Thursday, December 29, 2011

Food Adventure: Illinois

Because we are traveling via i-70 and Chicago is several hours off of our interstate of choice we were not able to go to Chicago to taste Chicago-style pizza. However, just off of i-70 is a little town called Champaign, home of the University of Illinois. And lucky for us those students love them some Chicago-style pizza. Papa Del's reminds me a lot of a university pizza place that I frequent often in Salt Lake City. It's called The Pie and it's great. But, (I have some friends who might kill me when they read this) Papa Del's pizza sorta blew the pies out of the water. There I said it. This pizza was hands down the most delicious concoction of pizza ingredients I have ever encountered in my life. The crust was 2 inches thick and so soft warm and doughy on the inside. There were layers of melted mozzarella cheese topped with an insane pizza sauce. We chose sausage, green peppers and mushrooms as toppings, but honestly they could have put dirty socks on top and I still would have loved it. That pizza was NUTS. I am salivating as I type and am kicking myself for not ordering a pizza to go. Thank you for the nearly religious pizza experience Papa Dels!

On our "yumm scale" we rated Papa Del's Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza as a Holymolycanoliyumm!
For your reference the "Yumm Scale" :
1. Yuck
2. Yu...
3. Yumm
4. Super Yumm
5. Holymolycanoliyumm!

Food Adventure: Missouri

Our state food stop in Missouri took place in the city of St. Louis. We stopped in at a "local chain" restaurant called IMO's Pizza. You know it's good when this is the place where the locals are yuckin it up on their lunch breaks. We placed our order for a ten piece toasted ravioli basket for two and waited anxiously as the IMO's staff prepared our food. Finally an aluminum foil lined basked was placed in front of us and we dug in. The ravioli were slightly larger than typical ravioli (Adam let me know that they are smaller than the ravioli of his choice, the American favorite Chef Boyardee. Awesome). The ravioli is filled with a standard meat filling and breaded (think mozzarella sticks) and then deep fried, served with a large helping of fantastic marinara sauce. We both agreed that they were not what we were expecting but still realllly good. It's meat, enclosed in dough, breaded and deep fried.
Come on now, you cant go wrong.

On our "yumm scale" we rated IMO's toasted ravioli as a Super Yumm.

For your reference the "Yumm Scale" :
1. Yuck
2. Yu...
3. Yumm
4. Super Yumm
5. Holymolycanoliyumm!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Food Adventures

As we have been preparing to travel across the country, we decided we want to experience the states we pass through and get a taste of what they are really like. We didn't want our only stops to be at gas stations, Subways and the occasional giant rubber band ball. We wanted this trip to be meaningful and unique for us. In my opinion, the culture of an area, can be defined through the food its natives eat.

If it's not already apparent on my blog (and if you know me personally it's obvious) I really, really love food. Good food, unique food, pretty food etc. This is nothing new for my husband either; he also loves food. He hasn't always enjoyed "good" food . . .to him it's more about the quantity rather than the quality but that is slowly changing. He's developing a palate of his own. And I couldn't be more proud. Anyway back to our plan:

I have researched each of the 50 United States and have found that each has its own "State Food." Combining my want to make our road trip special and unique with my love for food, Adam and I have decided to create a challenge for ourselves.

The challenge: Taste our way across the country

We will have an opportunity to taste the foods each state claims to be "famous" for. We will experience a state's culture and people through the foods natives love and eat themselves. We will keep you updated here on our blog about the state foods we have tried and what we thought of them.

This map was created by the folks over at My Food Looks Funny and follows along most closely with the research I've done myself:

The states we will pass through on this leg of our race are:

Kansas: Wet Bar B Que
Missouri: Toasted Ravioli
Illinois: Chicago Style Pizza
Indianapolis: Popcorn
Columbus: Cincinnati Chili
Pennsylvania: Philly Cheese steaks
New York: New York Style Pizza

Obviously we won't hit every state but we're looking at this as a "long term goal". This will be a great start. We'll check in tomorrow after we fill our belly's full of toasted ravioli, pizza and popcorn!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 in a Glimpse

2011 was a great year. Milestones were passed, and we had lots of opportunities to learn and grow. We made it through one year of marriage with out many bumps, and even took up a few new hobbies. 2011 meant the last year at BYU for Adam and the last year being a supportive wife in Provo for me (hello, whole new world!). This year was a year of preparation and saving, and the ever continuing process of discovering what it means to be an adult.

In January Adam learned to ski

In February we went snowmobiling in a blizzard

In March I learned to sew

In April we celebrated 1 year of marriage

In May best friend Tess got a new last name

In June best friends vacationed in Las Vegas

In July we tried out our camping gear

In August Adam experienced his last first day of school

In September pumpkin bread became its own food group

In October we hosted a Halloween dinner party

In November we got goofy with family in Kansas

In December we celebrated Christmas at home with my favorite people

Now as we say goodbye to 2011, we also say goodbye to our family, our jobs, and our home
and say hello to an exciting new adventure staring us in the face.
2012 we are ready for you, let's make it a good one!

Off to the races

4:00 am never looked so pretty.
The journey begins.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to you

Christmas is...

Glittery bows and candy striped paper
Sparkling lights
And bright bulbs
Perfected family recipes
And baking with mom
Familiar smells coming from the kitchen
And Grandmas crunchy peanut brittle
My favorite advent calendar
And the Carpenters Christmas cd playing in the background

Its the most wonderful time of the year

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I could probably eat these chicken pot pies daily. But I won't because they are sort of a lot of work and because after a month of eating nothing but pot pies I would probably not be able to walk out my front door. That being said this is a once and a while meal at our house, but I really look forward to when that once and a while finally rolls around again. It was mom's birthday this weekend and she asked for these as her birthday meal. Anything for momma. Here's the recipe, and directions.

Step 1: Crust

Make your favorite pie crust. The filling makes enough for one 9'' pie or four 4'' pies so you'll need enough dough for the bottom and top crust of the size or sizes you choose. Once your pie dough has come together press it into the pans (or pan) you choose. Prick the sides and bottom of the crust with a fork, so that when it is baking it doesn’t bubble up. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until it's semi done. It may still look glossy in some places. It's important to bake the crust, even for just a little bit so that when the filling goes in the crust will be cooked through. Roll top crust in to 4 small balls (or one big ball ) and cover with a damp kitchen rag so that it doesn’t dry out, and set aside until the bottom crusts are filled.

Step 2: Filling


1 lb chicken, cubed and cooked
6 red potatoes, cubed and cooked
1 c. carrots, cubed 1/2 c. celery, cubed
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. celery seed
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1/4 t. basil
2 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk

In a pot of boiling water cook carrots and celery for 5-7 minutes until tender crisp. Remove from heat and drain, set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot sauté onions in butter until translucent, about 4 minutes. Mix flour and spices in bowl and add to butter and onions. Stir and allow flour to absorb all butter, the mixture will be crumbly. While continuously stirring (or whisking) add chicken broth to flour mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken, 3 - 5 minutes. Add milk, chopped veggies, frozen peas, chicken and potatoes, stir to fully incorporate. Allow mixture to warm through and continue to thicken over medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring.

Once mixture is thick, remove the pot from stove and fill each pre-cooked pie crust till heaping. add top crust and seal edge. Using a fork prick top creating a vent hole for steam to escape. Prick edges of top crust finishing the seal.

If desired make and egg wash by mixing one egg with a tablespoon of water and brush on top crust before baking. This will make the pies golden brown and really pretty :)!

Bake pies (or pie) on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes for the 4'' pies or 30-35 minutes for 9'' pie. Bake until the crust is golden.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thoughts on moving

The end has finally come. I'm still not sure that it has really sunk in yet. We're moving out of our apartment. Our first home together. Finally moving out of Provo. In the fall of 2009 when I first moved to Provo my original plan was to stay one, MAYBE two semesters. Thanks to the BYU student I married I have now been here for two and a half years. Although I never thought I would say this (Provo is not my most favorite place in the world) I will miss our sweet little apartment on University and University. I will miss driving to the Y on the motorcycle on warm nights. I will miss Rice King on center street. I will miss our first home.

This change is a really good thing and don't get me wrong I am so super excited for all of the new exciting things that are coming our way, but I think it's safe to say that this move will be bittersweet. I almost feel like I am deserting a good friend and that in some way my empty apartment will miss me too. I look forward to the day when I will be able to drive around Provo with my kids pointing out important landmarks in Adam's and my relationship, specifically "Mommy and Daddy's first home".

Mostly I'm just so grateful for how everything worked out with our first apartment and getting the job as resident managers. We have been so very blessed thus far in our marriage and I am thankful for my Heavenly Father's support. He really does know and care for us on an individual basis, that becomes more and more apparent to me every day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Evidence Part II

I can't even cook anymore.
I blame it ALL on finals.


That is what the following photos are.
Evidence that I live with a serious, studious, student.

With the semester coming to an end my husband (bless him) is getting into serious student mode. I see him maybe 4 hours a week, we communicate mostly through text and he seems to permanently be stuck in this sort of daze/twilight zone thing. It blows.
Oh and no your eyes are not fooling you there are two, count them two 5 hour energy drinks and one monster on my darling's lap desk.

It wasn't until 7:30 am (AM!!!) when he finally joined me in bed that I realized why two energy shots were necessary.

This is happening in my apartment right now. It's real.
And it's been there since Tuesday.
Somehow even though my one meesly final has come and gone I feel effected by Adam's crazyness. Somehow I can't find time to do the dishes either. Somehow those dishes have to be be done tonight or I might have to invest in a hazmat suit.

He's a trooper and He only has to hold on for a little bit longer and it will all be over.

Just a little bit longer and I'll have my dirty dish boy back.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas is here, sparkly bulbs and all!
(PS have I mentioned how much I love my new camera?)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food Adventure: Kansas

 When I met Adam he told me that his favorite type of food was BBQ. At the time I found that strange. Probably because the only experience I had ever had with "Bar-B-Que" was Famous Dave's. After getting engaged Adam introduced me to a little place called Oklahoma Joe's, in Kansas. There, I found the light. I was shown the way, and I was converted.

Oklahoma Joe's Bar-B-Que is the best Bar-B-Que I have ever tasted in my life.

The owners could run a thriving business based on their french fries alone.
They are that good.We went on "burnt end" night which, by the look of the line is favorite among locals. In case you were wondering burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from smoked brisket. According to Wikipedia they are a traditional part of Kansas City Bar B Que. Burnt ends are considered a delicacy in Bar B Que cooking. Kansas state food is wet bar b que. Basically the difference between wet bar b que and the dry bar b que of North Carolina is how it's served. Kansas style bar b que is all about the sauce, it's messy and saucey and is served with many napkins. North Carolina bar b que is much more about the meat, little to no sauce is used. 
We got the burnt ends and the bar b que chicken sandwich. Thanks for the always amazing bar b que Oklahoma Joes!

On our "yumm scale" we rated Oklahoma Joe's Wet BBQ as a Holymolycanoliyumm!

For your reference the "Yumm Scale" :
1. Yuck
2. Yu...
3. Yumm
4. Super Yumm
5. Holymolycanoliyumm!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Kansas Style

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, I think it has something to do with the pie. Anyway this year we were able to spend our third thanksgiving together in Kansas, Adam's home state, with his family. I was able to participate in some of his family traditions, and had my eyes opened to what my saint of a mother-in-law must have put up with on a regular basis with all 6 of her kids running around the house.

Growing up with all girls in my family guns and football were never a part of our Thanksgiving day traditions. Instead of shooting or playing pig skin after we were done eating we typically had a photo shoot or put on a puppet show for the family. Let's just say it was a new experience; I shot an AK-47 for crying out loud.

We started the morning off by heading out to the woods to go shooting. There was a wide variety of guns, and the only difference I could tell between them was how scared I got when handling them. The bigger the scarier. I think I scared everyone when after I shot my first shot I jumped up and down squealing. I was nervous but no one was injured so I figure it was a success even little Joshua got in a few shots on the 22 (that's what its called, right Adam?). Then we had a fantastic dinner filled with turkey, stuffing and all the regular trimmings. Yummmmm. After dinner we all gathered in the front yard for some football. I lasted about 15 minutes and decided my time would be better spent taking pictures or cooking something. I've never been the best at hand eye coordination and I knew I was only bringing the team down. Also that squeal from earlier (remember shooting practice) may or may not have made a second appearance when I was hit (didn't catch) the football. I was an embarrassment. After our football game we headed inside to finish off the day with some delicious pies made by me and my sister-in-law Christie.

We had a fantastic day filled with lots of laughing and even more food. I am thankful for Thanksgiving and for the amazing family that I had to spend it with.
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us I thought it would be appropriate to write down a few things that I am most thankful for.

Family - Particularly my husband, he is "pretty cool" and I am so proud of him, especially right now, for going after the the things that he wants out of life. He is so driven, and determined.
But mostly I am just thankful I get to call him "mine".

Music - I am thankful for the albums you get obsessed with and play over and over and every time you turn it on it makes you want to dance. Right now for me that album would be "It's not me, It's you" by Lilly Allen.

Ugg Boots - As ugly as they are and as much as my husband would like to burn mine, I love them. I love them with jeans and as slippers, I love them in the morning and at night. I love them on my eastern flight. I love them Sam I Am. I love green eggs and ham.
(Dr. Seuss...Where did that come from?)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - I am thankful for the gospel, for the answers and the truth and peace it brings to my life. More specifically I am thankful for the temple and for the eternal perspective that I get when I go inside.

Cooking - I am thankful for my ability to create delicious goodies. I am thankful for butter, and sugar, and molasses, and chocolate chips, and bacon, and Italian flat leaf parsley, and for yeast and cream, and peanut butter, and strawberries...

Indoor Plumbing - I am thankful for Hot show
ers, need I say more?

Free shipping - I am thankful for all of the free shipping this time of year. Can take 5 minutes of your time to convert you to doing all of your Christmas shopping online?

Cookies - I am thankful for warm just out of the oven freshly baked cookies, any flavor, just as long as they are soft and gooey and perfectly cooked.

Plum Nail Polish - Thanks urban.

Best friends - You know the group you email back and for with, quoting movies and inside jokes. The same ones you call begging for an intervention when you realize you just ate your 8th cookie. I am thankful for my bfs.

Sweats - Or the inverse: I am thankful for not having to wear jeans/dresses/skirts all the time.

Pictures - I am thankful for memories that I can record with a device I can hold in my hands. Love pictures, love that my new canon takes reallllly good ones.

Moms: I am thankful for moms everywhere, and how awesome they are. Naturally I think my mom is the best but so do you so it's ok. I love my mom and I am so glad she belongs to me.

Little Kids: Why are they so awesome? I am thankful for every hilarious thing I have ever heard a little kid say.

That's enough right? Probably, but here's one last one: I am thankful that Thanksgiving is here, and that I get to eat pumpkin, apple, banana cream and chocolate cream pie tomorrow. Yay!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Week

The moment in time when I realized I really am an adult happened to be when I had to buy new tires this week. Why did nobody tell me that rubber is so expensive? Was this a fact of life that I missed out on? Was I absent that day in school?

I got crafty this week and spent 16 hours of my life modge podging. Just remembering those dark, sad, gluey, messy hours depresses me. I'd rather not talk about it.

This week this little number entered my life. Adam and I finally exited the world of relying solely on our phones to take pictures. Hallelujah. We will be enrolling in a photography workshop asap.

This week I experienced the joys and pains of being an adult.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chicken Pesto Calzones

I am all about meals that I can make a bunch of and then freeze half for later, you know like a busy week night or anytime that I may want to make that"chicken-bean-salsa-easiest meal ever" thing.
This recipe completely fit the bill for something easy that freezes well, and of course is really yummy. Don't be afraid to try something other than the pesto chicken filling, it would be great with red sauce, pepperoni and sausage. Or even spinach, mozzarella and ricotta. It's a calzone folks the options are endless.

Chicken Pesto Calzones
*Makes 4 BIG calzones or 8 small to medium sized calzones

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups of flour
1 cup pesto
3 cups cooked shredded chicken
4 ounces mozzarella cheese
2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle on top)
Italian seasoning

For dough, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl allow to foam, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the remaining flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to pull from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead in the rest of the flour until the dough is smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. (You could also do all of the mixing in an electric mixer.)
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 475°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside. Divide the dough into four portions (or 8 depending on how many you want to make.) and spread each portion of the dough into a rectangle/oval on a lightly floured surface. In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken and the pesto. Spoon 1/4 (or 1/8 depending on how many you’re making) of the chicken pesto mixture onto half of each piece of dough. Top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal the calzone.
At this point, you can wrap with plastic wrap and place in a ziplock freezer bag and pop the calzones in the freezer. Or you can transfer each calzone to the baking sheet, brush the top with some olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt. Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes until golden on top and cooked through.
For frozen calzones: When you’re ready to serve them, just unwrap and let them thaw on a baking sheet before baking according to the recipe directions (you can also unwrap them and let them thaw gradually in the fridge).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Life Update!

Ok so now I can give you all some details about our Washington DC escapade. Adam is graduating from BYU next April with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. It was recommended to him that he find an internship opportunity to cap his education with, this is where the Washington idea came from. BYU has an amazing program called the BYU seminar, where students are able to live in DC for a semester in BYU housing and work for what ever congressional, political, or senatorial organization they choose, and are accepted to. Luckily Adam was accepted to the program and was offered a very competitive position in Utah Senator Mike Lee's office. Obviously this is a fantastic opportunity for Adam, and I am so very proud of him. He is one of those people who makes things happen for himself and I couldn't be more excited.

For Adam this means possible job opportunities, contacts for future projects and so much more.

For me this means that I need to start doing my research for must try DC and surrounding area restaurants, Adam says I am predictable. I say I am passionate.

Ooh hey Mike Lee, new BFF!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy it is...

Peanut Butter M&Ms and Tropical Starbursts

Can we talk about self control? Can someone explain to me how that works?


Friday, October 28, 2011


Don't you love making a "to do" list and after several weeks/days you've crossed off the entire list? Ahh...such a great feeling. I love it. Love it.

We have almost completed our Fall Bucket List, are you impressed?

I sure am.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see. "- Linus (It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Behold: The Caramel Apple

Stick em,

Dip em,

Dry em,

Eat em.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And so we had a picnic...

To keep up with the bucket list Adam and I took a little motorcycle ride up to the Y for a picnic dinner of turkey sandwiches and Arizona’s. It was so nice to get outside and enjoy this beautiful place that we so often take for granted.

I realized I spend too much time indoors and Adam realized that he likes the watermelon flavor of Arizona better than the lemonade.
Win-win if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who Done It?

We hosed a Murder Mystery dinner party recently and everyone had a blast!
Each guest came dressed in character and were given a script upon arrival.
We had a night of accusations, mysteries and fun.

If you are interested in doing a MM party email me and I'll send you the details of how we did, and the website we used!