Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sunday Will Come

I've had a lot of worldly worries on my mind recently and Easter couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me.  I needed the spiritual reminder that there is so much more to life then work, school and all the worldly things we deal with here on this earth. 
I read a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin and it was just what I needed to hear it is called

Sunday Will Come

what a great reminder this is for all of us!
I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter and remembered the real reason of this joyous season.  The Easter bunnies, chocolate, eggs and more are all great but there is SO much more to Easter.
I absolutely love this picture from Simon Dewey-Why Weepest Thou.  I gave each person a small version of this for my Easter lesson in my Sunday School class (more on that to come later).  A great visual reminder to always remember Him.
I am so grateful to know that our Savior lives and loves us!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Frosted Banana Bars

There is something about a freshly baked goodie that I just love.  These banana bars are so delicious.  We love to eat it as is or you can pile on the perfect cream cheese frosting. 

Frosted Banana Bars
Yield:  3 dozen


1/2 C. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt


1/2 C. butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.  

Pour into greased 15x10 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 21-25 minutes or until bars test done.  Cool.

For frosting, cream butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat well.  Spread over bars.  

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mom's Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies

These brownies are what dreams are made of.  And bigger pants because boy I can eat almost a pan of these.  My Mom is the master at these delicious brownies and when she makes them the whole family digs in quick! 
The marshmallow center is the perfect addition to the chocolate brownie and frosting. 

Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies

1 C. butter 
1/2 C. cocoa
2 C. sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. nuts (optional)
miniature marshmallows

1/2 C. butter
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/3 C. cocoa
1/3 C. sweetened condensed milk

Cream together butter, cocoa, sugar.  Add eggs, flour vanilla.  Mix.  Add nuts.  Pour into 10x15 inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cover top of brownies with small marshmallows.  Bake one minute more.  Cool one hour.  Beat all of frosting ingredients together and spread on cooled brownies.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

IKEA frames for the win!

After moving into our apartment I've realized how nice, cute and cheap decorations are.  Especially if you can reuse them for different holidays!  We had some leftover paper from the painted wood blocks and I started thinking these are about the same size as our favorite IKEA frames!  You can find the frames at IKEA for only $0.99! This 4x6 frame holds any paper you can cut to size, can be used double sided and takes up only a little bit of space. 

Change out the paper and ribbon depending on the holiday and you've got yourself a year round decoration idea.  We also LOVE to use these for parties, they are great for food tables and so much more.  They even have different shapes and colors too!

How perfect would this be for a scripture you are ponderizing!? Or a quote you want to remember!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March Birchbox 2016

This month I opted for the Ready for Anything Featured Box instead of my hand chosen samples. I did this before with my November Birchbox and I loved that one so I thought I'd try it again.  This box is supposed to help you be ready for anything day or night, and to make sure you're always looking your best!

In this box I received:
-PARLOR by Jeff Chastain-Smoothing Blowout Spray-This blow out spray added loads of volume and shine!  I love that it protects my hair from heat damage too!
-MILK Studios-Lip Color in C.R.E.A.M.- This lipstick is so long lasting.  It glides on like a dream and stays in place for hours!  I totally hated this sample packaging though, while I was applying it the little piece of product plopped right out. 
-Smashbox-Photo OP Eye Shadow Trio in Filter- I'm not sure why it looks more purple in the picture but it is actually a dark and light brown shade.  These eye shadows are so creamy and blendable.  Perfect trio for a not so boring neutral eye!
-Kiehl's-Ultra Facial Cream- I have moisturizers and creams to last me a life time so I haven't gotten around to trying this one yet.  It sounds amazing though!  They claim it's the ultimate soother, rich without being greasy and sinks in like a charm. 
-Wilma Schumann-Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads-I've heard about these eye pads and I can't wait to try them!  These 100% collagen pads claim to plump, hydrate and restore, to enhance your eyes gently and naturally.
Like always if you're interested in learning more about Birchbox or want to receive your own Birchbox you can go to there website here!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 2016 Youth Sunday School Lesson: Living Prophets and Apostles

How can I use the words of living prophets and apostles to strengthen my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
I recently got a new calling and I am SO excited about it!  I'm now a Visiting Teaching District Leader and a Youth Sunday School Instructor. 
For my first lesson I was so glad I got to talk about how living prophets and apostles can strengthen our faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
I started with a little object lesson.  I put a little stuffed animal or you could use a figurine in a bag or box this time I used a stuffed bunny.  I go on to tell them that they may not believe me but I have a little bunny in my bag.  I ask if they believe me and what would help them believe me.  Then I asked for a volunteer, I had one girl look in and see the little stuffed bunny.  She tells the class that there is a baby bunny in the bag!  We then talk about what they think now and why its so important to have a witness.  This was the perfect introduction to the lesson.
After that we talked about how like the prophets of old, prophets and apostles today testify of Jesus Christ and are called to be "special witnesses" for Him.
Other great things we read and discussed:  "Apostle" in the Bible Dictionary, Jacob 7: 11-12,
D&C 76: 22-24, and Elder Bednar's talk "Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name".  I was planning to cut up pieces of Elder Bednar's talk and have the girls take turns reading the last testimonies of those great prophets and apostles.  Its a great talk, if you haven't read it you should!
Another thing the girls LOVED doing was this marking activity from The Red Headed Hostess
To wrap up the lesson we talked about how we can make the prophets and apostles words a more important part of our lives.  I gave each girl a Conference Ensign (only a $1 at the Distribution Center) and a highlighter.  As they read I challenged them to highlight where members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve teach or testify of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

I am so thrilled about this calling and I'm already planning for my next lesson! ;)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Best Funeral Potatoes EVER!!

I'll be honest I have always HATED funeral potatoes.  My Mom happened to find this recipe at Lil' Luna and it totally changed my view of the dreaded funeral potatoes. 
This recipe is a total hit!  Every time my mom makes it it's gone within minutes.
You can find Lil' Luna's recipe HERE!
My mom likes to use Mr. DEE'S Frozen Hash Brown Potatoes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Oreo Taste Testing

Dallin LOVES Oreos!  Like so much he convinced me we had to register for them on our wedding registry. And boy did we get a lot of Oreos! Dallin loved it and surprisingly I gradually started to love them too.  So when we were shopping for snacks for Dallin's first big out of town work trip this week and saw these we just had to test them out!
-Our verdict-
Try the Filled Cupcake Oreos they are so good! The cream center is actually different then the average Oreo cream. The combination is so great!
The Oreo Churros on the other hand were a toss up.  Dallin liked them more than I did.  I think they would be perfect for a party because they are bite sized and the cream again is the best part. After you bake or fry them they have a mix of Oreo crumbs and sugar you can toss them in. It was fun to try, but I'd definitely have the Filled Cupcake Oreos over these.
I've heard rumor of coconut Oreos!? I've got to try them soon if they are a real thing.  What are your favorite kind of Oreos?

Monday, March 7, 2016

February 2016 Highlights

I've been super late with all things Valentine's lately because I feel like February just flew past me.  We had a great month as you can tell by all the food pictures, just how we like it!
Valentine's day is actually my little sisters birthday so we had loads of parties and things to celebrate her and sadly I didn't get with the program and get pictures of everything this month.
Dallin was a total sweetie and bought me roses-in my favorite color, a box of chocolates from Cumming's AND the best dipped strawberries also from Cumming's!  I was in chocolate heaven!

I was hoping to do the 12 Days of Love for Dallin, but it turned out to be a Love Basket!  I thought it turned out great!
Emma and Adam (and Brittany!) gave all us siblings a little Valentine.  She really is so thoughtful and always remembers holidays.  I love it!

We have been loving trying new recipes!  There is always a couple that are a total miss but there are some that are total hits!  We loved this Meat Lover's Tortellini Skillet from I Wash You Dry!

We've been on a mission for finding THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe so we tried two different recipes in February. This one was pretty delicious from my aunt Caroline!

I don't limit myself to just chocolate chip cookies so I made some sugar cookies and you guys!!!! I could eat this dough by the bowl full. And these cookies were so good too!  I think I'm getting closer to my favorite sugar cookie recipe.  Thanks to The Girl Who Ate Everything!!  And thanks to Cody who had the genius idea of adding fruit! So amazing!

We loved using our extra tortellini on this Creamy Tortellini Soup from Diethood.  It was so light and refreshing!

One of the best things about having a little brother that works at a chocolate shop is all the treats he gives us!  These chocolates were amazing.  Chocolate Covered Wagon's truffles are so huge and delicious!

That big white chocolate one is macadamia nuts covered in their amazing caramel!  It was SO good!  And look at the size of those truffles!!

I also got a another calling in February, Youth Sunday School instructor! I'm so excited!  More to come of that first lesson soon!


Friday, March 4, 2016

Mint Chocolate Cookies

These cookies make me so hungry!  I absolutely love all things Your Cup of Cake so naturally I had to try these for myself.   They make the perfect treat for St. Patrick's Day!

You can find her original recipe HERE!  My little modifications are included in her recipe below.
Ultimate Grasshopper Cookies

1 Box Devil's Food Cake mix

2 eggs
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Mint Frosting:
3/4 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
2-3 C. powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk, if needed
green food dye, if desired
May want to consider doubling if you love frosting as much as I do.
Chocolate Glaze:
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (Lizzy likes to use chocolate "melts") I used Milk Chocolate Chips. 
4 Tbsp. butter Do NOT I repeat DO NOT use butter!  You'll get a thick mess!  Use about a tablespoon of shortening instead!
May want to consider doubling as well!
Andes Mint Candies, roughly chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine cake mix, eggs, butter (make sure you let it cool a little so it doesn't cook the eggs), vanilla and sugar. That batter will be stiff.

3. Make dough balls a little large than a Tablespoon and place on cookie sheets to bake. (You may want to pat each dough ball down a little bit because cake mix cookies tend to bake up tall.)
4. Bake for 7-9 minutes and let cool on cooling racks.
5. Mint Frosting: Beat butter for 2 minutes. Add peppermint extract and slowly add it powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add 1-2 Tablespoons milk if it gets too thick. Add green dye for color if desired.
6. Chocolate Glaze: Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a microwave proof bowl. Zap for about 30 seconds, then stir, then microwave in 10 second increments and stir until smooth.
7. To assemble (see photos). Pipe on frosting, smooth over with a knife, spoon on your glaze and top with peppermint candies.

Lizzy uses a piping tip to pipe on the frosting which makes for a perfectly pretty and clean look but if you want a homemade feel like me (and hate cleaning your pastry bag/tip) just spread some on with a butter knife, make a little indentation to add in the glaze and it will get the job done!  Make sure to check out her post because her photography skills are super impressive, and every recipe I've tried from her I've totally loved.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sweet, Sweet Chicken

This sweet chicken is SO delicious.  Thanks to my mother in law she shared the recipe and boy are we glad!  Sadly this is the only picture mid cooking we got of the batch we made, but let me tell you it is incredible!  You can serve this on a salad (Café Rio style) or with tacos or burritos. 
Her original recipe is HERE!  She told us to add a few things while we were preparing that are not listed on that original recipe that I included below.
Sweet Chicken Tacos

4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can green enchilada sauce
2 cans Mexican style tomato sauce
1 can chopped chili peppers-green chilies, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 chopped green or red pepper
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (If making for a lot of people include this!)
Sliced mushrooms (optional)

Put chicken in crock pot with a little water. Cook for about 1 to 2 hours until chicken falls apart. Shred chicken. Add enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, onion, pepper and chili peppers and brown sugar. Continue cooking on low for about 6 hours (or on high for about 4 hours).

If it is too runny, cook a little longer with the lid off.

Serve with
Corn or flour tortillas
rice (recipe below)
black beans
grated cheese
avocado or guacamole
sour cream
fresh cilantro
fresh squeezed lime juice
Tomatillo dressing


2 cup brown or white rice
4 cups chicken broth or water
½ onion chopped
¼ cup butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic

Combine rice, butter, onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat until onions are transparent. Add the water and allow rice to come to a boil. Simmer on low until all liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes for white rice, 40 minutes for brown rice).

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Our favorite Syrup Recipes: Buttermilk and Coconut

I have been loving waffles recently and my absolute favorite is Nutella with Strawberries and whipped cream.  Just like Waffle Love!  We are still looking for a good Waffle Love knock off waffle recipe but until then, good old Bisquick works wonders! :)

Here are some of our favorite toppings!  The two syrups are just too good to pass up!

Sweetened Whipped Cream
This is amazing with hot chocolate too!
Recipe from Chef In Training 

3 C. heavy whipping cream
3/4 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Beat heavy cream on high and gradually add in sugar and vanilla until whipped cream is formed. You want it someone on the stiffer side.
Coconut Syrup
I got this recipe from a Stake Relief Society presidency member, I still remember she had copies of the recipe on hand because she knew everyone would love it.  Thanks Sister Reese!  I'm not even kidding it puts any waffle over the top delicious!
1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. buttermilk
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. coconut extract
Place butter, buttermilk and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil and boil one minute.
Remove from heat and add baking soda and extract, stirring constantly.  It will bubble up, so if you pot is small, hold it over the sink to avoid spillage.  Continue to stir syrup and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.  Serve over almost any breakfast food:  waffles, pancakes, French toast, crepes, etc.
Buttermilk Syrup
We first had this syrup at a family breakfast with the Strong's and I still remember just wanting to put it on everything! It's that good!  Make sure to make it in a large soup pot, because it will bubble quite a bit when you add the baking soda.
1/2 C. buttermilk
1 C. sugar
1 stick of butter
1 tsp. corn syrup
Mix over medium heat then add:
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
We love to smear on some Nutella while the waffle is still hot then pile high with strawberries cream and loads of syrup!  We've also heard of Biscoff butter, peanut butter, bananas, and raspberries!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Painted Wood Blocks for Any Holiday

The girls in my family have been really into painting little decorations for Valentine's Day-yes I know I'm late. :)  But I thought I'd note some of the things that worked for us.  This is such a simple, easy, and cheap way to add some little holiday décor to your space no matter the holiday!  We also put papers on both sides to fill in those hard to decorate spaces.
All you need is:
-wood blocks
-your choice of paint
-cute paper
-Mod Podge
-Wood Glue
-hot glue
The steps are simple!
1. Sand your wood blocks.
2. Paint the edges of your block.  Let dry.
3. Attach your paper with wood glue. We like to use paint brushes for the glue and Mod Podge.  Let dry.
4. Paint over the paper with a thin layer of Mod Podge.  Don't worry about bubbles, let it dry overnight and they will all go away!
5.Repeat on the other side if needed. Let dry completely.
6. If you want to add ribbon around the edges put some dots of hot glue in a line and follow with your ribbon.  Brittany was a master at this. 

As you can tell I got a little carried away, but I couldn't decide on which paper I liked the most!  My Mom picked them up at The Wood Connection, its a super cute place in UT. 

^^Are you joking me?! A donut decoration!! It's calling my name! ^^