Friday, February 28, 2014

Product Review of Multi-Grain Crisps; Amanda's Success

My niece, Amanda brought a delicious spinach and artichoke dip to share with us on Sunday.  She is an outstanding cook, just like her mom.  She also thoughtfully brought some Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crisps along so we would have some gluten-free crackers to eat with her dip.  I have had this brand of crackers before, but if I remember right...they were bigger.  These crackers were quite small, which is an ingenious way to get more dip per cracker and reduces the chance of anyone double dipping. :)  See...there is a science to this--to maximize the taste and make our taste buds happy!  I am rating these crackers at 7 out of 10, if you have a good dip covering them.

                                                  Photo Source:

Amanda works as a nurse in an emergency room.  I can't imagine the pressure she feels in a job of this nature.  Just as D. Todd Christofferson stated, "I wish to express gratitude for the influence of good women...Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures."

Amanda doesn't realize how much she embodies this quote, because she just simply works hard and quietly sets an example for those around her.  Her standard for what is right always shines through at work and in other settings.  As I see it, Amanda's success is based partially upon these ideas as outlined by Richard G. Scott:

Establish a set of principles by which you will guide every aspect of your life—in your home, in your Church service, in your profession, in your community. 
Don’t make exceptions to your standards. Never compromise them. Be loyal to the teachings you have received from your parents and Church leaders. They are the things of greatest worth. If you integrate your formal education with what you know about the teachings of the Lord and the examples of those worthy people who are role models to you, you will have a solid foundation. You will be productive and do things that are worthwhile for others.
Be loyal. Be loyal to your parents and your loved ones. When you seek work, find something that challenges you, that raises you to higher levels of performance. It may be harder, but you will grow, develop better, and contribute more good. You really have no idea yet who you are and what you can accomplish in life. You have great potential far beyond what you can imagine today.
Serve others. Sharing what you know with others will bring you happiness and bless their lives.
Smile. I don’t mean that you need to be cracking jokes every day, but a good joke now and then is an escape valve. Life is not all that bad. You will soon learn that everybody has problems and nobody wants to hear about yours. Put those things aside and smile.
Don’t complain. Life isn’t always fair. That’s a fact. But it’s always charged with marvelous opportunities if you know how to find them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Perfect Fluffy Frosting You Will Love; The Example of Two Amazing Ladies

Yum!  Don't you love a good frosting on a sugar cookie?  Last week my oldest daughter had fun making these cookies for Valentine's Day, arranging the cookies in a tin, and taking photos.  We all loved the cookies, too, and we all had to give ourselves a limit so we didn't eat too many in a day!

She decided to substitute raspberry flavoring for the almond flavoring in my frosting recipe.  I love either flavoring, but the raspberry flavoring was a fun change!  (This recipe can be found in my cookbook and in my blog post from 12/21/11).

When Valentine's Day was coming, I started thinking more about my husband and children...and also about a few of my friends who are going through some difficult times.  My youngest daughter made a cute origami puppy for each of them out of pink paper and decorated it with hearts to try to cheer them up.

One of the ladies found out recently that her husband lost his job.  I am so impressed with her attitude about it. With her permission, I am going to quote her text message from yesterday.  She wrote, "I have been through worse and things are always changing in life, so I just have to remember that it's a matter of time and it will be a different story."  There is an amazing level of strength in those words!

Just three houses away from her is the home of another friend.  She was the principal at the school when our sons were young.  She has since retired and she and her husband take care of their son who is in the advanced stages of Huntington's Disease.  When I told her how much her example of untiring care for him has meant to me, she said, "Susan, what other choice do we have?"

Both of these ladies could choose to have a bitter, anger-filled attitude.  Yet they go on with courage, despite the discouraging days, and continue to strengthen others.

Thomas S. Monson said, “We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain. May His promise ever be our watchword: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee’ (Joshua 1:5)” (“I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee,” October 2013).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recipe for Vegetable Pizza; The Value of Friends

Thank goodness for friends!  It is amazing the difference one person can make in brightening our lives! This morning I was thinking about my friend, Nanette.  I met her back in 8th grade when she moved into our school.  Her friendship was actually an answer to a prayer, since I had been struggling and had been wishing for a "best friend."  All these years later, when I think about Nanette I get a happy feeling in my heart because she brightens my life and is so supportive of my blog, my cookbook, and me!  Who would have thought we would both be diagnosed with celiac disease?!

Then I got thinking about my friend, Brenda.  Even though she is busy with her work of helping to improve the health and comfort of others (and we don't talk on the phone as much as we used to), I know we can pick up our friendship where we left off when we have the opportunity to chat for a few minutes.  I am not sure how I would have gotten through the hard days of spilled milk and temper tantrums when our kids were young without those conversations with Brenda, and life was happier as we shared laughs about the funny things our kids said and did.

These cold days in February go by much quicker on the days that my friend, Abby, comes to my house to exercise with me.  While we jog on the treadmill and lift weights, we talk about our struggles and joys.  Several times, she spent some time after exercising to help me make apple pie filling with apples from our tree that I had kept in the cold garage for about four months until I could find time to do some canning.  :)  It was so much more fun than doing canning by myself!  When we got done making the apple pie filling, she tried a piece of my vegetable pizza...and she really liked it.  (See this recipe below). 

In addition, my husband, children, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and extended family all bring to my life a joyful friendship!  I am grateful for them!  

Marlin K. Jensen said, "I feel that friendship is a fundamental need of our world. I think in all of us there is a profound longing for friendship, a deep yearning for the satisfaction and security that close and lasting relationships can give."

Vegetable Pizza

Prepared pizza crust (see my cookbook for this recipe)
½ cup cooked chicken
1 package "steam in the bag"  broccoli/cauliflower
1 large diced green or red bell pepper
1 small thinly sliced yellow summer squash
1 small thinly sliced zucchini squash
½ cup chopped green onion with tops
Garlic salt
2-4 tablespoons hummus or pesto
½ cup shredded cheese
1 large diced tomato

Prepare cooked chicken and pizza crust.  Steam or microwave broccoli/cauliflower.

Sauté bell pepper, yellow squash, zucchini squash, and green onions in olive oil until tender.  Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spread hummus or pesto across crust.  Cover crust evenly with cooked vegetables.

Top pizza with shredded cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Add fresh tomatoes before serving.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cookbook Corrections for Second Edition (first 250 copies)

Christmas was coming...and my graphic designer and I were working feverishly on the second edition of my cookbook.  Can you picture trying to add in finishing a cookbook to the busy nature of the Christmas season?  Unfortunately, mistakes seem to be made more often when we are in a hurry or when we are tired.  With that in mind, and since we are not perfect,  (though my graphic designer is nearly perfect and extremely awesome) are some mistakes that happened along the way with the printing of the first 250 cookbooks.

1.  Page 42:  Please add a step to heat oven to 350 degrees before baking the bread.

2.  P. 210, Please use the directions from the top recipe for the bottom recipe, as well.  The college student who helped me transfer recipes from Word to InDesign accidentally brought instructions over from another recipe. :)

3.  In the index, the K should be L and the L should be M. 

There are other small errors...but hopefully nothing too major.  Thanks for your support...even with my imperfections. :) 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Second Edition of My Cookbook! Happy Day!

Life has been kind of crazy-busy for the last I haven't done a blog post for months!  However, I am excited to have the second edition of my cookbook on!  I have added a collection of healthy recipes, since I have had a renewed desire to eat more healthy...and have actually lost about 15 pounds by following my healthy recipe meal plan!  I hope you will enjoy it!