The Vanderhorst Family

The Vanderhorst Family

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Props to this recipe goes to my sister-in-law, Emily. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Bread

1/2 cup oil (either canola or vegetable)
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1 can evaporated milk
3 cups hot water
1 rounded Tablespoon of salt
1 Tablespoon wheat gluten
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
9-10 cups whole wheat flour (or you can use white whole wheat flour too)

In mixing bowl combine oil, honey, egg, milk, salt & water. 
Add 4 cups flour, wheat gluten, and yeast. Mix for 2 minutes.
Gradually add 5-6 more cups of flour. Mix 5 more minutes, then gradually add enough flour for sides of bowl to come clean. 
Remove dough to oiled counter-top and divide into 3 large loaves or 5 smaller loaves. 
Allow to rise 30-60 min in oiled pans until double in size. (I cover them with a towel while rising).  
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 23-33 min, depending on size of loaves and how brown you like the crust. 
Cool 5 min. in pans, then finish cooling on clean towel. 

* some notes about this recipe (these are Emily's notes--very helpful!):
I usually half the recipe because it's actually meant to be made using a bosch mixer and since I don't have one, this much dough is really hard to knead by hand. I halved this recipe, and it either makes 1 large loaf of bread or 2 smaller loaves.

* Wheat gluten is hard to find in a normal grocery store. For those of you who live in Utah they sell it in the big bins in WINCO, but if you don't have a WINCO arround you can find it in a Whole Foods or Trader Joes.
* If you use bread flour instead of all-purpose, you may not have to add the wheat gluten, because I think the difference between the two is bread flour naturally has more wheat gluten already in it.

Here is a before rising picture

Here is the finished product. Enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013


When we first moved back East, I realized very quickly that I needed a GPS of some sort--either just a GPS or a smart-phone that had a GPS-app. I use my GPS-app on my phone on a daily basis, and I rely on it completely to help me get to the places I both want and need to be, and most importantly, it gets me home safely from those places.

As I've been driving around relying solely on this GPS function, I've often had the thought pop into my mind that my GPS is a good spiritual application.

Whenever I want to go somewhere, I always type in the address--or where I want to end up. I have no idea what route to take to get there, but my GPS does, so I have to trust that my GPS won't lead me astray. Likewise, I know that I eventually want to return home to my Heavenly Father. I knew that I wanted to get married and have a family, and I knew that I wanted to graduate from college. Those big life goals I knew I wanted, but Heavenly Father guided me through small steps (and sometimes I had to step into the darkness and trust Him completely), but then I successfully reached my end goal.

My GPS talks to me, giving me step by step directions and guiding me through each turn and light and on-ramp. There are sometimes where the GPS has enough distance to warn me of what's coming up ("Stay on this road for 2 miles and then take exit 64"), and other times where the next step jumps out of nowhere ("Now in 500 feet turn right"). The Holy Ghost will sometimes warn us when trials or temptations are coming our way, and other times, life just happens to us and we have to roll with the punches, but our spiritual GPS is still there telling us how to navigate through unknown roads.

If I am talking on the phone, my GPS will still talk to me through the phone and give me directions, but it is a very quiet voice. Whenever instructions come, I have to listen very intently and tune out of my conversation on the phone for a second while I listen to the instructions the GPS is telling me. Just like in life, we will have many conversations and many things to juggle, and the Holy Ghost speaks to us very quietly. We need to tune out those other voices in order to hear where we need to go.

There are other times when I miss a turn or take a wrong exit--most times on accident, but other times on purpose. Sometimes I think I know what route is best and ignore the route my GPS has given me--often times I'm wrong. Sometimes I think I know what is best for my life and what route is best for me to take, but Heavenly Father always knows what is best for me, and His timing is best for me. Other times I will miss a turn on accident, either because I forget what the GPS said, or I have the voice turned off, or it comes up to fast and I miss it. Sometimes in life, I forget to read my scriptures, I tune out the Holy Ghost because I'm too distracted with other things, or my life is so busy that I miss spiritual promptings. The thing I love most about my GPS, is whenever I get off-route, it simply says "rerouting" or "recalculating." I'm sure my GPS would really like to just say "You idiot! I've been telling you for the past 4 miles that you have to turn here! How could you miss it?! I gave you 3 warnings! Now we have to figure out a new route and it's going to take us longer to get to your destination! Listen up next time!" Now that I think about it that would actually be pretty funny if my phone started yelling at me ;)  Heavenly Father doesn't scold us if we mess up--it's bound to happen. We're not perfect, and we don't get everything right the first time. Heavenly Father simply gives us another option to get to where we want to go. Sure, it might be harder, more of an inconvenience, or take us longer, but we will eventually get to where we are going as long as we listen to that still, small voice.

There are other times where I supposedly arrive at my destination (perhaps at a shopping center or a road that is under construction), and the GPS says "You have arrived at your destination." I look around, and think "Um, this is my destination? I don't see the store." Sometimes my GPS puts me in a huge shopping center, or within 1000 feet of my destination, and once I get there I have to look around a little bit to find the store. I think it's that way in life sometimes as well. Heavenly Father leads us down a particular path and we could say "Um, this is what you had planned for me?" It isn't until we open up our spiritual eyes and look for why Heavenly Father has placed us somewhere that we realize it was what we wanted all along, and then some.

I'm grateful for both my physical GPS and my spiritual GPS. Both guide me every step of the way and get me to where I want to go.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Easiest Pumpkin Cookies Ever!

Alright guys, you ready for this? These pumpkin cookies have 3 ingredients and are delicious!

1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1 cake mix (I usually do spice cake)
1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips (I usually do milk chocolate)

Mix together the pumpkin and cake mix. Add in the entire bag of chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees on a greased pan for 20-25 minutes.

These cookies don't really spread out, so you don't want to put them into balls, but spread them out a little bit more. This also gives you the chance to be creative since the shape pretty much stays the same. You can shape these into a ghost, a pumpkin, a witch (or whatever you like) before you bake it, and after it bakes it looks pretty much the same. This is a fun one to do with the kiddos!

It's that easy! I also like it because you can get creative with your add-ins. You can do vanilla or chocolate cake mix instead of spice, or you could do nuts instead of chocolate chips (or in addition to). Seriously, so good and so easy!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

All Things Denote There is a God: My Testimony

I have had a prompting lately to record my testimony about what I believe, and I figured what better place to do it than on my blog. Throughout my blog, I'm going to refer to 3 books of scripture listed below, so those of you who aren't LDS can look at these definitions and know what I'm talking about when I refer to them :)

Book of Mormon: On the cover of the Book of Mormon, it states that it is another testament of Jesus Christ--that's exactly what it is. This record begins with a family that leaves Jerusalem around 600 BC and crosses the ocean to the Americas. The book is passed down from generation to generation and is a record of the history of those people living in the Americas. Christ comes to visit them after His resurrection, and this record was buried in a hill by a man named Moroni (around 421 AD) and was later translated by the power of God through Joseph Smith.
Doctrine and Covenants: This is a compilation of revelations that Joseph Smith received from God during his time as the prophet.
King James Bible: Many claim we aren't Christians, but we also believe in the bible. As stated above, the Book of Mormon is ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ--the first one is the bible. We believe in both.

Recently I have been thinking about an experience I had in High School. It was my Sophomore year, and I was taking Biology. We got to the subject of evolution in our class, and while I don't believe humans evolved from monkeys, I do believe that all species (human or otherwise) develop different characteristics to help them adapt to their environments. I was fine accepting this part of evolution, but then my teacher made a point of bringing in a religious aspect. Since class was running out, he said "We can't discuss the implications evolution has on the belief that a higher being created this world and humans (as he scoffed), but if you'd like to come discuss your viewpoints with me I'd be more than happy to." I knew I was signing up for a possibly heated discussion, but I felt like I had to defend what I believed. I told my good friend, Andrea, about what happened, and she decided to come with me during our lunch hour to talk to him. We discussed each of our different viewpoints, and agreed to disagree, as he openly admitted to being an atheist. I didn't say anything to this, but inside felt compassion for him, and a sense of pity. I pitied him that he led a life thinking that there wasn't a Heavenly Father who cared for him, loved him, and wanted the best for him. A Heavenly Father who wanted my teacher to return to live with Him forever. I can only imagine how lonely it must feel to not know or even believe in an afterlife.

As the years have gone on and I've thought about this conversation, my mind keeps going back to different truths I've read in the Book of Mormon. There was a prophet named Alma, and he had a similar discussion with a man named Korihor. Korihor went around preaching to Alma's people that they couldn't know that a God exists, or couldn't know that Christ would come (the timeline was BC). Alma says to Korihor, "All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

This reminds me of a primary song in our church called "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." The words read this:

Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky
Whenever I fell the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me

He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart
I thank Him reverently
For all His creations, of which I'm a part
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me

In all the beauty around us, it seems impossible to me to deny that Heavenly Father exists.  Who needs proof that God exists when there are so many evidences around us?

There have been too many experiences in my life where I knew that someone was looking out for me for me to deny that God exists. He has led me through my darkest days, He has been there to celebrate my happiest moments, and all things good in my life I have because of His tender mercies and love for me.

Some people might argue that "If God exists, why does he allow bad things to happen?" This is something that I've been pondering for quite some time, and have realized a few things. First, Heavenly Father would cease to be God if He took away our agency. People choose how to act. So if someone chooses to commit acts of terror, tease someone else, or any other bad thing you can think of, that is their choice, and eventually they will suffer the consequences. Secondly, I firmly believe that trials make us better people. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that states "I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." In Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord is addressing the early saints of the church who had to deal with much persecution, and He states "They shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels. Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried." This reminds me of how diamonds are made. Coal is put under intense heat and pressure (sometimes for a long amount of time), is chipped away at and buffed, until a beautiful, sparking diamond is made. Heavenly Father has the ability to take coal and make diamonds, but we will only become diamonds if we put our trust and faith in the Lord, and trust that trials are for our good, and we become stronger.

You always grow from a trial. You always learn something. If we didn't have trials, we wouldn't learn anything. If this life were easy and trial-free, that would be like taking an exam without questions on it. We have to prove that we have learned how to put our trust on God. When my water broke 6 weeks early with Andrew, I choose to put my trust in the Lord. It was the hardest thing in my life to have Andrew in the hospital for 20 days. I think I cried every day or night for a good half hour while he was in the hospital. It was so hard, but I also had an immense amount of peace during that whole experience. I grew closer to Heavenly Father through that experience, and as a result I have a closer relationship with God, I have learned and grown so much from that experience, and have developed more faith in God's timetable.

Sometimes our trials that we're asked to go through might seem unbearable or too much for us to handle, but God doesn't leave us hanging. He hasn't left us out in the cold. He has given us prophets and apostles, scriptures, the power of prayer, families, wards, stakes, and so much more to help us through this life. We are never alone. Sometimes it may feel that the windows of Heaven are sealed and our prayers aren't being heard, but I know that dealing with trials or uncertainties in life require us to have an eternal perspective and to trust in the Lord. I have also learned that God's timetable is what is best for me--even when I thought my timetable was best for me.

As my dear friend, Andrea, and I were leaving from our discussion with my science teacher, he said "You know, I thought I had everything figured out when I was 15 as well." I just turned, smiled, and said "I'll see you in class tomorrow. Thanks for talking with us."

He was right about one thing: When I was 15, I believed the church was true. I believed what I was being taught in church, seminary, and at home, but didn't yet know it was true. 8 years after that experience, I can say with a surety that I know the church is true. I know God lives. I know the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the Doctrine and Covenants are the word of God. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, that through Him we can become cleansed, we can become better, and we can heal and become whole from hard trials in our lives. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and I know that Christ will come again to earth. I know that I can live with my family together forever. I'm grateful for temples, and for the peace that I feel there. I know that the atonement is real--it can help us repent, become better, and heal from spiritual wounds. It is never too late to use the atonement. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each of us, and that we are never alone. I'm grateful I'm a member of this church and for the peace, comfort, and joy it has brought into my life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trip to Colorado

Grant went out of town a couple weeks ago for a business trip, so my parents had the brilliant idea for me to come home and visit for a week while he was gone. It was an inspired idea! I would have gone insane being in an apartment with just me and Andrew, and it is always so great to be home. I flew out early Monday morning (and I mean EARLY!), and came home on Saturday afternoon. Andrew did wonderfully with all the travel. He slept pretty well on both flights, and only fussed for about 10 minutes each way. He's a pretty easy baby to travel with, so that made flying by myself with him so much easier.

My sister-in-law, Emily, who lives in Utah decided to fly out to join in the fun as well! We spent a lot of time with Stephen and Emily before we moved to DC, so it was fun to be around her and Daniel again. I remember Daniel when he was born, and it was fun to see him walking around, talking a little bit, and his general enthusiasm for life. He loves opening and closing any doors, and he has a general bounce in his step whenever he walks. It was fun to be around him :)

We also went out to eat with Grandpa Woodhouse and April, and then afterwards me, Emily, and April took the kiddos to the park, where Andrew tried swinging for the first time. He screamed and cried the whole time and totally hated it. Maybe when he's older he'll like it more :)

April, Emily and I also went shopping (without the kiddos!) and out to dinner. This was one of my favorite things we did in CO. It was fun to have some girl time and talk about anything and everything. I think we stayed at dinner for close to two hours because we just sat around and talked. It was much needed bonding time :) We also had lunch together and let the kiddos play together. Andrew tried out an exersaucer, and Charlotte was nice enough to come play with him and even push him around in it :)

I also got some cute clothes for Andrew at a hand-me-down kid store. Cute button down shirt with a sweater vest (much like his daddy), a winter coat, and a winter onesie (he looks like a blue-mini-chewbaca).

We were also able to get some down time around the house, and every night Emily, mom and I watched chick flicks (including Sherlock, which Grant and I now love!)

We also took the kiddos swimming! It was Andrew's first time and he loved it. As soon as I put him in the water he got a huge smile on his face. Daniel was able to show off his water tricks (such as floating)--it was a blast!

Emily and I were also able to go to the temple together, and we had a lot of good conversations throughout the week.

It was surreal for me to be sleeping in the same room that I had in high school, only this time I'm a married-college-grad-mom. Life goes by way too fast, but I'm always grateful to go home to the house I grew up in. I feel so much peace every time I turn into our culd-e-sac, and it was a much needed break to go home. Thank you mom, dad, Reed and April, and Emily for making such a fun week in CO!

Headed to the airport to go home.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Best Burritos You've Ever Had

Grant made the most amazing burritos last night. Seriously, they are better than any Qdoba or Cafe Rio burrito I have ever had. I don't know if it was the queso or the cilantro that we used, but it was incredible.

Ok, here is each element of our burrito:

Sauteed onions/peppers

Chicken: Cook a couple of chicken breasts until they are almost done. Cook on low temperature for a long amount of time for best results. Shred the chicken and let it simmer on low in mild or medium enchilada sauce for about 15-20 minutes (we prefer green enchilada sauce).

Guacamole: Get a couple of soft avacados and beat those in with milk (about 1/8 of a cup--we just play it by ear) and garlic (garlic powder also works). When you have the consistency you want, add in some crushed red pepper (not a lot) and put in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes.

Queso: We used this recipe for the queso and we used a little bit more milk than asked for because some of the milk cooked out as we were cooking the other things at the same time. You don't want the cheese to harden, so add milk as you go to keep it soft.

Rice: We have a rice-cooker, so we put in white rice (you can also use brown rice), a little bit of cilantro, and about a lime per cup of rice. We just squeeze out the lime juice. Before we cooked it, we let the rice, lime juice, and cilantro sit in the water to let the flavor soak into the rice (do this for about 10 minutes), then we cooked it.

Lettuce: Do NOT use iceberg lettuce. Romaine or green-leaf is the best.

Sauteed onions/peppers: Optional, but not necessary.

Corn: We just used canned corn and warmed it up in the microwave.

Put in wheat or white tortillas (we used wheat and it was actually really good!).

Just a few tips about the burritos--you don't need to add salsa or cheese because the salsa flavor comes from the enchilada sauce, and the cheese you already have with the queso. Also, you don't need to add a lot of queso to your burrito to get the flavor. More is less with the queso.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Heavenly Father Answers Prayers

I couldn't go to sleep until I documented what happened today. These past few days I have been keenly aware of Heavenly Father's love for me. Very specific questions and concerns that I've had the past couple weeks were all covered in detail this past weekend during General Conference. Just another manifestation to me that God answers prayers. Well, today I had another manifestation happen.

I went to the grocery store at about 10:30 am. It wasn't sunny, but it didn't look like it would rain at all. When I was checking out at 11:15 am, I look outside to see sheets and sheets of rain coming down. I wait it out for about 15 minutes hoping the rain would let up a little bit, but I'm pretty sure it actually got worse. I couldn't wait any longer--I had to get Andrew home to feed him and put him down for a nap. But I didn't want to trek out to the car with Andrew. While I contemplated for a couple minutes what to do, I finally saw a woman walking into the store that I recognized from my ward. I stopped her, told her who I was, and asked her if she would watch Andrew while I pull the car up to the curb. That was the first small answer to a prayer.

When we got home, I tried waiting in the car for a few more minutes to see if the rain would let up, but again, it was no use. I finally decided that I had to make the somewhat long trek from our car to the apartment with all of my groceries, and Andrew in his carseat--no way was I about to make 2 trips. Our building is the only one in the complex that doesn't have a parking lot right next to it, so we definitely get our exercise in whenever we go anywhere. As I gathered up all the groceries on one arm, and Andrew in the other arm, I took about 10 steps and realized that there was no way I could make it on my own. I said a little prayer, just asking Heavenly Father to send someone to just help me get to my apartment. I didn't need the rain to stop, but I needed an extra pair of hands. Right as I finished saying the prayer, I saw a woman walking up to me, completely drenched, and asked if she could help. She took the groceries from me and helped me up to the third floor. Me, her, and Andrew were all drenched, but at least we made it to the apartment safely and in one trip.

It might seem like a small thing, but it was just another manifestation to me that God is aware of me. He didn't have to stop the ridiculous down-pour of water to show me He loved me. Instead, He sent an extra pair of hands to help. I've never had an answer to prayer come so immediately, but I know that Heavenly Father is aware of all of us.