Monday, December 31, 2012


One of my favorite traditions throughout the week between Christmas and New Year's day is to read through and meditate on Jonathan Edwards' resolutions.  They challenge me and help give me perspective as I set my own resolutions for the year.  I love the way that Desiring God has categorized them, so I am posting the version that's on their site.  If you haven't read them in awhile, maybe now is a good time for another look!

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.
Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

Overall Life Mission

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.

Good Works

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.
13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

Time Management

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.
40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.
41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.
50.Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.
51.Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.
52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.
61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.


14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.
33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.
34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.
36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.
46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.
58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27,and July 13, 1723.
59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 2,and July 13.
66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.
70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.


9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13, 1723.


8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.
47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5, 1723.
54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.
63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14 and July 3, 1723.
27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.
39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

Spiritual Life

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.
48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.
49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.
The Scriptures
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
The Lord’s Day
38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.
Vivification of Righteousness
30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.
43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12, 1723.
44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.
45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12-13, 1723.
Mortification of Sin and Self Examination
23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.
24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.
60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4 and 13, 1723.
68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23 and August 10, 1723.
56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
Communion with God
53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.
65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26 and Aug. 10, 1723.
Aug. 17, 1723
By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No-Post November

I've decided it's time to put an end to No-Post November, so let me give you a little update on what's been going on since I last posted.

On the Sunday before halloween Laurel and I hosted a fall/halloween party.  It was pretty low key, we had about 8 friends over, some people dressed up, we played games, and of course ate snacks!  Here's a picture of those of us who dressed up.  My mom made me a sweet candy corn costume, it pays to have a mom who can sew!  But really, Duke stole the show with his s'more costume, it was perfect for him!

I was going to post about our party and links to some of the recipes on Monday Munchies the next day, but I went to a Monday night gathering at church, so I had decided to wait until I got home to post.  After church was over I was talking to my friend Mike and he said he was leaving the next morning to do a west coast trip.  A couple months earlier I purchased a plane ticket to visit my good friend Sarah in Reno and my flight was that Thursday, so I jokingly asked if he wanted to drive through Reno on his way.  We sort of laughed about it but he asked how many hours it was, and said he would look up the route and call me later.  I went over to Lauren's house to hang out for awhile and at 9:00 that night I get a text from Mike saying "you serious about tomorrow?"  So I called Sarah to see if it would work out, and checked into some of the travel details, and at 9:45 that night we agreed that he would pick me up at 7:30 the next morning and we would head to Reno...10 hours notice is plenty of time to pack and leave right?  So needless to say, the blog post took the back burner and I threw some clothes into a suitcase and we were off the next morning!  I absolutely love spontaneous adventures, and I was so glad to have those extra couple of days with Sarah and Ben and I also got to spend some time with Alison and Armand and meet their sweet kiddo's too!

During our time together, we mostly just hung out in Reno.  Sunday we drove about 20 miles Southeast to Virginia City.  It was a big silver mining town in the past, but now there are little shops, museums, and historical buildings lining the main street.  I guess it's where Levi's jeans started, because they needed something tough and durable for the miners.  It's also where Samuel Clemens decided he wasn't cut out for mine work, and started working for the Virginia City newspaper where he first used his pen name, Mark Twain.  Each year they hold camel races, so Sarah and I thought we needed pictures with some camels, and it ended up being our favorite picture from the week!

After I got back from Reno I only had a week and a half before my parents came for Thanksgiving, so I was busy cleaning the house and getting ready for them and my 2 year old cousin to come stay for a week.  They got in the Saturday before Thanksgiving and although we couldn't do as much as we originally planned because of the baby, we still had a great time together!  Colin and I went rock climbing one day, and the whole family went to Grand Teton National Park and walked around the Taggart Lake area, and then drove up to Jackson Lake.  We showed Marshall his first glimpse of the Teton's!

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house and along with my family we had about 10 others over.  It was a great time of food and fellowship, and reminded me of just how much I have to be thankful for!  Friday night we went to the lighting of the town square and then my mom and I did some black Friday shopping at 7:30 that night.  I've decided that's the time to do it!  You get to sleep in (well, if I didn't have a baby in my room who woke up at 5:40 I could have slept in), there was almost no one else shopping, and we still got all of the deals we were interested in!  Colin and I went dancing that night at the Cowboy, and then the fam left Saturday morning.  It was so fun having them here, seeing where I live, meeting a lot of my friends, and just being able to give them a glimpse into my Jackson life!

This week things have quieted down, and it's a nice change of pace for awhile,  but I'm sure there's a new adventure just around the corner!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Munchies - Pumpkin Apple Muffins

You should probably know that this recipe changed my life.  I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it's true.  You see, there were MANY years of my life that I thought I didn't like pumpkin...about 24 years in fact!  Every year I would try a bite of someone's pumpkin pie at thanksgiving and never liked it.  But then one year I tried these pumpkin apple muffins, and they were good.  Only a hint of pumpkin, but it was alright.  So then I tried some other pumpkin things and liked them all, and realized that maybe the only way I didn't care for pumpkin was in pumpkin pie.  These muffins really are great though, but fair warning, they make a huge batch, I got 24 out of the recipe this time.  I put a dozen in the freezer, gave a few to a friend, and we still had plenty to chow down on!  The combination of pumpkin and apple make these a perfect compliment to many fall meals (and they make a pretty good breakfast too)!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
2.5 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 c. pumpkin
1/2 c. oil (I want to try this with applesauce sometime, if anybody tries it let me know how it turns out!)
2 c. peeled, finely chopped apples

Streusel Topping:
4 T. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
4 T. butter

Directions:  Combine dry ingredients  In a medium bowl combine eggs, pumpkin and oil.  Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened.  Stir in apples.  Spoon batter into greased or paper lined muffin cups, about 3/4 full.

For the streusel topping, mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle streusel topping over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done.

Recipe Source: Carey Hughes

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crock Pot Caramel Dip

So Monday came and went and I completely forgot about Monday Munchies, like didn't think about it even one split second during the day forgot.  I didn't think about it during the day on Tuesday either, because I was SO excited that when the clouds lifted from the rain we had the past couple of days there was SNOW on the peaks of the mountains, and even covered some of the bowls.  That means we're one step closer to ski season, yay!

Tuesday night I went with a couple friends to a Flannel Attractions (don't you love the band names out here?!?) show at a new restaurant in town, then fell right into my bed when I got home.  Then Wednesday I thought about it, but I had lunch with a friend, picked up another friend from the airport and had small group that night.  After I got back I considered posting, but then I couldn't find my camera, and posts aren't nearly as good without pictures.  So yesterday I searched, found my camera, uploaded pics and now it's Friday!  This dip is super easy to make, delicious, and a great way to make a healthy food (apple slices) completely unhealthy haha!  Enjoy!

Crock Pot Caramel Dip
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:  Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot.  Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours or until thick and bubbly around the edges. (I cooked mine on high for about an hour instead of being patient and cooking it on low.  I also made a double batch and keep it in a jar in the fridge so that I have it on hand when we have people over.  Just nuke it in the microwave for awhile and you have an easy snack or dessert!)

Recipe Source: Farming on Faith

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Munchies - Last Minute Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Every year my parents have this thing of not wanting to turn on our heat until the latest date we can stand it, (you know, when we start wearing parkas in the house and our nose hairs freeze...ok so maybe we don't go that far!) and instead, just heating with our wood burning fireplace.  I LOVE fires so I always begged them to wait even longer, and now that I'm making the heat call myself, I've decided to postpone kicking our radiators up and just using our gas fireplace to heat things up.  It got cold in Jackson this week, and as I drug myself out of my warm bed each morning I began thinking of what I could add to my oatmeal so that I wasn't having the same breakfast everyday!  I've seen several recipes for baked oatmeal, and I need to try it sometime, but usually I walk into the kitchen about 15 minutes before I have to start working, and haven't planned ahead, so I need something that's quick.  I have several staple oatmeal combinations in my breakfast repertoire, but this week's addition of "baked" apples and cinnamon turned out to be one of my favorites, and I'm sure it will continue to make weekly appearances on my breakfast menu.  It truly captures the flavors of fall and as an added bonus, your kitchen will start the day out smelling like cinnamon-apple goodness!

Last Minute Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Yield: 1 Serving
1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal (Snoqualmie Falls Lodge is hands down, the BEST OATMEAL EVER.  Buy some, you won't be disappointed!)
3/4 c. water
1 small apple, grated or cut into small pieces
1 T. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. chopped pecans
Extra cinnamon
Milk or Apple Cider

Put apples in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes or until apples are soft.  Be careful not to overcook.  In another bowl add oatmeal and water, and microwave for 3 minutes or until oatmeal is done.  Mix apples into the oatmeal, and top with pecans, craisins and extra cinnamon.  Add milk or apple cider until the desired consistency is reached.

Recipe Source: Endless Frontier Original

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Munchies - Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Can you believe it's October already?  And the first happened to fall on a Monday, perfect for kicking off a month of fall recipes!  The weather in Jackson has been absolutely beautiful, highs around 70 and cool nights...perfect shorts/sweatshirt weather which has been my favorite clothing combination since I was a little kid haha!  Although I can't wait for the snow to come, I have definitely been enjoying fall in Jackson and it has me in the mood to make all sorts of pumpkin, apple, and soup recipes!  A couple of weeks ago we had a ladies' night where we all brought food and played games.  I knew right away I wanted to bring these pumpkin snickerdoodles.  The pumpkin in the batter makes them turn out so moist and fluffy, the girls all loved them!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Yields 3-4 dozen
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend. Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart. Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly. Re-coat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday Munchies - Southwestern Quinoa with Veggies and Mango

After getting back from Colorado Springs at 2:00 AM yesterday morning, with a full day of work and church ahead, I decided Monday Munchies was going to wait to make it's appearance until Tuesday.  We had a great road trip and the fall colors were at their peak which made the scenic routes that we took even more beautiful.  I'm resisting the urge to post fall recipes until October, but I'll share a couple of pictures from our trip with you to get you in the mood!
Just outside of town
Steamboat Springs
About an hour outside of Estes Park
But while summer veggies are still readily available, take advantage of it and make this recipe for a yummy and healthy salad or main course.  I actually have a confession to make about this recipe...I didn't measure out my lime juice and the first day it was REALLY limey tasting.  Like, pucker you up almost inedible (is that a word?).  However, I decided to squirt a tablespoon or so of ranch dressing on it, which masked the lime juice just as I hoped, and gave it kind of a nice creamy texture. If you wanted something simpler I think this would also be good to swap the dressing from this recipe with southwestern ranch for a creamier salad.

Southwestern Quinoa with Veggies and Mango
1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 t. ground cumin
1 c. frozen or canned corn (drained)
1 c. black beans
1 tomato, diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. red onion, diced
1 small mango, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely diced
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c. lime juice
1/3 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. ground turmeric

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil; add quinoa and cumin. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

Mix together quinoa, corn, beans, tomato, zucchini, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, mango, jalapeno, and cilantro in a large bowl.

Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder and turmeric in a small bowl.  Drizzle over quinoa mixture and toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Munchies - Put the Lime in the Coconut Cake

I have a friend in Jackson, her name is Lauren.  If we are facebook friends, you might recognize Lauren from being my Reno road trip buddy.  We had such a great time on that adventure, that we are leaving for road trip 2.0 this weekend.  This time around, we're headed to the beautiful city of Colorado Springs, with a detour through Rocky Mountain National Park in the process!  

Lauren had a birthday a few weeks ago, and on each of my friends' birthdays I let them pick out whatever dessert they want and I make it for them.  It's always fun to see what people choose, and how that reflects their personalities.  Lauren and I are a lot alike in many ways, and our love of food and baking/cooking is one of them (oh man, her strawberry rhubarb pie is DELICIOUS).  I was excited to see what she would pick, because I knew it would be something new and different.  She thought about it for awhile and then remembered seeing a Food Network show where they made a coconut lime cake, but had never made it and decided that's what she wanted for her birthday dessert.  I looked up the Food Network recipe, but when I started reading reviews I wasn't impressed.  Some people said that the cake was dry, some said it took forever to cook, the lime glaze didn't have a strong enough lime flavor, etc.  So, I decided to come up with my own recipe for the cake and combine elements from other cakes that sounded good.  If I were in MO (where I seem to have left my baking confidence) I probably would have made the cake from scratch.  However, altitude baking still scares me a little, and knowing that I was going to give this to Lauren without first trying it, (and not having time to bake another cake if the first one didn't turn out) I decided to use a white cake mix for the base.  I like to do most things from scratch, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and realize that a mix may be your best option, and this recipe was one of those times.  Lauren said the cake was great and it got rave reviews from several of her co-workers.  So, if you need a new cake recipe, try this one out (and I think it would make great cupcakes as well)!  It seems like there are several steps but it really didn't take me long at all.  I started by making the lime curd and then while it was chilling in the fridge, I mixed up and baked the cake.  After the cake had cooled I split the layers and mixed up the frosting, then put the layers together, frosted, and chilled overnight.

Put the Lime in the Coconut Cake
The Lime Curd:
3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
4 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk together until well blended. Whisk in the key lime juice. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is warmed through. Be careful not to heat the mixture too quickly to avoid curdling the eggs. Whisk in the butter a little bit at a time, stirring in each addition until completely incorporated before adding more. Continue to cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and a spoon or spatula leaves a path when drawn through it (no higher than 175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.) Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. (This keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)

The Cake:
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) package coconut cream instant pudding
3 egg whites
1 c. coconut milk (I used the silk brand, but you could used canned too)
1/3 c. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.  Combine cake mix, pudding mix, egg whites, water and oil in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide equally into pans.  Bake at 350°F for 32 to 37 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool following package directions.

The Frosting:
4 egg whites
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using a handheld whisk, beat together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt just until combined, about 30 seconds. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Set the bowl on the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the outside of the bowl is cool and stiff peaks form 5 to 7 minutes more. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the coconut just until incorporated.

To assemble the cake, I split the cake into 4 layers but you could certainly go with two or even bake it in a 9x13 or as cupcakes.  To split the layers, start by measuring the halfway point of your layers and sticking toothpicks every inch or two into the cake at the halfway mark, until you have toothpicks all the way around the cake and it looks like a weird looking sun.  

Then take a serrated knife, and cut slowly around the circumference of the cake, using the toothpicks as a guide.  

Once the cake has been cut through, tape a piece of waxed paper to the blade of the knife and slowly pull the knife through the cake until the waxed paper is out the other side of the cake, then simply lift the waxed paper to separate the layers.

Put the first layer cut side up onto your cake plate.  Top with half of the lime curd.  

Place the second layer cut side up onto the lime curd and top with frosting. Place the third layer cut side up on top of the frosting and top that layer with the remaining lime curd.  Then place the forth layer cut side up on the lime curd, and cover that layer as well as the sides of the cake with icing.  Chill overnight.

Recipe Sources:  Lime Curd from Annie's Eats and Frosting from Williams-Sonoma

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Munchies - Flower Pot Dessert

It's been awhile since I've posted, mainly because I can't even remember the last time I cooked (aside from cooking on the camp stove).  I've had almost two weeks straight of fun adventures and this week isn't slowing down at all.  I'm taking today and tomorrow to do housework (my room looks like a gear store exploded all over the floor) and run errands (like returning the library book I finished 6 weeks ago but have renewed twice since being finished with it, and washing my car that has a solid 1/4" of dust covering it after yesterday's outing to Granite Hot Springs).  Then the rest of the week is filled up with a birthday party, improv show, and bike-in movie on Wednesday night, picking a friend up at the airport and dancing Thursday night, going out on the boat Friday, the rodeo Saturday, and a trip to see the Bar J wranglers on Sunday!  I love that there's so much going on in Jackson and will try to recap some of the last couple of weeks when things slow down again, but in the meantime, I'm pulling a recipe out of the archives!

Two summers ago I started discipling a couple of girls.  We met one night every week to go through A Young Woman After God's Own Heart.  I had seen this idea on The Pioneer Woman's food blog, and  I knew that both of the girls loved ice cream so it seemed like the perfect occasion to fix a couple of these up.  They are really easy and turn out adorable, perfect for a time when you need a quick dessert that's a little dressed up!

Flower Pot Ice Cream Dessert
1 whole Pound Cake (Since I was only making two I just bought some frozen pound cake and used two slices of it, but feel free to make your own!)
1 gallon Ice Cream (I used cookies and cream)
1 package Oreo Cookies
1 package Gummy Worms (optional)
Small Flower Pots
Fresh Cut or Artificial Flowers

Slice the pound cake into 1 to 1 ½ inch slices. Next, with a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter that fits the bottom of the flower pot cut the slices into rounds (the scraps would be great to use in a trifle).

Into each of your (washed and dried) flowerpots, drop a round of pound cake, lightly pressing to make sure they are all the way down (this keeps the melting ice cream from running out of the hole). Hold a straw up against the side of a flowerpot and snip it so it’s about ½ to 1 inch shorter than the top. Then, just use that as a guide to cut the rest of the straws. Stick each straw into the center of each pot, anchoring it into the cake.

Grab whatever flavor ice cream you’d like to use, and either set it out on the counter to soften it OR nuke it for 20 seconds or so. It needs to be somewhat soft for this step. Just spoon it into the pots, working it around the straw, until it almost reaches the very tip top of the straw. Clean up the top edges of the pot with a damp paper towel. Now return the pots to the freezer until firm.

In a food processor pulse the Oreo cookies until they resemble nice, rich topsoil. (Or crush them in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin). When they are nice and firm, take the pots out of the freezer and spoon the dirt (crushed Oreos) over the top. Be generous here! Place a flower into the straw and then cover the straw with a bit more dirt.

For step-by-step directions with pictures, check out The Pioneer Woman's recipe.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday Munchies - Veggie Wrap

The last couple of weeks have been CRAZY around here.  My laptop died...two days after I had transferred all of my food photos off of my memory card, which is why there was no post last week.  This week has been full of adventures like falling asleep in the mountains watching a meteor shower, and being face to face with a mama grizzly (well, maybe not quite, but 50 ft. away feels VERY close).  But more on that later, lets get to the food!

Since life has been busy I have found myself eating peanut butter and jelly/honey/banana sandwiches almost everyday for lunch.  And although I never get tired of peanut butter, this wrap makes lunch a little classier.

Veggie Wrap
1 Tortilla
2-3 T. Hummus
1/2 c. Couscous
Veggies of your choice (I used red peppers, onions, tomatoes and spinach)
Cheese (I used mozzarella because that's what we had in fridge)

Spread hummus all over the inside of the tortilla, then top with couscous, veggies and cheese. Roll and eat!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Munchies - Southwest Chicken Chop Salad

After seeing this recipe all over Pinterest, I finally made it for dinner last week.  You should probably know that my favorite salad ever is a the Barbecue Chopped Salad with tri tip from Stonefire Grill in California, (this may shock you but I actually miss it more than In-N-Out).  I've tried to recreate the Stonefire salad many times, and have come pretty darn close, but it's just not quite the same. This Southwest Chicken Chop Salad has a lot of similar ingredients, but it's different enough that I knew I wouldn't go into it expecting it to taste like my favorite salad.  It was a good and simple recipe to throw together for a quick weeknight meal.  If you aren't planning on having some leftovers, I would add the dressing either to half or each individual portion so the salad doesn't get all wilted and soggy.  Same story with the avocados and tortilla chips, just add them to each portion so they keep their appropriate textures.

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad 
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken (I didn't have any so I just cut some chicken into chunks and cooked it in the skillet)
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup black beans
1 cup sweet yellow corn {canned or frozen and defrosted}
2 roma tomatoes, diced (I used Wyomatoes from the farmer's market - yeah, they're pretty awesome!)
4 scallions, washed and sliced {white and green parts}
1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
2 just under ripe avocados, diced
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
for the dressing-
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning
1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
1/2 tablespoon lime juice {optional}
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, stir all salad ingredients together, excluding the tortilla chips and avocado. In a small bowl, stir all dressing ingredients together until smooth. When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing then gently stir in avocado and tortilla chips.
Post-mixage - except for the avocados and tortilla chips!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday Munchies - Inside-Out Burgers

So, my sources tell me that life in Missouri is HOT.  In the same day I found out a friend was in the hospital for dehydration and another friend passed out from the heat, and that was one of the cooler days!  That being said, my MO readers probably aren't going to be too interested in firing up the grill anytime soon, but once it cools off you have to try these burgers.  They are unique in that all the stuff you would usually put on top of the burger goes inside, it makes them extra moist and is a nice surprise when you bite into it.  Because these burgers are stuffed (therefore extra thick) it does take a bit longer for them to be cooked through, just keep that in mind!

Inside-Out Burgers
1.5 lbs. ground beef
2 T. ranch dressing
Salt & Pepper
Knead the above ingredients together and then form into 10 VERY THIN patties.  

On 5 of those patties top with:
1 T. Ranch dressing
1/2 slice crisply fried bacon (crumbled)
1/2 slice cheese (generally we use cheddar but smoked gouda is my favorite splurge on these)
I also added some green onions the last time I made these, and will probably do it again!

Then, place the plain patties on top of the topped patties and seal around the edges.  Grill and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Kathy Cordero

Update: Sorry this didn't get posted yesterday, I scheduled it but then saved it instead of publishing, my bad!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Munchies - Citrus Ice Cream

As you may already know, July is National Ice Cream Month and yesterday was National Ice Cream Day (declared by Ronald Reagan, just one more reason to love the guy)!  I celebrated with a bowl of some homemade Apple Pie Ice Cream that I made on Saturday.  It has a french vanilla base with chunks of caramelized apples and bits of graham cracker, so good and actually tasted just like apple pie!

Although I loved the apple pie flavor, my absolute, hands down, favorite flavor of homemade ice cream is this citrus recipe.  Rich and creamy with banana, orange and lemon flavors, it is SO refreshing on a hot summer day!  Actually, it's good on winter days too.  I requested it for my birthday dessert (in February...unfortunately the idea got shot down). The 4th of July is usually the occasion this ice cream is most likely to show up for, but since I wasn't planning to be home for the 4th (turned out I was) and because I didn't get it for my birthday, my parents made some for me the week before I moved!

We actually have a really funny story about this ice cream too.  My mom always mixes up the base of the ice cream, and then it's my dad's job to churn it and add ice/salt as necessary.  One year the ladies had mixed up the base, and my dad and Steve Burton (the friends from Cali in this post) were churning away.  The ice cream maker is supposed to stop when the ice cream gets thick and properly frozen, but this time it just kept going and going and going, but never freezing.  Turns out (after a couple of hours haha), they forgot to put the paddle in the ice cream maker...oops!  So...if you make this ice cream, make sure your ice cream maker is properly assembled!

Citrus Ice Cream
(This yields about 4 quarts - cut in half if using a small ice cream freezer)
3 c. Milk
3 c. Whipping Cream
3 c. Sugar
3 medium bananas (mashed)
1 c. Freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 or 8 large - the amount of fruit it takes to make the juice varies a lot, these are just estimates, use more or less as needed)
1 c. Freshly squeezed orange juice (5 or 6 large)

Combine milk, cream and sugar in a large bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. (It's best at this point to put it in the chilled can, and then let chill in the refrigerator until cool)  Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze partially. Blend in bananas and fruit juices and continue freezing until firm. And, my mom adds: "If it takes hours, you have probably forgotten the paddle! "

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Munchies - Quick Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

First off, I'd like to ask you to pray for my co-worker Phil and his family.  His wife, Brandi, was in a bad car accident over the weekend and is still in a coma.  Pray for Brandi's healing, for peace and comfort for Phil and his family, and that God would use this situation to bring Himself glory.  Also, if you guys have any good suggestions of items to go in a care package for Phil while he spends his days in the hospital, I'd love to hear them!  All of my other co-workers are men, so I'm not getting many ideas!

Now, on to cooking!  This recipe is so easy I hesitate to even put it on my blog.  But I figure you need simple recipes too.  In the summer I'm always looking for recipes that don't heat up the house.  For those of you in parts of the country that are experiencing scorching heat right now, this recipe is for you!   There's no turning the oven on and heating up the house, almost no prep, leave it cooking while you go swim and cool down and then come home to enjoy an easy dinner!

Quick Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
2 chicken breasts, halved
1 cup(ish) BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's for this but you could make your own too!)

Put the chicken breasts in the crock pot.  Pour the BBQ sauce over the chicken and then turn them so that both sides are coated.  Turn crock pot on low and let simmer for 2-3 hours.  Take chicken out, shred and add back into the crock pot, stirring the excess BBQ sauce into the shredded meat.  Add extra sauce if it seems too dry.  Let simmer in the crock pot another 30 minutes, and it's ready to serve!

Traditionally you would probably just throw it on a bun, but I added some cheese, red onion and some extra sauce and made it into a quesadilla.  Next time I think I'll add some pineapple chunks to the quesadilla, and pepper jack cheese would be great in it too!  I'm also anxious to try making some BBQ chicken nachos using this meat.  What ideas can you come up to use your shredded BBQ chicken?   

Source: Endless Frontier Original - although I'm not sure how original dumping BBQ sauce on chicken can be!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trip to MO - Photo Update

I'm an irresponsible blogger.  Life gets busy and the blog comes last...always.  I'm two recipes behind (and the two I have lined up are delicious...something to look forward to in the coming weeks), but I decided spending my time with friends and family was more important than spending it writing blog posts.  I also have several more thoughtful posts in mind.  There are lots of things running around in my little brain but I haven't taken the time to sit down and write them all out.  I also should post about what's going on in my life.  I've done all sorts of awesome Wyoming-y things and haven't kept y'all all.  Plus I have a memory card FULL of pictures, but I haven't uploaded any of those either.  And now here it is did that happen?!?  I really am going to try to keep up better throughout this month...but don't hold your breath, just in case!

That said, even though I missed Monday Munchies and thought about posting it late, I've decided to skip the recipe and instead show you a few photos of what I've been doing in MO this past week!

First, my dad retired...

He had a that party was a magician.  
It was like living an episode of Arrested Development...

The lady retiring with him wanted to set me up with her cousin's son, you know how it is...
everyone has some relative I need to meet who's "a great catch"
His dad was the magician...all my family gatherings could have been magical.
I'm sorry to report that due to him being catholic and my little brother's age,
 it isn't going to work out...this probably surprises no one haha!

Then we went to the Liberty Memorial and WWI Museum in Kansas City, it was really nice!

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's disappearance

I love the KC skyline

Then we went to the Money Museum at the KC Federal Reserve, it's really hard to look
serious on money.  Props to Ben Franklin...never took a bad picture!

40 million dollars, no big deal.

Wyoming and MO are in the same Federal Reserve district (which is district 12 in case you were wondering...yeah, I did my plaque reading).  I had to represent.

Then I used my mad camera skills to shoot a group picture
(The Burton family is with us.  I thought we were related till I was 12.
I would like to confirm that they are not related, but they did 
come all the way from California to be there for my dad's party.)

And then we had a Community Group picnic

It was hot.

Then we celebrated the 4th of July with our neighbors, and I took a bunch of firework pictures for the purpose of ending this blog post.  And I realized the firework setting on my camera is TERRIBLE.

The End.