Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Own Creation

Normally I just use other peoples recipes to cook. I thought this time I'd try something of my own. It's nothing fancy by any means. In fact, I think it only took me about 20 minutes to make. But it's delicious, and it got rave reviews around my office.

The Ingredients

My poor dishes. I love my dishes with all my heart. My mom got them for our wedding from this place she used to work for. And I just love them. They make me smile. So you'd think I wouldn't neglect them like I do. I was too lazy to pull out my cutting board here so I sliced and diced and minced away right on my beloved plate. You can see a big 'ole chip on the front. I've broken probably 3 dishes in the past couple months. They get slippery in the sink! What can I say?

Brown the sausage

Add the zuchini, onions and garlic. No grease draining necessary!

Cook until vegetables are soft

And voila! Dinner in no time flat.

1 pound italian sausage (I used the hot kind but if you don't speak spicy, just use regular)
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage over med-high heat. Add garlic, onion and zucchini. Cook until vegetables soften. Add pasta sauce and simmer until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over your favorite pasta!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sticky Coconut Chicken

If you haven't been to My Kitchen Cafe blog, you have to check it out. She's got a ton of really great recipes that you can really see yourself making. I probably make at least one thing from arsenal each week for dinner. This chicken is SO tasty. It took me about an hour to find the coconut milk in the grocery store. So if you want to make it, head to the margarita section and you should be able to find your can there. It's super tasty and easy.

Sticky Coconut Chicken

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour (I let mine marinade four about four to five hours). Grill on barbecue.

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while. But once it starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat! Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't judge me.

You work with what you've got. I don't have any kids to practice on. Just a slightly neurotic dog scared of all inanimate objects. I threw these new backgrounds quickly over a chair and grabbed a treat. The second he came around the corner and saw the fabric draped over the chair he booked it. So I grabbed him by the collar and drug him onto the fabric. (This comment explains exactly why I don't have children yet.)

It worked for a minute. Well, more like a second.

He then goes into the "I'm not going to look at you mode". He does the exact same thing when I'm trying to give him a shower. He will do everything in his power not to make eye contact because he wants you to know that he's that pissed off.

"Alright, I gave you a quick look on the blue, but pink? Really? "

We both just lost a piece of our dignity that we'll never get back.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A little something...

Little girl, I miss your sweet voice. I miss your sweet smile, and big eyes. I hope you're staying warm in Alaska. Is that even possible? I hope it is. Tell my daddy I love him and miss him too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I went to my first temple dedication today. Besides sitting 2 1/2 hours on hard chairs (on top of the 2 from church already) I really enjoyed myself. I was so inspired as I listened to our living prophet and apostles testify of their beliefs in temples. One story that President Monson told was that of a man who loved the temple. He lived in a distant country that didn't have a temple near enough for him to visit. Finally they built a temple in New Zealand which wasn't far from where he lived. The man retrieved from under his bed his life savings ($600), and used that to take his family to the temple.
It really made me think a lot about how often I take the temple for granted. Would I take my life savings and use it to travel to a temple? I hope I would. But I don't need to. I can drive 15 minutes to one temple, 20 minutes to another, and 30 minutes to 2 others. How blessed I am to live in a place where I can just look across the valley and have numerous temples in my view.
I know that when I visit them often that I have a greater sense of peace in my life, I know that the spirit of the Lord dwells there, and I know that if I resolve to frequent it more often that my life will be truly blessed.
I'm so grateful that I get to be sealed for time and all eternity Darin, and that through our covenants that our children will be sealed to us as well. I pray that I can continue to lead a life that allows me to enter that sacred house and feel the peace and comfort that comes from it.

To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, click here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Is there anything better than a Saturday night burger? I think not.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I wanted to get a couple sessions under my belt before I started advertising on my blog, but circumstances just aren't allowing that. I REALLY WANT TO START SHOOTING. The longing is running through my veins. Ok....I'm being a little dramatic, but it's true. Tomorrow is supposed to be 70 degrees and I would LOVE to do a shoot outside. If you're interested, I'm offering a session (no fee). After the shoot I'll edit a couple pictures to send to you and if you like what you see I'll charge $20 for the full disc of all edited images. Obviously, I'm not great yet, but if you want some all right pictures for super cheap, I'd love to do them. Let me know!

I also wouldn't mind doing a shoot in my house similar to the one I did below for baby Owen, if that's something you're interested in.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Raised Vegetable Beds

Pioneer Woman taught me how to build raised beds. Darin already knew how, but it gave me an idea. We completed our first yard project. Man, the spring fever is killing me. I can't wait to plant my garden, finish the rest of our yard, lay in the grass with Diesel.
It only took us about three hours to build 4 raised beds. My grandpa instilled a love of gardening in me and now I can't wait to start our own garden. To nurture and watch our plants grow. To have yummy fresh vegetables and herbs. It looks bland now, but wait till the summer when I have a cute picket fence around it with wildflowers. And birdhouses. And delicious plump tomatoes. A small paradise.
We even had a bassett hound nearby for support like PW suggests. Good thing. I don't know if we could have done it without him.
I started weeding out our retaining wall planters. Honestly, I don't think I can even call it weeding. It was more like treeing. These were not weeds. They were small trees. I only get a small section done. It didn't even take a picture, that's how pathetic it was.
Warm sun and flip flops. Where are you? I miss you. Please come soon.

short and sweet

friday. famous footwear. converse. comfortable. love. home depot. lumber. stakes. screws. raised vegetable beds. cafe rio. pork quesidilla. pork burrito. yummy. saturday. sleep in. jazz. build raised vegetable beds. pull weeds. chilis. ate too much. movie theater. taken. strawberry banana milkshakes. the guardian. sunday. didn't sleep in. calling. activities committee. not primary. love. lunch. read. nap. 10 samoa girl scout cookies. sick. in-laws. dinner. more cookies. gay insurance. funny. home. blog. now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Part Time Work

So right now I work at a mortgage company as a full time secretary and as a loan officer and processor. It's gotten to be a lot of work for me so I've expressed some interest to my boss that I'd like to take the secretary part time so that I have more time to focus on some other things. She said that would be fine but I have a feeling that unless I find the other part time person that it's never going to happen. So if anyone is looking for some part time work, monday thru friday 1:00-5:00, let me know. You would mainly be cleaning the office once a week, paperwork, errands, answering the phones. Typical secretary job. Let me know if anyone is interested.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trial Run

I want to say my pictures have been showing improvement, but how can you tell when all your subject does is lay there?

Here's Diesel basking in the sun.

Here's Diesel looking dopey in the sun.

I mean, it gets old right? I've been studying a lot. I actually verge on the edge of obsessive compulsive. Once I decide I want to do or learn something, there's really no stopping me.Reading books, studying photography blogs, reading my manual.
So I really wanted to put my skills to use. My sweet friend Janeen let me borrow her little boy to practice on. Introducing Owen. Happiest little 6 month old I've known. And cutest smile to top it off.

I mean, I obviously still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sneak Peek

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Great Freezer Recipe

I love some good meatballs. Put a nice steaming bowl of pasta in my face topped with meatballs and I'm a happy camper. Make it a freezer recipe so I don't have to cook hard on another night and seriously, I'm ecstatic.

I found this recipe on SmittenKitchen. Man, she's got some good recipes on there. You gotta check it out. She inspired me to make my own bread crumbs. I mean, I don't know if I did it right. I just tore them up and stuck them in the oven until they were nice and brown. I probably could have achieved the same effect by just popping them in the toaster, but it wouldn't have felt as authentic.

I only had one substitute from her recipe. I minused out the 1/2 pound veal and just used an extra 1/2 pound pork instead. I also wish I wouldn't have added as much salt but I didn't taste it before I poured it in. So I would advise you do so. Just combine all the ingredients like so.

I crushed my bread crumbs with a fork and there was bread flyin everywhere. Don't be stupid like me, put it in a bag and crush it that way. It will save you a lot of clean up. Luckily I have a human vacuum roaming my house named Diesel, so it's not so bad for me. But you may not be as fortunate.

Shape them into balls. Big balls, little balls, whatever your heart (and stomach) desires.

Fry them up and it's just that easy.

I got 4 nights worth of meatballs and 2 nights worth of sauce. We like things a little more saucy around our house so I should have doubled the recipe.

See the steam rolling off? Doesn't it make you want some? GO MAKE MEATBALLS NOW. You can thank me later.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal (or substitute an extra 1/2 pound pork)
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 cups fresh white bread crumbs (about 5 slices, crusts removed)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup good red wine (I forgot I didn't put this in either. Not because I oppose but because I didn't have any on hand.)
1 (14-ounce) can pureed tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can chopped or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Serve over your favorite pasta with grated Parmesan.
Make the meatballs: Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, onion powder, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs. (Or perhaps 24, which is what I ended up with. I’m sorry I cannot give you a more precise measure; I am sure your amount will fall somewhere in the middle.)
Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.
Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Really, I'm not sure if there's anything in life that brings more joy than a dog. I mean I don't have kids yet or anything so maybe I'll change my mind down the road, but for now I'm sticking with that.
Diesel is always SO excited to see me when I get home, he loves me even if I spank him, and he provides some major laughs along the way. Case in point:
Last week I took Diesel to the vet to get his yearly vaccinations. Last time I went to the vet I had to lift my 60 pound dog onto the examination table because my vet was 65 years old and skinnier than me. So this time around I thought I would have Diesel up on the table before the vet got in so I wouldn't embarrass myself. Don't laugh, you try lifting a 62 pound dog (yes he gained two pounds this year) onto an exam table while he's flailing. I promise it's not easy. So to my dismay the vet that came in this time was a young guy in his 30's that DEFINITELY would have had the capabilities to lift Diesel himself. But whatever, I was only sweating for a good 5 minutes after he got in there, so it wasn't too bad.
The vet said we needed to cut back on Diesels 3 cups a day food regimen we had him on. He said Diesel was developing utters, which is funny because that's what I call Diesels belly fat rolls.

As he's checking everything out on Diesel of course Diesel is checking out everything on him. So he's all up in the vets face and the vet says "ah... you gonna give me a kiss" which was a definite possibility because Diesel does LOVE to give people kisses. But instead he gets an inch from the vets face and lets out a nice belch. So I apologized and said, "Sorry my dog has no manners." but really what I was thinking was "I'd burp in your face too if you said I had utters".

Don't listen to a word anyone says Deisel. You're not fat. You're perfect just the way your are.