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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

European Adventures with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!

Singing with the Tabernacle Choir on a weekly basis for the past 4-1/2 years has been a dream come true!  I never imagined the amazing opportunities and blessings that serving as an ambassador and music missionary in this choir would bring to me and my family, including this Summer's European Tour!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform at Musikverein in Vienna
And, with your help, we did it!  With hard work, a few yard sales, family cookbook sales, and other contributions, we saved enough for my husband, Evan to join me on the tour!  Thank you for your support!  It meant so much to the both of us.  Life-changing, even.

This is the first of a series of blog posts highlighting our adventures and choir performances in some of the great halls in some of the great cities of Eastern Europe.

Here are some fun facts about touring with a choir this size:
  • 320 choir members, 83 additional guests (comprised of family members of the group, including Evan), 65 orchestra members, directors, staff, stage crew and security;  around 500 people, total. 
  • We flew to our first stop, Berlin, in 20 waves, on 38 different flights.
  • We performed in 7 cities:  Berlin, Nuremberg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Zurich, Brussels and Rotterdam, in 21 days.
  • We traveled between cities on ten buses.  
  • The musical instruments and cubicles with our concert attire were "shipped" (yes, on a ship!) over two weeks prior to the tour. The semi-truck would meet us at each venue where we would change, then grab our instruments and head for the stage (I rang a bell on some of the numbers).
  • Large suitcases were packed prior to the tour and shipped to Munich, which ended up being one of our central hubs.  
  • Choir and Orchestra members would have a sound check the afternoon of performances, basically a quick run-through of the entire concert, to get a feel for the acoustics, correct any sound issues, find our changing rooms, eat dinner (the term "feeding an army" comes to mind), then prepare for the concert.  
  • Meanwhile, guests were treated to nearby excursions in the different cities.  Guests would return and attend each concert, then we'd change, get on our buses and head back to the hotel. 
  • Our security team played a major role in our travels, mapping out "safe zones" for us as we explored the different cities, in league with local police and security in each country, each city and each venue.  We saw armed guards in some of  the cities such as Munich, Brussels and Paris, as they are still on high alert for terrorism. We felt safe, protected and blessed wherever we traveled.
  • Concert attendees made great sacrifices to come and hear us perform. They came from all over the world.  We met people from as far south as Australia, and as far north as Denmark. I know I wasn't the only one weeping each time as we sang "God Be With You 'Till We Meet Again" at the end of our concerts.
Stay tuned as we sort through a couple thousand pictures and post a little about our adventures in the upcoming weeks.  See some quilty side trips over at Quiltscapes, and thanks again for your support!
~the Momma

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sailin'!

Way back in our college days (about 35 years ago), when I was hanging out with Evan and his roommate, Steve, we'd have all kinds of dating adventures that included hiking, rappelling, back yard outdoor toga-party movie nights, and sailing in Steve's little Flying Dutchman sailboat.  Evan has wanted a sailboat of his own and finally found one a couple of years ago.



Jordan came up to spend a Saturday afternoon with his Dad at the lake.  They worked on the boat together, getting it ready.  The winds were perfect, the day could not have been any prettier.  They were unaware that I had come to the lake a little later just to snap some pictures of their maiden voyage.  I watched as they zipped back and forth across the lake.




See that little teeny sail against that gorgeous backdrop?  Then the sail disappeared!  Wha?  Yep.  The wind was so great, and apparently, while they practiced racing around a buoy, they capsized!  I freaked out on the shore, thinking - oh, no!  I'm going to have to call for help, get the coast guard or someone!  I'm watching through the camera lens to see what was going on... a few minutes went by, then all of a sudden, boop!  That little teeny sail popped up out of the water!  They made it!  YAY!! I screamed  and jumped up and down on the shore, miles away.  People looked at me strangely, but oh, well.  At least I got a pretty picture.


Beautiful!
~the Momma

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Girls' Night - Sew Fun!

It has been forever since the girls and I were able to sit down and sew together!  I usually have to bribe and beg, but this time, they all wanted to work on a project.  Makes a Momma so happy!

Chelsea found this cute fabric last year to make herself a cute Hipster bag, and wanted to use the leftover scraps for an apron.  I just happened to have a colorful dishtowel and some jumbo ric-rac in my stash that matched perfectly, along with some leftover binding strips that she could use for the ties!

A little glue stick, a few pins, a bit of stitching... Done in no time and just "sew" adorable!!  Especially for a girl who loves to cook!
Dishtowel Apron Pattern

Nicole has been trying to finish her Cuddly throw for ages - and the fur was flying!!  It's Cuddlesoft designer plush fur (Minky), with long, hairy white cuddle for the outer band.  And since it was so slippery as well as hairy - it took about a million pins to make it manageable, tucking the hair inside the seam and pinning about every inch.  Or less.
See my  Best Tips for Sewing With Plush Fur
Then the hairy trim turned out to be about 5 inches short - aargh!

So we patched in some more and it worked!  She finished sewing on the back the next day.  Here is Princess Cuddlesoft!


Lauren was finishing up her Capstone project for her Family Studies degree at BYU, a beautiful silk Kimono!

She hand-dyed the Dupioni silk, and found a Japanese pattern which she and her husband interpreted, then she made the kimono and all the accessories to go with it.  She figures it took about 180 hours in research, design, prep and construction.  In this picture, sleeves were not yet attached, but she was pretty excited it was coming together.  Can you see the ombre look she was trying to achieve with the blue dye?  Awesome.

Hanging out in the sewing room with my girls is more than just sewing!  The giggles, the fun, the sheer joy of making beautiful things together has been an enormous part of our lives.  Stitched together with love.

~the Momma

~ ~ ~

P.S.  Here are some photos of Lauren's finished project.  You can see the lotus flower design she created in the skirt.

Beautiful.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spaghetti Pie!


Leftover spaghetti?  It's time for Spaghetti Pie!

For each crust, mix together:
2 cups precooked and drained spaghetti, thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, well beaten
Mix ingredients together and press into a buttered 10-inch pie plate to form a "crust".

Over bottom of the crust, spread:
1 cup cottage cheese

Spoon:
3 to 4 cups leftover meat sauce to fill each pie


Top each pie with:
1 c. shredded mozarella cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Slice & Eat.

Oh, Mmmmm!
For the best-ever homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe, see our family cookbook "Home Cookin''".  Your purchase can help send Evan to Europe!  Read all about it HERE.

~the Momma

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sugar Cookies!!

So.  Valentine's Day.

Around here, we all spin through the driveway like it's a revolving door.  That being said, we are mostly home for dinner.  And we take turns in the kitchen.  And on Valentine's day, when we had all landed back home for the evening, the Dad had made Sugar Cookies.

BEST. COOKIES. EVER!  Especially after slathering on the cream cheese frosting.  And don't forget the sprinkles.  

Prize-Winning Sugar Cookies
Cream together:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar

Add:
2 T. cream
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla

In a separate bowl, mix together:
4-1/8 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 c. flour
Combine with creamed mixture.  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough about 1/4" to 3/4" thick  Cut out with cookie cutters.  Place 1" apart on parchment-lined baking sheet, then bake at 400-degrees for 5 to 6 minutes until barely cooked through.  Place cookies immediately on cooling rack.  When cooled, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate.  Might as well make a double batch, because you'll eat the first batch by yourself.  

Cream Cheese Frosting
Combine and beat until creamy: 
8-oz brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. softened butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar

~the Dad

Want more amazing cookie recipes?  Check out our cookbook, available HERE <<

Monday, November 30, 2015

Virtual Cookie Exchange!


Hi, and thanks for stopping by the 3rDegree Bakery today!  If you're visiting for the first time, this little blog is a place for our family of makers to share "what's cooking" at the Chateau de Stott.  


Just Let Me Quilt


Today is DAY I of the Virtual Cookie Exchange, hosted by my friend Carol at JustLetMeQuilt!

Around here, we love to spend time in the kitchen.  It's our gathering place.  And we have collected some amazing, wonderful recipes (see our family cookbook  on the side bar →).  Today's prize-winning, killer cookie recipe is more like a candy bar that will have your minions worshipping at your feet, ready to do anything at your beck and call just to get a bite of these golden nuggets of deliciousness!

The Recipe:  Praline Shortbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

SHORTBREAD CRUST:
Blend:    3/4 c. powdered sugar
             2 c. flour
Cut in until crumbly:  
             1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
Form mixture in to a ball.  Pat or roll into a 9" x 13" baking pan.
Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

PRALINE TOPPING:
In a medium saucepan, melt:
              1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
Add:       1/2 c. honey
              1/4 c. whipping cream
              1/2 c. brown sugar
Mix over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add:
               4 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped
When crust comes out of the oven, top with nut mixture.
 Return to oven until topping is bubbly and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Cool completely; cut into bite-sized squares.  Yield:  48 
~~~
Oh, that shortbread crust!!  And to show you just how delicious, I used practically the same shortbread recipe to make Thumbprint cookies for my daughter's wedding!  You can check it out HERE.  Buttery, flaky, melt-in your mouth delicious.  You could just skip the praline topping, sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top or eat it plain!

But the praline topping, mmmm-buttery rich caramel-covered nutty goodness!  This time, we used walnuts from the tree in front of my daughter's apartment.  

Harvest 'em.

Shuck 'em.

Crack 'em.  That was the Dad's assignment.


Collect.

Cook.

Add nuts, pour over the shortbread crust.  Bake. 

Cool; Cut.

Eat 'em.,,


Yum.

We like to make these at Christmas time and assemble little plates with a few homemade instant  Caramels for neighbor gifts.  Looks like we'll have to put the Dad to work again!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Master List - updated with direct links: 
Deonn at 3rd Degree Bakery ← you are here

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Aebleskivers!


Chelsea recently watched a travel show with our favorite puzzle artist, Eric Dowdle, featuring the Danish village of Solvang, California.  These little Danish Pancake Balls caught her eye, and she had to try them!  She bought the pan at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and we set to making a scrumptious breakfast.

Basically, an aebleskiver is a little round pancake, filled with some kind of fruit compote in the middle.  Brush each section with butter and pour in 1 Tablespoon of batter.  Add a little filling, then top with another Tablespoon of batter.


Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, until you see the batter start to bubble, then flip over (Chels used a chopstick) and cook another couple of minutes.


Getting the hang of it.


We just used the recipe that came with the pan, with a grated apple-pie-type filling.  I tried a few with huckleberry jam, and oh, ummm!

Dust with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar and serve.  I ate mine with butter and syrup, like regular old pancakes.  Here's a recipe from Food.com if you want to try:  Aebleskivers.


Now I'm wondering about filling the middles with ham & cheese or bacon, or maybe Nutella...

Deliciousness.

~ the Momma

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