Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This is a recipe that I have made for many years in different ways.  It is a great family dinner.  Recently I worked up a real recipe, which it never had before.  It makes a big hearty casserole that will feed 8 easily.  The leftovers freeze well or heat up nicely. 

1.In a medium sauce pan put 1 T. oil and grate in 2-3 cloves of garlic and 2 tsp. fresh ground  cumin seeds (in a mortar and pistil)  or use ground cumin.  Sauté until the garlic starts to brown.

2.  Add 3-4 large chopped jalapeno  peppers (minus the seeds and white membrane to control the heat)  or 1 can chopped green chiles.

3. Add 4 C. chicken broth.  (I usually use a rotisserie chicken for this.  After removing all the meat I boil the bones and skin and strain the broth for use here)
4. Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir together ¾ C. flour and ¾ C. water to make a thickening paste and stir into the broth and cook for 1 minute siring and boiling gently.

5.  Stir in 1 C. sour cream.  Remove 1 ½ C. for the top.  Add 4 cups cooked chicken to the remaining sauce. 

6. Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and put about ½ c. sauce in the bottom of the dish, spread to cover as much as possible.  Lay 6 , 8-inch flour tortillas around the edge of the dish sticking half out.  Tear one tortilla in half for the bottom.

7.  Spread 1 Can of refried beans across the bottom of the tortillas and one can of drained and rinsed black beans on top.

8.  Cover with 8 oz grated or sliced cheese--cheddar or Monterey jack.  Pour the chicken and sauce over this and fold over the tortillas.  Cover the hole with the other half you used in the bottom.

9.  Pour the saved sauce over the top and top with more grated cheese.  Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 if you just made it.  If you are baking it cold, pre-prepared it will take about and hour.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Cut into squares or just scoop out and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

I also make this with leftover roast beef and gravy.  Hamburger also works with tomato sauce instead of thickened broth and 1 T.  chile powder with the other spices.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

THE GOSPEL OF LOVE - Religious Essay by Me

The Gospel of Love

Last fall, as we traveled in Europe, we had an opportunity to attend church in the far flung reaches of the kingdom.  The spirit was sweet in a small branch in Southern Hungary.  A fresh faced young missionary from South Jordon, Utah sat with us and translated sacrament meeting.  According to this elder Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages, but he created a spirit and a message for us after only a little over a year in the country.  Most of the women were in slacks, perhaps the only wardrobe piece available.  No one seemed to mind. 

Later in Malaga Spain we attended an English speaking branch.  Southern Spain has had an influx of Immigrants from England who have come to Malaga to get warm and experience sunshine.  Malaga delivers both.  During Sunday school a middle aged male investigator asked the question, “Does this church emphasize love?  For me to be interested Love must be the driving force.”  Do we, I wondered?  Is it our main focus? Are we motivated in our service and devotion by love or do we press forward trying to be obedient without worrying about being loving.  “To obey is better than sacrifice,” (1 Samual 15:22) but is it better than to love. Or is it that to love is the best obedience as we try to be like Christ?

Christ taught, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  (John 13:35)

Does that mean we love everyone?  Love is not always easy.  How do I judge my day to day loving?  Is avoiding people I don’t feel loving toward OK.   Temple service, church assignments, visiting teaching, prayer—I try to do them out of love, but sometimes I know it is about obedience.  Will God judge me ill on these days of mere obedience?  I cannot answer all of these questions but I have given them a lot of thought.  I desire to be a valiant disciple of Christ and have sought some answers in the scriptures.

Matthew 5
43¶Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, 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;
 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
 48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I have joy in the teachings of John Lund concerning verse 48 ”…be ye therefore perfect.” It is taken out of context most of the time.  It belongs to the message of the paragraph of which it is the ending.  Verse 43 has a paragraph sign so we know this is where Christ meant the thought to begin as he teaches us about love.  Then he ends it with “…be ye therefore perfect.”  Surely he meant perfect in loving—perfect in the concepts he just taught. Oh how difficult it is to be perfect in loving our enemies.   But if we believe the promise that he will help us it may be possible. 

Corinthians 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 8 Charity never failith: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
 12 For now we see through a glass darkly but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
 13 And now abideth faith hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

This list, of the characteristics of love, means a lot to me.  Each concept is clear and by them I can judge my loving behavior.  Many of them are difficult and not natural to most of us.  It is not easy to suffer and be kind and not envy and not be puffed up.  Sometimes it is hard to believe all things and bear all things.  Oh, and it is so difficult to not be easily provoked.  But verse 2 says, “and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothingWhat about all the fast offerings and tithing I paid and meetings I attended, don’t they mean anything? It is clear isn’t it?  We must learn to do all those difficult things on the list.  But how?  The Book of Mormon has such a beautiful answer to the how in Moroni 7:48.  I cherish this scripture above all others because it gives me hope to the possibilities that I can be better at loving and maybe in time approach perfection in one area.  This is a beautiful principle with a promise.

Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

“…be ye therefore perfect.”  “…we shall be like him.” 
For me these words helped me to see that I need to pray every day to be “filled with …love.”   I have tried hard to say every day in my prayers “help me to be filled with love.” This prayer has changed me.  I find it easier to not envy and not to be easily provoked. But when I fail I know I can begin again.  I am far from where I need or want to be in the charity list but I see improvement.  With Christ it is not so much as where we are but what direction we are going.  I believe that as I continue to pray for love with “energy of heart” that He will be with me.  This prayer will be answered.

Is seeing “through the glass darkly,” not understanding the precepts of the gospel of love?  I wonder.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Spinach with Mushrooms is one of my favorite taste combinations, Spinach and Mushroom Crepes especially with cheese and a little thyme.  The Pioneer Woman  had this recipe Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas.  I adapted it some.  Here is my recipe.  This is something I will make often, I know.  It is easy and so yummy! This will make 4 Quesadillas or enough for 4-6 people.

12 Oz. sliced mushrooms
8 C. packed spinach leaves (I used my 4 cup measuring cup and packed it twice.)
6-8 T. butter.
1-2 cloves garlic
8 oz. grated Monterey Jack cheese
8- 8 inch flour tortillas

Melt 3 T. butter in a large frying pan.  Add 1-2 cloves of grated garlic as per your taste and 1/2 tsp. dry thyme leaves.  If you have fresh use a generous 1 tsp.  Stir fry until the mushrooms are starting to brown.  Remove from the pan and add the spinach with 4 T. water and 1 T butter.  Stir until all wilted.  Cover and simmer on low for 2-3 minutes.   Cool slightly and chop a little.

Spread a little soft butter on the bottom of all the tortillas as you cook them.  Sprinkle a tortilla with cheese, scatter some mushrooms and then some spinach over and  more cheese and another tortilla.  Grill until brown on both sides and the cheese is melted. Cut with a pizza cutter into 4 sections and enjoy.  If you like to dip Marinara sauce is good.

Sometime I am going to try them with pepper jack cheese and omit the thyme leaves.  This variety would be good dipped in salsa.  Also a little chicken would be nice sprinkled in if you need meat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have thought a lot about Brother Lynn G Robbins  talk from April Conference 2 weeks ago.  Brother Robbins geared it to teaching children but I thought the principles were far reaching in evaluating our discipleship. Here are some of the thoughtful passages. To me this talk was unique and clever.

To become as He is, we must also do the things He did: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 27:21; emphasis added).

To be and to do are inseparable.  As interdependent doctrines they reinforce and promote each other.  Faith inspires one to pray, for example, and prayer in turn strengthens one's faith. 

The Savior often denounced those who did without being—calling them hypocrites: “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mark 7:6). To do without to be is hypocrisy, or feigning to be what one is not—a pretender.

Conversely, to be without to do is void, as in “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17; emphasis added). Be without do really isn’t being—it is self-deception, believing oneself to be good merely because one’s intentions are good.

Do without be—hypocrisy—portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself.

Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish. But people rarely have to be lists. Why? To do’s are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can’t earn checkmarks with to be’s. I can take my wife out for a lovely evening this Friday, which is a to do. But being a good husband is not an event; it needs to be part of my nature—my character, or who I am.

Or as a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents. And to be good parents, one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior.

Christlike to be’s cannot be seen, but they are the motivating force behind what we do, which can be seen. When parents help a child learn to walk, for example, we see parents doing things like steadying and praising their child. These do’s reveal the unseen love in their hearts and the unseen faith and hope in their child’s potential. Day after day their efforts continue—evidence of the unseen be’sof patience and diligence.

Because be begets do and is the motive behind do, teaching be will improve behavior more effectively than focusing on do will improve behavior.

What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to be - Lynn G Robbins 

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Asparagus season always has me looking for new ways to eat it.  This is simple and very good.  Trim off the woody ends of a bunch or whatever you plan to eat.  Put 1-3 T. of olive oil in the bottom of a cookie sheet or small baking pan.  (depending on how much you are going to cook)  Grate fine 1-2 cloves of garlic into the pan.  Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in the pan and roll around in the oil until it is all covered nicely.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the bunch.  Broil on high for 3 minutes and toss a little with a spatula to turn as best you can.  Broil for 3 more minutes.  Check for desired crispness.  Some stalks are larger and need more time.  Turn off the oven, remove to a plate and sprinkle generously with coarse grated Parmesan.  Put back into the warm oven until melted and serve as soon as possible. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Wallace Goddard is a wise mentor and I love his gospel ideas.  He teaches that God's ideas of self esteem differ from mans but are infinitely more useful. Here is the full article:  The Lure and Lore of Self Esteem

God recommends self-forgetfulness and discipleship rather than self-celebration and self-improvement.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 16:24–25).

If we cultivate a Christ-like mind, we ultimately gain the “confidence [that waxes] strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45). That is very different from self-confidence. It is a serene peace that God is in charge and that He knows how to accomplish His perfect purposes.

Father’s plan for growth is different from the human plan for growth. Rather than enlarge our management, rally our genius, and exercise our strength ..... we focus our faith, submit our wills, and beseech heaven for divine power. That is the relentless message of the Book of Mormon.