Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I consider myself a pretty athletic person.  Not to say that I'm one of those people that's naturally gifted whenever they try out a new sport.  I mean "athletic" more in the sense that I do a lot.  Nothing particularly well, but I stay active enough so that I can eat all of the food on this blog.

I am a yoga instructor (teaching my first class in Boulder tonight!), and I rock climb.  I was on the swim team in high school for one year (until the coach made me swim with pink eye and bronchitis).

So even though I'm not exactly fond of my big shoulders and hulk-like traps, I would say that my shoulders and and arms are pretty strong.
I remember making these caramels with my grandma when I was little and I remember her standing over the stove stirring away at them.  What I didn't realize was that my grandma was stronger than any combination of climbing, swimming and yoga is going to get me!
These caramels do require a little more gumption than most recipes because it is absolutely necessary that you do NOT stop stirring!  Not even to change the channel on the TV or to get a napkin to wipe the sweat off your brow.

No, it's not really that bad - but you will get your arm workout in.  For that reason, I recommend you switch stirring hands every few minutes!

3 c. sugar
1 - 16 oz. bottle + 2 Tbsp. light Karo syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 pints heavy cream
1 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. butter
squares of wax paper (to wrap the caramels in)

1.  Cook sugar, Karo and salt in a big heavy pan - place candy thermometer on the side.  Bring to 230˚

2.  While boiling, add cream and evaporated milk.  Stir CONTINUOUSLY until the mixture reaches 240˚.

3.  Remove from heat.  Add butter and vanilla.

4.  Pour into buttered 9x13" pan.  Cool and cut into small pieces.  Wrap in wax paper.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peach Applesauce

Last Friday, I found the perfect puppy.

Let me paint the scene for you.  I was running some errands and on my way back home, I pulled up behind a Prius at a stop light.  It had a bumper sticker for "Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue" on it.  I fumbled around the car trying to find a pen and a scrap of paper so I could expand my puppy search.  Finally found one and when I finished writing down the website, I looked up and the car had long since left the stop light.
When I got home, the first thing I did was plug in the URL.  I scrolled through 35 puppies and then I found her!  She is part Husky (what Austin wants), part German Shepherd (what I want) and all perfect!  She had bright blue eyes and was only 2 months old.  At this point, I was thinking that the stars were aligning in my favor and that this had to be a sign!

Problem was: if we wanted her, we had to adopt her on Saturday.  

We have to go out of town for another wedding in a few weeks and unfortunately we are way too responsible.  We thought it through for too long, weighing the options.  In the end, we decided we just couldn't do it.  
Sometimes I really wish I was more irresponsible and threw caution to the wind.  But I guess that's just not me.  

On top of that disappointing event, the seasons are changing and those two things in combination had me craving some comfort food.
My mom used to make homemade applesauce every once in a while and I always remember loving the smells that filled up the house.  Since summer officially faded into fall this weekend, I decided to combine the fruits of both seasons and make it even easier by using a crockpot!

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1.  Add apples, peaches, water and honey to a crockpot.  Set to low temperature and cook for 3-4 hours.  

2.  Add cinnamon and transfer to blender (or use immersion blender).  Blend until smooth.  Serve warm or cooled.  Seal leftovers in jars/tupperware and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Friday, September 21, 2012

End of Summer Sandwich

Today is officially the last day of summer.  Most people lament the passing of hot, long days filled with sunshine and fresh fruit, and now that I'm writing it down, maybe I do too.  I love the things that summer has to offer and this summer especially, I feel like Austin and I have really taken advantage of it.

We've been camping, climbing, hiking, swimming.  We even took a trip to the beach!
While the summer has been amazing, I am ready to move into fall and winter.  There's something more relaxing about shorter days and carb-loaded foods.  And then, you know, there are the holidays in there too - which I always get too excited about!
So, yes, I'll miss being able to go climbing after work.  I'll miss fresh tomato sandwiches.  I'll miss swimming outside.

I'll miss a thousand things about summer (most of which deal with food!), especially when we are in April and it's still snowing.  So right now, I am going to enjoy this last day of summer with a fresh, veggie-loaded sandwich, but tomorrow, I'm welcoming in the pumpkin bread with my cowboy boot slippers.
Olive Oil
Fresh Mozzarella
1 Tomato
Alfalfa Sprouts
Balsamic Vinegar

Since everyone knows how to make a sandwich, I'm not going to insult your intelligence by posting a recipe.  Just toast up your bread with the olive oil in the oven or in a skillet (or you could use butter).  Pile on your ingredients and drizzle with vinegar!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spicy Cream of Vegetable Soup

I didn't realize that this summer/fall was the preferred time for every single person in the world to get married.  But apparently it is.

I'm sure there comes a time in everyone's life when it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and since I'm from Utah, that time comes a little early.
The first wave of marriages has long since passed.  All of the kids I went to high school with are married and most of them are onto the parenting stage of their lives.  This second wave that hit this summer and is still coming consists more of family members.

In one single weekend, we were supposed to go to three different weddings!
Last weekend, we went to our 4th wedding of the season.  It was amazing!  Incredible venue, mouthwatering food, and great music to dance to.  And let's be honest, weddings are really the only opportunity white people have to dance out in the open!

It was also exhausting.  Flying across the country late Friday night, returning late Sunday night, made me want to spend all day Monday laying on the couch, reading the Hunger Games and slurping down soup.

We've got one more wedding this year, so luckily I stuck some "recovery soup" in the freezer.
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
6-8 medium sized potatoes, cubed
32 oz. chicken stock (can use vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian meal)
2 bay leaves
1 can whole corn
1 can creamed corn

1.  In a large stockpot, add butter, onions and celery.  Cook until onions are clear.  Add carrots.  Cook for 5 more minutes.

2.  Add jalapeños, potatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaves.  Simmer until potatoes are soft.  (Check with a fork).

3.  Remove bay leaves.  Using an immersion blender, or by transferring soup by cupfuls into a blender, blend until smooth.

4.  Add both cans of corn after blending, return to simmer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Since there may be no hockey this year, I am really going to have to amp up my football fanaticism.  It helps that we live close to a team now and it also helps that I like the colors and the mascot of the Broncos.  
The other thing I really like about football is the food...and the beer.   
And since the games are so long, snacking seems to fit pretty well.  

These homemade jalapeño poppers are spicier than the frozen ones, they taste better, and they're better for you.  On top of that, they really only take maybe 1 extra minute to make them.
Jalapeños, halved and seeded (you can leave some seeds in to make them even spicier
Cream Cheese
Bread Crumbs

1.  Fill halved jalapeños with cream cheese.

2.  Place jalapeños on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.

3.  Bake at 425˚ for 18-20 minutes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mozzarella Apple Panini

Since I work from home, most of my lunches consist of cheese and crackers or leftovers that I only sometimes have the energy to reheat.
Usually, if I am going to cook, it's going to be dessert.  2nd choice is making dinner.  And on the weekends, lunch comes way down the list, after breakfast even.

But every once in a while, I get the urge to have something more than just cold noodles.
It's still not very fancy.  In fact, paninis are really just another form of cheese and crackers anyway.  But whenever you put fruit in a meal, it feels fancy.
2 slices whole wheat italian bread
2 thick slices mozzarella
1/2 apple, sliced
honey mustard

1.  Butter outsides of bread, put together your sandwich and brown both sides over medium-low heat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Black Bean & Corn Quinoa Salad

Lately, we've been busy.  Nothing too stressful, just people staying with us, us staying with people.  Appointments to go to, phone calls to make, jobs to apply to.  Meals to cook, pictures to take, laundry to fold.
All the normal stuff.  

To keep myself organized and more importantly, to give myself some feeling of progress I make to-do lists.  Every day.  It's the first thing I do while I'm drinking my coffee.  And it's tempting to make that to-do list take up multiple pages and let it get way out of hand. 
There aren't many feelings better than completing an entire list, checking off each task, and getting to start the next day fresh.  
So, for that reason, I put easy stuff on the list too.  It's a mixture of 5-minute chores and 5-hour chores.  
Last Wednesday, "Picnic" was on the list.  It was one of the easy assignments.  We had to eat dinner anyway, it might as well have been outside.  

It's pretty easy to be busy, it's definitely harder to relax.  Picnicking brings the relaxation back into the picture and relaxation brings the sanity.  It's a win-win situation.  
1 c. quinoa, cooked
1 can black beans
1 can whole corn
1 green pepper, chopped
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
juice from 1 orange
1/4 c. olive oil
Salt & Pepper

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine veggies, beans and quinoa.

2.  Mix together orange juice and olive oil.  Pour over quinoa, stir to combine.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Green Tea Ice Cream

I did a really bad thing this weekend.  While we were eating breakfast, I just innocently suggested to Austin that we go to the Humane Society and look at the puppies.  Of course they were adorable as all puppies are.  They gave us those puppy dog eyes and licked our fingers through the cage.

We did manage to convince ourselves to wait until the timing makes more sense.  Or at least until the leash we ordered online gets here!
So after we left the Humane Society, we went for a hike.  A few hundred feet in, I told Austin, "this would be way more fun if we had a puppy with us right now."  Same with our run this morning and watching the Broncos game last night.
Life would just be more fun with a puppy.

Sharing ice cream with a puppy would be a blast!  (I know, I know - you're not supposed to feed dogs ice cream, don't worry.)

Oh, one more thing.  I've developed an unhealthy addiction to the Dog Whisperer.
Recipe from here
2 Tbsp. green tea
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. boiling water
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream

1.  Soak green tea in boiling water with 1 Tbsp. sugar for 10-12 minutes.

2.  Scrape seeds out of vanilla bean.  Add seeds and pod to milk in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then pour over tea and let stand for 5-6 minutes.

3.  Beat egg yolks with 1/4 c. sugar.  Strain milk mixture into egg yolks.  Transfer to a medium saucepan.  While stirring continuously, gently heat until thickened.  Cool.

4.  Whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold into tea mixture.

5.  Transfer to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's directions.

6.  Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cucumber Melon Fizzy

I think someone has hacked Pinterest because for some reason all that's showing up is Thanksgiving recipes and Christmas decorations.  Apparently they got to Costco too, because when you walk through those doors you are instantly bombarded with giant stuffed reindeer and Christmas ornaments.
It is still September, right?  Early september even!?

I know that Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer but when did we start jumping from summer to winter?  I was pretty sure there was another season in there!  One of the best seasons, arguably.  
Anyway, once I fought my way through the tinsel and the fake firs, I made it to the (bags of) cantaloupe and (3-foot long) cucumbers.

2 thick slices cucumber
1/3 c. melon
1 tsp. agave
1 1/2 oz. vodka
club soda
cucumber slice for garnish

1.  In a large glass, muddle cucumber, melon and agave.  Strain into a tumbler filled with ice.

2.  Add vodka and top off with club soda.  Stir to combine.  Garnish with slice of cucumber.

*Makes 1 serving

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach Corn Cakes

So I know on Tuesday I said that I was going to miss tomatoes the most from summer.  I might have to amend that.  Peaches definitely deserve a shout out too!
Luckily, we have a few more weeks of sweet, juicy peaches left.  And when you combine good peaches with cooler mornings, you won't even mind standing over the stove, flipping pancakes.

This is something that I was strongly resisting all summer.  I don't do well with heat.  At. All.  I think this is something I got from my mom :)
But now we are moving into the season where I can let the heat from the stove warm up the house and have fresh-baked treats streaming out of the oven.
We're not quite there yet, but soon a cup of tea in the afternoon will sound more like a treat and less like a horrible punishment.  We'll get lazier.  Wake up later on the weekends and spend the whole morning lounging around in pajamas.

We'll eat pancakes and bacon for breakfast and we'll forget all about yogurt and granola.

3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. corn meal
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped peaches + more for topping

1.  Whisk together dry ingredients.  Set aside.

2.  Beat buttermilk, vanilla and eggs together then whisk into flour mixture.

3.  Stir in 1 cup chopped peaches.

4.  Drop by 1/4 cupfuls into a hot, buttered skillet.  When bubbles start to pop on the top, flip and cook 2nd side until browned.

5.  Serve with chopped peaches warmed in maple syrup.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Asiago Tomato Tart

I hope you had a great long weekend!  I know that a lot of people out there are really sad every time Labor Day comes around, but I for one, cannot wait for fall and winter!
I love wearing jeans and jackets and vests!  Oh, I really love vests!  I do not love sweat running into my eyes.  I don't love sunburns and I hate being hot when I sleep.
Of course, there are some things that I will miss about summer.  Good tomatoes are at the top of that list.
1 large onion, sliced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 sheet puff pastry
1 c. asiago cheese, shredded
~1 c. cherry tomatoes
fresh thyme
salt & pepper
1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water (beat together with fork to make egg wash)

1.  Pour olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until caramelized.

2.  Unroll puff pastry onto a greased/parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Fold up 1/2" around edges to make a crust.

3.  Spread cheese onto center of puff pastry.  Top with tomatoes, onions, thyme and salt & pepper.

4.  Brush folded up part of puff pastry with egg wash.

5.  Bake in 400˚ oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

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