Monday, August 31, 2009

Tan Serio!

Look at this muscle bound baby boy who would also be cute as a button but for the very serious look on his face. Rodrigo and I always talk about the the contrast between Joaquin and Zeke. While Joaquin is always quick to smile you are more likely to catch this expression on Ezekiel's face. We love the differences and celebrate them. It always amazes me how they come with a unique spirit all of their own. Zeke may have the serious face but he is the biggest ham! He loves to get a laugh out of us....and sometimes all it takes is his expression to get me so tickled that I am crying. I sure do love my boys!


Remember the blog that inspired me to combine my blogs into one? Well she also had this yummy recipe that I tried recently. It is a copy cat recipe for Bajio Chicken Chile Salad. She says this recipe "came from Kara’s Kitchen Creations - a darling blog with lots of yummy recipes!".

Recipe adapted from Kara's Kitchen Creations

Bajio Chicken Chile Salad
5 chicken breasts (I only used 4 large ones)
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
6 oz. Sprite (1/2 can)
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot and cook 1 more hour. Thicken the juices with a little cornstarch mixed in water.
Serve with flour tortillas, lettuce, cheese, black beans and any other taco fixings.
If you want it spicer rather than sweeter add a hotter salsa and more green chilies.

Green Chile Rice (Serves 6)
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
4 oz. green chiles
1 sm. onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. cumin
3 green onions.
Mix together and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until rice is done at 350.
NOTE*** If you plan to double the amount of rice you will have adjust cooking time appropriately. It will take about 15-20 min. longer.

Cilantro Salad Dressing (This gets rave reviews everytime I serve it)
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (dry mix)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2- 1/3 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 – 1 small jalapeno (remove seed)
1 cup mayo
1 tsp. lime juice
1-2 tomatillos (remove outer papery skin)
1 garlic clove
Blend all ingredients in blender!

Building the Salad
I used sweet baby greens for the foundation of my salad.
Top the greens with the chicken.
Top the chicken with black beans.
Top the black beans with cheese.
Top the cheese with tortilla strips (I made my own).
Drizzle the cilantro Salad dressing over everything.
Serve with Green chili rice on the side.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hello Dollies

While attending Utah State University my sister, Caprece, and I worked for the university catering department. It was a wonderful experience in which we learned a great deal about food and entertaining. It was also the perfect place for struggling college students because of the "free food" perk. Everyday we were permitted to eat what was termed leftovers. The leftovers were actually items that hadn't sold that day and wouldn't be fresh the next. One of our most favorite "leftovers" of all were the Dolly Madisons. She and I dreamed of them long after our college life ended with marriage and graduation. Nearly 10 years later she found the recipe. I am not sure if she ever tried the recipe but today when my 3 year old had a little sweet tooth I pulled out her tried and trues and found the recipe. I just had to have a little of this cookie full of nostalgia and rich gooey yumminess. Try it for won't be able to stop with one.

Adapted from recipe by Debbie Ruse

1 package graham crackers (crushed)
1 stick of butter melted in 9 x 13 pan
Spread crackers over butter.

Sprinkle on top:
1 package milk chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet for a contrast with the gooey rich cooked sweetened condensed milk)
1 cup coconut
1 cup nuts (I used pecans just like the USU one)

Pour 1 can Borden's sweetened condensed milk over all. Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Cut around edges as soon as cool. Cut into squares. Refrigerate until firm.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exquisite Things

I dreamed about Caprece this week. I have only had two dreams with her since her death and in both at some point I am hugging her. Hugging her like the last time I hugged her at the airport in Salt Lake City. Holding on tight wishing that I didn't have to let go but knowing that I do. Usually waking from a dream such as this leaves me feeling a bit empty with a longing but, this time when I awoke I still felt her near me and it continued throughout the entire day. Saying that I miss her is an understatement of massive proportions but, well the English language isn't quite adequate in describing the things of the heart. Very dear friends of mine, who live in Australia, emailed me this week and reminded me of the "exquisite things she must be doing". What a glorious thing to ponder! I miss her and will throughout the rest of my life but I rejoice in the service I know she continues to give as a servant of our beloved Savior. What a gift the plan of salvation is and an even greater gift is my knowledge of it and the role our Savior plays in it....resurrection and redemption...Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift 2 Corinthians 9:15.

I thank God for the precious gift of family and even more for Caprece who was not only my Sister but my friend, my confidant, my exemplar and so very much much more. I love you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Point - Museum of Ancient Life ie...Dinosaur Park & The Animal Farm

August has been “Two buck Tuesday’s” at Thanksgiving Point and Ezekiel gets in for free so I took the boys twice this month

. The first time we went it was the very first Tuesday of the month and we didn’t get to the Dinosaur park because it was beyond crowded! We did however have a great time at t

he animal farm. We rode a horse-drawn wagon and played and petted the many different animals of good Old McDonald’s farm. Yesterday was the last Tuesday of the month and we went back for the Dinosaur Park and a horsey/pony ride. The things we do for love, right? We stood in line for an hour for a 5 minute ride. Was it worth it you ask? Yep, every hot, sweaty, fussy moment of it. We were all grinning ear to ear…the boys from riding and me from watching. Joaquin got to ride a horse and I walked with Ezekiel while he road the pony. But I forgot the camera so no photos…SORRY I AM!

Next it was off to the Dinosaur park which was still beyond crowded but not so much as the first day. We looked at all of the exhibits but a strange thing happened…Joaquin refused to look at the T-Rex exhibit. WHAT?!! I know, I think his imagination has increased and now he has bad dreams which I believe on occasion include T-Rex. We ended with a brief play in the excavation play area that felt like a sauna but I grinned and bore it. Joaquin is already at age 3 nearly a paleontologist. He can name almost every dinosaur. We just need to work on what period they belong in and a few other important things J

Monday, August 24, 2009


Caprece was a great collector of recipes. She was always on the look-out for a good one and she passed the bug on to me. Matt allowed me to copy all of her recipes a couple of years ago and they get plenty of use!

This is a recipe from her collection. Once while visiting our cousin in Kentucy she served this light refreshing dessert and Caprece had to have the recipe. I decided to make it after suffering from a craving for a dessert with fresh fruit. It is easy to make and tastes wonderful.

From Caprece's collection by Raina

Ingredients and Instructions:

4 cups flour
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar

Mix all together. grease texas sheet pan and spread evenly over the pan(will not be smooth). Pat with hands. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 min(the longer it cooks the harder it gets so cook it to desired firmness) I like it on the softer side so I cook it for 6 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

1 large tub cool whip
2 8oz cream cheese
1 small box powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese then add coolwhip. Add sugar 1 cup at a time and mix well. Spread over cooled crust. Top with seasonal fruits. I used strawberries, blueberries and kiwi on this one.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Yesterday Rodrigo and I were talking, Zeke was napping and we thought Joaquin was watching an episode of Looney Tunes. Rodrigo went to check on him but he wasn't where we thought he was and we began to search the house. He was nowhere to be found. Rodrigo said he had checked the balcony but I went to check again. The sliding glass door was closed which caused me to assume he wasn't there. I stuck my head out and yelled "Joaquin" but nothing. As I was pulling my head in, I saw him. He was sitting on the balcony with the door to the storage open and playing with his "Little People" nativity set and some other christmas toys. Just as happy and content as can be. He looked at me with expectation in his face....expectation of getting in trouble. I quickly told him he was just fine and could play as long as he liked. I snuck back a little later and caught the video above. It isn't often that we can catch them you can see from my video below. Later the same day I found both Joaquin and Zeke again playing to their hearts' content. It has quickly become a favorite place to play!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Zucchini & Carrot a Scapece (Antipasti) grazie a Giada

This is the last of the new recipes I tried for our most recent bookclub meeting. Another suprisingly delicious antipasti. I had never had this before but it had the kind of flavors that one bite is just not enough of. This recipe is also from her "Everyday Pasta" book. It is pretty simple as well.

6 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
5 large zucchini (about 2 pounds), cut in 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (I left these out and it was still wonderful)
10 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and cut in 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Heat 1/3 cup oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the zucchini and fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to a baking dish. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the garlic, basil, and mint leaves over the zucchini.

Add the remaining oil to the frying pan. Add the carrots to the hot oil and saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried carrots to the dish of zucchini. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining garlic, basil, and mint leaves over. Drizzle the vinegar over the vegetable mixture and toss gently to coat. Cool to room temperature. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Allow the vegetables to come to room temperature before serving. Transfer the scapece to a platter. Serve with bread, fish or chicken.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


As some may have noticed by blog is undergoing some changes. The fringe benefit of having a husband who is a graphic/web designer is that on occaision I can coax a little help from him for my things. I told him what I wanted and he is working on it during this short break between semesters. I am excited to see the finished product as I have given him carte blanche. Scarey? Nope my husband is an artist and everything he has ever created I have loved. So bare with me as we make changes.

RAVIOLI FRITO & ANTIPASTI - Giada De Laurentiis Style

Remember I said for my turn hosting book club I went with an italian theme for the food. It was a surprisingly simple and delicious experience. I just turned to Giada. I speak of her as if she is my friend...actually I feel like she is...her cookbooks are very user friendly for thos
e of us who aren't familiar with italian cuisine beyond spagetti and lasgna. I took all my recipes from her "Everyday Pasta" book. This first one is delicious and appears once platted that it takes great effort but looks are deceiving. It is nothing but easy and even better nothing but yummy! I had every plan to make a homemade marinara sauce but at crunch
time I went with Napa ValleyBistro Homemade-style marinara sauce by Mezzetta. I am so glad I did because it was unbelievably good for a store bought or homemade sauce and was the perfect complement to my ravioli frito. This recipe is a new family favorite.

Olive oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
1 box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping
Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.
When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Flourless chocolate cake


You see I am a fan...a fan of Bakerella...a fan of Paula Deen...and a die hard fan of C.H.O.C.O.L.A.T.E. It was a wonderful chain of events inspired by chocolate. It began with Paula and her "Chocolate Celebration 2008" magazine which in turn inspired Bakerella which in turn inspired me.

It was my turn this month to host the book club and I wanted to do something fun and yummy. We read the book "Galileo's Daughter" and I was at first trying to come up with some kind of food to do with the solar system or the stars (I know, funny right?) Then it hit me how simple it was. Galileo had a deep love for Florence (Italy that is), his home. As a result, I chose food from Tuscany the region of Italy in which Florence is located.

So naturally I thought of this delicious cake. Naturally? You ask. Naturally for me...Rodrigo took me to a very popular Italian restaurant,Cucina Rustica, while on our honeymoon in Sedona, Arizona and this was the very dessert we ate. This was not only the beginning of our love affair but of our love affair with Italian cuisine.

It was the first and last time I have eaten flourless chocolate cake until now. I was afraid of attempting the recipe myself as I often have this experience of food tasting better in my memory than in my real life re-creation. However, this one did not disappoint. It was as fabulous made right here in my home as it was sitting in that very pricey but wonderful restaurant. So, don't be afraid...go ahead...give it a try.

I'll list the ingredients here but, Bakerella gives such a wonderful explanation on preparing it that I'll just leave her link to it at the bottom.

What you'll need:

  • 9 inch spring form pan
  • parchment paper
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 6 large eggs (yolks in one bowl and whites in another)
  • 8 0z semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 sticks of butter (1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scissors...what was that did you say C.E.S.A.R.S.?

OK so several weeks ago we went to get Rodrigo and Joaquin haircuts. Zeke had fallen asleep on the way so I said I would stay in the car with him while Rodrigo took Joaquin. As we had recently had a misunderstanding about how to cut Joaquin's hair with our former beautician(that is such a southern antiquated term, isn't it?: I'm thinking Dolly Parton "Steel Magnolias") Rodrigo and I made sure to discuss exactly what we wanted. What we wanted was that the stylist only use scissors NO electric razor! That shouldn't be difficult to explain. So they hopped out of the car and I relaxed and read my book while I waited for them to return. A few minutes after entering the salon Rodrigo comes out and tells me there has been a misunderstanding and that he can't figure out why. He exclaimed to me, "I told the stylist to only use "scissors" pronounced "seesars". I said well, for starters, it sounds like you are saying Cesars not scissors. "What?" he exclaims and begins to swear mildly in Spanish (ie... dang and shoot kind of words). " You mean there are two more words in English that sound the same but mean something different?" I said No, you are pronouncing scissors wrong because of how it is spelled (in spanish the letter "i" is pronounced like a long "e" in Enlgish) Frustrated he once again returned to his native tongue for relief. All the while I am trying not to laugh because I fear it will be misunderstood and only add to his frustration. So I calmly ask if he would like me to go in and make sure everything is cleared up. He says yes, PLEASE. I wasn't too concerned because Cesar has nothing to do with haircuts...or so I thought. I walked in and announced that I was Joaquin's Mom and that my husband wanted to make sure that I liked the haircut. She responded with "We had a misunderstanding I thought he asked for a Cesar cut." I said oh and thought to myself "What in the hec is a Cesar's Cut", but outwardly just smiled and said OK. I thought maybe this is a popular cut that I know nothing about...kind of like how a "missionary" haircut is defined as a buzz with longer spikes on top of head in the west, and chalked it up to ignorance. Joaquin's hair looked great so I was happy but definitely left wondering. She shapped his hair up the way we wanted and we left happy. In the car Rodrigo begins to give me a bit more detail. He says just after he tells her he only wants her to use SEESARS to cut. She pulls out the electric shears and begins cutting Joaquin's hair. He immediately stops her and tells her no electric shears, which she understands better than "Please only cut with SEESARS." At this point I finally lose it and laugh till I cry as I think about him asking for "SEESARS" and her directly pulling out the electric shears and going at Joaquin's hair.
Note to self: work with hubby on pronunciation of "scissors"

Monday, August 3, 2009

1st Ever Haircut

Zeke received his first ever haircut on Saturday August 1st, 2009. He was a good boy and only fussed a wee bit. Here are some before, during and after photos. He is quickly becoming...not my baby anymore :(

BEFORE - I love the wisps from his baby hair but gotta let him grow up!

DURING - Yeah for Cookie Cutters - The airplane was a great distraction!

AFTER - As you can clearly see he was ready to be done. What a handsome boy!!!

"Joaquin Super Swimmer" and Sidekick "Daddy Cool Swimmer"

Rodrigo and Joaquin spent Saturday afternoon in the pool while Mommy took Zeke to get his first haircut. Joaquin was mesmerized the rest of the night with anything that had to do with swimming...especially
Daddy's goggles!

Here's Super Swimmer's Super Cool Sidekick
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