Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I won! Chic Headband

Back in December, I won some stuff. It was just crazy! I don't really enter giveaways, but these were my favorite blogs so I did and I won!

So, as a thank you, I am going to give them some free advertisement for their generosity!

The first one is called Chic Headbands. She makes all her own fabric headbands with adorable flowers. I ordered the Larissa. It has been nice to use it especially when I can hide my hair on a yucky hair day!

They are super cute for little girls too. So, do yourself a favor and go check them out!

This is the girl who makes them and she can rock them!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Creamy Lemon Wine Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes

This chicken was so super yummy. It had a nice mix of flavors: lemon, apple juice(had no wine on hand) and chicken broth. Not to mention the roasted tomatoes! It was just great! I got the recipe and picture from The Hungry Housewife is a wealth of delicious food! It took me a few minutes to cook up, but I can see getting much faster at it after doing it a few times. It is definitely worth it!

creamy lemon wine chickenI cut the recipe in half, used whole grain pasta and 3-5 T lemon juice
1 pound of your favorite pasta, cooked and drained
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Pouond boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
4 T flour
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. white wine
3-5 T lemon juice
6 oz baby spinach
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes start to pop open, stirring occasionally. While the tomatoes are roasting... In a large pot, coat the bottom with olive oil. Over medium heat, saute the onions until starting to brown, stirring often. Add the butter. Add the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 2 minutes (to cook out the flour taste)
Stir together the chicken stock, wine and lemon juice. Slowly add the wine mixture to the chicken, stirring any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Toss in the spinach to wilt. Once the spinach is wilted in the sauce, add the parsley. Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve over tomatoes and pasta.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Fat Friday: Super Soft Sugar Cookies Part 2

I love sugar cookies and who doesn't?! I even have my favorite recipe on this blog, but I tried my friend's on her blog and I loved how hers fluffed up so nicely! So, they are both great.=)

1 cup sour cream
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Mix sour cream and butter together. Add sugar and eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla and mix. Add flour, soda, powder and salt and mix. Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours. Roll out onto a floured surface to about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick (depending how you like them) and cut into shapes. Bake in a greased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Cool and frost.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thinking Thursday: Bear

This prompt was "bear" or "bare". It was great and so fun for me!!


My younger sister and Sarah and I are very different from each other. She is eight years younger than I. She has dark hair that has been multiple colors and chocolate brown eyes. I have light hair and ocean blue eyes. She wears band shirts, multi-colored socks and converse shoes. I wear comfy clothes mostly, but love jewelry. We do share a love for beanies. She is not a big fan of school and I would be a lifelong student if I could. She loves Lady Gaga and I love Coldplay. I could go on all day!

We do, however, share a love for the show The Office (and Dr. Pepper). One particularly funny episode, Jim and Dwight, arch enemies, were in a battle of wits. Jim shows up to the office dressed as Dwight and dares to say three words, “Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica”, three of Dwight’s love sin life. You have to watch the show to understand, but Sarah and I have always seen the humor in this phrase.

My big 31st birthday was last month. At the family birthday party, Sarah gave me a variety of gifts which I was supposed to open in order. The first gift was two super soft bears. “Ok”, I thought, “The kids will love these!” The second gift was a decorative plate that simply said “Beets” on it. “Great!”, I thought, “I have an empty plate holder that needs to be used.” You would think that by now I would have gotten the clue, but no. I blame it on being tired and pregnant. The third gift was a purple candle. “Yay!” I thought, “Lavender is my favorite.” But around the candle was a label that read, “Battlestar Galactica”. Finally, the light bulb went on in my brain. I realized the significance of the gift. I laughed so hard and so did Sarah and my husband, while the rest of the family looked on like we were crazy.

My sister who has always been so different from me gave me the most creative gift of my life. We do have another thing in common (besides matching smiles and a love of The Office). We both love to laugh! We have similarly loud laughs and a good sense of humor. This is a more important similarity than any physical or material characteristic.

Since then, I have felt closer to her and all the differences I saw before aren’t as apparent anymore. I never thought a simple line from a silly show could bring me closer to my sister, but it did. Now every time I see the bears (in my kid’s toys), the beets plate (filling my plate hanger), or the candle (still unlit, next to the tub), I think of Sarah and smile and laugh a little inside.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

Yes, I will continue to post awesome pumpkin recipes because it must be done year round!! It was so good that my family hogged it up and I had to have an extra piece just to ensure I got 2 pieces! I think I need to create a mommy stash of treats I like that they don't know about. lol This is from Four Sister's Kitchens, full of fun recipes and a lot of variety!

2 eggs
4 cups pumpkin
4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
5 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil together. Mix the spices together with the flour and add one cup at a time to the egg and pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in the chocolate chips if you choose to add them. Pour into 2-3 greased loaf pans and bake @ 325 for 1 hour or until the middle is cooked and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then take out of the pan and cool on wire rack.

Note: This bread freezes really well. Wrap in tin foil or saran wrap and then put in a freezer ziplock bag. You can also make muffins- bake @ 325 for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hershey's Brownies

These are so wickedly delicious! I consider myself a brownie conoseur and these were hard to keep my hands off of!

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan.
    2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
    3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Banana Oatmeal

(I stole this picture from clip art! ha!)
I really love oatmeal. It started with college. I had a healthy, very healthy roommate who was just so great in her healthiness. She even used low fat butter for cookies.

Anyway, this oatmeal kept me full and happy in all of my walking across campus, up hills, down hills, hours of studying and working. Yes, I know it is oatmeal, but every time I have it, it brings me back!

Get some quick cooking oatmeal and make the serving you want. BEFORE you cook it, slice up half a banana and cook the oatmeal. The banana will just soak into the oatmeal and it is so creamy and warm. Add a little cinnamon and nutmeg and be happy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fat Friday: Marshmallow Popcorn

This was also part of the popcorn party. This is pure heaven and so easy!
I got it from Cooks.com.

1 cube butter
36 lg. marshmallows (or 1 pkg. miniature)
1 t. vanilla
few drop of food coloring
6 c. popped, unbuttered popcorn

Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and food coloring and pour over popcorn.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking Thursday: 100 things I am Grateful for

I got this idea from our church magazine, The Ensign. It was surprisingly harder than I thought it would be, but I am glad I did it!

100 Things I am Grateful For

Physical Abilities Possessions

1) Running 1) Diamond earrings

2) Smiling 2) Rocket dog shoes

3) Stretching 3) Books

4) Hugging 4) Wedding ring

5) Baking 5) Kitchen Aide

6) Writing 6) Food processor

7) Reading 7) Eyeglasses

8) Smelling 8) Family pictures

9) Seeing 9) Bubble Bath

10) Hearing 10) Fuzzy slippers

Living People Dead People

1) Blake 1) Joseph Smith

2) Tiffany Bailey 2) William Wordsworth

3) Laurie Rogers 3) President Hinckley

4) Allison Trousdale 4) Sister Hinckley

5) Monica Bell 5) Joseph Smith

6) Coldplay 6) George Washington

7) Pres. Uchtdorf 7) Eve

8) My Baby 8) Winston Churchill

9) John Travolta 9) Alma

10) Ellen Degeneres 10) Emma Smith

Nature Places on Earth

1) Cala Lily 1) My parent’s house

2) Butterflies 2) London

3) Maple Trees 3) Huntington Beach

4) Grass 4) Rexburg, ID

5) Mountains 5) My house

6) Ocean 6) Mt. Charleston

7) Heather 7) Yellowstone

8) Blue bonnets 8) Ireland

9) Streams 9) Spain

10) Monkeys 10) The temple

About Today

1) Laurie came over and made bread

2) Got to make ornaments with kids

3) Finished laundry

4) Made my first layer cake that didn’t fall apart

5) Blake’s car didn’t die

6) Watched Despicable Me with the kids

7) Weather wasn’t too cold so we could play outside

8) Blake got up with the kids

9) Watched a show about making tamales

10) Got to read half of the Christmas Ensign

Modern Inventions Foods

1) Indoor plumbing 1) Chocolate

2) Dishwasher 2) Dr. Pepper

3) Body pillows 3) Nectarines

4) Books on cd 4) Tamales

5) Tums 5) Lasagna

6) Printing press 6) Seasoned French Fries

7) Electricity 7) Mexican Chicken Casserole

8) Scentsy’s 8) Fudgy Brownies

9) Hair straighteners 9) Grilled Asparagus

10) A good bra 10) Salad with green onions


1) Book of Mormon

2) The prophet

3) Priesthood

4) Patriarchal Blessings

5) Temples

6) Eternal Families

7) Atonement

8) Joseph Smith

9) Heavenly Father

10) Prayer

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

White and soft Bread

This bread is so great that I have helped two friends make it. Allison and Laurie, and they both loved it! It is fluffy! It has a perfect crust! It is great with any soup!

2 T yeast

1 T sugar

2 c. water, 110-115 degrees

Let stand 10 minutes

1 c. milk, warmed to 105

2 T. butter

6 c. bread flour

1 t salt

Let rise to double.

Put in pans, rise again

400 for 20-30 min.

Took a picture after I fed some to my kids. See, it really is that good!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Mom Readings....

I have been doing my mom readings from my monthly goal of gaining a testimony of motherhood. Today, I read Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit. Since teaching is such a huge part of motherhood, it was really great to read this article and learn that, of course, teaching should be an act, not just talk.

I really enjoyed this quote from the talk
Those who teach after the manner of the Spirit understand they teach people, not lessons. As such, they overcome the urge to cover everything in a manual or teach all they have learned on the subject and focus instead on those things that their family or class members need to know and do. Parents, leaders, and teachers who mirror how the Spirit teaches learn quickly that real teaching involves much more than just talking and telling. As a result, they intentionally pause to listen, carefully observe, and then discern what to do next.6 When they do this, the Holy Ghost is in a position to teach both learners and teachers what they should do and say.7

In our church, the Holy Ghost is, in simple terms, a member of the Godhead who helps us to choose the right direction in life. He has the ability to clear our minds and bless us with peace. I, for sure, need Him in my life!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I made skirts!!!!

My daughter being a total butt because she didn't want my 4 year old in the picture. The 2 year old was in bed so I didn't get a picture of her in her skirt but she was super cute in it!!

The first time I attempted to make skirts for my girls, they ripped up the sides. The second time was less bad, but I had the wrong measurements. They were turned into sleeping bags for their baby dolls. I never knew I would spend 3 hours making sleeping bags for baby dolls. lol But thanks to my wonderful friend, Mitzi, I was able to figure it out! And I sewed 2 in 2 hours. The second one only took me 45 minutes. So, now I am thinking of using leftover fabric to make some summer skirts for my girls instead of paying a ridiculous amount for longer skirts! I used the tutorial from
Props to her for creating a super detailed tutorial!
I used ribbon instead of making my own ties because I found some in my junk box. Much easier!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fat Friday: Snickers Popcorn

We had a little party for the 7 year old boys we teach at church. To make things easier on me being a big prego mama, we had a popcorn party. It was pretty great. They loved it and man, can boys eat more than I ever thought possible! This snickers popcorn was a big hit. I got it from a blog where they said to chop snickers and melt them. I don't even know what blog that was, but it turned out funky.

So, I took the melted snickers and mixed them in as best I could. Then I added a half bottle of hot fudge that I had in the fridge and it healed the pain. It was really good, but I think next time I'll try out this recipe from Cookies and Cups.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thinking Thursday: Snowflower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Poster

This is a great read. I have never learned much about China or Chinese culture, but in my book club, we read another book by Lisa See called Shanghai Girls. Both of these books are difficult to read because of the subject matter. Feet binding, abuse, discrimination, death. So hard to read. But I believe anything hard to read is worth it if I am learning something new that can help me to see the world and life more openly.

I saw that there was a movie made of this book, so I wanted to read the book first. It is the story of two girls and how their relationship grows and changes throughout their lives. Beginning with feet binding and ending 80 years later. Truly a great read.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Asian Chicken Salad

Yes, this can count as healthy because there are tons of veggies in it and white chicken. So there! Plus, if you want, you can cut down on some of the oil and such. This recipe is courtesy of my awesome cousin, Tricia. Mother of 5 girls. Busy as can be. Positive as all get out! My husband gets so excited when we go to family functions and this salad is there.

4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
6 c. shredded cabbage
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 pkg. chicken flavored Top Ramen noodles, broken
1 c. slivered almonds, toasted (opt)
2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted (opt.)
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 Tbs. sugar
½ c. oil
¼ c. soy sauce
Seasoning packages from noodles
Salt and pepper to taste
In large bowl combine all the salad ingredients. Mix together ingredients for dressing, pour over salad, mix and serve soon after. (The longer you let it sit after dressing poured on, the softer the ramen noodles are.)
Also, I sometimes buy the bag of coleslaw mix from the store and just use that – carrots and all. Saves time cutting cabbage.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Best Pumpkin Muffins Ever!!

I like pumpkin, so sue me! My whole family loves it! I wonder sometimes if pumpkin is only really appreciated because it isn't used all year round. Maybe pumpkin wouldn't be so special if it were? I think not, but then again, I like pumpkin, so sue me! This is a great recipe I got from cooks.com. Sometimes I can't find much there, but this was just yummy! So yummy, in fact, that when I got back from tutoring, they were all gone. The only evidence remaining: crumbs on the table.

I also used a cinnamon/sugar topping on these. I am thinking of replacing crumbly toppings with just cinnamon/sugar. It still gives it some crunch without all the extra fat and stuff. Yes, I know sugar isn't good for me either. Baby steps here! I am 7 months pregnant!
3 1/3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Mix dry ingredients and add:

1 c. oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 c. pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

Prepare muffin tins by greasing with vegetable oil or butter and sprinkling lightly with flour. Shake out excess.

Fill muffin tins three-quarters full and bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Grrrreat Grrrean Beans!

Here is a semi-healthy recipe to get us off to a good start in the New Year.
Green Beans really are one of my favorite vegetables, minus squash and peas. When I was in college, I would eat a bowl of peas just for fun! And I have been known to eat squash at all times of the day. My mom doesn't like vegetables, so what's wrong with me?!=)
Nothing is better than fresh green beans! And this is how I make mine.
Cut off the pointy end.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil for 3-4 minutes, until they are fork tender, but not squishy. Blanche them in cold water. So, pretty much throw them into cold water for a minute to stop the cooking process.
Put them back in the pot.
Add 1 tablespoon butter
Add some minced onions
Add some garlic salt
Eat and love them!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fat Friday: The Best Chocolate Cake (and frosting) to grace the earth!

I had my doubts, thinking this couldn't possible be the best chocolate cake in the world. Really, it is a doctored up cake mix, but oh yes, it sure is! Moist, chocolatey, soft, chocolatey, chocolate syrup in the frosting. Did I mention it is chocolatey?! It might just be our new birthday cake choice for the chocolate lovers in our family.

I made this for a friend's birthday and it was greatly appreciated. I also made the other people at the birthday take home thirds, yes, thirds! of the cake to stop my husband and I from going into a diabetic coma. I didn't even share with my kids our remaining two pieces. I don't usually have issues with sharing food. That is how good this thing is!

And I must say, this is the first layer cake I have ever made (I have attempted many) that wasn't dry and didn't fall apart when I frosted it. Boo yeah!

I got the recipe from Chef in Training, which is a super great food website. Actually, it is a repost from Kevin and Amanda, which is also a great food website!

cake recipe from: Kevin and Amanda
  • 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
  • 1 small pkg Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large bowl, mix together everything except for chocolate chips. The batter will be thick.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans. (You could use whatever cake pan you choose. Just follow cooking time and temperature on the back of the Devil's Food box and add about 10 additional minutes to whatever the original cooking time requires.) Make sure to do the toothpick test to check if it is done or not. It usually takes about 45 minutes for two 9-inch cake pans.

After cake is baked, let cool completely. I usually plop the two cakes onto a wire rack and stick them in the freezer. It is so much easier to cut them when they are a little frozen and they don't crumble as much. Once cakes have cooled completely (or are slightly frozen if doing my method) cut in half width wise so you have 4 equal circles.

While cake is cooling prepare the frosting.

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup butter
Mix milk, vanilla, chocolate syrup together
In a large separate bowl, beat softened butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa together.
Slowly add in wet ingredients until you reach desired consistency.
Beat an additional 5 minutes to get a fluffy consistency.

My motherhood reading for the day is called Discovering Me in Motherhood

A woman who found out that she could have talents and things she liked to do, even as a mom.

Thanks to the greater vision of a loving Heavenly Father, I have come to realize that while my family requires time and sacrifice, the Lord’s plan for me has many facets and includes serving others, developing talents, making new friends, and finding balance in my life. All these things bring me joy, and my children now have a happier mother.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thinking Thursday: Books on CD

My zune had an untimely meet up in a dark movie theater with a semi opened bottle of soda. The zune was my kid's entertainment and my sanity! After attempting to listen to the radio and not finding much that I wanted to expose to my kids, we got some books on cd from the library. We started with the Fudge books by Judy Blume. The kids were giggling with laughter! We got through 4 books in 2 months. Next, we are starting on Henry Huggins. I am sure my 4 year old boy will appreciate it.

I love reading and want to pass the love on to my children. It has really had a calming influence after school when we pick up Hailey and there is less fighting. Our local library has some of the best books on cd, so I just reserve them online and they are sent to my library. No looking through a million books trying to find the right ones. And I am getting to relisten to some of my favorite childhood books, which are surprisingly even more funny as an adult!

Long Live Fudge!!

File:Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing book cover.jpg

Here is the talk I read today for my motherhood monthly theme.

They are pictures of motherhood and thoughts that the artist had as she created them. Amazing!!

President David O. McKay, ninth president of the Church, said, “Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother’s image is the first that stamps itself on the … young child’s mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953, p. 452).

I think this was my favorite picture and thought

Love, by Judith Campion, Seattle, Washington. “The special bonding that occurs between mother and baby is a unique and powerful love. This painting was to show the confidence that grows in an infant when it feels protected and loved.”


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