Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for June 30


A bright sunny Monday here in northern New England. Thunderstorms are in the forecast, though, as they were all weekend. As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Sausage Subs, Pasta Salad, Cherry Tomatoes

TUESDAY: Egg Bake, Hash Brown Casserole, Fruit Salad

WEDNESDAY: Pepperoni Pizza Chili, Cornbread

THURSDAY: Pork Chops, Scalloped Potatoes, Carrot Salad

FRIDAY: (We'll probably be at a 4th of July picnic, but in case it rains, we'll be at home eating this menu.) Denver Sandwiches, Breakfast Potatoes, Coleslaw

SATURDAY: Salmon Pie, Cucumber-Tomato Salad

SUNDAY: (church cookout instead of our usual first-Sunday potluck) -- I'm bringing potato salad and hamburger patties

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bitter waters made sweet


As I mentioned a while ago, I've begun the wonderful study of Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, by Elizabeth George. (I believe the book has now been retitled Powerful Promises for Every Woman, but the one I have is the older version. I don't see how the new one could be any better, though.) Anyhow, this week I'm in chapter 5, titled "God's Promise of Healing". This chapter presents the Lord as Jehovah-Rophe -- "the LORD who heals".

This morning I was directed to Exodus 15:22-26, where we read of what happened to God's people after crossing the Red Sea. Three days into their wilderness journey, they still had not found water. Then they came to Marah, where there was water, but it was bitter and undrinkable. The people murmured against Moses, who prayed and asked God what to do. Verse 25 tells us how God answered: "The LORD showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet."

And then God added some instruction for His people. He reminded them that He would bless them: "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD that healeth thee."

Elizabeth George writes, "What an object lesson this encounter with Jehovah-Rophe, the Lord who heals, must have been for the Israelites (and for us)! God's people were dying of thirst with only bitter, poisonous water on hand. And God took their physical need and turned it into a spiritual issue. Out of a bitter experience God revealed Himself in yet another sweet, comforting way, as 'Jehovah heals'."

Reading on to verse 27, we read what happened next. "And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters."

Over the past few months, I've been using my New Scofield Reference Bible for my devotional and Bible study time. This is a Bible I've had for many years, and it used to be my regular Bible. It's large, and is missing its front cover, so I stopped using it for church in favor of a smaller Bible. But one day I decided to take it out and use it for my devotions, and it's been great.

I was pleased to see a note from Dr. Scofield concerning these verses from Exodus 15. It was such a blessing to me, I want to share it with others. He wrote:
"Israel came to these bitter waters while walking in the very path of the LORD's leading, thus indicating that difficult experiences for God's people are educative rather than punitive. The tree which healed the waters should remind the Christian that the cross of Christ can take all the bitterness out of all such experiences. See verse 27 and observe that after trial which is accepted as the Father's will, blessing and growth will follow."

That encouraged me today! Yes, we sometimes bring trials upon ourselves as the natural result of sin or foolish choices. But most often we encounter trials "while walking in the very path of the Lord's leading" -- because trials are a part of life for all believers. And truly, remembering the cross and all that Jesus did for us there -- and the blessedness of our relationship to Him that resulted from that -- should make every bitter experience sweet. We know that He loves us and that He is in the trial with us. We know that He has promised to bring good out of even the bitterest waters we encounter. And, as C.I. Scofield pointed out, "blessing and growth will follow". I hope these thoughts are an encouragement to someone else today.

Homemade Laundry Soap



A few months back, a good friend whom I met through blogging sent me a recipe she uses for homemade laundry soap powder. She had found it on another blog and tweaked it a bit -- the original recipe called for soap flakes. She was unable to find soap flakes in her area, so she grated Fels Naptha soap to use instead. I've tweaked the recipe still more to use exactly 1 bar of Fels Naptha. It saves the step of measuring the grated soap. Here's the formula as I use it:

HOMEMADE LAUNDRY SOAP

1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated (I use a hand grater and grate the soap onto waxed paper)
1 and 1/2 cups washing soda
1 and 1/2 cups borax

Combine all ingredients in a large glass or metal bowl.

Place about 1/3 of the mixture in a blender and blend until it becomes a powder. You will see small particles of the Fels Naptha, but in general you want a fairly uniform, dissolvable powder.

Empty soap powder out of blender into a container (which has a cover) to keep in the laundry room. I use recycled quart yogurt containers to keep my soap powder in.

Repeat with remaining mixture.

(After making the soap powder, wash the grater, bowl, blender container, measuring cups and any other utensils well in hot soapy water. Rinse with boiling water. This is just what I do -- it's not a good idea to ingest borax, so I want to make sure I get every trace of it off my utensils. That's also why I use metal or glass utensils and not plastic -- it seems to me that plastic is capable of absorbing substances.)

Use 1/4 cup soap powder for each load of laundry. I like to run a little warm water into the machine first, then add the powder and make sure it's dissolved before adding the clothes and turning the water temperature to cold.

I have been very, very pleased with the effectiveness and the low cost of this laundry soap powder. I passed the recipe on to another friend and she has been thrilled with how well it works, so much so that she is passing it on to others. Perhaps some of my readers would like to try it, too.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for June 23


We're in the midst of a thunderstorm this Monday here in northern New England. As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Leftovers Buffet

TUESDAY: Vegetable Lasagna, Tossed Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

WEDNESDAY: Denver Sandwiches, Breakfast Potatoes, Coleslaw

THURSDAY: Auntie's Fish Casserole, Harvard Beets. Coleslaw

FRIDAY: Sausage Subs, Pasta Salad

SATURDAY: Salmon Pie, Cucumber-Tomato Salad

SUNDAY: Pepperjack Chicken, Rice, Green Beans

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for June 16


A dreary, overcast Monday here in northern New England. As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Egg Brunch Casserole, Breakfast Potatoes, Broccoli Salad

TUESDAY: Vegetable Lasagna, Tossed Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

WEDNESDAY: Summertime Tuna Rice Salad, Cornbread or Corn Muffins

THURSDAY: Meat Loaf, Potato Salad, Green Beans

FRIDAY: (guests for supper): Mandarin Chicken Salad, Cornbread or Corn Muffins, Scottish Lemon Meringue Ice

SATURDAY: Salmon Pie, Coleslaw, Country Carrots

SUNDAY: Rosemary Chicken with White Beans, Italian Bread

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mandarin Chicken Salad


Here's a recipe I made on Tuesday evening when it was so unbearably hot. This is a delicious main-dish salad. The recipe, originally from Country Woman, is too good not to share!


MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vinegar
1 Tblsp. vegetable oil
3 Tblsp. brown sugar
1 Tblsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules

1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tblsp. honey
2 Tblsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. minced parsley (optional)
2 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. dried minced onion

1 pkg. (10 oz.) ready-to-serve salad (or use 4 to 6 cups torn lettuce)
1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
Chow mein noodles
Thinly sliced green onion and sliced almonds for garnish (optional)

In skillet, combine first seven ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and liquid has almost evaporated.

For dressing, whisk together the next six ingredients until blended. (I simply combined some honey mustard with the other ingredients in place of the honey and ground mustard, but either way works fine.)

To serve, arrange greens on a platter or in a large salad bowl. Top with chicken mixture and oranges. Garnish with chow mein noodles and other optional garnishes. Serve with dressing.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, June 09, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for June 9


A warm humid Monday here in northern New England. I'm incorporating some main-dish salads into the menu plan -- and, as usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Crab Melt Loaf, Pasta Veggie Salad

TUESDAY: Summertime Tuna Rice Salad, Cornbread or Corn Muffins

WEDNESDAY: Salmon Dill Sandwiches, 3-Bean Salad

THURSDAY: Chicken Pineapple Lo Mein, Asparagus Stir-fry Vegetables

FRIDAY: (guests for supper): Mandarin Chicken Salad, Cornbread or Corn Muffins, Scottish Lemon Meringue Ice

SATURDAY: Cheese Ravioli with Veggies, Tossed Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

SUNDAY: Rosemary Chicken with White Beans, Italian Bread

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Our Shepherd's Provision


I've begun the wonderful study of Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, by Elizabeth George. What a blessing! Over the past couple of days I have been looking at God as Jehovah-Jireh --"The LORD will provide". One thing that was shared was the wonderful provision of God as seen in Psalm 23. Because the Lord is our Shepherd, we will not want for anything.

Dr. H.A. Ironside wrote that we will not want for:

* rest, for He maketh me to lie down.
* refreshment, for He leadeth me beside the still waters.
* restoration, for He restoreth my soul.
* guidance, for He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
* confidence, for I will fear no evil
* companionship, for Thou art with me.
* comfort, for Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
* provision, for Thou preparest a table.
* joy, for my cup runneth over.
* anything in this life, for goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
* anything in eternity, for I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The last question in the chapter concerning our Shepherd's provision was a very thought-provoking one. The author asked, "Can you think of any seemingly impossible situation you're now experiencing? How does the thought of Jehovah-Jireh -- "The LORD will provide" -- encourage you?"

The truth is that I can think of a situation like that. And maybe you can, too. I thought through the provision for the different needs mentioned by Dr. Ironside above, and applied them to the situation. Here is what I found:

*rest -- Even in the midst of an impossible situation, our Shepherd promises to give us rest, and, because of Him, we can sleep very well.
* refreshment -- Even in a difficult situation, God refreshes us through time spent in His Word and through fellowship with His people.
* restoration -- In trials, we may see our Shepherd beginning to restore painfully injured sheep. We can trust Him for restoration in many other areas, as well.
* guidance -- How encouraging it is that God will provide guidance even in impossible situations. We have no wisdom of our own, and can safely trust Him to guide us through the labyrinth of life.
* confidence -- How good that because of our Shepherd, we need fear no evil. Evil is often abroad in an impossible-looking situation, but we need not fear.
* companionship -- God is with us in our trials! He will never leave us or forsake us! He walks with us in the midst of the fire.
* comfort -- What a blessing that God will provide comfort in the midst of trials. How marvelous that our Shepherd is also the God of all comfort!
* provision -- Our trials may involve needs in different areas -- finances, energy, wisdom, strength, patience, to name just a few -- but our Shepherd will faithfully provide every one.
* joy -- We may have joy in our trials as we watch God work in them. But even though our trials may not look or feel joyful, we can count them as joy -- just because God says so. And He promises that His joy will be our strength!

We can know that God will provide all that we need, all the days of our lives, even in impossible-looking situations, because of His goodness and mercy. And He has provided a home for His children in heaven; we will dwell with Him forever!

What a blessing to see the provision of Jehovah-Jireh! I trust that these thoughts have encouraged someone else today as they have me.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for June 1


Another Monday -- partly sunny, partly cloudy. As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: (leftovers) White Chicken Chili, Assorted Breads

TUESDAY: Greek Spinach Pie, 3-Bean Salad

WEDNESDAY: Open-Faced Tuna Loaf, Pasta Salad

THURSDAY: Fish Fillets with Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes, Carrot Salad

FRIDAY: Egg Casserole, Breakfast Potatoes, Fruit Salad

SATURDAY: get-together with friends; I'll be bringing a salad, but am undecided as to what salad I'll bring. Probably a baked potato salad recipe which I like a lot and haven't made for awhile.

SUNDAY: Rosemary Chicken with White Beans, Italian Bread

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.