May 29, 2009

Wherin I Use My Blog to Get Information

So I've mentioned that I am getting more into cooking lately: trying out new recipes, thinking about trying out new recipes, eating food,tasting food, smelling food, reading food blogs, etc. And everything I read lately talks about Food Processors.

Well, I have never used one. Crazy, I know. But I obviously need one. The only reason I didn't know that before is because I never saw any TV commercials telling me so. So i need all ya'lls advice. Do you have one? Do you like it? Would you recommend it? What features should I look for? What attachements do I need to make sure it has? Which blades do you use the most?

The future of my kitchen is in your hands!
Well... ya know, sort of.

May 27, 2009

Stuff that 2 Year Olds Can Get Away With

1. Picking their nose in public. Like so:

2. Excessive Friendliness. Yes, the Rest of the World is required to be friendly, but there is a definite line between being friendly and being all-up-in-their-grill that would be all too easy to cross. With babies though, that line is much further away and a little blurry. So when Harrison sidled up to the sweet old Lady sitting next to us in church and started bouncing his little teddy bear up and down on her head, she thought it was cute. And when he had that same bear give her kisses on the cheek, it was downright adorble. She was smitten. I'VE tried to make friends that way, but it always backfires.

3. Walking around with no pants on. (Away from home, of course. Who wears pants when they are at home?) Notice that he still has shoes on. In accordance with the requirements of decency. If he was pantless AND barefoot, that would really be too much.

4. Brazenly scratching their tushy in a room full of people. AND have everyone think it's charming.

5. Playing with Barbies.
Apparently he has just realized she is naked and is appropriately shocked. "Barbie! How could you?!"

6. Running like this:

I recommend turning on your volume.

Hot Dog! I sure am good with that video camera!
I am always talking about how great it is to get older, blah, blah, blah, but being 2 years old seems to be pretty ok too.

May 21, 2009

A Recipe for Nakki

Amish Friendship Bread

No one knows where this recipe originated, but it is believed to be as old as time. It might not even be Amish, and there are some rumors circulating that it was originally given only to enemies (cuz if you were a real friend, wouldn't just make the bread for your friend, instead of giving them 10 days worth of work to do?), but these are unconfirmed so lets just ignore them.

I forgot that I used to make this in college. I got a slightly different version of this recipe a couple of months ago from my visiting teacher, but I figure I will stick with my mom's, since for me it is the original, and it was always So Good. So here she is.

DAY 1: You receive the starter (fermented batter in a one-gallon size zip lock bag). Just write the date on the bag and place it on the kitchen counter. (Do not refrigerate. If you hate to have things left out on your counters, you could try putting it in a cupboard, but then you just MIGHT forget all about it, and end up with a dough monster in your kitchen. Just a warning.)

DAY 2 - 5 : Squeeze the bag several times. Let extra air out of the bag as needed.

DAY 6: Add 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. Squeeze the bag several times.

DAY 7 - 9: Squeeze the bag several times. Let extra air out of the bag as needed.

DAY 10: Bread Making Day!
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large NON-METALLIC bowl combine the batter with:

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar

Mix with a wooden or plastic spoon (don't use ANY metal when making this bread). Scoop one cup of batter each into 4 one gallon ziplock bags. Give these out as starters to your friends (or enemies, whichever you prefer) along with the recipe, if you feel like it. It is kind of a fun trick to give the starter without the recipe, cuz then your frenemies are like "What in the world am I supposed to do with this?" If you want more bread you should probably keep one for yourself!

To the remaining batter in the bowl (not much left at this point) add:

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1/2 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 t. baking soda
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 T. cinnamon

In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon. Sprinkle into 2 well greased loaf pans (or one bundt pan) and pour in batter. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool until bread loosens from pan evenly. Then eat a loaf as fast as you can before someone else gets home and finds out that you made TWO loaves. Yum.

Mmmmm. I found this picture online. I don't have any fancy silver platters like that. But if I did, you can sure bet that I would be serving bread on it!

So, the important question at this point is: what happens if you don't have the starter? what can you do? Befriend some Amish? Wait patiently for your visiting teacher to find out you want one? Advertise for one on Craig's list? (that actually is a really good idea. I think I will, just to see if it works). i did a little research and it turns out you can buy the starter in powder form from ARMCHAIR WORLD. Yeah, i don't know what that is about.

And because I am your friend, and a friend to all things sweet, I searched and serched and found a starter recipe just for you.

All the recipes for the starter I found call for yeast, and I suspect that the authentic recipe didn't have any yeast in it, but what can i do about it? I am a slave to the information I find on online. I found this recipe on

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

It is very important to use plastic or wooden utensils and plastic or glass containers when making this. Do not use metal at all!
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110°F)
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
2. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
3. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Loosely cover the mixture with a lid or plastic wrap. The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle, or the day you receive the starter.
For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions above for Amish Friendship Bread.

May 17, 2009

A Recipe For You

Kaori asked for a recipe, so i'm gonna give you a recipe. I know some of you already read Our Best Bites, so please forgive me if this is a repeat for you. But I made this treat on Mother's Day and it turned out GREAT (on my first try!) which means it is pretty hard to mess up. So here is the recipe for:

Apple Streusel Bars!!!

I'm not going to actually include the recipe, because that is just way too much work, but if you click on the picture, it will direct you to the recipe on Our Best Bites, which is the best way to get it anyway.

I made this for breakfast, cuz YUM, and though the recipe says to let it cool before putting the frosting on, I couldn't wait and frosted it and ate it hot and it was delicious! And also very sweet. Really, really sweet. And that was when i remembered that i don't like sugar first thing in the morning (which is why I don't eat sugary cereals for breakfast). And it took me most of the day to recover from my sugar shock. Didn't know that could even happen to me, did you? Pretty sure my mom thinks syrup flows through my veins instead of blood.

So it was good warm, but it was even better the next day. I took them as a treat for my sunday school class, (even though Richard said, "Are you sure they will consider those a treat?" because anything with fruit in it doesn't actually count as sugar in his mind) and my class said they liked them and ate them right up.

The only variation I made was, because I am not crazy about almond flavoring, I left it out of the glaze and it was still very yummy. So there you have it. apples + sugar = good.

May 16, 2009

In Regards to Books and What-Not

Today the Provo Library held the Children's Book Festival. Or Children's Literary Shindig, or Carnival celebrating the Written Word for Youngins or something like that. I could look it up I guess, but what good would that do us?

So I went, primarily because a friend of mine just had a book published, thusly:

and she was there doing a book signing. And after looking at the list of other authors who would be there, I also grabbed my mom's copy of Princess Academy to get it signed as well.

When we got there and I saw that Brandon Sanderson was there too I cursed myself for not bringing Elantris and ran down to the little bookstore and got myself a copy of Mistborn, which I haven't read yet, but want to.

Boy, aren't these pictures helpful? You were probably reading along thinking "What is she TALKING about?" but then I stick that spiffy little picture in and all your questions are gone. That is why they say a picture is worth a thousand words, you know. or rather, up to 1000 words. And I'm only allotted 2000 words per post, so I am really saving space!

(By the way, the word on the street is that Mistborn is the reason that Brandon Sanderson was chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series, so that is pretty cool.)

So we had Aprilynne sign our books after waiting in line for a while (Now don't let the "we" at this point confuse you. I went with some friends that I haven't mentioned before now is all.) Then I got in line and had Brandon Sanderson sign my book. He asked if I wanted it personalized, so I asked him to write "To my very best friend in the whole world", which he did. I know many of you often sit around in those quiet moments wondering who Mr. Sanderson's best friend is. Well wonder no more!! IT'S ME!. Look.

Irrefutable proof, that's what that is.

And so then I waited in line half an hour to get Princess Academy Signed by Shannon Hale. I borrowed it from my mom at least 3 years ago and I thought it might be a nice little surprise to return it to her signed by the author. So she opened it up to sign it and what did she find?

That it was already signed! Um.....

I said to her, "Uh, is that your signature?"
She said, "Yeah. This is a first edition. You could probably get a hundred bucks for this on ebay."
so I said "Oh, great idea. I think I will." And walked off.

Good times. I can only imagine what she was thinking. Wondering about the poor simple minded girl who wandered around and waited in lines to get books signed that already had signatures in them. Maybe I was like that in Highschool too, just asking the same football player to sign my yearbook over and over. I could have been like that for all I know. I don't remember so good.

So, uh... yep! That is the end. Books are fun and reading is swell! And oh my goodness I just remembered I am speaking in church tomorrow. Gotta go!

May 15, 2009

Peace Has Come To Our Home At Last

Aw. Who knew peace would be so cute?

May 14, 2009

to bore or not to bore

i know I haven't written much lately. It is my shift key. It is giving me problems. You may have noticed that my punctuation has gotten a little lazy. I know, you could probably barely stand it. i understand. oh, and also, I have been so busy cooking there has been no time to write. One of those is probably the real excuse for my absence.

I wanna write now though, but I don't have anything to write about.

Hmm... Nope. Still nothing. I guess I'll wait a little longer.

You know, sometimes I worry so much about making sure I am writing things that people want to read that I can't actually write at all. It is hard trying to divine what you people want. Worrying about your thoughts, feelings and interest seems to be detrimental to the creative process. (A bag of chocolate chips and a tub of whipped cream can be considered a "process", right?) But really, it isn't fair to all of you for me to only write what you want to hear. You need to read something awful every once in a while so that you can appreciate the good stuff. But don't worry, Giving you uninteresting things to read is a service I provide free of charge. How many sites offer you that? Yeah. You're welcome.

I still don't actually have anything to say. But that is the perfect mindset for a post like this. I hope you are all still reading. Don't quit just because you are bored. It is SUPPOSED to be boring. If it is boring, you know it is working. Think of this as Entertainment Therapy.

So, lets see. maybe I will tell you about my vacation. Yep, we just went on a mini vacation. I call it mini because we went all the way to Salt Lake. We stayed in a little hotel that got good reviews and won my heart with their free cookies in the foyer and an indoor pool and free hot breakfast. But our first night there was maybe the longest night of my life because of the bed. Oh, the bed. that was absolutely the worst bed i have ever slept in. It was like sleeping in a bean bag. And not in the fun way. It is one thing to curl up on a bean bag in front of the TV and fall a sleep for a little while. But it is another thing altogether to hunker down to bed for the night on your bean bag, and really expect to sleep well. Plus, with two of us in the bed we always sort of ended up in a heap in the middle of the bed, like when you sleep on a trampoline. Not as fun as when I was a kid.

The worst part of that bed was the bedding. Hotel blankets are always annoying, but the sheet didn't fit, so no matter how tight I pulled it and how smooth I made it, as soon as we laid down in the bed, the sheet would pull up and get all crazy wrinkly and wrap around my legs until I wanted to cry. My bed at home is nothing to cheer about, but I couldn't wait to get home and sleep in it again.

I could tell you all kinds of exciting things about our vacation at this point, but that is not the purpose of this session. Thank you for your time, you are free to go.

May 10, 2009

Cooking Made Fun Again

I mean it. If you are looking to be entertained, you have come to the wrong place. If, however, you are looking to be blathered at incessantly in a mind-numbing monotone, welcome!!

So, I am not a good cook. I'm not being modest. I realize that I lack instinct or natural talent or whatever it is it takes, so I rely totally on recipes. Which is normal and fine, but I am also too scatterbrained or forgetful or distracted trying to solve all of the worlds most urgent problems to really attend to the recipe the way I need to and I am always screwing things up. Once I managed to leave over half of the ingredients out of some brownies I was making, even though all those ingredients were sitting next to me on the counter. And my sister in law Shannan has these delicious bacon-wrapped waterchesnut things that are delicious and I managed to mess them up not once, but THREE times in a row. (And of course I didn't realize that I had left out the brown sugar AGAIN until after I served them to whatever group it was I made them for. Arg! Why is my head full of pudding?!)

I don't really know where I was going with that. But in my attempt to be a better cook, I am working to amass an arsenal of incredible recipes!

I already had a binder specifically for cakes, and when I finally decided to put a label in the spine and then stuck it back up on the shelf, I decided I wanted MORE! Why have one recipe binder, when I can have six?

Stuff like this just makes me happy. Every time I see them up there it makes me grin. Is it the organization? Is it the font? Is it the promise of lots of wonderful food? Yes, yes, yes and Yes! Will there come a time when I will find it annoying and inconvenient to have all my recipes in separate books? Oh, definitely, but for now, I love it! It shouldn't surprise you that the dessert binder is full to bursting.

And most of the recipes in these binders I have never tried. I have been collecting them for years, and now all the recipes i have never made are in the back. And each week I try something new and if we love it it goes in the front of the binder, and if we hate it we write it a letter thanking it for its time and send it packing. This works for me. In fact, and you may not believe this, but I am actually ENJOYING cooking. And not just baking. But cooking. I like cooking dinner! Can you even imagine what that is like? Ok, some of you can. But I know some of you CAN'T, because I used to be you.

So I'm going to let you in on my new motivation. I don't know if it will work for you, but it certainly did something for me. And my husband has never been this well fed or this happy.

Ok, there is probably a lot for you to look at, so let me show you a picture or two from one of their recipes I was most excited to try:

Gooey Cookie Pie Bites. Mmmmmmm. Could you just suck on your monitor? Oh, those pictures make me want to cry a little, they look so good. I was actually almost more excited to make those yesterday than i was to go see Star Trek. (Which was, you know, a LOT.)

This site is full of great recipes, and the girls are funny, but those pictures cast a spell on me. When i see food that looks that good, and is described as deliciously as they describe it, it is all I can do NOT to cook it. I've got a couple of Rachel Ray cookbooks that I was really excited to get, but I've never cooked anything out of them because there are no pictures!

Again, I don't really know what my point is. I told you I would be rambling. Don't blame me that you have come this far and devoted all this time only to find out that I don't have a point. I warned you.

So i made those cookie pies, and they tasted good, but didn't look pretty.

See the picture from Our Best Bites? Mine don't look like that. I'm sure I followed the recipe right, so i made them again today and tried to compensate for the defect in my oven (a logical thing to blame) but they turned out worse! Phooey.

I did however use the extra pie crust and managed to successfully make some Crusties.

that's what we used to call them when we were kids. I try not to call them that now though. Tends to give people the wrong idea. Ok. I think I am done

May 7, 2009


If you missed last night's little post, boy are you missing out. It was... er... special. But it is gone now and it is not coming back, so if you saw it, just count yourself lucky.

Subject Change

Yesterday at Shopko I saw two teenage girls buying pregnancy tests. That's right. Not one pregnancy test, but two. My first thought was "Jackpot!" and I truly almost talked to them. After almost running them down with my shopping cart of course. (I just can't help myself.) But how do you start that conversation?

"So... Bun in the oven?"
"Boy, sure hope you're knocked-up!"

So instead I just sort of followed them around for a while. I felt like I was letting a great opportunity pass, though I still don't know what I could have done that wouldn't have been weird/creepy.

So then I got in line to checkout. I was telling Harrison to stop grabbing everything off the shelves and the old man ahead of me in line turned around and looked at me. I smiled and looked away (like normal people do) but he just kept staring. I looked up again really quick to see if he was really still looking, and yep, he was. I could feel his eyes boring into me. It wasn't like he was a sweet old guy suffering from dementia. He was all there. I thought maybe he disapproved of me telling Harrison no, but I really don't know, and I couldn't think anymore with those eyes penetrating my calm! I tried not to look up at him anymore, but it was like my eyes were drawn to his by some unexplained power, and each time our eyes met, there he was, stone-faced, still staring at me. Just when I thought I would scream under his gaze, he finally turned around. Gees! It must have been a good 45 seconds. That is like an eternity in staring years! What was his deal?