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Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Plan: Saturday the 29th

I have been relegated to the bed. It is my new desk. I am trying to beat this cold once and for all. Alas. Wish me luck because this is all I HAVE to get done to day:

Research the history of the symphony and how it relates to the flute: 4 hours
Study for Orals: 2 hours
Practice: 3 hours
Go through 2 articles on William Byrd: 1.5 hours
Homework for Renaissance History Class: 1 hour

Wish me luck.

I can DO it!

I just crashed last night after going grocery shopping with my hubby. It was a killer week. Can I just say that? But it was filled with tender moments. Despite being awfully sick I was able to Rock my Dr. Johnson Renaissance history tests (2). I was feeling really happy at times, not just kinda happy! I woke up at 7:30, ready ready to work a bit after 8:00. My days ended going by quicker than anticipate. David is not sick.

I have hope that the my education career is drawing to its close. I will climb Mount Doom and Gondor will be saved. These were accomplished not by one man only; I will have help along the way. All is well. :)

Moral: God does not leave us alone in our most desperate hour.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stuffed Onions

Via Request, here are the stuffed onions I've made for my family. If you've never tried such delectable, these are a winner. They take a long time to prepare, yes, so enlist help from various family members. My little 12 year old sister requested these for her birthday. Crazy girl.

The recipe is from Julia Child's The Way to Cook, but I've modified it a tad. Here's the modified recipe.

For 6 large onions:

6 large firm, fresh, perfect onions at least 3 inches in diameter
2 cups or so minced onions
Butter as needed
1.5 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated swiss cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
4 T regular bread crumbs (or more)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
fresh or dried basil, to taste
Salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth

One at a time, shave off the pointed and root ends of the onions, being careful to keep the onion layers attached to the root. Peel, them. With a sharp knife, cut a cone-shaped core out of the top (not root) end of the onion, and reserve all cuttings. Then, being careful not to make the sides and bottom too thin, (they should be about 3/8 inch thick) use a melon baller to dig circular sections out of the onion to form a cup of the interior. Note: This is neigh impossible unless you have a melon baller. Impossible as in takes 3x as long to do with out this handy tool. This is where help is gratifying.

Drop the onion cups into a pot of boiling salted water (add 2 or so teaspoons) and boil slowly for 10-15 minutes. (I've never done it that long, just until they are tender. You want them to still hold its shape. Remove one by one with tongs to a colander to dry upside down.

Make the stuffing: Cook the minced onions slowly in 2 Tablespoons of butter in a covered pan until very tender; uncover the pan and stir over moderately high heat to brown very lightly. Blend in the rice, cream, cheese, and 4 T of bread crumbs, adding more if the mixture is too soft for easy stuffing. STir in the parsley and basil. Season to taste, but in my experience be VERY VERY liberal with the salt and pepper.

Stuffing the onions. Butter or oil the outside of the onions cups and arrange cup side up in a heavily buttered baking dish about 3 inches deep and just large enough to hold them in one layer. Season the insides and outside of cups with salt and pepper, and fill with the stuffing, heaping it into a 1/2 inch dome. (It is called STUFFED onions for a reason. Pack it) To each with a teaspoon or so of breadcrumbs and drizzle with a little butter. Pour the broth around the onions enough to come about a third of the way up.

Bake the onions for about 1.5 hours at 375 degrees, but bring to a simmer on the top of the stove. Bake uncovered in the lower middle level of the preheated oven, maintaining the liquid at a slow simmer and basting the onions several times with the liquid in the dish. (It's really important to baste as often as possible. They are done when a knife pierces them easily, but they must keep their shape. (The outside layer will be slightly tough, but the insides deliciously tender.)

The onions may be baked in advance, and reheated later; they are also good served cold.

Hope you like them as much as my family!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Christmas Pajamas

David's mom is amazing--she sews. Granted, I think anyone who can sew is amazing, but she is amazing for other reasons too.

I think it is a pretty common tradition to give Christmas pajamas, and my Mother-in-law actually makes them.

I once made pajamas in my sewing class in middle school. It was hard--and they ended up looking weird. Way to baggy in the bum and way to tappered near the ankle. But I wore them with pride. I threw them away, otherwise I would show them off. :)

These are what she (I still don't know how to address her... eek) made this year. AND they have pockets! Woah. That's pretty hard core.

Take one: Didn't know where to stand. 

Take two: Good placement other than my underside. And it was a weird color....

Take 3 Wow, David is good looking. Yep.

Take 4: We're cute, but I demanded David smile :)

Take 5: Perfect

I was just going to show the last one, but I thought the progression was at least documentary. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

A homemade Christmas

I love homemade gifts. I wish I could be more creative and make them (or rather, have more time...) but this year David and I received some AMAZING homemade gifts that I want to share with you all. 

Don't these chocolates look amazing? And they were hand-dipped by David's family. Not only do they look good, but they taste great too. One day I hope to join in the festivities. Candy dipping is traditionally done the week of Thanksgiving. 

These ornaments were made by my Sister, Abby. She punched the hole for the string and glittered them all by herself. What a creative gift! I love them! They'll hang on our tree for many Christmas' to come. 

Now, this I am told was a labor of love. David's sister, Julie made these. There is no way our hands will burn. It's double sided on both sides. She's amazing--I don't think I would have the patience for this. 

This vase was carved by my brother, Travis, in his Woodcarving class at school. He gave every member of our family something he carved. 

This amazing flower is made of Duck Tape. I can't wait to wear it to school. David's Sister, Melanie made it. 

I don't do it much anymore, but I love giving homemade gifts. The spirit of giving and love often seems more abundant with homemade gifts. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love giving gifts. When I was younger (even up until the age of 13 or 14) I would sometimes make or buy 3 or even 4 gifts for my family. They would be small and mostly homemade, but it gave me such great joy. 

I remember one time when I was 12 or so I wanted to make my mom homemade soap or some type of homemade smelly thing. I soon became aware that one does not simply make soap. So I squeezed my creative juices together and came up with a plan. I would painstakingly shave off pieces of several individual soaps and mix it together with lotion and various other smelly stuff (I believe I experimented with perfume and flower petals.) I then proceeded to form the soap into cute balls. 

My mom was surprised to say the least. 

And slightly alarmed. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A slight detour

It all started on our way back from Greeley Colorado where we were spending New Years with David's family. We were on 287 about 20 minutes outside of Fort Collins when we lost 5th gear. Eeks. I have a '89 manuel Honda Civic SI. It made this odd grinding sound and suddenly the RPMs shot up as if we were driving in 4th gear. Well, low and behold the same thing happened to 4th gear. By that time we had stopped and called a handy mechanic called "Dad." We did some trouble shooting and it was obviously determined that it was the transmission. So. What were we going to do. Huh. Whose heard of a manuel losing it's transmission?

At first it was quit fun! We were in a horse drawn wagon that had just lost one of its two horses. We could drive, albiet slowly. My dad said that the best thing we could do is get as far as we could--hopefully to Laramie-- and there my Dad would pick us up. That came as quite a surprise, especially considering the car was coming with us on a trailer. Our job now was to get to Larmie (in third gear) and hold tight until my Dad arrived.

Our spirits were high as we putted along with our flashers on. We could tell our transmission was getting worse, however. It would occasionally slip into neutral/second gear on its own and by the time we were in Laramie it was quite frequent. We knew we were quickly losing third. When we got to Laramie our first job was to find a place to bunk out for the next 7 hours. My mom suggested a mall...but noooooo... there are no malls in Laramie. I thought an LDS church would be quite pleasant, but by the time we found it, I forgot to take into consideration that it was unlikely someone would be in it. We had the bishops phone numbers, but...I didn't want to take that route. Our plan was also foiled by the fact that I REALLY had to go to the bathroom.

So then we went to KMART and explored its small stock of supplies. Next, to pass the time we went to a the bookstore next door. After an hour or so of browsing and reading, however, I could not stand the Arctic temperatures inside and so we proceeded on our journey. It was colder in there than in our car. We determined to go to Walmart and hang out there. On our way we came across the University of Wyoming's Institute building, but it was locked. Darn.

All of that took a good chunk of time and we spent the rest of the 3 or so hours haunting Walmart's aisles and watching their TVs. (Strangely enough they had one TV going with an awesome nature show which we watched for 45 minutes. Several employees commented on us...but not to the extent of "stop." We also determined what colors our house were going to be: dark beige for the kitchen, dark gold for the living room and red for the library. We justified out loitering by having a basket containing 2 pasta boxes.

About to get onto the trailer

Soon we grew bored (obviously....but we're talking on the point of tears) and we went back out to our freeeeeezing car. By the time my dad got there it was 4 degrees with a wind chill of much less than that...we're talking a 15 or so mile an hour wind. When we got out to starting hitching our car and transferring the necessary goods to my dad's car it took me 1 minute to get a frostbite on my thumb. David got one on his ear. The small amount of time I was outside--in a Columbia winter coat, no less--was enough time for me to shiver uncontrollably. It HURT. Laramie is COLD. Forget Provo. 25 degrees is balmy comparatively.

My poor car
Once we got everything hooked up it was 9:00 PM when we left the Laramie Walmart. I wasn't sad to say goodbye. Afterall, I think I spent enough time in Laramie to last a lifetime. What else is left to explore? To make things short, it was a miracle we got back in one piece. My dad said there was a 50:50 chance we would spin off the road. We went through three blizzards where we couldn't even see the road with winds blowing at 55 miles an hour. The only way we could navigate were the road markers lighted by our headlights. It took us more than 8 hours to make it about 400 miles. At one point my dad said his job was to keep control of the car and it was David's to keep track of mile markers so if we did spin of we would know where we were and wouldn't have to wait until morning for someone to find us. He told me it was my job to sleep. And to worry. And pray.

Sorry for the bad photos. My fingers wouldn't move, let alone hold up the camera. Here it is hooked up to my Dad's Honda Pilot. 
We finally made it to Provo safe and sound at 4:30. Only now do I believe the horror stories of driving through Wyoming at night during a snow storm.

Prayers work and God is looking out for us.