Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Lime Mayonnaise

I found this recipe on a trial run I took of this software called SousChef that my friend Josh told me about. It was really good. I was kind of nervous about the cinnamon chicken. The recipe didn't call for any salt, which I didn't notice until after I grilled it. I sprinkled a generous amount of kosher salt on after I sliced the chicken. Problem solved, but next time I would add the salt to the spice mixture. The lime mayonnaise was insane. I want to try it on fish tacos. I think that would taste amazing! It helped that I had the perfect tomato and avocado. I love that.

Franny ate ALL of her taco and loved it, so I let her drink the rest of of my rootbeer. Sophie wasn't a fan. She spent the whole dinner crying for a banana.

Barbecued Chicken Tacos With Lime Mayonnaise

Give traditional Mexican ingredients a modern twist in these fabulous tacos with zingy lime mayonnaise.

2 tomato, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, peeled, stone removed and diced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, mixed with
2 teaspoons dried oregano, and
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
4 chicken breast
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 lime, juice and zest of, finely grated
1 head lettuce, shredded
tortillas (we used both flour and corn)

1. Preheat a broiler/griddle or barbecue.
2. Mix the tomatoes, red onion and avocado.
3. In a large bowl combine the mixed spice and herb mixture with the oil until well blended.
4. Add the chicken to the spice and herb mixture and turn in the mixture to coat well.
5. Cook the chicken breasts on a medium heat for 12-15 minutes, turning a couple of times.
6. When the chicken is fully cooked through, place on a chopping board and slice.
7. To make the lime mayonnaise, mix together the mayonnaise, lime juice and zest.
8. To serve; fill the tacos with the sliced chicken, avocado salad and lettuce. Drizzle with the lime mayonnaise and sprinkle with cilantro.

Sunday Dinner and ooh baby where you been all my life?

I was thinking it would be nice to have kind of a relaxed Sunday dinner this past week. One that wasn't so labor-intensive and that wouldn't take me all afternoon. The weird thing is, I still felt like I spent all afternoon in the kitchen. I think the two-hour nap I got down in our pitch black bedroom might have something to do with that, though. Our family always served fries with this Warner family favorite, but I wanted to mix things up a little so I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Fries. Also, I have a huge supply of apples, so I tried a new recipe for apple sauce. (I'm actually going to include another recipe that I tried and never got around to posting. Both are amazing. The first one is the one calls for sugar and it's a little sweeter and more traditional. The second one has a more complex and unique flavor with the cardamom and mace and everything. Both are worth trying.)

The cake was AMAZING. Brendon and Stephanie came over for games and dessert and I served this and worried we'd have too much left over. I sent them home with two pieces, gave one piece to my sweet neighbor, and the rest Bobby and I have slowly consumed the last few days. There is one sliver left but not for long. It is so good!! We thought it tasted better the next day warmed up in the microwave for a bit.

Now, a lot of my friends have spoken very highly of "the cake mix." They make valid points. I myself use cake mixes from time to time, but please, I beg of you, do NOT underestimate the prowess of the made-from-scratch cake. It is a beautiful thing. Give it a try sometime, and when you do- try this one. It is AWESOME. Just a word about the frosting. I JUST barely had enough to frost this thing. Next time I think I would make more of the frosting. I mean, if you were to take a peak beneath the chocolate peanut butter glaze, you would find one messy crumb-coat. There will definitely be a next time, though.

Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4.

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1/2-by-2-inch sticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide potatoes between two rimmed baking sheets; toss with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer without overlapping. Roast, tossing once, until tender and starting to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss to coat.

2 apples - peeled, cored and
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Place shredded apples in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Sprinkle with cinnamon, then add water and cook until the apple bits become soft and mushy.
2. Stir in brown sugar and mix well; if desired, top with ice cream and serve.


From Martha Stewart

18 McIntosh apples, (about 6 pounds), peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup apple cider
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Combine apples, apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla bean, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, sugar, and lemon juice in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about 50 to 60 minutes.
  3. Mash any large pieces of apple with a large wooden spoon to help them break down. Adjust seasoning to taste with more sugar and spices.
  4. Remove the apple mixture from the heat, and let stand to cool completely before serving, discarding cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod. Applesauce can also be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in refrigerator.

Makes about 7 cups.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes

This cake is INTENSE. Serve it in the thinnest slices possible, and keep a glass of milk handy.

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 (the book says, I say a heck of a lot more)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosting, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Franny was playing "peek-a-boo" last night with our black plastic cauldron. Her shirt says, "I love Mormon boys."

So a couple of weeks ago I was with the girls and something crazy happened. The kind of thing that makes a girl who's not the swearing type feel compelled to say, "What the hell?!" And since I can't remember what crazy thing happened a couple of weeks ago, you're just going to have to trust that my saying "What the hell?!" in front of my 4 1/2 year old was warranted and not report me to the authorities.

So here's how that went.

Something crazy happens.
Me, because I can't control it and I don't have a choice: "What the hell?!"
Franny says, "What the heCK?"
I think to myself, with an unsettling feeling of relief and shame, "Good Girl. Bad Mommy."

The other day I was getting Franny's lunch packed for school and I opened the freezer and a container of frozen raspberries fell and spilled all over my dirty kitchen floor.
"Dang it!!!" I said.
And then Franny said, "Damn it!"

Confusion sets in. A few seconds pass. "Wait... WHAT?"

Of two things I am sure of this morning. 1. My kitchen floor needs to be mopped. 2. I said "Dang it" that morning and not the other one.

Which leads me to my next question:

What the hell?!

Sophie is 2 years old!

My Sophie is 2 years old. As her birthday was approaching, I jokingly asked Bobby, "Are we sure we want to celebrate this one?" Franny is doing great now, but I have a few battlescars (not just emotional- I literally have scars) from her 2nd year and I've been bracing myself for Sophie's because in the past year I've seen her develop a very strong personality. She's feisty and even pretty scrappy. I'm a little that she'll have some 2 year old abuse of her own to dish out, but I think we'll enjoy the ride. At least most of it.

It was really low-key this year. Just a cake and ice cream and presents. I'm pretty sure that's going to happen a lot because her birthday is probably going to coincide with General Conference fairly often. Which is fine now- she's only 2, but I'm going to have to be creative when she gets older. I love General Conference. I look forward to it, but there's not a lot of time for much else that weekend. When I checked on her after I put her down for a nap, I found her with a teddy bear under each arm like this. She got a baby stroller, a Little People police car, a new baby doll, and a Slinky. I had Franny help me wrap presents while Sophie was sleeping. Franny loves to help. I asked her to wait with the presents while I went into their bedroom to retrieve the wrapping paper. Franny started to follow me and I said, "No, you wait here." When I came back, Bobby told me that after I left Franny crossed her arms over her chest and said, "Hmmmph. I never get to go anywhere." Hilarious.

I took Sophie to get her first haircut. Against Bobby's wishes. At first he said he liked it better longer, but I think it's growing on him. She did pretty well. She was totally freaked out at the beginning, but she mellowed out pretty quickly. While we were waiting, I discovered that she has started to learn her colors and I didn't even know! She was pointing to the different hair products and saying "yellow" and "red."

I'm so happy for her and all her progress. She can count to 15 and knows the words to a number of songs. She likes to make up her own songs. She loves to talk on the phone, but only when it's her idea. She wants to do the talking. It's usually just 2 or 3 words that she repeats over and over. Whatever is on her mind or whatever we've just been talking about. "Franny, Franny, Franny, no cookie no cookie cookie, (because I've just told her she can't have one) milt, milt, milt" (her word for milk.) Her favorite foods right now are cookies, string cheese, fruit snacks, carrots, pesto chicken, and rolls- although she calls them pillows. This is her favorite song right now. She knows nearly all the words!

Some of my favorite Sophie posts (in no particular order):

AV Geek
Happy Birthday Sophie!
Sophie and Sloth
Very Proud to Present you With...
How to make a good impression your first Sunday in a new ward
Sophie's first sugar high
Ouchie, Mommy, Ouchie!!

Some of my favorite Sophie quotes:

"These are my pants!!!"
"I'm funny!"
"Mommy, NO SONG!!" (this when she doesn't want me to sing.)

I made this as her birthday cake this year. I'm not much for origami, so Bobby followed the instructions and made the boat for me. I just couldn't figure it out. :)

I didn't use the recipe for the One Bowl Chocolate Cake because I didn't have any buttermilk. I used a recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake from the Cake Bible. It was delicious!

3/4 cup + 3 T unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 large eggs (room temp.)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

Grease the bottom of 2 9-inch by 1 1/2-Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
In another bowl lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 of the cocoa mixture, and vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.
Let the cakes cool in the pan on racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks.
This past week I hosted a fondue party at my house. We have a cooking club and I asked Tamra to come over and demonstrate a few fondue recipes. They were AMAZING! She adds toffee bits to her chocolate fondue. It's brilliant. And delicious. I think we're going to bring our pot down to Pittsburg this weekend and make it for Bobby's family.

Although cooking club starts at the same time the girls are scheduled to go to bed, they were understandably excited by the unusual amount of hubbub going on all over the house. Franny was especially interested in all of our guests. The first few to arrive got a, "Hi. I'm Franny. Whatcha doin'?" Bobby was home and ready to play with the girls for me and keep them busy, but Franny just wanted to be where all the ladies were. A few minutes into Tamra's demonstration, I saw Franny walk in and take the last empty chair in the middle of the room. She sat there quietly listening to the demonstration, looking very sweet and shy every time one of my guests turned to look at her. She sat like that for 10 or 15 minutes and I started to see her eyes droop even as she sat perfectly straight in her chair. She was so tired she was falling asleep! She just wanted to be part of what was going on. I stood in the front next to Tamra and whisking cheese fondue like mad, and all of the while my heart was melting. My sweet little Franny. I just really like her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chiquitita tell me what's wrong?

Two great things happened on Wednesday:

1. I found my Abba Gold CD. We have been estranged for nearly three years. Ever since the Pace's were over for New Year's Eve and I was trying to find the perfect music and brilliantly came up with ABBA. It was never seen again until Wednesday morning.

2. For years now I've been wanting to make a Tarte Tatin. Ever since I saw it on Tyler's Ultimate. I made one on Wednesday and it was a success.

Molly’s Apple Tarte Tatin
from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick plus two tablespoons cold salted butter (5 ounces), cut into cubes and chilled in freezer
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cup flour
3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

7 medium apples (I’ve had good results with Granny Smith, Gala, McIntosh…use your favorite, but make sure they are very firm, fresh and flavorful.)
1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter
1 cup sugar

Prepare Crust: I always use the food processor for this. Pre-mix the flour and sugar in the food processor container, and cube the butter on a plate. Then put the dry ingredients and the butter in the freezer for a while. This will get everything, including the blade and container, nice and chilled. The colder everything is, the flakier and more tender your crust will be. Prepare about 1/3 cup ice water and refrigerate.

After you’ve chilled everything for at least 20 minutes, add the cubes of butter to dry ingredients and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than tiny peas.

Add the ice water a little at a time, processing just until the dough starts to come together into a mass. (it won’t quite be a “ball,” and it won‘t look smooth–you don’t want to overprocess it!) Turn out onto well-floured surface and pat together into a ball. Don’t handle the dough too much, or the warmth of your hands will start to melt the butter. Flour the top of the dough and use rolling pin to quickly press and roll the dough out into a 10 to 11-inch circle. Keep turning the dough as you do this to make sure it doesn’t stick to the rolling surface. Throw more flour underneath the dough if necessary. Check the crust to make sure it’s just big enough to cover the top of your tarte tatin pan. Move the crust onto a piece of parchment paper or onto a floured rimless baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 375° F.

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Don’t cut them into smaller pieces than quarters–the quarters shrink considerably during cooking. You can squeeze a bit of lemon on them, but it’s not necessary.

Over low heat in a heavy, ovenproof skillet measuring 7 to 8 inches across the bottom and 10 to 11 inches across the top, melt the stick of butter. Remove from heat, add the sugar and stir until blended.

Shake/tap the pan so the butter-sugar mixture distributes evenly across the bottom. Arrange apple quarters in pan, first making a circle inside the edge of the pan. Place them on their sides and overlap them so you can fit as many as possible. Then fill the center of the pan; you may have some apple left over. Keep at least one extra apple quarter on hand–when you turn the apples over, they may have shrunk to the extent that you’ll need to cheat and fill in the space with an extra piece. This one piece won’t get quite as caramelized as the other pieces, but don’t worry–it will still cook through and no one will notice.

Return your pan to the stovetop on high heat. Let boil for 10 to 12 minutes or until the juices in the pan turn from golden in color to dark amber. Remove from heat. With the tip of a sharp knife, turn apple slices over, keeping them in their original places. If necessary, add an extra slice of apple to keep your arrangement intact. Return to the stovetop on high heat once more. Let cook another 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

Place the crust on top of the apples and brush off excess flour. Tuck edges under slightly, along the inside of the pan, being careful not to burn fingers. You can use your knife.

My pictures are crap.

Bake in oven until the top of the crust is golden-brown in color, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack about 30 minutes.

Run a sharp knife along the inside edge of the pan. Place a plate or other serving dish on top of the pan and quickly flip over the whole shebang so the Tarte Tatin drops down onto the plate. The pan will still be hot, so use potholders and be careful! Don’t burn yourself or drop stuff! If you are feeble and clumsy, get someone stronger and more coordinated than you to do this. Peek under the edge of the pan to see if the Tarte came out. You may need to bop the bottom of the pan with your potholder-encased fist for this to happen. If there are any pieces of apple left behind in the pan or otherwise out of place, carefully put them back where they are supposed to be. Voila! A beautiful TREAT!

This keeps well for about a day at room temperature; if you have to refrigerate it, warm it up slightly before serving for optimum enjoyment. I served mine with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Corn Mazes and Apple Orchards

Sounds like Fall! We were invited to a BBQ at a corn maze/pumpkin patch just outside of town with all the other 3rd/4th year students, interns, residents, and faculty last weekend. It was so much fun!

I've always wanted to do a corn maze. We let the kids guide us through the maze. I would not recommend this strategy. They wore themselves out and then we had to carry them, so we ended up cheated and squeezing between the cornstalks to find our way out. A girl's gotta eat!

There was a bounce house, a wagon ride, lots of good friends to chat with, and Melody was able to make it with her cute boys. Thanks Ben and Laci for the picture! It was a great night.

The other day Sophie and I got to play with Max and Ruby all day. What darling kids. I asked them if they'd like to go to the apple orchard with me to pick apples. They seemed very enthusiastic about the idea so we went for it. Boy am I glad we did! I came home with 1/2 a bushel of delicious apples (mostly Mutsu) for only 10 dollars.

The kids loved helping me pick apples and stuff them in the bag. They also loved the wagon ride. I was just daydreaming about all the delicious apple desserts I had in mind.

I played with the picture of me pulling the kids in the wagon in hopes that it would make me look less scary. I think I made it worse. Oh well, I really just liked that it shows the kids and so much of the orchard.

When we got home, I took this picture of one of my dahlias. Isn't it gorgeous? I just love autumn.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thousand Hills

It only took me about two months to get this post up. August and September were busy months.

The Crook's invited us to come along and spend the afternoon on a pontoon boat. It sounded like a blast so of course we were in, but I had no idea. It was the perfect day. We took a long and relaxing pontoon ride out to a dock in the middle of the lake, where we docked the boat and just floated in the water, every once in a while climbing out to get a snack and have the chance to dive/jump back in. We had such a good time!

Shawn offered to let Bobby sit in the driver's seat and drive with Franny, but Franny insisted on Shawn helping her instead. Cute.

Like mother, like daughter. Jayne brought lots of delicious junk food to enjoy and Sophie spent almost the entire afternoon next to the one pound bag of red vines. I think she may have consumed every last ounce of it. I had proof the next day in her diaper. I realize that one red vines picture might have been enough, but each of them crack me up so I had to include them all.

Cute Landon preferred Oreos.

When she had polished off the red vines, Sophie took to licking the wood on the dock. Poor kid, I totally forgot to bring her swimming suit.

Some family shots.

Here's some dirty looks from Franny when I told her it was time to get out. She learned that from her mother.

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