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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Freezing Tomatoes

I just picked my first 2 tomatoes from my garden. You know how as your tomatoes ripen, you often have more tomatoes than you can eat, put not enough to preserve?  Or maybe you have some ripe tomatoes but no time to use them.
Last year at the Stake Relief Society "What To Do With Your Garden" seminar we held, Jodi Gorham gave us one of my favorite tips ever.  She told us you can freeze a whole tomato and use it later. Here's how:

1. Wash a whole tomato well.

 2. Pop it in a baggie. Just leave the stem on, and don't forget to label the bag.

3. Now sometime in January or February when you need a tomato for a recipe, pull out your frozen tomato.

4. Run it under warm water.

5. The skin will now slip off easily.

6. You can now crush , dice, or use the tomato whole.

7.  You can use the tomato in any recipe that calls for cooked tomatoes. They are also great in soup.
Last summer, I froze about a dozen tomatoes this way. They were wonderful to have on hand and I had used them all within a couple of months. I definitely plan on freezing a lot more this way this summer!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Second Annual Wild Women Triathlon


Friday, August 19, 6 pm-9 pm
Lake Elmo State Park
Are you ready?? The triathlon is less than one month away. Last year's event was so fun-check it out here.
There are women of all ages and all fitness levels participating--come enjoy the company of our sisters! You can even volunteer to help if you don't want to participate.  We need people to pass out water, help with snacks at the end, direct traffic along the way, and cheer our runners on.
Contact Brenda Snizek (Skyview Ward) or
Ranee Berg (Hilltop Ward) 
for more information, or check out the facebook page.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Couscous is a common ingredient in North African and Middle East cooking. It is made from semolina and is considered neither a pasta nor a grain. It has more riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine and pantothenic acid than pasta and more protein than rice.  Couscous available locally has been parboiled, meaning it has been steamed and dried, making cooking time for you at home very short. Couscous needs only 5 minutes to cook, making it perfect for a quick meal.  Couscous is good hot or cold, and can be substituted for quinoa, rice, or pasta in a variety of dishes.  It keeps well for at least a year in your pantry.

I tried couscous in this summer salad recipe:

 Chicken Quinoa (or Couscous) Salad

2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (or couscous)
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
1/2 cup diced yellow or red sweet peppers or bell peppers
1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 avocado, diced
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl, stirring every 5 minutes to break up. Let cool for 15 minutes. Or use couscous, cooked according to package directions and cooled.
2. Place broccoli, chicken, peppers, and Parmesan cheese into a large bowl. Add quinoa and stir to combine.
3. To prepare dressing, place olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a medium bowl, whisking to combine. Pour over quinoa, stirring then gently stir in cubed avocado.
4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 8 servings

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lengthen A Skirt: Letting Down Hems

Sometimes a dress is just on the edge lengthwise-long enough to be covered, but not quite long enough to be comfortable.  So many dresses these days don't really come with hems, but even a small hem can be let down to lengthen a dress. 

This is my daughter's dress. It is one of those "long enough" dresses, but she wishes it was just a little bit longer to make her feel more comfortable when sitting and bending.

It has a small hem. After measuring the hem on this dress, I determined I could lengthened it by 3/4 an inch.  That doesn't seem like a lot, but even 1/2 an inch can make the difference between "just barely" and a comfortable length.

I used a package of hem tape, which you can buy anywhere sewing supplies are sold. It is a lightweight flat lace.

Carefully unpick the old hem and press open gently.  When you iron something, use up and down motion, not forward and backward. That way you won't stretch out the item you are ironing.

You can see that I left the edge finish on the dress when I unpicked the hem. This keeps the fabric from unraveling, so leave it if possible.

Pin the lace to the right side of the bottom of the dress, matching the edge of the lace to the bottom seam of the edge finish.  This means the lace and the dress overlap about 1/4 an inch.

Now use your machine to sew along the lace, taking care not to stretch the dress fabric.

Now fold the lace and about 1/8 inch of fabric over to the wrong side and pin. If you have a hemmer on your sewing machine, stitch in place. I hemmed this dress by hand. There are many methods to hand hem, but I learned to hem by taking a small stitch through the lace edge,

then a tiny stitch through the fabric about 1/2 an inch away from the last stitch.

This leaves a kind of zig zag hem that will stretch with the dress.

When you are done, iron using a pressing cloth. You can buy a cloth from your fabric store meant for pressing or use a clean, thin, 100% cotton cloth (dish towel) like I am. A pressing cloth allows you to press without worry about scorching your fabric and creates more steam for better results.

Wet the cloth and wring out well, then place on the hem on the wrong side of the dress. Press, remembering to use an up and down motion.

It took me maybe 30 minutes to lengthen the dress.  It didn't change the look of the dress, but it will now be more comfortably modest for my daughter to wear.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Salads

Nothing says summer like salads. I recently found this recipe on

Berry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Recipe by Our Best Bites
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey (or sugar)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 tsp. kosher or other coarse salt
About 10 cracks of freshly ground black pepper
1 c. raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries
2/3 c. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
Combine the vinegar, honey, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and berries in the jar of a blender. Blend until smooth and then, with the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream.

 Turn off the blender and whisk in the poppy seeds. If possible, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Store in fridge for up to a week.

This recipe made a little over 2 cups of dressing.

I made a "clean out the fridge" salad--leftover chicken, leftover spinach, mandarin oranges, coconut flakes, raspberries (I also used raspberries in my dressing), and pecans.
So good and so pretty!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Find a Lost Phone

Sometimes I miss the good old days when phones were attached to a base. I never spent time looking for my phone in those days!

Now I or another family member sometimes set our cordless phone down and then we can't find it. Cell phones are great for calling your landline so you can find your missing phone.

Increasingly, people are getting rid of landlines and going to cells exclusively. What happens when you lose your cell phone? Of course, you can borrow another family member's cell and call yours, or...

you can use your computer to call your cell. Here's the website:
You can use this site to call your landline, too.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fourth of July Cupcakes

Do you need a quick and easy idea for your fourth of July celebration? This is a dessert that comes together in a flash.

Start with white cupcakes.

I like this recipe because it makes delicious cupcakes with flat tops.

Yield: 36 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 18 min

1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix (Duncan Heins)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.

3. Use ice cream scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins- fill about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely, then cut in half with a sharp knife like this:

 Wash berries and drain well on paper towel. You can use fresh or frozen blueberries and strawberries or raspberries for a red, white, and blue theme.

Put a dollop of cool whip on your split cupcake and arrange berries on whip cream.

Put the two halves together, top with a dollop of cool whip and garnish with berries.
See? Quick, easy, and so good!