Tuesday, May 29

it's always fun & games around here

today was eventful!
it started with a fishing trip for dad and jack and grandpa dave. 
they caught a bunch of big baits and the snook were practically jumping in the boat.

 after fishing, we hit up the beach.
jack and chris' new fave:
body surfing

 then we took out the kayaks this afternoon.

i was able to take a few pictures of alli and jacob for a project of theirs that turned out awesome. i'll just post one because those two are so darn beautiful.


this post is for my buddy, T.
hi T! hope you have fun on your trip!

she recently told me that she tried to make flour tortillas that didn't turn out and asked how i make mine. so i have decided to post this tutorial that i was asked to make last fall for my best best friend, kersey and her blog, ARDOR. hopefully when you click on the pictures they will enlarge so you can get a better idea of the textures throughout the process. it's been too long since i've made some of these... maybe i'll add them to this weeks menu.

homemade tortillas are easy and Oh So Tasty! 
seriously, once you make fresh, you never go back. 
don't be scared by all the steps. once you get a little practice, the process moves rather quickly. 
so what do you say?
let's get in the kitchen!

we're going to start by tossing 5 C all-purpose flour with 2-3 tsp coarse salt into a stand mixer. 
the salt really helps the flavor in these pop, so don't skimp. i prefer kosher salt, but any will do. 
whisk the flour and salt together.

next, using the hook attachment, add 1/2 C shortening. 
mix until the flour resembles coarse crumbles.

next, we are going to be adding 2 C hot water. 
the water should be hot enough to melt the shortening, but not so hot that the mixture turns to goo. 
if that does happen, just add in a little bit more flour so that it is workable. 
mix with the dough hook until the ingredients come together. 
the dough will be pretty sticky and thats ok!

flour your hands and grab a handful of dough. 
roll it between your hands to form a ball. i prefer mine to be about the size of a golf-ball. 
any bigger and it won't fit on the pan. 
any smaller and whats the point? after two bites, the tortilla would be gone!
set the dough balls off to the side and cover with a damp kitchen towel. 

now, turn on your stove and begin to heat an iron skillet. 
(any pan will work, but an iron skillet makes me feel more authentic, ha!) 
this might be the trickiest part. 
you want your pan to be hot enough to cook the tortillas quickly, but not so hot that it burns them. 
if it's too low, then it will take too long for them to cook, which means they will be dry and crack.
on my stove, the temperature is medium-low. 
it takes a good 10-15 minutes for the pan to fully heat up.

now for the fun part!
if you have a press, flour it and begin pressing your tortillas.
my press doesn't get the tortillas thin enough so i have to roll them out a little bit more once they've been pressed. 
always make sure to flour your work surfaces because taking the time to roll them out, 
just to have them stick to the counter, 
totally sucks.

the tortillas should be as thin as possible. 
I'm talking, hold-them-to-the-light-and-see-through-em thin.
if you accidentally tear a hole, just patch it up. part of the fun of these tortillas are their rustic appeal.
shake off some of the excess flour from the tortilla.

i find it easiest to roll out one or two tortillas at a time, cook them, and then roll out some more.
of course, the best way to do it is to grab a friend and have them join in on the action.
my hubby and i plug in the iPod, listen to something like "ring of fire" by johnny cash and sing as loud as we can while he cooks and i roll. and the kids dance. 
between us. 
in our tiny kitchen.
its so much more fun that way!

ok, once the pan is plenty hot, its time to toss on a tortilla.
let the tortilla sit for about 1 1/2 minutes or until the tortilla has bubbles across the whole surface, like the picture. 
flip them, either with your fingers or tongs, and cook for about a minute more.
i've found that if i wait for darker brown spots to form, 
then the tortillas are over cooked and aren't quite as flexible when rolling them up for a burrito. 
besides, the more tortillas you cook, the more flour is left behind on the pan. 
that flour then burns a little and adds those light brown spots on the tortillas that are cooked later. 
those are the brown spots you want.

once you've cooked them all, it's time to eat!
and eat!
and eat!

these are awesome for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, 
and even the base for a salad.
heck, they are great torn and dipped in homemade salsa!
i think my all time fave is to put some creamy refried beans down the middle, 
with a little bit of shredded monterrey jack cheese. 
that's it! 
nice and simple and so so so scrumptious.

even my little ones love a warm, fresh, homemade tortilla!

Tuesday, May 22

bows for ella

last week we celebrated ELLA.
beautiful ella is my sister, alli, and her husband, jacob's, niece. a year ago she was killed by a drunk driver. her dad, devin, was severally injured. Their family had the missionaries over for dinner and on the way home from dropping the elder's off at their apartment, they were hit. we heard that all of Dacia and Devin's family and friends would be wearing pink bows in their hair and pink ties to church on mother's day to surprise Dacia, so we joined in. even though i have never met dacia, my heart has ached for her and their family many times during the past year. this was just a small way that i hope to show support in this journey she is now on.

i wanted to make pink bows for all us girls and cute bow ties for the little guys. then i just got carried away and made bow ties for all the guys. they turned out pretty sweet. thanks guys, for going along with my creative craziness.

i think they are
perfect for ella!

i took this paragraph from jacob's other sister, dani's blog and would love to help spread the word:

Ella's parents, Dacia and Devin, have recently started a foundation in Ella's memory.  The Gabriella Shumate Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to raising DUI awareness and the prevention of unnecessary deaths as well as supporting children's causes. They are hosting their first event, a 5K race, on Jun 2nd.  If you are in South Carolina please consider being part of the festivities.  If you are not in the area you can still support the foundation with a donation or purchase of a Run Ella Run T-shirt. Visit www.runellarun.com for more information. 

a birthday & a day with friends

we celebrated 
on saturday!!!!

 i hope rikki got some decent pictures of the party because mine were certainly a flop.
i'll post some pictures if she did, because the decorations, the cake, and the partiers were all awesome.
we love you little lou 
and are so grateful you are part of this crazy bunch!

 today we had liam and sophie over for some fun.
i couldn't resists liam's adorable smile and big blue eyes and had to take a few photos. and then, of course, the girls were so silly i had to capture some of those moments too.

Tuesday, May 15

our mamas

we have awesome moms.

and if i let this time of year pass by without recognizing their amazing-ness, then we would be very ungrateful children.
i was asked about a year ago by our stake president during an interview if i knew how incredible my mom and dad were while i was growing up and my answer was a definite yes. 
i have always recognized how special my mom is.
and i know chris would say the same about his.

one of my favorite memories is of sitting in the idaho falls temple with my mom on one side of me and my mother in law on the other, both holding my hands. what a special day.

we love you, janie!
we love you, linda!

i think it goes without saying, that such incredible mothers 
turn into the BEST grandmas!

i'd also be very ungrateful if i didn't mention how lucky i am to be a mom.

i love jack. he is the one that gave me the title of 'mama'.

i love ellie. she is the one that has tested me as a mom.

and i love charlie. he is the one that has helped me enjoy being a mom.

i told chris on sunday that in most cases, behind every wonderful mom, is an even better husband. at least thats the case in our little family. most of the time, the only way dinner gets on the table is because chris gets it there. and the only times i really get the house tidied, is because chris is watching the kids. the list goes on and on. he definitely takes on more than his fair share of the load. i love him.

jack's preschool class had a special breakfast for the moms last friday. we ate, the kids showered us with gifts and then sang a couple songs for us. when i got to the school, jack was waiting right by the window for me, melt my heart :)