Thursday, December 23, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

This, along with sticky buns, is a Christmas morning must.  It has also become a dinner favorite and is a birthday request from one of our children.  When I serve this for dinner, I often make a batch of muffins to accompany it along with red grapes.  Easy, and beautiful on a plate! 

cooked, cubed ham
1 (8 oz.) tube crescent rolls
cheddar cheese, shredded
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. milk

Line the bottom of a buttered 9x13 inch pan with crescent rolls - seal seams.  Layer desired amount of ham and cheese over the rolls.  Combine eggs and milk; pour over all.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Cut into squares.

Sticky Buns

Sticky buns has become a Christmas morning tradition in the Harding household.  We also enjoy these sweet treats for breakfast on special occasions and when company stays over for the evening.  They are easy and quick to bake in the morning.  I hope you'll enjoy these as much as we do!

18 frozen dinner rolls (unbaked dough)
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 (4 oz.) package dry butterscotch pudding mix (not instant)
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Place frozen rolls in bottom of greased 9x13 inch pan.  Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over rolls.  Combine pudding mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle half of this mixture over the rolls.  Pour remaining butter over rolls; sprinkle remaining mixture over the butter.  Let rolls rise for about 8-12 hours at room temperature, uncovered.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Invert onto serving platter. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Red Velvet Truffles

I cannot begin to describe to you how delicious these truffles are.  You simply must make some and invite your friends and family over to share!

1 red velvet cake (baked in a 13x9 inch pan)
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
1 (16 oz.) can Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pkg. Almond Bark (chocolate or vanilla)
wax paper













1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (I used my fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)













3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50.)













4. Chill or freeze for an hour.

5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.

6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll.)







*Tip:
1.  I only melted a few pieces of bark at a time because it cools quickly.  It's best to work with when hot.

2.  I sprinkled red sugar on top of the bark, but it must be done while still warm in order for it to stick. 
 
These are to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and are good for a week!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

This is the way my mom made Red Velvet Cake growing up.  It is simple, quick, and very moist. 

Cake:
1 Butter Recipe cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 tsp. cocoa
1 oz. red food color

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.  Spray 3 9 inch pans with non-stick cooking spray and evenly pour batter into pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until cake springs back. 

Frosting:
1 stick butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients with a mixer until creamy. 

Hint:  I made these as mini cupcakes and baked them for around 12 minutes.  I also added 1 cup of crushed Oreos to the frosting before piping it onto the mini cupcakes.  They were delicious!!!  If you're a pecan lover, you can also add chopped pecans to the frosting.


Chicken Enchilada Soup

4 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 pound of Mexican Velveeta cheese
1 can mild Ro-Tel (tomatoes & green chilies)
4 to 6 chicken breasts, cooked & cut-up
2 cups  of half & half
2 cups of milk (or heavy whipping cream)
1 can black beans (rinsed & drained)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 can (4-6 oz.) mild enchilada sauce

On the stove:  Mix all ingredients together & heat thoroughly on medium low heat, stirring some while heating until cheese melts. 

In the crock pot:  Mix all ingredients together & heat on high for 3-4 hours or low for
5-6 hours until warm.  Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. 

This makes a large pot!

Serve with tortilla chips.

Cookie Dough Cheeseball

This is a delicious treat to take to your Christmas party!  We love it!

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. crushed Oreos

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Mix in confectioners' sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 
Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball.  Wrap with plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 
Roll the cheese ball in crushed Oreos before serving. 
I serve this with chocolate crackers.



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rocky Road Fudge

My mom has made this for us at Christmas for as long as I can remember.  Now I am making this for my own children and those special Christmas fellowships.  YUMMY!!!

1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 Tbsp. butter
2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1 (10 1/2 oz.) bag mini marshmallows
1 can sweetened condensed milk

In a saucepan, melt morsels with milk & butter over medium heat, stirring constantly.  In a large bowl, combine nuts and marshmallows.  Pour chocolate mixture into marshmallow mixture; mix well.  Spread into wax paper lined 13x9 inch pan.  Chill 2 hours.  Cut into squares, serve.  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
    

Pine Bark

Here is another great Christmas candy recipe I discovered two years ago in a Paula Deen cookbook.  My husband could eat a batch of this alone!  Enjoy & share with your friends!

35 saltine crackers
1 c. butter
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
5 (4 oz.) milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a jelly roll pan with tin foil. Lightly spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.

Place saltine crackers, salty side up, in prepared pan. In a saucepan, boil butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Pour mixture over crackers and bake for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven, top with candy bars, and spread evenly as chocolate begins to melt. Cool slightly and transfer onto waxed paper. Allow to cool completely.


 

                                                    

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oreo Truffles

This is an easy Kraft Foods recipe, and a huge party hit!  I have also made these and given them away in a goodie basket.  Make sure when you make these you buy enough for two batches... you'll eat the first batch before the party starts!


1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. OREO Cookies, finely crushed (Keep 9 cookies set aside and crush separately to use for topping.)
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
 

MIX cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator

Tips:
1.  How to Melt Chocolate:  Place unwrapped chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.

2.  Sprinkle truffles with the extra 9 crushed Oreos before refrigerating.  Or drizzle with melted white chocolate for a different effect.

3.  These are also delicious when dipped in white chocolate!

Party Punch

Here is a yummy punch recipe that I just made for our youngest daughter's 1st birthday party.  It has long been one of my favorite punch recipes and is as pretty as it is delicious!  I have also been making this in individual glasses this week (as you would a float) and it has been soothing to my sore throat.  Enjoy!

1/2 gallon Sherbet (the flavor/color of your choice)                
2-liter Ginger Ale
2-liter 7 Up


Scoop your sherbet into a punch bowl (or glass).  Pour Ginger Ale and 7 Up over it.  It's that easy!!! 






Tips:
1.  If you are making this for punch, (and have room in your refrigerator) it's best to chill the Ginger Ale and 7 Up before serving. 

2.  My personal favorite is raspberry sherbet!  When making this, I also buy a bag of frozen raspberries and freeze them in ice cube trays to help chill the punch and garnish it.  If you choose to do this, freeze them using the Ginger Ale or 7 Up, not water.  Then as the ice melts, your punch does not become watered down. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Lesson to Live By 1 Kings 3:3-14

1 Kings 3:3-14

3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.
4 Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
6 And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

As we read this passage this morning, it was so refreshing and encouraging!  Solomon was given an opportunity to have anything he so desired and he asked for wisdom.  Understanding to discern justice.  Wow!  What a man of character!  Of course, Solomon had a man of character who set an example before him... his father, David.  Though David had his own faults, he truly was a man who loved and desired to serve The Lord.  His example had made an impact on his son, Solomon.  There were several points presented through this passage that I was challenged with personally, and it went hand in hand with the pieces of the sermon I heard this morning.  (My 11 month old was being a bit of a handful.) 

In verses 3-5, I was challenged in the example David had set before Solomon.  How do I encourage my kids to love and serve The Lord?  My attitude often does not reflect the desire of my heart.  Far too often, I get caught up in the temporal and neglect to point them to the eternal.  Yes, I take them to church.  We're there every time the doors are open!  They have been instructed, though not always obedient, how to sit quietly through a service, stand and sing, and be respectful of others.  But why?  Is it all for my own personal sake?  To make me look good?  Or is it truly my desire to see them honor and serve The Lord so that they will continue all the days of their life?  I do believe in public worship.  I believe it is an outward demonstration of our love for Jesus and His people.  It is also beneficial for us to surround ourselves with godly influence to encourage us and help steer us in the ways of truth.  However, we cannot depend on the church to teach our children about Jesus and all He has done for us.  That is our job as parents.  We are to train them at home, as well as in public worship.  For as you see in verse 5, it was while Solomon was worshipping that he had his dream and the ultimate question asked of him.  God honors and uses public worship to draw men and women to service for him.  It's through those services He calls some to be missionaries, evangelists, preachers, and teachers.

In verses 6-9, Solomon shows what a man of character he truly is by the way he answers.  One thing I noticed is that he does not answer right away!  Instead he reminds The Lord of his own unworthiness to be considered a king.  He recognizes his own inability and his dependence upon God.  How often do I depend on my own ability to control certain situations.  I think I have the answers and wish to impart my own opinion and beliefs upon others.  Solomon was quick to turn the attention back to the one he was dependent upon.  Today, our society is very me driven.  "I need some me time.  It's all about me."  If we are not in the spotlight, then we just won't participate.  We tend to have an "I'll show you" attitude.  Instead of holding the spotlight for others, we demand it to be held for us.  How appalling!  Is this the attitude God is pleased with?  Instead of desiring to be the sun, we need to be more like the moon and reflect the "Son".  Solomon, as a king, was a dictator.  He could have chosen to demand the attention of those under his authority.  Instead, he submitted to God by asking Him for the one thing he needed most... wisdom.  Just this morning, as Sunday mornings are sometimes difficult, things were not going as they should.  And instead of asking for God's help, I tried to get things done in my own power.  (And you moms know exactly what I mean!  We sometimes allow Sunday mornings to be the roughest.)  We need to be more like Solomon in seeking God's help over every situation and allowing Him to work in us and through us for His will to be accomplished.  This is done first by recognizing our dependence upon Him and then asking for His continual guidance. 

Then in verses 10-14, I was reminded of how God sees our heart.  He was pleased with Solomon's request and honored it.  Though it would be nice at times, God is not interested in our lip service.  We can sing praises like we have it all together, but if our hearts are not right, all we do is in vain.  Ouch!  There have been times I have went to church and taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and even kept nursery when my heart was far from right.  All of those moments were pure vanity.  How often does The Lord look at your heart and reject the "praise" you offer?  Solomon was humble and God not only granted him what he asked for, but much more!

What about you?  What kind of example are you setting for future generations?  Is life all about Y-O-U?  Or are you pointing others to Jesus by having a servant's heart?  And what about your heart?  No one can see it but The Lord.  Is it pure?  Are your motifs righteous or selfish?  I'll close with a quote from an old hymn that challenges me every time I hear it.  Oh to only be able to not only sing it, but claim it word for word... "All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to HIS blood". 


On a side note, our teacher asked a question this morning that I thought I had an answer for.  However, he made a very thought provoking point I'd like to include.  The question was, how are blessings and obedience related?  My thought was that they go hand in hand.  If you're obedient, you'll receive blessings.  His statement was that we are all blessed, but when we are obedient, we can see those blessings more clearly.  Wow!  I have certainly been blessed.  I just forget how much when I am consumed with my selfishness.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Spiced Cider

What a delicious way to entertain this season!  Your house will smell wonderful, and your guests will have a warm, flavorful drink to sip on.  Grab your crock pot and a jug of cider and call your friends over for a night of fun and laughter!

1/2 gallon apple cider
1/4 c. red hots
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
oranges (optional)
2-3 cinnamon sticks (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups apple cider, red hots, and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Add cloves and allspice.  Mix with remaining cider in a crock pot and add cinnamon sticks and orange slices.  Serve warm!

Pineapple Salad

This is a recipe I created while working at the coffee shop.  It is great on pumpernickel or white bread, but I love it served as a dip with ginger snaps!  Perfect for Christmas parties!

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)  *I add vanilla when using this as a dip.

Mix all of the ingredients well with an electric mixer.  Chill before serving. 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I discovered this recipe on the inside of my can of Libby's pumpkin!  It is pretty as well as easy!
A beautiful, edible decoration! 

Cake
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)


Filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar, sifted
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
  1. PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
  3. BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
  4. BEAT cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Hint: 
When you make this dessert, you will have leftover pumpkin as well as frosting.  Use the leftovers to make Pumpkin Cream Muffins!  They are delicious!
http://clharding.blogspot.com/2010/11/pumpkin-cream-muffins.html

Pumpkin Cream Muffins

This recipe was passed to me from a lady in our church.  She knows how much I love pumpkin and thought I would enjoy these.  They are incredible!!!  As a side note... I had made a pumpkin roll earlier in the week and had frosting left over; so I decided to top them with a dollop of cream cheese frosting as an added bonus.  However, these muffins are delicious without frosting!



1 pkg. spice cake mix
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1   egg
 
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
PREPARE cake batter as directed on package. Add dry pudding mix and pumpkin; mix well. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
BEAT cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Blend in sugar and egg; spoon over batter.
BAKE 18 to 21 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 5 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

Hint:
1.  I did not have a spice cake mix on hand and decided to use a yellow cake mix instead.  To add the "spice" into the batter, I added 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 1 tsp. vanilla. 

2.  I filled the recommended 24 muffin cups, but the muffins rose too high and it took much longer to cook.  You should line 30 muffin cups or use the leftover batter (after your 24) to make a mini loaf. 

3.  You can make this at the same time you make a pumpkin roll.  Between these two recipes you will use the whole can of pumpkin and frosting!  Then you'll have 2 desserts!  Desserts are always better when shared with a friend. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Crunch

Sweet potato recipes rate among my favorite.  And this recipe is one I look forward to eating every year on Thanksgiving!  I double this recipe and take it, along with dressing, to our family Thanksgiving lunch each year.  I hope you will enjoy this as much as we do!

3 c. baked sweet potatoes (See recipe below.)
1 c. sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 c. evaporated milk (Or regular, if you prefer.)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 c. chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with no stick cooking spray.  Mash sweet potatoes in an electric mixer.  Add sugar, melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared dish.  Sprinkle yellow cake mix on top of sweet potatoes.  Drizzle melted butter on top of cake mix.  Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes.  (If you choose to use pecans, mix your cake mix and pecans in a gallon size Ziploc bag before sprinkling over sweet potatoes.)

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes
butter
cinnamon sugar
aluminum foil

Scrub sweet potatoes under cold water to wash excess dirt.  Dry.  Poke holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork.  Rub outer skin of the sweet potato with butter.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over butter and wrap in foil.  Repeat until all potatoes are wrapped.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft when squeezed.  (The softer, the better!)  If using for the sweet potato crunch, unwrap and allow to cool.   

Hint:  These baked sweet potatoes are delicious when served alone!  You can slice them open and top with honey butter, marshmallows, cinnamon sugar, or brown sugar for an added sweet taste.  (If you choose to top with marshmallows, toss them back in the oven for 10 min. or until marshmallows brown. 

The above recipe will use approximately 6 sweet potatoes.  After baking and cooling, they should be peeled before mashing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dressing

It's almost time for Thanksgiving, and that means Turkey and Dressing!  My Granny Griffin taught me how to make this southern dish; and over the past several years, it has been my one of my contributions when we go to visit our family on Thanksgiving day. 

Cornbread (I buy Martha White cornmeal and make the traditional recipe in a cast iron skillet.)
7 slices white bread, toasted on both sides
1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 stick butter
2 c. celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Turkey parts  (for stock... see instructions below)
7 c. turkey stock (You could supplement this with store bought chicken stock.  If you choose to do this, you won't need the turkey parts.)
salt & pepper to taste
5 eggs, beaten  (My Granny boils these and chops them before adding.  However, I do not like boiled eggs and choose to add them this way.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, crumbled white bread, and crumbled crackers.  Set aside. 
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent.  Pour the celery and onions over the cornbread mixture.  Add the stock, mix well.  Taste and add salt & pepper to taste.  Add beaten eggs and mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake about 45 minutes or until cooked through.  Serve with turkey!

Turkey Broth
turkey parts (I prefer turkey wings or legs.)
8-10 c. water
season salt, pepper to taste
1/2 stick butter

In a large pot, bring the turkey and seasonings to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high and boil until turkey is cooked.  (About 30-40 minutes.)  Reserve the broth for dressing.  Dressing calls for 7 cups of broth, but I always reserve the leftover broth just in case my dressing is not as juicy as I'd like for it to be before baking.  I do not like a dry dressing!  Also... I like to de-bone the turkey wings or legs and add some of the meat to my dressing.  If you prefer not to add to dressing, you'll have a nice snack to eat while cooking! 

Tips:
I make this dish ahead of time (leaving out the eggs) and keep in the fridge until time to bake.  (This is when the extra broth can be helpful.  Sometimes the breads soak in the allowed 7 cups and more is needed.)  If you choose to do this, allow the dressing to stand for about 1 hour at room temperature before adding the eggs and or remaining broth.  Then bake and enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Potato Soup

As I made this soup for dinner last night, I decided to write down what I was doing so there would be a recipe to pass down.  If you're like me, pictures are helpful so I included some of those too!  Our family enjoys this soup in the winter and we always have plenty left over to heat up for lunch throughout the week.  Great when served with garlic cheese toast, wheat bread, or wheat biscuits (from the freezer, of course)!

Step 1:
2.5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced 
(I sometimes use red potatoes and it is not necessary to peel those.  Just scrub them well first.)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 stick butter
2 T. Kosher salt (or regular if you prefer)
1/2 tsp. white pepper
4 c. water



Bring the above to a boil.  Turn down to medium heat and boil slowly for 10-15 minutes. 

Step 2:
3 cans evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter
8 oz. chopped ham
(This could be leftover baked ham or the pre-diced package one found in the meat section.)



Add and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes stirring often.  Careful not to scorch milk! 

Step 3:
(May be prepared while waiting on step 1 to cook.)
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. cold water



Mix until smooth in a small dish.  Add to soup stirring constantly as to avoid clumping.  This step is intended to thicken soup to your desire.  Feel free to repeat this step if desired thickness is not reached.  Once desired consistency is reached, move to step 4.

Step 4:
Transfer into a large crock pot and simmer on low until you are ready to serve!  It is best if left in the crock pot for an hour to allow the flavors to marinate together.  However, this step is not completely necessary and soup is thoroughly cooked after step 3. 

Enjoy!!!

Hint:  This is excellent when topped with cheese, crushed Ritz crackers, crushed croutons, chives, or even bacon bits.  And don't forget the bread I mentioned in the opening paragraph... which is delicious when dipped in the soup.  GREAT soup to serve when you're expecting company as it requires very little clean up once transferred to crock pot.  Mix up a batch of pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie for a wonderful, complete, southern meal!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Here is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe.  It's quick, simple, and delicious!

1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl, beat all ingredients together with a wire whisk or mixer.  Pour into crust, and bake 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake another 35 to 45 minutes.  Cool before serving. 

DELICIOUS!!!  I think I'll make this for the weekend.  =) 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pecan Pie Bars

I typically do not eat pecan desserts.  However, this is super sweet and a must try.  Great break from the traditional pecan pie.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender (or fork) until mixture resembles very fine crumbs.  Press mixture evenly into a greased 13x9 inch pan, using a piece of plastic wrap to press crumb mixture firmly in pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently.  Remove from heat.  Stir one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten eggs; add to remaining hot mixture.  Stir in pecans and vanilla.  Pour filling over crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 34 to 35 minutes or until set.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thoughts on Friendship

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

These verses have been in the forefront of my mind as I am facing many emotions in regards to friendship.  What is a friend?  I believe it is one who shares in each of these "times" with another.  Truly loving them in times of joy and sorrow. 

These past several weeks have brought many challenges as a friend.  Ups and downs wouldn't even begin to describe the juggling of emotions we have shared together.  Yet through it all, there was a constant joy, hope, and comfort in the lives of us all as we share the same dependence and faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  This journey started with a friend who shared her wonderful news about her expecting her third child.  It was a wonderful time of rejoicing!   However, a week after hearing of her joy, there came deep sadness as she found out she had a miscarriage.  Soon after, there was yet another friend who was sharing the joy of pregnancy only to share the next night that she too was experiencing signs of a miscarriage.  How devastating!  I've never experienced this depth of sadness and would not dare to venture out and say "I know what they are going through".  Nevertheless, I felt sympathy for them through their loss. 

The coming days led to yet another round of emotions as a dear friend shared her joy of expecting a third child.  Due to migraines and already experiencing nausea, she too has been at the forefront of my mind.  We are excited and looking forward to the joy of this new blessing!  However, there is yet two other sweet ladies and a family member who has not yet been able to have children.  They too will always be in my thoughts and prayers as I cannot begin to imagine the emptiness they feel.  How do we, as family members and friends, love others through their ups and downs?  How can we be excited for one yet feel sadness and sorrow for others? 

Sitting here this morning, The Lord brought several verses to mind...

Galatians 6:2
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 

Ecclesiastes 4
9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24
A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

Proverbs 20:6
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

What kind of friend are you?  Far too often, I have not been there for another because of my own selfishness.  Maybe they have offended me and I have no obligation to be friendly to them.  They have in fact hurt me.  Or maybe I want to justify not bearing their burden because there was a time in my life when I was rejoicing or facing sorrow and they were not there for me.  I owe them nothing, right?  Wrong!  How often have I failed Jesus, the one who came to this earth, lived a sinless life, then died for me?  Far to often, my friends, we fail Him.  And he is our Creator.  He commands us to "love one another" even over our own self. 

Maybe you are facing many challenges today as you seek to minister to those you love.  Hold on to these verses and realize we cannot put all of our focus on just one but must demonstrate love to all.  Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who mourn.  Love as Jesus would expecting nothing in return! 

"My friends are my estate."
- Emily Dickinson

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."
-Donna Roberts

"True friendship is sitting together in silence and feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Biscuits

I have tried several different biscuits, but this one tops them all!  Quick, easy, and sweet, this is a favorite Paula Deen recipe.  Enjoy! 

2 c. self rising flour
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. whipping cream

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and cream until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with additional flour. Fold the dough in 1/2 and knead 5 to 7 times, adding just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Gently roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter coated with flour, cut dough into biscuits. Place on baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray, leaving at least 1-inch between each biscuit. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weather Changes Matthew 6:25-34

Weather has always intrigued me, amazed me, and certainly gotten my attention.  My husband will tell you that my favorite channel is The Weather Channel.  Though now I have a great respect for the weather that God sends our way, I do not fear it near as much as I use to.  However, I am daily reminded that my God is in control of ALL things.  Weather included!

Several weeks ago, as we were driving down the road, we encountered a severe thunderstorm.  One of the fiercest I had ever been through.  Worry overcame me, and the fear was paralyzing.  Then in the midst of the terror, there was a ray of sun in the distance.  As we drove closer to the clearing, there appeared a rainbow.  A vivid reminder that the God of the thunderstorm is also God of the sun!  I began to weep and almost had a joyous fit over how mighty and powerful God is!  My friend was in the vehicle behind us and we began texting (neither of us were driving) about how magnificent our Lord was!  Why would I fret?  Why should I fear?  Just this morning, I was reading of a little girl who was walking through a lightening show and her mother was asking her why she showed no sign of fear.  Her response was that God was taking her picture!  It's all in how we percieve it! 

I have been greatly burdened by the careless remarks I hear daily about the weather.  Yes, there are days when it is very hot.  And there are days when it is very cold.  There are days when it is raining and we want it to be sunny and days when it is dry and we want it to rain.  For instance, I live in South Georgia and it is fall.  However, for the past four days, we have had uncharacteristic weather for the season we are in.  It has been rather warm, and I have been sweating.  It is also very dry, and we are in much need of rain.  It is easy to live in the here and now and think of our situation at hand and complain about how miserable we are.  Why do we complain? 

One reason we tend to complain is because others do.  It has been said that negative rubs off faster than positive.  Our friends are fussing about how miserable they are, so we do too.  Another reason we complain is because we are selfish.  We have an outdoor event planned and it is raining on our parade.  We've picked out beautiful fall sweaters for our outdoor family pictures and today's forecast is predicting record high temperatures.  Another reason I feel we complain is because we have forgotten who God is.  We have forgotten that He made the heaven and the earth, the sky and the sea, the land and the plants, and even us.  Instead of having a great respect, reverence, or fear of our Creator, we speak of Him and His Creation as though it were an unwanted piece of artwork.  I don't think we intentionally set out to dishonor Him, but when we forget who He is, it happens oh so suddenly. 

I've often pondered why there is such drastic changes in temperature.  Why sometimes the weather is uncharacteristic for the intended season.  But as I shared with the high school girls just recently, God has a plan for everything!  He looks after the birds just as He does you and I.  What if one tiny sparrow has a broken wing and He is allowing the warm temperature to linger until the little bird heals and can get to warmer weather.  What if the homeless man you pass on a daily basis is fighting an infection and He is postponing the cool weather for a day or two in order for the man to heal.  The "what ifs" could go on and on, but the question really is who are we to complain?  Remarks are one thing, but complaining is quite another. 

Dear friend, we are not dealing with "Mother Nature".  Nor are we speaking with "The Man Upstairs".  All of us were designed and created especially by Him and for Him; to bring glory to His name!  As I was reading in Exodus this morning with my youngest son, I was reminded of how the Israelites had been so quick to forget about all of the things God had brought them through and began to allow a complaining spirit to consume them.  Have you, as I have so often found myself, forgotten about all that God has brought you through?  Have you forgotten how holy He is and how sinful you are?  I am convinced that if we remind ourselves daily of His goodness and our sinfulness we will become dependant upon Him for our every breath.  And our lips will speak of His majesty, glory, and power!

Are you in need of an attitude change?

How do others view your God based on how you speak of His creation?

What are some "what ifs" you can ponder the next time you are tempted to complain about the
weather?

Never say it's a "bad" storm.  God doesn't make anything bad.  Instead, say it's a rough storm. 
~my mom

Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple Pound Cake

This recipe was passed down from my Granny Griffin.  It is a delicious, moist cake that our family especially enjoys this time of year.  I'll include the original recipe, but there are several ways you can personalize it.  My family does not particularly care for pecans in our desserts, so I leave those out.  Also, the glaze is wonderful, but if you are not planning on eating this cake immediately, I recommend leaving it off as it will make the cake soggy.  Another suggestion is baking this in two loaf pans instead of the typical tube pan.  When baked in two separate pans, you can wrap one in foil and share it with a friend or neighbor!  Don't worry... if you don't have an extra large family there will be plenty left for you and yours =).  So if there are apples sitting on your counter, grab an apron and start slicing.  You can be sniffing, sampling, and sharing this dessert before the day is over!

Apple Pound Cake

Cake:
2 c. sugar
3 c. self rising flour (I use Cake Flour)
1 1/2 c. Wesson Oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 c. raw apples (cut into chunky or bite size pieces)
1 1/2 - 2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla

Glaze:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake: 
Mix dry ingredients.  Add eggs and oil and stir.  Add apples and nuts.  Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer.  Add vanilla.  Spray a tube pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour batter into pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Glaze:
Heat butter and brown sugar over low heat until butter melts.  Add the milk and bring to a full boil.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and allow to cool down before spreading over cake.

Applesauce

If you're like us this time of year, there are apples to be eaten!  Before they waste away, why not make some homemade applesauce?  Here is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious fall treat.

Applesauce

4 apples
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. lemon juice

Peel, core, and chop apples into bite size pieces.  In a medium saucepan, stir apples, water, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice together.  Cover and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Cool.  Mash with a potato masher, fork, or electric mixer until desired texture is reached.  Refrigerate after mashing.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Adopted!!! Ephesians 1

As I sit to write this blog, I am reminded of the fact that my daughter will turn 14 this Friday!  Where did the time go?  It seems like only yesterday I had her cuddled in my arms with feelings of overwhelming love and fear all at the same time.  As a new mom, we all wonder how we could ever love anyone more and question how we will ever be able to protect our children and care for them the way God has intended for us to.  For myself, there were even greater emotions as I cradled my newborn and wondered who would ever "choose" us. 


You see, I was a single mom setting out to raise a little girl on my own.  There were obvious, overwhelming questions that I struggled with.  But God had even greater plans for us than I could have ever imagined!  He sent us the most wonderful husband / father that any girl(s) could ever ask for.  We were so blessed to have a man who chose us!  Who loves us and accepts us unconditionally! 


Several years ago, while driving down the road, I explained this to my daughter.  I shared how much her daddy loved her and chose to be her daddy; the same way that God chooses us to be His very own!  In Ephesians, Paul explains to us that as Christians, we will receive the same inheritance from God our Father as Jesus!  Just as my daughter will inherit the same blessing as her siblings, we will gain the same inheritance as Jesus!  Can you even begin to wrap your mind around that thought, dear friend? 


How about you?  Do you feel neglected?  Like no one loves you?  Do you feel lonely?  Like no one understands where you've been or the hurt you've felt?  Do you feel abandoned?  The ones you thought loved you and cared for you have left you for bigger or better dreams?  You are not alone!  I dare say we all have had these emotions at one time or another.  But God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins.  He made a way for us to be connected to him!  How did He chose you?  Do you remember the very day that you were "adopted" into the Kingdom of Heaven? 


I'll never forget the day the judge ruled and the decision was final for my daughter to legally be adopted by my husband.  It was a day of celebration!  Do you vividly remember the day your name was changed and you became a child of God?  If not, you can.  Today can be the beginning of your celebration! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

It's October, and  Fall is in full swing.  With the chipper mornings and beautiful afternoons, it is perfect weather for traditional home cooking.  If you like pumpkin pie and cheesecake, you'll LOVE this recipe!  It is a wonderful combination of the two. 

Pumpkin Pie Bars
Crust:
1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines cake mixes.)
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

Filling:
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 (16-oz.) box powder sugar
1 stick butter (room temperature)
3 eggs
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Mix all three crust ingredients together with an electric mixer until a stiff dough is formed.  Press dough evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.  Using the same bowl (no need to wash), beat the cream cheese, powder sugar, and butter until creamy.  Add the eggs (one at a time), then add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.  Mix until fully combined.  Pour over the pressed crust and bake for 40-45 minutes or until done.  You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't over bake!  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 
Don't cut these too big.  They are rich and filling. 

Suggestion:
For an added touch, you can sprinkle the serving platter with cinnamon before placing the bars on it.  Then garnish each bar with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon as well.  Then they will be just as beautiful as they are delicious!  (You can leave the whipped topping off of mine.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dark Mocha Brownies

Dark Mocha Brownies

1 box dark chocolate brownie mix (check the back of the box for additional ingredients)
1 bag dark chocolate chips (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 (8-oz.) pk. cream cheese
1 stick butter (plus 1 T.)
1 box powder sugar
2 T. coffee or espresso (room temperature)

Mix brownies according to package directions and stir in the chocolate chips (making sure to set 1/2 cup aside).  Cook according to package directions and cool completely.  Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature.  Mix cream cheese, butter, and powder sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add coffee and mix well.  Spread over brownies.  Melt the reserved 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips and 1 T. butter in the microwave.  Stir well and drizzle over the cream cheese frosting.  Enjoy!

Hint:  My husband and I enjoyed these better chilled.  So I recommend to refrigerate them before serving.  Also... if you love raspberries as much as we do, scoop 1/2 c. raspberry jam into a bowl and stir well with a spoon.  Using the spoon, drizzle the raspberry jam over the cream cheese frosting as well.  YUMMY!!!

Ranch Cheese Ball

Since football season is in full swing, I thought I'd post a couple of finger food recipes that are great to serve if you're having friends over to watch a game. 

Ranch Cheese Ball

1 (16-oz.) cream cheese
1 c. grated Cheddar, Co-Jack, or Colby Cheese
1 envelope dry Ranch dressing mix
real bacon bits

Mix softened cream cheese, dressing mix, and cheese together and form into a ball.  Roll in bacon bits.  Chill and serve with Ritz crackers. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Masks

As a child, I was intrigued by masks.  Mardi Gr as masks to be exact.  They are colorful, flashy, and glittery; what little girl isn't?  As my husband and I were shopping in St. Augustine last week, one of the shops had an array of them.  As I gazed at their beauty, my mind started to wander... 

How many colorful masks do I own?  Do I hide behind walls of guilt, bitterness, resentment and anger?  Do I fake good to hide bad?  Sadly, we often put on a front to disguise the real us!  Our purses are full of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and white masks.  As we look at these eight colors, examine your own heart and see how many masks you own.

Let's start with red.  Red can be used as caution or warning, or as a sign of power and strength.  I like to grab my red mask when things are not going my way!  The one that, unfortunately, I put on yesterday morning as the house was a wreck (or so I thought) and it had to be dealt with immediately!  I was "cautioning" those around me, by my actions, that things were not as they should be and showing my "power" that they were going to be!  Instead of signaling caution to others that I'm frustrated, I need to allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of my actions and caution me to stop and ask for His help and guidance. "An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression."  Proverbs 29:22

What about orange?  Orange is presently my favorite color, and it represents warmth.  When are my qualities warm and inviting?  When are others drawn to the God I serve and see His warmth present within my actions?  Only when I am walking daily with Him!   Only when I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my steps and guard my heart against any selfish ambition.  My husband and I love to host get togethers / parties, have people over for dinner or to just "hang out".  This is when my "orange mask" truly shines.  When I am serving and loving others.  At times, as I have shared with my closest friends, I don't feel like wearing the orange mask.  But as a Child of God, this is not an option!  "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Galatians 5:14  "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."  Galatians 6:2   "Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."  Romans 12:13

Yellow has two meanings.  One is cheerful, happy, or playful while the other is associated with being scared or a coward.  And, if you ask me, they can really go hand in hand.  Often times, the yellow mask may start off very happy, but end up a coward.  An example of this mask in my own life is when I have embraced what I think to be a most amazing idea; I share it with family and close friends and then announce it with a megaphone.  Just because I am excited and think it is marvelous, others should too, right?  Then as the idea is talked through or worked out, the excitement I feel may not be as exciting to those around me and I become a coward.  The yellow masks doesn't let anyone in for fear they may be hurt or mistreated.  These are those who jump in head first, giving their whole heart to a matter, but often end up on the bottom of the pool.  "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows."  Proverbs 20:25  "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."  Proverbs 15:13

Moving on to green.  I love a green mask.  It represents health, growth, nature, fertility, and safety.  This is the "second chance" mask.  The one we pull out when we want to start over.  We've sinned, missed the target, and need forgiveness.  I need to make sure I have a green mask in the van, my purse, and every room of the house!  How many times do I need to ask forgiveness for sinning against a Holy God and those around me?  More than I can count!  We must be dependant upon The Lord to convict us and then not too prideful to seek  forgiveness.  "[When] pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly [is] wisdom."  Proverbs 11:2  "A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor."  Proverbs 29:23

Blue is a calming color.  It shows creativity, intelligence, loyalty, strength, wisdom, and trust.  When are you most creative?  To whom are you loyal?  When do you demonstrate strength and wisdom?  If we are allowing the Holy Spirit to consume us, this blue mask should never be one we have to "find".  It should always be woven within the other colors to reflect our loyalty to the God we serve and our dependence upon Him for wisdom and strength.  Through His guidance, we will be challenged to be creative in how we love and minister to others.  Blue is a staple!  "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."  Ephesians 6:13

Purple reflects nobility, royalty, and power.  This color, like blue, should be woven into everything we do.  If you are God's chosen child, adopted by Him to inherit an eternity in heaven, you are royalty!  (Ephesians 1:5)  And the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within you, my friend!  (Romans 8:12)  Now that is something to get excited about and shout over!  Why is it, then, that we often live such defeated lives?  Our conversations do not always reflect the power over sin we encompass.  Nor does it reflect the "crown of royalty" we wear.  The negative, downcast spirit should not be a part of our wardrobe.  "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:."  1 Peter 2:9

Black is used to often depict something evil, scary, or depressing.  We have all fallen into this category because God's word says "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".  That means no one is exempt from the wickedness they were born into.  You, like myself, were born a sinner.  Nothing you can or will do could ever make you any better apart from the saving grace of Jesus.  And nothing you can do will earn you the right to be called His child.  It is only through His shed blood that you can have forgiveness from your sin.  Yes, we are all born sinners, but there is hope!  Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  I was born in America, have a list of ancestors who were Christians, my dad is a pastor, husband is a full time minister, and I go to church!  That should count for something, right?  The Bible says "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.:  Isaiah 64:6  Nothing I have done will ever earn me the right to be one of God's chosen children.  It is only through the acknowledgment of my own sinfulness and recognizing my need for Him to save me from myself.  Are you wearing this mask?  You don't have to! 

White is a symbol of pure, clean, fresh, good, and positive.  Do you wear this mask, or dig it out when someone rings the doorbell?  Our motives should be good, right, and positive.  We should desire to serve The Lord in all we do.  When others are around us, they should leave knowing they have been in the presence of a Child of God. 

In Mardi Gr as, these masks are worn to hide identity.  If no one can recognize you, they don't know what you're doing.  My 10 month old loves to get into the "no no zone".  When we stop her, she makes eye contact and continues to explore while smiling.  If we're staring at her we can't see what she's doing (or so she thinks).  That's how we live our lives sometimes.  Always throwing on some mask so that others don't see the pain, hurt, or regret that we carry around. 


What color of mask do you mostly wear?

What color do you need to reflect more often?

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit

The Real Me by Natalie Grant

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chicken Bog

I was first introduced to this dish when we lived in Navarre, Florida.  A friend of ours, who was living there at the time, was a native of North Carolina where it was popular.  I hope you all will enjoy this twist on chicken and rice as much as our family does!

Chicken Bog
3 chicken breasts (with or without bone)
1 pkg. smoked sausage
5 c. chicken broth (use the broth you'll cook the chicken in)
2 c. long grain rice, raw (I prefer Uncle Ben's)
1 stick margarine (cut in half)
season salt & pepper

Using a large pot, boil the chicken, 1/2 of the margarine, and season salt  in lots of water until fully cooked.  (Remember... you need 5 cups of broth to use later on, and the water evaporates while you cook it.)  Set
5 c. broth aside.  Boil sausage in a separate pot for 15 minutes.  (Do not reserve the sausage water.  Pour it out.)  Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and sausage into small circles.  Set aside.  In a large pot, combine the 5 c. chicken broth, the other 1/2 stick of margarine, salt and pepper (to taste).  Bring to a boil.  Add chicken, sausage, and rice.  Lower heat and cover.  Cook 30 minutes. 


I typically serve this dish with ford hook lima beans and biscuits. 

Monkey Bread

This is a family favorite!  When we were living in Valdosta, I would make this almost every Sunday night!  Our friends would come over and bring their own bag (of food) and I would have this baking for us to enjoy for dessert.  One friend always requested milk with hers =). 

This is also our standard "sleepover" breakfast.  And since I made it just this morning, I thought I would post the recipe for you to enjoy as well!

MONKEY BREAD

4 cans refrigerator biscuits
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
1 stick butter (I use real butter!) at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I use dark brown sugar.)
1/2 cup pecans, raisins, and or thinly sliced apples if desired.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Tear each biscuit into 4 pieces.
Toss biscuit pieces into cinnamon sugar mixture (several at a time) to coat well.

If you choose to add the pecans, raisins, or apples, sprinkle them onto the bottom of your pan.

Place biscuit pieces in a tube or Bundt pan until all are used. (Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.)

Mix softened butter and brown sugar with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over biscuits.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Turn upside down to serve.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. water
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. raisins (optional)
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs together.  In another bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Combine the two mixtures.  Stir in raisins and pecans, if desired.  Pour into 2 loaf pans or an 8x8 baking dish.  Bake for ~45 minutes. 

*Best if served warm!  I like to serve this with honey butter.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili (or Skyline Chili) is a favored dish in Ohio.  This recipe came from a lady in the church that my husband grew up in.  I first ate this while visiting with his parents and became a fan of this unique creation right away!  Don't let the ingredients overwhelm you.  This may start off as an expensive dish, but once you have the spices, it takes several dishes before you have to restock them.  I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as we do!  

3-4 c. Water
2 lbs. ground beef
1 T. unsweetened chocolate
2 T. vinegar 
1 medium onion, finely chopped 
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 1/2 tsp. salt 
16 oz.tomato sauce 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2 tsp.ground cumin
4 T. Chili powder 
5 whole Allspice                  
5 whole cloves
1 large bay leaf

Boil ground beef in water in a 4 qt. pot.  Stir until fine texture.  Boil slowly for 30 minutes.  Drain water off beef, add 3-4 c. fresh water along with the next 11 ingredients.  Stir.  Place Allspice, cloves, and bay leaf in a cheesecloth or tea ball before adding to chili.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 3 hrs.  Pot may be covered the last hour if desired consistency is reached.  Serve over cooked angel hair pasta.  Top with cheese and chopped onions, if desired.