Friday, February 27, 2009

San Francisco Chicken & My Purse

The title sounds like this post will include a strange story, huh? Actually there is no story here. Just a recipe and a tag.

San Francisco Chicken
The sauce is simple, but perfect just as it is. Don’t think something that easy could be so good? Give it a try. I found it years ago posted by MissEllie on the Taste of Home Recipe Board. I love that site!

4-6 Boneless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 T. soy sauce
3 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 T. cornstarch

Lightly brown chicken breasts in a small amount of oil. Remove from pan and add garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar and 1 cup chicken broth. Stir to mix and return chicken to pan and cover. Simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is done (15-20 minutes). Remove chicken again and add remaining broth which has been mixed with cornstarch. Bring to a boil to thicken and return chicken to the pan, coating it well.

Okay, now for the next part of the post.
Patti tagged me with an unusual tag. I didn’t make it up, really.

1) "Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late--inside and out. No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids. I want to know what you carried today or the last time you left the house."


Inside I have my wallet (Robin had someone buy it in Italy for me), my cell phone case, 2 lip glosses and one lipstick, a couple of reciepts, a few dollar bills, one shopping list, and lots of change at the bottom of my purse, sprinkled with wedding confetti that Sabrina put in there months ago for safe keeping. (I guess it's been safe.)

2) " I want to know how much it cost:) And this is not to judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. So spill it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it."

I bought the purse a couple of years ago and I have no idea how much it cost, but I'm sure it wasn't much. I'm usually pretty frugal. There's no real story to it. Sorry!

3) "Tag some chicks. And link back to this post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your diaper bag/non-diaper bag."

I’ll tag:

Sherami
Tara
Tara’s mom (who I’ve been told is a stalker and is always welcome to lurk here)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

That Trial Just Might Save You

My stake conference was so wonderful last week that I have lots of quotes and ideas to share. All the talks were good, but I want to share a few more things from my stake president's talk. They might seem kind of random since I took them from different parts of his talk, but they are all great. I wish you were all there. My Stake President is awesome.

My Stake President found an article online (which I couldn't find in my own search) that talked about several people who were supposed to be working in the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11. Each of them had some kind of irritation or inconvenience that made them late. I can’t remember the reasons, but for example, one woman spilled food on her shirt and she had to change her clothes before she left. Another man missed a bus. Another one was waiting for a babysitter to come who was late. All these people thought these things were annoyances in their lives, but it is possible (of course we don't know) that they happened on purpose for a reason that wasn’t known to them, but was to our Heavenly Father. We should look at things in our lives in the same way. We should think, “This is exactly where the Lord wants me to be at this moment.”

“If God allows a trial to continue despite faith, prayers and blessings, then maybe God, who know you and what you need, may just be trying to use that trial to save you." Quote from my Stake President. Of course, that saving may not always be our physical lives, but our spiritual ones.

"Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a 'healing' cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are 'healed' by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us." Dallin H. Oaks, "He Heals the Heavy Laden," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 7-8

Then he read this poem which he found online. I can't find an author so if anyone knows, please let me know.

I asked God to take away my habit. God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own! But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mix it Up! VIII

Chicken Sausage Florentine Rigatoni
I was disappointed because I was planning to make this, but only had time to go to one grocery store before dinner and I couldn’t find any chicken sausage. I don’t like pork, but really wanted to try this recipe so I bought pork sausage. I halved the recipe and didn’t cook the spinach much. We liked it even with the pork and I will make it again, but hopefully with chicken sausage. I found this recipe at Picky Palate .


2 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken sausage
½ t. salt
1 (26-oz.) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted tomatoes
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 lb. dry rigatoni noodles
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted down. Add chicken sausage and salt; cook until cooked through.

Place both cans of tomatoes into a food processor and process until nearly smooth. Add to skillet along with fresh basil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

Cook rigatoni according to packaging directions. Drain and transfer to sauce. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Rosemary Focaccia
I only tried this one yeast recipe this week, but it turned out great. It is so flavorful. Thanks to Prudence Pennywise for the recipe. I used half whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour and I will do that again.
2 t. rapid rise yeast
1 t. sugar
1 c. plus 2 T. warm water
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. salt
1 t. dried rosemary, chopped, or 1 T. fresh
3 cups flour Topping:
2-6 T. olive oil
1/4 c. to 3/4 c. parmesan cheese
Additional chopped dried or fresh rosemary
Black pepper

In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, pepper, salt, rosemary and half of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. (Alternately, if you have a free standing mixer, put in all of the flour and let the machine do the work.) Work in the remaining flour, using your hands and kneading when necessary. Knead dough for five minutes. Cover and let rise for one hour. (The dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge.)

Preheat oven to 425°. Press dough into a 12 inch circle. Don't worry about being perfect; you're going for rustic Italian here. Press the dough all over with your fingertips to make indentations. Cover dough with olive oil, cheese, rosemary and black pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sopa de Pollo con Fideos (Chicken Noodle Soup)
I made this recipe up this week when my husband was sick since he loves soup to help him feel better. He told me it was the best soup he’s ever had, probably because the mixture made in the blender (minus the enchilada sauce) is called aliño and is used in a variety of dishes in Ecuador, where he is from. The amounts in the ingredients list are estimates and you can use more or less, depending on your taste. You can use the veggies you prefer too. Next time I think I’ll sauté carrots along with the garlic and onion. I used “homemade style” egg noodles which took a bit longer to cook, but tasted great.
1 tomato, quartered
1 small green pepper, quartered
½ onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
½ c. fresh cilantro
1 t. cumin
1 (10-oz.) can green chile enchilada sauce
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ onion, chopped
3 Boneless, skinless Chicken breasts, chopped
1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth
1 potato, chopped in small pieces
Egg noodles
½ c. frozen corn
1/3 c. frozen peas
Salt & pepper to taste

Place first 7 ingredients in blender; blend until mostly liquid. Set aside.
In bottom of large saucepan or pot, add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and sauté the chicken and onion, adding garlic when the chicken is almost done. When chicken is cooked, add mixture from blender and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook until noodles and potatoes are done.

RASPBERRY CRUMB CAKE
This is a buttery cake with a great crumb topping. I just love raspberries! I don't have mace so I've never used it. (I don't know why I can't get the ingredients to do single line spacing. Sorry.)



FILLING:


2/3 c. sugar


1/4 c. cornstarch


3/4 c. water


2 c. fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries


1 T. lemon juice


CRUST:


3 c. all-purpose flour


1 c. sugar


1 T. baking powder


1 t. salt


1 t. ground cinnamon


1/4 t. ground mace


1 c. cold butter or margarine


2 eggs


1 c. milk


1 t. vanilla


TOPPING:


1/2 c. flour


1/2 c. sugar


1/4 c. cold butter or margarine


1/4 c. sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350°. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water & raspberries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, boil for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice. Cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine first six crust ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat eggs, milk & vanilla, add to crumb mixture & mix well. Spread 2/3 of mixture into greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Spoon raspberry filling over crust to within 1 in. of edges. Top with remaining crust mixture. For topping, combine flour & sugar, cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle over top. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until lightly browned.

Symphony Cookies
The Sisters' Cafe had this great recipe. I made two batches of this, one with a regular Symphony bar and one that had toffee & almonds. They keep their shape beautifully and are so soft and chewy. I used vanilla pudding, but you can use chocolate if you like. Maybe I’ll try that next.

1 c. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 large Symphony bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°. Cream butter, sugar, pudding mix, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in chopped chocolate. Drop by spoonful on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Cool on rack.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Do I Wish for My Alex?

Alex is almost 13, but the teenage tendencies haven't waited for his birthday. Yesterday was especially bad and I'm not sure why. He just felt his life is so unfair because he has to do all the work around here. And by "all" the work that he does, I mean that he had to bring the trash can from the street to the garage and put the dishes in the dishwasher. Since he was having a hard day, I asked Elisa to push the button to close the garage door after they brought the trash can in an to push the button to start the dishwasher, but he wasn't happy. He said that just because she did it once means nothing, that he has to do that hard button-pushing more often than his sister. "It isn't fair!"

I talked to him and he eventually calmed down, after throwing his arms into the air and stomping upstairs. I mentioned that I don't think he wants a fair life. If Heavenly Father evened everything out so that all children had the same "fair" life, he would see how easy he has it. I told him he would probably be forced to work in a mine or on a field with no breaks and probably no shoes and not know when he was going to eat next. He has seen poverty in Ecuador on our short visit and I've tried to show my children in documentaries and books, but he is (almost) a teenager and everything is about them and their feelings and fairness.

I remember feeling the same way when I had to do the dishes with my sisters (by hand and there were 8 of us in the family) and had to miss my favorite TV show. It wasn't fair! Of course, there wasn't a minute of the day when there wasn't some show on that I wanted to see and the dishes had to be done. Working together is part of being in a family, but that's not how I saw it. This experience with Alex made me think of a quote my stake president read on Sunday at stake conference that I posted below. It made me think about what I want for my son. I don't want an easy, lazy life to be sure. He would not grow or learn. I want to protect him (and my other children, of course) from hurt feelings and trials, but I can't because they are part of this life and they could not reach their amazing potential without them. I think the following says it wonderfully.

From the book People Who Live At The End of Dirt Roads by Lee Pitts and quoted by journalist, Paul Harvey ....

THESE THINGS I WISH FOR EACH OF YOU

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

My cherished grandson, I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. I hope you have a job by then.

It will be good if at least one time you can see a baby calf born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him. When you want to see a Disney movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope your driver doesn't have to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one, I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use those newfangled computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get razzed by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother, that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I hope you get sick when someone blows cigar smoke in your face. I don't care if your try beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandpa and go fishing with your uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and the joy of holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through a neighbour's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster of Paris mould of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Glimpse into Our Little World & Beyond

Last week was a busy week, but then almost all of them are. Alex was so excited to go recruiting for band at local elementary schools, including his old elementary school. They went to different schools and played a few numbers, including a trombone solo by Alex. Then the band teacher talks to the 6th graders and tries to motivate them to take band in 7th grade. That’s what got Alex interested in band. Alex is very musical, if you ask his biased mother. He had almost two years of piano when he was younger and did very well as long as he practiced. I was worried that he wouldn’t practice the trombone, but he practices every day without me even reminding him. He wants to play the trumpet in band next year. He tried someone else’s and played a song on it the first try. He swapped his trombone for a friend’s baritone horn for a weekend one time and played that one too. He wants to learn how to play all the brass and woodwind instruments, minus the flute.

Elisa had her science fair this week and had a few mishaps. She was typing up her report for quite a while when she did something that deleted it. I had reminded her to save it several times, so I told her to just go back to the saved copy. She hadn’t saved any of it. She was not happy, but was able to get everything done on time. Her teacher gave the students a test the same day as the science fair. How fair is that??? But Elisa got 100% so she was happy. Here is Elisa with her project. It was “What material absorbs the most water?” She didn’t win, but she had said she didn’t want to. She saw how Alex had to talk to the judges at the regional level while all the parents had to remain outside the room a couple of years ago. She did not want to do that.


Sabrina always brings home fun papers from kindergarten. One was What I Would Do with $100. She had big plans for that money! She drew her answers: ballet lessons, karate lessons, a dog, a limo (for $100), and last, but definitely not least, a DISCO ball. She has been dreaming about all of those for a long time. Maybe one of these days she’ll get one of those, but I somehow doubt she’ll be getting the limo from me.

We also went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for my nephew’s 3rd birthday party. I can’t believe he’s 3!
Isn’t he sooo cute??

His little brother too, with one of his grandmas. The birthday boy was having a great time at the party until Sabrina accidently ran right into him and gave him a goose egg on his poor little head. Even then he was cute because he was crying while saying, “Careful. Careful.” I hope he’s feeling better today!

And now a look beyond my world---What do you usually do during your ladies’ night? I occasionally have lunch with a few ladies before my kids get home from school. We sit and chat and laugh. It’s fun to get together with other women, but I’ve felt lately that I need to make our time together fun, but worthwhile. I was brainstorming some ideas like humanitarian kits or tie blankets for a local nursing home. Today I visited a great blog I often visit called Women Doing More and saw the trailer for the movie A Powerful Noise . It is a film “that proposes the solution to global poverty and injustice lies in the ability of women and girls to have a voice in their societies.” Here is the synopsis from the website.

Hanh is an HIV-positive widow in Vietnam. Nada, a survivor of the Bosnian war. And Jacqueline works the slums of Bamako, Mali. Three very different lives. Three vastly different worlds. But they share something in common: Power. These women are each overcoming gender barriers to rise up and claim a voice in their societies. Through their empowerment and ability to empower others, Hanh, Nada and Jacqueline are sparking remarkable changes. Fighting AIDS. Rebuilding communities. Educating girls.

This 2 ½ hour documentary is going to be shown one night only, March 5th. Wouldn’t it be great for us as women to go together for a ladies’ night on International Women’s Day and support this film? I’m sure we’ll be lifted away from our own problems and see the issues that face women around the world daily. We can spend a few hours together with an inspiring message. Anyone want to go? Here’s the list of theaters showing the movie. Participating Theaters

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Do We Use Our Influence?

Last night I had the great opportunity to sit next to my mom in the third row in front of Sheri Dew speaking at my mom’s stake Relief Society fireside. Every time I hear Sister Dew talk, I really have a desire to be a better person and to use my influence to touch lives more than I do. Most of what she said I have heard her say before or read in her books, but I didn’t mind at all. It was all important things that we hear and say, “Yeah, that’s true!” and then during our daily lives, struggles and joys, we may not remember. Unfortunately, I can’t write as quickly as Sister Dew can speak so you get my version of her words. Her talk was based on her book God Wants a Powerful People and I’d encourage you to read it if you haven’t.

Sister Dew started with a story about her Blackberry being ruined at the beach last week while in Hawaii and her desperation at being disconnected from her work, her friends and other important things. She thought she could make it without buying a new one until she got back home, but just couldn’t so she bought a new one. She mentioned how wonderful it be if we felt that same desperation each time we started to feel disconnected with our Heavenly Father. We can’t be a powerful people if we are not connected to Him to know His will.

“Women aren’t always aware of how pivotal women are to the kingdom of God, but Satan is.” He has “turned the heat up” in these days because he knows he doesn’t have much time left. Women have so much influence on those around us. No one has more influence on a child than a mother, on a man than her wife. Women have an innate talent for dealing one-on-one with others, where our influence can be felt.

(I’ll skip some of her talk, but it was all interesting.) Then she asked us to think about this: “If it were your assignment to develop a strategy to disrupt women’s mission, what would you do?” Sister Dew told us the 3 things she would do (and obviously Satan is doing).

1. Confuse us about who we are (Our personal identity, our identity as women and or identity as daughters of God).
2. Keep us from understanding what Jesus did for us and how that can heal and help us now.
3. Keep us from understanding and receiving personal revelation.

So the opposite of that is the strategy to help women fulfill their missions on this earth.

1. Learn who we are and that we have a mission. “You need to receive a vision not only of who you are, but who you’ve always been.” (Beautiful!)
2. Really learn who the Savior is and what He did for us. It is only through the healing and strengthening power of the atonement that we can fulfill our responsibilities and our mission.
3. We must learn the language of revelation. How do we learn a language? Immerse ourselves in it and practice it. So in this case, read the scriptures and pray. We may not know how the Spirit teaches us so we should ask Heavenly Father in prayer to teach us what it is like to be taught by the Spirit. “Feeling the Spirit is different than receiving instruction through the Spirit.”

That’s all I will share from her talk, but if you’d like to read or hear more from Sister Dew, go search her name here at BYU. She always lovingly reminds us that we aren’t living up to our full potential and invites us to imagine how different things would be if we all were. Can you imagine it? Even if the rest of the world didn’t change, what if ALL the women in the church lived how we know we should? What an amazing difference we would see in ourselves, our families and those around us.

Here are a few quotes from her May 2008 address at Women’s Conference Awake, Arise and Come Unto Christ that I was blessed to attend and cried all the way through, of course.

“There are five principles about influence we need to understand: first, we all have more influence than we think; second, righteous influence is a spiritual gift; third, having influence is not about elevating self but about lifting others; fourth, it isn’t possible NOT to have influence; and fifth, women of God have influence that has no limit and no end.”

“If we aren’t willing to diligently seek to be holy by seeking the Spirit, the best we can do in this life is the best WE can do—meaning, we’re limited to our own wisdom and judgment, which these days is spiritual suicide. The way to come out of the world, the way to have maximum righteous influence, is to live under the influence of the Holy Ghost.”

“We are here to influence the world rather than to be influenced by the world. If we could unleash the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would change overnight.” (I added the bold.)

How wonderful that Sister Dew is fulfilling her mission on earth to help inspire and uplift others! I’m so grateful that I was able to hear her last night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mix it Up! VII

Chicken Taco Soup
I recently found this recipe at San Diego Cooks and wanted to make it right away because of the photo. I used a rotisserie chicken so it was very easy, but it was so delicious! Elisa tried to eat this on a tortilla like a taco, but it is very wet (it is soup) so it dripped everywhere. I used a small can of chopped green chilies instead of the jalapeño.
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T oil
1 (14-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1/2-1 whole jalapeño
1 T. cumin
1 lb. cooked chicken
2 c. chicken broth
Juice of one lime
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Sauté garlic and onion in oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. Serve with chips or cut up tortillas, cheese, sour cream and avocado.


Sopa De Frijoles Negros (Black Bean Soup)
This is a really good soup (in the photo), but I also use it as a dip for tortilla chips. I just add less broth and then put cheese on top after it is warm. I use fresh salsa, either my own or from the produce section, but you can try the jarred salsa.
24 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 T. canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or to taste)
16 oz. salsa
Juice 1 lime
1 T. ground cumin
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c. plain yogurt

Place half the beans and chicken broth in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 1-2 or until the onion is tender. Add beans, salsa, lime juice, cumin and red pepper.
Bring to boil and reduce heat to low, cover. Cook while stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of yogurt, and garnish with chopped red onion and fresh cilantro.


Chicken Fried Rice
I have been making this recipe for years either with chicken for a main dish or without any meat as a side dish, but this time I tried it with leftover grilled beef. We liked it just as much as the other ways. You can also use diced ham. Give it a try with any of the variations. I like to use Teriyaki Baste & Glaze instead of regular teriyaki sauce. I just keep adding it little by little while mixing until the rice is brown, but not saturated or wet.
1 ½ c. cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1/3 c. green onion, chopped
¼ c. red bell pepper, chopped
½ c. carrots, chopped
1 T. oil
3 c. cooked rice, cooled
½ c. thawed baby peas
2 t. teriyaki sauce

Put green onions, bell pepper, carrots and oil in a 2-quart casserole dish and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Onions should be tender, but not too soft. Put in skillet. Over medium heat combine remaining ingredients with vegetables. Stir often until heated thorough.

Cream Cheese Won Tons
This isn’t exactly a recipe since I don’t have exact amounts. I fried the ones on the right side of the photo and baked the ones on the left. I prefer them fried, but of course, it’s healthier baked. I also fry or bake strips of won tons, which are in the middle in the photo.

Won ton wrappers
Softened cream cheese
Soy sauce
Green onions, chopped

Mix the cream cheese with enough soy sauce to make it brown, but not too dark, depending on your taste. Add green onions and mix well. I usually just put filling in the middle of the square won tons and make triangles by dipping my finger in water and then wetting the edges of the won ton and folding in half. You can make different shapes though. For fried won tons, heat oil in deep fryer and fry won tons, flipping once, until just brown. For baked won tons, preheat oven to 400°. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place shaped won tons on sheet. Then spray won tons with cooking spray to help them brown. Bake for 7-9 minutes, turning them over halfway through time. Let them sit for a minute or two before eating.

Ultimate M&M’s Cookies
This is the recipe from the M&M's mini baking bits bag. I sometimes use this recipe for chocolate chip cookies too.
1 c. butter, softened
½ c. granulated sugar
½ c. light brown sugar
1 lg. egg
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
2 c. "M&M's" Mini Baking Bits
3/4 c. chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in "M&M's"® Milk Chocolate Mini Baking Bits and nuts, if desired. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies I split this dough in half and added chocolate chunks to half and Andes candies bits to the other half. They are fudgy and very chocolaty. It made about 48 cookies for me.

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream together the margarine, sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the cocoa and add baking soda, salt and blend well. Add the flour into the creamed mixture and fold in the chocolate chips. Bake at for 8-9 minutes.

Easy Cream Cheese Danish
This is so incredibly rich & delicious that it is hard to believe it is so simple to make. The sugar and cinnamon make a lovely crust. I added the optional almond or orange extract to the ingredients, but I think it makes a big difference. I never make it without. I love to put fresh berries on top after baking. I didn't make the glaze this time for the photo.

Danish:
2 (8-oz.) pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 c. sugar
1 egg, separated
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond or orange extract, optional
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon

Glaze (optional):
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. cinnamon
Milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan. Unroll & spread one package crescent rolls on bottom of pan. Mix sugar, 1 egg yolk, vanilla, extract and cream cheese together. Spread over bottom crust of crescent rolls. Unroll & spread 1 package crescent rolls over top of cream cheese mixture. Brush top crust with 1 slightly beaten egg white. Mix 1/3 cup sugar & cinnamon together. Sprinkle on top of egg white. Bake for 30 minutes. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.

GLAZE: Mix first three ingredients together. Stir in enough milk until mixture is drizzling consistency; pour over Danish.

VARIATION: Stir a few tablespoons jam into cream cheese mixture.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Joe Smith & the Devil

I recently listened to a talk by Terryl Givens called “Lightning Out of Heaven”: Joseph Smith and the Forging of Community . You can read it at that link or search the BYU Talk Database to listen to it. I want to share this quote from the talk that speaks about something that Parley P. Pratt wrote.

“In 1844 Parley P. Pratt published a little story in the New York Herald entitled ‘Joe Smith and the Devil.’ In this story the devil happens upon Joseph, and they have a pleasant conversation. The devil is insisting to the Prophet that he, the devil, is happy to support ‘all creeds, systems, and forms of Christianity, of whatever name or nature; so long as they leave out that abominable doctrine, which caused me so much trouble in former times, and which, after slumbering for ages, you have again revived; I mean the doctrine of . . .'

"And guess what that doctrine was. What do you think Parley P. Pratt and (I think we can safely assume) Joseph Smith himself believed was the single most important doctrine he restored—one to make the devil himself quake in the knowledge that his kingdom was in jeopardy of total collapse?”



I am pausing Brother Givens talk here to give you a second to think about it, like I was when I was listening. What do you think? The priesthood is the first principle that came to my mind, followed by several others. Let’s see if you thought of the same thing that Parley P. Pratt wrote.

“That principle, Pratt wrote, was this: ‘You have again revived [and this is the devil speaking here] the doctrine of direct communion with God, by new revelation.’ (Parley P. Pratt, “Joe Smith and the Devil: A Dialogue,” New York Herald, 25 August 1844, 1.)”

Whether personal revelation and revelation to the prophets came to your mind or not, you probably will agree that it is pretty unique to our religion and fundamental to be sure. I have been teaching my Sunday school youth about Joseph Smith and the first vision and how to gain a personal testimony of it. How sad it is that he was mocked and persecuted at a young age for saying that he saw God by people who believe in the Bible and believe that God used to talk to prophets. I am so grateful to know that He has does speak to His servants on the earth and that we can know His will by listening to our prophet. I could definitely go on for a long time about how awesome it is to be able to receive personal revelation about our own lives and our families directly from our Heavenly Father who loves us so much and doesn’t just drop us here on earth with no directions or maps. No wonder Satan does not want people to know that Heavenly Father speaks to a prophet and can give us direction through the Holy Ghost. What could possibly be more powerful?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Link the Two Together

“When parents are teaching their children and when missionaries are teaching investigators, preparing them for baptism by water, they must also think of the gift of the Holy Ghost—baptism by fire. Think of it as one sentence. First comes the baptism of water and then the baptism of fire.

Someone may ask the missionaries, “How are things going?” or “Are you teaching anyone?”
The missionaries automatically answer, “Yes, we have a family preparing for baptism and confirmation, for receiving the Holy Ghost.”

Or a father and mother might say to a child, “When you are eight years old, you will be ready to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.”

I repeat, to be baptized and to receive the Holy Ghost—link those two together.”
Boyd K. Packer, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug 2006, 46–52
I read this article a few weeks ago and realized that although in my mind baptism and confirmation are linked and are both important, I rarely, if ever, said it the way Elder Packer said to say it. My youngest is 6 so she has 2 more years before her baptism, so I can practice saying them together.

I remembered this on Saturday while attending a baptism of two adults who have been investigating the church for a while and the family has been baptized one or two at a time. The baptism was great, but they had to wait until sacrament meeting on Sunday to receive the Holy Ghost. I found myself anxious and even impatient for them. I’m sure there are reasons that converts’ confirmations are the next day, but I didn’t want them to have to wait a single day more before receiving this amazing blessing of having the presence of a member of the Godhead with them. The confirmations went fine on Sunday and I’m sure, like all of us, it will take them a while to realize what the promptings of the Holy Ghost feel like, but hopefully they can already feel a difference in their lives.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Making Friends with Yeast & Mix It Up!

For some reason, yeast and I have not gotten along. I have tried a few times through the years to make bread or rolls, but they never turn out right, which is a shame because my family and I devour fresh rolls. I have avoided yeast altogether for years. This week, I decided that there is no reason that I can’t be friends with yeast with a bit of practice. I knew that my first attempts would not result in perfect rolls like my sister Heather’s, but like any skill, I will get better with practice. So here are the first two recipes that I tried this week. Neither turned out great, but they weren’t as bad as I was expecting and the house smelled so good while they were baking. If you have any favorite roll recipes for beginners, send them my way! I am not giving up this time.
Tasty Rolls
These weren’t as heavy as they look. Most of them were pretty light, but I did have a few which weren't as airy. These turned out pretty good for my first attempt in years. We ate them all within 24 hours!

5 c. flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 c. milk
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. canola oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix 2 cups flour and yeast. In a separate bowl, heat milk, water, oil, sugar& salt to lukewarm in microwave. Add all at once to flour mixture and beat till smooth. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough (2-3 cups). Mix well, then turn out onto floured surface and let rest under a bowl for about 10 minutes.

Shape dough into 12 slightly flat balls and place on greased baking sheet to rise till doubled in size. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cuban Bread
I have never had Cuban bread so I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like or taste like. This has a nice crispy crust, but is very soft inside. Apparently, it’s used to make Cuban sandwiches kind of like a Panini, but I served it with spaghetti and marinara dipping sauce. (Cuban bread with Italian spaghetti?? I know) It tasted good with the sauce, but pretty plain without it. I usually like fresh bread all by itself. Maybe it’s because it didn’t have any oil or butter. You can see that I need to work on bread skills by the lumpy, bumpy appearance of the crust. Some day I’ll get it nice and smooth!

3 pkgs. active dry yeast
4 t. brown sugar
2 c. water
5-6 c. bread flour, divided
1 T. salt
Cornmeal
1 egg (or 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash)
3/4 c. hot water

Combine yeast, brown sugar and warm water in a large mixing bowl; stir to mix. Stir in 2 cups of the flour; beat well. Let stand 10 minutes for yeast to develop.

Stir in salt. Add remaining 3 to 4 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until a stiff dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep dough manageable. Dough should be smooth, elastic and not sticky. Oil the surface of the dough and put it in the rinsed mixing bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough. Knead lightly. Form into two long loaves. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet; place loaves on baking sheet. Let rise, uncovered, 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife or razor blade, make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes in the top of each loaf. Brush loaves with egg wash. Place on middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a shallow pan on the bottom shelf; pour hot water into pan. Set oven temperature at 400° and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves are well browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire racks.

Vegetable Lasagna
I found this at San Diego Cooks. It has lots of vegetables, but isn’t vegetarian since it calls for ground turkey. I used ground beef since Robin doesn’t like ground turkey. (Even though I think I could have gotten away with using it in this recipe.) The kids weren’t too happy about finding “a salad inside the lasagna”, but they liked the taste. Robin and I really, really liked it.
Sauce:
1 bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/4 t. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz. extra lean ground turkey breast
2 T. balsamic vinegar

Filling:
2 c. fat-free cottage cheese
2 egg whites
1/4 t. nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
3 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
12 pieces lasagna pasta, cooked
12-14 fresh basil leaves
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. fresh spinach leaves
2 T. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. In a saucepan, heat olive oil and cook onion until soft, then add garlic. Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Add spaghetti sauce and vinegar, heat for about a minute and set aside. In a separate bowl mix together cottage cheese, egg whites, nutmeg and pepper: set aside. In another bowl mix together zucchini and mozzarella cheese and set aside.

In the bottom of a 9x13in pan, evenly spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce. Place 3 pieces of pasta on the sauce without overlapping. Now build your lasagna layers starting with ½ cup of your cottage cheese mixture. Next comes all of your basil leaves followed by your mushrooms and 1 cup of the sauce mixture. Now add 3 more noodles, 1 cup zucchini mixture, and spread your spinach over the top evenly. Add ½ cup cottage cheese mixture and three more noodles. Add remaining sauce, zucchini mixture and top with the Parmesan cheese. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake 35 minutes: uncover and cook another 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Seco de Pollo (or Seco de Gallina)
This is an Ecuadorian dish that Robin grew up with. These measurements are estimates since I learned how to cook it from my suegra (mother-in-law) and she told me just use “some of this” and “some of that”. She knows how to do it without measuring of course. This is kind of my version of it. We usually have it with yellow rice and fried plantains, but we had used up the plantains so I fried potatoes instead. (It’s a good way to get kids to eat veggies without them knowing.)

The Sazón that I use comes in a small box and has individual envelopes of seasoning inside. The kind I use is with coriander & annatto. Not all supermarkets carry it, but I find it at Wal-Mart in the Latin foods section.
1/2 onion
1 green pepper
2 tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
Handful of fresh cilantro
1 t. cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 envelope Sazón by Goya
2 t. canola oil
Juice from ½ lime or lemon
Water
1 lb. chicken (cut in parts or boneless, skinless breasts)

Place all ingredients except the chicken in a blender. Add enough water to blend well. Put in half of the mixture in a skillet and put chicken on top. Pour remaining mixture on top of chicken. Cover and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked, adding a little water and mixing into sauce occasionally as needed. (Cooking time will vary depending on size of chicken pieces.)

Light Broccoli and Cheese Soup
I made only half a batch since I wasn’t sure if we’d like it, but we did and next time I will make a full batch. I used skim milk and it turned out fine for us.
1 c. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1 (16-oz.) package broccoli florets
2 1/2 c. low-fat milk
1/3 c. flour
1/4 t. black pepper
8 oz. light processed cheese, cubed (Velveeta Light)
Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Chocolate Caramel Bars
I forgot to buy milk chocolate chips so I used the semisweet that I had on hand. The way the butter is listed in the ingredients is a bit confusing. I thought that probably it was saying to put 1 cup of butter in cold and the 2 tablespoons melted since you are supposed to have a crumbly mixture, but I wasn’t sure. I just melted the whole thing and it wasn’t crumbly at all, so I think the 1 cup is supposed to be cold. That's okay. It still turned out an ooey-gooey yumminess. Make sure to make this ahead of time so the caramel can set before you need to cut.1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. soda
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. + 2 T. butter, melted
1 (14-oz.) bag of caramels (48)
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 pkg. (12-oz) milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, oats, salt, soda, brown sugar, and butter. Mix well to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 of crumbly mixture in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Melt caramels in whipping cream over low heat. Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked mixture and top with melted caramel. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture on top. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake
This is my new favorite cake!!! It doesn’t taste low-fat at all. There isn’t a strong pumpkin flavor. To me it tastes like a moist chocolate spice cake. I didn’t have pastry flour so I substituted about ½ cup of cake flour and ¼ cup all-purpose flour for the pastry flour and then added the 1 cup all-purpose flour. I also threw in about ¾ cup chocolate chips to the batter before pouring into the pan. The recipe came from Eating Well , where they have lots of tempting, but healthy recipes.
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
1 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. salt
1 c. nonfat buttermilk
1 (15-oz.) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 c. dark brown sugar packed
1 lg. egg at room temperature
1 lg. egg white at room temperature
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
Glaze & Garnish:
1/2 c. packed powdered sugar
1 T. nonfat buttermilk
2 T. mini chocolate chips or toasted chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray.

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl.

Blend 1 cup buttermilk, pumpkin puree and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Beat in whole egg and egg white. Stir in oil, corn syrup and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack, about 2 hours.

To glaze & garnish cake: Combine powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a small bowl, stirring until completely smooth. Place the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the top; garnish with chocolate chips (or chopped nuts) while the glaze is still moist.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

He Has His Father's Way with Words

I am the first one up at my house and I walk on the treadmill and exercise in the morning before my children go to school. Yesterday I woke up early so I could finish early. When I finished Alex said, “You’re done already?” I told him how I woke up earlier than usual and then I ran at 6 miles an hour a few times mixed into my walking instead of my usual 4 mile an hour walk so I finished early. He said, “Oh, that’s what that noise was. I heard a pounding BOOM BOOM.” Elisa tried to help him and said, “Alex!” He didn’t get it and continued on, “I thought I felt the house moving like an earthquake.” I am not that big and the treadmill is downstairs, not directly under his bedroom. I have got to fix this before he gets married! (Yes, I realize that is years from now, but it seems to take years for some people to learn tact. I haven't succeeded with him yet and I've been trying! )
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“It is not the usual purpose of prayer to serve us like Aladdin’s lamp, to bring us ease without effort. Prayer is not a matter of asking only. Often the purpose of prayer is to give us strength to do what needs to be done, wisdom to see the way to solve our own problems, and the ability to do our best in our tasks.”
Elder Richard L. Evans, The Man and the Message, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973], 289
“May we never let the things we can't have, or don't have, or shouldn't have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have. As we value our happiness let us not forget it, for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have.”

Elder Richard L. Evans

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Little Shining Star

(I wrote this on Tuesday night to post on Wednesday, but decided to post it since it was late so it has Tuesday's date, but talks about what happened on Tuesday. Make sense?)
Sabrina had an exciting day yesterday. She woke up and her loose tooth had come out during the night. Somehow she found the tiny tooth in her bed and was so happy that the tooth fairy came for her for the first time Tuesday night. She has seen her brother and sister lose teeth many times. She her new smile? You can even see the new tooth starting to pop through her gums (well, in person, not really in the little photos).
She also did show and teach yesterday afternoon in kindergarten. I tried to convince her to do a Valentine’s day craft, but she insisted on making rocky road bars. That required me to take quite a box of supplies to her class. Luckily she got to wear her teacher’s microphone around her neck so the class could just make out what she was saying in her tiny voice. She did a good job though and had fun.
Sabrina passed out the treats and the recipe to her cute little kindergarten friends.
Sabrina also had the lesson in family home evening on Monday and I thought she did a good job. She chose the article An Activity Day Invitation from the February Friend . It was about a girl who invited some girls who didn’t come to church often and they started coming to Activity Days and then she invited friends from school who were not members of the church and they enjoyed it. We read it together so she could summarize it for her lesson. I made it a rule years ago that whoever has the lesson always shares their testimony or feelings about the topic they taught about. At the end of her lesson Sabrina said (completely unprompted by me), “I know that we should invite people to come to the church so they can see how they feel when they are there.” I think that’s pretty good for a 6-year old’s thinking. (Proud mommy smile)

Feed My Addiction Please

I admit that I’m addicted. Most people who know me well already know that. It started a long time ago and I haven’t outgrown it. I am addicted to collecting recipes. I go online every week and find new ones. I don’t know why since I have such a giant file of recipes to try that I wouldn’t be able to finish those in my lifetime, but still I add on to it. I am good about limiting my time spent on it, but I can’t stop completely. I guess it’s not that bad. Right???

I want to share some of my favorite places online to find recipes. Don’t worry. I won’t list every site I go to, but there are quite a few on this list I’m sharing. (Photos are from the Parade of Home last year, not my kitchen.)

My very favorite is Recipezaar . It is an ENORMOUS collection of recipes that anyone can contribute to and post photos and reviews. You can search by course or ingredients or several other ways, but I usually go to the home page and scroll down a bit to the JUST ADDED section and click where it says photos. They are the new photos with recipes that were added. It’s great to read the reviews because not only am I reassured that it will probably be good (everyone has different tastes), but you can get suggestions of other ways to make the dish.

If I ever have a cooking question and can’t find the answer online, I go post the question at Taste of Home and I usually get a response within minutes. This is a fast-moving forum with people who post recipes (some with photos), cooking tips, questions and answers and just about anything. You do have to sign up to post, but not to read. I’ve been going there for years.

Websites:
http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/
http://www.joyofbaking.com/
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipes
http://www.dianasdesserts.com/

Blogs:
http://www.picky-palate.com/ (She was just on a Food Network show called the Ultimate Recipe Showdown for a one time appearance.)
http://baskersfunfoods.blogspot.com/
http://preschoolsnacks.blogspot.com/
http://prudencepennywise.blogspot.com/
http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com/
http://tartelette.blogspot.com/
http://gourmetmomonthego.blogspot.com/
http://sisterscafe.blogspot.com/
http://alpineberry.blogspot.com/
http://sandiegocooks.blogspot.com/

Sometimes I need to convert measurements in a recipe and I find this link handy.
http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/conversions.htm

Okay, so it’s your time to feed my addiction. What are some of your favorite places to find recipes online? Please!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

"You'd Better Say That So You Can Go to Heaven"

Maybe a year ago I found a BYU Women’s Conference talk online by Mary Ellen Edmunds, a nurse who has completed four missions and has been on the Relief Society General Board . I immediately liked her because she is so joyful and funny with an infectious laugh, but her talks are also insightful and profound. She is now one of my favorite speakers. You can find some of her talks HERE and watch, listen or read them (depending on the file). You have to put “Edmunds” in the search box. (It’s a great resource for hours of great listening to talks by many people.) Edmunds has also written some books and has some talks on CD.

I am reading a book called Prayer that is a collection of writings from different church leaders and authors. I just started reading Mary Ellen Edmunds’ “Prayer, the Soul’s Sincere Desire” and I haven’t finished it yet. (There is a talk on the link above that has the same title and has some of the same parts, but isn’t identical to the one in the book I’m reading.)

I didn’t yet finish this part of the book because I ran out of reading time, but I keep thinking about this quote from it.

“As a little kid I would sit in sacrament meeting and hear really old people—that kind that can hardly make it up to the front—bear their testimonies. They would say, ‘I just love the scriptures.’ And I’d think, ‘You big liar. You don’t really. You’re just saying that because you’re old and you’re about to die and you figure you’d better say that so you can go to heaven.’ I thought that because I didn’t yet love them. I didn’t yet know enough about what was in the scriptures.”

Besides being funny because most of us have been there (or are still there with some principles), it helps remind me of the perspective that others have—my children, the youth in my Sunday School class, investigators. And not just about the scriptures, but about every topic.

A young woman in my Sunday School class once mentioned to me that when I bear my testimony, even if I’m crying (remember the annoying crybaby thing?) that she doesn’t feel anything. Not the spirit, not that it is true, nothing. Of course, I told her that it was okay and normal. We all grow little by little and she can just keep learning and praying and she shouldn’t feel bad. I remind my class all the time that just because their parents are members and they were born in the church, doesn’t mean they were born with a testimony and that they need to go through the same steps as the investigators when trying to decide if something is true.

I teach my children about the gospel, but I’m not sure that I’m providing enough opportunities for them to build their own testimonies and find out for themselves if each principle is true. It is important to share our testimonies with them and to teach them correct principles, but we need to help them have their own experiences with the Spirit and discovery. I’ll be brainstorming for some new ideas for my children and to use in my Sunday School class, which seems much harder for me.

Okay, to end on a light note, I’ll include this quote from Mary Ellen Edmunds that wasn’t in this reading, but I’ve heard her say it a few times:

She is the author of the 14th Article of Faith:
"We believe in meetings - all that have been scheduled, all that are now scheduled, and we believe that there will yet be scheduled many great and important meetings. We have endured many meetings and hope to be able to endure all meetings. Indeed we may say that if there is a meeting, or anything that resembles a meeting, or anything that we might possibly turn into a meeting, we seek after these things."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Wouldn't Be Surprised!

I feel like I am one of a very few people who haven't read Twilight yet. I can't believe how much so many females from teenagers to older moms love it.