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?)