Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Love ever gives.
Forgives, outlives.
And ever stands with open hands.
And while it lives, it gives.
For this is love's prerogative --
to give and give and give.

John Oxenham 1852-1941

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Alternative Chicken Soup

Chicken noodle soup is the best therapy for a cold. Unfortunately we've needed it the last couple of weeks. I was in the mood for something a little different the other day and I tried adding a few different spices to my chicken soup and ended up with an interesting soup, more like a stew, that I think is as good for a cold as chicken noodle.

I'll give a recipe for about 8 servings, because when I make soup, I like to make a big pot so we can have leftovers once or twice. Cut the recipe down if you want a smaller amount, or if you don't have a nice big pot to make it in.

Chicken Soup, Moroccan Style

I used
3 chicken breasts. Cook them anyway you like and cut or tear the meat into small pieces. If you cook it in water, save the broth to add to the soup. (I had about 5 cups meat - but you could use a lot less or even leave it out.)

Chop the following and saute in
olive oil:
3 stalks celery
4 carrots
an onion
a sweet pepper, any color you like

(If you cook the celery and carrot alone for first for a few minutes, then the pepper and onion won't get too overdone.)

water, (use the water the chicken cooked in.) I think I added about 9 or 10 cups water total, but you don't need to start with that much, 6 is probably enough to finish cooking the carrots and the pasta. Add soup base, probably 2 Tblspoons now and 2 later, as you adjust the seasonings. (You can use bullion cubes instead of soup base or you could use broth.) Bring the water to a boil and add 1 1/3 C orzo. (about half a 1lb box). Cook 10 minutes.

2 large cans diced tomatoes
2 cans garbanzo beans
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger and cumin
3/4 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
pepper to taste, maybe a heaping 1/4 t
a couple more Tblspoons of soup base
you probably don't need any salt
more water if you need it

(The orzo absorbs the water and the soup gets thicker after a little while. And especially in the refrigerator overnight.)

Heat through.

I like this soup because it smells fantastic and the flavor is so interesting. And almost all the ingredients can be found in the pantry. I hope you like it too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A favorite poem

This is a favorite poem by Emily Dickinson.

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Never suppress a generous impulse.

A few weeks ago I found Gretchen Rubin's excellent blog The Happiness Project. I wanted to try a little happiness project of my own. I decided to devote the month of February to love. I thought of love for God and also my family and friends and even thought of reaching out to those I don't know. Why not just include everyone!

As I contemplated how to show my love for God I thought first of my personal devotions and then I remembered what Jesus said about the good we do for those in need - when "ye have done it unto one of the least of these... ye have done it unto me." This reminded me of what King Benjamin taught his people, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

So I decided to try to find ways to brighten someone's day. Hopefully each day. Maybe with something that took some time or required a bit of a sacrifice. I wondered if I could actually find an opportunity for a good deed like that each day. But I knew I'd find opportunities to be cheerful at least, and smile at the check-out clerk or whoever I encountered as I went about my business. I could use Camilla Kimball's rule "never suppress a generous impulse" to guide me.

That was what I hoped and intended. As the days passed I was surprised to find so many ways I felt impressed to reach out to someone. Maybe with something from my kitchen, maybe with a phone call, maybe a walk together, maybe a note of encouragement...

And the result of this was that I woke up one day late in the first week of this endeavor feeling unreasonably happy. I searched my mind for the source of my happy mood and remembered what the Dalai Lama said about doing good. "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." I realized that even just a few days of looking for little ways to show my love for God by attempting to "give the succor He would give"* had turned out to be a big happiness producer.

Which sort of seems ironic. I meant to be spreading cheer to others, but I ended up with a heaping portion of it myself.
*Henry B. Eyring,"Our Hearts Knit as One," Ensign, Nov 2008, 71

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Favorite Birthday Cake

Here's the recipe of the cake I made to celebrate Kaylie's birthday. My mother-in-law gave me the recipe about 30 years ago and it's been a favorite birthday cake for all of us.

This will make a 9 " square cake. Double it if you have a bigger crowd - you can make two 9" layers, three 8" ones or a 9"x13" cake. Yum!

Marjorie's Black Forest Cake

Combine dry ingredients:
3/4 C and 2 T flour
1 C sugar
1/4 C and 2 T cocoa
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Sift all this together.

In a separate bowl combine:
1 egg
1/2 C milk
1/4 C melted butter
2 t vanilla
1/2 C water

Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Pour into a greased and floured pan and bake at 350 degress for 25 minutes.

Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Spread a can of chilled cherry pie filling on top and garnish generously with whipped cream.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Kaylie

Feb 3, 2009 is the twenty-first anniversary of a very happy day.

Even from the earliest moments we could sense Kaylie's sweetness, but we really couldn't begin to anticipate the many joys that she would bring us. We've seen that she's as strong as she is sweet. And has many other delightful qualities as well.

We are so grateful for the 21 years we've enjoyed with her.

Happy Birthday Kaylie.