Monday, December 29, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again--Resolutions!

There was an article in today's newspaper that caught my attention & gave me a little laugh. I thought I would share a bit of it and then include my thoughts:

Resolutions for mommies aren't always easy
By Erin Stewart Deseret News Published: Monday, Dec. 29, 2008 12:00 a.m. MST
...So this year, I've decided to be more realistic. I'm making a list of all the New Year's resolutions I'd love to make and keep as a mother, but know I never will...
So here are my 2009 Wish-I-Could-But-Come-On-I'm-Human Resolutions:
1.
To be showered and dressed every single day by 10 a.m. Well, except if the baby is sick. Or I'm sick. Or it's snowing. Or I stayed up late the night before. Or it's a Friday. OK, let's say by 3 p.m. and the shower is optional.
2. To not toss my daughter, Nicole, like a hot potato to my husband when he walks through the door. This is something I promised my pregnant self I would never do because I know my husband works hard and he shouldn't have to come home and take over mommy duty. Well, it's 21 months later and if my husband isn't home within five minutes of his estimated time of arrival, you can bet I'm calling him in a panic. I thought I'd be different, but there's something about talking baby talk, listening to "Wheels on the Bus" for the 100th time, wiping baby slime off the VCR and saying "No, no, don't eye-gouge mommy" all day that makes me forget that my husband works, too. So sorry honey, you're up.
3. To always be calm and patient. Ha Ha Ha.
4. To not compare my child to other children. Oh, I acted like I didn't care when the 10-month old in my neighborhood started walking before Nicole did. I was devastated. I can never admit this to the other moms, of course, and my party line still is, "Oh, babies all develop at different times. It really means nothing."
Then I go home and put my daughter through training drills.
5. To not be enormously jealous when Nicole picks daddy over me.
Sure, I change her, feed her, bathe her, research her rashes, gave up a career, have stretch marks and devote my life to her. But daddy comes home, holds her upside down and lets her draw on herself with markers. I don't even have a chance. .. For the full article please visit http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705273638,00.html.
Well, here's my spiel on New Year's resolutions: Rule # 1 Do not make them for the sake of New Year's. Rule # 2 (see rule # 1). Pretty simple.

Honestly, I've never been one to do resolutions (unless it was some dumb assignment given me in a class or something). Instead, if you know me well enough, you will know that I am one to constantly be in the process of resolving, repenting, recommitting, and revising myself--Change really is a process of being and becoming. We're all a great work in progress, so to speak.--New Year's resolutions then become some type of what-I-should-do-better-cram-session that will in almost no way be retained in the long run. So, do yourself a favor, skip the New Year's resolutions and go straight for the personal goals actually within your grasp--you will feel much better about yourself if you do.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Run Daniel. Run.

So, I'm sitting here somewhat numbed by today. Over all, it was a good day. Daniel had school. I made a few goodies. We went sledding as a family. I talked with a friend of mine for a while. I had a wonderful prime rib dinner. And then, life happened...and Daniel "ran away" while I was at a ward Christmas party.
It figures that the 5 other times I went to check where he was, he was inside. As I was about to leave, an older man came in and asked if anyone was missing a little boy about 4 years old. I immediately said, "that sounds like mine." To which I was instructed to go with him to his home where the police were. (I was quite frustrated with myself.)
Daniel is oblivious to any concern that I may be worried about where he is. He seemed quite happy to be looking at a beautiful Christmas tree and eating a candy cane. I simply said, "Hey, bud, did you go for an adventure?" and that was it. The police took my information and we went home. Who knows, I may be getting a call from a social worker sometime--I have been through this before when he was 2 (Usually I find him before police have to get involved).
So, that was my fun adventure for the evening. I am contemplating not going to social events in large spaces with my kids when my husband is not home to help me--it proves to be more than I can handle.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008: A Year in Review

This year has been busy and wonderful. We are so greatly blessed in our lives, even amid many challenges and trials we face. We have truly appreciated this past year for all that we have come to know and understand, for our personal growth and faith in Jesus Christ, and especially for family members and friends who love, care for, pray, and support us in our daily lives.

In January Jason was working for Magleby Companies framing and a 2nd job as a server at Applebee’s. I was staying at home with the children and serving as the co-ward nursery leader over 5 nurseries, all while we lived in my parent’s basement (Jerry & Diann Ellis). President Gordon B. Hinckley died. And we had the usual illnesses acquainted with winter. I went to the temple several times over the course of the next few months. We also received some unexpected blessings, financially speaking.

In February Jason and I finally saw a dentist after 5 to 8 years of not seeing one. We were both in good health and I had only one cavity and had my crown replaced. Deborah, my mother-in-law, came out for a visit. We got rid of our cell phones. And I spent a lot of time with a dear friend of mine, Ashley.

March is usually a busy month around our home—Daniel turned 3 & Joseph 2. It was also the first time we took the kids to the zoo and they loved the zebras and the train. I sang with a friend at a musical fireside. We helped a friend move. We had Easter dinner with my parents. And then we moved out of my parent’s basement into our own apartment 2 miles away—Thanks Dad & Daniel for helping us move our things.

April was general conference. Jason was called to be the 2nd counselor in the Elder’s Quorum. I had fun at some Mary Kay clinics learning how to properly apply makeup.

May was Mother’s Day, which Jason always makes special for me. Jason broke his nose (it was a hairline fracture). And Jason quit his 2nd job at Applebee’s. I was called to be the ward Compassionate Service Leader.

June was Father’s Day. Daniel had his first speech and behavioral assessments and he qualified for the preschool program. We celebrated pioneer day. My sister Lori and her family came and visited with my parents. And we also hiked as a family up to some waterfalls in Pleasant Grove—after which the boys both had a horrible flu.

In July I went on a “hike” with my friend Mary and the kids to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. I also finally was able to see the Emma Smith movie. Jason also started the process of applying to UVU (Utah Valley University). Jason also sustained an injury at work and required a few stitches on his right leg. The 4th of July was fun & we enjoyed many events.

In August we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Deborah, Stephen, and Adam came out for a wonderful visit and kindly gave Jason & me a nice break with a day away. And amazingly we got some beautiful family pictures done. Daniel also started going to preschool.

September was a fun month. Jason turned 28 this year. I went to Time Out for Women (Like a LDS woman’s conference with lots of fun) with some wonderful friend’s of mine. And my sister Angela came out to visit in between job contracts in Iraq.

October had another General Conference. Also it was Halloween. Daniel was Spider Man and Joseph was a dinosaur. For our ward party I dressed up as a witch, and for Halloween night I was “a lady,” as Daniel put it. Daniel also started to call ghosts “Holy Ghost’s”—He would often run around with a sheet over his head and chase you while saying, “I be Holy Ghost.”

November was busy. I had my 25th birthday (Our auto insurance rates dropped). I also had a girl’s night in birthday party complete with great company, pajamas, the Emma Smith movie, and of course a chocolate dessert. I started teaching an Enrichment focus group about cooking. And we had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving at my Mom’s along with most of my family. Oh, and Jason quit his job as a framer and started working for SOS Staffing at US Synthetics making synthetic diamonds and tungsten carbide drill bits—We’re hoping he gets hired on full-time when his probation is up because the company really takes care of its employees.
December is not quite over yet. So far, we went on the “Polar Express” train ride to the North Pole (in Heber City, UT) & ate at Dairy Keen (they have everything trains in the restaurant & the boys loved it). We went and saw the lights & nativities at Temple Square. Daniel was officially diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome—which explains he behavior. Jason was released from the Elder’s Quorum as 2nd counselor and was sustained as the Elder’s Quorum secretary in a new presidency. We finally got to play in the snow. Coming up is….Daniel’s first of a series of Doctor’s appointments, sledding, and Christmas here and at my Mom’s.

Challenges of an Aspie as an Adult--10min.


This is an informative video of the over all challenges that someone with Asperger's Syndrome faces as an adult and how they view the world. It runs about 1o minutes & it is from Ireland.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Basics of Asperger's Syndrome

This is a basic overview of what asperger's syndrome is and a little bit of what that entails (4:30).

I am all about advocacy and sharing what I learn with others. This syndrome/disorder is really about understanding things from a different point of view and doing the best we can to teach coping skills (as well as learning them). A calm voice, love, and patience goes a long ways with an Aspie.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Officially Unofficial Verdict on Daniel

So, we were given a Gilliam Asperger's Disorder Scale to fill out and Daniel is over all in the 75th percentile. Which means he has Asperger's--it's a type of Autism. Daniel most likely also has Sensory Processing Disorders which typically accompany autism and other similar disorders.

We are at the beginning of the learning process and will be getting medical referrals on the 13th of this month. We are glad to have a name for what Daniel suffers and struggles with, and also the cause of many of his strengths. We hope to continue special ed preschool & speech therapy, as well as specialized medical care, and occupational therapy.

I truly appreciate your love, friendship, prayers and support in our behalf and would be more than happy to attempt to answer any questions you may have. We are doing the best we can, for now; that is, until we know more and have more resources and tools to empower us in to empower Daniel. The great news is, Daniel is young and we love him and will do everything we possibly can to help him learn how to cope with his disorder.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Mom's Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough
Ingredients:
1 c warm water
2 T-1/4c sugar
2 T yeast
1 t salt
3 c flour

Directions:
1. Proof yeast in warm water with sugar, until bubbly.
2. In a large bowl, or mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the middle.
3. Poor yeast into the flour well and combine until a ball is formed.
The dough can now be rolled for pizza, or for a fuller crust I highly recommend letting the dough rest in a lightly covered bowl (with a damp dish towel) for at least a half hour. Then lightly knead the dough; if it's still sticky, knead in more flour.
You can use cooking spray for the pans or cornmeal for more texture to keep the dough from sticking to the pan.
While this can all be done by hand I really like the smoother texture that comes from mixing the dough in a mixer with a kneading hook or a bread maker on the dough setting.

Refrigerator Muffins--Buttermilk Raisin Bran Muffins

Buttermilk Raisin Bran Refrigerator Muffins
Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 c oil
1 quart buttermilk
5 c flour
3 c sugar
5 t baking soda
2 t salt
16-20oz box of raisin bran cereal (equals apx. 10 c)--or bran cereal if you're not a raisin fan.

Directions:
1. In a really big bowl mix all the ingredients well.
2. Cover and refrigerate for 24hours.
3. Make however many muffins you would like at a time baking them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
--The batter is good for at least 2 weeks in the fridge. The muffins are also very tasty and somewhat sweet. If this is too much for you just halve the recipe.--

Frozen Raspberry Squares


Frozen Raspberry Squares

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes Servings: 9

Ingredients:
2 cups crushed Keebler® Vanilla Wafers (Cookies)
1/4 margarine or butter, melted
1 quart frozen reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, softened
1 container (8 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
1 T grated lemon peel
2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened red raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or small whole strawberries

Directions:

1. In small bowl combine wafers and margarine or butter. Press half of mixture on bottom of 8-inch square baking dish.
2. In large bowl stir together ice cream, sour cream and lemon peel. Gently fold in raspberries. Carefully spoon over wafer mixture in dish, smoothing top. Sprinkle with remaining wafer mixture.

3. Cover and freeze at least 4 hours or until firm.

4. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. Cut into squares.

This dish is nice and bright, perfect in the summer (or any time really). You can use whole strawberries that are thinly sliced as a substitute. Also, I skip out on the "reduced fat" part and use the regular ice cream and sour cream.

Almond Bark Haystacks


Almond Bark Haystacks
1 c captain crunch
1 c rice crispies
1 c stick pretzels, broken
1 c salted peanuts
Coating:
1 c milk or white chocolate chips (or 6 oz almond bark)
2 T peanut butter (can be substituted with 2 T shortening)
Directions:
Mix together cereals, pretzels, and nuts in a large bowl. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate & peanut butter until smooth.
Poor the melted mixture over the dry mixture and coat well.
Drop by teaspoon-full on to wax paper and let set. Enjoy.
This is a recipe from my Grandma I grew up with, especially around Christmas.
The top picture is obviously not this recipe. For that recipe please visit http://christmasnotebook.com/2007/12/18/candy-jumble/. It is fairly similar in style. Honestly, you could substitute your favorite combos as long as the over all volume remains the same.
The other picture is what almond bark looks like. You can usually find it in the baking aisle.
Tips
Melting chocolate:
--Saucepan: Place desired amount in saucepan. Melt over low heat about 8 minutes, stirring until smooth.
--Microwave: Place in a microwave dish and microwave for 60 seconds, then stir well. Continue to microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until smooth.
Never…
Overheat, scorch, or caramelize chocolate.
Use water, milk, oil, margarine or butter
Do…
Use only dry utensils for melting or stirring. Moisture could cause the chocolate to solidify or separate.
Use shortening when thinning chocolate.


Candied Yams (No Marshmallows!)


Candied Yams

3 c. cooked plain mashed yams
1/2 c. soft butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs (beaten)
1/3 c. canned evaporated milk
Topping Follows

Mix the above ingredients together in a bowl and place in an 8"X8" baking dish. Then add the crumbled topping on top of the yams and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Topping:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans

Feel free to double the recipe and use a 9"X13" pan instead. A little goes a long way.

This is a recipe that I was given by Shannon Anderson around 2005.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rolo Pretzel Turtles




Rolo Pretzel Turtles
*Warning: Easy to make dessert that is highly addictive!*

Rolo chocolate candies
Mini pretzels (Can also use round, or waffle (square) pretzels)
Nuts - toasted pecans/almonds/hazelnuts/walnuts Or M&Ms

Preheat your oven to 350

1. Unwrap your Rolos. Place pretzels on baking sheet. Top with a Rolo.

2. Bake in oven for 3-5 minutes, until the chocolate just begins to melt. The Rolo should be soft but not completely melted.

3. Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and immediately squish the chocolate with a nut. Watch the caramel ooze out.

IMPORTANT: Eat as many as you can while they are still warm. Go ahead; I give you permission to stuff yourselves with sugar.

Recipe taken from http://www.steamykitchen.com/

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ducks-in-a-row

So, today I decided to look at the actual newspaper. On the top corner of Deseret News's Life Etc. section there is a quote by Sally Huss that I quite like.

"Just when you think you've got your ducks in a row, life changes the line-up. Stay flexible."


This is the story of my life, every day really. My life has rarely gone the way I thought it would. For example, in my plan I was going to serve a full-time mission for the church, come home, finish school, and hopefully find a guy who could handle me and me him when I was 25 (the age I am now). Yet, at 18, I found myself with a nagging desire to find someone to marry--at 19 I did. I now have a wonderful husband and 2 kids, and only my associates degree finished. Not where I thought I would be at this part of my life.
And yet I have learned along the way. I am more blessed than I ever could have imagined being ten years ago. It is so wonderful to have a loving Father in Heaven who knows what I really need the most and what I can and will grow to become. I'm still learning about myself and what I am able a capable of...and I know that there is so much more in store for me that I can barely even imagine. After all, heaven will be what I make of it.

The Past Two-Three Weeks

Let's see what happened, shall we?

I got to see my sister Angela (it had been a year--She's usually in Iraq).

My birthday came & went (Oh, I'm 25 now and my insurance went down!)...I got to sleep in, my husband made breakfast for me (waffles, from scratch), and later that evening we went out to TGIFriday's for dinner and a play written by our friend Mahonri Stewart.

My husband quit his construction job (hence he was home on a weekday). During the 2 weeks without work he tended the children & home while I wrote up resumes and filled out applications for him on-line (I'm much faster at typing). He had 3 interviews in one week and went with SOS Staffing and now works at US Synthetics making synthetic diamonds for drill bits. Just yesterday he was offered to be hired on after 3 months of training. Though it doesn't pay a ton, it will (in 3 months) have full family medical benefits that we won't be paying out of pocket for. It's a company that takes care of it's employees, and it will work with a school schedule. So, it is just what we needed. He does however work from 3 to 11pm Monday to Friday. Quite the schedule change! And in between all of this my husband had a paper route (needless to say neither of us was getting solid sleep).
I had my birthday party! It was so wonderful to be surrounded by so many amazing women who are all good examples to me and strengthen me. We enjoyed a chocolate truffle torte I made along with ice cream, good conversation and company, and a good movie (along with a good cry).

As of recent, I now have more compassionate service committee members! Finally!

Also, last night I taught a cooking class/group-thing for an Enrichment focus group. It was fun and a learning experience for me. And everyone seemed to like the food.

Chocolate Scotcheroos (AKA "Fat Bars")


Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 24
Ingredients

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I add an extra 1/4 c. & highly recommend name brand pb--it tastes better)
6 cups Rice Krispies®
or 6 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies®
1 package (6 oz., 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

1. Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars when cool.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Little Stars

This is Daniel singing with passion. He loves to sing. I think he will be the kid you can hear the most in the primary program while waving "hi, mom/dad".

This video definitely shows both sides of Joseph. Maybe some time I can catch him screaming "what's that?" For those of you who have heard him, you know what I am talking about.

This was from a few months ago on a Sunday morning while watching Veggie Tales. The song playing is Barbara Manatee.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Diagnosis

Well, we've found out that Daniel is mildly autistic and may even have Asperger's. He definitely has a PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) which affects him socially mostly and verbally as well. We will know more specifics once some more diagnostic tests are administered. So, we'll let you know more when we know more.

The blessings are that we live in a great school district with Kids on the Move to help us. We have great family and friends to help support us. We have medical insurance for both boys (before the diagnosis was made). And, having a "label" will enable us to facilitate an environment of learning & growth experiences. We will also soon be learning American Sign Language as a family. We'll be getting referrals for a more tailored treatment and Daniel will still get to be in preschool, which he loves.

Challenges (and blessings)....here we come!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Personal


I thought it would be fun to do a twist on a personal ad:

My name is Embily. I'm female, a quarter century, 5' 4", and look like a-buck-twenty. I like men because I am married to one, and I am seeking deeply satisfying friendships with other women. I have (2.0 + X) children and reside in a pet & smoke free home (I do combine shipping for Ebay orders--Paypal only). I enjoy going for long walks by the river, a few movies, reading nerd books, talking people's ears off, baking for everyone, and kissing my husband! So for a good time, with one good woman, call me @ 555-CRTR.
Make your own if you dare.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Smashed Cauliflower


London Broil with Steak Sauce Gravy, Smashed Cauliflower with Cheese, Ham and Red Chard
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Show: 30 Minute MealsEpisode: Leave The Carbs Behind
Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons
butter, cut into pieces
1 cup shredded white extra-sharp Vermont Cheddar (recommended: Cabot brand)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano
Coarse black pepper and salt
A generous grating nutmeg

Directions

Place cauliflower in a medium shallow pot or pan. Add stock, cover and place pot over high heat. When liquid boils, reduce heat to simmer and cook covered 10 minutes. Remove cover, raise heat to medium high and allow the broth to reduce by half, 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and the cheeses and smash the cauliflower with a masher to the same consistency as desired for mashed potatoes. Season the cauliflower with black pepper, a pinch of salt and nutmeg.
Emily's comments:
I use less chicken stock. Or you can adjust the reduction time to allow for the difference in elevation (it takes longer for things to boil). Also, I use whatever cheese I feel like and I usually use extra. The nutmeg does make a nice difference. Any other smashed potato add-ins also work great for this dish.
I have not actually made the other two items in this recipe but from the reviews, they seem good. For those recipies, please visit foodnetwork.com.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey Butter


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey Butter
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Show: Tyler's UltimateEpisode: Ultimate Sunday Dinner


Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling potatoes after cooked
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper over the potatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in oven or until tender.

Take sweet potatoes out of the oven and transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil.

Pan-Fried Asparagus


Pan-fried Asparagus with Shallots
Recipe courtesy Danny Boome
Show: Rescue ChefEpisode: Hot Date

Ingredients

1 pound asparagus, thinly sliced on a bias
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted
butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute then add the asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes and season with a little salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Emily's comments:
Make sure to snap off the woody ends first. I used a regular onion in place of the shallot, regular butter, and added some minced garlic. It was the best aspargus I've had in a long time.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy George Duran
Show: Food Network SpecialsEpisode: Ham on Turkey

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted
butter, softened
1 cup white
sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose
flour
2 teaspoons
baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk
chocolate chips, not semisweet
Nonstick cooking spray or
parchment paper
Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips.
Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.
Emily's comments
The cookies will be a bit flat, but they are scrumptious.

Apple (& or Pear) Crisp


Apple and Pear Crisp
2007, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Show: Barefoot ContessaEpisode: It's Friday Night Again

Ingredients
2 pounds ripe Bosc pears (4 pears)
2 pounds firm Macoun apples (6 apples)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated
sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose
flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned
oatmeal
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted
butter, diced
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel, core, and cut the pears and apples into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch oval baking dish. (I used a 9 by 13 inch pan & it worked fine)

For the topping:

Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.
Emily's note's:
This is a really tasty (hence, the fat, salt & sugar content) dessert and is definitely one that should be made with plenty of guests over.
I made mine with all Gala apples (12 total) and it turned out great. Granny Smith would also work, though it is more tart. So, consider lessening the lemon or omitting it altogether.
The topping is also great to make ahead of time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?

Have you ever wondered what you would look like through your own eyes? I mean, really, what you would actually look like if no one else was around (not physically speaking, but emotionally)?

Try to visualize a black & white photo or painting of yourself. Which parts are colored or tinted? What colors are there? What textures exist? Or, is there more lacking than you would like? The cool thing is, you're the artist and you can change it how ever you want to--you do have a Master teacher to refer to for an example.
I can certainly tell you that the way we see ourselves is most likely not how Heavenly Father sees us (because one day our vision will coincide and be as one). Yet for now, in the truest sense, we are " what we think".
So,. . . .here comes the honest truth of how I feel about myself. **please know that I'm not expecting anyone to actually post what it is that's negative about themselves--I'm not telling what my colors mean.** My personal rainbow, for now, isn't much of a rainbow at all. My deepest roots are currently BLACK, GRAY, & BROWN. Yet, I realize that brown is at least a start. After all, brown is made up of complimentary colors--Red & Green; Blue & Orange; Yellow & Purple. Quite simply, I'm still working on my "Stuff," "Baggage," "Kwap," or whatever else it could be called.
And so Christ is my rock and my salvation, my Savior, a sure foundation. He is "White" as far as this analogy goes. The amazing thing is that as I let Him into my heart, as I truly change not only what I think, but how I think of myself my "rainbow" will become lighter in it's character. And it is through the Atonement that the stains of life can be completely removed, if we give it to Him. For truly pure light is knowledge and contains every color imaginable that makes each of us so beautiful.
So, what makes you beautiful?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Perfection &Our Arrival


So, after my last thoughtful post, I went to church with the idea of creation and perfection in mind. During the Relief Society lesson on the Plan of Salvation, a certain portion stuck out to me.


Joseph Smith said, "We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, til he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment."


Perfection is a process and an eternal lifetime at that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reserve the Date

Attention one and all! For those of you who don't know yet, I'm having a birthday party. I started a new tradition last year that I would like to continue each year--to celebrate my life I celebrate womanhood and all the wonderful women I'm glad to know.

This year I will be having a ladies night of sorts--A Pajama Party. It will be Friday, November 14th (I'm thinking around 7:30pm or so). Pajamas are required. There will be lots of chocolate goodies, made by yours truly, milk and ice cream. If there are any special dessert requests, please let me know. We will also be watching the Emma Smith Movie which I absolutely love. And for any breastfeeding moms, precious babies are more than welcome.

Hopefully you all can come, and if not, I appreciate the desire to.

By the way, my actual birthday is November 7th and is reserved for my husband. I'll be turning 25 this year (a whopping quarter of a century).

as a disclaimer, 25 is not "old" by any means. I'm happy to be getting older and wiser and feel more like myself.





Monday, October 6, 2008

Perfection

Perfection is usually a relative term. I heard someone once define it as "doing the best you can with what you have." If that is a valid definition, then certainly we all have our moments of perfection. I like to connect perfection with progression, learning & growing, creating.

Recently, at a women's conference Dieter F. Uctdorf said,

"Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
"What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.
"If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it."

So, though I am lacking many skills there is hope in knowing that I can create something entirely new. For me, the focus right now in my life is new ways of thinking and perceiving situations and conversations. Though I may have had a rough start in this life, it is where I am headed that matters most.

Here's a startling confession (add sarcasm), I'm not perfect. I do the best I can, and sometimes what I know now will not suffice for the long haul. Quite simply, creation and perfecting one's self, comes one day at a time and is most visible years down the road.

So, yes I would like to do things differently and be entirely changed now, but that is too overwhelming and impossible. So the questions remain: #1 What can I do today to do a little better? and #2 What does my Heavenly Father think of me today? That is where perfection and creation begin--in the love of the Lord, our hearts, our desires, and our actions.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Recipe courtesy Janice Baumgartner 2002 for FoodNetwork.com's Game Day Grub Championship Cook-Off Competition

1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup plain dry
bread crumbs
1/4 cup
milk
2 T. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
(This recipe is a great base for meatballs, hamburgers and meatloaf--just season to your liking by adding ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc. for variations. I made a master mix with 5lbs of ground beef and split it into essentially 4 different meals by changing/adding one or two ingredients. It's a great time and money saver.)

Sauce:
1/2 cup brown
sugar
1 T. cornstarch (or 2T Flour)
1-can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, drained (save juice)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 small green pepper, cut into julienne (or 3/4c. chopped or 1 c. frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix first seven ingredients together and form into 1-1/2-inch balls. Place on cookie sheet and
bake in oven for 20 -25 minutes until done. Then, place in a slow cooker on low. (or put cooled, baked meatballs on a tray and freeze them separately, then bag them, for a quick dinner later in the week)

Place vinegar, pineapple juice, soy sauce and brown sugar in sauce pan. Stir in cornstarch and bring to boil. Pour over meatballs. Carefully stir in pineapple and green pepper. Keeps well in a slow cooker for several hours.

I usually skip the slow cooker and do this all on the stove top for a quick meal. Please be advised if you are doing the slow cooker for convenience that the sauce will still be tasty but much thinner.

**All text in italics are substitutions and suggestions that I have added.**

A Good Day





So far so good. I went to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple with a new friend of mine, Elisa, to do iniatories this morning. My friend Elisha watched the boys and we went out to lunch together when I got back.

The boys are down for a good nap and I am taking some much needed "time out for Me" time.

This evening Jason and I will be doing an endowment session for our date this week (with dinner at the temple cafeteria). I'm looking forward to feeling so much peace and receiving revelation. I Love the Temple! Well, I'm going to read a good book now and rest a bit. Hope your day is as good as mine (at least occasionally).

So, I actually got a good nap in this afternoon. We ended up doing sealings instead and enjoyed our dinner/dessert together. We actually saw the Fairfield CA Institute director, Brother Celaya and his wife at the temple (For those who don't know, the institute of religion is where Jason & I met and fell in love & friendship together). One of the sealers asked how long we have been married. When I said, "five years in August," he said, "Oh, you two look like newlyweds." To which Jason replied, "Good. We should." It was so wonderful to be there and to be reminded of our covenants and our love for the Lord and each other. We've come a long ways in the last five years.

The boys had fun at our friends house and are just now going to bed. Jason will be up bright and early tomorrow, on his official day off, to help demo my parent's deck. And later we'll be going to an unofficial "block party" BBQ and maybe swimming. Hope your holiday weekend is fun and meaningful to you all.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Life is Learning!

This is a true statement and I love it. It accurately describes me and my life. Yes, I have finally cracked down and started a Blog. Mostly, I'd like to use it to post recipes, different thoughts/insights, quotes, and the mundane happenings that tend to give others a good laugh. At some point I'm sure I'll figure out posting pictures and what-not. So please, bear with me as I am still learning.

Autism Awareness