Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekly goals for week beginning 4/30/2012

(Photo by Photos Public Domain)
We were away part of last week and I never did get around to setting official goals for the rest of the week, though I did have some crafting goals to accomplish.  For the most part, they did get done.  Now we are coming into May, and this week's goals are a bit different, just trying to finish a few things and keep up with others.  Here is my plan:

*  Finish Sunday School lesson 8 and hopefully get a start on lesson 9.
*  Finish proofreading this year's summer devotional book so it can go to the printer as soon as the cover is ready.
*  Try and keep up a decent water intake.
*  Try and get to bed at a decent hour every night.
*  Limit sugar.
*  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for the living room and front entry/dining room/porch.  (I should have done the living room one today, but ran out of time.)
*  Exercise 4 to 5 times.

Guess those are the major goals I hope to accomplish this week.  We'll see  how it goes!

Felt food frenzy

 With the birthdays of two young grandchildren just past, I can now share some photos of the most recent play food I've made.  Yes, I promised to write about our getaway, and I have many recipes to blog about, not to mention setting some goals for this week.  But today is busy with housework, proofreading, and a dentist appointment, so I am simply going to show the felt food photos with only a little description.  Maybe later I can edit the post and add links to the patterns I used. 
Pop-Tarts®

Another look
Crocheted Oreos®

In their packaging
Tomatoes

In their packaging


Chocolate cream pie

Lemon pie


Pumpkin pie

And again

All three varieties
I packaged them in a pie box.
Hope you have enjoyed these additions to the felt food pantry.  I surely did enjoy creating them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back from vacation!

Hopefully in the next few days I can post more pictures and details about our recent getaway to one of our favorite lakes up north.  In the meantime, since we just got back yesterday afternoon, I have lots of other responsibilities to take care of (not the least of which is unpacking and doing laundry) so it may take me a few days to post about our trip.  Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of loons which we took from our cabin window.  We had hoped the loons would be back, and they were, so that was a special treat to make our getaway even nicer.  Sorry that the photo looks a bit washed out.  We didn't have much sun.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly goals for week of 4/15/2012

Late again reporting on last week's goals and posting this week's!  I didn't do too well on the goals themselves, either.

1.  Memorize 2 Peter 1:1-2.  Nope.  I am terribly fickle.  Came across another verse I wanted to learn right then and so memorized 1 Corinthians 15:58 instead.
2.  Started a chapter in Essential Virtues but didn't finish it. 
3.  Exercised 5-6 times, so DONE!
4.  Planned & cooked healthy meals, so DONE!
5.  Didn't keep up with Kelly's Missions at all.
6.  Did pretty much keep up with crafting goals, so DONE!
7.  Worked ahead on Sunday School lesson 8 --DONE!
8.  Stepped up water intake somewhat, but not enough.

So, for this week -- which may be impacted by a short vacation we're taking -- my goals are:

1.  Memorize 2 Peter 1:1-2.
2.  Finish chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise  5-6 times.
4.  Plan and prepare healthy meals, even for vacation.
5.  Keep up with Kelly's missions for zone 3, the bathroom.
6.  Finish Sunday School lesson 8, if possible.
7.  Keep up with crafting goals.
8.  Step up water intake.

We'll see how it goes!

A sweet little poem

Card from my personal collection of antique cards
Recently, while sorting through some file folders, I came upon this poem, which I or one of my daughters (I can't remember, as it was so long ago) had typed out after finding it in an old book.  I love this poem, although it is a bit different in style;  I like the picture it portrays.  Notice too (or maybe this is only my imagination) that the poem sort of forms the shape of a cottage.

SONGS OF A GIRL
X1X

Within the little house
Of my great love for you,
This safe and happy house,
I sit and sing, while all the world goes by,

Within the house that is my love for you
No harm can come, nor any thought of fear;
There is no danger that can cross the threshold.

You did not build this house
Nor I; 
But God the Carpenter ---

-- Mary Carolyn Davies

Unusual, but I have always liked this since finding it years ago in a a very old literature textbook.  Of course we realize that true security is found only in God and His love, but human love is a gift from Him as well.  I think the poem is acknowledging that fact in the last few lines.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few weeks ago, I tried this great recipe from the King Arthur website:  Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  It was an easy recipe and the cookies turned out delicious.  Thankfully, I still have some in a tin in the freezer.  I'm trying different gluten free cookie recipes from time to time and am keeping them in the freezer to bring out as needed.  This chocolate chip cookie recipe is definitely one of the "keepers"!

In other news, we are having incredibly hot weather up here this week.  Temps are in the upper 80s today and really not too pleasant.  At least there are no black flies yet ... though I suppose they will come out if the heat continues.  I'm not complaining; this is the weather God is giving us this week!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ham and Cheese Ziti

(Photo by Taste of Home)
I was looking for a good and different recipe to use up some of the leftover Easter ham, and after searching through a few cookbooks I turned to my 2012 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes, one of several books I've receive for free since having recipes published.  Love deals like that!

I found this recipe for Ham & Cheese Ziti and decided to give it a try.  I love spinach with pasta, and I had everything on hand the recipe called for, except the white cheddar.  I had plenty of yellow shredded cheddar so that wasn't a problem.  Most importantly, I could see that the recipe could be easily adapted to use gluten-free ingredients I had on hand.  I used gluten-free all-purpose flour in the sauce, and used corn rigatoni instead of the ziti.  (I am still not really crazy about gluten-free pasta, but it is much, much better than not eating pasta at all.)

The casserole was easy to make and  turned out to be absolutely delicious.  This will be one of my go-to recipes for leftover ham from now on.  I served it with a medley of garden green and wax beans from the freezer.  I think this recipe might also be very good using tuna instead of ham.

Do you still have some leftover Easter ham? Your family might enjoy this dish, too!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coffeecake recipes (Easter breakfast, part 2)


I had also signed up to bring some sort of baked goods for the Easter breakfast which followed our outdoor sunrise service.  I've brought many sorts of baked goods over the years, from doughnuts to cheese Danish, but this year I wanted to bring coffeecake because it is less labor intensive.  And I wanted to bring 2 kinds of coffeecake -- one gluten free and one not -- so that I could enjoy some of it too.  For the regular recipe, I tried a variation on a crescent roll Danish square recipe I've made in the past.  Here it is:
(Photo from grouprecipes.com)
CINNAMON CREAM DREAM
2 8-ounce pkg. crescent rolls*
2 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel)
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.  (I used baking spray.)  Preheat oven to 375ΒΊ.  Open 1 package of crescent rolls and press the dough into the prepared pan, pressing seams together.

Blend the cream cheese and sugar together well; I used an electric hand mixer. Spread this mixture over the dough in the pan.  Open the second package of crescent rolls and cover the cheese mixture with the dough, pinching seams and edges.

Spread all the butter over the top of the dough, as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cut in squares to serve.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

*  My hubby picked up the crescent rolls for this recipe.  He got a store brand -- as I asked -- but mistakenly chose a variety called "Big'n'Buttery" or something like that.  There are only 6 rolls to a package (rather than the usual 8) and the package weighed more.  Think it might have been 12 ounces or more.  I decided that in this recipe it probably would be an asset rather than a problem, so this is the variety of crescent rolls I used.  I did bake it for at least 30 minutes, maybe more, since it was thicker than the ordinary crescent rolls.  I didn't taste these, but those who have say they turned out delicious.

I found the recipe in the April 2010 issue of Cook & Tell and the photo at grouprecipes.com.

Now, for the gluten-free coffeecake.  It took awhile to find a good recipe because many called for a gluten-free baking mix or cake mix, which I did not have on hand.  But then I found this one:  Gluten Free Cinnamon Swirl Coffeecake and oh my, I am glad I did.
(Photo from Gluten Free Easily)
I followed the advice to  test carefully with a toothpick for doneness; this is important here especially because when sliced, the center of the coffeecake doesn't look completely done.  But it is done if it has passed the toothpick test, and it is delicious.  This makes 2 loaf pans of coffeecake, most of which I have left for myself (it's in the freezer) because most people ignored the gluten-free offering.  My hubby, however, finds it absolutely habit-forming and thinks it is  one of the best gluten-free recipes I have tried so far.   This entire site -- Gluten Free Easily -- is new to me but I am very impressed with what I've seen so far.  If all of the recipes are as good as this one, I'll be returning to this site again and again.

Maybe your family would like to try one or both of these coffeecake recipes.  See what you think!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekly goals for week of 4/8/2012

(Photo by Photos Public Domain)
Here are my goals for the current week:

1. Memorize 2 Peter 1:1-2.
2.  Read next chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise 4 to 5 times.
4. Plan & cook healthy meals.
5.  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for zone 2, the  kitchen.
6.  Keep up with crafting goals for birthday gifts.
7.  Continue working ahead on Sunday School lesson 8.
8.  Step up water intake.

And here's how things went last week.

1.  Didn't spend enough time working on my memory verses and reached the conclusion I need to break this down into smaller goals.
2.  Managed to read a chapter in Essential Virtues, so DONE!
3.  Only exercised 3 times.
4.  Planned and cooked healthy meals, so DONE!
5.  Kept up with a few of Kelly's missions for zone 1, but not all.
6.  Kept up pretty well with crafting goals; didn't accomplish all I wanted to, but know that was pretty much impossible, so I'm calling this DONE.
7.  Worked ahead on Sunday School lesson 8 so I can call this DONE, although I'm still working on it.
8.  Although I didn't drink all of the water I wanted to, I did accomplish the goal of stepping up water intake, so am calling this DONE.

Am hoping for 8 out of 8 this week, but we'll see!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Recipes from Easter breakfast, part 1

I thought I would share the two main-dish sort of recipes which I made to take to church for our Easter breakfast following the outdoor sunrise service.  One is tried and true; the other is new for me this year but a definite keeper.  I signed up to bring an egg casserole and hash browns.  Baked goods too, but I'll post about those tomorrow.

(Photo by Taste of Home)
For hash browns, I brought my usual recipe:  Hash Brown Casserole.  Instead of cream of chicken soup, I use my own cream soup substitute*.  Since I'm not eating wheat now, I substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour for the flour in this recipe and it works perfectly.
(Photo by Skip to My Lou.)
For the egg dish, I tried the gorgeous egg casserole pictured above.  Here is the link:  California Egg Casserole.  I needed to find a recipe without bread, crackers, croutons, etc. in it (so that I could eat it myself), but I didn't even have to hunt for this one.  It came right into my email inbox in an email from Skip to My Lou.  I really had no idea how the avocados would behave as I was planning to prepare the casserole (without baking it) the night before, refrigerate it,  and bake it in the morning so it was ready just as we went out the door.  I was somewhat concerned that the avocados might discolor, but I pushed them down into the egg mixture as much as I could, covered the top of the casserole with bacon bits (just in case) and hoped for the best.  I was so pleasantly surprised.  The avocados stayed nice and green.  I plunked the casserole on a warming tray when we got to church and so it was just right when we were ready to eat.  As I said, this is going to be a keeper recipe for me.  Simply wonderful!

(I should add here that I did not use all of the cheese this recipe calls for. I used a total of perhaps 1-1/2 cups, and I used cheddar.  For cream cheese, I used the lower fat Neufchatel.)

Now I want to quickly share the recipe for the cream soup substitute.  It's here in the archives, but just in case anyone would like it and can't take time to search, here it is again:

* CREAM SOUP SUBSTITUTES

Do you hate buying canned soups for use in recipes? This recipe makes a perfect substitute for 1 can of soup.

3 Tblsp. margarine
3 Tblsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk or other liquid (as specified in variations)

Melt the margarine in heavy saucepan; blend in flour and salt and cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and gradually stir or whisk in liquid. Return to heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened.

VARIATIONS:
Cream of chicken: Use 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. chicken broth as the liquid. Add 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage.
Cream of celery: Saute´ 1/2 c. chopped celery and 1 T. finely chopped onion in the margarine before adding flour. Use milk for liquid.
Cream of mushroom: Saute´1/4 c. finely chopped mushrooms and 1 T. finely chopped onion in margarine before adding flour. Use milk for liquid.
Tomato: Use tomato juice as liquid. Add a dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
Cream of shrimp: Drain the liquid from a small can of tiny shrimp into a measuring cup. Fill cup with milk to measure 1 cup of liquid. Add a dash of pepper, onion salt, curry powder, and paprika to the finished sauce, and stir in the shrimp.

This recipe came from the More-With-Less Cookbook.  The shrimp variation is mine.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A blessed Easter to all!


I hope that all of my readers are having a blessed Easter and a wonderful time of remembering the death and resurrection of our Savior.  Mr. T and I started the day with a meaningful sunrise service and a yummy breakfast with our church family.  Following Sunday School and our morning worship service, we took an Easter dinner (recipes to follow later) to my dad's and enjoyed that with him.  (He had been to church with us as well.)  Then we went to yet another church service, at our daughter and son-in-law's church, and enjoyed that too!  Now we're home and are beginning the task of cleaning up the kitchen and then relaxing ... maybe fitting in a nice walk as well.  Hope that all of you are  having as good a day as we are!

Friday, April 06, 2012

"Let this mind be in you...


.. which was also in Christ Jesus."

Today is Good Friday, and for Christians a most meaningful day.  As we think upon Christ's sacrifice for us, we can't help but think about how we are to live once we have accepted His unspeakable gift of salvation.  An old gospel chorus asks, "How can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely, after all He's done for me?"

Part of living for Him completely involves letting "this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).  Some months ago, our church bulletin contained a list of ways we can do this.  I thought that this might be a thought-provoking post to share.  The mind of Christ is a mind that is ...

HUMBLE 
 "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
"But made Himself  of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  (Philippians 2:6-8)

MEEK
"All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
"Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee ... meek, and sitting upon ... a colt."  (Matthew 21:4-5)

SELFLESS
"Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God and our Father" (Galatians 1:4)

OBEDIENT
"He ... became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  (Philippians 2:8)

LOVING
"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:38-39)

RESOLVED 
"And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt."  (Mark 14:36)

COMPASSIONATE
"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them. because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."  (Matthew 9:36)

ENDURING 
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."  (Hebrews 12:2)

CARING
"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."  (John 10:11)

These are just a few of the characteristics of the mind of Christ.  For each of those I've listed, many more Scripture references could be found.  

Guy King, in the book Joy Way (published in 1954) well described the mind of Christ as: 1) The selfless mind; 2) The sacrificial mind; 3) The serving mind.  The Lord Jesus consistently thought of others.

How are we doing today? Are we letting His mind be in us?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Weekly goals for week of 4/1/2012

(Photo by Photos Public Domain)
 Late again with posting these!  Not sure why it seems to take me so long each week, but oh well.  I'll keep trying and maybe eventually I will get them posted on a Monday.  Anyway, here are my major goals for the week:

1.  Work on reviewing/memorizing 2 Peter 1:1-11.  (I have memorized part of this passage in years past.)
2.  Read next chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise 4 to 6 times.
4.  Plan and prepare healthy meals.
5.  Keep up with Kelly's missions for Zone 1 -- the front porch, entry, dining area.
6.  Keep up with crafting goals -- for gift-giving, this week.
7.  Work ahead on Sunday School lesson 8.
8.  Step up water intake.

And here's how last week went:

1.  Finally did memorize those verses in Psalm 85*, so DONE!
2.  Didn't get a chapter read in Essential Virtues, though I did attend a conference where its author, Dr. Jim Berg, was the keynote speaker and spoke on this particular topic.  The subtitle of Essential Virtues is Marks of the Christ-Centered Life.
3.  Managed to exercise only 4 times -- still, way better than nothing.
4.  Planned and cooked healthy meals, so DONE.
5.  Did not keep up with Kelly's Missions for zone 4.
6.  Kept up with crafting goals fairly well, so I can call this DONE, I guess, though it's ongoing.
7.  Worked ahead on Sunday School lesson 8, so can call this DONE, though I'm still working on it.
8.  Didn't do well at all at stepping up water intake.

*  I've reached the decision not to continue on with the Scripture memory program I've been trying to keep up with.  I've found a lamentable tendency to not work on the assigned verses, so I think, for this year anyway, it'll be better to concentrate instead on verses that are meaningful to me personally or have a bearing on something I'm learning or trying to change in my life.

So there you have it!  We'll see how it goes this week.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Easiest peanut butter cookies!

(Photo by Taste of Home)
Yesterday I had three of my grandchildren here for the afternoon and wanted to bake with them.  This is a recipe I'd been wanting to try:  Peanut Butter Treats.  Since it contains no flour, this recipe fits right in with my avoidance of wheat.  Other than the milk chocolate kisses or stars, these cookies contain only 3 ingredients:  peanut butter, sugar, and eggs.  I have seen similar recipes before but just never dared to try them.  Then a friend brought some flourless peanut butter cookies to a church potluck and I found out that such recipes really did work.  So I decided that this one would be perfect to bake with the kids.

The cookies came out great and no one could believe they did not contain flour or leavening.  The only thing I changed was with the method of adding the chocolate kiss after the cookies were baked.  The recipe says to remove the cookies to racks, cool slightly and press the candy in the center of each.  These cookies are really quite fragile, especially while hot, and I found them breaking as they were transferred or cracking as the candy was pressed lightly in place.  So on the last tray full, I finally got smarter.  I put the chocolate kiss in place right after the cookies came out of the oven.  I found that I could press the candy down quite firmly without a problem.  Then I let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.  This worked like a charm.

I think the cookies could also be made just like regular peanut butter cookies, omitting the candy and pressing the dough balls flat with a fork or potato masher.  They really are delicious and I'm sure I will be making them again.  Maybe your family would like to try this easy recipe, too!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Quinoa with Roasted Veggies & Feta Cheese

(Photo by Taste of Home)
Here is a recipe I tried this past Friday night for supper:  Quinoa with Roasted Veggies & Feta.  We liked this a lot!

Neither of us had tasted quinoa before, although I had purchased a bag of it some time ago.  We found it delicious and it certainly is nutritionally impressive as well. 

I didn't have red peppers on hand, but substituted chopped mini peppers since I had a bag of red/yellow/orange ones in the fridge.  I don't think it could have been any better with just the red ones.  It was very flavorful.  I also left out the corn.  I was going to be roasting the veggies while we were out for a walk, and didn't want to have to think about adding the corn halfway through.  I used some extra chopped yellow peppers to compensate for the color the corn would have added.

The recipe suggested serving this dish with lemon wedges.  I wasn't going to bother, but we had lemons on hand so we did squeeze some onto the dish.  It added a really nice flavor note, and I will plan to serve the lemon wedges with it every time. 

Perhaps your family would enjoy this delicious main dish as much as we did!