Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brown Rice Pilaf

Pressure Cooker Style

2 TBSP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups Brown Rice
½ Cups Finely Chopped Onion
3 Medium Carrots, Finely Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Finely Chopped
4 Cups of Chicken Stock or Broth

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat.  Add the rice and toast the grains for 2 minutes.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for about 2 minutes to soften the onion.  Pour in the stock.  Lock the lid in place and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.  

Then go read a book or paint your nails or take a cat nap!  I love to cook the pressure cooker way!

When the 20 minutes is up let the pressure release naturally before removing the lid.  Once you get a natural release fluff the rice and add salt and pepper to taste.


This comes out perfect for me and the flavors are great.  If you are impatient like I am however you can also cook it for 23 minutes and do a quick release!   I've done it both ways with the same great results.   Sorry no pictures of this goodness but we ate it all!

Monday, January 30, 2012


My earliest recollection of bread making was when I was around 4 years old. We lived right next door to my maternal grandparents.  I have fond memories of helping my grandmother make bread.  I'm not sure how much help I could have been but I do remember her patience with me and giving me pieces of dough to knead and form into a loaf just for me.  To this day I love making bread. I love how I can turn simple ingredients into such wonderful tastes of goodness.  I know of no one who doesn't just love bread especially straight from the oven.  Even now as I think of it I can smell and taste the goodness of it.  A warm crusty slice of bread with butter melting into each little crevice so so good.  Excuse me, I think I need to go make some bread!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Genesis 1:29

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

My reminder to self.........eat more fruits, grains and vegetables!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

You're Touching Me

If you are a parent and reading this certainly at some point you have heard the words “You’re touching me.”  Seriously what parent hasn’t?  Siblings just seem to have to touch, poke and bother each other.  It is what they do best.  My girls are no different.  Especially this one.  She is not happy if she isn’t touching her sisters.  Funny girl!

Friday, January 27, 2012


I've never really thought of myself as being "artsy" or a decorator type.  I love art don't get me wrong.  In fact I recently spent the day at an art museum with D2 in Kansas City and it was a great experience.  It is a wonderful museum and the art work was amazing.  Some of it was hundreds of years old; it was so incredible.  I wanted to touch it, but I didn't.  But all these pieces were certainly nothing you would ever see in my house for obvious reasons..........not my style and mostly not in my price range by any stretch of the imagination.

But there is an artist who is my absolute favorite and she is one I can afford.  She has painted nine (hard to believe) paintings for me.  She is amazing.  Her work speaks for itself.

It is hard to pick my favorite.
But this one I do love!
The Sisters

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Wishes

Sending out Happy Birthday Wishes to this Boy!!
I. Love. You. So!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Heart

"The heart is a tender place. It is sensitive to many influences, both positive and negative. It can be hurt by others. It can be deadened by sin. It can be softened by love. Early in our lives, we learn to guard our hearts. It is like we erect a fence around our hearts with a gate in it. No one can enter that gate unless we allow him or her to."
--Gerald N. Lund

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Best Lasagna Ever

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 med. Onions chopped
2 cans (28 oz.) Tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) Tomato Sauce
1 can (6 oz.) Tomato Paste
2 Bay Leaves
1 TBSP. Oregano
1 TBSP. Parsley
2 TBSP. Basil
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Salt
Pepper (to taste)
1 pkg. Lasagna Noodles (approx. 16-20)
1 lb. Cottage Cheese
2 Eggs
1 lb. grated Mozzarella Cheese
1 lb. grated Monterey Jack Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Brown beef.  Add onions and cook until transparent.  Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves, oregano, parsley, basil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Simmer two hours.

Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese and eggs.  Set aside.  Combine Mozzarella and Monterey Jack Cheese.  Grease a 9X13 pan and a 9x9 pan or three 9x9’s.
Just before sauce is ready cook noodles as directed on package.

Using half of each layer:
  1. Noodles
  2. Meat Sauce
  3. Cottage Cheese Mixture
  4. Grated Cheeses
Repeat with remaining halves.  Sprinkle top with grated parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Can be frozen before baking, but plan on doubling cook time if you are baking it straight from the freezer.
Layers of Goodness!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Space Shuttle Challenger

Almost 26 years ago on the morning of Tuesday, January 28, 1986, I dropped off S2 at mother’s; I was going to get my hair cut.  I remember this day because it was on this day the Space Shutter Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members.  One of those crew members was a school teacher, Sharon Christa McAuliffe.  I remember watching over and over again the newscast of the events.  It was an event that for whatever reason affected me deeply for months. I've had a lot of haircuts since that day; but that is one I will never forget!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Job 1:22

"In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

Wow, Job could have so easily complained or blamed God or turned away from him.  But he did not.  Nor should we.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


As you may have guessed I didn’t snap this super shot but I love it so much and can’t stop looking at it, so it must be shared.

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Time of Year

This goodness speaks for itself.  And this time of year we have the opportunity to enjoy it more than once.  And that is our favorite thing.....

 It doesn't get better than this!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just This Day

Today I shed more tears for the love of a dog.  Yesterday little Lucas left for Heaven.  Way, way too early.
Rest in peace little man!
We will miss you so!!

Lucas Easterling
July 12, 2011 - January 18, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


So I've been thinking about this word disappointment lately and I've come to realize that although there are events in life that cause disappointment, I know it is not the end of the world.  I would much rather be disappointed than upset any day.   Being upset clearly stems from a "dark source."  It can send you down a not so great road and one that is sometimes hard to get off of.  I know because I’ve been there.  But I’ve learned that disappointment is a much gentler emotion and clearly leads one to a calmer and more peaceful place.  Disappointment I’m sticking with it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken Rice Roger

This recipe dates back to beginning of the marriage of Mr. Man and myself some 38 million years ago.  It was given to me by my aunt and it is still a favorite today.  It is simple, tasty and made in one dish!  What's not to like about that.  And no I don't know where it got its name.

2 ½ lbs. chicken parts; breasts, thighs and legs
(I prefer the thighs and legs myself in this dish)
¾ cup uncooked rice
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
1 small can sliced mushrooms not drained
2 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved in 1 ¾ cups hot water
1 can of chicken broth

Spray your casserole dish with Pam or whatever you use to make your dish non-stick, because it will stick if you don’t.

Then arrange the goodness as follows:

Salt and Pepper
Onion Flakes
Mushrooms, juice and all (Unless of course you are like D2 and don’t like mushrooms, then you can skip this part)
Chicken Broth
Salt and Pepper (No, I'm not repeating myself, I like salt and pepper on my rice and then on my chicken as well.)

Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350°

Remove from oven and let it rest for a bit (you’ll know when a bit is up, but if you need to know it is somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes or the time it takes to get everyone up to the table) and serve.

Note:  The original recipe has you brown the chicken beforehand.  I deleted this step because one I’m lazy and it is just an extra unnecessary step in my world; with the whole dusting with flour and frying in oil.  And two because who needs the extra oil and mess on your stove.  Both reasons are valid in my book.  So just skip it, I do!

See no browning necessary!!

Monday, January 16, 2012


It is odd to me some of the things we remember and the many things we think we should and don't. I imagine as I reflect on the events of my life or some of the memories of it there will be some that are more pleasurable then others.  Sometimes my children tell me things that happened during their childhood that I have no clear recollection of!  Usually these memories of which they speak are …… well let's just say I'm glad I don't remember. Who wants to be reminded of their less than stellar mothering moments? Despite my inadequacies as a mother, I have to say Mr. Man and I managed to turn out some pretty amazing children.  Who have in turn married some pretty amazing spouses! As we watch them raise their children we are in awe at their parenting skills and the way they are raising our most amazing grans.  This knowledge helps to diminish some of my not so great memories of mothering.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

1 Peter 1:15

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

When I read that scripture I'm reminded of the Hymn "Let us oft Speak Kind Words."  Seems life just might be a bit simpler if we remembered that principle. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Mr. Man decided I needed to know what I looked like when I was out of it..........I mean out of it!
Thanks honey!

However, turn around is fair play in my book of rules . . .

Okay so he is not really out of it but I made him close his eyes for the picture!
He's a good sport that way!

Friday, January 13, 2012


So I'm hooked on this game called Words with Friends. It is a favorite alright!! Maybe too favorite I can't seem to stop playing! But I would still recommend it . . . You can learn a lot!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Fireplace

When the weather outside is frightful.  I'm so thankful for a warm fireplace on the inside!

It is lovely!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just this Day!

Just days into the New Year I realized that all my lovely themes might not always fit with the day. It then became apparent I would have to add an eighth theme. So I have and I will call it Just this Day. I guess it just not realistic to think every day would be perfect and that all the stars would line up.  Although I know that everything happens to a reason, sometimes I'm just not prepared for the events that take place.  Case in point.

Mr. Man was recently referred by his doctor to a cardiologist for some rapid heartbeat issues.  At the visit he was issued a heart monitor which he was instructed to wear for 30 days in an effort to see what was going on. Well it became apparent to me within five days that surely they should have enough evidence by the number of "episodes" he was experiencing.  It was apparent to his doctor as well.  In addition to the rapid heartbeat, his heart was also stopping and for as much as 3 to 5 seconds!  

Time for action.  Plans had to change; our trip to Kansas had to be rearranged.  Mr. Man was now scheduled to get a pacemaker instead!

Things happen in life when we least expect it!  But even though there was the disappointment of him not being able to take the trip we gained so much more.  We witnessed the miracle of modern medicine.  His procedure went off without a hitch.  Although he did have another "episode" after the implant he was where he needed to be to have it addressed.  Now he is covered for a rapid heartbeat with medication and slow heart rate by the pacemaker.  Now he will be able to make future trips. We were blessed by the prayers of so many. The love and concern we felt by family and friends was overwhelming.

Just this day although it wasn't something we thought would happen. We lived through it and are better for it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


When I learned about this I thought it was just another brand of marshmallow cream.  But then when I tasted it I realized no it is so much more.  It is wonderful, creamy, delicious, fluffy marshmallow goodness.  So where does one find this goodness??  Well not in California.  "WHAT" says I!! In fact I was told it can only be found West of the Mississippi!  Perfect.  I'll go to Kansas.  And so I did.  And sure enough I found it; well D2 found it.  I bought the store out.  Every. Last. Jar.  All nineteen (19) of them!  The Boy helped fill my cart.  Okay they were only 29 cents each and he was having fun filling my cart so why not. So what will I do with all this goodness?  Well I know I can find other marshmallow lovers.  Plus it has its own website and recipe book.....the possibilities are endless. Check it out!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Eight short years ago we attended the blessing of this boy, Saturday I attended his baptism.  Really!
I know the idea of time is overly talked about but really it is crazy to me how fast eight years flies by even when we are having fun!  But oh the memories are the best!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ruth 1:8

"And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me."

The Book of Ruth so inspiring. So blessed to have two wonderful dils.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Wishes

Sending out Happy Birthday Wishes to this Boy!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Space Bags

I love my Christmas sweaters but they really can only be worn in December.  So what does one do with them the other 11 months of the year.  Well until this year I stashed them in one of those plastic zip up bags that blankets come in.  Big, fat and awkward they were.  But this year I discovered Space Bags (I know I'm slow).  They are awesome!

So all these bulky sweaters........
......are now compacted nicely for under the bed storage! 

A New Favorite!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Troops

Today I'm most thankful for "my" troops.  Those family members and friends who are ALWAYS there for us no matter what.  And this week has been no different . . . .

So thankful for each of you!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Clutter.  Not exactly a wonderful word.  And actually not a condition I like although I'm guilty of it. So I have a problem tossing stuff out, because I like ALL of my stuff.  But when I found this calendar I realized that there was hope even for me.  And I love hope!  So check it out and just say NO to clutter in 2012!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

One of my favorite things to bake and share at Christmas time are these Cinnamon Rolls.  This past year was no different.  Give them a try you will like love them I promise. (Sadly in my busy moment of baking I didn't get out the camera.  I will try to do better next time.  This cooking with a camera is going to be a challenge for me!)

2 pkgs. Yeast
½ cup of Warm Water
2 cups Milk, scalded
½ cup Shortening or Butter
7 cups of Flour
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup Mashed Potatoes (sometimes I just use instant)
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Raisins
½ cup Chopped Walnuts
Softened Butter, Sugar & Cinnamon

Soften yeast in warm water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Pour hot milk over shortening.  Cool to lukewarm.

Stir in 4 cups flour, sugar, mashed potatoes, eggs, salt and dissolved yeast. Stir raisins and chopped walnuts into dough.  Slowly add remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough.  Cover and let rise until double.

Divide dough in half.  Roll into a 1/2" thick rectangle.  Spread softened butter onto dough.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Starting with long side, roll up jelly roll style.  Press edges tightly into roll.  Cut in 1½" slices.

Place in a greased 13x9 pan.  Cover.  Let rise until double in size.  Bake at 350E for 20 minutes. 

I like to frost mine when they are cool; some people like to frost them when they are warm.  This creates more of a glaze over the cinnamon roll.  Either way works!  I generally just make a simple frosting with powdered sugar, vanilla, milk and some butter.  This year I added cream cheese; the frosting was wonderful.  Just sayin' 

So start your ovens!

Monday, January 2, 2012

What a Memory

So this isn't exactly my first memory but it is a memory that I've carried with me for a long, long, long time.  I often wonder how I even remember it or why I did what I did.  When I think of it I wonder where on earth was my mother??  It is so gross to think about.  But then I realize that was a million years ago and back then mother's did shadow your every waking move like is done today.  Have I got you wondering??  Well what I remember is drinking out of the gutter..........I was thirsty and I was under 5 maybe under 4.  I know, I told you it was gross but we didn't have water bottles and don't ask me why.........we just did it.  The water looked clean..........I'm sure it was.  I know of no disease being contracted unless of course the reason behind my middle age growth spurt is in fact caused by my drinking gutter water as a child; maybe I should blame it on that.  I guess it could be possible!  Either way it is behind me and the thought of it makes me shutter!
This is the cleanest gutter I could find!
50+ years ago the gutters were much cleaner;
I'm sure of it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1 Nephi 1:1

"I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days."

The New Year is here and what a better way to start in the scriptures but in the beginning.