Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday Night

Mamma Mia!

I went out to see this musical with the girls last night and I LOVED it! (click on the title above to see the trailer) The bride I was in love with a little bit, she reminded me of my best good college girlfriend Katherine who is also gorgeous with knockout lungs, and, well, who doesn't know all the ABBA songs and secretly love to sing them? It was hard not to want to sing along, okay, I kinda wanted to dance too! Aside from the music, (if you can forget the fact that Pierce Brosnan looked like he was trying to pinch one out each time he attempted to sing) the show was really funny, really really funny! A disclaimer I will add, be sure to leave your husband behind while watching this movie. I was glad to have seen this with the ladies as I could just imagine the groan of my husband if he were there with me, and the complaint of "ugh, ANOTHER song!?!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eating My Vegetables...

I have quite a lot of zucchini up in the garden and having already put some in a pasta dish and a stir fry I was bound to try something baked next. I found this cake recipe online, it has orange zest which makes is YUMMY and I replaced the glaze with a thick fudge topping (1 tub of cool whip and a cup of chocolate chips melted, mixed, and poured on top of the bundt cake). Mmmm...twenty seconds in the microwave and it's a moist slice of gooey heaven, I think I've found my new favorite dessert! This cake is beautiful, tasty, AND it counts as a serving of vegetables, so I ate the rest today as an appetizer before lunch, because I needed it! I would've posted a picture but I ate the thing too fast. Maybe I'll have to go get some more zucchini and start over...

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted1/2 cup cocoa2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon cinnamon3/4 cup soft butter2 cups sugar3 eggs2 teaspoons vanilla2 teaspoons grated orange peel2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini1/2 cup milk1 cup chopped walnuts or pecansGlaze (directions follow)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
1 Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
2 With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.
3 Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.
4 Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.
5 Drizzle glaze over cake.
Glaze: Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Reason to Love Watermelon

Watermelon May Have Viagra-effect
ScienceDaily (July 1, 2008) — A cold slice of watermelon has long been a Fourth of July holiday staple. But according to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That’s because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.
See also:
Health & Medicine

Plants & Animals

Erectile dysfunction
Seedless Fruit
“The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.
“We’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.”
Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions, Patil said.
In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene and the rising star among its phyto-nutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.
Scientists know that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system, Patil said.
“The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Patil. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”
While there are many psychological and physiological problems that can cause impotence, extra nitric oxide could help those who need increased blood flow, which would also help treat angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
“Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” Patil said, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.”
The benefits of watermelon don’t end there, he said. Arginine also helps the urea cycle by removing ammonia and other toxic compounds from our bodies.
Citrulline, the precursor to arginine, is found in higher concentrations in the rind of watermelons than the flesh. As the rind is not commonly eaten, two of Patil’s fellow scientists, drs. Steve King and Hae Jeen Bang, are working to breed new varieties with higher concentrations in the flesh.
In addition to the research by Texas A&M, watermelon’s phyto-nutrients are being studied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Lane, Oklahoma.
As an added bonus, these studies have also shown that deep red varieties of watermelon have displaced the tomato as the lycopene king, Patil said. Almost 92 percent of watermelon is water, but the remaining 8 percent is loaded with lycopene, an anti-oxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health.
“Lycopene, which is also found in red grapefruit, was historically thought to exist only in tomatoes,” he said. “But now we know that it’s found in higher concentrations in red watermelon varieties.”
Lycopene, however, is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs certain fats in the blood for better absorption by the body, Patil said.
“Previous tests have shown that lycopene is much better absorbed from tomatoes when mixed in a salad with oily vegetables like avocado or spinach,” Patil said. “That would also apply to the lycopene from watermelon, but I realize mixing watermelon with spinach or avocadoes is a very hard sell.”
No studies have been conducted to determine the timing of the consumption of oily vegetables to improve lycopene absorption, he said.
“One final bit of advice for those Fourth of July watermelons you buy,” Patil said. “They store much better uncut if you leave them at room temperature. Lycopene levels can be maintained even as it sits on your kitchen floor. But once you cut it, refrigerate. And enjoy.”
Adapted from materials provided by Texas A&M University.

Monday, July 7, 2008

June Highlights

Uh, in case you weren't aware, the magic starts in Fernley Nevada, in a boarded up shutdown casino. Great huh? This was a stop we made along the drive to Nevada on our way out to the Bradshaw Sisters' reunion. Jill was so nice to fly into AND out of SLC so she could drive out and back with me and the kids-she's the best!
We spent 10 days in Nevada, hangin' with the fam, playing at Tahoe, crafting, eating, hot tubbing, and just relaxing. Here's Quinner with "Gwampa" just swinging and enjoying one another-they're so sweet together!
Jill and Dad organized a surprise 60th Birthday Bash for Mom while we were all in town including several of her friends from long ago. Here is a great shot I got of Mom and her brother David. Mom got a slideshow roast and some really great gag gifts. The party was good fun and quite a shocker for the old lady! We love you Mom! Happy Birthday!!!
Carson and Tina were part of the surprise for the party. I was excited that they came so they could meet their new niece, and because I knew Tina would hold Izzy all night long. Aren't these two cute with a baby? Get on it already you guys!
Here is Anna with her cousin Sara-they had a blast together and Sara was a little Momma to my girl-even reading books and tucking her in for bed-Sara, you're welcome to come stay with us anytime!!!

This is a hike we did early in the month. We gave the kids "bug boxes" (disposable tupperware containers with holes) to hold their finds and they each had a scavenger hunt checklist of things to find along the way. We got these guys to hoof it two miles AND they loved it! I wish I could say that the caterpillars enjoyed the day as much.
Here Anna and her new BFF are posing before the baked potato museum-yep, that's right! Only in Idaho folks! We went to Island Park with Noah and Kaila to their family cabin for a weekend, but we had to stop here along the way because who doesn't love a baked potato???
Here's Quinner trying out one of the Lifferth's toys. He's a natural eh?
The boys and the Tetons. We took "the scenic route" which is a nice way of saying "the extra six hours of drive Brett likes to add on just to avoid driving the same road twice." I was pleased actually-Yellowstone was beautiful and the whole drive was so pretty, AND the kids stayed happy all the way home.
This is just the best-these two kids instantly clicked and played for three days without incident-that's a record for my girl! I love how little kids are effortlessly instant friends with anyone. Thanks again Lifferth's for having us along-we had a blast!