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“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV) / Pixabay

My husband is having a cowboy themed Halloween at work.  So in keeping with that idea, I followed a new recipe today for the Former First Lady Laura Bush’s prize winning “Cowboy Cookies”.  She has experienced victory with her combination of ingredients and those that have  tried them have shared their rave reviews!  You would assume then, to get the same positive results it would make sense ( she was the First Lady after all) for me to adhere to her instructions step-by-step. But, you would assume wrong.  Oh, it would’ve made sense; but no,….thinking I knew best; I deviated from the proven method still expecting the same (or better) results!

Ever have the lightbulb suddenly come on when you haven’t been the brightest? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. As soon as I went my own way instead of following the plan laid out for me, I realized it may not have been the best idea. And in that moment, I recognized that I often make the same mistake in my Christian life, too! Sheesh! These lessons just keep coming at me!

How many times have I, knowing God’s “recipe” for life is perfect, veered off in my own direction because I wanted what I thought was best? Ever been there? I don’t know about you, but for me it’s more times than I’d like to admit.  I tell myself, “a little extra of this won’t hurt” or “less time on that can’t make that much difference” and even “I don’t need to add this to my life at all!” As you might guess, the results fail to meet my expectations.

When Jesus said, “follow me” to the disciples, He expected them to follow Him all the way to the cross. His plan for each of us is exactly the same. Recognizing that Jesus died so that we might live and sharing that with others offers the BEST possible results.  So, the next time we’re tempted to alter our way, we must remind ourselves that God’s already given us the winning combination; we need only to keep our eyes on the Prize and follow Him step-by-step to true victory!

 

 

M’m! M’m! Monday 3/28/16

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“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2 (NLT)

There I was, standing in the middle of my kitchen shaking…shaking…shaking… but the cake would not come out of the pan and land on the plate like it was supposed to.  I’d followed the recipe and its not like I hadn’t made a pound cake before, but despite my aggressive attempts, the dessert I was to take to Easter dinner held tight.  Knife around the edges….shake again……no luck! Clunking on the counter…..knife around the edge again…..shake….shake….AND… out it came. Not only did my cake break free, it broke into many pieces! What an unexpected and unwanted mess!  Upon further reflection I realized that while I had greased the Bundt pan I’d left out an important step.  I had forgotten to flour it. My cake was doomed from the beginning.

Like a puzzle, I pieced it together the best I could and drizzled the glaze over the top which thankfully acted as a sort of sugary camouflage. Hesitantly, I placed it on the dessert table right next to a professional looking chocolate cake and a plate of fun, creative fudge. My best intentions lay on that plate reminding me that things don’t always turn out like I plan.

Isn’t that life?  We try and follow the “recipe” for being a good person and still Bad. Things. Happen. We’re stuck. Can’t move. Feels like we’ve had a knife through our heart.  Our whole world is shaken up and we fall to pieces.  WE were doomed from the beginning because we miss an important step.  Jesus.  We’re reminded that life is hard, our plans go awry and that we can never be good enough.  What a blessing that HE is! Jesus’ body was broken for us so that He can take all of our broken pieces and through grace, turn them into something beautiful! (No sugary camouflage needed!) That’s the Glory of the Resurrection!

Well, thankfully my cake tasted better than it looked so thought I’d share the recipe with you today.  Its hint of lemon and fresh strawberries make it a perfect Spring dessert. Just DON’T FORGET TO FLOUR THE PAN!!! Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter or margarine
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (I use extra large)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. plain or vanilla yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and FLOUR a 10 inch Bundt pan
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  • Add salt and baking soda and lemon zest.
  • Alternate beating in 2 1/4 cups flour and the yogurt, mixing until incorporated.
  • Toss the diced strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and gently mix them into the batter.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool 20 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a plate or rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, whisk together the remaining 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and the powdered sugar.
  • Drizzle over the top of the cake.
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M’m! M’m! Monday 3/21/16

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

Easter is coming!  Oh, how I love this time of year!  Daffodils, baby animals, longer days, Peeps (the marshmallow kind), and a new dress!  Growing up, for my sisters and I,  Easter always meant a new dress, hat, gloves, purse, and shoes and still today I like to wear a new dress on Easter Sunday.  Isn’t that what Spring and Easter remind us of? Not new clothes but becoming a new person.  Jesus was nailed to the cross, died, and rose again for you and me so that we can shed our old sinful selves and become new in Him. No more winter chill but the warmth of the Son shining for us!  Alleluia!

Because it IS the week of Easter I thought I would share a unique side dish recipe that will compliment any Easter dinner.  It takes a new twist on a traditional dish:

Green Bean Casserole Towers

Ingredients

  • 2-3 bags of Frozen Onion Rings (not the chopped variety)
  • 1 can French Style Green Beans, drained
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup French Fried Onions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven as directed on the onion ring package.
  • In a small bowl combine the green beans and soup. Mix well.
  • Add french fried onions to the mixture - combine well.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and stack 3 rings-large, med, smaller on top of each other.
  • Fill the towers with the green bean mixture.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve with a spatula.
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This recipe intrigued me and it didn’t disappoint. It takes the 2-3 bags of onion rings to have enough size variation to make the towers.  I was able to create 12 with two bags. The third would provide options tho.  You can also add a little milk to the green bean mixture if it seems too thick.

I’m always on the look out for interesting recipes so feel free to share some of yours in the comments section.  Happy Easter, Happy Cooking, and Happy Eating, Cindy