Monday, November 14, 2011

the Tooth Fairy is Coming Tonight!

I didn't lose my first tooth until a few months after my 7th birthday.  A few days ago, Peacock announced that she had a lose tooth ... at first I didn't believe her and I thought she was just trying to be big like her older sister.  Sure enough it was wiggly!

This morning she was really bothered by that wiggling tooth in her mouth and she started telling me that she wanted her dad to pull her tooth.  I wasn't really buying it because I thought we'd get down to the dental office, there'd be lots of drama, and we'd go home with a wiggly tooth still in her mouth.

At lunch, she was chewing on her fingers (she's also in the process of growing 3-4 new molars) and still complaining about the wiggly tooth.  I think she just had too much going on her in her little mouth and she really wanted to get rid of one problem.  After lunch we hopped in the car and went to see the dentist.

There were a few tears, but she never chickened out.  The deed was done and she is now awaiting her first visit from the Tooth Fairy!  Exciting times for my girl!!

{Peacock ... exactly 2 weeks after her 5th birthday!}

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Ghost & Ghouls

Our family enjoyed a great Halloween night of trick-or-treating, socializing, and yummy food!!  The kids all knew exactly (well, sorta) what they wanted to dress-up as for the festivities.

Penguin talked about being Hermione Granger for over a month.  She found a cape (from when I was a kid) at my mom's house, borrowed my tie, used my old jr. high orchestra skirt, & colored/decorated her own wand ... made from a chopstick. :)  She made a perfect Hermione!

Peacock told me all month that she wanted to be a fairy.  I didn't stress over her costume because I figured we had enough girly-fairy dress-up things around the house to make a great fairy costume, but at the 11th hour, she informed me that she wanted to be Princess Tiana again this year.

Turkey saw this fireman costume at Costco and his heart was set from that moment on.  If you stop by my house, you might find him still dressed as a fireman!

The line-up:

The above photo made me think of the following photo ... oh! how they've changed in 3 short years!!  (And they won't let me choose their costumes anymore ... it was fun while it lasted!)

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cash for Candy & Free Christmas MP3

If you'd like to get rid of some Halloween candy today (ours is currently locked in the garage!), you can trade in some of your candy for cash at Higley Park Dental.  See flyer for details.

If you're ready to get into the Christmas spirit, try this free MP3

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Owl-O-Ween

HAPPY Owl-O-Ween!!  I hope you have a super day loaded with lots of cute costumes and yummy things to eat!

Today is an extra special day at our house ... it's my Peacock's birthday!!

She was a busy baker on Saturday with her Bushka.

Lollipop Ghosts ~

Nutter-Butter Ghosts ~

R.I.P. Tombstone-Candy Corn-Pumpkin Cake:

Peacock has been counting down the days to her birthday for at least a month and she honestly believes that the world celebrates her birthday by going trick-or-treating. 

This morning she got up and helped me start a crock-pot of applesauce ... it's already starting to smell like sweet apples in my house.

This evening the kiddies will enjoy some trick-or-treating and then we plan to stop by Bushka's house for some homemade doughnuts!

Hope you have a safe & fun holiday!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good: French Fridays with Dorie

I'm a little slow today getting my post up.  Thursday afternoons are crazy-crazy for us because that's when my kids all have EVMCO rehearsal.  I usually have to be creative for Thursday night dinners because soon after I get the kids home, I have to rush off for my rehearsal and by the time I get home at 10:30pm, I'm not in the mood to do much ... even blog.  This morning I had to rush off to the dental office to have some work done and after lunch, I fell asleep on the couch for a little while.  Going to the dentist really takes it out of me.  And I'm extra unhappy with the dental office with week for numerous reasons, but we won't go into those details .. it's just a stressful place to hang-out.

On to better things....

This week's FFWD recipe was pumpkin stuffed with everything good.  I was excited to make this recipe for numerous reasons ... it could easily be done vegetarian style, it was very festive, and I'd never tried stuffing a pumpkin before this week.

The kids & I headed out for our Monday morning shopping trip this week to find a 3-lb pumpkin that Dorie recommended.  Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are close to 10-lbs at Wal-Mart and they looked too big for my oven so we grabbed a couple pie pumpkins.  A couple days later, my mom called me to let me know that she had found smaller pumpkins at Trader Joe's and she had purchased one for me.  I picked up my smaller Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin from my mom that afternoon and since Hubby was hanging out at home, I sent him out back to do the dirty business ... cleaning out the pumpkin.

I stuffed my pumpkin with a whole loaf of bread, lots of sharp cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, and over a cup of heavy cream.  I replaced the lid onto my pumpkin and let it bake for several hours.  Within 30 minutes of the pumpkin baking, my home smelled heavenly!  It was wonderful & I felt very festive!!

Everyone in my family tried the pumpkin.  My husband went back for 2nd's, but he wasn't interested in leftovers.  My 8-yr old liked the pumpkin part, but not the cheesy-bread part.  My younger two kids seemed to like everything and my youngest woke up the next morning wanting more for breakfast.  I loved the stuffing-bread part, but the pumpkin had a bitter taste.  I'm not sure if it needed something (salt & pepper didn't help) or if it comes with the territory of Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins.

If you'd like to try something similar, I'd recommend checking-out what other Doristas used to stuff their pumpkin with and get some additional ideas because it could be stuffed with a variety of things and seasonings.  Have fun!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

EVMCO Christmas Concert: Come Ye to Bethlehem

The East Valley Mormon Choral Organization has been working hard since August to prepare for our upcoming Christmas concert.  I've been meaning to blog about the concert for a while now and I hope I'm not too late for some of my faithful concert-goers because both concerts are almost sold-out.    As of right now, there are some "limited view", back-row seats, and a few other odds & ends left for both nights. 

If you want to purchase tickets online go HERE.  I recommend the Saturday night performance and seats that are at least 10 rows back from the stage.

The concert will knock your socks off, but I don't think I have to do much talkin' cause the fact that about 3000 seats have already sold for a concert that's more than a month away speaks for itself!  Don't miss out!!!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Harry + Hermione

This past weekend, the hubby & I went to a Halloween party.  We were supposed to dress up as a famous couple ... it was a quick & easy choice for us .... Harry Potter & Hermione Granger!

The group:

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Pissaladiere: French Fridays with Dorie

When I Googled for images of "pissaladiere", I got a bunch of variations of Dorie's recipe ... a pizza type looking thing with olives and anchovies ... ewww!  I have never tried anchovies (so maybe I have no idea on what I'm missing-out on) and I have NO intention of ever trying anchovies ... I don't even want to be the same room as an anchovy!!

But ... I didn't want to be a total party-pooper this week and skip another FFWD recipe because it had aspects that didn't appeal to me.  I checked-out the fancier olives at Costco and decided I wasn't willing to pay the price for those, so I made a Frolicking Night Owl Family-Friendly version of this week's recipe ... PIZZA!!

I wanted to try Dorie's recipe for dough because, up to this point, Dorie's dough recipes have usually been excellent and recipes that I go back to over and over again.  I had also never tried a pizza dough recipe with egg in it, so that intrigued me.  We did our Monday morning grocery shopping and grabbed from fresh mozzarella while we were out.  When we got home, I started a pot of fresh marinara sauce so it could simmer all afternoon ... I even used fresh basil from my "garden" (aka pots on my back patio).  While the kiddies had quiet time, I started my dough.  I wanted to make some oven roasted tomatoes again, but I ran out of time.

Monday was also hair day.  Sweet Ms. Donna came around dinner time to work on Miss Peacock's hair.  So while Ms. Donna did hair, I rolled & decorated dough.

I ended up making a mushroom pizza, a tomato & basil pizza, a mixed-bag pizza (partly just cheese, partly mushroom and tomato leftovers from the other two pizzas), and then I used the remaining dough and just baked it into a loaf of bread.

Results: Everyone (including Ms. Donna) loved the pizza crust ... it was thin & crispy, but don't use this recipe for make bread ... WAY too salty!  Overall, I think we had great success!!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Dad

Still going through old photos & I came across this one that must be journal-ed.

This is my dad (way back in March) on his 64th birthday with four of his five grandchildren.  This picture is definitely a keeper!

{Papaw with Grandkids}

My dad is a very good dad and grandfather.  Growing up he taught me a lot about serving others.  He always found a way for us kids to serve out in the community whether it was participating in Meals on Wheels or just finding a family around town that  needed Christmas.  My dad has always worked hard to provide for his family and because of his hard work I was able to participate in a lot of lessons and activities that helped me to develop my talents. I also have fond memories of family vacations & outings while growing up.  Now he is good to read books to my kids, go swimming with them, support them in their development talents, and the list goes on.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turkey's 4 Now!

Can't believe my little guy is 4 years old!  We celebrated his birthday several weeks ago and the parties and celebrations seemed to go on for days, which he never complained about.  He got to have family dinner and a little party with all the in-laws and cousins a week or two before his birthday.  On his actual birthday, he spent the evening with my mom baking up a storm of cupcakes ... of course they all had to be decorated, too ... can't remember now, but it seems like they got turned into little monsters.

The day following his birthday, he wanted to go out to lunch, but he didn't care about the lunch aspect because he just wanted a chocolate-chip cookie!  We ended up going to Oregano's ... not the greatest food, but Turkey loves their free birthday pizookies!

And then the gifts kept coming....

{my boy likes all things cowboy!}

{he's also got the Volcom stuff figured-out}

I asked Turkey for days ... or possibly weeks ... what kind of food and treats he wanted on his birthday.  He just couldn't decide, but he seemed to keep going back to a chocolate cake or a cheesecake, so I decided to combine the two.  If you want to do something similar, it's not too difficult of a project.  I made my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe (two 9" rounds), my favorite cheesecake recipe (with no crust, also 9") and 1 1/2 times my favorite bittersweet chocolate frosting recipe.  Make and bake everything separate.  Since a cheesecake should rest in the fridge overnight, that's a good project for the day before.  The morning of, I made the chocolate cakes and then right before dinner time, I made the frosting & put all the layers together.  And because the cake is so tall and rich, a little bit goes a long ways!

Turkey's Get-to-Know-You from church:
(He filled in the blanks ... his answers are underlined.)
  • I came down to Pittsburgh, PA from my Father above.
  • My home has 16 (every time I asked, this was the answer I got) people and I don't have any animals to love.
  • I like to play with toys and go to church with my family.
  • If you see someone with green eyes and red hair, it could be me.
  • I like learning about big tractors when I go to school.
  • When I grow up I want to be a cowboy. (I think that would be cool.)
  • In my spare time I think playing in the backyard is fun.
  • And I like to eat popsicles & strawberries when the day is done.
  • I like the color green when I am making art.
  • When I read the scriptures Nephi is my favorite part.
  • On Sunday Sunbeams is the class I go to.
  • Singing Popcorn Popping is one of my favorite things to do.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She's Goooooood

This morning when I was driving, I noticed an African-American (or "chocolate" according to Peacock) woman walking down the street with a young girl that I assumed was her granddaughter. On my way home, I saw this same pair still out on their morning stroll. It made me think about my Peacock and how she will probably never go for a morning walk with either of her "brown" grandmothers. There is a part of me that feels guilty for the things my daughter can not have because she calls me mom.

The house is quiet right now, so I'm going through old photos and editing.  I played with this photo my husband took about six weeks ago and ended up with this sassy picture of my Peacock.  I love this photo of her because her little personality that I know so well shines through and, in my opinion, she looks like the spitting image of her birthmother in this photo. 

Again ... my mind wanders back to the people & things she lost early in her life, but I am so thankful for the sacrifices that were made by many so that I could call her mine!

As I was typing up this post, she came in to visit with me.  I was listening to Pandora and the following (see below) song came on.   "This is a gooooood song, " she quickly announced and no goooooood song is complete without some shaking of a cute, round bottom and the clickity-clack of the beads in her braids.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Book of Mormon Project

Today is the 2nd Annual Book of Mormon YouTube Project.  Please watch this video sometime TODAY between 12:00am-11:59pm and then share it with your friends and family to also view today.  You can repost this video on websites, email, Facebook, blogs, etc.  Our goal is to get at least 250,000 views today.

And while you watch the video, please enjoy the music by my own EVMCO and OCMCO!  The CD of this recording is going to be released on October 25th, so mark your calendars!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Corn Soup: French Fridays with Dorie

I was so proud of myself when I finally got a French Friday with Dorie recipe done before a Friday ... I finished my corn soup on a Tuesday and we all enjoyed it for family dinner, but ....  then I never posted my photos & results.  Ack!

So here we go ... the Corn Soup.

I've always loved corn soup of the Amish variety with potatoes, bell peppers, freshly diced tomatoes, and other good stuff.  While I was in Salt Lake City this past summer, there was a super yummy cafe basically across the street from where we were rehearsing, performing, and recording, so we (my friends & I) stopped in several times for lunch and dinner.  They had a corn soup there that I tried and kept going back to get ... it was soothing to my tummy after sitting for way too many hours and before nerve-racking concerts.  The corn soup in Salt Lake City had pesto swirled into it that I totally loved.  Even though I was hesitant to try a different corn soup recipe cause I already have one that I enjoy, I was hopeful that it might taste like that corn soup up in Utah.

I decided to hunt down some corn on the cob here in hot AZ.  It was not easy to find, but I did it and payed too much for it.  The kiddies and I made our corn soup along with some of my pesto.

I enjoyed the soup, but it more closely resembled my Amish corn soup, but without all the veggies, so I kinda missed my chunky veggies.  I did decide that if make a smooth corn soup again, I'll definitely make pesto to go with it again!

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Creamy Cheesy Garlicky Mushroom Rice: French Fridays with Dorie

I have lots of cooking and family posts to catch-up on.  I have photos on my camera going back to the beginning of the year that I still haven't blogged about.   Ahhh.  And today's post will have to be quick because I have two concerts at ASU's Gammage this weekend.  If you're in the Phoenix area, please come ... I'll post a video at the end of my post that has more info.

This week's recipe was another simple one that I'm glad I made the effort to try.  The only ingredient that I didn't already have in my home was the risotto rice (I've never made risotto before) and since I was out & about, I decided to get a nice block of Swiss cheese. 

The recipe called for spinach,which I had here at the house, but I decided to try making my dish with sauteed mushrooms instead of cooked spinach cause I'm not a huge fan of soggy spinach.  I LOVE mushrooms and they were great in this rice dish.  The only thing I wasn't totally in love with in this dish was the Swiss cheese.  I think the "nice" Swiss cheese was a bit too strong and stinky.  It was still good, but I think I'll try a different cheese next time. 

Dorie suggested making stuffed peppers with the rice.  Stuffed peppers are a favorite food at our house and I think I'll try adding a little cream and mixing my shredded cheese in with the rice instead of sprinkling it on top of the peppers the next time we make our stuffed peppers.  This time around, my kids talked me into one of those rotisserie chickens cause I had a coupon for one from Sam's Club and I'm usually a mean mom and say no every time my kids plead for one of those chickens.  We also had cauliflower and lots of cold watermelon to finish off things off for a quick & easy dinner.

Excited to see the results of other Doristas!

Info for my concert in Tempe, AZ:

Get tickets for tonight or tomorrow night's show HERE.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lamb of God

I will be performing in the symphony for Lamb of God on September 9 & 10 at Gammage in Tempe, AZ.  Both shows start at 7:30pm.  You can not afford to miss this and you should be able to get tickets for less than the cost of going to a movie.  This will be uplifting and you will get to enjoy the talents of a great choir, incredible soloists, and a professional-level symphony ... that's hard to find at the movie theater!  You will not be sorry for making the effort to be there. 

No matter your religion, please come and partake of this amazing music.

Learn more about Lamb of God and the composer Rob Gardner HERE.

Buy tickets online HERE.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Grasshopper Bars: Baked Sunday Mornings

I made my Baked recipe a couple of weeks ago, but haven't gotten around to blogging about it until now.  I have mixed feelings about this recipe.  The recipe was somewhat hard to follow and not clear about a few of the steps.  The recipe said things like, "whisking occasionally until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened...."  My thoughts after reading this were, "How thick is thickened"?  Or mix until proper consistency ... uh ... what is proper consistency??  My buttercream filling did not turn-out.  I tried hard to follow the instructions and do as I was told, but even after refrigerating my buttercream for an hour, it was still runny and then it started to kinda separate and get clumpy.

I do have to say, the flavor of everything was great and I loved the fudgy brownie bottom, but after seeing the results, I didn't feel like I could share this treat with Hubby's office as I had hoped.

I will include a close-up photo of my filling ... I'm open to suggestions!

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Preview...

This is the first real sound that we've gotten to hear from our MCO recording session in Salt Lake City ... excited to hear the whole CD!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

EVMCO Registration is Open

Photo by Steve Porter

For my friends in the East Valley who have been considering the East Valley Mormon Choral Organization ... registration is currently open and new participants are being accepted.  Kids can start as young as 4 years old and adults are welcome to audition and participate in the adult choir or orchestra.

Children, adults, and families of all faiths & backgrounds are participating and enjoying top-notch musical experiences.  I've done a lot of music stuff around town and nothing comes close in comparison to the EVMCO.  I could go on for pages with reasons of why you should participate and I'd be happy to talk with individuals who are contemplating the idea.  I think kids (4-18 yrs old) can attend a rehearsal for free and with no commitment, if they'd like.

All three of my kids will be participating this semester and they are counting down the days until the first rehearsal.  This organization is one of the very best things my kids have in their lives right now, so we hope you'll join us!

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Simple Slow-Roasted Tomatoes: French Fridays with Dorie

This week I actually got my recipe done before Friday!  On Tuesday, we made pistachio & mozzarella ravioli to go with our simple slow-roasted tomatoes.  This was a super-easy recipe ... just tomatoes sprinkled with salt, pepper, olive oil, and other herbs or seasonings of choice ... I chose to just use garlic.  My tomatoes roasted in the oven for about 3 hours and they made the house smell great!!

To see what other Doristas did with their simple slow-roasted tomatoes, go HERE.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Frolicking Night Owl's Pesto

It's hot here. 

Very hot! 

Excessive heat warning kind-of-hot!!

No one wants to make lots of hot food in this kind of heat, so we have to get a little creative.  Sandwiches & paninis are a great way to beat the heat & we recently enjoyed our's with a green salad & a fresh fruit salad.

Ciabatta Rolls ... fresh mozzarella .... sliced tomatoes ... chopped olives ...  fresh pesto

I looked at a lot of recipes for homemade pesto and after I had some ideas, I made up my own recipe as I went along.  I want to record what I did for future reference and if you have any comments or something to add, I'd love to hear!

1. Preheat oven to 350* F.  Evenly spread about a 1/2 cup of nuts out on a baking sheet.  (I used walnut pieces.)  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until nuts look and smell toasty.  I saw recipes that used pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds ... use whatever you like.

2. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Wash a bunch of fresh basil (I used 2.3 oz to be exact).  Dunk the basil into the boiling water and use the back of a wooden spoon to submerge all the basil leaves.  Don't leave the basil in the boiling water for more than 5-10 seconds.  Quickly drain the basil leaves, rinse them with cold water (if you can find some in AZ), and then pat-dry the leaves with paper towels.

3. I then put the basil, toasted nuts, some coarse salt, a little fresh ground pepper, 2 garlic, and some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (I just dumped some in but I would guess that I used 2-3 Tablespoons of cheese) into my handy-dandy food processor and pulsed until everything was combined, chopped, and was beginning to look like pesto.

4.  With the food processor running, add a scant 1/2 C of extra-virgin olive oil.

5. Serve immediately.  I used mine as a spread on my sandwiches.

I would guess I ended up with about a cup worth of pesto.  It was enough for sandwiches one night and then we has some with garlic bread and ravioli the next night ... and I still have a little left.

*Tip: If you want to try a sandwich similar to what I made, don't do the ciabatto roll.  It got too hard and crusty in the panini press.  I think some slices of ciabatta bread will work much better.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mom's Olive Oil Orange Bundt: Baked Sunday Mornings

This is not my mom's recipe ... just what the Baked Boys called the recipe, but this recipe belonged to a neighbor of Renato's (co-author of the cookbook) mother-Annette, a lovely French woman from Marseilles, France. But Renato's mother baked it so ofter it became Mom's Olive Oil Orange Bundt!  My initial excitement level for this cake wasn't that great cause I wasn't really in the mood to try another French recipe this week and olive oil in a baked good sounded kinda yucky.  And when you hear the word "bundt", I think many of us go to this:

But I decided to try the recipe.  My husband and 8 yr old daughter both came in the kitchen to help and while we were mixing the ingredients, we couldn't get enough of the wonderful smells coming from this batter.  The good smells continued as the bundt baked.  I was surprised how much I like the flavor of this cake.  I couldn't taste the olive oil at all.  We shared some of our cake on Sunday night with some of our new neighbors.  One man called us around 9pm that night to tell us how much he enjoyed it, that the recipe was definitely a keeper, and one that we should pass on to our kids and grandkids someday.

We enjoyed our bundt for Sunday night dessert although I think it would be wonderful for a brunch or morning-time baby or bridal shower.  Next time I think I'll serve it with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  It was a little hard to swallow.  I don't know if I'd say it was dry though ... just kinda thick.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Citrus Terrine: French Fridays with Dorie

One of my favorite aspects of Around My French Table is the introduction that Dorie gives to each recipe.  Dorie's intro for this weeks' recipe starts out, "While Americans of all stripes tend to turn snobby at the mere mention of gelatin...."  Yup, I am one of those Americans.  I am not a fan of gelatin, Jell-O, or anything like unto it.  I do not buy it for my kids and when I went shopping for this week's ingredients, it the the first time in my life that I bought gelatin.

I wish that I could say that after trying this recipe that I had finally found a form of gelatin that I like, but nope.  Gelatin is still ... weird.  While making it, I had to mix the gelatin with hot orange juice ... the smell was not desirable.  It bought back memories from when I was 8 or 9 years old of stinky horses in Havasupai.  When all was said & done, I was brave & tried a bite of my citrus terrine (I opted to leave the expensive berries out and use them on my waffles) and I liked that it was flavored with orange juice, but I just can't get past the whole gelatin thing. 

I'm guessing it will be a hit with the kids when the get up from their naps.

Next week's recipe, slow-roasted tomatoes, is more up my alley, but I'd love some ideas of how to serve them!!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peacock's Spotlight

On Sunday, Peacock was spotlighted in Sunday School. A few weeks ago, they asked her to fill-in-the-blanks on a questionnaire type thing and then the kids had to guess who the spotlight child was.  Some of Peacock's answers were somewhat amusing, so I wanted to make sure to journal about it so she can go back & read it again when she is older. 

Peacock's Spotlight on July 24, 2011: (underlined words & phrases are her answers)

* I came down to Pittsburgh from my Father above.  (ahhh... close ... should be South Carolina, but Mom & Dad lived in Pittsburgh when she was born.)

* My home has 5 people and no animals to love.

* I like to play chess & go out to eat with my family.

* If you see someone with brown eyes and black hair, it could be me.

* I like learning about math when I go to school.

* When I grow up, I want to be Princess Tiana.

* In my spare time I think twirling & reading are fun.

* And I like to eat cookies & cupcakes when the day is done.  (That's my girl!)

* I like the color purple when I am making art.

* When I read the scriptures, The Book of Mormon is my favorite part.

* On Sunday, CTR 4 is the class I go to.

* Singing Pioneer Day is one of my favorite things to do.

*On Halloween you can say "Happy Birthday" to me.

Does anyone know who I could be?  Thanks for getting to know me!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacant Lot

Sooo... we are still working on the lot that we found several weeks ago ... working on making it our lot.  We go over to visit "our" lot several times a week and we even went on a bike ride to our lot one night as a family because it's super close to where we are renting right now.  It took me a week or two to find and decide on a lender for our lot loan.  Very few lenders are offering lot loans in AZ because of the economy here and when you do find someone willing to lend some money, it's only some ... they want significant down payments.  This was not music to my ears and caused me a lot of stress because I wanted to be able to put down as little money as possible and keep my cash in the bank, but if this is where we want to be and what we want to do, we have to make the sacrifice.  :)

Sometimes I hesitate saying anything about the lot on my blog because for some reason or another it might not work-out, but we are hopeful and so far everything looks good.  I suppose if it doesn't work out, we can be sad together, right?  I've also had some questions about how to go about building a custom house so rather than answer a bunch of emails, everyone can just read it here.  I also want to track the progress of everything we do over the next year or two as we work on turning this lot into our little piece of paradise. :)

Kiddies ... July 23, 2011 @ Vacant Lot. 
Penguin 8 1/2 yrs old, Peacock 4 3/4 yrs old, Turkey about a month shy of 4 yrs old!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Coconut Lemon-Braised Chicken: French Fridays with Dorie

It's that time of the week again ... French Fridays with Dorie.  For anyone new around here, we (the members of an online cooking group) are cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, Around My French Table.

I have to admit, when I saw this week's recipe, I intended on skipping it.  I'm not into cooking meat and pork didn't sound appealing in the least bit.  I thought I'd rather spend my time & resources trying a different new recipe that might be more interesting for my family & me.  BUT Hubby saw the recipe and got excited about it, so we decided to team-up and give it a whirl.  We made ours with chicken breast instead of pork and I made Hubby do all the cutting and cooking of the meat.

We went to 2 different grocery stores and couldn't find some of the ingredients so we improvised a little bit.  I wished that some of the flavors were a little stronger, but overall everyone really enjoyed this recipe.  We decided to serve ours on top of rice instead of egg noodles and I'm glad we made that choice cause the rice soaked up some of the juices and that was my favorite part!

To read other reviews of this recipe, go HERE.

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