Secrets of Mom Search Results

Friday, November 20, 2009

10 Tactics for a Cheaper and Saner Thanksgiving

I adapted this list from one I saw posted at The Simple He has some good ideas for simplifying your holiday
"Quite often, I’ll see people spend exorbitant amounts of money on lavish Thanksgiving spreads. While I completely understand the reason for doing this – often, it’s the one time in the year that we can gather around one table with a lot of people we love – there’s still a lot of simple things we can do to reduce the financial outlay and the stress of the meal without reducing the quality of the day in any way (and often improving it). Here are ten ways to do just that.
Cook and slice the turkey on Tuesday. What? No beautiful turkey on the table? Whatever will we do? In truth, though, the turkey on the table during Thanksgiving dinner often results in lots of problems: it keeps someone away from the meal because they’re carving the bird, the bird is often dry because it hasn’t had a lot of time to rest, and the finished bird often arrives later than expected, delaying the whole meal and often reducing the quality of the other food. Solve all of these problems by cooking the bird on Tuesday or Wednesday, slicing it at your own pace, then putting all of the meat on a platter along with all of the juice and a few pats of butter. Cover the serving platter and put it in the fridge, then just turn on the oven (or the electric roaster) on Thanksgiving to thoroughly warm the meat.
Use nature for your decorations. During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, there are thousands of colorful leaves all over the place, free for the taking. Be picky – go outside and look for some nice, clean, colorful leaves. All you need is a plain tablecloth and a row of colorful leaves sprinkled down the middle to create a very festive setting.
Get the slow cooker into the act. Many Thanksgiving side dishes can easily be prepared in a slow cooker. Slow cookers consume less energy and quite often can be used in a “fix-it-and-forget-it” mindset. It’s the perfect tool to make cranberry sauce, for example.
Be creative with your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. By the third day, turkey sandwiches start to get tired. Instead of allowing that to happen, share some of your extra food with people in need (for example, make a couple plates of food for shut-ins you know and deliver the plates) or make something interesting, like kugel or tetrazzini, out of the leftovers.
Round up when you estimate. I’ve been to two different Thanksgiving dinners in the past three years where there was just barely enough food to make ends meet for the number of guests (to put it politely). People showed up bringing unexpected dining companions and estimates for how much each person would eat were strangely low. Don’t fall into that trap. Estimate high, but estimate realistic. After all, you can always eat leftovers, but you can’t undo unhappy guests.
Don’t be afraid of potlucking it. Ask your guests to bring a dish or two with them so that you can focus your time, energy, and money on a few key dishes. Most people are quite willing to help (provided, of course, that they’re not coming from out of town).
Save the bones. Seriously. Put the entire carcass in a large Ziploc bag and save the bones and small pieces of meat for a day or two. Then, take all of the leftover vegetables (potatoes, corn, non-glazed carrots, etc.) and the carcass, stick them all in a crock pot, then add enough water to just cover the bones. Turn it on low overnight (this is perfect to do on Saturday evening after Thanksgiving). Then, in the morning, save the liquid. What will you do with this delicious turkey broth? Freeze it (along with a pound or two of leftover diced turkey meat). Then, in a few weeks, use it as the base for an amazing soup – just add vegetables and/or dumplings to the stock and the turkey (along with perhaps a bit of water to thin it).
Have appetizers. Inexpensive appetizers – like a selection of vegetables – helps people keep the edge off of their appetites and keeps them from over-eating during the main meal. Not only does this make the overall meal more healthy, it often makes it cheaper, since a vegetable tray can be really inexpensive. Much like the turkey, this can also be assembled the day before.
Save your recyclable containers for leftovers. Instead of just tossing large containers of items like margarine or whipped topping, save the containers. Then, on Thanksgiving, fill the containers with leftovers and give them to your guests. There’s no responsibility at all for them to return the container and it gets an extra use out of the items that would normally be tossed. "

Take time to remember what the holiday is all about Make sure you take a few minutes from all the preperation and hostessing to remember why we celebrate this holiday. Don't get too stressed out. This holiday wasn't created to make your life complicated, frantic and expensive, although it can feel that way. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for our blessings, for our families, friends, food to eat and the freedoms that we enjoy. Be thankful for what you have and for this occasion and don't get too anxious if things aren't perfect.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book Review: I Dare You To Eat It

A few months ago I went to a meeting where Liesa Card talked about using food storage and the methods explained in her new book. She gave one example that really struck me and made me want to learn more. In a book about the accounts of pioneer children, there was one child who thought of the journey as a grand adventure instead of a miserable experience. The difference between this boy and all the other children is that his mother was prepared. Before embarking on her journey she obtained a small portable oven and was able to bake bread throughout the trip. He was able to look at the experience as an adventure because his mother was prepared and he always had food to eat. To help my children have a better outlook on whatever the world throws at us, I need to be prepared. That means that not only do I need to have food set aside, that means I need to know what to with it and it needs to be something that is at least vaguely familiar to my family.
I Dare You To Eat It is more than a cookbook. It's inspiring and encouraging. It makes using your food storage a reality. Here are the top five reasons you should have food storage:
1. It is healthy for you.-Whole grains are power foods
2. It's cheap.- $50 worth of rice can feed an adult for four months.
3. It can make cooking and meal preparation easier.- Trust me I promise that it can
4. Having food storage can get you through an emergency.- Whether it be a personal or natural disaster.
5. Numerous prophets of the Lord have advised us to do so.- Shouldn't this one be reason enough?
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that we have an inspired and living prophet who gives us counsel from our Heavenly Father who loves us. But even if you don't believe that, food storage is a good idea. Having food storage doesn't mean that you're crazy, it means that you're smart. Having a little set aside means that we are better prepared for whatever tomorrow may bring.
This book makes using your food storage a reality. It doesn't have to be weird or scary. Just find recipes (30 is a good number) that your family likes to eat that you can incorporate basic items into. And that doesn't mean that you have to start grinding your own wheat and making your own bread. If cooked right, wheat can taste GREAT. And what's weird about rice, potatoes, beans, pasta and oatmeal? I eat these things anyway.
Here's a summary of the book that the author gives on her website: "I Dare You to Eat It walks readers step-by-step through designing food storage to fit your family’s needs and preferences. In Chapter 1 I discuss the role of provident living in helping us to follow God’s plan and reach out to others. Chapter 2 provides an overview of a practical system for integrating food storage into normal, everyday meals. Chapter 3 explains the simple steps for implementing your own food storage plan, tailored to the way your family eats, followed by more than forty easy food storage recipes in Chapter 4. And Chapter 5 provides further advice, responding to frequently asked questions about storing dried goods and using stored food." There you go.
It's a quick enjoyable read. I even found myself laughing out loud at parts. I recommend it to anyone who is serious or curious about being prepared, eating better or saving money. For more information, check out this link:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ginger- Not just for cookie houses and Thai food

Currently there is some nasty horrendous gastro virus epidemic running through my extended family. While my in-laws were visiting us today, they started having symptoms too. I pray and hope that my kids don't come down with it as well. Anyway, it brought to mind a simple recipe that a co-worker once shared with me. It's fabulous for upset tummies and morning sickness too.

Orange-Ginger Smoothie
1 dreamsicle, stick removed
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
2-3 canned peach halves
1 T vanilla yogurt
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Besides decreasing the motility of the GI tract (it helps with diarrhea and cramping as well as nausea), ginger has many other benefits. It is useful for treating heart disease because it thins blood and lowers cholesterol. (So don't go overboard with it if you are on any kind of blood thinner.) In many countries, it is used as a treatment for the common cold. And the FDA has determined that is safe with no notable side effects.
Research in rats and mice have found that it prevents skin cancer, kills ovarian cancer and helps to treat diabetes, but it will probably be quite awhile before they can determine if it is potent enough to fix those problems in humans.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Motherhood's reach goes beyond home- Words of encouragement

Some days between the incessant messes and tantrums over ridiculous things, it's nice to have a reminder of the importance of why I do the things that I do. I found this article in a recent newspaper.

Drawing from modern and ancient examples of motherhood, John Hilton III, a part-time BYU professor, and his wife, Lani, shared during the Sperry Symposium at BYU Oct. 31 how motherhood reaches far more than in one's own home.

"Countless people today believe that … motherhood is a burden, and there are better areas for women to pursue," Brother Hilton said. "But many mothers in the Old Testament would disagree.

"These women offer several lessons for modern-day matriarchs. In contrast to some current philosophies, the Old Testament teaches the importance of motherhood by establishing the significance of posterity and the influence and blessings that come from raising children. It provides several accounts of sacrifices mothers make and shows how those sacrifices changed history."

The Old Testament also teaches the powerful influence mothers have not only on their children, but also on entire nations and future generations.

The Old Testament references the word "mother," or one of its derivatives, 232 times, which is 50 percent more than all of the other standard works combined, Sister Hilton said. This shows the importance of mothers in the Old Testament.

Whether it was keeping a home in order, caring for children, working in the garden or with their small animals, the workloads of mothers in the Old Testament are the same as mothers in today's society. Although the technical processes may be different, the same duties and responsibilities of mothers who lived anciently still exist today.

"Though we have many conveniences, our lives have become increasingly complicated," Sister Hilton said. "But for modern-day mothers our most important duty is the same that was given to mothers anciently."

Not only was motherhood the most important role of women in the Old Testament, it is also perhaps the deepest desire of women in the Old Testament, Brother Hilton said.

Old Testament matriarchs offer several lessons for modern-day mothers. Beginning with the example of the first mother on earth, Eve, the mother of all living, Brother and Sister Hilton shared how her example of teaching children the gospel not only blessed their posterity, but it also brought great joy to Eve's life.

Although Eve was blessed to be able to physically bear children, she was named the mother of all living before she had children. Motherhood is more than just bearing children — it is teaching the gospel and making all things known to children, said Sister Hilton. Regardless of having mortal children or not, motherhood is at the essence of being a woman.

Other lessons of the divine role of motherhood can be found through looking at other mothers' examples in the Old Testament. Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel are all women who honored God, were true to their covenants and continually strove to be faithful.

"Many people throughout the world today are descendants of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, each of whom was deeply committed to motherhood," Brother Hilton said. "The faith of these great matriarchs is evidenced in their desire to honor God, be true to their covenants and raise righteous posterity. Although each struggled to bear children, their consecrated service as mothers truly has blessed thousands of millions."

Other examples of motherhood in the Old Testament include Deborah, Rizpah and Hannah, each of whom were courageous mothers who were able to teach their children in righteousness and, in some instances, save nations.

Regardless of what the world teaches, motherhood is a faith-based work that is crucial to future generations and nations, the Hiltons explained.

"The examples and lessons from the Old Testament of mothers that we have discussed are only a few among many," Brother Hilton said. "Beginning with the mother of all living, mothers have a supremely important role in the Old Testament and this role continues to the present day."

"Although it may not be popular today for women to choose to be mothers," Sister Hilton said, "Old Testament matriarchs reach out across the centuries to affirm the value of motherhood. Their sacrifices alter the course of human history as we read of mothers in the Old Testament and throughout the scriptures. We should contemplate the sacrifices they made. Their lives testify to us of the importance of posterity and the vital role mothers play in shaping the future of the world."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Southwest Cheese Soup

Here's a recipe that I recently found that is fast, easy, uses ingredients I have on hand, and the best part is my family loved it. (I love soup, and it's just something my husband usually tolerates, but he really enjoyed this one.) It was perfect when I needed to make something warm and fast, after spending the late afternoon at the park with my family. The original recipe called for 16 oz of Velveeta. I am not a big Velveeta fan, it has a distinct processed cheese after-taste. However I read several reviews where they tried to use real cheese in this soup, and it just didn't work. They could never make it smooth and it was just a clumpy mess. Here's what I did below and turned out perfect.

Southwest Cheese Soup
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
1 15 oz can of corn, drained
1 c skim milk
8 oz of Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 c grated cheese (I used a pizza blend, but I think pepper jack would also be good.)

Mix all ingredients and stir over medium heat until cheese is thoroughly melted and mixture is smooth. (About ten minutes) Serve with crushed tortilla chips.