Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe: Fill in the blank

I found this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and it was a fun blast from the past. Mel calls it Robert Redford Dessert, but said she wasn't quite sure why it was called that. Well, I know. ;)

My mom used to make this when I was a teenager, and I distinctly remember her laughing about women around calling it "Better Than S*x" or "S*x In a Pan." I had also heard it called "Better Than Robert Redford," who was quite the handsome figure back in the day. We would laugh about that, but at home we called it "Four Layer Dessert."

I hadn't had this in years and decided to make it last Sunday. (It is, after all, pretty darn good). The fam said they would prefer a graham cracker crust instead of the shortbread crust in the recipe, but I love the shortbread crust. I will probably make it again and use a graham crust just to please the hubs. It would probably be great with an Oreo crust too. And don't worry about making homemade pudding for it--I used good old chocolate pudding from a box because I'm not spending the time on homemade.

I pinned this recipe to one of my boards over on Pinterest, so if you click the link on the left you'll find it there, too.

Four Layer Dessert, or "Better Than _____ Dessert." (You fill in the blank!)
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1/2 cup butter
1 c. flour
1 c. finely chopped walnuts

Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the nuts. Press into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes, or until set and light golden brown. Cool completely.

Cream Cheese layer:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups whipping cream, with 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until creamy. Set aside. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar (I add a little vanilla as well) until stiff. Fold about 2/3 of the cream into the cream cheese mixture until well blended. Spread evenly onto cooled crust.

2 small boxes of chocolate pudding--also good with pistachio flavor! Or lemon!
4 cups milk

Mix the pudding and milk according to package directions. Pour over the cream cheese layer.

Top the pudding with the remaining whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 30 mins to an hour. Cut into squares and serve.

**The original recipe, from my growing up years, used Cool Whip instead of real whipped cream, so go that route if you like. It's good that way also. Just use a 12 oz. size, mixing about 8 oz. with the cream cheese.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Turning bad into good

**Update: Literally 30 MINUTES after I posted this, my oldest son discovered that the bathroom downstairs was flooding. So why don't we just add that to my list? :)

Happy Monday! The last Monday of January. One month closer to spring!

Seems like a good day to share what 2012 has been like so far. You could probably call it the month of what-doesn't-work-now?! We literally laughed about this last week. What else was there to do?

--The dishwasher needs a new thermal fuse. And the repairman is MIA.
--The Suburban needed (and got) a new fuel pump. We're talkin' $650. Ouch.
--The desktop computer got a bad virus and is still having issues with corrupt files and blue screens of death.
--There's a leak under one of the bathroom sinks. That bathroom also has a hump in the floor. Not good.

Bad things can lead to good things, though.

--My kids have learned how to wash & dry dishes by hand like their mom always did when she was little. Good thing to know.
--We have an awesome mechanic who even comes and gets our vehicles and then brings them back. For free.
--The main bathroom will get to be gutted and redone one of these days. Something it NEEDS, and something I will be VERY happy about!

Here's to taking lemons and turning them into lemonade!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A conversation

In my last post, I mentioned having recently got a smartphone. One reason that I don't use it a whole lot is because my kids always want to use it. This morning 7-year-old Libby asked me if she could play with it, and I was busy cleaning so I said yes. A little bit later, I found her texting her big sister. The thing is, I had no idea that she even know how to text--Nicole didn't either. I thought I'd share the conversation I found on my phone. It's hilarious.

Libby: (notice she initiated it) Yo this is Libby.

Nicole: Yo Lib

Libby: Time to come home

{That just says it all right there. Like the pic above shows, those two are buddies}. A little bit later, Libby got hold of my phone again:

Libby: hi this is guess

Nicole: hi this is guess who?

Libby: This is Libby

Nicole: haha! Yes I knew that! I was just playing with you.

Libby: LOL

Nicole: silly goose

Libby: No your a will goose!!!!!!!!!!$$$$$$$$

Libby: I mean will goose.

Nicole: No way!

Libby: No I mean silly goose. Finally I got it right.

Nicole: You are a good little texter!

Libby: Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nicole: How'd you get so good?

Libby: I don't know!

Well, no one else knows either. LOL

Friday, January 27, 2012

An invitation

So, I have been hearing about Pinterest. How I can "pin" things I like to a virtual bulletin board, giving me a place to save the stuff I come across on the web and want to use/try/buy/cook for myself. Good idea, I thought. Finally went to the site and found that I need an invitation to join. Well, that was easy. I just texted this girl:

"So can you invite me to Pinterest?" says I.

"Yes what email would you like me to use?" says Nicole, about 2 seconds later.

See? Easy peasy.

Turns out that was the only easy part. Looks like I got instantly signed up to follow lots of people I don't know--and vice versa. And how about putting a "pin it" button on this blog? That doesn't seem too easy. I'm confused. :s

{That's like my smartphone I've now had for a month and only use about a 10th of its capability because I still don't know what I am doing}.

Good thing I have Nicole. And that I know how to text.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Did you know? Type a "captcha" code=Digitize a book

{First: thanks to Jeff for putting me onto this!}

If you take time to watch this video, you won't be disappointed. The speaker is very funny, and I found it to be fascinating. I had no idea! The things people come up with...

Watch at least the first five minutes, but by then you'll probably be hooked into the whole thing. Again, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Remember where it is you're going."

{Riding off into the sunset is a romantic notion, but what happens when the sun comes up the next day?}

This morning three of my kids got up at 5 am to go to the temple. This is something they get to do about every 3 months, and they all enjoy it a lot. It's a great way to start the day.

Today they had a little trouble with arguing while they were getting ready. This is not out of the ordinary, unfortunately. (Two teenaged boys and one preteen girl don't always mix. Especially when bathrooms and hair come into play). I walked up to them and said, "Remember where it is you're going," without really even thinking about it first. They all calmed down, got ready, and went on their merry way.

As I went back to bed (hey, I'm not staying up when it's only 5:20!) I thought about that phrase, "Remember where it is you're going." For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the temple is a place of peace and reverence, where we can learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I wanted my children to remember this and let it positively affect their behavior. But I realized it goes farther than that. I want to remember where it is I'M going. I don't just want to end up somewhere. I want to GO, through my own choices each and every day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Biscuits and Gravy

When I was little, my dad would sometimes make us biscuits and gravy--really good biscuits and gravy! Fast forward a few decades, and I had never made biscuits & gravy. Until now. Why did I wait so long? I dunno.

After my boys went on their pioneer trek last summer, they kept talking about the biscuits and gravy they had for breakfast one morning, and asking me to PLEASE make it. So 6 months later, I finally got around to it.

I adapted the following recipe from the Food Nanny. Very tasty!

Biscuits & Gravy
adapted from Food Nanny

3 cans of Pillsbury Homestyle biscuits, baked and still warm
16 oz. Jimmy Dean sage sausage
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

In a large skillet, crumble and brown the sausage til fully cooked. Remove the cooked sausage to a bowl and keep warm. Melt the butter in the skillet. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly til smooth and slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, water, bouillon cubes, salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until the gravy thickens. Stir in the sausage and heat through. Break the biscuits in half and top with gravy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

How to be on mom's naughty list.

I like vegetable lasagna, so I learned how to make it.

I also learned that no one else in my family likes it. (But I admit that I am not completely surprised by this).

However, I am not offended that no one liked it, because some of them were good sports and ate it anyway. The moral of the story is, if mom makes something new for dinner and you refuse to even taste it, you're on the naughty list. On the other hand, if mom makes something new for dinner and you try it & eat it even though you don't really like it, you're on the good list.

The names on the naughty & nice lists are confidential. For now.

Friday, January 20, 2012

21 years

Happy Birthday to my daughter Nicole! 21 years ago today she joined our little family of two and we haven't been the same since; we've been better. She has been a great girl to have around, a wonderful big sister, and now she is officially a woman. A legal adult. Amazing! Wasn't I just 21 a few years ago?!

We love you Nicole!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are you a talker?

So I read CJane's latest post today, and I have to say, that was one of my favorite posts from her ever, because I completely understood it. It gave me a laugh, and then it got me thinking.

I am not a huge talker unless you get to know me. Even then sometimes I'm not...but then again, I can be. You just never know what you might get. Even I never know!

Jeff has been known to ask me why I am not talking much. (Proof that it does happen, even with him). Sometimes I just feel quiet. But one day we were riding around in the car, and I was talking his ear off. I don't remember what about, but I was totally doing all the talking. Suddenly I realized I was doing all the talking, so I said, "Am I talking your ear off?" Because this is not an everyday occurrence, I really wanted to know. He said one of The. Best. Things. he has ever said to me! He said,

"No. I like hearing the sound of your voice." And he meant it.

Serious husband points. ;)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: Fatal Judgment

{Picture from novelist's website: IreneHannon.com}

I am new to the world of Irene Hannon books. In looking for some books for my Nook, this was one of several that I decided to buy. Some months later, I got around to reading it and have enjoyed it a lot.

If you are into thrillers--with a little romance thrown in--Irene Hannon's books will interest you. And what I consider to be a major plus, she is a "clean" writer: no gratuitous violence, explicit scenes or vulgar language. You will find her books in the Christian section of your bookstore, because there are some Christian ideals and language in her books, although on her website she says she didn't start out with that intent; it just fits.

Fatal Judgment is the story of Jake Taylor, a U.S. Marshal, and Liz Michaels, the smart, beautiful federal judge he is assigned to protect after her sister is murdered while staying in the judge's home. Jake and Liz have some brief history, as the judge was married to Jake's late best friend. There are misconceptions on both sides, so the assignment at first is an uncomfortable one at best.

We soon learn, along with Liz and Jake, that what they had thought about the other isn't true. Feelings develop between the two, yet Jake refuses to let them affect the job he has to do, especially when it is revealed that the judge's sister was only in the wrong place at the wrong time. Liz was the intended victim, and with no obvious suspects, she is still at risk.

Fatal Judgment is suspenseful and romantic, yet heartwarming and fun at the same time. I think I will get hold of some more of Irene Hannon's books!

Friday, January 13, 2012

They've got balls!

I just love titles with double meanings. (insert wicked laugh here and then read on...)

Jeff took some of our kids to a signing event for the local NBA basketball team last night. Some of the players were very nice and showed interest in the people who were there (mostly season ticket holders, which we aren't). But certain other players, one in particular, showed us exactly why there was an NBA lockout last fall.

This certain player acted like a jerk. He refused to look at people who he gave autographs to. He took my kids' balls they'd brought, signed them, and roughly flicked them back across the table without ever even glancing up. As they walked by, Jeff heard him say grumpily, "Isn't this the end of the line YET?!"

I think he and the few others like him ought to remember who really pays their salaries. They are heroes to a lot of kids out there. Who are they playing for? I think it's sad when they can't seem to show any appreciation for the fans they supposedly play for. Really sad! This player ought to be reprimanded for his behavior last night. I hope the team managers paid attention.

Okay. Soapbox is put away now. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

The actress strikes again!

Every so often, I turn on my camera, and I see that Amelia has been having a little fun with it. Take a look:

Amelia has needed the experiences she is having in theater to gain more confidence in herself. It has done wonders for her! That being said, I'm also working at teaching her that she can be an actress without being a diva, and confident without being puffed up. Accomplished but humble. Lessons that can apply to everyone in life.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"It's Time!"

Orrin Hatch has represented Utah fairly well for decades, but "it's time." It's time for someone new, and it's time for Dan Liljenquist. I don't say this lightly. I know Dan personally, as well as his awesome wife and kids. What Dan says he is, he is. What he says he will do, he does. It's called integrity, and he has a lot of it. I know this because my hubby is the same: if he gives you his word, he means it. I value integrity. I am voting for Dan! Click the link above to learn more about Dan Liljenquist. See the widget in the right sidebar if you would like to contribute to Dan's campaign.