Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Our little family at the new Gilbert Temple open house.
This evening, I was able to tour the new Gilbert Temple with my husband and 2 kids.  We were also joined by some good friends.  If I had to choose 2 words (because I have so many) I would just say, "ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!"

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (some call us Mormon and some refer to us as LDS), I was married to my husband 4 1/2 years ago in the Mesa Arizona Temple. The decision to be with my Favorite for the rest of eternity was the best decision I have ever made.  Life has just gotten better from that day forward.  With each passing "I love you" and each late night spent blurting out my entire day to this man, I fall deeper and deeper in love. 
Look at how young we look! If only you could freeze time! 
Basically, my Favorite (my little pet name for the Mr.) can usually guess how I'm feeling, he usually knows what to say, and is the first person I want to tell when something good or bad happens to me.  He is my biggest fan and I am his. 

He may not be perfect, but to me...he is. 

I know, I know, enough with the mushy stuff. 

What was I talking about again?!?!? Oh, faith.

When we are married in the temple, we are married for what is referred to as "Time & All Eternity."  Just think about that for a minute.  

When I committed to this man at the altar, I was promised that if we worked at our marriage, we could be together forever.  Not only that, but I was promised that my children could be mine forever if I would continue to try my hardest to follow Jesus Christ and do what God has asked me to do. 

On our wedding day, that meant the world to me.  But now, it means even more. 

Life is full of uncertainty. Yes, I have cancer, but you just watch me outlive you all! I'm a stubborn lady! But I have faith that I will be able to be with my Favorite and my two sweet kiddos in the next life because of what I know to be true.

Can I prove it to you? No. I do not have any tangible evidence that families can exist beyond the grave.  But the feeling that fills my chest when I pray to God about it is evidence enough of its truth.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." -Hebrews 1:11

I invite each of you to ask God for yourselves.  He will answer.  He always answers.  

I also invite you to ask me any questions about my faith or religion as you think of them! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm watching you, Wazowski!

Anyone else's kids LOVE LOVE LOVE Monster's Inc.?!?!?

Buddy loves "Mike Sully."  In fact, he could recognize what I was sewing after just piecing 1 section.

Gotta love Mike Wazowski! 

Pattern is available HERE for FREE! Yep! FREE! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rocking out!

Another pattern under my belt.  Can't wait to finish the entire quilt so I can show you! It's going to be ROCKIN'...lol. 

As always my pattern is available on Craftsy.  I didn't put this one on Etsy this time.  I don't feel like paying the advertising fees. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Good Day!

Today was a good day...no...scratch that...a FABULOUS DAY!

I had a cancer checkup, which would normally be labelled a nail biting day...BUT....

My doctor doesn't want to see me until AUGUST! YAY! Unless I feel that something changes.

She feels that I don't need to be watched like a hawk at this time and that my appointments can be spaced a little farther for the time being.  I love my doctor.  She is fantastic! She listens to the patient's needs. She is on board with the treatment plan that I want! What more could I ask?!?!

Meanwhile, little Buddy makes me laugh so much lately.  Wearing 3 pairs of underwear similar to these because it would be a shame to not wear all of the patterns at once! Or finding tampons and calling them whistles.  Or using the cardboard applicators as "dinosaur claws." Lol. Never a dull moment.  I think my feminine care product bill just went up! Yikes!

I taught him how to clean a toilet today and paid him $.25 for doing it.  He only scrubbed the inside of the bowl, but for an almost 3 year old he did pretty good! He will be able to earn an allowance of $1 (or maybe a little more so tax at the dollar store will be covered) a week I have decided.  Then, we can make trips to the dollar store where he can pick out toys.  Never too young to start teaching hard work pays off!

Besides...if he's going to "squirt" the toilet down every time he goes, he might as well be the one to clean the darn thing! lol


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chicken Fried {Elk} Steak

YUM! This meal is SO GOOD! My husband is convinced that the next time we get an elk, we need to do more steaks and less ground elk BECAUSE OF THIS RECIPE! 

When it comes to cooking elk, recipes you would usually use beef for are GREAT to use! And, the Pioneer Woman is a source I trust for red meat recipes.  This is a recipe I got out of her cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.

Before I begin, the original recipe calls for cube steak.  The cookbook explains that cube steak is just extremely tenderized round steak.  Therefore, using elk back straps or other {boneless} elk steaks is perfectly acceptable.  You just need to TENDERIZE TENDERIZE TENDERIZE.  To do this I bought a meat tenderizer off of Amazon.  It's a Jaccard meat tenderizer and it was just under $20.  Can't beat that! It seems to work really great! And, meat tenderizing is the ultimate stress relief! Never felt better!  

Click here to go to the tenderizer on Amazon.
Now for the recipe.

Chicken Fried {Elk} Steak
3 lbs boneless elk steaks (such as back straps) (THOROUGHLY TENDERIZED)
1 1/2 C. milk, plus around 2 cups for gravy
2 large eggs
3 C. flour, plus about 1/3 cup for the gravy
2 tsp. seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you want it spicier)
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C. oil for frying.

Combine 3 cups flour with seasoned salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a bowl. 

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the eggs in another bowl and beat thoroughly. 

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan or skillet (cast iron works GREAT!) until ready to fry (you can test this by tossing a little flour in and seeing if it sizzles.

Salt and pepper both sides of each steak and then dip in milk mixture followed by the flour mixture.  Dip back into milk mixture and then back into flour mixture. Place in hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy (about 2 1/2 minutes on each side.) Repeat for remaining steaks. You CAN cook more than one at a time if your frying pan/skillet is large enough.

Now for the gravy! 

When you're finished cooking all the steaks, pour frying oil into a glass container. Measure 1/4 cup of the oil and return it back to the frying pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the oil. Use a whisk to mix the flour and oil to create a brown paste. When the paste turns golden brown it's ready for the milk. Whisk in 2 cups milk.  Let the gravy come to a slow boil.  The gravy will thicken gradually. If the gravy is too thick, add more milk.

Once your gravy is at a consistency you prefer, serve chicken fried steak over mashed potatoes and SMOTHERED in gravy! DELICIOUS!    

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Easy Elk Stroganoff

This recipe is DELICIOUS! I will forewarn you though, the gamy taste of the elk does come through quite a bit in this one! 

Easy Elk Stroganoff 

1 1/2 lbs. ground elk meat (or ground beef if you prefer)
1 small onion chopped (optional)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional--my husband hates mushrooms so I did not include them)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed (neufchatel works great!)
2 C. beef broth
1/2 C. milk (low fat works fine)
3 Tbsp. flour
1/2 C. sour cream (low fat works fine)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
egg noodles or rice

Add ground elk, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large skillet and brown on medium or medium-high heat.  When the meat is barely pink, add mushrooms and cook until elk meat is completely browned. 

Add cubed cream cheese to elk meat mixture and melt the cream cheese over medium heat (stirring frequently). 

In a bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine beef broth, milk, and flour with a whisk. Add broth mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sauce thickens.

Remove skillet from burner and stir in sour cream and onion powder. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve over egg noodles or rice.   

How to Paper Piece

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Broccoli Beef (sans beef)

Today I tried a recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe for Broccoli Beef, but I used elk instead! What else would I use?!?!?

It was DELICIOUS! Definitely a recipe I will use again for elk! I am re-posting the recipe here for your convenience! AND--as promised--a couple pictures of TEN in the new dress I made her.   

The Best Broccoli Beef
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Beef and Broccoli:
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices (Here's where you substitute elk...I used Back Straps)
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking
  • 1 1/4 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal, optional
  1. In a medium bowl, combine beef and soy sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measure or small bowl. In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Don't overcook the meat - cook until just barely cooked through so the meat stays tender. Transfer beef to a medium bowl and cover with a lid and tin foil. Heat another 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in the skillet and repeat with remaining beef.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until rippling and hot. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Stir the mixture into the broccoli. Add the beef back to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve - or be like me and serve it straight out of the skillet!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dehydrator Sale!

I just learned that Excalibur Dehydrators are 34% off today on Amazon!

Get it cheaper while you can! I don't know how long this deal will last!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dressing the Littles

I have been sick....like really sick.  My littles (both Buddy & Ten) had Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease, and they shared. How nice...right?!

The first day, I did a whole lot of nothing.  I relaxed in our love sack and watched Duck Dynasty pretty much ALL day. 

Today, I felt a little better, but only well enough to sit...calmly. So I made a dress for Ten. 

I have used this pattern 3 times now and have come to LOVE it! Pink Poodle Bows on Etsy! I HEART YOU! This pattern is so well made.  BONUS: it includes sizes 9 months - size 12. 

This pattern will grow and grow with your kid.  I sound like I am being paid...but I actually PAID for this pattern and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

It is also EASY EASY EASY! 

Another favorite thing about this pattern is that you can cut most of it out using your rotary mat.  A quilter's dream pattern!  I took the pictures of the dress at night, so the lighting isn't all that great! I will have to take a picture of Ten wearing it on Sunday! (This dress is the 18 month size)  

Here's a picture of Ten back in July in the 9 month size dress I made her!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yoshi Pattern

I helped a fellow paper piecer today! He needed help creating a Yoshi pattern! I have it available for FREE in my Craftsy shop! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Alfredo Stromboli--made with elk meat


So you've bagged your elk.  It's all been butchered.  Now what?

You roll up your sleeves and start replacing beef in MOST dishes.

Some people don't like the taste of elk.  I am NOT one of those people (obviously).

I have been cooking with elk for most of my marriage.  We rarely have beef, but I will admit that we do have beef occasionally (i.e. roast, hamburgers, etc.) There are some things that are better with beef.

So, what's so great about elk meat???  If you click on the table to the right, you will see that elk offers a high amount of protein with very little fat and calories! And (in my opinion) tastes better than ground turkey anyways.

AND...it seems like everyone is in to the whole "all natural," "free range," "organic," "no hormones" meat lately.  Let me tell you something...you can't get more organic than a wild elk. It just doesn't happen.

But...without further delay, I give you the recipe for Elk Alfredo Stromboli.

Wish the internet had a "taste" function!
For a video of the process go here!

Items I used (and love) while making this:
Bosch Universal Mixer
Flour Sack Towels
Jelly Roll Pan

Dough and Alfredo Sauce recipes adapted from Our Best Bites.

Alfredo Stromboli

1 1/2 C. warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 C. flour

In the bowl of your Bosch (or other stand mixer), combine water, sugar, and yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly.

Add salt and stir. Add 3 C. flour, mixing well after each cup.  Gradually add more flour if necessary until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and barely sticks to your fingers.

Transfer dough to a bowl greased with olive oil and allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Alfredo Sauce:
2 C. milk
1/3 C (3 oz.) low-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic)
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Place milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don't want to burn the garlic.

Then add milk mixture to the pan.  Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Keep stirring and let it cook for a few more minutes until it begins to thicken.

Remove pan from heat.  Add Parmesan cheese, stir, and then cover immediately. Let stand for 10 minutes before using.

Brown 1 lb. ground elk meat. 

Once dough has finished rising, punch down and roll out into a large rectangle.  Dough should be 1/4"-1/2" thick. Cut strips in dough (like picture below).

Combine browned Elk Meat & Alfredo Sauce. Pour onto Dough. Top with mozzarella.
Braid Stromboli by folding down the top flap and then braiding as you would a french braid. (see pictures below).

When you get to the end fold the bottom strip up, and tuck the last ends of your braid under the Stromboli.

Now brush with butter, and sprinkle with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and parsley flakes.

Cover with a flour sack towel and allow to rise 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes (or until golden brown on top.)


Monday, January 6, 2014

Done, son!

I finished this wall hanging today! Yay! It's for the Arizona Pointing Dog Club annual banquet.  My husband asked me to do this piece so they can auction it (I believe) as a fund raiser. This was my first attempt at free motion quilting. I'm not super good at it yet.  I need more practice.  I am also not an expert at binding quilts....blah.  My weakness! 

I did, however, appreciate the tutorial from Jaybird Quilts on binding.  Like I said, I'm terrible.  I needed a refresher course and her site offered just that! 

If only I could make the quilt tops and someone would quilt and bind them for me....for free! Ah! That would be the life!      

The pattern for the German Shorthaired Pointer is now available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Apple Mini Fruit Pizzas w/ a Caramel Drizzle

A few days ago, my husband came home from work excited about a new food idea put in his head by a co-worker. His co-worker (Carol) told him about a fruit pizza she makes with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, apples, and caramel drizzled on top.  

He came home talking about how the sugar cookies I make would be the perfect crust and then the frosting would be perfect if I could add some peanut butter to it. So...here it is! 

This recipe relies heavily on sugar cookies featured on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I use her White Velvet Sugar Cookie recipe all the time.  If you are looking for a recipe that will turn out great, you can always trust a few sites.  Mel's Kitchen Cafe is one of them. 

Peanut Butter Apple Mini Fruit Pizzas w/ a Caramel Drizzle

2 C. butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 C. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
4 3/4 C. flour

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter (such as Jif)
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream

Your favorite variety of apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced 
(Granny Smith apples are great! Golden Delicious is also yummy!)
(I haven't tried this, but mini chocolate chips would probably be really good on this as well).

2 Tbsp. Karo syrup
1 1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. butter
3/4 C. buttermilk (or make your own buttermilk by combining 3/4 Tbsp. lemon juice and milk to make 3/4 cup)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla. 

1. For the cookies, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour.  The dough will be very soft.  Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into circles.  Place on greased baking sheets or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-12 minutes or until set.  The crusts should not be brown at all. Cool 5 minutes on the pan and then place on wire racks to finish cooling.  Do not frost until you are ready to eat. 

2. For the frosting, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Set aside.  In another medium bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and mix carefully so you do not deflate the cream.

3. For the drizzle, bring the first four ingredients to a boil on high in a large pot.  Then, turn down to medium low (a soft boil) for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla.  Caramel drizzle will be foamy. 

4. To assemble, spread frosting on 1 cookie.  Top will apples. Drizzle with caramel. AND ENJOY! 

I don't recommend frosting these all at once as I mentioned above.  I recommend assembling as you eat. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Make your own yogurt!

Happy New Year! 

Last night, I made yogurt! I decided to take you along for the ride! Enjoy the video! Questions and comments are welcome!

{Side Note: I originally learned how to make yogurt using this great blog post from Chickens in the Road}

Items I used in this video

Items I used in this video: 

1 Gallon Milk
1 1/2 C. Nonfat Dry Milk (Powdered Milk)
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 (roughly) Tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt (with live/active cultures)

-For those of you who do not have a dehydrator-

The Kitchn has a wonderful how-to using your regular oven! 

Salad in a Jar has a list of more than 6 ways to incubate yogurt without using a yogurt maker!

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has some great information and tips.  Visit their site for more information!

So you might be wondering...what do you DO with all of that yogurt besides eating it as is.  Well, here are some ideas!

Overnight Oats
3 C. Yogurt
3 C. Rolled Oats
3 C. Milk
2 tsp. Cinnamon
22 oz. Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 C. Almonds or other nuts (optional)
2/3-3/4 C. Pure Maple Syrup 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight.  Simple! 

Strawberry Yogurt
Add homemade strawberry freezer jam (other flavors will work, too!) to your yogurt.  Stir & enjoy!