Monday, July 23, 2012

I am a really huge fan of this roast beef. It is QUITE delectable.

Braised Beef with Root Vegetables
source: Lisa Hawks
(I think she originally found it here)
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 ½ T. oil
  • 1 (1-2 pounds) boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup apple cider or gingerale
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 4 small turnips or potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 300-degrees.  
  2. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef on all sides with ½ tsp. of the salt and the pepper; dredge in flour. Add beef to pan; cook 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to roasting pan.  
  3. Add garlic, broth, cider and bay leaf to frying pan, scraping to remove browned bits; bring to a boil.  
  4. Pour over the roast, cover and bake for 1 ½ hours. 
  5.  Add carrots; cover and cook 25 minutes.  
  6. Add remaining salt, turnips or potatoes, and onion; cover and cook an additional hour, or until vegetables are tender and beef is fork-tender. 
  7.  Sprinkle with parsley and bake another 5 minutes. Slice beef and serve with veggies and juices.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Thai Feast

Thai Pork
source: Suparn Lee
  • 9 pieces of pork
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  1. Season the pork and stack in a plastic bag to marinate over night. The juices will seep out of the pork while it sits.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. (I know it seems low, just trust me!)
  3. Cook uncovered for about one hour, or until cooked through. You want the juices to get all soaked up into the meat and turn into a type of glaze, so MAKE SURE you leave it uncovered. Believe me, it is BAD if you don't! :)

Chicken Masman
source: Suparn Lee
  • 4 lb. chicken
  • 1/3 c masman curry paste (mae ploy brand is best)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 lb potatoes, chunked
  • 1 c water
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 1/2 c peanuts
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 1/2 T white wine vinegar
  1. Put oil in pan. Add curry paste to oil, stir thoroughly. 
  2. Add chicken and fry up at about 400 degrees (med-high heat). Cover and allow to cook through, about an hour.
  3. Add potatoes, coconut milk, water, onions, and peanuts. Let cook several minutes. 
  4. Add sugar, salt, and vinegar. Cover, turn temp down to about 275 (low heat), and allow potatoes to cook through, about an hour.

source: Suparn Lee
  • 2-3 T. oil, separated
  • 1/4 lb chicken or tofu
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 oz. rice noodles
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 lb shrimp
  • 1/2 T vinegar
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1/2 T. lime juice
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • dash cayenne

  • 2 egg
  • 1/3 c. peanuts, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  1. Soak rice noodles in hot tap water as long as suggested on packaging (can range from 20 minutes - 2 hours).
  2. Cook chicken or tofu in 1 T. oil. Pull out chicken/tofu, set aside.
  3. Add onion to pan and saute until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add more oil if needed. 
  4. Add noodles to pan and cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes. 
  5. While noodles are cooking mix together ingredients for sauce, set aside. Add the shrimp to the pan along with water and 1 T, stir together.
  6. Add peanuts and sauce. Stir to blend and heat until shrimp is cooked through, it should have a nice pink color.
  7. Push all ingredients to one side of the pan. Add the eggs to the pan and cook until well scrambled. Stir all ingredients together.
  8. Add chicken/tofu back to pan. Add green onions. Cook a few mins more and enjoy!
Sweet Sticky Rice with Fresh Mango
source: Suparn Lee
  • 4 c cooked sticky rice
  • 1 can coconut milk (chaokh brand is best)
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 T vegetable oil
  • fresh mango, sliced
  1. To cook sticky rice: put in very hot water and let sit for 2 hrs, then steam for 40 mins.
  2. Put sticky rice in microwave 1 1/2 min if the rice is no longer hot when you begin the dessert.
  3. Add coconut milk, sugar, salt, and veg oil, stir completely.
  4. Let sit until all of the juices have been absorbed into the rice. About an hour or so.
  5. Add sliced mango to sticky rice.
Spring Roll Sauce
source: Suparn Lee
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T water
  • chili garlic sauce to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients except chili sauce and heat up in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add chili sauce.


Coffee Cake
source: pioneerwoman
  • 1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
  • 2 cups Scant Sugar
  • 3 cups Flour, Sifted
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1-1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff 
  • 1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
  • 3/4 cups Flour
  • 1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don't overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm---delicious!

Nummy Yummy Burger

Cowboy Burger
source: blogchef
  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup French fried onions
  • 1 package fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Shape 4 patties out of the ground beef. Season both sides with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. 
  2. Lightly grease an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. Heat to medium high heat. 
  3. Add the burger patties and cook turning once until fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees). During the fast few minutes of cooking top each patty with a slice of Swiss cheese.
  4. While burgers are cooking melt butter in a sauté pan over medium high. Add mushrooms and sauté for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  In a small sauce pan, heat BBQ sauce.
  5. Split hamburger buns in half. Place each hamburger patty on the bottom half of the bun. Top with mushrooms, French fried onions, and BBQ sauce. Place the top half of the bun over the BBQ sauce.

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale ****
by Diane Setterfield
Book Type: Fiction

Summary: Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise–she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.
Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.
As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still

summary found on goodreads
My Review: I don't know exactly what it was about this book that made it utterly engrossing for me. I really enjoyed trying to figure out who was who in the story, how Vida Winter became the old woman telling the story, and what all the pieces of the puzzle would add up to. The author is a great writer, she easily keeps you engaged in the crazy twisted story she's spinning. I really loved this book. I can't even express why. It was just really fascinating to try and put everything together on your own. Very fun, interesting read.

Chrestomanci Series

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci: Book 1 ***1/2
by Diana Wynne Jones
Book Type: YA, Fantasy
Summary: Book 1: Cat and Gwendolen were orphans, and when an old friend of their father’s, the mysterious Chrestomanci, came visiting and offered to adopt them, Gwendolen, who was already studying Advanced Magic, knew that she was destined for Great Things – for hadn’t the Fortune-Teller predicted that one day she’d rule the world? Cat, who had never been able to manage turning brass buttons to gold, wasn’t so sure he was going to enjoy his new life. But then what he thought didn’t count for much. Ancient and turreted, Chrestomanci Castle was every bit as grand as Gwendolen had hoped. But there were disappointments. No butler opened the door to her, no lavish banquets were given in her honour. Instead, she and Cat had to do lessons in the schoolroom with Chrestomanci’s two children, and worse of all she was forbidden to practice magic except under supervision. In fact, she wasn’t being treated with the respect she deserved, and she very quickly decided to do something about that. It was difficult for Cat, who clung to his unpredictable sister as the only familiar person left in his life, especially when he guessed that Gwendolen was planning to go to far, and he didn’t see how he could stop her. He didn’t realise, though, quite how ambitious Gwendolen’s ultimate plan was, nor how closely he himself was involved in it.
Book 2: Christopher often makes night-time trips to the Twelve Related Worlds. He thought there was nothing unusual about this until his Uncle Ralph hears of it and sends him on mysterious missions. One such mission reveals Christopher’s very special magic powers – gifted with nine lives, he is destined to become the next Chrestomanci, the greatest magician in the country.
Christopher goes to study at the formidable Chrestomanci Castle, but even here he is not safe. Outside, the forces of evil are poised for attack and Christopher is losing his lives at an alarming rate. Can Christopher defeat his enemies alone, before his remaining lives run out?
The Lives of Christopher Chant occurs a couple of years before Charmed Life and it’s about the childhood of Christopher Chant, the Chrestomanci in Charmed Life.
summaries found here
My Review: Both of the books in volume one were very fun. Christopher’s back story is much more engaging and full of adventures than Cat’s though (which is the second half-The Lives of Christopher Chant). I thought it was interesting that at the beginning of each story, both boys thought they were incapable of doing any magic when in fact, they’re both destined to be powerful enchanters. Although Christopher couldn’t do magic, he could travel between worlds in his "dreams". His travels are very interesting, I loved the diversity in the worlds Jones created. Both books were full of wonderfully dynamic characters with remarkable personalities that add more depth to the story. Overall I would say that this book was very fun. I really enjoyed watching Cat figure out what he was capable of and watching Christopher waste away his lives through his carelessness, haha. Diana Wynne Jones is a wonderful writer full of fresh and entertaining stories that take place in fascinating and magical world's.

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror **1/2
I had a heads up from some friends that this movie was BAD. Like REALLY bad. Stupid in fact. So when I went to see it with the Young Women last night I was prepared for a painfully horrendous movie. It was better than I expected. It actually had some funny lines and scenes. But I'll say that overall it was only a descent film. Not a good one. The dwarves were actually pretty funny and the prince was pretty entertaining. But in the end, it wasn't enough to save the movie :). So if you enjoy ridiculously cheesy silly movies, you just MIGHT like this movie. A little bit. OH and, enjoy the Bollywood video at the end of the movie... Yikes! :)

The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman ****1/2
Did you ever see the old Spiderman movies? The ones with Toby McGuire and Kirsten Dunst? Well, let's just say that after I saw this new movie, I wanted to sell our old ones back to Bookman's. Yeah. This movie was AWESOME. Like seriously! SO GOOD. The actors did a fantabulous job, the special effects were awesome, and the story was really well developed. I would go see this movie again in the movie theater. It was really really fun. I loved the kid who played Spiderman and Emma Stone was a wonderful female lead. This movie felt SO real. I mean, the concept is obviously not realistic, but the actors were so real that you felt a large array of emotions while watching the movie. This movie was just plain awesome.


Brave ****
I loved this movie! It was clever and cute. The accents were fantastic, the music was beautiful, the animation was incredible... Overall, I thought this movie was fabulous. Surprisingly this movie got lower ratings than most Pixar movies. But I think if you enjoyed Tangled and How to Train Your Dragon, then this is a movie that you will enjoy. It is fun and fresh. It was wonderful!

J Dawgs

J Dawgs
location: Provo, UT
Okay I lived in Provo for 5 years and I NEVER went to J Dawgs. But FINALLY during our last trip to Utah we got to stop at J Dawgs and try out their famous hot dogs. YUM. Man they were good. They had this huge juicy hot dogs and sausages and they have a yummy sweet and sour type sauce. It's a special sauce and it is quite delicious. The hot dogs were about $3.50 each I believe... So expensive for a hot dog but not a bad price for all the food you get. If you're ever in Provo go to J Dawgs! Especially if you like hot dogs! :)

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
location: various
Do you like In-N-Out? This restaurant is kind of like that when you look at the menu. There aren't a lot of different options on the menu and they're all fairly simple. Burger, double burger, triple burger, fries, etc... I have to say that the toppings were all very tasty. The burgers were big and juicy and full of flavor. They give you a TON of fries. Buy a small to split and you will have more than enough. The food is very yummy for a greasy burger joint. :) It is a little more expensive than most  burger places. But the food was delicious enough that we will definitely be going back! :)
If you ever try one of our recipes we would love to hear your feedback! Let us know if you like them or if you make any changes! We love comments! :)


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