Friday, November 30, 2012

Lemon and Cream Cheese Truffles

So decadent and delicious...
So easy to make...
AND something that looks amazing as far as presentation!  
I found this recipe online, (here)
but didn't like the fact that it used Vanilla OREO's and so I decided to take my Snickerdoodle cookie recipe and add in Lemon Extract to replace the OREO's and I'm happy to report it turned out absolutely delicious!    
 I was in charge of the treats for our YW in Excellence and brought these...
WOW, these were such a hit
ESPECIALLY with the men that ate them
(they kept snitching them and kept asking 
if there were extras so they could have another one)
SO, if you want a yummy recipe that men would like,
this is definitely at the TOP of the list for that!

These would also be wonderful to put in cute white boxes and give for a gourmet  gift to family and friends, or, to add to a Christmas Goodie Plate.
 Lemon Cream Cheese Truffles  
(makes 40 Truffles) 
(Cookie recipe)   
Cream together:
½ cup butter
¾ cup white sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 capfuls of Lemon Extract
1 tsp. Cream of tarter
½ tsp. Soda
¼ tsp. Salt
1 egg
Then add:
1-3/4 cup flour (I use UNBLEACHED flour)
Mix and roll into balls and roll in sugar
Place on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees. (or until no longer doughy)  Let cool.

NOW to turn your cookies into Truffles:
Put cookies into a gallon Zip-loc bag and smash with a rolling pin until finely crushed.
Put in mixing bowl and add in:
(1) 8 oz. block of cream cheese
Zest from one lemon

Mix cookies, cream cheese and lemon zest together until well combined.
Roll into small 1 inch balls and put on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Put in freezer and let chill for one to two hours
Melt WHITE chocolate chips in double boiler 
One at a time, put cookie balls into melted white chocolate until coated and put on waxed paper to cool.  
(I took some of the white chocolate and added in some yellow food coloring and then drizzled this on the top to add some color).

After they're cool, put in small white baking cups and ENJOY a delicious, yummy treat! 
 Lemon + Cream Cheese + White Chocolate =

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Preserving and Canning Chicken

I love being prepared... 
I love having yummy things on hand to throw together a dinner or lunch for my family!  
I have always been scared to pressure can because of all of the horror stories I have heard from my mom about pressure canners blowing up!  
HOWEVER, I am here to tell you, it's so easy to pressure can AND there is never going to be anything blowing up, if you follow the directions.  
For the past 2 years, 
I have been buying chicken, salmon, ham and strawberries from Zaycon Foods and have loved how quality the meat and fruit is AND how yummy as well.  

However, while I love pulling frozen chicken breasts from the freezer, there are many days when I haven't planned ahead and it's dinner time and so many recipes that have chicken in them don't get made up because I don't have time to defrost the chicken.
 However, thanks to a pressure cooker, 
I now have dozens of pint jars on my shelf, for those quick and easy dinners and soups AND I love having jars of chicken to grab and make Chicken Salad Sandwiches for lunch, or to add to a pasta salad.  

Canned chicken is delicious and is truly a staple at our house!   
ALBEIT, while it is yummy, 
it definitely looks like a "Science Project" 
when you look at the jars, 
OR, as my kids call it...
SICKEN! (wink)
I have canned chicken fresh out of the box after I have purchased it,  
OR, I'll individually package the chicken and put it in my freezer and then after the busyness of the holidays are over and we are in the long, cold month of January, I'll pull out my pressure cooker and defrost some bags of chicken breasts and can a bunch of chicken up then.
SO easy...
you just take your HOT pint jars
fill with sliced chicken chunks leaving 1 inch of head room
add in 1/4 tsp salt
put on sterlized lids and rings
(you do NOT add any water to the jars!!)
Put jars in pressure canner
(follow directions on your pressure canner, for how many jars you can put in it, for what water to add to the pot and for how long to let pressure build before you start timing your canning).
After canner builds to 12 pounds of pressure
let it cook for 75 minutes for PINT jars.
(watching so it stays at a consistent 12 pounds of pressure)
Let pressure canner drop pressure and cool,
Open the canner and pull out the jars and 
you now have jars of yummyness to enjoy all throughout the year!  
Now you have one more skill in your life to be prepared AND knowing how to process and preserve your own foods is a great self-reliance skill, so you can take advantage of great sales on chicken when they come around!
Enjoy being thrifty and frugal!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Beauty of Raindrops...

"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. 
Notice the bumble bee, the small child,
 and the smiling faces. 
Smell the rain, and feel the wind. 
Live your life to the fullest potential, 
and fight for your dreams."
Ashley Smith

We had another beautiful hiking trip in the mountains this past weekend. The fall colors were still vibrant, but it was chilly and it ended up snowing when we got to our lunch spot and so we made a fire and decided to hike out as the people we were hiking with, didn't have warm enough clothing.

As we were hiking out it rained on us.
It was gorgeous and I had to keep stopping and taking photos to capture the beauty of the raindrops!

"Anyone can love a rose, 
but it takes a great deal to love a leaf. 
It’s ordinary to love the beautiful, 
but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary."

Friday, October 12, 2012

No shortage of adventure on our backpacking trip!

Spud Harvest 2012

We were SO excited to head to the mountains again!
We had read articles on several different blogs that despite having been done by few people and marked by no trail, it was a doable thing to be able to hike (climb, scramble and crawl) from Table Mountain over to Hurricane Pass.

while our adventure didn't get us on top of Hurricane Pass,
it did teach us valuable lessons,
was full of the most vibrant fall colors in the low country
and steep, rugged terrain in the high country
and most of all there was NO shortage of adventure
and adrenaline pumping through our veins
AND we gained a love for each other,
that we have never experienced
and memories that will last a life time!

If you think hiking in the summer is amazing,
FALL hiking is even MORE stunning,
because the colorful leaves and foliage, give you a different show around every corner!
FALL, is definitely my favorite time of the year to hike
(and that says  A LOT because I am a lover of the wildflowers that are abundant in the high country in the summer time).
The bright yellow and orange leaves were stunning!
I am in love with Quaking Aspen Trees...
they make the most gorgeous backdrop for a hike!
Cool mossy rock with 
watering streaming down...
Leaves all over the trail!
The bright blue sky with the vibrant yellow leaves 
and the steep mountain cliffs
truly make for a wonderful view!
Good Morning Sunshine!!
Loved these plants...
Orange Foliage...
Stopping to fill up water containers...
Cool Reflection...
One adorable 10 year-old
One giant rock
Gorgeous red bushes!
I SPY...
my three favorite people!
And the colors just keep getting 
more spectacular!  

My foot is VERY happy 
to be amongst the bright red bushes!
Heading on up...
Through a tiny little hole in a log, 
I SPY...
the cutest boy!
Nothing like being up in the middle of nowhere 
and seeing planes fly overhead!
It kind of seems out of place.
Last steep climb before making
 it to our lunch spot
Happy with our lunch spot...
The Grand Teton is right in front of us,
and Table Mountain is to the right.
Getting all of our sandwiches ready!
Relaxing and taking in the view!
Me with Battleship Mountain 
in the background...
my very favorite mountain!
Heading down the trail again...
I LOVE the various Cairns you see 
along the backpacking trails.
We can do this!!
with Green Mountain in the background.
Steep Terrain!
Look at those backpacks 
we left on the trail...
Summit of Table Mountain...
We Made it!
I love looking back where we have come...
it is quite the hike up to the top!
Love this Cairn at the top
with the Grand Teton in the background!

(oh and I spy my cute Ethan Kip on the right hand side of the photo sitting and enjoying a quick rest at the top)
My three favorite people,
with the most amazing view I've ever enjoyed!
Our Feet + amazing view
= my favorite photo opp!
Heading back down to grab our backpacks...
VERY steep terrain...
This photo says a lot....
Over by the three farthest fields of snow you see in the background, is Hurricane Pass. It looks like it really won't be that big of a deal to hike down and hike up to it.  WELL, I'm here to tell you, it's not too easy...
in the next series of photos you will see why.
Tracy's leading the way down...
...followed by Ethan, Jade and Kimmie

Ethan is so remarkable...
he is like a mountain goat!
This may not look like much,
 but all of this is LOOSE rocks, boulders, and scree...
We found out real quick we were in a precarious situation,
where with each step we took, many times rocks 
would fall out from underneath us.
Right after I took this photo, Jade had rocks come out from under him and he slid and Tracy did everything he could to keep him from falling over the cliff that was below us!
Thank goodness for awesome dads 
to rescue and help us out!
Tracy is the best!
Somber moment as we realize there is no way we are going to be able to hike across or down the mountain from the route we had chosen.  
The only way we can get out of this situation is to head UP!  
We had come a very long way down into the canyon
 across nasty terrain we didn't want to go back over. 
We kept hoping we could keep forging on.   
It was hard to concede the fact we needed to go up.  
It took a moment of pondering and the solace of a prayer
 to realize what we needed to do and it wasn't going to be easy.  
Solid ground was nowhere to be seen.
This photo was taken by is one of those photos that says 1000 words. 
 You can see the tree line in the background that we were hoping to follow down to the bottom of the mountain, but it turned into a cliff, so we headed across.  We should have tried the steep, precarious, ridge directly below Table Mountain but we incorrectly thought we had chosen a safer route.
Jade's look on his face breaks my heart.  
He just went through the scariest experience he has ever had and probably wondering if he was going to make it off the mountain or not but he kept a "stiff-upper-lip" and never panicked.  What a man!
Ethan hiked over to dad...
Stress and all this amazing kid Jade 
still had a smile to offer!!
SLOW and steep climb up...
making each move count...
strategically placing each hand and foot 
to make sure it was stable before moving again.

On a side note:
Tracy put this photo on Facebook 
and these were the sweet words he typed with it:
"This wonderful lady just keeps going and going... seldom a complaint, never one to panic and always there for an encouraging word! I love her! "
Pretty spectacular 
to be this close to the Grand Teton!
The view to the East as I was climbing up...

The view to the West as I was climbing up...

I SPY...
2 amazing kids, who are feeling grateful that they are in a spot where there is NO loose terrain.
This photo is my is going to be printed and framed to hang on my fridge!  

(here are Tracy's feelings about this photo)
As it turns out, Jade isn't to old for a kiss from his dad. Although it has been many years since I've kissed his forehead, he got one a few seconds before I snapped this photo. I was so proud of him & his unbelievable courage. I was so thankful for the way he had "dug-down deep" & given his all to climb for two hours with his full pack up out of a very treacherous situation.
Amazed with the view!
Extremely steep incline!  
It is as steep as loose rock will stack.
Talk about serious scrambling, crawling and climbing!
so excited that mom 
has almost made her way up to them!
YES, my boys are leaning in this photo because the wind was blowing SO hard, it felt like it was going to blow us off the mountain!
I was one happy mom that was so excited to hug and kiss her boys after two strenuous hours on the mountain!
You see that flat mountain at the top of the photo...
well, that my friends is Table Mountain.  It was such a happy sight to see that land marker because it meant, we were close to being back on an actual trail again!
My three favorite people...
safe and happy!
With being this close to the Grand Teton, 
I noticed that it has a little cut out 
that I have never noticed before.
We Made It!
My three boys...
heading out with a gorgeous view of the valley!
One last view of Battleship Mountain...  we had hoped to be on the other side of it, well on our way into Alaska Basin but at least we were safe.  Maybe we'll try again another day (a different approach of course).
Made it back to our lunch spot, 
just before the sun started to set.
I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!
(after the sun went down, we put on head lamps and hiked for another 1-1/2 hours before we decided to pitch our tent and bed down for the night)
Tent Sweet Tent
Good Morning!
We saw a family of Moose on our hike out...
Tracy was able to get close enough 
to get a fairly good photo of them
All bundled up on a chilly morning 
hiking the last few miles out.
Colors were amazing!
The colors on the trees were as bright yellow 
as Tracy's sleeping pad strapped to the back of his backpack.
The sun is lighting up the mountains so beautifully!
As you can see we had the mountain to ourselves.
We were the only car in the parking lot when we got back.
I was so excited 
to be able to have time to stop and take a photo of this old building 
that I have noticed every time we drive through Tetonia. 

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order."

Longing to be back in the the mountains...
looking forward with great anticipation 
and excitement for our next adventure!