words.

I wonder how many pages I've written over the last four years. I would be interested in finding out, but I'm too lazy to gather the data. However, if I don't have a job come mid-January, that'll make the list of things to do. I figure that list will look something like this

1. sleep
2. bake, sew, etc
3. catch up on grey's anatomy since I finally have time
4. relish in my freedom
5. calculate how many pages I've written since fall 2007

oh yeah, and find a job.

anyway, I have one paper left in my entire college career and it is in its final editing stage. not much left to actually write.

huzzah!

food, inc.



I had to watch a documentary for my English class. I've wanted to watch Food, Inc. for a while and was glad to finally watch it. It was a very good documentary and provided a lot of interesting points. As a public health major, I think they provided a lot of good information and raised a lot of issues that I have studied and am already interested in. I think it is worth watching and I learned a lot [of things I didn't really want to know].

The way we eat and where we get our food is a huge issue, and this movie did a great job of illustrating why it is a problem. I do think our food industry is a problem. I do think the way we treat our food and develop our food is going to be an even bigger problem in the years to come. I don't want to get into the whole movie, but I highly recommend you watch this documentary. If you have netflix, it is available to watch instantly.

This movie didn't make me a vegetarian or anything, but it did cause a change in my thinking. I had adopted some behaviors this movie discussed before watching the movie, and now I have a few more I want to try and incorporate. I do think that with the way we live and what we value as a society, is it nearly impossible for an average person to completely change their diet--and shouldn't be the solution. policy, policy, policy.

If you are interested, here is a list of 10 small things you can do to help improve our food industry. This movie also tied to the book I recently read, Food Rules.

I do think it is important to eat fresh, simple foods. But hello, we totally eat junk sometime. You can't eliminate all processed foods from your diet (well, you could, but who wants to live like that? :) ).

But I do think it merits consideration. And next summer, I will be shopping at a farmer's market. And while I don't really believe in organic fruits and veggies (washing works fine; you can't guarantee pesticides didn't drift over from other farms; with some fruits, like bananas, it doesn't matter at all; I'm annoyed at the technically that ALL food is organic...), I do think that grass-fed cows and chickens raised in the sun are the way to go. Not really sure how to find those products, but hey. I'll be looking.

The movie also raises a point that you don't buy the cheapest (or lowest-quality) car you can find. Why should we put cheap and low quality food into our bodies? Our bodies are awesome and can be very susceptible to the things we put in them. I think the food we eat is crucial to our health, and deserves serious thought.

Have any of you seen this movie? What do you think, even if you haven't? What about those 10 things? I'm not trying to be preachy or pro- anything...just my thoughts on the documentary.

new additions

Both of my grandmas are awesome cooks. Over the break, my dad's mom gave (!) me her kitchenaid. I am beyond excited. She (and my grandpa) are really nice and I'm so excited! If I ever hope to be as good of cooks as they are, I'm gonna need all the help I can get. Hopefully I can channel some of her cooking skills though it. Thanks grandma and grandpa!



I tested it out with a great chocolate chip cookie recipe.


They turned out great! (I'm sure regardless of the new mixer)

And here they sit on our new tiered tray that we made.

thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was great. We've loved spending time with family, relaxing, eating and shopping. My dad's side of the family are black friday shoppers. Dave came along for the second time this year. It wasn't as fun this year since a lot of stores started at 12:00 am instead of 5:00 am so we missed a lot of things but it's still a fun day. It's actually a really cold and long day, but it was still fun.

We set up our Christmas decorations on Friday evening. Today we are watching the BYU v Utah game. It's intense but we're doing ok so far. (winning 6 to zero).

We really don't want to go back to school but on the other hand, we have TWO WEEKS left. It will fly by, I'm sure.

We have a lot to be thankful for and we are grateful for all the good things in our life. happy thanksgiving! Hope everyone's break was great!

our thanksgiving menu

p.s.
all our dishes were made in this workspace:

yeah. it took a lot of planning.

first up: pumpkin cheesecake. It turned out great!
I did forget to add the flour until I'd poured in the pan, so I had to whisk it in with a knife...and it probably needed to cook a little longer--it was a little gooey.



second dish: pumpkin cream pie. this turned out yummy.
the crust was delicious. I probably wouldn't make them both at the same time again as the taste is pretty similar.



third dish: orange rolls. these are a christensen favorite and I will have to post the recipe later. It was my first time making them and while they don't look that great, they were delicious.


fourth: celery herb stuffing. yum! this turned out great.
I would probably use less chicken broth, but it was still a great texture. It smelled delicious.



last up: green bean casserole.
This is very different from your basic casserole. I enjoyed making it from scratch but I don't think it turned out very well. The sauce didn't thicken like I wanted (even after corn starch) and the green beans weren't as soft as I would have liked (which I didn't even think about how I could fix that..duh!). It was still good though, but if we ever make it again, I'd definitely half the recipe and cook the beans longer.



All in all, the dishes turned out pretty well. I followed the recipes closely and was mostly satisfied with the results. The dish I would like to remake was the casserole, but it was still fun to experiment and make new dishes.

In the 24 hours that I made all these dishes, I used more butter than I ever have at one time. I also used all our wooden spoons and bowls. I know I have said it over and over, but I have never wanted a dishwasher more than on Wednesday night. Then again on Thursday evening. hum.

Our Thanksgiving meal was fabulous. My parents made a delicious turkey, rolls, ginger carrots (yum!), macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and fruit salads. There was cherry, lemon and chocolate pie along with my pumpkin pies. We had great a great meal with family and are enjoying the leftovers!

What do you think of those recipes? Would you try any? Did you have anything extra yummy this year?

forget you.

We were quite impressed with gwyneth paltrow's performance on glee. I definitely think she should sing some more.

what do you think?

it's officially official

I can graduate. I applied a few months ago and my application was accepted, contingent on the fact that I finished an independent study course. Well, one day before the deadline, I did. whew. I even pulled off an A-.

Not bad, considering that class upped this semester to 19.5 credits. heh.

almost done.

focaccia


picture from homebased mom. we don't have fancy parm cheese.

yum. Yesterday I made this focaccia bread and it was delicious! We ate it with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and it was such a great side to dinner. The best part was I threw it all in the bread machine, rolled it out, let it rise and baked it! easy! Even with no bread machine, though, it's pretty easy. And sooo good. Give it a try!

3 1/2-3/4 C bread flour (will also work fine with all purpose flour)
1 tsp honey or sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 C warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
sea salt or kosher salt for sprinkling (I used garlic salt so I omitted this extra salt)
olive oil for drizzling.

Add honey/sugar and yeast into warm water and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.

Add together 1 cup flour, salt and olive oil. Add in yeast mixture and mix together, adding in second cup of flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and not sticky – about 7 minutes. Add additional flour if necessary. Add enough flour only to keep the dough from being sticky. Grease a large bowl and place dough in bowl and cover. Allow to rise until double, about one hour. May place in a warm oven (preheat to 150 degrees and then turn the oven off) to rise if room is cool. (OR put in bread maker with flour and yeast on top, dough setting)

After dough has doubled in size, deflate dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness. If using a pizza stone, place stone into oven and preheat to 400 degrees for about 20 -30 minutes. Cover the pizza paddle, cutting board or back of cookie sheet with a coating of corn meal and place dough onto the corn meal to rise again. If you are not using a pizza stone, generously oil the inside of a rimmed cookie sheet with olive oil and place rolled out dough onto cookie sheet for second rising.

Allow to rise for about 30-40 minutes. Before putting dough into oven use your finger to poke dimples into the dough and then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and Parmesan cheese. Slide the dough from the paddle onto the pizza stone in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes.

confession:

I don't really like the Harry Potter movies.

The books are my favorite books. I am a total nerd when it comes to Harry Potter (I mean, I dressed up to get the seventh book at midnight....). My collection is one of my prized possessions. I can't wait to graduate because I told myself I cannot start them until I'm finished because I can never put them down.

I just...I am not a fan of books-turned movies. I know they cannot possible get everything. I totally understand. I just think it's hard to take something that I think is such a well-told story and put that into a movie. You know? I feel like the movies don't do the books justice. And when you have read the books so many times that you are critical of movies lines because that isn't what they said in the book...well...it's just not as fun. Out of all the movies that are based off of books, I really only feel this strongly about Harry Potter. It's weird. I'm weird.

I will say that the sixth movie was pretty good. I was quite impressed. The first was good as well, in part because it's the shortest book. I did not like the third movie or any of the others, really. I know I may lose friends over this, but hey, we can be Harry Potter book buddies, right? And I'm sure I'll see the last two movies because hey, might as well see them all.

And maybe it's because when the seventh book came out, I felt an era in my life had been closed. The books are dear to my heart, but I just don't feel the same way about the movies-- regardless of how much I love the books.

And that may just be the lamest thing I've ever said.

but it's the truth.

anyone else with me? or maybe you just want to share the harry potter love?

lately.

I haven't blogged much besides posting food and music. Nothing too exciting happens around here these days. We have the same schedule every week. Each day has its own routine and in some ways makes the week go faster. I'm convinced that as you grow older time goes faster. This semester has gone so fast--the fastest any semester has ever gone. I can't believe it's almost over. Not just the semester, but college. That is a strange thought. Of course, I'm so excited to be done with papers and homework and stupid group projects...but I enjoy learning. Maybe I'll just go and sit in random classes. There are other ways of learning but when you're in school it seems to be easier. I still have a sewing/project list a mile long and plenty I want to cook. I'm excited for Thanksgiving because I'm trying some new recipes and they should be pretty good. (dessert, I'm lookin' at you).

Anyway, I'm just excited for Thanksgiving and the break. I just have two papers and a final before the break...lame. But, this weekend should be pretty good. We're going to see my sister's play tonight and then babysit the little sisters. Tomorrow we are going to the BYU football game and it should be pretty fun. If the weather could be as nice as it was yesterday and we could win like we did the last two weeks, I'll be a happy girl.

Hope you have a fun weekend! And of course, since all I ever think about is what I can bake next, here is a recipe for the weekend. cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins. She says they are life-changing. I definitely see the potential.

pumpkin pie dilema



My sister-in-law shanna made an excellent pumpkin cheesecake (that isn't the exact recipe) last week and it was delicious. I don't think I've ever had pumpkin cheesecake. Yum. I volunteered to bring a pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving (since I bought all the spices this year) and thought I would make this variation.

Then, of course, Pioneer Woman posts this mouth-watering pumpkin creme pie (sans the whiskey) and I wanted to cry because I'm pretty sure it tastes like heaven.

I am pretty sure I am making both (much to the chagrin of my mother, I'm sure) for thanksgiving (I haven't decided yet)

but if you had to pick one pie, which one would you pick?

or do you find my deviation from tradition horrible?

The home stretch of home stretches

20 school days
7 exams + dance final
3 papers
2 presentations

byu v fresno





On Friday, we went my dad and sister to the first season game for the cougars! It was a great game and so much fun. I love going to football and basketball games here. The energy is amazing. The student section at the basketball game is great. I wish we could have been over there, but we had fun where we were. Dave and I have been to a few games, but I wish we would have gone more when we had our student passes!

Here is a video of the opening program before the game started. It was so sweet when the white sheets dropped down!

They also played sandstorm before the players came out and it was AWESOME.

crafty cake

I seen some cool cake stands lately, along with tutorials to make them yourself. Funnily enough, I had some candle holders that would have been perfect, but we gave them to DI earlier this semester. I went there today and found these awesome plates. I also found what are think are some sort of candle holders. For all three it was .75, so I figured at least they'd match. I don't know, though. I haven't glued them or anything. What do you guys think? Do you like the plate on the tall black bars? There are so many ideas for cake stands. You can glue a plate to candle holders, cups, stemware, etc. I think it would be cool to do some spray painting sometime, but I like the red and black.

Anyway, what do you think?






Need a good laugh?

By minute three, tears will be rolling down your face.

The other day, I watched this on my ipod and I felt really silly because I was laughing so hard and no one knew what I was laughing at. Hopefully no one saw me.

One of the best opening scenes.

broccoli soup recipe

4 T butter
1/2 cup onion

1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

4 large bunches of cleaned, cut broccoli
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large pot, saute the onion and butter for five minutes. Add flour and whisk for 30 seconds. Add milk, salt and pepper and whisk over medium heat until thick (about 10 minutes).

While milk is thickening, boil your broccoli for 10 minutes.

When the milk is thickened, remove from heat. Add cheese and broccoli. We also added bacon, because bacon rocks. And ate it with bread.

This would serve about 4 people. And the second day, it wasn't quite as good, but I was using a school microwave. If you heat it up on the stove and maybe add some milk, it should taste just fine! It still tasted fine via microwave, but wasn't the best texture.

I got this recipe from good lookin home cookin.

broccoli + cheese.



Yesterday I made broccoli cheese soup. It was super easy and delicious! I also added some bacon. Let's just admit that bacon makes everything better.

It does. Ok. Anyway, I'd definitely recommend the soup and the blog I found!

metro.

Alright. I loved living in DC. And remember how I was going to write a blog post about public transportation in DC? This video does it better than I ever could. It contains EVERYTHING that I would have written about. This video is funny, but trust me, it ain't funny when you're there. RIDE ON THE RIGHT.

Anyway. DC will always be one of my favorite places that I've lived (well, right now it's the coolest)...and I think everywhere should have a metro. However, it does come with some cons.

Any DCers hear me?

food + new movie = awesome

This weekend we didn't do much but eat a lot of great food and watch an awesome movie (twice).



Have you guys seen this movie? It rocks. I really liked it.

I couldn't remember anything about the previews, but I love a good historical fiction-ish action movie. The story was pretty good, too. It is vaguely familiar (think Aladdin) but has plenty of twists. I thought Jake Gyllenhaal did a great job. I've never seen a movie with him (which is kind of weird). Anyway, I'd totally recommend this movie. It was awesome. I definitely want to own this one.

What did you think?/ Would you see it?

the best kind of closure.

Well, around here, we love the office. We quote it several times a day. And watch several episodes a day. This episodes is one of my favorites. This video completes me.


potato soup



8 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 small cans chicken broth (I use five bouillon cubes)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook all of the this until the potatoes are tender. Probably about 30-45 minutes in a pan or about 6 hours (or whenever the potatoes are done) in a crock pot.

An hour before serving, add a package of cream cheese. Trust me.

Serve with shredded cheese, bacon bits or chopped green onion.

Last weekend, I added some carrots and broccoli and used cream of mushroom soup (it's all we had left). It turned out to be a creamy veggie soup.

Enjoy!

fall & food.





Our fall/Halloween party was delicious. And fun. I made a potato and veggie soup and Emily made bread bowls. It was so good. After we watched a few Halloween episodes of The Office (and a Christmas one). We had three trick-or-treaters and ate the rest of the candy ourselves.

We also had pumpkin creme pies for dessert. They turned out great! At first, I just plopped them on a cookie sheet. Then I decided to try piping the cookies like the recipe says, and they baked easier (I think) because they were flatter. I think our oven just stinks. Since my hand mixer broke, Ryan was nice enough to lug over their kitchenaid to make the frosting. I would definitely recommend the frosting (recipe in with the pumpkin cookie recipe). Delicious!

oh, monday.



hope you had a great weekend. here we are, trying to be cool.
our weekend was pretty sweet.