Friday, September 30, 2011

September's Main Dishes and Desserts

As far as regular protein-based main dishes go, stuffed and sauced was definitely a recurring theme this month. I'm just going to go ahead and say it, I love chicken/beef/pork that is stuffed in some delicious way and served with a flavorful sauce that you want to eat by the spoonful.

Stuffed Fajita Flank Steak: Incredible. You’ve heard of steak fajitas in a tortilla? Well, ditch the tortillas, and stuff all of the other fixings into the steak, add a flavorful sauce, and you have stuffed fajitas. We actually skipped the cheese (for Matthew’s sake),  and the grits in the recipe (leftover mashed potatoes instead). For the sauce afterwards, in addition to the drippings and garlic, I opted for the chicken broth, we used a lot more (1/3 cup?), and I added in a squeeze of Dijon mustard and ½ Tbsp butter, which was a great addition. (Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Apple Cranberry Stuffed Pork Roast: Super tasty, yummy, I liked it. The end. Although I will say, while it says to use ¾ cup brown sugar in the filling/sauce, I thought it made it suuuuuper sweet. Next time, I will definitely be reducing that amount of sugar, and using something else (chicken broth? white grape juice?) so balance out the acidity of the cider vinegar. (Source: Simply Recipes)
Chicken Bacon Roulades: Bacon, shallots and parmesan are rolled up in chicken breasts, seared, baked and served with a creamy, buttery sauce. Yumm. Definitely not a low-fat dish, but so worth the calories. (Source: Simply Recipes)     
Country Vegetable Skillet: I hesitate to even mention this because there really isn’t much to say about essentially a chicken vegetable stir fry, but until recently I’d never heard of putting fresh corn off the cob into something like this, but the small addition of that plus some bacon with the chicken, zucchini, yukon potatoes and bell peppers really made it a delicious, yet simple, meal. (Source: How Sweet It Is)
Teriyaki Meatballs with Mango Pineapple Sauce: This was supposed to be a burger with a sauce and salsa, but we ran out of buns, so instead, the burgers were made into meatballs, covered in a pineapple teriyaki sauce, with chunks of pineapple, mango, bell pepper and onion mixed in. It was quite good over rice. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Blueberry Lime Salsa: This was yummy… but I think that I’m just not a huge fan of blueberries in this sort of a thing. Still, good. And had lots of fruits and vegetables, which is never a bad thing. (Source: How Sweet It Is)
Mixed Berry Mini Galettes: It was like a little pie… without the pan. Sort of. Either way they were cute, fun, and delicious.(Source: Two Peas and Their Pod)
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars: These bars were like a fancy-ed up Twix bar. I love Twix. I loved these bars. We ended up putting them in the freezer, to try and not eat them all in the first day, and we decided that we actually liked them better frozen. They weren’t too hard to eat, and I think I liked the texture better. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Frosting: Good grief, these were so good. I’m kind of embarrassed to say how fast we ate these… (Twelve cupcakes between the two of us gone in two days… you do the math). I loved the dulce de leche flavor throughout the cupcake, filling and frosting, and the frosting was so light and fluffy, which totally made it worth the extra effort of stirring over a double boiler forever. (Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride)

My favorites: Stuffed Beef Fajitas, Dulce de Leche Cupcakes, and Veggie Pizza

Matthew's favorites: Stuffed Beef Fajitas, Apple Cranberry Pork, Steakhouse Pizza, Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Pizza, and the Vegetable Chicken Skillet. Yeah... he chose five. Fine. I add the Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Pizza to my favorites too.

Oh, and go Cougars!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September: Pizza, Bread and Soup

So, in previous months I've had some "Never will make again" things that we've made. But not in September! This actually has been a great month for food, and I'm pretty excited to talk about all of it :)

Steakhouse Pizza: This has marinara, with caramelized onions, grilled steak, mozzarella cheese and finished with barbecue sauce. Yummmmmm. (Source: Pioneer Woman)
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Okay, this didn’t use just 100% whole wheat flour, it was half whole wheat, but I thought the crust was just as good as any other crust I’ve had, so I think I’ll be using this one from now on. (Source: Macaroni and Cheesecake)
Grilled Vegetable Pizza: This was out of this world amazing. I used the whole wheat pizza crust, and then it was topped with pesto, grilled zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes (instead of bell peppers), with goat cheese and parmesan on top. Oh my heavens, it was an absolutely delicious combination of flavors and textures. And I’ve made it at least 5 times this month...and Matthew hasn’t touched it with a 10 foot long pole. ha. (Source: Pioneer Woman)
French Baguettes: A real French baguette is perfectly crispy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. Basically, it’s perfect. Well, this didn’t quite achieve a level of baguette perfection, but it was pretty close. And I image if you had a bread/pizza stone, it would have been there. As it was, it was still very good, and took between 45-60 minutes of active labor time over the course of 24 hours to make it. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Broccoli, Leek and Potato Soup: The one thing I am excited about for cooler weather is soups. I love soups, and am souper (hahaha…) stoked to make a bunch. This one pureed broccoli, leeks and potatoes into a smooth, silky soup, with roasted potato chunks  interspersed. Very good, and lots’o’vegetables all around. (Source: Crepes of Wrath)
Caraway Rye Rolls: These were nice and dense, but not hard, had a good taste, and had a great texture for sopping up broth. Basically, very good. (Source: Grains Cookbook from my SIL)
Tortellini Sausage Soup: Delicious. Great blend of spices, good amounts of meat, a fun mixture of vegetables (carrots/zucchini/onion), the pasta gave it some good texture. Matthew even loved it enough to take to school for lunch the next day, which is saying something (he’s usually not a soup guy.) (Source: Our Best Bites)
Balsamic Strawberry Pizza with Bacon, Chicken and Onions: Guys. I finally, finally achieved cooking perfection, at least in Matthew’s eyes. I’m pretty sure that this is the first thing that he’s given a 10/10 score to, which is a pretty big deal. Here’s what it was: reduced balsamic vinegar mixed with some strawberry jam gave a slightly sweet yet tangy base. Savory cubed chicken, salty bacon chunks, and slightly caramelized onions were next, topped with some fresh mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning. Fresh strawberry chunks are sprinkled on the top when it’s out of the oven. It is a perfect combination of sweet, salty, tangy and delicious. (Source: Pennies on a Platter)

Stay tuned for September: Main Dishes and Desserts: tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mr. Penguin

Natalie has this big stuffed penguin that she loves to play with. It just cracks me up cuz it is almost as big as her.
And when I say play, what I really mean is suck on the ball on the end of the penguin's hat.


In the Book of Mormon, different prophets talk about the importance of remembering the commandments and the Lord's covenants. Lots of General Authorities today about how important it is to remember. Both ancient and modern prophets have gotten after the people because they are so quick to forget. Recently though, I've realized that the propagation of the human race is probably very dependent on our ability to forget.

I didn't have a particularly awful pregnancy, but it certainly wasn't a walk in the park. Actually, no there were a lot of really not awesome aspects of it. Delivery was fine. But recovery, oh recovery was the worst! I had absolutely no idea how bad the four weeks after delivery were going to be and it was so difficult on so many levels. During the first week after giving birth I remember thinking, like all the time "This is awful. I am NEVER doing this again. Ever."


So yeah, growing and bearing children isn't the easiest thing.

But wait, six months down the road, I'm thinking: hey let's have another baby! Right now! It'll be so fun! At which point Matthew promptly slaps me across the face and says no! (Parts of that last sentence may or may not be true.) Also, about a month ago I was absolutely convinced that I was pregnant, so much so that I took the extra pregnancy test I had. (It was negative.)

The point is, once it was over and removed a few months from me, the reality of what it was like to bear a child is just a distant wisp of a memory. It really wasn't that bad at all! I would totally do it again. Especially for a cute little teeny, tiny baby. And of course, a sweet baby is definitely worth the pain and everything. But if I could completely and accurately remember the hard parts, I would probably be more hesitant.

And that is why, even though it can be bad for our spiritual progression, it is important that we are inherently forgetful creatures, so we can propagate the human race. Because if we aren't fresh from experiencing something, it is much easier to forget the challenges. And that is why I am thinking about how I want another baby. Matthew will never know if I just toss this package of BC pills...

Monday, September 26, 2011

season of the year and seasons of the baby

I don't know what it is about people, but tons of people in my blog roll (mostly the foodies I think) are super excited for summer to end and for fall to start. What? I don't know about you, but I love summer. LOVE it. No, I don't love 95 or 100 degree days and heat that makes you feel that you're going to melt, but I really, really, really dislike being cold.  And okay, fall is okay, the slightly cool whether can be okay, pumpkin and apple themed food is okay, and the changing of the leaves is pretty. But... fall means that winter is just around the corner. I just have a hard time being functional when I'm cold or chilly. No bueno.

Also, we've been working on helping Natalie go to bed earlier (she'd been going to bed between 10-12), and also trying to help her learn to go to sleep without needing to be swung in her carseat. For weeks, maybe even a couple of months, she's needed to be swung. Mostly Matthew does this, because she is super heavy and he is super buff, but I've done it enough that I've built up some legit muscles. Maybe sometime I'll post a picture.

In the last week and a half though, the stars aligned and she started going to bed earlier, between 8:30-9:30pm. Which means that we can go to bed earlier too, which also is nothing short of a miracle. I'm definitely a night person, and I just have a hard time making myself go to bed sometimes. However, it is really nice to wake up with Matthew and see him for 20-30 minutes in the morning before he leaves to go student teach, and then I can also get some things done before Natalie wakes up, which makes me feel super productive, and take a shower early, which also helps me feel alive. So it's basically a win-win-win. And, she's started to be able to self-entertain (read: go after the computer cord, pens, paper, remote controls...), which means that she is happy, smiley and cute all by herself and I don't have to spend 97% of my time holding her. Win-win-win-win.

Also, BYU probably won this weekend because this cute little girl was cheering for them:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The new version of Blogger these days gives all sorts of interesting tidbits about who, what, where, when, why and how people view my blog.

What Matthew and I thought was the funniest thing was we have gotten a lot of hits to this post via Google images. If you need a refresher, that particular post we used a picture of Saul on the road to Damascus to help round-about-ly announce that I was pregnant. That post, or at least the picture from it, was viewed many times after people googled:
saul on road to damascus
saul on the road to damascus
byu road to damascus
on the road to damascus
pictures saul damascus
... and the list goes on. Apparently that picture photograph is a big deal.

Also, there is *almost* an equal divide in the browsers people use between Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome. Seriously? People still use Explorer? No offense if you do, but I absolutely hate internet explorer. It drives me nuts. I extremely dislike that when you click on a link it opens a new window instead of a new tab. I also hate all the popups it has when you enter or leave a secure site (like BYU). I really dislike that it doesn't have a dropdown memory of sites you've visited before. Of course, this is just my own personal opinion. More power to you if you are one of those that do use it and like it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Sooo.... Natalie's 6 month birthday was yesterday, so I will disclose that we did in fact have a little party for her. The 20  minutes of singing happy birthday, eating these dulce de leche cupcakes, opening a little present, and writing in her baby book were actually very exciting :)
 Please notice how awesome she is at sitting up now

 No, she couldn't open the wrapping herself. But she had a good time trying.
"Does this shirt make me look chubby?"

We love our little girl. She makes us so happy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


While doing family history, I've come across many a name that give celebrity names such as "Apple" a run for their money. Although, they are French Canadians, so maybe that's just the way they roll in Quebec. Here are a few:

First names:
Dieudonné: God's gift
Louis L'Ange: Louis the Angel

Last names:
Papillon: Butterfly
L'Heureux: The Happy

I think my favorites are Papillon, because who wouldn't want Butterfly to be their last name, and Louis L'Ange, since Louis is a boy's name, and you don't really think of Angel as something you name a boy. Unless you're a vampire, I suppose, then it's totally legit.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sleep Talking

Coming into the bedroom where Matthew has been napping...

Me: Hey Matthew

Him: (Rolling over, very groggy) I've already learned a lot.

Me: (Chuckling) Oh really, what have you learned?

Him: (Still groggy) Don't go in a room with a person with the same name as you.

Me: (how long can I get him to keep talking?) Oh? Why not?

Him: Because it overshadows them.

And there you go, folks.  haha.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Part Three: Candid/Action

We think this picture (above) is like she's having a fun conversation with someone "And then I was saying..."
Thanks to our friends for taking some pictures and to y'all for looking at them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

dommage fromage

We interrupt the baby pictures for something very important:

I just used the last of my parmesan cheese. It's kind of a big deal. I have to have parmesan. We'll probably go out to buy some more in an hour.

Also, I have goat cheese in the fridge. Really excited about the possibilities for that.

Have I ever told you about one of the most divine things I ate in France? It was a tomato-goat cheese panini and it was to die for. The only sad part of this story is that I discovered it just 3-ish weeks before the end of the program.

One last thing. Do you want to know what is so insanely simple yet so delightfully delicious? Peaches in milk. Cut up a peach in a bowl, add in some milk, and a tablespoon or two or three of sugar (depending on how sweet you want it).  My grandparents showed it to me yesterday after I finished canning peaches with them and all I have to say is that if you eat it slowly and you have a nice, ripe, juicy peach, after a while the milk gets all peachy and you just float along on a fluffy cloud of peachy heavenliness.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another series, Part One

A budding photographer in our ward asked if he could take some pictures of Natalie to develop his portfolio a bit. Well, don't mind if I do! Never will say no to pictures.

To minimize on picture overload we are doing this in installments--today we bring you Natalie Part One: Portraits. Look for Part Two: Family and Part Three: Candid/Action in the coming days!

Mr. R

This was Matthew on his first day of student teaching high school. Pysch! Actually it was like his 8th day. He leaves at like 6:30 in the morning, that's early. Especially for me. I'm such an awesome wife. Can't even get my act together until the 8th day to get a picture of this handsome man.

Anyway so yeah, Matthew's student teaching this semester--he's at a high school teaching a bunch of Physics classes, and he's been the main guy doing the teaching since day three.

Since graduating, every semester or term I think "oh this semester/term is going to be a lot less busy for Matthew," and it never is. That's what I thought, again, two weeks ago. Then I realized that even though Matthew doesn't have homework, he leaves at 6:30 and gets back at 4:00 and he now has grading and stuff to do as well. Oh well. We can almost see the light at the end of the school tunnel.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I came into Natalie's room and saw her sucking on her toes. I ran to grab the camera, but as soon as I came back to her crib with camera in hand she quick stretched her legs and feet out and gave me an innocent smile and all the camera got was a smiley baby (not that that's a bad thing, mind you.)
 We did this like five times until I snuck up on her and caught her in the act! Ha! I win!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big girl

This is Natalie in a 12 month dress. It hits her mid-calf. She is 5-1/2 months old right now. All I can say is, I sure hope she'll like to play basketball.

Friday, September 2, 2011

August food

August was kind of a lopsided month. The first half of it I made hardly anything new, actually, I didn't really cook very much at all the first half. Since Matthew had a week off of school and work we just hung out all the time. It was awesome, but also meant we just kinda took it easy with what we ate, which was also awesome. I think I definitely made up for it the second half of the month though.

The Stuff That Came Out Really Good:

Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies: Here’s my philosophy on low-fat, low-cal, low-whatever treats. Most of the time, they just aren’t worth eating. If you’re going to have dessert, then make it worth it! That being said, this recipe came highly recommended and turned out to be a very delicious cookie. What made it low-fat? Applesauce replaced some butter, and it used an egg white instead of a whole egg. Also, half of the flour was whole wheat.
Veggie Enchiladas: This was corn tortillas rolled up with black beans, zucchini and red bell pepper. Matthew thought they needed more sauce, which they did, and that they would taste better with chicken, which they probably would, but they were still very delicious. And quite healthy to boot.
Fresh Fruit Enchiladas: We made it with peaches, strawberries and mangoes rolled up in a flour tortilla topped with a cinnamon vanilla sauce. Super good.
Spring Green Risotto: I think this was my favorite risotto that we’ve made thus far. It was delish. It had peas, asparagus and leeks in it (Side note: leeks are really good—I had no idea). We skipped the two cheeses in it and Matthew liked it, although he wanted meat in it, surprise, surprise.
Quinoa w/ Mangoes, Red Pepper, Green Onion, Pecans, Cilantro: Well, the title of this pretty much sums up what was in it. First time trying quinoa, and you know what, I liked it. Kinda a cross between couscous and tapioca. During dinner, Matthew just kept saying how this was a really weird dish, but good.  And he really did enjoy it a lot. I'm actually super impressed by how willing he is to try all sorts of stuff.
Peach, Basil, Mozzarella and Balsamic Pizza: When I told my mom that this was SOO good, she was all like “um…peaches… and vinegar… on pizza?!!” as if it was the most disgusting thing she could imagine. Haha. So funny. Anyway, just think of it less as a pizza and more as a fancy artisan sandwich. So refined. Even though there was no artisan-like bread involved…
Toffee Bar Brownie Torte: This was my birthday cake! It was rich, decadent, beautiful and absolutely amazing. Nothing more to say about it, I loved every bite.
Stir Fried Noodles: I think that this may have been the best reaction Matthew’s ever given me to a meal I’ve made. He loves Chinese, and when he snitched a bite of this before dinner he just started gobbling. Ha. Canton noodles, rice vermicelli, snow peas, red bell pepper and carrots stir fried up into sublime deliciousness, that’s what this was. We even got to go to a Asian marked to buy the noodles which was exciting (if you're wondering, there's one on 300 S 300 E in Provo)
Chicken with Cherry Sauce: We made this two times, trying to get it right, and I still want to mess around with it more because I feel like it’s just not quite there yet, but it was still good and Matthew devoured it, so I count it as a success.
Café Rio Style Pork Salad: You know how everyone loves Café Rio out here, some people so much that they go through the work of making a knockoff salad? Well, I don’t love café rio (I do like it), but I still went through the effort to make a knockoff version. And it was something we both enjoyed a lot.

The Stuff That Came Out Much Less Than Good:
Apricot Chicken: This was so disappointing. Looking at the recipe, I thought it was be fantastic, even while I was making it I still thought it was going to be fantastic, and then when we ate it, it was just…weird. And not the good kind either.
Black Bean Brownies: I had my doubts about these before even making them, but we still tried them. Meh. Maybe it’s because I pureed them in the blender and if you had a food processor you could get it into smaller bits, but I could still taste little chunks of black beans, and the texture of the brownies wasn’t really that great either.
Eggplant Parmesan: This probably would have been a lot better if we had cooked them for a shorter amount of time.

Three More Things:
1. My favorites: The Brownie Torte, the Stir-Fried Noodles, the Fruit Enchiladas and the Spring Green Risotto. (What? I can have four favorites.)
Matthew's favorites: the Stir-Fried Noodles, Cafe Rio Pork, and the Quinoa.

2. The last three things on the "Good" list weren't from the internet, they were from good, old-fashioned cookbooks. If you happen to be interested in any of them, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail and I'll send the recipe to you.

3. Here is a picture of my brownie cake torte thinger. Thanks to everyone who helped me eat it :)