Friday, February 29, 2008

February Book Club: Kindred

Just a quick note- Liz&Meg... don't forget to tag someone to choose the book for April's discussion! Also, I love that you posted your selection halfway through February. That gives everyone a chance to get a copy of the book.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading "Kindred". It took me a chapter or so to get into it, but once I did I couldn't put it down, and I now remember why I loved it so much when I read it in high school! It was one of the few required readings that ever caught my attention.

I've found some websites with discussion questions relating to "Kindred" but I thought that for now we could each just talk about our thoughts and reactions to the book. Then, in a few days, I'll post a few of the discussion questions and we can go from there!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Computer Help

Our computer recently crashed (which is a great reason to remind everyone to back up any pictures, music, or files that you couldn't bear to lose!) and so we are on the hunt for a new one. What brands of computers do you like best, and what features do you think are necessary and what could you do without? I feel like most of the big technology stores like Best Buy are a rip-off for computers, where have you found the best deals? Technology is not my thing and it is a little overwhelming to me when people start throwing out terms like "RAM" and "gigabytes," but we'd like to get a computer that will last us a awhile and doesn't cost us an arm and a leg. We pretty much just need the basics like Microsoft Office and the Internet. Any tips would be very helpful!

Good Reads

In light of our new book club I just wanted to let everyone know about this awesome website! It's called Good Reads and you rate and review books on there. When you look up a book it'll tell you what the average rating of it is from people who use the website and you can also see the reviews that other people have put on there about that book.
Plus, you can add friends and see what they're reading, or have read, or are going to read and add their books to your list of books to read!

I have read some really great books just by looking at what my friends have read and enjoyed. Plus, they do the thing that Amazon does by showing you other books you might like just by going by the books that you're looking up and checking out. You can also add the widget code onto your blog (check out mine if you'd like to see what it looks like).

Anyway, I thought some of you ladies might want to check it out. If you do sign up please add me as a friend, I'm always on the lookout for a great book!

Happy Birthday Linz!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Evil Eczema

Hi everyone, let me first say I'm sorry for not getting on this blog for awhile! Ever since my 15-month-old learned how to stand up against the computer desk and grab the mouse every time I sit down, my computer time has been very limited. :)

You girls are just awesome when it comes to giving good advice, and I have another question to throw at you: Have any of you ever dealt with a stubborn case of eczema on your little one's skin? My boy has had it behind his knees for at least five months now. I've tried moisturizers like Aquaphor and Cetaphil, eczema-centered lotions like Aveeno for eczema and Gentle Natural's eczema cream, and even hydrocortisone cream. They all work for a day or two but then the eczema comes back even worse than before. Then I heard eczema can by caused by food allergies, namely milk products, so I tried to eliminate milk from his diet but to no avail. I've used all the suggestions my doctor can give me and none of those work, either. It's starting to get so bad that my boy often itches behind his legs and I can tell it's really bothering him. Have any of you struggled with this before? What did you do?

To go along with it, my baby also has really dry scalp. I've tried cradle cap shampoo but it hasn't taken care of the problem. It's not really cradle cap anyway, because it's not yellow or goopy, just flaky (I'm sure you're lovin' the mental images, by the way). Unless there's Head & Shoulders for babies, I'm at a loss. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cookbook category of the week

Entrees with beef or pork!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Quiet Books

I'm going to piggy back off Katie's post about church activities for toddlers... My mom had a quiet book that she brought to church for us to play with. I remember having a lot of fun playing with it when I was younger, and then watching each of my siblings enjoy it as well. I'd like to make a quiet book for Cecelia, so I've been looking around online for ideas and instructions. I thought I'd share what I've found, and if any of you have ideas or links to other sites, I'd love to see those also.

Martha Stewart has a very basic set of instructions for making a quiet book here. Not a lot of detail, but there are a few pages of download-able pattern you can use.

This site has a tutorial on making a quiet book also. She doesn't show how to make each specific page, but gives general instructions on how to put it together. Photos included!

This quiet book is my favourite... its designed by an LDS mom, so all of the pages are church centered! She includes clipart for tracing, and very good instructions for designing each page and putting it all together.

There are also quiet books available for purchase at various internet stores. I found that most are around $30, which doesn't seem very expensive to me, considering that they are (for the most part!) hand made. Just google "quiet books" and many options will pop up. Here are links to a couple of sites that sell quiet books. I love browsing through the photos to get ideas for Cecelia's book.

Dry Creek Design Quiet Books
My Book of Mormon Quiet Book Quiet Book ideas 1 Quiet Book ideas 2

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Heads Up!

Just a heads up for those of you with your own personal and family blogs. I participate in another blog for Mommies, and one of the women just published a post saying she had added privacy settings to her family's blog because they got a really creepy comment on their blog from an unknown person. When they tried to trace the person, it took them to a website full of photos of little girls. Ugghh. That is scary. I've always had privacy settings on my blog for that reason, but I thought I was probably being a bit overly paranoid. I tend to be a worrier! Anyway, I'm sure I'm still just being a worrier, but I thought I'd pass it on anyway!

church activities

What do you take to church to keep your toddlers occupied and semi-quiet? My 17-month old is fairly reverent during sacrament, but is totally bored by the time sunday school and relief society roll around. I have been thinking maybe I need to keep a separate church bag of "special books and toys" just for church so they are exciting each Sunday. Plus, she won't be allowed to go to nursery during flu season because she has CF (which doesn't end till sometime in May), so we won't see relief at the 18-month mark. I would love input on how to keep her occupied during church. Thanks so much!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm too lazy to go back and see which chicken recipes I submitted last time so...

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

1 pkg. Uncle Ben's Wild Rice and Long Grain  Rice, prepared as directed
1 whole chicken or several chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1 can french green beans
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can sliced mushrooms
2 oz. jar pimientos, chopped
1/2 cup mayo (low fat works great!)
1 can cream of celery soup (low fat/salt works great!)
1 pkg. slivered almonds, toasted
salt and pepper

Drain all the cans.  Cook the rice according to package directions.  Cook the chicken and cut into bite size pieces.  Mix together mayo, soup and almonds.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Cook in a casserole dish at 350* for 30 minutes.

Chicken Curry 

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes 
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup coconut

Stir chicken into cornstarch.  Mix together curry, ginger, cardamom, chili powder, cloves and garlic salt.  Drop chicken into 1-2 tablespoons oil in skillet and sprinkle with spices.  Turn and spice the other side.  Brown well.  Add bay leaves, milk, cinnamon stick and coconut.  Simmer until tender and sauce is thickened.  Serve over rice with pineapple, raisins, cucumber, tomatoes, bananas, coconut, etc.  Add sauteed onions to stretch the sauce!

Chicken Tacos

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed (low fat is okay, don't try with the non fat)
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded/chopped
4 oz. can chopped green chilis
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder

Heat together cream cheese and milk on low until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and heat through.  Serve in tortillas and load up however you like your tacos!

Salsa Chicken

1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/3 cup apricot or peach jam
1 can Mexican style tomatoes

Dredge chicken in seasoning and brown in a skillet.  Cooking and stirring, add all remaining ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over rice!

I know I submitted my absolute favorites, Chicken Milano and Chicken Bruschetta, last time, so don't forget to go to the first volume of the cookbook if you still want those.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Britax Carseat Sale

Apparently this is an event that only happens once or twice a year, but starting soon Britax carseats will be on sale. This is perfect timing for us, since we were planning to get Cecelia one for her birthday. Along with the awesome sale prices, I've also discovered a new blog for my list of favourites... Its called Baby Cheapskate. I'm a fan!

Chicken Pot Pie

2 pie crusts (a top and a bottom)
3-4 chicken breasts
5 red potatoes cut into bite-sized chunks
1 bag frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 egg

1. Boil the chicken.
2. Boil the potatoes just until tender.
3. Cook the bottom of the pie crust at 450 degrees for 9-10 minutes. After cooking, turn the oven down to 400 degrees to cook the pie.
4. Saute the onion and garlic in butter until onion is tender and a little golden.
5. When the chicken is done, cut into bite-sized chunks.
6. Combine the chicken, potatoes, peas and carrots, onionsand garlic, and the Cream of Chicken soup in a large bowl, then pour into the already cooked pie crust.
7. Add the top crust and trim to fit the pie plate.
8. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and baste over the top crust, make slits in the top of the pie with a knife.
9. Bake for 40 minutes, then let the pie cool for a few minutes. Enjoy!

Chicken and Stuffing

2-3 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized chunks
1 box Stovetop stuffing
1 2/3 cups hot water
1/2 bag frozen green beans, thawed (or veggie of your choice)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup sour cream

Add the water to the stuffing mix and stir just until moistened. Mix the soup and sour cream together, add the chicken and veggies and spread in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Spread the stuffing on top of the chicken mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

March Book Club Selection!

I didn't know if I should wait until we have our February "discussion", but I  want to give you enough time to get it from the library or neighbor or book store, so here's what I'd like to read for March.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Please tell me if too many people have read it.  My mother in law loaned it to me over a year ago and I tried once to start it and never finished the first chapter.  I am determined to finish it and now that I've finished the first chapter, I'm already hooked!  So, I hope you enjoy it too, because I can't wait to finish it now!  

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday Weekly

Do you eat breakfast? If so, what do you usually eat?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sauce recipe:

1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup vinegar
7 T. ketchup
2 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 cup brown sugar

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Dip them in whipped eggs (about 3) and then in a flour, salt, and pepper mixture. Stir-fry in EVOO until cooked through. Add chopped veggies of your choice (we always do broccoli, carrots, and onion). Stir-fry. Meanwhile boil sauce. Once it's bubbling, add to the chicken and veggies and stir. I usually let it sit on low or on no heat to let the sauce settle a bit. This amount of sauce can make a large dish: about 6 servings.

My mom introduced me to fragrant Jasmine rice. It is delicious with this recipe and smells so awesome. The brand I use is RICELAND: Jasmine Thai Fragrant rice. I've seen it in Chicago and Texas so I'm thinking it might be found in many areas.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Chicken Recipes

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

18 corn tortillas
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 4oz can diced green chillies
grated cheese

Saute onion and garlic in a small amount of butter or oil. Add soup, broth, chicken and green chillies, simmer for 10 minutes. Heat tortillas in hot oil, just to soften, drain on paper towel. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with sauce. Layer tortillas, sauce and cheese until all is used, ending with a layer of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Curry Chicken Salad

1 can chicken (2-3 chicken breasts boiled and shredded)
20 grapes, cut in half
1 stick of celery, chopped
2-3 green onions, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp curry powder

Mix lemon juice and curry powder until curry powder dissolves. Mix into mayo. Add chicken, grapes, celery, and onion. If salad is too dry, add additional mayo.

Serve with yummy bread, croissants, or eat plain!

** We don't eat mayo at our house as neither of us like it! So whenever a recipe calls for mayo, I use plain yogurt. Mayo lovers can't even tell the difference! I usually add more yogurt than the recipe calls for, otherwise its more dry than I like. This is the recipe my friend made for my Michigan bridal shower, oh so long ago. (That's not important... just a random fact!)

Southern Fried Chicken

Several chicken breasts, cut into pieces
Salt to taste, plus 2 tsp
Fresh ground pepper to taste, plus 1 tsp
2 cups buttermilk
1-2 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
6 cups canola oil
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp paprika

Rinse chicken & pat dry. Season with salt & pepper. Place in a large dish, cover & refrigerate for 1-4 hours. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and Tabasco sauce, pour over chicken, coating thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate over night.

Remove chicken from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Place in a colander to drain excess buttermilk from chicken. Heat oil. Combine flour, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper & paprika. Coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Fry in oil until cooked through.

For crispier chicken, dip in buttermilk, then flour mixture a second time before frying.
Delicious served with corn on the cob and biscuits.

** Just as a side note- I tend to change recipes to suit my needs... in this case, the original recipe called for using a whole chicken cut into pieces. I have a hard time with meat anyway- for the most part if I deal with it raw, I have a hard time eating it, so the thought up cutting up a whole chicken was too much for me! Instead I use chicken breasts and because I really like the breading, I cut them into small pieces so the "chicken to breading ratio" is higher! Also, I am not a fried chicken fan but my husband could and would live on KFC if allowed! I found this recipe in my Williams Sonoma catalog and decided to try it, and I absolutely love it! We've finally found fried chicken that we can both enjoy!

Chicken recipe

I have not yet tried this recipe but my mom sent it to me and said it was FABULOUS! It is from Real Simple, it's low in fat, and it makes your house smell wonderful! Here is what she sent me:

1 4lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used chicken breasts from Costoc and cut them into 8 pieces)
3 T whole grain mustard (I used dijon)
2 T soy sauce
4 small carrots, cut in half, crosswise (I used a whole bag)
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into wedges
8 sprigs thyme
2 T olive oil

Heat oven to 400

Combine mustard, soy sauce, and some pepper in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine the veggies and thyme with olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir to coat.

Place the veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan. Drag the chicken through the mustard and soysauce mixture to coat, and nestle it amongst the veggies.

Roast until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender about 45 to 50 minutes.

Chicken Bundles

6-8 oz cream cheese
4T butter (soften this and the cheese in microwave)
1/8 tsp pepper
1-2 T minced onions
2 C cooked chicken
2 cans of 8 crescent rolls (16 total)
1 can mushrooms (optional)

Mix cheese, butter, seasonings, mushrooms and chicken together. Lay down a crescent roll and flatten a little more with your fingers. Place rounded tablespoon potions of mixture in fat part of dough and roll up and seal edges. Place on cookie sheet and bake.

Temp- 375 degrees
Bake Time- 10-13 min

Cheap Airfare

Southwest just announced a nation wide sale $49-99 each way. Check it out! If you are planning to fly somewhere this is definitely worth a look.

Cooking Blog

I found this blog a while ago and thought I'd share it. The recipes look really good and I love how she shows you how to make things step by step. Plus, it's just really entertaining to read.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

Check it out if you have some time on your hands.

Mediterranean Chicken

8 oz Orzo pasta
1 lb chicken breast halves
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 tsp minced garlic (2-3 crushed cloves)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ cup white grape juice
14 oz chopped tomatoes- Italian style with garlic and oregano
4 oz feta cheese

Bring unsalted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until tender (app. 8 min). Drain and set aside.
Heat oil over medium heat. Chop onion and add to skillet. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to skillet. Raise heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is done Add garlic, oregano and basil.

When chicken is cooked through, stir in grape juice and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes with their juice and feta cheese. Cook 1 more minute.

Serve over hot, drained orzo pasta.

** This recipe orginially called for white wine, not grape juice. My college roomie and I changed it up to suit our beliefs (and budget!). I usually top each serving with extra feta cheese, but I love feta cheese... My husband is not a feta cheese fan, but in this recipe he loves it. I don't know if cooking it helps, but somehow in this recipe the feta also seems more mild than eating it plain. So, if you aren't a feta cheese lover, I still suggest trying it with this recipe because that's what gives it the Mediteranean flavour. Also- try to use Greek oregano. There is a difference! I buy it in bulk for less than 50 cents an ounce at my local health/whole foods store.

**Also, I've made this recipe using fresh tomatoes from the garden and it tastes awesome that way! I cut a small "x" at the top of the tomato then blanch it (dip it in boiling water for about a minute, then immediately immerse in ice water). The skin then slides off. Then I chop them, add some garlic, oregano and basil, then add to the recipe same as if I were using canned tomatoes.

This week's cookbook category...

Entrees with chicken or turkey!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Book

There is a new book out that I'm WAY excited to read! It's called The Moms' Club Diaries. It is a collection of essays from 17 LDS authors about the joys (and pains) of motherhood through a gospel perspective. I'm a little partial because I know Ally Condie (she's also the author of the Yearbook series) and some of the authors of the essays are in my ward, but I read an excerpt from my friend's essay and it is hillarious!! She wrote about potty training her little boy. You can purchase it at for $12.95. The link also has a fun little write-up (although, part of the write up got cut off... it's supposed to start with "What do you do all day?" Those are the "words" the description is referring to... if you check out the link, you'll see what I mean). But it looks like a fun read and is supposedly very uplifting!

Food Storage: The Freezer Way

Jen L mentioned that food stored in the freezer counts as food storage too, so along that line, I thought I'd share some tips on safely storing food in the freezer. I'm only just learning this, after buying some really yummy looking steaks, putting them in the freezer and taking them out a month or so later to find that freezer burn had got to them. So sad!! So, I've started reading up on tips for storing food in the freezer and I thought I'd pass on what I'm learning.

* If you are making an actual meal with the intentions of freezing it for later use (ie- a casserole or lasagna) skip the seasonings... add the pepper, onion or garlic when you warm the meal up, because these seasonings get stronger as they sit in the freezer. There are other seasonings that weaken when freezed, so don't risk it! Just season when you reheat.

* Don't overcook food that you intend to freeze. It is better that it is undercooked a little and takes a little bit longer to reheat, than to overcook it and lose some of the quality of the food.

* Keep your freezer at as close to 0 degrees as possible. Much higher or lower temperatures will increase the rate at which food quality decreases.

* The way you package food to put in the freezer will make or break how yummy it tastes later. Appropriate packaging materials are: heavy-duty aluminum foil, polyethylene bags, freezer film wraps, glass, plastic and metal containers. Inappropriate packaging materials: the shrink wrap that a lot of meat already comes in!! If you buy meat from the grocery store, it is best to overwrap it with an appropriate packaging material, otherwise, it only takes about 2 weeks for the shrink wrap to breakdown to the point that freezer burn can get to the meat. I just purchased a large roll of freezer paper for under $6. Its 150 feet of paper, and it is plastic coated. There are also many inexpensive containers that can be purchased with the specific purpose of freezing food.

* Keep your freezer full! This helps maintain a good temperature and keep all the food from going bad.

Hopefully you girls will find some of these tips as helpful as I did. By freezing foods, some of your family's favourite meals can now be counted as food storage! There are a few foods that don't freeze well. A partial list can be found here. Happy cooking! (and freezing!)

Friday, February 15, 2008


I didn't have time to post my crock pot meal recipes last week so here they are.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs (SO GOOD)
1 1/2-1lb bag of meatballs (not Itallian style)
14 oz Ketchup
6 oz Canada dry gingerale
1 tbsp lemon juice
1lb brown sugar

Mix meatballs and ingredients in crock pot. FOr frozen meatballs cook on high for 3-5 hours. Done when warmed all the way through.

I love cooking my chicken in the crock pot and then shredding it and using it for millions of dishes. I just put it in frozen and cook on low for about 8 hours. Then I use my hand mixer to shred it. I freeze it in little bags for different meals so its all cooked and ready. It works great!

Ham in the crock pot is so good. My sister cooks her all night and day but you can cook it all day on low and it just falls to pieces. It is so yummy you have to try it if you like ham and you'll never go back to oven cooking it.

Ok this week is food storage and I am not a food storage person but we had a provident living night in one of my old wards and one lady made these peanutbutter balls that were good so here is the recipe.

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup powdered milk

Mix all together in a bowl shape into balls. Then you can roll it in sunflower seeds, rice krispies, nuts, and chocolate chips. They were really good when she made them!

I hope you all enjoy the recipes!

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is sort of an interesting food storage item... because, well, we're all used to milk from the store... and powdered milk does not taste like the stuff from the store. However it's way cheap (in comparison to regular milk) and has a lot of uses. Remember: Not all powdered milk brands are created equal. If one tastes horrible to you, try a different brand (it may still taste horrible... but hopefully less so). We buy ours at Aldi. It seems to be ok for what we use it for. Aldi (if you have one around your home) also has great prices on evaporated and sweetened condensed milk.... other ways to store milk.

Sorry, these aren't meal recipes...

Ways to use powdered milk:

-Many bread recipes call for it. Experiment around with adding it to rolls, breads, etc.

- Add it to meatloaf 1/4 C to 1 lbs of meat. It adds extra nutrients.

-Add to mashed potatoes. Make sure to use some water to give it the right consistency.

-Mix up a quart or two and add it to regular milk. We were able to cut some costs by only buying a half gallon of 2% milk and then using both store milk and powdered milk at the same time. I didn't mix them together in the fridge, but if I wanted a bowl of cereal, I'd first pour some store milk on it, then pour some food storage milk on it. By mixing them, it's a lot harder to detect that one is from powder. I don't know if that makes sense or not...

-It is important to mix well!! And chill (especially if you are going to drink it)

-There are two types of powdered milk: Instant, and non-instant. Non-instant lasts longer, but they are basically interchangeable. However, because of different consistencies, the end product may vary when using other than what is called for in the recipe.

-Here are some measurements (I keep trying to fix the chart so the measurements aren't squeezed together, but everytime I publish the post, blogger pushes them back together. Hopefully you can just figure it out):

Milk desired & amount of water to use; Instant dry milk; non-instant dry milk

¼ cup 1 T. ¾ T.
1/3 cup 1 ½ T. 1 ¼ T.
½ cup 2 T. 1 ½ T.
2/3 cup 3 T. 2 ½ T.
1 cup ¼ cup 3 T.
1 pint ½ cup 1/3 cup
1 quart 1 cup ¾ cup
½ gal. 2 cups 1 ½ cups
1 gal. 4 cups 3 cups

Whole Milk
1 C water
1/3 C P. milk

Evaporated Milk
1 C water
2/3 C p. milk

This can replace evaporated milk in any recipe.

Whipped Topping
Evaporated milk (either above recipe OR canned from a store)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Sugar to taste

Chill evaporated milk. Add lemon juice. Whip with beaters then fold in sugar.


1 C cold water
1C p. milk
1 C powder sugar

whip together and chill.

Tootsie Rolls
1 C Honey
1/2 C cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 C p. milk

Cook honey to 255 degrees (hard ball). Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Mix milk and cocoa together. Add to honey. Pull like taffy until glass is gone and rolls into rolls.

Condensed Milk
1/2 C hot water
1 C p. milk
1 C sugar

Blend thoroughly in a blender. Refrigerate or freeze.

Buttermilk or Sour milk
1 C water
1/3 C powdered milk
1 T vinegar or lemon juice

Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 C boiling water
1 1/2 C p. milk
4 1/2 T lemon juice

Blend together. Cook over low heat until milk boils. The curds will be small. Pour through cheese cloth strainer. Rinse and pour out excess water. Put curds in a bowl and stir to break up. Spread on cookie sheet and dry for 2 hours in a 150 degree oven. Salt and blend in blender to make powder. Put in a shaker.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Word about wheat: It's great for cleaning out the digestive system. If there is an emergency it's best to already be accustomed to eating wheat. So this is a grain that should be slowly introduced into the family diet. If you have wheat sensitivities (not celiac disease) try sprouting the wheat first. This may help. Baking/eating sprouted wheat also adds extra nutrients. Just google "How to sprout wheat". But basically it consists of soaking wheat overnight, the rinsing, and soaking for 2-3 days.

How to use wheat... other than in bread:

- Use whole wheat flour instead of white/all-purpose flour in baking. If you start small, like 1/4 C wheat flour in a batch of cookies, your family will never know. Wheat flour can be substituted for white flour on a 1:1 ratio.

- Soak wheat berries over night and then cook on the stove for about 20 min for a hearty hot breakfast cereal. Or, instead of soaking, throw the wheat (1 C wheat to 2 C water) in a crock pot and let it cook over night on low, and you'll have breakfast waiting for you.

-Add wheat berries to soup... our favorite is Chili.

If you don't have a grinder, put the wheat in a blender. It won't be flour consistency, but it does a pretty good job.

Blender Wheat Pancakes (Lowe family favorite)

1 Cup Milk (1/3 C dry milk + 1 Cup water)
1 Cup uncooked wheat berries
2 eggs
2 T oil
2 T honey
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Vanilla and cinnamon to taste (optional)

Put milk and wheat in a blender. Blend on highest setting for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on low. Bake on hot griddle. Makes 6-9 pancakes.

Wheat Thins

1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C white flour
1/3 cup oil, emulsified in a blender with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 C water

Mix dry ingredients. Ad oil-salt-water mixture. Knead as little as possible. Makes a smooth dough. Roll dough as thin as possible on ungreased cookie sheet (not more than 1/8 inch thick).

Mark with knife to size of creakers desired, but do not cut through. Prick each creaker a few times with a fork or toothpick. Sprinkle dough lightly with salt or other spices as desired. Bake at 350 until crisp and light brown (30-35 minutes).

Honey Whole Wheat Bread (the breadmaker way!!)

1 1/8 C water
3 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C honey
1 T powdered milk
1 1/2 T shortening
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by manufacturer. Select whole wheat setting and press start. *note* after experiementing with this recipe a bit, it works best for our bread machine to put it on the regular "white" setting with a light crust. The whole wheat setting made the bread too brown.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Little Valentine Fun

Courtesy of one of our readers, check out this website where you can write your own messages on candy hearts and then have fun! I sent one to my husband in Utah who I'm missing!

Black Bean Nachos

1/2 onion (or 1 handful of onion flakes if you are using dried)
1 T olive oil
1 C chopped canned tomatoes
1 1/2 C frozen corn or 1 can drained corn
1 can black beans (or 2 cups cooked black beans if you are using dried beans)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
8 ounces shredded cheese
1 pkg frozen spinach (if desired), thawed and patted dry
2 C salsa

If using a fresh onion, chop it and saute it with 1 Tbsp of oil.
If using onion flakes, this step can be skipped and you can leave out the oil.

Combine the onion, tomatoes (undrained), corn (drained), black beans, lime juice, chili powder, and oregano. Spread on the bottom of a pan. Spread the spinach over the black bean mixture (you can leave out the spinach if you think it tastes gross .) Spread the salsa over the top. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the salsa. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or microwave until heated through. Serve with tortilla chips. The important part of this recipe is the lime juice, chili powder and oregano. All the other ingredients can be increased or decreased to suite your taste.

Fruit Smoothies
1 large can or 2 small cans peaches
1 bag frozen mixed fruit
other fruit as desired
flavoring if desired (such as pina colada)

Drain the peaches and blend until smooth. Add the frozen fruit about 1/3 a bag at a time. Blend. If it is too think add some water, 1/2 cup at a time. If it is too thin add a banana or more frozen fruit. Pour into your best glass and serve with a straw. If the straw has a little umbrella it will taste even better. Ignore any distractions as you blissfully sip your smoothie and dream about being on the beach.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wednesday Weekly

If you could see any musician, live or dead, perform their final concert, who would it be?

Food storage

I am way excited about this week's recipe topic because, it is one area that I think I can contribute to. A little background first... my husband grew up on a ranch in Montana. They grew wheat and barley and raised beefalo. So when I got married, I married into a family that knows how to use their food storage! (compared to my family who didn't have food storage and the most wheat we ate came from Aunt Millie's "wheat" bread). So I was a clueless wife when it came to food storage. But since I wanted to be the perfect wife, and recreate (and perhaps try to top) every good memory my husband had from growing up of his family's eating habits, I threw myself into food storage mania. So, if it's alright, before I post recipes, I think there are some basic myths that need to be cleared up about food storage (I'm glad the church is trying to clear these myths up as well with their recent launch of a new food storage program that began last March). I'll also try to post info each day about different food storage items.

Myth #1- Food storage is just a bunch of beans and wheat.
Reality: Chances of us ever having to live on food storage alone for 6 months is very rare. So the chances of you having to use your food storage WITHOUT access to cheese, eggs, etc. is also pretty rare. What we always hear is true... store what you eat, and eat what you store. So if that's Mac and Cheese, jars of salsa, frozen veggies, peanut butter, canned applesauce, or cheese that you keep in the freezer, than that can all be food storage. It doesn't have to last 30 years in your closet for it to be considered food storage. Plus, wheat isn't the only grain out there. Experiment a little to find a grain you do like. Also consider keeping some chocolate in your food storage (or other yummy candy). If there is an emergency, it'd be nice to have some candy around for the kids (and you)!

Myth #2- I don't need food storage
Reality- Firstly, it's prophetic counsel. Secondly, let me share a personal experience. My husband and I had acquired 9 months food storage for 2 1/2 people before moving from MI in May. Now... it's almost gone. Our "disaster" was grad school. We ended up in a high cost apartment and the amount Cornell gives us to live on is really only enough for a single student... not a family. So we HAD to rely on our food storage. Food storage is not just for times of war, unemployment or natural disaster. But for times when resources are drained (costly medical emergency) or limited (college), ice storms, sickenss, power outages, the list goes on.

Myth #3- I don't have a place to store my food.
Reality- space may be limited in an apartment, but with a little creative thinking, food can be packed anywhere. Just think of the movie, "R.M"... under beds, in closests, make a couch with wheat buckets as a support (j/k). It becomes a fun adventure trying to squeeze it in.

Myth #4- Food storage is too expensive
Reality- It is if you try to buy one year supply all at once. We started a $5 a week plan... we spend only $5 a week on food storage (either by actually spending it, or throwing it into a saving's account for something pricier... like wheat or a wheat grinder). By buying a few extra things when they are on sale and slowly adding to your supply, you won't feel the effects of the added cost.

Anyways, I hope this helps a little and sort of makes food storage look a little less daunting.

Recipes to follow.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This week's category...


I could use some serious enlightenment in this category.

Power Struggle

I need some help with a serious power struggle that me and my 2 1/2 year old daughter are having right now. I am 8 months pregnant and have been advised not to pick her up too often. The doctor didn't say never, but told be to limit the amount and to try not to bend to pick her up. Yea, this is not going well for us. I try to explain to her why I can't pick her up, but most of the time she is crying or whinning because I told her no. At first she just cries. I try to console her and let her know when I'm sitting I can hold her all she wants. I give her a hug and tell her I love her and than procede to try to move on, but she just gets more mad as I try to hold her hand to walk beside me or get up and walk away. Eventually the crying turns into a huge temper tantrum with kicking and screaming. Usually she'll just stand at the place she wanted me to pick her up from and throw a tantrum (if I let her she'll cry there for a half hour). I've tried consoling her, just ignoring her, and sitting there trying to reason with her. Nothing is working. I just don't know what to do. It is starting to really get to me. I'm constantly in a mad mood and my patience is running really thin right now. I've tried to limit the amount of picking up, but have not completely stopped picking her up at all thinking that we can gradually get to an understanding. So far that isn't working. Another reason why I've really tried not to pick her up is because I might have to have a C-section with this next one and have been told that I won't be able to pick her up after I have the baby. I thought well if I can get a jump start than maybe it won't be such a tramatic experiece when the new baby comes. However, I feel like she feels like I don't love her and that I'm beeing mean to her by not picking her up. I can tell she doesn't understand. Please help before I pull all my hair out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roast Beef

I've been a little slow getting crock pot recipes to post. I thought I cooked in my crock pot a lot, but apparently I don't!! There is one recipe in particular that I wanted to share, but I can't find it ANYWHERE!! I'm really sad because it was one of my all time favourite winter recipes. Its called Jamaican Beef Stew... if any of you have the recipe I would love to get it from you!

My favourite thing to make in the crock pot is Roast Beef. So simple, and pretty much fool-proof. Plus, its a great fake-out meal, because it seems pretty fancy when you serve it up, but its so easy. So, here are my two favourite ways to make roast beef...

Roast Beef
#1- Take a hunk of beef (I usually use rump roast) and stick it in the crock pot with some salt, pepper, garlic and 1 to 2 onions, cut in half. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for about 8 hours. Seriously, EASY!! Then I usually make the drippings into gravy.

#2- Take a hunk of beef and stick it in the crock pot with some salt, pepper and 1-2 cans of Campbells Golden Mushroom Soup concentrate. Do not add water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for about 8 hours. The combination of the mushroom soup and beef drippings makes the richest, yummiest gravy.

I have tons of yummy side dishes that I serve with roast beef, our family favourite being Yorkshire Puddings. I'll post that recipe during the week for side dishes.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


So... Anyone have any ideas/theories about the new season so far?? I have enjoyed it and am very curious about the introduction of the new group from the boat. Why is this group (possibly from Darma?) after Ben? Perhaps because he was instrumental in gassing them all and joining the hostiles? And who are the hostiles anyway? Post comments!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Recipe Review

I haven't had a chance to make very many of the recipes that have been posted on Sugar and Spice, but the ones I have tried were delicious and come highly recommended.

Liz&Meg's Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies and Pasta al Forno

Linz's Beef Stew

tagteam03's Tortilla Pinwheels

What recipes have you tried and liked?

Baby Back Ribs

This is everyone's favorite meal at my house. Easy and delicious.

1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. barbecue sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 T hot mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t. liquid smoke
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and mix together. Cut up one rack of pork baby back ribs (I usually get 4 pieces per rack of ribs-3 or 4 ribs in each piece). Place in crock pot and pour sauce over. Cook on low ~8 hours. After 8 hours, remove ribs from crock pot and place on grill. Slather with more bbq sauce and grill on each side for a few minutes. Be careful when you handle them after you remove them from the crockpot as the meat should be falling off the bones. You can either reserve a little of the homemade bbq sauce to slather on the ribs while grilling or I always just use my favorite store bought kind - KC Masterpiece Hickory Brown Sugar. You can easily double or triple the recipe depending on how many racks of ribs you're making. Enjoy!

Sweet Pork Fajitas

Tried this one the other day and LOVED it.

1 pork loin
1 can "Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce"
1 can pineapple chunks1 liter Coke (don't use Diet Coke)
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1. Strain the peppers over your crock pot by pouring the Coke over the peppers while they're in a strainer. (You only want the sauce the peppers have been canned with) Trust me, you don't want to just dump the entire can of chipolte peppers into the crock pot. The heat will kill you. But, if you're very brave, leave one of the pepper in the pot. But only if you're very brave and have a tongue of steel.
2. Now add the sugar, garlic, mustard, cumin, pineapple
3. Add the pork loin
4. Let it cook on high for about 6 hours. (or low for 8-10)
5. Pull the loin apart with forks (you might have to remove it from the pot to do so) and then let it simmer a bit longer in the crock pot to soak up the juices.6. You'll want to strain him before serving..
Goes great with:
Warm Tortillas
Roasted Red Pepper
Sauteed Onions
Sour Cream
Peach Mango Salsa (THE BEST!!)
Shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Valentines Day

Valentines day is a week away and I need ideas. I have not had time to make plans but I want to do something special and different for my husband. What are your plans for Valentines day? What are you doing that is special for your spouse?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Deliciously Clean Reads

I just finished Kindred!  And I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to recommend for the book club next month. (Don't worry, I'll be patient!) I keep googling "good clean books" in the hopes of finding a great list of fun, exciting, thought-provoking books that aren't rated R! I have had bad luck with books lately and read a few that I'm ashamed to say I finished! Anyway, I found a blog tonight of someone who feels the same way!  I know, another book blog. I'll be quiet now!  Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Goodness

Taco Soup
1 lb. hamburger
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
2 pkgs. taco seasoning
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans (I use whatever beans I have so it's often pinto and black)
1 can corn
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce

Brown hamburger with onion. Season with s&p. Do not drain beans or corn or tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and heat through. Serve with sour cream, cheese and fritos!

Chili Burros (I may have shared this last time but it's good!)
3 lbs. beef roast
1/2 lb. tomatoes (about a can)
1 can green chilis, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt or to taste
2 Tbsp. flour

Cook beef roast, tomatoes and green chilis in a crock pot and then shred beef. Add spices and flour to thicken. Serve in tortillas with fresh tomatoes, sour cream and cheese!

Book Recommendation

I thought I'd share a recommendation for a great book I am reading. It is called "Mothering with Spiritual Power," by Debra Sansing Woods. You can get it at Desert, Seagull, etc. It's not very long or expensive, and I have found it to be really uplifting and inspiring. She likens different scriptures, and stories in the scriptures, to every day mothering situations. One of my favorite chapters for instance, talks about how the Savior took the time to bless all the children one by one. She then likes that to the importance of spending time with each of your children one on one, and knowing what is going on in their lives. I like it too because I can sit down and just read a chapter or two at a time, highlighting things that stand out to me, and it doesn't matter if I don't pick it up again for a week. (I don't find a lot of time to read these days.) Anyway, I hope you will find a chance to read this!

Pregnancy Trivia

Well, my first child is now 16 mos old. I don't know when exactly #2 will come along, but we are definitely at least talking about it. I have to say though, I'm pretty nervous. Not about actually having another child, but about the pregnancy. I was MISERABLE the first time around. I was one of those lucky ones where morning sickness is an understatement, and instead I felt awful 24/7, and threw up all day long. It lasted about 6 months, at the end of which, I was already huge and uncomfortable! Anyway, the point is, it's hard to look forward to another nine months of that! Of course there were things I loved, like feeling the baby move, hearing the heartbeat, etc. But I'm really worried about feeling so awful, and yet still being able to give the time and attention I need to, to my toddler. My mom says it might be easier, because it'll keep my mind off it. I have received lots of encouragement from people who say they were the sickest with their first, or gained the most weight with the first, etc. I thought it would be fun to poll the biggest group of mommies I know, and ask those of you that have had more than one pregnancy, how they have compared. Were they pretty similar to each other, or were you a lot more/less sick with one of them? Obviously I'll venture into the pregnancy world again sooner or later, regardless, because the result is definitely worth it. But it'll sure make me feel better to hear some of you say the second pregnancy was easier, or at least not worse!!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Wednesday Weekly

Red Vines or Twizzlers (or neither)?

White Chicken Chili

This is supposedly a weight watchers recipe from Ruby Tuesday's that I found online a while ago. It's got a good kick to it!

6 cups chicken stock
1 lb great northern beans soaked overnight (I use canned instead)
2 medium onions chopped
6 cups chicken cooked and diced or shredded
2 jalapeno peppers seeded and diced (I leave a few seeds in for flavor)
2 diced chili peppers
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano (I use Mexican Oregano)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup salsa
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Simmer beans, half the onions, and half the garlic for 2 hours in the chicken stock or until the beans soften, stirring frequently.
2. Add chicken and salsa.
3. Saute pepper, spices, and the remaining onions and garlic in the oil and add to chili.
4. Simmer for another hour.
5. Garnish with sour cream, monterey jack cheese, and tortilla chips.

Slow cooker recipes

Here are 3 very easy, tasty recipes. I have made these multiples times and have had so much success. Also, I TOTALLY recommend using slow cooker liners. They make clean up SO easy (I especially dislike cleaning crock pots).

Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (condensed)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Add chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Pour salsa and soup over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve with rice. Makes about 6 servings.

Black Bean Chicken
2 cans black beans
16 oz jar salsa
1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
1 lb chicken breast

Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker. Pour beans, rice and salsa over chicken. Cook low 8-10 hours and serve. Makes about 6 servings.

Beef Stew
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots (into discs)
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound stew beef
1 cube beef boulion
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare vegetables according to recipe. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 6-8 hours. Makes 8-10 servings.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Need some inspiration in the kitchen? It's time, once again, to share your tried-and-true recipes. A new category will be posted every Monday. Post your recipes in a post (not a comment) throughout the week. The first category is...


Please share your slow cooker recipes throughout this week!

Here is the full schedule:

Week 1: Slow Cooker recipes
Week 2: Food Storage recipes
Week 3: Entrees with chicken or turkey
Week 4: Entrees with beef or pork
Week 5: Entrees with fish
Week 6: Vegetarian Entrees/Side Dishes
Week 7: Grab bag (your FAVE desserts, breads, appetizers, breakfast recipes, etc.)

Please feel free to include your soup and salad recipes throughout the categories.

Thanks in advance for sharing!

New Prophet

FYI- today at 11am MST the church is to hold a special news briefing. The offical announcement of the new President of the church will be made then. Go to for more info and to tune in.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

60 minutes

Just to let everyone know, tonight at 8pm (EST) 60 Minutes (on CBS) is doing a special on President Hinckely.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

In Remembrance

In honor of President Hinckley, there is a challege to read the Book of Mormon in 97 days (days corresponds to his age). allows you to track your progress in reading the Book of Mormon. The challenge begins in 2 days. Just thought I'd pass along one of many ways we can honor such a wonderful man.

A Worthy Stop on Your Websurfing

The church launched a new site to honor President Hinckley. It's wonderfully done and a wonderful way to learn more about the man we all loved.

Time is Running Out!

For everyone that commented on the post to win the Urban Lettering freebie, don't forget to contact Kim at to order your FREE 5x8 inch quote. See this post for the three quote options and four colour options. Orders must be placed by midnight on Sunday, February 3rd and will be mailed out the following week. Just include your name, mailing address and which quote and colour you would like in the email.

For those that order the freebie, after she sends out your product, Kim will be sending you a short follow up email with a few questions. It will be the only email you receive from Urban Lettering unless you sign up to be on their mailing list. You will not automatically be signed up. The follow up email will be to check that the product arrived to you in good condition, make sure that the application directions were clear and easy to follow, and see how happy you are with the vinyl product.

Please, please, please hurry and place your orders. Only a few days remain!! And thanks again to Kim for her generosity!