Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's for Dinner Wednesday: Parmesan Cream Cheese Fondue and Polish Sausage

Years ago our friends had a Fondue Party complete with a funny Barbara Streisand movie straight from the 70's.  There was a large assortment of cubed breads, grilled cubed meats, steamed veggies and this amazing Parmesan Cream Cheese Fondue.  Since then I have been hooked!  This meal is so fun and versatile.  I even love and have collected quite a few (much to my husband's dismay) fondue pots.  I hope you like it!  And save room for dessert because the Peanut Butter Chocolate Fondue is too good to pass up.


2 C milk
16 oz softened cream cheese, cubed (two 8 oz packages or one 16 oz whipped)
2 C finely shredded Parmesan cheese (freshly shredded tastes best as the oils are still in the cheese and it's not dried out)
1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 loaf of wheat french bread, cubed
1 polish sausage sliced and fried until crisp and blackened - very important to blacken it, trust me!
Steamed Veggies like broccoli and carrots
Grilled chicken, cubed
sliced green apple
oven roasted potato wedges


In medium sauce pan on medium heat, cook and stir milk and cream cheese until well combined and bubbling.

Reduce heat to low and add in cheese and garlic salt.

Stir until well combined.

Keep warm.  Serve with polish sausage and french bread and anything else you want to be dunked in deliciousness.

This is my go-to Peanut Butter Chocolate Fondue Recipe

Our favorite things to dip in it are:

Graham Crackers
Pound Cake
Pretzel Sticks
Apple Slices

{Quotes to Cook By}

"Adrian shook his head, still smiling. "I've said over and over, I'd do anything for you. I just keep hoping it'll be something like, 'Adrian, let's go hot tubbing' or 'Adrian, take me out for fondue.'"
"Well, sometimes we have to--did you say fondue?" Sometimes it was impossible to follow Adrian's train of thought. "Why in the world would I ever say that?"
He shrugged. "I like fondue." 
— Richelle Mead (The Indigo Spell)

"Anyway, she sings like a mad tropical bird, and it's just a fondue of molten wanting and grieving and the sadness of the large naked swinging breasts and soft olive skin and everything that you wish you could remember and feel and know." 
— Nicholson Baker (Traveling Sprinkler)

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." 
— G.K. Chesterton (Alarms and Discursions)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Monday's Matter FHE: Never Ending Love

At our home and millions of others around the globe Monday nights are reserved for family. A Family Home Evening (FHE)!

I work at job where I see people everyday who seem like they are lonely, forgotten and often unloved.  In all the rush I am often brought to a remembrance that these good folks could use a kind word or an extra pat on the back or even a compliment. It made me think on the Savior's commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself.  I am no good at this, but I am trying and maybe someday I will make just the difference that Heavenly Father hopes I will.

Which brings us to...

Live from New YORK! It's Family Home Evening!!! just kidding ;)

Welcome to Family Home Evening Everyone!

{Opening Song} Never Ending Song of Love*

"Neighbor Family Theme Song from the movie RV"

* be sure and sing it with the proper twang now ya hear?

{Opening Prayer} Me!  ME!  Oh pick me!!!

{Read and Discuss}

Give some clues like these or ones of your own...

The Rich men want it,
The Wise men know it,
The Poor all need it,
And the Kind men show it.

What is it?  (Love!)

  • You can't touch it, but when you have it it gives you patience.
  • There is a never-ending supply of it but not everyone wants to share it.
  • You cannot see it, but it makes it easier to see what nice things we can do for someone else.
  • It makes us happy.
  • It can grow for all eternity.
  • We can feel it, but not with our hands.
  • It is free.
What is it?  (Love!)

Matthew records Jesus as admonishing that we should "... love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

To understand a little better how we should love as we love ourselves answer these questions:

  1. When you fall down and are hurt what do you hope might happen? (someone will come along and help you up and take care of you).
  2. When you are sad and crying because someone hurt your feelings what do you hope might happen? (Someone will hug you and help you feel better).
  3. When you make a mistake or fail at something what do you hope might happen? (Someone will help you to succeed or fix your mistake and forgive you).
  4. When you are scared what do you hope might happen? (Someone will stay with you until you aren't scared anymore).
{You get the idea}

"There are many attributes which are manifestations of love, such as kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness. In all our associations, these and other such attributes will help make evident the love in our hearts.
Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another. All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond. I have always cherished the sentiment expressed in the short poem:
I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.5"

  “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.”
President Spencer W. Kimball

{Closing Song} Where Love Is

{Closing Prayer} How 'bout you choose someone who you love?


In my humble opinion nothing says, "I Love You" quite like...


{FHE Doesn't Have to be Perfect, it Just Has to BE!}

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Cheesy Ham and Green Chili Pull Apart Bread, Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup and Rain

It was supposed to rain today.  So far the sky looks blue without a cloud in sight.  So I figure it can't hurt to do a little rain dance, make some soup and DELICIOUS BREAD and pray for rain.

{Cheesy Ham and Green Chili Pull Apart Bread}

Preheat oven to 350


1/4 C melted butter

1 TBS minced garlic

8 oz whipped cream cheese (it is just easier if it is already whipped - or softened brick of cream cheese)

2 C shredded cheese (I like sharp cheddar)

4 oz. chopped green chilies (or if you are feeling fiery, chopped jalapenos!)

2 C thin sliced ham, chopped

1/4 C chopped green onions

1 round, crusty bread loaf - whole grain is better, sliced criss-cross almost down to the bottom crust

Parchment lined baking sheet.


Mix  butter, garlic and cream cheese in sauce pan on medium low heat until combined well.

Remove from heat and add in cheese, chilies and ham.

Reserved green onions for when it comes out of the oven.

Place bread on baking sheet and pour cheese, ham mixture over the top and use a spoon or rubber spatula to get it into all the nooks and crannies.

Bake at 350, uncovered on parchment lined baking sheet for 45 min to an hour - or until it is crusty, brown and bubbling.

Remove from heat, top with green onions and EAT with this homemade cream of mushroom soup!

Season With Spice Blog's Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe - get it HERE!

{Quotes to Cook By}

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...
[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” 
― M.F.K. FisherThe Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

“And it's not just that I don't want to be alone. It's him. I do not want to lose the boy with the bread.” 
― Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday's Matter FHE: Grumpy Bird

At our house and millions of others around the globe Monday nights are reserved for family.  A Family Home Evening (FHE) complete with some sort of lesson or discussion, usually some singing and always lots of fun!

Monday's Matter:  The substance which composes your Monday.

What's your Monday made up of?  How about some laughter, learning and love?  Then let's get to gettin'!  FHE here we come!!

I'd like to welcome everyone out to Family Home Evening!

You know how it goes.

You call out in your nicest, sweetest, most convincing voice for the family to gather together so you can start your FHE and nothing happens...

The TV is still on.

The cat just looks at you and then goes back to grooming.

At least the dog came when called.

The clock ticks loudly.









(Smile sweetly as everyone the dog, the cat, the husband rushes in this is going to be so much fun!).

{Opening Prayer} Eenie, meenie, minee, moe... 

{Opening Song} If I Had a Boat (clean up the word in the 4th verse), listen to it here minute 10:20

We love to learn new songs and a silly song is all the better.  This one is beautiful to sing and makes no sense at all so it is perfect!  Just be sure to change the word in verse 4! 

{Read and Discuss}

*For this FHE you will need a delicious treat for the lesson.  Anything your family would really love.

Ask for volunteers tell them you are going to ask them to do a simple activity and if they can do it then they get a treat!  If they fail they cannot have a treat.

Hand them all a small tube of toothpaste (like the kind your dentist gives you for free when you have a check up).

Ask them to squeeze out the toothpaste onto a paper plate.

Was that easy or difficult?

Then ask them to put it all back - or no treat!

Just like squeezing out all that toothpaste, being quick to anger can be easy.  Spewing forth angry words, name calling, hitting siblings and being unkind can be quick but often leaves feelings that are difficult to "put back" or make right.  A few seconds of words spoken in anger can lead to damages that take much more time to heal.

"A proverb in the Old Testament states: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
It is when we become angry that we get into trouble. The road rage that affects our highways is a hateful expression of anger. I dare say that most of the inmates of our prisons are there because they did something when they were angry. In their wrath they swore, they lost control of themselves, and terrible things followed, even murder. There were moments of offense followed by years of regret."
Being angry hurts everyone including the one who is angry.  Is it any wonder that the scriptures admonishes us that contention is of the devil?  President Gordon B Hinkley related this story...
"So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.
Grudges, if left to fester, can become serious maladies. Like a painful ailment they can absorb all of our time and attention. Guy de Maupassant has written an interesting chronicle that illustrates this.
It concerns Master Hauchecome, who on market day went to town. He was afflicted with rheumatism, and as he stumbled along he noticed a piece of string on the ground in front of him. He picked it up and carefully put it in his pocket. He was seen doing so by his enemy, the harness maker.
At the same time it was reported to the mayor that a pocketbook containing money had been lost. It was assumed that what Hauchecome had picked up was the pocketbook, and he was accused of taking it. He vehemently denied the charge. A search of his clothing disclosed only the piece of string, but the slander against him had so troubled him that he became obsessed with it. Wherever he went he bothered to tell people about it. He became such a nuisance that they cried out against him. It sickened him.
“His mind kept growing weaker and about the end of December he took to his bed.
“He passed away early in January, and, in the ravings of [his] death agony, he protested his innocence, repeating:
“‘A little [piece] of string—a little [piece] of string. See, here it is, [Mister Mayor.]’” (See “The Piece of String,”"

Elder Russel M Nelson remarked, "As we dread any disease that undermines the health of the body, so should we deplore contention, which is a corroding canker of the spirit. I appreciate the counsel of Abraham Lincoln, who said:

“Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. … Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him.” (Letter to J. M. Cutts, 26 Oct. 1863, in Concise Lincoln Dictionary of Thoughts and Statements, comp. and arr. Ralph B. Winn, New York: New York Philosophical Library, 1959, p. 107.)"

And President Ezra Taft Benson said, "My concern is that contention is becoming accepted as a way of life. From what we see and hear in the media, the classroom, and the workplace, all are now infected to some degree with contention. How easy it is, yet how wrong it is, to allow habits of contention to pervade matters of spiritual significance, because contention is forbidden by divine decree: “The Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that
they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another.” (2 Ne. 26:32.)"
So what should we do when we feel grumpy and angry?

Here are a few suggestions, in no particular order.  Make a list of your own too....

#1 Take a deep breath and pray your attitude can change
#2 Go get some exercise
#3 Go play the drums or just bang on some pots and pans
#4 Batting Cages
#5 Listen to the Aussie read the scholastic book Grumpy Bird!!!

#6 Eat something
#7 Watch a funny show or movie

(#5 and #6 are your activity and treat)

{Closing song} If You're Happy

{Closing Prayer} Call on your grumpiest bird

{FHE Doesn't Have to Be PERFECT, It Just Has to BE!}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: The Big Zeus (Zucchini Sandwich)

The Big Zeus

Why Zeus?  Well because I couldn't think of anything else that started with a "Z"!  But this sandwich is big and tasty, hearty enough to feed an army of Olympians.  A heavenly combination of crisp zucchini pancakes, golden toasted bread and creamy pesto mayo so yummy it is bound to be the official sandwich of Mt. Olympus.


1 Golden Zucchini Pancake from Old Fashioned Kitchen (in your grocer's freezer) - they are savory, not sweet.
2 slices of Dave's Killer Bread 21 Whole Grain THIN sliced
2 TBS of Mayo
1 TBS of Pesto
2 slices of tomato
Thin sliced red onion
Slice of Cheddar Cheese

Butter for frying pancake.


1. Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cook zucchini pancake in butter about 5 minutes per side.

2.  Mix mayo with pesto and set aside.

3. Toast bread. Spread warm bread with pesto mayo.

4.  Place zucchini pancake on bread, top with tomato slices and thin sliced red onion and cheese.  Place second piece of bread over filling and EAT.

*Instead of pesto mayo you can also try garlic mayo or tzatziki sauce.

Yummy with a fruit salad.

{Quotes to Cook By}

“I'm not ashamed of heroic ambitions. If man and woman can only dance upon this earth for a few countable turns of the sun... let each of us be an Artemis, Odysseus, or Zeus... Aphrodite to the extent of the will of each one.” 
― Roman PayneRooftop Soliloquy

Zeus's girl, yes? Makes you my half sister. Used to be a tree, didn't you? Glad you're back. I hate it when pretty girls turn into trees. Man, I remember one time—” 
― Rick RiordanThe Titan's Curse

“Zeus, first cause, prime mover; for what thing without Zeus is done among mortals?” 
― AeschylusAgamemnon

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Garden Glory: April 2015

Are seeds are starting to sprout, even amidst the water restrictions and dry weather.  This year we have 5 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes, 3 kinds of climbing green beans and snap peas, corn, sunflowers, herbs, red potatoes, 2 kinds of pickling cucumbers and poblano peppers and a plethora of bulbs to attract the bees and fill my flower vases.

And, of course, Pumpkins.  Seeds saved from last years jarrahdale pumpkins have sprouted up and grown their first real leaves and I planted a few larger orange varieties.

The soil was amended with veggies scraps and egg shells all winter long, organic compost and steer manure.

If needed we will use grey water to suppliment our twice a week water restrictions but so far so good.

Are you making any changes in your gardening because of the drought?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday's Matter FHE: For When I am Weak, Then am I Strong

At our home and millions of others around the globe Monday nights are reserved for family.  A Family Home Evening (FHE) where everyone can take a moment or two and focus on each other and those things that matter most.

FHE has been a real challenge lately as our schedules have been opposite but we do try and I think that makes all the difference.  Never stop trying.  Never give up.  Sometimes it will work and sometimes it might not and that is okay.

I don't know about you but I am not perfect.  No matter how hard I try I always end up failing at something or maybe everything.  That is why I love 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

That is what I wanted to do for FHE tonight; Talk about why weaknesses are really our strengths!

So...I'd like to welcome everyone out to Family Home Evening!!

{Opening Song} : The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

Opening Prayer}:  I'll do it!  Extra blessings for me!

{Read and Discuss}  Excerpts taken from Gospel (FYI: I don't know what else they have on their site, I just looked up these quotes and found them all in one handy-dandy location).

2 Cor. 12:9 my strength is made perfect in weakness

"The truth is that we were born into an imperfect state in a fallen world. We chafe against our imperfection, but we cannot completely eradicate our humanity in this life. Here power is an attribute of God, not of man. We were created weak so that we would turn to the only source that could develop real spiritual stamina in us. Moroni recorded his conversation with the Lord on this subject in Ether 12:23-37. He feared that the Gentiles would not accept the precious records because of the weaknesses in their writing. (Ether 12:25.) The Lord comforted him with this wonderful principle: 'My grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; and if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they . . . have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.' (Ether 12:26-27.) When the Lord told the Apostle Paul, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness,' Paul declared, 'Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.' (2 Cor. 12:9.)" (Catherine Thomas, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 8: Alma 30 to Moroni, ed. by Kent P. Jackson, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 277.)

Dallin H. Oaks
"...if we face up to our individual adversities or hardships, they can become a source of blessing. God will not give us adversities we cannot handle, and he will bless us richly for patiently doing the best we can in the circumstances.

"Elaine Cannon reminds us of an important way these blessings come and how we can make the most of them. 'When we are pushed, stung, defeated, embarrassed, hurt, rejected, tormented, forgotten-when we are in agony of spirit crying out `why me?` we are in a position to learn something' (Adversity, 47).

"The Apostle Paul demonstrated his understanding of that principle and provided a wonderful example of how to act upon it. Paul had what he called 'a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me' (2 Cor. 12:7). He prayed for the Lord to take that thorn from him, but the Lord replied: 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor. 12:9). Having received that answer, faithful Paul then said he would 'glory in [his] infirmities' (2 Cor. 12:9). 'Therefore,' he said, 'I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong' (2 Cor. 12:10).

"Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a modern example of this in a conference address some years ago. He quoted a young friend who lost his hand when it was crushed in a hydraulic press.

"During the first night there were thoughts of 'Why me? Was it something in my past? What have I done to deserve this?' Then I thought, 'No more rodeo, football, or skiing,' and I wondered what type of a woman would want a one-handed husband."

"Then came a fast Sunday when this young man gathered the courage to thank everyone for their prayers in his behalf. He later recalled:

'After the testimony meeting, an admired friend gave me a special blessing. So many questions were answered during his blessing. He told me this accident was not punishment for anything I had done but, rather, an opportunity to help me become a better person and to amplify those particular traits which needed to be developed. He shared the thought that this challenge could make me more understanding of people, problems, and life. As I look back now, each point of his blessing and encouragement has helped in a very fulfilling way.'

"The young man concluded: 'Today as I look back, I see the challenge of adversity as something upon which to build' ("Adversity and You," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 59)." ("Adversity," Ensign, July 1998, 10, 12)

James E. Faust
"Here, then, is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. This pain is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.

"Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful. The apostle Paul referred to his own challenge: 'And lest I should be exalted above measure . . . there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.' (2 Corinthians 12:7.)

"The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt-these often change lives that may seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process that often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner's fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process." (To Reach Even unto You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980], 98.)

2 Cor. 12:10 when I am weak, then am I strong

Elder Charles A. Callis
"We are walking in the path of humility, and God is making us a power for good in the world. After all, brethren and sisters, there is more strength in the humility that comes from trusting in the Lord Jesus than in the strength of worldly power. 'When I am weak,' said Paul, 'then am I strong.' So long as the Latter-day Saints put their trust in God; so long as they walk in the light, they will be clothed with a power that is invincible." (Conference Report, April 1911, Overflow Meeting. 80.

You can find more information about turning those weaknesses into strengths by visiting this lady's blog HERE.

There is also a great Popular Science article HERE about making building materials stronger by punching holes in them.  Who knew?

{Closing Prayer}:  Wanna go two for two?

{Activity}: Funny Face OFF!!!! 

(If you are unfamiliar with this game you can see a bit of it played HERE)

Basically, you google and print out (or just show ) a few (3 or 4) pictures of kids making funny faces. Then everyone tries to make the same funny face as the photo.  Whomever gets closest wins! Hilarious.

Be sure and take pictures!

{FHE Doesn't Have to Be Perfect, It Just Has to BE!}