Archive for January, 2012

Monday Menus: Baked Lentils, Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

January 16, 2012

It’s cold lately.  Really, really cold.  I come home from work with a red nose, numb, fumbling fingers and stiff joints.  And I’m only 19.

Something substantial for dinner that will fill you up and keep you warm?  Here you go.  Baked Lentils.

Borrowed from one of my favorite food blogs, Seven Spoons.

Baked Lentils (made like baked beans!)

makes 4 servings

  • 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups (500 millilitres) red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 4 cups (1 litre) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 millilitres) ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons Colman’s mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In oven proof pot with lid, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until softened. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  3. Add the lentils, water, ketchup, maple syrup, oil, mustard, vinegar, pepper and bay leaf. Stir well and season with salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, place in oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  4. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper, maple syrup, and vinegar. Serve hot now or later.
Some notes:

  • When it comes to lentils, they need a good wash – a quick rinse in a sieve doesn’t always do the job. I cover them with water in a bowl, give them a swish with my hand, strain, and repeat, until the water is no longer cloudy.
  • The bacon I had was rather thick cut, and so produced a good amount of fat. As a result, I didn’t use the full 2 tablespoons of oil. I also squirreled away a few of the bits of crisp bacon before adding the lentils, reserving them to add at the table.
  • I used some homemade ketchup, which has things like celery seed, clove, mace, allspice, cinnamon, chili flakes in it; for those so inclined, you could make up a sachet of these spices and steep them into the liquid for the baking. I’ve not tried it, so fair warning. Sounds like a nice idea though.

And for dessert:

It’s not really pumpkin season anymore, but I love love love everything pumpkin (especially with chocolate chips).  This recipe is eggless (because I run out of ingredients frequently) yet still delicious.

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

makes 1 dozen muffins

  • 1 & 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Dry Oats
  • 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp. Ground Cinnamon (again)
  1. Mix all wet ingredients.
  2. Separately mix all dry ingredients.
  3. Fill a lined or sprayed muffin pan with mixture.
  4. Mix oats, pecans, and cinnamon. Top muffin mixture.
  5. Bake muffins at 350 degrees F for approx. 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


-Kelsie Belanger


Contributing a Favorite for Corraling Toys

January 14, 2012

I just saw this product invented by a mother and I had to share.  This product called Lay-n-Go  works great for the following toys:

Some toys that work great with Lay-n-Go…LEGO® bricks and pieces, Lincoln Log®, Kynex®, Tinker Toys®, Matchbox®, Hotwheels®, Polly Pockets®, Squinkies®, American Girl®, Disney Fairy Collection®, Playmobil®, Star Wars®, LEGO NinjaGo™, Thomas the Train and Friends®, Play-Doh®, Littlest Pet Shop®, Barbie®, Zoobles®, Zhu Zhu Pets®, My Little Pony®, wooden building blocks, action figures, beads, crafts, art supplies, board games, train sets, dolls and doll accessories, stuffed animals, marbles, jacks, puzzles, building sticks and whatever else your imagination can dream up!

Go to or google “lay-n-go” and see the video demonstration.  They have a travel size too!


Whole Wheat Bread

January 13, 2012

I was asked to post my whole wheat bread recipe. I wish I could claim it all to myself. I combined two recipes and it works. The ingredients are the usual bread ingredients. I have found it is in the mixing, kneading, and resting of the dough that makes bread the best. As my mom always says, your bread will reflect your attitude and I can vouch for that. If I have patience, I have the best bread ever. Let’s just not talk about the other times.

Whole Wheat Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup white flour (this is my substitute for gluten/lecithin/vitamin C/whatever else other wheat bread recipes call for)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour plus 3 to 4 more added in step 1 (I have only used fresh ground whole wheat. If you try store bought whole wheat, let me know if it works. Also, I grind the wheat right before I make the bread. I have tried using wheat I’ve ground a day or more before and my bread is much heavier.)
  1. Heat water to a very hot temperature (I use the microwave for 1 minute). Pour in mixing bowl with salt, yeast, honey, oil, white flour and 3 cups wheat flour. Mix for 5 minutes, then let it sit for 15 minutes. Mix again for 5 minutes, adding more flour until dough pulls away from sides of mixer. (I do use a Bosch for mixing my bread, but it can be mixed by hand and you will have great arm muscles!)
  2. After you’ve added the flour, knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes. This is a very important step. This will help with the gluten and make your bread so it’s not so heavy.
  3. Let dough rise to double in size approximately 1 hour.
  4. Turn dough on sprayed counter and separate into two loaves. Place in greased bread pans and let rise for 1 hour.
  5. 15 minutes before the bread is done rising, turn on oven to 350. Once oven is heated, cook bread for 25-30 minutes. I don’t like my bread doughy. Sometimes I will turn my oven off and leave the bread in the oven for 5 more minutes with the door slightly open.
Good luck in your bread making. I’d be happy to come to your home or have you over to let you experiment making bread.

Living What We Believe

January 12, 2012

I am in Primary, but I am trying to study the RS/Priesthood lessons and when I saw the lesson topic for Chapter 1, I instantly thought of the Hymn “Have I Done Any Good?” (#223). When we think of the life of Christ, we can see His life was devoted to others. Are we truly living what we believe? Are we truly representing the life of Christ in our lives?

One last quote that I saw in a classroom a few years back.

We have two ends with a common link; with one we sit; with one we think. Success depends on which we use; heads we win; tails we lose.

This reminds me that I have to use my head and get out and find the opportunities to live what I believe and to do good. It isn’t a passive religion and this lesson was a good reminder to get up and do something about it.

Uplifting Words of Wisdom

January 11, 2012

I have really enjoyed the media files on When I’m feeling a little down, I go there to watch a quick message. I wanted to share one that has helped me in the past few years. I know our prayers will be answered. I don’t know when or how, but they will be answered and we just have to have faith. Enjoy this video by Elder Nelson.

Joy Gleason


Journaling Tips

January 10, 2012

Journals! Every time I think of journals I don’t have happy thoughts. I am terrible at it. I think the only time I was consistant was as a missionary when there really wan’t anything else to do at night. I was going to be that amazing mom that kept track of every little thing my child did. I can honestly say my husband is far better at keeping a journal then I am. I thought I’d share some ideas that have helped me keep somewhat of a journal.

  • Blogging! I love to blog and for some reason this works for me. I write about every family adventure and odd and end things on our family blog. I’ve found a few websites that will turn your blogs into books and pdf files.
  • Pictures! I count pictures as a journal. You can see what was happening in one quick click. Granted you may have to do some work and label the pictures, but with technology today, that can be very easy. You can even get really into it and do an electronic scrapbook for a journal. I count scrapbooking as journaling.
  • Family Journal Jars! This is all my husbands idea and it has worked so far. We have a jar of ideas to write about such as tell about your yard growing up; list all your aunts, uncles, and cousins; who is your favorite author and book. He just looked on-line and found a list. We printed them, cut them into strips, and put them in a jar. We don’t do this every night, but about three to four times a week. For little ones, you can give them a paper and have them color their answers. We have a three ring binder for Jocelyn to put in her entries. I’m thankful my husband has started us on this idea and hopefully we can keep it up.

I’d love to know what others do for journaling. I’m always reminded by Nephi on how important a journal is. ” I, Nephi, having been aborn of bgoodly cparents, therefore I wasdtaught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many eafflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a frecord of my proceedings in my days.” (! Nephi 1:1) My favorite part is that he states he is highly favored of the Lord, so therefore he is going to keep a record. That sounds like a good reason for all of us to keep a record.

One of our favorites…

January 9, 2012

I was tempted to post some super yummy recipes that aren’t the healthiest, but I will wait for another day. Since it’s a new year and it seems to be the time of year that a lot of us try to eat healthier, I decided to share a food storage favorite that are on the healthier side. Don’t be scared off when you see wheat in this recipe. You don’t need wheat flour or a grinder. You just need a blender.

I got this recipe from Everyday Food Storage. I really like her website and I’ve learned how to use my food storage everyday. I don’t like storing a food that I don’t think we’ll like if we haven’t tried it. Plus, it is nice to have it healthy.

Blender Wheat Pancakes


  1. Put milk and wheat kernels in blender.
  2. Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth.
  3. Add eggs, oil, baking powder, salt and honey or sugar to above batter.
  4. Blend on low.
  5. Pour out batter into pancakes from the actual blender jar (only one thing to wash!) onto a hot greased or Pam prepared griddle or large frying pan.
  6. Cook; flipping pancakes when bubbles pop and create holes.

You may notice she uses powder eggs and milk. You can get her conversion charts here. Scroll down the page and you can see where you can printout a lot of her handouts on using food storage. I have copies of them on my fridge and I use powder milk in almost all my cooking.

Friday Favorites

January 7, 2012

I couldn’t help but think of Teresa Carr for this post as many of our ward members near a music recital this Saturday evening. I have been so blessed to meet with her over the past 9 months to learn to play the piano. She has opened her home and heart in committing her time to many ward members.  To me, she sets the perfect example of one who shares her talents to further the Lord’s work. I hope I can give to the church, going above and beyond the call of duty  in the same way she’s given to me. Not only has she shared her amazing talent, but even more her strong testimony through her service. I know I speak for many in leaving these thoughts with you about Teresa.

Thursday Thoughts

January 4, 2012

President Thomas S. Monson issued a New Year’s challenge to partake of the abundant life which he defines as a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. He offered three “ABC’s” to help us gain an abundant life; have a positive Attitude, Believe in yourself, and face challenges with Courage.

“May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours.”

Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday Words

January 4, 2012

As many of you know, we are beginning the study of The Book of Mormon in Sunday school. I speak for all to say we are very blessed to have Sister Lund teach the class. There was a two-part challenge given to the ward to complete a full reading of the Book of Mormon from whatever point you begin. For example, if I am currently reading in Alma 48, I  would continue reading through Alma 47 to complete the challenge. The second part is to hand out one copy of the Book of Mormon this year. Brother Lund, having already shared a BOM over the holidays, gave a great suggestion for making this challenge attainable. He suggested while praying for an opportunity, that we should continually keep a BOM on hand wherever we are we will have a greater chance of sharing a copy if an opportunity should arise. Several copies will be available to take each week during class. I am really looking forward to discussing the BOM as a class and having my testimony grow so much more from each of your experiences and insights.

-Marie Hammill