Monday, November 26, 2007

What's For Dinner
Bulgogi (Korean Beef Barbecue)

My notes: This is one of our favorites. We serve it as lettuce wraps. I often add matchstick cut carrots, radish, snow pea pods and other veggies to add to the lettuce wraps. For a kick, put a bottle of sriracha sauce out for those who like it spicy. This recipe came in an article that also included chopchae which we also like to make for this meal. To make it easier, I often just remove the meat from the marinade and stir-fry the meat or grill it under the broiler.

1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine) (I use rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray

Wrap beef in plastic wrap; freeze 1 hour or until firm. Remove plastic wrap; cut beef diagonally across grain into 1/16-inch-thick slices.

Combine beef, sugar, and next 5 ingredients (sugar through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Place a wire grilling basket on grill rack. Remove beef from bag; discard marinade. Place beef on grilling basket coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning frequently.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)CALORIES 208 (33% from fat); FAT 7.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 26.1g; CHOLESTEROL 76mg; CALCIUM 19mg; SODIUM 457mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 3.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.4g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2003

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Gratitudes

I spent Thanksgiving in Utah with our extended families. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is all about family, love and food traditions. Instead of posting a landscape pic, I wanted you to meet one of the instigators of our family food traditions, and my gratitude subject for this post.

Meet my maternal grandma. She just turned 94. This woman taught my mom ( and me and my sis) how to grow a garden, how to bottle, can and preserve, how to quilt. Thanksgiving has to have her homemade cranberry sauce recipe as well as her 'Yucky Rolls'. I always make her chicken noodle casserole, clam chowder, sugar cookies. Her style is not gourmet. It is straight forward, honest food. I remember how she would look away and pretend not to see the first time I would try to snitch a piece of bread dough from the Yucky rolls she was rising every family dinner. If she caught me again she would threaten to get the lickin' stick.

Grandma's daddy died from the flu when she was young. She became the homemaker while her mom worked. She is fiercely independent because of this. Grandma has her quirks like everyone else. But if you ever needed anything, she would be first in line to provide a meal, take care of kids, or do whatever was needed.

Grandma wanted to be a writer. She always bought books as gifts. Life got in the way of her original goals but she doesn't complain about it. She mentions it wistfully, once in a while. She has penned a few children's stories that she showed me once and then tucked away again. I want to find those stories and have one of the grandkids illustrate them and then publish them if just for her great and great-great grandchildren.

I could never express enough how grateful I am to her. I write her every week now that I am not living near enough to see her weekly. She can not write back but I know she loves me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Last night was supposed to be fun. I have been asked by DH to take over a dream job of mine: planning the food for the annual Christmas Dinner Party for his work, which involves a taste-testing of menus at a local hotel. Oh, yes, This ranks just under my fantasy to someday be a food critic or, better yet, have my own cooking show of Food Network.

I said this was supposed to be fun because DH was supposed to go with me. We were going to make a date night out of it. Free and (hopefully) great food, maybe catch a movie. It was the last day to do it before the Thanksgiving holidays. But DH remembered he had an appointment at (I do not make this stuff up) a nuclear power plant. It was the kind of job he couldn't cancel at the last minute because of all the security checks that have to be in place along with the scheduling to make it happen.

I was disappointed, but I persevered in finding another respectable date. I asked a woman in my ward whose husband works in the same company as DH, but she had gotten off a graveyard nursing shift and needed to sleep. I called my aunt, but she was stuck at work late and needed the evening to get things ready for T-Day guests. DS#1 volunteered to escort me but he was my babysitter for the night. So, I went alone.

I am a twin. I do not like to be alone. Never have. (Well, I don't mind it if I am in really comfy pjs, cuddled up in a quilt, watching a chick flick.) I especially do not like eating out alone. What is the point?

I went to the hotel lounge where the tasting would take place. The bar man took great care of me. The lounge wasn't crowded as I sat in a booth. The waitress looked at me a bit funny when I told her I would like a water with lime to drink (I guess most of their guests do not drink water in the lounge.)

I was surprised that the food was very good. I loved the Elk Medallions with Blackberry Demiglace the best, but I decided that the Maple Roasted Salmon and the Prime Rib would be best received by the masses at the Christmas Party. (I am not a big fan of prime rib. When I was single, my twin sis and her DH, who was a kicker on the BYU football team, would set me up every year with one of the football players for their football dinners. I was a popular date for this reason: I would eat the salad, but when the prime rib came out it was huge, bloody, and it overlapped the plate. I was so disgusted that I couldn't eat it so my date would happily eat my portion, too.) The prime rib at the hotel was lean and tasted wonderful. The salmon was my second favorite and ,I was told, a specialty of the hotel chef.

I received odd looks being the only one there, not only not drinking, but having four huge plates of food in front of me. The bar man boxed up the food for me and I took it home to let the kids try it all. I also had a bag of chocolates that Deseret Book gave me for free because they were starting to crack on the bottom and couldn't be sold. So armed with three boxes and a bag of chocolates I arrived at home to what I thought would be much fanfare and excitement.

I now know just how much my children have been affected by my cooking. I am constantly trying new recipes and have often been told that I cook much more gourmet than the average person. They were not overly excited but curious to try everything. DS#2 tasted the salmon and started to critique it saying that while it had a nice maple flavor, he preferred the miso-glaze I fixed for salmon. DS#1 offered suggestions on what to add to the elk. DS#3 just ate everything I gave him quickly so he could pick a chocolate. DD worked her way through the wild rice pilaf, the roasted potatoes, potato salad, and pasta salad and then asked for more prime rib.

The chocolate were pronounced good "but not as good as you make, Mom". Hmmmmmm. I have never made them chocolates. I make truffles every year but they do not get them. I wonder if they sneak them when I am not looking?

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's For Dinner

Herb Roasted Pork
From: All Recipes Website
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Hours Ready In: 3 Hours 20 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings

"Herb-rubbed roasted pork loin with a sweet, tangy glaze."

My notes: This was a great hit at Sunday dinner with guests. Make extra of the sauce (cornstarch, vinegar, water, soy sauce) for pouring over the meat. I ended up adding extra water, soy sauce, and cornstarch to the sauce because I liked a thicker glaze with less of a vinegar bite. The meat is very tender. I also wrapped the loin in tinfoil for the first 2 1/2 hours of cooking time.


1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (5 pound) boneless pork loin
1/2 cup sugar1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

DIRECTIONS:1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. In a bowl, combine sage, salt, pepper, and garlic. Rub thoroughly all over pork. Place pork in an uncovered roasting pan on the middle oven rack.

3. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 150 degrees F (65 degrees C), depending upon your desired doneness.

4. Meanwhile, place sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, water, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken slightly. Brush roast with glaze 3 or 4 times during the last 1/2 hour of cooking. Pour remaining glaze over roast, and serve.

Spinach-Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

A fresh salad featuring ripe fall pears is a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table. Save time by using packaged, prewashed spinach. Prepare and refrigerate the vinaigrette up to two days ahead, and shave and refrigerate the cheese up to one day ahead.

My Notes: this was a great pairing with Herbed Pork Roast. I added crumbed bacon to the salad. Even the kids were eating it and wanting more.

2 Bosc pears, cored and thinly sliced

1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

5 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Combine pear slices and spinach in a large bowl. Combine water and the next 6 ingredients (through pepper), stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup salad and about 1 teaspoon cheese)

CALORIES 52 (47% from fat); FAT 2.7g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 1.7g; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 58mg; SODIUM 215mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.1g Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2004

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Gratitudes
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

1. My brother came to visit this weekend. I was so grateful he would take time out of his schedule to spend it with us. Since he was by himself, some of my nieces and a nephew decided to tag along to keep him company. I hope we entertained them well enough. We still aren't fully comprehending what is available out here. He did say he had a great time and made us feel so good about hosting him. I love my bro!

2. The football lovers took in a high school state championship game this weekend(our team won!) There was also a local college football game on TV that was a must see. DH bought takeout from a barbecue joint we found out here. Who knew we would find awesome barbecue in the middle of Idaho? Gotta be grateful for real smoke ribs and burnt ends. Mmmmmmmm.

3. My niece who, like me, isn't into sports, was happy to accompany me to check out the local tea shop. I found a lovely herbal rooibos tea, DD was given her very own pot of what she called Yummy-ade (you would call that lemonade). Dear Niece ordered hot chocolate and was presented with an over-the-top-chocolate-extravaganza-in-a-mug. I'll post the pic of her with said chocolate concoction soon. We also enjoyed lavender scones, cinnamon scones, chai-spice cookies and jam and cream. This is not something I would do on my own but it was so fun to try it with DD, DN, and my aunt. I have to admit: I was surprised with the prices charged for tea and scones. I know I could do it at home for less so I think I must collect some fun tea things. There is a good English shop in town where I can purchase clotted cream. I know I have good recipes for scones and tea sandwiches.

4. I totally forgot choir practice last week. Not only has my choir forgiven me, they practiced on their own and got a fair bit done. We sing next week in Sacrament Meeting. I am looking forward to sharing a song about gratitude with the congregation.

5. My burn is healing well. I think it looks nasty but according to my doctor (and a nurse who lives in my ward) it looks just like it is supposed to.

6. Amazing Grace just dame out on DVD this weekend. It is a movie about how the slave trade was abolished in England. This is currently my favorite movie. I am so grateful for people who had the bravery and endurance to end slavery. I am also grateful for those who make good movies that I am proud to watch with my family. Those movies are becoming more rare every year. We are getting to the point where we do not take our families to the movies much at all because even the PG movies have a content we do not want to be exposed to. I love intelligent movies that show the best of the human spirit.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

7. My parents just posted pics from their safari on their blog. They had been working so hard as missionaries, it is nice to see them get a break and enjoy themselves. I bet the never thought that in their lifetime they would go to Africa. Check out their blog. I am also grateful for the project they just completed of obtaining 500+ books for a school in the DRC. The pictures and story about that are worth seeing and reading.

8. Today was the Primary Program in our ward. I love hearing the kids sing and seeing them participate with spoken parts. This year I was in my usual spot as chorister so I sat with the kids. I sang along with them. Our closing hymn is my favorite: "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". This song is a testimony that has strengthened mine. Listen to it here:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Going to the doctor

I went to the doctor today. The skin on my hand is starting to fall off and it hurts! He said it is healing well, trimmed up the dead skin, applied silver-something-or-other and rewrapped it. But while I was waiting I took pictures. I know it is disgusting, so my apologies if you can't stand it.

The blisters on the pads of my ring and pinkie fingers have almost healed, The main damage was to the base of my thumb. There is also a nasty blister next to my first finger knuckle that you can barely see. The position of my hand was as if I was shaking your hand so the burns cover that side of my hand. There is a lot of discoloration that the pics do not show but the doctor said would disappear over time.

The whole office came by the door to pop in and see the injury and ask how it happened. I heard the nurses telling other staff in the hall. It was a bit strange to become the daily side-show. At least I think they have a daily side-show, surely I am not the only one? I should have charged admission just to offset the cost of the visit.

My doctor has cautioned me to be more careful the next time I make caramels. Oh, and he wants me to bring some to his office.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Family Night Treat

Cranberry-Orange Apple Crisp
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2000

My notes: We loved the topping on this crisp. It would lend itself well to any combination of fruit. I would love to try it with a pineapple, mango, papaya blend. Easy Family Night treat that my 14 yr old son did by himself.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
7 cups diced peeled Rome apple (about 3 pounds)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 375°.Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly.

Combine apple and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Spoon the apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with the crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 9 servings

CALORIES 183 (27% from fat); FAT 5.5g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 0.9g; CHOLESTEROL 14mg; CALCIUM 13mg; SODIUM 55mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 0.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.6g

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Gratitudes
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

What a week! Burning my hand, falling multiple times, and choking once or twice (luckily all it took was a thump on the back), I am ready to resign myself to a padded room or better yet, a bubble. But I do have things to be grateful for this week:

1. I'm grateful that my hand was not burned worse. Even more, I am so grateful that DD wasn't near me when it happened. She had been wanting to help me and to see what I was doing, and generally underfoot until I sent her away crying. The mishap happened 10-15 minutes later.

2. I am also grateful for a neighbor who doesn't mind checking out my hand to make sure I do not need to go to the doctor. Dear Neighbor is a general surgeon. I am sure he gets asked work questions all of the time but he did not seem put out at all when I called asking him if he would mind looking at the burns. I remember as a child my mom, an RN, would get calls all the time from neighbors asking what to do for a sick child. I remember a particular time when a woman brought her son over so my mom could tell them whether or not he needed stitches (get thee to an ER, oh, yes he did!) My mom never seemed put out, either.

3. After the accident, I had to cancel the cooking class on Neighbor Gifts and Christmas treats that I was going to teach at my church's Super Saturday. The other class was on how to prep and cook a turkey. The dear sisters in my ward decided to bring me the turkey to cook for Sunday dinner along with a big pan of stuffing. Every thing was prepped and ready to go into the oven. Today my family enjoyed an early Thanksgiving. Thanks to the sisters for my first "brought in" meal. I felt loved.

4. I met my children's teachers at Parent Teacher Conferences. I have been so impressed with the teachers here. They genuinely love their jobs and care about their students. Each teacher I met with had great ideas for my children where they were weak and even greater praise where they were strong. God bless the teachers!

5. I am grateful for DS#2's basketball coach. I am sure he is busy (as we all are) but he was still willing to take time to coach this team. We weren't sure if we would ever get a coach. The YMCA called us asking if we would but I have no knowledge of basketball and DH was already helping out with DS#1's swim meets and also working with the 11 year old scouts in our ward. A coach was found and DS#2 loves his basketball practices.

6. My Dear Doggie Girl. I never thought a pet would become so entrenched in my heart, let alone in as little as a week. She has been so sweet. She spends equal time with all family members. DDG loves me to rub her belly. She often just sits nearby if I am watching TV or working on the computer. I think I have even seen her smile (can dogs do that? Remember, I am new at this and truly do not know).

7. I am grateful for a sweet Mother-In-Love who taught her son to go above and beyond what is right. DH took care of me this weekend, brought me flowers, medicated and wrapped my hand, and took care of the kids. I know he is tired from working hard all week. In case you were wondering, I am also extremely grateful for DH.

8. I am grateful for the other blogs I read on a regular basis. I read Parker's blog and am amazed at Tammy's continuing strength (although she doesn't think she has any strength). No matter what is thrown Parker's way, Tammy still manages to get through it with grace. Her love for Parker (who has Down syndrome) and all of her children is so strong. Reading her blog strengthens me. There is also Brady's blog. Brady also has Down syndrome. I met Brady's mom when Brady and DD were filming for Baby Signing Time. (DD didn't make it on any of the cuts so she was filmed for ST: The Great Outdoors and ST: Time To Eat). Brady's mom is so upbeat about homeschooling Brady and keeping up with her kids. Her schedule would exhaust me but she tackles it with grace. There is Gingersnapspice whose son has autism. She juggles her two kids, a masters program, and writing. Ging happens to be one of my best friends since, well, forever. These women are all kindred spirits. Their challenges of having a child with special needs are turned into teaching moments for women like me. One of these days I want to get together with all of them and make them a gourmet girls' lunch. The kind with nice linens and food our kids wouldn't eat but we would love. I want to put my arms around them and tell them thank you from the depths of my spirit. I also want to high-five them and yell "Great Job!!!"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Caramels, memories, and injuries

Yesterday I spent the morning making caramels. The smell of homemade caramels is the smell of Christmas to me. My mom would make caramels every Christmas for neighbor gifts. That rich butter-cream-sugar smell would permeate the house. I loved the memories that were coming to me as I stirred, checked the candy thermometer, and stirred some more. I mentally planned out my blog on the memories, my mom, and the caramel recipe.

Finally, at 250 degrees, it was ready to pour. I had two foil covered pans sprayed with butter spray ready to go. I poured the caramels into the two pans. then I noticed that there really wasn't enough candy for two pans so I proceeded to pour the candy from one pan into another.

The foil of the pan I was pour from fell off the pan and wrapped hot caramel around my right hand.

The kids heard me screaming and came running from all corners of the house. Caramel doesn't wash off your hands. I was afraid to pull it off as it cooled under the running water - I was afraid all the skin would come with it. Finally, with DS#1's help, I got the candy off my hands and checked the damage. The base of my thumb on the outside to my wrist, the pointer finger, and the inside of my ring and pinkie fingers. All have 2nd degree burns. I knew from DD"s burn emergency last year that pain is good. Pain means there isn't irreparable damage to the skin. The kids wanted me to go to the hospital but I knew the hospital couldn't do anything more than what I could do at home.

DD was hysterical at first. At 5 years old, she still remembers very well her burn form September 2006 (Check out the miracle on the Sept 2006 blog entry). She calmed down after a few hugs. Throughout the day she would kiss me and love on me. She and my three boys were the best medicine of all.

I spent the day plunging my hand in cold water with a little ice. It was the only way to stop the pain. DH came home last night with meds the pharmacy recommended (that didn't work) and gauze. And flowers. Sunflowers and rusty-orange mums. Is there any doubt of why I love this man? He took care of me the rest of the evening. I took Advil and Tylenol PM and somehow managed 8 hours of solid sleep last night.

The pain isn't so bad this morning but the blisters look nasty. I had to cancel the cooking class on Christmas treats and neighbor gifts that I was supposed to teach this afternoon at church. I had no food to taste test other than the caramel - my day of cooking didn't happen after the accident. I told the Sisters that I would teach it at my house right after Thanksgiving and told them what happened. Today I am spending the day low-key at home.

Other than feeling really stupid and some pain, I'm fine.

In case you were wondering, the caramels taste great (the ones without essence of me, that is).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What's For Dinner

Japanese Chicken-Scallion Rice Bowl
from Eating Well Magazine

Makes 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

1 ½ cups instant brown rice
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (I use rice vinegar)
2 large egg whites1 large egg
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1. Prepare instant brown rice according to package directions.

2. Pour broth into a heavy medium saucepan, along with sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low.

3. Stir egg whites and whole egg in a small bowl until just mixed. Add chicken to the simmering broth. Gently pour in the egg mixture, without stirring. Sprinkle scallions on top. When the egg starts to firm up, after about 3 minutes, stir it with chopsticks or a knife. (The chicken will be cooked by now.) Divide the rice among 4 deep soup bowls and top with the chicken mixture.

Japanese Chicken-Scallion Rice Bowl Nutrition Information
Per serving: 262 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 87 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 21 g protein; 2 g fiber; 395 mg sodium.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

DD also insisted that I take her picture. She loves the camera, especially when she is in the picture.....

Welcome to the newest member of our family

A year ago, DD's special educator recommended that we get a dog to give DD someone to play with and hopefully cure her wandering tendencies before they got worse. The boys were so excited as they had been begging for a dog for years. But I never had a pet beyond a gerbil (unless you count the cat we had less than 6 months who ran away).

After moving here we decided to make it happen. We went to the local Humane Society and I introduced DD to the head person there. I explained what our needs were and how we had no idea what we were doing. The Humane Society was great and pick out this cutie for us. Dear DoggieGirl (DGD) is fully house trained, crate trained, obedience trained, and knows lots of cool tricks. My boys are so excited and have started working on Frisbee catching.

DGD has been so sweet with DD and very patient. DGD still has a few things we need to address with the trainer this week. Other than that she has become a member of our family faster than I ever thought a pet could.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Gratitudes
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This morning, as the sacrament was passed, I was sitting in the choir seats where I usually sit. I was praying, dedicating my fast to the selling of my house in Utah. I pleaded with Heavenly Father that my house might sell soon (November would be nice, I thought, but Thy Will Be Done.) As I was still praying I looked out into the congregation. It seemed as if people were being brought out to the front of my thoughts. There were the Scout leaders and Young Men advisers and teachers who are so important in DS#1's life right now. There were the Scout Leaders, Primary Presidency, and Primary teachers who are so influential to DS#2, DS#3, and DD. There were the choir members who put up with me during practice every week and sing so wonderfully. There were the neighbors who have offered prayers and encouragement. There were my visiting teachers.

As I looked at these dear people, tears streamed down my face. Yet again, I could feel Heavenly Father telling His stubborn child that there is a plan for me. His Plan is so much better than my plan if I would have faith and endure a little longer. We are where we are supposed to be. These people were put into my family's path to strengthen us and make my job as a mom so much easier.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude this day for a loving Heavenly Father who will always be patient with me, especially when He is reminding me that His Plan is better than my plan.