Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a trip to...coyote hills

the day was lovely, and quite windy,

and full of smiles...

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birthday paintings for heidi!!

what do you think?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

just a few more plants...

we decided to plant just a few more... peppers, and basil (more basil than peppers, you go through it much faster)
basil can be grown indoors, in planters outside, or just straight in the ground, and it's so amazing in almost all foods, why would you not
still planting in containers, just to let a few more weeks of possibly bad weather go by before putting our babies out in the real world
I love my sister jennifer. she helps with most of my projects, and she makes me smile.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

the garden...

This is our garden away from home. We usually have a small garden at my parents house, but mostly flowers and the usual yard plants; Martin and I started a vegetable garden at his house; but this is THE garden. This garden is where our chickens roam, our bees used to reside, and where the majority of our yard work is done. Grandpa Beck was a friend of the owner of the land and has had berries and grapes here since I can remember. It has only been in recent years that we have actually gardened here. The vegetables are in the works. We love it. This is my dad's pride and joy.

The berries will come on in late summer (boysenberry pie is so delicious, you have no idea). The grapes are usually in their prime late summer early fall (we make jars and jars of grape juice, delicious, and so good for you).

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we have chickens...

these are our chickens.
we give them love, they give us eggs
and we live happily ever after

For those in our ward or nearby, if you and your kiddies would like to hang out with the chickens for a little bit, gather some eggs and what not, talk to my dad or myself! My dad loves showing off his little friends to people :)

They live at the garden across from the church, just in case you were interested (I think it's illegal to have them at your house)

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

and the winner is.....

drum roll if you please........

My Mom :)

(it was a random draw I swear and the odds that it would be a family member were quite high considering they were 90% of the comments left). But...Karla, I saved a piece for you at the house, come to the show tomorrow! Cindy, I'll bring you a piece tomorrow. Mom and ryan, you'll get to enjoy the cake after our sunday dinner. Jana, come home please, we miss you. Sorry for anyone that's to far for a cake :) maybe you can attempt at a giveaway in the future where the gift can be mailed!!!

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Happy birthday to my friend Laura!!
This carrot cake was made by request, and I couldn't have been happier to do it! I had not made a carrot cake in a long time, and I don't think I've ever bothered to decorate one, so it was fun!

I couldn't decide how big I wanted to make the cake, so I ended up with extra, enough to make a mini!!
And I had a great idea; if you would like this amazing carrot cake to be yours, leave me a comment on this blog today (saturday), and obviously if you're in the area surrounding fremont. At the end of the day I'll pick a winner!!!

I'll attempt to give you a recipe for this cake..

For the cake..
I used a box mix of carrot cake, follow the recipe, then add 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts), 2 carrots finely shredded, and if you would like, some fresh ginger zest.
This recipe is a cheat recipe, but it's so amazing.

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 packages cream cheese
1 T. vanilla
6 T. melted butter
2 c. powdered sugar

Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and butter thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 c. at a time until fully incorporated. Refrigerate for an hour or so before you frost the cake.

I usually use 2 cake round pans; then when frosting, both cakes are cut in half. This allows for 3 layers of filling or frosting. The first layer (bottom) I use cream cheese, next layer (middle) I used apricot jam, the last layer, cream cheese frosting.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Deviled Eggs

7 hard boiled eggs
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard (brown/spicy or regular mustard)
1 t. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives chopped can be a great garnish.

Hard boil your eggs any way you like. I typically place the eggs in a small sauce pan, with water just covering the eggs. Place over medium high heat for 12 minutes (this includes the time before and after water starts to boil). After 12 minutes, place the eggs, one by one, in an ice water bath. This will help with a clean removing of the shell. After the eggs have cooled, peel and wash off.
Cut the eggs in half, long ways. Place the yolk in a separate bowl, and the whites on a serving dish. Mix mayo, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper with the yolks. Using a fork, mash the mixture until you have a smooth consistency. Salt and pepper, as well as the paprika is to taste. This is the basic deviled eggs recipe, feel free to add and flavoring you like.
Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves, salt and pepper and add a dash of paprika for garnish.

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This is pretty much my favorite breakfast...

Eggs, bacon, toast, and freshly squeezed orange juice!

Eggs are incredibly good for you, your metabolism, and building muscle. Anytime I want to strictly follow a diet regimen, eggs are always a big part of it. They're also very economical, for the amount of protein you get from eggs, you're getting more than your dollars worth.

1. Eggs are high in vitamins and minerals.
One large egg contains 251 milligrams of choline—more than half of a woman’s daily requirements. An essential nutrient especially for pregnant women and women of childbearing age, choline plays a key role in the brain development of unborn babies and even affects their memory later in life.

Eggs are also a rich source of vitamin K. One large egg contains 25 micrograms about one-third of the daily recommended amount for women. Vitamin K is a key nutrient in blood clotting.

2. Eggs are nutritious and low in calories
In its own nature-made single-serve container one large egg contains just 75 calories.

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the love of my life...

Introducing to the blogging world, Martin Murray. These days he holds onto the title: love of my life, best friend, daily companion and cause of about 99% of all my smiles in a day. We worked together at the wonderful Outback Steakhouse in 06, and somehow found our way into each other's arms years later. He's an amazing musician; check out his myspace, buy his c.d. and come to his next show!!

He has a show at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay on Saturday, June 27th! So mark it on your calenders everyone! It's a great restaurant, beautiful view, and one of the few shows he'll play where you can sit, enjoy a meal, and enjoy the music.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!!

Our garden hit 6 weeks today, and to celebrate earth day we planted outside!! For the last 6 weeks I've been taking care of my plants that I started in small containers. This week really would be the first week that you could plant anything outside, because last week we had a night of frost, so with the frost gone, grow your garden outside!! You don't have to deal with the planters and moving them in and out of sun and all that; plant straight into the ground and watch that garden grow!! Unfortunately Martin's yard was a tad overgrown, and not used to being planted in, so we took a trip to Dale Hardware, bought a few bags of planter soil, and mixed that into our dry and hard dirt we have to work with. We've also had a few days of weeding and shoveling away brush, so today was a great day, finally getting those plants into the ground.

Sweet corn: Plant about six inches apart, we have about 8 plants, we'll plant more in a few weeks
Green beans: Plant about six inches apart, we have about 6 plants, we'll plant more in a few weeks. If you're planting green beans, which I definitely suggest, grow bush green beans if you don't want to build a structure for them to grow on. Ours are pole green beans, so eventually we'll have a wire structure up.
Tomatoes: We have 4 tomato plants (which need a lot more space than corn or green beans, which grow straight up). Give your plants at least a foot of breathing room on each side.
Yellow Squash and Zucchini: We have 3 yellow squash, and 2 zucchini plants, which also need a lot of space around them. You can put the plants close together, but they're going to need a few feet between them and any other plants.

Fertilize your plants once they're a few inches high, about the size of my plants now, so around 6 weeks. Then again in a few weeks. And make sure to water them everyday!!

We're growing a pretty hefty garden, and we're going to have lots of vegetables!! But you don't have to go as full force as we have; planter boxes or just a small strip of your yard would be great if you just have a few plants.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

chocolate covered strawberries

This is one of my favorite and easiest desserts. Great to bring to a party, you don't have to worry about serving it or a mess of any kind.
You can either use regular chocolate chips, semi sweet or milk chocolate or you can buy the chocolate that is specifically for dipping, such as Dulci Frutta dipping chocolate that you can buy at any grocery store.
If you use chocolate chips, melt either in the microwave or over a small pan of simmering water (you'll have more luck with dipping if you do it on the stove, melting in the microwave dries out the chocolate and cooks it too fast, especially if it's a big batch). Once melted I usually add a few tablespoons of butter, and mix until melted. It keeps it softer.

I usually have an assembly line of toppings ready, including, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chopped marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles, coconut, sugar sprinkles, and chopped chocolate chips. You can use anything you like, go crazy :)

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

21 things I love and miss about Provo Utah...

My lovely sister just left me for the mountains of Utah, and although I don't wish I was moving with her there are plenty of things I miss about living there. Here's my list, and not in any specific order :) (Alot of these pictures are not my own)

BYU Football!! My brother and cousins played on the team, and we had so much fun travelling to all the games.

My Utah Family...

The snow! I love cold snowy weather.

Smart Cookie!!! They have the most amazing cookie selection, you really have no idea. Jana and I used to go there for lunch and dinner sometimes!
All you can eat, and you don't have to get up! They walk around with delicious grilled meats and pineapple, and I'm getting so hungry just thinking about it!

My belmont apartments!!! They were so pretty, I loved living there!

Movies for a dollar!! Can you believe that californians! And on mondays I think it was something crazy like a quarter! Jana (my always buddy in provo) and I would go a few times a week, just because we could.

I don't care what anyone says, beto's was amazing!! Massive breakfast burritos for under 4 dollars, open all night long!! I don't know if you're catching on to my love of food, I'm trying to spread them out so it's not so obvious :)

Natural hot springs! How crazy is that! Sitting in a hot tub (almost) in your suit, with snow all around you, crazy!

The provo canyon is one of the prettiest places I've ever been, no joke.

J Dawgs!! The most amazing polish dogs in the world!! And located right next to smart cookie!! Jana and I had a tough decision on our hands most days at lunch time.

Park City! So close to provo, and an internationally known city! Wonderful restaurants, music venues, and lots more.

Magleby's Fresh's all you can eat french toast!!!! So amazing!

Right down the street from my Belmont apartments, Seven Peaks water park!!! Some of the highest waterslides in the country, no joking.

Salt Lake City is just 45 minutes away!!

There are vending machines all over the byu campus, it was amazing! Jana had meal money that she had to use up every month, so we would make sure to spend our time at the vending machines at least once in a while!! Our favorite, the chocolate milk and crumb doughnuts combo!

You can hike up to the Y, it's pretty fun, although steep.

The view from the top of the mountains is pretty wondrous. I used to drive just a few minutes up the hill from where I lived and this is what you get to see!

I miss Jenna!! She is such an incredible hair stylist and friend! If only I could find someone like that out here!!

Last but not least, my sister. I have been pretty lucky to have her back home this past year, but she's back to school. I love you nunu.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

keep working on that garden!

My little ones are now at week 5, how are yours doing?! I started early, just to let everyone know. I have to take them in if it's raining too hard or if there may be frost during the night, so it's been more like babysitting. But this week is pretty much the okay week to start a garden, because there shouldn't be anymore chance of frost at this point. So, you can plant your little ones right in the ground and not have to deal with the frost and transplanting, etc. So grow a garden, or at least a few plants. Even with no yard it's still possible. Tomato plants are great in planter boxes, or an herb garden! Just this week I fertilized the plants; on most of the little bags of seeds it says when you can fertilize and I just assumed I could do them all at this point. They're all developing quite nicely. I should be planting them in the ground this week. Hopefully my garden buddy and I can get a spot in the yard cleared out. In a few weeks I'm going to plant the same plants over again, so I'll be starting when all of you should be starting!! By spreading out when you plant by a month or two months you're opening up your window of production.
Here are the little ones at 5 weeks...

They were planted in just your typical soil, I water them once a day, and keep them outside where they get as much sun as possible.

This is my garden buddy, although this is what he does most of the day, not much help :)

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