Monday, February 28, 2011

Versatile, yummy beans!

Tracy and I learned early on
how economical it was to buy dried pinto beans to make up delicious, nourishing meals in the early days of our marriage.

In fact, there wasn't a week that went by that I didn't have a container of cooked beans in my tiny little apartment fridge. Meat was quite expensive,
also, our tiny 1960's style refrigerator had a small icebox inside the fridge that always iced up to the point of not being able to open it up and so even if we could afford a lot of meat, we just didn't have room for it.
So, beans/legumes made into soup, or, served on top of tostadas or in burritos, or, along side rice or with corn chips/corn bread was the most economical way to make sure we got plenty of protein. (we also enjoyed canned tuna and salmon as well eggs and some chicken)
YES, we eventually moved into an apartment with a real freezer in the fridge and then into a house with a LARGE freezer and as you can see from the recipes I post, we eat quite an array of meals with a variety of meat options.

As good and yummy as meat is, I always go back to beans/legumes as some of my favorite meals.

Right now...
dried Pinto Beans are 54 cents a pound
and Split Peas are 51 cents a pound.

There were five things
that were a constant in our early marriage:
cooking up pinto beans or split peas weekly,
cooking up a large stock pot of chicken/veggie soup, OR, Brown Rice with Chicken and Broccoli (aka "Cream a doo") that we would pretty much eat all week long (including taking it in thermoses to work)
Making up homemade bread and some sort of homemade cookie or dessert treat.
AND there was always an abundance of fresh fruit/veggies to eat

I still remember going on a picnic with our friends, the Archibald's the first summer of our marriage and I pulled out a Rubbermaid container of pureed pinto beans (that I had mixed with salsa) and tortilla chips. We also pulled out tuna fish sandwiches on homemade whole wheat bread, cut up broccoli and carrot sticks and Honey Cookies. They looked at us like we were a bunch of "Old Fogey's", because, who would eat that way? It was definitely different then how they ate.
Picnics in the Park, drives to the foot hills in our Land Cruiser, weekend getaways, lunches at work...we were always bringing our pureed beans and homemade treats to enjoy. Buying store bought was never an option.

don't let your Rotisserie Chicken, or your turkey carcass go to waste, .
I always boil up all of the bones from these and freeze up the broth to have to pull out for future meals. It is SO much more yummy to have real chicken broth too add to soups/beans, rather than bouillon, or canned broth.
I love making sure nothing goes to waste.
I connect greatly with our grandparent's era, where bones were carefully saved and put to good use to make a pot of soup for their families!
SO many yummy possibilities for these...
SO easy
to make up bean burritos for a week of quick lunches for your family.
Having a container of pureed beans in your fridge,
means you always have fixin's to...
make burritos,

yummy beans to put in a containers to take along
with veggie sticks for lunch or an afternoon snack,

(this is my favorite...
cut up veggies + bean dip= heaven)

beans to heat up and enjoy dipping chips in,
beans to spread on tortilla chips, top with cheese and broil
until the cheese melts to make DELICIOUS nachos!!

Delicious Pinto Beans
Soak 2 cups pinto beans overnight in 4 cups water.
After soaking keep just enough water to barely cover beans and
add in 2 cups chicken broth. (I just pulled a 2 cup bag of chicken broth from my freezer and added in)
Then add in:
1 finely chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic (OR, 1 tsp granulated garlic powder)
1 tsp. cumin
Bring to boil and then simmer for 3-4 hours until really tender.
(may need to add some salt after they’re cooked)
Puree some of beans and add back into bean mixture and
add in 1 cup shredded cheese and stir until melted. Store in an airtight container in the fridge (will keep for a week)
the possibilities to the use of these are endless!

54 cents for 2 cups of dried pinto beans...
what a bargain, great source of protein,
and what a wonderful, nourishing, healthy way to feed your family!
LOVE the thrift of Dried Beans!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


(photos courtesy of Tracy's iPhone as my computer with all of my family photos and WORD documents is unhooked as Tracy is upgrading it...hopefully it's fixed soon!)
I've had another busy week with cleaning and organizing.  
I came across a poster that I purchased when we first moved into our house that I wanted to frame and hang where I could see it everyday. 
It's kind of an"ABC's of kids" and  
I LOVE each and every description and love to reflect quite frequently on these characteristics  and how I am doing with my children.  
Ethan has been reading  through all of these and thinks they're great. He asked me: 
"Mom what does Fallible mean"?  so we looked it up in the dictionary together...
Fallible---capable of making an error
SO, I explained that since kids can make mistakes you need to hug and embrace them often!  
He loved that this word finally made sense to him!

I thought I would share these
as they are too good to keep to myself! 
Children are...

 Amazing, acknowledge them.
Believable, trust them.
Childlike, allow them.
Divine, honor them.
Energetic, nourish them.
Fallible, embrace them.
Gifts, treasure them.
Here Now, be with them.
Innocent, delight with them.
Joyful, appreciate them.
Kindhearted, learn from them.
Lovable, cherish them.
Magical, fly with them.
Noble, esteem them.
Open minded, respect them.
Precious, value them.
Questioners, encourage them.
Resourceful, support them.
Spontaneous, enjoy them.
Talented, believe in them.
Unique, affirm them.
Vulnerable, protect them.
Whole, recognize them.
Xtraspecial, celebrate them.
Yearning, notice them.
Zany, laugh with them.


Over the years, when I get overwhelmed with the way my kids are acting, or 
Ethan doing his "WHOOSH" sounds with his mouth for the 100th time that day or constantly being in "action mode", OR,  
Jade being a social bug and LOVING and talking to all people and petting all animals that he comes in contact with 
I refer to this list and I remember real quick, they're kids. 
 FULL of energy, questioners, zany, yearning, unique, magical, innocent, joyful, precious, divine, spontaneous and  they are Here now and Gifts that I want to treasure, laugh with, celebrate their talents and how "Xtraspecial they are, recognize them for all they have to offer and give and celebrate each and every day that I have been blessed to have them in my life!

 Feeling SO blessed for the 
wonderful opportunity to be a mom and hoping that I take enough time daily to cherish, savor and enjoy all of these precious moments I get with my kids!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wonderful Memories of Lemon Bread!

 I LOVE anything citrus...
Lemons, limes, oranges they are all WONDERFULLY yummy to me,
from the sweet, juicy taste of oranges,
to the FRESH and tart taste of lemons and limes.

This past week I took a stroll  (or rather a drive in an old Land Cruiser) 
down memory lane, when I made up Lemon Bread!

We have been friends with the Godfrey's since 1994 when they bought our Toyota Land Cruiser from us when we were pregnant with Jade. 
(we then later bought it back from them as Christian knew how much Tracy loved that Land Cruiser and he found a Land Cruiser of his own to buy and enjoy).

  We went on MANY adventures 
in our Land Cruisers together.  

Heading to the hills to get Christmas trees, 
traversing the rugged Reclamation Road (that runs between Ashton, Idaho and Flagg Ranch, Wyoming) and then driving down to Jackson Hole to enjoy the 4th of July festivities there.  
Heading off to the mountains to enjoy the beautiful scenery and picnics. The Godfreys had a Getaway Cabin that we went and spent time at on many an occasion.   We would even follow them up to the cabin when they took their snow-machines up there in the Fall-time so they could enjoy snow-machining during the winter months (or in bringing the snow-machines home in the spring-time like in the above photo)
We had many FUN memories together...
 but time marches on, you have children, you get busy with work, hobbies and family life and even though you live in the same town, you sometimes only communicate with a quick email or phone call here and there, but there is ALWAYS a constant...the yearly Christmas letter to "Catch up" and see how kids have grown, what everyone has been up to, etc...

New Years Eve 2011 
we ran into Christian and Kathy at Wal-Mart and had fun reminiscing about the "Good-ole" days.
A few weeks ago 
we got a phone call from them inviting us to go to dinner with them.  We had a great time catching up and enjoying delicious food at Cafe Rio and great conversation!  
(Kimmie, Jade & Tracy...Circa 1996)
This FUN trip 
 to spend the night in the Getaway cabin and then wake up and hit the trail to go snow-maching/sledding was when I first made up this recipe. I had made two batches and took one two loaves of Lemon bread with fresh fruit, boiled eggs and yogurt for us all to enjoy for breakfast before heading out for winter-time FUN!

Yes, Citrus is definitely a part of our lives and SO many of our favorite recipes are made from  
fresh lemons, limes and oranges

 Yummy things made 
from fresh citrus at the Smith House 

HERE is how easy it is  
to make this delicious bread, that is the perfect accompaniment to Hot Cocoa or Herbal Tea, great to serve with fresh fruit/yogurt for "Brunch, or just the perfect snack to enjoy in the lunches we each take to work and school each day.
Lemon Bread    
2/3 cup butter
1-3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoon lemon extract
3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
4 eggs
2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 grated lemon rind
Combine all ingredients.  
Mix well.  
Pour into 2 well greased loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 
(or until toothpick inserted in comes out clean).  
Cool on rack for 10 minutes.   
Then drizzle with ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 ½ cups powdered sugar.    
I always keep it stored in the refrigerator. 
This bread freezes well 

Absolutely delicious 
and a family favorite for over 15 years! 

Here's to many more years of WONDERFUL 
memories with family and friends!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A day like no other!

Valentine's Day 

First off, I have to express gratitude that Tracy and I both have jobs that allow us to be there for our kids when they are sick.   
Tracy and I were both able to work our schedules to work 1/2 day these past 2 days so one of us was always with Ethan as he was sick with the flu.  

It's funny how life works out. 
Our Valentine's Day went much differently than it was planned, but it was wonderful nonetheless.  Now to tell about...
"A day like no other"! 
Little did I know when I woke up 
on February 14th that my day would consist of everything CHOCOLATE!

Our morning started off 
by boxing up Valentine Treats to take to school for the yearly Valentine Exchange.  Ethan was SO excited for Valentine's Day and SO excited for his party. 

I got all gussied up in my Red/Pink shirt to be festive for the day.  

Tracy gave me a big hug and kiss before I left for work and told me that he would be waiting to pick me up after work and take me to lunch for Valentine's Day.
However, around 10:00 Tracy got a phone call from Ethan who was feeling VERY sick (nausea, fever, aches all over).  
When I walked outside after work and Tracy wasn't there, I figured he was dealing with work problems and couldn't make it.

I called him on my way home and he said that he was actually home with a sick son...Ethan.
Tracy spent his morning  
taking care of Ethan and in between that, he surprised me by putting my vinyl lettering on the board he painted this past weekend and had it hanging on the wall when I came home. 
He is SO sweet and is ALWAYS doing the most thoughtful things for me!

"The fondest memories are made when 
gathered around the table"

Ethan had fallen asleep and so we decided that we probably couldn't go and have lunch in Rexburg and so we took advantage that "Big Jud's" is just 2 blocks from our house and we went and enjoyed a yummy burger for our Valentine's lunch.

We came home and enjoyed the beautiful sun shining so brightly in our windows and since Ethan was sleeping on the couch we decided we would enjoy a nice afternoon FOAM bath together.  Tracy had given me a packet of "Aroma Therapy sensual FOAM Bath...Cinnamon Ylang Ylang" for Christmas and we decided to try it out.  It was SO nice to enjoy the peaceful, quiet house and be able to talk and enjoy each other without interruptions!
It was a PERFECT afternoon with my sweetie!!

(although, I felt SO sad that Ethan had to miss out on the FUN with his school class).

Ethan woke up about an hour later, wondering where his parents were and came wandering into the bathroom as the bubbles from our foam bath were about ready to fall over the edge of the tub. He couldn't believe that our bubbles were SO big that he ran and grabbed his camera and snapped this photo!!  He kept commenting on how BIG the bubbles were.  He could care less about the fact that we were taking a are so innocent.
 This photo below just cracks me up!! 
During our soak in the tub, the water was SO hot and steamy that it made my hair an absolute sweaty mess and so I hopped up and went and showered off and washed my hair and I had no more than gotten out of the shower, dried off, put on clothes and started to dry my hair when there was knock at the door and Jade yelled to me 
"Mom, your friend Tauna is here".
I couldn't believe how my afternoon had gone. This was the ONLY day in my life that I can think of that at 4:30 in the afternoon I was just hopping out of the shower.  
I was with no make up, wet hair and an extremely red face as it was like a sauna in the tub.
 My sweet friend Tauna 
had drove all the way to my house from Rexburg to drop off the most AMAZING plate of chocolates that I have ever seen and there was the sweetest note ever: 

  "You 2 are the 
cutest lovebirds ever! 
Happy Valentine's Day. Tauna"

Later that evening we enjoyed Chocolate Covered Strawberries for dessert with our kids and I commented to Tracy about our afternoon adventure and said I don't think I've looked more ugly in my life and one of my great friends stopped by and saw me that way.  
Tracy said:
"That's the wonderful thing about true friends...
they like you no matter how you look".

We enjoyed sampling all of the different chocolate treats (chocolate cinnamon bears, Haystacks, chocolate covered pretzel hearts and molded chocolate hearts) that were on the plate all afternoon and after we put the kids in bed we got cuddly on the couch and enjoyed some more chocolates along with  mugs of HOT chocolate and watched one of our FAVORITE movies  
This truly is one of the best shows I have ever watched as it has so many great metaphors for life that we can all learn from!   Vianne (played by Juliette Binoche) is one of the sweetest, non-judgmental people ever. 
The world would be a better place 
if there were more people like her.

The rest of our Valentine's Day is a little to private to talk about here (I mean it was Lover's day), but needless to say it was a Perfect day from beginning to end! (big smile!)

"All I really need is love, 
but a little chocolate now and then 
doesn't hurt"!  
~Charles Schulz

Monday, February 14, 2011


"Oh, if it be to choose 
and call thee mine,
love, thou art every day 
my Valentine"!
~Thomas Hood
I love these photos...
what's amazing about these photos, is they were taken the same year, by the same company.  
It's amazing that were are both laying on blue carpet, wearing red and laying down. 
 Who would have ever known that when these photos were taken, that we would find each other, fall in love and marry.
I have ALWAYS been a romantic,
ever since I was a wee little girl 
 I DREAMED of growing up, falling in love and being married. I dreamed of having a husband who would love me, who would be romantic, kiss and love me each day when he came home from work, leave me love notes, make our home a place where LOVE abundantly abounds. I dreamed of having a marriage where each and every day LOVE is shown, romance is there, a home full of FUN, memories created daily and a refuge from the storm and place to feel peace. 

YES, I have all of these things I have listed above and MORE in my wonderful life, with my wonderful marriage to the most amazing man I know...
Tracy (aka "Mr. Smith")
(one of my favorite quotes about LOVE
(which I cross-stitched and have sitting on one of the shelves in my house)

"Sooner or later we begin to understand
love is more than verses on Valentines
and romance in the movies.
We begin to know that
love is here and now,
real and true
, the most important thing in our lives.

For love is the creator of our favorite memories
and the foundation of our fondest dreams.

is a promise that is always kept,
a fortune that can never be spent,
a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely places.

And this radiance that never fades,
this mysterious, magical joy,
is the greatest treasure of all...
one known only by those who

I am SO grateful to be shown true love
every day of my life and not just on  

Valentine's Day!!

You see, we have Valentine's Day each day of the year!

Like this quote says...
"Love is more than verses on Valentines or Romance in the is here and now, real and true the most important thing in our lives..."

It's a daily effort by both of us doing all of the "little things" that make life so big!!

Some of my favorites...I always get told I'm beautiful even when I'm not feeling beautiful (from having not so good hair days, OR, with my "double chin" neck that I inherited from my dad)
 I LOVE that we do everything together from daily walks together around the block, walking in rain storms,  hiking/backpacking in the mountains, enjoying weather of all kinds together, camping, playing in the water on the beach, enjoying nature with all it's gorgeous splendor like amazing sunrises and sunsets.  I love being by your side with all of our home improvement projects...

I LOVE the effort you put in to being up with me in the morning with helping out with getting the steel cut oats all in our bowls for us to eat for breakfast.  I LOVE having you come and sit on the counter in the bathroom and talking to me while I'm putting on my make-up and doing my hair to get ready for work.

LAUGHTER...your contagious laugh you bring to home and fill our lives with an abundance of laughing!  I LOVE this so much about you!

I LOVE raising sons together and being FUN parents... 
I LOVE DATE NIGHT each week and love when you have uploaded new music to your iPhone and created FUN music play lists to enjoy while we drive together.
(It shows that you were thinking about me during the day)

I LOVE on several occasions walking out of work and seeing your truck parked there and opening the door and having you tell me you missed me and you only worked half a day of work because you wanted to take me to lunch and spend the afternoon with me before kids got home from school!!

From daily kisses and 
"I Love you's", love notes, daily thoughtful acts that abundantly abound, having you catch me off guard while you turn me around while I'm making dinner and you take me and dance with me (pure bliss that is)

 Whatever it is we are doing,
I LOVE and cherish each and every moment with the Love of my Life Tracy!!

Yes indeed Love...
"thou art every day my Valentine"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Leftover Cookie Dough = Happiness!!

the month for Love and Romance...
and also the month for making up my famous 
"Pink Cookies with Sprinkles"! 
(recipe here
 Since Valentine's day 
is on a Monday this year and I don't want to spend my Sunday making batch after batch of Valentine cookies, I have been making cookies each afternoon this past week and delivering them to the many people that mean so much to me and my family!

Valentines Day and Christmas 
are the two holidays that I bake and deliver goodies to family and friends! 

 There always seems to be a little bit of cookie dough left when I make sugar cookies and so  
I take the leftover dough, 
roll it out, 
put it in a pie plate, 
bake it for 10-12 minutes and Voila...
we have the perfect crust to top with Fruit dip and fresh fruit…
 The leftover dip is enjoyed to dip fresh fruit in
(our favorites are cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, kiwi, apples and bananas)

  Fruit Dip 
1 (7oz) container marshmallow cream
1 small container strawberry yogurt 
(Yoplait is yummy)
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
Mix all together until creamy and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

This combination of 
moist crust, creamy topping and your choice of fresh fruit equals  
true Happiness that is guaranteed to make mouths happy!! 
and happy week of LOVE!