Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

3 large eggs
2 yolks
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
5 TBS melted butter
1/4 cup Jack Daniels
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups pecans
Pie crust

Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar until combined. Whisk in corn syrup, melted butter, Jack Daniels. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over bottom of crust. Pour in filling. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over filling. Sprinkle remaining chips over filling. Top with 3/4 cup pecans.

Bake 50-55 minutes at 350 until set in center. Turn off oven, leave pie in oven with door closed for 15 minutes to crisp top.

The Entertainment

Tommy Keith is one of "the brothers". The brothers are the 5 remaining Keiths in this line from Talbert Dalton Keith. He had 5 kids with Emmaline, including my Grandma and her sister Iva. Aunt Iva is 100 years old and is the only child of Emma's that is still living. She hasn't been able to make the reunion is several years, and she is surely missed. The rest of these brothers are the result of Talbert's second wife, Laura.

Here's the impromptu band that is created when you bring a bunch of Keiths together. From left to right: Tommy Keith, Harold Keith (from a line other than Talbert's), Keith I-can't-remember-his-last-name (he's married to Gail, she's one of Talbert's grandchildren, I think), and Lois. Here's the scoop on Lois. I wrote her name as Loys last year because that's what my mom said. She said that because that's what Tommy called her. Lois (pronounce it Low-is, just like it looks and just like you would expect it to sound) was Tommy's girlfriend last year. This year she is his wife. They've been married for a week and the word at the reunion was they "had to get married". Oh, ah-ha-ha, my family is such a riot. Anyway, Tommy calls her Loys (say it like Joyce, except with an "L") and this bugs her. Why would that bother a second wife? Because his first wife's name was Joyce. Oh, ah-ha-ha, my uncle is in Trouble! (That would be trouble, with a capital "T"!)
Lois is the one that started the playing this year, followed closely by Harold. She has a beautiful voice, if you like that kind of singing. I didn't happen to know a single song she sang. Harold was the other one that hung in there for a long time. He has an awesome voice as well, and at one point I THOUGHT I knew one of his songs, but didn't. I'm hoping that next year they practice up on some Garth Brooks or George Strait. At least some Kenny Rogers would be nice and then Lois could sing some Dolly Parton lines, no? Tommy sat down for a while, but ran off to chat with family more often than he played. Keith was catchin' a few beats on the harmonica, which was pretty cool.

Umm, Umm, Good!

Yep, what you see here is a full plate of dessert. It was after a full plate of dinner. Do I care? Is this wrong? Probably, but I'm pregnant, and I'm at a Keith reunion where they make some seriously good desserts! Desserts I don't get very often. Desserts that I'm sure are full of gooey goodness that have so many calories and so much sugar that I will be paying for it for weeks. But what is really the draw here? They were desserts that were reminiscent of the desserts that my grandmother, Leacy (Keith) Graham, used to make for these same reunions so many years ago. I remember the creamy banana pudding dish with graham crackery-nutty crust (bottom left), and the cherry pie filling sweetness with cake and coconut topping (bottom right), strawberry and chocolate cake (top left), and dessert wouldn't be complete without chocolate pudding with PLENTY of whipped cream. That is a Keith thing, whipped cream or cool whip. We're not picky. Now my mom, and many of her kin folk (that's what we call them out in New Mexico) will be upset if I don't mention the favorite of all- pecan pie. There were 2 typical pecan pies and one my mom baked special- Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip pecan pie. Yep, my mom with the burbon pie (or is it whiskey?). Let's just say it was a big hit and the recipe was requested by many. The real question is, "why is none of this famous pie on your plate, H?" Because I don't really like it. I know, the shame of it all! It's a wonder they haven't disowned me as a Keith.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Here's Your Sign"...

This is where you stay, in Logan, NM, when you wait too long to book a room and there is a bass tournament the same weekend that you will be there. You fight all the 4x4's and boats for a parking space, kill 3 roaches in your room, wash your hair while standing OUTSIDE the shower (because the shower head sprays all over the place), and then lay your tired, wet head down in a slanted bed and try to sleep as the trains wiz by at all hours of the night. Hmm, what does that last line of the sign below say? Yep, it's a "P", followed closely by an "OOL".
No worries, I really didn't do any diving in this POOL...
And just across the street, all booked up, was this beauty.
What? What are those words in RED?
Oh, sweet internet, how I missed you for my 2 nights and 2 days!

On another, silly note about signs... when we were driving through Gallop on the return trip, I told my mom I thought I read on a hotel sign that said, "Fresh BO". I couldn't even say it without giggling because is BO ever really fresh?! After we stopped laughing I admitted that it probably said, "Free HBO".

Let the Road Trip Begin...

When driving through New Mexico (on I25, I think!), one must always make the important stop in Pie Town. Yes, Pie town has just what it's name implies, PIE! And that pie, at the Pie-O-Neer restaurant, is DEE-LISH!Our friends, Dave and Sue, made this same stop on their last road trip through NM. It was funny because they described the front porch, just as I remembered it (minus the actual rocking chairs), and I knew exactly where they were talking about. The owner, Kathy, has been there for years, leasing it out only on occasion when she needed what she calls a "reality check". I get that. I need to run away from life sometimes, and I certainly would if I lived in Pie Town. There's not much there, not many people, and it could get really old, really quick, if it weren't for her spunky nature and love of people.

We signed the guest book (a regular, spiral bound college notebook) and I glanced at some of the other names in there. Many people wrote about how they heard of this place from one magazine or another. The fun part was that 2 of them read it in a cycling magazine. April, I expect to see Ryan's name in there the next time I go through! There was one man from Idaho that stopped in on his bike ride, and another from Berlin. Yep, Berlin, as in Germany!

We were hungry this trip, so we had a lunch of spinach quesadillas and a grilled sandwich that is slipping my mind right now. We took our pie to go and had it that night when we arrived at our destination. At $4.95/slice it isn't cheap, but you're on vacation, right?!

As we left, my mom gave Kathy (a practical stranger!) a big hug and I realized why I'm such a huggy kind of person. It's all my mom's fault! Dang that Freud for always being right. Oh well, we are who we are.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are They Just Snobs?

I like to get recipes off of, more so than You can put in a list of ingredients and non-ingredients and pick a recipe from there. There seem to be multiple choices for the popular recipes so you will get a I, II, III, IV... version of the same dish. Nice, because then you can pick and choose what will work for you.

But I'm wondering who these people are that comment on the site. Are they food critics? Are they chef's in training? Do they work for Rachel Ray or Emeril? OR, are they just snobs? Women (I've never read a man's comment) who have too much time on their hands to experiment with recipes and criticize others. Geez. Very few comments don't include a suggestion on how to make the dish better, and I don't feel like it is said to be helpful, mostly critical. Sure you added onion, but maybe the author has picky eaters that don't like that texture. I'd imagine that, if I were making a dish that typically has onion in it, I would add it if my family liked it.

Where does this rant come from you ask? Beef Stroganoff. It's Bill's favorite and I wanted to make it for Father's Day. The traditional version that we both grew up on was called "S.O.S" by my father and uncle. They both served in the military and this dish was served often. As a child, I thought SOS stood for "Save Our Ship" but didn't really question why you would name a food that. Yes, I'm a little naive since neither of them were in the navy. Later, I found out it really meant, "SH-- on a Shingle." Yikes! Ground beef with cream of mushroom soup, served on a piece of (inevitably) burnt toast. Not so yum. I thought I could do better so the search began.

I stopped my search at the second recipe I found on It fit the bill because it used real beef and could be done in the slow cooker, which I love. The ingredients were in my house, and it had a 4 1/2 star rating. Then I checked out some of the comments. The first 3 people gave it a 5 star rating, but all had 9 changes to the recipe which just about doubled the ingredient list. One of them even said that original recipe would have been 1 star worthy, but with the changes it was fabulous. What the heck? Who are these people? Snobs I tell ya, cooking snobs.

NTS: Don't Skimp on the Chocolate Chips

Mark brought me cookies today. They were a 1/2 inch think and must have been 3 inches in diameter. OK, in actuality (because I had to get out the ruler and measure), they were closer to 1 inch thick in the middle and 3 1/2 inches across. Sheesh! But what makes these the best cookies EVER?! (Besides the fact that I didn't have to make them?!) There are so many chocolate chips in them! There was one bite that was more chips than cookie. Yummy! This might be a baby thing though, because I usually don't like that much chocolately goodness in a cookie (did I really just say that?), and I don't usually like thick, crisp cookies. I'm more of a thin, undercooked cookie kind of gal.

Who's Mark you ask?! Wouldn't you like to know! Let's just say the man knows his way around a kitchen and doesn't mind taking care of this prego lady. (His wife's a gem too!) Sweet!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Trivia & Fun Facts

(This post is for Bill. Mr. Cut and Paste. I went against all my instincts, pushed back all the pride I had to rewrite and edit, and went straight to a website with a bunch of Father's day trivia. Here ya go babe.)

The idea of Father's Day was conceived in Spokane, Washington by Sonora Dodd while she listened to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Dodd (now known as "the mother of Father's Day") wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. The following year, June 19, 1910 was chosen for the first Father's Day celebration, proclaimed by Spokane's mayor because it was the month of William Smart's birth. Decades later, the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Father's Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

Father's Day by the Numbers
This is a big day for the 66.3 million fathers in America.

Nearly 95 million Father’s Day cards were given last year in the United States, making Father’s Day the fourth-largest card-sending occasion.

Sons and daughters send 50 percent of the Father's Day card to their dads. Nearly 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are purchased by wives for their husbands. That leaves 30 percent of the cards which go to grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles and “someone special.”

While not everyone in America is a fan of Father's Day, 72 percent of Americans plan to celebrate or acknowledge Father’s Day.

(While we will be part of the 72% acknowldeging Father's Day, our family did not account for either the 50% of daughters, nor the 20% of wives purchasing cards for the man in our life. See, I couldn't do it! I couldn't just paste without commenting! Geez.)

Gifts for Father's Day
Neckties are an old standby and lead the list of Father’s Day gifts. A good place to buy dad a tie or a shirt might be one of 9,189 men’s clothing stores around the country.

Other items high on the list of Father’s Day gifts include those items you may find in dad’s toolbox such as hammers, wrenches and screwdrivers. You could buy some of these items for dad at one of the nation’s 14,864 hardware stores or 5,795 home centers.Other traditional gifts for dad such as fishing rods and golf clubs make for a happy Father's Day for the 22,410 sporting goods stores in America.

More than 68 million Americans participated at a barbecue in the last year — it’s probably safe to assume many of these barbecues took place on Father’s Day.

(Tell me what YOU got your man this year!)

Mr. Mom
Mr. Mom is becoming a more common sight at parks across America with 147,000 estimated “stay-at-home” dads. These married fathers with children under 15 years old have remained out of the labor force for more than one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for 268,000 children under 15.

The dads seem to stay home more with younger children. Preschoolers claim 20 percent of fathers with employed wives who were the primary caregiver for their preschooler. In contrast, only 6 percent of fathers provided the most hours of care for their grade-school-aged child.

Many families split the responsibility of child care. Many Dad's (32%) with full time jobs regularly worked evening or night shifts and were the primary source of care for their preschoolers during their children’s mother’s working hours.

(While Bill does not stay home with the kids, he certainly has his role of Mr. Mom down. We've been through phases where I have worked and have had callings that take me away from the kids during his non-working hours. I have never had to worry that the girls would be well taken care of. I am very grateful to have such a man in my life.)

Happy Father's Day!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies

Hey, I'm proud of this recipe because I actually altered an existing recipe to fit my needs. The last 2 times I made them (yikes, in the same weekend!), I added different things: once dried cranberries and pecans; then raisins and pecans. The cranberry version was definitely better. Because of the butter in the recipe, these cookies store well and stay soft. They were actually softer the next day than the night I baked them and overcooked them.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (maybe less)
2 1/2 cups oatmeal

Bake 'em for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Either use a baking stone or lightly greased cookie sheet.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What Would it Take?

I'm wondering what it would take to make me willing enter a Ford Excursion with a minimum of 21 other people. If the driver pulled out the back seat, charged me money, and then said "lay down there, I'm going to stack 2-3 more people on top of you and around you and cram this vehicle as full of desperate people as I can." Then, in the beginning of the summer, we started a long drive over the border between Mexico and Arizona, probably never stopping for fear of being caught. Maybe I was one of the first of many to enter that vehicle and my sister or brother or spouse was waiting to go as well. But I won't know if they got in or not because I jumped at the chance when they offered me a spot in that Ford. Or maybe my mom said, "go sweetheart, it will be OK, I'll find you if I don't make it this trip," as she held back the tears because she knew that she would never see me again.

What would it take?

How terrible would my life have to be?

How desperate would I have to be?

How great would I have to think America is?

What would I be willing to risk?

This article popped up on the Cox homepage this morning as I logged in. It's very brief, reports only the facts, and avoids any mention of what I consider the real issue of immigration: the human factor. Many people will read the article and wonder how long they will have to pay to support and treat the illegal immigrants that were hurt in the roll over accident. Some will pray for those who died. Some will volunteer for Sheriff Joe's posse and go patrol the border, thinking that the solution is to stop the vehicle from entering our country in the first place. This country, my country, the land of the free.

I know that there are many things to be considered when looking at immigration. I know that people have been entering our country, legally, for decades. I know there is a right and a wrong way to do something; a legal and an illegal way to make things happen. I'm just wondering: what would it take to make me risk my life to leave the place I grew up in for a land that is completely foreign to me, that I may or may not make it to?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

NTS: The 3pm Temple Session is FULL

I try to make it to the temple once a week. That was pretty easy when the kids were in school because I could go in the morning during the week. I suppose once camp is over in June I can try to do that again and find someone to watch the girls for me. But, for right now, I'm pretty much stuck with Saturdays and/or Tuesday or Thursday night. I haven't been getting up at the crack of dawn anymore, so by the time I'm up and moving on Saturday, and gotten something done (like some laundry) it's after noon already. Then Bill is finishing the lawn work, I'm feeding people lunch and next thing I know it's after 1 or 2pm.

Me: "Babe, I haven't made it to the temple yet this week."
Babe: "Go."
Me: "OK."

Then, like 30 minutes to an hour later (because I've finished doing something or checked my email), I finally leave. I arrive just in time for the 3pm session. This has happened twice now.

Note to self (and anyone else that cares): The 3:00pm Saturday session at the Mesa Temple is for people going through for the first time. When people go through for the first time, other people that they know tend to go with them. Because of this, the session tends to be quite full. Not just full, but overflowing. They always ask you to stay behind if you aren't with the newbies. And let's face it, who's gonna sneak into a temple session on false pretenses? Nope, not me. So you wait until the 3:30 session and it takes FOREVER because you are still waiting for that session before you to finish up because it was so stinking full.

I usually don't mind waiting around at the temple because it is so peaceful and calm. I have time to contemplate, read scriptures, pray, etc. BUT, when I tell Bill that I should be home by 5 or 5:30 and I don't even get out until after 6pm, I start to feel guilty. Not guilty enough to not stop at the bookstore to call him (because I forgot my phone), and not guilty enough to not do a little shopping while I was in said bookstore, but a little guilty none the less. He did get a nice new tie tack out of the ordeal though. Be sure to ooh and aah on Sunday. CTR baby!

Selling Crap and Washing Cars

Apparently I've not been out on Saturday very often. Either that, or this was the weekend for everyone to sell their crap (AKA: Yard Sales) and have an end of the year car wash. I saw no fewer than 10 yard sale signs and 4 car washes. What was so strange was that 3 of the yard sales were right by where I was going so I could not avoid them and had to look at their crap. Yep, crap, I don't need it. Then, after passing one of the car washes for the 3rd time of the day, I was harassed by the sign guy. I guess the bird poop on the passenger's side window was screaming "I need a car wash!" and since I was clearly not complying they felt it necessary to bug me about it. Nice.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Youth ROCK!!!

Wednesday is clearly now my favorite day of the week. I'm totally exhausted by the end of the evening, but it is all well worth it. I get to spend a couple of hours with the 12-18 year old girls (and sometimes boys) of our church doing any number of things. Last week we looked at the Personal Progress book to help the girls get on track spiritually, set goals with them, read scriptures, and increased our knowledge to help them pass off one experience in the book. This week was a whole 'nother story...

We had a combined activity with the boys, "Idaho Style". One of the leaders was from Idaho and she set us up to do a video scavenger hunt. We split into 2 teams and set off to record several silly tasks. Our group passed off 12/12 main tasks (only 10 were required) and a couple bonus tasks. It's not like I'm competitive or anything, but team me up with McKinnon and the other team doesn't have a chance! Here's a list of what we got on tape (all kids were required to do each task as a group):
  • Introduce the group members and group name ("Holy Rollers")
  • Sing the Oscar Meyer wiener song while holding a package of hot dogs
  • Share an ice cream
  • Buy exactly $.10 of gas
  • Film a commercial outside of Blockbuster
  • Help a stranger unload their groceries
  • Make a train down a slide
  • Roll down a hill
  • Form a letter or symbol with your body, using all members of the group
  • Get 2 strangers to sing YMCA with the group (this actually took quite a bit of convincing, we asked probably 5-6 people before we had any takers)
  • Recite the Pledge of Allegiance while hanging from a tree
  • Christmas Carol to someone in the ward
  • Have an old couple kiss
  • Hug a gas station attendant

It was HILARIOUS!!! We had a great group of kids with us, including one investigator who had never met any of us before. A little shy at times, they all got behind the fun of it and were game for it all. I wish I had been the gas station attendant, I would have felt the love.

I've got video proof if anyone want to see the footage.