Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yellowstone: June 29 - July 1

So this isn't new to anyone who could possibly read this but I was able to visit Yellowstone in June and visit my dear friend Jen (who has since returned from her summer home). I can finally understand a small part of her great love for this place. First, her family has an amazing cabin on the lake that is seriously everything I have ever wanted in an escape (new life goal: own a cabin on Hebgen Lake!) It was lovely! Second, BUFFALO, or Bison as Leah insisted we call them, and various other animals!!!!!!! Third, beautiful park. Fourth, taco truck. Fifth, NATURE everywhere!
 Weekend Group
 If I could be any animal I would be a BUFFALO!
 I caught a fish then put him back (sadly not with my new fishing pole since I only purchased fly fishing line and not lazy fishing line)
 What vacations were made for, relaxing with those you love
 Pretty Park
 Saw a moose (aparently this is noteworthy)
Numberous meals at the taco truck
 So many buffalo
 they keep ya laughin
And Juan Carlos and I reunited
 Me, in nature

Thursday, March 8, 2012


In February I tried a number of new recipes I had come across and a good amount of those were soups. Below I have rated some of them. Rating system - F: Barely edible; D: OK but I probably wouldn't make it again; C: Good; B: Really liked it and will save this recipe; A: Loved it and didn't want to share.

Winter Lentil Soup (Vegetarian Option) C+
Hands-on Time: 20m
Total Time: 1h
Serves 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 1/4-inch think half-moons

  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch wide strips

  • 1/2 cup brown lentils

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce) - optional

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, for 5 minutes.

  2. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Spoon into bowls and top with the Parmesan, if using.
Basic brown lentils retain their shape better during cooking than pricier red and yellow lentils, so they're terrific for soups. Or you can substitute green lentils, which taste slightly peppery

Mushroom Barley Soup (Vegetarian Option) B
Hands-on Time: 35m
Total Time: 40m
Serves 4 Ingredients

  • 1 cup barley

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 1 large carrot, diced

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 20 ounces button mushrooms, sliced

  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (about 8 sprigs)

  • sliced sourdough or other country bread, toasted (optional)

  1. In a medium-size pan, bring the barley and 4 cups of water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook until the onions have softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add the carrot and celery and cook, covered, for 6 minutes more.

  4. Add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high and cook, covered, until they release their juices, about 4 minutes.

  5. Add the broth, bay leaves, and thyme and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

  6. Stir in the cooked barley; remove and discard the bay leaves. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper and serve with the sourdough toast.

To bring out the barley's nutty flavor, saute it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter over medium heat for a few minutes before adding the water

Spring Lentil Soup B+
Hands-on Time: 15m
Total Time: 45m
Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 4 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 6 boiled baby red potatoes, quartered

  • 1 cup green or brown lentils

  • 1/4 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)

  • 1/2 cooked pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer 5 more minutes

If pressed for time, use packages of presliced vegetables found at most supermarkets

Curried Chicken and Rice Soup A-
Prep Time: 20m
Cook Time: 55m
Serves 4


  • 1 bone-in chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved

  • 2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Kosher salt

  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, very thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder

  • 1/3 cup jasmine rice

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

  1. Combine the chicken, carrots, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups broth and bring to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is just firm, about 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in another saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the onion is soft, 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and the remaining 3 cups broth. Increase the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the rice falls apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Remove the chicken from its broth; discard the skin/bones and shred the meat into pieces. Return the shredded chicken to the same broth.

  4. Puree the rice mixture with an immersion blender until smooth (or use a regular blender then return to the pan). Pour in the chicken and broth, stirring gently to combine; bring to a simmer. Toss in the chopped herbs and serve the soup with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl/Fun./OK GO

The 2012 Super Bowl was pretty fun this year. Maybe after 28 years of immersion, football is finally growing on me (Stockholm Syndrome?) or maybe it is just that good company, great food, and interesting commercials made for a fun evening.

I don't' think the game could have ended better. I was torn because I wanted to root for the Giants but also went to high school with Danny Woodhead who plays for the Patriots. Luckily both teams wear basically the same colors so I felt like I was supporting both. Danny is smaller than me in every way except muscle mass so he definitely has a Rudy Ruuettiger quality about him. The Giants ended up winning with an intense last couple of minutes and Danny scored a touchdown. WIN, WIN! The only better outcome would have been a tie.
While I enjoyed the game, and Cassie was mostly patient with my many questions, I probably paid more attention to the commercials. My favorite this year was the Chevy Sonic commercial, although the H&M commercial wasn't so bad either ;) Fun concept, great song, and I googled it the next day. I would say that that is a successful commercial.

A few weeks ago I heard "We are Young" by Fun. and have listened to it a lot since so I was happy that it made its appearance

The commercial highlights the band OK GO's new music video but here is the official one.

I think this is such a creative idea, true of all OK GO music videos. They must have an engineer on their staff that plans all of these video concepts because I can't imagine trying to time everything just right.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012's Resolute Resolutions

“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”

During my studies we often discussed the many elements of “wellness” and so when it comes time to evaluate my life and set goals for the upcoming year I like to look at the different elements and set goals in each area. Here are my 2012 goals, some of these may be a bit lofty but why not challenge myself?

- Not allow the things I want to diminish the many wonderful things I have!

- I will push myself to do one social activity a month and to do something new (skill, activity, adventure, trip, place, food, etc.) every month (some of you may laugh at this but this is one of the lofty ones I was referring to)

- Lose 25lbs by April (reevaluate and set a new physical goal for July, October, and end of the year)

- Strive to keep my living space at a constant higher level of cleanliness (could I be more ambiguous?)

- Be to work 4 days a week before 9am (this is a big one for me!)

- Read at least one book that is nonfiction and enlightening

- Become 100% debt free and stay that way for 3 months before making any large purchases

- I will pick one item from the following list to work on for a month that will help me grow spiritually
1. Put more thought into my personal prayers
2. Improve my attitude towards many of my ward members
3. Find someone outside of my home to serve
4. Focus on visiting teaching
5. Fast with a purpose and for inspiration
6. Go to the temple
7. Pick a topic and research it thoroughly using different church resources
8. Complete 30 indexing things
9. Be to church at least 5 minutes before the meeting starts
10. Talk to 1 person each Sunday that I don’t know
11. Read my Patriarchal Blessing once a week
12. Read “Jesus the Christ” by James E Talmage

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretend Post

I am not actually posting something, I just can't handle the fact that the leaves post has been on here for over 6 months. I fail at blogging!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I love trees and we have a lot at the house (the back yard is pretty enclosed) which means LEAVES. Last fall dad and Koda did a lot of raking and gathering as you can see

House (one of many posts I should have done a long time ago)

This is the house last October, we haven't changed much outside other than plants and yard work.

Here is the back yard (you can see the back of the garage on the right) before some much needed care. We are working on reviving the grass this summer and taming the bushes. This is one of my favorite parts of the house. Cassie, Jen, and I spend as much time out here as we can.
*Stay tuned for the before interior pictures!