Pumpkin Dumpster and a Partidge in a Pear Tree

Happy Holidays All!!!!

Let’s start this off appropriately.

"Merry Christmas, merry christmas and happy holidays!"

I LOVE that Christmas song by N’Sync, it has remained a fave since high school!

Yes, that is a genuYne Christmas tree sweater. Not to be confused with a Looney Tunes lettermans jacket…which will eternally remain on my Christmas list.

So who else is PUMPED about the Biebs coming out with a Christmas Album? Ah hells yes.

I am SO pumped.

The Danielson celebrated Thanksgiving in Issaquah with the rest of  my awesome, crazy family and I was sad to miss it. AND they get to spend Black Friday shopping in Seattle which is even more sad. Here in Jackson it’s slim pickins, unless your in the market for a new saddle…or backcountry ski setup (don’t worry Bryan already has his).

Since my fam is in Seattle, they instructed me to send them ideas for gifts. Especially since homegirl’s birthday is on CHRISTMAS EFFING EVE. Over the years, I have tried to whip my family into shape: demanding no birthday presents be wrapped in Chistmas wrapping paper. Ensuring there is NO fancy dessert or ahem, tirimasu. Ensuring there IS a Desserts by Kelly cake, preferably red velvet. Commanding attention and adoration at all times.

As I sat down to compile my short reasonably sized list, I enlisted the help of the internets. I found many sites that will help you neatly organize your list, provide links and price points to items AND customize your list by changing the theme. I chose the “candy” theme for obvious reasons. I’ve provided a link to the work-in-progress Christmas list here in case anyone is feeling generous this year ;).

My wishlist

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, duh. B and I celebrated privately, much like Michael Scott celebrates Groundhogs Day. Twas magical. Kicked off by working out solo in the bank gym while watching the inevitable decline of Kimmy K and her scrunched-up face soon-to-be EX the Hump-Dog. I love E!

We then ventured out on the Elk Refuge for a nice, 4 mile walk. It was a beautiful day!

Then we stopped to get vodka mixers. When we got home, it was nothing but pure Thanksgiving goodness. We ate Chex Mix, watched Home Alone and Elf and drank wine and cocktails.

We decided on making the following T-Giving faves:

  • Turkey – Just the breast. Less jibbly bits, innards and overall jarnickles.
  • Stuffiing – Outta the bird ok? I’ll take my stuffing, hold the sickening turkey tummy lining thank you.
  • Mashed Potatoes – LADEN with salt.
  • Green Salad – Just to mix things up a bit.
  • Rolls – Carbs, meet my bagel.

(For those of you who don’t know what a bagel is, make a circle with your thumb and middle finger and press it directly into your tummy, using your belly button as the bagel hole. Mine resembles a plain bagel right now. During the summer when I’m really tan, it’s more of a pumpernickel).

We also enjoyed a favorite Danielson family recipe known quite simply as, Pumpkin Dumpster. Not sure how this dessert procured it’s splendid little name, nor do I care. Here’s how to re-create the majesty:

  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 1 13oz can evap milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Blend the above ingrediants except the cake mix and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Cover with 1 box yellow cake mix (dry) Top with chopped puts (optional). Pour 1 1/2 cubes melted margarine over the top. Bake 50 mins at 350.

Pumpkin Dumpster Whirring Away

Today it is puking outside and tomorrow is opening day at the Village (or Teton Village). Highlights for tonight include tightening up my bindings so my skis don’t go shooting off every which way like they did on the pass. Also leftovers, which I have to admit I’m excited for.

Ok, I’m off to paint my nails gold!

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Grab Bag

Happy Monday skittle-heads!

This post is titled “grab bag” since it will feature a myriad of different topics and recent events. However, it also happens to be one of my grandmother’s favorite things, the grab bag.

This post is dedicated to my beloved Grandma Dorothy who turned 92 yesterday.

Notice her hat

In other news, I have discovered a new baking mix which I adore. Enter, No Pudge Brownie Mix.

Bryan and I Netflixed “Chocolat” and I decided that we needed brownies to commemorate the movie and this mix did not disappoint. I tried to get a picture of the ingredient list to wow you all with how healthy this stuff is, but my GD point and shoot belongs on the failblog.

To accompany our brownie-licious dessert, Bryan concocted his mouth-watering bruschetta for dinner. He made a few modifications this time, using ingredients we had on hand, such as…

Adding Pesto.

And using shallot.

The result?

Heavenly. Crunchy. Flavorful. Great texture. Do I belong on the Food Network, or what?!

We also opened 1 2 bottles of wine…

Which led to some…ahem, shenanigans on my part. Don’t ask.

We also attended Jake and Nacole’s beautiful wedding last weekend.

CUPCAKES!!

Delicious food.

Crab cakes, Salmon and 2 rolls

And of course, wine.

Shenanigans made another appearance post-wedding again. What is up with our shenanigans these days?

Lastly, but certainly not least was the chicken fry. This annual event is put on by the Wilson Fire Dept.to raise funds. They fry chicken in garbage cans.

Oh yes, they do.

Firemen at their best

Since Bryan and Jeremy were climbin the Petzl Ridge of the Grand Teton, I tagged along with Matt and Holly but sadly, did not eat any chicken because the line was cray-cray long. Instead, I partook in the baked goods section and procured myself a peanut butter and jelly bar with a Diet Coke. Sassy.

Holly and I really scamped it up and had a great time.

While other people stock-piled their chicken. Exhibit A:

Maybe because we don’t have a KFC? Maybe because of it’s crispy, salty exterior. Or maybe, they were fixin to make an epic meal, like this:

Fun with Bug Bites

Cripes it’s Friday!

What a random week  we’ve had. There are so many stories to tell that are completely mediocre, where do I begin?!

According to Miss Andrews, circa The Sound of Music, I suppose I shall start at the beginning, a very good place to start.

I should preface this with a question: Anyone out there working F&B ever feel like all the days just kindof blur together?

A normal 9-5 means putting in yer 40 hours and meticulously counting down the minutes on Friday until you can go home, change into your “after-work” clothes (ala Mr. Rodgers) and start downing gimlets while watching SATC and curling your hair MaryKate and Ashley style. Or was this just me?

Now, Saturday feels like Thursday and 11 am can feel like 6 pm.

What am I getting at? Oh yes. My point is that while I promise to start at the beginning, I’m a little unsure as to what that is. So in no certain order here are some awesome stories from this week.

I worked the afternoon shift at Elevated Grounds Coffeehouse and got off around 6:30 pm. I hadn’t worked out so I texted Bryan and asked him if he wanted to do a hike after work. One of the many perks of living in Jackson Hole is that there are a plethora of short, amazing hikes literally right outside our door. We decided to conquer Snow King for it’s increasing steepness and breathtaking views.

Top of Snow King

About half way up, Bryan paused. I looked over expecting him to say “Oh my gosh, there’s Harrison Ford!”. Instead he slapped the back of his leg, killing a mosquito and leaving a small streak of blood down his leg. Insert RFAN. Random fact about Natalie:

I HATE BUGS.

Actually, allow me to clarify. I could care less about bugs, but what I hate is what they leave behind. Bug bites. I consider myself a gal with a healthy amount of self-control, but when I get a bug bite, I scratch the bejesus out of it. I’m sorry I just do.

Here is a shot of my leg when I was traveling around Panama with friends and I got EATEN ALIVE by sand fleas.

So we proceeded to the top of Snow King, despite the air being thick with flying blood suckers and as we made our way down, I surveyed the damage. Three. Two on my arm, one on my leg. And yes, I have scratched them. I have scratched, have had troubles sleeping and am just irritated with these pesky little pumps.

Arm Bug Bites

Leg Bug Bite

I am happy to report that I  got my hands on some Cortizone 10 and the stuff seems to do the trick for a while anyway.

The Chipped Purple HAS to Go

But enough with gross bug bites. On to better things with less inflammation. Some inflammation, just…less.

I made delicious caprese sandwiches this week.

Ingredients

Finished Prod

And we had a house party with Holly, Matt and Jess. More mojitos. Twas a good time.

We got a handle this time...

Matt and Holly Shenanigans

B Doing a Yidda Jig

Jess the Yogi

I Made Krispie Treats

That’s all I got.

BTW, I also hate the word “inflammation“.

Canlis Salad + Crab Cakes

“Would you rather saw off your own arm pinched in a boulder, or eat some crazy salad?”

“Um…eat the salad?”

“Oh good, I thought you were gonna say saw your arm off.

HEY!

As of late, B and I’s latest obsesh is creating scenarios such as these, while speaking in the voice of Harry Carey (Will Ferrell’s version, anyway). This phrase was uttered by Bryan and was very reflective of the weekend’s happenings.

Around the dinner table, my family will often play a little game called High/Low. Where you go around the table and say the high and low point of your day.

Here’s mine for the weekend:

High: Dinner at Osteria with the Elevated Grounds coffee crew. Campari, wine, chocolate cake shots consumed.

The Crew

Low: Laying on the bathroom floor next to the toilet after Osteria (maja food baby + shots = bad idea). I had a towel under me though so it’s coo.

High: Hanging out with Matt + Holly and watching the Hangover. “Next week’s no good for me. The Jonas Brothers are in town.” Bahahaha. Here is Matt and Holly at dinner (nobody saw, I promise.)

Yes, Things Got Rowdy

Low: Unsuccessfully trying to break into the hot tub at  Hotel Terra with our Albertson’s cards using the drunk-logic that maybe “they were just swipe-activated”. We got in though, thanks to a friendly couple.

Blurry, But you Get It

High: Watching “127 Hours”. Holy balls. Gory and magnificent.

Low: Watching “The Ring Two”. Don’t judge ok?

High: Pounding out 4.5 miles on the Elk Refuge with the wind in our hair.

Low: Drinking Pedialyte + H2O cocktails all weekend. This stuff WORKS  on monster hangovers guys. Don’t wait for the Mythbusters to come out.

pedialytle

Nectar of the Gods

The biggest high of all?

B and I decided to recreate our ultra-memorable gastronomical experience at Seattle landmark, Canlis. We prepared the world-renowned Canlis salad as well as scratch-made crab cakes.

The View from Canlis

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THIS SALAD: Do not take the ingredient notes lightly guys. If you want to enjoy this salad in its purest form, follow this recipe to the T. Get all Iron Chef about it.

The Canlis Salad

(serves 4 to 6)

Salad

  • 1 large head Romaine hearts, cut into 1″ pieces
  • (Wash individual leaves in warm water, drain and dry in colander then chill in refrigerator. Don’t ever, ever toss a Canlis Salad with warm or wet leaves!!)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup very well done chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh mint*
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup croutons*
  • kosher salt and fresh ground tellicherry black pepper to taste

Homeade Croutons

VERY Well-Done Bacon and Oregano

Romano and Sliced Green Onion

Chilled, Fresh and Dry

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground tellicherry black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 coddled egg*

Ingredient notes:

Mint – you can’t use too much mint (experiment yourself)

Coddled Egg – Pour boiling water into a cup and put a whole egg (in the shell) into the hot water , let sit for 1 minute. You may substitute with pasteurized egg mixture (found in the dairy section in cartons).

Croutons – We make our own croutons. Butter and Italian seasoning.

Directions:

To make the dressing, put the salt and pepper, lemon juice, oil, and coddled egg in a bowl and whip vigorously, then reserve. To a salad bowl add the prepared Romaine, green onion, cheese, bacon, oregano, and mint. Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly. Split the salad on to four chilled plates and arrange croutons, a sprinkle of Romano cheese and halved cherry tomatoes on the salad to finish the presentation.

Utterly Perfect

We loosely followed the crab cake recipe on the back of the can, but modified it so we used some of the ingredients we had on hand.

Crab Cakes

  • 1 16oz. canned claw crab meat
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tbs finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tbs Old Bay
  • 1/2 cup Panko

Directions

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except crabmeat and oil; blend well. Gently fold in crabmeat; avoid breaking lumps of crabmeat. Using an ice-cream scoop, shape cakes into little patties. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Gently add the crab cakes; fry each side until deep golden brown (about 4 to 5 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Crab Cake Perfection

All together now…

Ta Da!

What is the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?

Low-Cal White Chili

 

Make sure to have the lime!

With all the cold weather we’ve been having here in the Hole, I decided it was high time I make a big, warm, comforting pot of chili. Where did I start? The internets of course! I also needed something low-fat since spring is coming and I am well on my way to having one of these:

Thanks Kimmy

 Source

Also, Bryan and I have a trip to VEGAS planned! Allegiant Air rocked it out and the whole shambangle only set us back less than $800 bucks. Holler at yer boy. 

 I found a series of chili recipes at Cooking Light that were all low-fat but sounded delicious. I decided to go with the White Chili recipe, but I made quite a few modifications.

Nat’s White Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil *I used vegetable.
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large) *I used half a yellow and half of a red.
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 teaspoons green hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) *I used Siracha instead.
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt  *I used low-fat sour cream.
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (about 1)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, hot pepper sauce, salt, and chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove chicken from broth mixture; cool.

2. Add cornmeal and beans to broth mixture, stirring with a whisk; simmer 15 minutes. Mash about 1/4 cup beans against side of pan. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken to pan; simmer 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Top each serving with yogurt; sprinkle with green onions. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Nan’s Chicken Divan

Nan enjoying delicious fro-yo

 

Ingredients:

  •  2 flat double chicken breasts
  • 1-2 large bunches broccoli – lightly steamed
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • scant curry powder to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 stick margarine (I use much less)
  • 1/2 bag Pepperidge Farm Herb stuffing mix

Steam (boil) chicken until white, remove all bones and cut up into bite size pieces. Steam broccoli and layer with chicken in casserole dish or 2 qt. glass baking dish. Mix soup, lemon juice, mayo and curry powder. Pour over chicken and broccoli. Cover with grated cheese. Melt margarine in fry pan and mix stuffing mix until slightly greasy. Cover top of casserole with stuffing. Bake at 375 – 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!

Bryan’s From Scratch Pizza

One of the greatest things about making pizza from scratch is that YOU control everything about it. You can pile on the veggies and go light on the cheese if you’re watching calories. Or you can pile on fun toppings. Living here in Jackson Hole we have some interesting options right at our fingertips, like ground bison… it makes an excellent pizza topping, believe me!

Bryan has been making pizza dough and sauce from scratch for some time now and has the process perfected. Now that his legendary pizza is blog-worthy we literally eat it ALL the time, maybe once or twice a week. Here it is, straight from Mr. Bryan Nash.

Bryan’s Basic Pizza Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tbls active yeast
  • 1 tbls sugar
  • 1 tbls EVOO
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water

 In a measuring cup add 1 cup of warm water, add yeast and sugar, stir till yeast is dissolved, let sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble. In a large mixing bowl add flour and salt, mix, make bowl in flour for water, yeast mixture. Add water, then EVOO, mix to smooth, doughy consistency. Then place in oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel and let sit until dough doubles in size.

Bryan’s (not so) Secret Pizza Sauce:

  • 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbls EVOO
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan on low/medium heat add tomato paste. In a food processor, chop tomoto, onion, basil, and garlic until only slightly chunky, then add to sauce pan with EVOO and salt and pepper. Bring to low boil, then remove from heat and refrigerate for 2 hours to let flavors settle.