Tuesday, May 31, 2011

may food

Seriously, May is over?

Anyway, we like making food... and we made a lot of it this month. At one point Matthew asked why I don't take pictures of what we made because pictures make everything better and more interesting. My response to that is that I tried doing that a couple of times at the beginning, but our camera and our lighting are such that it makes everything look gross. Even stuff that tasted really good looked... well, not delicious, that's for sure. That's one reason I put the links on, because other people take good pictures of stuff. So here's this month's stuff:

Crème Brulee French Toast Casserole
I had high hopes for this, considering the name of it and all, but I have to say that while it was okay, it just didn’t deliver the amazingness I was expecting. Still, a solid breakfast option. 
Source: Foodie Bride

Chicken Salad with Feta, Fresh Corn and Blueberries
Fresh: That’s the word that comes to mind when thinking of this salad. It was not your typical chicken salad, that’s for sure. I loved loved loved the crunch of fresh corn off the cob and the flavor of the feta cheese and blueberries. Delicious.
Source: Pioneer Woman

Panko Crusted Green Beans
Meh. It was a fun concept, green beans coated with panko (special type of bread crumb) but they turned out a little bit dry…

Garlic Chicken Pasta with Spinach
It appears that this month was at least in part a study on variations of chicken and pasta. This was the first one, and it was pretty decent. Nothing spectacular, but I certainly enjoyed it. And there was a bunch of spinach in it, so a good amount of folate was had by all. 
Source: NSP Ward Cookbook

Caribbean Chicken
The first crockpot recipe to grace this project—it was a mixture of spices, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken and coconut milk and I have to say we both really enjoyed it. An additional plus was that it was super easy to make. 
Source: A collection of crockpot recipes that magically appeared on my desk at work one day

Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf
We made meatloaf many moons ago, and although Matthew thought it was really good and has been asking for it again, the recipe we used I just didn’t love that much. This one however, was delicious! I absolutely loved the combination of textures and flavors in it. (Btw, we used ground turkey instead of ground veal. Seriously, ground veal?)
Source: Food Network

Pear Clafoutis
Custard covered with pears in a round baking dish, and apparently it's "French". I liked the custard better, but Matthew liked the pears best. Matthew also suspects that this dish would have tasted better chilled, perhaps with an appropriately flavored ice cream.
Source: Barefoot in Paris

Chicken Cacciatore
Round two of chicken and pasta. A combination of bell peppers and dredged chicken in flour, braised and mixed with pasta and a flavor-istic red sauce. As I was making this I had some doubts about how awesome it was going to taste, especially since there was enough for a couple of meals. It ended up having really great flavor and although it may have not looked like much, I personally thought it was very yummy. And quite a healthy meal to boot.
Source: Pioneer Woman

Slow Cooker Pork
Divine. Absolutely amazingly D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. We ate this with taco stuff, and even after I declared myself done and full, I kept picking at the pork on the plate in front of me. So good.  We think the meat would also work well in a pulled pork sandwich.
Source: Food Network

Citrusy Angel Food Cake
Holy eggs! I did not realize how many egg whites are in angel food cake, but I guess that’s what makes it a relatively low calorie dessert. The lemon and orange zest in this particular recipe only made it better. The author of the blog this came from mentioned that normally she doesn’t like angel food cake for various reasons, and I would tend to agree with her, but this recipe takes the cake (haha… get it?!)
Source: Foodie Bride

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Round three of chicken and pasta.  It was really good, too (three).  It may have been our favorite. Another bell pepper/chicken/pasta combo including red onion, tomatoes, a creamy white sauce seasoned with Cajun and red cayenne pepper that all combined with winning results.
Source: Pioneer Woman

not a bad deal

I really do try not to make too many of my posts on here about food, but I have yet another food related topic I want to write about so here we go. This past week we decided to participate in a Co-op around here. We paid $15 and got a basket with 6 different kinds of fruits and 6 different kinds of vegetables in it. It was pretty exciting picking up our produce and putting it all in a laundry basket to carry home (not all items pictured):
The biggest benefit from this is that we got about $37 worth of food for $15 (we were curious so we priced out what we got at the grocery store.)
The downside is that you don't get to choose what kinds of fruits/vegetables you get--you just get whatever was cheapest and in season that week. So, we got 2 cantaloupes and 3 cucumbers which neither Matthew nor I really like that much. Although, we brought them with us to a barbecue with some of Matthew's family last night, so instead of being straight-up moochers we actually contributed to the meal (haha?). So it worked out really well. We plan on doing it again--the co-op that is. Okay, okay, and contributing to family meals. And, thanks to our produce basket, I've been enjoying mango-pineapple (with yogurt and ice, too) smoothies the past few mornings and oh my heavens they are soooo good!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

little cutie

One minute you're happy...
 the next minute life is just so hard. :)

family history excitement

I have found my new favorite thing to do: family history!

My dad is the first one in his family to join the church (and currently only one other person is a member) which means that there has been virtually no one else to do temple work for all of his ancestors. Its pretty cool because it means that we get to do their work!

So, several years ago my dad and I went through a lot of different sources he had and traced his patriarchal line back many generations. We also had a lot of information about some of his great and great-great and great-great-great grandparents and their families but the farther back generations all we knew was the patriarchal line. There were a LOT of blanks. 

BUT then recently my dad found this website that has a lot of family history lines from Canada. My family came from France originally, and then was in Canada for a couple of centuries. This website is a gold mine! I think my dad said it has somewhere around 15,000 names for my family, displayed all nicely in a family tree.  It is so exciting!! I've done a lot of the data entry so far, and filled in several hundred family names. My dad has been working on getting the names submitted for the temple work and I just have to say that I am totally hooked! It is so exciting to see the family pedigree chart expand and get filled in, and enter in all of these names of my ancestors, knowing that they have been waiting for so long to have their work done. I think that as I've entered names and worked on things, I've definitely felt some of their excitement and happiness from where they are.

My dad is a lot more in tune and perceptive to the spirit, and he's had some pretty cool experiences working on this too. This week as he was getting some names ready to submit, he came across one individual that had a rather weird name (I think the name was Domitilde.) and I didn't know whether it was a boy or a girl so I had left it as "unknown." He saw that, and couldn't tell whether it was a boy or a girl either. So he sat there thinking "hm, well how am I going to figure out what gender this person is?" And as he was sitting there thinking about that all of a sudden he felt/heard, "I'm a girl! And I want my work done!" He was a little surprised by this, but he indicated on the record that this person is female, and then stopped to confirm that this was correct and heard/felt again "Yes, I AM a girl and I really want my work done!" Well all right then! Apparently after this, my dad described it as "the floodgates kind of opened" and he heard/felt all sorts of other people that were all clamoring for him to get their names submitted and their ordinances completed too. Really cool stuff.

When I go out to Minnesota this summer I'm planning on sitting down with my dad and having him show me how to get the names ready for temple submission, so that I can help do that too.

One other thing both Matthew and I have been doing is Family Search Indexing. If you're not aware, basically its just transferring pictures of old microfilms of census data into typed, computer data. It's a easy, simple, pretty fun and important way that anyone can contribute to family history work, even if you don't have a way to do your own family history information. Just a little plug for indexing :) Here's the link: Family Search Indexing.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Comings and Goings

It's a Christmas miracle!

Oh how I love Cadbury mini eggs. I've documented this love here and here and honorably mentioned them again here and here. (I'm not obsessed.) This year's Easter candy season has been exceedingly long and so I got to enjoy them for a really long time. The day before Easter we bought a couple more bags to stock up a little and extend the Cadbury joy a little longer (I'm not obsessed.) I've been eating them a few at a time every day, and then Matthew told me that we only had one bag left. Yipes. BUT then at Macey's the other day we were buying a lot more food than we came in for and there on the end of the aisle, like a shining beacon, were... MORE CADBURY EGGS! (I'm not obsessed.)

Not sure how they lasted in the store that long, cuz who doesn't love these babies? We bought... several bags. Okay okay maybe it seems like I'm a little over the top, but it just makes my day a little brighter to have a couple of candies once or twice. To chocolate!

In other news, Natalie is at the 93 percentile for height. She's gonna be a tall one. I can't decide if I'm excited for her to kick some trash in basketball, or if I feel so sorry for making it so hard for her to find clothes that fit.

Daddy's helping her get smart already!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Whelp, I'm officially getting old. Not only have I birthed a tiny human:
but I also forget how old I am.

The other day Matthew and I spent about, oh, seven minutes trying to remember how old we are. Am I 22 or 21? Is he 22 or 23 or 24? Was I 19 when I got married (2 weeks from turning 20)? For a while we were convinced that I was in fact 19, and thus still a teenager when I wed. False. I was actually 20, almost 21, and now I am currently 22. Matthew is 23. Wow. I think I will forever be 21 in my own mind. Forever 21. Hey that's a store! They really were on to something when they named that place eh?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another movie night

So we watched Tangled last night (good flick. loved it). During this song:
... did anyone else notice anything funny or different during the line that Rapunzel sings: "And it's like the sky is new" ?

Okay, Matthew wanted me to leave the post at that because he didn't want everyone to think we have dirty minds.

BUT...we are very observant, and we heard a slight "d" sound at the end of the word "new" and went back and listened to it again a couple of times to be sure and sure enough there is a "d" at the end....

 So instead of "And it's like the sky is new" we have "And it's like this guy is nude." Maybe we're reading too much into it, but probably not, as Disney does have a strong and repeated history of this sort of thing.

Oh Disney. You just couldn't resist throwing in the subtle sexual innuendos could you?

Any dissenting or concurring opinions?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Seriously, a good movie

A few weeks ago Matthew and I rented Miss Potter from Redbox.
 Has anyone else seen it? I absolutely loved it.

It was sweet and charming, engaging and passionate. And it had no language, sex or violence. How refreshing. I'm not usually a big fan of Renee Zellweger (I just think she looks weird) but I make an exception for this flick. Also, Ewan McGregor looks ridiculous with a mustache. I'm a little confused though, because he doesn't have a mustache on the case of the movie (shown above) but he definitely has a bit ole 'stache in the film. Hmm

Sunday, May 8, 2011

just a little story

Today I was reminded of a really funny moment with my mother-in-law.

It was the spring of 2009. Matthew and I had just decided to get married, and I was down at his house visiting him. We weren't really telling anyone yet, but many of his siblings were getting pretty suspicious.

Towards the end of my visit, Matthew and I were in the computer room talking with his mom about something or another. One of his siblings came in and said lunch was ready, and so we started to get up to go eat, but Matthew's mom said "Matthew you go, Stephanie stay in here I want to talk to you." So, Matthew left and me and his mom conspicuously stayed in the room. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about what the conversation between me and her was going to be. However, after the door was closed, Matthew's mom just leaned back and said, "Oh I didn't want to talk about anything, we're just going to sit in here for a while and get everyone good and curious about what's going on." So we just hung out for a few minutes and then came out to lunch. And just as predicted, several of Matthew's already suspicious and suspecting sisters were VERY curious about what this conversation was all about. And I just shrugged and smiled. Bahaha. Totally cracked me up and still makes me laugh to this very day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

a little perspective

Every once in a while I get a little wistful for the day when we'll have a nice place to live and nice things in our house. I mean, not that I don't like our little basement apartment with no yard and short ceilings and bad lighting and old appliances and splotchy walls and ugly curtains (I think I just realized this week how ugly some of them are), but sometimes I look at people about my age who actually have real homes that are nicely furnished and think, wow, we're just never going to get there. And why can't we live someplace nice now?

I was talking with my sage aunt Becky about this a little bit ago, and she had an interesting story to share. Several years ago they decided they wanted to buy some nice couches for their family room. They had some money saved for them, and they really, really wanted some good couches to replace the old ones that were there. They shopped around for a long time, and finally found exactly what they wanted. They were really excited about getting these couches, and finally they were delivered and in their house. They sat down on them and were like "hm these are nice," and then went about their day. It didn't change their lives at all and it didn't make them happier, even though they liked them and getting new couches had been something they wanted for a really long time. In the end, they liked their couches but it just wasn't that big a deal. Although I must say, their couches are very comfortable.

That was a really good story for me to hear, because even though I *know* that things don't make you happy, sometimes you can sort of forget that. And on days like today when I'm feeling a wee bit wistful, it's a good story to help me remember that things don't make you happy. Also, its much better to be living with DI and garage sale items in a small apartment than to be in debt or spending a lot on non-essentials.

And for the record, we really do like our apartment--it really is a good place for us right now.

Burgers and stuff

Yesterday evening I was hankering for a good hamburger, so Matthew and I went out to find one. (We also went out because we wanted to lull Natalie to sleep in the car.) We ended up going to Fuddrucker's, which neither of us had been to before. I think part of the reason it was our first time was because the name almost sounds like a bad word, you know?

Anyway, so I had no idea that Fuddrucker's had exotic hamburgers. I mean, a buffalo burger? An elk burger? What the...? Matthew was seriously considering getting one of their weird meat burgers, but in the end decided to get the One Pound Burger.

Again I'm just like what the... a whole pound of meat?? That is LOT of meat and is almost kinda gross. I mean, I like a good burger and all, but I'm all about the toppings and extras--the lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion. That's what makes a good burger great, a mon avis. Proportionally, you can't have too much meat. 

However, the One Pound Hamburger is just a warmup for the main event that will occur sometime later this summer. At some point, we are taking a road trip up to Rexburg to go to Big Jud's, which apparently serves The Big Jud, a burger the size of a large plate. Matthew went there with his dad once and according to him, "It was the BEST burger I've EVER had!" So yes we are taking a 4-1/2 hour road trip for the sole purpose of getting that hamburger (we'll do other stuff while we're there too). It's going to be legendary. After 4.5 hours, it better be!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Holy snap I just realized I have left out several desserts I made over the past few months that have been absolutely DIVINE. I don't know how this omission occurred--probably because I came across a recipe and decided to make it right away so it never made it onto the master list. To correct the error, here are the three delectable things I tried:

I made Cookies'n'Creme Cookies, which were cookies that had chunks of oreos, white chocolate chips, and oreo pudding mix in them.

I also tried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, a decadent cupcake that was filled with a cookie dough filling and had a brown sugar based frosting on top.

Lastly, we made Caramel Brownies, which was simply a smooth caramel filling in between layers of rich brownie batter.

All three of these were really amazing desserts. The only thing that maybe was a downside were from the Cookie Dough cupcakes. Personally, I thought the actual cupcake was too much like a muffin than a cupcake. However, Matthew thought that the cupcake part was just fine--no complaints from him. I think though, the next time I make these (because there will be a next time) I'll probably just use a standard white cupcake recipe, but of course use the same filling and frosting recipe as in the original.

Seriously though, all of these were dang good treats. Matthew and I both would 100% recommend them.

big day

Here are a few pictures from Natalie's blessing day. Thanks to all of our family who came down for it!

april food

Risotto with Peas and Prosciutto
Our second try at risotto—this time much more successful. No cheese and just a touch of cream, with the addition of the peas and prosciutto, made Matthew liked this time around much, much more. Actually he really loved it, which is a ringing endorsement. Go me.
Source: A combination of several different recipe ideas

Roasted Chicken with Lemon
The recipe that I took this from actually used fish here, but I never ever cook with fish because we both really don’t like it. So, it might have been better as a fish recipe, but it was still fine with chicken. Nothing to write home about, but it was a good meal.

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon
Here’s how this dish went: boil baby potatoes, smash them with the palm of your hand into disks, pan fry them, and coat them in a lemony dressing. It would have been delicious, but the lemon was a little overpowering. Next time we’ll leave out the lemon dressing and call it a jour.

Herbed Pasta Primavera
Similar to something I made in February (I believe), this dish was basically a mixture of pasta and vegetables (carrots, green beans, zucchini, green onion). I wouldn’t normally think of carrots and green beans with pasta, but there you go. Not bad.
Source: Better Home and Gardens cookbook

This was amazingly fantastically delicious. Focaccia is an olive oil and herbed bread, if you didn’t know. This recipe made a whole 12x17 pan of bread, and boy I could’ve eaten the whole thing in one meal if my stomach would have had room. Matthew also loved it. Definitely a winner.

Chicken Piccata
Eh. This was all right. I don’t really have anything else to say about it. 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
These were great! I was a little dubious, because I don’t really like barbecue sauce, but we used J'dawg's bbcue sauce and they turned out really delicious, and more significantly, Matthew loved them. Success!

Chicken in Tarragon Sauce
This was one of those recipes that was a “well it wasn’t super amazing but it was something different and expanded our culinary horizons a bit and it wasn’t bad” sort of recipe. 

Let's see... over all, I think that the foccacia, meatballs and risotto were the favorites from this month. Hey we can have 3 favorites...it's hard to choose!

Natalie's favorite place to sleep