Thursday, July 31, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I am quite excited about this and felt the need to post it!! For those of you who truly know me, you know that I'm a nerd...after all, I did play the clarinet for 9 years and was in marching band during high school.

Well, to add to my nerdiness, I LOVE Harry Potter! Though I didn't read any of the books until 2006 (because I thought they were for kids), I proudly admit that I am 25 years old and I love the Harry Potter books and movies! I find the series to be such a fun and magical (pun intended) story that captivates the reader and totally immerses them in the story. Anyways, the 6th Harry Potter movie is coming out in November of this year and the first trailer was just released. I'm sure you are all as excited as I am, so here it is for your viewing pleasure. :) Also, I've added a "countdown" at the bottom of our blog to keep you all current on when the movie comes out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Lion Reunion

Since I'm currently working "summer hours," I leave the house rather early and don't get to see any of "The Today Show."  In order to catch up on what I missed, I usually check out their website daily.

While checking it out this week, I came across this article and video clip, which is funny, touching, and rather amazing all at, I thought I'd share it with you.  You can find the original clip on You Tube right here, but I think the reactions from the news anchor's is pretty funny, so I've posted the one from "The Today Show" below.  Plus, you've gotta love the music and the '70s outfits.  Enjoy!  I'm going to go look into buying a lion...

Check out the article at MSNBC.COM: Lion Reunion

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread is going around Prescott and Prescott Valley and it is delicious! We received our first two starter bags about two weeks ago from Jake and Kayla. I had never heard of it before, but I was very excited to have to take care of the dough and bake the bread.

Amish Friendship Bread is a type of sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The sweet, cake-like cinnamon bread is a common bread that is made from this starter. It has characteristics of both pound cake and coffee cake.

With Amish Friendship Bread, you receive a bag of starter dough and "take care" of it for 10 days. On day 10, you add some ingredients, make additional starters from your batch and then bake your bread. During our 10 day "taking care" period, we were on our trip to Lake Powell. I decided to bring the bread dough with us, since it had to be "taken care of." On day 6, you are to add some sugar, flour and milk, which makes the dough ferment and build gases. I planned to get the milk from the hotel breakfast; however, I was lazy in my measuring and only had enough for one bag. bag continued on and the other went into the trash.

Well the next day, I left my surviving bread unattended in the hotel room when we out in the Lake for about 6 hours. When we returned, I was shocked and saddened to find out that my bag had exploded because of the gases that it created. Sad times...I had to throw that batch away too. So, there I was without any Amish Friendship Bread and I was quite sad.

The Sunday that we returned from our trip, Jeremy worked and told Jake and Kayla about our unfortunate event and guess what! They brought me another bag yesterday!! Thanks you guys! The bag they brought me was already at day 10, so I baked my loafs last night and created 3 starters of my own. I'm planning to keep one starters so that I can make more bread and play with the recipe a bit.

This bread is a bit heavy on the ingredients, but it's worth it because it's wonderfully delicious. I took one loaf into work today and it was gone in about an hour! So, all you need is to receive a starter bag from a friend and you can make this tasty bread. :)


One of my starters to give away.


The loaf all cooked in the pan.


All sliced up and ready to go to work with me.

Amish Friendship Bread

Important Note: Don't use metal spoons or equipment. Do not refrigerate. Use only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls or containers. Gases will be created as bread ferments, release air from bag, if necessary.

1 cup of starter mix

Day 1:
Do nothing with the starter.
Days 2-5:
Mash the bag.
Day 6:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Mash the bag.
Days 7-9:
Mash the bag.
Day 10:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Mash. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon
Optional: 1 cup nuts, 1 cup raisins, anything you'd like!

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well. Grease two bread pans. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar mixture on bottom of pan. Pour batter into two the well greased and sugared bread pans. Sprinkle remaining mixture on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool and enjoy!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nighty, Night...Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite...

This is a Bedbug.


The common bedbug is found in temperate climates throughout the world and lives off the blood of humans. Bedbugs are generally active only at dawn, with a peak attack period about an hour before sunrise. They may attempt to feed at other times however, given the opportunity, and have been observed to feed at any time of the day. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place.


During our trip to Lake Powell this past week, Jeremy and I became closely acquainted with a few of these bedbugs. In fact, we became so close that we shared the same bed as them! We stayed at the Best Western - Lake Powell, and we can confirm that they have bedbugs in some beds.


We discovered our gross little friends on Friday morning, after we had slept in the bed for two nights. Yuck! As we were about to leave for the lake, we noticed two bedbugs on my pillow. So, Jeremy's mom, sister and I took the pillow to the front desk. The front desk guy freaked out a little bit (maybe this has happened before??), took the pillow and the bugs and said that he'd be right back. He came back a little frazzled and proceeded to tell us that he'd work on getting us a new room. To make a very long story short, we were given a new room, but it only had one king bed (for Jerm's parents), a pull out couch (for us) and a roll away (for Heather); instead of two queen beds and a pull out. Actually, in the new room, the pull out wasn't even needed because Jerm's parents and Heather all slept in the king bed...but that's another story! :-) Anyway, Jerm's mom worked her magic (plus, I'm sure the hotel was a little concerned that we'd blab to others about the bugs) and we were given the remaining two nights of our hotel stay free!

Moral of the story: Do not stay at the Best Western Lake Powell, unless you want to meet some little friends.

And on that note: Nighty, night...don't let those bedbugs bite!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oh, Those Carnies...

Basil Exposition: What's the other thing that scares you?
Austin Powers: Carnies. Circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.

Last night we went to the circus!! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey was in town with their Gold Tour called, "Boom-a-Ring."

We joined up with Jake and Kayla for dinner at Zeke's Eatin' Place (which was delicious, as always) and then ventured over to the Circus!


In line for the Circus!

Since we live in a small town, this is one of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's smaller shows. There was only one ring, but for only $15 dollars it was well worth it! We got there about an hour early because they had a pre-show to meet some animals and performers, learn circus tricks and enjoy a taste of the circus before the show started. Here's us dressed up like "circus folk!"

Testing 2

The show had jugglers, tight rope walkers, a perch act (where a guy balances an apparatus that a girl is performing on, on top of his forehead), a Dachshund Dog act, three elephants, six white Bengal tigers, tumbling and acrobatic performers, a crossbow act and a girl that swung from a rope swing. My favorite was the six white Bengal tigers! Followed was closely by the Dachshund act. Both sets of animals were so cute!!


One of the tigers and the lady who instructed them.


The Dachshund Doggies.


Crazy high wire people.



The circus was a lot of fun for the four of us! It brought back memories of our childhood and was a fun night with friends.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Company is Coming to Dinner

I LOVE having people over for dinner!  Mostly I enjoy it because it's fun having friends over to hang out for the night, but also because I don't have to cut recipes in half or make small side dishes since it's usually just Jeremy and me.  Tonight we had our good friends, Jake and Kayla over for dinner, dessert and of course, board games!


On the menu were 2 new recipes and 2 old standbys.  The new ones were: Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers and Frozen English Toffee Cake.   And the old standbys were Cheesy Potatoes and baked beans (from a can). 

I get off of work at 5pm and Jake and Kayla were coming over at 6pm, so right after I walked in the door, I started cooking.  I knew my time was limited before they arrived, so the first thing to do was to get the Cheesy Potatoes into the oven, since they take the longest.  I made a special stop at the grocery store on the way home for the cream of chicken soup for the potatoes...and sadly, wouldn't you know my rush to get it in the oven, I completely forgot to put the soup into the mix.  Oops!  (But they still turned out delicious!)IMG_0780 

Next came the burgers.  The recipe is from Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee on the Food Network!  LOVE her!  I saw her make this recipe last weekend and I thought they looked tasty.   The burgers have onion seasoning mix, teriyaki mix, pineapple juice and  a pineapple ring grilled in them.  YUM!  I forgot to get pictures of the burgers, but here is the link to the recipe.

While the potatoes were cooking and Jerm was grilling the burgers, I finished up my cake.  Since I knew I'd be short on time, I baked the cake and made the ice cream layers the night before.  That way, I just had to assemble the layers, frost it and sprinkle on the toffee chips. 


The finished cake, about to go into the freezer.


Playing our new game,"Sequence."


Jake's fancy piece of cake.


Eating dessert!

What a fun night with friends!  Thanks for coming over guys...see you Saturday at the Circus! :)

Frozen English Toffee Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix

1 1/3 cups water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1/2 gallon chocolate or vanilla ice cream (or any flavor)

1 bag (10 oz) English toffee bits

1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip



1. Bake cake as directed on box, in two 8-inch round cake pans.  Cool completely.

Ice Cream Filling

2. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches of plastic to hang over sides.  Divide ice cream equally among pans.  Using rubber spatula, spread ice cream over bottoms of prepared pans, forming smooth, even layers.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of toffee bits over ice cream in each pan.  Freeze for 3 hours or until solid.

Assembly and Frosting

3. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half.  Working quickly, remove ice cream from pans.  Peel off plastic and place 1 ice cream circle on each of the 3 cake layers.  Stack cake and ice cream layers on top of each other on serving platter.  Frost cake with Cool Whip and sprinkle with remaining toffee bits.  Freeze until ready to serve.  Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 12-16 servings.

I Kissed a Girl...

As I'm sure most of you know, there is a new song out by Katy Perry, called "I Kissed a Girl." At the moment, Jeremy and I are currently obsessed with the song! It's always on the radio, it's now his ringtone for when I call and he even sings it to me! In fact, this is the story of how the obsession came to be.

About a week ago, I was tired and went to bed about an hour earlier than Jeremy. When he finally came to bed, he was about to kiss me goodnight, which he always does, when this conversation occurred:

J: Babe, are you sleeping?

S: (Sleeping) silence

J: Babe? (Gives me a kiss)

S: (Yes, still sleeping) still silence

J: (Gives me another kiss and starts singing) "I kissed a girl and I liked it...the taste of her cherry chapstick"

S: (Starting to gain consciousness and thinking, "What is that noise?")

J: Babe! (Kiss) Are you awake? Babe, I'm singing to you! "I kissed a girl and I liked it..." (Kiss)"

S: (Semi-conscious, but conscious enough to know he's singing and annoying me) Uggggh!

J: Babe, "I kissed a girl and I liked it..."

S: Jeremy!! Pleeeeease stop singing!

The end! The song is now imbedded in both our heads and we are obsessed with it. Here is a link for your listening pleasure!

Paul & Julie...You Guys Rock!


In my evening check of the blogs I read daily, I came across the following post on our friend's blog.  I immediately started laughing and called Jeremy into the room! 

Here's a little background: Paul, Julie and baby Thomas live next door to the house that Jeremy and I want, and currently have an offer on, to buy.  We often joke about how Paul should walk around outside in his underwear and Julie should just start screaming order to scare away prospective buyers.  We also have joked about having them take all the flyers from the "For Sale" sign...

Thanks Paul!  You da man! :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Baked a Pie!

I love cooking and baking! I have since I was a little kid. I was always trying to help my mom or dad cook when they were in the kitchen. When I get bored, I have the urge to bake something. I love Food Network! I could watch it all day. From Rachael Ray to The Neely's to The Next Food Network is all so entertaining to me. I love reading "foodie" blogs about cooking, baking and the healthy way people eat! Ask Jeremy... I've found about 20 "foodie" blogs that I read daily. So, I got to thinking...what if I kinda, sorta starting posting about my cooking and baking? That could be fun, right? Well, to the five people out there who actually read this blog...I'm going to start incorporating things that I cook, the process and the recipes, for your viewing pleasure. Let's start with my very first pie...

While watching "Good Eats" last week, Alton Brown was doing his show on apple pie. It looked delicious and made me want to make a pie...even though I'm more of a cake and cookie kinda girl. I would have used Alton's recipe; however, it didn't seem as "figure-friendly" as I would have liked. So, I searched for a recipe and came across this delicious one from Cooking Light magazine.

This Caramel-Apple Crumb Pie is very easy to make and quite tasty, if I do say so myself! Instead of a top crust, there is a yummy crumb and caramel mixture that doesn't overpower the apples. Delicious!


My ingredients.


Rolling out the crust. (I only had Whole-Wheat flour, so that's why it's darker than usual)


Pinto beans as my "pie weights," while the crust baked.


The apple filling.


The finished product, cooling on the counter!

Caramel-Apple Crumb Pie

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1999



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon ice water

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Butter-flavored cooking spray


1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

9 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 3/4 pounds)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons lemon juice


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup fat-free caramel sundae syrup


Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare crust, lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1 cup flour and salt in a bowl; cut in 2 tablespoons butter and shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle surface with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time; add vinegar. Toss with a fork until moist and crumbly (do not form a ball).

Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, to a 12-inch circle. Freeze 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fold edges under; flute. Line bottom of dough with a piece of foil; arrange pie weights (or dried beans) on foil. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until the edge is lightly browned. Remove pie weights and foil; cool on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Add sugar mixture and apples to skillet; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons flour and lemon juice. Spoon into prepared crust.

To prepare topping, lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a bowl; cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Drizzle syrup over apple mixture; sprinkle topping over syrup. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutritional Information:

CALORIES 277(27% from fat); FAT 8.4g (sat 4.2g,mono 2.4g,poly 1g); IRON 1.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 16mg; CALCIUM 33mg; CARBOHYDRATE 50.1g; SODIUM 109mg; PROTEIN 2.1g; FIBER 2.4g