Girls love to communicate, whether it's chatting your ear off in person, texting, on the phone, or writing, they love to keep the conversation going. My granddaughters are no different, so I thought I would capitalize on that fact and give them a Christmas present that I can replenish on occasion using my own art, and give them a way to keep in touch that exercises their writing and penmanship skills. I took some photos I already had on my computer and used them to make cover sheets for their letters, and then added plain lined sheets using the colors I already used for their cover sheets. So they have one sheet with a nice graphic, and two plain lined sheets for each letter they might like to send. I also found pretty half size envelopes in colors to match each theme at the UPS store.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
All parts of the house and grounds are edible, which to me is the best part of a true gingerbread house. Now the waiting begins, we shall see who the winner is. I did have one woman pass me as she and her son were leaving the store and she gasped as she saw the house and said, " Oh, your house is so beautiful! It's the prettiest one here that I've seen!" So, if nothing else, I know that at least two people were delighted at what they saw, and that's the reason to created these. To delight the adults and evoke memories of childhood past, and to delight children and conjure dreams of sugar plums....
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
COCONUT CREAM PIE
1 1/2 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/2 T. granulated sugar
1/2 t. salt
6 T. cold or frozen butter, cut up
3 T. cold shortnening, or canola oil ( I used oil)
1 large egg yolk
2 t. lemon juice, or white vinegar
3 to 4 T. ice water, or as needed (because of the oil, I only used 2)
2/3 granulated sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. shredded coconut
WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
1 c. heavy cream, chilled
2 T. powdered sugar
1/2 c. toasted coconut
Okay, let's get started by putting together the crust. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar) in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add the cut-up chilled fats/oils. Working quickly and lightly, pinch and slide lumps of dough between your fingertips until the mixture resembles dry rice. This process layers the shortening and flour together, creating "leaves" that will form flakes when baked. If you use the oil like I did you may find it will be a bit lumpy but that's okay, don't overwork things, just get rid of big butter lumps. Add the yolk, lemon juice or vinegar, and the minimum amount of iced water. I only needed 2 tablespoons. Toss lightly, just until it clumps together. The dough should not be sticky, but clumps easily. The oil helped with that. Now form a flat 6 inch disk, wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill for at least 30 minutes. When ready to roll out and bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, I used the wrap to roll it out on. Be sure to flour the wrap though as the dough will stick to the plastic or paper if you use the oil. Fold in half and place in pan, opening and tucking into pie pan without stretching it. Crimp edges. Chill again then blind bake by lining the crust with foil and filling it 2/3 with dry rice or beans. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then remove liner and rice or beans and turn oven down to 350 and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool before filling.
To make the filling combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. In a bowl, whisk the milk and cream into the egg yolks. Whisk the egg-milk mixture into the cornstarch-sugar in the pan. Whisk well to be sure all the cornstarch is picked up off the bottom of the pan and dissolved.
Set pan over medium heat and cook the mixture for about 12 minutes, until thickened and brought to a boil. Stir on and off with a wooden spoon for the first 5 minutes, then stir constantly for abot 7 minutes longer, until the mixture really thickens and reaches a boil and you see fat heavy bubbles work up to the surface and burst. Use the whisk instead of the spoon occasionally to remove lumps. Boil for 1 full minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir in the coconut and spoon into the cooled pastry shell. Cover with plastic wrap to keep from forming a skin and refrigerate until just before ready to serve. In a cool bowl whip the one cup of cream, the powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spoon over chilled pie and sprinkle toasted coconut over the top. This is the BEST coconut cream pie I've ever tried, bar none. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
Monday, October 3, 2011
We thank thee O God for a prophet
to guide us in these latter days.
We thank thee for sending the gospel
to lighten our minds with it's rays!
We thank thee for every blessing
bestowed by thy bounteous hand.
We feel it a pleasure to serve thee,
and love to obey thy command.
I woke up this morning with this hymn running through my head, a wonderful way to start off the week. We celebrated our Autumn General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and were blessed to be spiritually fed by men and women of courage and fortitude, faith and love. So I share in part, the message of hope, that He lives and is real and loves us. May we all have a song in our hearts today!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
NO KNEAD, DUTCH OVEN BREAD
1/4 t. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 c. all purpose flour, wheat flour or a combination of. I used 2 cups white to one whole wheat
1 1/2 t. salt
In a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the salt and flour and blend well. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap if you have it and let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 8 but up to 12 to 18 hours. I started mine in the evening so I could finish it up the next day.
The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little flour and fold the dough over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. I used both flour and cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it's ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat you oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the over as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your had under the towle and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that's okay. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don't worry if it's not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover ena bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Spicy Zucchini Relish
6 c. each finely chopped zucchini and cucumbers
4 c. each finely chopped onion and bell peppers, including half red peppers and a couple of hot jalepenos
Place all veggies in an enamelware or stainless steel pan or glass bowl. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons of canning/pickling salt. Mix well. Cover and let sit over night, for about 8 hours and rinse.
Sterilize 6 pint or 12 half pint jars and sets of lids for all.
In a large pot combine:
4 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 T. curry powder
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 T. celery seed
1 T. dry mustard powder
Add rinsed vegetables and bring to a boil. Turn down to a slow boil and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle into hot jars, straining a little of the syrup off if needed so relish is not soupy. Put lids on firmly and hot water bath for about 10 minutes. As an aside, many of the recipes called for 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch, but if the veggies are drained well before cooking, the sugar and vinegar mixture should be the perfect consistency when cool.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Apple Galette for Two
1 cup flour
5 T. cold butter
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 c. thinly sliced apples
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. each apple pie spice and nutmeg
1 T. lemon juice
1 egg whisked with 1 T. water
1/2 cup apple jelly or apricot preserves
3 T. graham cracker or plain bread crumbs
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Shelf Reliance. They have awesome products so check them out. Anyhew...I then crumbled three slices of crisply cooked bacon, and added 1/2 cup Craisins. Don't you love Craisins?
I also added 1/2 cup minced sweet onion, 1/2 minced apple, 1/2 cup each plain yogurt and mayonnaise, 2 tsp. creamy horseradish, 1/2 tsp Lawry's, 1 1/2 tsp lemon pepper.
Chicken Salad Sandwich Spread
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts simmered in a small pot with 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning, and 1 tsp Lawry's Seasoning salt, chopped
1/2 cup each, Craisins, minced sweet onion, minced apple, mayonnaise, and plain yogurt
1/4 cup Thrive celery reconstituted, or 1/2 cup minced celery
3 slices bacon, cooked til crisp, crumbled
2 tsp lemon pepper, creamy horseradish
1/2 tsp Lawry's
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The sky is clear over the mountains, but as the sun came up over the horizon it shown through a cluster of clouds in glorious splendor, as if to say, "He is coming!" It was one of those, "I wish I had my camera!" moments, although the photo never quite seems to match what you see with the naked eye. A doe bounded away from my neighbor's yard as I started out, probably startled by the crazy lady in the pink visor trying to run up the hill.
I get to the top of the hill just in time to see a chipmunk circling something in the road, then he takes off with his treasure, his little tail straight up in the air as he dashes off. As I padded past the lake parking lot a covey of quail darted here and there on the road, trying to decide where to be, then all took to the air, thankfully, as a car was coming around the bend and I feared they would get hit. I turned to head back and spied a creature that looks sort of like a fox on steroids as he has very long legs, not what most foxes look like. He sat down to watch me pass, chewing on something he found under a tree.
Farther down the road I passed a man I see on occasion out walking his rottweiler. We tossed greetings at each other about the beautiful morning and then he said, "It's getting rather boring, having all this sunshine." Funny old Eeyore that he sounded like, he surely enjoys getting out each morning as he will walk at least a couple of miles.
On I trudge, only to meet up with a handsome young buck prancing across a parking lot. He and I parted ways quickly, him I'm sure, off to raid the flower beds of some unlucky home, and me to end up back at the homestead, ready to start the day.
So three miles and a run full of the good things God has placed here, I think I'm richer by far.....
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
It's funny how my mind meanders during Sacrament meeting as I listen to speakers share their thoughts on a subject. Today the topic was our pioneer heritage, and the sacrifices those folks made. One speaker compared their daily duties, to what he does each day, bringing up in particular the 10 minute drive he made to church in a truck sitting out in the driveway waiting to go, instead of having to groom and hitch up a team of horses to a wagon or buggy for a 45 minute ride to cover the same distance.
Recently my husband bought a new car, a Fiat 500 to be exact. Cute little cupcake isn't it?! The payments aren't too bad although it does take premium gas the mileage at 46 mpg on average more than compensates for that. We have been struggling with being a one car family due to circumstances beyond our control. With my needing to be in Tooele to help with my in-laws and Kent needing to travel back and forth for the same, having one car has been a difficult situation. So we bought this little car to help. Sure, we could have purchased a used car, but with the distance and travel we do Kent wanted to be safe. Kent was worried about how we would handle the payment with Annie going on her mission in about a month, but two days after he bought the car he found out he was getting a raise, almost enough to cover the payment amount. Why we are being continually blessed in this way is beyond me, but it shows that Heavenly Father loves us much more than we understand at times.
Now to the flowers. There are always two vases of fresh flowers on the podium in the chapel so of course what I see I think...lol... which took me to my flower beds at home that are in desperate need of tending to. I got to thinking about that, and how I seldom take the time to sit and enjoy them. Perhaps that's why we need to constantly weed and tend to our gardens, to put us where we can enjoy them once in awhile. Heavenly Father knows us better than we realize doesn't He?
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Yahoo! Finance - Best Day of the week to shop
I am planning a trip with my youngest daughter so I'm going to put this to the test. Let me know if you have some success yourself.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
2 cups plain low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons heavy cream, (optional but improves the texture and spreadability of the cheese)
cheesecloth (can be found at your local hardware store
Line the colander with the cheesecloth and clip to edges with clothespins or clips. Mix the yogurt and cream together and pour into the cheesecloth lined colander. Place the colander in/on a large bowl to catch the whey as it drains. Place in the refrigerator and allow the mixture to drain. After about 4 hours check to see how much of the whey has drained into the bowl and pour off. You can save and freeze the whey to be used in soups, gravy or bread. When whey stops draining, the yogurt cheese is ready. This will take about 48 hours. Don't worry about covering the colander. I noticed that I didn't have much whey drain off. Perhaps it was because I used non-fat yogurt, but anyhew, this still worked.
I seasoned my yogurt cheese with chopped chives, a few dashes of celery salt and some garlic powder. Wow, is that yummy! You can also make a sweet yogurt cheese for bagels and such by using vanilla flavored or fruit flavored yogurt. If you'd like to add fruit, use dried, snipped fruit and fresh will make the cheese runny.
Artisan Bread Dippers
Any good bread such as french, rye, or sourdough will do
Old Bay Seasoning
Slice bread about a half inch thick and brush both sides with butter. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning on both sides as well. Place on cookie sheet and toast under broiler until golden brown. Slice bread into strips and let cool. Serve with yogurt cheese and fresh fruit. Yummy!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Thus seems to be how my life has been lately, running on a wing and a prayer. I can tell I'm running so behind, and really not very in tune by the simplest of things. Today we talked about tithing in Relief Society. There was some great discussion, but I discovered as I was reading the June "Ensign" magazine our church puts out every month, while eating my lunch, that there was an even more in depth article on tithing, which happened to be the first one in the publication. The points of discussion in the article would have added to our discussion and better understanding, if, we had read THAT particular article when the magazine first arrived in the mail. So, a missed opportunity to share, because I'm so scattered and not as focused as I should be on taking advantage of the words of wisdom that are in the Ensign. Lesson learned I hope.
In the same magazine came an answer to a struggle I was having with helping a friend in need. My struggle is that I've a 3 day window to get some needed cleaning, organizing, and art work done. My friend has an appointment 2 hours away from here to see a neurosurgeon and was driving herself in to town. She has numbness in her hands which is starting to travel up her arms, she has severe arthritis and has trouble walking without help and the drive one way is enough to wear her out. So I volunteered to drive her in. I was feeling stressed about it though, and was praying in my heart to have some peace about the "to do" until I read in.... Luke 24:28-29 where the Savior was traveling through a village on his way to somewhere, and when spotted he was asked to stay and spend time with people there. Although he was headed elsewhere, he stayed, although unplanned. The article states that sometimes the greatest opportunities to bless and serve come when it isn't convenient. Such also was the case of the good Samaritan, who interrupted his journey to minister to a stricken man's needs. There is no way I would have peace knowing she was driving in to town without an adult with her to help. I will drive, we will see her doctors, then go have a good lunch somewhere. On the way we can visit, which I get so little time to do with friends anyway. I have a feeling that I will be the one blessed.......
Now I'm ready to start making phone calls to family members to get a tally on who is coming to our reunion in two weeks. I couldn't find the list, or so I thought, as it's been a bit since I sent out letters and a myriad of events, tasks and so on had clouded my memory as to where I put the list of phone numbers. So I got down and said a prayer after unloading the pocket of my computer bag where I thought I had last seen the list, and lo and behold, after the prayer I looked down and there was the list! Yes, it was in the pile, but not readily seen. So, life these days is running on a wing and a prayer, but who can doubt that prayers are answered?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The robins were dancing around slithering worms in the road as I went for a run this morning. It seemed as if I'd been transported back to Oregon as the drizzle touched my cheeks. The air, washed clean by the night's rain was sweet and clear, refreshing my lungs and energizing my spirit. My heart was full to bursting as I marveled at the beauty of our rugged desert terrain and the gift it is from God. Aahhhhh! What a way to start a day!
My words of wisdom for today have to do with safe driving. I don't know about you, but driving a small car on the freeway can be a daunting experience, especially when large semi-trucks blow by and seem to want to take you with them in their air stream. My tip is this, watch your rear view and keep an eye on those trucks as they come up behind you. Most truck drivers are very responsible and will make sure they pass you safely, but on occasion there are those who should have never been let behind the wheel of anything, much less a large truck. Because of the weather the last few months, I've had several instances where a truck would blow by me, but a gust of wind would swing their trailer end in my direction, yipes! Once or twice there have been drivers who couldn't seem to wait until they got by me before they moved back into the right hand lane. On our way back from Flagstaff a few weeks ago, a trucker had just gotten her cab past our tiny car when she pulled back into our lane. IF I hadn't been watching her, we would have been wiped off the road and I wouldn't be here to share this. I had to swing over to the shoulder, slam on the brakes, and no I didn't swear, but I did lay on the horn. Luckily no one was following her too closely so we were safe from that direction. We got back on the road and caught up with her, she was going 70 in a 65 MPH zone, took down the truck number and the company phone number and slowed down to 60 while Kent called the incident in. Later on down the road she was pulled off, staring at her cellphone and not looking too happy. We suspect this wasn't the first time for her as we got a phone call a few days later saying she'd been terminated and they were apologizing for the incident.
We are grateful for my having been conditioned to watch for the trucks, as we are still here, but I wonder how many other folks haven't been so lucky. So stay safe, watch your hinder ender as Thelma used to say, and be well.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
SOUTHWEST CHIPOTLE CHICKEN AND RICE
1 1/2 lbs, boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast, cubed
2 bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2- 4 chipotle chilies in adobo, diced
1/2 a fresh orange, peeled and diced
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/4 cup sweet chili dipping sauce, I used Mae Ploy
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. horseradish
1 t. salt or less depending on your taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, ginger and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add veggies and saute until veggies start to soften, sprinkling with salt to help the process. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook just until veggies are crisp tender, about 10 minutes. Serve over cooked rice. Yield, 4 - 6 servings. Bon appetite!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
My desire has always been to have an eternal family. It took me awhile to fully understand the importance of following certain doctrines and commandments set by God to achieve that goal. I've made my share of poor decisions over the years, partly due to feelings of unworthiness regarding Heavenly Father and the Saviors love, but through trial and error, a lot of error, I'm heading in a better direction because I love my children and grandchildren enough.
I'm grateful to know that families can be together forever. I know I've said that over and over again, but with our recent visit to Arizona, and the heart rending goodbyes we have to make after a visit with our grandson and mommy, it's so comforting to know that no matter what happens we will see each other again some day, and if we obey the commandments, there will come a time when we don't ever have to say goodbye again. Won't that be wonderful??? I know that some folks don't even try because they think they can never make it, but I'm here to tell you that if I can make it anyone can! If we are honestly doing our best, the Savior has made up the gap for us. That's also very comforting as I know I will never be perfect in this life. I'm very lousy at setting goals, so I think I will type up and print off the quote from Elder Oakes to remind me every day to keep my eyes and heart set on the right desires.
What are your desires?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
We tried a new Easter sweet bread this year, these cinnamon flavored, currant filled buns. Traditionally served on Good Friday, they are so good, I wouldn't wait until then to bake and serve these soft little gems.
HOT CROSS BUNS
4 - 4 1/2 c. Best for Bread flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. active dry yeast
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. each butter and canola oil
1/2 c. currants
1 egg white, beaten
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. soft butter
1-2 T milk
1/2 t. vanilla
Grease a 15x10 jelly roll pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl combine 1 1/2 flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and yeast; blend well. In small saucepan heat 3/4 cup milk and fats until very warm.
Add warm liquid and eggs to flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Stir in currants and an additional 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups flour until dough pulls away cleanly from sides of bowl.
On floured surface, knead in 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl and cover. Let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Punch down dough several times to remove all air bubbles. Allow to rest on counter covered with inverted bowl for 15 minutes. Divide dough into 24 parts; shape into balls. Place in prepared pan; brush with egg white. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 35 to 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake buns 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly. In small bowl combine all frosting ingredients; beat well. Using a pastry tube or bag, pipe crosses on each bun. If frosting is too thick for pastry tube, stir in additional milk a drop at a time until desired consistency. Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Mexican Pesto, but it was one of those weekends where it was either run away with the computer to a quiet place..... or tend to the tasks at hand. Since today is a day I can have more flexibility, here I am! I started with a flour tortilla that I warmed over a hot burner, flipping and pulling the tortilla across the hot spiral until it was soft and toasted.
Mexican Pesto Turkey Wrap
Mexican Pesto Sauce - 1/3 each plain yogurt, real mayo and Mexican Pesto
chopped green onion, one per wrap
pepper jack or shredded extra sharp cheese
Mexican Pesto Turkey Wrap
Mexican Pesto Sauce - 1/3 each plain yogurt, real mayo and Mexican Pesto
chopped green onion, one per wrap
pepper jack or shredded extra sharp cheese