Friday, January 26, 2018

Orange Cranberry Caramel Rolls Quick & Easy!

What to do when the man of the house is craving cinnamon rolls and you don't want the thick gooey frosting? Compromise and create a yummy caramel roll infused with orange, and slathered with cranberry sauce in the center. 

 We bought a bag of oranges that are hit and miss. Some are flavorful and juicy, others are rather dry. Thus the reason I usually don't by bagged anything in the way of fruit. All is not a loss though, because I juiced a couple of the oranges and grated the peel on one to make the most amazingly flavorful rolls, if I do say so myself, and I just did!

These rolls are soft, with a nice caramel topping, buttery and sweet, with a touch of sunshine and Autumn all rolled into one. Yes, I know it's officially winter, but I had leftover cranberry sauce that was crying to be used, and I associate cranberries with Autumn mostly. The plus side is that these are relatively quick and easy. Enough of this chatter though, lets get cooking!



1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted in a 9" x 12" baking pan
2 T honey
1 T. grated orange rind


3-3 1/2 c.  flour
1/4 c. oats
2 T. flaxseed meal
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/c each orange juice, and water
1 T. each butter and oil
1 egg
1 T. grated orange rind


2 T.  cinnamon sugar + 1/4 cup brown sugar
 brush rolled out dough with some of the melted butter in the baking pan
1/4 - 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1 T. grated orange rind

Grease 13 x 9 inch pan. melt one cube of butter in the pan by placing in the oven heated to 250. Check after five minutes. Combine all dry ingredients listed under ROLLS in your mixer bowl. Heat to very warm the orange juice and water. Add the liquid, orange rind and egg to the dry ingredients and mix on low using the dough hook,  until combined, turn up to medium low and continue to mix until a nice soft dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes.

On a  clean, floured, dishcloth roll out the dough to a 15x7 inch rectangle  Brush the dough with some of the melted butter in the baking pan. Using a wide spatula spread a very thin layer of the cranberry sauce on the buttered dough. Sprinkle the combined sugar over the cranberry sauce, the orange rind, and then roll the dough up starting on a long side.

Add the orange rind, 1/2 cup brown sugar and two tablespoons of honey to the baking pan and mix with the melted butter. Cut the dough into twelve slices. Place them in the baking pan and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a dishtowel. Let rise until doubled in size, in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes.

Taking off the plastic wrap or towel, place the rolls in the oven on an upper rack, and turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and let sit for 1 minute, then turn out onto tinfoil. Whaalaa! Pure heaven for breakfast! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Bearers of Heavenly Light - Women of Strength Who March Quietly In the Path of Service and Love

On a day when women are taking to the streets to protest perceived injustices, I want to take a moment to pay honor to those quiet bearers of heavenly light, who go about their days in humble service. These angels of mercy are a strength and example to me, and those who know and love them.

I won't mention names, because there are so many good women I know that I fear I may forget someone and cause hurt feelings. There is a dear lady who wanted to have something to do to help others in our congregation, so we called her to be one of our compassionate service leaders. She will be organizing women to help take a meal in, or care for children, or whatever the need was in any emergency or care need situation. She was so excited when she found out what we wanted her to do, she hugged me, and got tears in her eyes.

I recently put a text out to give this same lady a ride to a doctor's appointment 7 hours away, on the other side of the state. Within 3 hours, I had a response from someone who needed to go to Portland anyway, so they left the day before the appointment, and this dear lady got a hotel room for them both along with driving and paying for gas, and I think some of the food.

Today, after having surgery three days ago, the first lady is being driven home by another angel of mercy, who came down from Washington, where she cares for her ailing mother, to bring the patient home. When this recovering woman gets home, her visiting teacher will be there to provide the proper diet she will need to recover and heal, and help organize any other need such as cleaning, tending to the dog and such.

I know of another woman who has an elderly woman staying in their home, to care for her. They aren't related, but the need was there, and she and her husband (when he's home), take turns seeing to her needs. This takes a lot of sacrifice of time to do things she would probably rather be doing at times, to care for someone who needs long term care.

Recently we had a huge cultural event in Idaho for a temple dedication. Our youth were asked to learn a dance, and we were given the task of sewing their costumes. Several women participated in the sewing project, but we had 19 flapper style dresses to make, so this was a huge undertaking. One woman spent several all nighters sewing seven of the dresses all by herself, and they turned out gorgeous. Considering the slippery fabric that tended to snag and fray , the pattern issues and multiple sizes, plus lack of time to get these done, these women did an amazing job, and our girls looked awesome!
I wish I had a picture of them in costume, but these are some of the finished dresses.

I also know of women who have volunteered for years on our local Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts committee. Their dedication to the arts here in our little neck of the woods has been amazing, some serving on the committee for 10 years or more. They are a positive force for good in bringing the arts and culture here, as well as helping support local businesses and galleries.

One of my friends is a genealogist, and helps people on a weekly basis to organize and build their family trees online.

There are countless women I can think of who will take time out of their days to lift another through a visit, or phone call, or ride to wherever they need to go. Many of these women donate money as well to help the poor and needy in our valley and elsewhere. Their good deeds are many, and make our world a better place to be. They lighten and brighten the days of so many, and are bearers of heavenly light.

These are just some of the most recent stories I can share that come to mind. I hope you will share your stories here in the comments so we can perhaps lift each other, and realize just how much good is being done in our world today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday Beef Brisket


There's something to be said for quick and easy during the holiday season. All the baking, running around shopping, attending parties, more baking, wrapping gifts, visiting friends, and family, MORE baking, decorating, whew! Who has time to get too elaborate during Christmas?! 

We recently had a unique for me at least Christmas party called a night in Bethlehem, at our church. The premise was that people would come "to be taxed and counted" to "Bethlehem". After traveling so far, of course they would want to eat and rest, so we had market stalls where food could be "purchased". 

As I looked into middle eastern, and specifically Jewish recipes, I had a very hard time finding any truly traditional recipes for the time period of when the Savior, Jesus Christ, was born. I did find modern recipes that came from some of the many cultures that have come and gone in the middle east, as well as dishes picked up and embraced by the scattered tribes of Israel. 

I found several recipes for beef brisket so I plucked a recipe off the internet, and made it my own with a change in an ingredient or two. It was a super hit, as the beef was served shredded in pitas, rolls or bagels, whatever they chose, and the sandwich could be layered with cucumber, salad greens and such. We also had classic Jewish deli chicken salad for those who aren't as big into beef, and to provide variety. There were plenty of sides and delicious treats, so we had a great feast, a delightful and spiritually uplifting program, and everyone left with full tummies and touched hearts. Since then he requests have come in for the beef recipe so here it is!


A melt in your mouth beef that’s perfect for slicing and serving with traditional potatoes and veggies, or shredding and layering with onion and creamy horseradish on a sourdough roll, depending on how you want to serve it.

1 5-8 lb beef brisket, back fat trimmed

1 1/2 c. ketchup

1 1/2 c. fruit preserves or jam such as peach, apricot, apple, fruit based mincemeat, or a combo of those

1 package Lipton’s Onion soup mix

1 c. water

Place the brisket in a baking dish or pan large enough to hold it. in a bowl combine the liquid ingredients with the soup mix and pour over the meat. Turn the brisket to coat both sides. cover tightly with foil and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

Place directly in an oven set at 275 degrees and let cook for 6-8 hours, flipping once about half way through. You can also cook this in a slow cooker, but a lot of people like the crispy edges you get on the meat when it’s roasted in the oven.

The meat should pull apart easily when using two forks to test for doneness.

Once sliced or shredded put back in the pan it was roasted in to soak up more of the delicious juices, and keep warm until serving.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sisters Forever!

 I can'e even begin to tell you how happy it has made me to be able to meet at least two of my new found siblings! Estelle, her daughter Jessica and partner, and two of Estelle's grandchildren flew over from Guam to go to Disneyland, shop and see family and friends. I thought I was good at shopping but these ladies are professionals! They have to be, because their choices are somewhat limited on Guam, and shipping is double what we pay so ordering online is rather pointless.
Jessica was the "ringleader" on their shopping forays, and she runs a tight ship let me tell you! She's sweet as can be, as they all are, and super smart.
 We went to Joe's Crab Shack in Vancouver for dinner the first night we met, and had a blast.  Madison and Michael are the best children! Well okay, Michael is a young teen., but they both are so sweet, polite and aren't afraid of adults. You can tell they are loved and well cared for.
Jocelyn is Jessica's partner, and very sweet as well. 
I wish we would have had more time with all of them, as the chances of seeing them again any time soon is low. I get so ill when I fly, it sends me into panic attacks. We will have to figure this all out as I have two more siblings on Guam I want to meet. I believe I found my younger brothers and sisters for  a reason, and I don't want to drop the ball on getting to know them all better. 

So almost a month ago now Nature Guy and I took off to Colorado to meet my sister Josie and her family. She and her husband spoiled us so much I didn't want to leave!

They both work so hard, but also like to play, so they took us to Estes Park for browsing through the shops since it was drizzling out. Josie and I have similar taste in some things, so that was fun to find out. We look forward to seeing them next summer. 
Again, the dilemma of living so far away from everyone, and I don't fly. Ugh! I pray this can be resolved somehow, as I also don't get to see my oldest daughter much, and she could use my visits for moral support and help. I'm forever grateful to know that whatever happens in this life, families can be together forever. I may come back and edit this later. I'm having a hard time expressing my thoughts, but let's just say I'm happy to have met all the family I have so far, and hope to meet the rest soon.

Monday, July 31, 2017

They Shall Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

 I sit here typing with berry stained hands, loving that I can even do that. We have had a bumper crop of raspberries and found an amazing blackberry patch, so I'm in seventh heaven. We get to snack on berries all day long, and I'm gathering gallon bags full in the freezer.

I pulled out one of my favorite antique Ball Blue Book canning books from 1932, and noticed this saying on the inside first page.

 "They shall call her blessed - this woman, who - loving and thoughtful of future joy and health - secures the goodness of Nature at her best, and cans against the barren sameness of the Winter months. Well does she look to the ways of her household. "

I love that paragraph as it speaks to my inner heart and soul. For me, gardening, canning, and preserving are a way to show my love and support our family in being healthy, staying out of debt, and enjoying the good things God blesses us with.

Tomorrow we go out for more blackberries because I've challenged my husband to try and eat what we have on hand, so we need plenty to go to.  He's very good about that sort of thing, so we are going to see how far we get into the winter without having to buy anything but dairy, meat and perhaps snack things like crackers. It will be fun to see how creative we can get. I will keep in touch.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This Is the Reason I Fight.... A Mother's Day Share...

There are times in ones life that we reflect on the challenges our adult children are going through and wonder how we may have impacted their lives. I still cringe when I think of some of the choices I made after my children's father left. It was a no win situation, but I can't say I handled it very well at all times either.

My heart aches when I see their struggles with exes and life in general. It's not what I wanted for them, although I know that no one has a perfect life without struggles. Even the most faithful of good and decent people have their burdens and trials.

I will say this though, I did try and do some things right, such as trying to keep the home they had lived in a good portion of their life up to the time of our split. I worked odd jobs cleaning homes for people, I worked 16 hour days part of the week, working 6 days a week to keep up with attorney fees, and ended up selling our home, the piano, and anything else of value to try and pay that off. I tried to stay active in church, and struggled with that, primarily because the kids were all mad at me, and weren't with me on most Sundays. It was so hard to go and see all the intact families and not feel so deeply alone, and hopeless. I said no to the men who thought I should hop in bed with them, and no when my children thought I shouldn't have such high standards in dating and finding someone who might respect and care for me in the right way. It was important that they see that there could be a better way.

I spent many lonely hours trying to sort out everything that was going on, feeling abandoned by everyone pretty much, even though that wasn't necessarily true. It sure felt like it sometimes. Not having my own mom around, or parents that really wanted to be there didn't help. It's hard to express all that I want because there is so much that would cause hurt by sharing, so I will leave it be.

I still fight for my children, all grown up, and trying to make their way, through prayer, trying to visit when I can afford to, messages, money, and so on. Is it enough? Maybe not, I'm not sure any more. I constantly feel like I'm chasing my tail financially, always trying to find a way to have the money to go see them, and never quite being able to be there as much as I would like.

To top that off, there's that invisible wall that sometimes is hard to break through when there's been a divorce in the family. Even when my children live close by, I don't see them as much as I should or would like to. Misunderstandings, taboo topics, stressful lives all seem to create a barrier that I don't know how to deal with. I marvel at mothers who can tell their adult children whatever is on their mind and not cause a major rift. Maybe that's just the dynamic of their relationships, whereas I've tried both being frank, and being cautious and I still don't fare well.

I will continue to be a warrior mother in my own way though. I love my children and grandchildren with all my heart. The world they were born into is harsh sometimes, and confusing most times. My stance is to choose the right, and come what may. I will fight for truth, for peace, for faith, for God, as that is how I can best serve my family. I know I still make mistakes, but Heavenly Father is merciful, and lets me know when I need to change something I'm doing, or just stop something.

I Know Where I Stand As a Woman In My Faith and With God

 I was at Missy's Uptown Art in our little slice of heaven, to sit and paint demo while the annual Oregon Mountain Cruise Car show was happening right on our main street here in Joseph. A young mom came into the gallery with her adorable six year old daughter. The first thing I heard this mom say to her daughter was, "look for a painting that depicts either abstract, impressionism or realism." "Impressive!" I thought to myself, so when they wandered my way, I struck up a conversation with her. I told this mom I heard what she instructed her daughter and asked her if she home schooled. She beamed a yes, and proceeded to tell me about the classical music and art units she had been working on with her daughter. It did my heart good to see and meet a mom who took her role as mother seriously, in the way she knew best to do it. I know several young moms who home school, and the results are amazing. These moms all happen to be members of my faith, but I don't know if this mom was religious or not. She sure was dedicated to her little family though, and seemed very content in her role as mom and wife as I watched her interact with her husband and toddler son.

The next day I saw a Facebook post that linked to an article by former President Jimmy Carter. In the article he tells why he left his faith of sixty years because the leaders had done this, "quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service."

He goes on to talk about the way women are treated in various religions and countries, and yes, he's right,  there's a lot that needs to be changed in the way women are treated around the world. I would like to share my thoughts on all of this, as the difference in what I live in my faith, and what others experience, and how they look at leadership roles within religion is striking.

Sunday night as I lay in bed, I was thinking about what I had read, in contrast to what I've been through and done at church and elsewhere. Here's some of the things that came to mind.

1. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we start very young in speaking at the pulpit in church. My first talk in Primary was when I was about six or seven and it was two and a half minutes long. Do you know how long that seems when you are a little child? Eons, no centuries!!!! Primary is our children's organization for those who don't know.  I trembled,  I balked, but no I wasn't forced to give the talk. I was asked that I at least give it a try. I so wanted to do the right thing so I spoke, but I shook the whole way through. To this day I sometimes still tremble when public speaking, but that hasn't stopped me from trying. Some would say it's probably because I'm opinionated and like to share my opinions too much. My family didn't take the opportunity, but each week except for Fast Sunday, we have different families or leaders giving talks from the pulpit in sacrament meeting. Think about that! We don't hear from our bishop every week, everyone has a turn. On Fast Sunday we have the opportunity to share our testimonies with the congregation and that applies to everyone. So our children get leadership training from an early age, both male and female. We are often assigned topics, but are never told what to say, as that is left to us to seek divine guidance on what the Lord would have the congregation hear from us.

2. I can be and have been a valued leader in the congregations I have lived in. As a woman I can be a Relief Society president, Primary President, Young Women president, ward missionary, Family History consultant, or Center director, and more. I can teach Gospel Doctrine to the adult Sunday school class as well. Do I or will I hold the priesthood? No, but I believe in order, and organization. Does this mean I'm any less valued? Heavens no! I have served as a president in all the organizations listed, and have been sought out many a time by my priesthood leaders on my opinion or thoughts on dealing with certain issues or people, as well as how I would implement or organize an event or activity. There have been times when I didn't agree with what local leaders did, but I stood my ground based on church policy and was respected for that stand. In most cases the priesthood men know that if something is to be done, and done right, they ask the women to handle it. Are there priesthood holders who are top down, or micro managers? You bet! They are human, and flawed like us all, but they aren't picked to be in those positions because they are necessarily great leaders. We are all given opportunities to grow through the callings we serve in within our church, and the Lord knows what we need to grow and progress.

3. In our youth organizations the young men and young women have responsibilities as class leaders. They have a president and two counselors in most cases, and counsel with the bishop monthly on activities, as well as goals for the youth. The boys and girls are split up during this time, but they have plenty of opportunities to interact and work together.

4. We as women play a critical role in the plan of salvation. Without us, the spirits waiting to come to earth and gain their mortal bodies would never get that chance. Without Eve, Adam couldn't have fulfilled his mission here on earth. Without our mother Eve, none of us would be here today. We have been divinely gifted with the opportunity to directly work with our heavenly parents in a way that men will never be able to. For them to be the priesthood holders and not women is okay, because we are equal and yet different in the roles we play in God's plan. Our influence for good is immeasurable if we choose to be leaders, and not follow the ways of the world. That may mean different things to different women, but here's one thing I know, and that's that women are valued and cherished in my faith and by our Heavenly Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.

I'm glad that I know where I stand. I so wish that all women of the world could have this blessing.