Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday.  It may just be because I love this time of year- the fall weather, pumpkin goodies, oversized sweaters, leggings and boots, hot chocolate and Utah football (had to throw that one in for my fam- go utes!). Halloween also means our annual pumpkin carving contest at the Murdock's (my mother in law sure knows how to host a party) and the annual costume party hosted by my best friend, Micah Ricks, and her husband.  Get ready for a photo overload...



My cute mother in law, Elise, had a little surprise on each of our plates (hence, awesome glasses above).  I just have to rave about her for a second. She makes this amazing chili and to die for breadsticks every year for dinner, and puts together gift bags for the whole family.   Talk about hostess with the mostest.    



We're pretty serious pumpkin carvers.  


If you know me well, you know I'm the epitome of accident prone.  This is why Braedon carves, and I oversee.  Actually, when I cook, he's usually the one to chop most of the veggies. We make a good team.  



The "unveiling" of the pumpkins.  Can you guess which pumpkin is ours?  


I married into such a fun family.  I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this tradition for three years now!  (Wow).  





This photo really just sums up our family.  Clad in plaid.  Tis the season! 



We went as Austin Powers and "his girl" for the Ricks' Halloween Party.  We had so much fun eating delicious soups, playing games, and dancing to the DJ!  We even won third place for the costume contest and took home the movie, "Beetle Juice".  What a classic! 




Check out those platforms- it's a miracle I didn't trip ;). 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

California and Coconut Chicken Curry

This month has been a busy one, with my new job as an RN in pediatric home health, and Braedon's crazy school schedule being a pre-med student, we barely had the time to fit in a getaway for fall break ;).  We decided to visit my sister and her cute family in Carlsbad- we had a blast!  Between the beach, Knott's Scary Farm, yummy food, and more beach, we'd say it was a success.  




This picture is from a new Thai Restaurant we tried, unfortunately I can't remember the name!



It was so fun to see my sister Melissa and my brother in law Brent, they were awesome hosts and were up for anything!  We went to Knott's Scary Farm on a school/work night and they sacrificed their beauty rest...we went to bed at about 3 am.  






This picture Colton and Lexi were yelling "photo bomb!" from the back seat.  Wonder who they learned that from??



Dinner at Ruby's on the pier- if you're up for a hamburger and shakes with a view that can't be beat, it's a must!  




Pinterest is pretty much my 'go-to' when I find myself in a dinner rut.  Poor Braedon is probably getting really sick of my usual lemon-garlic chicken and zucchini routine.  He loves anything spicy so I decided to try out a new recipe, Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry. Oh how I love my slow cooker!  I would have never tried Indian, Thai, or Cambodian food until I started dating Braedon-turns out I love it almost as much as he does!  This recipe has an optional ingredient-dried red chili's.  Leave them out if you're on the mild side.  Personally, I left them out and will let Braedon add his own "hot salt" at dinnertime!  


Ingredients:

2 pounds, 3-1/3 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
1 whole onion, peeled and halved 
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 whole small green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 can (6oz.) tomato paste (I used about 3/4 of the can because I don't love the tomato taste)
1 can (14oz) coconut milk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 whole dry red chili peppers (optional for extra spice!)
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 bunch of coriander (optional for decoration)
1-2 red or yellow potatoes (optional, I added one red potato because I had one I needed to use)


Most of the ingredients I already had at home, but these were the ones I had to go buy.  Curry powder can be found at any grocery store, I found mine at Smith's.  I went for the lower priced brand and ended up paying only $1.99 with my fresh values card.  The Garam Masala was a little harder to find- I went to The Store, a specialty foods market, and the spice cost me $6.99.  



First, cut your chicken into cubes and add to crockpot.





Next, half your onion, quarter your green bell pepper and peel the garlic cloves.  Add the coconut milk and the tomato paste.  Finally, add the curry powder, garam masala, and salt.  I don't have a food processor so I used our Magic Bullet- it worked great! I ended up chopping my onion and pepper a little smaller so they would fit better. I couldn't fit all the ingredients into one smoothie cup so I was transferring between two, but it ended up being fine. 


Pour the mixture over the chicken, add potatoes (optional) and stir.  Cover and let cook for 5 hours.  


An hour before you're ready to eat add the water and cornstarch together in a small bowl.  Mix well and then add to the crockpot.  This will help thicken the curry and make it stick!  If you're using a rice cooker I started my rice around this time too.  I would recommend using Jasmine or Basmati rice for this recipe but Minute Rice will do.  After serving a 2 year LDS mission in Cambodia, Braedon is very picky about his rice.  He calls minute rice "I can't believe it's not rice!".  I'm not sure I can taste the difference but I do it for him!! Once the chicken is cooked, pour the mixture over some rice, add the coriander (optional for decoration) and voila!  Hope you enjoy and if you made it through this whole post congrats!  Until next time.  






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