Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sam Tested, Carson Approved

One thing I have learned from living away from my parents is that I love to cook. I do not profess to be any sort of chef, but I am not too bad at following a recipe. I love getting new ideas for dinners so I thought I would share some of our favorite recipes.

These are all recipes that I have tried and that Carson and I have loved. Carson loves food but he is somewhat picky at the same time, so if a recipe is on my blog it has passed his test, which has to mean something right?

For today I will start will Carson's favorite - lasagna. This recipe is from my mom and it really is delicious, and not too complicated. One thing I like about it is that I can prepare it ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate it until I am ready to bake it. 

I am also not a food photographer, but this is really what it looks like

San Francisco Lasagna 

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz lasagna noodles
  • 28 oz Italian style peeled tomatoes
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use ground turkey and Carson can't tell the difference)
  • 3/4 lb ricotta cheese (I use cottage cheese instead because I like the taste better, but whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Directions:
  1. Simmer tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, oregano, pepper, and onion salt in sauce pan. 
  2. In skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil. Add ground beef and cook until crumbly.
  3. Add meat to the tomato sauce and simmer for 2 hours (you can do this uncovered for a thicker sauce or covered for a thinner sauce)
  4. Before the 2 hours are up for the sauce, cook the lasagna noodles as directed and run cold water through noodles after cooking.
  5. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with 1/3 of the sauce, 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the parmesan (just estimate) and then cover with lasagna noodles. 
  6. Repeat the process with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and noodles.
  7. Finish the final layer with the last of the sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly.
Enjoy!

Elder Topham - Called to Serve


My brother has been called to serve a mission for our church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - in Novosibirsk, Russia. He entered the Provo MTC on May 18 and will be there for three months until he heads to Russia. 


Drew will be teaching the Russian people all about this book, The Book of Mormon

I am really going to miss this kid while he is gone. We are only three years apart and have grown to truly love each other. Growing up Drew has been a pest, a partner in crime, a confidant, a source of comfort and inspiration, and a friend. 


I am really grateful for the experiences we have shared so far and I know there will be many more when he gets home. 


Until then I know that he is doing what he should be doing and what he wants to be doing. So far he is loving the MTC and he can't wait to preach the gospel to the Russian people. I know he will be an excellent missionary because of his faith, intelligence, personality, and love for people and the gospel. 

If you want to keep up with Drew while he is gone, follow his blog where my family posts his weekly emails. 

This Month is Such a Special One

I'm still behind so we are talking about May here. Now why is it so special?

1. My birthday month
2. Carson's birthday month
3. The month we started dating

So first for my birthday. Carson decided instead of buying me something he would sacrifice his time and summon all of his patience to take me on a shopping trip to the Park City Outlets. I loved the idea. I hadn't bought any new clothes for a while and I was excited for both of us to take some time off work and spend a day together. 

We (okay maybe just I) had a really good time. We went to all of my favorite stores - and stopped by a few of Carson's to be fair. I have to give Carson some credit for being very patient. He doesn't like shopping for more than a few minutes so an entire afternoon of it was quite a gift. He even carried my bags like a real gentleman! 


By the end we were both ready to go to dinner (could you tell that from his face?)

After shopping we met up with some family and friends at Olive Garden for my birthday dinner. Side note - we  had wanted to go to another restaurant and had gotten everyone else excited about it when we found out that they can't seat more than six at one table. Is that the dumbest set up for a restaurant or am I the only one who thinks that? Just wondering. 

Anyway...Olive Garden it was. Jess was sweet and even made me a delicious cake. 


If she were here she would say it tastes better than it looks. I am here to say I thought it was cute and it tasted amazing. 



I had Jess cut the cake since she made it and everything. I guess Collin wanted to help.

Shopping + pasta + cake + friends = a very happy birthday girl.

Two weeks later was Carson's birthday. I promise we celebrated even though I don't have any pictures. I'll tell you all about it though. 

The lucky boy had his birthday on a holiday so he didn't have to go to work. I was not so lucky but I made him monkey bread to cook while I was gone. He slept in, made his birthday breakfast and relaxed until I got home from work. Then he opened his presents and we went to dinner with some friends at his Utah favorite - Wingers. 

Sleeping + monkey bread + presents + Wingers = a very happy birthday boy. 

Now for the final reason this month is special to us. Last May we had our first date - paintballing in Hobble Creek Canyon - and after that it was rare that a day went by where we didn't see each other. It is weird to both of us (and probably a lot of other people) that we have only been together for a year and we have been married for five months of it. We have both been in relationships longer than ours but we both know that this one is something special, something that is going to last. We know it isn't going to be perfect and easy but it is the times after we are forced to work for it that we are the closest. If that makes sense. Basically, I am happy to be where I am right now and I can't wait for what the future brings. Cheesy, but true. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Officially Official

I am a BYU graduate! 
(and obviously still behind on my blog)


My transcript even says so (after a frightening post-graduation meeting with my counselor, but don't get me started).


Here is a video in case you missed it, or want to relive it again and again (I'm wearing the pink lei).

video

I love my family for all of the support they have given me, and graduation was no exception. It meant so much to me to have so many people sit through the ceremonies just to cheer when my name was called. 

My family/fan club

I am also extremely blessed to have support from my new family. Because of his position in the university, my father-in-law was able to greet me on the stand as I received my diploma.

My in-laws and sister-in-law Jess, who graduated in my college. 

My family

My mom has been a huge support through all of my schooling. I can't tell you how many papers she read for me, how many projects she helped me with, and how many nights she stayed up while I was working on homework. 

My dad has also been a huge support of course, the picture with him just turned out really bad. While my mom helped with the reading/writing part of my education, my dad dealt with the math/science areas. I don't know which was harder, but I do know that math usually came with more tears. 

Sisters

Even though I ended my BYU education just as we began our married life together, Carson has been a huge support to me and I know he is behind all of my future education goals. Even when they change weekly.

Grandparents...

And more grandparents

I am grateful that my uncle and his family could drive up to Utah for my graduation. They have always been full of advice and encouragement as I worked through school.

This girl has been with me for my entire college experience. It started with a knock on my dorm room door almost four years ago and through the years we went from being cousins, to best friends, to roommates, and now sisters-in-law. I couldn't have done it without her support and distractions (one semester my dad told her to make sure I didn't get straight A's). I am so proud of her graduation from dental hygiene school and I can't wait to see what adventures the future brings us. I love this girl.

 I am also very blessed to have this Jess as a sister-in-law. We have so much in common and I am excited for us to grow closer.

I am a lucky girl to have my best friends turned into family.

It feels great to be a college graduate, but I am kind of sad at the same time. School has been part of me since I was five. I know I will have to move on and work in the real world like everyone else eventually, but for now I plan to continue with school and further my education. The only question is where. Stay tuned!