Friday, December 28, 2007

We are off to the mountains for the weekend!  
I will be back blogging on Tuesday.  

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Apple-Crisp Baked Apples

I made this Christmas Eve for dessert. It was really easy, tasted great, and looks pretty. So next time you want to impress your guests, here you go...

Apple-Crisp Baked Apples

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats
8 tablespoons cold butter (1 stick)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

6 Pink Lady apples (or any other firm apple)
1 1/2 cups apple cider

Preheat oven to 350*. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix butter in with hands until crumbly. Peel the top third of each apple and, using a melon baller, scoop out the stem and enough of the core so that the walls of the apple are about 1/2 in. thick. Take care, however, not to break through the bottom of the apple, or the filling will leak out when baking. Make the hole wider at the top.

Using a small spoon or your fingers, generously stuff each apple; mound extra filling on top. Put the filled apples in a 2-qt. baking dish. Pour cider into the pan around the apples, cover the dish with foil, and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake, basting every 15 minutes, for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, until apples are easily pierced with a sharp knife (they may split open a bit at the bottom). Serve apples drizzled with the sauce from the pan and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside or on top.

Serves 6

Don't be afraid to leave the foil on a little longer when baking. I tripled the recipe and my apples could have been a little softer - but they were still delish!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Highlights!

My Santa!

For those who follow my blog, there was no obscene Santa this year.

It wouldn't be a Christmas party without a wrestle with Uncle Jeff. Sometimes he's worse than the kids.

Christmas Eve always involves cousins and new Jammie's.
Christmas morning with our kids is always magic. Allison tried sneeking down before everyone to get a peek.
And I wouldn't post this picture of me in all my morning glory, except you have to see the look on my face to really appreciate how awesome it was when my hubby gave me my new IMAC computer. Click on it and you can see me saying "SHUT UP!".
He also gave me one-on-one classes every week at the apple store for a year.
There really is a Santa!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Own Christmas Miracle

I had a miracle happen today, my own Christmas miracle. I was called as choir director for our ward. For those of you who are not of the LDS faith, I was asked to direct the Choir for my church, purely voluntary. My Bishop said he was inspired to ask me -HA! I didn't believe him, and I even went as far as telling him he missed the mark.

I grumbled for weeks and finally started having choir practice to get ready for the Christmas program in 8 weeks. Despite what my friends think, this was such a difficult thing for me. I will admit that in my youth, things came easy to me. I could sing in front of a crowd and felt little fear in front of people. But I have changed over the years. As I have struggled with health problems and different things in my life, I seemed to have lost my confidence. I am incredibly forgetful and I cringe at the thought of people looking to me and relying on me to lead them.

Practices moved along and I did my homework and tried my hardest. But I have to tell you that this white girl has NOOOOOO rhythm. I wrestled with my hands, trying to make them do what my mind was thinking. The choir was patient with me and I continually fumbled the cut offs and cues.

The day of the performance arrived and I wanted to throw up as I sat there waiting for the program to begin. And then it came to me. If the Bishop was really inspired to call me as choir director, then I am doing exactly what the Lord wants me to do. I realized at that moment that this did not have to be my burden. I have done everything in my power to make this a success and now it was His turn to come through for me. I prayed harder than ever and told God that I was done. Now it was His turn to make my hands do what they needed to do. I wasn't going to be nervous because if this is what He wants, then He had better be there helping me. (Are you allowed to get a little bossy in your prayers? - cause I was). I wasn't asking for His help, I was DEMANDING it.

The program began, and I was nervous at first. But something happened - magic! The choir sounded like angels. Things that weren't working before, now came together like chocolate and peanut butter. I couldn't believe my ears. I felt the excitement swell within me as we went along and I was able to hit every cue and cut off. I didn't want it to end. I prayed that the people in the choir and in the congregation would feel the true spirit of Christmas. And you know what? I think they did. I realized through this whole thing, that it's not about me. God has a bigger purpose and I was just glad to be apart of it.

This was my miracle and I am sharing it with you.
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Inspiration

I recently read a blog, where people commented on what inspired them. There were a few good replies, but I was surprised by some of the things people got inspired by. Here's a few...
  • Handbags
  • Storefront displays
  • cute clothing
  • etc.

It really got me thinking this week about what inspires me. I find myself constantly turning my thoughts to this everywhere I go. I think I have it. I know what inspires me. Are you ready... this list could be long.

People who are better than me.

  • Like my mom. She is never idle. I have never met anyone who is so devoted to the service of others than this woman.
  • Like my mother-in-law, Connie. She always sees the good in others, even when they might not deserve it. She always tells me how wonderful I am - so much so, that she even has me believing it.
  • My friend Shilo. She is a loyal friend with an ear for listening. She puts up with me even when I get cocky and beat her in racquetball. (She is going to whip me one of these days).
  • Laurel, for her cheerful outlook on life and her desire to make this world a better place.
  • Angie, for her quiet service. She does so much behind the scenes, and never seeks attention for herself.
  • My father-in-law Dan inspires me. I love to tease him to death, but I admire how his boys look up to him, confide in him, and respect him. They love to tell stories of his grumpiness in their youth, but he did something right, because his kids look to him as a role model.
  • My sister Linnea. She is a fighter. She also is a good listener. She quietly presses on even when she might be struggling. You would never know. I really admire this because I share everything. I talk way to much about ME!
  • My brother Eldon and his wife Mindy. They try to live life to the fullest. I love their enthusiasm about every new thing they try. What fun parents they are.
  • All my sibling inspire me really. Each one has something unique and special that makes me want to be a better person.
  • Last but not least... my husband Jeff. God had a hand in it when I married this man. He inspires me in so many ways. He is slow to judge others. He always gives people the benefit of the doubt. He is a great father and friend to my children. He is more patient than I am. He stops and explains things to them, teaches them, and loves them. Nobody can get our family to lighten up more than him. I have fallen victim to many of his tickle torture raids on the kids. If you are lucky enough to be his friend, then you are lucky indeed. He is loyal to the end, and is sure to make you laugh with his quick wit. He truly inspires me.

Unselfishness, long suffering, cheerfulness, kindness, gratitude...etc. Anytime I witness these qualities in anyone, I am inspired. I am lucky in that I am surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family (even if you weren't listed above) that I witness these things everyday. I only hope that it will rub off on me a little more.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Finale

Did you catch the finale to my favorite show? I was happy for them all, but I secretly wanted Julie to win. She looked so good! Who were you rooting for?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cowboy Caviar

I have given this out to many of you, but I've had so many requests lately I have to give it again.
This is the bomb when it comes to chip dip. It might sound weird, but it is sooooo delicious.

Cowboy Caviar

2 cans shoepeg corn, drained (shoepeg comes in small cans. If you can’t find it, use 1 can regular or white corn.)
1 can black eyed peas, drained
1 tomato, chopped
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 avocados, chopped
2 tsp cumin
¼ tsp pepper
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

Mix together and serve with corn chips.
(Scoops work the best)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jeff and I enjoyed ourselves Saturday night, at a Christmas party hosted by some friends. We played some fun games and had a gift exchange. The highlight of the party was my friend Laurel. You HAVE to read about what she did during one of the games. Seriously -was the funniest thing ever. Read it here.

Throughout the night we could earn "Miner Money" for every game we won. (Adam, the host, made up some fake money with our friend Chris Miners head pasted on the front. This was used for an auction at the end of the party.

So of course, the very next day at church, about 25 of us payed our tithing with the "Miner Money". (The bishopric was at the party)

Ahhhh, good times, with good friends!

Burn Baby Burn!

Jeff and I hit the spinning class at the gym this morning. OUCH!!!
I think if I keep this up I might have to buy some of those really ugly padded shorts.
Why? -cause I have a SORE BUM!! I think callouses might develop.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Christmas Rush!

What happened to all the free weekends in December?

Jeff is taking the day off and we are
Christmas Shopping!
Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Full Tummies!

My sister-in-law called last night looking for a good soup recipe. It made me think of the soup I made last week. It's my favorite. I have passed this along to some of you, but here it is again. This is a WINNER!

Creamy White Chicken Chili

1 lb chicken breast, cut into ½ inch cubes
(if you want to be lazy, buy one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and pull the meat off)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup celery
1 t garlic powder
1 T vegetable oil
2(15oz) cans great northern beans, rinsed, and drained
1(14oz) can chicken broth
2(4oz) cans diced green chilies
(I only add one, because I don't like green chili's a whole bunch)
1t salt
¼ t ground cumin, rounded
1t dried oregano
½ t pepper
1/8 t cayenne pepper
(I like all of the cayenne, but my kids like it better when I half it)
1 cup sour cream ½ cup whipping cream

Get all your ingredients ready first.
In a large sauce pan, saute chicken, potatoes, celery, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and whipping cream.
Serve immediately. (If you already have cooked chicken, just add it right before you add the creams so it can get warm)
7 servings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I teach a little singing group and last night we had our Christmas performance. It turned out nicely and the girls + 1 boy were delightful. Here's a few pictures of everyone crammed into my family room.

During our dress rehearsal, one of the little girls told me that she keeps hearing the songs we've learned on the radio and that she can sing along.

That's why I love doing this.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dear Santa...

Jeff says I am hard to shop for. I disagree. I know exactly what I want.
1. Lasik eye surgery. I am done with contacts and tired eyes.
2. A new IMAC computer. Of course with that I will need photoshop and classes on how to use all this great stuff.
3. What's a new computer without a new color laser printer to go with it?

4. These incredibly overpriced skirts from Anthropologie. What a lovely gift as I would never buy these for myself (unless they were on a major sale).

Look at all these great choices he can pick from. How could I possibly be hard to shop for? (I am being sarcastic)

What happened to the good old days when a new $20 sports watch, or a new pair of earrings would have tickled me pink. It seems my wants just get bigger and bigger every year.

How 'bout this Santa...
  1. Another year of healthy, happy children.
  2. Another year of good memories with family and friends.
  3. Another year I can serve my family, neighbors, and friends.
  4. Another year of living this wonderful life I live.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Disney's Enchanted (trailer)

I saw this over Thanksgiving weekend and LOVED it! Has anyone else seen this?

Little boys and cookies

Brycen, the neighbor boy, came over yesterday and wanted to make cookies. So he and I spent the next hour cutting out Christmas cookies and having some interesting conversation. (But that is another blog entry entirely.) He really is a cutie pie. So of course I stayed up late and had to decorate them.

I am most proud of this tree cookie, because I made the cookie cutter for it.

I think I will give them away in these cute cookie jars.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I just added this sign over my calendar. It's kinda big, but so appropriate for my hectic world.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Pie Crazy!

Here's a picture of the pies I made for Thanksgiving. I thought I would pass along a recipe that I thought was a winner -
Sour Cream Peach Pie (it's the one in the front).
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sliced peaches
  • 1 pie shell, 9 inch, unbaked

Butter Crumb Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400*. Prepare pie pastry shell and set aside. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 TB flour, and salt; beat in sour cream, the beaten egg, and vanilla. Add sliced peaches. (I also added some SureGel to make sure it wasn't soupy. You could also add some cornstarch or double the flour.) Pour into unbaked pie pastry.

Bake at 400* for 12 minutes. Reduce heat to 350* and bake 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven then increase heat to 400*.

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over pie. Continue to bake pie at 400* for 10 minutes longer. (I doubled the crumb topping - I just like it that way.)

This pie was definately one of my favorites. For another recipe that's a winner, click here.

It's Good To Be Back

I am so excited to relax a little this week.

After 20+ years, my parents have moved from the blue Victorian house I grew up in. This last week was busy packing and unpacking and saying goodbye to the old house.

What really killed me this week were the 37 gingerbread houses I made for our ward party Saturday night. Yes, I volunteered for it, but it took me a lot longer than I had calculated. It was a success and I had so much fun watching each table decorate their house.

This morning, Jeff leaves town for the week, and I think I might kick back and watch some Pride and Prejudice - who knows!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blog Pause

This is a picture of where I wish I could be right now.

This is an incredibly busy week for me so I won't be able to blog until Monday. I try to faithfully blog everyday, but I am afraid it's impossible this week.

Don't give up on me - I will see you back on Monday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Busy Day

I am baking pies like crazy today. I will be back blogging on Monday.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crunching the Caterpillars

The broccoli in my garden is growing beautifully. So beautifully in fact, that a family of caterpillars decided to make their home there. Just look at what they did!

I go and hunt for the nasty little boogers every morning.

And this is what I do to them!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Here's my gingerbread house completed.

I used Golden Grahams for the shingles.

I made the cat out of gum paste and painted him with food coloring.

The shovels are made out of pretzels and licorice. The cobblestone is Necco wafers. The grass is coconut with green food coloring.
The storekeeper is outlined in chocolate and I used the flood technique to color him in. The bean and egg sign on the windows I made out of royal icing and let it dry, then stuck them up. The veggies were the most fun. I used colored fondant and for the stems, I used cilantro from my garden. The potatoes are gum paste rolled in cocoa powder.

The billboard on the side I used the flood technique again and piped the Lee sign in chocolate. I had a really hard time trying to pipe the rest of the words so I gave up and wrote it with an edible marker.

Now you all know, I have a problem.