Sunday, July 27, 2008

one of my favorite things **and a new recipe**

One thing that I love to do is bake with my kids. Mostly Gabe since he has shown the most interest in helping me but now Nolan is starting to show that he wants a chance at stirring the spoon too.

I mostly just bake sweets with them (cookies, bread, brownies, rice crispy treats) Gabe rarely asks to help when it comes to dinner...I am going to start inviting him to though.

Some of my favorite times now are with the boys, measuring ingredients, and making something together. I love watching them pour in flour or milk into the always ends up splashing everywhere. I love seeing their eyes as it becomes a batter of ooey gooey goodness. And I love the look on their faces when the finished product comes out of the oven.

It has come to the point where when the boys see me pull out a mixing bowl, the rush to claim a chair and scoot it on over to my side. What a blessing it is.

Here is what WebMD had to say about children cooking with adults:

Indeed, cooking with kids can be the gift that keeps on giving; it has both short-term and long term benefits.

Some of the short-term benefits:
It encourages kids to try healthy foods.
Kids feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family.
Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it.
Parents get to spend quality time with their kids.
Kids aren't spending time in front of the TV or computer while they're cooking.
Kids generally aren't eating junk food when they're cooking a meal at home.

Some long-term benefits:
Learning to cook is a skill your children can use for the rest of their lives.
Kids who learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults.
Positive cooking experiences can help build self-confidence.
Kids who cook with their parents may even be less likely to abuse drugs.

Also in the same article, is a list of certain things kids can do to help at their age

Under 5 years old:
Scrub, dip, tear, break, and snap (for example, snapping the ends off green beans)
Shake, spread, and cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter
Peel (some items), roll, juice, and mash
Remove husks from corn
Wash vegetables in a colander
Measure and pour some ingredients
Hand mix

8-10 years old:
Everything listed above, plus some more advanced duties, such as:
Cracking and separating eggs
Reading some recipes by themselves
Inventing their own easy-to-fix recipes
Using the electric mixer (with adult supervision if needed)
Stirring food over the stove (with adult supervision if needed)
Using and reading a candy thermometer (with adult supervision if needed)
Operating a can opener or food processor with safety features
Grating cheese
Cutting vegetables, fruits, etc. (using a plastic knife or dinner knife)

Here are some pictures of baking with the boys:

Gabe making Peanut Butter filled frozen bananas

Nolan pouring in cinnamon

Adding the eggs

Breaking up the bananas

And lastly, here is a recipe that I enjoy making with the boys. It is a great banana bread that I found about 2 years ago on Allrecipes (does that surprise you?!), and what makes it different is that that it calls for sour cream. I usually use whole wheat flour instead and it still turns out fantastic. Also to make it yummy, instead of just greasing the pans, it says to do a cinnamon sugar mixture over the PAM. It makes a sweet crunch to the bread.

Sour Cream Banana Bread

1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The last thing is a BIG BIG thank you to Jan, The crazy lady on road 80. She is an awesome lady and I am hooked on her blog. She hit her 300th post in just one year!! And to celebrate she had a giveaway of a Target Gift card. I of course love love love Target and was secretly hoping that I would win the giveaway. Well, I finally won something!! I have never won anything when it comes to luck.....except James :) So Jan.....I want to thank you so very very much and to say congrats on making it to 300 posts!! I will probably go try to find a new church skirt or dress. I LOVE TARGET!

Friday, July 25, 2008


By small and simple things are great things brought to pass
-Alma 37:6
My days consist of small things....get breakfast for the boys, play with the boys, make sure the boys don't kill each other, make them lunch, nap, play with boys, yada yada yada.
The repetition everyday can really get to one person. I think "Am I getting anywhere?" "Are my boys really learning anything?"
As I stumbled across this scripture while trying to find another, I realized that this MUST be my life. That all these "little" things (not just with the boys, but with James, my calling, with me) are just choices that we make to lead to greater things. My doing these "little" things in my life is preparing my children for the world showing them love with keeping the other child from throwing something at their head is teaching them that I will protect them, love them. By putting them down for a nap is showing them that I care for their well being (and that mommy needs an hour of rest) But in the long run, these things/choices that I make, add substance to our lives and are learning experiences. And now I am grateful for my repetitious days. Bring it on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

new recipe

I found this recipe off of Allrecipes and made a few changes (changes will be in pink)

Chicken breasts Pierre

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves **I diced chicken**
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter **I just sprayed with PAM**
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid **I used diced tomatoes**
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar **I used one Tbsp white vinegar and one Tbsp Balsamic**
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
**I also added around 3 Tbsp diced Jalapeno for a kick**
**I also doubled the sauce so that I would have enough to put over the noodles and also if you do it in a skillet it seemed that the sauce kinda evaporated to about nothing, so I recommend doubling it**

Into skillet. Cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear. In a shallow dish or bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. Coat chicken breasts with flour mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown chicken on all sides. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels.
In the same skillet, combine the tomatoes, water, brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, chili powder, mustard, celery seed, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and return chicken

**I have tried this in a skillet and it was really good, but last time I doubled the sauce and just put it all in the crockpot after browning the chicken for about 6 hours on low, it was very good and moist and ended up being almost like a spaghetti sauce**
**We served over Whole Wheat angel hair noodles**


week review

Well, we made our first camping trip of the year......over half way through the summer! This was a first for both Gabe and Nolan. It was quite the experience and I think it ended up being pretty successful. James and I both agreed if we had to rate it, we would have rated it about a 7. The weather was perfect, company was perfect, food was yummy, kids had a good time. The only thing that put a kink in our camping trip was the fact that neither James or I slept AT ALL. I am one who needs it to be completely silent to be able to fall asleep. With the other campers at the site staying up a bit later, campers coming in really late to set up camp, and there were 2 wonderful raccoons who decided to spend some time at our camp, at one point deciding to battle it out over some graham crackers. And then the cherry on the top was when Nolan decided to wake up around 4:50am for the day. stuff. I was a bit upset/tired, and we both thought he had woken up on the wrong side of the bed since he wouldn't stop crying, and we thought he was just being whiny. I sat in the car with him while he cried and ate Doritos until other people woke up (we were at a camp ground with A LOT of other people and didn't want to wake anyone up) Come to find out that Nolan was sick....we left a lot earlier than we expected since we couldn't keep Nolan happy. We got home and all of us fell asleep for 3 1/2 hours and when Nolan woke up he had a 103 degree fever and wouldn't eat. So if Nolan hadn't of gotten sick, I think it would have been a fantastic trip!!

Waiting for Heather and Jeremy to get there
Sunset on the snake river
Eating some fantastic Peach Cobbler dutch over style
"It's gonna be a little socca player"
The little beach that the kids loved
Gabe swooning Brenley
4:50 in the morning eating some Doritos
playing in the water before we took wasn't the warmest (then again, it was only like 9:30)
So the beginning of this week was used cuddling Nolan while he got better. I also got to go see the Emma Smith movie with my best friend. It was so nice to be able to go see it and learn more about her and her life, what an amazing woman.
"First of all that I would crave as the richest of heaven's blessings would be wisdom from my Heavenly Father bestowed daily."-- Emma Hale Smith

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nainamo Bars

**This post is dedicated to my great Sister in law Rachel who is the biggest fan I know of Nanaimo Bars. She has asked for the recipe many times, and sadly, I don't think I ever got it to her.**
So I guess it wasn't very nice of me to share info about such a wonderful dessert and then not share the recipe. :)

So here is the recipe I use. There is a bit of prep work.....but it is OH so worth it.

Bottom layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/4cup sugar
5 T cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 in a double boiler.

After fully melted, add beaten egg while stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. Press into a 9x13 pan.

Middle layer:

1/2cup butter

2T cream (I use milk) if you want to be able to leave these out of the fridge, you can use just may not be as rich.
2 T vanilla custard powder (since I cannot find the brand I use to use, I have started using just Instant vanilla pudding powder in its place and nobody can tell the difference)
2 cups powdered sugar
**If you like a lot of filling like I do, I recommend doubling the recipe**

Cream until fluffy. Spread evenly across bottom layer.

Top layer:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup shortening

Melt in microwave stirring every 20 seconds until totally melted. Cool slightly and pour over middle layer. Put in fridge until chocolate is firm.

I am not going to say "I hope you enjoy them!" because I know you will. So I am just going to say....
Don't eat too many in one sitting!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

nanaimo dream

There is one dessert that I hold above all the rest. It is the fabulous Nanaimo Bar.
What is a Nanaimo Bar?! Click here if you wanna know in great detail
Well, it is a chocolate crumb bottom with a dreamy buttery custardy filling with a chocolaty top.

It IS my favorite dessert. I usually only make it around Christmas time just because they are soooo good that I make my self sick eating too many of them.

I was thinking this morning about how I would love to have a nanaimo bar (and yes I know they sell them at Yokes....but they are yucky) and I thought about cupcakes and thought how wonderful it would be to make Nanaimo cupcakes!!

Well (drum roll please) they are!

These dreamy cupcakes are a dark chocolate cupcake with the signature Nanaimo filling as the frosting instead with semisweet chocolate and crushed graham crackers on top.

I made James take them to work with him because after making them, I realized what I had just done and had to get them out of the house before I ate them all!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Funny things

We went to applebees for lunch last week and had a great waitress who luckily loved kids and was just a cheery excited person. Gabe immediately sparks up a conversation with her, which most everyone knows that once you get him talking, he doesn't stop and also.....that he is COMPLETELY random.

So first visit:

Waitress: Hi how are you guys today?

Gabe: I have flip-flops

Waitress: Oh yeah? I love flip flops

Gabe: I have a tent

Waitress: Neat! do you love to camp?

Gabe: yeah, this is my baby brother, Nolan

The convo kept going at the same pace for almost a good 5 minutes
Second visit:
(Waitress dropping off our drinks)

Gabe: I have a new shirt (puffing his chest out to show off a shirt that he has had for almost a year now)

Waitress: That is a cool shirt!

Gabe: **Starts singing her "The cuppy cake song" from THIS post that he has memorized and sings to random people**

Waitress: Awww (laughing)

Third visit:
(Waitress bringing back our food)

Gabe: did you miss me?!

Fourth visit:
(Waitress checking in on us)

Gabe: I went poop and pee....................................

Oh my goodness, I think we need to have a talk with him on what is appropriate out to dinner conversation :) And during this whole time, Gabe has to say "Hi" to EVERY person who walks by or even glances our way....even if they are across the room. I love this boy!!!

Summer days

We have been pretty darn busy the past few weeks. James prepared and tested for the Richland Police Department, he did really well and now it is just a waiting game for the next time they decide to hire. I am so proud of him and impressed at how well he has done and how well he is doing with his working out and healthy I have to just take some notes from him and maybe I can lose this last 15 pounds of baby weight a year and a half later :) We also celebrated James' 27th Birthday on the 28th. We had just family come over and enjoyed the evening together.

Gabe helping out in yard

Blowing out candles
Nolan hasn't gotten stung again, but he is still being a very very trying child (especially for me) Everyday right now is somewhat of a battle between me and him. I know it is mostly because he is turning 2 and wants to do more than he is capable right now. Ugh, but those baby blue eyes are sooo hard to say no to!! :)

Nolan outside

Nolan and Grandpa

Gabe is loving spending time outside and has seen his share of movies this past 3 weeks or so. He is so darn tan, there is no way I could get that sun-kissed glow that he has. After going to hawaii, Gabe was already tanner than I was!

The difference in our arms. He is actually tanner now.

Gabe and his new friend.

I have been pretty busy lately, a couple pretty easy cakes, an Enrichment night, and a lesson for Relief Society, and a girls trip to Spokane with my two best friends to see another friend get married is what filled my last 3 weeks. Everything seems to be going by so darn fast! I almost feel I cannot keep up!

Tara and Erin. Aren't they beautiful?! I love this picture.

Tara and I waiting for Linda. Linda's wedding was SO BEAUTIFUL! She looks gorgeous and we had a blast. We unfortunately had to leave early to drive home.

4th of July was a great evening. After going to some friends house for a great dinner and company we came home set up our new tent in our front room (it was very windy outside) and then packed the boys up and headed to watch the fireworks with Tara, Robbie and Meagan and their 3 boys at the Pasco soccer fields. The boys loved them and were totally impressed. Gabe on the way got so excited and was running too fast and got a skinned knee and a bloody nose. The boys fell asleep on the way home (only a 3 or 4 mile drive that took 45 minutes) Gabe slept in the tent wrapped up in all of the blankets from around the house.

I think one of the only good photos from the whole night. Waiting for the fireworks to begin
On our way home from the fireworks
The week to come is going to be exciting. We are preparing for our very first family camping trip. Gabe is very excited and will tell everyone he comes in contact with that he has a tent and that we are going camping. I am also finally trying to fill the front room. It has been bare for the past year and I am finally sick of seeing a completely empty room. I am going to go out this next week to find a sofa, a hutch, some fun chairs, some new pictures of the Prophet and I have been eyeing this one picture of Jesus. So if anyone knows of anywhere that is selling any of these things on sale, please let me know!! :)


Here are a few cakes that were created while on Blogging Hiatus.

Recipe 3

I love BBQs in summer. Over half our dinners during the week are off the grill. Here is one recipe from Allrecipes that I found after longing for some ribs.

Texas Pork Ribs

6 pounds pork spareribs **we used only 3 lbs**
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons garlic powder
5 tablespoons pan drippings
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cups ketchup
3 cups hot water
4 tablespoons brown sugar
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup soaked wood chips

Clean the ribs, and trim away any excess fat. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup salt, ground black pepper, paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Coat ribs liberally with spice mix. Place the ribs in two 10x15 inch roasting pans, piling two racks of ribs per pan. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Bake uncovered for 3 to 4 hours, or until the ribs are tender and nearly fall apart.
Remove 5 tablespoons of drippings from the bottom of the roasting pans, and place in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion in pan drippings until lightly browned and tender. Stir in ketchup, and heat for 3 to 4 more minutes, stirring constantly. Next, mix in water and brown sugar, and season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, adding water as necessary to achieve desired thickness.
Preheat grill for medium-low heat.
When ready to grill, add soaked wood chips to the coals or to the smoker box of a gas grill. Lightly oil grill grate. Place ribs on the grill two racks at a time so they are not crowded. Cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Baste ribs with sauce during the last 10 minutes of grilling, so the sauce does not burn.

I had quite a bit of the rub left afterwards, and so I am going to actually put that on some chicken today and grill it and serve it with a mango salsa which is just frozen mangoes frozen peaches chopped up, a jalapeno chopped up (without seeds) a little chopped cilantro and the juice of a lime. Do it to taste.

A few links for recipes

I also love reading and sometimes add to another blog call Get your Eat on, it was started for those who may feel they may be in a rut cooking wise and we could all add our favorite recipes and maybe get some good ideas! I have gotten quite a few now, and now I am trying to figure out good times to try them all!! :)

2 in particular that I have tried lately is Lindsays Chinese spare ribs. They are so nice and juicy. Lindsay made these for me when I had Nolan and I was always wondering what in the world they were, just remembering that they were soooooo yummy. We made these the other day and running out of time to bake them, we threw them on the grill and basted them once halfway through, tasted wonderful, I recommend trying them!!

Also, Megans Frozen Strawberry delight. I had seen this on advertisements everywhere and had wondered what in the world it was. It did not disappoint at all. I actually doubled the batch and just froze the other one for a future time when I would need a quick dessert. Very yummy!

Recipe 2

Here is another recipe we tried. We aren't big meat eaters here, but every once in a while we have to splurge on a few nice steaks!
I got this off of Allrecipes, it makes the steak so yummy and juicy.

Ultimate Grilled Steak

1/2 cup A.1. Original Steak Sauce
1/2 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 (8 ounce) beef rib eye steaks

Mix steak sauce, dressing, garlic and oregano. Reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture. Pour remaining 3/4 cup mixture over steaks in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Refrigerate 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Drain steak; discard marinade.
Grill steak 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until medium doneness (160 degrees) Serve drizzled with reserved 1/4 cup dressing mixture.

Recipe 1

After all this time waiting for our computer, I have tried some really really yummy recipes that I way dying to share!

The BEST brownies

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies set up. Do not overbake! Cool in pan and cut into squares.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We hope all of our friends and family will all have wonderful days and enjoy everything that we are blessed with as Americans. We have a great country and the freedom that unfortunately others do not, that we sometimes take for granted everyday. Let us all reflect on all the blessing we have.

May God bless you all :)
We are going to be going out to a nice breakfast with my Grandma this morning then we have a BBQ tonight (as long as the weather is nice) with some friends from James' work, and then we are going to have our first campout out back after we go and watch the fireworks (it is Gabe's and Nolan's first time)

I will be back in a few days to post lots of pictures and recipes.