Jul 24, 2014

I'm a working mother of five. I don't like to cook, I have moved nine times, and my home doesn't have fancy shelving—yet I use my food storage all the time. If I can do this, anyone can do it. Liesa Card

COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN

June 17th, 2014

I am so excited to share this next recipe! This coconut curry chicken tastes fantastic and is an absolute cinch to prepare!

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One of the favorite recipes (just ask my great friend Liza…and all of Pinterest) from The Fast Metabolism Diet, this delectable dish also proves how easy it is to custom design a three month supply based on “…the food that is part of your normal, daily diet.” Even if you’re on a diet, it’s easy to store the dried, canned, or bottled ingredients used in very specialized recipes.

Don’t believe me? Okay. This FAMOUS diet recipe has three fresh ingredients.

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It also has SIX storage ingredients!

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So for all those good people that tell me they don’t “do” food storage because they don’t eat “that way”, this one’s for you!

Coconut Curry Chicken

Fresh Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium onion, diced

3 cups packed baby spinach, chopped

Storage Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 can coconut milk (14 oz.)

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and salt, and saute’ over medium heat for about 7 minutes until translucent.

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(I chose to double the recipe so don’t be thrown off if the ingredients look like more than what a single recipe calls for.)

Add the curry powder and saute’ for an additonal minute, until the spice fully coats the onion.

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Incorporate the coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato paste into the mixture.

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Stir occasionally for 5 minutes, until sauce slightly thickens. Fold in the chicken and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until cooked through.

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Stir the spinach into the mixture and cook for 3 minutes or until wilted. (It will look like soooo much spinach but it cooks way down and is so good for us:)

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Add a pinch more salt to taste, if needed. Serve warm over quinoa. OR. You could serve this with rice, or wheat, or pasta, or even mashed potatoes.

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Today, while the temperature has dropped to 44 degrees and it’s pouring rain with probably snow falling in the mountains, we’re actually enjoying this coconut curry chicken all by itself, as a yummy rich and healthy stew…Paleo style!

Don’t let that latest diet hold you back. Almost every recipe calls for some amount of dried, canned, or bottled ingredients. Those are exactly the items we can store!

THREE-MONTH SUPPLY
Build a small supply of food that is part of your
normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a
few extra items each week to build a one-week supply
of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply
until it is sufficient for three months. These items
should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.

FIRE ROASTED TOMATO ARTICHOKE SOUP

April 9th, 2014

THIS soup has been a total crowd-pleaser! A perfectly healthy and satisfying family dinner with a secret combination of flavors rich enough to serve at a party. Best of all, it’s ridiculously easy to prepare and everyone loves it!

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Except for that one time. True story. Cliff notes.

Made a double batch for a friend. Filled a recycled plastic ice cream bucket so that my friend wouldn’t have to bother returning a dish. She was on the phone when she answered the door so I quietly stepped inside, waiting for her to finish in the other room. Then one of her little children needed my help. I carefully set the GALLON of soup on the floor, lid securely in place, and took three short steps to the waiting toddler. As I bent down to help, the child hesitantly raised a tiny finger, pointing to something behind me. I turned to see that darling baby brother, really big for his age, surprisingly agile, had in less than three seconds, tipped over the bucket of soup, popped off the lid in the process, and was now just beginning to gently splash in the edge of a two and a half foot, red pool of still warm soup which had poured out, all over their SHAG CARPETING!

It was unbelievable. Of all my many recipe fails, this has to be the worst. Please, oh please, I’m begging, let it be the worst! Having finished her phone call my friend returned to find me hunched over, crumpled on all fours, frantically using a big rubber spatula and both hands to squeegee the almost 16 cups of fragrant soup from her living room carpet. Oh man, it makes me sick to even think about it. I WAS DYING!!! Next came the pleading, promises, and bribes offered to numerous carpet cleaning establishments until I finally found someone that would come to my friend’s home, IMMEDIATELY. Roughly, and I do mean “roughly” about an hour later I wrote the hefty check. I left wishing with all my heart that I had just offered to BUY my friends a really nice dinner! Such a massive waste of time and resources:(

Let it be known that as I placed my trusty bucket of soup on the carpet, the thought came to me that this wasn’t my smartest move…and that I should instead step over the sizable child gate into my friend’s kitchen, even though I was wearing a long skirt, confront the 100 pound dog which was corralled, which I had not actually had the pleasure of meeting before, and just PUT. THE SOUP. ON. THE KITCHEN COUNTER.

So what did I learn about listening to The Spirit during this most recent, and very wonderful, General Conference?

Plenty! Here’s the recipe.

Fresh Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

1 large onion

1 large carrot, or two medium

1 large clove garlic

Storage Ingredients

2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (15 oz. each)

1 can artichoke hearts, drained (15 oz.)

1 cup water

1 cup evaporated canned milk

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Quickly chop the onion, unpeeled carrot, and garlic. Saute onion and carrot in butter, adding minced garlic once the vegetables have begun to caramelize and carefully cook for another minute until fragrant. Remove from heat.

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Drain artichoke hearts and blend with 1 cup of fresh water.

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Empty blender and begin blending small batches of cooked vegetables, canned tomatoes, evaporated milk, and spices. Takes all of five minutes, max.

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Combine purees in pot, heat and serve! No one will even know that there are nutritious artichokes, carrots, onions, and garlic in all that rich, velvety goodness.

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Truly, I like this recipe more than any roasted tomato soup I’ve had from a restaurant. I especially like that it’s made with a few cans and spices from my food storage and only the most common fresh ingredients!

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Last thing. And this is just an idea that might be interesting if you have little children, or meat-with-every-meal men in your life:) It’s really easy to add a little pasta and cooked meat for a heartier version of this soup:)

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Last month I gave little food storage dinner kits and this recipe to my Visiting Teachers.

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Much safer than a plate of my cookies.

CLEAN SCENE

March 7th, 2014

Do you have cleaning products in your storage? I do!

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Multiples of these two products are always on hand at my house because I’m using them every single day. I found this recipe online years ago and it’s become my all time favorite, secret weapon, for basically cleaning every surface, and it costs practically nothing.

I write the cleaning recipe right on the spray bottle. Labeled “granite cleaner” to help my family remember what works safely on our counters…and hopefully what doesn’t.

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Just in case that’s not very clear…here’s the recipe.

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

few drops Dawn dish soap (like maybe a teaspoon)

1 quart water

That’s it. Fill your bottle with those three ingredients and then start spraying!

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I’ve been using this cleaner on our dining table and white leather chairs every day, for over a year, with absolutely no damage to either finish:)

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Love how it makes the cupboards shine and removes finger prints in one quick swipe.

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P.S. This is where I stash all my food storage meal bins. Using my three-month supply every day means I want to have all those canned, dried, and bottled ingredients real handy. Soooo nice to not have to trot down to the basement when I’m struggling to throw down a meal.

P.S.S Mike’s First Vision painting in the background. Love that too!

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As I said before, this cleaner is perfect for granite counters. In fact, it was after one of my granite suppliers told me that Windex was too harsh for granite that I did my research and learned about this very mild, but highly effective, solution.

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For cleaning, oh endlessly cleaning, the refrigerator doors, I wipe the messiest areas near the handles with a bit of straight Dawn to quickly break down the grease. Then I spritz on some of my magic spray and wipe dry. Suddenly the fridge is streak free and sparkling clean for then next…twenty to thirty minutes.

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It also works great on our stainless steel counters and tile. (This is what happens if your backsplash takes steroids.) (So sad.)

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I also use it to clean and polish the bathroom mirrors, counters, sinks, and faucets. Cleans AND kills germs!

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Plus, the outside of that…er…everything but the inside bowl.

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We use it for our windows.

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Last but certainly not least, come the hardwood floors. I have no idea why vinegar is still so often suggested as the perfect cleaner for wood. The acetic acid in vinegar eventually dulls the finish. Who needs that? I lightly spray a small area and then quickly run a dry mop over the damp section to clean and shine in one easy step. Works. So. Well. The floors are clean and shiny with zero residue or film that could attract dirt. Honestly makes me so happy.

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So there it is! My testimony of a super inexpensive multipurpose cleaner, which can safely be used throughout the entire house, and costs almost nothing. Really nice to not have to fuss around with multiple products. A big Saturday style cleaning, including numerous windows, inside and out, used only half of the bottle.

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I wish everything were this easy!

CHICKEN POSOLE (MEXICAN STEW)

February 16th, 2014

po·so·le

[poh-soh-ley, po-; Spanish paw-saw-le]

noun Mexican Cookery.

a thick, stewlike soup of pork or chicken, hominy, mild chili peppers, and coriander leaves: traditionally served at Christmas and often favored as a hangover remedy.
Well. There you go! Our family doesn’t actually need hangover remedies, but it’s still good to know:-/

For everyone who thinks that “food storage” means sacrificing all the fresh ingredients, think again! This beautifully fresh Mexican chicken stew is like a soup and salad together in one vibrant bowl. Lovely colors, creamy plus crispy textures, super healthful and packed with vegetables, and flat out fun to eat, this is not your typical taco soup.

Chicken stock, pickled cabbage, canned hominy, and pumpkin seeds are the storage ingredients.

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Here’s what my three-month supply looks like for this recipe! (I store both the white and red varieties of the pickled cabbage, or sauerkraut, because I like to have options. Red is our favorite.)

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Ready? First step is to rough chop onions, celery, and carrots and toss them into a crock pot. No need to peel those carrots. Love that.

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Next, rinse and spice a whole chicken and place it right on top of the chopped veggies.

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Load on piles of quartered tomatillos and peeled garlic cloves.

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Cover with the lid, turn heat to high, and cook for 5 hours. See how easy that was?  Wack, smack, fill it up Jack!

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After 5 hours it’s going to look something like this. And yes, you can cook the chicken and vegetables on low if you have or need more time. Probably 7-8 hours on low heat would be sufficient to fully cook the chicken and stew the vegetables.

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Then transfer the whole chicken to another dish for deboning. This shot of the cooked chicken still intact basically never happens. After simmering for 5 hours, surrounded in stewing vegetables, this chicken takes “fall-of-the-bone-tender” to a whole. new. level.  Key is to be fast. Real fast.

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Remove all the meat and loosely shred. Leaving the chicken in pieces that are…substantial, gives a heartier quality to the soup, more stew like.

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And remember how I didn’t add any additional water or broth to the crock pot? H-ya. Surprising how much broth is created in the cooking process. Liquid gold.

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It only takes minutes to puree the cooking broth and veggies into a smooth as silk soup base. I love my stick blender. If you don’t happen to have one a regular blender will work fine for this step. Just remember to blend your slightly cooled broth and veggies in very small batches so that you don’t spend the next hour, or two, wiping down your kitchen cupboards. I just know.

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Add the cans of drained hominy and thin with the chicken stock. You could also substitute with 2 cups of water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes if that’s what you have in your storage.

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Last of all, I add the chicken back into the crock pot so that it will get nice and hot while I prepare all the yummy toppings.

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After ladling the soup into individual bowls, top with fresh diced tomato, avocado, thin sliced radishes, cilantro leaves, a bit of sour cream, roasted pumpkin seeds, and one wild scoop of pickled cabbage. I know that seems crazy-odd, and fresh shredded cabbage is another great option, but the tang from the canned/pickled stuff is pretty amazing. Ever heard of adding a shot of balsamic vinegar to a really nice soup? This is the same deal and it totally works.

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Chicken Posole

Fresh Ingredients

2 onions, rough chopped

1/2 bunch celery, rough chopped

4 large carrots, rough chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled

12 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered

1 whole chicken

Toppings:

avocado

cilantro

tomatoes

radishes

sour cream

Storage Ingredients

salt and pepper

2-3 bay leaves

2 cans white hominy, drained

1 17 oz.  chicken stock or broth

Toppings:

roasted pumpkin seeds

1 jar red pickled cabbage (12 oz.)

Rough chop the onion, celery, and carrots, and place in a large crock pot. Rinse whole chicken and place on top of veggies. Season with salt and pepper and bay leaves. Peel, rinse, and quarter tomatillos. Distribute over the chicken and add peeled cloves of garlic. Cover crock pot with the lid and cook on high for 5 hours. Remove cooked chicken from stew and debone. Puree cooking liquid and stewed vegetables until smooth. Drain and add hominy. Add chicken stock. Add chicken pieces and heat soup while preparing toppings. Serve hot with garnishes added as desired to individual bowls. Enjoy!

Young & Divorced: Triumphing Over Tragedy

December 25th, 2013

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Merry Christmas dear friends! I hope that you’ve been enjoying a wonderful holiday!

While my daughter and her little family are staying with us this week, I want to share her newly released eBook, Young & Divorced. In addition to respecting the courage, diligence, and commitment required to complete this ambitious effort, I’m so happy that the spirit of her message is helping and strengthening others.

Sam’s book is currently available through Amazon, iBookstore, Scribd, and Sony. Soon, it will also be available on Barnes & Noble and other eBook distributors. Anyone can purchase and download the book- you don’t need to have a Kindle. Simply visit one of the above distributors and download the book onto your computer, smart phone, or tablet.

BLACK BEAN SOUP GONE WILD

October 5th, 2013

Tonight, my plan was to serve a simple black bean soup for dinner. Months ago, our daughter, Samantha, stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest and said that she and the hubs thought it tasted great garnished only with a bit of grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

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Fine! I’m basically in love the idea of combining four pantry ingredients to create a hot dinner that can be ready to eat in less than five minutes.

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But I’m also pretty committed to adding piles of fresh ingredients to my meals, so this recipe became a terrific base for something with quite a bit more going on.

First thing I remembered was the container of shredded roasted pork in the fridge that needed to be used.

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That led me to think, beyond my original plan for cheese, sour cream and cilantro, about the fresh avocados, tomatoes, limes, and even leftover roasted butternut squash and asparagus that I happened to have on hand.

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With an additional five minutes of chopping, the black bean soup turned into a…black bean soup bar! And you know what? It was good. Dang good. This fully loaded soup was surprising similar to eating a yummy plate of those crazy layered nachos, but without the chips.

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As it turned out, Samantha and Chas (the before mentioned daughter and SIL), actually showed up in my kitchen at 10:30 p.m. needing something good to eat before they could collapse into one of our guest beds. Most of their day, and night, had been spent up in the mountains, shooting another wedding video and they were cold, a little wet, and a lot exhausted. I quickly microwaved the leftovers of our food-storage-plus-fresh-meal. Samantha said, “Oh my gosh, this is the best soup I have ever eaten!” (Pretty sure that the roasted butternut squash deserves most of the credit.)

The point of this long story is that food storage may, legitimately, at times, be the whole story. And that’s a good thing! Food storage may, at other times, serve as merely the starting point. And that’s a REALLY good thing!!!

Black Bean Soup Gone Wild

Fresh Ingredients

(All of these fresh ingredients are optional and may be used in whatever amounts you prefer, so have fun!)

sour cream

grated cheese

cilantro

lime wedges

tomatoes, diced

avocados, diced

shredded pork, chicken, or beef/hamburger

roasted butternut squash cubes (Guaranteed to rock your world.)

Storage Ingredients

1 can black beans, drained (15 oz.)

1 can refried beans, (15 oz.)

1 can chicken broth, (15 oz.)

1 cup salsa

Combine all four storage ingredients in a pan and heat on stove. This is also something that would work well heated in a crock pot set on low while running a few more errands. Prior to serving, prepare fresh ingredients, heating the meat and squash cubes separately. Garnish as desired, and get ready to go crazy!

Peanut Butter Meltaways

August 5th, 2013

Little background: Dearest friend, Melanie, tells me all the time, and I mean ALL THE TIME, that she doesn’t cook. Then she emails me this recipe with glowing reports about “so easy” and “so good”  stating that she had made almost 70 of these little pups.  Right then, I KNEW. I had to stop what I was doing, march straight into the kitchen, and start baking. Besides, she had me at four ingredients!

Fresh Ingredients

1 egg

Storage Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter (I used Adams 100% Natural Crunchy PB)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

*How is this even possible? I was sure Melanie had forgotten to mention the flour, but nope, it really works!

Cream peanut butter and sugar.

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Add the egg and baking soda.

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Mix and don’t worry that it looks like, well, nothing. (I was really worried.)

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Form into small balls, press with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Be really careful when moving them to a cooling rack. Delicate as shortbread, twice as yummy. Using peanut butter with no added salt, I experimented with sprinkling a tiny bit of sea salt on top, just before baking.

Oh man.

THIS is one dangerous cookie!

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I’m going to need more peanut butter in my food storage.

Food Storage Smoothie

July 24th, 2013

I know, I know. The name just sounds BAD. I’ve thought about calling it

The Shrek, or maybe…

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Veggie Vodka would be better. I go back and forth.

Fresh Ingredients

4 oz. spinach leaves (or 3 cups firmly packed)

1/2 banana

Storage Ingredients

2 dates, pitted of course

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 cup water

2 cups ice

If using a standard blender, begin by first chopping the dates into small pieces. (Blendtec=Love) Then add to blender the water, almond milk, dates, garbanzo beans, banana, ground flax seed, cocoa, and spinach. Blend on high for one complete “whole juice ” cycle.  That’s 50 seconds in a Blendtec or a little longer in a regular blender. Add ice and blend for another 30 seconds.

Sounds gross but I promise it tastes GOOD! It’s the perfect lunch-on-the-run and keeps me feeling full and focused until dinner time.

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Remember to chop those little powerhouse dates if your blender isn’t super strong. (No shame!)

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Drain and rinse the canned garbanzo beans, and then measure out 1/2 cup.

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Starting with the liquid, everything goes into the blender and then just let ‘er rip! Now I’m warning you, at this stage it’s going to look freaky but go ahead and add the ice and let the blender do its thing one more time.

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What you’ll end up with is a velvety smooth, chocolate…slide…of refreshing goodness and fabulous nutrition!

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Don’t let the two glasses fool ya. It’s really only one serving and I always pound every last drop. Ahhh!

Oh, and Happy 24th of July!!! Obviously, I’m a pioneer. Well, sort of:)

FORGET THE CHOCOLATES!

May 18th, 2013

This Mother’s Day gift absolutely melted my heart!

If you’re wondering what to do for dear ol’ Dad next month, maybe making your own little family film would be a meaningful way to give him a giant hug.

THE DOCTRINE OF MOTHERHOOD

May 11th, 2013

Saturdays tend to be ridiculously busy, but did you know that in only 13 minutes you can be reminded, or learn, the truth about the doctrine of motherhood?

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This message is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! If you’re at all like me, and have struggled at times with Hallmark’s version of a Happy Mother’s Day, or lack there of, maybe it’s because we’re focused on what the world is serving up on the subject. I’m not suggesting that those lovely cards, chocolates, and flowers are BAD, but they can sometimes fall short of all there is to be celebrated on this special day.

Finally (ahem) it has occurred to me that the Mother’s Day I choose to enjoy could be a happier, peaceful, and more purposeful experience if at least within my own heart, there was a shift in focus. What if once a year, I took the opportunity to express sincere gratitude to my Father in Heaven for the eternal opportunity of motherhood? What if I chose to celebrate and truly appreciate the sacred calling entrusted in my DNA?

Mother’s Day built on the truths of the Savior’s restored gospel may happily, and thankfully, be shared by all women. And that sounds like a REALLY good day to me! Watch and learn:) I did.