Friday, November 30, 2007

Dear Santa,

This year has gone by fast, hasn't it? I'm pretty sure I've been a good girl, but I honestly can't remember. Since you see me when I'm sleeping and know when I'm awake, you probably have a better idea than I do. In case I get a check mark in the "good" column, here are some things I want:

1. You know I love fabric. Moda and Robert Kaufman make my heart sing. The Fat Quarter Shop has gift certificates. How great is that?

2. You know I love to bake. I especially love cupcakes. So how about a giant cupcake pan? Let's be honest with ourselves here; wouldn't you rather have a giant cupcake than some boring old cookies?

3. You know I love Martha. What's not to love? One of her pretty bundt pans would make a nice addition to my bakeware.

4. You know my camera(s) are not working so good. Now I can't get the pictures to upload on my computer. It's frustrating. I would love a new camera. My only criteria is that it have more than 7 megapixels and take clear pictures close up.

Santa, I know I'm asking a lot. But it's not like I expect diamonds. Well, not big diamonds.

Jana O'Kigin

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to click here!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Thanksgiving Haiku

My sweet potatoes:
So delicious and creamy.
Tasty breakfast treat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Recip-ease 5

I do not like any kind of food that comes from water, be it sea, lake, or stream. But, my Curly loves it all. And, since I love my Curly, I suck it up and make some stinky dish for him. His request for Turkey Day is crab dip to eat while watching pre-dinner football.

As a side note -- I am using canned crab for this. I was at Costco yesterday, and so was a can. Hopefully it will be to Curly's liking :)

Crab Dip
2 – 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp mustard
2 T dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
Beat above ingredients. Fold in 2 T chopped parsley and a dash of garlic powder. Add 2 – 6 ounce packages of frozen crab.
Chill and serve with crackers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recip-ease 4

I found this one online the other day. I am a big fan of traditional stuffing, but this one might be worth a shot. The recipe even included nutritional information.

Cornbread Apricot Stuffing

Cooking spray
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
2 (15.75-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) package cornbread dressing mix
18 dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and celery 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in broth and cook 2 minutes or until fully heated. Stir in dressing mix and remaining ingredients.

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 147(29% from fat); FAT 4.6g (sat 2.1g,mono 1g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 3.2g; CHOLESTEROL 9mg; CALCIUM 33mg; SODIUM 478mg; FIBER 1.7g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 22.9g

Monday, November 19, 2007

Recip-ease 3

This is one of my favorite things to serve as an appetizer. It's a different take on the normal creamy artichoke dip. Serve with fancy butterfly crackers or baguette slices.

Artichoke Dip
2 cups Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
16 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped (I don’t chop them too finely)
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Recip-ease 2

Who doesn't love a delicious pie? I know I can't resist a slice. I love to make pie, and I love to make pie crust from scratch. I would be lying if I said I was really great at it -- I'm not. But, it still tastes good. Here is one of my favorite holiday pies --Apricot Cranberry. Enjoy!

Festive Cranberry-Apricot Pie (fr0m Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

Pie crust
1/2 c sugar
3 Tbl cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
3 15 1/4-ounce cans apricot halves, drained and cut into quarters
1/2 c dried cranberries, snipped
1 egg white
1 Tbl milk
1 Tbl sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Line a 9-inch pie place with 1/2 pie crust. Make edges pretty.

2. In large bowl combine the 1/2 c sugar, the cornstarch, the 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and the salt. Stir in apricots and cranberries. Spoon fruit mixture into pastry-lined pie plate.

3. Roll remaining dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Using a 1- to 1 1/2-inch leaf-shaped cutter or other desired cutter, cut 36 to 40 shapes from the dough. In a small bowl stir together egg white and milk. Brush egg white mixture over pastry shapes; reserve remaining egg white mixture. Stir together the 1 Tbl sugar and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle half of the pastry shapes with the sugar mixture. Arrange 10 to 12 of the shapes, alternating brushed and sprinkled shapes, in a circle in center of the top of pie filling. Brush edge of crust with remaining egg white mixture. Evenly distribute the remaining pastry shapes around edge of crust.

4. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie lightly with foil. Bake in a 375* oven for 35 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 15 minutes more. Cool on wire rack.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This recipe has been served at our Thanksgiving dinners for generations. Well, not really. But we sure like it. I'm a little fuzzy on where the recipe came from (I think from a cookbook called "When Mormons Meet they Eat"), but I say it's my mom's. If you don't like sweet potatoes with marshmallows, give this a try. It's especially delicious for breakfast. Just a little note -- we often leave the nuts out of the topping because several folks in the family have nut allergies. It tastes really good either way.

Bake and then peel and mash: 5 medium sized sweet potatoes.
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 T cream
Place in a casserole and top with the following:
¼ cup soft butter
3 T flour
¾ cups brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
Mix topping until it is like coarse meal. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I make a mean chili. It's a real crowd-pleaser, even though it didn't win our ward chili cook-off last year. I have been asked to post the recipe, and so I will.

I love this time of year because of the food. It's no secret that I'm an eater, and I'm okay with that. Thanksgiving and Christmas are full of such wonderful dishes. Even though they are the same every year, I can't wait to eat them again. This next week, I will be posting some of my favorite recipes. Try them out and let me know how you like them!

Chili con Carne

2 lbs ground beef (can also use a combination of meats, like pork and veal)
1 large onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cans diced tomatoes (save liquid for later)
1/2 cup beef stock
2 packages McCormicks chili spice
2 cans kidney beans, drained

In a large pot, brown ground beef. Add salt and pepper to taste. When meat is no longer pink and broken up into small pieces, remove from pot using a slotted spoon, and place in a bowl. Without draining fat, add the onions and bell peppers to the pot. You may need to add a little olive oil if using a lean meat. Once veggies are tender, add beef to the pot with tomatoes and stock. Add spices. If the chili seems too thick, add some liquid from the diced tomatoes or more beef stock. Simmer on the stove uncovered for at least 30-45 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes. About 5 minutes before serving, add kidney beans.

Serve with fritos, cheese, sour cream, green onions, and corn bread.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mini-me went to school today, Patch is smiling, Flower is coming this afternoon, and Curly is hard at work. Hallelujah!

I am a little worried that I will become sick at the most inopportune time -- such as the night before Thanksgiving. That would be nothing short of tragic. So, I've begun Thanksgiving dinner prep. On Monday, I put together the sweet potato casserole. Today, I made the stuffing and the cranberry sauce. All of that is now in my freezer. I don't want to make the pies just yet, but I will make the dough in the next two days and put that in the freezer as well. I will make the rolls the day of, but I can do those in my sleep. We are going to have peas and mashed potatoes, both of which need to be done day of as well. I'm trying to decide if I want to do green bean casserole or green bean with shallots. I think I'll do green beans with shallots. We have enough rich, cream filled dishes. Curly really wants me to have sauerkraut. He claims it's a "Frederick thing." I'm not quite convinced of that. I think sauerkraut is fine, but not so sure about at the Thanksgiving table. Maybe if my Grandma says it's okay....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Last Sickness

Patch has croup. He is now on the same antibiotic as Curly and Mini-me. He has been a sleepy boy today.

I hope tomorrow I will have something a little less medical to say.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Speaking Too Soon

Last night, Curly and I were working on a puzzle. We were enjoying being just the two of us after a long day of caring for sick ones and his rehearsal. Then, at about 9 pm, the phone rang. It was the doctor Curly and Patch had seen on Wednesday. She told Curly that his lab results had just come in (at 9 pm on a Sunday?) and that he had strep and haemophilus (which is a bacteria that just makes you sicker). He asked if he could pick up the prescription Monday morning, and the doctor answered that since the haemophilus was "insidious," he should get on antibiotics asap. So he did. He's on the same stuff Mini-me took for pneumonia.

I am pretty done with sick people. I have been dodging the bullet through hand washing and sheer dumb luck. But haemophilus? Man, I don't think I can dodge this one...The doctor said the kids won't get it because they have been inoculated for it. However, it can cause pneumonia and conjunctivitis, both things my kids have had. It's a little suspect, don't you think? I have put in a call to the doctor to ask her some questions, and hopefully those will be answered positively (as in: just a coincidence) instead of negatively (as in: come in for lab work).

In the meantime, I have kept Mini-me home for one more day. She still has a little cough and a runny nose. I want her to have one more day of rest before I stick her back in the germ colony that is preschool. The kids are watching Finding Nemo, so I think I'll get some sewing done. Come back tomorrow and see what new infectious disease the O'Kigins have caught!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ezmeralda's House of Crap

I got Ezmeralda's house almost all finished and realized I didn't even like it. The parts I was to backstitch words on looks messy -- you can't even read what it says. I am putting it away for awhile, maybe a year. If I take it out again and like it, then I'll finish it. Otherwise, I'm moving on. I have too much to do to work on it.

Mini-me is feeling much better. She is grouchy and demanding and all other things almost-4-year-olds can be. Patch on the other hand, not so good. He was running a small fever last night, and coughed so much he couldn't catch his breath, and then through a mighty tantrum, thus restricting breathing further. Curly's cold is better, and I am still healthy. I credit my longevity to Diet Coke. Oh, and needlework, which keeps my blood pressure down.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lame Excuses

I am full of lame excuses this week on why I'm not exercising. It's been a week since I hit the gym. Frankly, I am too tired. I've got nothin' left. And, if I did have something left, I should probably expend it on cleaning up the kitchen, right?

Patch has discovered my shoes. He likes to put one on and then walk around the living room. This, and other things, gets Mini-me all riled up. She doesn't think Patch should be able to touch things.

My final thought for the day is about Christmas gifts. Mini-me loves "magic wands." She'll take anything that is long and straight (a stick, a rod, a plastic tube), and wave it around. As I sit typing, she has a magic wand in her hand. I think for Christmas, I will make her a bunch of magic wands, and decorate them with ribbon and sparkles. She'll love it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Know You Want to Be Me

Don't be jealous of my fabulous life. Not even when you hear that Patch has pink eye. That's right, he's sick, too. Curly also has a virus that as yet is unidentified. We are pumping him with Theraflu and chloraseptic. With all of this, I sure hope I get to make another visit to the Target pharmacy tomorrow. They might miss me!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On the Mend

Mini-me is doing much better. Thanks for the prayers and well wishes. Her fever is gone and she is a little more like herself. She's been fighting with Patch today and kicking the dog. Her color is still a little off, and her eyes have yet to regain their sparkle, but we're getting there.

On the other hand, Patch woke up from his nap with goopy eyes. My expert opinion is that he has pink eye. I tried to call tonight to get an appointment for tomorrow, but they schedule their "sick" appointments day of, and the only other appointment they had available to schedule was at 4, when we'll be on our way home from picking up Flower. Hopefully I'll be able to get something earlier with a doctor I like -- not Doctor Lee, or the doctor who, while examining Mini-me at about 15 months, let her fall off the table. I can't remember her name, but I'll know it if I hear it.

I feel pretty good, albeit worn out, but Curly feels sick. His voice is scratchy and he keeps pulling blankets under his chin, which means his throat hurts. I really hope I don't catch any of this stuff. It's only two weeks until Thanksgiving and less than 2 months until Christmas. There's no time for Mama to be sick!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sick Mini-me, the Continuing Saga

Today has been a rough day. I took Mini-me to the doctor, because her fever has been high since Thursday, even with the Motrin/Tylenol dance. We saw a doctor I don't much care for, who was very dismissive and sent us home saying "She has a cold." Frankly, I didn't buy it, and said as much while on my way out. Three hours later, when her fever reached a frightening 105.4, I called back demanding to speak with our normal doctor. I made Curly talk with him, because I was a touch emotional by that point. He was very sympathetic, and said he had seen several cases of pneumonia in the past little while that could only be detected by x-ray, not by listening. We got her in to get a chest x-ray, and by 5:00 we had a new diagnosis of pneumonia. Not a cold. We have her on some heavy duty antibiotics, Curly and our friend gave her a priesthood blessing, and she is fast asleep.

I am emotionally spent. I have felt so neurotic over the past few days. I have not been able to shake the feeling that there was something wrong with Mini-me. That's not a good, nor restful, feeling to have. I even left in the middle of sacrament meeting yesterday to call home, because I was so sure she was in bad shape. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that I am not crazy, yet I wish Mini-me wasn't this sick.

My plan for tomorrow is to keep her in her feety pjs and let her watch movies. Or sleep. Luckily Patch is easily entertained.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sick Mini-me

Mini-me has been running a fever since Thursday. Medicine helps a little, but it doesn't get rid of the fever. She also has a sore throat and a cough. As a strep expert, I don't think she has it. I could be wrong, though. I have been wrong before. Once. We are supposed to have a birthday party for Grandpa tonight, but I think Mini-me and may have to sit this one out. I don't want to get anyone else sick, and I don't want her to get sicker. (More sick? Sicker sounds wrong, like funner.) I'll send my Barefoot Contessa layer cake and some apple dip I made with Curly, Flower, and Patch.

Also on the docket for today is a gig with the Towne Singers. We will be singing on the Trolley that makes a loop around Frederick. We will be singing Christmas songs. Today is the kick-off for the holiday shopping season in Downtown Frederick. It makes me feel panicky inside. I am not anywhere near ready with my gifts this year. I don't even have supplies. I better get on that. I did get my turkey ordered from Hemp's Meats yesterday. At least I'm ahead of the game on that.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thanks and Giving

It's the season for thanks and giving. It's time to put away the whimsy and wonder of Halloween, and put up the traditional. My mother has a couple of cross stitched trays. I love those trays. They are functional, yet display a talent and craft. A couple of years ago, I found the perfect pattern for my first tray.

Right now, it is on my table with a harvest tablecloth and candle holders shaped like turkeys. On Thanksgiving, I will use it to serve appetizers. I am hosting my first Thanksgiving this year. I plan on serving all the traditional things I grew up loving, and also the things my husband loves. I've asked his mother to bring the rice stuffing, and I will provide the bread stuffing. We'll have sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce (from a can, cut on the lines), peas, green beans, and jello salad served on a nice piece of iceberg lettuce that no one eats, but is always there. Since rice stuffing needs to be cooked in a turkey, Judy will do that turkey, and I will do one on the grill, recipe courtesy of my dad. Oh, what a feast. We'll watch the parade, eat lots of food, fall asleep watching football, and play bingo. It's the perfect day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Happy Halloween

Halloween was a raging success. I served chili with cornbread mini-muffins (that had bacon, cheese, and green onions in them) and pumpkin dip. We started with 18 people, and then at 5:30 our surprise visitors of Jessica, Jane, and Abby arrived, bringing the party total to 21. There were 4 babies and 3 big kids to go trick-or-treating. PT really got into the Yoda feeling, and led the way. Patch thought it was very fun, but got a little upset if we took his spider hat off. Mini-me took things at her own pace, while Flower and Jane charged ahead. The sheer volume of candy was astounding. While we were out, Grandma did most of the dishes while GrandPatty and PapaKen handed out candy. The Ex and Rope even had a great time. He had 2 bowls of chili. I'm just saying.

Blogger is not allowing me to upload pictures right now, so I'll add them later. Hope your Halloween was just as spooktacular as ours!