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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


STRAWBERRY PEPPER SALAD (from http://www.kitchenparade.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 3

1 pt. ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 T. good balsamic vinegar
1 T. sugar
2 to 3 grinds of black pepper

1/2 T. butter
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. whole or slivered almonds

Salad greens, leafy green or leafy red
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine berries, vinegar, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. let rest at room temperature about 30 minutes. melt butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add almonds and cook about five minutes, stirring often and adjusting heat to avoid burning, until almonds are brown and aromatic, about five minutes. Transfer to plate in a single layer and cool. Arrange fresh salad greens on plates. Spoon 1 T. of berry-vinegar juice over greens then arrange strawberry slices and candied almonds on top. Top with freshly ground pepper and Parmesan.


President Kimball's Five Steps to Repentance: (from The Miracle of Forgiveness)

1. Sorrow for sin
2. Abandonment of sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Restitution for sin
5. Obedience to all the commandments

And Elder Richard G. Scott added a sixth step:

6. Recognition of the Savior

***If you are struggling with any sin in the form of an addictive behavior, you can find help by attending LDS addiction recovery meetings (www.providentliving.org). These meetings are spiritual and confidential and anyone is invited to attend. Volunteers and recovered addicts are also welcome.

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Blessed with Abundance

Sorry all! Long time, no blog...

I was watching the 700 Club for a few minutes last night on TV, mostly because I was curious about the program. It's sort of a Christian-based news show, mixed with inspirational stories. At the end of the episode, the host was talking about feelings of guilt for things we have done in the past. He invited the viewers to close their eyes and pray with him. In his prayer, he asked that God would forgive their mistakes because they were confessing them to Him and that they would no longer have a memory of what they had done.

I thought to myself: "How sad."

First of all, we need to REPENT if we have sinned. We can't just say a magical little prayer and have all of our sins magically taken away. Faith without works is dead. We have to make restitution for our sins. We have to develop a deep, abiding relationship with the Savior, through fervant fasting, study, prayer, service to others, and obedience. Our hearts have to be changed thorugh the miracle of the Atonement. True, God's method for repentance requires a great deal of effort, but that effort becomes a catalyst for TRUE devotion and growth. No other man can pray away OUR own sins or weaknesses. Only Christ can assist us in coming back.

Secondly, I want to remember the sins I've committed and the mistakes I've made. They do cause me a great deal of pain, but they also have made me who I am and the memory of my transgressions can guide me to the person I will eventually become. God never promised us that we won't remember our sins. We need that remembrance to inspire us to keep away from danger in the future.

Anyway, I do accept that most Christian religions have pieces of the gospel puzzle, but I am so grateful to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can't imagine how hollow my life would be without the fulness of the gospel as restored to Joseph Smith. I am thankful that living the gospel is hard. Through my continued, sometimes strenuous, efforts to live righteously, I am blessed with abundance. . .

Friday, April 16, 2010


"Some who at this very moment feel desperate or discouraged may wonder how they can possibly regain hope. If you are one of those, remember that hope comes as a result of faith. If we would build our hope, we must build our faith" (Elder Wilford W. Anderson, "The Rock of Our Redeemer," General Conference, April 2010).



Serves: 4
Points: 0

2/3 c. sliced carrot
1/2 c. diced onion
2 garlic cloves
3 c. broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
1 1/2 c. diced green cabbage
1/2 c. green beans
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced zucchini

In a large saucepan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, saute carrot, onion, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered about 15 minutes or until beans are tender. Stir in zucchini and heat 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Pepperoni Pizza Potato Skins (http://www.weightwatchers.com/)
(I'm going to make these for the NBA playoffs when family comes over!)

Serves: 4 (two skins per serving)
Points: 4

2 large potatoes, baked, cooled completely, quartered lengthwise
A few sprays of nonstick cooking spray
2 oz. pepperoni, finely chopped
1/3 c. pizza sauce
1/8 tsp. dried oregano, red pepper flakes or garlic or to taste
1/3 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Thoroughly spray a baking sheet with a non-stick cooking spray. Slice just the top portion (which is about two thirds of the potato flesh) off of each potato quarter. (You can save the potato flesh for later cooking, if you’d like). Layer two teaspoons of pizza sauce over each potato quarter; then sprinkle the pepperoni and cheese over the potatoes.Gently place the potato skins on the baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake until cheese melts and potatoes are hot, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with red pepper flakes, dried basil, garlic or oregano.


"For prayers to be efficacious, they must be in harmony with the plan of heaven. The prayer of faith bears fruit when such harmony exists, and this harmony exists when prayers are inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit manifests what our petitions should be. Absent this inspired guidance, we are inclined to “ask amiss,” to seek only our will and not “Thy will.” It is as important to be guided by the Holy Spirit while praying as it is to be enlightened by that same Spirit while receiving an answer to prayer. Such prayer brings forth the blessings of heaven because our Father “knoweth what things [we] have need of, before [we] ask him,” and He answers every sincere prayer. Ultimately, it is the Father and the Son who promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Bishop Keith B. McMullin, "Our Path of Duty," General Conference, April 2010)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Butterscotch Chips

"The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. . .

Personal revelation gives us the understanding of what to do every day to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek those who need our help. Because personal revelation is a constantly renewable source of strength, it is possible to feel bathed in help even during turbulent times." (Julie B. Beck, General Conference, April 2010).

I love these verses. It is so comforting to know that even when we are tossed around, confused, depressed, frustrated, or crestfallen, as long as we remain righteous and true, we will still have the Holy Ghost with us. I love Sister Beck's use of the word "bathed". If our lives can somehow become more aligned with our Father's will for us, we will feel the companionship of the spirit immerse us with comfort, protection and guidance. As a mother, this is an incredible and reassuring promise. In these last days of commotion, blame, distraction and diminished respect for women, I am so grateful for this gift. I must strive to never, ever offend the Holy Ghost, for what on Earth would I do without it?

I want to tell you a sweet story that means a lot to me because of its highly personalized nature:

Last year, my husband and I were watching three children several times a week while both parents worked. They were good kids, but sometimes tried to push the limits and test their boundaries. The young girl, Maddi (name changed), struggled with her school work and had very little patience or confidence in her abilities. Each day, I would sit with her and try to calmly work with her, but she acted out and was disrespectful and noncompliant.

I was helping her with several math worksheets one day and she was struggling. She was sassier than usual and her eyes were filled with tears of anger and frustration. As I tried to remain calm, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and offered a silent prayer: "Please help me know how I can help Maddi with her math."

Instantly, a thought came to my mind: "Maddi likes butterscotch chips." I hesitated for a moment, then remembered a partially used bag of butterscotch chips in my pantry. No one in our family of six liked them, so they had just been sitting there for a few weeks. I went to the pantry and retrieved the bag and told Maddi: "For each problem you get right, I will give you a butterscotch chip."

Her eyes got wider and she quickly wiped the tears away with her sleeve and got to work. Within five minutes, she had completed the first side of the worksheet and soon after, the other side. In half an hour, she had finished all three worksheets with only two missed problems and had a little pile of chips next to her work and a smile on her face.

After that, I made it a point to always have butterscotch chips on hand. Maddi began progressing and homework time was much, much less stressful for everyone involved.

To me, the beauty of the story is that Heavenly Father loved me enough to help in a specific, timely, and understandable way. He loved Maddi enough to find a way to build her confidence and make learning funner and less discouraging. I truly think that this can and will happen more often as I live righteously. Though in the grand scheme of things, our troubles aren't of cosmic importance, to Him they always are. His love shines through each time a friend calls at the right moment, each time a solution comes into our minds just when we need it most, and each time a lesson or a talk seems written "just for me." And that, is the beauty and the tender, loving gift of personal revelation.

Monday, April 12, 2010


EASY BAKED CHICKEN (from http://www.weightwatchers.com/)
(This is sooooooo yummy!)

Serves: 4
Points: 3

cooking spray
4 uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. table salt or onion salt
1/4 tsp. black or seasoned pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste (I use bottled lemon juice)
2 tsp. rosemary, fresh, chopped (I use dried seasonings)
2 tsp. parsley, fresh, chopped (I use dried seasonings)
1/4 c. chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a small, shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to prepared pan and drizzle with oil; sprinkle with lemon juice, rosemary and parsley. Pour broth around chicken to coat bottom of pan.
Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with fresh lemon and serve. Yields 1 chicken breast half per serving.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--The Boiling Point

Tonight I attended our stake's YM/YW leadership training and it was AWESOME! Our workshop was about never giving up on the girls, even when it seems we make no difference or our efforts are going unnoticed. The discussion leader talked about the boiling point. . . at 211 degrees water is very, very hot, but not boiling. The instant water hits 212 degrees it begins to boil rapidly. She likened this to fellowshipping these young women. It might not be the twentieth or twenty-first invitation or the tenth or eleventh arm around the shoulder. But what if we gave up right there, not knowing that that twenty-third invitation or twelfth arm of fellowship would have brought her testimony to the boiling point?

I loved the comparison and immediately started wondering how I could apply the same principle to weight loss. I think I tend to give up too quickly as well. I'll have a binge one weekend and think to myself, "I've been trying for weeks and I haven't seen results. This just is never going to work." What if I could learn to hold out just a little longer? Maybe that week I would lose that fifth pound, which would give me the motivation to carry me a little further.

I hope I can believe a little more that God really does bless the persistent. As Sheri Dew's book title so eloquently explains: "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard." Having challenges is the point. Without challenges, we would never have a reason to trust in our Savior's saving grace. We would never grow and progress. And without this "opposition in all things," we would be unable to return to our Father in Heaven.

I think I'll just keep trying a little bit longer.


For today's post, I want you to follow the following link:


You will meet a truly inspiring woman, Aleta Goodman Breakwell. Sister Breakwell's article tells the story of a triumph over an obsession with food. I am so grateful for her message of hope in adversity. I know you will love this sweet message as much I did. Enjoy.


Think how it must have grieved our Heavenly Father to send His Son to endure incomprehensible suffering for our sins. That is the greatest evidence of His love for each of us!”
(Dallin H. Oaks, “Love and Law,” Ensign, Nov., 2009, 26 )


PHILLY CHEESE STEAK SANDWICH (from http://www.laaloosh.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 7

1 lb. lean flank steak, cut into 8 thin slices
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium sized green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 high fiber sandwich rolls (between 90-140 calories each)
4 slices fat free American cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large nonstick skillet with non-fat cooking spray and sauté onions and green peppers over medium high heat until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove onions & green peppers from pan; set aside. Add steak slices to skillet and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; cook until liquid is absorbed. Divide steak evenly between 4 buns and top each sandwich with onions, peppers and a slice of cheese. (I sliced my cheese in half to make it easier to cover the whole length of the sandwich. Wrap in foil, transfer to oven and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


ENGLISH MUFFINS (from http://www.ww-recipes.net/)

Serves: 9
Points: 1

3 c. unbleached white bread flour
1 T. melted butter or olive oil
1/2 oz. yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. lukewarm milk
semolina or rice flour or cornmeal, for dusting

Flour a non-stick baking sheet generously. Grease a griddle very lightly. In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt together, then make a well in the center. Blend 5 fl oz of the milk, yeast and sugar together. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining milk and melted butter (or olive oil). Add the yeast mixture to the center of the flour and beat together until smooth and elastic (for about 4-5 minutes). Cover with clear film that has been lightly oiled and leave to rise for about 50-60 minutes (or until doubled in bulk) in a warm place. Turn out the dough on a well floured surface and knock back. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch plain cutter, cut into 9 rounds. Dust with semolina or rice flour and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise for about 20-30 minutes in a warm place. Heat the griddle to medium heat. Carefully transfer the muffins in batches to the griddle and cook slowly for about 7 minutes on each side (or until they turn golden brown). Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then serve. (These are delicious as a breakfast sandwich with one egg and two slices of Canadian bacon. This sandwich is a filling breakfast option and costs only 4 points!)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Body and Spirit

“The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. He also said that we should retire to our beds early and arise early (see D&C 88:124), that we should not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4), and that we should use moderation in all good things. … Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. … Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion and is a necessary change of pace; even its anticipation can lift the spirit” (President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, ).


Ok, I may be going out on a limb with this post, but I've actually been thinking about it for a few weeks. It recently occured to me that my level of anxiety has increased a great deal in the last year, not only because of our employment issues, but also due to the political climate. I have always had a stubborn soul and have never been one to accept opinions by just listening to someone else's say-so. I have spent a significant amount of time studying the issues, reading articles, searching for my own political opinion. The church encourages us to search for truth and I feel good about my current political positions. I have no regrets about the great effort I have made to come to my conclusions. However, in the process, I began to see this quest take a toll on my health. I was so busy studying the issues out in my mind, that I was sleeping less, eating more, and feeling more generally anxious. In other words, I was beginning to target stress reactions in my body.

I recently read on about.com that there are three basic components to a successful weight-loss plan: diet, exercise, and stress management. Even last year when I was doing very well with my diet and exercise goals, I continued to neglect my stress management. It has now become well-established in both the medical and alternative communities that stress produces an adrenal substance called cortisol. Cortisol cause you to gain weight, sometimes very rapidly, and hampers your ability to lose. To make matters worse, cortisol somehow triggers your body to gain weight more around the middle, significantly increasing your chances for diabetes, heart disease, and other life-shortening diseases.

People who have no plan for stress management are generally more apt to eat emotionally, turning to food for comfort. In fact, this food abuse, mimics drug abuse in many ways. Stressed out people are also less likely to work out because they are either too busy or too exhausted in the morning or at the end of the day.

Some great ways to manage stress include: meditation (especially scriptures study and prayer), exercise, trying new and rewarding hobbies, yoga, watching a funny movie, reading an uplifting book, or going for a family walk. If you find yourself feeling stressed out, perhaps it's time to turn off the news and climb into a steamy bubble bath.

The trick for me, will be to incorporate stress management into a life FILLED with obligations, errands, opinions, and assignments. But I do feel that learning to cope with my hectic life is possible and just may be the missing link in my search for a more fulfilling and healthier life.

Do you have too much stress in your life? I found a great online quiz that helped me pinpoint some specific problems I have in this area as well as some great solutions. Visit the following link to take this worthwhile quiz: http://stress.about.com/library/weight/bl_weight_test.htm


Monday, April 5, 2010


EGG DROP SOUP WITH CHICKEN (from http://www.recipezaar.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 2

4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 c. cooked chicken breast, chopped
1/2 c. frozen green peas (baby peas are nice)
1/4 c. green onion, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten

In saucepan, bring chicken stock and soy sauce to a boil. Add chicken, peas and green onion; bring to a boil again. Remove from heat; drizzle in egg in slow steady stream. Let sit for 1 minute for egg to set. Stir gently before ladling into bowls.



I have found that writing quotes and placing them in conspicuous places is one great way to help me stay positive. Here are some of my favorite motivational quotes. Some are on Post-its on my bedroom mirror, some on my calendar near the computer, some are nestled in my wallet. I have them on my fridge and inside cabinet doors. The more unexpected the location, the better. It always seems that just when I need motivation, I run across a quote that hits the spot. I also like to rotate them so my spirit is always suprised and refreshed.

"I encourage you to discover who you really are. I invite you to look beyond the daily routine of life. I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities."
Richard G. Scott - Ensign, Nov. 2003, 41

"When the Lord said, 'Lengthen your stride, quicken your pace, heighten your reach, widen your vision, and stretch your capacity,' he was, in reality, saying 'expect a miracle'..."
Hartman Rector Jr. - Ensign, May 1979

"We are like stars, no two exactly a like. How wonderful we are in this world"
Lea Salonga

"There is no obstacle to great, no challenge too difficult, if we have faith."
Gordon B. Hinckley

"It's not so much what happens to us but how we deal with what happens to us."
James E. Faust - Oct. Gen. Conf 2004

"When was anything really worthwhile easy?"
Richard G. Scott - Gen. Conf. Oct. 2003