Thursday, January 28, 2010

comfort food

I haven't yet shared any recipes on my little blog, but this morning as I was re-filing a few, I thought I would share a couple. My recipes generally are not sugar-free or fat-free or meat-free. I like to cook, I like to eat, and thankfully I also like my treadmill, which at least helps me to keep things under a certain degree of control.

Last night we had the missionaries over for dinner and I made a couple of kinds of soup, rolls, and salad. And for the second time in my adult life, I made a recipe from my childhood for dessert: Chocolate Buttermallow Cake. The first time I made it was last year after requesting it from my mom, and as I was making it, I declared to whatever family was nearby at the time, "I am never making this again!" (see why below) But then everyone loved it.

I've served dinner to the missionaries so many times that I was running out of dessert ideas, so yesterday I decided to try this again. They liked it so much that one of the elders requested it again for his birthday . . . THIS Sunday. So I'm going to share. You can thank Grandma Lowe for this one.

Chocolate Buttermallow Cake

Begin by baking a favorite chocolate cake recipe in a 9 x 13 pan (Mom's recipe was too much work for me - sifting, alternating, etc. - that I use a simpler one or just a cake mix). Then when the cake has cooled, top with Butterscotch Filling and then Marshmallow Frosting.

Butterscotch Filling:
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 cup light cream (I use milk)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Combine sugar and flour in a saucepan; stir in milk. cook over med. heat, stirring constantly, 'til thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat. Slowly stir small amount into egg yolks, then stir back in pan. Boil 1 more minute, stirring. Remove from heat; add rest of ingredients, then let cool. Spread over cake. DO let it cool first or it will mostly run to the edges of the cake and leave the top sparsely covered.

Marshmallow Frosting:
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup marshmallow whip (I didn't have any on the shelf yesterday, so omitted it and it was fine)

On top of a double boiler (or a bowl over a pan), combine all ingredients. With water boiling below, beat mixture with electric mixer 'til soft peaks form (at our altitude, this takes at least 10 minutes). Let cool slightly and frost cake. A spatula dipped in water can help spread it more smoothly over the butterscotch. Or if there are butterscotch/marshmallow swirls that's okay too.

Enjoy a la mode or with some cold milk!

The first time I made this I used a heavy glass bowl as my mixing bowl over the boiling water. After a few minutes of beating the marshmallow goo, the bowl s-h-a-t-t-e-r-e-d, and the resulting mess was epic, and then of course I had to start OVER. Hence the short-lived decision to never make it again!

The salad I made was also a tasty favorite -- with romaine and red lettuce, apples, glazed walnuts and feta.

And now a roll recipe to pass along. My sis-in-law Julene shared this with me years ago and I have probably made it a hundred times. You are actually eating the rolls hot out of the oven one hour after you start to make them, which makes this a great 'go-to' recipe.

One-Hour Rolls

4 Tbsp. yeast (yep, you read that right)
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. sugar
Mix these in a small bowl and set aside.

Put 2 cups of milk in a saucepan over high heat to scald.

Now put the following ingredients into your mixer:
2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp sugar
1 cube softened butter
7 cups flour (this also works well half & half with wheat flour)

Add yeast mixture and scalded milk to mixer and mix well for 5 or so minutes. Fill your kitchen sink about 1 1/2 inches with very hot water. Put plastic wrap over your dough bowl and place bowl in sink for 15 minutes. When time is up, punch down the dough and form the rolls however you like. Let rise for another 15 minutes while preheating your oven to 425. (I just squeeze them into 2"(?) balls and put them close to each other on a greased sheet pan). Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until brown. Easy and fast!!

Have a comforting day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I apologize if you are getting weary of posts that talk about Brennan and basketball. We are loving watching our high school team play their season. We've known and watched these boys play ball together for years, and it will be a sad day when the season (and Brennan's basketball career) comes to an end.

Last night Carson played their biggest rival, Douglas. At Douglas. This is Keith's old high school, and his name is on the Hall of Fame wall in both football and wrestling. But not basketball!

Whenever Carson and Douglas play any sport against each other, it is a big deal. Pranks are played the week before; t-shirts with clever death wishes against the other team are created and sold, and police officers patrol the perimeters of the court during the game. When the game is over, Carson fans are directed to exit on one side of the gym and Douglas fans the other. It's just the way of things.

So last night we played at Douglas. Carson has not won a basketball game at Douglas since 2003. Can you tell where this build-up is going???

Check out this photo from after the final buzzer rang. Brennan is #12. Gotta love it. You can see the Carson student section behind the team, and if you look closely in the upper right-hand corner, you can see Kristi's cheering face too.

These are the good old days!

(Meredith, you can see that I haven't downloaded that blogging program yet . . . hence the awkward link)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

choosing between good and good

Brennan received his first acceptance letter the other day. He has been invited to attend:

Pretty cool. Ever since we visited the campus and took a guided tour in the summer of '08, he has been excited about the possibility of going to school there.

So Option One: 'BYU-I' looks very good.

But with his 19th birthday approaching, he is toying with Option Two as well. This option would find him here:

Yes, Option Two: 'Serving a mission' is also a very good option.

Stay tuned for future decisions.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

and 2010 begins . . .

After a wonderful-and-far-too-brief holiday vacation, "regular life" is back in full swing. We had a lovely Christmas break which we all enjoyed very much. Kristi and two friends made their professional guitar trio debut at our ward Christmas party, playing a holiday medley which was delightful. We'll let you know when the CD comes out.

Keith's sister and family came to town, so we had lots of fun hanging out with them. We then enjoyed a lazy and fun Christmas Day:

Our super missionaries (who might just be Brennan's best friends in the world) spent time with us on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and then Brennan left for Las Vegas for five days to play in a basketball tournament.

He had lots of fun but was glad to be home and out of the 'city of sin'. He said one highlight was a discussion he had one night with a man he met on the strip who was preaching salvation to all who would listen. Upon finding out Brennan was Mormon, he told him in no uncertain terms that he was going straight to You-Know-Where, which really took Brennan aback. Brennan gave him a pass-along card from his wallet, but when the man said he would take it only to prevent Brennan from giving it to someone else, Brennan kindly asked for it back! He was in Vegas over a Sunday, so unbeknownst to us, he had asked our local missionaries to contact some missionaries down in Vegas (same mission) to see if they could find him a ride to church -- which they did -- but his coach wouldn't let him go anywhere with strangers, which is understandable. So since he couldn't go to church, he went with his team instead . . . and rode the coasters at the top of the Stratosphere Tower.


And oh yes, they played a few games of basketball.

Kristi's bestest and oldest friend spent the week between Christmas and New Year's with us. She lives in Oregon and has been away for the past 4 years, but their friendship has never faded. She's just a part of the family and we all love it when she's here.

Could they be any cuter, really???

After we dried our tears about Kenzie leaving, we faced putting away the Christmas decorations and going back to school and work. Was this only a week ago??? Oh my.

Back to Brennan and basketball. His season is in fulll-swing now and he is having a great season so far. I just can't tell you how wonderful it is to watch him play after he lost last year to a broken foot. He is happy and confident and we feel like it's been a longish road, so it's very gratifying. Last night he played a fantastic game against a strong rival who was expected to win. He received some nice words of praise:
(how do you do an embedded link???)

We didn't take pictures of last night's game, but here are some from today. They played a private school (who can recruit), and they are always at the top of the league. We didn't win, but played hard and only lost by 11, which, considering the opponant, almost felt like a victory.

Brennan had to guard Bobby Hunter (below), whose stats make him the #1 point guard in northern Nevada. He averages 20 points per game, but didn't get that today. Here is one reason why:

No foul; that was all ball. Way to go, Brennan! (all 5'8" of you!)

Go CHS!!

I am back at work . . .

. . . and working for the school district means that my immediate family gets into all local sporting events for free. It's like a little Christmas present each and every time we attend Brennan's games. I flash my badge and in we go, saving the $20ish it would otherwise cost. It makes me love my job a little bit more.

Hey, Keith has a facebook page now. He finally succumbed because lots of business colleagues hounded him about it. If you want to befriend him, look him up!

Happy New Year to all. We are optomistic and hopeful that 2010 will be 'new and improved' over last year. May you each find much happiness as it unfolds.