Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Conundrum

So I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day and we were discussing how sad it is that we hardly ever use our cookbooks anymore. I have a whole book case full of them, but now if I ever have a hankering for something I just Google the recipe. Sometimes, it would even pull up a recipe I already have in my collection but had forgotten I had it! I love my cookbooks. Every time I get a new one, I sit down and look through the whole thing page-by-page. When I lived at home, I would take cookbooks in with me when I was headed for a relaxing bubble bath. MOST recipes you can look up on Google, almost everything, but I will say, some you just CAN'T. I guess if I post some of these recipes on my blog, you will be able to look them up on the internet but I think they are good enough to share. ;o)

Having said all that, my goal is to try and have a nice balance of Pinterest recipes and cookbook recipes because I think we should save the dying art of cookbooks, yet I totally support the technological advancements of this new day and age. :o)

Today for dinner, I made a recipe I had found on Pinterest. I'm still subbing all ground beef for ground turkey and its wonderful. This recipe was significantly easier than lasagna and was very tasty!

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup 54321
5 stars based on 42 Reviews
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Difficulty: Easy


1 lb ground chuck
1   onion, chopped
1   green bell pepper, chopped
3   cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1   (32 ounce) box chicken broth
2   (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1   (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup broken lasagna noodles
1   (5 ounce) package grated parmesan cheese
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
garlic crostini, recipe follows
Garlic Crostini:
1 thin French baguette
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves smashed garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large Dutch oven, combine ground chuck, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and crumbles. Drain well. 
Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 to 10 ovenproof bowls. Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil soups, 6-inches from heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add a garlic crostini slice on top. Serve immediately. 
For the garlic crostini: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Cut bread into 1/4-inch round slices. Place on baking sheet and brush each slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; place in oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Rub each side with smashed garlic cloves. 

*I actually cut this recipe in half because its just the two of us and it was a great amount with leftovers for a busy night this week. I also didn't do the crostini or broiling because I just didn't think it was necessary  but I'm sure it would be a great addition. I just made some rolls. (30 minute from last week's post)

This weekend my sister Katie came down and stayed over since her roomate was out of town. We went to Los Hermanos (with a Groupon of course) and watched 3 movies throughout the weekend. Even though everyone makes fun of Twilight, I hadn't seen the new one and I felt out of the loop having not seen it. Jer was a sport and watched it with us. I'm sorry, but I liked it. No, it wasn't "The Help" (which we watched the next morning) but I thought it was good. So sue me! Caleb and I competed at a local high school and took 3rd. Also, I finished my latest sewing project for my intermediate sewing class:

I just whipped myself up a little hoodie! Ok, no. This was not just a little whip up. It took me HOURS! And don't look up-close because there are some definite imperfections. But I was very proud of myself for taking some fabric and making something out of it. It reminds me of that talk by Elder Uchtdorf about human being's natural yearning to create. I can really relate to that talk a lot. I kept going up to my teacher and saying, "this is off, how can I fix it?" And she would say, "well, the thing is, we're not perfect and that's why we aren't in the Celestial Kingdom, right? It's your first time, and that's pretty good for a first time!" I find it a wonderful privilege to study at a university where the gospel surrounds me constantly.

Anyway, I'm proud of the hoodie and I think it did turn out pretty good for my first time. Will I ever make a hoodie again? Probably not. But it was fun! :o)

Something I have been particularly obsessed with lately are Groupons, Living Social Deals and KSL deals. I seriously buy one or two each week. It is such a great way to try out new restaurants, get gifts, or purchase things for at least half the price. If you haven't already, you need to check it out. Jer and I always use one for our date nights.

OK longest post of the century but I just want to put a plug in for Jer's charity group Half The Sky. They are doing a race in early April and want everyone to sign up and run for the cause! Here is the link to register:

follow this link to register for the race!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CA Adventures

This weekend I went to CA for the California Open Dancesport competition in Irvine. Since the comp was so close to home I got to go stay with my family and spend some time there. It was so fun to relax at home and even go to church in my home ward. My little sis was able to come to the competition with my mom for her first time watching me compete.
 Here we are after the comp!
Caleb and I. We felt like we danced much better than our last time competing and our placing showed that luckily! Last time we got 6th, this time we got 3rd! We were very excited and hope to keep improving. Next stop, maybe Vegas!

I love being able to go home and spend quality time with my family. I love them so much and appreciate all they do for me.

You may have known that poor Jer bear had the flu again last week but he has finally recovered (we think) and hope he's better to stay, (for a long while, we hope!) But he has been staying very busy with the new company he is interning with called Innospan. We have actually decided to stay in Utah this summer rather than moving to Tennessee to sell because Jer has been offered a full time position with Innospan. We are making lots of fun, big decisions right now in our lives! :o)

When I got back into town on Monday we invited our friends the Patty's over for dinner and games. I tried a couple new recipes. Here are a couple we REALLY liked.

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze
adapted by Our Best Bites from Cooking Light
2 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar
1/4 C (4 Tbs) real butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
1/4 C sour cream or plain yogurt
3 Tbs apple juice or milk*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C coconut
Topping: 2 Tbs additional coconut
Glaze: 1/2 C powdered sugar whisked with 1 1/2 Tbs fresh lime juice
*as in: don’t go buy apple juice just for this recipe.  If you don’t already have some, just use milk!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended.  Add eggs and beat to combine.  Add banana, sour cream or yogurt, apple juice (or milk), and vanilla.  Beat until blended.
Add flour mixture and beat at a low speed until just combined.  Stir in 1/2 C coconut.
Pour batter into a 9×5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle additional 2 Tbs coconut on top.
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until a knife or skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Note: Check bread after about 40 minutes.  If the top has browned and the coconut pieces are looking toasty, cover top of bread lightly with a piece of foil.  Continue baking until done.
When done, remove pan from oven.  Let cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove from pan.  Whisk powdered sugar and lime juice together for the glaze and then drizzle over top.    Cool for another 15 minutes before slicing.
 As a side note, I added a little coconut milk to my glaze and it was yummy.

The other recipe I loved was delicious but also appealing because it was a time-saver.

30 minute rolls

Let me start by saying that I am not good at making bread, I dream of making the most delicious dinner rolls.  These were easy and absolutely delicious, even for me, a bread making rookie.  I couldn't believe they only took 30 minutes and tasted as good as they did.  I was pretty proud of my self for making yummy dinner rolls, it rarely, if ever happens. 

30-Minute Roll (1 dozen) 
1 1/8 cups plus 2 tsp. warm water
1/3 cup oil
2 T yeast
1/4 cup sugar or honey
½ tsp. Salt
1 egg 3 ½ cups flour Combine water, oil, yeast, and sugar, let rest for 15 minutes. Add salt and eggs then gradually add flour. Shape into rolls and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake 10 minutes @400 degrees ‘till golden brown.

And there you have it!! Try em', love em'!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

St. George and D-Vine recipes!

We went to St. George this weekend with the ballroom team and were able to spend most of the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Pendleton. They even came to our show on Friday night!
 Here we are! We stayed with them in their condo that evening and then went and did a session in the beautiful St. George temple! This was the first temple built in Utah. Gorgeous. We had a wedding party in the background but I still think the picture turned out pretty well.
After the temple, Grandma and Grandpa took us out to lunch and we headed back to the Dixie Cox Center for our final show of the weekend. Everything went swimmingly and we made it back safely at about 3 am this morning. :o)

Sunday is my free day so I took the liberty of making some yummy treats to take to my Visiting Teachees, our game night tonight and for a late brunch for me and my hubby.

We have about a million ripe bananas in our freezer so I was looking for something a little more interesting than just plain old banana bread (although classic b-bread is always delicious.) I had some fresh blueberries in the fridge and thought this recipe would be perfect. We have some mini loaf pans we got for our wedding so it worked perfectly so I could make 3 small loaves to give away.

Blueberry banana bread (recipe from My Recipes)


1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained, or frozen blueberries
2 cups plus one tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg

Oatmeal Streusel

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup each all-purpose flour, regular rolled oats, and chopped dried banana chips; 2 tablespoons each firmly packed brown sugar and butter, cut into chunks; and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix with your fingers until fine crumbs form.

Note - I skipped the chopped dried banana chips.


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In a small bowl, gently mix blueberries with 1 tablespoon of the flour.

3. In another bowl, blend remaining 2 cups flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

4. In a third, large bowl, whisk bananas, buttermilk, butter, and egg to blend. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture just until evenly moistened; the batter will be stiff. Gently stir in blueberry mixture.

5. Spread batter level in a buttered 5- by 9-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with oatmeal streusel and press in lightly.

6. Bake bread in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.

7. Let bread cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edges to loosen. Invert bread onto a plate, remove pan, and turn over onto rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Calories:319 (31% from fat)
Fat:11g (sat 6.8)

As a side note: I hardly ever have buttermilk unless I have really planned ahead, so I always substitute by using 1 tsp vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before adding to recipe. Works great!Adjust amounts accordingly.

LOVE the streusel topping! Adds just the right crunch and sweetness and I love the tart contrast of the blueberries to the sweet, ripe bananas. This almost tasted like delicious coffee cake.

Secondly, Jer and I had some really good cracked wheat bread from Great Harvest we wanted to use so we decided to make french toast with it and I tried a new syrup recipe that is TDF! Jer made the french toast which was delish by the way!

The recipe comes from one of my new cookbooks I got for Christmas. Once again, I used my substitution for buttermilk and it turned out awesome. I swear by that sub! The cookbook is called "Our Best Bites" and is divine.
Buttermilk "Carmel" Syrup
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 stick real butter
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot. Like one you’d make soup in. Yes, you’ll have way more pot than ingredients (and I’m not referring to the green leafy stuff), but this will boil all over your newly-cleaned stove if you put it in a smaller saucepan.

Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it’s still bubbling, you’re okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes. You’re basically making candy here and candy-making requires constant vigilance.
When it’s done, it should take on this luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
There will be foam on top. It tastes just as good, but it’s not super pretty. If you’re into aesthetics, you can skim it off; otherwise, just give it a good stir.
Now eat it however you darn well please.

And this ain’t just for breakfast, folks. Try it on ice cream over a chocolate waffle!

Tonight for game night I will be making these:

I'm assuming they will be amazing as long as I can make them right. Update on these to come. :o)