Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weekend Full of Free Music

Over the weekend I went to 2 different music shows and loved them!

On Friday, I went to Central Utah Gardens in Orem.
One of the singers was April Meservy, who is also a songwriter and producer and I've seen her play the guitar and the keyboard. She has even won 5 Pearl awards. Her music is soft and soulful. She sang The Light that is on the 2004 EFY album, so you might have heard of her. I just gotta say that she is so kind and friendly. We just happened to be sitting in the front row and she came and sat at the end, next to Alex. She recognized me just from a comment I left on her Facebook page and she introduced herself and after the show she emailed me to thank me for coming. I thought that was really nice since I wanted to be there and had a great time listening to her sharing her talents.

This video below was on YouTube and is from the house concert where I saw her perform last year. This one makes me cry it's so sweet.

Catherine Papworth, another fun singer/songwriter, also performed on Friday. I had already heard some of her music online and "liked" her on Facebook, but I don't think I ever saw her perform before that. She was in Noteworthy, the female a cappella group at BYU and later was the director of it and produced for them. She had the song He'll Answer Back on the 2012 EFY album. She seemed very down to earth.

Then Saturday I went to Rock the River Battle of the Bands at Provo's Shops at the Riverwoods where the music was just as great, but had a different vibe. Definitely faster and louder. And we even got to dance while the judges were deliberating on the winner at the end. I'll just tell you about my two favorites of the night.

The Blue Aces seriously KNOCKED me off my feet with how good they are and how natural they seem to be up on stage rocking it in front of a crowd, especially since it's a girl band from Orem with one 14-year old and three 16-year olds! They write their own original music and are lots of fun!!!

Yesterday I looked them up online and found out that they were on Good Things Utah. Pretty cool, huh?

The New Electric Sound, who call themselves a retro surf rock band, seemed like they were having lots of fun on stage. They used the old-time microphones and wore cardigans, looking retro from the 50's and 60's. They were the winners of the whole battle and had lots of fans out there that night. The lead singer, Scott, used to be in a rap group and they sang one song that had a rap part in it that made the crowd go wild.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Seasoned Veggie Potatoes

I made up this recipe, if you want to call it that, yesterday while I was making dinner. I wanted to make a potato dish and use some veggies left over in the crisper. I would have added mushrooms too, but they were no longer fresh.

It's basically a Potatoes O'Brien with a little twist. I wanted a different flavor so I used Sazon by Goya with Saffron. If you haven't used it, it's a Latin American seasoned salt that gives an orange color to the food. Inside the box are lots of little packets of the seasoning. I only used half a packet, so the potatoes weren't very orange. You can sometimes find it in the Mexican food isle of the grocery store or in most any Latin American market.

I won't include amounts of ingredients in the recipe since I just chopped up what I had left. I would include more veggies next time.
Seasoned Veggie Potatoes

Green Pepper
Red Pepper
Onion (I used red onion)
Corn (frozen or fresh cut off the cob)
Sazon by Goya
Crushed Red Pepper
Salt & Pepper

Peel potatoes and chop in small cubes. Put potatoes in pot of boiling water. Boil for about 10 minutes to get the potatoes partially cooked, but not soft. Drain water and put potatoes and all other ingredients in skillet with small amount of oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are browned and slightly crispy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Macadamia Nut Double Decker Brownie Bites

I made these for a baby shower along with some other treats. These have a fudgy brownie layer and a crunchy top layer. Really good, but I will cut back on the butter a bit next time since it was a bit greasy for me. I found this decadent dessert full of goodies at From My Sweetheart.

Macadamia Nut Double Decker Brownie Bites


12 T. unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. dutch processed, unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
2 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. flour

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil. Leave some overhang on the sides. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, cocoa, and salt. Whisk until blended for about a minute. Add the vanilla and the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Scrape the batter into the baking pan and smooth out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes. The top should be shiny and dry looking. But the brownie should not be completely baked. Set on a wire rack.


1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
2/3 c. light corn syrup
3 T. butter, melted
2 t. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 c. roughly chopped macadamia nuts
1/3 c. sweetened coconut flakes

While the brownie layer is baking, start this topping. Combine the brown sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined, using your fingers to break up any large clumps. Add the melted butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Whisk until blended, about a minute. Add the eggs and then whisk until combined. Don’t over mix or the batter will be foamy. Add the nuts and coconut and stir with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Pour the macadamia mix over the warm, partially baked brownie layer. Carefully spread the mix into an even layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 35-40 minutes; until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Using the foil overhang as handles, lift the brownies from the pan and invert onto a work surface. Carefully peel away the foil. Flip right side up and cut into desire shapes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Imagine Dragons

Guess who was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night as the music act. It's a band who I've listened to for a couple of years and has gotten bigger and bigger in the music scene. They started out in Provo, and then moved to Las Vegas--for most of that, being an independent band, but now they've signed onto a major label.  Their lead singer and the guitarist (Dan Reynolds & D. Wayne Sermon) are both LDS and they don't write/sing songs with swear words. Wow! Their success is kinda following in the pattern of Neon Trees, so it's looking good.

And the name of this band????  (Okay, you might have figured it out by the name of the post)

If you wanna see the band's original video of the same song, check it out here on YouTube, where you can watch lots of videos of their songs.

I saw them perform America at the Stadium of Fire finalist competition last year.

This song, Round & Round, was actually featured in Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 23.

Check out some of their other videos like Radioactive, On Top of the World, Curse or the whole set from the Provo Rooftop Concert Series, where I saw them last summer.

Provo is not just a little city in the middle of nowhere. It has quickly become a major music scene and it's pretty fun!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Grilled Skirt Steak and Pepper Sandwiches with Corn Mayonnaise

Tried this for the first time and it is soooooo good! I found the recipe at Dining with Debbie. I did a few little changes. I went to buy the baguette a couple of hours before cooking time and the store was sold out of them. So I bought this sun-dried tomato and rosemary bread instead. Wow did it have a flavor pop!

I also marinated the flat iron steak I bought in soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I'm not always good grilling steak, but this one came out tender and delish all on its own. I couldn't keep the kids away from it while I finished up the other parts of dinner.

I put the red peppers on top of the steak and had chopped the grilled onions and added it to the corn mayonnaise. I was going to use apple juice instead of red wine vinegar, but totally forgot. So gooooood, I tell ya!

Grilled Skirt Steak and Pepper Sandwiches with Corn Mayonnaise

2/3 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. chopped fresh oregano
1 T. chopped fresh basil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
6 4-inch-long baguette sections or one 1-pound loaf ciabatta, halved horizontally
2 ears of corn, husked
2 small red bell peppers, quartered lengthwise
1 large red onion, cut into 1/3-inch rounds
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 6-inch pieces
Olive oil (for brushing)

Prepare barbecue (high heat). Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Set aside. Pull out some of inside of bread, forming thick shells. Brush corn, peppers, onion, cut sides of bread, and steaks with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until charred and just tender and steaks until charred and cooked to medium-rare, about 15 minutes for corn, 8 to 10 minutes for peppers, and 5 to 8 minutes for onion, turning occasionally, and 3 minutes per side for steaks. Let steaks rest 5 minutes. Grill bread, cut side down, until charred, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Cut corn from cobs; add 1 cup to bowl with mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Cut steaks diagonally against the grain into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick strips. Arrange steak slices, peppers, and onion over bottom halves of bread. Spoon corn mayonnaise over. Top with bread, pressing slightly to compact.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

High & Dry---Nik Day

In case you missed my posts about the incredible NIK DAY (with videos) in May and December of last year, I will tell you that Nik Day is a BYU student and very talented musician, singer and songwriter. He has such fun music.

He just released his new song High & Dry, so I'm sharing it with you. Maybe it'll get stuck in your head cuz it's pretty catchy. Then you'll have to go visit him on Facebook or Reverbnation.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who's That You're Wearing?

Have you heard of this? I first heard about this a few months ago.

DNA2Diamonds creates and distributes unique and genuine diamonds using the carbon taken from hair or cremated ashes of loved ones and pets. Don't believe me? Go check it out at their site. They gems can be different sizes, colors and cuts for $2395 - $16,995 and then set in rings, necklaces or different jewelry for an additional price.


"That's a beautiful ring."
"Thanks, it's my grandma."

What do you think?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy Fruit

What do you think of when you hear "Happy Fruit"?

Fruit with a toothy grin?
Or cute little pillows?

Maybe you remember the fruit that Lehi talks about in his dream

"I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy." 1 Nephi 8:7-10

I heard a devotional by Michael Murray at BYU-Hawaii called Happy Fruit a while ago and quickly added it to my file of great talks and I'm just now getting around to sharing it with you. It is such an interesting talk to me since I have the desire to be happy and to know what to do to have true happiness. I have included some excerpts below in italics (with a couple of brief comments by me, not in italics), but I encourage you to go to the link above and watch his talk or read the transcript.

What does Michael Murray say about the fruit? What does it do to us and how can we partake of it?

"When you eat this fruit, it transforms your vision and your outlook on life. You literally feel different. You see different. You act and react different. You become happier than you've ever been!"

"So what does it mean to partake of the fruit? How does one do this? It means to come unto Christ. It means that you have accepted Christ not just as your Savior, but as your blueprint for life. You desire to act as he acted. You desire to react and he reacted. You desire to treat yourself and others as he treated himself and others. You choose to believe his words and to make them your words. Using scripture language, you will 'deny all ungodliness' (Moroni 10:32). You will 'becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him'(Mosiah 3:19). As the Apostle Paul taught, you have 'put on Christ' (Galatians 3:27).

"When you commit to truly live, breathe and act like this, then something astonishing happens: God changes you from the inside out! You are transformed. You become a 'new creature' (Mosiah 27:26). You feel different because you are literally filled with the love of God.

"Even though you have changed, life will continue as it has in the past. There will be good days and bad days. There are good people and bad people. But now you are proactively dealing with life in a profoundly more positive, purposeful way. You are living as one who has come unto Christ. You are yielding to the will of God and it is making all the difference. You can honestly say, 'Not my will, but Thine be done'(Luke 22:42). Because of your purity, desire and worthiness, God can now endow you with real, tangible power - emotional power, intellectual power and especially spiritual power."

What are the reasons people can't feel the happiness? One would be not obeying the commandments, but Michael Murray speaks of an additional reason, which I believe is true also. He says that even after the missionaries began to live righteously and truly work in the vineyard with diligence and faith, it took about 9-14 months for most missionaries to feel happy and to feel the results of eating the fruit. Why?
"The reason for the 9-14 month delay is the consequence something I call 'Bad Thinking'. And it takes about 9-14 months of obedient living to clean up 5-10 years of Bad Thinking."

"… Bad Thinking is that part of our life view that is off track. And the pure love of God cannot penetrate our soul and transform our being until we’re completely on track. Getting back on track means rooting out anything and everything that is incorrect in the way we live and the way we understand life. We must deny all ungodliness in our lives. This is what it means to come unto Christ!

"Your outlook on life may be partly muddled by incorrect interpretations of events and situations from your childhood and teen years. You may be 60% right about 'how life works' and, more importantly, 'how Heavenly Father works'. But this is not a passing grade because it means that you are 40% wrong – you are seeing life through a blurry lens and misinterpreting what you are seeing. The Apostle Paul said it this way, 'For now we see through a glass, darkly' (1 Corinth13:12)."

None of us can see through the glass completely clearly in this life because of the veil that was placed over our eyes and because we are still progressing in our obedience and understanding. All of us have imperfect vision and thinking.

"When a person is using Bad Thinking, he is placing a protective shield around him - so that he won’t get hurt. His feelings won’t get hurt. His pride won’t get hurt. His ego won’t get hurt. He won’t be embarrassed and won’t feel shame. There will be no pain or injury to body or soul. Not only will there be no pain, but there will also be no growth. There will be no outward charity. There will be no service and no sacrifice. No earthly pain, no heavenly gain.

"When we are young, we are often vulnerable. People with power can take advantage of us through mental, emotional and physical abuse. The scars and terror of these actions torment us with Bad Thinking.

"When we are young, we also try to control things that can't be controlled. We therefore learn to use anger and to lose our tempers as ways of falsely trying to gain control of others. We blame others and refuse to take personal responsibility for our choices and weaknesses.

"Replace your fears, your insecurities, your pride and all the bad thinking from your teenage years with complete trust and faith in the Lord. You must Let Go of your old self and Let God show you, here a little and there a little, a new and better you. For within each of us is a child of God, waiting to become a man or woman of God. It might take 9-14 months, but I can't think of a better investment of your time."

Okay, go watch the whole devotional from Michael Murray on May 3, 2011 cuz it sounds better when you hear the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hoisin Chicken Rice Bowls

You can see that this isn't a Fourth of July post since I didn't cook, bake or create anything festive. But this is what I made for dinner tonight and it is really good. I only used about half the Hoisin Sauce called for in the recipe since I wasn't sure how my family would react to it, but we like it. I like the flavor and the bits of crunchy texture of the water chestnuts and red peppers with the tender chicken and mushrooms. I found this recipe at Mel's Ktchen Cafe, which I've been going to for years, even when her blog was a Blogspot before it was a .Com.

Hoisin Chicken Rice Bowls
1 T. canola oil
1 large red pepper, diced small
1 (10-oz.) pkg. baby portebello mushrooms, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 average-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced small
1 (8-oz.) can water chestnuts, drained, diced small
2 t. teriyaki sauce
4 T. hoisin sauce
3 c. hot cooked rice

Romaine lettuce leaves
Sesame seeds
Scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add red pepper and mushrooms and saute for 5 - 6 minutes until tender. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add chicken to pan and cook for 6 - 8 minutes or until cooked through. Stir chicken and red pepper mixture occasionally while it cooks. Add water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce and stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. Continue cooking until heated through.

To serve, line a single serving size bowl with romaine leaves. Top with a large scoop of rice, some of the hoisin chicken, and a sprinkle of the sesame seeds and scallions.

Utah Local: Rico Cocina y Tequila Bar

I wanted to find somewhere different to have dinner with my children, but it had to have food that all of them would eat. It's not easy ...