Thursday, December 11, 2014

He Provides

Jehovah Jireh - The Lord will Provide

I am not looking at my tree today - but I will be again tonight.
I have been on a business trip with hubby.
Back to Raleigh.
I worked on Christmas cards primarily.
I meant to be working on hubby's next book, but I brought the wrong thumb drive:(

But as I think of the Savior we celebrate this season,
I am thankful for Jehovah - Jireh.
God provides.
He has never let us down.
We have never lacked for the necessities of life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter Welcome

The yard and gardens are cleaned.
Garden beds are covered with mulched leaves.
Annuals have been pulled.
Perenniels have been trimmed back.

There is a relief in having a few months off,
but there is an emptiness in the entry to our home.

Pinterest to the rescue.

Enter Mason Jar Lanterns.

My shepherd's hook stood very empty.
There were solar light options,
but mason jars were free
and votives cheap.

We used mason jars (actually most are almond butter jars),
a good length of thick jewelry wire,
some decorative sand and epson salt,
votive candles.

Very cute change.
We light them and enjoy the warm glow as we share a warm drink on the porch on our date nights.

And if we know that you are coming over on a winter evening,
we will light them as a winter welcome for you.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Prince of Peace

I showed you my quaint paint stick ornaments on Tuesday.
As I look at my tree, I remember Jesus.
I am thankful for my Savior.

This morning I was thinking on His title of "Prince of Peace."
I am thankful that in the rush of life,
in the hustle and bustle,
in the struggles and conflicts,
in the busy days,
I can rely on one who is Peace - and not only that - He is the ruler of Peace.

I am thankful that through Him I can have that peace.

I am thankful for the rest that He gives.

I am thankful for the burdens that He carries.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Three Months

Today was the day.
The last mow of the season.

The garden is completely covered with mulched leaves.
Extra leaves are piled beneath the trees.
The mower has been run dry.

I bid mowing farewell until March.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Better Fit

For the best 2-3 years hubby and I have skipped putting up a tree.
We love real trees,
but they are costly and they take up a lot of space in a small trailer.

Last year, we found the perfect artificial tree. 
It was slim,
it had lots of space in between the branches for ornaments.
We went to the store after Christmas hoping for 50-70% off.
As we walked in the store,
the floor model was walking out :(

When the 40% off coupon came in September,
hubby insisted that I order "our" tree.

Our little tree is usually in our pine themed bedroom - 
Decorated with hearts and love notes.
I love the twinkly lights all year round.

I moved it into the Living Room yesterday.
Still decorated with red hearts (a gift from my great grandma more than 35 years ago) - 
decorated with glittered pine cones - 
decorated with the names of Jesus.

The ornaments are made from 5 gallon paint sticks (we got 28 ornaments from 7 sticks).
Check out the tutorial here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Salad

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.
We enjoyed a nice day with our church family
and a restful weekend since hubby had Friday off.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful.
I love sharing the cooking with the other ladies in the church.
We enjoyed feeding 6 college students along with our own families.

Below you will find my recipe experiment of Thanksgiving Day.
It was my tribute to healthy living (though most of our meal was very sensible).
This is a beautiful and tasty salad.  
I am going to buy some cranberries to make this again in December.

Cranberry Waldorf Salad

1 can full-fat coconut milk

12 ounces fresh cranberries
16 dried apricots
1 pound seedless grapes, cut in half
2 medium apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
**This requires a bit of forethought: place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator, ideally overnight, but 3-4 hours will do. Also, this salad works best if you do the prep, let it sit overnight, then assemble shortly before eating. Trust me; it will be worth it!
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put your mixing bowl and beater in the freezer.
2. Wash the cranberries and set a few aside for garnish. Place the rest in the bowl of a food processor with the dried apricots and grind them until the mixture has the consistency of relish. (It’s OK! Go ahead… sneak a little bite. It’s tangy and delicious!)
3. In a large bowl, toss the cranberry-apricot relish with the cut apples and grapes. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator so they can get to know each other. Forget about them until the next day.
4. Meanwhile, spread the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 5-7 minutes until golden. Keep an eye on them; they can burn quickly. When they’re cool, chop the pecans and set aside – be sure to save a few unchopped for garnish. Resist the urge to eat them immediately. If you’re feeling lazy, you can use untoasted pecans; it will be fine.
1. When you’re ready to assemble the salad, take your can of coconut milk out of the fridge — don’t shake it — and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes, then…
2. It’s time to make the whipped cream! Remove the mixing bowl and beater from the freezer. Carefully open the can of coconut milk without shaking it, and scoop the thick, coconut cream into the chilled mixing bowl (toss the liquid that’s left over). Add the vanilla extract and beat the mixture on the highest speed of your mixer until it looks like whipped cream. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
3. When the cream is done, place the chopped pecans and fruit relish in a large bowl. Gently fold in the whipped cream and garnish with whole cranberries and nuts.

This weeks menu:
Sunday: Last of the Leftovers
Monday: Pork chops
Tuesday: Italian Sausage
Wednesday: Tilapia
Thursday:  Fajitas
Friday: Chicken Breasts
Saturday:  Taco Salad

Thursday, November 27, 2014

We are Blessed

I am thankful for the workout I had early this morning.
I am thankful for my husband who keeps me on track in this area.
I am thankful for his faithfulness, discipline, and love.

I am thankful for the food that I will enjoy today.
I am thankful for the friends who are much like family that I will share the day with.

I am thankful for my family  - truly a blessing.
I am thankful for their prayers and encouragement even from afar.
I am thankful for the absence of major tension and antagonism.

I am thankful for the infirmities and weaknesses that remind me 
that I am not in control - I need God!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cooking Day

Plenty to do today.
We share Thanksgiving with much of our church family.
Much of our membership is far from immediate family and we enjoy the day together.

The squash is done,
NY sweet corn is out of the freezer (thanks mom and dad),
the apple pie is in the oven.

Still to do ...
pumpkin pie,
prep turkey,
prep dressing,

Tonight - a special Praise, Song, and Psalm Service!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pumpkin Search

The Christmas decorations are already up in our area ...
which means ...
the pumpkins are being disposed of.

I don't know how many Shelby, NC natives read this,
but ...
if you have a decorative pumpkin and you don't use if for pie or bread or smoothies ...
drop me a note - I'll take it off your hands.

I have found a few that I will be collecting after Thanksgiving.

The next plan is to freeze baked sweet potatoes to add to hubby's workout smoothie.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keepin' It Simple

Trying to keep the cooking easy this week.
Have to keep the fridge cleaned out for the big cook days Wednesday and Friday.

I did entertain on Sunday.
I guess it was hardly entertaining - 
we had the college students over - 
we count them as family more than guests.

In fact, while I accompanied some of the students preparing for a church special,
some of the others did the dishes.
Easy, huh?

I resurrect this recipe - it is always a hit, so easy, prep ahead ...
I like to throw the cranberry jello in for the holidays or leave it straight raspberry in the summer.

Raspberry Jello Salad

2 - 3 oz pkg jello (I like to use 1 raspberry and 1 cranberry)
1 1/2 c boiling water
1 c applesauce
1 pkg frozen raspberries

Dissolve jello in boiling water.
Add applesauce and frozen raspberries.
Cool/Pour into mold or bowl.

For 3 pkg of jello - add addition 1 c boiling water and 1 c apple sauce.

This weeks menu:
Sunday:  Grilled Chicken using McCormicks Sundried Tomato Basil marinade
Monday: Lemon-Garlic Tilapia
Tuesday: Broiled Porkchop
Wednesday: Chicken Sausage-Mushroom Cauliflower Risotto
Thursday: Guess?
Friday: Leftovers or Orange-Chipotle Chicken
Saturday: Sloppy Joes