Sunday, February 28, 2010

Soaring Sentiments

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

Articles of Faith 1:13

Friday, February 26, 2010

French Toast with Caramel Syrup

Last weekend two of our darling nieces and our great-nephew, came to our home to celebrate Madeleine's birthday. A Saturday morning breakfast of French Toast, Caramel Syrup, and a candle, seemed the perfect way to start the celebration.

French Toast with Caramel Syrup


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 10 to 12 slices wheat bread
  • butter
  • caramel syrup


Break eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate; beat lightly with a fork. Stir in milk. Over medium-low heat, heat griddle or skillet coated with a thin layer of butter or margarine.
Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate, letting slices soak up egg mixture for a few seconds, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Soak/coat only as many slices as you will be cooking at one time.
Transfer bread slices to griddle or skillet, heating slowly until bottom is golden brown. Turn and brown the other side. Serve French toast hot with butter and syrup.
Recipe for French toast serves 4.

Caramel Syrup:
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Bring butter, brown sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and corn syrup to a boil. Boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir well and pour over French toast.

"Joyeux Anniversaire!" Madeleine, party ON and ON and ON!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Asian Grilled Chicken Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing

Meet my younger sister, Kim, who so loves this "good for you" salad. She sings, "I could eat this salad every day!" Kim is the most creative, fun-loving, person I know, and should blog about it, but is too busy! She serves as president of her local Relief Society, the largest organization for women in the world. She (along with her good-husband, Sam), raised 4 fantastic children, and Kim is "Grammies" to 3 adorable grand-boys! I am so grateful she is my sister and shares much of what she knows and likes with me. Today I'm happy to pass along her recipe for a healthy, low-carb + low-fat, composed salad to you.

Ingredients for the salad...

Grill your chicken breast and chop all the veggies....

Let your grilled chicken rest for about 10 minutes...slice the chicken on an angle...

Toss the veggies with the dressing and plate. Top the veggies with the grilled chicken, drizzle with a little more dressing and garnish with chopped peanuts... now... get ready for a tasty bite!

Asian Grilled Chicken Salad
  • 1 head chopped green cabbage
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • 1-2 chopped green pepper
  • 3 shredded carrots
  • 1 bunch cleaned and chopped cilantro
  • 4 to 6 grilled and sliced chicken breast
  • chopped peanuts

Toss cabbage, onion, green pepper, carrot, and cilantro together with Chili-Lime Dressing. Top with grilled chicken breast and garnish with chopped peanuts. You may want to drizzle a little more dressing over the top.

Here are the ingredients for the dressing. It is ready as soon as you put it together.

For those (like me) that live a low-carb lifestyle, I use Stevia in moderation. It's perfect for this dressing, adding sweetness without calories. The liquid is pricey, but a little goes a long way.

Chili-Lime Dressing
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • 1/3 cup sugar, or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce (depending on your heat level)
  • 2 gloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients together and dress the salad. Refrigerate any remaining dressing.  Garnish with chopped peanuts....I think this makes the salad!

Crunchy, beautiful, light, and yummy! Try it and add your descriptive words! Like me, you may say, " Aroi!" (delicious) " Khor eak dai mai?" (can I have more, please).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Icebox Cake

My sister called from Colorado just to say, "They are so over winter," at their house! Shortly after I received this pix from a friend and had a good laugh. Is everyone ready to hang their snowman and hope for Spring?

Before that happens, my girls have requested, "some old-fashioned recipes," desserts their grandmas used to make. This is one that is fairly inexpensive, can be made today and enjoyed all weekend. I live a low-carb lifestyle and like to use toasted walnuts or pecans in place of graham crackers with sugar-free pudding. Try mixing it up, creating your own with your favorite pudding flavors and share!

Icebox Cake


  • 1 box (14.4 oz.) graham crackers
  • 2 boxes (3 oz. each) butterscotch cook-and-serve pudding
  • 2 boxes (3 oz. each) vanilla cook-and-serve pudding
  • 1 box (3.4 oz.) chocolate cook-and-serve pudding
  • 10 cups of milk


Coat a 13x9x2" pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with a single layer of graham crackers. Cut graham crackers to fit the pan if needed. Cook butterscotch pudding as directed on the package, about 10 minutes. Pour over layer of graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers over the butterscotch pudding. Cook vanilla pudding, again following the package directions, and pour over graham crackers. Place a final layer of crackers over the vanilla pudding. Cook chocolate pudding according to package directions, and pour evenly over the graham crackers. Finely crush the remaining graham crackers, and sprinkle them over the vanilla pudding layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 16 squares. You may want to top with a swirl of whipped cream.

This is yummy year round.  I hope to post a fun variation for you really soon!  Thanks for flying by...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Recipes for Bird Food

Do you know February 12 through February 15th is the Great Backyard Bird Count?

At our house we watch and count the birds in our west-side garden. We keep our feeder full and it creates a furry with countless Finch and Sparrow. But alas, just this week we have spotted a new species to our garden.

Still, we try to attract and invite lots of different kinds of birds with our favorite wild bird-food recipes...but not this kind of bird.

Bird Lover's Bird Feeder
  • stale bread
  • egg white
  • Bird seed
  • twine
Cut bread into heart shape. Brush egg white on bread. Sprinkle with bird seed and hang your Valentines where you can watch and the birds will find there treats!

Peanut Butter Suet
  • 2 cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 cups quick cook oats
  • 2 cups lard
  • 4 cups corn meal
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
Melt peanut butter and lard in a large pot over a low flame. Add the remaining ingredients. Place the mixture into square freezer containers, packing firmly to approximately 1 1/2 inches thick. Cover and freeze. Consider adding raisins and chopped nuts too.

Happy to enjoy a few seeds and tap gently on the bark of our tree.

Such a bright spot in an otherwise gray, snowy day.

But not this one.

He is beautiful and fast! I barely was able to get this photo with a small lens, (excuse the blur), before he flew straight up in the air and got one of our little flock. I was able to identify him by his tail feathers.
"Among the bird world’s most skillful fliers, Cooper’s Hawks are common woodland hawks that tear through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds. You’re most likely to see one prowling above a forest edge or field using just a few stiff wing-beats followed by a glide. Cooper Hawks are sometimes unwanted guests at bird feeders, looking for an easy meal (but not one of sunflower seeds)."
This one is not on the forest edge or field. We have a predatory bird frequenting our garden. We have seen him twice in the last two days. What to do? Our little birds are very skittish. I'm hoping we will have a successful weekend as we try to count our flock along with one very aggressive Hawk. Bird-watching like all of life is not always joyful.

Great to have you here, please come back soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Best Guacamole

I cannot even imagine how many times I've made vats of salsa and guacamole! While living in New York City we enjoyed guacamole "made table side" for $15+ for two. Now that I know what it's worth, I really enjoy whipping up a double batch for under five dollars! It's so easy and always enjoyed and appreciated in our nest.

Great Guacamole

Best Guacamole

  • 2 medium Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoon finely chopped onion
  • Kosher salt, to taste 
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro


Coarsely mash avocados, garlic, and jalapeno with a wire whisk until the avocados are creamy but still very chunky. Add the tomato, onion, and salt to taste, and stir together. Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro, then stir and taste once more. Add more garlic, jalapeno, onion, salt, lime juice, or cilantro as desired. Serve with tortilla chips and fresh veggies for dipping. Makes 2 cups.

It's time for a fun fiesta.  You'll get a charge out of your Valentine too, promise!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Today has always been an extra special day at our house. Yes, it's Groundhog Day but it is also our oldest daughter's 34Th birthday! We send our best wishes and lots of love her way.

Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow early this morning signifying we can expect 6 more weeks of winter! Here's a yummy, comfort food that will help you see the bright-side of our coldest season.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup rice blend*
  • 1 lb. chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • slivered almonds (optional)
Cook rice according to package directions. Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 more minutes. Next add the flour and stir well. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until it has all been added. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer.
Next add the cooked rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, and ground black pepper. Allow to simmer for 1 to 2 hours to blend flavor. Add milk about 15 minutes before serving, just to heat. Do not boil, just keep warm. This soup freezes well and serves 8.

*Use your favorite rice. I used (1/4 cup each of)  Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Sweet Brown Rice, and Heirloom Red Rice.

Stay warm, healthy and happy!