Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, I'm back again already with a new recipe. Two for this week since there was none for last week. That makes me all caught up. Today's recipe is for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have not had a good recipe for these. They've either been to long and involved, or they just don't taste right or turn out right... or something. But this recipe was super simple and the cookies were SO GOOD.
I got the recipe from the blog of one of my favorite authors Maggie Stiefvater. She writes YA fiction. I've talked about her books on my own blog, Here, Here, Here and Here. I haven't really ever been a fan of authors. I've been a fan of author's books, or of the author's writing style, but I find myself a fan of Maggie Stiefvater as a person. I've really been impressed by her. I think she is the only author I have ever referred to by first name only when I talk about her. Maggie. is. awesome. With that said, I give to you her Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe as it was presented on her blog:
By Maggie Stiefvater

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (cut it into tablespoons and microwave it for 30 seconds)
1 cup packed brown sugar (and I'm talking nice stuff, not the store brand. Come on, people!)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbs vanilla (again, nice stuff. Try
this and you'll never spend $8 dollars on McCormick's again)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semi-sweet chips (I like the mini-chips for these)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. You can do this by hand, if you have Popeye arms, or use your handy standing mixer. (I KNOW you have a standing mixer. Everyone has one, along with a favorite pair of jeans and the dark secret of your first movie crush. If you don't have one, sell your couch and get one.)(Can't beat that great advice from a NYT Bestselling author, can you?) Beat in vanilla and eggs until light and creamy. Mix in flour until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips (really, when you're trying to make absurdly large baked goods, the mini chips are better for allowing them to hold together). Use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop dough onto the cookie sheet, 3" apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until they're golden brown around the edges. They will get firmer as they set up because of the high butter content.

Hold up to your head to verify the size. The end!
John was disappointed that the cookies I made were not as big as his head, but they are not petite cookies either. I really think you should go make some of these now.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Eating With Liz 2011 - Potato Soup

I never did get around to making something new last week. I was lucky if I ate anything at my house that wasn't cereal. Last week was difficult. But onwards and upwards...

Last week I got a call from my husband and he told me to get a paper and a pen so I could write something down for him. So I did. Then he said, "I want some really good potato soup." and I was like, "Okay." and then he was all, "did you write it down?" and I said, "what?" and he said, "The fact that I want some really good potato soup." ... Apparently he wanted some potato soup. After some internet perusing I came up with this little recipe for my Crockpot: 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Serves/Makes: 6   

6 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed)
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream or half-and-half cream
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup sour cream (optional)
8 slices bacon, fried & crumbled
cheese, for sprinkling

Combine first seven ingredients in a large Crockpot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender).
Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thickened. Stir in cream, cheese and chives.

Top with more sour cream, sprinkle with bacon and more cheese.   

A few things I did differently from the recipe:

    I used Kosher Salt, hoping to cut down on the salt-y-ness of the 2.5 tsp's.

    I used 4 Large Potatoes. They filled up the pot just fine.

    I added the Sour Cream and Bacon to the soup instead of using it for garnish.

    I just used my wooden spoon and smashed a few of the potatoes to thicken it.


All in all the soup was pretty good. Except for one little issue I had with the onions...

I thought I was all ready to make this for Sunday dinner, but when I pulled myself out of bed at 8 am to put together the soup I found that all the onions I had in my kitchen had rotted out. I had to throw them all away and use dried onions.

Here's my problem with dried onions... I never know how much to use. They're dried into such tiny little morsels that when the recipe calls for a large onion I look at the dried ones and wonder to myself "how does that equate out into these?" And as luck would have it - I always end up using too much.

Does 1 cup dried onion equal 1 cup fresh onion? Answer: NO.

So when it came to the onions yesterday I failed. It almost makes me want to turn in to one of those crazies that don't put onions in anything... but that would just be silly. I love onion.

The rest of the recipe was really simple, and in the end (aside from the onions) it was really good. It smelled good cooking all day, and it even tasted great off the spoon... but when you set a bowl of it in front of the diners it was just too onion-y. After we'd had our servings of the soup we dished out some for lunches the next day and threw the rest of the pot out.

Now, don't get me wrong, this soup would have been really good if I hadn't put in too many onions. I will try this recipe again. Maybe next time I'll make sure I have fresh onions, or maybe skip the onion all together.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What does it mean to be Elizabeth....

Upon remarking to John that my love of diamonds must come from the fact that I was named after Elizabeth Taylor (her love of jewelry; "the bigger the better") and also Queen Elizabeth (who also has an extensive jewelry collection.) He stated to me the following:
"That’s it!  No Elizabeth's in the family any more! They are beautiful but expensive."
True and True....
but I did so want to have my very own mini-Elizabeth.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eating with Liz - Baked Oatmeal

I think my favorite meal is breakfast. But that doesn’t mean that I have to eat it in the morning. I love breakfast foods at all times of day and I’m especially fond of breakfast for dinner. Frankly, you can never go wrong with some tasty bacon and eggs for any meal. I do try to add variety at times though. Some times it’s the greasy Bacon, Onion, and Potato combo that catches my taste buds, and other times it’s just plain old pancakes that I want… but no matter the type breakfast is my favorite. I have really been trying to get us eating healthier food at our house this year, and that has led me to some recipes that I wouldn’t usually try for a number of reasons. But this week I wanted something yummy, that me and John could eat without too much guilt. I am a fan of grains for breakfast. I love rice with milk and sugar, I love just plain old oatmeal with milk, I love whole wheat toast with butter… mmmm. This was just a little twist and an addition to the oatmeal that I already thought was great.

First off, I find that we (meaning: more John than me) eat a lot of Instant Oatmeal for breakfast (and lunch). It’s quick, it’s easy, and mushy… I prefer a little solid to my food so I have always loved Original Rolled Oats. They are not so mushy or glue like if you eat them fresh out of the pan. Add some milk and sugar and wha-la! You’ve got a healthy breakfast. But some times it needs a little more. That’s why I wanted to try this recipe out. We have loved the Baked Apple French Toast so much that I decided to try some of these other fruit recipes I have found… I took this recipe from, again. 

Baked Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 mins  Cooking Time: 25 to 28 mins


1 tablespoon melted butter or canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 egg
1 cup low fat milk
1 apple (peeled and sliced into very thin pieces)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
cooking spray
extra cinnamon for sprinkling
extra brown sugar for sprinkling
1/2 cup warm low fat milk for serving


Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl combine egg, milk, applesauce and melted butter (or canola oil).  Add oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Mix in dried cranberries and pour batter into well greased 9 inch square baking pan.  Spread batter evenly and place apple slices in rows on top. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and brown sugar.  Bake for 25 to 28 minutes. Scoop into bowl and add a generous splash of warm milk.  Serves 4.

This Baked Oatmeal was Delicious!

I used a can of apple sauce from my pantry shelf… I’m pretty sure it’s sweetened. I didn’t have any cranberries so we searched around for some raisons but we didn’t have any of those either. We don’t drink low-fat milk at our house. And when given a choice of butter or something else, I will always choose the butter.

This was fast and easy. I was able to put it all together and throw it in the oven while I showered. The apples were cooked just enough to still have a little resistance to them. If I was speaking of pasta they would be al dente. It’s a bit like a backwards apple crisp, The oatmeal makes up the bulk of the dish with a crust of apples on top.

We divided it into four, served up a couple of bowls and enjoyed it greatly. John added a swirl of chocolate syrup to his. I ended up having two servings worth because I was just that hungry, and it was just that good.  

Give it a try. I'm sure you'll like it too.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Watching too many musicals......

Can you hear the angry people wanting to storm the Bastille and become Barons, and have a sad girl die and a happy girl get married so a man can see ghost and a Chandler can fall down, and blame it on the angel of music so a gangster can go straight so a man can get washed out of someone's hair because they can’t pay their rent so they always look on the bright side of life so that the lady of the lake can make a man out of peasants, so Officer Finesse can throw himself into a river 'cause someone told him life is better under the sea, so maybe just around the river bend, but instead he only found a a Lion and a king, and some stupid colored dream coat to take them to OZ just so they can vote for women. ????

Monday, March 7, 2011

So Much to Do....

What Kind of projects have I been working on?

* Currently I’m crocheting an afghan for John’s sister who is having a baby in July. I was given a lot of yarn that once belonged to Grandma Evans and when I first looked at the pile of green, brown, off white and variegated I wasn’t sure what I’d do with them, or how well they’d turn out together. But I found a pattern that I liked and got started. I did have to buy a skein of orange yarn because I needed an extra color, but the pattern has turned out pretty cute. I call it “retro blanket” and can’t wait to see how it looks when I’m done. There are a few issues that I just can’t seem to rectify, like the seam where I trade yarn is a bit zigzag, but whatever. I can deal with that. And I’ve missed a stitch or used the wrong stitch here and there, but I don’t think Rachel will care… if she does then she is just ungrateful and I’ll take the blanket back. I was almost done with it about a week ago, but I accidentally cut a string while weaving in some ends and ended up having to unravel 15 rows of stitching (!!!) since the blanket is just two patterns of 24 rows each 15 is a lot, and I almost cried. But I didn’t.

* Also, my Halloween quilt has been calling me from the cupboard where it went to die. I really would like to work on it and get it done, but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for a while. Good thing I have my entire life to get it done.

* Next: I saw on-line some totally cute felt alphabet letters and I thought to myself “I can make that.” So I went out and bought some felt and found a pattern for the letters. And that is as far as I have gotten. I thought they would be fun for my littles but Auntie Liz isn’t as organized as she should be.

Speaking of being organized...

* Then there is the mess that I call the “other room” I have been working on this little bit by little bit. The giant DI purge from a few weeks ago got some of the stuff out, but there is still a long way to go. -- Right now I’m working on organizing the desk. Now, this desk seems to collect all the small items that go into this room, as well as being my vanity for my hair dryer and other sundries hair items. I’m going to clean and organize all the drawers and get my hair stuff gathered together.

This is the BEFORE picture of the desk:

I did a little dent into the desk the other day by organizing the random “junk drawer” Tupperware’s that have been hauled from place to place as we’ve moved over the years. You can see them there on the right side of the desk.

Here is the AFTER picture of the bin purge:

It takes up a little more room on the desk, but it also holds more items that were making messes elsewhere in the house. Now I have two empty containers that can be repurposed for something else, as you can see I now have some items organized. Ribbon, Sticky Things (tape, glue, stickers, labels), Writing Utensils (pens, pencils, sharpies), Crayons & Markers,  Paper (Crafting, Printing, Note) … So far so good.

Now I just need to go buy a few more plastic drawers for things such as Party Supplies, Coloring Books, Sewing Stuff, and Batteries. (That's the list so far, but I know I'll come up with more.)

* After organizing a little in the other room I started pulling out drawers in the kitchen, to see what could be sorted out into the new drawers in the other room, and managed to get the computer desk drawer cleaned out and sorted. It looks very nice, but I don't have a picture of it.

Then I moved to what has become the dumping drawer for random tools and instruction manuals in the kitchen. I sorted through it all and threw some stuff in a new DI box and put all the instruction manuals by the filing cabinet to be put away properly. I put all the random screws and nails from build it yourself furniture and put them all in their own bags. I threw out some stuff that no one knew what it went to, and made everything look nice.

Here is the BEFORE and AFTER pictures:



* Recently I got really annoyed with the pants I had been wearing to work. They were all black and just a little to short. I know, funny that I'd have a pair of pants that were too short... I think they shrunk over the years. Anyway, I bought this really nice pair of pants from but they only come in one length... super long. They were about 6 inches too long. I thought I'd get someone else to hem them for me,but after wearing them a couple of times with the cuffs pinned up I decided that I just needed to do it myself. I searched the internet on some "How To Hem Pants" and came up with a pretty good idea of what needed to be done. I think it helped that I have a little sewing background. One night I pulled out my pins, my scissors, a needle and thread, and my iron and got to work. I think I did a pretty good job. I don't think anyone can tell that I did it myself. I did decide that next time I will pull out my sewing machine instead of doing all the stitching by hand. That just took too long. But I got it done and I'm very impressed with myself. I learned a new skill, I think that's worth a <level up>.

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures even though they're not the best:


* I'm still working on the Big Bad Jesus Book for my niece Mikayla. It's still just a scattered mess of pictures and words right now, but I'm getting ready to get back to work on it. I was recently given a bag full of Ensigns to cut up. I hope they're different from the ones that I already had. The bag did include some Children's Friends though so that should be a helpful change. Again I send out the call that if you have any old Ensigns that you want to get rid of you can pass them my way. I need more. I think I'll go through the old Gospel Principles lesson manual and see what I can find in there.

* The Bathroom. That covers a lot of projects right now. The walls, the plumbing... it could also use some organizing and purging. There are some holes that need to be plastered and I think I could probably replace the calking around the tub. I think I am going to go with the "Canary Song" paint color.


* The Kitchen. If you have seen the ceiling in the kitchen you know what I'm talking about. But I decided that if I'm painting the ceiling I may as well do the walls too. I decided that the walls should be "Robins Egg" and for the ceiling "Popcorn" it's much more white than the picture would have you believe. Now if only we could do something with the cupboards and counter tops... but I guess I'll just improve where I can and let it be at that.

* And then after all that I decided I wanted my own herb garden... It sits on the kitchen table in the sunshine (when there is some. I'm a little surprised that the cats haven't knocked it off yet. Here is a picture of it after one week:

Eating With Liz 2011 - Bread

For my new recipe of the week, I actually used an old one with a little changes. The price of food is getting a little ridiculous these days, and combined with the price of gas it seems that sometimes we have to choose between gas of food.  I figured that I could spend a few more dollars on flour and yeast I could make my own bread and save a bit of money in the over all scheme of things. But making bread in standard bread pans just doesn’t work out for me. The bread is way to big for a decent sandwich and shaped wrong to go in baggies for lunch.

I decided I needed to invest in a real sandwich bread pan. After a little research and looking around for the best price I settled on the USA Pans 13 x 4 x 4 Inch Pullman, Aluminized Steel with Americoat what a fantastic pan.  The pan is a little pricy but it is worth it.

USA Pans 13 x 4 x 4 Inch Pullman, Aluminized Steel with Americoat

The pan is a little pricy but it is worth it. Like I said, making my own bread will hopefully even out the price in the end. I bought it from There are some sandwich pans on there that look cheaper, but they don't come with the lid that you need to make the square loaf. So don't go cheap on this, and buy a good pan. I( bought the cheap cookie sheets the last time I got some, and I'm feeling sorry that I did now. Buy quality the first time and hopefully you wont have to replace it for quite a while.)  

Even though I didn't use a new recipe I used a new pan that I had never used before so it was it’s own adventure.

Another reason for making bread last night is because I find myself craving Baked Apple French Toast. With that in mind, I made one loaf of Sandwich Bread and one loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

Here is the basic bread recipe I use. It is from my grandma, and as I always like to say "Grandma's recipes never go wrong." I don't know how this will work in a bread machine, but you can give it a try.

Grandma Mc's Bread Recipe:


5-6 cups Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
2 packages Yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups Warm Water
1/4 cup Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter

Sift together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. (I use a whisk to incorporate them all together, who wants to actually own a sifter... just one more space taker-upper.) Heat oil and water together to just warm enough that you can comfortably stick your finger in it. Add to flour mixture. Mix in an additional 2.5 to 3 cups of flour. Turn out on to table and knead for 5 minutes. (or as I learned from my friend Holly, "knead until it's soft like a baby's bum.") Put kneaded dough into a greased bowl and let it raise for 1 hour. (Easy trick: turn oven to 400 degrees for 1 minute and then turn it off and put your bowl in the stove to raise. It works great if you have a cold house like mine.) Punch down dough and shape into the pans. Cook 2 loaves for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Slather tops with butter when it comes out of the oven.

For Cinnamon Bread: mix 1/2 cup Sugar with 2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon, roll out dough and slather with softened or melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mix, roll up like a Cinnamon roll, tucking in the sides as you go. Stuff it/them in to bread pan(s) and bake as above.

I made a few changes for the sandwich bread this time around. I substituted 2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour for 2 cups of White Flour. I'm not a super fan of whole wheat, but I do understand that it is good for me and that I should eat it, so I tried making this a little more healthy.  But I just made the standard recipe for the cinnamon bread. There's no use pretending to make that more healthy. For Pete's sake it is loaded with sugar and cinnamon... but it is very tasty.


** A note on baking bread in the new bread pan: The sandwich bread pan takes the entire bread recipe. What would make you two standard sized loafs will make you one loaf of sandwich bread.

It takes the same amount of cooking time to bake in the pan with the lid as it does in any other pan. Once the dough has been raised and punched down, shape it and place it into the square pan. Place the lid on the pan leaving it open a little so you can see what's going on, and let it raise again until it's just about filled the pan. (I got distracted last night watching the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables on PBS (if you didn't see it this weekend you really missed out) and my loaf rose right out of the pan through that little opening. I pulled off the extra dough and cooked myself a little roll on the side. Sadly though, once you touch the bread it deflates and you have to wait for it to raise back up.) Once it's raised almost to the top of the pan close the lid the rest of the way and throw it in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes then pull the lid off and let it bake for a few more minutes to let it get all crusty.


The bread all turned out wonderful, and I ended up making the recipe one and a half times for my need for cinnamon bread.

Eating with Liz 2011 - Enchilada Soup

As promised, here is the soup recipe that I splattered all over my walls:

Mom Evans’ Chicken Enchilada Soup
Serves: 6-8

1 pkg. Corn Tortillas cut into strips (or Fritos)
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (if you use Fritos you don’t need the oil)

2 quarts Chicken Stock
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 cans Mild Chopped Green Chilies
2-4 Chicken Breasts, cooked, cubed or shredded
1 large can Plumb Tomatoes or 6-8 frozen Roma Tomatoes, unthawed and crushed (2 cans of crushed tomatoes)
3 tsp Cumin

Fry tortillas in Oil until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

In large soup pot add: Chicken stock, onion, garlic, green chilies, and tomatoes. Cook on medium heat until it reduces by 1/3. This takes about 15 – 30 minutes. Add Tortilla strips (leave out some for garnish if you like.) Then take portions and blend in blender until smooth. (You can leave it a bit chunky if you like.) Pour back in soup pot. Add chicken, cumin, and Tabasco. Heat until hot.

Serve in bowls with the following condiments: Chopped Tomatoes, Olives, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Fried Tortillas (Fritos)

Okay, so that’s the recipe just the way I received it in purple. There are a few Changes that I have made to it, as you can see in blue.
This is one of my favorite soups and I am always happy to eat it when it is served. I had finally decided that I needed the recipe myself and my mother-in-law gave it to me several months ago. Last week was the first time I had attempted it. And if you read my last blog entry you can see the fiasco that turned out to be.
Here are some things I learned while making this soup that are not stated in the recipe: (and that I didn’t know before hand…)
*  Let the soup cool before putting it in the blender. Otherwise your blender will explode all over your kitchen. Because as my helpful friend Candy stated and rubbed in that hot things don’t go in blenders because the pressure will cause the lid to blow of.  
* You don’t really need the fried tortillas. I didn’t fry corn tortillas for this recipe, I also didn’t put any in the soup while I was making it. I used Fritos, and they only went on as garnishes at the end. I’m sure the Fritos could be used in the middle of the recipe instead of the tortillas but when I was making the soup I was too mad to care so I didn’t put any in.
* Tabasco. The recipe doesn’t say how much to use. I assumed it was just to taste, but you never know. I put in about three shakes of the bottle. That was about good for us. John and I are really not spicy food fans.

Even without the blending in the middle of the recipe what was left in the pot was really good. The chunkiness of the soup was good I didn’t mid a little chewing as I ate it.
I hope you give this soup a try and enjoy it as much as I do. Fell free to make whatever changes you want to make it just that much more tasty for you… and if it’s really good let me know and I’ll give it a try too. I think next time I make it I’ll half it because it makes a lot of soup. Even with only half a pan left to eat we still ended up with 4 bowls of leftovers for lunches.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This Week in Review-ish

Well, if you took the time to read The Saga of the Fridge then you know at least a part of the excitement that has been going on at our house this last little while…

John and I are doing pretty well for the most part. Neither of us has been sick for time being, but we both found ourselves in a bit of a depressive rut for a short time mid-February, but we’re better now.

We have been having quite the adventure with our house, to say the least. There have been some house troubles for the last few weeks that, on one had make us glad we’re not home owners, but on the other hand makes us wish that we were home owners.

First off, our hot water in the bathtub has decided not to work, it only comes out in a drizzle, but only in the tub. It doesn’t matter how much you turn the knob it still just comes out in a little stream. All the sinks in the house seem to have good pressure when the hot water is turned on, just not the tub. Which I have decided is the worst place of all to have no hot water.

I haven't been able to get the shampoo out of my hair for almost two weeks now. It's pretty gross, itchy and frustrating. Who has time in the mornings to stand in the low pressure wash and wait for all the shampoo to rinse out? I know I don’t.

We’re working on fixing the issue, but it’s hard when the only plumber you really know lives in a different state, and happens to be married to the landlord. He suggested that we change the valve… Yes, he was just that descriptive. What valve? The valve stem that opens and closes off the water flow from the knob? Yep, we changed that. Twice. That’s twice in one week, and still no change. Is there another valve I should be looking at?  --- Yeah, so no help there.

John does work with a few plumbers. They also suggested that we replace the valve. When John told them he did that the plumber suggested that we try blowing out the line. - Which really means take out the valve stem and turn the hot water back on and let it blow across the tub and get everything wet if you’re not ready with a protective shower curtain. - We were ready and didn’t get the bathroom all wet.

The water blowing out of the line seemed pretty powerful, like there was no blockage. We did get a bunch of rust out of the pipes though… you should have seen the bottom of the tub. Also, the water was a nice brownish color, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the color the water is supposed to be. When we put the stem back in and added the knob, guess what…That’s right, STILL NO HOT WATER PRESSURE.

And that’s where we have been for the last week with the water. It’s very, very frustrating. All I want is clean hair and a hot shower but I can’t have one.

This week’s suggestion from the plumber’s at John’s work involve checking the water heater for build up, degrading hoses and floating plastic. That should be fun. When he got home from work yesterday he pulled out his wrenches and tried to unscrew some pipes from the Water Heater, but guess what… They didn’t budge. After some light cussing and frustrated storming around the house he decided that that project will have to wait until Saturday. I’ll let John handle that.

With all the extra time I have been spending in the bathroom I have definitely decided that it needs a new paint job. I’ve chose yellow. I can’t decide if I want to make it “Canary Song” or “Mimosa” both seem to work well in the bathroom lighting. I think I’m leaning towards “Canary Song” because it’s a little more bright and cheerful than the other one. Now I have to prep the walls. I bought myself a nice new scraper and some plaster for the holes. This was going to be my project to work on while DH is at work in the evenings.
BUT… the painting has been put on hold because…

We had to buy a new fridge. You can read the entire Saga of the Fridge HERE. Needless to say that this last Sunday was a bad day.

Sunday started out pretty normal. Other than my knee hurting (which it seems to do a lot lately.) John’s mom had called the night before and asked that John come take her to church in her ward. (She had total knee replacement surgery at the end of January and though she is pretty mobile she still needs the help.) And I had finally finished the Relief Society Newsletter for March and I needed to go to our ward so they could get passed out for the month… So we both got up and got ready for church. I somehow managed to give myself a steam burn on my hand from my hair dryer and my wet hair. I think the leave in conditioner I have been using is kind of crappy. It causes my hair to steam while I blow it dry… I don’t think it should do that.

When the time came we went our separate ways to church. (Yes, I actually went to church by myself. Yes, you did hear right, I do make the Relief Society Newsletter now.)

I only made it through sacrament meeting… It was SO boring. It was High Council Sunday, but our poor high council fellow never really got a chance to speak. His son was the return missionary speaker he brought with him, and the kid took the ENTIRE meeting. The beginning of his talk was good, but then it just kept going and going and going…I was bored and lonely, and by the time sacrament meeting was done, so was I. My knee was killing me and I just wanted to get out of the building. After passing the Newsletters to a member of the Relief Society Presidency I went home. I took an anti-inflammatory pill and found my heating pad and crawled onto my bed to not deal with anything… and that’s when the fridge started making that horrible humming noise. I got up and checked on it, but there was nothing I could do so I decided to wait for John to come home and we’d see what we could do about it.

After a while John did come home and we complained to each other about the fridge and decided that it was probably the compressor going out and we just needed to buy a new fridge.

There was nothing we could do about that so I decided that it was time to get dinner started. I was trying out the new recipe for the week: Mom Evans’ Chicken Enchilada Soup (the recipe will follow in another post since I don’t have it right here with me.) Basically you take some chicken stock, onions, garlic, and crushed tomatoes and boil it all together for a while. Once it’s boiled down a bit you put it in the blender with some fried tortillas and puree the crap out of it… Well, you can go a head and call me a moron because I didn’t think to let the soup cool before sticking it in the blender. I didn’t think that putting on a lid and starting that sucker up with hot soup in would cause it to explode all over the kitchen and me. Ack! I was so angry. I’m sure I must have screamed or swore or something because John came running to help.

So now I had the fridge-humm burrowing into my brain, my knee was killing me, and I am covered in hot soup with a steam burn all along my forearm, watching the liquid tomato drip down the walls. Let me tell you, I was done. My blender was now broken, I had plastic bits in the soup still remaining in the bottom of the blender. There was red liquid streaming from the bottom, reassuring me that the bottom seal no longer worked, and the lid didn’t quite fit any more. What a party. The soup in the blender got dumped and the entire blender got thrown away.

Dinner was almost an epic failure… but there was still half a pot left so I added the chicken and the cumin and Tabasco and called it good. All in all, my Chunky Chicken Enchilada Soup tasted pretty good. Just add some sour cream, some cheese and Fritos and it makes a fantastic dinner. Nom nom nom.

I used the left over chicken from the Fajita’s I made not to long ago. (I just shred all the left over fajita chicken and throw it in a freezer bag. That way it is all ready for your next Mexican dish that calls for chicken. Then it’s a cinch to just defrost it and throw it in. No extra cooking. Yay! Don’t forget to label your freezer bag though… it isn’t fun to pull something out of the freezer and wonder “how long hast that been in there?” … and “what was this?”)

After dinner, the discussion got back to the fridge and it was decided, that since I had just gotten a pretty nice bonus from work that we would just buy a new one. That is NOT what I wanted to spent my bonus on, but how often in life do we really get what we want. It was quite amusing in the fact that we had gone to the Home Depot just the day before to get another stem for the bathtub faucet (damn tub) and for no reason other than being on the way to the paint department to grab a few more colors of yellow, we walked through the appliances and looked at the fridges. We looked at the big fancy fridges that I’d like to have some day, and we looked at the more reasonable fridges that would be more fitting for two people with no kids, and we looked at the clearance fridges because really, that’s probably what we were going to be able to afford. So by Sunday night we already had some good ideas of what kind of fridge we wanted, and what we wanted to pay for it.

That night I called my mom and told her my woes and asked if they would come and empty my freezer for me the next day. The orange juice was getting squishy.

At work the next day I’ll admit that I accomplished nothing. I perused the internet for fridges, Lowes, Home Depot, RC Willey… I priced them and looked up shipping and delivery and it seemed that no one would be able to get us a fridge until Friday. A week without a fridge?! That was not going to work for us. John called his dad and asked if we were to buy a fridge if he’d be willing to put it in his truck and bring it home for us and then maybe we could get some guys from the Elder’s Quorum over to help us move it in. He said yes, of course, because he loves us, but then he said to try two different places in bountiful and see what the could do for us. I called one of them and asked “Can I have this delivered to me tomorrow?” and they said yes. I told them what I wanted and they said they had what I needed so that was the store I was going to. I bought my fridge that afternoon from Charlie Fuller’s Appliance Sales. The store was pretty small and the selection isn’t that great, but I got just what I wanted in a fridge at just the right price. He even gave me a discount since he didn’t have the stainless steel and I had to get a white one instead. He did say that if I wanted to wait until the end of the week he could get me a stainless steel one, but I sad “no, I’ll take the white one.” I was in and out of the appliance store in about 15 minutes. And I had to do this all by myself because John was working at the Jazz game that night and stuff needed to get done.

After the fridge came on Tuesday and we got back to work on Wednesday the guys at john’s work grilled him about the fridge and how much we paid and where we got it from, and apparently I did a pretty good job. I got a great price for the fridge and the guys were impressed. I guess I’m just an independent woman who can get things done, and either their wives aren’t, or they refuse to acknowledge it. John told me a long time ago that one of the reasons he loved me was because I was a capable woman who could do hard things. This way he would never have to worry about me being stuck somewhere with a flat tire be cause I could fix it. He tries to change his story now and tells me all the time to let him do stuff, but that’s just the way I am.

Now it’s Friday and it has been both the Looongest and shortest week I’ve had in a long time. I’ve worked some extra hours to make up for the time I took off on Tuesday so that makes for some pretty long days. John has had Jazz games this week on Monday and Thursday and there another one tomorrow, so even though I complain about my long days there are days when John doesn’t even get home from salt lake until after 11… and those are looong days for him. The younger, pre-pseudo-migraine/pre-mononucleosis John would have been able to handle these long days and lack of sleep pretty good, but the new John doesn’t cope so well. We’ll see how much longer he keeps this second job.

That's all for now. I have rambled on too long for now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Basic Green Beans

Hi All,
I haven't forgotten about my goal to cook one new recipe a week. It's just been crazy so I haven't had time to blog about it. Last week we had a full out Pot-Roast Dinner. There was the Roast I made in the Crock Pot with sliced carrots and onions that I let cook all day. Mmm Mmmm. then once I was home from work I set about preparing the rest of dinner. I made roasted potato wedges in the oven with some olive oil and Mrs. Dash... (I don't know that I'll use the Mrs. Dash again it was too much spice.) And then I made something that I have never made before. Are you ready for this?

Basic Method for Cooking Green Beans

From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook


1 lb fresh Green Beans



Freshly ground pepper


Wash the beans and remove the ends and strings, if there are any. Leave them whole or cut them in diagonal strips. Drop them into a large pot of boiling water and boil them gently until done, allowing about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and age of the beans. Taste one to see if it is done; it should still be very crunchy. Drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly on cold water to stop the cooking. Reheat them in lots of butter, salt, and pepper just before serving.


Sure, I have had green beans before, but they have always come from a can, or a freezer, or on a plate next to my steak. But I had never had to cook fresh ones on my own. So this was new. I'm not really even sure why I bought them this way. I think I walked by them at the store and thought they looked yummy... so I bought a pound.

They got shuffled around in the fridge for several days before I finally decided what we were going to eat them with but once I pulled them out and stared at the produce bag I realized that I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them. I quickly crossed the kitchen and stared at my shelf of cookbooks and wondered to myself which one would tell me what I needed.... so I reached for the one I seem to use the most.

I got this recipe out of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook that I stole from my mother many, many years ago. (Face it, I have probably used it more than she ever would have.) I LOVE this cookbook and I wouldn't give it back for anything. 

Well, after all that I finally got my water boiling, my beans snapped and cooked and dosed in butter... and dinner was so good. It was colorful, and balanced and very, very tasty.

Let me just say... I don't think I'll ever go back to the canned and frozen stuff. My eyes have been opened to the yummy-ness of real green beans. In fact, I may plant myself some bean plants and grow my own.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Saga of the Fridge

empty old fridge
Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who lived in a house. This house was over 50 years old and had some issues, but this boy and girl made do and tried to make things better as the time passed.  
In this old house there lived an angry old fridge that liked to let everyone know it was angry by periodically making a loud Kerrrrrr-cHUnK sound. It did this several times a day, and also multiple times in the night while this boy and girl were sleeping. For the most part they ignored the angry fridge until one day (that happened to be a Sunday) Old fridge just decided it didn’t like them anymore, and instead of it’s usual Kerrrrrr-cHUnK it made a high pitched humming-rattling noise that drove the boy and girl (and the cats) crazy. It would rattle-humm for two hours then stop for twenty minutes then rattle-humm for two hours and then stop for twenty minutes…. And the pattern continued all day and all night and all the next day. But by the end of that first day, angry old fridge decided that it no longer wanted to keep the cold things cold, or the frozen things frozen so it let the frozen orange juice go squishy, and the freezer jam to melt.
the contents of my fridge
Now, this didn’t sit well with the boy and girl who lived in the house. They could put up with the angry old furnace that periodically Ka-Booms! As it starts to heat, and they were even putting up with the lack of hot water pressure from the bathtub faucet… but they would not put up with the angry old fridge that was refusing to do it’s job. So after a full nights sleep the boy and girl got up and went to work the next day. The girl spent all day researching refrigerators on-line, looking at prices, and brands, and sizes, and dealers… Eventually it came down to this. They needed a fridge. It needed to run. It needed to be quiet. It needed to be cheap. It needed to not have an ice maker. It needed to fit into the pre-existing spot of the old fridge… but most of all, they needed it NOW.

empty living room
So girl found a store that happened to be on her way home from work so she stopped there, walked in said, I need a fridge and I need it delivered tomorrow.  
empty kitchen w/old fridge

And the sales man said “I can do that.” So he showed her a fridge and she said “I’ll take it.” It wasn’t fancy, but it would do the job. So now, girl had to go home alone, (because boy was working ALL day,) and clean out the old fridge. Armed with coolers and ice girl emptied the angry old fridge listening all the while to it’s rattle-humm that was digging into her brain. Once everything was out she pulled the plug on that old monster and gave it a good swift kick.
Then she realized that she needed to do more work. There was only one way in and out of this old house and it was thoroughly blocked by the gathered possessions of this boy and this girl… so again, she got to work. Placing all the random chairs that gather at the table into various other rooms of the house she started moving things around in the kitchen. She yanked out that old fridge and knocked out some wooden trim that had previously adorned the cupboards and walls surrounding the fridge. She pulled out the computer desk and pushed, and scooted it across the floor with the subwoofer and printer in tow, all while trying not to knock the items and knick-knacks off the top.
She hauled the plastic drawers full of computer crap into the junk room and took a deep breath… but it still wasn’t over. When she turned around she saw how hideously dirty the floor was so she swept and swept and dusted the cob webs off the walls, and then for good measure she pulled out the steam mop and cleaned the entire floor as best she could. And yet she still wasn’t done. Next she moved to the hallway and removed at least three years worth of Christmas cards and pictures of family and friends that had been taped there. She took down her pictures and ripped out the taped down phone cord that belonged to the phone that no longer existed.
new fridge

She pulled down the picture frame and made a neat little pile and put it all on the previously moved computer desk… Then it was on to the living room. The path between the door and the hallway was strewn with obstacles. First she put away all the shoes that liked to gather together near the door and she told them to all stay put because she didn’t want to see them in front of the door for at least another twenty-four hours. The shoes all agreed and settled in to their now/old spots for the time being. Back in the living room the girl looked at the collection of CD cases and decided that they had to go too.
She pulled out her handy screwdriver and disconnected the brackets from the wall and pushed/pulled/rocked the CD case away from the wall into the middle of the room. Then she moved the lamp and the other case that is much lighter and not attached to the wall. That was it. The pathway was cleaned and there was nothing left to do but wait for the delivery man…. So the girl went to bed, and the boy finally came home from working. It was late at night. 
The next morning boy and girl got out of bed and got ready for the day… the fridge wasn’t supposed to come until the afternoon, but then the phone rang and the man on the other end said “I’m bringing your fridge now!” and the boy and girl rejoiced. 
new full fridge
It was a tight squeeze, but delivery-man got the old one out and the new one in pretty darn quick, and then boy and girl had to wait for it to cool before they could bust open the coolers and refill the new fridge. The new fridge was so quite and so clean, it made the boy and girl happy. It only took a few hours for it to get to temperature and again boy and girl rejoiced. Once the old food was in the new fridge girl decided she didn’t like the shelf placement, but she’ll have to fix that later there was to much else to do. Next it was into the living room… the floor was dirty so before anything was moved back girl had to vacuum. Then back to the kitchen where boy and girl used some cooperation and pushed the computer desk back into place and made the cords all nice and pretty and made sure the speakers worked. Then the plastic drawers came out of the junk room and resumed their place next to the desk.

all back together again

Then back to the living room where together they manipulated the heavy CD case back into place and screwed the brackets back into the wall…before realizing that the lamp cord needed to go behind the heavy CD case. So they unscrewed the brackets and put the cord in place and screwed the CD case back to the wall again.
 Then the lighter CD case went back into place. Boy hung the famed proclamation back onto the hallway wall, but alas, the pictures did not go back up. Finally, boy and girl put all the chairs back in their places and sat down for a deep breath. What a day… and it was only 11 am. Nap time.
The end.