Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hint of Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce

My friend, Scott, has recently been diagnosed with the need to eliminate wheat products from his diet.  I am feeling all kinds of sorry for him with the upcoming feast season.  However, this little treat eaten upon rice crackers may just make him forget all about the stuffing he isn't eating.  In fact, he may never go back to stuffing again!

So, here it is:

Hint of Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups of water
2, 12oz bags of cranberries, rinsed
2 scant cups of sugar
10 large jalapeños, seeded and finely diced (about 2 cups)

Put all of the above into a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.  Cranberries will burst and mixture will thicken.

Ladle into sterilized half pint jars. Wipe rims clean. Use sterilized lids and rings to seal. Process in water bath for 10 minutes.  Makes about 6 half pints.

**If you are planning to eat it up within 2 weeks there is no need to process, just refrigerate. 

This is nice as a side sauce, great over cream cheese with crackers or veggies, and wonderful as a sandwich spread on turkey or ham sandwiches!

Happy Holidays my friend.  Enjoy the season!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Idle Thoughts

My very favorite time of year is rapidly approaching.  I love the fall, and especially seasonal changes from mid-October through the end of November.  I live high in the mountains of Northern Utah and the colors on the trees are breathtaking right now.

Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday of the year...  It's about family, friends, gratitude and food.  My family members all love to cook.  All four of my children are chefs in their own right.  Each of them have a forte in the kitchen.  Jared is a master of the Main Dish and Korean Cooking.  Emily is the Queen of Soup and Cake.  Anna {our Pampered Chef Consultant} makes wonderful salads and CUTE food -- her dishes are always as fun to see as they are to eat. And Clark is the Pasta King and makes a mean pan of cornbread. My husband, too, loves to cook and is the best sous chef anyone could ask for.  He is also and expert kitchen cleaner!

Last year we had a dessert that beat all others we've ever eaten hands down!  We all like bread pudding and have tried many recipes, but this one is truly the BEST:

With many thanks to Melanie at Sugardoodle (  here it is:

White raspberry chocolate bread pudding

6 large French croissants
4 egg yolks plus 3 whole eggs
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cups big white chocolate chunks (or chips)
1 cup good quality dried cherries or craisins or fresh raspberries work great too
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Butter or PAM to coat baking dish
Raw sugar to sprinkle on top
1 – Cut croissants on an angle (1-inch slices) and place in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. 
2 – 
Add the chocolate pieces and cherries on top of the croissants.
3 – Mix together the yolks and whole eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, sugar, and salt. 
4 – 
Pour mixture over the croissants, pushing them down until all the liquid is absorbed into the bread pieces. There will be lots of liquid. 
5 – 
Sprinkle raw sugar on top. 
6 – 
Bake at 300-350° (depending on your oven) for 30-40 minutes.
This dessert should remain very soft and moist. Start checking after 30 minutes. Filling should be soft-set, but not dry. Serve warm.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrating Family -- Mine to be Exact

For the second year in a row Montse, at is hosting a wonderful celebration of family based on "The Proclamation on the Family," a document of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Last year I enjoyed the posts a great deal and found many wonderful ideas to use with my own family.  Many of those involved had young families.  I have an older family.  My children are grown and have homes and families of their own.  I thought how nice it would be to have "older" moms posting as well.

 Things change as children grow up and leave home, but the need for connections grows exponentially as those grown children begin families of their own and navigate the new-to-them world of marriage and parenthood, while the new grandparents navigate the world of parenting adult children and learn the joys of loving grandchildren, and learn to be an independent couple.

The question posed for this initial blog post is, "What does your family like to do  in the fall?" -- Our family hits the back-to-school season with a plethora of birthdays.  We have 7 birthdays to celebrate in a six-week (give or take a couple of days) period of time.  Also, I, the mom/grandma, teach school which also creates chaos of its own! -- We began a new tradition this year of attending a play (musical) followed by an out-to-dine meal together.  Everyone over 3 was invited and the babies had wonderful visits with dear friends.  -- For our family, who most generally parties at home, this was a unique experience filled with delight as we watched the little ones enjoy a theatrical performance.  We enjoyed our meal filled with laughter and conversation and look forward to a similar celebration again next year.

That was the NEW tradition, our OLD tradition has nothing to do with birthdays, but is nevertheless fun.  We roast chilis!!  We all love roasted Anaheim peppers.  If you've never had them you are really missing out! -- This year we purchased a roaster and cut our roasting time by 80% or more, leaving us more time to visit and eat peppers.  (If you don't know what a roaster looks like, check it out! -- Chilis are usually ready about the same time as corn, so a roasting party is our fall tradition.

I look forward to this celebration and hope the perspective of the mother of adults contributes to the whole.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For Baby

I like to craft, and every now and then I see something that I must do!

When I saw this idea it was done with paint. However, this is super easy if you have a vinyl cutting machine (or a friend with one ;). -- I have a new granddaughter who needed her own personalized soap and lotion.... What do you think?

It was fun!  Just remove the labels from the soap and lotion (peel them off), clean off the sticky residue with this:

and rinse the  bottles with soap and water.

The spray is Pure Citrus Orange Room Spray available at and Home Depot.  (This magical spray takes sticky off of anything.  It also removes indelible ink and crayon off any hard surface.  Remember, I teach first grade and I KNOW.  It smells nice too!)

When the bottles are clean, apply the vinyl and you have a fast, easy, personalized baby gift.
Fast, cute, and fun!

And a big thank you to LaNae at Its Written on the Walls for featuring my post!

Friday, May 6, 2011


I teach first grade and there is something to smile about everyday.  Today's charming funny is this:

We were making Mother's Day cards.  There was a "form" for the children to fill out and one of the items said, "My mother is ____  years old."  The answers are always kind of funny, but one little boy was completely puzzled.

 He said, "I really don't know how old she is."

I said, "Well, how old are YOU?"

He: Six.

Me: Well she must be older than six then.

He:  My brother is 17.

Me: She's probably older that 17 then too.

He: I really don't know.

Me: Well, what do you THINK?

He: I just know she's really close to OLD!

:)  It made my day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It Could Have Been Worse!

This post is for my daughter Emily who challenged me to write about the last few month so as not to forget that, "It could have been worse!" It's rather lengthy, but what a story!

Our youngest son, Clark, married the love of his life, Brandy on September 24.  Early in the morning on September 23, after having worked all night, he had something a little more dire than a fender bender on his way home.  He met up close and personal with a phone pole and totaled the car.

He walked away with bruises. Not even a stitch.

Less than a mile from home. 
And they'll live happily ever after.

As you can see, he made it to the wedding in one piece. Thank heaven!

By the wedding day we knew that both of our daughters were expecting babies.  Our oldest daughter had been quite ill, but was feeling better by the end of September (baby due in late January). Our youngest daughter was so "under the weather" with her pregnancy that she was on bed-rest and twice daily IV's via home health care just to keep her partially hydrated (baby due in mid-May).

October and November were fairly disaster free months with the normal ups and downs of family life. (Shoulder Surgery for son-in-law, anticipated tonsillectomy for the new bride.)

December 12 rolled around and life was kicked up a notch.

My husband, Chris and I attended a church Christmas "Choirside."  This is a tradition in our area and all the wards in our stake (congregations from a specific area) perform two musical numbers.  There are short stories  told between the songs that tie the event together and its quite lovely.  I sing a little so I enjoy participating and Chris is a great audience member.  We arrived home around 9pm and I jumped into my jammies for the evening.  Chris answered email and then headed off to jump into his jammies.  At the top of our stairs that go to the basement we keep a gate to keep the grand-babies from taking a dive and to keep our little Lucy dog from choosing to "go" in the basement rather that letting us know to take her out.  For some reason Chris decided to step over the gate rather than open it, and he caught his heel and took a dive all the way to the bottom of the stairs. Luckily he was screaming so I knew he was alive, but I also knew he was hurt.  It was immediately evident that he had a badly broken left wrist.  I'm certain that he should NOT have been moved, but he was insistent that he wanted to get up "NOW" and go to the hospital.  I asked all the correct questions and helped him up the stairs.  I got him seated in the living room and told him I'd jump into clothes and be right with him.  I'm sure I dressed in less that one minute flat.

While helping him out to the car we realized that his suspenders (he always wears them on Sunday, I think he has 20 pairs!) had broken and his pants were falling down.  It was the least of our worries, but it was kind of funny to try to help him along and hold up his pants at the same time. -- In the midst of this I also called Devin (our son-in-law) to meet us at the hospital to give Chris a blessing.  Poor Chris was really in great pain.  SO, Devin and Anna, and Clark and Brandy (who all live together since Clark and Brandy are building a house) headed out to meet us at the hospital.  Being the good children that they are they also alerted the families of Jared and Emily to the fact that Dad had a broken wrist and was being rushed to the hospital by Mom.

We live about 10 miles from the hospital in a rural area. It was a snowy cold evening.  About 1.5 miles from home we hit a deer.  It was a BIG deer with a rack of antlers.  This is what my car looked like when I took a picture the next day.
Did I mention that I just got this "new to me" car in November?
Did I mention that I changed car insurance companies on December 1?
Well, back to the evening of the crash:  I pulled over and called 911 to report the event, but told the 911 woman about needing to get Chris to the hospital.  She told me I could continue to drive if I'd talk to her as I did so.  I popped in my headphones and we continued on.  About a mile from the hospital our kids met up with us and, of course, were horrified to see the smashed car.  They quickly implemented the White grape vine and again called Jared (who lives 2 hours away in Pocatello, ID) and Emily (who lives locally in Logan.)

In hindsight, there is no way the car should have been able to get us there, but it did.  An officer met us a little later at the hospital to take the accident report.  He arranged for a tow truck since all the fluids from the car were on the ground!  Miracles never cease!!

By yet another miracle a nurse with a wheel chair met us at the door and Chris was quickly taken in and given pain medicine. This next photo is not for the faint of heart, but you'll see that the wrist is not quite the right shape.

Wait till you see the bruising!

Well, the team at Logan Regional Medical Center put Chris back together to the best of their ability.  The wrist was set, splinted and the patient was sent home with a supply of pain medication and directions for returning in a few day for casting.  It was determined that surgery wasn't an immediate need and that time would heal the wrist.  ( Now for a little more of the "It could have been worse..."  It was the left wrist, lucky since he's right handed.  The car lasted to get us to the hospital. AND he didn't break his neck when he fell down the stairs!  We were both alive after the fall and the crash.)

Within a short time of arriving at the hospital ALL of our children were there, even Jared from Pocatello.  He had decided to come down when first called.  (What a fine wife he had to let him jump and run when he feels he needs to!) What a blessing to have them nearby and willing and able to come to our rescue! The boys gave Chris a blessing and the girls showered him with love and were a great support system for me.  Our daughter Emily had worked in the Emergency area so she took our insurance cards and had all the paperwork done before we could blink. -- Jared also decided to spend the night and leave early the next morning so he could be sure that Dad was good through the night.  He drove us home when Chris was released. (Remember that our car was towed away!) All of the kids responded above and beyond the call of duty.

A week or so later Chris was casted.  It required a cast from shoulder to fingers!  Here is the promised photo of the bruising just prior to casting.

We later found out why this bruised so badly, but I'll tell you when that part of the story comes.

Life, again, went on.  Chris in his cast and quite miserable, but all in all OK.

Then January 4 arrived. We had promised to help a dear friend with her wedding on January 8.  Her reception was taking place in Provo, UT, about a 3 hour trip.  We were running last minute errands for wedding supplies when we were rear ended!  Now, my car was still in the shop recovering from the deer incident, so we were in a rental car.  The poor woman who hit us slid on ice.  All the traffic had stopped for an emergency vehicle, and she slid.  The damage to our rental car was primarily on the bumper, but both Chris and I suffered a little whiplash. -- We were feeling, again, blessed that it wasn't much worse.  I was beginning to think our new insurance company might ask us to take our business elsewhere!

We left home on the afternoon of January 7 to attend the rehearsal dinner for the wedding in Provo.  While at the dinner we received a phone call from Emily's husband, Chase, to let us know Em was having her baby!  A very short while later (while still at the dinner) we were informed that the baby was here, and very shortly later that the baby, Henry, was being transfered to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.  At the time we didn't know all the particulars, but now I can fill you in....

Baby Henry has a very small lower jaw and a cleft palate.  The condition is called "Pierre Robin" and there are varying degrees of the condition.  The only two problems he has are the two mentioned above. Again, a blessing! -- The small jaw made it impossible for Baby H to breath unless he was on his tummy and he couldn't eat with the combination of the two problems. Henry's cleft is all inside his mouth.  His lips and gums are all intact. Again, a blessing.  -- The teams of medical personnel at PCMC are amazing.  Henry has had a surgery to place an appliance that lengthens his jaw.  The appliance was place INSIDE his face and will be taken out in a few weeks.  His cleft palate will be repaired before he is a year old and the chances of any future problems are nominal.

Before:  Look at his chin.
You can see his improved chin and his "antennae" that is
really the screw that turns the appliance to extend his chin.
He has one screw by each ear. They come out in
a couple of weeks.
Henry is a calm and happy baby.  He's learning to smile and we are all thankful since not smiling could have been one of the side effects of the surgery.  We think his doctor, Dr. Grant Fairbanks, is the coolest thing since sliced bread!!  I should mention that Henry only had to stay at PCMC for 6 weeks.  When he was able to come home, his parents were trained to turn his device, he came home on a feeding tube, but his mommy taught him how to drink from a Haberman bottle.  He has only had Mommy Milk and he is thriving!

Baby Henry with sleep smiles.
Henry's big sister, Grace, had a marvelous time while her parents were busy with Henry.  Her first night was spent with Clark and Brandy, then Jared and Monica {along with cousins Michael and Daniel} took her home to Idaho,with them for two weeks.  Then she got to spend two weeks with Anna and Devin/Clark and Brandy, and then two weeks with Mimi (me) and Papa (Chris).  She was a very good girl, and a delight!

Gracie and Michael are quite the team!
Daniel and his Dad, Jared

By mid March Chris was still having a great deal of difficulty with his hand and wrist.  It was {finally} determined that he'd sustained some nerve damage and that surgery would be required.  The surgery was set and it turned out to be much more extensive than anticipated.  It seems that the fall had severed an artery (hence the bad bruising) and that it had clotted off.  Luckily, Chris had another artery that looped through his hand  providing the needed blood supply, so he still possesses his hand and fingers.  The nerve that sits by that artery was also badly damaged, but due to the great skill of his surgeon that little nerve has a "sleeve" and is healing well.  He now sports a 6 inch scar to brag about.

Our youngest daughter, Anna, was still feeling quite miserable.  Her pregnancy was difficult all the way through and she was getting rounder and rounder....

Anna thought she might pop!
Anna had lots of pre-term labor and was just plain tired!  On April 21 she was feeling crummy enough and was having regular contractions so they headed up to the hospital.  After monitoring her situation for an hour or so it was determined that no progress was being made so they sent her home at about 9 pm with directions to take some tylenol, get some rest, and see her doctor in the morning.  -- Midnight rolled around and she was still very miserable and in pain to the point of shaking.  She asked Devin to give her a blessing and she continued to try to rest.  At one o'clock she asked Devin to please call the hospital and see what else she could do since she still felt so bad.  They assured Devin that she was shaky because she was so very, very tired and suggested that she take some Lortab and try to rest and be sure to see her doctor in the morning.  At two o'clock she decided she'd probably feel much better if she used the bathroom.  While doing so she felt a "drop," and knew she'd better get to the hospital fast.  She said, "Devin, we have a problem, please call 911." The long story short is that the ambulance got her to the hospital and baby was born very shortly thereafter.... in about 20 minutes!

Cora Adeline was born at 3:31 am on April 22.  Although the actual delivery was quick it was soon determined that Cora had a serious problem and she was Life Flighted to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.  Chris and Devin drove to SLC to be with Cora and I stayed with Anna so I could take her down as soon as her required recovery was completed.

Cora's condition, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in the Newborn (PPHN), happens about once in every 700 births, and has varying degrees of severity. For further information on this condition visit:  {}  This is a condition with no real determined cause.  Sometimes it just happens.

Cora's condition was dire, but the Life Flight team and the PC NICU teams are amazing. The faith and prayers of many have worked well. She is doing well and ought to be home in a week or two.  This condition is most often treated with medications and careful monitoring, but when "fixed" it should never pose a problem again.  It is, in very simple terms, a backflow issue.  The change that ought to take place when a child leaves  its mother and begins to breath on its own is interrupted by VERY HIGH blood pressure, so high that the blood forces a couple of valves to remain open (with back-flow) and therefore does not allow the blood to be carried to the lungs to get oxygen to supply the body.  We hope to have baby Cora and her parents soon home safe and sound.

 Cora Adeline -- Minutes after birth.  Notice that you can see a line straight down her tummy that shows the side getting good blood flow vs. the side with a lack of oxygen.  (The head bruising is birth related and is now nearly all gone.)
Well, if there were an award for the longest blog post I might just win... I've left out lots: job losses and new jobs, a wedding, Brandy's tonsillectomy, Devin's shoulder surgery, other illnesses, and a few things to private to mention....Suffice it to say that we've had a very busy time at The White Silk Purse and we hope things slow to a dull roar soon.  We, however, all remain thankful for the tender mercies that have us all here loving and supporting one another.

It could have been worse... TRULY!


PS  I linked this post to a blog hop from Chocolate on My Cranium March, 2012.

Both babies are doing well.  :)