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Thursday, October 27, 2011


ROASTED CHICKPEAS (from http://www.sweetpeaskitchen.com/)

Serves: 8

Points+: 4

2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Dash cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander under running water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and spices. Add chickpeas and toss until coated with spice mixture. Spread chickpeas out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the chickpeas are slightly brown and crunchy, 35-40 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Adjust seasoning to taste.


"Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.

God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him." --Dieter F. Uchdorf


Gems from Dieter F. Uchdorf's fabulous talk, "Forget Me Not"

(view this talk in its entirety at http://lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/forget-me-not?lang=eng)

"Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love."

"Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time! He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name—you are the daughters of His kingdom."

"My dear sisters, you are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. "

"Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us."

"My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us."

"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy."

"Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life."

"Our journey toward perfection is long, but we can find wonder and delight in even the tiniest steps in that journey."

"Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s wonderful that you have strengths. And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses."


Wow! I cannot believe that my last post was in July! I am so sorry to leave you all hanging! It amazes me how much has happened in that short window of time.

I have left Farmers Insurance altogether, since they were not able to pay me what I deserved. I am now working in Roy as the Office Manager of an Allstate office. I dearly love my new job. The agent I work for is very kind and has allowed me to choose my own hours. This office seems a lot more relaxed, so it is much easier for me to not bring work home with me. I am also stilling filling in at Blomquist Hale Consulting from time to time. Tyler is still working at Triumph, though he is now working the graveyard shift, which frees up his days for school and allows me to work as well. He has been accepted into the Math Education program and is still doing very well in all his classes.

On the weight loss front, I am thrilled to announce that I have now lost 50 pounds!!! I am so very grateful for the support of my family and friends, and most of all, to my Heavenly Father and to the Savior. I could never have done this on my own. . . believe me, I've tried! I am so happy to be back at Weight Watchers. It is such a wonderful program and it really does fit my crazy life perfectly. I am so sorry for not posting more, but I am grateful that after more than a year and a half of posting about my aspirations to lose weight and gain health, I am now LIVING it! With all my meal planning, tracking, cooking, exercising, and going to WW meetings, it has become necessary for my to limit the time I spend online. That being said, I will try to post periodically, just to let you know how things are going. Thanks again, readers, for always believing in me! I love you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Serves: 6

Points+: 9

2 c. regular or whole wheat pasta, uncooked

2 c. fat free milk

3 T. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. red pepper

2 c. shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Cook and drain pasta. Return to saucepan, cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350*. Spray 8-inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, stir milk, flour, mustard, salt, black pepper, and red pepper with wire whisk until smooth. cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir cheese until melted. Add cheese sauce to cooked macaroni; mix well. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are bubbly.


"I feel that the Savior will give that punishment which is the very least that our transgression will justify. I believe that he will bring into his justice all of the infinite love and blessing and mercy and kindness and understanding that he has . . .

And on the other hand, I believe that when it comes to making the rewards for our good conduct, he will give us the maximum that it is possible to give, having in mind the offense which we have committed" (J. Ruben Clark, as quoted by James E. Faust, "The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope," Ensign, Jan. 2002).

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--A Precarious Position

My husband and I were talking about the spiritual significance of a hiking experience we had about six years ago in Arches National Park. We were on a weekend getaway and wanted to hike to the Delicate Arch overlook. We had heard that the hike to the overlook was relatively easy, so off we went. We had been advised by others who had been on the hike before, to make sure to look for the stacked cairns along the way. For this hike, in particular, cairns were especially important, since the slickrock trail was so undefined. A few miles into the hike, we stopped seeing the cairns, but didn't worry too much, since we had a good view of the arch itself. We figured we must still be going the right way. As we got within a half mile or so of the arch, we saw a small path on the side of a red wall of stone. We figured that this was our path, so we commenced to follow the wall towards the arch. Somehow we did not notice that the further along the path we walked, the narrower the path became. Several yards in, we noticed that we were walking a pathway not any wider than the shoes we were wearing!

We suddenly felt very foolish and very much in danger. How on earth did we not realize the danger that we had been in? I looked down and saw a steep, slickrock drop of well over 100 feet. Paralyzed with fear at my predicament, I simply couldn't find the courage to move. My brave husband quickly scampered away from the wall, then turned and found me plastered to the wall, holding on with all my might. He came back out onto the narrow path, took my hand, and we gingerly moved back to safety.

To this day, I still get physically ill to think of how close we came to disaster. Once we had reached the wider part of the path, we started searching for the correct route. To our surprise, it was only a few feet away from us, on the other side of the wall which we had been clinging to so desperately. The path there was well guarded with ropes. We quickly made our way to the overlook. When we had seated ourselves, we sat for a long time, in awe of the beautiful view, thankful for the protection we had been given.

The thing about this experience that still befuddles me, is that we never knew what danger we were in, until we were already in such a vulnerable, precarious position. How could we have not known that the path would narrow so? How could we not see, that this dangerous, narrow path could not possibly be safe? We never knew what danger we were placing ourselves in, until it was almost too late! We were never trying to be reckless, but our carelessness just about led to serious injury, or even death.

How often do we "wake up" to the reality of our spiritual situations, also perplexed about how we got ourselves into such situations? I don't think that we always find ourselves knee-deep in sin, because we were being reckless, but like our hike, if we don't constantly look for the cairns of gospel truth and guidance, it can be easy to lose our ways.

Anyway, I am grateful for the "cairns" in my life: the holy scriptures, a living prophet, good church leaders, and the gift of personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. I hope that whenever I do find myself in trouble, I can be kept from danger, through the Atonement, and take the Savior's hand as He offers to lead me back to safety. I hope I can follow Him, for I know that He is the only way to get to my ultimate destination: eternal life.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Yesterday was wonderfully weird. I had the opportunity to visit a ward in my stake for their ward conference. Since I had no children with me, I was able to focus deeply on the messages taught in class and in sacrament meeting. The spirit was strong, even overwhelming. I was holding back tears the entire block. These tears, not atypical for me at all, were hard to understand. They weren't necessarily tears of gratitude OR tears of despair. I'm not sure why I was so moved. Was I exhausted? Was I feeling hopeful? Was I confused? Anyway, sometimes it is good to feel touched, even if I can't explain the emotion behind it. Sometimes it is good to not be able to express myself in words; then, I find myself in the position to listen.

I came home from church with a headache. My family was still at church so the house was quiet. It was the perfect opportunity for me to take a nap. Instead, I laid in bed, my thoughts racing. I said an inward prayer that the Lord would halt my thoughts and allow me to simply "be still and know that He is God." I didn't sleep, but rested physically and emotionally for some time.

After I got up, I felt renewed, rejuvenated, and ready to face another day. I was blessed with clarity and a new resolve to choose faith. I was thinking that that is one of the wonderful things about faith and hope; they are regenerative in nature. You can be just about spent ... at your wit's end one day, then wake up full of faith and hope the next. I am thankful that my faith is a renewable resource!

Today I was reading about hope in an address by Russell M. Nelson . Here are some of the fabulous one-liners from the article:

"Passing tests of obedience requires faith and hope---constantly."

"A correlation exists between hope and gratitude."

"Counting blessings is better than recounting problems."

"Hope emanates from the Lord, and it transcends the bounds of this mortal sphere."

"A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish."

"Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force stronger than steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever."

"Insufficient hope often means insufficient repentance."

"Happiness comes when scriptures are used in shaping our lives."

"If our hopes were narrowly confined only to moments in mortality, we should surely be disappointed. Our ultimate hope must be anchored to the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"God sent us here to be happy and successful. Meanwhile, he also needs us."

I hope that I can, as President Howard W. Hunter exhorts, "hope a little more and despair a little less." And until I become 100% happy and 100% successful, I hope I can be available to serve the Lord. I hope I can posses faith, hope, and charity CONSTANTLY and choose faith over fear at all times.


"Not surprisingly, faith, hope, and charity have their opposing forces. . . the antithesis of faith is doubt; the opposite of hope is despair. And the opposite of charity is disregard or even disdain for the Savior and His commandments. Therefore, in our quest for faith, hope, and charity, we must beware of doubt, despair, or disdain for the divine." --Russell M. Nelson

Friday, June 24, 2011


PULLED PORK (adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/)

Serves: 6

Points+: 8 (without bun)

3 tsp. vegetable oil, divided

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

kosher salt and black pepper

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 c. ketchup

1/3 c. plus apple cider vinegar

2 T. molasses

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb., cut into 4 pieces

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tsp. of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and lightly browned (5 minutes). Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook until toasted (one minute more). Stir in the broth, ketchup, 1/3 c. vinegar, and molasses. Bring to a simmer and add the pork. Simmer, covered until the pork is just cooked and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Increase the heat on the remaining sauce in the pot to medium-high heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Shred the pork with two forks into large chunks. Toss back into pan and combine with remaining sauce to absorb juices. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve on whole wheat sandwich buns with yummy coleslaw and corn on the cob! (Additional points)


"Testimony is to know and feel. Conversion is to do and become." --Elder Dallin H. Oaks


Well, life is still crazy, but it feels mostly crazy good, not crazy bad. Tyler is back in school with two new semesters under his belt. I am so proud of him. He is getting wonderful grades and works full time too. What a wonderful husband and father he is! Unfortunately, his paraprofessional teaching position at Dale Young Community High School has now been eliminated due to budget cuts. Which means, by necessity, I have gone back to work again. I am doing some telemarketing for the same insurance agent I used to work for, which is a little frustrating, since the pay is so little, considering that I am a licensed insurance producer. I am also working for Blomquist Hale Consulting, a counseling office here in Brigham. I am the fill-in receptionist, so I only work a few days each month, but the hourly wage here is great, the job is very easy, and I LOVE the nature of the work. I feel very blessed to be where I am.

The frustrating thing is, I STILL do not know where we will ever find stability in our careers. It seems like every time we find a resting place: jobs that pay the bills, schedules that work for our family, etc., then is the time when we are again pushed into the dark. The other day, another Farmers agent from Roy called me out of the blue and talked to me about filling in for his receptionist while she is out on maternity leave and also doing some telemarketing for them. At his office, I would make MUCH more money. The only problem is that it is quite a commute for a mommy who is not even sure she's supposed to be working at all. And I'm scared. I have a part of me that is so timid, so very frightened of discomfort. I'm a homebody by nature and all this putting myself out there professionally becomes exhausting. I am tired. But, it's nice to have options and to know that we have a future when so many are not employed at all during these hard times. I'm sorry if this post is disjointed and unorganized. If so, it would accurately represent the jumble of thoughts and feelings in my mind and heart.

Thank goodness for the Spirit. I love knowing that I can have moments of peace and clarity whenever I choose to slow down and take the time to pray, read my scriptures, and meditate. I have been combining my scripture study and my workout sessions on the elliptical machine. I now look forward to these times. After a long, stressful day, it is so nice to go downstairs and jump on my elliptical and read the words of the prophets. It has been so good for me.

This is sure to be a lengthy post, since I haven't even gotten to my main point yet. Even with all the uncertainty swirling around my family, I feel peaceful most of the time. I know that I will be led in the dark if I live righteously, which I am desperately trying to do. I know that the Lord is mindful of our situation and that He knows why we are facing these trials, and what our faith can help us accomplish eventually. I am able to look back on the tremendous growth we have both experienced in the last twenty one months since Ty lost his job. We have learned to have more faith, to trust in our loving Heavenly Father and each other. Our family is close. Our blessings are appreciated, and rarely taken for granted. Our perspective is better. Our spiritual capacities have expanded. Our testimony of tithing is absolutely undeniable. I feel honored to have been "blessed" with this trial.

Anyway, I was going to share a great little story with you from Elder Allen F. Packer. He was playing in an important football game when he was on his high school team. He had prepared well for the game, showing up each day for practice, running his drills, working out his body to develop strength, and listening diligently to the counsel of his wise coach who dedicated himself to teaching his team the basics of football. He kept practicing until his skills became natural and automatic. In the most critical, chaotic moment of the game, amid the deafening noise, he was able to hear his coach's voice above the crowd, "Packer! Tackle him!"

He went on: "I have wondered how I heard the voice above all the other noise. I had become acquainted with the voice of the coach during the practices, and I had learned to trust it. I knew that what he taught worked. We need to be acquanited with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and we need to practice and apply gospel teachings until they become natural and automatic. These promptings become the foundation of our testimonies." (Elder Allen F. Packer, "Finding Strength in Challenging Times," General Conference, April 2009)

I am so grateful to have the ability to hear the Spirit's promptings over the roar and chaos of the word and all its cares. I am so very blessed to have this direction. Each time I choose to obey, each time I chose faith over fear, I become more practiced in living the gospel and living righteously becomes a little easier, more natural and automatic. I have felt my testimony grow through my obedience. I hope that I can continue in faith and trust. I pray that I will always be able to hear the voice of the Lord in the midst of challenges and chaos.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Almost 35 pounds lost! I am so happy to finally have enough confidence for FAMILY PICTURES!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Serves: 8
Points +: 4
  • 6.5 oz of chocolate wafer cookies
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat butter ( I used Brummel and Brown Spread)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. To prepare crust: Process cookies, confectioners' sugar, milk and butter in a food processor until finely ground. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, creating an even, dense crust. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour, pressing any puffed parts of the crust back into the pan.

To prepare filling: Meanwhile, puree raspberries, vanilla extract, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract the juice; discard seeds. Bring 1 inch of water to a slow simmer in a large saucepan. Combine egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar in a 3-quart stainless-steel bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy.

Set the bowl over the simmering water and continue to beat on medium speed, moving the mixer around, until the mixture is glossy and thick, about 3 1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to high, and continue beating over the simmering water until very stiff and glossy, about 3 1/2 minutes more (the eggs will be at a safe temperature, 160°F, at this point).

Remove from the heat and continue beating on medium speed until room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold the raspberry puree into the meringue until combined. Pour the raspberry filling into the pie crust. Place the pie on a level surface in your freezer and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.

To serve, let the pie stand at room temperature until softened slightly, about 10 minutes, before slicing. Slice into 8 equally sized pieces.


"Let failure be your teacher, not your undertaker." --Zig Ziglar

"Today I could desire with all my heart. . . . that all. . . . would thank God for one more day! For what? For the opportunity to take care of some unfinished business. To repent; to right some wrongs; to influence for good. . . . ; to reach out to someone who cries for help--in short, to thanks God for one more day to prepare to meet God." --Harold B. Lee


As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reviewing some of my old Sunday School manuals. I love to read the inspired words of the prophets and see how well they carry over as times and seasons change. I am currently reading from the Harold B. Lee manual. It has been great to learn "at his feet", since he is one of the prophets I know the least about. One thing: he is a fabulous speaker! In Chapter One, he tells a parable using the story of the near tragedy of Apollo 13:

"Some months ago, millions of watchers and listeners over the world waited breathlessly and anxiously the precarious flight of Apollo 13. The whole world, it seemed, prayed for one significant result: the safe return to earth of the three brave men.

When one of them with restrained anxiety announced the startling information, 'We have had an explosion!' the mission control in Houston immediately mobilized all the technically trained scientists who had, over the years, planned every conceivable detailed pertaining to the flight.

The safety of those three now depended on two vital qualifications: on the reliability of the skills and the knowledge of the technicians in the mission control center at Houston, and upon the implicit obedience of the men in the Aquarius to every instruction from the technicians, tho, because of their understanding of the problems of the astronauts, were better qualified to find the essential solutions. The decisions of the technicians had to be perfect or the Aquarius could have missed the earth by thousands of miles.

This dramatic event is somewhat analogous to these [troubled] times in which we live. . . . Many are frightened when they see and hear of unbelievable happenings the world over--political intrigues, wars and contention everywhere, frustrations of parents endeavoring to cope with social problems that threaten to break down the sanctity of the home, the frustrations of children and youth as they face challenges to their faith and their morals.

Only if you are willing to listen to and obey, as did the astronauts on the Aquarius, can you and all your household be guided to ultimate safety in the Lord's own way" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, p. 1-2).

I love this analogy. We must trust our Heavenly Father and our Savior (the technicians), knowing that they see the whole picture, and know how to bring us back to safety. And we must do, with exactness and precise and prompt obedience, what they ask us. They are the experts and without their help, guidance, and wisdom, we will not make it back. And as much of a tragedy the loss of the men of Apollo 13 would have been, the loss of souls due to apathy, disobedience, or half-hearted obedience, would prove even more devastating. Another interesting parallel is that the astronauts, before receiving help, needed to make the distress call: "Houston, we have a problem. . . " Otherwise, mission control would never have known that they were in danger. Help for us, in our time of need, is just a prayer away. "Dear Father, I have a problem!" Exactness. Promptness. Trust. Faith. Obedience. Good stuff!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I got goosebumps when I read this FABULOUS quote by Harold B. Lee. This is powerful, powerful stuff:

"By faith in God ... you can become attuned to the infinite and by power and wisdom obtained from Heavenly Father harness the powers of the universe and have them serve you in your hour of need in the solution of problems too great for your human strength or intelligence."


SALMON BURGER (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4

Points+: 9 per burger

1 (14.75 oz.) can salmon, drained

1/4 c. sliced green onion

1/4 c. diced pimentos, drained (optional)

1/2 tsp. lime zest

2 T. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 c. plain Greek-style yogurt

1/2 panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 T. canola or vegetable oil

4 whole wheat or poppy seed buns

Garnishes: lettuce, tomato slices, onion slices, cucumber slices

Combine first 11 ingredients in a bowl, and form mixture into 4 larger patties about 1/2" thick. (Patties will be soft.) Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties, and cook 5 minutes on each side. Serve on buns; garnish.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Hello, my long lost friends! Actually, I'm the one who's been MIA, so I've got some serious 'splaining to do. As most of you know, I have been going to Weight Watchers again. I started going again at the end of January. I don't know what it is, but this time, it's like a FIRE has been ignited somewhere within me and I have such a DESIRE to do well! I've been working out six days a week, eating healthier, tracking every bite in my journal, and praying. A lot.

I feel so loved. I feel as if my Father in Heaven and I are developing a better, closer relationship. And I also feel that He is giving me gifts: patience, desire, ability, understanding, self-compassion, energy, and most of all, He is blessing me with His sweet, sweet fatherly love. I am now seeing the pounds coming off more quickly, and after all that I can do, I find that He has joined me in my righteous cause. He magnifies my efforts, and maximizes my results. I have been more successful this time, and I would count that as a direct result of time spent daily with Him in prayer and scriptures study.

To date, I have lost forty pounds. I lost ten on my own, before heading back to Weight Watchers, and another thirty since joining again. My weekly average is almost two pounds a week. Since I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), weight loss at this rate is SUCH a miracle. I will always count it as such, for I have come to know through years of battling my weight, that I simply CANNOT do this on my own.

So I want to publicly thank my Father in Heaven. I love Him and I recognize that He blesses me daily in a million ways. And when I think of all the future blessings He offers me, I am humbled and filled with a brightness of hope. For the first time in nearly a decade, I feel as if I have control over my body. I'm in the driver's seat, and my Savior is riding shotgun. And guess who's filling the back of this vehicle? Angels. Many, many angels are guiding me as I walk this path to reclaiming my physical health, strength, and vigor. I am thankful for these sweet angels, both heavenly and earthly.

I count my blog readers among these angels. Thank you for never giving up on me, for believing in me and my abilities. I love you all. I have so much to tell you about what has been transpiring in my life. I pledge that I will start writing more often, so I can share all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


ITALIAN WHITE BEAN DIP (adapted from http://www.weightwatchers.com/)

Serves: 8

Points+: 2

19 oz. canned cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

1 T. lemon juice, or to taste

1 tsp. lemon zest, or to taste

1 T. water

1/8 tsp. salt, or to taste

1/4 c. store bought or homemade pesto sauce

1 medium plum tomato, diced, divided

Place first five ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Put mixture into mixing bowl and fold in pesto and all but 2T. of the tomatoes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top with remaining tomatoes and serve with veggies, crackers, or pita chips. (Additional points)

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Yes, I was very excited to hear the folowing quotes in conference today: "Use your hands to blog and text message the gospel to the world ... " (Dieter F. Uchdorf) AND also one of my favorite quotes: "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words." (St. Francis Assisi) AND: "The only way to see the views is to make the climb." (Paul V. Johnson) AND "Kindness is the essence of greatness." (M. Russell Ballard quoting Joseph B. Wirthlin) AND "What we INSISTENTLY desire is what we will become." (Dallin H. Oaks) AND "A testimony is like a living organism." (Cecil Samuelson) AND "They [your children] may not remember exactly what you said or did, but they will remember that you said or did it." (Richard J. Maynes) AND "Fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." (President Monson) AND "A person cannot give a crust without receiving back a loaf from the Lord." (Henry B. Eyring) AND "His tender mercies can make us mighty in any circumstance." (Walter Gonzalez)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Day 12: What is your favorite story in the scriptures? Oh boy. This is a really hard one. I have so many favorites and they change frequently as my life marches on. I love that about the scriptures ... I always seem to find just what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it. Earlier today I was thinking about the story of the widow's mite: And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing... And He called unto Him his disciples and saith unto them, Verily I saith unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which hath cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she, of her want, did cast in all that she had, even all her living. This story hits many nerves with me. First of all, I admire this sweet widow and I can relate to her financial struggles. We have struggled since Ty lost his job and it has been a test of our faith to continue paying tithing faithfully, not knowing how our basic needs would be met. I admire this widow for her quiet, unwavering faith. Her example blesses me hundreds and hundreds of years later. It gives me peace, knowing that when I give all that I have, I please the Lord and honor my Father in Heaven. Secondly, I think of the things that I tend to hold onto when I comes to forsaking the world and following the Savior. Perhaps a good juicy bit of gossip, or my favorite television show, which I know to be less than appropriate. Perhaps it's the stubborn satisfaction of remaining offended at seemingly unkind actions of long ago. What is it that I still need to bring to the treasury? What is that sacrifice that I have been holding back? What more do I need to bring to the Lord and hand over to him? What grudge am I still holding on to? What do I still need to resolve in order to grow a closer relationship with my Savior? What of my pride? How can I offer more to Him? How can I truly commit to Him? What is that last farthing I've been hiding, tucked away in a dark corner? I have a great love for the gospel and these verses remind me that as I show willingness to sacrafice all that I have, all that I am, and all that I hope to be, only then will I lay claim to all the blessings which the Lord has in store for the faithful.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Day 11: What is your favorite food?

Oh heavens. I love food. Thanks goodness Weight Watchers is teaching me that that is ok. It's so nice to know that I can eat what I want as long as I set boundaries for myself.

I love sweets. Lately, it's been dark chocolate and mint stuff like mint chocolate chip ice cream or York Peppermint Patties. Yum..... I also ADORE cheesecake.

I'm also a veggie lover. I LOVE nothing better than going out to my garden and eating a green pepper while it's still warm from the sun or a plate of roasted or steamed asparagus. I also LOVE cauliflower, broccoli and steamed, buttered cabbage. The only vegetable I don't really care for ... artichokes. Blech!

I don't like milk. I have tried to convince myself to like it so many times, but I just can't get past the taste/texture. Luckily, I like all other dairy. And I don't like meat too much. Red meat, especially steak, is just not something I love. Chicken, fish, pork and ham, me likey.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


"Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker." --Zig Ziglar


Day 10: What is the hardest lesson you've ever learned?

I don't have many regrets in life. Even the hard times have taught me valuable lessons that I couldn't have learned in any other ways.

I would say the hardest lesson I've learned is that if you choose not to do something today, you'll probably regret it. And chances are, you'll just have to do it later in life, possibly at a much more difficult stage of life.

Yes, I am referring to weight loss here. I sometimes wish that I would've had the courage, know-how, faith, etc. to tackle my obesity BEFORE it became obesity. But at the same time, I have learned along the way and I have a hope that I will be able to be a voice and a light to those with similar struggles. Without being there, I would never have learned compassion for my sweet friends who also long for health and longevity.

Overall, life is better than good. As I work at losing weight, I am constantly amazed at the tender mercies that touch my progress. I am amazed at how strong I am becoming, spiritually, physically and emotionally. My battle against obesity is fast becoming a vehicle for increased faith, testimony, self-esteem, and hope. Where regret once lived, hope and joy now reside.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


"When we choose to obey the commandments cheerfully as our first priority, neither murmuring about nor measuring the things He commands, we become the handmaids of the Lord and fishers of men, and cast our nets on the right side of our own ships. We simply go and do the things the Lord commanded, even when we are weary, trusting that He will help us to do exactly as He asks. As we do so, the Lord helps our unbelief, and our faith becomes powerful, vibrant, and unshakeable." (L. Whitney Clayton, "Help Thou My Unbelief," Liahona, January 2002, 31-33)

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance [or faith], to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed." (D&C 123:17)


SEASONED PORK TENDERLOIN (from http://www.fatsecret.com/)

Serves: 8
Points+: 4

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/2 c. light pancake syrup

In a large zip-close plastic bag, combine syrup and spices. Add tenderloin to plastic bag, squeeze out air, and seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours, prefereably overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat broiler. Place tenderloins on broiler pan (spray with cooking spray) and cover with marinade. Broil until pork reaches an internal temperature of 160* (about 7 minutes each side).

Serve with brown rice and squash or asparagus.


Day 9: Describe your dream home

Ok. I should probably say something noble like "I just love the home I'm in now. I could be satisfied to live here forever and ever. I am so very blessed." While I do like my home, and do feel very blessed to have it, I have a secret yearning to move into a fabulous craftsman bungalow or an amazing Victorian charmer. I LOVE the character of an older home. (Since we're just dreaming here, we'll assume that this dream older home would have no electrical or plumbing issues...)

I love all the millwork you see in old homes, as well as architectural details like stained glass windows, built in bookcases and window seats, tin ceilings, laundry chutes, archways, crown moulding, etc. etc. etc. Ahhh. A girl can dream, right?

Sunday, March 20, 2011



Serves: 8
Points+: 6

8 oz. Cool Whip Free
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened)
9-in. reduced fat graham cracker crust
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice

In a large bowl, whip cream cheese, lemon juice, and sugar for a few minutes until fluffy. Add Cool Whip and whip until smooth. Spoon mixture into pie crust and chill for a few hours until firm. For just 3 points+, spoon mixture into bowls and elimintate the crust. Top with a handful of raspberries for no additional points. Yum!


"Do your duty; do your best. Leave unto the Lord the rest."
--David O. McKay


Day 8: If you could do anything or go anywhere for one whole day with your family, where/what would you do?

It may sound boring to some, but I honestly would just want to be home with my family. I'd clean the house while the kids colored and played with Playdough at the kitchen table, then we'd make banana bread, play a board game, do haircuts and paint fingernails, and end with a movie and popcorn. My life is what I want it to be. It may not be perfect, but it's perfect for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


My new favorite snack! And I get the WHOLE box all to myself for 3 Points+!!! I mean, come on! it has CHEESE SAUCE!!!! The Broccoli and Cheese Sauce and Corn Niblets with Butter are also DELECTABLE!!!


Day 8: If you could meet someone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?

Mother Teresa. I love this woman. She was such an incredible example of selfless, fearless service. I love her quotes too. They help me realign and refocus myself whenever I start thinking perhaps the world should rotate around me. Here's a sampling:

"If you judge a person, you have no time to love them."

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway."

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

"Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly."

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

"Spread the love of God throughout your life, but only use words if necessary."

"I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness."

"It is a kingly act to assist the fallen."

I cannot wait to meet this sweet, gracious, woman someday. Her quiet dignity truly inspires.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Day 7: Where would I go on vacation if I could go anywhere in the world?

It is so hard to choose just one. I've always wanted to go to Austria and do a classical music tour. Or back to my dad's stomping grounds on the lovely Oregon Coast. Or back to Bucharct Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia. I've never been to Nauvoo either. Or Disneyland. For the sake of the kids, I'd better stick with that ... Disneyland, my final answer!!! (Preferably at Christmastime)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


DAY 7: What is something you never leave the house without?

Mascara! I discovered mascara my junior year in high school and it literally changed my life! I count count on one hand how many people have seen me without it since then. Yes, I wear it to Girls' Camp. Yes, I wear waterproof mascara in the pool. Yes, I wear it in my sleep. I am so crazy about my obession with mascara, that one year I wrote an ode to mascara for a writing competition. It won second place ... the female judge must have understood:

Ode to Mascara

Oh, Mascara! How do I love thee?
Let me attempt to explain:
You fluff and pump the volume
Of something rather plain.

Your little brush, your sticky goo,
You're a gift from up above,
You boost and lift and lengthen
And feel my heart with love.

I love it when you wateproof
When the movie makes me cry
I even love to scrub and scrub
At night when we say "goodbye."

So sweet Mascara, please stay with me
And never leave my side.
Please say that you'll be there for me
When I look a little fried.

I'll see you in the morning
I'll dream of you 'til then
I hope no one will see me
Until we meet again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011



*** All the fruit is 0 points+
*** "March" mellows are 3 points+ per 1/2 c.
This would go great as dessert with yesterday's SHAMROCK MINI PIZZAS, don't you think?


Day Six: What is your favorite holiday?

I absolutely ADORE Halloween! I love to dress up and dress my sweet little kiddos up. I love the smell of the crisp autumn air and the crunch of leaves under my feet. I love traipsing aound the neighborhood with my children in tow, in the pursuit of yummy treats. I love homemade donuts and apple cider. I love going to my family's annual grown-ups only costume party. I love visiting my children's elementary school to watch the kindergartner's costume parade. I love everything, simply everything about Halloween!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


(adapted from and photo courtesy of http://www.familyfun.com/)

Serves: 8
Points+: 4 per mini pizza

Jarred pizza sauce
4 English muffins
Sliced 2% milk cheddar cheese
Green bell peppers

Half each English muffin. Slice green peppers horizontally to get "shamrocks". Top each muffin half with pizza sauce, then cheese, then green peppers. Cut stem-shaped pieces from unused portion of peppers and add these to the pizzas. Broil until cheese is melted and green pepper is slightly tender. Enjoy with a big leafy green salad and steamed yellow carrots (these look just like golden coins!)

I will post dessert tomorrow!


"The greatest work we will ever do will be within the walls of our home." --David O. McKay


Day 5: Something you hope to do in life ...

As I mentioned a few days back, I tend to dream big. I have so many dreams, but ultimately my main objective in life is to be a good mommy and wifey. I love my family so much. I also want to be an author and a chef and a photographer and a medical-something-or-other and an artist and an interior designer and a singer and a healthy, beautiful gal. But, even as I dream of all these possibilities, I constantly come back to a little quote that is evermore floating around in my head: "No success can compensate for failure in the home." (President David O. McKay) I have had requests for more pictures of my darling family, so I will plug in a few for you.

What do you want in life?