Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Whole Wheat Bread
Makes 4 loaves
6 cups wheat kernels (makes 9 1/2 to 10 cups of flour)
3 500mg vitamin C tablets (break in half)
Mix until smooth:
4 cups water
½ cup honey (or heaping 1/2 cup sugar)
½ cup powdered milk
½ cup oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
Add, and then mix for two minutes:
2 Tbsp SAF instant yeast
½ cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp salt
Rest of whole wheat flour
Mix for 10-12 minutes in heavy-duty mixer, or turn out onto counter and knead for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees (or warm setting). When it’s preheated, turn it off.
Put dough onto oiled counter, roll into a log, and cut into 4 equal parts (3 if your pans are large). Roll dough into loaves, as if you're rolling up a sleeping bag, and plop into sprayed bread pans, seam side down.
Put pans in oven (make sure it’s warm, but turned off). Let rise for 40 minutes, then, leaving pans in the oven, turn it to 350 degrees, and bake for 20-25 minutes (total time, including preheating).
Monday, December 22, 2008
After stressing for weeks that not enough people were signing up to bring food, I finally resorted to mild threats. I also bought the hams and turkeys to cook for the main dish. Luckily, I was able to borrow roasters, and I figured I'd cook them myself--no big deal; it's just as easy to cook 7 as it is to cook 1. However, the day of the social turned into a nightmare when I did not do a mental calculation of how many amps our kitchen breaker could support. So, of course when I plugged all those roasters in, our breaker failed. A simple reset didn't fix the problem, and while I drove the roasters to the church kitchen, I prayed that the food would be cooked by 6:00. It wasn't. So, at 6:45, I apologized to the gym full of hungry ward members, and told them that while the ham was pre-cooked and safe to eat, the turkey wasn't done yet, and that they'd have to come back later if they wanted any.
I quickly realized that RS presidents don't get to actually enjoy socials, since they are busy finding serving spoons, refilling water jugs, and answering questions about the program for the evening, including at what time exactly the Santa should get dressed. And, of course, the closing prayer was a signal for everyone to hurry home, without a thought to helping clean up, and half of them forgetting their dishes. (Thank you Amy, Joanna, and Rose for all your help--you saved me from a breakdown!)
So, one of my New Year's Resolutions is that I will never do this again. Ever. My counselors and I will plan and carry out events for the RELIEF SOCIETY only, as intended. Watch out, Ward Council, I'm putting my foot down.
Anyway, while I was in the kitchen washing dishes in the hopes of getting home by 9:30, I persuaded Chad to take Mason to see Santa (Bree was at my Mom's). As Chad pointed out, there's really no point; he's too young to know any better. But he sure looks cute.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Who says there's nothing to do in Globe? Okay, okay, that was me. However, there are some advantages to living in a small town, and one of them is the cute little light parade that anyone who feels the inclination can be a part of. So Amy and I took our kids downtown (I walked the 5 blocks to get there) to see all sorts of firetrucks, police vehicles, buggies, trailers, school bands, and dancers, all decked out in Christmas lights. A lot of the "floats" were representing a company, and advertised accordingly (Globe Cinema, which burned down 3 years ago, had a float with a sign: Theater coming in 2009!). And then there were a bunch of random people, like the guy on his lit-up bicycle who kept going back and forth. The highlight was definitely Santa at the end. Bree and Calan got so excited, and Bree was waving, and saying "Hi Santa! What're you doing? That's Santa, huh, that's Santa." (the video was rather dark and noisy, but you get the idea.) In the past I haven't been one to take the kids to these community things, because Chad's always working, and I have to take the kids myself. But Bree enjoyed it so much, that I'm sure I'll do it again next time.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
1 cup butter, softened (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1) Cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla for a few minutes until fluffy.
2) Mix in 1 cup of flour, and the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in rest of flour.
3) Cover bowl and chill for 2 hours (I can never wait this long, so I'm sure not to soften my butter too much)
4) Roll out on floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on ungreased pan and bake at 400 degrees for 4-6 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting:
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk
(Mix butter, vanilla, and sugar. Add enough milk to desired consistency & mix until fluffy. Keep chilled)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. Bags are so lazy.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real trees belong outside. Besides, by the time they make it to Arizona, they're all dried and crispy anyway.
3. When do you put up the tree? This year it was the day before Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? After New Year's festivities are over and depression has set in.
5. Do you like Egg Nog? Just the name makes me cringe.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Humongous homemade Barbie house that my mom made for my sisters and I, complete with wall-to-wall real carpeting and 3 bedrooms. Can't tell you how many hours we spent playing in that thing, well into my middle-school years.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Fran (sorry, but it's true)
8. Easiest person to buy for? Bree
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Two: one that Jessica gave me the year I moved away from home, and one that Chad got in Africa on his mission.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? This year I'm going with email.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? How can a gift be bad?
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I love so many...maybe The Grinch
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but I've given a few to D.I.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fudge, pie, and cocoa.
16. Lights on the tree? White only. Sorry Chad; colored lights belong on the exterior of the house.
17. Favorite Christmas song? N'Sync's acapella version of Oh Holy Night. Okay, so I'm a dork.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually at home, since Chad doesn't get time off at Christmas.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yep. And they're reindeer.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Pajamas Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? My calling. Whoops, did that slip out?
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Really loving the homespun look. And the greens have to be apple green, to go with my kitchen walls. This drives Chad nuts.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I love beef roast with potatoes and carrots, rolls, and salad. But this year Chad wins, and we're doing ham.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A Bosch mixer with blender and food processer attachments. So if anyone feels like blowing $600 on me, feel free!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I've been encouraging Bree to say her own prayers. I'll start her off, and give her an example of "I'm thankful for _____," then I'm quiet and let her take it from there. It's always interesting to hear what she says. Some days, she says a sweet "bless Daddy be safe, bless gramma and papa, bless Mason," etc. And then, for instance, after Halloween, every night for a week, she would say "Thanks go trick or treating, get candy." Last night, she said, "and Santa Claus come down the chimdey, decorations the tree, and be Christmas time. Name Jesus Christ, amen."
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Since Chad never gets the holidays off, we celebrated Thanksgiving a little early so we could visit my parents. Bree gets insanely excited whenever I mention grandma or papa. She loves visiting their house, playing with all the toys, riding the tractor and the wheelbarrow, petting Patches, and taking full advantage of her grandparents' love. Mason is now old enough to get excited about it too. He wiggles and reaches for my parents now, and does a lot of that ridiculous grinning (see video). Chad and I were so eager to escape to the middle of nowhere. We ate a delicious turkey dinner, played games, watched movies, I did some quilting (I'll post photos soon), and enjoyed knowing that we were out of cell phone range and unreachable! A true vacation.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus
1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl.
3 Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste.
4 Keep it crumbly.
5 Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. (I didn't do this)
6 Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan.
7 You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake.
8 Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.
9 In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and vanilla.
10 Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
11 Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy.
12 Pour the filling into the pan.
13 Bake for 60-70 minutes.
14 The top will turn a bit darker at this point.
15 Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.
16 When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator.
17 When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces.
18 Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Tomorrow is my birthday, and I thought I'd commemorate it by posting myself a birthday card from the Relief Society presidency (I don't think my secretary will send me one in the mail from myself). There we are, from left to right: Judy, my amazingly organized and on top of things secretary; Amy, my 2nd counselor and one of my best friends and co-young-moms; Marsha, my totally experienced wealth of knowledge 1st counselor; and me, a RS president who feels like she'll never get things totally together. So this is the adorable photo (taken at one of our meetings at my house) that we send to our sisters on their birthdays along with a message that my secretary photo-shopped on there. I could not function without you ladies! Thank you!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Yes, I realize that I'm like 7 months late in posting these. But when my camera was still fairly new, I took a couple videos sideways like a dummy, and couldn't figure out how to rotate them. Well, just today I installed the CD that came with my camera (I'm usually right on top of those things; I've had this camera 11 months now...), and I discovered how to rotate my videos! I didn't think it could be done! So now you get to be reminded of how cute Bree was at her 2nd birthday/Easter (they were within a couple weeks of each other). Enjoy!
If you want to play, go here and copy your birth month. Then strike out stuff that doesn't apply to you (I tried to put strike-out instructions here, but it just kept applying the command instead of showing it. A simple google search will provide instructions)
NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Fran, you're going to love this! Don't cry. Whoops, too late. Remember July 21st, 2005? When your children and grand-children started moving away in droves? Well, you thought it would be funny to pack your granny-rocking-chair in Mike's truck so they'd take you with them to Missouri, Beverly Hillbilly style. And then Chad and I moved to Arizona a few months later. We swear, it was nothing personal! It seems so long ago that we were all in Vegas together. But don't worry, we won't forget you! We're very loyal, and show our kids pictures of you on a regular basis so they'll know who you are. We love you!
I tag anyone who is curious as to what's in their 5th folder!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here's the recipe:
1 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted flour
1 T soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
sm. chopped pecans added at final step
Pastry: Mix room temperature cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter. Blend in flour. Chill an hour. Shape into 2 doz. 1" balls. Press dough against bottom and sides of mini-muffin tins.
Filling: Beat together everything but nuts. Place sm. chopped pecans in bottom of crust and add filling. Sprinkle top with sm. chopped pecans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins.
On a side note, today's get-together was slightly hindered by the fact that my oven's bottom heating element is broken, and I didn't find this out until my gorgeous hand-made rolls made from freshly-ground wheat flour (I was so proud) came out of the oven nicely brown on top and soggy and disgusting on the bottom. So. Sad. Heather suggested I flip them over to cook the bottoms, which I did, and so they were edible with a nice flavor but chewy/crusty texture. Luckily I have several friendly neighbors, so at least I was able to take the tassies across the street to bake!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
On Thursday, we had night number two of Halloween festivities, when we went to our local Fry's grocery store's Midnight Madness event (not sure why it's called that; it started at 4pm and ended at 11...). This was a neat little bonus, since I needed to do some grocery shopping anyway, and when I have to take the kids with me they're not always thrilled or cooperative at the store. So I dressed the kids up and off we went. It turned out to be really cute. All the Fry's employees were wearing costumes. There was trick-or-treating all around the store at the many booths: ring toss, beanbag toss, cookie decorating (this was the one Bree was interested in), and free donuts and cider. So, the kids happily ate their sugar while I got my shopping done, we enjoyed some delicious caramel apple and pumpkin donuts (both of which were surprisingly delicious!), and I got a killer deal on some Halloween candy. Oh, and I got some adorable pictures!
Last night we had our big Halloween finale. Bree got to trick-or-treat at actual houses, which was a whole different experience. We started with a few of our close neighbors--just the ones we know, and they thought Bree was so cute, she got whole handfuls of candy. Then we drove over to our friends the Huishes for dinner and more trick-or-treating (our neighborhood doesn't have many houses that hand out candy; plus it's really hilly). Bree and Calan had a blast running around from house to house, while Mason and Cora were content to ride in the stroller. That neighborhood was packed with people! I've never seen anything like it in real life; it was a zoo of trick-or-treaters. The Huishes actually ran out of candy long before the night was over. Well, by the end of the night we were all hopped up on candy and pumpkin donut holes that I made (yummy!). The kids were exhausted and hysterical when I loaded them in the truck to go home, but they fell right asleep when we got there (no energy for a bath, so they went to bed slightly sticky!).
What a fun few days of festivities! It's silly how much fun I have watching my kids experience these things. They are growing up so fast, but I truly am "enjoying while it lasts" as everyone and their mother likes to instruct me! Now Halloween's over; next stop: Christmas! Oh, wait, no: Thanksgiving. Sorry, got a little over-excited there!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
Green food coloring (I mixed in a little black too)
1 can (4-1/4 ounces) chopped ripe olives, drained
2 slices peeled parsnip (I used boiled egg)
Black decorating gel
1 pretzel rod
1 small cucumber
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce until smooth. Stir in the cheddar cheese, bacon and onions. Shape into a 5-in. x 4-in. x 3-in. rectangle; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled.
Unwrap rectangle; place on a serving platter with a 3-in. side on top. Tint whipped cream cheese green; spread over top and sides of rectangle.
Add ripe olives for hair, pepperoncinis for ears, and parsnip (or egg) slices and two colossal olives for eyes (I used toothpicks to hold the eyes on). With black decorating gel, pipe the brow, mouth and stitches.
Break pretzel rod into two small pieces; add a colossal olive to each end. Press into sides of head for bolts. Cut a small piece from end of cucumber for a nose. Yield: 3 cups.