Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Tortilla Soup

This soup was super easy and really good!  It was perfect for using up some of our leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, but you could also just cook up your own chicken or turkey to use.  I added a bit more chili powder to make it spicier, but it was really good as is, too.  We ate it with a bit of sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips. This one is definitely going into the regular rotation!

Turkey Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (10.75oz) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 4 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes 
  • 1 (14oz) can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add minced onions and cook until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Stir in the water, tomato soup, diced tomatoes, salsa, turkey, parsley, and bouillon.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until bouillon dissolves.
3. Add black beans and corn.  Simmer 20-30 minutes
3.  Serve soup with sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, chopped green onion, or other desired topping.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vegetarian Noodle-less Lasagna

This lasagna was satisfyingly awesome.  You use zucchini and yellow squash sliced thinly lengthwise instead of pasta, fat free cottage cheese instead of ricotta, and delicious spinach instead of meat.  Even Sam, who is a big fan of classic lasagna, enjoyed it.  It's filling, delicious, and healthy.  I loved it and will definitely be making it again!

Squash Lasagna

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 2 medium yellow squashes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 small carton of cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package of frozen spinach (or 2 cups cooked)
Slice squashes very thin, lengthwise, using a very sharp knife (be careful, it's tricky!), vegetable peeler, or fancy-schmancy tool.  Cook very slightly in a frying pan to remove some of the moisture.  In a 9x9 dish, make a single layer of squash.  Cover with sauce, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and spinach.  Make another layer running the other direction, continuing until you run out of squash.  On the top layer just put sauce and shredded cheese.  Bake at 350F for 1 hour, and then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese on top.

Feel free to use whatever type of cheese you want, to add cooked ground beef, to add more or less of the ingredients to your layers (I had some leftovers of both cheeses!), or add other veggies!  The beautiful thing about lasagna is that you can do whatever the heck you want and it will probably still be good :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Overcoming and rising up

Most of you probably remember the Provo Tabernacle fire that occured about a year ago.  It was a very sad thing to see that beautiful building destroyed.  It paid a homage to the pioneers.   It hosted general conference a few times, back in the day.  It also held some personal significance.  Sam and I used to go sit on the grass in the park next to it and talk for hours.  We used to attend stake conference there.  It was where I first met his parents after a choir concert he was singing in.  It was just a very iconic building and the loss felt rather tragic.
reactions to the destruction from the fire
Recently I was talking to a friend about the purpose of weaknesses, trials, and heartache.  I feel like there are some challenges that we can see quite clearly how their will benefit us.  There are others that impact us so deeply and painfully that it makes it a lot harder to see the good in it.  My friend and I were trying to think of specific blessings that come through certain trials, but were struggling a bit.
I then though of the Provo Tabernacle.  How horrible and useless was it for fire to destroy tthat building?  What possible good could come from it?  Would they restore it?  Was it worth restoring?  What was the point?
rendering of the future temple
Last General Conference President Monson announced that the Provo Tabernacle would be rebuilt and restored as a temple. My initial reaction was excitement that our beautiful tabernacle would be put to such great use and not torn down!
Only just recently did it strike me how incredably significant it is that the tabernacle is going to be a temple.  The tabernacle was engufled with flames, and then left charred and of the verge of collapse.  How pointless and tragic it had seemed...  But from that tragedy came something amazing.  That damaged building will become a sacred, clean, holy temple-- dedicated to the Lord in the highest order.
How alike we are to the Provo Tabernacle.  We may endure the burning and pain, leaving us damaged and hurt-- on the verge of collapse.  It might seem pointless.  It might seem tragic and unfair.  But something great can come from our deepest weaknesses and heartache.  Something great will come if we rely on the Lord and let Him transform us into the great people we are meant to be.  Like the Provo Tabernacle, we have the chance to rise from the ashes of our own tragedies and rise to become something greater.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fresh Cranberry Orange Loaf

Up until last week, I had never tasted a fresh cranberry.  While I was at the grocery store I saw a big bag of them for pretty cheap, so I grabbed one and decided to try making something with them.  When I tasted one, I was expecting something sweet and tangy-- but it was so bitter!  I was surprised, but apparently that's just what fresh cranberries taste like.  I guess cranberry sauce just has a LOT of sugar in it ;)
I found a recipe for a cranberry orange loaf, and let me just say that it is FANTASTIC.  This is definitely going into the holiday baking rotation.  It's amazing.  If my ward would actually assign me some people to visiting teach, this is what I would take them.  For now I guess Sam and I will just have to work on eating large quantities on this beautiful thing.
Cranberry Orange Loaf

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 c fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 c nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c margarine, softened
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c orange juice
  • combine icing sugar and orange juice to form a syrupy consistency
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9x5'' loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in orange zest, cranberries, and nuts. Set aside.
  3. Cream together margarine, sugar, and egg until smooth.  Stir in orange juice.  Stir in flour mixture until just moistened.  Pour into pan.
  4. Bake 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  (If desired, poke holes in the top, glaze and let sit another 5 minutes).  Remove to a wire rack and cool.
I needed 2 large oranges to get the right amount of zest and juice.  To get more juice from your oranges, heat them up in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and then roll on the counter, applying enough pressure to soften it up.  Then cut in half and squeeze to juice it.
The glaze is delicious, but not necessary for it to be awesome :)
If you wait for it to cool completely it's quite easy to cut with a serrated knife.
Try making mini loaves to give as gifts!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cajun Baked Catfish

Normally we don't buy meat, but Smiths was having an awesome sale on fresh catfish, so I decided to buy some to try since I have never had it before.
One 5.7oz (159g) filet of catfish has 25g of protein.  It has healthy fats (including 4g of monounsaturated and 114mg of omega-3) and healthy nutrients like vitamin E, B-1, and B-3 (among others!).  It also has less mercury than other fishes. (source)

I got the recipe for this dish from (one of my go-to recipe sites).  I liked that it was a fairly subtle taste so that you could still taste the catfish.  Sam didn't love it since he doesn't like the taste of fish, though, and probably would have preferred something stronger to mask the fishiness, haha.  This would work well with other fishes too, such as fresh tuna.

Cajun Baked Catfish
  • 1T canola oil
  • 1t garlic salt
  • 1t dried thyme
  • 1t paprika
  • 1/4t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4t hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8t pepper
  • 2 catfish fillets
Combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl.  Brush over both sides of the fish. Spray a shallow baking dish with non-stick spray and place fish inside.  Bake at 450F for 10-13 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

We had ours with peas and coconut lime curry rice :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Dessert

If you want to try a fantastic alternative to pumpkin pie, this is it.  I like it more than pumpkin pie.  It's easier than making pie crust.  It kind of rocks. By the way, Momma White has had great success with using a gluten-free cake mix to make it GF, and almond milk/less sugar/Smart Balance to make it a little lighter.

Pumpkin Dessert:

  • 28oz pumpkin
  • 160ml evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combination of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package of yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (almonds are my favourite. Pecans are awesome too)
Combine the first 6 ingredients then pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle the cake mix on top.  Evenly pour the melted butter on top.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Bake @350F for1 hour or until knife tests done/nuts are browned

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Parties of Halloween

Halloween really crept up on me this year!  All of the sudden it was only a few days away and we hadn't done anything "Halloweeny".
First we decided to throw an impromptu party.  Consequently, most people couldn't make it, but we were very glad for those who came!  I went a teeny bit overboard with the quantity of food, but it was mostly just for the fun of making it anyway.  A lot of it was pretty cheesy (not as in containing cheese).  It tasted good though!

My favourite pumpkin dessert.  It's better than pie!
Fruit salsa with homemade cinnamon chips
Caramel apple bites
Mummy dogs
Seven layer dip (with sour cream web and olive spiders :)
There was also a veggie platter with carrot organized to look like a jack-o-lantern, among other things.

On Saturday I paced the Halloween Half, which I already wrote a post about.  

On Monday I made cupcakes for a work meeting.  Sorry for the crappy webcam picture...   Unfortunately they got slightly destroyed during the transportation to campus so I couldn't get a better picture later when I found my camera :(    If you can't tell, the cake part is supposed to look like candy corn, and I used precious Halloween sprinkles on top.  I'd post the actual recipe I used, but they actually didn't taste very good.  They were very cute though! I'll probably just be lazy and make them with a cake mix next time.  

Monday night we went to the annual Halloween party that Mom and Dad White always have.  Sam and I came up with an extremely last minute costume:
Can you tell who we are?
We also watched a few movies-- The Exorcism of Emily Rose (decent movie, moreso just interesting imho), Hanna (very beautiful cinematography.  Seemed very European), and Devil (highly recommended).  

Now, time for Thanksgiving to creep up on me!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Taking a study break:

  • Was working with partner for presentation on teaching students with hearing impairments.  Suggested we use braille as a visual example of a way to make accommodations.  I am brilliant. 
  • Lady at work said "Hello, Michael" to me when I was slightly turned away.  Michael is a very male looking coworker.  I had my hair down (which goes down to the middle of my back) and was wearing a purple cardigan.  I don't know what to think.
  • Why do people push the pedestrian button right after I just pushed it? Do I just have this look that says I suck at pushing buttons? I got this, guys.  Trust me.
  • Picture of the day:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Race Pacers

For longer distance races, such as half or full marathons, there is someone called a pacer.  What they do is run the race in a set amount of time, so that if you have a specific race goal all you need to do is stick with them and you will cross the finish line at the right time.  Or if you wanted to break a certain time you just need to cross before them.  They're basically a fancy watch.
I have always thought that pacers are so cool.  They all have their matching pace shirts so you can pick them out of the crowd and carry a sign with the race time and pace on it for the whole race.  I always thought, "Oh man, I hope I'm legit enough one day to be a pacer!".  Well guess what, folks:  either I'm legit now, or pacers aren't as legit as I thought they were!

A runner friend of mine (who is truly legit.  He wins marathons. No big deal.) offered me the chance to pace the Halloween Half Marathon in Provo this past weekend.  My PR is a 1:45, and I would be pacing at an easy 2:20 (pacers run at a time quite slower than their current ability, just to be sure that they will make it and still have energy to encourage people :).  I was also put in charge of recruiting someone else to pace with me, so I got Poppa White on board!

I had a blast pacing!  There was actually a third lady pacing with us who has run a lot of races.  She had a very different method than I would use in the future, so I'm looking forward to trying out some new things. But it was a lot of fun talking to her and my dad-in-law about different running stories and race experiences! I am so grateful to have a  DIL who has all of this running knowledge and experience.  I have sure needed it as I have gotten more into racing!
I'm already signed up to do pacing for a half marathon in January, and there are several other halves in the works throughout 2012.  I also might even get to pace a full in the summer.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited!  The great thing about pacing is that you get to run the race for free, you can just have some fun, meet some people, and get more involved in the race community :)