Friday, October 31, 2008

Who do you want to be?

I was a fifties girl for a neighborhood Halloween party, and it just didn't cut it. Sadie and I decided people dress up as who they want to be (she was a sexy twilight vampire). So I was a goth. I tapped into my darker side I guess.

I think the theory is holding true for my girls.

Of course, I don't know what to make of my other friend who dressed up as Pink Eye. Yeah, like the disease. Pink scrubs with a duct tape "I" on her chest. Maybe she has a "contagious" personality. Get it? Like --CONTAGIOUS? .......never mind.

Extra treats on Halloween. What the?

Ari's room mother asked me to do treats for her Halloween party today (like that class really needed extra sugar. Right.), so I used the little tart shells I didn't use for the wedding, and filled them with chocolate mousse (NOT pudding!) and put on whipped cream.

Then I drizzled some chocolate spider webs,

Voila! Spider pies! I was secretly hoping some would come back home, but no luck.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Favorite Table So Far.

I was pretty skeptical of the colors for this wedding --grey and ivory and white -all neutrals. It was the same with the last wedding I did --just white. Of course Mary Craft said this was a current trend she was seeing (look! I figured out how to link!). But when I saw the finished product I LOVED it. The bride was a little tiny thing in a classic dress, and a short veil --looked almost 50's in the styling, and the silver and white and ivory matched that feeling --like an old photograph. I also decided the Springville Art museum (look at that --2 links!). Is my favorite venu. Nice kitchen, caterers' own bathroom, BIG fridge! Anyway. Other than the fact that we only got about 250 people there instead of the 500 the client was expecting (my kids were happy. Kai: "Dad! Mom brought home ALL of the bride food!"), it was a great event. I had the best team: Audrey (who knows more about catering than I do), Kelli -who can move faster on one foot than I can on two, and Lorraine --who can also think fast on her feet and create things without my holding her hand every step of the way. Loved my team. OK, enough talk: here's the pictures:

Peanut butter mousse cups, and Chocolate mousse cups. Notice the Dusty Miller (I mean the grey leaves Mom) I found to match the scheme.

Close up of cups --it's a brownie base. I also offer a chocolate cup, but it was a little pricey for my client, so I was glad Audrey had this idea..

Fruit towers. Notice the frosted grapes. People really though they were frozen -- I had three people ask me. I also didn't really have people eat them this time off the table. Huh. Should have cheaped out and used regular egg whites instead of the safe merengue powder. Whatever. Now my kids have to eat a case of grapes. Good thing they're safe I suppose.

Large view of fruit platters.

Lemon-vanilla Fresh Fruit Tartlets. I told the Museum director if it doesn't have a pretentious name it doesn't work for a catering menu item. I could have said fruit in lemon pudding mixed with cream cheese in a Keebler crust, but MAN, you don't feel so good eating it do you?

Large view tartlets.

My centerpiece. I was hoping to put white lilies in them, but Bonnie (the florist) could only order bunches of 20 that I didn't want to pay for, and then, the ones she bought wouldn't open for her anyway --she ended up paying for a bunch of buds. Being a florist is hard too. I think the Dusty Miller and grapes worked fine, Bonnie even donated my one big white Mum blossom, though you can't see it very well in this picture.

Mousse cups and chocolate-covered strawberries. We had smallish berries this time, but Audrey did a great job on them.

Full table. Notice the fountain behind it? I love this museum. I'm spending my next day off here I decided. I need to have some time to enjoy it in peace.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Here's the layout for tonight's reception. First time I measured out the table ahead of time (rocket scientist. That's me). Last time we had to add on a table at the last minute to the end to fit all my stuff on. Sigh. Wish me luck tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Face your fears.

I did it. Taught my whole class without a coughing fit. I had subs for my Tues. and Wed. classes, because I was afraid I couldn't do it without coughing. One thing I learned from Ari's Physical therapist is that exercise relaxes you. I always cough more when I'm tense. Maybe that explained why it worked today. Maybe it was just prayer. I prayed like the dickens. What's a dickens anyway? Of course I could barely drive home with the coughing fit I had in the car, but at least I wasn't humiliated in front of my class. It went really well. I even had one person sign up, and another new person come who sounds like she'll stay. She took a contract with her. I'm so glad I didn't miss out. It was a really fun class.

It reminds me of Kauai. I was Graving out in Kauai, and snorkeling I kept getting panic attacks. I really wanted to scuba dive though, and didn't want to miss out. Either with prayer, or just facing the fear head on, I had a really great dive. Want to see pictures?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Only 200 calories over today. I'm getting better!

1600 calories --really boring diet post! Skip if you hate diet talk.

How do people do it? I personally know people that are living on 800 calories a day or less. I know that if I'm going to make any progress with my fitness goals I'm going to need to eat less than my 2,000 calorie a day average. Meesha said she asked her friend who'd lost a bunch of weight how she did it, and she said "It was so hard I thought I was going to die". It IS hard. I did My Food Diary for 2 years? 3 years?, and all it taught me was that I usually needed to go running or spinning for an extra hour most days to keep from screwing myself up because I ate so much. Not good for mental or physical health --that idea. June at (someday I'll need to learn that link thing) did a post yesterday about getting off the diet mentality. I've made a lot of progress in that area this year, learning to eat protein at every meal, and to get in my nonfat dairy, flax seeds, 6 vegetables a day, and fiber. Also, learning the WW core program has really been helpful, if I'm still physically hungry after a meal, I know to reach for a core item. The problem is I went back hyper, so my appetite went through the roof the last month or so. I get used to eating more, my muscle tone gets eaten up by the Graves, and then when I'm back in balance, I have some new bad habits to break, I'm a couple pounds heavier, and I have to build my metabolism back up from the abysmal 1056 calorie base it normalizes at after these episodes. So, "back to the beginning Inigo". I started food diary again yesterday trying for 1600 calories, and I only went over by 1200. Yeah, OVER by 1200. It reminds me of that diet email where they say water packed tuna sandwich on light bread, and 2 hersheys kisses for lunch. Then for dinner: rest of bag of Hershey's kisses. I don't know if it's all the coughing I'm doing all day (that's kind of like an ab crunch right? I'm sore like it is.), or not sleeping at night from all the coughing (maybe I need more calories because of that) but I was HUNGRY last night. Sucks. I did really well earlier in the day --got in all my necessary regimen stuff. Then I just kind of lost control. Oh well. Back in the saddle again today. It was the first day, and TODAY can now be the first day. I wish I wasn't sick sitting around the house all day. That would help. You'd think my appetite would go down.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Moderated out

I was trying to figure out how to delete a comment a commercial site posted on my blog, and clicked this moderate comments options, so DAYS went by and it looked like no one commented on my blog, and I was so sad. Deja clued me in. So sorry to all of you who got intimidated by the "approve first" thing on my blog. I changed it. Keep the comments coming. Also, I posted earlier today, so don't miss that post. Love, Amara

Dinner Party

Had the new neighbors over for dinner last night. I REALLY hope I didn't get anyone sick. I'm home sick from church today to try to recover. I had a weekend packed full. Anyway, wanted to share the menu with you all:

Lolla Rosa salad with sweet red onions (I soaked them in apple juice), navel orange segments, cinnamon spice walnuts, pomegranite seeds and an orange dijon vinaigrette

Tomato, Fontina and fresh basil tart (the last of the gardens offerings) on puff pastry

Long grain rice and Acorn squash gratin with fresh shaved parmesan

Pork medallions with honeycrisp apple slices and cranberries

Pumpkin spice cream (homemade), Crystallized ginger cardamom cookies, and pero lattes.

The lattes WERE for the adults, I was going to do hot chocolate for the kids, but they kept asking what I was making, so I let them try some. Nuts. Those boys are now hooked on coffee flavor. I can just imagine at church today "and then we had coffe and ice cream at Sister Bray's house....". On the bright side though, maybe I'll get released from a calling! I usually make the pork with fresh cranberries, and it looks fantastic, but there STILL weren't any at the store. The end of October. What the. So dried DO work, but I felt I had to add some sweetness, and some tartness at the end of the cooking time to get the same intesity of flavor, and it didn't look as pretty.

The pumpkin spice cream recipe I had involved making a custard, and I was a little pressed for time, so I googled a quick recipe that just used cream, and it was OK, but I wasn't crazy about the texture. It seemed kind of like frozen pumkin pie filling. Next time I'll put in the effort for the custard and see if it makes a difference.

LOVED the ginger/cardamom cookie, which I adapted from Lisa John's recipe for big ginger cookies. I finally broke down and bought a GOOD spice grinder yesterday, and that fresh ground cardamom was like heaven in my kitchen. I used to take jogs past this house that had big lavender bushes that I'd steal flower heads from and macerate in my hands as I ran for the intoxication high, and that cardamom was like that while I cooked. Even with the worst sinus infection in the world. I chopped the ginger up really fine, used like a quarter cup or so, and about a 1 1/4 tsp. cardamom. I dropped down the ground ginger in the recipe a little, but still used some. Then I made them huge. I got 2 dozen out of Lisa's whole recipe. Maybe golf ball size dough balls.

The acorn squash gratin was supposed to be a rissotto, it was going to be my cheat dish. I found a great parmesan risotto mix at Good Earth last year, that I threw my own frozen pumpkin puree in for nutrition, and my kids fought over it. That was the plan. Then I went to good earth and they didn't have it any more. Crap. Oh well I thought, I have that arborio rice in the pantry. I'll just have to suck it up and make it from scratch. I also knew I just bought a new parmesan wedge last week. I got home and reallized I'd used the arborio up at my LAST dinner party. So yeah, acorn squash and long grain rice bake. With lots of parmesan. Tia walked into the kitchen and said "it smells like garlic bread in here". Cool. She recognized the toasting parmesan smell. I didn't put any garlic in it. That girl is getting trained. OK, so not as cool a dish, but the neighbor kids all ate it. That was neat. Their mother didn't even hide what it was from them, she called it the squash. I was impressed. Just proves my theory once again. You put enough cheese in anything and people will eat it. I just said "I" like 50 times. Sorry.

I'm always troubled by the formal nature my dinner parties always seem to take. Unless we're bbqing or making our own pizza, it doesn't seem to be much fun for the kids. So Tia and I decided to make a game to play at the table. My original idea was to re-make apples to apples with Halloween decorated cards, until I realized you needed like 500 cards for that. Right. So we went to Robert's, and got different black and white scrapbook paper and pumpkin stickers, chopped them up into cards, and put Halloween words on the back. Then we just played 20 questions with each word. That seemed to be a lot of fun for the kids. I was a little disappointed that we then didn't get as much of a chance to talk with our neighbors to get to know them better, but at least it wasn't a boring silent time for the kids. Any suggestions from anyone on how to get both, or another game you can play at table that is a "get to know you type" (which this turned out not to be), that you don't have to use your hands for --so people can eat too; I'd love to hear them.

That's all, sorry no pictures this time, I was pretty rushed at the end, AND sick and trying not to show it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Witch Watching

What is it about witches? Tia, Ari, and Kai and I packed the car like a handcart crossing the desert with all our necessary supplies, and left yesterday morning to visit the village witches. Gardner Village seems to have more than their normal share. The kids really took a fancy to this old crone --must be all her bug pets. My kids never get to have pets.

When I heard "Thriller" start playing I dragged all three of my kids by their reluctant hands at a dead run to see where the party was. They had this witch cage dancing. "Tia, THIS song is by Michael Jackson". I was horrified to find out a couple of months ago she didn't know who MJ was!

Tia was the only one brave enough to cozy up to this witch. Ari and Kai wouldn't go near her. Might have been the enormous bosom. The little kid visiting her before us couldn't figure out what all that puffiness was and kept poking it. Good thing she didn't take offense.

The witches offered their little visitors a ride in their cart to "The Great Pumpkin" festival. Tia's not so sure, she's been told never to accept a ride from strangers. They all popped out of the cart quickly enough after Tia reminded them what happened to Edmund when he accepted turkish delight from the White Witch.

Home again, home again, safe at last.
Something fascinating about witches. There must have been 10,000 people at the village on Thursday. Many mothers. Maybe witch watching is like my hero worship of Lara Croft. She does the strong powerful things I'd like to. There's nothing more powerful (and scary) than a witch. I'd like to be scary sometimes too --especially when it's bedtime and they're asking for one more drink of water.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

White chocolate oatmeal with walnuts and cranberries

Can you get any more good stuff in one cookie? We started (Tia and Maddie and I) with a basic BH&G oatmeal cookie recipe, adding extra cinnamon, and ground cloves. I was tempted to do all brown sugar instead of half brown half white, but I resisted, and since it was dark brown sugar the flavor came through fine. 9 minutes at 350, and they were perfect. Now I just need to resist them until our enrichment meeting tonight......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The City of Ember --interesting children's book

Just finished this yesterday. I was sick OK? It's OK to lay low once in a while. Tia has been raving about it, and to be honest, juvenile fiction is my favorite genre. When i read, I'm usually looking for an escape. This book was perfect for that. Interesting concept, all new scenery, and characters I didn't mind relating too. To explain what I mean, I loved Middlemarch by George Elliot, because I loved Dorothy. I couldn't read her book Brother Jacob however, because the main character disgusted me. Same thing with Kite Runner. With juvenile fiction, usually you don't have to worry too much about that. One could argue, that characters aren't as deeply drawn in these books I suppose, because as juveniles they are not fully developed human beings. I'm OK with that. For an escape, I'm good with that. I heard this book is a movie out right now? Let me know if you've seen it.

I've been tagged

8 TV shows I watch
1. Firefly (on Hulu)
2. Highlander (on Hulu --I know this makes me a HUGE nerd, but have you seen that Duncan McCloud guy? --plus, I need one Jeff will watch with me)
3. Ummmm.... that's pretty much it. NEXT QUESTION!
4. Oh, wait. I forgot that Good Eats show on Food Network (also nerdy)
5. At 1:00 in the morning I'll watch pretty much anything, so I've banned myself from T.V. if I have insomnia (even Raven. I HATE Raven --don't tell my kids.)

8 things that happened yesterday
1. I made all my kids, husband's, and my lunches between 12am and 2 am
2. Cleaned the kitchen and ran 2 loads of dishes (they were good lunches) at 3am
3. fell asleep at around 4am
4. Tia wakes me up at 7:00 am (missed my workout --crap)
5. Went Grocery Shopping
6. Bought 2 topiary trees at Ace hardware for $20.00 each (SCORE)
7. finished packaging Tia's reflections project (sigh)
8. Family home evening with Kai's puppet show lesson on Abinadi (he loved Abinadi's disguise, and how he got burned up), and killer treats again: Julia Child's Chocolate mousse recipe, lemon curd, melted chocolate, all as ice cream toppings. Not so good for my self-control, but this way the kids ate some of it too, instead of me sneaking bits out of the freezer for the next 2 weeks.

8 things I'm looking forward to:
1. this catering job to be over so I can relax my brain again
2. My Tae Bo class to be full of people
3. lose the 10 pounds I've been trying for for 4 years
4. sell our lot
5. finish the side yard and put the kids playset in
6. sleeping through the night again
7. getting over this wierd sore throat
8. Meesha and Deja and Garret coming for the holidays

8 things on my wish list
1. crap. that WAS my wish list.
2. world peace --and something for everyone to eat.

8 restaurants that I go to
1. Little Italy (have you been there? 3rd south in Provo --that lady needs to teach me how to cook. I'm not kidding. She's really from Italy and the food is GREAT! Plus...gelato..need I say more?)
2. Bombay house --it's been a while. I miss it.
3. Red Robin. But I don't like it. At least the one in provo --they always burn the burgers, and i got food poisoning there once.
4. Art City Trolley --love the salads
5. Gingers Garden Cafe in Springville (Kelli, I'm thinking I need to take you out to lunch with me sometimes. These are all good restarants -except R.R.) --great split pea soup, cauliflower almond soup, grilled veggie sandwich .....
6. Chef's table. only been once, but then I dreamed about it all night.

7. Los Hermanos. I know a lot of people don't like it, but anything with a lot of cheese and big portions is going to appeal to me on some level.
8. Pier 49. Pizza is Jeff's favorite, so sometimes I have to be accommodating.

8 people I tag
1. Deja
2. Rachel
3. Audrey (that's twice for you Audrey, get a move on)
4. Kira
5. Meesha
6. Annie
7. Lotta (get a blog quick!)
8. Does anyone else READ this blog?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Tooth Fairy --Caution Spoiler alert

I've been meaning to send these pictures to my mom-in-law and Deja for a while now, so I just thought I'd post them instead. My Mother in Law wrote a story about this called: Tia and the Tooth Fairy, and is thinking about making a children's book about it. I went through and tried to edit it for her, and got nowhere, so I sent it to Deja who (with all her OODLES of free time she doesn't have) is going to work on it. The basic story is this: Tia was losing her last tooth. She wrote a letter and made a dress and a hat for the Tooth Fairy, and asked if the fairy would keep writing her letters. The Fairy obviously didn't know what to do with this request, so wrote back and said it was against the rules, but saved the hat and dress --and will probably save them forever. Ari then wrote HER own letter when she lost her next tooth, and when St. Patrick's day came, Tia made packets of clothes, and little beds for the leprechauns. Thought I'd share my sweeties sweetness with you all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Makes me wish I HAD grown up to be a ballerina...

Wish I brought my camera. Saw a little girl at the park yesterday when we were there for the last soccer game of the season (yea!). She had on a long tulle skirt --- bright purple and blue. On the top she had a lace centered tablecloth around her shoulders, and her click clacks were silver glitter 8 sizes too large. Love it. I've had that little girl in my family (twice). Reminds me of the little boy across the street who showed up at 8:00 in the morning at our front door. Red plastic fireman hat on. No pants or shirt, just superman underwear and a cape. Tucked securely in the front of his underwear was a 2 month old tabby kitten. "Can Kai play?" Everyone likes to dress-up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dream job.

Thought I'd show you what I was talking about with the Culinary Crafts stuff. Both images are courtesy of their website. See, with the chef action stations hot food looks MUCH cooler. Then the floating buffets..... sigh. I don't know if Mary Craft herself thought of this or they saw it done somewhere, but LOVE it. When I grow up, I want to work for her, or work for clients that can afford to let ME work like her. I'll have the biggest best kitchen with all the fridge space I want, a big 4 foot grill, a bakers oven with 10 racks in it, a heart, a brain, some courage......

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tasting party!

I've got a catering job later in October, and did a tasting for it tonight. It's a reception, and they just want sweets. OKAY! Those make the BEST looking table. I love to cook some cool food for a dinner, but with hot food, basically you've got chafers. A table full of chafers doesn't make for the coolest presentation. This of course is not the case if you're Culinary Crafts whom people pay $70.00 a person to feed them. Then you can do all kinds of fun stuff like chef action stations, or lucite platforms hung from the ceiling...... aaah, someday. My jobs are usually "what can I do for 4.00 a person, or 10.00 a person," which I can relate to really well. It's hard to shell out a bunch of cash when you're starting a young couple down the road to financial independence. These guys picked some cool stuff: fruit platters, peanut butter mousse cups (I tried some chocolate mousse cups too for variety), fruit tarts, and chocolate covered strawberries. I'm a little sad they didn't want any white chocolate on the strawberries, because I love the contrast, but hey, they're paying for it. Guess what we had for dinner tonight? Wrong. But we had GREAT family home evening treats!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Self Portraits

"This is me!" said Ari. We were all watching General Conference, and the kids were coloring on their chalkboards for the boredom factor (honesty. it's mostly over their heads the conference stuff). Notice the two strings of hair in the middle of her face? That's how she LIKES her hair. I think she's seen it on the Brat Girls or something.

So then Kai says "This is me. I'm a snowball!" Jeff and I start cracking up.

Then Tia needs to do one. Which looks pretty good, if a little Shaggyesque (You've watched Scooby right?), and I decide this needs to be a post. Enjoy!