Archive for January, 2012

Monday Menus: It’s winter: eat soup!

January 31, 2012

–by Donna Mitchell

Dear Sisters,

I’m sorry this is a day behind. I forgot it was my week to post until Ginger reminded me. It has been a busy week so far, and we’re only a couple days into it! Yesterday, along with several people, I helped Shirley Brouillette pack boxes and haul boxes to the rental truck, and then I vacuumed (oh, my aching back…). I caught up on my usual Monday laundry last night. Today I took my husband to the airport, then did errands and some shopping on the way home. These are the kind of days where you need a simple meal (or leftovers, my favorite for easy). We like to round out a soup meal with bread and salad or fruit. I have made the first two recipes for our book group, where they were well received. I have wanted to share these recipes for a long time, and now is the right season, so here goes.


Thick n’ Hearty Chicken Cheese Soup (from a little booklet of six recipes on the Kirkland canned chicken package)


1 cup carrots, shredded

1/4 cup green onion, sliced

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1 (10-3/4 oz) can chicken broth

1 (12.5 oz) can chunk breast of chicken

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon black pepper


In a medium saucepan, cook carrots and green onion in hot margarine or butter about 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Stir in flour. Slowly add milk, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken and cheese. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese melts. Serve hot.


Ginger-Carrot Soup (from a friend in California)


2 tablespoons cooking oil

3 cups thinly sliced onion

2 tablespoons suger

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

8 carrots (about 1-1/4 pounds)

1 sweet potato

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half, light cream, or evaporated milk

salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. For caramelized onions: in large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sliced onion, sugar, and pepper; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 minutes, stirring twice. Add ginger. Cook, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes more or until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, peel carrots and sweet potato and cut in 1-inch pieces. In large saucepan or Dutch oven combine broth, carrots, and sweet potato. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 40 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Add the caramelized onions. Puree until nearly smooth with handheld blender or process 2 cups at a time in food processor. Add cream; heat through. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Makes 12 (3/4 cup) side-dish servings.

On July 4, 2011, I posted several “all-American” family favorite food recipes. One of those was Corn Chowder, which goes along with today’s theme. At the risk of being redundant, I am reposting it today.

Corn Chowder (As a child I always preferred this to my mother’s clam chowder with its tasteless little rubbery bits. I’m over that and often eat clam chowder of my own free will, but I still enjoy this chowder.)


2-4 slices diced bacon

1/2 cup diced onion

2 cups cubed raw potatoes

1 cup boiling water or corn liquid if using canned corn

2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 (10-ounce) pkg frozen whole kernel corn or 1 can corn, drained (Use liquid in place of water, above.)

2 cups milk

1 can evaporated milk


Fry bacon until crisp. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add potatoes, water or corn liquid, salt and pepper. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes. Add corn, cover and cook gently about 5 minutes or until vegetable is tender. Add milk and heat through.

Friday favorites-Valentines Project idea

January 27, 2012

I made this slideshow for Sam a few years ago for Valentines day.  He loved it and now our kids love to watch it too.  So I’m posting this as a Lee family favorite.

Sam’s Valentines Video

The website I used is and they make it REALLY easy to turn your pictures into a slide show. I've used computer programs that do the same thing before, but I liked this one better. Especially because they make it possible for you to post not just the link like I did here, but the actual slide show on Facebook, blogger, youtube, twitter or email it directly to your sweetie. It's all free to create, save on their website, or share it with other websites. (but if you want to download it to your computer or get it on DVD you would have to pay.) So if you still don't know what to get for your valentine this year, maybe give one of these a try. WHAT OTHER GOOD VALENTINES GIFT IDEAS ARE YOU THINKING OF GIVING YOUR VALENTINE THIS YEAR?


Thursday Thoughts: Living the Abundant Life

January 26, 2012

Sunday’s Lesson was derived from this month’s First Presidency Message in the Ensign.  It was titled Living the Abundant Life and was written by President Thomas S. Monson.

President Monson basically pointed out to us that in this time of making New Years resolutions, we should be making an effort to find joy in our lives.  He wisely suggests 3 simple ways to execute this effort

  1. Attitude- In his Message President Monson shares with us the wise words of Charles Swindoll when he says

“Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”2

  1. Believe-

“Be honest with yourself, with others, and with your Heavenly Father.”-President Thomas S. Monson

“Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.”-President Thomas S. Monson

  1. Courage-

“Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently.”-Thomas S. Monson

“There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember—David did win!”-Thomas S. Monson

This is a short message that has so many wonderful insights from our dear prophet.  If you take the time to read it, I know it will benefit you and give you the strength you need to rise to the challenges of your life right now.

For those of you who were not in relief Society this week, WHAT WAS YOUR LESSON ABOUT?

-Posted by Bri Lee

Wednesday Words-quote for Mommy inspiration

January 25, 2012

I am often trying to find a parenting book with information that will apply to my kids RIGHT NOW, or something to inspire me to be a better parent, but this month I remembered that I really loved my experience with my Marriage and Family relations sunday school class that I took several years ago.  I felt silly that I had been searching for the perfect book to help me, when there was a church manual sitting on one of my shelfs all these years.  So one of my new years resolutions was to review the manual.  (HERE is a link to the PDF of the church issued manual.)

During this weeks study of it I came across this quote and loved it.

“Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” 11You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” 12 And it will make your children whole as well.”-Elder Jeffery R. Holland

It is from a talk titled “Because she is a mother” by Elder Jeffrey R Holland.(HERE is a link to the whole talk on youtube if you want to listen to it.)

I think it was those last few lines that really got to me.  I hope they inspire you and help refuel you too.  I know that we are all in different stages in our lives and that we might not all be mothers right now.  But we are influencing those around us whether it is a kid next door, someone we encounter at work/in our callings, our own children (young or old) and for some of you your grandchildren.  Our experiences with them make us better people and as Elder Holland points out here, it makes them better too.

-Posted by Bri Lee

Tuesdays tips-Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier

January 24, 2012
I got an email a few weeks ago from  my aunt with all of these great ideas.  Everything here is directly from that email (Sorry I don’t have any other sourcing info.)


Hull strawberries easily using a straw.

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.

Overhaul your linen cupboard, store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.

Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone & iPod in a bowl. The concave shape amplifies the music.

Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.

Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily, who knew?!

Attach a Velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.

Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.

Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose

Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.

For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.

Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins, tweezers and clippers, behind a vanity door

Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel.

A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.

Bread tags make the perfect cord labels.

Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones, so much more fun and easier for kids to eat.

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

Install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles.

Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila, you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream

Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.

Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.

Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.

Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40.


-posted by Bri Lee

Monday Menus-Taco Meat

January 23, 2012

My eldest is a picky eater so I seem to jump through lots of hoops to get her to eat, but something she loves is tacos.  So I make a lot of taco meat and use the left overs in any dish I can so I can tell her “you’ll like it, it has taco meat in it!”    A few years ago I started feeling like eating so much taco meat made from packaged seasoning was probably not the best thing for any of us, so I sought out a package free taco meat recipe.  Here is what we came up with.


1 lb ground beef or ground bison meat
1/4 cup dry onion flakes
1/2 cup of Salsa
2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. Brown meat with dry onions. Drain off fats.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until the extra juices from the salsa cooks out.

I use the left overs to make Quesadillas.  Click HERE to see how I make them

Or the leftovers are also great for Goolash.  Click HERE to see my Goolash Recipe

Here are some of the Activities coming up in the next few weeks.

  • Wednesday, January 25th MOP playgroup 9:30am-11:30am at the church building in the nursery room.  Check into the big tent MOP page for more information.
  • Friday, January 27th there will be a family History Seminar at 6:30pm.  Child care is being offered and you are encouraged to bring your laptops to use during the seminar.
  • There will be a linger longer on Sunday, January 29th right after church  (bring a main dish AND a salad or dessert)
  • The RS Midweek activity will be on Wednesday, February 8 at 6:30PM, which is a children’s and young adult literature book talk.  As an added bonus for Mom’s of young kids, childcare will be provided.  🙂

Getting back to our Monday menu topic, WHAT WOULD YOU USE YOUR LEFT OVER TACO MEAT FOR?

-Posted by Bri Lee

Friday Favorites: TasteSpotting

January 20, 2012

TasteSpotting is yet another website and it’s about food.  (Sensing a theme to my life?) But it’s better than just a food blog.  It is a collection of more than 150,000 recipes from food blogs, often with step-by-step photographic instructions.  And it’s updated daily.

For me, this site serves as eye-candy, inspiration, and stress-reliever as well as being a practical resource.

Here are some gems just from the first page of recipes.  (The first of nearly 4,500 pages.)

No Cook Freezer Applesauce

Focaccia da Nonna

Baked Turkey Meatball Bites

Clementine Curd

No really, though.  I’m on TasteSpotting more than I’m on FaceBook.  So…  That’s, you know.  A lot.

-Kelsie Belanger

Thursday Thoughts: “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself”

January 19, 2012

“I do not have an enemy that I know of, and there is no one in the world that I have any enmity towards. All men and all women are my Father’s children, and I have sought during my life to observe the wise direction of the Redeemer of mankind—to love my neighbor as myself. … You will never know how much I love you. I have not words to express it. And I want to feel that way toward every son and every daughter of my Heavenly Father.” 

“… Let us evidence our appreciation of what the Lord has given us by serving Him, and we are serving Him when we do good to His children. Freely we have received, now freely give [see Matthew 10:8]. With hearts warmed with love and kindness for our fellow men, let us press steadily on until the final summons shall come, and we shall meet our record. Then, if we have improved our talents, if we have been honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and charitable, and have sought to uplift every soul with whom we have associated, if we have lived up to the light we have received, and disseminated that light whenever opportunity has presented, how happy we will be and how our hearts will swell with gratitude when we receive from the Maker of heaven and earth that welcome plaudit: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

Teachings of Presidents of  the Church: George Albert Smith, chapter 2

-Kelsie Belanger

Wednesday Words: Love

January 18, 2012


“Love is of the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is more than the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the desire of youth, the cement that binds marriage, and the smoothing oil that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, church, and neighbors.”

-Gordon B. Hinckley

“Believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, the Son of God, who came to earth and walked the dusty roads of Palestine-the Son of God-to teach us the way of truth and light and salvation, and who, in one great and glorious act offered an atonement for each of us. He opened the way of salvation and exaltation for each of us, under which we may go forward in the Church and kingdom of God. Be not faithless, but believe in the great and wonderful and marvelous blessings of the Atonement.”

-Gordon B. Hinckley


-Kelsie Belanger

Tuesday Tips: Delicious* Desserts

January 17, 2012

Banana Ice Cream

I really love good food.  I spend a lot of time thinking about it, figuring out the science behind it.  Thus, the fact that most of my blog posts are about food shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.  This one’s not so scientific (it’s really just a sweet tooth fix) but it’ll do.

I think this is a good idea for other fruit, too, but bananas are super cheap.  I don’t like them so I would use mangoes or strawberries or something.  I really just like the idea of the pure frozen fruit.  No cream, no milk, no yogurt.  Just fruit.

My other tip might not be all that helpful.  People who spend a lot of time on the computer tend to know about it and people who don’t, don’t need it.  BUT, my mother didn’t know about it and might use it so maybe someone else out there can benefit, too.

It’s called

It’s a site for all of your online bookmarks.  You won’t lose them if your browser goes wonky, you can access them even on someone else’s computer, and you can organize them by subject (general conference, knitting, recipes, gardening, elephants, etc.).  On top of that, you can browse other people’s bookmarks by subject (for instance, all of the bookmarks about MLK).

And if you don’t want other people to be able to see your bookmarks, you can make them private.

Like I said, this may not be helpful for everyone, but it’s been an indispensable tool for my college career.  I have something like 850 bookmarks on Delicious and I never lose a website or an article I need as long as I bookmark it on delicious.

-Kelsie Belanger