Friday, October 31, 2008
When my dad was sick with Cancer, before he passed away he wrote a really sweet poem to my family. I have posted for all to enjoy!
What can a man say
at a time like this?
When so much of life
has seemed to crash about him?
All I can say is, "Thanks, dear Lord,
for the vision which I never had before,
For now I KNOW my blessings, and
count then every day."
I'm a very blessed man, and I
wish to say that my greatest blessing (and comfort)
is knowing that the Gospel is true.
What solace in times of trial!
And now family looms higher on my list
of special, very special, parts of my life;
And of course my dear companion is my great light.
This test must be even more difficult for her than for me.
But oh, what strength and courage she has.
I've never known someone so great,
And I mean truly great,
in my life.
Precious, happy, healthy, bright children
give me hope that somehow their lives
will enhance my small contribution to this world.
Oh, how they have taught me, much, in their sweet innocence.
The Sorensen clan is quite a bunch!
A better model of Faith couldn't be found.
I sense deep, deep gratitude for all you do.
Surely Jesus approves of you and your loving natures.
Many things have taken on new perspective.
Like TIME, my most precious commodity!
And people, and relationships. And
the true meaning of love and friendship.
And simple things like
a fresh flower-
newly fallen snow and the stillness it brings-
young lovers holding hands, and the laughter they share so freely-
a restful night, or a day without pain-
or a quiet moment, or a beautiful melody-
Before, I missed much of the true beauty of life,
but know my eyes are OPEN, and I see God's hand everywhere.
The question "why?" has been uttered a thousand times,
by as many lips.
Sure, I wonder in my selection
to handle this burden.
Yet, the gospel comforts me,
Knowing that each must pass through his own Gethsemane.
I've never faced a greater mountain, and yet
I know God can work a miracle if I will just believe.
I know that "the son of man hath descended below all these things",
and that clearly I'm not greater than He.
And so I willingly submit myself to His will-
My destiny is truly in God's hands.
And whatever the outcome, I'll fight to the end-
so that God's molding program will have full effect on me.
And I'll never stop thanking Him for His wisdom, greater than mine,
and for this new vision of life which he has given me.
Thank you all sincerely for your love and support.
Together, with Faith, we WILL overcome.
May this Christmas be special, because
we put Jesus and others FIRST!
I love you all.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion
EZRA TAFT BENSON
Ezra Taft Benson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional
address was given at Brigham Young University on 12 April 1977.
My beloved brethren and sisters, humbly and gratefully I stand before you this morning and seek an interest in your faith and prayers that the message that I have may be accompanied by the Spirit. It is a wonderful sight that I view here this morning. It is good to be with you, my beloved young friends, distinguished members of the faculty, and special guests.
My wife and I have just returned from a glorious weekend at St. George, where I had the privilege of addressing three overflow audiences, two in the largest auditorium they have at Dixie College and made up largely of young people, and one on the fourth floor of the temple in a Solemn Assembly. We were honoring the centennial of the dedication of the St. George Temple, the first one to be erected in the western part of the country. We are still basking in the aftermath of another great general conference of the Church. Never in my memory have we had more explicit warnings from prophets of God; and nowhere in the world are there men better prepared or more obligated to issue such warnings.
The Celestial Kingdom
Today I want to discuss some principles and laws of the celestial kingdom, and some of the fallacies of their perverted counterfeits in the world. I share with you a vision of your eternal possibilities. The celestial kingdom, residence of God, our Eternal Father, is comprised of men and women who have complied with divine law and who were not deceived by the craftiness of men or the doctrines of devils. They are just men made perfect through the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ (see D&C 76:69). They are obedient to celestial law; for, as the Lord has said, he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory (D&C 88:22).
Celestial laws, embodied in certain ordinances belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, are complied with by voluntary covenants. The laws are spiritual. Thus, our Father in Heaven has ordained certain holy sanctuaries, called temples, in which these laws may be fully explained, the laws include the law of obedience and sacrifice, the law of the gospel, the law of chastity, and the law of consecration.
I want to speak more particularly this morning about this one law--the law of consecration. It is that one's time, talents, strength, property, and money are given up to the Lord for the express purpose of building up the kingdom of God and establishing Zion on the earth. Or, as we read in Doctrine and Covenants 105:5, "Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom."
Much has been written about this law and its attempted implementations in the early history of the Church; and much deception has taken root, even among some of our members, because of misinformed opinion or misguided interpretations. Some view it as merely an economic alternative to capitalism or the free enterprise system, others as an outgrowth of early communal experiments in America. Such a view is not only shortsighted but tends to diminish in importance a binding requirement for entrance into the celestial kingdom. The law of consecration is a celestial law, not an economic experiment.
The vehicle for implementing the law of consecration is the united order. The basic principle underlying the united order is that everything we have belongs to the Lord; and, therefore, the Lord may call upon us for any and all of our property, because it belongs to him. The united order was entered by "a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken" (D&C 42:30), according to the scriptures. In other words, an individual conveys his titles to all his property to the Church through the bishop. The property becomes the property of the Church. You read about this in the forty-second section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
The bishop then deeds back to the consecrator by legal instrument the amount of personal property required by the individual for the support of himself and his family, as the Lord declares, "according to his circumstances and his wants and needs" (D&C 51:3). This becomes the private, personal property of the individual to develop as he sees fit. It is his stewardship. When an individual produces a profit or surplus more than is needful for the support of himself and his family, the surplus is then placed in the bishops storehouse to administer to the poor and the needy. Under the united order, idleness has no place, and greed, selfishness, and covetousness are condemned. The united order may therefore operate with only a righteous people.
It has been erroneously concluded by some that the united order is both communal and communistic in theory and practice because the revelations speak of equality. Equality under the united order is not economic and social leveling as advocated by some today. Equality, as described by the Lord, is "equal[ity] according to [a man's] family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs" (D&C 51:3).
Is the united order a communal system? Emphatically not. It never has been and never will be. It is "intensely individualistic." Does the united order eliminate private ownership of property? No. "The fundamental principle of this system [is] the private ownership of property" (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1942, p. 57).
Two separate groups of saints have fully implemented this divine law. The first was the united order under Enoch, wherein the Lord designated this people Zion, "because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." We read of this in the seventh chapter, eighteenth verse, of Moses, in the Pearl of Great Price. A second instance was the Nephite civilization following the visit of the Savior to the Western Hemisphere after his resurrection. This is recorded in 4 Nephi, the third verse particularly. The failure of the early Saints in this dispensation to live according to the fulness of the law is explained by the Lord in revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, sections 101 and 105.
I repeat and emphasize that the law of consecration is a law for an inheritance in the celestial kingdom. God, the Eternal Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and all holy beings abide by this law. It is an eternal law. It is a revelation by God to his Church in this dispensation. Though not in full operation today, it will be mandatory for all Saints to live the law in its fulness to receive celestial inheritance. You young people today abide a portion of this higher law as you tithe, pay a generous fast offering, go on missions, and make other contributions of money, service, and time.
Satan's Counterfeit System
But whenever the God of heaven establishes by revelation his design, Satan always comes among men to pervert the doctrine, saying, "Believe it not." He often establishes a counterfeit system, designed to deceive the children of men. His aim, as it was before the foundation of this earth was laid, is to thwart the agency of man and to subjugate him. Throughout all ages of mankind, the adversary has used human agents and despotic governments to establish his purpose. Satan is determined to destroy all that is dear, all that will ennoble and exalt man to a celestial kingdom.
Isaiah foresaw the time when a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth among men (see Isaiah 29:14). Isaiah also predicted that there would be those that "seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they [shall] say, Who seeth us?" (Isaiah 29:15). He saw the time when the work, man, shall say of him that made him, "He made me not," denying his creation (see Isaiah 29:16). It is well to ask what self-proclaimed atheists came on the human scene following the restoration of the gospel, who established secret works of darkness to overthrow nations by violent revolution and who blasphemously proclaimed the atheistic doctrine that God made us not. Yes, Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble figures in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of communism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Today, if we are alert, we can see further fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecies.
Communism--a System Antithetical to the Gospel of Christ
Through the instigation of Marx and Engels, a most successful counterfeit to the united order was introduced into the world. The declaration of principles found in their Manifesto to the World advocated the overthrow of capitalism and free enterprise, the abolition of private property, the elimination of the family as a social unit, the abolition of all classes, the overthrow of all governments, and the establishment of communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society. All this was to be accomplished by revolution.
On July 3, 1936, the First Presidency published this warning to Church members. I quote it in part; I hope you will get a copy of the full statement for your files. In part, the statement reads:
. . . Communism is not a political party, nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government. . . .
Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.
To our Church members we say, Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto. Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action. . . .
Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. . . .
Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.
We call upon all Church members completely to eschew [and shun] Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.
President Heber J. Grant
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay
The First Presidency
You students have only to read some of the speeches and writings of the exiled Russian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to appreciate this farsighted warning of the First Presidency.
I have been on both sides of the Iron Curtain several times. I have talked to these godless leaders face to face. I say to you with all the sincerity of my soul that since 1933 this godless counterfeit to the gospel has made tremendous progress towards its objective of world domination, for over one-third of the human family are now under totalitarian subjugation.
Today we are in a battle for the bodies and souls of men. It is a battle between two opposite systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and anti-Christ. The struggle today is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the conventional wisdom, so called, is that we have got to learn to live with communism, to give up our ideas about national sovereignty. You hear that repeated today. Tell that to the millions--yes, the scores of millions--who have met death or imprisonment under the tyranny of communism. Learn to live with communism? Such would be the death knell of freedom and all we hold dear.
The gospel of Jesus Christ can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. As members of his Church, we have a major responsibility to do all in our power to see that freedom is preserved and safeguarded. I pray that God will bless you to see communism for what it really is: the greatest system of human slavery that the world has ever known. May you not be deceived into believing that the communists have moderated their goal toward world domination. I say to you that so-called detente is a fraud. Time will prove it to be such.
There is no excuse for any BYU instructor to grant a forum to an avowed communist for the purpose of teaching communism on this campus. It may be done on other campuses in the United States, but it will not be done here.
Socialism--a Philosophy Incompatible with Man's Liberty
Another notable counterfeit system to the Lord's plan is collectivized socialism. Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and Engels. Communism in practice is socialism. Its purpose is world socialism, which the communists seek to achieve by revolution, and which the socialists seek to achieve by evolution. Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual--a loss of personal liberty. As was said so well by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., "The two are as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon our liberties."
Why is socialism incompatible with man's liberty? Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything. When individuals begin to exert their God-given rights, the state has to suppress that freedom. So belief in God must be suppressed, and with that gone freedom of conscience and religion must also go. Those are the first of our liberties mentioned in the Bill of Rights.
There are some among us who would confuse the united order with socialism. That is a serious misunderstanding. It is significant to me that the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism in his day, made this official entry in the Church history: "I said I did not believe the doctrine" (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 6:33).
Socialism Disguised under Welfare State Measures
As citizens of this noble land, we have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism. If you question that statement, consider the recent testimonial from the Nobel prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman. He indicated that government spending in the United States at all levels amounts to over forty percent of today's total national income. If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved.
This nation was established by the God of heaven as a citadel of liberty. A constitution guaranteeing those liberties was designed under the superintending influence of heaven. I have recounted here before what took place in the St. George Temple when the Founding Fathers of this nation visited President Wilford Woodruff, who was then a member of the Twelve and not president of the Church. The republic which was established was the most nearly perfect system which could have been devised to lead men toward celestial principles. We may liken our system to the law of Moses which leads men to the higher law of Christ.
Today, two hundred years later, we must sadly observe that we have significantly departed from the principles established by the founders of our country. James Madison opposed the proposal to put Congress in the role of promoting the general welfare according to its whims in these words:
If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasure; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for [and it was an issue then], it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. [quoted in Donald L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles, and National Survival, p. 342]
That statement, given as a warning, has proved prophetic. Today Congress is doing what Madison warned about. Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism!
Americans have always been committed to taking care of the poor, aged, and unemployed. We have done this on the basis of Judaic-Christian beliefs and humanitarian principles. It has been fundamental to our way of life that charity must be voluntary if it is to be charity. Compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today's socialists--who call themselves egalitarians--are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right. One HEW official said recently, "In this country, welfare is no longer charity, it is a right. More and more Americans feel that their government owes them something" (U.S. News and World Report, April 21, 1975, p. 49). President Grover Cleveland said--and we believe as a people--that though the people support the government the government should not support the people.
The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this "equality" is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system. These payments are made in the form of social security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps, to name a few. Today the cost of such programs has been going in the hole at the rate of 12 billion dollars a year; and, with increased benefits and greater numbers of recipients, even though the tax base has been increased we will have larger deficits in the future.
Today the party now in power is advocating and has support, apparently in both major parties, for a comprehensive national health insurance program--a euphemism for socialized medicine. Our major danger is that we are currently (and have been for forty years) transferring responsibility from the individual, local, and state governments to the federal government--precisely the same course that led to the economic collapse in Great Britain and New York City. We cannot long pursue the present trend without its bringing us to national insolvency.
Edmund Burke, the great British political philosopher, warned of the threat of economic equality. He said,
A perfect equality will indeed be produced--that is to say, equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of the petitioners, a woeful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; and they depress high and low together beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.
Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?
Recently a letter came to my office, accompanied by an article from your Daily Universe, on the matter of BYU students taking food stamps. The query of the letter was: "What is the attitude of the Church on taking food stamps?" The Church's view on this is well known. We stand for independence, thrift, and abolition of the dole. This was emphasized in the Saturday morning welfare meeting of general conference. "The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership" (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1936, p. 3).
When you accept food stamps, you accept an unearned handout that other working people are paying for. You do not earn food stamps or welfare payments. Every individual who accepts an unearned government gratuity is just as morally culpable as the individual who takes a handout from taxpayers' money to pay his heat, electricity, or rent. There is no difference in principle between them. You did not come to this University to become a welfare recipient. You came here to be a light to the world, a light to society--to save society and to help to save this nation, the Lord's base of operations in these latter days, to ameliorate man's social conditions. You are not here to be a parasite or freeloader. The price you pay for "something for nothing" may be more than you can afford. Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, "I am a contributing taxpayer too." By doing this you contribute to the problem which is leading this nation to financial insolvency.
Society may rationalize immorality, but God cannot condone it. Society sponsors Sabbathbreaking, but the Church counsels otherwise. Society profanes the name of Deity, but Latter-day Saints cannot countenance it. Because society condones a dole, which demoralizes man and weakens his God-given initiative and character, can we?
I know what it is, as many of your faculty members do, to work my way through school, taking classes only during winter quarters. If you don't have the finances to complete your education, drop out a semester and go to work and save. You'll be a better man or woman for so doing. You will have preserved your self-respect and initiative. Wisdom comes with experience and struggle, not just with going through a university matriculation. I hope you will not be deceived by current philosophies which will rob you of your godly dignity, self-respect, and initiative, those attributes that make a celestial inheritance possible. It is in that interest, and that only, that I have spoken so plainly to you.
My Hope for You, the Youth of Zion
In opening my remarks to you, beloved youth of the Church, I attempted to share with you a vision of your eternal possibilities. In closing my remarks, I share with you my hope for you:
I hope that you learn through your struggles the joy of achievement.
I hope that you recognize in the gospel of Jesus Christ a solution to our problems, temporal and spiritual.
I hope that you marry well, live together in love, rear a family in righteousness, and have joy and rejoicing in your posterity.
I hope that you follow the example and counsel of him whom the Lord has appointed as prophet, seer, and revelator.
I hope that you learn the joy of work, the ability to postpone wants, and the economic independence not to be a slave to any man.
I hope that you keep yourselves clean morally and spiritually, that your confidence will wax strong in the presence of God, as the scriptures say, and the Holy Ghost will be your constant companion (see D&C 121:45–46).
I hope that you will be united in philosophy, purpose, and action to the laws of the celestial kingdom.I pray God's choicest blessings on you, my beloved brethren and sisters. May I say to you that there isn't anything in this world that's right that the leadership of this Church wouldn't do for the youth of the Church; and so I hope and pray that you realize the hope of those who love you and serve you and the possibilities of your potential as sons and daughters of God. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, October 27, 2008
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 aglory; 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 bjudgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the cblood of the dinnocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
" Now, we find many people critical when a righteous person is killed, a young father or mother is taken from a family, or when violent deaths occur. Some become bitter when oft-repeated prayers seem unanswered. Some loose faith and turn sour when solemn administrations by holy men seem to be ignored and no restoration seems to come from repeated prayer circles. But if all the sick were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended.
" If pain and sorrow and total punishment immediately followed the doing of evil, no soul would repeat a misdeed. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there would be no evil-all would do good and not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, no satanic controls.
" Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death; and if these were not, there would also be an absence of joy, success, resurrection, eternal life, and godhood"
(Spencer W. Kimball, "tragedy or Destiny," Improvement Era, Mar. 1966, pp. 180, 210).
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I finally got to go hiking. It has been almost 2 years since I have gone on a hike. I love the outdoors and would be out every weekend if I didn't have other things that I have been preoccupied with over the last few years. Last time I did a hike it was Mount Timp, I have always wanted to hike Mount Olympus, so I finally made it happen. :)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This picture was taken almost a year ago, but I just barely found it and it's my new favorite picture. I love how Joe and I look in it, together. I have never really liked a picture that I have seen of us, but this one is my favorite one. I love you Joe!
"Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days... What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it." Goethe
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.'" Christopher Reeve
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Whip up your brownie mix, homemade or boxed and bake HALF the time called for. So if it says bake for 20 minutes, do it for about 10 or 12 minutes.
Take half baked brownies out of the oven and add on top, in order, the following:
1 bag White Chocolate Chips
1 bag Chocolate Chips
1/2 bag mini Marshmallows
Return to oven and bake remaining time or until marshmallows turn golden brown.
Cool and enjoy!
These are seriously awesome!!! (They remind me of rockie road brownies without the nuts) I think they are better the next day when everything has really cooled down.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny.
Monday, October 20, 2008
16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
baked mac and cheese
16 ounce elbow pasta
1 can (10.75 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup processed cheese, chopped (I used VELVETA)
1/2 cup cup pepper jack cheese, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, milk, and cream of mushroom soup. Add mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, processed cheese and pepper jack cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Add pepper and salt.
4. Stir in pasta into cheese mixture and combine the cheese with the pasta. Pour into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.
5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Scalloped Potatoes with Three Cheeses
Makes 12 servings
¾ cup, packed grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)
¾ cup crumbled Danish blue cheese (about 4 oz)
1/3 cup, packed freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 ¼ oz)
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut in ¼-inch-thick rounds
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped onion (I used more)
3 Tbl all purpose flour
4 Tbl butter
3 cups whole milk
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Mix cheddar, blue cheese and Parmesan in small bowl.
Arrange half the potatoes in dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Sprinkle onion over, then flour. Dot with 2 Tbl. Butter. Sprinkle half the cheese mixture over. Top with remaining potatoes, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and 2 Tbl butter. Reserve remaining cheese.
Bring milk to simmer in saucepan. Pour warmed milk over potatoes (milk will not cover potatoes completely). Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover dish (liquids in dish may look curdled): sprinkle potatoes with reserved cheese mixture. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and cheese is deep golden brown, about 45 minutes longer. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temp. Cover and rewarm in 375 oven about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Pumpkin Banana Bread - 2 Loaf Recipe
Take cream cheese out of refrigerator 2 hours prior to making recipe.
Set out 4 eggs to warm to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray 2 regular size bread loaf baking pans with vegetable oil spray.
2/3 cup shortening
2-2/3 cups granulated sugar
One 8 oz package cream cheese (softened at least 2 hours at room temperature)
Add, stirring until smooth:
4 ripe bananas (peeled and smashed with a fork)
2 cups pumpkin (the single pie size)
4 beaten eggs
In a separate bowl stir together and then add gradually to the above mixture:
3- 1/3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
Add nuts (optional)
Blend just until all flour mixture is incorporated.
Pour into greased pans. Bake 350 for approximately 1 hour. Test with a toothpick in center of loaves to see if done. Toothpick should come out clean.
4 chickens, 2 ½ pounds each, quartered (I used skinless, boneless thighs, 2-3 lbs)
1 head garlic, finely pureed
¼ cup dried oregano
coarse salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup pitted Spanish olives
½ cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
¼ cup Italian parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped
In a large bowl combine chicken, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
Preheat oven to 350.
Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large shallow baking dishes and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces are tender and liquid runs clear.
With slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.
Serve warm or cold (room temperature).
Cheese, Chicken, Potato Casserole
Grease 6 medium size potatoes and bake 1 hour @ 400 degrees. Let cool, peel and cut up into medium diced pieces, in a very large bowl. (I use Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes cause it’s easier, I follow the package directions and then combine with the rest of ingredients)
Boil or steam 4 boneless, skinless breast halves. Cool and then cut up in cubes. Add to the cut up potatoes.
Sauté in ½ cube of butter chopped celery (about 4 sticks of celery) and ¼ dried onion (or ½ fresh) pour over the chicken and potatoes.
2 10oz. Cans of
1 pint (2 cups) of sour cream
3-4 cups shredded Tillamook Cheddar cheese
Toss all ingredients together mixing well. Pour into a 9 by 13 pan.
Crush 1-1/2 tube packages of Ritz crackers. If you have a food processor it is fastest.
Melt one cube of butter and toss with the cracker crumbs.
Cover the top of the casserole with the topping
Bake at 350 degrees uncovered 1 hour, or 1 hr. 15 min if the casserole has been chilled in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
The mixture should be bubbling up under the topping and the top browned nicely.
Café Rio Pork
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 cup salsa
3-4 lb. pork roast
Cook in crock pot on high for 8 hours-low if your crock pot over cooks
Shred with Fork
Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 pkg. dry hidden valley ranch
3 Tbs Salsa Verde
½ bunch cilantro
2 med. Garlic cloves
¾ cup mayo
¾ cup sour cream
½ grated lime peel and juice (to taste)
Thin with buttermilk
Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. grated lime peel
1 can chicken broth
¼ cup water
2 tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. white sugar
3 tbs. fresh chopped cilantro
Combine rice, butter, garlic, lime peel, broth, and water.
Bring to a boil, cover, cook 15-20 min. or until tender.
Take off heat. In a separate bowl combine lime juice, sugar, cilantro and pour over hot rice and stir.
1 can black beans or black-eyed peas
1 cup frozen corn
½ bunch of fresh cilantro
5 green onions chopped
1-2 avocados chopped
1-2 small tomatoes
1 pkg. Good seasons Zesty Italian dry mix salad dressing (follow directions) Mix all ingredients together tastes better if made a little before serving.
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