America’s Test Kitchen

June 28, 2007 at 7:37 pm (Things I love)

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I am now at the point in my pregnancy where I’m preparing freezer meals for after the baby is born. Usually this consists of spaghetti sauce and chicken enchilada casserole. last week however, while at Costco, I noticed a new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. The book is called,The Best Make Ahead Recipe , and it’s full of wonderful things that can be frozen for future use. For those of you who don’t love America’s Test Kitchen the way that Amy F., Jessica S. and I do, let me just tell you about it. It’s all good. These are the people who publish Cook’s Illustrated which is kind of like the Consumer’s Digest for cooking. They don’t accept any advertising and so their recommendations don’t have any strings attached. Also, their recipe for lemon pound cake is to die for. It’s not in my new cookbook, but I believe it’s in their huge Family cookbook, which is also available at Costco. I don’t mean to plug Costco so much, but if you’re going to buy a book, you might as well go to the cheapest place for books.

The other night I made creamy chicken penne with mushrooms. I don’t know how it tastes yet, because I froze both servings, but it looks good. As a side note, the recipe called for white wine. Normally I don’t use wine for cooking, but after I read Taylor’s risotto comments (check out the Feed your family link), and now that I don’t have to go to the state liquor store, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Just a word of caution for those of you who might want to cook with wine, but don’t drink: a corkscrew comes in handy! I used to have a whole supply of corkscrews when I worked at the hotel, but that was many a year ago, and now all I have is a missing Swiss Army Knife. Doug wasn’t impressed to see the full bottle of wine just sitting on the counter, and my only reply was how Taylor said we weren’t really living if we didn’t cook with wine (I don’t know if that just applied to the Risotto recipe, but I figured I could take creative license). Anyway, heads up: buy a corkscrew, or get a bottle with a screw top!

p.s. Doug is very worried about the appearance of evil, and so I want to make sure that you all know that we’re still active in the church!!

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My attempt at M. Proust

June 27, 2007 at 3:14 am (Random Thoughts)

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Some of you have heard me wax poetic about my in laws (there is a reason no one on the Roberts’ side of the family has been informed of this blog!). Just in case any of you would consider doubting my version of the Roberts’ eccenticities I include the above photo of my mother and father-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. Ghangis Khan. I’m sure you can all imagine how fun the family get togethers are! Ah, I jest (kind of!). My in-laws are serving a mission in Mongolia right now; I think it’s one of those new fangled sight seeing missions.

On a completely separate topic: 100 Calorie Pack Chips Ahoy… don’t believe the hype! When I was at the diabetes class yesterday (a whole other rant for another day), the RN leading class said that the 100 calorie pack snack were a completely satisfying snack. All I can say is that random aftertaste is NOT completely satisfying. Now, I have two boxes of these in the pantry and all I can hope is that Samuel will try and sneak these in the middle of the night istead of the capri Suns!

Also, to be completely random, what is with doctor’s who make you sign a form saying that you won’t be more than fifteen minutes late? I don’t want to be rude or insensitive to all the doctors in the family, but I’m not usually the one making the doctor wait. When I asked the RN what I would get if I had to wait in the creepy waiting room full of crosses for more than 15 minutes she just looked at me like I’d grown an extra head. 

Anyway, now I’ll get back to my madeleine…

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Aah Fredericksburg…

June 25, 2007 at 3:18 am (Road Trips)

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Yesterday we went on a little day trip to a town called Fredericksburg. It was all that I hoped Gruene would be last week. It was a wonderful little town, and if any of you come to visit, I would definitley recommend it. It was the home of Admiral Chester Nimitz, and so there is a Pacific War museum, and there is also a Pioneer museum.  It was settled by Germans, and so it is full of Biergartens and all kinds of touristy things, but the Main Street was also full of wonderful little shops. There is a toy shop called the Funky Monkey, plus a tea house/herb farm/B&B called the Herb Garden. If Christina comes, I’m definitely taking her there. The only depressing thing was that we just missed lunch at three different restaurants!

Fredericksburg is also home to Fischer & Wieser who make a super yummy Raspberry Chipotle sauce that you can get at Costco. Little did I know, they make a ton of other sauces. They also sell the original Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar.  We stopped on our way out of town.

 Fredericksburg is also home to Fredericksburg peaches and we thought it would be fun to stop at a roadside stand to get some on the way home. On the way home Doug thought it might be more fun to pick our own peaches at an orchard. Here is a piece of advice from me: if you’re 8 months pregnant and have two toddlers in tow, DO NOT go peach picking with your very picky engineer husband in the sweltering Texas heat! Doug insisted on picking only the best peaches, but the boys kept ruining his plans by picking any peach they could reach! We also bought some little cucumbers, so tomorrow night we are making pickles thanks to a wonderful recipe from Greg’s mom. Doug is leaning over my shoulder now. He wants you to know that he is not the control freak I make him out to be. Most of you know him, and therefore know how relaxed and kick back he really is!

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My little worker bees!

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“I would like to think that Jesus was an Engineer” – Doug

June 23, 2007 at 3:00 am (Marriage)

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 How many engineers does it take to figure out the bean bag toss at a three year old’s birthday party?!

Sometimes being married to an engineer is just plain annoying. I know that Pam feels my pain, but I’m not sure if Christina does (I don’t think her engineer is typical!). Doug always needs some kind of project to tinker with, and now that our house isn’t that project, he has far too much time on his hands.

Tonight at dinner he tells me that he liked my idea about the building of his video game console. Huh?! My idea about the video game console?! For the record, I have never endorsed the building of a large arcade style video game. One time, when we were at the SkyBox, I mentioned how I preferred the old school coffeee table style PacMan game to the tall console. Somehow that comment translated into “Honey, I think it would be awesome if you built your own coffee table video game!”

I can’t take it! The horrible thing, besides the obvious, is that Doug will probably choose Pong for his game instead of PacMan or Super Mario bros. It could be a very long Summer! Anyway, every time I roll my eyes (which I do fairly often in a very dramatic fashion), Doug will come up with some nonsense about how I don’t truly support his hobbies the way he supports mine (he loves my quilting and scrapbooking!). Tonight I made some comment about how he was being such an engineer, and he replied with the aforementioned, “I would like to think that Jesus was an engineer.”  How does one respond to that?! If I had known about engineers when I was younger, I think I might have tried to warn myself about them!

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Introducing the Bill Frank Guest Suite

June 22, 2007 at 3:19 am (Uncategorized)

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Thanks to my very generous father, we now have a guest room that actually looks better than our master bedroom. Some of you have asked to see pictures of the house, so I will go one clean, furnished room at a time. Today, obviously, the guest room. So, if you’re in the area, stop by. We actually have room now. No more sleeping on the sofa bed, or the floor! We may even add some artwork to the walls before the guests show up!

Doug is putting together some bookshelves right now, so maybe the next picture will be the reading room!

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A tribute to the two fathers in my life…

June 19, 2007 at 3:35 am (Uncategorized)

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Well this is a day late and a dollar short, but deli sandwiches and rice krispie squares do not make themselves for daddy’s special day!

I have two great dads in my life: my own father and my husband, the father of my kids.

There’s not really much I can say that would do either of these men justice. My dad would do anything for me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if I mentioned needing help unpacking boxes, he’d be on the first flight down here (that is not a hint, Dad! The boxes are all unpacked). He will also clean when he does visit, and I mean deep clean (behind the washer, under the fridge, etc…). He is the kind of dad who makes sure there is a walnut crunch and a croissant from julien’s waiting for me when I go visit. Speaking of visits home, he used his points to get me a first class ticket when I flew home alone with the two boys at Christmas. It’s kind of annoying that Samuel think he should always have his own t.v. and a warm towel, but the extra room was well worth it when both boys refused to sleep from Montreal to San Francisco.

The other dad is Doug. He is unfailingly honest (do not ask him if you look fat at 35 weeks gestation, because the answer will definitely be yes!). I would like to say he surprises me with cowboy hats a la Taylor, but he doesn’t. What he does is make up little songs when our house gets robbed (so you had a bad day), or when our boys are being extremely  fussy (any old school rap!). Although comedian isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of Doug, he makes me laugh all the time. And even though one of our preferred methods of communication is bickering, he would never say anything to intentionally hurt  my feelings. One of the best things I can say about Doug is that he makes everything as drama free as possible. He is the king of “managing expectations,” and, as a result I am very rarely disappointed. Also, he has a knack for buying some of the best gifts (a cooking class, Canadian flag, music stand) with only thirty minutes thought!

I am very blessed that the young boys in my life have the example of these men in my life.

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A little town called Gruene

June 17, 2007 at 4:08 am (Road Trips)

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Well, yesterday we closed on our house. We are now officially real estate moguls! Hopefully we won’t be dual property owners for too much longer. I’m not cut out for life in the fast lane like Aubrey is!

Today was supposed to be our second little road trip to explore Texas (we checked out the ikea outside of Austin last week). Before we left Utah, Noelle told me about a town called Gruene and how it was one of her favorite places to visit when she lived in Texas. Normally  I would trust Noelle on things like this, but I have to say it wasn’t quite what we expected. The biggest problem was that we promised Samuel a cookie, and there was not a cookie for sale anywhere in town. What kind of quaint old timey town doesn’t sell cookies?! Needless to say, there were a couple of meltdowns during our stay in Gruene. Also, there was a natural store and I thought it would be a great place to get my sister’s birthday gift. However, all this store sold was rocks and arrowheads. not exactly Christina’s style! I think it might be more my style once fall arrives and everythig is a little more crisp, and hopefully, a little less muggy. Also, The GristMill was a very yummy restaurant (also Noelle’s reccomendation). I would advise going midweek to avoid the Saturday lunch rush!

I was on the lookout for something kind of like Chester, NS, but Gruene was a little too touristy. Next week, I think we might check out Fredericksburg.

One exciting note for today: we have officially unpacked our last box! We did it in less than two weeks, which is way better than the last house.

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Things I miss…

June 16, 2007 at 1:49 am (Uncategorized)

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Today I had my three hour glucose tolerance test, and so I had a lot of time to think about things that I miss about SLC. A few years ago I never would have thought that there would be anything to miss about the wasatch front, but after a few weeks in Texas, there are some things that are making me nostalgic….

1. The Utah Shop Hop: I can’t say how much gas I burned making sure that I made it to every store on the list, but I always felt like I had a very productive week-end when I turned in my passport on Saturday afternoon. For those as crazy as me, this year’s shop hop is next week-end!

2. The cost of milk: I thought milk was pretty uniform, but alas no. Milk costs $3.29/gallon at costco, and you can’t get a two gallon set at costco here. I know I get no sympathy from Christina who is paying $5.00/gallon in NS, but still, I experienced some sticker shock when I got here!

3. Rocky Anderson: Now don’t get me wrong, Rocky annoys me to no end, but it always gave Doug and I something to talk about at lunch!

4. Sarcasm: I’m sure I’ll find other sarcastic people eventually, but for right now, all I’ve encountered are genuinely happy, upbeat people … curse all this sunshine!

5. The SLC grid system. As Doug says “God knows how to design a city!” 

6. Doctor’s who trust the 26 week 1 hour Glucose test: I hate the test, and having to take it again and failing it so that I have to take the 3 hour test is a little obnoxious. Thankfully I have a husband who loves me enough to load me up on one last hurrah of sugar in between testing and receiving the test results!

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What I’d like to be doing…

June 15, 2007 at 2:32 am (Uncategorized)

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I got an email from Pam in SLC, and I was inspired:

“I doubt I can get much
mileage out of my stressed out, yet ultra boring existence. Maybe I
could use it as my fantasy escape and blog what I’d like to be doing
rather than what I am doing. You know, I always thought there was
somebody else driving a Mercedes and wearing $500 shoes who is living
the life I was supposed to have!  Ahhh, life is good, I shouldn’t
complain!”

So, I am wondering now, who is living my life? It’s certainly not Paris Hilton or Britney Spears (I always wear underwear), but I’m pretty certain there’s some almost 30 year old Canadian girl living in a villa on Lake Como, having massages; whose gorgeous, impeccably dressed children are toilet trained coming out of the womb! Someone who has unlimited access to the Valentino store, and who feels like she has had a good night sleep every night. Someone who does not have pregnancy induced swollen ankles, and who is probably not debabting whether Tony Parker just travelled the basketball (It is game 4 after all).

                         My life is pretty blah, but we’ve had our fair share of excitement, and I think I prefer boring. I am no longer mrsaffleck12 , and world travel with 2 kids tires me out. Maybe it’ll all get easier when I get my private jet! I would also like to say that Pam is one of the least boring people I know. She’s a designer who is always doing amazing stuff with her house, and she’s always coming up with the best ideas for things for her kids. I’m waiting to empty out my #10 can of macaroni so that I can replicate her coffee can game. It is one of  Samuel and William’s favorite things. She should honestly start a blog about creative things you can do for kids with stuff from around the house, but if you’re in the mood for $500 shoes, Saks was having a sale, and you can get some very nice Manolos for about $300!

Also, I’m wondering if anyone has any good ideas for a nice, but easy, father’s day dinner. It’s too hot to have the oven on all day. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Happy Birthday Anne!

June 13, 2007 at 3:44 pm (Uncategorized)

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Today is my super stylish cousin Anne’s birthday! This picture is a result of Doug having too much time on his hands one night, a few years ago! This is not her husband, nor is it her body; just a floating head! You’d think that we might have better things to do, but sadly, no! Anne has a great blog about children’s books, and her husband has a great one about food which I think that Amy F. would really enjoy. It has a ton of pictures just like he came right out of America’s Test Kitchen! These two might actually be the most stylish couple ever. I’ll have to stop talking about them now because it’s making me feel somewhat bitter and frumpy! Suffice it to say, Anne and her sister Liz are my inspiration for attempting my own blog. Now if I could just get Christina to start one, life would be complete! Anyway, Happy Birthday Anne!

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