Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making Granola

In addition to making an attempt at some house cleaning, washing several loads of laundry, ironing the church clothes, and making a SAMS run, I managed to do some baking today! I love the way it made the house smell!









I made 3 pans of Good Morning Granola. I haven't made this in a l-o-n-g time because of the high calorie content, but my husband l-o-v-e-s this granola -- so I made him a big batch to enjoy. The smell and the taste brought back a lot of memories -- of a time not so very long ago when I made this recipe weekly! I'm hoping it will make my husband s-m-i-l-e when he sees it! :)



Here's the recipe, in case you want to see if it makes your husband smile too! ;)



Good Morning Granola


Ingredients:

12 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds, sliced or slivered
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup coconut flakes

1 1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups honey
1 cup water
1 1/2 TBSP vanilla


(I snuck in 1/2 cup ground flax seed, too -- but don't tell my husband!)


Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl.
2. In a glass bowl, (I use a large glass measuring cup.) mix oil, honey and water and heat in microwave for about 2 minutes.
3. Add vanilla and stir well.
4. Pour over oat mixture.
5. Mix together thoroughly.
6. Spoon granola onto 2 or 3 large baking sheets sprayed with Pam.
7. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so, and rotating pans from top shelf to bottom.
8. Let cool on baking sheets. Break apart and store in airtight containers.


Watch out -- or granola will mysteriously disappear from the pans!










Everyone was so excited about the pans of granola I made, that Hannah and I decided to whip up a batch of Peanut Butter Granola, which is the children's favorite. This granola is Very Easy to make and is really delicious! A real treat is to eat a bowlful warm from the oven with milk on top!!!



Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients:

1 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
2 cups peanut butter (I like crunchy best.)
14 cups rolled oats (quick or old fashioned, whichever you prefer)


Directions:

1. Measure oil, honey, and peanut butter into a large glass measuring cup or bowl.
2. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir well.
3. Pour over oats.
4. Mix thoroughly.
5. Spread into 2 baking sheets sprayed with Pam.
6. Bake at 300 degrees F for about 20 minutes.


Now, my house is really smelling GOOD! :) And no one can wait until breakfast . . . .

Snack Time!

I promised my daughter's friend, Emily, that I would post these recipes, but didn't get around to it yesterday.


These are two treats that our family enjoys. They are easy to make, too!












Scotcheroos


(We call these "snitcheroos" -- because it's so hard to leave them alone!)


Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips



Directions:


1. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with Pam.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and corn syrup, and bring to a rolling boil.
3. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter.
4. Mix in the rice cereal until evenly coated.
5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.
6. In a glass bowl in the microwave, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth and well blended.
7. Spread over the top of the bars. Let set up slightly, and then cut into bars. Then, chill until set and serve.








Granola Bars


Ingredients:

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs


2 cups flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick oats
2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
3 cups of any of the following: nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, dates, coconut, sunflower seeds


Directions:

1. Mix together the first five ingredients.
2. Then add the dry ingredients and mix well.
3. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts, etc. as desired.
4. Press in jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes, until golden brown. Don't overbake, or they will be too dry and crumbly.
5. Store in airtight container.


I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Looking for Cat

Long before I ever dreamed of becoming a blogger myself, I used to love visiting the blog of Mrs. Catherine on Xanga.com. She had so much encouragement on her blog for women who were trying to homeschool and create beautiful, orderly homes and be godly, feminine women in this culture drenched in feminism. I really loved visiting her site when I was in need of encouragement, and one of my favorite parts was the house cleaning/decluttering plan that she had on her blog.


I recently remembered her wonderul blog and tried to find it, but I kept receiving a message from xanga that the owner had shut down that site. I find it hard to believe that Mrs. Catherine has left the blogosphere. She had so much to share!


So, I was wondering if anyone out there knows what happened to Mrs. Cat?? Perhaps she moved her blog to blogspot or homeschool blogger or something? If anyone knows if Mrs. Cat is still blogging out there somewhere, please let me know! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fireproof!!

Today was the day we've been waiting for -- the day that Fireproof was released on DVD~!


I had pre-ordered my copy back in December, and couldn't wait to go pick it up at my local Lifeway Christian Book Store! When I got to the store, I discovered that I wasn't the only Fireproof fan eager to claim my very own copy! Lifeway had a steady stream of customers today, most of them there to pick up their Fireproof DVDs! Of course, this isn't just any town. Facing the Giants put this town on the map, and Fireproof has caused people to give it a second look!


Tonight, after supper and bath time, all who were home gathered around to watch the movie. It was just as good the second time around, and I laughed and cried Again!!!


I know I already blogged about this incredible movie once, or even twice before, but it is worth another entry! I just love this movie and its message to Never Leave Your Partner Behind! I want to encourage everyone to go buy this DVD. Have a Family Night and watch this movie with your husband and children! Share it with your family and friends! Let's all join the battle to Save Marriages!


fireproofbanner

Ten Super Foods

On Friday afternoon, while the children were at the library picking out books and enjoying the games on the library's computers, I browsed a book by Nicholas Perricone, MD.


This book listed Ten Super Foods that we should eat regularly to:

  • prevent inflammation (a precursor of many modern diseases)
  • help regulate metabolism and burn body fat
  • lower total cholesterol
  • help protect against heart disease
  • help protect against cancer
  • help protect organs from toxins
  • promote digestive health

Can you guess what those ten foods were?? Do you even care?!! Hopefully you are on the edge of your seat with curiosity, because I am about to post the list:

  1. Acai berry
  2. Allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, shallots, chives)
  3. Barley
  4. Green foods (wheat and barley grasses and blue green algaes)
  5. Buckwheat
  6. Beans and lentils
  7. Hot peppers (such as chilies)
  8. Nuts and seeds (we should eat a TBSP of walnuts or almonds everyday)
  9. Sprouts
  10. Yogurt and kefir (probiotics)

How did you do? I'm afraid I didn't fare very well!!!

Most of those foods are not regulars at our dinner table. What interested me about this list, though, is that while some of the foods may have been "odd" ones, many are humble foods that our parents and grandparents probably ate regularly.

Dr. Perricone also recommended eating from the Rainbow. When choosing foods, look for those which naturally contain the colors of the rainbow, the brighter, the better. These foods are high in various phytonutrients, and should be consumed often:

  • apples
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • bee pollen
  • beet greens
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • chives
  • kale
  • spinach
  • chard
  • collards
  • dill
  • peppermint
  • red cabbage
  • tarragon
  • thyme
  • tomatoes
  • apple
  • apricots
  • berries
  • cherries
  • kiwi
  • pears
  • pomegranates
  • grapes
  • black tea
  • green tea
  • pomegranate juice
  • purple grape juice (or red wine)
  • dark chocolate
  • wild Alaskan salmon


I did better with this list. We do eat many of these delicious foods, but really need to try to work in more, as the budget allows!


OK, I'm going to end this post by sharing a new recipe that I made yesterday, that actually uses quite a few ingredients from the above lists! This recipe is delicious, nutritious, and economical. My family really enjoyed it! Well, all but the two youngest, and they really don't like to see anything that resembles soup in their bowls!!!


Elizabeth's Black Bean Chili


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped orange or yellow bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 pounds ground turkey or lean ground beef
6 (15 oz.) cans black beans, undrained
4 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes or combination of both
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons cumin
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar


Directions:

Saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil. Add the ground turkey (or lean ground beef) and cook, stirring often, until browned. Add all other ingredients. Stir well. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low, covered, for at least an hour or more, until flavors are well blended. Flavor is even better the next day!


This has a bit of a "bite" to it, so if your family does not like spicy foods, you might want to cut back on the spices accordingly.


Serve with grated Mexican 4 cheese to sprinkle on top and a dollop of sour cream. We discovered that stirring in the sour cream helps reduce the spiciness and makes this even more Delicious!!!

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beef Stew and Blessings!

For Sunday dinner, I made a huge pot of beef stew. This is a great meal for large families, because it is easy to make a lot of it, and it is relatively inexpensive. It is also Delicious!







Just in case your mouth is watering for some stew, after seeing the above picture, I'm going to post the recipe for my Mom's Beef Stew:

You'll need:

stew beef
butter
flour
salt, pepper
onion
celery
carrots
potatoes
bay leaf

Directions:

Remove all fat from stew beef and cut into 1 inch cubes.

Drop cubes into bowl of flour, mixed with salt and pepper, and mix around until all pieces are evenly coated.

Brown beef and coarsely chopped onion in butter in a large dutch oven. (Start with one stick of butter. Add more as needed to keep from sticking.)

Add water as desired to form gravy/broth. Start with about 8 cups water (or beef broth) and add more as needed.

Drop in one bay leaf.

Let simmer for at least 2 hours, covered.

Cut vegetables in large pieces.

Add chunks of carrots, potatoes and celery.

Cook for at least another hour.

Uncover the last half hour or so to thicken broth.

About half an hour before serving, add about a Tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet for a darker, richer looking gravy. (I did not have any this time.)

Note: If you used plenty of flour and butter for browning your beef, your broth will thicken into a nice gravy by the time your stew is done.


I know this recipe is not very exact, but just use as much meat as you can afford (1/4 pound per person is a good rule of thumb), and then add the vegetables to taste. I use two big onions, and I start with at least one carrot and one potato per member of my family. In other words, I put in at least 12 carrots and 12 potatoes, but usually a few more. My husband and sons like as much meat as possible in their stew, but stew is definitely a meat-stretcher!


You may want to remove the bay leaf before serving, or you may want to do what our family does, and leave it in. Whenever someone finds the bay leaf in his or her bowl, we go around the table and everyone gives that person a Blessing! It's a lot of fun and is supposed to be an encouragement to the one who ends up with the bay leaf!

Guess who found the bay leaf today??

Hannah!

She received an assortment of blessings from around our table! Listen in on some of them . . .

May the Lord bless you with a long life.

May the Lord bless you with a focused mind!

May the Lord bless you with inward and outward beauty.

May the Lord bless you with the desire and ability to make us something for dessert this afternoon!!!

I thought this last one took the cake!!!! ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Beauty of the Truth

Have you ever visited A Wise Woman Builds Her Home? What a Beautiful Blog!!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting this blog recently! It has the most appealing old-fashioned pictures, as well as such a sweet spirit that shines through every post! It makes for a very refreshing visit! I could easily stay there for hours, just soaking up the wisdom and the beauty.

And yet, what I discovered there yesterday was not very pretty.

I happened upon this blog post, which listed some common signs of bitterness in women:

  • gossip and slander
  • ungrateful and complaining
  • judges motives
  • self-centered
  • excessive sorrow
  • vengeful
  • brooding
  • loss of joy
  • a critical, judgmental attitude

Then, I read this piercing statement:

"We simply cannot allow circumstances to rule our moods or our lives! This is not just a form of tearing down our homes, but also SIN. We are called to self-control."

And then this probing question:

"Do we trust God with every aspect of our lives (not just the ones that are easy to surrender)?"


Followed by this exhortation:

"Bitterness grows when you 'take into account a wrong suffered.' (1 Corinthians 13:5.) But, Hebrews 12:15 teaches us to: 'See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.' "


Well, what can I say??? My heart was smote!

Without realizing it, I had allowed bitterness to creep into my heart. I had never really seen 1 Cor. 13:5 in this way before, but I immediately saw the truth of this application. By taking into account a wrong suffered by my son, and by focusing on this perceived injustice, I was allowing a root of bitterness to spring up in my heart. A weed, such as bitterness, can literally spring up overnight, as anyone who has ever done any gardening knows. But the deceptive thing about bitterness, according to the Scriptures, is that by it many will be defiled.


My desire is to be like the wise woman, who builds up her house and family, not like the foolish woman, who tears down her house and family with her words and actions. (Proverbs 14:1) I certainly don't want to defile my precious family by allowing bitterness to gain a foothold in my life!


But, I am so weak! How do I win this battle waging in my heart??


"And he said unto me, My Grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." -- 1 Corinthians 12:9-10.


Seeing the true state of our hearts is never a pretty sight, but there is great Beauty in seeing and obeying Truth, as God reveals it to us!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Has "The Dream" Become a Nightmare?

Wow -- I just read an insightful blog post that sums up the current situation in America!! I wish I had seen this on MLK day -- but since I just discovered it, I thought I'd share it with you now.

The blog post, entitled, The Dream Defiled, begins like this:

"Imagine the disappointment of Martin Luther King Jr. were he alive to see the inauguration of a President elected solely on the color of his skin."

To read the rest of this post, click here.

Don't you love it when someone else perfectly articulates what you've been thinking in the back of your mind?!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a Southern Thing!



I made a new breakfast recipe this morning that had my entire family raving! They are begging me to make it again! It was Creamy Cheese Grits from Southern Living magazine.


Yes, I know, you may have never eaten grits if you live above the Mason Dixon line. You may not even think you like grits, which is probably because you don't know how to properly make and serve them. (Hint: you don't put brown sugar and milk on them!!)


I'm telling you that this is one delicious breakfast, and my job is to motivate you to give it a try!!


So, if you don't currently have any in your pantry, go buy a bag of grits. Just get a bag of Quaker Quick Grits. (No Instants Grits, please!!!) It looks like this:





Now, if you know me well, you know that I rarely make a recipe exactly as it is written, so here is the recipe with my adaptations!



Creamy Cheese Grits


5 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups Quaker Quick Grits

2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese

2 TBSP butter

1/2 cup milk



Bring 5 cups water to a boil.

Add salt.

Pour in grits slowly, stirring with a whisk. (This is essential, or grits will form clumps!)

Reduce heat to medium low and cover with lid (Quickly before the grits start plopping on you!).

Simmer, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes or until thickened.

Stir in butter, cheese, and milk until cheese is melted and mixture is blended.

Serve immediately.

If necessary, keep warm on low heat, stirring occasionally.


*Note -- this recipe serves 6-8, and I doubled all ingredients for my family of 12.



Now, here's a funny story to tell your family while they enjoy their grits, which, by the way, are delicious served with fried or scrambled eggs!


Several weeks ago, my husband and I took our oldest son to LaGrange College for a football recruiting visit. We were joined by several other football recruits and their parents. Now, my son draws a lot of attention, because he is 6'8" tall and about 320 pounds! (And wears a size 16 WIDE shoe!) I'm telling you, he is one HUGE guy! So, finally, this black lady from Atlanta pulls me aside and asks me how tall he is. Then she said the funniest thing -- "What kinda grits have you been feedin' this guy to grow him so big???" :)


Well, now you know!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Bad Call??

Boys B team game







I've tried. Honestly, I have.

I want to support the team whether my son is playing or not.


And I Love Basketball! It is a lot more exciting than football or baseball. (Especially Baseball!!!)


But, every time I go to a Varsity Boys game, I end up leaving feeling Frustrated and Upset and just plain Mad. I have tried to control my pit bull ever since it first reared its ugly head, but as I sit there on those cold, hard bleachers watching my son stuck on the bench, my heart begins growing hard and cold, too. The team may be winning by 20 points, but I am unable to experience the joy of victory, because I am mired in defeat.


I've honestly tried to be objective, but when the player who was last year's second leading scorer, leading rebounder, and leader of blocked shots, is left sitting on the bench until the last 3 or 4 minutes of the game, and only plays when we are ahead by at least 20 or 30 points, there is definitely something wrong.


So, I've had to make a hard call. I've decided to not go to any more varsity games this season. I will just root for the boys from home. I'll call it my home court advantage! It may be the only way I can win!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Insights


I am certainly not a fan of our 44th president.


Yet, as I watched the Inauguration today, I felt an unexpected surge of emotion, my eyes filled with tears, and I was overcome with gratitude. You probably think you stumbled onto the wrong blog, so let me explain!!


First of all, I am extremely grateful for a nation where we have had a peaceful transfer of power 44 times! There was no blood shed, no military coup, just a very civil transfer of power from one political party to another. Our outgoing President and ingoing President, though vastly different in every way, chatted amicably together in the limousine on the way to the inauguration! That is truly something to be thankful for!


Secondly, I am grateful for a country where the American Dream still exists, even though its gleam is a bit tarnished. For a man such as Barak Obama to be able to rise above his humble beginnings and to overcome powerful prejudices to ascend to the highest position in our land, is truly spectacular. I am thankful to live in a land where such Cinderella stories are still possible.


Thirdly, I was grateful for the prayer offered by Pastor Rick Warren. Although I must admit that I'm not much of a fan of that man, either, I was impressed with his prayer. I was holding my breath the entire time, waiting to see how he would end it. My spirit soared when I heard him boldly offer his prayer in the Name of Jesus, whom he credited for changing his life. And just in case anyone missed it the first time, he boldly proclaimed this Name that is Above All Names in more than one language. I was so thankful for his courage and his powerful prayer, which was heard by millions!


Fourthly, I was grateful for the fact that this new president stands before us by Divine Appointment and not by random chance! Daniel 2:20-21 says, " . . . Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."


Furthermore, Romans 13:1 instructs, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." The Amplified Version makes it even clearer: "Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God's appointment." I am thankful for God's sovereignty and that He rules and overrules in the affairs of men!



And so, I am thankful today to be an American and am extremely hopeful that this new President will exceed my expectations, and if not, that four years will go by quickly! ;) I am also thankful for this opportunity to trust God and watch His perfect plan unfold. We are reminded daily that having the first African-American in the Oval Office is history in the making, but all of history is actually His Story, and we are privileged to have "front row seats" as we watch his plan unfold.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Every Good and Perfect Gift . . .

"A friend is a present you give yourself." This quote by Robert Louis Stevenson is neatly written in a journal that I kept in high school, along with several poems I wrote, a few favorite quotes and other little snippets of writing that I admired.


I now believe that Stevenson's quote is a little lacking, because I've discovered that a true friend is actually a gift from God. We've moved quite a bit through the years, and God has given me precious friends in every city that I've lived! That is something I never could have given myself.


Last week, I reconnected with a friend whom I knew about a decade ago, when we both lived in Valdosta. She found me through Facebook! This shows me that God even uses modern technology to further friendships!


Unbelievably, Karen's life journey had brought her to Albany a few years previously, and then she moved on. Thus, we discovered we had a mutual friend here! Not only that, but I learned that Karen was going to be in town over the weekend, and we made plans to meet for lunch.


The result of all this was a lovely lunch where I enjoyed fellowship with my old friend -- Karen, a new friend -- Heather, and my current good friend -- Martha! What I've found is that when you all enjoy fellowship with the same Father, you enjoy a special bond right from the start. Thus, we were able to not just have fun together, but to join our hearts in prayer over a special need shared. And, that is truly a Gift from God!!



Martha and Karen sharing a laugh


Heather and her sweet baby







Friends -- reunited





While baking some cookies this afternoon, I started thinking about how a favorite recipe is a lot like a good friend. It is comfortable, tried and true, trustworthy and faithful.


I'm going to share with you our most favorite and most trusted cookie recipe. This one always turns out well and it's probably because it came from my sister, Rebecca, who is an excellent cook. It is definitely an old friend around here, probably one we've spent a little too much time with!!!! ;)

Rebecca's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


3 sticks butter

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

4 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 bags swirled peanut butter/milk chocolate chips (or 1 bag chocolate chips and 1 bag peanut butter chips, which is what I had on hand this time.)


Cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla, beating after addition of each egg.
Add flour, salt and baking soda, mixing well. Dough will be stiff.
Stir in chocolate/peanut butter chips.
Using a medium size cookie scoop, drop onto greased baking sheets.
Bake what's left after "tasting the dough" at 350 degrees for about ten minutes, longer if you like a crunchy cookie, but we like a chewy cookie!










ENJOY!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Lazy Morning

Recently, I've been reading about the importance of having a good morning routine, and I agree 100%. It really does make a difference in how your day goes, and I'm working on improving my morning routine. And yet . . . well, let's just say today was a departure from the normal routine.





It was just SO COLD here this morning. Ever since moving to the Heart of the Deep South, I've become increasingly intolerant of Cold Weather! (I know I'm not getting any sympathy from my poor sister, who lives where it gets Really Cold and Stays that way All Winter and most of the Spring!) But, I'm just not used to those "teenaged temperatures" anymore!!!





Plus, my husband is out of town, which means I had the sweetest and cuddliest little bed mate last night. So, between the Cold temperatures outside of my bed, and the Warm, snuggly sweetheart snuggled up against me in my bed, it was just humanly impossible to get up at my new normal time of 4:45 am and don workout clothes and brave the cold, outside world to go the gym!!













So, I slept in.

Did I mention that it was COLD???




Actually, I did crawl out of bed at the respectable hour of 6:30 am to make the coffee and unload the dishwasher and make sure that my poor fellas who had to go out in the Cold to go to "real" school were up on time and out the door with lunches in hand. I let the younger children sleep in a bit, and when they woke up, I let them lay around in the family room by the fire under the condition that they found a book from the bookshelf and Read Quietly. This is almost a punishment for these boys, who would much rather play a computer game than read, so it was good for them! And it counts as school -- silent reading time!





























But, all good things must come to an end. So, eventually, they had to bundle up and take the dumpsters down to the street and do a couple other chores, while I loaded the dishwasher and turned it on and tried to get moving. Now, the children are diligently watching their HomeSat classes in the various cold corners of the house, while I sit here by the fire "dilligently" blogging in my PJs!~ :) Ok, time to get on track! I must attempt to turn this lazy morning into a productive day!!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Making a Fashion Statement


I got a kick out of discovering this T-shirt, which is being designed and sold by a courageous blogger named, Kelly, over at Generation Cedar. If you are willing to have your 20th century views about family planning challenged, go visit her blog! Plan to stay for awhile, as she has a wealth of information over there!

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Creative Leftovers

I've been trying to think of ideas all day for using up my container full of leftover whole wheat spaghetti noodles that I told you about yesterday. Since we just ate Spaghetti on Friday night, I wanted something different. Finally, I came up with this creation:





Italian Chicken and Pasta Skillet Dinner


Saute some chopped onion, chopped green pepper and minced garlic in olive oil.
Stir in 2 cans of diced tomatoes. (I used some DelMonte diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion that I had recently purchased B1G1F.)
Add chopped, cooked chicken and cooked spaghetti noodles (or other pasta).
Add a little Italian seasoning.
Simmer on low while you make a tossed salad.
Right before serving, stir in some grated Parmesan or Italian 5 cheese (optional).



Here is a picture of my delicious creation:











This was really incredibly yummy!!! I think I might even make it again some time! This recipe illustrates the fact that Necessity is the mother of Creativity.

I'd love to hear about some tasty Creations you've made for your family.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What's in Your Fridge??

Saturday night, my son, Josh smoked some chicken leg quarters for supper. I needed to whip up some side dishes to accompany his main course and wasn't quite sure what to make, especially since my grocery account is depleted while the month is not . . .


A perusal of the refrigerator revealed several plastic containers full of odds and ends that were in danger of becoming science experiments, if I didn't find a way to use them. But, if I served them as they were, I doubted anyone would really eat them. So, I got to work and recycled those leftovers into a delicious meal that had my family raving!


First, I took some leftover broccoli and chopped it up a bit and added a can of cream of chicken soup, some minced onion, 2 beaten eggs, and some grated cheddar cheese, and turned it into a delicious broccoli casserole.


Then, I grabbed the bowl of leftover egg noodles and heated them in the microwave along with a stick of butter. When they were hot, I stirred in some grated parmesan cheese and Italian seasoned bread crumbs. This innovation made a very tasty side dish, which my hungry family devoured!


Next, I took some leftover baked potatoes that had been languishing in the fridge for close to a week, and took off the skins and mashed them with a potato masher. I warmed the potatoes in the microwave and stirred in some butter, a little bit of sour cream left in the bottom of a container, and the last bit of Ranch seasoning mix. You should have seen those potatoes disappearing!! Everyone loved them!


Finally, I chopped up some raw veggies from the crisper drawer and added them to a base of Spring Mix Salad blend, and created a delicious salad to round out my meal.


My family Loved the meal and I was so proud of the way I creatively used up my leftovers that I just had to share!!


On Monday I will look for a way to use up some leftover whole wheat spaghetti noodles. Any suggestions??


By the way, there weren't any leftovers! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Goals; More Books

It seems that every time I sit down to work on this blog post that I'm interrupted; however, I'm still determined to share some of my goals for the new year . . . before this year becomes last year!



I like to set goals each year based on my priorities, which are derived from Titus 2:2-5:

1. my relationship with God
2. my relationship with my husband
3. my relationship with my childrenItalic
4. managing my home
5. ministering to others
6. my personal growth


So, based on these priorities, here are my goals for 2009:


God:


1. To develop a more intimate fellowship with the Lord through a consistent daily devotional time.
2. To finish reading A Place of Quiet Rest, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
3. To read the Bible through this year.

I must admit that I'm not sure I can really make it through the entire Bible this year, so I may adopt a "through the Bible in two years plan", which I discovered on Blue Letter Bible. This tremendous website has several Bible Reading Plans to choose from, and will help you stay on track with your daily reading. You can read the Bible straight through from cover to cover, read it in chronological order, or combine readings from the Old and New Testaments. As I mentioned, you can also choose a slower pace which takes you through the Bible in two years. I'm considering switching to this plan, which would be more manageable and keep from me from falling behind and feeling defeated.




Husband:


1. To reread Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl, and to seek ways to better honor my husband and be the help meet for him that God intended.
2. To encourage my husband and build him up as the Leader and Provider of our family.















Children:

1. To redeem the time each day by teaching and training my younger children in academics, character, wisdom and basic skills.
2. To encourage, support and pray for the older children and to be involved in their activities and interests as much as I am able. (Translated -- this means attend multiple basketball, baseball and football games in the months ahead!!)


Home:

1. To work diligently to clean, organize and de-clutter each area of our home in the coming months.
2. To develop a better system of home management. (I will start by reviewing the systems promoted by Fly Lady and Large Family Logisitics.)
3. To read two or three books on home management and organization this year and implement some of the best ideas that I glean.















Ministry:

1. To look for ways to encourage the women that God brings into my life to fulfill their God-given roles of loving their husbands, loving their children, and keeping their homes.


Personal:

1. To lose 50 pounds this year, which would equate to just a pound a week.
2. To complete a 12 week Body for Life Challenge.
3. To keep in touch with my family and closest friends through weekly emails.
4. To post on my blog at least 3 times per week.
5. To publish the Ours Times Newsletter (for 2008 and 2009!).
5. To cut at least $200 a month from our grocery budget by learning to implement the strategies taught by coupon mom and money saving mom.
6. To read at least one book per month.
















Whew! It looks like I have my work cut out for me, doesn't it???

Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting Back to Normal

We are slowly getting back to "normal" over here -- whatever that is!


The holidays are history now; although, some of the extra mess and pounds still linger, and we have attempted a return to routine. On Monday, we resumed our home schooling; Tiffany went back to teaching her fifth grade and music classes; and Alan returned to the daily grind at work.



The "boys" (Taylor, Joshua and Joseph) returned to school on Tuesday and rebounded from their break with the first basketball game of the new year. Ashlyn, whose departure was delayed due to car repairs, left this morning to return to her busy life of school and work in SC.



So, it is back to just me and the "little ones" (Christopher, Hannah, Luke, Matthew and Bethany) at home. The house is both pleasantly and sadly Quiet and I am trying to get used to the New Normal.



Many people may not realize how complicated it is to have young adults venturing from the nest, and young adults returning, and some preparing for their first flight, and some flapping their wings in restless anticipation. It makes for a lot of "ruffled feathers" at times! Everyone is growing and changing so rapidly, and "the pecking order" seems to be in a constant state of flux. So, it keeps the nest stirred up a bit!



Sometimes I wish all of this growing up and changing and learning who you are were easier, as it takes a lot of energy to navigate all of the changing relationships in a family!! However, I am reminded of a quotable quip from a wise homeschooling mother that I used to know -- "Smooth sailing never makes a skillful navigator!"


So, I continue to learn navigation skills! And I am learning how to say good-bye without crying!


Here are some pictures taken while saying good-bye to Ashlyn this morning . . .










Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Books We Read and the People We Meet

I intended to write a New Year's Day post articulating some of my goals for 2009. I didn't fret when January 1st came and went without a post, but suddenly, here it is January 7th and I still haven't done it!!! Where does the time go?? It just amazes me how fast a week can fly by and how little of my Project List actually gets accomplished.




One of my goals for 2009 is to read through the entire Bible. This is something I have accomplished in the past -- but it has been quite a few years. So, I wanted to try to accomplish it again this year. However, I'm ashamed to say that I'm already behind schedule. :( Hopefully, by posting my intentions here, it will provide some accountability to get back on track and stay on schedule with my reading!


Thanks to my parents' generosity, I have a nice new Bible to read and am excited to glean some new insights from God's Word this year.







Another goal I have is to read at least one book a month. I know that is a paltry amount, but with the busyness of my life, I think that is all I can manage. I've been very motivated and inspired by the Reading List of President Bush. He is probably one of the busiest men in the world and yet he finds time to challenge his mind through reading great books, and most importantly, by reading the Greatest of Books! I don't quite have the support staff he does, so I don't think I can manage to read a book a week! But, I do want to challenge myself with good books. I am reminded of the quote -- "You are the same today as you will be five years from now except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read."


I'm off to a good start, as I have already managed to read one book. This was a fun read, written by a family which I've met, talked to a couple times, and admired from a far. I was challenged and inspired by reading about this amazing family!






I need to get on track with my Bible reading before selecting my next book. How about you? What do you plan to read this year?
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