Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes!

I know I just posted a whole long deal about the Mind-Body-Spirit challenge I'm doing.
I know that I also promised I'd post my Thanksgiving Recipes.
I know that my recipes contain huge amounts of butter, sugar, and cream.
I know that those ingredients are not in line with my challenge.

Please don't judge me.

Because I also know that once you try these recipes (which do not have pictures, so sorry!) your life will change and your Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners will never be the same.


Sweet Potato Casserole 
(a.k.a. sugar, butter, and pecans with a little bit of sweet potatoes)

3 c. cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
1/2 cube, or 1/4 cup, melted butter (it's okay to add extra, promise)
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir and mash until mostly smooth with a few bumps. Unless you like baby food and then you can puree in a blender.

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar

Mix again. Or be like me and add everything before mixing it. Pour into a greased, glass casserole dish.

1/2 stick, or 1/4 c. melted butter
1/3 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans

Sprinkle the topping on the potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Cranberry Salad 
(a.k.a. sugar, marshmallows, and cream, with a little fruit, salad)

1, 12-16 oz. bag of cranberries, washed and chopped (food processor)
2 c. grated apples (peeled or unpeeled)
1, 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 pkg. small marshmallows
1 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream, divided in half and whipped.

Let cranberries sit in the sugar in a big mixing bowl until super juicy. Add all the ingredients except the cream. Whip 1 cup of cream. Fold in. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving whip the 2nd cup of cream and gently fold in. 

p.s. I won't tell you how many grams of fat is in 1 tbl of cream. :-)

Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 c. very hot tap water
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. yeast (quick-rise)
4 c. flour + 1 3/4 c. flour
3 eggs
1 T salt (yes, tablespoon)
1/2 c. butter, softened

Stir all dry ingredients together until well mixed. Add hot tap water and beat well. Add butter and eggs, mixing well. Stir in additional flour, mixing with a dough hook or kneading with hands. Cover and allow to rise once. Punch down. Roll out 1/3 of dough into a circle. Spread with melted butter. Cut with a pizza cutter into wedges. Roll into crescents. Dip rolls in butter or brush with melted butter and lay on greased baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise again. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. 
Note: This dough is very forgiving. 

This dough is actually SO forgiving, that when I made it last Thanksgiving, I didn't see the part about adding extra flour, and thus I failed to add in nearly half of the flour. Somehow the rolls still turned out amazing! If I didn't ruin them that way, I have no idea how you could possibly ruin them!


I still haven't found pies that I would die for, but mister man is very partial to Lemon Meringue. Especially his mom's recipe. Which, I must admit, is quite amazing. My mom makes some killer Buttermilk pies, but I don't have a recipe to pass along. My sister in law also made an amazing banana cream pie this year, but I don't have that recipe either. So sorry. You'll just have to love me anyway and try this Lemon Meringue. Yum!

Lemon Meringue

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. water
3 egg yolks (save the whites!)
2 T. butter
4 T. lemon juice (real lemons)
1 1/3 T. grated lemon rind

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Gradually add the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Slowly stir half of hot mixture into slight beaten egg yolks, return the mixture back to pan. Stir and boil 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and continue stirring until smooth. Blend (beat) in butter, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Pour into a baked pastry shell. Cover with meringue. Bake at 400 degrees until delicate golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

3 egg whites
6 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Whip the egg whites in a deep, small bowl, and gradually add the sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla (at the end). The whites should form stiff peaks and be glossy. Make sure to seal the meringue around the edges of the crust before baking.

Now, I purposefully left out the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. 
Well, I've never made a turkey and I don't really ever aspire to do so.
I fail at mashed potatoes, so I assign those to other people.
I could maybe make the gravy, but haven't.
And Stovetop stuffing is a comfort food. None of that made from scratch stuff for me. (although if you make it, I'll eat it, smile, and say it's wonderful. Which it probably is. But is not nearly as easy as stovetop. Which really adds to the deliciousness of it I think.)

Okay. There ya go. My promise fulfilled. If you have green bean casserole, just make the recipe on the back of the French's Fried Onions can. Don't be afraid to add extra onions.

Now I must clean my apartment. My dear sweet child has blown through it like a tornado and I've never seen it so messy.

Except after he was born.
Or when we moved in.
Or the time our storage closet was moldy.
Or when we had a bunch of visitors.
Or last week actually.


Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mind-Body-Spirit Challenge. Who's with me!?

Well, I'm back.
I'm not sure where I went.
Or what I've done.
But I'm back.

I do know that Thursday night was spent shopping. Mostly it was Mister Man who decided to stay out all night. He's a party animal. At least he got a free $100 gift card to Sports Authority! Made it all worth it. 

All our Christmas shopping is done. Woot!

Thanksgiving was delish. I'll post recipes later. I promise. I think...

And now we enter the Christmas season!
Cloudy skies.
Cold air.
Christmas music.
Christmas decor.
And more.

I've been thinking alot this season about giving.
Mostly because I had a very selfish week and was called to humility by God in a way that I was not expecting. 
I'm still overcoming my selfishness and desire for wanting new things and more things. 

But last night I had a stellar idea that I thought would help me focus on what's more important. 

Enter: Mind-Body-Spirit Challenge

From now until Christmas I will be focusing on challenging my mind, body, and spirit. 
Here's how it'll go down.

Mind- De-junk and de-clutter our apartment. Get rid of any excess stuff that we don't need or don't use. Donate all of it to a needy shelter or charity in the local area. Also collect some canned food and goods to donate as well.

Body- Exercise 5-6 times a week before starting my day. Strive to eat healthy, smaller portions, and not eat any excess sugar. If there's a get together, church activity, friends activity, etc then it's okay to have a treat, but not 3 or 4 or 10. Limit myself and have control over my false "needs." (this is especially needed right after Thanksgiving, right!?)

Spirit- Our Stake President challenged us to start and finish the Book of Mormon in 90 days. Well, I was already reading and deep in Alma, but I started over. I've only been reading one or two chapters a day, which is not enough, so now I'm committing to reading at breakfast, before bed, and any other time I can find in the day. I want my testimony to grow and my spirituality to increase.

So, who's with me? 
Would you like to join me in my quest to be better?
I would love to have you working side by side me and have someone to be accountable to.

If you don't want to do the whole thing, and you're in the St. Louis area, why don't you join me in de-junking and donating? I can collect everything you don't want (or you can collect it and go with me) and take it down to a shelter or somewhere else in the city that is in need. The more people get involved, the more we can donate, and the more we can bless the lives of others!

I promise you'll feel better.
Your house will probably feel better too.
And it's a perfect time to get rid of stuff before more presents and toys make their way in in 4 weeks.

If you want to join my challenge, leave a comment with your email address or email me (karissadodds at gmail.com) and I will send an email out every day motivating and reminding you about the challenge.

Good luck my friends! Here we go! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can ya help a sista out? Again?

Thank you so much for the overwhelming amount of support and suggestions! Y'all are just grand. And it's such a joy to know people actually read my blog. And care! So thank you.

Can ya help a sista out again?

Please? With a cherry on top?

This time it's not so dramatic.
Or important.
Or life changing.
Or really anything like that.

Mostly I'm really indecisive.

And I also want a Kitchenaid. For Christmas. But probably bought on or around Black Friday since I might find a deal.
Or maybe I already found a couple deals and just can't decide.

Can you see where this is going...?

Do you have a Kitchenaid? (stand mixer)

If not, please quietly wipe away your tears and exit your browser.
If yes, please continue to the next question.

Do you like your Kitchenaid?

If no, please don't ever read my blog again.


What kind of Kitchenaid do you have?
How big?
What size bowl?
What power motor?
What model? (classic, artisan, pro, classic plus, ultra power)
Does it work well beating bread dough?
Does it have problems with cookie dough or any kind of other dough?

In your honest opinion, does it make a difference whether the motor is 275 watts, 350 watts, or 575 watts?
In your honest opinion, would you pay a little more for the 575 watts? Including a 6 qt bowl vs. a 4.5 qt bowl?
In your honest opinion, would you pay $40 extra to have a big, powerful, snazzy red one instead of the $180 white one?
Or would you save that $40, buy some cute shoes, and decide you really don't need the snazzy red one with the bells and whistles because you're really not a professional chef? (And just search for a red one that's $180 and less powerful)

This is the part where you comment.
With your answers.


I may reward you with cookies.

If you live near me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To teach or not to teach. That is the question!

Somethings have been weighing on my mind heavily this morning and I thought I'd better get them out:



Being a working mom.

Ever since I was 14 years old I knew I wanted to teach Kindergarten. So I went to school, got my bachelor's, found a job partway through the year (in December), and started teaching my own classroom of crazy 5-6 year olds. It was the best experience of my life!

(of course besides getting married, having a baby, and all that good stuff)

When we moved out here it was the end of the summer, beginning of the school year, I was pregnant, and we were having a baby in January. So I didn't teach.

Now my baby is almost a year old, I've been staying home taking care of him, and absolutely loving it, but oftentimes my mind starts to wander back to teaching school.

I'm gonna take a second here and be a little prideful.

I think I'm a really great teacher.
I believe I was blessed with a gift to teach.
I believe I was blessed with this gift so I could touch the hearts and lives of little children in their most crucial stages of development.

prideful moment over.

My sisters were blessed with the gift of dance.
My brother was blessed with the gift of piano.
I never knew what my gift was until I started teaching.

Now I know, and oftentimes I find my heart yearning to be back in the classroom again.

But then I think about my sweet little baby and the joy he's brought to my life. My heart breaks a little to think about leaving him all day to pursue something else. Something I love.

Teaching wouldn't be about the money for me.
It never has been.
Though it would definitely help our little situation.
Especially as we are starting to see the student loans accumulate.

I don't know what to do.
I'm so incredibly torn.
I plan on doing the things I need to in order to get an answer about what I should do.
But for now, I'm interested in hearing from you!

I know lots of you, my friends, have worked part or full time with a baby, and lots of you haven't worked. What insight do you have to offer?
What advice do you have?
What things were good or bad about being a working mom?

I'd love to hear from you!

Please and thank you.
The end.

Sorry it's so dark.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ode to the Hand Mixer

Ode to the Hand Mixer
please press play

My dear year old hand mixer
You have brought such great joy to me.
In the kitchen with the bowls
and cakes,
and all that is real sweet.
You have helped me
on my way 
to become
the best cook I know.
Thank you for the year we had
and for the cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

That was your last batch of it
and that's what caused your great demise.
When I made the cookies last night
you held on tight until the end.
Then you heaved a heavy sigh
and left me with
a spoon nearby.
Now you're dead and
I will progress
and will not buy you ever again.

You were the third or the fourth one
I do not know I lost my count.
In the three years that we've been married
that's as pathetic as it sounds. 

No more hand mixers for this gal
they make me cry
and then they die.
Instead I'll be vigilant
in asking for a Kitchen Aid.
Why I did not buy one first
I do not know
but now it's clear.
Less mess, less fuss, more joy for us
cooks in the world when hand mixers die.

Save your dimes
you'll be more fine
if you just buy a KitchenAid.
They sure don't die, they look real cute
they make you sigh 
and want to buy.

So let this dear ode be guide
to all those cooks who can't decide.
Whether to go buy a mixer 
or to buy a KitchenAid.
KitchenAid would be the smart choice
no raising your voice
when mixers die.
Yes, you would be oh so wise
to just go buy a KitchenAid.

Can you guess what's on my Christmas list this year?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stuck in a rut. A cooking rut that is.

Today is one of those days that I fully expect it to be 10 degrees colder outside than it actually is. 
I suppose that is a pleasant surprise. 
We're supposed to get what sounds like a monsoon tonight. 

This is what I love about being in the midwest: unpredictable and warmer than average weather from September to December. 
Every Fall I get surprised again.

(this is my 2nd Fall here in Missouri)

I've been stuck in a cooking rut lately.
How about you?
I finally decided what I want to cook this week:

-roasted lamb
-duck flambe
-filet mignon
-creme brulee

I'll let ya know how it goes...

For reals though, it took me at least 45 minutes to figure out what I was getting at Costco today.
Oh, and remember how I said I always have to go to Costco when it rains?

Guess what?
It was raining today. When I went to Costco.

Really it was more of a shower, or sprinkle. 
Maybe actually more like spitting. 
But rain sounds more dramatic.

I also parked in a spot close to the tire center so they could tighten the lug nuts on the tires they just put on. 
The parking spot was more of a pond.
I realized this after I turned the car off, walked around, and was pulling out Bubs.
It makes so much more sense to keep the car there rather than risk looking like an idiot by re-entering the vehicle and re-parking in a less-ponded area, right?
I figured the mechanics could do it for me.

But guess what?
There were about three hundred people waiting inside the shop needing something.
And only one lonely helper dude.

5 minutes of waiting is too long when you have a small child.
So I left.
I forgot about my car sitting in the pond.
That is until I exited the building and saw the shimmering water in a 3 foot radius around my car.
I also saw my cart full of food.
It was also raining.

The bottom of my jeans are still wet.

That was 2 hours ago.

My child is on a napping hiatus.
What is it with kids these days?
Just when you have them all figured out they go and throw a curve ball on ya.

If you have any suggestions or ideas or favorite recipes for dinner, please, PLEASE, share! I desperately need some help.
Thank you.

the end.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm dreaming of...

Last night we went on a most fun double date with some good friends of ours.

I had this crazy thought that morning that I wanted to do something different. 
Something big. 
Something exciting. 
Naturally, National Treasure popped into my head. 

Of course, I went with it.

I created a Scavenger Hunt competition for the mall.
I will not take full credit for this.
My dad, google.com, and my brain each deserve some credit.

It turned out great! We had an absolute blast doing all the "assignments." We also came up with new rules, regulations, bonuses, and points docked.

Here's just a few pictures.

counting dressing rooms.

featured scent.

picture with items from a random printed wedding registry
who knew over 200 J. Smith name's were in the system?

Best picture of the night:
Cardinals gear.

We finished the night with some amazing pumpkin spice cupcakes and a viewing of Fast Five.
Not quite National Treasure, but who really cares?

If you haven't seen Fast Five, it's pretty entertaining.
In a really hilarious, dumb, The Rock meets Vin Diesel, kinda way.
It was also based in Rio De Janerio, Brazil. 

Which brings me to the whole point of this post:

I have a dream.

I want to learn Portuguese, speak fluently, teach my kids, and one day travel to Brazil.

I don't really care where in Brazil. 
Rio, Sao Paulo, Porte Alegre, Iguazu, any of those places work.
I just want to go there, speak, listen to, and understand the language, meet the people and taste the food.

I fully believe that if I work hard, this dream will come true.

I've been searching for something intellectually stimulating to do for a long time.
Plus, we already have a massive supply of literature, Mister Man already speaks it, and it is a very beautiful language.
I really have nothing to lose.

Now can anyone tell me how exactly my son managed to get the neck of his once piece, zippered, footy pajamas, past his shoulders and down around his waist this morning? 
Without un-zipping it.
Sometimes I wish I had a video monitor. 
Just for laughs.

-If you want the word document for my scavenger hunt list, leave a comment with your email and I'll send it to ya.

Peace, love, and M&M's, yo.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

There's a monster in my...

The baby's asleep, or, well, getting there, which means I have at least 1 hour to accomplish anything I choose. My list looks something like this:

-clean up the breakfast mess in the kitchen
-sweep and mop the floor, specifically the puddle of spit up
-throw in a load of laundry, fold 2 loads
-work out with Jillian
-clean my room
-de-fossilize the oatmeal stuck to Bubs' highchair.

I could go on...

But I really want to blog, so here I am. In front of my computer and not cleaning something.
This is real life, yo.

Have any of you read the book The Five Love Languages? 
I have. At least once. Skimmed a couple other times.
I've been thinking about love languages alot lately.
Mostly trying to figure out what mine is.
So I made a list of things I like that make me feel really loved.
I showed it to Mister Man.
Guess what he said?
"Your love language is called Karissa Love Language"

He's right.
It's just a strange conglomeration of all sorts of love languages. 
Really confusing and difficult for a husband.
Poor guy.

One time, I put a tank top in the washer.
When it came out, it looked like this:

I think there's a monster hiding in there.

I often dream of having a monster-less, middle-spinning-thing-less, non-top loading, beautiful washer someday.
Today is not that day.
Mostly because we had to put 8 tires on our cars.
I could've bought a brand new washer/dryer set for how much those stinkin' tires cost.
Why are cars money pits?
And why am I still talking about tires? I think I've successfully beat a dead horse.
No more tires. Promise.

I found the perfect apartment I want us to move in to.
The price is absolutely right. 
Everything feels right and good about it. So far. In my head.
Problem? It costs nearly 2 grand to break our current lease.
Which ends July 31.
Patience has never been my strong suit.

Today it is windy, cold, and rainy.
I have to go to Costco.
Have. To.
Why does that always happen to me?
Maybe someday I'll learn that bright, sunny, warm, days are much better Costco days.

And how's that for random?
Let's get on with our day, now shall we?