Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cut It Out

I was working in one of my flowerbeds yesterday pruning away some of the dead parts of the flowers that had left it looking like a spindly brown mess.

It reminded me of conversations I've had with my neighbor. I'm more of a perennial planter. She's an annual gal. She prefers the fullness I get from flowers but says she can't stand not to rip plants out when they finish blooming.

As I was snipping away I was very thankful that God doesn't share Mrs. Brenda's plant policy. We flower and flourish in our faith and then we go through some dry patches or wilt in the heat of trial. These fluctations leave us with some spindly patches of unproductive "dead wood" in our lives.

He patiently and tenderly cuts away at those things, sometimes even the parts that once were lovely, to leave us healthier, stronger, and ready to take on the winters that are to come.

When we shy away from the shears everyone notices. Our neglected spot are apparent to the passerby. And, the places that need tending are brittle. A little lopping and we look better, we feel better and we are extraordinarily more productive.

So I'm thankful for the pruning process. It has many times been hard, sometimes cost me things or relationships that I held very dear, but it is necessary.

And it sure beats ending up in the compost pile.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken-N-Dumpling Super Star

I made chicken and dumplings for supper last night. With a household full of snifflers, I thought a little comfort food was in order. I thought they'd like it, I just didn't realize how much.

They all smelled it cooking and came running to find out what it was. When I told them, they carried on like I told them they'd won the showcase on the Price is Right.

There was literally singing and dancing involved.

All for the love of chicken and dumplings.

I got the recipe from one of my Lady and Sons cookbooks, but you can also get the recipe by clicking

I didn't use the bay leaves. They aren't a favorite of everyone in the house and the taste didn't suffer at all without them. I also used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead and it was fine (quicker and healthier too).

It was my first stab at homemade dumplings and, even though I rolled them out to what I thought was thin enough, they were thick and kind of chewy. Totally yummy, but next time I'll keep rolling until my arms fall off and they feel paper thin (the noodles, not my arms). I'll also cut my noodles smaller.

If you're feeling the need for a little comfort, or maybe hear the people in your house singing your praise, whip up a batch of chicken and dumplings today.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menus, MORE and Breakfast in Store

Sorry it's been so long. I've been sick AGAIN. The kids got their annual back to school cold and they shared it with me. With me, however, there's no such thing as a simple cold. God has blessed me in many ways but a great immune system was not on the list. Oh well, we've all got our stuff.

Finally after a week and a half I started to feel more like myself last night. I did make a breakfast casserole to bake this morning. I thought it'd be a good start for the kids for back to school. You make it up the night before and then bake it the next day. Keep in mind it does take a long time to bake. It worked out perfectly for me since I'm such an early riser, but for y'all who sleep past the crack of dawn, you might want to wait until the weekend to serve it.

Breakfast Casserole

1 lb. sausage
1 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. season salt
4 eggs, beaten
2 c. milk
6 slices bread, toasted & cubed
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

Crumble and cook sausage until brown; drain. In a bowl, mix mustard, season salt, eggs and milk. Add sausage, bread and cheese. Stir to coat. Pour into greased 13x9 pan. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover and bake 45-60 minutes (I did mine 1 hour). Uncover and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake 30 minutes more.

Menus for the Week--

Monday--Chicken & Dumplings, Black Eyed Peas, Pear Salad
Tuesday--Ham & Pasta Bake, Carrots, Biscuits
Wednesday--Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
Thursday--Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday--Roast, potatoes, carrots, biscuits, fig preserves
Saturday--out to eat
Sunday--homemade pizza

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shaking Things Up

Just a couple of verses to shake things up this morning...

Psalm 62:1-2 "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken."

Hebrews 12:25-29 "See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'"

How wonderful to know that no matter how many shake ups come in this world, we will never be shaken.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Week, New Food, New Sites to See

Hi everyone, here are the menu ideas for this week:

Monday--Enchilada Bake, Refried Beans, Corn
Tuesday--Chicken in Cream Sauce, Green Bean Casserole, Rolls, Fruit Salad
Wednesday--Pork Chops Mojo, Baked Potatoes, Sour Cucumbers
Thursday--Cubed Steak and Gravy, Rice, Sliced Tomatoes, Rolls
Saturday--homemade pizza

I also wanted to share with you about a new site that one of our friends has. Sweet Cheryl has created a new blog and here's the link. Be sure to visit her this week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peter Piper Picked a Peck...

I'm not sure if I'll have pickled peppers like the nursery rhyme says, but I've got to do something with all these peppers. My garden was fairly poor this year because of too much heat and too little attention. The one thing that managed to thrive despite my neglect was the peppers.

(Although, I did do well with potatoes and will definitely plant more next time.)

I did find a whole book on cooking with peppers at that library sale I love. Hopefully I'll find something to do with them all since the ones in the pictures are just a few of the ones I have (and that's a big basket). I've got more coming in, lots in the freezer too.

Now that the kids are in school I'll have to get busy making pepper jelly, pepper relish, pepper sauce, pepper.......

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Salad and Other Yummies for the Week

It's Monday again. If it keeps coming around any quicker, it'll be Monday every other day. I'm thankful for the weekend and a little bit of respite before the craziness of a new week. I've listed my menu for the week followed by my recipe for Pecan Chicken Salad.

Hope you enjoy them.

Monday--Pecan Chicken Salad, mandarin oranges in Jello, roll
Tuesday--ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, salad, biscuits
Wednesday--out to eat
Thursday--meatballs with alfredo sauce, pasta, italian-style green beans, breadsticks
Friday--homemade pizza
Saturday--fish fry

Pecan Chicken Salad

3 c. diced, cooked chicken
1 c. diced celery
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 c. grapes, halved
1/2 c. cubed apples
1 c. chopped pecans
lettuce to serve it on

Combine first five ingredients; stir well. Cover and chill at least one hour. Add remaining ingrediets, toss well. Serve on bed of lettuce. Serves 6. You may also substitute cooked turkey for the chicken.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Back when I was in high school and lived in another town we went to a little church and I sang in the youth choir. You know it had to be a little church to let me sing in the choir. They wouldn't even let me sing in third grade chorus. Let's just say I'm musically challenged. Anyway, one song we sang always stuck in my head--"Cornerstone."

This morning when I was having my quiet time I was reading a book to go along with my Bible reading. It's one I picked up at an estate sale. It's called the "New Bible Dictionary" although I don't think it's too new since it was published in 1962. It has been really interesting reading some of the historical information that goes along with biblical passages.

Anyway, as I was reading (I'm up to architecture in the dictionary) it mentioned the cornerstone and that's what I wanted to talk about today.

I Peter 2:4-6 "As you come to Him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him--you also are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says, 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame."

Ephesians 2:19-22 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit."

Here's what the New Bible Dictionary had to say, "The 'cornerstone' in I Peter 2 was the block at the corner of the foundation whose true shape and accurate laying determined the symmetry and lay-out of the whole structure."

Isn't that interesting? His true shape (like His true character) and His accurate laying (His laying down of His life in accordance with all the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah) determined the symmetry (the way it fits together) and lay-out (function and flow) of the whole structure (His church).

Not only that, but we are also part of the spiritual house, a dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. How awesome is that! That same One who laid the foundation for the church has laid the foundation for our spiritual life to be built up. He wants to build us up so that our whole structure resembles the one He has layed down.

We rise to become a temple. A temple in which the God of all dwells and we serve as priests, offering spiritual sacrifices.

How often do we remember what we were truly meant to be?
How many times today will we be willing to make spiritual sacrifices?

May we remember as we go through our day and make our choices and interact with the world around us just who it is that is holding us up and is the foundation for all we do. And who it is that is in us. We never have to be put to shame.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cookies for Back to School

We're gearing up for school this week. Yes, we start back early down here. I guess it's too hot to do anything else. So if they've got to be back at work, we might as well make it sweet. Here's a great recipe that Jack likes to help me make. They make large cookies, great for sending one in a lunchbox or for something special when they get home.

Jack's Jumbo Triple Chippers

4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat butter and sugars in a mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add in flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop dough onto greased cookie sheets by level 1/4 measuring scoop (told you they were bigger). Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool on sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks and cool completely. Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

The recipe would probably give you at least 4 dozen regular size cookies if you want to use a regular cookie scoop.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the river...

...and through the woods...

...We weren't going to grandma's house. We were going home.
We took the scenic route for a while down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It was pretty, but more for retirees than a car full of are-we-there-yetters.
Be sure you get on with a full tank of gas and an empty bladder.
The song that goes "Long and Winding Road" pretty much sums it up.

That's the last vacation picture.
I promise.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back in the Routine

This summer has really gone quickly. It's hard to believe the kids start back to school later this week! With the sickness and surgeries it hasn't been a big adventure this summer, but we have enjoyed our time together and I'm hoping for much healthier kids this year.

Back to school means back to my normal routine. I'm trying to gear up to our hectic morning pace. I'm also back to planning a little better for our menus. Here's what we've got this week.

Monday--Stuffed Shells, tossed salad, french bread
Tuesday--Grilled pork chops, buttered potatoes, peas, biscuits
Wednesday--BLT and chips, fresh fruit
Thursday--Crockpot chicken and vegetables, rolls, applesauce
Friday--Out to eat
Saturday--Homemade pizza