Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quiet Time In American Fork Canyon

Today I went up American Fork Canyon to get some peace and quiet.  The peace ended with a frantic mom yelling for her son to get out of the canyon road, but it was really nice up until then. :)  Do you remember when you were a kid and the days seemed to never end?  Well today is one of those days.  These days don't come often enough!  
While I was laying in my hammock eating homemade truffle popcorn with Dorothy, I wrote this in my journal.  

"As I'm laying in my hammock secured to two trees, I can feel the mountain breeze gently pull the stress out of me.  
I'm swaying back and forth feeling the tension release with every swing.
Off in the distance, birds are dancing in the tree tops.  The river is gracefully dancing.  The leaves are singing a song to me.
Makes me think of the quote by John Muir: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  For natures peace will...."
A little boy just ran into the road and a frantic mom is screaming and running after him.  She let him go on his own for about ten minutes and when she went to look for him she found him playing in the road.  She is yelling at him while he slowly walks behind her with his head hung low.

I am super distracted now so I'm going to tat."

Take some time to relax in nature.  There's nothing quite like it! 
What a perfect day.  Once I got home from the canyon, Matt and I had veggie burgers with spicy sweet potato fries and sweet sun tea. 
We ate out on the back patio.  What a beautiful evening!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How To Brew Sweet Mint Sun Tea

I love sweet sun tea.  It's a perfect refreshing drink in the summer and is so easy to make.  
You will need: 
Glass container for brewing tea
6 cups filtered water
3 tea bags (black tea)
3-4 stems of fresh mint
1/2 cup simple syrup
Lemon for garnishing your cup
Gather stems of fresh mint leaves.  You can get mint at the grocery store also or opt out of the mint.
Washed and pull off the broken leaves.
Fill up the glass container with fresh filtered water, and add the mint and tea bags.  Set outside for the remainder of the day.   Make sure it gets a lot of sunlight.  
This is what it looks like after nine hours of brewing in the sun.  
Bring the tea inside.  Take out all but one mint stem and all the tea bags. 
Make the simple syrup.  
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Cook on medium high heat for about 3 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir continuously to prevent burning.  
Add the simple syrup. 
Add lemon slices and ice to your drinking glass.
 If you add the lemon to the brewing tea, it will make the tea bitter.
Pour the sun tea and enjoy!
If you want your tea to be stronger, put it in the fridge over night and skip the ice.  I couldn't wait to drink it, so I had to add the ice. 
The tea turned out perfect, and is not bitter.
Have fun and enjoy! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Easy Cinnamon Coconut Popcorn

Fall is in the air and with fall I love to make popcorn.  It's such a comfort food for me.  This is my new popcorn recipe I came up with today.  I can't stop eating it! :)
You will need:
1/2 cup kernels popped.  I use my air popper.  
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flakes
Add everything but the popcorn kernels to a small pan.  cook on medium heat until the mixture is well combined and melted.  
Drizzle over the popcorn and mix well.  
Let it cool down for a couple of minutes and then devour.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

How To Create A Tea Party For Kids

After going to Victoria to have High Tea with my aunt, I have been craving a tea party.  My eight year-old neighbor is always looking for something fun to do, so I invited her over for a tea party.
  She was really excited, but pulled a face when she asked if we were going to have tea.  The second she said that, I thought, Oooh MaryJane's Mint Julip ChillOver. 
You will need:
1 teaspoon MaryJanes ChillOver powder
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup Sugar
2 drops Peppermint extract
Bring the water, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil.  Make sure the sugar is melted and keep stirring.  
 Bring the stove down to medium heat and add the ChillOver powder (ChillOver powder sets up like gelatin but is cruelty free).  Let this cook for about three minutes.   
  Take off the heat, stir in two drops peppermint essential oil.  
Pour into cute tea cups and let chill for about two hours.
 Garnish with a peppermint leaf.  Josie didn't want to eat the leaf, but thought it was really pretty. :) 
I found this recipe in 
"MaryJane's Ideabook-lifebook-cookbook" 
on page 108.  
For the food I made cute PB&Js, sliced fruit, chocolate chips and baked wheat thins.  
You probably know how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I made these ones extra special for cute Josie.  I spread on peanut butter with homemade strawberry jam mixed with lemon curd.  It was a delicious mix.    
 Use a cookie cutter to shape your sandwich.  
 Put it on a cute tea plate.  I garnished with grapes.  
 Not sure if you can tell, but this one is a dress. 
Josie had so much fun!  
This adorable eight year-old loved the Mint Julep in place of tea, devoured the pb&j, mangos, and chocolate chips.  :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tea At The Empress

I recently went to Victoria, BC on a girls trip.  
 My cousin Hollie and aunt Carin took me to the Empress Hotel for high tea.  Boy was it amazing!  What a once in a lifetime experience.
 They first serve you tea 
and strawberries and cream.
Then the tray of goodies!  Check out this tray.  Cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, scones with cream and preserves.  The top of the tray was my favorite!  The pastries and chocolate. 
Our server had a beautiful English accent and had been working at the Empress for years.
After sitting down for tea, I felt so relaxed and refreshed.
If you ever go to Victoria, B.C. (which you should), go visit the Empress Hotel. 
 Check out my next blog post to see how to create a fun tea party for an eight year-old.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Weekend Of MaryJane's ChillOvers and Benches

It was a fun weekend cooking up MaryJane's ChillOvers
 and crafting a beautiful bench.  

I recently purchased MaryJane Butters ChillOver powder since she makes it look so good in her books.  Her ChillOver Powder is like gelatin, but is cruelty free and made with a variety of sea vegetables.  Thank goodness for her persistence in perfecting the ChillOver powder because it makes amazing desserts!  
 This is my ChillOver tea party.  I set it up in my Longaberger sewing basket. :)  It's made with ChillOver powder and Izze Sparkling juice.  The carbination stays in the ChillOver tickling your tongue when you put it in your mouth.  It's amazing!  It set up in tea cups.  Makes for a perfect "Chilled" tea party on a hot day.  It was a huge hit!  
If you want to purchase some of her ChillOver Powder for yourself, click here
This is another ChillOver chocolate dessert I made this weekend.  My family said they want me to make it for every birthday and family party. 
 I think they liked it ;) 
My beautiful, sweet mom is in the pink.

I also made an adorable bench during the weekend with the help of my dad and his shop.
(This is a photo of the worlds best dad and cutest nephew)
   The instructions are in "MaryJane's ideabook, cookbook, lifebook" on page 365.  It made me feel very accomplished after making it, and only took a couple of hours.  
I could read MaryJane's books everyday and not get sick of them.  They make me feel at home.
She grew up in Utah, the state were I live, and she grew up on a farm.  
I am a farm girl at heart and dream of living on an organic farm with a big tractor.   
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cast Iron Mini Rhubarb Crisp (gluten free, vegan)

This is a delicious recipe for mini rhubarb crisp cooked in a cast iron muffin pan.  It's also vegan, gluten free and picked from my grandma's garden with lots of love.
My grandma is almost 80 and keeps this garden up on her own.  The love of her life started this garden about five years ago.  They were thinking about getting married, but he died in a car accident before that could happen.  She now keeps it up for him and calls it "Michael's Garden."   I think he still helps her from up above.  Her veggies are out of this world!
This is what the rhubarb plant looks like.
 Plucking rhubarb:
I think rhubarb is beautiful!
Can't wait to take it home and put it in my dessert!
Rhubarb filling:
 Clean and trim off the greens.
 Cut into half inch slices.  Add one tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup organic cane sugar.
 1/4 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup vegan butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oat flour
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
pinch of salt
cinnamon to sprinkle on top
Add the mashed banana, butter and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Use a pastry cutter or fork to blend.   Stir in the flour.   Mix in the oats until the batter is clumped together.  Add the oats slowly.  You may need less or more than 2 cups. 
Grease the bottom of cast iron muffin pan.  Add the rhubarb.
Sprinkle on the topping.
Place in an oven heated to 350F for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top.  
Let this cool for a couple minutes.  
Serve and enjoy! 
 It has the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.  A delicious dessert for anytime of the year.