I just found a new cooking blog that I LOVE: www.ourbestbites.com - thank you Marianne for turning me onto it!! And because I found this great new blog, I also found a great muffin recipe - perfect for the fall. Enjoy!
Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins
(I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin, but these are great!)
1 Duncan Hines spice cake mix
1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1-12 oz pkg chocolate chips
1/2 c sugar-I used brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tbls butter
Preheat over to 350. Line 2-12 cup muffine time with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pumpkin, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix intil all the ingredients are combined then add chocolate chips.
Divide the batter evenly in the caupcake liners. Whisk together the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, then cut in the butter with two knifes until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the batter. Bake the muffins for 20-30 minutes (i had to bake them 30 minutes
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with my amazing, wonderful, forever-friend, college roommate! She was in town for a seminar and happily we were able to get together for lunch. It was more fun than I can even express; if you didn't know better, you'd think that we lived around the corner - not that it had been years since we had seen each other! Nearly every story ended with one of us if not both of us busting out in laughter. She is SO much fun to be around. I've been thinking about all the things that we have in common that have helped us remain close friends:
*We both married terrific guys
*We both had four children - two boys and two girls!
*We were in each other's weddings
*We have faithfully sent Christmas cards to each other every year
*We both love to laugh
*In college, we made popcorn every day
*We were each other's therapy when it came to the guys we dated
*She is responsible for my love of poppy-seed salad dressing because we used to eat these big salads with poppy-seed dressing
*We've both had ups and downs
My list could go on and on, but the truth of the matter is that the biggest thing that we have in common is our love for each other. You're wonderful, Evelyn. I absolutely love you!
Monday, August 1, 2011
I am horrified! Our family had one of the most stupendous moments a family can have and what I have done - absolutely nothing. I am a flake!!! The truth is, I have been busy enjoying my kids this summer - even though two of them are far away in Utah, we did LOVE having them "home" for a week in May, and the rest of us have been running and playing without them. Which brings me to one of the stupendous moments....
HE'S HOME!!!! It's true. The moment a mother never thinks will happen actually happened. My beautiful blonde boy is home from Argentina. Now, 2 months later he continues to be doing great and is looking forward to going away again (gasp!) to college. Truth be told, we're excited for him and look forward to hearing about his college adventures.
Other than that, we have had some fun summer moments, including a beach moment gone wrong. I'm going to post the picture and some time I'll tell the story. But let me just say that when Mark and I left the sandy beach where we were sitting with our kids, we were dry. Let me take it one step further by saying I lost a new beach chair, sun glasses and Mark's baseball hat when we were hit by the tsunami. Okay, it might not have been THAT bad, but it was the BIGGEST wave I have ever been hit by. The worst part was that I couldn't control my laughter.
More to come....
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Who knew that so much fun could be packed into such a short period of time. Our family left sunny CA for a trip to cold, windy UT to see "S" graduate from BYU. We had such a great time with "E" and "S" and are so proud of this great accomplishment. We were able to attend the general commencement address where Elder Richard G. Scott was the keynote speaker - he was fantabulous and gave us all some great guidelines for the future. We had a fun dinner at Red Robin and I have to admit that I've never eaten so many fries....I think even the waiter might have been surprised at what we could put away! haha. The next day we went to "S's" department graduation and then out for lunch with the Vongsawad's and Johansen's who also had graduates. We managed to fit in a little swimming, jacuzzi time and a great evening with "E's" family - they are a FUN group to hang with!! Thank you, Shuman family for making us feel so welcome and part of your family. Sadly, the next day it was time to head back home. Although our trip was short, it couldn't have been better. We love our Utah kids and can't wait to see them again in about a month!
I'm late wishing the Love Birds a happy 1st Anniversary. We actually had the opportunity to be with them a few days leading up to their first anniversary. It was so great to see them. Now they're spreading their wings and getting ready to make a new nest in the SLC area in a darling little place right in front of the State Capitol. It's an exciting time and it's so fun to watch them enjoying each other and this phase of their life. Happy Anniversary, Love Birds. Sure love ya!!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
It would be hard to find a better day at "the happiest place on earth"....or five cuter kids to share that day with. We left Vista bright and early and arrived at Disneyland before the park opened, even grabbing one of the best parking spots around. Grace and I turned the fun five loose and declared that the fun should begin! Boy did they have a great time....the park wasn't very crowded, the weather was warm but not sweltering and the fact that they were all hanging out together made it a truly great day. We thought the day might take a turn for the worst when "T" lost her phone, but miracle of all miracles...we were even able to find it and put a smile back on her beautiful face. We all had big plans when we rode the rapids ride of making sure that "D" got soaked, but it all backfired and Grace and I ended up getting the brunt of the water; I guess that's what happens when you make an evil plan. Late in the day we had a surprise visit from Grace's favorite Mousekteer - we love you VJ and are soooo glad you came up; it wouldn't have been the same without you. We stayed for the fireworks....in fact, we closed the park down...and once we got back in the car, it was a very silent ride home. I think it's safe to say a good time was had by one and all....
Sunday, March 20, 2011
It's "R's" last birthday in Argentina. I thought about him all day on Friday...
I had a little lump in my throat when I remembered how he would call me when he was walking up to campus to go to class and in my head I could hear his voice.
It's hard for me to even imagine the reality of seeing him in just a little over 2 months, but I remember feeling the same way with "S" and thinking that the day would never really come. But it did...and it was glorious!
I love you, big man. Happy 21st birthday. See you in 2 months.
In our house when we talk about March madness it's not entirely about basketball...we have three birthdays this month that are one right after the other. Don't get me wrong, it's always tons of fun...but it can be a little hectic. We have a few birthday traditions that I always enjoy: the birthday celebratee gets to choose their favorite birthday dinner and during dinner we play "how well do you know...(birthday person)". It is always good for some huge laughs. Today is "P's" birthday and one of the questions was what was "P's" most embarrassing moment. We all gave a variety of guesses, but her answer was "this very moment". I'm pretty sure it had to do with the presence of a certain young man who she was hoping wouldn't hear about her repertoire of embarrassing moments. haha.
In addition to the birthday festivities we've had church activites, school dances and just a lot of other fun.
Next week, we're heading to Disneyland....that will undoubtedly have some blog-worthy moments. Can't wait!!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
There are few things on this earth that can reduce the manly men in my life to pure jello boys. It's not blood, guts, or anything even similar (although I do have one who could faint at the sight on a shot needle and another that could faint in the dentist's office).
The REAL culprit in our house is the over ripe banana! It's true. While my men can watch the grossest of movie scenes and not even bat an eye, squishy bananas can take them down!
The other day I found a recipe for the ultimate banana chocolate chip muffin. I had a moral dilema on my hands: if my manly men knew anything about the contents of these muffins (squishy, overripe bananas) they wouldn't even give them a try. In fact, they'd barf up lunch at the mere thought of the contents (sorry about that visual).
I decided I would take a chance - I made the muffins and immediately hid any evidence of the squishy bananas. I was sweating bullets as I watched the first one being devoured, but after the first came a second and - gasp - even a third! By the following morning, the entire pan was gone!! They were a HUGE hit and I was even questioned about when I'd make them again.
I have a feeling they'll be a family favorite....at least as long as the "secret ingredient" is NEVER revealed. :)
Here's the recipe just in case you feel like testing the ultimate banana chocolate chip muffin:
2 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup virgin olive oil (I imagine any oil would work, but I used olive oil)
4 large, very, very ripe bananas
1/2 c. chocolate chips
preheat over to 350. Line muffin tin with muffin papers.
whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. stir in the oil...the batter will be very dry. mash the bananas in a bowl (I used my kitchen aide mixer for that) along with any accumulated juices...yes, you heard me right...accumulated overripe banana juices. Add to the flour mixture and add chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
Fill muffin papers almost to the top and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 20 minutes and then let cool for 5-10 minutes.
p.s. I don't really love brown bananas...except in this recipe. :)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
This weekend we had one of my favorite kinds of days....Girl's Day. It ends up being a series of days since our big, strong, stud of a man is out of town for a while. Before I go any further, let me make sure that I convey how much we miss him!!! We do and we can't wait for him to come home!
With that being said, we are doing all things "girl" right now:
*we "snack" for dinner - things like hummus and veggies are a meal
*we wear facial masks
*we watch girl tv shows all night
*we drink flavored water
*we take goofy pictures
....are you getting the idea?
Friday, "B" and "P" both ended up with the day off from school which is a rarety since they go to different schools. We decided to take advantage by turning the day into a fun, crazy Girl's Day. We did a VERY little shopping at our favorite clothes store, we had "lunch" (aka - "samples") at Costco, we had a wonderful visit from one of our very favorite people "K" (who is on her way to Italy!! see my earlier blog if you want to know how completely jealous I am) and we went for an incredible run at dusk. I even got to spend some time on one of my favorite hobbies (gotta love www.memorymixer and www.thelittlethingsbymemorymixer.blogspot.com/)
It was a great day....
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I am completely obsessed with Italy...and I adore almost everything Italian. The decor of my house even has a certain Italian look. I have never been to Italy, but it is definitely on my "bucket list". Several years ago, I found a photography workshop by a well-known photographer that was being held in...you guessed it....Tuscany. I was dying to go, but since it would have been a major interruption in my real life (the life I truly love with all my heart and soul), I had to put it on hold. However, I still have the advertisement on my refrigerator just to remind myself that at some point in the future, Mark can go to Italy and fish and I will go and take pictures of the incredible villas and of him fishing.
This past Christmas, "P" gave me a book that I had heard of called "Eat, Pray, Love." Now, being completely honest I probably wouldn't have bought this book for myself but I loved the fact that she thought about me and thought I would enjoy it so I happily began reading it. ("P" is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful girls on the planet!) As soon as I began to read, I became enthralled. Yes, the story-line was captivating, but I also loved that this woman shares my love of Italy and I find myself living somewhat vicariously through her as she discovers Italy.
One of the things that I am enjoying the most is the Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the book - I find them absolutely stunningly beautiful. The other day, I learned that "un' amica stretta" means "a close friend". "Stretta" means tight - like tight clothing. So, a close friend, in Italian, is one that you can wear tightly, snug against your skin. This just spoke to my soul because isn't that the perfect description of real friends?
So, here's to you, my "un' amica strettas"...I am ever so grateful for your presence in my life.