Monthly Archives: June 2016

M’m M’m Monday! 6/27/16

"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

Can you believe that June is almost over and Independence Day is a week away? It’s been a busy month here!  Our grandson turned one. I went on a mountain retreat to celebrate a dear friend’s retirement. We enjoyed the wedding of my daughter’s best friend on our 33rd anniversary. We’ve pretty much celebrated the month away!

I’m going to make this short and sweet tonight because as busy as my June has been I’m sure yours was full, too and you don’t have time to read the wandering words of this chaotic mind. So, let’s think Fourth of July for a minute.  It’s a weekend full of parades, picnics, and fireworks.  There’ll be hotdogs on the grill, cool watermelon slices, and ice cream churned by hand.  Flags will be flying, horseshoes tossed, and “I’m Proud to Be an American” will play on the radio.  We’ll laugh, light sparklers, and hug family members. We’ll celebrate the holiday away!

In the midst of all our fun, let’s not forget that there are service men and women who instead of celebrating are putting their lives on the line, fighting for the freedom we so often take for granted.  Let’s take time to gather together and say a prayer for those brave soldiers and for their families who try to carry on even though there’s a person missing at their picnic table. And at days end as we gaze into the night sky watching the trails of light dance between the stars; may the music fill our souls, singing: “Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God Bless the U.S.A.!”

Need an idea what to take to the picnic?  Here’s an old standby all decked out for the Fourth!

Red Velvet Rice Krispy Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 10.5 oz. bag of mini marshmallows or approximately 40 large marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup Red Velvet cake mix (the more cake mix the redder the treats)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispy cereal
  • Red, White, and Blue sprinkles (if you want to add a little pizazz)

Instructions

  • Spray pam generously in a 9 x 13 pan and on a spatula.
  • Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  • Add vanilla and cake mix until blended.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cereal until evenly coated.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan. Press down with prepared spatula.
  • Shake sprinkles over top if you choose.
  • Cool and cut into squares.
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M’m! M’m! Monday 6/20/16 (Please Pretend it’s Monday)

"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

I’d like to talk about toilet paper…..well actually, the lack there of! I don’t know why it is, but it seems every time I’m in need of some, the roll is empty. Upstairs in the middle of the night; two squares barely covering the cardboard roll. Downstairs  when I first wake up; one lone sheet dangles precariously. And Sunday? Out to lunch after church, waiting in line for the ladies room. One occupant emerges, another goes in. She emerges, I go in. WHAT??? Another empty roll! Can’t anyone but me fill the toilet paper dispenser?

As usual, this got me to thinking….that’s right people, toilet paper…. about being empty and getting filled. I hate to admit this but my faith often wears thin and I feel I can barely cover all that I’m facing. At other times I worry, am fearful, or discouraged and feel as if I’m left to dangle on my own. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve looked to others to do something I’m obviously suppossed to do but am low on confidence and afraid I’ll fail. In each situation a change is in order.  Trying to do everything; face everything on my own just leaves me empty, spinning, and unable to get the job done. I need to be filled!

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that surpasses all knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

Being unwound and empty is a human condition. One I’m all too familiar with! Have you been there?  “Strengthen, power, love……fullness.” “Dwell, rooted, grasp…..filled“. How amazing it is that we don’t have to stay that way! God is waiting for our invitation to have Him fill our empty places with that wide, long, high, and deep love and not just fill but give until we’re overflowing!

So the next time I’m face to face with a cardboard tube instead of a full roll, (and I’m sure there’ll  be a next time), I’m going to try and whine less and remember Who it is that I can count on to fill me up as many times as needed!

Now, speaking of being filled; if you remember last Monday I vowed to try some healthy recipes. I usually associate “healthy” with leaving me hungry and needing more to fill me up. Not so with this healthy, (even though bacon is involved) easy, chicken skillet meal. I think I’m on a “roll”! Get it?

Chicken, Squash, and Asparagus Skillet Dinner

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of the bacon of your choice
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I didn't know these guys existed, but sure enough found them in the chicken section of the meat department)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound asparagus, trim the ends
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 4-6 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Coursely cut bacon slices (I used my kitchen shears) into a 12" skillet.
  • Lay chicken on top of bacon, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium high heat for 12-16 minutes, turning halfway until browned.
  • Add broth and onions to skillet and cook five minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink.
  • Meanwhile, combine asparagus, squash, and two tablespoons of water in a microwave safe dish. (I also salt and peppered them)
  • Cover with plastic wrap and using a knife, cut evenly placed vent holes.
  • Cook on high power for 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Combine vegetables with chicken mixture and serve.
  • Makes 4 servings.
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M’m! M’m! Monday 6/13/16

"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

Things here are on the rise…..my blood pressure, the number on the scale, and my pants size!  Arghhhhh! You know what that means……visiting those two evil twins…….diet and exercise! I would much rather stay home with the more pleasant and comfortable ones…..cooking and eating!

Counting calories, sweating, and feeling hungry are not my favorite things.  In fact, I’ve obviously tried to avoid them; that is, until now. Being a “MiMi’ has started me thinking.  I want to be able to jump in the ocean, hike in the woods, and a million other things with my grandson.  I want to see him graduate, even marry, and be around to cherish him for as long as I can.  To do that, I have to be healthy!

Being healthy is a good thing, so why do I dread it so?  I’m pretty sure it comes back to my age old problem of self. I want to be comfortable, satisfied, and in control. Those aren’t words I associate with losing weight and getting into shape.

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?  You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Whoa!  I haven’t ever really thought about it in that way, have you? These words challenge me and to be honest, make me feel a little uncomfortable (just like the waist band on my jeans). I guess it’s time for an attitude adjustment; focusing less on the what (what I’m giving up, what I have to do) and more on Who.

Tomorrow I go and pick up my new increased dosage blood pressure medicine. I’ll also continue to clean and sort through my closet where I’ve found way too many clothes that no longer fit. Now that I think about it,  a visit to diet and exercise may not be a bad idea after all; and maybe they shouldn’t just visit, they should move right in, so this ole temple will be around for a long time to come; keeping up with grandchildren and honoring the One who bought it with the highest price of all.

I know and you know that this won’t be easy, especially for a gal who loves to cook.  Here’s where I’m going to challenge myself.  In addition to losing weight and lowering my BP, I’m going to begin to search for recipes that still are easy and comforting, but healthy, too!  No better time to start than now!

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 large or 4 smaller zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 -1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Heartsmart)
  • grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9X13 pan with Pam.
  • Combine turkey, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a skillet, cook until turkey is browned.
  • Layer zucchini in the bottom of the pan. Don't leave gaps.
  • Spread ricotta on the zucchini, then 1/3 of the turkey, then 1/3 of the sauce. Start with zucchini again and continue the layers three times.
  • Top with a light layer of mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  • It will be juicy. You can attempt to pour some off but be careful. (I just left the juice)
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I have to tell you, I was skeptical at first about this recipe but I LOVED it! If you have healthy recipes that you love, share them with me in the comments section.

P.S.  I’ll keep you up to date on how the “evil twins” and I are getting along as we learn to live together!

 

 

God Will Provide

 

Agape Science Lab nearing completion.

Agape Science Lab nearing completion.

This is the fifth in a series of miraculous true stories about Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya.  Stories that share the divine inspiration and dedication to helping students of poverty, who once had no hope, reach their full potential.

“And God will generously provide all you need.  Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT)

Marilyn and her students settled into a daily routine at the “cave school”. A breakfast of milk tea and a boiled egg or porridge began their morning.  Classes were held throughout the day with a short break for lunch. In the evening traditional meals of thick grits and greens cooked in a spicy sauce, beans and rice, or corn and beans were prepared for dinner. Each meal was cooked outside as there was no room for an inside kitchen.  Outside, there was no space for the children to safely play a game of soccer or even run off some extra teenage energy. It was obvious they already needed more space. Marilyn had also recently discovered that for a school to be recognized by the Kenyan government it had to have grades 9-12 with at least twenty students per grade. She knew without a doubt that this was her calling and so the prayers to find a larger, permanent place for her school began.

God answered Marilyn’s prayers in 2013 when she chose an eight acre property that included a long hut similar to their “mud cave” and a small mud house.  Neither were much to look at but that didn’t stop Marilyn from seeing the beauty and potential there. It would take a huge amount of work and they would need vision and help…..lots of help, and constant prayer!

It took time to jump through the governmental hoops AND most of the money Marilyn had left in her savings to purchase the land; but it now belonged to them! Reaching out to the surrounding villages, Marilyn was able to find the twenty freshman she also needed.  What started as a seed of an idea, had been planted and nurtured,  and now Living Hope had become an official Kenyan High School. In the years leading up to this moment God had provided everything she’d needed just as He’d told her that fateful day back in her kitchen and she was already seeing His continued provision as she took this next step in her journey.

It was a challenge in the beginning. There wasn’t enough building space in either place so the 45 students traveled between their rented mud classroom and the dormitories on the new property.  The journey was a precarious one as they hiked the mile and a half each way and like tightrope walkers, had to balance on a single log that lay across the rushing river that separated the two locations. That wasn’t all.  Acutely aware of her dwindling funds and determined her kids would not “go to bed hungry”, Marilyn decided  she needed to reach out to her sisters for help. Through their commitment and dedicated work God began providing sponsors for the students, salaries for staff, and donations for needed furniture and supplies. Hope was alive and well!

Living Hope High School has thrived since the days of the first rudimentary buildings.  The school still receives no funding except through the generosity of sponsorships and donations  The property today is close to ten acres, has five classroom buildings, an assembly hall, a computer lab, kitchen, eight dormitory cottages, and a science lab is under construction. Each building is constructed of bricks, hand- made by the students.  A deep well was dug to provide running water and electricity has been connected to the computer lab, kitchen, and office.  The students tend a 2 acre garden, take care of milk cows and chickens, and play on their own soccer field.  This past year the students at Living Hope High School earned the highest test scores out of the 291 schools in their district! The 13 teachers and all the students work very hard and take nothing for granted. It isn’t always easy; the budget, sharing textbooks, the ongoing battle against Malaria and Typhoid,  the unpredictable weather, and  the political climate all pose challenges for Marilyn and the school;  but without hesitation, she will tell you of the miraculous God who through the generosity of others, provides just what is needed to help one teacher, who answered His call,  share an abundance of “Living Hope” with others.

copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya

 

As we continue Marilyn’s story you’ll hear more God designed, miraculous events that have happened to her, the students,  and the school since its beginning. For more information on Living Hope High School go to www.livinghopehighschool.org or call Marilyn’s sister, Helen Markwell at 304-567-2254.

M’m! M’m! Monday! 6/6/16

"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 my grand baby’s birthday today!  One year old!  Just imagine all he’s experienced in those twelve months!  Some good, some bad, and all the in-between! He’s learned so many new things! Walking, chattering, picking up small objects; just to name a few, and he’s becoming more independent by the minute. I’m still waiting to hear his sweet voice say “MiMi”, but when his little hand reaches out to me, my heart melts.

Of course, we had a big celebration over the weekend with balloons, streamers, presents, lots of food, and cake, can’t forget the cake!

Carson vs. cake. Carson wins!

Carson vs. cake. Carson wins!

Summer is just around the corner so our party food was typical summer fare:  hot dogs, hamburgs, potato salad, and baked beans.  Everything was delicious but I must tell you the baked bean dish was clean when the party was over.  They were mighty fine if I may say so myself!  So, somewhere in the midst of the good, the bad, and all the in-between of life celebrate by taking a little time to enjoy a picnic meal with family and friends. Reach out your hand to let someone know they’re appreciated by inviting them for a summer feast or if you need a dish to take along to a poolside get together try this easy recipe for baked beans! And DON’T forget the cake!  Enjoy!

"Mighty Fine" Baked Beans

Ingredients

  • 6 bacon slices
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 64 oz. pork and beans
  • 1 cup root beer (not diet)
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. hot sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Saute diced onion in hot bacon drippings over high heat until tender. (maybe 5 minutes)
  • Combine pork and beans, root beer, BBQ sauce, dry mustard,and hot sauce.
  • Crumble bacon into mixture.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove onions from drippings and add to beans. Stir well.
  • Pour into a lightly greased 9X13 pan.
  • Bake uncovered for 55 minutes or until sauce is thick and bubbling.
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