Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will It Blend?

Brad threw an avocado in the blender for a green smoothie
As all my friends and family can tell you, I love my Blendtec! It truly is the most overworked appliance in my kitchen and worth every penny. We got ours August 2011 and used it over 500 times! I know this because of the counter feature. 

Every morning we have green smoothies, even Bradley. I plop his big mug on the floor and he comes a crawlin'.

In the summer, I puree all remaining veggies and fruits and add them to my deep freezer. (Lay them flat so it is easier to stack and store.)
I also, make plenty of soups, or salad dressings that only take a whooping 75 seconds to make creamy and delicious.

But my favorite treat to make is for sure Lava Flows. I found a recipe that takes me back to Hawaii every time I drink it. (Recipe to be posted next time I make the Flows.)
If you don’t have this amazing machine, be sure to add it to your wish list. You may need to start a savings change jar, but it is well worth it!

Our Morning Smoothie
Serves 3
  • Cup of frozen mixed berries
  • 2 cups frozen spinach (I also add frozen veggies from last year's garden)
  • 1/2 cup frozen kale
  • Half a frozen banana, or pear, or a spoonful of orange concentrate to make it sweet
  • 1/4 avocado (makes it creamy)
  • 1 tsbp of raw coconut oil 
  • A scoop of a vanilla or chocolate Whey protein powder
  • 2 cups cold water

Monday, February 27, 2012

Planting Peas

Finally! After a week of preaching to plant your peas, I FINALLY have my first round in the ground. Thom gave the thumbs up to expand the garden from grow boxes to an actual chunk of yard this year, so I had a bit of a struggle determining where to plant without creating a roadblock for my grand plan...

Yeah...I realize it's a stretch, but some elements in this photo I want to apply to my backyard and with just a few more years….maybe…just maybe...

Back to peas- Quite a few people choose to skip peas, and understandably so. You don’t receive a huge yield for all the space and effort it takes to grow; however, peas to me bring spring just a little closer. Plus, what a delight to taste a sweet treat from your garden at the end of May. 

Soaking pea seeds the night before gives a boost to your growing success.
For now, my peas occupy a random flower bed in my driveway, yes my driveway. The three flower beds on the side of the driveway are quite neglected and need to be put to use. Surprisingly, after tilling the ground, the dirt is actually in good shape. 

After poking holes with my finger about an inch deep and a couple inches apart, I dropped the seedlings in the indent and softly stroked soil over the top. A bonus to the driveway beds is how close they are to a chain link fence creating a perfect climbing space for peas.

For those whose gardens are ready for planting- take a few minutes this weekend to plant some spinach, carrots, beets, cabbage, kale, leeks, lettuce, potatoes, or other cold crops and you'll be feasting this May/June. 

If you’re like me, and still not prepared, you can start some seeds inside under a regular fluorescent light. Lucky for us, there are a few extra fluorescent fixtures in our home to steal. 

Soon, I’ll post my indoor growing system.  Again, my friend Larry was my inspiration for starting plants inside. It seems more difficult than it really is, and the satisfaction of starting from seed is well worth the few minutes to setup.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Universe Book

Before I begin gardening, I need to tell the story of how I received my favorite gardening book. Last spring my sister Susie bought Successful Home Gardening by Gordon Wells and she totally got me hooked. Only problem was she bought the book at Costco for $12 and it sold out in a heartbeat. Sue let me borrow the book a day at a time, but I never had enough time to really sink my teeth in it.
The online cost jump to $35, and knowing my sister bought a copy for a mere $12 made me a bit reserved. Trying to find a cheap copy became a daily routine from May until July but without avail.
In July, I decided to visit my grandmother and while driving home I suddenly saw the book in the middle of the road. At a brief glance I recognized the green cover and white letters. Almost causing a few accidents, I slammed on my breaks, made a sharp U turn, and ran out into the middle of the road signaling for cars to stop. After a daring rescue, I felt a little guilty that I grabed this book from the middle of the road. I decided to wait 10 minutes to see if anyone would return. No one did, so I stopped feeling guilty and moved on with my book in hand.
It is now know as the Universe book.  Now that I have it, I bought the recommend seeds for this year to put them to the test. (BTW- I split seeds with my sister to lower the cost).  Tomorrow, I’ll post my findings along with my indoor growing system.
As for tonight, I’m a bit behind in planting, but finally started soaking my peas for tomorrow. 

My good friend, and AMAZING gardener, Larry always told me to soak peas and beans the night before to help the germination process. If you are lazy like me and haven’t put your peas in the ground yet, get to it this week.
Happy planting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cinna Knots

My goal of this blog sincerely was to focus more on gardening and to excite me about healthy living, but lately I'm all about eating my feelings! So here is my little tidbit about gardening- Today, being Presidents Day, be sure to get your spring peas in the ground. I love Mountain Valley Seeds since they are not GMO.  

Back to the rolls-Thom loves when I make these rolls and I do it maybe once a year because they cause addiction. Saturday, I made a small batch for a meeting, and only gave Thom one and he wasn't too pleased. Then my good friend Haylee visited Saturday night and said, "Cynthia I've been thinking about your cinnamon things, and really want a cinnamon roll." So I decided to make them again. Let me know what you think.


Makes 3 dozen, about 5 dozen if made smaller (which I love them as little bites)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 8-9 cups flour
  • 2 heaping tbsp yeast

Sugar Mixture
  • 3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

  • Mix the following ingredients in an awesome mixer like a Kitchen Aid using the paddle attachment
    • 3 eggs
    • 2/3 cup oil
    • 2 tbsp salt
    • 1 cup sugar 
  • Once mixed, add 4 cups of warm/hot water (110 degrees)
  • Next add 4 cups flour while continuing to mix with paddle attachment
  • After mixed well, add 2 heaping tbsp yeast
  • Then add remaining 4 cups flour and mix well
  • The final dough should be sticky but not runny, add more flour if necessary to create sticky dough
  • Let dough rise in bowl for 30 minutes and punch down
  • Let dough rise again for 30 minutes and punch down
  • Place dough in clean bowl with a tbsp of oil at the bottom and let rise for 50 minutes
  • Remove dough ball from bowl and knead for five minutes, generously adding flour if needed to create smooth dough ball
  • Cut dough into smaller, more workable sections and then make dough pieces into balls a little larger than a golf ball.
  • Stretch and roll pieces into long, rope like strips
  • Dip strips in a bowl of melted butter then roll strips into sugar mixture making sure it is generously covered
  • Tie the long dough into several knots making a circle
  • Let the knots rise for 5-10 minutes on cookie sheet
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325
  • Bake Cinna Knots for 15-20 minutes
  • Once cooked, place knots on parchment paper and scrape the leftover sugar mixture on top of the rolls


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Restaurant Roulette

A favorite weekend game of ours is something we call Restaurant Roulette. This gives us the chance to try new restaurants, or at the least have an interesting story at the end of the night.
The Rules
(they change each time we play but here are the basics)
  • Choose a number for the night before choosing a location (helps eliminate cheating)
  • Choose a start point before counting, ideally a street with unique restaurants you haven't tried (favorites include Redwood Road, 33rd South, etc.)
  • Only count restaurants on street chosen
  • National chains may be included in the initial count; however, you cannot eat at a national chain
  • Coffee shops don’t count
  • Dine with at least one other couple or a group of friends who are daring
  • Bring ID as you just might end up at a club where people are at least 85 and over and will card you (Totem’s on Redwood)
  • Prepare to eat anything
Friday night my sister Aimee and family joined us for Restaurant Roulette on 700 East. The starting line was right off the freeway, and my cute niece Ava chose lucky number 11. The winner was a family favorite and a Utah landmark…

Hires, home of the famous Big H hamburger and other delicious American classics, was lucky number 11. I remember when the original owner would greet people at the door. Don was a sweet older man with silver hair who stood a little below my shoulder. He was customer service at its finest! 
I can’t remember the last time I ate at Hire’s, but it was my father’s favorite and brought a moment of nostalgia. In memory of dad, I went with the Big H, onion rings and a frosted root beer. YUM! I slipped a sip of root beer to Brad (my one year old) which, I realized moments later this was a bad idea. I also realized I really needed to trim his nails from looking at the scratches on my arm.

Let me know if you try roulette in the future. I’d love to hear your adventures.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Consecrated Kitchen

So…. I’m part of a cooking club called the “consecrated kitchen.” Three times a month I prepare a meal for 10, and in return we have a hot, delicious meal Monday through Thursday ready for pickup on my way home from work. Think about it- dishes one night a week, nobody gets bored of the same old-same old, shopping for one meal once a week, and not running ragged trying to find a new recipe every night. 

Thursdays are usually my night to cook and last night we had a couple friends over so I needed a meal that could easily serve 12. That could only mean one thing, INDIAN!

Tikka Masala is a dinner group favorite, and friends usually ask for seconds. I love this recipe because it can serve an army and makes excellent leftovers. My friend Leona and I discover this keeper a few years ago and with a few extra ingredients, it gives the Bombay House a run for its money. I’ve also included a fabulous rice recipe and the two go hand in hand. Enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala (4-6 people) 
(Note the pictures have larger portions as I was tripling the recipe. Also this recipe is fairly simple even though there are quite a few steps.)

The Chicken
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 chicken breast

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (If I'm feeling healthy I go low-fat)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves minced (when cooking for a lot I always buy the pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger 

Chicken Prep
  1. Combine tumeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt in small bowl
  2. Rub both sides of chicken with spice mix
  3. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  4. Whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger cover and put in fridge

Masala Sauce
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh serrano chile minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes 
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Sauce Prep
  1. Heat oil in large pot (best if you have a dutch oven) over medium heat until simmering. Add onion and stir frequently until light golden (6 to 8 minutes)
  2. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato pastes, and garam masala. Continue stirring until fragrant (3 minutes)
    Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in cream and cilantro and return to simmer
Cooking Chicken

  1. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to about six inches from heating element and heat broiler (I tried the grill for the first time and it worked great)
  2. Use tongs to dip chicken into yogurt mixture and place on broiling pan. 
  3. Broil chicken until thickest part reads 160 degrees (about 15-20 minutes)
  4. Don't forget to flip chicken halfway through
  5. Cut chicken in to cubes and stir into sauce
  6. Stir in cilantro
Indian Rice Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice or long-grain rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup peas
Rice Prep
  1. Rinse rice: Put rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover the top by about two inches. using hands gently swish the grains to release the starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat about 5 times or until the water is basically clear. 
  2. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil along with salt and pepper, cover
  3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted
  4. Add onion and saute until softened but not browned (3-4 minutes)
  5. Add rice and stir to coat grains with butter
  6. Cook until edges of rice grains begin to turn translucent (3 minutes)
  7. Stir hot seasoned water into rice and return to boil
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (20 minutes)
  9. Remove from heat and remove lid and place a kitchen towel folded in half over teh saucepan and replace lid
  10. Let stand for 10 minutes
  11. Add a cup of heated green peas to rice

Monday, February 13, 2012


August 29, 1938 to January 26, 2012

John Royal Stone was a strong, gentle man who used his unique gifts to make people feel important. 

Born, August 29, 1938 to Royal and Clara Stone, he was witness to impressionable events in a quickly changing world.  As a boy he remembered the excitement over VE and VJ days that brought WW II to an end.  As a young man, he saw adventure first hand and helped rescue people through his military service with the Coast Guard.

Although he earned his living as a general contractor, John will be remembered most for his tireless work with young people.  His ability to engage, listen to, and challenge young people were the hallmark of his life and the reason why he was beloved by so many.  The son of a professional scouter, he was a long-serving scoutmaster himself and took on the most rowdy and rambunctious boys with delight.  He had a gift for organizing tough and meaningful events that helped shape boys into trustworthy, hard-working men.  Hiking in the mountains was one of his great pleasures, and he would frequently trial his hikes with his girls so that a complaining scout could later be shamed for not being up to a hike that his little daughters had managed.

He was a champion of the underprivileged and spent his last years as a teacher at Hartvigsen School for the disabled.  His reputation there was one of a loving, patient steward who cared for children living with less than perfect bodies and minds.

As a father and husband, he was the lone man in a house full of six girls, and he was our hero.  He was thoughtful in all his actions toward us – from putting on our socks with seams straight, cutting fresh carrots in the morning for lunchboxes, tying sashes behind dresses oh so tight to selling his tools to provide for our unforeseen expenses – we always knew we were his first love.  He was tender and concerned and insisted on treating us like we were his equals and we all grew up wanting to marry someone just like him.  We will miss his wise counsel and his fascinating stories. 

Love you dad!