Monday, November 16, 2015

4 Favorite Recipes for Chilly Weather

**Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links on the books! Which, I'd like to add, you might be able to find cheaper at - a very helpful resource for buying books online. Also, **

I have a passion for food. Especially really good food. Especially really good food this time of year when it’s getting too cold (at least here in Idaho!) to go outside without bundling up in a scarf and coat. And this morning, the air is swirling with snow and I’m delighting in our warm breakfast which reminded me of some recipes I’ve got to share with you. Make them and your hearts, homes and tummies will be all the warmer this season. These are winning recipes, my friends.

Next time I get my hands on two hundred pounds of pears, I’m going to cook and can them all up into one big beautiful batch of this very recipe. Around here, we love these preserves on pancakes, waffles (see the awesome recipe below), or stirred into plain yogurt with some of my homemade granola on top. YUM! A jar of these preserves would make a great Christmas gift. Plan to double this recipe when you make it. Half-pint jars of this stuff just won’t cut it.

Pear and Ginger Preserves
Makes about 5 Half-pint jars

Cutting the ginger into Brunoise rather than finely mincing it or dicing it more coarsely gives you a pleasantly spicy but not obnoxious hit of ginger in each bite. Peel the ginger (about 1 ½ inches) and cut it into 1/16-inch-thick rounds, stack the rounds and cut into matchsticks, then finally into tiny cubes.

3 pounds pears, peeled, cored, and dices (about 7 cups)
3 TBLS. Of finely diced fresh ginger
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 TBLS. Strained fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar

Put the pears, ginger, lemon zest and juice, and sugar in a wide, 6 to 8 quart preserving pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are very soft and translucent and a small dab of the jam spooned onto the chilled plate and returned to the freezer for a minute becomes somewhat firm (it will not gel) 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir gently for a few seconds to distribute the fruit in the liquid.

At this point, you can serve the preserves warm or pour the preserves in a jars and refrigerate until you are ready to eat them. If canning, process the jars for 5 minutes in boiling water. If you don’t know how to can, I highly recommend you get book where she has all the details you’ll need to get started.


These next three recipes I’m going to share with you, require a hydrated natural yeast or sourdough starter. If you already have one, awesome – you are good to go! If you don’t have one, find a friend who has one and ask if they will share with you. I have tried starting my own a couple times, I have borrowed from friends, but my very favorite starter (and I have had to buy it twice now because I killed mine when we moved) is the one you can buy from King Arthur flour. It has great flavor. I recommend the cookbooks that go with these next two recipes I’m going to share with you. They will make you a sourdough-cooking champion in no time.

These waffles are just the best. They are so easy and so delicous. I double or 2 ½ times the recipes and we eat them for breakfast at least once, but usually twice a week these days. 

Airy, Light, Natural Yeast Waffles


1 cup starter

2 eggs

 1 TBL. olive oil

¼ tsp. salt

Add the yeast mixture into the egg mixture. Using a spatula (do not use a whisk) gently fold ingredients together until just incorporated. Pour into waffle iron as usual. Enjoy!

Recipe on pg.#93 of TheArt of Baking with Natural Yeast: Breads, Pancakes, Waffles, Cinnamon Rolls andMuffins by: Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson

I just made these for the first time on Friday night. Breakfast for dinner, oh yeah! I’ve been craving pumpkin stuff and these were the ticket. I made a 2 ½ X batch for our family, which made my blender bubble over a bit with batter once I added the baking soda and powder . . . So, something to consider. We ate every single one. Also, we didn’t have fresh cream to whip, so we may or may not have put a small scoop of Breyers Vanilla bean ice cream on each stack. . . ;) YOLO. (I can’t believe I used that acronym, but it was just too perfect.) With a handful of pecans and raisins, we were well-equipped to give our pancakes faces – a favorite pastime around here. Also, I highly recommend the unfiltered Maple syrup at We always keep a 1/2 gallon on hand. A highly thoughtful gift for the foodie(s) in your life.

Pumpkin Pancakes

By: Dianna Ellis
2 eggs
1 ½ TBL. Brown sugar (I use rapadura)
1 TBL. Coconut oil
1 TBL. raw apple vinegar
1 cup starter
¼ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup pumpkin
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

In a blender, combine all the ingredients except for the starter, baking poweder, and baking soda. Add the starter to the mixture in chunks, and blend to combine. Just before cooking, add the baking powder and baking soda. Cook on a griddle and serve with lots of butter, real maple syrup, and lots of real whipping cream (this last one in just for yummies . . . it’s not necessary) and a big glass of delicious raw milk.

Recipe found on page #67 of Melissa Richardson’s book:

This final sourdough recipe I want to share can be found at this link. I was introduced to Jennifer McGruther through her cookbook, TheNourished Kitchen. It is a wonderful resource for those looking to revive old ways of cooking in their kitchens.

I have made these Einkorn Sourdough turnovers several times now. Eating them makes me feel like I have stepped back to Medieval times, in a really good way, whatever that means. This recipe has also turned me on to Leeks, which have a nice, different kind of oniony flavor. I have made these with the leftover multi-grain flour I use for my sandwich bread (That recipe can be found in my cookbook, available for a free download at this link.) and I have also tried them with home-ground Einkorn flour – both are great. Though I'm partial to the Einkorn flour which gives the crusts a pastry-like texture. I use home-canned chicken which makes cooking these a whole lot quicker and easier. Shredded rotisserie chicken would also be excellent. I make the dough early in the morning before we will want to eat them, or the night before. The shape of these turnovers really keep after baked, so take them to eat on the go.

By: Jenny McGruther

Please, tell me - what recipes are warming your homes this season?! And have you decorated for Christmas, yet?! (I'm pretending to resist the urge, while making plans to give in any day now . . . It sounds like Christmas at our house, and I'm itching to make it look like Christmas, too.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Old Friends at Our New Place

Amanda, my dear friend from Tucson, made a three hour detour while visiting family in Utah, to come visit us for a few days. For the last four years, Amanda has been my Tucson tour guide, neighbor, friend, sister in the Gospel, a calming influence (we all know I could always use more of those!), a listening ear, crafty/artistic consultant, the person with an egg or scoop of vanilla when I ran out, and my parenting Sensei. We've thrown a boutique-style garage sale together, picked and canned prickly pears together, celebrated Halloween, Easter, birthdays, and other special occasions together. She (and Allison!!) threw an adorable baby shower for Atley, and watched my children during each of my girls' births. We've cooked some amazing ethnic food, discussed a small pile of books at book club, and shared our stories, hearts, pains and joys with each other. Not having Amanda as a neighbor was one of many heartbreaks of leaving Tucson, because her friendship really made it feel like home for me. While not tall in physical stature, her consistent, loving service to all within her influence makes her a spiritual giant in my book. I love Amanda! So, suffice it to say, having her and and her three sweet kidlets all to myself since Sunday evening was a fabulous treat!
During their visit, we went on a hike at Cherry Springs, had a hot dog roast with homemade smores, played board games, went antique/thrift store hunting, enjoyed a local playground, ate a whole lot of good food, and stayed up way too late after the kids went to bed each night and talked until our throats were sore and our eyeballs burned for want of sleep. A few more pics from our hike below:

It was so nice to catch up and for our kids to reunite in friendship as well.

Here is a throwback to our Tucson days - Lincoln and Jenna, holding hands at the Tucson zoo. Their high energy levels make them two peas in a pod. We have hope that someday that those two could marry, you know, to save our littles the trouble of having difficult in-laws to deal with . . .

L&J in Tucson. . .
L&J in Pocatello . . .

If they do marry someday (no pressure, kids!) we'll have these great pictures to display at the reception! ;)

Come again soon dear friends! We love you and miss you already!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Interpretation of Uchtdorf’s “A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose”

Parables are simple stories about seemingly every day occurrences. They always have a deeper spiritual meaning that is not discerned except through revelation. Christ often taught this way so that the listeners could be edified according to their level of understanding, and not be held to the higher level of responsibility/condemnation for upholding/dismissing the wisdom found therein.

Last week, when President Dieter F. Uchtdorf instructed the women in the LDS General Women’s session that he was going to be teaching us with a parable, my attention was riveted on his every word. I had many personal impressions come to me as I listened. I have since studied and pondered it every day since I heard it, and am still coming up with gems. Today, I’d love to share what I’ve discovered through study, pondering and the whisperings of the Spirit. I’d love to hear any and all insight you gained from the talk as well.

Make sure to give his talk a read or listen before you read my commentary if you haven’t heard it already!

The Summer with Great-Aunt Rose = The Spiritual AND Literal Process of Gathering Israel and becoming a Zion-like people before the Second Coming of Christ 

Eva = Christ’s Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

  • “Eva” sounds a whole lot like, “Eve” doesn’t it? Now, while I think there is an important tie to Eve, the “Mother of all living” (the Abrahamic covenant symbolic in that name), Eva represent Christ’s church. Remember how the church is always referred to as a woman throughout scripture?
  • 11 years old = The church in the Latter Days! We are living in the 11th hour.
  • Does not want to go with Aunt Rose! No Way! = The church is still reluctant to take on the spiritual and physical sacrifices necessary to become a Zion-like people and fully leave their Summer homes in Babylon.
  • She “doesn’t even know” Aunt Rose = Zion and the Church are related (birth rite through covenants and lineage), but the church needs a more intimate knowledge of Zion.

Great-Aunt Rose = Zion, A place where the pure in heart live, The Kingdom of God on Earth

  • The name “Rose” immediately made me think of Isaiah’s description of the desert blossoming as a rose in Isaiah 35:1-2. This is the heading of that chapter, “In the day of restoration, the desert will blossom, the Lord will come, Israel will be gathered, and Zion will be built up.”
  • Being a “great” aunt is significant, because that is a word used to describe Zion in scripture. See Doctrine and Covenants 97:18. 
  • Wears embarrassingly big, bright hats = a “Peculiar” people, different from the world in happy ways
  • Large woman = “Enlarge the place of thy tent”, has room for all
  • Large voice = Proclaiming the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people
  • Large Smile and Personality = Light on a hill, not hidden under a bushel 
  • Sang and laughed while she worked, laughter filled the house, happiest person Eva had ever known = Joyful, happy nature! See 4 Nephi 1:16-17 for example of happy inhabitants of Zion as well as Mosiah 2:41
  • Says, “No matter what happened in my past, MY story could have a happy ending,” then shares Christ coming and dwelling with His people as found in Revelations 21:3-4.
  • During her scripture reading sessions at night, we learn Aunt Rose (or Zion!) has an understanding of correct and incorrect choices, longs for Spiritual connection with God and Spiritual gifts, and loves goodness.
  • The things she is grateful for point to a simple lifestyle (blue jays, spruce trees, sunsets, stars), in other words - NOT Babylon, NOT materialistic things. Think Lehi’s dream and the imagery of the Tree of Life as opposed to the great and spacious building.
  • Tying shoes and walking upstairs is difficult for her = Mortality and human imperfections make things hard, but that opposition in all things is what brings a greater capacity for joy.
  • Knows God as a friend = His Sheep know His voice.
  • Never married = A virgin, waiting for the bridegroom still
  • Rose’s time of discouragement when she “did nothing for a time” = The period of apostasy

Eva’s Mother = Mother Earth, sick from sin. (See Moses 7:48)

Surgery = The literal cleansing of the Earth, and physical tribulations that have been prophesied to come before Christ’s Second Coming.

Lengthy recovery after surgery = Time after tribulations for things to “recover” (at least enough for people to be “marrying and given in marriage”) before the Savior comes again

Eva’s Father = Heavenly Father

The Creepy stalker cat = “Tares” in the church

  • The cat is grey = Not orthodox in doctrinal views or practice, muddy doctrinal views
  • Perched on a high ledge = pride, perhaps learned and self-important
  • Looking down like a hungry tiger = looking for faults and imperfections in members
  • “Stalker” = Always watching for mistakes of which he can take advantage

Leaving to go to Aunt Rose’s House = Spiritual AND Literal Gathering of Israel

  • Eva brought by her father = The process will be directed by God
  • No one Eva’s age around, lonely = spiritual separation from Babylon’s culture, often required to stand alone to stand for the right,  and physically – relatively small groups compared to rest of population
  • Lonely, countryside where houses are far apart = Physical separation from world

Enduring until end of Summer = Waiting for Christ’s Second Coming in Faith

People who crowd around Rose = Could be fulfilling this prophesy about the things that will be said about Zion in the Latter-Days (Doctrine and Covenants 97:18-21). Could also be the Spirits in spirit paradise. One to ponder some more . . .

Eva spending more time with Rose as Summer progresses = The church becoming more Zion-like as Christ’s coming gets closer 

Eva learning the difference between Sparrows and finches = increase of spiritual gifts, discernment

Eva learning about her great-great grandmother = Doing temple work/family history/connection to Spirit dead with Elijah’s promise being fulfilled that the Earth would not be wasted.

Long walks with Rose = Some individuals traveling to the New Jerusalem

Learning primitive skills that require patience and hard-work (break-making, making orange marmalade, harvesting wild elderberries, boxes of buttons for sewing) = Learning skills and spiritual gifts for building Zion

  • I thought of Brigham Young’s quote on building Zion, “Let us train our minds until we delight in that which is good, lovely and holy, seeking continually after that intelligence which will enable us effectually to build up Zion, which consists in building houses, tabernacles, temples, streets, and every convenience and necessity to embellish and beautify, seeking to do the will of the Lord all the days of our lives, improving our minds in all scientific and mechanical knowledge, seeking diligently to understand the great design and plan of all created things, that we may know what to do with our lives and how to improve upon the facilities placed within our reach (DBY, 247).”
  • And this one: “I have Zion in my view constantly. We are not going to wait for angels, or for Enoch and his company to come and build up Zion, but we are going to build it. We will raise our wheat, build our houses, fence our farms, plant our vineyards and orchards, and produce everything that will make our bodies comfortable and happy, and in this manner we intend to build up Zion on the earth and purify it and cleanse it from all pollutions. Let there be an hallowed influence go from us over all things over which we have any power; over the soil we cultivate, over the houses we build, and over everything we possess; and if we cease to hold fellowship with that which is corrupt and establish the Zion of God in our hearts, in our own houses, in our cities, and throughout our country, we shall ultimately overcome the earth, for we are the lords of the earth; and, instead of thorns and thistles, every useful plant that is good for the food of man and to beautify and adorn will spring from its bosom (DBY, 443–44). Both quotes found here.

The vibrant colors of the painting of the pioneer girl = the greater clarity and joy we will experience as we live a consecrated, Godly, Zion-like life.

Aunt Rose describing the painting with “forward and upward” movement = Translation to Terrestrial state

Eva declaring there is “No switch” from sad to happy = We will not go easily to the Second Coming. There will be hard times to endure and it will take patience with each other and a lot of work to build Zion. By focusing on what matters most, we will find joy. 

Father picks Eva UP : Translation to a Celestial State 

Eva looking back on Summer with Aunt Rose = Reflecting from heaven with fondness on the difficulties of mortality with an Eternal perspective, with family (husband and children) forever (Abrahamic covenant fulfilled). 

Eva saying she would miss, even the stalker cat = Indicates development of Christ-like charity for all, even those who don’t love her or treat her especially kindly.

Other talks that came to mind to study as I pondered:

Take-away messages:

  • Zion isn’t going to be built by living in a bunker a.k.a. fearing what is to come, or hiding your light under a bushel. Have hope and faith about living in these days that have been prophesied for all generations of time! (I recommend Holland’s a-maz-ing talk on this subject: Terror, Triumph and a Wedding Feast)
  • If you find yourself having a hard time leaving Babylon, spiritually or someday literally, you need to remember this scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:9. – the reward will be unspeakably beautiful.
  • Increase knowledge and wisdom in both spiritual and temporal things. We’ll need it all. It is ultimately all we will take with us.
  • We will find joy in making our unique contributions on Earth as we build Zion.
  • Teach others what you know is true. Be a missionary.
  • Loving others and consecrating our lives to them in Service as the Savior did, is how we will build Zion. It is the key. 
  • NOW is part of eternity. Do your part to build Zion NOW!! And find joy in it!!! That is what you were made to experience and do!!!


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