October 15, 2017

A Beacon Of Hope

This past week our family was able to spend some much needed time out at the coast. One day while out exploring, we came upon this lighthouse. This lighthouse was once a beacon of hope to those out at sea. I couldn’t help but notice that this lighthouse no longer had a light, it was worn and beat up. This lighthouse caused me to pause and reflect on life.


Each of us has the light of Christ. Those we come in contact with see that light, that light is a beacon of hope. Just like that lighthouse, if we don’t make righteous choices and nourish ourselves spiritually our light can go out, we can become worn and beat up. My challenge to each of you is to take a moment, pause and evaluate where you on the path of righteousness. Do you need to make some changes? Is there room for improvement? If so, start now to make those changes. Add oil to your lamp so your light can continue to shine bright.

October 5, 2017

Trust In The Lord

We found out today that Andy will be getting laid off in March. This all feels very surreal right now, I feel as though I am in a state of shock. Am I surprised by what is going on? Not at all. I am calm. I am nervous to take a step into the dark, to wander on an unknown path and to travel to someplace I have never been. Is it scary? Yes! But the scriptures say, "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30). We have been preparing for this day for a long time, I am just surprised that it is actually here. We have prepared as much as we can and now it is time to put our trust in the Lord. Because with God, all things are possible.

September 22, 2017

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

I don't know about you, but I struggle when it comes to meal planning. For me, meal planning feels too restrictive. What if what I planned to make for dinner that day doesn't sound good? What about my leftovers? When will they get eaten?

Another thing I struggle with is wasting food- I hate to waste food! I hardly ever throw food out, I manage to find a way to use everything. On the rare occasion that something doesn't get eaten in time, we feed it to the chickens.

And, I only go grocery shopping twice a month. The exception to this rule is making a milk run (we only have one fridge).

At this point you might be scratching your head wondering what we eat. Honestly, we eat a lot of whole grains, lean meats and A LOT of fruits and vegetables.

On more than one occasion Andy has suggested that I should blog about what I make with "nothing" in the fridge. While it's a good idea, I'm not sure it would help very much, since what is in my fridge is probably different from what is in your fridge.  

I guess I should get back on track-- this post is supposed to be about chili. About a year ago my sister gave me an awesome chili recipe, I changed a few things in it, entered the chili in a couple of chili cook offs and won. Since it's chili season again I thought I would share the recipe with you.



Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Ingredients
1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1.75-2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 (15 Ounce) White Beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 Ounce) Cans Diced Tomatoes
2 (4 Ounce) Cans Green Chilies
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
8 Ounces Neufchatel Cheese (found next to the cream cheese at the store)
1 Tablespoon Oregano Leaves
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Chopped Cilantro, for topping
Shredded Cheese, for topping
Corn Tortilla Chips, for topping

Directions 
Place the onions and garlic on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place chicken on top in a single layer. Add the beans, tomatoes, chilies, chicken broth, neufchatel cheese, oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper and cover. Cook for 8-10 hours on low or until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken and shred with a fork. Once shredded stir the chicken back into the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with cilantro, cheese and tortilla chips.  Serves 6-8

While the photos are not the prettiest, this chili is the tastiest! Your belly will thank you for eating it. I took some chili to my neighbors this evening and they came running outside asking for the recipe-- it's that good! Enjoy!

September 17, 2017

Oven Pancakes

Those who know me well, know that I am a healthy eater. I don't typically enjoy eating out and I don't enjoy prepackaged foods very much. I love to cook and I enjoy cooking with healthy raw ingredients.

Several months ago when my mother-in-law came to visit she asked if I had any flour. My response was, "I have whole wheat flour." I haven't bought white flour in years. I tend to use whole wheat flour, spelt flour, tapioca flour and coconut flour. Whole wheat flour wasn't going to work for my mother-in-law, so we made a trip to the grocery store where she purchased a bag of white flour. This flour has been sitting in my cupboard since then and I decided to bite the bullet and start using it.

I was craving oven pancakes (German pancakes, Dutch babies, fluffy pancakes--I'm sure there are many more names for this dish) one day and decided to try the Pioneer Woman's recipe. I was really disappointed with her recipe, it had too much egg in it and was kind of rubber like.

Just the thought of these pancakes makes my mouth water.

A few days later I called up my step-mom to get her recipe (I'd had it before so I knew it was good). I made a few changes to it and had the most amazing oven pancakes of my life!

The dish was so good, I made it two more times in the matter of a few days (shh, don't tell anyone I ate half the pan by myself). I tried experimenting with my favorite kinds of flours and it wasn't the same, some more experimenting may be needed in the future but for now this is the winning version of the recipe.

Ingredients

6 eggs
1 C milk
1 C white flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of sea salt
Optional: fruit

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Mix eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until smooth. Pour the mixture into your pan. Sprinkle fruit on the top of the mixture (We have tried raspberries and blackberries together and we have tried peaches and blackberries- both were really good). Bake in the over for 18 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!

 Maybe one of these days I will get good at taking photos of food, in time I guess.

September 12, 2017

Through The Eyes Of Bubba

I think I live a pretty good life. In the morning, I get to lay in bed for about an hour with Mommy and Daddy. Daddy heads to work and Mommy and I play with toys in my room. Then we head to the kitchen and Mommy makes breakfast and I eat Cheerios, they are my favorite!

Often we go outside to water the plants, feed the chickens and check the mail. We usually go visit our neighbors and say hi to Marnie (she is a puppy that lives next door).

Sometimes we run errands or go to the library for story time.

I love going on long walks and hikes with Mommy! I enjoy taking in all the sights and sounds around me.

During the day we sing, read stories together and dance around the house. Dancing with Mommy is so much fun! It makes we laugh and smile.

Sometimes Mommy says, "Meow." I don't  know what that word means but I like the way in sounds. It sounds funny and I laugh.

I laugh a lot. Laughing is the best though when Mommy and Daddy tickle me!

Usually I only cry when I am "done" or when I Mommy and Daddy try to put me down for a nap-- naps are the worst. Mommy and Daddy insist that naps are good for me, but I'm not so sure.

September 6, 2017

Count Your Many Blessings

It is easy to get bogged down with the mundane tasks of day to day life. It is easy to forget to look for God's hands in the intricate details of life. Sometimes it is nice to take a break and count your blessings. For me, counting my blessings helps shift my focus to God and it lifts my spirit. For the last week or so, I have been feeling particularly blessed for no reason at all. So, I thought it might be a good time to count my blessings.

  • I have a home that keeps me safe, warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • I am so blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • I am grateful for my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and a beautiful son.
  • We have enough money to make ends meet.
  • I am able to be home with my son each day- it is both an honor and a privilege.
  • Even though they live out-of-state, I have some really good friends.
  • I have healthy food in my fridge and on my shelves.
  • I have transportation.
  • We have been blessed with freedom- speech, religion, etc. 
  • I have a bountiful garden and four healthy chickens.
  • I have clothes and shoes to wear.
  • I have fresh water to drink.
  • I am blessed to have a temple within driving distance. 
  • I have been blessed with good health.
  • I live in a relatively safe neighborhood.
  • I have some really good neighbors.
  • I live in one of the prettiest parts of the country.
  • I am grateful for the firefighters who are working so hard to put out the wildfires that are currently burning nearby.
  • I am grateful that I am able to seek medical care when needed. 
  • I am grateful to those who touch my life for good.  
  • I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the opportunity I have been given to repent and start anew each day.
  • I am grateful for a living prophet who leads and guides with love.
  • I am grateful for the beauty that surrounds me.

August 20, 2017

Is It I?

For the past week or so I have been struggling emotionally. I have felt incredibly lonely which in turn has caused me to feel depressed. I started reflecting on my life and I realized that all of my really good friends live out-of-state. Those people who live close to me that I thought were friends have really let me down.

Have you ever made plans with someone and then when it comes time to execute said plans they won't answer the phone or show up? Have you ever text or called someone and they never got back to you? This has happened to me more times recently than I would like to count.

While at the library this week for story time, I tried chatting it up with two other moms but the one made it very obvious that she didn't want to talk to me. I got in my car and was on the verge of tears, when I realized that Heavenly Father blessed me with a beautiful little boy who is always by my side.

Some days though I wish my sidekick could talk with me and say more than "Dada." Some days I wish I had a friend to hike with, laugh with and occasionally cry with. 

I started questioning myself- Is there something wrong with me that people don't want to be my friend? Do I smell bad? Do I have food in my teeth? Am I weird? I've been assured by those closest to me that there is nothing wrong with me that people are just flaky.

Needless to say, I am in need of some new friends. Hopefully I will cross paths with someone soon.