Monday, November 22, 2010


I love Mondays. I think it is funny that Mondays have such a negative effect on some people. I understand that it is because it represents an end to a restful, leisurely, fun week-end break from the highly scheduled, stressed, and rush filled work-week. But it also represents, employment, productivity, children IN school, Missionary 'P' days ie. emails, and the beginning of a new mail week. Whehoo!

Gratitude journal for the day: I'm thankful it's Monday!

~Sandi~ (A Missionary Momma)

*Only 33 more days until I get to talk to her. The countdown begins.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mormon Channel

I cannot believe how many times I say, "I just heard this talk, or that song, or that person speak on my Mormon Channel." Yes, I call it 'MY' Mormon Channel, although of course, it is not. But I find it incredible how much the programming that I hear...I needed to hear. Not only for learning, but it has uplifted me, given me insight, and helped me feel more patience and compassion for my children, and brought events and talks to my remembrance. It reminds me who I am, and helps me keep things in perspective. I also like the fact that I am choosing well what goes in my head. Remember, thoughts become words, become actions. So today, I am thankful for the Mormon Channel.

I have an iphone- and they have an AP (application) that I downloaded on my phone so all I have to do is press this:

...and it pops me to a screen that asks me if I want to listen to Conference, Magazines, or the Scriptures, listen to a live broadcast, or watch a Video of several different things. BUT- You don't need an iphone to listen to Mormon Channel. You can just go to to listen live.

I just really enjoy being able to sit at the computer while I am working, or at my sewing machine, and listen to worthwhile things and not a bunch of garbage. I love Christmas music for the same reason.

Lately on Mormon Channel, I have learned about the influence of Native Americans on art in the Four Corners Area, to current Conference addresses, talks by Prophets and Apostles of the Lord, some who passed on long ago and it's a real treat to get to hear their voices again and recall their messages, and to check myself and see how I am fairing as far as heeding their admonitions. I also enjoy the CES Fireside addresses, and BYU Devotionals that I wouldn't normally get to hear.  It's awesome.

I am grateful for Mormon Channel.


Monday, November 8, 2010


You cannot have Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday in Texas without having Tamales! Making Tamales is a huge tradition in this part of the country. Some families have passed down their tamale recipes for generations. Grandma's, aunts, sisters, cousins, travel for miles to get together and make tamales. It's not just about the food, it's a family event.

Tamales are a very labor intensive food. Masa is a spanish word for dough, and it was originally made with sun dried, or fire dried corn kernels that have been cooked in lime-water. This wet corn was ground on a stone plate, with a stone-like mallet called a metate.

A stone matate, or grinder

Luckily,  these days women can find masa flour at the grocery store. But they still have their favorite grocers that carry really 'fresh' masa and they will travel for miles to get it. When they mix the masa and it is ready to make the tamales, the texture is kinda like a cross between gelatin, and peanut butter. Kinda.

Tamale ingredients vary widely, as far as the spices, and degree of heat, but the main ingredients for the filling is pork, beef, or chicken. A 8-10 lb. roast is usually slow boiled with the spices in the water for 6-10 hours and then the water is reserved to add in mixing the masa. The meat is then placed in a large bowl and shredded with forks. Other great ingredients are of course cheese, corn, and onions.

Corn husks are used to enfold the tamale ingredients. Husks too can be purchased by the bag full here. These corn husks are left to soak in warm water while the other tamale preparations are going on, to make them pliable enough to fold. The moisture aids in the steaming of the tamales later.

The trick that is handed down from generation to generation besides the recipe, is also the folding of the tamale. There is a definate skill in folding them just right. But, they tell me practice makes perfect. :)

My friend Blanca's family make tamales and they know how much my husband LOVES them. So whenever they make them they call us to come over, or they bring them to us. The other night was one of those occasions. When we went over, their apartment was filled with family, men watching TV, kids running around playing, and the women happily chattering in the steamy kitchen. They are wonderful people. I could NOT believe the size of the tamale steaming pot that was on the stove. There were literally hundreds of tamales in ONE pot. Blanca says that at Thanksgiving and Christmas time they have 4-6 pots like this FULL of tamales.

HUGE galvanized bucket steamer.

They had been feeding everyone out of this all day.
They had also gotten us a huge bag of them to take home as well.

This is Blanca's Momma, Susana Lugo
Chief cook! ;) Look at the size of that pot!

Tamales were originally made by the spanish when the soldiers would leave home for weeks at a time. Tamales were their women's answer to meals-on-the-go. They would stack them in the soldiers saddle bags. We didn't get our tamales in saddle bags. Ours were in Zip-lock bags...but we definately ate some on our way home. Muchos gracias Susana & Blanca!

Thats where all the pumpkin muffins I made went. That night I sent Jerry with a huge bag of muffins for them. Thats the cool thing about this time of year, sharing! Sharing recipes, homes, food, laughs, invitations, traditions and love.

Here is a great website if you are interested in making tamales yourself -OR- you can invite your family over to help you out. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Be A Hero!

A coward gets scared and quits. A hero gets scared, but still goes on.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (EASY)

2 spice cake mixes (Duncan Hines if you can find it)
1- 30 oz can pumpkin
1- 12 oz bag semi-sweet choclate chips
1/4-1/2 Cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts) Optional

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine cake mixes and pumpkin, combine
Add chocolate chips and nuts, stir in
It will seem very dry at first, but mix the pumpkin in well.
Spoon mixture into lined muffin tin:
These don't rise alot so fill pretty full
Bake for 20-23 minutes

*These are great just like that or you can frost. I don't.

As you can see I am all about quick and easy. I really enjoy recipes that I can make in a jiffy but taste so great that the family thinks I spent hours. You can probably make them prettier by using an ice cream scoop to make them all uniform. Or even them out with a spoon before baking. I don' mine have character. :) If you are planning on icing them for a party or something, then I would flatten the top with a spoon before baking.

I also like the fact that the ingredients to these muffins are usually in my pantry. Spice cake mixes are sometimes tricky to find, but once I find a Duncan Hines spice cake mix...I buy several to have on hand.

There's nothing like this recipe to make your house smell wonderful too. Yum.

This recipe makes about 40 muffins. I like to make a bunch and put them in baggies, and toss them in the freezer for when the kids need something on the run. Yeah, 'the kids', that sounds good....the kids. LOL

Fire up the oven today. These will get everyone excited that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Jeanine's Cabbage Casserole

1 head cabbage, shred
1 Cup rice
1 onion, sliced
1-2 lbs hamburger, cooked, drained
1Tblsp butter
seasoning salt & pepper
1 can tomato soup

Spray casserole dish w Pam, layer in cabbage, onion, rice.
Repeat ending w cabbage.
Pour over can of Tomato Soup & 1/2 Can warm water
Bake at 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours covered, then 1/2 hour uncovered.

Jeanine Molnar

This is my Moms older sister Jeanine. She submitted this recipe to our family cookbook in 1995 also. My Aunt Jeanine is great fun. She has lived in Calgary since before I was born but now her and Uncle Frank spend alot of time during the winter in S. Cal. Visiting her house in Canada was always a blast. She and Uncle Frank have three boys, Ron (deceased), Randy, and Kevin.

When we were kids we'd (my sister and I and Kevin) collect pop bottles and go trade them in at the 7-11 for penny candy. We'd swim at the community pool. One of my favorite things to do was go to the outskirts of town and shoot Kevin's bb-gun at birds, rabbits, and pot-guts. We'd exhaust ourselves jumping on Kevin's bed. And those boys are the ones who introduced me to REO Speedwagon (loudly). LOL!

We'd go to the Calgary Stampede where they still have the only authentic Chuck Wagon races in the world. You should see a team of horses pulling a wagon like that. It's incredible, and those races are sold out every year. You haven't experienced a rodeo like The Calgary Stampede...there's only one. The biggest seller of memorabelia on the mid-way would have to be Cowboy hats, belts, and boots. Being at The Calgary Stampede made everyone want to be a cowboy, or a cowgirl whether you'd ever ridden a horse or not. Then if we didn't attend the Stampede during the day, we still sat out in their back yard at about 10pm and watch the nightly fireworks together.

All my aunts are amazing housekeepers and cooks. Aunt Jeanine has a big heart. She doesn't toot her own horn...but she is one of the kindest people I know. She'd do anything for her family or a friend. My Mom and Jeanine weren't just sisters...they were friends. Jeanine and Frank have been such a kind support system for my Dad since Mother passed away. You'll be seeing more of her recipes in the future. I love you Aunt Jeanine.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mom's Green Jello Salad

2 small pkgs. Lime Jello (or 1 lrg)
3 Cups boiling water
1 (#2) can pineapple
1 Cup sugar
whipping cream
grated cheese

Dissolve Jello and water in 9x13 pan- refridgerate
Boil pineapple and sugar on medium heat for about 10 minutes
Mix with jello and let partially set up in fridge- don't let firm up
Take out- add whipping cream & grated cheese. Mix.
Return to fridge and let set until firm.

Marlene Beaujeu

It's the first week in November and Thanksgiving is almost upon us. We had some really great family traditions when I was growing up, one of which was Mom's green jello salad. I don't remember a Thanksgiving without it. I thought my Mom was an amazing cook and that this was her invention. Not that she ever said it was, but rather, I just thought my Mom was a genius in the kitchen. I was somewhat shocked later in life to hear and even read about Mormon's notoriety over their green jello salad. I have read with some interest the ingredients, and directions for 'other' cooks green jello salad and they do vary. Some cooks add nuts, bananas, even cottage cheese. And, while they sound good, it would not be the same. Mother passed away Sept 23, 2007...I wouldn't change a thing. In fact, the last few years having her green jello salad sitting on my Thanksgiving table has brought me some satisfaction, and a smile when I hear, "Mom, I LOVE your green jello salad." and I say, "It's not's my Mom's." I love you Mom.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Sit N Sew = Friends

Once a month some of my friends and I get together for a special day we like to call, ‘Sit N Sew’, but don’t let the name fool you because there is a lot more that goes on than just sewing. And I will show you a few. 

 Kazue Horikami

This is Sister Kazue Horikami, she is delightful. She set up on an end table in the foyer of Lois’s home and began weaving authentic Japanese slippers to give as Christmas gifts. While I watched her for a minute she told me that in Japan it is too hot to wear shoes and socks all the time so they wear slippers around the house. Then because the slippers are made of cloth they can be thrown in the washing machine when they are dirty. Sister Horikami used to be my Visiting Teacher and she NEVER missed. She is Cassi's first Visiting Teaching Companion. We love her at our house. Her sister is currently serving a Mission in Japan. Sister Horikami is retired and currently is a Dallas Temple worker. I learn from her when-ever she's around. I love to see her when I go to Sit N Sew.

You can read more about her in an article written by Melissa Merrill (Yup- Margo's daughter)- who is currently an editor of the Ensign Magazine. This story is in the June 2009 Ensign at :

Cynthia Riggs

This is Kazue Horikami’s daughter Cynthia Riggs. She is busy cutting meaningful t-shirts from her children’s lives to make t-shirt quilts to give her children for Christmas. We learned that it takes about 20 t-shirts to make one quilt. Cynthia’s dilemma was she had far more than 20. I'm sure her kids will be thrilled. What a thoughtful project. Cynthia is a talented pianist. She is an RN. Her son (also Jered's age) recently did his Eagle project. She is a busy gal. She has a grand daughter, and children in college, and she has a daughter (Erika) who is also on a Mission in Brazil.

Janet Combs

This is Janet Combs, she is just finishing a knitting project that she has been working on. Janet is my Visiting Teaching companion. She has served as our Ward and Stake Relief Society President. Her husband was our Stake President a few years back. She is my scriptural mentor, teacher, and fellow genealogy enthusiast. She works in the Family History Center. If I make a cool discovery or need advise on anything from genealogy software, to where do I find this quote you said 5 years ago.... (LOL) or how to appliqué a star on a quilt top, or a million other topics…I call Janet. Janet is my go-to person. She's known me a LONG time and sometimes all it takes is a look and a hug...and I'm good to go. She 'gets' it.

Lois Schauweker

This is Lois Schauweker, and she is my quilting guru. She has the perfect job…she works at Quilt Country. But she also has a giant quilting machine in her upstairs and she is a professional quilter. I’ll never forget the first time Janet and I went on a ‘Field Trip’ to see Lois’s. She has quilts that literally make me verklempt. Hopefully I will be able to show you a few of her quilts in the coming weeks. We discussed and decided on our project for 2011…we are doing a block of the month club. I cannot wait. Quilting is in my blood. I get so excited that I literally cannot sleep some nights for thinking about it. If I die and go to heaven it will be something like Lois’s. One night my bobbin housing broke on my machine and I made a late night call to Lois, and she ran me over one of her ‘extra’ machines which I sewed 3 quilts with. She is a talented, fun, supportive friend.

Margo Merrill

This is Margo Merrill she decided last year to make each of her siblings a quilt for Christmas. (Shhhh, it really is a secret.) She is putting the binding on one of them (it's fittingly called 'Cupcake Heaven'). I wish you could see these quilts in person. They are happy, bright, and creative. I am sure her sisters and brother are going to be so excited to receive such a beautiful gift. I know how much time and love went into them. This may not be too much of a stretch for some people…but I marvel at Margo and her ability to accomplish so much. She is currently our Stake Relief Society President, and her husband was recently released after serving for many years as our Bishop. Margo has four older children and one son who is also Jered’s age.

There are many other women who have joined us over the months and years, women of like character and goodness (I just don’t have pictures of them). I love my association with these women. At Sit N Sew, great ideas are shared, projects mulled, advise given, opinions offered, color schemes looked at with fresh eyes, funny stories shared, creativity emerges, goals are set, skills honed, plans made, gospel topics discussed, and always verbal appreciation for our families, husbands, and each other.

One of today’s blessings, that I treasure is…Sit N Sew.

Next Date- Nov 16th...won't you join us? Lmk- if you need more info.