Sunday, August 12, 2012

Crock Pot Palooza!

There was no activity for July, but the activity for June was a “pot” luck dinner.  Sisters were asked to bring their favorite crock pot dish, as well as the recipe.  The RS presidency was kind enough to e-mail some of the recipes from that tasty evening to us:

Cherry Delight for Crock Pot  -  from Vicki
1 21-oz can cherry pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Pour cherries into crock pot. Mix cake mix and butter till crumbly.  Sprinkle over cherries. Cover.
Cook 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
Cool and serve in bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

Peach Cobbler - from Cheryl
1 stick butter
2-1/4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups peaches (drained if using canned)

Melt the butter in the bottom of a 6-quart crockpot. Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, and flavorings in a separate bowl and then pour on top of the butter. Drop the peaches on top, distributing evenly over the batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or low for 4-6.

Buffalo Chicken - from Cheryl
4 chicken breasts
1 cup Frank's Buffalo Sauce
3 Tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix
1/2 cup sour cream or softened cream cheese (optional)

Arrange chicken on bottom of crock pot. Top with Buffalo Sauce and sprinkle with seasoning mix. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken. If desired mix in sour cream or cream cheese. Use on sandwiches, wraps, or as a dip.

Cheryl gave this info....

This is a good blog for more crockpot recipes:  
Some people were wondering about doing rice in a slow cooker without it turning mushy, and here is a recipe for it.

Pork Roast - from Teressa
1-1/2 pounds pork roast, trim far  
Slice an onion and put it in the bottom
Put salt and pepper and garlic powder on meat  
Place meat on top of onion
1 small bay leaf
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons water
Cook on low 8-10 hours

This is the cake Cassie made....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Activity – Our Favorite Things!

This month’s activity was a “getting-to-know-you” type of activity.  The sisters were asked to bring something they loved – a favorite thing – and be prepared to tell about it.  However, it had to be something that they were willing to let go of because someone else would be taking it home that night.
Here’s how our activity went:  As each sister entered the Relief Society room, she was handed a little piece of paper with a number on it.  Unknown to us, Jenny, our RS president, was writing the name of each individual sister on a small piece of paper and putting it in a cup.  We were told to hold on to our favorite item.
Louise then gave our 10-minute spiritual thought.  It was based on a talk given by Boyd K. Packer in the October 1980 issue of the Ensign entitled, “The Circle of Sisters”.  Here is one of the ideas from the talk Louise presented:
“ Just days ago Sister Packer and I attended Relief Society somewhere in Eastern Europe. There were in attendance twelve sisters. We sang the hymns of Zion from song books—words without music—printed nearly fifty years ago. The spiritual living lesson was reverently given from the pages of a handmade manual.
I told those sisters that they belonged to the largest, and by all measure, the greatest women’s organization on earth….
I then told them about you, and they were strengthened. I spoke of the assignment to speak to you here tonight and asked if they had a message for you. Several of them made notes; each expression, every one, was in the spirit of sending something to you—not of asking something from you. One of them said, “A small circle of sisters send their own hearts and thoughts to all the sisters and begs the Lord to help us go forward.” – Boyd K. Packer
Louise then also talked about instead of just being a circle, we are actually like a pattern of lace – intertwined and interwoven, yet making one large, beautiful pattern.  Louise always gives very inspiring talks!
After Louise gave her lesson, we went into the cultural hall where the chairs had all been arranged in a circle.  After we were all seated, the sister having the number “1” went to the center of the circle where she showed off her item and told us why it was one of her favorites.  Judy loves chocolate and had brought a bag of bite-size Snicker bars.  After she told about her item, she was asked a random question (a sampling of questions is at the end of this post.)  After she answered her question, Jenny drew one of the names from the cup and announced, “Cassie is the sister who will be taking the Snickers home tonight!”  After presenting Cassie with the candy, Judy sat down and the sister with the number “2” stood up and the process began again.
There was a lot of talking and giggling during this activity; everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.  There was a variety of “favorite” items brought:  lots of chocolate, homemade bread, favorite snacks, homemade craft items, books, a favorite recipe, and even some ice cream.  Louise brought some of her homemade granola and I was lucky enough to get the recipe and am sharing it in this post.
I was lucky enough to get some really great sugar cookies – soft and chewy, and presented beautifully (the recipe was included):

Bonnie’s Sugar Cookies
3 sticks (real) salted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
4-1/2 – 5 cups flour

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and vanilla.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before rolling out – this is very important!  Roll out on clean, dry surface dusted with POWDERED SUGAR – not flour.  Yes, that’s right:  powdered sugar.
Bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness.  I like them thick so I do 8 minutes.  Do not overcook!  They may not look done, but they are!

Louise’s Granola
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1-1/4 cup pecans, halved
1-1/4 cup walnuts, halved
¾ cup slivered almonds
1 cup coconut
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
5 oz canola oil
5 oz pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
Optional:  Dried cranberries, apricots, dates, figs, raisins, etc.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix dry ingredients in bowl.  Whisk together the oil, maple syrup, sea salt, and vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix.
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Spread the granola mix in the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Stir again and pat down with a pancake turner to form a solid sheet, or else leave it loose if preferred, then bake another 10 minutes.  Cool and stir in to an air tight container.
Serving Suggestions:
A small handful in a cup of plain Greek yogurt along with a few dried cranberries and perhaps a teaspoon of honey.
A heaped tablespoon of granola dresses up a bowl of oatmeal.
Goes great as an ice cream topping.

A Sampling of our Random Questions:
What is your favorite smell?
What are your favorite sports to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
What is your favorite sound?
What is the farthest you have been from home?
What makes you angry?  Do you get angry very soon?  How do you overcome your anger?
If given a complete freedom to start afresh, what profession would you choose and why?
Which is the funniest prank played on you or played by you?
Do you prefer the summer season or the winter season?
Which is the best vacation you’ve ever had in your life?
Which is the one television character that you simply adore?
Are you a convert or have you been a member your whole life?
If you were stranded on a lonely beach, what are the five things that you would want to survive?
What is your favorite lunch meat?

Of course, it could go on, but you get the idea!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

January Meeting: Service and Learning to Crochet

January’s meeting was a really neat meeting:  it married service with learning a new skill – always a winning combination.  Our ward is partnering with another ward that shares our building to support an organization called “Head Huggers” .  It is an organization that collects hats to help those who have undergone hair loss due to chemotherapy, brain surgery, burn wounds, etc.  Both wards will be collecting hand-crocheted and hand-knitted caps throughout this upcoming year and then donating them to Head Huggers.
Of course, the first step had to be to make sure that sisters in the ward actually acquired these skills.  First we had our 10-minute spiritual lesson (on service).  One thing that really stuck out to me was when the sister talked about visiting her grandmother who lives in another country (Ecuador?  I think that was it) and how she was always serving others, even though her means were limited also.  The sister pointed out that being "poor" in America and being "poor" in other places is a very different experience, and that even those of us who might be struggling right now are still very blessed in many ways.  The lesson was very inspiring and really set a good tone for what we would be doing.  Afterward, we ventured out into the cultural hall where there were four tables set up.  There was a table for those who already knew how to crochet and wanted to commence making caps, a table for those sisters who already knew how to knit, a table for those who wanted to learn how to knit, and a table for those who wanted to learn how to crochet:
I ended up at the “learn how to crochet” table.  Judy was our teacher and she walked us through the basics:  (Rachel, left, and Judy, right):

Before long we were all working away:

The common hurdle seemed to be getting the stitches to be the right size and having them be consistent (I think they call it “gauge”?).  We agreed that it would take a little practice, but the sisters seemed pretty determined to do the homework necessary to master this new skill.
A few ladies brought some other finished pieces to display to show us what is possible once we get the hang of it:

If you would like to see the one of the patterns we will be using, click here.
Of course, there are always refreshments (really good ones), and one of the hardest tasks for those who organize this meeting is getting everyone to leave when we are supposed to.  The meeting is supposed to end at 8:30, but somehow it’s  always 9:00 or 9:30 before they can get us all out of there!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Cute Little Gift…

Okay, so our Relief Society group didn’t make this, but my mother-in-law’s Relief Society group did, so that counts.  Lynda was kind enough to bring a dish soap bottle to me and one to my daughter at Thanksgiving:

I originally thought that the saying was printed on a clear label that was adhered to the outside of the bottle.  Not so!  Lynda said that the saying was actually printed on a sheet of clear plastic (several sayings to a sheet).  Lynda cut the individual sayings out of the sheet and then rolled them up and stuffed them into the neck of the bottle.  She then used a pencil to stick down into the bottle to unroll/straighten the plastic sheet out until it was flat and to push it toward the front of the bottle.  She then filled the bottle with dish soap, added the lid and the bow, and voila!  Instant cute little gift!
Here is the saying that is printed on the insert:

Dirty Dishes
Thank Heaven for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.

While others may go hungry,
We’re eating very well.

With home, health, and
I shouldn’t want to fuss;

By the stack of evidence,
God’s been very good to us.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Handouts for the May Quilting Class

For last month's quilting activity, Nancy had been thoughtful enough to make some handouts/instruction sheets for us.  I was so busy trying to be the "hostess with the mostest" that I lost mine in the shuffle, but Nancy was kind enough to bring me a copy today.  I have scanned them and they should be print-worthy if you double click on each image.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stitched Together in Love

For our May meeting, we asked Nancy to teach us the basics of quilting.  This was one of the main things that the sisters had said that they wanted to learn how to do when we passed out our “interest” surveys last year.  Initially, Nancy was going to have us learn how to quilt by having us work on baby quilts which would then be donated to a local hospital.  Then, she got an idea for a project that was a little closer to home.
Last year, one of the sisters in our ward lost her teenaged (still in high school) brother.  His death was totally unexpected and had a profound effect on many people in the area.  This sister had several of his t-shirts and was going to hire someone to make a quilt from them.  Although our quilt might not be as perfect as a professionally made quilt, Nancy thought it might be more meaningful if the sisters in the ward worked together to make a quilt to honor the life of this young man.
Nancy collected the t-shirts and then before the night of the activity she cut out the actual panels from the t-shirts herself (she has been quilting for several years now, and she is VERY proficient).  Nancy then used some iron-on interfacing to back each of the t-shirt panels, making them a little sturdier and a little less stretchy for quilting.  The young man’s sister found some fabric that she liked for the side panels and the backing.
On the night of our activity, participants were divided into “teams”, led by the more experienced quilters/seamstresses.  We got to take turns cutting fabric for the borders (for me, this is one of the scariest parts – I cut about as well as I take pictures – so I just watched).  Here is Nancy teaching a couple of the sisters how to use the rotary cutter and mat:

Once the border strips were cut, everyone got to take a turn at the sewing machine and each sister did a little sewing:

Nancy put the pieces on the board to give everyone an idea of what it will look like when it is finished (too bad the photographer can't take a clear photo to save her life):

Of course, even a big group can’t do a quilt in one night, so there are more quilting activities planned for the near future.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, and it was so wonderful to have an activity where we were not only introduced to a new skill, but we had the chance to work on something that would have great meaning to someone we care about!  Many thanks to Nancy and all of the team leaders for sharing their talents with us!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Special Easter Eggs

I wanted to share an idea for special Easter eggs that were given to our family many years ago (when my kids were very young).  They were given to us by my mother-in-law, Lynda.  She had made them at a Relief Society "home making meeting" at her ward.  They were not filled with the decadence of chocolate or the yumminess of sugary jelly beans, but they were even more wonderful, for these eggs helped us to remind our family about the true meaning behind Easter.  I was so impressed with them that I have made them for families at church all through the years, and I am now delighted to have the chance to pass the "gift" of these neat eggs along to you.
This project requires one dozen plastic eggs, plus a few extra items which are posted at the end of the list of scriptures.  Most of the items are fairly easy to get – many of them can be found at a Wal-Mart, Dollar General, etc.  The only item that requires a little searching are the communion/sacrament cups that are used for egg #1.  I actually found a place that sells these cups online; it is a company called Cokesbury.  A package of 100 plastic, disposable cups sells for $6.00 (although with tax and shipping my total cost was a $10 plus some change).  If you want to check them out, click here.  I also noticed some cups while I was at Party City, but I’m not sure if they are small enough to fit into the eggs – I didn’t have one with me.  However, it was basically a disposable individual condiment cup, and I’m sure those are available other places.
The idea is that you use little stickers (garage sale type) to number your eggs #1 - #12. 

Then, you print out the scriptures.  I have tested each of these images and although they aren’t EXACTLY the size of my original, they are pretty decent.  All you have to do is click on each page (below) and print it out.

Once the three pages are printed out, you will cut the scriptures into individual strips.  Then you put scripture #1 and item #1 (the cup) into egg #1.  Do this for all twelve eggs.

On Easter, have your family open each egg and read each scripture in numerical order.  It is a really fun way to bring the Easter story to life.  Hope you enjoy it!