03 June 2010

Curried Avocado Dip

All of my best recipes tend to come from two people: my neighbors Bretta Pirie-Srivastava and Shelley Henriod. I've hosted parties where all the food I made was from Shelley Henriod's treasure trove of recipes...and Shelley was one of the guests. Pretty funny.

This particular recipe is from Bretta and Raj Srivastava and we make it all year round, though it is a summer recipe.

Curried Avocado Dip
(I double the recipe if I'm bringing it to an event)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, packed
1/4 cup plain yougurt
3 T. shredded sweetened coconut
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. fresh ginger, chopped

(I have used the minced bottled ginger before in a pinch)
1/2 t. curry powder
1 serrano or jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste (1/2 t. ?)
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, chopped

Blend all ingredients except the avocado in a food processor. Usually I blend everything but the yogurt and avocado, then blend in the yogurt.

chopped avocado and blend until very smooth. Taste for seasoning, then transfer to serving dish.

Serve with Hint of Lime Tostitos. Although, I've tried toasted pita or shrimp before, too.

* You don't want to combine everything in the recipe more than 2-3 hours before hand. However, when I've taken this to events before I've blended everything but the avocado, placed the mixture in a Rubbermaid container w/ lid, and put it in the refrigerator until it was time to eat. When it was time I cut up the avocado and blended it with the other ingredients. Of course, this required a blender or food processor, so whatever works.

* I've also made this for dinner - the only course for dinner. Yum!

04 October 2009

The OTHER Favorite Weekend Come & Gone

Oh my heavens! Yes, it is true: I haven't posted in six months.
Another great Conference weekend.
And NO Saturday games for the first time in five years!

Ingredients of a perfect Conference Sunday morning
1) Sleep until 7:30 PM
2) Read a great talk by M. Catherine Thomas from BYU
Speeches in the dim morning light of the bedroom

3) Weather: rainy, gray, thunder, lightning
4) Make a French toast breakfast for the kids
5) House is already decorated for Halloween
6) All the family sitting around the television
7) Elder Eyring is the first speaker of the session : )

05 April 2009

A Favorite Weekend Come & Gone

The first weekends in April and October are easily my favorites of the year. I look forward to them every year, but it is always over too soon.

Originally we had two soccer games and one baseball game on the calendar for Saturday - but last Monday I started telling the kids to pray for snow on Saturday. Oh...the faith of my chillins is overwhelming : ) We got the snow we wanted - all three games canceled. I didn't even mind that I had to run the Emigration Canyon 10 Miler in the stuff.

It was a fun race and I actually found the snow blowing in my face somewhat mesmerizing, or at least distracting. The course is 2 1/2 miles of fairly serious incline followed by 7 1/2 miles of easy decline, though my IT band in the right leg would say otherwise. I haven't had iliotibial band problems for several years, but I pretty well limped my way through the last two miles. I'm either still wincing from the pain or expressing that I am too sexy for my neck gator.

We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon tucked in our cozy house watching conference with the kids. It was so great to not have to be anywhere or do anything other than listen and watch.
That evening Matt and Scout headed to Orem: Matt attend the Priesthood session with my dad and brother-in-law, Owen, and Scout to hang with the grandma.

The remaining kids and myself headed to our usual hangout during the Priesthood session.
Today we enjoyed another four hours of spiritual love fest. And I felt that same old sadness I felt even as a child when they sang, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again", at the close of the last session. Come and gone all too quickly.

02 April 2009

Got plans for Spring Break?

Scouty found a great travel deal as we drove around downtown on Tuesday.

Maybe we'll cancel our reservations in Zions Park and head straight to Heaven via the Central Christian Church. But, the kids would never believe me - whenever they ask, "Mom, where are we going?", I always say, "Hades."

29 March 2009

Jen and Nancy's Annual Moab Weekend

Last Sunday about this time I was arriving home from a great weekend in Moab with my friend Nancy. Looking outside at the snow on the ground right now I'm wishing I were still there - Moab was full of Spring.

Nancy and I had signed up for the Canyonlands Half-Marathon yet again, but in between the time of registration and race day we both developed problems (Nance - an injured foot. Me - pneumonia) that were throwing a wrench into our usual race plans.

Up until the morning we left for Moab I was determined to run the half come hell or high water, never mind I was less than three weeks out from having pneumonia and wheezed my way through just 4 miles. Two days before the race my friend Raj suggested I might not be in any kind of condition to actually run thirteen miles - but what did he know? He's a pediatrician, for Heaven's sake! LOL
On the morning of the race - with the excitement of the race and being with Nance - my denial had vanished and Nancy and I found ourselves lining up with (oh, I hate to admit it!) the 5 mile racers at the starting line as we made snarky remarks about being demoted to the beginners race this year. Okay, it was just me making those remarks because Nancy is far too nice to stoop to my level : ) Of course, the 5 milers were probably shooting me glances of pity as they saw me dragging on this at the starting line.

See Nancy Run

In the end the race was fun and enjoyable, and it was nice to be finished running after 40 minutes versus two hours so that we had more time to talk, which is the real reason for the trip , anyway. Nancy is the best conversationalist and we literally do not stop talking the entire three days we spend together.
We sat around talking in the sunny park for four hours waiting for the shuttle to take us back to our lodgings; staying here is the other reason we come on the trip : ) That afternoon we somewhat guiltily (because we knew husbands were back home wrangling the kids) indulged in spa there. Our talking being so consuming that we stayed in the sauna way too long. Had a great dinner ~ they actually have a very good restaurant at the ranch ~ and went back to our cozy lodge and beds. What a great day.

It was hard to say goodbye to a view like this from our front porch, but Sunday morning it was time to head back home. We caught a sacrament meeting in Moab before heading out and loved seeing the several other visitors in attendance who were dressed in their running clothes. Hello, the race was, like, yesterday. I loved it, though - especially the guy in running clothes AND bare feet!
And of course we spent the entire drive (getting progressively colder as we drove towards snow) in great conversation about extended family, people we knew in high school, church callings, gospel principles, temples, old boyfriends, kids, etc.
And best of all, for me, is that I've known Nancy for so long she knows all my annoying habits and features, but just chooses to ignore them and loves me anyway. Love you, Nance.

18 March 2009

Uncle Shelby

Despite having been voted "Class Clown" in high school, I sometimes get intensely serious for long periods of time - it was worse when I drank : 0 . I had been living in one of those times for the past several weeks and I think my kids had just finally had enough of it. One night last week, perceptive little Isaac started recounting funny episodes from the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, trying to find one that would make his mom laugh. Finally, Ike grabbed the book and said, "Mom, just read this one part." It did the trick...I could not stop laughing.

Wimpy - Shel

You see, Shel Silverstein (or Uncle Shelby as he creepily referred to himself) was a revered icon in my house when I was growing up. My mom would have us memorize many, many of his poems. I'd bet that between my sisters and I we could recite Where the Sidewalk Ends in its entirety.
Watch this clip of him singing with Johnny Cash and you, too, will stay in your bed for fear of meeting Shel in the hallway.

02 March 2009

It's Not My Birthday Anymore

When Matt married into the Minster family it drove him crazy that our birthday celebrations tended to be big ordeals that stretched over several days, often well past the actual birthday. Just one of my mom's affectionate quirks. He couldn't understand why a simple cake couldn't suffice.

So I found it especially priceless when Matt played Morrissey's latest song for me on the way home from my birthday breakfast this morning:

It's Not Your Birthday Anymore

it's not your birthday anymore
there's no need to be kind to you
and the will to see you smile and belong has now gone

So Morrissey and so very funny! But, actually, it is my birthday for thirty more minutes ; )

25 February 2009

Waiting to Exhale...

Today marks a week since the last Busico entered the MTC. Matt can finally stop holding his breath because I think both Nick and Luke will survive their time in the MTC and be flying out to their respective missions without making a detour to home : ) They were able to experience a couple of tender mercies from the Lord to help make their transition to mission life more comforting.

Many of you know that Matt likes to make special arrangements for people - this is especially great when traveling with him because there are all sorts of special perks and upgrades he somehow arranges. So when it came time for Matt and I to take Nick to the temple two weeks ago, Matt decided it would be especially wonderful if Nick could go to the Provo Temple so that Luke could be in the session with him (Luke has been at the MTC in Provo for a month). Matt contacted the MTC president, explaining that Nick would not be having any family members with him in the temple and it would mean much to the twins if they could be together for this occasion. Voila!
Of course, it was a wonderful experience - except that the temple workers kept saying that I was the mom of the missionary. This pleased neither me nor Nick. As it turned out, the twins' cousin, Micah, was also able to be at the temple with us, too. He had just returned from his mission the week before. Micah is a great kid and I think it was wonderful for the boys to talk to someone newly off their mission. I loved watching the three of them together - I've never seen the twins smile this much, especially for the camera.
When Nick first received his mission call to Brazil he was told that he would be going to the MTC in Brazil. Nick was not happy about 1) going straight to Brazil w/o MTC training and 2) that he wouldn't get to be in the MTC with Luke. Another miracle for the boys...just a few days before going to the MTC Nick was informed that his visa to Brazil has not arrived as yet, and therefore he would be going to the MTC in Provo until the visa problem was remedied. Wow! This was further proof that God does indeed care about our seemingly trivial cares and preferences.

Matt went to the MTC for the third time with the Busicos last week, this time to say goodbye to Nick. While he was there he also arranged with MTC workers for Luke to get out of class so that his family could see him one last time before they all said goodbye to Nick.
The twins are now living on the same floor at the MTC and , I'm guessing, seeing each other enough to help them stay happy and smiley (well, as smiley as Busicos get : ). Yee-Ha!!

Eliza Scout turns 12 Years Old

Scout turned 12 years old today. And that means that...I am getting older!
For those of you who know Scouty, you know what a wonderful person she is (wait, how did she end up being stuck with such sub-wonderful parents : )

I just love surprises - both giving and receiving. So I was excited when Matt and I decided to surprise Scout with a trip to NYC for her birthday. It was kind of a surprise for me too, because we only thought of this a few days ago so I had to make changes to my schedule. Scout didn't know about the trip until I picked her up from school on Tuesday and told her that she had less than an hour to pack her bag before we went to the airport. I didn't even tell her where we were going until we were in the car and I let her friend, Eleanor, who is on the trip with us, tell her.
Bummer - but I left my camera cord at home so I can't upload the photos from today to my laptop. But, I think that Scout thought it was pretty cool to spend her birthday eating at Norma's (best breakfast place, ever), wandering FAO Schwarz and seeing South Pacific at the Lincoln Center. She and Eleanor weren't so hip on spending lunch with two of my college roomates, but I sure loved seeing Erin and Robbie after 16 years. We'll see what tomorrow brings because I haven't had time to plan anything.

16 February 2009

Happy Birthday, Matt!!

The Sweetest Valentine

Matt has always been excellent with Valentine's Day thoughtfulness. On our first Valentine's day he gave me the black harness biker boots that I wear all the time - confirmation that we would indeed make it through our first year of marriage : ) But a couple of years ago he started giving me the best Valentine's gift ever. Well, it isn't really a gift FOR me, but nothing could mean more. Matt always gets flowers for his three daughters for Valentine's Day! It is usually accompanied by a note listing the things he loves about them and always given with much love, leaving no doubt about how much this dad loves his girls.

I'm hoping this will be arsenal for the teen years, when Scout or Greta or Lily are dating some wild kid, I can say with confidence (as I heard my friend Bryan Fong say to his daughter): You don't need the attention of some dumb boy; you get enough love at home!!!

13 February 2009

Grand Targhee 2009

We arrived home from Grand Targhee two weeks ago,
but we're still dreaming about the powder.

We started the trip with a stop in Idaho Falls to visit our great friends (never mind that we haven't seen them in about 7 years) - the Wildings. It was wonderful to see Dave and Emily again, along with their four boys. I'm thinking there's going to have to be some matchmaking going on between the two families. I kept wanting to kidnap little Ridge and take him home to the Asay house.

The next morning we were so happy to be at Grand Targhee again!

Greta and Lily were happy to go to Kids Care
- but not as happy as Matt and I were to have them there.
Scouty and I were so happy as we headed up to our favorite run - Lost Warrior.
Actually, Isaac was quite happy to sit in the lodge and eat muffins all morning long by himself :)

I'm trying to find a way and a time to get back to Targhee before the season ends, but until then I well content myself with watching the great video Matt put together.

Asays - Grand Targhee 2009 from Jen Asay

21 January 2009

Belated Argentine Holiday post

We've been home from Buenos Aires nearly one month - and I sure miss it. When we arrived home we jumped right back into school, church, work, etc. After a couple of weeks of not getting around to posting about the last half of our trip I finally decided it was too late to bother, but after a plea from my mom to do another post about Argentina...I'm granting her wish.

Christmas Eve Dinner
Eating American-style: dinner at 6:30 PM instead of at 9 or 10 PM. We were the only people at the restaurant at this time. All the tables had "Reserved" signs on them for the people coming at 9 PM. We persuaded the manager to let us take a table by promising to be in and out quickly before the other diners arrived. I mean, come on, Asays can easily finish a big meal in 10 minutes.
Christmas Morning
Even on Christmas Day Dad dons his uniform.
Christmas Day dinner with thirty elders and hermanas. When I saw how many missionaries showed up for dinner compared with the amount of food we'd made I began to worry. However, it was a miracle of the loaves and the fishes... and all were filled. This was partly due to the many pies that Matt had made. I'm assuming that most readers of this blog have tasted Matt's pies, so you'll appreciate the fact that dessert was the best part of the meal.
A little après-déjeuner Christmas hymns sing-along. I just loved these Elders and Hermanas. Nothing better than seeing nineteen and twenty year-old boys doing the Lord's work.
Such great kids!
Lily had yet again practiced deception in persuading Hermana Tracy and Hermana Urban to believe that she was a sweet, innocent little three year old. Just look at Lily's knowing glance! It's all a ruse.
December 26th
We drove the four hours to Pinamar, a resort town on the coast. We'd stopped in Pinamar for a couple of hours when we were in Argentina in 2007 and we just loved the beautiful beach. So we decided to book a few days at a hotel on beach. We were lucky enough to have Matt's parents come with us, too.
The kids have a really wonderful Grandpa who always loves making sand sculptures with them.

Searching for some last sea shells to take home.
Sunday, December 28th
We attended church in a little branch right outside of Pinamar. I love attending church in branches. It is so interesting to see the Church functioning on the small scale.

This little boy was my entertainment during sacrament meeting. I loved watching him beg crackers off of Lily and waddling around on his little legs. I went outside between classes and found him sitting on this ledgeI was somewhat gratified to see that my kids appear to be as bored in Primary while in Argentina as they are in our ward. I always thought it was just because they were tired of hearing me talking. See, the Church is the same the world over :)
Yet again, Lily managed to find people to coddle and carry her,
despite her sulky little face.Matt and me with Paul and Carol Gourdin. Mr. Gourdin was a Spanish teacher at the junior high school Matt and I attended. His afro hairdo my be long gone, but he is still the same man : )
Scout making yet another pit stop for helado at Freddo's. Believe it or not I never had any helado while I was in Argentina.
I loved going on running while in Argentina. Runs on the beach were, of course, wonderful, but I personally liked running through the neighborhoods of Banfield (where the mission home is located). With the help of the totally awesome site MapMyRun.com Matt and I found some good running routes. I have to admit that 1) I always got lost at about mile 4, and 2) there were a few dodgy places I ran through and just hoped I could make it out again. And then I would run through the same dodgy place the next day : 0
I just loved seeing where and how the average people lived. But, this photo gives you an idea of the terrain I was running on, and this wasn't nearly the worst of it. The pavement often had 12 inch drop-offs, dog poop and craters. It felt like I was trail running.
And I always passed several of these donkey carts that collect cardboard everyday.
As my sister-in-law Brittany put it, traveling to the airport in "true Argentine style. The whole fam, all the luggage, and a couple pigs." The kids had fun driving everywhere without car seats or seatbelts; roaming through the car as it zoomed down the highway. You know, the way people used to travel until about 20 years ago.
I'm ending with my favorite photo from the trip.
My father-in-law coming home from a long day of zone conferences and missionary interviews.
I know he had spent the day giving his all - mentally, physically and spiritually - to the missionaries he is over. And he would wake up and do it again the next day and the next day, and so on. Just as my mother-in-law does everyday, as well. We loved seeing them, but we especially loved seeing them work so hard in building the Church in Argentina.