Thursday, February 24, 2011

What I've Been Doing Lately...WC Stake Women's Conference


Thursday was our annual Stake Women's Conference...We had six great classes; each was offered twice, so sisters could attend three of them...about 200 attended.


We served and Asian Salad...yummm....rolls and sliced oranges...



And a variety of Cupcakes!(a lot of calories were consumed by my family as they helped me research this project!)


More Cupcakes...





Yet MORE Cupcakes!!!
Classes included:
I Do, I Did, Now What?? (Gospel Centered Marriage)...Bishop Anthony and Marcia Damiano
Family Reunions (Easy, Fun Addictive)...Lisa Hansen
Ready, Set, Write! (Bring Sparkle to Your Life's Story) ...Marianne Hilburn
Quilts of Love (Life's Lessons Learned from Quilting)...Julie Shafer
If There Is Anything Yummy (Nutritious & Delicious Food)...Marisa Michael
Entering the Fitness M.T.C.(Making Fitness a Lifestyle)...Lindsay Bradburn


Lisa's Family Reunion Class.




A quilt from Julie Shafer's class..



Some of our favorite people attended...

A great event....we're really glad to have it be over!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Healthy "Hippie" Breakfast...Muesli



Here's an easy healthy breakfast I used to make...Dad used to eat it on his mission in Austria.....it's actually best made the night before and refrigerated...
Muesli
2 C  plain or vanilla yogurt
2 C uncooked oats (I like to use old fashioned)
        (You can change the ratio of oat/yogurt depending on how creamy you like it)
1/2 almond or walnuts, chopped very fine(or omit if you're not a nut person)
fresh fruit...always some kind of berries (strawberries, raspberries) chopped apple, bananas
1/2 C orange juice (2 oranges juiced if you have them)
sweetener....a few packets of Splenda if you use it, or a couple teaspoons of honey or sugar...if you're using vanilla yogurt you may want to skip the sugar.
Mix and let set several hours (if you can wait)...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diamond Life...(Sweater Quest)




I just finished Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously

This is sort of a "wooly"Julia & Julia book. The author, after a few years of standard knitting...scarves, hats, etc., decides to challenge herself to knit in a year a very complex Fair Isles sweater called the Tudor Rose...the pattern book was no longer in print and all the yarns needed had been discontinued...so accomplishing this was a bit of a task!

Anyway, I chuckled my way through the book, resisting the urge to underline passages as is my wont since I had, in the interest of not further adding to my enormous book stash, checked it out of the library...(but I finally did cave in and order it on Amazon today since it was only $6...for some reason I just need the physical presence of books I like! And I can loan/share them out.)

She describes how knitting soothed her while in the throes of post partum depression,

"Now the whole event feels like it happened to someone else...time is a great balm, of course. So are high-grade pharmaceuticals. But what really helped turn the tide was knitting. Now most of the drugs are a distant memory. The yarn, however, is still with me. So are baskets of knitted hats, scarves, sweaters, and socks."(p. ix)

And"...knitting surprises are subtle and enduring. Making stuff with my very own hands has enriched my life in innumerable ways. Both kids and craft have taught me how to deal with frustration so acute that I'd want to bite the head off a kitten. Both are great courses in expectation management. Both have given more than they've taken--and introduced me to a community that I otherwise never would have know."(p. xi)

And she she writes about the joy of any hand work... Sewing, quilting, crafting, gardening, cooking, etc...the pleasure of touching and seeing beautiful colors, textures, etc.

As well as her commentary on all things "yarnish"...she wanders off on many tangents (which you can easily skim if you are so inclined) but also offers a few choice bits of philosophy...knitters tend to be philosophical...here was one thought that seemed a great image regarding Choice and Accountability....


from Sweater Quest (p147)
"I read somewhere - and one of the signs of getting older is that I can no longer remember where - that life is shaped like a diamond. At the start, your choices are few. They get greater and greater each year until forty or so, when the choices you've made start to limit the ones you can make - until you die, which is generally as much of a choice as being born is.
I don't find this bleak, actually. I'm fairly content with the choices I've made and the ones I'm not at ease with are minor. The knowledge that my diamond is getting narrower just makes me more careful about my time and likely to enjoy where I am more. Besides, I'm tired of deciding and, welcome having less big stuff to think about. Your mileage of course, may vary..."



Beware...you probably can't read this book without going out and buying more yarn(or supplies for whatever your craft obsession)...I did.
(Yarn and sock started while reading SQ)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Temple Pageant Song...Man Must Have a Holy, Sacred Place


The Choir sang this in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday...It was in the original Oakland Temple Pageant...
Man Must Have a Holy, Sacred Place
by James Ira Young

Man must have a holy sacred place;

.....wherein he covenants again with God.

To keep path straight and more devoted be

....to home, to life, to service unto fellow man.

To keep path straight and more devoted be,

.....to home, to life, to sacred plan of eternity.


This is a VERY SIMPLE song...but often the simplest words are the most profound...






Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jess!


You've added a lot of joy to our family!
(Dave Nieman, Jessica McArthur Nieman and Penelope "Penny" Nieman)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recently Read: Healthy At 100


So, yes, this book is pretty interesting to those of us getting past "middle age"....but since so much of our health depends on how we live in the first half of our lives it has great info for every age.
This book describes the lifestyles of of four of the world's cultures that produce some of the healthiest old people...such as the Vilcabambans in the South American Andes...and he goes on to describe healthy exercise and nutrition styles that we've probably heard before...what's unique about this book is the last third of the book talks about how the biggest determiner of health as we age is the quality of our human relationships!
Interesting my link on Facebook this morning from lds.com was about Elder Ballard's talk on Strengthening Families...
Here are a few interesting ideas...
...four hugs a day are necessary for survival, eight are good for maintenance, and twelve for growth!
...the strongest predictor of which men would get cancer decades later turned out not to be smoking or obesity, but rather the lack of a close relationship with their fathers fifty years before.
...in a heart disease study it was found that men who used the first-person pronouns the most often had the highest risk of heart trouble...self-absorption leads to weak hearts...It seems that the less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers...Listen with regard when others talk. Give of your time and energy to others; let others have their way; do thing for reasons other than furthering your own needs.
...In the 4 healthiest cultures, "Instead of going shopping, they go visit one another. They have need of few belongings, for they belong to each other."
...the main determinant of bone strength in women is not calcium intake...it's the amount of exercise they got between the ages of 12-22!(Hurray for girls sports)
...lack of emotional support was a greater risk factor for disease than smoking.
...when his daughter-in-law expressed her gratitude for the author and his wife's many hours of help with their twins, his wife said...you're welcome...but do you have any idea what it would cost if we had to go out and rent grandchildren!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Sweet Treat...Lindt Truffle Cupcakes

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Lindt Truffle Chocolate Cupcakes
This is from The Sisters' Cafe....
24 Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffles, unwrapped
1 box chocolate cake mix (they used devils food; I used milk chocolate)
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 C oil
1/2 C water
1 C sour cream
Mix up everything but the truffles and fill lined cupcake pans (24). Bake at 350 for 5 minutes; then lightly press a Lindt truffle into each partially baked cupcake...I'd press a little more firmly...you want most of the truffle sunk down in the batter, but not totally covered. Bake an additional 13-15 minutes. Cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Having the Spirit....


This is something that was in my Seminary Files...Julie D. just used it in a RS lesson, so thought I'd add it here....Remember...these aren't All or Nothing lists....but sometimes we don't recognize that just feeling calm is evidence of the Lord's Spirit filling our lives.

After reading the negative list, go back a read the first one again because just reading the second list can bring a dark feeling!

When You DO Have the Spirit:

1. You feel happy, calm, and clear-minded.
2. You feel generous.
3. Nobody can offend you.
4. You wouldn't mind everybody seeing what you're doing.
5. You are eager to be with people and want to make them happy.
6. You are glad when other succeed.
7. You are glad to attend your meetings and participate in church activities.
8. You feel like praying.
9. You wish you could keep all the Lord's commandments.
10. You feel "in control". You don't overeat or sleep too much, you don't feel uncontrollably drawn to sensational entertainment, lose your temper, or feel uncontrollable passions or desires.
11. You think about the Savior often and lovingly; you want to know Him better.
12. You feel confident and are glad to believe.

When You DON'T Have The Spirit
1. You feel unhappy, depressed confused and frustrated.
2. You feel possessive, self-centered, or resentful of demands made on you.
3. You are easily offended.
4.You become secretive and evasive.
5. You avoid people, especially members of your family; and you are critical of family members and Church authorities.
6. You envy or resent the successes of others.
7. You don't want to go to church, go home teaching, or take the sacrament. You wish you had another church job or no job at all.
8. You don't want to pray.
9. You find the commandments bothersome, restricting, or senseless.
10. You feel emotions and appetites so strongly that you fear you cannot control them; hate, jealousy, anger, lust, hunger, fatigue.
11. You hardly ever think of the Savior; he seem irrelevant to your life, or worse, part of a confusing system that seems to work against you.
12. You get discouraged easily and wonder if life is really worth it.
Now go back and read the first list.....


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Val! (the cute Dean girl..)

Happy birthday, Val....a great sister, "crafty" lady...and a pretty darn good bowler!
But growing up with a darling, golden haired cutie of a sister was a little hard on my very limited self esteem...note the frizzy haired big sister with the cat eye glasses!
In this photo...Patti, Val, Gpa Earle, Grandma Clara, Gpa Roger, Jesse...and of course our awesome orange naugahyde couch!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Healthy New Year! Breakfast Casserole

Mark's been working on getting in shape in the new year so we've been trying some recipe's out of this cookbook....the author, Devin Alexander, wrote The Biggest Loser Cookbook too.




This is a low fat version of Breakfast Casserole...it's pretty good, especially with a little sour cream and taco sauce on it.


1 1/2 C chopped onion (red and or white)

1 C chopped red or green pepper or a combo

6 slices whole-wheat bread, cubed(from a fluffy loaf, not a dense one)

2 C shredded low fat cheddar cheese

1 1/4 C (5 1/2 oz) lean ham steak, cubed

2 1/2 C egg substitute

1/4 C milk

2 t dry mustard

1/2 t pepper

1/8 t salt



Saute onions a peppers in non stick pan until veggies are tender. Mist a casserole dish with Pam and spread half the bread cubes. Then layer half the cheese, half the veggies, halm the ham. Repeat layers. Mix egg substitute, milk, mustard, pepper, salt. Pour over bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning preheat oven to 350. Bake about 45 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes, then cut and serve...6 servings (209 calories, 23 g protein, 4 g fat)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Recently Read ...The Demon Under the Microscipe

A couple of interesting medical histories....



The subtitle says it all...from battlefield hospitals to Nazi labs....one doctor's heroic search for the world's first miracle drug....Sulfa...



The Knife Man Blood, Bodysnatching and the birth of modern surgery...
In an era when bloodletting was considered a cure for everything from colds to smallpox,surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793)was a medical innovator... and he crosses paths as friend or doctor with so many famous historical figures....he advised Benjamin Franklin about bladder stones, treated King George III, James Boswell, William Pitt, David Hume, Adam Smith, lived next door to Joshua Reynolds,Joseph Haydn, advised the infant Lord Byron's mother to fit her baby with a corrective shoe...his home in London was a combination home/natural history museum, and dissecting lab...with a backdoor specifically for bodysnatchers to bring him fresh corpses...Robert Louis Stevenson used it as a model for the home of Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde.


After reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, I was interested in reading his first two novels....very different from Racing...but I enjoy his writing style...When I read the descriptions of them on Amazon, they didn't sound very interesting, but I was drawn into them from the first pages and read each in only a couple of days...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Grandma Eck's Carrot Cake


Grandma Eck's Carrot Cake

2 C + 2 T flour mixed with:
2 t cinnamon
2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt

2 C sugar
1 1/2 C oil (substitute half applesauce for lower fat)
4 eggs
2 C grated carrots
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained, and mixed with 1/4 C sugar*

Beat sugar, oil, eggs; add dry ingredients, then nuts, carrots and pineapple. Bake in 9x13 pan at 350 about 50 minutes. You could also make in 2 9" rounds or about 28-30 cupcakes and adjust baking time.

* Sister Tobler often uses this recipe for wedding cakes and found that a few years ago the cake ended up darker than when she first made it...she figured out it was because crushed pineapple used to be canned in a sugar syrup, but now it's done in juice...healthier, but making for a darker cake...so she drains most of the juice and adds the sugar...I don't know that I would have ever noticed it being a little dark....

Frost with cream cheese frosting....

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cube unsalted butter (or salted works ok)
3-4 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Something I just learned about this frosting....I always used to have the cream cheese and butter quite soft...I left it out on the counter for several hours or all day ...but this frosting has a better texture if you have the cream cheese still quite firm ....maybe not right out of the refrigerator, but still a bit cold and firm....and don't overbeat the frosting. Cream cheese breaks down if too soft or beaten too much...which is how mine always turned out...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Family Favorites: Frozen Pea Salad





Frozen Pea Salad
All the ingredients are quite variable, depending on the size of container you're using and how many people you want to serve. Once mixed, the salad doesn't save overnight...this amount is what I usually make for a family dinner...
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
3 stalks celery, chopped
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
Layer the above ingredients in order (lettuce first) in a bowl or container. Then over the top dump 1 pkg frozen green peas (about 10 oz.) and spread out so everything is covered. Then "frost" with about 1 C mayonnaise (or enough to seal in the peas) I usually use low fat mayo.
Over the mayo, sprinkle 1 T sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or several hours if possible)
When ready to serve, toss with:
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
5-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped