Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday night is pizza night!

We used to have a tradition that every Friday night was pizza night. Now I find it's generally Friday night but could also be Saturday night, Tuesday night--pretty much any night I don't feel like cooking and pass a Little Caesar's pizza on the way home. Once in a while I make homemade pizza using my favorite focaccia recipe topped with pizza cheese and pepperoni instead of mozzarella and parmesan, but thanks to Suzanne over at MomDot I may need to try something new. Her recipe for Pepperoni Rolls made my mouth water the first time I saw it!

Suzanne's Pepperoni Rolls
1/3 of a batch of Suzanne's pizza dough
1/2 pound sliced pepperoni (sandwich size is recommended, but this can be done with the small slices)
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 oz asiago or parmesan cheese, shredded
olive oil
Granulated garlic

Marinara sauce (about 1/2 cup total)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a well floured surface roll out pizza dough into a rectangle until it is about 1/8″ thick. Pour about two tablespoons of olive oil on the dough, spread, then sprinkle generously with granulated garlic.

Along the wider side of the rectangle, layer your pepperoni slices, slightly overlapping each slice. Leave about 1/4″ of exposed dough at either end. When you have covered the dough completely with pepperoni, spread the mozzarella out on top, then sprinkle with the asiago/parmesan cheese.

Using both hands, gently roll the wide side into a pinwheel. Transfer onto a very lightly greased cookie sheet, then generously coat with olive oil (this gives it a nice, crisp crust) and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then slice at 1/2 inch increments. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. Makes one 9 to 10 inch roll, which serves 3 to 4 people.

"Pizza is a lot like sex. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's still pretty good." ~Anonymous

First image by muckingfajic, shared via Flickr.
Second image by Suzanne from "Tasty Thursday-Calzones and Pepperoni Rolls, Oh My!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm back but not really "back"

Well, I arrived late last night from Florida and thought I'd be rarin' to go on a post for today but alas, reality has hit harder than I thought and I'm still struggling to adjust. You can tell since it's already 7:30 p.m. and I'm just getting around to today's lame excuse for a post. At the rate I'm going it might even be Monday before I'm back to my old posting self!

Have any of you ever left the family for a mini vacation on your own or with girlfriends and found the first 24-48 hours back to be a super crazy time? I'm serious about post-travel stress disorder...I find myself a little depressed for the first day or two after a good vacation. Anyone else out there suffer from the same thing?

To tide you over until the next "real" post, here is the photo I promised you of LeShan and me without a ca
re in the world. (Okay, LeShan cared--she didn't like that I could out-hula-hoop her!) --Emily

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm off to Orlando!

If you're reading this then I'm already in Orlando soaking up the east coast sunshine while visiting my BFF LeShan. I'm actually writing this Sunday night at 1 a.m. in the morning as I try to get everything ready before I leave. Yes, I am super lucky to be able to head out sans kids for a little R&R but if you're a mom, you know how much work it takes to leave your family motherless for more than 24 hours. I can't even go there right now!

Instead I will pretend, for the sake of this post, I am lying on Clearwater Beach in Florida with SPF 30+, a pair of sunglasses, a good book and an ice-cold Diet Coke. *sigh* That's MUCH better! And since I am going for a true vacation I won't be posting for the next few days, but check back early next week to see if all the laundry, scheduling, cleaning and last-minute grocery (and diaper) shopping was worth it. (I already know the answer to that one...) And maybe I'll even bring you back a souvenir or two, like some sand between my toes and a great photo of LeShan and me without a care in the world! --Emily

Image by turtlemom4bacon, shared via Flickr.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Follow that blog: The Write Gal

Today features yet another fabulous blog I discovered while one of MomDot's America's Next Top Blogger competitors: The Write Gal. Christy from The Write Gal made it to the top three with Dore and me and only lost when I beat her to the phone to sing Tricia "The Star Spangled Banner." (Thank heavens Tricia didn't record my rendition of this historic song. The world is better off not hearing it!)

The Write Gal offers "advice about writing, shopping and everything else...(is there anything else?)" For many of us, shopping pretty much covers it though you could throw in a little reading and a few girls nights out. Christy loves to write and shop so blogging about both is a perfect fit! She is also a freelance business writer and consultant and a part-time college writing instructor in North Carolina. This girl is super busy! How did she have time to compete? Whew!

The Write Gal features reviews and giveaways, insights into motherhood, some fabulous Wordless Wednesday photos and, of course, a few grammar lessons for us all. I like variety in a blog and Christy's definitely has that!

You can subscribe to her blog and follow her on Twitter and even talk to her about her writing services.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vote for your fave Utah Mommy Blogger! (Pick me! Pick me!)

I'm not sure how I was nominated (someone must really, really like me) but I am somehow listed with some pretty stellar women in the running for favorite Utah Mommy Blogger. Utah Bubble solicited nominations (I nominated a few on the list but for once didn't nominate myself...LOL) and I miraculously appeared on the list! Though my chances for winning are slim--and trust me, I can think of a few mommy bloggers who should win hands down--I am extremely flattered and honored to be among women from ever popular blogs like Nie Nie Dialogues and C Jane.

If you want to see the post that started it all you can read Utah Bubble's original nomination post and check them out if you'd like. (Thank you, Marie, for the shout-out!)

I'd love for you to vote for me and two other women on the list, though as cliché as it sounds, just being nominated is enough for me. Other mommy bloggers are more deserving than I but at least it give me something to which I can aspire! You can vote for your top three Utah Mommy Bloggers here. Best of luck to all! --Emily

P.S. At least you're not voting on another Britney Spears look-alike challenge!

Hope for Maggie

I never watch the news. I should, I know, but it's often depressing, sometimes wrong and I rarely like what the weatherman has to say. But I am glad my friends watch the news since Vanessa from I Never Grew Up posted about Maggie's story, which she recently heard on ABC 4 here in Utah:

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Maggie Agnew is a bright, 10 month girl who is suffering from multiple medical problems. She has been called 'The Incredible Shrinking Baby' because now at 10 months, she weighs only 10 pounds.

Specialist after specialist has tried to diagnose the problem. But so far the cause of her ailments eludes them as does a treatment.

Her parents now believe that the best hope for Maggie may be at Boston Children’s Hospital. But to go there will cost money — lots of money. And even though the Agnews have health insurance, the copays and deductibles have already left them with a substantial debt.

You can read more about Maggie's story on the family's blog Hope for Maggie. You can support the cause by donating to the Agnew family through the PayPal link on the site.

And as Vanessa said, please feel free to copy this blog post and do your part to help spread the word about Maggie. Every little donation helps! --Emily

Monday, May 18, 2009

Picking a host and picking your colors

Today I have two handy resources for you business owners, and they're so self-explanatory I can probably get away with one paragraph for today's post. This is a good thing since I'm trying to get ready for a trip back east to visit LeShan and making sure the kids get fed and bathed and tended is a bit more important than making sure I have super nifty blog posts for our readers. (Don't take it personally--if you're a mom you totally understand!)

The first is a list of the Top 10 Web Hosting Providers from Web Hosting Geeks:

Independent reviews of the best web hosting providers. Cheap professional web hosting services under $10 a month; all web hosting plans include at least one free domain name registration and 30 day money back guarantee. Review your web host--let other webmasters know the best and the worst!

The list includes rank, provider's name, features (space, traffic, price), bonus features and an actual review. Top on the list? Immotion. Bottom on the list? You'll have to check out Web Hosting Geeks' full list for yourself!

The second is a tool I didn't know existed but now that I've seen it in action I totally love it! I Like Your Colors from Red Alt lets you put in the URL from a website whose color scheme you like and then spits out the hex codes for all the colors it uses!

It's not perfect (where did #0000FF come from for georgie tees in the example above?) but it will give you enough colors to get you started. Try it on your own website and see what happens! And bookmark it so you can use it when you stumble upon a site whose color scheme you adore. Have fun! --Emily

Friday, May 15, 2009

TGFF: Thank goodness for fries!

I consider a small McDonald's French fry equivalent to one serving from the fruit and vegetable group. A medium is two. They're made from potatoes and potatoes are a vegetable (though they probably ought to be in the starch category). On the rare occasion I actually eat at McDonald's, at least I know I'm eating healthy. (A Big Mac is a good two servings from the protein group, one serving from the bread and cereal group and another serving from the vegetable group--pickles and lettuce...hello!)

I tend to get sidetracked when I start thinking about McDonald's. Back to the fries. A hot item on a lot of local Utah menus, from Rumbi to Blue Lemon to Salt City Burger Co. are sweet potato fries. I tried to make these once at home using the fresh-cut sweet potatoes from Costco's produce section and it was a disaster. But after seeing these tasty recipes I might have to give it another shot. And of course I had to throw in a good steak fry recipe. (Dang! Now I'm thinking about Red Robin's bottomless, scrumptiously seasoned steak fries!)

All of these recipes come from Sarah's Cucina Bella, another must-subscribe-to food blog!

Chipotle Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries from Sarah's Cucina Bella

2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fry shapes
2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper (available in spice section of the supermarket or through Penzeys)
1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients in a resealable bag or container (you need room to spare) and shake until well coated. Spread the fries out in a single on a jelly roll plan that has been covered with nonstick aluminum foil (I use Reynolds brand). Avoid overcrowding.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, flipping the fries every 10-15 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Parmesan Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries from Sarah's Cucina Bella
(You'll want to click on the link for the original recipe to view her step-by-step photos.)

About 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (preferably the easy release kind).

Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut into strips that are about 1/4 inch wide on each side.

Place the sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Add oil, salt, and rosemary. Stir well to thoroughly coat the fries. Stir in 2/3 of the Parmesan. Spread out onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning about halfway through. Fries are done when they are browned around the edges. Transfer immediately to a paper towel lined plate and serve warm.

Asiago Pepper Steak Fries from Sarah's Cucina Bella

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean (2 1/2-3 inches in diameter at the fattest part)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 tsp black pepper
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into 8 wedges each. Combine the potatoes, oil, asiago and pepper in a resealable bag and shake well to coat.

Spread the wedges in a single layer on a jelly roll pan that is either topped with nonstick aluminum foil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

Slide the tray into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, flipping every five minutes. The steak fries are ready when they are golden brown on the outside.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt again. Serve immediately.


(And devour I will!)

First image by food_in_mouth, shared via Flickr.
Second image by Sefu Renka, shared via

Do you have a favorite recipe for sweet potato fries?
Better yet, do you have a recipe that would convert even the most anti-sweet-potato person, namely me?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Giveaway: Fabulously gorgeous Lizzy Anne Pink-a-Boo quilt!

Elizabeth Cranmer, a super gorgeous, super talented woman, is giving away one of her original quilt designs! The Pink-a-Boo quilt is simply scrumptious:

I am so excited to introduce you to 'Pink-A-Boo' my latest quilt for Lizzy Anne quilt designs. This quilt may look familiar if you saw my last post. It too is done in the Darla line by Tanya Whelan for FreeSpirit. This is her yellow colour way, and I love it too! It's fresh and garden-ish and makes me think of lemons, which always make me happy! ...

This quilt measures 42 inches square, making it perfect for a sweet little baby, that special english rose in your life! It's all 100% cotton and has been washed already for that scoochie feel and ready to love!

The roses are a raised raw applique that is frayed to perfection! The button center is secure and cute as all get out!
I would really love to win this quilt so it doesn't make sense to spread word about the giveaway, but blogging about it does earn me a few extra entries so it's worth it! You can enter the giveaway for the Pink-a-Boo quilt here. Good luck! --Emily

Follow that blog: Dore's Diaries

Another fabulous woman I met via America's Next Top Blogger is Doré from Doré's Diaries, "an inside look into this thing [she] calls life." Doré and I were the final two in the competition yet remained friends through it all. In fact, she and I had an alliance from the get-go that started with a few text messages back and forth. Who knew those texts would take us to the finals?

Doré's blog is full of fun peeks into her life as a student (she'll graduate in December with her Bachelor's degree--go, Dor
é!), wife and mother:

I was born and raised in Central Louisiana and wouldn't want to call any other place home. I can do the whole girly dress up thing, but much prefer to just kick back in jeans and a T and be Me. Yes, I do have a country accent and I'm darn proud of it too!
She does have the cutest country accent--I've heard it over the phone! You can read more about her here.

Doré's Diaries has everything from her first Tackle It Tuesday (amazing transformation of her little boy's room) to her America's Next Top Blogger exploits to fabulous and fun giveaways. Along with subscribing to her blog you can follow Dore on Twitter.

Keep an eye out for us during MomDot's The Amazing Blogging Race--you better believe we'll be the team to watch because we'll be the team that wins! --Emily

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

$50 gift certificate to Blue Lemon Bistro!

It's 1:00 a.m. and I'm too exhausted to go into detail about th super cool venture I've started with some fabulous gals, but is on its way to becoming one of the tastiest--and sassiest--sites in the blogosphere. We'll leave it at that for now. (Lame intro I know, but I can hardly keep my eyes open!)

My point? is the reason for today's post announcing the giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to Blue Lemon Bistro. Many of you may remember my post about this delicious new dining experience in Highland, Utah. (If not you can check it out here--I promise it's worth a read.) Well, Blue Lemon is's first official fabulous find and we are kicking off our first Follow-up Friday post with a giveaway!

Click here to visit and find out how you can enter to win the $50 gift certificate. It's super easy, though I must wanr you, your mouth may water as you browse the menu. And no, it's not open to Utah residents only, though it might be a bit of a drive if you're out of state. Don't get me wrong--totally worth it!

I'd write more but I'm behind on drafting the Contact Us and How You Can Get Scooped pages. A sassy girl's work is never done! --Emily

Friday, May 8, 2009

Local find: Flour Girls & Dough Boys

This week I headed to Flour Girls & Dough Boys with the other girls from (more on that to come) and what a treat it was! From the funky chandeliers to the brightly painted walls to the tantalizing smells coming from the kitchen, the entire bakery is a delight.

The story behind Flour Girls & Dough Boys is a wonderful one and you really must read it. To whet your appetite here's a sample:

Flour Girls & Dough Boys is a 100% scratch bakery and an American Fork restaurant patterned after an East Coast style bakery and cafe. Carol Coppins, the owner of Flour Girls & Dough Boys, lived in Boston for 13 years. In that time, she came to love real European artisan breads. They were available everywhere. When she and her family moved to Utah Valley in 2005, it was very hard to find real European style artisan breads.

Thank heavens those real European artisan breads were so hard to find otherwise we might not have such a wonderful treat in American Fork! My favorite was the spicy chicken and bacon panini, the creamy tomato basil soup and the rich chocolate gourmet cupcake with mint frosting. Of course the sandwiches the 0ther girls sampled looked tasty as did the fresh salads. And the cream puff? I won't even go there!

On the way out I wanted to purchase a loaf of their decadent cinnamon bread and a chocolate mint brownie to go but unfortunately the register was closed. (We stayed a bit past closing!) Oh, and the soda dispenser had pellet ice--gotta love that!

If you're in Utah Valley or anywhere near American Fork you must give Flour Girls & Dough Boys a try. You won't regret it, though your waistline might! You'll find this fabulous bakery at 35 North Barratt Ave. (150 West). --Emily

P.S. Flour Girls & Dough Boys is all about supporting small, local business. Check out "Saving 'Main Street'"--if you're not already inspired to save small business you will be after reading their post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We love Nature Days!

What does our recent visit to the International Peace Gardens have to do with a wonderful web wednesday? Well, I wouldn't have known about this fabulous place if I hadn't read about Nature Days on I Never Grew Up and Utah's Natural Kids, and I wouldn't have read those two blogs if I hadn't met Vanessa (@inevergrewup) on Twitter and then in real life. I love it when virtuality meets reality!

On Monday I met with a handful of other moms including Vanessa, Amber (@amberorme), Quinn (@createdybmom) from and Vone (@EvonneSell) from Sell...Party of 3 at the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City. We let our kids explore nature (i.e. jump in the water, play in the mud, pick the dandelions and reorganize the pebble-filled paths) while we did a little chatting and kept tabs on our ever curious kids. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to have some adult conversation while my kids burned off some of their seeming unending supply of energy.

We are already looking forward to our next Nature Days. I can't wait to see where Vanessa sends us! (And maybe I'll arrive on time for the next one. Thank heavens Quinn was a tad late too...thanks, babe!) To catch the next Nature Days subscribe to both I Never Grew Up and Utah's Natural Kids. You won't want to miss it! --Emily

P.S. George absolutely LOVES his bike, which is similar to the ones you saw in the slideshow. You can find your own Boot Scoot Bike at They're AWESOME!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Made By Survivors: Give a truly meaningful gift this Mother's Day

I am all for sparkly things and two-pound boxes full of dark chocolate come Mother's Day, but what really sets my heart aflutter is a gift that gives back. I don't think we give these gifts often enough, and so this Mother's Day I want you to really think before buying that slow cooker or Kitchen Aid mixer. They may help support your position as the "favorite" in the family but do they support a more worthy cause like fighting human trafficking and modern-day slavery?

Made By Survivors is part of The Emancipation Network (TEN), an international organization that "[helps] survivors of slavery rebuild their lives after rescue from slavery, with sustainable income, education and help reintegrating into society. [They] work to prevent slavery in high risk communities such as red light and refugee communities, by creating jobs for adults and through volunteer trips and donations to our shelter partners for rescue, school fees, emergency needs and reintegration."

The Emancipation Network imports and sells a wonderful collection of beautiful handmade products created by survivors of slavery and persons at risk of being trafficked into slavery. Made By Survivors is where you can find these handcrafted products, from jewelry, handbags and clothing to paper products, home decor and fun children's items such as the Butterfly Purse pictured at left.

I love the Silver and Stone Necklace and these whimsical Recycled Rice Bag 3-Pocket Wallets! Though the selection isn't as huge as what you might find elsewhere online, I dare you to find a cause more worthy of your support. You can still give sparkly things for Mother's Day--they'll just have greater meaning this year.

For more the full line of Made By Survivors products, visit TEN's online store. To learn more about TEN and how they are "fighting slavery with empowerment" please visit The Emancipation Network site. --Emily

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Earth Mama Angel Baby's Tea Party & Tea-rrific prizes!

If you're a pregnant or new mom or know someone who is then you've most likely heard of Earth Mama Angel Baby, a line of 100% natural, organic, toxin-free herbal skin and body care products perfect for pregnancy, labor, postpartum and c-section recovery, breastfeeding, baby care and even the loss of a baby. Earth Mama Angel Baby is all about "moving earth and heaven for you." Can it get any better than that?

Actually, yes it can! Earth Mama Angel Baby is having a Tea Party and you're invited! The company is hosting tea parties in various store locations. Mamas can kick back, sip tea, take home samples and possibly win a comfort-filled custom gift basket. Click on Tea Party Locations on the left-hand side and then select a location on the pull-down menu to find a store throwing a Mama’s Day Tea Party and serving USDA Certified 100% organic comforting teas for every stage of pregnancy, pre and post.

If you can’t make it to one of the "real-life" Tea Parties you can brew your own cup of tea and hop on the computer for a chance to win fabulous prizes from Earth Mama Angel Baby's line of USDA Certified 100% Organic and Kosher tea. Click on Survey on the left-hand side and answer a few questions (sign up for the newsletter for an extra entry) for your chance to win.

For a list of prizes click on Tea-rrific Prizes. You can also view some tasty tea recipes like Mama’s Ginger Mint Mock-Tea-Ni and Comforting Hot Apple Cider.

Don't wait too long to attend the
Mama's Day Tea Party...
...the party ends May 15th!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Catch my recipe on Sell...Party of 3

I don't get asked to guest post very often, but when I do I jump at the chance. I love writing, and though I may not be the most entertaining or poignant blogger I like to think I contribute something, even if it's just a simple albeit decadent recipe.

I met Von from Sell...Party of 3 at a recent girls night out and loved her immediately! She was friendly, outgoing, funny, honest and totally cute--kind of like her blog. I was extremely flattered she asked me to write a guest post and the subject was a no-brainer when I saw how much everyone enjoyed the dessert I brought to the party.

Check out Sell...Party of 3 and my scrumptious recipe for chocolate trifle. Your life will never be the same!

Do you have a favorite trifle recipe?

Why I should be named America's Next Top Blogger

Normally today would be a favorite recipe or foodie blog, but I'm scrapping all that in favor of my speech for the America's Next Top Blogger jury, which by the way is made up of seven super fabulous, super sexy, wonderful women!

It's down to the final two and I am here to plead my case to the aforementioned amazingly-beautiful-inside-and-out jury members. To show a little blog/link love, here are the jury members' names and sites. They all deserve a visit, a comment and a new subscriber. In no particular order because they're all #1 in my book:

So with the deadline in less than 10 hours I'm off with my Flip Mino (I would have never survived this competition without it!) to plead my case. And unless I want to self-tape using a mirror I have to do it now before Nathan goes to bed. I've decided to keep my vlog short and sweet. My strategy? A top 10 list as part of the vlog. Here's a preview!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Should be Voted America's Next Top Blogger

10. I'm a reality TV newbie who competed against reality TV junkies in a competition designed by a reality TV junkie and stood my ground.

9. At 3:00 a.m. in the morning I went through three sets of batteries, put my camera on self timer, posed in Victoria's Secret underwear, high-heel boots and false eyelashes all for an ANTB challenge...which I didn't even win! (I have to admit, I thought Miss Blondie's was the best entry--go, K-Fed!)

8. I've shown serious HOH challenge skills. No, they're not as cool as nunchuck skills but they're close! I am now an excellent page refresher and post commenter. I may even go pro.

7. You've seen my Hoover video (I hope) and the huge vacuum I use to clean up the small messes that happen all too frequently. Hoover. Stick. Vacuum. Enough said.

6. The last thing I won can't remember the last time I won something though I did win a treasure chest (i.e. flimsy cardboard box) full of games from a cereal box back in elementary school.

5. If I win I will put an end to world hunger, ensure world peace, reverse global warming and feature each of the juror's blogs in a separate post on my blog. Well, I'm pretty sure I can pull of the last one at least.

4. My husband is scarred for life after helping jam food into my mouth while I was gagging. He ought to get some reward, and my happiness is always his greatest reward!

3. My oldest daugher has followed ANTB and asks me every morning about the latest challenge and whether or not I won. I want to show her that yes, dreams really do come true!

2. When I thought I'd won the vacuum by winning this morning's challenge I jumped for joy with George and told him he had helped Mommy win. You should have seen his face--he was all smiles! Are you going to disappoint a blue-eyed, towheaded three-year-old?

And the #1 reason I should be named America's Next Top Blogger:

1. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darnet, people like me!"