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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup (adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com/)

Serves: 8
Points: 7

2 quarts water
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon onion powder
5 cubes chicken bouillon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (16 ounce) jar chunky salsa
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (16 ounce) cans chili beans, undrained
1 (8 ounce) container fat free sour cream

In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, or until chicken juices run clear. Remove chicken, reserve broth. Shred chicken.
In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly browned. Stir in salsa, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato soup, chili powder, corn, chili beans, sour cream, shredded chicken and 5 cups broth. Simmer 30 minutes.


“The Lord knows who we really are, what we really think, what we really do, and who we really are becoming.” (David A. Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” CES fireside for young adults, May 3, 2009 )


Today I want to share with you my five favorite hymns. I cannot begin to tell you how powerful these sacred songs have been in my life. I constantly use these "delete keys" (see yesterday's Food For Thought quote by Boyd K. Packer) in my fight for righteous living.

1. When Faith Endures
2. Where Can I Turn for Peace?
3. All Creatures of Our God and King
4. I Need Thee Every Hour
5. Come, Come Ye Saints

Here are the words to "When Faith Endures," which I wish was more well-known in the church. Its message of resolute devotion encourages me in life's most difficult moments:

I will not doubt, I will not fear;
God’s love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find
An inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly
My trust, my prayers, humility.
His Spirit guides; his love assures
That fear departs when faith endures.

(Text: Naomi W. Randall, 1908–2001. © 1985 IRI)

I would LOVE to hear what your favorite hymns are too!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Teriyaki-Glazed Burgers (adapted from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 6

1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef
kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
4 English muffins, split
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
8 pickle spears

Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Form the beef into four ½-inch-thick patties and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Grill the burgers to the desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium, basting with the teriyaki sauce during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Grill the English muffins until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Sandwich the burgers in the muffins. Serve with the tomatoes and 2 pickles each.


“When temptation comes, you can invent a delete key in your mind—perhaps the words from a favorite hymn. Your mind is in charge; your body is the instrument of your mind. When some unworthy thought pushes into your mind, replace it with your delete key. Worthy music is powerful and can help you control your thoughts (see D&C 25:12).”
Boyd K. Packer, “Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 46


Yesterday was a great day. I am the second counselor in our Young Women's organization, so it falls on me each year to plan New Beginnings. Our program this year was centered around Joshua 1:9, which states: "Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, doubt not, neither be dismayed, for the Lord God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

We chose to do a superhero theme for the program. I spoke to the girls about how their powers as women in the church are not so different from the powers of popular super heroes. Here are a few of the examples we discussed:

Superman is often called the "Man of Steel" because of his strength. We, as women can develop strength as we live gospel principles and have faith in adversity.

Superman also had x-ray vision. We can see right through Satan's lies and see the truth.

Many superheroes are able to run very quickly. We can quickly flee temptations when they arise.

Many superheroes can fly. As we live the values and keep the commandments, we will be able to soar, above the low worldly standards.

Spiderman is able to scale tall buildings. We have the ability to climb to great heights as we counsel with the Lord and live righteous lives.

Spiderman has his "Spidey-sense" to help him be aware of dangers. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost to warn us and protect us from spiritual dangers.

Superheroes serve and save others. Members of the church dedicate their lives to the service of their fellow-beings. They can save many by their words of testimony and by their examples.

Superheroes fight for honor and justice. By living the gospel, we stand up for what we believe in and bear testimony of what is right and good and true.

Superheroes show up just when things look the grimmest. We have been saved to live in the Latter days. We need to be women of strength now, more than ever.

Each superhero has a weakness. Superman's, for example was Kryptonite. Our adversary, Satan, is also aware of our weaknesses and will do everything in his power to use them to destroy us. We must be very cautious to avoid contact with the things that could injure or kill our spirits.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Guilt-Free Cherry Chocolate Clusters (from www.bhg.com)

Serves: 6
Points: 3

1 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
6 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate (60 percent to 70 percent cocoa), finely chopped

In medium bowl toss together almonds and cherries. Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
Melt half of the chocolate in top of double boiler over slightly simmering water, on lowest possible heat setting. Stir chocolate frequently, making sure water in bottom pan does not touch top pan. Remove double boiler from heat. Stir in remaining chocolate until melted. Remove top pan and wipe water from bottom of pan; set aside To keep chocolate at the right temperature while making clusters, replace the simmering water in the bottom pan with warm tap water and place the pan of melted chocolate on top of the warm water.
Stir fruit-nut mixture into chocolate. Spoon heaping tablespoon-size clusters of the chocolate mixture onto waxed paper-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate to cool and set, about 20 minutes. Store and serve at room temperature. Makes 12 clusters.


"If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless" --James E. Faust, "Refined in Our Trials," Ensign, Feb. 2006, 7

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Spiritual Goliaths

I have recently recommitted to my goals for weight-loss. After several difficult months, I had let these aspirations become pushed to the back burner, but now I am feel ready to again face my "Goliath."

Speaking of Goliath, today as I studied the scriptures, I chose to read the account of the young shepherd boy who conquered his literal giant. After digesting the scriptural account, I found an amazing article by President Monson: "Meeting Your Goliath," from 1987.

"There was one, however, who did not quake with fear nor run in alarm. Rather, he stiffened the spine of Israel’s soldiers by his piercing question of rebuke toward them: “Is there not a cause? … Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1 Sam. 17:19, 32.)

As I look to the future and think of my righteous desire for a healthier body and lifestyle, I can't help but repeat David's words in my mind: "Is there not a cause?" YES! I KNOW that Heavenly Father stands ready to help me if I will allow His love to heal me. I KNOW that as I grow healthier, He will bless my life and the lives of those around me. I KNOW that as I lose the weight, I will live a longer life, and have countless opportunities to do good with my new-found energy. I WILL NOT let my heart fail me because of Satan's lies: that I cannot do this and that I am not worth the effort. I will go and fight with this "Philistine."

President Monson said: "Is there a Goliath in your life? Is there one in mine? Does he stand squarely between you and your desired happiness? Your Goliath may not carry a sword or hurl a verbal challenge of insult that all may hear and force you to decision. He may not be ten feet tall, but he likely will appear equally as formidable. . . The giant you face will not diminish in size nor in power or strength by your vain hoping, wishing, or waiting for him to do so. Rather, he increases in power as his hold upon you tightens. . . The battle for our souls is no less important that the battle fought by David. The enemy is no less formidable, the help of Almighty God no farther away. What will our action be? Like David of old, “our cause is just.” We have been placed upon earth not to fail or fall victim to temptation’s snare, but rather to succeed."

"David went to the brook and carefully selected five smooth stones with which he might meet his enemy. He was deliberate in his selection, for there could be no turning back, no second chance—this battle was to be decisive."

"Just as David went to the brook, well might we go to our source of supply—the Lord. What polished stones will you select to defeat the Goliath that is robbing you of your happiness by smothering your opportunities? May I offer suggestions:"

1. The stone of COURAGE will be essential to your victory. As we survey the challenges of life, that which is easy is rarely right. In fact, the course that we should properly follow appears at times impossible, impenetrable, hopeless.

2. Next, I select the stone of EFFORT—mental effort and physical effort. The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Ladder of St. Augustine.”)

3. Then there must be in our selection the stone of HUMILITY, for haven’t we been told through divine revelation that when we are humble, the Lord, our God, will lead us by the hand and give us answer to our prayers?

4. And who would go forth to battle his Goliath without the stone of PRAYER, remembering that the recognition of a power higher than oneself is in no way debasing; rather, it exalts.

5. Finally, let us choose the stone of LOVE OF DUTY. Duty is not merely to do the thing we ought to do, but to do it when we should, whether we like it or not. . . "

Armed with this selection of five polished stones to be propelled by the mighty sling of faith, we need then but take the staff of virtue to steady us, and we are ready to meet the giant Goliath, wherever, and whenever, and however we find him.

Above all else, may we ever remember that we do not go forth alone to battle the Goliaths of our lives. As David declared to Israel, so might we echo the knowledge, “The battle is the Lord’s, and he will give [Goliath] into our hands” (1 Sam. 17:47) (Thomas S. Monson, "Meeting Your Goliath," Liahona, May 1987).

You can view this article in its entirety at http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=c93a8b5c1dbdb010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

Monday, February 15, 2010


Winter Turkey Chowder (Adapted from http://www.kitcheparade.com/)

Serves: 8
Points: 5

3 T. butter
3 large onions, chopped
1 lb fresh mushrooms, caps broken into pieces, stems chopped (see TIPS)
1 tsp sugar (optional but encourages browning)
1 – 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, skins on
4 c. turkey or chicken stock
4 c. evaporated 2% milk
1 lb. cooked, chopped turkey
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
torn spinach leaves, optional (if you add 1 c. of spinach leaves, you can subtract one point!)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter on medium. Add onion, toss to coat. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are deep gold in color, about 90 minutes. Remove from pot, add mushrooms and sugar. Stirring occasionally, let cook til deep brown in color, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, separately cook potatoes in salted water. Drain, peel if desired, cut into large chunks. Meanwhile, separately warm all remaining ingredients on low heat, not allowing to boil.
In the large pot, combine cooked mushrooms, cooked onions, cooked potatoes and warm milk mixture. Cover and gently cook on medium low heat for 1 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally, not allowing to boil.


"Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things. And the greatest of all good things is God" (President Deiter F. Uchdorf, "The Love of God," Ensign, November 2009, 22).
I know, I know. I quote President Uchdorf more than anyone else. . . I love that man!

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Formula for Sanctification

"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." (Helaman 3:35)

Life-lessons gleaned from this verse:
1. Fasting + prayer + yielding of hearts= strength, humility, firmer faith in Christ, joy, consolation, purifying, sanctification.

I love that this little equation is lopsided; we give a litte by praying, fasting and offering up our hearts and in turn, we are blessed disproportionately by a generous and loving Heavenly Father. Our Father blesses us with lopsided and perfect love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Strawberry Pie for Valentines Day!

Serves: 6
Points: 4

1 whole frozen pie crust, 9" deep dish
4 c. fresh strawberries -- sliced or chopped
15 oz. strawberry pie glaze, sugar free
Sugar free whipped topping, if desired (add one point)

Bake pie crust according to package directions for a baked one crust pie shell. Wash and drain 1 quart fresh strawberries, removing stems and leafy tops. Place drained berries in prebaked pie shell. Use a spoon or spatula to spread glaze to cover strawberries. Refrigerate pie 1 hour or more before serving. Serve with sugar-free whipped topping, if desired for an additional point. (If strawberries are large, you may slice them in half).


"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." --Ella Wheeler Wilcox

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--The Lord Knoweth How

"In some cases, temptation may have the added force of potential or actual addiction. I am grateful that for an increasing number of people the Church can provide therapeutic help of various kinds to aid them in avoiding or coping with addictions. Even so, while therapy can support a person’s will, it cannot substitute for it. Always and ever, there must be an exercise of discipline—moral discipline founded on faith in God the Father and the Son and what They can achieve with us through the atoning grace of Jesus Christ. In Peter’s words, 'The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations' (2 Peter 2:9)" (Elder D. Todd Christopherson, "Moral Discipline," General Conference, October, 2009).

Wow~ where has THAT verse been all my life?!: "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations!"

From this short sentence, I learn three lessons about God, the Atonement, and His love for me:

1. Just because He knows how to deliver me from my temptations, it doesn't mean He will without some effort on my part. He only said He knows. He doesn't say how to do it. I have to be willing to ask how. And I have to be willing to listen to the answers and do the required work.
2. The word "deliver" indicates that there is a need for help. I CANNOT do it by myself.
3. Before I qualify for the Lord's help, I must first be godly.

I'm going to write this verse on my heart. I truly love the hope that comes from the sweet, sweet word of God!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Crock Pot Black Bean Chili

Serves: 8
Points: 4

1 pound ground turkey breast or extra lean ground beef
1 large onion — finely chopped
2 fresch garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 oz.) black beans — rinsed and drained
1 large can (29 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
2 c. water
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
7 oz. diced green chilies
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt1 tsp black pepper
In nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook ground meat and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer meat to Crock Pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Cook on “high” for 4 hours; remove lid and stir quickly halfway through. Enjoy!


"You need to know that nothing that can separate you from the love of Christ” (Barbara Thompson, "Mind the Gap," General Conference, October 2009).


As most of you know, these last months, for me have been HARD! Hard in so many ways. . . Though I have maintained as upbeat of an attitude as possible, the reality of our financial woes and the stress of uncertainty creeps up and at times stays there with my mind, on the pillow through the night. Losing a job and learning to live on very little has caused me some pain, but surprisingly, there have also been just as many joyful moments. I am a little more patient with the children. Now that I've gone back to work, I appreciate my husband's sacrifices in providing a living so much more. I also appreciate quiet moments. I look forward to sitting on the couch, helping my daughters with their homework and reading. I love changing diapers and making dinner. I have been given the opportunity to pursue a long-time dream of starting my own photography business. I have a rewarding and challenging job in an insurance office, which has helped increase my self-confidence. And now that my husband has more time at home, his appreciation of my work as a mother has grown. The mutual understanding between us has led to greater tenderness in our relationship and a higher level of respect.

During the dark times, the moments when I am presented with the opportunity to choose faith or fear, I recite in my mind one of my favorite passages of scriptures, which is, incidentally, the YW theme this year: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:9)

These verses say it all. The Lord understands my confusion and fear. He knows that at times the temptation for discouragement is real. And he acknowledges that sometimes it is hard to choose a path. As my husband and I contemplate our path, it is so comforting to know that He will be with us, to guide us and buoy us, "whithersoever."

And I thank my readers for being there. How you inspire me. You help me to believe in myself and you make my day brighter. I love you all!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Carrot Rice

Servings: 6
Points: 3

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon margarine
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
3/4 cup grated carrots
salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and allow to steam until tender, about 20 minutes.
While rice is cooking, pulverize peanuts in a blender and set aside. Melt margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions until golden brown. Stir in ginger, carrots, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low and cover to steam 5 minutes. Stir in cayenne pepper and peanuts. When rice is done, add it to skillet and stir gently to combine with other ingredients. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


"Try a little harder to be a little better." --Gordon B. Hinckley


"If ever you are tempted to become discouraged or to lose faith. . . hold on a little longer. You can do this! You are part of a special generation. You were prepared and preserved to live at this important time in the existence of our beautiful planet earth. You have a celestial pedigree and therefore have all the necessary talents to make your life an eternal success story.

The Lord has blessed you with a testimony of the truth. You have felt His influence and witnessed His power. And if you continue to seek Him, He will continue to grant you sacred experiences. With these and other spiritual gifts, you will be able not only to change your own life for the better but also to bless your homes, wards or branches, communities, cities, states, and nations with your goodness.

It may be hard to see that at times, but hold on a little longer, for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” and wait for Him (1 Corinthians 2:9; see also D&C 76:10; 133:45).
I bear witness of the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of this, His Church. I testify with all my heart and soul that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His Son and stands at the head of this great Church. We have a prophet on the earth again, even President Thomas S. Monson.

. . . even when things are bleak. . . know and remember this: the Lord loves you. He remembers you. And He will ever sustain those who “endure in faith to the end” (D&C 20:25). (Dieter F. Uchdorf, "Hold on a Little Longer," Liahona, January 2010).