Friday, August 31, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday for August 31




I haven’t really accomplished a lot this week, craft-wise. But during a day at the beach on Tuesday, I managed to finish 2 projects.

First, a dishcloth, in the “Daisy Ombre” color. I really like this; it is a nice restful color and would work with a lot of people’s kitchens. In the same photo, my first flour-sack towel in the “Fine Chinaware” set. Isn’t it a pretty design? I’m so pleased with how it turned out.


Next, I managed to finish off the apron pocket I embroidered last week and get it sewed onto the side piece of the apron. I think it’s looking quite nice! I’ve got most of the second pocket embroidered, but the hard part (the flower petals) is still to come.


I’ve also started another crocheted snowflake which I think will be quite pretty and is fairly easy -- I may well make the last 2 snowflakes from that pattern also.

And I’ve also started yet another dishcloth -- those things are addictive! -- in the “Potpourri” color.

And I’ve begun the first of 2 personalized cookbooks, but don’t really have much to show for that yet. Maybe next week!

And that about does it for this week’s crafting...

Oh, and if you’ve done any crafting this week -- even if it’s just a work in progress so far, I encourage you to drop in at Shereen’s blog and share your work with the rest of us. It really is fun and a great encouragement to share our crafts and ideas with others.

Favorite Ingredients Friday for August 31


For today, I'm going to share a yummy, easy dessert recipe that always goes over exceedingly well at potlucks and family get-togethers. Here it is:

CHOCOLATE ECLAIR CAKE

1 cup water
1 stick margarine
1 cup flour
4 eggs

2 3.25 ounce packages instant vanilla pudding
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk

8 ounces whipped topping
1 bottle fudge sauce

Bring water and margarine to a boil. Remove from heat. Add flour and beat vigorously. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour the dough into an ungreased jelly roll pan (10x15 inches) and bake at 400º for 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Combine pudding mix, cream cheese and milk. Mix until smooth and creamy; spread this filling over the cooled cake. Spread whipped topping over the filling. Drizzle with fudge sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: At least 12 servings

This very delicious dessert is a recipe I heard many years ago on a radio cooking show. It may be made well ahead and serves a bunch of people.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Prayer Journal Revisited: Ongoing Answers to Ongoing Prayers


As I've been thinking about my prayer journal lately, I was reminded of this post I did some time ago. I thought it might be an encouragement to others to see how it works in our prayers for ourselves.


Ongoing answers to ongoing prayers...

I’ve been so encouraged lately to see how God has been answering my ongoing prayers for my own growth in several areas. It’s happened without my even being totally aware of it. These are things I usually pray for only once a week, on Saturday, my day to pray for myself.


(I don’t recall if I have shared much in the past about my prayer journal. So I’ll briefly do so here. Basically, I have three sections -- Adoration, Agreeing, and Asking. In Adoration, I have a number of pages dealing with individual attributes of God. In Agreeing, I have a number of pages dealing with sin issues/character flaws in my life. Asking is the largest section and contains a divider for each day of the week, as well as one for every day. I pray for my husband, kids/grandkids, my parents, and a few special friends everyday. I have our church directory divided up pretty much evenly and pray for a certain portion of our church family each day. Beyond that, on Monday I pray for missionaries; Tuesday, for special friends; Wednesday, for church leadership; Thursday, for our country and our extended family; Friday, for several special families I am praying specific verses for; Saturday, for my personal requests, and Sunday, for each aspect of our church services, any visitors, etc. So that’s my prayer journal in a nutshell.)


Back to my personal prayer requests. I have a number of them. But sometime back, when I completed a Bible study on Proverbs 31 (“Beautiful in God’s Eyes” by Elizabeth George), I was challenged to list down prayer requests for areas where I needed to grow and change to become a woman like the Proverbs 31 woman. Here’s my list:
********************

* MYSELF: work on kindness, careful speech, health and energy.

* MY HUSBAND: work on taking better care of him, helping him, benefiting him.

* MY HOUSEHOLD: work more diligently at watching over it.

* MY ENTERPRISES: work harder at discovering how God might have me to use my skills and interests to benefit the family.

**********************

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen huge progress or answers in all of these areas. But in a couple of areas the answers have been amazing.


For the health and energy request, I am continually learning to eat more healthfully and exercise more regularly. A free download from FlyLady.net called the “body clutter investigator” has recently helped me keep much better track of things like water, exercise, sleep, and fiber intake on a daily basis. Each of those things really makes a difference! I’ve lost a lot of weight over the past year and gotten a lot more fit as I’ve exercised more regularly.


For the household request, I’ve shared before how the FlyLady system has helped me get a handle on my homemaking. Even though I haven’t done the best at this through my recent big writing project, yet I’ve been amazed at how having the basic routines in place has helped me stay right on top of meals, laundry, dishes, etc. In the past, all of those things would suffer when I had a deadline. I’ve also been helped by Elizabeth George’s books “Life Management for Busy Women” and “God’s Wisdom for a Woman’s Life” and also by Organized Home.com. (Today I have zeroed in on my kitchen, as that’s the FlyZone for the week, and am seeing some progress even though it’s late in the week. As FlyLady says, I am not behind!) In recent weeks, I’ve been blessed to visit the blogs of Mrs. B and Mrs. Wilt and find these ladies to be incredibly inspiring in the household department!


Another ongoing prayer request of mine has been to nurture my creativity. I find that I am happiest if I can do one creative thing, however small, each day. I’ve gotten much inspiration from the crafts message board at Organized Christmas.com. The ladies there put up a challenge each week for spending a certain amount of time crafting. Although I seldom accomplish everything on my list, yet I find it very encouraging to have goals and just pick away at them bit by bit. It has kept crafting on my “radar screen” even on the most stressful days. Again, I find my creativity nurtured by visiting blogs -- I’ve been especially blessed by Mrs. Wilt’s thrifting finds and by the vintage embroidery pattern site she shared. I’ve also been blessed -- just today -- as I looked over an essay from Kelly at FlyLady.net concerning a “kitchen remodel” that costs almost nothing but time and a creative way of looking at things.


What an amazing God we have! I am humbled and so very encouraged as I see how He works and the different vessels He uses to answer our very personal, heartfelt prayer requests.

Slow Cooking Thursday for August 30


As you’ll quickly see, this can be made in less than half an hour on the stovetop. But I have often made this in the crockpot, and it works beautifully.

TACO SOUP

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or use less -- even as little as 1/2 lb.)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (28 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz.) kidney beans, not drained
1 can (17 oz.) whole kernel corn, not drained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 package taco seasoning
1 to 2 cups water
Shredded cheddar cheese
Crushed tortilla chips

Brown beef in large heavy kettle or Dutch oven; drain off any fat and add onions. Cook until onions are tender. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and chips; simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls; top with shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips, to taste.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

This simple recipe has been a lifesaver for me so many times. Very often, after browning the beef and onions, I combine all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook the soup on low for several hours. This was a standby meal during the years our kids were at boarding school, when we had to eat quickly after church and then get the kids back to school on Sunday afternoons.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Prayer Journal Revisited: Persevering in prayer


Here's another of my older posts concerning prayer. Perhaps this might be an encouragement to someone else today!

Persevering in prayer

Recently I’ve been working on preparing a “make-your-own-prayer-journal kit” for a going-away gift for a dear friend. She’s a relatively new believer and has peeked into my prayer journal a few times. She would love to have her own journal, so I thought such a kit might be a good idea as a gift. I’m including a decorated binder, card stock and paper cut to size, stickers, a hole punch, index tabs, a marker, a glue stick, etc., plus detailed instructions. I added a few of the verses and quotes I have on the covers of my own prayer journal to the cover of hers.

One of these is a verse of a poem... the last verse, as it turns out. The other day in preparing for my Sunday School lesson, I came across the entire poem (I think, anyway). I had jotted it down on a blank page in BECOMING A WOMAN OF PRAYER, by Cynthia Heald, when I did that study. The poem was such a good reminder to me of the importance of persevering in prayer. Here it is:


*******************************************
For years I’ve prayed, and yet I see no change.
The mountain stands exactly where it stood;
The shadows that it casts are just as deep;
The pathway to the summit e’en more steep.
Shall I pray on?

Shall I pray on with ne’er a hopeful sign?
Not only does the mountain still remain,
But, while I watch to see it disappear,
Becomes the more appalling year by year.
Shall I pray on?

I shall pray on. Though distant as it seems,
The answer may be almost at my door,
Or just around the corner on its way,
But whether near or far, yes, I shall pray --
I shall pray on.

-- Edith Mapes
*********************************************

Perhaps this poem and these few thoughts will be a blessing to someone else today!

Prayer Journal Revisited: Favorite Quotes on Prayer


I decided to re-post these favorite quotes on prayer, too. Some may want to include one or more of these quotes in their prayer journals. The very first quote on the list is on the front cover of mine.

Favorite Quotes on Prayer

Patty asked if I would share some of my favorite quotes on prayer. I’m just going to share all the ones I can think of. I apologize in advance if any of them are repeats from other posts. Hope these encourage others as much as they have me.


“Saints have never yet reached the limit to the possibilities of prayer. Whatever has been attained or achieved has touched but the fringe of the garment of a prayer-hearing God.” -- Dr. A.T. Pierson


“Because you prayed --
God touched our weary bodies with His power
And gave us strength for many a trying hour
In which we might have faltered, had not you
Our intercessors faithful been, and true.

“Because you prayed --
God touched our lips with coals from altar fire,
Gave Spirit-fulness, and did so inspire
That, when we spoke, sin-blinded souls did see;
Sins’ chains were broken;
Captives were made free.

“Because you prayed --
The dwellers in the dark have found the Light;
The glad good-news has banished heathen night;
The message of the Cross, so long delayed,
Has brought them life at last --
Because you prayed.” -- Charles B. Bowser


“THANKSGIVING must be personally applied! A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue; it is the fountain of every other virtue.” -- Author Unknown


“To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us -- and He has given us everything.” -- Thomas Merton


“Someday we shall understand that God has a reason for every NO which He speaks... How often when His people are worrying and perplexing themselves about their prayers not being answered, is God answering them in a far richer way! Glimpses of this we see occasionally, but the full revelation of it remains for the future.” -- STREAMS IN THE DESERT


“Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only be unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, ABOVE ALL that we ask or think. Each time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of your place in Christ, and expect great things.” -- Andrew Murray

“[Prayer] is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need.” A.B. Simpson


“Are you in sorrow? Prayer can make your affliction sweet and strengthening. Are you in gladness? Prayer can add to your joy a celestial perfume. Are you in extreme danger from outward or inward enemies? Prayer can set at your right hand an angel whose touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low. What will prayer do for you? I answer: All that God can do for you. ‘Ask what I shall give thee.’ (1 Kings 3:5).” -- Farrar


“The best prayer comes from a strong inward necessity. By human security systems, we often protect ourselves from a dynamic prayer life. Why do we do ourselves this wrong?” -- William MacDonald


“It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace and from which every utterance is an utterance of grace. The scepter that is stretched out from it is the silver scepter of grace. The decrees proclaimed from it are purposes of grace. The gifts that are scattered down its golden steps are gifts of grace, and He who sits upon the throne is grace Himself. That it is the throne of grace that we approach when we pray is a mighty source of encouragement to all of us who are praying men and women.” -- Charles Spurgeon


“When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.” -- Oswald Chambers


“So we are permitted to apply to God in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, because God in Him is well pleased, and because we are the friends of His Son He answers our requests.” -- Albert Barnes


“The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, gives wisdom to our ignorance, turns ignorance into wisdom, and changes our weakness into strength. The Spirit Himself does this. He helps and takes hold with us as we tug and toil... He pleads for us and in us. He quickens, illumines, and inspires our prayers. He proclaims and elevates the matter of our prayers, and inspires the words and feelings of our prayers He works mightily in us so that we can pray mightily. He enables us to pray always and ever according to the will of God.” -- E.M. Bounds


“To sum it all up, if you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ... So be filled with God’s Word. Study what Jesus has said, what the Holy Ghost has left on record in this divinely inspired book, and in proportion as you feed on, retain, and obey the Word in your life, you will be a master in the art of prayer.” -- Charles Spurgeon


“I do not believe that there is such a thing in the history of God’s kingdom as a right prayer offered in a right spirit that is forever left unanswered.”
-- Theodore L. Cuyler

“In every circumstance of life, we should go to the Lord in prayer. When in trouble, we should approach Him with earnest entreaties. In times of rejoicing, we should lift our hearts to Him in praise. He wants to be brought into all the changing moods of our lives.” -- William MacDonald


“Lord, if what I ask for does not please You, neither would it please me. My desires are put into Your hands to be corrected. Strike the pen through every petition that I offer that is not right. And put in whatever I have omitted, even though I might not have desired it had I considered it... ‘Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’”
-- Charles Spurgeon


“Anyone who finds his prayers ineffective should not conclude that the thing which he asks of God is not according to His will, but should go alone with God with the psalmist’s prayer, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me’ (Psalm 139:23-24) and wait before Him until He puts His finger upon the thing that is displeasing in His sight. Then the sin should be confessed and put away.” -- R.A. Torrey


“Prayer does not fit us for the greater works: prayer is the greater work.”
-- Oswald Chambers


“Study may make a biblical scholar; but prayer puts the heart under heavenly teaching and forms the wise and spiritual Christian.” -- Charles Bridges


“God will hear prayer, but He may not answer it at the time which we in our minds have appointed; He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, but not just when and where we have settled in our own expectations.” -- Charles Spurgeon


“Whether we praise Him for His unfathomable majesty or petition Him for daily needs, prayer is the expression of our dependence upon God, our whole-souled reliance upon His power to sustain us, His mercy to forgive us, His bounty to supply us, and His glory to overwhelm us as we reflect on who He is.” -- C. Samuel Storms


“Lord, make me sensitive to the promptings of your Holy Spirit’ is a constant prayer of mine. Whenever someone is laid on my heart or brought to my mind, I need to be an intercessor. Often I don’t know exactly what to pray and that is why it is good to study Paul’s prayers and the Lord’s prayer in John 17....
“How little we realize what impact our intercession has in the kingdom of God. God is gracious to give us the privilege of prayer that allows us to participate with Him in ministering to others.” -- Cynthia Heald, in BECOMING A WOMAN OF PRAYER


“The strong man of prayer when he starts to pray for a thing keeps on praying until he prays it through, and obtains what he seeks. We should be careful about what we ask from God, but when we do begin to pray for a thing we should never give up praying for it until we get it, or until God makes it very clear and definite to us that it is not His will to give it.” -- R.A. Torrey


“Certainly, if we are to have a quiet hour set down in the midst of a hurry of duties, and to keep that time inviolate, we must exercise both planning and self-denial. We must be prepared to forego many things that are pleasant, and some things that are profitable. Let no one who can find time for vanities say that they do not have enough time for prayer. We have to reclaim our time. It may be from recreation, or from social events, or from study, or from works of benevolence. Wherever it comes from, we must find time every day to enter into our closet, and having shut the door, to pray to our Father who is in secret.” -- David M’Intryre


“And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant, and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted, and answered in His name.”
--- A.B. Simpson

“Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.” -- STREAMS IN THE DESERT

Monday, August 27, 2007

Menu Plan Monday for August 27


Another Monday! They just come around more and more quickly! Here’s my plan for the week:

MONDAY: Vegetable Chili, Cornbread or Multigrain Rolls

TUESDAY: (picnic at the beach) Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Baby Carrots, S’mores

WEDNESDAY: (picnic) Parmesan Chicken Fingers, Sweet Potato Fries, Coleslaw

THURSDAY: Round Steak Italiano, Baked Potatoes, Italian Mixed Vegetables

FRIDAY: Tuna Melts, Pasta Salad, Baby Carrots

SATURDAY: Beef-Stuffed French Bread, Easy Veggie Salad

SUNDAY: (potluck at church) Chicken Almond Rice Salad, Ranch French Bread, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Check out "Sew Crafty Fridays"!


Yes, I know it’s Saturday now... but I did just want to encourage my readers who enjoy crafts to get involved in Sew Crafty Fridays, over at Shereen’s blog.

Even though today is Saturday, if you’ve done something crafty this week, write up a post about it (with pictures if you like), then head over there and link up via Mister Linky. If you don’t have a blog, that needn’t stop you from sharing... Shereen is graciously willing to post photos for you if you just email them to her.

Maybe you haven’t completed any projects this week, but you have a work in progress? No problem, just share photos of that!

Sew Crafty Fridays have been such an encouragement to me and are keeping me accountable with my crafting. I prefer to give handmade gifts but often had trouble staying on track with working on them. Knowing that I will want to have something to share on Fridays has kept me going, even if slowly. There’s nothing like the fun and encouragement of sharing a project with others!

Prayer Journal Revisited: Sample pages from my prayer journal


Sample pages from my prayer journal

The first two are from my “Adoration” section on the attributes of God.
********************************************
God, You are FAITHFUL

“Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 36:5)

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:3)

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering: (for He is faithful that promised).” (Hebrews 10:23)

“And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” (Isaiah 11:5)

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High:
“To shew forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.”
(Psalm 92:1-2)

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

* Father, how I praise You for Your faithfulness. I may fail you over and over, but You are abidingly faithful. Teach me to be faithful, and You would have me to be.
********************************************
God, You are SOVEREIGN

“He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest Thou?”
(Daniel 4:35)

God does according to His will in the heavens and the earth, and no one can stop Him or question His motives.

“But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”
(Psalm 115:3)

God is in control of all things and does what pleases Him.

“Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.” (Psalm 135:6)

“I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me,
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
(Isaiah 46:9-10)

* God, I thank You for Your sovereignty! It is a comfort to me as Your child to know that You are in control of all things and that You make no mistakes.
*************************************************************************************
In my prayer journal I also have an “Agreement” section in which I agree with God about the sin issues in my life and ask for His help in growing in these areas. At the beginning of this section I have pasted in two quotes written on lovely little pieces of decorated note paper. These are good reminders to me as I consider the areas that need work in my life. They are:
1. “I’m not what I ought to be, but I’m not what I used to be. And, by God’s grace, I’m not what I’m going to be.”

2. “TRUTH: I am ABLE to accomplish God’s will for my life because of His gift: the Holy Spirit.”

Here are two pages from this section. Maybe they will be an encouragement to someone else dealing with these same issues.
***************************************************
Character Flaws
1. PROCRASTINATION

“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” (Proverbs 10:5)

“In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.”
(Proverbs 14:23)

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27)

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard: consider her ways, and be wise:
“Which, having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
“Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
(Proverbs 6:6-8)

*Procrastination is not pleasing to God, because He wants us to do all things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). I do tend to put things off, and I need to work on sticking to a schedule, especially for housework.
**************************************************
Character flaws
6. EASILY IRRITATED

“[Charity] ... is not easily provoked.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19)

“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.” (Proverbs 14:17)

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)

“Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” (Proverbs 29:20)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is... longsuffering.” (Galatians 5:22)

* God is longsuffering, and He has given His children this quality as part of the fruit of the Spirit. He does not want me to have a “short fuse.” Instead, He wants me to grow in longsuffering.
***************************************************
At the back of my “Asking” section, I have a list which I try to review every day. It represents my goals as a homemaker. Some days I fall far short in many areas, but I believe goals are so important. As we all know, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” So here’s my list:
****************************************************
MY GOALS AS A HOMEMAKER

1. I will get up early, in order to prepare myself for the day physically and spiritually.

2. I will consult my husband every day to see if there is anything special he needs me to do for him.

3. I will keep a neat and orderly home.

4. I will make use of planning tools to make daily and weekly schedules for homemaking tasks.

5. I will stick with the homemaking routines that work for me.

6. I will keep a positive attitude.

7. I will be at home as much as possible.

8. I will prepare special, good food for my family.

9. I will do all that I can to make our home a peaceful, comfortable refuge from the world.

10. I will grow daily in the areas of: my walk with the Lord; marriage; family; and homemaking.
************************************************
And there you have a few pages from my prayer journal. Maybe these will be a help to you in putting together your own journal.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rushing the season?


Just couldn't resist sharing what we found on our walk today! We saw quite a few of these, actually, but this was the prettiest one. I placed it in a patch of sunlight on a chair to take the photo, which isn't anywhere near as good as it would be if Mr. T had taken it! The weather is warm and humid today and really doesn't feel like fall, but we know it's coming...

Actually using my prayer journal

It's time for another Building Our Homes Together Wednesday! This week I am going to share a previously published post (try saying that 3 times quickly) concerning actually using my prayer journal. If you would like to see what other ladies have shared for this feature, head on over to Prairie Flower Farm and check out the links for Building our Homes Together!
My prayer journal
I thought it would be helpful to share this info again, so here it is:

I’ve done a number of posts about my prayer journal -- guidelines for making one, how it’s put together, and how to make a prayer journal kit as a gift -- but I thought it was high time to actually write a post as to how the prayer journal works on a daily basis.

Before I begin, I'd like to say a word about prayer requests. A number of people have asked me how I deal with the short-term, more urgent prayer requests which we get at church, from friends, or via our church’s prayer chain (email or phone). They felt these requests would be hard to keep track of on an ongoing basis in a prayer journal. And they’re right. I don’t put these sorts of requests in my prayer journal.

If I get a request for someone at church, I usually write it down in the notebook I keep with me for sermon notes. That’s usually enough to keep that request in my memory for when I pray for that person during the week. When it’s answered, I can cross it out. If I get a request via phone or email, I’ll jot it on a post-it note. When the prayer is answered, I toss the paper.

The prayer requests I keep in my prayer journal are long-term ones. For example, for my grown children I pray for things like this:
• Closeness to God
• Spiritual growth
• Wisdom for parenting
• Wisdom for marriage
• Wise use of finances
• Wise use of time
• Use of spiritual gifts and talents... etc.

Now, as to actually using my prayer journal on a daily basis. The first section I come to is Adoration -- where I have a number of pages concerning the attributes of God. So I turn to the attribute for the day -- I keep a marker in this section so I praise God for a different attribute each day. As I praise Him for, say, His omniscience, I can also thank Him for the fact that He knows all about me and every circumstance of my life. I find that praising God for His attributes first sets the tone for my prayer time.

Next, I come to Agreeing -- that is, agreeing with God about my sin. In this section I have a number of pages concerning character flaws and sin issues in my life. Again, I keep a marker in this section so I pray concerning a different problem each day. This makes a huge difference in my life, because these issues don’t slip off my radar screen. I am praying about them on a regular basis. Also in this section, I have a section called Health and Energy -- detailing the daily need for eating healthfully, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, etc. Again, since these are areas where I am prone to get lazy, it makes sense to have them here where I can pray about them every day.

Next, I come to Asking. Within this section, I start by praying through the requests for Every Day. These would be ongoing, long-term requests for my husband, children/spouses, grandchildren, parents and close friends.

Next, I pray through the requests I have allotted to different days of the week. On Monday, for example, I pray for missionaries. Again, the requests I pray for missionaries are not short-term urgent requests (although I do pray for those needs at other times) but are ongoing, long-term things like protection, boldness, opportunities to witness, fluency in language, times of refreshment, etc. Each day I also pray for a portion of our church family. And this is where those prayer requests I get at church or via the prayer chain come into play. As I pray for, say, Sue Jones (made-up name) I remember that Sue is having a biopsy next week, and pray about that.

So that is pretty much my prayer time in a nutshell. I have found that my prayer time is so much more effective and so much more of a blessing to me as I use my prayer journal. I hope that those who are making their own journals or those who receive them as gifts will find them as helpful as I have found mine to be.

I'd just like to add here that the time of praising God for His attributes is becoming ever more precious to me as I tend to consider my requests in the light of the particular attribute I am praising Him for that day. For example, as I pray for my children, and I am praising God that He is truth, I can thank Him that His promises are true, and that He will keep His promise to continue the good work He has begun in the lives of my children (Philippians 1:6).

This week's crafting efforts



Well, the crafting this week has been sporadic, but a few things have been accomplished.

First, another dishcloth, this one in shades of green. Not my top favorite, but it was fun to work on. I’ve barely started one more dishcloth; this one will be the “Daisy Ombre” color.


Next, a shot of the completed flour-sack dish towel, the last of that set. I’m glad to see the last of the colonial girls -- they are sort of cute, but the transfers didn’t work well and I was guessing a lot of the time. I’ve just started the “Fine Chinaware” set and think it’s going to be a lot of fun.



And here are the completed coasters I showed you the fabric for last week. I’m very pleased with how they came out.



And here is the first completed apron pocket. It’s going into a retro-style apron*, and the main apron fabric is going to be the sunflower print shown in the swatch. I still need to embroider the second pocket before going on with the apron.



And that pretty much does it for this week’s crafting!


* By the way, if anyone is interested, the apron pattern (which is probably not still available at stores since I’ve had it awhile, but I’m sure could be found on line somewhere), is McCall’s Crafts 3068. It has lots of other neat stuff in addition to the apron. Pot holders, place mats, an adorable window topper -- and a tea towel! I spent a few minutes last night doing a search for just such a tea towel pattern -- not the flour sack type like I’ve been doing, but one made from 2 different fabrics with an appliqué or rickrack, etc. like you see in shops and country-type catalogs. I had completely forgotten that a pattern for such a tea towel was included in this one! So that is neat and will be a future project.

Favorite Ingredients Friday for August 24


Favorite Ingredients Friday this week is featuring sauce recipes. There are many I could share, but this one is a favorite. It's so nice to be able to make a pizza sauce you can freeze and keep on hand, with no fat and no iffy ingredients. Here it is:

HOMEMADE PIZZA SAUCE TO FREEZE

1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
12 ounces tomato paste
1 Tblsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tblsp. dried oregano
1 to 2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine tomato sauce and paste. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool. Pour into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Freeze for up to 1 year. Yield: about 4 cups.

I usually save time (and the purchase of an additional product) by using spaghetti sauce on pizza. But when I have a little more time, I love this easy homemade pizza sauce. I freeze it in the small yogurt containers (6 to 8 oz.) and find that one container holds enough sauce for 1 large round pizza. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using, or if need be it can be thawed (carefully) in the microwave.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Prayer Journal Revisited: Building a prayer journal

Welcome, ladies who are linking here from Prairie Flower Farm! Isn't this a wonderful blog hop that Linda is putting together on Wednesdays? I hope you will enjoy this week's post on building a prayer journal. It's an older post but still timely, as you will see. If you haven't checked out other people's links yet for Building a Home Together, head on over to Prairie Flower Farm and do so right now!

My friend Patty, over at Beside Still Waters, has suggested that I again post the info about making a prayer journal. This has been helpful to some of my local friends as well as to some blogging friends, so I decided to take Patty's advice and post it again. Here it is, and there will be more to come:

Building a prayer journal

L asked if I would share my instructions for building a prayer journal. I am happy to do so, as I’ve been thinking for some time that I’d like to do a post about my prayer journal.

For years I jotted down prayer requests on scraps of paper stuck in my Bible, or wrote them in the notebooks I used for taking notes in church. Many of them I kept in my head. One of my unspoken prayer requests for a long time was just to be able to organize things so I could pray more effectively. So one day I bought a little spiral-bound notebook and began to try and organize my prayer requests in sections so I could pray for different things and people on different days. That worked for quite awhile, but not quite as well as I had hoped. Then my daughter went off to college and took a class called Study of Prayer. They made prayer journals as a class project. I was so impressed when I saw what a prayer journal could look like -- and with its potential as a helpful tool for one’s prayer life. I studied the journal my daughter had made and gathered my own ideas from here and there. Then I began to put together my own prayer journal. It has become every bit as helpful as I envisioned it would be.

I suggest getting one of the smaller binders -- mine is approximately 7 inches by 9 inches. Larger ones would be fine, but the smaller one is easy to keep with your Bible. I prefer the kind with a clear pocket on the front and back covers, to slip your own “cover art” into. Mine has a colorful picture on the front cover, along with the words “Prayer Journal” and a favorite quotation on prayer. On the back cover there’s another colorful picture (I cut these from Gooseberry Patch catalogs, as these picture many of my favorite things) , part of a poem about prayer, and a verse (James 5:16). I cut card stock sheets in half to fit my binder and -- after punching holes in them -- used them as dividers for the different sections. I used index tabs to label the different sections. I cut white paper in half, punched holes on one side, and used these to write my actual requests on. For the special people in my life, I have their photos (stuck to card stock with clear photo corners) right across from the page with my prayer requests for them. Whenever I come across something that will help me in my prayer life, I incorporate it into my prayer journal. For example, one mission board made available a bookmark listing basic, biblical ways to pray for missionaries. I cut this up and scattered the different requests on the card stock divider for my “Missionaries” page. Every time I pray for missionaries, I have before me some concrete ways to pray for them.

Here are my basic guidelines for putting together a prayer journal. Feel free to adapt them for yourselves.

PRAYER JOURNAL GUIDELINES

Of course there are a multitude of ways you can organize your prayer journal. This is a combination of what my daughters learned in a college class and what I came up with myself. My prayer journal is still a work in progress!

My prayer journal consists of 3 basic sections -- Adoration, Agreement, and Asking. Each section has categories within it.

Section I -- ADORATION

A. Praise.

1. Attributes of God. Choose 10 (or more) attributes of God that you want to praise Him for. Make a page for each one. For each attribute, write out at least 3 Scripture verses which mention or describe that attribute. Some examples of attributes would be holiness, righteousness, sovereignty, omniscience, etc. At the bottom of each page, write a brief statement or prayer describing why you praise God for that particular attribute.

B. Thanksgiving.

1. Spiritual blessings.
a. God
b. Jesus Christ
c. The Holy Spirit
d. The Word of God
(For each of these spiritual blessings -- and you could certainly add more, like salvation, sanctification, etc. -- write out 3 verses that describe that particular blessing. Then write a brief statement or prayer describing why you thank and praise God for that blessing.)

2. Material blessings.
(List as many material blessings as you like -- food, home, etc. Write out a relevant verse for each and a brief statement or prayer thanking God for them.)

3. National blessings.
(List our blessings as a nation -- a free country, privilege of voting, etc. Add a verse if you wish and write a brief statement or prayer thanking God for these blessings.)

4. Physical blessings.
(List physical blessings -- good health, the health of your family, etc. Write out a verse if you wish and then write a brief statement or prayer thanking God for these blessings.)

5. Family blessings.
(List your immediate family and other relatives or friends you are specifically thankful for. Add verses if you like and write a brief statement or prayer thanking God for these folks.)

Section II -- AGREEMENT.

A. Character flaws
(List several of your character flaws or areas where you are prone to sin. [I personally have listed 15 of these so far -- not that there aren’t many more than that!] Make a page for each one. For each flaw or sin, find and write out several helpful verses. [Proverbs is a great source for these verses.] At the bottom of each page, write a summary of why each flaw or sin is not pleasing to God, and what behavior He would have you to work at instead.)

Section III --ASKING.

A. Every Day -- Make a page for each person you plan to pray for every day. List the things you plan to pray for in their lives. I have a page for my husband, my parents, each of my children and their spouses, and one for some dear friends.

B. Sunday --List the things you will pray for on Sundays. (I chose to pray for our church services, pastor, Sunday School teachers, visitors, music, nursery, etc.)

C. Monday -- List the things or people you will pray for on Mondays. (This is the day I chose to pray for missionaries. I also pray for a portion of the people in the church directory each day [about one-sixth of the names each day*]).

D. Tuesday -- List those you will pray for on Tuesdays. (I pray for special friends, near and far away, on this day.)

E. Wednesday -- List those you will pray for on Wednesdays. (I pray for our church leadership on Wednesdays.)

F. Thursday -- List those you will pray for on Thursdays. (This is my day to pray for our country and for our extended families.)

G. Friday -- List those you will pray for on Fridays. (On Friday, I have several individuals or couples I am praying specific verses for. I have a page for each person/couple. I have listed the specific things from each verse that I’m praying for them.)

H. Saturday -- List the requests you’ll pray for on Saturdays. (This is my day to pray for myself. I list concerns that I have for my own personal spiritual growth, the use of my spiritual gifts, faithfulness in ministry, etc. )

* To pray for the folks in the church, this is what I do. Make one page for each day of the week, except Sunday. On each page, list about one-sixth of the names of the people in the church. Put that page in the section for the particular day of the week.

Of course you can adapt these guidelines to work better for you. I think that the more personalized you can make your prayer journal, the more of a tool it will be for you. I definitely recommend adding stickers, photos, etc. to add color and interest, and to jog your memory as you pray for special people in your life. Card stock dividers are colorful and very helpful, and index tabs for the different days are also helpful. You may also enjoy finding challenging, encouraging quotes on prayer to add to the journal. Have fun!


One thing I found extremely interesting as I went to the archives to hunt this up: This was originally posted on August 24, 2006! Almost exactly one year ago!

Slow Cooking Thursday for August 23


I’ve posted this recipe here on my blog before, but never for Slow Cooking Thursday, so it may be new to others. It’s a truly delicious stew!

MEATBALL STEW

3 medium potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 pkg. (16 oz.) fresh baby carrots, quartered
1 large onion, chopped (or equivalent amount of frozen chopped onions)
3 celery ribs, sliced
12 to 16 ounces frozen meatballs, defrosted slightly in microwave and cut in halves or quarters
1 can tomato soup
1 can beef gravy
1 cup water
1 envelope onion soup mix (I used 5 Tblsp. of my own homemade mix)
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules

Place the potatoes, vegetables and meatballs in a 5-quart slow cooker. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour this over the meatball mixture. Cover and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours.

Yield: 6 servings.

We found this stew delightful -- so much so that I now keep a can of beef gravy in my pantry at all times! (I already keep tomato soup on hand, as well as a jar of my homemade onion soup mix. And I keep a bag of meatballs in the freezer to use in Italian wedding soup, so the basic ingredients for this stew are always around.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bacon Cheeseburger Subs


These are for Rachel, who asked for the recipe. I found the recipe in the newest Taste of Home, but made quite a few changes, so I've written the recipe as I made it. They are delicious, but will be only an occasional treat for Mr. T and me!

Cheeseburger Meat Loaf Subs

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
* 1 cup quick-cooking oats
* 1/4 cup chopped onion
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1-1/4 pounds ground beef
* 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons ketchup
* 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
* 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* bacon bits to taste
* 8 sub rolls, split and toasted (I used multigrain ciabatta rolls, but they were a bit crunchy.)

In a large bowl, combine the egg, tomato sauce, oats, onion, salt and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Press evenly into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through; drain if necessary.

Combine mayonnaise and ketchup; spread over meat loaf. Cut into eight rectangles; top each with tomatoes, 1 tablespoon cheese and bacon bits to taste. Place on a baking sheet; broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Or, if you don’t have a broiler, bake these at 425º or so until the cheese melts. Serve on buns. Yield: 8 sandwiches.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Playing tourist!


This past Friday, Mr. T had some errands to do at a building supply store in a nearby town, and asked me if I’d like to go along. This lovely town is built around a gorgeous lake and is quite the tourist destination. He left work early and we got to the town around four. He dropped me off at one of my favorite consignment shops while he went to do his errands.

I found some neat things, including a hardcover Gooseberry Patch Christmas book, a More Make Your Own Groceries book, a Victoria decorating book, and more -- a Mitford Christmas mug, some unusual cookie cutters, and a really cute jumper for myself.

When his errands were done, Mr. T came back and picked me up, and we then moved the car to a public parking lot and went for a walk. Beside the lake there are charming paths with benches and picnic tables, so we sat on a bench for quite awhile in the shade of a tree, just enjoying the breeze off the lake and watching the boats. We felt quite like tourists, just soaking in the beauty of a late summer afternoon by the lake!

Then we window-shopped for a bit in a beautiful shop featuring Adirondack-style furniture. Finally we walked back to our car and headed home, stopping at a favorite summer take-out spot on the way home for supper. We were home by 7:30 -- and, although we’d only been gone for a few hours, we felt wonderfully refreshed!

Recent picnics by the river



My, how time flies. I have not yet found a moment to report on our past 2 picnics by the river en route to church. And it’s almost time for another one.

Wednesday before last (August 8) it had rained all morning, but then cleared up beautifully. We had a perfect evening for our picnic by the river. I made a new recipe called Cheeseburger Meat Loaf Hoagies, and they were delicious! I also brought along some multigrain chips and some baby carrots.

Last Wednesday (August 15) I wrote in my journal, “In the evening, we picnicked by the river in our usual favorite spot. I brought Pesto Chicken Pasta, wheat rolls, and green grapes. A yummy al fresco meal! It was cool, calm, and peaceful by the river... we always come away refreshed.”

I am thankful we decided to try and bring a picnic to the river on Wednesdays during summer and fall. It is only a half hour or so, but it’s such a nice respite from the phone and from the cares of every day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday for August 20


The Mondays just seem to be coming around faster and faster! The weeks are flying by and it’s been such a cool weekend up here in New England that it’s really beginning to feel like fall. Here’s my plan for this week:

MONDAY: Hot Ham & Potato Salad, Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes

TUESDAY: Tuna Melts, Pasta Salad, Baby Carrots

WEDNESDAY: Spiral Stromboli, Pasta Salad, Raw Vegetables

THURSDAY: Garlic LIme Chicken, Potato Salad, Asparagus Stir-fry Vegetables

FRIDAY: Southwestern Frittata, Hash Brown Casserole, Baby Carrots

SATURDAY: Garden Tuna Macaroni Salad, Wheat Rolls

SUNDAY: Barbecue Chicken in Crockpot, Potato Salad, Baby Carrots

Friday, August 17, 2007

This week's crafting efforts





This week’s Sew Crafty Friday is very much a “work in progress” day. Very little actual work got done. I did complete one dishcloth in the Fiesta Ombre color. I’ve started another in shades of green.


I also completed a crocheted snowflake, (#7 out of 12 which I want to make) but won’t post a picture of that until I get them all done.

I got a good bit done on the last flour sack dishtowel, but still have the lettering and a few flowers to do. I had to buy a disappearing fabric marker to draw the markings with, as this particular transfer came out so light it is nearly impossible to see it. I’ve been just trying to guess at where they are, but I purchased the marker last night and things are coming along better now.


And I’m hoping to complete a set of 4 fabric coasters to give as a hostess gift on Sunday, along with a (completed) dishcloth. It was really neat -- I had cut out most of the squares for the coasters, but I really needed a yellow/gold print to go along with the other colors. I was in Walmart last night doing grocery shopping, but knew I could not take time to have fabric cut. So I decided that if I really needed this color, the Lord would have it in the remnant bin all ready for me. And you see what was in that bin waiting for me!


If any of you would like to check out others’ crafty projects, head on over to Waiting for Him, Shereen’s blog, and get involved in Sew Crafty Fridays.

Sure am hoping for a more productive week next week!

Favorite Ingredients Friday for August 17


For Favorite Ingredients Friday today, I’d like to share one of my favorite frozen desserts. You can make these ahead, freeze solid, remove from the springform pan and wrap in foil to freeze until you need them. This ice cream cake recipe was devised by my friend Christine, and it is a super one. You can use any flavor of ice cream that’s compatible with chocolate. I have used raspberry sherbet, a combination of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cup, and of course plain vanilla, in different ice cream cakes over the years. Have fun with this recipe!

CHRISTINE’S ICE CREAM CAKE
3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
Hot fudge sauce (recipe follows) at room temperature
1/2 gallon ice cream, softened
8 ounces whipped topping

Press half of the cookie crumbs in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Drizzle with a third of the fudge sauce. Top with half of the ice cream. Layer on the remaining cookie crumbs, then another third of the fudge sauce. Top with the remaining ice cream, and drizzle on the remaining fudge sauce. Freeze solid.

Top with whipped topping (and I like to add some chocolate sprinkles at this point). Freeze until ready to serve.
Yield: 12 to 15 servings.

BEST HOT FUDGE SAUCE
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup baking cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cream, evaporated milk, or milk
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwave-safe dish -- I use a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cook for 2 minutes at High. Stir in baking cocoa, sugar, cream, and salt; heat 2 minutes more at High. Stir in vanilla. If necessary, heat another 30 to 60 seconds until no longer sugary.

This is the best hot fudge sauce I’ve ever tasted. It makes exactly the right amount for the ice cream cake recipe, but is great in sundaes or for other uses as well. I found this recipe in my favorite cooking newsletter, Cook & Tell.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday for August 16


Here's a recipe I've made a few times now. I originally found it in a bunch of slow cooker recipes people sent in to FlyLady. It's super easy and very tasty. I think you could probably thicken the liquid with cornstarch to make a nice sauce, but I haven't tried doing so.

MARMALADE PORK CHOPS

Pork chops (as many as you like)
1/2 jar to 1 jar (any size) orange marmalade
1 packet (or equivalent) onion soup mix*

As you place the chops in the crockpot, spoon some marmalade over each one and sprinkle some onion soup mix on each. Add some water (about half a jar or so) to the empty marmalade jar and shake it up well. Pour the water over the chops. Cover the crockpot and cook the chops on Low for 8 hours or High for 4-5 hours.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and a vegetable and/or salad. When making this on a Sunday, I like to serve it with the Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (I use the brown rice) which is ready in only 90 seconds!

* I make my own homemade onion soup mix. It works perfectly and is so much cheaper. Here’s the recipe:
ONION SOUP MIX

3/4 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. celery seed, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year. When a recipe calls for onion soup mix, use 5 Tablespoons mix for each envelope of onion soup called for. So many recipes seem to call for a package of onion soup mix, and this is far more economical.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An old favorite sandwich filling


On Monday, I remembered an old friend I hadn’t thought about in quite a few years -- an old recipe I used to use for sandwich filling. I had lots of eggs on hand, so I made up some of this filling to use for Mr. T’s sandwiches this week. I thought others might like to try this as well, if there are those who never have made this combination before.

Many years ago I tasted some sandwiches made by a friend -- they were a combination of egg salad and tuna. I had never tried this before, and the sandwiches were just delicious. For quite a few years thereafter, I made this sandwich filling quite often. I have also met up with at least one other family who uses chopped hard-boiled eggs in their tuna salad.

Tuna/Egg Salad Sandwiches

You need: Hard-cooked eggs
Tuna, drained and flaked
Mayonnaise to taste
Seasonings of your choice

I like to make this with about half-and-half proportions of tuna and eggs. For 3 or 4 eggs, I would use one can of tuna. I use water-packed tuna and prefer the solid white. For years I used “chunk light” tuna because it was cheaper, but the quality of that variety has really declined over the years. (I’m sure everyone has their own preferred method of hard-cooking eggs, but I’m going to share mine anyway. Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a full rolling boil. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let the eggs stand for 15 minutes. When the time’s up, drain off the hot water and replace it with cold. I usually add 1 ice cube per egg to cool them down nicely. Let stand until eggs are cold, then use them or refrigerate them.)

Slice the eggs into a bowl. (I use an egg slicer and slice them both ways.) Add the drained tuna. Use a pastry blender or other chopping utensil to chop the eggs and tuna until quite finely chopped. Add mayonnaise to your taste and whatever seasonings you like. I use salt & pepper, onion powder, lemon pepper and dill weed. I also add a dollop of yellow mustard -- I always use mustard in egg salad. Stir it all up, cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to make sandwiches.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Menu Plan Monday for August 13


Wow, how did it get to be Monday again? Not only that, but by midweek August will be half over! This summer has certainly flown by. Here’s my plan for this week:

MONDAY: Avocado Omelet, Breakfast Potatoes, Green Beans

TUESDAY: Stuffed Green Peppers, Southwestern Rice Bake, Coleslaw

WEDNESDAY: Parmesan Chicken Fingers, Sweet Potato Fries, Coleslaw

THURSDAY: Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus Stir-fry Vegetables

FRIDAY: Hot Ham & Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans

SATURDAY: Tuna Melts, Pasta Salad, Baby Carrots

SUNDAY: Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Breasts, Potato Salad, Baby Carrots

Saturday, August 11, 2007

That fabulous dishcloth pattern


Several people have asked about a link for the dishcloth pattern. I did post it last week, but will share it again here for those who missed it:

Crocheted Dishcloth

This is such a great pattern and I want to thank Dannielle again for sharing it with the blogosphere. Everyone who sees these dishcloths seems to want the pattern. It is so easy but produces such a gorgeous result. I will add that you may need to try different hook sizes to get the correct gauge. It took me 3 tries to produce a dishcloth from only 1 ball of yarn. I tried an H hook as the pattern specifies, but ran out of yarn. Then I went to a G hook and the same thing happened. An F size hook is perfect for me. But a friend of mine found she needed to use a G hook -- and obviously, H is what works for Dannielle. So keep that in mind. If -- as happened to me -- you run out of yarn before the dishcloth is finished, you can do as I did with the first two and make the edging in a solid color. Have fun!

Friday, August 10, 2007

This week's crafting efforts





This week hasn’t been the greatest for crafting accomplishments, but I’ve done a few things. First of all, here are 2 dishcloths -- one in the “Lemon-Lime” color and one in the “Orange Sherbet” color. I think they are very summery looking.


Then, here is one more dishcloth -- must admit I tossed the label on this one before I could note the name of the color. Pretty, anyway.



And lastly, since my previous attempt at turning an apple calendar towel into a table square turned out so well, I decided to try it with a blueberry calendar towel. Sort of cute.


If you'd like to have some help and encouragement in keeping up with your crafting efforts, stop in at Shereen's blog and take part in Sew Crafty Fridays.


In addition this week, I’ve done some preliminary work on a gift I’m going to sew, and also done some more on my cross stitch “Country Baking” sampler and worked some on the last flour sack dishtowel in this set. I’m hoping for a more productive week next week!

Favorite Ingredients Friday for August 10


It's the Salad Edition of Favorite Ingredients Friday! Here's my very favorite:

GREEK PASTA SALAD

2 cups cold cooked chicken in bite-size pieces
8 ounces rotini, cooked as package directs
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 large sweet red pepper, chopped
3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced
Small can sliced black olives, or as many whole black olives as you like
2 to 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Mustard-Tarragon Dressing (recipe follows) OR 1 cup Italian dressing

Mustard-Tarragon Dressing:
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, split (or use 1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic)
1 Tblsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp. pepper
Combine all in a jar and shake very well.

Combine dressing with salad ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. It should be served cold.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

This recipe is from Cook & Tell, my favorite cooking newsletter. This salad always goes over well whenever I serve it. If I want to make it as a side dish, I just leave out the chicken.


I often make a batch of the dressing to have on hand. It's a good marinade and also a quick dressing for any pasta or veggie salad.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday for August 9


My crockpot recipe today is from my friend Patty over at Patty's Pantry. This is a really delicious and different slow cooker recipe.

PATTY'S CHICKEN CHOP SUEY

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. minced crystallized ginger
1 C. sliced celery
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 onion, sliced
2 C. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 16 ounce can bean sprouts
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Cut chicken into strips 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Place in crock pot with salt, ginger, celery, water, chestnuts, onion, broth and soy sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Turn control to high. Add mushrooms and bean sprouts.
Cook 15 minutes more.

Sprinkle with slivered almonds when serving.

Serves 4-6

Monday, August 06, 2007

Garden Squash Ravioli


Here's a recipe I tried last week. We really liked it. I know many of you are interested in meatless main dish recipes, so here's one you might like to try. It's very quick and easy!

GARDEN SQUASH RAVIOLI

1 package (24 ounces) frozen miniature cheese ravioli
1 medium yellow summer squash (or 2 small ones), cut in half-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini (or 2 small ones), cut in half-inch chunks
2 cans (one 15-ounce, one 8-ounce) tomato sauce (or use 3 8-ounce ones)
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large saucepan, cook ravioli according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a 1.5-quart or a 2-quart microwave-safe dish (I used a 2-quart casserole) combine all of the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on High for 7 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Drain ravioli; top with sauce. We also topped ours with grated Romano cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

This recipe produces a very nice, full-flavored sauce for such a quick microwave method of cooking! I was thrilled to find a lowfat, whole-grain ravioli (I don’t think it is entirely whole grain, but certainly it contains some, and is a tad healthier than the regular kind) in the frozen food case.

Last Wednesday's Picnic by the River


I never did get around to blogging about last week’s picnic by the river, but we did have one! It was a blisteringly hot, humid day, but blessedly cool down by the river.

I tried a new recipe for an unusual, warm salad. Here’s the recipe, which I adapted somewhat from a Country Woman magazine

TACO PASTA SALAD

3 cups spiral pasta, cooked
1 lb. ground beef*
1 envelope taco seasoning**
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
2 to 3 Tblsp. milk
4 tsp. cider vinegar
4 tsp. sugar
1 Tblsp. ground mustard
Bagged salad mix or torn lettuce
Chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
Shredded cheddar (optional)
Crushed tortilla chips, regular or nacho flavored

While the pasta cooks, brown the beef in a large skillet over medium heat until well done; drain if necessary. Stir in the taco seasoning and heat through.

In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, sugar, and mustard. Drain the cooked pasta and add it along with the beef to the mayonnaise mixture. Toss to coat. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese if desired; toss to combine. Sprinkle with tortilla chips when serving.

Yield: 8 - 10 servings.

* I omitted the beef and used several cups of shredded pork in barbecue sauce, left over from crockpot ribs.

** I use my own homemade taco seasoning mix and will include the recipe here.

I omitted the cheese and we thought it was delicious without it. Also, because I was taking this to a picnic area, I just mixed the tomatoes in with the salad, not the lettuce. I took a bag of romaine salad along and we just put some on our plates and topped it with the salad mixture, then the crushed tortilla chips. We had baby carrots on the side too.

Here’s the taco seasoning mix:

TACO SEASONING MIX
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup chili powder
3 Tblsp. salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tblsp. dried minced garlic
1 Tblsp. cumin
1 Tblsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 1/2 tsp. oregano

Mix all together thoroughly and store in a tightly covered tin or jar. For each pound of browned ground beef, use 3 Tblsp mix and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes.

To use as an ingredient in a recipe, use 3 Tblsp. mix in place of an envelope of taco seasoning mix.
This works wonderfully and saves you a bundle of money!

As I mentioned, it was lovely and cool down by the river; a real oasis from the steamy heat back in the real world. Someone had made a line of rocks all across the river, a sort of little dam or breakwater. It added a picturesque note. We sat at a table under the trees and just took in the beautiful coolness while we ate. What a blessing!

Menu Plan Monday for August 6


Monday again! And a new month as well... This week doesn’t look too terribly busy so far, which is a great feeling.Today is drizzly and downright chilly... it’s only 58º as I write, but I’m not complaining. Here’s my plan for the week:

MONDAY: Hot Ham & Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Baby Carrots

TUESDAY: Avocado Omelet, Breakfast Potatoes, Green Beans

WEDNESDAY: Cheeseburger Meat Loaf Hoagies, Baked Multigrain Chips, Carrot & Celery Sticks

THURSDAY: Chinese Pepper Steak, Bow Tie Pasta, Bean Blend

FRIDAY: Pesto Chicken Salad, Tossed Salad, Ranch French Bread

SATURDAY: Tuna Melts, Pasta Salad, Raw Veggies

SUNDAY: Barbecue Chicken in Crockpot, Potato Salad, Baby Carrots

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fabulous Fruit Ices


Oh, my, are these ever delicious! I printed out this recipe from Alicia’s blog awhile ago, after Rachel raved about it. But I hadn’t had a chance to try it out until today. I don’t own a food processor, but figured a blender would work -- but mine had died and I hadn’t replaced it. I just didn’t care for the large look of today’s blenders -- too big of a “footprint” for my limited counter space. But Carrie noticed a cool retro-looking Osterizer on clearance in Walmart, and my hubby decided it was just the blender for us. And it’s red!

I did find, using a blender (and this is not a fancy one with lots of speeds) that the fruit needed to be cut in 1-inch chunks rather than slices, and that I could process about 1/4 of it at a time (with about 1/4 of the sugar syrup) for the best results. So if you use a blender rather than a food processor, keep that in mind.

You can find the recipe for fruit ices here -- , Fruit Ices-- and as you’ll see there are lots of options for the fruit you can use. I chose to use peaches, as I had some that were going bad and I also used a couple of nectarines which looked great on the outside but had gone all mushy on the inside. I know that Carrie tried the strawberry variation and thought it was wonderful, but I think the peach is just about unbeatable!