To begin the evening, we had a potluck dinner. If our pioneer sisters wanted something to feed their families, they had to grow it, raise it, or gather it. Consequently, we asked everyone to bring a dish that included at least one item they had grown themselves (or thought about growing, or have grown in the past, or promise to grow in the future). :-)
It was amazing to see the delicious variety of foods that people brought. There seemed to be a lot of dishes with tomatoes, basil, or green onions in them.
Here is some information about a few of the dishes people brought: Marlene declared Heather's bruschetta to be better than Fazoli's and asked for the recipe. Sharon made a Spanish Rice using peppers from Karen's garden. Robynne B. didn't have time to make anything, so her mother-in-law made a delicious apple crisp for her to bring using apples from her yard. Rose made a tasty Chinese pancake with green onions. Bree brought Caprese Salad with ripe tomatoes from her garden (and kindly brought extra tomatoes for people to take home). The sister missionaries brought yummy homemade brownies. (Somebody had to grow the sugarcane, cocoa, and wheat, right?) It was a veritable FEAST!
The delicious soup in the lower right hand corner is "Herbed Tomato Soup" made with love by Karen.
Herbed Tomato Soup
In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup butter till melted. Add 2 medium onions, sliced (1 cup); cook till tender but not brown. Peel, core, and coarsely chop 6 medium tomatoes (about 4 cups); add to saucepan. (Or, use one 28 ounce can undrained whole peeled tomatoes, cut up.) Stir in one 6-ounce can tomato paste; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed; 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed; 1 teaspoon salt; and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in 4 cups chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Press through a food mill. (Or, place about half at a time in a blender container; cover and blend till pureed. Blending leaves more seeds in the tomato mixture than sieving. Or use a hand blender right in the pot.) Return to saucepan. Heat through. Makes 8 servings.
Lisa also talked about her ancestor Ephraim Hanks (who was the main character in the movie "Ephraim's Rescue). He helped rescue some members of those same beleaguered handcart companies. All were great examples of faith and fortitude!
Next, Cheryl M. spoke to us about one of her female ancestors who married a man with the last name of Pulsipher. This woman seemed like a very spunky and resourceful woman. When she first met her husband, she remarked disparagingly to another person that someone with the name of Pulsipher should change their last name. Little did she know that she would soon marry that man! Cheryl's ancestor lived in the area where the Scofield mine disaster of 1900 occurred. She sounded like an inspirational woman!
|Learning about Cheryl's ancestor|
Finally, Marlene dressed up in pioneer garb and pretended to be one of her ancestors. She spoke in first person as she related the famous Seagulls and Crickets story in early church history that some of her own ancestors experienced. It was quite a touching story, because the young couple were so poor that they only had a couple of biscuits left to eat before the crickets came and attempted to destroy their crops. Even though the mother did not have enough food for herself and her family, she gave a biscuit to another young mother who asked for food. This mother was pregnant and gave birth very soon after this experience. She credited Marlene's ancestor with saving her life by giving her the meager food.
In addition to sharing stories of her ancestors, Marlene suggested we all attend Daughters of Utah Pioneers meetings. They are held from September to May on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Primary Room. You do not have to have pioneer ancestry to participate. Please see Marlene for more information!
|Rose wanted to take a picture with Marlene|
Finally, in keeping with our pioneer sisters' need to be self reliant, we learned how to make laundry soap (not quite the same as they did, but a modern day version).
|Cheryl, Robin, and Sarah hard at work making soap|
Homemade Laundry Detergent
1 box of Super Washing Soda 3 lb. 7 oz.
1 box of Borax 4 lbs. 12 oz. size
3 bars of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz.
1 container of OxiClean 1.3 lb.
*optional: Purex Crystals 28 oz. for scent
Place the Fels-Naptha on a plate and slice into 5 sections. Microwave it for 1 min 45 seconds. Let set for about 30 minutes or until completely cooled. Crumble it up then rub it between your hands to make into a powder. Mix all ingredients together. Use 1 tablespoon mix for a regular load, 2-3 tablespoons for large loads or heavily soiled loads.
We are going to donate the soap to the homeless shelter to help assist those in need, just like our pioneer sisters were willing to help others even while they were struggling to survive themselves. (The ancestor stories we heard earlier in the evening demonstrated this pioneer characteristic very well!)
The RS Committee invited everyone who came to display an item they had made (a craft, clothing, art work, poem, anything). Our pioneer sisters used their talents to create needed items as well as to bring beauty to their surroundings. A few very talented and brave souls brought their beautiful creations for us to view:
Spencer W. Kimball said that "When you look in the dictionary for the most important word, do you know what it is? It could be ‘remember.’" It is important for us to remember the sacrifices of the pioneers that helped build the Church in its infancy. Whether or not we each have pioneer ancestors ourselves, the history of those early Saints is our shared history as members of the Church. Our Relief Society activity this month was an important way for us to remember them AND to connect with them as we live our modern lives. Thanks to all who organized this and/or participated in the inspiring event!