Wednesday, August 15, 2012

there's nothing better...

than grilling on a summer afternoon. I'm in madly love with it. Did ya hear me? In. Love. (wish I could say that about a man, but we're working on it). There are so many delights that you can grill, from vegetables to fish, to pizza, to pineapple. The possibilities are endless. I may or may not be obsessed with this medium of cooking,  just a lil' bit. In South Africa we called it Braai. Same thing. No matter what you call it, relish in it. It's amazing. Below are some of my best grilling tips.

1. Clean your grill out completely every year. One man's ash is NOT another's treasure. Trust me on this one.

2. Oil all of your food before you put it on to prevent sticking. Lighter oils such as grape-seed (found in large quantities at whole foods) work best. Take one of those cool brush thingies (you know we all love those) and paint your food. It's fun and I guarantee it will save you the sad face from when your food could have been perfect but isn't later.

3. Chicken=low heat and slow. Beef=high heat and fast. Simple.

4. Only flip your food once. For all of you flip happy grillers out there, I have a message for you. You are losing the juice and the flavor! All food has sugar in it, which sinks to the bottom of your food and seals in the juice during the grilling process. Please for the love let's keep that juice and flavor in that burger and only flip it once. You will thank me later.

5. Experiment. You just might be surprised that you can grill a variety of things items, such as strawberries, or lasagna, or s'mores.

same changes

“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
It seems that I always get back to blogging on flights. I spent the past year in Boston teaching and in New York for the summer as a Chef, and I am yet on another adventure. I find myself glowing in the fact that I am headed home to Salt Lake to spend two and a half weeks with family and friends that I adore. These are the people that know me best, have sent me on adventures time and time and again, and the reason I am able to make changes, so many changes, so often. I am not a person who is content staying in one place and leaving this world undiscovered. However, it has occurred to me on many occasions that I would never be the person I am without such a solid foundation to pull from. This rock foundation consists first and foremost of my belief in my Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ, and then my family, and the many wonderful people I have rubbed shoulders with over the years along with a solid education and knowing my values. This rock has been my pedestal to leap from in my adventurous spirit. It has allowed me to be ever changing. This summer was a busy one, cooking for 80 youth from around the world. I learned much from them as we stood side by side chopping, and hearing about their lives at home. There is something beautiful about reminiscence of home. Ah, home. Such a sweet sweet word. Again, after these next two weeks and much thought, prayer and contemplation, I will experience yet another change. I will be making my new home (for now) in Greenwich, CT working as a personal chef. For the first time, I have no other goals than to experience home wherever I go, and to excel in my profession. I have no training aside from life experience and cooking for the world in a sense, but I am certainly passionate about cooking and hope that it shines through my work. I hope to share a bit more of myself through blogging. I tend not to blog when life get's stressful. Let's be honest...this last year was very stressful and I am definitely delighted to move on from it and reevaluate. Does this happen to anyone else? Alas, it's time to wrap up this post as I descend into stunning Salt Lake. Bring on the Cafe Rio, Mountains, and Family photos!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

my mom is kind of a big deal

In case you didn't already know that I have the best mom in the world, last week she visited Boston and blew me away with her kindness. She came to help me with sewing in my Fashion class. We all know that mom's never just do the minimum. She also cried with me over a broken heart, nursed me back to health from a virus, made dinner for my roommates, went sailing with me, went to the temple with me, and inspired my students. She's an incredible mom. She's a big deal. I've spent some time reflecting on the divinity of motherhood this past year as I have taught child development. To me, there is nothing more sacred, more precious than spending time with a child. I have been incredibly blessed to be a nanny, an aunt, a teacher, a volunteer, and a counselor to hundreds of children and youth. I can only hope that the skills and attributes I have obtained through these experiences are preparation for my own posterity. However, we don't all get that chance in this life for reasons unexplained. I find this an excruciating reality, but there is one thing that brings comfort. We are all mothers. I truly believe that women were put on the earth to "raise" the world. The word raise is an action word. It means to uplift, to hold high, to bring up. What does this mean in the life of a child? To me this means that every single solitary time I interact with a child, I must bring positivity to their life. There is nothing more exquisite than a child's laughter. There is nothing sweeter than watching a child look at the world with wonder. There is nothing more cherished than teaching moments. My life is more invigorating when I live it through the eyes of the children I am so very blessed to interact with. To all of the mother's who have shared your children with me, I thank you for that gift. Thank You for being such incredible examples, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to "raise". To my own mother, Thank You for teaching me how. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

sweet louise

This post is a tribute to a dear friend of mine. Louise Sturt has been a family friend who has shared my 31 years with my family and I. She is like a sister to my mother, and was my babysitter while my parents were on family vacations. I still remember going to a toy store with her and picking out the game, "Mouse Trap" and a tiny tea set with pink flowers. Louise is from England so of course we had to have proper tea. I recall meals of artichokes or chicken salad's served in pineapple shells. Another favorite memory, walking her dogs at Sugarhouse Park. I can still hear her saying, "come along Hollikin (she gave me this name). I remember vividly her energy and spunk. Louise spent many years of her life in South Africa. I never imagined as a child that I would grow up to live in Africa as well and share this connection with her. I recently read a book about the five people we meet in Heaven. I believe that Louise is on that list. There are some people you meet in this life that seem to share your soul. I adore Louise and admire her deeply. I cannot mention Louise without mentioning George of course. These two lovely people have traveled the world together over their 52 year marriage, have taught their children the gospel and have lived life tremendously. Just before I left for one of my adventures a couple of years ago, Louise and George joined my parents and I for dinner. They shared the story of how they met, stories of Africa, stories of Thailand. I could have listened for days. The stories they tell are like nectar for the soul. I want the world to know how exceptional they are. I want the world to know how much I care for them. So here it is world...Louise and George. Quiet Hero's. Proof of Heaven.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

facing the facs

It's April. 4th quarter. I have nearly made it through a full year of teaching. It feels good to see a light at the end of the tunnel and now that it is Spring Break I actually have time to blog. It's been a tough year, but a year of growth here in Boston. Teaching has a way of exposing your weaknesses and strengths. Heaven knows I have many. It has also taught me important, refining lessons. I have learned to stretch and push my character in ways I never imagined. Education evolves, and naturally we must evolve along with it. I feel it a privilege to teach what I love. I can't get enough of Child Development, I am wildly passionate about cooking, and Fashion Design has surprised me. I knew nothing about it when I was asked to teach it. I can say it has been a delightful class and I am impressed with the creativity and innovation of my students. We are about to begin sewing. This scares me to death. My good mother tried and tried to get me to take sewing lessons as a child. Her efforts to mold me into a domestic, often were defeated as I rather have been outside, forming mud pies, and make believing I was a Star Wars character with my friends down the street. It's payback time. I am a Family and Consumer Science Teacher. Not only must I know the skill, I must teach the skill. This keeps me up at night. In less than a week, I will be pulling out the 15 Bernina's, threading bobbins, and my world will be filled with pins, and irons, and fabric everywhere. And I thought getting through the Flour Baby project in Child Development was rough! However, let me say this. I am proud of my students. A few weeks back, we completed a unit on beauty and the media. My students gave presentations on what true beauty was to them. As it turns out, high school students do recognize that beauty comes from the inside out and I was touched by their compassion. This provoked some discussion as to what we would do as a Fashion class to help the world. We chose an organization that we can sew for and give away the clothing. The organization is called, "Little Dresses for Africa". The students chose this, although you know as their teacher I am proud. Africa is a part of my heart, and I know these little ladies will love their dresses. The best part, the dresses are made from standard pillow cases! I can do this. Operation teach my fashion students how to sew is officially under way. To find out more about this organization click here.

buon appetito

As it turns out, I have a lot of foodie friends in Boston. We decided to get together for a fun fiasco of homemade pasta, ravioli, and tapas. It was a delicious night!