Thursday, March 31, 2011

I can't wait till May!!

I'm so excited! We just found out two days ago that if nothing happens between now and then, our oldest daughter, Sarah, and her husband Matt will be coming to see us at the end of May! We can't wait! It's been a year since we've seen them. In fact, we went up to WI last March. So to know they're coming, is so exciting! I can't wait to get our spare bedroom all ready for them!

It just hit me though, how busy May will be for us! Of course, mother's day, which may be a little harder this year for us. We lost my husband's mom in April 2008 to a stroke. Now, my mom is in a nursing home with terminal breast cancer. She wouldn't go into a doctor for many years, and I knew she had some health problems but never dreamed they were as bad as they are. So this may be our last Mother's Day with her. 

But anyway, getting back to May and happier thoughts, our 24th wedding anniversary is the 9th, too. Then, the 10th we have graduations (one of our nephews) and some friends of ours have kids graduating. Then we have a tentative ladies luncheon that I've got to get finalized, a potluck at church, our kids coming, Memorial day and whew! lol I suppose we'll be bored the rest of the year. lol. Nah, not a chance.

Monday, March 28, 2011

So excited!!!

I just got my new BIG cast-iron skillet in today AND my new stovetop grill/griddle combo! I feel stupid though, because when I ordered the skillet, I guess I didn't realize just how big it would be! I ordered the 15" one and it's big enough for me to feed an army! LOL! Had to crack up over that one. I may have to get the smaller one for daily cooking. But, I love the idea of having it for Sunday dinners when we have family over. No more using two skillets to fry something. And, I can't wait to try the combo. That just sounds too cool.

On a different note, it's snowing here, and it's supposed to be spring, but it IS Nebraska. As I was outside today taking the trash out, I thought about the pioneer women and what they endured during the snow and in general for that matter. I love that time period, and books like the Little House series, the Love Comes Softly series, etc. but I am glad I wasn't brought up during that time period. Makes me feel bad though, for days when I complain about having to cook a meal, when I'd rather have take-out, or complain about doing laundry, or other mundane tasks. Just think, we complain about having to do those things now, when we have so many modern conveniences. Imagine us, having to do those tasks like they did back then. Just another reminder from the Lord to thank Him for laundry to do, food to cook, and so much more.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Snowy day today..

 Where, oh where has our little Spring gone? Oh where, oh where can it be?? LOL! Ya gotta love springtime in Nebraska. You just never know what kind of weather you're gonna end up with. We had beautiful spring time weather last week, and now it's snowing again. The bright spot in all of this, is that it's not cold. Not really cold, that is. And the snow although it's sticking, some, it's melting at the same time. lol. Going down one of our streets yesterday, my van windshield kept getting doinked with snow, as it fell in clumps from the trees! It was wild. Good thing I realized it was going to happen or I might have freaked the first time it hit!


We're babysitting for some friends today, and the kids are all playing the Wii-bowling. It's so much fun. I've gotten to the point, that I actually like Wii bowling better than real bowling, just because I can't throw a heavy ball anymore. I used to throw a finger-tip drilled 13 pound ball when I was in my 20's. Now that I'm uh...well, not in my 20's anymore, I can't. I usually throw about an 8 pound ball, much to the dissatisfaction of my dh. He keeps telling me that to be more consistent, I should throw a heavier ball. Oh well. It's all good. :) Well, off to do something constructive. :)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Artisan Bread



I just love this recipe for Artisan Bread, that Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François came up with. I love homemade bread, but I hate taking the time it usually takes to make it. Having to mix, knead it, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again...It's just too time consuming. This recipe for Artisan Bread is made without any kneading! You mix it in a bucket or big bowl, let it set on the counter for 2 hours. Then, you can either make a loaf or two, or let it sit in the fridge till you're ready to bake it-up to 2 weeks!! The artisan free-form loaf called the French boule is the basic model for all the no-knead recipes. The round shape (boule in French means “ball”) is the easiest to master.

If you make the following recipe, you'll end up with enough dough for 4 loaves. They tell you to pull off a grapefruit-size ball. An easier way for me, is to mix it all in a plastic square bowl I have, and when it's mixed and raised, I mark the dough down the middle both ways (across the middle to form a + so to speak. Then, i just cut the dough and form the ball. I usually make two loaves at a time.

Basic Master Recipe

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 TBSP Salt
1 1/2 TBSP Yeast (active dry or quick rise)
6 1/2 cups flour (level)

Pour yeast into water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well,  but do NOT knead. Use a wooden spoon or other to mix it with. Cover with lid-not airtight. Lift a corner if needed, to allow gases to escape. Let rest on counter, then you can either make a loaf or two, or put in refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough so it won't stick to your hand. Cut off a ball about the size of a grapefruit (or divide your bowl like I do, into fourths and remove a fourth). Dip the ball in flour and then turn in your hand, pulling the dough down and under itself; make a nice even ball-should only take about 30 seconds. 

Put a little corn meal or flour on the counter or a pizza peel. Place the dough on top. Let sit for 40 minutes to an hour. Does not need to be covered. 

At about 30 minutes into resting time, preheat oven to 450 degrees. If baking on a stone, place the stone in the oven to preheat. Have a metal pan on the bottom rack of oven. Slice bread across the top with little, quick cuts to create a bit of an Artisan design. (see picture) Put bread on stone or cookie sheet and into oven. Place 1 cup hot water in pan and close oven door. This water will help steam the bread and make it crispy. 

Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Take out and let cool on a rack before cutting. The recipe doesn't call for this, but I pour a little olive oil across the top of the bread when it's done baking to soften up the crust. I like the crispy crust, but it makes it hard to slice. Sprinkling the oil across the top and down the sides, makes it easier to slice. 

If you buy their book, you can have other recipes for other types of breads using this basic recipe, as well as sandwiches, rolls, etc.  

    

Slow-cooked BBQ Pork Sandwiches

1 (3-4 lb) Pork Roast (Pork butt)
1 bottle bbq sauce
salt, pepper to taste

Buns, bread or sandwich rolls

Place pork roast in crockpot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fill with enough water to cover. Cook on low overnight or on high for 6-7 hours. Remove roast from crockpot. Pour off water. Pull or cut roast apart, and place back in crockpot. Pour in one bottle of bbq sauce and stir till well-blended. Let cook till heated through. Serve on buns, bread or rolls, and as-is, or add toppings such as onion, green pepper, or any toppings you desire. This will be very tender, and it is sooooo good! I usually serve mine with big buns or rolls, and with chips and a salad. Enjoy!  

Low-Country Smothered Pork Chops (Paula Deen)




This is a wonderful recipe for pork chops. My son told me it was "awesome"! I love hearing that! This is one of Paula's recipes. Enjoy!

4 center-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spread on a plate
2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
2 yellow onions, trimmed, cut lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce


Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly roll the chops in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.
Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about half a minute longer. Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet. Add chops to pan and place vegetables on top of pork chops. Pour in the broth and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Cover pan with foil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until chops are tender.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hearty Chicken-Noodle Soup

12 oz. bonelss, skinless chicken breast, cubed
4 cups water
2 lg. onions, chopped
2 TBSP. parsley, snipped
2 TBSP. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. crushed, dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
1-12 oz. pkg. Reames Frozen Egg Noodles
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups celery
2 cups milk
1 cup frozen peas
2 TBSP. all-purpose flour

Place chicken cubes, water, onion, celery, parsley, bouillon, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf in a large Dutch oven. Bring to boiling. Add the noodles, carrots, sliced celery, return to boiling. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes or until noodles are almost tender. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk and peas. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour until smooth. Stir into noodle mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
This recipe may take a little time to prepare, but it is well worth the wait! It is a wonderful alternative to traditional chicken noodle soup. Time could be cut, by using canned or frozen carrots.

Homemade Beef Stew

1 pkg. stew meat
3 TBSP. shortening
6-8 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomatoes
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
4-5 potatoes, cubed
2 TBSP. vinegar
salt, pepper to taste

Flour and brown stew meat in shortening on low flame. Add 6-8 cups water and onion. Simmer 2-3 hours. Add tomatoes. Cook 1/2 hour and add carrots, and celery. Cook 45 minutes longer. Add potatoes and cook for 1/2 hour. Add vinegar, salt and pepper. This can also be adapted for the crockpot: Brown stew meat on top of stove in shortening. Place meat and remaining ingredients into crockpot. Cook 5 hours on high.

Texas Taco Dip

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, mashed with liquid
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 TBSP. chili powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped pimientos-stuffed green olives
Taco chips

Combine meat, onion, & garlic in 1 1/2 qt. glass bowl or casserole. Stir to break up meat. Cover tightly with saran wrap, turning back the edge to vent. Microwave at 100% for 4 minutes, stirring twice. Drain off excess fat. Add beans, tomato sauce,chili powder and salt. Mix well. Recover, leaving vent and microwave at 50% for 8 minutes, stirring once. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Spoon into chafing dish and set over low flame or double boiler. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and olives. Serve with taco chips.

Tortilla Appetizers

1-2 pkgs. tortillas (flour)
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1-8 oz. pkg. sour cream
1 can chopped black olives
1 can diced green chillies
1-8 oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese

Mix ingredients; spread on tortillas. Roll up, and chill over night. Slice and serve with or without salsa.

Spiced Cranberry Cider (Wassail)

2 qts. apple cider or juice
1 1/2 qts. cranberry juice cocktail
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
4-3" cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon slices. If desired, float one lemon slice in each cup. Makes about 25 servings (1/2 cup each). This is soo good!

Breakfast Casserole

6 eggs, beaten
1 lb. Little Smokies (cocktail wieners) or 1 1/2 lb. bulk sausage, browned and drained
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices bread, torn into pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Mix together all ingredients except mozzarella cheese. Pour into greased slow cooker. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Cover and cook 2 hours on High, and then 1 hour on Low. Enjoy!
Serves 8-10

Mini Cheese and Onion Pastries

4 oz (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 (8oz) cans Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
2 tps oil
1/4 tsp dried dill weed


Heat oven to 375º. In small bowl, combine cheese and onions; mix well.

Seperate dough into16 triangles; cut each in half diagonally to make 32 triangles. Place rounded teaspoon of cheese mixture on center of each triangle. Bring corners to center over filling, overlapping ends; press gently to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. brush each lightly with oil. Sprinkle with dill.

Bake at 375º for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salisbury Steak

I found this recipe at Mommy's Kitchen and it's soooooo goood!!


2 - pounds ground beef
1 - package Lipton’s French Onion Soup Mix or Store Brand
1/2 - cup cracker crumbs
1 - egg
2 - packets (0.75 oz) brown gravy mix
+ the required amount of water stated on the gravy packet.
1 - cup sour cream
1 - small can mushroom stems, optional
egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes


Make hamburger patties using ground beef, bread or cracker crumbs, egg and soup mix. Fry or grill until patties are browned on both sides. While the hamburgers are cooking in a bowl mix together the dry gravy mix, water and sour cream. Mix to combine. Spray. a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick and lay cooked patties in the pan. Cover the patties with the sour cream and gravy mixture. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 - 40 minutes, turning patties halfway through. Serve with egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.


This recipe is sooooo good! My family just loved it!! It's definitely a do-over! In fact, I'm making it for Sunday lunch when the family all comes over. :) I served mine with mashed potatoes and corn. The gravy this makes is just so wonderful!! Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bought myself a present!




I can't wait! I bought myself a cast iron griddle/grill combination! I bought it off ebay and can't wait for it to get here! My cholesterol is a little high, and the doctor wants me on a low-fat, low-carb diet. Ugh. I can't eat! Just kidding. LOL! But I found this bargain and thought it would be nice to start grilling more chicken, fish and burgers, etc. So, while I wait for it to come, I'm going through some of my recipes and some new ones I've found and trying ti whittle away the extra fat, at least. That'll be good for me for so many reasons. I also live with IBS and it's hard because I never know for sure which foods will make me feel bad. So, onto new discoveries, new recipes and to hopefully bring my cholestrol and weight down! Hoping it all helps dh too. His cholesterol was good, but we could both stand to lose some weight. Hopefully now that spring has sprung, we'll be able to get out and do more and trim down and get healthy! Any tips out there?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gorgeous Weather!

I have to say, after having all the snow and ice, we have some beautiful weather now! It's sunny and warm and just gorgeous! I worked on our front yard a few days ago and now I need to work on cleaning up the sides of the house and the back yard. So, hoping I can get that done this weekend.

I've been having fun looking up new recipes from http://www.mommyskitchen.net/. After trying Tina's roast beef the other day, I'm encouraged to try more! My family loved it! I admit, I'd gotten used to making the same-old, same-old and I think that's one reason I'd gotten tired of cooking, and I know they grew tired of eating it. So, here's hoping I can pull off an all-new menu! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beautiful Spring Weather

is finally here! I am so hoping that this officially means NO MORE SNOW!! I know we actually had a pretty mild winter, for us. BUT, I'm still sick of snow and ice and so ready for spring to be here! I love working in the yard, and letting the little ones we babysit, play outside. The little girl is in school right now, so she at least gets recess and time to play outside, but the little boy is here all day, and he sure needs time outside. If it doesn't rain today, I'll take him out for awhile.

I actually love the rain, in fact dh and I go walking in the rain! We love it! It's so fun to do, when it's just a light rain, and the temps are high enough that you don't chill. We've gotten so many looks and people laughing at us, as we go walking down the street in the rain! It's so fun! If you've never taken a walk in the rain, I recommend you do so. There's nothing like the smell of fresh rain and the feeling you get, walking hand-in-hand with your sweetie in the rain.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No-Fail Potroast

1 - 2 or 3lb beef pot roast of your choice
(I prefer chuck roast)
1 - 10.5 oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 -packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix (dry)
Vegt. or Olive oil or pan spray (to sear the meat)
salt and pepper (to taste)
Carrots & Potatoes

Rinse the roast with water and pat dry with paper towels. Sear meat on stove top before adding it to the crock pot. Add a little oil to a fry pan (vegt. or olive oil) or use cooking spray . Salt and pepper your roast. Bring the heat up and really get that pan hot. Add the roast and let it sear for about 5 minutes. Then flip it over and sear the other side. Add roast to the crock pot.


Mix the onion soup mix and cream of mushroom soup. Pour over roast. Cover and set slow cooker on low and cook for 6 - 7 hours. Turn pot roast over about half way through cooking time.


About a hour before the roast is done start to prepare the carrots and potatoes. Peel carrots and potatoes and cut into pieces. Par-boil veggies for about 8 - 10 minutes in a pot of water before adding to crock pot. That way the veggies cook all the way through and they are not mushy when the roast is done. Drain the water off the potatoes and carrots. Remove roast to a plate and add veggies to the crock pot the last hour of cooking. Replace the roast on top of the veggies. Season with a bit of pepper and cover and cook the last hour.


The meat just falls apart and this recipes makes it own gravy. This is so wonderful the next day for roast beef sandwiches, or in flour tortillas or just warmed up and served with some rice.
Recipe from: Tina at Mommy's Kitchen Thanks, Tina! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Count Your Blessings

A devotion I shared at our Nov. Ladies Meeting:


Erma Bombeck was quoted as saying, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times (in football games) take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” With Thanksgiving coming up twice for us (once at church and once with our family), I thought that pretty much summed it up. :)


I know for me, when I’m having a particularly “down” day, if I start praising God and thanking Him for the people in my life, the good things that are going on and quit focusing on the bad things, I feel so much better. The Bible tells us we’re to be thankful for everything, and at all times. I know this is hard, believe me. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”


“Thanks” occurs 73 times in the KJV”— Thanksgiving” occurs 28 times
“Praise” occurs 248 times—“Praises” occurs 29 times.


A few things we need to be thankful for:


1. Our family and friends-
Time spent with them-we never know how much time we have with someone. Anyone could have a car accident or a sudden move, and we might not see them again or maybe not very often, so we need to treasure each day/time we have with them. We personally have lost several family members over the last few years so we are well aware of just how time seems so short with people you love.


2. Little things like clothing, food; shelter-
(a) Laundry (clothing)-
When was the last time you started a load of laundry and said “thank you, God for these clothes to wash, and this washer and dryer that work”. We had a fire in our mobile home the 1st day of January 1988, 6 months after we were married. Thankfully noone was injured or lost during the fire (Well, sadly we lost our two little parakeets, but no people were hurt and our dog was safe) We lost so much though, including clothes, bedding, etc. I was only 19 at the time, and going to church shortly after without my makeup, clothes, etc. was hard for me, especially when someone younger than I was, mentioned I looked so different. But I was thankful because we received so many bags of clothing, blankets, etc. that at the time, I ended up with more clothes than I started with! How great is our Lord! So when I get frustrated about the mounds of laundry that face me each week, I have to stop and thank God we have clothes to wash and that my washer and dryer work so I don’t have to go out and do laundry like we did when we first got married. With our kids growing up and leaving home, you’d think I’d be happy about not having that person’s laundry to do (they all know how to do laundry but I just do it most of the time), but I’m not. I stop and think about it, and realize that person is not in my home anymore. So, while I have their laundry to do, I am thankful.


(b) Food-
I don’t like to do daily cooking that much but, I love to bake though. But even though I get tired and wish some days that I didn’t have to cook, I have to see the big picture and be thankful (1)that I have a family to feed, and (2)that we have food to make. (not that I don’t love pizza and stuff like that!) We may not always have what we want at home to make, but if you have beans, or lunch meat, be thankful! There was a time in my life when I was little, and my mom was working two jobs to make ends meet, and food was hard for her to buy. So we ate alot of spaghetti and cheap things like that. And yes, you do get tired of it, but you also praise God because you have food to eat.


(c) Shelter-
How often do we thank God for our home? I know some of us have things that need fixing in our homes, or we don’t like the neighborhood or don’t like certain things about our house, but we need to stop and be grateful that we have a home to live in. So many people don’t have one. I personally lived with my mom, in our church for a few weeks, when I was little, as we were between apartments. Not a real pleasant experience although we were thankful for the place to stay. Visit a homeless mission just once, too, as I did, and you’ll be so thankful for your home. So the next time you’re cleaning or doing dishes for what seems like the billionth time, smile and praise God you have a home to keep clean!


3. Our salvation-
This one seems so obvious to us, we know if we’re saved, that we’re going to Heaven someday. But on a day-to-day basis, with all the other “stuff” going on in our lives, how often do we stop to think that God is real and we have Him there for us all the time, unlike those that don’t yet know Him. I can’t imagine going through some of our trials without Him.


I don’t know what kind of traditions you have for Thanksgiving at your house, but one we still hold to, is one that Brian’s Grandpa Pielstick started years ago (it may go back farther than that)-we all have to have a verse about thanksgiving, praise, etc. to either read or have memorized and share with the family before we pray and eat.


A Thanksgiving Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light
For rest and shelter of the night
For health and food, for love and friends
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Give thanks…



   

God's Conversation Hearts

I used this one at Valentine’s Day and we made some gift bags with the conversation hearts in them, and a tag with the references below.


“…blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28


While chocolate is my favorite candy-anything chocolate, I’ve still always liked the little conversation hearts at Valentine’s. The New England Confections Company (NECCO) says that their little hearts are the most popular of all Valentine’s candy. They were first created in 1866 and were originally called “motto hearts”. Each year Necco adds 10 new sayings to their hearts production.


Did you know God sends us conversation hearts too? We have to look in His word to find them, but they’re there and they’re new each day! Here are a few of my favorites…


BE MINE-God wants us to accept His love.-”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16


UR MINE-God loves us and will keep us.-”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28


LUV ME-God wants us to love Him.-”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thy self.” Luke 10:27


AWESOME-You’re God’s creation and He thinks you’re awesome!-”Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.’ Jeremiah 1:5


E-MAIL ME-God loves us so much He wants to communicate daily with us.-”Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3


CONCLUSION: There are many more of God’s conversation hearts-we just have to look for them. Have you missed any lately?

Being a Christian is Like Being a Pumpkin

I found this devotion online and tweaked it a bit and used it for our Ladies Meeting in October. Hannah carved the pumpkin while I talked. It's kind of a neat way to look at being a Christian.


Being a Christian is Like Being a Pumpkin


A woman was asked by a co-worker,
"What is it like to be a Christian?"
The co-worker replied,
"It is like being a pumpkin.God picks you from the patch,brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.
Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.,and then He carves you a new smiling faceand puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see." The woman had never looked at it like this before.
  
Ask yourself a few questions:

1. Have I made a decision to follow Christ? If you answered “yes”, name the certain day, time or place that you asked Jesus into your heart:
2. What has changed since I asked Jesus to be my Savior? (Ex.: My language got better; I want to witness)
3. What evidence is there in my life that would make other people think I’m a Christian?
4. What issues do I keep struggling with?
5. How faithful am I to daily Bible Reading and prayer?
6. How can I improve my walk with Christ?
 
Matthew 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Ephesians 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord:
walk as children of light:”

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!"

Big Ginger Cookies

2 ¼ Cup All-purpose Flour 2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Baking Soda ¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Cloves ¼ tsp. Salt
¾ Cup Margarine, Butter or Shortening 1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg ¼ Cup Molasses
2 Tbsp. Sugar


Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and salt and set aside. In a large bowl beat margarine, butter or shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 1 cup sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg & molasses; beat well. Stir dry ingredients into beaten mixture.

Shape into 1 ½” balls (1 heaping Tbsp. each) and roll in 2 Tbsp. sugar; place about 2 ½” inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees about 10 minutes or until light brown and still puffed. (Do not ver bake.) Let stand 2 min; transfer to wire rack.

These are kinda like the taste of gingersnaps, but they're big and soft! I LOVE THEM!!

Fudgy Chocolate-Chip Toffee Bars



1/2 cup Butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (32 squares)
1 bag (8 oz) Heath® Bits 'O Brickle® toffee bits (1 1/2 cups)
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 bag (12 oz) Hershey’s® semi-sweet chocolate baking chips (2 cups)
1 can (14 oz) Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tablespoon Butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.

2. In medium bowl, stir 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 1/2 cups of the cracker crumbs and 3/4 cup of the toffee bits. Press mixture evenly in bottom of pan. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until firm.

3. Meanwhile, let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. In 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate chips, milk and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Spread mixture over cracker crust.

4. In medium bowl, break up cookie dough. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup cracker crumbs with wooden spoon until well blended. Crumble mixture evenly over chocolate layer. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup toffee bits.

5. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For a firmer bar, refrigerate 30 minutes longer. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

Taco Soup

1 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste
1/2 chopped onion
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can rotel (or off brand) tomatoes
1 can chili no beans
1 lb. Velveeta or other type cheese block
.

It may sound gross, but it's great! My family asks for it alot. Mix all. Simmer till heated through and cheese melts. Serve with: Fritos, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa or hot sauce to top with...If you're making this for several you may want to double or even triple depending upon size of crowd. I double it for us on Sundays. Enjoy!

French Toast Casserole

6 cups bread cubes (12 slices)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 c white sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 TBSP margarine, softened
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Maple Syrup/ or powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and coat with little margarine or butter. Line bottom of pan with bread cubes. In lg. bowl, beat together eggs, milk, 2 TBSP sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour egg mixture over bread. Dot with margarine. Let stand 10 minutes (or can refrigerate overnight).

Combine remaining 2 TBSP sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Bake 45-50 minutes until top is golden brown. Drizzle maple syrup over when comes out of oven.

I found this recipe in a cookbook I had, and looked up variations online. I made this for church brunch and it was pretty good. You could serve with powdered sugar instead of maple syrup also. Another variation said to use Raisin Bread. Enjoy!

Goulash

1 lb. Hamburger
1/2 c. chopped Onion
Noodles
1 can Tomatoes
1/2 c. Water
1 tsp. Sugar
Salt, Pepper to taste


Brown hamburger and onion while cooking noodles. Drain both. Add tomatoes to noodles, and add remaining ingredients. Simmer.
Serves 4-6.

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

1 6 oz. can Boned Chicken
1 16 oz. can Chicken Broth
1/2 can Water
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 can biscuits


Combine first four ingredients in a large pot. Bring to boil and pinch up one can biscuits and drop into pot. Cover quickly and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Baked Chicken and Rice

4-6 Chicken Breasts
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Water
Salt, Pepper to taste
Cooked Minute Rice 4-6 servings



Cook chicken in oven or microwave until almost done. Mix soup & water; pour over chicken and bake in 325º oven for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Homemade Tacos

1 lb. Ground Beef, browned
1/2-3/4 chopped Onion
Salt and Pepper
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning
1 can chili without beans
Chili powder

Taco shells
Tortillas
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Onion
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or cheese blend like Mexican)
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce


Brown and drain hamburger and onion. Add taco seasoning, chili powder, chili and salt & pepper to taste. Serve on warmed tortillas or taco shells and use favorite toppings.

Hamburger Beans

1 lb. Hamburger
1/2 c. chopped Onion
2 T Brown Sugar
1 can Pork and Beans
Catsup, mustard to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste


Brown the hamburger and onion; drain. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cook through in sauce pan. Got this one from my MIL also. It's pretty easy and good!

I'm making a Cookbook for my family!

I'm so excited! I had tried before to make a cookbook for my family but the extended family was busy and it was just hard to get all the recipes rounded up. BUT, I'm trying again! This time, even if it's just my recipes and others I find from Brian's mom and grandma, then so be it! lol! I wasn't sure which program to use or whether I should just print them up and put binder notebooks together, but I'm using a program called Family Cookbook Project. I had looked into other programs, and most, you had to either order 100 cookbooks upon completion of the project, or the formatting wasn't very user-friendly, or it was very costly. This site is amazing! The format is so easy to use, you can preview your cookbook as you go, you can even print individual recipes before you're done assembling it! I love that feature! The cost is right, too! You can either sign up for a monthly a/w from your bank account, for $4.95 per month, or 1 year at a time, for $29.95. They also have a lifetime option but you'll have to check their website for that amount as it escapes me. 

The site gives you the option to figure out how much each cookbook will cost upon printing but they also state that you can print off one book in pdf form and take it to a local printer for copies to be made and assembled, or you can make your own with nice three-ring binders! If you're into cooking, or have always wanted to make your own cookbook for your family, church or business, I'd highly recommend this site as your place to start!   

Sarah's Lazy Day Cobbler

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1 lg. can fruit** (drained)
Cinnamon (to sprinkle on top)
1 stick butter or margarine (1/2 cup)

Place butter or margarine in 9x13" pan. Melt in oven. Mix together 1 cup of the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk and mix to a smooth batter with hand whisk. Pour over melted butter; don't stir. Empty fruit over batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Batter will rise to top and brown. Center test as you would for cake doneness.

** You can use any type of canned fruit-i.e. peaches, cherry pie filling, etc. I got this recipe years ago from a lady my mom babysat for. My family and I love this recipe! It's so easy, but it looks and tastes like you've worked very hard! Sarah loves making this, so I named it after her. :)


Linked up to Mommy's Kitchen Potluck Sunday

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hiss, hiss, woof, woof.

That's about the main thing I'm hearing lately. lol Jack and Boots just don't seem to be getting along too well. I do have to admit, though, Boots is finally to the point she'll stay in the same room as Jack. Jack is kind of a little spaz when he gets excited, and he tends to run around and jump and Boots isn't used to all of that. Cassie gets excited too, but she seems to know when to quit and Jack well...doesn't. He scares Boots and she comes out hissing. I think it'll eventually get better, I hope. lol

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Catalina



My hubby calls this "Cadillac Chicken". LOL! It's a really easy recipe, but sooooo good! I always get compliments on it, when I make it.

1 chicken cut-up or your favorite pieces (I usually use breasts and some thighs)
1 packet Onion Soup Mix
1 16 oz. bottle Catalina Dressing
1 16 oz. Jar Apricot Preserves (or whatever flavor you prefer)

Mix the last three ingredients in a bowl, and place chicken in a 9x13 pan. Cover the chicken with the sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour. Serve with either potatoes or rice and a salad or other side dish. It's a pretty dish, with the sweet/salty flavors. Serves: 4-6. I double it for Sunday dinners with our extended family. Enjoy!

What a beautiful day, today!

Well, after we got through this last little snow, we have a beautiful day today! I've spent my day with the little ones we babysit, outside for awhile, raking and watching them play.

I'm trying to add some recipes just in case someone wants one. I also want an extra place to store them. :) I need to just make that cookbook that I always wanted to make, for my kiddos. Sarah's been married for two years and still doesn't have all the recipes I have, from family, handed down from her grandma (on my hubby's side) and great-grandma. But hopefully one of these days I'll find time to actually work on it. I hope so. In the meantime, if you should find a recipe you'd like to try, please do. I've made them all "print friendly" thanks to my friend, Gail, telling me how to! Thanks, Gail!

Bubble Pizza

1 lb. Hamburger, browned and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cans biscuits
1 jar spaghetti sauce


Layer in a 9x13 pan-biscuits on bottom, touching, then pour sauce over top. Next, layer the meat and top with cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 45 minutes. Top with pepperoni or other toppings as desired. It's a very easy dish and most kids love it!

Taco Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes

2 cans chicken chunks
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. onions (dehydrated flakes)
4 medium tomatoes
6 leaves lettuce

Drain chicken. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, sour cream, mayo, chili powder, and onion. Toss lightly till well mixed. For tomato cups, cut out 1/2 in of the core from each tomato. Invert tomatoes. For each, cut from top to, but not quite through, stem end, making six wedges. For salads, line plates with lettuce or cabbage. Place tomatoes on plates. Spread wedges slightly apart; fill with chicken mixture. Top with cheese. Serve.

I got this recipe from Brian's mom, Jackie, when they were on the Atkins diet. It's very good!! Makes 4 servings. Net carbs: approx. 8-10 gms.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sharing a website with you

I just wanted to share a dvd rental website with you. It's like Netflix, but they carry only DOVE approved movies, history dvds, Christian comedy shows, and study materials. It's Christian Cinema. They also sell dvds, and you have no late fees, they have plans like Netflix so you can sign up for one, two or more at a time. They also have "quick return", so once you mark a movie as returned, you automatically get the next movie or dvd that you have in your queue. We love it!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dodged a bullet!

Or, at least a big snow! I'm soooo glad! They had said we could get up to 9" before tomorrow and we didn't get anymore during the day today and should only get about 1-2" tonight, possibly. I'm so happy. I just hate driving when it's really bad out and right now I have to play taxi driver. What mom doesn't, right? lol.

We're supposed to have weather in the 50's by Friday, so I guess that means I should look to start spring cleaning. ugh. I hate it to a degree, but once I get going, it seems like I can't stop! LOL! I throw open my windows, take down and wash drapes, and clean thoroughly from top to bottom. I used to clean houses for a living and when we did, the lady I worked for, always called those times a "Major Clean". We'd do one on a different room in the house each week, until all the rooms had had a "Major Clean". With me, we have our living room, dining room and kitchen all on the main floor and I try to hit all three at once, when I do mine. That at least gets the main rooms out of the way.

And, as usual, when I'm replacing sheets on the beds every week, I have kitty help. Bootsie, our little 3 year old kitty likes to get on the bed and she gets covered up alot. (She does that daily though, when I'm just making the bed.) But, she likes it! LOL! It makes making the bed hard, but fun at the same time. lol

Here is a pic of Bootsie "helping" me paint our kitchen a couple of years ago. She'd regularly climb the ladder and I'd have to shoo her off so I could paint. lol

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Winter during Spring Break

Well, as a friend of mine said, "go figure". We've had chilly weather the past couple of days, but it was looking more and feeling more like spring, and this week the public schools are on spring break and Tuesday and Wed. we're supposed to get more snow. I'll be soooo glad when spring gets here finally and we can get outside again and really enjoy it!


Our church attendance was down today, and we knew it would be. One family has moved back to their home state, as the husband's job transferred him and we've had some out sick and some travelling.I just thank God for His watch-care over all of us and His faithfulness to us in so many situations lately.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Brrrrr!!

Wow, ya gotta "love" Nebraska weather. Or not. lol I can't believe how nice it was a few days ago, and now it's cold and cloudy again! At least we escaped the ice so far. They said we were supposed to get freezing rain today and so far we haven't. I'm so glad, because we're down to one vehicle right now, and I had to take my dh to work so I can take Hannah to MOPS and pick her up, and then take Nate to work and pick up Brian again. Nate's car broke down to the point it's not worth fixing it again, so we're looking into another vehicle for him soon. Hope it warms up some...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Beautiful day!

I can't believe how nice it is outside today! We live in Nebraska and the weather sometimes changes from nice to nasty within just a few hours! So I'm not gonna get my hopes up! LOL! We've had nice weather lately but then a couple of days of snow again, mixed in. I can't wait for spring! I love spring with all the fresh, new flowers, the smell, the cool air, just everything about it! That, and the fact that it means no more snow for awhile! I can't complain really. We have had snow but nothing like we usually do, this year.