Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Bake Cookies

My husband and I share a big vise.  That vise is sweets.  We just love cookies and cake and brownies and candy and ice cream and whatever else is full of sugar!  The biggest thing for us is chocolate!  Cocoa powder is as basic an ingredient around our house as is flour or milk!  We're slowly working on keeping this in check, and we eat pretty healthy in every other way (whole wheat bread, brown rice, lots of veggies, very little salt or fat) and we're working on making our homemade sweets healthier by adding beans instead of butter in most cases, but this post isn't about being healthy, it's about comfort food.
Since store bought sweets can get pretty pricey, we opt to make our own.  Generally this involves baking for the kinds of sweets we really get into.  When we were living in the motel, it had a little kitchenette, which we were very grateful for.  It had two burners, a microwave, and a fridge.  But nothing that could be used to bake.  This was a very stressful time for us, with my hubby recovering from brain surgery, no income, living off our tax return in a little motel, feeling like things hadn't gone anywhere close to the way we'd hoped.  So when we'd put the kids to bed we'd want to do something to relax.  Not much you can do in a motel room.  So one day we said, hey, let's make something sweet!, no oven, cookies....same problem......cake......hmmmmm.  We took out one of the few cookbooks we had kept wen we moved and looked through it and found a recipe for no bake cookies.  It became our regular treat while we were there, the only sweet we could think to make to forget the hard time we were going through.  We don't do it much anymore, since we have an oven now, but when we do it's very nostalgic!

No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups oatmeal

Melt butter in sauce pan.  Add milk, sugar, and cocoa.  Mix well.  Heat to boiling (I keep it on medium heat, it may take a little longer, but it prevents a burnt taste) stirring regularly.  Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat.  Add peanut butter, stir in until melted (you don't have to, but it prevents clumps) add vanilla and oatmeal.  Stir well.  Scoop onto plates with a tablespoon.  You can also do wax paper or aluminum foil, but we like to use reusable things.
use stirring spoon to carefully lick the pan, be careful, it's hot.
Try to wait until the cookies cool.  At least wait until they aren't scalding hot anymore before you have 5 or 6.  Give your husband at least one plate of cookies and some milk.  If there are any left, save them in an air tight container and give to your kids the next day after they eat their breakfast, but only give them one each and make a big deal out of it so they will feel special!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How the Family Proclamation Has Affected My Life

Today is the last blog hop for the Celebration of the Family.  The topic is how the Family Proclamation has affected each of our lives personally.   There are so many ways it has affected my life that I'm not quite sure where to start.  But the first thing that stuck out to me shortly after it had been read in the General Relief Society Meeting was this:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

At the time, I was going through quite the feminist stage, plus I was about 11 so I was disagreeable anyway, but I heard that and thought "What?  Men have all those cool things to do and all women get is nurture children?  That's not fair!"  I know, I was so far off the mark.  In later years I spent a lot of time pondering those words.  The next sentence is:

In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

Equal partners? I thought, how could they be equal if the woman just stays home and changes diapers all day?  Then one day it dawned on me: If we're equal, then nurturing children is just as important as presiding, providing, and protecting the whole family.  Plus, they help each other.  It really stuck in my mind when I was assigned a group project for one of my classes, I don't even remember the class or the project, but I do remember that one we all knew our common goal, we divided the tasks and assigned each person something different to do, then we came together before the presentation and went over what everyone had and offered pointers and what not.  It was then that I realized that although some of us had what seemed to me more fun or exciting parts, they were all equally important to the benefit of the group. In a family, the  children need to nurtured, protected, provided for and have leadership.  If both the husband and wife just nurtured, the children could be left without basic needs like food and shelter, if both provided and nothing else, the children would become detriments to society, ill-mannered and without direction.

I knew that this was what I needed to do when I got the chance.  So even through joining the Army and all the other fun stuff I did, I knew that when it came time to have children, I would give it up to be home with them and be the best mom I could be.  I found out later on that that was one of the main reasons my husband was so interested in me, because he deeply desired a wife who would be home with our children, and wanted to be home with them.  41 weeks after we got married I was blessed to become a mom.  I never knew I could find so much more joy and so much more fulfillment in doing something that the world views as "drudgery" than I ever did in the military, in any other job, even more than school, and I love school (college, that is, high school I could have done without!).  I was never the kind of girl or young woman who went to pieces every time I saw a baby.  I thought babies were cute, and I didn't mind babysitting, but I had no idea that I could feel so much overwhelming love for someone so small and helpless.  I once saw an add in a magazine of a woman giving her baby a bath and the caption read "You never thought that the love of your life would be short and bald."  It's so true.  When I was pregnant with my third child, I was in the waiting room at the doctors office and another woman saw that I was there with my bigger kids and said "Wow, you must have really easy pregnancies!"  I wouldn't go that far.  I've never been hospitalized or had gestational diabetes or hypertension or anything, but I have had very large babies (my second was 10 pound, 4 ounces!) All my babies have at least tried to be born posterior, and I've had all those other fun side affects of pregnancy: horrible back aches, fatigue, nausea, swollen ankles, varicose veins, swelling, etc.  But if I hadn't been so surprised by that assumption, I would have told this woman "No, I don't have really easy pregnancies, I just have really cute babies!"  I enjoy my babies, I love them so much and I am so happy I get to be home with them and spend time with them.  Two weeks after my last child was born (it had been a hard delivery and recovery was moving along quite slowly) my husband, who was trying to give me a hard time, asked "So do you think you could do it again?" I said yes.  He looked surprised and said "You're nuts!"  Then he added "Heavenly Father knew what He was doing when He made women the ones who have babies, if I had to do it, we wouldn't have any, because I don't want to go through that kind of pain."  Despite my attitude toward it as a youth, I would say yes, Heavenly Father very much knew what He was doing when he assigned the responsibilities to mothers and fathers.

And I'm so happy I listened!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Impromptu Nutrition Lesson

This past weekend we went to visit my in-laws.  It was a good enough visit, but there's something that always gets to us about visiting there: the food.  Sure it tastes great, but there's almost no nutritional value and there's a TON of salt, fat, and sugar.  We always say that we gain about 5 pounds for every three days we spend there.  While we noticed the huge difference in ourselves, this past visit, the kids noticed too.  They were tired, had tummy aches, and were constipated.  They asked me why they felt this way and I explained that it was because we hadn't been eating healthy food.  We've had a lot of mini lessons on nutrition, but them experiencing the consequences of poor food choices seemed to really drive the point home for them.  Then, while we were waiting in the grocery store for my husband to use the restroom, the kids and I walked around and talked about what foods are healthy, which ones are not, and why.  They really enjoyed it, and when we got home, they wanted to go to the store to get healthy food!  It was a great little impromptu lesson!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peach Cobbler With One Hand!

I just had to post about a recipe my good friend Stephanie, from Fun Foods on a Budget posted!  It's called quick fruit cobbler and she means quick!  I managed to put this together in about 5 minutes with one hand because the other hand was holding the baby, and he was trying to "help" (you know the kind, grabbing whatever he can, trying to wrap his toes around the mixing bowl, grabbing my arm when I'm measuring something...) But this was so easy that I managed quite nicely, and it smelled so good baking!  I never make cobblers..well I didn't, until now, and I was very happy that this turned out so nicely!  You can see the recipe here.  Keep up the good work Stephanie!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Family Proclamation Photo Essay

Today is another blog hop for The Family: A Proclamation to the World!  This one is a photo essay.
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.