Sunday, January 23, 2011

Edamame and Cookie Cups

Happy Sunday everyone. We skipped church today since Naughty 1 still had a fever last night. No need to infect everyone else. Its too bad because the church was doing a fundraiser at the Incredible Pizza this afternoon and I was looking forward to taking the brats.

Ohh well next time. To make up for the missed funness I decided to bake up something neat for the naughties. I had seen on FoodGawkers earlier in the week where someone had made cookie cups and that sounded delicious and fun. And easy! Simply whip up (or purchase) your favorite cookie dough. Then press a good sized ball of dough into the wells of a well greased muffin tin. Bake according to your recipe. Let it cool and pop those suckers out. Once they've cook fill with candy. I was a little worried because the cookie dough puffed up during the cooking process and they were no longer cups, but once they cooled the middles dropped back down.

Midway through the cooking process I felt a little guilty about the impending sugar rush so I steamed up (read: microwaved)  some edamame. The naughties love edamame and ate it all up, even asking for a second helping. And I felt like a good mommy.

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Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Monday, January 10, 2011

Re-Interpreting My Perspective

NOTE: I wrote this up last Wednesday with the intention of posting it that night. Well that didn’t happen. Wednesday ended up being a L.O.N.G. day – 14.75 hours of work [yeah overtime], and of course I kept forgetting to email this to myself. So here it is a week late but just as true and just as meaningful.

It’s a new year. A new start. A new chance at new opportunities. And I for one want to start it off right.

I’ve decided that what I – and most everyone – needs is a new way to interpret my perspective. So here I go. Here was my day and thoughts from yesterday. The first part is my current old outlook on life and the bold italics is my new, ever improving outlook.

Alarm goes off at 5am. Ugg is it already time to wake up?
Wow I got 7 hours of sleep, in a nice warm, comfy bed, In MY safe, secure, beautiful house.

Off to the TRAX at 5:40 and it’s FREEZING outside. I always cringe when I first sit on the seats of the train because who knows what type of dirt is on those seats. I then get to walk the two blocks from the TRAX station to my office in the frigid temperatures.
Thank goodness that I have a job.
I think that’s worth saying again. THANK GOODNESS I HAVE A JOB. And that my office is close enough to TRAX that I can ride (for half price because my job subsidies the cost) and my parents can have the car. And thank goodness that the train is warm and the seats are cushioned and that I can relax and read and not have to deal with stupid Utah drivers before I start my day.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to give up the elevator and only take the stairs – not just that but the alarm on my computer is set to go off 4 times a day and when it goes off I go walk all the way down the 6 flights of stairs and all the way back up. And as always that first time climbing the stairs in the morning is killer and it feels like it’s hotter than Hades after being outside.
Thank goodness I have a job! (Are you tired of this one yet? Cause I’m not!)
And how great is it that I have a nice cushy job that’s inside a heated building with all the necessary amenities to make my life easier. How great is it that I’m healthy and whole and have the ability to walk up and down the stairs.

I take a moment to look over my credit card statement and cringe at the balance. I notice that the charge for my new glasses has come through. I’d forgotten how much they cost me even after the insurance and my HSA. I’m never going to be out of debt.
It’s a good think I have great insurance that covers my glasses or I’d have had to pay out double what I did pay. And even better that my employer offers me an HSA so I can pay for this pre-tax.

It’s year-end closing time which means tons of work! I can’t get anything done because people keep emailing, calling and stopping by asking me to do this or that. I ended up working 12 and a half hours. I’m tired and sore for sitting at the desk for 12.5 hours. I have a headache from staring at a computer screen and tiny little numbers for 12.5 hours. And ohh joy I get to walk back in the dark, in the cold, in downtown SLC, wait for my train and then sit on those dirty seats again.
How amazing is it that not only do I have a job – but that my job allows me to work overtime and earn time and a half pay! How blessed, lucky, spoiled am I that I don’t have to worry about who’s going to pick up the girls from daycare because I need to stay late at work. That I don’t ever have to worry about them being mistreated, not taken care of, or worse while I’m at work because I have the most amazing, selfless parents in the world, who love my kids. I don’t have to ever worry that they’re not being fed well, that they’re not clean or properly clothed. I know at all times they are loved and happy (even if they don’t realize it), and safe. How lucky am I that my parents provided me an amazing education that gave me the skills I need to do my job and do it well. How lucky am I that I have parents who taught me the benefits of working hard, of always trying my best, and doing what it takes to get the job done. Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a day and age where instead of having to write out our accounting records by hand on pieces of ledger paper that I can use a computer which does half the work for me.

I get home from work and the first thing I notice is the smell of fried food. Really MORE fried food?! After all that grease and oil on my sister's birthday just 2 days ago. My mom has made vegetable and fish tempura and some miso soup for dinner.
How amazing is my mom that she not only cooked dinner but that she waited to cook my portion of dinner so that it would be hot and fresh when I got home from work. How lucky am I that I have healthy, delicious, home cooked food to eat and plenty of it. How wonderful is my mom that she makes dinners that she knows I like, because let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, cheese, garlic or fried foods! And I really enjoyed it once I started eating it!

This isn’t everything but it’s a start. How different would our world be is everyone took a few minutes to examine something from their day they thought was bad and find the good in it? How much happier would we all be? Obviously this doesn’t work with everything, there are some things that just plain suck but it’s also the small things that build up and push us over the edge. Leave a comment about something crappy in your day today and then your re-analysis of it. I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Rissa!!

My big sis -  from RaeGun Wear - turned the big Three Oh today.

Her hubster - the equally popular Fisch (Daniel) the Music Maker - my mom, myself, and her two friends  conspired to throw her a surprise party! I'll do a real post later for you but first let's talk food. The theme of the party was fried food - so perfect if you know my sister. And of course I had to make my famously yummy Fried Cream Cheese Avocado Shrimp Wontons. Yes I know you're mouth is watering. They're so easy and ohh so amazing. So New Years 2011 gift #2 another recipe... with pictures!

Just 4 ingredients and they're all in the name!

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature. Devein and peel the shrimp. Next throw the shrimp in a small sautee pan with a little oil. Season with whatever you have on hand. I used garlic powder, salt, pepper, no-salt-organic-everything-seasoning-that-isn't-any-good-until-you-add-salt-to-it, and a dash of Italian seasoning.

Cook the shrimp all the way. It should be pink and not translucent - don't over do it or your shrimp will be rubbery. Yuck!

While the shrimp is cooking mash up two ripe avocados. Add a block of the soften cream cheese and mix it up. You should end up with a beautiful light green.

Now you need to chop up the shrimp. Don't massacre it and turn it to mush, just chop it into tiny pieces. Then dump it into your avocado-cream cheese mixture and combine.

Mmmm I could eat this with a spoon.... Oops I forget the green onion. Chop up one sprig and throw it in. And while you're at it add 2-3 shakes of soy sauce. Mix it all up and set it aside.

Now grab your wonton wrappers. *I* find it helps to pull them apart and re-stack them first before your fingers get all gross. Next throw some corn starch in a small bowl with warm water. Keep the spoon in there because the corn starch tends to settle and you'll need to keep mixing it up.

Now the fun part. Take a dollop of the mixture and place it into the center of the wonton wraper. Fold it into a half moon shape pinching it in the middle. You can just pinch it closed all the way around of do it the traditional way making little folds. I have no idea how to explain how to do this - here's the link to the video my sister did. Just note that they stay closed better if you do it the fancy traditional way - this goes for any type of wonton.

After folding 54 of these little nuggets of goodness you can freeze them - HA like they'd survive for long, they're too good - or just go ahead and fry them up right away.

Enjoy! Sorry I don't have a picture of one fried for you, they got eaten ;)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! 2011!!

Happy New Year my friends! I hope everyone had a fun and stayed safe last night. *I* had a thrilling and exciting New Years Eve. After a gourmet dinner of salad and frozen pizza. I watched 3 episodes of Minute to Win it, had some delicious Chai tea, finished reading Children of the Mind (yeah Ender) and was fast asleep before 11pm.

What do you mean that's not thrilling and exciting?

This morning was a great start to a promising new year even if last night was a dud. We had cinnamon rolls. And NOT the kind from a can either! Thanks to the culinary expertise of P-Dub I have a fool proof recipe for the most amazing cinnamon rolls ever... For my animal-free friends this recipe can easily be adapted to be vegan. And so I bring you a New Years gift pictures and instructions to the best cinnamon rolls known to man.

Start by adding the milk, oil, and 1/2 cup sugar into a large pot (trust me the dough grows you need a big pot).
Heat it up so that its warm when you stick your finger in it but not burning. If you're like me you'll let it get too hot and you'll have to sit around and wait for it to cool off. The temperature is important - too hot and you'll kill the yeast, too cool and the yeast won't work.

Sprinkle on the yeast and 4 cups of flour. Stir it up, cover it and leave it for an hour or more.

See it grow!

Now add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.

I made mine the night before so it sat over night. See it grew again!

Take out half the dough and roll it into a rectangle. If you're like me you have two demons helpers who want a chance to roll out the dough too.

Melt 1/4 cup (half a stick - and don't skimp!!!) of butter or vegan butter. Pour it on. Top with the remaining sugar and cinnamon.
Add nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever you fancy. For today's version I used these:

They're like little bursts of sweet cinnamon discovered by my sister! Now roll it up and pinch it to close.

Slice it and place it in a pan to rise for 30 minutes. For some odd reason dough doesn't rise for me at room temperature - in the fridge it rises fine or in a warm (150 degrees oven) but not room temp. So I stick my dough the oven, set it to 150 degrees, once it reaches that temp I it off and let the dough sit and viola my cinnamon rolls have risen.

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See Naughty 1's fat little hand dusting it with flour even though I told her not to touch? My little aspiring chef!!

Now bake it at 375 (or 350 if your oven tends to over heat like mine) for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and top with some cream cheese frosting.

Happy New Year!!! I'm off to start 2011 with some bellinis!