Thursday, April 14, 2016

Black Bean Burgers

It's Springtime! I am loving the warmer weather, I am kind of okay with all the rain. Spring is a time of change and transition. I visited the Salt Lake Capital a little while ago because I heard the blossoms were awesome, and they were! I definitely took some pics, which I will keep looking at because it is definitely not sunny today!

Also, changes are happening in my life! I got a job, and I start next week, and I am very excited and nervous about it. I also am hoping to move to Salt Lake soon, which is also exciting! I have had a lot of rejection in my job hunt and I am over the moon that someone finally saw my potential.

Well, back to the important thing. Burgers always seems fitting for warmer weather, and I wanted to try something new, so here is a delicious Black Bean Burger recipe!

 2 (16 oz) Cans Black Beans
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Small Onion
4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
2 Eggs, Beaten
1 1/3 C  Bread Crumbs
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Cumin
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Drain liquid and rinse black beans. Let dry in strainer and pat any remaining liquid with paper towel.
Mash well with a fork.

Place bell pepper, onion, and garlic in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Transfer mixture to a fine strainer and remove all the moisture you can.
The more moisture you remove, the better your burger will stick together.

Mix together strained vegetables and mashed black beans. 
Add chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper and mix.
Add beaten eggs, mix.
Stir in bread crumbs. It may be easier to use your hands.

Cook your Burgers by:
1) Grill on well oiled grill for 4-5 minutes per side
2) Bake at 325 on lightly oiled sheet for 10 minutes per side

DONE! And Yummy in the Tummy!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why I choose Freedom

I was reading a book the other day when I came across this passage:

“What’s the difference, being a pawn for the light or a pawn for the dark?”
“There is a great difference,” he said softly. “One difference is for the Dark, certainly, you are a pawn. For the light, you are a free human being, free to make mistakes, to do wrong, even. You are free to choose, whether or not you believe it.”
“Funny idea of freedom.”
“It is the difference between commitment and slavery.” He said. “Between working for what you hope for and believe in the depths of your heart, and what someone else forces you to do.”1

As soon as I finished reading it I just thought, wow! From this obscure fantasy novel, I had found a perfect summary of my recent thoughts, especially to why I choose to be an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Recently, I have been hearing and seeing a lot on social media or through friends that they don’t understand why anyone would go to church and do what “these old men” are telling us to do, claiming that we are being brainwashed or coerced, and I just want to say that that’s simply not true. By making my decision in the pre-mortal existence to come to this earth I had already fought the first battle of choosing freedom over slavery, and I am continuing to fight the battle against Satan every day here on earth.  Every choice we make is either leading us towards better things or worse things, and once Satan has control of you, he is never going to let go, at least not easily.

I like what Joseph B. Wirthlin says,

“You are not free to choose the consequences. With absolute certainty, choices of good and right lead to happiness and peace, while choices of sin and evil eventually lead to unhappiness, sorrow, and misery.”

By following the gospel I have seen the many ways my life is better. By following the word of wisdom and other such guidance from church leaders and the Holy Ghost, I have saved myself from falling into the pains of addiction, self-harm, disease, and who knows what else. And yes, choosing to follow what the lord has told me to do is not always easy, and it’s a lot of times harder than other choices; however, the end results of making these choices, I know through personal experience and others, leads to an easier and happier life. A life that I will try to make good choices for every day.

The question I now have to ask myself is- how often am I yielding to the spirit to help make me make those best decisions. I choose happiness, I choose eternal life, and I choose to follow my church leaders and the savior, because I choose freedom.

1. The Naming by Alison Croggon

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Zion, Kolob & Bryce Canyon Trip!

I had the amazing opportunity to go down to Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National this week. Also, thanks to Air BNB, my mom paying half, and my dad’s NP pass it was only $87!

Kolob Canyon was muddy so we ended up not hiking, but the drive up the canyon was still beautiful, and it was nice to have a place to get out of the car on the way to Hurricane.

For our only full day down there we went to Zion. Of course we had to do the infamous Angles Landing hike. Which at the final destination of the hike is AMAZING, but getting there? Not so awesome. The last half mile is this narrow spine with a chain to hold on to, and if you have any fear of heights like myself, you better be prepared to muster all of your courage and take some deep breaths. Although I had to fight back tears at one point, it was well worth the terror for the unforgettable view and sense of accomplishment.

After lunch we did the upper and lower emerald pools hike, but made it into a loop by adding on the Kayenta and Grotto trail, which I highly recommend starting at the Grotto going on the Kayenta trail to the upper pool (it makes the elevation climb easier). We were rewarded with more beautiful canyon views, pools, and waterfalls.

After that hike we opted to do viewpoints only. But I did stop at every single pullout and we walked to the giant waterfall at Sinawava trailhead. The views can’t be beat!

We stopped at Oscar’s in Springdale on our way back to our place, which after a long day of hiking tasted amazing, and it was even warm enough to eat outside. Take that February! We spent our evening soaking in the hot tub and watching a movie.

Thursday we went back to Zion. It had rained that night and there were a couple big new waterfalls, one by the Angel’s Landing hike, by the Court of the Patriarchs and the other where we were hiking today that fell over the Weeping Rock and fell into a pool below. Luckily since our bodies were sore, weeping rock was a simple and short paved hike.
 We left Zion on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway that offered beautiful canyon views. Since we went that way we got to drive through the 1.1-mile long tunnel. It’s unfortunate they don’t let you stop to take pictures through the windows though, because I really wanted to. On the other side of the tunnel you are dropped off in a completely different landscape. The landscape is all huge sandstone mounds that look like the rocks got trapped mid-ooze in some places. It was beautiful and unexpected.

We then went to Bryce Canyon NP. It was very rainy and windy, so we didn’t do any hikes but we stopped off at all of the viewpoints. My mom commented on our drive to the end of the canyon the he hoped a tree doesn’t fall on us. I thought she was joking and laughed it of with a “yeah right mom.” But on our way back two trees had fallen across the road. So yeah, it was windy. That being said, it was still amazing with the contrasting colors of the rock, the snow, and the green pines. Highly recommended. We then headed back to Layton and luckily only had an hour of winter driving. It was an incredible 3 days, and I recommend it to anyone who can fit it in! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Eternal Love is in the Air!

I thought that this Valentines day would be hard this year since it is my first one in a while where I wasn't dating someone. And you know what, it really wasn't! Maybe it was because it was on a Sunday so I could easily treat it like other Sundays and focus on Christ, but I think it was more than that.

Valentines day doesn't have to be about a romantic evening with your bae. It's a holiday like any other, and I love holidays! So yes I did wear all pink and purple to church, I set a super cheesy valentines day phone background, I ate heart shaped treats, and it doesn't make me feel lonely. It makes me happy! I'm cerebrating all of the love that I have in my life!

Think of all the love we have! Just this weekend I was able to visit some incredible friends and celebrate our friendship and love for each other by spending quality time together. I have a wonderful dad who bought me beautiful flowers (took awesome V-Day pictures of me) and an amazing mom who let me join her in making delicious valentines day treats. And that's only a few of the hundreds of examples of love in my life. I know that so many people love me, even if lots of times it's not said out loud. I hope you know how many people love you, including me.

And being Sunday I have had time to reflect on the love of my Heavenly Father. Who I know loves me by my many blessings and by the comfort he gives me through my trials. I love this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

 “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely." 

All I can do is add an amen, it's true for all of us!

So today I will not be mourning my singleness. Instead, I will think of all the love I have in my life. The love from myself, friends, family, and my savior. And I might, okay I will, be doing this thinking while eating a lot of treats, relaxing and maybe even watching a romantic comedy.

 I love all of you! Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in Review

2015 has been a year of love and heartbreak, sickness and health, new friendships and loss of loved ones, time with family, growth in the gospel and growth in myself, times at home and times of adventure, and it all wrapped up with me finally graduating. Although there have been a lot of trials, they have been far outweighed by moments of joy and love. I will definitely say 2015 ended up as one of my most eventful years yet, and I am looking forward to what 2016 holds. 

In honor of 2015, here are some of my photo highlights:

Celebrating my 23rd B-Day!
V-Day hike
Yosemite Valley 
Monterey Bay
no pictures were taken

Indian Mounds/Ruins near Atlanta, GA
Ma & Pa enjoying Florida beaches
3 generations at Temple Square
At the top of Antelope Island
Grandpa Holbrook's 90th B-day Bash!
Visiting G&G Gray
Visiting G&G Olson
Hebgen Lake
Last picture before my camera went into the lake
New Roommates!
Peach Days
Annual Haunted Hollow group
Tony Grove with Kenna. 
Christmas Eve Pajamas!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili

Today I am blogging from Cheyenne, Wyoming! I am here for the long-weekend because my awesome big brother and his family live here! No offense Dan and Alyssa, but Milah and Brielle totally steal the show most the time; you made cute children.

They live in a nice house, on top of a hill that looks out over the city with lots of windows. My favorite window in the house is when you go to the bathroom there’s this giant window right there. So I always have an awesome view, even when using the baño it’s awesome! There are also a ton of cute bunnies everywhere, so I feel like I’m in a fairytale with all the woodland creatures. 

Okay, so to the recipe. This past week I made a delicious Butternut Squash Chili. I don’t know why, but lately I have been really craving chili, so I gave you a chicken one last time, and this time I’m giving you a vegetarian option! I also love how the butternut squash makes this chili look so bright and fun.

2 medium Onions, diced
2 C Bell Peppers, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 medium-small Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Diced Tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
2 tsp. Cumin
2 tsp. Paprika
4 C Vegetable Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Begin by, Sautéing Onion, Garlic, Butternut Squash, and Bell Peppers until browned and soft in a large pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring a boil, then lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Done! Top with your favorite toppings.

Recipe from: Spark People

Friday, October 9, 2015

Healthy Crockpot Chili

In the spirit of Halloween, I will share with you a story. Once upon a time in Logan there was a house. On the outside it looked like a normal house, normal yard, nothing out of the ordinary. It was what went on inside the house that caused concerned. Inside the house a cult resided, it started out mild with strange rituals that eventually got more extreme with animal sacrifices. Then, there were rumors of human sacrifices. Word got around that this was happening and a neighbor called the police; the next day, the house was abandoned. Nothing had moved, the furniture is still the same, the books on the shelf haven’t moved, the car and trailer still in the driveway. The only thing different is the people had vanished.  The house now sits empty on this normal street haunted by its past and rumored to be watched over by an old cult follower. This is the creepy house that I learned about this week, and took a super short visit to. Wow. What terrifying chills were felt. 

Also, learned how to long-board a little bit yesterday. Well, I can go on flat ground. Funny story with that; I was going a little bit out of control and I was coming up to a group of people. So I thought, I better get off because I really can’t steer where I’m going very well and I don’t want to run into them. So I was getting off, and then all the sudden my foot launched the board straight into this couples ankles, and I almost fell into another small group of people. Luckily they stopped the board so it didn’t hit them, and that I caught my balance just in time to not fall into the other group. It was literally everything I was trying to avoid happened. So embarrassing. 

So, another college tip from me, make a big batch of soup at the start of the week, and you can eat it for lunch the next few days. I am also obsessed with my soup thermos, because then I can bring it to school and have a hot lunch, which is way yummier on a brisk fall day than a cold, squished sandwich. I bought mine from Wal-Mart about 2 years ago, and it was definitely worth it. So here is this weeks lunches; Healthy Crockpot Chili!

2 cloves garlic, minced
½ C Onion
1 C Zucchini, diced
1 C Corn, fresh or frozen
1.5 lbs. Chicken Breasts
1 (14.5 oz.) Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes w/ liquid
1 (6 oz.) Can Tomato Paste
1 ½ C Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Cumin
½ tsp. Black Pepper
Salt to Taste
1 (15.5 oz.) Can Black Beans
Avocado and Cheese for garnish, optional

Combine all ingredients into crockpot. Cook low 6-9 hrs. or on high 3-4 hrs.

Shred chicken and serve with toppings. Yum!

Recipe from: Smile Sandwich