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Wednesday, June 30, 2010



Serves: 4
Points: 6 (entire meal!)

4 chicken breasts
1 c. fat free Italian dressing
1 c. brown rice, uncooked
1/2 large butternut squash
2 c. frozen peas

Marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing in a 9×13-inch glass baking dish for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350.2. Bake marinated chicken breasts at 350 for 45-55 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Takes about 45-50 minutes for “raw” brown rice to cook! Reheat or cook butternut squash. Cook frozen peas as directed on package instructions. Serve Baked Italian Chicken with brown rice, butternut squash, and peas.


"There is hunger in the land, and a genuine thirst—a great hunger for the word of the Lord and an unsatisfied thirst for things of the Spirit. I am satisfied that the world is starved for spiritual food. Ours is the obligation and the opportunity to nourish the soul," (President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Feed the Spirit, Nourish the Soul," Ensign, October 1998, 2).

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT-Truly He Does Fill the Hungry

Today was the last day before pay day. As I was searching through the cupboards and fridge to find something to make for dinner, let me tell you . . . it was SLIM PICKIN's! On days like these, all I can say is . . . I'm so glad for my food storage. Being the garden-variety philosopher that I am, I started thinking deeply about this as I finally whipped up a quick batch of spaghetti.

First, I thought again of the comparison I am always drawing between nourishment of the body and nourishment of the spirit. As I've discussed with my blogger buddies so many times before, I truly believe that we MUST feed our spirits on a daily basis, for they, like our bodies will starve if not cared for. Not only must we feed our spirits, but we must be so careful WHAT we feed it. Just like our bodies tend to get "sick" when we are stuffing ourselves with junk and convenience foods, our spirits need wholesome nutrition. "Am I reading the scriptures daily?" becomes as fundamental as "Am I drinking water and eating fruits and vegetables?"

Jokingly, I often refer to too much worldy entertainment and exposure as "spiritual Twinkies." It's fine to watch a little Oprah here and there, or even every episode of a favorite show, but we, as latter-day saints cannot afford to invest ALL of our spare time in these pursuits. If we do, we are cheating ourselves out of essential gospel nutrients that will help us grow and become strong!

Like my trip to the food storage room today, I have had many trying times in my life, when I was so glad for the time and energy I had spent in the past, pouring over the scriptures, attending church meetings, bearing my testimony, and reading Church literature. When I simply needed something to feed my tired, hungry soul, I drew upon my reserves . . . my spiritual food storage, if you will.

As much as I would love to claim these principles as my own, I realize that they are not news to any of you. Amos, in the Bible, prophesied a great famine in the land: "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." (Amos 8:11)

The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that we are all invited to FEAST upon the word of God. What a beautiful invitation we have received: to partake freely of Christ's doctrine, to quench our thirst with His love and our hunger with His atoning sacrifice! We are invited to come as we are. Even those who are struggling with testimony. The invitation stands for the poor, disabled, homely, and depressed.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:

"I pray . . . that all who are hungering and thirsting, and sometimes wandering, will hear this invitation from Him who is the Bread of Life, the Fountain of Living Water, the Good Shepherd of us all, the Son of God: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, … and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” 24 Truly He does fill “the hungry with good things,” as His own mother Mary testified. ("He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things," Ensign, November 1997, 64).

I encourage each of you to READ the above address. It is beautiful and its message is breathtaking. Here is the link:


Sunday, June 27, 2010


EASY CHEESY BAKED ZITI (from www.laaloosh.com)

Serves: 6
Points: 5

1 (12 oz.) pkg. Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta (penne or ziti noodles)
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped mushrooms (optional)
1 c. reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tsp. olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. yellow onions, finely chopped
1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onions and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat. Add the oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and mushrooms and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked pasta. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining pasta and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces.


" . . . patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!" (President Dieter F. Uchdorf, "Continue in Patience," General Conference, April 2010)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT-The Ability to Be Patient

In the 1960s, a professor at Stanford University began a modest experiment testing the willpower of four-year-old children. He placed before them a large marshmallow and then told them they could eat it right away or, if they waited for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.

He then left the children alone and watched what happened behind a two-way mirror. Some of the children ate the marshmallow immediately; some could wait only a few minutes before giving in to temptation. Only 30 percent were able to wait.

It was a mildly interesting experiment, and the professor moved on to other areas of research, for, in his own words, “there are only so many things you can do with kids trying not to eat marshmallows.” But as time went on, he kept track of the children and began to notice an interesting correlation: the children who could not wait struggled later in life and had more behavioral problems, while those who waited tended to be more positive and better motivated, have higher grades and incomes, and have healthier relationships.

What started as a simple experiment with children and marshmallows became a landmark study suggesting that the ability to wait—to be patient—was a key character trait that might predict later success in life," (President Dieter F. Uchdorf, "Continue in Patience," General Conference, April 2010).

One sister in my ward referred to this same principle as instant vs. delayed gratification. Those who are able to hold out for the blessings and achievements of tomorrow, are simply delaying gratification, for they know that the rewards of waiting are almost always much, much greater. In contrast, those who cannot see past the one, fairly inconsequential "marshmallow" of today give in, relinquishing their dreams. This principle of instant gratification is the stuff that addictions and dependencies are made of. The beauty of the gospel is, that it teaches us how to overcome this need for immediacy as we learn patience and discipline. Through Christ's example, we learn the correct order of things: first God, then others, and lastly our own needs and wants. We learn to overcome the "natural man," and put on Christ. Or as President Hinckley's father advised his discourage missionary son, we "forget ourselves and go to work."

Though I struggle with this principle sometimes, I know that Christ meets me where I am. Through His example, love, and patience, I can myself learn patience. I know that it is through Him that my weaknesses will become strengths.


HONEY SPICE-RUBBED PORK TENDERLOIN (from http://www.kraftfoods.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 5
1 pork tenderloin (1 lb.)
1/4 c. KRAFT CATALINA Dressing, divided
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 T. honey

Heat oven to 425ºF. Brush meat with 2 T. dressing. Mix dry ingredients; rub onto meat. Place in pan. Mix remaining dressing and honey; set aside. Bake 25 min. or until meat is done (160ºF), brushing with dressing mixture after 15 min. Remove meat from oven; cover with foil. Let stand 5 min. before slicing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


SLOPPY JANES (from http://www.hungrygirl.com/)

Serves: 5
Points: 5

1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef
5 small hamburger buns (light, if available)
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped red bell peppers
1 c. canned tomato sauce
3/4 c. canned no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry steak seasoning blend
Dash salt

Spray a large pan with nonstick spray, and bring to medium-high heat. Add beef to the pan. Spread the meat around in the pan to break it up a bit. In a small dish, combine Splenda, salt and steak seasoning. Sprinkle this mixture over the meat, and continue to stir meat in the pan. Once the meat has browned, reduce heat to medium. Add onions, peppers, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar to the pan. Stir, and then continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauces and paste to the pan and stir well. Reduce heat to low, and cook the mixture for an additional 5 minutes. Toast the buns, if desired. Put 1/5th of the mixture on each bottom bun, and then finish off with tops of the buns.

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--The Lord Looketh on the Hear

"Nearly 60 years ago, while I was serving as a young bishop, Kathleen McKee, a widow in my ward, passed away. Among her things were three pet canaries. Two, with perfect yellow coloring, were to be given to her friends. The third, Billie, had yellow coloring marred by gray on his wings. Sister McKee had written in a note to me: 'Will you and your family make a home for him? He isn’t the prettiest, but his song is the best.'

Sister McKee was much like her yellow canary with gray on its wings. She was not blessed with beauty, gifted with poise, or honored by posterity. Yet her song helped others to more willingly bear their burdens and more ably shoulder their tasks.

The world is filled with yellow canaries with gray on their wings. The pity is that so precious few have learned to sing. Some are young people who don’t know who they are, what they can be or even want to be; all they want is to be somebody. Others are stooped with age, burdened with care, or filled with doubt—living lives far below the level of their capabilities.

To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility. You ask, “How might we achieve these goals?” I answer, “By gaining a true perspective of who we really are!” We are sons and daughters of a living God, in whose image we have been created. Think of that: created in the image of God. We cannot sincerely hold this conviction without experiencing a profound new sense of strength and power.

In our world, moral character ofttimes seems secondary to beauty or charm. But from long ago the Lord’s counsel to Samuel the prophet echoes: “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). (from President Thomas S. Monson, "Canaries with Gray on Their Wings," Ensign, June 2010 4-6)

This is an amazing article! If you haven't read it yet, follow this link: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=092ef6e4ff3b8210VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD


If You Give A Mousse a Cookie (from www.hungrygirl.com)

Servings: 2
Points: 2

1 pack Nabisco 100 Cal Oreo Thin Crisps
2 Mousse Temptations by Jell-O snack cups, any chocolate flavor
1 Jell-O Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding Snack
1/2 cup Fat Free Reddi-Whip

Roughly crush cookies and set half aside. Evenly distribute the other half between two small glasses or dessert bowls. Spoon a container of mousse into each glass/bowl. Top each layer of mousse with half of the pudding. Squirt 1/4 cup Reddi-wip on top of each pudding layer. Sprinkle remaining crushed cookies on top of the two desserts, evenly distributing the cookies between the desserts. Yum!


". . . faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task, will bring the Lord’s guidance, assistance, and peace." (Bruce A. Carlson, "When the Lord Commands," Ensign, May 2010)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Prone to Wander

"The story is told of two outdoor enthusiasts who hired a bush plane to fly them to a remote lake for their annual fishing trip. Following a successful outing, the pilot returned to retrieve them. However, he quickly informed the fishermen that his small plane would not support them, their equipment, and the added weight of the fish they had caught. A second flight would be required.

Now, the sportsmen were not interested in paying for a second round-trip. So after a promise to pack tightly and a small bonus payment, the pilot reluctantly agreed to attempt the flight.

The fishermen grinned knowingly as the pilot forced the aircraft into the air. However, seconds later the plane stalled and crashed into a large, flat swampy area at the end of the lake.

The plane had stalled as it flew because of a well-known phenomenon called “ground effect.” Ground effect is created when air is compressed between the aircraft’s wings and the earth’s surface—when they are in close proximity. In this case, as the bush plane inched its way upward out of ground effect, it was required to fly on its own power, which it simply could not do.

Fortunately there were no serious injuries, and after regaining their senses, one of the fishermen asked the other, “What happened?” The second replied, “We crashed on takeoff—about a hundred yards (91 m) from where we ended up last year!” (Bruce A. Carlson, "When the Lord Commands," Ensign, May 2010)

I love this little story! Like these silly fishermen, I often expect different results when I try the same thing. . . over and over and over! Sometimes, I even find myself cycling through my level of commitment to the Savior. Why would I ever leave His side, even for a moment, after all that I know? Or why would I ever doubt that His promises are sure? I love that even as I wander (but never waver), He never gives up on me. He is always there, waiting for me to remember how much I truly need His love, example, and the Atonement in my life.

I love the hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing!" The music is breathtaking, and the lyrics move something inside of me:

"Prone to wander, Lord I feel it:
Prone to leave the God I love!
Here's my heart, Oh, take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above!"

I am eternally thankful for His mercy, understanding, and CONSTANCY. He is, as President Hinckley often noted, like the North Star. We are never truly lost whenever He is found in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Friday, June 25, 2010


"Can you imagine being away from home and receiving a letter from your parents and not bothering to open it or read it? This is what happens when we don’t read these precious records. The holy scriptures are like letters from home telling us how we can draw near to our Father in Heaven. He tells us to come as we are. No one will be denied" (Ardeth G. Kapp, "The Holy Scriptures: Letters from Home," Ensign, November 1985, 93).

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Book of Mormon Challenge

Again, I apologize for my streakiness in posting lately. My life is such a whirlwind of activity lately. It is mainly composed of the following five activities: Taking care of children, working, cleaning, studying, and sleeping. That's it folks. You'll notice, unfortunately, that I didn't mention scripture study in that list. Sigh. I know that during the times when I studied and meditated faithfully, my life was more simple and my heart brimmed with hope. My faith is, and will always be there, but I know that I really need to step it up in my spiritual life. I'm sure that one of the many, many lessons of this difficult year, is to teach me the importance of putting God first. Always. No matter what.

The cool thing is, that even as I recognize my failings as of late in the area of scripture study, I feel as if the Lord is trying, ever so gently to lead me back. I don't feel judged or chastised. He is truly "loving me back" by the examples of others set in my path at the precise moments I need them, lessons I hear in church, and feelings that are still so graciously allowed to penetrate my heart via the Spirit.

So, today I pledge to you and to my Heavenly Father publicly, that I am back. I will return to my studies and thirst after the gospel. I will open the volumes of scripture that invite peace to fill my life. I will seek and find. I will pour over His words EACH DAY, knowing that as I do so, He will bless my mind with clarity as I strive to find my way. He will bless my home with happiness. He will help my testimony bloom and flourish. He will guide me with love and teach me how I can turn my weaknesses into great strengths.

More specifically, I pledge that I will read the Book of Mormon start to finish again this year, completing it in time for the celebration of my Savior's birth on Christmas Day. Care to join me, anyone?