Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kelsey's Cooking Course

I have nearly three whole weeks before I start my next semester of school. Determined to not let these three weeks go to waste, I have a master plan that will both keep me busy and keep me learning. (I have approximately 47 new hobbies that I would like to master...) I have created "Kelsey's Cooking Course," with Kelsey (and the internet) as teacher, Kelsey as pupil, and Grant as judge . It's kind of like "Julie & Julia" except I have no rules so that if I fail I won't feel too bad...

For starters, I planned out the next two weeks of meals (roughly) and went shopping for all the ingredients I'll need for those meals. If all goes as planned, we won't have to grocery shopping again for two weeks. Considering my chronic forgetfulness, that would be a miracle.

I included a bunch of new recipes: Lemon Chicken Italiano, Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Honey Glazed Carrots, and Lemon Pepper Broccoli; a few oldies but goodies: Pizza and Fajitas; and a few twists on old favorites: Red and White Mostaccioli, Holiday Rice, and Overnight Rolls.

I'm two days in and have now cooked/baked/made five recipes. Two oldies: German Pancakes and Sugar cookies; Three newbies: Minestrone (Leslie's recipe), Popovers, and Sweet & Sour Meatballs. The Minestrone was great! The recipe made tons so we'll be eating the leftovers for a while. Luckily it's really good so we'll definitely finish it.

I didn't realize it until I started making them, but the Popovers had the exact same ingredients as German pancakes, just in different amounts. Baked in muffin tins, they make for an easy, portable version of German Pancakes. We ate them with strawberry jam and froze the leftovers for later.

And ten minutes ago I pulled the Sweet & Sour Meatballs out of the oven. For some reason, I love meatballs and meatloaf, and other types of unidentifiable meat dishes... These are great too. Here is the recipe, in case you're a fan of balls of meat like me. Oh, and I halved the recipe... 72 meatballs is a LOT.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs
2 lbs. ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 recipe Sauce for Meatballs (see below)

Combine all ingredients except sauce, in a large bowl. Form into balls, using level tablespoon as measure. Place on a greased baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Makes about 72 meatballs.

Sauce for Meatballs:
2 cups ketchup
1 cup grape jelly

Mix ketchup and grape jelly in a small saucepan. Warm briefly over medium heat. Pour sauce over cooked meatballs. To serve, keep warm in small Crock-Pot or serving dish on warming tray. Can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Not an attractive picture... but that's what they looked like when I was done.

In addition, I write notes under all the recipes I make so I can remember them. For this one I wrote: 12/31/09- Made for New Years Eve Party-- yummy and easy. Halved the recipe, Made them half the size and cooked for 8 min.

Yay for eating!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Since our parents live in different places we switch off with our families each Christmas. We spent last year in Denver with the Tanners so this year we were in Boise with the Petersons. We did lots of fun things but of course, forgot to take pictures for nearly all of them. So here are some highlights:

-It was the biggest Christmas we've ever had as far as numbers go. Five Petersons + Two husbands + Two grandparents= nine people.
-We went to a Steelheads game and Grant saw one of his friends from high school that he hadn't seen in years.
-We ate TONS of food.
-We found out Lindsay and Taylor are having a baby!
-We stayed up late on Christmas Eve and all the kids slept in the same room. It's been a tradition since we were little to sleep in the same room and I was afraid it might fall apart with marrieds joining the family. I prevailed. Well at least until "Dino" McFarland shows up.
-We got some great presents: Grant's presents seemed to be camping themed: a huge internal frame backpack, ready-to-eat meals, a headlamp, etc. My presents seemed to be accessory themed: shoes, hats, tights, a headband, etc. In addition we have some Christmas money to spend. Grant is forcing me to spend a certain amount because if he doesn't, it will all go into savings.
This is one of my new pairs of shoes. I'm in love.

Of course, we also made chocolate covered pretzels with the cousins. The Logsdons and Freeneys come over and everyone has a different task. Older kids (Petersons) are on dipping duty while younger kids are on sprinkle duty. This year I helped Molly graduate to dipping duty-- she was a natural. Somehow, I didn't get pictures of any completed pretzels...

All the little cousins sported their bag aprons.

Reindeer Grant was at the stove.

Their attention lasted about 12 pretzels lengths...

We also played a ton of Mario Kart Wii and my skills are much improved. I have nearly mastered the manual drift. (This has been a long time coming). Robbie, Grant and I each have our own specialty races. For example, I am a master at Peach Gardens, thank you.

However, if you ask Grant what his favorite part of the trip was, he would say the skiing! We were so excited to get out on the mountain and it was the perfect day up at Bogus. Grant was a little skeptical of the resort because he's grown up skiing Colorado and Utah powder. But it was beautiful and the snow was pretty good too.

The boys in the back of the truck heading up to Bogus. I was the only girl which made for an interesting trip. Boys like to go fast and do crazy things so Dad stayed behind with me and helped me carve my turns.

This is a picture of the road that made me throw up every weekend when I was younger. The good part: I get the front seat, no questions asked!

The clouds covered the valley that day but the mountain was clear. It was more beautiful than this picture could possibly show.

At the top.

A beautiful picture to end a long post about a wonderful vacation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's the Happiest Season of All

Right NOW at the Tanner house (apartment) we are Christmas-ing. We bought an advent calendar at our local Goodwill store and everyday we open a new box to find a new Christmas activity to do!

We have done lots of things so far including: Watched a Christmas movie, looked up the symbols of Christmas, read the Christmas story in Luke, sent Christmas postcards to missionaries, whistled our very own rendition of "Silver Bells," and lots more! Tonight we are decorating stockings with puffy paints, and making snowflakes, snowmen (out of marshmallows), and chocolate covered pretzels!

Of course, our tiny little 3 dollar tree is lit and we are listening to Christmas music as well! What a wonderful time of year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Comes to Life!

I really wanted the title of this to be: And she brought forth her first born doll and laid him in the stake center for there was no room for him in the tiny apartment... But it was way too long. In addition, this post is in no way, shape, or form, a pregnancy announcement...

Our stake had a nativity exhibit and we got to host one evening. There were 1011 nativities on display and over 700 poinsettias around the stake center. Some of our favorite nativities included one made out of peanuts, one made out of nuts and bolts, a rubber ducky nativity, as well as nativities from all over the world. It was beautiful and we even contributed our first nativity to the display.

I was a little disappointed because they split up the pieces for the display, but in all honesty, I don't think anyone noticed our tiny little nativity out of the 1010 others anyway. We are VERY excited for Christmas this year. We'll be spending the holidays in Boise with my family and it will be the first holiday with both the new married additions! Rob is excited that now he has not only one brother, but two! I think this is the first time in Peterson history (meaning as far back as I my grandparents) that the boys have outnumbered the girls.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mailbox: Full

Well, our mailbox is not full yet but it will be soon.
What will it be full of? A tote bag, A coupon for free Pita chips, Tampax Pearl, and a few other unknown items.
How much did we pay for all this? Nothing... amazing, I know, a free tote bag and tampons.
How did we get such amazing free things? Five words: Grant's amazing online shopping skills.
If you have paid full price for anything, then you are certainly not Grant or Kelsey Tanner. Also, if you would like to get small, random objects for free in the mail, just ask Grant, he can point you in the right direction (or several right directions). Yes... it's our hobby to be frugal and we enjoy it, darn it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

This year, being so far away from family, we decided it was best to just stick around for the relatively short Thanksgiving break. We had opportunities to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends but decided it would be fun to do something a little different instead! This is where we ended up (it was really bright outside):

And this is how we felt about it:

More specifically, we went camping at Turner Falls near Davis, Oklahoma (as if anybody knows where that is). It was about a 2 hour drive north of home on I-35. I suggested to Grant that we keep driving until we get to Canada and we considered it for about 20 seconds... Here are some of the amazing things we saw on the way there:
Willy Wonka's Factory

Home of the celebrated Bulgarian Seeker

My very own video store! We got closer and found out is was an Adult Video Store... (and a huge one at that...) I disowned it immediately...A car full on burning on the side of the road... I can't imagine that smoke is very "green"

We arrived at Turner Falls in the afternoon and were surprised at how beautiful it was! There was a creek that ran all through the camp. The water was SO clear and at the base of camp, it filled out into pool they turned into a swimming hole. The water was absolutely freezing (get to the end to read about my plunge of death).
We drove to our campsite-- you have to cross the creek at times, it is for fun-- and set everything up. We brought our air mattress because it's the only portable mattress we have that fits two. Unfortunately it is about two feet tall when blown up and it took up probably about half of the total tent volume. It filled up the entire floor of the tent and made it impossible to sit up without running into the ceiling... but it was comfy!!
After that, we set out for a short hike to Turner Falls and some of the surrounding caves. On the way there we discovered The Castle!! I was really excited about this. Some college professor built this place in the 30's for his summer home and Bar C Ranch Headquarters (I really don't know what that means). It was beautiful-- I'm wondering how much it would cost to buy the place and fix it up to live in it, except for the fact that it's in Oklahoma... never mind.

We continued on to the falls-- they were beautiful and it was a fun rocky hike up to the caves and to the top of the falls. I tried to be an artsy photographer-- one of my many aspirations-- although it's difficult when you have no training and a simple point and shoot camera...
Turner FallsThe view from a cave

Inside the cave. "Oooooohhh!"

It was really steep :)
Attempts at artsy-nessView from above the falls

That night we discovered our true callings in life-- Grant is the master fire maker and I am the master camping cook. After I successfully smothered Grant's fire about 5 times, I moved on to preparing the food and all was well. We had stuffing and mashed potatoes as well as campfire vidalias, but the main menu was foil dinners with ham, sweet potatoes and pineapple (with Grant's addition of marshmallows). For dessert we had Banana Boats-- it was super tasty and we were super full! We don't own a camp stove so all of this was done over the fire with pots from our local thrift store-- we were pretty proud!
Here's where I run out of pictures because the camera died... We slept pretty well that night. There was about an hour where we both couldn't sleep because it was too cold, but besides that it was really nice. We woke up and had hot chocolate and a campfire breakfast without a name (bacon, ham, and hash browns cooked with eggs topped with tomatoes and cheese). We packed up and Grant decided it was time to go swimming... Remember that freezing cold swimming hole we talked about earlier? We put our swim suits on and headed out to the water. It was literally an ice bucket. Grant slid in and stayed under for a couple of seconds while I held my hand over my mouth terrified and a couple hikers looked on, probably wondering when they would need to call an ambulance. I sat on the side of the pool for about 10 minutes (too long for the hikers to stick around). I finally got up the nerve to get in. I screamed before I went under and I screamed coming up. I think I was under for approximately .12 seconds because not even all my hair had time to get wet but I DID IT! I was very proud and I told Grant that he owed me something pretty special for getting in the water. (I got breakfast in bed this morning :))

It was definitely a good Thanksgiving-- a little different, a little turkey-less and pumpkin pie-less but still a good one. Now we can't wait until Christmas!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lonely No More

Grant is coming home today after a week in Colorado! I am very excited because life is way better with Grant than without him. The week he has been gone my life has been something like this:

1. Getting cold at night because I don't have my natural radiator in bed.
2. Playing Zelda for entirely way too long (although I finally beat the game).
3. Actually getting some homework done early (the one good thing).
4. Getting lots of work/choreography in.
5. Not cooking a single meal because it's no fun to cook for yourself.
6. Eating granola bars, crackers, oreos, Corn Chex, cupcakes and an occasional sandwich (yes, I believe this is all I ate all week).
7. Oh, I also drank a lot of hot chocolate.
8. Oh, I also ate a few apples-- Grant will be proud I got my fruits & veggies in... hah.
9. Rented a RedBox that Grant would never have watched (and never would have liked, I realized once I saw it).
10. I went to a show at school-- Grant was probably happy about this because he already went to his one modern dance show for the year :)
11. Played games and watched Muppet Christmas Carol with some friends (Christmas is coming!!)

That was a pretty random list... but I haven't posted in a while and that's all I have to post. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! We're going camping so if you have any good Thanksgiving recipes that are easy to do camping let me know!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hiking in November Warm Weather!

Kelsey and I had a great weekend. We went on a several mile hike next to Grapevine Lake not too far from our apartment. I wanted to break in the new boots I got from Cabella's - thanks Mike!

The lake water was cold, but not that cold considering it's November. We are, for the first time, enjoying the weather in Texas.

For the last several months, Kelsey has been performing in a singing group. They put on Fireside's in different wards around the stake. Here is a clip of her singing - she is the star (don't tell anyone I secretly filmed this in the chapel). I realize it may be off centered and not straight - but I was trying to be sneeky.

I am off to Denver this week to see about some possible career options. Why is choosing what you want to be when you grow up so difficult? "Well, I got a news flash for you Walter Cronkite..." the hard decisions never go away.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

People pity you when you're unemployed...

The Mallory's invited Kelsey and I to the Mavericks vs. Jazz basketball game on Tuesday night. I asked Logan how much the tickets were and he said, "For the Tanner'!" Thanks Logan and Emily.

Here are some pictures of us with the Mallory's and inside the American Airlines center. It was a fun night, even though the Jazz lost after being in the lead the whole game.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hello family and fellow blog readers. Kelsey and I are having a hard time believing it's November already. We have been in Texas for 6 months (seems like we've been here longer...huh). October was a fun month full of unique challenges.

I lost my job...enough said.

We spent some time in Arizona for Grandpa Tanner's funeral. It was great to remember a wonderful man's life and to see the whole family! Grammy - our love goes out to you. Kate still remembers her Uncle Grant. The first thing she said to me was, "Hi Uncle Grant, but where's Kelsey?" She also probably still remembers her sheep Ricky Kenship Ba Ba White Sheep (she came up with that all by herself). We love our family and were super glad to be with everyone for the weekend.

We spent the next weekend in Boise, Idaho. We enjoyed some beautiful fall leaves and crisp air - something we just don't get here in Dallas. Kelsey was recruited out there to choreograph some dances for her old studio, Studio C. She loved it. She does wonderful work, and everybody loves her there. She probably will not approve of me putting a video of her on the blog, but here is a little clip of her dancing here in Dallas. She is on the left. She made this up.

We hadn't heard about any Halloween parties, so we decided to have our own. I was a giraffe. Kels was Mrs. Gold. We both carved the jack-o-lantern and she made the cake. The cake was very impressive and super tasty. She's getting really good. Lower left shows Hugh and Caitlin West and Stephen and McKenna Dutcher, some good friends.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I almost cried at Walmart...

Tonight we went to Walmart because I had to take in a prescription for my migraine medication. I have been out for quite a while now but have put off getting it again because it is so expensive (probably not a very wise choice, I'm aware). I was prepared for the worst when I asked the pharmacist how much it would be... and for good reason. It was $434-- yes, that's four hundred thirty four dollars! She said, "Well that's what you pay cash since you don't have insurance." I told her I had insurance, gave her my card and asked if it would change the price at all. Unfortunately she had to fill the prescription to find out.

We went about shopping and I came back to pick up my prescription and guess how much it cost?! $4.00. FOUR DOLLARS! I couldn't believe it. I was nearly in tears when she told me. BYU's insurance didn't have prescription coverage and we didn't expect much better with our current insurance. What a tender mercy from the Lord! I still can't believe it!!! (Now I've got to decide how to spend my extra $430 dollars :)

Who knew these little babies could be so expensive? (or cheap?!?!) Like my mom told me, "Now you can afford to get a headache!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Doo doo bee doo

I am currently blogging to avoid a paper that is due tomorrow... I can't say this is the first time that this has ever happened. But despite my lack of desire to write my paper, school is going great. It's fun and different to study dance. I like my classes and I have made some good friends too.

We've been doing fun things lately! First, we went to the GrapeFest here in Grapevine a few weeks ago. As you may have guessed, most people go for the wine (which was evident in most people's behavior while we were there...) We met up with a bunch of friends there and walked around. There are tons of shops along cute little Main Street and we also checked out a bronze sculptor's studio as well as a glass blowing studio.The entrance to the Grapefest
A very very large man... oh and a statue behind him :)
This is the group that attended Grapefest! Almost all of us are BYU graduates so we have our own little Cougartown here in Texas.

Also, we attended a Thai festival a few weeks ago! A bunch of local Thai restaurants had set up booths and were selling all sorts of interesting food. We got a bunch of different things including a funky sausage, some beef or pork that was kind of like jerky with sauce on it, some sweet crunchy noodles and fried rice. Obviously, most of it was new to us-- (it is obviously also very hard to describe). They had two different music playing in different places and that was really cool. It is amazing how different the instruments they played were from the instruments I am used to seeing. There was one that had strings laid across a wooden box that sat on the ground. The girl playing it had what looked like pieces of wheat in her hands-- a long skinny, bendable rod that had a bigger piece on the end. She would hit the strings lightly to make the strings vibrate-- it was really cool!This was a Chinese sausage... I think...

Grant was really excited about this world famous band that was supposed to play that night. By the time we had eaten and checked everything out, there were still a few hours until they played so we took off.
This is a canteloupe... amazing...

Life is good at the Tanner's-- the weather is cooling down and it's almost Halloween! We have already been decorated for about 3 weeks... wahoo!