Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry CHRISTmas

I love this time of year and I love my Savior. I am glad for the opportunity to celebrate his birth and hope I instill in my children the importance of Jesus Christ in their lives. I know he is the most important person in my life.


I love to collect nativities and I try to keep them the focal point of my Christmas decorations. The nativities come from all over the world - Jerusalem, Venezuela, somewhere in the Caribbean, Germany (Playmobil), even Texas and China.

My favorites are the Playmobil
and the wood one carved from olive wood from Jerusalem.

Here is my collection. Now I just want to get the Fisher Price Little People one.Merry Christmas! Enjoy it and remember to keep Christ at the center of all your celebrations.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

30 Desserts for 30 Years

I have the most thoughtful husband in the world and I am the most thoughtless person and forgot to take a picture, so you must use your imaginations.

For my 30th birthday (yikes I'm middle-aged now) Tom threw me a 30 dessert party. I think his original plan was a more figurative thing, but I told him after he started inviting folks that if you advertise 30 desserts, you better deliver. and he did despite our family being sick all week.

Desserts ranged from cookies to pie to ice cream and rootbeer floats, to runts and nerds and chocolate covered cinnamon bears. There really were thirty thanks to Tom and some great friends who contributed.

We had tons of funs with friends and lots of sugar. Thanks for the great birthday! I'm just really sad I forgot to take a picture.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Award Winning Chili Recipe

I feel a little sheepish posting about this, but oh well, if you can't brag a little on your blog where can you?

Our ward had a chili cook-off for our Christmas party. I wanted to make a green chile-turkey chili. I haven't ever made chili before so I found a recipe that looked pretty good and used that as my guide and just kind of made it up from there. Two things made this chili so delicious, thanks to my friend Renee. First, she suggested a hint of unsweetened chocolate in the chili so I put in some cocoa. Second, I used her leftover smoked turkey from Thanksgiving. It was good turkey. The recipe would probably still be good with any old turkey, but her smoked turkey I think gave me the edge.

I am a little hesitant to share the recipe because how will I win next year, if everyone has the winning recipe? But here goes.

Green Chile Turkey Chili

1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. cooked turkey
2 onions, chopped
2 T oil
4 t cumin
2 T chili powder (more or less to taste)
2 t oregano
2 T cocoa
1 t cinnamon
2 cans tomatoes with green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 4 oz cans green chiles
3.5 cups chicken stock
2 cans hominy, drained and rinsed
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Brown ground turkey until no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Sautee onions in oil until soft. Add both turkeys and sautee 1 minute. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, cocoa and cinnamon. I used extra spicy chili powder and made mine very spicy, but use less chili powder or don't use extra spicy to get the heat you desire. Sautee 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sauce, chiles and stock. Bring to boil. Turn down and simmer 45 minutes. Add hominy and beans. I chose the hominy to give the chili a little color and southwest feel. The white and kidney beans added good color as well, but you could use any beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 15 minutes or just keep on low until ready to serve.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Huevos Rancheros

I haven't posted a recipe in a long time. I actually haven't been cooking a ton of new food lately. I have been lazy and have relied on old favorites. I did make a yummy dinner last night, but forgot to take a picture, but I'll post the recipe anyway because it was so good and easy and inexpensive.

I don't remember where the original recipe came from, I think it was Bon Appetit, but I can't find it on their web page. I altered it anyway, so here is my version of

Picture from epicurious.com
Huevos Rancheros
6 teaspoons minced garlic or 6 garlic cloves
6 T oil, divided

2 cans of black bean, undrained

2 cans diced tomatoes ( I used one with green chiles and one just plain)
1 1/2 c diced onion
half bunch cilantro
1-2 tsp. diced chile adobo (it makes it pretty spicy but deliciously smoky)

10 corn tortillas, deep fried until crispy (or use tostada shells)
20 eggs, cooked anyway you like. (We mostly had them over easy)

Queso fresco or other cheese
Diced avocado

Heat 2T oil in small skillet. Sautee garlic on medium until soft. Mash if using whole cloves. Set aside.

Heat 4T oil in medium saucepan. Sautee onion until soft. Add tomatoes with juice and cilantro. Add half of the garlic and adobo, if using it. Simmer until thick. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat undrained beans with remaining garlic. Heat through and mash slightly.

Cook eggs using desired method.

Place a tostada shell on plate. Top with a generous spoonful of beans. Gently place on 2 eggs. Top with a generous spoonful of sauce. Top with cheese and avocado if desired. A squeeze of lime is very good on top as well. Enjoy.

We ate our with potatoes fried with peppers and onions. Very delicious.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tumbling Blocks, The Easy Way

Our nephew, Baby Benji, was born in August. It is the first baby for Tom's brother, so I thought I would make a quilt for him. I learned how to make this quilt at quilt guild.
It is much easier to make than it looks. I had tons of fun designing it and finding fun fabrics for it. A few of the fabrics are Laura Ashley prints that my mom bought over 30 years ago in England. It is fun to use them.


Whenever I make a quilt, I try to convince my mom to let me use her fancy machine for the quilting part of the project. My machine can handle the piecing, but not the quilting. This time, I decided to try out her stippling stitch, and I think it worked out well.

You can find basic instructions for the quilt here. And you can see an even cuter version of the quilt made by my fellow quilt guilder here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Porter is a Seed

Last week, Porter participated in the storytelling contest at his school. He had to go to a workshop every week for about two months. When he came home one day and told us he was going to do the contest, Tom and I were a bit hesitant. He loves to read, but he didn't read very loud or clearly. But he was very dedicated. and practiced his story until he had it memorized, had actions to go along with it, could tell it clearly and with emotion.

This video was taken on my phone, so you can't even hear him, but he did a great job even without a microphone. In fact, he did such a great job he was announced as the winner for the first grade. Yea for our little boy.


video

"I'm a seed."
"I'm a seed, too"
"I'm going to be a marigold when I grow up."
"Me too."
"No you're not."
"Why not?"
"Because you're a different kind of seed."
"What kind of seed am I?"
The story continues and the seeds grow into marigolds and pumpkins and the cycle starts all over again.

I love my little seed and love to watch him grow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween 2008



For Halloween this year, we went to Porter's school parade, the library parade and we went trunk-o-treating and a tiny bit of trick-o-treating.

I was lazy with costumes:
Porter's - DI for $5, Eliza's - Ross $6.99, James - Old Navy $5 and I decided last minute that Tom and I would be the corpse bride a groom. I am wearing my mom's wedding dress (shhh, don't tell her).Next year, I promise to be creative and maybe even have a theme. I am thinking maybe Alice in Wonderland.

Way Belated Birthday

I don't think I ever posted about Porter's 6th birthday. Well, he turned 6 and he is a great kid.

He loves being in 1st grade. He loves to read. He loves to play the violin. He loves to ride his bike to school. He loves to build things with k'nex. He loves to play with Legos and Playmobil. He loves that his birthday is on a holiday (pioneer day).

He doesn't love being teased by Eliza. He doesn't love eating anything green except for broccoli and peas. He doesn't love to be nagged or yelled at (who does?).



We love Porter and are glad he's part of our family.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Out and Vote!!


I love democracy and I love the excitement of this year's election.
I love all the political discussions and arguments we get to have.
I love that I am a total outsider in Tom's family because I am voting for McCain.
I love that Tom is a total outsider in my family because he is voting for Nader (He is protesting the two-party system since he isn't passionate about McCain or Obama, although he feels either will do a great job).
I loved going out for family home evening and distributing leaflets for Lin Alder (He is running for county commissioner in Washington County and trying to defeat good old boy incumbent Alan Gardner).
I love democracy!

So don't forget to vote on Tuesday and let your voice be heard. And vote for Lin Alder for County Commissioner if you live in Washington County.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Marathons and Pouring Rain Don't Mix

Sorry for the darkness, Tom was too grumpy to go over to the light.

We may look happy, but we just didn't quite understand what we were getting ourselves into. Mandi is to my right, she was my training partner throughout the whole process. Renee is to my left and she didn't train for the race but still rocked it.

Race Report
Finish Time 3:38:21


So the race begins at 6:45 am. The start is 26.2 miles from the finish (crazy huh?) so we have to ride a bus to the start line. We decided to ride the earliest buses in order to get entered into a drawing. And it paid off, Tom won 100 bucks! But what that really means is that we have to get on the bus at 4 am and sit at the starting line in the wet, wet rain for 2 hours. We get to the start and it is overcast but not rainy. It is actually pretty warm and I am very optimistic for perfect weather. So much for that optimism - it started to rain about an hour before the start and it didn't stop until well after the end of the race.

I wasn't prepared for wet or cold weather. I wore shorts and a tank. My friend gave me a long sleeve shirt to run in and I wore a garbage bag until about mile 6. My plan for the race was to stay with the 3:40 pace group for the first half and then run my own second half. The weather changed my plans. My goal changed to just staying in contact with the 3:40 pace guy.

Mandi and I ran the first 6 miles well ahead of pace and ahead of the pace guy. He caught us on the Veyo hill. Mandi and I continued to run right with the pace guy until about mile 11. We were still ahead of pace, but slowing. I picked up the pace a bit and tried to just keep the pace guy in my sights.

Hallelujah for Garmin GPS! I had an eye on my pace the entire 26.2 miles. I also printed a pace band specific to the St. George Marathon that weighted each mile based on difficulty. Find it here. Some miles are fast, some are slow but in the end it all averages out. I loved that band and monitored my progress with that.

the rain continued to fall the whole race. My muscles never warmed up. My mind told me to quit a few times. But I promptly told it to shut up and convinced myself I could make it.

The hardest sections were when the headwind picked up and I couldn't make contact with the pace group and the last 4 miles. I was hurting , I was cold and I wanted to be done. It helped to get into St. George where crowds started cheering me on. That energized me to the final stretch where my dad's cheers really carried me in.

Tom waited with open arms for me at the finish line. I burst into tears when I reached him. Running a marathon can be an emotional thing. Tom rocked the course in 3:07. Stay tuned for his full report.

Best things of the race:
  • Qualifying for Boston!
  • Doing it with Tom (not that we ran or trained together, but just were there for each other)
  • Hearing my dad at the last quarter mile
  • Knowing my in-laws cheered me on even if I didn't hear them (it's okay because Tom heard them and not my parents)
  • Training with Mandi
  • Hanging out at the starting line with friends like Renee
Worst things of the race:
  • Pouring rain
  • Cold muscles
  • Being too cold to enjoy the post-race refreshments
  • Pouring rain
  • Quick pass massages (for getting the early bus) that were actually slower
  • Pouring rain
  • Being super sick to my stomach for 12 hours post-race, and I mean super sick, cramps worse than child birth.
  • Getting up at 3:15 in the a.m.
But all in all a great experience. We are excited to go to Boston in April. Woohoo!! Click here for glamorous pictures of the race and I mean glamorous. Select St. George Marathon 2008. Last name: Dansie and Tom's number was 239 and mine 4536. And click here for full results.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Need Music Advice


I have 8 downloads left on emusic and I need your help. Some may say I am not the most musical savvy person out there, but I do like music. I love folk, contemporary and old school. But I also kind of need some fun songs I could use for teaching spin.

I already downloaded tracks from:
  • The Decemberists
  • The Be Good Tanyas
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Erin Bode
  • Norfolk and Western
  • Vampire Weekend
  • Ra Ra Riot
So, I give you all a job. Give me some other good ideas of music to download from emusic.

Thanks.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pioneer Woman Did it Again!

The Pioneer Woman stole my heart, again. This time she did it with a peach crisp with maple cream sauce.

I saw this recipe last year sometime and tucked it away to use this year. I almost forgot. I wish I would have remembered earlier when I had tons of peaches. but oh well. I had a few local peaches in my fridge but I did have to supplement with store bought peaches.

Pioneer Woman's Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce
1 c flour (next time I will use half oats)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter

5-6 c fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (I think you could use canned as well and I used a bit more and put it in a 9 x 13)
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
2 T maple syrup (I used fake stuff, but real would be better)

Combine first 6 ingredients of topping. Cut in butter until course crumbs. Combine peaches with syrup and juice and zest. Layer in baking dish. Top with topping. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15-20 more minutes.

Sauce

1 1/2 c heavy cream
5 T maple syrup
3 T corn syrup

Cook in small saucepan over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. Chill and serve over crisp.
I Thought I would need more sauce because it sounded so good, so one and a halved it, but I didn't need all the extra.



I think it is the sauce that makes this so delish. The sauce could be used for many things. And I plan on using it for many things. Because to be honest, when our peaches are in peak season, it is a little hot to be eating this dessert.

So what else could this sauce be used for?

1st Birthday, 1st Steps and 1st Chocolate Cake

James turned one at the end of August. I can't believe how fast time is flying by.

He took his first steps right around 13 months. He still is crawling more than walking, but he is doing it more and more.
And to celebrate the big 1, I made the most delicious chocolate cake ever!
Not that James could tell the difference. But seriously, it was divine.
Of course the recipe came from Bon Appetit. I made a few small changes, on purpose and by accident. All I can say about this cake is "divine."

I used kosher salt instead of fleur de sel. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of bitter sweet chocolate. I omitted the coffee powder and put in some vanilla and almond extract. I forgot to salt every layer. But this cake is so good.

Here's the picture from Bon Appetit because it looks even better.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reward if Found

REWARD!
On Monday, September 22 the above pictured bike was stolen

$15 reward, no questions asked, for its safe return.

So last week, Porter's bike got stolen from the school. Pretty sad that someone would stoop so low as to steal a kid's bike. Anyway, I was thinking of posting a sign of my cute Porter on his bike to see if we could get it back. Luckily, it was just a $3 D.I. bike, but I still need to replace it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Olympic Distance Triathlon, Take 2


So I competed in my second olympic distance tri last week. I hadn't done much tri specific training for it since most of my energy was being focused on the marathon, but I felt prepared.

A week and half before the race, I started swimming in the lake again with friends. I didn't waste too much energy trying to improve because I couldn't get any worse, so maybe I could get a little better. I was able to borrow a friend's tri long-john wetsuit. I credit it for all of my improvement in the swim.

I wasn't too nervous for the race because I wasn't super prepared. I just wanted to have fun and maybe not be the last out of the water and maybe improve my time a bit from the last one.

All three expectations were met and actually far exceeded.

Swim - 1500 m - 40:20
There were actually 5 women behind me in the swim. I remind you, all credit goes to the wet suit. The swim course kind of sucked, though. It was two 750 m loops. And you had to get out of the water and run around a pole between loops. And there was plenty of opportunity for the sprint tri folks to swim right over you like you aren't even there. I just kept saying to myself as they swam over me, "at least I am doing the olympic distance."

I was super happy with my swim time. 12 minutes faster than the last one, but I think this course was shorter.

T1 - 0:53
I love that this transition was under 1 minute, even with the full wet suit which is harder to get off.

Bike - 25 miles - 1:18:20
I felt good on the bike and thought I did okay. I was slower than the last one, but the course was different. I wasn't as fast compared to the leaders as the last one, but I still felt good. I think this tri brought a few tougher competitors. I was less than 5 minutes slower on the bike than the girl who won the Summer Games Tri where I was 7 minutes slower than her. She is from Cedar so I get to see her at a lot of races, so I think she is a good gauge.

T2 - 0:47
Again, happy with the transition, although I would like to get this one closer to 30 seconds. I stopped for a drink, when I should have been hydrating on the bike.

Run - 6.2 miles - 52:56
They changed the run course as well and not for the better. It was way tough! It was in the desert instead of on the road. It included deep sand, steep rocky climbs, loose rocks, and two loops of it all. I was slower than Summer Games, although I was in much better running shape. But I just blame it all the course. Luckily, my training bud was right in front of me getting off the bike so she could be my rabbit on the run. I just tried to stay in close contact with her. But I will admit I walked up the steepest hill both times (but I didn't see anyone running up it) and I even walked up the less steep hill on the second loop (many ran, but not all and I was dying).

Total Time - 2:53:18
All in all, I am happy with this race. I was closer to the winner than Summer Games and it was great fun! Now I just need to get my own wet suit and next year, I may focus a little more on the tris.

click here for full results. And click here for photos of the race. I was number 452.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reducing my Carbon Footprint, Part III

My favorite way to reduce my carbon footprint also reduces the amount of money I spend on gasoline and my waist size.

Ride Instead of Drive

All summer and even now, in the fall, we try to ride our bikes everywhere in town. Porter is old enough and a good enough biker to ride his bike the few miles it takes to get anywhere in Hurricane and I have a trailer to carry the other two.

My parent laughed at me at the beginning of the summer when I told them I planned to ride everywhere. But we did pretty well.

In the summer, we rode to the gym at 9. Some days we would hit the library for storytime on the way home or the store for some groceries. Later in the day we would ride to Snowcaps for a treat or to violin lessons for Porter. It would get pretty hot, but Snowcaps are a great cool treat and well worth the hot ride.

Now that school has started, we still ride. I take Porter and a bunch of neighborhood kids to school in the morning, then hit the gym with the two little ones. Then, we go to the library twice a week and maybe hit the store. We go out again in the afternoon to pick up Porter and the others. We ride to violin lessons. But I do have to admit, we usually end up driving to dance lessons. I ride by myself to meet a friend for runs in the mornings. We ride to pick up or drop a movie at the Red Box.

I love doing this with the kids. We have saved so much gas. Porter has become a great cyclist. James loves to ride in the trailer. I enjoy the added bonus workouts. (They are short, but the ride home is up quite a steep hill with a bunch of extra weight.) I am teaching my kids the value of riding instead of driving. And I am doing a little bit to save the environment.

Porter's First Race


Sorry for the lack of posting this summer. Life has been crazy, fun, busy.

Porter ran his first race this summer. We all participated in the Washington County Fair 5K and 1-mile run. It was put on by the high school cross country coach, who is also in our ward. Great race Shelly!!

This picture is just the racers from our ward. We were the definite majority.
Tom and I ran the 5K and had lots of fun competing against the high school cross country team. Unfortunately for Tom, the boys team is very fast. We both placed first in our age groups, though and got some really fun pottery vases. Tom finished in 19:58, but had been sick all week. I finished in 21:28 and was ecstatic. Click here for complete results.

But the highlight of the day was when Porter crossed the finish line of the one-mile race.
He ran the whole thing and finished in just under 12 minutes. We were very proud parents. And he is already training for his next race: the Pumpkin Run in November at his school. I'm in charge so he has to do it. He is actually very excited, especially since I promised to buy him Jelly Belly Sport Beans for his next race and he wants to train on the treadmill all the time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon


Wow, it's been a busy month. Much has happened since I last posted: a few races, a few meals, a birthday, the start of school, to name just a few.

We took a mini vacation to Bryce Canyon and participated in the Bryce Canyon Half-Marathon with my dad and sister and camped at the luxurious Ruby's Inn RV Park and campground. No tee-pee this year, just our 300 square foot tent and the occasional shelter of my parents trailer. But we did get to enjoy the traditional Bear Fiddling Festival again including the cotton candy, burgers, and homemade root beer.

But the excuse for the whole trip was the race. It is nice course, with the first half being very fast. The course winds down from Ruby's Inn at an elevation of 7652 down to Cannonville with an elevation of 5800.

My dad took 5th in his age group, despite having a less than perfect race.

My sister, Suzanne finished in barely over 2 hours and placed 8th in her age group and looked hot doing it in her super cute running skirt. Apparently they are all the rage now.

Tom, the speed demon, finished 20th overall in a time of 1:27:14. And this was in spite of being at the end of horrible bug that ripped through our family's tummies.

I PR'ed with a time of 1:41:19 and finished 22nd among 400 plus women. I was very happy. My goal was 1:40, but I don't think I could have gone any faster. The first half of the course is much faster than the second half. I was on or ahead of pace until mile 10 and then I just did my best to not fall too far behind my goal.

Click here for all the results from this year's race.

We officially challenge my sister, Rachel, and her husband to this race next year and anyone else who wants to take the challenge. We want to make this one an annual tradition.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sunday Dinner Standby

There is a meal that I often fall back to on Sundays. It is easy to make. I typically have the ingredients on hand. I can make it in the summer or the winter. The kids will eat it. And most importantly, it is delicious.

Roast chicken with roasted new potatoes is my fall back Sunday meal. Many fall back to a pot roast, but we actually try not to eat beef at our house (ask Tom about it, it's his thing) but we do love a classic roast chicken. Crispy, flavorful skin on the outside protects the inside and keeps it moist and wonderful.

It is meal you can make when it is 30 outside or 100. When it is cool, cook it in your oven and let the aroma and warmth fill the house. When it is blistering hot, cook it on the grill and let your neighbors get jealous as the aromas waft over to their yard while you enjoy iced lemonade in your air conditioned house (83 degrees inside is darn cool when it is 110 outside).

Here are my recipes for
Classic Roast Chicken

1 3-4 lb whole chicken (I love the chickens at Costco. They always seem to turn out perfectly and
they are only 99 cents a pound.)
4 T. butter
1-2 T. minced garlic
salt, pepper, and herbs, to taste

Remove the gizzards, neck etc (if any) from the cavity of the bird. Loosen the skin around the breast with hand. Tuck 2 T. butter under the skin. Place the rest in the cavity. Pile on the garlic and season generously with salt, pepper, and dried or fresh herbs. Place in baking dish, with the breast up (I always do a chicken dance to figure out which side is the breast) and bake in 350 degree oven or preheated grill on medium-low about 1.5 hours or until a thermometer placed between the leg and thigh reads 165. Baste often with the drippings. This is where you get the crispy skin and it helps keep the rest of the bird moist. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes after taking it off the grill. This gives the juices a chance to go back in to the meat, otherwise all the yummy moistness will be in the pan as soon as you slice the bird.

Roasted New Potatoes

2-3 lbs. potatoes (new potatoes are best, but any type will work. I always leave the skin on, even with russets.)
1/2 onion, chopped
A few splashes of oil
2 T minced garlic
1-2 T herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
Seasoning salt, pepper

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch wedges. (I usually cut in half and then cut each half into 4-6 pies slices). Place in bowl, splash on plenty of oil, garlic, and season generously. Give it a good stir and place on a baking sheet or pan in a single layer. The key is a single layer. This lets the potatoes get crispy on the outside, while keeping their softness inside. Bake in 350 degree oven or on the grill with the chicken for about 1 hour. Flip the potatoes once or twice while baking.

Now I need some a good veggie to go with this meal. Sometimes, we do grilled veggies with balsamic vinegar and soy sauce (asparagus, zucchini, peppers). Last week, we had spaghetti squash from a neighbor's garden.

What is your favorite Sunday standby meal?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apricot Upside-Down Cake


Here is the last of the father's day recipes. Porter wanted to make dad an apricot cake (remember we had an over abundance of apricots) so I found this recipe for apricot upside-down cake. I think I followed it pretty much exactly. It turned out deliciously moist. How could it not, with all that butter.

This might be fun to try in a dutch oven while camping. I wonder if it would work.

Grilled New Potatoes


Grilled new potatoes is a simple yet way delicious side. I used garlic chives instead of green onions and I omitted the oregano. And I accidently forgot the parmesan. It was still good, but next time I will remember it.

I loved the crispiness on the outside, the soft center and the perfect seasoning. A keeper.