Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

I was born a Phillips and one of the genetic gifts handed down by my forbearers is a love of eating. Savoring food is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I love preparing food with my husband, working in the kitchen side by side, creating fresh and healthy dishes as we chat and reconnect after a busy day. I love the family rituals that revolve around the dinner table: the gathering and sense of belonging that accompanies Sunday roast and potatoes. I love sharing good things to eat with friends at barbeques and parties. I get a thrill out of learning about food: where it comes from, how to prepare it, and how it works to benefit my health. The process of preparing and consuming food is as much a spiritual and social endeavor in our home as means of sustaining life.

Unfortunately, in today’s market place, saturated with confusing nutritional information, pleasure in food is somewhat difficult to come by.
“What should I eat?” is a question most Americans have trouble readily answering.
How blessed we are to live in an era of abundance. Gone are the days when humans spent the majority of their time finding and preparing food, living literally hand to mouth. Today there is almost no limit to the quantity or variety of food or food like products readily available in the average supermarket. Add to variety, the constant bombardment through media sources of conflicting theories, information and recommendations about what we should put in our bodies.
I believe the overloading of food products and data is an influential contributor to the decline of general health and the increase in degenerative diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer that plague the western world. How? People make poor diet choices for many reasons, but certainly one reason must be that healthy eating seems too demand too much time, energy, or money.

This year, I am making a goal to explore in greater depth my love affair with food and nutrition. In addition to forcing my husband to listen to my endless speeches, I will use this blog as an outlet and a place to record and experiment. My aims are:

1. To share my love of food
2. To try new foods and new methods of preparation
3. To show that eating a healthy, balanced diet is achievable for almost anyone
4. To distill and simplify food information
I hope you enjoy this journey with me!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story


Me Want Miso!

It’s December in Salt Lake City and I’m cold. Sitting at my desk with my space heater cranked on high, looking out at the snow, I’m cold. I want to bundle up under a big fluffy blanket with a bowl of warm soup. What I’ve been craving lately is miso soup: that steaming bowl of deliciousness served at Japanese restaurants.
Thankfully, our budget doesn’t really allow for fine dining right now. Mr. Wilde and I were “forced” to use the dual miracles of Google search and Youtube to learn to make our very own miso soup. And I must say, we were quite successful! Even Little E agrees, as evidenced by his signing “more,” “more,” “more,” after every spoonful.

Besides learning how to make own easy soup, we learned how incredibly and amazingly good for you miso is. This stuff is perfect for keeping healthy during the holiday season! Here's a quick run down of some of the benefits of miso:

  • Packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin B12!
  • Boots immunity
  • Helps regulate the hormone oestrogen in women (a hormone that can cause tumors)
  • 1 bowl of miso a day reduces the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer
  • Beneficial bacteria help regulate the digestive system
  • Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, keeps skin healthy
**As a bonus, the wakame seaweed used in miso soup helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol**
for more information on the health benefits of miso soup, visit one of these web sites:

So, what is miso, you may ask, and what makes it so great?
Miso is made from ground soybeans, fermented with koji, a yeast mold.

from bodyecology.com:
"Fermented foods and drinks ... help build your inner ecosystem. When your inner ecosystem is healthy, it is full of friendly microflora (beneficial bacteria in your intestines), that help you digest and assimilate nutrients and boost your immunity.
While it was once thought that soy was the reason for the low rates of heart disease, breast and prostate cancer in Asia, more evidence is now showing us that it is the consumption of traditional fermented soy products (usually eaten every day) that are providing the real benefits."

Miso soup is simple, healthy and versitile. It will probably require a visit to a local asian market, but the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find. Visit one of these websites (by clicking on the picture) for some great variations on the classic tofu/green onion combination:


Personal Ministry

"Those who think of life as a personal ministry tend to be less lonely,
are less likely to feel that life has spun out of control,
more inclined to have a gentle heart,
more filled with purpose."
- Sheri L. Dew


Vintage Rose Wraps

I stumbled upon these adorable headbands last week and just had to share with you. I wish I had a little girl to buy these for!

Check out VintageRoseWraps.com, visit their blog, or come see them at Swiss Days!


Brownie Bits Cheesecake!

My mom made this amazing cheesecake for our family party on Saturday, and I have to say it one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had! I wish I had a picture to include, but it was gobbled up too quickly!

From Wilton Brownie Fun

2 packages 8x8 size brownie mix
Eggs, water and oil to prepare mixes

3 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 inch springform pan and 8 inch square pan with vegetable spray.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare one brownie mix following package instructions. Spread into bottom of prepared square pan. Prepare remaining brownie mix following package instructions. Spread into prepared springform pan.
  3. Bake both pans together for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Turn oven down to 325.
  4. Cut approximately half of the brownies from the square pan into 3/4 inch pieces; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in sour cream and eggs. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Gently stir in 1/2 cup of the cut brownies. Pour over cooled crust.
  6. Sprinkle remaining cut brownies over cheesecake batter; lightly press into batter.
  7. Place cheesecake in middle of oven. Fill a large pan with hot water and place on rack underneath cheesecake.
  8. Bake 1 hour 25 minutes or until cheesecake is firm on top but filling is still jiggly when gently shaken.
  9. Turn of oven; leave cheesecake in closed oven 30 minutes to cool slowly. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate covered at least 4 hours or overnight.


Domestic Goddess ... I Wish

Having a cute little quilting store just down the street is great for whipping up cute projects, not so good on my wallet. Nevertheless, here is my latest sewing project.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. But, I can't take much of the credit. I bought the super cute fabric and pattern at Seasons of Home, here in Midway.

The pattern, by Amy Butler, is adorable, but took longer than I anticipated. The photo does not allow you, dear reader, to appreciate the pleats, pockets, and top stitching that make this adorable apron so wonderful. After several long hours, though, I finished and am very pleased with the result. The pattern, although complex, was easy to follow and the finished product is sturdy. This apron is a gift and I look forward to making myself one!

Thrift Store Finds Part 1 of 2

I love the Sugar House Deseret Industries (Thrift Store). There always seem to be great treasures. Here are some of my latest finds:

I thought this punch bowl and cups would be perfect for serving lemonade at a brunch or other party! I was excited to find 16 cups in all.

I love these jars. I can't wait to have a kitchen to use them in. Miracle of miracles, I was shopping at the Provo DI today and found the third piece to this set!

I have always wanted one of these to serve soup when company comes or for a fancy meal.


Music Together Family Classes

When I was pregnant with Little E. I was fascinated that he would start kicking in response to outside sounds, especially to music. After he was born I continued to observe his love of listening to and making music. Music has a powerful effect on our moods and the atmosphere in our homes and I want Little E. to experience the positive influence good music can have.

When I picked up a flyer for Music Together I was curious. We attended a demo class a few months ago and loved it. I have been doing research on the program and am now a big fan. We are so excited to start attending the weekly family group this fall.

The principles of Music Together are:

  1. All children are musical.
  2. Therefore, all children can achieve basic music competence, which we have defined as the ability to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm.
  3. The participation and modeling of parents and caregivers, regardless of their musical ability is essential to a child's musical growth.
  4. This growth is best achieved in a playful, developmentally appropriate, non performance oriented learning environment that is musically rich yet immediately accessible to the chi's participation.

The things I loved most about the class we attended were the various ages of children and the freedom allowed the children. Family classes include newborns to 5 year old children, all learning and sharing and playing together with their grown-ups. I love the idea that children learn best in a family-like environment where they can learn from those older and teach those younger than they. I also love that the children don't have to follow the teacher, but are allowed to respond to the music however they would like.

If there is a Music Together class near you, I highly recommended it!

Check out their website and blog!

Birthday Banner!

Little E's first birthday was in June and we celebrated in style at my grandparent's cabin in Idaho. I wanted to create something special for his birthday that we could use to start a family tradition. I started looking for a pattern to make a fabric birthday banner. When I saw this on a friend's blog, I was ecstatic. I went directly to the Esty shop at purchased the pattern.

The result: simple to sew and quite fun! I am so pleased with how my banner turned out. I can't wait to use it again and again!

The shop is Bonne Nouvelle. Unfortunately, it is closed for the summer. But I would highly reccomed checking back in the fall!


Time Like Sand ....

These past two months have flown by with work and Little E and living life. I'm back with lots to say! Look for new posts coming soon!

Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life. ~William Faulkner


For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work. ~Doug Larson


But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day. ~Benjamin Disraeli


The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. ~C.S. Lewis


Time, the cradle of hope.... Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it: he that has made it his friend will have little to fear from his enemies, but he that has made it his enemy will have little to hope from his friends. ~Charles Caleb Colton


Summertime! Swimtime!

I'm so excited to visit my wonderful hubby for the 4th of July! The hotel is reserved, airline tickets bought, and activities planned. I made an appointment to get my hair done and am planning my outfits. One last thing to do: buy a swimsuit!

I typed "modest swimsuit" into my Google search engine. This was the first thing to come up:

Hmmmm ... not exactly what I was looking for, this website caters to Muslim women who want to swim. After a little searching, I found two great websites.

The Hapari swimsuit is actually the one I'm ordering and I'm sooooo excited. How cute! They are a little more than I usually spend on a swimsuit, but I'm justifying the purchase because this is a super cute modest swimsuit and I'm buying local!

Yahoo! Now I'll look super cute at the pool!


Beehive Bazaar

Ahhh! I am totally bummed that I missed this Spring's Beehive Bazaar. What in the heck is that? Well, it's only the coolest indie craft fair ever, held right here in Utah, twice yearly. I was finally here for it and i completely spaced it! Ugh.

I did, however, spend the last 3+ hours on the web site, checking out all the local artists. I highly recommend checking the website out!

One day I hope to perfect my skills enough to be accepted into the show. For now I can satisfy my crafty craving by drooling over other artists' work. Interestingly enough, my favorite contributors are often the illustrators. This is probably due to my complete lack of ability in anything resembling drawing and my tendency to put those even remotely capable of illustrating on a pedestal.

Forgive me if I am rambling, it is now 2:30 in the morning and I must get some sleep. This working noc shift a couple nights a week has my internal clock completely screwed up.

Without further ado, here were some of my favorites from the Spring 2010 Beehive Bazaar. All pictures are property of their creators. Please click on the pictures to be directed to the respective artist's website.

Dishtowel Bibs

I don't know about you other moms, but I have had a tough time finding bibs that will adequately cover Little E's clothes. Especially now that he is getting older, all the bibs in the stores seem too small. Enter my mom's fabulous creation: Dishtowel Bibs! Once you get the hang of it, these are super easy to make and only take 10 minutes to whip up. These bibs are great if you can find a good deal on the dish towels. I thought you might want to make some, so here's how.

This is my first ever tutorial, so please be patient with me!

1 dishtowel
coordinating ribbing (enough for a 3" x 13" strip)*
sewing machine

*You can adjust the size depending on your baby's head. Little E is 12 months old and through some trial and error we found this size to fit over his head and still be snug. The pictures are of our first try, which was 15" and I thought it was too big.


1 - Cut your ribbing into a 3" x 13" strip.

2 - Sew ends of ribbing together. (Right sides facing)

3 - Fold ribbing in half, wrong sides together. (seam inside)

4 - Cut a neck hole in the dish towel. The diameter should be 1 - 1 1/2 inch smaller than your ribbing.

5 - Using 4 straight pins, pin your ribbing to the dish towel, right sides together. The ribbing should be smaller than the hole, so you will need to stretch the ribbing as you sew. It works better if you pin the ribbing down in 4 places so you stretch it evenly as you sew.

6 - Sew using a finishing stitch.

7 - Turn the ribbing under and viola!

Little E seems happy with his new bib!


My First 5k

On Saturday I accomplished one of my summer goals: to participate in a 5k race. I finished right in the middle: #351 out of 711. My time was 33:19, which is not amazing, but is better than I ever did on my practice runs, so I'm pretty satisfied.

The morning of the race, I almost backed out because it was pouring rain. Then I thought I was going to miss the start because I didn't plan for the guy in front of me who thought he had to drive 15 mph down the canyon. But, I made it just in time. The rain stopped, the weather was perfect and it was actually pretty fun.



Flatter me, and I may not believe you.

Criticize me, and I may not like you.

Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.

Encourage me, and I will not forget you.

- William A. Ward

Today I had a 4 mile run scheduled and planned to run from my house, to the top of memorial hill and back. I determined that I would run without stopping to the top of the hill. I really like running this route because it's the perfect length for me, I get a great view of the valley and I rarely come upon others running the hill mid-morning.

Things went a little differently today. Apparently several of the local elementary school classes also decided it would be a good day to climb the hill. I found myself running in between what seemed to be 100+ third and fourth graders. They were coming down as I was going up. Near the top I started running out of steam. All I could think of was how good it would feel to stop. Just at that moment one of the little girls I was passing said, "You're almost there. The top is just around the corner." I kept going.

On my way down the hill, I again passed many of the same kids. When I reached the bottom I was greeted by cheers, high fives, and several rounds of 'good job.' It may seem like such a small thing, but to me it made a huge difference.

This simple experience has made me reflect on the power we have to influence others. One of the definitions of encourage is 'to contribute to the progress or growth of others.' What a beautiful definition. While everyone has the opportunity to choose happiness or misery regardless of circumstances, we each can do much to 'contribute' to the well-being of those around us.

Have you experienced a small act of kindness that made a significant impact? What experiences have you had showing small kindnesses?

Not Just Another Blonde ...

... In Beijing!

Click on the button above to visit my friend Hao Danni's blog. Basically one of the most amazing people I know, Hao Danni and her husband both studied Chinese in Monterey, CA. She was in the same class as my husband. They are now living, traveling, and studying (and blogging!) in China.

Don't let this cute little blonde fool you with her love of fashion; she is one of the smartest, funniest people I know. It's no mystery why her blog, only launched this March, already has nearly 350 followers. (Including yours truly!) Hao Danni has a little something of everything. Amazing Pictures: check. Fashion and Beauty: check. Travel and Culture: check. Ethnic Cuisine: check.

Stop by, check it out, and I'm sure you'll want to stay for a while.


Women of the World

Looking for something different, I picked up this CD at the library. What a pleasant surprise. From the first song, I was in love. The world music/folk feel of this gentle CD was the perfect background for cooking dinner.
This CD features 11 tracks, each by a different female artist. The songs are from around the world and are sung in Spanish, French, and English. The quality of voices and recording is excellent. There was only one song that I didn't love.