Category Archives: M’m M’m Monday

M’m! M’m! Monday 5/8/17

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10(NLT)

Container Problem

 I have a container problem!  It never fails! When I go to pick out a container for the left overs from dinner, I almost always come back with a dish that’s too big for the amount of food I have.  On top of that….I’ve usually picked up and put down three or four different sizes before deciding on the one that ultimately ends up being too big!  Nine times out of ten, I don’t have what it takes to fill the container I picked to do the job. 

You know? Sometimes I feel the same way about myself!  (Yes, I’m comparing my Rubbermaid and Tupperware to life, now!) Stay with me….There are times when I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to do something but I’m afraid I don’t have enough…enough wisdom, enough energy, enough courage, enough whatever to fill the position or to do the job and so I. Don’t. Do. It.  Ever been there?  

Just like digging in my container cupboard looking for the right fit, I sort through in my mind  sizing up all the other people who I think would be better able to fill the need. The problem is: no one has started that book study that I’ve felt compelled to start, the idea to provide a free lunch for those in need remains just that, an idea, and opening my house as a gathering place? A big dream waiting to be fulfilled. 

Here’s what I’m learning. It’s not about me! (I know, I know. You’ve heard this before.  You should know by now I’m a slow learner!) All throughout the Bible we find people who believe they aren’t at all suited to do what God asks them to do.  Some of them tell God He’s making a mistake, some tell Him to find someone else, and some even run in the opposite direction. Me? I sit in my chair and think about what God wants me to do.   God reassured those He chose that He’d be with them and would provide all they needed until they’d become a perfectly filled vessel for the job. 

“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3(NLV)

It’s the same for you and me.  We can be confident that if God is calling us to do something, He has chosen us because with Him we will be the right fit for the job.  We may have to step out of our comfort zone (talking to myself here). It may require more faith than we’re used to. It might just be plain scary! But, in the end when we open ourselves to God’s calling, trusting in Him to give us what we need; we may just find we are a match with what He’s prepared us to do…..just like the right lid for the perfect container!  Oh dear, don’t get me started on my problem finding the right lid……

Instead, let me share with you a delicious recipe where the bites are small and the flavor is big! A perfect combination to me! Hope it “fits” into your dinner menu soon! 

Steak Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. top sirloin steak
  • 1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbls. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except steak in a Zip Lock Bag.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Cut steak into one inch pieces. Trim fat.
  • Drop steak in to bag and seal shut. Shake and squeeze gently to coat steak with marinade.
  • Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until skillet is very hot.
  • Remove steak pieces from bag using a slotted spoon and place them in hot skillet.
  • Throw marinade away.
  • Cook steak according to your desired temperature. Stir occasionally. Medium is approximately 3 minutes. (I like mine well so cooked them 5-6 minutes)
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2017/05/08/mm-mm-monday-5817/

 

M’m! M’m! Monday 2/6/17 ~ A Gathering Place

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

Time has passed. It’s been months since my last M’m! M’m! Monday!  A lot has sure happened.  And now, here I am at one of my favorite places in our new house:  My “sit down, catch up, tell stories, laugh, play games, decorate cookies, dine, and type a blog post table”.  OK, ok, we’ll just call it the dining room table for short.

I love everything about this spot!  I love the long table, comfortable chairs, the inviting colors,  rustic textures, and the soft light that filters through the curtains.  I love that it’s the center of our home.  But most of all, I love that it beckons to be gathered in.

A gathering place. A place where friendship is offered, love is shared, and memories made.  Where new recipes are served, celebrations had, and plans are formed.  A place to talk over the day, remember times past, and hope for tomorrow. A place where hands are held, heads are bowed, and prayers are said.

There seem to be so many things pulling people apart these days. It saddens me. I worry about our future.  What if instead of moving further apart, we made more of an effort to get together, to create more gathering places? What if the line at the grocery store, the bleachers in the gym, or the waiting room at the dentist office could become a place of camaraderie and encouragement?  It doesn’t take a “sit down, catch up, tell stories, laugh, play games, decorate cookies, dine, and type a blog post table” to create a gathering place; it just takes a smile, an outstretched hand, or a kind word to draw others in.

Our new home is such a blessing to us.  I don’t want it to stop there though.  The desire of my heart is for it to be a gathering place; a place where others feel served and treasured, find respite and renewal, and feel just as blessed to be here, as I do!

And now here is an easy recipe that’s sure to bring them to the table!  You can’t go wrong with Oreos!

Oreo Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 22 Oreo cookies
  • 2-8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  • Place 16 paper liners in muffin tins.
  • Put one whole Oreo in the bottom of each lined cup.
  • In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until it's smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Mix in the vanilla and the add the eggs until blended. Beat in the sour cream and salt. Do not overmix.
  • Coarsely chop the 6 Oreos that are left and stir in to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Divide the batter among the cookie-lined cups filling each almost to the top.
  • Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes.
  • Transfer to wire racks to cool completely inside the muffin tins.
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  • *I topped each individual cheesecake with some whipped cream and a little crushed Oreo to serve.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2017/02/06/mm-mm-monday-2617-a-gathering-place/

M’m! M’m! Monday 10/10/16

"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 the Little Things

Challenging times can cause me to have vision problems. Oh, I can see just fine… but I find myself focusing on the big (or perceived big) hurdle ahead and I miss the gift of little things. Ever been there?  So today, I’m trying to take notice of those little things God has recently brought my way:


~A
friend’s offer to sit with me during the demolition of our house
~Familiar birds at my newly moved bird feeders

~Offers to help with my laundry
~An entertaining chipmunk outside my temporary kitchen window
~Kind, reassuring words
~The support of our children
~A car that’s dependable (ever think about that?)
~Safe travel
~Time with my grandson
~A patient husband (and believe me, he’s needed to be)
~Answered prayer
~Brightly colored leaves against an even brighter blue sky
~Music that touches my soul
~Time to type a list of little things…

It occurs to me as I reread my list, that maybe these things aren’t so little after all; for it’s through these gifts that we recognize God’s presence. Whether you’re lost in the midst of a storm, finding your way in the dark, navigating a hard road, or in a time of wait and see like me; seek out the little (or not so little) things that remind us that when we are blinded by worry, we’re not walking alone.  We have a guide who will see us through!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)

And now for a “little” recipe….

Little because it has few ingredients, takes little time to prepare, and there’ll only be a little left because it’s so good!  I know when you read this recipe you might question it, but I promise it’s my husband’s most requested dish (even on his birthday!) and everyone I’ve ever served it to has cleaned their plate. It’s been in my family since I was a “little” girl (that’s a loooong time), given to my mom by our neighbors, the Irons family.

Iron Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. lean hamburger
  • 0nion, chopped
  • 1 can Campbell's Tomato Soup
  • 1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1 soup can full of milk
  • Hamburger Buns

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, brown hamburger and chopped onion over medium heat breaking meat apart like making sloppy joes.
  • Drain, if necessary. (I like to use hamburg with 7% fat to avoid this step)
  • In bowl, combine soups and milk. Stir to make smooth sauce.
  • Pour sauce into skillet over meat. Stir.
  • Simmer until bubbling, stirring occasionally.
  • Lay opened hamburg buns on a cookie sheet, inside up. Place in oven under the broiler until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they can quickly burn. (You can also use your toaster if you have a bagel setting)
  • To serve: lay bottom of bun on plate, spoon meat mixture over bun. Add top of bun and place another spoonful of meat mixture over it all.
  • Eat with a fork to get it all....you won't want to leave even a ....little!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/10/10/mm-mm-monday-101016/

 

A Little of Both (M’m! M’m! Monday and Wise Wednesday) on Friday…

fall-reminds-001

Letting go is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last several months: of clothes, of stuff,  and of bits and pieces of my life that I’ve clung to so tightly. As of last week, I’ve even said my goodbyes as I let go of my beloved pine tree and old blue house. To be honest though, “beautiful” is not how I’ve been looking at any of it. Exhausting, emotional, overwhelming, just to name a few, would better describe my attitude…..That is, until I came upon these wise words which got me thinking……

I don’t know about you, but it’s way too easy for me to fall into the trap of “woe is me”. As I’m purposeful in reflecting on this crazy house process, I’m beginning to see it a little differently. Shifting my focus has revealed the fact that every day I’ve spent letting go leads me one step closer to making memories in a brand new house. There is beauty in this chaos.

 Sorting and sifting through everything we own opened my eyes and let me see that we’d collected so many things we didn’t use or need anymore. What’s a pack rat to do? It took a while, but I finally recognized that maybe there was someone else who needed exactly what I didn’t.  While emptying drawers, closets, and storage spaces was hard work; I’ve come to realize something. There’s beauty in giving.

I’m pretty sure those close to me (and maybe even you reading this) are more ready for this stage of my life to end than I am. Let’s just say my thoughts, worries, conversations, and yes, my blog posts have been pretty much like a broken record, but despite it all, my family and friends have prayed for us to let go of our fear, cheered us on to let go of our doubts, and urged us to let go of the past and look to the future.  My biggest lesson about letting go?  There’s beauty in encouragement!

The calendar shows that it’s officially fall.  Nature proves it true.  The sky is a more brilliant blue.  The Hummingbirds and Monarchs are migrating. And yes, the trees are “letting go” of their leaves.  As they float on the breeze, let them remind us that there IS beauty in the act of letting go, not just of things, but of all that hinders us from living our best life; the one God’s designed just for us!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Since it IS officially fall here is a super simple dessert/snack that’s perfect on a cool, autumn day!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 40 large marshmallows (I usually add one for the pot to make 41)
  • 4 Tbls. butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • Spray 9 x 13 pan generously with Pam. (I spray my spatula as well)
  • Over medium heat melt the butter in a large pan. Add marshmallows and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add pumpkin pie spice and blend well.
  • Stir in Rice Krispies until all are coated with marshmallow mixture.
  • Put in the prepared pan and using spatula, spread and smooth to fill the pan.
  • Cut into squares while warm.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/10/07/a-little-of-both-mm-mm-monday-and-wise-wednesday-on-friday/

It’s a Wrap! (M’m! M’m! Monday in Disguise)

"The season has shifted and changed so I let go of what I am use to and walk bravely into the unknown because I know God is right beside me with each step." A Modern Day Ruth / Pixabay

“The season has shifted and changed so I let go of what I am use to and walk bravely into the unknown because I know God is right beside me with each step.” A Modern Day Ruth / Pixabay

“That’s a wrap!” Words often used to signal the end of a storyline or season of a T.V. show, but today they’re words reverberating around in my chaotic mind. Part of MY story, a season of MY life is wrapping up and I’m going to have to wait for the new season to begin to see how things work out.  Just so you know; I don’t like waiting……I don’t like change…….and I don’t like not being in control……even when the new season promises to be good, great even!

Our new house was ordered today.  I’m packing the remaining odds and ends and we’re moving out this weekend. In six to eight weeks our house should arrive and we’ll begin to write a new story; live a new season! That means in this in-between time we must say goodbye to our old, blue house. In the world of television the time between seasons is full of reruns and it’s no different really for me.  This time of farewell to our home of 18 years is sure to generate lots of memories to relive and retell.

I’m not really sure how to say goodbye to walls that protected our family and gave us space at the same time.  To let go of bedrooms where books were read, sleepover giggles quieted,  bedtime prayers whispered, and goodnight kisses shared. The upstairs porch with its once grand brick-a-brack railing , a place where little girls could get lost in their imaginations, will be hard to see go. Conversations while we ate together, games played, homework done, and Christmas cookies decorated made our dining room the heart of our home. As I sat this morning in “my chair”, a place made for lingering, a place that allows me to gaze out to our majestic pine tree and the bird feeders that hang there, a tightness formed in my chest as I realized that my view will never be exactly like this again.

image

That’s life isn’t it? We take the familiar for granted and then it’s gone. We get caught up in the day to day and forget we are creating memories. We blink. Things change. WE change. The season ends.  

“For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 (NLT)

Yes, For now: “It’s a wrap!” It’s time to tear down. However, I’m so grateful it doesn’t end there.  It’s also a time to build – build a new house – build new memories – Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 goes on and says:

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”

We all find ourselves leaving seasons behind and venturing in to new ones.  What a wonderful promise that even when we can’t see where they lead; God has the whole beautiful journey planned for us, all the way to eternity!  So let’s “wrap” ourselves in that! 

Now for this weeks recipe……I couldn’t miss this opportunity to share with you a tasty WRAP recipe!

 

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbls. olive oil
  • 1 Lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C. BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 C. pineapple tidbits
  • 1/4 of onion, chopped
  • 1-2 hearts of romain, chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro
  • 4-5 large wheat or white tortillas (I used white)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken pieces to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring to be sure chicken is cooked through and a golden brown.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Add barbecue sauce and pineapple to the pan and toss with the chicken.
  • Warm tortillas.
  • On each tortilla, put a spoonful of chicken, sprinkle with cheese, onion, and romain.
  • Put cilantro on top. (I found this to be very strong and would not use near the amount again)
  • Roll burrito style and serve immediately.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/08/23/its-a-wrap-mm-mm-monday-in-disguise/

 

 

 

M’m! M’m! Monday 8/15/16

"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

What happens when opposites get together? I’m left handed, he’s right. He’s a morning glory, I’m a night owl. I love my music up loud, while he prefers the volume to be down low.   My husband and I are completely different in almost every way possible and after 33 years together, we STILL find ways that we contrast each other. Yes, night and day, up and down, left and right, Cindy and JD…..as unlike as can be! It reminds me of Paul when he was struggling with opposites in Romans 7:19:

“I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (NLT)

Good and bad, right and wrong, somehow we find ourselves attracted to both! I can’t count how many times I’ve set out to do the right thing and only a short while later find myself doing the reverse. It’s not necessarily the big things that send me in the wrong direction, but rather those little, I know it’s not right but “maybe no one will know”, “what can it hurt”, “everyone else is doing it” kind of things that bring me straight to the same place that Paul was: in deeep “do do”! (do, do not do, do, etc.)

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”  Romans 5:8 (NLT)

Thank goodness God knew we’d need help! He doesn’t wait until we’ve got it all right.  He met Paul then and he meets us today, right where we are; even if it’s in messy, deep do do. There’s nothing more radically different than our sin and the perfection of Jesus! But….put those two opposites together and We. Have. Victory!

Sweet and Sour

Opposites: Sweet and Sour = Tasty

Like JD and I, today’s recipe takes two opposites, puts them together, and makes something great! I first had this dish while on a girl’s get away to the lake with my mom and sisters. The sweet pineapple, sour sauce, crisp vegetables, and juicy chicken make it a family favorite here! And it’s pretty too! So, remember in people and in food…..different can be good! Enjoy!

Lake Isabella Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
  • 2 cups Minute Brown Rice, uncooked
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbls. all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil (I used Sesame oil for that oriental flavor)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 c. sugar snap peas
  • 1 jar sweet and sour or duck sauce (2/3 cup) Found in the oriental cooking section of the store
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • sliced green onions (optional) I liked them!

Instructions

  • Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Measure reserved juice and add enough water to make 1 3/4 cups of liquid.
  • Prepare rice according to directions on the box using the juice/water mixture.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Toss chicken pieces in the flour.
  • Cook chicken about 5-7 minutes or until golden.
  • Add pineapple chunks, pepper, and snap peas and cook until slightly softened (3-5 mins.)
  • Add sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, and orange juice to mixture in pan. Cook until sauce begins to boil and thickens.
  • Serve over rice.
  • Top with green onions if desired.
  • Makes 4 servings.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/08/15/mm-mm-monday-81516/

M’m! M’m! Monday 8/8/16

"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

What would you say if I told you that I have a recipe for you today that’s called a “Salad” but tastes like a “Dessert”? Woo Hoo is my response!  Remember eating Cracker Jack and finding a prize in the bottom? Who doesn’t love a “Buy One Get One” sale or qualifying for a free upgrade?  We humans know what we want and like it  much better when we get even more!

Before I got married I had three qualities I was looking for in a husband.  Are you ready? Older than me. Taller than me. Could sing. (I know, you can roll your eyes. I was young)  Guess what? I married a man who’s younger, shorter, and mmmm….not quite the singer I’d imagined.  But guess what else? I got much more!  A man of faith, a good provider, and a man that shows his love for me by making my coffee every morning! (That’s better than a singer any day!) 

So, what about me? Us? If we like getting more, and we do; shouldn’t we be giving more? If we’re looking to find a prize inside or get two for the price of one; shouldn’t WE be offering the same to the world? To our family? Thinking about it, I must admit, I don’t always give my best self to the ones I love the most. I’m pretty sure my kids have wished for a mom upgrade a time or two! In these days of sadness, hate, and just plain tasteless behavior; we need to stop and ask ourselves: are we being “a salad that tastes like a dessert”? Are we going above and beyond? Providing an unexpected richness to those around us? Are we making the effort to be the upgrade people aren’t anticipating? I want to try. I wish we all would.  Whether its a smile, touch, or kind word. A door held, an opening into traffic offered, or patience in a long line. An apology, an invitation, or forgiveness. Wherever we go, with whomever we meet; let’s be what we want to see in others, but not stop there. Let’s be the prize… the real deal… the dessert…. I’m guessing, if we work at it, WE’LL be the ones getting more than we ever expected!

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT)

Now, on to this recipe! I recently sent this salad with my “young” husband for a work event.  The bowl came home empty and he had requests for the recipe.  Let me know what you think of it.  As usual, it’s easy and delicious.  So go ahead! Have your dessert (salad) and eat it too!

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 container of Cool Whip (Lite is fine)
  • 1 box of Jello Instant Cheesecake Pudding
  • 3 containers of Strawberry Yogurt (I use Dannon)
  • 16 oz. of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Miniature marshmallows (I use about a half of bag)

Instructions

  • Mix the first three ingredients together thouroughly and refrigerate at least an hour (can be overnight). When you are ready to serve, add strawberries and marshmallows. Stir to blend. I top with a few slices of strawberry in the middle.
  • ***The last time I made this, I couldn't find the cheesecake pudding mix so I bought a Jello No Bake Cheesecake mix and used the powdered cheesecake in it. Also, the original recipe calls for sliced bananas in addition to the strawberries. I usually make this to take somewhere and bananas don't hold up, so I just leave them out.
  • ***I think this would be good with raspberry yogurt and raspberries or blueberry yogurt and blueberries, too.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/08/08/mm-mm-monday-8816/

 

 

M’m! M’m! Monday 8/1/16

"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

Family Reunion
The O’Jays, 1975

It’s so nice to see
All the folks you love together
Sittin’ and talking’ ’bout
All the things that’s been goin’ down

It’s been a long, long time
Since we had a chance to get together
Nobody knows the next time we’ll see each other
Maybe years and years from now

Family Reunion……

It’s that time of year!  Time for grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and everyone in-between to come together for a family reunion.  I love to see pictures on Facebook and in the newspaper; pictures of all the different generations of a family posing together, arms interlocked, with smiling faces, and a look in their eyes that says “we’re home”!

Home. The definition changes for me. When I’m with my mom and sisters in Michigan, I’m home. After being away and the “Welcome to West Virginia” sign passes overhead, I’m home. Sitting within the protection of the walls of our old house…..home, and soon, new walls will provide the security of being home.  But…..nothing says home to me more these days than having both our children, their spouses, and our grand baby within arm’s reach! Yesterday I was HOME! Sitting around the table with our four “children”, grandson, my husband, and my mother-in-love filled this ole gal’s heart to overflowing! I so treasure these times of reunion.

Because here in the mountains of West Virginia, most family reunions require a covered dish; I thought I’d share a recipe that is perfect for just such occasions!  It’s easy to make, easy to transport, and I’m pretty sure you won’t have to worry about what to do with leftovers because there won’t be any! So, kiss your aunt, play horseshoes with your cousin, hold your granddad’s hand, and cuddle that grand baby! Our time on this earth is short. We DON’T know when we may see each other next. Isn’t it a comfort, that a Reunion awaits us one day; where there’ll be no more sorrow, no more worry, no more pain…just rejoicing and love, and who knows? Maybe horseshoes and a covered dish!

“This world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home that is yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)

Hash brown Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag frozen, shredded hash browns, thawed (1-2 minutes in microwave)
  • 1 Cup onion, chopped
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 Pint sour cream
  • 1 Stick butter, melted
  • 1-2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 Bag or so of crushed potato chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine thawed potatoes, onion, soup, and sour cream.
  • Spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish with Pam.
  • Place potato mixture in pan.
  • Melt butter and pour over the top of the potato mixture. (I make holes in mixture with the end of my spoon first)
  • Sprinkle cheese on top of butter layer.
  • Cover entire casserole with crushed chips.
  • Bake 1 - 1 1/2 hours until chips are golden and casserole is bubbling.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/08/01/mm-mm-monday-8116/

What means home to you? Share that and your favorite dish to take to a reunion in the comments below!  I’d love to hear from you!

M’m! M’m! Monday 7/18/16

"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

Today I’m lost without ever leaving home.  My sense of direction, dulled; I find myself aimlessly floating between the past, present, and what’s yet to come. Wayward, I drift on the rising and falling   tide of “what ifs” and “why nots”…. leading me only farther from where I need to be. 

Yes, I’m adrift on the sea of woe is me.  Ever been there? It’s a much too familiar place where my blessings feel obscured, as if swallowed by the fog.  And my wants?  They seem far out of reach; just minute dots on the distant horizon. Sucked into the whirlpool of my own churning thoughts, the me I want to be, is missing.

SEND OUT THE LIFEBOAT!!!!!

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.”  John Newton, 1779

Join me in singing those words over to yourself a few times.  They remind me that whenever we feel lost…lost in grief, in sickness, in conflict, in worry, in fear, or even in our own self-centered thoughts; Grace. Is. Our. Way. Home.

Sometimes, like today for me, it feels like the person we want to be is nowhere to be found. Isn’t it reassuring that we’re not navigating this journey alone? We have each other to hold on to, inspired music and writings to keep us on track, and the amazing assurance that we’re never too lost that we can’t be found by the One who leads the way!

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?  Won’t he leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he finds it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.” Luke 15:4-5 (NLT)

Days like today just require comfort food so I’m sharing with you one of my very favorites!

Peach Crunch

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sliced, ripe peaches
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I use old fashioned but quick works too)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbls. butter or margarine, melted
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Instructions

  • Spray Pam in a 9 x 13 dish.
  • Spread the sliced peaches over the bottom of the prepared dish.
  • Sprinkle peaches with white sugar and a little cinnamon.
  • In a bowl, mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, salt and melted butter. (I use a fork)
  • Pour crunch mixture on top of fruit, spreading evenly.
  • Sprinkle a little nutmeg over the top - if you prefer, you can leave it off (I love nutmeg!)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and crunch is golden brown.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/07/18/mm-mm-monday-71816/

Comfort at its best! Yummm!

Comfort at its best! Yummm!

This is my Grandma Stevens’ recipe that we tweeked by doubling the crunch.  It works well with apples in the fall, too! Serve warm with ice cream or my preferred way….with milk!  Makes any day better! Enjoy!

 

M’m! M’m! Mmmmm-uesday!

"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

So, me and this Monday thing are just not working out! Somehow I keep missing it!  Retirement’s to blame, I think.  It’s taken a while but, I’ve finally reached the point where Sunday night stress doesn’t set in anymore and so…. I now hardly recognize Monday. (I’m sorry to all you young working people out there. Don’t worry I remember what it’s like and it makes not getting up to go to work everyday oh, so much sweeter! Don’t despair! It’s what you have to look forward to!)

I’m excited to report that one of  the last members in my circle of teacher friends retired in June! Now we are all hoping to spend a lot more time together…..OUTSIDE of school! Between us, we have well over 200 years of teaching experience.  That’s a lot of lesson plans and hours supporting each other through tears, laughter, frustration, achievement, sickness, health, bad days, good days, bad years, and good years. We’ve been sounding boards, cheerleaders, advocates, listening ears, and so much more for each other. Anyway, now it doesn’t matter if it’s a weekday or the weekend; we are overjoyed that we can get together whenever we want to!

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

Whether you’re retired like us, close enough to be counting down the days, or just starting out; don’t forget to “rejoice”!  It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday of life (even for us retired folk) that we miss out on the everyday of life. I’m speaking from experience so listen to your elder……Yes, it’s exhausting. Yes, trying. Yes, sad, scary, and hard! It’s also short. Don’t. Forget. To. Rejoice. Dinner with your family, a call from your mom, reading a bedtime story, a hug, a touch, a rainbow, a car that works, pets, a dishwasher, and a million other things!

Yep, I missed posting on Monday, BUT I’m not going to miss out on finding reasons to rejoice no matter WHAT day it is!  And for starters, here’s a delicious reason! In honor of my dear friend’s retirement, I’m going to share one of her recipes that’s also one of my favorites! Enjoy and….I’d love for you to go to the comments section and let me know what you’re rejoicing in today!

Robin Ann's Squash Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of yellow summer squash, cubed
  • Small-medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of Minute Rice (uncooked)
  • 1 can Cream of Celery Soup
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Grated cheddar cheese to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook squash and onion in a small amount of water until soft.
  • Drain excess water. (I leave a little in)
  • In a bowl, mix together rice, soups, and squash/onion mixture.
  • Put in a 9 X 13 greased pan.
  • Top with cheese.
  • Bake 30-40 minutes.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/07/12/mm-mm-mmmmm-uesday/

This is a perfect recipe for this time of year as the Summer Squash are ready to pick right now!  I’ve thought about adding ham to this recipe but haven’t tried it yet.  We just had it as a side dish with grilled steak and fresh strawberries! Did I mention REJOICE?