Hearty Hamburger and Vegetable Soup

My Grandpa Bob was known for this soup. Growing up he made it every time we came to visit and we always looked forward to eating it after the long car ride.  My grandpa taught me how to make this soup one very cold Thanksgiving weekend - which happened to be one of the last times I saw him before he passed away. Now I make this soup for my family and it always makes me smile and think of him. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Hearty Hamburger and Vegetable Soup 

2 lbs ground hamburger
1 large onion
2 cups chopped celery
5 medium potatoes
1 large can (46 oz) V-8 juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chopped carrots

Brown hamburger and onion in large skillet. Once the meat is cooked, fill the skillet with chopped celery. Cover and let cook until the celery is soft.
While meat mixture is cooking, combine potatoes, V-8, sugar, salt, water, seasoning salt, garlic salt, and Worcestershire sauce in large cooking pot over medium heat. Once celery is soft, add the meat mixture to the cooking pot. Add the carrots. Cover and let simmer for a few hours. The longer is simmers, the better it tastes.

Serve with crackers and enjoy!

Herb Spotlight: Oregano

Heidi Elder is back and here to share some uses for Oregano! She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to herbs and their uses. In fact, check out her post on Herb Day.

"I was excited to do a guest post for 'House of Sprinkles' and share what I love.  I have a fascination with anything natural that can help heal our bodies and improve or overall health, and that includes herbs! One of my favorite herbs is Oregano. There are so many uses for Oregano and very few people know it's full potential.  I wanted to share just a few of the ways you can use Oregano with all of the lovely readers of 'House of Sprinkles'.

  • Oregano is an ancient medicinal and culinary herb that contains some of the highest antioxidant properties in the plant kingdom. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B-complex, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. 
  • Oregano has powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal properties that have been shown to be highly beneficial in the treatment of colds, flu, viral infections, respiratory ailments, indigestion, stomach problems, and painful menstruation. 
  • Oregano is known to remove poisons from the body and detox the entire lymphatic system. It can also help to strengthen the digestive tract and expel trapped gas from the intestines easing the effects of bloating and abdominal discomfort. 
  •  Oregano is also known to help balance the metabolism and strengthen the core organs of the body. 
  • Essential oil of Oregano is one of the most potent antimicrobial oils available and does an incredible job at disinfecting your home and office air. Place a few drops of essential oil in a aromatherapy diffuser to help protect yourself from contagious cold and viral infections.
  • Oregano’s phenomenal anti-viral abilities have been shown in laboratory to produce a 99% kill rate against Streptococcus pneumoniate which is behind many kinds of lung and throat infections.
  • Oil of oregano is also an excellent toothache remedy. 
  • Oregano added to your bath water is highly beneficial to the skin and can help to treat rheumatic pains as well as skin infections. 
  • Fresh oregano is an easy herb to grow indoors during the winter. Try adding fresh chopped oregano to your salads, soups, and pasta sauce. It can also be made into an herbal tea to be sipped on throughout the day. Oregano oil can also be found as a tincture, extract, or capsule form online or at your local health food store. 
–Medical Medium 

Now that you know Oregano isn't just an herb used in cooking, go get yourself some and see what it can do for you!"

As always, thank you for sharing your love of natural healing with us! I think we should all probably pull out the Oregano and....

Herb Day

I read once that friends were like a garden, some come and go into your life like annuals and others stay in your life as perennials.  I am most excited to share with you one of my perennial friends as she has a special gift with natural healing of both body and soul. . . Heidi Elder.

 Herb Day is May 3, 2014! 

"I feel like I need to put on a name tag. . . Hello, my name is HEIDI ELDER.  I was excited to do a guest post for 'House of Sprinkles' and share what I love.  I have a fascination with anything natural that can help heal our bodies and improve or overall health.  My journey began 12 years ago with foot zoning and has grown into a passion of mine.  One of my passions includes herbs!

Herb Day is an international celebration of herbs and herbal products that is packed with events aimed at educating and sharing ideas about the many ways herbs bring joy and well-being into our daily lives. We celebrate herbs' use in food, beverages, medicine, beauty products, and crafts, along with the art of growing and gardening with herbs.  Herb Day

I LOVE this time of year when all the beautiful colors come alive!!!  I usually don’t realize how much I have missed them until they come.  Right now I am fascinated with all the different herbs out there and their various uses, so thought it would be fun to plant my own herb garden!

 Post image for How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden

Look at this Pallet Garden hmmm. . . thinking about this one! You don’t need much space, you could even do it on a balcony!"

I'm sure we will be posting more from Heidi (like this post on Oregano) as I'm always asking here questions about health and listening to her 'natural' remedies (not to mention always wanting her to check out my feet). From uses for herbs & oils to foot zoning, she is my perennial healer... got myself a good one! 
 LoVe yA, Heidi!

Deliciously Easy Candy Popcorn

My mom used to make us candy popcorn when I was growing up all the time. We loved it! I remember eating it until we were sick because it was so addicting. The best part of the entire bowl was getting to the bottom and scraping out all of the gooey candy. Yummy!

Deliciously Easy Candy Popcorn

1 batch of popcorn - popped
1/2 cup - butter
2/3 cup - sugar
1/3 cup - corn syrup
1 tsp - vanilla
Food coloring - optional

Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla over medium heat until it is all dissolved and starts to boil. Add food coloring if desired. Remove from burner and pour over popcorn. Mix well and enjoy!

Chambray & Dots

Today I am super excited to introduce Haleigh. She is talented at putting together amazing outfits and is beautiful (to say the least). The best part is.....she is my SIL!

"Hello, House of Sprinkles lovers! I'm Haleigh from Bloomfieldiaand I'm SO excited to be guest posting today! 
I definitely have a love for fashion, especially creating modest outfits, which as you know isn't always easy, or "stylish" these days. However, I'm a firm believer in the saying "where there's a will, there's a way", and finding that way can be super fun.
This outfit is perfect for spring. It's got the pastels, the cute polka-dots, and the sparkle that'll catch the sun.

white tee: Target

chambray blouse: Target, similar here

skirt: Downeast Basics, I bought the skirt last year and couldn't find one very similar, but Downeast always has fantastic skirts. 

watch & bracelet: Francesca's, similar watch here and bracelet here 

necklace: Target

bag: TJMaxx 

heels: Target, similar here 

Photo Credit: Ty Chen 
Hope you enjoyed :)"

Isn't she amazing? Thanks for sharing some of your secrets with us, Haleigh! Now if only I could convince the hubby that I need to update my wardrobe....

How to Defrost a Freezer

I don't know about you, but sometimes I let things go a lot longer than I should before I finally take the time to clean them. Like my freezer. Seriously, I don't think I have defrosted it in the 3 years I have had it. It was so bad that I had to layer things perfectly so that food wouldn't fall out when I opened the door. Really. It's true.

It was ridiculous, people.

How did the ice buildup get so bad, you ask? 

Let me tell you.

If you don't get the seal shut on the door all the way and air can get into your freezer (which it will), ice will build up. This happened at my house. Multiple times.

If you are also in need of a good freezer defrosting party, let me share a few tips on how to do it.

First off, I don't have a ton of time to do projects like this. I say "projects" because that is what this is to me. If it takes longer than an hour - it is a project. I didn't want to take all day to clean out the freezer. I basically had nap time. 

How to Defrost a Freezer Quickly

1. Remove all food and place in coolers - or borrow room in a friend's freezer. Probably one that defrosts theirs regularly and has room. :)

2. Start boiling a large pot of water.

3. Unplug freezer and prop open door. Place a towel or newspapers on the floor to soak up water. 

4. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape any ice off that you can. Don't force anything and don't use metal or anything sharp! You don't want to puncture the plastic.

5. Place bowls of boiling water on each shelf in the freezer and a tray or cookie sheet of boiling water on the bottom. Then shut the door until it is only open a crack. Wait for about 5 minutes. This will fill the freezer with steam and start melting all the ice buildup.

6. Use a wooden spatula to clean out all the larger pieces of ice. 

NOTE: If there is still a lot of ice left, repeat steps 4-6 until the majority of ice is gone. 

7. Use a spray bottle of hot water to remove any remaining ice or frost.

8. Wipe the freezer down and clean out any spills.

9. Plug freezer back in and let cool (use the rapid freeze if our freezer has that option).

10. Put all of your food back in your nice, clean freezer!

Now, if you were like me, you probably ended up throwing away a lot of food that was either expired, freezer burned, or had been in there so long you couldn't tell what it was. For that reason I will continuing this post with tips on how to organize your freezer, inventory your freezer, and how long you can freeze different food. Check back for parts 2 and 3!

Peep S'mores

Easter has come and gone and my house is filled with candy. I don't know about you, but I like to use all of the leftover holiday candy as soon as possible, otherwise it ends up in a bowl somewhere tempting me for weeks! We decided to get creative with our Easter candy this year and found a new family favorite...Peep S'mores! They are so good. The sugar on the outside of the peeps crystallizes when you melt them over the fire adding a unique crunch. Instead of using a Hershey's candy bar we used crushed up Cadbury Mini-Eggs (my favorite Easter treat). Did you know they make white chocolate mini-eggs? That was a new find to me and I was super excited. They went in my cart instantly.

The littles were in love with the fun colors and ate a lot of the peeps by themselves. That's fine by me - more chocolate for my own s'mores. :)

This was the best way to use up candy lying around our house. I'm sure you could use just about any chocolate candy you have to go inside. Let me know what you use!

Peep S'mores

1 Graham Cracker (broken in half)
2 Marshmallow Peeps
5 Cadbury Mini Eggs

Crush up Cadbury mini-eggs. I microwaved our bowl for a few seconds because we were using our firepit at home. If you don't have a microwave, just set the bowl close enough to the fire for them to get soft. Roast your marshmallow peeps. Sandwich chocolate eggs and roasted peeps between graham crackers and enjoy!

Looking for more ways to use up some leftover Easter candy? Check out these great ideas!

Sunday Will Come

Today is Good Friday. As I have contemplated the whole Easter season, my thoughts have turned to this day multiple times. The events surrounding the Crucifixion are humbling to me. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be at Christ's feet on this horrible day. It must have felt dark and overwhelmingly unbearable.

There have been times in my life when I have been weighed down with grief, anger, despair, and any combination of those feelings. In fact, just last summer I had one of the most difficult few months of my life up to that point. At the time it was very hard to explain why I was so consumed with this sense of dread and loss of hope. It was a combination of a lot of very stressful situations that all came up at the same point. I was lost. I was confused. I didn't know which way to turn. I was praying, studying my scriptures, pondering.... but I still couldn't shake this overwhelming discouragement.

One night as I sat stressing about all of the different things that were bothering me, I remembered a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin. The talk is titled "Sunday Will Come" and I have loved it since the very first time I heard it.
"I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.
On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth.
Those evil men who sought His life rejoiced. Now that Jesus was no more, surely those who followed Him would disperse. On that day they stood triumphant....
On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.
It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.
I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest."
Although my trials were nothing compared to that day, I knew that Christ had been there before me. He has suffered. My darkest hours were nothing in comparison to His, but they still mattered. He still understood my struggles and He knew I was having a hard time with everything.

Throughout it all, I knew that my life was in the Lord's hands. In fact, I felt and KNEW that He had a plan for me and my family. I wasn't struggling with turning my life over to Him, but I was struggling not knowing how He was going to make everything work out. I had complete faith in Him, but I wanted to know what was going to happen. I did trust Him, but I wanted to know the plan. I'm a planner, a list maker, an analyzer - I couldn't let go and take one step at a time into the dark. It was hard for me.
"But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind."
Just as the doom of that dark day did not remain, the despair of those few months was fleeting. Things worked out in a way I never could have imagined - and exactly how they were supposed to. Christ's plan was far better than any plan I ever could have made. The hopelessness was lifted and light replaced the darkness.
"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.
No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."
I often think about those words and I am always surrounded by peace. Sunday will come. Because I love this talk so much, I decided to make a printable for my mirror. I am attaching it here for you to use as well. I hope that these words will fill you with comfort and give you hope for brighter days when the world around you seems a little dark. Maybe, just maybe, I can learn to be content with one step into the light at a time - trusting He will guide my every footstep.

Download your copy of "Sunday Will Come"

(All other images taken from lds.org)

Pico de Gallo

I don't know about you, but I love homemade Pico de Gallo. It's funny because I'm not a fan of tomatoes, but when it comes to this pico recipe I will eat the whole bowl by myself. My brother lived in McAllen, Texas for 2 years while serving a mission and learned how to make the most delicious Pico De Gallo. He agreed to share his guarded secret recipe with me, and now I am sharing it with you! Enjoy!

3 - Warm Lemons
1 - Bunch of Cilantro
3 - Jalapenos
1 - White Onion
6 - Large Tomatoes

Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into a bowl. Pick the leaves off the cilantro and finely dice them. Mix them in with the lemon juice. Set aside.
Chop jalapenos and add to mixture. NOTE - if you want really hot Pico de Gallo, leave the seeds. If you want the flavor without the heat, remove the seeds before chopping.
Cut and chop White Onion and mix it into the bowl. You may not need the entire onion, depending on the size. You want there to be roughly 50/50 green to white in the bowl.
Gut your tomatoes so all the seeds and insides are removed and then dice the tomato shells. Mix into the bowl.
Add the juice of the last lemon and salt to the desired taste.  Enjoy!

The best part of this Pico de Gallo recipe is that it is great to enjoy fresh, but it is even better after it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours. Yummy!

Easy Cherry Cheesecake

My favorite dessert of all time has always been Cherry Cheesecake. My grandma used to make it for me all the time and I requested it for every holiday. I remember rushing through my Thanksgiving dinner every year to beat my cousins to the cheesecake, terrified that I wouldn't get a piece! My grandma finally taught me how to make it myself and I realized how incredibly easy it really is! If you ever need a fast dessert with rave reviews - this is for you.

1 - graham cracker crust
1 - 8 oz package of Philadelphia cream cheese (room temperature)
1 - 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 - 21 oz can of cherry pie filling (or any other topping you desire)

Beat together the cream cheese and the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Make sure the mixture is smooth and does not contain lumps. Add lemon juice and mix until incorporated. Spoon the mixture into your graham cracker crust and refrigerate until set up (this will take about 2 hours). Top with cherry pie filling right before serving. Enjoy!

Rabbit's Carrot Cake

When I was a child one of my favorite books was, Rabbit Finds A Way, by Judy Delton.  Rabbit went to Bear's house every Saturday for Carrot Cake, but one Saturday Bear didn't make carrot cake and Rabbit was sorely disappointed.  That was until he realized he could get the recipe and make it himself!  I'm quite certain that this is the recipe that Rabbit got from Bear, as it is so delicious I could eat it every Saturday!  Okay, maybe every Saturday is too much...but, it will be an Easter dessert, eNjOy!!

Rabbit's Carrot Cake

Combine Dry Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Nutmeg
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Baking Soda

Then Add and Blend Well:
1 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Stir In:
3 Cups Grated Carrots
2 Cups Chopped Pecans

Grease and flour pans.  Bake in three 9 inch pans (or 9x13, cupcake pan, or whatever you'd like!).  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz Pkg Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Tsp. Almond Extract
2 lb bag Powdered Sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese, add flavoring.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  If needed add small amount of milk.  Spread icing and decorate as desired.

Praise to the Man

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, called of God, to usher in this last dispensation.  I have the privilege to teach Relief Society this week and it teaches us about Joseph and Hyrum Smith. https://www.lds.org/manual

 As I watch this video I am flooded with emotion and gratitude for Joseph Smith and also for his brother Hyrum Smith and their fight to defend the truth they know.  It reminds me of the general conference talk Elder Holland currently gave (April 2014), 'The Cost-and Blessings-of Discipleship'
(Elder Holland's Talk).

Elder Holland stated "With admiration and encouragement for everyone who will need to remain steadfast in these latter days, I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part."

I will be showing this video as it brings a spirit of truthfulness, courage, and dedication.
Praise to the Man, our Prophet, Joseph Smith. 

Springtime Fonts

Have you ever heard of dafont.com? If not, you should go check it out. I'm seriously in love with all of the fun fonts you can get for free! I have so many favorites and a fun font can be the perfect touch when you are creating a project.

I'm going to share some of my favorite springtime fonts with you. If you find one you love, head on over to dafont.com and get it for yourself! 

Delicious Butter Cookies

Everyone should feel ‘special’ and that’s exactly how you are going to feel after I share one of my all time favorite recipes.  I’m inclined to guard it close to my heart, but that would be selfish.  So, as a measure of my trust in each of you to keep this ‘secret’ I will share this fantastic and utterly delicious butter cookie, aka ‘crack’ cookie recipe.  These scrumptious cookies have been part of my life ever since. . . I can’t remember when.  My Aunt Beth was the first to introduce this delightful morsel as she would usually bring them, along with pumpkin pie, to family Thanksgiving dinners.  Since, then I have made them for many an occasion and have received rave reviews!  You’re sure to love them too!


3/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. White Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Cups Sifted Flour

Combine butter, brown sugar, and white sugar and cream until well blended.  Then add egg yolk and vanilla, blend again.  Next, add flour and mix well.  Once dough is mixed shape into balls and flatten with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.  Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.  Yields. 2-3 dozen depending on ball size.


1/4 Cup Butter
2 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Milk of Cream as needed

Cook butter on medium heat while stirring.  Cook until it reaches a nut brown color.  Then pour into a bowl and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add milk or dream as needed to reach a medium-thick consistency.  Spread cookies and decorate as desired.