Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Categories: swishina | Food

Recipes and Kitchen Tips


Back-Up Thanksgiving: John wanted me to make his mom’s sweet potato casserole, so I went ahead and planned a whole Back-Up Thanksgiving meal. I got it all done this afternoon despite an hour and a half of driving kids around. We had rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, Brussel sprouts, crescent rolls, cranberry jelly, and apple tart for dessert.

The crescent rolls turned out amazing. I laminated them, and I’ve never made anything so flaky before. They didn’t rise very well and could have been fluffier but were so delicious. I used over a pound of butter between the rolls, the tart, the mashed potatoes, the Brussel sprouts, and the gravy.

Trader Joe's: Everyone has their favorite products to buy at Trader Joe's. I mostly shop there for dairy and produce, not for their specialty food items. I started going there when I was looking for non-UHT organic milk, and didn't like the taste of the only other brand I could find (Sprouts). So, I buy organic dairy, eggs, and produce there, but there are a few other items we've tried and really liked.

European-style chocolate yogurt
chocolate covered butterscotch caramels
dye-free gummies
chicken field salad (with sweet basil dressing)
nitrate-free ham, pre-cooked bacon, and organic hot dogs

Those are the main staples we really like. The yogurt is really good.

Back in the Kitchen: On the menu today:

Peanut butter chocolate chip muffins (with my Maggie helper, another delicious early breakfast thanks to jetlag)
Pretzels
Peach cobbler from the last frozen peach cobbler filling
Crock pot refried beans
Tortillas (hopefully trying out my new wheat grinder since I used up all my store bought whole wheat in the pretzels)

I've missed being able to cook up food for my family the last couple of weeks. Coupled with my new found free time (no work, and the big kids at camp), a baking day seemed in order.

Plus, as long as I keep cooking, I don't have to clean the floor.

I've long said of myself that I like to cook, but I don't like having to cook. This leads me to take "days off" when I know John won't be home. I've been really lazy about making dinner for my family these last few months. Part of it is that I never know when John will be home for dinner, if at all. It always seems like on days I go through the effort of making a nice meal, the kids complain and want frozen food and John comes home late and already fed. But, here's to more real food coming out of my kitchen.

O is for Oranges: Tis the season! I bought a bag of clementines on sale this week. As soon as I opened the first one I thought, "It's Christmas!" It was so delicious and definitely reminded me of winter even though it was 75 degrees.

[Comments] (1) Pop Pop Pop: Rachel brought two boxes of Richardson Farms peaches, so we spent the past few days canning. We made three batches of peach jam, a batch of sliced peaches, a peach cobbler, and an extra peach cobbler filling for the freezer. It's very satisfying to see all the jars of food that will last for a while.

[Comments] (1) Yum: I found a receipt in the Pathfinder for Flame & Skewers, a Mediterranean restaurant in Bakersfield. It's obviously Rachel's because it only has one meal on it, and it was two weeks before Maggie was born. It's been hiding for two years and decided to make a grand entrance. This place has delicious falafel and kabob sandwiches. Yum.

I am such a nerd: I went to the library yesterday, and I checked out 4 cookbooks. I've already read two of them! Here is a quote: "I simply feel more like a good cook when I wear an apron, and everything seems to taste better" from Cooking Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me.

Fondue for Two: Last night John and I celebrated our anniversary at The Melting Pot. Maggie got babysat by a couple in the ward with two little boys and had the best time.

We enjoyed our yummy fondue meal, but it was very expensive and now that we've done it I don't think we'll go back. We especially enjoyed the dessert fondue. The waiter told us how to make the cookie and/or graham cracker crumb covered marshmallows (just dip the marshmallows in water), so now we can just do that at home. We were thinking what a fun FHE activity that would be to do with young kids.

: For breakfast this morning I had Frosted Cherrios with fresh strawberries. It was very yummy. Also, I made ham fried rice with leftover Easter ham for dinner and I didn't have any green onions, so I used a shallot instead - also very yummy.

By the way, you can't put a shallot in a garlic press. Just get out the cutting board already.

[Comments] (3) Shallots: I went to the store yesterday to buy milk (and spent $25). I'd never seen so many men in the grocery store before, by the way. Anyway, I got some shallots to use in John's shrimp scampi, having made up a recipe by looking at the ingredients in a frozen shrimp dinner. Leonard told me shallots were about the same per pound as onions, but he was wrong. Yellow onions: 3lb/$1. Shallots: $2.39/lb. Maybe you don't use as much? I got three for 37 cents.

So there I was, making shrimp scampi for my Valentine. I threw some butter, garlic and a minced shallot in a pan. Added a splash of lemon juice. Thawed the shrimp. I turned back to my pan and the shallots had turned blue!! It had to be the lemon juice. John ate it anyway.

From one non-fish-loving wife of a fish-lover to all the others: frozen cooked shrimp is not stinky at all, even when cooked more.

Leonard was right: Making homemade pretzels is the perfect way to showcase sea salts. I got a tiny tube of sea salt in my stocking and I used it on a double batch pretzels last night. So yummy, so fancy.

Today was a cold day. I hate inside cold. Office buildings are cold all year round and my little typing fingers get so cold they can barely move sometimes! I warmed up our house by making scalloped potatoes and by drying some lemon slices in the oven.

I took a grocery bag full of lemons from Mom's tree and could hardly find enough to do with them! I juiced enough for 3+ pitchers of lemonade, made 5 into potpourri, gave 5 to Noelle and I still have 2. Mom's lemons make the yummiest lemonade, so I can't complain about having lots of juice in my freezer.

Traditions: John and I made some sugar cookies this week and decorated them. I used my Pampered Chef bowls to set out five different colors of frosting. We didn't roll and cut out the dough though; just made little balls. It is too much work for too many cookies that we won't eat, I'm afraid.

Somewhere along the line the Richardson's started drinking orange juice with ginger ale. I don't know where this came from (I suspect Leonard, an alcoholic drink, or both), but it's yummy! Of course, when John drinks his eggnog/ milk concoction, it means four bottles on the table for dinner.

[Comments] (3) Rave about Vons and soup: I shop at Vons. Not only is it closer, the people are nicer. I went to Albertsons and they were rude and wouldn't take my coupon. At Vons, several people always ask me if I'm finding everything alright, and they actually help me if I say no. The Vons I shop at recently remodeled and is having a grand reopening. I like that store so much I shopped there through the remodeling, even things were moved around a lot. One time 5 of the items I was looking for were missing prices!

Anyway, today continues the grand reopening and they were having free samples. I also got a book with $80 of coupons on Vons brand stuff and some coupons for some free items. I got a sample of their yummy Signature soup, all the free items, and used three of the other coupons. I have finally succeeded in "saving" over 50% using my Vonscard and coupons.

I was going to buy the soup anyway because I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon and John had been eyeing it earlier. But after I tried the Tuscan Tomato Basil Bisque I had to get it. It was so delicious!!! I have finally found a soup that is comparable to the Soup Kitchen in Salt Lake. It's not the same, but equally yummy. I also bought a container of the Fajita Chicken Chowder. Shall post a review once I try it.

Basil Update #2: I have four remaining basil plants (I picked the rest out). They are over 1 foot tall and I have used the leaves in three things: BLTs, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato-zucchini pasta. Very yummy. I'm glad we moved to a place where I could grow happy basil.

[Comments] (1) : Yesterday I was craving yummy balls, so I made some. Now I get to eat them for lunch too. I'm so lucky! yum.

[Comments] (2) : Last night when I got home all late from work, John had cooked a yummy dinner for me. He made porkchops with creamcheese-garlic sauce, carrots and some yummy lemon bars. It was delicious! We did a puzzle together and watched Harry Potter. It was nice to move our table into the center of the room so we could do both at the same time and be comfy.

Today we are up at my in-laws, shopping and making John's graduation announcements. And doing laundry. I even got the house all cleaned before we left, because John had to go to a stupid group meeting.

Also, I am teaching Relief Society tomorrow, and getting my lesson all ready. John asked if I was going to bring a tablecloth, but I informed him that the Relief Society has it's own tablecloths.

[Comments] (2) : It seems like I never update anymore, even though I still think "why doesn't anyone else update?" Another incredibly busy week at work. But I only have one more page of numbers to read! (After all the data entry (again) we had to verify every number (again) twice (again)). Yesterday I spent 2 hours doing my job- store order, resumes, itineraries, and mail. It was great! I felt so productive, after sitting in our conference room reading numbers for four days straight.

We are having some of John's old roommates and their wives over for dinner tomorrow. I am making taco soup. My P. Chef party is Thursday (if anyone wants anything!) and we are going to make Mexican Chocolate Pies and Taco Dip, yummy. But what I am most excited about this week (besides finishing our numbers project) is going to California! yay!

[Comments] (1) : I've been cooking since I got home! I can't believe lasagne takes this long, but it's just as well because John isn't home from class yet. I made Aunt Jeuney's recipe in my box, and some garlic bread and more spinach salad. I also used leftover pasta and made some pasta salad.

We had leftover pasta (little shells) from the stroganoff. I also had an extra piece of lasagne, and for some reason, didn't think I would have enough and made half a box of big shells to stuff just in case. I cut all of it into tiny pieces for the pasta salad. It's not the yummiest thing I've ever made, but I'm sure I'll eat all of it.

[Comments] (6) : Tonight I made Aunt Jeuney's famous beef stroganoff- yummy! We haven't had it in forever, as John so gently reminded me. I went through the calendars of things I have cooked, which I've kept since we got married, and made a big alphabetical list of everything I've ever made (and would make again). Before I went to the store just now, I had John just look at the list and pick out some things that looked good. Now I can finally get his imput in a non-annoying way.

Still raining. Today a sales lady came to see me at work. I want to buy some pedometers from her company. She brought me some samples, and also some candy! I read that "the average person" walks only 3000-5000 steps per day. I (apparently) walked 1600 just on a trip to the grocery store! 10,000 steps a day (about 5 miles) is the minimum for health benefits. Too bad the pedometer is so cheap, I'll never know how many I really do.

[Comments] (3) Smooth: Mom, today I am wearing your dangly earrings with the little eggs on them. You have gotten lots of vicarious compliments.

I've been eating a lot of smoothies lately, and I am especially pleased to report that freezing banana slices is possible. When I looked online, all the info I found was on freezing rotting bananas whole, or mashing them up. I sliced mine, mushed them with some lemon juice in a Ziploc bag, and the slices come apart pretty well when you bang the bag on the counter. Anyway, last night I finally remembered to put ice in my smoothie so it would be colder and it was delicious!

My freezer is getting full of frozen fruit and vegetables, because I am tired of not having them on hand when I want to use them. I have zucchini, green pepper, strawberries and raspberries (John bought them already frozen), peas (of course!), bananas and two kinds of grated cheese, so it won't get moldy in the fridge.

Good Morning Everyone!: I like working in the mornings (Val and I traded again) because the sun shines through the front doors, because there is more work to do (especially on Fridays) because I get more hours, because I feel productive when I get home so early in the afternoon. Also, I can wear jeans to work on Fridays, which for some reason makes me extremely happy.

I also have a yummy lunch. I made a burrito from leftovers (refried beans, black beans, corn) with cheese (I only had mozzerella) and green peppers from the freezer. Green peppers freeze very well, which is good to know. I like making a lot of things that want me to use green peppers but I never plan ahead enough to buy them, and they aren't always on sale. I bought several on sale, ate most of them and now have some cut up in the freezer and have been eating them on very good burritos.

[Comments] (2) Lucky Charms: Today while cleaning out our junk drawer (Like I said earlier, I organized a lot today), I found a coupon for an A&W rootbeer float that I had saved. I found an excuse to go to that part of town and got my float- yummy. Rootbeer floats remind me of my dad, but I dont know why.

Today while cleaning out under the bathroom sink (Like I said earlier, I organized a lot today), I got out my charm bracelet and all the charms that need to be added on. Rachel and I have these gorgeous silver charm bracelets and the last time we were home, while going through Moms jewelry, we found all these charms shed bought for us (It appears that no charms have been added to the bracelets since 1996). We got to pick which ones we wanted. These things are so cute! I have a little hat, magnifying glass and pipe one from England (from a visit to Baker Street), a covered wagon from Utah, a butterfly from Victorias butterfly garden, an oil derrick from Texas. Those are some of the ones I need to put on. My favorite ones on the bracelet are a little outhouse with a door that opens, a bat from Carlsbad and a totem pole. Judging by the charms I have with price tags still on them, I think this bracelet cost at least $300.

[Comments] (2) Best of: Kitchen: Here is my part in putting together a kitchen-log. It is rather unfair of me to do this without posting the recipes. So I guess I wont mention a yummy food without the recipe- in the future. In the meantime, let your mouth water. Warning: Some of these entries are about how my food didnt turn out.

White Shells
Bean soup
Fry Sauce
Yummy sandwich
Dont try this at home
Pretzels and Romanian food
Kitchen Triumphs
Johns Sweet & Sour
Shakes
falafel
casserole
susies kitchen
More triumphs
Curry Chicken
not-as-good stroganoff
Scalloped Potatoes
Yummy Balls
Aunt Jeuneys Beef Stroganoff
More Stroganoff 
Stuffed Shells
No More Ramen
Bacon Rice
Rice
Cooking Tips
90-minute Rolls
Crockpot Arroz con Pollo
Moms yummy Rosemary chicken

Other yummy food mentioned: English Toffee, Cheesecake, Texas Sheet Cake, Taco Soup, French toast

[Comments] (3) : Well, it's been a long weekend. Here's the story.

I flew into LAX on Saturday morning, John picked me up and we drove to Bakersfield. Leonard and Rachel were both already there. We visited with grandma and grandpa Richardson, ran some errands, and did a ton of yard work. It was fun with everyone outside working in the yard together. The only drawback is that there never seems to be enough room in the trash cans. Mom fixed the fish pond, which sounds all pretty and naturistic now, and we also went in the hot tub.

Sunday, we all got up went to church early (to sing with the choir). Mom made the yummiest dinner ever- there was rosemary chicken and rice with rosemary chicken juice on it. Fried zucchini and the best salad ever- spring mix with avacado, candied walnuts, dried cranberries and homemade poppyseed dressing. I ate a lot of salad. I love salad. John and I took Gretel and Sadie for a short walk (it was really hot outside). I wish we could have a little Sadie-dog.

Monday Mom made a huge yummy breakfast (I helped) and we ran errands. Cut Rachel's hair. Drove to LA. Traffic. I had to go through security twice; they made me go back and check my bag because of a scrapbook tool kit mom gave me. (presents!) But there was plenty of time for me to read my book and I finally had a flight that was completely on time.

Jim and Susan picked me up at the airport. I fell asleep at their house, then we had an impromptu party with lots of fireworks. I wish John could have been there. That went really late and the Fire and Police Depts. had roads closed off everywhere so I didn't end up getting home until quite late. I remember when 11:00 wasn't the end of a very long day.

I got home so late that I still haven't unpacked, quite unusual for me. The plant clippings mom gave me survived the journey. Our other plant survived staying home alone. I had a great dream in which I planned this summer's public affairs project for the ward. I need to have more dreams like that.

Poor John is all alone at Jamie's house now. Hopefully he will have lots of work to keep him busy. Only six more weeks!

[Comments] (5) : Jana came over for dinner tonight. I made arroz con pollo in the crockpot and it actually turned out yummy (not to mention easy). I also made chocolate chip cookies, but haven't eaten any yet. Then I painted my fingernails bright pink. Other than work, which was uneventful (you're the best, Rach!) that is all I've done today.

[Comments] (4) Dinner: I made a stew from vegetable beef soup and random canned and fresh veggies. It was ok. I also made corn on the cob and 90-minute rolls, both of which were quite yummy, if I do say so myself. I made myself late to church making the rolls, but that was mostly because I got up at 145, and no one can blame me. I am wondering if I can freeze the rolls after making them into little balls, then thaw, rise and bake. Probably.

Typical: Last night, I finished Return of the King, read five magazines, watched Center Stage and the last half of Spiderman and spent an hour playing solitaire games on the computer.

Cooking Tips: I forgot to mention that for dessert last night I made blintzes. They were yummy and John especially liked them. It was so easy. I made crepes, but only cooked one side, then put the filling in and wrapped them up inside out. Then I froze them, and fried them frozen; that way John can make them warm himself, for breakfast or whenever.

Also, John really likes when I make chocolate chip cookies, so I usually make a whole batch of dough and freeze some of it. This last time, I made the dough into balls before freezing it. It was so easy to pop them out, put them on the cookie sheet to thaw and then bake them.

[Comments] (8) : I have applied for approximately eleven jobs so far, one of which was as a Rec Therapist at a place similar to Heritage. Most of them are office positions, for which, according to the two office skills tests I took today, I am most qualified. I had to take the BYU one for the BYU jobs and the DWS one for the government jos (dept. of substance abuse etc), and if I don't have a job by Wednesday I will have to take the Kelly Services one. My ten-key scores keep going down; am I really that bad?

I made yummy-smelling BBQ chicken, rice and carrots for dinner. I am using a new kind of rice, "Calrose", because it was the least expensive. I usually buy just the long-grain white rice. This kind looks really fluffy.

[Comments] (3) : What did I ever do in the mornings before I started reading? Sleep in, I guess. If I keep my current job (well, the one nearest which would be possible for me to have) I will be working 12-8 everyday. Seriously, what do people do all morning?

Luckily, today is a non-school day and John has left the computer home to go work all day. He's working lots for me this week, especially since he can take his final while I'm at Enrichment (gardening) and not have to take time off work.

I am making Cheesy Bacon Spanish Rice for dinner. Yummy. I guess it wouldn't kill me to leave for work now.

[Comments] (1) : I have finished HP #5. When is the next one coming out? I understood them a lot more this time around. John and I bought lots of clothes yesterday with book buyback money.

Today I made two batches of pretzels and our yummy favorite, Zesty Chicken and Potatoes. Then we got lazy and had corndogs for dinner. Actually, I was going to make Chinese Cabbage salad, but, unbelievably enough, we didn't have any Ramen. What a sad, yet blissful, day of college life.

: I am at work chilling until group therapy is over (about the only time we get anything done around here). Next week is Spring Break, and we will be starting our new schedule the day after that. hrmph.

This morning I made Stuffed Shells to bake for my cutie John tonight. It will be yummy. Well, I should get back to work and find something "productive" to do, or at least worth Heritage's money. Just thought I'd say that I made a yummy dinner for tonight!

[Comments] (9) Today was a good day: My hair was cute, my outfit was cute, and my groups went well. I made aspargus with hollondaise and Aunt Jeuney's beef stroganoff for dinner, we went for a walk and now we get to have ice cream cake leftover from the party on Sunday. Ahhh, life.

[Comments] (6) : John requested Yummy Balls for dinner tonight and they were yummy. John has a group meeting late tonight, so I will have time to go to the grocery store. I am exhausted from work and it's only Monday.

[Comments] (2) : For FHE tonight John and I walked to Glazies and had some yummy donuts. I made an attempt at Scalloped Potatoes for dinner. I kinda followed a recipe, other than the baking for 1 hour part; I just simmered it until the potatoes were edible. I keep making things with sausage that have zero flavor otherwise (like my gumbo). What am I doing wrong? Well, I'm out of sausage now anyway, so hopefully I won't try that again!

A Good Day of Honest Work: I did a lot of work at work today. I mean work, not my usual running groups and charting and such. I had at least 3 hours of "free" time which I spent typing up ISU modules on different weekly topics, and my Leave No Trace memo for next week. I am proud of my modules project and it makes me sad to think that I might not get to do ISU for too much longer. Oh well, I will pass it on for posterity's use. It has really helped me be organized to have weekly topics, and planning ahead has helped me with my goal to do fewer games and more involved groups.

I am making Hamburger Helper strogannoff and John is sad because mine tastes better. Oh well, once this box is gone from my cupboard... The cheesecake is also almost gone from our fridge.

It is lovely weather and we are considering going for our third walk of the week (one of which was cold). Yay for Spring! It opens up a whole new world of outdoor challenge groups.

[Comments] (1) Cookies, Get Yer Cookies: John requested I make chocolate cookies tonight. He likes my cookies! Another triumph.

Today I worked all day and have scrapbooked all evening, minus the cookie baking. Well, I found it exciting.

: This morning I made french toast and bacon for breakfast, John's two favorite foods. I was going to surprise him until he rolled over in bed and asked me to make french toast for breakfast. So much for that idea. We poured syrup from a little glass ducky syrup dispenser.

In related news, I have been using a cute little crab recipe holder. I never realized how useful a recipe holder is; my recipe is always in the same place when I look for it. Amazing. Thanks Leonard!

Triumph Again: Since I am only working part time this week I've had lots of time to do stuff in the morning. I've had lots of errands so far this week, but still had time to cook yummy meals. I made curry chicken in the crockpot yesterday and hamburger pie and cheesy rolls today. The rolls were an experiment, but John really liked them. They were really soft and I didn't even burn them.

I love when John likes my dinners! I also like when I have time to cook ahead and make some actual food.

We had two interns start at work this week. It's fun to watch them doing what I had to do.

: This morning I've made lasagne and chocolate chip cookies for my husband. hopefully that will tide him over tonight. I have training from 1-6 and a work Christmas party from 630-930. On the bright side, I get paid for going to training (it's a refresher on restraints), and there are supposed to be very good prizes and bonuses at the party. And very good food. Today promises to be a good day considering I'll be at work for most of the rest of it.

I hope we are making lots of Christmas cookies, as discussed elsewhere. John and I have a deal that involves me making him sugar cookies once a month (I got cute cookie cutters in return). Plus, it's fun, and it's a family tradition!

[Comments] (2) : My cute husband is making me breakfast, which is fair since I'm making homemade soup and bread for dinner tonight. We've finally collected all of our Angel Tree gifts, although some late last night that need to be delivered today.

I am excited to cook dinner, yum! Does anyone know if I can put bread in the fridge after it rises but before baking?

: The pile of gifts for our Angel Tree kids is piling up in our living room. A couple in our ward brought by a very generous donation we'll be able to use to fill in all the blanks, maybe even buy things for another kid.

I tried a new, and very simple, recipe today. Chicken, salsa and corn, wrapped in tin foil and baked. Cheese and sour cream on top. It was yummy and very easy.

: This morning John and I worked together on making an eclair cake and a chicken broccoli casserole. We are having John's friend Jaron over for dinner this evening, which means directly after church.

Our Thanksgiving plans our nearly set. I have work off, so we're driving to Whiskey Pete's on Tuesday, then down to Jamie and Dave's in Mission Viejo. Friday morning we'll drive up to Bakersfield, then head back to Utah Sunday. We are still debating whether or not to go to Disneyland on Thursday. The $80 getting a Utah driver's license saved us on our insurance is still worth more than any deals we could have gotten from Southern California residency, but lower prices would make The Happiest Place on Earth more appealling.

Yum: I made two batches of sugar cookie dough which are at home in the fridge awaiting our sweet return. My pumpkin- and witch-shaped cookies cutters are on the counter with my rolling pin (I love you, rolling pin!) I don't know how well the witch will work out, but the pumpkin-shaped one is really a nice cookie cutter. It's big, doesn't have any easily breakable appendages. Etc. I have a set of 100 cookie cutters John let my buy with a gift certificate to Linens 'N' Things we got from Sister Davis. He made me promise to make him sugar cookies (his fav) once a month.

Why are all my entries about cooking? Do I do anything else?

: We just made Oreo shakes and have decided that they're better not made at home, because non-home institutions use Oreo cookie crumbs without the creme. The creme leaves a slimy taste in your mouth. For lunch we had Zesty Chicken and Potatoes again. We didn't use red potatoes this time but it was still good. I like Sundays because John has time to help with dinner. John is so sweet in giving me suggestions of what to cook. It makes my job so much easier.

We were visited by the bishopric tonight. They learned some Cantonese while waiting for us to open the door (the first counselor served in Hong Kong). Lei ho!

Recent Kitchen Triumphs: Now that I have a little family to cook for I have been occasionally trying out new recipes. There was the fruit pizza and pot roast on Sunday and yesterday I made a new version of spanish rice with cheese and bacon (I added my own olives and corn). Last Sunday we made baked chicken pieces with red potatoes and this yummy spicy mustard, pepper and mayonaise saucey stuff. It was very good!

: Today was Stake Conference and then I cooked. I made Romanian "Oriental Salad" ("Do they have potatoes in the Orient?" asks Rachel) and Sora Stoica's Prajitura cu mere. Then I made some German Soft Pretzels. They were so yummy! Rachel and I have big plans to make some (a lot) and freeze them.

Here's the best part. I made 12 pretzels and left them on the counter to rise. I let Gretel lick the bowl and told her she could have a bite once they were cooked but they weren't very yummy or good for her raw. So then Gretel walks by licking her chops and I run to the kitchen and what do I see but FOUR missing pretzels!!!! Man that dog is going to be feeling bloated tonight. AND it was more than her fair share. Mom kicked her out and she went out pretty good. I think she knew she had done somthing wrong.

Gretel got to come back in when we had cooked and eaten all of the prezels. She looked over at the counter and back at me. Hehe. Then when I walked by she was tiptoeing around trying to see where they had gone.

: Today is seven days my kids have been in the hospital. Hopefully they will go home tomorrow. I have spent too much money buying those boys diapers. They are back to their usual selves. The five-year-old screamed when we came in today. That's typical. The little one whined really a lot. Oh well. A doctor showed up as we were getting ready to leave. We heard the nurse explaining to him we were from the center and we bring Pampers. That appeared to be a good enough reason for him. The Portar didn't ask us any questions either, like on Saturday and Sunday. We're a little scared now. Well, at least we understood what the guy on Sunday was saying.

They wouldn't let us into the Children's Hospital today, Pampers or no, because of a flu epidemic. The signs have been up for four days now, and no one stopped us before. The security guard was probably just bored. If it was up to the nurses we would have been treated like queens, considering how many diapers we had bought to bring today. Today was "change the whole sixth floor" day. But they wouldn't let us in.

The Elders came over to dinner yesterday. We made strawberry shortcake for dessert. We figured out how to beat 11 egg whites by hand, but it took us three hours to get it right. On my turn, I finally got it going, so the cake turned out ok. We seriously spent 3 1/2 hours beating egg whites. And we used something called "Bicarbonat de Amoniu" instead of yeast in the rolls, but the dough didn't rise. They ended up frying it, but it tasted and smelled like ammonia. We don't know what it was, but we know it was a food product because it's packaging was identical to the baking soda, and it said "pentru prajituri" on it (for non-specific baked sweet things). mmm, prajituras. It really means "Pastries!!!"

: For all those interested, I believe the fry sauce marketed in stores is called "Some Guy's Fry Sauce." It's not actually me who makes the Morris Center's fry sauce, although I am given the opportunity to clean the mayonnaise out of the mixing bowl.

Rachel iss super -cool

She also can't type. I should also mention that due to the fact that Leonard had his picture taken with the sign outside the Widtsoe building, he managed to find his way from the bookstore to my house. I'm still not sure how that worked but he used the line "I was a Boy Scout once."

: I just made 17 bean and barley soup. Salt, olives, cheese and salad dressing make it taste... well better. I got an 85% on my Stats test which is exactly in between my scores on the past two tests. I think that's enough beans for today.

: For dinner I am having White Shells and Cheddar Pasta-Roni with tomatoes- Leonard's idea- and peas- my idea. It's quite yummy. I eat peas with everything. It makes my college diet a tad bit healthier. I love frozen peas. Most people think I'm so weird because I eat them straight out of the bag. It's a habit I've had since I used to watch TV (ah, the good ol' days). You know, the whole mindlessly-eating-while-your-brain-gets-sucked-out kinda thing.


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