Archive | December, 2007

>Officially Official!

20 Dec

>You could sing that to the tune of that Lucky Charms jingle–“Magically Delicious!” Anyway, we got a call this morning and it looks like we’ll be moving to Louisiana within the next month. I kind of feel like I should be scared, but I’m really not. I feel very peaceful about all of this and like this is really where we’re supposed to go. So if anyone’s taking any vacations to the South, you’d better come see us or we’ll beat your bums!

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>Merry Christmas 2007!

20 Dec

>So I’ve been postponing sending out our Christmas cards and letter because we still don’t know for absolute certain where we’re going to be in another month and I kind of thought we would by now. Let’s just say that we’re tentatively planning on celebrating Christmas in February, so for those of you whose names we’ve drawn for Christmas presents, you’ll get something SUPER in another few months.

ANYWAY, I’ve been thinking about doing a best/worst list for a few months now. Until we’re settled wherever we’ll be, this is our makeshift Christmas letter! 🙂 Suffice it to say that in our lives, 2007 definitely made up for any boredom that we experienced in 2006! So here it is, the good and bad, the highs and lows!

Worst Movie

I’m too embarassed to say. Suffice it to say that it was one of those movies that looked really funny in the previews and ended up being disgustingly vulgar and made me feel bad about myself as a mother, a Mormon, AND a human being afterwards.

Best Movie

Maybe this is a cop-out because it technically came out in 2006, but I’m going to say Casino Royale. But, in all fairness, I didn’t actually SEE it until 2007. As far as the smart action thriller genre goes, it was a tight race between Casino Royale and The Bourne Ultimatum, but the jolty camera work in Bourne and Daniel Craig in a pair of swim trunks gives Bond the edge. No, being serious, they were both really, really good, but (and this is coming from someone who isn’t really a James Bond fan) I really liked seeing the origins of Bond and I liked seeing a buffer, tougher, had-my-nose-broken-a-few-times Bond. There’s a certain cultural “mythology” associated with James Bond and it was fun kind of exploring that.

If you’re going to get technical on me and say it had to be made and released in 2007, I’ll say Enchanted.

Worst Moment

Having to move and find new jobs 5 weeks after I had a c-section and 4 months before Sam graduated from college. That was awesome.

Best Moment

It was the last night I was in the hospital after Meredith was born and I had Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on in the background. My recovery had gone so smoothly (with the exception of my bizarre, torturous rash) and I was feeling so good (and I’m sure the Percocet and Prednisone had nothing to do with THAT!). The room was about half-lit, the hospital was quiet, and I was waiting for my doctor to come see me for the day. Meredith was lying in her Boppy, so content (like she still is) and alert, just staring at me, and I felt like we knew each other.

Runner up? Sam graduating!

Worst New TV Show

Now…I didn’t watch all the new TV shows, so I’ll have to do the worst TV show of what I did watch. And the winner is…Journeyman! Now granted, I didn’t think it was ALL bad, but I haaaaaaated his wife with a passion and stopped watching solely because of her. And now it’s been cancelled.

Best New TV Show

Either Pushing Daisies or Chuck (which, coincidentally, I started watching because we accidentally recorded it instead of Journeyman.) They’re funny, smart, endearing, and sweet.

Biggest Question Mark

Where we’ll be living a month from now! Louisiana? Salt Lake? Washington? You tell me! No, really, tell me! I’m going crazy here!

Worst Book

Okay…this may get me murdered in my sleep. By a vampire. But I hated the Twilight series. I actually liked Twilight okay–I mean, it was definitely young adult fiction and it was pretty amateurish, but it captured my attention. New Moon was tedious, but there were moments in Eclipse where I literally felt my throat close up and also felt pity for the author and the cheesiness of it all. Apparently, no one in Forks does anything but murmur, mumble, grimace, groan, or grin. Toothily. Oh, and Bella. Bella, Bella, Bella. Quite possibly THE most annoying heroine ever. My disclaimer is that I don’t read romance, let alone teen romance, so this definitely wasn’t my genre and I should’ve known that going in. But, alas, I got sucked in (muahaha…oh, Kate, you’re so funny).

Best Book

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Granted, it’s been a rough year for me reading-wise–I’ve been too tired or too stressed (or both) to do a lot of heavy-duty reading, but this really, truly was a masterpiece. Nearly every loose thread, seemingly-insignificant detail was tied back in. I know some people thought the symbolism was heavy-handed, but it didn’t bother me (but then, I don’t have a problem with religious symbolism). I may have been 5 weeks postpartum when I read it, but I’m pretty sure that I’d bawl like a baby all over again when Harry turned the stone over in the forest and walked with those who had gone before him to his fate.

TV Show That’s Gone Most Downhill (For Me):

Law and Order: SVU. More like Law and Order: Olivia’s Story. I miss Munch and Finn.

Best TV Show We Watch on a Regular Basis:

Lost. Hands-down. I love The Office, but nothing compared to the second half of Lost Season 3. I mean, seriously. Every. Dang. Week. I about peed my pants (with, of course, the exception of Jack’s trysts in Thailand; I absolutely hated that episode.) Warning! Spoilers ahead! From Locke blowing up the communications hatch to Sawyer finding the real Mr. Sawyer (in that fateful twist with Locke…and gotta say that Sawyer Sr. got what was coming to him!) to Ben’s unbelievably creepy flashback to finding the underwater hatch to that amazing season finale (for which Matthew Fox’s lack of any kind of awards recognition is an absolute abomination!) It consistently hit its stride every week, building up to that finale. Of course, all that momentum was lost due to starting the season in late January rather in September AND with this stupid WGA strike. If we only get 8 episodes this year, well, I’m not going to be so happy.

So now that 2007 is almost out of the way, we have all sorts of new adventures in front of us: buying a house, buying a car, maybe buying a refrigerator (apparently houses in Louisiana don’t come with appliances), probably moving halfway across the country. All in all, we’ve been very blessed–we’re all happy and healthy, Sam is officially DONE with school, no more apartment managing, and we have all that we need and a lot of what we want. Or we will soon. 🙂 We have amazing family and friends who support us and love us (and we love you, too!) We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and the knowledge and peace that comes with it. We hope ALL of you have a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of things that make you as happy as Lost, Harry Potter, and babies make me.

Love,

Team Awesome

>The Eggster

19 Dec

>So last year for Christmas, we got one of those Egg McMuffin-making machines (it’s made by Back to Basics…I can’t remember it’s technical name and I’m too lazy to look it up.) I was a bit wary about it–I thought it looked kind of silly, but we LOVE it! It makes THE BEST breakfast sandwiches in just a couple of minutes.

So anyway, this morning, Clark asked if we could make playdough and I said we could, but that we need to walk to the Creamery so we can get some cream of tartar to make it with (Sam has the car. I’m longing anxiously for our 2-car days that will be here soon!). He got VERY excited about the Creamery and suggested we buy some ice cream. And then he said, “But we can’t cook it! Not in the oven! Not in a pan! Not in the toaster! Not in the Eggster!” So apparently, according to Clark, our McMuffin Maker is The Eggster.

>Chipotle Chocolate Chili (aka Alliteration Chili…Yes, I’m a Literary Terminology Nerd.)

18 Dec

>Hi, I’m back again with my strange ingredients. Chocolate in your chili. It will change your life. Don’t worry, you’re not adding a Symphony bar to your chili or anything–you want just a very small amount of unsweetened chocolate. It adds a real depth and complexity to the flavor and is not chocolatey at all. Anyway, live on the edge! Try something new and AWESOME, courtesy of Team Awesome.

I’ve been trying out chili recipes since Sam and I got married 6 1/2 years ago and he informed me the other night that this is “the one.” I got it from Cooking Light, but, based on our personal tastes and reviews on the website, I’ve tweaked it quite a bit. Oh, and I don’t have any pictures because I didn’t realize how much I’d like it until it was already made!

Chipotle Chocolate Chili

Cooking spray
2 c. chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/4 lb. ground turkey breast
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. UNSWEETENED cocoa (no Nesquik! That would be disastrous!)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 14-oz. can beef broth
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you do NOT want the whole thing! Instructions will follow!)
1/2 oz. UNSWEETENED chocolate, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Light sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions

I know, I know, the list is long, but this comes together remarkably fast and most of this stuff you probably already have in your pantry or your fridge.

Spray a large soup pot with cooking spray and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey, onion, garlic, and red bell pepper until vegetables are tender and meat is cooked. Add brown sugar, chili powder, cocoa, cumin, black pepper, salt, beans, tomatoes, and beef broth.

Now…for the chipotle chilis. The original recipe calls for chopping up 2 whole chilis, but that is WAY TOO HOT for our taste! This is my recommendation–add all of the adobo sauce (which is so good–don’t leave it out!), let it simmer for a few minutes (the heat will mellow as it simmers and then when you add sour cream and cheese at the end, it may not actually be hot enough.) If, after 10 minutes or so, you decide that you still want some heat, add about 1/2 of a chopped chili at a time until you reach the desired level of heat. You may want to wear rubber gloves if you choose to chop up some chilis–they burn pretty much everything they touch (including your eyes when you go to remove your contacts HOURS after you chopped them), the smell will never leave you, and your hands will probably be stained smokey red for a few days. Again, as always, none of this comes from firsthand experience.

Anyway, now that you’ve crossed the chipotle milestone of the chili-making process, you’re almost there. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and allow chili to simmer until it’s thickened to your desired consistency. We like it thick, so we let it simmer about 20-30 minutes uncovered. Add chopped chocolate and stir to combine and then add about 2 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar to cut the sweetness of the brown sugar and the chocolate. If it’s still too sweet for you, add another Tbsp. or so of red wine vinegar. Ladle into bowls (1 1/2 c. per serving, if you want to get technical), sprinkle with cheese, add a dollop of sour cream, and throw on some green onions.

>The Snugglecatcher

15 Dec

>I have to hurry and post this before I forget! This afternoon, I was sitting on the floor and Clark came into the room, carrying a big, fuzzy blanket. He said, “Here, I brought you a snugglecatcher!”

>Sara’s Pineapple Rice

13 Dec

>This is my friend Sara’s recipe for Pineapple Rice and I LOVE it!! It goes perfectly with just about anything remotely tropical and/or from the grill. I feel a little weird posting a recipe when I know it’s really, truly someone’s very own recipe that they made up, so let it be known that Sara is awesome and I am in no way claiming this as my own. And if you want me to take it down, I’ll totally understand. 🙂 Oh, and I may not have the proportions exactly the way you do it; I just kind of do it from memory.

Sara’s Pineapple Rice

2 c. rice
4 c. water
1 small can crushed pineapple
Juice of one lime
3-4 Tbsp. butter, chopped
About 1/3 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice in water according to package directions. When done, add drained pineapple, lime juice, butter, cilantro, and salt and pepper and serve! YUMMY!

>Teriyaki Sauce

13 Dec

>I ran out of time when I was posting recipes last night, so here’s my recipe for Teriyaki sauce. I think it tastes at LEAST as good as anything you can get in the store, plus we always have all the ingredients on hand, so it’s way cheaper. This is what I use for the Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken.

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 clove pressed or minced garlic (or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. cold water

Combine soy sauce, sugar, cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and whisk until it has the consistency of milk. When soy sauce mixture is boiling, add cornstarch mixture and stir until clear, thickened, and bubbly. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye one it because if you don’t, it will boil over and you will have an uncleanable sticky mess on your stove. Not that I know from any firsthand experience. 🙂 Remove from heat and use as desired.

>6 Months Old…

13 Dec

>My baby girl is 6 months old today! Sniffle. She’s still my little snugglebuns who has recently discovered how hilariously funny her big brother is. He reciprocates her puppy-like devotion about 50% of the time. She also had a tooth pop through about 2 weeks ago and other one just popped out today, but they’re still too little to really see. Rest assured that I’ll post teeth pictures when they’re actually visible. I know you were worried.

>Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken

13 Dec

>Okay, so the last time I made this, I was in the throes of morning sickness with Meredith and vowed never to make it again, as it tasted better going down than coming back up (although, at least with me, during that whole morning sickness phase, nothing really tastes very good.) I knew in my head that these were still good, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Until now.

And I forgot how dang good they are. I usually make them as appetizers rather than kebabs, with one piece of bacon-wrapped chicken topped with a pineapple chunk on a toothpick, but the pictures I have are how I do it when I make it as a meal.

Oh, I don’t want to forget to share my love of kitchen shears. Kitchen shears are one of those little kitchen gadgets that I didn’t know existed until I moved out on my own and I firmly believe that no kitchen is complete without a pair! I use them pretty much every day and am pretty sure I’d die, DIE without them. I’m not being dramatic here at all.

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 lb. bacon (not thick-cut), cut into thirds

1 large can pineapple chunks
1 bottle Teriyaki sauce OR 1 recipe of Teriyaki sauce
Toothpicks or kebab skewers
Wrap each piece of chicken in a 1/3 slice of bacon and skewer with a toothpick (for appetizers) or skewer (for a meal). Top with a chunk of pineapple. If serving for a meal, repeat this twice so there are 3 chicken pieces and 3 pieces of pineapple per skewer.
A note about bacon–you want lean bacon that isn’t thick-cut, lean because there’s nowhere really for the fat to go and there’s nothing more charming than pulling a big piece of bacon fat out of your mouth, and regularly-cut because thick-cut bacon is too hard to wrap around the chicken pieces.
Anyway, place in a pan and cover in Teriyaki sauce for at least 4 hours (ideally, you’ll be able to turn the chicken a few times so they’re adequately coated in Teriyaki sauce). Heat oven to 375 and place chicken on a pan (or a broiler pan if you have one) and bake for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. This can also be done on the grill, but there was no freaking way on this pretty planet that I was about to stand outside in 15-degree weather and grill tonight. In the dark. With 6 inches of snow in the backyard.

>Poor Restaurant

13 Dec

>So my friend Lucy (name has been changed to protect the guilty 🙂 ) and I were visiting today and the subject of the dead body recently found at the Melting Pot in Salt Lake came up. I told her what details I knew about it and then she said, “How HORRIBLE for the restaurant!” Yeah, and it was a bummer about the boy found in the garbage can, too. If you’re reading this, you know I love you! 🙂