Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Kitchen

Ta DAH!!!

Beautiful broccoli slaw!

A great winter vegetable soup!

One topic today is my culinary experimentation. I made up this really yummy wrap. Don't know what to call it yet (possibly "J's Feta Wrap), but here's my ORIGINAL recipe:
1 Flatout (this is a new wrap thingy found in the bread section, K loves them too!)
1 wedge Laughing Cow light cheese
1 package of lean beef (those little wafer sandwich meats that are cheap at the store)
1.5 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (this just MAKES the whole feast!)
1 cup broccoli slaw (new find at the store--shredded broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots--beautiful colors!)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 roma tomato, diced
So, you just lay the flatout on a plate and spread it with the cheese wedge. Then, you separate the thinly sliced wafer meat and distribute it evenly across the wrap. Sprinkle that with the crumbled feta. Top that with the broccoli slaw which has been fried in the teaspoon of oil. Top with tomato and you have a filling, tasty wrap with one serving of whole grains, one serving of milk, one serving of healthy oil, one serving of lean protein, and TWO servings of vegetables (all for 6 points, if you're into counting points)!

I also made Cauliflower Curry soup. Looks sort of bland, but it is so tasty and filling! K likes this too!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small

Years ago I was digging through the used books at Deseret Industries (DI) and came across some by James Herriot. Little did I know I was about to embark on a great series worth far more than the twenty-five cents a copy I paid! These are the titles I have: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, James Herriot's Yorkshire, James Herriot's Dog Stories, and Every Living Thing. The books can be found in the nonfiction section at your library because they are the true experiences of a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England back in the 1920's. The author's real name is Alf Wight. He started his country practice while in his twenties but didn't begin writing until he was in his fifties. You will fall in love with the characters!

Well, it just so happens that the BBC made a wonderful television series based on these books and you can play them on your computer through Netflix. Oh, Netflix, oh, BBC, how I LOVE you! I just finished season one (13 episodes) this afternoon and am so grateful there are six more seasons (approximately 77 more episodes for my viewing pleasure)! Just like the books, the program makes me laugh and cry. I highly recommend these books and this show!!!

Speaking of "Every Living Thing," today's Sunday School lesson was about the Creation. We studied the scriptures from Moses, Abraham, and Genesis. The scriptures are very clear about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ organizing matter and creating the Earth for us. I like how Adam got to name everything--all the birds, beasts, animals, fowl, etc. I too like to name things. Some of my favorite places around here are: J's Meadow, The Enchanted Forest, Dutch Oven Flat, and A Meadow with a View. You won't find those names on any topo maps, but those places belong to me and they are special.

I also thought about my fellow park rangers. Nancy will pass a rare sego lily or quiet rattlesnake on the trail and simply say, "Hi, Sweetie." Rangers tend to get very upset if someone messes with one of their flowers, plants, leaves, trees, rocks, cave formations, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, rattlesnakes, or whatever! It's not because they're paid or wearing a badge, it's because they have acquired that respect and reverence for a certain place and all the living things associated with that place. Other people feel it too. A woman named Janie in my ward told me about protecting the ducks near our apartment complex when some kids were harrassing them. Another neighbor, Sue, reminds the children to stop breaking the branches off trees. I love the way K exclaims and exults over the flowers when we go hiking in the summer time. I understood better, while teaching the Sunday School lesson today, that many people are already park rangers in their hearts. They accept stewardship over the Earth and every living thing upon it without wearing the green and the gray. We need this kind of reverence concerning the Lord's handiwork. Sometimes I go to the Mountain of the Lord (temple) and sometimes I go to the Mountain (anywhere outside). Both places are sacred and help me to feel closer to my Father in Heaven.

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday K!

Someone at our house had a birthday this past week! It was a low-key affair involving dinner at Texas Roadhouse with cake and ice cream at home. K likes to "arrange" his own birthday by making sure he chooses the cake and ice cream he wants (leaving nothing to chance in case J doesn't remember his faves). As usual, he received many cards from his family. Happy, Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Logan Canyon

K and I had a fabulous time on Saturday. I drove up on Friday after school and K had beef brisket in the crock pot. What a guy! We drove to Logan Canyon on Saturday to do a little snowshoeing. We love getting OUT! I'm so glad I can walk and see. In the Book of Mormon, there's a scripture that talks about nature. Alma 30:44 says, "All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it." So true. K had no idea what a photography monster I would turn into when he purchased that camera! The colors just grab me--so much to be SEEN against the white.

After a couple of hours in the elements, we headed to our first experience at Frederico's for the Lunch Special: a six inch pizza with one topping, a green salad, and a piece of garlic bread. K chose mushrooms for his topping and I decided to try spinach. What do you think of when you imagine spinach on pizza? Well, I was visualizing a handful of fresh, chopped, leafy spinach sprinkled over the pizza, possibly "sealed in" by another sprinkle of mozarella. Nope, they cut that tiny little pizza into fourths and carefully laid one baby spinach leaf on each quadrant. Leaves would have blown right off if someone had passed our table. That was my one topping--four baby spinach leaves. Hm. Oh well, we were off to the Aggie Ice Cream store.

It's K's birthday this week, so we brought the cooler! First, we ate some. I had Aggie Bull Tracks and K had Peppermint. Then we bought some. K kept some in his freezer up there and I brought some down to our freezer here. I guess we'll be celebrating all week long. Oh, and THEN we headed to Gossner's cheese factory. Just a little Provolone for K's lunches, some shelf-stable fat free milk for storage, and some shredded cheese for the upcoming Birthday Lasagna.

After driving back to Brigham, we saw Blind Side at the matinee. Great movie for both of us! We enjoyed soup and sandwiches at home for dinner. K is always a fun date! Our time together is much too short and we are praying for permanent status so we can live together again like we used to in "the good old days."

This first picture was a homework assignment. Seriously. Our school is kicking off the annual Utah Jazz Readathon and all of the teachers have to submit a photo of themselves reading in an interesting or unusual place. Not my best pose, but there you go.

We have the best times together!!!

My sweetie.

K snapped this at Spring Hollow. His new wallpaper.

Frosty the Rock.

The picture of Winter.

Scenic logs. Water is magical.

Moss green. Perfect. Love the crystals.

Snake grass? Scientific name: equestrian something or other? Can't remember, but I think it's amazing the stuff is still bright green in snow on an 18 degree January day.

This was some kind of green. Light, somewhat limey, almost eerie. Loved it.

I just thought the color of these juniper berries looked fantastic against the green!

Thistle. Purple in summer, brown in winter. Beautiful either way.

I think these are leftover rose hips. Enlighten me if you know better.

My heart thrills at the abundant red, especially near water. This is a pretty "splash" of color near the partially frozen Logan River. Ah, what a glorious day we had!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Battle Creek

My snowshoeing buddies today included teammates from Snow Springs, Emily and Kristen! They hiked together while I dawdled and snapped. Mostly I feel peaceful when hiking alone, but I did wonder, for just a second, if a mountain lion was spying on me, deciding I was the slow and sickly one that got separated from the herd. We saw deer and met a fit fellow named Gary who had been snowshoeing some miles on top of his seven mile run this morning. Gary keeps a motion sensor camera "up there, somewhere" and has photos of elk, coyote, cougar, and bear.

Water soothes after a long day with the children.

K and I call these "Cinnamon Rolls." We always feel lucky when we see them "in action." Four together is a whole bakery!

Hiked into the backwards sunset, if that makes sense...

I love red.

It's refreshing out there!

Winter sunsets are always great when celebrated on snowshoes!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

We stayed up to ring in the new year. We hardly get to see each other so it was just the two of us in our cozy place with a feast of "snacky" foods, as K likes to say. The stuffed mushrooms were a big hit once again and we finally busted out the elk sausage we procured in Montana.

K's new year traditions have included sleeping in, a turkey dinner, and football. J's traditions have included focusing on better eating, more exercise, and a walk outside. K totally set his alarm so we could go snowshoeing this morning and I am so grateful for his support. The hand surgeon gave me a few warnings about not over doing it (and then he asked me about my favorite trails and THEN he took me back into his office so I could see all the pics on his computer of his own recent snowshoeing adventures!), so with only one pole and my own comfortable pace, we proceeded to start the new year right (in my humble opinion). K took a nap when we got home, has had lots of football time on the sofa, and is now grilling Omaha steaks and baking orange rolls for our lovely dinner. We have a happy life! These are the moments, these are the times...these are the best days of our lives!

One more we were headed UP Battle Creek, I said to my Darling, "I can't help but think that all this heart-pumping, blood-circulating exercise must surely be helping my hand to heal more quickly." K said I sounded just like John Muir and that he thinks I'm right and that I have a great attitude about healing. Aw...someone thinks I'm in Muir's "neighborhood." :)

J in front of partially frozen waterfall--enchanting!

K is the best trekking buddy ever!

Looking down over Utah Valley.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

The babbling brook we followed was partially frozen.

Looking up Battle Creek Canyon--glorious!