August: Potlucks!

August Theme: Potlucks. What do you take with you?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tortellini Salad

This is a fun summer dish. I combined a few different recipes to make it. With chicken, it is a meal; without it makes a great side.

1 lb. tortellini, cooked
1 can sliced olives
1 can quartered artichokes
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken in bite-size pieces (optional)
8 oz. Italian dressing (or Caesar)

Combine and chill.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Hey ladies! We are new to blogging (late in the game I know!) but I found this blog and Kirsten's and now here I am! I love all these recipes and hearing how everyone is doing. Oh, how I love Moscow.... Okay, just wanted to say hi and can't wait to get the recipes going (and coming!). Talk to you all soon, Stacie Beck

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fuego Spice Mix

Chevy's Fresh Mex Fuego Spice Mix

1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons oregano

Combine ingredients; mix well. Store mixture in an airtight container that has been placed out of direct light for up to 6 months.

Use as a rub on steak, chicken or fish or as a seasoning for vegetables, popcorn or tortilla chips.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

1 c. long-grain white rice
coarse salt
1/2 c. fresh cilantro
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 t. salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16-18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic and 2 T. water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork.

(You can make this with left-over rice easily as well. Just warm up your rice and add in the mix. I just mix it with a whisk and use really finely chopped cilantro and minced garlic. I eat this alone as a side or add it into Mexican salads, quesadillas, or tacos.)

Black Bean, Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

I cannot count how many times I have made this. The ingredients I always "seem" to have on hand and it always sounds good to me. Luckily, Paul likes this too! The proportions can be changed to fit whatever you have at the time, so I'll just post a basic recipe--but remember there is nothing really set in stone.

2 chicken breasts, cooked or grilled, then shredded or diced
1 t. garlic
1 T. cumin(or fuego spice mix)
2 T. olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced well
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 c. salsa
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped chopped chopped!
2 c. shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
larger sized tortillas
sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, ketchup

So here's how it goes. You cook your chicken breasts however you like. I do mine on our George Foreman and then shred them up really well. I sometimes rub mine with the fuego spice mix or toss is salt & pepper, or chili powder. Whatever you are in the mood for. Set chicken aside.

Put oil in saute pan, heat up with garlic, cumin on medium high heat. Add in onions, then black beans after a few minutes. Turn down to medium, if beans are looking dried out then add a little bit more oil. Add in salsa after about 15 minutes, to the consistency you like. Throw in as much cilantro as you like. I throw in a ton, however some people don't care for this as much as I do(my husband). Simmer on low until it is warmed through.

You can add the chicken into the bean mixture now or wait until you assemble it all together.

Now, at this point you can really be creative if you like. Lay out your tortilla, put a scoop of bean mixture on and spread it on half the tortilla. Add chicken and generous amount of cheese. (If you have extra rice in the fridge you can turn it into cilantro-lime rice or just use it plain and throw it in the tortilla too!)

Oil a new pan and cook each side over medium heat for about 4-6 minutes. You can usually fit two halves in the pan at once. Once they are nice and crispy or lightly toasted, again--however you like, remove from pan.

Serve immediately. Top with sour cream, salsa, more cheese if you like You can also chop up lettuce or tomatoes. You can use guacamole or olives. Some people even like this with just ketchup or ranch dressing on.

Enjoy! I hope you like it too!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Monkey Bread

This is a recipe I'm sure you all have made before. I won't eat a cinnamon roll but I will eat this. (yes, I know I'm weird) Steve LOVES Monkey Bread! I first made this for him on his b-day when we were engaged.

4 tubes quick rolls, cut into 1\4 pieces
2\3 c. sugar
1 T. cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar, place in a plastic bag with the cut up rolls and shake. Drop rolls into greased bundt pan.

Boil 1 1\2 cubes margarine, 1 c. brown sugar, and 1 t. cinnamon. I usually boil for 1 min. or less. Pour over rolls in bundt pan. Bake at 350 for about 35 min.

Remove from oven. While still hot, place large plate on top of pan and quickly invert so plate is now on bottom. Monkey bread will slide out of pan easily. Best while it's hot!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Creamy Chicken Bread

This is one of Chris' favorite meals, so I thought that I would share it since I couldn't think of one of my own. I know some of you have it because I shared it once at one of our get togethers when I lived in Moscow.

1 frozen bread loaf, thawed.
2 chicken breasts, cooked
6-8 slices of bacon
6 slices Provolone Cheese
Mozarella Cheese
Ranch dressing
Parmesan Cheese

Boil chicken breasts until done. Cook bacon in pan until done. Cut up chicken and bacon and put into a bowl. Add as much Ranch Dressing as you like. The creamier the better. Roll the bread dough out into a rectangle shape. Cut stips on the side of bread, but do not cut through the center of the dough. Place the provolone cheese in the center of the bread. Put chicken, bacon & ranch mixture on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with mozarella cheese. With the strips you cut on the side of the bread, braid the strips over the mixture. When done braiding sprinkle bread top with parmesan cheese. Cook in over at 350 for 20-25 minutes!


Since it is almost the end of the month, I guess I better get this done. I grew up in North Idaho and went to college at Ricks & BYU and have a bachelors in Marriage, Family, & Human Development. I enjoy reading and scrapbooking and cooking!
I married Chris in 2003 and we moved to Moscow and were there for 4 years while Chris worked on his Bachelor's & Master's in Electrical Engineering. We recently moved to Boise, ID where Chris was offered a job. We also recently bought a house and have been working on it since it is a major remodel job! It has been an interesting experience living in a construction zone and trying to be find easy simple meals to cook and trying to do it without the use of an oven since I haven't bought a new one yet! :)
We have one son, Aaron who is 2 and are expecting another baby in October. We found out the other day that is a girl! It should be really fun to have one of both.
I haven't had a real big cooking disaster. I consider a meal a failure when Chris doesn't like it because he isn't very picky at all about what he eats. We have had plenty of those dinners since we have been married, especially when I try something new because I get tired of cooking all the same old stuff.
I have really enojyed this blog because it has given me lots of great new recipes to try that have been a success!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Carrot-Pineapple Bread

This is one of my staple recipes that I love to make! Yummy, easy to make, and perfect for giving to neighbors and friends as a tasty treat.

Mix until smooth:
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)

Then add:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. soda

Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.


Hi Ladies! It's me, Lisa Carter. This is the only picture "post-pregnancy" that I will allow to be seen publicly. J/K - So, I grew up in Orem, Utah where I met my husband Casey. We've been happily married for 7 years now and have 2 kids. Preston just turned 2, and Kaylee who is 3 months old. I've been a practicing hairstylist for 10 years and since having kids, I work occasionally from my home. I love music and playing sports. I taught guitar lessons for a while and I really miss having time to play.

We moved to Moscow 3 years ago to attend Law School. Now we are graduated and live in Seattle so Casey can do one more (and final!) year of schooling. He's doing and LLM in Law Taxation. We can't wait to finally be settled somewhere!

So, I've always been a very basic cook and if you know my husband (the pickiest eater ever) you'll know why I am still a very basic cook! (He thought trying a Ceasar salad on our cruise was being adventurous). I have loved this recipe group and really miss going to the actual food nights. As far as cooking disasters, the one that comes to mind is the first time I tried to make oatmeal raisin cookies. I was probably 12 years old. When the buzzer rang, I went to pull the cookies out of the oven and touched one to see if they were done. Well, it was still kind of soft so I put them back in for a few more minutes. I did this a couple times until the raisins had turned into full-blown little purple blimps! Little did I know that cookies harden as they cool. Who knew?

Keep the good recipes coming. I can use all I can get! You are all wonderful!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I’m Keri Christensen. Sorry I don’t have any recent pictures of me. My last ones that I have available are from my wedding day. Anyways, here is a little information about my husband and me. I grew up in Twin Falls, ID and Mike grew up in L.A., CA and Mesa, AZ. We both ended up going up to BYU-Idaho in the Fall 2004 and ended up in a dance class together. We had also met through our roommates but having the dance class encouraged us to talk to each other. We were married the in August 2005 in the Bountiful, Utah Temple. We both graduated with our bachelors last July from BYU-Idaho and then moved up here to Moscow. Mike is currently getting his Master’s in History and I work at a learning center teaching toddlers.

I’ve had several cooking disasters in my lifetime so it is hard to come up with just one. Since being an adult my biggest disaster was when I was trying to cook some pinto beans. It was a negative degree day in Rexburg so I decided Chili sounded really good. I started cooking the beans and put the water on high (first mistake). My husband called and said he needed to be picked up from school. I went to go pick him up without turning off the burner (second mistake). I was expecting to come straight home but I forgot and my husband and I went to go get a video (third mistake). By the time we got home our house was completely filled with smoke. I was lucky that it didn’t start a fire. We ended up will all the windows and doors open with the weather being negative degrees. It was a very VERY cold mistake!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Peanut Chicken

I don't have a favorite recipe, but here is one of my favorite dinners to make. I already brought it to our 30 minute meals month, so some of you already have it, but I never posted it here. It is easy, yummy, and pretty healthy. You can vary the amount of peanut butter according to how much you like peanut butter and how fatty you want it. This is really a half recipe but it feeds my little family and there are usually leftovers.

Peanut Chicken
2 chicken breasts, in bite-size pieces
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup rice, cooked
1/2 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables
handful of peanuts (optional)
salt, pepper, garlic, and soy sauce to taste
Cook the chicken in a little oil with some salt and pepper. When it’s done, stir in the vegetables, tomato sauce, and peanut butter. I also add a little garlic and soy sauce. Let it bubble until the vegetables are hot. Serve over rice with some peanuts sprinkled over the top.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Frosted Banana Bars

Hi girls! I tried a new recipe yesterday that turned out great. It says it's a bar recipe, but I think it's more like a really moist cake. And the frosting is to die for. I don't think I'll ever use over-ripe bananas for banana bread again!

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium bananas or 3 small bananas

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. orange extract (optional--I added it to hide the cream cheese flavor from hubby)
2-4 cups powdered sugar (enough to make the desired consistency)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry and add to wet. Stir in mashed bananas. Pour into 15x10 greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. *I think I used the wrong sized pan. It took about twice the baking time and they weren't as thin as the original picture I saw. But they still tasted GREAT.

Cream together the frosting ingredients and spread on cooled bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Brownie Ice-cream Birthday Cake

Okay, so this isn't really a made up recipe, it's just a thrown together medley of existing recipes. It's the only thing I've really invented. It's Mike's favorite thing to have for his birthday, and I always have to use peanut butter cup ice-cream and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
1 family size brownie mix
oil, water, and eggs asked for on the brownie mix box
Your favorite ice-cream
Aerosol whipped cream (optional)
Crumbled candy bars to match ice-cream (optional)
Frosting ingredients:
½ c. butter (and it's so much better with real butter!)
3 Tbsp cocoa
6 Tbsp milk
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven according to brownie directions. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans and line with wax paper. Prepare brownie mix according to directions for cake-like brownies (in most mixes, you just add an extra egg). Split batter between the cake pans and bake until done. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove from pan to finish cooling on a rack.
Soften the ice-cream by leaving it on the counter for 30ish minutes. When brownies are cool, create a layer of ice-cream between the two brownie layers. Then prepare the frosting:
Boil the butter, cocoa and milk and pour over sugar. Add some vanilla and beat well. While still warm, pour over the brownies, letting the frosting run down the sides. At this point you can serve it immediately, you can put the whole thing in the freezer to save for later, or you can garnish with whipped cream and crumbled candy bars and serve it.
I really ought to post a healthy recipe once and a while . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

Okay, here's a recipe I tweaked to make it mine. They go great with Mango salsa.

3 large Chicken Breasts
1 large can mild enchilada sauce
1 can sliced olives
1/2 cup sour cream
1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (optional, but yummy)
4 cups shredded cheese (monterey jack and cheddar blend is my favorite)
soft taco sized flour tortillas

Boil the chicken breasts until done (about 20 minutes) and place them on a cutting board to cool. Shred the chicken when cool. (If you have more time, put your chicken in a crock pot with some cumin, garlic, and 1/2 can of enchilada sauce and cook on low for 6 hours, then shred. This makes it really really really yummy.)

In a large skillet (or the pot you just used to boil your chicken in--let's face it, who really wants to wash another dish?) add in the green onions, cream cheese, and 2 cups shredded cheese. Cook on low until the cream cheese melts. Add the black beans.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and the sour cream. Pour 1 cup in the bottom of a large baking dish and spread all over the bottom. Put a scoop of the chicken mixture on the bottom third of the tortilla and roll up. Place in dish flap-side down. Continue, filling the pan. I like to squish as many in there as I can. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the tortillas, spread around, and add the rest of the shredded cheese on top. My husband likes olives, so this is where I sprinkle them on 1/2 of the pan. You can also sprinkle diced chiles on top, too.

Bake at 350 F until the cheese bubbles, about 20 minutes.

This also freezes really well. I add more chicken and just make an extra pan and stick it in the freezer for those days when cooking isn't going to happen, or if someone else needs an emergency dinner.


I'm Heather. Half of the host of the Porter Party blog. I like this picture because it looks nothing like me. I normally have Medussa-ish curly hair and don't get a chance to get gussied up all the time. This was for family pictures and it happened not to be that humid of a day. Anyhow, my daughter, Ashlyn, is in the picture with me.

Our family lived in Moscow for two years ('04-'06) and ended up really liking it there. We were among the very few who weren't in law school. My husband grew up in Post Falls, Idaho and I grew up all over the place. (No, not a military brat, my dad worked for AT&T). I went to BYU and finished a BS in Health Science and then went to Physical Therapist Assistant school up in North Idaho where I ended up meeting my husband. He's crazy. We are a Singles Branch success story. Pretty sick, if you ask me.

Anyways, I worked as a Physical Therapist Assistant full time up until I had our son, Payson, who just turned 4. I have my license still and have worked either part time or per diem since then. Ashlyn joined us almost 18 months ago. We left Moscow for Illinois to allow my husband to finish a Masters degree which he is currently almost done with (August) and then we won't be students any more!!! YEA!!

I HATED cooking when I was growing up. I was more concerned with playing sports. I loved being around my grandma when she was cooking, but I had no interest in it at all. We had a babysitter once when I was about eight who let me and my younger brother make soup. We got a pot, filled it with water, added a few slices of torn bologna, tore up a few pieces of lettuce, and added a bay leaf-or maybe it was a real leaf from a tree. (Hey, I saw my mom do it in spaghetti sauce all the time). It was disgusting. I still have issues mastering soup recipes. I just told this story to my husband and he said, "What kind of babysitter did you have? Was she even watching you guys? What was she thinking?" As a parent now, I have to agree with him.

I've only created one recipe and posted it already. Mango Salsa. Yum. I'll think of my favorite recipe and post it later. We miss all you Moscow people, but I'm glad we got a blog started! It is fun catching up with everyone and getting to know all you new people who I have heard about from Kathy and Kirsten. I love trying out all your recipes, too.

Strawberry Icebox Dessert

This is one of my summertime favorites. It's pretty rich, and of course not very healthy, but is SO good with fresh strawberries which makes it perfect for summer time. This recipe is a family favorite that came from my great-grandma Nona. (She made it when Vanilla Wafers were 25 cents a box!)

1 box Vanilla Wafers
1/2 cup butter (NOT margarine) softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 cups strawberries (you can use other fruit such as peaches, just maker sure they are drained well)
1-2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup unsweetened whipping cream

1. Clean and cut strawberries in halves. Toss with 1-2 tbsp. sugar, then drain.
2. With a rolling pin, roll wafers in a plastic bag to make crumbs. (you may want to double bag it if the bag you are using is kind of thin)
3. Cream butter, add sugar and mix together. Then beat in eggs.
4. Put 1/2 of wafers in the bottom of 9 X 13 inch dish.
5. Drop butter mixture by tsp. (fairly close together, but cover the entire dish) onto crumbs.
6. Put drained strawberries on top of butter mixture (push the strawberries in to spread out the butter mixture)
7. Whip whipping cream and add on top of strawberries.
8. Top with remaining wafer crumbs.
9. Refridgerate 8 hours or overnight.

***eggs are not cooked, so use from a reliable source***


I grew up in Sandy, Utah. I got my first degree from LDS Business College in Interior Design, then finished my second degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication at the University of Utah in 2006. My husband and I just finished our first year in Moscow. He is in law school and will be doing the JD/MBA program and I am in the Master's of Public Administration program. I will be finished next Spring, given that all goes well with my thesis.

I bounced around a lot in choosing majors and degrees, but found a passion while at the U of U for service-learning. My dream job would be directing a service-learning program at a university. I am doing an internship in the service-learning office at UI in the Fall and get excited just thinking about it...sounds nerdy, I know, but I love it.

My husband and I got married last July, and prior to that I think I was suppressing my domestic tendencies while I was single. Now I have let them loose. I love to cook, but desserts and anything unhealthy are my favorites. On top of that, I'm a picky eater, so I'm always looking for new recipes that are healthy and will me help me branch out. I also like to sew (quilts mostly) and crochet. I love to organize things, but I'm also a bit of a pack-rat. I enjoy music -- playing the piano and singing, and would love to learn to use that guitar I bought years ago. I enjoy watching sports (which works out well for my husband), hiking (but I miss the Utah mountains), and waterskiing. I eat ice cream pretty much everyday and I am addicted to orange juice and grape juice.

My biggest cooking disaster was when I was a nanny. We were making cookies and there was a large tub of what looked like sugar in the cupboard. The thought did cross my mind, "what if this is salt?" but I wondered why there would be so much salt in the cupboard -- it was a large container, and I didn't see any sugar. So, I continued and tasted the dough before I baked them and it was horrible, so we started over, but the kids were pretty impatient by that time. So not too much of a disaster, but a big waste of time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Hi everyone, I'm Leslie. That adorable little baby in the photo is Evie. The pic is old, but I still love it. We've been in Moscow for 2 years and my husband has just 1 more year left of law school! I am not a native Idahoan, I'm from St. Louis. I came out to Idaho with my twin brother to go to BYU-Idaho. I met Paul when we both worked in Athletics. We were best friends for 1 year, dated for 2 weeks, engaged for 4 months and now married for 3 years! I graduated in Dec '05 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, worked for a little while at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Idaho Falls as the Customer Service Manager, until we moved to Moscow. We had Evie last March & she's just the joy of our lives. We can't remember what life was like before her, all we know is we slept a LOT more!! I love being able to stay at home with her, but I do NOT like it when she is teething. :) Oh well, only 20 more months of teething right?
A little bit about just me now, I guess. I am one of those people that loves to be organized, ha... but my laundry never is. I love to plant flowers & garden and can't wait until we have a space of our own. I love babies and if all of my babies were just like Evie, I would have a dozen. I too am a craft addict. I sew & quilt & scrapbook & make cards & decorate... and I love to give gifts. I am always looking at my calendar to see what event is coming up next so I can make something, it's a problem I know. I have a family blog and a craft blog, so if any of you don't already know about them, just ask!
My favorite food magazine is Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. I can look through it everyday. They are such good recipes, quick & easy... not the same old, same old. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. I can't really remember a huge cooking disaster. I think my worst thing that I ALWAYS do is over-salt my food. I grew up around salt-addicts and I can't kick the habit. Popovers never turn out when I make them, I like to kill my steaks before I eat them (burn them to a crisp), and I could eat pistachio nuts all day long. One of the recipes that has turned out the worst recently is that chocolate praline layer cake that I made for our chocolate month. Ugh, sorry guys.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Strawberry Pretzel Jello

This is a new favorite recipe of mine! Deliciously sweet and salty!

(Serves 10-12)

1 bag (9 oz.) pretzels (2 cups)
1 - 8oz. package soft cream cheese
1 - 8oz. tub cool whip
1 large package of strawberry jello
2 - 10oz. frozen strawberries (square boxes w/juice)
(I only found 2 16 oz strawberries in sugar boxes and used the whole thing)
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. sugar

Jello: Dissolve jello w/2 cups boiling water. Add frozen strawberries and juice (break up berries if not defrosted). Leave in bowl in fridge to soft set.

Pretzel crust: Mix 2 cups (maybe a little more) pretzels coarsely crushed with 3/4 cup melted butter and 3 Tbsp. sugar. Spread on 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Let crust cool.

Cream cheese filling: Beat 1 cup sugar into cream cheese. When softened, stir in cool whip and spread on cooled crust.

Pour soft set jello over mixture. Refrigerate until set. Slice into squares with knife and serve.


Well, I'm Kalia and I've wanted to be a mom my whole life. I had a few ideas of what else I might want to be from schools asking growing up, like a teacher, or apparently a nurse, or my senior year I thought maybe an accountant, and my second year of college an interior designer. But, I was never really passionate about anything besides being a mom. So, now I am a mom and I love it. I am not great at it, but I want to get better and am glad that I can stay home with my kids to be their mom and keep improving. I got married in February of 2003, and gained a bunch of weight and have now been big for about 5 years. I hope to get fit someday and be normal sized again and feel good again (I just need some self control :-) which I've found harder to come by than I'd like it to be). I graduated with a Bachelor of University Studies with a focus on Interior Design from ISU in May of 2005 six months pregnant with my first son Atley. Now I am a mom of 2 beautiful boys, as Silas joined our family in February. I had a C-section with Atley and was glad to have a successful V-BAC with Silas (with a 3rd degree tear that still beat the pants of my C-section!). I like to weave tapestries, scarves, blankets, curtains, etc. I took weaving for 3 semesters in college and also bought a loom that I've been storing for a while since we have been short on space for such things. I hope to find a place to use it in my next apartment. I also like to sew, scrapbook, and be crafty, and I make lists for everything. My husband graduated this year and we will now start real life with a real income in Arizona. I hope to be good at budgeting real month to month money so we can live happily and pay off our student debt as fast as possible.

I am not a great cook, but I pulled off a great meal for graduation. We had Strawberry Pretzel Jello, Tortilla Snack Stacks, 8-layer dip, Homemade potato salad, and burgers, and besides the grilling, I did it all by myself. I was pretty amazed and proud of myself. Everything was delicious! I guess I can't think of a worst cooking disaster right now. I've had some issues, and I'm sure I would have had a huge disaster if I ever tried anything difficult especially with meat, but I haven't been very diligent in cooking my husband wonderful things. (I hope I haven't ranted too long, if I have, sorry!)

Rich's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Asking me to choose my favorite recipe is way too hard, so I chose one of my favorites. This is THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER. And I especially enjoy it because Rich makes them for me. He has them down to a science. They meet every qualification: soft, chewy, chocolatey. Ahh. They are so good. But here's the MUST follow the directions precisely or they will not be extraordinary.

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

ALL IMPORTANT RULE: Use a wooden spoon and stir everything by hand. Absolutely no hand mixer or Kitchen Aids allowed!!!

Mix all wet ingredients together; add dry and stir until just moistened. Add chocolate chips very last. Drop by the tablespoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for around 11 minutes. Watch the cookies---when they start getting browned on top and are no longer shiny, take them out but WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT OVERBAKE!

It may take some experimenting to get them just right. And maybe if you're lucky you can get YOUR husband to make them for you! :)


Okay, so a little about me. I have been living in Moscow for two years. My husband, Rich, just finished his second year of law school. Hurray! We have one daughter, Sadie, who will turn three in August and we are expecting a little baby BOY due in September. I think any of my friends who knew me in high school would be surprised to find out that I have become domesticated. I had only cooked one meal before Rich and I got married. And I only made that because one year I took turns with my roommates making Sunday dinner. So every time it was my turn I made Shepherds Pie. Then I married a man who loathes Shepherds Pie. I've quickly learned to cook. And now I LOVE it. I am also a crafting addict...scrapbooking, sewing, quilting---anything you would need to go to Michael's to buy supplies for. I decided to start a blog to post pictures of my latest crafting adventures. I've had the blog for a while and will start posting soon, I promise! So check it out some time.

I've had many cooking disasters, one of which I have already posted about (remember the whole chicken?). I have also managed to mess up boxed mac and cheese and even a microwaved baked potato. I'll spare you the details. Let's just say Rich lost ten pounds when we first got married. But I have made up for that now and I'm always on the look out for new recipes to try. So keep them coming!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Alita Is a Nut, I Mean in a Nutshell

I feel like I am writing a personal ad. I like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Haha. I guess since this is a recipe blog I should share a bit about me as a non-professional cook.

1. I love recipes that are quick and easy. My most used cookbook is called 5-Ingredient 15-Minute Cookbook put out by Cooking Light.

2. My favorite foods are generally either Mexican or Italian.

3. I love using fresh herbs in my cooking and maintain my own herb garden so that I always have a supply of fresh herbs.

4. My husband married me because of my ability to make a good sandwich.

5. I have been trying to eat more healthily (is that a word?) recently so I have been on the lookout for healthy and low calorie meal options. Any suggestions?

Hmmm.... what else. ;) I can't think of any cooking disasters. Sorry. I guess I am not adventurous enough to have disasters. I have a personal blog that you are welcome to check out. Just leave a comment and I will shoot you an email with the address on it. (Again, why do I feel like this is a personal ad, should I give my personal stats here?)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Exotic Chicken Salad

No, this isn't my favorite thing to make, but it is a brand new recipe I found that I wanted to share anyways. It is a remake almost of Mt. Fugiyama or Hawaiian Haystacks. You know that Mormon dinner that can feed a crowd for $5! Well, it has a lot of the same ingredients, but I LOVE this. You can heat it up or serve it cold. It tastes great over rice or in a roll for sandwich, or put it over lettuce for a salad. Try it if you like.

4 c. cooked (I grilled) chicken, cut-up or shredded
1 c. diced celery
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained VERY well
1 c. slivered almonds
1 16 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 c. shredded coconut

1 1/2 c. mayonnaise (I use the new olive oil mayo)
1-2 T. curry powder
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. minced onion, dried or fresh

Mix & combine with the chicken mixture. Serve however you like. My husband loved this.

Monday, May 5, 2008


I liked Kirsten's post so I'm going to copy her idea of listing things you love. I love ice cream, reading, the smell of babies, cooking, writing goofy poems, blowing bubbles, summer, dancing, taking classes, going for walks, dressing up my baby girl and taking pictures of her. I have to admit that I cook for purely selfish reasons, because I love to eat good food, and not out of kindness to my husband (who I love dearly :).

My husband and I have been married for 2 1/2 years. We have one baby girl, Jeanette, who is almost eleven months old and extremely active and curious. She keeps me busy chasing after her, especially now that she is walking really well. My husband is in law school and I am working on a Masters in Literature. Just to give you an idea of some of what I do, I am currently finishing up a paper about the theme of sacrifice and death in Harry Potter. I grew up in Seattle, Collin in Salt Lake City; we don't know where we'll settle down after graduating next year.

My worst cooking disaster occurred when I was about 11. My mom asked me to make dinner since she had to go somewhere. She had planned for lasagna and explained to me how to make it. I thought that I could do it since I often helped her with meals. Then she left. It would have been fine, except that I couldn't find the tomato sauce. I looked everywhere. Finally, rummaging through the fridge, I saw my dad's bottle of hot sauce. My dad loves hot sauce and dumps it like ketchup all over everything. I had never eaten it. It looked like it was mostly tomatoes, so I figured it was close enough. When the "lasagna" came out of the oven and we sat down to eat it, I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't close enough. Only my dad ate it.


So a little about me: I love springtime, Halloween, getting emails, scrapbooking, playing the piano, singing in the car, reading blogs, coloring, walking down the street for ice-cream, traveling, camping, discovering fun books, the rain, Chinese food, getting my hair cut, sewing, playing with my boys, having people over, making desserts, vacuuming (it's just so rewarding when you have light carpet!), the beach, making lists, playing games and cooking for my family.

I hate seafood, raw onions, snow on my roads (why doesn't it stay in the mountains where it belongs), moving, drying my hair (it's a waste of time), buying gas, unpacking from vacations, and Baby Einsteins Language Nursery. I like Baby Einstein in general, but Language Nursery is horribly dull and Charlie LOVES it and wants to watch it all the time.

I will have been married to Mike for 5 years this July and we have two wonderfully mischievous little boys, Charlie (2) and Peter (7 weeks). I graduated from Idaho State in 2002 with a degree in Elementary Education and although I haven't used the degree since Charlie was born, I still keep my teaching certificate up to date just in case. I grew up in Utah, California, Alaska, and Idaho and I am completely surprised that Idaho is where I ended up staying. We'll probably stick close by here for a while, although Mike and I both have a secret ambition to move to the Northeast (like Maine or Vermont) for just a couple of years. I also have a secret dream to one day play Cruella de Ville at Disneyland, but I don't think I'll ever be skinny enough to do it . . . maybe I could pull off Ursula . . . ;-)

My worst cooking disaster was in 2000 and it involved a slow cooker recipe for teriyaki chicken. I have no idea what went wrong but is was absolutely disgusting. It didn't look good, it didn't smell good and it definitely didn't taste good. My roommate Mindy will attest to that. Oh and there was also the time I burnt the Jello . . . don't ask.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


100th post! Cool! So I figure I will go first since I am the slacker that hasn't posted any recipes yet! But I will, don't worry. ! We live in AZ now and LOVE it. I am excited that Justin, Kalia, and the little nippers are moving down here to be by us! I like to cook but am not very good at it. My significant other is much better than I am, but he HATES following recipes. He is "the grill master". I am SO glad to have this blog as a reference because heaven knows, I need it BAD!

My biggest cooking disaster of all time: Cooking my mom's yummy homemade mac and chz and forgetting to cook the noodles first before I baked it, then not being able to figure out why it tasted so nasty and didn't taste just like hers! (yeah yeah, don't laugh)

Happy Cooking Everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Topic

For the month of May, we are asking everyone to do a little intro about themselves. I think I know everyone on the blog, but some of you have been gone from Moscow for a couple of years, and some of you are just finishing up your first year there. So we are thinking that everyone should do a post about themselves. Use your first name as a title, and write a little about yourself, your family, whatever you want. Also tell us the story of your worst cooking disaster. Don't put too much information because this is a public blog.

As far as a recipe topic . . . did we make a decision about that? Are we doing our own favorite recipe? Or something summer related? I liked the salsa idea, but my only salsa recipes I got from people on this blog: Leslie & Heather. (Both are heavenly recipes if anyone else needs a good one.)