Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yorkshire Pudding

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! Mostly because Matt gets up with me to prepare it. Although we're not very awake or talkative, it is quality time together. If it was just me, we'd be having cold cereal for breakfast every day and breakfast for dinner on occasion. Thanks to Jaymie, one of my Tooele neighbors, I have this delicious recipe for Yorkshire Pudding. Depending on where you're from, the name might be different. I believe they're also called Popovers. I always make a double batch because the leftovers are great for snacking on later, and they're healthier than a lot of other snacks the kids might create or get ahold of!

Yorkshire Pudding:

1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pans WELL! Fill cups only 2/3rds full. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from pans immediately or the bottom of the yorkshire puddings will burn.

These can be eaten plain, or they can be topped with anything you can imagine! Each member of our family likes something different on their yorkshire pudding: maple syrup, peanut butter, jam, butter, etc.

This recipe can also be used as the outer portion of eclairs! They're SO easy to make. The funnest part is turning on the oven light and watching them rise taller and taller during the last couple minutes of baking. If you don't have time to cook in the morning, try these as an after school snack!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Easy Guacamole!

My dear friend Timi gave me this recipe and we make it ALL the time. If we have company over, it is instantly devoured. You're gonna love it, too!

You will need:
Premade salsa
ripe avacados

For small avacados, mix half a cup of salsa per avacado. With large avacados, mix one cup of salsa per avacado. Just squish the avacados like ripe bananas and mix it in with the salsa.

I buy my avacados at Costco so they're larger than others I've bought at other grocery stores. It's common for avacados to not be ripe when you buy them. If you leave them on the counter with a bunch of bananas, the gas released from the bananas as they ripen will help ripen the avacados within a couple days!

On tour with the Ricks College Chamber Orchestra

Just the title of this blog dates me now that Ricks College is BYU-Idaho! I played clarinet from 5th grade all the way through college. In college I took private lessons and branched out a little bit by learning to play the soprano clarinet (a smaller one) for the orchestra, and the bass clarinet for the chamber orchestra.

The Chamber Orchestra members were "special." They were the best players of their instrument and with the exception of string instruments and percussion instruments, there was only one of each of the band instruments. All of these players were music majors. I was not a music major and not the best in my instrument; therefore, I was shocked when I was invited to be in the Chamber Orchestra....if I would play the bass clarinet. Ah, but of course! It wasn't as easy a transition as one might think. But that is another can of worms.

In the spring of 1994, the Chamber Orchestra went on tour across Idaho, into Oregon, then down into California. Our first stop was a suburb of Boise on a Sunday evening. We weren't doing a full performance here, but since the members hosted us, the plan was to do a fireside for us.

On the bus on the way to Boise, I was sitting next to an old boyfriend, who was a percussionist. I fell asleep. I'm a VERY sound sleeper and apparently missed out on quite a bit of conversation while sleeping. The percussion professor walked the bus in search of someone to lead all the students in a choir for the fireside. Tim informed the professor that I at the time was the choir director in our ward and volunteered me, the not so "special" one, to lead all of the music majors in a hymn that we, of course, would rearrange. So when I woke up, I was informed that the decision had been made and I was to lead them all in song. YIKES!

Lucky for me the professor told me exactly what he wanted done with the hymn. We were to sing "All Creatures of Our God and King" at least twice as fast as we sing it in church. The men would sing the first verse, the women the second. Then on the third verse we sang acapella with the first stanza in a round (only once) but the first group would hold the note while the second group caught up; after which, we would break into four part harmony. I know this is hard to imagine by just reading a description, but listening to a group of music majors singing it was absolutely awesome! I have a couple awesome choir memories and this is one of them.

I really don't remember the rest of the tour all that well, except that my ex boyfriend followed me around San Fransisco "to keep me safe" since I didn't want to stick with the group at Pier 39. I wasn't thrilled about it, but whatever. I remember buying chocolate at Giradelli Square and buying a huge ice cream sundae at an ice cream parlor. My two favorite foods!

The heaviest thing on my mind during this trip was my missionary. Matt was serving in the Arcadia, California mission in L. A. and I was going crazy realizing that I would only be four inches away....according to the map. Yah, I knew it was several hours away still, but we were both in California!!! Silly, I know, but nobody compared to my missionary.

I made an awesome friend while playing clarinet at Ricks College, and that was Elinda! Elinda, if I've incorrectly remembered any details from this trip, please feel free to let me know and I'll correct them in my post!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The mysterious pole

We moved into this house in the middle of the coldest and harshest winter Utah has seen in over a decade. It was so bad, I wasn't sure if we actually had neighbors. I'm pretty sure everyone was in a deep state of hybernation. I would have much rather been hybernating than moving that winter. UGH. I cringe just thinking about it.

That spring, a pole that is mounted on a thick metal plate appeared just over our property line in the front yard. Matt and I were looking down the street, probably watching the kids walk to the bus stop when we both recognized there was something different about our view. We decided to wait it out and see if someone came to claim the pole. No one. About two weeks later, we rolled it to the back yard and I ordered a tetherball off ebay to attach to the top of the pole! My boys were ecstatic. But the mystery continued. We had no idea where the pole came from or why it appeared in our yard.

Occasionally I have to replace the tetherball. They don't seem to survive the weather well. Recently Elijah begged me to buy a new ball so we got on ebay and ordered another. I commented once again on oddity of the pole appearing in our yard in the first place, but how much joy it has brought for Elijah. He finally told me, "I know who gave us the pole. The guy next door asked me if we wanted it and I told him yes." So apparently, it was never a mystery as to who gave us the pole. Just that Matt and I didn't find out about it until just a couple weeks ago!

Meanwhile, we have some tetherball monsters in this house. Elijah is determined to be the best tetherball player at school. The only kids that can beat him are the REALLY tall ones. Eli is pretty darn tall for his age, so with all the practice he gets in at home, plus his height, he's one of the best tetherball players around! That boy is seriously competitive!


As you may have already read from previous blog posts. We're trying to catch all the mice that have mysteriously appeared in the house. After deciding to not use glue traps, we switched over to the old reliable mouse traps and have managed to catch six mice. YUCK! But I've carefully placed a couple glue traps in locations where we tend to have a lot of spiders. Glue traps are great for catching spiders!

One of these glue traps was sitting under a decorative table, behind the couch in the TV room. I probably should have placed this glue trap more under the couch, but at the time, I didn't think I needed to worry about it. Weeks have gone by, I forgot the glue trap was even there. Matt was sitting on the other side of the couch, computer in lap, working on his contract work while watching TV with me. I was sitting at the craft table quite close to where the forgotten glue trap sat...when all of a sudden, Gracy came flying out from behind the couch.

Now when a cat is startled or scared, it runs pretty darn fast and disappears. They're fast creatures. But Gracy was frantically flailing and flying through the room causing quite the ruckus. At first I couldn't figure it out. By this time, she hit the kitchen floor and I understood what had happened. Gracy stepped on the glue trap and it was stuck to her foot. She would lift her foot higher than usual while running AND trying to get it off all at the same time. These glue traps are about 4 x 6 inches, so they're not small, especially not when attached to a cat's foot. So with every step of that foot, the glue trap smacked the floor. Gracy was running around everywhere frantically trying to get away from it to no avail. I'm up and chasing her by this time hollering, "Catch the cat, somebody catch the cat!"

Zack and Sara had been doing homework quietly and the little boys had already been sent to bed. It took them a moment to figure out that something was not right with Gracy and we all pursued, giggling as we chased her. It took us a minute to corner her so we could catch her and then Sara carefully removed the glue trap. I'm surprised Gracy didn't have a heart attack. Stuck to a glue trap, then chased by her people must have been absolutely terrifying. And yet, the situation was quite the comedy act and brought bouts of laughter for all!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spice Cake Oatmeal Cookies

I love that my teenagers are willing to try new recipes on their own! Sara is taking treats to her Novel Writing class on Friday and perused one of our cook books and came across this recipe. Since we had a spice cake mix in the house, it was easily done! At first she wouldn't let us taste them, not knowing if there would be enough for her class. After torturing us with the divine smells accompanied by spicy cookies, we finally got to discover how yummy these are! Please note, there's a story after the recipe! Read on.

Spice Cake Oatmeal Cookies:

1 pkg. spice cake mix
2 cups rolled oats
2 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
2 cups raisins (opt.)
1 cup chopped nuts (we used pecans)
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients. Drop onto cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes. Cool on rack.


As Sara prepared her cookies, I was reminded of a time when she was 8 years old. She had checked out a library book that was recipes from another country. She was determined that we had to cook something from this book before she returned it to the library. I finally agreed and asked her to choose a recipe. Sara chose oatmeal cookies, but of course they weren't called that because they were from another country. After verifying that we had all the ingredients, I asked her to read off the ingredients to me and I'd pull them out of the cupboard and fridge in preparation to bake. The last ingredient was rolled oats. I said, "Here's the oatmeal." Without missing a beat, Sara said, "Okay, let's roll 'em!"