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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chili Blanco

This is my favorite time of year for so many reasons.  One is that we get to have stews and soups and all kinds of yummy, warm comfort foods.  This chili recipe is actually quite healthy and was really easy to put together.  You just need to allow time for the beans to cook, as you will note in the instructions.  I will probably be posting other recipes from this cookbook (see source below), so stay tuned for more deliciousness.

1 pound dry white beans, rinsed and picked over *
4 (14-oz. each) cans of chicken broth *
1 t. chicken stock base (I didn't have any so I just made my broth stronger)
2 onions, chopped *
1 T. oil
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (7-oz.) can diced green chilies *
4 t. ground cumin
2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 t. cayenne pepper
4 cups cooked, diced chicken
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro, if desired (I added this)
1 cup fat-free (yeah right!) sour cream *
3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1.  Place the beans, broth, chicken stock base, onions, oil, garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook very slowly until the beans are done--test to see if they are done as they cook.  You don't want them to be mushy, just tender.  Beans that are not soaked first take 2-3 hours to cook.  Make sure to add more broth or water if the liquid gets low so they won't dry out.

2.  Remove beans from heat.  Stir in the cooked chicken and the cilantro.

3.  Top each serving with sour cream and shredded cheese.

* I have noted when I have used freeze-dried or other items from food storage products, just so you can get an idea of how to incorporate those items into your every day cooking.

SOURCE:   The Romney Family Table.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

North Carolina BBQ Sauce

This sauce was a huge hit at our daughter's graduation pig pickin'.  We cooked the pig in the sauce but you'll want to add more to your plate when you eat your pork because it is that good!


4 c. cider vinegar
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/3 c. ketchup
1/4 c. butter
2 T. hot pepper sauce
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
2 t. mustard powder
1 t. salt
1 t. fresh ground pepper


1.  Place all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the stove and pour into a heat-proof bowl.  Cover and refrigerate the sauce for 2 days.

2.  Strain the sauce through a mesh sieve to remove the red pepper flakes.  Store the sauce in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

***I did not remove the red pepper flakes and I thought it was delicious that way.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Love and Concern for All God's Children

Today, we had a wonderful lesson at church about having love and concern for all God's children
Here are some of my favorite excerpts

"I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that it is our duty to overlook the faults and the failings of each other, and not to magnify them in our own eyes nor before the eyes of the world. There should be no faultfinding, no back-biting, no evil speaking, one against another, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We should be true to each other and to every principle of our religion and not be envious one of another. We should not be jealous one of another, nor angry with each other, and there should not arise in our hearts a feeling that we will not forgive one another our trespasses. There should be no feeling in the hearts of the children of God of unforgiveness against any man, no matter who he may be. …

… We ought not to harbor feelings one against another, but have a feeling of forgiveness and of brotherly love and sisterly love, one for another. Let each one of us remember his or her own individual failings and weaknesses and endeavor to correct them. We have not reached a condition of perfection yet, it is hardly to be expected that we will in this life, and yet, through the aid of the Holy Ghost, it is possible for us to stand united together seeing eye to eye and overcoming our sins and imperfections. If we will do this, respecting all the commandments of the Lord, we shall be a power in the world for good; we shall overwhelm and overcome all evil, all opposition to the truth, and bring to pass righteousness upon the face of the earth. For the Gospel will be spread and the people in the world will feel the influence which will be shed forth from the people of Zion, and they will be inclined more to repent of their sins and to receive the truth."

"In other words, all that has been revealed for the salvation of man from the beginning to our own time is circumscribed, included in, and a part of these two great laws. If we love the Lord with all the heart, with all the soul, and with all the mind, and our neighbors as ourselves, then there is nothing more to be desired. Then we will be in harmony with the total of sacred law. If we were willing to live in harmony with these two great commandments—and we must do so eventually if we are worthy to live in the presence of God—then wickedness, jealousy, ambition, covetousness, bloodshed, and all sin of every nature would be banished from the earth. Then would come a day of eternal peace and happiness. What a glorious day that would be! We have been endowed with sufficient reason to know that such a state is most desirable and would establish among men the Fatherhood of God and the perfect brotherhood of man."

I could not put it better. As one woman said during our lesson today, "LIFE IS HARD, LET'S HOLD HANDS!"

I love that. We all need to show more love, more concern, more kindness to everyone. Those in and out of our faith, those that we agree with and those we disagree with. The world needs more love!
Let's try to be more Christlike and love all of God's children.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pulled BBQ Chicken

My neighbor told me this recipe over the phone. Super easy and satisfying.

Pulled BBQ Chicken in the Crockpot
3-4 Frozen chicken breasts
1 onion
smoked paprika
garlic powder
a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce- I used Stubbs original

Slice up the onion and place on the bottom of your crock pot. Lay the chicken breasts over the onions. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and garlic powder. Pour some of the BBQ sauce over the top of it all. Cover and cook on low until chicken is cooked through.
Shred the chicken with a fork and add more BBQ sauce as needed.

Serve on rolls with lettuce or wrapped in a tortilla with blue cheese cole slaw.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

The taste of pumpkin definitely goes with the themes of autumn, that crisp feeling in the air, and falling leaves.  This cake is so yummy and moist, and the frosting is incredible.  Cream cheese frosting is already a delicious treat, but add cinnamon and maple syrup and you have perfection!  Enjoy baking!

Ingredients List:

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 T. vanilla extract
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. milk

12 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3 T. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 c. powdered sugar


1. Grease 3 round 8" cake pans**; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, soda, and salt.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. To creamed mixture, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

5. To creamed mixture, stir in vanilla, pumpkin and oil.

6. To pumpkin mixture, beat in flour mixture, alternately with the milk.

7. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.  Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes**.  Remove pans from the oven and place in freezer for 45 minutes.

8. For the frosting: in a large bowl cream butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.  Beat in syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.

9. Once cake is cooled, assemble cake.  Store in fridge until ready to serve.

**Note: You can cut this recipe in half and make one 8x8" square cake.  This is what I did, and I found this easier than making a layered cake.  If you do this, just halve (1/2) all of the ingredients (do the best you can with halving 3 eggs!) and bake in an 8x8" square baking dish at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Source: The Novice Chef

Monday, October 13, 2014

Candy Corn Cookies

Now, I'm normally a "make it from scratch" kind of girl.  But sometimes, well, you just don't have the time or energy.  I had planned to make these cookies from scratch but then thought, "You know, it's just as wonderful to have a time-saving way to make something cute as it is to have a scratch way to make something cute!"

So, if you're the type of person who loves ideas using convenience foods, you'll love this.

2 logs of sugar cookie dough
food coloring

1.  Preheat oven according to dough directions.  Unwrap logs of dough.  Set aside about 1/3 of the dough.  Take the other 1/3's and place into two small mixing bowls.  Color one of the 1/3's orange and the other yellow.  (I used gel food coloring in orange and yellow because that's what I had.  If you have liquid food coloring, use yellow and then yellow/red to make orange.)
2.  Line a loaf pan with a large sheet of wax paper (you want it to cover all the sides, not just the bottom...and allow some to hang over the sides).  Press the uncolored cookie dough into the bottom of the paper-lined loaf pan.  Make sure it's even.  Then do the orange, then the yellow so that you have three even layers.  Fold the wax paper down over the top of the dough and press to help the layers be even and also to adhere them to each other well.  Chill for an hour.
3.  Use the paper to lift out the dough from the loaf pan.  Remove the paper.  With the dough on a cutting board, carefully cut the dough into slices about 1/3-inch thick.  Cut each slice into little candy corn shaped wedges (also known as triangles!).  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, two inches apart.
4.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are just barely starting to get golden brown.  Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet.  Then carefully remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I could have sworn I had a picture of the loaf slice cut into diagonal candy corn shaped wedges, but apparently I did not.  Sorry!

These cookies are a little on the small side, but 2 logs makes a lot of them.  I only had time to cut and bake a few of the slices and that was over 2 dozen.  The rest of the dough I put back in the fridge to use later.

Source:  idea from Kathie Cooks

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I am so so so so so tired.  In fact I believe this is the most tired I have been in a long time.  I have a almost 5 month old who has been waking me up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours at night, a 3 and 5 year old who are up at 6:00 a.m. everyday, a 10 year old who somehow can't fall asleep until 10:00 p.m. every night despite the fact that I want to be in bed and asleep at 9:00, and last but not least I have a brain that won't let me fall asleep when I can sleep because it keeps going over all the things I need to be doing.  We are getting ready for a move across the country and every time I start working on something for the move a child needs something from me that keeps me from getting what I need to do done.  In fact right now it is 6:30 a.m. and I have been awake since 4. I have now told my 3 and 5 year old to stay in bed until the sun comes up at least 5 times and have tried to settle the baby back into sleep twice since I have began writing this blog post 30 minutes ago.  Right now being a mom feels like too much!  When the house is finally quiet at night I lay in bed and try to think if I have had more positives then negatives with my children that day.  Did I use every teaching moment?  Did I snap at them when they were doing nothing wrong?  Did I talk kindly to them?  Did I love them enough?  

What can I do to make things right?  Last night as I was thinking and praying about all of this a song from my childhood came into my mind, it is titled Four Hugs a Day by Charlotte Diamond.  The song starts out with the lyrics:

Nobody gets enough hugs a day
'Cause the minimum number is four
Now if you haven't got Four hugs today
Then you better get some more....

As I laid in bed thinking about this song I decided that today my goal would be to give my children at least 4 hugs each.  If all else fails today, if I go to bed tonight completely exhausted, if I didn't get any packing done and my kids have only eaten macaroni from a box, at least I can say that I hugged them and maybe today that is enough.

Mommy’s Hug

My mommy baked a cake today,
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
She made some puppets for a play,
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
She washed the dishes, clothes, and walls.
She picked up papers, shoes, and dolls.
She made my lunch and answered calls …
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
When nap time came, she tucked me in,
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
She saw a tear run down my chin,
And then my mommy hugged me!
She tickled, kissed, and hugged me tight.
I hugged her back with all my might,
And that made everything all right.
I’m glad my mommy hugged me.

Who wouldn't want to hug these cute kids!  Today is going to be a good day!