Saturday, September 29, 2007

Magazines from the Doctor's Office

I'm coming clean. I steal magazines from the doctor's office occasionally. Truthfully I fight this urge every time I'm in a doctor's office, but sometimes I'm just not strong enough to walk out without that Better Homes & Gardens containing recipes that must become mine, or the fashion mag with makeup tips I've been desperately needing to spice up my look, or that article in TIME that I didn't have time to read because the nurse called my name too soon. (Who are you kidding, Katherine? You don't read Time. Okay, People. People Magazine is my doctor's office guilty pleasure.)

Yesterday I noticed that four people had taken my quiz and marked "yes" it is wrong to take magazines from the doctor's office. Uh-oh. So I hurried and answered "no." On my own quiz! Well, tonight I noticed four more people marked "yes" but two people marked "no." I'm so glad that I'm not the only one! So, let me see if I've got this straight: 72% of the time it is wrong to take magazines from the doctor's office, but the other 28% of the time, it's all good. That works for me because it's about 28% of the time that I allow myself to succumb to temptation and walk out with the doctor's magazine.

The main reason I want to take magazines is the same reason I think the doctor's office doesn't mind my taking them. They are old! Sometimes several months, which means I can't find a copy on the magazine rack and it's time for the office manager to get rid of them. I figure I am 1.) saving the office manager/receptionist a trip to the trash can, and 2.) recycling. The environment? Come on, guys.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My other birthday present

I've been wanting a new digital camera for a long time and Bobby surprised me with one on my birthday! Our old camera had a delay that lasted about 5 minutes so we ended up with a lot of shots of Franny with her eyes closed and her mouth open. It was just a bad situation and I'm glad that the bad camera chapter of my life is closed. I also wanted a better camera for the purposes of this blog. I couldn't get a decent picture of my food. Those days are over! You're the best, Bobby!

Here's some pictures I've been taking with my camera:

I really lucked out with Bobby. His first rotation for medical school is the surgery rotation. During the week, if Bobby is lucky he gets to spend about 15 minutes with his girls before they have to go to bed. Some nights he doesn't see them at all! Sometimes they (surgeon, residents, and students) don't even stop to eat anything for lunch OR dinner. Even though Bobby is exhausted from working 14, 15, and 16 hour days with little or no nourishment through the day, he always comes home happy to see us and in a good mood. And on my birthday, he came home with flowers, stuff for rootbeer floats, and my birthday present. I love you Bobby, and I am so excited for the surgery rotation to be over so we can have you back again! Oh yeah, and thanks for not wanting to be a surgeon when you grow up.

This video cracks me up. I thought I was taking a picture of myself! I'm such a dork.

"Here comes the invalid." (Jessica, Julia and Chrissy: that's a quote for you three.) Poor Franny got sick over the weekend, so she's been taking it easy. I love this picture of her. Her eyelashes are so gorgeous. This morning she came in and said, "Good morning, Mommy." It was very sweet. I've really enjoyed having her home for a few days- she's been extra sweet and fun, even though she's not feeling great. Sophie seems to be much more entertained with her big sister around. There was a chocolate stain on the blanket and I used the healing tool in photoshop to erase it. You can't even tell! I love photoshop.

And Ashley and Abbey made the trip out to visit and it was so good to have them here!! We love you guys and miss having you close.

My new panini grill

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For my birthday this year my Dad hooked me up with this sweet contraption. It's a panini grill/indoor grill/griddle and I'm pretty sure it's going to solve all of life's problems. It's raining outside, can't use the grill? You've got the Cuisinart grill pan! What? The skillet isn't big enough to cook all the pancakes, bacon, or eggs for breakfast? Good thing you got that griddle from Dad! Your George Foreman grills only one panini at a time? That won't do!

Ashley came to visit for the weekend because our husbands were both MIA due to hospital rotations. It was great to be able to spend some time together and have the kids play while we played Dr. Mario. On Friday night we tried out the panini grill. I had a bunch of different ingredients so Bobby and Ashley gave me their orders and I got to work. Ashley made her homemade fries which are a wicked indulgence, but oh so satisfying served with fry sauce. Here's what I put on my panini: prosciutto, basil leaves, roasted red peppers, tomato, mozzarella, and mayo. Ashley's panini: prosciutto, red peppers, tomato, mozzarella, and pesto. Bobby had pesto, mozzarella, and prosciutto on his. Delicious!

Lemon Drop Cookies

When Franny was only five weeks old, we flew out to visit my Mom for about eight days. My mom was in the mood to try some new recipes and just about every recipe tried has now become a part of my cooking repertoire. Once while visiting me in Utah, we stopped in Deseret Book at the mall and she bought this cookbook called "Best-Loved Recipes of Well-Known Latter-Day Saints" or something, because it had a recipe for these delicious cookies. (By the way, as far as I can remember, this is the only decent recipe in the whole book!) I LOVE these cookies. FYI- this recipe makes A LOT.

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 c butter/shortening (I used 1/2 c butter and 1 c shortening)
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
finely chopped zest of 1 lemon
6 oz. package crushed leomon drops
1 cup powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and shortening in your mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flavoring and blend well. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to wet mixture. Add lemon zest and crushed lemon dropps. Roll in balls, flatten with a fork. Bake on parchment paper for 10-12 minutes. Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze. Cool 1-2 minutes, brush with glaze.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm sorry Jenna Fischer

I'm sorry because
I told everyone that
you're 41 years old,
when you're really only 32.

I am embarrassed at how much I've been looking forward to this week's return of my favorite television show. Since I only associate with people who like The Office, it's been coming up in conversation frequently because the season premiere is Thursday. Ever since my Dad told me that Jenna Fischer is going through a divorce (true) and that she is 41 (false), I've been sharing this information every time the show comes up, followed by a "can you believe that?! She looks so young!!" Well, last week Bobby told me he heard that Pam went to Truman State University and suggested we verify it on, which is an excellent resource for all things related to movies and TV. Here I learned that she did in fact attend (and graduate) from Truman State, grew up in St. Louis, and is only 32 years old.

By the way, I was only joking about not associating with people who don't like the Office. My Uncle Wyane and Aunt Cindy don't get it, and I still love them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Celebrating the "Mexicanity" of the Quesadilla

I got to spend some time with my Aunt Gayle a few days while I was in California and we had some good talks. I really enjoyed our time together. She took me out to lunch at this place called Salsa Brava. She suggested we order these shrimp quesadillas and I haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. This morning at 11 am after Sophie went down for her nap I set out to recreate this delicious twist on the classic Mexican dish. I was not disappointed.

I only changed a few things in this recipe. I added a bit of chili powder to the shrimp before I broiled them. I also added a squeeze of lime juice when I was tossing the shrimp with the oil. I made four quesadillas with the ingredients in this recipe, not 3 like the recipe suggests. I sliced up an avocado and served the slices on top of the quesadilla wedges. I also served them with sour cream. Mmmmm.... I know I won't stop thinking about these quesadillas anytime soon.

Shrimp and Tomatillo Quesadillas

2 red bell peppers

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Vegetable oil
6 9- to 10-inch-diameter flour tortillas
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups (packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeƱos (about 8 ounces)
1 cup (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
6 medium tomatillos , husked, thinly sliced

Char bell peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Remove from heat. Enclose peppers in paper bag. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Set aside.

Preheat broiler. Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil. Place on baking sheet. Broil shrimp until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes. Cut shrimp lengthwise in half. Transfer to bowl.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil. Place 2 tortillas on 1 prepared baking sheet. Place 1 tortilla on second prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped cilantro over each tortilla, then 1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Arrange 8 tomatillo slices atop cheese on each tortilla, then bell pepper strips and shrimp, dividing equally. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese over shrimp on each tortilla, dividing equally. Top with remaining 3 tortillas, pressing lightly to adhere. Brush tops of tortillas with oil. Bake quesadillas until cheese melts and tortillas are crisp, about 10 minutes.

Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges and serve.

Serves 6.

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce over Coconut Rice

I found this recipe on Simply Recipes. I was in the mood for some curry and I thought this one looked good. I've been wanting Massaman curry like they serve at Thai Chili Gardens in Provo and it wasn't even close, but it still tasted good. Anyone have a recipe that would satisfy my craving? Worth a shot.

While I was in California, a friend of mine and my mother's brought over this delicious meal. It was a peanut ginger chicken over coconut rice with a nectarine salsa. It was amazing. I've been craving this rice ever since. I could eat bowl after bowl of this stuff and never get sick of it. Here's the recipe. Thanks Suzy!

Coconut Rice

2 c. Coconut milk

1 ½ c. Basmati or Jasmine rice

1 c. water

4 t. sugar

½ t. kosher salt

Combine the coconut milk, rice, water, sugar, and salt for the rice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, then cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Fluff with a fork, cover, and keep warm. (You can also use a rice cooker.)

Sunday Dinner

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Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

kosher salt
3 lbs. boiling potatoes (I just used russet)
1/2 cup whole milk (I used 1%)
1/4 lb. butter
3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 tsp freshly bround black pepper

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 2 Tbs salt to a boil. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Add them to the boiling water and bring the water back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat the whole milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done. As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Use a food mill or a potatoe masher to mask the potatoes and as soon as they are mashed, stir in the hot milk-and-butter mixture with a rubber spatula. Add enough buttermil to make the potatoes cramy. (DO not heat buttermilk- it will curdle.) Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper, or more to taste, and serve hot. To keep the potatoes warm, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water for up to 30 minutes. YOu can add a little extra hot milk to keep them creamy.

Roast (Cole's famous recipe. Cole is my dad.)

Tri-tip roast (if you can find one, which I couldn't. I asked the butcher for something similar and he gave me a sirloin roast that worked out great. He had to package it for me separately. It's a cut of meat that they slice and sell as steaks, but they can sell it to you as a roast and you just pay the price per pound that they charge for the steaks.)

Seasoning (my dad uses Emeril's steak rub. I used McCormick's Montreal Steak seasoning because that's all I had on hand.)

Season outside of roast with the seasoning and place on a baking sheet. Broil for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat down and roast beef until the internal temperature is 135 (if you like medium rare) and then take the roast out of the oven and tent with foil. Let meat rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Serve with horseradish cream if desired. My parents always served it this way and I love it. Whip some heavy cream and mix in a few Tbs. of horseradish! It tastes delicious!

Green Beans with Honey Cashew Sauce

1 lb. fresh green beans

3 Tbs butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted cashews
2 Tbs honey

Steam green beans until tender, drain and set aside in saucepan. In small skillet, saute cashews in butter over low heat for 5 minutes. Add honey and cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Pour sauce over beans and toss until coated.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Most Embarrassing Moment #8 and #9 - The "Einbahn" Story

I thought I would cluster the two European stories together- I'm not sure they're strong enough to stand alone anyway.

I love looking back on my study abroad experience in Vienna. I actually never would have gone if it wasn't for Jordan. I had heard about it and hadn't even considered going for financial reasons. Then my friend Jordan said she was going and suggested I apply, too- I thought, why not? Still wish you would have come with me, Jordan, instead of serving a mission in Russia.... Just teasing.

Okay, the first story happened the first night I arrived. I lived with a very wealthy family who lived in the third district- very close to the center of Vienna. They were unavailable to pick me up when I arrived so they sent their daughter Carolina who was in high school. She and I took a taxi home to their flat and she helped me up to the third floor with my heavy luggage, and then she gave me some quick instructions about taking the subway. There were two separate flats that belonged to the family. One flat housed the parents and three of their children; the other flat had a lower level where the father had his law practice, and a second floor where there was a computer and TV room, a small kitchen, two bathrooms, a rec room with a beautiful veranda and a fusball table, and my bedroom (which had three beds.) It was sweet, but sometimes kind of lonely because I didn't have any roommates. I basically lived alone during that time, which ended up being kind of cool for such a short amount of time (3 1/2 months.)

Blah, blah, blah- I'm taking too long to tell this story. So after Carolina left me in my flat to myself, I thought, "I'm going to go explore Vienna!" The first thing I thought before I started exploring- better get my bearings first. Now, I should mention that I had taken one semester of German 101 before arriving in Austria. As I step out of the flat, I look up for a street sign and see one that says EINBAHN. I think, okay great, if I get lost, all I have to do is look at a map and find the street called EINBAHN and I'll be fine. EINBAHN is possibly one of the easiest words in German to translate. EIN: one, BAHN: way. EINBAHN: oneway. In a busy European city like Vienna, there are going to be a lot of EINBAHN signs. Luckily, I noticed the sign at the end of the street for Rochusgasse, and after having a good laugh at my own expense, I was on my way. I told a couple of my friends, still hoping to keep it from my professor who is a self-proclaimed intellectual snob, but the story leaked. He thought it was hilarious and brings it up everytime I see him.

Next story: I need to set the stage for this one, too. It's really embarrassing and I don't want to share this part, but it makes the story funnier. Deep breath... okay. Growing up, my mom would always make fun of the underwear I chose. "It's so boring and it's always white. Don't you want something prettier and more feminine?" So I went shopping for underwear before my study abroad trip, and AS A JOKE, I bought some clearanced underwear that had a zebra print on them. I wanted to give my mom a good laugh. I'm not kidding, they looked like something a male stripper would wear. My wealthy Viennese family had a housekeeper who did all of the laundry. Their washing machine was in the kitchen, and they didn't have a dryer, so all the clothes had to be hung out to dry in the dining room. I had dinner with the family once a week and one of the first times we had dinner, we're all sitting around talking over pasta and I look over and see my zebra print underwear hanging over a drying rack just feet away from the dining room table! I could have died!!

Newport Beach

Today is my birthday. Boo. As much as I'd like to forget about my birthday this year, I know my wonderful friends won't allow it. This is going to be kind of a weird birthday because Franny is starting a potty training program at school. It's a 2-day long program of intense potty-training, involving follow-up at home. As I understand it, I'll be spending the majority of the afternoon in the potty next to Franny, reinforcing her with a big 30 minute party (toys, treats, movies, food) every time she properly uses the toilet. I am excited that Franny is moving on to this new stage. I've been changing diapers for two kids for nearly a year now, so having only one kid to diaper will be a welcome change! She sure looks cute in her Little Mermaid panties! Sophie is asleep right now, so I have two hours to do whatever I want to celebrate turning 29! So what do I want to do? Blog, of course!

I am making good use of photoshop these days. I'm really enjoying it! We went to the beach with my Uncle Wayne and some of his family and my Aunt Gayle and her family while we in California for Labor Day. (We miss Matt, Chrissy, Jessica, and Michael! It's just not the same without you guys!) We've all been going to the beach together since my parents moved to California when I was three. The weather was great and we had a fabulous time. The two pictures in the top right of everyone in their beach chairs is so old school for us. We have the same pictures taken 20 years ago of all the adults in a line, only my Mom was in those pictures. (The bright white light in the middle of those photographs is just my sister Julia.) White lightning!

Birthday card Bobby left for me this morning. Isn't he cute. I love how he drew me bigger than him and with the Homer muumuu dress on.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Most Embarrassing Moment #7- The Rebel Yell Story

When I was at BYU, I took a class called Latin American poetry. We studied authors like Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, and even some America poets like Langston Hughes. It was an awesome class. My professor was pretty young and new to teaching, and he came in one day with some song lyrics for America by Simon and Garfunkel. These were song lyrics he liked and something he considered poetry. (By the way, I think this song is beautiful.) Then he read us some other song lyrics for a song that was popular then. I don't know who sings this, but I do remember the lyrics:

Wanna put my tender
heart in a blender
something something something
to a beautiful oblivion
rendez-vous than I'm through with you

He considered these lyrics to be "bad poetry." So he had this cool idea for a class party. He wanted us to all come to his house and have a bad poetry reading. He suggested we find the worst poem or song lyrics we could and we could all go around and take a turn reading them to the class. Now, at this time, Bobby was serving his mission and we was in Colorado for two years. I was missing him dreadfully, and everything I did I tried to connect it to him in some way. Bobby loves Billy Idol, so I thought I would read the lyrics to Rebel Yell.

Last night a little dancer came dancin' to my door
Last night a little angel Came pumpin cross my floor
She said "Come on baby I got a licence for love
And if it expires pray help from above"

In the midnight hour she cried- "more, more, more"
With a rebel yell she cried- "more, more, more"
In the midnight hour babe- "more, more, more"
With a rebel yell- "more, more, more"
More, more, more.

I was so naive. I started reading the lyrics and I got to the part where it says, "In the midnight hour, she cried 'more, more, more'".... and I thought, is this song sexual? Then "With a rebel yell, she cried 'more, more, more'" Okay, yeah, this song is referring to sex. But I kept reading, I didn't know what to do! Finally after the second stanza, the professor stopped me, probably because his eight-year-old daughter was sitting on his lap and I was reading dirty poetry at his house! What he must have thought of me!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Motown Philly back again

We're back! I started an entry from California about our flight out there, but I never finished. I'm glad I started it, because I had already forgotten one of the funniest stories from our trip! Sophie totally pulled an Abbey on me and spilled water all over my lap. The capris I was wearing were slightly water-resistant, and the water kind of rolled into a puddle on the seat of the cushion I was sitting on and soaked my pants in a very conspicuous way. So I'm trying to get a look at how bad the wet spot on my pants is, when I hear, "Ma'am, can I get you a diaper?" Or anyway, that's what I thought I heard. So I asked the flight attendant to repeat himself and he said, "Can I get you a napkin?" Oh, okay.

Sophie was really hyper on the plane. She kept laughing at everyone who was sitting near us. She would wedge her face between our seats and laugh at the little boys sitting behind us. Then she would stick her head around the side of my seat and laugh at their dad sitting across the aisle and behind us. I was cracking up the whole time. It was this really bizarre and kind of robotic laugh. She laughed like that for about ten minutes straight.

We flew on Express Jet. The airplanes were tiny. In Ontario, I actually boarded the airplane from outside. I like this airline. If you fly during a mealtime, they serve you a meal. They also have free XM radio. This was my first opportunity to hear XM radio and I am a big fan. I was seriously so STOKED when Motown Philly came on. YES! And then I was listening to another station (Lucy, maybe?) and Smashing Pumpkins came on. The song is called "Butterfly something." Anyways, that song always reminds me of when I was in high school. The lyrics are so great. "The world is a vampire.... despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage." This perfectly describes my teenage angst and rebellion. Just joking... I loved this station though, because the radio announcer was like, "Music you used to listen to when you thought you were cool.... oh yeah, you weren't very attractive either." It was so funny. Anyway, XM radio is bomb.

Talking about the music I used to listen to in high school is making me want to share a funny story I remember about my mom and I driving home after she picked me up from high school. Now, I was pretty naive as a teenager, I have to admit. I had recorded a tape from songs played on the radio and one of them was by greenday. A song called Longview. The song has an inappropriate word in it that I didn't know, but I sang it anyway, loud and proud. Well, when my Mom heard that word come out of my mouth she quickly objected. She ejected the tape, said, "what is this crap?" and chucked it out the window. I remember being so embarrassed, but looking back- that was pretty funny!

California, here we come...

Sorry to disappoint, but I'm going to have to put the embarrassing moments on hold for a bit because Sophie and are going to visit my family in California! I'll be gone for about 9 days, which I realize is a long time, but this intermission fits in nicely with my personal motto: "Always, leave them wanting more." ;)

Meanwhile, I triple-dog dare Melody to share her afore-mentioned embarrassing pictures with us on her blog!
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