Monday, December 29, 2008

Ringing in the New Year in AZ

Wish You Were Here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It snowed today. In Woodland.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Veggie Pics

These pictures go with the post below.

Kale, Leek, Celery Root

my cooking disaster/blessing

I went out to Full Belly Farm yesterday and took a walk with Anna, one of the owners. The fields were green and the day was perfect, perfect, perfect! We walked around the field and she kindly picked me some veggies to take home. There were three kinds of kale (one of which is only grown on that farm), a leek and a celery root. I was so curious about these because I'm kind of a carbotarian and I've been wanting to branch out.

She told me that the kale is good sauteed with olive oil, garlic and tahini sauce. The leek is similar to an onion, but milder. The celery root needs to be peeled and cubed.

I decided to make a soup last night and asked John to pick up the missing ingredients at the store (chicken broth, potatoes, and cream). I planned to make Cream of Greens soup (the recipe is on the Full Belly website). I was going to substitute the onion for my leek though and add some celery root too. So, I fried up my bacon only to discover that the bacon had gone rancid. It had the most repugnant smell ever!

I thought the soup wouldn't be the same without the bacon so I went to Plan B. I found a Spanish Tortilla recipe on the same website that called for kale and onions (which I substituted for a leek). I added some fresh Parmesan cheese to the top and it turned out quite well. The leeks created a wonderful aroma and the kale wasn't bitter (like I feared). It was a succcess! John even asked to save the leftovers for lunch the next day!

I went to clean up and put the kale and leek trimmings in the disposal. I've always thought John was paranoid because he doesn't like me to use the disposal, but this time he was right. Since John wasn't home at this point, I decided to pretend like all was well until he discovered it....which didn't take long. Three hours later we (he) pulled the last of those super tough little leek strings out of the disposal. Not. Good.

So although some (John) might term the evening a complete disaster, I had a blast yesterday out at the farm and in the kitchen!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thanks for the Memories

One of the things about Thanksgivings are that they all tend to blur into one gluttonous binge. I must admit, the leftovers are my favorite part. Why? Because I love cold food. There is nothing better than a plate of chilled Thanksgiving side dishes.

The girls have been helping with Thanksgiving dinner longer than they can remember, I'm sure. They've always been good in the kitchen and every year they know their role.....They are in charge of the green bean casserole and the cookie buttermilk pudding.

The Thanksgivings that stand out the most are the odd ones. The first was odd because John was recovering from knee surgery. He scheduled the surgery two days before Thanksgiving so he wouldn't have to miss much work. We had Thanksgiving at home (just the four of us) and the girls helped with a lot more than the green beans and pudding that year. We had ham instead of turkey and we had funeral potatoes instead of mashed. The girls made place settings that looked like turkeys. They were made out of a fudge stripe cookie, a candy corn and a caramel. They looked a lot like this:

Cute, huh? Anyway, that was John's favorite Thanksgiving. Perhaps it was the painkillers, but I like to think that it was better because he got to spend so much concentrated time with us and that was rare back in the day. We ate and sat around watching a Christmas special put on by a certain Tulsa, Oklahoma boy band. Whenever, we got too close to John he would take a little swipe at us with his crutches. He was so worried that he would re injure his knee...I guess he wanted us close but not too close.

We spent one Thanksgiving at Disneyland with the Stapps and the Willis'. The girls loved the walkie talkies that we used in our convoy. We had a grand time. It was also my birthday and I got a surprise cake from the Stapp family right during the Christmas parade. I rode on some of the youngsters rides with Julia and Rachel. If they're reading this, I apologize for the Snow White disaster. I had forgotten how scary that witch really is. I went on "It's a Small World" with Jessica. It was her first time. I have to say that I think a lot of us really loved being together that night by the teacups, eating birthday cake and watching people come down the Matterhorn.

The other Thanksgiving that stands out is last years. It was anything but traditional because of the weather. We were at the Arizona house and the weather was ideal. We spent a lot of the weekend in the pool. When we weren't in the pool, we were eating. We didn't eat at home on Thanksgiving. We ate out...we were still settling in to the the new home. However, we did a few meals at home that weekend, including a killer raclette. We also ate at a festive Mexican restaurant that was decorated to the nines for Christmas. That night (the night after Thanksgiving), we strolled around the temple grounds that were all lit up for the holiday. Magical (See the picture on top of this post. No,that's not Disneyland). We played tennis. We went to the Tucson botanical garden. Wanna know the best part? Having our family together and having our first holiday with our brand new boys. It's enough to make you downright grateful!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pain Free Freebie --This one asks for your phone number, but it isn't required.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mystery Shampoo Freebie

Walmart is offering a free sample of a mystery shampoo. The mystery shampoo will be revealed November 24th.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Freebie for the Men

This freebie is "guaranteed to keep you cool and fresh without compromising your manliness." Nobody wants their manliness compromised, do they? :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday's Freebie

Normally, I don't encourage shopping on Sunday but if you don't have one yet, get this:

It's free but priceless!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Freebie of the Day-Celine Dion Fragrance

So, here is my freebie of the day. If you don't know what I'm referring to, read my October 31st post.

Celine Dion Sensational Fragrance Sample

Friday, October 31, 2008

Free Stuff Game- Who Wants to Play?

I'm playing a FREE STUFF GAME this week. Who wants to play? Everyday I'll find a free item that you can send for. They're just little samples, but who doesn't like getting stuff in the mail?

Here is an important tip before you start: Take a minute to create a new email address. You'll be getting lots of junk e-mail because of this and you don't want it to arrive on your regular address. Make sure you remember to use the new email address when you fill out the request!

So I started a little early and these are the samples I sent for today:
-Betty Crocker Potatoes
- Airborne Zesty Orange Health Formula
Turtle Chex Mix Snack Bar

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We stuck a sign in the yard and a bumper sticker on the car.
We donated money.
We walked the precinct and polled voters.
We called strangers to encourage a "yes" vote.
We stood on street corners (in the rain) and waved signs.
We hung door knob hangers around town.
We prayed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blog Books

Did you know that you can download your blog and have it reformatted into book form? There are probably several companies that do this. The one that I saw is Wouldn't it be neat to have your blog bound like a journal?

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Boy Down, One More To Go!

Congratulations Michael!!! You did an amazing job!
(No, that's not Michael in the picture. Or Ben either.
They're way better looking)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Local Eating

We just got back from Arizona. One of the things we did was find a new restaurant. This restaurant makes normal types of food: burgers, pizza, BBQ, breakfast. However, they do everything in a unique way. The restaurant is set on an urban farm. The vegetables, fruit and herbs used at the restaurant are picked right from the farm. They harvest and cook it on the same day. Even the pickles on the burgers are made from scratch.They try to buy locally what they can't grow on the farm. For example, the meat and dairy products come from local farmers and they are fresh. You can really taste the difference and, although I wouldn't call it health food, the onion rings taste better when you know where they come from. Next time, I'm going to try the grilled veggie pizza. The toppings change depending on what's in season in their garden. YUM!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Halloween started for my family with two teeny, tiny witches. We made them tiny black felt tunics and they wore a tiny, black, pointed plastic hat (which they pulled off repeatedly causing the elastic strap under their chin to snap them in the face). The next year brought the two brightest crayons in the box. Again, they wore a homemade tunic (red and black this time with the Crayola logo) and a red cone shaped hat. Again, they refused to leave the hat on and ended up with a few more elastic snaps to the face. The third year, they did their own thing. One was a pink butterfly and the other was a bumblebee. Neither one ended up happy with their own choice, so they both sobbed through the entire Halloween preschool parade. By that night, they had swapped costumes and everyone was happy. They didn't have any hats to bother them this time, but the wings drove them nuts!

After that it all gets a little blurry, but I know there were years for clowns, cowgirls, Asian peasants, black cats, pioneer girls, Nutcracker ballerias, and most importantly, CHEERLEADERS! They didn't just yell "trick or treat" at the neighbors; they did a whole "Rise and Shout" type routine.

Here are a few other Halloween memories:
1) getting lost in the corn maze and having to call in the corn cops
2) the girls making a really cool cemetery cake
3) working in the gym Haunted House (TP mummies)

So, here are a few Halloween ideas for the Provo/SL area: --Many of them have online coupons.

Haunted Houses, Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, etc.

Big Foot Corn Maze (Pleasant Grove) –
192 North 2000 West
Pleasant Grove, Utah

Castle of Chaos (Salt Lake) –
3300 South 120 West
Salt Lake City, Utah

Cornbelly's Corn Maze (Lehi) -
Thanksgiving Point
3003 Thanksgiving Way
Lehi, Utah

Crazy Corn Maze (West Jordan) –
8800 South 4000 West
West Jordan, Utah

The Dreaded Grove (American Fork) -
American Fork, Exit 275
Turn west, towards the lake. Travel for about 1 1/2 miles.
American, Utah

Goatman Flats Haunted House (Orem) -
October 29 -31, 2008 from after dark - 10:30 pm
1400 North 600 West
Orem, Utah

Haunted Forest (American Fork) –
I-15 to exit 276
Turn towards Utah Lake (west) and go a quarter of a mile.
American Fork, Utah

HeeHaws (Pleasant Grove) –
538 South 2000 West
I-15 to exit 275, turn east then take the first left (2000 West).
Continue straight until you reach the entrance to Hee Haw Farms.
Pleasant Grove, Utah

Liberty Land Spook Alley (Lehi) -
October 2 - 31, 2008
Liberty Land Fun Center
1320 North 300 West
Lehi, Utah

Nightmare on 13th (Salt Lake) –
300 West 1300 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

Scream Asylum (Provo) -
600 South University Ave.
Provo, Utah

South Ridge Farms Pumpkin Patch (Santaquin) –
300 West 900 South
Santaquin, Utah

Vineyard Garden Center Pumpkinland (Orem)
435 South Geneva Road
Orem, Utah

Wheeler Historic Farm Pumpkin Patch (Salt Lake) -
6351 South 900 East
Salt Lake City, Utah

Monday, October 13, 2008

Black Friday

Black Friday is traditionally an insane shopping day. It's the day after Thanksgiving. Stores have great sales on a few items in an effort to lure customers to their stores. Usually, it is extremely hectic and people end up spending more money than they intended because they get caught up in the frenzy. I doubt it will be as busy as it has been in past years because I think now most people are looking for ways to simplify Christmas, to avoid the commercialism and to consider the outlook of our economy.

Having said that, there are some really amazing bargains on Black Friday. For example, Walmart will have a basic Slow Cooker or toaster for 3.98 and Target will have lots of preschool games for $3.99. CVS pharmacy will have irons and other electronics for $5.00. Some places will have towels for $1.99, slippers for 3.00 and bed-in-a-bag sets for $29.00. How do I know all that when the ads haven't come out yet? This website posts it all early.

If you're going to go out and buy stuff this year (I mean who doesn't like homemade gifts best?), you outta check out this site. You can search by store and it will keep you from blowing your budget by planning ahead.

Actually, you can even save money if you're making your own gifts. Check out the sales at Joann's Fabric and Crafts: Michael's crafts will have sales too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cheap Eat Ideas

0) Make it at home (see the post below this one for recipes)

1) If you want to experience the ambience, just go out for a snack. Split an appetizer and spend some time in great conversation.

2) If it’s all about the food, check out ethnic places that serve chips or rice. You may not need to order a huge entrée portion.

3) Dine somewhere that doesn’t require a tip—the kinds of places where you order at the counter. It’s not just fast food, many ethnic and sandwich places work that way.

4) Make some of the meal yourself. For instance, make a salad and a sidedish and bring home an entrée to split. Light a candle and enjoy.

5) Cook an extra casserole in advance. Later when all you have to do is heat it up, it’ll feel like a night out.

6) Start a dinner group. Rotate dish assignments.

DEAL of the MONTH: Sonic Jr. Banana Split .99 at select locations -free taco expires on 31st

Have you heard of this?

Omelet's Draws Students to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center
- 18 Apr 2008
E-mail or Print this story

Edited by Dara
Hospital becomes Provo social hotspot
Most individuals don't choose to spend extra time in the hospital, much less in the cafeteria. But, the promise of omelets is changing that trend - fast.
"I heard they're huge and amazing," said Chad Burton, a student from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center's makes omelets for their staff and the general public a few times a month and the cheap omelets are drawing masses of students to an event that has become a social epicenter.
"It's totally weird; we're not going to deny it," said Laura Thompson, a student majoring in business.
However, the "weird factor" has not deterred students from waiting for more than an hour to purchase their enormous custom-made omelet for $3.50.
Thompson brought four of her friends to feast on omelets at the hospital. The group spent about one hour in line chatting, laughing and mingling with all the hospital visitors.
Visitor are allowed to select all the ingredients they want for their dinner or dessert omelet: tomatoes, cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms, meats, hash browns, sour cream, guacamole, strawberries, whipped cream and much more.
Although the omelets receive only the highest reviews, many students said they come for the experience.
"[The cooks] are purposely rude," Thompson said. "I think it's their thing."
Michael Austin is the chef that leads omelet night.
"Everyone calls him the Omelet Nazi," said Makelle Austin, the chef's daughter.
She said he is just being rude because he loves to see people's reactions.
"People come to our omelet bar just to hear him rip on people," Austin said.
Student and members of the community definitely wont get bored waiting in line if they listen to Michael Austin yelling at people placing their orders.
Austin said her dad loves to cook.
He started the omelet bar as a service for the hospital's staff, she said.
Workers are allowed to cut straight to the front of the line, which contributes to the lengthy wait for visiting students.
Although the omelet bar was originally intended to provide a nice service to staff, the omelets served one evening and a couple mornings each month have become popular events.
"It has been pretty lucrative for the hospital," Austin said.
Students are not the only people drawn to the hospital for omelets.
Judy Campbell and Peggy Miller, both Orem residents, were visiting a friend at the hospital and it just happened to be omelet night. They have been coming to the hospital ever since.
"Normally the line is out of the café and down the hall," Campbell said.
The two-person team has learned the tricks.
"Get half dinner omelet and half with strawberries and whipped cream."
Students can learn about omelet night by contacting the hospital.

Restaurant Recipe Replicas

Fake Tucano's Tenderloin

2 pounds beef tenderloin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup hot water
Preheat grill. Cut tenderloin into about six pieces. Reduce heat and place tenderloin pieces on the grill. As the meat starts to cook, dissolve the salt in the water and add the garlic.
Start basting the meat with the garlic and salt mixture. Keep basting throughout until the meat is done.
Almost any kind of meat can be used for this recipe. If you wish you can place the pieces on a rotisserie.

Grilled Pineapple
One half pineapple, cut into long spears
1 TBPS butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tsp. cinnamon, in all
lemon juice
Fire up the grill to medium heat. Before putting the pinapple down, sprinkle the spears with half of the cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar. This will facilitate a sweetness and instant carmelization when they hit the grill.
In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar and the rest of the cinnamon. Heat until bubbly and the sugar is properly melted.
Grill the pineapple spears over direct heat about 2-3 minutes per side, turning occaisionally. Each time it turns, baste with a brush of glaze. When finished, plate up and drizzle a final amount of glaze on top.

Brazilian Cheese Rolls
Pão de queijo (Cheese bread or cheese rolls)
“Pão de queijo” is typical Brazilian and it’s a delicious snack, which can be found at every bread store in Brazil.
1 cup of water
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 pack of tapioca starch (450 g)
3 eggs
200 g of grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring to boil in a big pan the water, the milk, the oil and the salt.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tapioca starch. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cool down.
3. Put the mixture in a bowl, add the eggs and knead well.
4. Add the grated cheese and keep kneading until the dough is smooth.
5. Roll 1 tablespoon of mixture into small balls. Tip: Grease your hands with oil before making the balls. Wash your hands once in a while if necessary.
6. Place the balls on a baking tray greased with oil or lined with baking paper.
7. Bake the cheese rolls in hot oven (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Put the cheese rolls in a basket and serve them warm

Macaroni Grill Scaloppini di Pollo

List of Ingredients
Lemon Butter Sauce:
4 oz lemon juice
2 oz veg or chicken broth
4 oz heavy cream
1 lb (4 sticks) butter (Holy Cow!)
6 to 8 (3 oz) chicken breasts, pounded thin
oil and butter for sauteing chicken
1/2 to 3/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, for dredging
6 oz pancetta, cooked
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
12 oz artichoke hearts, sliced
1 T capers
1 lb capellini pasta, cooked
chopped parsley, for garnish
To make the sauce: Heat the lemon juice and white wine in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce by 1/3. Add cream and simmer until mixture thickens (3 to 4 minutes). Slowly add butter until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm.
To make chicken and pasta: Cook pasta and drain. Heat a small amount of oil and 2 T of butter in a large skillet. Dredge chicken in flour and saute in pan, turning once, until brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and add to pan remaining ingredients. Heat until mushrooms soften and are cooked; add chicken back to pan.
To serve: Place cooked pasta on each plate. Add half of butter sauce to chicken mixture and toss. Taste and adjust, adding more sauce if needed. Place chicken mixture over pasta. Garnish with parsley. Alternately, mix pasta and chicken mixture together. Toss with butter sauce.

Serves 10

P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps with ChickenIngredients:
16 Boston, Bibb or butter lettuce leaves
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large onion -- chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian chili pepper sauce (see Note)
1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts -- drained, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions -- thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Directions:Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain. Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown. Add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter. Spoon meat mixture in center. Allow diners to spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco. Note: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead.

(4 servings; you can double recipe for 8)
The cooking sauce is from the original recipe but is enough for two batches of the veggie version so make go ahead and make the full recipe and reserve half for another batch. Save in a jar and store in the fridge until needed.Another tip: when buying bamboo shoots, get the strips. This will cut down on prep time as all you have to do is dice these.I've also included a sauce for adding to the individual wraps after cooking (just like in the restaurant!) I like my sauce spicy so you may want to experiment with the ingredients for a milder version.

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon. water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoon dry sherry
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon water
1 cup baked tofu, diced
2 tablespoon peanut oil plus 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, mixed
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Chinese chili sauce2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
1/2 small or 1/4 large red onion, minced
1/2 can bamboo shoots, diced
1/2 can water chestnuts, diced

TO SERVE:Cellophane noodles, prepared according to package directionsIceberg or green leaf lettuceSpicy Sauce (optional, recipe follows)TO MAKE THE COOKING SAUCE:Mix the cooking sauce in a bowl and set aside.TO MAKE THE MARINADE:In medium bowl, combine sherry, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, and water. Mix well.TO PREPARE THE TOFU:Stir tofu into the marinade. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Heat wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mixed oil and stir fry tofu for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.Add the ginger, garlic and onion; stir-fry for about a minute. Add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Return tofu to wok/skillet. Add cooking sauce and cook until thickened (about 2 minutes). TO SERVE:Place prepared cellophane noodles onto a platter. Pour tofu mixture over them and serve with lettuce and Spicy Sauce.SPICY SAUCE1 teaspoon rice vinegar1 teaspoon soy sauce1 teaspoon dry mustard (e.g., Coleman's)1 tablespoon water1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauceIn small dish, mix the dry mustard and water until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Set aside.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves1/3 cup soy sauce2 tablespoons fresh lime juice2 cloves garlic, minced1 teaspoon grated gingerroot3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes2 tablespoons water3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter4 green onions with tops, cut into 1-inch pieces
1. Cut chicken crosswise into 3/8-inch-wide strips; place in shallow glass dish.
2. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Reserve 3 tablespoons mixture; cover and refrigerate. Add water to remaining mixture. Pour over chicken; toss to coat well. Cover; marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, stirring mixture occasionally.
3. Soak 8 (10- to 12-inch) bamboo skewers 20 minutes in cold water to prevent them from burning; drain. Prepare grill for direct cooking.
4. Meanwhile, for peanut sauce, combine coconut milk, 3 tablespoons reserved soy sauce mixture and peanut butter in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2 to 4 minutes or until sauce thickens. Keep warm.
5. Drain chicken; reserve marinade. Weave 3 to 4 chicken strips accordion-style onto each skewer, alternating with green onion pieces. Brush chicken and onions with reserved marinade. Discard remaining marinade.
6. Place skewers on grid. Grill skewers on uncovered grill over medium-hot coals 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning halfway through grilling time. Serve with warm peanut sauce for dipping.

The Localvore Experiment

Lately I've been reading a couple of books about the localvore phenomenon. A localvore is a person that eats locally grown food. They eat food in season and they are interested in where their food comes from. There are varying levels of commitment within the movement. For instance, The authors of Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally ate nothing that did not come within 100 miles of their Canadian home. What grew within 100 miles of their home? Apparently, lots of root vegetables. Barbara Kingsolver’s family, in Animal, Vegetable and Miracle, allowed themselves one “cheat” item per family member….Chocolate would be my cheat of choice. Others may choose to eat one local item per meal, one local meal per day, etc.

I think it would be much easier to enjoy the local harvest if you have an abundance of choices, like you do here in Northern California. One easy way to do it here is with an organic CSA box. When you get a CSA box subscription, you get fresh, in season produce delivered to your home by the local farmer. A community supported agriculture box is a win-win situation. The money the consumer spends for a CSA box helps the farmer by providing him with a regular income. Supporting local farms also means the farms can survive and your area will tend to be less congested. The consumer benefits in other ways: they get to try new, unique kinds of produce (the CSA box usually includes recipes), they get to eat healthier, organic foods, and it really does taste better! Another important reason is to cut down on the fuel usage that comes from bringing foods in from thousands of miles away.

I had forgotten how good fresh from the garden produce tastes until a recent experience. My grandpa was a farmer and he grew a huge variety of fruits and veggies. Recently, a friend with a garden offered me some grapes. The taste immediately took me back to my grandpa’s farm. These grapes tasted nothing like the ones I’d purchased recently at Costco. I thought the Costco ones were tasty because I’d adapted. Sad.
Anyway, I’ve been talking to friends and family about this movement lately and I’ve had two of them subscribe to CSA boxes after our discussions. They’ve both reported that they love the boxes and can taste the difference. They’re having fun cooking with new things and they’re enjoying the variety. So, why haven’t I done it yet? I’m a little concerned about our ability to eat it all and it getting wasted. But I’ve decided to give it a try and see if we can rise to the challenge. The nice thing about this area is that it seems to be the CSA capital. We know several farmers that supply CSA boxes, so now the task is to decide which one. There are many different farms to choose from and some let you customize your box (fruits only, veggies only, a combo). Some also let you tell them the foods you don’t want in your box each time, which would be important for us. The nice thing is that you can look on their websites and see what will be coming to your home and you can plan your menus. I also like the idea of receiving recipes. I tried a CSA made apple/pear cobbler last night and it was yummy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY." "You can't just say the word bankruptcy and expect anything to happen." "I didn't say it. I declared it." --The Office

1) The number one cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. I guess paying an arm and a leg for health insurance is a better alternative.

2) Many museums have free days once each month. Some are free all the time. Here are some examples:
Springville Utah Museum of Art
HOURS: Tuesday - Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Wednesday 10:00am-9:00pm, Sunday 3:00pm-6:00pm. Closed on Mondays. ADMISSION: We are free and open to the public, LOCATION: 126 East 400 South, Springville, Utah, 84663.

The MOA, The Life Science and The Earth Science museums are all on the BYU campus and they're free. The BYU Museum of People and Culture-- also free.

3) The Tahitian Noni Visitor's Center shows free movies on Monday nights. This month the theme is Halloween movies.

4) This is a fun website. It has instructions for making 100 things you wouldn't normally make: food, clothing, even shelter.

5) Macey's Markets has free cooking classes in Orem: Space is limited. They have them at the Provo store too: They sound amazing!

p.s. I've added a money saving gadget to my side bar.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My name is Natalie and I'll be your tour guide....

It’s so much fun creating my new blog. Here, let me give you a tour. On your top left, I have my live traffic feed. It’s to see where all of my readers are from. I see that someone from Sacramento has already clued in on my wise and witty writing. Wait…that’s me.

I’ve also included a list of best selling children’s books…in case some of my students stumble here and decide they’d like to read something of a higher quality than my blog. It’s pretty cool. You can search by age group.

I also love my museum art tour. If you scroll down, you can read about the painting. The painting changes when you hit “refresh.”

I have a quick recipe-of-the-day gadget too. I love to read recipe books, so I had to add it. Someday I’m actually going to cook something.

I have the Book of Mormon Sunday School Schedule too. The Book of Mormon is on the Library of Congress’ list of most influential books (ranked 8th by them, ranked 1st by me). You can buy it from Amazon but if you’re interested in reading it, I can get you a free copy.

If you’re looking for a different kind of book, check out the new book release gadget. You can search by genre. I love to read. Please feel free to leave suggestions in my comments.

The bottom of my blog has another cool gadget. I love Braingle. I put this on for my family. We like brain teasers…although some of us have a lot more patience with them than others. Okay, so I’m the one without patience. It doesn’t take much to tease my brain.

The last gadget has nutrition and health trivia. If you click on the button, you can see more fast facts.
I love my tropical background. At first I thought it was too cute to write on, but I’ve spoiled it now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Regretting It Already

I have a blog. Please. Someone. Tell me what to write.