Friday, October 30, 2009

The Voice That Calls You Home- Book Review

I was contacted to complete a review of the book, The Voice That Calls You Home by Andrea Raynor. More than happy to read a new book, I completed it in about two days.

The Voice That Calls You Home
by Andrea Raynor

About The Book:
As a hospice chaplain, cancer survivor, and a chaplain at Ground Zero following September 11, Andrea Raynor has gained a keen perspective on the meaning of life and death, comfort and grief. Through her own experiences, Raynor reminds readers that even in the most dire of circumstances, we still have the opportunity to recognize beauty, to be inspired by the tenacity of the human spirit, and to feel connected to something greater.

Raynor acknowledges that we may not be able to prevent the difficulties that come in life, but we can always choose the way in which we face them. She urges us not to "live with our heads down, our eyes closed, and our hands in our pockets." Instead, she prompts us to remain open to the blessings that are all around us and to face life's challenges head-on -- "to increase our courage, re-new our hope, and unite us in the knowledge that we are not alone."

In the tradition of Anne Lamott and Kate Braestrup, The Voice That Calls You Home is a warm, personal, and practical guide to appreciating the wondrous world we live in, offering perspective on how we can bear the sorrows that are sure to come with a steady eye and a sense of hope, and find the connection between the spiritual and the everyday.

My Review:

I definitely learned a few things and was reminded of a few things.

I am an emotional person and the book was definitely a tear jerker. I cried quite a bit through the first segment of the book. I was extremely touched by the acts of love shown by Andrea Raynor and others to those in hospice care. The story about the woman, who after her husband passed, sponge-bathed him before the funeral home came to get him was especially touching. It just showed so much love and compassion.

The story from her working at the Pine Street Inn, about the drunken man with no ID, was also very touching. It really got me when he asked her if she was the one that God sent to him. It's so true that we find God in the "broken, outcast and despised". Those who are sick need a physician, not those who are well. I feel we can definitely get caught up in separating ourselves out by status. Sometimes thinking one is more important than another or more worthy of love than another.

I did find it extremely hard to read about Andrea's experience during 9-11. It was just more than I wanted to know about it and wasn't quite expecting it to hit me the way it did. After reading it though, I have a new appreciation for those who worked so hard during those months. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it would have been to do their jobs.

She noted how it was so good to see and hear people still planning for the future after 9-11. It was such a heinous act and would be easy for people to stop life and live in fear of the next bad thing or to think why bring a child in to this. However, I love what she says..."But to live with the kind of faith that does not depend on life going well is to live freely". That is definitely so true!

I was reminded that we shouldn't ask why so much but to just accept things that happen and deal with them in the best way that we can. Searching for ways that we can grow in our circumstances instead of questioning everything.

She was very open and honest when she talked about her experience with breast cancer. I definitely appreciated that honesty. It made me sad to read of her awful experience when she had her second lumpectomy. How they treated her so generically and cold. It's sad that when someone is experiencing something so very scary and life changing that some medical professionals can't see through to the person. How they might feel, what they might be going through. I'm very glad that she was able to find a better facility and doctor to help her.

I did have a few things I didn't like about the book. Ultimately, they related to personal beliefs and I know those vary from person to person. I didn't quite feel comfortable with a minister who sought out a psychic and I felt that she had a more new age religion feel to her book. She mentioned Buddah a few times and I am one who believes that you can't pull a little of this and a little of that from different religions. However, I am also one who can take what I like from a book and leave what I don't like. I realize not everyone believes the same and we all deserve respect for the way we believe.

To be honest, I didn't feel it to be as inspirational as I thought it would be. I think my expectations were too high. I definitely found nuggets of inspiration. It would be an especially good read if you're trying to deal with grief of losing a loved one. I think it was a story definitely worth telling and she has lived a very amazing life. So I think all in all it's a good read. You just need a box of tissues handy if you're like me!

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the book but was not compensated in any other way for my review. These opinions are mine and only mine. Thanks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Butterscotch Bread

We have a Great Harvest Bread Co. here and I love their caramel apple bread. However, it is very expensive. I think $5 or $6 for a loaf and I just can't hardly justify that expense right now. Their's is a yeast bread but I thought maybe I could make a quick bread that maybe had hints of that taste. I know they use butterscotch chips in theirs so I decided to make Apple Butterscotch Bread! It was really good!

I made it for our Thursday morning coffee time. My friend, Wendy, has several ladies over and we each bring a dish and just have a wonderful morning. Most of the time we all stay until sometime in the afternoon and we just have a great time of food, fun and fellowship. Sometimes we have several ladies, other times it's just a few. Today there were three of us and we pretty much ate this entire loaf of bread between the three of us. It is just really yummy! It comes together very quickly as well.

Apple Butterscotch Bread

1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup of oil
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup of apples (peeled, cored and diced)
1/2 cup of butterscotch chips
may need 2-3 tbsp of milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan (I used a glass one). In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then in another bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg, vanilla and apples. Then add to the dry ingredients and combine. I had to add a little milk here to loosen the dough a tad. You may need to also. Then stir in the butterscotch chips. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy eating!

This is being shared at
Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom
Food on Fridays
The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Feasts at Momtrends
and Foodie Friday

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cream Cheese Bars

I can't even begin to describe how good these are. They are so yummy. One of the ladies at MOPS always brings these to every meeting. They always disappear. These are really easy. Especially if you use the new uncut crescent rolls that is just a sheet of crescent dough. That makes it super simple! Please try these soon. You will be very glad that you did!

Cream Cheese Bars

2 cans of crescent rolls
2 8oz bars of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1 tsp. cinnamon

Spray 9x13 pan with Pam. Mix cream cheese, one cup of sugar and vanilla in a mixer until well blended.
Roll 1 tube of crescent rolls in pan and press seams together.
Spread cream cheese mixture onto dough. Unroll 2nd tube of crescent rolls onto mixture. Pour melted butter on top (I used a brush to brush it around and make sure it got everything coated). Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with cinnamon. Then sprinkle on top of the butter. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

These could work for breakfast or last night I took them to Ladies Home Fellowship as more of a dessert. It's great either way!

This recipe definitely Works for me!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Guys Night Out

How often do your husbands have a night out with their friends? If your husband is like mine, not very often if at all. Guys just don't always make time for that kind of stuff. Or they might want to but just never set it up and organize it.

Well, we got approved for for the Microsoft's Windows 7 House Party. So I knew it was a prime opportunity for a guys night out (or technically in since they all came to our apartment). We actually received a free copy of Windows 7 to try out and demo and so far we've really enjoyed it!

By the way, I highly recommend signing up for House Party. It's a word of mouth kind of advertising. There are various house parties that you can sign up for. You usually receive a free product as well as coupons and goodies to give away at your party. There's no selling involved it's just a way to try a new product.

So he invited a few guys over and I made some food. I made the Peanut Butter Cup Trifle and Buffalo Chicken Dip.

The guys had fun trying out Windows 7 and talking and eating. They all seemed to have really enjoyed it so we are going to have to do a guys night out more often. I am always getting to go to things with other ladies. We have a monthly Ladies Home Fellowship with church, my friend Wendy does Thursday morning coffee every Thursday, and I have a Mom's Night Out with MOPS about once a month. So I have opportunities but my husband doesn't really have those. I was so glad for him to have his friends over last night.

I really encourage you to plan your own Guys Night Out for your husbands. It's such a wonderful way for us to minister to our husbands. Some great, kid-free quality time with their friends. If you wait for them to plan it they'll probably never get around to it. Take care of everything for them so that all they have to do is be there! It's a great way to love on your husband a little extra. :) They deserve it!

God bless,

P.S. House Party did not pay me for blogging about the party. We did receive the free copy of Windows 7 for hosting the party. All opinions in this post are entirely mine. Thanks!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cooking With Friends: Making Tamales

Have you ever had or made a homemade tamale? They are absolutely yummy. I had never made tamales before but last week I did. Two of my friends make tamales together and asked me to join them last week. It was so much fun! It's a lengthy process so it's great to do with friends!

I don't have any recipes to share. I didn't make anything here, just assembled. I know the tamale dough recipe comes from the bag of tamale dough mix. Then one of my friends made a red sauce and a green sauce to use with the pork butt that had been cooked in a crockpot. If I have a lot of interest for the recipe, I will see if I can get it.

Here's the dough after being mixed by Wendy....

shredded pork with green sauce...

shredded pork with red sauce....

Wendy patting her tamale dough out on the husk...

Filling the tamale...

Rossy patting out dough...

Working together....

Ready to be cooked in the pressure cooker....

Silly me forgot to take pictures of them after they were cooked. I guess I was just too involved with taste testing them that I forgot. :)

This was so much fun! Can't wait to do it again!

Do you cook with friends? If not, I definitely recommend it!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

I had some sausage I needed to use up so I decided to make a breakfast casserole. This turned out very tasty!

Breakfast Casserole

1 bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns, thawed (I used 30oz package)
1 lb of sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 onion, diced and sauteed
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 can of evaporated milk
10 eggs
1-2 tsp of Mrs. Dash
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a very large bowl, mix together sausage, onion, hashbrowns, and 1 cup of cheese. Mix well and pour into baking dish. Then in the same bowl, add eggs, milk and seasonings. Mix well. Then pour over potato mixture in the dish. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour and then add 1 cup of cheese to the top and bake for about 5-10 minutes longer. Enjoy!

Make sure your middle gets done. I had trouble with that. I ended up baking mine a bit longer. I think next time I might use less hashbrowns as well. That might help it bake faster in the middle. Mine was pretty thick.

This was definitely a kid friendly dish as well. The kids really enjoyed it!

Happy eating!

This is being shared at Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pepperjack Roast Beef Sandwiches

On Saturday, I cooked a roast in the slow cooker. No real recipe. Just cut up a bunch of red potatoes and carrots and placed them in the bottom of the crockpot. Placed the roast on top of those and poured in about 2 cups of beef broth. Then salt and peppered the roast. Cooked all day in the slow cooker.

Then I removed the roast and veggies and used the liquid to make a gravy. Just heated it in a sauce pan on the stove and added some corn starch that I had combined with a few tablespoons of cold water. Add corn starch mixture when the cooking liquid has come to a boil.

It was a large roast and I had leftovers. Only I was in the mood for something with a bit of spice. So I created Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches covered with Pepperjack Cheese! It was delicious! Sorry that the picture didn't come out well. It was night out when I made this and I couldn't get good lighting.

Open Faced Pepperjack Roast Beef Sandwiches
leftover roast
leftover gravy
sliced sourdough bread
sliced pepperjack cheese

Heat roast beef and gravy together in a saucepan until nice and hot. Keep on low to keep warm while you grill the bread.

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, place a small pat of butter and let it melt. Then grill one side of your bread, flip over and toast up the other side. Repeat with desired number of pieces of bread.

Top grilled bread with meat and gravy, then add a slice of pepperjack cheese. Warm for a few seconds in the microwave to get cheese all melty. Serve with veggies from roast.

This was so good! I also really think the sourdough bread really helped make this dish. So I recommend you try it. I use the kind like Cracker Barrel sells. Enjoy!

This recipe definitely Works for Me!

Happy eating!

Another award!

I want to thank Geri from Heart N Soul Cooking for this new award! I am always so excited to receive one!

Neno's Award—-Rules and Regulations

1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

2. To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.

3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.

4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.

5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.

6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.

7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

I absolutely love blogging. I am proud to call myself a blogger and hope that I am always able to blog. When you're a mom, it can help to have an outlet to express yourself. Blogging is great for that. It can be a way to help others by learning a new recipe, learning how to live more frugally, or just sharing a life experience. It draws us in to one another and creates it's own special community.

My one year blogoversary is coming up soon! I started posting in January of this year. I can't wait to share even more with you all!

I would like to share this award with:
Crafty Mom of 4 Boys Jena is always so creative and has lots of interesting things to share!

Jack and Maggie and family Melanie always has some great things to share about her family.

Finding Joy In My Kitchen I have really been enjoying her blog. She always has really yummy recipes and they are healthy!

Thrifty Ways and Ideas You can always find a good deal posting, a thought of the day or a yummy recipe.

Mommy's Kitchen So many yummy recipes here!

Cooking During Stolen Moments Even more yummy recipes!

A Simple Walk Love this blog as well!

Honestly, I could give this award to so many more but will stop here.

Thanks again Geri for this award! I really appreciate it. :)

God bless,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

This is so good! I got this recipe from a lady from the Chef Success forum. It is addictive and very yummy. It's also pretty economical and feeds a lot. It's great to take to a get together. It also helps that it's super easy to put together!

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

1 box brownie mix (plus ingredients to make these)
2 small boxes instant pudding mix (chocolate fudge or chocolate)
3 cups of milk
1 cup peanut butter
16 oz. Cool Whip
8 peanut butter cups

Make brownies according to box instructions, cool
Melt peanut butter microwave safe bowl, stir in pudding mix and milk (3 cups rather than 4 for a thicker result).

In Trifle Bowl, layer 1/2 brownies, 1/2 of the pudding mixture, then 1/2 of the Cool Whip - repeat. Chop up peanut butter cups and place on top. Enjoy!

I have used low fat brownie mix, light cool whip and 2% milk with wonderful results!

Happy Eating!

This is being shared at:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Innkeeper Pie

My friend, Wendy, asked me to come over yesterday and bake a couple of pies with her. She wanted to try a new recipe and asked me to join her. It was a lot of fun. I love baking and cooking with friends.

First we made homemade pie crusts. I had never made one before so it was a nice learning experience. We used a different recipe than the one with the pie recipe and I will share it at a later date. I am going to try to do a step by step tutorial at some point.

She found the pie recipe in the Hershey's Chocolate Lover's Cookbook. It looked very yummy and interesting in the picture and it was hard to tell for sure what the texture of this cake was going to be. We were very surprised when it forms a cake like top and then a fudgy filling on the bottom. It reverses during baking. I always think recipes that do that are so neat!

This is delicious and I highly recommend that you try this recipe! It was so good and definitely different!

Innkeeper Pie


* PASTRY CRUST(recipe follows)
* 2/3 cup plus 3/4 cup sugar, divided
* 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
* 1 cup water
* 1/3 cup butter or margarine
* 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup shortening
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup chopped nuts

1. Prepare PASTRY CRUST. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Stir together 2/3 cup sugar and cocoa in medium saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; add butter and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, stirring until butter is melted. Set aside.

3. Stir together flour, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in small bowl; add shortening, milk and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Add egg; beat 2 minutes. Spoon batter into prepared crust. Stir chocolate mixture; gently pour over batter. Sprinkle nuts over top.

4. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake portion comes out clean. Cool slightly; serve warm with SWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM. 8 servings.

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3 tablespoons cold water

Stir together flour, salt and baking powder in medim bowl. Cut in shortening until pieces are size of small peas; sprinkle in water, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened. Roll dough into circle about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into 9-inch pie plate; flute edge.

SWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM: Combine 1 cup (1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl; beat until stiff.

This recipe definitely Works for Me! This is also being share at Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 12, 2009

We have a winner!

Good morning everyone! Hope you all are having a great day! We have a winner for the cookbook giveaway!

The winner is fivewinks. I have emailed you.

Thanks so much for the interest in my giveaway and for it being my 100th post! I appreciate each and everyone one of my readers and the comments I receive! Thank you all!

God bless,

Fried Chicken Breasts with Roasted Red Potatoes and Peppers

This was a very yummy dinner! I didn't use a recipe for the chicken but will tell you round about what I did. Sorry for no exact recipe.

I got a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts at Kroger and asked them to butterfly them (only separated completely). I hate touching raw chicken so I was thrilled that they would cut the chicken for me!

I rinsed the breasts and then put the between pieces of wax paper and pounded them a little thinner. Then patted them dry with paper towels.

In a bowl I put about 2 1/2 cups of flour and sprinkled in some italian seasoning, season salt, salt, and pepper. I didn't measure any of these just eyeballed it. Mix well.

In another bowl, I pour in about 1- 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Then added about 1/4-1/2 cup of buffalo sauce.

I first dipped the chicken in the buttermilk/buffalo sauce and then in the flour mixture.

In a medium nonstick skillet I had about 1/4-1/2 inch of oil heating. When it was heated I fried the chicken a few pieces at a time until done. I checked with a thermometer to make sure it was done.

This was really tasty. I think if I had thought ahead it would have been awesome to let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk/buffalo sauce mixture. And I would increase the buffalo sauce. This was so tasty!

Roasted Red Potatoes with Peppers
3 1/2 pounds of red potatoes (chunked, about 1-1 1/2 inch pieces)
3 bell peppers (chopped in large chunks, I used red, orange and yellow)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of oil
1-2 tbsp of italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter, oil and seasonings. Then in a larger bowl, add the potatoes and peppers. Pour oil/butter mixture over the potatoes and peppers. Toss with your hands to get well coated.

Spread out on a large heavy baking sheet. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. Then uncover and finish cooking for another 20-30 minutes.

On the potatoes, I actually used 1/2 stick of butter and 1/3 cup of oil. However, that was way too much. It was still yummy but I kept thinking about all of those extra calories and fat I was consuming. So I have lightened the oil in this recipe. You might could even take the butter down a little too. I will leave that up to you. :)

I felt everything was well seasoned but you could also just combine the butter and oil and then place on the baking sheet. Then you could add salt and pepper. That way each one gets enough. These potatoes and peppers are so yummy! Hope you try them soon!

I also wouldn't have thought of covering with foil the first 45 minutes so I need to credit that to The Pioneer Woman and her recipe for Roasted Garlic and New Potatoes. Don't they look yummy?

Happy Eating!

I decided to add that this meal cost me less than $5! The chicken was on sale for $1.88/lb (Total cost was almost $3), the peppers were on sale for .99 for a 3 pack at Aldi's and the potatoes were on sale for $1 a 5 pound bag and I didn't even use the whole bag. So a very frugal, yet tasty, meal!

This is being shared at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes & Cider Gravy

This looked so tasty on Cooking During Stolen Moments that I just had to make it. I decided to do it in the crockpot instead. This seemed like a perfect meal to do in the crockpot.

You can view the recipe here.

Here's what I did to change it to a crockpot meal.

I used the chuck roast that I got from Food Lion. I seared both sides and then placed it in the crockpot. I added the cut sweet potatoes on top of the roast and around the sides.

In the pan, I added the salt, pepper and some italian seasoning (because I was out of thyme) and the chopped onions to the pan. I sauteed those until tender.

I added the broth and apple cider and let that cook for a couple of minutes, making sure to get up all of the bits on the bottom of the pan.

Then I poured this on top of the potatoes and roast in the crockpot.

I cooked it on high for about 5 hours and then turned it down to low for about 2 more hours. It turned out perfect.

I made the sweet potatoes (I started to use a potato masher but then switched to a hand mixer). And made the gravy. Then..... Dinner is served! :)

The verdict: I really enjoyed it. I liked the different flavors of savory and sweet. I rarely make any sweet/savory dishes like that and I was really happy with how it turned out. I served it with green beans. I highly encourage you to try this recipe! Plus doing it in the crockpot made it so easy! It cooked all day and then all I had to do was mash the potatoes, make the gravy (which you couldn't get any simpler on!) and heat up some green beans. Super easy!

Happy Eating!

Grocery Saving Tip: Watch for meat markdowns

Yesterday I went to our local Food Lion. I hadn't been in awhile and decided to check out their meat department. They had several packages of beef marked down and I bought almost every package.

I got:
Top round steak (I think 2.20lbs had sliced into stir fry strips) $3.93
London Broil (1.8lbs) $3.58
Chuck Roast (2.9lbs) $4.96
2 NY Strip steaks (1.6lbs) $3.48
2 packages of cubed steak (about 1 pound each) total for both $4.25
Beef kabob or stew meat (.90lbs) $1.63
For a grand total of $21.83

That should provide at least 7 meals (and should be leftovers for several of those). So if I said 10 meals (including leftovers) that would be around $2.20 meat cost per meal! That is an awesome deal!

Here's a picture of my receipt. Sorry it's not better quality. It's kind of hard to photograph a receipt! :)

It's best to go early and check your stores. Now, I was at Food Lion at about 11:00am but usually most stores have the most markdowns early. So make sure and check your stores and see what good deals you can find!

The chuck roast is now in the crockpot. I'm making Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes & Cider Gravy. I was inspired to make it after seeing the picture of it on Cooking During Stolen Moments. Doesn't it look absolutely delicious?! I will blog about my results later.

Hope you all are enjoying your Friday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chocolate Crescent Rolls and 100th post giveaway!

Wow! This is my 100th post! In honor of this momentous occasion I am going to share a yummy, chocolaty recipe. You must make these soon. They are so easy and so yummy! I got this recipe from a friend of mine. She also has a blog and here is her post about these yummy Chocolate Crescents! She thought of these herself one day when wanting to have something chocolaty. She's one smart cookie because these are delicious!

I used Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls. They ran these on sale really cheap with coupon awhile back and I had been debating on what to make with them. Last night I needed some chocolate and made these!

Chocolate Crescents
1 can of crescent rolls
mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar

First I unrolled the crescents into their triangles. I think the container had 8 in there.

Then I sprinkled the mini chips over the triangles, leaving the tip uncovered. I also pressed these in a bit per Jena's advice. It helps them stay in place a bit more.

Just roll up as usual and bake as directed on the can.

When they are done, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Aren't these so pretty? They look like an elegant pastry and they're so simple! I could almost see these sitting in a bakery!

I admit it, I actually had three of these last night. At least I used the reduced fat crescents. The kids finished them off this morning for breakfast. I think I have another can of crescents and now I know what I'll make. Probably today!

Also in honor of my 100th post, I am giving away three cookbooks. These all have some very yummy recipes in them! Just leave a comment to enter! I will use the random number generator to pick a winner. Winner will be announced on Monday, October 12th. Good luck!

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Being content.....

I've mainly posted about recipes, food and great deals lately. This post is going to be a bit different today. It's something that has been on my heart for awhile and I'd love to share it with you. I decided to write this post after reading one of my favorite blogs A Simple Walk. See her post about Community in her home.

She mentioned being a bit jealous at the bloggers who have gotten free trips lately. I too have felt those twinges of jealousy. Granted I am not near the established blogger that many are. But I still felt very similar feelings. After I read her post Paul and Philippians came to mind.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NAS) "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

I struggle a lot with jealousy of people who have more or who can do more than me. Whether it be blogging (getting free trips and free goodies) or in real life (other peoples homes, vacations, etc). I also sometimes think about how I might could have those things if I went to work full time. But my heart desires to be home and I feel due to some recent circumstances the Lord is trying to tell me that's where I am needed right now as well.

We make it. We might struggle some months but every month our bills are paid and we have food to eat. We might not be able to do everything we want or would like to do. But then again how important are those things? We as a society have placed so much importance on "keeping up with the Jones" that we have neglected to see what important things are right in front of our faces.

And before I get taken the wrong way, I fully realize that there are households where the mom has to work. God calls us in many different ways to do different things. So I am in no way criticizing those who can't stay home. I am pointing out how we (my family specifically) are able to do the basics. Food, shelter, etc. but then I am not content when I can't have other things that many other families have.

I pray that God helps me learn to be content. That what I am doing in my home is important even when I feel I am not very important. I want Him to change my heart and show me what truly is important.

This passage also spoke to me greatly.

Philippians 3:17-20 (New American Standard Bible)
"Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,
whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;"

We are citizens of heaven! Children of God! Are we acting like it? Are we being His hands, His feet, His arms? I know I am not always focused on that. I pray that God helps me rearrange my priorities. That he helps me place furthering His Kingdom my priority. To show His glorious, gracious, unending love to every single person I come in contact with. Jesus! I cry out to you to help me be more like you!

God bless,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I went looking for a muffin recipe to make on AllRecipes. I know I can always go there and see what people's feedback on recipes are. I really enjoy that. So I went with this one and made some changes. You can find the original recipe here.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup of applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Milk chocolate chips
milk, if needed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Blend butter or margarine, sugar, egg, banana, dissolved coffee, and vanilla with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and soda, and blend just until flour disappears. At this point I had to add about 1/4 cup or so of milk. Toss chocolate chips with a little flour to help prevent sinking. Add chocolate chips and mix in with wooden spoon. Spoon mixture into paper-lined muffin cups.
3. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

This made 24 muffins. They are really good! They're so moist! I know the kids will like them but with all of the coffee I'm not sure how good an idea that is! I highly recommend you make these soon!

Happy Eating!