Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Buckeyes

I have lived in many cities in several states, but mostly grew up in Ohio, the Buckeye State, where this candy is very popular. You are supposed to make it leaving a bit of peanut butter showing on top so it looks like a real buckeye, but I just covered them completely this time. These are better than Reese's Cups to me!
Buckeyes

1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
2 c. milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate candy melts

Mix peanut butter, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, stirring to blend. When well blended, chill for at least 1 hour. Roll into balls and dip into melted chocolate. Let dry on wax paper (if you can wait that long!).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Creamy Cocoa Cookies with Fat Fudge Frosting

I found these cute little cookie sandwiches at Conversations with a Cupcake . Go check out her cutie patootie food photos on her blog. For the record, even though I made more than 200 cookies, so 100+ sandwiches, I only taste-tested one since it was the first time I made them. But I was tempted. They are very good. I made them for the girls at girls camp and I was told they were gone in 30 seconds---all 100+ sandwiches. I made mine small and I got around 54 cookies each batch.

Creamy Cocoa Cookies with Fat Fudge Frosting
3/4 c. butter
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

1/4 t. cream of tartar
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 3/4 c. flour

Spray cookie sheets. Preheat to 400°. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and add a little at a time to the creamed mixture. (Dough is very thick.) Refrigerate dough for about an hour. Roll into balls, and bake for 7-9 minutes, or just until outside is cooked. Do not overbake. Allow to cool completely on a rack. Use frosting recipe below to frost or to create cookie sandwiches.

Fat Fudge Frosting
2/3 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. cocoa powder
4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2-4 T. milk
Sprinkles

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add milk slowly, by tablespoons until frosting is creamy looking. Allow to cool and thicken before spreading on cooled cookies, then rolling in sprinkles.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Have Space on My Wall!

I was just introduced to this great screenprint on Robert Ryan's Etsy shop by reading a Design Mom post. I LOVE it and wish I could buy it right now--straight from London.

Daily Interviews with Deity

I have shared links to fun products or sites before, but haven’t shared a very important one yet. You can go HERE to read the scriptures and they even have the Bible Dictionary and Topic Guide. Or hopefully you have your own Bible and other scriptures at home. If you’d like a free Book of Mormon, please fill out the form at Mormon.org.

The scriptures are often referred to as a roadmap given to us from Heavenly Father, a way to find answers to our problems. When I was younger, I didn’t understand how that could be possible. None of the prophets or even Jesus had the same difficulties or situations that I did. Since then, I have gained a testimony to the power of the word of God. There are many wonderful examples of what to do and what not to do and many people we can learn from, but the scriptures are more than just a collection of inspiring stories. They are a way for Heavenly Father to speak to us and to teach us and for us to show Him that we are willing to learn from Him. Reading them unleashes the Spirit in our lives like little else can. I love this quote:

“I sometimes think that one of the best-kept secrets of the kingdom is that the scriptures open the door to the receipt of revelation.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrines of the Restoration, ed. Mark L. McConkie, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989, p. 243

I know that many of my ah-ha moments about my life have come to me when I am reading or pondering the scriptures, even if they are the same chapters I have read many times and even if the particular scripture has nothing to do with my answer. Just reading them opens the doors so that we are more receptive to the whispers of the Holy Ghost and more prepared to understand the will of God.

I have also had those experiences where I was reading and a verse jumped out at me and was exactly what I needed to hear to comfort me, to tell me what to do or to answer a question. When that happens I feel so overwhelmed by the love of my Heavenly Father who cares enough to give us these wonderful words and prompts me to read them. Of course, what good are those words when they are sitting in a closed book on a shelf?


"The scriptures that are never read will never help us." Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, May 1985, p. 23

The times that I feel closest to my Heavenly Father are definitely the times when I am reading the scriptures consistently and taking the time to think about what I have read. I’m so grateful to live at a time when we can have the scriptures in our own homes.

"I fear that many of us rush about from day to day taking for granted the holy scriptures. We scramble to honor appointments with physicians, lawyers, and businessmen. Yet we think nothing of postponing interviews with Deity-- postponing scripture study. Little wonder we develop anemic souls and lose our direction in living. How much better it would be if we planned and held sacred fifteen or twenty minutes a day for reading the scriptures. Such interviews with Deity would help us recognize his voice and enable us to receive guidance in all of our affairs." Elder Carlos E. Asay, "Look to God and Live," Ensign, Nov. 1978, 52

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Navajo Tacos

A few months after I moved to Utah (many moons ago), I went on a trip to Lake Powell with 3 of my roommates and some of their friends. We went boating and swimming and some people went cliff diving, but NOT me! The lake is so beautiful. Besides seeing Lake Powell for the first time, I tried Navajo Tacos for the first time on that trip. I had never even heard of them before. They are really good and I’ve been making them since. This time I did the quick version since Alex likes canned chili, but sometimes make the more homemade version, which I prefer. I found a good recipe at Recipezaar. Choose which one you like better (or have the time for), but if you’ve never had them, I hope you try them. Navajo Tacos

Quick Version

12 frozen rolls (dough), thawed
2 (15-oz.) cans chili

Toppings:
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salsa
Lettuce, chopped
Tomato, chopped
Onion, chopped
Ranch dressing or Sour cream
Avocado, sliced

Flatten and stretch thawed rolls. Place in hot oil (375º). Fry until golden brown on each side. Place on paper towels to drain.

To serve, top with chili and then desired toppings.Version II-

Fry Bread:
4-5 c. flour
3 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. instant powdered milk
2 c. water

Filling:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans
Cumin, salt & pepper to taste

To make fry bread: Mix dry ingredients. Stir in water. Knead dough lightly; cover and let rest 15 minutes. Heat 1" vegetable oil in a 10" skillet. Pinch off dough in small amounts and pat dough into thin 8" circles. In the hot oil, quickly brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

To make filling: Brown ground beef and onion, drain. Add beans, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer 10- 15 minutes.

To Serve: Spoon filling onto fry bread. Top with your favorite toppings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Featuring Sabrina

Sabrina asked me to take this video and to post it here. She is so shy in person, but wants me to post pictures and videos of her on my blog all the time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father, Let Thy Light Divine Shine on Us We Pray

I was quietly sitting in the chapel before sacrament meeting began and I noticed the sunlight coming through the delicate drapes that hung in front of the long windows. The drapes looked like a veil, obscuring what was behind them, but still letting light through. That made me think of the veil over our eyes. In the LDS church we often say that a veil was placed over our eyes when we left our Heavenly Father’s presence to come down to earth, which is why we can’t remember our former life with Him. Just as with the drapes, we can’t see it, but His light still shines through. But it seems more like our spiritual eyes are covered with layer after layer of veils. When through our obedience and diligence and God’s mercy, He allows one of those layers to be lifted away, we see things we didn’t see before. We understand a part of His plan and His gospel that wasn’t clear a moment ago. But He doesn’t take all the layers off at once.

“There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God's people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges.”
Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. and arr. by John A. Widtsoe, 1973, 32

I wonder how very far beneath my privileges I live. I love the feeling I get when I study and ponder about something, and Heavenly Father blesses me with knowledge and understanding. He takes away one veil. But how much more light could I see if I live up to Heavenly Father’s expectations? Is He waiting there, holding a veil right now and I am too busy to do my part to seek answers, to listen, to be still?

“The Almighty is with this people. We shall have all the revelations that we shall need if we will do our duty and keep the commandments of God. If men could just realize that there may be sound even though few ears hear it. There are revelations even though most minds be materialistic and most hearts impenetrable…

Remember:
If there be eyes to see, there will be visions to inspire.
If there be ears to hear, there will be revelations to experience.
If there be hearts which can understand, know this: that the exalting truths of Christ's gospel will no longer be hidden and mysterious, and all earnest seekers may know God and his program.”
Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1966, 26

**The title of my post comes from #305: The Light Divine,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Text: Matilda Watts Cahoon Music: Mildred T. Pettit

Awww! I'm a Daffodil!

Just wanted to share a cute little note to me from Sabrina. She left it on the kitchen counter where she knew I'd find it.
Translation: "Here is two lovely flowers just like you, my Daffodil."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

I had never tried these candies, but when I saw this recipe on Picky Palate, I thought they looked fun. (Make sure to take the time to stay and visit at Jenny’s site since it is FULL of great recipes.) I only had the time to go to one store before making these and that store only had 3.1-oz. boxes, but Jenny said they had the 6-oz. boxes at Walmart so I’ll look there next time. I gave this cookie to several people (so I didn’t eat them all!) and they all liked it. This recipe would make a good chocolate chip cookie even if you don’t have the candy—soft and sweet.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. brown sugar
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 ¾ c. flour
1 t. baking soda
¾ t. salt
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 (6-oz) boxes Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Preheat oven to 375°. Cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well mixed. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips and cookie dough bites until just combined.

With a cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
Yield: About 36 cookies

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuscan White Bean & Spinach Soup

I know most people aren't eating soup much right now since it's summer. Robin is from Ecuador where it is hot and humid every day, all year long and they still eat soup almost daily. We don't eat soup that often, but we do eat it occasionally all year long. This recipe is quick and easy! Gotta love that.
Tuscan White Bean & Spinach Soup

2 t. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 shallot, finely diced
3-4 c. fat free chicken broth or vegetable stock
1 (14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-oz.) can white beans (cannellini or other)
1/2 c. whole wheat pasta shells or shell pasta
1 t. rosemary
3 c. baby spinach, cleaned and trimmed
1/8 t, black pepper
Dash crushed red pepper flakes

In a large sauce pan, sauté the shallots & garlic in the olive oil. Add broth, tomatoes, beans and rosemary to pot. Season with black and red pepper. Bring to boil. Add pasta and cook 12 minutes. If the soup seems too thick for your liking add a bit more broth. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My New Cutters

These were among my fun kitchen gadgets that my parents gave me for my birthday. I had two of them on an old POST of fun gadgets and now I have them!
I used two of them last night when making treats for friends. These are the Chewy Cocoa Brownies that I posted before, but this time I cut them with the cute heart cutter.

Then I made the Easy Cream Cheese Danish with jam as a variation. I absolutely LOVE LOVE this cutter. I think they look so cute. I'll have to try my other cutter soon too.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Warm Chicken Sandwiches with Mushrooms, Spinach & Fontina

Oh, my yum-yum!!!! What else could I say? I found this recipe at Just the Right Size months ago and put it in my HUGE to-try recipe file. I wish I would have tried it sooner. We all loved it (minus my picky Sabrina who opted for plain chicken and rice). I had never tried Fontina cheese before and I like it. I do think that Provolone would also work well. I changed a few things to the recipe so I have my version of it here.

I added more spinach to the sandwiches after I took the photo, but wanted you to be able to see the chicken and cheese. I used rotisserie chicken, but you can use leftover cooked chicken or cook some especially for the sandwiches. I used thyme, but you can use oregano or rosemary or whatever your favorite herb is.

Warm Chicken Sandwiches with Mushrooms, Spinach & Fontina

4 rosette rolls, halved horizontally
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz. sliced white mushrooms
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 c. shredded roast chicken
Balsamic vinegar
2 t. thyme
Salt & pepper
Whole grain mustard 8 oz.
Fontina cheese, shredded, divided
1 (5-oz.) bag baby spinach, chopped

Preheat oven to 325°. Place rolls, cut side up, on cookie sheets and toast lightly. Set aside.

Drizzle olive oil in skillet and warm over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms release juices. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add chicken to skillet. Drizzle balsamic vinegar to taste and season with thyme, salt and pepper.

Spread mustard on bottom half of each roll on a cookie sheet. Top with chicken/mushroom mixture and then cheese. Broil just until cheese melts. Top each with spinach and then roll top.

The Top of My To-Do List

Just a quick post on a busy day. As a mother, I have a huge list of things I’d like to accomplish every day. Some of them are the things we have to do to keep our house running like laundry, dishes, and shopping. Then we have to help our children with homework, teach them the gospel (like that isn’t huge all by itself!), make sure they know we love them, help them develop self-esteem… Oh, the list is so big it often brings me to tears when I think of how full of important and urgent tasks my few years with my children are and how behind I always seem to be, even running at full speed. But this quote helps me to ground myself and it reminds me of what’s important.

"One of our greatest goals as parents should be to enjoy the power and influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes."
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Unspeakable Gift,” Ensign, May 2003, 28

Everything that I do should help bring and keep the Spirit in our home. The Spirit will not stay if I am cranky because I am trying to get this long list done and my children are not cooperating. What is more important? That I get to the store on time and in and out in 30 minutes or that I am patient and allow the Spirit to be with us? So it’s my goal to keep this quote in mind and ask myself, “Am I enjoying the influence of the Spirit and am I allowing my children to?” throughout each day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Savory Chicken Vegetable Strudel

I have sometimes used oregano instead of dill weed. Robin likes to put hot sauce on it. I haven't tried that yet.
Savory Chicken Vegetable Strudel

2 c. cooked, cubed chicken
½ c. shredded carrots
½ c. finely chopped fresh broccoli
1/3 c. finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ c. mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ t. dill weed
¼ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
2 tubes (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white, beaten
2 T. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375º. In a bowl, combine first 10 ingredients; mix well. Unroll crescent dough and place in a greased 15x10-inch baking pan; press seams and perforations together, forming a rectangle (dough will hang over edges of pan). Spread filling lengthwise down the center of dough. On each long side, cut 1½-inch wide strips 3½-inches into center. Starting at one end, alternate strips, twisting twice and layering at an angle across filling. Seal ends. Brush dough with egg white; sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into slices; serve warm.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ready for a Party

I'm always looking for fun party stuff and I found an Etsy shop called BonneNouvelle that has really cute birthday banners made from fabric. It’s such a great idea. You can re-use them over and over and they’re even machine washable. There are some great ones to choose from or you can create a custom order. She also will make the banners with your child’s name that you can use for a party or hang up in his or her room. Awesome!
There are also some adorable cupcake flags! You can coordinate the banner and flags for a fun party.
So head over and check it out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Week in Pictures--Lots of Them

We've had a nice start to summer. How about you? I've taken a walk several days so far. These photos of the girls are taken 4 or 5 blocks from our house.

Alex was experimenting with the camera and I really like this one.

My friends Carla, Lucy & Patty celebrated my birthday with me on a girls' night out. It was fun to be able to talk and not get interrupted by children--no matter how cute they are.

Introducing...my newest niece Aileah Brooklyn. She is Heather and Tom's first little one. Isn't she adorable! My children love their cute cousin.



We had a family dinner on Monday. Here's my nephew with my dad. They're great buddies.
And my littlest nephew
Aileah sure sleeps a lot--lucky Heather & Tom!
We went to the Parade of Homes like we do every year. This year the homes weren't as great as most other years. I guess the economy is affecting everything! They don't want to build really big, expensive houses that no one will buy. Here are the kids in a big shower.


We went to the Springville Museum of Art. This crazy one has an eye in the center that is actually a screen and the eye moves around. Sabrina was fascinated by it.

In the market for a 9-foot bridal gown made out of bubble wrap?I found this statue that I think would look great in my entry.
We stopped by Model A Cafe in Mapelton for the first time. Alex and Elisa ordered "2 Flat Tires", which are 2 GIANT pancakes. If you like pancakes, this is the place to go. The price for 3 is only $3.49. They couldn't even finish one pancake.