Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Update on my little Buddy

I love my new puppy....although we've now taken to calling him "The Bud-monster" (which he seems to enjoy!). These were taken a few days ago when we were out for a walk. He's now 4 months old and is getting better at herding our cats every day!
Hope you enjoyed the new "baby pictures"!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Wednesday morning you'll see ABC4's Nicea Degering and I walked through Dan's Foothill and talked about keeping our Thanksgiving meal out of the Danger Zone. Nobody wants to wind up sick from buffet food at Aunt Carol's house so, here's the list. One more tip I forgot to mention....have everyone bring their crockpot and keep your dressing, mashed potatoes, etc. safe and warm inside.
  • Thaw turkey in the fridge? Figure 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey
    Thaw submerged in cold water? Change out the water every 30 minutes and a good measure is 1 pound for each half hour
  • Internal temperature of 180 degrees (measure in the innermost part of the thigh….we recommend roasting your bird at 325. Please use a meat thermometer even if you have a pop up timer…just a good safety precaution
  • If you stuff your turkey, make sure the dressing reaches 165 degrees. Some families don’t even stuff their bird anymore..and if you don’t…fill the cavity with chunks of onion, maybe big slices of oranges to help keep the turkey moist…oh & don’t forget to pull out the little packet of giblets!
  • How long can you leave your food out…for example on a buffet table? Bacteria likes to show up between 40 degrees and 140 degrees…keep cold foods cold, hot foods hot….room temperature is not your friend.
  • If you have leftovers, all of your hot foods like Gravy, vegetables, stuffing…reheat those to 165 degrees before eating them.
  • My favorite personal tip? I like to take thick slices of bacon and lay them across the top of the turkey, the fat self bastes the bird and you get some great bacon to cut up into your mashed potatoes or sprinkle over your green beans.

If you have anything to add...please post it in the comments section of this message. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and make sure to watch ABC4's Good Morning Utah this Wednesday for more great ideas to keep in mind for the holidays.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chocolate Show Crepes

This weekend is the Utah Chocolate Show....something I've been honored to be a part of since the beginning. Every year I run out of recipe handouts so, this time around I thought I'd wise up and post it here. If you'd like to sign up for a regular Chocolate Show newsletter (fun!), then visit and get set up.

Thanks for checking in!
Hugs as always,

Super Show-off Chocolate Crepes

When you want to impress your guests just say “Oui-Oui!” to this delicious dessert recipe. You make the crepes and your guests fill them with their own personal delicacies from your filling buffet.

Chocolate Crepes:
· 1 ½ cups whole milk
· 1 cup flour
· ¼ cup cocoa powder
· 3 T. powdered sugar
· 1 large egg
· 1 T. butter, melted
· ¼ t. vanilla extract (you can choose your own favorite flavoring)
· 1/8 t. salt

Whisk all ingredients together until batter is completely smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. You can keep this batter in the fridge up to 2 days before you use it.

Using a non-stick 6½-inch skillet (or crepe pan), liberally spray butter-flavored oil into the bottom. Place pan over medium-high heat until you can see the oil barely starting to smoke. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of batter to the pan, swirling until the bottom is covered. Return to heat and cook crepe for 1 to 1½ minutes. You’ll notice the crepe getting a dry look on top and around the edges. With plastic spatula or flipper, loosen edges if necessary. Slide the spatula underneath the crepe and gently flip it upside down in the pan. Cook for at least 1 minute more and slide onto plate to keep warm. Lightly spray pan in between making each crepe. Easily makes 15 crepes.

· Practice makes perfect. Know that you’ll probably tear the first few crepes as you adjust
the heat and get used to the swirling motion. No problem! It happens to all of us.
· Your crepe pan should be really quite hot.
· Make sure the crepe cooks long enough on the second side. Rushing this process will give
you a rubbery consistency in the center of your crepe.
· Have fun! Those French Chefs don’t have a thing on you!

Thick Chocolate Almond Sauce:
· 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
· 6-8 oz. semi sweet mini chocolate chips
· 1 t. almond extract
· Chopped almonds (if desired)

In medium size glass bowl, microwave milk on ½ power for 1-2 minutes or until hot. Remove from microwave and stir in chocolate chips until melted. Mix almond extract in last and, if desired, add chopped almonds.

What to have on your Crepe Buffet? Here’s a list (I prefer all of my fillings warmed):

First, the spread
· Peanut Butter
· Marshmallow Crème
· Nutella
· Fruit filled jam
· Honey
· Cream cheese sweetened with powdered sugar

Next, the specialties:
· Fresh sliced strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, bananas (can use frozen if necessary)
· Chopped nuts, toasted coconut, crushed cookies or graham crackers
· Pie filling
· The only exception to warming would, of course, be any type of mousse

The Topping:
· If using whipped cream, place it to the side of the crepe so each bite can be dipped
· Syrups, i.e. chocolate, caramel, berry coulis…even maple syrup can be used!
· Sprinkling of powdered sugar

Folding your crepes:
Traditionally, dessert crepes are folded into quarters….savory crepes are rolled. Whatever makes you happy is exactly what you should do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dinner's Decided

If you look inside your Associated Food Stores weekly ads, you may see a block called "Dinner's Decided". That means Dan's, Macey's, Lin's, Dick's and other AFS stores are all helping you quickly pick your dinner from items already on sale. We started it at the end of October and I have lots of fun putting it together. Next week it's Soup and Salad...the following week a Pizza Party...and so on. It also includes the approximate cook time and my goals are always a half hour or less...and a total of less than $14. I've posted this Pasta dinner as an example and look! It's less than $10! Keep an eye out for it each week and if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
See you Friday on Good Things Utah,


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As promised.....

I've been having Panda Express cravings alot lately. My favorites are the Orange Chicken and the Beijing Beef, which, of course, are the two highest calorie and carb choices on the menu. (By the way, my Health Assessment was pretty good, although, as expected my cholesterol is a little bit high and we won't even discuss the body fat percentage). My husband likes the Cashew Chicken which is much healthier so here's a delicious version from my own cookbooks that I think you'll enjoy.

Simple Cashew Chicken
1 t. sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1 t. garlic powder
1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
3 T. cooking oil
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 t. cornstarch
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Hoisin sauce
1 T. ground ginger
1 cup roasted, salted cashews
cooked white rice

Pour sesame oil, vinegar, sherry and garlic powder into a large resealable bag and shake to combine. Toss in chicken, seal and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove chicken from marinade (saving marinade). Heat cooking oil in wok or heavy skillet; stir fry chicken until done then add broccoli and carrots for 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Combine cornstarch, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, ginger and reserved marinade; stir into chicken & vegetables. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and heated through. Stir in cashews and bring to serving temperature. Serve over rice. Makes about 6 servings. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Now for a few helpful Tips and Tidbits:
  • What is Hoisin Sauce? It's a condiment and flavoring in Chinese cuisines made from soybeans, garlic, chiles and other spices. It's also known as Peking sauce.
  • Arkansas is the leading rice producing state in America
  • Rice vinegar comes in 3 types; white, red and black. White rice vinegar is the most versatile and is used in many Asian inspired sauces. Red rice vinegar is mostly used as a dipping sauce. Black rice vinegar is an ingredient in Chinese pickled pigs' feet (just in case you were wondering).
  • If you prefer not to use sherry, you can use an equal amount of apple or white grape juice
  • Did you know that cashews are in the same family as poison ivy?

See you Friday on Good Things Utah....I'll be making a little treat from walnuts, dates and sweet dough...and thanks for stopping by!


Monday, November 10, 2008

How fun is this?

As I've admitted before, I'm far from a blogging Queen - so it's very exciting to see your comments and I want to say "thank you" for being so welcoming and kind. There are so many wonderful people in this world...but it's easy to get caught up in the negativity that comes our way. It's about choice...and perception...and a willingness to find the positive in even the most uncomfortable circumstances. These days, it seems that there's so much energy being focused towards seeing the good in our lives. Isn't it uplifting?

Over the weekend I was talking with my sister about the power of "hope". Can we pinpoint it to November 4th or just an overwhelming desire to get past all the challenges and know that the answers are already within us? Hope is what helps us see the vision of a better life. Hope allows us to dream of unlimited possibilities. It's hope that helps us remember the strength that we all carry and the unique qualities that each of us bring to the table.

This Thursday, I hope you'll join me at the Sandy Macey's as we sit down at a table of desserts! I'll be there at 7p for another visit to the Little Theatre. Classes are free and last about an hour (unless I start yakking way too much and stop looking at the clock!). This week's menu is 2 desserts from my Stick of Butter Cookbook. We'll do Cranberry Walnut Pie and Peanut Butter Cups...both are super easy and great to give as gifts.

Have a great week...and next time I check in, I promise an update on my little puppy Buddy and another bonus a few holiday tips.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Health Assessments - Ugh!

Next Tuesday, we're having Health Assessments at work. It's one of those "for insurance purposes" things where they test for cholesterol, weight and blood pressure. I tend to have a backwards mentality when it comes to things like this. Knowing that the time to be good is upon me, I tend to have double cheeseburgers and milkshakes, extra helpings and brownies.

I know it's not right....but I can't or..don't want to help it. I always preach portion control which means a cookie in each hand. I've tried smaller plates, eating less food at more sittings throughout the day, being mindful of each bite. I've taken to the treadmill and yes, I must admit, it does feel better being a few pounds lighter....but wait! I'm working on a Dessert Cookbook!

Perhaps, in the future, I'll look at a salad-seafood-fruits & veggies cookbook - but in the meantime I'll be sampling my Chocolate Truffle Torte and Buttery Ginger Gems. The good news is that my cholesterol and blood pressure have always been low...the bad news could be that, as Maxwell Smart would say, I'll "miss it by that much"!

Wish me luck,

Saturday, November 1, 2008

BC Rocks!

Today I was up in Brigham City for their Annual Women's Forum. It was so nice to meet such wonderful ladies all gathered to celebrate the feminine spirit! As keynote speaker, I focused on staying out of stress and drama....and staying connected with your higher self, balanced and re-energizing your life's passion. We laughed and chatted....and then it was time for the breakout sessions.

I had the most considerate assistants who helped me demonstrate stuffing wontons and frying up some delicious holiday appetizers. We made a South of the Border
stuffing and, a Pizza I shared lots of tips on how to make wonderful desserts with cheesecake, fudge, even pumpkin pie filling. Everyone got a taste and I signed lots of cookbooks. All in all it was a lovely Saturday. Special thanks to Joan Bell for the invitation - you are truly a beautiful woman.

One of the audience members took these I wanted to share. If you're feeling stressed out, run down and out of sorts...please let me know. I'd love to come visit with your group too!

Until next time,