Thursday, November 26, 2009

thankful...

Psalm 100

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

we pray you had a wonderful day with family and friends.
we sure did.
full tummies and full hearts.

here is a picture of the munch
munching on a turkey leg.
best. picture. ever.

happy thanksgiving....
we love all of you so much!

Monday, November 23, 2009

what i'll be remembered for when i die

hopefully it will be that i led a life pleasing to the Lord.
that i raised wonderful kids and was a good wife to my husband.
that i made people laugh and always lended a helping hand.

but i think not.

i will be remembered as the girl...
"you know, the one that makes that pumpkin thing?
do you know her?
can you call her and tell her to bring it to the party??"


for real.

this will be my legacy.

i was first introduced to the "crunch" about 12 years ago.
{its so very pathetic that i remember this story more clearly than some things that happened on my wedding day...but anywho...}

i was working at pier 1 imports in honolulu.
a co-worker was sitting in the break room eating lunch when i walked in.
he was about to take a bite from a huge slice of something orange with a very thick crust on it.

"WHAT is that?" i asked him.
"its pumpkin crunch from starbucks," was his reply.
"but its july...why are you eating pumpkin anything??" i questioned.

"HAHAHAHA...." he literally laughed at me.
"try a bite and then ask me WHY we only eat pumpkin in november.
this thing is amazing."

i grabbed a fork and dug in.

my life has never been the same.
i am now known as the girl who makes pumpkin crunch.

for some strange reason, starbucks in honolulu is the only starbucks i have seen carry this awesomeness.
i have no idea where the name came from, its just what i have always know it as.
this dessert has made die hard pumpkin pie fans into converts declaring this as their new fave.
people that don't even like pumpkin stuff reconsider why they never liked it in the 1st place.

i was going to leave this recipe to the munch in my will....
but since so many of you ask me for it all. the. time. and apparently can't google to save your life, here is my pumpkin crunch recipe in all its glory.
also known in some circles as pumpkin dump cake.

doesn't pumpkin crunch sound so much more civilized and harder to make??

Pumpkin Crunch
  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (you can substitute with walnuts, but what ever you do, do NOT leave the nuts out)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly grease and line one 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper. For a prettier presentation, use a round 10 inch spring form pan. Also line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Melt the butter, and drizzle it over the cake mix. Sprinkle the pecans over the top. Pack down lightly with your fingers.
  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out with no pumpkin mixture on it or it no longer jiggles. If you use a spring form pan, you may need to increase cook time by 10 or more minutes. If top starts to brown too much, cover with foil for rest of bake time.
  5. Allow to cool. I invert it on to a cutting board if I make it in a 9 x 13 pan or on to a serving platter if I make it in a spring form pan. Make sure you run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the sides. Be gentle and patient with it as it tries to come out of the pan! You can also just cut it straight out of the pan or sit and eat it with a spoon from the pan...but other people may want some since you will be moaning and groaning so much about how fan-tab-u-lous it is....so slicing it up for everyone is recommended.
i serve it with whipped cream cheese frosting:
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 to 1 cup white sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. With a stand or hand mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat for 3-4 minutes on med high until smooth.
  3. Fold gently in to whipped cream until smooth.
  4. Place frosting in to the fridge to stiffen up a little if you want to pipe it on to the top before slicing, or just spoon it on to a slice! Enjoy!
i made pumpkin crunch about 2 weeks ago
but forgot to take a picture of it.
so here is a picture from thanksgiving 2007!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

weekly dose!

hello everyone...hope you are having a wonderful week.
thanksgiving is less than 6 days away.

can you believe it??
what are your plans for my favorite holiday?
we will be staying home this year and jere jae's parents will be driving over to join us.

last year we made the trek up to see my aunties, uncle and cousins in spreckels and santa cruz.

the munch was a lil teeny tiny bit at only 3 months old.
the drive normally takes about 6-7 hours.
we arrived in NINE+ hours.
if we were on a plane we could have been in TOKYO.

the munch was a champ through the whole thing!!
her mommy and daddy were the one's crying!!

however...it was one of the best thanksgivings ever!
to be with my family and see everyone holding my baby for the 1st time.
so special.
the food was ah-mazing.
definitely worth the drive.
my auntie ani, cousin's andrea and kaili and auntie julie made the most incredible dishes.
lumpia, roasted turkey breast and a lamb stuffed with feta cheese, kalamata olives encrusted with pumpkin seeds and pistachios were the highlights.
auntie ani out did her self on that lamb!!
we STILL talk about how good everything was!

this year i am looking forward to giving riley a huge turkey leg to gnaw on.
i can't wait to get pictures of that!

this morning i was watching my baby girl crawl all over the place checking things out.
she is so inquisitive and talks...or rather babbles no stop.
she is just plain fun to be around and brings joy everywhere she goes.
what a blessing it is to have a child that is loved and cared for by so many.

here is what she was up to this morning....

she dined on cheerios

here she is attempting to dive face 1st in to the pile of cheerios
scooping some up with her little tongue.
such a lady.

look, ma! no hands!!

mmmmm...

checking out the lanai.

kissing her reflection in the glass.

making sure i got a picture of it...


making sure i took this picture...
here is what she's saying:

the next set of pictures were taken in a span of about 5 minutes
as the munch traveled around the living room...











drinking her baba's and watching sesame street...
i love these two pictures...
i'm am blocking her view of her beloved elmo on the elmo box.
she is trying to move around me so she can see."oh elmo!! i love you!"

the munch turned 15 months old on the 18th!
i feel like we are on fast forward....she is growing so fast.

her newest thing is kissing and LICKING her own reflection in anything that she sees herself in.
this includes the stove, our stainless steel fridge, mirrors and windows.
good grief it is too funny.
the picture above of her kissing herself in the window does not do the whole act justice.
we are trying to get it on video so you can see it.

i gave her strawberries for the 1st time the other day and she loved them.
she looked at me and said "ohhhhhh!! mmmmmmmm!!"
she says mama and dada very clearly as well as "uh-oh!" when she drops something.
she still has no interest in walking....but that truly is fine with me.
i am surprised its taking her so long, but I know that once she starts there will be no stoppin' her!
when she sees her hawaii grandma and pop pop on video calls, she blows to kisses at them.
it is the cutest thing!

we are so thankful to the Lord for our happy, healthy little girl.
i am thankful for my handsome, Godly husband that serves our family and church family tirelessly.
i am thankful for friends near and far that keep my life on track and interesting with surprise stop by's and yell up's from the back alley, funny facebook statuses, ears for listening and kind words to encourage.
so thankful for my family.
especially thankful to have a loving Savior that sent His only son just for me and you.

have a blessed thanksgiving....we love you!!

Love::
the munch and her grateful mama

Thursday, November 19, 2009

perfect spears

limp vegetables are so, so sad.
don't you agree?
here is a fool prove way to have some yummy tender roasted asparagus with some crunch to it.

Quick Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus, about 1 pounds worth
olive oil
kosher salt
pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
Wash and dry the asparagus, then trim off the bottom ends.
Place the spears on a cookie sheet.
Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, about 1 tablespoon or a little less.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss asparagus to coat completely.
Lay those babies out in a straight line.

Using a microplane, if you have one, (if you don't put it on your Christmas list) or a cheese grater, grate some Parmesan cheese over the asparagus.
You can use store bought shredded Parmesan...but using a microplane gives you nice, fluffy shreds that are delicate and perfect for this recipe.

Place the asparagus in preheated oven (very key that your oven has been preheated!!) for about 8-10 minutes or until you can pierce through the thickest part of a spear with a knife.
Don't over cook.

awesome side dish or a great way to cook asparagus that you will be adding to a salad...
enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

i had never heard of such a thing until i moved to the mainland.
pumpkin and chocolate together??
for realz, brah? (that's pidgin for "really?? you don't say.")

but it works!
this cookie is more on the cakey side, but its such a nice change from a normal chocolate chip cookie.

these are one of jere jae's favorite fall time treats.
this recipe made a huge batch of cookies...thank goodness youth group is tonight.
i sent about 40 cookies off with jere jae and we still have about 25-30 left!!

this is by far the best recipe i have tried for this cookie to date.
i have made some adjustments to suit what i had in my pantry...but i also tweaked it a lil from the original recipe.
i think what really makes this recipe work is the use of milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet.
please take note of that before you cream some butter, crack some eggs and get mad at me.
oh and buy a small 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

if you have yet to try a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, what are you waiting for??
tis the season!!
here's the recipe....




Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 60 cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (this says one cup not one CAN. you're welcome. here is what you can make with the left over pumpkin puree.)
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) MILK chocolate chips, not semisweet
  • Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper (if you bake frequently and haven't tried parchment paper yet, do yourself a favor and buy some.) and set aside.
Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
Beat in both sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.
Mix on medium high for 3-4 minutes.
Turn speed on mixer to stir or low and add the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Slowly mix the flour mixture into the batter in thirds until just incorporated.
Do not over mix.
Stir in the chips.
Scoop the cookie dough by heaping teaspoons (i use a small cookie scoop. cookies are more uniform.) onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 13-16 minutes, or until the cookies are light golden brown around the edges. (i pulled them out right at 13 minutes and the were soft and perfect. your oven is different so watch them and do not over bake.)
Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Adapted from: Food Network

party perfect

the munch's ice cream social party was featured again!

Thanks so much to sara over at the party perfect blog for the post.
this site never fails me.
there is a plethora of uber creative party ideas.

thank you sara!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

wicked cool sweet 16


about 2 months ago a good friend of ours asked me to do a broadway themed costume party for her daughters 16th birthday.

awesome occasion and a fun way to celebrate a right of passage in to that ripe old age of sixteen.

i was in theater through out high school and college and have seen my fair share of musicals. my parents live a hop, skip and a jump from diamond head theater in honolulu. i loved going to events there because of its intimate setting and outdoor reception area.
i once even graced the stage at DHT for a musical tribute as part of a damn yankees ensemble.
good times...no autographs please.

once again the internet was really no help.
i did notice how many people were searching for ideas to have a broadway themed party.

thinking back to opening nights and wrap parties i have attended, ideas began bouncing around in my head.
so....here you go peeps.

invitations asked that you arrive dressed
as your favorite broadway character.
as guests arrived we had "paparazzi" aka, friends and parents,
taking pictures of them walking the red carpet.




once they entered the house, we had them stand against
a gold tinsel background for individual pictures.
we used large black frames as a prop for them to hold.



there was also a collage poster of the birthday girl through out the years
for everyone to point at and say "ohhhh...how CUTE!!!"


hanging next to the poster was an awesomely perfect gift
that only a determined mother could nab.
a personalized autographed head shot
of eden espinosa, who played elphaba in wicked. score.

we decorated with cut outs of musical playbills
we printed off from the internet.
we also used large gold cardboard stars
and musical notes found at a party supply store.

her brother photo-shopped the birthday girls face on to glinda.

guests were then escorted to the back patio
for an hors d'oeuvre reception.
hard working brother paul helped hang twinkle lights
and set up the tables.
little known fact, most plastic tables that you buy at costco
can be adjusted to a cocktail table height.

guests feasted on chow mein noodles with orange chicken
served in individual chinese take out boxes.

we had some friends help as servers.
everything was butler passed on trays.

birthday girl's mom noelani passing around sushi...

ice cream punch served in champagne glasses.

a game of trivia was played to see how well
the guests knew the birthday girl.


"uh...i need to pay more attention."

next was a costume contest....
there was an awards ceremony for the nights best dressed.
they received a "tony award".


the winners of the game and contest were also awarded a golden ticket.
this gave them a head of the line privileges
to the very elaborate candy buffet we had awaiting them.

one of my main ideas and a focal point of the party
would be to have a sweet 16 shoppe.
an over stocked candy and cookie buffet
with fresh popcorn and cupcakes to boot.








here are the winner's of the trivia contest
getting 1st dibs on all the sweets...



fresh popcorn anyone??

a projector was rented to show the musical "hairspray"
on a large blank wall in the house.

there was a room set up for karaoke
so the kids could belt out some broadway tunes...


and the living room was set up with beatles rock band.


and there was also dance dance revolution.


a group picture to end the night!
happy sweet 16 kehaulani!
looks like everyone had a blast.

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