Balance vs. Chaos


I have just finished reading  Amanda Sullivan’s book entitled “Organized Enough“.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about de–junking/de-cluttering/streamlining…whatever you want to call it, I love to ORGANIZE!  

Somehow, though, over the last year and a half, I have lost structure and routine and the peace that it brings to my soul.  Oh heck, I retired a year and a half ago and that’s when it started.  Do you know what I mean?  

My scheduled little life blew up in my face when that Monday – Friday,
12 -5pm routine was just GONE.  

You start saying yes to all kinds of stuff because you’re like “Yes, I have all kinds of time now.  Bring it on!” 

You lose the focus and planning that got you through your busy–but orderly–days.  

Your cleaning routine…LOL…what routine? I am lucky to get the laundry done in 2 days instead of on Tuesday when it’s scheduled.  Where did all those dirty clothes come from? We’re Empty Nesters!

Cleaning is hit-and-miss.  

You DO get to travel more, though! We’re driving all over the place–doing the good, better and the best.

But here is the sweet stuff:  visiting family and going to the beach more often because you don’t have to find someone to fill in for you at work. You can finally serve others because you have the time to do it right when it is needed.

Don’t get me wrong.  Retirement is a good thing and there are lots of great things you can do with your new-found freedom, but you do need to balance everything and put things in their proper perspective.  

For the first time in my life, I find myself running around like the proverbial “chicken with her head cut off.”  You know you’ve been there, too.  I saw you the last time I was there.  

You are working on one thing, like getting through the layers of TO DO/TO FILE/TO PAY piled on your desk, and you think of something you need in the next room.

You go to that room and see something that needs to be taken care of, and BAM!  About 20 minutes later you remember you were supposed to be organizing your desk for the umpteenth flippin’ time.

This book is a great resource for you if you crave balance in your life and you are tired of just doing a balancing ACT, which  leads me to something I highlighted on p. 196, in the chapter on cultivating the habit of consistency:

“A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods (Ann Rice)…”

Consistency and routine free up your brain for more important tasks…Scientists have shown that we experience a mental drain when we switch back and forth from one task to another and…when we have to think too much about our next move.  Consistency, whether it’s about what we wear to work or the time of day we open our mail, eliminates the back-and-forth deliberation and the decision making, so we don’t have to think about it.  We just do it.

So I am re-learning something that I realized years ago: you have got to get the ‘housekeeping’ done in your life.  

A good routine can take care of all those things that just have to be done every week, and leave you with the physical and mental energy you need to do the things that give you peace and make your heart smile.

I hope all of that made sense to you.  Comment below and let me know what you think…


A personal note:  Today is my sweet  Mom’s birthday.  She passed away from Alzheimer’s almost 2 years ago.  What a sweet, quiet spirit she had. 


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Copycat Wendy’s Chili


Okay, this is going to have to be quick because I have to get back to watching the Winter Olympics.  Every time.  

My sister shared this recipe with me when we visited one time during a cold winter weekend.  Comfort food at its best and it smelled so good in her house while it was cooking.  Super easy recipe, and could easily be done in the slow cooker.  Be sure and get some of those cute Premium Saltine Minis.  I think they just taste better because they are so small.  Kids I love to snack on them.

Great dish for a baked potato bar while you are watching ballgames or any time you are feeding a crowd.  We had a baked potato bar when I fixed this and now I have leftover spuds.  Stay tuned for my next recipe–baked potato soup!



Copycat Wendy's Chili
Serves 12
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  1. 2 lbs. ground chuck
  2. 1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
  3. 1 29-oz. can dark red kidney beans (with liquid)
  4. 1 29-oz. can pinto beans (with liquid)
  5. 1 c. diced onion (medium)
  6. 1/2 c. diced green chilies
  7. 1/4 c. diced celery
  8. 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  9. 2 t. cumin
  10. 3 T. chili powder
  11. 1 1/2 t. black pepper
  12. 2 t. salt
  13. 2 c. water
  1. Brown the beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain off fat.
  2. Using a fork or other tool for chopping meat, crumble the cooked beef into pea-size pieces.
  3. In a large pot, combine the beef plus all remaining ingredients, and bring to simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes for 2-3 hours.
  1. I had a big crowd over for dinner so I doubled the recipe, but only 1 1/2'd (is that a word?) the spices and water.
  2. Add-ins: sour cream, shredded Mexican blend cheese, saltine mini crackers.
Adapted from Amy Eason
Adapted from Amy Eason
Mormon Mavens

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Lemon Pie Tarts


lemon pie tartsWhen a recipe is not only easy and quick but also impressive-looking, you know you’ve got a keeper.  And these Lemon Pie Tarts fit the bill.

I had been seeing them on Pinterest but, not being much of a lemon-lover, I kinda ignored them.  But since I had a church event to plan food for, I decided to give them a try since they looked pretty easy.

I’m so glad I did.  These little guys are so easy but so cute!  And I think you could really use any pie filling you wanted to use.  Lemon is a no-brainer because it’s such a pretty pastel color.

The original recipe I found (and several others) used much larger flower cutters.  This requires you to only use every other mini-muffin tin well when baking.  Well, call me lazy, but I really didn’t want to have to take twice as long to bake these suckers up.  So I chose a smaller flower cutter, which I think made the crust-to-filling ration even better!

lemon pie tarts cutting the crust

lemon pie tarts muffin tin

piercing the crust

fresh out of the oven crusts

baked crusts ready for filling

Lemon Pie Tarts
Easy, quick, cute party food.
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Cook Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
  1. 1 box ready-to-bake pie crusts (roll-out type)
  2. 1 can lemon creme (lemon pie filling in the baking aisle)
  3. powdered sugar
  1. Set out your pie crusts so that they come to room temperature.
  2. When ready, preheat over to 450 degrees.
  3. Roll out the pie crust, then use your flower cutter to cut out as many flowers as will fit. I got about a dozen flowers using my cutter. It just depends on the size you choose.
  4. Place flower crusts into wells of a mini muffin pan. With smaller flowers, don't press all the way down. You want to have at least the edges of the petals flaring out a bit on the edge.
  5. Pierce the bottoms with a fork to prevent air bubbles.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
  7. When ready to serve, dust the empty shells with powdered sugar. Open the lemon creme and spoon it into a pastry bag. Fill the shells with the filling and serve.
  1. If you don't have a pastry bag you can use a ziploc bag. Spoon the filling into the bag, seal it, then cut a small corner at the bottom of the bag to fill.
  2. The rolled out pie crusts come two to a box. I got a couple dozen flowers out of one box. Again, it depends on the size cutter you use.
Mormon Mavens

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Why We Are Baptized




We have an exciting event happening in our family this coming week.  My 8-year-old grandson is being baptized at church!  We are taught that children reach the age of accountability–they are able to distinguish right from wrong–at 8 years old.  So this is a big milestone in his life, as it is for anyone, and we will be able to participate in that this Saturday afternoon.

Today I just wanted to share this really good video with you that shows children telling what they know about Jesus Christ’s baptism and about why it is important to follow His example.  In case you have trouble viewing it, here is the link:


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Brunswick Stew



When we were little and living in Northern Virginia, our summer vacations usually consisted of driving down to Wilmington, North Carolina and visiting my grandparents, on my Dad’s side of the family.  We would either rent a cottage for  the week on one of the beaches in the area or we would stay at Grandpa and Grandma Brew’s house in Leland.  

Always lots of stuff to do when visiting there like going down to Grandpa’s store and filling a small brown paper bag with whatever candy and treats we could fit into it from the old candy case–we each got our own bag!–and we could get a drink from the drink case, where we could use the attached bottle opener to open a cold Pepsi or Mountain Dew–you know, before flip tops and screw caps.

Another favorite must-do while there was to go to a local seafood restaurant (I would usually get fried shrimp) and to go to Skinner & Daniels BBQ. Here is where the recipe memory gets really tasty.  If my mind serves me right, I usually liked to get the BBQ chicken and ALWAYS the Brunswick Stew.  So good. So “d-wicious”, as my grandson would say.  This is not their recipe, but I think Mom got it from Grandma Brew.  That’s my guess, anyway.

Skinner & Daniels isn’t there anymore–long gone and probably replaced by an auto parts or mattress store, but the memories are still there.

Land sakes, (Grandma used to say that), look what I found on Google!  So glad someone thought to put this on Pinterest.


A little side-note:  I ran out of time between running to Walmart– because I didn’t have any Lima Beans– and a meeting that I had at 10:00 this morning, so I Googled cooking this in the slow cooker.  I found good instructions for doing this and saw that they had also included a pork tenderloin.  Well you know I didn’t have that on hand, but what I did have was Thrive Life Freeze-dried Pulled Pork .  Thanks goodness for my Thrive! Threw everything in my Crockpot for 4 hours and now my house is smelling so good.


Brunswick Stew
Serves 4
A tasty stew, often found in local BBQ restaurants in the South.
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  1. 2 T. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 12 oz. boneless chicken, cut into 1" cubes
  4. 1 1/2 c. THRIVE freeze-dried Pulled Pork
  5. 6 c. chicken broth (30-oz. can)
  6. 1 (16-oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  7. 1 c. baby lima beans
  8. 1 c. corn kernels
  9. 1 c. sliced okra (opt.)
  10. 1/2 c. raw rice
  11. 2 t. dried thyme
  12. 2-3 t. Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  13. 14 t. Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
  1. In large soup pot, heat oil and saute onion over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken, broth, pork, tomatoes, limas, corn, okra, rice and thyme.
  3. Bring to simmer, reduce heat, and cook, partially covered, for about 25 minutes, until rice is tender.
  4. Season with Worcestershire and Tabasco.
  5. Serve with cornbread, corn sticks, or hushpuppies (never heard of these? Stay tuned.)
  1. Can be made 2 days ahead.
  2. Leftover chicken would be fine in this soup. Add 2 c. cubed meat during last few minutes of cooking.
  3. This soup takes particularly well by doubling. Use an 8 qt. pot and make enough for at least 2 meals.
Adapted from Pat Brew, The Brew Family Cookbook, vol. 2 "Strange Brew"
Adapted from Pat Brew, The Brew Family Cookbook, vol. 2 "Strange Brew"
Mormon Mavens

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Share the Vision


You might be wondering why there is a picture of a chicken on today’s Morsel post.  Well, I was “scratching” around for inspiration on what I could post today and thought I would share something that I just read in my Gospel study–just 10 minutes ago.  

Along with reading from the scriptures (right now it’s the Book of Mormon) I read an article from the Ensign .  I am also reading Lead, Guide, and Walk Beside —a great resource for women as they serve with and beside other leaders in the Church.  This is a great book and I will probably be sharing more nuggets from it in future posts–I am learning so much!

This particular insight came from a chapter on being a leader with vision.  It is critical to your success as a church leader–even as a parent, committee chair, manager–to share your vision with those you are leading.  Ardeth G. Kapp, the author of Lead, Guide… illustrates what I am talking about with the story of “The Little Red Hen.”  

We probably all remember reading our Little Golden Book story of the little red hen who wanted to bake homemade bread–she was so committed to this goal that she could almost smell it baking in the oven, but it was a daunting task since she had not even planted the wheat to start the process.  She wisely approaches her barnyard friends to enlist their help with this endeavor and ,as we all know, they turn her down.  



So she goes back home, works hard and completes this project by herself.  As she is enjoying the wonderful smell of her freshly baked bread her barnyard pals are enjoying it, too.  They beat a path to her door to partake of the fruits of her labors but are not allowed even a taste, because they didn’t help.

How do you think this story would have turned out if Red had shared her complete vision with each friend that she approached for help?  What if she had told them of the great party they would have sharing the bread they ALL worked for, the bonds of friendship they would strengthen, the skills that each would develop in the process? 

Imagine how much bread they would have produced by working together, and how they could have shared their abundance with others down the road.

I love this quote from the book:

A visionary leader will help others see what she sees, hear what she hears, and feel what she feels.  When we share the vision, we inspire others with the real purpose–“the grand why.” There are many reasons why we do some things and not others, but the “grand why” is to serve people, reach people, bless people, and bring souls unto Christ.

 I know someone who has done all of that and more–our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has shared His vision with us through scripture and example and He is the most successful and loved leader of all.


Image of hen from Pixabay.


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So, I spend a lot of time at our local Family YMCA.  Between Yoga, Body Pump and Zumba, I put in about 6 hours a week–and I work out at home a couple of days.  Anyway, sometimes our Y staff will provide copies of healthy, easy recipes for the patrons to take home.  I have tried a few and they usually turn out pretty tasty.  This hummus is no exception.  I think it took about 5 minutes or so to put together.  It took longer for me to do the “photo shoot” than it did to prepare the recipe.

This is an easy dish to customize, so if you DO like hummus–it’s an acquired taste–and you want a little something extra, try these:

  • Roasted Garlic–for a more mellow flavor, roast the garlic in the oven or on the stove top before adding to the chickpeas.
  • Roasted Red Pepper–use a small jar of red pepper strips (pimientos) and mix most of the peppers in with the hummus in the blender. For more flavor you can use the liquid in the jar in place of some of the oil.  Garnish with a few pepper strips.
  • Southwestern–Decrease the salt and pepper.  Add about 1/8 t. of cumin and a dash of cayenne pepper.


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  1. 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. a few drops of sesame oil
  4. 1 t. fresh minced garlic
  5. 1 T. lemon juice
  6. 1/2 t. salt & 1/4 t. black pepper (to taste)
  1. Combine the chickpeas, oils, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.
  2. Process to desired consistency, scraping down the sides of the food processor a couple of times during the blending.
  3. If texture is too thick, drizzle in a little more olive oil or a small amount of water.
  4. Scoop into a bowl, stirring in salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Serve with pita chips, pretzels, or vegetables for dipping.
Adapted from unknown source
Adapted from unknown source
Mormon Mavens

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Copycat Hardee’s Biscuits

Here in the South, biscuits hold an honored place at your table, no matter which meal is being served.  I don’t make them often because, well, they wreak havoc on any weight loss efforts I may currently be pursuing.  But once in a while someone wants biscuits and sausage gravy and there you go.  

Way back in the 1980’s our family acquired this delicious biscuit recipe from someone who shall remain nameless, because I don’t want to get them in trouble-and I can’t remember his name anyway.

There are lots of ways to serve them–one of my favorite being to eat them with butter and strawberry jam.  Oh and if you like cheese biscuits do this: instead of rolling them out and cutting them, just pinch off a good size portion of dough–like maybe the size of a tangerine or a little bigger–roll it into a ball, then kind of pat it out enough to wrap around about a 2 to 3-inch cube of sharp cheddar cheese, place in your pan and bake.  Shut your mouth good, y’all. If you are from Eastern North Carolina and have been to an Abram’s BBQ you will know what I’m talkin’ about–maybe I will try making a Tutti Frutti some time. Yeah, those…

Next time you get a hankering to have some comfort food, serve up some of these babies and you will be surprised at the compliments you get. By the way, the ingredient amounts on this recipe make for a LOT of biscuits.  I usually just half the recipe.

Be sure and shoot us a comment and let us know how you like these and how you like to serve them.  

Copycat Hardee's Biscuits
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  1. 8 3/4 c. self-rising flour
  2. 1 1/2 c. Crisco shortening
  3. 2 T. Baking Powder
  4. 1 quart buttermilk
  5. 2 T. Sugar
  1. Mix flour, baking powder and sugar for 20 seconds by hand. Work in Crisco.
  2. Add milk all at once. Mix quickly.
  3. Put on floured surface. Roll out to desired thickness and cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Brush tops with melted butter, if desired.
  1. We got this recipe from an unnamed source back in the 80's. Hardees might have changed their recipe since then, but these are dang good.
Mormon Mavens

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Tiger Butter Fudge

Ever need to make a treat to take to an event but don’t really want to go to the trouble?  Or maybe you just want a treat for yourself?

With only three ingredients, this recipe is a winner and you’ll be toting/indulging in this treat in no time!

tiger butter fudge

tiger butter fudge prep

Chocolates are melted, peanut butter is about to go into the white chocolate, and the pan is ready.

This is the fun part!

tiger butter fudge

Easy recipe…..peanut butter and chocolate….pretty…..WIN!

Tiger Butter Fudge
With only three ingredients, this recipe is one you can whip up in no time.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1 (12 oz) bag of white chocolate chips
  2. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  3. 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil so that when you are ready to cut and serve, you can easily lift out the fudge.
  2. Place the semisweet chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Continue to melt in microwave in 30 second increments until the chips are melted. Set aside.
  3. Repeat this process in a different bowl with the white chocolate chips. Stir peanut butter into the melted white chocolate.
  4. Pour the white chocolate/peanut butter mixture into the pan. Don't worry about spreading it to the edge, just let it spread as far as it will on its own.
  5. Use a spoon or spatula to drop the semisweet chocolate onto the white chocolate mixture in rough lines.
  6. Using a butter knife, run through the fudge in the opposite direction of the semisweet lines, making a marbled pattern. Do this until you get the look you like!
  7. Allow to set at room temperature, or place it in the fridge to set quickly. Lift out the foil and place on a cutting board; cut in pieces.
Mormon Mavens

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Bacon/Cranberry/Pecan Stuffed Celery


What are your food traditions for Christmas?  Do you celebrate on Christmas Eve or do you wait until the 25th to party with your people?  We celebrate on Christmas Eve with a scratch-made (almost) Mexican dinner, and then on Christmas Day we join with more family and enjoy a go-to fare of finger foods. Everyone who can shows up at my parents’ home–at various times, but ending up together around 4:00 pm or so–for munchies of the savory AND sweet variety–followed by a rousing game of WINNER–one for the littles and one for the not-so-littles (by age)–this is usually followed by games of Trivial Pursuit–where it’s women vs. men–Psych, maybe a favorite Christmas movie and some football, of course.

My offerings this year were Kris Kringles–a family tradition which is like Rice Krispy Treats on steroids–and this new dish that I found on Pinterest.  You know how sometimes you try a recipe from there and sometimes it bombs? This one didn’t–it delivered as promised.  I seriously went back into the kitchen  numerous times for more of these celery treats instead of more sweet stuff.  I know–it’s hard to believe, but it is true. I must be growing up.  

Alas, the celery ran out before the filling did when I was putting them together.  So what’s a girl to do?  Form said filling into a cheese ball, put it on a small platter, and arrange crackers around it.  That was tasty, as well.  A versatile and visually appealing recipe.  I am adding this one to my holiday favorites.


Bacon Cranberry Pecan Stuffed Celery
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  1. 12 celery stalks, cleaned, cut into portions
  2. 1/2 lb crispy cooked bacon, drained and crumbled
  3. 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  4. 1/2 cup pecans, toasted in butter and chopped
  5. 1/2 cup craisins, chopped
  6. 2 green onions, finely chopped
  7. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  8. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Cook bacon until crispy, drain on paper towels, then chop.
  2. Chop pecans, Craisins, and green onion.
  3. In a small bowl, combine: Cream cheese, bacon, pecans, Craisins, green onion, heavy cream, and garlic powder. Stir to mix well.
  4. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes so that the flavors connect well with each other.
  5. Clean celery and cut into desired portion size.
  6. To stuff celery, carefully spread cream cheese mixture into each portion of celery.
  7. Refrigerate until time to serve--keep chilled.
  1. Our original source used glazed walnuts, but I couldn't find any at the store so I substituted pecans which I already had on hand.
  2. The original recipe suggests using a piping bag with a LARGE tip or a Ziploc bag with a large hole cut in a corner to stuff the celery. I tried this, but my filling was too stiff, so I just used a small knife to spread it--and sometimes I just placed some in with my fingers.
Adapted from Just A Pinch
Adapted from Just A Pinch
Mormon Mavens

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