Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mmmm! Summer squash!

I just had to share this! It looked so good to me, and tasted even better! I sauteed a really big clove of garlic (about the size of 2 cloves) in a tablespoon of butter, and then added half of a small zucchini and half of a small summer squash. I salted and peppered it, and added a pinch of oregano. Then I sauteed it until it was just right! The tomatoes are fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper. I probably salt and pepper everything so much that I make it almost unhealthy, but I sure like the flavor! :) It's too bad Brian doesn't like squash or tomatoes. He had to stick with leftover chicken and potatoes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm a squirrel! :)

One of my interests is emergency preparedness and home food storage. Last Friday I replaced our 3-day water storage. Soon, I need to add more to our store because of the little angel that will soon be joining our family!

Being prepared is something that's pretty important to me. My mom always made it a priority, too. This is partly because it's just wise, and partly because our church leaders have counseled us to be prepared for disaster and food shortages.

This concept of food storage old. Joseph in Egypt interpreted Pharaoh's dream and helped prepare the Egyptian people prepare for seven years of famine that came. Closer to our own day, Joseph Smith gave us the Lord's counsel that we should "prepare every needful thing" and "establish a house of order."

In the Book of Mormon, Alma tells the people of Gideon in Alma 7:11-12 that the Savior will take upon him all the infirmities and physical suffering of the people of the world. To me, this shows just how much our spiritual progress is tied with our physical condition. Starvation and illness can be stumbling blocks to spiritual progress. Luckily, the Savior is there to help us overcome such stumbling blocks through the Atonement.

Although He will help us with whatever we lack, I know the Lord likes us to do what we can to take care of ourselves. This includes preparation for disaster. If we are prepared and secure, then we can become instruments in His hands to help serve and save other people.

Our church has some good resources for self-reliance and family well-being. Here is a good video about self-reliance and provident living:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Black Caviar--unbeaten!

On my last post about horse news, Miss Melody Muffin brought a horse to my attention that I hadn't known about. Later, I heard more. This mare is really quite a horse! Last weekend she won her 22nd race ... 22 out of 22 starts. At six years old, she is still not beaten. This makes me think of Zenyatta, although Zenyatta didn't quite make this record.

The picture in this article shows just how close Black Caviar's win was. She pulled her back muscles in the process. What an incredible win! Her owners are still trying to decide if they will still race her. She is ranked as the #2 best horse in the world after Frankel.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Take time to be holy

I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! It's amazing. I've been listening to it today while I work, and really enjoying it. My husband thinks I'm strange when I say that it pumps me up, but it really does. It makes me feel good and want to work hard. So, in honor of good ole' MoTab, I decided to post one of my favorite songs that they do!

History of the Angus breed

Ok, this will really label me as an agnerd. I have speculated since I was a kid about whether the Angus breed came from Scotland. Now I know! Here is a really quick, short tour of the Angus Museum in Missouri.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Horse news! :)

Secretariat has always fascinated me. I think he's absolutely beautiful, not to mention that he's one of the fastest horses that have ever lived. Recently officials reviewed a video of Secretariat running the Preakness, and declared that he had actually won it in one second faster than was recorded! Read about it here.

For some more recent news, Frankel, a thoroughbred racehorse in England, won the Queen Anne stakes (a mile and a quarter, I think) by 11 lengths, making it his 11th win in 11 starts. He's ranked as one of the top horses in the world. I'm definitely keeping my eye on him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Teaching children about farming

I found this really great blog post by a guest writer on Jeff Fowle's blog. This writer recounts her time growing up on a farm and how she and her husband bought a farm to raise their children on.

She also talks about the importance of teaching children about agriculture. She refers to a book that has 100 ways to help kids get involved in ag. This book is written by a child advocacy expert who examines the current separation of kids from the outdoors, and concludes that it has caused a lot of childhood problems. This is a book I'd be interested in reading!

Autism spectrum disorder

I have had an interest in autism for a while, since I've known a couple of people with Aspergers, a form of autism. The other thing that has intrigued me is the controversy about vaccines and autism. So I recently did some reading about it.

Autism is a neurological disorder that is characterized by social and emotional impairments, communication problems, and strange, repetitive behavior.  It's actually a wide range of impairments. Autistic people have different connections in their brains--their brains are not wired like everyone else's. There are several things that are thought to cause this, but research is ongoing because there aren't a lot of solid answers yet.

There are several possibilities that may cause autism. One that is pretty certain is genetics. It seems to arise from a spontaneous mutation. Two different genetic causes are Fragile X Syndrome and Rett Syndrome.

Chemicals in our environment may cause problems with the proteins in the brain, causing it to malfunction. A recent scientific article in April called for more research into 10 chemicals that are suspected of causing autism. Two of those chemicals were pesticides, and one was automotive exhaust. There have been studies done that linked smoking during pregnancy and Depakote, a drug that may be taken during pregnancy. A very recent study links psychoactive drugs and autism.

There was a study done in 1998 that linked vaccines and autism. But the study focused on only 12 children, and 10 of the 13 scientists withdrew their names from the interpretation of the results. Since then, there have been 12 studies done that have disproved the first study.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuna noodle casserole

Last night I made one of my favorite casseroles. It comes from a cookbook that I inherited from my grandmother when she passed away: the 1976 edition of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

The cool part about it is that it even has notes in her handwriting by it. I've experimented with this tuna noodle casserole, and apparently my grandmother has too. It's very easy to make, and healthy too:

Tuna Noodle Casserole

3 c. pasta noodles (garden rotini is my favorite)
1 can tuna
1/2 c. mayonaise
1 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 t. salt
1 10 1/2-oz can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
1/2 c. milk
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 4-oz can sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 c. frozen peas or mixed veggies (optional)
topping, such as 1/2 c. slivered almonds, buttered cracker crumbs or crushed potato chips

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Add tuna, mayo, celery, onion, pepper, salt, and veggies, but don't mix in. Mix can of soup with milk in a pan and heat through. Add cheese to soup mixture and cook till cheese melts. Add to noodle mixture. Stir all together. Put into a 2-quart casserole dish and add topping.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serves: 6

Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby stocking cap

Here are the three baby stocking caps that I made! They are so easy and quick to make. I promised that I would post the pattern, and here it is:

Crocheted baby stocking cap

Use a size F or E hook, and sport weight yarn. 

Round 1: Ch 4, make 10 dc in first chain stitch made. Join w/ sl st
Round 2: Ch 3, 2 dc in each dc around. Join w/ sl st.
Round 3: Ch 3, 2 dc in first dc, 1 dc next dc. Repeat all the way around. Join w/ sl st.
Round 4: Ch 3, 2 dc in first dc, 1 dc in next two dc. Repeat around. Join w/ sl st.
Round 5: Ch 3, 2 dc in first dc, 1 dc in next three dc. Repeat around. Join w/ sl st.
Round 6: Ch 3, 1 dc in each dc around. Join w/ sl st.
Rounds 7-10: Repeat round 6.
Rounds 11-15: Ch 1, sc in each st around. Join w/ sl st. Fasten off after round 15.
Round 16: Attach a contrasting color w/ a sl st. Ch 1 and turn (so last row is in the inside, and when the cuff is turned up, the contrasting color will be on the right side). Sc in each st around. Fasten off.

Turn hat right-side out and turn up cuff.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kid history 9

My husband and I are fans of a group on youtube that create Kid History episodes. Some of the episodes are just dumb, but others are really funny. The 9th episode was just recently posted, and it is a good one! Anyone who has babysat can relate to this one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My most complicated crochet project

This pot holder is the hardest project I've done yet. I actually started it in February, before I got really morning sick. I finally finished it today! It's really cool-looking. If you're interested in doing it, here's the link to the pattern. The pattern also includes instructions for a hot pad and a dishcloth.

Here is something else that I started and finished today:
It's the first baby thing that I've made!! I'm so excited. The trim looks blue in the picture, but it's actually green. I'm going to make a pink one with green trim, too. When I do, I'll post a picture along with the instructions.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Easy cheesy macaroni-a healthier version!

I made this recipe tonight for dinner. It's almost as easy as doing it from a box, and it's so much healthier! This is also from my favorite cookbook, Set for Life:

One-dish Macaroni and Cheese

1 T. butter
1 onion, chopped
2 c. uncooked vegetable macaroni
1/2 t. salt
dash pepper
1/8 t. oregano
1/2 t. dry mustard
2 c. water
2 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheese

Melt butter and add onion and uncooked macaroni, salt, pepper, oregano and mustard. Cook on low for 5-7 minutes or until onion looks clear. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until macaroni is almost tender and most of the water is gone. Sprinkle flour over macaroni and mix well. Stir in milk and cheese. Heat through and serve.

Serves: 6-8

The Belmont Stakes

Since I was six years old, I have been fascinated with horse racing. I liked horses, and my Mom gave me some books from the series Thoroughbred, by Johanna Campbell. I tried to follow the Triple Crown races ever since.

This year, a horse named I'll Have Another won the first two Triple Crown races. Hopes were high that he would win the Belmont, too, and we'd have another Triple Crown champion after 34 years. He would have been the 12th horse to do so.

But he was scratched last minute because of tendonitis. :( You have no idea how disappointed I was. So Union Rags, the original Kentucky Derby favorite, won the Belmont yesterday. I wasn't able to watch it, but it sounds like he had an amazing ride and may have given I'll Have Another quite a challenge.

Darn. That would have been an amazing race to watch!! But I think that O'Neill, I'll Have Another's trainer, did the right thing in pulling him out. O'Neill has a problematic past that is being investigated. He has a history of drugging horses and racing them when they weren't fit. So it's good he pulled out this time. It's sad, though, too, because that's a once in a lifetime experience to have a Triple Crown winner on your hands!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blender pancakes!

I love this recipe! It is so easy, and you can't get wheat any more freshly ground than this. This is also from the Set for Life cook book. It makes for really quick, whole wheat pancakes:

Blender Pancakes or Waffles

1 1/4 c. water
1 c. whole wheat kernels
1/4 c. nonfat dry milk
1 egg
2 T. butter, margarine or oil
1 T. honey or sugar
1/4-1/2 t. salt
1 T. baking powder

In a blender, mix the water, wheat kernels and dry milk on high for 3-4 minutes. Add egg, margarine, honey and salt. Blend for 20 seconds. Add baking powder and pulse 3 times, just enough to mix it in. Mixture should foam and get very light. Cook on a hot griddle.

Just a little side note from my book: You can use 1 1/4 c. skim milk instead of the water and dried milk.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. They taste so nutty and good!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preparing for labor

I found some great articles on One is about four easy exercises you can do to strengthen and stretch muscles you use during labor. Doing these can reduce pain and stress.

Exercises to help you prepare for childbrith

This other article is about things you can do, besides exercises, that will help ease labor. It suggests things like packing an iPod with your favorite music, getting enough sleep so you don't start out exhausted, and bringing a birthing ball. Doing some of these things can reduce your risk of an episiotomy and make you less likely to get painkiller.

How to make labor easier

I've been doing exercises, and I'm going to add a couple more that the first article suggested. I'm also going to do some of the other things in the second article, like bringing music and learning relaxation techniques. I hope this will be a great experience!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pregnancy book recommendation

My sister-in-law lent me a book a couple of months ago called Your Pregnancy and Birth. It is such a good book! I think there is  a fifth edition out, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fourth edition. I've read it all the way through.

It tells you in great detail exactly what to expect when you go visit the doctor, and why they do what they do. It has a couple of chapters on special care and problems that could occur. It also has some chapters on being healthy while pregnant. A lot of that is common sense, but I think it had some helpful suggestions on exercise. There are some great exercises for your back, abdomen, hips and thighs in case you have back pain (which was a concern for me).

I think it tastefully covered delivery and let you know all your options and why the doctor does certain things. The postpartum section of the books is really good too. It has good information on basic baby care and breastfeeding, as well as exercises and things you can do for yourself. Following that, there is a section about keeping healthy so you can take care of your family and prepare to have the next child.

I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who was looking for a good book.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ice cream for breakfast!!

Who says you can't have ice cream for breakfast? :) This blender ice cream is perfect to eat with muffins or pancakes in the morning. It's closely related to a smoothie, but it has the consistency of a milkshake. I really love it, and it's one of Brian's favorites. Besides, it's a perfect recipe in honor of June dairy month!

Blender Ice Cream

2 c. milk
1-3 T. honey
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon juice
1 large frozen banana
1-2 c. frozen fruit, slightly thawed (such as berries, peaches or apricots

Put ingredients into blender, with banana in broken pieces. Pulse, then blend on high until thick. Add more frozen fruit if you want it thicker.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to raise a daughter

Well, since we've found out we're going to have a little girl, I've been wondering something. How am I supposed to raise a girl? Boys are easy. You cut their hair short, put them in jeans and a t-shirt, and go play sports with them (well, that's a bit over-simplified, but it's pretty easy). Girls are a little more complicated, especially as they get older.

In a recent general conference of the church, the young women's general president of the church gave a talk about how to raise a daughter. We've been quoting from it a lot, especially the part where she says that the most important thing a father can do is to love her mother. The problem is that this talk is addressed to the fathers. I still have to figure out what to do!

Here is another little video about raising children that I think is amazing. It's Elder and Sister Clayton. Elder Clayton is in the presidency of the seventy. I think the advice to do family planning, to select the essential over just the nice, and to create an environment in our home that is so pure and good that they know what to look for in the world, is some of the best parenting advice that you can find.

Just to round things off, I'm going to put up a link to a third youtube video. It's called "What matters most." My favorite quote from it is "Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved." That applies to parenting, too!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

National dairy month

June is national dairy month, so I thought that I would post something in honor of the event. I didn't know we had a national dairy month until I worked for Progessive Publishing about three years ago. There main magazine is Progressive Dairyman, and I wrote a lot of articles for them.

I learned something interesting about milk last fall. A recent study showed milk to be better for rehydrating kids after exercise than water is. Milk has protein and electrolytes, and so does as good of a job as a sports drink, without the extra sugar and food coloring. I still think that water is probably one of the best choices most of the time, but after a really hard work out, you do need something. And I would definitely rather reach for the milk rather than a sports drink!

Here are some other interesting articles to read about cows and national dairy month:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Crusty meat braid

Ok, so this wasn't supposed to be a cooking blog, but I have another great recipe to share! This is also from the Set for Life cookbook. I think it is about my favorite cookbook!

Crusty Meat Braid

Turkey or beef filling (see below)
2 to 3 c. whole wheat bread or roll dough
2 T. finely grated cheese

Prepare filling. roll dough to about 9x15 inches and1/4 inch thick. Spread filling down the middle third of the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 inch strips on each side of the filling, cutting almost to the filling. Braid dough over the meat (overlapping the strips), tucking in the last strip. Place on a baking sheet. Let raise 5 to 10 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Pour remaining sauce from filling recipe over the top and sprinkle with cheese.

Turkey Filling

2 c. cooked and cubed turkey or chicken
1 t. dried minced onion
1 c. frozen peas and carrots, slightly cooked and drained
1 4-oz can of mushrooms, drained
1 10 3/4-oz can of cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper 

Mix turkey, onion, peas and carrots, and mushrooms. Add half the soup to the turkey mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix the remaining soup with a few tablespoons of milk to achieve gravy consistency, and reserve to pour over braid.

Beef Filling

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 c. frozen mixed veggies (optional)
3 T. taco or pizza seasoning mix
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
salt and pepper

Brown ground beef and onion. Stir in veggies, seasoning mix, and 1/2 can of tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Reserve the remaining tomato sauce for pouring over the braid.

Serves: 6-8

For the beef filling last night, I used frozen peas, and seasoned it with oregano instead of a seasoning mix. It was really good. I think my husband likes the turkey filling best, but they're both really good!

There is something else I do that makes this recipe easy. I use a bread maker to make my roll dough. It's an easy recipe, and you can use it for a 2-lb bread maker that has a dough setting between 75 and 90 minutes long.

Basic Breadmaker Rolls

1 1/3 c. water
1 egg
1 T. yeast
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. oil
1 t. salt
1 t. lemon juice
4 c. flour

Put all ingredients in bread maker pan in order listed. Choose correct dough setting and let it make itself!

You can use half wheat flour for this dough recipe. When I've used whole wheat flour, it's been a little too heavy for my bread maker to handle. A lot of times I put cooked, leftover 9-grain cereal in pan on top of the flour. If you do that, watch your dough to make sure the cereal doesn't make the dough too soft. If it does, you will have to add more flour.