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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This recipe comes from my friend's sister of The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
She basically has it down to a science and it always turns out wonderfully!

4 c water (room temperature)
8-10 C. (2 lbs 10 oz) whole wheat flour
2 T instant yeast
1/2 c (2 oz) gluten
1/2 c brown sugar
4 t salt
1/4 c vegetable oil

In a large mixer combine the water and whole wheat flour. Blend for 3-4 minutes. It will be sticky. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. I often mix the flour and water the night before and finish the bread in the morning.

Add the remaining ingredients and knead 2-3 minutes.  It should be cleaning the sides of the bowl by this point.  If it isn't, add 2 T wheat flour at a time until it does.
Knead another five minutes and touch test the dough.  Squeeze the top quickly with a few finger tips. The dough should not stick to them. Add flour or water 1-2 tablespoons at a time to get the correct look and feel. Knead an additional 5 minutes.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Punch down dough, knead for a minute or so and then cover tightly again and let rise an additional 45-60 minutes until dough triples in size. 

Grease 3 loaf pans with cooking spray. Punch down dough and separate into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, skinny rectangle, making sure to remove any air pockets, roll each rectangle tightly and pinch bottom and side seams to create a loaf shape. Place in greased loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 30-45 minutes. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover loaves and let rise 15 mins more, or until the oven is preheated. Bake 40 minutes. 

Remove immediately from pans and place on a cooling rack. You can eat it warm or cool down to slice and freeze it. 

Nachos de Sobras

I made a big batch of ham and veggie soup Sunday and figured we were good for at least 3 nights of supper.  Well SOMEBODY didn't want soup for supper last night and so I am thinking what the heck will I fix now?  And then it hit me!  I had leftovers from a THRIVE class/party and from dinner at my daughter's house one night.  Put it all together and what do you get? Nachos de Sobras (leftovers).  It was a filling and tasty meal and perfect to have while watching the election results.  SOMEBODY even commented on how good it was.  Really? Leftovers?  Yes, really. Que rico!

Fritos Scoops or any tostada or corn chips
Taco-seasoned ground beef
Cooked and seasoned Pinto beans
Chunky salsa 
Shredded Mexican-blend cheese
Sour Cream

Assemble as desired.  Done.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting

Made these for a school party.  A mouthful of fall flavors!



1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 t. lemon extract
2 1/2 c. apples, roughly chopped and loosely packed


1.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and ginger.
2.  Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
3.  Beat in eggs, sour cream and lemon extract until blended.
4.  Mix in flour mixture.
5.  Fold in apples.
6.  Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcake liners (they will be filled almost all the way to the top).
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.

Pumpkin Pie Frosting


3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
15 oz. canned pumpkin
12 oz. evaporated milk


1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  In a large bowl, beat eggs.
3.  Stir in sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
4.  Mix in pumpkin.
5.  Mix in evaporated milk.
6.  Pour into 9" pie plate.
7.  Bake for 15 minutes.
8.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry.
9.  Remove from oven and leave on counter for two hours before use.

*Put "pumpkin pie" into a piping bag or ziplock bag with a hole cut out.  Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.


While you can load a slice of pie directly into the piping bag, I found that the pie piped better if I put it in a large mixing bowl and beat it for about thirty seconds to evenly distribute any moisture before loading it into my bag.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

We Are Capable of So Much More

It feels like I have spent a lot of time in my life just going through motions and living on the surface.  That is why the following comments struck home to me.  I should know better.  I have a divine lineage that sets me up to be so much more capable than I am on so many days.  Those darn natural man Goliaths can wreak havoc with even the best of us on days when we are doing the best, the very best we can.

"In the absence of a compelling testimony, some have let their daily
thoughts and actions become so focused on the things of the world that they
have minimized the influence of the light of the gospel in their everyday

"And then as Elder Neal A. Maxwell has so eloquently
described, also included are those ' "honorable" members who
are skimming over the surface instead of deepening their discipleship and
who are casually engaged rather than "anxiously engaged" (D&C
76:75; 58:27)' (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 89; or Ensign, Nov.
1992, 65). . . .

" . . . President Gordon B. Hinckley . . .
said: 'I have been quoted as saying, "Do the best you can."
But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. We are too prone to be
satisfied with mediocre performance. We are capable of doing so much
better' ("Standing Strong and Immovable," Worldwide
Leadership Training Meeting, 10 Jan. 2004, 21)."

( Elder Donald L. Staheli, "Securing Our Testimonies," Ensign, Nov. 2004, 37)

So, take comfort in the tender mercies of the Lord as we use daily repentance and trust in His atonement.  Jeffrey R. Holland said, "Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Savory Mushroom Sage Stuffing

This is my family's stuffing recipe. I don't actually stuff my turkey. I use this recipe and make a big 9x13 inch pan of this stuff. The bread gets slightly crispy on top and the mushrooms and onions and celery are soft. It is really simple, but one of my all time favorite things to eat!

14-16 slices hearty white bread (I use Grandma Sycamore's white bread)
2 sticks butter
7-8 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, diced
16-20 ounces button or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. rubbed sage
S & P to taste
1 1/2-2 Cups chicken broth

1. Using a serrated knife, cut the bread slices into small cubes. Lay the cubes out on a baking sheet. Dry them out in an oven set to 170 degrees over the course of a few hours or overnight. You want them to be completely dry and crunchy.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the celery and onions. Saute til just tender. Add the sage and S & P to taste. Add the sliced mushrooms, cook til mushrooms begin to soften.
3. In a large bowl, place the dried bread cubes. Add the warm mushroom mixture. Stir a bit. Then, add about 1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth-depending on how moist you want your stuffing.
4. Place the stuffing in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with foil. Cover with foil and cook for about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top becomes slightly crispy and golden.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crock Pot Chili

I LOVE this chili recipe.  It uses lean ground beef, kidney beans, fresh vegetables, and lots of spices.  It's the perfect comfort food for those growing darker and colder evenings.  And it's super easy; after you brown the beef and chop the vegetables, you just mix all ingredients in a crock pot and let it simmer all day while you're at work or out and about!  Often, I will go ahead and make this dish the night beforehand, store it covered in the fridge in the crock pot insert, and then place it in the crock pot on low in the morning before leaving for work.  It's so easy, with just the right amount of spicy kick to it!

Ingredients List:

1 lb. lean ground beef (93/7)
3/4 c. diced onion
3/4 c. diced celery
3/4 c. diced bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75 oz.) cans tomato puree
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, liquid drained
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans with liquid (these are white kidney beans)
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 T. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. Tobasco sauce
3/4 tsp. dried basil


1. Brown meat in skillet.  Drain grease.

2. Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir until well combined.

3. Cook on low 8-12 hours.  Feel free to add shredded cheddar cheese or sour cream!

Yield: 9 cups, 252 calories per cup (not including cheese or sour cream)

Source: adapted from a chili recipe that I found on

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin-Shaped Dinner Rolls

This time around I thought I'd post more of an idea than a recipe.  You can use any bread dough recipe you like or use a mix like I did.  Whatever dough you choose to work with, the results will be similar.  This is an easy way to bring a little fall fun to your Thanksgiving table.

Directions for one-loaf's worth of dough:
1.  Prepare dough according to recipe or can instructions.  Allow to rise until doubled in bulk.  Punch down.
2.  Roll dough into a log.  Using kitchen shears (or unflavored dental floss) cut the log into half, then cut each half into half again.  This will give you four log pieces.  Each of these pieces should then be cut into thirds.  You will have 12 pieces.
3.  Take one section of dough and roll firmly between your palms.  Roll into a tight, smooth ball.  Take your kitchen shears and snip into the edge of the dough eight times equal distance apart.  Do not cut all the way through.
4.  Place on greased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Cover lightly with a sheet of plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Allow to rise.
5.  Bake according to your recipe.  Garnish with a sliver of pecan.

Source:  it's all over Pinterest, baby.