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

Things have been quiet over here. Lack of a working computer made it impossible for me to update much of anything these last few weeks. But it came at the best time, we have been celebrating every day, making the moments merry and bright. I will be back, posting recipes and whatnot in the new year, but I wanted to share one of my favorite messages for the most magical of holidays.

"This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.

Christmas is a celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning—with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself unselfishly in the things that matter most."

From McCall's Magazine, Dec. 1959, quoted by President Howard W. Hunter here.

Merry Christmas friends, see you in the new year.

I ran a marathon (and have run very little since). We saw a lot of corn; in fields, in pits, in stalks, in underwear.. We picked pumpkins, watched the sunset, changing leaves, enjoyed a couple hayrides, and even had a halloween party. We've been having lots of soup, bundling up on our walks, and frequenting the indoor park more often than outdoors. We took a road trip, ate out, ate ice cream (!), ate cheese(!!!), decided hotel living was nice for a few days, stood under arches and at the edge of cliffs, then came home and had the season's first hot pot.

We've been having a grand ol' time. How have you been?

All but the last photo were taken with instagram.
look for me if you're on too : jenniferhoiyin

Melissa and I are teaching our Thanksgiving class this weekend! Because of limited space, this class has registration cap. Please sign up early to ensure a spot!

A Local Thanksgiving Class
November 12, 2011 - 11:00 to 1:30 p.m.
class venue :: Johnson residence in Provo,Utah
(address given after registration)
price: $35

the menu:

roasted acorn squash stuffed with bing cherry and apple stuffing
wild rice salad with citrus and pomegranate
sweet potato pie with orange wedges

We will be having a cooking class this saturday. It will be quaint and intimate because it will be held in my own home. I would love to have you over, to share some conversation, probably a few laughs (and blunders) and a warm, seasonal lunch this weekend. Hope you can come.

Soup, Salad and Sandwiches Class 
October 22, 2011 - 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.
class venue :: Johnson residence in Provo,Utah
(address given after registration)
price: $35
roasted tomato soup
autumn vegetable minestrone
gruyere and kale pesto grilled sandwich
  caramelized brussel sprout salad 
free form apple and lemon balm galette

If you're in south jordan, come say hello along my race route! It's always fun seeing supporters cheering you on. Even if the cheers are meant for someone else, they make my steps a little lighter.

a few links for you this weekend:

+ I love Sheena's reply to the view that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are not Christian. We believe in Christ. Really, I do.
+ I love Susan's series of her favorite instagram photos, I love when things relate by chance.
+ The days that I have been following Robin's 100 ways to thank your body, my body has been thanking me.
+ I know Halloween isn't for a few more weeks, but I am so excited for Christmas!
+ Recipe for this apple tart on zupas today.

have a lovely one friends.

So remember how I ran a half marathon back in June? And remember how I scoffingly said meh I'm pretty much halfway there, may as well keep running? Well I did. I kept running; and running; and running. I ran so much I had to buy new shoes, and new shorts, yes I even got a new running top (or four). I also got a visor which may or may not be the most fashionable clothing purchase I've ever made but gracious I love that thing, especially in the rain.

I ran so much these past 16 weeks that I am days away from running my first marathon. Yes, I am officially one of those crazy masochist people who will be voluntarily putting my body through a ridiculous amount of strain (it's actually not so bad when you take it on gradually), all for the glory of a free t-shirt and a knick knack of a medal (where do I put/do with them?) I guess it's not really official until I finish, I will finish.

During my training, I have missed the conversation I had with my running partner before she moved away. I couldn't go back to listening to music, especially for my longer runs. I needed the real time of a voice, of conversation, something that engaged me mentally and intellectually. So I started listening to audio books and podcasts, many of which (surprise!) dealt with food. I now realize just how obsessed I am.

Here are a few of my favorites..

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When I was in elementary school, I was given the nickname "sweater girl" by one of my 6th grade teachers. During the autumn months whenever I saw her, if I was wearing a sweater, she would comment on the knit I wore saying it was a new one she had never seen before (even if it wasn't). When she saw me without, she'd ask if I had lost it; my sweaters and I were inseparable. I blame my love for this season as the reason I remember something so trivial. She noticed that I loved sweaters (and obviously had a lot of them), and by saying something to me about it I noticed that she noticed me, and that meant something. If she saw my wardrobe now, I'm pretty sure she'd still call me by that name, sweater weather is still my favorite sort of weather, although I've branched out to collect other seasonally relevant things like gloves, scarves, hats, and soup recipes. I have about as many favorite soups as I do sweaters. Okay I probably have more favorite soups.. luckily they go together perfectly.

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This past saturday marked the second year of our conference weekend tradition, picking raspberries at a local farm properly named, the raspberry patch.

We gave our little one a jar to fill with her own plump berries, but it never had more than one berry in it (I think I put it there), and that lone berry wasn't in the jar any longer than a minute. I think part of our berry picking tradition will be rounding our berries weight up a quarter pound, I'm sure it's a close estimate to the amount of berries she ate straight from the bush, and many times from our main harvest. For the short time we were there, she wasn't idle for a minute of it.

The forecast for the week declared the first snowfall in the higher mountain ranges (still to happen). Overnight, and after a number of hours of cold wet weather, the tips of the mountains that loom over our little big town were bursting with the varying shades of fall, even moreso than last week. It was almost as if the trees knew they would soon be covered in snow and needed to show off for at least one day. It made for a beautiful view during my run this morning. I repeatedly pointed my little one (cuddled up and mostly dry in her jogger) toward the west range, showing her how beautiful her hometown is in October. We even took a drive up the canyon and filled our home with multi-colored boughs of oak, maple and aspen.

With the mixture of general conference weekend (continually the most inspiring weekend of the year), raspberry picking, putting up halloween decor, making warm food (soup!) to fill our bellies, knit sweaters, socks, and closed toed shoes, it's official. Fall, how I've missed you.

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Even though it's getting cooler, I still love meals where I don't have to cook anything. I like to rely on my blender, a knife and board, and my can opener (yes, can opener) for quick weekday meals. I love making things from scratch, but beans are not one in my rotation. It is now autumn, the mountains that loom so close are peppered with red, orange, and yellow, the apples are now selling alongside the last of the peaches and of course they taste incredible, I can feel the brisk chill that travels deeper than my first layer of skin, and yet I am still transitioning.

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The official last day of summer, and I have a handful of tomato-dish-this, peach-dish-that to share with you. A large percentage of the tomato dishes begin with tossing the tomatoes with olive oil, honey, vinegar of some sort, and a bit of salt, then baking until they pop. From there, they take on their own unique persona, whether they're blended, mixed with greens, or in this case, baked again. This second time, they're surrounded by custard sopped morsels of bread. It's a good transitional dish, robust with flavor and warmth, because it's around this time of year that my toes begin to chill.

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beet pickled eggs from a few years ago

This Thursday, I will be at Jacob's Cove along with Rachel Hodson and David Vogel from Edible Wasatch for the Veggie Pick and Pickle Farm Tour. The event is part of a monthly farm tour series sponsored by The Downtown Farmers Market and Edible Wasatch magazine. It begins at 3 p.m. (meet at the farm at 4 p.m. if you're nearby) and costs $30.

Those who come will be introduced to Dale Allred (agricultural engineer extraordinaire at Jacob's Cove), and given a taste of freshly pickled produce from the farm. After some instruction is given, everyone will be sent to the greenhouses to find prime pickling produce, then gather at stations where they will learn how to preserve their freshly picked goods for their pickling pleasure. There will be light snacks, information about the farm, information about our cooking classes, and copies of the latest Edible Wasatch available, as well as some good conversation and company. Sound like a good way to spend your Thursday evening?

Read on for more details.

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With August and September's surplus of food, I have been trying different ways to preserve it all, so we have some reminiscence of summer when January comes along. I tried my hand at canning peaches for the very first time this summer, a friend and her children came over to share the experience. We let the kids watch movies, eat popcorn, and play while we caught up, laughed, cared for the occasional unhappy child, and enjoyed the novelty of something we remember our mother's and grandmother's doing, but we had never done on our own before.

We bought a bushel of "second" red haven peaches from a favorite orchard stand. "Seconds" peaches are the peaches that get a little bruised and worn from their short trip to the stand, or have some kind of imperfection. They also sport a price tag a third of what the poster child peaches cost. Since we were using them up the same day, the imperfections weren't enough to spoil them before we used them all. We also bought 2 gallons of their raw unfiltered apple cider that was frozen from the year before, planning to use some for the actual canning, and drinking the rest (my little one's favorite part).

We followed this webpage's instructions for cold packing the peaches, processing them long enough for our elevation (4500 feet!) and instead of a sugar syrup used the apple juice. We didn't can the whole bushel of peaches, saving a few of the under ripe ones for making some peach jalapeno jam a day or so later. By the end of the evening, we had fourteen quarts of peaches, four hungry kids (who requested dinner, "but it better not be peaches!"), four sore feet, and two empowered women who felt a small connection to times past and the satisfaction of real food work. My favorite part about real food, it has a heritage.

I especially loved that through the process of it all, old memories were remembered and new ones were made. I realized we weren't just putting up peaches.

What are you preserving this year?

This morning, I watched the moon set. It was giant, low, and a dusty orange red before it dissappeared through houses and trees. Then I watched the sun rise. I love the deep cold blue of the sky that warms into golden hues, setting the clouds alight with blush hues. This morning they were the color pink I remember from my mother's 90's floral printed curtains in her kitchen window facing east, and the color of my toddler's flushed face after an afternoon in the summer sun.    It was a good start to my weekend.

I have a bowl full of the most beautiful tomatoes, but all I want is a peach.

I decided today that I will no longer hold on to summer as desperately as I have been. I always complain that autumn just isn't long enough to be enjoyed, and I want to enjoy it, thoroughly.

I may make pie this weekend, to celebrate.

The first day of September.

Yesterday was the last day of 90 degree weather; every day this week shows highs in the mid 80s. It was as if summer declared a clean end with exactness and clarity, even though we technically have a couple weeks left.

ugh. summer. end?

I am not sure if it has been because I've had a little one to play with for the last few months, but I have loved summer this year, and I'm not usually a fan.  I will miss the bare toes on green grass, scraped knees and bare shoulders, the smell of sunscreen and sweat on the little one's skin, her pigtails ruffled around the edges and everywhere in between from summer play. I will miss sitting out on our front steps eating popscicles, watermelon halves, and anything else cold. I will miss the early morning sun (really early), the warm winds, and the prickle of my skin when moving from outdoors in. Even with everything I will miss, there are so many things to look forward to.

For one, cooler weather means there are things to be baked, like cake.

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One of my lifetime goals (read: never ending) has been to improve my photography skills. I have taken classes, listened to live workshops, read a few books and lots of articles, collected inspiring images, talked to photographers and continually pick at my photography student sister's brain. But the best way for learning how to take better pictures is (surprise) to take pictures! lots of them. I guess I am trying to explain the influx of unrelated (to food) visuals that have and will continue to show up.

Like these from the week..

summer squash and oatmeal cookies on zupas today.
happy weekend!

Some days, the only thing that sounds good for dinner is something that has been fried in oil; lots of it. You know those days. I also believe that if you have a lot of the same thing (read: summer squash) you are less likely to get sick of it if you have an army of varying dishes to use them in. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert..
This was my first time making summer squash fritters, and it definitely won't be the last. I have to admit it took me back to my grade school days when my friends would want to sniff my backpack because it had the best chinese fried rice aroma (read: grease).

Pair the fritters with a relish of fresh vegetables and you might forget about the grease splatters covering your oven.

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Our favorite peach provider opened last week. We have been anticipating peach slices, peach lemonade, peach pie, peach ice cream, peach leather, peach jam, peach everything. A favorite summer dessert has always been sliced peaches, some milk (or cream) and a drizzle of honey with a ginger cookie on the side.

Autumn has always been my favorite season, but late summer is a definite contender.