Monday, November 30, 2009


I have had some madeleine adventures this week. I volunteered to make these French cookies for my Relief Society Christmas party, which has a "Christmas Around the World" theme. They passed around a clipboard of cookie recipes from all different countries, taken from, and asked that people volunteer to choose a country and make the corresponding cookies. I figured I may be the only person with access to madeleine pans, so that's how I got stuck with them.

Here is the recipe I was given:

Cinnamon Madeleines

2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 t ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray madeleine molds with non-stick spray. In a double boiler, heat eggs and sugar stirring constantly; whipping in as much air as possible. Remove from heat, let cool. Stir in flour, then add remaining ingredients. Fill madeleine molds with a generous amount of batter, but don't spread it out. bake until lightly browned, approximately 15 minutes. Cool one minute, then remove to racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or dip in chocolate.

I followed these vague directions as best I could, since it didn't say how long to heat the egg and sugar, and "fill generously" isn't exactly a helpful description. Here's what the final product looked like:

Terrible! Cooling one minute, yeah right. Even though they were the greasiest buggars ever, they would not come out of the pans! They tasted like butter and snickerdoodles, not like they should have. After cursing and thanking my lucky stars that I tested the recipe before the event (this was Saturday, the party is Tuesday) I looked for another option. I went with America's Test Kitchen, and made their madeleines today. Here's the recipe:

1 c cake flour
1/4 t salt
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1 T vanilla extract
10 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Adjust oven rack to middle and heat to 375. Grease madeleine mold. Whisk flour and salt together.

2. In large bowl, beat egg and egg yolk with electric mixer on high until frothy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in sugar and vanilla until very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. with rubber spatula, gently fold in flour mixture, followed by melted butter.

3. Spoon half of batter into prepared mold, filling to the rims. Bake until golden and spring back when pressed lightly, about 10 minutes, rotating mold halfway through baking.

4. Let cookies cool in mold for 10 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, about 1 hour. Cool and re-grease mold and repeat with the remaining batter.

Here's what this recipe yielded:

They actually look like the real thing! The ingredient list is almost the same, but the drastic difference in preparation can made a huge difference in the end result. And don't worry, I tasted one and they are delicious!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009


I like to improvise in the kitchen. A compliments me on being able to make something out of nothing occasionally.

Tonight I realllly wanted something carbolicious, like pasta. Spaghetti is one of my most favorite foods. Since we're pretty well off red meat, I had to improvise.

I started with a veggie burger (classic variety) in a frying pan with some olive oil spray. Meanwhile, I started to boil some water.

Once the burger thawed a bit, I chopped it up into bits with my spatula, a la ground beef, and added a small can of tomato sauce. (At this point I started my whole wheat angel hair, which cooks for 7 minutes.) Then I spiced it up with my usual Italian herbs, oregano and basil, and added some garlic powder and fresh black pepper.

Once the noodles finished up, I dumped the sauce on, gave it a stir, and topped it with some parmesan. It was super fast, super easy, super vegetarian, and super delicious. So YES! Veggie burgers can be used as a substitute for ground beef, just so you know.

for Amanda.

You requested the recipe for Tuscan Soup, so I say, in my most Wesley-like typing voice, as you wish.

I used a recipe from All Recipes, found here.

I believe I used some chicken bullion as a substitute, only one Italian sausage that was lonely in the freezer, a lot (I mean a lot) of spinach, white pepper, garlic powder (I wish I had done fresh in with the onion) and chili flakes for a kick. If your sausage is super spicy, you could omit the chili flakes. gnocchi would also be a delicious addition.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

new friends

We met some new people today, they are young (very young) newlyweds and live two doors down across the street. This is good, because EVERYONE I KNOW IS PREGNANT. Okay, not everyone. I've just heard news recently of 7+ people I know being knocked up, and at least one trying. That is a lot! Don't worry, if you are part of that group, I'll only dislike you for 10-20 seconds.

I feel very lucky that no one gives us a hard time about not starting a family yet. Mostly when people find out how young I am, I hear more good-for-you's than nagging questions of why not. Reality is, I still have 1.5 years left of school, and A is about to go back and will be another 3-4 years. And I'm still just 2 years into adulthood anyway, not in any hurry.

It is hard though. I know kids are hard. I know your life changes forever when you have them. I know that they cost a lot of money. I know they are non-returnable. I still looooove babies. And kids. I think being the youngest and not having any younger siblings has magnified this. I'm excited for when I'm at that point in my life. I'm excited to see A as a daddy, and excited for the whole experience. This is why it is hard to hear that exciting news from friends, because it is (sometimes a little) hard that we're not quite there yet.

That being said, I love where we are at right now. I love going to Disneyland on a whim, I love being able to go out without having to pay someone to stay at home with kids, I love not having clean up poop/drool/throw-up/toys/other messes, I love going to school and working, I love having A all to myself. I just have to remind myself of all of these things regularly. I also have to persuade A to get me a puppy despite my allergies, and make some new friends who are not married yet/just newleyweds/anyone without kids. Any volunteers?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

tuscan soup

I made this soup a week or so ago. It was pretty good! Basically, it involved onion, potato, chicken broth, spicy Italian sausage, Spinach, s&p, chili flakes, and garlic. I think Olive Garden has a similar soup.

Banana Bluberry Muffins for a Doofus.

I made some muffins today. They were supposed to be based on this recipe. See if you can guess what I left out!


1 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 milled flax
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup milk
1 mashed bananas (use very ripe fruit)
1 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup blueberries (frozen)
streusel topping, I used leftover from this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the oats and milk in a small bowl; let these sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix the dry ingredients (including the cinnamon and nutmeg) together in a medium mixing bowl.

Mash the banana until it's nearly smooth.

Add the applesauce and vanilla.

After stirring those together, add in the oat-milk mixture.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry, along with the blueberries, stirring just until the dry ingredients are absorbed and no large lumps remain.

Refrain from over-mixing.
Grease a mini-muffin pan with melted coconut oil, my pan makes 24.

Spoon the batter in, filling the cups evenly to about 2/3 or 3/4 full. Sprinkle generously with streusel.

Bake about 12 minutes, until the top is slightly springy when gently pushed with a finger.

Did you guess what I left out? I realized when my first batch was in the oven that I had forgotten THREE THINGS! If you guessed oil, egg, and sugar, you are most definitely right. Before altering my remaining batter, I waited it out and tasted one. Surprisingly, they are pretty good! I think the flax I used (instead of oat bran) counted for the egg, the applesauce I subbed because I didn't have enough banana counted for the oil, and the streusel on top (plus the apple sauce, banana, and blueberries) added enough sweetness to count for the sugar. Despite this, I felt like a major doofus.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

how i did it.

March, 2009

October, 2009

I've had a request for how A and I have lost the weight we have, so here it is. I feel sort of bad, like I've been rubbing in this small feat all over this blog and facebook. So for that, I am sorry.

I'm going to talk about my story. I have lost a total of 14 lbs. A has lost 35 lbs, but he exercises vigorously for 45 minutes, 6 days a week.

Here are some things that worked in my favor, so hopefully people who have different circumstances won't feel discouraged with different results:

1: I'm only just shy of 21, so my metabolism hasn't gone off the deep end yet. I am fully expecting this to happen someday, maybe even soon.

2: I haven't had any children. I think this made a big difference.

3: I wasn't eating very healthily before, or at least avoiding unhealthy things, so that small change made a big difference.

4: My total weight loss goal was fairly small, it started with just wanting to lose about 13 lbs, but then once I lost that, 5 more didn't seem too difficult. (In other words, I didn't have that much to lose, which I think made it easier.)

Here's another big secret: Exercise didn't do it for me.
I tried it at first, but grew impatient and quit. I do walk around campus at a brisk pace for about 20 minutes a day, and sometimes ride my bike, but that is about it.

So now you know what I didn't do, here are the things I did do:

Secret #1: Figure out what food is "worth."

I started with a calorie counter, recommended to me by my sister-in-law. Here's the one I used. I also initially tried to eat 6 small meals a day, instead of 3 large ones. My theory was that I would be eating when hungry, not when it was dinner time. This only lasted a little, but the principle stuck, to only eat food when I felt hungry.

The calorie counter is beneficial, because even healthy things can be high in fat (like almonds), sugar (like grapes), and calories (like everything). I suggest try calculating a normal day for yourself, just to see what you are currently eating so you can know where to cut calories and what substitutes you can make. 3500 calories equals one pound, so if you decrease your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you will lose a pound a week.

I don't use the calorie counter anymore, but it gave me a good idea of what food is "worth." It helped me decide portions better, and make better food decisions. For example, if you want to eat a quarter of a pan of brownies, that is your breakfast (and your lunch). Fill in the cracks with things with low food "worth" like fruits and vegetables.

Secret #2: Eat a lot of fiber.

Another thing that I have tried to do is increase my fiber intake. For breakfast, I measure a quarter cup of oatmeal, quarter cup water, quarter cup blueberries, and half a banana mashed into a bowl. Microwave it for 2 minutes, sprinkle with a scoop of milled flax and add a small glug of milk for creaminess. This is what I try to eat ever day, with either a small glass of OJ or skim milk. Flax can be added to baked goods, and used as a substitute for eggs or oil.

I also try to get fiber from fruits and vegetables, and from whole wheat any and everything. You will notice some changes the next time you site on the porcelain throne, but just remember that when you lose fat, it has to go somewhere, and that is where your body gets rid of it.

Secret #3: If you don't buy or make treats, you won't eat treats.

Stop making cookies/brownies/cake/anything bad for you! Don't buy candy or treats unless they are good-ish for you. Examples are rice cakes, redvines, skinny cows, healthy choice bars, frozen yogurt, and fat free sugar free pudding. Adapt recipes you want to indulge in by using whole wheat flour, adding oats, subbing applesauce for oil, flax for eggs, add nuts, etc. Share your treats, if you can't stop eating them, give them away.

Secret #4: My list of what not to buy.

I say what not to buy, because I did consume some of these foods, usually at family dinners and other such occasions. However, most of my friends and family now know that A and I are trying to eat healthily, so they are very accommodating. Anyway, here's the list:

-Red meat, unless fat free (like fat free beef franks, which I likes, I do not)
-Ice cream (Look for frozen yogurt)
-Cheese (costco has a jarlsburg that is super lowfat. you can also get fat free american cheese, which I do not like.
-Butter (we use the alternative brummel and brown yogurt blend spread or olive or coconut oil, which is supposed to get rid of belly fat.)
-White flour (go all wheat, all the way.)
-Sugar (use agave or honey when possible)
-Anything fried

Secret #5: Check labels!

You would be surprised at what junk is in some of the things we eat regularly without a thought. Did you know a lot of cake mixes have trans fat? Yuck! Compare labels, because some say reduced fat but still have more than another brand. Always go for the fat free option, because pretty soon you'll forget what the real thing tastes like and you won't even care anymore. Be sure to look at serving size too, since often one package is not the same thing as one serving.

Secret #6: Check out your options.

Look for a low fat alternative to your favorite food or recipe. I really like America's Test Kitchen Best Light Recipes, they have a great chicken parm. Another good book is Eat This, Not That.

Secret #7: Indulge a bit.

It's okay to indulge sometimes. If you don't, you'll feel deprived and binge. Like I said before, if you're going to add calories somewhere, look where you can remove them elsewhere. Just remember, moderation in all things!

Other random stuff:

We try to eat fish twice a week. We also eat vegetarian a few meals a week as well. Keep frozen veggies and chicken on hand at all times. Eat brown rice. White rice is the candy of grains. Eat quinoa too. It is a grain and a protein! Eat in, restaurants can be deceiving. When you do eat out, look at a menu ahead of time and scope out the food "worth" online.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 good things

1. I am so glad to have found a major that I really and truly care about, that excites me, that will make a difference.

2. I'm fewer pounds than I was in high school, and feeling pretty good. My secret? For now a change in diet (no butter, no red meat, no cheese, no fatty/sugary/good stuff, with occasional exceptions, of course.)

3. I finished reading Wuthering Heights, for the first time. It was fascinating.

4. I have an amazing husband who does dishes, cooks, and builds toasty fires, fixes my car and the elliptical, and is too good to me.

5. I have new motivation to wake up early and do things. Today I did dishes, packed a delicious lunch, checked email, and read a little. Exercise will soon be part of this routine.

6. I was invited to a charette to make the Architecture building at school "net zero." This is sort of a big deal.

7. I have big plans brewing. Some involve replacing church lawns with gardens.

8. My Germany class exhibit on the second floor of the Architecture building turned out amazing. Everyone should go check it out.

9. Good things are happening for friends and family, you all know who you are.

10. Today I just have a renewed hope. I feel like everything is going to work out. And that is a good thing.

Monday, November 2, 2009


So, It has been forever! I haven't posted since before I went to Germany, almost a month ago. Wow. Now so much has happened, I almost don't want to post, because I'm so far behind.

For now, I won't back-log. That will have to wait. (If you want to see pictures from Germany, most of them are on facebook.There is also a super cool exhibit we made of our trip on display in the Architecture building, so go check it out!)

Let's just say, things have been pretty crazy lately, with news and drama, vacations and homework, Christmas music and class. It has been a little overwhelming, and either I don't know what to write or can't write about it at all. I'm just so glad to be married to A, he is so amazing, and always knows the right thing to say to make me feel like everything is going to be okay. I don't know what I would do without him, he really does make me a better person. Here's to him.
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