syrup and pour over the apples. Combine crumble ingredients by mixing dry ingredients and cutting in the butter in small slivers till nice and crumbly. Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. You may want to place a cookie sheet or foil underneath pie while baking to catch drips. Enjoy!! (And don't forget the vanilla ice cream. Always a must :)


Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Appetizer Winners!

After much thought I have definitely settled on having these two dips on our table before Thanksgiving dinner. Both are tried and true. Simply to die for. Hope you enjoy. These are great to have at any holiday gathering. The first comes from my sister in law Codee at readableeatables.blogspot.com. This has become a family favorite. It gets devoured instantly. I prefer to eat it with baguette slices, but it's up to you :) It's like an upgrade from restaurant artichoke dips. The second recipe is super refreshing to me and on the healthy side of things (minus the tortilla chips :). It's got everything- beans,corn, avocado, tomato, you name it. It is so delicious and addicting. ENJOY :)

http://readableeatables.blogspot.com/2011/01/garlic-cheesy-artichoke-dip.html

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2013/01/amazing-shrapnel-dip.html

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Ideas

Got a little ahead today and was able to freeze my roll dough, my pumpkin roll, and my mom's famous raspberry slush (which I am more than excited about!!! I hope it makes it till Thanksgiving without me drinking it all...) All three recipes are some of my very favorite. Hope you enjoy. It is so nice having as much done as you can before a big meal like Thanksgiving. I don't know about you, but we go all out. So there is lots to be done! So fun though :)

I have yet to find better rolls than my Sweet Dinner Rolls listed on this blog. I raise the dough the first time, then punch down and freeze in a big ziploc. When ready to use, I thaw the dough for about 6 hrs. roll out, and raise for an hour before baking. They are always wonderful.

http://achocolateadaywithashleyray.blogspot.com/2013/04/favorite-homemade-rolls-wraspberry.html

This pumpkin roll is super easy and delicious. Just make sure you follow their instructions and use parchment paper when baking. I never seem to and always end up struggling to get it out of the pan... I sprinkle a few chopped pecans on top before baking.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Granny-Kats-Pumpkin-Roll/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=granny%20kat%27s%20pumpkin%20roll&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

As for my mom's slush! I have never had better slush in my life. It comes from her grandmother who has never failed to pass on the tastiest recipes. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed and it took me like five minutes. Enjoy!!

Grandma Rose's Slush
3 packs frozen rasberries (12 oz. each) 
1 small frozen orange juice (thawed)
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (undrained)
2 cups water combined with 1 cup sugar (bring to boil to dissolve sugar)

Cool the water a little and combine all ingredients. Freeze. When ready to serve, thaw a little to break into pieces and serve with sprite in a punch bowl.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's New?

So I'm great at doing quick mindless posts... not so great at documenting what actually goes on in our lives. NOT GOOD. This last little while has flown by since my last post. It is now hesitantly transitioning from fall to winter. Depending on who I talk to...... that is not normal for North Carolina. Apparently (according to most...) it usually stays warmer longer. I guess the summer wasn't as harsh as usual either. (no complaints here. the bugs were enough for me to handle...) The cotton is in full bloom. Although I have not quite figured out when they harvest the crop. Sure is fun and pretty to look at though :)


Now that the tobacco plants are nowhere to be seen, this is what covers large areas of the land surrounding us.

A quick update on the fam.... Flint is still in the grind of school. The work doesn't ever let up much. This week has been particularly rough because he and Kale were both sick with pink eye. Flint ended up catching something else along with it and is now experiencing terrible pain in the back of his head (a reoccurring problem over the past two years), along with uncontrollable nose bleeds. We are a little concerned. Hopefully we will be able to get things figured out soon. It helps that he is with doctors all day :) Pressures him to go see someone. Other than that, his grades are good and he has two more exams to end the semester. We are ready for a long break in about a month. Our schedule goes a little like this- Everyone is up at 6. We take Flint to school around 7:30 (lucky to live about 10 min. away). We pick him up around 5pm. We have dinner, get the kids to bed around 7 or 8. Then Flint goes back to studying either at home or at school.

I am busy with everything and nothing exciting :) Getting ready for Christmas. Reluctantly preparing my mom's famous Christmas candy...(I'm terrified.) Preparing for Thanksgiving. Patiently awaiting the visit of my sister Paige and niece Hadley! My days consist of trying to stay upbeat amidst a very stubborn potty-trainer, a very moody 18 mon. old (both very cute and sweet :), making meals, driving to and from preschool, ballet, taking Flint to and from school, cleaning house, attempting to nap (which rarely happens), attempting to give Allie a nap (which sometimes happens, but is ALWAYS needed :)....you moms know the drill :) Life is pretty good. Flint and I don't get much quality time, but the time that we do is wonderful. My pregnancy is going well. Haven't completely gotten over my many food aversions yet, but I have enough options that I don't get too sick too often. My back pain has subsided for a moment as well.

Allie is attending a preschool co-op twice a week for a few hours. Myself and a few other moms in the ward switch off weeks teaching. Allie really loves it. It's so good for her and has really helped her get to know the other kids in the ward. She also attends ballet once a week and enjoys that too.

As I said, Kale just got over pink eye. His eyes were a lot worse than Flint's and required an antibiotic. He was a sad sight. Lucky for us we were able to catch an ear infection accidentally when we took him in for his eyes.... Yes he has been one sad, mad boy. Meanwhile he biffed it down our driveway. His face looked pretty beat up. It was a rough week :) Right now he has a very intense horse obsession. Gratefully, his love for horses allowed me to FINALLY get him to love books! We were really struggling to get that active kid interested for quite a while.

So nothing too exciting! We found out this week that my mom will most likely need no chemotherapy which is more than a blessing. We are so grateful to Heavenly Father and the answering of our prayers. We also found out that my older sister Katie is expecting a baby as well at the beginning of July. Looking forward to a visit from Flint's parents right before Christmas, and a visit from my parents right after Christmas. We are planning to make a trip to Utah in July with the new baby. So lots of fun things to look forward to :)

Here are a few pics I captured this week. Have a good one :)

Kale's First Ice Cream Cone (I don't know what was more fun to clean up- Kale or the carseat...)

Allie's First Stick Figure Drawing

Followed by an addition of me and my mom carrying bags (A fabulous shopping spree? I will pretend... :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yummy Jello Salads (Thanksgiving is near!!!)

Getting really excited for Thanksgiving with great family and friends. I will start posting a few of my very favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Hope you will all share some of your own as well :) Have a great day!

1. I love this jello. Always have always will. I sub raspberries for the strawberries, and rasp. jello rather than straw. if you can find it. But it's up to you :)

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Judys-Strawberry-Pretzel-Salad/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=pretzel%20jello&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

2. This is an old family favorite. We skip all the other fruit and just stick with the pineapple. So yummy.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pistachio-Fluff-Fruit-Salad/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=pistachio&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe

3. My sister-in-law has me addicted to the most delicious and easy salad ever.... Just mix frozen berries with a can of sweetened condensed milk. It's amazing.

4. This is like the famous family green jello. We don't use the pecans.
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lime-Gelatin-Salad-I/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe%20Search%20Results





Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mom's Chicken Pockets

This is a recipe I grew up with. I love these because not only are they a great warm comfort food, but they freeze great and can be heated up whenever (hot pocket style :). My mom's dough recipe is listed below, but I also use my SWEET DINNER ROLLS dough and it works great. Hope your family enjoys these as much as I always have :)

For the dough:
3 Tbs yeast
1 Tbs sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 qt hot water
1 cube butter
1 Tbs salt
1 cup sugar
6-7 cups flour

In a bowl combine 3 Tbs yeast, 1 Tbs sugar and 3/4 warm water and let the yeast froth for about 5-10 minutes.
In a mixer combine 1 qt hot water with the butter, salt, 1 cup sugar and 2 cups flour. Add the yeast mixture and slowly add in the rest of the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is easy to work with. (its okay if its a little sticky) Butter a bowl and place the dough in there to rise for about an hour.

For the filling:
8 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
2 8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped onion (I do green onions)
salt and pepper to taste
*I also like to add sliced black olives.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.

Once the dough has risen, roll out in to a large rectangle. Use a pizza cutter and cut about 3-4 inch squares and place the chicken mixture into the center of each one and wrap the dough around it and pinch at the bottom.  Place the seam side down on a greased cookie sheet. (At this point, I usually like to let my dough rise again. My mom does not.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


For the gravy:

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk

In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients and warm through. Serve over hot rolls.

THE BEST Peanut Butter Fingers (no lie!)

So after receiving many versions of this much sought after school lunch favorite... I have created my own recipe using what I liked from them all :) These are truly amazing. I told Flint that we need to get rid of atleast half the pan ASAP or I will 1. probably suffer some terrible pregnancy heartburn and/or 2. we will both gain about ten pounds. (We are huge suckers for chocolate and peanut butter... in just about any form) Enjoy! So yummy.

Peanut Butter Fingers
1 Cup Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
2 Cups Flour
2/3 Cup Peanut Butter (plus more to spread on top)
2 Cups Oats
 
Mix all ingredients together. Press into greased 11x17 cookie pan, bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Do not Overcook!  While still warm, frost with a layer of peanut butter and then frosting. I let my peanut butter cool slightly before I poured on the frosting. 
 
Frosting
1 C. Butter
4 C. Powdered Sugar
1/4 C. Cocoa
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-5 T. Milk
 
Mix butter, cocoa, and vanilla in pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add powdered sugar. Beat. If mixture is too thick, add 1-5 T. milk. Frosting sets up quickly, so be prepared to spread it immediately. 

Bavarian Pot Roast (from Codee at readableeatables.blogspot.com)

roast beef Pictures, Images and Photos

Planning out my menu for the rest of the week and thought of this pot roast that I adore. This recipe comes from my sister-in-law Codee who I love dearly. Not only is she amazing, but she makes amazing food and loves doing it. So we bonded quickly... :) This just may be my favorite roast. For one, I am like a rice fanatic. This roast is so delicious over white rice. Second, it is not your typical roast that EVERYONE makes. The flavors blend perfectly and it is just yummy! I am usually hesitant cooking meat/fruit combos. This changed me :) Third, you cook it in the crock pot.....which is heavenly. One side note... I have personally not had the best luck making my gravy in the crock pot. I usually just put a couple cups of the juices in a saucepan and add some cornstarch. Heat till thickened. That's what has worked for me :) Hope you enjoy.

1 Pot Roast
1 tsp Vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 whole cloves of garlic ( I insert them right into the roast)
4 medium size apples, leave the skins on
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup apple juice
3-4 tbs flour
3-4 tbs water

Lightly rub top of meat with oil, dust the meat with salt and pepper and ground ginger. Insert the garlic cloves into meat. Place the apples and onion slices in the bottom of a crockpot and put the roast on top. Pour in the apple juice. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. When its done remove the roast and apples to a platter and turn the crockpot on high. Make a paste with the flour and warm water and stir the paste into pot bring to a slight boil until it thickens. Use as gravy when serving the roast.

Homemade Pizza!!

So let me start by adding that Kale has been a nightmare and what was going to be a gourmet meditteranean pizza ended up being topped with a simple sauce, pepperoni, and cheese (oh and olives at Allie's request :) I also ended up having to make my dough only an hour before baking it... which I was worried about, but having an hour to rise worked just fine. Next time maybe I will have a better day and use mel's method :) I do not own a pizza stone, so we baked ours for about 12 minutes at 425 degrees. I also used mel's sauce recipe. Next time I would probably cut the sugar in half. Just my own personal taste preference. Hope you enjoy these recipes. They made a delicious pizza :) Here's to a meditteranean delight some other day :)
Homemade Pizza Sauce (from Mel at melskitchencafe.com)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
Oregano
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. I leave mine slightly chunky. On the seasonings, I just sprinkle them in to taste. If I use crushed red pepper, I only use a few flakes because my kids don’t like spicy things, but it definitely adds a nice kick to the sauce to use it. I also substitute for whatever I don’t have: basil leaves for oregano, garlic salt for garlic powder, etc. This recipe is open to interpretation. Use what you like and it will be delicious.
Yummy Homemade pizza dough!
from Mel at melskitchencafe.com
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
DIRECTIONS
  1. Make the dough the night before or early the morning on the day you want to make the pizza. In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the water, yeast, sugar, honey and oil. (If using active dry yeast, increase the amount of yeast to 2 3/4 teaspoons and proof the yeast in the water until foamy before mixing in the sugar, honey and oil.) Then mix in 1 cup flour and the salt. Continue mixing in all the remaining flour until you get a nice, soft dough. Knead until dough is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover tightly (with a lid or plastic wrap). Place the dough in the refrigerator to slowly rise until three hours before baking. Three hours before baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, keeping it lightly covered.
  3. 45-60 minutes before baking, move the rack to the lowest position in the oven (if the lowest rack in your oven is nearly touching the oven floor, move it up one notch - you don't want it that close or the bottom of the pizza will burn), place the pizza stone on it and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Don't be nervous about a hot oven! I used to be scared to death to cook anything above 400 degrees but I promise 500 degrees is the only way to go when cooking pizza. If your oven is a bit sketchy at that temperature, bake at 475 degrees. Also,I think a pizza stone makes all the difference in good versus great pizza. I have this pizza stone and I love the rectangular shape. I have baked many a pizza on this stone and it is awesome.
  4. Here's a few different methods for making great pizza:
  5. Pizza Paddle/Peel: I have a wooden pizza paddle, like this, which I sprinkle with cornmeal and place the pizza dough on. I layer my toppings on the dough and slide the dough quickly onto the hot pizza stone. After about 8 or 9 minutes, the pizza is baked to perfection and I slide it onto a cutting board to slice and eat.
  6. Alternative Pizza Paddle/Peel: If you don't have a pizza paddle, you can use the underside of a baking sheet (I use an 11X17 size) or a large cutting board as a makeshift pizza paddle. Cover it lightly with cornmeal, flour or parchment paper, make your pizza on the floured baking sheet or cutting board and gently slide the pizza off of the makeshift paddle onto the baking stone when ready to bake (if using parchment paper, you can let the parchment paper slide onto the baking stone with the pizza). Bake for 8-9 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Retrieve the pizza with a pair of tongs or a spatula and slide the baked pizza quickly onto a waiting cooling rack.
  7. Rimmed Baking Sheet: If you currently bake pizzas using cornmeal on a pizza paddle, you'll know how messy it can be - cornmeal everywhere. In fact, right now, my oven is in serious need of a good vacuuming. So, ofttimes, I'll still preheat my baking stone like normal and instead of using my wooden pizza paddle, I stretch the dough into an irregular shape on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet (I don't worry about pressing it into the corners to give it a rustic look), add the toppings, and slide the entire baking sheet on the pizza stone to bake. Bake the pizza for 9-10 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. This method still browns the crust nicely - and while you don't get the extremely authentic pizza crust, it is still mighty delicious and I can make more pizza at once rather than sliding them one at a time onto the baking stone.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food Craving #2: Delicious Greek Pastitsio {Casserole-Style}

So I feel a casserole kick coming.... Not a huge fan of casseroles. I have a few I can name on one hand that I actually love... I would love for you all to share your favorites with me. Especially with fall coming. Something about casseroles and comfort food.... and my lack of time and energy... :) Here is a casserole recipe that I do LOVE. It comes from Mel at melskitchencafe.com. She has amazing recipes. Made this for a freezer meal exchange once and it was hit and also froze great. Enjoy!

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2012/01/delicious-greek-pastitsio-casserole-style.html

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

World's Best Lasagna

One of the worst things about being pregnant is that by the time you are done making dinner, you no longer want whatever you thought sounded okay before..... I can't say that I have food "cravings" when I am pregnant. I have more foods I can "tolerate" when I am pregnant. Each pregnancy has varied with my list of food tolerations. And then there are the foods I DESPISE when I am pregnant. This list has also varied, but is always very long... For the sake of sounding appetizing, which ALL recipes I post ARE (or I would not dare post them...) I will label them food cravings rather than tolerations... because that just sounds bad. So for Food craving #1 I have this amazing lasagna. Healthy? No. Delicious? Yes. I hope you enjoy. Super super yummy. Flint doesn't care for ricotta, so we used cottage cheese. I am still pregnant and lazy, so I am posting the link :)

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Worlds-Best-Lasagna/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=lasagna&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe

Monday, October 21, 2013

Three Little Pumpkins

Happy Halloween from our THREE little pumpkins! 
Coming May 20, 2014. Can't wait!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Homemade Slime!

Had lots of fun making slime today. Here is the link for a recipe that allows the kiddies to do some of the work themselves :) Enjoy!

http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/polymer.php

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Best Oven Roasted Potatoes


1/8 c. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
3 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
4 lg. potatoes, skinned and diced

Combine all and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 475 degrees 20-30 min. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from allrecipes.com


Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Favorite Pot Roast

Thursdays are always busy days for me between trying to fit in the kids naps, preschool, and ballet. All good things, just very little time. Decided to throw a pot roast in the crock pot this morning to save me some headache later :) Here is my very favorite recipe. The only thing I do different is sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and brown it in some olive oil before putting in the crock pot. I will post more of my favorites this week. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/awesome-slow-cooker-pot-roast/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=pot%20roast&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page
On another note......Had these leftovers for lunch today.... http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bow-ties-with-sausage-tomatoes-and-cream/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page Super delicious. But for some reason... not sure it was the best idea :)
No worries, the other half is covering his shorts :)

She claims she is the clean monster and Kale is the messy monster :)

Saying a prayer. It is always followed by a really loud yell, which means Amen!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Version of Grandma Rose's Oatmeal Cookies

Stumbled upon this recipe from my mother's grandmother the other day. I always loved these growing up. Not a huge raisin fan and misplaced a whole container..... so I improvised with delicious results :) Perfect Fall recipe. Enjoy :)

1 c. craisins
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 tsp. cloves
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. regular oats (not quick oats)
1 c. milk chocolate chips

Directions:

Bring the craisins and water to a boil and remove from heat. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips. Add craisins and water. Mix thoroughly and add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Feeling like Fall... for now :)

I can't even begin to describe how much I have loved the weather the last couple days. The humidity has been significantly lower, and we even got what felt like a Utah breeze. It has been heaven!!! Allie mastered her new bike last month, so our morning walks have been much more enjoyable since it has cooled off :) The kids make it a point to visit the horse down the street, one of many that live closeby. Hopefully this weather is a preview of fall. Yay!!!






Allie's block tower


We have been SUPER BUSY this week :) Building block towers of course. This is Allie's latest beauty. Love my little Al.

Quilting project: Kale's bedding


Didn't know when I would remember again to post Kale's cute bedding! I loved making this quilt last year. My sweet mom took the time to make the bumper and skirt. Finally whipped out my sewing stuff again... Hopefully I will post some more fun projects soon :)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Welcome to North Carolina!


Thought I would take a second to update you all on our new adventure to North Carolina :) It has definitely been an adjustment thus far. We have had lots of fun our first month here. To start off, we came from Orem, UT (80k people) to Coats (2k people). There you go :) Not much to do in Coats, so we generally drive atleast 20 min. to get anywhere, including the nearest shopping mall... Walmart. This is probably good for me, seeing as I CAN be a shopaholic :) We have spent countless days indoors due to enormous amounts of rain, spent a couple heavenly days at the beach, and the rest of the time shooing off bugs as we attempt to entertain Allie and Kale in the humidity :) Every time we come inside we check for ticks. Our background goes all the way back into some thick woods, which I have yet to keep Flint away from.... Hoping to spot some deer. Definitely missing a Utah summer. I wouldn't exactly call the weather and bugs enjoyable out here. I hear the other seasons are wonderful, so I am REALLY looking forward to them :) That being said, I couldn't believe how great Topsail Beach was. The water, sand, shells, pelicans, everything was awesome. The kids were literally in heaven. I plan to make as many trips there as we can, especially with it being less than 2 hrs. away.

Our neighborhood is full of animal life. We have spotted frogs, turtles, rabbits, squirrels, and any insect you can think of right in our yard. There ARE some beautiful butterflies that hang out around a few of our trees. Allie has really enjoyed them :) Flint and Allie also have a tadpole farm going out back as well. As for normal Utah pets, we do have a neighbor dog that thinks she lives here. But the kids don't mind :)

Allie starts a ballet/tumbling class next week and is SO excited. Picked up her first ballet slippers yesterday. It has been fun to see her so excited to do something new. The first week, she kept reminding me that she would find new friends :( Luckily she has! Her favorites being a 4 yr. old boy Browan and a girl her age, Andalee. They happen to be from Utah and are in our new ward. Their dad is going to be in med. school at Campbell too.

Our ward is full of little toddlers, which has been great for us. Although Kale has discovered his strength and thoroughly enjoying pulling everyone to the ground by their shirts.... Not exactly pleased about this :) Okay, it was funny the first time. I am not the assistant nursery leader and Flint is in Scouts. We are glad to be getting involved.

Flint began orientation today and starts class Monday. A few nights ago we suddenly became a little overwhelmed. Not sure what it was... probably the booklist that included about 40 BOOKS that needed to be purchased this week. Between that and his CRAZY class schedule, we definitely have our work cut out for us. Let's just say I am finally going to have to learn how to mow the lawn... and everything else manly.

So here's to the next four years!! It should be exciting :) I will try and keep you all posted on our happenings out here in Coats, NC!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole


Had a sick little babe this weekend and needed a quick meal to put together before flint and Al got home from church. This worked out perfect and was delicious. not like all of those dry, bland casseroles I have tried before. definitely a keeper :) Enjoy!ingredients
  • 1 10 3/4 ounce can  cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 c. frozen peas
  • 2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
directions
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Stir the soup, water, rice, onion powder, black pepper and vegetables in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
  2. Top with the chicken. Cover the baking dish.
  3. Bake for 70 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Top with the cheese. Recover and cook 10 more minutes. Stir the rice before serving.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chicken Marsala

Can I just start out by saying that I hate when recipes say they are "quick" and "easy" and they're really not? Well, I must say that this recipe truly was! I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, in search of a yummy way to use up the rest of some mushrooms. Not only was it super delicious, but even my little Allie ate it up, which is quite the triumph lately. My husband loved it as well. I cooked some pasta, that was perfect topped with the wonderful marsala sauce, and steamed some broccoli on the side. I didn't have any marsala wine on hand tonight, so I subbed red cooking wine with a couple pinches of sugar. I also had no sherry, so I subbed white cooking wine. I'm sure it would be even better done right :) Enjoy this dish! So easy and good. 

Ingredients:


1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 T. butter
4 T. olive oil
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. marsala wine
1/4 c. cooking sherry

Directions:



  1. In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter in oil over medium heat. Place chicken in the pan, and lightly brown. Turn over chicken pieces, and add mushrooms. Pour in wine and sherry. Cover skillet; simmer chicken 10 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink and juices run clear.

Peanut Butter Brownies

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Janetta who I love :) She made them around the same time we found out Kale had a small peanut allergy.... I was breastfeeding the sweet baby boy at the time and let's just say my husband talked me into just tasting one... I then wanted the whole plate!!! Lucky for both Kale and I he has grown out of his allergy. I would hate for him to miss out on wonderful peanut butter brownies and all of their deliciousness! Has NOTHING to do with my OWN love for the stuff.... :) Enjoy! You will LOVE these. So moist and just yummy! Way better than peanut butter cookies.

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 lg. eggs
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. milk

Frosting:

1/3 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
4 T. milk

Directions:

Mix sugars, eggs, butters, milk and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix w/sugar/butter mixture. Spread into lightly greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. Cool and frost. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chocolate Lasagna



I have made this recipe from mandysrecipebox.blogspot.com on numerous occasions. Everyone goes nuts over it, including me.... It is the perfect combination of flavors and textures. Love it. Just a note... I have changed the recipe to my liking by subbing my own whipped cream for the cool whip. Nothing is as good as the real thing! But if you must, you must. No hard feelings :)

Ingredients

1 (15.5 oz.) package of Oreo cookies
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 pkg. (3.9 oz each)  Chocolate Instant Pudding
3 1/4 c. cold milk 
1 pint heavy cream, whipped & sweetened with powdered sugar & vanilla to taste
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar

Directions

Crush all Oreo cookies in a food processor until crushed. Save 1/2 c. of the crumbs for the topping. Pour the remaining crumbs into a 9x13 dish and add the melted butter. Stir and press into the bottom of the dish to make a crust. In a bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk. Set in the fridge for now. Blend cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar. Mix and fold in half of the whipped cream. Spread over the crust. Add pudding and spread over the cream cheese mixture. Top with the remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle the 1/2 c. Oreo crumbs over top. Chill and serve! SO ADDICTING!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Favorite Homemade Rolls w/Raspberry Butter


I just couldn't help myself this week and had to make these amazing rolls with this amazing butter. I have made many different roll recipes, but always come back to these. SO DELICIOUS. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do :)

Sweet Dinner Rolls

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. warm milk
1 egg
1/3 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3-3 3/4 c. flour (you can use all-purpose, but I like to use bread flour if I have it)
1 pkg. active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 c. butter, softened (optional)

Directions:

Dissolve 1 T. of the 1/3 c. sugar in the warm water. You don't want your water HOT, JUST WARM. Stir in yeast. Cover and let proof 10 min. Meanwhile, place milk, egg, 1/3 c. butter, sugar, and salt in mixing bowl (I use my kitchen aid standing mixer). When yeast is nice and foamy, add to bowl and begin kneading. Add flour until dough is smooth, but still a tad sticky to touch. The first few times I made them they did not turn out as soft as I would like and I found that I had been adding too much flour. So leave the dough a little sticky, but manageable. (I usually only use 3 c. flour) Knead 5-10 min. more. Place dough in oiled bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hr. Shape rolls into desired shapes and dip into 1/4 c. butter if desired. (I don't do this because of humidity in NC). Place in greased 9x13" pan. Cover and let rise 1 hr. more. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. Depending on your oven, oven temp and time may need to be adjusted. If you didn't dip your rolls in butter before, I often brush mine with butter once I take them out of the oven. (I don't do this in NC either)

Raspberry Butter

Adapted from thesisterscafe.com

1/2 c. raspberry jam w/seeds (I don't like to use Smuckers. The generic walmart brand is good :)
1/2 c. softened butter
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Beat with hand mixer till smooth. Enjoy! Store in refrigerator.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream


Can I just say that I love my ice cream maker? Holy moly homemade ice cream is simply amazing. The occasional beautiful weather in Utah this last month has really gotten me craving a summery treat. My parents are stopping by on their way through town tomorrow, so I decided to whip up this strawberry deliciousness. I use a cuisinart ice cream maker and first got this recipe out of their recipe book. Best strawberry ice cream I have ever had. Enjoy!


Ingredients

3 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cup sugar, divided
1-1/4 cups whole milk
2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours. Strain the berries, reserving juices. Mash or purée half the berries.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries, and vanilla. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the reserved sliced strawberries and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Favorite Versatile Dough


This is a recipe of my mom's, who has always been an amazing cook. She uses this dough for all kinds of things, scones, navajo tacos, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, you name it. One of my sweet little Allie's favorite things to do is help me make cinnamon rolls. And let me just say, she is SO much help :) So glad I had a girl to help me in the kitchen. Finding all of the leftover butter/cinnamon sugar mixture is her specialty. Love her and her little sweet tooth :) The dough is slightly sweet and raises nicely. Makes a lot of dough, so I like to divide it in four after it has raised once and freeze it for whenever I need it. Usually takes about 6-7 hours to thaw at room temp. I took mine out to thaw yesterday morning and we had a yummy pizza that night. My kids gobbled it up! Enjoy!

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 qt. hot water
1 c. sugar
1 T. salt
3 T. active dry
yeast in 3/4 c. water w/1 T. sugar
12+ c. flour

Dissolve 1 T. sugar in 3/4 c. warm water. Stir in yeast. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1 qt. hot water, 1 c. sugar, 1 t. salt and 1/2 c. softened butter in mixing bowl (I use my kitchenaid standing mixer).When yeast is nice and foamy, add it to the bowl. Begin mixing and add the flour slowly to the bowl until the dough it still a tiny bit sticky to the touch, but manageable. Be careful not to add too much, or the dough will be dry. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hr. Punch down and form dough for whatever your purpose...cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, etc. Cover and let rise for 1 hr. more. Makes 4 dozen cinnamon rolls, or atleast 4 cookie sheets full of pizza crust. Yum!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken


Let's just start by saying me and the crock pot have a love hate relationship. Love that it is so convenient, hate that it's hard to find crock pot recipes that I love. Found this super easy recipe on pinterest the other day. Worked out great for me on Sunday when I was busy keeping kids occupied during General Conference. Flint and I loved it, plus, I just happened to have everything on hand :) Enjoy!

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins
1 c. pineapple juice
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. light soy sauce

Mix it all together in the crock pot. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. (If you have a bigger crock pot like me, I suggest checking it at 4 hrs.) I made some white rice and gravy to go with ours. When chicken is done, pour juices into a saucepan on med. high heat. In a small bowl mix together 1-2 T. corn starch with a little bit of cold water. Slowly stir the mixture into the saucepan of juices. Remove from heat when it has reached your desired consistency. Now just pour over top your chicken and rice! Enjoy!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Easy & Delicious Meatballs

I wanted to make a crockpot stroganoff tonight, but the recipe called for meatballs.... which I don't have hanging around. Being carless... I improvised and made my own. Turned out DELICIOUS! I have a feeling my husband is going to be very happy around 5 o'clock tonight :) Found this recipe on allrecipes.com Enjoy!

Ingredients:










Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
  2. Mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, cream of mushroom soup, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and onion soup mix. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).