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Thursday, May 24, 2012

10 more things

I'm worried I sounded too negative in my post last night, and I didn't mean to do that. I was just expressing what was on my mind at that moment.

So here are 10 more things. Things I enjoy or love.

1. Watermelon. I can't get enough of it. I'm also really looking forward to peach season.

2. My internship. I didn't know anything about SEO or copywriting before I started there, and now a month and a half later, I feel like I know so much more. There is still way more to learn, but I am loving the learning process and becoming good at a new skill. 

3. This boy. He has Altoids Smalls in his mouth as teeth. He kept doing this at church, and I was dying. It is a good thing we were sitting in the back row!

4. Hawaiian chicken. I have made this a couple times in the last few weeks. It's so simple, and you don't really even need a recipe. I just throw some chicken, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar into the crock pot in the morning, and then add whatever veggies I have on hand. I've used peas, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and pineapple(not a veggie). Then cook up some rice real quick, and you have dinner!

5. Ozie. This is my niece, and I'm so lucky that Britty(my SIL) shares her and her brother with us because they are the cutest thing ever!

 6. These are the only classes I have to take before I graduate! I will take 15 credits in the Fall and then 4 in the Winter and then I'm done! I'm stoked.

7. We're going to Colorado tomorrow! The stress and craziness of this week will hopefully be made up for this weekend with my family. My little sister is graduating from high school, so all of my immediate family will be there. I haven't seen them since right after Christmas, and I haven't been home since Thanksgiving. I'm excited to be back!

8. The sun comes up before I get up. It's a million times easier to wake up in the morning when the sun is already out, and so even though I only got 5 hours of sleep, I can still pull myself out of bed. 

9. Rexburg in the spring. It's so beautiful and green. Love. 

10. Instagram. I'm so glad they made if for Android! It's my new favorite app. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 things

10 Things that I Hate(Strong Word) Don't Like

If you do any of these things, I'm not trying to insult you, just saying that I don't like them for my self. 

1. Men who wear wedding bands before they are married. You're not wedded yet, therefore you should not wear a WEDDING band.

2. People who make everything about their lives public on Facebook. T.M.I.

3. People who constantly write Facebook posts about how much they love their significant other "I love (insert name here) so much! He/She is the best (husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/neighbor/cousin) ever! No one else has as good of a (blank) as I do! I'm so lucky!"
So happy for you. By the way, do you ever tell them this to their face? I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of this, but there are times when it's okay(birthday, anniversary, etc) but when it's everyday...stop. now.

4. That my husband hasn't taken our TV off retail store mode yet. We've had it for over a year. I know nothing about TV's, but I know that every time it turns on, it says "Your TV is in retail store mode." I don't actually hate this that much, because I don't even know the difference. The message is just annoying.

5. How crabby I get when I'm stressed. I have a final due tomorrow, we're going out of town on Friday so I have to do all of my weekend homework now, and I have a test tomorrow that I haven't studied for. Oh, and I'm just coming off "that time of the month," so I've been a real pleasure to be around lately. Sorry husband.

6. I'm starting to really like country music lately. My whole life, I have been anti-country with the exception of Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Lately, I'm so tired of all the "popular," songs sounding the same and the radio stations here sucking, so I've resorted to country. And I like it. Who am I??

7. My scale. Enough said.

8. Everything I cook/bake lately isn't turning out. Part of it is for a grade, so when it doesn't turn out, I get more stressed(see #5). My final tomorrow is for my Confectionery class, and I have to turn in a bunch of candies. In the last 24 hours, I have made candied orange peels, chocolate almond cups, marzipan roses, nougat, chocolate filligree(see #7), Hawaiian chicken, and rice(not for the final).

9.My kitchen looks like this:

So excited to clean it. 

10. I am on a soccer team and we had our first game last night. I haven't touched a soccer ball for 2 years(no joke), and I am all kinds of sore today, especially in my abs and back. I choked earlier and started coughing. It felt great. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Snack Bars

We really struggle with breakfast around here. Breakfast food is one of my favorite genres of food, but not in the morning. I have a really sensitive stomach in the morning, and most the time, nothing sounds good. We also are usually strapped with time in the morning, so the combination of the two generally results in no breakfast. But, since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we are always on the look out for new breakfast ideas.

A few weeks ago in my Culinary Nutrition class, we were studying whole grains and one of the recipes in the lab was for Peanut Energy bars. They ended up using almond butter instead of peanut butter, and they were really good! I knew that I had to make some at home, and after a few tweaks, this is what I came up with. It ended up making a really big batch, and so we didn't eat all of them before they got old, so next time I will make a smaller batch. One recipe will make one 9x13 pan.

The great thing about these is that you can easily make changes in them to fit many types of diets. You can change the type of nut butter, use gluten free products instead of regular, and add additional products as well.

Energy Bars 
adapted from Peanut Energy Bars in my Culinary Nutrition class

1/2 cup dry roasted salted peanuts(or other nut-we used walnuts)
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds or other chopped nuts
2 cups Crasins, raisins, or other dried fruit(we also added dried apples and strawberries to ours)
2 cups rolled or instant oats
2 cups Rice Krispies(we used the brown rice gluten free ones!)
1/4 c toasted wheat germ(optional)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed(optional)
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, honey, or agave nectar(I used half corn syrup, half agave)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2oz dark chocolate, melted

1. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine nuts, sunflower seeds, Crasins, oats, Rice Krispies, wheat germ(if using) and flaxseed(if using) in a large bowl.
3. Combine peanut butter, brown sugar and corn syrup(agave/honey) in a large microwaveable bowl; microwave on high until bubbling(1 to 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and stir until blended.
4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press down firmly.
6. Let stand for 1 hour to harden. Cut into bars. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthday Shout

There is an LDS children's song that goes:

You've had a birthday shout hooray!
We want to sing to you today!
One year older and wiser too,
Happy Birthday to you!

For the first 20 years of my life, I never really thought too deeply about this song. Then, I realized that the whole time, I had been subconsciously thinking that there was something called a "birthday shout." Every time I heard/sang that song, in my head it went: you've had a birthday shout. Hooray!

I know. Sometimes my brain functions oddly, but that's okay.

Yesterday was Woody's birthday(shout). He turned 24. So old! Just kidding.

I woke up at the crack of dawn(6:15) and made him breakfast. We had angel food waffles(like angel food cake but in waffle form! recipe coming soon) with strawberries and whipped cream, hash browns, and bacon. And Dr Pepper-it's Woody's beverage of choice, and since it was his birthday, I wasn't going to be the one to tell him to not drink soda for breakfast.
He's looking very awake.

The hours of 8-3 were spent in class, at work, and at internships, and then we came home and did homework and I made some Pistachio Cupcakes.

Around 6, we went to Big Jud's with Hannah and Brenton. On the drive there, it seemed like a tornado was coming. There was rain, lots of wind, and dirt blowing everywhere, but we made it there alive. Big Jud's has awesome burgers, but I was feeling chicken so I got a buffalo chicken sandwich and Woody got the 1 lb burger combo(and no, he didn't eat all of it). They have awesome food, so if you're ever in Rexburg, ID, make sure to go!

Our poor children have no way of not getting a wrinkly forehead.

After dinner, we played "Family Business," which is a mob game where you kill each other. Woody has wanted me to play it with him tons of times, but I thought it sounded boring. Since it was his birthday, we finally played it and it was actually really fun.

The rest of the night was spent doing homework, and since we're invincible, we stayed up til 2 doing homework. Then I slept in an hour and a half after I was supposed to be at work this morning. Luckily, they were understanding.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Enchilada Soup

This was our contribution to Cinco de Mayo last week. I accidentally put in jalapeños instead of green chiles and it was super spicy! But it was still really flavorful, and if you're into spicy foods, add the jalapeños. My husband loved the spiciness. This is a great soup for a rainy day, or something to throw in the crock pot on a busy day.

Enchilada Soup

2(15oz) cans chicken broth
1(15oz) can enchilada sauce
1(15oz) small can green chiles or jalapeños
1(15oz) can black beans
1(15oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 green pepper, diced
1 tsp each of cumin, crushed red pepper, onion powder
2 small chicken breasts or 1 large

1. In a crock pot, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.
3. When you're ready to serve, take the chicken out and cut it into chunks.
4. Dish the soup into bowls and garnish with avocado, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, and green onions.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

I've been dreaming about making this chicken for a few weeks now. My father in law told me that he had a pecan crusted trout once, and I thought that that would make a really delicious chicken recipe. I thought about it for so long because I wasn't sure how I wanted to incorporate the pecans, and what flavors I wanted to go along with it. I decided to take a basic route, with a homemade honey mustard sauce, and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. 

Pecan Crusted Chicken w/Honey Mustard Sauce
(serves 4)

2 chicken breasts, cut in half and thawed

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup roasted pecans
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash of onion powder

For the sauce(slightly adapted from Food Network)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs mayonnaise
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
4. Combine ground nuts, bread crumbs, salt, parsley, black pepper, and onion powder in a separate bowl.
5. Dip the chicken first in the egg mixture, then in the bread mixture. Pat down to evenly coat. Repeat with remaining pieces.
6. Place prepared chicken on a greased baking sheet or pan and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until a thermometer reaches 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the chicken.
7. While the chicken is cooking, combine the remaining Dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir until combined. Serve over chicken after it is cooked.

My Honey Roasted Carrots are a perfect side for these!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Honey Roasted Carrots

Carrots are so weird. They can be a nice healthy savory snack with some hummus, or an incredibly sweet cake with rich cream cheese frosting. I think that carrots could probably go with just about anything. One of my favorite ways to eat carrots is when they've cooked with a pot roast all day and are soft and full of flavor. I wanted to achieve that softness, but with something a little lighter than pot roast. These honey roasted carrots were just right because they cooked fast, they were soft with a little crisp, and their taste=excellent.

Honey Roasted Carrots
(serves 2)

1 cup carrots
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
coarse ground sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Put the carrots in a bowl and pour the olive oil and honey over them. Seal the bowl with a lid or saran wrap and shake the bowl until all carrots are coated.
2. Pour the carrots out onto a sprayed baking sheet. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the top.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until soft and slightly browned.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Gingerbread Fudge

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm posting a gingerbread recipe in the beginning of May, but let me explain:

This semester, I am taking a Confectionery class, and pretty much we just have a bunch of candies that we are supposed to perfect by the end of the semester. So every class period, we choose what we want to make, and then whip it up. I love the creative freedom that we have! It's so much fun. This is the recipe I chose to do for my fudge, and it was really different but delicious. It's from our textbook, Truffles, Candies & Confections, which is full of techniques and fantastic recipes. Ya'll should check it out!

I'd also like to point out that I didn't make the connection between ginger and gingerbread until I made these. It's okay folks, now I know!

Gingerbread Fudge 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy-whipping cream
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup water(I used Postum, you can also use Pero)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 

1. Line an 8-in-square baking pan with aluminum foil that extends over the sides. Coat the foil with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Set aside. 
2. In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, cook the superfine sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, cream, salt, cream of tartar, and espresso until the sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon or heat proof spatula. 
3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in warm water to prevent sugar crystals. 
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate in 3 or 4 batches until completely melted and smooth. 5. Return the pan to medium heat. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan and cook the mixture without stirring until it registers 238 degrees F on the thermometer (about 20 minutes).
6. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the thermometer from the pan, and place the thermometer in warm water to cool. Immediately blend in the vanilla, the spices, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. 
7. Sprinkle a marble board or the back of a baking sheet with cold water and immediately pour the hot mixture onto the marble. Do not scrape out the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture cool on the marble until it registers 110 degrees F on the thermometer (about 5 minutes). If using a baking sheet instead of marble, the cooling time will be about 15 minutes. 
8. Beat the fudge using one of the following three methods: With a 5-in-wide flexible blade scraper, transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, and with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until it thickens and loses its shine (5-10 minutes). Or transfer the mixture to a 2-quart mixing bowl and beat the mixture with a long-handled wooden spoon until it thickens and loses its shine (10-15 minutes). Or spread the mixture into a large rectangle on the marble board, then use the flexible blade scraper to gather the mixture back to the center of the marble, folding in the edges. Repeat this process until the mixture begins to thicken and lose its shine (5-10 minutes). 
9. Turn the fudge into the prepared pan. Use your fingertips to even the top and to press the fudge into the corners of the pan. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let it set completely at room temperature (1-2 hours). 
10. Remove the fudge from the pan by lifting out the aluminum foil. Invert the fudge onto a cutting board, peel the fudge back, and reinvert the fudge. Cut the fudge into even 1 inch squares. Store between layers of waxed paper in a tightly covered container. Fudge will keep for 10 days at room temperature or 1 month in the refrigerator. 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Whole Wheat Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

This is one of our favorite dinners because it tastes delicious and it takes less than 15 minutes to make. You can use any kind of noodle with it-we've tried thin spaghetti and now spirals, and it was tasty with both.

There's something about freshly cooked noodles combined with melted cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and topped with crunchy sea salt- It really is a perfect combo! We also usually add peas to it to up our veggie intake.

Whole Wheat Sundried Tomato Pasta 
4-5oz of whole wheat pasta 
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 
4 Tbs grated parmesan 
Coarse sea salt 

1. Cook the pasta until al dente.
2. Immediately stir in the cheese so it melts while the pasta is hot. Add the tomatoes and stir until combined. You can add 1 Tbs of butter to make it smoother, if desired. 
3. Sprinkle with sea salt. 
4. Enjoy! This seriously takes less than 15 minutes, and it tastes most excellent. 

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Wife's Favorites: Week of 4/29

Every semester gets a bit overwhelming and takes some adjusting to. Right now, I'm in the "adjusting to" phase. I'm exhausted, crabby, and hopefully not getting sick. This week's favorites are pretty slim, but once I'm adjusted, things will be a lot better.

My Posts From This Week:
Salad of the Week: Basic Spinach Salad 
Breaded Dill Chicken

Favorite Blog Posts From the Past Week:
I didn't pin any this week, I've been too busy to even read some! So stay tuned for next week!

Things I Pinned:
Cranberry Avocado Salad from The Cafe Sucre Farine
Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake from America's Test Kitchen