Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It is Christmas Eve and I have been thinking about Mary and Joseph. What it took for them to walk in faith in spite of the world’s viewpoint. They each had to make a choice and then walk it out daily. Just as I do. The assignment they were given was humanly impossible, yet they chose to accept it in spite of the fact they could not explain it.

Drawn into the story of Jesus. I think about my own faith walk. It is a tough thing for me to wrap my mind around the birth and life of Jesus. My human mind dissects things from an earthly perspective.

And then it hit me. It is a natural tendency for us humans to try to figure things out. To break them down to see how they work. I want an explanation that I can see, touch, hear.

But God is too big for me to analyze like that. I simply cannot do it!

When I study the story of Jesus and God’s plan for the redemption of man, from a human perspective it is preposterous. It just couldn’t happen on a human level.


That is exactly why it had to be so impossible and unlikely from a human standpoint.

I realize it has to be from God. Only He could orchestrate and fulfill a story so great – the fulfillment of His promise to send a Savior – in such a way that it would touch a humble heart. A way that would require me to set aside my natural inclination to want concrete proof and to simply believe. Allowing my heart to become humble as a little child in order to accept His gift.

And so on this day before Christmas, as I prepare to once again celebrate the birth of Jesus, I say to you

            “Joy to the world,

                        The Lord has come

                                    Let earth receive its King

            Let every heart

                        Prepare Him room”

May we all make room in our hearts for Him.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Squash Casserole

 Thanksgiving is almost here and I’ll bet a lot of you are already planning your menu like I am. We are the hub of all things family when Thanksgiving rolls around and I absolutely LOVE it! Deep fried is the only way to go with turkey for us and to be sure we have plenty of leftovers this year we’ll be cooking an extra turkey breast (or small turkey). After all, isn’t the best part of Thanksgiving having turkey sandwiches with a steaming bowl of turkey vegetable soup the day after?!

One of the dishes I’m gonna add this year is squash casserole. It is one of those foods I love but my hubby detests so I only attempt to put it on the table when I know I have other veggie loving folks around to help me eat it.

Squash Casserole


2 lb. yellow or zucchini squash            ½ cup onion, chopped
½ tsp salt                                           ½ cup water
1 cup sour cream                                1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded carrots                       8 oz pkg herb stuffing mix
½ cup butter, melted

Slice squash into ¼ - ½ inch rounds. Bring water and salt to a boil, then add squash and onion. Cook over medium high until squash is just tender, approximately 10 minutes. Drain well. In a medium bowl combine soup, sour cream, and carrots. Fold in drained squash and onion. In a separate bowl combine the stuffing mix and melted butter. Spread half of the stuffing mixture in the bottom of a 7 x 12 x 2 baking dish. Spoon vegetable mixture on top of stuffing, then spread remaining half of the stuffing mix on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the casserole is heated through.

This recipe came from my aunt June Evans and is in a 1979 cookbook from the East Kermit Freewill Baptist Ladies Auxiliary. This is the church I remember attending as a child with my Mother when we visited my Grandparents and other extended family. My brother got married there and later was their Pastor for a few years. When I look through this cookbook I am reminded of the family history that is woven through the people represented in its pages and the legacy handed down by the women who shared their recipes. All a part of the fabric of my life.

Happy Cooking,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Aiden's Banana Bread

I never have to worry about throwing out bananas now as this has become Aiden’s second favorite recipe! (Fave is chocolate dipped rice crispy treats.)
I substituted butterscotch chips once when we had it partially mixed up before we discovered we did not have the chocolate and it was quite tasty. Gonna try peanut butter chips as soon as I can find some…)

Aiden’s Banana Bread


4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups self rising flour (or use all purpose flour, adding 1 tsp baking soda & ¼ tsp salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 4 x 8 inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Peal and slice bananas into chunks, then mash. (The mashing part is Aiden’s job!) Stir in melted butter. In a small bowl, beat the egg until well mixed. Add the egg, sugar, and vanilla and stir until blended. Add flour and mix well. Add ½ cup chocolate chips and ½ cup chopped nuts.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

This is a great recipe for cooking with your kids (or grandkids!) I chop the bananas and melt the butter…Aiden does the rest, including helping to measure the ingredients. He doesn't realize he is learning math skills while he's cooking with Mama!

What do you cook with your kids? Share your treats by posting a comment and let’s continue making lasting family memories!

Happy Cooking,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Uncle Ted's Apple Butter

When Larry & I go on vacation one of our favorite things to do is find ‘mom & pop’ restaurants where we can experience the local fare. Last week in Michigan we hit a winner three times! We were in search of apples and found the best of both worlds when we stopped at Crane’s Pie Pantry & Restaurant AND Crane’s U-Pick Orchard. Lunch was homemade vegetable beef soup with a slice of fresh from the oven, made from scratch, bread! Served alongside that warm and yummy bread was the most delectable apple butter I think I have ever, ever tasted. (Made from scratch right there in their kitchen, of course!!) I’ve been thinking about that apple butter ever since. (BIG smile).

So I’m thinking that the next best thing would be to cook up a small batch of my Uncle Ted’s Apple Butter. I haven’t made it in years but with the weather turning cooler and the memory of Crane’s still making my mouth water, I plan to cook up a batch this weekend. (By the way, this would be a great recipe to get your kids to help with!)

Uncle Ted’s Apple Butter


2 cups unsweetened applesauce         
¼ - ½ cup sugar (depends on your taste for sweet!)
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. all spice
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger

Put applesauce in a medium saucepan. Add spices and stir well to make sure they are blended. Bring to boil over medium high, reduce to medium. Allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Makes approximately 1 ½ cups apple butter.

Uncle Ted was my Dad’s younger brother. He lived on the New Jersey shore, yet he still managed to come back home to W. Va. for regular visits. Although I call this his apple butter, the original recipe actually came from his mother-in-law. Just goes to show you that cooking gets passed down through the generations no matter who the original ‘cooker’ was!

Happy Cooking,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Tasty Tuesday "Extra" - Taco/Fajita Seasoning

As I mentioned in last week’s Tasty Tuesday, here is the recipe for homemade seasoning. (Figured I'd better get it out to ya while it was still on my mind! Funny, but things just don't stick there like they used to.) This mix is tasty plus has much less sodium than the packaged kind.

Taco/Fajita Seasoning


¼ cup chili powder                             2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. red (cayenne) pepper                 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano                            1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp. sea salt
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder                        1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. onion powder                        1 1/3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk to ensure spices blend well. Store in an air tight container.

Use 1 Tablespoon season mix and ½ cup water per 1 lb. meat.

I could not track down the source of this recipe but will be sure to give credit where credit is due as soon as I can.  

Happy Cooking,

Tasty Tuesday - Sticky Buns

This recipe came to me from a dear friend I met in church a few years ago. She fixed this at a brunch I attended and I thought she had spent HOURS making it. When she shared how easy it was to put together I was shocked. A favorite of both family and friends, it frequently shows up on my table and at potluck brunches.


1/2 cup chopped pecans

24 frozen yeast rolls (I buy Rhodes and they only come in packages of 36. I use 24 for this and save the rest for dinner.)

1 small pkg ‘cook & serve’ butterscotch pudding

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 stick REAL butter (Hey, I never said this was diet friendly! BIG smile)


Spray a bundt (or tube) pan with cooking spray. Place chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan. Add frozen roll dough. Sprinkle pudding mix evenly over rolls, then the brown sugar. Top with chunks of chopped butter.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap which has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and place in COLD oven overnight. The next morning, REMOVE from cold over and then preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Return rolls to oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes. ENJOY!!

See, I told you it was easy. But the taste?  OMGosh, my mouth waters just thinking about them. If you like ooey gooey, sticky caramel rolls then you will think you have landed in the middle of breakfast heaven when you sink your teeth into this. The only negative I’ve found is that I just can’t seem to stop eating them.

Happy Cooking,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One Call Away - a review

Answering Life’s Challenges with Unshakable Faith
Brenda Warner with Jennifer Schuchmann

Like many of us I find it easy to look at people in high profile positions and think they have it made. Whether it is a politician, musician, actor, or professional athlete, I am prone to believe they don’t know what life is like for the rest of us. I confess that when it comes to highly paid athletes my bias is too often vocalized without thought to what their life is really like.

Then Brenda Warner walked into my life through the pages of her memoir, One Call Away. She tells her story with open honesty, revealing the good and the bad. Instead of hiding or glossing over her past, she instead reveals each struggle, each challenge, each pitfall with candor. Far from being simply a tell all book about her life, One Call Away is a story of faith grown through the trials and tragedies of life. It is a reminder for each of us that while we are living in the moment we will all, at one time or another, find ourselves one call away from a life changing situation. 

The question is what will we do when we come to that crossroad where life and faith intersect. Each time Brenda has chosen to keep going, to ‘press forward and survive’. In doing just that, she reveals a richness of life that goes far beyond any monetary gain. A richness forged through the valleys of adversity and the mountain of Grace.

I am thankful that Brenda had the courage to share her life story for it has given me a new perspective of the lives of the perceived rich and famous. By getting to know the real Brenda, I find that we do indeed share a lot in common as fellow travelers along the journey of life. She inspires me to share my story as well with those who I encounter. For it is in the sharing that we give encouragement and hope to others.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://booksneeze®.com/> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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