friend·ship

Once you get hitched, everything changes. Your world all of the sudden has another person permanently a part of it, and everyone else is in second place. Obviously, this is magical and amazing, and it how it is meant to be; it does create some challenges though.  The hardest for me was the challenge of keeping your friends close.

At one of my bridal showers, a few of my married friends said how they don’t have much of a social life anymore. Their life is all about school, work, and spending time with their spouse. Now, I remembered being extremely concerned and confused about that. Being social is and was such a big part of who I am, that I couldn’t imagine not having a social life outside of marriage. When my husband and I would go to visit his family, we would ALWAYS get together with his friends (almost all of whom are married) which to me proved that there is no reason NOT to have a social life.

Just then, I remembered my Great-grandma’s couple’s club. They got together once a month and went to dinner or gathered to play games and play music together. They did that for probably about 50 years, if not more. I remember being babysat by grandma when they had these get-togethers, and recognizing the special bond that that group had. They had grown together, supported each other through the years, and had such great memories!

Upon remembering this, I set into motion monthly dinner parties with my married friends and close single friends. It started out with 5 consistently coming, then as more people got married or moved in around us, grew to an amazing group of people. We had about 15 couples show up to our 2nd Annual Halloween Party this year.

As we were driving home from a family Christmas Party this weekend, we listened to “For All Eternity,” John L. Lund, a series of talks about the differences between men and women and how we can communicate better. (I’d highly recommend this to anyone- married or single- it has AMAZING insight, is entertaining, and really gets you thinking! Love it!) Anyways, in this, he talks about how women tend to need other people to talk to and generally have multiple people with whom they share intimate life experiences with (including their spouse). Men, however, usually have their spouse and MAYBE one other person. I have found this to be very true.

This got me thinking about who those people are for me… while I have my parents and in-laws, it has been increasingly hard to continue a strong relationship with some of my closest friends. Either they have moved, gotten married and are hard to get together with, or seem to have “moved on”. It’s almost heartbreaking to think about. I love all of these people dearly, and thankfully, it is easy to talk to them no matter how long it is between visits, but it is sad when you only get to see them when there are 20 other people around.

I am making it my goal- and you who read this are my witnesses- that I will make efforts to get with my friends either one-on-one or in smaller, intimate groups to spend time with them at least once a month. This is outside of our already planned dinner parties and game nights. Maybe this will become monthly girls nights! Whose in?!

I believe friendships are a very important part of our lives, but like many other things, if you don’t work on them constantly, they fizzle out and become weak. I will not be the reason that happens. I love my friends far too much to allow myself to do that. Thankfully, we have moved into a great ward where we have many other people our age and we keep making more and more friends. I am THRILLED with this! There are many that we already love and adore.

So to all of my friends, old and new, I promise I will make you a priority. I believe we need each other. We need some girl time, we need to reconnect!

XOXO

Madi

 

Chicken Saltimbocca (Bucca di Beppo Copy Cat)

For most of my childhood, my family, my aunt’s family and grandparents went to Bucca di Beppo on Halloween.  While this meant we didn’t trick or treat, it was easily one of our favorite nights of the year. We would all dress up and eat at the Pope’s table.  It was quite the event. This tradition was made even better because of the amazing food we got to eat! While a lot of the food at Bucca has changed and isn’t as good as it once was, there are still a few menu items that remain amazing! Here is what we got every time:

  • Chopped Antipasti Salad- This salad is loaded with pepperoni, red onions, pepperoncini peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, Kalamata and green olives, provolone, feta and Gorgonzola with mixed lettuce in Italian vinaigrette. The flavors are perfect together!
  • Cheesy Mozzarella Garlic Bread- This has changed in the last 5 years. It used to have large chunks of garlic on it, which was a lot, but there is something beautiful about actually seeing the garlic on the melted mozzarella.
  • Chicken Saltimbocca- Probably my most favorite (hence the recipe today). It is perfectly cooked chicken with prosciutto, artichokes and capers in a buttery, lemon sauce. I LOVE lemon.
  • Linguine Frutti di Mare-  this is easily the boys absolute favorite. My little brother and cousins would gobble up the mussels that surround the pasta bowl. They would also try to pick out as much of the calamari (especially the “squid”). It has shrimp, baby clams, mussels and calamari in spicy red clam sauce. SOO good… if you like seafood.

Gosh, this makes me hungry just thinking about it… (drool)!  So since I crave this kind of food all the time, I finally decided to attempt the Chicken Saltimbocca.  Saltimbocca is Italian for “jumps in the mouth” and I promise, it does. So please, enjoy this recipe. Let me know what you think!  I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Time: Prep: 15 minutes    Cook: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices prosciutto (my package came in 6 slices)
  • 1 Tbsp. sage
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • flour for dusting
  • 1 can arichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. capers
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Pound chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch thick. It is easiest to place wax paper to keep everything clean.  Once chicken is at the right thickness, lightly dust with flour. (Make sure it is very lightly- not enough for it to act as breading as the prosciutto needs to be able to stick to the chicken.) Sprinkle with sage and top with prosciutto. Pound the chicken a little more to help the prosciutto stick.
  2. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, and when heated, place chicken in pan with prosciutto side down. Brown, then flip over to cook the rest of the way. When chicken is done, drain any excess oil from pan.
  3. Add to the pan the chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Once liquid has reduced by about half, add artichoke hearts, heavy cream, lemon juice and butter. Let simmer until sauce has thickened. During the last 30 second of simmering, add capers. I like to do this so they get a little warm.
  4. To serve, plate chicken and top with artichoke hearts and capers with some sauce poured on top.
  5. I served with a simple salad of red leaf lettuce and Parmesan cheese lightly drizzled with peppery olive oil and lemon juice.

I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do. This is such a fresh tasting dish,with great ingredients. It is perfect for those special dinners with your significant other. Take them to Italy in a few mouthfuls. ENJOY!

 

XOXO- Madi

Fast Breakfast Ideas

Hello my friends!

Today, I want to talk to you about breakfast ideas. These are quick, simple, and relatively inexpensive- which is my favorite part 🙂 Plus, they are all filling.

But first, I want to give you guys my menu for the week, grocery list, and what it cost 🙂  I figured doing this weekly might be helpful, if not for steeling my menu, it may be helpful to see how I shop weekly. Also, this week is different in that we will not be here this weekend.

Menu:

  • Monday- Chicken Wings with potatoes
  • Tuesday- Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce with Jasmine Rice (yes, this is a repeat from last week. My husband loved it so much he asked for it again this week.)
  • Wednesday- Fajita Quesadillas
  • Thursday- Leftovers
  • Friday- Dinner with Hansen’s
  • Saturday-???
  • Sunday- Dinner with parents

Grocery List:

  • Paprika
  • Shrimp
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Onion
  • Tomato (2)
  • Lime (2)
  • Avocados (2)
  • Oranges
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Coconut milk
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Bittersweet Chocolate
  • Tortillas
  • Total: $60

Again, I just want to point out how amazing it is to have the full grocery list for this week at $60.  I had to buy cheese, paprika flour and sugar which ramped up the price, so I would have been well under which leaves plenty of room for the 2 additional meals I didn’t plan for since we were going out of town. You can do it!

Okay, not onto breakfast ideas. These are way easy!

English Muffin Sandwich

…or maybe you call it a McMuffin? Ya, I’m not about McDonald’s so Its an English Muffin Sandwich. This takes about 5 minutes to make an is pretty filling. Start with a frozen sausage patty and cook it in a non-stick skillet. Once you flip it over, add a little butter to the pan and crack in an egg. My husband likes his egg yolk runny, which apparently is a normal thing… So this goes really fast. As soon as you get the egg in the pan, load it up with salt and pepper, stick the english muffin in the toaster, and top the sausage patty with a slice of cheese.  Once everything is done, assemble and enjoy 🙂

Peaches and Cottage Cheese

Do I really have to explain this one? This is delicious, “carb-free” which one of the many crazes right now (right?) and filling. It’s kind of got that sweet and salty thing goin’ on and takes 30 seconds to assemble.

Bagel Sandwich

This can be made with really anything… The last one I made was with an egg, avocado, cheddar cheese slices, cream cheese spread, and tomato slices with salt and pepper. Make it a whole wheat bagel for added healthiness and you’re golden! Loaded with low-fat protein, fresh flavors of the avocado and tomato, and the best part… its cheap!  I also do this open face on a slice of whole wheat bread a lot. Layer avocado, scrambled eggs, cheese then tomato slices.

Hash Browns, Eggs and Bacon

This probably takes 10 minutes.  Start with a large skillet (non-stick: I use this one on a daily basis) and add a little butter to one side. Lay a layer of frozen hash browns down, and on the other side lay the bacon down. For the two of us, I probably do about 2 cups hash browns and 3 pieces of bacon.  “flip” the hash browns when the bottoms are golden brown, and flip your bacon… when you think it’s ready (people all have varying preferences for their bacon doneness(?) so this will be at your own discretion). Once you flip your bacon, do your eggs.  Put everything on a plate when its done.

Oatmeal

Perhaps more self-explanatory than peaches and cottage cheese. I put my oats in a microwave safe bowl, maybe half cup, add water until it’s just covered, and microwave it until its done. Then I either add raspberry jam or blueberries and brown sugar.

Well there ya have it. Some of my go-to breakfasts.  These are simple, fairly inexpensive, and all delightful. Better than IHOP or Denny’s, and perfect for the work day!

XOXO,

Madi

 

Spicy Sausage Pasta

As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, this is my husband’s favorite pasta.  This was a staple dinner at our house for a while… Especially when we knew my brother wouldn’t be around to eat it. Surprisingly, he doesn’t like this at all… But don’t let that deter you from trying this.  It is amazing, and my favorite part… you can make whatever modifications you’d like, depending on what you have in the refrigerator! So lets get to it!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Total Time: Prep: 15 minutes  Cook: 30

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Smoked Sausage (like Kielbasa)
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cup Minced Onion (fresh please)
  • 2 cloves Minced Garlic
  • 8 oz. Penne Pasta- uncooked (I use whatever I have on hand- except for long noodles)
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel (this is what gives the spice, so buy the right variety for your taste pallet)
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (if I don’t have cream already on hand, I just use milk… I promise it works just as well, and its healthier!)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese (again, I use whatever I have on hand. This week I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Optional- chopped Green Onions for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cut smoked sausage into 1/4 pieces.  If you are not using a non-stick pan, heat skillet until you can feel the heat coming from the pan.  Add olive oil and let heat up. (I find that by doing it in this order, you wont need as much oil to cover the pan, and both the pan and the oil heat up much quicker.  This also helps your food to not stick to the pan!) Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add broth, cream, Rotel, pasta, salt and pepper to skillet and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-low.  Cover and simmer until pasta is tender.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Top with remaining cheese and green onions (if desired). Broil on high until cheese is melted, spotty brown and melting.
  4. Remove from oven, let sit for about 2 minutes and enjoy!

 

I love this recipe so much because it takes on a whole new flavor profile every time I make it.  Sometimes, I make it with milk and cheddar cheese, other times, I make it with spicy Rotel and use mozzarella. This is a great dish to help you clean our your refrigerator, but it always a favorite!  What variations will you try?

XOXO- Madi

Meal Planning 101

Hey guys, sorry its been soo long (months…) :/   Life gets crazy, and I don’t want to just be a rambler on here… Call me crazy, but I want to make sure I have something of substance to write about.  As I was planning out my week yesterday, I thought I might share exactly how I plan my meals, and how I save so much money in doing so 🙂

To start off, I think it might be interesting to look in my refrigerator…

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As you can see, its fairly empty… At least it seems empty to me compared to the refrigerator I grew up with.  I was used to always having tons of food in here.  Most of what is in my refrigerator is condiments, sauces, and the like. We had to shuffle things around every time we had leftovers to try and make room.  Not a bad thing, right? 🙂  I have found that by planning my meals every week and not buying much else, I almost always end up with a near-empty refrigerator at the end of the week.  As you can see, I have a little bread left, we have English Muffins, eggs, strawberries, and cottage cheese… Not a whole lot to really make meals from, right?  It may not look like a lot, but there is plenty in here to get me started with my menu for the week.  So lets get started.

The first step to planning your menu is to look at what you do have that needs to be eaten up.  I write these down in on a notepad so I can reference them while I start my search for recipes.  This week, I needed to use coconut milk (the white liquid on the container by the mayo), heavy whipping cream, tomato, ginger, cabbage, and green beans. Even though I have other fresh herbs and produce (cilantro, green onions, and carrots) I really should be using soon, usually those can be eaten as snacks or are in recipes, so I don’t like to make those “priority items”.  After I get the “fresh” stuff out of the way, I like to look at what meats I have. This week, everything I had was frozen.

20160510_134737

What I wrote down for the week was chicken, shrimp, Kielbasa (smoked sausage), and meatballs.  I ended up not planning for meatballs this week since we had some last week.

Okay!  Now that I have the basics of what I have, the second step is to look for recipes. My mom makes this amazing pasta recipe with Kielbasa and I think it might my husband’s favorite.  That was my first menu item 🙂 This Saturday, we are having a dinner party so I already had that planned out, so I only needed 3 more dinners to plan.  For these, I went to Pinterest.  Here is our menu for the week:

20160510_134241

Here are the links to the recipes I’ll be using this week in case you want to cook along with me:

Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce from foodiecrush

Cabbage Sauteed with Chicken from Cooktoria

And one of my personal favorites, Balsamic Chicken & Veggies from Cooking Classy.

I haven’t tried the first two, but they look delish!  Don’t you think?  I won’t be shopping for my carne asada tacos yet for two reasons. First, our parties are always “pot-luck” in that I assign people things to bring after the RSVP deadline, which in this case is Thursday, and if I end up having to get a few more things for it, I’d like to do it all in one stop. And second, I like to pick up my meat from the Mexican Market the day of… It’s delicious, but makes my fridge smell!  Not my favorite thing in the world.

Ok, so now onto the third step in meal planning… Making a grocery list. This may be the most obvious step.  But still, important to mention.  As you go through the list of ingredients on each of the recipes, write down everything you think you might need.  For instance, while looking over the cabbage dish, I noticed it called for chicken stock.  I know I have that in the refrigerator, but I also knew that it was my last bottle from my pantry.  So, I put it on my list and starred it so I knew to go and double check that I have enough. I did this with grape tomatoes and basil, too, since my plants seemed to have died 😦 Sad day.

After making the initial list, check your pantry, and refrigerator to make sure you have everything you need.

20160510_134155

Here is my final grocery list.  If you looked at the recipes, you may notice that avocados, bananas, oranges, blueberries or bacon & bagels (among others) were never mentioned. This is my entire grocery list, which includes my breakfasts, too.  (Those were on my menu written in orange). There are also starred items, too.  Those were things I didn’t really need this week, but I wanted to try another breakfast meal I saw that looked delightful. Those were things I was still undecided on.

Now, here is the magical part of this.  My groceries ended up costing $87.76. Now, that’s more than I had anticipated, but that’s okay.  The really cool thing is that really my grocery list only cost my $46.50!!!  The reason it was high at the end was because I splurged on my starred items which ran up the cost.  Here was the actual breakdown:

  • Rotini Whole Grain pasta: $1.59
  • Diced Chilies x2: $2.78
  • Multigrain Bagel: $3.49
  • Rotel x2: $2.78
  • Chicken Broth: $ 1.99
  • Avocados: $1.98
  • Bananas: $1.55
  • Basil: $2.99
  • Onion: $0.53
  • Oranges: $1.59
  • Orange & Yellow Pepper (1 each): $3.18
  • Red Pepper x2: 1.58
  • Grape Tomatoes: $3.99
  • Tomatoes: $2.50
  • Toilet Paper: $13.98
  • TOTAL for what I needed= $46.50
  • Almond Milk: $2.79
  • Chia Seeds: $9.99
  • Quinoa: $5.49
  • Cheez-It: $1.67
  • Sausage: $3.99
  • Bacon: $7.49
  • Total for what I DIDN’T need: $31.42

Do you see how cool that is?  Not how much extra I spent, but how cheap it really is to shop for a week?  It’s my personal goal to stay under $60 for groceries per week and it’s really easy to do.  The hard part is keeping your cravings in tact… Especially when you go to the store on an empty stomach… or plan meals on an empty stomach (of which I did both this time :))

Just something to keep in mind, those larger staple items, like flour, sugar, quinoa, chia seeds (as I picked up this week) will last a lot longer than 1 week, so don’t freak out too much if you end up using a little more money than anticipated.  That $10 of chia seeds could last me 10 weeks, which makes it WAY worth it in my opinion.

If you have to keep to a budget, I promise you, planning will make all of the difference.  Try to make things that use the same ingredient throughout the week, or use it the next week. Like my shrimp I had in the freezer, I bought that last week, (and was under $60 for groceries TOTAL by the way!) and will use them again this week, and will have some left over, too!  It’s ok to “plurge” on some things when you know they will last a while.  It might just save you money next week.

I hope this was helpful!  I know it can be a daunting task… But my husband and I eat GREAT food and it really doesn’t cost a whole lot. And since you don’t exactly have to struggle with figuring out what to make every night for dinner, you may be able to relax a little bit 🙂 ENJOY!

-Madi

 

Family History IS Missionary Work

This is my latest talk from church.  I hope this touches you the way it touched me as I researched and studied on this topic. It is a very close one to my heart.

In 1837, The prophet Joseph Smith announced a great responsibility for the church.  He said, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.”  Exactly seven years later, he said, “The greatest responsibility in this work that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The apostle says, ‘They without us cannot be made perfect’ for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fullness of the dispensation of times- a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.”

Joseph SmithBut how could a prophet of God say that the greatest duty is to preach the Gospel one year, then a few years later say that our greatest duty is to seek after our dead?  How are they even related?  The first step in understanding how they are related is to understand the definition of family history.  Most people, I think, get family history and genealogy mixed up.  Genealogy is basically filling out your pedigree chart… Making sure that you know who your great-great-great-great grandfather is and where he came from.  Family history, however is defined as “a biographical study of a genealogically proven family and of the community and country in which they lived.”  Family history is just that- learning the history of your family. This is done by studying and searching for census records, birth records, ship manifests, etc. to put together the full story of each individual.  In family history, we understand that we are learning about people, not just worrying about “finding names”.

For me, family history personally ties me to my ancestors.  As I begin to dive into their lives and to verify the information I have, I become attached.  I begin to feel as though I am literally searching for someone that I know.  There is a great sense of urgency when I begin to search for my family.  When we are really doing family history, we are differentiating between one Thomas Bell and the other.  We begin to understand a little bit more about culture, and we realize that just because we have a “matching name” we haven’t really found a person… yet.

When you think about missionary work, we think of finding people that are lost and looking for something more, looking for meaning in their life.  In this work, we are literally dealing with people’s hearts.  Elder Bednar said this, “preaching the gospel and seeking after our dead are two divinely appointed responsibilities that relate to both our hearts and to priesthood ordinances.  The essence of the Lord’s work in changing, turning, and purifying hearts through covenants and ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority.”

He goes on to say that, “the word heart is used over 1,000 times in the standard works and symbolizes the inner feelings of an individual. Thus our hears- the sum total of our desires, affections, intentions, motives and attitudes- define who we are and determine what we will become.”

“The Lord’s purpose for missionary work is to invite all to come unto Christ, receive the blessings of the restored gospel, and endure to the end through faith in Christ. We do not share the gospel merely to increase the numerical size and strength of the latter-day Church. Rather, we seek to fulfill the divinely appointed responsibility to proclaim the realty of the Father’s plan of happiness, the divinity of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the efficacy of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. Inviting all to “come unto Christ” experiencing the “mighty change” of heart, and offering to ordinances of salvation to individuals in mortality not yet under covenant are the fundamental objectives of preaching the gospel.”

As we, as members, are always working for ourselves to do as Elder Bednar said to “come unto Christ”, experience the “mighty change” of heart and seek salvation by continually progressing towards other ordinances, we feel connected to the purpose of missionary work.  We understand what we are trying to do, and seeing our brothers and sisters, we feel the need and desire to help others on this journey we will always be on.

Family history is exactly the same.  Let’s compare family history to missionary work.

First, Missionaries seek for people to teach; they ask members to help them find people that may be in need of help.

  • In family history, we seek for people, we weed out our Thomas Bell from other Thomas Bell’s so we can help each one individually. Members may ask for help to find people to help

Second, Missionaries teach the Gospel to those searching so they can “come unto Christ” and be baptized in his name.

  • In family history, when we find our family members, and we take them to the temple to do baptisms for them, so that as they are being taught on the other side of the veil, they can progress, be cleaned, and take Christ’s name upon themselves, just as we have.

Third, Missionaries work with new, and old members to prepare them for other ordinances they must receive in the temple. They help people experience their own “mighty change” of heart so they are prepared to enter into the temple and receive the blessings and ordinances therein.

  • When we do family history, our hearts are changed, they begin to turn to our fathers and desire to take them to the temple so they can receive the blessings and ordinances therein.

Missionary work is always happening.  It is happening here on the earth every day, and it has been happening on the other side of the veil since the world began. The only difference, is that when missionaries find people here on earth who are ready to take steps and begin to make and keep sacred covenants, those individuals are able to do it themselves.  The people on the other side of the veil may have been converted and ready for hundreds of years, but have to wait while we, search for them and diligently discover our family and finally take them to the temple.

D&C 84: 19-21 says: “And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

“Therefore, in the ordinance thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

“And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.”

Elder Bednar explains these versus as follows: “an individual must first pass through the gate of baptism and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost- and then continue to press forward along the path of covenants and ordinances that leads to the Savior and the blessings of His Atonement. Priesthood ordinances are essential to fully “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” Without the ordinances, and individual cannot receive all of the blessings made possible through the Lord’s infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice even the power of godliness.”

Does this give you a sense of urgency?  It does to me.  When I just think of the feeling I get in the temple, it is like no other I have ever felt.  It is peaceful, it is welcoming, warm, and there is never fear. Faith seems to fill me up and I feel so close to my Heavenly Father.  It is something I wish for everyone to experience. I can go out and search for people on the street, or people that I know do not share those blessings that I have received. I can personally teach them and help them come unto Christ.  But what about those who have passed on. How are they ever going to feel what we do?  We have to personally take their names to the temple. We have to personally do their work for them in proxy. It is literally our responsibility to ensure they have the blessings of the temple.

Knowing this, as I go onto familysearch.org, I do not just look for a green temple by someone’s name. I don’t have to look at my line and think “you know, I won’t ever find anyone here… my grandma has done it for years, her sisters have done and redone it for years as well. How could there possibly be a name for me?”  I can always find someone, or at least something to do that will help me understand my family history.

To illustrate my point: the other day, I was on looking at my line to find some prominent church history figures that are in my line, such as Reddick and James Allred. Because I know that my grandparents have been heavily involved in that line for years, and also knowing that Isaac and Reddick are such major figures in Church History, their work should be done.  However, looking at Issac, I found a green temple, which for those of you who don’t know, means that there is possible work to be done.  As I went in I realized that there were new duplicates, a new “Isaac Allred” created.  Even though there is technically no “work to be done” this gives me to opportunity to learn more, research more, and ensure the work is done correctly for my family.

Family Green Temple
Green temple: “Hey! There might be some work to be done here!”      see familysearch.org to view your own tree

Elder Bednar said, “enabling the exaltation of the living and the dead is the Lord’s purpose for building temples and performing vicarious ordinances. We do not worship in hold temples solely to have a memorable individual or family experience. Rather, we seek to fulfill the divinely appointed responsibility to offer the ordinances of salvation and exaltation to the entire human family. Planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; turning the hearts of the children to their own fathers; and performing family history research and vicarious ordinances in the temple are labors that bless individuals in the spirit world not yet under covenant.”

So what does all of this imply?  First, “we may give undue emphasis to separate categories of the work of salvation and the associated policies and procedures.” Elder Bednar says “I fear that many of us may focus so exclusively and intensely on specific facets of the Lord’s work that we fail to garner the full power of this comprehensive labor of salvation.”

“While the Lord seeks to gather all things together in one in Christ, we may often segment and specialize in ways that limit our understanding and vision. When carried to an extreme, priority is given to managing programs and enhancing statistics over inviting individuals to enter into covenants and receive ordinances worthily. Such an approach constrains the purifications, the joy, the continuing conversion, and the spiritual power and protection the come from ‘yielding our hearts unto God’. Simply performing and dutifully checking off all of the things on our lengthy gospel “to do list” does not necessarily enable us to receive His image in our countenance or bring about the mighty change of heart.”

Second, the spirit of Elijah is central and vital to proclaiming the gospel. The sequence of events from which Joseph Smith was given the fullness of the gospel points out this significance. In the Sacred Grove, when Joseph saw and spoke with Heavenly Father & Jesus, ushered in the “dispensation of the fullness of times”. Three years later, Joseph has a visitor- Moroni- who first instructed Joseph about the Book of Mormon, then quoted from Malachi “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord… and he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming”.

Isn’t it interesting that Moroni gave instructions concerning the Book of Mormon, then pointed out the importance of the Spirit of Elijah?  Does this show more how important both missionary work and family history is for the salvation of the world?

The Book of Mormon is as Ezra Taft Benson said, “the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world.”  This brings about the change of heart which we discussed earlier.  The spirit of Elijah helps to turn our hearts to our fathers, and increased the desire to search out our ancestors.

While researching this topic, I found several videos of missionaries explaining that they actually use family history as a topic to get people interested in the gospel.

I hope that I have proved to you that family history is indeed missionary work.  I hope that as you and your family continually pray for missionary opportunities that you will be led to ways to help out your own family and that you have and will have a desire to do your own family history. I know that family history is a commandment given to us by God, and that my doing our family history we will be blessed more than we can comprehend. I would also like to echo what Elder Bednar said- that my not participating in all facets of the gospel, we will never fully realize the full power of salvation.  May we be excited and have a continually increasing desire to labor for ancestors. In the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sriracha “Buffalo” Chicken Dip

So, I’m sure most people really enjoy Superbowl foods.  I know I do.  One of the things I crave is Buffalo Chicken Dip.  My mom only made it once, but now when I think of football, that’s what I crave.  So last Sunday, we were having people over for the Superbowl and I figured I would make it.  It was incredibly easy, and I was able to find everything I needed in the fridge [(saves time and money since I didn’t have to make a special shopping trip :)]. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy my own version on this classic.  Its simple, its inexpensive, and always a crowd-pleaser 🙂

Sriracha “Buffalo” Chicken Dip

Total Time: Prep: 20 minutes  Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 cup Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
  • Sriracha Sauce (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Fill medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, place chicken breast in water and cook until no longer pink in the middle.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take chicken out of the water and place in a medium sized bowl.  Shred chicken.  Check out this link for a quick and easy way to shred chicken.
  3. Add to the bowl cream cheese and stir until incorporated.  It’s best to have the chicken warm still to help the cream cheese melt a little.  After cream cheese is incorporated, add sour cream, cheddar and sriracha.  Stir until combined.  Taste your mixture and adjust sriracha to your taste.
  4. Prepare a 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish by greasing it.  Pour dip into dish and top with extra cheddar cheese, if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes or until dip looks bubbly or cheese on top is melted and bubbling.  Since the chicken should already be warm, you are just baking so that everything comes together and warms up.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!