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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Itialian Lentil Soup

This is a family favorite. Healthy and delicious. Can be made over the stove or thrown in the crockpot. I have done both ways, just depends on what's going on. It is so easy to throw in what you have. I have used fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, frozen grape tomatoes, it is such a forgiving recipe. I have also made it with real Italian pork sausage (I don't like it that way, too greasy), chicken sausage links that I cooked and cut up, and with ground Italian style chicken sausage (my favorite.)

Italian Lentil Soup

1 lb. package Italian style chicken sausage
1 onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 C. chicken or vegetable stock
tomatoes (one can diced or a couple fresh diced or a bunch of grape tomatoes, whatever you have or want to use.)
1-1/2 C. Dry lentils
Italian seasonings (Basil, thyme, oregano) or and Italian seasoning blend
1 (10 oz pkg) spinach or a bunch of kale, roughly chopped
1/2 C. cream (optional)

In a large dutch oven, brown the chicken sausage over med. high heat.
Add the veggies and cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Pour in the liquid and add the tomatoes.
Add the dry herbs. I usually just sprinkle in some basil, oregano and thyme. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Bring the soup to a low boil, add the dry lentils and turn soup down to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the lentils begin to soften (about 15-25 mins.)
Stir in the spinach or kale and the cream, if using. Cook til greens are wilted.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

*If using a crock pot, cook the chicken and then dump in all the ingredients except the spinach and cream. Cook on low for a few hours, until lentils are soft. Then stir in your greens and cream, if using. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Banana Pudding

I am from the South, born and raised.  I know good banana pudding, and this delicious, easy, and pretty recipe is definitely a keeper, and a delicious Easter dessert!

Ingredients List:

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies
6-8 bananas (sliced)
2 c. milk
1 (5 oz.) box instant French vanilla pudding or cheesecake pudding
1 (8 oz.) pkg. softened cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) container frozen whipped topping (thawed)


1. Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 dish with 1 bag of cookies, or enough cookies so that the bottom is completely lined (you may have a few cookies left over.)  Layer bananas on top.

2. In a bowl, combine milk and pudding mix; blend well using a mixer.  Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and mix until smooth.  Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.  Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.

3. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.  You can organize the cookies in a pretty way (like I did), or just line the entire top of the pudding layer with cookies if you want more of that delicious wafer flavor.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, until ready to serve.

Yield: 9-12 servings

Source: I got this recipe from one of my Duke University Nurse Anesthesia program instructors.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dairy-Free Chocolate Sauce

My last recipe was for Coconut Sorbet which I have enjoyed pairing with this non-dairy chocolate sauce.  Yes, you can buy plain old chocolate syrup with no dairy, but I really love to make things myself if I can.  And, I had all the ingredients anyway!

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

1.  Bring all to boil in a saucepan over high heat.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Store in fridge.

Source:  Speed Bump Kitchen

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Special Witnesses and Testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith

The following are words from the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith: “I now say—

That Joseph Smith is the one to whom all men must look in this day to learn the truth about Christ and his gospel;

That in due course the name of this prophet shall be known in every corner of the earth and among all people;

That the honest in heart will accept him as a prophet and will worship that Lord whom he revealed;

That the church that he organized by divine command prospers because it follows the revelations that came through him;

And that all who believe the teachings of Joseph Smith and labor in the course set by him shall come to a knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was crucified for the sins of the world.

In the same way that I know Jesus is the Christ—and that is by revelation from the Holy Spirit—I know that Joseph Smith is and was and everlastingly shall be a prophet of God.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creamy & Cheesy Potato Soup

Every once in a great while I will pull out my THRIVE Cookbook so that I can make something with food storage items--really important when you want to "store what you eat and eat what you store."  I highlight them in the book if they turn out really tasty.  Today was a soup kind of day so I thought I would try this recipe and it did not disappoint.  Yum, yum.  There are no leftovers.  Just sayin'.

Ingredients: (I will note THRIVE if I used the dehydrated or freeze dried item)

3 cups THRIVE chicken broth 
1 T chopped onions
1 cup THRIVE Potato Dices
2 T butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (I am using less next time--yikes!)
1 cup THRIVE Instant Milk, re-hydrated
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

1.  In a large saucepan, combine chicken broth, onion and potatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

2.  Remove from heat and ladle 1/2 the soup mixture into blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth.  Repeat with rest of soup and set soup aside.  I used an immersion blender right in the pot and blended all of the soup at the same time, then poured it into another container and set it aside.

3.  In the same saucepan, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour, salt and pepper.  Slowly add the milk while whisking.  Cook and stir the mixture until it is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in the blended potato mixture and the cheese.  Cook and stir until soup is heated through.

TIP:  You could serve this with a variety of drop-ins.  We tried fresh cilantro this time.  Next time maybe bacon pieces, or chopped green chilies.

Source:  THRIVE Cookbook, p. 62.

(I am only highlighting THRIVE foods because that is the brand that I store in my pantry. I am not a paid spokesperson for the company.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ham and Cheese Omelet Roll

Yesterday my friend Marcia made this for us, and my family went crazy over it! It is delicious and quite easy to make!


4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped ham (approx 8 oz)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. Whisk to combine.

3. In larger bowl, gently whisk eggs until blended. Add cream cheese mixture and mix well.

4. Line your pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper is long enough to go over the sides, so the egg mixture cannot run under the parchment paper. She used a "jelly roll pan", which is about 12" x 17". 

5. Pour egg mixture into pan. Bake 30-33 minutes or until omelet is puffy and golden. 

6. While that's cooking, chop ham, shred your cheese if you need to, and slice the green onions. 

7. Remove omelet from the oven, and immediately spread on a thin layer of Dijon mustard. (Optional) It doesn't have to be an even coat. Just spread some around on the omelet. Sprinkle on ham and cheese and onions if you desire (saving a little to garnish the finished omelet roll).

8. Roll up the omelet, removing the parchment as you go. Garnish with cheese, ham and onions. Let sit for 5 minutes or so until the cheese melts. Slice and serve! Delicious!

Notes: I could imagine all kinds of variations with crumbled bacon, ground sausage, different cheeses, sauteed onions and mushrooms, or other veggies. I think I'm doing a veggie bacon omelet roll up this morning!!

The egg mixture has been cooked, and she just sprinkled ham and cheese on it.

Now she is rolling it up, while removing the parchment as she rolls it.

Here is the finished omelet roll. It's so yummy! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Source: My amazing friend Marcia Ennis. I think this recipe was adapted from a Pampered Chef cookbook. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Today was a special Sunday for those that belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Every six months, we have what is called General Conference. A two day event with 5 sessions, each lasting 2 hours. We hear from the prophet of God and the twelve apostles and other church leaders. I took some notes and really loved President Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude. Here are some bullet points from the notes I took. The quote above is from a previous Conference, but fits well with these ideas.

* Sometimes we feel like the fabric of our lives is torn at the seams
* One thing we can do to make life sweeter and even joyous (even during difficult times) is to give thanks
* We are commanded to give thanks
* The commandments are opportunities for us to practice our agency and receive the promised blessings that come from obedience 
* We should be thankful for our circumstances, whatever they may be
* We can choose to be like Job who suffered immensely but continued to praise God
* We can experience joy in difficult circumstances
* We can feel the warmth of heaven's embrace
* Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith. 
* We should show Thanksgiving daily! 

I hope we can all CHOOSE joy! Choose gratitude, even during difficult times in our lives. We will be much more happy and content.