Saturday, October 31, 2009

Agave Nectar

I took a leap of faith ($3 and change) and tried a new sweetner in my tea this week. Agave Nectar. Emily and I tasted it and it took a minute to place the underlying flavor. Nothing like Stevia or honey, Nutrasweet or Splenda, or sugar... yeah, it was sweet, but it tasted a little like homemade candy, then Em placed it - carmel. I'm not 100% sold, but I'm betting it's better for us than aspartame and chemically engineered sweeteners.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Blast From the Past

Haystacks: Fritos and chili fixin's
Haystacks were something my mom made when I was growing up. They're very good on a cold autumn evening and they're supremely easy to pull together. I mean they beat Rachel's 30 Minute Meals... this is more like 15 minutes. I grated the cheese rather than buying it pre-grated and I think it was less dry. Sounds like a science project in the making: "Which grated cheese maintains it's integrity better, hand grated or store bought?"


1 Can Vegetarian chili
1 Handful Fritos
Chopped Onions (Optional)
Grated Cheese
Sour Cream (Optional)

While heating up the chili chop the onion and set aside. Grate the cheese. When the chili has been heated layer first the Frito's, then the chili, onions, cheese, and sour cream. That's it... as I'm teased about for saying at work "easy-peasy lemon squeezy."

Source: Mom

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Pumpkin Milkshake & Friend

I am not in Disneyland, but I still found a happy place last night. Sort of like "Cheers," they knew my name, and everybody was friendly.
My sister Janel, said I had to try the shakes at Ab's Drive-in. So last night we headed over for a late night dessert. Plus it was a chance to catch up and say "howdy" to my nephew, Nick! Look at how tall that boy is!
So, to the shakes. They were indeed divine. Janel got a "Butterfinger" and my choice? A highly recommended "Pumpkin Chocolate Chip" shake. I don't know how much squash was actually in there, so I can't say "look at me, I made the nutritious choice!" It was mixed with little thin pieces of chocolate (like magic shell with the perfect melting point). The result was some very happy taste-buds. There's something about pumpkin treats in the fall when everywhere you look there are pumpkin patches and jack-o-lanterns.

7903 South Airport Road (4400 West)
West Jordan, Utah

Ab's Drive-in on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, just when the leaves were starting to change colors, Eric and I were running errands in Sugarhouse. We ended up passing a little cupcake bakery, so Eric pulled a u-turn. It was Mini's Cupcakes & Cafe. They were selling interesting little cupcakes with pretty dollops of frosting. We picked up a peanut butter, a red velvet, and a "Diva" with cream cheese frosting. We were a little underwhelmed, but we'll probably give it another try. Mini's is committed to buying local, which is extremely cool and their creative flavor combos like the "Lemon Pie" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in the photo above were a fun change from the usual! They also care about what goes into their cupcakes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"You Are My Sunshine..."

We grew sunflowers in the backyard garden this year and they were really fun! They first grew taller than the espalier apple tree, then they nearly reached the eaves. They were taller than me and definitely taller than my dog Squirrely who was cherry picking the tomatoes, strawberries, and apples that dropped over our fence. Passing the sunflowers every day was a bright point of my summer. When they blossomed they were always humming with activity, a good home to bees and tiny bugs. Eric harvested them about two weeks ago, and yesterday he and Em gathered the seeds. Now they're ready to be saved for planting, snacks, and a handful will be saved for the birds at Christmas. Here are some pics courtesy of the garden:

I'm going to follow the National Sunflower Association's recipe for roasting sunflowers.

Roasted Sunflower Seeds
The recipe says you can soak the seeds in salt water, but I'm going sans salt this year so I'll just give them a quick wash and rinse. Bake at 300 degrees spread on a cookie sheet for 30-40 minutes. Stir. Depending on the family vote and how long we want them around for snacking I may add a teaspoon of butter and seasoning when I take them out of the oven.

Update: Sun 9:06 p.m.
We have sunflower seeds, toasted, buttered, and salted (so much for "no salt.") with popcorn salt. And yup, they taste like sunflower seeds, but talk about "local grown!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

9 Cups of Almonds?

The other day I picked up a 9-cup bag of almonds from my local warehouse store. What on earth do I need that many almonds for? That's a really good question. After making Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds tonight I'm now down to 5-cups of almonds. These roasted almonds taste very much like what you get at the mall and festivals during the holidays.

Recipe Source/Courtesy:

1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
4 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan.
2. Lightly beat the egg white; add water, and beat until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until golden. Allow to cool, then store nuts in airtight containers.

* Note from Suz: I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the water and egg white. And about 1 T brown sugar, and 1 t Turbinado sugar


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