Friday, February 4, 2011


Don't ask why I felt the need to title this post "puddin'" instead of, well, anything normal. Today is a snow day (sort of) and I feel a little wild! I had the plan to clean the I did a few random things to reach that goal...then I came up with an excuse to get on the computer...and here I am! In a semi-clean (not really) apartment blogging :) Yay.

SO I am really obsessed with the blog This woman cooks things (and takes pictures of them) the way I wish I could. If you want to see HER version of vanilla bean pudding go here. I tried my best to copy it and it turned out DELICIOUS. Next time I won't cook it as long...but I waited for it to "simmer" for too long until I realized "You're stirring this constantly dummy! It probably won't start simmering for a vvvvveeerrry long time. Bite the bullet, cut your losses, and just stop cooking this so you can eat it faster."

Here is the recipe (directly from so the pictures make a little more sense...

"2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)

1 large egg

Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean (if you’re replacing it with extract, don’t add it yet; if you’d like to toss the leftover vanilla bean pods in the pot with the simmering milk for an extra vanilla boost, go for it) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.

Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Stir in vanilla extract, if you’re using it and divide pudding among 6 dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours."

This is the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean! I had never used a vanilla bean before...what an adventure! You cut the vanilla bean down the middle then scrape the inside out with your knife. It looks like ants crawling around all that white...but it's not, I promise. (The 2 cups of whole milk are warming on the stove at this point...)

Here I am adding the 2/3 c. milk to the dry ingredents...and whisking furiously to prevent lumps!

Added the egg...this picture isn't very appetizing is it?

Added the boiling milk to the other ingredients (GRADUALLY and whisking constantly again) then transferred it all back to the warm saucepan to bring to a simmer...Mine never really got to a simmer (I took this picture right after I added it to the pot so all those bubbles are from me whisking it so much in the previous step). But I went with my instincts and took it off the heat about ten minutes after putting it on the stove. Seems too long in hindsight...I'm open to suggestions and advice!

This is the end result! I do not remember it looking this yellow...but it was delicious regardless. Seriously, so good. I will probably make this all the time now. The limiting factor will be the vanilla bean, but I will just use extract when I'm desperate and don't feel like making a trip to the store for a single vanilla bean.

Thanks for reading! I hope to be adding lots more food-related things and cooking adventures to the stay tuned.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The H-E-B Family

Howdy everyone!
As you may know, Adam and I are both employees of H-E-B. My employment with H-E-B was always a dream of mine and I'm so excited Adam works for my fave company as well! Adam works at the newest H-E-B Plus in Bulverde. He was hired to work in the General Merchanidse section which is any non-food item that is not a prescription drug...and if you've ever been to an H-E-B Plus, you know that General Merchandise is HUGE there! He was hired as a part-time employee and was promoted to full-time in 9 days! I'm so proud of him :)

I work at the San Antonio Retail Support Center. There are several plants there including meat, milk, ice cream (Creamy Creations...YUMM), floral, bakery, snacks, and more. I am a lab technician on the Quality Assurance team at the milk and culture plant. It's my job to make sure all the fluid and culture products are safe and within specifications (ie 2% milk is actually 2%, the sour cream has the correct amount of butterfat, etc.) It's very exciting and keeps me very busy.

It has given me a whole new appreciation of how much work goes into each and every food product that is manufactured. Next time you buy any food item in the grocery store think about how many people and how much time has gone into making sure it is the highest quality possible. Between the people driving semi trucks full of ingredients, warehouse employees, the production team, maintenance people to keep everything running, quality employees (like me), sanitation specialists, finished product warehouse employees, people to transport the finished product, and THEN it gets to a store where it is stored, moved, counted, priced, and everything else! Whew!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As I promised...

Here are some pics from Christmas 2010...

The beginning of the attempt to take an "All The Grandkids" picture.

#1. All the boys are technically in the picture but Joey is sleepy and Kaleb is busy. Conner is thinking "Please give me the baby. I have the pillow ready and everything!" Micah is wondering why nobody else is ready to take this picture.

#2. Joey has been re-positioned but is still attempting to sleep. Kaleb is on the move and Conner is smiling because he finally has Kallie. Once again, Micah is chillin.
#3. Not sure what is happehing here. Obviously Aggie had to step in...looks like a Coach (Joey's blanket) related issue. Conner, still smiling. Micah, still wondering what's taking so long. Kaleb, still on the move.
#4. This one is blurry because I was laughing so hard, I apologize. Kaleb thought it would be a good time to start singing Jingle Bells while doing an adorable dance only 1 1/2 year olds can do. Priceless.

#5. Success! Kallie is a tad upset that it took her silly brother and cousins this long to cooperate, but I think it's a keeper!

A few other random pictures...

Kaleb playing with one of his many trucks...
Kaleb L-O-V-E-D Adam's boots...actually anyone's shoes for that matter.
They almost fit :)
Proud Aunt Caroline holding precious Kallie.
Joey and Kaleb playing with a new toy and clearly loving life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas 2010

Howdy everyone! I hope 2011 has been treating you well so far. I have not posted in a while...there is much to update on.

We spent Christmas with Adam's family. It was a blast! Both of Adam's siblings were there too, along with the spouses and kids! There were 13 people all celebrating Christmas together and it was nonstop fun. I hardly remembered to take pictures because we were all constantly playing, laughing, and running around...a perfect Christmas with the family :). Celebrating Christmas with kiddos involved is so much fun!
Early Christmas morning we went to Tiffany and Kevin's house to watch Kaleb open presents. When he first walked into the living room I think he was a little unsure what to think...a room of adults was all staring at him expectantly and grinning from ear to ear. He walked to the middle of the room, looked around, and ran up to Gammie to give her a big hug. After a little bit of prodding ("Hey Kaleb, what are all those things under the tree") he explored the presents...and loved it!
The Wells brood arrived that afternoon and we all opened our presents from eachother and Santa. Talk about controlled chaos! Adam's mom was under, in, and behind the tree trying to get out all the gifts. The gifts are labeled using a color code and we are shouting the colors at eachother trying to distribute the presents correctly. ("Rachel, who is blue?" "Hand this to red!" "Put this on Purple's stack!!") Meanwhile, the little ones had already started opening their presents and proclaiming their excitement for the latest Wii game, book, etc. All in all, it was a super fun and unforgettable Christmas.

(Unfortunately I am writing this blog at a coffee shop and do not have my camera to upload pictures. I know that pictures are the best part of a blog so I will try to upload them soon. SPOILER ALERT: I have a great one of all the kiddos in their Christmas pajamas that took about ten minutes to take. Be excited.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to All! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and it has always been a relaxing, fun, and comfortable hang-out day in my family. My Mom cooks a very classic meal that we steal bites of throughout the day and then we all sit down together for the FEAST. We have a tradition (as I'm sure many people do) where everyone at the table says what they are thankful for. This year my parents drove down from OKC and stayed with Adam and I Wednesday through Sunday. It was amazing to see them and we were very happy to host them in our new apartment. Here is a brief summary of what we were all thankful for:
  • Adam: Me (how sweet!) and the fact that we are celebrating our 1 1/2 year anniversary this month.
  • Me: Adam (I know, we are cheesy) and the fact that we have delicious, healthy, and wholesome food readily available to us.
  • Mom: That someone in her family decided to come to America and start a better life many years ago.
  • Dad: Us welcoming him and my Mom into our house.
When I was in college I made a small Thanksgiving meal with roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole, and apple pie but this year felt different. As our first year to HOST a Thanksgiving I wanted everything to be perfect. I decided to make a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (including stuffin muffins, more on this later...) applesauce, green beans bundles, and gravy. Besides a late start due to a persistently frozen turkey, everything went extremely well!

Stuffin Muffins! This a fairly recent food tradition my family now has. We put the remaining stuffing that does not fit in the bird into muffin tins! The outsides get crispy and brown while the inside stays moist and a little soft. I put too much chicken broth in the stuffing...but other than that, it was fabulous!

Putting the bird IN THE OVEN! I thought we would be eating a Thanksgiving lunch around noon. I did not get the bird into the oven until 12:30...oops!

My Dad and I took turns mincing the apples for applesauce. I love how Thanksgiving is a family affair bringing everyone into the kitchen, my favorite place!
Green bean bundles! This consists of fresh green beans wrapped in bacon and drizzled in a delicious combination of chicken stock, seasonings, and brown sugar. The greens beans get a rich, deep, roasted flavor and the bacon becomes crispy and slightly sweet from the brown sugar.
Mommy and me. She definitely passed her love of Thanksgiving down to me.
I absolutely LOVE making applesauce. It tastes amazing and makes the house smell great! I knew it was an odd choice for the Thanksgiving menu but it was nice to have a sweet side dish amongst all the salty/savory side dishes.
This is an action shot of me adding the "Turkey Hat". After cooking the bird for a few hours at low/moderate heat I crank up the heat to 475-500 degrees F and put a layer of aluminum foil over the breast meat to protect it from drying out too much while the other skin gets nice and crisp!
Adding butter to the mashed potatoes..REAL BUTTER. We usually eat Smart Balance only...but I thought that if there was ever an occasion to eat butter, Thanksgiving is it!
The majority of the spread! I am wearing an apron that Adam's sweet Grandmother made for me! It is reversible and says "Caroline's Kitchen" on the front. I LOVE IT and feel very domestic when I wear it.
The helpers! My Dad is carving the rest of the turkey and my Mom is washing the mountain of dishes. Thank you for coming down to see us and thank you for all the help! We love y'all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I realize I have been silent on my blog for a while. Oops :)
During the blog silence I was busy applying for jobs, interviewing, and mostly getting rejected. But luckily, it only takes one YES and all the other NO'S don't matter. And that's exactly what happened!
I applied for a Quality Assurance Technician position at the H-E-B Milk Plant in San Antonio. Most people that know me well know that I am OBSESSED with H-E-B. I applied for this job on a total whim, thinking it would end up like all the other jobs I applied for. However, a few days after applying I got a phone call to ask if I was still interested (um....YES!) and we scheduled a phone interview. The phone interview went well (despite me being a nervous wreck!) so we scheduled a face-to-face interview for the following Friday. That Thursday night I left after I got out of work and drove down to the Perry's to spend the night. They were SO kind and accommodating to me in letting me come on such short notice. ***On a side note, they have been very accommodating to both Adam and I throughout their entire summer! THANKS PERRYS!!*** The night before the interview I could hardly sleep for fear of oversleeping. I woke up around 5:15 AM to get ready and make sure I left with plenty of time to make it through traffic. I got the H-E-B Retail Support Center around 7:15 AM. My interview was at 9 AM....awesome huh? I preceded to sit in my car for an hour (thank goodness for my iPhone) and decided to head into the complex around 8:15 AM. I wasn't sure how long it would take for me to get to the interview because it involved getting a security pass, going through two receptionists, and taking a trolley to the interview location. I got to the actual milk plant around 8:40 AM and waited to be called!
The interview went well...I was pretty nervous but just tried to smile and convey how much I would love to work for H-E-B and always have. I left around 10:15 AM and didn't feel like I did very well..."good interview experience for the future" I thought. My HR contact for H-E-B called me at noon to ask how the interview went...and offer me the position! I was ecstatic! I called Adam, called my Mom, and starting planning our move to San Antonio. The following weekend Adam and I came down to search for apartments (Thanks again to the Perry's for graciously hosting us). We found one we really liked, signed the lease, and headed back to Abilene on Monday to pack everything and prepare to move...again...
The move went really well thanks to help from friends packing with us and lots of friends and family helping us load, unload, and unpack! So thank you Lindsey, Jordan, Eddie, Kevin, Tiffany, Pam, Carla, Robbie, Mitchell, Haley, Aruni, and Kaleb :).Moving is no fun at all and I've always said it's a true friend that is willing to help a friend move.
My first day is Monday Sept. 20...I will update more on what I will actually be doing. For now I just tell people "I will make sure that the H-E-B milk and milk products won't make you sick" but I know more will go into it.
The company Adam has been working for, Quick Roofing, has an office in San Antonio he can easily transfer! What a blessing! God has made so many transitions regarding this move very smooth and we are so thankful!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What I learned on Summer Vacation

  • Invest in a full body suit if you ever plan on going tubing for 5+ hours. Otherwise, you will burn the entire front half of your body. Including your feet. And you might not be able to walk for two days.
  • Take a note from the Peterson clan and pack 4 coolers for 11 people tubing 5+ hours. (We had more food than I have in my entire house. We had two kinds of sandwiches, 3 kinds of sandwich crackers, goldfish, cheez-its, pecan wheels, nectarines, plums, 2 kinds of grapes, cherries, and pineapple!)
  • Add cream cheese to everything. It will probably make it better.
  • Big Lou's Pizza is the best pizza on the PLANET! (It's a pizza place in South San Antonio that was featured on Travel Channel's Man vs. Food for having a 42 inch pizza!)
  • How to play Cadillac/31!
  • Time spent with family and friends is the best time.
These gems of knowledge were accumulated while Adam and I stayed in San Antonio for a 4 day vacation. My sister and brother-in-law came down from Denver and we all stayed at my sister's best friend's house outside of La Vernia, TX. It was a great vacation filled with food, fun, food, TOOBING (that's how I'm obligated to spell it) and food. Special thanks to Rachel and Ben for making it all possible! And thank you Pawelek's who graciously opened their home to all of us! Love yall!