Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Candy Jar Craft

The "big" Christmas gift i got for M this year wasn't big at all. In fact, it was the cheapest thing i got him, money-wise. But i made it myself, and tried my best to make it special.



One of the childhood memories M always talks about (though there are many) is Granddad's Candy Bucket. His Granddad always had an ice cream bucket full of candy that he would pass around when they would visit. He loves to talk about how his dad would always say sternly, "Only two!", and his granddad would quietly give each child a handful.

M would usually begin or end the story with "we should have a candy bucket like granddad!"

Being a crafter, i have to make everything fancy. An ice cream bucket isn't fancy, no matter how hard you try to make it so, and i wanted to make M something fun for Christmas using the candy bucket idea. Then i saw this over at I Heart Naptime.

She had designed hers to be a Halloween jar, and had access to a Silhouette to put vinyl on the glass, so hers is better looking than mine. But i loved the idea, and i really wanted to make my own.

My first thought was to paint up the pot with an orange and black basketball pattern, but then i thought since it was inspired by Granddad, it should be Scottish. The colors are the colors of the Gunn tartan, and I was going to use a tartan ribbon i had left over from our wedding, but i decided  that in the end, it looked better without it.  Please be gentle about the lettering - it was such a pain, and i didn't care enough to fix the gap between the A and the second D. 

What do you think?



It is a very inexpensive and fun project. I think it's adorable. I especially love that, with the Scottish colors, the lid looks like a little Tam o' Shanter.

Check out I Heart Naptime if you want to make your own! My suggestion - get the bowl first! It's so much easier to match the pots to the bowl than the bowl to the pots. The Wal-Mart where i got the bowl only had it in one size.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recipe Time: Turkey Pot Pie

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving! We haven't had our turkey yet (it's still thawing in the fridge!), but we were invited to a friend's house to share in their festivities. Their food was amazing, and the kids had a great time playing with the 6 billion other kids that were there.

I had intended to post this recipe a while ago, but never got around to it. Now I figured since a lot of people probably have a great deal of leftover turkey, it would be appropriate to post it now. It is AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!!

Note: If you're feeding lots of people, i find that 1-1/2 times the filling and double the crust fills a 9X13 perfectly! If you try to double the filling, it will bubble over the edges.



Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie

FILLING:
3 tbsp. Margarine or butter
¼ c. chopped onion
1 clove fresh garlic (minced)
⅓ c. flour
1½ c. Chicken broth
1 c. milk
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh, chopped and mostly cooked - i just like peas and corn)
1 tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. pepper
2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
(if you're salt sensitive, use homemade* or low sodium broth, or use 1/2 tsp. of salt instead of a full one.)

Melt butter in large saucepan.
Add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft.
Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until blended.
Add chicken broth and milk and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and bubbly. (the flour/butter mixture is really thick, so i find using a whisk is best - beats out the lumps)
Remove from heat. Add frozen vegetables and turkey. Pour into 9x13 baking dish (or a slightly smaller casserole dish, if you have one).

CRUST:
1 c. flour
⅓ c. margerine
¾ tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. water
½ tsp salt

Stir together crust ingredients until the form a soft dough. Roll out on lightly floured surface until slightly bigger than baking dish.
Carefully lay over top of filling, tucking in the edges.
Bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling (about 30 - 45 minutes).

*For those who don't know how to make homemade broth, it's fairly simple. Put all the bones and skin in a big pot, cover completely with water, add a couple carrots, onions, celery stalks (cut veggies in large chunks - they're just for flavor), black peppercorns, and bay leaves and boil gently for a couple hours.  Strain out the skin, bones, veggies, and spices and place broth in the fridge. As it cools, the fat will float to the top and harden, and you can scrape it off easily. Saves money on store bought, and it still tastes great!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recipe Time: Brined Chicken

Chicken is quite possibly my favorite meat, but is not always my favorite to cook with. I only really cook with boneless, skinless pieces because i don't know what to do with all the bones and skin! I have ONE recipe that uses chicken pieces, and you have to remove the skin anyway, which is a real pain if you don't buy it that way. I love roast chicken with stuffing, but have a hard time getting the chicken to cook without drying out (turkey is a bit easier). I've been trying to find recipes for chicken pieces (or whole chickens) that i like, because they're SO much cheaper than boneless! 

Our first night in Minnesota, my Dad made us brined chicken for dinner. I was skeptical, because instantly pickles came to mind ("brine", right?) and didn't think pickle-flavoured chicken would be all that great. But this was absolutely AMAZING! I've never had chicken so juicy and flavorful! No sauces or gravies needed! We actually did a lot of picking at the chicken while waiting for the rest of the meal to cook.

For this recipe, you will need a roaster deep enough so that you can put your chicken in it and have it completely submerged in the brine. My dad used a whole chicken and a few extra pieces. When we came home, there was a BOGO sale on back attached chicken breasts, so we used those.

And here are the ingredients:


A whole chicken, or a bunch of chicken pieces. This time it was thighs for us. I think i got about nine or ten thighs in the bottom of my small roaster, and i only needed half the brine. When i used the back attached breasts, i got six big pieces on the bottom of my BIG roaster, and this was just enough brine to cover them all!

Brine:
8 c. Water
1/2 c. Salt
1/2 c. White Sugar
1/3 c. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. each of: Tarragon leaves, Thyme leaves, Rosemary leaves, and ground black pepper

Olive oil

Combine the brine ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. You can mix it in the pot you're using, or you can mix it in a seperate dish or pitcher (like i used) and pour it over the chicken. If you're not sure how much your pot will be able to contain, i suggest mixing the brine seperately.



Place the raw chicken in the pot - make sure it's not higher than the brim of the pot. Add brine - make sure chicken is completely covered. (Mine's not completely covered in the photo because my pieces are floating... I just flip them over after a few hours. Haha!)
Cover and refrigerate. The recipe i have says 2-8 hours, mostly because they're worried about bacteria growth. If you have a nice cold fridge and your chicken is nice and fresh, that's not as much of a worry, i think. I like to make sure the chicken is good and soaked, so i prepare the chicken the night before (just easier for me), so it ends up sitting anywhere between 14 - 20 hours. Dad left his in for 12 and it was perfect. I'd say no less than 6-8 for sure.
When ready to roast, drain the brine (if there's a little bit left in the pot, it's not a huge deal. If you're making broth later, it'll make it nice and flavorful!
Brush the chicken skins with olive oil and roast - however you normally roast it. I cooked it covered, and put it in at 350 for about 3 or 3 1/2 hours, but it also depends on how much chicken you're using.

The "brining" picture above is from the chicken that's in my fridge right now. Here's a photo of one of the breasts i did the other day. Scrumptious!


You can even see from a photograph how juicy this chicken is!!


I also learned about making broth while i was in Minnesota, so i figured i'd try that too. I boiled the bones and skin for several hours, then strained them out, cooled the broth and scraped off the fat, and made chicken noodle soup out of it!


Look at me getting all industrious! I even made the noodles! Can you tell? Hahaha, they're ENORMOUS and all weird shapes - in my defence, i'd never made noodles before. It was harder than it looked! I think i used too much flour...)


(yes, i need a new rolling pin!)

Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Cheapest Microwave Popcorn Ever!

M and I are rabid popcorn eaters. No, really! When we sit down for popcorn and a movie, we each have our own bowls (it works out because we are complete opposites when it comes to the amount of butter we use). There have been periods in our lives where "Popcorn Night" was EVERY night for a week or two.
But our popper isn't a great one, so making popcorn is always a chore. It only pops about half the seeds, so we have to sift out the popped corn and put the rest of the seeds back through to pop them. Either that, or waste a LOT of popcorn. And it spits popcorn all over the floor, which has to be swept up. I was always of the opinion that maybe a microwave popcorn bowl would work better, but they're pricey, and the ones i've used STILL left a lot of seeds unpopped.
I was browsing blogs the other day, and came across a "Make your own microwave popcorn!" post. I would reference you to the blog, but i can't find it. Besides, she got the idea from ANOTHER blog anyway.
But it's simple, cheap, quick, and awesome! I don't know why i never thought of it before! So, here i am, sharing it with you. I hope it isn't TOO obvious - it was news to me!!

First, gather your supplies: 1/4 cup popcorn seeds (any kind will do!), a paper lunch bag, tape, butter, and salt.


Put the seeds in the bag, fold over twice, and tape shut.


Put bag on it's side in the microwave, and use the "popcorn" button, or whatever time setting your microwave usually needs for normal microwave popcorn. On mine it's about 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
*hint* most microwave popcorn packages tell you to wait until the "pops" are 3-4 seconds apart, and that's how you know it's done. That doesn't really work for this. Trust me, i burned two bags before i got the right time. 

Remove from microwave and pour into bowl.


Then add the butter...


... and salt...


... and enjoy!!


A healthy, delicious snack in 5 minutes flat! I told M we're never buying microwave popcorn again (Sorry, Mr. Reddenbacher)!! Not only is this snack completely free of all those preservatives and oils and dyes and who knows what else, but it tastes so much better too!!

And the cool thing is, you can reuse the bag!! Heehee.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recipe Time: This One Comes With a Warning!

I saw this recipe here on Sherbet Blossom, and decided that i HAD to try it!


This is my own photo of it - sorry it's a bit fuzzy. A word of caution: If you are on a diet, or watching your weight, DO NOT follow the link above! You are pretty much guaranteed to gain five pounds just by reading this recipe! Everyone else, make at your own risk!

I had to make sure i made it on a day when we had company so there were other people to eat it. And I STILL have half a pan left!! But they are SOOOO delicious and addicting!! Somebody come eat them, and save my poor hips from further expansion!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

FHE: Cookies and the Scriptures

In our church, Monday nights are set aside for what is called "Family Home Evening". The church holds no events or meetings on Monday nights, and encourages members to stay home and teach, play, and generally spend time with their family. Since M works late most evenings, and ALWAYS late on Mondays, we move our Family night to accommodate his schedule. For the past few weeks Fridays have been his earlier shifts, so they've worked well for us.

This week, the assignment fell on me to prepare the lesson. Since M doesn't cook, and i am determined to teach him AND our boys to cook at least a few basic things, I decided that once a month, on one of my lesson weeks, i would prepare a "cooking lesson". For our first one, since M wouldn't be home in time for us to make dinner together, we made dessert - double chocolate chip cookies! This recipe is the best I've ever tasted, and is solely responsible for my massive, pre-SparkPeople weight gain. But I'm pregnant now, and M and the boys are more than willing to devour as many as possible for the sake of their mother's hips.

The boys had a great time, and laughed hysterically when it came their turn to hold the mixer.



They enjoyed licking the beaters afterwards....



... while dad stirred in the chocolate chips (i was determined to do as little as possible, as it was supposed to be THEIR learning experience).


umm.... yeah... M isn't wearing his teeth. Can you tell?? Hahaha!
Then i gave them each a spoon and a tray so they could form the cookies...
M made his really big...


E made his too small, and mom had to keep adding dough to them...


(those crumbs right below his fingers? yeah, that's how big his cookies were)
R used his spoon to eat the dough rather than drop cookies on the sheet, so mom took it away and he contented himself with stirring the big bowl...


While the cookies baked, we had our lesson. I'm going to summarize it here, because it was put together "on the fly", as it were, and i was surprised and impressed with how much baking cookies can be parallelled with living the Gospel.

(just for emphasis, I'll say again, I had NO IDEA where I was going to go with the lesson, as i hadn't planned one beyond baking cookies. So the fact that it went together so well was pretty fun!)

I explained to the boys about the recipe we used to make the cookies. We talked about how a recipe is a list of ingredients and instructions for making something good. I showed them all my other recipes that i use for cooking different foods. I even told them a story that immediately came to my mind; when i was about 9 or 10, i wanted to make a pizza and was determined to do it on my own. I made a dough of flour, water, and salt, and despite my mother's warnings that i needed yeast and other things if i wanted it to turn into pizza dough, i insisted i knew what i was doing and went ahead, topping it with tomato sauce and cheese. Well, you can imagine the pizza tasted horrible! I didn't follow a recipe, and even though it looked, smelled, and felt like dough before it went in the oven, once it came out of the heat it became all too obvious that it had not been properly prepared.

Then I asked the boys, "Did you know that there is a recipe that tells us how to make a happy life?" And we explained to them about the scriptures, and about how living the principles of the Gospel has helped us so many times in our own lives, and helped us to be happy and find peace. M, in brilliant inspiration was able to find us a scripture to read:

"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." 2 Nephi 32:3

(I love that it even had "feast" in there... heehee)

During the entire process, E kept asking us, "Are they cookies now? Can we eat them?"
And so, when the cookies came out of the oven, I showed him a tray of unbaked cookies....


And then the tray of baked cookies...


And i explained how the cookies were not actually cookies until they had been baked, and now that they were baked we could eat them. 

M, still in "scriptorian mode", and rifling through his scriptures, mentioned the verse about "the refiner's fire", and a light went on in my head! If we use my experience with the pizza dough, and our cookies as examples, it shows that a food may be prepared any way, but whether or not you have followed the recipe correctly does not become apparent until it "goes through the fire" (literally for us, because ours is a gas oven. haha!), or is baked. Similarly, we must all be tested and tried, and whether we have followed the "recipe" the Lord has laid out for us becomes apparent only after we have come through our trials. As M put it, with regards to my pizza dough, "those who don't follow, or don't know, the commandments don't know where they're going wrong until... it's time!" 

I then told the boys that we wanted to "follow the recipe" and be delicious cookies. E didn't much like the idea of being a cookie, but he's too young to get metaphor anyway.

I love the Gospel, I love my boys, and i love my husband! We work so well together!

For fun, here's a couple more pictures:


I was taking R's picture (he likes to do the weird squinky eye thing...), and E's expression is his "take my picture too, mom!" face. 
(Side note - the boys each had three cookies - right before bedtime!! I wonder if they'll ever fall asleep....)
 
Aaaaand.... My cookie recipe!!!

1 c. Margarine or butter (somehow, i find Becel makes the best cookies!)
1 1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
2 lg. Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 c. Flour
2/3 c. Cocoa Powder
3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 c. (or one bag) Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream together margarine and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix until light and fluffy.
Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Stir in Chocolate Chips.
Drop on UNGREASED cookie sheet in 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen cookies (depending on how big you make them).


Now, i'm going to go help myself to another one right now, while the chocolate chips are still melty...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Recipe Time: Cake... Just Cake...

There is an episode of Bewitched where Samantha, very pregnant with their second child (Adam), starts to get obsessed with food, and her magic suddenly starts to work on its own to make whatever food she craves suddenly appear. Then the Witch Doctor comes and puts a spell on her to stop it, but somehow reverses it so instead of the food coming to her, she goes to the food, making many awkward situations for her and her mortal husband.

I mention this because on particular line has been stuck with me lately... A comment her (mortal) doctor makes at one point: "I've never known an expectant mother who was so preoccupied with food!" 

This is how i have felt, especially the past few weeks. Perhaps it's because my kitchen is now clean daily, which means i have lots of space for cooking (and i've always loved cooking!). Perhaps it's because I have a blog now, and second only to my love of cooking is sharing my cooking. Perhaps it's simply because, well, I'M PREGNANT! Hahaha! But whatever the reason, i can't seem to stop thinking about food! Unlike Samantha, however, i don't have magical powers to bring whatever food i crave instantly to my hands (but how awesome would that be?!), so i have to cook the things i want.

Well, at the beginning of the week i got an intense craving for a cherry cake my mom used to make. I phoned her up, and after playing phone tag for a day or two, I finally got to talk to her, and got the recipe from her!

This cake is so quick and easy and amazingly delicious! I'm eating a piece as i type this, and it's awesome. Heehee!



My mom calls this a "Coffee Cake", M calls it "Pie Cake", and a friend of ours called it a "Shortcake", so that's why i don't really have a name for it. We'll go with "Coffee Cake" (even though we don't drink coffee!) since that was first.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can (540 mL) Pie filling (we use Cherry - we like it best!)
cinnamon and sugar

Beat eggs in medium bowl until yolks are well blended. Slowly add in sugar.
Add in oil and mix on medium speed until well blended. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
Spread half of mixture on bottom of 9x13 cake pan or casserole dish. Carefully spread pie filling evenly over bottom layer. Carefully spread remaining batter on top.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes (on my oven 40 minutes is about perfect).
Serve with wipped cream or ice cream.

And as a small piece of advice - when storing leftover cake, do NOT cover with plastic wrap! The cake will "sweat" and the sugar on top will make the cake REALLY sticky. Cover loosely with a lid, or a cloth, or something that will allow a little air in so that the top crust stays nice and crisp.


Oh, how i love it!! 
(And please forgive the dirty plate - i was getting second helpings for Josh and myself, and i had cleaned my own plate for a photo, but Josh's slice looked better than mine.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Recipe Time: Beef on a Bun

Just two days before M got all his teeth yanked out (he got dentures - long story), there was a 20% off all meat sale at the local grocery store. I stocked up, but obviously didn't consider M's upcoming operation and bought lots of steaks and a beef roast! Since M is still on a soft food diet, for the most part, i've been trying to come up with recipes that included more on the side of meat than eggs and canned tuna. We aren't exactly voracious carnivores, but we always have meat once a day, at dinnertime. And there's only so many times you can eat pork chops super-marinated in cream soup gravy before you get tired of them.
So i decided to make good use of this roast to make beef on a bun. We hardly ever have it, simply because of the time involved in making it, but it is SO good! Today i finally got up the energy to do it, and I thought i'd share my recipe on here. Actually, I got it from my sister, and i'm not entirely sure where she got it...

Anyway, on to the recipe!

1 boneless beef roast (3 lbs)
1 3/4 c. beef broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped

3/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt (if you don't like a lot of salt, you could probably reduce this, or go entirely without - packaged broth these days has lots of salt in it already)
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (don't ask me why there's powdered AND fresh garlic in this recipe....)
1/4 tsp. paprika

Remove the string(s) from around the roast and place in roaster. Add onion, celery, and broth. Bring to a boil on stovetop. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove roast and place on cookie sheet (for me it was easiest to have a nice big surface to shred the meat), and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, strain vegetables from broth (save the broth!) and return vegetables to roaster.
Shred beef with two forks, discarding fat strips (or keep them, if you like that sort of thing... *wink*). Return beef to roaster.
Skim fat from broth, and add 1 1/2 cups of broth to meat and vegetables.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil on stovetop, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf before serving.



This beef tastes just as good as leftovers, and you can also cook it up one day, freeze it, and reheat on the stove or in a slow cooker for a quick and delicious dinner! I'm thinking i might do this again later on and add it to my post-new-baby freezer meals!


mmmmm....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Alopecia Day!

Today was National Alopecia Day! It used to be called "Bald Out Day", and Alopecia World would try and set up events to raise awareness for Alopecia, including encouraging all those with the condition to show their true, beautiful selves, and go the entire day without hats, wigs, or other coverings.

I meant to do up my makeup (really, i'm truly frightening without it!), and take a picture of myself this morning, but i ended up being crazy busy all day reorganizing and dejunking my house! But there was a broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on tonight at the church, and i ended up doing makeup for that, and just snapped a photo before i put my wig on. Now i just need some great editing software to get rid of all the pregnancy acne...

The reason i wanted to do this is because I had never before been brave enough to post a "bald photo" of myself on facebook, and i decided that for Bald Out day i was finally going to do it! I still wasn't brave enough to go out in public with my bald head on display, but ... baby steps.
So here I am! Happy Alopecia Day!


(P.S. Please excuse the fact that my face is much redder than my head... you can see the tan line across my forehead that came from spending hours in the sun with a bandanna on.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Love to See The Temple

Yesterday, M had the day off. I had asked him a week or so ago if he would be willing to stay home and look after our boys so i could make a day trip to Edmonton to go to the Temple.

Some of you who belong to the LDS church know and understand why i would drive four hours down in the morning and four hours back home in the evening just to spend two hours in the temple. And for those readers who don't understand, let me simply say that it is SO worth it!

The wonderful feelings of peace, joy, and strength that i feel is indescribable. And who could resist taking any opportunity to visit a place this beautiful??


(Directly to the left of the photo is a meetinghouse, so it's impossible to get a front-facing angle)
I love this place, especially when it's summer and all the trees and flowers are in full bloom! Josh and i were married here, so this particular temple has a special place in my heart!

After going through, i always make sure to walk the gardens - Don't they just look amazing??


The LDS temples and their grounds are the most peaceful places in the world. And if anyone needed a little peace this week, I sure did!



And for my curious visitors, here is a little information on the LDS temples:

What are they for?

"Temples are places of learning. Their principal purpose is to provide ordinances necessary for the children of God to enable them to return to dwell with Him. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything in the Church—the meetings and activities, the missionary efforts, the lessons taught and the hymns—all lead to the work done in holy temples.

"One ordinance received in the temple is called the endowment. The word endowment means "gift," and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God. The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants to live righteously and follow the requirements of the gospel. The endowment focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father's plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him.

"Another temple ordinance is celestial marriage. In this ordinance husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity. A sealing performed in the temple continues forever if the husband and wife are faithful to the covenants they make.

"... People who have died without these essential gospel ordinances may receive those ordinances through the work done in temples. Acting in behalf of ancestors and others who have died, Church members are baptized and confirmed, receive the endowment, and participate in the sealings of husband to wife and children to parents." (Taken from The LDS Church Website)

This video talks about WHY we built temples. They say it so much better than i ever could. Please take a moment to enjoy:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Recipe Time: Strawberry Bread

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted a recipe for Strawberry Bread on her blog. I was instantly intrigued - I've heard of banana bread and zucchini bread, but strawberry bread?? I am what you might call a strawberry maniac, so i marked it down as one to try as soon as possible!

Well, today was that day! I had bought some strawberries on sale at the store that were getting too ripe - and thus too soft - to eat, so i figured they'd be perfect!

Check out this beauty:


and the inside...


Those moist morsels of strawberry in the middle are simply heaven!

(i did mention the crummy quality of my camera, right?? Good, so long as you know.)

You can find her recipe here. She uses ground flax to give the bread a nutritious boost, and from what she says, you can hardly tell it's there. I didn't have any, and wasn't sure if i should leave it out altogether, or replace it with something. In the end, i replaced it with an equal measure of flour, which i now know is most likely unnecessary - my loaf was really crumbly.

Today hasn't been a great day for baking anyway. The strawberry bread took a lot longer to bake than i thought (probably because of that extra flour!), and my plain bread, which was rising in the intirim, rose too high, and then fell a little and got wrinkly on the top. *sad face*

Then, after finally getting that strawberry loaf out of the oven, i realized that i had forgotten to grease the pan! And this is what happened to the other side of the bread....


*tear*

Oh, well. Both breads still ended up delicious!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Potluck in a Pinch

So, the story starts with something completely unrelated - our new fire pit. We've wanted one for a LONG time, and finally got one yesterday! I am now looking for excuses to use it. Since we signed up to feed the missionaries on friday, i thought that would be a GREAT opportunity to use the fire! We have smokies and buns already! And then i thought, now we have a fire pit, we could actually have people over (which, sadly, we never do). So i began organizing an event, and thinking of people i'd like to invite.

Then i began looking over my list - Our barbecue is on friday, i have to bring a snack to the Soccer Tournament on saturday, we're going to the city from sunday to tuesday, i have to bring snack to play group on thursday... I had quite a list building of things i had to buy and prepare food for!

Then i got a phone call about the Relief Society barbecue tonight - oops, i'd forgotten one! So i sat down and put my brain to work - i need to have some sort of salad/side dish ready in two hours. I don't like buying kits or pre-made salads from the store, and just plain lettuce with dressing - boring. The thing about Relief Society dinners, is that the women like to show off their culinary skills - at least some do, and i freely admit to being one of them.

I was going to make 24 Hour Salad (what my Grandma called her ambrosia-type fruit salad), but i didn't have enough time (it's called that for a reason!), and for some reason nothing sounded as good in comparison!

But i came up with a quick and easy alternative. From ingredients i already had on hand:


Man, how i love fruit!! So, two apples, two bananas, a half pint of blueberries, and a pound of strawberries, washed, cubed, and tossed with raspberry flavored yogourt... In about ten minutes i had this:


It's delicious AND pretty!
It's probably not the MOST cost effective recipe in the world, but with all of it being in season, and a little going a long way, it's not too bad. Besides, with our store's reward program, i got the yogourt for free. *wink*

And it was a hit at the potluck too!! Lucky for us i had some extra fruit, and i set some aside just for us. Mmmmm... i think i'll go raid the leftovers...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recipe Time: Glorified Hamburgers

This is not a new recipe - as a matter of fact, i think it's older than i am! But I made them for dinner tonight (it'd been a while!), and as i sat there, savoring every bite, i thought "I should blog this one... I love it so much!"  It really helped that it turned out to be EXACTLY what i was craving tonight! haha!
So, here it is! A simple and delicious twist on ye olde hamburger!

Glorified Hamburgers
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. rolled oats
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. pepper
Mix together in large bowl, form into patties and cook in frying pan until cooked through.
Make sauce:
1 c. Ketchup
2 tbsp. white sugar
6 tbsp. chopped onion
3 tbsp. Vinegar
3/4 c. Water
Stir sauce ingredients together in large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling. Add burgers, reduce heat and simmer for 45 mins - 1 hour.


Serve the burgers with or without buns, or you could even make meatballs instead of patties. Our favorite side is white rice drizzled with the sauce. Yumm!