Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick, Easy & Yummy Pecan Bars!

Oh, how I just LOVE Pecan Pie! 
And to think that at one point in my life that I didn't like it, is just sad.

Tracy and I had never had Pecan Pie until we had been married for 5 years. It just never sounded like it would be good.  I mean when you can choose from Coconut Cream, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate, Cherry, Apple, or any kind of Berry pie, why in the world would you want to choose Pecan?  

When Jade was just a babes, we went and had dinner at one of our friends houses and she offered us a piece of Pecan Pie for dessert...all I can say is WOW!
Yummy...we were hooked and not a year goes by that I don't make up a batch or two of these bars. 

For some reason, I have never been able to get Pecan Pie or Pumpkin pie to turn out. Try as I might, these 2 pie recipes, have never turned out well.
HOWEVER, I came across this great recipe over 10 years ago and it
tastes exactly like Pecan Pie
turns out perfect every time,
throws together quickly and
you don't have to roll out a pie crust...

According to Tracy
the BEST part of all about these bars, is since Pecan Pie is SO rich, these bars are perfect as you can just grab a little bar to enjoy and not have to deal with a slice of pie that is so rich it will take you all night to finish.

Pecan Pie Bars...
so yummy, SO good and absolutely delicious!
Pecan Pie Bars

(Bar Cookie Crust)
2 cups flour
1 cube REAL butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray baking pan with cooking spray.
2.  In large bowl with mixer at medium speed beat flour, butter, sugar and salt until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly into bottom and 1/4 inch up sides of prepared pan.
3.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

(Pecan filling)
2 eggs
3/4 cup Karo Corn Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1.  Prepare and bake pie crust
2.  Meanwhile, in large bowl beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, melted butter and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour over hot crust; spread evenly. 
3. Bake for 25-30  minutes or until filling is firm around the edges and slightly firm in center.  Cool over night.  Cut into bars.  
Thanksgiving week!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

ABC's of Kimmie!

While I have been busy,
trying to get my thoughts, recipes and presentation together for our Relief Society Super Saturday on this coming Saturday November 20th, I came across an ABC list I had made last year!!

One of my sweet friends "Ann Marie" did a FUN post in June 2009 of ABC's about herself and she gave the challenge to post these about ourselves. I was really excited about this challenge and I created a word document of them, however, forgot about it and came across this past week as I was cleaning out my document folder.

I thought it would be fun 
 to post this for my journal. 
I tried to list things that weren't on my "Kimmies List" I posted last year and so here it goes...

Apples are one of my favorite foods to eat!

Balance….I try and have balance in life. Even though I eat healthy the majority of the time I enjoy splurging once in awhile on a decadent dessert, or enjoying a handful of french fries, or chips, from time to time.

Car doors are always locked. Even if I am just running into a store, I always lock them. It drives Tracy crazy! Speaking of locks…I ALWAYS have my house locked up as well. It is a subconscious gesture and I’m sure when people come over they get frustrated when they go to walk out the front door and the dead bolt is always clicked and locked.

Don’t speed. Always drive the speed limit. Would hate to waste money on a ticket I could have avoided getting.

Early…I have to be 10-15 minutes early to every appointment.

FUN!! I love to have FUN and try and make each day have something FUN about it.

Garbage…I don’t put anything gross in my garbage. Cans always get rinsed out, scraps go to the chickens, egg shells go on the garden. Any loose paper gets recycled.

Holidays!! I love to celebrate holidays, whether it’s the standard holidays, or Chinese New Year, or Cinco day Mayo, or National PIE Day, I love to do FUN out of the ordinary things to add a little enjoyment to life.

Ice…do NOT like ice in my water. In fact, I would rather drink room temperature water than have ice in it.

JOY in the Journey! One of my most favorite talks ever given was by President Thomas S. Monson on “Finding Joy in the Journey”. That one talk has had more effect on me than anything else...truly life changing! It has inspired me to find Joy each day of my life and was the inspiration for my banner at the top of my Blog. I never tire of listening to/reading these words! (here to view it)

Kiss! Love to kiss my hubby and give my kids kisses! I especially love my kids to see their parents kissing. I grew up in a home where my mother always said “Not in the front of the kids Scott” when my dad went to kiss her and that bothered me greatly and so I wanted to make sure my kids to see and know that their parents love and adore each other!

Listener…I really enjoy listening to other people. I find that after talking to people I always know more about them then they know about me because I am always asking questions about their lives and listening to problems, etc....

Menthol Eucalyptus cough drops are our “breath mints”. We’re a little crazy.

NOT Negative! My motto has been and always will be
 “Look on the bright side of life
and I try my best to never be negative in anything I say or do.

Outside! Every chance I get I love to be outside, even if it is just sitting on the porch and eating dinner as a family, enjoying the crickets chirping, watching the birds fly, or the wind flutter through the trees watching a sunrise or sunset or just going for a walk around the block. I am the biggest lover of NATURE! It makes me HAPPY to spend time outside and I love to head to the mountains to go backpacking. One of my favorite quotes is:
I go to nature to be soothed and healed
 and to have my senses put in order”.

PINK... I am a lover of the color pink...especially HOT Pink! I wear pink lipstick, pink blush and my toenails are only ever painted with shades PINK!

Quilts…I LOVE old quilts and love to incorporate them into my home, especially having pieced/handquilted quilts on our beds! (which are getting harder and harder to find..maybe one of these next yeas when my life gets more organized, I will have time to start making quilts of my own)

R I love to READ!! Whether it’s magazines or books, I enjoy spending part of my day enjoying some form of reading.

Sharp Cheese, Sweet Hot Mustard and crackers are a yummy snack to me. Also, I am a SOCK lover and unless I am wearing sandals, I have to always have SOCKS on my feet. DO NOT like to be barefoot.

Tonsils…I don’t have any and so I am always dumping menthol essential oil (aka Sunbreeze) down my throat and always sucking on Menthol cough drops to soothe my throat and to keep from getting a sore throat.

Umbrella…I love to be prepared and so my bag is always stocked with an umbrella so if it’s raining I am never caught off guard.

Vacuum…I love to vacuum and when I do vacuum I have to vacuum myself out of a room so the carpet is perfect and without vacuum marks.

Windex…(actually Glass Plus) I LOVE to have sparkling windows, mirrors, faucets and TV screens and so daily or at least every other day I pull out my window cleaner and make things shine!

X—EXTRA miler! I really like to go the extra mile in everything I do. Although, lately, due to the craziness of my life I have not been as good in this area. Can’t wait to get back to doing sweet and thoughtful things for family and friends.

Yeast! I love to cook with yeast and one of my favorite things to do is to BAKE bread or rolls for my family and friends. LOVE it!!

Zumiez and Hot Topic…I really enjoy going into these stores with my teenage son. While we rarely buy anything, it’s just fun to look at the extreme styles and I’m always amazed that people would actually wear them.

YES, I am still alive...
we finally got the last coat of POLY on our floor Sunday after church.

Five coats later
(each time having to leave the house for a minimum of EIGHT hours at a time) we are finally DONE!!

It is absolutely gorgeous!
I have felt like a woman
without a home for the past 2 weeks.

I haven't been able to cook! When we have coated the floor and we have to leave, I can't work on any projects at home of any kind, respond to emails, be on the computer
(I'm a little jealous of Tracy's iPhone at the moment)
and on these coating days, we have slept in a trailer that Tracy's sister and brother-in-law brought over for us to use so we don't have to breathe the fumes
(a great lifesaver to us I might add and
my kids loved the adventure of sleeping in sleeping bags outside on a school night)

there is finally LIGHT at the end of the tunnel and November 17th we get to start moving in furniture, (so excited for the transformation) I get my STOVE and Fridge back and I finally get to do what I love best...
Oh and for the record,
I could go a year without shopping! We have walked the mall and every store in Idaho Falls SO much these past 2 weeks, that I am "Shopped out"!

I wished we could have gone and soaked in some HOT water at one our favorite soaking spots
"Heise Hot Springs",
but they are closed for maintenance until the day after Thanksgiving!

We have definitely put in many miles of walking these past few weeks and burned LOTS of calories. (which has been a good thing!)

My kids deserve medals
and I appreciate their non-stop patience through all of this! I can't wait to be a mom again as well...have missed snuggling and reading books with my Ethan Kip!

Happy week!!
Be in touch just as soon as I can!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quick & Easy Bread Sticks/Biscuits

I don't know about you, 
but there are many days when I have a hectic afternoon and we are either out of bread, or there wasn't time to bake bread and I want something yummy to serve for dinner with a bowl of soup, salad, or, a pasta dish.

These 2 recipes have saved many a day for me and they are
SO easy,
delicious and
throw together VERY quickly!!

Besides the meals listed above, they are also both great served
with a smoothie and the biscuits are wonderful served for breakfast...my favorite thing to do with the biscuits is to enjoy them with butter and a drizzle of honey, or a spoonful of jam.. mouth watering DELICIOUS!

(here for great tip for breadsticks)
We have even made up the biscuits and put gravy over them, or made a mock KFC dinner.
(here and here)

However, they are served,
they are always yummy, yummy, yummy!

Yummy Bread Sticks
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. powdered milk
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
4 cups flour

Mix together and knead for 5 minutes in your Kitchen Aid (or by hand)
Roll onto greased sheet.
Cut into bread stick strips.
Let rise 30 minutes.
Spread generously with melted butter and garlic powder, parsley flakes and grated cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
These are another perfect compliment
to homemade soups and chili.

Hot Buttermilk Biscuits
(really easy and really good)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup buttermilk

Sift together dry ingredients.
Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add buttermilk all at once.
Stir lightly with fork.
Knead gently on lightly floured board.
Roll ½ inch thick.
Cut with 3 inch round cutter.
Place on baking dish with biscuits touching.
Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 or until lightly browned. 

TIDBIT...if for some reason you don't have any buttermilk you can always add 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of milk and let it stand for 5 minutes to "Sour" and you will have buttermilk to add to your recipes.

Enjoy adding some yummy-ness to dinner-time, lunch-time, breakfast-time or ANYTIME for your family!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Memories 2010!

 What a wonderful Halloween weekend
we had this year! 
Costumes, Concert, treats, a date
and a whole lot of FUN!

Here are some of the highlights!
I went and helped with Ethan's Halloween Class party and watched the parade as all of the kids in the school walked the halls showing off their costumes. 
I love the joy and excitement of watching the kids!
Tracy got Ethan ready for school and this is how he did his hair...
a Faux-Hawk spray painted green!
Ethan's school class
posing for a Halloween photo...
Ethan Kip...
he called himself the "Joker Pumpkin"!
My Pumpkins!!
All dressed up to head
to the Annual Halloween concert 
as the Funky Pumpkin Family!
It was a hectic afternoon, as Tracy came right home from work and had to take tents and gear down to the area where his scouts were having their camp-out that night. He then raced in the house, put on his shirt, sprayed a little green in his hair and we were out the door. 
Lucky to have these photos as we almost forgot to snap some!
This happy t-shirt
was worn by my Sweetie!
With the hectic day, I didn't ever get a photo snapped of him wearing it.
If you were to ask me what my most favorite thing that I look forward to all year long (other than our yearly backpacking trip and dates with Mr. Smith), my most favorite thing would be the  
Halloween Symphony Orchestra Concert!

Tracy and I have been going for the past 20+ years. 
I Love it! 
It's such a FUN event and they perform such great music. This year had a little different flair as they had a Western Concert, but it was amazing, nonetheless.

The comedy acts were hilarious
the fiddler, Yodler and blue grass numbers were amazing 
and the Symphony Orchestra 
music fed my soul!!

Here are the numbers they performed:

--The Cowboys Overture.......... John Wiliams

-- Dances with Wolves Concert Suite........John Barry

--Three Dance Episodes from "Rodeo".......Aaron Copland
     I.   Buckaroo Holiday
     II.  Corral Nocturne
     III. Saturday Night Walz
--Hoe Down from "Rodeo"......... Aaron Copland

Even though I don't have a stove/oven at the moment, I made up Pumpkin cookies for Jade to take for dessert to the dinner he went to on his date to the Halloween Dance.
I cooked them 6 at a time in my little toaster oven.
SO yummy! 
It was so delicious to have a homemade treat to enjoy!
(here for recipe)
I can't believe my Jade
is old enough to go on a date!

A sweet girl in his Resource Class asked him to go to the dance with her.
She went as "Alice"
and Jade went as "The Mad Hatter".
We had fun getting his costume all together.

We were going to do his makeup like the Tim Burton Mad Hatter, but since they were eating at 6:00 and pictures weren't until 8:30 we decided to forego the make up so he would stay looking nice for the dance photos.
Carissa's mom had the most amazing table-scape set up for dinner. Jade ate dinner with her and her family and then they talked and enjoyed the evening and then drove the kids to the High School for the dance.

She made the yummiest caramel apples ever and Jade has been talking all week about the delicious spiced cider she made up as well and begging me to buy the apple cinnamon tea and make some up for us to enjoy as well.
Sweet adorable kids!!
It breaks my heart
as both Jade and Carissa have learning and social challenges and neither of them can drive at the moment either.
SO happy that they could go and have a wonderful time!

They got 3rd place
for their costumes at the dance!

The dance went from 9-12 and Carissa's mom thought for sure that Carissa wouldn't make it more than an hour at the dance.
However, 9, 10 and 11 o'clock came and we never heard from the kids.
They were having SO much fun they stayed the whole time at the dance.  Tracy and I picked them up from the dance.  They came out all smiles (except that Jade teased Carissa with spiders at the dance and she had to tell us all about that).
After dropping off Carissa and talking with her mom for a bit, we didn't get home until 1:00 am and then Jade came and sat on our bed and talked to us about the dance until 2:30 am. I LOVE that my kids feel comfortable to talk to us!! I woke up at 6:00 and Jade was crashed in the middle of our bed.  Good times!

We think the world of Carissa and she has the most amazing and loving parents that I have ever met.
LOVED my spider barrette from Tracy and since Halloween was on Sunday, I decided to be bold and to wear it in my hair to church.  I am the ward chorister and I had all kinds of young ones coming up to me after Sacrament meeting to tell me how COOL that spider was.

Life is too short 
not to have a little FUN!

I can't believe that November is here.
 Last night we enjoyed grilled Salmon, fresh beets from our garden (cooked on the hot plate in our garage), enjoyed a two mile walk under the starry sky and came home and played three rounds of Bananagrams as a family!    
LOTS of fun!!
The time is just flying by faster than ever.
Only 23 days until Thanksgiving.
 We are hoping to start putting Polyurethane on our floor this Wednesday evening. We have had a busy past week with church callings, holidays and little areas of the floor that we had to spot sand and stain to blend better.
YAY for progress and I can't wait to get my house back!

Funny sidenote...
the weekend of October 23rd we quickly did up all of the laundry because we knew it would be a week before we would realistically be back in our house. HOWEVER, the fumes from the floor stain, got in our dryer vent and all of our clothes smelled AWFUL like exhaust.  We all noticed the horrible smell at work/school on Monday the 25th and it was such a miserable day to have to sit and smell that awful smell all day long!  YUCK! I don't know what was worse, wearing clothes that smelled that way all day long, OR, drying off with towels that smelled that way.
That evening after dinner we went and soaked at Heise Hot Springs...it is much nicer to smell like sulfur than exhaust! (wink)
SO, for the past 3 days, I have done over 16 loads of laundry, with the laundry room door shut and the garage door opened to have fresh air for the dryer vent to circulate through to get the smell out of our clothes!!  
Happy to say it worked! Yay!!
There is never a boring moment at my house right now!