Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicken Salad Sandwiches - Sister 2

The weather at my house today is pretty wild. I guess you just have to expect that since it is March. When I woke up this morning it was cloudy and dark, but there was no wind. Then around 8am, the wind started howling. Around 9am the howling wind blew in a snow/rain storm. It really couldn't make up it's mind whether it wanted to rain or snow. The snorain came down for a few hours, and then it stopped. But, now it is raining again. Pretty soon the sun will probably be shining. Because that is how the weather is this time of year in the state of Utah. Am I Right??
I hope the sun does come out and shine, because I am making chicken salad sandwiches for dinner and they are really more of a sun shiny food. Don't you think?
Anyway..... enough rambling. Here is the recipe for the Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup light mayo
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/8 cup onion chopped in very small pieces
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
a bunch of red seedles grapes

Mix all ingredients but the grapes together. Cut grapes in half and add to the mix. If it is dry, add a bit more mayo. Mix at least three hours ahead so the flavors have time to mix and sink in to the chicken.

I like to eat this on a crossaint roll, but any bread will work.

Friday, March 23, 2012

You Cannot Defeat Me - Sis 3

I was at one of a myriad of appointments last week, when I came across a quote that's stuck with me. It was printed on a plain piece of white paper and taped to the side of planter box. The presentation was very unpretentious, but the thought itself was anything but meek.

Over the next few days, I thought about the quote several times. I didn't remember the exact words, but I tried. Finally, I resorted to Google. I hadn't been able to make out the name of the author printed at the bottom of the quote, so I was really shooting in the dark. I typed in as much of the quote as I could remember, trying to get the phrasing right. It took a few tries, but Google came through.

I discovered that the quote was by Ann Landers, a pen name created in 1943 by Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist Ruth Crowley and later taken over by Eppie Lederer. Which of those two women actually wrote the quote, I'm not sure, but their advice reached me all these years later.

I'll pass on a little of their wisdom.

"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, 'I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.'" ~Ann Landers

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beautiful Spring Day - Sister 2

What a beautiful spring day it was yesterday. As soon as we got home from picking up my oldest daughter from school my kids were begging to go outside and play. I couldn't blame them, it was sunny and warm. But, I being the mother, made sure they ate lunch and did some chores before they could go out. My little boy usually takes a nap after lunch, but he knew the girls were going to go out to play and he would not go to sleep. So we ALL went out to play. The kids had so much fun running up and down the hill, going down the slide, riding scooters and playing in the dirt. I cleaned all the grass out of a flower bed and out of the strawberry bed. I'm hoping we will get a bunch of strawberries this year, but I'm not sure. We moved into this house in November, so I don't know how well the strawberries,or any other plant, will do. I also walked around the yard looking at all the buds on the trees and the leaves popping out of the ground. I will have tulips and irises in a month or two. I wonder what colors they will be?
I love spring. It is so fun to see the new life. The green buds on the trees and the little purple flowers popping up. AND, it is so GREAT to get outside in the nice SUNSHINE.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Leprechaun Tracks - Sis 1

Shhhhh! I carve a boot print into soft mozzarella cheese--WAY easier than a potato--then dip it in food coloring and walk it around. You only need to make one if you point the toe inward from the right then the left in an alternating pattern, as if the leprechaun were slightly pigeon toed.

If you've made traps, set them off and remove the bait.

Important! Only make tracks on disposable items or non-porous surfaces like sealed tile. Otherwise, your tracks will be permanent.

Don't tell my kids. Even my 9-year-old still believes. And she already figured out Santa.

Irish Stew - Sis 1

I LOVE colcanon, as do the rest of my family, and that's what I traditionally make on St. Patrick's day for our dinner. (Breakfast is usually silly stuff like green eggs or green biscuits or green pancakes. You get the idea.) But this year, I will be taking dinner to a neighbor and I have my doubts as to how well mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage, onions and nutmeg will be received by any of her family.

So, I decided that the menu will be:

Irish Stew
Green Dinner Rolls
Donegal Oatmeal Cream

You should always make stew a day ahead if possible, because it tastes SO much better that way. (You can also remove excess fat much more easily, once it's cold and sitting on the top of the stew.) So, it's sitting in my fridge right now, aging. This was a BIG batch, so you might want to cut it in half. Here's how to make it:

Irish Stew

2 lbs bacon, cut in small pieces
4 lbs cubed meat (traditionally lamb, but I used beef)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon crushed rosemary
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 liter apple juice
1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
2-3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage

Fry bacon in large skillet. Place the bacon in your big crockpot, leaving the grease in the skillet. Mix flour, salt, pepper and rosemary in large bowl. Add cubed meat and toss until coated. Brown meat in bacon grease. Place cubed meat in crockpot. Drain and discard bacon grease. Carmelize onions and garlic in same skillet that you just drained grease from. Place onions and garlic in crockpot. Pour about a cup of the apple juice in the skillet and deglaze. Pour contents of skillet and remaining apple juice into crockpot. Add carrots, potatoes and bay leaves and stir. Set crockpot to low, cover, and let cook several hours (4-8 depending on whether you're home or not.) Stir in chopped cabbage and refrigerate overnight. Reheat and remove bay leaves when ready to serve.

Leprechaun Traps - Sis 1

Each year my kids and I make traps for catching leprechauns. So far, we have been unsuccessful, but we're still holding out hope. A pot full of gold would certainly come in handy. Last year, there were a good deal of tiny green leprechaun boot tracks all around our traps and the "gold" candy coins we used for bait were gone. Tricksters!

I just get out all sorts of craft materials and let the kids go. I dyed the popsicle sticks green with food coloring. I did end up helping D3 and pretty much making Bear's for him, but I just let them figure out how to trap their own leprechauns.

Here we have my youngest daughter's trap. The leprechaun (hopefully) will climb the ladder and step out onto the tissue-covered cup to get the "gold". His weight will be too much for the tissue and he will fall into the cup.

Daughter number one's trap is based on the same design, but she made her ladder with rope and added a swing and a bridge to entice the leprechaun to her trap.

Bear's trap is really just a gussied-up rabbit trap. The unsuspecting leprechaun will walk under the rainbow to get a "gold" coin and a popsicle-stick crate will fall down on top of him.

My second daughter, and I might add the most enterprising one, made not one, not two, but three traps. (And she's currently in the kitchen, probably making more of them.) Two of them are made from old frog and cricket habitats. The leprechaun will have to climb to the top using the ladders, enter through the trap door and slide down the yarn that will pull the door shut on it to get to the "gold".

This is the one I'm most impressed with. Again, daughter two made it. To get the gold the leprechaun will have to pull down on it, which will snap the lid closed over it. If I were a betting person, which I'm not, I'd say the leprechaun will get caught in this one if at all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crepes - Sister 2

I was first introduced to crepes by my good friend Julie. I remember sleeping over at her house many times while I was young and in the morning we would make either crepes or crumb cake muffins for breakfast. I remember we would always put just plain powdered sugar on the crepes, roll them up tight, and eat up. They were good that way, back then. But now days I like to do it a little differently. Crepes are still a breakfast food for me, but now when I make crepes I use fresh strawberries, blueberries and bananas with yogurt for the filling. They are so yummy, and they make a light but satisfying breakfast. I hope you love them as much as my family and I do.


2 eggs
1 cup and 2 tbsps milk
1 cup flour
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter, melted

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes, scraping the sides to make sure all the flour is off the sides. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium low heat. When the pan is hot spray with cooking spray and pour a small amount of batter into the pan. You want to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer. Let it cook until it looks set on the top, which should be just a minute or two, then flip and let it cook a minute or two longer on the other side. Remove and repeat until all the batter has been cooked. You can serve these crepes with lots of different fillings, but like I said I like to cut fresh strawberries and bananas and use fresh blueberries with some strawberry yogurt. Enjoy!
* For my family of 5 we usually double the recipe and it is usually enough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mom's Ground Beef Enchiladas - Sister 2

There were a few meals that our mom made while we were growing up that I really loved. She was and still is a good cook, but there were a few things I like better than the others. My all time favorite were her tacos, but I'm not sharing that recipe tonight. I will another night I promise. Another dish she made that I really liked were her Ground Beef Enchiladas. I made them for dinner tonight, so I thought I would share the recipe with you. I'm really not good with a camera, whether I'm taking pictures of food, or anything else, so the picture does not do the food justice, but here goes.

Mom's Ground Beef Enchiladas
(with a few added ingredients)

1 pkg soft corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp taco seasoning, divided
1 can tomato sauce
1 small can red enchilada sauce
1 small can diced green chilis
1 small onion, diced
grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13x2 in pan with cooking spray.
Cook ground beef in a frying pan until it is almost browned, add the onion and finish browning the beef. Drain the grease from the beef by pushing all the meat and onions to one side of the pan and then propping the pan up so that the grease runs away from the beef. Remove the extra grease. Add 1 tsp taco seasoning and the rest of the other seasonings and green chilis to the meat mixture. Mix the tomato sauce, enchilada sauce and 1 tsp taco seasoning. Pour a few Tbsps. of enchilada sauce mixture into the bottom of the pan. Heat a bunch of corn tortillas in the microwave on a plate with a damp paper towel covering them. Then, take one tortilla put it in the pan add meat mixture and some grated cheese and roll up. Continue to assemble the enchiladas until you can't fit anymore enchiladas in the pan or you have used up all your ingredients. (I squish the enchiladas in there.)
Next, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle more cheese on top. Then bake in the oven until they are hot, the sauce should bubble and the cheese will melt.
Remove from oven and serve.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cake - Sister 2

Today my daughter and I baked a yummy, layer, chocolate cake. The only problem was that it wouldn't come out of the pans. We greased and floured the cake pans, but I guess we should have used sugar, instead of flour like the recipe called for.

What do you do with a crumlbed chocolate cake? Make TRIFLE!!

It was delicious, maybe it turned out better than planned. Just make chocolate pudding and whip some cream with some powdered sugar and vanilla, and cut some strawberries. Then you just have to assemble the Trifle. It's pretty easy. I just took the crumbly cake and filled the bottom of a dish with it. Then layered on chocolate pudding, next came strawberries, and next whipped cream. Then I repeated the same steps and put a few more strawberries on top to make it look pretty. Tada! Beautiful, delectable Chocolate Strawberry Trifle.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Estate Sale Bargains - Sis 3

Saturday morning, I took a trip to the Oakland Temple. As I pulled off the freeway, I was met by large yellow signs, spaced 50 yards apart. Contradicting the large block arrows, I proceeded the half-block to the temple.

When I left the temple parking lot an hour and a half later, I was again met by the large enticing signs, "Estate Sale. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m." I looked at my clock. 10:30. Why not? My husband was working and I had no pressing schedule. So, I followed the signs.

The narrow, hilly street was lined with cars, so I had to make full loop before finding a place to park. I hiked back down to the house with the sign and the wide-open door. On the outside, it was a pleasant-looking, older home with a nice yard and slightly trampled grass. On the inside, it was a swarm of activity.

Tables had been placed around the perimeter of every room. Each table was surrounded by small groups of people, browsing through the piled up treasures--all the neat old stuff you'd expect to find in your grandparents house. Glass figurines. Black and white photographs. Brass table lamps with gaudy shades. Felt hats and silk print scarfs. Trays and trays of beaded necklaces and broaches. The faded books in the shelves were all marked for sale, so were the framed oil prints and photographs still hanging on the walls.

In the basement, I discovered a whole workshop of power tools. A radial arm saw. A drill press. A miter saw and band saw. Heavy duty routers and drills. For an instant, I was in heaven. Then I recalled my California apartment and its utter lack of work or storage space. Rats.

Going back upstairs, I concentrated on something more practical. China. Oh, but this grandmother had beautiful china. Her dinner set was all white, with delicate, scalloped edges. The full set of 24 plates, tea cups and saucers, gravy boat and serving dishes could have been mine for a comparative song. I was sorely tempted, but once again had to lament my lack of storage space--and frugality.

With an inward sigh, I pulled myself away. Instead, I contented myself, with two platters. The first I found was round, with a starburst and flowers etched into the underside of the glass. Very feminine and pretty.

The second, I unearthed from a pile of water-stained, black and white photographs. The photographs themselves were very interesting, but the platter more so. Under the thick dust, it was white, semi-porcelain, with decorative edges and a light blue flora pattern.

On the back, I discovered a little sticker proclaiming its history. Apparently, the platter was originally bought in 1895. How I wish I knew the story of all the dinners and parties it has seen!

At the little checkout table, I handed my two platters to the somewhat flustered girl. She was trying to help me and a lady with an old hoover vacuum at the same time. By her own search, the girl confirmed what I had just told her. The larger platter didn't have a price tag. So, she gave me the same price for both. All told, I spent $20! A trip to the temple, an adventure, and treasure to boot--I call that a morning well spent.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grapefruit Angel Cake - Sis 1

I love the flavor of grapefruit, and I've always wanted to put it in a dessert, but haven't dared until yesterday. (I love the gummy candy grapefruit sections, but they're not quite realistic.) Since Grapefruit has a much milder flavor than lemons, I figured I needed a light cake so you could actually taste the grapefruit in it.

I haven't found my camera yet, so there's no picture, but it looks like angel food cake with a pinkish-orange glaze dripping down it.

Grapefruit Angel Cake


12 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup reduced grapefruit juice (see note below)
1 tsp. grapefruit zest
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour (or 2 Tablespoons cornstarch with 1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt


Remaining reduced grapefruit juice
Remaining grapefruit zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Zest and juice 2 grapefruits. Set zest aside. Place juice in a small saucepan and simmer on low heat until juice is reduced by about half. I got 1 tad more than 1 cup of juice from 2 grapefruits and reduced it to just over 1/2 cup. Let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/3 cup reduced grapefruit juice. Whip until frothy. Add a little more than half of the sugar and the 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest. Now whip until firm peaks form. Sift together remaining sugar, salt and flour. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the egg white mixture and fold in, a little at a time.

Spoon batter into Angel Food Cake Pan and cut through with a knife to remove air bubbles. Bake around 35 minutes, or until the top doesn't spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Cool upside down in pan. When cooled, remove from pan, place on serving plate, and poke several holes down through the top of the cake with a skewer.

Combine remaining zest, reduced juice and sugars in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to boil 2 more minutes. Let cool. Drizzle over cake, being sure to let the glaze fall into the holes and down the outside and middle of the cake.

Cocktail Sauce - Sis 1

First, the bad news. I caught Bear playing with my camera, and, being the brilliant person that I am, I immediately took it away from him and put it somewhere high and safe. The only problem with that is that now I can't find that particular somewhere. So, until I can find my camera, no pictures.

But, you already know what cocktail sauce looks like. Here's how I make it.

Cocktail Sauce

1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish (DON'T us horseradish sauce!)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Yup. It's that easy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Navajo Tacos - Sister 2

Yesterday I had a craving for Navajo Tacos. (You might know these tacos by a different name, but to me and my family they have always been Navajo Tacos.)
So I invited some friends over for dinner and proceeded to make chili and fry bread for dinner.

Here is my Chili recipe:

1 lb Hot sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Ancho chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 cup apple cider *
2 cans diced stewed tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans black beans
1 sm can tomato sauce
Brown the sausage in a large pot. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the onion and jalapeno. Cook until the onion and jalapeno are soft, then add the spices and the apple cider to deglaze the pan. Stir, and let it cook down a little. Then add all the canned tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for an hour or two. You can also simmer the chili in a crockpot. Just follow the directions until adding the canned vegetables. Before adding the canned "stuff" transfer the sausage mixture to your crockpot and then add the canned stuff to the crockpot. Cover and simmer on low for a few hours.
*When I make chili for Navajo Tacos I leave out the apple cider because I don't want a little hint of sweetness in the Navajo Taco.

For Fry Bread I use my Mom's recipe. When I was very young my parents were foster parents to quite a few Navajo Girls who needed a place to live while they attended High School. My Mom got her Fry Bread recipe from some of these girls. Here is the recipe for Fry Bread.

Navajo Fry Bread

4 cups bluebird flour
2 tsp baking powder (I like to add 1 tsp more baking powder because it helps my Fry Bread be puffier.)
1 tsp salt
2 cups of water
1/3 cup powdered milk
Mix all ingredients in mixer with a dough hook. If the dough is sticky add a bit more flour. Let the dough rest for 1/2 hour. Then fry in Lard, if you don't have Lard (Which I never have bought) fry in crisco heated to 350 degrees. Fry on one side til golden brown then turn to other side til golden brown, then remove and let drain on a paper towel.

To assemble a Navajo Taco tear a piece of fry bread into small pieces. Pile chili, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions and lettuce on top. Then Enjoy!