Monday, August 22, 2011

Zupa Toscana

One of my favorite places to have lunch is Olive Garden because they have my favorite soup! My co-worker Cyndi made it for a faculty luncheon and I have made it every time I have had kale. Again Bountiful Baskets provided most of the ingredients. When I saw kale in my basket I instantly knew what I was going to do with it.
If you haven't ever tried it you are missing out. Get the recipe, go to the store, get the supplies, and make it! I promise you won't be disappointed.

Adventures in Baking

One of my passions is cake and cupcake decorating. I love looking in magazines at the different decorating ideas. This Christmas Mike bought me my own set of tips and bags.
Of course I had to test it out right away and made a chocolate layer cake with a cheesecake center for our family bake-off. I was pretty proud of my first attempt at a flower.

These are Paula Deen's Red Velvet Cupcakes. The frosting is AMAZING! It is now my go to cream cheese frosting and it is so simple/low fat as all of Paula's recipies are. ;)
2 packages (8oz.) cream cheese softened
2 sticks butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
~whip the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and combine.

This is the second attempt at my coconut cake. The first attempt fell apart and we had cake cumbs instead. I bought the tropical pack from Bountiful Baskets and it had a coconut in it so I wanted to make a cake with it. As it turns out I didn't even have a piece but Mike and my other family loved it! My niece even helped me make and decorate it!

Nature's Bounty

So this past week has been a week of firsts for me as far as cooking goes. On Saturday I got a flat of raspberries from Bountiful Baskets. I was so excited for them to come because I have been wanting to make freezer jam for YEARS. Ever since I met Mike i have been wanting to make some of my own. My wonderful Mom Olson has raspberry bushes in her backyard and always has a nice supply of homemade jam. One time in college Mike had some of his mom's jam. He brought it over to our appartment and the group of us proceeded to eat the entire container of jam...slice after silce the sticky goodness just got better and better.
I made two batches of jam and we even had berries left over to freeze for smoothies. I couldn't believe how much sugar is in this jam. I bought the Sure Jell pectin and followed the recipie inside. 3 C. mashed berries to 5 1/4 C sugar!!! It is delightful though:)

Last week I went to Provo with my besty and her two little ones. We went down for a Down East warehouse sale and stopped by at a local farm to get peaches. Because it is just Mike and I at home we could never eat a half a bushel before the peaches went bad. So I had my first experience canning. I did can tomatoes but I can't really say that I did was mainly my mom. I boiled the tomatoes and helped put them in the jars but my super hero mom took care of the canning process and even woke up multiple times thoughtout the night to take care of it.

So pretty! I only had one of my 10 jars break and I'm pretty sure it was my first jar which I filled too full.

Summer is so fun with all of the fresh fruit that is available. I have been trying to make more of my food from scatch and stay away from all the nasty preservatives in store bought canned food. Plus it makes me feel good to serve my hubby something that I know every ingredient that went into it. No more silly names that I can't pronounce that are on the back of a can!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Food, Portland & Some Beach

So I was looking at my phone and realized that I forgot a very exciting part of our trip to Cannon Beach. The drive. Because the drive is SO long we decided to break it up into two days with a little layover in Portland. Being the food crazed person that I am I knew about this little doughnut place and I HAD to got there. I looked up on food network and found a place to get lunch as well. So on the way to and from Cannon Beach we got out of the car and toured the greatest places in Portland (I'm a little biased because we were there for a total of 3 hours :).

First stop Bunk Sandwiches
Mike got the Meatball Sub. Look at all of that CHEESE! Everything is made from scratch in this wonderful sandwich establishment.

This was the sami that was raved about on the food network. I can't remember the name but I think it was the Pork Belly Cubano. Let me just say DELISH!

Next we drove around downtown for like a century trying to get to an ATM...(Portland has crazy amounts of one way roads) that we could go to VooDoo Doughnuts. We got the cash and drove on over...only to find the longest line known to man kind! So we didn't stop in on the way there. But we did make it on the way back where we were fortunate enough to get right in because Rob and Bri (Mike's bro) were waiting in line for us...I love family:) Here is our spoils...

Let's just say it was well worth the wait and had I known they were this delightful I would have stopped on the way there too! Yes that is a BACON MAPLE BAR! Let's just say that from now on I will be putting a couple of strips of bacon on top of my maple bars from now on! They are what I dream about at night and what I will be feasting upon in heaven!

Here are some pictures that I forgot to post in my Cannon Beach blog.

Every 4th you have to go to Seaside for the fireworks...but mostly for the Elephant Ears!

Pizza a' Feta. I always forget to take pictures before I actually start eating...but that does say something about the deliciocity of the can't wait to eat it...not even for a picture.
This was at Pizza a' Feta with the fam. I loved how the T.V. was on so the kids could barely pay attention to their food they were so ecaptivated with the show.
Last but not least the waffles at Lazy Susan's. These are the most delicious waffles known to man kind. They are oatmeal waffles with whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, and their homemade orange syrup! Like I said in my last post...I can't wait to go back. I dream about the food there often and it is making my mouth water at this moment thinking of all of my tasty travels in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cannon Beach

So for the 4th of July this year we drove to Oregon for our first Olson family reunion. We got there a couple days before the rest of the family and while we were there enjoyed lots of eating. Some of the best places that you could ever eat are in Cannon Beach. You have Ecola which is a seafood market/restaurant. I LOVE their fish and chips, fresh crab bowl, and clam chowder. Then you have Pizza a Feta, pretty much anything you get there is going to be downright sinfully delicious! You can't miss out on Camp 18 (not technacly in Cannon Beach but well worth the drive) and their GIGANTIC cinnamon rolls.
There was also a miners museum where there was all sorts of old mining and logging equipment.

Melissa and Preston were there the same time we were. We don't have many pictures together but it was fun seeing them there.
Charlie sucking on his bib tag...he is such a cutie!

Charlie fell asleep and Preston was giving him something to rest his head on.

This was on the 4th of July in Cannon Beach the locals do a parade which is SO fun! This is Melissa and Charlie at the parade.

Later that day we went to Seaside for the fireworks. It was an experience to say the least. Our family joined up with us at that point.

John dug a tunnel and this is Sam showing how deep it is.

Danny, Jessi, and Olie in their bunker. Because they light the fireworks on the beach and people have fires there is SO much smoke. It is only bareable if you dig yourself a hole so most of the smoke blows over you.

Look at Andrew's pants:)

One of my favorite things to do is just walk on the beach. When the tide is out you can go around and look at all of the sea life around Haystack Rock.

Ready for a walk on the beach. That is Haystack in the background. Yes that is the rock you see in Goonies.

I love all of the seagulls in the water.
Doesn't this make you want to go to the beach?!

There are TONS of dogs on the beach. This one was one of my favorites. He was chasing the seagulls. He would slowly walk up to the unsuspecting bird and then ATTACK! It was fun to watch him.

It looks like the wind was really blowing...but it wasn't. I don't know why the trees along the beach look like this but it is pretty cool.

There is an eagle that live on the mountain above Cannon Beach and he swoops down a couple of times a day to Haystack rock to get a bite to eat. When he does all of the seagulls go CRAZY!

The sea life is SO amazing! I never knew starfish came in such amazing colors.

One of the goals of this trip was to get a current family picture.

Of course no trip would be complete without a trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We followed tradition and got an ice cream on both floors. We had a great time and can't wait to go back year?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bountiful Basket Goodness

I have recently started participating in the bountiful basket co-op. To find our more go here. What you do is on Monday at 10:00 AM (for Utah) you get on the website and order your fruits and vegi's and any other packs you want. Then on Saturday you go to your assigned location and pick up your basket. This is what I have done so far.

One week they offered organic heirloom tomatoes. Yumm! I ate a lot of BLT's that week. I also made fresh tomato basil soup. This is when I made a fresh marinara sauce. I chopped up all of the tomatoes, some garlic, fresh basil, and some other herbs and spices and simmered it down to this...
I added a can of tomato paste to give it a little more flavor and then blended it up. froze some of it and used the rest in a lazagna.

I used the lazagna recipe that I posted a long time ago but added the fresh sauce and zucchini. In our conventional basket the same week we got zucchini. Both Mike and I are not huge fans of just plain zucchini as a side dish so I added it to the lazagna.
Can I just say it was the best lazagna I have every had in my life!
You also get a tone of fuit with your basket. I have loved getting mangos every week because I get to make this smoothie. I keep it pretty much the same but add different fruits each time. This one had:
2 freshly squeezed oranges.
1/2 carton blueberries
2 mangos
handful of strawberries
1/2 cup peach sorbet
handful of ice.
All of the produce came in my basket. One week they offered an 8lb. box of strawberries for $10. I got it and froze them. Now we have them for smoothies or ice cream.

We have family dinner at my mom's house once a month. This month I was in charge of bringing a salad. Usually my families idea of salad is jello with a thick layer of cool whip on top. I decided to use my offerings from my BB. I used a head of romain lettuce, 1 apple cut up, 3 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 lb. strawberries cut up, 1/2 carton blueberries. All of that came in the conventional basket. The star fruit which you see on top came in a tropical pack that was offered that week. So tastey and beautiful. That was the first Sunday that ALL of the salad was gone! I made a simple poppyseed dressing to go with it.

Some other favorite meals that I have made:
Fresh vanilla bean ice cream (we added some strawberrys to half and it was delicious also! I got the recipe off of Food Network)
Chyote squash pasta. (Found this recipe on Food Network and LOVED it. Like I said eailer Mike and I are not huge squash people...this was delicious. Plus I got to try a new vegitable that I have never had before.)
Mango Salsa (Emily's recipe)
Fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream (
Fresh coconut cake (Food Network)
Apple pie
Banana crunch muffins (Paula Deen)

I don't know if we are eating healthier but we are cooking at home and eating out less...and the best part spending less on our groceries. It is nice to have fruits and vegitables as a part of every meal. Try it...I know you'll love it!