February 28, 2011

What's in Season - March

I love spring. I not usually one of those people who wishes away winter - but after having a week of temperatures in the 60's and going to the park, I am ready to be done with snow, un-plowed roads, and putting on coats. Motherhood of a toddler makes you desire a little bit better weather. But soon spring will be here.
Luckily I can make it seem a little more spring-like with the foods I make.

I am making it a goal to make something with fennel this month. I have not cooked with it much and want to. Any suggestions? Do you prefer it raw or cooked?
What's in Season in March:

Passion fruit
Tangerines, tangelos, other mandarin oranges

Also, if you want to see what's locally in season, check out this easy to use map

February 23, 2011

Fish Tank Cake

I was inspired by Parenting.com to make this cake for my daughter's "Under the Sea" themed birthday party. It looked fairly easy, and since I worked the night before the party, I needed a cake that was fairly simple. I made this Homemade Funfetti recipe - only I doubled it for a 9x13 cake pan and baked for about 35 minutes. Because nothing says kid's birthday like Funfetti!

The rest of the cake was done the day of the party - it took me less than an hour for sure.
I frosted it with my Buttercream Recipe. Once I was sure the cake was covered evenly, I kind of swirrled the frosting, to make it look like water.
Sand = Heath crumbs (you can find it near the chocolate chips in the baking aisle).
Castle = Graham Crackers, cut to whatever shape you want
Fish  = Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish. The bubbles are white frosting and the eyes are melted chocolate (although if I did this again, I would skip the eyes...).
Twisted seaweed  = spearmint gum rolled on a sugared surface then twisted. (I actually misread the instructions, it called for actual spearmint leaves... oh well, the gum worked great too).
Spikey seaweed = Jolly Rancher Chews that you microwave for 3-4 seconds then roll out and cut to shape.

February 21, 2011

MadLibs Monday

I love Madlibs growing up. When I saw Emily doing them on her blog I thought it was such a fun idea. Lucky for me, she asked me to be featured today. Check it out at her blog!

February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Lou!

Recipe she devoured for this picture can be found here -- we loved it as much as her

Yesterday was this cute girl's second birthday. Crazy how fast time flies... but at the same time it is hard to remember life without her. We love having this silly, spunky, snuggly, sweet, singing girl in our home. She keeps us laughing each day. Nothing has made me happier in my life than becoming a mother. In her honor, here are some of her favorite recipes:

Chicken Strips/Nuggets
Pasta with Marinara - this Zucchini Bolognese is a favorite here
Hawaiian Haystacks - last time we made this she out ate me!
Brown Sugar Carrots
This girl loves her veggies like Broccoli, Peas, and these Green Beans
Sweet Potato Fries
Dinner Rolls - who can resist these?
Brazilian Limeade, especially when made into popsicles
Pancakes of all kinds - Blueberry, German...
Barbecue Meatballs

There are many more - as you may notice from the picture above, this girl loves food!

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you are all having a lovely Valentine's Day and I hope you get to spend some time with the people you love.

Over 10 years ago I met my husband - he was a friend of my older sister's. He seemed nice, talented, silly. A couple years later, my sister graduated and I started hanging out with him more. He seemed ever nicer, more talented, and sillier. After graduating from high school, we went our separate ways - I went to college and he went to serve a mission for the LDS church. A few years later we went on our first date after his mission (a wedding of a mutual friend). We knew then that we wanted to keep dating. We were so happy.

I lived in Idaho at the time and he lived in Utah. We dated long distance until I graduated from college. I moved to Provo, UT to work and be closer to him. A few months later we were married. We were so happy, so in love.

Two and a half years later we welcomed our baby girl into the world. We were no longer a couple, we were a family. Ariel developed quickly into an amazing father. I was proud to call him my husband. We were so happy, so in love.

Now, we have two more years added to our happy married life. We have gone through hard times and great times - all have made us grow closer and more in love. AC is a great husband, a great father, and my very best friend.  We are so happy, so in love, so excited for the future!

Happy Valentine's Day Ariel - you are the bacon to my eggs!

February 11, 2011

Yellow Thai Curry

I just started working night shifts now for my job. It is so much nicer to only miss a few hours of Lou's day - rather than the whole thing. I think we will both do much better.
The only problem is the obvious one - I am tired. I have great friends who are helping me watch Lou for a few hours in the morning so I can sleep, plus I sleep during her nap. That gives me about 6 hours of sleep - which is much better than I expected. But, I am a 8-9 hour girl. I know there are few of us out there, but I really need that amount of sleep or I am cranky/weepy/impatient. The days after I work I am moving slow and don't get much done around the house. Then dinner rolls around - and I need something fast and easy. This Thai Curry recipe is just that - easy easy! Thank you Trader Joe's!

Yellow Thai Curry
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, cut in half then sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced
1-2 tomatoes, sliced (I like to use a Roma or something with a lot of flesh and not a lot of juice)
Trader Joe's Yellow Thai Curry sauce (I use about half the jar)
Salt and Pepper

In a large frying pan or a wok, heat up a few tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper. Toss in wok, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked through. Add in onion, cook for an additional two minutes. Add in bell pepper, cook another 1 minute. Add sauce and tomatoes, cook until heated through. Serve over Jasmine Rice.

*If you don't want to do chicken - substitute any meat you like - pork, shrimp, beef, whatever you have in the freezer!

February 09, 2011

Creme Brulee

I had a great birthday - nice and calm. I didn't get the creme brulee made until later in the week - but they were certainly worth the wait! Mmm. Lindsey raved about this recipe on her blog, so I decided it was the one I should try. I was not disappointed!

Crème Brûlée
by Dorie Greenspan
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk 3 large egg yolks
1 / 3 cup sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
About 6 tablespoons sugar or sifted light brown sugar, for topping

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200ºF. Put the six baking dishes on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
In a 1 or 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together until well blended but not airy. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid---this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the cream and milk. Give the bowl a good rap against the counter to de-bubble the custard, then strain it into the baking dishes. Place dishes in a larger dish (i.e. 9x13 pan) and pour water into the larger pan until reaches half way up the custard dishes.
Bake the custards for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the centers are set---tap the sides of the dishes, and the custards should hold firm. Lift the dishes onto a cooling rack and let the custards cool until they reach room temperature.
Cover each custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably longer. (The custards can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) For the sugar to be successfully caramelized, the custards need to be thoroughly chilled.
Makes 6 servings.

Tips from Dorie:
  • The most efficient way to caramelize the sugar topping is to use a blowtorch . If you don’t have a torch, you can chill the custards very, very well, then set them in an ice-cube-filled roasting pan and run them under the broiler. You won’t get as even a coating with the broiler as you would with the torch, but you’ll still get the flavor and the pleasure of a crackly sugar crust over cream custard.
  • The best baking dishes for crème brûlée are shallow, ideally just an inch high, about 4 inches in diameter and holding about ¾ cup of liquid. Porcelain, pottery or glass gratin or baking dishes are perfect, but if you don’t have them, you can use ramekins or even disposable aluminum foil pans, an unglamorous but effective solution.
  • Serve the crème brûlée when the crème is really cold and the brûlée is still warm. You can serve the whole dessert chilled, but the sugar topping won’t have its characteristic crackle. And while I think crème brûlée should be served with nothing more then a spoon, you could offer berries and cookies as accompaniments.
  • The custard for crème brûlée must be made ahead so it has plenty of time to chill, but once you’ve caramelized the sugar on top, your storage time is over if your want the sugar to have crunch.

February 04, 2011

What's in Season - February

I hope you are all having a great February so far. It is so cold here I have even avoided the grocery store. But, if you are able to brave the weather and get out to the stores - here's what's is going to be the best!

Here's What's in Season for February:

From left to right (kind of):
Rutabaga (just learned the difference between rutabaga and a turnip is a rutabaga is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage)
Brussel Sprouts
Tangerines (and all it's family members)
and Fennel

Enjoy the freshest produce!

February 02, 2011


So today is my birthday and I am taking it easy - no work, no big events, just relaxing at home. I think I might whip up some creme brulee for tonight. We shall see how it goes.
For my birthday I decided to share with you one of my favorite breakfasts - smoothies! (I also have these for lunch, dinner, or a snack!) It is freezing here, so this helps me remember the warm days of summer.
This is more of a method than a recipe so pay attention to the tips at the bottom.

1 cup ice
2 cups frozen fruit (store bought or leftovers from the summer)
1 cup yogurt - any flavor
splash of lime/orange/lemon juice (optional)
2-4 cups fruit juice

Place ice, fruit, ice, lime juice, and enough fruit juice to come almost to top of fruit in the blender.

Blend until smooth, Add remaining fruit juice if needed to thin out the smoothie. Makes about 6 cups.
The smoothie I have pictured has peaches, strawberries, blueberries, strawberry yogurt, and grape juice.
  • Put the food in the blender in the order I listed. It makes blending easier because the ice doesn't just float and avoid the blades. 
  • I like my smoothies a little thicker - add more juice or even milk if you want to.
  • I like my smoothies to have something tart - so that's why I add lime juice - use your judgment. 
  • Try many combinations:
    • Peaches, Mangoes, Strawberries with orange juice
    • Strawberries, peaches, with lemonade and limeade
    • Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries with your favorite juice
    • Pineapple, bananas, strawberries, with pineapple juice
    • Peaches, Strawberries, Bananas with peach juice
  • Taste before serving it up - depending on the ripeness of your fruit you may need to add sugar or something a little tart to cut the sweet.
  • Experiment!