Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Stollen

Whenever I've seen "stollen" in stores at Christmastime, I have been infatuated. I always wondered about it--why it's around at Christmas, what it tastes like, where it comes from, etc. So today, when I went onto the King Arthur website and they had an "easy" recipe for stollen, I decided to make it right away.

It turns out that stollen is a German type of fruit cake. It's usually made with a yeast dough, several kinds of dried fruits or nuts, and then covered in powdered sugar or icing. The earliest known mention of a stollen is from Germany in 1474. The shape and look of a stollen is supposed to remind people of the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. (How sweet is that?)

It was very easy to make--and very yummy. This recipe uses baking powder instead of yeast, so it's much faster to make and has a more cake-like texture. The smell of it baking was wonderful, and two little boys I know gobbled down pieces with their hot cocoa in record time.

I guess the Christmas baking season begins....Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Drinking Problem....

For the past couple years, I have saved the drink canisters we have used. Then at Christmas, I have decorated them and put treats in them for our neighbors. This year, I decided I was tired of doing that and I wouldn't save the drink canisters any more. A few months into 2009, I started saving them again because I couldn't stand to throw them away--it seems like such a waste. The other day I was cleaning out the cupboard where I keep these--I didn't realize I had so many--whoops! I can't believe there's 23 empty canisters! And there's two more that are half empty. That's a lot of drinking by our family. I'm not sure if it's better or worse than Kool-Aid or soda pop.

Anyway...I guess I had better figure out something to do with these canisters again this year for Christmas--I would hate to waste them.

I'll keep you posted...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Marbella

Sunday Dinner this week. This recipe is from a cookbook named The Silver Palate Cookbook which celebrated its 25th anniversary a couple years ago. Its a pretty famous cookbook with recipes from a deli/food store back East. Many recipes from this book are well known--this recipe, in fact, is supposedly one of people's favorites. I tried it for the first time this past Sunday. It did turn out pretty yummy and very easy. Another recipe from that book is the tomatoes and pasta recipe that I posted last summer. I LOVE that recipe.
The reason I made this dish is because the woman who co-wrote the cookbook, Sheila Lukins, died of brain cancer a couple weeks ago. Lots of people have written about her or posted comments to different websites about how influential she was to novice cooks everywhere. I thought it would be a fun tribute to her to make one of her most famous dishes and post it here. Thanks, Sheila!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Because Dale is out of town...

Three days ago, this is what the kids discovered in the tree in front of our house. It was well hidden in the tree, so we never noticed it until now. You can't really tell from the picture, but it was about the size of a basketball...maybe a little larger.
And this is what was swarming around the nest and crawling in and out....

Very Scary!! And of course this is the week that Dale is out of town backpacking. Every once in a while a job comes along that is just meant for husbands to take care of. This was one of them. (Another one was when a large bird crashed and died in our yard a couple years ago when Dale was backpacking---gross!)
I thought about just calling a pest control service, but my dad told me that could be quite expensive. So we did some research on the internet, got brave, and took care of it ourselves. There was only a little screaming and running. It only took us three days to get rid of it, but it's gone now...unless of course they all come back to life in the garbage bag sealed inside the garbage can. Poor garbage collectors!!!
I think Dale owes me one for taking care of this.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

My friend Shelli makes the BEST cinnamon rolls ever. Everyone always wants her to make them. A year or so ago, Shelli taught a class at Church about making cinnamon rolls. I got the recipe but never got around to making them. For one thing, I've never felt very confident about making cinnamon rolls--I haven't had much success in the past. The other thing is that most "good" cinnamon roll recipes use a lot of flour and so you really need a mixer (I mean, like a Kitchen Aid or Bosch) to mix and knead the dough.

Well, Shelli helped me out with that, too. While her son is on a mission, she let me borrow the Kitchen Aid that she lets him use while at school. It's so nice to have a big mixer like that. It's let me do recipes that I normally would avoid.


So I used her recipe for the first time today. And, after only one phone to Shelli for help, I turned out these best cinnamon rolls ever!!! Mmmmm--sugary, cinnamony goodness!!!

Thanks, Shelli!!

Before frosting.....
After frosting.....
I bet you all want to come over to my house, huh? (Better hurry--they won't last long)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!!

We really missed our friends and family this year and being in Provo, but we had a fun time staying home, too. Now if the air will just clear out so we can breathe again--whew!!

Love, The Garrards

Lemonade Stand

Calista decided she needed to do a lemonade stand. She also decided she needed something else to bring in cash, too, so we did Rice Krispy treats. Turns out those were the big seller. Her friend Olivia helped out. It was fun to see the nice people in the neighborhood who would stop and purchase some goods.

Calista and Olivia. (Dylan and Olivia's little sister Annie helped out, too.)

You could choose from lemonade or strawberry-kiwi. And, of course, we had Sonic ice to make sure people weren't just getting a glass of tepid Kool-Aid.

The last, lonely Rice Krispy treat. She totally sold out of them a few minutes later. (Sold a dozen altogether.)

Her final profit total was around $6.00. Next time she is adding brownies and cookies to the mix, too. (By the way, it was probably about 95 degrees as she sat out in the hot sun for a couple hours.) But I think she had tons of fun, too!!

Friday, July 3, 2009


When I was about 12 or 13, our Young Women's group from Church decided we needed to do a fund raiser to earn some money for camp. We came up with the idea of making several pastry items: bear claws, pizza pockets, ham and cheese rolls, apple turnovers, etc. The interesting thing was that we used just one recipe of dough to make all the different things. (It was a very lucrative fund raiser.) I was thinking about that recipe the other day and found it in some old papers.

I've had fun with the dough. We made ham and cheese bread and these BEAR CLAWS!!!

They were very yummy and easy. You can't tell in the picture, but I also made a vanilla glaze to go over them that used REAL vanilla beans. Mmmmm!!

I still have a little dough left--not sure what to do with it yet. Strawberry danishes, anyone??

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Traditionally, Memorial Day was a day to honor those who had lost their life in service to our country. But it seems like today it has evolved to become a day to honor any who have served our country in the armed forces. That's what I would like to do today. Thank you to all who have had the courage to serve our country, both in peaceful times and during war. But an especially big thank you to the members of my family who have served. Thank you for being willing to stand up for what you believe in, to defend your country and its citizens, and to put your life on the line. We are forever in your debt.
Thank you:
My brother, Murray
My father, John
My uncle, Ken
My great uncle, Ned
My great uncle, Laurel
My great uncle, Seldon

Flip Flop Frenzy!!

OK, so Saturday was Old Navy's $1 Flip Flop Sale. I knew several of us needed new flip flops so I decided I would go. With a good sale like this, I figured I'd better be there right when the store opened up (9:00 AM). My friend Audra went with me. We pulled into the parking lot at 8:55. There was a stinkin' line that stretched down past at least two other stores!!! It was a MAD HOUSE!! Then, once inside, we found there was a limit of 5 pairs per customer. Luckily, we had each brought a kid with us. Audra ended up getting 9 pairs, and Calista and I ended up with 8 pairs. (I mean, we don't need to be greedy, do we?!?!) We stood in line for probably about 45 minutes to be able to check out.

Guess it's the start of summer, right?!?!?

Here's some of our flip flops.

Here's a little picture of a store back East and its line for the flip flop sale. I read online that there was one store where the police had to be called in to settle down the crowd. Crazy!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Heart flowers always remind me of my grandma. In both houses that she lived in, while I was alive, she had these flowers. I especially remember them from her house in Utah. I love them and think they are so pretty and also so intriguing with their shape. When we moved into our house, I knew I wanted to have Bleeding Hearts here. I always think of her when I see them. I just wish they lasted throughout the summer. Our plant is still relatively small, but it sure produces some pretty flowers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guess Who's.....

MY MOM!!!! YAY! April 22nd is her birthday and she just turned a young 70. I used to think 70 was old, but when I look at my mom, I realize that it doesn't have to be. She still could work me under a table by a long shot!!

I have always thought it was interesting that her birthday is also Earth Day and Secretary's Day because she LOVES working in the earth and gardening and growing beautiful flowers AND for many years, she worked as an amazing secretary.

A little more about her...she was born in Idaho and loves the state. However, she has no desire to move back here. (Believe me, we've tried to get her to move) She likes where she is now.

She is a super baker. She makes delicious bread and I love her pies better than any other pies out there. My favorite is her cherry pie. I try and make it every once in a while, but it never tastes the same. She is also such a hard worker and can do everything from sewing to canning to gardening to her amazing musical talents. (Wish those had been passed down to me!)

She loves doing things with her family besides all the other industrious things she does. She loves flowers, especially roses. And one of her favorite candies is cinnamon bears.
Right now she is serving a mission in Michigan. We are very proud of her and love her very much! Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

19 Years Later--You're Still The ONE!!!

I was listening to the radio the other day when "You're Still The One" by Orleans came on. I hadn't heard that in a long time. As I listened to the lyrics (and sang them at the top of my lungs) it reminded me so much of Dale. Next week is our 19th anniversary, and he's STILL THE ONE. Neither of us can believe that we've been together for 20 years.

Here are just some of the lyrics from the song that seem to sum up some of my feelings for "my better half."

"You're Still the One"

We've been together since way back when
Sometimes I never want to see you again
But I want you to know, after all these years
You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear

You're still the one that makes me laugh
Still the one that's my better half
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one that makes me strong
Still the one I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

Changing, our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new

You're still the one that I love to touch
Still the one and I can't get enough
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one who can scratch my itch
Still the one and I wouldn't switch
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one that makes me shout
Still the one that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

Monday, April 13, 2009


Happy Easter 2009

Here's the gang Easter morning. We had a very nice Easter--just our family this time. Both of the boys had new shirts, and Calista had a new dress that she and I made together. It was a lot of fun (except the sewing machine was having issues--grrr!)

Church was wonderful on Sunday. I love being at Church for Easter and having the chance to feel the true meaning of the holiday deep down.

The Easter bunny was very generous with his allotment of candy for everyone. New fun candy item this year: Nerds jelly beans. (jelly beans coated in Nerd candies)

We had a delicious dinner (if I do say so myself) which took two days to prepare and about 20 minutes to eat. Sigh.... We had turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, homemade rolls, brussels sprouts, jello salad and a decadent lemon-coconut dessert with cream cheese frosting. I'll post a link for it below.

One funny thing on I was getting dinner ready, I sat the rolls, which were rising in a Pampered Chef stoneware pan, on the stove. I accidentally set them on a burner which I had left on. They were probably sitting there for about 5 minute when, all of a sudden, it sounded like someone had dropped something. I turned around to see that the stoneware pan had kind of just exploded into four or five pieces. It didn't shatter--it just exploded apart. Weird and a little scary! The funny thing was that the rolls basically stayed in their same location and just dropped right onto the burner. (So a couple of our rolls had burnt bottoms.) I would never have expected the pan to burst like that. I guess that's the lesson for the day!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Best Bread I've Ever Made

For dinner last night, I was making a new pasta dish (yummy) from a recipe our friend Scott gave us. When he gave us the recipe, he said to serve it with a great bread. For a long time, I've been wanting to make the No-Knead Bread that's been so popular on the internet and TV food shows. It's a type of sourdough bread that doesn't require any kneading--just about 24 hours to make it. Yes, I said 24 hours.

You start the bread the day before you want to eat it by simply mixing flour, water, salt, and a little tiny bit of yeast in a bowl and then letting it sit until the next day.

Here's what mine looked like after about 18 hours. It rises and then forms lots of little bubbles on the surface. (And smelled slightly sour.)

For the next step, you just dump the dough/batter on the counter and, using just a little flour, form it into a ball-kind of shape. You sprinkle it with cornmeal or wheat bran, cover it with a towel and let it sit for another 2 hours.

Then you just dump the ball into a preheated dutch oven, cover it, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. This is what it looked like in the dutch oven.

Here's the final results. This picture doesn't do it justice--it was gorgeous and big!!! I was so happy with it.

Here's how the interior looked. The outside was very crusty and crackly and the inside had a great texture. It was just a little sour, not as much as I was expecting. It was delicious!!!

And then because I had so much success with this bread and was so happy about the results, I promptly cut a big gash in my finger when I was slicing the bread for dinner. I ate dinner and decided my finger hurt too much to attempt cleaning the kitchen. That's what Friday mornings are for, right??!?! I'll add a link at the bottom for this recipe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I love St. Patrick's Day! I love the color green. I love leprechauns. I love Ireland and anything Irish. Maybe this is because I consider myself Irish. (OK, maybe this isn't true, but I can pretend, can't I??!?!) Anyone can be Irish on St. Patrick's Day! I also think that part of the reason I love this holiday is because nothing gives you a little hope better in the dead of winter than to celebrate everything green. It's like a little preview of Spring.
And, truly, Ireland was one of the most beautiful countries I've ever visited.
We always like to have a fun dinner on St. Patrick's Day. A couple times we tried having corned beef and cabbage, but it never went over too well. We switched several years ago to having "Pot of Gold" potato soup. Everyone likes that a lot better. We also have Irish soda bread, which I love!! I finally found a great recipe for it, and it's so delicious. (There's a link at the bottom of the page for the recipe.) This year we also had shamrock cookies and green punch. Very fun!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Calista's Cake

At Calista's Activity Day group, they had a woman come and teach the girls about cake decorating. She brought a little cake for each of the girls and they got to experiment with whatever they wanted to do. This is Calista's cake. I thought she did a very good job. She got mad when we decided it was time to eat it--a cake only lasts so long, you know!

Chocolate Fountain

We borrowed my friend Raquel's little chocolate fountain. The kids loved it!!! I loved it too, until I had to clean it up. No, it really wasn't that bad. We enjoyed it enough that we took it to Burley and did it with Dale's mom. She loved it, too.

World's Best Pork Chops--Not so much

OK, so I saw a recipe for pork chops on America's Test Kitchen. They were supposed to be the World's Best Pork Chops--the crunchiest, juiciest, tastiest. The recipe looked like quite a bit of work, but I thought if they were the best, it would be worth it. Well, here's the end product. They were good, but not really worth all the effort. I think the recipe was supposed to be a more "gourmet" way to do the same kind of thing that "Shake 'n Bake" does. One thing the TV show forgot about was that people use "Shake 'n Bake" because it's so easy. If you're going to do their recipe, you'd better have a day to do it. Oh, well

Here's some of the mess I made.....

Looks good, huh??!?!?!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, I didn't have any new real pictures to post, so I thought I'd do a mushy, romantic Valentine's post about me and my sweetie.

We were first formally introduced at a little bar/nightclub/greasy spoon place called Broderick's on Center Street in Provo. We were introduced by a former roomate of mine who was dating Dale. He was trying to get rid of her. (That's his story, at least)

The first time we really did anything together was one night when I ran into him and his friend George at Denny's. I sat down and talked with them only to learn that their priorities in life were, in order: Music, Motorcycles, and Chocolate. When I inquired about girlfriends, they were way, way, way down on the list.

Our first date was to see the movie Pet Sematary. That is why the Ramones' song "Pet Sematary" is "our song." We love it!! Isn't it special?!?!?

We went on our very fun honeymoon in Sun Valley, Idaho. We love it there. Of course, we had to wait for Dale to recover from the food poisoning he got on our wedding night when we romantically returned to Denny's for a midnight snack.

I'm so happy to have been married to Dale for almost 19 years now. I love him to pieces!! One of my favorite things about Dale?

Of course, that he's a ROCKSTAR!!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Some how I've kind of forgotten that this is supposed to be a food blog. So here's a fun recipe for biscotti. I tried it a few years ago, and now we love to make it every once in a while. The fun thing about this recipe is that you can change it to whatever flavors and "add-ins" that you want--dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, orange zest, cinnamon, whatever. We made some a week ago for a party and they were devoured so I had to make some more for us last night. Jesse especially loves biscotti--I think that's because it's almost a combination of his favorite food groups: dessert, bread, crackers. Here's a link for a great recipe:

Christmas Eve Traditions

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Our family did. It was fun this year to just be our family in our house for a change. It was very calm and peaceful. Yay!! We have several family traditions that we love at Christmastime. One of them is our Christmas Eve dinner. When I was growing up, we used to always have Cheese Soup and homemade bagels for Christmas Eve. I loved it, but apparently I was the only one. Dale doesn't really love cheese soup that much and none of the kids did either. So we went through a few years trying to figure out a fun and special meal for Christmas Eve. The year we made our own Tempura was fun and delicious but so much work. By the time we got everything cleaned up, I was exhausted. I decided we needed something simple, but still fun.

About three years ago, we tried something new. We did "make it yourself" sushi. It was fun and special and SO EASY!!!! All I have to do is chop up a few things and then lay everything out. Everybody then makes their own "sushi" however they want it. And the best part is that everyone loves it, including myself since preparation and clean-up are a snap. Now, of course, I wouldn't recommend this to too many people because not everyone loves sushi, but for our family, it's one of our favorite traditions.

That's us ready to eat our sushi. We had crab, shrimp, and a little salmon. Oh, and we also had our favorite new soda pop--7-Up Pomegranate--yummy!!!

After dinner, we had to put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. Then Dale snapped a shot a shot of the kids in front of the tree. Kind of cute, aren't they?!?!?!

Calista and the Tree

Dale and Calista have a tradition each year (for the past four years) of going and finding our Christmas tree and then cutting it down themselves. It's actually quite inexpensive to do it this way (unless you're counting gas) and so much fun for them. They were a little later than they usually are, but they still had lots of fun together and got a beautiful tree.
This is how supermodels pose when cutting down a tree.

This is how supermodels drag a tree out of the forest. Don't mess with her!!!
Thanks, Dale and Calista, for a great tree this year!