Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mormon Morsels: Parable of the Seminary Doughnuts

I have no idea where the origin of this story is, but it was shared via email to me by my sister-in-law.  I Googled to find the source and there were a lot of entries, even one from  Whether it is a true story or not, it is a poignant reminder of the Atonement and what our Savior, Jesus Christ, did for us.

"Brother Christianson taught Seminary. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson's Seminary class.

Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Bro. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"

Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."

Then Brother Christianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Brother Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."

"Do you think you could?" Again asked Brother Christianson.

"Well, I can try," said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," Brother Christianson said. Steve said, "Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it."

Brother Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.

When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want a donut?"

Cynthia said, "Yes."

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"

Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk.

Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk..

Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe do you want a donut?"

Joe said, "Yes." Bro. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut.

And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Bro. Christianson asked, "Scott, do you want a donut?"

Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own pushups?"

Bro. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Bro. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Jenny said, "No."

Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Bro. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your pushups. You can do them any way that you want." And Bro. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled,

"NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"

Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Bro. Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him."
Steve said, "Yes, let him come in."

Bro. Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"


"Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?

Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

Bro. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Bro. Christianson, can I help him?"

Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, pleaded to the Father, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Coconut Oil Fudge

Here's another recipe found while searching for dairy-free dessert solutions.  I also have to have vanilla-free, so I subbed another extract for the vanilla in this recipe.  But if you'd like to use vanilla, use 2 teaspoons of it instead of the almond extract.  You could also try mint, coconut, orange, etc.

Now I'll be honest with you--I wouldn't make this if I didn't have issues with dairy.  I'd much rather have regular fudge.  But in the absence of said fudge, I've learned to make some adjustments.  And I love trying new ways to satisfy a sweet tooth in the face of my recent food restrictions.

1 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. almond extract
pinch of sea salt

1.  Use a 4-cup Pyrex glass measure to melt the coconut oil in the microwave (just eyeball a generous cup's worth).  Pour any excess back into the original container until you have exactly one cup melted in your measuring cup.
2.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well.
3.  Place a few cups of ice in a mixing bowl large enough to place the Pyrex measuring cup in; drizzle a little water in with the ice.  Set the Pyrex measure in the larger bowl so it is sitting on the ice.  Whisk the mixture every few minutes until it begins to thicken.  Don't let it sit there too long or it will begin to hard on the bottom and edges.  This thickening is important because if you don't do this, your coconut oil will separate and float to the top.*
4.  Pour fudge into parchment-lined 8x4-inch loaf pan.  Place in freezer until set.  Cut into pieces and serve.

*When I made this I followed the directions exactly (which say to mix and pour and freeze).  When I peeked into the freezer, the coconut oil had all risen to the top and solidified in a white mass.  So I took it out, melted the mixture and tried the ice technique just to see if I could save it.  It worked!  My pic at the top right is the mixture without the ice technique and you can tell it's very liquidy.  Make sure to do the ice thing or you've have gross fudge!

Source:  slightly adapted ingredients and methods from Seeds of Real Health

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How to Boil Eggs (and avoid the Green Yolks)

How many times have you boiled eggs for egg salad or Deviled Eggs or just to have some yummy hard-boiled eggs, and when you cut into the egg the yolk has that yucky green outer layer?  Ewww. Nasty. Well Mom taught me how to boil eggs so that doesn't happen and it works every time.  Here are Mom's instructions for No More Green (unless you are celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday, and then, by all means, green it up!).  Also, you will notice the baking soda listed.  I recently tried that trick while boiling eggs to help with the peeling process and it has worked, so far.
baking soda
1.  Placed desired number of eggs in a saucepan.  Do not crowd them.  They need their space. 
2.  Put in enough tap water to cover the eggs.   I would start from cool water, not hot.  Don't ask me why.  I read it somewhere. Add a tablespoon or so of baking soda.
3.  Bring water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Once you reach a full, rolling boil, put a lid on the pan and remove pan from the heat .  Set a timer for 15 minutes and step away from the eggs.  Do not even lift the lid.  They are cooking away in the pan as we speak. Go do something else.
4.  After 15 minutes, drain off the hot water and immediately put eggs in a bowl of ice water.  This will stop the cooking process.  Let them chill out for a few minutes and then you can go in and start peeling away.  Cut the egg open and you will see beautiful, golden yellowness.  Proceed to use those babies any way you desire.  These went into a scrumptious, Fresh Spinach Salad. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars


3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1 /3 c. flour
3 T. baking cocoa
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional
4 c. miniature marshmallows


1 1/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter
3 T. butter
2 c. Rice Krispies


1.  In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

2.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in nuts if desired.  Spread in a greased 15 in. x 10 in. x 1 in. baking pan.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until set.  Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 2-3 minutes longer or until melted.  Place pan on a wire rack.  Using a knife dipped in water, spread marshmallows evenly over the top.  Cool completely.

4.  For topping, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a small saucepan.  Cook and stir over low heat until blended.  Remove from the heat; stir in Rice Krispies.  Spread over bars immediately.  Chill until set.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Nutella Cookies

The original recipe calls for a filling, which we have used before as a frosting.  Didn't use it this time but I've included it in case you would like to try it.  I've also just made a simple chocolate frosting to use on these.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Nutella
sugar for sprinkling

1.  Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside.
2.  In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars.  Add the egg and scrape sides of bowl.  Add the Nutella until well combined.  Mix in vanilla.
3.  Add dry ingredient mixture to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
4.  Using a scoop or your hands, form cookie dough into balls.  Place on parchment on a baking sheet a couple of inches apart.  Press tops of cookie balls with a fork and sprinkle with sugar.
5.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on racks.  Frost or fill (or eat plain!).

Filling/Frosting6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt
3/4 cup Marshmallow Creme
1/2 cup Nutella

1.  Cream butter and sugar together, then add vanilla and salt and mix well.
2.  Mix together the Marshmallow Creme and Nutella with a whisk until it's light and fluffy.  You can add more powdered sugar if the mixture is not thick enough to spread.
3.  Use 1-2 Tbsp. of filling on half the cookies, then top each filled cookie with a plain cookie OR just frost all the cookies!

Makes about 2 dozen thin cookies

Source:  Wish I could remember......somewhere on Pinterest!!  Not my recipe, though.  If I can find it I'll update here to link to the original site.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Deviled Eggs

It's summer--time for picnics and simple foods.  One of our family-favorite dishes is Deviled Eggs--great for picnics with the family or covered dish dinners at church or reunions.  My recipe just comes together as I am making it, but  this is how it usually ends up:

Hard-boiled eggs, peeled (however many you want to have)
Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise 
Prepared mustard (yellow, Dijon, spicy brown, etc.)
Dill weed
Paprika, optional--sometimes I want it, sometimes I don't

1.  Slice your hard-boiled eggs lengthwise.

2.  Carefully pop out the yolks and place them in a small bowl.   Set the "whites" aside.

3.   Mash the yolks until crumbly--today I used a pastry blender and it worked perfectly.  Goodbye fork!   Add the rest of the ingredients, except paprika, according to taste (you could just skip mashing and put everything in a food processor).

4.  Spoon egg mixture into the well of each "white."  You could also use a pastry bag with a fun tip to fill the eggs.

5.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

TIP:  Stay tuned for my next post where I show you how to boil the eggs so that the yolks don't turn green on the outside. Ewww...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Avalanche Bars

These glorified rice krispy treats are so yummy because of the addition of peanut butter and mini chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.  You just gotta try 'em!


12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
3 c. Rice Krispies
1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips + 2 T. for garnish


1.  Lightly grease a 9x9 pan.

2.  In a microwave safe bowl pour in white chips and heat on 50% power for 1 minute.  Stir and continue in 30 second increments until chips are melted.

3.  Combine the peanut butter with the melted chips and add the krispies.

4.  Let cool approx. 15-20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so to help cool.

5.  Add the marshmallows and the mini chocoloate chips and stir to combine.

6.  Pour mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly, pressing lightly with the back of your spoon, but do not compact too much, otherwise they will get hard.

7.  Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top for garnish.

8.  When the bars are completely cooled cut into squares and enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

Yes, this is for real!! The only thing that would make this better is to have brownies in it somewhere! I'm working on that one next.

Batch of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough (or ready made cookie dough) 
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish (or whatever size you have!) with non-stick baking spray.

2. Take 3/4 of the cookie dough and press it into the pan like a crust. You will want to go about halfway up the sides of the dish with the dough.

3. In a bowl, mix softened cream cheese, eggs and sugar until smooth and well mixed.

4. Pour cream cheese mixture into cookie dough crust.

5. Drop remaining cookie dough in balls or clumps on top of the cream cheese mixture. 

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until the cookie is done and the cream cheese mixture has set. I prefer mine just barely done. I do not like it overcooked. 

7. Let it cool, then place it in refrigerator to chill for a few hours before serving. DELICIOUS!!

1. If using prepared cookie dough, you might need 2 large rolls of dough or a tub of it from Sam's Club.

2. Brownies must find their way into this dessert, and then I will have my 3 favorite sweet treats in one heavenly dessert. I was thinking of putting brownie batter blobs on top of the cream cheese mixture instead of the remaining cookie dough. Mmmmm...Let me know if you try it!

Source: This recipe comes from one of the most wonderful, talented teenagers I know: Madilyn Johansen. Thanks for this delicious recipe, and for making it for us!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book of Mormon Testimonies & Moroni's Promise

 From the Book of Mormon, Moroni Chapter 10, Verses 3-5:
 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
This is my Testimony:
I have received a special witness of the Book of Mormon, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in general.  Through the power of the Holy Ghost, I have received this witness.  No man can tell me the Church is not true, for the spirit has testified.  I am thankful for the first prophet of this dispensation, Joseph Smith.  I am thankful that others were able to act as witnesses to this important work.  I am thankful for the evidence and documentation provided by the witnesses.  This is the Lord’s true Church, and I know that all who ask with a genuine desire to know will receive personal revelation of its truthfulness.  I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ.