Daniel and Christy on a Friday Afternoon listening to Third Eye Blind and the Spice Girls in the ice cream shop. Rocky Road, Cherries Jubilee, and Vanilla with the works. :)

Daniel and Christy at Baskin Robbins

Happy Friday!

Christy and Daniel

So, I hear there’s this big football game happening next weekend… ;)

I’ll admit, I’m not generally interested in televised sports. It’s something about the lack of energy. Watching the players through the narrow lens of a camera and listening to the commentators is not the same as sitting in the stands and rooting alongside a happy and enthusiastic crowd of spectators.

Still, when we’re invited to come to a party with good friends and munchies, you can bet that I won’t turn down sitting in front of the TV and enjoying some time together!

I made a big yummy taco salad last night complete with my favorite healthy indulgence, fresh pico de gallo salsa. I thought I would share the recipe with you because it’s really easy to fix and will be a very welcome addition to your football festivities (if you don’t eat it all before you get it out to the rowdy group in the living room). :)

Salsa on a Tortilla Chip

Super Salsa

Makes ~2 Cups
Ingredients:

3 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1 Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper, Minced
1/4 Onion, Diced
1 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Lime juice
Garlic Salt to Taste

Combine Tomatoes, Jalapeno, Onion, and Cilantro in a medium sized bowl and stir to distribute ingredients evenly. Add lime juice and give a few stirs to coat salsa. Season with garlic salt to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips or use as a garnish in your favorite Mexican style dish.

Even though I’m not all that into the game, I’ll still be rooting for the home team with the rest of the bay area. Go 49ers! :)

Your salsa devouring, prospective adoptive momma,

Christy

I have to admit it. I love my slow cooker. It may seem silly, but I love having a warm, yummy, and nutritious meal cooking at home while I’m at work. =)

I LOVE this soup. I’ve posted a link to it before, but not with my alterations and not with pics. The original recipe came from allrecipes.com. Here’s an update with the changes I made.

Close UpMeatball Minestrone a la Christy
Ingredients:
1/2 small onion, diced
6 cups water
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 stalks of celery, sliced
3-4 carrots, sliced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
3 teaspoons beef Better Than Bouillon
1 bay leaf
6 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces spiral or shell pasta
24 cooked frozen turkey meatballs
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes

Directions:
Combine ingredients in a crock pot, minus pasta. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. 10 minutes before serving add pasta. Cook until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Growing up my mom made a version of Spanish Rice that was hardy enough that it stood on it’s own as a main dish. During a visit a few years ago after missing her cooking desperately, I watched her prepare it and jotted down the recipe. (Don’t worry, I checked with my mom and she’s totally on board with sharing with you!) I embellished the plating a bit, but the rice is the same yummy deliciousness from growing up.

Spanish Rice

Debbie’s Spanish Rice
Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
1.5 cups uncooked rice
1 can tomato sauce (15oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (15oz)
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garlic salt
3 cups of water

Directions:
Brown ground beef or ground turkey in a large pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on high until liquid boils. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes until rice is tender.

Serving Suggestion (pictured above): Serve rice on a bed of fresh spinach with a side of refried beans. Garnish rice with fresh diced tomatoes, green onions, cheese, avocado slices and crushed chili.

I know some pretty awesome people and I love it when they share with me so I can be imitation awesome.

My friends have arranged a series of mini classes and the latest one has been cooking and meal planning. We recently had one on crock-pot cooking. Mmm…

I figure everyone could always use some more recipes, so I got together some of mine to share. A couple of my favorite recipes were beyond recognition from when I started using them, so rewrites were in order. Hope you love them as much as I do! -Christy

Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage
Ingredients:
1 Corned Beef Brisket with spice packet
4-6 small red potatoes
6 carrots, peeled and cut to 2-3”
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 tsp. salt
1 head green cabbage, cut into wedges

Directions:
- Place brisket fat side up and arrange vegetables around brisket, minus green cabbage.
- Add spice packet contents to spice infuser/tea ball and add to pot.
- Salt vegetables. Add water until brisket is nearly covered.  Cook low for 8-10 hours.
- Submerge cabbage wedges in juices for last 45 minutes of cooking time.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Ingredients:
2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 cans chicken broth (14.5 oz) or water and chicken bouillon
1 can refried beans (16 oz)
1/2 cup whole kernel corn frozen, fresh, or canned
2 chicken breasts
1 can hominy (15 oz)
1 can pinto or black beans (15 oz)

Directions:
- Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook low for 8-10 hours.
- Shred chicken.
- Customize toppings and Serve: cheese, cilantro, avocado, tortilla strips, hot sauce, onion

Other recipes I love:

  • Baked Beef Stew (Follow the recipe, but cook in the crock pot for 8-10 hours on low)
  • Kulua Pig (Serve on a French or Hawaiian roll with a slice of fresh pineapple)

It’s funny. Every time our church’s General Conference comes around, I get really ambitious in the kitchen.

General Conference is broadcast on TV and I have a rough time sitting in front of the TV without something else to keep my hands busy. So this weekend, while I listened to the speakers, I made:

-Homemade Breakfast Potatoes, Cheesy Scrambled Eggs, and Apple Slices
-Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots (my favorite meal of all time…)
-Chicken Tortilla Soup
-Turkey Soft Tacos
-Bacon Cheese Potato Rounds
-Coffee Cake (my first cake from scratch!)

We invited our friend and her kids over for dinner on Sunday and we all played in the backyard with our dog, Doozer, and picked oranges off of our tree. Even though everyone ate eagerly, there was barely a dent in the feast I managed to compile. It’s ok though. I think it’s awesome to have so much stuff in the fridge to dig into for leftovers!

Getting back to General Conference… =)

A talk that pricked my heart was given by President Boyd K. Packer regarding children and families. Becoming a mother has been on my heart nonstop these days, so here are some excepts that stuck with me.

“It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent.”

“Husband and wife should understand that their first calling, from which they will never be released, is to one another and then to their children.”

“One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children then ever we did from our parent. We come to recognize the truth in Issiah’s prophecy that a little child shall lead them.”

“Fathers and mothers, next time you cradle a newborn child in your arms you can have an inner vision of the mysteries and purposes of life. You will better understand why the Church is as it is and why the family is the basic organization in time and all eternity.”

There was also another talk given by Cheryl Esplin about being a parent in Christ’s church.

“Our role as parents is to do all we can to create an atmosphere where our children can feel the spirit and then help them recolonize what they are feeling.”

“We will teach our children to understand as we take advantage of every teaching situation, invite the spirit, set the example, and help them live what they learn.”

This scripture was mentioned in both of these talks.

Children are an heritage of the Lord… Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them. Psalm 127:3, 5

I am fortunate that as I prepare for motherhood, that the Lord is preparing my spirit. He is continually teaching me what a blessing and tremendous responsibility it is to be a parent.

Client Newborn Photo by Christy

One parting quote by Elder Neil L. Andersen that I will be turning to again and again.

As we trust in the Savior, promised miracles will occur… As you love Him, trust Him, believe Him, and follow Him, you will feel His love and approval.

-Christy