Tuesday, May 31, 2011

icing roses? piece of cake.

Starting next week, I am going to be a cake decorating master, courtesy of the Wilton's Basics cake decorating course at the Hobby Lobby. Sara had the brilliant idea to take the class, and I couldn't pass it up. I think I've always wanted to take cake decorating, and finally, at age 22, I am doing it! heh heh

So even if the cookies I bake don't turn out well, they will look beautiful when I cover them in frosting. Awesome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

jeffy got called on a mission!

My little brother Jeff opened his mission call this morning, right when the mailman delivered it (little fricker, didn't even wait for a mass of people to congregate around him for a dramatic opening!) And he is going to be spending the next two years of his life preaching the Gospel to the people of.....

drumroll please.....




We are so, so, so, so, so, so excited for him! Paris is where my mom served her mission back in the day, so it's pretty cool that my brother gets to go to the same place. Plus we all know I'm a major francophile, so I couldn't be happier for him. When he gets back we'll have to have a triple French conversation of me + my mom + Jeff! Except by that time I will have forgotten everything while Jeff will be completely fluent. Oh well, c'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? Anyway, happy feelings all around here. He is going to be an awesome missionary!

Monday, May 23, 2011

i've been on a domestic streak lately

Lately, I have been cooking up a storm! And the dishes have kept turning out okay! Miracle of miracles. I want to share my culinary joy with all of you, so here you go:

This first recipe I got from my friend Naomi, who I think got it from our mutual friend Nate? Anyway, instead of serving it over rice, I cooked some thin spaghetti and threw that in with the meat and sauce (inspired by this recipe by the Pioneer Woman). 

PF Changs Mongolian Beef (Imitation)

2 tsp Vegetable oil
½ tsp minced ginger [I used powdered]
1 TBLS minced garlic
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup water
¾ cup dark brown sugar [only had light and it worked fine]

Heat oil in sauce pan over med/low heat. Add ginger and garlic. Let sauté for a minute. Add water and soy sauce. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Raise heat to med/high and boil for 3-5 minutes until it thickens slightly. 


1 cup vegetable oil
1 lb flank steak
¼ cup cornstarch
4 green onions

Slice the steak against the grain into ¼ inch thick bite size pieces. Toss meat in zip lock with the cornstarch. Allow meat to rest in bag for 10 minutes. While the meat rests, slowly heat up the oil in a large skillet or wok on medium heat. After 10 minutes, add beef to the oil and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the edges darken. Use a slotted spoon to take the meat out and put on a plate with paper towels (meat may not be completely cooked, but will be in the pan again to finish cooking). Empty oil out of the skillet. Put meat back in the skillet and add the sauce to it and stir. Bring this to a boil for 3-5 minutes or until sauce gets really thick. Sprinkle green onions on top and serve over rice. [or noodles, whatev]

Second, I made these Andes mint brownies from Mel's Kitchen Cafe (her website is so great). Except I threw in some almonds, because I have a million of those after a failed attempt to make almond flour for macaron cookies. Let me just say, these brownies are so awesome. Perfect texture, perfect amount of chocolate-ness, yum.

Third, I made these breadsticks as shared by Amanda. This was my second time making them, and they were so delicious! And they look so pretty too, all twisted. 

Fourth, I made crepes using this super easy recipe for the batter from the wedding gift cookbook Kristen gave me. I don't know that our fillings were all that authentic (except the nutella dessert ones we made later), but whatever. We used potatoes fried in olive oil, ground turkey, tomatoes, and gruyere cheese. Mmmmm. Let me tell you, that cheese will make anything taste amazing. 

Basic Crepes:

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour [I did a little bit of wheat flour too]
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c milk [might need more if the batter's too thick, ours was a little thicker than I would've liked]
light olive oil, vegetable oil or butter for greasing pan [use butter!]

1. Put flour and salt in bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the egg and some of the milk into the well. Whisk the liquid, gradually incorporating the flour to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk, then pour the batter into a measuring cup with a pouring spout. Allow to rest, if desired.
2. Put a little oil or butter into a 7 inch crepe pan or heavy-based skillet and heat until it starts to smoke. Pour a little batter into the pan, tilting it until the base is coated with a thin layer. Cook for 1-2 min until the underside begins to turn golden brown. 
3. Flip the crepe with an offset spatula and cook for a further 30-45 seconds until it is golden on the second side. Slide the crepe out of the pan and make the remaining crepes, greasing the pan as necessary. 

Makes 8-10 crepes. 

I wish I had photos to go with all of this, but alas! Camera's been dead, and I've been too lazy to charge it. 

Any good recipes you've tried lately? I'm all for suggestions while I see how long my cuisine luck can last!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

coconut lime verbena

I don't get the new topless ads for Bath and Body Works. Like, are they really trying to attract men? Because Mother's Day already happened, and no. men. shop. there.
Also, in general, I don't get it when women's body wash/shampoo/etc. commercials have topless women in them. Who are you trying to get to buy your product? Topless women do not really appeal to other women. (Maybe lesbians?) That does not make me want to buy your product, Dove!

Also, I thought it was really funny that the commercial last week for "The Biggest Loser" had the song "Just the Way You Are" in the background. Isn't the entire show is about changing who you are and not staying the same? Ironic?

Sometimes you just have random things you need to type out before you forget them on Sunday mornings.
The end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

pure imagination

It's almost shocking to me how over a year later, an episode of "Glee" and a Willy Wonka song can push me over the edge, silently sobbing on Aaron's shoulder.

I still miss her.

Monday, May 16, 2011

green thumb

I'm making plans, a year in advance, to grow a garden on the rooftop patio of our future Philly house. I asked Aaron what I could plant that he would actually eat (he has an aversion to almost all vegetables) and he said edamame! Like the Japanese soybean edamame! Whoa! I guess he was won over by the free appetizers we got while waiting for an hour to be seated (when we had made reservations) at the Japanese shabu shabu restaurant in Anaheim with all the chemists.

So come next May I'm going to plant tomatoes, basil, parsley, strawberries, and edamame. And we shall be so trendy with our Japanese soybean crop. (did you know you can freeze edamame? rad. we shall be trendy all year long!)

Anyone else want to be a gardener? What are you planting?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

sunday thoughts

My very dear friend Kim is leaving this Wednesday (!!!) on a mission for the LDS church to Fort Worth, Texas. We've been friends since 3rd grade, and I still consider her to be one of my best friends. Today we got to go hear her speak at church, and she did awesome. This girl is gonna change a bunch of lives, guys. Kim is one of those people who is not afraid to tell it like it is, and she can start up a conversation with anyone.  
At the end of her talk she bore a really powerful testimony of Christ and the Atonement. It was refreshing and inspiring. A great reminder of what is important in life, and to whom we owe everything.

Isaiah puts it poetically:

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:3-5

We are healed.
Isn't that beautiful? Awful things may happen to us, and we may make mistakes, but we can be healed. There is always a way out. And that way is Jesus Christ.

"And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen."
Ether 12:41, emphasis added

Amen, amen.

(basically, I stole all the scriptures Kim used in her talk. see? it was good.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

library, i'm going to go all tiger mom on you.

Today I went to the library in search of aforementioned books (seriously guys, no recommendations?!). I was determined not to leave that place without a book in hand. Looked up controversial Asian parenting book in the online catalog, and they had it! Except they actually didn't when I got to the shelf. Annoyed. This has happened to me multiple times. Come on HBLL, get it together! Stop misinforming me! I keep wasting time wandering around your many shelves! Couldn't find the Barbara Kingsolver book I wanted to check out either (that they apparently had, sidenote: have you ever read The Poisonwood Bible or The Lacuna? you should definitely read the former, and you probably should read the latter).

In other news, Aaron found us a lovely Philadelphia condo. With hardwood floors, granite countertops, and three bedrooms. So hey, come visit us because we are doing this med/grad school thing in style, and we have a bedroom for you! (although sleeping on our really comfortable couch would not have been a bad option!) If you're friends with Aaron on facebook he posted photos of it (which I will eventually get around to posting on this blog).

Too many parenthetical phrases for one post + Y Chem meeting in 2 mins = see you later!
Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"she is too fond of books and it has turned her brain"

Hello friends!

I am in desperate need of some summer reading recommendations (plane ride to North Carolina and back + hanging out on the beach for a week + driving across the country = so much time to read)!

Here's what's on my list so far:
Water for Elephants (have heard so many good things about this book)
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (non-fiction book about crazy neurological disorders, read one of the author's other books and it was really interesting)
The Creators (non-fiction book Dr. Goates gave me as a graduation present about creativity throughout time, looks fascinating)

I'm looking for some exceptional fiction plus maybe some super interesting non-fiction...okay, basically I'm just looking for anything awesome.

Ideas? What are you reading this summer?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


you know what? he is the best.

that is all.

we're cute.

I found this post forever ago (January) on C. Jane's blog, but forgot about it until this week's Relief Society lesson (mentioned using the internet as a way to share the Gospel).

"I think we've established that. We're cute. Blogging Mormon Housewives are cute. Ok. [...]

It's that we're more than cute. Or at least we should be. And why aren't we? Why didn't Emily end the article saying, "I am going to invite the missionaries over for hot cocoa"? Not that I want Emily to be a Mormon necessarily, but in truth, I want Emily to want to know what she was asking in the first place, Why are these blogs so fascinating?

And I don't think we've answered that question.

I think we're getting close. When I first started blogging (cue: my maternal grandbloggers voice) there wasn't a lot of religion talk in the Mormon blogs I read. Then we started to get more courageous, we started to put up buttons and link to texts (talks, articles) and sometimes we share stories about church or the goodness of God--posts that were easy on the spiritual digestion. We've come a long way in being able to proclaim our Latter Day Sainthood and it's good. But what about the doctrine? Are we sharing the meat along with the cupcakes?

Not just religion for religion’s sake, but WHY it works; why we go to church for three hours every Sunday (just to wrestle our kids for most of it) why we go on missions, why we love our temples, why we believe in families….WHY IT HELPS."

Interesting, interesting.  What do you guys think?

To read the whole post, click here. (you have to scroll down a little bit)

she's the bomb dot com

I'm a little late in posting this, but since this week was Mothers Day, I wanted to talk about how awesome my mom is.

Seriously, I don't even know where to begin with this woman. I don't know of anyone more selfless than my mom. She (and my dad) have always put their children first and have always done all they can to give us opportunities to learn and to do what we love. When I was growing up, we never felt restricted to pick one activity to do. We danced (a lot), took voice lessons, piano lessons, violin lessons, drum lessons, guitar lessons (both my brother, not me), art classes in the summer (do you even remember that, Mom? from Oak Canyon and I painted a foot?), drama lessons, etc. and we never had to pay for it. We were encouraged to find something we could be passionate about, and then my mom supported it 100%. She was at every performance and competition we ever had, even going to my brother's band's concerts at Muse Music cafe, surrounded by forty seventeen year olds, or sitting in a gross high school gym all Saturday afternoon waiting to watch me dance for two rounds.

My mom was the one who sat with me in a hotel room in Toulouse last summer while I cried for what seemed like 48 hours straight, and told me it was going to be all right and that I could do this scary internship/live in France/learn to speak real French thing. She has always believed in me.

And I believe in her. My mom, hardcore drummer, taxi driver, crazy Young Woman's camp leader can do anything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

check this one off the list

There is a macaron truck in University City (which is where Penn is).

It was meant to be, guys, it was meant to be.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

we'll be spending the next 4+ years of our lives in...

in case you have problems reading backwards (what the heck photobooth?), those shirts say PENN!!!!

We're sending in an apartment application tomorrow (hello $1600 rent, ouch) and we'll be moving out the second week of July. So! This means I must play with all of you before I leave!

I've already started planning our touristy east coast travels. In Philadelphia we must visit Independence Hall and see the Liberty Bell, go to the Rodin museum, and the Philadelphia art museum. I also want to drive out to Gettysburg. And Amish country! And Hershey, PA! Train tickets to New York, DC, and Boston are not too pricey, so there's another few trips! (this also means that you all need to come visit us in Philly and sleep on our really comfortable couch so that you can experience all of this cultural goodness too)

Any tips for things to do in any of those four cities? Restaurants, museums, etc?

Also, we'll be driving across the country moving all of our stuff, and I want to plan some strategic stops along the way. I'd like to stop in Nauvoo, Chicago, and maybe Kirtland. We'll need to stop somewhere between here and Nauvoo, however, and I just can't seem to find anything interesting. Any ideas? Favorite midwest cities? Is there anything in Nebraska?
How many times do you get to drive across the country, ya know? I want to make this awesome before we're $60,000 in debt and up to our necks in school and don't have time for this sort of adventuring anymore.

Any advice would be much appreciated. :)