Friday, May 31, 2013

Thoughts on the Masterchef Season 4 Finalists…

Masterchef Season 4 Finalists
     The finalists have been listed FINALLY for Masterchef Season 4!  I was thrilled to see the list, and I thought I might share a few thoughts with you on each of the finalist.  Kind of a “Ruth’s Take on the Competitors”, so to speak.  It definitely has the makings of a great season.  I have to admit that I am very said to already see Sasha Foxx crossed out….Boo!  I liked Sasha Foxx.  Some of the finalists so far have been slipping under the radar.  Eddie Jackson, for instance.  I saw him in the first week’s episode and was definitely rooting for him.   I barely saw him at all on this week’s episode, to be truthful until the list of finalists came out I was not sure whether or not he had made it.  I am definitely pleased to see that he did, way to go Eddie.  I hope you get more air time though! 
    

     So let’s go down the list and I will give you my take on each of the competitors, and a little bit more about what I hope to see this season on Masterchef!

Adventure is everywhere you look! Thoughts on Around the World in Food Month…

Up Adventures LFS
     I love exploring and seeing new things. it has been so much fun this month, exploring and sharing new things with you.  One of my favorite movies is UP, I seriously love that movie.  I’ll admit I cry during the movie every single time (don’t judge me).  There is something so beautiful and inspiring about that movie.  I love Carl and Ellie’s dedication to each other, their thirst for adventure and excitement.  I love Carl’s commitment to fulfill his and Ellie’s dream, even as crazy as it may seem.  I love Russell’s unwavering determination to get his wilderness badges.  It’s a great movie, complete fantasy, but that is part of the beauty of it.  One of the themes of the movie is that adventure is everywhere, and that we can all create our own adventures.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Masterchef Season 4, Week 2 Recap. The Claws already come out!

Masterchef Season 4

Well here we are ready to begin week 2 of Masterchef. I have my trusty puppy Chloe and I ready to watch the excitement. I have to tell you again I love this show,  I am hopeful for another great season.  There is something inspiring about watching the contestants fight for their dreams.  First they show the remnants of the auditions, it appears that there are a there few remaining auditions left for the judges to past their judgment on.  Here goes this week’s Masterchef recap!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Around the World in Food Month. A Piece of Home…

LFS Utah Wildflowers
     For years I lived in Texas, and I absolutely loved it, and Texas holds a very special spot in my heart.  During the Spring in Texas there are wildflowers everywhere you look, and it is breathtaking.  I have missed that since I came to Utah, and during the spring I always find myself yearning for my Texas Wildflowers.  I was driving here in Utah the other day, and I came across this meadow.  I of course pulled right over and began snapping pictures.  Its beautiful isn’t it?  It is like a piece of home for me.  I actually keep my camera in my purse everywhere I go, and its great to be able to take pictures of beauty when I see them. 
  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Around the World in Food Month, Geneva and croissants…

Edited Me in Geneva
     One of the places we were able to see on our trip was Geneva, Switzerland.  Geneva is a very pretty city, and I loved looking at all of the architecture and sites.  Geneva is a very interesting place, full of diversity everywhere you look.  While we were there we were able to see the UN Building, the Jet d’Eau, and more.  While we were there we stayed and a quaint little bed and breakfast that was nice, it was a nice city to visit and we saw some interesting things.
     We went to the UN Building and took the tour of the facilities, we go to walk though the assembly rooms and see some very interesting things.  Some very historic decisions have been made and discussed with in those walls.  It also interesting to see how people from all over the world all came together to see this place.  Everywhere we looked there were people of every background imaginable, diversity was everywhere.

Happy Memorial Day and a few thoughts…

USA Flag.jpg
     Happy Memorial Day.  Days like these are always so difficult for me, I feel a cross between reverence and gratitude and feelings of guilt, and being undeserving.  Words always seem hollow when it comes to things like this.  How can a person truly ever express the gratitude for the heroes who made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom.  How can you truly express to a military widow, or fatherless child, that you appreciate the sacrifices they have made?  I don’t know if there will ever be an adequate answer for that.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Around the World in Food Month, Turkish Delights

LFS Turkish Delights
     When I was a child one of my favorite books was, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  In that book and in others they refer to a type of candy called Turkish delights.  As a child they sounded so exotic and elegant, I wondered what they would be like, would I like them?  Where could I find them?  It was several years after first reading about Turkish delight that I was actually able to try these delicacies.  I loved them from the first bite.  I was so surprised when I first saw them, because they were similar to a candy that I was already familiar with, Aplets & Cotlets or Fruit Delights.  We had those for special occasions when I was a kid. My mother, being allergic to milk, was very limited in the types of candy that she got to indulge in.  Aplets and Cotlets were always her special treat, and when I tried Turkish delights I recognized immediately the similarities.   So it is fair to say that I have definite emotional connections to these treats. 

Sunday Blessings and my Visit to Ephesus

Ephesians Quote
     I love Sundays.  Sundays have always been one of my favorite days, I happen to love going to church, and I love spending time with my family, so Sunday is a good day.  On my trip I had the opportunity to go to somewhere very special.  I was able to go to the city of Ephesus in Turkey.  Now the city of Ephesus is an interesting place with quite a bit of religious history.  The Apostle Paul wrote an epistle to the people of Ephesus, which is what we now know at the book of Ephesians in the New Testament.  The Apostle Paul did a lot of teaching in Ephesus as did John the beloved.  The home of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is said to be outside of Ephesus, as is the wishing wall and the grotto of the seven sleepers.  There was so much to see in Ephesus and so many ruins to explore.  The scholars estimate that only fifteen percent of Ephesus has been excavated.  It was an amazing place that I feel so blessed to have been able to visit.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fashion and Personal Style, What’s it all about?

YSL Dress Quote
     I have always had a love of fashion and glamour and all things pretty, even though most of the time I definitely don’t feel glamorous.  It is interesting when I travel to see the clothing and styles of the different places.  Many times I spot a style or a trend in my travels that I decide to implement when I get home.  So many people talk about “signature styles”  I don’t know that I have one of those.  I tend to be pretty classic and understated in my appearance, but I do have amazing shoes if I do say so myself.  A girl after all can never have too many shoes.    I tend to be a pretty low key, low maintenance person, but I do like nice things and I always love a good deal.  Most of my friends always comment on my ability to spot a good deal a mile a way, and my ability to spot quality in items as well.  I have had lots of different jobs through the years, and lots of my jobs required me to know the latest and greatest fashions and brands in clothing, cosmetics, etc.  In some ways this was hard, it caused me to develop a strong taste for very fancy things.  On the other hand it allowed me to learn all about quality and production and really getting your money’s worth from a purchase.

Around the World in Food Month, Pizza Margherita and Beautiful Rome…

Italian Pizza
     Traveling is always so much fun, but usually so much work too!.  Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after getting back from vacation?  One of the places that Mr. Love From Scratch and I went was Rome, Italy.  I loved Rome, and we were able to see some interesting things during our time there.  Every where we looked we saw pizzerias and gelato shops.  I was lucky, and had some AMAZING gelato while I was there.  Sadly, I was unable to have the pizza.  I couldn’t find gluten-free pizza in the places we went to, so I didn’t have any.  Mr. Love From Scratch however, was able to indulge in some authentic Italian pizza. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Favorite Things Friday, NYC Applelicious Lip Balm…

NYC Big Apple Red Lip Balm
     As I mentioned earlier this week, I have joined Influenster and I was selected to participate in the Spring Fever Voxbox.  I was excited about all of the goodies, but I have to admit when I saw this lip balm I was not happy.  Now I don’t want to sound ungrateful after all I did receive these items complimentary for testing purpose, but to be honest I don’t wear red lipstick or red lip balm ever.  Never ever.  Actually I have bought red lipstick in the past, usually because a saleslady convinced me it would change my life.  A time or two I may have even had the crazy idea it could work for me, and tried to find one myself.  Now, I do love the way red lipstick looks on a lot of people, it looks elegant and classy, but for some reason red on me makes me look like I am cheap and have severe rosacea.  I know that means I am not using the right color red, and that means that I need to try again.  I have come to terms that I am just not a red lipstick kind of girl.
     So here begins my first review of my Spring Fever Voxbox, more reviews will be coming as I review and use each of the products.  We’ll go over the good the bad and the ugly.  After all we all need to be smarter shoppers these days.

A Glimpse into who I am…

Profile Pic
     Hi, I am Ruth.  I am the face behind Love From Scratch.  I have been writing anonymously for years, but I’ve stepped out of the shadows for my readers.  So here I am.  I’ve already told you quite a bit about myself through my blog.  I love cooking, I love travel, and I love pretty much all things girly.  After all a person can never have too much glitter and sparkles. 
     I am passionate about cooking from scratch and cooking with love for my family and friends.  I loved the childhood I had, and I have so many great memories in the kitchen with my family.  I hope to re-create those memories, and create new ones of my own with my own family.  I believe in quality delicious food, and families gathering together around the kitchen table.  If you were in my home, I’d tell you to pull up a kitchen stool and we’d talk while I cook something delicious in my kitchen.  Since this is my first post coming out of the shadows, I thought I’d tell you ten random facts about myself, hopefully we’ll all get to know each other more in the future, and I love having all of you stop by my blog!

It’s been a month of gluten free living!

     It has definitely been an action packed and busy month, but I have completed a full month of gluten free living.  I am not going to lie, I do feel deprived at times, I miss my breads, cakes, and pasta.  Yum…pasta nom nom!  I know that I will be able to find replacements for all of this, I am still definitely learning.  I am learning what substitutions to make, and what items to eliminate.  Living gluten free is definitely a commitment, and it certainly takes a lot of work to make sure that I am living gluten free.
     So far I have noticed some physical changes since I have gone gluten free, and I know that more changes are to come.  I am excited at the prospect of feeling better, and that I am taking better charge of my health.  While it is a challenge for sure, I am grateful for the chance to better myself.  I am still learning and I am sure I will be for quite some time in this gluten free journey, but the important thing is that I can do this, and that is a great feeling.

Friday Funnies

 
Watching TV Cooking
A friend of mine shared this with me, and I thought it was too funny to not share. This is so me at times when I watch cooking shows.  Anyone else guilty of this?

Around the World in Food Month, Turkish Saffron

Turkish Saffron
     One of the items I wanted to purchase most on my vacation was spices.  I love purchase spices when I travel because so many times I can find a much better quality and a much better price than I can at home.  One of the countries we went to was Turkey, and I will be telling you more about that visit in a later post, but let me tell you I LOVED Turkey.  To me it was the highlight of my trip, there were so many incredible things to see there. Before going on vacation I had a mental list in my head of what spices I would be looking for and what prices I was going to be hoping for.  The main spice that I was hoping to find for a good deal was saffron.  I have to tell you, I adore saffron, but sadly it’s price means that I can not use it as much as I would like in my cooking.  Here in the United States we don’t use it that much, mostly because its hard to find, and once you find it the price makes it restrictive.
    
     I told Mr. Love From Scratch that if we found Saffron for a good price and a good quality we were stocking up!  Because saffron isn’t used as much here, a lot of people are unaware just what saffron is, so let me give you a quick lesson.

Around the World in Food Month, Greek Baklava & the Parthenon

The Parthenon
     It is hard to believe that May is already almost over.  Where does the time go?  However in honor of “Around the World in Food Month”  I wanted to share a photo and a recipe with you.  Lots more photos of my trip will be appearing in the next several weeks, but this site I am exited to share with you.  Mr. Love From Scratch and I had the opportunity to go to Athens, Greece and to see the Parthenon and other sites.  First off I have to say I like Athens, and I like the people of Athens.  Very nice people and very helpful and hospitable.
    
     So obviously one of the biggest tourist attractions of Athens is the Acropolis, which includes the famed Parthenon.  I guess the best way to describe the Acropolis is as an ancient fortress or citadel high up above Athens.  The Acropolis is home to many ancient buildings, but by far the one we hear about the most is the Parthenon.  No one really knows for sure how long ago people began living in that area, but what we do know is that Pericles, (495-429 B.C.) oversaw the construction of the Parthenon, among other Acropolis buildings.  You always hear that saying “if these walls could talk”, well in this case I definitely wish the walls could talk.  Think of all of the history they have been a part of.
    
     The Parthenon is a temple, dedicated to the Goddess Athena, who is said to be the patron deity of Athens.   Something new that I learned while I was there was that the Parthenon actually was built to replace a previous temple dedicated to Athena.  So who knows when the original building was constructed.  The Parthenon has been occupied and used in many different ways, the history of the building itself is really quite fascinating.  I will tell you right now that in going to the Parthenon be prepared to walk a lot of stairs.  However the site is incredible, and once on the hill you have an amazing view of Athens.  I feel very fortunate that I was able to see the Parthenon and see some of history in real life
Baklava
     While in Athens we also walked through a few markets and shops.  Every port and stop we went to on the trip had goods and local delicacies for sale.  One of my absolute favorite desserts is baklava.  Sadly baklava is no longer on my allowed foods list, cursed gluten-free!  Greece is EXTREMELY well known for their baklava.  I saw it (and smelled it) every where I went.  Believe me, it looked and smelled delicious.  I gave serious thought to disregarding the doctors order and savoring a few pieces of this treat, but I decided to be good.   How is that for willpower and dedication?  I have seen a few gluten-free recipes for baklava online, but to be honest they don’t look all that appetizing.  It is on my list of things to figure out how to fix now gluten free.  It seems like that list is expanding at a rapid rate.  However I do have my old baklava recipe that I would love to share with you.  It is super simple, I have given the instructions using pre-made phyllo dough, I usually make my own when I make this recipe, but it turns out delicious either way.  This is definitely a crowd pleaser, and slightly addictive.  I myself have been known to eat several in one sitting, probably not the best for my waistline I know.  There are so many different variations of baklava, I tend to stick to the basic traditional recipes.  These are simple ingredients, but they really morph into something special.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Love Masterchef! Episode 1 Recap

MasterChef Review
   I love Masterchef!  It is an addiction I know!  Last night I was excited to watch the premiere of season 4.  Mr. Love From Scratch was away at work, so my cute little dog, Chloe and I had some snuggle time as we watched what appears to be the beginning of a very interesting season.  The first episode I always find intriguing, I love the back story on the contestants.  The evil side of me also loves to watch the train wrecks that choose to try out, and I can’t help but wonder, what were they thinking? 
    

Yay! Goodie Time! Spring Fever Voxbox!

Contents
   I’ll admit I love getting things for a bargain, and I love to know more about things before I purchase.  I read lots of reviews, because it is so frustrating to pay hard earned money on something that doesn’t work.  I had heard about a company called Influenster, and I was very intrigued.  Basically Influenster is a website where the participants share information on the various products that they are using in their day to day lives.  There are message board where once ask questions and interact with other members.  Some lucky members if they are active on the site get access to special deals, or what are called Voxboxes which are goodie boxes of items that companies send out for FREE to get input on the nitty gritty usage of the products.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Day Has Arrived, Masterchef Time!

Masterchef Season 4
     I have made zero secrets about my love of cooking TV shows, I love to watch them all.  However, the one that every season I get most excited about is Masterchef.  Seriously love that show.  I have watched every season, and each and every episode.  Now in the Love From Scratch home we really don’t watch much television, but we do make time for our favorites.  There are many things that  I like about Masterchef, but I love the fact that none of the contestants are professionals.  They are just dedicated home cooks that are trying to enter the culinary world.  I am so excited that the 2 hour premiere is starting TONIGHT!  Yay!
    

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In My Prayers and Thoughts…

Pray For Oklahoma 2013
     As everyone else I am saddened and heartbroken at the tragedy has occurred in Oklahoma.  It seems that words are always so hollow in moments like these.  What do you say to people that have lost everything, dealing with uncertainty?  People who are starting over from scratch with nothing.  How do you give someone with so many struggles hope.  As I have mentioned before I went to College in Texas, and there were lots and lots of students there from Oklahoma.  I have thought about so many of them the past few days, and I am hoping and praying that the can triumph through this tragedy.
     Please keep the people of Oklahoma in your thoughts and prayers.  If able please find ways to help, there is the Red Cross and other relief organizations that are all trying to assist the people of Oklahoma.  Whenever these things happen they remind me of how fragile things are and how blessed I am.  It reminds me to make sure I let the ones I love know how much I care and and appreciate them.   It reminds me to live every moment and enjoy what life has to offer.  Hold your love ones close and keep Oklahoma in your hearts.

Oh What a Wonderful World…

what a wonderful world
     I am back from vacation, and while I had a great time, it is good to be back home.  I love to travel, and this trip I saw so many amazing things.  I was blessed to see some of the things I had always read and studied about.  Mr. Love From Scratch and I started our journey in Germany, then Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Turkey.  Lots of plane and train rides, a cruise, and so much to see!  A few of the things that we saw were the UN Building, St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Parthenon, the City of Ephesus and so much more.  I will be posting lots and lots of pictures in the next several weeks.  One of the things that I love about traveling is that I get to see so many new cultures and really have the opportunity to see the world with new eyes. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thoughts on Being an Aunt & Mothers Day…

Richard L. Evans Quote
     I have many roles in life, but one of my favorite roles by far, is that of being an Aunt.  I like to think I am a fun aunt that my nieces and nephews can look up to.  Twelve years ago this week I became an Aunt for the very first time, when my little nephew was born.  I know I am biased, but I think he is a pretty amazing kid.  Mr. Love From Scratch and I don’t have kids yet, we pray that they come in our future, but we love our nieces and nephews and are always excited to see them.  When my nephew was born, that kid dethroned me from my “Princess” position in the family.  Being the only girl I have to admit I did get spoiled at times, but along came my nephew and apparently “first grandchild” will trump “only daughter” every time.  He’s one of the nicest kids you will ever meet, whenever I have a son, I’d love for him to emulate after my nephew.
     I try to call my nieces and nephews often, but especially on their birthdays.  It is always fun to hear what they got, hear about their parties, the birthday dinner, and of course the cake.  I called my nephew to wish him a happy birthday and as we talked he talked a lot about the different things his parents have been teaching him, and the fun activities he has been sharing with his family.  There wasn’t any mention of x-boxes or whatever the cool toys are now for a 12 year old.  Instead he was telling me all about their garden, his hiking and camping with his dad, and his new baby sister that should be born next month. It made me happy to hear how happy he is with his life and the simple things, he really showed maturity far beyond his years.
     When my brothers started to get to the marriage age, I wasn’t all that happy.  Sure I want them to be happy, but I didn’t want just anybody join my family.  Yes I know that makes me sound like an elitist snob, but seriously, you have to protect your family.  I only wanted the best for my brothers, and I can tell you my brothers definitely found it.  Not only did my brothers marry women who are proving to be excellent wives for them, they are also great friends and sisters to me.  What did not dawn on me years ago was how grateful I would be today that these women are tremendous mothers to my nieces and nephews. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy May! Around the World in Food Month!

World Map
     Happy May!  It is crazy to think that 2013 is almost half over, how does this happen?  This month’s theme for Love From Scratch is “All Around the World in Food.”  Mr. Love From Scratch and I love to travel and we have been blessed to be able to see some really amazing things.  I love being able to explore other places and learn about other cultures.  May has always been one of the months I think of travel the most.  Growing up it was right before school got out, so many may afternoons were daydreaming of summer fun and trips.  This month actually Mr. Love From Scratch and I are taking an amazing trip that I am am super excited for!  So you will probably notice my blogging absence later in the month, have no fear though, I will return!