Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweet Potato Rolls

When we lived in BYU housing many, many moons ago, I had a neighbor drop by a plate of pumpkin rolls 'just because.'  I don't even remember which neighbor, but I sure do remember those rolls.  They were incredible.  Soft, sweet, and delicious, they were reminiscent of potato rolls and those Hawaiian rolls you get with your Fried Chicken meal at Smith's.  I begged her for the recipe, which she gave, and I promptly lost.

Last week, I developed a craving for those rolls, but the recipe was nowhere to be found.  As previously mentioned, I don't even remember who gave me the rolls in the first place, so I couldn't beg for the recipe again. Undaunted, I searched for the recipe online and found one at Tammy's Recipes that I thought would make a pretty good approximation.

What with it being spring and all, I'm fresh out of pumpkin, both canned and fresh variety.  Still, we were going to town on Tuesday for the fair, so I stopped by the local Wal-Mart with high hopes.  No.  They were out of pumpkin.  I ask you, how are they out of pumpkin?  Who buys canned pumpkin in March? I mean, besides me. I must admit, I was kind of crushed, when my mother-in-law asked, "So, what did you want the pumpkin for, anyway?"  When I explained, she suggested, "You know, you should try canned sweet potato.  It's a pretty good substitute."

And boy, was she right.  I think I like it better than the original.  Ah-mazing.  So, without further ado, here is my modified (both because we were out of pumpkin and because I was making it slightly healthier) version of Tammy's rolls.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm milk
¼ cup butter, softened or melted (I warm it with the milk above)
2 cups mashed canned sweet potato (It worked out to be one of the big cans)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
8-10 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
7 teaspoons dry yeast


1. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, water, milk, butter, mashed sweet potato, and salt. Mix well.
2. Add whole wheat flour, 5-6 cups of the AP flour, and yeast. Mix, and then continue adding flour and kneading until dough is elastic and not sticky.
3. Place dough in greased bowl; grease top of dough, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place until doubled (about 60-90 minutes).
4. Punch dough down and divide into thirds. Divide each third into 16 pieces and shape into balls.
5. Place on greased baking sheets, and grease tops. (I use two 11x15-inch baking sheets, and put 24 rolls on each.) Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until tops are golden. Remove to wire racks and cover with a towel. Brush tops with butter if desired, as soon as rolls are removed to the wire racks. Serve warm with butter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ain't Nothin' I Know Of Can Make you Fall in Love...

Like a Night at the County Fair

Pea and Strawberry and I went with Grandma and some of Grandma's neighbors to the county fair today.  It was lots of fun.  There were lots of displays, some of which were even from my students.  Nice cake, Jordan!

Pea's favorite animals were the Nigerian Dwarf goats.  There were pigs, goats, sheep, and cows there, beut we couldn't tear her away from those tiny goats.  The goats even had babies, which were the size of puppies.  They were so unbelievably adorable!  Pea asked me if she could get a goat.  Um, no.

Both of them really liked the kid corner, which had a fake cow you could milk and some straw you could push around with little rakes.  Their favorite part?  The sandbox that was full of corn kernels instead of sand.  We stayed there for at least 30 minutes just playing in the corn.

There was a weird pink clown who hosted a tortilla-throwing contest, which this three-year-old kid won.  He chucked that think all the way out of the stands.  Pea just had fun throwing food off the stage and getting a sucker for trying.

She went on a ride that had little jets going around a center pole for a while.  We had cotton candy and kettle corn, and I got friendship bracelets for Pea and the little girl who came with the neighbors.  I think that covers our fair adventure.

I did have to shower as soon as I got home.  It's a sweaty, smelly, hot, sticky experience.  I feel much better now.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte

9 out of 10
Gothic Romance

I loved this book.  It isn't the first time I've read it, and I've seen the movie, albeit a while ago.  It was wonderful a second time through, and I admit I missed a lot when I read it the first time.

Jane is raised by her aunt, who hates her, and finally sent off to a charity boarding school.  Upon leaving the school, she takes a position as a governess and promptly falls in love with the master.  This book has far beyond a love triangle; it's more like a love pentagon.  A loves B, who flirts with C to make A jealous but is married to D, at which point E enters the picture and proposes to A.  I hope that's intriguing enough while being nonspecific enough to qualify as spoiler-free.

The language is a little dense for the general reader, but I think it is worth it.  I would recommend this book for readers 14 and older.  I may have been younger on my first read-through because I remember having no idea what a 'mistress' was and assumed it was a girlfriend.

Sunday Share

Yesterday (which was Sunday) was a day of fasting, which we generally call Fast Sunday, as we do it once a month as a church.  On these Sundays, the whole ward is asked to fast for whatever purpose they choose and to donate an offering based on what they would have spent on food to be given to the poor.  During the meeting, members of the congregation are invited up to share their testimony.

Pea loves Fast Sundays.  She asks every Sunday morning: "Is it Fast Sunday?"  If I answer no, she replies, "Oh.  It's a slow Sunday."

Yesterday when I said that yes, it was Fast Sunday, she jumped up and down saying, "yay! I get to bear my testimony!"  She was very bored several months ago watching members of the congregation go up to bear their testimonies, and she asked why they got to go up there and she didn't.  When she found out that she could go up if she wanted,  her outlook changed.  Now, she gets to go up in front of everyone and use the microphone and say anything she wants.  We've had to practice some with making sure she's saying "things about Jesus," but I've been amazed at how much she has grown in her ability to do so already.

Her first testimony went something like this:  "I'm thankful for dinner, and lunch, and dessert.  And snacks."
Yesterday she said it with no help from me at all, and I wasn't even standing next to her.  "I'm thankful for Jesus, because he is the Lord and the Savior."  I didn't tell her what to say, I just reminded her that testimonies are about Jesus or church.

Of course, this means I get to go up EVERY Fast Sunday, too.  For those of you who aren't privileged to hear my testimony every month, I want you to know that Jesus is real.  He is the Christ, the Savior of Mankind.  He was born of Mary, the Son of God, and He died to save us from our sins.  Because of His sacrifice, we can live again.

Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and saw Jesus and Heavenly Father in a grove of trees.  He was directed by an angel to find and translate the plates which would later become the Book of Mormon.  He was directed to restore the gospel to the earth as it has been in ancient days, from the time of Adam.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shoot 'Em Up

We had lots of fun things going on this weekend.

Saturday one of the girls from the high school babysat Pea and Strawberry so that Farmboy and I could have a date. I picked the date, and I was very excited about it.  We went to the local indoor gun range.  I had really wanted to try shooting a handgun, so we rented a Glock 19 and used it there.  I'm not quite ready to own a gun, so renting works very well for me.  I really enjoyed shooting it, and I even managed to get a target in which I got all my shots on it.   We have yet to tally up our scores to see who won (between Farmboy and I), but I think there are good odds he scored higher.  I think I did pretty well, though.  Watch out, bad guys.

After our date, we went up to Grandma's farm to celebrate a birthday for Farmboy's sister.  She drove down and we had the neighbors over for dinner and cheesecake.  Pea got to go out and feed a baby calf whose mom died.  She held that bottle while the calf tried to run off with it.  The calf, of course, was bigger than Pea.

I know there was other stuff, but I can't remember right now.  Suffice it to say that it was a good weekend.  Oh, and this week?  Spring Break.  Love that.

Weekly Weigh-In

This was supposed to post on Friday, but my internet was having issues.

My weekly weigh-in (of which this is the first because I am a slacker): 183.6

This is good.  Actually, Way Awesome.  I'm down from 197 at Christmas.  My goal was 183.4, and I am very close; so close, in fact, that I need to set a new goal.  That may seem like an odd number for a goal, but it was based on BMI rather than weight.  I am officially no longer in the obese category.  It is, of course, more than a little depressing that I was there in the first place, but I am just glad to not be there any more.

I am trying to lose on average 1 pound every week so that it will stay off.  Crash diets don't work for me.

Goal:  178 by May 1

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A day of Suckage

So, dinner kind of sucked last night.  The sweet potato soup was pretty good, but not that filling.  The vegetables I made were weird and didn't complement the soup.  The whole-wheat biscuits?  Tasted a lot like sawdust.

We didn't have a Daily Adventure with the girls because they were in Big Trouble.  According to the sitter, they were 'the worst they have ever been' and would not mind.  When I got them in the car, Pea would not stop whining, and it was clear they were having a very off day.  So, they got naps when we got home, and when they got up, they had to stay in their rooms until dinner.  It wasn't too terrible, since they play pretty well together, but they didn't get to watch any shows or play outside until after dinner.

In spite of all this, after dinner they behaved pretty well.  I think they didn't want any more Big Trouble.  Pea made me special pen-carrying pocket complete with purple ribbon to bring with me to my Primary Presidency meeting that night.  Very thoughtful.

Farmboy was in charge of putting them to bed, but apparently Strawberry had a rash and needed to run around diaperless for a while.  Within 30 seconds of my getting home and getting diaper rash cream and a diaper to put on her, Strawberry peed on the carpet.  Farmboy says to me, "you took to long looking for the diaper cream." Yep, my fault.  Oh, wait, I'm not the one who had an un-potty-trained toddler running around diaperless.

They went to bed pretty well, but for some reason, Strawberry decided she didn't want to sleep from about midnight until 4 or so.  Farmboy, luckily for him (and not so luckily for me) can sleep right through her crying. And so today is a slow, tired one in which I am only awake by the grace of caffeine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Did I fall off the face of the earth?

No, I did not.  My computer did. 

I'm currently switching over everything to the laptop that I may only have for 6 more weeks.  I did, thankfully, have a lot backed up, but lost some pictures.  Mostly, they were Trixie's pictures.  Sorry about that.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've fallen down on my job this week.  No weekly meal plan yet.  But we're having sweet potato soup for dinner tonight.  With fresh homemade bread that I have yet to make.

Also, didn't take pictures or do my weekly weigh-in.  So I'll do that too. 

Had to write a test for my precalculus class last night and grade a bajillion papers, so I was up forever doing that.  No rest for the teachers.  Also, I like to watch Missing on Netflix.  Our internet is slow, so I do grading and stuff while it buffers.  It's a good excuse, anyway. 

On the subject of spiritual stuff, I don't have anything new since Sunday, except that our class won the trivia question of the day today: Whose wife was turned to a pillar of salt in the bible?  (It was Lot's wife, Lot being the brother of Abraham.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Share

We had Stake Conference this weekend, which is basically when a large group of LDS churches in the area who share a leader come together and hear the leaders speak.  This conference, we were reorganized and got a new leader, so there were General Authorities (leaders over the whole church) who came down to do interviews before they decided who the new leaders would be. 

Anyway, one of the General Authorities (Elder Ringwood of the First Quorum of the Seventies, I believe) was speaking about the tests and trials that we go through, and it got me to thinking about something in particular.  Think about Abraham being required to sacrifice his son Isaac and what a terrible requirement that would be.  Why would God require that?  I think that question can elicit some important thoughts about the way God works.

Abraham had very nearly been sacrificed to an idol by his own father and was saved by Jehovah on the altar.  He must have had some serious concerns about human sacrifice.  Still, his faith was such that when God required, he did as he was asked.  We know God spared Isaac and did not require his death, instead providing a ram.  If He wasn't going to require Isaac's death, why would he require Abraham to do that?

One answer is this: God needed to know that Abraham would do it.  That's possible, but I think God already knew.  He knows the intents of our hearts.  He knew that if He asked it, Abraham would obey.  So why would He ask it?

Another answer that satisfied me until recently was this: God wanted Abraham to know it.  This is probably true.  God knew that Abraham would obey, even sacrificing the cherished son he had waited all his life to have if God asked it of him.  Abraham, though, needed to know that he would obey God in all things, even the hard things; especially the hard things.  That's a good answer, and I think a true answer, but I think not the whole answer.

Yesterday at conference, my thoughts were directed to the passage in Alma in which the wicked are casting the wives and children of the believers into a fire:

10  And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

11  But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

Alma and Amulek had the power of God, and God could have stopped this tragedy, but He did not.  Again, many ask why God allows such wickedness to occur.  I know it pains God to watch His children suffer and to watch his children cause suffering.  Sometimes, though, God allows the wicked to perform wickedness so that they may be held accountable for their crimes. 

Similarly, I think God must allow people to overcome great trials and show great faith.  In his willingness to sacrifice his greatest treasure to the Lord, Abraham shows his faith in the Lord.  Just like the wicked who burned the women and children will be punished, Abraham now has the opportunity to be blessed.  He will be rewarded for his faith and obedience.

All of us have trials and tests that we must overcome in our lives.  Few of us will be asked to sacrifice our children, but our tests will be personal and difficult.  Instead of asking how God could allow this to happen, remember that there are great rewards in store for us when we overcome.  Follow the example of Job, never giving in and cursing God in his great trials.  Once he made it through to the other side of his test, the Lord blessed him more than he was able to imagine.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Your Puter a Splode

That's what Homestar Runner would say about what happened last night. 

My computer restarted for no fathomable reason while I was in the middle of doing something.  Then, after I let it reboot, it did it again.  This time, though, it would only load in safe mode.  Then, it did it again.  This time it wouldn't start up at all.  Finally, it refused to turn on any more.  So, I'm short a desktop.  This doesn't make me as upset as it should, because I have been a part of a writing group.  All of the work I've done thus far on my novels has been emailed out to my group every week.  Thanks to the wonderful properties of Gmail, I have copies of my works at every chapter. 

I've also uploaded all of my pictures to Picasa, so I didn't lose them either.  I did lose about 500 words on two separate novels, but I can handle that.  If I'd lost the whole novel thus far, I think I might have a heart attack.  So thanks, Writing Group, for making me back my work up.

I read Anthem by Ayn Rand yesterday.  It's pretty short, only 100 ish pages of a paperback.  It took me less than an hour, but it was very good.  If you haven't read it, I recommend it.

 I've also read The Fountainhead by the same author, which has similar themes.  Ayn Rand writes about collectivism and why it destroys your soul.  Her religious views are very different than mine, but I find it interesting that our moral and political stances are very similar.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well, I was able to teach at school today with my actual voice, so plus.
By the end of the day, I had a killer migraine.  Minus.

In the end, I think the minus was bigger.  I laid on the couch all afternoon trying not to die while still watching my kids.  They were not happy at trying so hard to be quiet, and I was miserable because the littlest noise was like a drill in my skull.  So, didn't make great food today, didn't have a daily adventure, and didn't bother getting dressed into decent clothes.  Although, we did make s'mores in the microwave as 'dessert' tonight.  Real healthy, I know.  At least that part was fun.

Meanwhile, I have to go do some laundry to prevent going to work tomorrow naked.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Soccer and Dune

Well, first things first.
I managed to stick to the meal plan pretty well, but I never did get around to making cookies.  I did the dishes and picked up some laundry.  I felt like I did a lot of cleaning, but I guess it wasn't that much.
Our Daily Adventure today was playing soccer.  Strawberry did not understand that you don't pick up the ball in soccer.  Pea was not happy about this.

Tonight was Family Night, and we played a round of Rummikub, or Number Squares as Pea calls it.
Farmboy got to ride in a helicopter at work, and he told Pea all about his adventures.  She can't wait until she grows up so she can ride in a helicopter, too.
My voice is slowly but surely coming back.
We sang verse 2 of Nephi's Courage and read about Nephi building a boat.

Ah, yes. I have also started reading Dune by Frank Herbert.  Review to follow in the next week or two.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What I'm cooking this week

Okay, Round One of What We're Eating:

Here is my menu for the week:

We shall see how this goes this week!

Sunday Share

Today Farmboy and I read from several sections that were about charity.  We stopped for a while to talk about Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 13.  

3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the apoor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

We're pretty familiar with the treatment on charity later in the chapter, but verse three is interesting in its own right.  If you were to ask 10 random people what 'charity' means, probably at least 8 or 9 would say 'giving things to people who are poor' or something to that effect.  Paul clearly states here, though, that giving things to people is not charity.

You can give all your goods to the poor, you can sacrifice your life for someone, but if you don't have charity, then it doesn't matter.  

What a statement.  If that isn't good enough, then what is?

The answer is found in  Moroni 7:47:
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Charity is the pure love of Christ.  We must love others the way Christ does.  Not the way we love ourselves, not the way we want to be loved, but the way that Christ loves them.  That is a tall order, friends. 
I pray that I may and each of you may be able to love those around us the way that Christ loves.

This is MY story

This is MY story, and I'm the best one to tell it.

Middle-of-Nowhere, Arizona, near Yuma.

Liz - Mother of two, wife, high school teacher, writer
Farmboy - Engineer, raised to a farming family
Pea - 4 year old princess whose brain runs a mile a minute
Strawberry - Almost 2 year old

I've decided to make some changes in my life and think this would be a great place to document them.

The way we eat:  We eat way too much junk food.  Unhealthy, fatty, sugary foods.  Eating out because we're too tired to cook.  Well, this is going to change.  Sundays I'll post my goal menu, each day I'll post what we actually did.

The way I look:  I don't always take time to make myself look decent.  Therefore, I'll be taking a picture of myself every day so that I can make sure I put forth some effort.

My organization and cleanliness:  For those of you who have seen my house, it's a disaster zone.  If you haven't seen it, I promise you don't want to.  Wednesday will be the weekly report on the house.

Learning activities:  I have a tendency to let the girls watch TV instead of interacting with them.  We are going to have a Daily Adventure, whether big or small, that is just me and the girls doing something together.

Spirituality:  I often put off my spiritual development.  No longer.  Expect a daily thought about something I've read or learned that day.