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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

can you believe Christmas is next friday? barely a week away. what are you doing to prepare? We finalized a list for neighbors we will be giving a few yummy treats to, and family and friends we will be sending a holiday greeting to. We will be doing an electronic holiday greeting this year in addition to a printed version. So if you'd like to receive some holiday cheer via email and oogle at my incredibly handsome husband and beautiful baby girl, send me your address. I love receiving and sending holiday cards and greetings during the holidays.

For the next week I hope your preparations go as planned and that among the potential mayhem you take time to smell the pine, sip some cocoa, kiss under the mistletoe, sing a few carols, dance to the Christmas station, and fill your home with the smell of the season.

I have two library books that are now four days overdue. I haven't taken them back because I don't want to brave the cold; I just want to cuddle up with a glass of hot (rice milk) chocolate with a few of these soaking it up. I guess I have to withstand the cold because Santa is visiting our ward christmas party tonight, and it will be Jane's first time. But tomorrow is saturday, and there's another snow storm on its way; luckily we have a bag of these on hand.

I'm so happy they were such a success. I want to create a fully chocolate version now.
Head over to my zupas post for the recipe, like now.
Even if it's 80 degrees out, you can roast them over a fire.

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...it snowed sunday, and then it was 5 degrees this morning, and jane looks so cute reading christmas stories.

Every day this week I've planned to make a few things in the kitchen but then something else comes to mind that pulls me away or keeps me elsewhere until suddenly it's time for dinner, then cuddles, and bedtime. Thoughts go through my mind like, 'I can't wait to try this {baked goody}' but then other thoughts take over like 'oh, jane looks so adorable here on her tummy, i should take a video'; or 'it's the perfect time for story time', or 'she can't stop giggling when i make this silly noise'; or 'we should take a walk in this winter wonderland because it's her first experience with snow'.

I'll share something from the oven tomorrow, promise.

My favorite day of the week has always been sunday, the calm peace of the sabbath is unique; there's no other day like it. But I have to admit that Saturday comes as a close second, especially like today. As I type we're all sitting on the couch together watching a snowy college ball game, the house is clean, a small butternut squash has finished roasting, and we're still in our pj's.

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I extended the giveaway for just a day.
I figure it gives a few stragglers and procrastinators time to enter, although your odds seem pretty awesome already. I'll pick and post a winner tomorrow afternoon.

a few thoughts...

Jane's new favorite toy is my measuring spoons, her little hand fits perfectly in the link that keeps them connected.
We visit the doctor in a few days to discuss testing and other options, afterward we'll have lunch with daddy at blue lemon.
I made this last night for a gathering and after the shortbread came out of the oven the smell was so powerful it made my sinuses hurt, haven't baked with butter and flour for a while.
I'm now making a wheat dairy and egg free version because I was jealous at aaron's reaction, he was incredibly excited when I came home with some leftover.
I also went to this last night and didn't anticipate the enormous crowd. I'm going back this afternoon to peruse.
sunday is hot pot with the family; first of the season.

and last but not least, my zupas post is up for the day. really, you don't want to miss it.

but who's counting?

it's the first day of december and our home is decorated, christmas music is playing, we've set tivo to record every holiday special imagineable and watched two last night, i've begun to imagine up the things i will bake, and holiday giftlists are popping up all over blogland. so naturally, i thought i would join in. oh, and i also thought i'd do a small giveaway while i'm at it, yipee. the first day of december feels like a holiday in itself; let the countdown begin!

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How was your Thanksgiving holiday? I do hope it was full of love, gratitude, and good food. I love spending the day with my family. This year we had seven of my aunt's eight kids and their families (the missing one is currently honeymooning), my family, and my granny all in the same house. It was bustling, noisy, and so fun. I brought some of my own meal, but I was happy to find that I could still have a few things since there's another in the family with a dairy aversion. I didn't feel as though I missed out, except when the lemon meringue and cheesecake were unveiled. But it's alright because I had a homemade pumpkin pie all to myself, and I ate some for breakfast this morning too.

I am in love with this glaze. the ginger, the apple; it's heavenly. And very sweet; so you have to pair it with something delicious and not too sugary or else the entire experience is a bit overwhelming. Check out my zupas post for the chocolate applesauce cakies I made (gluten and dairy free) to accompany the glaze and apple chips. I wish you could see Aaron's favorite way to eat them, take off the cupcake paper, open mouth as wide as possible, and stuff the entire cake in.

He does that with a lot of cupcakes.

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Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude, so I want to tell you about one seemingly simple thing I am grateful for. Jeanne Wotring was my grandmother's friend in ponca city, oklahoma. I'm not sure how long ago she shared this recipe with my grandmother but it has been a favorite in our family, specifically during the Thanksgiving feast, since before I came to existence. It is something I look forward to every november. My cousin in-law jumped on the assignment of making it this year since he thought it would be incentive for my 86 year old Granny to visit from texas for the holiday. I think her venture also had something to do with my other cousin's wedding the day before (today), but I am glad he's making it because Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without this jell-o salad. And I'm even more grateful that I still get to have some this year. Not an ounce of dairy, wheat or egg.

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I love finding success in the kitchen nowadays. A few days ago it was these cookies, and last night it was biscuits (that actually tasted and had the consistency of biscuits) atop a dairy free chicken pot pie. Jane's even having a little success too, she's been little miss independent the past few days with her business. I like to keep things clean so I'll just leave it at that and remind you to check out my first wheat and dairy free zupas post today.

and have a lovely weekend.

I hope I wasn't too depressing in my last post, I really didn't mean to be too down trodden. I appreciate all the encouragement though. So after making the decision to do a wheat and dairy free trial I went to the library and checked out books on allergy free cooking and baking, stopped by the local health food store for a few bags of various flours and substitutions, made some wheat free bread, lamented over the loss of a convenient and 'normal' gathering with my family next week, and then decided that things wouldn't be so bad after all.  I've actually been having fun with this little adventure, exploring new ways to bake, adapting old favorites to fit into my new diet, asking about every little menu option while eating out, and planning our own little holiday dinner.

Of course I've had some difficulties, no life changing experience is without them. However I don't want to be too grievous about it; after all it's for the most adorable cause ever. I'd do anything for that sweet little girl. So figuring out this food allergy will be a wheat, dairy and possibly egg free piece of cake.

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My life is now both dairy and wheat free. My appreciation for the allergy, celiac, and vegan communities has increased seven fold. More than that, really. Do you remember my first experience baking gluten free goodies? Well I had a few mishaps then, and I face more every day when I try to make something leavened from my oven. I feel as though I am learning how to bake all over again.  The fact is, completely wheat and dairy free store bought bread is hard to come by, but because of the ever increasing gluten-free community it is available at specific markets.  However it costs much more than I'm willing to spend for one small air-packed loaf of bread like nourishment. So naturally I thought, I'll just make it myself. It'll be cheaper, I'll know exactly what is in it, and life will be yeasty again. Then I realized that baking has always been an art, and I never was a proficient in the first place. So my failure at wheat and dairy free potato bread came as no surprise.  Honestly, it tastes like salt and air. My hopes for a delicious holiday season are slowly slipping away. What is Thanksgiving turkey without a warm buttery roll to sop the gravy?  Leftover Christmas ham without a hot flaky biscuit and mustard? {sigh.}

Can you tell I'm still in the mourning phase?

To be fair, I do have a list of recipes to try and blogs to peruse. The amount of resources from others living this homemade lifestyle is encouraging. It's just still so new to me. Maybe by December we will have this allergy business figured out. I now recognize the courtesy that it was, making that bridal shower a gluten free one. I experienced first hand how it feels to have a table of options with only one realistic choice, the raw stuff. Social engagements are a whole other animal.

If you have wheat/gluten/dairy-free bread making tips, or a recipe that even I can master, I do hope you'll share. I'm on the hunt for everything.

how was your week? did you enjoy my little sister's wit and prose? we are moved in although not completely unpacked. however it is starting to feel a little like home. I'm content with the kitchen, love the natural daylight, the view out our bedroom window/door, and the space; goodness the space. i get my own whole room for creating, albeit there is less kitchen counter space to play with.

As for blogging, I will be in and out within the next few weeks, surely with some beloved family recipes for you to enjoy for the holidays. thanksgiving is on its way, oh how I love this time of year. I will warn you, posts may be scant. sweet baby jane has a food allergy, poor thing. not sure exactly what it is just yet but this week is no dairy week, next week is no wheat. whatever it may be, it will surely change my eating plans for the holidays. If she is allergic to both I may cry a little, but I refuse to let it make my food life bland. I will find a way; ready for the adventure?

and of course, check out my zupas post today.

This post is mainly just a recipe post, no stories. And I know I said no chocolate for a while, but I can't help it. These cookies are a work in progress. I've been combining two recipes and so far this is what I've got. They're a smaller batch than these, and they're a little sweeter. The dough tastes a little bit like toffee, must be the brown sugar. This is one of the many recipes I've been perfecting over the years.

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Sorry to interrupt your normal blogcast system but Jen is off galavanting in her new humble abode sans internet. She asked that I, her little sister, write a post in her stead to guide you sweet little sheepies to her Zupas post where she explains how to create some spooky treats! She even gave me permission to write whatever my little heart desired and get in some self promotion! What a brave sister. Don't worry, sis, I won't embarrass you too much and I'll try to keep my thoughts PG/short.

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this annual halloween tradition is from aaron's upbringing. for as long as i've known my husband, he has loved to eat sticky, gooey, gummy become-one-with-your-teeth treats. when we watch those 'how it's made' shows and they highlight some kind of candy, and they show it at the stage where it's just a ginormous big-as-a-human size hunk of gummy sugar he comments, "i'd like to take that whole thing and just {omn!}" demonstrating with his hands as if he were a wild animal sinking his chops into a slab of thigh. sorry for the mental image.

so when we make car'mle corn on halloween it can't be too hard or too crunchy (although he doesn't complain if it is). it should be gooey, but not too gooey, and leave bits of car'mle on the teeth so it takes a while to completely digest. When you enjoy something so much, may as well make it last. this is why we make it for both halloween and christmas, we may even do it for thanksgiving if we feel like it.

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did i scare you?

It's the week before Halloween! do you have a costume picked out? jane will either be sporting either this or this, i haven't decided. This week will be another demanding one for the johnson's; we're moving. We won't be relocating far, barely a half block away from where we are now; but it will be a busy week full of packing boxes instead of baking sheets. pray for us that the weather is kind.

however don't fret, I have some fun things up my sleeve to share while I'm away making {a new} home. A restaurant review, a cookie in the works, and our favorite halloweeny treat, caramel corn. i'm not sure how long we will be without internet, it may be a nice break. oh, and if you have any design/decorating ideas for brick walls on the inside, lemme know. yeah; classy.

is it friday already?

This week has proved a demanding one with moments of great happiness, deep frustration, and a little bit of sleep walking in between.  We had a milestone this week, jane began to laugh. I'm not sure I can describe to you how wonderful that was, especially because it was on account of my husband's sillyness. I can tell you it was better than that white chocolate and cinnamon covered apple I finally ate for dessert last night; and goodness that was good, better than rocky mtn good.  my mother in law's caramel recipe is up on zupas blog today. check it.

As for me and my house, today is proving to be a stay in your pj's while watching silly movies and taking naps sort of day. don't be surprised if you see a "please do not disturb" sign on my front door; but do have a wonderful weekend.

One long ago Christmas my parents gave my sister and I sets of books. I got anne of green gables and she got little house on the prairie. We were young, so we still shared things and i remember reading a few of the books in the little house series. I'm pretty sure I only made it to book two or three, but there was one chapter of all I read that I remember even years later. It was the Christmas chapter. I remember they poured molasses on the snow, and the children ate it like candy. The description of it's taste made me want to try it, and although I knew my granny's gingerbread used molasses I don't think I really knew what molasses tasted like on its own. Heaven knows I'd never try it now.

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did you have a good weekend?

it's a beautiful monday, cloudy skies with bright blue peeking through, trees bursting with color, a chill in the air and a breeze making the leaves tickle the concrete out back. molasses cookies will be in the oven shortly, we're also making caramel apples this afternoon and this evening we're carving pumpkins with our neighbors.

i love october.

I love simple and homey recipes, ones that are basic and therefore adaptable to any cooking mood. Recipes that utilize the hodge podge of leftover items in the refrigerator. No wonder casseroles are so often what people share with each other.  Autumn is the perfect season for such cozy foods. They remind me of good days with my mother at home, sitting down to the table after reluctantly coming inside from playing out in the cool, crisp autumn air, a casserole of some sort in the oven, served with bread and butter, always; and a glass of milk.

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There are a handful of recipes that I have an interesting relationship with. I adore them, really I do. but for some reason no matter how much I love the end product, no matter how excited I am to have leftovers, I'm not exactly fond of the means whereby, or the experience getting to the point of enjoying that first bite. Every time, something happens. It never fails; either I make a mess every time, or i forget something, or I don't have a certain ingredient I thought I had, or it takes much longer than planned, or it just isn't the way I want.  The great thing is, no matter what happens while making these recipes, it ends up being the most delicious thing i've tasted.  This quiche recipe is like that; every time I make it, it's an experience; but the satisfaction that I get from it's rich, savory, and delicious "ness" makes me forget my shortcomings and assures me that indeed it should be kept on the list of things to make for dinner.

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ha! admit it, you think it's funny.

Pumpkins run rampant during the month of October and usually sweet recipes like pies or quick breads are the most popular in highlighting the winter squash.  This recipe for pumpkin cardamom rolls isn't exactly sweet, but it is delicious.  These rolls are perfectly spiced and the pumpkin isn't overwhelming at all.  Plus look at the color the pumpkin gives them, they're a perfect addition to an autumn feast. These are my new favorite rolls. They're delicious paired with your favorite soup or stew and are even great with a little butter and honey. I was planning on posting this over at the zupas blog, but I can't due to technical difficulties. So I'm posting it here; lucky you.

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My bestie would make this every autumn, usually for the first time around general conference weekend because that's when the weather changes for good here in Utah.  Borderline summer days are a thing of the past, and the days consist of temperatures in the 50s with an occasional storm bringing us into the high 30s.  I made this soup this past weekend, keeping the tradition strong, and when she found out she told me she made it for her little family a few days before.  It's an inaugural soup, calling in the new season; the name helps.

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Granny's gingerbread , popcorn, and a movie on sunday night. You know those traditions that continue through generations? This is one of them, although to be honest as it has filtered through generations, it became diluted. As a child, my mother would do it often, and in my own childhood we would do it seldom. I want to include it in baby j's childhood so she can have that connection to past family members. We're all connected somehow, this is one way mine are linked together although it's not the most important way.  What are some traditions that have been handed down from past generations in your own family?  I'd love to hear them.  Whatever they are I hope they're accompanied by happy memories.  If not, make new traditions that will create those happy memories.

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Have you ever seen/tasted/experienced something that you wanted to recreate? That's what this pie was for me, a bit of an experiment. I went to a gathering and a friend brought a peach cream pie made with fresh peaches. It was yummy and I figured since peach season is almost over I'd make one up of my own for another gathering I attended this past week. It turned out alright, but I hated the crust I made with it, so I'm not even going to mention it; except it was pretty, that's all. The day after I made it Joy the Baker posted this and I think I'll use it next time I make this pie.

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You know how some new moms get makeovers after they have a baby? New hair, new, clothes, new shoes. Not me. I get a blog makeover instead. New buttons, new layout, new feel. I like it a lot better, what do you think? Yes, that means all who are reading this in your google reader, email, or whatever you're reading this from, have to actually click a button that will take you to another website, potentially mucking up your whole browser with various tabs/windows to see what I'm talking about.

life's rough.

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tiny toes, grabby fingers, increasingly chubbier arms and legs, a sweet little bum, and a beautiful face with the most adorable expressions. my time has been filled with these wonderful little things, and I can't get enough of my sweet baby jane.

photo by her auntie booboo

sweet baby jane
born on a sunny wednesday in july 2009
10:13 am
6lb, 15oz
19.5 in long

now that the bun is out of the oven, I've spent much less time in the kitchen, and for good reason. I'm sure you concur.

until i return, check out my zupas posts, every friday.
here is today's.

For those of you in the states, I hope your holiday is full of family, friends, tradition, and remembering those who helped us attain the freedom we have today. I really do believe Independence Day is on the top of my "favorite holidays" list.

Also please visit my zupas post for the day and make some old fashioned lemonade. I've mixed mine with some home brewed strawberry cordial, yum.

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image via southern living

While the rest of my neighborhood (you included?) plans their big fourth of July feasts, I'm planning meals and treats that I can freeze for our upcoming d-day; translation = delivery day. That's how I'll be celebrating my freedom, looking forward with courage to a different kind of independence day.

A few things on the menu include bran muffins (I hear they're indispensable), creamy enchiladas, my friend Meesh's yummy slow cooker chicken tacos, and of course cookie dough. Yesterday I baked 3 and froze 2 loaves of this banana bread. I hope they last, hub really likes to eat big slices of it.

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Made this for our ward picnic. Hub got home minutes before we left and wouldn't leave the house before putting two slices in a Tupperware for him to eat later. And by slices he meant two whole rows. It was Darwin's natural selection in action; although in this case it was survival of the clever, or rather those who just don't want to fight small children for a slice of their wife's jell-o salad.

Come on over to the Zupas blog for the recipe.

and here's an apology.
my dear friend called me up the other day saying she tried my mom's lemon cake in little baby cakes. And surprise! they fell. I felt so bad, I meant to write in the original post that for some reason mine fell as well. I'm not sure how i forgot and i feel embarrassed that I didn't do it. I'm not sure why they fell, maybe the altitude? But I'm figuring out how to fix it. So keep in touch, but don't be afraid to make them even if they are ugly. They're still delicious.


BBQs, Picnics, and Potlucks are in season and when it’s so warm outside, everyone craves something cool and sweet. In Utah, jell-o salads are notorious for gracing the valley’s picnic tables, and for good reason. Children young and old love the colors, flavors, and memories tied to such a wonderful little dessert. This version may not be seen as often due to the time it takes to make, but it sure is a showstopper. Make it and bring it to your next neighborhood picnic. Your neighbors will ask you how you made it and maybe share their own memories of jell-o’s past, while simultaneously grabbing another serving.

layered jell-o

1¼ c boiling water (per packet)
8 - 3 oz. packets of various jell-o flavors and colors (raspberry, lime, pineapple, orange, mixed berry)
4 oz. sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese
about 8 oz. cool whip

Place 9×13 glass baking dish in refrigerator on level surface for at least 20 minutes or until completely chilled.

Whip the sour cream and cream cheese together until well combined in a large bowl. Add in the cool whip, whisking until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl combine one packet of jell-o with 1¼ cup boiling water, let it cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour ¾ cup of the jell-o into the chilled baking dish making sure it covers the entire bottom and place back in the refrigerator until when you touch it, it is mostly set. With the remaining ½ cup of jell-o whisk in 3 Tablespoons of the cheese/cool whip mixture until smooth. Pour the jell-o/whip mixture on top of the set jell-o layer. Repeat for each flavor of jell-o making sure each layer is set before adding another (about 15 minutes).

Make sure that each layer is set well enough (it’s pretty much solid to the touch) before adding on a new layer.

Don’t forget to let the newly mixed jell-o & boiling water cool before you add the next layer on, if not it will melt the other layers and things will get all kooky with layers between, separated and to the sides of each other.

Once you get into the rhythm of making the layers, it’s becomes quite easy. You’ll be setting one jell-o layer in the fridge, while the next flavor is cooling.

If you have any questions or need help, ask! You can reach me here.

***The photographed jell-o was made with 6 oz. jell-o packets rather than the 3 oz. packets. The smaller packets allow for more layers meaning more colors!

I love going to the market. Since I got pregnant, we made the change to eating organic produce, meat, and dairy. Around the same time a new market with incredibly affordable organic foods opened up the road. I visit at least once a week, sometimes more. The other day they had samples celebrating celiac week. They had a few recipes highlighted but I rarely try recipes from the grocer for some reason. I think it has to do with lack of visual stimulation. But then I tasted a sample of the quinoa salad and fell in love. There was something about the cilantro and onion with creamy crunchy seeds that was so appetizing, I must have been craving pico de gallo. My faith in market recipes has been renewed for now.

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it's earth day.

to celebrate i'm finally dropping off our recycling; making something from scratch, and picking up some organic eggs from the clifford family farm. I love all the different colors and sizes they come in and that the sticker on the carton says "farm fresh eggs laid at will by a variety of organic fed, galavanting chickens" i imagine them dancing and skipping about for some reason.