Sunday, December 27, 2009

Greyson's Gift

I originally wanted to share a recipe and some reflections with you today, but decided this was far more important. Earlier this year a dear friend's daughter lost a baby. The mommy, Meryntha, has turned her heartache into a positive though by starting a volunteer project to make preemie blankets for hospitals. Please visit Meryntha's site and see how you can help. If you can sew you can do this! Thank you!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Warm Wishes & Cranberry Butterscotch Ring

As I left the apartment early this morning the mist over the desert had me feeling I'd been transported to Oregon. The light filtered through the wet moist air in soft shades of pastels like a sugary fairy land. The excitement of Christmas is coming back as we end the week and know that we have a couple of weeks to re-group and rest.
For my internet friends I want to share a wonderful recipe that's been sitting in my recipe file for many years as my Happy Holidays gift. I tried this for the first time this last week at the prompting of a radio show host who shared some of her rules for the season:
1. Don't count calories from December 1 to January 2nd.
2. Try a new holiday recipe.
3. Be a secret Santa or do the 12 days of Christmas for someone new this year. ( Okay the last one is mine, but for the life of me I can't remember the rest of her So here's one new recipe to try!
Here's to a Merry Christmas for my Christian friends. Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends, and best wishes to all of you. May you be blessed with all the good things that have been put on this earth for our happiness. May the love you send out be returned an 100 fold.

This recipe has been changed as usual... :-). It was originally Cherry Butterscotch Ring but I didn't have any candied cherries so I substituted Craisins, yummy! Oh, and I substituted canola oil instead of shortening. It makes for a moist breakfast cake that stays moist. Enjoy!


1/3 cup of butter or margarine (I used butter)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1/2 cup of pecan or walnuts
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 dry yeast or 1 scant tablespoon
3/4 cup warm water[105 -115 degrees F.]
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2-1/4 cups of flour
1 egg
1/4 cup of canola oil
Melt butter,brown sugar,and corn syrup.Pour into a 6 cup ring mold or baking pan 9x9x2. Sprinkle nuts and cranberries over mixture.In a bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in granulated sugar, salt, and half the flour. Beat 2 min. Add egg and oil. Beat in remaining flour until smooth.Drop dough by small spoonfuls over nuts and cherries in pan.Cover;let rise in warm place until double. 40-60 min. Heat oven to 375 degrees[F].Bake 30-35 min.or till brown.Watch as it may brown quickly. If so place a sheet of foil over the top until done. Immediately invert on to a serving platter.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Conversations & Killer Ribs

Have you ever noticed how conversations are like a creative process unplanned? You start off with one thought that, depending on the shape the initial sentence takes, can change the whole dimension of the topic. The other morning we were talking about the dutch oven Killer Ribs my husband was going to fix for dinner that night. Because it's been so cold lately he decided to cook them indoors, in the oven. He was unsure about how well they would cook outdoors. He commented on the idea that it must have been tough for pioneers to cook outdoors at times and then moved on to seasonings, that for the pioneers probably consisted of salt and perhaps pepper, where as we use such spicy flavorings as Sriracha and most locals couldn't handle the spicy heat we like in our food which evolved into gratitude that we can choose what we eat every day, that also made us grateful for his work, and what a blessing it has been for us to live in Wendover, even though neither one of us really like it here, but hey there are nice people here, inspite of their aloofness at times, and we are lucky to be able to pay for our home in Oregon because of our situation here, and God sure has blessed us! All that from where he was going to cook the Killer Ribs.


1 bottle (14 ounces) ketchup
1/2 cup apricot or peach preserves
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder



In a conventional oven, 1 1/2 hours at 375 degrees. serves 6 - 8

Monday, December 7, 2009

Natalie Cole and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I'm so excited to be going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Wondrous Gift of Christmas
Christmas Concert! Natalie Cole will be performing as the featured guest artist, wow! My hubby got online right when the ticket lottery opened and we found out that we got tickets! I love Natalie Cole, and the performances for the choir Christmas events are always spectacular. Even better is that it's free! So we get a top notch performer, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as twice Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough all in one and all we have to do is show up with our tickets. To learn more about these performances as well as others that might be coming up stop by here:,8197,726-1-740,00.html
Are you going to see any Christmas plays or concerts? We've been to see The Christmas Carole before at the Hale Center Theatre, as well as other concerts on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The lights around the temple, as well as the creche displays are incredible. The conference center is decorated beautifully, and it's the perfect place to share the spirit of the season. My next years goal is to find a performance of Handel's Messiah. Or have my hubby get me the How about you? Are you going to see any Christmas plays or concerts? What do you like to do with family and friends this time of year?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Government Sponsored Health Care

There is a big hoopla going on in the news with government officials, politicians and the public on a government sponsored health care program. I've read that the plan is to tax heavily the rich in this country to help pay for it. Define rich. Is it someone who makes over $100,00 a year, or is the wage scale higher? If so, according to the stats, there are only about 5% of income earners in the US that make over $150,00 a year. So how long will that last before they start lowering the income level to tax at a higher rate?
Now if you take a look at our health care system in general, the biggest problem I see is that we have moved heavily into PPO plans, where you pay a co-pay and the insurance and or doctors eat the rest. The doctors who accept the PPO plans have to write off what the insurance company says isn't allowed. So they get creative in finding ways to get more money, by either raising the rates they charge, or they add on things such as huge consultation fees and follow up appintments that they charge for. You are limited to what doctors you can see by your insurance plan. No I'm not married to a medical doctor even though my husband has a doctoral degree from Berkeley. With the old HMO plans, you had a deductible, and then paid 20% of the doctor visit. If you had a procedure the consult fee was minimal, the procedure covered 90% to %100 by the plan, and you got to choose what doctor you went to. That's so much better in the long run as the market will play out as to who is the best to go to for medical care, not the insurance company.
I could go into a lot more detail but I won't. If you stop and think about it, there are much better ways to change our health care system. Some of that requires that we become educated and wise consumers. There are many times when people really don't need to go to a doctor. This drives the cost up as well. Common sense and OTC meds can most times take care of the sniffles and such. Let's tell our politicians no on government sponsored health care. If you look at the other systems they are already in charge of, and then take a look at the government system already in place you will see that the answer to the government being involved is no!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Venison Anyone?

This last summer a neighbor shared some venison and elk steaks from her last Autumn's hunting trip. It brought back so many memories from my youth of tall bottles of canned venison and jerky made from the deer Mom got when she went hunting with friends. We loved the jerky, and the way she knew how to make venison with gravy and tiny potatoes. It made me want to go hunting too.

Some friends from church gave us about 25 pounds of venison after their hunting trip last week. I was so tickled! I was able to get 12 pints of canned meat, a huge batch of jerky, and enough left over for several pounds of burger and sausage. This is some nice deer meat, it was quite a large deer, and you can tell that my friends know how to take care of it. My Kitchenaide mixer has a nice food grinder attachment so I can do this at home. Almost everything is done but the sausage, which I am now going to find a recipe for. For dinner we are having venison chili, yay!

The rest of the story- It's a family tradition for my friends to go hunting each year. There are 5 brothers and their wives and families. They circle the campers and go out on their 4 wheelers to hunt. They were quite successful this year and so most of their freezers will be full. The brother that shared with us doesn't really like the meat except in jerky form, so he will keep what they need for jerky and give away the rest to those who might need the meat. Why did we get some? Well the wife was supposed to be here to help with our Super Saturday, but asked to bow out so she could go. Her husband wanted her there, and since they have a son on a mission right now, they thought it would be important for for all who could to go. I jokingly said I wanted some jerky, and they were way more than generous. As for me, I am very grateful to be able to relive memories of the past because of their generosity. We have already sampled some of the finished jerky and it is delicious! If you would like the recipes drop me a note.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops with Creamy Sage Gravy

I have to start this by saying how pleased I am with my husband! The other day we found out our neighbor upstairs had the back window smashed out of his car. This is the second time he has had his car vandalized. We've had a few problems with this man, and he hasn't been the nicest person to anyone here in town. He likes to bag on our religion when he's at work and makes it uncomfortable for anyone to be in the teachers lounge because of his anti-Mormon stance. In spite of all his orneriness my darling husband went to him and offered $50 towards a reward to find out who did this. I'm proud of my husband for being able to look beyond the sour demeanor this person has, and offer to help.
As an aside , we probably already know who did this, as the teacher had a run in with a certain student who has become a punk. It's sad because this young man is smarter than most of the adults around him, and could really make something of himself if he had a good male role model in his life. Don't know where the dad is, but he's not in the picture, and there's no other men in his family circle to pick up the ball and run with it.
On a happier note, I was watching Sandra Lee yesterday and she had a recipe for stuffed chicken thighs. I happened to have some very nice thick pork chops out ready to prep for dinner so I decided to stuff them. As I always do I added a couple of things to my recipe and the pork chops turned out great! My husband was so happy with dinner that the recipe will definitely go in the must have again file. This recipe is for two, but you could double or triple it for your family's needs.

Stuffed Pork Chops with Creamy Sage Gravy Serves 2

2 inch thick lean pork chops
1/3 c. each minced apple, onion and celery
I clove garlic, minced
1 cup dried bread cubes, coarsely chopped
1/4 t. seasoning salt
1 sprig of Rosemary, stripped of half it's leaves
3-4 leaves fresh sage or 1/2 to 1 t. dried if not available
2 +2+2-3T. olive oil or bacon grease
splash of juice or water.
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
In a frying pan saute onions and celery for 5 minutes in fat of your choice. Add apples and saute 5 minutes more. Add herbs and seasoning salt and a dash or two of black pepper. Toss in your bread cubes and add a splash of juice or water to moisten slightly. Stir.
Butterfly cut your pork chops so that it creates two flat pieces still attached on one edge. Spoon in as much stuffing as you can on one side, fold over other side and toothpick in place. You may have a bit left over. Save that.
Add 2 T. olive oil to your pan, and turn up to medium. After oil gets hot add your chops. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side, until they are golden. Remove and place on a plate. Put in the oven and turn to 225 degrees to keep warm.
Add 3 T. fat to your frying pan and 2-3 T. flour, to make a thick mixture. Brown lightly, stirring occasionally. Add a chicken bullion cube and sage. Then add milk 1/2 a cup at a time stirring and letting thicken. Only add as much milk as will make a nice creamy gravy. Season with a dash of seasoning salt and pepper if needed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sabbath Sharing

As I finished wiping off the remnants of a failed attempt at Honey taffy I pondered on the events of the week. Friday it seemed that no matter what I did, with the exception of laundry, failed. The taffy wouldn't get stiff, the pinto bean fudge turned to a tasty but gooey vat of chocolate, and the white fudge, both batches, turned to sugary masses of not so usable candy. I did manage to get the peanut butter candy to stiffen up, as a matter of fact it was so stiff after sitting in the fridge I had to wait for hours before I could even attempt to pull it out and use it.
So why such a frustrating day? Perhaps it had to do with several things. One, I had a deadline. Murphy's Law states that if you wait til the last minute so to speak, you will have failure. Two, I was trying recipes I'd never used before. Three, I wasn't feeling well. Four, sometimes life is like that. Luckily, through inspiration I was able to salvage the pinto bean fudge, which became part of brownies both inside and as frosting. People loved it! The peanut butter candy I was going to make Reeses peanut butter cups out of, and after dipping a few balls and putting them in the pretty foil cups and realizing that it would take fooooorrreeeeevvvver! to do that, I had the idea come to me that I should take the rest of the candy, shape the rolled out mass into a flat rectangle and spread the melted chocolate over it. Then I could just cut it into squares when cooled. It worked! Funny thing, it was the most popular treat at our Super Service Saturday yesterday. All this was supposed to be for a tasters table showing all the good treats you could create from food storage items. Well I have a mission now, to find that best pinto bean fudge recipe, one that will work. And to get someone to show me how to make taffy. I know someone who knows how but she lives hundreds of miles away.
Speaking of service, here's a story that I found heart warming

Here's the recipe I had success with that can be made using all food storage items. Yes, it's okay to have chocolate chips in your food storage....:-)

Peanut Butter Candy

2 c. peanut butter
2 c. honey
2 c. powdered milk

1 c. chocolate chips

In a heavy duty pot warm up honey and peanut butter. Do not bring to a boil. You are just warming it. Add powdered milk slowly, stirring to mix well. On a clean surface, knead candy until smooth. Lightly dust a sheet of tinfoil with powdered sugar and roll out candy to about 1/2 inch thick. Shape into a large rectangle. Melt your chocolate chips over a warm pot of water in a double boiler. I don't use the microwave as I have a lousy one, but if you know how to do this in the microwave, go for it. Spread your chocolate over the peanut butter candy and when the chocolate is set, cut into squares.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The words we use... My Yay! for the day.

The other day in Sunday School the teacher asked who doesn't ever swear. I didn't raise my hand because I didn't want to be put on the spot as he sometimes does that. It's true though, I don't swear and don't even think that way. We are judged by the words we use. While I was a little miffed at the question as it wasn't appropriate to put us on the spot like that, it does bring me to my YAY! for the day.

Some one I love deeply has decided to clean up their language for various reasons. They are too well educated to speak that way for one, but mostly to be a better example to family and friends.

So, how does one clean up their language? Well we all know people who will say things such as "freakin", or "flippin" in order to avoid dropping the F bomb. Like we all don't know what that means! The one I hear from the college kids is "shez" or "shezzy" as a replacement for the S word or "shoot" or "shucks". Clever? Not so much. Some of the old tried and true are "heck" to replace hell, gosh, goshdarn or golldarn to replace taking God's name in vain. The one that really get's my goat is the P word for anger. When I was growing up it was considered a swear word, and now I hear women use it that I would never have expected to hear it from. They will excuse it away saying it's just a little crude?? Really?
I have never forgotten a lesson I heard when I was younger regarding the use of these replacement words though. Most likely, if you are saying the replacement word, you are thinking the word you are trying to avoid saying and thus will slip on occasion. We are what we think and speak so how do we clean up both mind and mouth? It's funny that we even need to but society has lost much of it's civility in language and behavior. Anyway, it's something you can have fun with. There are so many marvelous words that can replace a crude or foul word that won't have you thinking the one you want to drop. Children appreciate this as well. Here's an example.
The school I used to substitute teach at has mostly Mexican students. They will gasp in horror if they hear someone calling someone else stupid, but have no problem saying OMG or dropping the F bomb. Not sure why that is, but it seems to be a cultural thing, and not a bad one to avoid calling someone stupid, even if they deserve it...:-). So I started telling the children that they should say, "Oh my goodness" because to say the OMG phrase is disrespectful to God. They had never thought of it that way, but the funny thing was that they started saying what I taught them, and then would tell their friends to do the same. It also snowballed into cleaning up other words in their vocabulary as well.
Here's my list of words or phrases I use when I get hurt or angry.....
Boo boos - Ouch! (Such an under used word), rats!, it hurts, it hurts it hurts!, wow! Here's a funny one.... oh swear word!

Angry - get's my grits, perturbed - ing, frustrating - ed, want to slap someone ( okay, maybe expressing violence isn't so good so I will work on that one), annoyed, furious ( a very good word for extreme anger), irritated, and not necessarily last or least, just plain ole' mad!

To exclaim - Oh wow!, how wonderful, marvelous, fabulous, horrible, awful, terrible, delightful, wicked, evil, charming... this list could go on and on.

So my YAY! for the day goes out to that special someone who is trying to improve. What words do you use to avoid swearing, that don't mirror the words you are are trying to avoid?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So you think pot smoking is okay..... and other things bugging me...

For all those who think they know. Try this on for size and see if you still think it's okay.


01. MYTH: Marijuana is harmless.
01. FACT: Can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning, and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person's development. Getting high also impairs judgment, which can lead to risky decision making on issues like sex, criminal activity, or riding with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, teen users are 5 times more likely to have sex than teens who do not.

02. MYTH: You can't get addicted to marijuana.
02. FACT: Research shows that marijuana use can lead to psychological addiction. Each year, more kids enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.

03. MYTH: There are no long-term consequences to marijuana use.
03. FACT: Research shows that kids who smoke marijuana engage in risky behavior that can jeopardize their futures, like having sex, getting in trouble with the law, or losing scholarship money. Marijuana can also hurt academic achievement and puts kids at risk for depression and anxiety.

04. MYTH: Marijuana isn't as popular as other drugs like ecstasy among teens today.
04. FACT: Kids use marijuana far more than any other illicit drug. Among kids who use drugs, 60 percent use only marijuana.

05. MYTH: Young kids won't be exposed to marijuana.
05. FACT: Between 1991 and 2001, the number of 8th graders who used marijuana doubled from one in 10 to one in five.

HEALTH HAZARDS OF MARIJUANA USEThe main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Short-term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem-solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks.

Effects of Marijuana on the Brain. TLC changes the way sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippo campus, a component of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Researchers have discovered that learned behaviors, which depend on the hippo campus, also deteriorate.

Effects on the Lungs. Regular use may lead to respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs.

Effects of Heavy Heavy Use on LearLearning Social Behavior. A study of college students has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily, even after discontinuing its use for at least 24 hours. Researchers compared 65 "heavy users," who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 of the past 30 days, and 64 "light users," who had smoked a median of 1 of the past 30 days. Marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information.

Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who used have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends.

Sources: Journal of the American Medical Association, Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States. May 5, 2004. Wilson M. Compton, MD, MPE, James D. Colliver, PhD and Meyer D. Glantz, PhD (National Institute on Drug Abuse­ NIDA); and Bridget F. Grant, PhD and Frederick S. Stinson, PhD (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - NIAAA). Additional source: National Institutes on Health (NIH) research data archives.
AgeVenture News Service,

As a former idgit, who thought that my poor behavior had no impact on others, but knew that certain things were wrong and did them anyway, I say let's stop the madness. It's time to grow up all you who think it's okay, and get a real life. I don't often go on rants here, but this issue has hit close to home now and my heart is breaking.
It's interesting to me that the same people who won't eat meat because it's wrong to hurt animals, have no problem drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and pot, and drinking coffee as well as other high in caffeine drinks. But then these are the same sort of people who castigate someone for wearing fur, but have no problem having an abortion. They tell me I should drive a hybrid vehicle to save the earth and conserve energy, but will pass me on the freeway going 90 miles an hour while we are driving 60 to 65 to conserve gas and money. They also tell me to go green, but buy adult beverages in glass and paper containers that need to be recycled using what? Fossil fuels. Hmmmmmmm.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gingerbread Bats and Pumpkins, What fun!

Emmett and grandma, (that would be me) made some gingerbread bats, ghosties, and pumpkins last week. We had so much fun! Emmett especially loved testing the frosting.....
and again.....
and again. I wonder what time he went to sleep that night? Giggle! We used my favorite gingerbread recipe. It's definitely time tested as I used it numerous times to win grand champion of the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer Gingerbread House Contest. Here's the recipe so you can start planning now for creating your own gingerbread cookies, or even a house for the holidays.

Gingerbread Dough
5 c. flour, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t. cloves, 3 T. cinnamon, 1 t. ginger
1- 1/8 t. baking soda, 1 c. shortening, 1-1/4 c. sugar, 1 egg well beaten,
1 c. light molasses, slightly warmed, 1/3 c. water

Sift together 1 c. flour, salt, spices and soda. Cream shortening, then add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, then slightly warmed molasses. Stir water into mixture. Stir in sifted flour and spice mixture gradually. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time, until dough is soft and moist to the touch of your finger. Cover and chill 6-8 hours. Roll out on oiled foil to 1/4 or 1/8th inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes. If you are making house pieces bake as dark as you can get it without burning. It's very important to bake house pieces long enough. Cookies don't need as long.

Tips for making gingerbread houses.
1. As soon as you take the pieces out of the oven lay your pattern over each piece and trim with a very sharp knife. This will insure that your pieces go together nicely. If the pieces start to harden before you get them all trimmed put them back into the oven just to warm them enough to trim easily.

2. In the widest frying pan you have, melt about 1 cup or more of sugar at a moderately low temperature until liquid. Dip one joining side into the hot sugar mixture and then quickly match up with other piece to make a corner. Continue to do this with all your pieces. The hot melted sugar makes a wonderful edible glue that hardens quickly and nicely. If you get drips on your pieces, wait until the sugar hardens and you should be able to remove them. This makes it a lot faster and easier to put all the sides and roof together, and it's much sturdier. I hope to make a small video to show you how it's done.
If you have any questions just drop me a line.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kuri Stew, Pueblo Style

There is an abundance of winter squashes at the store right now, so with the colder weather, what better way to warm up than with a steaming bowl of hot stew. This recipe is an adaptation of a pumpkin soup recipe from a Pueblo Indian recipe booklet I picked up years ago when we visited the Grand Canyon. It's easy, and is easily adapted to what squashes are on hand. I bought a Blue Kuri squash because it has such an intriguing color on the outside, and makes a wonderful decoration to add a splash of contrast to the usual reds, oranges, golds and browns of my Autumn decorations. To justify the purchase when hubby asked me why I was getting it, I told him to eat. He made the comment that I probably would never use it so I decided to prove him wrong, and then I would go get another He usually doesn't like this sort of dish as he considers it trendy yuppy food, so I made it on a night that he wasn't supposed to be home for dinner. Well, wouldn't you know it, he called and said he would be home for dinner, and asked what we were having. When I told him the other end of the phone got silent, but then he said he would be home soon. To my surprise, when we had dinner, he ended up eating 3 bowls full, and want's to eat the leftovers tonight. He admitted that he has a somewhat narrow list of foods he will eat on a regular basis, even though I can fix just about anything and he loves it. So he apologized for being a fussy brat. :-) He is actually very easy to cook for which I'm grateful for, as I love to try new foods, recipes, and ingredients. Oh, and the difference between this and the original recipe is the bacon and the red chili flakes. It also calls for one green bell pepper, but I love red peppers. I also substituted the squash for pumpkin in the original recipe as it is easier to find. You might also want to try this without the bacon, it is still very tasty, or, try some italian sausage, wow, that is very yummy!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Kuri Stew, Pueblo Style
3 slices of thick bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 each, red bell pepper and green pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked cubed squash
2 large tomatoes, chopped,
1/2 t. each dried mint, sugar and nutmeg
1/2 to 1 t. each, seasoning salt and red chili flakes
2 cups chicken stock or 2 cups water and 2 bullion cubes
1 T. corn starch
1/2 cup cream, or canned milk

Cook bacon until crisp in deep pot. Add all veggies except squash and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add seasonings, stock, and squash; simmer for 20 minutes. Combine cream or canned milk with corn starch and add to stew, stirring until thickened. Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Matters Most.....

A wonderful video that hopefully will remind us that happiness isn't measured in the fashions we wear, the house we own, the car we drive, fame, or the entertainment we enjoy.
May it touch your heart, as it has me. WHAT MATTERS MOST

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Enjoying the fruits of the season

What could be better than fresh bread warm from the oven? A nice big pot of creamy soup to go with it!
It's cooled down a bit here, which inspires me to come up with some cool weather dishes. We had some dutch oven chicken left over from a dinner last week, but not enough to take care of the both of us. So I took a boneless, skinless chicken breast and threw it in a 2 qt. pot with some fresh Rosemary, Sage, and 1 1/2 quarts of water, along with 1 cup of wild rice mix. I let that simmer while I sauteed 1 chopped onion in 3 T. butter and 1 of oil in a large soup pot. I also took half each of one very large green, and one very large orange bell pepper and roasted them in the oven. After the onion was nice and caramelized, I added the mixture in the small pot, as well as 2 more quarts of water. I cut up one large carrot, and cut the kernels from one ear of fresh sweet corn. I added 2 chicken bullion cubes, and one small can of diced green chilies. I seasoned with 2 tsps of seasoning salt, and 1/2 t. garlic powder. Then I added 1/2 tsp thyme as well as 1 tsp course ground pepper. One bay leaf went in as well. This simmers until the rice was done. I turned down the burner and pulled out the chicken to cut up. I added the leftover dutch oven chicken from last week, and that gave the soup a nice creamy consistency. I also chopped up and added the roasted bell peppers at this point. For anyone who would like to try this or a variation, I would add a can of either cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup since you probably won't have dutch oven chicken sitting around. I would also use 2 chicken breasts, plus 2 carrots.

The bread was a variation on my Italian bread recipe. I'll make this easier to follow here. The one thing I noticed about this bread is that it is so soft and delicious. I think it may be because we used actual best for bread flour instead of unbleached flour. My husband raved about it.
Place in mixing bowl of mixer fitted with a dough hook:
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. yeast
1 t. sugar
Let sit in bowl to proof or get foamy. Add:
3 T. oil
1 t. salt
1/4 c. corn meal
1/2 c. oats

3 cups of Best for Bread flour
Mix well. Gradually add more flour, 1/4 of a cup at a time, until dough forms a nice smooth ball.
Place in well oiled baking dish or casserole. Let rise until doubled and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

This bread is not only great for soups, but makes a fabulous french toast for breakfast. As an added healthy topping for our french toast this morning I took about 1/2 cup of maple syrup and warmed it up in a small pot, added a small chopped, unpeeled, granny smith apple, and a handful of walnut pieces. This was so wonderful over the french toast, you should really give it a try!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Minted Pear Lime & Apple Preserves

Minted Pear Lime & Apple Preserves

1 cup mint leaves, packed
3/4 c. water
4 cups unpeeled, grated bartlett pears
2 cups grated apple, any variety
zest of 2 limes
1/3 cup lime juice
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 box pectin
green food color

In a small sauce pan combine water and mint leaves. Bring to a boil, stir and take off burner. Let sit covered while you grate the pears and apples as well as zesting the limes. Strain mint water, squeezing the leaves to get all the juice. In a large pot combine the fruit, juices, lime zest and pectin. Make sure the pectin is dissolved before continuing. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 2 minutes. Add sugar, stir in and bring back to a boil over medium heat. Stirring frequently, boil for 4 minutes. Take off burner, stir in a couple of drops of green food color if desired and pour into sterilized jars. Yield 11 cups

Monday, September 14, 2009

Peaches, Peaches and more Peaches!

What a wonderful fruit! So sweet and juicy that I can't believe anyone would just let them go to waste! Well not me that's for sure. A friend had a tree loaded with peaches and didn't know what to do with them so I went over to help pick them. We were supposed to work together on canning them but she had a mishap and ended up at the doctors office. So my DIL came over and we canned some and made preserves with some and gave some away and I still have a box full in the fridge. So tonight I will be putting up the rest, perhaps mixing them with pears we picked up in Idaho that have decided to ripen all at once. I will share some very yummy recipes later, after I clean up all the goo from the fruit. Oh, I did dry some peaches as well as freezing some for smoothies and pies. You might say we are up to our noses in peaches, but ahhh, what a way to go....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Finally Done!

Beautiful scenery, but the house?! What initially started as prep for a new coat of paint....
turned into a home remodel. This little house was built in the 1950's and had no dining area among other things. After we discovered that the siding was thrashed, I received a wonderful windfall thanks to my grandparents. So we told a contractor that we wanted a bay window look dining area added on. He sent our ideas to an engineer and came back with a plan to add 8 feet on the most of the front of the house, which not only gave us the new dining area, but a nice wide entry with 5 foot long closet.
So here's the finished remodel on the outside, paint and all. We are so happy with the result! The contractor says that he gets lots of compliments and we do as well.
We have been so blessed with this little home. Not only did we get it before real estate went sky high, we have been able to pay for all remodel work out of pocket. We wouldn't have done it as soon otherwise though, as we don't believe in going into debt.
So now, on to leveling some floors, a bathroom remodel and then putting in all new flooring downstairs. Oh and a wrap around deck out front, and so on it goes.... I guess I'd better get back to work, huh?!
As an aside, I did get the new addition painted on the inside, but forgot to take photos. I will though after we get it all decorated. This has been so much more fun thanks to my wonderful husband who backs me on all my ideas, projects, and endeavors. I am truly blessed!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Families Can Be Together Forever

What a concept! It's true you know. If you want to know more just ask. This handsome little guy is my new grandson Brennan. He was born in Korea as daddy is a captain in the US Army.
I'm so grateful he has a good daddy who works hard, and serves our country. I'm grateful that his daddy takes care of my oldest daughter so well.
Now how's this for a good looking pair of men?! I have the best husband! He takes good care of me, is happy to see me at the end of a work day, and loves to be with me. Who could ask for more than that? We just celebrated our 9th anniversary and are looking forward to many more. And of course Emmett is such a delight, we are glad that his mommy and daddy live close by. Most of all I'm glad to know that someday I can be with all of them forever.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Word of Wisdom

This is me, ecstatic about having lost enough weight to wear this dress comfortably. When we bought the dress last year it was a bit snug and then got even snugger so I've never worn it. Today I'm pleased to say I can! Thanks to my Oregon friend Cathy, who has lost 50 + pounds and is looking great, I decided to try..... again to lose weight. I asked her what her trick was and she told me she started running, and she tried to follow the Word of Wisdom more correctly. In our belief system we have the Word of Wisdom as a guide to how to eat and what is harmful to consume. I know a lot of folks will say it's too restrictive, as in no caffeineated drinks, no alcohol and no smoking, but honestly, if you look at the health risks versus benefits of say drinking wine and such abstaining is a much better way to go. The Word of Wisdom talks about eating fruits, grains and herbs and eating meat sparingly. So along with the running and other exercise I've been doing I've cut way back on my meat consumption, substituting beans, lentils and so on for meat. I've also cut way back on sugar consumption, and one of the blessings of running or any vigorous exercise is that it has an affect on what you feel like eating and how much. I've lost 12 pounds and have 30 to go. It sure is a good feeling to be heading down. I'm not starving myself, I just eat less, and so if I want a cookie once in awhile I will have one, but I've really not wanted one. I have much more energy as well so I'm sticking with this plan. No drugs, just healthy foods and exercise. Now how easy is that?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


So my arms are loaded down with a box of Santas that need to be finished and my lap top as I try to make a mad dash out the door this morning and this is what greets me, EEEEkkk! I quickly back up, put down my load, and grab the broom so I can remove this industrious spider. He was at my eye level, and about an inch or so long. No, I didn't kill him, I just moved him to the garden where he belongs. There is a black widow that has set up shop in the top left corner of my porch though and my dear hubby is going to take care of that one when he gets home.
Spiders are one of Gods amazing creations as they can set up a web so quickly! I had just been in and out of the front door a few hours before. If you look at the amount of circles this spider had spun, and if you could have seen the real size of this web as it stretched across my front door blocking me from getting out you would have been flabbergasted! There was no way I could go under without crawling.
This spider photo should be sent to President Obama as an example of what one of God's creations can do when expected to take care of itself. We all have the capacity to do much, but in our culture today many have become so dependent on our government to take care of them that they have lost their ability to think and act for themselves. It would behoove the President and his cronnies to back off and let folks start doing for themselves. We should be expected to pay for our own healthcare in at least some way, unless we are truly indigent, which many folks on the public dole right now aren't.
So how did my scare with the spider become a rant about public assistance? It occured to me that if we all had the industry and drive one little spider has, this country would not be losing it's status as a great nation. Just something to think about...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Berry Rhubarb Preserves

I know it's been forever since I posted here but so much has been going on that it would take forever to share all. You can stop by my Art blog as well though to see some of the latest happenings.
While still in Oregon I was lucky enough to be given lots of rhubarb and harvest enough raspberries from my patch to make some preserves. I had some blueberries on hand as well so I combined 4 cups each of the two types of berries along with 8 cups of chopped rhubarb. All those stringy looking pieces among the berries are actually grated lemon rind, about 2 tablespoons. I also added the juice of half the lemon.
Preserves are different than jam in that you only add half the amount of sugar per cup of fruit. So I added 8 cups of sugar and then brought the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Be sure to put this in a large deep pot as the mixture does bubble and splash so you can be burned. I lowered the temp to allow the mixture to boil slowly, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn't scorch. After the mixture has thickened a bit, about 30 minutes of cooking I ladle it into sterilized jars, clean the rims, add the lids and and rings and tighten them down. I water bath process for about 10 minutes. Your yield will depend on the amount of fruit you use so I always have extra jars sterilized just in case. This is a good way to combine end of season fruits, make your sugar go farther, and create a delicious topping for toast, pancakes or waffles, or ice cream.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dear deer.....

Thank you for stopping by and helping clean up my yard! I love it when you stop by and make sure all the branches are picked up.
Don't worry about the neighbors dogs, they are all fenced in thanks to their wonderfully thoughtful owners! I love responsible owners don't you?
I hope to see you again sometime, but don't count on getting into the garden as those plants are for us.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Creative Home

I finally got one project done for the Oregon home! Yay! I started with a beat up white book shelf I paid $3 for at a garage sale. It's nice and solid wood so I couldn't let it pass. I took it outside and sanded lightly to age it. Then I slapped on some medium colonial blue, and I mean slapped. I did a very light coat, with minimal coverage. After it dried I took the bookshelf outside and went over it with the palm sander again, trying to soften the blue and bring out more of the white. My goal was a worn, antique look without the high price tag. I have been formulating a decor in my head, that hasn't quite fallen into place yet, but our living room will have a ranch house, vintage feel, with a little railroadiana, and Americana thrown in. I don't really want cutesy though so it will take some thought and careful collecting to get the right pieces to decorate with. In the mean time I will use whats on hand and go from there.
Here's the bookshelf fulfilling it's purpose. I know that I won't be leaving the knick knacks and basket on it, at least not all of them, but I wanted to spiff it up for the photo. Our home is a work in progress, from the outside in. I need to get the center foundation stabilized, then out comes the ugly carpet, off comes the dark trim, and the deep base boards which are nothing more than a dirt catcher. The bathroom will need to be remodeled, and then, finally, wood or laminate floors. Oh and the walls will be painted as well. It sure is rewarding to take an older home and make it ours.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good Neighbors

I am so lucky to have good neighbors here in Joseph! We care and share alike so I'm going to share with you. I was recently gifted a few packages of elk and venison. So I pulled a pack of elk steaks out yesterday and made some chili with what I had on hand. Here's the result and the recipe.

Elk Chili
1 lb. elk steak, cubed
2 T. bacon grease
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1- 16 oz. can black beans, drained ( I saved the juice and froze it to use in soup)
1- 16 oz. can chili beans with liquid
1- 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 fresh jalapenos, chopped
1 t. each basil, oregano, sage
1 bay leaf
1 T. cumin powder

In a medium size pot saute elk and onion in bacon grease until meat is no longer red. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 45 minutes to blend flavors. Serves 6-8
I ate mine over a bed of chopped lettuce and onion, topped with cheese and Tapatio. We scooped with burner heated corn tortillas. Yummy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm back!!!!!!!

Hah! You can't get rid of me that easily! While back in Utah there was a lot of yard work to catch up on. Everything was growing like weeds, including my lavender. See the rock in front of it with the shape embedded that looks like a human figure? It was so cool I had to bring it home and put it in a place where folks could see it. Makes a great conversation piece.

As I poked around outside I heard little peeps, and to my surprise and delight mixed with dismay I found these 3 little baby birds sitting in my rock garden. Apparently they had fallen or been blown out of their nest and were feeling a bit lost. I did dig up some worms for them, but was very careful not to touch the little birds as I was afraid mom and dad might not take care of them. They happily gulped down the worms I found.

Then I found another of their siblings sitting all by itself. I took a stick and gently moved it over with the others. I was so afraid a cat would get them as our neighborhood is full of strays, but after 4 days they were still under the tree in the rock garden and I spotted their parents feeding them several times. I sure hope they were able to grow fast enough to escape any cat attack.
Here's more of my garden. The rock path I put in myself using desert rocks I gathered. I trained the neighbors ivy to come over to our side of the fence and added iris, and lamium to give some different color and texture.
Here's the view from my raspberry patch. It's such a pretty and peaceful area, you would never know we lived in the desert.
Look at those raspberries! Let me tell you, they are so delicious! This year has been a good year for them. I hope the kids are picking them while I'm gone.
Here's some strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb jam I made with my fresh raspberries and some rhubarb given me by friends. I'm not sure if it shows, but the jam is such a gorgeous color of red, and it's quite tasty I might add.
So up next, the rest of the story......

Friday, June 19, 2009

A quick note....

Hi all, I'm in Utah with no real internet connection so I will not be posting for a week. Hope all is well and thanks to all for stopping by and leaving comments.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Unexpected Surprise!

Life is so full of unexpected surprises and this was just floored me. The other day I happened to be in a second hand/antique shop looking at some beautiful old china. I got to thinking about Mom's china, that had dissapeared 40 years ago during the turmoil in our lives at the time. We thought that my second stepdad has tossed it so we gave it up as lost. Well I've always wondered if I would ever stumble across it on my jaunts through the local stores here in Oregon, but I realized I wouldn't even recognize it if I saw it.
My stepsister called me a few days later and said she had a surprise for me. She was out visiting my stepbrother where he and his wife happened to be cleaning out the garage. He mentioned to my sis he had "Nancy's" china, and asked her if she wanted it or should he get rid of it. She then asked him if he didn't think I might want it and he had an OH, DUH moment. Sid is such a nice fella but men just don't think that way sometimes. The upshot of all of this is that I now have my mother's china, that has been gone for so very long. I am still in shock as I really never expected this, but I am also planning a meal where we can use it. I do plan on using it for special occasions as that is what I believe we should do. Mom would want it that way I'm sure, as life is too short to keep things shut away and not used. My children don't have any memories of the china as they never met Mom, so it's time to make memories with it! Oh, and the photo above is of one of the pieces from the set.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Letting go....

It's hard to believe that just 9 months ago Dad came out to Wendover to see the air show and go for a ride on a b-25? bomber. He was still doing well even though he had a pace maker he was getting around and taking care of himself and Mom with no problem. This morning Kent called me in a panic as his mom had just called him to come back to Tooele as Dad had fallen and she couldn't get him up. Luckily Kent had only gotten as far as Grantsville on his way to Wendover so he rushed back and found Dad prone with blood pooled around one arm. He was okay, but had really scraped his arm during the fall so Kent helped get him bandaged up. Mom is not able to take care of him as she is mostly blind, deaf and anorexic so we are trying to get them home health care but they keep fighting it.
So what do we do now? I called Dad's physician to get help and we shall see what the evaluation will be. I don't expect Dad to be around much longer so we will probably have Kent stay with his parents and care for them in July just in case. We are praying that what is best for Dad will happen. Which means that he may go quickly. So how to I help Kent and Paula and everyone let go? And how can they help Dad let go? Dad is weary and weak from being wracked with arthritic pain. One of the fiercely independent generation that went through WWII he feels useless and a burden. But he worries about Mom and what will happen to her. So he must feel caught, he can't eat very well, doesn't taste the food anymore as his taste buds are shot, can't do things physically that he was doing right up to a year ago, and yet there's Mom. Along with all her health issues she is somewhat senile, which is understandable for their age. I'm sure that Dad doesn't want to leave her and it makes it hard for him. If you believe, and have a moment today, would you mind sending a prayer up on their behalf?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gardening for pleasure and food

I have become a fan of the square foot garden method by Mel Bartholomew. I followed his advice on putting boxes together using 2 x 6 boards, and corner brackets. I placed landscaping cloth under the 4x4 foot and 4x8 foot boxes and then filled them with weed free compost, peat moss and top soil. I marked off the soil in a foot by foot grid and planted according to space recommendations and now have seedlings happily reaching for the sun. I can see how efficient this will be, and easy to maintain. And, I'm getting much better results with plant growth already. We will be planting most of the side yard this way, to utilize our not so otherwise useful yard space and cut down on area that needs to be mowed. I'm still in the planning stage as far as what to put down in the pathways to cover the cloth. I would love to put brick or stone, but unless my friend and I can find an amazing supply of flat rock somewhere out and about I will probably have to settle for mulch or gravel. Anyway we do it, after all is done, this will make a pleasant garden full of wonderful veggies, herbs and fruits to enjoy year round. Oh, and if you're wondering why the chicken wire boxes, I am stingy and don't want to sacrifice my garden to the deer. They graze on my flowers as it is, so they get plenty. If you want to learn more about square foot gardening here's the link: All New Square Foot Gardening .
Just for giggles I threw my flower garden photo in. This will be a wildly wonderful flurry of flowers soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

He knows our hearts.....

Emmett is helping grandpa push the stroller through the zoo..... Family, what could be more important than that? It's a gift from God for those born into loving families, but sometimes we are born into confusion and chaos. And, in spite of what we may think, sometimes that is a gift as well.
Today was Fast and Testimony Sunday. For those not familiar with the LDS church, once a month we fast for 2 meals. The money we would normally spend on food we give to the church to help buy food and other things for those in need. I listened to two young women talk about how grateful they are for their family. My stepdaughter talked about her first year at college and how scary it was to watch us drive off and leave her at the dorm. It was a choice she made though, to go off to school and she knew that we would be there for her if needed. One of her friends is going to Japan for the summer and she echoed the idea that she knew that even though she would be in a strange land with a family she didn't know, she knew that the Lord would be there watching over her, and that she could be in touch with her family, who love her very much.
I reflected on their talks, and how different my life was at their age. Choices were made for me that had an impact on my life and still does, even now. I was living with my stepfather and stepmother, not knowing at the time that he was not my real father. When we moved off post after "dad" retired, they didn't let me move into the trailor with them. They were planning on building a home and the trailor was temporary. They turned the tool shed into my room, sort of. It was a plywood and 2 x 4's shed with no insulation. The mower and other tools were still in there. Yes, there was a bed put out there, but there was little light, and when the temps dropped down in the 30's at night I had to bundle up under 3 double folded blankets, and wear several layers of warm clothes to bed. I had a small heater that barely kept the cold at bay, and was miserable. I did get to use the bathroom and eat at the house sometimes, but I could feel a difference in the way I was being treated and was so hurt by the whole situation. I would go to my only class in the morning, walk the two miles to the main gate of the military post I worked at, catch the bus, and then after work had to look forward to walking the 3 miles home. It was downhill most of the way so that wasn't too bad, but the last mile there were no streetlights and it was dark out on the desert. I was told that they didn't want me waking the family when I came home late at night, but it was my stepfather that encouraged us to go out and stay out until whenever. They wouldn't even come to the main gate to pick me up, I had to catch a ride, no matter the weather, or walk. I wouldn't have minded the walking so much, but for a teenage girl in a military town, at night, walking home alone, it wasn't safe. I had one person offer me a ride and then took me out into the desert and threatened to kill me if I didn't do as he asked. I never told anyone because I didn't think anyone would care. It was my second rape, and I was told I asked for it the first time so why would anyone believe me this time. It was a very confusing time for me, and I made a lot of choices I would never have made had I lived with a family that treated me like one of their own. Mom was already gone by that time and that added to the whole mess. Later they found several black widows nests in the shed after I moved out, and laughed about it. Bob eventually took me out to find a place of my own, so I was paying for my own place, food and other expenses even before I got out of high school. It wasn't my choice, but one made for me. Sometimes when I think about that time, which really isn't unless someone says something to trigger that memory, I want to call my stepmom and ask why? Why did they continually reject me? I know the answer though, and it had little to do with me, and more to do with my stepfather's alcohol abuse, and the misery everyone suffered living with my stepdad.

So what does this have to do God knowing our hearts? Well I survived all that and much more before my life settled down. I know that Heavenly Father watches over me continually. I'm alive to see my grandchildren, and I have a loving husband, and a strength that a lot of folks will never have. I can use my experience to help others, and it's what He wants me to do. I've lived a hell on earth and made it through, and can offer an empathy to those going through similar experiences. I learned one very important principle and that is, that even though we are weak, the desires of our hearts can be achieved, if we have righteous desires. We will be tested to see if we are willing to stand as a witness of God at all times, and in all places and things. He will give us the strength to overcome if we look to Him for it. Heavenly Father knew that I didn't want to be weak, and He blessed me even when I wasn't trying very hard. I still falter at times, and yet I'm still blessed with what I truly need. My desire has always been to be a good person, but sometimes I didn't feel worthy of love and felt hopeless. I know now that I was wrong, and that He truly does know me, better than I know myself. I hope my experiences temper my attitude towards others, and that I try to be more understanding and as patient and loving as He has been toward me. And for those who may mistake what I share here, I truly don't think I'm perfect, so I hope I don't portray that. I still make mistakes, and do regret if I've hurt anyone, or offended them in any way. May the Lord bless us all with the strength and protection we need......