Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flour tortillas and "refried" beans

Sorry for the blurry picture, but Dear Husband was unimpressed that I tried to get him to stop eating the last tortilla so I could grab a picture of it.
The other day I was craving a tortilla, but we didn't have any.  So I thought to myself, "Self, just make your own dang tortillas!"  And so I did. I also made homemade refried beans, which were way the heck better than the too-salty-mush that the cans sometimes turn out to be.

Flour Tortillas:
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp.  salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard (Orrrrr you can also use 4 Tbsp. margarine and half the salt. Whatever helps you sleep at night)
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut in fat.  Add water gradually until dough is soft but not sticky.  Knead for several minutes.  Break into 8 equal sized balls.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit about 10 minutes.  Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high.  Flatten the heck out of the dough to however thin/large will fit in the pan.  Cook on both sides.  Scarf.

Refried Beans (without the frying)
Pretty much you just throw a rinsed can of black beans in a pot with some garlic and a dash of hot sauce then cover with enough water that you won't wreck the pot.  Let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, adding a bit of water when necessary.  You can then just mash it up with a fork (or if you want to make a mess, put it in the blender).

We had our tasty tortillas with the hot shells, a bit of cheese, beans, salsa, and lettuce. I also made an apple-cinnamon one for dessert ;)

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

So this one time I had to make an instructional video for my technology class. Since I was making graham crackers anyway, I did a how-to video on that.  I felt like such a dork!  I also wanted to get it all done this past weekend, so it's not flawless and my perfectionist side is angry at it.  It exists on youtube-- but I can't decide if I want to post it here.  But hey, I'm all for people laughing at me :) 

On another note, I've gotten a few chances lately to teach some groups how to make pie, a few meals, etc. It wasn't formal by any means, but I loved doing it.  I might not be much for being recorded (ie: cooking show is a no-go) but I'm looking forward to being in front of  a classroom!

Anywho, I'll at least post the recipe.  It is WAY good.  The gluten free part is irrelevant on how tasty they are.  I haven't tried it with regular flour, but I would suspect that it would turn out similar if you substituted the xanthan gum with half the volume in baking soda.

Gluten Free Graham Crackers:
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Pamela's baking and pancake mix)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 generous tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
7 Tbsp butter or margarine, cut into piece
3 Tbsp cold water
3 Tbps honey
1 tsp vanilla
Additional white sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until is resembles cornmeal
Stir in water, honey, and vanilla.  Dough should form a firm ball.  If it is too dry, gradually add small amounts of water.
(OPTIONAL: Refrigerate dough until cold.  It makes for a more crispy cookie, but I've done it both ways and both work)
Preheat oven to 325
Line a large cookie sheet with wax paper and spray with a non-stick spray.
Place dough on cookie sheet.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll out to about 1/8'' thick.
Score dough with a pizza cutter or knife and prick all over with a fork.
(OPTIONAL: Sprinkle with additional sugar)
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and starting the harden.  Re-score the dough.  Place back in oven but turn off heat and leave in warm oven.  Check every now and then for desired crispiness.  Let cool for at least 5 minutes before breaking apart.


I for reals like these way more than normal graham crackers.  Dang good!


Last weekend (the one before this one we just had) my parents came down from Canada to go to my cousin's wedding in St. George.  Sam and I got to tag along, too! 
My gorgeous cousin and her new hubby
The weather was fantastic! It was absolutely perfect for a wedding (and everything else, for that matter).  Early on Saturday my mom, Sam, and I went to a temple session, and had a very wonderful experience.  Right after was the sealing, which was so beautiful!  I am so glad that we had the opportunity to go.
After the wedding, we went on a drive to see what the St. George marathon course was like.  The course map does not do the Veyo hill justice!  It's going to be a beast!  I'm really excited about it, but naturally, still intimidated. Oh man.
We then went to the family dinner, then stopped at a few stores before heading to Cedar City for the reception.  At the suggestion of Rochelle, we went to DI.  She was right about it being an awesome branch!  I found this super vintage nautical dress and this crazy floral dress that I'm going to alter a little, for just $6 each!  You would probably pay upwards of $80 for ones like them at a boutique.  Mom even paid for them =D Thanks mom!
One highlight of the trip was seeing this guy on the side of the road selling teeny little beagle puppies.  My biggest regret of the trip is not pulling over to ask him to hold one. That might have been bad, though-  I may have just run off with one.
The setup for the reception was gorgeous!  I wish that I had taken pictures of it.  Never has a gym looked so good.
The next morning we headed back to Provo, then up to Alpine to hang out at the White house.  My parents made it home safe and sound with a stash of bugles, which apparently have disappeared from Canadian shelves.  Very strange...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Food fail.

Things don't always work out.  I'm pretty sure the lady who posted this recipe (Peanut Butter Cup Blondies) on her blog gave the wrong pan measurements.
this was AFTER I scooped out a huge bowl-full and cleaned up the sides a bit. It just kept growing!

It looks awful, but holy smokes, the part we ate was AMAZING!  I'll try making it again someday (with the right sized pan) and let you know how it goes.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm going to start off with a little complaining, because it makes the punchline of the story make more sense.
My allergies have been the worst they've ever been.  I feel like I'm just wandering around in a tired, sniffly daze.  I've also had some ITB trouble, weird ankle pain, and a sore back (from running).  
Last night around 11pm I was dying on the bed with an icepack and decided to try to find the icy-hot to put on my ankle.  I looked through some drawers, then was looking in these bins we keep under the bed, and got really tired.  I figured I would just stay there until Sam came in and get him to help me look.  An hour later, Sam came in laughing and asking what I was doing.  "I think I fell asleep".  Much laughter followed.  It's cool, just having a nap on the floor.  I probably would have ended up conked out all night if he had let me.  It's just too bad he didn't take a picture.  I was kind of spooning the laundry basket and had carpet pattern on my face.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

This cake is very fudgey and rich!  Count on sharing unless you want to go into a sugar coma!  It's also gluten free :)

Flourless Chocolate Cake:
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 6 eggs

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
    2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
    3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
    4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
    6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Peanut Butter Frosting

 Cream 1 cup (minus a Tbsp) margarine (or butter) with 1 cup peanut butter. Add 1/4 tsp butter flavouring if you used margarine, and add 1/8tsp salt. Add 2 cups confectioners sugar and 1Tbsp milk. Add additional milk if needed

(If you aren't anti-uncooked-egg-white, whip in two of them to make it extra fluffy and light.  I prefer it with egg whites, but other people don't like that so if I'm feeding other people I won't add it in)

Mac N Cheese

This is another recipe that I got from Lottie + Doof.  To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan, but Sam loooved it.   The only homemade mac n cheese that I've tried and liked is the one my mom makes, and for some reason I keep trying recipes other than hers and they just don't measure up (PS: Mom, send it my way please? :) ).  I think the problem is that onions just make me feel sick now for some reason, so that was all I noticed in it.  We also didn't add bacon, which we all know tends to make things better.  Sam thought it was awesome, and I think it really is a great recipe.  And it looked awesome!  I did half of the recipe regular as I'll post below, and the other one I added about 3/4 of a small can of tomato paste.  Both were great! Anyway, here it is:

Mac + Cheese
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you would like this with less spice)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese,  divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces Mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound Penne
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, allow to melt, and then add the flour and stir for a minute. Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk; simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 1/4 cups of cheddar and all of the Parmesan cheese and marscapone. Return bacon to sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add panko and stir until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in parsley.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lighly butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish or similarly sized gratin dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until very al dente. Drain well. Toss pasta and cheese sauce and season again with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Roasted Almond Pesto

I found this neat website called Lottie + Doof that has some amazing food photography and recipes.  I found an almond pesto recipe that I wanted to try, but changed a few things.  I really liked it since I'm used to pesto, but the taste had to grow on Sam.  One problem was that we didn't have enough fresh basil (holy smokes, it is way too pricey at Macey's!) and had to add a bit of dry.  I think ricotta would taste a lot better than the cottage cheese in this dish, but ricotta=pricey and fatty, and we already had cottage cheese in the fridge.  If you can get the fresh basil and ricotta, do that instead!  The original recipe also added black olive, but I don't like them. Overall, pretty good, and worth a try!

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup roasted almonds
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
Finely chop garlic in a food processor.  Add almonds, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil and blend.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in cottage cheese.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Toss with hot spaghetti, thinning with some cooking water if needed. 

Baked Tortilla Chips

These tortilla chips are great!  For one thing, they can be way healthier than bagged chips- baked rather than fried, you can add less salt, use whole wheat tortilla shells... They're also a great use for leftover tortillas.  Sam and I seem to have a hard time using a whole bag before they go nasty, so this time around I made these chips and had them with chili!  They are also great with quinoa and black beans.

  • 1 (12 oz) package torillas (corn, flour, whole wheat, spinach...)
  • 1 T oil 
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t salt
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Cut each tortilla into chip sized wedges and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet
  • Combine oil and lime juice.  Brush onto wedges
  • Combine dry ingredients. Sprinkle on chips. 
  • Bake about 15 minutes total.  Rotate the pan halfway through.  Only bake until the chips are crisp but not too brown. 

This is similar to mt recipe for cinnamon chips (with fruit salsa!).  Coming soon ;)

Pillow face

This is how I found Sam the other day.  I'm not sure what got him so tuckered out...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Green cards are actually green.

See the fedex van? That's how they ship you off if you get rejected.
In case you guys were wondering, the marriage license fiasco and green card interview went astonishingly well.  It wasn't at all like we expected.  We waited for a long time (expected), then went in to talk to a very kind immigration officer (unexpected) who was telling jokes about Canada (semi-expected: always expected from others, but not from him).  He asked for the very official things like marriage license, birth certificates, rental contracts, etc, but he didn't need any of the things like pictures together, love letters (hehe), or skype call logs (which was about 50 pages long, by the way. Sheesh).  The only questions he asked were things like, "are you legitimately married, are you currently living together as husband and wife, do you intend to stay married...".  We didn't even go into separate rooms and get quizzed about favourite colours or how we eat our eggs, which was actually kind of disappointing.  It could have been like a game show (with ultimately high stakes).
So there you have it.  I'm a permanent resident.  It's about time!

(Oh, and it says that you are supposed to keep it in a special sleeve so that mobile devices can't access it... What? Are phones that good now? I wonder what that means...)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Just so you guys know, I'm doing some layout changes on the blog.  It's a work in progress, so it might look ugly for a bit.  And random.  Don't worry, I got this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

No More Procrastinating!

It's official!  I'm running the St. George Marathon on October 1st!  I'm half stoked, half terrified.  Poppa White and my bro-in-law Chris are doing it too! I sneaked into their group registration, because when one person gets in everyone does, so it tripled our chances, etc etc... Maybe they'll be nice enough to wait at the finish line for this slow girl to crawl her way over :)
 I first began toying with the idea of running a marathon when I was just starting my freshman year of college.  I didn't keep good track of workouts back then, but I'm pretty sure I kind of sucked at running.  I kept sucking until a year later, then sucked on and off until this year.  My endurance was decent from playing rugby, but I had a really poor perception of distance and didn't just run very well.  Back in the days of playing I think I mostly got by with my high pain threshold and not being afraid of getting my face smashed (been there, done that). I wish that I could play rugby again just to see how much better I could do now that I'm not such a slug.
Anywho, this goal is really great for me.  I really am excited, but I think the best feeling throughout the whole process is going to be once I cross the finish line. It will just feel like such a great accomplishment. It is significant in a lot of ways with the timing and nature and whatnot.  I am very grateful for a body that can do things like this.  Here's hoping for many more years of being able to do crazy stuff like this!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stuff, things...

  • We subbed for the primary choristers last week.  Stinkin' adorable. And intimidating.  But one little girl gave me a Repunzel sticker after, and the nursery girls thought Sam and his animal sounds were hilarious.
  • I made homemade bagels!  I think they got a wee bit overcooked, but right after they were done they were the bomb-diggity.  Definitely trying them again. Recipe to come when I have done it successfully.
  • I still haven't blogged about Canada!  The fact that I was with all of my favourite people in my favourite place is a good indicator of how it was, though.
  • Yesterday at noon I was sitting at the duck pond feeding baby ducks, drinking an orange-carrot smoothie, and waiting for my group to pick me up to go to Ikea for a class field trip.  It was a joyful moment. 
  • Slightly Healthier No-bake Cookies: 75% of the sugar, stir in chia seeds and oat bran.  Nom.
  • We're gonna go caaaamping. And hiiiiking. Soon. Possibly at the hot springs. Can't even wait.
  • They just changed a bunch of the class requirements here at BYU.  The international student requirements have significantly  changed, and I could have skipped taking 3 of the worst classes of my life.  HATE.  LOATHE.  Happy for future kiddos though...
  • I'm going to buy a cast iron skillet today.  Way more exciting than it sounds.
  • Today this random bald dude walked into our classroom and I thought it was my teacher so I called him over and asked him a question.  Turns out it was some guy that works at the library.  He semi-helped me and I don't think he realized that I thought he was my teacher.
  • On a note totally unrelated to the above comment, I once took a facial recognition test and failed miserably.  I'm borderline handicapped with facial recognition. So if I walk past you and don't say hi, I either forgot to put in my contacts or I just suck.