Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Look at Last Week - Crafty Goodness

This past week was full of great times and good adventures. Some days life seems hard or frustrating and other times I look around and think how did I get such a great life! This weeks photo roundup contains a lot of crafty goodness and good times with good people. Enjoy!

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I love finding random things like this.

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Little man is SO cute in his PJ's and little vest.

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Hit up the Holiday Market at the Gallivan Plaza on lunch. Fun!

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I'm going Crochet Coffee Cozy crazy! Go green!

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I went to the ESLC open house and it was great. They are an amazing organization!

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ESLC Vision Statements and photos. If you're looking for a great long term volunteer opportunity this is it!

Are you doing anything fun with friends or crafty for the holidays?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Saturday's Supper - Jam Thumbprints

Today's recipe is not something I made this week but I think I may have to make this one day soon. It's a super yummy cookie recipe which I thought would be perfect for anyone participating in a cookie exchange. MMM!!!

Jam Thumbprints
by The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Any flavor or jam can be used for this recipe, we found seedless jams work best. For best results, bake only one sheet of cookies at a time.

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a small zipper-lock bag with the jam. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.

4. Working with 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Following the photos on page 165, make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb.


5. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are just beginning to set and are lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, working quickly, gently reshape the indentation with the bottom of a teaspoon measure. Snip a small corner off the bag of jam and carefully fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam. Rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake until lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

Modifications
* The only thing my Mom and I found was when you put the cookies back in at the end of step 5 we only had to cook them for about 5 minutes. Could be our ovens but I'd check them at about 5 minutes and see if you need to bake them longer. That resulted in a nice soft cookie that was oh so good!

Do you participate in a holiday cookie exchange or other occasion to bake quantities of cookies? Do you indulge in all the baked goodies through the holidays or do you stick to your diet/exercise plan?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

UWSL Holiday Social 2012

I wanted to share a couple pics from last weeks Holiday Social. My work put together a fun event for our donors and partner organizations to come out and celebrate all the hard work we've been accomplishing together. There was great food and drinks and it was fun to see a lot of people I've been getting to know since I started in May.


As part of the Holiday Social we collected warm winter gear for the kids at the PAL Boxing Center. The kids there are ages 8-17 and they are able to participate in afterschool programing that includes homework help, recreation activities and boxing. The kids have to complete the homework hour before they have fun playing games or boxing which is great so they can keep their grades up at school. They also are served a hot meal through the Utah Food Bank's Kids Cafe program. Volunteers are always needed to support the kids homework hour as well as through the fun and games. The program here is amazing and if you want to get involved just let me know and I'll connect you. The folks that work at PAL are wonderful and you're sure to have a great experience!

Our first happy donations!

I was so glad to see that so many people brought donations for the kids. We filled three large tubs with donations as well as an extra box and a few bags. It will be awesome to see the kids faces when they receive these warm winter items.

This was only partway through the evening. We collected even more after this!

Thanks to all the donors and partners we work with that help make this possible. I love that I get to be part of such an amazing organization.


Do you donate money or time during the year? Have you ever thought about volunteering to help make a difference in the lives of kids in your neighborhood or neighborhoods that need your help? There are so many ways to get involved! Start by visiting uw.org/211 or by calling 2-1-1.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Book of Lists - December Wishlist

For those of you playing along with Kapachino's Book of Lists I wanted to share my first list for December. The theme was "wishlist". No more, no less. Interpret it as you will. I interpreted it to be more of a goal list because why wish for something if you don't plan to do anything about it.

In case you didn't read my last post about the Book of Lists the idea originated over at Kathleen's blog Kapachino. Here's what you've got to do:

Every month there will be a topic for a list, and the object is to craft it on a blank page, take a photo of your list, then blog it. You can get elaborate scrapbook-style, or even jot it down with your favorite pen. If you want, you don’t even have to make a book and you can just blog about the list topic (even though then it’s not really a book of lists, but that’s cool).
So without further adieu here is my first list:



As I mentioned, my list is all about goals for 2013. It's my Thirteen Goals for 2013! WOO! In case you can't really read it from the picture here are my goals.
  1. Go to Hawaii for family vacation (Planned for May.)
  2. Volunteer once a month (I'm hoping at least once a month all year long!)
  3. Take a crafting class (Girls night out anyone?)
  4. Run a 5k (I'll work up to this.)
  5. Go snowshoeing (This may happen towards the end of 2013.)
  6. Make my own sushi (Time to get my Mom to teach me how to make her yummy sushi!)
  7. Work out once a week for a month (Hey it's a start!)
  8. Work out twice a week for a month (I'll work up to this...)
  9. Work out three times a week for a month (I hope once I reach this level I can keep it up.)
  10. Take a cooking class (I just bought a Groupon so I need to schedule a class.)
  11. Redesign my blog with my own branding (I've started tackling a few little things.)
  12. Discover my own clothing style (I just want to figure out what I can wear to look my best.)
  13. Weigh under 130 (I'm hoping all the healthy eating and working out will get me here!)
Some of the goals are pretty easy but some will require a serious effort on my part which is ok. I'm hoping through this next year I can build up to having a regular exercise routine which will supplement my better eating habits I've been developing.

All of the goals for this year come from my Life List. I want to make sure my yearly goals are in line with my lifetime goals. If you've participated in the Book of Lists be sure to leave a link to your post so I can see what you're up to and how you interpreted the prompt. I'm looking forward to our next list and can't wait to see what everyone else did.

Do you like to write lists or do you have another way you keep organized? Have you already set some goals for 2013 or will you do that after the new year?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

A Look at Last Week - Keep Calm and Drink Coffee

So here's the roundup of some random pics from last week. I hope you enjoy them!

I want this paperweight!

Russell attacks Daddy!

Argh me pirate Panda!

Sleepy Oreo!

Who's my sippy chugging man? He was so thirsty!
Oreo looks enormous!!!

Checking out the lights at Temple Square.

Leaving Temple Square. That place was PACKED!!!

Do you enjoy taking photos throughout the day or do you prefer to be more deliberate in capturing your memories?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Saturday's Supper - Orzo with Garlic-Ginger Vegetables

For those of you, like me, who indulged in all the lovely food that was available for Thanksgiving this is a great recipe to help soothe angry bellies back into submission. It's also a great and light dish to help you get back on track with any weight loss goals you may have, if you're working on that. It's light, it's healthy and you can definitely tailor it to your families liking. Even little Russell loved this recipe so I'm sure this will become a regular in our house. Enjoy!

I added some leftover brussels sprouts! YUM!
Orzo with Garlic-Ginger Vegetables
Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced peeled gingerroot
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups sliced baby carrots
2 cups sliced baby zucchini
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules, dissolved in 3/4 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups cooked orzo
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

1. In a wok or large skillet over low heat, heat the oil. Saute the gingerroot and garlic until deep brown, 4-5 minutes; keep the heat low so they don't burn.

2. Increase the heat to high; add the carrots. Stir-fry, adding the zucchini, bell peppers and disolved bouillon, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the orzo and pepper; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Modifications
* I used regular carrots and zucchini and just diced everything really small so Russell could eat this too.
* I par-cooked the carrots in my steamer in the microwave so they would be easy for Russell to eat. They were tender-crisp and nothing else over cooked doing this.
* I didn't have gingerroot at the time so I just tossed in some powdered ginger when I was cooking the garlic.
* I just used really hot water from the sink to dissolve the bouillon and it worked fine.
* We used one red and one green bell pepper. Actually we only used half of each and it turned out great.
* I added a few fresh mushrooms diced small along with some leftover corn we had too. Oh and I tossed in some shredded leftover turkey we had from Thanksgiving. You could easily add your favorite protein to this recipe.
* I'm pretty sure I added some extra herbs to this too. I typically like to add things like marjoram, thyme or Italian seasonings because I enjoy the extra flavor.
* If you don't have orzo any other small pasta or rice would probably work just as well. In a pinch you could break up some fettuccine noodles into small pieces, cook and use in this recipe and that would work too.
* You could easily modify this recipe to use any of your favorite fresh/frozen veggies you have on hand. This recipe is so versatile and easy!

Do you have any favorite post-Thanksgiving recipes you enjoy? Do you have any favorite ways to use up leftovers? If you do share your ideas. I love new ways to use leftovers. :)