"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth", 1914, Jennie A. Brownscombe, public domain
First, a bit of trivia:  
Did you know? While pumpkins were certainly a part of the first feast of thanks-giving,  they were usually roasted or stewed.  And eaten very, very often!

For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon."

Pilgrim verse, circa 1633
Please take some time this week to gather your children, grandchildren, neighbors, or whomever you care about, and teach them of our nation's heritage of gratitude.  Some great resources are below, including what George Washington said in his Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving.  Each generation must learn this, or it dies out, leaving a gaping hole that entitlement and selfishness rush in to fill.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
— Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC), Pro Plancio (54 BC)

The following is from the Providence Foundation's Nov. 2013 newsletter.  (Thank you to them!)

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an uniquely American holiday. We have been giving thanks to God in private and public from the foundation of the nation. In fact, governments regularly issued official days of Prayer and Thanksgiving from the planting of the first colonies up until the present. Over 1400 Days of Prayer, Thanksgiving, and Fasting were proclaimed by colonial, state, and national governments from 1620-1815, and hundreds more have been issued since then.  

A few items to help you remember and pass on our heritage of thanking God include:

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

You can use this article to share with your family the origins of Thanksgiving Day.

Some Early Government Thanksgiving Proclamations

1.       President George Washington, Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, 1789

2.       Governor Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Thanksgiving Proclamation, December 9, 1779

3.       Proclamation for a Public Thanksgiving, New Hampshire, December 10, 1778

4.       Proclamation for Thanksgiving Day, Continental Congress, December 18, 1777
Issued during the American Revolutionary War by the Continental Congress, this was the first national Thanksgiving Day in America. The explanation of the proclamation is from W. DeLoss Love, The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England (1895). Love lists over 1400 days of prayer and fasting and prayer and thanksgiving observed by civil governments (colonial, state, and national) from 1620-1815.

5.       Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, Massachusetts, June 29, 1676
On June 20, 1676, the Council of Massachusetts appointed June 29 as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, in response to the colonists’ victory in King Philip’s War. The broadside of this proclamation is the earliest printed thanksgiving broadside known. At the top is the seal of Massachusetts, which shows an Indian speaking the words, “Come Over and Help Us.”

Broadleaf plantain in my garden.
Saturday was work-in-the-yard-before-the-storm-hits day.

The garden needed prepared for the winter: potatoes dug, the now-dry corn cobs pulled from their perches on the stalks, the final beets pulled, more chard and broccoli harvested, dry and tangled tomato vines yanked from the fence they'd been trained on, carrots prepared to stay through the winter.  Tilling would have been nice, but between the garden and what was going on in the house, there wasn't enough time to get to it.  As it was, I only got halfway through the garden list.  But my kids finally got the house clean -- the weekly deeper-cleaning--  along with a post hole dug and fence repaired with my husband.  With a lot of reminders. (The kids, that is...)

While stripping corn cobs from the stalks, I felt something sharp on the pad of my ring finger. When I looked, a large drop of blood pooled up immediately; I had sliced my finger on a corn husk.  I turned back to my work, but felt something wet running down the finger.  Looking again, I saw that it was bleeding quickly, leaving small spatters of blood on the ground.  Turns out that the cut was fairly deep. I ignored it for another few minutes, but the bleeding had not slowed.  Not wanting to stop my work lest the chickens -- who were in the garden too-- would get to the corn, I looked around, found some still-growing plaintain, and tore a leaf off.  The leaves are not only known for helping stop bleeding and helping heal, but have strong fibers running through them.  I wrapped the leaf around my wound, winding the trailing fiber around an extra couple times.  

It stayed on snugly while I worked, and the tightness was soothing.  When I pulled it off ten minutes later, the bleeding had stopped completely.  It didn't restart, either, when I finally -carefully- washed off the dried blood.  This stuff works!

My husband laughed when he heard the story, and said it was "so MacGyver-ish".

I took that as a high compliment.
Pull weeds while you’re talking on the phone- better yet, while you’re on hold.  Yesterday I managed to get the above bed completely weeded, plus another one (3x50) while waiting to speak to a real human on the phone.  

 Go for a walk or a run outside; when you’re, do your stretches next to something that needs weeded.  Hey, if you’ve gotta bend over anyway, you might as well make your hands useful!

Pinch little weeds out as soon as you can identify them.  This is a bit of a change from what I used to do, pulling them out as soon as they appeared.  Years ago a wise neighbor pointed out all the volunteer perennials in her flower beds… and changed forever how I weed.  Instead of indiscriminately pulling every seedling in the bed, now I only pull when I know what it is.  This isn’t as hard as it seems; 90% of the weeds in my yard are one of the same nine or ten plants.  Figure out what your common weeds are, and learn to identify them as small as possible.  If you don’t know what it is yet, let it grow until you do.  There are only a few plants that will spread horribly if you wait- and you’ll be able to identify those pretty quickly.  Generally speaking, most plants spread only once they’ve flowered and set seeds.  You’ll get a lot of pleasant surprises by weeding this way; right now close to 1/3 of the flowers in my yard are volunteers!  I’ve even had bushes and trees free this way.

Use weeding time as one-on-one time with a child. Let them tell you about their day, or their new project, or the book they've been reading, or whatever else.  I have great memories of fixing barb-wire fences on our farm because of this- it meant time to talk with my dad.

Spend time in your yard, in all parts of the yard.  You’ll better notice what needs done.  And you’ll enjoy it much more than from indoors!  Another neighbor told me to have a place to sit somewhere on each side of the house.  Sit and read, or watch the kids, watch the sky, watch the bugs, whatever brings you joy.  Gather a bunch of fresh flowers for a vase every couple days.  Enjoy those efforts!

I grew up with the vague idea that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were kind of the same thing.  Or at least I thought they were written at the same time.  Now that I know more, I want my children to know and understand better the background and history of each.  This way they can better appreciate what our Founders set up, why they did it, and at what cost.

This year I ran across the following quote, which sparked an even greater desire to learn and teach:

“If American freedom is lost, if America is destroyed, it may be by Americans who salute the flag, sing the national anthem, march in patriotic parades, cheer Fourth of July speakers–normally good Americans, but Americans who fail to comprehend what is required to keep our country strong and free
– Americans who have been lulled away into a false security... 

If America is to withstand these influences and trends, there must be a renewal of the spirit of our forefathers, an appreciation of the American way of life, a strengthening of muscle and sinew and the character of the nation. America needs guts as well as guns. National character is the core of national defense.” –Ezra Taft Benson

Hosea  4:6  “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee... seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."   James Madison  Aug 4, 1822

The lesson is below this photo.

Of course, your family may only need some of these pieces, or something different, or a shorter version, or longer.  Pray to know what they need.  God cares about what we learn and teach!
FHE lesson on The Declaration of Independence

Sing a song: God Bless America,  or My Country, 'Tis of Thee

Have an opening prayer

Introduce the topic:  Hand everyone something little like pennies (or pieces of cereal, or jelly beans).  Give them several, based on how much they helped today, or if they did all of their chores (so they feel ownership).  Tell them they are like the 13 Colonies, and you’ll be England.  Take some of the pennies back and give all of them to one person.  How do they feel? 
Explain that when a government takes money from you without you getting to have a say in where it's used, it's called "taxation without representation".   The colonists knew it wasn't right, England's own Constitution even guaranteed them a say in how tax money was spent.  (With older children, you can explain more about the Stamp Act of 1765, or the Boston Tea Party in 1773.)

Have someone read D&C 134:1-2, the LDS Statement of Belief on government:

We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

Ask: What was wrong with how the colonies were treated?

The colonies had been fighting with England for a couple years already.  At first they were fighting for their right to be treated fairly, but by the summer of 1776 they decided that the only good solution was to become their own nation.

July 4th, when they finalized the Declaration of Independence, became the birthday for The United States of America.  It was the beginning of our nation but the bigger deal was how our leaders claimed that right- not from men, but from rights given to all mankind by God.

“The Declaration has three parts—the famous Preamble, a list of charges against King George III, and a conclusion. The Preamble summarizes the fundamental principles of American self-government. The list of charges against the king presents examples of the violation of those principles. The stirring conclusion calls for duty, action, and sacrifice.” ( -The Heritage Foundation- great article!!)

Read The Declaration of Independence! (see a photo of the original here.)

Words you might need to explain or discuss:

self-evident -they prove themselves true

unalienable -cannot be given up or taken

pursuit of happiness- living to your full potential, bettering yourself and your situation

evinces -shows or proves

Despotism -(1828 Webster’s: ‘Absolute power; authority unlimited and uncontrolled by men, constitution or laws, and depending alone on the will of the prince)

Encourage application

Read or relate the following: John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

(Note: A rough draft of the Declaration of Independence was written in June 1776;  July 2nd  is the date the Continental Congress  unanimously voted for separation from Great Britain.  The Declaration was modified a little, then read and approved on July 4, 1776, though it may not have been signed until August.)

Have someone read 1Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ask: How can you show that you remember and are grateful for our nation and freedoms?  
Bear your testimony of the great blessings God has given us.

Closing song: America the Beautiful
Closing prayer
Choose one or more activities (or do one of these each day for a week):

-Make paper pinwheels 

-Watch a Mormon Messages video: What Freedoms Are you Grateful For?

-Ring a “Liberty bell”-  Hang a bell from a rope.  Take turns telling each other some blessing that you’re grateful for; each person gets to toss a beanbag or ball at the bell for every blessing mentioned.

If you don’t have a bell, you can make one out of cardboard or cardstock, or punch two holes in the bottom of an empty soup can (run a piece of yarn, string, or  a twist tie through the two holes; you can hook onto something for a clapper at the same time), or  make a bell from a porcelain or glass cup.  One of my children drew a large bell,  taped it to a thread, which was tied onto the ceiling fan pull (I asked him to draw a bell and find some way to hang it someplace) ... the game was a big  hit with them!  (I did have to remind them the goal was to RING the bell, not DESTROY it.)

-Write a Family Creed

-Make and hang a sign saying "Remember" over the inside of your front door.

-Decorate your table, living room, or porch with flags and red, white, and blue.

-Eat red, white, and blue foods:

Blue and white tortilla chips with salsa (red!)

photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
Today I read an article detailing Nestle's 'horrific' discovery that children are actually helping harvest the cacao in Ivory Coast.  They pledged to help end the practice, and bewailed the fact that the practice still exists despite industry's discouragement of it.  They mentioned in passing that the recent political and economic turmoil (civil war) in Ivory Coast has made it necessary for everyone, including children, to work, and that farmers had to work "excessively long hours".  The FLA (Fair Labor Association)'s brainy solution is to end child labor by... ending poverty.

I'm sorry, Nestle and others are misguided. 

You cannot end poverty without the people improving their own situation- which can only be done by either consuming less than you earn, or earning more than you consume.  Where do the money and goods come from, without lots of individual effort? 

I grew up on a farm.  I wasn't happy with that fact until the year before I graduated, when I realized how much of a blessing that hard work had been.    I also saw my parents work harder than I had.  When it was hay-baling time, that hay had to be baled at exactly the right stage or it lost nutrition.  On top of that, we had to work around the weather.  If it rained, we had to either wait for the hay to dry out, or bale it quickly before the storm hit.  My dad worked 16-hour days during the summer to begin with, and that extended up to 24-30 hours straight during baling.  We older kids had to be out the door by 6 a.m. the whole summer to move sprinkler pipes: quarter-mile long systems made of forty-foot lengths of aluminum, each needing to be unhooked, carried forward 40 feet through tangles of knee-high alfalfa, hooked back together, and turned on.   I drove tractors, planted acres of grain, learned to shoot a rifle (at ground squirrels destroying our irrigating system), tossed heavy hay bales, bottle-fed calves in minus-30-degree weather, slogged through early-spring mud, lost boots and socks to mud holes in fields-- and learned to stop, think, notice, and appreciate better what was around me.  The summer of my junior year in high school, I saw that not only had the work helped shape my attitude and outlook, it also gave me a chance to work together with my family, strengthening ties and accomplishing mutual goals.

Too many times our good intentions, forced on others, lead to serious deterioration of a nation.  The extent to which our own nation has mandated child labor laws has resulted in a nation of young and middle-aged people with a serious entitlement mentality.  They don't understand that progress and prosperity have long, hard work at their core, and believe too often that someone else should provide for them.  Take the Occupy Wall Street group, for instance.  Or nearly any liberal/progressive.

I wish that my children had the opportunity  to spend long days harvesting cacao pods- or strawberries- or whatever else bureaucrats think is "too hard".   It's difficult for me, as a citydweller, to find enough work for them to keep their minds and bodies healthy.  They can't get official "jobs" until they're 14 or 16, by which time many of their lifetime habits have already been developed.  I've been surprised when my children think it's "too hard" learning to ride a bike, or to learn their math facts, or anything that has delayed gratification.   Hard work not only develops muscle and sinew but character and tenacity.

Justice William O. Douglas stated, “Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good from their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation."

Nations go through challenging times,  it's required of everyone to work or to stay in spiraling poverty.

Work is not a bad thing.  People emerge stronger. 
More than 150 years ago, a French economist wrote about the same thing, declaring that only bad economists confine themeselves to the visible effect.  Here's an excerpt from Frederic Bastiat's "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen".  It's brilliant.  You can read the entire excerpt at http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/what-is-seen-and-what-is-not-seen-2/  or the whole essay at http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

This excerpt is from the first chapter of
Selected Essays on Political Economy, translated by Seymour Cain and edited by George B. de Huszar, published by the Foundation for Economic Education.

In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.[1]

There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.

The same thing, of course, is true of health and morals. Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits: for example, debauchery, sloth, prodigality. When a man is impressed by the effect that is seen and has not yet learned to discern the effects that are not seen, he indulges in deplorable habits, not only through natural inclination, but deliberately.

This explains man’s necessarily painful evolution. Ignorance surrounds him at his cradle; therefore, he regulates his acts according to their first consequences, the only ones that, in his infancy, he can see. It is only after a long time that he learns to take account of the others. Two very different masters teach him this lesson: experience and foresight. Experience teaches efficaciously but brutally. It instructs us in all the effects of an act by making us feel them, and we cannot fail to learn eventually, from having been burned ourselves, that fire burns. I should prefer, in so far as possible, to replace this rude teacher with one more gentle: foresight. For that reason I shall investigate the consequences of several economic phenomena, contrasting those that are seen with those that are not seen."

What's an example that you have seen of this principle?
Clean, tidy, with no crumbs or sticky spots...

This will be a no-brainer for some people, but it took me until about five years ago to figure this out.

To keep your kitchen (or any other area) clean, you don't have to take a whole day, or week, to do it.  That's hard to schedule anyway, and usually overwhelming.   Yet there are some deeper cleaning things that need done- like cleaning out kitchen (or bathroom) drawers, wiping the tops of the cabinet doors, or cleaning the nooks and crannies in them.  Here's what I do now:

Every now and then, when I open a drawer, I notice there are crumbs in the corner.  Or in one of the organizing baskets.  Or maybe there's some sticky line where a child spilled their juice down the front of the cabinet.  If it's a two-minute job or less, I clean it right then.  Most of these things are.  If it's done then,  it doesn't have to be added to my already-huge "To Do" list in the back of my head.   That takes a load off me.  Dumping out the whole drawer, wiping it out, and putting everything back will take only a couple minutes more.  If I happen to have extra time, I may go on to the next drawer. If I'm wiping a cabinet, I usually finish wiping all the cabinets on that side of the kitchen. 

It doesn't all have to be done at once.  Just clean little bits as you notice them.  2-5 minutes a day gets the job done in a hurry, without leaving you frazzled! 
(originally 8/27/10)
Here's a scripture for today: Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the
tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Have you, like me, received so much that it’s hard to fit anything else into your house, budget, or calendar?  It occurred to me that, like Elder Oaks’ talk, “ Good, Better, Best “, that in order to prepare with what’s MOST important, I need to inventory, evaluate, organize, and voluntarily pass on what is not ‘Best’.  This makes a house of order and frees up more space, money, and time with which the Lord can bless me with what will do the most good. To become more self-reliant and prepare for life’s adversities.  Also see D&C 109:8-9.

Yes, it takes work.  But work is good.  Work is what God does.

Now, here’s a recipe put together by Laura Smith.  The column on the left gives you the basic ingredients, the column on the right gives you more information about them (or substitutions for them), and below tells you how to make variations.  If you want plain muffins, and you have all the regular ingredients, just use the left column and ignore the rest.  If you have some raspberries that have gone soft, and a raspberry-chocolate muffin sounds like exactly what you'd like to munch on, you will be able to make it!   This batter is also good cooked in a loaf pan, you’ll just need to cook it longer.   For instance, make the basic recipe using  mashed bananas….  and there’s banana bread for you.  I highly recommend you print this out- maybe tape it to the inside of your cupboard.  The 'Anything-Goes' Muffin recipe
 (Google Doc)
Caramel Bread Pudding using leftover bread.  This batch was made from some loaves I accidentally left cooking while I went to my son's concert.  Good thing it was short!!!  I trimmed off the burnt outside, then cubed it.

For some recipes, the drier and staler your bread, the better! 

(original date: 9/10/10)

This week I’ve got a couple recipes to help you ‘re-purpose’ some of that bread that might otherwise end up in the garbage.  If it’s dry, great!  If it’s crumbling, great! If it’s stale, perfect!  The only time you don’t use it is if it’s moldy.  Even then it’s still good for the compost pile, if it’s in an enclosed container to keep out rodents.  Meanwhile, here’s some food for thought from Brigham Young, one of the most practical of people.

My faith does not lead me,” President Young said, “to think the Lord will provide us with roast pigs, bread already buttered, etc.; he will give us the ability to raise the grain, to obtain the fruits of the earth, to make habitations, to procure a few boards to make a box, and when harvest comes, giving us the grain, it is for us to preserve it—to save the wheat until we have one, two, five, or seven years’ provisions on hand, until there is enough of the staff of life saved by the people to bread themselves and those who will come here seeking for safety. … [The fulfillment of that prophecy is yet in the future.]

“Ye Latter-day Saints, learn to sustain yourselves. …  

“Implied faith and confidence in God is for you and me to do everything we can to sustain and preserve ourselves. …  

“You have learned a good deal, it is true; but learn more; learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity. …  

“Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, Deseret Book, 1966 ed., pp. 291–93.) , quoted in Marion G. Romney, “Church Welfare Services’ Basic Principles,” Ensign, May 1976

Today’s recipes give you a couple good ways to not waste that dried-out, stale, or crumbly bread.  We have a little problem at our house with the heels of the bread- somehow I always find a heel or two in a bag at the back of the cupboard, dried out by then, of course.  Those either get turned into croutons or French toast right away, or get stuck in my ‘old bread’ bag in the freezer.  When I have enough, we make stuffing or bread pudding.

Homemade Croutons

 Cut bread into cubes and turn it into croutons: either sauté in, or drizzle with, olive oil or melted butter (1 Tbsp. for each 1-4 slices),  sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing mix (1/2 pkgs per loaf of bread), or anything that sounds like a good idea. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until dry and crispy.  Spread on a paper towel to cool, store when cool in a ziptop bag.  They’ll keep for a good couple of weeks, if you don’t eat them first.


The ideal bread pudding is custard-y and creamy inside with a little bit of crunch on the outside. 
Basic Bread Pudding

12 slices bread, cut in 1” squares, (the more stale, the better! – or bake them)
½ -1 cup raisins, soaked, optional
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
3-6 eggs (less makes it more dry, more makes more of a custard)
¾- 1 ½ cups sugar, to suit your tastes, white or brown
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tsp.vanilla
½ tsp. salt
3 c. hot milk- ideally half-and-half, or one 12-oz can evaporated milk and 1 ½ c. milk
pinch ground nutmeg

 Mix together the bread, raisins, and cinnamon.  Dump into a 9x13 pan.  Using the same bowl as before, beat the eggs, then stir in sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Mix until sugar dissolves.  Slowly mix in the hot milk.  Pour all of this over the bread, sprinkle with nutmeg, and let sit for 5-20 minutes to soak.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until center is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  If you bake this in a hot water bath, it will come out more custardy.  Serve warm.  Very nice with a dollop of whipped cream, scoop of ice cream, or a drizzle of some kind of sweet sauce (vanilla sauce, caramel sauce, rum sauce, maple syrup, etc.)

 Variations: Use any dried or chopped fruit in this, (this is a great way to use those two lonely, shriveled apples sitting on your countertop!), shredded coconut, cocoa or melted chocolate (2-4 squares), chocolate chips, pecans or other nuts, rum extract, orange extract or zest.

For the liquid, you can substitute eggnog, hot chocolate, coconut milk, and about anything that sounds good.  One great combination is shredded coconut with chocolate milk..... 

 Even if you think you don’t like bread pudding, you’ll probably love this one:

 Caramel Bread Pudding- fills a 9x13 pan

15 slices good-quality white bread, cut into 1” pieces (about 16 cups)- baked until crisp (about 10 minutes at 450 degrees)
1 ½ sticks butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
¼ c. corn syrup or honey
5 tsp. vanilla, divided
3 c. half-and-half, or use  the last ½ cup evaporated milk from your can (above),use whole milk for the remaining 2 ½ cups here.  
5 large eggs


Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir about 4 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.  Remove from heat and stir in cream or evaporated milk, corn syrup, and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Pour one cup of this caramel into a greased 9x13 pan.  Set aside one more cup of caramel, to use as topping later.  To the remaining caramel, add the half-and-half (or mixture of evaporated milk and whole milk).  Beat the eggs together, then whisk in the half-and-half mixture a little at a time.  Add remaining vanilla.  Fold in the bread, and let sit until soaked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Put bread mixture into the 9x13 pan, bake about 40-45 minutes, until the top is crisp and the custard is barely set.  Serve warm, with the reserved cup of caramel drizzled on top.

A simple medium white sauce.  It will thicken as it cools.

To begin with, melt your butter over medium-high heat.

Next, add flour and salt; whisk until it's smooth.

Pour in milk slowly, whisking the whole time to get it smooth.  If you do this off-heat, it's a little easier. Bring to a boil, continuing to stir.

Once it boils and thickens (see top photo), you can use it as-is, or add any ingredients you like.  To this one, I added a bit of cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, and about 1/2 cup of sharp Cheddar.  Your cheese sauce is NOT going to look like Kraft's, unless you add food color.  If you want a little more color than the cheese gives you, and don't want to add artificial color, add a bit of turmeric or crushed safflower strands.  Or some pureed carrots or pumpkin.

One of the possibilities...

Here are some great quotes on working and preparing….
We will have to go to work and get the gold out of the mountains to lay down, if we ever walk in streets paved with gold. The angels that now walk in their golden streets … had to obtain that gold and put it there. When we have streets paved with gold, we will have placed it there ourselves. When we enjoy a Zion in its beauty and glory [which we’re looking forward to], it will be when we have built it. If we enjoy the Zion that we now anticipate, it will be after we redeem and prepare it. If we live in the city of the New Jerusalem, it will be because we lay the foundation and build it. … If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it. …"  -Brigham Young 

“The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah."  -Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

How’s your food storage?  I know there are great blessings, including increased freedom and peace of mind, from keeping this commandment.


Fabulous, Adaptable

 White Sauce

I love ‘concept’ cooking, and I rarely follow a recipe because of that; I cook with whatever is in the house, fridge, or garden.  With white sauce, the concept is that flour or cornstarch will thicken things.  The thicker you want it, the more you use.  The only tricks are in knowing how to avoid lumps, and knowing which amount of thickener to use.  Just remember that 2 Tbsp. gives a good medium sauce consistency, then go down or up from that depending on what you want.  I use this formula for everything from pan sauces, to gravies, to “Cream of Mushroom Soup” replacements, to puddings and fruit sauces or syrups. 


Here is the basic formula:

Medium White Sauce

2 Tbsp. butter or fat

2 tbs flour

¼ ts salt

1 cup  milk, cream, or stock

 To make it, use one of the methods listed on White Sauces, both sweet and savory variations.  Makes 1 cup sauce.


Thin Sauce- Use as cream soups and other sauces, add whatever ingredients you want.

Medium Sauce - Use for creamed/scalloped dishes and gravies.

Thick Sauce - Use in place of a can of ‘cream of…’ condensed soups, or as a base for souffle.

For the recipes for thin sauce and thick sauce, 3 different methods of making White Sauce, and many, many variations, go to White Sauces, both sweet and savory variations