Friday, November 23, 2007

Scrumdidilyumptiousness and Snow

Here are my contributions to Thanksgiving this year. I'm not going to post the recipes because it would make this post forever long, but I might post them later.

Chocolate Marble Cheescake

Sooooo yummy.


This was my first attempt at homemade stuffing, and it turned out really well. I was quite proud of it.

And my failure: Lemon Supreme Pie

I've never had this pie not turn out. Usually it's really easy. For some reason, this time the lemon gel just never set. It was much prettier, but it got sloshed around in transport. It still tasted good, it was just more of a lemon syrup pie rather than a Lemon Supreme Pie.

And finally, I woke up this morning to this:

It's the first snow of the year, and I thought that it was quite appropriate at the beginning of the holiday season.

I also turned on the Christmas music today. I'll put it on my iPod tonight, but right now I'm listening to KOSY 106.5 out of Utah. All Christmas, all the time.

Happy First Snow Day!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Day to Give Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving Day, a day reserved for being grateful. They should call it Count Your Blessings Day.

The fun part of Thanksgiving is the yummy food - the turkey and stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, pie. In the midst of all the food and family fun, I think we often forget what Thanksgiving is all about: giving thanks. It's easy to do; I mean, the stores skip right over Thanksgiving these days. They go right from Halloween to Christmas. It's horrible, especially in a society that could stand to be a little more grateful.

So, in honor of the true meaning of Thanksgiving Day, here are some things I'm most grateful for this year:

1. A family that is rock-solid. I have five siblings and two parents who I know will always be there for me if I need them.

2. The knowledge that there is a God, and He is actively involved in our lives.

3. Modern conveniences. I can't say how grateful I am not to live in a time when I have to cook over a fire and pee outside.

4. Two amazing friends who love me unconditionally and put up with my weirdness. I love you!

5. The fact that I didn't have to go into debt to get my education.

6. Modern medicine. Without it, I would probably be one of the crazy aunts hidden in the attic.

7. That I live in this era, and not another. I often think how great it would have been to live in the 40's or 50's, but really, I'm glad I don't.

8. That my parents let me come back home and live, rent free. It's given me a chance to re-center myself, figure out what I want to do with my life, and save some money.

9. My dog. I know it's totally lame, but she's a loyal companion who offers me unconditional love. I'm never lonely anymore.

10. Art of all kinds. whether it's photography, painting, writing or video. It brings light and joy into my life that I've never found elsewhere.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends! I hope you remember some things you're grateful for today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pictures of Soup

See the previous post for my rambings (not an exaggeration) about the second attempt at the mock-Olive Garden soup. Here are pictures:

Can you tell which is which?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two Completely Unrelated Topics

First topic:

For those of you who are interested in the recipe for Sorta Zuppa Toscana, I made it again tonight, and there was no red film this time. I did a couple things differently. First, I used the ground Italian sausage that comes in the flat saran wrapped package like a steak comes in, not the tube-y thing that some comes in. I hope you know what I'm talking about, because I just can't explain it better than that. Also, when we cooked it the first time, we let the soup sit a while before we added the cream because we weren't ready to eat it yet (and I think Mom forgot). I think that's most likely what made the difference. Also, she may have sauteed the sausage in the pot she used for the soup, which is more effective for doing dishes, but probably leaves some extra grease.

The point of that extremely long paragraph: If you use the right sausage, cook it in a separate pan and add the cream right away, the soup comes out as an almost exact replica of the soup at the Olive Garden. Oh, and I used kale this time, which was definitely better than the spinach.

Pictures coming tomorrow, when I get to work and can use my camera card reader I left there.

Second, totally unrelated topic:

I love the show Bones on Fox.

It's probably close to my favorite, although Grey's Anatomy holds a special place in my heart (I'm such a dork). The main character is Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian Institute. She often consults for the FBI, working closely with Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). Booth gave her the nickname "Bones."

Dr. Brennan is flawed. Actually, she has some major issues. Her parents disappeared when she was 15, and she was put into the foster system. This probably explains her obsession with identifying lost victims. One of my favorite scenes is one where Bones passes on a night out with her co-worker and best friend, Angela, to identify one of several sets of remains of unknown soldiers from World War I.

Two of my favorite aspects of the show: One, Brennan is completely out of the loop when it comes to any sort of pop culture. She doesn't watch TV, she doesn't read magazines. Often, when another member of the team makes an allusion to popular culture, she's totally left out of the loop. It cracks me up. Especially since she's managed to write a bestselling novel. Go Brennan!

Two, I love the chemistry between Brennan and Booth. It's a real Mulder/Scully thing (and if you said that to Brennan, she would say, "I don't know what that means."). They have tons of chemistry, both professionally and personally. I keep waiting for them to get together, but I don't think they ever will.

My review? Two thumbs way up. Or on my sister's rating program: Friday Night Full.

P.S. - I know this post is horribly written, and I'm kind of embarrassed, but it's late and I'm tired, but I can't sleep, so I pretty much don't care. But I do apologize.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I love!

My friend Jessie does this great thing where she posts 10 things she loves every Friday. I know that sometimes it's easy for her, and sometimes she has a hard time. I also know that I love reading them.

I'm going to copy Jessie. If we were in Junior High (and thank God we're not - you might think that was taking His name in vain, but it's a fervent prayer coming from me), this would be cause for major discord. Friend would turn against friend, brother against brother. It would be like the Civil War, but with glares and mean notes instead of guns and bayonets. However, since Jessie and I are Mature Adults (right, Jess?) , I'm sure she'll be fine with it.

And now, for your reading pleasure . . .

10 Things I Love (November 16, 2007)

1. My dog. Seriously. Taking her home from Wal-mart was the best spur of the moment decision I've ever made.

2. The fact that it's November 16, and we haven't had snow yet. Don't tell the people I work with; they'll yell at me. Something about water and not having a job.

3. Living in a place where someone can say, "And if you want a leg of lamb, I'll just kill one" and it's no big deal.

4. The road I live on. To get to town, I have to go down this windy hill, and it give a great view of town. Almost every time, I get this wonderful feeling of contentment.

5. That my best friend Felicia got a job in Grand Junction and moved back home, so now I get to see her all the time.

6. Daveto's. The most amazing Italian restaurant in the world. Just ask Felicia, she goes there all the time.

7. DVR. Need I say more?

8. The fact that I get the whole house to myself tonight. Dad's hunting, and Mom and Steve (who doesn't live with us, by the way) went to pick up Steve's new dog.

9. Picking out the perfect Christmas gift. There's nothing like it!

10. That I'm going to have another nephew!! Did I mention that yet? No? Well, thanks to my brother Sam and his wife Cara, I'm going to have another nephew.

And there is it. Dat-dah-dah-DAH!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Take This, Olive Garden!

My fellow Olive Garden lovers, this is your lucky day.


A recipe for Olive Garden's yummy Zuppa Tuscana.

It doesn't look quite the same, but it takes almost exactly like the real thing.

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage, casing removed, crumbled
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
2 1/2 cup water
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans chicken broth
3 large russet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4" thick
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly group pepper
1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Saute sausage in oil. Remove sausage to plate and set aside. Add onion, saute until translucent. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, cook 1 minute. Add water and broth, stirring to dissolve any bits on bottom of pan. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, simmer about 10 minutes. Add kale and sausage, simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream. Heat to simmer over medium heat, cook 2 minutes.

My variations:
*I used ground Italian sausage rather than the link kind. It's easier to work with. The finished product had kind of a red oil at the top, and I think it was from the sausage, so if you're a perfectionist, either use the link sausage or drain your ground sausage, really, really well.
*Kale can be kind of hard to find, so I used spinach. I actually liked it better. The texture was a little different, but the flavor seemed to add something. Just be careful not to overcook it!

Buon Appetito!

The Olive Garden version, not mine.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Words just can't express my horror. I wouldn't say it was a crisis, that's a little too dramatic, but it's definitely more than an occurrence. Traumatic. Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

It was a traumatic morning. I woke up and was getting ready to go to work. I was brushing my hair, trying to get my bangs to lay right, and I saw a little glint of something in the mirror. I took a closer look, and mild swearing ensued. I isolated the anomaly, took a closer look, and more mild swearing followed.

Yes, that's right. This morning, I found a gray hair. GRAY!! In my head!! GRAY, people! And not from my birth mark gray patch, either. An actual gray hair. The worst part is that it's not the first. A couple years ago, I found another little short one. I never say another one, though, so I could attribute it to some kind of fluke, like stress around finals time. Not this one. First of all, it was in a different place, and second, it was still sort of brown at the end, but gray at the root. Definitely a gray hair.

I showed Mom and Dad. Dad laughed at me, several times. Mom said, "Oh, don't worry about it. Talk to your sisters, they know what color to use." And then she laughed at me.

THIS IS NO LAUGHING MATTER! I'm 23, and I found a gray hair! I went to a baptism on Saturday, and the other Primary counselor told me that she found her first gray hair the other day. She's 28! I'm 23!

So give me the dirt. How old were you all when you found your first gray? Am I doomed to a life of premature aging and dying my hair, futilely trying to copy my natural color, which is FABULOUS, but who's days are obviously numbered?

And don't laugh at me. It's not funny.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Christmas Wish List

Remember when you were little, and every year in November, you would start composing your Christmas list? You'd write the letter to Santa, and hope you'd get the one thing you wanted the most.

When we get older, we realize that Christmas is about more than getting gifts. In fact, my favorite part of Christmas is acutally giving the perfect gift. Really, the whole, "This is everything I want for Christmas" thing is pretty selfish.

Here's the thing, though: It's fun. (Being selfish usually is, I figure that's why so many people do it.) I decided to take a trip back to childhood and write my letter to Santa. I've divided my wishes into two categories.

Reasonable Wish List