Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a mystery....

What do you get when you cross a few dozen teenagers, a very committed mother, a boy turning sixteen and a murder? A birthday party that turned out to be a total blast! Sidney and Megan were invited to a friends sixteenth murder mystery b-day bash. Sid wasn't sure if she wanted to go or not, but ended up being really glad she did. Here are a few shots of the sizzling hot sistas!

Hahaha!! I don't remember going to anything like this when I was Sid's age....thank's, Erin for the emergency costume "rental"!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My not so secret obsession (Megan...this one's for you!)

For those of you who don't know, I love crayons. I'm not talking about a passing fad-inspired infatuation, I mean I love, as in weakness for, delight in, serious enjoyment of, real, long-lasting love. This love almost equals my desire for sparkly things. That is how serious we are talking here. I remember being very young and obsessed with a particular fluorescent pink crayon. The fluorescent crayons created quite a sensation and were the hot item in my kindergarten class. They didn't come in the regular pack that we got in class, I had to beg & plead for the special package containing the vividly colorful collection. I remember using those Ultra Pink, Yellow & Blue crayons until they were beyond nubbins. I carried around a special container with tiny specks of these extra special colors until there just was nothing left! Just reminiscing makes me feel like someone from a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. Oh, the frugality! I can still feel the waxy smoothness between my fingertips.........Anywho--suffice it to say, to me, crayons are magical. And I have to disclose here and now: I am a crayon snob. Not that there is anything wrong with the Roseart brand of art supplies, 'cause there aint. They just aren't Crayola.

Those Binney and Smith babies are the bomb! I cannot begin to describe the feeling I get when I encounter a pristine box of unused Crayolas. Something about seeing them all lined up in nice, orderly rows......such pretty, colorful rows. The identically-sized rows.

It fills such a need for perfection in me. I cannot I buy.....I must have virgin boxes of Crayola crayons in my posession. I think this is where we cross over into the fetish category. If I have a box with flaws at all, it is relegated to the kids crayon box and I go buy myself a new box. If I find a limited edition box, I keep it far out of reach lest it be mistaken for crayons that are intended for actual coloring, heaven forbid! And just in case you think me odd, let me point out that I am not alone. There are serious crayon collectors out there. These particular crayons just sold for $21.00 on Ebay. I wish it had been me. No, wait, I wish I had purloined that pack of Macaroni Grill crayons myself when I had the chance! A crayon called Portobello for heavens sake!! Which leads me to the less conventional side of my obsession. The first thing I do when I see crayons is to bring them up to my nose as if i were a wine taster checking bouquet. I then take a very indelicate SNIFF!!! Breathing the waxy goodness deep into my lungs! I know, I know!! It's not normal!! But don't knock it until you've tried it. It rates right up there, just a spot above wet cement for me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Peaches, Almonds, and Frosted Flakes

Last Friday, Connor and I drove up to the South Town Expo center to be part of the audience watching the Utah's Best Chef competition. (Audience included Jason's boss, Kendall Wimmer, and Thanksgiving Point's Director of Catering, Molina Welcker, whom I must thank for pictures of the event. Thanks Molina!)

This would normally just be a mildly entertaining way to spend my afternoon, however; this was not your normal competition. For me anyway. Jason happened to be one of the four chefs invited to compete! That made it an incredibly exciting way to spend my afternoon!!
Hosted by Angie Larsen of Good Things Utah fame, the event was run Iron Chef style. The teams were able to bring their own equipment and seasoning ingredients. Then they all had access to a pantry of foods to utilize in their dishes. The meat provided was a whole chicken, and of course, there was a mystery box of ingredients that they were not allowed to see until right before the 60 minute time period began. One of the judges was Kelsey Nixon, from The Next Food Network Star season 4, who is a Utah Girl. The other's were Chef Brian Woolley from KUTV news, and two restaurant critics whose names escape me. Kelsey said that on the real Iron Chef, the teams actually get to see the mystery ingredients beforehand. Cheaters. Anyway, the items in the box were:
1. Peaches. Easy Peasy
2. Almonds. Easier Peasier
3. Organic Fosted Flakes. What?!??!! The teams had to work all three ingredients into both an entree and a dessert!! How could you incorporate frosted flakes into an entree without, well, tasting gross??

I'll tell you how:

First you create a puff pastry tart filled with a bit of lemon cream cheese. Layer it with your fresh peaches and top with a crumble of almonds, sugar, butter and, viola--frosted flakes. Ladle some Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise underneath and don't forget the caramelized peach to lay alongside the pastry. (It was gorgeous. As beautiful a garnish as it was a part of the dessert.)

Then you make a sliced sweet potato latke to place under your entree. Saute yourself some fresh green beans for the side and continue on to your chicken creation.



Jason tells me this was a last minute stroke of genius. OK, he didn't use the word genius, that was me.

Now, whilst your chicken is merrily baking away in the beautiful $11,000 Thermadore oven/stove combination that I can only fantasize about having in my kitchen some day, you need to fashion a sauce. Using the peaches, some onions and PINEAPPLE VINEGAR, (honestly, did ANY of the other teams even THINK of bringing PINEAPPLE VINEGAR with them?? I doubt it.) create a lovely, sweet, yet tart, accompaniment to your perfectible poultry.

Then, with mere minutes left, arrange your culinary works of art on beautiful orange dishes and present them to the judges.

Let's review:

Stuffed Chicken breast with sweet potato Pommes Anna, topped with a sweet and sour pineapple peach sauce, accompanied by fresh green beans and tomatoes

A lemon cream cheese, peach tart paired with a caramelized peach and served with a Grand Marnier creme anglaise

(see the cool caramel coming off the peach in the background? It looks like a duck. And you'd NEVER KNOW there were frosted flakes in the chicken if I hadn't told you)

Jason and Rand, his sous chef for the contest, did a great job. (On a side note, Rand is Kristen Shumway's brother) The other three teams were tough competition, but in the end, I think it was the use of the pineapple vinegar and the beautiful peach tartlet that put my man over the top. YES!! I AM THE WINNER!!! er...I mean JASON & RAND are THE WINNERS!!

The judges were even overheard saying how unfortunate it was that there wasn't more dessert to indulge in!!

Here is the prize:

How sweet is that? Jason and Rand split it and I say it was well deserved! Truth be told, I really am the winner because I am married to such a wonderful, good-looking, multi-talented guy! GOOD JOB JASON AND RAND! You just proved what I already knew!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Favorite Things

I love ice cream. So much that sometimes it hurts. (Like when I over-indulge on Cold Stone Creamery products--try their sweet cream mixed with fresh raspberries and brownie'll die of happiness.)

Ice cream would be on my top ten lists of favorite foods if I had one. I once went a year without ice cream when we were pregnant, poor and deprived of any extra fun. I will never do that again. Heaven forbid I should ever become lactose intolerant as I would have to either remove 6 of my top ten foods from my top ten list or live with the consequences of not doing so.

Actually, I'm going to revise my earlier "I love ice cream" statement and replace it with: I love GOOD ice cream. I will no longer be eating crappy ice cream. It just isn't worth my time or the sacrifice of calories. Used to be if I were at a Young Women's activity, or a pack meeting, or some other party where I understand a budget must be adhered to, I'd eat the ice cream to be polite, or just because it was there. No longer. If I come to your house or party and you have less than premium ice cream, it's OK. There's nothing wrong with Meadow Gold. I have some in my freezer right now. For the kids. Just realize that I will be saying "no thank you". From now on, I am committing my ice cream calorie allotment to premium-only. That being said, I will now endorse a personal favorite product:These ice cream bars are straight from Heaven above. Don't let either the pomegranate or the dark chocolate scare you. Dark chocolate is just better, that's all. And the pomegranate ice cream is the perfect tart-sweet balance for the chocolate. The fact that it says something like this right on the box just means that I know what I'm talking about. I didn't plagiarize. ( I did, however, look up how to spell "plagiarize" in the dictionary...)
So just ignore, no, EMBRACE the fact that Haggen Dazs bars have 280 calories a piece, and that each one contains 18 grams of fat. Just be pickier about how you spend your ice cram calories and run to your nearest Macey's grocery store (they don't sell 'em at the Wal Marts) and prepare to plop down approx. $4.00 on a box of three. I say they are a culinary bargain.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Haha! I am officially unique!!
LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

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