Category Archives: Recipe Challenge

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?

M’m! M’m! Monday 7/4/16

"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

Last week we were just thinking about the Fourth of July and now here we are!  My weekend didn’t turn out quite as we had planned.  It’s disappointing how easily I get out of whack when MY plans don’t work out the way I’d hoped.  (Cue the sad violin music) I sigh, (loudly) I boo hoo, (pitifully), I grumble about how it’s not fair, and… I. Feel. Sorry. For. Myself!  I am such an Israelite!

 The Israelite people were living a life in slavery. Through Moses, God saved them. To do this, they’d walked across the dry bed of the Red Sea, followed a light at night and a cloud in the day to guide them to safety, manna fell from Heaven to satisfy their hunger, and water poured from a rock to quench their thirst. They’d witnessed miracle after miracle, grace after grace, and what did they do in return? Felt. Sorry. For. Themselves. And just like me, they grumbled!

“Moses also said, “you will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we?  You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.” Exodus 16:8 (NIV)

“Grumbling against the Lord”…..Yikes!  It’s so easy for me to invite myself to that pity party, dance with my disappointment, and never once think that I’m grumbling against the One who saved ME!  The Israelites pity-partied on for way too long and it didn’t turn out so great for them. Pretty sure there’s a lesson here for me! Please tell me, I’m not alone!

It’s time for me to establish a no grumble zone and instead look at all my blessings! So, our weekend didn’t go according to plan…. we still got some jobs done that we’ve been avoiding, had an unexpected visit with our son, daughter-in-love, and granddogs, and have had some much needed down time, too. Manna from Heaven for sure! 

Our weather didn’t really cooperate today for our traditional Fourth of July grilled hot dogs either. No worries though, I pulled out my Fancy Hot Dog recipe, instead. Super quick, easy, and the best part? No grumbling! Enjoy!

Fancy Hotdogs

Ingredients

  • 1 package of hotdogs (I've used Oscar Mayer and Ball Park)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  • Cut hotdogs into quarters.
  • In a saucepan, combine ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar.
  • Add hotdogs and simmer 15-30 minutes.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled and also fixed in a crockpot!
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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!