We’re so Utah, just ask the Cafe Rio Pork

Here is a recipe
that screams Utah.
and it’s so delicious.
I made up the recipe
because I couldn’t find one that was good enough.
Yeah, I’m an awesome cook.
What can I say?
I lived in the South for 10 years.
It gives me the advantage.
I also like to keep it simple in the kitchen.
 Throw the following ingredients into a crock pot.
3 pounds pork roast
2 cans cola (you can use diet or regular. I prefer Dr. Pepper but Coke or Pepsi or Shasta or generic is fine.)
About 1 cup and a handful of brown sugar (just go with it,  but you can omit this if you want pork less sweet)
3/4 cup water
2 cubes Chicken Boullion
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup dried onion
1/3 cup taco seasoning.
Cook for 6 hours.
Shred the pork into the liquids right inside the crockpot.
Cook another 2 hours.
Serve over hot fresh tortillas from Costco.
Try the recipe.
And come back and tell me how amazingly Utah I’ve become.
I didn’t want to do it.
I didn’t want to turn into one of them.
But I have to admit
it ain’t half that bad.
I’m a Utah Mormon blogger.
Well, if you can still call me a blogger.
Since I don’t really blog anymore.
I took the following photo yesterday.
It pretty much tells the story.
I set up the photo myself
on MANUAL settings
because I have just loved my photography class.
You can’t be a good Utah Mormon lady
unless you are are enrolled in some kind of class,
And you definitely can’t be a good
Utah Mormon mommy blogger
unless you know how to photograph.
I took the photo after running into the shot.
My camera was supported by a boulder
on the opposite side of the trail.
And look at us.
We are so cute.
Notice my Utah fashionable hat.
And my frame 35 pounds lighter
because I run every other day.
My kids are perfection.
Even my dog is perfection.
My husband is the bomb.
I love him so much,
and he’s perfection too.
Just for me.
Now, I wonder how many people
I’ve managed to annoy?
What I don’t want to tell you is
I set up the picture to hide my fat butt.
We went to the canyon
on a Sunday
NOT in our Sunday clothes
just to get a picture of the leaves.
Notice the photo
is lack of any oranges or reds.
My kids have rebelled against
family bike rides in the same canyon because
I made them ride all the way
to Bridal Veil from our house once.
Apparently 20 miles round trip is a bit much.
O.k. I don’t think its that far,
but still,
I can’t get them to want to go.
I threw the hat on because I took a photo
earlier that day at church
and my hair was atrocious.
Is that the right spelling of
I guess I have a ways to go
to be the perceived perfect Utah Mormon.
I think they all probably have a ways to go too.

Holly Wreath Cookies

Thanks to Donna for doing a virtual cookie swap. How much fun is that?
Anyone can join including you, so go check it out.

I am honored to be her first feature
with a long-standing family tradition cookie called
Holly Wreath Cookies.

Oh the memories of buttered up hands and brothers grabbing all the red hots first.
I don’t know how my mom put up with all of us.

Before I give you the recipe, let me direct you to Donna’s funniest recent blog post about what not to ask black people. Donna is black just in case you were wondering what makes her the expert.

Here is the recipe for those of you who like your cookies made from dirty little fingers.

Holly Wreath Cookies

1 Cube Real Butter
1 Bag Large Marshmallows
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
6 cups corn flakes
Lots of green food coloring
Red Hots if desired

First make sure you grease a few large pieces of wax paper prior to preparing cookies. We use Pam to spray the wax paper but mom always used butter or margarine.

In a large stock pot melt the butter. Add marshmallows, vanilla and almond extracts and stir until all marshmallows are melted. Be careful to not burn the mixture. Remove from heat and add green food coloring to bring mixture to a forest green color. It takes quite a bit but it definately looks better than avacado green when you use just a little.

When mixture is a good shade of green add the corn flakes. Fold the flakes into the mixture to avoid crushing the flakes. When flakes are sufficiently green scoop out approxiamtely 1 1/2 cups of flakes onto wax paper. Have kids rub their hands with butter and form the flakes into wreath shapes. Add red hots and let cool.

4 Ingredient Nutella Cookies

I think that this is a great follow up post to my LunchWars book review. Jennifer is a health-nut and even she makes yummy cookies from time to time.

You have to try these cookies.
I didn’t even like nutella until I tried these cookies.

Four ingredients.
C’mon, even your kids can make them.
These cookies will be the perfect addition
to your lovely crisp Fall weekend.

Millions of world-wide Mormons will be gathered
around their computers indulging their spirits.
It’s General Conference.
Go ahead and listen with us.
But beware,
the idea of living prophets and apostles will grow on you.
These men of God are amazingly inspired.
And the only way to make their messages any sweeter is with a cookie in hand.

Why not Nutella ones?
They are the easiest cookies and so very yummy.

Perfect for after school snacks.
But make sure you don’t start making them until right before the kids get home, otherwise you will eat them all yourself.

My friend Jennifer is the greatest cook.
This was her original recipe
and then it went viral.

Her blog is called A Busy Nest.
Even Pioneer Woman likes her.
Don’t get her recipe from the wannabes,
go directly to her original post.
Here’s the link one more time.

Whoopie Pies

That’s what they call them
in the South anyway.
Whoopie pies.
What a fun name.

What do whoopie pies, whoopie cushions, and Whoopie Goldberg have in common? They may all be responsible for this.

(he he. My good friend Christine said I am a walking advertisement for Pampered Chef with this photo. If you want to buy anything, go over and give her a holler. She is amazing and so is that mini spatula and the cookie scoops…couldn’t make the cookies without them.)
Can’t help but think of this song
by the masterful Ella Fitzgerald.
In fact I just made a mental note
to sing this at the top of my lungs
during the making of the next batch.

I loved the ukelele version.
I hope LG will learn to play before we die,
I want him to make island music in heaven every day.

I love having so many girls to help in the kitchen.
We cranked out 80 in no time flat,
and the girls at church
enjoyed a special treat at Girl’s Camp
back in July.

Make some whoopie.

They are so easy.

And your husband will love you for it.
You can wrap them individually for school lunches.
Then you don’t have to buy any Little Debbie’s.

Here is a great online recipe with a lot of idea for different varieties.

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Game Night Treats

August is almost over.
We’ve had some boggle fun this month.
Thanks to all you smarties.
If you think you’ve got brains,
make sure you’ve checked it out.
The game is over on the 31st.
I’m making these treats for game night tonight.

won’t mind me using their photo
if I share with you the link.
Easiest treats ever.
And how cute!
What are your favorite easy treats for game night?
Please share your links.

Cafe Rio Pork

Being back in Utah has reunited us

with a lot of our most loved foods.
Fry Sauce for one.
mmm mmm.
Cafe Rio for two.
I thought I would help those of you out that aren’t close to a Cafe Rio.
Here is a recipe that I recently tried and loved.
Homemade Cafe Rio Pork.
It is made in a crockpot, so it’s perfect for Sundays.

Cook the 5-6 lb. pork roast alone in a crock pot on low overnight.
In the morning add
1 Liter Dr Pepper
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 clove minced garlic
6 oz red taco sauce
 7 oz can green chilis
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
After about 4 hours, shred the pork and let cook for another 2 hours.
You can serve this burrito style, enchillada style or over a yummy salad.
Just don’t forget the cilantro and lime.
Funny, I scheduled this post two weeks ago, but lately two of my friends have both posted a variation on this recipe. You know it’s good, if it’s all over the blogosphere. The slow cooker part makes it great for this hot time of the year.

Deep-fried Kool-Aid

Sometimes, you can find the perfect reason to smile.
Today it was in the form of a culinary delicacy.
From California of all places.
I love it when all three of my universes collide.

Who knew a girl could love California, Utah, and Tennessee equally?
I mean if there are any three places
in the United States that are different,
it is those three.

And I love them all.

When I make deep fried Kool-Aid,
I will honor all three.

Sometimes people say “Those crazy Mormons drank the Kool-Aid.”
There are a lot of Kool-Aid drinkers here in Utah.

Deep fried. Only one place you can think of with that one.
Love you Tennessee.

And the video that was recorded in my birthstate of California is something you will never forget.

God bless America.
Even if I never make or try this American invented food.
If you can call it that.

Go here for the recipe.

I know you are all dying to try it.

Fried Rice

Whenever I make a meal that requires rice, I double the amount of rice.
I refrigerate the leftover rice.
In the following few days, I either use the rice to make
rice pudding or fried rice.
I will save my rice puddin (said with my best Southern accent)
for another day.
Here is my fried rice recipe.
It makes a good cheap whole meal 
and is a great way to use up leftovers.
The best thing about my fried rice is
that my whole family will eat it
and I don’t even think they realize that 
they actually get their veggie quota for the day.
I don’t always refer to recipes. Sometimes I just like to wing it.
My fried rice is never the same twice.
I get my wok and heat canola oil. I start with about 1/4 cup and add more in if I need it along the way.
I then take any veggies that would be better sauteed and throw them in the hot oil first.
I always use some type of onion (green being the preference)
and I love mushrooms.
I then add in any cooked meat that I want to use up. The ideas are limitless: chicken, beef, pork, hotdogs, shrimp, or lunch meat (I probably use sliced lunch ham more than anything else).
I then move all of that to the side of the pan and crack two eggs and scramble them into the rest of the ingredients already in the pan.
Next, I toss in any other veggie in bitesize pieces that I need to get rid of:
carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, celery, peppers, etc.
Lastly I throw in the rice from the tupperware straight out of the fridge. (add more oil if needed). I usually use anywhere between 2 – 4 cups of cooked rice.
I season with soy sauce and whatever else I feel like. I like using the fried rice seasoning packets (kikkoman) but sometimes I use leftover shrimp sauce or teriyaki. Or all three.
If you are more of a recipe kind of person, go to allrecipes to find a recipe that you can follow for fried rice. As long as you pick something with a good amount of ratings that is 4 or 5 stars, you can’t go wrong. Unless you burn it. Which I have also done many times in the past. Burning isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes you can go out to dinner as your last resort and you can then celebrate the burned food at home in the garbage as you saved yourself some dishes to do. It’s a good thing because you are going to be scrubbing the burn ouf of the pan when you get back home.
I looked on my two favorite recipe blogs and didn’t find either of them listing fried rice. I am sure Donna or Jennifer could make something even tastier, but you will have to wait for them to post it.

Birthdays by Lindsey

My friend Lindsey is crazy about birthdays. 
She remembers EVERYONE’s birthday.
She probably remembers the birthdays
of each of the
Presidents of the United States.
she’s got them all memorized.
She also has the most amazing internal GPS.
You can never get lost when she is around.
When I lived in Knoxville, I called her often,
gave her the name of a street I was on, 
and begged her to help me find my way home.
She would talk me through it.
Every turn.
I miss her.
I feel kind of lost without her.
Even though I am sure I can call her from
my new hometown,
and she could still somehow find a way
to help me find my way home,
physically and spiritually.
Back to birthdays,
Lindsey gives gifts even when there is no party
obligating her to do so.
The gifts are always perfectly personal.
She makes her kids special meals for
breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
She also bakes cakes.
Lots of cakes.
And she decorates them.
Here are several of her wonderful creations.
Don’t they get your creative juices flowing?

My Chicken Salad

One time I was at a baby shower and I stuck my foot in my mouth.
O.k. this has probably happened more than once.
In all honesty, it probably has happened at every baby shower I have ever attended.
I really need to learn to think things through before I say them.
But, I am only gonna share about one time today.
Me to the cook of the chicken salad:
“Wow, your chicken salad is great.”
Cook:  Thanks.
Me: “I like mine better but this is a close second.”
Sometimes I just need to slap myself to save other people the trouble.
I have been told by one not to be named Bishop that my chicken salad is his favorite ever.
He could have just been vying for some chicken salad and homemade rolls. 
I think my rolls might have been his favorite too.
I find it funny that in the land of the South where chicken salad was invented, my award winning recipe had been obtained and tweaked in Utah. Now that I am back in Utah, my chicken salad is no longer special.
2 cups cubed chicken (I boil and cool mine and then cut with chicken shears)
1.5 cup green grapes (cut in half)
1.5 cup red grapes (cut in half)
1 can of pineapple tidbits (drained)
16 oz. slivered or sliced almonds
1.5 cups Best Food Mayo (add a little soy sauce for flavor)
This lasts for several days in the fridge. In fact, it only seems to get better with time. I think it tastes best with crackers or on crescent rolls. 
Oh, and this post is reminding myself of something. Last week I took my kids to the mall to play on the fake tree. I sat next to a mom who was feeding her kids grapes. When they ran off to play she busted out the tupperware with a chicken salad crescent roll and a can of diet soda. She most vigilantly hid them when the kids came running back. Poor kids.