Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer reading!

I don't even remember the last book I read for fun, not counting running books to get training plans.  I used to read a lot.  I used to get in trouble for having my light on reading too late at night, so I would sneak a flashlight into my room and put a towel at the bottom of the door so my parents couldn't see the light.  Then the next morning when the door wouldn't open because it got stuck on the towel I would say that it must have fallen off the doorknob (Mom, did you know?)

I love reading, and I love books.  Now my reading mostly consists of textbooks, and as interesting as some of them are, that's just a bummer.
I really want to find some great books to read this summer.  I know for a fact that some of you are big readers, so please give me your recommendations!  Or, even better, if you have a book I can borrow instead of buy, that would be awesome!
One book I have heard is really good is "The Help".  Has anyone read it or heard anything about it?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

American Fork Canyon Half Marathon

Second half marathon down!  
Race tip: lay out all of your stuff the night
 before so you aren't stressed/ scrambling! Also
 pin your bib on your shirt as soon as you get it!
For this race, I was feeling a lot less nervous.  Part of it was just the atmosphere-- this one was a fundraiser for cancer patients who can't afford treatment.  There was a great sense of community!  It was also the first race they had put on, and I must say that they did very well!  I would definitely recommend this one, and will probably do it again in the future.
Because there were fewer people for this race, I didn't have to be on the bus until 4:15am this time! It was also a lot warmer at the start, even without fires.  The race started at 6am, and the sun had just barely lit up the canyon enough to help us see well.  By the first half mile, it was plenty light.
A bit before the first mile mark, the road was flooded!  So for the next 12 miles, all of us had soaking feet.  Not so cool!  The night before we had slept at the White home, and I had forgotten my running socks, so I was running in wet cotton.  C*tton so*ks are BAD NEWS for physical activity!  Don't go there!  Also never wear cotton spandex or underwear when running.  You will have chaffing like you never knew could happen.  You've been warmed.  Fortunately my feet are already so beat up and tough that I didn't even get blisters ;)  Very good!
Around mile 4, a lady came and started talking to me.  She was a middle aged women with kids in the late teens-mid 20s.  She has run many half marathons and some marathons, and has some family up in Canada working, on missions, etc.  I really liked talking to her, but she was super speedy so I had to push myself like crazy to keep up with her to keep talking!  I stayed with her until the end of the canyon, then we lost each other at a water station (so, she took off like a Mexican mouse and I shuffled along at a more comfortable pace).
The rest of the race went by really quickly.  I didn't start getting knee twinges until about mile 11 or 12.  I hit 13.1 at 1:50, and finished the race at 1:52:17 and 13.33 miles.  That's a 5 minute difference from last race, which is pretty rad!  Obviously that's due a lot to the difference of the course, but I'm still satisfied.  
Let's take a look at the following picture:
Nice picture.
Now let's look at the right half of my face:
Not bad, kind of scuzzy, but I just ran  over 13 miles.
Now let's look at something disturbing:
What the-- what happened to my eye!? What disease do I have? So much shiny!  PUT IT AWAY!

So for those of you who commented on the pictures from the last race, saying that I didn't even look like I just ran, this time around all of that grossness was concentrated into half of my face.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hot apartment, clothes, and mess.

I take back what I said before.  I do not want it to be this hot, even if I was at a lake.  Our apartment is death for my Canadian blood!  Our AC was broken for a long time, so we were using this window fan that was ok up until this heat wave.  They finally came and "fixed" the AC, but it was blowing hot air!  We asked our landlord about it and he said that when it's really hot it's not going to work very well.  Very useful! Thanks! I really only use air conditioning when it's cold anyway, so that's just fine!
Maybe someday I'll adjust...
In other news, the late 80's/early 90's are in.  Right on schedule (fashion has a 20-30 year rotation)!  I'm thinking that maybe I should start hoarding all of my ugly clothes that I don't like anymore.  They'll be cool in 30 years!  Or just still ugly.  At Forever 21 it was basically like looking at Jennifer's old yearbooks.  It was kind of awesome.  I came really close to buying this super ugly shirt that was huge, fluorescent yellow, and had weird triangles on the front.  Yep.
Oh, so I have another half marathon on Saturday.  I was feeling reallll good on my run yesterday, so here's hoping that all goes well!  The course is slightly more downhill, but I'm thinking it's going to be a LOT hotter, and that tends to make me preform significantly worse.
One more thing about my workout yesterday...  I also went to the gym for a bit, and was chillin' on the treadmill and elliptical and watching tv.  I don't know if I was just way overtired or if Conan was especially hilarious, but I was seriously cracking up hardcore.  Out loud, and very loudly.  I was trying to stifle my laughter, but that turned it into more of a snort.  Seriously, if you have any friends  that go to the same gym as me who have mentioned the psycho chick at the gym late at night, probably me (but only probably... There's another chick who busts out moves and sings on the treadmill.  Also a dude who raps.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts not worth individual blog posts:

  • A potential future Police Beat: "University Police received a call that a suspicious male on a bike was following a female runner at night.  When approached, it was discovered that the male was actually her husband, following along behind for safety reasons."
  • YouTube suggested that I watch "jumping lambs".  It was an accurate assumption of my video interests.
  • Here at work we have a high volume of incoming freshman or RMs being dragged (sometimes literally) by their moms to take career tests.  I wonder how much effort they end up putting into their answers on the test... One time a mom left his kid to do it and he asked if he could have his money back so he could go buy tacos instead.
  • EFY is on the loose at BYU.  They have counsellors acting like security guards at building exits so the kids don't escape and try to make out during class.  So far I haven't been stopped, but I see them eying me suspiciously.  I swear they're on the edge of deciding if I'm 17 or not. I guess having a wedding ring helps.
  • I love that there is a "Read a book!" billboard with pictures of the Tangled (movie) characters.  Makes sense.
  • It is DANG hot right now (for me).  At first I was thinking that it's just too hot and I wish it was colder, but then I decided that the heat would be awesome if I was out on a lake instead of walking up a hill to work.  My conclusion is that I don't want it to be cooler; I want to be more lazy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Smoothie

Smoothies can taste great, but often the ones that you buy from Jamba or Booster Juice are so full of sugar and mysterious base mixtures that it kind of cancels out the point of having a healthy snack.  Depending on if you think the convenience is worth it or not, they're also pricey!  If you make your own, you can make just the way you like it and you know what's going into it.
Personally, I think it's pretty easy to get all the fruit you need in a day, but that's not always the case for veggies. Many people just aren't big fans of veggies (especially raw, or sans ranch or cheese sauce).  But with the right ingredient combinations, you can't even tell that there are veggies in your smoothie!
Here's a handy chart for making a great Green Smoothie:
Pick 1 from A, 2 from B, 1 from C, and add 1 cup of ice.  Blend it up, and you're set!
Pro tips:

  • You can use frozen fruit in place of ice
  • Blend up your greens with the liquid first to help get rid of the chunkers
  • If you really want to mask the veggie taste, use strong fruit (raspberries>apple or pear, for example)
  • Greek yogurt is the bomb.  I could rave about it all day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

S'more Cookies

Well, let's be honest, I suck at pictures.  I will also be honest and say that at least I don't suck at baking!  I got this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything, and they are fantastic!  I couldn't have them all sitting around here, so I took them to work and my boss gave them rave reviews.  They're way easy, and way good! I'll post the halved recipe that I used.  It fills up one jelly roll pan, which I think is just the right amount!  But please refer to the original recipe for better pictures ;)

S'more Cookies
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallow
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces (optional)
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Place graham crackers on the sheet, keeping them close together.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Cream butter with sugar, add eggs and vanilla, then mix to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar and mix on low speed.
Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.  My marshmallows were quite dried out, but it still worked great (so, good recipe to use up stale 'mallows!). Chill the dough for at least an hour.
Place balls of dough on each graham cracker then flatten slightly with your fingers.  I did about a tablespoon of dough.  Mine didn't spread as much as the original recipe, and that was the right amount to fill up the graham. 
Bake for 5 minutes then press Hershey piece on to top (if you have them).  Bake for an additional 5- minutes or until cookies are browned.  If your cookies have spread, let cool before cutting apart.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Utah Valley Half Marathon

Well, I did it! I completed my first official half marathon!
The buses started taking people up to the starting line at 3:30am.  Oh my.  The night before I tried to go to sleep early, and Sam stayed up until I had to wake up at 3am so that I wouldn't miss everything by accident!

At the starting line, which was up the Provo canyon just north of the Sundance turnoff, they had a bunch of fires started for us to help keep us warm.  As more and more people arrived, the fires got extra crowded. They also started dying down so we had to send people up the mountain to find us more wood now and then.  Our group was lazy and just convinced other people walking past with wood to give us some. 
I saw Bruce Willis and my dad in the 80's.  It was crazy!  I didn't know Bruce Willis was a runner or that my dad could time travel!  I wish that I had a camera with me that I could prove that I saw them.

I had no idea what kind of time to expect.  I knew that I could run it in less than 2:20, but I didn't know by how much.  I decided to start out with the 2:00 pacer, but would fall back with the 2:05 in case I started lagging (although I doubted that I would even be able to do that).  However, once we got started at 6am (after 2 hours of waiting on the side of the mountain), I felt really good and decided to go a bit faster than the 2 hour pace and then maybe just fall back with him if I needed to later.  

I felt so good!  That massage that I had gotten a couple days before was a lifesaver.  I forgot to take anti-inflammatories (BAD news) but I only had a little bit of trouble at mile 5 and mile 11.
The weather was so perfect.  I guess the past few years it has been pouring rain for the race, but this time it was wonderful.  It wasn't even windy (so my allergies and asthma behaved too).  
For the race I made a shirt with printable iron-on transfers.  It said "You are stronger than you think" with the Operation Beautiful website URL on the front and back.  It was a great reminder to me, and hopefully helped out some other people too.  I had several people approach me during the race to thank me for the motivation or say they liked the shirt.  During mile 5 when my knee hurt and I had to walk, one woman passed me and said, "remember your shirt!".  So I guess it helped me out too!  Check out the website-  it's a great little project.  My shirt was more about more than running motivation.  You are more than a body, a face, an achievement, or a reputation.  You are stronger, and so much more, than you (or others) think!
For the first half of the race I listened to Harry Potter 2 (thanks Eric), then I listened to my usual running playlist.  At about mile 9, as per usual on my long runs, I got all emotional. I just started thinking about my various experiences, and I just want to say that I am so thankful that I have a healthy body that can do so much.

As I approached the finish line, I noticed that the gun time had barely under an hour left on it.  I started running as fast as I still could and crossed with a gun time of 1:59:28, and a chip time  (so, the real time of crossing the start/finish line) of 1:57:59.  Given the fact that I wasn't sure if I would make 2:05, I was thrilled!

Sam was there waiting for me, and it was pretty lucky that he was there on time given the fact that I told him I would probably be over 2 hours.  I went and grabbed both of my medals, checked my official time, then got a free massage!  I also saw my dad from the 80's!  No Bruce Willis, though.
My next race is the American Fork Half Marathon in 2 weeks.  I hope that it goes as well (or better) as this one! 

Friday, June 10, 2011


So as some of you may have noticed, I had a recipe posting marathon the other day.  I was putting together a family recipe thing for a class and I needed to post a bunch of the "classics".  Anyway, I had them categorized all nicely, but then I figured, why not do that with everything?  So if you look at the top of the page, there is a "recipe" tab that has all of the recipes that I have posted, sorted into categories.  That will make navigating a lot easier! 
So tomorrow is my first half marathon!  I have to be at the bus to the starting line at 3:30am.  Yeah.  Sometimes that's how late I'm still up from the night before doing runs.  
Last night I went and got a sports injury massage (thank you SO much, Momma White) for my IT band.  It hurt SO much, but in a very healing sort of way.  I guess it's perfect timing-- I'm supposed to be a little sore today, but I should feel a significant difference on Saturday.  Apparently after a few session the whole problem will basically be taken care of.  If I don't slack off with the stretching and icing and heating, I'll be in good shape.
Mom and Dad Brooks also have totally saved me in helping me get what Sam calls a Bat Utility Belt. I can carry some water, my asthma inhaler (allergies are killing me), some shot bloks, and my iPod.  Bomb-diggity. Thanks!
So yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to the race!  I feel ready and I know that I will at least not die, since I've done a farther distance than that just recently.. So long as I don't get injured, I should be good!  I have no idea what my time is going to work out to, but I think I'll try sticking with a pacer and see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pizza Dough

This recipe is from my mother-in-law, Momma White.  She makes awesome pizza!  This dough recipe is the best I've ever used, and super easy! It always turns out!

Pizza Dough

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all-purpose flour


1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
2. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 13-in. circle. Transfer to two greased 12-in. pizza pans; build up edges slightly. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread with sauce; sprinkle with toppings. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

(Variation:  Add Italian Seasoning and/or garlic to the dough!)

Macaroni and Cheese (keeper version)

me and my mom
I've tried many, many macaroni and cheese recipes that I have found online and in cookbooks. They all fall short of my mom's recipe.  After trying so many different versions, I have come to the conclusion that her recipe is just the best one there is!

Macaroni and Cheese

Cook 1 cup macaroni until tender.
Melt in saucpan:
1/4 cup butter or marg
1 Tbsp chopped onion
Cook slowly until tender but not browned
Blend in:
1/4 cup Flour 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Few grains pepper
Gradually stir in:
2 cups milk
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 
Stir until cheese is melted 
Add cooked macaroni and blend well
Pour into buttered 1 1/2 or 2 quart casserole 
Sprinkle with:
2/3 cup buttered bread crumbs
Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and browned 
4-6 servings.

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

My mother-in-law recently found out that she has Celiac disease, so we've been on marathon baking runs trying to find awesome recipes that she will enjoy.  One of her favourite snacks is graham crackers and milk, so I set out to find a graham cracker recipe that is gluten free and doesn't taste like the store bought ones, that quite frankly, taste like stale dog food.  I found a recipe, changed it up a little bit, and got these.  They actually taste better than store bought graham crackers.  So there you go!

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.


Just so ya know...

...if you're wondering why it looks like I got hopped up on caffeine and made 20 blog posts, it's because I had to put together a recipe collection for a class assignment.  Given the hour, I will  neither confirm nor deny the caffeine part of the story.
That is all.

Sugar Cookies

No but seriously, folks.  These sugar cookies are the best.  These aren't the cut-out type-- they're the melt in your mouth, perfect balance of sugary/buttery/light/rich, perfect for dunking, perfect for freezing, perfect for scarfing sort of sugar cookie.

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups + 4T flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Additional white sugar
Cream together the sugars and fats.  Add the beaten egg and vanilla.  Sift together the dry ingredients then add.  Roll into balls then roll in sugar.  Flatten/indent slightly with fingers.  Bake 8 minutes @ 350F.


Or, if you prefer, "Chocolate Ecstasy".  This isn't the same this as "Better Than Sex Cake" that I've seen around Utah.  This is "Better Than Better Than Sex Cake".  It's "Sex-in-a-Pan".  Even Grandma Frache calls it that.  Auntie Lorna objects, thought ;) In any case, it's always awesome to have (giggle).

  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c icing sugar
  • 1 c cool whip
  • 1 small package vanilla pudding (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small package chocolate pudding (1/2 cup)
  • 3 c milk
  • Additional cool whip
  • nuts or chocolate shavings for garnish
Combine pecans, flour, and margarine and press into a 9x13 pan.  Bake 10 minutes @ 350F. 
Whip together the cream cheese, icing sugar, and cool whip.  Spread evenly over cooled crust.
Whisk together puddings and milk until thickened.  Spread over cream cheese mixture. 
Spread a layer of cool whip on top, and garnish with nuts or chocolate shavings. 

Asian Orange Chicken

I first found this recipe online, and then modified it over the many times I've made it to make it, in my opinion, even better!  It always gets rave reviews!

  • Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup + 3T packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cinnamon Buns

If you want to make the world's best cinnamon buns, you also need the world's best bun recipe.
Sometimes when Grandma Frache makes her buns, she will also make extra dough to do cinnamon buns.  They're basically just amazing!
There isn't a set recipe for these buns.  Grandma is the sort of baker who just knows what looks and fells right, and will grab a handful of this, a pinch of that...
To make the cinnamon buns, you roll out the bun dough to about 1/2-1'' thick.  Spread a lot of butter on the dough. Sprinkle with a lot of cinnamon.  Spread a lot of brown sugar on top. (Optional: sprinkle raisins on top)
Roll up the dough to form a "log".  make sure it's rolled up tight!  Using a piece of thread, wrap it around the dough and close off to cut.  Put on a jelly roll pan close together and bake 15-18 minutes @350F or until tested done.

Auntie Lorna's Marshmallow Fruit Salad

Auntie Lorna and cousins Michelle, Brenda, and Cathy
This salad is a total staple at family holiday  gatherings.  Maybe it's not the healthiest thing ever-- but it tastes dang good!

Auntie Lorna's Marshmallow Fruit Salad

  • Lemon pie filling mix, prepared and cooled
  • Small container of whipping cream, whipped with sugar
  • Egg white, whipped to form stiff peaks
  • 1 can fruit cocktail, drained
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 package mini coloured marshmallows
Combine the pie filling, whipped cream, and egg white.  Gently fold in remaining ingredients.  Serve chilled.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ginger Beef

My dad used to be the head chef in a fancy steakhouse restaurant.  I remember going to visit him at work while I was really young and seeing the amazing, hectic, busy kitchen.  I also loved going in the walk-in freezer (the huge slabs of meat and whole dead animals didn't traumatize me too much, I guess).  He is an amazing chef, and has a lot of great recipes up his sleeve.  His ginger beef recipe is my absolute favourite.  He actually came up with it himself, and it was on the menu at the restaurant.  I love it with rice and steamed broccoli!

Ginger Beef

Cut beef into thin strips. Coat in cornstarch.  Deep fry at 350F, then coat with sauce.

  • 2T minced ginger
  • 1/2 c. vinegar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1T chiles
  • 1t garlic
  • 2 splashes tobasco

    Combine above ingredients, and heat to a simmer

  • 2T cornstarch
  • 4T ketchup

    Blend cornstarch and ketchup, then slowly add to sauce mixture while whisking.  Heat at a simmer until thickened. 

Cinnamon Buns

If you want to make the world's best cinnamon buns, you also need the world's best bun recipe.
Sometimes when Grandma Frache makes her buns, she will also make extra dough to do cinnamon buns.  They're basically just amazing!
There isn't a set recipe for these buns.  Grandma is the sort of baker who just knows what looks and fells right, and will grab a handful of this, a pinch of that...
To make the cinnamon buns, you roll out the bun dough to about 1/2-1'' thick.  Spread a lot of butter on the dough. Sprinkle with a lot of cinnamon.  Spread a lot of brown sugar on top. (Optional: sprinkle raisins on top)
Roll up the dough to form a "log".  make sure it's rolled up tight!  Using a piece of thread, wrap it around the dough and close off to cut.  Put on a jelly roll pan close together and bake 15-18 minutes @350F or until tested done.

Poached Egg on Toast

Grandpa and Grandma Frache

This is a really simple recipe, but it just had to be included.
I would spend a lot of time with my Grandma and Grandpa Frache while my parents were at work.  I would have breakfast over there most days, and my favourite was poached egg on toast.
First, you have to poach the eggs in an aluminum, single egg poacher like this:
None of those silly, modern non-stick ones with 5 spaces!
You need to poach it so that the yolk is still runny.  Salt and pepper it, then put it on top of buttered toast. That's it!

Muddy Buddies

at conference, right after we had first started dating
For General Conference Sam is usually doing translating for Slovenian.  If we aren't hanging out in Salt Lake City, we go over to Mom and Dad White's house to watch the sessions on television.  We like to make a snack in between the morning and afternoon sessions, and Muddy Buddies are a favourite (especially of Sam's)!

Muddy Buddies

  • 9 cups corn and rice chex
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Put cereal in a very large bowl.  Melt peanut butter, butter, and chocolate.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour mixture over cereal and stir to evenly coat.  Pour into a large plastic bag and dump in sugar. Shake well to coat. Spread on wax paper to cool. 

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

On the day that Sam proposed, we went out to eat and got spinach and artichoke dip at the cheesecake factory (and cheesecake, obviously).  Then, when we were engaged and planning the wedding, we went to a bridal fair and have the best dip ever that a catering company had made.  A few months into being married we went to a wedding reception and that caterer was there, serving the spinach and artichoke dip!  Since the chances are slim that we'll continue to go to weddings with the same dip, I got this recipe for the dip.  It's pretty close (and a lot cheaper than hiring a caterer!).

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (14oz) jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Extra mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a small baking dish.
Combine all ingredients (except extra cheese).  Pour into the dish and then top with extra cheese. 
Bake for 25 minutes @350, or until brown and bubbly.

Orange Julius

Back when I was around 7 or 8, my older sister (who is 7 years my elder) and I would take the bus to the library, mall, or swimming pool while our parents were at work.  I loved spending time with her, and thought that it was so cool that she and her friends didn't mind having me around now and then. Sometimes at the mall she would buy an Orange Julius for us to share.  Then she learned this recipe, and we would make our own at home!
I caught the reading bug from her, we both were in dance, and we had a lot of fun even though there is a big age difference.  Now that we are both a bit older, I think that we have even more in common.  I love her so much and really look up to her!  It's hard being so far away, but it sure makes me appreciate getting to go back to Canada to see her and her family!

Orange Julius
  • 2/3 c. Frozen Orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 10-12 ice cubes
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Using in a blender process orange juice concentrate, sugar, ice cubes, milk, water and vanilla extract until smooth.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Grandma Frache's chicken noodle soup is absolutely the best.  It's not like the typical translucent broth.  It's creamy, delicious, the noodles are homemade, it's fun to make, and about the best thing you could have on a cold winter day or when you're sick!  
I remember making noodles with grandma for as long as I can remember.  For my 19th birthday I got a pasta machine just like hers.  It was a very proud moment for me the day I recreated that recipe.  

grandma's handwriting

Yorkshire Pudding

This is definitely one of my favourite dishes.  Grandma Frache sometimes makes it for Sunday dinners with the extended family.  The puddings are like an eggy cup that is slightly hollow in the middle, so you just fill it up with gravy!

Yorkshire Pudding

  • 7/8 cup flour (3/4 cup + 2T)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup milk
Mix all ingredients together for minimum time.  Pour into greased muffin pan about 2/3 of the way up.  Bake at 450F for 20 minutes.

Thai peanut sauce recipe (used for pizza)

So the other day I made pizza, but the camera was dead, so I took a picture on my phone.  Now my phone is being a weirdy and not letting me upload the pictures how I usually do, so I'll keep working on getting a picture... It wasn't that good of quality anyway, but visuals are neat.

Anyway, on one half we did "BBQ Bean" and the other half was Thai chicken.  The bean side had chili beans, corn, BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is the way to go, people), crushed tortilla chips, and cheese.  It was alright.  I think it would be better with onions and tomatoes.  The other half was dang good! I highly recommend it.  It's grilled chicken, broccoli, julienne carrots, pineapple, snow pea pods, and peanuts with a spicy peanut sauce.  For the cheese we used pepperjack.
Here's the peanut sauce recipe we used.  I think it would also be awesome just on rice with a stir-fry of veggies.  For all you people I know who have experiences Thailand, I'm not too confident in the authenticity of it, but it is tasty ;)

Thai peanut sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • Just stir it all together! For ours I used regular vinegar, omitted the sesame oil and put in some Frank's Red Hot.

Tzatziki Sauce

I just love Tzatziki sauce!  It's super good on pitas, with chips or crackers, on sammiches... Good stuff!  It can be pricey in the store, but you can make your own (less fatty version) super easily!

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup grated cucumber
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup non-fat sour cream (or, more yogurt if you're anti-sour cream)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill (or about 3-4 tsp if using dried)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon (optional, if you are just using bottled lemon juice don't worry about the zest)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • additional salt, to taste
Lay out cucumber on a paper towel and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp salt.  Let stand for about 30 minutes.
Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Ta-da!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Black Bean Cupcakes!?

Yep. Black Bean Cupcakes.

Even if this sounds gross, just hear me out.  I've heard for a while that you can use beans in cookies, but today I learned that you can also make purees and use it in cakes!  I decided to test out this theory.  Result: totally works and tastes just like the real thing.  For reals.  Sam couldn't tell the difference. I also used egg whites instead of whole eggs, making it even healthier.

To make the bean puree, just rinse beans then put in a blender with just enough water so that it will mix.  Substitute equally with the oil.

For the Betty Crocker Supermoist Milk Chocolate cake mix, I used:

1 package of cake mix
1/3 cup black bean puree
1 1/4 cup water
5 egg whites

Just mix by hand until combined, bake 'em up, and there you have it! You can do the same thing with white beans and yellow cake mix.

Let's compare:
black bean/egg white version on left, regular on right
Is it worth it?  Your call.  I figure that you had might as well make little changes here and there because they can add up.

PS: If you want to use the extra yolks, check out this site:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

don't judge the empty spaces.
When I told Sam what I was making, he says, "So I can eat these for BREAKFAST?".  I said yes.  But in moderation.  They're sort of a replacement for granola bars.  You know those teeny useless ones that don't fill you up? These have about the same number of calories, fill you up more, and taste way better.  I also changed some of the ingredients up to fit preferences (so feel free to change nut type, etc) and  added wheat germ and oat bran.  So yeah, they're better than having a granola bar, at least. Eat some fruit or yogurt with it too, maybe ;)

Breakfast Cookies
  • 3/4 C all purpose flower
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 scant tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 Tbsp melted unsalted butter (it will help your cookies stick together)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2+2T C packed brown sugar (honey might also work. Haven't tried it. I also already reduced the sugar so reducing it more might mess up the product)
  • 1/4 C of your favorite nuts, chopped (I used almonds)
  • 1/4 C 0f your favorite dried fruit (I used dried cranberries)
  • 1/4 C mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 of your favorite seeds (I used unsalted sunflower seeds)
  • Additional wheat germ and oat bran
  • Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flours, oats, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.
  • Beat the egg then add in the melted butter, vanilla and brown sugar. Stir until well combined.
  • Combine the flower and butter mixtures until well incorporated. Stir in the nuts/fruit, etc.  Add additional wheat germ/oat bran to make a firm but moist dough (I needed about 1/3 c total).
  • Using your hands, form into about 15 cookies.
  • Bake about 10-12 minutes. Ten minutes is for a chewier cookie, and a little longer if you like a crunchier cookie.
  • Cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container (though if you look at the picture of our pan an hour after making them, we didn't need to store them).