Friday, December 31, 2010

Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret

Read the enclosed article from The New York Times on the chocolate chip cookie - more on a topic first brought up by Royall. According to this article, two secret weapons to improve the cookie are a refrigeration time of 36 hours, and a 6" size providing the crispy outer ring, and a gooey center, and a 1 1/2" ring in between that is chewy perfection. The article is worth reading:)

Click the title of this post to go to the article.

Takin' it slow....

This year I plan to study the the scriptures slowly - this is not to say that I haven't done that in the past...there has been been plenty of slow going, but I mean in bites that I can study at a deep level. I have found after reading the Book of Mormon how many times...I'm not sure, several times, and the Bible, that I am stuck at a kind of superficial level of knowledge. In short, I forget! I want to drink more deeply. So I have at my command, on my desk, a copy of the Book of Mormon, the Bible, a copy of Sweet is the Word (you can download this for free at the link above in the title), the BYU Religious Studies Book of Mormon Student Manual, and another book called Charting the Book of Mormon (also free at this link:

I will keep you posted on how it's going. I delved right in where I happen to be in the book, which is in 3 Nephi, where Jesus Christ has come to visit the America's. It's fascinating to read the surrounding additions from the additional support books, for example I took a better look at 3 Nephi 5:20 where Mormon makes a "simple but moving statement of faith". What a fine declaration, and one that pierced my heart with it's truth. In the same chapter in a couple of verses previous he voices his regret that he can't include everything that is important. In the early portion of the history, in 1 Nephi, the history follows one family...but of course the Nephite people become a huge populace with a complex history, so with the difficulty of condensing the important, and hammering out metal plates and etching the characters, he is hard pressed to include as much detail and content as he would like.

I had planned to study for a few minutes but have been at it for quite a time now, it's so interesting and fulfilling. Just to clarify, this is not a New Year's resolution, because I began a month or more ago, but have been traveling and on the run with kids, and Christmas so am ready to make it a more fixed daily activity.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Mystery Taken out of Foundation Choices

Just check out this website, for a foundation/skin tone matrix that cross matches every brand of foundation - if you know what you are in one, this will help you find your shade in another. Here is is:

Also, for another amazing website for learning how to apply makeup naturally and flawlessly, check out Lisa Elderidge (a make up artist in the UK); she has a YouTube channel and a blog that are both top notch.

There are loads of natural applications with very good advice for product selection, and application. Here is a sample video:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, the chocolate chip cookie recipe I lifted from Royall's blog is AMAZING! Jenny and Mark made them tonight and they were so good. We didn't refrigerate them, that's pretty much the only instruction we omitted. Thanks Royall! :))

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beautiful Wedding Day

We had a lovely, warm, and beautiful day, celebrating the marriage of Eli and Jenny with immediate family October 21, 2010. Love abounded. We wish them the very best! Welcome to the family Jen:)

Chocolate Cookies

Mariah and Sarra (though I know Sarra will try to healthify them:), you will love these; they were copped from Royall's blog:)) Thank you Royall! I also found, on Royall's blog, this beautiful cooking blog that reminds me of 'smitten kitchen', it's this one: Try it out!


April 24, 2009 by G.

Every once in a while, you come across something that is just so special, so magical, soooo perfect – that you can do nothing except think about it, talk about it, dream about it … best of all, EAT it. True, the viral phenomenon has resulted in hundreds and thousands of postings for the ubiquitous chocolate chip cookie after the article first appeared in the NY Times. Since such a mad, obsessive frenzy developed, is it really worth yet another posting about the sheer genius behind it??

The simple answer: hell ‘yeh.

Who didn’t grow up with warm milk and cookies to soothe your soul after a hard day of finger painting in kindergarten class? Umm.. my beloved T., that’s who. Milk and cookies was apparently not a part of the Irish childhood after school experience. So you can only imagine his delight when he ate devoured his first warm chocolate chip cookie, paired with an ice cold glass of milk. Can we just say life changing? Ever since that momentous day, he asks for warm chocolate chip cookies at least once a week.

Upon reading the article and recipe at first, I was rather skeptical, to say the least. How much better could another chocolate chip cookie recipe possibly be, much less claiming it to be the best chocolate chip cookie? Well, I’ve never been so happy to be oh, so wrong! Who knew a little snooze for the dough in the fridge could make such a remarkable difference? Pure magic. I’ve added a few tweaks to the recipe which, in my humble but accurate opinion (as my cousin would say), elevates this amazing creature even further. It will be mind blowing, I guarantee it. These are the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Oh, and I’ve cut the recipe in half because it is simply too dangerous to have so many floating around the house at once.

Best Chocolate Chips Cookies Ever (so good they will break your heart
Tweaked from Jacques Torres, yields 12 gargantuon cookies

The 60% cocoa content, the larger size of the chip and, of course, the minimum 24 hour waiting time are the key components to the magic of this cookie. Also, be careful not to leave the cookies in the fridge over 72 hours. They will tend to brown much faster when cooked.


8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 cup, plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 + 1/8 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 + 1/8 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cups chopped almonds

1 tsp orange zest

1/2 bag of 11.5 oz Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chips

sea salt


Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mixing well. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Add rolled oats, almonds and orange zest. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Scoop 6 mounds of dough (about 1/3 cup each) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 16 to 20 minutes (depending on oven).

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Serve warm with a tall glass of icy cold milk.

Friday, October 15, 2010

According to Urban Spoon:

There are the restaurants in Edmonton that critics and bloggers are talking about:

Duchess Bake Shop
photo by Erika

I'm going to start at the bottom and work my way up, and I'll let you know what I think along the way. I am fed up with chains; I'm going to patronize the local eateries only for one year, beginning Nov. 1, 2010.

  1. Duchess Bake Shop
  2. Korean BBQ House
  3. Twisted Fork
  4. The Dish & The Runaway Spoon
  5. Cora Breakfast & Lunch
  6. Wildflower Grill
  7. The Three Amigos Authentic Mexican Restaurant
  8. Cafe de Ville
  9. Furusato Japanese Restaurant
  10. Culina Mill Creek

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Bumble Bee for Halloween?

You may or may not know that we are beekeepers now, thanks to a sweet gift from Eli for Mano for Father's day - we love them, they are no trouble and we have a lot to learn! For example, when it was cold, the hive was completely quiet, and we thought they all died, from a pesticide problem or something - but they must have been clumping quietly together in the hive, b/c when it warmed again, they ventured forth.

Anyway, here is a very cute video if you would like to be a honey bee for Halloween:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hooked on Cloth Napkins

Not just napkins, but pot holders and tea towels too. Let's just say that I have purchased a lot of napkins, quite a few pot holders, and several tea towels, all cotton and all beautiful:)) And why not? There may be hard times ahead, and I will not need to purchase a napkin again, in my life time.I also bought un-papertowels - they are organic cotton flannel, used for all kinds of clean up.

Here are the Etsy sites:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Smartest Thing I Have Ever Done...

Ok, maybe not the very smartest, but one of the BEST things I have ever done, was to teach my grandchildren my phone number. We did it in a sing-song, Jane first, at 4, then Charlie, and it's going to be Jacobs turn pretty soon. What is the result? I get the most adorable calls and messages from my darling, darling grandchildren. I call them too of course, but they can give Grammie a call any time they want to, so sometimes I will hear from one of them when they are a little sad, or when they have good news, like for example today is bunny day - they are getting new bunnies. We are so close, and it's because we share our lives pretty much every single day.

Oops, I need to go...I have to return Jacobs call this morning:)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Final guest house...erm, shed.

Who wouldn't want to live here? Manochehr came in and asked me if I wanted window boxes for flowers, and I said...ummm, will I have to keep them watered or can I pull an Aunt Becky and put fake flowers in them?

Even the landing is lovely. Manochehr is revealing his artistic side. I'm trying to think of way that I could incorporate some color without ruining it...maybe paint the door raspberry? The trim turquoise? I may have to leave it as, since it's so pretty already, but you know by the number of times that I change my blog background that I am dying to color it up.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mark is Home

I love that Mark is home. I don't know how long it will last, but it is so fun, and a genuine blessing to have a bit of time with him again, before he's gone for good. I love to to see his happy face...he comes in the door and makes a big happy announcement of his arrival, he sings, he burps, he hogs the dryer, he makes me laugh, and I love him like all the stars in the heavens (as Jane would say). Lucky me.

I am also getting to know Mariah more and more as we have the opportunity to spend time together; I consider Mariah my friend, not just Mark's girlfriend. She is the sweetest...for example, our family has been eating brownies covered in caramel and pecans, rocky road, shortbread cookies, and coconut cookies...all this week! Yikes, I need to buy her a diet treats book:) They were all delicious, and we all feel loved!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

AbeBook's Most Expensive Sales in August 2010

Interesting what bibliophiles will purchase...

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales in August 2010

1. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon - $27,500
Published in 1776 in six volumes, the first of these volumes was limited to 1,000 copies in its first printing so complete sets of first editions are very rare. The set is considered a major literary achievement as it was adopted as a model for modern historical methodologies and led Gibbon to be described as the first modern historian of Ancient Rome.

The Botanical Magazine (42 vols) by William Curtis - $15,592
A collection of the first 42 volumes and index of this magazine launched in 1787. It went on to become the longest running botanical magazine. These first volumes contain more than 1,800 hand-colored plates.

3. Typed Signed Letter by Mohandas Gandhi - $9,500
This early Gandhi letter was written in reference to his role in the Zulu War of 1906, where Gandhi argued that the British ought to recruit Indians to assist in the war effort in order to legitimise their claims to full British citizenship. Gandhi lived in South Africa from 1893 to 1914.

4. In Praise of Folly by Erasmus - $7,608
Erasmus′ most famous essay begins as a satirical oratory and ends with a statement of his Christian ideals. This copy was published in 1522, 11 years after it was first issued by the famous printer Johannes Frobenius. Erasmus (1466-1536) was a Dutch humanist, Catholic priest and theologian.

5. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon - $7,150
Another copy of Gibbon′s influential account of Ancient Rome. This set was cheaper because first volume (of the six) was a third edition rather than a complete set of firsts. This illustrates the rarity of first editions of volume one.

6. Midnight′s Children by Salman Rushdie - $3,998
A signed first edition of Rushdie′s famous novel. Published by Jonathan Cape of London in 1981, Midnight′s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981. It was voted the best of all Booker winners in 2008.

8. The Fashionable Science Of Parlour Magic by John Henry Anderson - $3,500

7. La Vénerie Française Contemporaine by Karl Reille - $3,763
Published in Paris in 1914. The first and only edition was limited to 600 copies and offers a comprehensive overview of hunting in France just prior to World War I. Baron Karl Reille (1886-1975) also illustrated this title and went on to illustrate many more books.

Described in full on the book′s title page, The Fashionable Science Of Parlour Magic Being The Newest Tricks Of Deception Developed And Illustrated With An Exposure Of The Practice Made Use Of By Professional Card Players, Blacklegs, And Gamblers. Published around 1850 by Scottish magician John Henry Anderson, who helped develop magic as a mainstream form of entertainment.

9. Facile by Man Ray - $3,300
A book featuring 12 surrealistic photographs from the American artist Man Ray, who spent most of his career in Paris; each photo is accompanied by text from French poet Paul Éluard. First edition copy published in 1935.

10. S.J. Perelman′s Original Personal Travelling Leather Briefcase and Writing Desk - $3,000
The travel desk of a man renowned for writing about travel; on one end is a large colorful travel label for the ocean liner "FRANCE" showing an ocean liner of the "Compagnie Generale TRANATLANTIQUE French Line" which has been filled out in ink in Perelman's hand. He had written his name, S.J. Perelman, the travel date of "18 MAY" and noting that he is in cabin "P-275" and that his destination is "NY". Perelman was an American humorist who wrote the screenplays for the Marx Brothers films Horse Feathers and Monkey Business and the Oscar winning Around the World in 80 Days script, he was also a contributor to the New Yorker for many years. Perelman was partially responsible for the success of Joseph Heller′s novel Catch 22, the novel was having lukewarm reviews and sales until Perelman gave considerable praise to how humorous the novel was in an interview; Perelman did not often give such praise and sales of Catch 22 skyrocketed shortly after.

Coralie Bickford-Smith

Two new volumes on the way...I am still short 3 books from the previous release...and that is because I haven't seen them around anywhere. I believe they were released in Canada; the release date for theUL is the 28th. They are The Lady in White, Shakespeares Sonnets, and The Odyssey.

The new volumes coming out, presumably in the UK , since we haven't had a full release of Volume II yet, are: Dante's Inferno and Dicken's A Christmas Carol. Wonderful additions, though I might be too scared to read Inferno. It took all my will power to read The Screwtape Letters...( which I both admired and would probably not read again simultaneously.) I don't do scary in any form.

A Crap Day

Today was crap...sometimes hard conversations are hard. That is all I have to say about that.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Beautiful Day

We had one of those magical days yesterday, Sunday, where love and peace, and fun flowed liberally. There was Eli, Jenny, Mark, Mariah, Mariah's sister Summer, Dad and I. We had good food (if you must know everything, it was Teriyaki marinated rib eye steak, with corn on the cob, greek salad, rice, potatoes and grilled tomatoes and brownies), good talks, fun outside pruning the apple tree (that was my idea of fun - I called out, "everyone pick up 10 apples - that's 70 apples off the ground), we made more treats (macaroons) - because Mark, Mariah and Summer ate most of the brownies BEFORE supper:), and just had a warm, happy, love filled day. There is nothing that can take the place of love and harmony in your relationships - it means so much. I love my family dearly, and consider all these people my family! If only Jared, Sarra and Timmy, Jane, Charlie, Jacob, and Scarlet had been home to join us - that would have made the day entirely heavenly. Still, the day was the balm of Gilead to my soul.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ode to Charlie

You would think, to look at these pictures, that Mano built the entire shed, but actually, Charlie, and I both helped. Charlie was here for the early stages, and showed real aptitude, and perseverance while helping baba work. He had 'stick-to-it-iveness' which is a trait that baba really appreciates. Your humble writer measured, designed, hammered, nail-gunned, and helped hang, the doors - that's all, just the doors. But really, Mano built a beautiful, well-built shed, that any shovel would be proud to dwell in.

It's actually not done yet, there are two windows that are to go either side of the barn like door. They are framed, but not cut yet. We'll see when that happens! You should see the garage right now - you know how one first must make a BIG mess before the clean up is complete? Well, I spared you the photo of the garage floor. It's just too awful, just like I have spared you the photo of the horrible bite I have on my leg...I am allergic to some creature in this yard - I've had 4 bites in 8 years, and each one is a scarred disaster. But I digress. The shed has been a slice - it was really nice to work outside, and it's fun to create something out of wood, I especially like wood.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Etsy, I Heart You

Where else would you be able to find this lamp shade???

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tarantula's, Oh my!

And....some Ukranian culture. A picture of my nephew, holding a tarantula on Canada Day at the County celebrations.I also, impulsively, stuck out my hand for a try, and did ok for a moment or two, and then bagan to panic. A swell of panic. The lady near me, a stranger, put her hand out to steady me, and calmed me enough for the fellow monitoring all of us to get the spider safely away from me.

We also visited a Ukranian community, in it's 1920 state, that was very interesting. We were quite fascinated by this one room mud hut, and wondered at the ingenuity of the space - it was quite cozy and functional. Where oh where would I put my dining room table though:)

BTW These photos were taken with my iPhone, so pardon the grainy indoor photo - the outdoor photos aren't too bad!

Sunday Talk

Our High Council speaker gave some words to think about on Sunday...he said that "through tragedy (trials) whether through personal failure or that of someone close to us, sickness, sin, accident, etc. that we learn critical lessons, that will in turn shape our character, and our destiny" (paraphrased).

This is where the rubber meets the road, and we become who we choose through our choices, and then our responses to those choices. Life is messy and complicated, but we can learn through all of it, and improve, and grow, and still come out moving towards our Heavenly Father.

Still Audun Obsessed

Monday, August 16, 2010

Natural Napkins

I have gotten it into my head that I would like to use cloth napkins...I would say instead of paper napkins and paper towels, but honestly we don't use either often; I think we must be quite neat, but still it seems a nice idea. Here are some of the more natural ones I have found:
This last item is a cotton sack meant to hold snacks, produce etc. instead of plastic bags - I would love to use these but the truth is that I would never have them with me; I have the reusable sacks for groceries in my car, where they stay, and I pay ¢5 for a plastic sack in the store. I don't know what it will take for me to remember to carry the reusable sacks into the store with me! And how in the world would I be able to hang onto these lovely little cloth sacks for produce and almonds??

Etsy stores:

I picked up sweet napkins on eBay:

Now I need napkin rings:)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy 8th Anniversary Tim and Sarra

Congratulations giving the 7 year itch the slip:)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fix You

For everyone that needs 'fixing'....(Mitchie, and Pasqualie) I love you!

Villeroy & Boch Audun China

I have blogged about these pretty dishes before; I have collected a couple of pieces over the last 7 years (a platter, a tray, and a teapot was given me as a gift by a very dear friend), but I had all but given up on getting the set for reasons of cost and the fact that the dishes I own right now will not die! They have been extremely reliable! Someone very special has bestowed upon me a set of four place settings, which has inspired me to go ahead and hunt down the rest of the set. I love them, and will remember the sweet gift, and the fact that they had remembered the pattern because I liked it so very well!

The beauty of these dishes is that they come ready to mismatch - a disheveled look that I adore. It looks kind of artless, but I don't think you could do it incorrectly - I have shown the bits and pieces here for your perusal.

So why so many posts all in a day? I am at home, in my jammies, having a sick day after a fun vacation and contact with at least 3 different summer colds:(

Pretty Summer Toes

Jane and Sarra:)

The Real Table & Chairs

There is quite a story to this table and chairs, but the long and short of it is that after looking for a month or so, I found this bit of French Country perfection, made by Lort's of Arizona, in the KSL classifieds in Alpine, UT and had it hauled up to Great Falls, where Mano picked us both up with a U-Haul, and took us both home. It is very happy in it's new home, and very much appreciated.