Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lemon Cake

When I told Bobby I was going to post this recipe on my blog, he asked me if I really thought it was "blog-worthy." I confess that normally I wouldn't, but I thought it might be fun to start blogging some of my Mom's recipes as a sort of tribute to her. She is actually a really good cook, and not all of her recipes are this easy, but this is a cake she has been making for as long as I can remember and I love it! She used to get so mad at me when I would scrape the lemon icing off the top and leave the cake.

Lemon Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3-oz.) box lemon Jello or pudding mix
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
4 eggs

Mix all ingredients together and bake in greased 9x13 pan (or bundt) at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Poke holes with a fork (or thin skewers over the cake.)

Lemon glaze

1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix lemon juice and sugar and drizzle over cake.

(I've seen that some recipes call for lemon cake instead of yellow cake for this recipe. I think this is way too lemon-y.)


Saturday, July 21, 2007

This is why I'm hot; This is why I'm hot.

My brother told us that a few weeks ago my mom said to him- I learned a new song today and it goes like this:

I'm hot because I'm fly
You ain't because you not.
This is why, this is why, this why I'm hot.

She's so funny.

So, the funeral was yesterday. It was beautiful and though I was exhausted by the time it was over, I was sorry to see it end. There were so many people there. I think our final estimate was about 700 people. It was amazing to look out from the stand where we were sitting at all the people who were there to pay tribute to my mom. I wanted to take a picture of the cultural hall just filled with seats, but we didn't bring our camera because we had to pack so quickly.

The night before the funeral, after family members and friends left, Dad, Julia, Maggie and I went to the church to set up a memorabilia table and a slide show of pictures from her life. It was about midnight when we got there. Maggie and her friend had been working on the slide show for hours and we watched it there at the church for the first time. It was a very emotional night for all of us. It's absolutely lovely- put to music that she would love, with pictures of her from when she was a little kid until now. If I can figure it out, I may put it up on this blog. We are so grateful to Maggie's friend for going to all the trouble and making such a lovely tribute to my mom. Then we came home and I finished writing my eulogy. I was really pleased with the way it turned out. I may post part of it here. I'm sure I will actually. I was only supposed to take 10-12 minutes and I went for 20! I'm sure that's the first time that has ever happened- another first- I didn't want to end the talk! I believe she was there listening so I never wanted to finish. My brother and sister gave great talks, and then my sister Maggie sang "I Stand All Amazed" and she has the most incredible voice. I don't know how she did it. My mom's brother Wayne and one of my parent's best family friends Marsh also spoke and what they had to say was so comforting. They both did such a great job. There were so many flowers and they were the most gorgeous arrangements. We went to the burial site after the funeral services and that was very nice as well. After visiting with people for a while, we headed back to the church for a luncheon put on by the ward. The food was delicious. I especially liked the fruit. I think I had like three plates of fruit!

This is the hard part. Up until now we've really had to work hard to plan and carry out the funeral. Now all I really have to do is figure out how to start a new life without my mom here. We're heading back to Missouri on Tuesday and I don't know how I'm going to leave. It's hard that we live so far away. I'm worried about my sisters. I'm not sure they are dealing with this loss. I'm not sure how to help them and the only person I know to ask isn't available anymore.

Here's the eulogy I gave:

When I was young, I was asked to give a talk on Mothers day. I asked for my mom's help with preparation for the talk and she told me to start off with this scripture from the Book of Mormon and the story of the stripling warriors: "Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and i did remember the words which they had said unto me that their mothers had taught them." Then she told me to say whatever I did, I could say it was it was because my mother taught me. The way I see it, I'm home free! When I told her I didn't get it, she said, just say it... they'll laugh. Well, she was right. And I still don't get it. Do you like how I was able to use that help from my mom for two talks?

My mom was born in Long Beach on March 1, 1955. She was the oldest of five kids and she loved her brothers and sisters. All growing up, she told us great stories about the crazy things Wayne used to do. When Julia and Richard and I used to fight, she would tell me that she NEVER fought with her brothers and sisters as a kid. I'll have to check with Gayle and Wayne if that's true. She was a very good student, she excelled in her studies and received very good marks. She was a flag twirler in junior high and I've always had the impression that she was very popular and admired by her friends. She hated when we would bring this up, but she competed in the Miss Villa Park pageant her senior year and won! Her talent was singing "If I were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. She was absolutely stunning. We loved looking at all her old pictures and asking her questions from this part of her life.

Many of you know that my mom is an excellent seamstress- she started developing this talent very early- when my mom was 12 or 13, she and her parents were not in agreement about clothes and what they considered reasonable in terms of price and quality. She knew she could do better than what her parents were willing to buy her so she started making her own clothes-at age 12! In high school, she got a job working in a dress shop called Susie's. Her next job was in a bridal salon that made wedding dresses. It was here where her sewing "career" really took off and she started to become the amazing seamstress many of us know her to be. I say "career" only because she was rarely compensated for her skills. Sometimes she traded services, but most of the time she offered her talents without accepting any payment.

My mom really made the most of her college experience. I've always known that she was very proud of this time in her life. Education has always been really important to her and she has always encouraged us to concentrate hard on our studies and work towards a college degree. She loved her studies, but she also filled her time with many extra-curricular activities and different employment positions on campus. My dad showed me a really cute note he wrote for her.

"I, Cole Kimball Warner, do solemnly swear to come over to Marianne Sant's apartment to help her concentrate on me instead of her studies whenever she gets close to understanding them. I also swear to give her 50% vote in all matters of importance (not to include which run to take when we're skiing.)

I love the idea of my dad trying to lure my ambitious and hard-working mother away from her studies and busy life to go out and have some fun.

My mom and dad met at a stake dance in Long Beach while my father was home for Thanksgiving. She had seen him once before while visiting in Utah. He picked up my mom's friend for a date and my mom thought to herself, "that's the kind of guy I want to marry." At the dance, my dad asked her to dance the last song of the night with him, and then he asked her out for the very next evening. He had to go back to Utah the next week, but they kept in touch until she started classes at BYU in January, and there they eventually started dating exclusively. My dad tells me he had to ask her out every night to keep her busy and even convinced her to break a few dates that she had lined up. They were engaged in March and married on June 17, 1976 in the Los Angeles temple. My mom was in graduate school when I was born and my dad was also in school. My mom used to tell me that they would be studying in different rooms and they would whisper secrets to me to pass along to one another. Silly things like "monkey" or "banana." I found a letter my mom wrote after I was born. I thought it would be fun to read part of it: "I've said over and over that Cole is everything anyone could want in a husband. Well, ditto for a father. I just looked over to see the most beautiful picture. Cole was holding her while she fussed a bit, and she went to sleep looking up into his face. I'm so happy... sometimes I think my heart is going to break in two."

Before she went to BYU, my mom studied for about three years at Cal State Fullerton. She was very involved in student government. Every Friday she planned a luncheon for all the students at the institute. Each year she was responsible for putting together a huge banquet with a medeival theme. She always enjoyed entertaining and loved when her house was full of people. Some of my best family memories include getting the house ready for a big party. Some of you may already know that I sometimes have a hard time staying up past 9 o'clock. When I was 12, I asked my mom to let me have a sleepover for my birthday and I fell asleep at 9! My mom stayed up all night with my friends while I slept and the next morning they told me how much fun they had with my mom and that I really missed out! As a child, she loved to go to the Sant Christmas Party every year at her Uncle George and Aunt Nell's house. When she was nearly thirty, with three small children, she started hosting this large family party at our house and it is something we all look forward to every year. Family was very important to her, and she has always been very proud of her heritage. When my Mom was only 29, she lost her own mother to cancer. I remember hearing her say a few times, "She belongs here with us!" I'm going to have to say that I can relate to that. The parallels are kind of startling, because I am also the oldest daughter of five kids and will soon turn 29 myself. She and her mother were very close, and losing her so early was very hard for her. She was determined to keep the family close though, so she made sure to get the family together often and keep family traditions going. For some years we had a tradition where all the families would come to our house for Thanksgiving, spend the night, and the next day we'd all go the movies. My mom and dad would stay up late with Wayne and Cindy and Gayle and David and Lauren and watch movies. It showed how strong she was that even though she was trying to cope with the loss of her mother, and dealing with a very precocious toddler (Julia), she still found the energy to keep the family going and help everyone get through it.

My mom has a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She loves the organization of the Church and she has loved serving in it. I've learned so much about serving in the church from my mom and dad. During the last few years my mom has kept very busy as YW president in her ward. I've said this about every calling she has ever had, but I think this was her favorite calling ever. She loved the women she had on her board and told us about it ALL THE TIME. She also loved working with the youth, and they loved her.

Something else that my mom was doing when she passed away was working with some very good friends in a state steering commitee family leader group that worked together to understand legislation that was being passed in the state and how it affected families. Her friend approached her about family leader, and though she was very busy, still in the throes of carpooling and seminary and parent involvement at school, she felt strongly that she should get involved. She took a strong interest in the group and spent a lot of time studying bills and the effect they had and helping the group know what to do. My mom was an important voice in the group.

Recently my mom and dad have taken on the job of landscaping the backyard together. They enjoyed working out in the yard together and choosing different plants and flowers. I'm so grateful that they were able to share these sweet memories together during their last few months together on this earth. They did such a beautiful job.

Many of you know that my daughter was diagnosed with autism last year. I took it pretty hard, and I relied on my mom more than I can ever remember needing to before. She was ALWAYS there for me when I needed to talk. Sometimes she just listened to me while I tried to cope with that trial. One time she spent an entire day reading up on autism and different treatments and forwarded all of her useful findings to me. Little did I know that there were other members of our family who needed her listening ear and valuable advice and concern just as much as I did. She was always there for people, and not just her kids. I've had so many people tell me about the wonderful talks they've had with my mother and how big of an impact she's had on their lives. She was such a devoted mother to all us kids, that it amazes me that she even had time to reach out to so many others. I marvel at the energy my mother has. I think another thing people love about her is she never held back from telling people how she felt about them. She expressed her love to people freely and rarely was concerned with what people would think. Her intentions and her heart were so pure. I will really miss hearing her bright and thoughtful perspective. She was so smart, and when I called with a problem, she could always help me work it out by looking at the problem from a different angle and in a way that I could never have thought up on my own. Oh! and she had a great sense of humor. I loved how firm she was with her testimony and her love for the gospel, and at the same time, that every once in a while, if you caught her on the right day, she could be just the slightest bit irreverent and come up with something that would just crack you up like, "Hey, let's skip sunday school and go play poker."

She was such a fun mom. When I was really little, she used to make up stories to tell me at night. She even made up a character and just the name made me laugh so hard: strawberry poopcake. I remember us laying in her bed with our faces really close and her just saying the name : "strawberry poopcake." which sent us both into fits of laughter. Once we were at the zoo with some friends in Utah and we were visiting the lions who were really lazy that day. Anyway, one of them had their tail hanging out of the cage and she offered us five bucks if we'd sneak over and swing the tail! I always thought she was so cool. She used to tell us how much she loved the summertime because we were all home and how much she hated when school started in the Fall and we all had to go back. She planned really fun days at the beach and we went a lot during the summer. She also loved Disneyland and took us there often.

It was always hard for my mom to send us off, to college, missions, girls camp... She hated it. She always said the only thing that helped her was to make sure we were prepared for anything. I spent four months on a study abroad trip, although she was thrilled that I'd be having such a great experience, she hated the idea of me being so far away. We spent days shopping for the perfect clothes- she helped me find really cute and stylish yet comfortable and practical clothes and shoes, a perfect backpack to carry when I'd be travelling, and anything else she could think of that might be helpful. She thought I needed more clothes than I thought I did, and there was one sweater set that I didn't want to bring because I didn't think I had the room. When I got to Vienna, I found the sweater set carefully hidden inside my winter coat! We always laughed about that. There was always a note hidden in my suitcase from her telling me how much she loved me and that she was going to miss me while I was gone. When she drove me out to college, she took me to the store and bought me new bedding, school supplies, new clothes, dishes, and stocked my shelves with tons of food.

I'm strong, but I'm nowhere near as strong as my mother. Over the last couple of years, two of my close friends have lost their mothers. Not having been through it myself at that point, I went to my mother for advice on how to comfort them. i think maybe it's a tender mercy of the Lord that I had all these talks with my mother as preparation for what is happening to me now. As we look back over the events that unfolded over the last year or so in our family, we are seeing a bit of a pattern. Like my struggle with Franny's autism, several other family members had trials they needed my mother's help with. I've heard her comment several times on how all her kids are in such a good place and how good that felt. I have since discovered from friends and extended family members that have told me, that my mother also helped several others recently with advice they needed from her. I feel that these things may have been preparation for her departure from this life. Like the stocked shelves in my college apartment, my mom leaves behind members of a family who although are broken-hearted, are strong and doing well.

My sister Maggie told me that a couple months ago she was with my mom in the car- they were talking about my grandmother and how much my mom missed her. Maggie started to cry and said, "Mom, I don't know what I would do without you." My mom said that even though she wasn't planning on going anywhere, there are surprises around every corner, and to be prepared.

I love this woman. I can't imagine a better mother. so intelligent, so sweet, always laughing... validation, best friend.
bobby just like her

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an
object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There, she
is gone."
"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to
bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished
size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my
side says, "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her
coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
"Here she comes!"

- Henry van Dyke (1852 – 1933) American author, educator, and clergyman

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I went through a really hard time last year when Franny was diagnosed with autism. My mom got me through that period by always being there when I needed to talk, night or day, and by helping me research different autism treatments. She always took time she probably didn't have to spare, as she was a very busy woman, to listen to me as I tried to cope with the reality of autism. Up until then, it was the hardest challenge I had to face.

I've said several times that I never would have started a blog during that difficult time, because what I had to say might be too depressing. This may seem weird, but after Saturday night when my Mom had her stroke, I thought maybe I might not blog anymore for the same reason. But then I remembered that last week I told my mom how happy it made me that she reads my blog, and she laughed and jokingly replied, "Your blog is the reason I get out of bed in the morning." I know this was hyperbole, but I really appreciated the sentiment. She loved my blog, and I know she'd want me to keep it going.

For those of you who haven't heard, my mom passed away on Sunday from a massive stroke. She went peacefully and quickly. I miss her so much. It's strange to be in her house and see her laundry basket full of last week's clothes and her toothbrush next to her bathroom sink. I spoke with her three hours before it happened about summer vacation plans and plane tickets. Today we chose a cemetery and a burial plot, finished the first draft of her obituary, and looked at flowers for the casket. It's exhausting trying to make all these arrangements, and I don't even feel like I'm being much help anyway. Our family and friends are showing so much support and love to our family. They have all been so wonderful. It is so great to be here with my family. The funeral is this Friday at 11:00 AM. I feel honored that I was asked to give my mother's eulogy. I just hope that I can find the words to best celebrate her wonderful life.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What the !@#$%?

It's amazing what people will eat. These are dill pickles marinated in Kool-aid! I read this in a magazine and just had to share this phenomenon with you that is apparently gaining more and more popularity in the U.S. Bizarre!

Although, maybe I shouldn't talk. In college we used to take pixie stix and pour them into the cavity of a red vine and eat those.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Very proud to present you with....

My first video-editing experience. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Franny is in a classroom with all boys and it is my impression that she loves it! What girl wouldn't love all that attention! Here is Franny with one of our favorite little boys from her class, Garrett, at a BBQ the other night. As soon as Franny saw him there, she ran up and held his hand and they walked up this hill. I was so glad I thought to bring my camera.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I just want to thank Shrek, Nemo, and Ariel for teaching my little girl how to talk. Bobby and I would venture to guess that 50% of Franny's spontaneous speech is actually a quote from one of these three movies. Here are some of her favorite lines- see if you can guess which movies they come from.

"No! Get out of here! Leave me alone!"

"Wait a minute! What are you talking about?"

"Fish are friends. Not food!"

"Are you okay? It's alright..."

"I wanna be where the people are, I wanna see 'm dancing."

"I AM AN OGRE, and that's not gonna change."

At church on Sunday, Franny was entertaining herself by walking in and out of a door she figured out how to push open. Apparently walking through this door reminded her of a scene from one of the afore-mentioned movies and she decided to act it out for me. I so wish I had video of this, but I'll do my best to paint you a picture with these words: She put her hands on the door to push it open, hesitated and turned her head to the right and said, "I've made changes for you Shrek. Maybe you should think about that." Having said her piece, she flipped her hair with attitude and proceeded to walk through the door. My little actress...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner is a big deal to me. I want it to be special, and I want it to be good. There should be a salad (or side of some kind), a main dish, a bread, and a dessert. Bobby has come to learn that this is very important to me and will usually step in to help with the kids while I cook way too much food.

Some of these pictures turned out awful because I didn't want to take the time to carry the food outside for a photo shoot. This is a Fields family favorite- Wienerschnitzel. It is boneless pork loin chops that are breaded and fried, and sprinkled (more like doused) in lemon juice. I did study abroad in Vienna in 1999 and fell in love with this traditional Austrian dish. We would go to this restaurant called Schnitzelwirt and they would bring out these huge plates piled high with lots of delicious golden schnitzel. There was this girl on our trip who struggled with learning the language and I totally remembering sitting with her at this restaurant while she pleaded with the German only-speaking waiter for "Viele Zitronen." (Lots of lemon.) Bobby actually usually makes the schnitzel in this house and he is really good at it.


boneless pork loin, thin cut (sometimes called breakfast cut or wafer thin)
bread crumbs
vegetable oil
lemon wedges

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork loin chops. Prepare 3 low dishes big enough to dip your meat into. In the first, put a few cups of flour. In the second, put 2 or 3 eggs, beaten. In the third, put the bread crumbs. Prepare the oil by filling your skillet with enough oil to cover the meat. Put it on medium heat until it is hot enough to sizzle when you put the meat in. If it's not hot enough, the breading will get soggy and greasy before the meat is cooked through. Take each piece of meat and dip it into the flour, egg and then bread crumbs until coated all over. Shake excess off each time. Drop it inot the hot oil. Cook until the breading is golden (about 3 minutes) and turn with a fork or tongs to cook other side. Interior should be tender and juicy. Serve schnitzel with lots of lemon wedges.

I served the schnitzel with broccoli with garlic. I found this recipe in the Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

broccoli with garlic

1 head garlic, peeled (about 16 cloves)
1 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 stalks broccoli

Put the cloves and oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the garlic is browned and tender. Turn off the heat and add the red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt. Immediately pour into a heat-proof container to stop the cooking. Allow to cool to room temperature.
For the salad, blanch the broccoli florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain well and immerse immediately into a large bowl of ice water until the broccoli is cooled.
In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 c of the coil used to cook the garlic, and 8 or more cloves of cooked garlic. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

We never serve schnitzel without these herb-roasted potatoes. They come together quickly and are very flavorful.

This is the worst picture of all, but the rolls taste great and it is so easy!

Roundup Bubble Bread

2 lbs. frozen Rhodes rolls, thawed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp dried basil, crushed*
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs chopped green onions
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Grease 12-cup bundt pan. Arrange thawed rolls in pan. In small bowl, combine melted butter, basil, parsley, green onions and garlic. Pour over dough. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Sprinkle cheese over bread. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto serving plate. Pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

I have Bobby to thank for me introducing me to the wonderful world of French Silk Pie. He told me years ago that he likes it and I finally got around to trying it out on Sunday. I used the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for pie crust (from her Family Style cookbook) and decorated it with chocolate shavings. I feel obligated to give you a caveat though- this dessert is evil! It's a pie crust filled with a silky and delicious chocolate BUTTERcream and topped with lots of fresh whipped cream. But I think it's worth it. Thanks Bobby!

*I have a problem with dried basil. I think it tastes nothing like real basil, so I skip that ingredient. I also leave out the green onions.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Bobby's mom took us all to Nauvoo to spend the night on Monday and see some of the sites. We had a great time, despite our children's efforts to ruin it for us. That sounds pretty harsh, but they did seem to be alternately naughty the whole 24 hours we were there. Luckily, Bobby and I each got a little break from the kids. I got to the temple with Molly Tuesday morning- we just barely made it... the temple workers were so nice to wait a few extra minutes so we could get into the 9 AM session! (Bobby stayed home with Franny since she was having a hard morning and we didn't want to leave Louise with all the kids by herself.) That afternoon we went to Carthage and Bobby took most of the tour by himself. He had really been looking forward to it and Sophie was needing a nap and couldn't make it through. I ended up taking both kids outside. That kind of vacation is difficult with small children. While we live out here, we really want to see Chicago. I think we're both afraid it will be pointless trying to go there and see the things we want to- like art museums and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture- with Franny and Sophie in tow.

Here's a few pictures from our trip.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Grandma's Classic Potato Salad

This is my grandma. I miss her so much. When I was a kid, she lived right around the corner so I saw her all the time. Before moving out here, I lived about 5 minutes away from her house for seven years. Family is really important to her and even though it's a lot of work to have all of us over to her house for dinner, she does it all the time because she wants the family to stay close. I think it's so cool that she reads this blog to stay updated on her great grand-children. A lot of older people don't want to bother learning about computers, but not her. She is always using the computer and trying to learn more about it. She even wants to set up a blog. One time she told me she thinks she was born 50 years to early. She's so cute. I love you Grandma!

I called her yesterday for the 2nd Independence Day in a row to get detailed instructions on how to make her wonderful potato salad. I can't let this holiday go by without eating at least 3 helpings of this American classic. I've been to many a bbq where my Grandma has served this potato salad and homemade peach ice cream, along with all the regular bbq staples like burgers and baked beans.

She asked me to write down the amounts this time, though- probably so I'll quit bugging her and calling to ask for the SAME recipe! Just kidding, Grandma. I thought I'd share the recipe with you, but in her words.

Start with white rose potatoes. White rose potatoes make the best potato salad. All you can find is Yukon gold? That should be fine. Cook them whole until they are soft- you don't want to be chewing and get a crispy bite. Peel potatoes and cut them up into bite-sized pieces. Cut up green onions, as much as you like, white and green parts. Put potato and onion in a large bowl. Salt and pepper the potatoes and maybe add a little coarse ground black pepper. I think that would be good. You know, like the peppercorns? I've been really liking that since I saw it on the food show. [Giggle.] (By that I'm sure she meant Food Network.) Put the bowl in the refrigerator and leave it there a while so the flavors can get acquainted with each other. Now for the dressing, it is 3 parts mayo to 1 part sour cream. For a potato salad with 10 potatoes, you might make a dressing with 9 Tbs mayo, 3 Tbs sour cream, and 1 tsp french mustard. Hard-boil about 4 or 5 eggs* and dice them up and add them to the potatoes. Then mix in the dressing. Taste it to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.

That is everything I can remember based on my notes and our conversation. My potato salad turned out pretty good, but not as good as my Grandma's! Maybe it's because I can't get white rose potatoes, but I think it's more likely that her potato salad perfection comes from years and years of practice. Hopefully after 20 or so more Independence Days, I'll have potato salad down. Did I miss anything, Grandma? Feel free to tell us if I left anything out. I miss you and Grandpa so much!

I usually make a custard-style homemade ice cream, but that's not how my mom and my Grandma make it, and I was trying to recreate childhood memories, so I tried something else. It was exactly what I was hoping for. I didn't want it to be as creamy as custard- I wanted it to be the kind of ice cream that is really soft the first day, and the second day is so hard you have to leave it out for at least 30 minutes before you can scoop it out.

Here's how I made it:

4 eggs
2 1/4 c sugar
5 c milk
3 c whipping cream
1 c half and half
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups pureed fresh peaches
2 Tbs lemon juice

Beat eggs and sugar on high for about 5 minutes. Add other ingredients and mix well. Follow instructions for ice cream maker. Note: I have a 5 quart ice cream maker, and I had too much ice cream for my machine. Next time I would adjust these amounts.

*I have to add here a technique I once saw on Martha Stewart for hardboiling eggs. This is the best way that I've ever found to consistently get perfect hardboiled eggs without any green ring around the yolk. Bring a pot of water to boil and carefully drop your eggs in the boiling water. Turn the heat off, but leave the pot on the burner, and cover your pot with a lid. Leave the pot there for exactly sixteen minutes, then take your pot over to the sink and rinse eggs with cold water and peel.

Come on Sophie, dance!

This post is really more for me than anyone. I want to get some stuff written down about Franny's progress, so feel free to skip this if you don't have time! We've had Franny on the GFCF (gluten-free casein-free) diet for 2 weeks now and I've noticed a few changes in her, both positive and negative. The positive changes seem subtle to me, but I'm no expert, so they could indeed be very big changes. Several weeks ago Bobby and I were talking and he commented that as proud as he is of all of Franny's huge improvements in the past 9 months (since we started Franny's intervention), it seemed odd to him that he had never had a conversation with his 3 1/2 year old daughter. (At the time she wasn't asking or answering questions. She could use language to make requests or label objects or actions, but no real conversations were happening.) I had never really thought of that until he mentioned it. Well, this morning at the gym when I was picking her up from babysitting, there was a little boy there who was upset about something and he was crying a little bit. I looked at Franny and her little eyebrows furrowed deeply (she gets that from me) and then she looked at me and we had our first conversation. Here's what was said:

Franny: "What's wrong?"
Me: "Oh, he's just sad."
Franny: "Is hurt?" (He is hurt?)
Me: "I don't think so, just sad."

Kind of cool. I should mention that earlier this morning Sophie was upset that I put her down and walked out of the room and I prompted Franny to ask her, "what's wrong?" Even so, she came up with that question spontaneously this morning, without any help from me, and I think that's some good progress.

Franny's first and only sentence for a long time was "I want ______ (rice cakes, chips, Shrek, diaper change.)" In the past couple of weeks since we started the diet, Franny has been starting that sentence with "Mom" or "Dad." We didn't prompt that at all- she just started doing it. We think it's pretty cool. I should add that she's gotten pretty lazy with the "I want" part of it and it sounds more like this:
"Mom, a sicko sicko go diaper change." She's so funny. For a long time "sicko sicko sicko" was all we ever heard come out of that child's mouth!

Later this morning Franny asked if she could watch Shrek 2. I've been trying to get video of her dancing to the beginning of the movie when Counting Crows is singing, "Accidentally in Love." She knows most of the words and does this really adorable dance. I tried to catch it on video yesterday and when she saw the camera she froze and hid behind Bobby. Today when the song came on, she pushed me out of the room. I tried to peek in at her from the living room, but even while she was dancing she kept an eye on me and cried or said "Stop" until I gave her some privacy. She was embarassed and didn't want me to watch her dance! I thought that was funny. At another point in the movie when there was music, Franny said, "Come on, Sophie, dance!"

We've seen a little bit of a regression with her behavior since we implemented the diet- not sure what that's about. Some thoughts I've had is she's not really happy about such a huge change in her diet and we're seeing some negative behavior due to withdrawals. I could make a case for that. Also she seems to have some sort of infraction (somehow gets a bit of food with dairy/gluten), every other day or so, so we're still trying to get the hang of it and maybe her little tummy is already reacting to the foods. Maybe it has nothing at all to do with diet and she is just frustrated that her whole routine is off this week because school is out. Who really knows, but I have noticed that she's getting agitated easier and a few of the negative behaviors we hadn't seen for a long time are coming back. I think we'll pull through just fine, though. This isn't the first time I've seen her negative behaviors increase and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Another thing I wanted to share is Franny's word for swimming is "shrimpin." It's pretty cute. In fact, I actually have to get going now, because the four of us are going to go do some "shrimpin."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sunday dinner

We had visitors last weekend! My mother-in-law (Nona), her husband (Grandpa Howard), Bobby's sister Molly and her three kids (Zoe, Jakob, and Riley) all stayed with us Saturday and Sunday and we spent Monday night in Nauvoo. We rarely have visitors, so we get really excited when the people we love come to see us! I wanted to make them a yummy dinner, so I played it safe and made one of Louise's favorites: Ina's Pesto, Pasta and Peas with her Grilled Lemon Chicken. I served with Macaroni Grill Bread (I substituted Italian Seasoning for dried rosemary) and a garden salad with buttermilk ranch. For dessert we had strawberry shortcake and Bobby's famous strawberry cupcakes.

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

3/4 lb. fusilli pasta (I used rotini)
3/4 lb. bow-tie pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups homemade pesto (let me know if you want my pesto recipe)
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis, toasted (To toast pignolis [pine nuts] place them in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until evenly browned, tossing frequently.)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes, until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and continue to puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta, then add the Parmesan cheese, peas, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Mix well and season to taste.

For the Grilled Lemon Chicken, I marinate 4 chicken breasts in equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of each), 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dried thyme. Marinade at least 2 days- 3 days is better. This chicken is amazing! We just grill it on the George Foreman.

“Macaroni Grill” Bread
This is a recipe intended to approximate that awesome chewy bread that they bring out
at the Macaroni Grill. The kind you dip into the olive oil and cracked garlic. No, it is not
healthy in the slightest. Shoot your inner fitness freak and let your inner gourmand rule.

1 Tbsp. Dry Yeast (I’m not sure what one yeast packet equals)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 1/2 Cups white flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. rosemary, chopped (The recipe called for fresh, but I used the
dried stuff with good results. Either way, make sure it is finely chopped)
1 Tbsp. canola oil, peanut oil or olive oil (I prefer olive)
Nonstick cooking spray (If baking on a cookie sheet)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Coarsely ground salt
Put the yeast, water and sugar into a blender or food processor. Mix it until it is frothy.
Turn the oven onto 200 degrees. (You just need to warm it up, you’re not baking yet).
Find a mixing bowl. Add two cups of the flour, the teaspoon of salt and half of your
chopped rosemary. Keep the other half cup of flour close at hand. Add the yeast mixture
to this and knead away. Don’t be shy. Fold it over itself plenty of times to get those
gluten strands good and stretched. Add the rest of the flour as needed to get the dough to
the right consistency (soft and stretchy without being overly sticky).
Turn the oven off.
Lift the dough out of the mixing bowl. Add the olive oil to the bowl and swirl it around.
Roll the dough in the olive oil so its well coated and let it sit in the bowl. Cover the bowl
with a dish towel and place it in the oven (the oven should be off by now, if you missed
that step). Leave the door cracked so it isn’t too hot in there.
Let the dough rise for about an hour. It should be approximately doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and knead it again. Divide it into two equal sized lumps and let it
sit for about 5-10 minutes.
Prepare your baking pan. I use a ceramic stone, but a cookie sheet will work. If the
surface is not naturally non-stick, spray it with the cooking spray. Shape the dough into
two oval-shaped loaves and arrange on the pan.
Melt the butter or margarine. Use a brush to paint the surface of the loaves with butter.
Use all of the butter. The loaves will be quite saturated when you’re done. Remember the
part about shooting your inner fitness freak. Take the rest of the chopped rosemary and
sprinkle it over the loaves. Pat it down gently to set it into into the dough.
Return the loaves to the oven. Don’t turn it on yet. Let the dough rise again, for about 45
Remove the loaves and preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle a little bit of coarse salt over
the loaves.
Return the dough to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light brown.
Makes two loaves. Best enjoyed with olive oil and garlic.

Sophie's latest antics

Usually I give the girls a bath at the same time, but one night I had Franny in the bath and Sophie was just standing up against the tub splashing in the water. Bobby and I were getting ready to go on a date, so I was touching up my makeup with my back to the girls. I heard a thunk and whirled around to see Sophie in the bathtub! She crawled in! I had no idea she could do that!

That night was a rough one. She's getting her first tooth and it is making her mad! She and I didn't sleep too well, so after I picked Franny up from school, I put Sophie in her crib and turned on Finding Nemo (Franny's favorite movie lately) and curled up on the living room floor to take a nap. Sophie screamed for a while, but I let her cry it out and fell asleep. After about 30 minutes, I woke up and went to check on her and here's the position she was in! I felt so bad, but I couldn't resist snapping a few shots.

Still crazy for scones

My nephew's baptism was on Saturday and I decided to bring a plate of scones. I made my favorite recipe, Allison's Cherry and Lemon Scones with the lemon glaze, and I also tried Tasheena's recipe for Ginger Cream scones. I changed it a little, though. I like my scones sweet, and the recipe called for 1 Tbs of sugar and I changed it to 1/4 cup. They were delicious! I made two variations- one with a vanilla glaze and one with an orange glaze. I think I prefer the vanilla glaze over the orange. Thanks for the great recipe, Tasheena!
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