Hamburger Soup

It is soup weather here in North Carolina!  This is a an easy, budget friendly soup that doesn’t call for bouillon (which I try to avoid).  Enjoy!

Sauté together:
2 cloves garlic
2 chopped onions
1 lb. Hamburger
Continue to cook until the Hamburger is well done then add:
1 qt. diced tomatoes
2 qt. water
5 chopped carrots
5 chopped celery sticks
6 peeled and chopped potatoes
1/4 t. thyme
1 t. parsley
2 bay leaves. 
Cook on low for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from heat and add a little vinegar, a little honey, a little cayenne and salt to taste.

Source: Catherine Miller

Easy Whole Wheat Waffles (Dairy Free)

I have used this recipe for 12 years because it is so simple and easy!  My kids love it with frozen berries and hot syrup on top (We usually make our own syrup).

3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 Tbl. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Cup Oil (I use EVOO and we like it but if that doesn’t fit your taste buds another healthy alternative is Coconut Oil)
3 Eggs
3 Cups Water

If you like your waffles a little sweet you can add:
A squeeze of honey (I probably use about 2 tsp. worth), or one mashed Banana

Mix all ingredients together and cook in greased waffle iron.  Serve hot.


12 years ago today I got the best Christmas present of my life, I married my husband for time and all eternity in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.    The greatest lesson I have learned in these last 12 years of marriage is that this life is made more full, more happy, and more meaningful by being a part of a family unit.    

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World the First Presidency of the church states:

“THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”

I am so grateful for my family and especially for my husband who is devoted to me and his 3 (almost 4) children.  I pray that you and your family be blessed this holiday season and that you remember what a gift it is to be a part of a family!

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

This is a great and easy recipe to use up your left over ham!  Enjoy

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion (I like to use dried onions because lets face it chopping onions is no fun)
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 cup cooked ham (I use ham steak)
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
5 tbls. butter
5 tbls. flour
2 cups milk

Combine potatoes, celery, onion, carrot, ham and chicken broth together in stockpot.  Bring to a boil then turn down heat to simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in flour and cook stirring constantly until think (about 1 min).  Slowly stir in the milk and continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick (4-5 min).

Add the milk mixture to the stockpot.

Serve with grated cheese, chives, bacon etc.


Banana Bread

I am back…I have been so sick but am finally feeling better.  It feels good to cook again.  This is my favorite Banana Bread recipe.  It is moist, cuts without crumbling, and has the yummiest crust (as shown in the picture).  Enjoy!

6 ripe mashed bananas
3 1/2 c. sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 c. oil
1/2 c. sour cream
2 t. vanilla

Mix above ingredients together well.  In another bowl mix together the following ingredients:

4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 t. soda

Mix together the dry and wet ingredients and pour into 3 greased regular size loaf pans.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Source: Katie Palmer

Pumpkin Bars

I know, I know it isn’t Halloween yet. BUT we all want it to be right?  I make these bars year round, in fact my husband’s work asks for them for every work gathering.  It feeds a big crowd and you will love them!!!

1 c. oil (I use coconut oil)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. pureed pumpkin (or squash/sweet potatoes)

Mix together then add:

2 c. flour (whole wheat works well!)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove)

Mix together well and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes in a greased cookie sheet.

*frost when cooled
3 oz. cream cheese
6 T. softened butter
1 t. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. (or more) milk

Source: Honica Smith

Chicken Noodle Soup

My friend brought over lunch the other day and this is what she made.  My husband loved it.  It is easy and goes well with biscuits!

2 tsp. Chicken soup base
3 cups Chicken soup stock or broth
2 cups Carrots, chopped
3/4 cup Onion, chopped
2 cups Celery, chopped
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1/4 cup Evaporate Milk or 1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Chicken, cooked
4 cups Country Style Egg Noodles, cooked
Salt and Pepper

Cook the vegetables in chicken broth, not too done.  Add the soup, milk, chicken and noodles.  Heat through.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If you want it thinner just add milk.

Source: Cheryl Harris


This past week I was preparing a talk on service, by the end of my preparation I realized that I was focusing on service wrong.  I needed to be focused on Charity.  

Elder Marvin J. Ashton beautifully observed: “Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” 

I was a recipient of true charity today.  When I left church I found a gift for me on my car from an anonymous giver.  Because it was given at church I know it was from someone who has seen my weaknesses (they are apparent every Sunday when I am trying to fulfill my calling), but instead they chose to love me despite those weaknesses.  Their acceptance and love for me were apparent in the gift.  It was the beautiful painting pictured above.  Whomever painted it knows my love for reading and books.  I am so grateful for their act of Charity.  I pray that they know how much it means to me!

Pureed Fruit Muffin

School is starting and kids need a good healthy breakfast to get the day started right!  This muffin recipe and a smoothie is a great way to get your kids the nutrition they need. The kids love it, in fact my 9 year old son can make it himself!  It is healthy, vegan, and YUMMY!

Pureed Fruit Muffins

1/2 c. coconut oil (you can use butter but I like coconut oil better)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar (or sucanat)
1 c. pureed fruit (fresh or bottled)
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. soda
1/2 t. salt

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Note: Some fruit suggestions are: applesauce, apples, bananas, peaches, and pineapple.  I also will add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger.  This recipe is very forgiving so play with it and find what your family loves.  Enjoy!

Source: Annie Miller

Sweet Tomatillo Dressing

This is a recipe I got from my cousin, who got it from Pinterest.  The recipe is for chicken enchiladas of sorts but we found that we like the sauce so much that we have it on had for salad, quesadillas, beans, rice, and veggies.  It kind of is our new ranch.  In her recipe she just called it the sauce, but I will name it Sweet Tomatillo Dressing.  You can find the original recipe here:

1 Cup Salsa Verde
1 pkg Buttermilk Ranch (I just use ranch seasonings so I can avoid MSG)
1/3 cup fresh Cilantro (I add a bit more because I love it)
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp mince Garlic
1/2 tsp coarse Salt
1 Tbsp fresh Lime Juice (I usually to help with the flavor and to maintain freshness, probably a whole lime)
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 cup Sugar (I use honey and it works great but honey is sweeter so I just add it to taste)

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.