It’s a Girl!

September 30, 2008 at 10:21 am (Fun Stuff, Kids)

At long last we have been able to add a little girl to our family!

 

 

Oh, I’m sorry, were you thinking something else?! 

We are watching a friend’s daughter this week. Not only do we get the much anticipated girl, but we also get that set of twins that I used to think I wanted!

It’s been a lot of fun to have an extra girl around the house, but I have to admit that I am totally clueless about things like doing hair. I’m afraid that she gets the same treatment as the boys. Hopefully her mother will recognize her when she gets back.

 

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Get thee to a cannery

September 24, 2008 at 12:48 pm (Fun Stuff, LDS)

Alright, if you are intimidated by my coolness, then you need to stop reading right now. This post may just wreck what little self esteem you have left. Kids, don’t try this at home; you have to be born this cool:

Who is that fine woman?

Who is that fine woman?

That’s right, it’s time for a trip to the cannery! Some of you may not be hip to the lingo, but the cannery is where all the groovy Mormons go to put all their wheat into cans. Lest you think we’re all cliquish, you don’t actually have to be mormon to go. Anyone is welcome, and it’s a rockin’ good time! Also, the cannery isn’t just for wheat anymore! There’s also dried milk, dried carrots, dried apples, dried refried beans, and the ever popular potato pearls!

Shake, not bang!

Shake, not bang!

Now that I’m the official organizer for trips to the cannery, I’m taking the Tom Sawyer approach. If people think it’s fun and they think you’re fun then they’ll want to come. Case in point, getting CoKim and Ami to come. Once people knew they were coming then we were turning people away! CoKim is so cool she insisted upon right of first refusal for her picture, so I can’t even show her face, but that’s her on the left!

CoKim and Ami

CoKim and Ami

In case you’ve never been to a cannery before(some people are intimidated by the velvet ropes), I’m going to break it down for you. First, you make an appointment (just like you do with your personal shopper at Nordstrom), then, you call in your order (you can also fax or e-mail … this is the 21st century), then you show up with a group of 5-12 people. Once you arrive, after washing hands and putting on the plastic apron and hair net, you get in a little assembly line. First, bags are emptied into cans, then cans are topped off, then they are leveled by shaking, not banging on the counter. The next person in line then adds the oxygen packet and the lid, and then the coolest person in the room gets to turn the crank on the canning machine. Once it’s canned it moves on down the line to the people filling the boxes with the orders. Then, when all of the orders are filled there’s a quick clean-up and a trip through the checkout, which is really just the office. Total time at the cannery: 1 hour. They’re open all different hours, so if you’re looking for an original date night, don’t underestimate the power of the cannery. Peace out!  

Hip to be square!

Hip to be square!

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Grape Truffles

September 22, 2008 at 2:06 pm (Food, recipes)

They are almost healthy!

They are almost healthy!

 

Another week-end, another cooking class. This time it was just me and Andrea, because apparently the idea of a class devoted completely to lobster was repulsive to Dixie! Oh well, her loss. The lobster was great, but I think the best part of this class was the grape truffles. They are very easy and very tasty.

Grape Truffles:

Red Grapes (don’t use green because the color shows through)

Melted chocolate (buy something nice, it will make a difference)

Cocoa powder (again, try something nice)

Directions:

– wash and thouroughly dry the grapes, and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

– melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly.

– pour the chocolate over the grapes and mix by hand

– place the chocolate covered grapes on a cookie sheet and cover in cocoa. Shake the cookie sheet around so that the grapes are completely covered. Place in the fridge until ready to serve. They should last in the fridge for about five days.

– These need to be served chilled because that’s what keeps the chocolate hard.

 

Enjoy!

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Attack at Dawn

September 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm (Dougisms)

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

5 words that never mean what you think when they’re coming from Doug:

 

Do you know what’s interesting?

 

Now the answer is yes, I know what’s interesting. I don’t know if Doug actually knows what’s “interesting!”

This question came while Doug was working on the computer. What was he working on? Well, what would you be working on? Encryption of course! Doug has a few books on encryption, you know, for light reading! And hey, what better way to spend an evening than to encrypt random phrases. Now, maybe you think that’s the pinnacle of excitement at our house. Well, you’re wrong. We don’t stop at encryption, sometimes we advance to double encryption! That’s right, I know how jealous you all are, but that’s how we roll here!   

 

 

 

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Brownie Points

September 18, 2008 at 2:45 pm (Food, recipes, Uncategorized)

 

Notice the festive table runner!

Notice the festive table runner!

 

When I was attending BYU, I took a class called marriage prep (mock all you want, it worked for me!!). In this class, I learned that cinnamon is an aphrodisiac. Dr. Barlow told us the surest way to a person’s heart was with some tasty cinnamon rolls. Well, not to disagree with Dr. Barlow, but the winning recipe during my courtship with Doug was brownies.

This is my mother’s recipe, and it has always been a winner at my house. It’s what I’ll make if we’re taking dinner to someone, and I’ll make it if I’m in the mood for some chocolate. I know very few people who would refuse a brownie (well, someone did refuse one of these, should I be insulted DJo?!). If you want to put a smile on someone’s face, bake them some brownies. You can even dress these up by serving them warm with fudge sauce and ice cream. Overkill, you say. Bite your tongue!

So, there you have it. Your home will be a happier place this evening if you make these, unless of course you don’t like chocolate, but if you don’t like chocolate,then we’re probably not friends, and you’re probably not reading this blog!

 

The recipe

3/4 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. cocoa

3/4 c. flour

1 c. chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Melt butter

2. Mix butter, sugar & vanilla

3. Add eggs

4. Mix in cocoa

5. Combine baking powder and flour and add to wet mixture

6. Add chocolate chips

7. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes

In order for these to turn out all dense and chewy, it is very important that you use a wooden spoon. If you use an electric mixer they will end up being a more cake-like brownie.

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A Lesson in Humility

September 16, 2008 at 9:42 am (Food, recipes)

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

For the most part I think I’m a pretty good cook. We try and eat at home at least six night a week (lately it’s been 7 because we’re saving for a new toy), and I think dinner usually goes well. I don’t now what’s happened, but my dinner mojo seems to be failing me!

Last night I was making the very delicious Cindy’s Tasty Wings.I don’t know who Cindy is, but I love her wings! We make these at least twice a month, and I’ve never had a problem. It’s basic and delicious. Then last night, disaster struck. The problem occurred when we used fresh instead of frozen wings. It threw me off. If you’re going to make this recipe ( and I highly recommend that you do), make sure to go and buy the frozen party wings from Costco.  Anyway, back to last night, the wings didn’t get thouroughly cooked. It was disgusting. Doug tried to salvage the evening by cooking everything on the stove, but by then I’d lost my appetite!

Oddly enough, one of my other major cooking disasters also involved chicken wings. When we were first married, I made my mother’s chicken wing recipe, but I misread the cooking time (darn that flourescent pink pen!), and I had them in the oven at 500 degrees for four hours! Whatever, I overcame.

Then came today’s fiasco. I spent all day yesterday making red beans and rice for dinner tonight. I made it yesterday because Doug prefers the meal after it has had time to properly thicken up, and apparently that only comes on the second day. It was all good. I was being very prepared. This way I was going to have dinner tonight with no fuss, and my kitchen would stay clean.

Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, the pot of bean was still on the stove … mocking me … delighting in my fatigue from the night before! In all my preparations, I forgot to put the pot in the fridge! I stayed up until 11:00 so that everything would be fully cooked. Then I took turned the stove off, and thought it should cool for ten minutes before it went in the fridge.Then I sat down and played a game of Tetris, then I went to sleep.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was, “Crap!” And that was it. A quick call to Doug, “Oh yeah, I wondered why you had left the pot out all night.” At first, he just said that if I let it boil for a while it should be okay, but then further research was done and the whole pot was disposed of. Kind of a depressing start to the day, but now it’s time to regroup and focus. The hunt is on for something quick and easy for dinner that will not require a trip to the store. I’m considering using this recipe from Liz. I actually have all the ingredients on hand. Hopefully I won’t mess it up.

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Sarah (not so) Sweet Sarah

September 14, 2008 at 8:25 pm (Family)

Back in the day I was known as Sarah Sweet Sarah to my dad, and I still have the Christmas letter to prove it! But, since I am now living south of the border, I feel I have fallen from grace. This situation is not improved by the fact that I didn’t mail my dad’s birthday gift until yesterday, and his birthday is today. What’s really crazy is that I’ve been planning this gift for a month, and yet I still couldn’t get my act together. If we actually lived in the same country the shipping wouldn’t take two weeks, and I wouldn’t seem quite so lame, but there you have it. This Christmas, I’ll be lucky to get a mention in the letter. Oh well, at least he still likes my kids! So, a very happy birthday to my dad! Here’s a preview of what is on its way to your door:

Scrapbook Title Page

Scrapbook Title Page

 

Birthday Scrapbook

Birthday Scrapbook

 

Samuel talking to Grandpa on the phone

Samuel talking to Grandpa on the phone

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Making Whoopie (of the Banana Cookie Variety)

September 11, 2008 at 4:59 pm (Food)

These are actually the very cookies I made!

These are actually the very cookies I made!

So, today I have been in the mood to use the kitchen. I prepare myself for potential power outages by making sure that we have more than enough sweets on hand. First I made some spaghetti sauce because Samuel has been asking for it, “all year long” (he gets his tendency to exaggerate from his father!). After the spaghetti, I though we could use some bread. I made this rosemary loaf, which hasn’t failed me yet. Very yummy, and the girl is a Bosch lover, which just made me that much happier.

After dinner was done, I decided to get all crazy and make Martha’s cookie of the month. Oddly enough I didn’t even think that the cookies sounded that good, but I was in a mood. Well, I’m not too proud to admit when I’m wrong. These cookies are fantastic! Benjamin and I are sitting here eating them as I write.

They were not difficult and they required no crazy ingredients. I would even go so far as to say that they might be a litle bit healthy because they contain an actual banana. So, here’s the recipe, with my notes following:

Banana Whoopie Pies ( Martha Stewart Living Sept. 2008)

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup mashed banana,from 1 large ripe banana

½ cup sour cream

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided

16 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar plus more for dusting

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and ½ teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in two additions, alternating with flour mixture. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain tip. Pipe batter in 1¼-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1½ inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. Unfilled cookies can be stored up to 1 day. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream mixture onto the flat sides of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

 

Now, I wouldn’t bother piping the batter. If you have a small ice cream scoop it works really well and all of the cookies are uniform.

I also don’t know that I would make the cream cheese frosting again. I think a plain white, or a milk chocolate  would be very nice.

The parchment paper is an excellent idea though. These are pretty much tiny little cakes and it would be a lot of aggravation to be pulling them up.

I don’t know who did the yield for this, but it in no way makes 36 sandwiches, of course that could be because I ate most of them before I made the icing!!

Alrighty, go forth and make some Whoopie!!

 

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On Being Prepared

September 10, 2008 at 12:01 pm (Random Thoughts)

I’m worried that someone is trying to tell me something. About six months ago I became the ward Emergency Preparedness person. This freaked Doug out a little bit because he thought that we needed to be prepared for something. So I started on my merry way working on surveys and a 5th Sunday presentation on the church’s new approach to food storage.

Then, Doug’s dad got the same calling. Then, my dad got the same calling. What am I supposed to make of all this? Then, the final straw: a box arrived at my house with some embroidered towels for the boys. This was a wonderful gift from my Aunt Rozanne (whose virtues need to be extolled in a whole separate post). While the boys were running around the house with their personalized towels I noticed something in the bottom of the box. It was this:

Along with the lamp came an explanation of the Parable of the Ten Virgins along with different ways that we might prepare ourselves. Enough said! I heard you loud and clear! I have taken the hint!

Now, I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to be preparing for, but I take some comfort in the fact that doing something is better than doing nothing. So, on the day the lamp came, I ordered a year’s supply of rice. I figure that I can work on this little by little and eventually I will be fully prepared.

And just in case you think that my rice supply has lulled me into a false sense of security, this morning I woke to a warning of this:

 

I’m not reall worried where we are, but we don’t very often see the map actually involve our neck of the woods. I’m making sure I know where all the flashlights are … just in case!

 

    

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I have no words!

September 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm (Dougisms)

*****Alrighty, maybe Doug didn’t enjoy that as much as me! Hopefully you got to see it while you had the chance!**********

Some of you know my husband to be a serious fellow. I seriously debated posting  this clip, because once it’s public, I can’t blackmail him later. Oh well, I say share the love! I would also add that this performance had the dubious honor of causing Doug’s parents to leave the talent show/karaoke. Enjoy!!

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