Search Results for: cooking lessons

Cooking Lesson: Shrimp Tacos

For Cinco de Mayo reposting this old post from one of my fabled cooking lessons. Enjoy some tacos!

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

Is it just me or do these shrimp make me look skinny? 🙂

I’ve mentioned on this blog that I have done cooking lessons for my sister and her friends.  I love entertaining, cooking and teaching others.  It is fun to just cook together with others.  My sister is gone to Japan but Taylor and I have kept in touch via facebook.  She asked if I could give her a lesson minus Anna and I said why not! (I told Anna that she is more than welcome to hang out with any of my friends and she laughed 🙂 ).

So we decided to make shrimp tacos with a cole slaw made with a light vinaigrette.  The shrimp was fresh from Harmons and rubbed with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, black pepper and paprika.  Then they were cooked in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of lime juice to…

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Cooking Lesson: Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is definitely one of my best recipes. It’s not only my favorite food but I think my version of it is the best I’ve ever eaten. I have done cooking lessons for my friends and they have been great experiences. You can see some of the lessons I’ve done over the years at https://smilingldsgirl.com/?s=cooking+lessons

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

As many of you know my favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs.  I love it because of the carb-fest, the mix of flavors and a certain sentimental value.  When I was super down in life I made a spaghetti and meatballs and as odd as it might sound I had an ‘ah, ha’ moment about my life.  I recounted that experience in the chapter of my nanobook I entitled ‘The Spaghetti Incident’.  You can read about it here:

https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/11/03/nanowrimo-the-spaghetti-incident/

Basically I said to myself ‘why isn’t the rest of my life as good as this spaghetti’.  6 years later my life is close to as good as that spaghetti, which I am very grateful for.  Hopefully some day I will get all the way as good but a girl’s got to leave some room for dreaming. 🙂

Anyway, my friend and fellow bookclub buddy Rachel Bey asked if I could…

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Cooking Lesson: Spaghetti and Meatballs

As many of you know my favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs.  I love it because of the carb-fest, the mix of flavors and a certain sentimental value.  When I was super down in life I made a spaghetti and meatballs and as odd as it might sound I had an ‘ah, ha’ moment about my life.  I recounted that experience in the chapter of my nanobook I entitled ‘The Spaghetti Incident’.  You can read about it here:

https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/11/03/nanowrimo-the-spaghetti-incident/

Basically I said to myself ‘why isn’t the rest of my life as good as this spaghetti’.  6 years later my life is close to as good as that spaghetti, which I am very grateful for.  Hopefully some day I will get all the way as good but a girl’s got to leave some room for dreaming. 🙂

Anyway, my friend and fellow bookclub buddy Rachel Bey asked if I could do one of my famous cooking lessons.  She didn’t know what she wanted to learn how to make and so I suggested making spaghetti and meatballs (if she doesn’t know why not make my favorite food).I think this is the 6th lesson I’ve done over the last year and a half or so and I really enjoy it.   Its fun to cook with friends, share talents and make delicious food all at the same time.  I’ve been thinking I may want to come up with a mini-cookbook and update it as I do more lessons.

I started this recipe with Ina Garten’s spaghetti and meatball recipe and then added my own flare (and yes to you Italian purists I put sugar in the sauce, so good).

spaghetti 5
Rachel making meatballs
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Stirring the sauce. The water for the pasta for some reason took forever to boil.
spaghetti 1
A good meal, good friends. Happy day
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Rachel liked it too.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (my recipe inspired by Ina Garten with a bunch of my additions)

Ingredients
For the meatballs:

1/2 pound ground Italian sausage (Ina calls for veal but who can afford that)
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices pulsed to crumbs in food processor)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten

3/4 cup of water
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock (Ina calls for wine but I don’t cook with that)
2(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp sambal or other hot sauce
3 tbsp sugar
Italian seasoning

For serving:

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Mix all ingredients together with your hands or a spoon if you aren’t brave. Then lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. I like to put them on cookie sheets as I make them.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. I then put them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 to keep warm and bake all the way through.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock and cook on high heat deglazing the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Once it heats through add hot sauce, sugar, Italian seasonings to taste.  Heat all the way through and then let simmer as long as you can

Put meatballs into sauce and let cook a few minutes together until spaghetti noodles are done (follow package instructions.  Our water took forever to boil).  I personally like to keep my pasta and sauce separate and then plate them together but if you like to mix them all up in one pot that is fine.  Top with parmesan cheese and a little basil or parsley.
The finished product.  So good!
The finished product. So good!

 

Cooking Lesson: Shrimp Tacos

Is it just me or do these shrimp make me look skinny? 🙂

I’ve mentioned on this blog that I have done cooking lessons for my sister and her friends.  I love entertaining, cooking and teaching others.  It is fun to just cook together with others.  My sister is gone to Japan but Taylor and I have kept in touch via facebook.  She asked if I could give her a lesson minus Anna and I said why not! (I told Anna that she is more than welcome to hang out with any of my friends and she laughed 🙂 ).

So we decided to make shrimp tacos with a cole slaw made with a light vinaigrette.  The shrimp was fresh from Harmons and rubbed with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, black pepper and paprika.  Then they were cooked in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of lime juice to deglaze. The cole slaw was made with purple cabbage, cilantro, red bell pepper, radishes, with a vinaigrette of champagne vinegar, agave, lime juice, olive oil.

The taco was made with corn tortillas, and then topped with cole slaw and cotija cheese (new to me, yum!) and avocado.  The shrimp was spicy so you didn’t need a lot of other flavors in the toppings.  It was very fresh, light and flavorful.

If anyone wants to do other cooking lessons let me know.  I love exploring different cultures (our last cooking lesson was Chinese food. Yum!). As any teacher will attest you learn more from the preparation and teaching than your students ever do.  My kitchen is really small but we make it work.

Taylor and Cassie. I love teaching people how to cook. I like teaching anyone just about anything. Taylor is getting ready to put in her mission papers and it was fun to share my memories.
The completed taco
I love the pretty colors of this cole slaw.
Tried something new cotija cheese. Delicious!

Cooking Lesson

Yesterday my sister Anna with her roommates Taylor and Becca came over for the first in what will hopefully be many cooking lessons.  We had talked about doing this for a couple of months and I was thrilled that we actually did it!  With fall in full swing I had a request to teach the girls how to make soup.  French onion soup is Becca’s favorite soup so that’s what I chose to show them.  I also thought it was a good, simple recipe for new cooks.  In addition to the soup we made homemade bread and decorated a cookies and cream cake.   While I admit this is not the healthiest of meals, I figured it was Halloween and we could go a little carb crazy!

The one thing I didn’t think of was what cutting 2 lbs of onions would do to our eyes.  It was intense in my kitchen and all of us had red eyes and tears (not exactly the best way to start off a cooking lesson but oh well!).   Anna did a little video tape to show their pain:

Once we got through the tears we caramelized the onions, added the broth and then transferred the soup into oven proof bowls for the croton/cheese toppings.  Delicious!

 

Delicious french onion soup!
This french onion soup was souper good!

 

I had already baked the cake so I showed them how to cut layers in it, add a pudding filling,  and frost it with whipped cream.   It was a yummy cake- perfect for Halloween.

 

cookies and cream cake

 

Don’t worry I’m back on the diet bandwagon today. In fact, I met with my trainer this morning and got a beast of a work out! Maybe the next class I do will have to be a healthy food class but on Halloween come on!  Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again soon.

By the way, I am going to put out a winner for my recipe contest this week.  It has taken me longer than I thought to test out the recipes.  Only 2 more left!  I didn’t want you’all to think I’d forgotten it.

 

My Dating Resume

So yesterday I posted my dating resume to the blog and it got a ton of hits.   Originally it was more of a joke than a serious dating idea but maybe I’m on to something? My friend suggested I simply the post the resume and that seemed like a good idea.

So forgive the repetition but here goes.

Here’s some things about me to recommend me to your single friends out there:

I’m in my early 30s and look like this

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I’m a great athlete and love beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans.  Swam 5 open water swims with 2 more to come this year.

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I also can kick most anybody’s butt. I’m tough as nails.  MMA is my specialty.

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I’m also a great reader, philosopher and deep thinker.  Love good conversation and debate.

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I also love the arts, movies, music and theater and the symphony.  Here I am after performing at Hale Center Theater

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I take great joy in writing both this blog and my recently completed nanowrimo book

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Looking for a great cook?  I’m that too. I love to entertain and form groups.  I’ve had a book club for over 3 years and I give cooking lessons to my friends.

rachel-at-party

The finished product.  So good!

I’m also a great friend and aunt. Loyalty, honesty and friendship are everything to me. Always have been.

My friend Emily and I at a book signing

My friend Emily and I at a book signing

Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii.  Dear friends

Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii. Dear friends

Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii

Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii (I love Hawaii and love to travel)

miriam

My niece and me
My niece and me

I work from home for Poler LLC and love being my own boss and having freedom

Lastly my faith is everything.  Without it I would just be an anxiety ridden, unhappy mess.  I would sooner give up breathing than give up my faith.

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So there you go.  That’s my online resume for any guys out there to read.  I think I’m pretty great.  Not perfect but got a lot going for me.  I’m fun and try really hard to be a good friend.  I work hard, am honest and I know what my many flaws are and am working to do better.

So if you know someone who is single show him this page and then let him decided for himself if he wants to be set up with me.  That should make your life easier.  Who knows right!

Anyway,  That’s me.  Find me some dates people! 🙂

Reasons to Come and Visit Me

photo
BTW, I sort of love this photo!

As if this smiling face wasn’t enough reason to come and visit here are some more:

1. Amazing dark master bedroom you could use and get the best sleep of your life!

2. If you opt for the guestroom there are 2 mattresses and your own fridge and microwave

3. 5 national parks in Utah, more than any other state!

4. I cook really well! Ask the girls who go to my cooking lessons- it’s good stuff!

5. Broadway level theater everywhere from Utah Shakespeare Festival, both Hale Theaters, to The Covey Center in Provo.  Fabulous

6. Lots for you history buffs- Golden Spike, This is the Place, Lion House and the largest family history library in the world

7.  Plenty to inspire including free Tabernacle Choir concerts, performances and beautiful church buildings of many faiths

8. Let’s be honest- I’m a lot of fun to hang out with!

9. Great shopping at City Creek and new outlet mall in Lehi and more

10. As many trips to local lakes to swim or kayak as your heart desires (mine many) and you could meet my awesome SLOW friends

11. Workout and play in Treehouse Athletic Club one of the best spa/sports clubs in the country.  (for real).

12. Oh and some people like to ski and I’m willing to learn.

13. 5 star accommodations at $0 price.  The deal of the century!

14.  Terrific local sports including super fun BYU games

15. Olympic park for you Olympic fans

16.  Great local venues for concerts, symphonies, operas and basically anything your want to see.

So there you have it.  I will hear no excuses!  Come and visit!

(Seriously I’m so lucky to live where I live!)

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Pies, Books, Hair and Chili Lesson

Phew!  What a day! I’m exhausted but it has been tons of fun.   Here it is in pictures.

First of all I had book club in the morning and made these pies
First of all I had book club in the morning and made these pies

me and pie

Blackberry Crumb Pie

Ingredients

1 Pie Crust, refrigerated or from scratch

For the Filling:

3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
¼ – ½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoons cinnamon

For the Crumble Topping

2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
12 tablespoons butter

Instructions

For the Filling:

Toss the berries with the sugar and the cinnamon.

For the Crumble Topping:

Whisk together the flour and the sugar.
Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until mixture is crumbly.

Assemble:

Press the pie crust into a pie dish.
Pour in the berry filling.
Cover with the crumble topping.
Bake at 400° for 1 hour (The recipe only called for 35 minutes but it just wasn’t done)

Book club was neat. I figured out it was our 30th book! Not too shabby.  We read Rebecca by Daphne DuMarier and we all enjoyed it immensely.  While we were talking about the book I had my light fixture and art installed in my room.  I kind of love it!

new light fixture
Isn’t it pretty? I just love it.

Then I met my trainer for a quick session and went to 2 Wallgreens to get an awesome collage poster done for my lesson.  I’m teaching about friendship and so I made a poster of my friends.  Then I came home and had another mini bookclub session with my friend Melissa who couldn’t come earlier but wanted to talk about the book. So fun!

Next, I had to work on my lesson for a bit and do the program for tomorrow’s relief society.  Then it was time to get my hair cut and colored by my friend Rachel.  It’s very similar to what I always get but I like it.

New hair.  Or the same hair again.
New hair. Or the same hair again. What do you think?

Then Taylor and Becca came over and we did another of our cooking lessons.  This time I taught them how to make chili and cornbread.  Everything turned out great especially the chili and it was so much fun to teach them and gab together.  They are such fun friends.

I think they had fun? :)
I think they had fun? 🙂
chili
I’d say it was one of the best chili’s I’ve made. Yum

Chili

1 yellow onion diced

3 red, orange, yellow peppers diced

2 jalapenos seeded, pulp removed, finely diced (less if you don’t want it to be spicy)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground beef

3 cans diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato paste

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp smashed garlic

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp honey

4 cups chicken broth

2 cans black beans (or any kind of beans)

Heat olive oil add diced onion, garlic, peppers.  Sweat vegetables until clear.  Add ground beef until heated through.  Add spices. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, black beans, add honey to taste. Come to a boil and then simmer and it will get thicker. Top with cilantro, green onion, greek yogurt etc. Serve with cornbread.

Taylor learning to cook
Taylor learning to cook
Me and Tayor
Me and Tayor
Becca stirring some chili
Becca stirring some chili

So is that not a super full day? Tomorrow I have to teach my lesson and pick my Dad up from the airport and then its back to work.  Busy, busy, busy but happy.  Life is good. Wish me luck on my lesson.  A little nervous about it because its a little unorthodox but in a good way.  Right now I’m too tired to give it much thought.  What fun day!

Nurturing

Just a comment- this post is mainly for my LDS friends but feel free to read on either way!

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of nurturing.  In the Mormon church nurturing is frequently the top verb used to describe women.  The Family: A Proclamation to the World even says “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

Despite the frequency of this verbage and its clear importance, the actual meaning of the word is a little fuzzy.  I bet if you asked 100 Mormon women you would get 100 close, but sometimes strikingly different answers.   Recently released General Relief Society President Julie Beck created great controversy in 2007 when she said:

“Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a “house of order,”

and, “Mothers who know…bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts.”

So, according to Sister Beck learning to nurture is more important than any other kind of education, and yet still what is it exactly?  Surely, it is more than learning to iron and brush hair to perfection!  Sister Beck goes on to say “Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home.” (Also, couldn’t homemaking be a home of one?)

Well, this confuses me even more because is not the standard of an orderly home completely subjective?  I know people that even at our cleanest would find my parents home very cluttered and those that would see the reverse.  And even if this is the definition is that something to build an eternal life and purpose around? Some of the most righteous homes I’ve been in were dirty, cluttered and even chaotic.To give Sister Beck more credit I am sure she would agree.  As all general authorities she is required to teach an ideal and let us govern ourselves.

However, it still doesn’t answer the question about nurturing.  What is it and how is it best expressed? Oftentimes I feel when it gets defined as homemaking it limits the scope of the word to those who are what I call ‘ooey goey’.  Meaning they see a baby and coo.  They want nothing more than to have a home with tons of kids and husband who provides for them. I loved reading Stephanie Nielsen’s book but she is totally that way, which is great.  I’m not down-grading this in any way.  In fact, I quite envy it but its just not me right now.

In fact, I’ve never been like that.  I’m much more of a realist when it comes to family life and have never had a huge innate desire to have my own children.  There are a lot of reasons for this but there it is.  I’m open minded and willing to do whatever Heavenly Father asks but I don’t crave it like some girls.

For some single girls I know not having children is the great sorrow of their lives, and I just don’t feel that way.  I don’t have a great sorrow. I’m happy with my life.  This contentment sometimes feels wrong, like I should be desiring for these things more, but what good would that do me? I’m not avoiding them…Hmmm?

This makes me wonder- do I lack this essential trait of nurturing that is supposed to be so natural to women?  Sister Beck seems to answer yes, saying quite bluntly:

“Mothers who know desire to bear children”.  and again “Faithful daughters of God desire children.” That doesn’t make me feel very faithful…Hmmm?

There has to be more to it than that…

I honestly don’t know the complete answer and I wonder what Sister Beck would tell me to do?  I’m sure she would be sweet and lovely but I wonder what advice she would give?

I always felt a connection with Martha in the Mary and Martha story in the New Testament.  Am I a Martha who is focused on the more practical, instead of the intangibles like Mary? What can I do about that? Hmmm (Also, couldn’t the Mary/Martha story refute some of the perfectly ironed and brushed mothers Sister Beck describes above?)

I’ve always loved this painting and have a copy in my dining room to remind myself to focus on the Lord and not the business of the world. Minerva Teichert Mary and Martha.

The fact is we don’t know why some of us are given certain personalities, natures, desires and others aren’t?  We don’t know why some are given certain opportunities and others are not, but isn’t it a comfort to know that God knows? 

Even though I occasionally feel guilty and more than a little unfeminine for my personality, I know that God accepts me and see’s my efforts to be obedient.  99% of the time I am comfortable with who I am and what my role is in God’s plan. When those 1% moments happen He is there showing me my worth.

That said, I still don’t know 100% what it is I am striving for? I was talking to a friend the other day and she said I have nurturing qualities in ways that don’t necessarily involve babies such as entertaining, cooking, making friends etc.  This was a very comforting thought.  Perhaps I will enjoy certain parts of nurturing more than others.  I am sure the priesthood enjoy and feel adept at certain responsibilities more than others.  Nobody is perfect (and how boring would that be if we all were!).

More my style with kids! LOL

In the new book Daughters In My Kingdom about the history of Relief Society they give the best definition of nurturing I can find:

“Nurture is a rich word. It means to train, to teach, to educate, to foster development, to promote growth, and to nourish or feed. Women have been given the great privilege and responsibility to nurture in all these senses.  Sister Julie B. Beck taught about the role of nurturing: “To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers [should] create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes.”

I think I might have stumbled upon the answer- to nurture is teach, to educate.  That is something I’m great at! I’m a really good teacher (maybe not as much for kids but I’m learning).  When I left the singles ward 😦 I got an email from a girl saying:

“I just wanted to say thank you SO much for all of the Sunday School lessons you taught. I always looked so forward for you to teach. I have learned a lot from you and I know I have heard other people say that too!

You have such a wonderful personality and a very strong testimony. It is evident in the way you teach and the wonderful attitude you have! Keep up the great work and never stop being the wonderful person you are!”

Maybe I’m not so bad at nurturing in this form. Hmmm?

I think of book club and how I have fostered an environment of discussion or teaching cooking lessons to my sister and her friends or writing this blog to hopefully share and teach.  Is this not nurturing? It seems so different than Sister Beck’s definition?

I don’t know if I have it 100% figured out but I’m on to something. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about knowing everything but about continually learning.  For me at least these questions are not faith altering but faith refining. If we do not ask questions than we will never grow and our faith will remain stagnant.

Even the pioneer women there were some who became doctors and published newspapers, and others who had 15 children.  They weren’t all the same, but it seems like they were all good at nurturing.

What do you think?  How do you define the word nurture? What is the end goal of nurturing in regards to womanhood and progression?

Some varying talks on this topic-