Monthly Archives: April 2016

M’m! M’m! Monday 4/25/16

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

The last week of April! Can you believe it?  Where does time go? It’s easy for me to lose track of time these days now that I’m not on a regular schedule. (Sorry to those of you who still are)  I never thought I would need a schedule again but I’m finding that I waste a lot of time and maybe, just maybe it’s time for me to put myself on a “retirement schedule”. I can’t believe I just typed those words. The blessing is; I’ll be in control of the schedule and I can ignore it whenever I want to! Oh boy, I’m thinking it may not be easy to get this gal going!

These spring days tend to quickly become full of to-do’s and can be overwhelming! It’s testing time at school (speaking from experience, it’s always stressful and exhausting), there are ballgames to attend, gardens to plant, lawns to mow, on top of all the normal things that fill your days. Dinner?  Who has time to cook?  With this new recipe, you do!  Talk about easy! It got rave reviews around my dinner table so hope you enjoy it too!

Paula Deen's Pulled Pickled Beef Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Chuck Roast
  • 1 24 oz. jar of dill pickle spears, with liquid
  • Sweet Cole Slaw
  • 8 Sandwich Buns

Instructions

  • Put your Chuck Roast in a crock pot (I put mine in frozen).
  • Pour entire contents of dill pickle jar over meat.
  • Season to taste with pepper.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
  • Pull meat apart with two forks. Remove any fatty pieces.
  • (I broke up some of the cooked pickles and included them, too)
  • To serve, place 1/4 cup of Cole Slaw on each bun. Top with the pickled beef and enjoy!
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Now, I’m the kind of eater that isn’t too fond of combining things so I ate my Cole Slaw on the side.  I also LOVE the flavor of dill so added some dill relish to my sandwich. Yummmmm! My dinner companions found the Cole Slaw and meat combo delightful. I did chose to use Hoagie Rolls which are a little more substantial and able to handle both the slaw and meat.   Serve these tangy sandwiches with some potato wedges and WAALAA dinner is served.  You can even eat on paper plates for an easy cleanup, out the door, on with life kind of night.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

P.S. For easy potato wedges this is my go to:

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Little Faith ~ Big God

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“Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.  Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid”  You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves and suddenly there was a great calm.  The disciples were amazed.  “Who is this man?” they asked.  “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27 (NLT)

“You have so little faith!”  Oh boy, am I in that same boat with the disciples! I don’t know about you but I do much better when life is smooth sailing. So often when the deluge drenches my soul and the strong winds begin to batter my heart, I grasp at the air and quickly begin to sink.  Thrashing in the waters of uncertainty, I’m pulled under by fear, doubt, worry, and shame…..I feel like I’m drowning because I have a little faith in a Big God.

It’s funny to me that in this world where bigger is better…..super-sized meals, houses the size of castles, lottery jackpots, stock portfolios….you get the idea….here, where we crave big, we so often overlook the greatness of God.  I overlook the greatness of God! Like the disciples, in times of trouble I forget what He has done for me in the past and instead of turning to Him, I flail my arms, gasp for breath, and shout “why?”. “Why now?” “Why him?” “Why not?” I focus on my big problems and not on our Big God.

Just how big is our God?

“Have you not heard.? Have you never understood?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.  But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

 It comes back once again to trust.  Trust that our God is bigger than we can comprehend. He’s big enough to calm our storms.  Big enough to bring us peace in the midst of our storms.  Big enough to give us new strength to endure our storms. It isn’t easy keeping our heads above water when the waves are breaking over us, but I’m learning that it is in these times our little faith begins to grow bigger and with a bigger faith comes a better understanding  that we can “soar like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint”, and yes…… even swim through the turbulent waters, not on our own but with our Big God, the one, true Life Preserver.

Linking up with #livefreeThursday at http://www.tsuzanneeller.com again today.  The prompt is “how big is our God”.

M’m! M’m! Monday 4/18/16

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

My windows are open bringing in sweet air and bird song.  The sky is the kind of blue that makes you smile no matter what kind of day you’ve had.  The sun reaches down and warms what was once frozen.  I’m in short sleeves! It feels like spring! A time for renewal and growth. Birth and blooming. Sowing and hatching. My favorite time of year! A day like today makes me ready to cook something fun and fresh like this Taco French Bread Pizza! It’s quick, easy, and delicious!  So go ahead…..sit on the porch, dig in the garden, enjoy the day…. just a little longer. With this recipe, dinner’s a breeze!

Taco French Bread Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 16 oz. can refried beans
  • 2 cups Mexican or taco blend shredded cheese
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag shredded lettuce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Brown ground beef, drain and add taco seasoning according to package directions. Simmer 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Slice french bread in half length wise, place halves on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Warm refried beans in the microwave for 1 minute, stir.
  • Spread half of the beans on each piece of french bread.
  • Top evenly with the cooked ground beef mixture.
  • Sprinkle with cheese, then tomatoes, black olives, and green onions.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Top slices with shredded lettuce to serve.
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M’m! M’m! Monday…..OK, Tuesday!

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

As you can tell I’m off-schedule. Side-tracked. Late. I do have a good excuse though! For the last few days I’ve been a Michigander, back in my home state with the best kind of company….my mom and sisters! I covet time with them and wish we could be together a lot more often! We had some laughs, shared meals and memories, and had a few difficult discussions. The freedom to be ourselves, share our fears and joys, and be surrounded by love are gifts of our relationship. I treasure each day, hour, minute I am with them and it literally feels like my heart is breaking as we say our goodbyes. The wonderful thing is; we may be separated by miles but in reality, we’re as close as a thought or prayer everyday. I am SO blessed!

Now, as I type this I am babysitting my grandson…..another HUGE BLESSING in my life. My accountant daughter is knee-deep in tax returns as the 15th approaches quickly so what better time for “MiMi” to come to help out!  The sun is shining outside and it’s smelling pretty good inside. (If I do say so myself) Sweet and Sour BBQ Meatballs are bubbling away in the crockpot. I’m going to serve them with rice and some corn for an easy dinner. Thought I’d just go ahead and share the recipe with you on this M’m M’m Tuesday…..I hope you are sharing your days and meals with those you love!

Sweet and Sour Crockpot BBQ Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs. frozen home style meat balls
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 additional yellow, red, or orange pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 can Dole pineapple chunks
  • 1 18 oz. bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients in your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until peppers and onion are tender.
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M’m! M’m! Monday 4/4/16

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

It’s been a long day and I’m ready to put on my “night clothes” (as my Aunt Betty calls them) and   relax for a little while.  One of my favorite things about being retired is being able to take it easy and wear comfy clothes a lot more often.  It may sound funny, but when I search for new recipes I’m kind of in the same mindset.  I want something that is easy to make and gives me that comfortable homey feeling. This dish is both!  It was a big hit at our last family dinner.

Pineapple Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1-16 oz can of crushed pineapple (I use Dole)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • 6 slices of white bread

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork until they are foamy.
  • Add in the crushed pineapple and sugar, stirring until blended.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 8 X 8 baking dish.
  • Cut bread into cubes. (I use my kitchen scissors)
  • Melt butter and pour over bread cubes making sure to coat all sides of the bread.
  • Sprinkle bread cubes on top of the pineapple mixture.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. The top should be golden brown.
  • Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
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I think this Pineapple Stuffing pairs perfectly with ham so add green beans and/or a sweet potato and you have an easy, comfort food type of meal!  So sit back, relax, and enjoy!

One Word: Trust

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

It should be an exciting time. A time for looking toward the future. For planning and dreaming. So why is my stomach in knots, my throat tight with unspoken fears, and worry filling my nights? One word. Trust.

We’ve come to a place where our house isn’t able to be our place of refuge anymore.  Its age has caught up with it and the problems are too numerous to solve.  Those who know houses advise us to tear it down.  My reaction? You know me…..”Tear down the rooms where my children played and slept?” “Tear down the place where we’ve celebrated birthdays, graduations, anniversaries?” (Memory hoarder. Remember?) We’ve agonized. We’ve prayed. Talked to friends, family, and professionals. The answer has remained the same.

My husband gave me a “Wish Book” to encourage me to draw, write, and paste ideas that help create a new vision of home. And I have.  I’ll even admit it’s been fun.  But all the while, somewhere deep inside where I don’t like to go, a voice lists all the things that could go wrong. Chants the reasons it will never work.  Stirs up fears that lurk there.  The devil knows my weaknesses and he doesn’t hesitate to attack those vulnerable places.

So while our children are anxious for the work to begin and our friends are excited for this next adventure we are embarking on; I’ve dug in my heels and waited.  Waited for signs to move ahead.  Waited for signs to stop. Waited for clarity. Waited for peace. And in that waiting I’ve…..Failed. To. Trust.

Much to my dismay, I know that “Trust” is my word for 2016.  It challenges me.  How about you?  Are you like me?  Hesitant.. well more like desperate… not to let go of your own control? Reluctant to move forward? I hope not, but if you are; here’s the good news!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

I’m learning this lesson at an agonizingly slow pace but I’m sensing a shift.  A realization that I don’t have to “do” or “know”; but rather, I need to “be”. Be still. Be in His word. Be obedient. Be in His presence. Be loved. Change has never been easy for this ole gal, but to “be” all I can for Him, it’s vital.

Maybe you too, know exactly what I’m talking about.  You’re also facing a change, an illness, a death, a broken relationship, difficulties at work, a new baby, a longing for a baby, a wedding….good change or not so good, here is some encouragement I’ve found:

“Let’s face it-it can be challenging and sometimes scary to step out in faith, especially when we don’t know what lies ahead.  But when we trust God with our future and seek out His plans for our lives instead of our own, the blessings we receive will far exceed the things we think we are leaving behind.”

Tracie Miles, Faith Zone Challenge

Yesterday, we went to begin the final steps in ordering our new home.  We prayed before we left.  Boy, did we pray!  There were times I felt I couldn’t breathe. My nerves were on edge, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot a peace seemed to come over me. And while we talked and planned excitement began to replace some of my fear. God is amazing like that!

I know that I’m not where I need to “be”….yet….there’ll still be worries, fears, and roadblocks to make me want to turn back. My plan? One word. Trust.  I’m determined to put my trust not in “my own understanding” but with God and to follow as He leads me on the path to not only my new home here, but someday to the home He’s prepared for me (and YOU) with Him.

 

Do you have a word for 2016? I’d love to hear what it is! Is there something I can pray about for you? Just leave either or both in the comments and I look forward to connecting with you!