Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New traditions

This year for Christmas I got to go to Disneyland with the White family!  I hadn't ever been before, so I was so stinkin' excited!  It was a ton of fun- it rained a LOT some of the time, but it was a lot better than it being hot and busy! The lines were crazy short, so we could just ride things over and over until our hearts were content :)
The rest of Christmas we pretty much just hung out.  I was also very appreciative that we got to have some fondue, just like my family does up in Canada! Thanks Mom and Dad White for such a fun Christmas! 

So I've been think about Christmas traditions that I'd like to start up.  One idea that I am very interested in is having a collection of Christmas books that you wrap up individually every year, and you unwrap one each day before Christmas like an advent/countdown.  How fun would that be?  We don't have kids yet, but now is a good time to start up a collection!

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas kids' books:

I just need to find a way to sneak it out of the house and not let Jennifer find out about it.  But I think mentioning my goal may be counterintuitive because I'm pretty sure it's mostly my family who reads these posts anyway. Now they're on to me.

This book is just kind of awesome.  It's touch-and-feel and has pull tabs and everything! Also need to find a way to sneak away with this one...

Momma White showed us this book.  It shows how Santa can act as a symbol of Christ and helps you keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas. It's very good!

Another Christmas tradition I would like to do will have to wait until we're in a bigger place.  I'd like to have two different Christmas trees- one with fun ornaments like gingerbread men trains, coloured lights and all that, and one that has pretty white lights and pictures of Christ, angels, scriptures... I think it would be a great way to keep in mind both the fun/exciting and the spiritual, and to teach the kids about Christ.  

PS: Do you have any good Christmas book recommendations? How about general Christmas traditions that YOUR family has, or that you want to start up? I want to hear your ideas!

Monday, December 27, 2010

what the...?

Here's the plan for next semester- green=work, blue=class

What on earth am I getting myself into?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worthless women and the men who make them- by Single Dad Laughing

I've always been quite hard on myself for one reason or another.  I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to improve and be your best-- making goals is great-- but there is a difference between working at becoming a better person and making an effort, and tearing yourself apart every time you make a mistake or have a weakness.  I have definitely been at the latter side of things to a drastic extent.  An emotionally abusive boyfriend put me on that path, and a wonderful and caring husband has been helping to bring me back.  The influence of men in our lives is incredible.  I've seen it firsthand.  A while ago I came across an article that quite effectively discusses why this is.  I don't fully agree with all of it, but it is very powerful and overall a great description of why women are so hard on themselves.  It's pretty long, but I recommend you read at least some of it (if not all).  Whether you agree with it or not, it will make you think. Click on the picture below to read it.  I'd also love to hear some feedback with your thoughts in the comments.

click the picture above to read the article
EDIT: The website seems to be down right now, at least with Chrome. It worked for me with IE though. Here's the URL if you want to try yourself later or with a different browser:

On a similar note- anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself is not someone you should associate yourself with- especially in a relationship.  It is not worth it- because you deserve a lot more.  It's a heck of a lot better to be single for a while and find the right person than to be in a toxic relationship.  And sometimes it's hard to notice yourself because it can slowly turn into a dangerous situation- so if you know someone who is in that situation, please say something.  I wasn't even aware of what was happening to me until a long time after the fact and the damage had been done.  Even if the person doesn't listen right away, the idea will at least be in their head and they can take it as they want.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Whatcha doing there?

Guess what! We're in Anaheim!  There's not too much that has happened yet to write about since I slept most of the way down (obviously). So instead I have this little gem for you:

I'm sorry, but if I see you with the end of your hoody strings stuck in your ears I'm going to think you're a weirdy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Through Heaven's Eyes- Brian Stokes Mitchell with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Two years ago I got to go to the MoTab Christmas concert with my dear roomie Megan. They always have a special guest perform with them (this year it's David Archuleta!). The year I went, I had no idea who it was going to be, and it took me a while to realize who he was. Upon reading Brian Stokes Mitchell's biography in the program, we found out that he's the guy who sings 'Through Heaven's Eyes' in the Prince of Egypt movie! Holy smokes! That was my favourite movie for a long, long time and I still really like it. Anyway, he was great, and he even sang the PoE song. Let me tell ya, hearing it in person with one of the best choirs in the world and a fantastic orchestra was something else. I was dying. Anyway, I found the video of it on youtube!

Love it.

What song from a childhood movie would you just love to hear preformed in person?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Om nom nom... Quick and easy pizza!

I love me some homemade pizza.  However, it can take so darn long to wait for the dough to rise and all that jazz!  Therefore, if you are in a hurry (or starving) just use this quick and easy recipe and you'll be om nom noming in no time!

No-rise Pizza Dough
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package yeast (or about 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
(if you want extra flavour, which I highly recommend, add oregano, garlic, and basil as well)

  • Combine dry ingredients
  • Combine wet ingredients, then add to dry and mix
  • Roll out and put topping on
  • Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes

More pizza tips:
  • Mix garlic and butter together and spread it on the edges of the pizza that don't have toppings. It'll make the crust extra tasty!
  • Put the cheese on LAST!  Trust me- your toppings will be juicier and not get all crusty and dried out.
  • Who says you can only use mozzarella? I love me some monterey jack, pepperjack, and provolone.
  • Turn the broiler on for a minute or so to make the cheese all perfect-like. Watch it carefully though!
  • Best pizza ever- bbq sauce, grilled chicken, mushrooms (optional), dried chili seeds, slivered almonds, and half montery jack/half pepperjack. Seriously.
  • Second best pizza- alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, and broccoli.
What's your favourite pizza, and favourite pizza place?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's that time again!

Christmas is getting close! Not only am I excited about Christmas and getting a break from school, but I also get to go to Disneyland for my very first time with the rest of the White fam!  I may or may not be more of a little kid about it than my littlest sister.  It's going to be awesome!

Sam and I got our Christmas tree this week! It's so little and cute- therefore, perfect for our apartment ;) I'm still not sure how I feel about the birds and flowers I made... For one thing, they might be a bit better on a bigger tree so it's not so overwhelmed with massive looking birds everywhere. Oh well.

So- Christmas traditions!  Back up in Canada we had some really fun ones.  Every Christmas Eve we would have chocolate, cheese, and hot oil fondue and spinach dip.  So stinking good. Then we would open Christmas pjs and watch Mr. Bean's Christmas.  Christmas day we would go over to G&G Frache's house to eat and play, then do the same thing the next day with G&G Brooks.  

Now I get to share some other traditions with the White family, and Sam and I get to make our own!  

My question for you- what are your favourite Christmas traditions, or what traditions are you looking forward to starting? I want to hear your ideas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I try to be nice.

I have a weird thing with recipes... Some of them are meant to be shared with others so that more people can enjoy the goodness.   If I got the recipe from someone other than family, a cookbook, or the internet, I'm totally cool with giving it out.  Others- I'm trying to become more generous.  I have some 'family favourites' that I just can't let go of.  There are also some that I've created myself (or I've altered an existing recipe enough that I consider it mine) that I have issues with giving it away.
One such recipe that I am hesitant to release is my apple pie recipe.  The crust is my grandma's, and the filling is my own creation.  Although I'm not at the point of being nice enough to give it out, I do have some pie tips that I'm cool with sharing ;)

  • Go for shortening.  I know there are some recipes out there for healthier ones with oil and all- but I figure if you're going to eat pie, just make it right and awful for you and enjoy it.  I consider myself quite health conscious with other things- but I can't bring myself to sacrifice pie.
  • Use cold water.
  • The key to a flaky crust is handling it as little as possible.  Use a pasty blender if you have one, or just use a knife.  What you want to do is put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then cut (literally, if you're using a knife) your shortening into it.  You want it to look like grains of rice (or a little bigger). THEN you add your wet stuff and keep cutting it in. Never ever use a mixer or knead it.
  • Silicon or non-stick plastic mats are the bomb.  I got mine at Michael's in the cake making section.  It's a lot easier to get your crust into the pan, thus less breakage, thus less having to handle the dough. (wax paper also works ok)
  • I prefer a lattice top. Having a full cover if just way too much crust for my taste.
  • Pyrex dishes are best, because they will heat more evenly than disposable or metal ones.
  • I realize the following picture looks like chicken or fish sticks- but it's actually the extra crust from the pie. You just roll it out and put it on a cookie sheet, brush a little butter on it, and sprinkle on some spices and sugar and bake it. Yum!

  • Be generous with spices. A lot of recipes call for just a bit of cinnamon. I use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sometimes ginger- and a lot more than most recipes say.
  • Add brown and white sugar and butter. Like a said, if you're going to have pie, don't worry about calories- just do it right.
  • Feel free to add something other than apples.  Today I have extra crust from making quiche, and only two apple, so I added pears to make a pear and apple pie. It was delish. Other good ones I've done are mixed berry/apple and peach/apple.  I also really want to try cheese/apple sometime.  Trust me- cheese and apple is AWESOME together. Go eat an apple and some slices of cheese together. You'll thank me. Apple/cheese quesadillas are also fantastic. 
  • Apple type matters! Janagold is my favourite for flavour, but they suck to peel. Granny Smith mixed with Fuji are also a good combination. 
Now, poll time- what's your favourite pie? Post in the comments!

PS: Fun story. I used to work at Peavey Mart, and one time I was at the cash register while these two kids (maybe ten?) were standing behind me looking at a hunting display.
Kid 1: "I wish I had a hunting knife. That would be awesome"
Kid 2: "Why would you want a hunting knife? You couldn't even hunt a pie!"
I was cracking up. The customer I was helping thought I was crazy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shut up, facebook.

Did you know that facebook can display ads according to things your profile indicates you might need? For example, when I went from 'in a relationship' to 'single' once upon a time, it started displaying 'Hot Singles Now!' ads. Then when I got engaged, it displayed a bunch of wedding supply/photographer ads.
Well, now it's mostly displaying weight loss, food, and exercise ads. What are you implying, facebook? Have you been creeping through my pictures or something?
I also saw a little number about information on a 'sleazy gene'. What the..? Excuse me?
Stop bullying me, facebook!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Well, that wasn't worth it.

So, confession time.  I can't do chocolate chip cookies. Sure, I can make awesome pies and cheesecake and fancy fondant cakes and creme brulee and everything else under the sun, but chocolate chip cookies hate me.  I used to be able to make them- as in when I was 10- but not no mo'. I don't know what my issue is.  I kept trying the same recipe that my mom uses, but those didn't work. So I started trying other recipes.  I used the one of the back of the chocolate chip cookie bag. I used several from AllRecipes.  I read all the tips and hints and I wasn't doing anything wrong. Seriously, I know how to bake- how to properly measure, the right temperature of ingredients, what order to add stuff, how much to beat it... Pretty sure I'm just cursed. One time last year I even had a marathon of trying different recipes/altering them slightly, etc, and I made like 9 different batches and ALL of them were sucky.
I'm quite ashamed of this inability to make what I'm pretty sure is one of the the easiest baked goods to make. So today I decided to give it another try. The first pan was awful. I wish I had taken a picture of what happened to them- it was hilarious.  Then the next pan worked! It was amazing. I guess I lucked out.
So it was nice the 'conquer' the chocolate chip cookie. But I just realized that I don't even like chocolate chip cookies that much. So... Awesome... I can make cookies that I don't even like.  I probably won't even ever try them again because A: I don't even like them. Even the best chocolate chip cookies aren't that good to me compared to other things B: Sam doesn't even like them that much. If he did, I'd be more than happy to keep trying to make them and C: Because if I just leave it at being able to make that last batch, I can claim that I can make them. Pretty sure if I tried it again they wouldn't work.
So.... Anybody want the last pan of good chocolate cookies I'll ever make? We don't even want them. They weren't worth it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

MORE book flowers.

I guess I got on a roll.
Now, I think these are super cute, but I haven't decided if I would like them for a tree... I just don't know. I think I might like them more than the other flowers I made. Hmm... What do you think?

Well, anyway, here's how you make them, in case you're wondering. First, get a perfectly square piece of paper.
Fold in half
Fold in the ends to make a square

Then fold the little flappies in half so it looks like this.

Fold out the little flappies so it looks like a kite.

Fold the point on the kite inward (so they're inside, as shown)
...so it will look like this.
Fold the flappies in half inward again

It'll look like this!

Now just roll it up and glue it together!

You'll need at least 5 cones.
Just glue them together an you're done! I also made a few with little rolled up paper middles. I think I like these ones better. Well... Once I decide if I'm even going to use them maybe I'll make some more, haha.

book page christmas decorations

How cute would these look on a Christmas tree?

Very, in my opinion.

So here's how to make them.  First, you need a big ol' book.  I got mine from DI for $3. It's HUGE and I only needed like 10 pages to do alllll of the birds and flowers- but I have another craft in mind that will need a ton of pages. I'm looking forward to it! Anyway, you can use any book, but be aware that you can still see the words.  I noticed a couple of awkward things on some of the pieces I cut out so I put those ones as bottom layers, haha.  I think a dictionary would be super cute to use, or a nice narrative!


 Trace a bunch of birds and wings onto a page, then cut them out. To save time, do several pages stacked together.
Distress the edges if you would like. I just used some gold that I had on hand.
 Curl the tails and the wings
 Glue two of the body cutouts together and two or three of the wings together.
You can also add some sticks in their beaks and some little feet :) I still need to add the string to hang them though. I'm thinking either brown twine or some thin lace. Cute, yes?
Cute, yes?


Cut out a whole bunch of circles and distress the edges

Curl the circles around a pen. Then use one flat one as a base and glue five or six circles around the edge.
 Just keep gluing them on, getting closer to the middle.
So I found this part of a necklace on the ground the other day. Being the hobo (or resourceful person) that I am, I grabbed it to use as the middles of the flowers. I also used some buttons.

Ta da!

I still need to put something on everything to hand them. I'm thinking brown twine or some thin lace. When I pick that stuff up, I'll also pick up the supplies for my other decorations. I'm super excited about the other ones! I need to get a move on though so that everything is done for when we get out tree!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I love a good card

I love getting things like Christmas cards, wedding announcements, baby pictures, and all that sort of thing- and I love looking at them on the fridges and walls of other people.  It's even more fun to look at family pictures or Christmas cards from year to year.  Things change so much- especially with new families.  I love the idea of sending Christmas cards- which is why I'm super excited about this offer from Shutterfly!  They're sending me 50 free custom Christmas cards just for posting about their great features. How great is that!? We even have some leftover stamps from the wedding announcements- so this is going to be a great deal!

The cards for Christmas 2010 are seriously SO cute.  I've been looking at them for ages, and the only problem with this offer is that I actually have to decide which one to use! These are just a few of my favourites. They also have cute light blue ones, pretty mosaic ones, story ones, and little snowman ones! Way too adorable, eh?

maybe this?
or just straight up go for this?
The second problem is deciding which picture to use. I like llama face.  Sam doesn't think that's a good idea though. I haven't got the slightest idea why not! Cast your vote!

Decisions, decisions!

Anyway, Shutterfly has a lot of sweet stuff. They have the Christmas photo cardspersonalized calendersbirth announcements (holy stinkin' cute!), and more!  I for reals recommend it :) No but seriously- I'm thinking Canada reception invites and future Christmas cards from here, perhaps? Just sayin'. Big fan.

Anyway, if you have a blog and want in on this, go HERE.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I love a good break

After a very, very hectic and stressful week and a half of assignments and tests, Thanksgiving break was very appreciated.  It's nice to be done most of the big projects.  Now I basically just need to study for finals!
Because of the theoretical blizzard, I didn't have to work Wednesday, so Sam and I just hung out for the day.  Then we went and visited my Aunt Kelly and Uncle Kevin who were down for vacation and went to Mom and Dad White's house.
 Can I just say that after this weekend, instead of 'ASDF' on the keyboard, my fingers automatically go to 'QWER'.  If you don't know what that means, I'm not telling you. I'm ashamed.

Thanksgiving Day I made a bunch of pies while Momma White and Kiersten made dinner.  I'm always afraid of making things like that for a big event.  Who knows how they'll turn out! How embarrassing if they're awful. I made the mistake of doubling the crust recipe and then trying to mix it all at once. Makes for a tougher crust with all that mixing. Oh well, live and learn. Dinner was great though! I'm so happy to be a part of that wonderful family! It was the first time in years that everyone was together for Thanksgiving :) We also decorated for Christmas (though I heard a lot of complaining, mostly from the boys' end ;))

I hadn't ever been a fan of Boxing Day shopping or the idea of Black Friday. I'd rather not be trampled, thanks.  But last year I went out on Boxing Day with Jennifer and it wasn't as bad as I had expected.  This year was the first time I was in the States for Black Friday.  Some of us went out to Cabelas and it was kind of a gong show, and we were going to go to a movie but it was sold out all afternoon.  So, pretty crowded on the retail front. But then Momma White and I decided to go shopping. Given that my runners have a 3 inch long hole in the side/toe and my feet get soaked and freezing when I walk to school, I figured I could brave the crowds to find some shoes.  We sure lucked out! Going later in the day made a difference, I think, and the fact that we weren't trying to buy electronics.  We got some sweet deals and some good stuff! All of the family also went to Tangled- which was pretty good! I recommend it.

Friday we just hung out some more, Saturday Sam and I saw Harry Potter (we decided that it was Harry Potter and the Endless Camping Trip), and Sunday was a family friend's mission farewell. I was so impressed by him- he's going to do so great!

Anyway, it's back to school today.  Only a couple of weeks of classes, a week of finals, and it's home-free for another good break!

Oh, and I started on the ornaments for our tree! I'll post pictures later. Here's a sneak peak:

Monday, November 22, 2010

We sent it!

Well, we finally sent off my first round of immigration papers!  It was a LOT of time, work, and money. (Thank you Mom and Dad White for helping us get them all done!).  But it's pretty worth it I guess-- you know, staying in the same country as my husband and stuff.  No but seriously- I realllly hope we did everything right and that things get worked out- I can't even go back to Canada yet!  Because I'm in the process of becoming a citizen, I have to apply for travel allowances every time I want to leave, which takes at least 2 months to go through (if you're lucky).  No impulsive trips home for us!  The possibility of getting caught and charged a huge fine/getting deported isn't something we're going to risk.  I did just apply to be able to come home for a week in April, though- so hopefully I'll see you guys then!  Hopefully we're going to throw another wedding party for you Canadians who couldn't come down to Utah! And my American family can come see how awesome it is in Canada (hopefully we don't have a random April blizzard.  Bad first impression, eh?). But in my opinion, we can pull off both!  Sledding in April is cool- and if a chinook comes along you can just go bridge jumping later that day anyway.
waterton: beautiful ALL seasons!
jennifer or sean took this one

Thursday, November 18, 2010

double layer pumpkin cheesecake

Let it be known that I don't (normally) make like 4 cakes/pies a week.  Sometimes I just have old pictures of my stuff to post along with recipes, or I give stuff away at staff meetings/to visiting teachees, take to family stuff, etc.  I wouldn't be able to handle eating as much as it probably seems that I do. I don't run enough for that- and even if I did try run enough for that, I would be so unhealthy from eating all that baking that I wouldn't be able to run enough. Hence, can't do it. Anywho- I really did make this last night. I had pumpkin left over from making something for a staff meeting and Sam came home from the store with sale cream cheese- so what was I supposed to do?

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 325F.

 Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time.  
Remove 1 cup of batter and spread it in the bottom of crust.

Add pumpkin and spices to remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over first layer of batter in crust.
 Bake for 35-40 minutes in preheated oven in a water bath.  Allow to cool then refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. 

Whip up some whipped cream, lick the beaters, then eat some cheesecake!
sorry, my fork beat my camera to the slice

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Italian Creme Layer Cake

I have been making this cake for a while, and it always gets rave reviews. When Sam and I were just dating, right before I went home to Canada for the summer, he had a really nasty accounting final. I got up crazy early that morning to make this cake in a cupcake version then booked it to his work to leave him a cupcake and a good luck note so that he would have it when he got in. And there you have it: how I won him over ;)

If you like coconut, this cake is to die for. Even if you don't like coconut, this cake might just make you a fan!

The official recipe calls for a lot of pecans- but I like to half that amount and add a whackload (yes, that is a technical cooking measurement) of coconut. And for the frosting I omit pecans and just put toasted coconut on the outside with a few whole pecans. But whatever floats your boat. I'll post the official recipe and you can do with it as you please. Annnnd two round cake pans is a lot easier than three, if you aren't into spending the extra time preventing collapse.  It's also awesome with almonds instead of pecans.

Italian Creme Layer Cake
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease three 9 inch, round cake pans. Combine soda and buttermilk, and let stand a few minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup oil and shortening. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix buttermilk mixture alternately with flour into creamed mixture. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  3. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Gently stir in 1 cup pecans and coconut.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  •  1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Beat together cream cheese,  butter or margarine, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost and fill cooled cake with cream cheese frosting.

Try it. For reals.