Friday, February 26, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cake Recipe

I am trying /making some recipes that begin with a cake mix. (My family is happy since I am making some of our favourites-for pictures ;) I have really found A LOT since I started this mini-theme.

This one is a favourite breakfast cake at our house. It is fast and easy to put together. The recipe comes from Pillsbury GREAT AMERICAN MENUS COOKBOOK. I have been making this since 1987.

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cake
from Pillsbury

1 lemon cake mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1 can drained blueberries (NOT canned pie filling) I tried the recipe with fresh blueberries today, and we all prefered canned.

That's it! (I do not know why the spacing is weird. Sorry.)

Mix the cake mix and butter together. (I use mine right out of the fridge.) I use the whipping attachment on my Kitchen-Aid.) Mix on low until butter is is in small pieces and mix is crumbly. REMOVE AND SET ASIDE 1 1/4 CUP.

To the rest of mix, add milk and eggs. Beat on med. high for about 2 mins. AND PUT IN SPRAYED 9 x 13 PPAN.

Sprinkle drained blueberries over top of batter. Them sprinkle reserved cake mix over all.

Bake 35-45 mins. @ 350*. (I always cook 35 mins.)

Cool completely.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 table. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Enough water to make a glaze for drizzling over cooled cake. Let set up before serving.

Brownie Recipe, Week-end Ideas

I thought I would post a new recipe before the week-end.
If you live in the Salt Lake area, I have found some good sales this week. Macey's grocery store has their Western Family chili for $.68 a can. I have not seen it this low in awhile. I buy the Turkey Chili which is included in this sale. One way I use canned chili is for a super easy (but not cheap) Sunday dinner.
On Saturday I call the closest SCONECUTTER restaurant (I am sad. The one by my house has closed.) and order 17 Navajo Taco Scones. We pick them up on Saturday night and re-heat in the microwave on Sunday. The total is about $2o.oo, but it is worth it to have an easy Sunday dinner for a crowd. (I have a GREAT scone recipe. Let me know if you are want the recipe. They are pan fried.) I just heat up cans of chili and serve with all the usual toppings.
Target (with grocery stores) has their chuck roasts on sale for $1.99 a lb. I like their roasts and chuck is my favourite.
Back to Macey's. Their cake mixes are also on sale for (until next Tuesday) for $.68, so I thought I would try a few new recipes, and include some tried and true, that use a cake mix.

I made these for cub scout den meeting yesterday. My family loved them, except for the hard caramel in the centre. I forgot to melt them. (In my defense I made/tried 5 new recipes yesterday. Plus, as I went to get something out of the pantry, I decided to clean it. I took everything out...and then decided to paint it this week-end. Plus, I had scouts. So everything is still out. (I wonder if I am subconsciously stressed about the wedding.)
A blogging note- Some days I am very pleased with what I have gotten done. Some days I get nothing accomplished except for playing with/watching grandsons, carpools (up to 75 miles a day) and the very basics. I try not to feel bad about what I do not get done. And I give myself (and anyone else who earns them) points for the extras I do. The points don't really do anything-but we like them none the less. My point? If you are a busy mom, wife, aunt, worker, sister, daughter, neighbor or friend-cut yourself some slack. The results of our labours are not always seen at the end of the day. Or week. Or year. (I saw a woman answer her door yesterday with a baby on her hip. I had 6 children in 8 years. I spent many years doing the mundane, with a baby on my hip, and I wish I had given myself more credit-and less stress about what was not done.) I hope you younger, newer moms get to read stories and play Little People (Fisher Price) instead of having the house perfect. And it does come back to you. My kidults often run errands for me, pick things up while they are out, AND appreciate me more.
Now, the recipe.

I saw this on Studio 5 t.v. show in Oct. It is not listed there, now. In order to find the contributor, I BLINGOed the recipe title, which led me back to Studio 5, which led me to (I often have do genealogy to find a source :)

Pretzel Chocolate Caramel Brownie Cups (made in a cupcake pan)
recipe from stephanieskitchen via studio 5

1 German chocolate cake mix (did you remember that was my theme?)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) (we will use the rest later-see notes)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

1 cup crushed pretzels
1/4 cup melted butter
2 table. brown sugar

5-8 oz. (or 1/2 package) paper removed -WE WILL MELT THESE;0 (See note)
1 cup chocolate chips (recipe says milk choc. I used dark. For Doug.)

Prepare cupcake pan by spraying. (I don't think it will work as well with cupcake papers.)

Mix crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar. Set aside.

Stir vigorously the cake mix, sweetened condensed milk, egg and melted butter. This is a thick batter. Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full. (May need to lightly press down.)

Top each cup with about 1 table. pretzel crumb mix. Lightly press down.

Bake for 10 minutes (I did 12 mins.) @ 350* or until edges are set.

IMMEDIATELY after removing pour about 1-2 teaspoons melted caramel and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let cool and remove from pan. This makes about 18 cups.

Don't worry about the cooking time or how they look when they come out of the oven. They become a brownie cup. (See. She titled them right.)

Note-You already know I forgot to melt my caramels. (The recipe also said that you could use caramel ice cream topping. I tried that in a few and thought that it was too runny and did not set up. I think you could do it with a really thick one. OR =;^) you could use your Dulce de Leche. (Heat first so chocolate will melt.) Or you could use the caramel dip that they sell for apples (heated.)

Next week I will post a recipe that can use the rest of your sweetened condensed milk.

Tomorrow I will post a breakfast cake recipe that uses a lemon cake mix and a can of blueberries (not pie filling). I think I will try making it with fresh. (I have always used a can because that is what the recipe calls for, and I can buy a can and store until whenever.)

If you are looking for a fun free week-end activity, and live in Salt Lake area, think about the Safe Kids Fair. It is at the Sandy Expo Center. The children that we know really enjoy it. (Lincoln and sisters, Logan Layne...) They say they like "the swag"? Funny Lincoln.

Also, Monday is FREE DAY at the Natural History Museum at The University Of Utah campus. (It is free the 1st Monday of every month, year-round.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Soup Recipe

My plan this week was to focus on...PIZZA!, but winter came back. And Doug, who does not eat green vegetables-especially leafy ones, now eats spinach in soup and Asian foods, kale in soup and zucchini in almost anything. (He says he can't taste them in those things. I would totally agree with that, but none the less he is eating green.) As a reward, and because winter came back, I have made a few comfort foods of his this week.
Today I am posting the recipe for baked potato soup. This is a great and easy recipe because it really uses left-over (from David's birthday dinner) baked potatoes. I do not know where I got the original recipe. I do remember it was a copy cat. I have adapted it, and made it since Nov., 2007.

Baked Potato Soup

6 cups milk (I use 1%)
1 table. chicken base
6 large (already cooked, usually let-over, for me) baked potatoes-cubed (I leave the skins on)
2/3 cup flour
2table butter or margarine
3/4 teas. salt
1 teas. pepper-black, white, fresh ground-your choice
1 cup grated cheese (I use med. or sharp cheddar)
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
typical baked potato toppings of choice

Add 4 cups milk to soup pot. In a shaker jar or bottle, shake 2 cups milk, flour and chicken base. Add to soup pot and simmer on low until thickened. (Stir to keep bottom from burning.)
When thickened, stir in potatoes, salt, pepper and cheese. Cook until heated.
Stir in sour cream. Keep heat low after this.

Now, top with all your favourite baked potato bar toppings. cooked crumbled bacon (mmmm), chopped green onions, cooked broccoli, grated cheese, grilled onions...

I wish I had a picture to send you, but it is gone. I made enough to send some over to my daughter's and daughter-in-law's for dinner. We served this with cornbread. (Left-overs are good, too.)

Tomorrow is cub scouts. I am trying a new dessert/treat recipe that I will either tell you about (failure) or post (success) tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Vintage Photo books

I first saw this idea on Studio 5 television show sometime in 2009. I tried to find who the guest was, but their project records do not go back that far. If you know who showed this, I would love to credit them.

I started by decideing on my theme, and then looking for an old/antique book. My first book is family pictures, from the beginning to... There is always room to add a current or out of order pic.
I used an antique dictionary. These are some of the books I'v collected for albums. (Themes-baby pictures, travel pictures, wedding pictures) I use lots of vintage relative photos. Baby and wedding pictures from the grandparents, the great grandparents, whatever I can get. Copies only.

I picked the colours that I wanted and collected scrapbook papers, ribbons, tags and more.
Do you collect little things? Findings, tags, buckles, charms? Here are a few ideas. I love little old metal pieces. (I get a lot of mine from Mike's drawers @ the local antique shows.)
I used a piece of door hardware for the front of this book. I adhere pieces with E600 or Gorilla super glue.I put my pictures in the order that I wanted them in the book. I back them with scrapbook papers and use tags for dates, etc. Because I want the book to still lay flat and to close nicely, I keep my pictures simple. I do not want to add bulk.
I then set in my picture/pictures with 10-20 dictionary pages between them. After all the pictures are set in, I adhere them to the pages.
One nice thing about this book is that if you find a new picture, there is space to put it in. For this book, I added tabs with the year on each picture page.
The vintage and antique books are rarely acid-free so I put my books together with colour copies or extra/duplicate prints.

I wanted some bookmarks, so I used ribbon, a locket, lock and key, button... You know, more stuff.

I love the hunt for the old book, finding the pictures and pieces and putting it together. A fun and easy project.

I linked up to and

Sunday, February 21, 2010


14 February - 21 February, 2010

"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." Mark Twain

#1 I am happy that our church schedule allows me to watch, "Music and the Spoken Word". I enjoyed it this morning. The message is titles, "The Untold Olympic Stories", and is program # 4197. You can read it here. The thoughts expressed how I feel.

(Journal entry- When I was a child/teen/young adult, the OSCARS were a big deal to me. I wanted to act. On stage. (Doug told me when we got married that if I ever needed to go to N.Y. and try, that he would come with me and watch any children. He must have known me better than me.) For many years my dad and I had a date to watch the "Academy Awards" together. It was a big deal. As the oldest of 10, this was OUR thing. (We went to plays together, too) I moved to Utah after I got married. After the Oscars on Monday night, I would still call my dad. We would discuss the jokes, music, winners... The year after dad died (1988) Richard called me after the awards. That meant a lot to me. I suppose I watched them a few more years. More of the movies nominated were R rated. The humour and people were less appropriate... One year as a winner spoke I realized that so much was heaped upon dubious talents. Unrecognized were teachers, policemen, firemen, parents who got up daily and went to work for a family and stayed home to love and raise a family... And I did not watch the Oscars again. end of journal entry) I try to see value in people based more on morals, kindness, service and... (I do still enjoy the Olympics, which leads to

#2 Doug rubbed my back for almost an hour while he (I fell asleep) watched the Olympics.

#3 Hilary had a B I G project this week. She did an activity and lesson and treat for 60+ young women with special needs and their youth counselors and other leaders. She did a great job. A kind man in our ward cut all of her blocks of wood. She took some amazing pictures of the Draper temple . (She took 120 pictures with 5 different views and only had these 2 left.) She made many batches of brownies and white chocolate hearts. Great job, Hilary.

#4 I finished a little project that has been waiting since Sept. In my defense, I was not sure where I was going to put it. I ended up just doing the tile route. #5 HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID. (His birthday was on 12 February. He really got slighted with Olympics, Valentine's Day, a migraine (mine). Anyway, today is his birthday dinner. We love you, David. We are thankful to have you in our family.

#6 I love the birds. They are back to eating from my bird feeder. And I am starting to hear them again. I love spring.

#7 (This is a sad post, but it ends well.) I was invited to lunch on Thursday with some friends that also love antiques. I was SO excited. (Actually, SO SO SO excited.) I arranged other drivers for all my carpools. Leslie said she would have Layne spend the day with her and Annie. I had everything packed for my first scout meeting. (So I could drive straight there.) On Wednesday I called to find out what I could bring, and found out the lunch was on TUESDAY!!! I had missed it. :*^( Does that look like a tear?) The good part is that Leslie had just brought home the last Michael Crighton book from the library, so I read for a little while. ((I also had no carpools and was home alone.) I do enjoy reading.
#8 I have been wanting to do a tutorial. Well, I am going to do one this week. Well, not exactly a tutorial, but I will show you the idea and what I've done. (Planning my blog makes me happy. I love the comments on recipes. It makes me keep experimenting.) I will post my project Monday p.m. or Tuesday a.m.

#9 I tried some new recipes this week. I tried 3 new breads. I changed one that I have made before. And I tried a new crockpot recipe that made me happy. This weeks big hit is Dulce de Leche. Somewhere in blogland there was a reference to it, so I went to one of my crockpot sources. A year of slow cooking. She gave the instructions-and warnings. And I made it. It was super.

First, the warnings. Apparently this could be dangerous. Perhaps the can could explode. Some food manufacters say, "Don't try this at home". I decided to live dangerously. And I am glad. I hope these warnings will absolve me if there are problems.

Now for the recipe

Dulce de Leche

1 can of sweetened condensed milk - NOT evaporated. NOT fat-free.

I put the can on a paper towel, folded in 4ths, in my 2-2.5 qt. crockpot. (Some people mentioned that the bottom of the can rusted their crockpot. This prevented that.)
Fill it with water to cover the can completely.
Cook on low for 10 hours. Check to make sure it stays covered in water. (Mine never lost water.) You can pull out the label when it floats off. Carefully remove hot can from water. Wait as long as you can (as it cools) to open. Prepare to be amazed. It will be a beautiful golden brown. It was caramely (but not too much) toffyish (a bit) sweet and thick. It was good. How did I use it?
A I put some on top of one of Hilary's left-over brownies, with ice cream, for Doug.

B I swirled some in a piece of David's left-over chocolate birthday cake.
C Dipped apple slices.
D Ate a (small) bite off a spoon
More ideas include as a filling for crepes or cream puffs, as am ice cream topping, swirled into prepared brownie mix before baking, or as a frosting.

This was a fun recipe to try.

#10 Saturday was Ashley's family's shower. It was fun to meet more of her family.
As I have thought about my 2010 theme ("More Holiness Give Me" hymn 131)) this month, I have learned to love the word choices that P.P.Bliss uses. I daily think of the line, "More freedom from earthstains.". How greatful I am to be able to make choices.
Thank-you, Emily for making omelets every morning last week.
Wednesday, 24 February, is the last free zoo day @ Hogle Zoo (Salt lake City, Ut.) until next winter. The gates for entry are open from 9:oo-4:oo. The zoo is open from 9:oo-5:30. The weather is on it's way to warmer this week, but there will probably be rain. It is a playdate we enjoy. You can take lunches in with you. Just ask if you want directions. We will be there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Easy Soup Recipe

Today's recipe is one I have wanted to try for awhile and liked even longer. This is the soup recipe that Kristin always brings to the family soup dinners/parties. It comes from a cookbook that I already have. On Saturday I made the "Vegetable cheese chowder" from "Christmas Recipes From The Lion House". The Lion House is a local Salt Lake resturant.
I cut the recipe in 1/2 (which is how I have written it.) Also, I have written how I changed it for my family.

Vegetable Cheese Chowder
from Christmas Recipes From The Lion House cookbook via Kristin Homer (I adapted it slightly)

2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup diced carrots (! used 1 1/2 cups course grated carrots-see note)
1 cup chopped celery (Not for us. Leslie hates celery. See note.)
1/4 cup chopped onion (Sorry, Mark)
1 tea. salt
2 cups water
frozen broccoli florets
1 1/2 table. chicken base
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine (I used 2 table.)
1/4 cup flour
1 teas. dry mustard
1/2 lb. procressed American cheese (I used 8 slices-UNWRAPPED)

Cook in soup pot until tender, potatoes, carrots, (celery if desired), onion, salt and water

Add and simmer about 5 mins. frozen broccoli, chicken base, margarine and 3/4 cup of milk

In shaker jar mix remaining 1 cup of milk, 1/4 cup flour and dry mustard. Shake well and add to soup. Stir until thickened. It does not take very long.

Stir in until melted 8 -10 slices of cheese.

Notes-I almost always use coursely grated carrots in recipes. (And I add them A LOT to recipes that do not call for carrots.) I buy them already grated at most grocery stores.
If you help in the kitchen, I will try to adapt my recipes for you.hence no celery. If I leave it out I add more potatoes and carrots in this case,
I did not add the broccoli to the soup. (Doug) I cooked it and served it at the side.
Results-Big hit. Doug loved it. Leslie loved it. Hilary loved it and took the left-overs for lunch. One thing I liked about this recipe is that American cheese is lower in fat (and portion controlled). I bet I could serve the cheese at the side and just add my own slice to my bowl of hot soup. hmmm.

I made the white bread from the "Kneadlessly Simple" (by Nancy Baggett) bread book yesterday. It worked much better this time. (The first time I made it I had a migraine and went to bed early. A daughter cooked it for me. She told me she forgot to lower the pre-heat temperature. Maybe this caused my problem?) Anyway, the white bread was enjoyed. Today I am baking the everyday oatmeal raisin honey bread. We really liked the flavour of the oatmeal raisin bread. I used golden raisins. The bread cuts better the 2nd day. On Thursday I started my pizza dough for pizza on Friday. I still have this library book for 2 more weeks.

The no-knead method is a 2 day process. (I love it. There is alot of freedom for baking the bread and you do not knead to be home during the whole process.) OOn day 1 you assemble your bread. On day 2 you shape and bake. (I have put this book on my list to buy. Harder since I am trying to live with my budgeted cash. A side note-My cash plan works well with this Sandy, Ut discovery that 2 gas stations here have had problems with debit/credit cards. A bad guy/guys found a way to get card #s from the pump machines.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Celebrate the Olympics!

The Olympics are big at our house. (I'm SURE I mentioned that before.)

My favourite Olympic tradition is the hanging of the rings in the front window. We have hung them over 15 times. (This is my 3rd set.) I use hula hoops and coloured electrical tape. I can get most colours at the $ store. Sometimes I can even get the hula hoops there. I put the rings together with clear packing tape. When we take them down, I cut the tape and store the hoops in a garbage bag, hanging in the garage. Thank-you, Mark for hanging them for me this year. (Usually David does it for me.) Usually we have Super Nachos for the Opening Ceremonies. I put the toppings in large, low clear glass dishes. (pie size) Top row-l to r-blue sour cream, black sliced olives, tomatoes. Bottom row-cheese, green onions. (I also serve nacho cheese, ground beef, tortillas, tortilla chips, lettuce, refried beans, my cafe' rio dressing, black beans...)
Unfortunately, this year Mark requested them for Super Bowl Sunday.

We also try to have meals from different countries through out the events.
Don't forget mini flags. They are fun and cheap.

The running of the torch is a fun game-or easy dessert. We just use the pointed sugar cones and vanilla ice cream. To give it the "flame" we use sugar sprinkles or coloured sugar. You can get sprinkles at most $ stores. We did not have yellow so we just made some. (Put some sugar in a plastic container with a drop of food coloring. Let the kids shake away.) We roll it in coloured sugars and sprinkle the sprinkles.
(For a game, don't fill the cone. Get a red/orange light weight tennis size ball and let kids try to pass it from cone to cone-with no hands. (You can make cones with paper, but why?) You could also get the effect with a cupcake set or cooked in a flat bottomed cone. (These can be made ahead if time is an issue.)

My kids always loved Jello Jigglers and cookie cutters. We made the rings with the 5 Olympic ring colours. (For black we used grape.) I used 1 large box of Jello and 1 1/4 cup boiling water. I had my colours set up in my TUPPERWAVE so I could stack them in the fridge. Layne and I used a mixing bowl with a rim to cut out our circles. (Layne liked pulling the edges away.) (And eating them.) We loosened the circles with a spatula and set them up on our Olympic Flag. (O.K. It is really a lid from a container that we washed, well. Layne was happy there were lots of edges.
If you have younger children, you may want to watch for Gold medal behavior. On the evening of the Closing Ceremonies, have your owm Medal Awards. Make medals easily with gold coins, ribbon and a glue gun.

Spend some time with a map or globe and look at where the athletes are from.

Talk about the oaths. This is taken by one athlete and one judge at the Opening Ceremonies. It is taken on behalf of all the athletes and judges. (Integrity and fair play)

The Paralympics are held this month, also. It provides a chance to discuss disabilities, capabilities and perseverance.

And don't forget the music. There are many Olympic cds. I love John Williams' music, and the Utah schools Olympic music.

Emily had her students make their own "pins" that they will trade for "pin trading" day.

Please post your Olympic ideas in the comment area of the most recent post. Have fun with the Olympics and your family.

Monday, February 15, 2010


7 February - 14 February, 2010

"A man is only as happy as he decides he is going to be." Abraham Lincoln

#1 Emily did my carpool. Again. Thank-you, Emily.

#2 I had a nice lunch and afternoon with Anne. We went to Olive Garden. She gave me Susan Boyle's cd for my birthday. It is a nice cd. Thank-you, Anne.

#3 Play date made me happy. We had fun at Pirate Island. Thank-you, Lindsay for posting it on my blog.

#4 I got a new church calling. I am an assistant cub scout leader with Jean. I like Jean and enjoy working with her. And scouts? I will have fun.

#5 Olympics make me happy. Mark got my rings put up in time for the Opening Ceremony. (Thank-you, Mark.) I am going to post some Olympic ideas (with pictures) on Tuesday. Come see how you can celebrate.

#6 Valentine's Day (well, really Feb. until Valentine's Day) makes me happy. We always have a family dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's house, and exchange Valentines with our cousins. It is always fun and a bit WILD. I made the Oreo lollypops (I told you I was going to.) It took about 2 hours and 5 bags of the white chocolate (which I got on sale after Christmas-knowing that I was doing this :^) Elana and Hilary and Layne helped. It was fun. Emily and Lincoln went the cheesy route-with string cheese. Hilary and Leslie did sleeves of donuts. Layne made "you da bomb" valentines with lollypops. Logan told his valentines that they were not "airheads". Grandma did a Mexican taco/salad bar. This is a fun tradition and I was sad to miss it. ( I started with a headache that by night progressed to a terrible migraine.)

#7 I love my valentine from Doug. It is a sailor's valentine shell box from the 1800s. (Thank-you, Paula for giving him (me) such a great deal on the box ;^) He (me) does such a good job finding antique or vintage valentines for me each year. He must use a "personal shopper" (me ;^) I took some pictures of a couple he has gotten me. (Debbie did not get it (and she even knew) so I thought I better clarify. I find a valentine I love and I get it for him to get for me. That is why we are both pleased with my valentine :*)

The first one

Honeycomb ones

Celluloid ones

mid 1800s one-hand-made and written message fringed ones

my new sailor's valentine shell box

#8 I am so happy to have Doug. There are many reasons, but today's #8 is because he spent some hours on Saturday working on blog stuff for me. Thank-you. Thank-you Lindsay for always putting my pictures on. Thank-you Hilary for helping with my blog.

Blog rambles- I started my blog as I noticed some people with challenges and how their attitude affected how they lived their life. One family was negative. One family was positive. This week as I was visiting blogs, I visited 2 opposite ones. One was negative and self centred. I decided not to visit her anymore. The other showed pictures of her "day". "I may look like I have it all together", she said. "But sometimes my life is like this..." Then she posted pics of a child in a diaper-and shoes. Toys on the floor. Dishes in the sink. Her in jammies all day. You know, the real life stuff. I started blogging to draw attention to finding joy and gratitude. My blog is evolving-which is fun. Blogging has encouraged me to try new recipes, finish projects and see happiness in small things. My intention is never to make someone feel bad about their life or make mine seem perfect. It is not. I am happy with it, though. (Migraines make me emotional. Sorry.)
Thank-you for visiting my blog and sharing your comments with me.

#9 I had a fun cooking week. Well, most of it. I tried 4 new soup recipes. 2 made the cut. (I will post the recipe this week.) My bread from "Kneadlessly Simple" failed. I'll try it again tomorrow. I am trying a new crockpot recipe today. IF it is good, I will post it this week.

#10 A new season of "Amazing Race" started. We have not watched it, yet, but our family enjoys watching it together. We have contests (pick teams) and meals and fun ("Are you a candlelabra?")

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will post some Olympic ideas.

Wednesday or Thursday I will post another soup recipe. Come visit again and leave a comment.

Friday, February 12, 2010


On Thursday we went to Provo/Orem for a fun play date at Pirate Island. They have a nice lunch menu with all items $5.99 (includes drink). We had fun. Lindsay wrote about it on her blog, so I asked to do a "guest post " and put it on my blog. Thank-you, Lindsay.

Today for playdate we decided to go down to Orem to Pirate Island. It is a restaurant that is all decked out in Pirate stuff. It reminds me of the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland. Not as good, but as good as we are going to get in Utah. The kids had lots of fun, although Logan was terrified when it would thunder and lightning inside the restaurant. And at any little noise that was out of the ordinary. I am not sure why he was such a scaredy cat. He is not usually like that. We can't wait to go again though. If you go on a Wednesday at 11:00 they have a pirate who reads a story to the kids and they get little goody bags. It is also very reasonable priced. We will for sure be going again!

The kids with their pirate hats on!

David and Logan playing a game.

Logan watching the cannons shoot off.

At the entrance they have a really cool fountain with a skeleton and gold. And of course I only got the back of Logan's head because he needed to keep an eye on the skeleton.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Chicken Enchilada Soup (DId I say Easy?) A favourite.

My sister-in-law, Bobbi, came up with this family favourite soup. So easy!


recipe from Bobbi Johnson
(this is the family size. It is so easy to double, or cut in 1/2.)

1 family size Cream of Chicken Soup (I use lower fat) (or 2 regular size)
3/4 can milk (use your soup can. I use 1%)
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
1 cup prepared salsa
1 can chicken in water (Or use cooked chicken breasts (if Hilary is coming) or left-over rotisserie chicken
(Several have "asked" if you really need 2 cans of tomatoes since there are 2 in the pic. No. Just one. The 2nd can jumped into the picture. Sorry. Thanks for your comments and questions.)

Mix and heat. Serve over tortilla chips with grated cheese on top.

This really is one of our family favourites. It is easy and has great flavour. And left-overs are good, too.
Thank-you, Bobbi for letting me post this.

Tomorrow I am posting my copycat recipe for Olive Garden's ZZuppa Tuscano soup.

Amazing Taco Soup / Food Storage Taco Soup, Zuppa Toscano Soup

Here is a soup recipe Emily makes for us.
Emily came up with this recipe. She named it Amazing Taco Soup. I named it Food Storage Taco Soup. Lincoln loves this and can do it himself.

Amazing Taco Soup
from Emily Johnson

1 can black beans-drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans-(")
1 can tomato soup concentrate
2 16 oz. cans undrained stewed tomatoes (We use Mexican style)
1 can corn-undrained
1 foil pack taco seasoning
Mix together and heat. (This can be done in a crock pot or stove top.)

Stir in cooked, browned ground beef (1/2-1 lb.) or the "fake" hamburger in food storage cans.

Can serve with chips, cheese, sour cream, corn bread... You know the stuff.
Thank-you, Emily

This is my favourite pan lid. (Thrift store find.) I knew exactly what it was! It is ridged and shaped to fit... ANY PAN. Small 1 cup pan to large stock/soup pan. I wish there was a brand on it, but I'll take what I can get. Keep your eyes open for one. You will enjoy it.

Have you ever seen these before? They are TUPPERWAVE by Tupperware. I sold Tupperware in the 90s just because of these. While I don't cook much in them, I use them A LOT for re-heating. This is 2 layers (There are 3) with soup in each one. I still find these at yard sales, etc. (which is great because all my kidults want a set). My collection recently came in handy for a ward Relief Society dinner. Keep your eyes open for these, too. (Let me know if you have questions.)

On Tuesday I went to lunch with a friend. We went to Olive Garden and I got the Zuppa Toscano soup. I really enjoyed it, and made it on Wednesday. i came up with this after reading about 20 recipes (with their 300 reviews.)
Copy Cat Zuppa Toscano Soup (Olive Garden)
1/4 - 1/2 lb. turkey italian sausage (can use spicy)
olive oil (or other cooking oil)
1 yellow/white chopped onion (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 tea. minced garlic
2 1/2 table. chicken base
2 large potatoes (I used yukon gold) Cut in 1/2 length way and then slice very thin. Like about 1/8" in. You can try to the slicing side of your grater, but it tends to jam
2 cups kale leaves (or spinach)
1/3 - 2/3 cup half & half (or cream)
Parmesan and/or Romano cheese
In a soup pan, brown and break up sausage. Add small amounts of oil as needed to keep meat from sticking. Remove sausage and set aside while
browning onion. Then add garlic and stir about 1 more minute.
Put sausage back in and add the chicken base, 1 quart water and potatoes. Simmer 15-30 min., or until potatoes are tender. (You can add 2 more cups of water if you need more for your potatoes or if it is too thick.)
Add the kale, and cream. Simmer on low about 5 minutes.
Serve topped with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
(Somewhere in my computer is the picture of the ingredients.)
I am really torn about how I feel about this soup. First of all, only Doug and I ate it. (Emily does not eat potatoes, Hilary, Lindsay and Leslie-sausage and Mark, onion. David does not eat soups often.) Doug and I both liked it. (And Doug does not like sausage or ANY leafy green veg.)
#1 Turkey sausage has 75% less fat than regular sausage. Since much of the flavour comes from fat, I needed a bit of oil to keep it from sticking, and the herbs were intensified. I used 1/2 lb. and really only needed 1/2 of that.
#2 Kale does not have a lot of flavour, so Doug could eat it. Spinach would work as well and I would know what to do with left-overs. (But the kale was cheap. $1.28 bunch)
#3 It did taste like Olive Garden's. It was good. Doug liked it (Such a good sport to try my projects.) and liked the left-overs on Thursday.
#4 Now, the problem. Even though I liked it, and it was good, I really don't think I want it again . Weird, huh? Plus, at the end of dinner last night...I threw away the left-overs. I rarely do that. (I hope Michael did not read that.) (Just so you know, I figured out how to make those tiny letters myself.) Now you have it. I am not even saving the recipe, and I do not know why.
I am trying 1 more soup recipe next week. If I don't talk to you before Monday, Happy Olympics, Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Still time for soups- A KEEPER soup recipe

There are a still a few soups and stews I want to try before winter leaves. I adapted and revised this one from I will try to post 3 or 4 soups or soup sides this week.

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Soup
adapted from Real Mom Kitchen
1 table. oil (I used olive oil)
1 white or yellow onion chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup course grated carrots
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups of milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup flour
1 tea. salt
1 tea. chili powder
1/2 tea. cumin
1-2 cups cooked chicken-shredded or cut bite sized (I actually used 1 13 oz. can of chicken and I used the juice as part of my broth)
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 cup grated montery jack cheese (I used 5 slices of colby jack and 2 table. grated cheddar because that is what I had)
1-3 table. chopped (fresh) cilantro (I used about 2)

In oil, saute carrot, onion and garlic for about 5 mins. to soften

Add broth and high simmer (uncovered) about 10 mins

Mix (I used Mark's drink bottle that has a mixer ball in it) the milk and seasonings well. Add to the soup and stir until a little thickened

Stir in just until warmed and cheese has melted, the chicken, corn, cilantro and cheese.

Since I served this the day after Super Nachos, we had left-overs. I served some of our very good (and easy) peasant bread. I stirred in black beans and green onions. Doug added tomatoes and black beans. I also served grated pepper jack cheese. The original recipe called for a can of chpped chilis-which Doug won't touch. The pepper jack cheese humoured the rest of us.

This was a popular soup. Doug and Emily both said "KEEPER" Lindsay and Hilary each tasted it as they came thru and liked it. Mark (darn, forgot to cut the onions very large) said the smell said it was great. After 1 try, it made it to the cookbook.

As a side note, the "Kneadlessly Simple" bread book that we have been waiting for from the library for, finally came. Leslie picked it up for me. I will try some new bread this week.
31 January - 7 February, 2010
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
Robert Louis Stevenson

#1 Ah. Thank-you SO much, Emily for doing all my morning carpools. It was so nice to sleep in a bit. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Sleep makes me happy.

#2 I finished another project that I started about 8 years ago. (I only really worked on it on the days when I worked with Wendy C. as an election judge. Well, Wendy has moved to Lehi and I don't to the election thing anymore.) I sewed antique, old and interesting/new buttons into a heart. I decided that I would just sew 10 buttons a night until I was done. It turned out I only needed about 30, so I did it in 1 late night. Finished projects make me happy.
#3 I am adjusting to digital tv. (The only channels I have memorized are 2, 4, 5, 7, and 11.) Elana made me happy by fixing my tv so it only runs thru the channels I watch when I scroll thru channels. (There are too many stupid/naughty ones that I pass. It does not show anything unless you click, but I did not even like them there.) Thank-you, Elena.

#4 I am happy spring is almost here. I went thru the whole winter wearing capris and sandals. No pants. No shoes. (O.K. I did wear dress boots to church 1 (ONE) Sunday because of snow. I hate shoes, so yep, I'm happy.

#5 With winter leaving soon, there are a few things that make me happy (ier) during the winter.

#5A Fleece Sheets - Again and still. We love climbing into bed with these sheets. (O.K. So you can't see the sheets in the picture.) Thank-you Wendy C.

#5B Static Guard - I can not live in Utah without this. (Journal entry ) After Doug and I got married in California (where I was from) we moved to Utah (where he was from). We lived in his parents basement for the first 2 weeks until we could move into our apartment on December, 1st. One morning I was getting dressed (This was back in the days when we thought that you needed to get dressed up for your husband everyday :^) and everything was statiky (sp?). I started crying and asked Doug why he brought me to this place. My hair and clothes were statiky, I kept getting shocked when I touched things and I was sure his brothers (whose bedrooms were downstairs) could hear us. I wanted to go back to California.
Later that day my mother-in-law brought home a can of STATIC GUARD for me. She said I may not have noticed but Utah was dry. She said she had not heard me crying, but... I'll never know for sure. (I'm sure she won't remember now.) And she was right. Static Guard has really helped. And I am still in Utah. I use it on sheets, laundry, Sunday slips... I now have several cans throughout the house. I saved my very first can from mom (out of sentiment) until we re-did our storage room. Thank-you, mom. (end of journal entry)

#5C Hilary gave me a wonderful lotion last year. Oh, I love it. I love the texture, but the scent is so relaxing to me. It is quite expensive and I am running low, but I will replace it. "The Thymes Olive Leaf" lotion makes me so happy. Thank-you, Hilary.

#5D Vitamin D - Doug makes sure I take all the right stuff. This winter really has been easier. Thank-you, honey.

#6 Cooking should have made me happier. My crockpot recipe was not good. First of all, although Doug loves pineapple and grilled pineapple and pineapple upside down cake (and he even liked pineapples in an enchilada recipe I tried awhile ago), he does not liked cooked pineapple (?). Strike 1. The recipe said add 1 cup uncooked rice the last hour of cooking. After 2 hours it was still quite hard. Strike 2. In my game- out. I did make another fun recipe ...

#7 I loved having most of the family come over for dinner on Sunday. (Layne was with his dad and Charles wanted to actually watch the Super Bowl (in peace ).) We had Super Nachos/tacos. They were Super. I made a new recipe from OUR BEST BITES. (For their copy click on their sticker on my blog.) I served it with the super easy and so good peasant bread. (Recipe in past post.)

Jalapeno Popper Dip
Recipe from OUR BEST BITES
Mix all together
2 8 oz. softened cream cheese (I used light)
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 4 oz. can green chilis
about 1/8-1/4 cup chopped green jalapeno peppers-drained (I used some that David canned last summer, and I added a little bit of the liquid for a bit more heat. Thank-you, David.)

Put in a greased pie pan sized dish. Bake at 350* for 20-25 mins. until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with pita chips, Fritos or bread slices or chunks.

Since I was baking bread and Leslie and Christy were baking chocolate chip cookies, I cooked mine in this. (see pic) Are you surprised I still have it? It works great for hot dips.
They started the bread before I got the picture. umm Hot Bread. Every one that likes hot, liked this. (ME, Emily, David, Elana, Leslie & Christy) And it is cheaper than artichoke dip. (Except that Hilary likes that.)

#8 I am so happy I found 5 missing pictures. When I took them down to decorate for Christmas, I put them...somewhere. I looked a lot of somewheres for them. Then, as I was getting ready for bed the other night I wondered if I put them under my bed? (The only thing I keep under my bed is my shoe storage containers... and pictures that I don't want ruined apparently.) (I wish I could keep cases of food storage under there, but I really try to follow the "keep it at about 60* rule.) Yea! I found my pictures. I put them all where they go except my theme from last year. I took a picture of it and will take it apart. It was a good theme for 2009. It helped me to better choose the movies I would watch. There were some I walked out of, or turned off.

#9 I have decided that I want an apron. Thinking about wearing an apron is making me happy. Not sure what (kind), when, or (from) where, but it is "on the list".

#10 I am happy there are so many holidays coming up this week!

And now, for the winner of this blog give away. Some people did their 3 entries in 1 comment, so here is how I did it. I counted the comments. (23) I asked Christy to pick a #, then I went to "" and put in #1-23. They both picked the SAME NUMBER! How random is that? And the winner is #12. RACHEL WASHBURN! We will find out what you want, Rachel, and get that to you soon. Thank-you to everyone that entered. (If you still want a hat, Lindsay sells them. Crocheted hat-$10.00, crocheted flower-$3.00.)

I will have a new give away soon. Here is a hint. It has something to do with scrap booking.

Keep leaving comments and letting me know what you have tried, and what you want.

Melissa, thank-you for sending me the pictures of your valentine pops. THEY ARE SO CUTE. Good job.
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