Saturday, February 27, 2010

Overnight Pizza Dough

We have pizza night often in this house. My pizza stone is nice and seasoned from many years of use. I don't ever post about it because often we just have pepperoni and cheese. (That's what my people like.) But sometimes I like to go to the trouble of making our pizzas more individualized. I was thinking I'd like to find a pizza dough recipe that takes a couple days to make. So I set out to find one and came up with this from

Overnight Pizza Dough
(makes enough for 8 9-inch pizzas)

1 cup lukewarm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 envelope active dry yeast, divided
1 cup all purpose flour, divided

1 1/2 cups lukewarm (110°F to 115°F) water
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 envelope active dry yeast
6 cups (or more) all purpose flour
Olive oil
Yellow cornmeal
Sauces and toppings
The end result was delicious. I'm not saying I'll never try a new pizza dough recipe, but I will definitely be making this again. We used about half the dough for these pizzas, and the next night I made calzones. The dough did not work out well for the calzones at all. Just FYI. It's been a while since I made these so I'll try and remember what the heck I put on each of these. I have been spending a small fortune on fresh mozzarella cheese- it makes SUCH a difference, though. It's totally worth it. The pizza on the far right has alfredo, ham, mushrooms, parmesan, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil. The pizza second to the left has mushrooms, basil, pepperoni, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes. I really liked the texture of the crust- it was crisp but still chewy. I was expecting a better complexity with the flavor with the overnight method, but I still preferred the flavor over my usual pizza dough recipe.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One of many reasons that you shouldn't text while driving

You might decide text a love message to your husband and accidentally scroll past your husband's name (in my case, Bobby) and select your brother-in-law's brother's name (in my case, Brendan) instead. Then you'll start laughing hysterically and turn bright red from embarrassment and endanger your life even more by hurriedly texting an explanation to said brother-in-law's brother. Trust me, my friends- I speak from experience.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Franny lost her first tooth! (and how I lost it again.)

Franny couldn't stop fidgeting with her loose tooth the whole time we were in California. I suspect most mothers would just get some gauze or a tissue and yank it out, but the thought of it made me a little squeamish and I just hoped that we could make it home so Bobby could take care of it. Five minutes after we boarded the plane, Franny was fidgeting with it again and it popped out. She gasped and I quickly caught it as it fell out of her mouth.

I wrapped it up in a tissue and tucked it away safely in my purse and told her we would place it under her pillow for the tooth fairy. When we finally made it home, Franny wanted to show her Dad the tiny tooth so I pulled it out and placed it on the kitchen table. Hours later I was getting ready to set the table and was wiping it down. I saw a napkin and used it to brush the crumbs off the table. We sat down to dinner together and then we watched American Idol. I was wondering what the tooth fairy pays for teeth nowadays when I realized I wasn't sure where her tooth was. I turned to Bobby and asked him, but before he could even shrug his shoulders I gasped, knowing full well I had used the tissue it was wrapped up in to clean the crumbs off the table! I ran upstairs and poked around in the trash can. There was no sign of it. So then I was on my hands and knees crawling around looking for the tiny lost tooth. I spotted something near the trash can that looked like it could be her tooth, but it turned out to be a white Nerd candy. I picked it up, looked at it, and thought, "That'll do."


Monday, February 15, 2010

Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

I found a recipe online for a lemony chicken noodle soup. I loved the idea, but wasn't crazy about the recipe as it was written, so I decided to adapt my favorite chicken noodle soup recipe from my friend Annie. I love the way it turned out!!

Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

3 chicken breasts (or 1 whole chicken)

2 cans chicken broth

3 stalks celery – chopped

½ onion – chopped

parsley (I use about 1 tsp.- can add more or less)

thyme (I use about 1 tsp.- can add more or less)

salt and pepper

1 tsp. fresh garlic

2-3 cubes chicken bouillon

4 carrots – chopped (can add more)

frozen peas (as many or as few as you want)

8-10 oz. home-style wide noodles (can use cooked rice instead)

zest of one lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

red pepper flakes (to taste)

1 can cream of chicken soup

Place the 3 chicken breasts in a large pot and cover with chicken broth and 3-4 cups water. Add celery, onion, carrots, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred it before returning it to the pot. Add 2 or 3 cubes chicken bouillon, carrots, frozen peas, noodles (or cooked rice), lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, and cream of chicken soup. Heat through.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Warner and Hannah

Here are A LOT of pictures from our recent trip to California to help my sister Julia with her two beautiful babies, Hannah and Warner. We had a great time and it was really a treat to see Julia with her gorgeous babies. I was so impressed with how well she and Grant are doing with such a huge new responsibility. She's a great mom. And those babies are just so adorable!

Franny kept telling me how excited she was to be on an airplane. Our flight left at 8 PM, which is normally bedtime, but she stayed awake for the entire flight and most of the hour-long ride from LAX to Corona where my Dad lives. She had all kinds of questions on the plane- most of them about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She wanted to know all about Violet Beauregard and what happens to her after she turns into a blueberry. I hope she doesn't think that's what is happening to me.

Franny holding Hannah for the first of many times. She fell in love with the twins just like I did.

I was so happy when I found out that my grandparents were going to be visiting while we were there. It was SO good to see them. They live in Utah and we just don't make it out to see them enough. Before we moved out to the Midwest, we got to see them all the time, so I have missed them a lot these last past four and a half years. This is the classic picture my grandparents take with every new baby in their family. This one wasn't even posed, it just happened like this. I have a picture of them holding Franny just like this and my parents have one of them holding me just like this. I love it.
Grandma helping Franny hold Warner. A snapshot of the girls in their jammies right before Grandma and Grandpa were heading home to Utah.

My sisters Annie and Maggie, and Maggie's boyfriend Ryan. It was so good to finally meet him. They've been dating for over a year now and we finally got to meet him! They make a really cute couple. We had the entire family together (except for Bobby- wish ) that Saturday night and it was so nice.

Franny was so sweet with the babies. She wanted to hold them several times every day. She'd walk up and casually mention, "I haven't held Warner today..." And then as soon as she finished holding Warner she'd say in the same casual way, "I haven't held Hannah today..."
We loved seeing how Hannah likes to snuggle in towards Warner when she sleeps. Very sweet.
I miss them!
Richard and Kristy made it up to my Dad's twice while we there. It was great to see them. Franny was really proud of herself for picking up their tiny puppies. The poor little dogs didn't seem to happy about it, though.
One night after Sophie fell asleep, Franny stayed up to make snickerdoodles with Grandpa. They turned out delicious and it was then that we learned that Franny knows how to crack an egg by herself!

Friday was a lot of fun. Julia took the girls and I to get pedicures. We went back to Julia's and we fixed dinner and then Dad and Annie picked us up and we all went to Chuck E. Cheese. Was that ever an intense experience! Try going on a Friday night in Southern California when it's been raining all week and people are ready to get out of the house and you'll see what I mean. The girls had fun and I did, too. I find that sometimes my taste in food regresses a little bit when I'm pregnant. For example, I found myself sneaking over to the salad bar with my paper plate to steal some ranch dressing for dipping my pizza in. I love Chuck E. Cheese pizza! I know it's not any good, but it just reminds me of when I was a little kid and everyone was having their birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.
Saturday night was a lot of fun, too. My Dad went to a BYU basketball game with some friends so we decided to have a girls' night in with take-out and a movie and a sleepover in the family room. Annie brought blankets and pillows and mattresses down. We went to head out the door and realized my Dad had taken his car keys with him, but Julia saved the day and brought us Rubio's for dinner. We had rented a couple of redbox movies, but we didn't need them because Julia's husband Grant has a cousin who works for Disney and she was able to score us an in-home viewing of "Princess and the Frog"! That was pretty cool since the movie hasn't been released to DVD yet and the girls, who had already seen it once in the theater, are huge "Princess and the Frog" fans. So Julia saved the day and we got to hold the babies a little more that day. My girls had SO much fun with their Aunt Annie. She was adorable with them- playing games, straightening their hair, sharing her old toys with them... I was so grateful for her!
Here's a picture we faked. Sophie had a hard time keeping her eyes closed, but bless her heart for trying.

My Dad arranged a family party for the last night we were there and it was so great to see everyone. My uncle Lauren came, Gayle and David were there with two of their kids Will and Alex, and Wayne and Cindy came with Vanessa. Gayle came to Julia's earlier in the week when we were at Julia's and brought presents for baby Claire AND for Franny and Sophie. The girls were thrilled and so was I. It was so thoughtful and meant a lot to me. I really loved how much the girls talked about the fairies that Aunt Gayle bought for them. When we got home and finally saw Daddy, that was one of the first things Franny said to him. "Do you want to see the fairy that Aunt Gayle gave me?"

Sophie is a dog-lover just like her Dad. She asked me once after we got home if Julia's dog Cooper was her cousin.

My Dad is the sweetest grandpa to my girls. We hadn't actually seen him in about 16 months, but you never would have thought so thanks to ichat. The girls were so happy to see Grandpa and interacted with him like they get to see him on a weekly basis. Which I guess they kind of do. Although on the car ride back from the airport Sophie was saying things like, "We can see Grandpa tomorrow." Also, while we there we went to Target to pick up a few things and we saw a box of Good & Plenty's- my dad's favorite candy. I told the girls I thought we should pick up a little present for Grandpa. Now every time Sophie and I are grocery shopping, she looks for Good & Plenty's on the shelves of the candy aisle and calls out, "Mom! MOM!! That's what Grandpa likes!" So cute. We had a great time and I am so thankful we were able to go. We miss you all and love you!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bobby's Christmas Quilt

This last Christmas Bobby asked me for a quilt. I've always really appreciated how supportive he is of the things I like to do with my time. Like my cooking, and that very short time that I was into scrapbooking, and my sewing... So when he asked for a quilt, I was pretty excited. And lest anyone should question the manliness of my man, he also asked for a gun-cleaning kit. ;)

He had some suggestions for me. He wanted me to incorporate some other fabrics besides cotton, namely corduroy and felt. (Don't worry, I let him know that felt for a quilt would be a bad idea.) He wanted it to look kind of pieced from my fabric stash, but still look cohesive. (These are not his words. Keep in mind this conversation happened about three months ago.) So I started searching craft blogs and flickr pages looking for inspiration and I ran into this lady. (Hello lady!) I love her quilts. Some of hers look really advanced, but a lot are really fresh and simple. I actually borrowed an idea from her for Franny's birthday quilt, which I'll blog about soon.

The quilt measures 84 x 68 inches. He wanted it to be nice and big enough to cover his whole body. I used a chocolate brown corduroy on the front and I'm happy with the added weight it gives the quilt. I also loved the puckery look on the corduroy after it was washed a couple of times. My only complaint about the corduroy is it stinks. It smells awful, but it's getting better with every wash. After the first wash I was laying around with it watching TV and I could barely breathe because its smell was so strong. Anyone know what that is?
My favorite side of the quilt is actually the back, only because it's such a surprise. It was obviously a lot more work, but the front was so simple to put together I didn't mind the extra time. I sewed straight vertical lines to quilt it about 1 1/2 inches apart and that took much longer than I anticipated. But quilting always does.

I couldn't decide which fabric to use for the binding so I finally settled on a scrappy binding, and just used a combination of all the fabrics from the quilt.

I didn't actually get the quilt finished in time for Christmas. (I was up until 1 AM quilting it on Christmas Eve.) But it was done by December 28th which is a lot better than that time it took me three years to get my friend Betsy's daughter her "baby" quilt. So maybe I'm getting better at judging how much time I need for a quilt. He uses it all the time and has told me repeatedly how much he loves it. Bobby, you're the best!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"I pooped in my pants. It's okay to make mistakes."

This is definitely my favorite Sophie quote so far this year. Here is the story. We've been potty-training Sophie since right after Christmas. She picked up really quick on the first part, but the second part has been a bit more of a struggle. Our second night in California, we were having a small family party. Maggie was in town with her boyfriend Ryan, Richard and Kristy were up with Stacy and Joe (Kristy's twin sister and her husband), and my grandparents were in from Utah. Sophie walks out, seemingly panic-stricken, and says, "I need to go potty!" Well, I could tell by her stance and her face that she had already been.

I should also mention that when Franny gets really frustrated when she is trying to sound out words or write a sentence, we will often say, "it's okay to make mistakes! That's how you learn!"

Back to Sophie and her poop pants- I was a bit frustrated with her. I was anticipating such an event and had just reminded her to head for the potty when she felt the need. I didn't say much as I went about cleaning up her mess, but she could tell I was irked by the look on my face. She was crying and she said, "You need to say sorry to me!" I said, "WHAT?! I need to say sorry to YOU!" She said, "Yeah, because you mad at me! You like, 'MMHHH!' (at which point she disgustedly puts her hands on her hips trying to mimic me). "You cranky!"

At that I had to laugh. So I got her into a fresh pair of pants and we walked back out into the family room where most of the party was sitting and talking. Sophie then announces to the whole room, "I pooped in my pants. It's okay to make mistakes."

She is so funny.

By the way, she's got it down now, so we are officially off diaper duty for the next two months! Cause to celebrate.

Friday, February 5, 2010

One of our family's favorite restaurants to eat out at growing up was El Torito. They had this fabulous Mexican Caesar salad. I've been holding on to the recipe for years now waiting to live somewhere where I can actually purchase pepitas and cotija cheese. Well, luckily I found this recipe that substitutes Parmesan and pine nuts. While I'd still like to try the real thing someday, this will at least fulfill the craving. The cilantro pesto dressing is SO GOOD! I think we'll have it again on Sunday.

Cilantro Pesto Dressing:

1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 C. pine nuts, toasted*
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
juice of one lime
splash of white vinegar
olive oil

1. In a food processor or blender combine garlic, pine nuts, cilantro, lime juice and vinegar. Process until everything is well-combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
2. While machine is running, pour olive oil in a stream until dressing reaches desired consistency and flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dressing will be on the thick side.

* To toast pine nuts: Put pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shaking pan or stirring nuts frequently, toast until they take on a light brown color. Don’t leave them unattended because they will burn quickly! As soon as they are toasted, remove them from the pan to a small bowl to cool. Make sure you toast enough to use both in the salad dressing and in the salad itself!

Caesar Salad:

Chopped romaine lettuce
toasted pine nuts
shaved parmesan (parmigiano reggiano) cheese
fried tortilla strips*

1. Just before eating, put lettuce in a salad bowl.
2. Top with desired amount of pine nuts, cheese and tortilla strips.
3. Add some cilantro dressing and toss well.
4. Divide salad among plates or bowls and top each serving with sliced carne asada if desired.

* To make tortilla strips: Heat some oil in a deep fryer or in a deep skillet or dutch oven. While oil is coming to temperature, stack a few corn tortillas on a cutting board. Cut the stack in half and then slice into thin strips. When oil temperature reaches 350 degrees, fry tortilla strips in small batches, stirring them so they don’t stick together. Drain on paper towels and toss with a little salt while still warm.

I honestly can't remember if El Torito serves their entrees with a scoop of sweet corn cake. Most likely, since that reminds me of our family restaurant dinners growing up as well. And the honey-lime enchiladas, that's just a gem I came across first on MyKitchen Cafe and have seen many times since. It's a keeper. I only made a couple of changes this time. I added more enchilada sauce and used less cream. Not really by choice, more by obligation. I've gained about all I wanted to and I still have eight weeks before Claire will grace us with her presence. I also added some cilantro and I substituted half of the Monterrey Jack cheese for pepper jack- just for the extra kick.

The Best Broccoli Ever.

I wanted to make broccoli to go with our leftover chicken and artichoke casserole last night and went looking for the recipe. After reading a rave review from this food blogger I knew I had found a winner. I had everything on hand (including Ina's cookbook) except the fresh basil. My family hates broccoli and I ate the entire dish by myself. (I cut the recipe in half.) It tasted so good!

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli


  • 4 to 5 pounds broccoli
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Silky Chocolate Pudding

This is my favorite dessert I've tried lately. I made it once for Bobby before we left for California and I even made it once out there for a family dinner we had when Richard and Kristy were up from San Diego. Delish with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top.

Silky Chocolate Pudding
from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 6

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I went with a premium bar of 70% dark chocolate the first time, but the second time I used a 50% and a 70% so it wasn't quite so dark.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you’re a slacker like me who is absolutely certain that there is nary a lump her puddin’) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

3. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

girl gone craf-T again

So I have a craft blog that I haven't updated for months and months. I'm thinking of just importing all of my posts from that site to this one since I'll probably never be able to really do it justice. I do have little chunks of time here and there where I keep really busy with crafting projects, like the recent few months I guess, but I think that this chunk of time is rapidly approaching its end with the new baby coming soon. (Although I am hoping to make some crib bedding, hair accessories, baby blankets/onesies, etc.) So I have decided to post my crafting efforts here when and if they come up.

I made this quilt for my sister Julia for coming out to Missouri to babysit my kiddos for four or five days while we were on our cruise. It's called a wonky log cabin quilt and my friend Sara was the first one to tell me about it. I just love pink and red together.

I saw this on Ashley's blog who found it on the Little Blue Boo blog and thought my cute nephew and niece Hannah and Warner needed one with a matching blanket.

Then I also made a couple of headbands for Hannah. I am totally going to make some for Claire and may even make some hair clips for Sophie and Franny featuring these little felt roses. I love them!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips AND Peanut Butter Chips

Bobby asked for cookies last night for dessert. My favorite cookie has to be the one on the Reese's Peanut Butter Chip bag for Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies. Those are amazing. Bobby ranks them as number 10 on his favorite cookie list and usually makes a frowny face when I make that suggestion. He offered peanut butter cookies as a compromise. I've been on an ongoing search for the perfect peanut butter cookie recipe, but I think that search officially ends with this recipe. Just be sure you don't overbake! They are not going to look like they are done at all after 10-12 minutes, but they are. You won't be sorry.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips AND Peanut Butter Chips
from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth is what we used, but I am pretty sure they use chunky at the bakery)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

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