Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Corn Soup

I saw this in a Taste of Home magazine while I was looking for some quick and easy recipes. This one makes an ugly photo, but it tastes pretty good. I added some garlic to ours.
Cheesy Chicken Corn Soup
2 cans (14 1/2-oz. each) chicken broth
1 can (10-oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
2 c. frozen corn
1 1/2 c. water, divided
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
Dash pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb. processed American cheese (Velveeta), cubed
   In a large saucepan, combine the broth, tomatoes, chicken, corn, 1cup water, onion and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the corn is tender. Combine the flour and remaining water until smooth; stir into the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low; stir in the cheese until melted.
Yield: 9 servings (about 2 quarts).

Friday, October 29, 2010

All Her Paths are Peace

Here is my busy day post with a couple of quotes I'm thinking about and repeating and repeating in my head.

"Left to our own understanding, we are unintentionally false and unsteady. But through trusting in the Lord with humility, gratitude, and faith, we are blessed and we prosper. If we trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him, not only will He 'direct [our] paths,' but He will also ensure that 'then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble,' (Proverbs 3:23) and that 'her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.' (Proverbs 3:17)"
Rather than focusing on ease and prestige, may we concentrate on eternal considerations as we make life’s daily decisions. I pray that we will be able to replace feelings of self-centeredness, entitlement, and political correctness with an attitude of humility, gratitude, and faith through righteous obedience to God’s commandments. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, may we ask, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?'"
Steven C. WheelwrightDecision Making—The Lord’s Way , May 26, 2009
"Remember that mortal life is a brief moment, for we will live eternally. There will be ample—I almost used the word time, but time does not apply here—there will be ample opportunity for all injustices, all inequities to be made right, all loneliness and deprivation compensated, and all worthiness rewarded when we keep the faith."
Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Fountain of Life, BYU Devotional was given on March 29, 1992

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Looking Forward

Do you love CSN Stores yet? I sure do! They have given me a gift certificate and I get to choose from one of their close to gazillion products like dining room chairs, bathroom sink faucets (which I could definitely use), or an exercise mat (which would be great on these hard floors) or just about whatever you can think of. Totally awesome for me. If you remember, I was looking at Dutch ovens before, but Elisa talked me into this instead--an ice cream maker.

I'm not a huge ice cream eater, but Katrina at Baking and Boys! is always making thē BEST looking ice cream flavors and I haven't been able to make any of them without an ice cream maker. So after I get it in the mail (Yay! Fun mail!), I'll give it a try and have a review and a recipe to share with you. And hopefully I'll be able to pop in here and post another post very soon. I have so many in my head. One of them will be a giveaway...soon!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quick Update

I'd like to give a bit of an update with what I've been up to without getting too personal about my downs. Since I don't have much time to update my blog often, I didn't realize that I hadn't shared much about my educational plans, but some of my blogger friends have asked me about it. I am back in school and if I'm not doing something with my children, I'm studying most of the time. I attended BYU right out of high school thinking I'd go to medical school and be a doctor. But plans changed. I got married my sophomore year and wasn't sure what to do with school. I chose a major, continued in school, finished up my coursework for a degree in Spanish. I had my first baby at the end of all of my classes and just went to school for another semester after he was born. But as I was finishing up, I felt that I shouldn't graduate even though I was done. My thinking was that there wasn't much I could do with a degree in Spanish (I know I should have thought of that before) and I really wanted to do something in science, but in the future because I felt I was supposed to be at home with my children.

So years went by while I dedicated my time to my family and church. I went back occasionally, taking a class or two a semester of biology classes. Now my situation is different and thankfully my children are older and all in school and I am back in school full-time. I was accepted back to BYU so I wanted to switch my major to molecular biology, but I found out I have too many credits there to switch majors according to their policy. I could have gone to University of Utah but it’s far away and it would take time away from being with and helping my children so I chose to go to Utah Valley University. They don’t have a molecular biology degree so my major is biotechnology (biology with extra laboratory hours and required lab internships). When I’m finished I can either get a job doing research in a lab or I’d love to be able to go to gradate school (someday at least)—either a master’s to be a genetic counselor or a PhD in molecular biology. Or maybe even medical school once my children are older and out of the house, which will be in the blink of an eye, unfortunately. Maybe a pediatric neurologist. Yep, science geek!

But for now, I need to get through my classes one semester at a time! And since I didn’t graduate all those years ago, I can apply for federal financial aid and scholarships, that you aren’t eligible for if you have a bachelor’s degree already. I register for the next semester’s classes on Monday. I’ll be taking (among others) physics and microbiology. Even though I will enjoy microbiology more than physics, I’m more afraid of the microbiology class. Yesterday I overheard two people talking about microbiology and one of them took 3 hours to take the midterm and the other person took 4 ½ hours. Crazy! Who has that much time to take one test???

This week I got to finally meet Ann Marie from An Old Fashioned Girl . We’ve been blogger friends for a while and it was so nice of her to let me go visit her in her home. She is a beautiful person on the inside and the outside and so generous too!
She let me choose a gift and then gave me two. See these two pretty glass pieces?
Love ‘em! I can't get enough serving stuff. And even more, I enjoyed the time getting to know her in person.  I know that she is one of my friends who Heavenly Father put in my path as a blessing.

I was grateful for a very quick trip down to Bryce Canyon with my children during our fall break (we all had the same days off). It was our first time there and it’s so very pretty. I enjoyed every minute with my children there. And we had a fun visit with our friends, the Teran family, in St. George while we were down that way. But I’m a bad friend and didn’t take a single photo of our visit with them! I never do that. I did, however, take 350 photos at Bryce. I won't subject you to that many, although if you're my Facebook friend, you've already seen that I posted tons there.  

My only other news is that I made the difficult decision to leave the Spanish ward I’ve been in for 5 years and go to the English ward where I live, where I used to attend when I lived in this house before. Sunday was our first time back. It was nice to see quite a few familiar faces of wonderful people, but it’s not an easy change. I love many people in our Spanish ward.

Many people have asked about how my children are doing. Without getting personal, they are doing well. They are all doing great at school and spending as much time outside with friends as possible before it gets too cold. (It’s supposed to snow next week so that might not be much longer.)

So that’s us now. I really hope you are doing well and hope I can find time to visit all my blogger friends’ blogs soon! But I have a test on Monday to study for so I can’t today. Soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chicken Spinach Manicotti

I haven't been daring enough to try many new recipes lately with the limited time I have to cook, but decided I'd try today. This ended up being a winner and not even very difficult. The sauce tastes really good and is slightly different from the usual. I didn't use quite as much spinach as it calls for since I was afraid the kids wouldn't eat it, but Alex and Elisa loved it. Sabrina wanted nothing to do with the green stuff. I originally got this recipe from Jonna at Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake, but I couldn't find it there anymore. (But go check out her other delish food!) I had a little extra filling so I'm using it tomorrow with some cheese for a quesadilla.
Chicken Spinach Manicotti
1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
6 oz. cooked, diced chicken breast
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. milk
3 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
3/4 t. garlic powder
3/4 t. brown sugar
6 uncooked manicotti shells
1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Divide spinach in half; refrigerate one portion for another use. Squeeze the remaining spinach until dry; place in a small bowl. Add chicken; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic powder and brown sugar; cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. Meanwhile, stuff 1/4 cup chicken mixture into each uncooked manicotti shell. Spread 1/2 cup sauce into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Arrange manicotti over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Made of String

Recently I got a package in the mail from my very nice friend Nicole who somehow knew I needed a note that week. And more than just a note, she sent me these 3 CD's of hymns on guitar by Chad Woolner. They are great music for Sunday or any time you need soothing, beautiful music with unique arrangements to familiar hymns. And he was nominated for a Pearl Award twice so there's proof it's good! 
Chad is selling the CDs to raise money for medical costs associated with his wife's cancer surgeries and treatments. Apparently and thankfully, her prognosis is really good. So buy some great music and help some good people!

Thank you so much, Nicole! I've listened to them lots already.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Believest Thou?

I have been thinking about how interconnected patience, hope and faith are. I recently was reading the familiar chapter Ether 3, where the brother of Jared sees the Lord’s finger as he is touching the stones. Verse 11 stood out to me and I read it and re-read it.

And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?

It seemed that he was asking that question of me. It is an interesting question. How can you say you believe something you have not yet heard? Of course, if you know who is talking and trust that person completely, you know he or she will not lie and that you can believe all their words. When we truly know our Heavenly Father and our Savior, we know that whatever they say is true and we can believe it. We do not have to first hear it and think about it before we know that it is true. How wonderful in this world of uncertainty and even counterfeits and deceit, we have someone to rely on wholly for truth. What a beautiful gift faith is.

It reminded me of a scripture that I have had in my “future blog posts” file for a while.

Romans 8
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Sometimes (ok, most of the time) I want to see my future and see that things will be okay. I have the reassurance from the Spirit, but I wanna see it, like a small child whose parent promises him something and he doesn’t trust that he will get it. “You have the candy? Can I see it? Just let me see it to make sure you still have it.” (Yeah, that’s me.)

And that lead me to a quote in the same file. This quote, along with President Uchtdorf’s talk Continue in Patience, has taught me more about patience. I love the imagery Elder Maxwell used here. I wish I were an artist to paint what I imagine in my head when I read it.
This painting is called The Slave Ship and is by one of my favorite painters, J.M.W. Turner.

“Patient endurance permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord and our faith in His timing when we are being tossed about by the surf of circumstance. Even when a seeming undertow grasps us, somehow, in the tumbling, we are being carried forward, though battered and bruised.” Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Endure It Well’,” Ensign, May 1990, 33

If we have sufficient faith to believe the words of our Father, hope for that which we do not see, and patience to wait and endure well, we really will be carried forward through any circumstances that come into our lives. So it’s that simple. Do you believe it or don’t you?

"Faith exists when absolute confidence in that which we cannot see, combines with action that is in absolute conformity to the will of our Heavenly Father."
Joseph B. Wirthlin, Shall He Find Faith on Earth? October 2002, General Conference

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Photo Shoot

This weekend didn't end up exactly like I planned. I needed to get tons of homework done, but Friday night I spent time with the kids, planning on doing lots of homework on Saturday. Saturday I found out that I had pneumonia and I had such a headache that I tried to do my homework (in between General Conference sessions and after), but could not concentrate. It was horrible how long I was stuck on the same algebra problem! It felt like I had ear infections too and I was just achy all over. So almost nothing got done. 
I prepared for an icky Sunday--glad to watch General Conference from bed at least. I planned ahead and bought a Papa Murphy's pizza Saturday night and put it in the refrigerator so we could pull it out and heat it up for dinner today. I ended up feeling quite a bit better today, but glad not to have to cook. I was even feeling well enough to drive so I drove the kids over to the temple for some pictures in between sessions. We had some time for quiet thinking also while we were there. Well, the kids took that time to play in the water in the fountain. But it was nice for me. Even though I didn't get to go inside today, I still left with peace and hope that I really needed. The short time outside the temple and hearing all the wonderful talks this weekend (and getting some of the scoop from the Priesthood session from Alex when he came back from going with his dad) has left me feeling renewed. Hopefully I will be able to sleep better tonight with no algebra nightmares. Hehe    

The photos are mostly for my family. I sure love these gorgeous kids!! What a blessing to be a mother.

 Elisa took this pretty one of the Angel Moroni.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Utah Local: HalfTees

This is a great one because all of you can buy these if you live in Utah or not. I bought these a few months ago and didn't get around to posting this until now.

I don't know about you, but I have such a hard time finding a shirt that I can wear all on its own. The style the last few years has been to layer and many of the shirts that aren't made specifically for layering underneath are too low cut for me. So I have had to wear a t-shirt or a tank under the shirt. I've been annoyed with that for a while now. Some of the t-shirt rolls up under the other shirt and I have to pull it down over and over. Or if it's under a dress, you can see the bunched up end of the t-shirt that's under the dress. Plus I already have unwanted bulk around my tummy so I don't want an extra layer of anything. That's why I was so excited to try a Half Tee when I saw them online.  
They are so great! They fit me snuggly and stay in place and no extra bulk. And just a little thing, but something else I like--they don't have tags. The company and size info is stamped onto the inside of the shirt.

The website sells the basic cap sleeve and the long sleeve Halftees in white, cream, chocolate and pink.
I really like the pink even though it doesn't look too pink here. (I asked Sabrina to take a photo of me and she cut my head off in a few and the others were blurry.)                  

But if you'd like to see them in person or have more selection, check out the kiosk at the University Mall in Orem (in front of Victoria's Secret, near Nordstrom). At the mall, they also have 3/4 length sleeves and boyfriend sleeves. At $14 for 1 or $26 for 2 for the basic, I think it's an awesome deal. You can get a few colors and styles and use them with so many shirts or dresses. (Just so's you know...I'm not being compensated for this post. I just thought I'd share it in case you hadn't tried them before.)

Utah Local: Rico Cocina y Tequila Bar

I wanted to find somewhere different to have dinner with my children, but it had to have food that all of them would eat. It's not easy ...