Saturday, January 31, 2009

HFPE Idea-Eating Healthy, Produce buying and storage, smoothies Plus a recipe for Roasted Broccoli

We just had an HFPE on making smoothies and bread sticks. I have been so inspired by the smoothie class that I have had a smoothie every day since and plan on continuing that forever! Its a burst of healthy goodness that makes you feel good and tastes great!

One of the things I have been doing lately is buying a lot of fresh produce. However, it is hard to know how to store all this stuff! Some things need refrigeration and some do not. I think this could easily be put into an HFPE night about healthy eating. I think you could do 3 classes and have one on storing and buying fresh produce (including which things are best bought frozen), one on cooking with fresh produce (like how to roast pr steam vegetables), and one on making smoothies. I also think it would be good to have a class on budget grocery store buying or how to use coupons effectively because, let's face it, its more expensive to eat healthier....but its worth it!

Here is a great listing of where to store things, how long to store things, and if you can freeze them. I found this very helpful as I started purchasing all this good healthy stuff and my fridge is busting at the seams!

And Martha Stewart recommends the following when it comes to storage:
The fresh taste and nutritional value of summer produce will last longer with these storage tips.

In the Bag
Most refrigerated vegetables do best in a perforated resealable plastic bag (make 6 to 8 holes in a 1-gallon bag). The bag holds in moisture; the holes help release compounds that produce spoilage while letting in oxygen so the vegetables can "breathe." If vegetables were sprayed with water at the market, lining the plastic bag with paper towels will help absorb excess moisture. Wait until just before using to wash vegetables.

Room Temperature
Keep avocados, eggplants, and tomatoes at room temperature. Once fully ripe, use within a day or two.

In the Crisper
This is the coldest and moistest section of the refrigerator and the best place to store the produce below. Place in a perforated resealable plastic bag.
Corn (with husk)
Green beans

On the Top Shelf of the Refrigerator
The vegetables listed below keep best in the warmest part of the refrigerator -- the top shelves near the front. Place them in a perforated resealable plastic bag.
Summer squashes

For the how to cook with produce class, I would do my roasted broccoli recipe...I swear its the best way to eat broccoli! The same method can be done for sweet potatoes, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, or onions.

Roasted Broccoli


Broccoli (its shrinks down, so get more than you think you will need)

1-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (Olive oil is best but vegetable oil works fine too) Just enough to make it appear shiny but not heavily coated.

Salt and Pepper


Take Broccoli and cut it in to small florets. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (you don't have to line the pan with foil, I just do it to save on clean up) and spread broccoli out on cookie sheet. Lightly pour or spray olive oil over the broccoli and toss to coat the pieces so they are shiny. Spread out on pan in one layer and salt and pepper to taste. Put in a 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the ends look brown and toasty, then turn over add salt and pepper to taste, and roast for 5-10 minutes more. This has become one of our favorite vegetables and we eat it like its popcorn! You can also do the same technique with sweet potatoes, tomato slices, onions, carrots, green peppers , cauliflower, and potatoes.

I like to make this when I am already going to be cooking something else in the oven, like roasting chicken breasts. I will just take chicken and toss in olive oil, add salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash and roast for about 40 minutes until done. When there is about 30 minutes left, I just add the broccoli on a cookie sheet on the other shelf in the oven so that everything is done about the same time.

Recipe: Green Smoothie or a Shrek Smoothie

My friend Jenn makes a green smoothie that is yummy and is packed full of nutritional value. Here is the link that she has it posted at on Lugubrious Delights! She calls them Shrek Smoothies and her kids ove them!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcome Newcomers!


As I taught the bread sticks class tonight at our Ladies night at the church...recipe link here
I mentioned that you can always look the recipe up on my blog. So, here is my blog! I post here about HFPE ideas, Family Night Ideas, Classes, Crafts, lots of recipes, kid stuff, homemade gifts, preschool, and some totally random thoughts by moi!

Now some of you ladies from my church may look at this and say...Yep, I was at that HFPE....and you probably were! I try to throw in a few other ideas that I just have floating around in my head as they are not all old news.

So, welcome to my randomness that is my blog about me and HFPE ideas....enter at your own risk!

To the right is the reason why I made a blog...and then further down below on the right is an index of sorts of all my posts and topics if you are looking for something specific. I love feedback, so please feel free to make a comment or ask a question.

Forgive the little squares with the red X in the box...blogger seems to be having some issues with some pictures not showing because I have seen other sites with the same problem. I will see what I can do about that.

But otherwise, welcome and enjoy!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Thoughts-I lost my shoes

I am here to apologize to anyone who has been looking for another high heels work out...alas, I have not done any. For one, the weather has been cold but not near as cold as it has been in other places so I really can't complain except to say I am a Texas girl and my blood is thin...what can I say?

Anyway, there has been another actually good reason why I haven't worked out in the last little shoes have disappeared! I can't find them...I am so sad! I really only have one decent pair of running and workout shoes and they have grown legs and run away. I have been wondering if I lost them somewhere on our trip, but I think I can remember wearing them the day we left they must be somewhere between Phoenix and Texas. Maybe I left them in a hotel? Maybe they fell out of the car? Maybe Maybe Maybe?

Anyway--I am sad...I have a history of injuries to my shins, so shoes are really important to me and my shins, so I can't just wear any old willy nilly running shoes...I need good ones! And, its January, so I am broke and can't go buy any...sad times folks, sad times!

But....drum roll please....the good news is that my husband got a promotion today!!!! (In case you are new to my life or need to be updated....he lost him job this summer and with the economy and the industry he was is, he ended up having to change career paths and go in a total new trajectory. He has really liked his new job but he had to start at the ground level (and pay) and show that he was a hard worker and his hard work has paid off! Wahoo! )

So, payday is tomorrow for my hubbie and I get paid this I am buying me some new shoes!

Yea for shoes!!!

Preschool-Going on a bear hunt!

Today my sister was in charge of her little girls weekly preschool class and they studied Zoo animals. She did some really cute things...the letter for the week was Z...hence the Zoo theme! She took stuffed animals and put Zs around some of their necks and the kids had to go in each room and look for the animal with the Z. oOce they found the animal, then they decided if the animal needed to go in the zoo.

They also read the book "Going on a Bear hunt" and then did some crafts.

One of the crafts was a huge hit with the kids, its called marble art. You take a box like a shirt box and you tape a piece of paper in the bottom of the box and then you take a marble and drop it in some paint and then the kids swirl the marble around in the box...marble art! She said they just LOVED this and would ask for different colors and had a really good time.

The other thing they did was make a lion mask that was cute. You can see a picture of the lion and the marble art at her blog at

Way to go Linz!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recipe Week Draws to a close and total utter randomness

Howdy all,

I hope you are all doing dandy this last week of January...can you believe it, we are almost to February...the month of love and flowers and chocolate....gotta love that! I have to say that I always love getting to February...mainly because I am usually so broke by the end of January with the holidays having just passed and paying bills and everything that I am often plum broke by February, as is tradition...I love the 1st of February and payday!

So, how are you all doing on your resolutions?

I came up with a few more....
-I want to treat my husband like the he is the best husband in the world and not nag him for the things he is not or doesn't do. He is a pretty good guy and I love him and appreciate him so much, I hope I can show him a little more this year just how much I love him.
-I want to be more positive. I decided that I would read my scriptures this year looking for uplifting and positive things. For instance, I started going through my bible dictionary and looking for uplifting words. When I find them, I read their meaning and then look up some of the corresponding scriptures. I don't really think I am a very good scripture reader and I want to be better.

Anyway--I hope you enjoyed RECIPE WEEK! It was fun to find some of my favorites and share them with you. Let me know how you like them!

Well, my husband just arrived with dinner, so I gotta scoot! I love my some Wings N More!

Take Care All!

I hope you have a good week and stay warm. An ice storm is hitting my friends to the north so I hope you all stay safe!

Much love,


Recipe:Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin that morphs into Pulled Pork BBX Sandwiches the next day

Good Evening all,

I made this pork loin this weekend and it was simple and easy so I am sharing. The pork loin recipe comes from Robin Miller of Quick Fix Meals. I really love balsamic vinegar, so this is a great way to add some rich flavor. You could also do this with pork chops.

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Two 2 pound pork tenderloins trimmed of silver skin if necessary.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme or about half as much dried.


Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the pork in the pan and season the top and sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, and thyme. Spoon the mixture over the pork then roast for about 45 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached. Baste every 15 minutes if possible.

Let the pork stand for 10 minutes before slicing enough for your dinner, I think this will feed 4-6 people.

The leftover pork can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 3 months.

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches:

The 2nd pork loin from the above recipe and any leftovers
a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, I like KC Masterpiece
Kaiser rolls

Take the pork tenderloin and with 2 forks, pull apart the pork so it is shredded. Take the port and put it in a pot, empty the bottle of barbecue sauce in and mix. I would probably add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to thin it out a little if it seems too thick. Cook until warmed through and the pork is coated in the sauce.

Warm Kaiser rolls in over or toast them. Serve the BBQ pork on Kaiser rolls, I would add mustard and a pickle, but that is just me.

And there you go...2 meals and basically just one prep and a warm up!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

German Puffy Pancakes

This is from a cookbook my husband brought me back from Utah " The Essential Mormon Cookbook: Green Jello, Funeral Potatoes, and other Secret Combinations" by Julie Badger Jensen.

These were really good. It recommends that you serve them with sour cream, brown sugar, and strawberries...and we laughed at that but tried it and it was really good. (Which is basically the Strawberries Romanov recipe without the brandy.) You can also have it with syrup.

We also had topping options of pecans, whipped cream, cherry jam, powdered sugar, peaches, and blueberries.

German Puffy Pancakes

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 cups fresh strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons sugar
1 carton of sour cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Maple Syrup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put butter in a 9 inch glass pie plate. Place in oven for 5 minutes, or until butter melts and bubbles.

While butter is melting put milk, flour, sugar, eggs, and salt in blender. Blend on medium until smooth, remove pie plate from oven. Immediately pour mixture into pie plate. Return pie plate to the oven, bake for 20 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake 8-10 more minutes until edges are puffed and brown. Remove from oven, cut into wedges and serve with toppings.

I really like these, they are interesting looking and super easy. I doubled the recipe and had enough for a pie plate, a tart pan, and a round serving dish.
Here is a picture of the breakfast casserole (see next recipe) and the 3 German Pancakes!

Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

Here is the Breakfast Casserole recipe that I made for a Sunday lunch. It is adapted from a recipe in our ward cookbook.

Breakfast Casserole

1 large bag of hash browns (although I bought a large bag and didn't use the whole thing)
1/2 onion chopped (You can add onions or buy hash browns with onions)
12 eggs
1-2 cups of grated cheese
Meat of choice: 8 oz of cooked breakfast sausage crumbled or 1 cup of cooked chopped up ham or
1 pound of bacon cooked and crumbled (I used ham)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 garlic salt
Pepper to taste

Pour frozen hash brown in greased 9X13 pan. place meat in a layer on top of hash browns. In a large bowl beat eggs with a whisk and add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of garlic salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture on to hash browns and meat. Top with cheese. You can now refrigerate overnight if you want to eat it for breakfast or go ahead and bake it now. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, turn oven down to 375 and bake 20 minutes longer.

Memories.....a college dance

I am sitting here chapperoning a college dance.....ah, the memories! I love to dance, and I went dancing almost every Thursday of my college career...and some Fridays and Saturdays. I had 2 dance partners throughout college...Tim and Preston....both excellent dancers and fun people to be around. We mainly did a country jitterbug, the 2 step, polka, and waltz. I love a good polka, as corny as that sounds and I really love to jitterbug, although I wouldn't dare do all the flips, throws, and stunts that we did back then....I am not as limber or as agile as I used to be! But boy, were those fun days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

HFPE: Purse Themed Night

I have been asked to post about one of our Ladies Enrichment Nights that we had probably 2 years ago. We had a purse themed night and it was so cute and fun! If you want to see how other people did this same theme, just google "purse enrichment relief society" and you will get oodles of sites where other wards have done the same thing.

Its a way cute idea. We started out by giving everyone an invitation that looked like a little purse. We told them they were purse-onaly" invited. I will attach a copy of the pattern. (see below) Its a little rough because I just drew it up here at my desk. We used different colors of card stock for the purse and then printed out on the computer the invitation information and glued it inside, you could also use some fancy designer patterned paper too. For the purse "clasp" we used a little fabric flower or button and for the purse strap we used a little pearl ribbon or regular ribbon. I will have to try to make one of these this weekend so I can post a real picture, but this will at least give you an idea on the pattern. You can fit 3 on one 8.5X11 sheet. You can make them larger if you think they are too small. The ladies in our ward thought these were so really intrigued them to come and we had a great turnout. I always believe that you should make the invitations to an event look very nice....if the invitation looks like it was rushed and corner were cut, then people may believe that the activity will be that way and may not come.

(click to enlarge)

Anyway, we had a dinner, something very girlie like soup, salad, and quiche, I think, with rolls. After dinner, we had our program. We had asked some women in advance to take 3-5 minutes each and talk about a different purse they have carried in their life. They were asked to bring the actual purse or bag as a visual aid. These are the purses we asked people to talk about: a fancy after 5 purse, a scripture bag, a temple bag, a diaper bag, a Sunday bag (like for a calling), a backpack (for students), and a regular purse. We wanted variety, so we asked women who were in all these different stages, like a young mother for the diaper bag and a Temple worker for the Temple bag or a young bride. It was so fun and entertaining. These women did such a great job and they pulled things out of their purse and talked about them and how they help them get through life.

I started out with a fancy purse because I thought some of the just out of high school sisters could relate it to a purse they took to prom. My particular fancy purse was from prom and it had been my great aunt's. It is a beautiful small pearl beaded type purse and I talked about how I think of my great aunt when I use it and I love that it is so fancy and special. Then I turned it over to the next purse lady.

One lady was so funny because she talked about things you need to have in your purse-everance, purse-suasion, and our favorite...purse-scriptions!

I believe the Relief Society President was the final speaker who talked about all the purses we carry in our life and tied it all together.

The centerpieces were different kinds of purses from all eras and styles.

It was such a lovely and fun night. We laughed a lot.

We also played a game. Our game required everyone to pull out their purse (We put on the invitation for everyone to bring their purse). I would call out a certain item and the first person who was able to pull out that item and hold it over their head won a point for the table. You will need helpers to see who is first because this can get competitive and these ladies were fast! The winning table all got some sort of little prize. I think we had gotten some purses from the dollar store and put something in them.

Here are some of the items that we called out for the game:

A piece of gum

a brush

a fruit or vegetable (you would be surprised what some people carry!)



a quarter

a head cover for when it rains

a driver's license




an old church program

a receipt from a store

scriptures (of any sort)

a book

a cell phone

a toy

a diaper

a package of Kleenex

a grocery card (like a Kroger card)

a relief society newsletter

You would be surprised how funny this game was so funny to see what people carried around and who carried what.

If you have any specific questions, please ask. I am sure I am forgetting some of the details. I will think about it and see what else I can jog out of my memory.

Recipe: Taco Soup

Here is another Super Soup Recipe! This one is a Taco Soup that I beleive is from Pampered Chef.

Taco Soup
2 lbs. fresh, lean ground beef
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 oz. can diced green chilies
taco seasoning packet
Ranch dressing/dip packet
2 cans corn, undrained
4 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
½ c. chopped fresh cilantro, optional
grated Monterey Jack and/or cheddar cheese

Chop onions using Food Chopper. Brown meat and onions in 8-qt. Stockpot. Open cans using Can Opener and add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Cool completely and pour into freezer bag. Squeeze air out of bag and freeze. Reheat to serve. Using Deluxe Cheese Grater, grate cheese on top of soup served in Coffee & More Cups.

Recipe: Taco Seasoning Mix

Have you ever bought those packets of taco seasoning and wondered what in the heck was in them? Well, now you know. Below is a recipe that I have seen a few times over the years and I am sure you could adjust it if you wanted less heat or more or whatever. This stuff is great for tacos, but it also works as a great seasoning for enchiladas, Mexican Lasagna...just about anything Tex Mex!


1/4 cup instant minced onion
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. crushed dried red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. instant minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and blend thoroughly with wire whisk. Spoon mixture into a tightly closed container and label as "Taco Seasoning Mix". Store in a cool, dry place.

Use within 6 months. Makes 6 packages (about 2 Tbsp. each) of mix. 2 Tbsp. equals 1.25-oz. pkg. purchased taco seasoning mix.

To make Taco Filling:
Brown 1 lb. lean ground beef in large skillet over medium heat; drain grease. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning Mix. Reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes enough filling for 8 to 10 tacos.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Recipe: Cheddar Soup

This is one of my Mom's favorites and a favorite at the tea room that she used to own. Its creamy and so good!

Ingredients to serve 8
1/4 cup of butter or margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup flour
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart half and half
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 and 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Saute in the melted butter, the onion, carrots, and celery (I chop these in a food processor) Saute until soft.Gradually stir in the flour and cornstarch.Reduce heat to low and gradually stir in the chicken broth and half and half. Continue cooking and stirring until thickened and smooth.Stir in the baking soda and grated cheddar.Stir until cheese is melted.Add salt and pepper.Enjoy!Note: Be sure to use half and half, not milk.When you add the flour and cornstarch to make the roux, it will quickly thicken, so be sure to stir.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Recipe:La Madeleine`s Strawberries Romanoff

Have you been to La Madeleine's? Its a yummy place and my little sister LOVES their Strawberries Romanov, she gets it almost every time we go and savors ever minute of it. We found the recipe and low and behold it has brandy in it! Who would have thought? But, I am sure you could substitute the brandy with an extract or just leave it out. I also use this as a topping on German Puffy Pancakes (without the brandy)...I will have to post that recipe too this week! This says it will serve 2 but I bet Lindsey would argue that it will only serve her!


1 cup strawberries, hulled and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon brandy

Just before serving, rinse berries and trim stems with a paring knife. Mix remaining ingredients and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes.

Put berries in stemmed wine glass and top with sauce.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


And for those of you who (like me) have not yet worked out this week...come on! Do it! All those excuses are PITIFUL!

Just DO IT! Your body with thank ya!

Welcome to Recipe Week!

Howdy all,

In an effort to share some of the yummy things I have been making or eating, I am calling this week RECIPE WEEK and will try to share a new recipe every day with you so that you can all spice up your menus a little this year.

ENJOY! Make something beautiful!

And PLEASE SHARE! If you have a great recipe, you can email me or post it in a comment!

Recipe: Herbed Fish Cakes

Howdy all,

I have been and will continue to test out some new recipes to add to my cooking repertoire and I will be sharing them with you as I go. Tonight I made these Herbed Fish Sticks and Creamy Cheese Polenta (that I will post later). I tell ya, I am not one of those people who goes into a restaurant and orders crab doesn't even float my boat or hold any interest, but these intrigues me so I went for it. Its a take off of the classic crab cakes and I tell ya...I REALLY liked them! This is a Robin Miller recipe, she does the Quick Fix Meals show on Foot Network. I have one of her books and this is the new recipe I tried.

Herbed Fish Cakes:

Prep Time :15 minutes
Active Cooking Time 4-5 minutes
Walk Away Time 20 minutes (which is a perfect time to unload the dishwasher!)

3.5 pounds of fresh or frozen halibut or cod filets or steaks, thawed and skin removed. I actually used Flounder filets, I had 12 4 oz filets that I bought at Sam's in one of those big bags.

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
6 tablespoons of seasoned dry bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs instead and added in some extra seasons, plus a small hand full of grated Parmesan)
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley or less if you use dried
1 tablespoon of fresh basil or less is you use dried
1.5 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place the fish in a large stockpot and pour enough water to cover. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until just fork tender, about 5 minutes. You could also cook the fish in a microwave if you prefer. Layer the fish in a microwave safe dish in a single layer, cover the dish with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes until fork tender, add 1 minute increments if fish is not done.

Transfer the cooked fish to a large bowl, add in all the rest of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Mix until well blended and shape into 12 cakes about 1 inch thick. (At this point you can cover the cakes and freeze them for up to 3 months or put them in the fridge for up to 3 days.)

Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Gently add the fish cakes one at a time and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Carefully flip them over when it has a nice very careful so they do not fall apart! Transfer the pan to the 400 degree oven and cook for 20 minutes more.

Mmmm, mmmm, good, look at that crusty yumness!

Once they are cooked, they can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months, thaw completely in the refridgerator or microwave for 3-5 minutes on low before using.

If you are a tartar sauce person, you will probably want some of that around but I thought they were great without the sauce. I was really pleased with how these turned out.

She suggests that you take leftovers and morph them into another complete meal, like by breaking up the cooked fish cakes and adding them to a salad with artichoke hearts and caper...or taking the fish cake mixture and stuffing bell peppers with it...or make a corn chowder and put the fish cakes in it for a fish and corn chowder.



P.S. You might could also make these into fish cake "bites" and make them smaller and have them as an appetizer or for Superbowl food.

Recipe: Garlic Bread Sticks

These bread sticks are super yummy. My sister's friend Andrea gave them the recipe for a Cooking Class and I am going to do a demo at the Ladies Church night meeting later this month.

Andrea's Bread sticks
Yields 12 bread sticks

1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
½ tsp salt
3 cups flour
½ cup butter
garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and/or salad supreme

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix together yeast mixture, sugar, salt, and flour. Knead for about 3 minutes. Add flour as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes, or longer. Melt butter on cookie sheet. Cut dough into fourths, then into thirds. Roll & twist. Roll in butter, sprinkle with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese and/or salad supreme. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

So, what are yours? I am still working on mine, still resoluting I guess...I have a few that I know and then others that keep popping into my head and I think "that will be one of my resolutions" and then I forget them...I need to write those down when they pop in there like that! are a few off the top of my head...I heartily admit that I am a work in progress and I hope that I am bettering (not sure that is a word, maybe I should make that a use "real" words) myself year after year.

#1 Be healthy and exercise on a regular I know, this is probably many people's goal and I did much better at this last year than the years before...but I want to always do this, so it stays there until it becomes a complete part of me...we aren't quite there yet.

#2 Trust in God...this is kind of my mantra for the year. I admit that I like control, I thrive on control...and sometimes I need to sit back and let someone else take the controls, like our Heavenly Father. So, I am going to work on this!

(For those of you who are LDS, you might can relate to this but I have the feeling that I may be getting a new calling at church. For those non-LDS-ers, a calling is when the local leaders of the church ask you to take on a special project, like to teach the 5 years old Sunday school class or something like that. I don't know why I feel that way...and maybe its just wishful thinking that I could get something really simple and easy, but that really never happens...but I just keep getting the feeling that there are "winds of change" in the know, its kind of like that feeling that you left the iron just keeps coming back and bugging you in the back of your mind..taunting you...) Now, if any of the Primary Leaders are reading this, they are saying "NO! We don't want to loose a teacher" but who knows if my inkling is even correct. I will keep you posted...and I will keep wondering what could possibly be in store....and fretting a little too, just because its what I do!

#3 Keep my house and kitchen cleaner...I do a kind of decent job of this at times but there are plenty of days when I am worn out and just leave it for tomorrow. I am going to try to be more efficient in my cleaning and do it now as opposed to later.

#4 Do meal planning--my sisters and I have decided that we are going to get together and make a bunch of freezer meals to last us through the month. If we can do this for every month or so as we go, then it will be great for those nights when you just don't have the energy to cook and you just want to sit on the couch and put your feet up. I plan on sharing all our freezer meal recipes with you as stay tuned!

#5. Get rid of junk...I want to de-clutter. Enough said.

#6. I want to do some fun things with me nieces, after all, I am the favorite aunt!

#7. I am going to learn to tat! Now that I have some wonderful resources, by golly I am going to do it! I may add lace to everything I own!

#8. Keep healthy food in the house...if you have junk, you will eat, if I have a craving for something sweet than I am going to have to make something from scratch because I don't want to have a whole lot of processed and fattening foods around...because if they are there, we will eat them!

#9 Read more...I am a pretty avid reader but I need to read an equal amount of fun stuff and good stuff, like the Bible and scriptures and stuff. Uplifting stuff.

I will write more as I remember them...and I hope you keep me honest and make me do them! I would also love to hear what yours are....PLEASE SHARE!

Card Inspiration

I thought I would share some inspirational inspirational I mean to inspire you to create some cards...not that the cards themselves have an inspirational theme and tell you to aspire to greatness...although maybe they do!

Anyway, these are not cards I have made, in fact if I had to guess, I would say that Lindsey made both of these. I believe one is from a card swap and another is from a set of cards Lindsey gave me.

This first card is a thank you card. In the picture, I have the card sitting on top of the white envelope. This cute card looks like a little purse.

Recipe: It was made with designer paper cut out in a circle with about an inch not being cut so that it is still connected (Paper is Stampin' Ups "Au Chocolate" which is retired but they have a similar designer paper that you can still buy). The designer paper is double sided so there is another print on the inside which is pictured in the second picture. Then, a pink circle is adhered to the middle with a "Thank You" Stamp going around and around in the circle with a heart stamp in the middle. The words and heart are stamped in chocolate chip brown and the pink heart is colored in with pink marker. The "thank you" circles are on a cream colored circle with pink "daubed" around the edge. The top of the circle has a copper colored library clip on it. The ribbon is laced through two hole punches on the sides of the flat part that holds them together and a pink checkered grosgrain ribbon is ties on one side. The inside follows the same basic theme with circle punches or cutouts and a pink heart stamp. This card is just could also be switched around and the "Thank you" could be a " You're invited" and it could be a birthday or party invitation for a girls party.

The next card is a birthday card for a boy (or man) and it has an opening on the side and you pull the little green ribbon out and the red card slides out. The car, "beep beep", and stop sign are part of a stamp set, the black uphill road is just black paper, and the scene is on a cream colored background and then adhered to a yellow paper and blue card stock to frame it up nicely. The red card has a hole punched in it to hold the "pull tab" green ribbon which is from Stampin' Ups certainly celery ribbon and it has a stamp that says "driving by with a birthday "Hi"!" and the stop light is from the same stamp set as the car and then 3 buttons are glued on for the lights, a red, yellow, and green button.

( Sorry for the shadow on this picture.)
So, get some inspiration and go make a card for someone. I love to receive handmade cards, I know that the person spent some time on the card and that is better than a store bought card any day!
Have a fun weekend! Be beautiful!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recipe: Quiche

We really like quiche, it is an easy "go to" meal for me because I almost always have a few eggs sitting around and some cheese and can usually find a few more things to put in there. This is also a crust-ess quiche. As much as I love the crust, I figure I save a few calories by leaving the crust off. However, feel free to throw in a crust and bake it a little before you put the quiche in or just use one of thos frozen crusts.

I start out by taking 3-5 eggs, depending on your pie plate. For the one pictures below in the pink glass pie plate, I used 4 eggs. Take the 3 eggs and crack them in a bowl and add one slightly heaping teaspoon of mayonnaise...whisk them all together or use a fork and just beat the tar out of them until it is all well blended. Then add 1/4th to 1/2 cup of milk...or if you are feeling really rich, use cream or half and half...its so good! Anyway, the amount again depends on the size of your plate. Tonight I made 2 quiches and I thought the plates looked the same size, one was glass and one was metal and for the metal one I had to add another egg. Anyway, take the egg mixture and set aside.

Now, spray the pie plate with Pam or some other kind of non-stick spray. Then add your fixins. For this one pictures, I had some leftover ham that I slices up and I sauteed some onions and bell peppers. You really can add whatever you think would be good, I have had all sorts of quiches over the years and have loved almost all of them, even the ones I thought sounded totally bizarre. I put in the bottom of the pan probably about 1/2 cup of chopped up ham and probably 3-4 tablespoons of sauteed vegetables that I chopped up and spread throughout the plate. See below...

Then I added about 3 medium sized handfuls of cheese, in this case I used a Mexican blend but really you can use whatever floats your boat. Sprinkle the cheese over the ham and fixins.

Then take the egg mixture and pour it over the ham and onions and you are ready to bake.
Place the quiche in a 350 degree F oven and cook for about 35 minutes. Basically you want the eggs firm and the edges to be a little browned. If you use a faster melting cheese, the cheese may be brown as well.

Tonight I made 2 quiches and I will freeze one for later, they freeze really well. you can also cut them up into slices and freeze the slices individually and then grab them in the morning on your way to work and just pop them in the microwave for a minute. I actually made quite a bit of the onions and peppers and ham bits so I put the rest back in the saute pan and added some eggs and scrambled them. This mixture went inside some whole wheat tortillas with cheese sprinkled in them and then wrapped up for a breakfast burrito or taco. I have some in the fridge that we will eat for breakfast the next 2 days and then I froze the rest for a quick grab and go breakfast like the quiche slices. I just wrap the burritos up in saran wrap and make sure they are sealed well, then pop them in the freezer. I wrap them up individually so they are easy to grab and warm up.

Some other yummy quiche combinations...

Ham and cheese

Spinach and artichoke with Gruyere

Tomatoe basil

Mushroom and bacon

Sausage and mushroom

Spinach and cheese

I put cheese in all my quiches, so its a given for me.

For breakfast, this is great with some fruit and crusty bread. For lunch or dinner, I would serve it with some crusty bread and probably a soup. This is a great brunch item as well and it also works well for a bridal or baby shower. You can easily double or triple the recipe and make it in a casserole dish, in fact I have a recipe for a fabulous Egg Puff that is really excellent for showers, I will post that recipe later, or email me and I can send it to you. If you make up a 3 egg quiche and after you put it in you think you might need a little more egg (like I did tonight), then all you have to do is beat another egg and just pour it on top and make sure it evens out by moving it around a little with a fork.

If you want it more decadent, then I would use the half and half or cream and use a little more cheese or fancy cheese like Gruyere. Gruyere is a rich nutty Swiss cheese made in Gruyere, Switzerland that is really stinky but tastes so wonderfully delicious. I first had this cheese when my mom and sister brought some back from their trip to Europe and they toured the cheese place in was so good. I occasionally splurge at the grocery store and get a small hunk (its expensive) and indulge in some fabulous recipes with my Gruyere. I have heard someone say that smelling a good cheese is like smelling the feet of angels...meaning its very smell but also heavenly.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Food: Cup Cake Mini Cones

These are a cute little desserts that could be used for lots of things. I love these because they are self contained and you don't have to peel off a wrapper like a regular cup cake. I think these are great for kids. It is a cupcake that you cook in the ice cream cone and then just top off with frosting. Here is the finished product.

I had planned to make these in regular sized ice cream cones but when I opened the package, I realized I had bough "kids" cones and there were miniatures, there were 60 in a box instead of 20-ish. So, I thought I would go ahead because this is a fun way to do dessert and for people who don't want too many calories, they can eat one and not feel guilty or you can eat 2 or 3 and not feel guilty! I think these would be fun at a birthday party or a shower.

Here are the ingredients...
I took a regular cake mix, in this case it was a funfetti white cake, and followed the instructions to add water, oil, and eggs and mix as normal. Then I put a large zip lock baggie in a container and filled the zip lock with frosting.

Then you take get the air out of the bag and seal it and hold it up like this...VOILA...a piping bag!
Just cut off the tip and you are ready to go.

Just put the batter in each cup and then I took a knife and wiped off any batter that got on the top or sides, I didn't want it to burn on the edges and look yucky.

So, when I was finished, I had 60 cones filled about 3/4 full and enough left over to fill a small ramekin and make a mini cake.

Then they went into the oven. For the cooking time, you just have to watch them but mine took about the same amount of time as it says to allot for cupcakes, which was about 20-22 minutes. If you have a bunch in the cake pan, make sure you test the middle ones with a toothpick because those did not get done as fast as the ones in the smaller ramekins.

Once they are done baking and cooled, I took the frosting and put it in a ziplock, the same way I did the batter, and then piped on the frosting and it looks like a little bitty ice cream cone.

They were a hit at my party and I love that they are not messy! You could use any kind of cake and any kind of icing. You can also put sprinkles on them too.

Yummy and cute!

Hope you all have a beautiful week!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Craft-Modge Podge on a Metal Star

When I was in Utah for Christmas, my sister in law showed me a project she was working on. It was modge podging pictures onto those large decorator metal stars that you see in the craft and decorator stores. I think its a really fun way to give someone a "scrapbook" of pictures. Once you have all the pictures where you want them, then you put layers of modge podge on them and let it dry and it becomes all shiny and cool looking. I did some googling and found some pictures and links so I thought I would share with you...

This one was done with pictures and scrapbook paper and it was a Mother's Day gift, the link to this blog is

Here is one that was done with just scrapbook paper and no pictures. I think it makes a nice door decoration....I may have to do this for my door!

The link to this one is here and she also has instructions on how to do it.

On this same blog, she also did some wooden blocks with modge podge and I thought they were cool looking as well.

Thanks for the great ideas Amy!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Craft-The Memory Game

As a child, we played the memory game a lot. In fact, my brother was always really good at it and he and my little sister would play for hours.

I found this really cute idea for making your own memory game. She just used chip board, stamps, punches, and scrapbook paper and used modge podge to seal them all. You could probably use a heavy weight card stock instead of chip board.

The link to the picture is

Here are the pictures from her site. I think you could really have fun with this and do alphabets and numbers and all sorts of things.

She just punches out scrapbook paper with the scalloped square punch and then adheres it to the chip board.
You can also use stamps for fun images.
I love how colorful this is!

What a great idea Melissa!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cooking Ideas--Crock Pots and recipe for Creamy Chicken a la Crock Pot

I love to cook in the crock pot. I especially love that it takes minimal effort and that I can walk in the door after work and VOILA! Dinner is done!

As I was perusing the web, I found this website about this woman who cooked with a crock pot every day for a, that is a lot! She has even been on the Rachel Ray show and is now coming out with a cook book. The link to her blog is and you will find a world of 365 crock pot recipes to try! I will also try to post a few of my favorites as well. I have a crock pot cook book that is pretty good however it has like 10 recipes for chili and 8 recipes for vegetable stew, etc...its kind of a conglomeration of recipes that people sent in and sometimes you have a few too many which vegetable stew recipe do you follow...and actually, my recipe for vegetable stew is this...throw every vegetable you have in the fridge and pantry in the pot and add some meat! (How is that for fancy?) Add some broth of some sort and let it stew and meld and become one...yummm!

One of my favorite recipes in the crock pot is to just take chicken breasts and cream of mushroom soup and pour it over it and add a can or so of water. Let it cook the normal 6-8 hours and the last 20-30 minutes you add a block of cream cheese and some sour becomes this wonderful chicken with this cream sauce that you want to lick the sides of the bows for...not that I have EVER done that. I love that Creamy Chicken! (for 4 people I would use 4-6 chicken breasts and 2 cans of cream of mushroom...cream of chicken works as well and so does the fancy versions of creamy soups like the cream of roasted chicken and garlic mushrooms...or whatever.)

If you have never been a crock potter or do not have one, I suggest you go to the local discount store and buy you a good but cheap one. I think I got one for $14 once and it worked great! The best thing is coming home to a meal that is warm and ready to go when you walk in that door, just pull up a plate and eat! It also doesn't heat up the whole house if you live in a warmer climate and that is a nice bonus to us Texans when it 102 degrees in July with the heat index of 1 gazillion.

Recipe:Cranberry Pork Roast


My sister got me a fun cookbook that is for very basic needs cooks....its has a section for recipes with 3 ingredients, and section for foods with 4 ingredients, and a section with 5 ingredients. I tried out the Cranberry Pork Roast recipe with 3 ingredients. All you do it put a pork roast, a can of whole cranberry sauce, and onion soup mix. I also added 2 cups of chicken broth or water since I converted it to my slow cooker. (Don't forget to season the roast with salt and pepper...I also through in some Rosemary and Mrs. Dash)

I just let it cook on low for 6-8 hours and then we had it for dinner. It was basic and good and had a little bit of a sweet taste to it from the cranberry sauce.

Best of all, it was super simple!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My new niece

I took the day off today to spend a little time with my new niece. She is a whole 12 days or so old...isn't she just a cutie? She has these beautiful big brown eyes that you can only see open for a while between the hours of 1am-5am. Her parents hope that she figures out her days and nights soon. I got a few glimpses of them today but only for short seconds here and there when she was teasing me and acting like she was waking up and then would just go right back to sleep. She was born while I was out of the state. I gave her some specific instructions that she needed to be born before I left or wait until I was almost home so I would not have to be away from her for the first 10 days of her life while I was on my trip. She is a good listener and I got home the day she came home from the hospital.
We did some bonding today, I got to feed her and then we talked while she slept...I watched Food Network and she slept, her parents got out of the house for a while and she slept...but it was still good bonding time!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lacing Card Kits

I posted a picture of a lacing card kit a while ago (here is the link )
and someone asked me where to get them. Honestly...I didn't know because I bought my from a friend and she got them from somewhere else...I think out of state. So, I found an extra one I had and googled it...low and behold, you can find them in lots of places. They are called

Cosmo Cricket Lacing Card Kit

And I have seem one that says family, and one that says dreams, and one that says friends but there may be many more styles. has them for around $14 but if you go to Google Product Search and type in that name, then you get a long list of sources! Like this

Some of them are as low as $1.99 on ebay! What a deal! These are cute and fun gifts, all you need is about 20-30 minutes while you are watching tv to lace them up!


I am feeling the urge to do some canning....and I have never done it before but I feel like it is a lost art...right there with tatting and homemade bread. My family was talking about it over the holidays and we were thinking that we might all get together and do some canning because we were interested in it and some have actual experience with it and its a good thing to do! I would love to have nice canned fruits and veggies available in my pantry. With the economy the way it is and my husband having to change jobs, we have been using some of our food storage here and there and it was good to know that I had it there just in case I needed it and I think canning up some beautiful tomatoes or peaches or whatever would warm my heart and make me feel all warm and fuzzy! Once we get closer to Spring and the season is ripe, we are going to tackle canning and I will let you know how it goes.

On another note, I found these jars that I think are really beautiful canning jars. They are called WECK Canning jars and the link is

take a click and go see them. They are fluid and tulip-like and really beautiful! Who knew canning jars could be so pretty? I will have to check their prices to the normal Ball jars and see how much they cost....I am sure these are more expensive, but I think they are lovely.

Places to go: Cabella's

My husband is a big fan of stores like Cabella's, Bass Pro Shops, etc. These places are true man stores and have all the fixins you need for going hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, etc. Its the store for the outdoors! I figured out a while ago that my husband plans part of our trips around the Cabella's stores. He LOVES to go wander around them!

Once, when we were driving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for his step grandfather's funeral, as we drove through Minneapolis/St. Paul he said " I forgot my Sunglasses, do you mind if I stop and buy some?" I said "Sure, we can stop." and he said " I think there is a Cabella's at this next exit".....huh? We are driving through a part of the country that we have never been to and he knows the exit and how to get to the Cabellas? Ah-hah! I see...the sunglasses being left at home were no accident!

Anyway, since we were on the road 60 hours over Christmas, he knew were all the Cabella's stores were so that we could stop when it was convenient. We stopped at the one in Glendale, AZ. I have to admit that these stores are cool!

In each store they have a "Wildlife museum" that you can walk through and see these beautiful beasts up close and personal. It was fun to take my toddler through and let him look at all these animals, big and small, and see what they really look like.
So, take a trip to your local Cabella's and check out the wildlife! The one in Glendale had a polar bear, an elephant, jack rabbits, elks, deer, squirls, and much much more to see.
Forgive the fuzzy pictures, we were having camera issues!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Places to go: The Great Plains Transportation Museum

This is a new segment I am going to add on the good old blog called "Places to Go." As I travel around and see fun and interesting things, I will post about them and tell you what I thought.

During our travels to Utah for Christmas, we stopped in Wichita, Kansas to go to the Great Plains Transportation Museum. Their website is

This is a TRAIN MUSEUM...and if any of you have a little boy like mine, he LOVES trains! Chooo Chooo!

This is not a huge museum but it does have quite a few trains that you can actually get up in and look around, both engines and cabooses and a few other random cars, it lets you see these big beautiful machines up close and personal...and they really are BIG!
Unfortunately for was 27 degrees F and very windy and our Texas blood just did not allow for us to spend much time there. Most of the exhibit is outside (in the trains) so try to go on a warm day if you can. Since it was so cold, they gave us a coupon for half off the next time we are in Kansas, and I am sure we will go again next time we are in that part of the country.

Personalized Baking Dish

My sister did this as a craft for her Super Saturday Craft Day in her church and she gave them as gifts. This is a regular baking dish that she has faux "etched" the person's last name on the bottom. This is such a cool technique and you can do endless things with this.

The basic instructions are this...print out the person's last name in a large font, then you tape it to the glass dish. **Please note that pyrex does not work**

You then take some transparent contact paper and you stick it to the other side and then with an exacto knife, you cut out the letters of their name. You can also do designs or little symbols...whatever you want.

Then, you take this glass etching liquid and you paint it on the area that you have cut out. The area where you do not have the contact paper will leave the glass etched look. This is really a fun wedding gift idea because who doesn't take a casserole dish to a church function and then never get it back because no one knows who it belongs to? This is the perfect solution. You can get these glass dishes for less than $10 at your basic discount store and I love to give a personalized its a win-win!

She also added 2 small ornaments, a cute recipe card, some crinkle paper for cuteness, and the non perishable ingredients for the recipe on the card. On the food containers, she just covered them with cute paper and then wrapped the whole thing in cellophane and tied a big bow on was so cute! (Note on the cake mix, she only covered the front side)

This one is already unwrapped so you can see all the goods inside. For more specific instructions, just see the instructions that come with the liquid and remember to be VERY careful because this is not the kind of liquid that you want to get on your skin or spill on your glass top table!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Howdy from Texas!

I am back home and am just finishing up the last of the Texas family Christmas. I should be back in the blogging world soon! Sorry for the delay!!! I have lots of new ideas and things to share from my travels and hope you like what you see! If you have things to share, please drop me a note and we will share!

Thanks! I hope we all have a BEAUTIFUL 2009!

Beautiful Basics

Life is about a journey, and you are the only one who can make yours... So, embrace life: the good, the bad, and the is the only one you've got.

Here's to being Beautiful, inside and out!