Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sopa de Fideos

I copied this recipe that I found on Amanda's Cookin' and kept thinking about it and craving it, even though I had never tried it. So I made this simple soup as a side dish with the Easy Fiesta Chicken Appetizer Squares. Elisa and I really liked it a lot!
I used the fideos (noodles) that you can find in the Mexican food part of the grocery store. If you don't know what they look like, you can go to Amanda's Cookin' where she has a photo of it. I forgot to snap a picture of it.
Sopa de Fideos1 (7 oz.) package of Fideo or angel hair pasta broken into small pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes
3 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 T. fresh chopped cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Coarse salt

Combine canned tomatoes, onion and garlic in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Warm olive oil in a medium skillet and add fideo noodles. Cook over medium low heat, stirrly regularly, until all pasta noodles are golden brown. Remove from heat.

Combine tomato mixture, chicken broth and the noodles in a medium saucepan. Season with pepper and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium (gentle boil) until noodles are almost tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and cook 2 more minutes or until noodles are done.
This is what the soup looked like the next day. The fideos sucked up the broth and made it a wet pasta dish that was still really delish! Maybe I'll serve it the second day for dinner and not tell Alex it was soup. Hehe Moms gotta be sneaky sometimes, but I think he would like it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Talking to Your Teenage Self & Awards

Apparently there's something fun going around Twitter, but since I don't tweet, I hadn't heard until I read about it at Yamile's blog the other day. People have been talking about what they would tell their younger self if they could somehow go back or send a letter or something like that. There are some fun ones on Yamile's blog. It got me thinking about what I would say. As I was driving to the Art Shoppe in Lehi on Friday, I was thinking about this and got a bit too involved in my thoughts and missed my exit. Any of you in Utah probably know that if you miss the Alpine/Highland exit going north on I-15, you have to go all the way past point of the mountain to get off and turn around. Ugh! But it was fun to think about so many things. Some of the things I thought of were:

*Stop torturing your brothers and sisters! Someday you'll wish you were nicer. Be more grateful and loving to your parents. You have NO idea everything they do for you.
*Stop worrying about everything all the time. Relax and enjoy being young.
*You don't know nearly as much as you think you do. When your plans don't work out, instead of freaking out, know that Heavenly Father knows better than you what is best and is guiding your life.
*Instead of standing there at dances, go out and dance even though you don't know how. Someday you're going to love it...and even dance with your future husband the first night you meet him.
*Do not buy those rainbow-dyed jeans and wear them with black and white high tops and two pairs of different colored socks. No, nothing bad will happen, but you will someday realize how UGLY that is. (Sorry, no picture of that.)

So, what would you say?

Along with the thought-provoking question, Yamile at Che Boricuas gave me this award. Yamile is a writer working on a novel. She sometimes posts some of her writing on her blog, along with book reviews, posts about her family and information about the writing world. Yamile just passed it on to 5 other bloggers so I will too. I always try to pass them on to bloggers who I haven't mentioned yet to introduce you to new wonderful blogs and terrific people.

1.Mona at Mona's musings is a beautiful writer. Her posts sometimes have podcasts so you can listen to her reading her post along with music. Come on. Who else has that?
2.Camille at Make It Work Mom has a fun blog and I even had the opportunity to meet her once.
3. Keely at Who Put the Romm in the Romma-Lama-Ding-Dongs? has such a fun sense of humor. You can tell by her blog title.
4. Ann Marie at An Old Fashioned Girl blogs about organization and all things antique and romantic looking.
5. Bonnie at City Home/Country Home posts lots of recipes and beautiful photography.

A while ago Sondra at Happy Clean Living was nice enough to give me this award and it has taken me a long time to finally pass it on. I just couldn't think of 7 interesting things about me to share, but today Sabrina told me that they don't have to be interesting. So here are seven things about me following the rules of the award.

Thank the person who kindly passes this to you, and link your award back to them!

List 7 things about yourself.

Pass it on to 7 Beautiful Bloggers (used to be 15 but Sondra did 7 and so will I)!

1. I have an annoyingly bad memory and I completely blame my children for sucking out all of my brain cells while I was pregnant. I never used to forget so much.

2. This is actually just something that made me happy this week. One of my friends from high school (from the first of 3 that I attended) just wrote me yesterday and told me that she still uses the black jewelry box I gave her for her 16th birthday. I don’t remember it at all (bad memory and all), but it made me smile that I chose something that she would like and use for so long.

3. I love to buy gifts as much as I love to buy things for myself. I get giddy when I find something I think a friend will like. So that’s one reason #2 made me so happy.

4. I wish I had a better sense of humor. I love to laugh, but don’t laugh out loud or joke around with most people (except my family) like I see others do and I admire them for that.

5. One of the things I can remember is before I had my first child thinking that if I got to be a size 8, I’d be so fat. Oh, how I dream of being a size 8 now!

6. I love Winger’s Original Amazing Sauce. I buy it so I can have it at home on hamburgers or grilled chicken or even use it as a salad dressing.

7. I stopped growing at 16 years old. I’m 5’1”. Somehow I didn’t realize I was short until I was 16 and then I didn’t really feel that short until college. I don’t mind being short except for trying to find pants that fit. Even the petite ones are sometimes too long.

I'm passing this award onto:
1. Tara at YES, I make my own stuff. NO, I'm not a dirty hippie for helping the earth and people with her blog that's dedicated to healthy and sustainable living.
2. Elizabeth at Personal Epiphanies is someone who I met in real life first and then was so impressed by her blog. She is an artist and a mother to two gorgeous children.
3. Heather at The Mini Mann Clan is my sister. She doesn't update very often since she works and has a baby, but I happen to think it's a beautiful blog since it has photos of their beautiful family.
4. Tiffany at Home and the Open Range is another one of my sisters. She lives far away in Georgia so I'm so glad she blogs. She posts about her life and some of her passions--bicycling, her dogs, photography and everything country and pioneer.
5. Jared at House of Andes is one of my brothers that I mentioned in my post yesterday. He posts beautiful photos of their family and his thoughts and challenges having an autistic child. He's a student and works so he stays very busy.

I know that not everyone likes to do awards, so if I awarded it to you, feel free to participate or not, but you can consider yourself blog-hugged!

Don't forget to share with us what you'd tell your younger self, everyone!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Raising Funds

I know what you all have been thinking. You've been wondering what I've been doing lately besides cooking. Okay. I know you haven't been wondering, but I'm gonna tell you anyway.

I'm putting this in reverse chronological order since you can attend the first one still. Yesterday my blogger friend Valerie posted on her blog All the Pieces of Me (great name for a blog!) that her sister-in-law Amy has been diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. Her prognosis is not good. To help with medical costs and to help her six children and husband enjoy their time with her, some of her friends and family have put together a yard sale/bake sale.

I went this morning and was happy to see that even though the weather was HORRIBLE (raining hard, windy, cold and dark), many people were there buying things and many others were helping with the fundraiser. I asked the people helping if they knew Valerie. The first person I spoke to didn't, but someone who overheard me asking said she knows her, but that Valerie wasn't there. I just thought I'd say hello and meet her if she was.

I'm glad to see that so many people love and support Amy, even though I don't know her. I can't imagine what she and her family are going through. She was even mentioned on NieNie and on
c jane's Guide to Provo. (Find lots more info on c jane's blog.)

There were several of the cherry chocolate cakes that are on c jane's post and other donated goodies. I bought a bag of chocolate chip cookies...
and one of the famous cakes, packaged all pretty.
Very moist and chocolatey! I just had a little bite to be good, but Alex and Elisa enjoyed every bite of their large pieces. Want the recipe? Well, I don't have it, but in order to help raise more money, Alicia, one of Amy's friends, is selling the recipe for $10. If you're too far away or too late to attend the yard sale/bake sale, go Here for information to help this way. Prayers for Amy and her family!

Bake Sale/Yard Sale Fundraiser for Amy (Reed) Jackson
Friday, April 23 and Saturday April 24
8:00am until 3:00pm
At 270 East Main Street Santaquin, Utah
Across the street from Subway

Now on to a different fund raiser that I went to last Saturday.
This is my brother Jared, his wife Debbie and their two sweet boys Avi and Itai last summer when we were at Disneyland together. Avi was diagnosed with autism more than a year ago. Their little family decided last year to walk in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks. And they're doing it again this year and have invited all family and friends. So we'll be walking with them, showing our love and support. Also to show our love and support, we helped a little with the fundraiser Jared and a couple of friends put together to raise money for our team, Avi's Angels. I was a BAD sister and forgot to blog about it before hand to invite everyone!!

I wanted to help raise money by selling something at the fundraiser, but I am NOT crafty so I didn't know what to do. I scoured the internet, looking for something that was easy enough for me to do with my children and that wasn't too expensive. This is what we came up with.
We used scrapbook paper to make glass pendants. I wish we would have made more since we sold almost all of them. I had been trying to figure out PayPal to put them on my blog on the side bar, but could not do anything except to put it in a post. But it ended up being okay selling them there. We didn't have a huge turn out, but the people who came were so generous.
Jared and one of his nephews are setting up a game. They had quite a few different games you could play.
Cowboy Dan was so nice to come with his miniature pony and take photos of children with him and all proceeds went to the team. I was confined to my table so I didn't get very good photos.
Avi loves all of his cousins. Here he is with one of them.
And my niece Aileah was there, cheering us on and being so good. Of course, her mommy was there too.
The Sweet Tooth Fairy donated two dozen cupcakes for a silent auction. So nice! I was shocked that only three people bid on them.
My sister Sheri made these balls that the kids loved.
My mom put these key chains and zipper pulls together. The puzzle piece is the autism symbol.
Sheri also made these frames. She only has the puzzle piece one left. And my sister Heather made these super cute tutus that I didn't get a good photo of.
Sheri made some quilts and my mom made afghans.
And Debbie's family donated some things from/about Israel, where she is from.
Here's a pretty quilt that Sheri made.
And here is the other. I can't even imagine how many hours it took to make!

If anyone is interested in buying the few things that we have left over, let me know.
Key chains or zipper pulls $1
Stress balls $1
2 Tutus $5
Puzzle frame $3

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Easy Fiesta Chicken Appetizer Squares

Back in November, Connie from Tales from the Fridge wrote me with a great idea. Since we both had so many cookbooks, but often did not use them, we'd motivate each other (and others) to cook from them by this twice a month challenge. We did only a few challenges when Connie went on a strict diet and wasn't doing the challenge. Without her motivation, I didn't continue it, but she is back so I've joined her again. And you are all invited to cook along. Just choose a recipe from a cookbook or magazine and share the recipe with us every other Thursday. Always head over to Connie's blog Tales from the Fridge to add your post to the linky list.
Check out my published content!
I received this cookbook as a gift in 2002. It's a magazine-type, but there are no ads, just lots of recipes--more than some cookbooks. I've made a few recipes from it like Savory Chicken Vegetable Strudel , but I still have several marked to try.
I had an especially busy day last week so I made these squares along with Sopa de Fideos (that I'll post soon, but not this week...I promise no more recipes this week). They made a good meal together. The squares are kinda like a layer dip. I do think that it isn't very pretty with all the shades of brown. Next time, I will mix the olives with the chicken and add some chopped tomatoes to the top for color and either cilantro or green onions and then put that on top. Maybe it would look better. If you like guacamole (I don't), it'd be easy to add this layer to it and get more color too. But this day, I didn't have time to change it up. You can find the nutritional information for the recipe at Tyson.
Easy Fiesta Chicken Appetizer Squares
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. dry fajita seasoning
2 t. canola oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 c. refried beans, canned
1 prebaked pizza crust or 1 focaccia, 10 to 12 oz.
1/2 c. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. salsa
1/2 c. Mexican cheese blend, reduced fat, finely shredded
1/4 c. black olive wedges

Rub chicken evenly with 1 tablespoon fajita seasoning. Wash hands.

Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet to medium. Place chicken in skillet. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken; add onion and 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes longer or until onion is tender and chicken is done (internal temp 170°F). Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425°. Meanwhile, blend refried beans and remaining 1 tablespoon fajita seasoning in small bowl. Spread evenly over pizza crust.

Blend cream cheese, salsa and shredded cheese in medium bowl. Spread evenly over bean mixture. Shred or chop chicken; top pizza evenly with chicken mixture and olives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place pizza on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potato Enchiladas

I am so behind on posting recipes that I've made and taken photos of, but I don't want to post too many recipes in a row. Sometimes I think that I should have a separate food blog, but I don't think I could keep up with two blogs. Besides, I'd like to just have one with all the different parts of me and my life. So here is the second recipe this week. (And I still have a few more to post soon.)

I've had this recipe for years and have no idea where I originally found it. It is unusal and very good. It can be a fun side dish to a Mexican meal or you can eat it as the main dish like I sometimes do. Sometimes I throw in green chilies or cilantro with the potatoes.
Potato Enchiladas
1 dozen corn tortillas
1 c. onion, chopped
1 c. potato, diced, boiled
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine onions, potatoes, and 1 cup cheese in bowl. Dip tortillas in hot oil until soft, then in heated enchilada sauce. Fill dipped tortillas with potato mixture, then roll and place in casserole dish. Spread with sauce and cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Utah Local: Stacy Taylor, Hair Stylist Extraordinaire

I had planned on sharing this post about a month ago when the kids and I all got our hair cut, but better late than never. Several years ago, I needed my hair done and had never found a hair stylist who I was happy with enough to go back, so I was calling around and made an appointment at the hair salon inside JC Penney. They scheduled me with Stacy, and I've only had my hair done by her since. I was so glad to find someone who not only understands my hair, but is so very friendly and great to talk to. I am amazed about what she remembers about me and my life from one visit to the next---and I am such a procrastinator that I wait a long time between visits. The other thing that I so appreciate about Stacy is that I can tell her that I want a change, but I don't have anything in mind. She will come up with a complete style and color and do it. I tried giving free reign to other stylists before, and no one seemed to want it. They were afraid and wouldn't suggest anything. I am completely hair styling-challenged and if I ever had three wishes, one of them would be that Stacy would live next door and come every morning to style my hair. I'm sure she's glad I haven't found a magic lamp yet. She introduced me to a couple of great products like Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum. Just a little bit applied to my hair helps it be smooth with few frizzies and it takes less time to blow dry, not to mention that it smells great.
A while ago, Stacy left JC Penney and started out on her own, doing her styling magic at the Stewart Palmer Studio in Provo.
Last month, I got my hair cut and colored, but didn't take before and after shots, but I took my camera with me when I took my children to get their hair cut by Stacy. I was ready to take lots of fun photos of them getting their hair cut when we pulled up to the salon and Alex noticed that one of our tires was leaking. We had a big screw stuck in the tire. Waaa! So I went inside to talk to Stacy about their hair. I quickly snapped this shot of Sabrina and then drove up the street to get the tire fixed.
By the time I got back, Stacy was done with both girls and was finishing up Alex's hair. I missed the whole thing.
Stacy not only cut Sabrina's hair, but took the time to give her this cute do. I love how Sabrina looks with her hair up, but she absolutely does not like me to do anything to it. But she did let Stacy.
They were all happy with their hair.
If you live around Provo, I highly recommend you call Stacy and make an appointment. She does hair, waxing, up-do's for special occasions... You won't be disappointed. One time I met one of Stacy's clients who comes down to Provo from Ogden because she is THAT good. I don't know what I'll ever do if Stacy and her super-cute family move away!!! If you'd like to see a little of Stacy's work, you can look at her blog Scissor Happy. She doesn't update it anymore, but you can see some photos. And another up-do that she up-did is Here.

Stacy Taylor at Stewart Palmer Studio
1924 North 1120 West
Provo, UT 84604-1045
(801) 373-7687 Ext. 15

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

This is one of the desserts I took to our family Easter dinner. I found it at Fruittart. It's from a post in 2007, but I just recently found it. Although she doesn't have any recent posts, there is a long alphabetical recipe index that is great.

I thought this cheesecake was pretty and tasted delicious. Unfortunately, the cheesecake had been sitting out for a while when I cut it and took the photos so it wasn't staying together well. Still tasted good though! I tripled the raspberry sauce because it didn't seem like enough, but it ended up being a bit too much. I think I will double it next time. It was a nice Easter dessert, but one that is easy enough to have any time.
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

Crust:
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed (about 1 3/4 c.)
2 T. cocoa
1/4 c. sugar
5 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix together dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom and up the side just past the seam of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Cheesecake:
4 (8-oz) pkg of cream cheese
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1 c. sour cream, room temperature

Lower oven temperature to 325º. Whip the cream cheese until very smooth. Add sugar and eggs and beat, scraping the sides of the bowl. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake for 40-50 min with a pan of water in the oven to prevent cracking. Remove from oven and spread sour cream over the top. Cool for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge to loosen from pan. Cool completely and remove sides of pan.

Raspberry Sauce:
1/2 c. frozen raspberries
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
3 T. sugar
1 T. water
1 tsp. cornstarch

Boil raspberries, lemon juice and sugar until raspberries are juicy and disintegrating. Press through strainer. Return juice to pan and bring to a boil again. Mix water and cornstarch and stir into juice; stir until thickened. Spread over top of cooled cheesecake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pick Your Poultry

Here are two quotes from Elder Holland's book Broken Thing to Mend (yep, more quotes from the book and again they're from addresses that he gave). Art courtesy of Sabrina.

"Drawing upon my vast background of children’s bedtime stories, I say you can pick your poultry. You can either be like Chicken Little and run about shouting 'The sky is falling; the sky is falling' or you can be like the Little Red Hen and forge ahead with the productive tasks of living, regardless of who does or doesn’t help you or who does or doesn’t believe just the way you believe..."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, fireside address, Brigham Young University, 12 September 2004, Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast
"When the pressure is on, when crunch time hits, don't make your first declaration one of unbelief. That is the wrong end of the lance with which to approach a problem. Someone has said, 'The first rule of holes is, when you are in one, stop digging.' Surely the first rule of fueling faith is not to start by saying how much of it you don't have. You've got more than you think, and if you will assert that first, limited as it is, the miracle of it will lead you on, step by step, across your void of mystery or dread. If you will do this, Jesus will take you by the hand, just as He did this afflicted young man in the story, and you will be 'lifted up,' you will 'arise' in the timetable of the Lord—to health and happiness and brighter days ahead, all the brighter because your faith has been increased in the process."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “To Him that Believeth”, Chapman University, April 26, 2005.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 3 in Albuquerque

For our final day in our short stay in New Mexico, it was supposed to be the opening day of the season for the small amusement park there. I had already copied addresses and directions to the other places we had planned on going before we left, but for some reason I forgot to write down the directions to the amusement park. So in the morning, I turned on the computer and went to the website to get the address when I saw that where it used to have a countdown to opening day and say "2 days" it now said "10 days Closed today". What? With no explanation, they apparently moved the opening day so we wouldn't be able to do the thing that the kids were looking forward to the most. So this was the first reason for Sabrina to cry that day.

I had done enough research before we left to have alternatives. First we went to the
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to watch the dances they had and look in the museum (where they don't allow photography) and gift shop. There were not many people there for the dances. I felt bad for the dancing group.
This little two year old didn't dance, but was part of the family. So cute!
This was from the first dance they performed.
This is a 9-year old doing the Eagle Dance.

This is the Buffalo Dance that they perform for two days straight for a certain celebration near Christmas. The father who was the MC said that usually it is performed by the runners since they are used to such physical demands. Of course, they only did a part of the dance for us.

After looking around there, we went to Explora, the children's museum. We usually go to children's museums on vacation. Although it wasn't an amusement park, it kept the kids busy for hours.

I had seen online that they had this bike you ride across on a wire so I told my children. They went running upstairs to do it when they stopped to read the rules. You have to be almost 5 feet tall to ride it. What??? They put that at a children's museum where most of the visitors are little children not even close to 5 feet tall and have no alternative "ride" for them? This was Sabrina's second reason to cry. Alex and Elisa didn't want to go on it to make her more sad so we went to a different part of the museum. Wasn't that nice? But they still kept thinking about it. So they got Robin to take Sabrina to a different part of the museum where she wouldn't see them and got to ride it without her knowing.
After reading about Elisa's fear at the cliff dwellings, you'll probably be surprised that Elisa actually did it. When I asked her about that, she said that she felt safe doing this, but felt like she would fall off the ladders. I dunno. I'm glad she did it though.
There were all kinds of instruments and noise makers.
The girls sat here laughing hysterically at this one. I didn't try it so I'm not sure what it does, but you speak and try to have a conversation with each other and the machine slows down your speech, makes it echo or other distortions.
They spent a long time playing with bubbles. I gotta get one of these for the playroom if we ever finish the basement.

Then there was the funnest elevator we'd ever seen. Yep, it's an elevator and it goes pretty slowly so you get to enjoy sitting and looking around going up and down the two floors.
They thought the mirrors were a lot of fun.

I didn't get a photo of the third reason that Sabrina cried that day. We went to a lab where they had different visiting scientists for a few hours with different experiments or demos. We went to one and a scientist asked Elisa is she wanted to scrape some of her cells inside her cheek to look at them under a microscope. Sabrina started crying and ran out of the lab. I caught up with her and asked why she was crying. She wouldn't say. I asked her if it was because she was afraid that they would hurt Elisa and she said it was. I explained to her that they were just going to have her scratch the inside of her cheek very gently. So we went back in, but she was still scared for Elisa. But she quit crying quickly and we went on to other exhibits.
Then there was a video camera that was heat-sensative. Alex's Transition glasses are very warm apparently. This is Elisa and Alex.
And Robin and Sabrina.
And the one photo taken of me that day... I was trying to look like a ghost.

We finished each day with some time at the hotel pool, which is probably my children's favorite thing about vacations. It was a fun visit. Now I'm wondering what state we'll go to next.