Saturday, January 31, 2009

Soup and Salad

I am so exhausted I can't see straight, but here's a sample picture from the lunch today. It went so smoothly I couldn't believe it, but I came home and had to do all the dishes and pans from it, and fold and put away a weeks worth of laundry (for our family of 5) in an hour, to show our house to someone, then leave for a surprise party for a good friend. I've been on my feet since 6:00 am, and most of yesterday was the same thing. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Catering menu for Saturday

Thought I'd tell you what I've been up to. I've got a luncheon I'm doing Saturday for a group of ladies, with soups and salads. Here's the plan:

Strawberry spinach salad with wontons, red onions, bacon, and sugared pecans.

Butter lettuce and poached pear salad with cashews, shaved parmesan, and a black raspberry vinaigrette.

Greek antipasto salad with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, feta, pepperoni sausage strips and cannelini beans in a lemon herb vinaigrette.

Sausage, mushroom and wild rice soup.

Tortellini Florentine soup with roasted chicken and sun-dried tomatoes.

Shrimp, coconut and lemongrass soup with rice noodle vermicelli.

Fresh rolls with butter.

Tri-chocolate dipped strawberries.

Lemon water.

I'm a little worried about the client's budget. She's too generous for her own good. I hope we can do all of this. Maybe we'll have to pare it down. If we do I won't tell you. You just imagine it like this OK?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fog, The lacemaker.

Last night it snowed through a dense fog. I don't know how that was possible, the temperature must have been right at the freezing level, but we drove through it, so I know it was there. Do you know how else I know the fog was there last night? The trees this morning. I know I do a lot of posts on trees, but they were stunning everywhere I looked this morning. Please click on each picture if you would like to see them up close. This small size doesn't do them justice.

Look at these branches flowing down white like a waterfall.

I love these two. So dense with branches and frosty snow, valenciennes couldn't be more elaborate. Sometimes I wonder if lace was created to mimic what people saw outside in winter. A poor substitute for the real thing.

Do you remember the golden tree I highlighted in the fall? Here he is above and below in his majestic winter icing.

Look at this. I love how the evergreens contrast with the deciduous trees, and how you can barely see the mountains through the fog in the background. I just saw this on the side of the highway and had to pull over with my hazards on to take the picture.

You can really see the difference in a tree's character with the snow on the branches. The tree above is dense with crooked, finger-like branching making it look more cozy and motherly. I think it's a fruit tree. The one below is so much more architectural. Firm and stern and straight arrow. Not as comfortable a tree, but fascinating in its own right.

I've been asking myself (and everyone around me for that matter) the last few weeks WHY WHY WHY do we live here in this miserable cold? Well, OK. The frosty trees are one good reason to stay.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Soup and Salad

What's your favorite soup of all time? Do you love a rich beef stew? Do you crave some type of bean concoction? Do you love a pasta bowl? Are you a "creamy"? I had my attention called to that fact around Christmas time - that the "cream of" or "cheese and" soups get eaten first, at least in this part of the country.

I've got a lunch to do for about 50 ladies at the end of the month, and already know I'm going to do my roast chicken and tortellini florentine soup for the "creamy" people, but I'm looking for a couple of other favorites to serve. What's yours? While I'm at it, what's your favorite salad? I do mean SALAD. No jello whip cream crap. No mayo swimming bowl of potatoes or pasta. Like a salad salad. Green stuff and veggie stuff, and something unexpected: chinese noodles? a neat cheese? blueberries? I know you remember one. I'll probably do a simple caesar (for the "creamys" again), but I want a couple more. OK have at it. Links to recipes would be great, or, just put the main ingredients in your comment and I'll figure it out. Thanks for the help!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Zion's camp

We were talking today about Zion's camp. This has always been a little bit of a difficult story for me. It seems strange that Heavenly Father would give a revelation to Joseph Smith to march 900 plus miles with 200 or so men to help the persecuted saints, and then when they got there, they were unable to do anything concrete. A later revelation told Joseph that it was a trial of faith for those that came on the march, but the apparent, practical reason ended up being that that tried faith of those men created the later leadership of the church.

It just bugged me. Why get that first revelation at all? Why not tell Joseph what would happen if they tried to redress the wrongs of the early saints in Missouri? It was a ton of wasted effort in that way. It made Joseph look fallible (the worst aspect to me). I want Joseph to look like the powerful prohpet he was at all times, in all circumstances. Anyone who has read the compilation of his revelations (the Doctrine and Covenants), or his stunning translations of ancient scripture (the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price) knows that here was a man that was larger than life --he did things that no man could have done alone. He must have had (and did have) divine help. So why did Heavenly Father allow this incident that would make him look silly or crazy to his enemies?

The first thing that comes to mind are times in my own life where I needed to be led in a certain direction, and Heavenly Father, who always uses the most efficient manner to work, probably wouldn't choose to give me the novel -long explanation to direct my decision ahead of time. For example, moving to Tooele. He wasn't going to give me a long, dramatic manifestation to tell me about all the opportunities for growth that that small town would give me. I was also going to give birth to a deaf daughter out there, and I needed that personal growth at the time to not completely lose myself in sorrow and hard work.

For all I know, I could have gotten a priesthood blessing telling me that Tooele was going to be important to me. I don't remember it. It wouldn't have meant much to me at the time besides some temporary comfort during a stressful time. I had to experience it to know what it would do for me.

The reason why we moved to Tooele was because I wouldn't under any circumstances move to an even smaller town: Grantsville which was my crowd-hating husband's first choice. That was the reason. Just like the reason for Zions camp was to help gain "restitution for the beleagered saints".

But the REASON was because I needed to develop talents and capacities that I was going to need. The REASON for Zion's camp was to develop a core group of men who knew Joseph Smith intimately, with unswerving loyalty to the Lord and his cause to help restore Jesus Christs' church for the final time. I wonder what WOULD have happened if the Lord had said: march 900 miles together to get to know each other and test your faith. There wouldn't have been a good reason in their minds to do it. Whereas fighting for a just cause, one that they were probably passionate about with righteous anger, did do it for them. Do you think maybe he would deal with them and with me in a different manner if we were ready for it? Maybe so. I do believe efficiency has something to do with it too though. I don't believe Heavenly Father uses any more of his great power than he needs to. I also think that making Joseph "look good" wasn't His highest priority.

I guess I'm just trying to learn more about how He works in my life, and the best way I've found to help me understand a little is to compare my experiences dealing with Him to those of people in the scriptures and church history, or even the experiences of my parents. I do know that things seem to always work out the best for me if I'm trying to do what I should. I see His hand in my life. I see how much He cares for me by the good care he takes of me, even when I'm being weak or whiny.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Great-Gramma Earley

I was talking with my sister-in-law about the importance of extended family. She's moved pretty far from us, and there are other family members moving around now too, and we were mourning the fact that we couldn't all live next door. You know it really is such a short while we get to know some of our family. This is my Great-Gramma Earley. I love love love her, even though she's been gone for years (I'm actually pretty sure she hangs around and checks up on me from time to time). She's holding me at my blessing here.
My mom had to work the first few years of my life, and Gramma Earley would watch me and my sister. My mom always talks about how kind she was to her. I personally think kindness is underrated. Anyway, my gramma would save wooden spools from thread for us to play with, and we would go outside in her little postage stamp yard, and make laps around her planter on the river stone and cement path. Sometimes those stones would come loose, and they were the smoothest, blackest rocks, and would fit perfectly in your hand. When they were wet they were even shinier. Gramma even had a banana tree in her side planter, but I mostly remember it covered with ants. I guess I was smaller then but it seemed huge and wild garden. When my parents had financial setbacks a number of years later and moved into her old house, I was shocked at how it had shrunk.

We were vegetarians, and Gramma would give us potatoes mashed with broccoli, or potatoes mashed with squash for lunch it seems like every day. I still love those flavors though now. I'd follow her around the house, and would step on her toes all the time. I didn't do it on purpose, but she only wore little house slippers inside, and I can still hear her squealing in pain. She must have had arthritis. Here is gramma with my mom, and my cousin. She looks kind of glamorous, it must have been Christmas or something. She had the best costume jewelry, and used to tell us when she died we could have it --we were fascinated with it. She also had a Christmas tree picture made on black velvet out of sparkly faux gems that I remember as fantastic -absolutely stunning.

But her biggest talent as far as I know was sewing. She sewed all kinds of things by hand. We didn't end up with the costume jewelry, but more valuable, this quilt (above) is something I still have now --she made it for me as a baby. All of the figures are outline-quilted by hand. It's just amazing. There is also a little coat she made me, also sewn largely by hand, that I still have. It's got round blue buttons, that are kind of soft textured, and a bright turquoise blue lining of satin. I tried to get my oldest daughter to wear it when she was little, but hey, it wasn't sparkly OR pink, so no dice. Maybe when I have grandbabies....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Non -photogenic (and I don't mean non-comedogenic).

Kindergarten. 1st picture day. I was so excited the day we got the pictures back. My teacher gave them out just as we were going out the door. I ripped open the gummy flapped envelope on the way to the bus, and was immediately crushed. I couldn't believe they'd even printed this picture, let alone sent it home with me. I smiled CROOKED! My mom of course said it looked cute. I still remember her friends pulling out drivers license pictures to show me to make me feel better.

OK, I was in Jr. high in the '80's. Do I really need more of an explanation? I will have you know that it took a good 40 minutes in the bathroom to achieve the perfection of those bangs. Even my 6 month old brother is cracking up at me.

Gravies Gravies Gravies. Have you seen "Bedtime stories" with Adam Sandler yet? Why did they call him Bugsy again? All my pictures of around this time look like this. The comforting thing is I'm consistent. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's all good, I've got cute kids to take pictures of now. p.s. that hideous couch was in a condo we rented for 6 months while we looked for a house. I can make fun of myself, but no one is allowed to believe I'd pick that thing out!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My little buzzhead.

"Take the skinhead bowling, take him bowling....."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Perfect. Just perfect.

The Gosby House (this is the one I'm talking about) from

I'm OK just in case you're all wondering. I went to Lisa's class this morning and it killed me, but once again at least I "kept going". Really though I get embarrassed when I'm gasping so hard for breath it sounds like I'm sobbing. But hey, I kept going.

What I really wanted to talk about is my perfect day. June at Bye Bye Pie just did a
post where she described her perfect day and, except for the wine, it would have been pretty close to mine.

Here's what mine would be.
I'd wake up in that big yellow bed and breakfast right on cannery row in Monterey, and they'd bring me a big raspberry blueberry smoothie in bed. I'd roll over and kiss Jeff for a while, and then he'd go off and do his thing for a few hours so I wouldn't have to worry about him. I'd roll back over and read the latest Jane Austin book, because she'd write a new one for me.

I'd have to go for a long jog on the trail there, because the weather would be sunny with a light breeze, just perfect for running. Jeff would show up and we'd go snorkeling in front of Hopkins so we could play hide and seek with the seals and no one would hassle us. We'd also see an octopus, some otters, and a whale (because why not?). I wouldn't have a panic attack seeing the breakers. Then we'd lay on the beach and soak up some sun, and the resident cats would come cuddle with me. Jeff would have packed a picnic lunch with french bread, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh avocados, some cool smoked cheese, and ginger beer (no it doesn't get you drunk shush.), and chocolate chip cookies.

For dinner, the bed and breakfast would have prepared a big room with lots of squishy chairs and a big fireplace with a roaring fire, and a great buffet, which I won't detail, just really good, beautiful food, and all my friends and family are there, and they are all happy, and I don't need to worry about any of them, because they are all doing fine, and they all have good jobs, and no one is sick, and no one's feelings are hurt, and they all love the food, and we've all just read Jane Austin's latest book (that she wrote for me), and we all share opinions on it, and our minds are all opened, and we all learn something new in the stimulating conversation, but basically we all agree that it was brilliant and touching, and then we all get tired, and just push the furniture out of the way, and all get big fluffy comforters and pillows, and fall asleep together with the fire going out on the hearth.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Everything is hurty.

Can I be honest? I'm dying right now. OK, not really dying, don't freak out. But the holidays really did a number on me. I ate crap food all day many many days. We had a whole neighborhood of treats brought right to our front door. I also missed almost three weeks of workouts, and now everything seems SO HARD!

After every class it seems like I just want to lay down on the floor and cry I'm so tired and hurty. Why is it that you can take care of yourself for months, and undo all your progress in a couple of weeks? All my weightlifting levels that I worked so hard to build up to are back down to what I was at almost a year ago (It takes me a long time to move up in weights --I'm basically a chicken wimp).

Jeff tells me there's "muscle memory", that it's easier to rebuild muscle than build it for the first time, and he'd better be right, because I'm pretty discouraged. But then, it makes me think of my new favorite Winston Churchill quote: "If you're going through hell, keep going." I guess that's how I got through Billy Blanks Camp. I never thought I could do all of that in one day, but I did right? It's going to be OK right? Maybe I'm sick? OK, thanks for listening to me whine. It's going to be OK right?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cooking again

(BHG photo)
I guess I need to post, it's been forever! Nothing seems super exciting now after all the Christmas hoopla, but I did schedule some lunches out with friends, a dinner party, and a game night, and (most importantly) I'm starting to cook again! My poor family the last couple of months has been suffering with quickie meals and pizza most nights.

Over Christmas break we went to Jeff's parents' house for a couple of days and like usual it was heaven. His mom just takes care of me and "be's the mom" you know? I love it when someone else "be's the mom" for a while. I get tired. Anyway, I started pasting all the new recipe clippings I've collected in the last couple of years (I know. You should see how out of date my family picture scrapbooks are.) into my recipe scrapbooks, and I got all inspiredish.

Anyway this week we had Mol`e chicken (I can't figure out how to put the accent mark over the letter! I didn't want you to think I was serving moles...), and Meditteranean strip steaks with feta, avocados and grilled lemons, and we'll have gnocchi with butternut squash, and greek salads, and a vegetable casserole made with polenta, and lions and tigers and bears oh my! Anyway, I'm excited about food again.

Here's the link for the steaks tonight, I crumbled the feta, avocados, lemon zest, and oregano together though, and added chopped grape tomatoes. Jeff loved it (and he's not a big feta fan, and doesn't like avocados usually).