Friday, March 9, 2012

Food for thought

Sometimes you just need a deep thought (or a good kick in the pants) to remind you what is most important in life.  Neal A Maxwell can just about always give me a good dosage of perspective when I need it.

Here are a few thoughts I came across while listening to an old BYU devotional while while cooking dinner yesterday.   They remind me that the everyday tasks of being a parent might seem mundane, but they can actually bringing me closer to God (if done with the right attitude). If I ever feel like my life is boring or there should be more to it than loads of laundry and grocery lists, I just need to read this talk again.

"Routine, like trials, can bring us closer to God, or move us away from Him.  What seems common place, seldom is."

Are your routines bringing you closer to God?

In the same talk, Elder Maxwell also said:

"Occasionally I see individuals who are meeting life's challenges reasonably well but who unfortunately fail to appreciate the general adequacy of their response. They let the seeming ordinariness of life dampen their spirits. Though actually coping and growing, some ask the quiet inner-soul satisfaction which can steady them. Instead they seem to experience a lingering sense that there is something more important they should be doing or that their chores are somehow not quite what was expected, as if what is quietly achieved in righteous individual living or in parenthood is not sufficiently spectacular.

Feeling unrequited as to role and feeling underwhelmed do not occur, however, because of a structural failure in this divinely designed second estate. Rather they occur because of a lack of love, for love helps us to see and to respond to those opportunities which have been allotted to us and which lie unused all about us. Before we complain about the curriculum in mortality, or more particularly our current class schedules, we would do well to remember who designed the curriculum and to allow for however many other places it has been successfully used."

For the full text of the talk, go here and click on the first talk (it is called Grounded, Rooted, Established and Settled.) 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ranch Dressing Recipe

After reading the comments left from the MSG post, I looked at the salad dressings in my fridge and, low and behold, there is MSG in my Hidden Valley Ranch (The original recipe.  I couldn't see it in the home style recipe).
NOOOOOO!  I love a good vinegerette, but through and through, I am a ranch girl.  Well, thanks to my friend Jamie, here is a recipe for ranch that is MSG free!

Ranch Dressing
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. mayo (we get olive oil mayo)
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 to 3/4 c. buttermilk (or milk to taste)
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbs. chopped chives
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
With a fork, make paste of garlic and salt. Mix in all other ingredients. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Optional ingredients: white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, pepper, Tabasco

Finally, I had to post this website uncovering all of the foods with MSG served at . . . . . . . . . . Burger King and McDonalds.  Reason number 1,752 why I don't eat fast food.

Monday, February 6, 2012


What exactly is MSG?  Why is it so bad  terrible for your body?  (Click here for a great website explaining what MSG is). 

Today I was looking for bratwurst for my husband's birthday.  I grabbed the normal brand of brats that we have been eating and suddenly started to read the ingredients.  To my horror, I read that there is corn syrup and Mono-Sodium Glutamate in it (MSG)I threw the package down frustrated and picked up the brand right next to it.  Again, corn syrup and MSG were listed.  Seriously?  I thought that people got off the MSG train in the 90's.  Don't food manufacturers know this flavor additive is a slow poison to our bodies?  Luckily, I was able to find a different, but slightly more expensive brand. 

The more I look, the more I am finding the nasty substance in food.  It is in the canned chili I regularly buy and serve with a baked potato.  It is in all of the canned soups I used to use to make casseroles or funeral potatoes. I am having to change what I buy and how I cook.  This been frustrating and a slow process, but we are getting there.

What I would like to know:
  • Where have you found MSG that has surprised you? 
  • What do you do to avoid MSG?

I have found a canned soup substitute that works well.  In fact, I think it has more flavor and gives the dish a more fresh (or less preserved) flavor.

Better-Than-Condensed-Soup White Sauce
Makes about the same as one 10-oz. can
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, stock or combination
  1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan.
  2. Blend in the flour and salt, cooking until bubbly.
  3. Stir in your choice of milk, stock or a combination of the two, using a wire whisk to prevent lumps.
  4. Cook until just smooth and thickened.
Optional flavors and add-ins (replacing various “cream of…” condensed soups):
  • cheese: add 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/4 t. dry mustard
  • tomato: use tomato juice as liquid (instead of milk or stock); add a dash of each: garlic salt, dried onion, basil and oregano.
  • mushroom: sauté 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms and 1 T. finely chopped onion in the butter, before adding the flour.
  • celery: sauté 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1 T. finely chopped onion in the butter, before adding the flour.
  • chicken: use chicken broth/stock as half the liquid. Add 1/4 t. poultry seasoning or sage, and diced cooked chicken, if desired.
  • for other varied flavors, try: curry powder, garlic/onion/celery salt, grated nutmeg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, chopped or blended vegetables, chopped parsley, chopped chives, chopped hard-cooked eggs.
 Delicious meals that can be made from a white sauce:
·       Chicken Pot Pie
·       Chicken Alfredo
·       Beef Stroganoff
·       Broccoli cheese soup
·       Potato chowder
·       Hawaiian Haystacks
·       Macaroni and Cheese
*I love to add a small container of Greek yogurt to my white sauce for added protein and a nice tangy flavor.

Be Fit 'n' Faithful!

This year, I am trying to educate myself about health and fitness, as well as feed myself spiritually.  I will share what I learn as I study different aspects of nutrition and health.  I will also post spiritual thoughts.  As a mother, I find it is easy to become so consumed with the daily tasks of house-cleaning, cooking, meal-planning, taking care of children, and so on, that I often forget to make some time for myself.

In an effort to stay balanced and be the best me that I can be, I am trying to be more healthy (spiritually and physically).  I would love it if you shared your favorite healthy recipes with me.  One thing I realized is that if I am going to cut out unhealthy food from my diet, I need to have something with which to replace it.

So, if you have any thoughts on nutrition, exercise, living a healthy lifestyle or staying strong spiritually, please share it with me!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2 goals

I have two goals for 2012.
1: Increase my faith in Christ through daily scripture study
2: Increase my health through better diet choices and consistent exercise.

This blog is about my journey.

Will you join me?