Tuesday, December 28, 2010

time for the thank you notes

Dear Secret 12 days of Christmas Gift-giver(s),

We can’t thank you enough for making our holiday season so memorable. There is a special place in our hearts for you. Your thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity will not be forgotten. Each member of our family has a favorite surprise that you gave us. 
Baby – Christmas Pillowcases
Brother – Reindeer basket
Sister -  Nacho basket
Mom – Snowflakes!
Dad – Hot cocoa and mugs

But, don't worry, we didn't forget about the fruit bowl, Christmas socks, books, jingle bells, flowers, or the nativity. We loved all of those too! We hope we can learn from you and make the people around us feel as happy as you have made us feel.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crazy Chocolate Chip Cake

The "original" recipe for this cake is named Chocolate Crazy Cake. I think it's because my mom is a CRAZY, good baker. Everything she bakes turns out awesome. My stuff isn't quite as lucky, like my first batch of "Crazy Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes" from today. I like to make little (and big) tweaks to recipes. This doesn't work so well in baking. And for those of you who know me, my mistake today didn't include flaxseed or wheat germ, thank you very much! It was simply a measurement (or lack thereof) error. After consulting with a more law-abiding relative (Thanks B!) My cupcakes rocked the house (in my humble opinion.)

This recipe is a combination of two of my mom's recipes which are great stand-alone recipes. I don't know why I can't just leave well enough alone.

Now I really need to go to bed, because I've spend entirely too much of this day thinking about cupcakes. I know these are bad photos. They were just meant as text message temptations to my sister.

Crazy Chocolate Chip Cake
From Bleggi Family Recipes

1 2/3 cups flour
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
½ cup canola oil
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix wet ingredients together then gently combine with dry mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a well-greased and floured pan. Hint: Spray cupcake liners with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees. Mini cupcakes: 15-17 minutes, Cupcakes: 20-22 minutes, Bundt cake: about 30 minutes

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
¼ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 lb. powdered sugar

In large bowl, cream butter with electric mixer. Add coconut extract. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add coconut milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

P.S. This icing frosting is a work in progress. What I really need is Coco Lopez (cream of coconut.) Do you know where I can find it?

Friday, December 10, 2010


Yesterday I spent 10 minutes unsubscribing to every sender in my junk email box. Today I received very few junk emails. My computer does a great job of sorting my junk mail, however, my phone does not. Today I received very few junk emails. Mission accomplished! 

I was getting email every day from....

Paypal.KSL.Columbia.Pyrex.Fingerhut.LeapFrog.drugstore.com.Sierra Trading Post.Lands' End.aerie.Tai Pan.Backyard, Inc.Adobe.Backcountry.com.DynaVox.The Land of Nod.Restoration Hardware.Buy.com.The Little Tykes.Co.Gap.disney.com.thechildrensplace.carters.potterybarn.Sundance...and more

Now maybe I can accomplish my New Year's resolution of sticking to a budget :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Feliz Navidad to Me!

In a very, very rare moment, I get a lunch date when I'm working (at a restaurant.) Although this was a solo lunch date, I enjoyed the eats no less. I did eat in the car since my lunch break was not long enough to be served.

Most importantly, I chose Red Iguana. Where's your favorite lunch spot? What do you usually eat for lunch?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

i love the mountains

early morning run
crisp air
spectacular views

who wouldn't want to live here! it may look and feel cold but, 


i also love my iphone, especially this app. it makes so many things possible. 
i find it hard to run hauling around my big ole camera bag ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Magical Weekend

After a wonderful Thanksgiving feast 
of delicious food and family time, 
what a magical weekend 
traveling to "The North Pole" by railway 
and baking gingerbread!

If you haven't had a chance to stop by "The North Pole," 
visit this fun, little Christmas Shoppe this weekend. 
(And, don't forget your coat!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mmmm... More Uses for Pumpkin

This white chocolate pumpkin scone recipe has the great flavor of pumpkin with pockets of white chocolate to accent the taste.

Yield: 16 small scones

1 cup whole wheat flower
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup chopped white chocolate
1/3 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
1/2 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoon milk or cream
Sugar crystals or Turbinado sugar for sprinkling the tops of the scones 

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
Step 3: Stir in the chopped white chocolate.
Step 4: In a medium bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
Step 5:Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and divide dough in half. Pat the dough into a two circles about 6 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut circles into 8 pie-shaped wedges (triangles).
Step 6:Place the scones on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the milk and sprinkle a little sugar.
Step 7:Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

our thankful list

Every night this month we've been asking our kids what they are thankful for.  Thought my friend over here might appreciate this... 

Last night...

Mom: What are you grateful for today?

Boy: Bees

Mom: Why bees?

Boy: Because they make honey.

BTW, we think The Bee Movie should be inducted in some kind of hall of fame. We also love, love, love Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

This is one of our favorite scenes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

School Lunch

One brave  teacher has had it with the food served to Illinois school kids and she has decided to do something about it.

Since the beginning of January 2010, an anonymous teacher has been eating the school lunch every day. On her blog 
Fed Up with School Lunch, she posts a photograph and shares her thoughts on the lunch fare du jour.

Check out her blog today (11/13/10) and see if her open thread question looks familiar ;) Hint: Read my last blog post titled "Spinach Garlic Toast."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spinach Garlic Toast

For all of you who are looking for new ideas using spinach. Try this. My kids love it. 
P.S. Only use 1/2 of the garlic...and don't be afraid to cut back on the butter.

True story of the day: My second-grade daughter was a lunch helper at school today. With that she earned a treat. I think it is great that she earned a reward for helping in the lunchroom. It was 2 cookies and a chocolate milk. So guess what she chose to eat for lunch? The "treat" or the home-packed turkey sandwich, cucumbers (which she typically loves), and grapes? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bugged. How would you feel about that situation?

Another P.S. She loves working in the lunchroom. The very act seems to be reward enough.
What do you put in your kid's lunchbox that they love (and is healthy?)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I love when it rains on dried leaves and stains the sidewalk...

I love this vintage camera iphone app that took this photo... Hipstamatic

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, October 29, 2010


What happens when you google, "how to be a more patient mom?" You come across great little finds like this.

Add this podcast to your playlist today! It's practical and inspiring.

I hope to read this soon.

So, in honor of happiness I have been working on a project that makes me happy! And since, I'm so happy with all of the project, let me know which makes you the happiest!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Window

Somewhere between snack time and starvation, there is a window. A SMALL window. One night last week, I found the window and my kids ate every bite of this new recipe I dished up. Let me know if your family likes it!

Oh, and if you have a dad that is as great as mine, you can use garden fresh cabbage and butcher fresh sausage.

Fettuccine with Italian Sausage and Vegetables

Adapted from Real Simple

  • ¾ lb fettuccine (white OR whole wheat)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 2-3 T Olive oil
  • 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 3 cups match stick carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions (greens only)
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Brown sausage in a skillet; remove. Add olive oil and veggies to skillet; cook over med-hi heat for about 6 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer until tender; 3-4 minutes. Toss with cooked fettuccine, nutmeg, sausage, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

P.S. Sorry no photos. These days I can barely find clean plates and forks to eat dinner from let alone photograph it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fading memories...

I remember this day like it was just a few weeks ago... Oh yah, it was... So long summer... I hear it's going to snow on Monday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A little preview...

Two darling little things will be featured soon. Here's a sneak peak!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Treat Night Returns

Many of you know my fear of Sunday Treat Night (no offense M!) My kids just seem to gorge on anything they can stuff into their cute little faces and they LOVE it. Some of you may be snickering right now thinking that I'm warping my kids by trying to withhold the finer pleasures in life (Oreos, Cheetos, Doritos, Jello, okay, you get it, the "O" family from the nutritional chart.) And I'm not naive, I know some of you think that they will someday turn on me and spend all of their lunch money on purely processed fat, carbs, and sugar! I will try to control them for just a little longer. My point is, that I am the neighborhood rebel, and I am trying to revolutionize treat night one carrot stick at a time! Last week I took a delicious, savory hummus. This week I took granola. Thanks for the recipe K. We love it. D eats it on his yogurt every morning. I had a colorful hummus photo, but I can't find it. Sorry. But, if you want some new images, visit me here. And, enjoy the recipe.

Red Pepper Hummus

  • 1 red bell pepper (or roasted red pepper in a jar. Much quicker!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 14-oz cans chick peas
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 fresh lemon, juiced
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon red pepper sauce, to taste (optional)

Place olive oil on red pepper and roast in hot oven or broiler until skin separates and/or begins to blacken. Remove seeds and stem and place in food processor or blender with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Serve with pita, Ak-Mak crackers, cracker bread, or crudités. You can find Ak-Maks at most grocery stores.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bok Choy

In my neighborhood, I’ve sort of earned a reputation. That is, the food nazi! My husband tells me that it’s nothing to be proud of; I, of course, disagree. I got a few calls today from neighbors with questions about unfamiliar produce. Today loads and loads of baby Bok Choy came in my Bountiful Basket. And, to be honest, I had no idea what it was when I saw it. So, a friend planted an idea for using Bok Choy and voila! Asian Cabbage Salad. It’s really a combo of recipes. And, the baby Bok Choy is so tender that you can eat it raw. The dressing is from a good friend in Michigan. So try it, try it; You’ll agree. You will like Bok Choy; You will see.
Asian Cabbage Salad
Lots and lots of shredded baby Bok Choy
Carrots, matchstick
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 can of mandarin oranges, rinsed
Lots of grilled Chicken, chopped, sliced, or diced
1 cup orzo pasta, dried
3-4 green onions (greens only), sliced
Lots of crisp wontons
Toasted Almonds

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
½ cup Sugar

1. Cook orzo and rinse with cool water when finished. Toss with a little EVOO to keep it from sticking together.
2. Crisp Wontons by spraying with olive oil, bake at 400 for 7-10 minutes
3. Season and grill chicken, then chop or slice.
4. Chop, slice, and dice veggies.
5. Toast almonds
Toss all ingredients. (If you don’t think you will eat all of it at once, serve wontons and almonds as a garnish.
Confessions and/or advice:
  • My kids were ultra dramatic about the whole Bok Choy thing. I should’ve told them it was lettuce (that’s advice.)
  • I burnt the first batch of won tons.
  • I severely overcooked the second batch of won tons (this is very obvious in the photo.)
  • I burnt the almonds in the toaster oven.
  • I was so busy burning things inside that I forgot about the chicken. The chicken was a close third in the area of burning.
  • Be careful when you are cooking things (more advice!)
  • We don’t usually eat our meals on fancy red plates. That was for a photo op only ;)
  • Half of my Bok Choy still remains. Any ideas?


I've been busy over here, helping to plan a great event and learning web design!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


This was a big risk to take. Maddie has proven that she has seasonal allergies also. The day before this photo was taken, her poor little eyes were so swollen and her nose was running like a faucet. Luckily we got in and out of the orchard in record time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Must-haves, Issue 3

You must "buzz" on over to my neighbor and friend's boutique this week for some creative inspiration...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Must-haves, Issue 2

Buy this now. Don't even ask why. You can thank me later :)

And, why not, it's on sale at Amazon for $60. I would have paid much more. As a matter of fact, I did. Am I sorry? No, it's been the best 4 months of my life. If only I knew about it while I was scrubbing floors barefoot and pregnant!

Recipe of the week....
I liked them. My husband and kids turned up their noses. Melissa...send Em over for a yummy snack, left over Parmesan Kale Chips. Why can't my kids (and husband) just like "healthy hippie food?" My life would be so much easier;)

Here are the 3 little monkeys on a lazy Sunday afternoon. They would barely stop wiggling for 2 seconds to get in a shot or two.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Must-haves, Issue 1

I love this awesome griddle. In fact, I've used it twice today! See recipes below. It was relatively inexpensive. In fact, my sisters gave it to my for my birthday a couple of years ago. I just wipe it clean (sometimes!) I don't really use the grill side because it's hard to clean, but I have. It works.

I use it to cook tortillas, quesadillas, pancakes, french toast, reheat pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, defrost meat, etc, (It's like magic. Chicken defrosts in like 30-45 minutes just sitting on the cold griddle!) Can you tell I watch way too many infomercials?

I have a gas stovetop and just leave it out all the time. See my last post for a photo of my stovetop.

Click here to get one for yourself! But don't get sucked into Crate and Barrel. You'll want one of everything! I just went to the actual store on Saturday and had to leave before I started adding stuff to my cart. I wouldn't have been able to stop.

Toad in the Hole Recipe

1 slice of whole wheat break
1 egg
salt & pepper

1. Turn on griddle and smear with a bit of butter.
2. Cut a hole in the slice bread.
I use a sippy cup. It's a good size.
3. Place bread on griddle.
4. Crack egg and pour in hole.
5. Cook for a while.
6. Flip and season.
7. Cook for a while longer.
8. Don't forget to throw your circle on the griddle for extra toast.
9. Feel sad that your baby can't eat a Toad in the Hole :(
Darn alleries!
10. Make recipe #2 so that your baby is happy.

Here's the smoothie we ate today. No recipe, just tips.

Chocolate Banana Blueberry Smoothie
Avery said it was the best smoothie EVER! Kudos to myself :)
I sometimes use Quik, but as of late just cocoa powder and sweetener

2 cups of milk
a banana
frozen blueberries
2 T cocoa powder
3 T honey
2 T ground flaxseed
1 t fish oil

I am going to start using the last two ingredients a little more just to give my kids a super-charge of brain power.

If you are wondering what on earth I'm talking about, Read this. It's such a great book on the importance of childhood nutrition.

P.S. Buy it from half.com for about $7.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Everything and Nothing

I've been in conflict with my self lately... To blog, not not blog??? What is my blogging "voice?" Do I really have any readers? If so, what do my readers want to hear? Is this my creative outlet or a waste of time? For those of you who know me, know that I always have my fingers in a little bit of everything. Good thing my husband is a finisher, or we would get nothing done! Speaking of getting stuff done. He recently finished this little beauty for me. I've been waiting for this since we moved in. BTW, it's the backsplash :)
Well, back to my point, what do the readers want? Here are things I'm always thinking about writing about.

Products I've discovered that I can't live without...Thoughts on green cleaning...Views on parenting... (good in theory, hard in practice)...Recipes...Healthy Eating...My recent crusade to improve school lunch...Home lunch ideas...Images only...New blog name contest...

So if you are out there, and you are interested in any of my thoughts on these topics, let me know. I'd love to get all of my ideas out of my head so I could concentrate a little better :)Help me find my voice (or at least tell me which key.)

In the meantime, here is an image of my little darlin'. I was so happy how these shots turned out because it's straight out of the camera (SOOC). I thought the contrast and color were great considering.
Speaking of photography, Avery took this palm shot. She is entering an art contest with it and calling her image...

My imagination and I travel to the land of palm trees!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where oh where has this blogger gone...

I’ve been busy doing projects to blog about. For those of you who know me, realize that I’m a jack-of-all trades, master of none. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

1. Adding color to the mud room (remember? I promised to add this)

2. Making new (and old) recipes

3. Laundry

4. Practicing photographing food

5. Photographing food for a local gourmet club (click here for photos!)

6. Laundry

7. Working

8. Laundry (maybe I should photograph this!)

9. Reading a lot about school lunch (here, here, and here...) (it’s my obsession, although some of you might be convinced that it's laundry. Rest assured, it’s not!)

10. Waiting… for the next project. Here’s a hint

BTW, I do lots of fun stuff too. I recently took up yoga (okay maybe not fun, but healthful). I’m helping to plan the 2nd annual Tour de Mountain Green. I’m skiing with my kids tomorrow here.

BTW part II, my food photography is emerging. I’m resisting the idea of flash photography, because I’m still working on natural light. I’m sure I will give in soon and buy a flash.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm in the mood for....


I chose the best color. It's called "Smudgy Fingerprint."

Next episode... How to add color to a very brown room :)


I have a friend.

She is good at everything she does.

She is a wonderful...

She is...
faithful... genuine... sincere... funny... honest... intelligent... beautiful... creative... kind... stylish... strong... patient... brave

When asked to think of someone I admire and would like to emulate, I often think of her.

When people ask me how long we will be friends,
I tell them for a long time! :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fresh Produce!!!

This morning I picked up a basket of organic produce worth more than $60 for only $25. It's all part of a food co-op that uses collective purchasing to get high quality food at prices usually reserved for grocery stores and restaurants. The co-op offers conventional and organic at different locations. You have to order on Monday because there are a limited amount of baskets per site. You do not choose the contents of the basket, but all of the produce was very fresh.

In the organic basket I got avocados, pears, apples, strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, and beets, celery.

The conventional baskets are $15. I did not get one, but I could see baby carrots, asparagus, lettuce, potatoes, oranges, apples, avocados, and more.

I also ordered an additional "asian" produce basket for $9. There was green onions, snow peas, bok choy, napa cabbage, coconut, basil, and mushrooms.

I am so excited about this fresh food option that I wanted to share it with all of my friends and family!

Occasional volunteering is encouraged. Since it was my first time, I'm not sure what it entails.

Check it out! Register as a member and you will get an email reminding you to order on Monday.

They are also on Facebook if you want to read some review and comments.

P.S. Photo courtesy of my phone ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh Baby...

I love this sweet little thing... especially her hair :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Play ball...

Lately I've been worried that my boy will be teased when he grows up. Instead of saying, "You throw like a girl," they'll say, "You throw like a Wii!" That being said, he IS an exceptional gamer. Five to seven strikes per bowling game are not uncommon, even when his eyes are closed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Food for thought...

I’ve recently been following a creative blog that has focused on food recently. The author shares her philosophy on eating. It’s so similar to mine that for a minute, I thought I’d written it. So rather than reinventing the wheel, read this.

One of her commentors, Gram, commented “... where did we get this girl? .. very good ideas, but hard to change old ways of eating.” I get that from my family and friends a lot. And to Gram (and the rest of you unbelievers), I say, it’s baby steps. You can do it!

I have to admit that my list of organic produce has decrease since moving back to Utah. It’s not as readily available in my neck of the woods. But, with all of the recent hype, I’m back in the saddle. This week I’m in search for local poultry and meat.

Here are a few things we do to increase the nutritional value of food at our house.

Canning… Thanks to my parents and grandparents, I have learned the art of canning. During the past couple of years, I’ve canned my peaches and pears in white grape juice. Then, my kids can drink the juice (well technically they could drink the sugar water!) You can buy canned fruit packed in juice. Just keep your eyes open. Walmart has it.

One of our favorite breakfast foods is Oatmeal with canned peaches sweetened with the juice and cinnamon. Maybe a dollop of plain yogurt!

Another breakfast idea…. Smoothies…. Some people call this a green smoothie. We make these when we are in a rush and we need to slurp down a nutrient-dense breakfast quickly. My kids gulped one down before hitting the slopes after lunch

Rough Recipe
Orange Juice or pineapple juice
Frozen berries (the darker the better), I use the frozen blend from Costco or frozen blueberries
Fresh spinach (a couple of big handfuls)
Huge scoop of plain yogurt

My kids and husband love these smoothies and, yes, they even know that the spinach is in there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's the cheesiest...

Thanks goodness she's not allergic to cheese.

Now that I’ve made it know that I’m a total food snob. I will be giving you a recipe for Mac and Cheese. Ha! What can I say, I’m two-faced. I’ve tried several times to make mac and cheese to no avail. And now I know the secret… Don’t use whole wheat pasta or 1% milk. Go for the real deal. Enriched noodles (the cheaper the better,) whole milk, all of the butter. All of my dairy, products were hormone-free and this is very important since I used some of the most fattening dairy products available. Hormone is more concentrated in fat.

The only few changes I made to this recipe were…

Ziti subbed for elbow macaroni

Fine homemade bread crumbs baked on top

½ tsp of dry mustard added to the sauce

I am going to try a combo of sharp white cheddar and Gruyere (I don’t even know what this is, but Rachel R. likes it) and I’m going to add a dash of paprika (because Martha’s mom always added it to her mac and cheese.)

We served it with steamed broccoli and sliced oranges and even had enough for me, the boy and the baby for lunch the next day. This is amazing because Dex doesn’t do leftovers. I don’t fight him over it though because I LOVE leftovers.


The Everyday Macaroni and Cheese

From Tillamook

8 oz. dry elbow macaroni

2 tbsp. Tillamook® Unsalted Butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) Tillamook® Medium Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 ½ teaspoons salt and macaroni. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Pasta is done when it is slightly chewy to the bite or al dente. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.

Prepare sauce while pasta is cooking. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk and bring just to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking often, until sauce slightly thickens, 4-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and 2 cups of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat and fold in pasta. Pour into prepared baking dish then sprinkle top with remaining cheese. 

Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and top begins to brown. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I love to cook.

More importantly, I love to eat.

I have loved it my entire life.

Hamburger casserole was my special dish at age 12.

I moved to college.

I was on a very limited budget.

Semi-homemade meals from cheap, prepackaged, frozen, processed foods were at one time inspiring to me ☹

I had a baby.

Much to my family’s dismay, I became a label reader.

My husband was a medical resident; I was still on a very limited budget.

I moved to Michigan and started shopping at Trader Joe’s. (click here to send them an email and strongly encourage that they come to Utah.)

Labels in our home typically DO NOT include…
MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Autolyzed yeast Extract
Artificial flavor or color
Preservatives (this is hard to get away from)
Hydrogenated Oils
Dairy products with hormones
High Fructose Corn syrup
I do 90% of my grocery shopping at Neighborhood Walmart and Costco.

The other 10%; Albertson’s, Good Earth, and Trader Joe’s imports.

I had a couple more kids.

The baby seems to be allergic to eggs and peanut butter.

Now, I’m so glad I learned to be a label reader.

I live to eat; the doctor eats to live.

I skim recipes; I change, substitute, alter, and disgard ingredients constantly.

That being said, I don’t bake often. (Only if I really have to.)

We’ve never eaten the exact same dish twice in 11 ½ years. ☺ My claim to fame!

I want to share my exciting new and old recipe with YOU. Sorry if it was once your recipe and I altered it.

If you try my recipe, tell me about it. Did you like it, hate it, change it; how and why?

Since the doctor could live off of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and chips and salsa, I want someone to be excited with me about food and about cooking.I saw half of the movie Julie and Julia (before I fell asleep) and thought it was inspiring. Not inspiring enough to cook fattening French cuisine for a year, but enough to get excited about sharing my thoughts on food.

I love photography, but I don’t usually click photos of our food. I love hot food. But I’ll try to post a few images here and there.

A friend recently shared a recipe for No Knead Bread. One of my hobbies for the last several years has been perfecting my sourdough bread recipe from my homemade start. Well, I thought it was perfect (and perfectly easy) until this came along. I’ve made it once or twice a week for the past several weeks. There are about a gazillion of these recipes online so find one that works for you. So with out further adieu…
No Knead Bread
3 cups flour
or 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups white flour

1/4 tsp. instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups water

Mix together the dry ingredients.
Mix in water until the water is incorporated.
Cover with plastic and let sit 8-18 hours. (the longer the better)
Transfer to well floured surface, coat with flour, cover with floured towel and let rise about 1 ½-2 hours.
After 90 minutes of rising, preheated a cast iron pot or soup pot to 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Remove cover; bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
Let cool completely on rack.
Consume bread, be happy.
Further notes: This method of baking is quite forgiving if you alter the ingredients and proportions. One of the great things about a bread recipe that is so easy and involves just one loaf at a time is you don’t feel like you’re risking a lot if your experimenting goes awry.
P.S. The photo of the bread is my sourdough bread NOT No Knead Bread...