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!