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Monday, December 14, 2009

Changes in Relief Society Enrichment Meeting

The Stake Relief Society Presidency wants to remind you of this information and we ask that you review and discuss it in your presidency and Relief Society meetings.

In the 2009 General Relief Society Meeting, Sister Beck, Relief Society General President, outlined some changes in the Relief Society Enrichment Meeting. She emphasized that Relief Society is a “faith-based work.” She reiterated the purpose of Relief Society to prepare women for the blessings of eternal life by helping them:

1. Increase their faith and personal righteousness.
2. Strengthen their families and homes.
3. Serve the Lord and His children.

These things haven’t changed and should always be our focus in planning any Relief Society meetings. Sister Beck encouraged us to “show respect for the Lord and the sisters” by using “Relief Society time in an inspired way.”

To watch a brief clip of Sister Beck’s talk, in which she announces the changes to Enrichment Meeting, click here.

For the complete text of her talk, click here.

I would like to highlight a few important changes:
  • Enrichment Meeting and Midweek Activities will now simply be called Relief Society meetings. In addition, they can simply be called what they are: Relief Society service project, Relief Society craft day, Relief Society health seminar, etc.
  • These meetings can be an extension of principles taught in Sunday meetings. They can be a powerful forum to bless sisters lives based on needs made apparent during Sunday meetings.
  • Always seek the spirit in prayer and counsel with your bishop when planning meetings.
  • Frequency:
    Relief Society meetings are generally held monthly but can be held more often or less frequently.
    Efforts should be made to meet at least quarterly.
    One meeting may commemorate the founding of the Relief Society and focus on its history and purpose.
  • One member of the ward Relief Society presidency should be in attendance at every meeting!
The Church’s website has a very helpful page dedicated to these changes. It includes the short video clip I mentioned above from Sister Beck’s talk along with concise, well-organized information and ideas on Relief Society meetings. Click on this link to go to that page.

There have been questions about what the “Enrichment Counselor” should be called and what the “Enrichment Leader” should now be called. There is a new section in the Relief Society Frequently Asked Questions on the Church’s web site regarding this.

Relief Society Meetings
  • What do we call the counselor who is responsible for additional Relief Society meetings?
    We encourage you to follow the pattern of the priesthood and call the counselors “first counselor” and “second counselor.” The Relief Society president can assess the work of Relief Society and delegate assignments and responsibilities to each counselor as needed.
  • What do we call the sister who coordinates Relief Society meetings that are held during the week?
    The Relief Society president may recommend that a sister in the ward be called to serve as the Relief Society meeting coordinator to help the presidency carry out these meetings. If a sister has been serving as the home, family, and personal enrichment leader, her title is now Relief Society meeting coordinator.
  • What do we call Relief Society meetings that are not held on Sunday?
    Individual Relief Society meetings that are held during the week can be called whatever they are, for example, Relief Society meetings, classes, projects, conferences, or workshops.

    Examples of how Relief Society meetings can be announced: "This Thursday we will have a Relief Society meeting at 7:00 p.m. Our meeting this month will include a variety of classes to help us improve homemaking skills." Or, "We will have a Relief Society workshop this next month about how to be better parents." Or, "On Saturday we will have a Relief Society conference." Or, "We will have a Relief Society service project this coming month."

There was also a very informative article in the Church News, in which Sister Beck was interviewed. That article can be seen here. A couple of things really impressed me from that article:
  • If we don’t teach the mothers, there is no place our mothers can go to learn their responsibilities. If we don’t teach the young single adults what their contribution can be in the kingdom and we don’t organize that, there is no place they can go to get it in the world. If we don’t organize the women to do the work the Lord wants them to do, then no one else in the world will do it.
  • We don’t know who is being hit in these economic times. Relief Society should not be asking sisters to do anything, to pay anything, that could be exclusive because they don’t have the money to do it. This includes asking women in a ward to eat out at a restaurant for a lunch or dinner group or to pay for other things completed at a Relief Society meeting. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out to lunch with your friends anymore, but that is not a Relief Society activity.
I would ask that you carefully and prayerfully consider the purpose of each Relief Society meeting in your ward. Is it being called a Relief Society meeting because you want to fill a certain “quota” of meetings or is it really fulfilling the purpose of Relief Society? Let me tell you there is no quota. Meetings should be carefully planned to meet the needs of your ward, and you must consider also the emphasis that Sister Beck put on having one member of the Relief Society presidency attend each meeting. Relief Society meetings are not clubs and are not simply for socializing (though that is an important part of Relief Society!). I recently heard of a ward in another state where a young sister was told that she shouldn’t attend the Relief Society book group, as the members of that group weren’t really interested in adding any new members. Please, please, please do not allow this appalling situation to happen in our stake! You must be vigilant, you must be totally aware of what is going on in all Relief Society meetings.

A few of my favorite things

Today is Monday, December 14, the temperature has warmed up to a -2* and the snowfall from last night is beautiful. A perfect day to stay home and make bread, (using Lillian Nehring's receipe) and listen to Christmas carols. Josh Groban's CD, NOEL is wonderful. His "O Come All Ye Faithful" with the Mormon Tabernacle choir reminds you of what Christmas is all about. Andrea Bocelli's MY CHRISTMAS is a treat to listen to. "The Lord's Prayer" with the Mormon Tabernacle choir is included along with a great song featuring Mary J. Blige, "What Child is This?" Beautiful music can help bring the "Spirit of Christmas" into your home.

There is a good Christmas article in the Parade section of the Sunday Billings Gazette. It is entitled "Why We Should Believe in Santa Claus" by Alexander McCall Smith. He is the author of the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series. Which is a great read by the way. You can check out the audio tapes from the Billings Library and listen to them too. Anyway... the author talks about when he first said that he didn't believe in Santa Claus and how he now, of course, believes that there is a Santa Claus.
Part of the magic of Christmas is Santa Claus. Young or old, believer or non-believer. "Santa Claus stands for kindness and generosity." If you didn't read the Parade article I'm sure it is on the internet.

Another good website that you might want to check out is It has lots of Christmas ideas and stories you might enjoy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pick your Poison

I thought I'd share two brownie recipes. The first is BYU Mint Brownies. I found this recipe years ago on line at BYU/Magazine. It is very good. The second is a recipe I haven't tried yet but would like to, my problem is I need a crowd to help share the calories. I found it in the BYU magazine, summer 2007. Its called Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Fudge Brownies. It is by Erin Renouf Mylroie (BA '95). There is an article about her in the magazine. Many of her recipes are national prize winners. She has won a trip to Disney World and appeared on the Rachael Ray television show. Her recipe seems simple enough and worth a try.

BYU Mint Brownies
Makes one 9x13 pan of brownies
1 C butter
1/2 C cocoa
2 Tbsp. honey
2 C sugar
1 3/4 C flour
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C chopped walnuts
12 oz. chocolate icing
Mint Icing
5 Tbsp. butter
dash of salt
3 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 1/3 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. mint extract
1-2 drops green food coloring
1. Melt butter and mix in cocoa. Allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add nuts. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool.
2. Prepare mint icing: Soften butter. Add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.
3. Spread mint icing over brownie3s. Place brownies in the freezer for a short time to stiffen the icing. Remove from the freezer and carefully add a layer of chocolate icing.
Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Fudge Brownies
by Erin Renouf Mylroie
3/4 cup butter
4 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate (she uses Baker's in the orange box.)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large microwaveable bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Melt butter and chocolate in mictrowave on high at 1-minute intervals, stirring in between. Do not let mixture sizzle. When mixture is completely melted and smooth, immediately stir in sugar; continue stirring until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla and buttermilk. Add 1 1/2 cups flour.
3. Toss chocolate chips with remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl; add to batter.
4. Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish and bake for 28-33 minutes, or until toothpicki inserted into center has just a few fudgy crumbs. Let cool for 30 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Day Dessert

In our family it is not Thanksgiving without Chocolate Pie and not Christmas without Orange Slices and Gingerbread Cake. This Gingerbread recipe is from the Lion House Recipes cookbook. So easy and the favorite of children and adults alike.

1/2 C sugar
1 cube butter (1/2 C)
1 egg, well beaten
1 C molasses
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp powdered cloves
1 C very hot water
Whipped cream
Cream sugar and butter well. Add egg and molasses. Beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Add hot water and beat until smooth (batter will be very thin). Pour into a well-greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until cake tests done. Mine never takes 40 minutes, check it early. Serve warm or cold with sliced bananas and whipped cream.

Beaded Socks

Years ago in Billings 2nd ward, I know that dates me, Deanne Hansen showed us how to make beaded socks. I made them for babies and then made a few with red and green beads and hung them on my Christmas tree. They are super easy, just follow the instructions. My only concern with these is maybe a baby could chew a bead off and swallow it! Always make them for a child that is past the putting things in their mouth stage or a baby that is too young to figure out how to get their feet in their mouth! I got these instructions from I used cheap plastic beads but there are so many cool beads to use now. But remember you are going to wash these so don't go crazy with the beads!...unless they are hanging on a Christmas Tree!

Beaded Socks

Materials Needed: 80-90 beads any type are fine, several yards size 10 thread, size 6 steel hook.


Note: You may want to add 5 more beads to the thread in case your spacing and size of sock is different than mine. Work between ribbings on the top of the sock.

Turn the sock inside out, thread 40 beads on the thread, attach yarn to the back of the sock with a slip stitch, (chain 4, pull one bead close to the hook and chain 1 to lock the bead in place, chain 4, slip stitch back into the sock into the next groove in the ribbing) continue this around until you have reached the beginning. Fasten off, tie the beginning and ending thread together about 5 times and weave in your end.

Christmas Ideas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We've had beautiful weather for the longest time but with the snow fall this week it's time to get serious about gifts, decorating and food. I thought I'd share a simple but cute fleece pillow pattern. I made this pillow years ago at a sewing class. It would be a great project for children and teens to make as a Christmas Gift.

No-Sew Fringe Pillows

1. Decide what size pillow you'd like to make.

2. Cut 2 pieces of fleece the size of the pillow PLUS 9 inches (both ways).

Lay layers on top of one another with the right sides out.

3. Cut away the corners and cut fringe all the way around the pillow.

Make the cuts about 4 1/2 inches deep and about 1 inch wide.

4. Tie the top and bottom fringe strands together around 3 sides of the pillow.

5. Insert the pillow form and tie the remaining side closed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pecan Pretzels

Here is a great recipe for holiday gatherings. It is fast and takes just a few ingredients.

And it is simple enough for children to help!
You will need mini-pretzels, Rolo candy, and pecan halves.
You will need equal amounts of each ingredient
Place pretzels in a single layer on a cookie sheet
Put one Rolo on each pretzel.
When each pretzel has a Rolo on top, place in oven at 250 degrees and heat for 2-3 minutes
After cooking, the Rolo should still hold its shape, not look melted, but be soft to the touch.
Press a pecan half onto the top of each warm Rolo, flattening out the Rolo.

Let cool before eating (if you can!). Don't eat too many!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cookie Turkeys

These turkeys are great edible decorations, easy enough
for children to make. You will need:
chocolate cookie wafers
chocolate frosting
gum drops
chocolate chips
red hots or mini M & Ms
candy corn

The grocery store sells these wafers in the cookie section
Cut a piece off the bottom of a cookie with a sharp knife.

Frost one cut cookie and one uncut cookie. Use enough frosting
so that everything sticks together.

Place the cut side of the cookie toward the back of the round cookie and put a gum drop
for the body in front

Stick on a chocolate chip for the head, using frosting. I usually use a semi sweet chip,
today I had butterscotch.
Put a red hot beneath the chocolate chip for the waddle, again using frosting to stick it on.

Add candy corn to the cut, upright cookie for feathers

Let your turkey sit for awhile to firm up the frosting.

Make enough for everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Many pumpkin recipes seem to come in the form of a dessert. Pumpkin is a mild vegetable that adds texture, delicate flavor, and wonderful nutrition to all sorts of foods.

This is a recipe for dinner rolls that uses the puree from a recent post. You can use canned pumpkin if you want to.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm milk (warm the water and the milk to help the yeast grow)
1/4 cup butter, softened or melted
2 cups cooked pumpkin, from a can or homemade
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup wheat germ
10-12 cups flour
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon yeast
Mix sugar, water, milk, butter, pumpkin, salt. Add wheat germ, 7-8 cups of flour, yeast, mix well. Continue adding flour, using your mixer if it can handle it, or by hand if your mixer can't, kneading 8-10 mintues until dough is elastic but not sticky.

Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease all sides.

Cover with towel and place in a warm place for about an hour.

When your dough has doubled in size, punch down, divide into 3rds,
and divide each 3rd into 16ths.

Form each piece into a ball and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Allow to almost double again, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until tops are golden brown.

Serve with butter, or eat these moist, delicious rolls plain.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I am Thankful For.....

My family had a Thanksgiving tradition when our children were growing up. Every year a few weeks before Thanksgiving, we begin to keep a "thankful bag". I had a brown paper bag that my children decorated to look like a turkey, but you could use any container you want.

Starting early in November we would take a few minutes at the supper table and each family member would write down why they were thankful for a particular child in the family. Each night we would choose a different child until each child had been our "thankful child" two or three times.
We would put the paper slips into the bag and the Family Home Evening night before Thanksgiving Dad would pull the slips out of the bag, one by one, and read them aloud. It was always fun to read what the children had written, and even funner to listen to when the comment was about YOU. Even the smallest children participated, having Mom or Dad write their answer for them. We found that if we focused on one child each night, each child would end up with an equal number of comments.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Making Pumpkin Puree

It's the time of the year to bake pumpkin dishes! Making pumpkin puree is easy and cheap, and there are many methods. These are the instructions to make puree from a whole pumpkin. You can use it the same way you would use pumpkin from a can. Here's how to make puree:
Choose a smallish, dense pumpkin. "Sugar baby" is a good variety
to make into puree.
Pierce the skin with a sharp knife, making sure to go all the way through the skin and meat of the pumpkin. This allows steam to escape when baking.

Place pierced pumpkin in about 1 inch of water in a pan.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Cool; cut the top off of the pumpkin.

Scoop out the seeds and pulp, discard.

Scoop out the soft part of the pumpkin and place in your food processor bowl. Pulse until smooth. Before I owned a food processor, I used an electric mixer for this step.

The small pumpkin (about 8" in diameter) I used made slightly more than 2 cups of puree. Homemade puree is generally lighter in color then canned pumpkin. The puree should be refridgerated and used within a day or two, or frozen for up to a month. Substitute the puree for canned pumpkin in your recipes. One 15-16 oz can of pumpkin equals
2 cups of puree.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Registering in the New Family Search Program

The Stake would like to encourage everyone to register in the new family search program. Here are the instructions:

1. Get confirmation date and membership record number from your ward clerk.
2. Log on to new family search website from your internet explorer:
3. Register on the wesite under the "register for the new Family Search".
4. Create a username and password.
5. Write down and place your username and password in a safe place. It is somewhat challenging to get your username and password if you have misplaced them. Both username and password are case sensitive (meaning it matters if you capitalize or not).
6. Once you have registered, browse the new familysearch website.
7. You will notice that quite a bit of information is missing. No information on living individuals will be there yet unless someone has already input the information in the new family search program. In the future you will learn how to find and input information.
8. Notify your ward family history consultant and high priest group leader when you have registered.

Friday, October 30, 2009

We found this recipe in the Stake Relief Society closet--I tried it and WOW, I think it is a keeper!

Spanish Rice

6 slices bacon
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
3/4 cup rice, raw long grain
1 Tb brown sugar
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp pepper
Dash Tobasco

In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Spoon the bacon out into a bowl and saute the finely chopped onion and green pepper in the bacon fat for just a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except bacon, cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Top with the crumbled bacon and shredded cheese if desired. Brown rice can be used for added nutrition, just add more water and plan on cooking longer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Corned Beef--cabbage optional!

We, in our family really enjoy home-made corned beef. It is actually just cured beef. Most meats can be cured, cooked and enjoyed.
The product that you need to buy is very inexpensive. It is Morton Tender Quick and it is sold in the salt section of your grocery store. The directions on the package are very clear and easy to follow. It takes about one minute to prepare the meat, then you refrigerate it for several hours (up to 4 days for larger pieces of meat), then simmer in water until cooked through. You will know, after you cook the meat, if you have let it cure for long enough because the meat will not be cured in the very center and will be a natural meat color, rather than the reddish cured color. We sometimes eat ours with cabbage that has been simmered with the meat or we also enjoy corned beef in sandwiches such as the popular Rueben.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Minestrone Soup

Fall has made herself known. Hearty soups and crusty breads are on the menu in our homes. This soup was served at the Womens' Broadcast in September. I will make this soup several times throughout the winter. It is so healthy and filling. I even have one more zucchini from my garden to use in the next batch. Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup

Remove casing, break up and fry 3 Johnsonville sweet italian sausage, or use sausage of your choice.

Simmer on low heat:
32 oz diced or crushed tomatoes
3 Tb tomato paste
1 1/2 cup SHREDDED cabbage
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Dice and cook in water until tender:
1 cup carrots
1 med onion
1 cup celery

In a separate pan, cook 1 1/4 cup pasta.

Add to tomato mixture:
16 oz kidney beans
16 oz cannelini beans

When pasta and vegetables are cooked, add all of the ingredients together in one large pan, adjusting the thickness of the soup with the vegetable broth and with the pasta water, if necessary.
3 cups diced zucchini

Cook on medium heat until heated through. Serve with Parmesan cheese grated on each bowlful.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Peach Salsa

Here is a yummy recipe for a unique salsa from
Jodi Gorham:

Peach Salsa
6 C peaches, peeled & chopped
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 C red pepper, chopped
4 jalapeño peppers, chopped (ribs & seed removed)
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
garlic, to taste (1 tsp is a good start)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 C white vinegar
zest of 1 whole lime
1/4 C sugar
1 box pectin
1 1/2 C sugar
Mix together in a saucepan all but the sugars and pectin. Mix the 1/4 C sugar and pectin together and add to the peach mixture. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 C sugar and boil for an additional minute. Fill clean, sterile jars with hot salsa, leaving 1/2" headspace, and water bath for 15 minutes. Makes about eight 1/2-pint jars. This makes a mild salsa; for more heat, leave some jalapeño seeds in.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recipes from the Garden

The garden is fading quickly and if you have tomatoes in your garden to use,
here is great recipe from Jodi Gorham:

Need something to do with a bumper crop of tomatoes? Try making jam. It sounds weird, but it's tasty, easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. My kids eat this jam and like it, of course I let them believe that it's Raspberry Jam; they have no idea that it's mostly tomatoes. has some recipes that are similar to this one (Budget Berry Jam and Green Tomato Raspberry Jam) that call for green tomatoes. That might be interesting to try too. Happy jamming!
Tomato Jam
4 C peeled tomatoes in a small dice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 C sugar
1 large box raspberry Jello
To make peeling the tomatoes easier, put 2 or 3 tomatoes in very hot water for about one minute so that the peel will just pull off:

Boil for a minute until you see the peel split.

The tomato peel will slip off easily at this point.

Take the hard core out of the peeled tomatoes (and the seeds if you want). You'll end up mainly using the outside flesh of the tomatoes. Dice the tomatoes. Stir together all ingredients but the Jello. Boil for 20 minutes. Take mixture off of the heat and stir in Jello. Stir until dissolved. Pour jam into hot jars and seal. Water bath them in boiling water (water should cover the tops of the jars by about 1 inch) for 15 minutes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Colonial Gingerbread

This gingerbread is so moist and delicious, your family won't even know it's good for them! It was originally sliced and served warm with butter at lunch or dinner. Top with whipped cream for dessert!


3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup butter or shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup molasses


Sift together first 7 ingredients; set aside.

In large bowl using mixer at medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well blended.

In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Stir in molasses.

Using mixer at medium speed, beat in dry ingredients alternately with molasses mixture until well blended. This is typically done by starting and ending with the dry ingredients:
  • Start with 1/3 of the dry ingredients
  • Then half of the molasses mixture
  • Then 1/3 of the dry
  • Then the rest of the molasses mixture
  • Then the rest of the dry

Pour batter into greased cake pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Mine happens to be a round cake pan that has the same capacity as a 9 x 13 pan. (Mmmm! I think I want to lick that spoon!)

Bake in a 350 degree oven, 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack. Makes 16 servings.