Friday, September 27, 2013

Mission Code Name: Applesauce

What an eventful summer John and I have had… It seems like we have had colds all year, but I know that’s not quite right. I’ve had laryngitis twice this year, and John had an ongoing cough/cold for about two months. But other than that we have had a bit of fun.

Over the summer we had two friends and one nephew get married, and not to each other.

Logan and Jamie got married in Logan, UT on July 6th. John and I went up and spent the weekend at the Anniversary Inn because we love that place. The wedding we held at The Ritter Mansion outside, 90° F + humidity, sitting in the sun. But it was a nice ceremony. I almost got to perform it, but my better judgment, and personal choices got the better of me. They were very happy and the day was beautiful.
Bryce and Jennie happened to be in town that week so they came up from Blanding to Logan for the wedding. It was nice to see them and spend time with their little family before we all had to go back our separate directions.

Holly and Joseph were married on August 1st in the Salt Lake Temple. The sealing ceremony was short and sweet and they are so happy together.  The reception was held at The Chantilly Mansion  inside and out. It was a most beautiful day. I was able to spend a short amount of time with a Sister from my mission. Hermana Rivera (although that isn’t her name anymore) and her family needed a ride to the reception and John and I were happy to help out. There were so many wonderful people and old friends to see at Holly’s reception. I helped out a lot in the wedding planning up to a point where I just couldn’t take it any more. The best part though, was throwing Holly a bridal shower on July 17th at my home. A lot of Sister Missionaries from our old days came, and the best surprise of them all my Suzy Mattinsen came all the way from Virginia. I was so glad to see her.

One Saturday in August I decided I wanted to go see the Spiral Jetty. I remember learning about it back in high school in my Art history class, but it was under water back then. Due to the drought and low water levels this year it was visible and alluring to visitors. I had kinda
forgotten about it until recently when there was a news report about things to see in Northern Utah. We had made out plans to go when we were asked to babysit Kira and Cooper, John’s sister’s kids. Instead of changing our plans we just decided to take them with us. It was a two hour drive to get there, but it all went smoothly. The lake was beautiful, and the Spiral Jetty was underwhelmingly awesome. I loved it.   If you have never been there I would highly suggest going. It is out by the Golden Spike National Historic Site so if you have time you could stop there too for a history lesson. We had a ton of fun and only got a little sunburnt.

September brought about the one year anniversary of my broken elbow. To celebrate we made a Labor Day weekend trip to St. George...

John and I were able to take his sister Rachel and her two kids with us for this trip. The three of them packed into our back seat and we had a grand old time. John spoiled them with gas station gifts, and they filled the back seat with crumbs. (The car needs a good detailing now, inside and out.)

The St. George trip was also to celebrate the marriage of our nephew Nick to his new adorable wife Souamee. They live in Alaska and got married in…  June… July… I don’t remember. They came down to meet family and have a little open house to celebrate their marriage. We sure love those kids.

While in St. George we also decided to try a new restaurant. It was called the Bear Paw Café. It was delicious. We will have to go there again. All the food looked and smelled so good it was sad that we were only there for one meal.

September 5th – 7th was the first ever Salt Lake Comic Con. John and I bought tickets back in May to attend the three day celebration of all things Geek. Back when we bought our tickets it was still just a little affair with a few minor celebrity guests and some vendors. Over the following months more guests signed up, vendor booths sold out, and they had to move the convention from the South Town Expo Center to the Salt Palace in Downtown Salt Lake. Ticket sales went through the roof and Stan Lee decided to come. The Salt Lake City Comic Con is the 4th highest attended Comic Con, the biggest ever first opening Comic Con, and the biggest convention that Salt Lake City has ever hosted.
John and I went alone together on the 5th and ran into our brother-in-law Scott, and his daughter Lucy, and also our friend John Stout who was there by himself too.
We missed out on the 6th due to illness of John and I worked from home that day so I didn’t want to drive into Salt Lake and go by myself.

On the 7th my brother Norm joined us and we met up with the Stouts and Logan & Jamie while we were there. We also ran into a few other friends in the massive crowd of people. I believe there were 70,000 – 80,000 people attending on Saturday alone. I’m really surprised we ran into anyone we knew. John dressed as Captain Hammer and I put together a Steampunk costume of my own. An old friend, Blaine, who named my Steampunk alter ego Steamy Cogsworth… I kind of liked it so I shall accept the name and use it well.  We spent the entire day roaming the crowded aisles of venders and spent a lot of time waiting for Stan Lee. We watched the last bit of a panel discussion with William Shatner, and then went to the Stan Lee panel. John loved it. I did too. Stan Lee is rather awesome.

All in all it was a great weekend. I ended up with an awesome painting of the Baroness , John got Ms. Marvel, and Norm got Supergirl.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever... but I'm bias.

My Grandma Mc’s Doughnut & Sweet Roll Dough



6-7 cups Flour

½ cup Sugar

2 tsp. Salt

2 pkg. or 4½ tsp. Yeast 

1 cup Water

1 cup Milk

½ cup or 1 cube Butter

1 Egg




Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.

Heat water, milk, and butter till warm. Add egg to liquid when slightly cool.

Add liquid to dry ingredients. Mix until the wet and dry are evenly incorporated.

Add 3 cups flour and continue mixing until the dough forms a ball.

Flour work surface and knead in extra 1½ - 2 cups of flour for 10 minutes. Dough should no longer be sticky to the touch, but should not be dry either.

Place dough in oiled bowl cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough. Divide and shape as desired allow dough to rise again after shaping.  

Bake at 350 degree F for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.


The dough can be mixed in a high powered stand  mixer (kitchenade)

Start with 5 cups of flour, sugar, salt & yeast

Add wet ingredients


In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.


Mix using dough hook adding the additional flour until dough forms a ball. Allow mixer to continue kneading dough, adding flour and periodically pulling dough from hook for 10 minutes.


Check the dough. It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). If you can't judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch.


I usually punch down the dough several times during the raising process if I don’t have time to shape and bake at the moment.


Dough can also be stored in the refrigerator overnight (and up to 5 days) then allowed to come to room temperature and rise before shaping and baking.



Two Options or Choices:


1. Refrigerating or Freezing Unbaked Cinnamon Rolls:


At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I've actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for one (1) month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.


If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I've done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking. If you rolls are not rising enough after being refrigerated, your yeast may need to be tested. To overcome this, let them rise, while sitting on the counter, until you achieve the desired rising before baking.


2. Bake Immediately After Making:


Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).


Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Bake approximately 30 - 35 minutes in a regular oven until they are a light golden brown. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 190 and 200 degrees.


Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm.


Best served warm, but room temperature is also great! 



Forming a Cinnamon Roll:

After dough has risen, using your rolling pin, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15 x 24-inch rectangle.

Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter (listed below in the Cinnamon Filling) over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula or a pastry brush (or your hands.) Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal.

NOTE: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.

With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a serrated knife and saw very gently or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and crisscrossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.


Cinnamon Filling




½  cup butter, softened 

½  cup granulated sugar

½  cup firmly packed brown sugar

1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon




Spread butter on rolled out dough.

Combine sugars and cinnamon until well blended.




Cinnabon Frosting




1 pound Margarine, room temperature

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature

2 pound powdered sugar

2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoon vanilla extract




Allow margarine and cream cheese to reach room temperature. Beat cream cheese and margarine together in a bowl with a mixer until combined and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl frequently. Slowly add in all powdered sugar. Once all of the sugar is in the bowl mix for at least an additional 12 minutes. When almost done, add in the extracts. Enjoy!


This makes a TON of frosting. It can easily be halved or quartered to make the amount needed. It is very good frosting so remember, more is better.



HELPFUL HINT: Buy your powdered sugar in 1 lb. bags or boxes. That way when a recipe calls for “1 Lb.” you can just dump in a bag and there is no measuring required.



Bon Appétit


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Eating with Liz 2013: 8 Can Taco Soup

It’s homemade soup and bread season. I’m quite excited. I love making soups and bread so this is really my time of year. I’m looking forward to it getting a bit cooler outside so I don’t feel as bad turning on my oven.


Here is a fast soup recipe that we had for dinner last night. It serves about 6.


8 Can Taco Soup



1 (15 oz.) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5 oz.) can Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained

1 (15.25 oz.) can Sweet Corn, drained

1 (12.5 oz.) can White Chicken Breast, drained

1 (10.75 oz.) can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 (10 oz.) can Green Enchilada Sauce

1 (14 oz.) can Chicken Broth

1 packet Taco Seasoning



Mix all ingredients together in a large pot.

Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.

Serve with Fritos, Sour Cream, and Cheese.