Thursday, May 29, 2014

Asian Style Dumpling Soup

This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen. 
It is rich and full of Asian flavors. Using store bought dumplings helps it come together quickly. I also use pre-cooked bacon crumbles to save even more time (and to prevent bacon smell all over the house.)

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or use pre-cooked bacon crumbles)
3 green onions, white and green parts separated, sliced thin on bias
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (I use the kind in a tube-again, to save time.)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 oz, shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin (I used dried shiitakes that I re-hydrated and chopped)
6 C. chicken broth
16 oz. frozen Asian-style dumplings or potstickers
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Directions:
Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, six to eight minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the whites of the green onion, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook until green onions have softened, about two minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, about five minutes. 

Add broth and bring to a boil. Add the dumplings or potstickers and simmer over medium-low heat until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Serve, sprinkled with the greens of the green onions and bacon.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Pancakes

About three months ago I was diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome and was taken off of a HUGE list of foods that my body is sensitive to.  Sadly, wheat is on that list as well as all dairy.  Hopefully my gut will heal soon and I can reintroduce some of the "illegal" foods back into my diet in moderation.  For now though, I have to find ways to make do without them.  My naturopathic doctor gave me this pancake recipe when I told her I was struggling with breakfast choices and it has been very helpful.


Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
5-6 eggs
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 banana or 1 apple or 1 cup applesauce*

1.  Combine the flours and flax seed.  Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry.
2.  Sprinkle the baking soda onto the mixture and stir to combine.
3.  Add the fruit and stir to combine.
4.  Drop by 1/4-cupfuls onto hot griddle (grease if necessary) and cook on both sides until done.

Makes about a dozen pancakes.
*Mash banana.  Finely dice apple.

Source: my doctor

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Promises


I survived infertility.

Lately I have had a few moments of reflection about the Lord's promises. Maybe it has been because of articles I have read about miscarriage, maybe it's because of a video I saw of a girl that recorded her abortion experience, maybe it's because my nephew had a birthday recently (and if I had carried my first pregnancy full-term, my child would be the same age as him) but either way I am reminded of this simple truth, that the Lord keeps His promises. 

About 3 years into being childless, I sought a priesthood blessing. I was really struggling with my grief and sadness and I needed peace and comfort. In the blessing, I was told that at the right time I would conceive and bear a child. What a comfort that was to me! What a joy it was to know that I would have the opportunity to be pregnant and have a baby. I was so happy to know that and I couldn't wait for that day to come.

Sometime after that blessing, I remember starting to read the bible. I was so struck by the story of Rachel in Genesis. In chapter 30 verse 1 is says, "And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister;..." I felt such a kinship with Rachel. I envied my sisters. All of my sisters and my sister in law got pregnant and had babies before me. Later on in the chapter is says, "And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb."
I wondered when God would remember me and open my womb. After this experience reading about Rachel, Elder Condie gave a great talk in General Conference . It was like he was talking to me and it renewed my faith in that blessing!

Fast forward 3 YEARS!! I clung to the promise in that blessing like a drowning person clings to a life preserver. There were times that I doubted, I cried, I felt angry and hurt, and I wondered if that promise of having children was ever going to be fulfilled. But, I tried to continue to trust in that blessing. 3 years I waited and wondered when it would happen. 

Lo and behold, it did. 

The Lord kept His promise to me. He remembered me.

I am here to tell you that it can be hard. The Lord may not always have the same time table as we do, but He WILL keep His promises. I know it. 




ps. To anyone struggling with infertility, I hope that you don't feel hurt by anything I said. I have been there and it is horrible. I now have children and I feel so sad for those that have struggled or are still struggling to have children of their own. I pray that the desires of your heart are fulfilled.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cuke Check

 
 
How many times have you stabbed your fork into a scrumptious salad, laden with fresh cucumbers from the garden (or your grocer's produce aisle--and I always buy the pickling cucumbers because they taste so much better), popped that bite into your mouth and bitten into the most bitter mess you can imagine?  Yeah.  Me, too.  So to remedy that situation, each time I put cucumbers into anything that I make, I do a Cuke Check.  I take one bite out of each cucumber as I am preparing them to make sure they are not bitter.  There is nothing worse in a salad.  It is worth the extra step and, let's be honest, we are going to eat some while we are preparing our food, anyway.  You know you are.  Who can resist?  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Meatball Bubble Biscuits



Ingredients:

1 (12 oz.) can Pillsbury Grands Jr. Golden Layers refrigerated buttermilk or flaky biscuits
10 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs (about 5 oz.), thawed, each cut in half
2 sticks (1 oz. each) string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 c. marinara sauce, heated

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Separate dough into 10 biscuits.  Separate each biscuit into 2 layers.  Press each biscuit layer into 3 inch round.

2.  Place 1 meatball half, cut side up, and 1 string cheese piece in center of each dough round.  Wrap dough around meatball and cheese, pressing edges to seal.  In ungreased 8 or 9 inch round cake pan, place seam side down in single layer.

3.  Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

4.  Bake 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center.  Serve warm biscuits with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Source:  pillsbury.com

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ham Delights! A Party Favorite!

These are soooo delicious! I made 2 huge pans of these for a party, and every single one of them were eaten! Definitely a PARTY FAVORITE! And they are are so simple to make!
 
This picture does not even show how yummy they were...once they came out of the oven, they were quickly devoured, and I almost didn't get a picture! Someone laid down their plate to get a drink, and I snapped a quick picture! 

Ingredients: 
1 Pkg of King's Hawaiian King Rolls 
2 sticks melted butter (1 cup)
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 TBSP yellow mustard 
1 TBSP of finely minced onions, or freeze dried onions
a little salt - maybe 1/4 tsp
Ham slices
Swiss cheese slices 

Directions:
1. Open the package of rolls. With a long serrated bread knife, slice the whole pack of rolls in half, so that you have a top and a bottom. Place inside a large casserole dish or put on a cookie sheet.

2. Mix the butter, poppy seeds, Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, onions and salt in a bowl. Spread about half of butter mixture over the bottom part of the rolls. I just pour it on and take the back of a spoon to spread it out edge to edge. Then do the same with the underside of the top half. Reserve a little butter mixture to spread on top of the rolls when finished.

3. Layer ham slices on the bottom. I like at least two layers of ham. Then layer with plenty of Swiss cheese. Place the top of the rolls to make the sandwiches, and spread on any remaining butter.

4. Cover with tin foil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the rolls are warmed through and the cheese is melted. Be careful to not burn the bottom of the rolls. 

5. Take out of oven, and slice into separate sandwiches. Better grab one fast before they are all gone!

Notes: I have made these without poppy seeds and less butter before. You can also use cheddar cheese if you would like, and omit the onions if you don't care for those. And I have not found any good substitute for the Worcestershire sauce! Just go buy some! : )

Source: My mother has made these for years!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Grilled Mushrooms and Leeks


So I have been wanting to cook with leeks lately. I like expanding my knowledge and cooking repertoire. A few years ago, it was re-discovering fresh beets. I never liked the canned ones as a kid and thought I wouldn't like them fresh. Boy was I wrong. Next it was brussel sprouts. They get a bad wrap and now they are one of my favorite veggies. I had always wanted to try using leeks and finally bought some. I consulted pinterest and found a simple recipe with mushrooms and leeks. It's from Martha Stewart. Link, here. Rather than using a wok, I just used a saute pan and instead of tossing the veggies with the oil, I just put the oil directly in the pan, then the veggies and then seasoned them.

 
Ingredients: 
2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces 
1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms (I used cremini), cut in half or quarter.
2 tablespoons olive oil 
Salt and pepper 
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (I didn't use the cheese and loved them without it.)
 
1. Quarter 2 trimmed leeks lengthwise; cut into 2-inch pieces (I used 3 leeks and cut them in half and then into about 1 inch pieces.)
2. Heat a wok or a saute pan over med. high heat.  Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan, then add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
3. Pour another Tbsp oil in pan. Add leeks and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, tossing, until lightly charred, 15 to 25 minutes. Put mushrooms back in pan and toss to combine. Dust with 1 tablespoon Parmesan, if desired. 
 
 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a great party recipe and is really easy.  I served these at a baby shower and was really happy with the result.  Next time I make these I will listen to the original recipe's advice and scoop out a little mushroom flesh with a melon baller instead of just popping out the stems so there's more room for the stuffing.

Ingredients:
20 fresh mushrooms
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. very finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. very finely chopped red pepper
14 Ritz crackers, finely crushed (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove stems from mushrooms and finely chop enough of the stems to measure 1/4 cup.  Discard the rest or save for something else.  Use a melon baller to remove a bit more of the flesh to make room for the stuffing.
2.  Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat.  Saute the chopped mushroom stems, onions, and peppers until they are tender.  Remove from heat and add the cracker crumbs, cheese, and seasoning.
3.  Spoon this mixture into the mushroom caps.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

You can stuff these in advance and just refrigerate until you're ready.  Bake them for 20 minutes though (or until warmed through).

Mushrooms that are 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" wide are best.  Itty bitty mushrooms will just be frustrating to stuff!

Source:  Kraft Recipes

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mormon Morsels: Mother's Day

 
 
 
 
How nice to be able to share a post on Mother's Day.  This day means different things to different people.  Perspectives are as varied as our moms are. Some of us will use this day to honor our mothers who have meant so much to us, who brought us into this world and helped us to become the women we are today.  For some this day is not really a celebration.  I have friends who struggled with getting pregnant, who dreaded Mother's Day and wouldn't attend church on that day.  I used to think that was crazy, but then I mellowed and realized how they must feel when such a focus is put on being a mom--while their arms are empty.  Sometimes, even if we do have kids, we might feel that we don't measure up and maybe have feelings of guilt and inadequacy on that day of the year.  For others it is a beautiful celebration full of family and children and breakfast in bed and all kinds of good things.
 
 This year my thoughts will go in a couple of different directions.  To my Mom, who's dementia has lessened her quality of life, but I hope she can feel the love her children have for her.  To my daughter who is an incredible mother to two amazing little boys.  To my daughter who just got married last week who is going to be an amazing mom, as well, some day.
 
I recently read a great article that we are publishing today on Power of Moms called "A Mother's Day to Remember."  I hope that you will take the time to read it--and go ahead and check out our site for more great resources and support for moms.  Good stuff to read on Mother's Day.
 
 
 
 
 
Image from Bing free images.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake



Ingredients:

1 (16 oz) box Penne pasta noodles
2 (10 oz) containers Alfredo sauce
1 c. sour cream
1 (15 oz.) container Ricotta cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 c. cooked, diced chicken
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. dried parsley
1 t. Italian seasoning
2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1.  Boil Penne pasta in a large pot of water, according to package directions.  Drain water and then return pasta to pot.

2.  Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the mozzarella cheese.  Stir together to combine and then pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

3.  Sprinkle the top evenly with the mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Source:  life-in-the-lofthouse.com

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Marriage

I was fortunate enough to attend the wedding of my lovely niece this weekend.  Witnessing a blessed event like this always causes me to pause and think about weddings, receptions, dresses, cakes, centerpieces, honeymoons, children, and life in general!


Marriage is so much more than flowers and themes.  It truly is a partnership with God to cultivate a little bit of heaven on earth.  Has my home always felt like a heaven every day since my marriage 23 years ago?  I wish I could say so.  I often think how nice it would be to go back to my wedding day and start over knowing everything I know now.  Oh, I would still make mistakes, but my perspective has changed so much that I feel that I could "do it better" if only I could begin again.

But really, these covenants are not static.  One choice on one day does not a marriage make.  Well, legally I guess it does.  But marriage is a series of choices made every day to love and honor, support and sustain, cherish and nurture.  This covenant is renewed in spirit every time we choose to exercise patience when it would be understandable not to or when we sacrifice our wants to fulfill our spouse's needs or in a hundred other ways when we make deliberate choices to uphold the commitment we made on that one special day.

The choice is ours, in each moment, to continue to say "I Will/Yes/I Do."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin


So, years ago, before Pinterest, I started collecting recipes from my Better Homes and Garden's magazines and Martha Stewart's FOOD magazine. I have them in a binder and finally tried this one the other day. It was sweet and tangy and moist. A simple marinade that could work with a
                                                      variety of proteins. 


Apricot Glazed Pork Tenerloin

2 pork tenderloins (about 12 oz each), trimmed of excess fat
1 Tbps. olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 jar (10-12 oz) apricot jam (about 1 Cup)
1/4 C. spicy brown mustard

1. Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Rub pork with oil; season with salt and pepper Broil 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together jam and mustard. Cook over med. heat til jam melts. Transfer half to a small bowl for brushing. Cover pan to keep remaining sauce warm.
3. Remove pork from broiler; brush with reserved sauce. Continue broiling until pork is blackened in spots and registers 150 degrees F, 5-10 minutes more.
4. Cover pork loosely with foil; let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve drizzled with warm sauce.

*Note: My broiler is currently out of service, so I set my lower oven to 500 degrees F. To get a nice sear on the meat, I rubbed with oil, S&P and then browned it in a hot (oven-safe) skillet. Then I just continued baking it in the same skillet til it reached the desired temp. It does not have the dark char marks that it would have, had I used a broiler. Still really tasty though.