Friday, May 30, 2008


Last time I was at Costco, they had a variety pack of Couscous. I have been wanting to try couscous for a while, so I bought it. And I am glad that I did. It was delicious. I plan to experiment with it some more in the future. I would like to find it plain and in bulk, though. This recipe was an adaptation from the one on the box.

Pine Nut and Pesto Couscous with Fresh Zucchini
1 5.6 oz box of couscous
1 1/4 c. chicken stock
2 small zucchinis, sliced
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c. fresh pesto
3/4 c. grated parmesan
1 tomato, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon

Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until lightly browned and set aside (I used the pine nut variety of couscous, but still used more pine nuts). In a medium saucepan combine chicken stock with seasoning packet (if using boxed couscous. If you use plain couscous, you will want to season with garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper and anything else that sounds yummy) and bring just to a boil. Add zucchini, cover and boil 1-2 minutes. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir in pesto, tomatoes, cheese, pine nuts and lemon juice.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

100 Miles for a Good Cause

In a little over a month, Thomas and I are going to ride our bikes 100 miles through the beautiful Northern Utah - Southern Idaho country. We are participating in the Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride on June 28. We just call it the MS 150 for short. (riders can ride 150 miles over 2 days, but we only ride on Saturday).

The purpose of the ride (it's not a race, but I'll still try to beat Tom) is to raise awareness and money for Multiple Sclerosis. My own mother-in-law, Shanna has MS, so that is part of the reason we and many members of the Dansie family participate in this ride (there are 11 of us doing it). In fact Utah has one of the highest rates of MS: 1 in 500 Utahns have the disease.

In addition to our registration fee, each rider is required to raise $250 dollars for MS. So Tom and I are trying to raise $500 to help those affected by MS, including Shanna and one of Tom's close friends.

If you feel this is a cause you would like to support click here. Just search under Thomas or Elizabeth Dansie. Any donation would be greatly appreciated by us and all those affected by MS. Or even better sign up for an event near you. There are walks and rides all over the country.

Corn Chowder

Normally I wouldn't make corn chowder in May, but when we go from over 100 degrees to temperatures in the 60s, it's totally called for.

For as long as I can remember, we have eaten Clam and Corn Chowder on Christmas Eve (I know they are winter soups, but they taste good on any cool day). I love Chowder. Click here for more information on the origins of Chowder.

Anyway, it was cold yesterday, my parents were coming to dinner last minute, and I had all the necessary ingredients on hand. I just sort of made it up as I went, but I think it turned out well. So without further ado, here is my recipe for Corn Chowder.

Corn Chowder
1/2 lb. bacon, diced

2-3 c. potatoes, 1/2 in. cubes

1 c. diced onions
1 c. diced celery
1 c. sliced carrots
1 cube butter
1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
4 c. milk
1 bag frozen corn
1 c. diced chicken (optional)
salt, pepper, thyme

Fry bacon until crispy and set aside. Boil potatoes in salted water until cooked, but firm, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Saute onions, celery and carrots in butter until tender. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock. Stir in milk. Add potatoes, corn and chicken. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until chowder thickens a bit, about 15 minutes. (It is not a cream soup, so it is a bit thin). Season to taste with salt, pepper and thyme. Add bacon (and even some bacon grease if you want to make it really yummy). Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Watermelon-Strawberry Sorbet

I had some extra watermelon sitting around and decided to make a sorbet out of it. Super simple and super yummy. I found a recipe somewhere and changed it up a bit and threw in different stuff and processed it in my ice cream maker and it turned out delicious.

Watermelon-Strawberry Sorbet

7-8 c. seedless watermelon chunks
2-3 c. strawberries, hulled
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. lime juice
1/4 c. orange juice

In batches, place watermelon and strawberries in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Place 2 cups puree in saucepan with sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the puree and juices. Chill. Process in ice cream maker until thick. Freeze a couple of hours. If you freeze it overnight, let it soften 15 minutes before serving.

Now I am excited for summer and and all the opportunities I will have to make sorbet, now that I know it is so simple. I was thinking to try a peach-mango sorbet, cantaloupe sorbet, whatever fruit is ripe and cheap. I may even try some mix-ins.

What other ideas do you have?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day to Me (and my mom and Shanna)!

So I had a great Mother's Day. How could I not with kids and meals like these.
Tom and Eliza made me yummy puffy oven pancake with fresh strawberries for breakfast. But the real treat was dinner. Tom made it all by himself and was up until at least 11 on Saturday cooking up a storm. The house smelled divine.

He made me a delicious Spinach Salad with strawberries, apples, feta, sugared almonds and a tasty orange vinaigrette. We made this salad for my parent's 50th anniversary party and it was hit. I don't remember the vinaigrette recipe exactly, but it is orange juice concentrate, olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar and maybe sesame seeds.
I was also treated to two scrumptious quiches. He made a Cheese and Green Chile Quiche. The only alterations he made from the original recipe is he used a store bought crust and used pepper jack cheese. He roasted the peppers and it was yummy. He did tell me the only thing wrong with the recipe is the time it tells you it will take.
The second quiche was equally delicious. It was Madame Quiche's Quiche Au Fromage. Yum! He added bacon and it was a great addition. Simple flavor, with just a hint of nutmeg.Fianlly, the delectable dessert. We had Warm Cookie Sundaes (inspired by the cookie sundaes at Pizza Factory). We baked a chocolate chip cranberry cookie in the bottom of a ramekin. You want it to be soft. Then we topped it with homemade fudge sauce and caramel.Then, top with your favorite ice cream, freshly whipped cream and more hot fudge and caramel.

Turkey Burgers

For Christmas last year, my mom gave me a subscription to Real Simple. Every month they feature some fun and simple recipes. I tear out the ones I want to try, and put them on my fridge. Every once in a while, I actually get around to making one of them.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried the Turkey Burgers with grated Zucchini and Carrot. We loved them. Even the kids ate them. I used cheap ground turkey, which isn't all that good for you. Next time I will buy the better, fresh ground turkey. I used the demi baguettes from Costco and just plain iceberg lettuce.

Overall, they were very flavorful and moist. I will definitely make them again.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

James gets a Haircut!

I finally had to cut Tiny J's hair (actually it was a month ago). It was a sad day, but he really was looking like a girl. I saved a lock of his hair I cut to remember how red it was, but once it was cut off, it didn't look very red. Oh well.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shrimp and Coconut Rolls

The Shrimp and Coconut Rolls were very delish. We ate them as our entree with sticky rice. Next time, I will use them as a side dish or appetizer, not quite enough substance to carry the meal.

Changes I made to the original recipe:
  • I omitted the chiles in the rolls
  • I used about 2/3 the amount fish sauce called for in the rolls.
  • Next time I will add fresh cilantro and shredded carrot.
  • I put in a couple drops of chili oil instead of chiles in the dipping sauce.
  • I used a tad less coconut (1 cup instead 1 1/3 c) than called for because that was all I had left, but I think I like it that way.
This is the end to my coconut recipes. Anyone else have a good coconut recipe. I will try it next time coconuts are on sale.