Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chinese Takeout Lemon Chicken (easy) ...

I found this recipe HERE where I've found many good crockpot recipes. However, this one was the biggest hit. There were almost no leftovers :(

The Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces or equivalent
1/2 cup flour
1 T kosher salt
6 oz (1/2 can) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3 T brown sugar
1 t balsamic vinegar
3 T ketchup
olive oil for browning chicken
Tiffany’s additions: 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1 large fresh lemon squeeze & a few red pepper flakes
The Directions:
cut chicken into strips or largish chunks
dredge in flour and salt, shake off excess
brown chicken in a skillet with a bit of olive oil (you are not trying to cook the chicken--just give it some color and get the flour mixture to stick a bit)
place into crockpot
mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the top of chicken pieces
cover and cook on high for 4 hours, low for 6-8
Note:1 tablespoon of salt may be too much. If you are using iodized or table salt, this will be the case. Kosher salt doesn't taste as "salty" as regular salt, and since the granules are larger, you don't get as much in the tablespoon as you would with regular salt.
However, with a little more effort you can make the recipe Jenni uses and my whole family adores here using Lindsey's Lemon Curd recipe here


Rampage: verb Rush around in a violent and uncontrollable manner...
I made baby l a lovely breakfast. But, I guess it wasn't very satisfying.

Because in the few minutes I was working to get read for the Sabbath Day this morning.. She was on a rampage.
Defined above. She stole two chubby handfuls of chocolate eggs from the drawer and enjoyed spreading bits of foil around the house as much as she enjoyed the chocolate.

She got the pilates mat out so that she could host a jam picnic.... but, in the end decided to have a Kool-Aid lip smacker for breakfast. These are great because you can wear, eat and PAINT with them. The window sill is a lovely pink. She also hauled out a bunch of toys, chewed on someone's favorite ear buds (mine) and dumped out the Tupperware drawer.

Which is why I am going to say what parents are not supposed to say...
I love computers, music players, and TV... because they give me (literally) 5 minutes peace. Isn't this a beautiful picture?

To Have & Have Not 1944

Slim: You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow.
C got this film for us for the weekend. I'd heard the famous line above (a favorite) and many others (It's your funeral!) most of my life.
I knew that it was on the set of this film that the famous love story of the actors Bogart & Bacall began...
What I didn't know... This film is FANTASTIC! I absolutely loved it! It's an instant favorite!
"Have you ever been bit by a dead bee?"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Once Upon a Starlight Wedding...

Kelsie & Adam...
who was quite small...
and had to look way up... because he was very tall!

They took some wonderful pictures and then decided on a summer wedding...

When they were married...



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Friday, February 25, 2011

Vincent van Gogh... Lust for Life..

Kirk Douglas does an amazing job of looking like Vincent van Gogh and Anthony Quinn is also amazing as Paul Gauguin, but I didn't love this film. I far prefer the book by Irving Stone. In fact, I love the book and I love van Gogh and I thought his treatment in this film was a little harsh.

I know that he was a passionate man and that he could fly off the handle, but I think that his worst qualities were a fault of the lead paint that he used to create his timeless masterpieces.

He was tactile. I know that he used his fingers and hands to mix his colors. I know that he's had paint on his face, in his mouth, I know I have and I'm not a van Gogh. I believe that his exposure to lead and some of the other environmental conditions that he either couldn't help, or didn't know about affected his health in many ways.

He had an irrepressible drive to create and yet could not see clearly why. He only sold a single painting in his lifetime. And, yet, it makes me cry to think of the beauty he left us. His tortured heart was wrung out in paint on canvas. He helped us to see those who lived in poverty, the holiness of work, the yearnings of his heart, the brilliance of God's creations.

The only real comfort that Vincent ever had was his brother Theo who loved him and believed totally in his gift and in his brilliance. Without Theo, we wouldn't have Vincent's paintings.

In the year 1889, while van Gogh was trying to recover at at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, he painted these beautiful Irises. There is no sketch for them, they were meant to be a study. But, Theo loved them and took them to an exhibition.
Vincent van Gogh died the following year. He died unrecognized for a lifetime of beautiful work. In 1987, this painting sold for $53.9 million dollars. Adjusted for inflation, it is still one of the top 10 most expensive paintings ever sold... but to me, it is priceless.
He was the white Iris in this painting. He was always apart and never understood and all of that complicated by his terrible illness. But he was a beautiful man and I am forever grateful for the talents that he worked so very hard to earn and for the riches he left to inspire us.
I love THIS tribute to Vincent set to the beautiful song Starry, Starry Night... Enjoy...

Queen of the Big Time...

I really enjoy Adriana Trigiani's books. Lucia, Lucia is my favorite, but I love this one too. It's about an Italian immigrant family and their hard life becoming established in this country. It's really an American Dream story and I love those. It's also about un-requited love, faith and what love really means.
I listened to this book on tape while I painted brides and grooms which was really fun. I loved listening to the reader pronounce all the richly beautiful Italian names.
This is a great escape book.

Dave & Erin...

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Little Leprechaun...

In the...

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Black Beans...

My dilemma is this: I store a lot of dried black beans in my storage. I love black beans, but my thought was that I hoped to never have to use them. I was going to buy cans at Costco instead because that's easier.
Then, came the very popular Black Bean Soup Recipe. What I thought was a six month supply of black beans disappeared in a big hurry.

Revelation: Stephanie over at A Year of Slow Cooking has written careful answers to all my bean questions including careful measurements like, "1 2/3 cups of crock pot beans = 1 can store bought." And, the helpful information that I can store my beans in the freezer (in the same amount as the cans) for 6 months. Cooking Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker is an amazing post. I learned so much. I can do this. Thank you Stephanie!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gone All Day Beef Casserole...

You know this is going to be good because all the ingredients are yummy. It took me 10 minutes to prepare! Love this one!

1 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots (I like carrots, so I added 2 cups)
2 cans (4 ounces each) mushroom stems and pieces, drained (I used fresh)
1 large onion chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 beef bouillon cubes
2-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 pounds boneless round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups water
Place ingredients in order listed in a slow cooker; do not stir. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until rice is tender. Stir before serving.

More easy crockpot recipes here..

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lavender Bear...

Ike: Countdown to D-Day

For some reason, I didn't expect too much from this movie, but it was brilliant. Tom Selleck's portrayal of "Ike" as Supreme Allied Commander was truly inspiring. I'm afraid I don't know enough about Eisenhower to know if the film is historically accurate, but the way he deals with the politics and the egos and thinks all the time of the fighting men seemed to me a study in great leadership.
So, it wasn't a romance for Valentine's Day, it was a war movie... But, I had a very solid cry in the end. Kudos to Tom Selleck who has long been one of my favorite cowboys and is now one of my favorite generals too. Great film!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Franz Ignaz Beck 1734-1809

Music for my Valentine:
I heard these beautiful Violins on the radio the other day. Beck's Sinfonia in D Major is brightly beautiful.
Beck lived during a crucial part of history and was right in the middle of things, dueling and hauled out at night in front of revolutionary courts... He wrote Opera and his life would have been a great one!
I don't know why, but I found his violins some of the prettiest ever and I wish I knew a lot more about when and why he wrote Sinfonia in D Major. Click over here...
and you can have a bit of a listen... 4-7

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dial M for Murder...

This was the Netflix pick for Friday night. It's not as good as Rear Window or To Catch a Thief, but we hadn't seen this one. The set is beautiful and the costumes are amazing. It was just scary enough for c, but not too scary. We all loved it!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love Un-CLAimed...

These 2 love boxes are ready for a custom Valentine's Greeting or even a declaration of devotion... whatever you'd like me to write in the lid... Then they will be finished to a high shine and shipped to the destination of your choice...
Let me know ...

Finding Courage in Faith

This is what I have found about religion. It gives you courage to make decisions when you must in a crisis, and then the confidence to leave the result to a higher power. Only by trusting God can a man carrying great responsibility find repose. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

This is a man who made a lot of tough decisions in his time. I thought this was inspiring. I found the quote in the book Ye Are the Light of the World by Harold B. Lee a book that I am enjoying almost as much as Standing for Something (my favorite). President Lee was a very optomistic and positive person. His words are comforting and inspiring.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Boxes Valentines...

2 inch by 1/2 inch hardwood hearts...
have been painted and painted and painted...

and primed and glittered and glossed and waxed...
into a holiday extravaganza in true red....
Find them...

One Amazing Thing...

I have to admit that I purchased this book for its beautiful cover. Well, I picked it up for the cover anyway. I had been meaning to read something by Chitra Divakaruni though since I had missed reading a collection of her stories in one of my book clubs.
This book is also a collections of stories. Trapped in the aftermath of a terrible earthquake. Nine maybe survivors tell each other one amazing story from their lives.
Each survivor seems to choose a story that will best explain them... why they have become the person they are. They tell their stories from the perspective of little hope of survival with nothing to lose.
I thought that seemed like an interesting premise. And, it was gripping reading. I devoured the book. Then, I wondered if faced with the same situation what kind of story I would tell.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Elder Oaks Chapman University Speech...

My final example of the importance of religion in our country concerns the origin of the Constitution. Its formation over 200 years ago was made possible by religious principles of human worth and dignity, and only those principles in the hearts of a majority of our diverse population can sustain that Constitution today.4 I submit that religious values and political realities are so inter-linked in the origin and perpetuation of this nation that we cannot lose the influence of religion in our public life without seriously jeopardizing our freedoms. ~ Elder Dallin H. Oaks

THIS is one of the most important speeches ever given. Read the full transcript. There is also an interview with Elder Oaks HERE. If you read any newpaper coverage of this speech, you have missed many key points. Please read the full transcript of the speech.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Black Bean Soup...

This soup is heaven. Don't let the ingred. list intimidate, this is an open and dump recipe. It took me 10 minutes to put together. My daughter LOVES Black Bean Soup.
10 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Sour cream for garnish
Grated cheddar for garnish
Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

However, if you don't have these ingreds. & you happen to have some Jack's Special Salsa from Costco... you can make the really, really fast version which is really my SIL Jenni's (cook extraordinaire!) go to recipe...

1 cup Jack's Salsa
4 cans black beans
2 T chili powder

Simmer 15-20 mins

If you want, you can top with some of the toppings in the above recipe.. but this soup can stand alone :)


This film is iridescent. I loved it!

See the trailer here...

Garlic & Sapphires...

I really enjoyed this book. Next to my home state of Utah, NYC holds the second place in my heart. But, it's not for it's fine restaurants. I wouldn't dare go to any of these places and declare that I don't drink. And, since I don't drink wine, I'm not sure I would like Foie gras, which seems to be on the menu in all these places.

But, still, I loved reading about these places I will probably never visit. I felt like Ruth was right in the room telling me about her adventures in Flushing Queens, (this I MUST someday see). My favorite person in the book was Ed Levine. I would love to meet him. When I go to NYC, that's what I do, I eat myself up and down the streets. I would have loved to see the candy shop. I bet it isn't there anymore sadly.

You walk off the street into a little pizza place and it's just the best you've ever tasted. New York smells like food... and a few other things, but if you concentrate it just smells mostly of really good food.

Also, I've never found NY to be snobby or the people to be rude. I only had one cab driver treat me badly. .. so I don't ride in the black cabs anymore, just the yellow ones. But, I learned to use the subway and it's such a better way to travel around the city.

Anyway, I could go on.. but the book was an adventure in food, my kind of adventure! And, a kind of tribute to a favorite city. Lots of fun!

Ruth Reichl's Spaghetti Carbonara...

This was my first try at this recipe and it's not too pretty... However, it's easy, quick and Delish!
And, she's right... kids love this...
From Ruth Reichl's Site HERE...
Contrary to the recipe so often used in restaurants, real carbonara contains no cream. The real thing also uses guanciale, cured pork jowl, but to be honest, I like bacon better. I think of this as bacon and eggs with pasta instead of toast. It's the perfect last minute dinner, and I've yet to meet a child who doesn't like it.
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 to 1/2 pound thickly sliced good quality bacon (I prefer Nueske's)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large eggs
Black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is boiling, throwthe spaghetti in. Most dried spaghetti takes 9 to 10 minutes to cook,and you can make the sauce in that time.
Cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Put them in a skillet and cook for 2 minutes, until fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook; if they get too crisp they won't meld with the pasta. Meanwhile, break the eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in, and beat them with a fork. Add some grindings of pepper.Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. If it looks like too much to you, discard some, but you're going to toss the bacon with most of its fat into the pasta. When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon with its fat, toss again, add cheese and serve.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What it means to be educated...

I'm not really sure, but I found a list of the most cited works read by our Founding Fathers. I am wondering if my local library even carries most of these titles.
What I do know is that our Founding Fathers prepared themselves to give liberty and equality to the common man, something that had never been done before.
These are the works that inspired them.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Amber the Fairy Princess Bride...

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