Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lani's 28th Birthday!

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What an enjoyable birthday I had. It all began the night before. Steve took me out to dinner and a movie since my birthday fell on a Sunday this year. My mom babysat our children and we went to Stockman's for dinner. You know we live in Rural America when you spend $70 at a place that looks... well, you can use the map below to navigate and see for yourself.

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Despite the the less than fancy curb appeal, our KING CRAB LEGS rocked! We had a good time together and we saw the movie "Blind Side" and it was really good. T
he next day was my birthday, and I had a wonderful day. From the Baked Apple French Toast with Caramel Sauce (a recipe from my Lion House Cookbook) for breakfast and lunch, to being sung to in Primary Sharing Time (thanks to Lily for reminding the Primary Presidency of my birthday), to the wonderful Fondue dinner and Paula Deen's' Toffee Gooey Butter Cake (deep gratitude to my hubby, Steve, for slaving over the stove and oven for a few hours. Truly a labor of love), to having Mom and Tom join us for dinner, and the countless phone messages and facebook messages from family and friends wishing me a happy birthday- let's just say I feel so loved and blessed! Then, Steve comes home from school on Monday with a surprise- a beautiful fragrant rose and daisy bouquet and Merci chocolates (the only way to spend your calories when you have chocolate cravings). Ah. I'm happy.

Twenty-eight feels nothing like the ancientness I once perceived it as when I was a youngster. It's interesting to ponder that only 28 years ago I was in the presence of our Heavenly Father, and no matter what my age here on earth, earth life is only a blink compared with eternity. So, whether I'm 28 or 98, I hope I remember that my journey takes me to my ultimate destination- so I better make it a good journey in the right direction and get out of those ruts that come in life because no one ever reached a mountain peak by merely gazing at it or by turning around when the climb got steep. And seriously, we get enough natural obstacles in life, it's silly to turn our age into another one. So, 28, I welcome you, and 38, 48, 58, 68, 78, 88, 98 +, I look forward to seeing you in the future.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Food Face-Off, Christensen Family Reunion

This is a photo of our winning dish, Kickin' Chicken Quesadillas with homemade Pico, and Lime-in-da-Coconut Tropical Salad (coconut on the side to please the majority). Recipe at the bottom of this post.

We had a great time at the Christensen Family Reunion. This year, Steve volunteered us to plan the menu using a "Throwdown"-type technique, a successful food competition that has been used at various Lauret family functions. What a blast we had! We called it the Family Food Face-Off and assigned, at random, different siblings (and their families) to compete against one another. Additionally, we had a crazy-cool Kid's Choice Dessert Bar that loaded us all with a year's worth of sugar. Every morsel was memorable and delicious, and the participation was tremendous from everyone. A great big thank you goes out to our loved ones who all brought their "A" game. Steve's sister, Elinn, made a nice slideshow featuring all the food that was presented. You've got to see it. Follow the link below to her website.


Kicken Chicken Quesadilla with Homemade Pico
Makes 8 Quesadillas, serves 16 (1/2 quesadilla per person)

1 lb. Chicken tenders
6-8 Tomatoes, diced finely
2 Green Bell Peppers, diced finely
1/2 White Onion, diced finely
Salt and Pepper
1-2 Fresh Limes
1/4 c.- 3/4 c. Winger's Amazin' Sauce
1lb. Mexican-blend shredded cheese (or use colby-jack)
16 Tortillas
Non-stick Olive Oil Spray (we used Crisco brand)

Place chicken tenders in a pot fill the pot with water just until it covers the chicken. Over med-hi heat, bring the chicken to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is boiling, you can prepare the pico. Dice the tomatoes, peppers, and onion finely and combine in a bowl with the juice from the lime and salt and pepper, to your liking.

Drain the chicken and cool it just enough so you can handle it. Shred or chop the chicken, the smaller the chunks, the better. Place the chopped chicken in a bowl and drizzle Amazin' Sauce all over it. The more you pour the spicier it will be. We chose to do a less spicy version at the reunion, probably 1/4 cup.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F, or griddle to medium heat, whichever you're using. Assemble the quesadillas by spraying one side of a tortilla with non-stick olive-oil spray and laying it sprayed-side down on either a griddle or a baking sheet. Layer the following atop the tortilla: a good sprinkle cheese, a layer of kickin' chicken, a few spoonfuls of pico, and another layer of cheese. Top with the other tortilla and spray the top. If using a griddle, flip the quesadilla after the tortilla on the bottom is golden and the cheese is melted. If using baking sheets, you won't need to flip the quesadillas, they'll be done when the tortilla on top is golden, around 10 minutes. Serve with leftover pico.

Lime in da Coconut Tropical Salad
Serves 30

2 pineapples, peeled, cored, and sliced into chunks
8 ripe kiwis, skinned and sliced into 1/2 circles
Juice from 2-3 limes
1/2 pkg. Flaked Coconut

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except coconut. Before serving, sprinkle with coconut, or serve it on the side.