Monday, June 30, 2014

Utah Local: Fotochic Photography

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Utah Local post to share something great in Utah. This is Fotochic Photography, a photography studio in Orem. I know the owner and one of the photographers personally and they are awesome, professional, talented and full of spunk. They love delivering high quality photos for long-time memories at a great price.

You should like them on Facebook so you can always see their great deals. They even have online booking at their website. How great is that???? I don’t know about you, but I always think of things I need to do when I’m in bed and it’s too late to call and talk to a person.  

They are located at 1629 North State Street in the strip mall on the northwest corner of 1600 North and State Street. They have fun, unique backdrops in studio and will also do outdoor shoots  -- families, seniors, missionaries, engagements, babies, children… They do it all. And when you walk into the studio, you can't help but laugh at the unforgettable photo they have on the wall. I won't spoil it for you.

And right now they have an awesome deal for members of the military or first responders. July 1st – July 3rd all service members and first responders and their immediate family can have a FREE photo shoot. Please pass this info on so that many of those people who sacrifice so much for us can take advantage of this deal.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Smoke Alarm

A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream that echoed what I was feeling in my awake hours, just in a different way. In the dream, my kids and I were all in bed and I heard the smoke alarm go off. It was loud and constant and I immediately jumped out of bed. I ran to my children’s rooms to make sure they were out of bed and coming downstairs and outside, as I’m sure they would due to the piercing warning of the alarm. Two of my three children were up and worried, but my other child remained in bed, still sleeping. I told the two who were awake to go outside and we’d be out soon.

I tried waking my daughter, but she barely moved. She finally responded to my pleadings to get up with, “I don’t hear anything. I’m tired.” I couldn’t believe she couldn’t hear it. I knew my other children had so it wasn’t my imagination and the sound continued on. “I’m fine here in bed. Leave me here. There is no fire.” I was panicked because she would not move and did not feel the urgency and reality that I did.

Then I woke up.

This is my child who in real life does not like rules and who thinks they are lame.
There are many alarms in this life, like the Holy Ghost, words of the prophet, scriptures, guidance from our parents and other loved ones. Sometimes we can’t see the fire, but if we heed the warnings that come, we won’t be burned.
But it isn’t enough that the alarm is going off. In order to avoid the danger,

--We must hear it.

--We must believe there is danger.

--We must act.

If we do not do our part to stay close to our Father in Heaven and be worthy of the Spirit, we are often too far removed to hear the warnings. Even if we hear a warning, maybe from a loving parent or friend who wants to help, if we do not believe that there is danger, the warnings mean nothing to us. And if we do hear the warning and believe there is danger, if we do not act and move away from the danger, fortifying ourselves, the warnings are no use to us.

Agency is an integral part of our Heavenly Father’s plan. We must each choose how we will respond to the alarms and dangers in our lives. No one can pull us to safety. It is my responsibility as a parent to teach my children all that I believe our Heavenly Father expects of them and the paths that will lead to happiness and freedom instead of bondage and sadness.

I’m grateful for the alarms that have guided me away from dangers. I will continue to try to warn my own children from dangers they perhaps can’t see yet, and pray to hear more warnings now and in the future.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”


Friday, June 13, 2014

Easy Chocolate Pudding

Just a couple of days after my oldest son graduated from high school, he had his wisdom teeth removed. Poor guy! So he ate soft foods for days and I tried to give him a variety of healthy things, but also some treats. The original recipe that I found at Chow Times called for whole milk, but they used 2%. I actually used skim milk for a lower fat dessert. It may have been less thick than it was supposed to be, but we liked it. I used almond extract instead of vanilla and you can easily use peppermint or another flavoring to change it up.

I took the pudding and made little parfaits with coconut and sprinkles, but you can use all kinds of yummies like fruit and nuts!

Easy Chocolate Pudding
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
3 c. milk
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or good chocolate chips)
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in large bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Place the bowl on top of a double boiler over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form.

After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add in the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve warm, or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill before serving.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Do You Like You?

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with self-confidence. When I look in the mirror in the morning, I don't see me, all of who I am. I see the flaws glaring at me. Even with make-up and clothes I like on, I see the flaws. There are so many of us who are focused on silly things and who TRY so hard. So I'm sharing this for anyone like me.

Colbie Caillat just came out with this new single with Babyface and Jason Reeves on the guitar. Beautiful message and music and voice.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This is a very moist, fudgy, delicious chocolate cake that is inspired from a William-Sonoma recipe and I found it at Lick the Bowl Good. This is Sabrina's favorite chocolate cake now. We gave some away to neighbors, along with a little card. Sabina wrote on the card, "Trust me. It's good!"

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake
1 c. cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting pan
7 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c. boiling water
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 t. kosher salt
1 1/4 c. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
4 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. heavy cream

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat an oven to 325°. Grease the Bundt cake pan and dust with cocoa powder; tap out the excess.

To make the cake, in a bowl, combine the 1 cup cocoa powder and the chocolate. Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth and blended. Set aside.

Over a sheet of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low, add the brown sugar and beat until blended. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating until incorporated before adding more and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, beating just until blended and no lumps of flour remain. Slowly pour in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and beat until no white streaks are visible, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached to it, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the ganache: In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the melt and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing the ganache, to drip down the sides. Let the cake stand until the ganache is set, at least 15 minutes.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Grilled Orange Chicken

I made this for the first time today and we loved it. Simple, but so full of flavor. I followed the recipe from AllRecipes except that I marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts in buttermilk before grilling and brushing with glaze. I used green onion instead of chives.

Poor Alex just had his wisdom teeth removed on Friday and he couldn't eat it, so I'll be happy to make it again soon when he can enjoy it too.

Grilled Orange Chicken  

1/2 c. orange marmalade
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1 t. rubbed sage
2 T. chopped fresh chives
1 (3-lb.) chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/4 t. coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat grill on medium heat.
Combine marmalade, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sage in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes until smooth. Stir in the chives, then remove 1/3 of the sauce to serve with chicken later.
Season chicken pieces with garlic salt and pepper. Grill for about 15 minutes on each side, then brush with glaze. Continue cooking until done, 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with additional glaze. Serve with reserved marmalade glaze.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Crumb Cake

Bursting blueberries in every bite! I made this coffee cake that I found on  Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts  (even though it's not a ...