Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cool Kitchen Recipe - Corn on the Cob

Wow!  It's been awhile since I've updated my blog!  Yikes!  Lots has been going on at our house, including a spur-of-the-moment adventure to Alaska!  That was back in March-April.

So, on to the recipe.  Actually, it's not much of a recipe, but more of a new-to-us cooking method.  For Christmas this past year, I bought myself an oven roaster.  I thought it would come in handy for feeding a large group of people (not that I do it often!).  But I really bought it because I thought it would work great for cooking on the back porch in the summer.  We don't have air conditioning, and it gets rather toasty in the house.  When it does, I certainly don't want to add to the heat and humidity by boiling a canner full of water to make corn on the cob.  Sometimes we will grill it, but often we want corn on the cob with a sandwich or something "light."

I tried my first batch of corn on the cob in the oven roaster a couple days ago, and it turned out great!  Here's what I did:

I put 3-4 cups of water in my roaster, put the rack in it, and preheated it to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  While it preheated, the kids peeled the corn.  When it was warm, I put the corn on the rack and put the lid back on.  I left it in there for about 25 minutes.

It was delicious, and my kitchen didn't overheat!!!

To serve a crowd, decrease the heat to 200 or so.  That will keep the corn warm without overcooking it.

Monday, March 12, 2012


A few months back I heard about a company that purchases large quantities of food, trucks that food to pre-determined areas, and sells it.  I also heard that they were coming to my neck of the woods. 

So, I plunked down (via the internet) my $67 for forty pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  This is "natural" chicken-- no additives, hormones, or artificial ingredients.

On pick up day my sister and I drove to the designated location with our receipts in hand.  We pulled up to the semi that was waiting, told him what we had purchased.  He checked our names off his list, and loaded up two big boxes (80 pounds!) of chicken into our trunk for us.  We drove away, and that was that.

My sister dropped me off at home, and the challenge began.  What to do with 40 pounds of chicken!  )(Hands down, these were the largest chicken breasts I've ever seen.  Very little fat.  Nice, plump, and juicy.)

I froze some of it for skinney-dippin' chicken.

I made some of it into chicken strips.

I cooked some of it and froze it in casserole form.

We ate some of it.  (Yummy!)

But I ended up dicing most of it and canning it in pint jars.

Someone's sick and needs some of Mom's chicken noodle soup... open a jar.

Want to add some chicken to that casserole... open a jar.

Want to make a quick stir-fry... open a jar.

Want to make chicken salad sandwiches... open a jar.

You get the idea.  It's been absolutely wonderful to have jars of good, already-cooked chicken breast on hand.  That's why, when I heard that Zaycon Foods was coming back to our area, I purchased another 40 pound box of chicken.  Yes, it takes awhile to cut it up and get it in the canner, but it's "oh-so-worth-it!"  In addition to the chicken we ate, I ended up with over forty pints of diced, cooked chicken!  Yummy!

If you've never heard of Zaycon Foods, check them out.  They also sell ground beef, bacon, turkey, pork, fish, and fruit.  (It all depends on what they can get inexpensively to pass along to their customers.)

And no, I'm not getting any kick-back for writing a review of this company.  It's just that I've been so pleased with my purchases from them that I wanted to share them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Ahhh...  Sewing class has started again!  I have missed the challenge of trying to sew a straight line.  And, oh, how one would think that curved lines would be a breeze.  Not sew!  ~grin~

Since Alicia was still suffering from pink eye yesterday, Justin joined me for sewing class.  That was okay because the project for the day was a bit more suited to him.  We made snowballs!  (This was especially fitting since we have had very little snow this year.)

Our instructor had cut out circles of cheesecloth-- two layers thick.  They were about 6-7 inches in diameter.  We learned a new basting stitch that we did around the edge.  This new stitch made it a breeze to gather the edges all together. 

At that point, Justin had a ball filling each "bag" with flour.  Once it was full, we wound the remaining string around the opening until it was all wrapped up. 

Wa-laa...  springtime snowballs!

Imagine Wayne's surprise when he got home from work and got pelted with "snowballs!" 

Fun project.  Fun day.  And a new stitch learned.  What could be finer?!?

What I'm Reading - Cry, the Beloved Country

I'm not sure how I missed out on this book until now. Perhaps it was because this book would have likely been a bit too "religious" in the public school that I attended. Whatever the reason, I'm glad a copy of it made its way to my bookshelf!

Set in South Africa during the 1940s, Alan Paton's novel is the story of a man's search for Absalom, his lost son who had left home to go to Johannesburg. For a rural priest to make the trek to the big city was quite an undertaking. The experiences Kumalo faced in the big city were frightening for him, and yet he continued his quest for his son. Every time he would get a good lead on his son, he found that Absalom had already moved on. He knew he was getting closer to finding him when he heard news that a young black man had shot and killed a white man. Kumalo worried that it was his son.

While in Johannesburg, Kumalo also found his brother, who had also "disappeared" into the big city. His brother had become a man of power. However, in becoming a man of power, he had lost his moral compass.

Kumalo also found his younger sister and her young son. He took them under his wing as he continued to search for his son. In his quest he found a young woman who was carrying Absalom's child-- Kumalo's grandson. This young woman was hardly older than a girl, and Kumalo, being a righteous man, took her under his wing as well.

Kumalo finds his son in prison-- for the murder of the prominent white man.

After a trial, where Absalom was found guilty and sentenced to death, Kumalo takes those in his care back to his rural village.

Two scenes stand out in my mind.  One is a contrast of brother to brother.  Kumalo is such a trusting, giving man that his brother's deceitfulness causes him great sorrow.

The other scene that I enjoy replaying in my mind is the scene with Kumalo and the young son of the man Absalom had killed.  What joy and what healing this encounter brings to the old man!

This is a story of love and forgiveness.,, of injustice and selfishness... of racism and inequality. It is a story of finding hope in the midst of despair.

If you are looking for a good book that will increase your understanding of the events that occurred in South Africa, take a look at Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

A week ago friends of ours lost a grandson.  At times like this I am often speechless.  I wonder how to encourage... how to uplift...  how to grieve with them.

And then I picked up a book that had been sitting on my shelf for a long time... a book I had never read.  As I flipped through some of the pages, debating on whether or not I wanted to read it, a poem jumped out at me.  It's by William Cowper, and it's entitled, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way."

I had never heard this poem/song before.  So, I did a quick search, and I found a copy I enjoyed on You Tube.  It's by Lori Sealy.  (I have no idea who she is.)  She's added a new tune to the song, and added a little bit to the lyrics, but I think you'll still enjoy it.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

God moves in a mysterious way that's often not my own
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.

God moves in a mysterious way that's often not my own.
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.
Help me to trust when I don't understand
Grant me the peace of resting in your plan.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Orgainzed: Knitting Needles

For those of you who knit, you know the mess that can ensue in a drawer when all your needles are put there.  Straight needles, circular needles, odd bits of yarn...  It quickly becomes a tangled mess that does nothing to encourage one to pick up some needles and start creating.

That was exactly what I was facing yesterday when I opened my knitting drawer.  But my daughter wanted to knit something, and so I knew I needed to deal with ... the mess!

As I started to untangle everything and spread it across the kitchen counter, I knew there had to be a better way.  I hopped on Google, hoping to find an answer to my problem.  Ah, for $60 (plus shipping) I can buy something that hangs on the back of my door to put needles in.  Um, no thanks.

I kept searching, but nothing struck me.  So, I returned to the kitchen to finish the untangling.

Now, I'm the kind of person who likes to solve a problem by using what I already have onhand.  As my mind was going through different options of storing these needles, the thought hit me: Most of these needles are pretty colors... different colors... bright colors...  What would it be like to put them in a vase?  So, I went to the self where I keep the vases, and I grabbed a big one-- the one you'd get if someone gave you a dozen roses.  I put all my straight needles in it, and they fit beautifully.

But that left the question of what to do with the circular ones.  After all, the straight ones are easy.  They fit nicely in a drawer.  It's those pesky circular ones that make the mess.  Some people put them back in the original bags, but I don't like the cable between the needles to "remember" its previously kinked position!

That's when I thought about using bread tabs (the plastic ones) to tie the cables together near where they meet the needles.  The needles could go into the vase and the cable could flop outside the vase.  I tried it, and it looked okay, but something wasn't right.  The needles needed to be more securely tied together.

Enter: our oldest son's leftover rubber bands that he wore when he had braces.  (He had a bunch left when the orthodontist told him he didn't need to wear them anymore.)  I slipped one on the ends of the needles.  They still wiggled a bit, so I added another rubberband.  It worked beautifully!

So, instead of a mubbled drawer of knitting supplies, I have a vase filled with beautifully-colored knitting needles.  Hmmm.... makes me want to go knit something...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cooking Bacon!

I enjoy bacon.  Different people like bacon prepared in different ways.  Wayne and I both like ours extra crispy.  The problem is cooking it.  If we cook it in a pan, the grease splatters everywhere.  Someone once told me to try cooking it in the oven on a cookie sheet.  I did that, and it worked well, but I wondered how much grease was still splattering around inside my oven.  And since I hate cleaning the oven, I didn't embrace that method whole-heartedly either.  There's always the paper towel in the microwave method, too.  But I always found it hard to gauge between half-raw (which is how some people prefer bacon) and burned to a crisp.

The other day I was cooking hamburgers on our George Foreman grill.  (It's what I turn to when it's a bit too nippy outside for grilling, or when I just want to cook up enough for lunch.)  And I thought to myself that a chunk of bacon would be good on my hamburger. 

I knew there was bacon in the refrigerator.  So, I pulled it out and sighed, thinking about the splatter mess it would make.  Then the thought hit me!  "I bet I could cook this on the Foreman!"

Once the hamburgers were done, I put the bacon on it, and 4-5 minutes later, it was cooked to perfection.  No grease splatters anywhere.  And all the grease just ran out of the Foreman to the little grease collection tray!

So, from now on, I'm pleased to announce that bacon will be served regularly at our house!  While I still don't enjoy washing the Foreman, I can cook up a bunch of bacon at once and keep it in the refrigerator for those times when a piece of bacon would just "make" a sandwich!

Our Brethren in Chains

A few days ago I mentioned The Voice of the Martyrs.  This is an organization that works to help those people who are persecuted because of their love for Jesus.  They are also a voice for these people to those of us who live in America and other "free" nations.

One of the ways in which people can help is to send letters to believers in other countries who are in prison because of their faith.  This is something that I have decided to do once a month.  It's not that hard, and it doesn't cost that much-- only the cost of postage to mail your letter.  (And of course two pieces of paper and an envelope!)

To start, go to Writing Prisoners.  From there you can click on "Writing Prisoners" at the top, and it will give you some helpful tips as well as some things to do and not to do.

Then back to the first page where you can write a letter to the "featured" prisoner or scroll to the bottom to write to someone else.  Once you click on a name, you will learn more about that person, the charges against them, and a map of their country.  To the write will be a place to click to "Encourage" them.

You may then choose twelve phrases in English.  (Don't fret.  When this prints, it will print in the language of the prisoner!)  You may arrange and rearrange these twelve phrases in any way you wish.

Then just follow the directions to print your letter and the address of the prisoner.

Before mailing it, be sure to cut off the web-address at the bottom.  (Sometimes this prints, and sometimes it doesn't.  It depends on your printer settings.)

Then take it to the post office to mail it.

What a small price to pay to share the love of God with Christians throughout the world who are willingly imprisoned because of their love for Christ!


“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”                ~~ Matthew 25:30-46

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I did it!  I finally did it!  For a needle-phobe, donating blood was a major accomplishment.  But it's something I've always wanted to do.

Wayne and I went out yesterday-- just the two of us.  We were going to go on a nice hike, find some geocaches, and stop and visit a few shut-ins.  We were on our way to the park where we wanted to hike when we saw a bunch of signs at a church.  When we got close enough to read them, we saw that they were having a blood drive.  We looked at each other, and Wayne pulled in.

Honestly, it was probably better doing it spur of the moment because I didn't have to get nervous about it.  ~smile~  I really don't like needles.

We went in and read all about who can and can't give.  Then we had to have our blood pressure taken and our iron levels tested.  After filling out a brief questionairre about any "shady" activities we might be involved in that would eliminate us from donating, we found ourselves being led to ... the tables!

The gal who drew my blood was very nice.  She stayed with me the whole time.  I don't know if that's typical or not, but for someone who was nervous, it was a good thing.  And honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

We learned some interesting things:

1- Plan on about an hour from when you walk through the doors to when you walk back out.  (More if you or your spouse faints.  But I'll leave you guessing as to which one of us fainted.)

2- They take a pint of blood.  That's two cups.

3- With that two cups they can help three people.

4- A normal donation time is between 5-10 minutes. 

After enjoying a couple cookies and a glass of OJ, we were on our way.  We were both more tired than we anticipated, so we decided to save our hike for another day.  But we both left feeling like we had done something good for someone else.

So, if donating blood has always been on your bucket list, the next time you see one of those donation signs, pull in.  It'll take about an hour.  And you'll feel good about yourself when you're done.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Light Painting!

As many of you already know, I love geocaching.  ~smile~  It's fun to match wits with someone to see if I can find something they have hidden.  Or to see if I can solve a puzzle that they have made.  I enjoy spending time with my good friends while driving to a cache location or hiking the trails to a cache.  I enjoy visiting new parks and seeing things I never would have seen otherwise.

But another fun part of geocaching is meeting other geocachers.  Most of them are a lot like us.  They enjoy spending time with people.  They enjoy being outside.  They enjoy the "thrill of the hunt."

Geocachers have many opportunities to get together.  One such opportunity was last weekend.  One of our local geocaching teams, AddHam, decided that we needed to try our hand at light painting.  I had never heard of it before, but I was game to give it a try.

The rendevous point was a large tunnel about twelve miles from our home.  The tunnel ensured that we would have darkness.  (Not that we often see the moon in Michigan in the winter!)  Everyone brought their own flashlight, and the geocachers in charge supplied colored gels (flexible pieces of plastic stuff) and rubber bands so that we could rubber band the gels over our flashlights.  This is what would make the different colors in the picture.

They had also built some frames from wood and had put wires in them so that the "artists" merely had to trace the wires with their flashlights.  Some of the shapes needed to be colored in.

The person manning the camera had it set on a tripod and the shutter was open for a long time.  I would guess that to paint the whole thing took 3-4 minutes.

The result was the above picture.

Wayne and I had fun trying our hand at this and are looking forward to further light painting events hosted by AddHam.  While this did take a lot of prep work, if you're looking for a memorable group activity, this might be exactly what you're looking for!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Ground-Hog Day Present!

Last October we went on vacation and our van decided it was having so much fun it didn't want to come home.  (Blown head gasket)  Since then we have been getting by with one vehicle.  But because of my husband's odd work schedule, this meant saying no to a number of things.

We've been looking for a vehicle, but we hadn't seen the right one.

Imagine my surprise when my husband came home from work with a new-to-us van!  Then we went out for dinner.  What a lovely evening!

I'll post a pic in the morning.  I haven't seen it in the daylight either!  But I am thankful for one of the best Ground Hog Day gifts ever!  ~smile~

This is the view from my front door this morning!  :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quote about Prayer

"If you want to learn to pray like Daniel,
be prepared to spend some time with the lions."

 ~A Voice of the Martyrs worker

(For more information about Voice of the Martyrs, check them out at Voice of the Martyrs.  Be sure to sign up for their free monthly newsletter.  It's an eye-opener of what believers around the world face today because of their love for Jesus.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Visit Four Grand Rapids Museums -- For Free!

Being a one-income family, we are always looking for fun things to do as a family that are free and/or relatively cheap.  If you are in the Grand Rapids area (or plan to visit our area), four of our museums have decided to be free to be public on certain days. 

These are the museums:
  • The Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • The Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum
  • The Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • The Grand Rapids Children's Museum
And these are the days they will be free (from noon -5:00):
  • January 22
  • April 15
  • July 15
  • October 21
Wayne has to work today, but I'm hoping that one of those Sunday afternoons he'll be off and we'll be able to visit at least one of those museums.

(For more information, visit Visit our Museums!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quote - Spurgeon on Discernment

Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong;

rather, it is telling the difference between right


almost right.

~ Charles Spurgeon ~

Friday, January 20, 2012

Favorite Songs - Blessings

I had never heard this song before, but having heard it just once, I really like it.  I hope you appreciate it as much as I have.  Here's the link to her blog if you're interested in hearing the story behind this song:  Laura's Story

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What I'm Reading - Growing Up Amish

So, I saw this book sitting on the new bookshelf at our local library, and it intrigued me.  The Amish lifestyle has always interested me.  I love the simplicity of it.  At the time I picked up this book, I wondered if I would enjoy it.  I wondered if it would bash the Amish, and I told myself that if it did, I wouldn't bother finishing it.

Growing Up Amish is the story of Ira Wagler coming of age.  Born and raised Amish, he waffled back and forth and back and forth as to whether he wanted to be Amish or not.  The waffling got a bit "old" after awhile.

In the end, he decided to quit living as a Amish man.

There, I saved you a bunch of time reading the book.  ~smile~

I had hoped to gain a few insights into the world of the Amish, but this book was a disappointment in that regard as well.

On the Melissa scale: I did finish the book, but if I owned the book, I'd give it to Goodwill.  I wouldn't recommend it because there are so many other books out there that are really good!

What I'm Reading - Vanya

Our kids always like it when I read books to them.  But since they are 15, 11, and 7, they are a wee bit beyond the "Green Eggs and Ham" stage.  So, I pick books to read together that are longer.  It may take us a couple weeks to read through a book, but we enjoy finishing our lunch and spending a half hour or so enjoying a good book together.

The latest "read aloud" has been Myrna Grant's Vanya.  It's an older book (published in 1974).  I remember reading it in high school over twenty years ago. 

Ivan Moiseyev (Vanya) was drafted into the Russian military in 1970.  In 1972 Vanya's parents buried their son.  Why?  Because Vanya was a believer who would not recant his faith.  He stood firm to the end in spite of the torture he endured at the hands of his superiors.

The things Vanya experienced during his years in the military are beyond words.  Required to stand in sub-zero weather for hours in nothing but his summer uniform, Vanya was warmer than the soldiers who periodically came out to check on him, even though they wore big heavy coats, boots, and winter uniforms.

The miraculous accounts go on and on. 

What I appreciate about the telling of Vanya's story is that it is appropriate for young children to hear.  The details of the torture were things they could comprehend, but not things that would rob them of their innocence.  (However, there were a few words that must have been translated a bit more harshly than intended.  I skipped those few words in our read-aloud.)  This book also provided a good (and fairly recent) example of martyrdom. 

This book must have made an impression on me, because even after twenty years, I remembered many of the details of Vanya's story.  His rock-solid faith is one that I wish to emulate.  If I ever face persecution to that degree, his story will be an encouragment to me to stand strong.

Definitely a book worth reading and re-reading.

On the Melissa scale: This is a book that I will keep on my shelf to re-read at a later date.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quote about True Bible-readers

    True Bible-readers and Bible-searchers never find it wearisome. They like it least who know it least, and they love it most who read it most. They find it newest who have known it longest, and they find the pasture to be the richest whose souls have been the longest fed upon it. -- C. H. Spurgeon

Recipe - Biscuits

This is a rather simple recipe, but it's a good one that I recently stumbled across.  We enjoy it every week for breakfast with hot gravy on top.  And we're looking forward to June when our strawberries are ripe and we can have fresh strawberries with our biscuits!  I usually double the recipe.  They are also yummy with our homemade jam.  Mmmmm...


2 C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1Tbs sugar
1/3 C shortening
1 C milk

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the shortening.  Gradually stir in the milk.  Knead it a bit. 

Pat it out to about an inch thick.  Dip a glass jar into flour and use it as a cookie-cutter to cut out the biscuits, putting them on an ungreased baking sheet.  Keep doing this until all the dough is used up.

Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes.

What I'm Reading - Things We Couldn't Say

I finished this book (Things We Couldn't Say) last night, and I will say that this is a book that will go back on my bookshelf.  (Once I read a book I either give it to the local Goodwill, give it to a friend, or keep it for myself.)  I appreciated this book enough that I want to keep it around in case I want to read it again at a later date.

What was so riveting about this book?  Well, for starters, it's an autobiography of a woman (Diet Eman) who was a young woman in the Netherlands when Hitler came to power and invaded her country.  Diet joined the resistance and did whatever she could to fight the Germans.  Her story alone is worth reading.

However, Wayne's grandparents also were young people in the Netherlands at this same time. Undoubtedly, they faced many of the same struggles that Diet and her fiance Hein faced.  This book gave me a lot of insight as to what Wayne's grandparents went through.

I knew that Grandpa had been in hiding, but I didn't know why.  Perhaps it was because they were hiding Jews, or perhaps it was because any man in the Netherlands who was fit for work was sent to Germany to work so that their young men could fight.  (Hmmm...  I never knew that...)

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to our next visit with Grandma.  I have a lot of questions that I want to ask her.

Regardless of whether or not you have ancestors who lived in the Netherlands during World War II, Diet's story is one that will touch your heart.  The constant danger she is in...  The emotional struggles she goes through as she is imprisoned and separated from the one she loves...  The loneliness...  The spiritual highs and lows...  Her book is painfully honest.

What I also appreciated about the book is the update at the end as to what happened to most of the people in the book.  She must have done a lot of research to find out who moved where and what they did for a living after the war.

If you're looking for a good read, look no further.  "Things We Couldn't Say" is definitely worth picking up.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recipe - Sausage Skillet Supper

I ran across this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine, and I can't count how many times I've made it since.  I like to buy the sausage when it's on sale.  Sometimes it's in a one-pound package, sometimes it's the 12-ounce package.  It really doesn't matter.  But when it's on sale, I'll stock up and put it in the freezer.  Everything else is stuff that lines the shelves of our pantry.  And as a bonus for us, I made up a bunch of salsa a couple years ago that we really didn't care for.  But, I didn't want to throw it out either.  It works perfectly in this recipe! 

1 pound bulk pork sausage (I use the hot stuff.  It's really not that hot when mixed with other stuff.)
1 can (14.5-ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained  
1 can (16-ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 C uncooked rice
1 C water
2/3 C picante sause or salsa

Cook, crumble, and drain the sausage.  Add everything else.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender.

That's it!  I hope you enjoy it as much as our kids do!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reading Through the Bible

At some point most people make it a goal to try to read through the whole Bible at least once.  Having read through it a number of times in the past few years, I thought I'd take a break from reading it through this year and focus on studying a book or two of the Bible instead.  But then a blog from someone I admire crossed my email desk, and now I'm rethinking that decision.

Ray Comfort's daily blog (which can be delivered to an email address) now lists Scripture references to read as well as a bit of a commentary on the reading.  If you follow his reading plan, you will read through the whole Bible in a year.  Here's the link to his blog:

Happy reading!

How to Cook Scrambled Eggs in a Stainless Steel Pan

After seven years of marriage, I didn't get an itch, but the pans I had received as a wedding gift were shot. They were non-stick, and because of all the meals I had prepared in them, the non-stick surface was beginning to come off, even though I had never used metal utensils in them.

So, I purchased a new set of non-stick pans. They worked great... until they, too, finally succumbed to their seven-year itch.

I did a bit of research and decided to go with stainless steel. I LOVE my "new" pans. I suppose after having used them almost every day for the last four or five years, they are no longer new. But they still look like new. And they still cook exactly like they did when I opened the box for the first time.

I have learned to cook a little differently, and maybe that has helped. I no longer use high heat. I cook everything over medium heat or lower. Sure, it takes a bit longer for water to boil, but at this point I'm not planning on ever replacing these pans.

However, as much as I love these pans, I could not figure out how to cook scrambled eggs without them sticking dreadfully. However, this morning, I made my first batch of scrambled eggs in them with no sticking!

This is how I did it:

I put my pan on the burner over medium heat. Then I prepared my eggs. Once the pan was nice and warm, (I held my hand over it and felt the heat rising from it.) I added some oil and turned the pan to coat it completely on the bottom and the sides. Immediately after coating it, I added the eggs.

I couldn't believe my eyes! I stirred the eggs as normal, and it was just like using a good non-stick pan!

Needless to say, I'm thrilled!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year ~ 2012!

As I found myself taking down our 2011 calendar and replacing it with the 2012 one, I wondered if our lives will ever slow down. Starting tomorrow we have something on the calendar every day for three weeks. Ugh! But we will get through it, and at the end of those three weeks, our oldest will have his permit to drive. So, yes, it will be worth it. ~smile~

A few years ago I found myself at the beginning of a new year and feeling like I should join the masses in making resolutions for the new year. However, I found myself not even wanting to think about it because, after all, aren't most resolutions broken after the first week or two?

That's when it hit me! Rather than set myself up for failure, why not set up an "Annual To-Do List?" I have done this for a few years now, and for me it is definitely the solution to the problem of New Years resolutions.

I have different categories for some of the things I hope to accomplish in 2012. Categories such as spiritual, physical, intellectual, homemaking, home improvement, hobbies, relational, and financial help me map out what direction 2012 will take. This way, I won't get to the end of the year and wonder what I accomplished that year.

For example, in 2011 I read through my Bible and I listened to the whole Bible on CD. I finished writing the Step by Step lessons for church. I read a number of books and took a sewing class. I had a garden, started some blueberry bushes, asparagus, and rhubarb and did a lot of canning. We went kayaking as a family and slept out under the stars (until it started raining!) We took the kids to Alabama, to Branson, and to the trailer. I met my goals for geocaching, had people over to our house, had a family picture taken, and kept up on my correspondence. We also compelted a lot of minor home improvement projects.

Whew! What fun it is, though, to look over my to-do list for 2011 and remember all the things that I did. Oh, I didn't get to every thing on my list, and there are some things that will be on my "Annual To-Do List" every year, but for me it's a great way to plan out the coming year.  As I make up my weekly list of things to do, I consult this annual list.  It keeps me on track, and if I decide not to persue a particular goal, it's a conscious decision to do so, rather than being forgetful, lazy, or busy.

Give it a try. Other than a piece of paper and a bit of your time, what do you have to loose?