Tuesday, December 25, 2012


We slept over at mom's last night so we could watch my nieces open gifts. They were pretty entertaining. On the way home we visited a couple friends. Finally it was time to open our gifts. I got an excalibur dehydrator. That was way exciting! Bet got some old socks turned into soap crumb holders. Yes. He loved them. He also got a new belt and some nuts. And an album of love songs. In total I spent probably less than $30 on him. I think that was what he liked best. In some ways that makes him easy to shop for and in some ways a pain to shop for. It has been a great Christmas for us both so far. Now to visit the in-laws.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Annual nativity

Here we are once again with a lot fewer children than normal. At least the adults get to participate. I dibsed piano like usual. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet potato chips

Sliced as thin as possible (#1 on my mandolin slicer) then sprinkled with salt and pepper and finally baked at 350 for 15 or so minutes. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas for Marshall

Since the brother was in town we had a but of Christmas early.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Baked Autumnal Oatmeal

I modified this recipe.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sugar (minus a tablespoon)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato mash (or pumpkin puree like the original recipe says)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (I used sesame.)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spread mixture into a 9" round silicone pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 26, 2012


This is my latest experiment. It is sandwich filler seasoned to taste vaguely of turkey and corned beef. Whatever. They taste good to me. I am sure Bret will not care much for them. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I am totally impressed with myself. I made this cover yesterday afternoon after seeing directions on the internet. I looked in my pile of sewing supplies and found enough of this pink and white fabric to work. Convenient for me the stripes made it easy to measure and cut and it was the perfect exact width. Then when i couldn't find any batting i used old socks instead. Ones beyond repair. I had just enough! Then for elastic i found some old waist bands on underwear i was disposing of. I know - call me classy!

Bret is less than thrilled with the color. He thinks i am tying to make sure this car is all mine and not "ours." it is not my fault that was the only fabric i had on hand that worked. Now that i practiced on scraps maybe i can make a nicer one he approves of. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Adoption walk

A couple weeks ago, the weekend when it snowed for nearly 3 days straight, we attended an adoption walk at our very own liberty park. We made new friends and bonded with old ones. We also won free passes to the zoo. It was a fun day. We only wish more people would have been out and about to see our pro-adoption message. 


Okay so my "tree" has been up a couple weeks already but today the music is on and i have some gifts to wrap. Hooray for holidays!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nut spread

So good! Better than PB.
1 1/2 c white beans (or a can) rinsed and drained
1/2 c PB
2 tablespoons sweetener
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Mix it all up until smooth.

Sweet Potato Stew

 Sweet Potato Black-Eyed Pea Soup
1 pound of greens
4 cups vegetarian broth
3 cups black-eyed peas (cooked)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
dash or two of liquid smoke

Mix together and bring to boil, simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Plewe's New home

I spent Monday afternoon helping Plewe paint a big wall in her new home. I am a bit jealous. Everything is so new! But then when i came home i remembered how much i love the charm of my 95 year old home. 

New Orleans Red Beans

I pinned this recipe last week and was happy I didn't wait to make it. We inhaled it. Miraculously Bret loved it too. Here's a link to it: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/02/real-louisiana-red-beans-and-rice.html#

I did change a bit. Here's my version:

  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 pieces celery
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke (instead of one of these she recommends 1-2 teaspoons chopped chipotle pepper, in adobo)
  • 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
  • cooked rice, to serve


  1. Cover the beans with water 2 inches over beans and soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. Put the beans back in the pot and cover them with water 2 inches above level of beans. Put over high heat to begin cooking while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Chop the garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper very finely, and the fastest and best way to do this is in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add this to the pot on the stove. Add the remaining ingredients, except the salt and the rice.
  4. When the beans reach a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring every now and then, until they are completely tender and falling apart. This can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending upon the age of your beans. (Add more water as necessary to keep them hydrated.) When they are completely tender, add the salt to taste, and check the seasonings. Add any additional spices you want, and cook for at least 10 more minutes, until sauce is thick and beans are disintegrating. Remove the bay leaves, and serve over rice.


If your beans are old, they may never disintegrate, or at least not in time for dinner. What you have to do is take out a bunch of them, mash them up well, and add them back into the pot (or use a hand blender right in the pot). Then proceed as though they had fallen apart on their own.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 2 hour(s) 10 minute(s)

Ready for Winter

Bret and I spent some time outside today. We cleaned gutters and filled our compost can to the brim. I was sad to see a couple leaf piles later in the afternoon. We only have one tree left with leaves and it is trying hard to catch up. Chores like cleaning gutters and washing windows makes me happy we have such a small house. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Something about Halloween has been making me CRAVE treats! So i made these.

1 c oats
2 tbs pb or nutty spread
3 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs cocoa 
Mix thoroughly. Roll in balls and let sit an hour to firm up.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread - no oil or sugar

Four Loaves Whole Wheat Bread (made in Bosch Mixer)
  • 7 cups Whole Wheat Flour (I usually substitute 1 cup with ground white beans and/or oatmeal)
  • 2/3 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 2 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 5 cups Hot Water 
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 4 cups Whole Wheat Four
  1. Mix 7 cups flour, 2/3 cup gluten, and 2 tablespoons yeast.
  2. Add 5 cups hot water.
  3. Mix 1 minute then let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon salt, 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Mix.
  5. Add 4 cups flour gradually until just barely sticky.
  6. Knead 6 minutes.
  7. Shape dough into 4 loaves. Place in greased pans or on a baking sheet, cover and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes. Without sugar it won't get extremely brown until it is overdone. (The picture is from a recipe made with oil and sugar.)
  10. Let cool, then slice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grape juice

9 quarts. This is how i spent my day with a five hour break of visiting teaching in the middle. At least both are done! The way I figure it each jar took an hour so that is pretty expensive juice. But boy is it delicious!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cherry Orange Kale Quinoa Salad

I am no food blogger and don't aspire to be one, which is good since my photos are done with a cell phone in my dark kitchen, but I do want to record somewhere delicious recipes when I cook them so I can have a reference to go back to.

Today's dish is a tweak on a recipe I found online. Apparently kale is all the rage these days - even Costco is selling it. Sam's Club may start selling it in 10 years if the trend catches on solidly enough.

Cherry Orange Kale Quinoa Salad
2 cups chopped kale (I used baby since that's what Costco sells)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries (craisins would probably be really good too)
1/3 cup chopped roasted pistachios
1/2 an orange sliced into sections
zest of one orange
juice of half an orange
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix together the zest, juice, garlic, oil, and salt and pepper. Combine all the chunky ingredients (first five) and toss with the dressing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Roasted spaghetti sauce

A few weeks ago I received a TON of tomatoes. I froze a bunch, gave more away, made a huge batch of salsa, and tried a couple spaghetti sauces. My husband doesn't like spaghetti so I was on a quest to find a recipe he would like. I wound up finding a couple that I tweaked until I had perfected a sauce we both liked. Trouble is, for the life of me I can't find those notes! And today I received over six pounds of tomatoes again. So again I made a huge batch of salsa (to appease the husband) and pulled out a bunch that might last a few days and then took the rest and tried to recreate the perfect spaghetti sauce. I think I came close, so for future reference, here is what I did.

6 pounds of tomatoes
1 large onion
4 carrots
few splashes of balsamic vinegar
1/2 C fresh basil
1/4 C fresh parsley

Chop the tomatoes, onion, and carrots. Toss with vinegar (and oil if you are feeling like it). Roast them all in the oven at 400 for 60 minutes.
Roughly chop the herbs and throw them in a large pot with the garlic.
Once the vegetables are roasted pour them on top of the herbs.
Let them sit and "cook" for a bit.
Puree with an immersion blender and pour into jars.
I opted to freeze mine. This made about 6-8 cups of sauce.
8 cloves of garlic

Monday, October 8, 2012

Banana French Toast

2 medium bananas
2/3 c "milk"
2 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
12ish pieces of whole wheat bread

Whiz everything together with an immersion blender (except the bread) and then dip the bread in it. Coat both sides and then "fry" for 3 or more minutes each side until the color you like it. Really good with nutbutter or just plain. 

Freaky squash

The bottom three all came from the same plant that came from the seed of a delicata squash i grew from a seed that came from a squash i bought at a farm in new Hampshire a few years ago. Weird. Now to cook them and see how they taste. The one on top is from my Armenian cucumber plant. 

Breakfast adventures

Can you see the grape juice? It is like the "natural" version of fruit loops. Tastes like grape juice. I recommend it. I think straight data (uncooked) are better though since the taste of cheerios with milk is so ingrained in my memory. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Heirloom tomato salsa

We made this last week with regular Roma tomatoes and Bret inhaled it. He insisted we make more but all we had on hand were "Aunt Ruby German Green Tomatoes" and "Bloody Butcher" ones. Yes I love them for their names as much as flavor. All I have to say is that now I may be the one inhaling. 

4 tomatoes diced 
2 jalapenos (minced and deseeded)
1 large minced onion
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cider vinegar
Bunch of cilantro minced if you have it, which I didn't, but I wish I had since I love it!

Thanks to Bret's brother Seth for the basic recipe. 

Friday, September 28, 2012


I never thought i could do it. I am simply amazed at how easy it was and how good it tastes. I was very scared but figured if i messed up it was only a head of cabbage a couple apples and some salt. Now if only I could actually nail down a time to celebrate Marktoberfest this year. I May have to do it without Mark.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Green pole tomato

At least i think that was the name of this beast. Luckily most of them are normal shaped. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Plant based breakfast

We have enjoyed our oatmeal cooked without milk or added sugar. We do use a lot of fruit, though, and nuts make it extra good. Today as a bonus we had a green smoothie made with cucumber, kale, bottled plums (the day before leaving for Texas i decided to can 20 qts or so of plums), and the liquid from two cans of peaches for sweetness. It was pretty good i was happy to discover especially since those plums are pretty tart. 

Treasures from Texas

While in tx i visited my uncle's house which used to be my grandma's. I have many fond memories of spending summers there. Being south east Texas there was only so much playing outside we could handle so m sisters and i played quite a few board games. These are a few i distinctly remember playing only at her house. We also played a lot of careers and clue but those were games we also had at home. We just liked hers since they were made in the sixties. I wanted to bring them all home but Bret feared they would just be more clutter in our small home so i just took these. They were covered in nearly an inch if dust. I am fairly confident they hadn't been touched in the last 30 years.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Plant based diet

At the end of July i had a medical procedure that left me on bed rest for 2 days. I used the time to read and talk to my husband who took time off to sit with me. We listened to the audio version of The China Study. If you have seen the documentary Forks Over Knives it is basically the same message. It was such a powerful message that i gave away six boxes of food and have more to give. My husband used to eat butter cheese milk mayo like they were going out of style. It has been at least a month of avoiding animal proteins with the very occasional socially necessary exceptions. We even went on two vacations (which usually means weight gain for me) and we have both lost over five pounds without any regular exercise. I have loved that watching what i eat is easier than ever before. Often i have tried to reduce my sugar and fat intake but with little success. This time it is soooo much easier. I recommend you at least watch the documentary but i felt the book was less sensatinalized and felt more persuasive in the science. And for the record my husband is a huge sceptic rarely trusting anything he reads. He did turn to the Word of Wisdom to feel he was following the best guidance and not just being seduced by some trendy book.       We make subtle minor rare exceptions to sugar oil and dairy but have successfully avoided meat. It gets easier each day. 

Anyone want some eggs or butter? I really stocked up back when he could eat a stick of butter a day. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Girls camp 3

So we finally got our turn on the boat. One girl who has some developmental delays and can't swim and has always avoided water actually took a turn on the tube. It was a slow and gentle ride but she loved every minute of it. And we all loved how she broke through her fears. 

More girls camp

We spent one day at jordanelle water skiing. I was impressed with how well they entertained themselves when they had to wait their turn onshore. 

Girls camp

Early in July i attended girls camp. This isn't the clearest photo i took butter it illustrates the best part. Our first night we had a presentation on breaking through our fears or overcoming them so they don't hold us back. On a piece of pine wood about an inch thick we wrote our fears on one side and then how we would feel if we overcame those fears. Then we drew a big x through the list of fears and took turns busting through the board with our bare hands. It was way cool. 

Armenian Cucumber

You may have noticed, but the last few days i have been on a blogging kick. I have finally gone through the collection of photos i have taken with the intention to blog but never got around to. This one is the fruit of my labor. It is only a sample. These monster cucumbers are so mild and delicious i don't mind that they fill a gallon sized ziploc once sliced. I highly recommend them. Now i just need to find out their nutritional value so i can feel extra good eating them. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Family poetry

Back in April someone came across this poem in my mother's stash of papers. We asked the various siblings if they  or one of their children was responsible for composing it. No one ever came forward but i am pretty sure one of my brother ron's kids did it since they never responded to the inquiry. Enjoy!


This is my old beloved Nissan altima 98. After buying the subaru we managed to sell the Nissan and had the cash deposited in less than an hour of posting it on ksl. I loved that car and miss it quite a bit. If we hadn't had battery trouble so often we wouldn't have had to part ways. 


My good friend Diana bought a red subaru legacy the exact same day we did. Hers is a year older and one upgrade higher. We took this photo last month at one of our vision meetings. 


Bret and i are maggie's first sitters (i think). She is precious! I had to take this photo to show my mom the cute burp rag. Maggie belongs to fellow woman of the world, plewe. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


We saw a LOT of these on our trip. It is extra cool since the good brother works for a company that makes them. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


We saw a couple of these in vidor. Bret loved them. 

My Houston home

I have blogged a photo of this a few years ago but it is fun to see it again. We wondered if the bricks are lighter color. The top half is painted a lighter brown at least. 

Bret's house

While in Houston we visited my childhood neighborhood. Bret also spent time in Houston (76-78) he thinks. This is his home. His neighborhood had a slightly more abandoned feeling but looks about the same age as mine. 

Pioneer woman

This is the last leg of our cross country road trip with my mother. We stopped in her home town - where she spent middle and high school anyway. This statue is in ponca city Oklahoma. It is huge and beautiful. The schools and churches are all beautiful in this small town. I think there is a church for every dozen people. I don't know how they support so many different ones. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Mom and her brother bonding over technology. Actually Keith showing mom photos of the type of plane their father flew in wwii. 

First pit stop

We are headed to vidor Texas. It is my granny's 89th bday and my mother and husband decided to road trip it there over night to surprise her. We are only 20 minutes away but this is a photo of our first gas station. The sign made us laugh. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Armenian Cucumbers

Last year my friend Karen shared her Armenian cucumbers with me. They were a hit with everyone i shared them with. So this year she gave me a couple starts for my garden. I am so excited to see a few finally growing. 

Vegetable Focused Pizza

Trying to be even more vegetable focused we ate minimally cheesed pizza this week. Bret liked it so much he said we can go cheese free in the future. As long as it has olives and mushrooms he said. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cucumber Agua Fresca

Last month we fell in love with watermelon lemonade. This month we drink cucumbers. I used 2 super long English cucumbers that had gone a bit limp. I blended them with 2 cups of water, 1/8 cup of lime juice, 1 Tbs agave syrup and a handful of mint leaves. Way good! Maybe could use more mint. Drinking vegetables is easier than eating them. Plus, Bret is not normally a fan of cukes and he liked this. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

New bed

Years ago i inherited a twin bed. I gave all but the top mattress to my brother and sister in law. Well now they are moving and they returned the box spring with a new bed frame. Not exactly new. It used to belong to my sister in law's grandma. It needed a new paint job, though. I ventured to the walmart and bought a few cans of rustoleum and got busy. Bits of my grass are now red and my feet look a bit sunburned but i have a beautiful new bed frame to show for it! Thanks jeana!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Look - my latest niece! I think she is #22.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Story time

I am playing with my nieces today while their mother works on getting things ready to move to California. Our adventure begins with story time at the lehi library. I am impressed. 


I got to go to the COB for lunch yesterday. It was my first time in their cafeteria. I have heard stories about it for years. I went with danielle and carrie snow. It may have been more exciting if i had actually bought lunch there. They had a piano playing classic disney songs but it was kind of loud. Notice the decor on the walls.