Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fire up the Tube

I’m not a stand at the saucepan type of cook. I just don’t have the patience, and no one under my roof seems to be able to differentiate between a dish with extra cinnamon and a dish with extra love ;)

I do have one recipe that I have deemed worth the time, even if the only person who can taste the love is me. I’m also the only one in the family who will eat it which is not good considering the calorie count that accompanies the super-amazing flavor...

I haven't been a huge fan of the television in the kitchen, but it does make cooking something like this a much less aweful process. Fire up a good anime episode, and stir away!

* 3 cups white rice, cooked
* 3 cups cream
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Zest of 1 lemon
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

Combine everything except cinnamon and lemon in a saucepan. Cook for 25 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Mix in lemon zest and cinnamon. Eat up!

Even better to throw in a couple of cinnamon sticks and a vanilla bean as you cook the rice. Then omit the extract and 1/2 the cinnamon.

Lowering My Standards

I’m somewhat of a purist when it comes to certain foods. Of course, for some reason Aimee does not see the correctness of my thinking and tries to to coerce me into unspeakable acts of food blasphemy.

On occasion, in the interest of eating at home more often, I do lower my standards a bit and defile a perfectly good recipe or two. Tonight’s evil act is adding beans to my chili and making cornbread from a mix. I think penance may have to include homemade pasta ;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scary Monsters

IMG_3857, originally uploaded by eouio.

Avyrlie has a thing for scary monster movies (not sure where she gets it from ;) I think her favorite part of going to the zoo is seeing the animals she is most afraid of. Sadly, the white alligator exhibit is closed so she had to make do with this guy. Usually he is pretty un-intimidating. This time as she asked what the alligator is doing and I replied, "He's waiting patiently to eat you.", he climbed out of the pool, looked straight at her, and offered to make a snack of any limb she dared reach close to his mouth. Avyrlie was impressed and her scary monster quota was filled for yet another day.

Cheerleading Finale!

click the pic for the rest of the gallery

Tuesday was Avyrlie's last cheerleading class at Little Gym. They demonstrated all the skills and routines they had learned. Turns out Avyrlie is a prissy monkey.

Her favorite apparatus is the bars where she would swing forever if left to her own. Next up is jumping. She'll jump off just about anything and loves to bounce as high as possible.

My favorite part is when they were in the dance room walking like cheerleaders. Avyrlie would flash a huge cheesy grin at herself in the mirror as she walked past, bouncing on her toes with hands on her hips. Quite the princess.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Basketball Induced Bedtime

Each year the stake has a basketball tournament for the deacons and teachers as an all day triple header. I wouldn't say basketball is Ian's strongest sport, but he sure enjoys playing it. Friday night he spent three hours at the church practicing with his buddies and a couple dads.


The practicing paid off some because Ian played really well the first two games. The first game went into overtime where they lost by two and the second they just lost as well. By the third game they were all beat and playing a team of almost-fourteen year-olds. They got creamed. Ian did manage to get one of the kids kicked out of the game for throwing elbows at him. The kid was pretty frustrated because Ian plays pretty physical ball. Not dirty, but he does tend to use some football style blocks occasionally.

My favorite part of watching Ian play is his ninja attacks as he tries to karate chop the ball out of the opponents hands. With a little more practice I'm sure he'll reduce his foul count quite a bit, but it really is fun to see how he hustles on the court and just has fun playing.

We headed out to eat after his last game. Normally this means the buffet at our favorite Indian restaurant. Sadly for us, they went on vacation for two months and won't return till the end of January. Also sadly for us, we decided to try a new place which turned out to be edible, but no comparison to Taste of Punjab.

After a day of basketball and a buffet meal in his stomach, Ian passed out for the next several hours, woke up to shower and then headed to bed for the night.

Cereal Contaminator

I'm blogging with Aimee at the moment so in addition to just taking more time to agree on what to type here, I think I am also going to have to explain the two COMPLETELY separate trains of thought that have gone in to creating this post.

First off: the title of the post. Avyrlie continues to maintain a steady diet of cereal, Diet Coke and ice cream. That would be the 'Cereal' portion of the title as any DNA test would most likely reveal a pattern of nothing but Fruit Loops.

As for the Contaminator bit, Aimee and I disagree slightly on the use of cutting boards. I say slightly as I am bandaging the wounds inflicted by her style of 'discussing' the subject. Aimee, rightly so, tells me that I should use seperate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. This is true and I stick to this principle at all times except in the case of peppers which I always cook right with my meat at the same temperature for the same amount of time. If I'm cooking them different from the meat, they have their own board.
Anyhow, that's how the title came to be. Now on to the post:


I have been bugging Ian for the past week to start doing some of the requirements for his Duty to God booklet. He, in usual Ian fashion, has not been entirely compliant unless chained, shackled and whipped. Avyrlie has been offering to step in and take over where Ian's efforts have fallen short.

One requirement is cooking dinner. Ian has yet to figure out how to get water into a pan, much less actually use it to cook something (a telling sign of who his mother is). Avyrlie offered to help cook some stir fry with me. I think she just wanted the chance to touch my knives that are generally off limits to everyone. She didn't do to bad, but lacks any type of fear regarding the ability to sever fingers, so the knife usage was short lived.


Another of her favorite activities is shoveling snow. I have been asking Ian to shovel off the deck for some time now, so Avyrlie offered to finish up what he hadn't started. We couldn't find her pink girl shovel so we headed to the garage to find her something to use. Avyrlie grabbed my three pronged garden trowel and proclaimed it her weapon of choice against the evils of snow and ice. I'm pretty sure she grabbed it because Aimee has been showing her Freddy Krueger movies again. Avyrlie and her scary monsters...


She attacked the snow for a good hour before declaring a truce and heading back indoors to ask for a bowl of ice cream and glass of Diet Coke as reward for a well fought battle.

Chocolate Pancakes

How to make a anything better: Add chocolate. My kids didn't like these at first (something really wrong there...), but are slowly coming around. Fresh fruit is a must. We alternate between raspberries and strawberries, but also love blueberries, kiwi, and the occasional mango.

1 cup flour
2 tbsp soy flour
3/4 c cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
3 large eggs
3 tbsp melted butter or canola oil (I prefer oil)
1 1/2 c plain soymilk
pinch salt
1 pint fresh strawberries

Sift flours, cocoa and making powder together. Mix in the sugar.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, soymilk and salt.

Mix wet and dry. Should be a bit lumpy and like cake batter.

Use 1/4 cup scoop. Top with strawberries and a bit of maple syrup. They don’t keep so eat them all!

Little Help Please

IMG_3738, originally uploaded by eouio.

Want to see something funny? Give a colorblind kid a Rubicks Cube and tell him there are two sides of every color. Not that I would do something like that ;)

Ian got a Rubicks Cube during his trip to Australia and has been working on it since. Mostly he had been pestering me to teach him how to do it. Of course I was not about to admit to not having a clue how to do the thing which did nothing to lessen the pestering.


Avyrlie would constantly offer advice and encouragement and try to help solve it. Ian was terrified to let her touch it especially after her most recent employment offer on the TV show "Human Wrecking Balls". She's cute and all but tends to be a bit harsh on things like DVD's, toys, and peacefully sleeping parents, all of which she has inflicted incalculable damage upon.


A couple days ago I noticed that he had figured out how to get one side completed and line up the first row of colors as well. I'm always impressed when Ian sticks with something so I made him a cheat sheet for completing the rest of the cube. He struggled with the whole clockwise-counterclockwise difference for a while (as well as the color thing), but did finally managed to get it solved.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Little Escape

After reading an especially dismal weather forecast for the weekend after New Years, Aimee and I decided to plan an overnight escape. Aimee loves breakfast buffets and the kids love to hang out in a pool so we decided on Little America for Friday night.

Ian headed up skiing on Friday so we headed downtown as soon as he got home from the slopes around 3. We grabbed some snacks on the way and threw on swimsuits as soon as we got there. We played in the pool for a while, headed back to the room for snacks and then went back to the pool again.

The next morning we identified some flaws in our table manners teaching as we watched Ian and Avyrlie terrorize innocent plates of food at Little America's breakfast buffet. Scary!

Then back to the pool! Avyrlie really could not get enough of playing in the pool and has been continually asking when we are going back to the hotel to play in the pool again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Sunday Dinner

One of our favorites dishes to end a cold winter with here at the Smith House is Potato Cheese Soup. I've been asked for the recipe a couple times and thought I'd finally share. Also, I keep losing it so now I can find it here for our next cold winter weekend ;)

8 c peeled and cubed potatoes
1 c peeled and chopped onions
4 c chopped celery
4 c chopped carrots
vegetable broth
2 ts salt
4 c half and half or milk
6 tb butter or margarine
4 tb chopped fresh parsley
3 tb flour
2 c shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Chop the vegetables into pot or cooker.
Add enough vegetable broth to just about cover everything.
Boil until mashable.
Mash to preference. I like the potatos mashed pretty well and chunks of carrots. Of course Aimee likes chunks of potatos and the carrots mashed well...
Add salt and milk.
Melt butter and mix with flour and parsley before adding to soup.
Mix well.
Add cheese and simmer till melted.
Salt and pepper to taste.

size matters-because you are adding all the vege's at once, how soft everything gets depends on how small you cut it. If I'm making it for myself I leave the carrots in bigger chunks so they don't get quite as soft as the potatos. Otherwise I cut the carrots smaller and the potatos bigger to leave chunks of potato and completely mash the carrots

Cook it slow after mashing. It doesn't matter much how fast you boil everything, but turn the temp down and simmer it slow after adding the milk and flour mixture.

Aimee likes the chedder while I prefer mozzarella. Usually I add a cup of each and then top with one or the other as I serve it.