Wednesday, November 30, 2011

so grateful

This year for Thanksgiving I had so much to be thankful for, it was overwhelming. Here is a short list of some of the things I think about each day and am so happy and lucky to call mine.

a happy and healthy baby
a new home
Ryan's school
the Gospel
our new ward being so welcoming
family who loves us
a happy and forever marriage
friends here and in Utah
a full fridge and pantry
an able body
amazing insurance
a classic Thanksgiving dinner on the table
11 adorable nieces and nephews, and one on the way
technology to keep in contact with everyone we love
warm weather


my first turkey!

the whole feast!

my plate (i didn't even half, my eyes were WAY bigger than my stomach)
to top off the night, my prized dish, Banana Cream Pie. Seriously amazing!

and in case anyone wants the recipes, I'll post my Thanksgiving week itinerary, complete with recipes and timing so that you can eat it all at once!

Thanksgiving

Menu:

Turkey

Green Beans

Rolls

Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yams

Gravy

Banana Cream Pie

Sunday:

· Prepare the sourdough starter:

o 2 cups warm water

o 2 cups flour

o 1 package yeast

· Place Turkey in Fridge to defrost

Tuesday:

· Bake Sourdough Bread:

o 4 3/4 cups bread flour

o 3 tablespoons white sugar

o 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

o 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

o 1 cup warm milk

o 2 tablespoons margarine, softened

o 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

o 1 extra large egg

o 1 tablespoon water

o 1/4 cup dehydrated onion

o In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast. Add milk and softened butter or margarine. Stir in starter. Mix in up to 3 3/4 cups flour gradually, you may need more depending on your climate.

o Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to oil surface, and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

o Punch down, and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into loaves. Place on a greased baking pan. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

o Brush egg wash over tops of loaves, and sprinkle with chopped onion.

o Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or till done.

· Start Yams. Prepare and then put in fridge to be cooked on Thursday.

o Candied Yams:

§ 2-3 yams, peeled and diced

§ 1 cube butter

§ 1 cup brown sugar

o Cook in a covered pot at Medium heat for 30 minutes, until tender.

o Once softened, place in the mixer, and beat until whipped and smooth. Sprinkle in nutmeg and cinnamon.

o Scoop into 8x8 baking dish, cover with marshmallows.

o Cover with Foil

Wednesday:

· Make Pie:

o Crust, Preheat oven to 475 degrees:

§ 1 cup flour

§ 1 tsp. salt

§ 1/3 cup and 1 Tbls. butter, cubed

§ 2-3 Tbls. Cold water

· Mix all together, form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge 45 minutes.

· Roll out into a large circle. Gently fold into fourths, place in greased pie pan, and gently unfold.

· Press dough into plate. Don’t stretch it. Trim excess.

· Bake 8-10 minutes

o Filling:

§ 5 Tbls. Cornstarch

§ 1 cup sugar

§ ¼ tsp. salt

§ 2 ½ cups milk

§ ¾ cup half & half or evaporated milk

§ 3 egg yolks

§ 2 Tbls. Butter

§ 1 tsp. vanilla

§ 1 cup whipping cream

§ 2 bananas

· Mix cornstarch, sugar, salt in medium sauce pan.

· Add milk and half & half. Cook over medium heat until smooth and thick. STIR CONSISTENTLY.

· Pour small amount of milk mixture into egg yolks, mix, pour back into the rest of milk mixture.

· Cook another 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.

· Add vanilla and butter.

· Slice bananas into the bottom of pie shell.

· Pour filling on top, chill 3-4 hours

· Top with whipped cream and bananas

· Brine Turkey:

1 gallon water

1 bunch fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon dried thyme

10 garlic cloves

1 cup salt

1 bunch sage

2 cups maple syrup

1 gallon ice water

2 cups apple cider

§ In a large stock pot, combine the water, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, maple syrup and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, and stir frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

§ When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket (we used a cooler). Stir in the ice water and cider.

§ Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight but no longer than 12 hours.

Thursday:

· Make Roll dough:

o 5-6 c. Flour

o 4 T. Sugar

o 1 t. Salt

o 2 T. Yeast

o ½ c. Powdered Milk

o 2 ½ c. Water

o ¼ c. Margarine (melted)

§ Put 2 c. flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and yeast in bowl. Stir to mix.

§ Add 2 ½ c. very warm water and melted margarine. Mix with mixer (dough hook) about 2 minutes.

§ Add remaining flour ½ c. at a time until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Continue mixing 5 more minutes.

§ Place in greased bowl. Turn to coat. Let rise

· Turkey:

o Preheat oven to 500 degrees

o Remove the turkey from brine and carefully drain off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.

o Make a ‘breast plate’ out of doubled foil (in case it begins over browning)

o Place inside the cavity:

§ Fresh rosemary sprigs

§ Fresh thyme

§ Chopped onion

§ Chopped apples

§ Chopped carrots

o Rub with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper

o Place in 500 degree oven for 30 minutes

o Check for over browning, if so add breast plate

o Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Add the meat thermometer.

o Bake until internal temperature reached 165 degrees

o Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook about 5-10% faster so watch the temperature!

· Second Rise for rolls:

o Roll out ½” thick in large rectangle.

o Top rectangle with half of butter mixture then sprinkle with ¾ c. grated cheddar cheese on top.

§ Butter-Herb Mixture

§ ½ c. Melted Butter

§ 2 t. Rosemary

§ 2 t. Oregano

§ 1 t. Lemon Pepper

§ ½ t. Garlic Salt

o Roll like cinnamon rolls, cut and place on pan.

o Coat with remaining butter. Let rise until double.

· Prepare Stuffing:

o 12 cups cubed (1 inch) sourdough bread

o 4 tablespoons olive oil

o 2 tablespoons dried thyme

o Salt and pepper, to taste

o 2 pounds sausage meat

o 4 cups chopped onions

o 4 cups diced celery

o 2 tablespoons minced garlic

o 2 teaspoons dried sage

o 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into ½-inch dice

o 1 cup dried cranberries

o 1 cup dried small black figs (or dates), halved

o 2 cups chicken broth

§ Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes on two baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

· Brown the sausage in a heavy pan, breaking up the clumps. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to the bowl; discard the fat. Place remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and wilt the onions, celery, garlic and sage over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bread cubes along with the fruit.

§ Drizzle the broth over the mixture to moisten. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

§ Bake with sweet potatoes after turkey is done and cooling.

· Bake Rolls:

o Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

· Bake Candied Yams and Stuffing at 350 for 30 minutes, until warmed through.

· Green Beans:

o Boil fresh snapped green beans, 30-40 minutes until tender

o Dice onion and bacon

o Cook bacon until crispy. Place on paper towel.

o Sautee onion in remaining bacon grease.

o Toss bacon and onion into the beans.

· Mashed Potatoes:

o Peel and chop

o Boil

o Mix on high, add:

§ Little milk

§ Parsley

§ Minced garlic

§ Salt

§ Pepper

§ ½ cube of butter

· Gravy:

o 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

o 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

o 1 teaspoon dried thyme

o Salt and pepper, to taste

o 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

· Whip the whipping cream for pie




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Strawberry Mango Salsa

Best dessert ever. I made this the other night, and we ate it so quick, I couldn't believe how fast all the chips were gone! And it's the easiest thing ever!


Strawberry Mango Salsa

1 mango, finely diced
8-10 strawberries, finely diced
1 tsp. vanilla extract
couple shakes of basil
one shake cinnamon

Mix well, chill in fridge for a about an hour. Serve with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:

3-4 flour torillas
Pam light cooking spray
Cinnamon sprinkle

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Stack the torillas on top of each other, cut with pizza cutter into 8 triangles. Arrange each chip onto the coated sheet, and spray the tops of totillas with Pam as well. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 10-15 minutes until they feel crisp and start to brown.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

our new house!


Well, we moved in back in July. And the house was great! It was just an empty canvas ready for us to do anything we wanted! It was just white walls, and pretty new carpet, so after decorating and painting, I feel like it is really ours! Everything is coming together perfectly, and we catch ourselves about once a week saying "I just love our house!" So without further ado, and about 4 months later than you all wanted, here is our house!





I still need to paint the kitchen and put up a back splash. Other than that, the house is pretty much, complete!













Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Tonight's dinner discovery did not disappoint! It was so yummy and filling, and low low LOW cal! Try this baby out! We didn't even need sides with this meal, and it was on the table within 40 minutes from freezer to belly!

Baked Chicken Fajitas
6 servings, 118 calories/serving

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders, sliced
7-8 mini sweet peppers, sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 can diced tomatos
1 can diced green chilies
2 tbls. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1.2 tsp. oregano

Pre-heat oven to 400. Pile all ingredients into a medium sized baking dish, and toss to coat everything with spices and oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Serve with warmed tortillas.







Sunday, November 13, 2011

dinner under 500 calories


Lately Ryan and I have been really trying to lose some extra weight. I'm about 4 pounds from pre-baby size, and 8 pounds from my goal weight. Ryan is about 15 pounds from his goal weight.

To help us accomplish our goals, I've been cooking a lot healthier and cutting out a lot of our past 'staple foods'. I've found some new things that are really good, and a much healthier alternative, like quinoa and greek yogurt, both high in protein without the extra fat that meat has. Also, I've been packing veggies into EVERYTHING! Spinach in scrambled egg whites, and just doubling the amount of produce called for in recipes.

The dinner I made tonight was SO yummy and filling, and only 486 calories...can't beat that! I don't remember where I found the recipe, so I can't link you to it, but I'll post it here, along with the calorie count for each part of the meal. If you try it, then come back and comment to let me know if you loved it as much as we did!

Panko Crusted Salmon
368 calories per serving, serves 2

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
2 salmon filets (7 oz each)
1 tsp canola oil

Line a baking sheet with foil. Pre heat oven to 400. Combine salt, panko, and lemon pepper on a dinner plate.

Add oil to a large non stick skillet and heat to medium high. Dredge one side of the salmon in the bread crumb mixture, and place that side down on the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer salmon to the foil lined sheet, now with the crispy side up, and bake in the oven about 10-15 min. depending on the thickness of your filets.

Serve with the following fruit salsa on top

Mango Salsa
40 calories per serving, serves 4

1 mango, diced
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
kosher salt and ground black pepper to your taste

(I've made this with peaches before too, just as yummy. Also, if you have a jalapeno, de-seed it and it's yummy to chop up in there too for an extra kick)

Then the yummy salad I made was super easy to throw together!

Mandarin Salad
30 calories per serving, serves 4

2 cups loosely packed spinach
1 head of petite heirloom lettuce heads (the multi-pack at Costco)
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 medium red onion, minced
chopped or sliced almonds

Mandarin Salad Dressing
48 calories/Tbls

1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
couple grinds of black pepper
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp mustard
1 green onion, FINELY chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil

put all ingredients in the blender. Or if your blender is broken like mine, get out the whisk and give your arm a work out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rice Cereal

Wednesday night, November 9 2011....Easton ate solid food for the first time. Ha, it was so funny! He wanted so bad to eat it, but just couldn't quite figure out how. We think he did pretty good, and got at least a little bit down. We tried again last night, and it went over a little better. It will take time, and it will be fun to see him get better and better!
video

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cranberry Almond Breakfast Muffins


I was reading through an app on my phone for Health and Fitness UK magazine, and I came across this yummy looking recipe...had to try it out! Problem was, all the measurements were listed in milimeters and grams, not cups and teaspoons, weird right? I also didn't have some of the healthier ingredients they called for, so I improvised it into this recipe of my own, and added a crumble topping. It turned out delicious, and I added up the calories with my 'not so healthy' ingredients, and they turned out to be 300 calories/muffin. With a yummy glass of vanilla soy milk in the morning, it's delicious!

I'll list the recipe with my ingredients, and the ingredient they called for, so you can decide what you'd like to use:

CRANBERRY ALMOND MUFFINS

  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil (sunflower oil)
  • 1 T. white sugar (caster sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. plain greek yogurt (low-fat yogurt)
  • 1 minced honey crisp apple (any apple)
  • 1/2 c. dried and sweetened cranberries (dried unsweetened cranberries)
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour (wholemeal flour)
  • 1/4 c. whole grain oats (porridge oats)
  • 1 T. chopped almonds (flaked almonds)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 T. chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients together. In seperate bowl, mix the next 4 dry ingredients. Fold into wet mixture, just until mixed. Pour into 6 muffin liners. Mix brown sugar and remaining chopped almonds, and sprinkle on top.
Bake for 20 minutes

Each muffin:
calories: 300
total fat: 21.2 g
cholesteral: 80 mg
total carbs: 24.6 g

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

4 months


Today is the big 4 months!! I can't believe that exactly 4 months ago, I was in the hospital and just starting to push. Time has gone by so quickly! Easton is still such a joy to us. Our world literally revolves around him, and we can't even imagine what we'd be doing in Las Vegas without him here too. Here are some fun facts about him:

  • weighs 16.5 pounds, 75.56 percentile
  • he is 25.5 inches tall, 70.23 percentile
  • his head is 17 cm, 91.56 percentile
  • and overall for his age group, he is in the 68.72 percentile
  • he had his first airplane ride at 3.5 months on October 20, and did SO well!
  • his hair is thinning a lot, and comes out in the comb. Makes me sad to see it go :(
  • he stopped nursing 2 weeks ago, when he was 16 weeks. Now a straight formula baby.
  • Loves to talk to himself
  • He still likes sucking his thumb the most, but every once in awhile we see a few other fingers in his mouth too.
  • Doesn't like binkies at all.
  • Moved up to size 2 diapers
  • Sleeps from 7:30 pm-8 am...we are so lucky! If he wakes up before, he just lays quietly in bed sucking his thumb or looking around until we come get him, then he greets us with a GIANT smile!
  • he has some killer blue eyes...he will be a chick magnet for sure (already is!)
  • loves to stretch out and stand up tall while holding onto our fingers. His legs are surprising really strong under all those rolls
We just love him and can't get enough of him, it's so much fun to watch him grow and change!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

family pictures


When we were up in Utah for Easton's blessing and to visit family, we had my friend Camille take our family pictures. She is seriously talented, and did an amazing job! Check out her work at www.camillegarrison.com
We are so happy with the work she did, and she was so quick! We got it all done in just 20 minutes!! Can you ask for anything better?? My mom came with us, so she could watch Easton in the car while Ryan and I did a couple shots of just us. While she was in the car with him, he had a blow out...I know, could he have picked a better time?? And guess who left the wipes at home on the counter.... ME! My poor mom had to use a couple other diapers to clean up what she could of the mess. ugh, I felt horrible! But even after all that, He was an angel for the pictures, didn't make a peep, and even smiled for a few in the cold breeze! What a champ!

Here are some of my favorites that she took: