Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Summer Cookin'

It's official...summer is gone. We had rain today and the forecast is calling for more starting Thursday, so we can truly say goodbye. I would be more sad if I didn't love Fall so much, but I am feeling a bit melancholy to say adieu to summer cookin'. I'm not much of a cook. I do it more out of necessity than desire, but when you have a great crop from your garden and berry patches just down the street, you can't help but have a small place in your heart for the culinary art. Plus, when the produce is fresh, it makes anyone look like a good cook, including me. For instance, I've had several requests for my spaghetti sauce recipe which in reality is just veggies from my garden coupled with italian sausage. I thought for posterity's sake and as a tribute to good 'ol summer cookin' I would post some of my favorite summer recipes.

Spaghetti Sauce
( modified from a recipe given to me by Gabe Jensen)
You can use whatever veggies you want, but this is what I typically use:
1 thinly sliced medium zucchini
1 thinly sliced yellow squash
1 thinly sliced small white onion
4 cloves of garlic finely diced garlic
Sautee the above vegetables in 2T of olive oil and then add 1 lb. browned and drained ground Italian sausage.
Add 1 large can of crushed tomatoes and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Add 2 T of balsamic vinegar and 2 T of sugar. Mix well, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Marionberry Cobbler
(given to me by Marcy Leonard)
Cream together 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.
Sift the following:
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Stir in sifted ingredients alternating with 1/2 cup milk.
Beat until smooth. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish. Spoon 3-4 cups of cleaned marionberries over dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar. Pour 1 cup of juice from a can of peaches over the top. Bake @ 375 for 45-50 minutes.
Tres Leches Cake
(after we pick our strawberries we usually make strawberry shortcake that night, however this year, we have found this recipe to be our favorite to couple with our fresh pick)
1 yellow cake mix (with pudding) baked as directed in 13x9 inch pan
For topping mixture:
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Mix well.
To finish:
whipped cream, to cover cake
Poke holes in the cake with a fork all over. Pour topping mixture over cake. Let mixture absorb completely in refrigerator ( a couple of hours or more). Cover with whipped cream and serve with lightly sweetened fresh strawberries or peaches.
Zucchini Bread
(given to me by Heidi Janeway)
3 eggs 1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. apple sauce
1 c. sugar
2 c. grated zucchini 1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
Beat eggs. Add oil and sugar and beat well. Beat in zucchini and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until mixed thoroughly. Bake in two greased loaf pans at 350 for 45 minutes-1 hour.
Well, there are a few of my favorites. On the grill we always enjoy salmon grilled on cedar planks, chicken and steak kabobs and skewer our zucchini and brush it with olive oil and seasoned salt. Oh yeah, I almost forgot my version of bruschetta:
4 diced tomatoes
finely diced half of small onion
finely diced 3 garlic cloves
hand torn into tiny pieces, a handful of fresh basil
Combine in bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
spoon onto thinly sliced baguette and then sprinkle with shredded parmesan. Bake on cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Camping and Ode to the Smiths

Jason, Jen & Derrick Smith and I in Victoria B.C. in August 2006

With Jason having started his own law practice in May, we decided to take it easy on the vacations this summer, EXCEPT for our annual camping trip with our dear friends, the Derrick and Jennifer Smith family. Before I continue, it's important that I give you a brief history on how it is that we came to know the Smiths...

It was my freshman year at Ricks College and the first day of my group piano class. I walked in, looking for a place to sit and one of the few seats open was next to a cute blonde girl that looked friendly enough and so I hurried and sat down. We had a couple of minutes before class started and so we exchanged the usual questions, ie. "Where you from?", etc. After a short conversation we discovered we were both from the Northwest and we had both been cheerleaders and we obviously both played the piano. Apparently that was all it took. We were immediately kindred spirits. The next two years consisted of us trading a lot of clothes, breaking many hearts (mostly pre-mission boys, because you know, we were helping them build character), ripping up the dance floor at Retrix, campaigning for student body officer, etc., etc.

Jen and I in Spring of 93...

Our years at Ricks came to an end and we went our seperate ways. We kept in touch for awhile, but then I went on my mission and we lost contact. A few months after my mission I moved to Logan and I was looking through an old address book and came across Jen's parents phone #. I thought I would give it a try. I talked to her sweet mom and she told me that Jen was still at BYU, but was no longer Jen Christensen, but Jen Smith. She gave me Jen's # and I immediately called her. We talked forever and decided on a time that we would get together. So one weekend, Jason and I made the drive to Provo ( this was pre engagement for us) and we met up with Jen and her new husband, Derrick. It was like the good ol days and luckily for us, our husbands hit it off well.
Now I can get back to the camping part of this all. After Jason and I had been married for almost a year, we invited the Smiths to come up from Provo and go camping with us for 4th of July. We had so much fun! We camped in Logan Canyon and the next day we went hiking and then to a car show and then found a great place in the football stadium to watch, what I still believe is the best fireworks show ever. We knew at that point that we would be moving to Michigan at the end of the summer and so the future of our friendship was uncertain. I remember talking with Jen during that trip about how great it would be if we could reunite every summer even after we started our families and have a camping trip as fun as this. Little did we know that our great idea would become a reality a few years later. We kept in touch through the years even though grad school and job moves kept us seperated by miles and in 2003 we both found ourselves back in the Northwest. We decided then and there that we had to start up our camping trips again. We started in 2003 and have been going strong every year since then. With 7 kids between us, all approximately the same age and who get along perfectly, we always have an incredible time and look forward to the next year. We have visited Detroit Lake, Pendelton, Cape Lookout and this year we met at Ensign Ranch in Cle Elum, Washington.
Jen, on account of her immaculate literary skills, can give you a much funnier and realistic view of how this years camping trip went, so check out her "Reality Bites" post at: http://www.ginnysee.blogspot.com/

Regardless, of the sickness and the dirt, we loved it and have been begging for more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Five minutes of peace

Ahhhhh...big sigh...I just returned from dropping Mary and Jaykob off at their first day of school and now I am able to sit down for five minutes and return from my month long blog hiatus and conjure up a post. Oh just kidding, Clara just woke up from her nap, I have a laundry pile the size of Everest, a pile of dishes the size of Mt. Hood and a to do list as long as the Nile oh and a bit of a knack for exageration as well. Thank goodness I blog so that I can remember that I can read and write and that all I gained from my bachelor's degree was not just what I learned from the Dorm 5 laundromat. I must run now, but at least I had this five minutes to let all my fans know that I am still blogging, in fact part of that to do list includes about five different posts including our annual camping trip and our first annual back to school Short family award ceremony (yes, it is as cool as it sounds). See you soon!!!