Friday, January 28, 2011

Where were you?

Today is my brother's birthday.

It is also the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger explosion. You know, I can never actually remember Ray's birthday without thinking about it. I was reminded today by this artical on MSN. I have spent some time today reading about the Challenger explosion. Has it really been 25 years? Wow. It doesn't seem that long ago. I remember it so well. I was in 3rd Grade, Mrs. Clark's class. We were getting a special treat to watch the shuttle launch because there was a teacher on board. I remember watching the shuttle go up, explode, and then suddenly Mrs. Clark turned off the TV and left the room, leaving a group of stunned 3rd graders alone to process what just happened.
Reading the articles brings tears to my eyes. I always feel like such a dope when I'm crying at my desk all red faced and puffy eyed. I apparently am more emotionally invested in it than I originally thought I was. Weird. Apparently my 7 year old self was rather traumatized by the events of today in 1986....

“We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'” -- President Ronald Reagan - January 28, 1986

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Fajitas

Hi, it's time for a new recipe. Fajitas aren't a new food at our house, but I have never tried the fajita chicken in the Crockpot before. I'm still learning what all I should and shouldn't cook in my Crockpot so this was a new adventure.
I love my Crockpot. I like that I can put food in and leave it for the day and by the time I get home from work my dinner is all cooked and I'll I have to do is dish it up. That takes a lot of stress off some days… problem is, I just have to a) remember to put tomorrow's dinner together the night before and then b) remember to pull it out of the fridge in the mornings. My Crockpot is not very big and it's round so that limits the amount and shape of things that I can put in it. Maybe someday when there is more to feed than just me and John I'll invest in a nice big oval Crockpot.

Now, on with the recipe:

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 4 to 5 hours (mostly unattended)
3 to 4 pound whole chicken
1 packet fajita seasoning
1 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 lemon, cut in half
1 red pepper, julienned
1 orange pepper, julienned
(I also used a yellow one)
whole wheat tortillas
shredded cheese
sour cream
(none for us thanks)
Remove giblets and rinse chicken inside and out. Pat dry and use kitchen scissors to cut the entire skin off. Rub fajita seasoning all over chicken and place lemon slices inside. Line the bottom of your crock pot with onions and place chicken on top of onions. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of the chicken and set the slow cooker on high for 1 hour. When the timer goes off, set the crock pot to low and cook for 3 to 4 hours. Just before the crock pot is done, sauté peppers in 1 tablespoon olive oil until just soft. Set out the sour cream, cheese, guacamole and peppers. When the chicken is done, use your fork to pull off and plate chunks of meat. (It will fall right off the bone.) Warm your tortillas and serve. (Note: you can cook this chicken for 8 hours on low if you prefer to prep in the morning and leave it all day.)

Fist off… Skinning a chicken is not as easy as some people make it sound. I had a heck of a time ripping the flesh off of that poor little fowl.

I made my own Fajita Seasoning for this recipe. I had never done that before and it turned out pretty good. I used this recipe:

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon crushed chicken bouillon cube (I just buy the bouillon powder and don't bother with cubes.)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I only used 1/8 tsp we don't like too spicy here.)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (We didn't use the pepper flakes.)
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into small glass or plastic container, seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place. Makes the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial or purchased Fajita Seasoning Mix.

What Did We Think of This Recipe??
All in all this meal was pretty good. The fajita seasoning didn't turn out as spicy as I expected it to be. Probably due to only using half of the pepper, but that's okay with us. It had a really good flavor.

Getting dinner on the table turned out to be a bit more of a chore than I thought. I started sautéing the pepper when there was about 30 minutes left on the timer. And it seriously took forever for them to soften. Then, once the peppers were looking okay I pulled the chicken out and pulled all the meat off the carcass. Next I started pulling everything else out for the eating:
Tortillas – Check.
Sour Cream – Check.
Salsa – Check.
Cheese – ummm… Cheese? Turns out the last person to empty the cheese bag (me) didn't pull a new one out of the freezer – did you know that it is nearly impossible to defrost cheese without melting it. Ugh!

Will we eat this again?
Yes we will. The fajitas were quite tasty and I'm glad I decided to try this one. I should have invited Holly over for dinner to eat some of this, but I didn't (being post-anniversary day I didn't feel like sharing my day with anyone but John.) It turns out that even a 4 pound chicken is too much for two people to eat in one evening. I have plenty of chicken left for another recipe. The flavor is such that I will have to make some enchilada something to use it up.

Now, it's on to deciding what to eat next week… hmmm.

Any suggestions?

So much to do ... so little motivation

Somewhere inside of me I have a crafty homemaker that struggles to get out. Periodically I have this great desire to do something crafty. I want to paint, I want to sew, I want to scrap book, I want to make jewelry, I want to do woodwork, I want to draw, I want to crochet, I want to make beautiful things... but I have this overwhelming feeling that there just aren't enough hours in the day and that time and life and expectations are too pressing on me and I just start to feel like I can't accomplish anything. So nothing gets done.
I'm sure a lot of it has to do with my need for sleep. I'm just lazy I suppose, or perhaps depression and being over weight have something to do with it too. there is also the rationalization that "we don't have kids so we can do whatever we want with our time." But that's really just an excuse to be more lazy. Lets take a look at my daily schedule so you can get an idea of what I do every day:
My days start when my alarm goes off at 5:00 am... I don't usually get out of bed until 5:30.  I go to work for 8 hours a day. I have a 1 hour commute each way to and from work. I get home around 4:00 - 4:30. Check the mail, shovel the walk (if needed,) clean various things, maybe lay down for a little bit. I make dinner, we usually eat between 5:30-6:00. After dinner I'm usually tired.
Then what? I usually retire to the bedroom to watch a movie or TV, or the TV room to use the laptop. Then by 8:00 - 8:30 I'm done with my day and I decide it's time for bed. so I go to bed; sometimes I fall asleep at 8:30, but other times I stay awake (and in bed) until 10:00 pm when I finally fall asleep. I'll not even get into how we spend our weekends. Lets just say they are less then productive.
I need to make my time between 4:30 and 10:00 more productive. I need to learn to budget my time so that things can be accomplished and I can feel like I have fulfilled my time with something.
I have decided that I need to make a chart for myself. It needs to be blocked out in time frames: From this to this I will clean this. From this to this I will work on this. from this to this I will do this. It needs to be separated into days of the week. I need specific days to clean specific rooms of the house, or to work on specific projects. I need to be scheduled out completely so that I always know what I should be doing. Maybe this way I'll be able to be productive until a reasonable bed time for a 32 year old adult. 
Does any one else have this type of problem, or is it just me? 
Do you have a life schedule?
Does anyone want to share their life schedule with me?
** Here are some of the craft projects I am working on that I'd like to finish at some point this year:
Crocheting -
1 - I'd like to make all 16 items in my "I Taught Myself To Crochet" book. Two down 14 more to go.
2 - Make a blanket for the babies I know this year. So far it's just baby-boy-razee, but it's still only January.
Sewing -
1 - Work on my Halloween Quilt. I'd like to say finish it, but that's wishful thinking. I'd at least like to finish getting the squares cut out.
2 - Storage Bags. I have several small Items that need homes. Draw-string storage bags seem like they'd be a good solution. I'll need at least 3.
Scrap Booking and the like -
1 - Big Bad Jesus Book for my sister and adorable niece. I need more pictures of the Life of Christ.
2 - Scan Negatives into computer to preserve my photographs digitally.
What kind of craft projects are you working on this year?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


John and Elizabeth Evans
Bountiful LDS Temple, January 25, 2002

Nine years ago today I married the most amazing man in the world. We have been through a lot together in the last 9 years that I don’t think a lot of people ever have to deal with in their first few years of marriage (or maybe they do and I just don't know it...) Unemployment, depression, disappointments, deaths of close personal friends and family, strange neurological diseases, multiple car accidents… and several other things. Our marriage hasn’t been easy, but really who’s ever is. But the one thing that has gotten me through all of this is having John beside me. I truly did marry my best friend. Sure, life isn’t perfect all the time and there are those days when there is just nothing to say to each other, but even those quiet moments are nice, as long as we’re together.

I just know that I love John more deeply now than I did the day I married him. He is my sunshine in my darkest moments. I love his faults and his strengths. I love his lights and his darks. I love how he sleeps and I love him when he is awake. I love the sound of his voice and his presence in the silence. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him when he’s gone or touch him when he’s near. I must truly be one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Thank you for marrying me John.

He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such a she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fullness of perfection lies in him.
William Shakespeare - Act II - Hubert, scene ii

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Absent, but not dead

It's been a while since I actually put my own words on this blog. I haven't forgotten it, and I haven't died. It is nearly the end of January so I'm going to post my goals for the New Year:

˚          Go to Church (I know I need to… We'll do better)
˚          Visit Grandmas
˚          Clean up my language (Sure I don't swear like a sailor, but I could always do better.)
˚          Learn to crochet (so far so good. I'm making a blanket right now.)
o       Crochet something for every baby that comes this year (So far there is only one)
˚          Cook one new recipe a week (We need more variety. If you have a favorite recipe you think we should try please pass it along. I'll try to remember to blog about them as we go.)
˚          Eat more healthy (This goes with the goal above)
˚          Finish projects
o       Big Bad Jesus book for Andrea (if you have seen my book you know what I mean. Oh, and I need old Ensigns and Children's Friends that I can cut up… does anyone have some of those?)
o       Organize Cookbooks/Recipes (put all those stray papers into the awesome binder I got for my wedding… 9 years ago!)

˚          Walk at least 3 times a week
˚          Stop being so bitter
˚          Do yard work
˚          Schedule my life better
˚          Clean out the "other" room (yeah, that's one of those that is always on the list)

I'll be back. stay tuned....

Eating with Liz 2011 - Cheese Soup

More food for thought…. This was the new recipe we tried last week. It was rather good. I'll have to work on my cheese sauce skills, but this is something we'll have again. John even liked it, and he is very against the eating of broccoli. As Dr. Hibbert on the Simpsons says about broccoli: "Oh, yes, one of the deadliest plants on earth. Why, it tries to warn you itself with it's terrible taste."
But it's really not.

Cheddar Cheese Soup with Zucchini, Broccoli, and Carrots

2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
(I use freeze dried garlic)
1/2 medium zucchini, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
(I just buy pre-shredded carrots and then chop them into smaller pieces)1/2 onion, grated (I used one small onion)1 head broccoli, chopped into mini florets
3 c. chicken broth
(I used 1 can chicken broth and 1 can vegetable broth)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

In large saucepot, melt butter. Add garlic, zucchini, carrots and onion. Sauté until veggies are tender. Stir in broccoli and broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender. Meanwhile, in another large pot, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in milk until smooth. Simmer until thickened. Whisk in cheddar cheese. Incorporate vegetable mixture into cheese sauce, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

When I found this recipe the person who submitted it stated that it freezes well… I have the leftovers in my freezer, but I have tried reheating it yet. I guess we'll find out.

Eating with Liz 2011 - Braised Short Ribs

I have found the most interesting blog. I don’t think I could call myself a “blog follower” for any of the blogs I actually look at, and most of those are just family and friends, but I have recently discovered Cooking With My Kid and the fun and wonderful world of new recipes (okay, discovering new recipes isn’t really new to me.) I check back every couple of days, and usually I find at least one recipe to print and try in my own home. I think I would definitely say I'm following this one.


The recipes that are given on this website are healthy and different and everything we have tried has been pretty tasty. Just ask John. also the recipes are pretty kid friendly. So even though I don't have kids of my own I feel that if I did, I'd be willing to not only feed this stuff to my kids, but I’d let them help as well.


This is the recipe we tried for dinner last night:

Crock Pot Braised Short Ribs Recipe
Prep Time:
20 mins  Cooking Time: 5 to 7 hours

3/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
6 tablespoons packed  brown sugar
6 tablespoons  rice vinegar
3  cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup orange juice
zest of 1 small orange
16  beef short ribs
8  medium carrots, peeled and cut in thirds on the diagonal
1  large green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
3  tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, orange juice, and orange zest. Line the bottom of the crock pot with carrots. Place the short ribs atop the carrots and lay the cabbage on top. Pour the soy mixture over the top and cover.

Cook, covered, on high for 5 to 6 hours (or on low for 7 to 8 hours), until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone. Transfer the cabbage, short ribs, and carrots to a large serving dish. Skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. With the slow cooker on high, whisk the corn starch into the cooking liquid and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables.

Serves 8.

I only made 12 short ribs without the bone, but that seemed to be enough for 5 or 6.  We had my girlfriend Holly over for dinner and there were enough leftovers for our lunches today.


So, what did we think of this recipe??

Well… it was pretty tasty. The carrots, meat and sauce were all really good, but no one was very fond of the cabbage. John and Holly were good sports in eating it, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t their favorite part.

The next time I do this recipe I think we’ll either skip the cabbage, or perhaps just have it boiled with butter on the side. Maybe instead of cabbage a nice side salad would be good. This also would have been good to have with some nice crusty bread. Mmmm.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Flash from the Past.

This was all the rage when I was in Canada.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011