off to make more cookies.

So, I know, this isn't a food blog but I post a lot about food.  I just like to share my good findings.  Also, I eat a lot, so as this is a blog about our life, some food is necessary.  And I've never heard a complaint, really, so....who cares?  Anyways.  These are the events: 

I made these cookies after dinner. And of course, they were delicious.  And so easy to just whip up (it's a third-ed recipe).  I also only made a dozen.  We are going to do an unofficial taste test and see if refrigerating for 24 and 36 hours makes a difference.  Mostly, I knew that if I made them all, we may very well have ate them all last night. so...in the fridge the extra dough went. 
For dinner last night I made this artichoke pasta bake. And it was soooo good.  The flavors of the artichokes, feta, banana peppers and olives were great!
I also bought some pomegranates (and used this tutorial to cut/deseed).  Yum!  They are fun to eat and one pomegranate has lasted for quite a while.  I may just have to go back for more,










christmas craft



This year my big craft was this wreath.  I wanted to make one last year, but waited until after Christmas to stock up on ornaments.  They've been patiently sitting in the closet all year until I recently took them out and went to town.  I loved how (that) it turned out!  There are gold, silver and blue ornaments, shiny and matte.  I especially love the matte ones.  I also used three sizes.  I even had enough left over to decorate our tiny tree with them. 
I used this tutorial, which I liked because it was threading ornaments onto a hanger, not gluing them onto a foam wreath.  

thanksgiving




This year we spend Thanksgiving with my dad's family in northern utah.  It was so fun!  We crashed at my aunt and uncle's house and it is always fun to stay with them.  We really appreciated their hospitality.  I made a banana cream pie and some orange rolls.  Both were well received. I didn't take a picture of the orange rolls but they are super good.  I need to check with my mother-in-law to make sure they aren't a super secret family recipe and then I'll post the recipe.  

Dave loves them and my family, new to the tradition, LOVEs them.  :)  They had them at our Oregon reception and the last two Thanksgivings when I mention orange rolls they go "susan's orange rolls?!"

Our Thanksgiving dinner was so good.  It was smaller than it often is up there but still a lot of fun.  And so much good food.  Then we went through all the ads and planned our shopping trip.  It's something like a 17 year tradition to go black Friday shopping and this year, even with the stores opening super early, was no exception.  And it was great!  I think my feet got a little bruised from too much standing, but we got some fun stuff.  Nothing for Christmas, but a few new movies, some rad slippers (for me and I love them) and these cute baby onesies from Old Navy:

 



Aren't they just so cute?  Can't wait to use the blue striped one especially.  This Thanksgiving we were/are very grateful for all the blessings we have and the good year we've had.  We're especially thankful for the reason behind buying onesies! 

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving...I can't believe it's almost Christmas now!  

want everyone to think you are awesome?

Well, if you're are handy with a hand mixer, I have just the thing for you: herb butter.  I took it to a ward social where people brought bread, jam and butter.  The herb butter was a hit...and I feel bad taking any credit because it was super easy.  But you know, I am awesome with a mixer. 

I don't have any picture except if you wanted to see an empty ramekin.  It is great on rolls and I bet it would be good to make garlicy toast with in the broiler.  I think I will make some to just have on hand. 

PS- her recipe calls for fresh herbs and I didn't have any.  So I used a tsp where it called for a tbsp and 1/2 tsp where it called for a tsp.  I realize that is not the same math, but it worked.

Anyway, I would highly recommend it! 

rosemary olive oil bread.


 On Friday I made this rosemary bread and it was so good! We ate almost all of it in one sitting, dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper.  I think I could eat this and focaccia every day. 



christmas music

I don't really love it.

And when I say that, I mean, I can't stand most the traditional songs.  Like I'd rather listen to a commercial on the radio than a song on that one station that started playing Christmas music November 1st. (like cozy? or something).  and I freaking hate radio commercials.

HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED.  During the Christmas season of my senior year of high school I worked at a car wash that played Christmas music from sometime in November until January.  I worked 3.5 hours/day during the week and most of a Saturday.  Which means I. HAVE. HEARD. IT. ALL.  ad nauseam.

I've heard EVERY CHRISTMAS SONG in EVERY GENRE imaginable.  Pick a song.  I've heard it a cappella, full orchestra, techno, gospel choir, pop, rock, hymny, small group, instrumental... EVERYTHING.  and I think that did it.  for days and days and days that is all I heard.

I still love Christmas hymns and non-traditional songs.  Like Relient K's "let it snow baby, let it reindeer" cd or rock/pop musicians renditions of hymns.

I don't know.  Do you totally hate me?  Or does anyone feel the same way?  Plus, I don't think Christmas music should start playing until like mid-December anyways.

here IS what I'm listening to these days:



babies!

Not as in plural babies in my possession, but of two of my best friends!  My dear washington DC friend, Emily and my freshman roomie Kristen (or kbob) are both expecting babies around the same time as me! Emily is two months ahead and Kristen is a couple weeks behind me.  It is fun to have some of my favorite people to share this with!

So I am hesitant to overwhelm this blog with baby things (until, of course, we have a cute baby to post pictures of) because this isn't a "mommy blog" (and I don't really like that term).  But this is a random assortment of things kind of blog anyways and if you don't like it you don't have to read!  So, if you'll indulge me...

One fun thing is each week (or during the week) is reading all about your growing baby (I like baby center and the mayo clinic book).  I am amazed all the time how smart babies are...and now how smart fetuses are!! I can't believe how fast they develop and the things they can do when they aren't even halfway done growing!!  Part of this week's summary really made me proud at how smart our baby is: "Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam."


How cool is that?  What a smarty-pants.  Next week, hearing!  I just think human development is amazing.  Want to see a picture of our baby? 

awe, how cute.  

win-win-win

On Sunday, my parents had a Thanksgiving preview meal.  This was basically a Thanksgiving dinner and it was so delicious.  I love Thanksgiving food.  My dad requested a banana cream pie and that is what he got: 


It turned out way better than I was thinking it would and I was very pleased with the result!! And, so were the rest of the people who ate it.  I know a lot of people don't like bananas, but this pie only has bananas on the bottom (no banana pudding/flavoring).  My mom, who hates bananas, really liked the pie.  And Dave only had some because he was being a nice husband and said "actually, this is really good.".  So, it was an all-around win!!

I used the Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pie Crust and it was delicious!  (note: when you bake it, use pie weights/dry beans over foil!! I just poked it with a fork and the bottom puffed up and the sides shrunk (which is why you see no pie crust! it wasn't a big deal, but if you're really into the over all presentation))

I searched through a lot of internets for the filling.  I wanted to make it from scratch but a lot of the blogs I read didn't have a recipe for a banana cream pie and some recipes were way too involved.  I finally found this one from Crisco.  I'm glad I used this one. It makes a delicious custardy filling (I think that is how you would classify it).  (note: it calls for butter flavored shortening; I just had regular and I did have butter extract. but I think it would be ok without) 

Then I whipped some cream for the top.  YUM!

What are your thoughts on banana cream pie?  I think I will be making this again for the real Thanksgiving. 

on cooking.

The last few months I haven't made that many things...planning menus made me feel sick (no idea why), so when I wanted to make something, I had nothing planned and no supplies.  I'm not sure what we ate the last three months, but I am glad to be past that (mostly).  I actually planned out all our meals for the week and I am really excited.  And we've already had some great meals. 

First up was potato broccoli soup with bacon.  Yum!!  This was really good, easy and healthy (the bacon is just a garnish).  I even made my own chicken broth!  (it's super easy...just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and let it boil for an hour.  AND you get to eat costco chicken.  uh...yum!)

Next up was banana bread muffins.  You may remember how I gave up making produce bread. Well, my lovely friend Jody gave me her mom's awesome recipe and though I didn't try making bread, it made perfect muffins.  And it was soo easy: 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease an 8x4 pan (it makes 12 muffins).  In a large bowl mix 11/2 + 1 TBSP flour, 3/4 tsp soda, 1 tsp baking power, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/3 c. margarine (I used butter), 2/3 c. sugar, 2 eggs and 3 ripe bananas.  Mix 2 minutes.  (I love that you can throw everything together!) Bake 50 minutes (muffins baked for 30-35).

Thank you Jody and her mom...I have hope again for bread.  


Yesterday I made these lasagna rollups.  SO GOOD. It's basically like manicotti, but you just roll it in soft no-boil noodles.  And Mel's "best" recipes are really the best.  I also liked that it was just a cheesy filling.  I have always loved cheese, but man, these days, I LOVE CHEESE.  


There are some more new recipes up for this week that I'll keep you posted on.  I really enjoy making things from scratch and each month I try to remember to try a few new things.  Not in a super nerdy way (I don't like make goal sheets or anything :)). This month, I wanted to try making chicken broth and it was really easy!  And I try to make my new skills a habit.  I like the idea of eating whole, fresh, homemade foods.  Eating healthy is doable and isn't as expensive as you might think! Planning meals is what really helped, but we also don't eat a lot of meat and rarely buy snack food.  Cooking from scratch is almost always cheaper (though, of course, time is money and you have to factor that in too).  And of course I don't make everything from scratch.  

Another thing that I've gotten better at not shying away from long recipe lists.  I've learned that when a recipe list is long, that usually means most of it is from scratch (as opposed to a few items including canned soup or whatever (not that that is bad, I just prefer not to use it/save money)).  And, most of the ingredients are spices or things like oil, garlic and onions.  If you can break it up, it's totally doable.  So I realize I may say some recipes I try are easy when they have a 20 ingredient list.  But, if you can group them together or even just prep the ingredients ahead of time, it is really easy. 

Anyway, that's a little peak into my cooking philosophy (not that I have one, really) and why I cook what and how I do.  If you're wanting some good recipe blogs, check out the ones on my sidebar.  I really like our best bites, mel's kitchen cafe and (of course) the pioneer woman because most of their recipes are from scratch (or close to it). and delicious. 

p.s. we're totally eating papa john's tonight (found a good coupon + I've been craving* it for weeks)...Moderation! 

*my cravings are more like I see a commercial for something and think I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW.  aka, it just looks dang good.  other items include ARBY's roast beef and cheddar.  so probably not even a real pregnancy craving...I'm just more susceptible to marketing? 

pumpkins

I guess I lied when I said we did nothing seasonal for Halloween.  We did carve pumpkins! Dave did the rebellion symbol from star wars (...) and I had fun using his drill to make mine.  We also lit them with a flashlight because only one of our tea lights would stay lit, but its light was pathetic.