Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tarte Tatin

A little French food lesson for you:

"This French apple tart recipe is a little different from some you may have tried. Here the tart is made upside-down and then turned over to serve. It is called Tarte Tatin.

You will find tarte tatins made with other fillings including some delicious savory tarts. The classic Tarte Tatin, however, is made with caramelized apples and there is a story that goes with it.

The Tatin Sisters
The legendary Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stephanie, were the owners of a restaurant in Sologne in the Centre region of France at the turn of the 20th century. Their cooking was highly regarded, in particular, it is noted, by the local hunters.

basket of apples One day one of the sisters, in a hurry to prepare dessert (supposedly she had tarried too long in talking with one of her customers), forgot to line the tart pan with pastry dough before filling it with apples. Realizing her error after the fact, she hastily covered the apples with the dough and baked it just like that. To serve her creation, she simply flipped her tart, and voilĂ  Tarte Tatin was born.

Another version of the story has Mademoiselle Tatin burning the bottom of her tart, emptying the filling into another pan and covering it with more pie dough before baking some more." (from the site

I was having some girls over to learn to make hair bows and stuff. A little fun get together with a craft when Reg was on call. It was totally fun :)

So I used the opportunity to make something for my challenge. Made this. A MS version of the Tarte Tatin

A little close up??

It was tasty. Really tasty. I didn't have the baking apples they listed so I used gala. And the Carmel was runnier than I thought it should be, but still good! I'm gonna make it again for Regan cause I KNOW he will like it!

MSBH Challenge Recipe Count: 4 & 5. (the crust and the tart)
Thanks for all the comments on the last post :) I love comments.
And I should just answer some of them on a whole post. But I'm off to bed!! So maybe tomorrow!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In the kitchen: Banana Bread

I was gonna post the last well, week. But life got busy!! Which made me think of something some one said to me yesterday.
"how to you do everything Rhonda?"
Oh I soooo do not do everything!!
Lots of things I get done happen at night or during nap time. Both are highly important to me!
I've got a mile long to do list. And many things I wish to do.
But well I don't.

The whole past week I was gonna do some more baking and other stuff but it was busy.
Last week's evenings went like this.
Monday - Regan was on call. Solo with the kids.
Tuesday night - As soon as Reg got home I was off to YW. And got home at 8:45 or so. Then did my blog post :)
Wednesday Night I went to a Love and Logic Parenting seminar. Which was good and interesting. Some stuff I really liked, other bits felt a bit.... um degrading to kids. And not at all in line with Gospel teaching. So some good. Some not.
Thursday Family Home Evening Kit Group I am in met together.
Friday Reg was on call again and We went out to dinner with some of my family to Boston Pizza and then I had my niece sleep over so I could go out to a girls night.
Saturday night I went to a dinner and RS broadcast.

Needless to say it was busy :)

Anyway, my point in sharing all this was..... that sometimes life runs away. And I'm not always on top of things. In fact more the opposite most of the time! But I've been asked by people how i get all this stuff done.

I don't watch TV much. As in haven't seen anything for over a week or more. And if I do watch I like to do something while I do. Like make invitations or cards or fold laundry or whatever.

I try and do things while my kids play around me. If they want to be in the backyard, I fold laundry down stairs or read a book in the backyard or make phone calls or whatever I can down there. If they are happy on the deck I load the dishwasher or edit a few pictures. Eli makes all this harder. HE is a lot more high maintenance than either one of my first kids were. (And despite what some people say I do not agree that he is normal. He spent from 3:45 pm to 7pm crying on and off the whole stinking time. And that's a good day lately. That's not normal) I'm still getting used to accomplishing as much as I like to with him around. Perhaps God is teaching me to sit down and enjoy my kids.

Each night I write down my to do list for the next day. I have all kinds of to do lists. To do lists for house projects. Sewing tutorial to do lists. Blog post idea lists. I am a list kinda girl. I love a good list pad :)

I have a crazy calender with all my dates an deadlines and all that written all over it. It is kind of looking crazy for September. crazy fun :) I've started highlighting Regan's on call days too. So I can see at a glance all those when I am planning or scheduling things. I should have taken a picture of it but I didn't know I was even posting about this til I sat down and started to write and now it's too dark out. :)

I think it's funny that women are so comparison driven. The fact is everybody's life is sooo different. And I don't think it's even able to compare vague things like what you get done in a day. It's my opinion that more people get more done than they think, that everyone wastes more time than they realize AND that most people are not as busy as they think they are.

Just a few of my somethings that need to be done....
1. Logos for my brothers' company (need to finish the final draft)
2. a blog header for a friend
3. Preparations for Lucy's B-Day party on Friday
4. a few photo shoots that should have been edited already (right Christine??)
5. bills paid (did that tonight)
6. prep for having a bunch of girls from church over tomorrow night to make hair pretties (which means making my house is kind of clean hahahaha)
7. laundry (did 4 loads today - but still more to do...)
8. Type out a few recipes that I've been asked for by a few people.
9. Actually finish my photography blog photo shoot give away (which I posted about entirely tooo long ago eeekkkk!)
10. Scrapbook. It feels like it has been entirely too long since I did that! (a week or so)

The thing I've been thinking about is a quote I heard the other night at the RS broadcast. Which basically said that a wise person knows how to distinguish between the things that need to be done and the things that don't and then leave some things undone by eliminating the non essentials. Now it sounded much prettier when they said it, but you get my point!

This is an insanely long rambly post.
If you actually read my thoughts then let me hear what you think! :)
And I'll get back to editing those pictures....
And since no post is fun without photos...
here are some of the current editing crop.



And here is the banana bread recipe that was asked for from the last post.

Banana Nut Bread
from Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups veggie oil
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 cup coconut
1 cup walnuts, pecans (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Coat two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and oil on medium low until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts (or chocolate!) and buttermilk. Beat just to combine.

Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic for up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.

Now I am off to bed to rest my foot (i'm currently suffering from Plantar Fasciitis which my handy hubby doctor diagnosed for me but there isn't so much you can do for it except stretch your calves and roll your foot on a frozen bottle of ice (which I am doing right as I type this) and be in pain.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ciabatta's & Preschool

1. Ciabatta. Don'tcha just love saying that? Ciabatta. It just roles off the tongue! Try it!! I took dinner over to a friend who just had a lovely little boy named Harrison. Taking someone dinner, perfect opportunity to make something for my MSBH Challenge (if you don't know what that is read yesterday's post!)

I made Silly Greek Chili for dinner.

And I made Banana Nut Bread (#3 for MSBH Challenge) which happens to be one of my favorite Banana Bread recipes. Every body has one. I know. I've tried many over the years. I have two favorites. This being one of them. (I've made it quite a few times before.) My favorite thing about it is that it has a touch of coconut in it. Not enough to give it coconut flavor (which I HATE) but enough to give it a bit of texture. Which I love!

And so does Eli....
(I ALWAYS add chocolate chips instead of nuts. Choco banana muffins are one of Reg's very favorite foods so why mess with something he loves!)

And I made a Ciabatta (#4 for MSBH Challenge). If you've never had one before. It is a flatbread. And the dough is so strange. I am used to bun and bread dough. And this is nothing like it! It is soft and sticky and airy. I wanted to fill it with flour and knead the stuff. But the recipe said I'd be tempted to do that and to NOT do it. So I didn't. :) Just look at this dough. It looks like it hasn't been mixed enough!

You are also supposed to cook it on a baking stone. And I don't have one. So I instead put a pan of water at the bottom of the oven and then put my dough on two cookie sheets stacked. I did that cause a stone has moisture in it and is heavy. So I improvised. And it worked! I think it would have been a bit tougher on the outside (They have a texture similar to a baguette that is tough on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle.) It was great! And surprisingly easy! The hardest thing was shaping the sticky dough!


2. Lucy has started preschool. It was an integrated program where groups of kids start for just an hour and then the next day more and more and so on. Then finally they all had a day together. Lucy was seriously put out that she couldn't just go for a while. She LOVES it. Every day she asks if it is a preschool day. She would be perfectly happy to go all day like Alden.

On Monday when it was her first day of the full time which is 1pm to 3:20 as we were driving to drop her off she asked if she got to stay there as long as Alden is at school. And I said you get to stay for the rest of Alden's day. She asked how long. I said "2.5 hours." And she got all upset and said "why not 6 hours??"

Monday, September 21, 2009

MSBH Challenge

I wanted to tell you all about something I am doing over the next year.

I have this amazing cook book all about baking that I coveted for a long time but the $45 price tag got to me.

You see I collect cook books. Like some women have shoes. I have cook books. All different kinds and sizes. And my husband is often commenting how I don't need more cookbooks. I can't explain my love for them. I have been known to settle down under a blanket on the couch and read a cookbook.

Reading each recipe and thinking about the flavors and cooking methods. Which sound good to me. Which surprise me with their combinations. I came by it honestly. My maternal grandmother is the same. My mother as well.

I could list my favorites for different reasons. Best desserts. Best for kids recipes. Best French. Best Mexican. Etc. (you are seeing my inner Foodie coming out!)

Anyways, back to my challenge. This marvelous cookbook called "The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook." It goes over anything you would want to bake. From cream puffs to all kinds of fancy cakes to baguettes and fancy yeast breads to Italian pastries.

Well I decided that I want to learn to make every thing in the book. No, I have no seen the show Julia and Julia (although I want to badly). No, I am not doing this because of or inspired by that movie. I think it will make me a better baker. And really it sounds incredibly fun :) (and a bit fattening....) I told my SIL Lindsay about my plan a few weeks ago and she told me to blog about it. So I will. I have no idea if any of you actually even would want to read about that... but it's my blog. hahahaha.

I'll share what I learn and how I mess up and what I know for next time. Shortcuts or whatever. Forever more this little challenge will be called the MSBH Challenge.

So I started the year yesterday.
And we had a good friend Anna over for Sunday dinner (who I haven't seen in a while. And who my children instantly liked! Anna has kids my age. But we just get along super good. (I think her girls are pretty awesome too!) Anna, who my kids wanted to give a tour of our house too, which included showing her the embarrassingly large pile of laundry in the laundry room - clean on the counter to fold and dirty on the floor to wash, and she just smiled a yeah-that's-completely-normal kind of way and sweetly said there are a few kids around here to take care of.... which would be ONE of the many reasons why I just love her!) And I made recipe #1 (not number 1 in the book but the first one I made in the challenge)and #2 for the frosting.

Here it is.
Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

I totally messed up the frosting. You see you beat room temperature margarine (or butter for better taste) with white sugar for 3-4 minutes and it makes it all fluffy and airy. Then you pour in your cooled to room temperature melted chocolate. The key is cooled to room temperature melted chocolate. Cause if you just pour in a bit cooled melted chocolate it makes the fluff and air of the previously beat margarine (or butter) and sugar completely leave.

See it melts the butter with it's hot self. (You know like when you're in a room feeling all pretty and cute and put together and then a real knockout girl walks in and you suddenly feel not quite as put together....) Then you are just a runny mess. Just like the chocolate. And it takes a whole lotta icing sugar and to make it back into a reasonable icing. Which is what I did. And just pretended that that was how it was supposed to be! I mean nobody else read the recipe. Just me. And my kids only ate the icing off their pieces of cake :) So my mistake worked out!

(And just for fun the meat I made for dinner too.) My new favorite meat. New as in the last year new. But still new.) Pork. mmmm. I used this recipe here. And we all gave it a two thumbs up!


MSBH Challenge #1 & #2

Thursday, September 17, 2009

For Today

September 17, 2009

Outside my window
our new neighbors are having an annoying party and playing loud music and lots of cursing. Pretty annoying. Especially since it seems to be happening every weekend. (And often week day too.)

I am thankful
for the quiet hours after the kids are in bed when I can recoup from the day.

I am praying that Eli sleeps through the night tonight.

I am thinking about almost being done editing Tina and Wayne's wedding!! YIPEE!!!

I am celebrating a night at home with Regan here too.

From the kitchen BBQ steak, potatoes ala Derek, corn, fresh veggies and cupcake pops for dessert.

I am wearing purple capris and a purple shirt.

I am reading No one can take your place by Sherri L. Dew

I am hoping
to relax this evening.

I am hearing Regan falling asleep while reading to the kids.

I am creating
a very purple scrapbook page.

Around the house and yard
it is tidy and clean for our friend brunch tomorrow morning.

One of my favorite things
is cold clean water.

A few plans for the rest of the week a friend brunch tomorrow morning with kids and moms, Stake Conference on the weekend, and just enjoying being around the house with our whole family with no plans.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you from Tina and Wayne's Wedding.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kids books

So Alden is in Grade one right?
And he had his first library day at school.
And he picks out this book.

Of all the books in the library he picks out this.
And he wants me to read it to him as a bedtime story.
And every page he is fascinated with the things on it.
Electromagnetic waves.
Musical Instruments
X-Rays and cameras.
He soaks it all up, as I stumble across the words.

For a while he was having us read this encyclopedia book (i think called How things work) that my mom bought him.

It is interesting to me that a kid who is turning seven likes to sit and hear this kind of stuff. That he'd rather sit and listen to how things work and learn about how things work. Random things like washing machines, car engines, the internet, telephones and sound waves.

Yet this is the same kid who, while I was trying to get him to read me a phonics Dora book to me tonight says "so am I reading this or you, cause I don't want to?"

I think he is going to be fascinated with so many things. As soon as he learns to read. He is getting there. Each day we are working and so is his grade one teacher. And soon he will be reading.

And shortly after that, who knows.... maybe he will be reading about Electromagnetic waves all on his own.

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Word

for this cute little Eli was yesterday.
"Nana" And pointed to a banana on the table.
So I handed it to him and he ate it.
What a random first word!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


On the way home from our quick stop at the grocery story after dropping Alden off to school:

Lucy: "Mom, how much do those candy spencers cost?"
Mom: "Candy what?"
Lucy "Candy spencers, you know or toy spencers?"
Mom: "Do you mean those candy Dispensers that you put a quarter in and turn the little nobbly thing?"
Lucy: "Yeah, those. How much do they cost?"
Mom: "umm, I have no idea why?"
Lucy:" Cause I want one in my room."
Mom: "hee hee, oh honey, people don't really just have those in their houses."
Lucy: "Well when I grow up I'm gonna have one in MY house."
Probably driven on because every time we go to any grocery story my kids ask for the candy and/ or toys in those things. And we rarely ever do it. Today she didn't even ask, but I guess seeing them still stuck out in her mind :) And yes I know there are little ones you can buy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

In the Kitchen: A Perfect Lunch

I was lucky today to enjoy a quiet lunch filled with good things amidst the crazy day of driving to here and there and watching some extra kids.

A favorite drink

Left over soup from last night's supper
Recipe comes from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
"Rome on the Range"

8 large plum tomatoes
2 large red bell peppers, seeded & chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp each minced fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
2 cups beef broth
1 cup V8 juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup minced shallots or onions
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coarsely chop tomatoes and combine with red peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a very large roasting pan. It's best if veggies are in a single layer.

Place roasting pan in oven on middle rack and roast veggies for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and give quick stir. Return to oven and turn on broiler. Broil for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Using your hands space into about 48 mini meatballs using about 1 tsp of meat mixture. Set aside.

Remove veggies from oven. Transfer half to blender or food processor along with 1 cup of broth. Puree til smooth. Transfer puree to large soup pot. Chop remaining veggies into bite sized pieces and add to pot, along with every thing else. Bring to boil. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.

My alterations:
Used regular onion since I didn't have red.
Had no breadcrumbs so I used a bit of oatmeal (has to be quick cooking or else you notice it)
Had no Italian seasoning so I used a little rosemary and thyme combined to flavor the meatballs.
And I just dumped all my veggies into a big pot, and used my hand held bruan mixer to mix all of it up. I didn't want too many chunkies. :)

Also left overs from supper last night...

Recipe comes from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
"Pizza for the upper crust"

1 can 10 oz tomatoes with Italian herbs
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 12-inch thin crust pizza shell
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, Parmesan or Asigo cheese
3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Black pepper

Preheat grill to medium and leave lid closed to keep hot (or preheat oven to 425)

Drain tomatoes in a sieve, pressing down to remove as much liquid as possible. Break up any large chunks with fingers.

Spread pizza sauce over crust, leaving 1/4 inch border around edge. Top with drained tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with Romano cheese.

Using small knife cut mozzarella cheese into thin slices. Spread evenly over pizza. Sprinkle with basil and pepper.

Place pizza directly onto grill or middle oven rack. If grilling cook 4 minutes. Then shut off heat and leave life closed. cook another 3 minutes of so til toppings are hot and cheese is melted. If cooking in oven, bake for 10 minutes or til cheese is melted and edges are browned.

My alterations:
Had no Italian seasoning so I used a little rosemary and thyme combined
Used Romano cheese (mmmmm)
And plain old mozzarella cheese.
Used fresh tomatoes since I didn't have that kind and just squeezed out the liquid as much as possible.

And a good book to read.

What was for lunch at your house?
And yep, its seems we don't seem to have much luck traveling with kids....

Monday, September 07, 2009

5 Ways to ruin a trip

1. Drive while your baby is sick. For the least satisfactory trip have your baby get a double ear infection. (Bonus points for baby getting his two eye teeth as well.)

2. Baby screaming for most of the 6 1/2 hour car drive from pain in ears from elevation.

3. Spend time in an ER in some obscure place you are visiting.

4. Walk with crying baby while not getting to listen to any of wedding you drove 6 1/2 hours to listen to just far enough away so that you can see the couple, but not too close as to interrupt the wedding.

5. Have baby throw up all over play pen at least twice per night.

6. Have your daughter puke every where while driving home.


The Good Stuff that made up for the the Bad:
1. Got to visit with my cousin Amy morning before she got married. Her getting primped for the big day.

2. My mom being with me. Helping me. Driving while I tried my feeble attempts to soothe Eli. Buying turtles (which Alden enjoyed) for her class (you can only buy turtles in BC - not AB apparently)

3. Seeing lots of family I haven't seen in quite some time in lovely BC where it was pretty and green. (the pear tree in my aunts backyard)
(hanging out in the hotel in the morning)

4. The drugs that helped Eli and Lucy sleep on the way home.

5. The stop at the world's largest truck so the kiddos could run around and stretch their legs.
(trying to escape)

6. The bride and groom.


How was your long weekend???

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


1. Alden's first day yesterday in grade one. We got to school (just me and him since Reg had a late start time) and we walk into the school to find his name on the list for which classroom he's in. And low and behold... his name isn't on the list. So we wait in the office to find out why. They said it was cause we were only here a short time?? Anywho, got that fixed up and took him into his classroom where two of the boys he knows from church are there. (yipee!)

Here he is out side the school doing the mom hurry up and take my picture face....
After school we (me, Lucy and eli) go to pick him up from his very first day of grade one and well Lucy throws a big fit. A fist flying, screaming, kicking, snot flying fit. I literally drug her all the way to the van. And you know how when your kids is doing that and you feel like everyone is looking. Well, they were. In fact, it got so bad one stranger walked up to me to ask if I needed help. So I handed Eli to her (which made him start screaming) and tried to push in Lucy's belly so I could get the car seat around her. Finally did.... and then I close to door and the lady hands me Eli and starts telling me how two year olds grow out of this phase and yada yada... (too bad SHE'S ALMOST FOUR!) and i was crying by then. So I get into the van and Lucy tries to kick and hit Alden all the way home...... which put Alden in kind of bad mood..... and Eli..... and me.

So all in all. Alden's first day of school eventful. It was a I feel like a bad mom kind of a day. So you know. It was.

And on to more uplifting things.....

2. September Scraptivity kit....
I made cupcake toppers and took them all to the Young Women in our ward.
The paper and stamps are from the kit and I added the little tags I made in photoshop and printed out and ribbon. It was a good thing to do in the evening after I had a bad day.

And on the Scraptivity note.... I've been designing with Scraptivity for like 5 years. And I've decided to step down. It's been lots of fun, but this September kit is my last one. I am ready for a break. I love all the girls I've gotten to know over the five or so years. Tons of talents and wonderful girls all over Canada. Who knows if I'll get to be on another DT or not. Sometimes I am not sure if I could get on another one - there are lots of talented people out there. But I think it is the right move right now. So on to other things!

3. I am off to bed. I've gotta get used to this earlier getting up deal. And I haven't made Alden's lunch yet... now it's like I'm a real mom eh? :)