Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beef Tacos

Want an easy, CHEAP, DELICIOUS DINNER? AND, do you want to see pictures I took of this actual dinner?! I never thought I'd take food pictures, but I did. And I feel okay about it...

Once again, this is another Megan recipe. My good friend Megan gives me the best ideas and best recipes so I owe yet another one to her. Beef tacos (maybe not a meal for our organic, natural, no preservatives or out-of-the can friends)(I know you're out there and you won't like this), but the rest of you should try this:

First you need some small yellow corn tortillas...

And then a few cans of this (I know, I know -- canned beef?! But it's good.)(I use two cans for two people and there's always extra). Combine two cans of (drained) beef with one can of sweet corn (drained)...heat up over medium heat. You can add onion, too, but I usually don't.

While you're heating up the meat, lay a few tortillas on the skillet and grate some cheese over them to melt on medium heat.
Once your tortillas are a little crispy, add some meat in the middle and top it with whatever you like. I top with tomato and avocado (sometimes sour cream, sometimes just tomato...whatever I have). And there it is! Very delicious, economical and easy.

Aren't you excited that I took food pictures?! Let me know how you like it.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Crème Brulee French Toast (aka you will die it's that good)

One time my in-laws stayed at my house for several days.

What was I going to feed them? How would I make them comfortable? What would be easy but DELICIOUS all in one? Simple - I made them the best, most delightful, melt-in-your-mouth French toast and it was a HUGE HIT. Try it and you will not be disappointed. And it's not hard.

Crème Brulee French Toast
(As prepared by Megan Peterson)

½ cup butter
1 cup packed brown suger
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 loaf Texas toast bread (extra thick slices)
5 eggs
1 ½ cups half-and-half cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Syrup Butter (see below)

In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until smooth, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture onto large, greased jelly roll pan (18x13x1 inch). Spread to cover surface. Place 12 slices Texas toast bread in a single layer to cover pan. Mix together eggs, cream, salt and vanilla. Spoon mixture over each piece of bread (NOTE: USE ALL THIS MIXTURE AND COVER EACH PIECE THOROUGHLY. SOAKED). Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. Remove from pan and serve. If not serving immediately, turn each slice of bread over (this will prevent bread from sticking to the bottom of pan). Serve with syrup butter. [ONE MORE NOTE: THE SYRUP BUTTER IS GREAT BUT NOT NECESSARY. THIS DISH IS SWEET AND RICH ON ITS OWN. YOUR CALL.]

Syrup butter:

1 ½ cups butter
3 cups maple syrup.

Melt together and serve over toast.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Canning Please

If you are canning/bottling/anythinging of that sort sometime soon, I want to invite myself. No biggie. I love to do that sort of stuff but I am definitely not motivated to do it on my own. I guess I could organize something here and actually if you want to do it my house, please, feel free. Just remember, I have a wild one year old and I waddle and sometimes I sweat profusely.
Let's say you don't want to invite me or maybe you don't like sweaty pregnant women (who can blame you?) maybe just post a good salsa recipe on here (one good for canning or just eating). Because I want that too. But maybe you are scared of jalepenos? Don't be. I think the scare is over. Plus you just are supposed to watch out for ones from Mexico. No disrespect, I just read it in the paper.
My husband, you may know him, he's going on a fifty miler with the scouts. For six days. Do you wish you were him? Or me? So if any of you are feeling fancy free one of these next few evenings and want to ditch your family/obligations and sit on my porch with me in the evening cool, let me know.
That's all.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Local Food

Does anyone know where to get local (meaning within an hours drive from Provo) produce, eggs, dairy, chicken, other meat, etc? I went to the Provo Farmers Market and it was pretty bare. I know about the Springville meat company and I am going to check where the meat they sell comes from. I saw a sign for eggs somewhere in Grandview. I know a place in South Jordan that sells goat cheese. That is about the extent of my knowledge. I want to eat more local foods and I am hoping someone has more information than I do. Millie??? Anyone???

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Citrus Bars

I really love these citrus bars. My aunt made them for a family get together and when I tasted them I knew I had to have the recipe because they were noticeably the best citrus/lemon bars I had ever tried. I called her to get the recipe and she said they were from Martha Stewart. The recipe is for a jelly roll pan (technically a half-sheet size). I was excited about that because I can make a big pan of these and a big pan of Spencer's mom's brownies and have a ton of really good dessert that will please everyone (at least everyone that isn't on a diet:).


Makes 48.

* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup wheat germ
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 8 large eggs
* 4 cups granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
* 1/2 teaspoon salt


1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Add butter, and cut in using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.
2. Press evenly into a 12 1/2-by-17 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.
3. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together, eggs, sugar, and flour. Add lemon and lime juice, lemon and lime zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour over cooled crust.
4. Bake until center is set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

NOTE: I made the filling in a batter bowl. When it was ready to pour into the crust I set the pan on the oven rack and carefully poured the filling in. I had to slide the rack in after a bit, so it would be level and then even more carefully pour the rest in. This way you aren't trying to move a pan that is really full of liquid into your oven without spilling.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Black Currant Jam

My neighbor has a ton of black currants. Does anyone have a good jam or jelly recipe? I want to try it.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jenny Cook's Granny Smith Applesauce

If I were entering an applesauce contest at this time of year, this is the one I would make.
Buy enough Granny Smith apples (don't substitute another kind) to fill the biggest, heaviest, pot you have (at least 8 quarts). Wash them, and then use an apple corer, peeler, slicer, to core, peel, and slice them. Cut them in 1/2 to make the rings into 1/2 circles. Make sure all the peel is off because it doesn't taste good in the final product. Put all the apples in your pot and put in 1 C to 1 1/2 C water. The water is just to help the apples to steam and start to make their own sauce, so don't worry that it isn't very much water compared to apple. Put in 1/2 cinamon stick at this point if you like cinamon. Turn the burner to Medium-low and then up to Medium if you have to and get them simmering. The apples scortch really easily so you will want to watch them carefully. Stir them with a wooden spoon until they cook to the consistency you want. We like ours really chuncky (about 1/2 sauce and 1/2 chunks). Take the pot off the burner and leave it to cool for an hour or two. Add sugar to taste. We like tart applesauce so we add only 1/4 to 1/3 C per batch.
Once the applesauce is at this point you can always put a little in some cups and then add things like minced crystalized ginger, or more sugar, or anything you can think of, to see if you think it will make your recipe stand out even more for the contest. We make a lot and freeze it. Our favorite way to eat it is to thaw it about 1/2 way and eat it really cold with icy chunks in it. That sounds really good in this heat, maybe I will go check my freezer.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Pizza

Has anyone else discovered this lady's blog? She posts some great recipes. She just happened to post a pizza recipe recently using a lot of fresh ingredients and it looks scrumptious as well as easy. I haven't tried it yet but I'm going to very soon. Here's the link:

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I need applesauce!!!

I need an amazing recipe for homemade applesauce. Anyone? Anyone? Bueler?

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Okay, this week it's for REAL

Pizza Week -- take two. THIS TIME I'M SERIOUS!

A week ago, I posted about wanting a pizza week. A week when everyone posted their favorite pizza recipe. I promised to try all recipes (with Ann Dee) and post about our favorites. How many did we get?


They are both great recipes but I think I know why we had such low participation. The 4th of July holiday? Lennon's birthday? Everyone was too busy celebrating both. So you have one more shot. Don't blow it. Post your favorite pizza recipe because...I NEED THE HELP. For real.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day---Pizza

So, the other night I needed to make dinner really fast and I didn't want to heat up the kitchen. I have a big, really nice, hand-me-down BBQ in the back yard and I had some plastic containers of Artisan Bread in Five dough in the fridge (the recipe is in the previous blog). I decided to make pizza on the BBQ.

I turned on the grill to medium and left it for about 10 minutes to heat up--this is a really important step-- while I flattened out some dough with my hands. I used quite a bit of flour b/c it is really sticky. I made the dough roughly 1/4 to 1/2 thick because it gets stretched even more when you put it on the grill and if you make it too thin it gets holes in it. I went out and put it on the grill and closed the lid. Then I went to go get the topping ready. Next time I would have the toppings ready first because the bread cooks fast (5-7 minutes) and I didn't have all the time I needed. I flipped the bread when it was browned nicely on the bottom side and the top looked puffy. Then I should have had the toppings ready to put on immediately, but I didn't. It took a few minutes more to get them ready. I put BBQ sauce, pineapple, mozzarella, and rotisserie chicken on some of them and made some with red sauce and two kinds of cheese. I closed the lid and everything melted really nicely. The cheese doesn't get browned it just melts. We were eating in about 20 minutes in a cool kitchen and we all agreed that is was the best pizza we had had in a long time. Next time I want to try a pesto pine-nut one and an Indian one as well.

Today when I was searching on the internet I found the Artisan Bread in Five Web-site and one of the authors had a recipe with really good pictures of pizza on the grill. I used flour instead of oil, but it is the same idea. I promise I came up with it on my own first. The desperation that comes from having to make dinner quickly with three demanding children, a budget, and my own hunger makes me really creative sometimes!!! Anyway, here is the link--

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Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

My mother found this cookbook while browsing in the BYU Bookstore a few months ago. She loves new cookbooks, and this one looked intriguing, so she bought it. She made the bread from the first basic recipe in the book and brought me some to try at the Wasatch Elementary talent show. I was amazed at how fabulous it was. Not because she isn't a wonderful baker, but because it tasted like it came straight from a boulangerie in France. She said it was really easy to make and only took five minutes of work, a pizza stone and a broiler pan. I read the cookbook the next day and decided I needed to buy one for myself. Since then I have been like a walking commercial for the cookbook/bread making method. I bake fabulous bread all the time and we wolf it down and sometimes I am even generous enough to bring it to a neighbor. I always get tons of praise and I love it because it was sooooo easy. It makes me happy to have fabulous bread all the time, it makes my family happy, it makes the people we invite over to dinner happy, it makes the neighbors happy and it is easy to make even on a day when I have three sick children all under the age of five!! Have I convinced you yet!!! You have try it. I found the first basic recipe all over the internet, so I don't feel bad sharing it with you here. You really are going to want to buy the book though, it is a treasure.

The master recipe:Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)
Makes four 1 lb. loaves

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.

****To Make Olive Oil Dough (Pizza Crust) just substitute 1/4 olive oil for 1/4 C of the water.

3 C lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. (It is supposed to be a wet dough. I thought I was doing it wrong the first time. If it is stiff add more water).

Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)

When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel, or use parchment paper (my prefered method although you miss out on the cornmeal crustiness). Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and heat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it's not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day's storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.

Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, ¼-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kitty Litter Cake

Sounds gross. Looks gross. I know. But it can be oh so fun. Just think of the possibilities. April Fool's Day, ward potluck dinners, you-name-it. Here goes:

1 box spice cake mix
1 box vanilla cake mix
about 40 vanilla creamed cookies (or a large box of vanillia cookies)
midgee’s Tootsie rolls
green food coloring
1 large vanilla instant pudding made
Wash NEW, CLEAN kitty litter box before using, Cook both cakes in separate cake pans, let cool, crumble cakes into kitty litter box. Crush up cookies very fine, mix with cake, add in vanilla pudding, and drops of green food coloring until you get the right color you want. Melt Tootsie rolls onto a plate for 10 seconds, mold them into the "shape" you want, hang some over the side of the box. Serve with a CLEAN, NEW pooper scooper. Yum.

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I can't make pizza dough. the end.

Update on Pizza Challenge. I hate it. Today I was laying on the couch and watching the Bachelorette online while baby was throwing prunes (I'm not kidding. he found a bag of prunes. I don't know who bought them or what business they had hanging around our house but he found them) and legos at the wall. This made me feel guilty. I mean sure, I was tired. Sure yesterday I did not stop all day. But still. So I counted to three and got off the couch and went upstairs. Baby ate lunch. I made bread. I have an easy recipe. No big deal. Then I thought, "hmmmm. I'll make some pizza dough and have Jeni's barbeque pizza tonight." But I was too lazy to go get my computer and find her dough recipe or any other dough recipe so I reached for my cookbooks. Mind you, by this time I was sweating, my belly was hanging out, baby was throwing beans, and the kitchen was floury. I still wanted to do it because last night we had popsicles for dinner . . .

So the only cookbook I have that had a pizza dough recipe was an old Weight Watchers one. Not a good idea but again, I'm not trekking downstairs for my computer. It can't be bad. But it is sort of bad. Weird steps. And you have to use a food processor for it? Huh? So I just figured I'd do it by hand. No big deal.

But then it called for regular yeast and the water had to be a certain temperature blah blah blah. I had some of that yeast (although I prefer SAF because then I don't have to think about it) but I was in a hurry because by now baby was dumping his drink on his tray and screaming. So I just threw everything together.


Now the kitchen is really heating up. The bread is baking. My dryer is on in the next room and I'm buckets and buckets of wet.

I knead the dough. It won't stick. I add water. It becomes a mushy mess. I add more flour. Too much flour. I keep kneading. Finally I give up and I make it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl.

Then I look at the recipe again. I forgot the oil for the dough. What do I do now? Is it ruined? Probably. Probably ruined before I started and I didn't have the water at the right temperature. But what? We're on a budget. I can't waste the flour and salt and precious yeast. So I pour oil over the top of the dough and try to get it in sort of.

Right now it's supposedly rising on my counter. It isn't. It's disgusting.

I will still feed it to my boys because I did it. It's done. It will be eaten. I'll let you know how it turns out. If anyone is out there. If anyone even cares that I don't think I'll ever make a decent pizza.

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