Friday, April 27, 2012

Recipe: almond milk & agave granola bars

For my birthday, my mom gave me the recipe and ingredients to make almond milk.
It was, surprisingly, very easy to make.
Thanks mom :)

Almond Milk

1/2 cup almonds
4 cups water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
3 dates, or 1 Tb agave/honey

fine mesh bag or cheese cloth

Let almonds soak in water overnight.  When done soaking, put all ingredients in blender and blend away.  When completely blended through, pour everything in the bag (or cheese cloth) over a bowl and squeeze all the milk out.  You can throw away the leftover almond pulp , or use it in cookies.

I've looked at different almond milk recipes online, and they are all different with the amount of almonds they add and the amount of flavoring.  So all of that can be changed to your liking.  

I looked up optional add-ins you could add in as desired:

2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg

This makes 2 full jars of almond milk.  
Try to drink within 3 days of making.

I then made homemade granola bars to go with my almond milk.
I got the recipe off of the cutest new blog Pretty Providence.  It is all about living frugally.  I know the two cute girls that started it and I have really loved all their posts.
I adapted the recipe a little and they turned out AWESOME.  They were incredibly easy as well.

Agave Granola Bars

4 Tb butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup agave
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cup granola 
(I tried to make my own, which burnt, so I bought the Bear Naked vanilla/almond Fit granola.  It worked out perfect.  Be careful about sugar content when you buy granola.  This only had 4 grams sugar per serving)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In small bowl, mix all dry ingredients except chocolate chips.
Add butter, agave and brown sugar to a saucepan on medium high heat.  Continue to mix until boiling. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium low and continue to stir for two minutes.  
Add mixture to dry ingredients and coat completely.  Let cool for a minute and then add chocolate chips.  
Press mixture into a greased pan to your desired thickness, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Called to serve...

I cannot believe my little Tyler is old enough to go on a mission.  I swear it was yesterday he looked like this:
He was the cutest little boy.  
And he turned out to be a fine young man: (even though I sometimes wish he stayed little for me forever).

He got his mission call on Thursday.  He waited a whole day and a half to open it.  He even waited a whole extra day for me since I had to work :).  
I wasn't nervous for him until the minutes leading up to the actual opening.
That time sitting around with family and friends hearing him read a letter written just for him from the Lord was amazing.  I'm always impressed with how my brother can bring in the Spirit.
When he said he will be serving in the Scotland/Ireland mission.  I knew that was where he was supposed to serve his whole life.  
And that he gets to preach the gospel in the Mandarin Chinese language?
Holy cow.
What a specific mission made just for him.   
I can't help but think how much confidence the Lord has in this 19 year old boy. 

I am so proud of you Tyler.  So proud.
I look up to you little brother of mine (literally and figuratively).  You really are an example to me. 

I can't wait to hear you speak Chinese with a Scottish/Irish accent.  
This is going to be fun.

And here is the special moment:
Sorry if it is shaky; I was nervous and excited for him!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My 24th birthday

Birthdays growing up were big deals in my family.  We always had awesome birthday parties and our parents made us feel so special.  
Kevin thinks it's weird that I want a whole day of me, me, me and more me.  
I don't.  But he is getting used to it.  He is actually getting good at it.

This year I was awoken by fresh bear claw donuts from my favorite donut shop, Daylight Donuts.  They are always the first donuts to go; me and Kevin never get there early enough to get them every time we go.  But my mom got me the last three on my birthday.  And they are already gone.  I selflessly let Kevin eat one, me, two.  She also gave me fresh, homemade almond milk she had made that morning, a perfect card that describes me (that really was me in dance class when I was little), and a gift certificate to Whole Foods.  Happy Birthday Tofu.  And this was just a birthday day "treat". 

I had wanted to go on a bike ride in the morning, but it was raining.  But since it was also tax day (what a great day to share my birthday with) Kevin had to go turn in taxes and run 'errands'.  So I painted while I waited for him to get home.
We went out to lunch at Pirate O's, my lunch of choice.  They have awesome sandwiches.  My favorite is the #7.  They always have a coupon running in the money mailer, or you can always find them online and print them off.  And its always fun to look at all the many sodas, and weird candy they have.  Buffalo wing soda anyone?
Kevin had an unused massage gift card that I had given him last year for his birthday, so I decided we could both get birthday massages.  Win, win.  I am so self-less.  
I made sure the lady knew that I only wanted a feel-good massage, not a sore-in-the-morning massage.  She did a great job.  I had told her in the beginning that I really wanted my arms, back, shoulders and neck massaged, but halfway through I tried to explain to her that she could massage my legs as well.  
But since I was so relaxed, it came out weird:

"You...massage legs too?"
"Yes we do"
"Yea, k"


"I mean, yea you can massage those too...if you want...after your done up know halfway through."

Just be quiet mal.  You are awkward.

You should have seen Kevin after his massage.  He looked like he was about to fall asleep he was so relaxed.  He had told his old, buff lady to be as 'rough' as she wanted.  She laughed.  
He said the majority of his massage was given by her forearm .  Ooph.  
But he loved it.  
When he walked out he says "Oh man, I feel so athletic right now! Like I could do anything!"

On the drive to the massage we got a huge rock chip from a rock truck on the freeway.  Of course my new windshield is only a few months old.  We new that we had to fix this darn chip right away, because it could get nasty fast.  So we took it to Safelite in Draper and they fixed it right away for us.  They did a really good job with it.  It went from huge chip, to little chip.  Thanks Safelite.

I loved being able to hang out with this handsome man all day. 
We had a little funeral for puppy.  We both gave a short eulogy.  Those were all the tulips in my yard.  

We then went on a fun,and hilly, bike ride with Patrick, my little brother-in-law.  I got to sport my new  helmet that my awesome husband had given me for the birthday.  I think that was one of his 'errands'.  You know men.  
He wanted to get a 'racer-mal' shot on my bike with my new racer helmet.  

We then tried to go to Joe Morley's for dinner. But didn't realize it was already 9.  They were closed by the time we got there.  So we then tried the only decent food place that is open after 9:  Cafe Rio.  It was so tasty after that bike ride.

You probably think all that would make a pretty fantastic birthday don't you?  
Well, I wanted to take it one step further.
Hunger Games.  For the second time.
And because it was discount tuesday at the theater.  Win, Win.
What a day.  

puppy, consider this my eulogy

My family dog, Zoe, died in her sleep on Monday.  We knew she was getting old, and we actually kind of knew that night something was going on.  That's how much we know this little puppy of ours.  She would have been in our family for 12 years coming this August. 

We are not weird dog people that treated our dog like a person.    

Well, maybe at Lake Powell we did when she wanted to go knee-boarding.  That was just funny though.
She was obsessed with Lake Powell.  My Dad hated taking her, but we all loved it.  She was the best little swimmer and got bugged when we were in the lake and she wasn't.  She would bark, bark, bark until we would throw her in; my dad thought that was pretty fun.

She loved chasing lizards with my brother.  She was quite good at it.  When she would catch one, she would chew on the poor little guys to brake their bones; her Irish dog ancestry of catching mice kicking in.  Those lizards were goners with the hunting crew of Zoe and Tyler.

She would run so much on the hot rock, that we had to get her little booties so her paws wouldn't rub off.  

She hated when we would leave a beach.  We would all get in the boat and yell to her to come.  She never would. So we would pull the boat out of the beach and head out.  She would see us wave and say bye, she would start to whine, hop in the lake and swim out to us.  We knew all along she couldn't let us go.  

She never needed this doggy life jacket.  We just thought it was funny.

She was such a good puppy.  We all loved her.  Even my dad did, even though he would hide it.  He had a soft spot for her.  He hated when Zoe would come and snuggle up to him on the couch, or lay on his feet while he was cooking in the kitchen.  But Zoe just loved him, probably more so since she knew she had to continually work at it his love.
All dogs have their own little perks, and Zoe was full of them.  She loved on Sunday nights when we would pop popcorn.  She would just wait and wait under that popcorn maker for my dad to throw her some popcorn.  But she would have none of the un-buttered or un-salted pieces.  If you threw her a plain piece of popcorn, she wouldn't eat it.  She knew what the good stuff tasted like.  And she would hold out.

From what I remember in my little years, I didn't have a dog.  I always felt so left out from the world because we weren't dog people.  I thought we were a weird family because we didn't have a dog; even though I had plenty of other pets growing up.  But, to me, the dog was the ultimate pet. 
And then one day my dad brought home Zoe.  I could not believe it.  We were dog people! My family had a dog!  Oh she was such a cute little puppy.  We were obsessed.
That first day we had her, I was laying on the ground and I started to stretch with my blanket all wrapped around me (whats new...) and when I lifted that arm up, she snuck right in and and started to snuggle with me.  That was the moment I started to love her.

She had a rough little go with my dad in the beginning, he threatened to sell her many times growing up.  We even had a family picked out that came over to our house to play with her.  All us kids sat around and watched this annoying four year old bug the heck out of Zoe.  Once they left, we all decided (sans dad) that she could not leave us and go to that family.  Zoe hated that kid and we could tell.
So we would hide certain things from my dad... like when she ripped up a whole line of carpet in the family room.  We called the carpet guy that day, and had him fix it before my dad got home.  Good as knew.
We loved pulling the fake poop joke, especially on my dad.  The day we got the fake poop, we put it on the carpet right next to my dad's side of the bed.  Oh you should have seen him when he saw that!  He was furious.  And then he got grossed out when we picked it up for him, bare hands and all.

My dad had to bury her.  I am so glad I didn't have to do that.  My dad knew he couldn't just give her to animal control for them to throw in the back of their car; he knew we wouldn't like that.  So he buried her in the backyard.  
That may sound like we are weird, but I think it is sweet.  She was our childhood friend.  She grew up with us.  
We all love you puppy of ours.
Consider this my eulogy to you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

recipe: homemade sushi

We were feeling like sushi tonight.  So we decided to make it ourselves and stay at home.
Sometimes we are the biggest homebodies.  
But we did have painting to do, so I will blame the painting.
My boss (also the chef) at my work was playing around with a new menu item.  He cut up some fresh, raw salmon and drizzled some truffle oil and other ingredients on it and had us test it out.  
Boy, my job is hard.  
It was delicious.  
I asked him if it was sushi-grade salmon, or a special grade of salmon.  
Nope it was just normal, fresh salmon.
So then I thought:  I need to make sushi with this.
So tonight I went to Harmon's, grabbed a filet of fresh salmon for $5 and Calrose rice (sushi rice) and got my sushi on.
We watched a lovely Japanese women show us how to cut the salmon correctly on youtube.
And with her help we had amazing, fresh sushi at home.
C'mon.  Get your sushi on.

Homemade Sushi

2 cups calrose sushi rice
2 cups water
4 Tb rice vinegar
3 Tb sugar
2 t salt

Place your rice and water in your rice cooker and cook away.  When it is done cooking, let it cool for a bit.  Mix vinegar, sugar and salt in seperate bowl. Coat rice.  The best and easiest sushi to make is made with room temperature rice.  We couldn't wait that long so we put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and that was fine.  It was still delicious.


we used:
toasted sesame seeds

you could also do:
cream cheese
teriyaki chicken
scrambled eggs
tempura (anything)

What else you'll need:

bamboo rolling mat (these are $2 at Harmons)
nori (dried seaweed)

If you need directions on how to actually roll and make the sushi, click here.  I have no idea how to roll it because Kevin did it all.  He did a mighty fine job :).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Light BBQ pizza

Who does't love BBQ pizza?
This time I decided to make it a little more healthy; with a cauliflower crust.
It was good.  But I still like normal flour-based crusts.  But thats not to say I won't make it again.  

Cauliflower Crust

1 head cauliflower
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cornmeal 
2 eggs
2 t Italian seasoning (or just use oregano, marjoram, basil, & thyme)

Chop up the cauliflower.  Heat olive oil in pan.  Add cauliflower to pan when oil is hot.  Sauté and keep an eye on it and stir it up, you don't want to burn the cauliflower.  Cook until tender-crisp, about 10-15 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Place all of the above ingredients in blender.
Now spread out the crust on a pizza stone, parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or how I did it: on a homemade pizza maker.  My oven will not cook pizza (If your oven does, preheat to 450).  So I found a pizza maker at Walmart for $24 and decided to try it out.  It works much better.  So I just placed my cauliflower mix right on it and spread it out. 
You will want to bake it for about 20 minutes.  I flipped mine, because I was worried it would burn.  But let the edges get crispy.

BBQ Chicken Pizza 

1 cup cooked shredded chicken
1/2 cup (or so) BBQ sauce (we love Joe Morley's signature BBQ sauce the best)
mozzarella cheese
extra sharp cheddar cheese
thinly sliced red onions
fresh cilantro

I just put the BBQ sauce and 2 chicken breasts in the my slow cooker.  I let it cook on low for 4 or so hours.  I then shredded it, and made sure all pieces were covered in BBQ sauce.

Spread some sauce on the crust.  Add cheese, chicken, onions, cilantro and then top with some more cheese.  Bake for another 10 or so minutes and ENJOY!  I even had some more BBQ sauce on the side to  dip it in :)

Recipe via here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So what have we been up to lately?

Alright, her we go....

I tried on a maxi dress.  Liked it a lot, but much too much $$.
Made chicken cordon bleu.  This is our meal of gluttony.  Chicken simmered in butter, then smothered in cream.  Mmmm.
Played with my adorable niece, Afton, who is starting to scoot that little body of hers.
 We had a ski day.
Kevin snowboarded, I skied.  The snow was slush.  Who knows the last time my ski's have seen wax, so in random slush I would stop to an almost complete stop.  It was like I was in a video racing game where you go over the speed enhancer lines and be jetted forward, only they were speed reducer lines.  That probably didn't make sense.  In my mind it did. 
And yes that is my husband.  He looked like Scuba Steve to me.  And you know how I feel about Scuba Steve.  Or maybe you don't... maybe a future post will be on my biggest on-going childhood nightmare: Scuba Steve.
We went to St. George for Easters.  We had so much fun with family.  There was a lot of biking, pickle ball-ing, Master's watching, and don't forget razoring.  
We ran into my brother, Ty, who was down there for a party.  He stopped by In-N-Out to say hi.  When he left, he was amazed to see that he had started some sort of secret car show.  When he had parked, the lot was empty.  When he went back out in 10 minutes, there were 10 or so sporty cars all parked in a line around his. I guess I now know how those are started.  
"Ahh look an orange and black mustang! Cool.  I have a red one.  I must park by the orange one."  And it continues. This = a redneck secret car show.
Beautiful view of snow canyon.
Kevin telling his 'how he rolled the razor and stayed miraculously alive' story.
Kolob Canyon.
Ellie walking her dog with her backpack on.  
Playing with nieces.  
We love are many nieces.  We have five now.  
Where are all the nephews?!

A new bike!

Wow where have I been?
Well, I got a new bike! And it's glorious. I never new I could love a bike so much.

It has been a long and arduous KSL classifieds journey in search for this bike . And finally, four months later, I found the one for the right price, the right look, and the right components. Huzzah!

Now begins training for my 100 miler in June.