Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tasty

I tried a new recipe tonight that I found on Pinterest. Surprise, surprise, I know. Jer was a little skeptical when I told him what I was making but it turned out really good. It was SUPER easy and healthy and is a definite repeat in my book. Since it is Tuesday, of course we ate at like 9:30 so I didn't go all out. We just paired the pasta with some delicious, fresh corn on the cobb! YUM

Creamy Avocado Pasta

 

**You are basically making a pesto-like sauce. I omitted the jalepeno. It wasn't missed.

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
½ lime
2 garlic cloves
¼ jalapeno
¼ cup packed basil
1 cup spinach
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup spinach
 basil leaves to garnish

To Make:
Boil the pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking, combine first 8 (7 if you don't count the jalepeno) ingredients in a blender until nice and smooth. When finished, strain the pasta and toss 1 cup spinach in pasta to wilt it. (To be clear you will be using 2 cups of spinach, one the the actual pasta and one in the sauce.) Add the sauce and toss. Top with parmesan cheese and basil to garnish. ENJOY!

What I loved about this recipe:
-It was meatless
-Easy
-Healthy
-The lime added a nice little zing to it.
-Um, who doesn't love fresh basil? 
-There are multiple possibilities: You can add fresh grilled/cooked veggies, chicken, etc. Although I thought it was delicious just the way it was. 
-It is my favorite color. GREEN. :o)

Just a note: 
Sometimes I think all my recipe blog posts are useless because anyone can find any recipe on the internet but I was chatting with my friend today about how it is sometimes nice to see that someone has actually tried it and can confirm that it was, indeed a good recipe. Let me know if you are getting sick of these posts but I just get so excited when I try a great recipe, I want everyone to know about it. Oh, and I don't believe in secret recipes. Share the wealth people!

In other news, Jer and I are prepping for our upcoming tour. It seems that it has snuck up on us. We were quite enjoying our lives of semi-freedom. But we are excited for the chance to travel and spend some quality time together. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Hoo" Loves Owls?

Lots of people have sent me pictures (some I also stole off Facebook) of them or their children wearing Owl Hats they have purchased for me or were given as a gift. It has been so fun seeing everyone in the hats and thought I would do a little compilation of pictures of people wearing their hats!








 This post may have been more for me than anyone else but I thought it was fun to see. I have given a couple owls for baby showers already this summer and can't wait to see those little cuties in those hats. Keep those photos coming people!

If you're interested in these hats check out my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/flowersnfrills











 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Girls' Weekend

For Memorial weekend Katie came to Provo to stay with us and have a fun, relaxing girls' weekend. She just came yesterday morning and we have had so much fun already!

We started our wonderful day with a trip to the Provo temple. Nothing better than the peace you can feel inside that beautiful building.



After our temple trip Katie treated us to Tucanos. Jer had a free meal from his birthday so it was a perfect opportunity! Also, almost everything at that restaurant is gluten free so Katie could pretty much eat whatever she wanted.



 
Next stop, pedicures of course! We went to New Nails in Provo. They know us by name and we know everyone there by name too! They are the best in town, they even know our mom and ask about her everytime we go in. :o) Jer obviously opted out of this activity.

While waiting for our nail appointment, we went to the Downeast Warehouse sale and checked out the steals.

 


While Jer went with our downstairs neighbor to Laser tagging, Katie and I decided to do some more relaxing and watch a movie. Of course we chose, The Prince and Me. Sometimes it is the best to just lay around and watch a movie.
 Ok, this weekend did have SOME productivity. Jer had some friends over to watch a basketball game so Katie and I tackled our second bedroom. I decided to spare you all the "before" picture of this room, mostly because it was just embarrassing. Long story short, this is after 3 hours of work and much organizing into bins (thanks for teaching us the importance of bins, Dad! :o))

It is SO much better to have someone with you while you work on a big project like this, Katie is the best one for the job.

Today, Katie joined us for church and experienced life in the primary after many years of absence. I think she liked being a visitor. Not sure she wants to be part of it again though.

We had a yummy dinner after our afternoon nap. All of which was gluten free!

It has been a pretty gloomy memorial weekend (weather-wise). It hailed today! But I was determined to make this drink that I found a recipe for on Pinterest. Let me tell you, it was WELL worth it, and I will be repeating it many times this summer.

Watermelon-Strawberry Lemonade
 8 cups cubed and seeded watermelon
1 cup strawberries, halved
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup white sugar
2 cups water
(you may substitute Sprite or 7-up instead of water)
Just dump all this in a blender and blend till smooth. You can freeze your watermelon cubes for a more slushy drink if you like. My Blendtec "wildside" jar was the perfect size for this. 
We also had something that was very fitting for the gloomy weather:

Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup


photo via Zupas

recipe from Bake 'n Make

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
Yields: 9 cups or 8 first-course servings (or 4-5 hungry adults :)

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese

In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

This was such a great use of the cauliflower I got in my bountiful basket and really tasted just like Zupas! 

*To make it gluten free, we just used all purpose gluten free flour in place of regular flour and it still thickened up quite nicely.
We also had a fruity green salad with this amazing dressing. Of course it is from my favorite cookbook, Our Best Bites!

Poppy Seed Dressing
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. Kosher salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the “hairy” end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds
In a blender, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.
Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds. Serve over leafy greens.

Our next project is to make Gluten free cookies. Wish us luck! I'll let you know how they turn out. Maybe they'll be worth trying!














Thursday, May 24, 2012

On My Mind...

This month we were able to choose a talk from General Conference for our Visiting Teaching message. Elder Holland's talk: Laborers in the Vineyard, was the only one I could remember. In fact, I couldn't really get it off my mind. I've been thinking about it all week. It is something that really applies to my life, and, if I'm not mistaken, many others' as well.

This is my favorite quote from his talk. I have read it over several times this past week and find truth in it each time. 

"My beloved brothers and sisters, what happened in this story at 9:00 or noon or 3:00 is swept up in the grandeur of the universally generous payment at the end of the day. The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of earlier hours—real or imagined—fall away in the abundance of the final reward. Don’t dwell on old issues or grievances—not toward yourself nor your neighbor nor even, I might add, toward this true and living Church. The majesty of your life, of your neighbor’s life, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be made manifest at the last day, even if such majesty is not always recognized by everyone in the early going. So don’t hyperventilate about something that happened at 9:00 in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you at 6:00 in the evening—whatever your labor arrangements have been through the day."

I find that at noon, while I am busy whining and complaining about a trial that happened at 9 am, The Lord is busy blessing me beyond measure.

Sometimes blogs, and Facebook pages give the wrong impression of people's lives. It seems that everyone has an almost impossibly perfect life. Or maybe this is the right impression, the one we should focus on the most. That while we all have trials, we are constantly being blessed. Because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my life is full beyond measure. And WONDERFUL! What a blessing that knowledge is.

And just as a little example from my own life:

Remember that day I got the flat tire on the way to my job interview? Well, I didn't get the job. But something MUCH better came up that same day. The Lord has a plan for each of us, no matter how small or insignificant the circumstance may be.

An acquaintance of mine does "Thankful Thursday" on her blog and I thought that was such a good idea. Maybe this will be my Thankful Thursday post for the week. :o)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dinner Group!!

We started a dinner group with our friends the Pattys and Wildes for the summer. We have done it every Wednesday for about a month and it has been AWESOME! This week was my second time hosting and I invited the Duffins over to join us. I have been trying out new recipes, particularly summery ones, and have found some winners. Here are two for your enjoyment!

**One discovery my friend and neighbor Katie introduced me to are pretzel rolls from Costco! They are SO good. They taste just like soft pretzels. I used these for the sliders instead of regular white rolls. Loved it. You HAVE to try these!**


Ham and Cheese Sliders
adapted slightly from the Recipe Club
24 good white dinner rolls
24 pieces good honey ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy seed sauce (you probably could half this...I had plenty extra)
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. You do not have to use all of the sauce! Just use enough to cover the tops. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm.

** sandwiches can be assembled a day ahead and kept in the fridge ready to bake.

I served these with the recipe below, fresh fruit, and corn on the cobb.

Another new and EASY recipe I found that was a hit was...

PHILADELPHIA Summer Potato Salad


What You Need

3lb. new red potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1 tub (10 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Reduced Fat Italian Cheese & Herb Cooking Creme
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 cup KRAFT Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Make It


PLACE potatoes in 2-qt. microwaveable dish. Add water; cover with lid. Microwave on HIGH 12 to 15 min. or just until potatoes are tender; drain. Place in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until completely cooled.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Taste of Summer

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this delicious recipe and tried it out tonight. Tuesday nights are late dinner for Jer and I because I teach till 7 and then he tutors till about 9. Let me tell you, this recipe was worth the wait. Totally simple, easy and quick!

Cilantro Chicken with Avocado Salsa









Cilantro Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Yield: 
4 servings
Ingredients: 
Chicken ingredients:
4 large (6-8 ounces each) boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt
black pepper
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped cilantro
oil, preferably in a spray bottle
Tapatio hot sauce
Avocado salsa ingredients:
2 cups chopped fresh tomato
4-5 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
1 large avocado, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

Basically, you marinate the chicken in the cilantro and hot sauce after salt and peppering. Don't need to marinade for long. Then you make the salsa (I made extra because Jer loved eating it with chips as well.) Grill the chicken and top it with salsa and enjoy!

I served it with a garlic brown rice quinoa combo that my MIL introduced me to. You can get it at Costco and it is seriously the easiest thing, you just mic that little bag for 90 seconds and you have 2 servings of healthy whole grains.  I also did a green salad and that was a perfect amount of food for us. So summery and delicious!

Let me know if you try it out!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trinkets n' Trims

This blog post is going to be kinda random. I have a lot of little things I want to blog about that don't necessarily relate.
Jer and I had a fun weekend, I helped put on a baby shower for my good friend Chelsie and got some great ideas for future showers.

#1. Having the shower be an open house and putting out materials for everyone to make hair accessories for her baby girl. It worked out so well and it was fun for Chels to take home some darling accessories made by her nearest and dearest. No melting candy bars into diapers at this baby shower! ;o)

#2. Using gifts as decoration:
Our friend Ashley had the idea of buying a few little gifts for the baby and putting them out as decoration. Way better than streamers in my opinion!!

#3. New uses for melon!
I found this idea in my most recent GH magazine. I took a honeydew melon I got from my Bountiful Basket and scooped it out. I made a skinny slice off the bottom so the melon would stand up and filled it with flowers! You can do this with a mini watermelon or cantaloupe.

After the shower, our friend Eric invited us on a hike up to Squaw Peak. WOW. It was tiring. But really fun. It took us 1.5 hours each way so a total of 3 hours. The view from the top was breathtaking, but let's just say my legs were VERY sore the next couple days.

Job interview....BUT
MEGA Flat tire!!!!!


I was on my way to my job interview and hit some nasty traffic getting on the freeway (all you Orem people know what I'm talking about. I sat at ONE light for 20 mins.) I had left a full hour early in case I hit any traffic or got lost. I finally got on the freeway with 20 minutes until my interview and one exit before I'm supposed to get off...my tire explodes. For real. I mean you can see the above picture. Anyway, I got off the exit, Jer had to come to the rescue, he took me to my interview (got lost for about 30 mins) I was an hour late but had called the doc to let him know and he was really understanding. The interview went really well but we shall see what happens. I had a class to teach at 3 and had to find someone to cover for me till we could get the spare on and I could drive back to Provo. It was a pretty nuts-o few hours but I'm just glad I have a hubby that is so helpful and wonderful.


I'll keep you all updated on what happens next!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Re-Vamp

Ok people, now that I have graduated I'm ready to take this whole crafting thing to the next level. I have had a lot of people mention to me that they would LOVE to learn to crochet. I do sell crochet items but it seems the trend is often (especially in Utah) that people just want to learn to do it themselves!

So...for that reason I'm going to be offering some group (or private if you prefer) crocheting classes.

I think the group setting is really ideal because it can be informative and FUN at the same time!

I'm planning to do Saturday mornings and the class would be $10/person/class. If you bring a friend you each only pay $5/class! I will provide your first skein of yarn and you provide your own hooks. (Remember, once you learn some of the basics, you can make almost anything!) Here are some of the things we will learn to make:
Basic Potholders