Monday, March 30, 2009

"This is my favorite dessert-ever!"


As spoken by Ryan after eating the homemade pizzokie we made on my birthday. We had grand plans of going to eat at Oregano's, but the utter exhaustion that follows a day of teaching interceded. So we decided to make our own Oreganos' meal and it turned out quite well. Ryan ordered me Hungry Howie's pizza (the three-cheeser bread is my absolute favorite!!) and we stopped by the store on the way home and picked up "pizzokie" supplies. Target brand cookie dough, Dreyer's birthday cake ice cream, and hot fudge. Yummy. We baked the cookie dough half-way topped it with ice cream and hot fudge and dug in! Absolutely fabulous and so much better when you can eat it in jammies (and it cost a 1/4 of the price!).

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Time Travelers' Wife


Some books make me want to cry when I finish them. I live my life vicariously through them and when they're over it's like an entire chapter in my life has finished. This book did just that. The Time Traveler's Wife is so gorgeously written that you forget that the characters aren't real. Henry is a time traveler (I know it sounds strange but just go with it) who encounters a girl named Clare when she is only 6 years old. The book is about their life together and how they become intertwined through space and time. The characters are so richly drawn that they almost become family as their story unfolds. The book is a little bit romantic, sometimes suspenseful, and a filled with twinges of sadness. I couldn't put it down.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce


I love to cook and I think everything tastes much better when it's homemade and not out of a can or jar. I ran across this recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce last year and it has had a place on our table ever since. It is seriously easy to make and once you taste it you'll never go back to the stuff off of the shelf!


Ingredients:

1 big can of whole, peeled tomatoes (96 cents at Fresh and Easy)

1 onion cut in half

1/2 stick of butter (I prefer unsalted)


Combine all of the ingredients in a large sauce pan and place the onion cut-sides down in the pan. Simmer on medium-low heat until the sauce begins to thicken (30-45 minutes). Remove the onions and serve on top of pasta.


I usually start the sauce as soon as I walk in the door and go walk the dogs while it cooks because it does take a little bit of time to cook. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Popcorn and Milkshake Night




Tonight is definitely a popcorn and milkshake night. My mom invented this type of dinner to fill-in for the nights where she was simply too exhausted from running herself ragged to fix dinner. So the popcorn and milkshake night was born. This night typically fell on a Sunday. Bags of popcorn were mixed and all of the ice cream in the freezer was thrown into a blender. Sometimes mom threw a little wheat germ into the mix to quell the guilt from feeding us ice cream for dinner. Tall glasses of frothy ice cream were poured and popcorn was piled high into bowls. I remember the big red Tupperware bowl we always used that was misshapen and a little built melted with the indents of steaming hot popcorn kernels indented into the bottom. We all gathered around the dining room table, dipping our popcorn into milkshakes and enjoying time together as a family.

Look What I Grew!













My wonderful father ordered the very best landscaping for our backyard when we moved into our first house as a couple. Included in this very-best backyard was a wonderful raised planting bed that I have used to plant my very own garden. There can be so much happiness found in playing with dirt and growing things with your own two hands. Nothing tastes better than a plump strawberry plucked off the vine and knowing that no pesticides have ever touched it. I have never really tasted a strawberry until I grew my own. Sweet and juicy, the perfect dessert on a warm Spring night. My carrot harvest was more plentiful than I would have imagined. I pulled carrots of all sizes and shapes, some big and some small. Much different than the ones found in the supermarket. Golden and crunchy, much more tasty than the bagged variety. Next I am fulfilling my wish for bouquets of flowers all over my house. A teacher's salary doesn't really support this desire so I'm hoping my little seeds will grant my wish.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Babies

video
Our babies are just SO cute that I thought I should post a video of them. Our three dogs are Anabella, Henry, and Nicky. I've had Anabella since I was a sophomore in college and she is now 7 1/2 years old. She originally lived in my sorority dorm with me and had lots of "aunties" that babysat her when I was in class. She is VERY spoiled and has daddy wrapped around her little paw. I adopted Nicky about 6 years ago from the West Valley pound. He was going to be euthanized because he was deemed "unadoptable" due to his old age. According to his records he was 13 years old at the time, which would now make him 19 and he's still going strong!! Despite being blind and deaf he manages to take walks with us every day and play fetch (with the kitty's toys much to their annoyance). Henry is our newest doggie addition and was also on the euthanasia list at the pound due to being fearful (who wouldn't be terrified being in a pound?!). We adopted him shortly before Thanksgiving and he has been a perfect fit in our family. He loves snuggling and follows me everywhere, prompting the nickname "Shadow Dog." He is learning basic obedience and has so far mastered "sit" and "stay." Our kitties are named Viktor and Evan. Evan was adopted from Friends for Life and used to be a feral cat. He is now a huge lover boy and is always glued to our sides. He is (and will always be) terrified of strangers though and most people who visit our house regularly have never seen him! Viktor was a stray who wandered into our backyard one day. I promptly scooped him up and declared him ours, which Ryan surprisingly went along with. Viktor is extremely naughty and always up to no good. He loves running out any open door (our cats aren't allowed outside) and rolling in the dirt. He also knows the word"treat" and will beg like a dog until I give him one. Landen is his favorite person and he sleeps with him all night, spooning him as he sleeps. Not surprisingly Ryan has put the kibosh on anymore animals, for now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grandma's Lemonade


One of my favorite childhood memories was spending time at my Grandma Owens' house. She had raised four rambunctious boys and continued to have unlimited patience with her four also-rambunctious grandkids. Whenever we came to visit we would spend hours in the pool or playing "store" with her hundreds of poker chips. She would also always have unlimited glasses of her homemade lemonade available for us. Grandma hand squeezed the plentiful lemons that grew on a gigantic tree in her front yard and froze extra so that we could enjoy it year round . Drinking her lemonade can bring back so many memories of being young so I decided to get her recipe and make it for us. Here it is:
juice of 4-5 medium lemons (1 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
medium pitcher
Fill the pitcher with the lemon juice and sugar then fill to the top with cold water. Stir before pouring. Enjoy!