Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gingerbread Houses

It's that time again!
For my side of the family's annual tradition of making gingerbread houses.

Everyone busy decorating, we watched the movie "Elf" during the whole process.

She is the most artistic one out of this bunch.

He use to put as much candy on his house as he could when he was younger, and then eat half of it the next day.

He claims he made a two-dimensional house. I just love his expression.

She provided lots of laughs and cuteness to the table.

He wanted to add more to his house, and would have, if I hadn't cleaned up some of the candy. :)

He did not want his picture taken, and told me I shouldn't post this. Since this is the only decent picture he gave me, this is what he gets.

She is the mastermind behind it all. Countless hours baking, shopping for candy, and providing many special family memories.

She use to let her little brother eat the candy off her house once his was all gone. Also demands to have a photo of everyone with their house every year.

May your Christmas Holiday been filled with joyous memories this season!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Birthday Trip 2014

One of the perks of working for an airline, is that you get to fly for cheap. Did I say one of the perks?? I meant the only perk. Well that isn't entirely true, I get to work with some great people, that is a perk too.
Moving on. 
So for my birthday trip, fly we did!
We headed to Seattle and went to Pike's market for the day. Then headed down to San Francisco in the evening to spend some time with our good friends who live in Oakland. It just so happened that the Utah Utes were playing Stanford that weekend so we all headed out to cheer on our favorite college team, GO UTES!!

Hello Seattle!!

To say I was more than giddy to be at Pike's Market would be a complete understatement. I must return soon!

Where else can you find fresh bouquets of flowers like this for $15 bucks?!

Or strange vegetables I have never heard of. I would have so bought some of that to take home if I thought it would have lasted. 
The Dude in the background is buying the best pear I have ever tasted, and I don't really care for pears.

This Russian bakery we found made The Dude feel a little bit sentimental of his home away from home. 
Seattle, we shall return!

I will say this for Stanford, they have a very nice stadium. I will sit in the cheap seats any day, as long as they have a backrest.

One cheesy photo of us.
One cheesy photo totally photo bombed.

Our wonderful friends.
Thanks for sharing my birthday celebrations with us.

To The Dude, thanks for always making the day where I turn older a memorable one. 

P.S. The Utes won in double over time, yeah, it was a great day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Challah Bread

My photography skills still haven't improved much...ahem..any who....

Have we talked about my obsession with bread? 
I am pretty sure it has become apparent without me stating the obvious. 
I actually hadn't had Challah bread until the beginning of this year, my coworker brought some in for us to try. I have been thinking about it ever since! 
Challah is a beautiful Jewish eggy bread that is eaten on the Sabbath. 
I was a little intimated to try and make it. Who wouldn't be?! That loaf is a braided beauty! 
I found this wonderful recipe from thekitchn.comNow that I have made it a couple times, the 6 braid really isn't as scary as I thought it would be. I just need to figure out how to keep it nice and tight, instead of splitting apart, though split apart or not, it still looks divine!
This bread is delicious plain, for sandwiches and most importantly....French toast. Man oh man, does it make yummy French toast!
I promise you, this bread is worth the effort to make it. Now if you will excuse me, I have some Challah bread upstairs I need to eat. After I leave you with the recipe of course. 

 Challah Bread
Makes 1 loaf (about 20 slices)


2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water
4 - 4 1/2 cups (20 - 22 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) neutral-flavored vegetable oil


1. Dissolve the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl, and add a healthy pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top. This means that the yeast is active and ready to use. (If you do not see this or if your yeast won't dissolve, it has likely expired and you'll need to purchase new yeast.)

2. Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand).

3. Add the eggs, yolk, and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk these together to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.

4. Mix to form a shaggy dough. Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour with a long-handled spoon until you form a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix.

5. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes. With a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6-8 minutes. (Alternatively, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.) If the dough seems very sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky, but no longer like bubblegum. The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.

6. Let the dough rise until doubled. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Separate the dough and roll into ropes. Separate the dough into three or six equal pieces, depending on the type of braid you'd like to do. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope roughly 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again.

8. Braid the dough. Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. If making a 3-stranded challah, braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and squeeze the ends together when complete. If making a 6-stranded challah, the directions are as follows:

Braiding 6-Stranded Challah - The name of the game here is "over two, under one, over two." Carry the right-most rope over the two ropes beside it, slip it under the middle rope, and then carry it over the last two ropes. Lay the rope down parallel to the other ropes; it is now the furthest-left strand. Repeat this pattern until you reach the end of the loaf. Try to make your braid as tight as possible. Your braid will start listing to the left as you go; it's ok to lift it up and recenter the loaf if you need to. Once you reach the end, squeeze the ends of the ropes together and tuck them under the loaf.

At this point place your loaf is fairly long and skinny. If you'd like to make a celebration ring, stretch the loaf a little longer and pull the ends toward each other to create a circle. You can either squeeze the ends together, or if you're feeling adventurous, braid them into a continuous circle.

If you're making a regular loaf (as pictured), you need to "plump" it a little to tighten the ropes into more of a loaf shape. Place your left palm at the end of the braid and your right palm at the top, and gently push the two ends toward each other, just like plumping a pillow in slow motion. Then slip your fingers under the dough along either side and gently lift the dough while cupping it downwards. (This isn't a vital step, so don't worry if you're not sure you did it correctly.)

9. Let the challah rise. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. Sprinkle the loaf with a little flour and drape it with a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts and let it rise until puffed and pillowy, about an hour.

10. Brush the challah with egg white. About 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 350°F. When ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf.

11. Bake the challah. Slide the challah on its baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. The challah is done when it is deeply browned and registers 190°F in the very middle with an instant-read thermometer.

12. Cool the challah. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Slice and eat.
Additional Notes:

• Substituting Butter: If you don't need to keep a kosher table, you can substitute melted butter for the oil in this recipe.

Recipe from:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Picture Overhaul Part 4, Finally up to Date!

I thought I was all caught up, but as I was looking through the files on my camera I totally missed some pictures!

Here we go! 
We have been doing A LOT of this since we moved into our house. This was the first stump the Dude pulled out. In all we have pulled out 10 stumps.....if I have counted correctly.

My parents came to visit for the 4th of July. The first thing they want to do when they get here, is make a trip down the road to the local dairy. Reed's Dairy is the best! Their huckleberry ice cream is my absolute favorite!

He thought I had tried too many attempts at taking his picture at this point.

We went to the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus park over the 4th of July as well. My camera died after like 4 pictures, and do you think I brought a spare? Think again.

Picnic in Yellowstone Park! We did this with the Dude's parents when they came to visit too, we like picnics.

We made it to one rodeo this summer, the War Bonnet, it has been around since 1911!

We went to Bear World with the Dude's parents.

We saw a bull moose when we drove by our friend's cabin in Island Park!

If you come visit there are two places we might take you, 
1: Reeds Dairy 
2: The Rusty Lantern (this place has some good burgers!!)

My family had a little family reunion in August. Bowling was on the agenda, followed by Good Wood, delicious fall off the bone ribs at that place.

We ended the evening with a round of croquet.

Pure cuteness!!

We got to go to the Ogden Temple open house. Very neat experience!

My brother's family came to visit over labor day, my niece zonked out on our walk.

We went to the Idaho State Fair with my brother and his family.

We saw a Watusi!!

This my friends, is a doughnut hamburger, we didn't quite realize we had ordered this, it was only strange when you thought about what you were eating.

Our neighbor took us shooting with him the last week in October.

Okay, now I believe I am caught up! Whew, that was a lot to cover!
I have some recipes I need to post that I tried out, I will try to get to some of those posted very soon.

I should also mention, with observance of Veterans Day tomorrow my gratitude to our military men and women, past and present. Thank you for the service you offer to our country. I am proud to be an American, and what you guys do to help our country makes me even prouder to be an American. God Bless our Troops. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

I am posting this from my tablet, I think I need a keyboard....
Anyway,  I post this from the tablet because someone forgot to bring their camera to the pumpkin carving....ahem...
So the few low quality pictures I did get are on this here handheld computer.
Every year for as long as I can remember,  my family has carved pumpkins for Halloween.  To be honest,  I'm surprised we do this,  my Mother does not really like Halloween.  This is the one thing she does like about it,  she even has started growing the pumpkins for the event. Lately, someone in the family decides they want the pumpkin seeds, and have the dreaded task of sifting through the pumpkin guts to get them. 
I love family traditions.

Here are the pumpkins from the evening:

Friday, September 19, 2014

She Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray!!

My WONDERFUL Mother had a birthday last Saturday. I wanted to publicly wish her a Happy Happy Birthday! 
I am so blessed to be her daughter. She is beautiful, inside and out. 
The best friend any daughter could ask for!
I love you, Mom.
I ran out of time to blog before her birthday or even on her birthday, and I even forgot my camera to document the special event! To make matters worse I am a week late due to catching some nasty head cold/flu, yay for me! 
I didn't want my Mom to think I forgot about her though.
I hope this year is a wonderful year for you, Mom with lots of good memories.