Thursday, August 29, 2013

Christmas in August: Chocolate-Covered Raspberries

Here's what we did with the spoils from our day of raspberry picking.
Yes. Those are chocolate-covered raspberries, and they are by far the superior chocolate-dipped fruit. I first saw such a thing done by the Chocolate Cottage in Sandy, Utah. They are located just across the street from the Living Planet Aquarium. I highly recommend both. A visit to one is not complete without a visit to the other. But you'll have to hurry up if you want to hit both. The aquarium will close on September 10 and reopen at their new Draper location in December. Here's the info.

Now that I've been distracted by pretty fish, back to chocolate. These are quite simple to do.

Step 1: Convince your sister-in-law to give up sugar and then give you all her nice melting chocolate.

(Actually, I didn't have to do any convincing on this one. My sister-in-law is just this awesome all around.)

Step 2: Pick lots of raspberries. McBride Briar Patch and this berry patch still have some. One great tip I learned was that the best way to store your berries as you pick is to take an empty, clean gallon milk jug, cut off the top (leaving the handle), and tie it around your waist.
Step 3: Melt your chocolate, and drizzle it over raspberries on wax paper.

Step 4: Wait for the chocolate to harden. Then enjoy.

In our house, we didn't melt down the chocolate and drizzle it until about 11 p.m. and went to bed soon after. Super said that when I woke up with bad dreams in the middle of the night (which happens way too often) that I could wake him up and we'd eat the berries. So at 2 a.m. I woke up, woke him up, and said, "It's Christmas!"

Turns out you don't have to be completely awake to fully enjoy these berries. And eating them early in the morning truly made everything feel like Christmas.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Berry Farms of Payson

Yesterday got away from me. But thanks to unemployment, this was no problem. I had plans for job applications, cleaning, and other noble pursuits. But then we realized it was raspberry season.

I whisked a very tired husband off to Payson. (P.S. Payson, your rodeo billboards need some design help and some editing. Call me.) When we picked cherries a few weeks ago, they passed along the number for another farm nearby. This farm turned out to be the best deal.

We walked the path along the grape vines to the wind break and started on the north raspberry bushes. I never realized how raspberries can be kind of hidden. You have to check underneath and below to find them sometimes. We gathered four pounds of raspberries and then two pounds of black berries, which were gigantic, beautiful, and squishy.

Six rows down a father and a son split the singing parts. One calling out: Ba ba black sheep. And the other answering: Yes sir. Yes sir.

Dark clouds rolled in and sprinkled a bit of rain. And the wind changed and suddenly farm life smelled less lovely. A rooster kept crying though it was way past noon. We met an old dog named Cam, and I found a black cat who was napping/hiding.  Fresh flowers for the table stopped with my internship, so we picked sunflowers off the side of the road and brought them home. We started freezing the berries and napped.

And though my usual habits say, "Why don't you get more done?" I think this day was fairly perfect.

If you're interested in picking raspberries and blackberries at $2.50 a pound, give the Phelps family a call. They also have peaches and other good things. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


All photos by Jacob

I want to say that morning and I have a complicated relationship, but that's not quite it. I think morning is more fickle than I am, because it seems to keep moving.

Somedays I wake up early and greet it outside before 7:30. At those times, it rushes around me once with its fresh cool touch and then settles right next to me. Together we stride out. We meet strangers walking by and board trains going somewhere. But mostly we just breathe.

Unless, I'm late. Then there's more huffing and puffing towards the next thing. Morning feels neglected. My sleep schedule gets disrupted once again. And we stop seeing each other in the same beautiful way.

Then morning surprises me at a later time. Around 9, it's still there for me, waiting outside, but it's colors have changed. Instead of sitting by me, it waves from the mountains and causes them to shine. I say hello quickly as I walk to the car, and it seems just fine with that, like a friendly neighbor with nothing to hide.

Today we met twice at 8:30 and 10:43. Each time it reached in through my bedroom window and made the piles of laundry and the stacks of boxes gold. The tree outside was glad to see us both.

I sometimes try to remind myself that getting up early means enjoying more beautiful mornings, which is more satisfying than sleep. But morning and I like the variety. Turns out, it's lovely always.

In the spirit of this post, I share this video: "Here Comes the Sun" from The Concert for George, which is still to me one of the most lovely musical endeavors ever. One year after his death, George Harrison's friends gathered to give what Eric Clapton described as (if my memory is correct) "a beautiful tribute for our lovely friend." Never forget that "Here Comes the Sun" was written by George, not Lennon and McCartney. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Unemployment and How It's Good for Me

Back in the lavish days when we splurged on Disneyland.
If you can't tell from my post titles as of late, I am currently unemployed, in the true sense of the word. I am not on summer vacation. I am not taking a break from school. I'm not even taking a break for myself. I am unemployed because my yearlong internship/paid full-time job ended, as I knew it would, before I could secure another position. 

This has raised a variety of emotions. Over the past week, there has been much rejoicing about being unemployed. Though my internship was lovely (filled with nice people and generally nice tasks), it came with a two- to four-hour daily commute that tortured my soul when coupled with an eight-hour workday and a fifteen-minute lunch break.

I'm savoring the time to write, to clean, and to sew on all the buttons that had been waiting, estranged from their proper counterparts, until I had time for little things again. For the first time in my married life (all four months of it), I get to be home for real (having only a few hours, mostly marked by exhaustion from the day, didn't really count). Life lately has felt like a never-ending Saturday, without all the stress I had before when it was the only day to get something done. Taking this break right now is healing my soul from a lot of things.

Most of the time.

The other times I cry and panic and worry. I love having a job. I love doing things that matter to people. And I very much want to find a good job. When these concerns surface, they do so in a big way.

About a week before the end of my previous job, Super called me at work to see if my sister-in-law, a new BYU freshman, could stay with us for a few weeks. This sent me into an emotional freak out. (Not your fault, Bek. I like you! Let me explain.) I felt so worried about it because I had no idea what my life would look like by then. Would I be home all day? Would we need to move? Would I be commuting again? Not being able to picture myself three weeks from then terrified me.

Today, I've been reading the Apron Stage, a lovely blog to which my other sister-in-law Sarah contributed. The first posts of hers I read were actually the last ones (here and here), in which she announces the end of the Apron Stage blog and her own life changes. She says seven times "I do not know."

I wanted a scripture of my own that deals with these types of uncertainties—Sarah's past ones I'm reliving as I read (even though I know what happens next, generally, in the three years that follow that last post) and for my own.

I found this: after hearing a soul-shaking sermon from King Benjamin, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, his people say the following.
And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.
And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy.
These people are very happy and very certain about their future. But I don't think they were anymore certain about what the next day, week, or month would look like. They were certain that God would receive them safe and sound. I like that. As much as I'd like to see one month from now, "great views of that which is to come" might cover even better ground.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Late But Tasty: Cherry Almond Cake

I finally finished Super's midterm cake! It was well received despite it's lateness.

True to my own musing, I ended up making the Cake Blog's Fresh Cherry Cake. They use goose berries, which are yellow to add some lovely colors. I originally intended on using bing and rainer cherries to get my reds and yellows in, but we only had red ones by the time I made it. Lovely nonetheless.

The almond whipping cream was truly delicious. I would double it. It looks nice put on sparingly, but when actually eating the cake, it was more tasty and less dry if you dump on an extra serving of whipping cream. Don't feel guilty. Do it for cake everywhere.

Now a confession: the cake fell over as soon as we finished taking pictures. I put it back together like this, and I actually liked that look for serving better.

I don't think you need to fear it falling over if you're using a more normal size of cake pan. I used little springform pans: a wedding gift from my Ever-Lovin' Bethany. They are so cute. I want to make everything in them. I cooked them at 350, as instructed, and they took about 15 minutes. My only trouble with them was that I didn't push them far enough into the oven on the second batch, which led to one side cooking a bit faster. So watch out for that. But truly, they are lovely.

I also now love to grease and flour cake pans. The railing outside our apartment is often coated in a light dusting of flour. I'm just waiting for the day when I drop my cake pans three stories. That will be both tragic and funny, and it's just the kind of mistake I'd make.

I'm glad this post is finally up. Lately I've been loving writing about deeper things, like my unemployment, and I have several posts I'm eager to share with you all next week. Feel free to like, pin, and share any of them.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Unemployment Day 10: Cakes for Calculus

Fun fact: the math lab at BYU was originally built to be a computer server room.

Computer servers = air conditioning^10.

This is why Super, who is spending the day there, requested that I bring him a sweater, which he wore proudly in the August swelter. He's charming like that.

Connecticut, in April = no swelter.

He's also so charming that he saved me the donut holes from his last day of class and wrapped them up in his old homework. They came out streaked with blue notebook paper lines.

Speaking of sweet things, I'm a cake behind! Super's midterm cake will be done tomorrow! Get excited.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

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