Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Culinarian Day!

Parisian Strawberry Cheesecake
     Happy Culinarian Day!  I am sure that its another one of those holidays that I celebrate that you don’t even know exist.  Whether you know about this holiday or not, it’s a pretty cool day.  It’s a day where we celebrate the Culinarians in our lives. 
    
     So what exactly is a Culinarian?  A culinarian is a cook or chef, doesn't matter if they are professional or not, or any culinary arts enthusiast.  Definitely a lot of people can be categorized as a culinarian.  So this is a day for all of us.  I thought long and hard about how to really celebrate Culinarian Day, and didn’t come up with too many answers, except to make sure you do some sort of culinary indulgence today, no matter how small or trivial it may seem.  It could be trying a new recipe, or buying a new cookbook, or kitchen gadget you’ve had your eye on.  Trying a new food in the market, or checking out a new local restaurant.  So many different ways to celebrate the culinarians in our life, and such a fun holiday!

Masterchef Season 4 Week 9 Recap…Out in the middle of nowhere…

MasterChef Review
     Here we are, as begin the episode and there are 8 remaining cooks who are now stranded in the wilderness, Krissi is already whining, no surprise there. The 3 judges show up, the contestants have to cook a gourmet dish with the ingredients in the survival cases, there are 2 teams, captains are Bri & Natasha, as the winners from last week.          

     Bri picks James, Natasha picks Jordan, Bri picks Eddie, Natasha picks Jessie, Bri Picks Luca, and Natasha gets Krissi, who makes it clear yet once again how much she hates Bri. Now they realize that the Captains are trading teams. So Bri and Krissi are going to be on the same team.  That should be interesting.

Pioneer Day Fun…Heritage Month Continues…

Pioneer Day
     I love July, it is always such a fun month here in Utah.  We have the 4th of July of course, but we also have the 24th of July as our state holiday, or Pioneer Day.  Pioneer Day is a huge deal here in Utah, there are fairs, parades, fireworks, and activities galore.  It is simply so much fun!  I have so many memories of Pioneer Day.  This picture is actually from one of the many parades that has been going on throughout the valley.  It is fun to see all the families and the excitement of all the little children.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Family Times and Memories, Divinity Goodness…

Divinity Recipe
     There are so many things that I love to do, I love to cook (obviously), travel. sew, quilt, so many things.  However my favorite thing is always family time.  There is nothing better than family time.  I love spending time with my family, it also helps that I have the greatest family EVER.  I’ve been very blessed to have such incredible people to call my family.
    
     When my family gets together be warned, we tend to be loud and very talkative and lots of stories are always being shared.  Summers we would always come to Utah and see all of the family, visit with the cousins, aunts & uncles, grandparents and so many more.  One of my favorite things to see is when my Mom and her sister get together.  It is a sight to behold.  My mom is the baby of her family by several years, and that dynamic is evident in the interactions between the two of them.

Monday, July 22, 2013

All in Honor of the Royal Baby…A Royal English Trifle…

Royal English Mixed Berry Trifle
     The big day has finally arrived, yes I know that EVERYONE already knows, but William and Kate have had their baby!   I have to say I was so excited for them!  I remember the day that they were getting married and waking up early to watch their wedding as I had a traditional English breakfast.  It was so much fun!  She was radiant, he was dashing, and the venue was amazing.
    
     So here we are, a little over two years later, and the royal baby FINALLY enters the world.  It seems like “royal bump watch” has been going on non-stop from the day of the pregnancy announcement.  I’ll admit it, I’ve always been fascinated by the royal family and always wonder what it would be like to be a royal.  This new little prince is definitely going to have a charmed, life with opportunities galore, but a very watched and measured life as well.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Caviar Day, Creating Your Own Memories…

Happy Caviar Day
     Happy Caviar Day!  I am sure you didn’t realize that this day even existed!  Caviar I think is one of those funny things, people either love or hate caviar, very rarely do you find an in between.
    
     I personally love caviar and always have.  However when I first was entering the “grown-up” world, there was not anyway that I could afford caviar on my ramen noodles budget.  My budget didn’t allow for much of any frivolity, so I had to exercise self-control (boo!).  I worked in event planning, floral design and catering for years, so I have almost always been surrounded by some of the nicer things in life.  While parts of it were glamorous, parts of it were most decidedly not glamorous.  One of the perks though were always all the great recipes I learned and inspiration I got from events to implement into my own life.

And the recap is up! Masterchef Week 8 Recap, the joy of sausage!

Masterchef Season 4
     I have to start off by saying that this week’s format was different than I was expecting, it was two hours, but the first hour was a recap of last week’s episode.  The second hour was the only new material this week, which made it interesting, only one person new left this week,, and only one mystery box challenge, one elimination challenge, but not any (new) team challenges.  So that was interesting this week.  At first I thought that this will make this week’s recap substantially shorter, so I guess we will have to see what happens.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Manicures, Bingo, Pepsi, OREOS and Ice Cream with Grandma…and above all don’t forget the See’s Chocolates!

Essie Ballet Pink Nail Polish edited
     For the past several months my Grandma, Grandma Love From Scratch, has been in a nursing home.  Her nursing home is close to where I live and I try to see her as much as possible, ideally everyday. 
    
     The home that she is in is very nice and I am grateful for them, and for the wonderful staff, but I try to help out with my Grandma as much as I possibly can.  She loves and visits, and gets so sad on days that I am unable to see her.  When I was on my last cruise poor Grandma did not fare well in my absence.  Grandma is a character, she has been my entire life, but the nuances of her character are only increasing with age.  I may be biased but I think she is a pretty entertaining lady.

What I Have Been Reading Wednesday…A Homemade Life…

A Homemade Life
     I always tend to feel a sense of accomplishment to know that I am half way through the week.  I guess it’s the little things in life.  One day at a time, step by step.  Today I went with a dear friend of mine to one of her doctor’s appointments for moral support.  Whenever I go to appointments I make sure to bring a good book with me, because after all you never know how long those things are going to last.
    
     As my friend settled into the room for her x-rays I settled into the waiting room to finish my book.  It was interesting to see the hustle and bustle as people walked by.  I always find doctors offices to be an interesting cross section of society.  I finally found a chair in a quiet area and settled down for a nice read.

     I have been reading A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenburg.  She is also the writer for the food blog Orangette.  Definitely check out both the blog, and her book, both are incredible.  She is a very gifted writer and is really able to capture the essence and story of a recipe.  I thought that her book was perfect to review this month, with it being heritage month here at Love From Scratch.  Such a gifted writer and storyteller, I found myself completely engaged in her book.  She shares so many different life lessons and stories in her book, and the recipes that go along with them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Heritage Month Continues, Modernized Pork Chops…

Cooked Pork Chops
     Growing up my mom made pork chops for us frequently.  It was a good budget friendly meal, and easy for a weeknight meal.  One of her favorite ways of cooking pork chops was to bread them with graham cracker crumbs and then bake.  It’s pretty good, she’d do some marinating as well.  Once I moved out of the house for college, lots of times I would take my mother’s recipes and try to tweak them or modernize them a bit.  I think that part of the fun of heritage recipes is taking an old family favorite and making it more modern and applicable for your life.  Reinvent your families recipes into new masterpieces.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How Exciting! My First Interview!

Edited Me in Geneva
     How cool is this?  I was actually interviewed for my very first food blogger interview.  Lydia from www.gourmandize.com reached out to me and asked if would be willing to answer a few questions for an interview.  Of course I was more than willing to oblige.  You can read my interview here.  I love to be able to share my thoughts on food, cooking and blogging. 
    
     I definitely encourage you to look at the Gourmandize site, its actually a great recipe reference. Also when you join they have a special offer for a free personalized cookbook.  I have been having quite a bit of fun looking at it and exploring and meeting other bloggers as well.  I definitely want to give a shout out to Lydia and Gourmandize and say thanks for the interview and I look forward to seeing you more at Love From Scratch.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Few of my Favorite (Budget) Things Friday!

Drugstore Favorite things collage
     What a long week it has been, yes I know that all weeks are really the same length, but sometimes no matter what anyone says they aren’t.  This has been one of those long weeks. 
    
     I realized today that is has been ages since I have done a Favorite Things Friday.  So I decided to do a few of my favorite budget beauty  products.  Nothing in this feature is over $15, some I have gotten on Amazon, but most at Wal-Mart or Walgreens.  These are all things that I use routinely, and I love.  I know several times I have shared some of my indulgences, and lets be honest, sometimes indulgences are pricey.  So this time I wanted to share something that will be far more accessible to everyone.  I firmly believe that we all want little indulgences at times, and these are definitely great indulgences, because they won't break the bank!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Masterchef Season 4 Week 7 Recap….I hate a bully!

Eva Longoria Masterchef picture
     Week 7 is beginning, and we have the top 11 contestants entering the Masterchef kitchen. This week we will enter into the top 10 realm. I am curious to see who is eliminated this week. The contestants are jumping right into a mystery box challenge, and see the largest mystery box ever. As the box begins to come off, it is obvious that there is a person inside that box, Eva Longoria is today’s guest judge.           

     Eva hand picked a Mexican mystery box for the contestants. Ingredients include shrimp, jalapeno, cilantro, pork tenderloin, corn, avocados, limes, and so much more. I would have loved this mystery box! It must be the Texan in me, but these are some of my favorite ingredients.     
    
     The top three are announced, they really didn’t show too many of the chefs cooking during the challenge, so at this point I am very curious to see who the top 3 would be. The top 3 are Bri, good day for vegetarians, Natasha apparently doesn’t see a vegetarian in the top 10, sour grapes Natasha, Gordon says it is her best dish yet, Eva calls is a beautiful job. Joe says she nailed it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I Have Been Reading Wednesday, The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook…

edited anne of green gables
     I have one of the best sister in laws ever.  I am very lucky that my brothers married very well.  I am blessed with amazing sister in laws.  One particular sister in law was out thrifting (girl after my own heart), and came across this little treasure.  Like the amazing sister in law that she is she picked this up for me and sent it to me in the mail.  I love mailbox surprises too!
    
     So I have watched this book on Amazon for several years, truth be told I have wanted this cookbook for years, but it is extremely hard to find.  Right now to get a used one on Amazon it ranges anywhere between 40-100 dollars depending on the condition, if you are lucky you can find one for 40 dollars, but most listed are 100 dollars for a used paperback.  So as you can imagine it has caused some hesitation for me in acquiring this cookbook, yep a limited budget will get you every time.  As you probably know by now I am a HUGE Anne of Green Gables fan!  I was meant to have this cookbook!  So huge thanks to my sister in law for making this a reality for me.  Talk about a champion thrifter!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Sugar Cookie Day, Cookies and friends and family, as good as it gets…

Cookies and Friends
     I really don’t have many vices, but if I have to admit to one, I do love cookies, I also love cupcakes and Dr. Pepper, but lets not digress.  You always hear that parents are a child’s first friends.  Such was the case for me growing up.  My parents and I are very close, and my mother was the one who taught me how to make cookies.
    
     My parents have been my sounding boards, my mentors, and my greatest cheerleaders.  While my mom taught me to make cookies, the person I think of the most when I think of cookies is my Grandfather.  I lived with him for a couple years before he passed and at that time he was truly my best friend.  My Grandpa still is a hero of mine, absolute genius and the nicest man you’ll ever meet.  He loved his sweets, anything sweet he would just relish.  Every night he’d have two cookies and a glass of milk with his nightly medication.  I had so many great talks with my Grandfather, he was so wise, and I miss those talks so much.  After he died I missed those evening talks the most. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy National Fried Chicken Day!

Fried Chicken Goodness
     I have no shame in admitting that I love fried chicken.  Yes, I know its usually not that healthy for you, yes, I know its not true gourmet food, but I guarantee that my fried chicken will leaving you dreaming of your next plate.
    
     With this month being all about heritage recipes, and the stories behind recipes I knew that fried chicken had to be included.  So my mother is not a fan of fried foods, so my mother didn’t teach me anything when it came to fried recipes.  She taught me lots of other amazing things, but fried chicken not one of them. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy July! Its Heritage Month here at Love From Scratch!

fireworks edited
     I can hardly believe that it is already July.  2013 seems to be soaring by at a break neck pace.  I still have so many things that I want to accomplish in 2013, so I am hopeful I can make the most of my remaining five (yikes!) months.
    
     July has always been a favorite month of mine, I love the 4th of July and I love the fireworks that come with it.  Here in Utah we have our state holiday in July as well, the 24th of July, which is called Pioneer Day.  It is the day we celebrate when the pioneers from the Mormon Trail arrived in the Salt Lake valley.  Because of these two holidays I always heard stories of my ancestors and the sacrifices they made to get to America and the hardships they experienced once they got here.  I have always been humbled at the sacrifices that so many made who came before me.