Oct 31, 2008

Nightmare Express...Happy Birthday!

Wednesday was Mark's 35th birthday! I fixed his favorite soup (I'll put the recipe at the end of this post) and of course pumpkin cake...we had dinner with his family, opened presents, then headed over to the halloween train in Lindon...the Nightmare Express! I don't really have pictures of the train (we were too busy enjoying it!) but it's a little train that runs all around the neighborhood, and they make these awesome spook alley scenes in all the tunnels...it's so fun! All the "helpers" are in costume, and while you wait your turn you get to watch Nightmare Before Christmas on the big screen in this huge garage. It's just scary enough to put you on edge, but not so scary to make the little ones cry...So fun! Here are some of us while we were waiting in line...

Kristen & ChrisGrandma "Cruella DeVille" and Grandpa her puppy
My little monkey Ammon

Steph the devil, Holly the indian, Ella the mermaid
By the way what is it with kids and dressing up as so many different things in one year? Today for Halloween I think they are on their third or fourth costume. Good thing we have a lot of dress-ups around the house! this morning before school I was scrambling to find things since Josh decided to be a pirate and Holly decided to be bat girl. For the ward party the girls were dinosaurs & Josh was an army dude. Then we had an indian & mermaid at the train, princesses another time, Tinkerbell for dance class...I'm just waiting to see what they'll be for tonight!? When I was a kid we did one costume per year...is that too much to ask?
Albondigas Soup with Cilantro Pesto
(Albondigas means "meatball" in Spanish I think. I've heard this is the national soup in Mexico. BUT I think it's way faster & easier to skip actually making the meatballs and just doing it as follows and it still tastes the same...yummo!)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 white onions, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 cup white rice
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute the onion in oil until soft. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and water, stir well and bring to a boil. Add the ground beef, rice, and seasonings. Simmer uncovered until meat & rice are fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the cilantro pesto:
Cilantro Pesto
1/2 cup coarsly chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp. water
1 fresh mint sprig, stemmed and chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Blend all together.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with a spoonful of cilantro pesto; serve at once.

Pumpkin Carving

Monday night for family night we carved (and colored) our pumpkins...always an adventure! I don't know if Ella was going for a scary look but I think she got it! Of course we saved all the seeds and roasted them - YUM!
Did Mark really eat that?


Holly & Ella in the playroom & Ammon chillin' in a box...he's now 9 months old! (please ignore the yucky noses in both these shots...we've had colds!)


Earlier in the month when the kids were playing pirates...this is one of those rare moments when they were all having fun together...becoming less frequent now that Josh is getting older and not always willing to play with girls. I'm glad we caught it on camera!

Oct 24, 2008


I can't remember the last time I actually went to a movie on the day it opened...but today I took my girls and Ammon and we hit the theaters at 11:30 this morning for High School Musical 3! I was a little worried that with all the hype it might not meet expectations or be as fun as the first two, but it didn't disappoint! I totally loved it. Of course I'm a cheesy "song and dance" kind of girl, but if you liked #1 & #2 I'm sure you'll enjoy #3 just like we did. I was also a little nervous that I wouldn't like the ending, but I was left with a smile on my face...that's all I'll say. Thanks Jessica & friend & kiddos for coming with us...we had a lot of fun! I can't wait for it to come out on DVD :-) By the way, if you like the music, you can go to kosy.com, to their "on demand" page, and stream the entire soundtrack for free...awesome! Oh, and if you don't think I'm cheesy enough already, I noticed that kosy is counting down to Christmas music...hooray!

Oct 23, 2008


As requested...

Mareid's bottled salsa:

1/2 bushel tomatoes...scald, peel, & cut
8 medium onions, chopped
8 large bell peppers, chopped
9 jalapeno peppers, chopped (with seeds)
8 Anaheim peppers, chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
5 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons salt
1/2 cup vinegar

Combine all in a large pot and simmer 2-3 hours, until desired thickness. Bottle in pint jars & process 20 minutes. Makes ~ 24 pints.


My preference is to just bottle whole tomatoes and tomato juice, and then in the winter I make this recipe:

Pantry Salsa:

1 quart bottled tomatoes
1 quart tomato juice
3 Tbsp. dry minced onion
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. pepper
1 can diced green chilies
1 tsp. dry hot chili peppers

Mix together in large saucepan and simmer 30 minutes or longer. Great served warm or cold.


Oct 13, 2008


I just grabbed some apples at the orchard and am getting ready to bottle applesauce...I thought I'd share the "how to" for those interested. My family devours this stuff and I'll give you fair warning that once you have it homemade you'll never be able to eat the storebought stuff again!

An average of 21 lbs apples yields 7 quarts applesauce.

1. Wash, peel, core, and slice apples. (Tip...I don't peel mine and you'd never know!)

2. Place apples in a large stock pot. Add 1/2 cup water.

3. Stirring occasionally, heat quickly until tender.

4. Press through a sieve or food mill or puree in a food processor. (Tip!!! Leave the apples in the stock pot and just use a hand stick blender (aka immersion blender) to get your desired consistency...works sooooo fast and sooo easy! You can also add water if it's too thick)

5. If desired add 1/8 cup sugar per quart of sauce (I never do this...sometimes I add cinnamon)

6. Reheat sauce to boiling. Stir thoroughly and make sure mixture is uniformly hot.

7. Fill jars with hot sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. Here in Utah that means 30 minutes for quarts.


Oct 9, 2008

Last trip to the Cabin

We went to the cabin up Fairview Canyon last weekend...the last trip in the mountains for the year. It was great to be there even though it was rainy and cold. It was fun to be in the cabin with the fire going, all cozy and listening to conference. The leaves were beautiful I just wish we could have seen them with the sun shining. Some of the Aspens were even red! We did see our first snowfall while we were driving home and we all sang "let it snow" to celebrate :-) Our camera didn't capture the vividness of these colors, but here's an idea of how pretty it was!

Oct 3, 2008

Wizard Stew in Jack-O-Lantern Bowls

I saw this recipe on KSL and thought it looked fun to try with the kids!

Wizard Stew in Jack-0-Lantern Bowls

1 tablespoon garg-oyle (vegetable oil)
1 cup ghost rocks, more or less to taste (pearl onions)
1 1/2 pounds dragon beef (stew meat)
2 cups goblin coins (carrot slices)
3 cups sorcerer’s stones (potatoes chunks)
1/2 pound fresh toadstools (mushrooms)
2 green broomsticks (stalks of celery)
4 cups crystal elixir (water)
4 enchantment cubes (bouillon cubes)
1/2 teaspoon disappearing powder (garlic salt)
2 packages (7/8 oz.) brown dust (gravy mix)
1/2 cup witches’ grass (shredded carrots)
1 cup green ghoul spots (frozen peas, thawed)
ghost sand and midnight specks (salt & pepper) to taste
8 small sugar pumpkins (about 12-15” circumference)

Heat the garg-oyle (oil) in heavy cauldron (saucepan or Dutch oven). Peel ghost rocks (pearl onions). Add dragon beef (stew meat) and ghost rocks to cauldron, cook until browned.
Add goblin coins (peeled and sliced carrots); bite-size sorcerer’s stones (potatoes); and cleaned toadstools (mushrooms) to the cauldron. Clean and chop broomstick into bite-size pieces. Add broomsticks, elixir (water), enchantment cubes (bouillon) and disappearing powder (garlic salt) to cauldron. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until ingredients are tender.
Prepare jack-o-lantern bowls (see below).

Stir brown dust (gravy mix) into 3/4-cup cold elixir (water). Add a little hot juice from the cauldron to the elixir and brown dust, mix well and stir into cauldron. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Add more elixir or brown dust as needed to suit taste preferences. Stir in witches’ grass (shredded carrots) and ghoul spots (thawed frozen peas); add ghost sand and midnight dust to taste (salt and pepper), bring back to a boil. Serve in jack-o-lantern bowls with crusty wart sticks (cheesy bread sticks) and brown milk (chocolate milk).

Jack-O-Lantern Bowls: Cut tops off pumpkins, scoop out seeds and fiber from inside and off the lid. Place in shallow baking dish, cover and bake at 3500 F for 30-50 minutes or until fleshy inside is tender, but not soft (if pumpkins are too soft they will collapse.) If only cooking 1 or 2 bowls, clean as above, place top back on pumpkin and microwave 10-15 minutes. Serves 8.