Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We Can Do A Little Better Than Hamburger Helper Can't We?

I was speaking with my friend Brook last week about the Church. She's a member although not really active but I can see her heart starting to slowly turn back to the fold so to speak.

We were speaking about what happened to her after her mother passed away about a year go. As most single parents she did what she needed to provide for her son and her mother who live d with her. I'm not sure if she ever lived on her own before her mother passed away. Mom did most of the in home care while Brook worked to provide.

Her mother passed away quite suddenly. Even in the situation of having a parent ill with the knowledge of their lives coming to an end isn't easy, so to lose a parent quite suddenly is and immense shock to anyone's system.

She spoke of the ward members in her area and the judgements which were passed upon herself, her mother and her son.

In going through some difficulties about this time last year I turned to my bishop who gave me these instructions: "Let us love you. The Purpose of a ward and ward family is to love you, don't run away, let us love you."
I took him up on that offer. My congregation (ward) is PHENOMINAL and I invite anyone out there to come to provo and visit the GrandView 9th ward. I don't care who you are, what you look like and how you dress, you will not believe the warmth and love you feel in this congregation.
Brook at this most needed time in her life was not so lucky. The ward member's kicked in as dutiful little robots to carry out the much needed "funeral assignments." But without comfort and warmth in service, is it really service at all?

I imagine a congrete building with herself and her son looking at a wooden box in which her mother lies resting in peace. This woeden box, lying on top of a concrete slab.

The lighting is dim. The room, also concrete with concrete benches. No windows but a damp musty smell in the chilled air. So cool you can see your own breath. Resting on those concrete benches are Robots in varying shades of gray programmed to different assigned task. Upon finishing their task they walk up to Brook and her son and speak some choppy well programmed monotone condolence. While putting cold steel arms around her before turning their back and leaving.
This was the picture I recieve in my mind as she explained to me the feelings she had by a ward whose job is to Love her and her son. She met people she had never seen before and she has never seen since.
Where are home and visiting teachers during times such as these? I guess there was a Relief society member who took some effort to reach out to her and speak those famous words we Latter Day Saint's speak:
"Is there anything I can do for you?"

I'm not sure about the rest of you but I do tend to cringe when I hear these words. In my experience, most who same them, don't really mean them. I have great faith that my home teachers and visiting teachers mean them and I almost feel bad when I have to say to them,

"no, I think we're doing great but I'll let you know if something comes up."

Don't most of us know that we can sense a sincere offering and we can sense when an offering is out of obligation. In other words.... we KNOW when you meant it and when you don't.

When Brook was presented with those words: "Is there anything I can do for you?"
I'm sure the sister who asked was quite suprized when Brook had the audacity to let her know there was something they, the relief society sisters could do for her.
Her response was simple. It was easy. It was a opportunity for her to feel the love of God our father and In Christ our Lord. It was an opportunity for someone to reach out and serve and "do it unto the least of these..."

Brook said... "well can somebody teach me how to cook? I've never had to cook before my mom did all the cooking."
Such a simple request in a time where someone's world could be crumbling apart around them.

The response she recieve back pains my heart when I think of it.
Her relief society sister responded to her: "You may have to stock up on Hamburger Helper for a while."

My mouth dropped when she told me this. Tears formed in my eyes and my heart screamed at the disservice my sister had encountered.

This was Brooks final straw with her ward/congregaton.

It's been around a year I guess since this has happened. I must say in hearing her story a bit of shame came over me. One of the Saddest things about this earth is how we treat our brothers and sisters. How we make service a matter of OUR convenience instead of providing it when it is much needed by another.

Something as simple as passing on a recipe or spending a couple of hours a week with Brook could have completely changed some major things in her life and impacted her, her son and her life forever.
To tell ya the truth I wish I could find that Sister and give her an infamous V-8 moment. Because she missed the mark on that one
Our sister Brook was failed. That's the bottom line truth.

Brothers and Sisters take some time to seek out those who are in need of the Lords love and service in their lives and do what you can. It doesn't have to be some great thing. Something as simple as a hug. A 5 minute visit to someone not feeling well or having a hard time. This valentines day I rec'd a call from someone who is ill who had been thinking of me. She wanted me to know that if I needed some sweets she had a plateful of cookies on her table she was waiting to share. She called because she wanted to hear MY LAUGH on Valentines day. How AWESOME and amazing is she?

My grandma used to always say "The only hands the Lord has are yours." That's always stuck with me.

When you speak the words "is there anything I can do for you or call me if you need anything" make sure you mean it or just don't even let that lie out of your mouth.

Feel free to comment your favorite recipe for my friend brook who has come a long way in her cooking. I think it would be a great gesture of love!

And please.... we CAN do a little better than Hamburger helper, can't we?


ShaBANG said...

It's awesome AND....

If you don't like this soup, I'll send you a can of your favorite campbell's!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Prep Time:5
MinutesCook Time:20 Minutes
Ready In:25 Minutes

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2-4 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream ( half and half is PLENTY heavy enough)

1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.

3. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.


After you try it, holla back and let me know how fabulous I am for sharing

Joycelyn said...

This pregnancy I have craved this the most. I actually just had this for lunch yesterday! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Easy and very few ingredients!

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

1 pkg (7) sliced steaks (I buy the brand Steak-Umm)OR 1 pound beef round steak, cut into strips
1 pkg (8)Hoagie Rolls
1 Large onion, sliced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to broil @ 500degrees. Butter both sides of hoagie with butter and broil until slightly browned or preferred crispiness. I usually put a 3 minute timer on it to make sure I don't burn them. Broiling cooks fast!

2. Grill your sliced onions in the butter and garlic powder on a grill @ 350 degrees until cooked tender and slightly browned. Set aside in bowl. (Sometimes I find 350 to be too hot. If spattering occurs, turn down to 300)

3. Add Steak-umm/beef steak slices to grill and cook about 1 minute. Turn over and slice up into strips. Top with 1-2 spoonfuls of onions and cheese until cheese is melted. Steak-umm should have no pink showing and should be brown on both sides.

4. Scoop onto hoagie and enjoy!

**My sister likes to spread a mayo garlic spread on the buns to add flavor. Just mix 1 Cup of mayo with 2 cloves garlic, minced to make the spread. Yummy!

A site I frequent for recipe ideas is www.allrecipes.com. The mayo/garlic recipe is found here:http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Philly-Cheesesteak-Sandwich-with-Garlic-Mayo/Detail.aspx

Tami said...

Brook I'm going to be posting some recipes for you that I gave to my sisters when my mom passed away 12 years ago. They were 14 and 17 years old and these recipes are yummy and not too difficult! If you do have any difficulty with them you can ALWAYS give me a call. Kaydee has my phone number I can talk you through it!

Chili and Fritos Casserole
2 cans of Hormel Chili (or use your favorite chili)
1 bag of Fritos
2 cups of shredded cheese

Open the chili and put it in about a 2 quart microwave bowl add 1 cup of fritos and 1 cup of cheese to the chili and stir Microwave for about 6 minutes or until the cheese is melted into the chili.

Remove from the microwave, place more fritos on a plate, pour the chili mixture over it and top with desired amount of cheese and even sour cream if you like.

p.s. My kids LOVE this cuz they can assemble it themselves!

Salisbury Steak Dinner
2-3 1/4 lb hamburger patties
2 cups of your favorite gravy (I love the gravy that comes in a mix that you can just add water to and poof instant gravy.

Brown the hamburger patties in a frying pan and add your favorite seasonings until they are to your liking. Rare, med rare, well done etc. Place them in a casserole dish and drown them in the gravy. Cook in the oven on 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until the gravy has had time to soak into the meat.

Remove from oven
Place on plate and cover with gravy from the dish, serve with Rice and your favorite Veggie.

I did this one last night for 12 kids ages 11 to 16 months and there wasn't ONE leftover at all!

Twisted Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
4 slices of bread
Favorite Cheese

Prepare bread as you would for grilled cheese sandwiches, butter one side of each piece of bread and place the buttered sides together
Place a slice of ham, your favorite cheese and a tomatoe on the bread.

Place in pan buttered side down and place other slice of bread on top of sandwich buttered side up. Grill until cheese is melted but not to long to burn the bread.

Makes a yummy grilled ham and cheese and tomatoe sandwich

Serve with a fresh salad and side of chips.

Katz said...

These are some standby classics. They're super easy and tummy pleasin'.

Easy Stroganoff

1/2 lb. ground turkey (or beef), browned and drained
1 - 10.5 oz can - cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of milk
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. peas

combine all ingredients in a pan. warm through.

we like this served over egg noodles or baked potatoes.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 c. mixed vegetables (i use frozen)
1 - 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
3 Tbsp. milk
2 baked potatoes, cubed (*i've also used canned new potatoes)

2 refrigerated biscuits

spread mixed vegetables on a baking sheet and put into a 350 degree oven. check them in 5 minutes. they should be tender and starting to brown. you can skip this step, but the roasting adds extra flavor to the pie.

combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. pour mixture into a 9 in round pie pan. top with torn biscuits and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. filling should be hot and bubbly. biscuits should be browned.

Jahn said...

But without comfort and warmth in service, is it really service at all?

I think that part says it all. Without the "personal touch", we're just going thru the motions. You've probably seen me post this before, but it bears repeating:

"Not what we give, but what we share;
for the gift without the giver is bare.
Who gives of himself with his alms feeds three:
himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me".

from "The Vision of Sir Launfall", by James Russell Lowell

Tami said...

Here's another easy pasta salad to do!

Quick Shrimp Pasta Salad
1 box shell pasta
approx 2 cups mayo
approx 2 cups miracle whip
1 can of tiny shrimp
1 cup diced yellow peppers
1 cup diced orange peppers
3 hard boiled eggs
1 cup cucumbers (at the request of the person it's being made for)
2-3 tablespoons garlic salt (or more depending on your taste)
2-3 tablespoons onion salt (or more depending on your taste)

After it's cooled add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cheese of your choice.

Mix it all together and refrigerate....mmmm good! It'll be even better tomorrow when it's totally chilled!

You can add bacon grease 2-3 tablespoons if you choose as well... i just didn't use it in this one!

have fun and enjoy!

Variation on this is instead of mayo and miracle whip use basalmic vinegar and olive oil and add pepperoni and black olives!

stacer said...

That easy stroganoff sounds good. If you want a variation on that for sandwiches, this is an old standard of my great-grandma's that I've been relying on lately when I need something quick, because you can cook up a lot of it and have it as leftovers at lunch:

1-2 lbs ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup (just the can, not made as soup)
bread of choice

Brown the ground beef. Drain. Add enough soup from the can to the hamburger to make the mixture creamy. Put on bread and serve with whatever healthy sides you choose.

It reheats well in the microwave--if it starts to get a little dry but it's still fresh, just add a little more cream of mushroom.

Makes some GREAT sandwiches!

I'll have to find my chili recipe, too--what's really great for chili is that it freezes well. Make up a big ol' pot of it, and get those Ziploc bowls that are about one serving, then freeze enough chili in each bowl for one serving. Makes a great lunch at work (add crackers or cheese or have it over a baked potato) and it's really easy for kids to warm up, yet healthy.

As far as the ward family goes, I'll just say amen to pretty much everything you said here. They failed her, big time.

Jason Randall said...

Any friend/relative of Kaydee is a friend of mine.

I was a single dude for a long time. I used to make a pretty decent spaghetti.

Boil egg noodles til they're a little past done - add a little butter while it's boiling.

1 pound ground turkey (so cheap)

You can add sliced olives, mushrooms, etc to the mix. Whatever your fancy.

1 Bottle Bastillo Spaghetti sauce (flavor of your choice)

Once the spaghetti is done, throw in some shredded cheese.

Should be able to make a good week's worth of leftovers.

ShaBANG said...

ok so the steak ums.... TOTALLY YUM! I'm having a hard time which one of these to try next :) I think this was a good ideah for anyone looking for new recipes. awesome.

Joycelyn said...

*Buying Fritos & Hormel Chili to have the Chili Casserole this week for dinner. :-) *

My hubby's all time fave dinner is Chicken Alfredo. So here's how you do it:

1-2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 package of noodles (your pref)
1 can of alfredo sauce
1 bag frozen broccoli
1 loaf of french bread
garlic powder

1. Boil broccoli on stove or cook in microwave...however the package says. Set aside.

2. Cook noodles according to package. Drain (No need to rinse). Add alfredo sauce & broccoli to hot noodles to heat it up.

3. At the SAME TIME as cooking noodles, cook chicken all the way through until no longer pink. Add a little bit of garlic to season (or whatever seasoning you want!) You can cook them as whole breasts or cut them up into bite size pieces. They cook faster if cut up into pieces.

3. Cut french load in half hoagie style. Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter & 1 teaspooon of garlic powder for 15 seconds in microwave. Spread on top of bread. Broil @ 500 until slightly browned.

4. Serve Chicken on top noodle/broccoli/sauce with garlic bread.
We had this last night. Easy to do. You can actually cook broccoli, noodles and chicken all at the same time and the dinner can be made in less than 30 minutes.

Joycelyn said...

At Young Women's last night, I read this blog post to the girls bc we were swapping recipes and brought the goods to taste test them. Not only am I challenging the girls to be more sincere in their service and praying to know the right kind of service people need, but to also start cooking in their homes a few times a month so they can gain the experience NOW before they leave the nest. Here are the recipes we swapped last night!

1. Sweet Corn Bread (this would go well with the Chili&Frito Casserole)

1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mis
1/3 Cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Pour in greased load pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

**For added substance:
Take 1 lb ground beef, browned, and grated cheese. Mix the cornbread per box directions. Add in browned ground beef. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in oven till golden brown and you have a complete meal!

2. Quick Snack: Pigs in a Blanket

1pk hot dogs
1 roll (cressants)

Take hot dog and role in each cressant roll. Place in oven for 15-20 min. Ovens may vary. Preset oven for 350-375. Then take them to cut in threes. Serve with condiments.

*For added twist, you can slice a piece of cheese and cut the hot dogs in half, down middle and add the cheese PRIOR to wrapping the hot dog in a cressant roll.

3. Fruit Salsa & Chips


2 granny apples
2 kiwi
1pt. strawberries
1 sm can mandarin oranges (drained)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Apple jelly

Peel apples, kiwi, cut off strawberry stems. Chop all fruit. Mix in sugar and jelly.

Cinnamon Flour Tortillas Chips

4 Flour tortillas
cinnamon sugar

Cut Tortillas into triangles (like pizza slices), sprinkle water to hold cinnamon & sugar on them. Bake 15 min @ 350 degrees.

4. Pizza Pups

1 can of Spam
1 LP of grated sharp cheese or any combo of cheese you like
1 can of prepared spaghetti sauce
1 can of crushed olives

Optional add ins: Green onions, green peppers, mushrooms, anything else you like on pizza

Grate spam. Mix all other ingredients together. Mix in enough sauce to not be too runny. Spread on hamburger bun for whatever kind of bread you like. Bake at 350 degrees till cheese is starting to melt or heated all the way through.

5. Blueberry Buckle

Prep time: 15 min.
Bake Time: 40 min.
Makes 9 servings

2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter
1 egg
1/2 C milk
2 cups blueberries

1/2 C sugar
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 C butter
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x9x2 inch baking pan; set aside.

Stir together 2 C flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In medium bowl, combine 3/4 C sugar and 1/4 C butter. Beat electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add egg/beat until fluffy. Alternately add flour mixture and egg mixture (aka: not all at the same time, dough will be too tough...half here, mix, half there, mix, etc)...beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Batter will slightly thick. Gently fold in blueberries. Sprinkle batter in prepared pan.

For topping: In small bowl, combine 1/2 C sugar, 1/3 C flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1/4 C butter (cut up a little bit, then mix w/a whisk or something. It's not supposed to be squishy) until mixture resembles COARSE CRUMBS. Sprinkle topping over the batter; sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until topping is golden and toothipick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Juli said...

This is why I never, ever ask, "Is there anything I can do for you?" I try to say "What can I do for you?" Never give them a chance to say no.

One of the easiest recipes for chicken pot pie in on the Bisquick box. I put some mixed frozen veggies in to steam in the microwave (just put them in a bowl, add a few drops of water, cover it with saran wrap, and nuke for 5 minutes.) I like the California medly with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots for this recipe. While that's steaming, chop up a chicken breast, then sautee it in some butter with a chopped onion.

Pour it all in your baking dish with your steamed (drained) veggies, then mix together a can of cream of chicken soup and some milk. Sprinkle some grated parmesan on top before you pour on the crust. I always add some pepper and garlic salt to the crust to give it some flavor. It might even be fun to take some refrigerated biscuits and pop them whole on top of this, so it's kinda like chicken and dumplings. For the whole recipe, check the back of the box of bisquick.

Good luck, Brooke!

ShaBANG said...

I've been using some of these recipes and really enjoying them! Let's just keep them coming, eh?

stewbert said...

Oh, I'm really angry on Brook's behalf. I'm glad she's learned to cook some, but my stars ... talk about rude.

Um ... as far as recipes go, this is one of my faves my mama taught me, way easier than rolling up individual enchiladas, and you can always add more layers if you want:

*Enchilada casserole

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
12 corn tortillas
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 c mild salsa
lots of your favorite grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add ground beef, crumble, and cook thoroughly. Add tomato sauce and salsa and heat through.

Spray 9 x 13 casserole with nonstick spray. Spread about 1/4 c of sauce in the bottom so tortillas don't stick. Layer 6 tortillas (they'll overlap), half the sauce, and a bunch of cheese; repeat.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

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