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I have been married to Ryan for 7 years and I love being married to my wonderful husband. I am a religious Christian and I love God. I live in the United States and have lived in China. I love being free and those who sacrifice(d) for my freedoms (not just servicemen and women, but all who work to preserve and teach freedom.) My hobbies include photography, music, ceramics, time with Ryan, and trying new things. I believe in the family and marriage. I love spending time with my family.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Breadsticks - light and fluffy

These are spectacular.  I have tried them.  They are very versatile and although the recipe below gives a suggestion of a dill sauce (which is delicious, by the way) they also work well with marinara, garlic and parmesan, or cinnamon and a honey butter sauce.  Any way you want it, that's the way you need it.  Any way you want it. 

Marie's Breadsticks

2 T Yeast
3 cups hot water
2 T sugar
combine in mixer and let stand, yeast will look foamy.
1t salt
7 cups flour add one at a time, the last cup add a little at a time until the dough pulls away from your mixing bowl and forms a ball.  
knead 6 minutes.  
Let stand about 10 minutes

roll out, let stand a few minutes on tray

Bake 400  12 min or until turn golden on top.  Then spread with butter right out of the oven.

Dill spread
1 t garlic salt
1t garlic powder
1/2 t dill
1/4 t italian seasoning

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scripture Tangents and Meanderings

I've been thinking about some things lately, and now, when I am functioning on 3 hours of sleep, I am willing to write it, so I hope it makes sense!
God is gracious.  He says, Hold on to me and I'll lift you up.  I'll guide you out.  Trust me.  I know more than you do.  My ways and thoughts are not the same as yours.  They are better.  Remember to have faith and trust in me. You will be happy you hung in there. 
Okay, those are a lot of things that I have been taught, including different scriptures and talks by his servants and it can be summed up in that little paragraph. 
Mostly, I'm just thinking about this because sometimes you realize you have to rely on the Lord to guide you through whatever storm is ahead and sometimes you realize you really have to rely on the Lord.  I try to remember these lessons.  I try to remember that my way and time is not God's way and time, but if I unite my heart, or my will, to His, things work out.  I don't know how, but they just do!  (Okay, I do know how.  It is because God is all-knowing and he loves his children and our happiness is his work.  And God's work and way is light and truth.  Whatever is light and truth is happiness.  So, he makes things work out His way.)  Maybe that is actually why and not how.
Sometimes I recognize miracles the Lord gives me and I think, "Wow!  How did that happen??  How did it come to pass and fruition just so?  In such a way that I am incredibly blessed!"  God is a god of miracles.  He is not dead.  He makes things happen and I guess they are miracles because 1: we could not do it ourselves.  and 2: His ways are not our ways, thus we do not have the understanding to comprehend all that he does.

Wow.  I think that is so incredible.  Miracles are so incredible.  God's love is so incredible.  Hard choices, or rather, working through them; working through all the tarry sludge to get to the clean air and sunshine is incredible.  Have you ever been in a dark place but held on to the Lord, no matter how hard it got, and then realized you were no longer in that dark place?  I think that's cool. 

Also, I did want to share a couple scriptures with you.  They are from Alma 36.  Alma is a grown man.  He's talking to his young adult sons.  In particular, at this point, he is speaking to his son, Helaman.  (Helaman is awesome, by the way.  And so is Corianton, but Corianton had to learn to live up to his awesome potential in a way that was harder to do than Helaman's.  I think that is an interesting insight to life today, but I guess this is a discussion for another topic/post/discussion...)
Alma's Words:
And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.
It seems that Helaman was on a good path in life.  But his father still had to teach him.  And, you know, I feel like I'm on a good path in life, but I still need gospel teaching in my life.

So, Alma tells Helaman how he was such a rotten young man, so rotten that an angel had to come tell him to shape up.  I mean, he was trying to destroy God's work.  I have no idea what he was thinking!  But he was really caught up in it.  So much that an Angel had to come remind him of reality and that he was in big trouble:
And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.
In other words:  You have done it.  You don't have to do anything else in order to qualify for eternal destruction.  Wow.  Talk about a wake up call.  Then, something incredible:  Alma is in a coma for 3 days.  But it's not really a coma.  It is something where he is just out as far as his physical body is concerned, but his spirit is busy as all get out re-learning  the gospel.  I wonder what it took for him to go to that state.  Was it because he couldn't deny the power of God in the angel?  Was it because as soon as the angel spoke, he realized the truth?  Maybe that question doesn't really matter right now.  Let's get to my point.  (Which I already stated in the beginning of this post.)

So, Alma tells his son about his experience and the change of heart he had in becoming converted to the Lord.  (It is so incredible and powerful, but you really need to read the rest of Alma's story - what happened before chapter 36 and the many other things in 36 that I am not even talking about.  It will increase the meaning and power of the experience for you.)
 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.
Alma then tells his son that if he holds on to God he will be saved and happy and blessed but if not, he will have to be miserable forever.  He was not talking to a rebellious kid here.  Do you know what this means?  This means that our teenagers and our young (and older) adult children need to hear the words of the Lord.  We need to study the words of the prophets of God.  It is just a way of life: learn the word and will of God at all times (whether you have kids in the house or it's just you) and in all things (turn your heart to God.) and in all places.  (Home, work, the park, school - even though imbicile teachers will tell you you can't, the store, the camp-outs and vacations, everywhere.) 

Okay, here is the verse, because it is really a lot more beautiful in his words:
And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever, for he has brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of bondage and captivity from time to time.
Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.
my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land...
Isn't that beautiful?!  If you keep God's commandments, you will be sustained in your trials and you will be lifted up!  God is merciful and He is gracious.  He loves his children and will help us through the messes, even if we make them, if we will hold on to Him and trust in him.  God's love and mercy and grace is so beautiful.    

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Apple muffins - sugar free

Okay.  So I am sort of experimenting with altering my diet so that I eat more natural food and less processed, etc...  So, I made these muffins and I really hope they turn out!  (fingers crossed - figuratively, of course.  I can't effectively type if they are physically crossed...) ;)

The following recipe is milk free, sugar free.  I used this recipe for guidance and made my own alterations. 
And by sugar free, I mean the only sugar in the muffins is still connected to it's original source. (apples and pears.)

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground mace  (*I couldn't find nutmeg, so I improvised.) 
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 c. fresh pear  (*I microwaved mine to soften it.)
1 apple pureed (*with ~1tsp of water and 1/2 tsp lemon juice added.  You could use ~1/2 cup of applesauce instead.)
1/4 c. butter, melted  (*I used 1-2 Tbls butter and about 3 Tbls coconut oil.)
1 tsp. vanilla 
2 c. chopped apple 

*optional add nuts or a crumble topping if you want to.  

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix dry ingredients first.  Add oils and wet ingredients.  Scoop them into muffin tins.   (Batter should not be runny.)  Put the muffins in oven and change the temperature down to 350.  (Fahrenheit)  Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  

These worked out but I needed to cook mine longer.  And next time, I will just add butter or coconut oil for the oil and I will probably use a little more.  And I will use apple sauce or pear sauce for the sugar content, again. 
Also, having the oven up too high and then lowering it to the cooking temperature when you put them in was a good idea.  It makes them rise faster, I guess so that they will be tall when you take them out. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chinese Home Cooking

This recipe is fabulous. 

Imagine suddenly putting all your school and career plans on hold, moving half way across the world, away from all your family, to another country with living conditions the average American would consider less than ideal, having much different food options available, knowing only 2 people in that country, and only one word of their common tongue, "Hello." (nihao 你好) 
Chinese Chicken Salad

Yes, sir!  That is what we did when we moved to China.  Don't get me wrong, we absolutely loved it there.  It was just very different from home.  Or, our familiar home.  Now, we kind of have 2 homes because we loved it so much.   We met wonderful people, learned how to speak Mandarin, where to eat and where to definitely not eat, what to eat (most things sold on the street.) 

One thing that was really, really fun was exploring the different food that they served and sold in our area.  Some of our friends took us to dinner at a certain restaurant one time and it became an instant favorite.  Not only did they have pumpkin pasties (nanguabing) but they had this incredibly satisfying salad.  It didn't really look like the one I made for dinner tonight, but the dressing - Oh!  The dressing! - It was Soo-o-o good.  (The salad with the dressing, I mean.  I don't know what I'm saying anymore because I am so caught up in the nostalgia of the moment.)

Anyway, I accidentally made it for dinner tonight!  (The dressing, not the salad.)  When we were eating I said to Hubby, "If I close my eyes I feel like I'm back in that restaurant in China."  We loved a lot of places.  But whenever we went to this place we would always order this salad.  It was that good!  I don't even know the name of it.  But I looked it up on Google Maps and this is apparently it: 好嘉利 (haojiali)
I think.  It's on Yihelu and tongbaibeilu.  Super legit.  Super good.  

Anyway, here is the recipe for the dressing that tastes just like the one we had on the 沙拉 (shala) there.  If you really want it authentic, you should add dandelion leaves or arugula and peanuts and probably some spicy red chiles.  But I would keep those to a minimum.  We added sesame seeds and I can't remember if the Chinese salad had those in it or not. 

3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons minced ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (that's what I did.)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar  (I just used balsamic and it worked fine.  Rice would be more Chinese, though.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons honey (I used organic cane sugar.)
1/4 cup water.

Also, because I used sugar instead of honey I microwaved it to help the sugar dissolve.  I don't think that it was necessary, but I did it. 

Oh!  And if you want to make the little noodles that I made (not that you can really see them in the picture.  They look like big chunks of chicken.) you just put tortilla dough through a noodle maker and then fry it up on a low/medium heat. 

Mmmmm!  I HOPE YOU TRY THIS!  It's so, as they say, "delishurs!"
Yes, Paul and Alyssa.  Especially you and the Knoxes.  
And, no, Todd, it does not taste like vinegar.

Recipe is from All Recipes and is called Asian Ginger Dressing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DAP = About the Children

Picture from
Lately, I read an email from my brother that asked what I thought about some person's article about the common core.  Truthfully, when he sent it I was kind of overwhelmed with school things and couldn't even read the 1 page article.  So, I finally read it.  And truthfully, I am not a big fan of common core or the United State's public school system.

I am a big fan of preschool and toddler classes.  Why?  Because I learned how to do it in a Developmentally Appropriate (Practice) environment.  It was so fun!  It was so me!  (*btw: DAP is not just limited to only preschool and toddler classrooms.)

Pic from

THIS IS WHAT I LOVE!  I love children discovering things that are important to them.  I love them choosing what activity they want to participate in.  (Yes, teachers still guide them and can assign them to go to a certain place first if they never go there, etc, etc...)  I love the happiness that is in a DAP classroom and the responsibility and autonomy that is there.  I love that the children are doing and that they are in charge.  I love how they learn to solve problems (in real situations.)  I love that it allows children to learn on their own levels and feel great about it.  I love that crafts and art are understood to be very different things.  I love that the environment is print-rich but that the children are not pushed to read and do complex math too early.  I love that the children are held in respect. 
I love that DAP classrooms are about, completely, 100% focused on and centered around the children who are there.  
That is beautiful.  That is precious.  That is hard and fun and glorious work. 

For anyone who is not educated in DAP or who wants to read more about it, etc... here is an awesome article.  I really like it.