Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Filipino Dinner

For those that don't know (which is probably most of you) Tom's cousin Christine also went to the Philippines on her mission. However she's been home a much shorter time than I have; so she is still very fluent at Tagalog, where I am not at all!!!! Since Tom and I moved up here we've been talking about going out to dinner to one of the Filipino restaurants here. (It turns out there is quite a large demographic here that are Filipinos! Yeah me!!!!! It's very exciting for probably don't understand how weird I am about this.) One day, a while ago, I mentioned to Christine that we had seen a couple of Filipino restaurants while we've been driving around.

Last week she gave me a call to propose a great idea she had! Her sister (Carolyn) recently got engaged and is getting married next month. Yep....obviously a cool girl to pick the coolest month of the year to get married (our anniversary is Oct 5th!!). We hadn't had the opportunity yet to meet Carolyn's fiance, and she wanted to take him on a ferry ride. So, Christine thought it would be a lot of fun for the three of them to ride the ferry over to our side of the pond and then we could all go out to a Filipino dinner together. The place we were going to go was already closed when we got there (don't ask me why they close at 3 pm on a Saturday???). So, Tom remembered where he had seen another one on google maps. So, we drove over there and eventually found the little Filipino Diner.

We had a great time and I totally enjoyed the dinner. We ended up treating the dishes "family style" and shared several different dishes. Unfortunately, they were out of my favorite dish so I'll have to go back again to have that!!! Bummer! My favorite (I don't even remember what it was called) was a dish I hadn't had since my mission. It had ginger & papaya in it and I pretty much inhaled it! I didn't even remember it, but as soon as it hit my tongue I remembered it in a flash. Tasty!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Delicious Recipes

I was told I was suppose to include the recipes for any dishes that I talk about. I don't want to include all the recipes I spoke of, so I'll include my two favorites (which were new recipes I had never made before. If you would like any of the other recipes, let me know!

Summer Tortellini Salad (This is a cold dish)
**I'm also one for using what I have, so I used regular tomatoes, regular onions, parsley out of a bottle, & I grated the cheese we had; but this is what the recipe said. I don't have a picture, but it was very pretty!

1 pkg (9 oz) uncooked refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1/4 C snipped fresh parsley
1/2 C fat-free Ranch Salad Dressing
2 T grated fresh Parmesan Cheese

Cook tortellini according to pkg directions; drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.

Slice zucchini, chop carrot, cut cherry tomatoes in half, & thinly slice onions.

Add vegetables to tortellini in a bowl. Pour salad dressing over salad. Grate cheese over salad & mix gently. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 Corn Tortillas (I used Flour)
1/2 C Onion, chopped
3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast halves (about 12 oz)
1 Garlic clove, pressed
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cumin
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Chicken Broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 can (4 oz) chopped Green Chilies, undrained
4 tsp fresh Cilantro, snipped (didn't use)
2 oz reduced-fat Cheddar Cheese, shredded (used what I had)
4 thick slices Fresh Lime (optional) (didn't use)

Prehead oven to 400 degrees. Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch strips & place on flat baking sheet or stone. Bake 7-8 min or until crisp

Meanwhile, chop onion & cut chicken into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat soup pan over medium high heat. Spray with vegetable oil. Add chicken; cook and stir 3 minutes (I just cooked them until they were done). Add onion, garlic, chili powder, & cumin. Cook & stir for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes & chilis. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Snip cilantro. Devide tortilla stripps among 4 bowls. Ladle soup over tortillas & shred cheese over top. Sprinkle soup with cilantro. Garnish each bowl with line slice, if desired

**I've also had it with a dab of sour cream on top!!

I hope you enjoy these recipes. Tom & I really enjoyed them!! I made banana bread last week. A little overcooked but pretty good if I do say so myself!!! Yeah me!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I've always been kind of insecure about my cooking skills. That was actually one of our first fights (if you can call it that....we didn't argue really), when Tom said something jokingly about something I made and I of course took it personally because of my insecurities. My friend, Shelli, was there at the time and quickly informed Tom that cooking is not something to tease me about. Friends are great aren't they!!!!

As some of you may know, I'm being a housewife right now while we're trying to get our puppy trained enough to be able to leave him for longer than 3 hours at a time. (At least we can go on a date and to church!!!) Because I'm not used to being home all day every day I'm trying to make myself useful while I'm here. I keep the house clean, all the housework done, & I'm trying to become a better cook. Don't get me wrong....I did cook, just not a lot. (Because I worked a lot, cooking was way down the list of things I wanted to do when I got home after a 10 hour day....EXHAUSTED!!!!) (I'm just not a superwoman like my know who you are) Also, I generally didn't branch out a lot. I stuck to my handful of recipes that I was pretty good at. I'm a pro at stir-fry and Lo-Main. I also had a few recipes that I learned my my girlfriends when I was living there. I've also made Potato Rolls a few times (it's my Mom's recipe)'s always a hit. If you've never had Potato Rolls let me know and I'll email you the recipe. It's one of my favorites!!!!

Most nights when Tom gets home I'm trying to either have a homemade meal or leftovers from a previous meal. I'm also trying to be better at only buying the groceries I'm actually going to use. I was horrible at that!!! Some of the meals I've made, haven't been terribly pretty but they've all tasted great. Which is really what's been important to Tom. I've made a few recipes that were great, but I neglected to take pictures of them! These are the recipes: Summer Tortellini Salad (Pampered Chef), Chili Cornbread Skillet (Pampered Chef), Chicken Tortilla Soup (Pampered Chef), Chicken Enchiladas, & Savory Chicken Squares (Shelli's Cookbook)

I was able to get a couple of pictures.....they're not very good though. They looked so much better in person.

The first picture is ChickenTortilla Soup & the 2nd one is Savory Chicken Squares (which I have cooked before)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend With My Friends

For those of you that don't know my girlfriends (Tammie, Shelli, & Tracy) they are insane travelholics (is that a word?). They go on several trips a year all over the world. This benefits me because they are very sweet and bring me presents!

Before we even moved to Silverdale, they were planning their trip here. Unfortunately for my parents, they planned the trip before my parents told me they had thought of coming up the same weekend. Unfortunately for me, now I have to wait a year for my parents to visit me. They think they have to wait until the next Labor Day (why I don't know). Anyway, my girlfriends bought their tickets to come visit me for Labor Day before we left Salt Lake City. I was really happy about this because I was not looking forward to saying goodbye to them and this kind of broke it up and made it a little easier.

They arrived early Friday morning (Aug 29th). The airport is actually over inbetween Tacoma and Seattle, so I had to get up a little early in order to be there on time. Because Jake was still very little we couldn't leave him at home all day (still can't actually). He's sometimes a little difficult to control when I'm the only one in the car so Jake got to travel to the airport in his crate. He wasn't happy about this at first. He wined for a bit to let me know he was not happy. Shelli & Tracy (who sat in the back seat) entertained him for the rest of our traveling that day so he didn't have to travel like that again. That day we found our way (luckily because I had never driven there by myself) to Pikes Place Market which is one of the many famous attractions of Seattle. It's an open air market that actually reminds me a little of the Philippines. They sell fish, vegtables, fruit, flowers & many kinds of decorations. It's a lot of fun and definitely a cool experience if you've never been there. Jake got to spend a little time in his crate in the car waiting for us because they don't let animals in the enclosed building with the food. He had a nice nap, but was happy when we returned. We then returned to Silverdale and they got to see our new apartment and we met up with Tom after he got off of work. We then went to dinner at a cool harborside restaurant called The Boat Shed. We all had a lot of fun and I think we all loved our meals.
Saturday morning we left to go on a drive up the Olympic Peninsula. We stopped at several different light houses. It was a beautiful drive and we really enjoyed ourselves. As a side note, we picked up an area information paper with a note about Forks, WA. For those of you poor uninformed people....that's the location of the fictional characters in Stephanie Meyers Twilight books. They have started a Stephanie Meyers Day on "Bella's" birthday. What a hoot! Not something I would go to, but an entertaining thought!

Sunday was of course a relaxing day with church and an easy day hike. I use hike very loosely. There is this cute trail that meanders through town (however there is tons of trees so you would have no idea you were in town at all)! We took a nice leisurely walk through this trail. It was very pretty, relaxing & a nice Sunday outing. Jake also enjoyed it, but by the end he was pretty beat!

Monday was their last day here and we decided we would go back to Seattle on the way to the airport (their flight wasn't until that evening) to see some of the rest of the sights. This time instead of driving, we took the ferry to Seattle. Luckily we got one of the big ones with the open walkway on the top floor. Tom and I took one of these big ferries one night a few weeks ago. It was so cool to stand on the top floor and look at the open water in the dark night!!!! Beautiful!

For lunch we went to the world famous restaurant Ivars, my Dad has ranted about their clam chowder since he went to a business school here years ago. I wouldn't know though since I don't like clam chowder so I didn't try it. Tracy did though and said it is the best clam chowder she's ever had.

After dinner we went to the aquarium. It's a really neat aquarium. The coolest part was when we saw a octopus. We only got to show them the Space Needle from a distance because downtown was shut down for a yearly event they have every Labor Day. But it was close enough that they got to see it really well. Maybe next time we'll go to dinner there! We also went to see the Troll under the bridge that Tom tells me is in the movie "10 Things I Hate About You". I don't remember it. I guess I'm going to have to watch it again. This was also the day Tom got starstruck and saw his celebrity sighting. See his blog for more info!

That was the end of our sightseeing, but we have enough things to show them to last us maybe the next 3 trips they come to see us!!! We had a lot of fun and I hope they come again soon!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My New Plates

I've mentioned before how when Tom & I got married we had an interesting group of furniture and accessories. Most of which we inherited from Tom's parents. The plate set was one of those. We had the exciting experience of getting married at about the same time that Tom's parents & my parents were moving. The benefit of this was everyone was getting rid of stuff (especially Tom's parents because they were moving into a smaller place now that their kids weren't living at home). So we didn't have to go into debt to buy a lot of furniture, but nothing really went together! The joys of being young, in love, & newly married!

One day I was visiting my little sister Ashley and noticed her plate set. It was the first time I remember seeing square plates and I loved it! I've really started loving the modern feel to a home. I decided that I had to have square plates. As a student, we couldn't afford to buy a new plate set. But as all of you know, that changed recently. We decided to wait until we moved to buy the plates so there wasn't any chance of anything getting broken. But we did get rid of the old plate set we had before we moved. Tom's brother Shaun recently got married and needed to inherit a few living items. They inherited a lot of the stuff we originally got from Tom's parents. Keeping them in the family! So we living out of paper plates & bowls for about 2 weeks. Fun times!!! It makes you appreciate the real things.

So for the past couple of months we've been looking around for a square plate set that we liked. We found a couple of options that were possibilities, but nothing we really liked. When we were staying at Tom's aunt and uncles house, they had a plate set that I loved the look of but weren't square. I thought, if I could find a square plate set just like that I'd buy it in a second. Well it didn't happen. I did however find a round set that was very similar to the set I saw at Tom's aunt and uncles house. The question was do we choose a round set that we love or a square set were unenthusiastic about. We ended up choosing the round ones and we love them!!!!
Here they are!