Friday, December 14, 2012

Scripture Keys for Today:  Mosiah 8

-The working of miracles is to benefit fellow beings

-The wisdom of men is blind

 17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.
 18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore
 he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.

 20 O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people; yea, and how blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I've had this exact question...and so have my friends

A new Post from Spencer, Answering E.

Question for Spencer–How do you keep a balance of living in this world (i.e. the culture of this world) with striving for Zion? As I have read your story, I too am filled with joy and a deep desire to prepare myself for a Zion life. I find myself becoming more and more serious and my conversations becoming “heavy” to those around me. I have intense desires for a Zion life–I have ever since I was a young child and became “aware.” I find that this is not good for my children who need a mother who is “light” and unburdened by the call. Yet when I learn these things of Zion, the cultural norms of our world (I’m speaking of things that would be considered “acceptable” to our LDS culture–movies, TV, books, politics, medical practices, to name a few) seem to repulse me and I become more unrelatable–respected, but unrelatable. How then do you, knowing what you so definitively know, operate as a father, husband, friend, community member, etc.?
E, I will attempt to discuss this process. May the Lord be with me.
When we are shown the great love and compassion the Savior has for all that He has been given by the Father. Who we are, every one of us has been given to Christ by the Father or we would not be on this site.. He knows our needs, and our wants. When we see this clearly, our needs and wants diminish considerably, we change and we see the process so much clearer and far more deeply. This clarity is then imparted to us in regards to what all of us must past through so we can lay this mortal by and put it all, everything, holding nothing back on the altar and consider each person in their present place, in their present progression in a new light. The Lord gives us this vision and we become changed by it. Dificult, Yes. Necessary, for sure. He then shows us our standing before the Lord, as we progress through this veil of tears and into the place where Zion penetrates our wanderings and daily walk until it consumes us. The things of this world then seem to start taking care of themselves. A transition takes place in us and our efforts can then become multiplied, blessed and sanctified. People then begin to know instinctivly that we love them in ways that are higher then how we used to Love, act and how we used to be. Higher than the lone and dreary world which bogs us down and causes us to flee from the world because we are fearful it might splash on us and contaminate our efforts. Because it certainly has the tendency to drag us down with it.
We then no longer are motivated out of attraction, lust or the desire for status or power or gain. Our pride becomes swollowed up in the Love He shows us and the purpose that burns in our bones like a fire shut up within them. Our desire to do this and become this, is known by the Lord in the same fashion that we are known.
We than start treating others as He treats us. They become caught up in the rapture of His purposes and begin to accept all other souls in the place they dwell and our desires become the spark which moves them to see with new eyes and feel with a new heart. Others than begin to lift up their heads and turn to the Lord and transform themselves bit by bit till they are no longer comfortable with where they reside and live. The discomfort of it all cause them to shift, move and reevaluate their present status.Through this they then begin to look to Him and Do all that they do in the Name of the Lord, that He may begin to sanctify their service, work, thoughts and actions to their own good and the good of all that are around them. We can not become a community of Monks and bring this wortk forward.
Thus Zion is established. For the desire of Zion is to become one. One in heart, one in purpose, one is spirit. O N E ! Even as The Father and the Son are ONE. This becomes a mighty work. The energy continues to grow and like “ Hurricane Sandy” it becomes a mighty force that desroys, shakes up and causes change, all old things are taken away or destroyed and the only place to move is to stand still and mourn or move forward and learn of Him who is the author of this change.
Recall with me in the garden of Eden, on the Tree of Good and Evil, on this very tree which the Father and the Son had planted, we find opposition. Good and Evil. Change comes from loss, pain, struggle movement. We must recall, the Lord said, “Be ye therefore even as I am”. To align with Him we must be like Him. And often that takes going below it all while also being above it all. Can we receive only those parts of sanctification which are glorious, without seeing, and experiencing that which is painful, trying and difficult? I do not believe this is the path. He will succor us. He will lead us along. It is the path to Him and the Path to Zion. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. I testify of Him in the Name of Jesus Christ Amen. (Spencer)

Monday, December 3, 2012

To contemplate

“[The Latter-Day Saints] are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel — ships, planes, missiles, fortifications — and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45).
“We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us — and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Nephi 1:7) — or he will fight our battles for us (Exodus 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do, for as he said at the time of his betrayal, 'Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?' (Matthew 26:53). We can imagine what fearsome soldiers they would be.
“What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.”
— President of the LDS Church Spencer W. Kimball6

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We need BIG Desserts for BIG Families....and so today I went searching for a killer Chocolate Cake recipe and I found this recipe over here:    I am Baker

I did it a little differently, of course.

First off, my recipe is doubled from the original if you check the link and now are confused as you begin to peruse the indgredients.

I creamed all of the wet ingredients and then just kept whipping them until I was done mixing all the dry ingredients.  It was pretty fluffy by the time I added the flour and such.  I mixed on low until it looked really creamy....and since we don't do coffee.. I substituted 1/2 cup hot water and 1/2 cup real vanilla extract to mix in gently at the end.  The last step is not officially doubled since I would have needed 2 cups of watery liquid...but it seemed like enough, so I quit adding.

I baked it in a large cake pan, almost like a sheet pan size but with higher edges at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  This should feed around 24 people generously.
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups good cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  •  1/2 cup vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Friday, November 9, 2012

Seville Quilt for Ginger

Made this Seville quilt  from a pattern available at  The fabrics are from a fat quarter bundle by Robert Kauffman and some random pieces from my stash (gotta love that).  It is a gift for my Mother-in-Law, Ginger, who is now doing missionary work in Cape Verde.  We sure do miss her.

I sent this one off to be quilted.  Trying to do this large of quilt on my machine made me want to cry.  It was quilted by The Quilt Barn in Kimberly, Idaho.  I said,  "I want botanical with lots of motion," and they did a beautiful job.  Finished up the binding, threw it in the washer and dryer so we could get to that wonderful crinkly and textured finish...and now what a beautiful treat to enjoy looking at.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This is Fascinating

“Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along,” said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. “They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. … Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted … the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. … We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense” (Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Economic Principles from the book of Ruth...

I have prayed for direction in understanding what God's principles of Economics are.  I was led to the book of Ruth.  Upon my initial reading of the first two chapters, here are some of the principles that I have found....roughly the most elementary ones I am sure.

  • God blessed the land with bread.  
  • Stayed within family units for help during difficult times
  • Agriculture ran by the men of the family was the factory
  • Harvest and work was expected of both men and women
  • Generous gifts given
  • Freedom to travel where needed for maintenance
These principles do remind me of Nibley's Approaching Zion.

So my next question is....How exactly do these get applied to my family?  Can these principles be applied in our modern setting and still be pleasing unto God, or more accurately, is our modern economic system pleasing unto God in any way?  What ways?  It seems we could operate our families with these basic guidelines inside the complex structure that we now live in, but could a someone wanting to influence Economic theory and policy use these points to develop anything that could actually be implemented in the system that we have now...could these points be used in a Macro-setting or only in Micro?

Doesn't sound very Keynsian does it?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Copied from Building it on Pennies: DIY Cleaners

Dish Washer Soap

1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 packets of no sugar added Koolaid Lemon Aide

Mix together well and add 1 tablespoon to each load!
(If you are making your laundry soap you already own everything except for the koolaid)

Cost to make this is $0.78 a batch and does 32 loads of dishes!

Rinse Aid

Never Buy Rinse aid again use White Vinegar (Works perfect with no smell)

Rinse aid runs $3.99 you use about $.04 of Vinegar

Daily Shower Cleaner

1 cup of White Vinegar
2 cups of Water
2 teaspoons of Dawn dish soap

Mix together and spray down shower (Watch how clean it stays it is AMAZING)

Hard to find the cost exactly but I come up with $.11 and the bottle lasted me about 7 weeks


1/8 Cup of Your Favorite Fabric Softener

2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

Hot Tap Water - To Fill the Bottle to the Top 32oz bottle

Shake it up in your Spray Bottle and you're ready to go and fight those Stinky Dog smells.

Fabreeze anywhere from $5.69 Our cost $.15 cents for 32 oz.


1 empty Windex Spray Bottle

1/8 Cup (1 oz) white Ammonia

¼ Cup (4 oz) Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
1 Drop of Laundry Detergent
Water- to fill the bottle

Shake it up in your Spray Bottle and you are ready to go.

I used a 64 oz bottle of Ammonia and a 16 oz bottle of Rubbing Alcohol that I picked up for $1.00 each at the Dollar Tree.

Windex $3.69  Our cost (Ammonia $.02 & Alcohol $.25) = $.027
Shamelessly copied from  Building it with Pennies:  Gotta try these
 Clorox Cleanup

1 Empty and Rinsed-Out Bottle of Clorox Cleanup/Empty Plastic Spray Bottle

1/4 Cup Bleach

1 Teaspoon Laundry Detergent

Fill the rest of the bottle with Water and Shake

Clorox Cleanup $4.99  Our cost $0.02 (The little bit of bleach you use from the gallon that cost 1.00)

 Carpet Fresh

Instead of buying carpet fresh use baking soda, you will use less and save over half the cost.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Yesterday I had my gallbladder removal I am sore and happily, I am spending time gathering ideas for more quilting projects that I will be doing for the next few are my plans.

1.  Finish my French General quilt with Candy Coated by Crazy Mom Quilts for initial inspiration.   All my pieces are cut and now I need to do my ruffled piece to intersperse between the strips.  The color pallet is grays, browns, reds, and aquas.  It is delicious.

2.  A table topper for my mom.  I plan to do a "Swoon" like block in the center and then add large borders for where the dishes will actually sit.  This way there won't be seams under the dishes.  Her table is 60x60, and I am going to make it just a little larger and then do something like a box pleat, but I will probably use grommets and ribbon to lace it down.  I want to do it reversible, one side to match her kitchen, the other side will be her favorite holiday design.  Way excited for this.

3.  Finish my mail organizer (inspiration from Noodle-head.)  Love this.  Add I have been using it, I just need to finish it.  And hang it.

4.  Begin making each one of my kids their big kid quilt.  Kayti is first, and it will be fun to see what pattern she wants and what color pallet.

And Maybe, just maybe I will get some pictures.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything seems seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." Justice William O Douglas

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A First Look at Social Business

Something I wrote awhile ago, and found it happenstance as I was cleaning out me email files: My brain has a great way of always trying to turn some small annoyance or idea into a business plan. One of these business plans began with the annoying task of matching small white socks for three little children. One day as I sat and matched, I began with the usual process of wondering if there was a better way. Usually, my ideas come pretty much in their complete form; and thus started my business: smart socks. Smart socks would include colored toe-seams for the same sized sock. Thus each child’s socks would have a different colored toe seam. That would make mating and shelving a whole lot simpler. Then came the idea of having new socks appear at my doorstep every four months. Of course the socks would perfectly match the others that I already had. Thus I could always feel free to toss any that had become stained or that had a hole. Individual matches would never be an issue because, every sock would match every other sock. And of course, I would receive a little reply card before the actual shipment where I could mark if I needed the company to move my child to the next size up. I had the whole product line: colors for boys and girls, quality demands, different sock styles perfectly arranged in my mind. The nature of the shipments, and the facts that the socks would always match the previous ones I already had, in my mind made a great marketing and returning customer tool. The idea could easily expand into t-shirts and underwear also. Taking care of the basic underclothing needs of kids is something a mother has to do, but is often procrastinated until it might be a little embarassing for someone to see the state of my children’s underwear conditions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it just automatically happened every few months without a lot of effort on my part? In Jan 2001, I sent off an email to Hanes about my idea. I tried to be vague. I wanted a business partner, not just an implementation of my ideas. But within a couple of years, there was Hanes with my "colored toe seams." I have enjoyed using them. They have been a small miracle in the laundry chores of motherhood. And for a time a forgot about the idea of business. But over the years of buying these socks, the quality is less than I would prefer, buying what might seem like the same socks from different stores often produces two imperfectly matched socks. And I have yet to get an automatic shipment to my door. I new there was still room for my business. In late 2009, I picked up a book by Muhammad Yunus. The books was on micro-banking and social business. A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective Now, I had the missing key. Providing great socks and underwear service to mothers was one things, clothing the naked was another. My business idea is now named Our Brothers Keepers. Smart socks will just be a product in the overall idea. Basically, my business will operate as a way to stock Clothes Closets in every county in the United States, and maybe beyond. My idea is to have every family that joins Our Brothers Keepers Smart Socks program, pay for at least one extra complete set of under clothing for some other child in their county. Even though I don’t want to operate as a not for profit (I would like to make a nice living for my family doing this,) my first aim is "to clothe the naked." Smart Socks is just the vehicle to get this done.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I think that I should read this every day of my life:
As to Zion: Just because you have the idea in front of you doesn't mean you have any concept of what will be required to have the angels gather you into that company. It is like the notion that you're going to be "exalted" without any idea that the eternities are completely isolated from the unworthy. No one will or can be "exalted" who is not adequately prepared. Anyone who attains that status will be required first to suffer what is suffered, minister what is required to be ministered, to prove here their fitness. How could a selfish soul ever provide to their ungrateful and abusive offspring everything necessary for them to develop? Exalted beings sacrifice themselves, and endure punishment on behalf of the guilty. They take upon themselves burdens which they do not deserve. They forgive, they succor, they uplift the unworthy. Pride is incompatible, and selfishness utterly disqualifies a soul from "exaltation." The principles which govern there are hardly understood here. Most of the faithful Latter-day Saints imagine they will able to employ means much like Lucifer's to accomplish their expected outcome. They have no concept of the sacrifices and selflessness required to be trusted by the Lord. He is the prototype of the saved man. He lived His entire existence as a sacrifice. Read 3 Ne. 11: 11 and you will find in His introduction of Himself what a saved man must do. There is no other way. The prideful expectation that someone here is going to attain that status hereafter is based, for the most part, on foolishness and vanity, uninformed by the great things required to become like our Lord. Only those who are exactly like Him will be given that status in the eternities. Zion will be formed from people who are willing to endure His presence. That is no small thing.
I did not write this, I do not as of yet have this level of understanding. If you are interested in the source, leave me a comment with your email, and I will share.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Political Ideolgy considered

America: The Last Best Hope, Volume 2: From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom 1914-1989America: The Last Best Hope, Volume 2: From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom 1914-1989 by William J. Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I read this book, I am having to stop every few pages and really consider things. This book is definitely pro FDR, pro interventionist, not so hip on Patton....ideas that maybe would not be my first opinion. I am beginning to formulate an idea...need much more research....but I am beginning to see that one perpetual theory is not always the answer. Perhaps, there are two forces, maybe we could call them Capitalistic Aristocracy, and Communistic Bureacracy, one on each side of the idealogical debate that vie for power in this world, and the trick is to keep balancing back and forth to keep the freedom for the people. I really need a mentored approach through this study. I really no longer accept the whole, left-right, republican-democrat arguments. I think that true liberty is so much more fragile than we assume, and our only hope is to have leaders who deeply understand these principles, genuinely value liberty, and can keep the precarious balance aligned.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

6 cups rhubarb diced
put in large 13 X 20 pan greased
sprinkle cup of sugar, 6 oz strawberry jello, and 4 cups mini marshmallows over rhubarb

Make yellow cake mix and pour over fruit:

4 cups all-purpose flour (do not sift the flour)
3 cups granulated sugar
1.5 T baking powder
1.5 -teaspoon salt
2 cups milk soured with T vinegar
1/4 vegetable oil
1 cup butter (not margarine), softened
2-tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350° Bake for 45 - 60 mins. until brown.  Add sprinkling of sugar last 10 minutes for cripsness.

Picture Later

Serve with strawberries and cream

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What have I been doing?

Kayti Grace and I have been building a blog to sell our favorite Essential Oils (Butterfly Express.)

Our purpose is to finance educational options in our family's life, especially with Kayti in mind.

All our buttons are not yet working, but we have most of the products listed, and we are offering a really great deal on an "Essentials Kit."

Just email us and we will be able to complete your order.

Please support us, and tell your

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Introducing: 100 % Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils produced by Butterfly Express  



The Essentials Kit includes 12- 10 ml oils and your choice of carrier oil:

Essentials Kit

                  (picture only shows nine, but you will get twelve )


  • Lavender
  • Peppermint

  • Frankincense


  • Sunburst:  citrus for cleansing, purifying, calming

  • MelaPlus: includes tea tree for insect bites, burns, cold sores, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal

  • Paine:  for sore muscles and other body aches, aides healing improves circulation

  • Breezey:  all respiratory ailments including colds, asthma, sore throat, etc.  include eucalyptus and peppermint

  • Inside Out:  all digestive ailments including flu, cramps, heartburn, diarrhea, candida, morning sickness, etc

  • SpiceC: helps immune system during cold and flu season

  • Deliverance:  Helps kick the nasty stuff.  Contains oregano.

  • Millenia: "Chiropractor in a bottle"  helps with alignment of physical and emotional energy.  Contains frankincense.  Promotes courage, confidence, and self-esteem.

  • Tranquility:  reduces anxiety disorders, can help with headaches, panic attacks, and depression

    You will receive a case with these and have seven extra spaces for more oils, after you purchase the kit, you will have 30 days to purchase seven more oils at 25% off retail price.  

    The Price for the Kit is:  $139.

    I think you will find this to be a very affordable price.

    Please contact me for any questions and clarification on products.  I will also help advise you as to what other seven oils may be most beneficial for your family.

    I don't yet have a way to sell via internet so after you email me and give me your contact information, we will be able to get your oils to you.

    THANKS so much.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

American Mother's National Convention Speech

More than two centuries ago, the Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors to declare independence, and build a country based on individual liberty and responsibility.   Less than 40 years after their success, Tocqueville, a French historian toured America in search of its greatness.  He wrote, "Although the American woman never leaves her domestic sphere… … nowhere does she enjoy a higher station. And if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women."  Those women deserved that timeless compliment.   Yet, now we must painfully ask ourselves, “Are we women also responsible for the reverse?  When we left our traditional domestic sphere, did that gaping hole begin the wholesale unraveling of virtue in American culture?”
 Our Founding Fathers fulfilled THEIR historic task.  As we look at what is vitally needful in our culture today, if we have any hope of families remaining a pillar of strength, I suggest OUR historic task is becoming…..Renewing Mothers.
 We Renewing Mothers are women who wisely turn our hearts, and where possible, our physical presence to our children, our husbands, our homes and communities.  Renewing Mothers are empowered as we realize that the creative scope of motherhood is tremendous.  Here we employ the liberal breadth of all knowledge as we build and manage homes of beauty and hospitality, as we counsel, nourish, educate and love our children, as we assume an active role in home-production and entrepreneurship, and as we step out in confident leadership and support of wholesome community institutions.  Yes, this sphere of womanhood, seen in its fullest potential is vast and fulfilling.  We are also empowered as society genuinely returns to a valuing of motherhood for the crucial culture builder that it is.
            This empowerment becomes inspiration as we sense that this Renewing is not only of earthly importance, but is a Divine challenge that requires a fearless trust in Providence.  We are inspired by the ideal ever before us, but we employ an ample sense of humor for the realities of the daily work.  We do not let the short-sighted anti-motherhood, anti-family rhetoric of our day deter us.  We know the truth: renewing motherhood is the only way a mending of moral fiber begins.
As women, we can choose what we will do.  We are successful wherever we serve; but the truth is, the thriving home, an indispensable pillar of societal strength, cannot flourish without us.  Therefore, we Renewing Mothers accept this historic challenge.  The exact details of our course may still be elusive, but we trust that we will be guided and that our efforts will be blessed for good.  We are thrilled with the expectation of all we and our families will become upon this journey. 
We are empowered, we are inspired.  We WILL renew the great culture that is America’s best, and we will raise the next generation, that they may in turn have a solid foundation to raise the next.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chocolate Cake Recipe from Smitten Kitchen......Black-Bottom Cupcakes

For the Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons naturally unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.
Make the Cupcakes:
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Accidental Gardener

The sun is now a couple hours past the colorful point of its first morning appearance.  With all these years of precious newborns, and plump nursing babies, I don’t often see that storybook incident of sunrise.  A little more sleep is just too important.                 
This morning, I have finally gotten everyone mostly dressed, and out to the garden for some overdue weeding.  The littlest one is playing in the water spray erupting from the hydrant and is now very much wet.  But how else was he to build the small lake that his toy horses will soon be swimming in?  Another is seeking some aide to pull the “pokey” out of his foot.  (Despite my best efforts, the garden is still plagued with sand-burrs, and they wreak havoc on tender little feet.) Still other little ones are more interested with the newly ripened strawberries than attentive garden cultivating.  I alternate between hoe and hand, and invite those who will along with me.  We have a goal:  the whole west side, including tomatoes and broccoli, before noon.  Two older boys diligently facilitate their mother’s wishes, and we discuss gardening, and book plots, and future career plans, and life.  Oldest daughter starts us on a round of “Saints bound for Heaven,” and we all laugh when we mix up the words of the third verse for the hundredth time. Young warrior has just “cut off the head of the biggest weed ever” with his trusty stick sword, and won’t we all come and see?
 We labor quietly for awhile, and listen to the sounds of the horses running in the pasture, the sprinklers on the orchard, and the neighbors driving by.  The phone rings, and I send oldest running in to answer, and “won’t you just stay in and get some lunch started?”   Most of them have now wandered off to their own games and delights.  I finish up the last row, and look down at my dirty hands and swelling belly.  I hear a few squabbling young ones behind the trees in the sandbox, I notice the capable workers and enjoyable companions my older sons have become, and I am grateful for capable and serving oldest treasured daughter. 
It’s not Wall Street, it’s not a corner office, it’s not fame, it’s not glamorous, and it’s definitely not flooding my bank account.  But my heart swells beyond its capacity to hold joy, and I am not sure its exact source.  The world has never taught me to find happiness here.   Its origin must be something Deep, something Divine.  I have a hunch that this thing I do, this daily round, really matters – forever, and for eternity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Best Bread Ever....sorry, it's not whole wheat

For four loaves of bread...

6 cups very warm water
3 slight T of both yeast and salt
13 scooped and shaken cups of unbleached flour

Mix together in very large bowl that has a lid
Let sit out for a few hours, then  refrigerate

Now you can have fresh bread four times throughout the week.

TO make the bread:
Heat oven to 500
Place cake pan full of water in the oven on bottom rack

Take out dough,  It is sticky. 
(I don't have a peel, nor a stone, so this is how I have learned to do it)

Grease your baking sheet, and sprinkle corn meal where the bread is going to go
Put about 1/4 cup flour in a small circle on your counter
With a wet hand, scoop about 1/4 of the dough, about a small cantaloupe size
Using the flour, shape the dough.  You do not want to work the flour into the dough, you only want to make a "skin" on the dough with the flour.
Making a "boule" or ball, round shape is easiest, but you can pull it long and make a french shaped loaf.
Once shaped, place on baking sheet and let sit for 30 minutes.
After 30 mins, make slices across the top and place into steamy hot oven.
Turn temp down to 450 and set timer for 25-30 minutes.
Should be a nice golden brown, crispy on outside, chewy in the middle
Let cool a little before eating if you can wait.

THis is really simple, but you have to follow the directions perfectly.  Once you learn the routine, you can have great bread everyday for about 45 minutes worth of waiting.

Check out Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for more great recipes.