Saturday, August 28, 2010

The chipmunk

He got right under our feet. Despite the signs telling you not to feed the animals I think it's safe to assume they've been fed plenty.
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The blue jay

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Timp cave hike

Bret and I went on a field trip to timp cave today. Our friend paul invited us and it sounded fun. Well it was fun. But they were sold out on tickets to actually see the cave so we just hiked the trail for fun. Bret and I hiked half way for fun and then rested. We rested while the others kept going. We were entertained by a chipmunk and blue jay. Good times I say. Good times.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


one of my good friends started a blog on living more frugally.  recently she recruited another friend to join the effort.  one of the features on the blog is to take an ingredient that you might have too much of (due to a sale, or home garden) and use it in a multitude of delicious ways.  veronica, the new poster, has been posting ways to use zucchini and i commented  that just last night i made chocolate zucchini cake with mine.  she asked for the recipe.  i figured i might as well share it with others.  (p.s. check out tight wad in utah - the blog that not only helps you save money but also eat well.)

my recipe comes from one of my favorite cook books.  it's called "no man knows my pastries" and is a satire on life in utah as much as it is a cookbook.  it's a bit irreverent and i doubt i'll ever share it with my mother in law, but some of the recipes are good and it makes me laugh.  i think you can get it for a cent at amazon.  i bought it at the di about 8 years ago - probably paid a quarter or more for it!  i've made the recipe exactly, but last night i mixed things up a bit.  i'll give you my version (which i tried to make a bit healthier), but feel free to tweak it how you wish.

chocolate zucchini cake (or i like to call it bread so i don't feel guilty eating it for breakfast - like i did today.)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups zucchini
3 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for nuts, but i think cc are better than nuts)

beat the eggs, then add oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini.  blend thoroughly.  add all dry ingredients and blend again.  pour in 2 greased loaf pans that have been sprayed with pam.  ( loaf pans make it look like bread!)  bake at 325 for 1 hour. serve with milk for breakfast.

i did find another recipe on allrecipes that looks good, but i like this one so much and since it came from my cook book that i try to justify owning as a cook book, i choose to use my recipe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

new fans! and a birthday

my blog isn't exactly the hottest spot on the internet but i'm happy to report i have two new fans!  self reported ones.  that sometimes helps since (as i always taught my english students) it's good to know your audience so that when you write you can meet your objective more efficiently.  or something like that.  (can i just say how happy i am NOT to be going back to school this fall?)  one of these new fans is an old high school friend, recently reconnected through the miracle of facebook.  she said she's been enjoying reading my old posts.  i took a day last week to review some of them.  WOW - the past feels so long ago!  i wasn't quite sure what to make of my emotions that came with reading about past relationships, troublesome students, fighting the good fight of getting certified as a highly qualified english teacher, and the random ramblings of my day to day experiences.  i was also reminded of many of my old fans of this blog.  i wonder if i've lost them or if they just don't comment anymore.  hard to say.  life moves on.  sometimes looking back is just weird.  anyway, back to the present!

so, with new fans, i feel i better write something!  i did have a birthday last week.  it was pretty good.  for the next few months i'm officially older than bret.  that makes me feel special but i have to make a concerted effort to remember we're not the same age since he can never remember his age and i have to do it for him.  my bday landed on a great weekend - one of bret's longer ones.  we spent one evening with his parents, one day with my mother and brother, an evening with friends, and then an evening with the neighborhood.  i got to help put on the 7th annual night out against crime for my 'hood.  i got to be in charge of organizing the kids' games.  luckily i have super nice and enthusiastic neighbors who agreed to help.  i also luckily have a good husband who is willing to do anything i ask.  we started working around 4:30 in the afternoon and didn't get home until 11.  bret didn't complain a bit.  he actually may have enjoyed himself.  no, now that i think about it, he said it gave him a lot to think about.  maybe that's like enjoying himself.  our neighborhood isn't exactly "upscale" by any means.  we'd more likely be referred to as the "other side of the tracks" although, the real tracks (for uta trax) are actually about four blocks further west.  but our residents tend to be multinational, limited english speakers, alternative family types.  hmm, this isn't coming out right.  basically there are a lot of rentals in the area.  not to mention the hood has a reputation as being a bit of red light district (at least a few years ago it did).  so anyway, the kids that came to our games weren't exactly polite or well behaved.  neither were the parents.  rules?  what are those?  as bret said, they didn't respond to the word "no."  they didn't respond to anything.  he felt a bit run over by the kids.  not exactly the thing a new husband needs to experience.  it's not like the idea of kids sounds easy breezy anyway!  when we were cleaning up i couldn't help but smile to realize that the people doing all the work were two old women, one middle aged woman and her 10 year old son, one old man and his pregnant daughter and her husband, and then me and bret.  not exactly the sort of crew that can haul tables and chairs for 200 after having worked for three hours setting up, grilling, wrestling kids, and cleaning up.  i was impressed with their fortitude.  i, however, lay on the grass and tried to relax my back as it was causing me some severe pain after all that.  we're thinking next year of hiring the hauling of tables and chairs.  the two old ladies that do most of the work are pretty good at getting donations from businesses, but not so good at getting members of the neighborhood to pitch in.

yep, so that's how i spent my big bday weekend.  the best part was having  a good husband intent on making me happy all weekend.  he let me eat apple currant crisp for breakfast on thursday.  he took me to moochies for lunch on saturday.  and he got me a box of see's.  who could ask for anything more?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

apricots and doors

thursday i went apricot picking with two women in my neighborhood.  they're also in my ward, but i met them through my involvement in neighborhood watch.  anyway, they're great women.  i love how they've "adopted" me.  so we went picking.  the tree belonged to a 92 year old woman whose children won't let her climb ladders anymore.  another woman joined us, and i think everyone except me was well over 70.  so i got elected to climb the ladder and get on the roof to pick.  good times i tell you.

so anyway, the rest of the day was spent processing those 30 odd pounds of apricots.  the fun went into friday, as well.  somehow we managed to let a fly in.  by the time we went to bed we finally noticed it.  bret didn't want it annoying us while we slept so we lured it out of the bedroom and then closed the door.  as usual, i needed to use the restroom around 3 a.m.  guess what i did.  yep, i walked right into that closed door.  and bret slept right through my pain!

anyone want some apricot syrup?  syrup is a lot easier to make than jam.  in fact, if you try to make jam, be prepared to embrace the syrup you'll get instead.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

food adventures today

sometimes i have days where i cook a ton.  usually it's to use up things going bad in the fridge.  other times i just need to.  today was a combo.  i had avocados that were RIPE.  bret and i have been buying  a ton of them lately because they're on sale.  i'm content to leave them in the fridge and just take a couple out each week.  bret, though, thinks he must have at least five that are ripe all at once so that he can make guacamole. trouble is, guacamole requires tomatoes and i had about five avocados needing to be used today.  luckily i found tomatoes that were cheap (doing price matching through walmart).  but when i got home i decided the tomatoes weren't ripe enough and besides, i'm SICK of guacamole.  he isn't of course, but i'm all about variety and now that he's married to me he has no choice - i thrust variety at him regularly.  so what did i find online?  recipes where you take avocados and turn them into dessert - my type of recipe!  here's a link to bret's favorite (i made him try two).  i highly recommend it.  the other one i made involved a banana.  since bret was willing to let me finish the banana one so he could finish the other, i decided to experiment some more and mix cocoa powder and sugar in.  wow - that was a good idea! 

besides avocado treats i had to bake bread. i also had to make dinner.  my new favorite cookbook, no joke, is "country beans."  i love it so much i bought a copy on amazon.  i think i've tried about five recipes in there and bret loves them all.  in fact, one i've made like three times now he loves it so much.  double in fact, i made that same dish again, today, a double batch!  i had a huge costco size bag of spinach that needed using.  this recipe calls for a pound of fresh spinach.  basically it's spinach with rice and beans all mixed together and held together with beaten egg and cheese on top.  when bret got home he saw it sitting out on the counter and got excited thinking it was for dinner.  but it wasn't.  it was for the freezer.  for dinner we had mashed beans mixed with rice and cottage cheese - all baked together with olives and mushrooms.  i thought it was pretty tasty, but we both agreed it made a better burrito filling than anything.  luckily we had some tortillas (and avocados) and some sour cream and bret was as happy as if i'd fed him the spinach stuff.

but yeah, i'm tired.  my back hurts.  no more kitchen work for me.  at least for tonight.  and tomorrow.  we have plenty of leftovers in the fridge!