Monday, January 25, 2010

The January Slump

It is not uncommon to feel a sort of "slump" in January. I feel it (note the lack of blog posts). My kids feel it. A good friend shared a few ideas on how she is "defeating January." It inspired to me to focus on things I can do for myself and for my family to make this dreary month just a little more tolerable. The month is almost over but we still have February to get through!

1. Washed my car! Nothing says Jan/Feb in Utah like a car covered in grey filth. Having a shiny, clean car was very refreshing.

2. I bought an electric juicer. My family loves fresh-squeezed orange juice and my cute little juicer from Anthropologie just wasn't cutting it.

I finally broke down and bought an electric juicer. Only $14.88 at Walmart! I made 32 oz. of fresh squeezed orange juice in about 15 minutes. How else can we expect to get through those boxes of oranges from Costco?!

3. Planned a girls night out. We ended up inviting the guys to join us for dinner and then we went alone to see Leap Year. It is your typical chick flick. Kind of silly and completely unrealistic. But I still thought it was cute and romantic. Harmless.

4. Fresh flowers. My mother-in-law brought me a lovely bouquet of tulips just this evening. It is definitely going to brighten my days!

5. Nacho Libre. This has been a recent discovery of my kids and is quoted non-stop at our house.

6. Cranford. A Netflix rental just for me. That has been my late-night indulgence. It took me a long time to finally force myself to watch it - but I am really enjoying it. It is very charming.

Things will pick up around here once we hit February. We've got two birthdays, Valentine's Day, the 6th grade Valentines dance, a St. George get-away, and the school play to look forward to!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recipe Sharing

Here are the recipes from our Greek Feast:

This is a simple version of Gyros that has a yummy but mild flavor. We ate it "taco style" in Greek pitas with shredded lettuce and a cucumber sauce (see below).,1618,159191-242192,00.html

Cucumber Gyro Sauce
This was delicious! Tips: After grating the cucumber make sure you drain it really good. I omitted the mustard. Chill overnight.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
This was my first time baking with phyllo dough and found it wasn't as tricky as I thought it was going to be. And it was definitely worth the trouble. Tips: Drain spinach mixture thoroughly and let it cool completely before mixing it with the cheeses. I brushed butter between the layers of dough instead of olive oil and a used probably 8 sheets on the bottom and 8 sheets on the top. There was a lot of filling (and I used less than the 2 lbs of spinach called for) and could probably be divided between two pans of pie. It took longer than 40 to bake.

Oia Greek Salad
This salad uses a store bought Greek salad dressing (which is what I did) but you could also just use olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The kalamata olives make this salad authentic but have a very strong flavor. Add according to taste. I have been eating the leftovers of this salad in pita bread topped with the cucumber sauce. Yummy!

Ambrosia Salad
My sister made this salad so I don't know the exact recipe but you can find one online. Again - it's not Greek food per-say but it is known as the "food of the gods!" This is usually a favorite of the kids and anyone over the age of 65 (no offense Dad).

Greek Home-style Chicken
4-6 pieces chicken (I used chicken breasts but would have preferred tenders or thighs)
Juice of 2 lemons
4-5 potatoes, peeled and sliced or cubed
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C water
1 head garlic, the cloves peeled but whole
Oregano, salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in shallow baking tray. Arrange potatoes around chicken pieces. Scatter whole garlic cloves around chicken and potatoes. Mix together lemon juice and olive oil and pour evenly over chicken and potatoes. Add water until potatoes are just about covered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover all with generous amounts of oregano. Bake 350 for about 30 minutes. Turn chicken, stir potatoes and sprinkle on more oregano. Return to oven until chicken is done.

Greek Orange Cake
This had a texture like a pound cake and a really nice flavor. It says to use an angel food cake pan but it turned out great in a bundt pan. I used orange flavor yogurt instead of plain. And don't forget to use the orange juice glaze!,1626,153189-253194,00.html

Check out my brother's blog to see the recipe. It turned out marvelous! And check out his other recipes while your there!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Greek Feast

Addie has been studying Greece at school. After tasting some Greek food she came home one day requesting that we have a Greek dinner. It felt like it was about time to have a party anyway. So that's just what we did!
She made fliers:

We spent a lot of the day in the kitchen preparing traditional Greek foods:

The Greek goddess arrived:

There was an art show/sale before dinner:

Then we had a Greek feast with Gyros, chicken and potatoes, Spanakopita (spinach pie), Oia Greek salad, and Ambrosia salad (not exactly Greek food but otherwise known as the "food of the Gods")!

Grandma shared some photos of her trip to Greece:

We played a board game Addie created for her school project. "Beat the Gods!"

We then had a trivia quiz, "Who's the Greek Geek?"

And for dessert? Kip made baklava and Addie made a Greek orange cake. Delicious!!

These were all new recipes for me - and they turned out great! I will try to post them soon. With the Olympics coming up - it's the perfect excuse to have a Greek feast of your own!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Postcard Art

My friends/relatives have created a cool new blog called Hopefully Mormon. Rachel gives some background behind the idea on her blog HERE. It is based on the scripture
1 Peter 3:15:
Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.

Anyone can contribute. Check it out and if you feel so inclined - send in a postcard - or a "reason of hope" - of your own!

Being in the Primary Presidency - this was one of my favorites: