Monday, March 21, 2011

Caught the fever!

For reasons unbeknownst even to me, I decided this year to participate in the annual pastime of March Madness. I filled out a bracket, picked my ponies, and hopped on for a wild ride of college basketball.

What I didn't realize would happen is this: JIMMER FEVER! Now, I went to BYU, and I do have some sense of loyalty to my alma mater, but who knew I would be screaming at my television and getting the "Teach Me How to Jimmer" song stuck in my head? AND LIKE IT?!



I admittedly haven't watched a single BYU men's basketball this season....until last Thursday when they played their first game in the NCAA tournament. Blew my freakin' mind!! I've heard about how amazing Jimmer Fredette's shots are, and I'm not saying he's unstoppable, but holy crap--this stuff is basketball gold.

And apparently he's sparked a lot of controversy for this girl.



Idol worship? I don't think so. Though, maybe for some... At the Gonzaga game last Saturday, the commentators were stating how John Stockton's son played for Gonzaga and how he (Stockton) was there to see him. After Jimmer had slammed a few ridiculously amazing three-point shots, the commentators said that John Stockton's son may play for Gonzaga, but John was there to see Jimmer. As luck would have it, Jimmer's favorite NBA player is Utah Jazz's John Stockton himself.

Looks like I'm not the only one getting on the Jimmer train...my 3-year-old niece calls him her 'boy' and loves watching him on the court.

video

BYU's been under a lot of pressure to step up their game since Brandon Davies was suspended from the team for an honor code violation. And they have answered the call. My sister saw a fan's sign at Saturday's game that said the following:

Acceptable Honor Code Violations:
Jimmer can score...
Jackson can steal...
Charles can get high...

Jimmer, don't you dare break my heart now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not dirty...just practical

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Irrational thoughts on PIE and the number 3.14...

If you've read this blog at all, you'll know that I have a baking fetish. It's unhealthy, especially for a woman such as myself, to bake as much as I do. Ask the people from work--they would like me to curb my habit, seeing as they are the ones who end up having to clean up (i.e., EAT) all of the leftovers I'm always bringing in to them.

So what better way to honor a kitchen and an obsession like mine than to celebrate Pi(e) Day? Best. Made-up. Holiday. That's right, every March 14th (or 3.14, here in America) I get to bake my little heart out, and other people get to enjoy the fruits (and chocolate...and key lime...etc.) of my labor. It's a win/win.

And no, I cannot spew forth the many points after the decimal place for the number pi. This day, for me, really has nothing to do with math. I actually kind of despise all things math-related...



This year's party--which took place last night--was a complete win. Good friends, good pie, and good times. I even got to wear my Reflections on Pi shirt (that I bought here) and be matchies with Dianne.

I had so many requests for the recipes for the pies that I made, that I thought I would post all of the recipes here. I found some recipes online (go allrecipes.com!), stole one from a restaurant (ok, they posted it online), and some are tried-and-true from my family.

Also, in case you loved the pizza we had last night, and you're ever up in the Davis County vicinity, check out this local favorite--David's Pizza is one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten, hands down. I keep going back there because it is so fantastic!

Enjoy!

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QUICHE LORRAINE
brought to you by my Dad, c/o a little French lady in the 70s

1 unbaked pie shell
1 pkg. bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
1/3 lb. Swiss cheese, grated
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
butter or margarine

In the pie shell, place the crumbled bacon, then the cheese. Lightly beat the eggs and add the cream, and then pour the mixture into the pie shell slowly. Dab some butter or margarine on top, and place in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

This 'pie' was the first one gone last night. A-maz-ing.

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KEY LIME PIE
brought to you by our good friends at Market Street Grill

Crust:
15 graham crackers, crumbified
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter, melted

Stir the crumbs and the salt together, then add the melted butter and mix with a fork until combined. Press into a springform pan and bake at 35o degrees for 8 minutes.

Filling:
1 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
2/3 c freshly squeezed key lime juice
3 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Beat the lime zest and egg yolks in a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, until fluffy. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk and beat for another 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice and mix until just blended. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until set. Cool on a wire rack and then freeze. Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

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CHOCOLATE MARBLE CHEESECAKE
brought to you by my sister, Sarah, who made this all the time when I was a teenager

Crust:
2 c gingersnap crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter, melted

Stir the crumbs and the salt together, then add the melted butter and mix with a fork until combined. Press into a springform pan and bake at 35o degrees for 8 minutes.

Filling:
1 c sugar, divided
3 pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sour cream
3 eggs
3 TB flour
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/4 c cocoa
1 TB vegetable oil

1. Beat the cream cheese and 3/4 c of the sugar together with the sour cream and 2 tsp vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed, until smooth. Gradually add the flour, beating until just blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

2. Combine the cocoa and the remaining 1/4 c sugar in a medium bowl. Add oil, and remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 c of cream cheese mixture; stir well. Spoon plain and chocolate batters alternately over crust, ending with spoonfuls of chocolate on top. Swirl gently for with knife for marbled effect (dragging down and then back up, then going the opposite direction).

3. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 250 degrees; continue baking 30 minutes. Turn off oven, and leave the oven door closed. Leave cheesecake in the oven for 30 more minutes.

4. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

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SOUR CREAM APPLE PIE
brought to you by this recipe on allrecipes.com, with my variation on the crust

Crust:
1 pkg shortbread cookies (I used the Wal-mart brand ones)
1/4 stick butter, melted

Put the cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Reserve about 1/3 of the crumbs, and put the rest into a pie plate with the melted butter.
Mix with a fork until combined. Press into the pan to form a crust and bake at 35o degrees for 8 minutes.

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups diced apples

In a medium bowl, stir together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, and salt. Mix in the sour cream, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add apples, and stir to coat. Scrape the mixture into the pie shell.


Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 30 minutes more.


After the 30 minute bake time has passed, cover the top of the pie with the rest of the shortbread cookie crumbs, and continue to bake for 15 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and apples are tender. Allow the pie to cool, then refrigerate until chilled before serving.

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LEMONADE ICE CREAM PIE
brought to you by my family...not sure where it originated

Crust:
15 graham crackers, crumbified
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter, melted

Stir the crumbs and the salt together, then add the melted butter and mix with a fork until combined. Press into a springform pan and bake at 35o degrees for 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

Filling:
1 carton vanilla ice cream
1 can pink lemonade concentrate

Mix the ice cream and concentrate together in a mixer until smooth. Spread into cooled crust and freeze overnight.

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PUMPKIN PIE
brought to you by the good folks at Libby Pumpkin

1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (12 fluid oz.) can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.


Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.


Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)


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BLACK FOREST PIE
brought to you by my very own brain and experimenting

Crust:
2 c oreo crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter, melted

Stir the crumbs and the salt together, then add the melted butter and mix with a fork until combined. Press into a pie pan to form a crust and bake at 35o degrees for 8 minutes.

Filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 small tub frozen whipped topping
1 can cherry pie filling

In a small saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and baking chocolate. Stir until combined and smooth on medium-low heat, then pour into a larger mixing bowl; refrigerate for at least one hour. With a hand mixer, combine the chocolate mixture and the frozen whipped topping to form a mousse; pour into pie shell. Refrigerate overnight and then top with cherry pie filling. Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Worse than Charlie Brown?

I'm watching A Boy Named Charlie Brown. When you think of Charlie Brown, you think of failure, right? His kite that gets torn to pieces. His horrible baseball skills.

Apparently he can spell better than I can.

When I was in the fourth grade, I was in my elementary school's spelling bee. I was excited and proud and definitely nervous. I did pretty well during the first few rounds. But then I got hit with a pretty tough word.

"Perceive."

And just like that, I was out. Poor 9-year-old Annie.

In the movie, Charlie Brown wins his school's spelling bee. In the second grade. With the word P-E-R-C-E-I-V-E. He could remember the i-before-e-except-after-c rule.



Even Charlie Brown can beat me. Good grief.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Swallowing potatoes

**BE FOREWARNED--this post contains a semi-disgusting story. Just go with it, because it really demonstrates my gist. Oh, and I will not tolerate judgment upon my six-year-old self.**

When I was little, I hated potatoes. WITH A PASSIONATE VENGEANCE UPON ANYTHING SPUD-LIKE. Ask my mom, and she'll tell you that she would cook 'em, and I would turn my nose up at every potato dished unto me.

One night, during a particularly disgusting bout of potato dinner, I was refusing to clean off my plate. No matter how much hamburger and cheese and whatever else you put on there, it was still a potato, and even at a young age, my taste buds would not be fooled nor harangued into the partaking of such awfulness. Yet, I knew I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I had finished what was there.

Now, I don't know why I did this, and looking back, it really doesn't make sense, but it happened. Ok? Let's all cut young Annie a tiny break. I must have wanted to leave the table badly enough, so I got it through my head that if I just held the potatoes in my mouth like a chipmunk, it would somehow not be as painful.

"Hmm..." you might be thinking, "That is pretty backwards thinking. Why didn't you just swallow them and get it over with?" Why didn't I?! Nope, there they stayed. UNTIL THE NEXT MORNING. Yes, I slept with potatoes couched in the back of my mouth, stubborn enough to not swallow them. When morning finally did come, I realized that I would still have to swallow them, because I knew it was a rule, and I couldn't break the rules. (Gasp!)

Fast forward to my life as of late. I've known for awhile that I needed to confront a certain life situation head on. That I needed to, in essence, just swallow the stupid potatoes and be done with it. Yet for some reason, I have shrunken like a coward and not faced my fears. I could hear people chanting (in not so many words), "Just do it! DO. IT."

What had me so scared? Wouldn't it be better to find out the reality of the situation and not build this fantasy in my head? Wouldn't it be easier to just know where I stand instead of creating a dream that never existed? Wouldn't I be happier, ridding myself of the anxiety this has been causing me?

As of last night, I 'swallowed the potatoes.' And they were bitter and gross and disgusting. But at least they're not in my mouth. At least I have come to grips with the scenario being what it is. Confrontation is never easy for me, but I feel pretty great about how I handled this particular life 'adventure.' I'm not happy with the end product, but at least I can hold my head high and be satisfied that I have done everything I could. No tears (ahem--yet!). No anger or resentment. Just a renewed sense of being able to move forward, on to whatever is next.