Monday, November 20, 2017

The Fangs Giveaway

    The winner is....Heather. I know it's such a surprise. I will get your prize to you. I hope you like it. 

I haven't done a music blog post for way, way too long considering how much I love to go to local music shows. I've seen these 4 guys twice recently and they are talented and lots of fun. The Fangs are an indie band with catchy, original music that has a solid beat and memorable lyrics. I really like their original songs, but they are excellent (really, excellent) at covers too. 
    You can find them on FacebookSpotifyInstagram and all over. I found them at Velour and then at the BYU Art After Dark at the MOA.  

Sadly, I have a crappy camera on my phone. 

Artists spend so long learning and honing their instrumental and vocal craft, writing songs, practicing, spending money on instruments and equipment and studio time, and then they have to play for free so often to get their name out there. I try to do my little part to support local bands, so I bought a whole 2 copies of their EP called Anthem. (I did say "little part".) I know most people don't listen to CDs anymore, so go buy their music on iTunes if you prefer. Or book them for a super fun party that everyone will love! 

Back to the CDs... One of the CDs I bought is for me and I've already listened to it over and over. The other copy is to give away to one of you! I'll tell you how to enter below. 

The Fangs are working on new music and said they'd be releasing some videos soon and an LP (if I remember right, or maybe another EP) in February. At their shows, they sang some of their newer songs that aren't on the Anthem EP. They are exceptional and I can't wait to be able to hear those again and again too. Please don't judge them and their talent by my videos with bad audio and visual. 

Here's what they say about themselves:

Emmett Florence - Lead Vocals
Jake Joyner - Lead Guitar
Noah Siddoway - Bass Guitar
Brad Bennett - Drums

The Fangs are an indie rock band from Provo, UT, exploring influences from new wave, theatric rock, and electronic music. The Fangs aim to write and record music that is upbeat, soulful, and imaginative. Over the past year, the band has experimented with different performance aliases (including Kindred Dead and Thrillionaire) before settling on their current name, look, and sound. The Fangs regularly augment their shows with additional musicians, samples, and backing tracks for a massive live sound.

After seeing his sister and cousin help found Imagine Dragons, Florence was inspired to begin writing and performing his own songs with whatever bands he could piece together in the vibrant Provo music scene. Florence draws inspiration from contemporary alt rock acts including The Killers, Coldplay, and Fun., as well as rock legends like The Beatles and Queen.

Emmett's hair comes down

To enter to win the CD Anthem, visit The Fangs on a social media platform and then come back and leave a comment on this blog post. Tell me where you visited them and whatever random thought you had about the awesome group. I'll chose a winner on Monday, November 27 at 8:00 pm MST.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter

Cookies and Cups has some good recipes and this is one of them! I marinated the chicken less than the 3 hours it instructs, but the citrus still came through well. The chicken was tender and flavorful and moist. Sometimes I don't feel like going outside to grill, but this recipe is easy and the taste definitely makes it worth it. Gonna make it again soon.

Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter

Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 limes
2 T. honey
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Basil Butter
½ c. butter, room temperature
½ t. garlic powder
¼ c. minced fresh basil leaves
¼ t. crushed red pepper, optional

Whisk all marinade ingredients together. Place chicken in a plastic zip bag and pour marinade on top. Marinate for at least 3 hours.

Basil Butter

Combine all the butter ingredients in a small bowl and combine evenly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator. Preheat your grill to medium high heat. Grill chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Remove from grill and serve with a pat of basil butter on each chicken breast.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

These soft fluffy cookies are one of our favorites for sure! When I first saw them at The Idea Room, I was worried about them being too wet because of the raspberries, but they are perfect. Seriously. Perfect! 

I do add 1/4 cup more raspberries than the original recipe and a bit more semi-sweet chocolate, as my girls requested. The recipe below is the one I use. I haven't counted how many they make, but they make a LOT. The original recipe says it makes 48, but I guess I don't make my cookies as large as she does because I always have more than that. 

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookies  

1 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract
2 t. water
5 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cream of tartar
3/4 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/4 c. semi-­sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and water and mix. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Mix in white & semi-­sweet chocolate chips. Place cookie dough into separate bowl by breaking into pieces and scatter the raspberries in the dough so they are distributed evenly and do not get smashed up.

Scoop out cookie dough with a spoon or ice cream scoop making sure to grab a couple of raspberries for each cookie. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-­15 minutes, until golden brown on the edges and white and fluffy in the centers. Cool on a baking rack.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion

Making stuffed chicken always sounds like so much work, but it's really not difficult. This recipe from A Dish of Daily Life makes a flavorful and tender chicken. I will make the sauce a little thinner next time. I used whipping cream instead of heavy cream since I had some on hand. 

Elegant and tasty!

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion 

2 T.  butter
2-3 onions, chopped
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. goat cheese
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
1 lg. egg
¼ c. milk
Panko bread crumbs
Oil or more butter for pan frying
1/4 c. cream (optional, only if you decide to make a sauce with the leftover goat cheese)

Caramelizing the Onions:
Melt your butter over medium heat. Add your onions
to the pan; stir to coat. Check on your onions every
10 minutes or so and give them a stir; lower the heat
if you need to. At around 50 minutes, add 1/4 cup of
balsamic vinegar. Continue to stir the onions for a
few more minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Once the caramelized onions have cooled, combine
the onions with goat cheese. Mix well.

Whisk together egg and milk.

Place a couple tablespoons of the goat cheese
mixture on each tenderloin. Be as generous as you
can without making it too difficult to roll.

Once your chicken is rolled, dip it in the egg and milk
mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Set aside until
all your tenderloins are rolled.

Heat enough oil or butter to coat your pan and start pan frying the chicken. Once they are golden brown,
remove from heat.

Finish cooking the chicken in the oven at 350° until
they are cooked all the way through.

Sauce (optional):

When chicken is ready for the dinner table, take any
leftover of the goat cheese mixture and whisk
together with cream. Once the goat cheese has
liquefied, spoon over your chicken.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Blackberry Basil Ricotta Pizza

When I recently saw this recipe at The Stay at Home Chef, I wanted to make it. It was like nothing I have ever eaten before. It's easy, yet turns out looking elegant. 

Used basil from my plant and blackberries from the farmers market. Just make your favorite pizza dough or a refrigerated one. I had rolled mine out to a perfect circle, and then when I transferred it to the pizza stone, it stretched out of shape, leaving me with a rustic look, and that's okay. 

Have your ingredients all ready before you put the pizza crust on the hot pizza stone since it will immediately start to bake. I warmed my stone at 500°, but then lowered it to 400° since the crust was already browned on the bottom when I put it in the oven.
Blackberry Basil Ricotta Pizza

1 (14 to 16-inch) unbaked pizza crust
1 T. olive oil
1 (6-oz.) pkg. fresh blackberries, halved
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. ricotta cheese
10 large basil leaves, sliced into strips

Preheat a 14 to 16-inch pizza stone in an oven at 500°.

Carefully place pizza crust on hot pizza stone. Rub the olive oil over the pizza crust. Smash half of the blackberries and spread out over the crust.

Top oiled crust with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Scatter remaining blackberries over the pizza. Place spoonfuls of ricotta randomly over the pizza.

Bake on the pizza stone for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese starts to brown. Scatter basil leaves over the pizza during the last few minutes of baking. Remove from oven and slice into 8 large slices.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Vegetable Enchiladas

I got this filling recipe from my sister Tiffany years ago. I was searching my blog for the recipe and couldn't believe I hadn't shared it yet. Each enchilada is like a cornucopia of goodness and flavor. No meat needed here. Just use corn tortillas to make this a gluten-free recipe. 

Vegetable Enchiladas

2 t. olive oil
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 med. red peppers, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
2 (15 - 19-oz.) cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 jalapeño peppers, minced with seeds (optional)
1 c. loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
6 (8-in) tortillas
15 oz. salsa 
1/3 c. shredded Monterey-Jack cheese
Lime wedges for garnish 

Preheat oven to 375°. In skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, onion and red pepper and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, blend half of the beans with broth until almost smooth. Transfer bean mixture to bowl; stir in remaining beans and set aside. 

To vegetables in skillet, add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in corn and jalapeño; cook 2 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl with beans. Stir in cilantro. Spoon about 3/4 cup mixture along center of each tortilla and fold tortilla up. 

Spoon about 1/2 cup salsa onto bottom of 9x13-inch pan. Place enchiladas seam side down on top of salsa. Spoon remaining salsa over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fudge-Filled Vanilla Bundt Cake

I made this surprise-inside cake months ago and I'm finally getting around to blogging the recipe to share with you and to remind me to make it again. The chocolate tunnel in the cake is fudgy and the black and white make this a stunning cake. My tunnel wasn't in the middle on this first try, but maybe I'll do better on the next try. Either way, this cake was scrumptious. Find the original at Cookie & Cups.

Fudge-Filled Vanilla Bundt Cake 

1 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ c. milk
1½ c. flour

5 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
6 oz. semi- sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 egg

1 c. powdered sugar
1- 2 T. milk
Mini chocolate chips to garnish

Preheat oven to 325°. Heavily grease a Bundt pan with butter or shortening and dust with flour, set aside.

In bowl, beat the butter and the sugar together for about 2 minutes on medium speed until fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth and combined. Add baking powder and salt and mix to combine.

On low, add flour and milk in alternating amounts, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until smooth. Transfer batter into a medium sized bowl, because you will need a clean mixing bowl for the next step.

In the clean bowl of your mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Next mix the melted chocolate into the cream cheese until it's smooth. Beat in the egg into the mixture until creamy.

To assemble the cake spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared Bundt pan. Next spoon the chocolate filling into the center of the batter, keeping the chocolate in the center of the batter so it doesn't touch the edges. Finally spread the remainder of the batter on top of the chocolate, covering completely. Bake for 50- 55 minutes or until the cake is set.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert pan onto a serving platter or cake stand.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients and drizzle this onto the warm cake. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, if desired.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Uncertainty Ends...Eventually

While getting ready for church this morning, I watched a BYU devotional from the past week. It was called "Waiting Upon the Lord: The Antidote to Uncertainty" by Erin Holmes, a BYU professor in the School of Family Life.

I don’t think anyone lives a life without uncertainty at some point. That uncertainty, however, is very individual. Erin Holmes’ uncertainty was because of infertility, a trial I never have had to deal with. But I have had years of my own uncertainty. I haven’t yet determined if it increased, decreased or just changed with my divorce.

I appreciated listening to this talk today, even though nothing in it was new. The thoughts and quotes were much-needed, wonderful reminders to rely on the Lord and his timing as we keep our covenants.

“Though we live our lives in the real world, our dreams and goals are often reflected in ideals. When we experience a gap between the ideal and the real, we experience uncertainty.”

“The plan God has for you may not match the ideal you have envisioned...but you can have faith that together, you and the Lord can create something truly remarkable. “

She quoted a blog post by Ariel Szuch titled "You're Not Messing Up God's Plan for You."

“It’s tempting to think that God has some master plan that He’s measuring me against, and if I take one misstep I’ve missed my chance for happiness forever, or at the very least I’ll be doomed to walk around with the nagging feeling that I’m constantly disappointing God.

"But you know what? As I’ve examined that mindset, I’ve learned that I need a better understanding of God and what the term 'His plan for me' means.
I’m learning that God is much less a divine dictator who demands perfect compliance to a predetermined plan for our individual lives and much more a co-creator with us of the kind of lives we want to live.”

Wow. I have had the exact thought before that I have messed up my Heavenly Father’s path for me so there is no way to recalculate my route. I felt that even though I have kept my covenants and tried to seek the guidance of the Spirit, I must have made some wrong turns to end up a single mother. I love this reminder that our lives are not pre-determined or only one way is the right way. How beautiful that we can be co-creators with our Father to make our lives what He wants, no matter the struggles.

Here are a few other points from Erin's talk that stood out to me.
1. Actively seek God to find him.
2. God’s plan for you will not match the plan God has for others.
3. As we wait upon the Lord, we can choose faith and hope over fear.
4. If you feel lost, if you wait, you can feel God’s love for you.

She also quoted Neill F. Marriott from General Conference October 2015.

“Scripture says, ‘Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.’ This doesn’t mean all things are good, but for the meek and faithful, things—both positive and negative—work together for good, and the timing is the Lord’s. We wait on Him, sometimes like Job in his suffering, knowing that God ‘maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.’ A meek heart accepts the trial and the waiting for that time of healing and wholeness to come.”

I was grateful that she said it “doesn’t mean that all things are good” because some things are really horrible and sad. I have sometimes felt bad for not being grateful for my trials. I know that I can become stronger because of them and that if I stay close to the Lord, everything will work together for my good, but it is not fun to feel pain, confusion and uncertainty. But one thing is certain. When we stay close to our Father in Heaven and keep our covenants, the end actually is certain. We can live with Him again and all things will be as they should, and I imagine that we cannot fathom with our earthly, imperfect view what that really means.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Layer

I made this for my son Alexander's birthday cake and we really liked it. I took the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake recipe that I've made many times and added something special, a creamy layer. It made a beautiful, soft, moist, black and white beauty.

I made the whole recipe for the Bundt cake, but it makes a LOT of cake. When I make it the original way with no cream cheese layer, it makes so much that I put some of the batter in ramekins and there's still plenty for the Bundt cake. When I added this cream cheese layer, I put some of the batter (no cream cheese layer) in 1 regular loaf pan and 1 small loaf pan and then used the rest of the batter for this cake. So it would probably be fine to cut the ingredients in half and you'd have plenty of chocolate cake, but I haven't tried that yet so I can't say for sure.   

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Layer
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
Cream Cheese Layer:
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 T. butter
1T. cornstarch
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 t. almond extract or vanilla extract

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

Have all cake and cream cheese layer 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, leaving 2 inches from the top of the cake batter to the op of the pan. Spread the batter so the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center. (Pour remaining batter in greased loaf pan or ramekins and bake until top is well baked and tester comes out clean. Time for these will depend on size of pan.)
Make cream cheese layer by beating cream cheese, butter and until fluffy. Slowly mix in sweetened condensed milk, egg and extract until smooth. Pour mixture over cake batter in Bundt pan. (It will sink to the bottom of the cake so when it's done, they layer will be at the top of the cake.)

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, February 26, 2017

Mini Avocado and Hummus Quesadillas

These little quesadillas from Cookin' Canuck make a great snack, side dish or even dinner. This is what Elisa and I had for dinner tonight. They are easy to throw together and taste super good! I used street taco tortillas (which are small) instead of cutting the regular-sized tortillas. They're pretty cute and make this recipe even easier, although they aren't whole wheat. 

Mini Avocado and Hummus Quesadillas
4 whole wheat tortillas
¼ c. hummus
¼ t. ground cumin
1 T. minced cilantro
½ California avocado, cut into 12 slices
1 ½ oz. crumbled queso fresco

Using a 2½-inch circle cookie cutter (or a glass with a 3½-inch circumference and a small knife), cut 3 circles from each tortilla.
In a small bowl, stir together the hummus, cumin and cilantro.

Spread 1 teaspoon of the hummus mixture on each tortilla circle. Divide the avocado slices and queso fresco evenly between the quesadillas, arranging them on one half of the tortilla circles.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place several quesadillas in the pan and cook until the tortillas are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Repeat with the remaining quesadillas. Serve.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Brownie Butter Cake

This moist cake from Rasa Malaysia was a big hit at my house. It's pretty quick to put together, even with the two layers. Since Bee said on her blog that she made it using the metric measurements and only converted the amounts online, I used the metric measurements also, using a kitchen scale.

Brownie Butter Cake

140 g (5 oz.) dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
50 g (¼ c.) unsalted butter
50 g (¼ c.) brown sugar
1 egg
35 g (¼ c.) flour
Butter cake:
120 g (½ c.) unsalted butter
100 g (½ c.) sugar
2 eggs
120 g (1 c.) flour
2 g (¼ t.) baking powder
50 ml (3 ½ T.) fresh milk
 Line a 4×8-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil and grease foil. Preheat oven to 350°.

To make brownie, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove and leave to cool slightly. Stir in brown sugar until blended.

Add egg, mix well. Fold in flour, mix until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove.

To make butter cake, beat butter with sugar until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold in sifted flour and baking powder, alternately add in fresh milk, mix to form batter.

Spread the butter cake batter over brownie, bake in oven at 320° for 25-30 minutes or until cooked. Insert a cake tester in the middle to check doneness.

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 ...