Monday, April 30, 2007

Back On Track Challenge, Day 18


Here's what happened today:

* Health & energy -- ate healthy all day, drank plenty of water, exercised, kept up with BCI

* Bible study -- got back into my study of A Place of Quiet Rest; in Psalm 119 today.

* Homemaking -- changed sheets, did 4 loads of laundry, kept up with my routines

* Creativity -- spent about a half hour on a cross stitch sampler called "Country Baking"

And also did a bunch of proofreading and printing of pages for the devotional book.

Baked Ziti Casserole


Here's what I made for supper tonight. It was easy and very tasty. I adapted the recipe from a Light & Tasty cookbook.

BAKED ZITI CASSEROLE

16 ounces ziti or other small tubular pasta
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
Granulated garlic (or garlic powder) to taste
Italian seasoning to taste (I used about 1 Tblsp.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar (26 ounces) meatless spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese or to taste
Additional grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, granulated garlic, Italian seasoning and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Spread 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with a third of the pasta, half of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 cup of the mozzarella, about 1 Tblsp. Parmesan, and 1 cup sauce.

Repeat the above layers.

Top with remaining pasta and sauce; sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella and Parmesan to taste. Cover and bake at 375º for 45 to 50 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 12 servings.

This will make several meals for the two of us. It is very good and is relatively low in fat. I served it with salad (“Classic Romaine” from a bag) and multigrain ciabatta rolls from the Wal*Mart bakery.

Menu Plan Monday for April 30


Here's my plan for this week!

MONDAY -- Baked Ziti Casserole, Salad, Ciabatta Rolls

TUESDAY -- Lemon-Dill Chicken Popover, Cranberry Jello Salad, Squash

WEDNESDAY -- Broccoli Wild Rice Soup, Whole Wheat Bread

THURSDAY -- Almond Chicken Stir-fry, Bow Tie Pasta, Orange Salad

FRIDAY -- Cannellini Comfort Soup, Cornbread

SATURDAY -- Overnight Spinach Manicotti, Salad, Bread

SUNDAY (potluck at church) --Italian Sausage & Vegetables, Cannellini Bean Salad, Lime Angel Squares

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Back On Track Challenge, Day 19


Being Sunday, it wasn't the greatest day for this challenge. But I stayed on track in a few areas:

* Health & energy -- ate healthy all day, kept up with BCI, drank water, actually exercised -- something I seldom find time for on Sundays.

* Creativity -- worked on bookmarks & tea bag holders for luncheon.

* Homemaking -- kept up with my routines pretty much. Made a nice crockpot meal for lunch -- so nice to come home from church to a hot meal all ready.

I also did some proofreading and printing of pages for the devotional book.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Back On Track Challenge, Day 20


Today was a fairly good day.

* Health & energy -- ate fairly healthy all day, but a birthday party meant a little bit of cake and ice cream! Also printed out some helpful forms from Flylady and kept up with the BCI (body clutter investigator) all day. Exercised, but didn't go for a walk. Drank plenty of water.

* Bible study -- did a bit toward next week's Sunday School lesson.

* Homemaking -- did some dusting in Zone 4; managed to stick with my routines.

* Creativity -- designed some bookmarks and tea bag holders to use as favors at a ladies' luncheon. Designed a title page for the devotional book I've just finished writing.

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 3-4


In the last couple of days I've done a few more things toward the completion of this project:

* Proofread and printed out more pages.

* Designed and printed a title page for the devotional book.

I'm waiting on another person who is designing the cover. As soon as I complete my proofing and printing and the cover is ready, we'll take the books to the print shop!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Back On Track Challenge, Day 21


Today was an OK day as far as this challenge goes. It was a very busy day, with people calling, coming by, and then in the evening we drove to visit Mr. T's uncle who has recently entered a health care facility for rehab. He is about an hour away from us and we wanted to make a brief visit. I spent the afternoon baking cookies to take to him, and also calzone to take along for an in-transit supper.

So most of my achievements today were partial ones.

* I started the Bible study for next week's Sunday School lesson in Judges.

* I stuck with almost all of my daily homemaking routines. I dusted about half of the bedroom (zone 4).

* No walk today -- it was raining -- but I did eat healthfully all day, exercised, drank plenty of water, etc.

* Guess my creative pursuits today were limited to baking cookies and calzone. But cooking is a creative activity, too!

Hoping for a better day tomorrow!

Back On Track Challenge, Day 22


I should have posted this last night, but since I'm trying to get to bed earlier as part of this challenge, I opted to wait until today.

Thursday was a good day.

* For health & energy, I took time to exercise, went for a 2-mile walk, drank plenty of water, ate healthy all day, and was in bed shortly after 10.

* For homemaking, I vacuumed the bedroom floor well, even moving some of the furniture.

* For creativity, I did a bit of blogging.

It's exciting to be on my way to getting back on track!

Encouragement...


In my ladies' Sunday School class, we're currently studying the book Cultivating a Life of Character, a Bible study by Elizabeth George. It covers the books of Judges and Ruth. I did this study on my own back in 2002, so it's been interesting to look back at the way I answered some of the heart response questions and see how God has worked in my life in those areas.

For example, in this week's lesson, we were asked to think about how we can fine-tune our attitude toward God and our reverence toward Him and our worship of Him.

When I did this study on my own in 2002, I noted that in my daily prayer time, I needed to get back to the worshipful aspect of prayer. I had noticed that I tended to do more interceding than anything else, and I wanted to put more praise and worship into my daily quiet time (while continuing to intercede, of course). When I reread my answer to this question this time around, I was so thrilled to see how God has honored that desire over the intervening years. Since then, I’ve done much more work on my prayer journal, and a time of worship and praise now precedes my prayer time each day. Another thing I’ve recently begun doing is to spend some time each morning asking God to cleanse my heart of anything that does not please Him or bring Him glory. (Of course, I did spend some time in confession in my prayer time, but I find that this new way of starting my time has made that much more meaningful.)

I’m sure there are many more ways I can fine-tune my attitude toward God and my reverence toward Him and worship of Him, but it’s exciting to watch Him work in my heart in these areas.

It's been a huge encouragement to me to look back and take note of how God has worked in my life over the past 5 years. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 5


Today I did quite a bit more proofreading and started printing out some pages. Other than that, it was a busy day from beginning to end. On Thursdays I cook for my parents and then, in the evening, do their grocery shopping. Lots of other things were going on today, too.

A New Challenge for Myself...




After nearly a month of not feeling well, then weeks of pressing on with my writing project, I feel as if I've really slacked off on the house and my health. So I'm starting a new challenge today; I'm calling it the "Back on Track" challenge. (Okay, I guess weeks of writing a kids' devotional book with a railroad theme has taken its toll.) I want to get back on track with:

* Bible study (though I've kept up with daily Bible reading and prayer times and have studied for these devotional writings and my Sunday School lessons, there hasn't been time for any other study.)

* Health & energy -- eating right, exercising, walking, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, etc.

* Homemaking -- keeping up with routines and zones a la FlyLady, and continuing to declutter as I go.

* Nurturing creativity -- as important to me as breathing. I want to do more with my writing and spend more time with decorating and craft projects.


Since it ostensibly takes 3 weeks to build a new habit, my challenge will go until May 17. Anyone care to join in? You may have other areas you prefer to work on, or maybe you want to choose one or more of these.

"Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly." -- Julie Andrews

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 6


Today I began proofreading all the pages that I've written and getting things a bit more organized. It was a busy day and I was out of the house the entire afternoon, so there wasn't time to do more. But it sure is great to have all of the actual writing done!

Spinach Feta Frittata


I made this delicious dish on Monday night for supper. We loved it. Mr. T suggested making this a regular! I served it with salad and ciabatta rolls (Wal*Mart bakery) so it is a very easy meal as well as being tasty. I adapted the recipe from one in Simple & Delicious magazine.

SPINACH FETA FRITTATA

6 eggs
1 Tblsp. water
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 to 2 Tblsp. olive oil
2 medium red potatoes, diced in 1/4-inch cubes
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used the reduced fat type)
2 tsp. dried basil (recipe called for 2 T. fresh, which would be better, but I used what I had)

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, water, pepper and salt; set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, saute´the onion and garlic in the oil for 2 minutes. Add potatoes; cook and stir until almost tender, about 10 minutes. (I simply covered them and cooked for about the same amount of time, stirring twice during that time.) Reduce heat; sprinkle with spinach, cheese and basil.

Pour egg mixture over the potato mixture in the pan. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or until eggs are set. Let stand 5 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 7


Hooray! Today, I :

* Wrote the last 3 activity pages!!!!!!!

I need to go over everything I've written with a fine-tooth comb for any typos -- spell check, of course, doesn't catch any errors that are actual words (but which may be the wrong words). Because this is a daily devotional book, I write down the Scriptures and topic for each day on the corresponding calendar page as I write, so as to avoid any duplication. I need to make a clean copy of that, as it helps when putting the book together.

I also need to print out a first page with the title, copyright info, etc.

Pages still to write: 0

Monday, April 23, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 8


Well, I got a bit of writing done today, and also gave some time to housework and next week's Sunday School lesson. Here's what I managed to do toward my writing project:

* Wrote the last 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did some research in books and on the internet.

* Planned the next 2 activity pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 3

Menu Plan Monday for April 23


Monday again! I have some menus that weren't used last week, so there may be some repeats. Today is sunny and predicted to be in the 80s, so I may revise today's menu to wraps and pasta salad, but I'm not sure yet. It's supposed to get cooler again tomorrow. Hard to believe that just last Monday we were in the grip of a snowy, rainy northeaster! Here's my plan:

MONDAY: Spinach Feta Frittata, Salad, Ciabatta Rolls

TUESDAY: Golden Seafood Chowder, Whole Wheat Bread

WEDNESDAY: Leftovers from Tues.

THURSDAY: Pork Chops w/ Scalloped Potatoes, Winter Squash, Applesauce

FRIDAY: Lemon-Dill Chicken Popover, Cranberry Jello Salad, Squash

SATURDAY: Speedy Minestrone, Italian Bread

SUNDAY: Veggie Chili, Cornbread

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 9


This was quite a busy Sunday, with a lot going on. I didn't get a lot of writing done, but did manage to:

* Do some Internet research

* Write 2 activity pages

* Plan the next daily devotional page I'll write.

Pages still to write: 6

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 10


Today was a really busy day -- several unplanned trips out of the house, and company for supper. I did manage to get some writing done. I finished writing the play for the Patch Club closing concert this morning, in spite of some really quirky things going on with my word processing program. Toward the devotional book, I :

* Finished writing 3 activity pages.

Pages still to write: 8

Thought for the day


"When we have had the most comfortable communion with God, and the clearest discoveries of His favour to us, we may expect that Satan will set upon us (the richest ship is the pirate's prize), and that God will suffer him to do so, that the power of His grace may be manifested and magnified." -- Matthew Henry

Friday, April 20, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 11


What a busy day! I had really hoped to get a lot accomplished today, but I sure didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. Lots of phone calls, among other things. We're having friends over for dinner tomorrow night, so one thing I did today was to make an ice cream cake for dessert. A good make-ahead thing. I also made a broccoli salad (for tonight's supper) and a quiche-y crabmeat dish (also for tonight's supper).

I spent much of the afternoon working on another, more urgent, writing project. In addition to the summer devotional book, I had also promised to write a skit for the Patch Club's closing concert. I managed to get that nearly finished this evening, as I want to have it for the leaders on Sunday. They plan to start practice for the closing concert on Wednesday.

As for the devotional book, here's all that got done:

* I wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

Pages still to write: 11

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 12


Today wasn't as productive a day as I'd have liked, but I got a few things done:

* Wrote 1 daily devotional page

* Prepared 1 activity page

* Prepared 1 coloring page

* Planned the next 3 daily devotional pages I'll write, and selected Scripture to use

* Planned the next 4 activity pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 14

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 13


Today was a crazy-busy day, but I squeezed in a little time for writing. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages

* Planned the first page I'll tackle tomorrow.

* Took a good look at what I still have to do -- I have to write 7 more daily devotional pages in 2 different categories; plan and write 9 more activity pages; and figure out 1 coloring page. Not bad!

Pages still to write: 17

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 14


Today was a busy day. My mother-in-law's home is still without power, so she came here and spent most of the day with me. I still managed to get a bit of writing done before she came and then after supper. I also went over the pages I've written and discovered I was a bit off in my page count -- I'd written more than I thought! A delightful discovery!

So today I:

* Wrote 2 daily devotional pages

* Wrote 1 activity page

* Planned the next 3 devotional pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 20

Monday, April 16, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 15


I didn't spend a lot of time on the computer today as I was afraid the power would go out again. We had outages overnight, and many people in the surrounding towns are still without power. But I did spend enough time to...

* Do a lot of Internet research

* Write 3 daily devotional pages

* Plan the next 2 devotional pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 26

Menu Plan Monday for April 16


We're in the midst of quite a winter storm here, so I'll try and post quickly before the power goes off again. Here goes:

MONDAY: Rosemary Chicken & White Beans, Ciabatta Rolls (leftover from Sun.)

TUESDAY: Vegetable Oven Pancake, Romaine Artichoke Salad

WEDNESDAY: Spicy Ham & Broccoli Pasta, Salad, Cornbread

THURSDAY: Macaroni & Cheese, Green Beans, Apple Salad

FRIDAY: Vegetarian Spinach Curry, Couscous, Asparagus Stir-fry Vegetables

SATURDAY: Crabmeat Breakfast Pie, Breakfast Potatoes, Green Beans

SUNDAY: Vegetable Chili, Cornbread

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 16


I'm making this quick, since our power just came back on after 2.5 hours being off -- we're in the midst of a severe winter storm.

Today I :

* Wrote 5 daily devotional pages

* Planned the next 3 devotional pages I'll write

* Produced a coloring page

Pages still to write: 29

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 17


Today was a pretty productive day. We had time to go out for breakfast at our favorite place and later on we went for a 2-mile walk. I got quite a bit of cleaning done and also have my Sunday School lesson for next week almost completed! In addition, I had time to write!

* I wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* I produced a neat coloring page.

* I planned out the next 5 devotional pages I'll write and chose scriptures for them.

Pages still to write: 35

Friday, April 13, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 18


Today was a very busy day. We had friends over for supper and so I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen. However, I did manage to:

* Write 2 daily devotional pages

* Print out 2 coloring pages

* Plan the next 2 devotional pages I'll write and choose scriptures to use with them

* Do a lot of Internet research -- some of it looks really promising!

Pages still to write: 39

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 19


It was a very busy day and we've been in the midst of a big storm here -- lots of heavy wet snow. All day I expected we would lose power, but thankfully we didn't. Here's what I got done:

* Wrote 4 daily devotional pages.

* Did quite a bit of Internet research.

* Planned the next 2 devotional pages I'll write and chose scripture verses for them.

Pages still to write: 43

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 20


Wednesdays are never a very productive day for me, but this morning wasn't bad. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Planned the next 3 daily devotional pages I'll write and selected scriptures for them.

Pages still to write: 47

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 21


Today was a busy day and I was out of the house this afternoon at a dental appointment, so it wasn't as productive a day as it could've been. However, I did:

* Get 3 daily devotional pages written.

* Plan the next 3 devotional pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 50

Monday, April 09, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 22


A most productive day to make up for yesterday! Here's what got done:

* I wrote 4 daily devotional pages.

* I wrote 2 activity pages.

* I planned the next 4 pages I will write and chose scriptures to accompany them.

* Did some reading and research.

Pages still to write: 53

Menu Plan Monday for April 9


Another Monday! Where does the time go? Here's this week's plan:

MONDAY: Leftovers from Easter and before

TUESDAY: Spicy Ham & Broccoli Pasta, Salad, Ciabatta Bread

WEDNESDAY: Crab Salad Rolls, Pasta Salad

THURSDAY: Beef Stew, Egg Biscuits

FRIDAY: (company meal) Garlic Lime Chicken, Oven Potato Wedges, Herbed Green Beans, Salad, Brownie Sundaes

SATURDAY: Vegetarian Spinach Curry, Couscous, Winter Blend Vegetables

SUNDAY: Rosemary Chicken with White Beans, Cornbread

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 23


Wow, today was a busy day, between the sunrise service & breakfast at church, teaching Sunday School, morning & evening service, and Easter dinner here at home. Not surprisingly I didn't get much writing done, but here's what I did do:

* Wrote 1 daily devotional page and started another.

* Did a bit of Internet research.

* Planned another devotional page.

I"ll need to make up for it tomorrow!

Pages still to write: 59

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 24


Well, this was not a super-productive day for writing. I finished up next week's Sunday School lesson this morning -- I'm trying to stay a week ahead with that to allow for more writing time daily -- and spent the afternoon in the kitchen, working on food for the Easter sunrise breakfast at church and then Easter dinner here at home. We managed to fit in a 2-mile walk too; it was a nice day, but very cold. I got a little bit of writing done:

* Wrote 1 daily devotional page and started another.

* Did a bit of research.

* Planned 1 more page & scripture -- I have 5 pages planned ahead now.

I'm still on target with my daily goals because I did 2 extra pages yesterday. So...

Pages still to write: 60

Fluttering in Zone 1


Carrie, over at Life on a Back Road, has been doing a spring cleaning/decluttering challenge. She has planned this to last 5 weeks, working in FlyLady's zones each week. This week is Zone 1. I've joined the challenge despite being pretty busy with my writing project. It's been a test of my in-progress time management skills to fit in some cleaning time in Zone 1 each day, but I've been doing it! Here's what got done yesterday:

* Swiffered the dining room walls.

* Finished a thorough cleaning/decluttering/rearranging of the corner cupboard.

* Washed down the dining room table/chairs with Murphy Oil Soap.

* I have a small wooden bench under a window where I keep catalogs/store flyers etc. I thoroughly washed the bench (Murphy Oil Soap again) and washed the floor under it, then thoroughly sorted through the piles of stuff -- threw a lot away and found other homes for most of it. Things look much better there!

That was a lot for me to accomplish along with 5 pages on my writing project and some good work on next week's Sunday School lesson. Thank you, Lord!

And thanks to Carrie for coming up with this challenge!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 25


Today was a decent day for this challenge. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 4 daily devotional pages

* Put together 1 activity page

* Did some Internet research

* Planned the next 4 devotional pages I'll write and selected scriptures to go with them.

Pages still to write: 61

Thought for the day



"A beautiful life, a rich life, a "worthy" life is, with God's help, in reach of every man and every woman." ~ C. William Fisher

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 26


Today was a very busy day, but I managed to accomplish a few things:

* I wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did quite a bit of Internet research.

* Found some possibilities for activity pages.

* Planned the next 4 pages I will write and found scriptures for 2 of them.

Pages still to write: 66

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 27


Here's what got done today:

* I wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Planned the next 2 devotional pages I'll write, complete with scriptures.

* Did quite a bit of Internet research.

Pages still to write: 69

(Which, happily enough, puts me over the halfway mark with this project!)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 28


Today was a good day for this challenge. (I must add that I still have "real life" going on each day -- housework, meal preparation and planning, working on each week's Sunday School lesson, etc. so I typically only have 2 or 3 hours to spend writing.) Anyway, today, I:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did some Internet research.

* Prepared a coloring page.

* Prepared an activity page.

* Planned the next 2 devotional pages I'll write.

I've included activity and coloring pages in my total number of pages needed, so I can count those toward what I need to finish.

Pages still to write: 72

A Springtime Dessert


Here's a favorite dessert of ours that just says "springtime" to me with its pretty yellow and white layers. I think it might be nice for Easter dinner, especially if one put pastel sprinkles or Easter sprinkles on top of the last layer. Enjoy...

LEMON PUDDING DESSERT

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups flour
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use the lighter Neufchatel)
1 cup confectioners sugar
8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided use (the light variety works fine)
3 cups cold milk (skim works fine)
2 boxes (3.4 oz. each) instant lemon pudding mix

In a bowl, combine the margarine and flour. Mixture will look crumbly. Press crumbs evenly into an ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish. (A glass dish shows off the pretty layers of this dessert.) Bake at 350º until set, about 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spread this mixture over cooled crust.

In a large bowl, beat together the milk and pudding mix. Let stand 5 minutes or until thickened. Carefully spread pudding over first layer.

Carefully spread remaining whipped topping over the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Yield: 12-16 servings.

This is still a rich-tasting dessert, but I’ve lightened it up a lot. I cut the butter in half from the original recipe, and use light dairy products and whipped topping. This has a nice refreshing taste after a meal. I found the recipe in an older issue of Taste of Home magazine.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 29


Here's what got done today on this challenge:

* I wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did quite a bit of Internet research as well as some reading.

* Planned the next 4 devotional pages I'll write and chose scripture to go with them.

Pages still to write: 77

Garlic Lime Chicken


I promised Arlene I would post this. So here it is, for Arlene and anyone else who may be interested. Enjoy!

GARLIC LIME CHICKEN

1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves, minced (or equivalent amount of jarred minced garlic)
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tblsp. dried coriander
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
4 to 6 bone-in chicken breast halves
1 to 2 Tblsp. vegetable oil

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first 8 ingredients. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to coat chicken with marinade. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Discard marinade. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil and brown the chicken on all sides. Transfer to a greased 15 x 10-inch baking pan. Bake chicken, uncovered, at 375º for 30 to 35 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Yield : 4 to 8 servings

Menu Plan Monday for April 2


Here we go with another week of menus! I have a couple of repeats from last week due to menus that didn't get used for one reason or another.

MONDAY: Avocado Omelets, Breakfast Potatoes, Tomato/Cucumber Salad

TUESDAY: Spicy Beans & Rice, Cornbread, Coleslaw

WEDNESDAY: Dijon Salmon Fillet, Brown Rice, 3-Bean Salad

THURSDAY: Chicken Divan, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Jello Salad

FRIDAY: Vegetarian Spinach Curry, Couscous, Winter Blend Vegetables

SATURDAY: Garlic Lime Chicken, Potato Salad, Green Beans

SUNDAY: Spiral Sliced Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies (undecided as to what kinds), Salads (ditto), Rolls, Desserts (ditto)

As you can see, I still have a bit of work to do on my Easter dinner planning. Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Meals as ministry...



I love the practical ways God allows us to minister to one another. In our church we always try to help out by preparing meals when people are recovering from surgery or when a family has a new baby, etc. When I do a meal for someone, I try to take it a step farther and try to go above and beyond. I enjoy thinking about what might taste good to people in a given situation and coming up with a menu to use. Sometime I’d like to do another post on this topic -- there is much more to be said and many helpful ideas that could be shared. I’m far from being an expert on this (or any other) subject, but it’s something I truly love doing.

On Tuesday evening, I prepared a meal for some friends who have a new baby. I prepared Walnut Chicken, rice, and asparagus stir-fry vegetables, with Apple Cranberry Crisp for dessert. I recently posted the crisp recipe, but thought I would share the chicken dish here now. This is a very easy, very different chicken stir-fry. The toasted walnuts give it a unique, absolutely wonderful flavor.

WALNUT CHICKEN

3 tsp. cornstarch, divided
3 Tblsp. soy sauce, divided
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4” strips
1 Tblsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
Dash of hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup walnut halves
3 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 medium green pepper, cut in 1” pieces
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

In bowl combine 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 Tblsp. soy sauce until smooth;
add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine next four ingredients with remaining
cornstarch and soy sauce; set aside.

In skillet, sauté walnuts in oil until toasted. Remove with a slotted
spoon and set aside. In same skillet and same oil, stir-fry chicken
until juices run clear. Add green pepper and ginger to skillet; cook
and stir 3 minutes or until pepper is crisp-tender. Stir reserved
cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Bring to boil; cook and stir 2
minutes or until thick and bubbly. Stir in walnuts.

Serve with or alongside rice -- either plain white rice or fried rice. Makes 4 servings.

This wonderful recipe is from a Quick Cooking magazine of some years ago. We love it!

Our friends were also expecting a houseful of company -- faraway family members were coming to make little Daniel’s acquaintance. I thought it might be helpful if, in addition to the meal, I would provide two kinds of muffins for quick breakfasts and a batch of cookies for snacking and for the new dad’s work lunches. Here are the recipes I used:

OATMEAL JAM MUFFINS

1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup real margarine, melted
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam

Heat oven to 350º. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. Combine oats
and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Let stand 2 minutes; stir in egg,
brown sugar and margarine. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking
soda, and salt; add to oat mixture and stir just until combined. Divide
batter among cups. Top each with l teaspoon jam. Bake until done,
about 18 minutes. Turn out, cool slightly (the jam gets very hot) and
serve. Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Years ago, when I cooked at an inn, I often baked a variation
of this recipe. I think this version is even better. If you like,
another type of jam may be substituted for raspberry.



RASPBERRY ALMOND MUFFINS

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup raspberry jam
36 whole almonds or 1/4 cup chopped almonds
Sugar for tops

Heat oven to 400º.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, vanilla and almond
extract.

Grease 12 muffin cups and fill each half full of batter.

Place 1 teaspoon raspberry jam in center of each batter-filled cup; top with remaining batter to cover jam.

Top each muffin with 3 whole almonds or 1 teaspoon chopped almonds. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake at 400º for 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before removing
muffins from cups; serve immediately. Yield: 12 muffins.

I copied this muffin recipe off a radio cooking show years ago, and it's
been a favorite with my family. When all of our children were home I baked muffins at least once a week. These yummy muffins taste fancier than you'd think from their quick preparation.



HUGS & KISSES COOKIES

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 Tblsp. milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
9-ounce bag chocolate kisses or hugs, unwrapped

Heat oven to 350º. Beat together butter, sugars, and vanilla until blended. Add eggs and milk; beat well.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake 11 minutes.

Cool 1 minute; press a chocolate kiss or hug into the center of each cookie. Cool another minute before removing cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies.


I copied this recipe out of a cookbook belonging to a good friend, some years ago. It’s been a favorite with my kids and their friends. This time around, I used the almond Hershey kisses.

That’s all for now, but at the very least you might find a new recipe you want to try. At best, you’ll be inspired to minister to someone by way of a meal!

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 30


Well, I did skip yesterday, but writing 4 pages each on Thursday and Friday and an extra page today kept me on track with this challenge. Today was our afternoon service at church (which we do once a month instead of our evening service) so I managed to fit in some writing today. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 4 daily devotional pages.

* Planned the next 2 devotional pages I will write.

* Brainstormed a bit about what the cover of the book will look like.

Pages still to write: 80