Friday, September 30, 2011

Grilled Cheese and the weekend

Last weekend was really really nice, but I know this weekend will be just as good.

To do:
- Eat Dunkin Donuts
- Make my costume and June's costume (I am so on top of this, thanks to a certain friend who is throwing her certain Halloween party VERY early in the month because it falls on a certain day... more about this after the actual party.)
- Decorate, Halloween style.
- Listen to the new Wilco album in between sessions of Conference. (Thank you for being alive, Jeff Tweedy.)
- Hang out with mom during Priesthood session (my favorite part of conference weekend... is that bad to say?)
- Compile and plan a list of dinners and desserts to make that are especially fitting for this time of year (I love love love fall.).
- Eat another one of these beauties:


















AJ's Multi-Grain bread + Maple Bacon + 1 egg over-easy + Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese + Romaine lettuce + tomato + salt + pepper = Jenny's Bacon Grilled Cheese Please Sandwich

(I've been hesitating for a while eating an over-easy egg on a sandwich, but it was divine. Oh and the bread from AJ's is chewy/healthy heaven, not dry like most Multi-grain bread I've eaten.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Belated

William's birthday was last week (the 23rd) and I failed to acknowledge it.




















It was an extremely busy day.

Here's what happened: surprise visit at work with plenty of cupcakes, Gilbert's 4th Friday, Liberty Market, Joe's BBQ, Joe's Farmgrill, Cold Stone Creamery, Moneyball, tons of candy, Firehouse Subs, and hangin' with Chubbs.

I wish every weekend was like last weekend.

I'm so happy William was born. I love him for so many reasons, but here's just a few:
- He teared up a little bit when June rested her head on his shoulder.
- His appreciation for music is unlike anyone's. He can point out the most interesting things in even the most mundane songs.
- He makes up phrases that don't make sense like "Baby Sad" and "Mah Ice Cweam".
- He can make me laugh until my tummy hurts.
- His enthusiasm for the gospel. He's happy to share it with anyone and everyone (a habit I'm still trying to acquire).
- And he looks like this:


















I'm so lucky.
Happy 26th, Loves.

Finally...

... a food June actually enjoys:


I think she likes pears.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2 Teeths

This is the only picture I could get of June's new teeth:





















I felt bad taking these snapshots when she desperately wanted to be held. But then I realized she didn't want to be held... she needed to be changed.





























Needless to say, she got her revenge by releasing a stench that nearly gagged me... clever girl.

---------------------------------------------------------
Listening to: Bright Eyes, The People's Key. Disregard the crazy man's ramblings and you've got yourself a fine album.
Melting over: June's laugh. I can't get enough of it.
Loved: Moneyball... I want to see it again.
Anticpating: making French Toast Cupcakes. My mom brought me a bottle of pure maple syrup from her trip to the East Coast, and I'm excited to use it in something tasty.
Getting chills watching: this Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon duet... is that weird? (By the way, I don't know what's more awesome, Colbert's amazing voice or the fact that The Roots learned to play "Somewhere Out There".)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Caramels (Or why I can't lose 10 pounds)

I think my Aunt Susan said it best. When we called her to verify the recipe, she said, "It takes a village." It's expensive, it's time-consuming, it hurts your feet, and it burns your hands.

Oh and it makes you fat.

Now I understand why people don't make homemade caramels very often. But everyone should make caramels at least once in their lifetime (and you better believe I'll make them again and again and again).

These caramels are one of the most delicious treats I've ever tasted.

This is THE caramel recipe. Don't even try any of the other ones. (Brown sugar? No thanks. Adding water?! Are you kidding me? My caramels have no room for no-calorie water!)






















Homemade Caramels (Dana recipe)

1 quart Light Karo Syrup
4 cups sugar
2 cubes butter
1 can evaporated milk
1 pint whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla

1. Stir constantly as you bring sugar and syrup to a hard boil. (This might take a while.)
2. Add butter one square at a time. Add milk and cream alternately. Keep stirring.
3. Using a candy thermometer as reference, stir constantly as it boils to a soft ball stage. (This takes a LONG time. 30 minutes maybe?)
4. Stir in vanilla
5. Pour into a buttered cookie sheet pan
6. Let cool for about 5-6 hours


You're welcome.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Creamy Chicken with Biscuits






















If you love crockpot recipes and Pillsbury Biscuits, then get ready for this one.

I ripped this recipe out of a Real Simple Magazine and thought I lost it. I couldn't find it online, so when I finally found my paper copy, I had to quickly type it on the bliggidy blog.

And William loves this dish.

Creamy Chicken with Biscuits (via Real Simple)

4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth (The REAL recipe calls for 1/2 cup, plus 1/2 cup of dry white wine but I changed it since my cupboards don't ever have wine in them.)
6 biscuits (Canned Pillsbury Biscuits are where it's at.)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, toss together the carrots, celery, onion, and flour. Place the chicken on top and season with the poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add broth.
2. Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 5 to 6 hours OR on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
3. Thirty minutes before serving, prepare the biscuits.
4. Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Cover and cook until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more.
5. To serve, place the bottom halves of the biscuits in shallow bowls, then top with chicken mixture and the remaining biscuit halves.



Sunday, September 18, 2011

You are 6 months.















I can't believe it's been 6 months! I feel like I've known June forever, but at the same time, it feels like I've just met her.

But it gets more fun with each day.

























P.S. June has a new cousin... Andrew Bradford Gundry! Congrats Laura and Steve! We can't wait to meet him (especially June).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pumpkin (Whooooopie it's Fall!) Pies

Oh thank you September for coming...


























... because that means it's time to start making holiday treats.

Also, thank you Pinterest for guiding me to these Pumpkin cookies. (You too, Marci.)


















Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling (via dreamydesserts)
Makes 12-14

3 cups AP Flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Splenda (use could white sugar if you like)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 - 15 oz. can of pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together brown sugar, Splenda, oil and pumpkin. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition, followed by the vanilla. In a separate bowl, shift together the dry ingredients. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.
Using a pastry bag with a round tip, or a big zip top plastic bag with one corner snipped, squeeze out concentric circles of batter, starting from the middle and working outward until the circles are about 2 inches in diameter.(I made mine even smaller because I was making them for a bigger group... it made about 30 cookies.) Bake for 11 minutes and cool on a rack.

Cream Cheese Filling
1 - 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 - 16 oz. package of powdered sugar
about a capful of vanilla extract
a pinch of cinnamon (to taste)

Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Frost flat side of half the pies and top with another piece.

Enjoy right away or chill overnight.
















I bought those cups at Ikea and they're the perfect size for little cookies. They hold them so well and look so cute in a cluster.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

June's Amazing Saturday

1. Ate at Carl's Jr. and watched mom and dad have a contest to see who can spin the cell phone the longest (instead of having a normal adult conversation).























2. Hung out with Pops and recorded some sweet beats.


















(Nice hair, June.)






3. Went to the D-back game for the first time ever.






















It was the celebration of the tenth anniversary of their World Series Win. The 2001 team came, they won the game in the 10th inning, and Mom and Dad had nachos... a perfect evening.














-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Surprised: At how quickly the Missoni stuff went off the shelves at Target. I wanted this bag so bad, dang it!
Listening to: 'Codes and Keys' by Death Cab for Cutie. I think it's one of those albums that I'll like in a few months. But for now, meh.
Reading: 'These is my Words' by Nancy Turner. I didn't think I would like a story about a woman settling in Arizona in the late 1800s, but it's surprisingly good.
Eating: Cinnamon Taffies from Superstition Ranch Market.
Researching: Halloween Costumes. Halloween is 10X more exciting with a baby. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2 Funny Things

After tasting this salsa, my sister-in-law Mary wrote me an email:

"Thanks again for the yummy salsa! Since you like drawing "diagrams" on your blog, I thought I'd draw one of me eating your salsa."

She then attached this awesome picture:
























I'm amazed with the details. See the cilantro floating in the salsa? And the eyelashes?! And the amazing jar drawing? Mary's got skillz.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, here's the second funny thing:

The following is a 22-second video of June right after she took a bath in the sink. (Disclaimer: There may be some adorable baby nudity.)

There are 3 things to look for in this clip that make me laugh everytime.
1) Right after William says "Bum.", June squeezes her bum cheeks in ever so slightly.
2) She plays the "Mirror Game" where she looks in the mirror until you look at her and smiles.
3) She's at a stage where she tries to grab EVERYTHING out of our hands, and William loves it.


Did you see everything? Watch it again, it's cuter the second time anyway.

Easy Donuts

Growing up, my dad and I would go to Dunkin Donuts every Saturday to get my favorite donut, 'The Manager's Special', which had coconut and Boston Creme and Icing and plenty of high fructose corn syrup.

Have you heard that donuts are the new cupcake? Well as you can see, I started the donut trend.
Here's an easy donut to make when you have leftover biscuit dough.

No joke, it's so easy to make and very delicious.























EASY DONUTS

Ingredients

1 ten count can Texas style doughnuts (or your preference, just not flaky layers)

1 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 stick margarine, melted

Vegetable Oil For Frying


Instructions


1. Pour oil into skillet to the depth of a little less than 1/2 an inch and heat on medium to medium high for about five minutes. In a bowl, melt margarine. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.

2. Using a plastic bottle cap, cut the center out of each biscuit. Drop dough into hot oil, watching carefully and turning when golden. Once doughnuts are golden on both sides, remove to paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all dough is cooked, including doughnut holes.

(Via Pinterest, Via Southernplate)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

June's Developing Personality


















- Needs her pacifier, blanket, and the fan blowing on her, to go to sleep. When everything is checked off, she turns on her side, closes her eyes, and rubs her blanket on her face until she falls asleep.

- Loves taking baths and looking at herself when she's wrapped in a towel.

- Bites on her fist when something is funny or exciting (like being thrown in the air).

- Loves wearing dresses so she can chew on them.

- If I'm eating a popsicle, I must share it with June.

- Loves to sip water from a straw (or rather smack her tongue to her lips when the straw is put to her mouth).

- Needs company (but beginning to get shy around strangers).

- Loves the feel of grass and Dad's hair.

Remembering

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hawaiian Rolls

My sister-in-law, Marci, is another recipe guru I look to. She finds the best recipes.

I tried these Hawaiian rolls at a party Marci threw a few years back and I died of deliciousness. They are so good. I made them for Suppa Club a couple months ago and I can't believe that something so tasty is so easy to make.

So on Friday, I prepared some more and took them to William's work for a lunch date (+June).











Hawaiian Rolls

1/2 lb. shredded ham
1 dozen Sweet Hawaiian Rolls (King's Hawaiian Rolls are perfect)
1/4 lb. sliced swiss cheese

Sauce:
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Assemble sandwiches and line up on a cookie sheet. Pour sauce mixture over filled rolls. Cover and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350, covered for 15-20 minutes.


Friday, September 9, 2011

You to Thank



























I just happen to read this talk again and decided I have lots to be grateful for.

Thanks to:
-William for handling raw meats when I don't want to and for being the best fusband (father + husband)
-June for being awesome when we run errands and drive in the car
-Family and In-laws for being supportive and making me laugh
-Friends for making food, playing games, and doing crafts
-The customers of QT for holding the door for me because I'm carrying a heavy carseat
-Apple computers for making a laptop so solid it can survive a drop to the kitchen floor, a drop to the classroom floor, and a few drips of ketchup and mustard on the keyboard. (William and I can't own nice things.)
-The month of September arriving so we can look forward to fall and holidays and sweaters and hot chocolate and pumpkin donuts at Krispy Kreme
-Chik-Fil-A for giving us our free breakfast anyway, even though our coupon isn't valid for another week
-The cats that lived under our porch for leaving, instead of dying and smelling
-The guy who lives down the street that William and I have only seen a few times but has been the target of many jokes because he is super sunburned so we call him "Lobster"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You know it must be impossible for a Spanish person to order seltzer and not get salsa. - George





























I can never go back to store-bought salsa. It seriously tastes like tomato paste to me.
Homemade salsa is SO easy, and I make this one all the time. Of course, I got this recipe from See Jane in the Kitchen, who got it from Pioneer Woman.

Restaurant Salsa
1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
¼ cups Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
¼ teaspoons Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin
½ cups Cilantro (more To Taste!)
½ whole Lime Juice

















Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse 10 to 15 times, until desired consistency. Taste and season more if needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.

Oatmeal Coconut Chewies


























I'm not sure if I've mentioned before, but my cousin Jane has an amazing food blog called See Jane in the Kitchen. I've used a TON of her recipes, and I've never been disappointed. I'm thinking of trying every single one of her recipes, sort of like a 'Julie and Julia' thing, but call it 'Jenny and Jane'. (And when the movie comes out, Julia Roberts will play Jane and my character will be played by Beyonce.)

Anyway, other than cook every single recipe on Jane's blog, my other goal is to eventually keep my kitchen well-stocked to the point where I can spontaneously cook any recipe I want, whenever I want. I had that experience Sunday night when I decided to make oatmeal-coconut cookies. It was the best feeling ever, knowing I didn't have to plan or even run to the store to get a missing ingredient.

Thanks, Jane, for the idea.




























Oatmeal Coconut Chewies (via Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1 cup quick oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are set but not overly brown. For crispier cookies, bake longer.