Season with Love not Obligation

I come from a family of wonderful cooks. Not only is my sweet mother one of the best cooks I have known, but my grandmothers, aunts, cousins (male and female), and an uncle or two were gifted in the kitchen. One of my cousins even has her own catering business. This family knows its way around a kitchen.

Both of my grandmothers were phenomenal cooks. I had the privilege of learning this craft in each of their kitchens. One was precise and measured ingredients with a steady, knife to level everything off to a perfect cup. The other taught me to cook many things by sight. At a young age I was taught how to fry chicken and make a meringue pie with swirly peaks.


A memorable lesson was to measure out a teaspoon of salt in my hand. What?! Why wouldn’t I just grab a measuring spoon? My grandmother instructed me to attempt the task. Afterwards, I was given a bowl and measuring teaspoon to check how accurate I was. It seems I had enough salt for almost four recipes. we switched places. Grandmother was within grains of measuring a level teaspoon by pouring salt into her cupped hand.

Mammaw was a farm wife and could make anything taste like a gourmet meal. Many of her recipes were made out of ingredients on hand. The piece of advice she gave me that I have cherished the most is to always season your food with love. She said that means to cook because you love the people you are feeding and not because it is an obligation. After having a husband and family of my own, I fully understood what she meant.

Scripture instructs us to love and serve others. In fact, it says to serve others in love. Cooking is a great way to do both. Food tastes better when someone else prepares it. Maybe you have a friend or family member that is ill, depressed, extremely busy, or had a baby. Making a meal or tray of cookies seasoned with love could change the trajectory of their gloomy day.

If you don’t cook, there is a plethora of other ways to help. Run an errand, take them groceries, sweep their walk, rake their leaves, or find some other way to bless them. Scripture tells us we will be accountable for our actions here on Earth. It also says when we help anyone it is like helping the Lord.

How about you? Do you cook for your family? I hope you prepare and season your food with love. Do you serve others in different ways? Share with us.

Today is National Pecan Cookie Day. The recipe below is one my mother, grandmother, and aunts baked. It is especially good with a cup of coffee or tea and shared with a loved one.

Shielding the Amish Witness Celebrate Lit Book Tour, Recipe, & Giveaway

Shielding the Witness by USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford is a Christian Amish Romance Suspense that will have you turning page after page to see what will happen next. It is one of the Love Inspired Suspense line of books.

I was immediately invested in the story and characters. This book starts off with a lot of action and keeps up the pace. There are twist and turns to keep readers interested.

This is the story of Faith Cooper. Her husband was murdered by his brother. She doesn’t know where to turn. There is a lot of heartache, action, mystery, and suspense involved with the brothers and those that are associated with them.

Faith finds herself in danger and leaves to find shelter with another family member. She runs into an old friend. He wants to keep her safe, but will he be able?

Author Alford has a wonderful writing style. With well rounded, believable characters and a knowledge of the Amish lifestyle, she wove an action filled story that had me captivated. The surprises kept me on my toes and guessing. The spiritual and life lessons were timeless.

Spend some time with this riveting tale. It is entertaining and will keep you trying to solve what might happen next. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  Shielding the Amish Witness

Author: Mary Alford

Genre: Amish Romantic Suspense

Release date: April 1, 2021

Shielding the Amish Witness (1)

Seeking refuge in Amish country puts everyone she loves in danger.

On the run after discovering her brother-in-law was behind her husband’s murder, Faith Cooper can think of only one safe place—her Amish grandmother’s home. But when danger follows Faith to the quiet Amish community, her childhood friend Eli Shetler is her only protection. And their survival depends on outlasting a relentless killer…one who has nothing left to lose.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mary Alford Photo (2)

USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the un-expected, whether it be in a rugged mountain setting or a peaceful Amish community.

Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling List, and have been finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.

Mary lives in Texas with her husband, two very spoiled cats, and a sweet rescue dog name Cody. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Face-book and Twitter or any social platforms listed at www.maryalford.net.

More from Mary

As a reader, I love books that are part of a series. There’s something comforting about being able to revisit characters that are special to me and meet new ones along the way. You get to go back to your favorite place and hang out with the people who make you smile.

It’s like coming home.

When I set out to write a series about five Amish brothers, I knew exactly where I wanted to set the series. The West Kootenai Amish community in Montana. West Kootenai is a remote community with sweeping mountain views surrounded by vast wilderness spaces. The perfect setting for suspense, along with a chance at redemption and a second chance for the hero and heroine. I love that.

In November, I introduced Covert Amish Christmas, the first book in the series that featured Aaron Shetler, the oldest of the five brothers.

In Shielding the Amish Witness, we meet Eli Shetler, a widower who has returned to West Kootenai to try to start over after his wife’s death two years earlier.

Eli is reunited with his childhood friend, Faith Cooper, who is running from a relentless killer who was once part of her family.

The book takes the reader through the breathtaking countryside of West Kootenai and into the homes of the Shelter family. We get to catch up on what Aaron and Victoria have been up since last we met and are introduced to some new family members. That’s the wonderful thing about series.

So, come with me on a trip to the beautiful community of West Kootenai, Montana where I hope my characters will make you feel right at home.

In writing about the Amish, I’ve come to love preparing their dishes. I’ve tried many recipes, from Amish Pizza to Friendship soup. But one of my all-time favorites is Amish Fry Pies. They are SO good!

Today, I thought I’d share the recipe for Amish Apple Fry Pies. I love this delicious desert and I hope you will as well.

Blessings always,

Mary Alford

AMISH APPLE FRY PIES

(recipe curtosy neighborfoodblog.com and a favorite of mine)

yields: 6

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cider
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the dough:

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup HOT milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To make the filling, combine the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until juices start to form, about 3 minutes. Make a slurry by whisking together the cider and cornstarch. Stir this into the pan, turn the heat up to high, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. For the dough, cut the butter into cubes then use a pastry cutter to work it into the flour. Continue to cut in the butter until it’s in small pea-sized lumps. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and salt together. Slowly pour in hot milk, stirring constantly. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir together until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto parchment or wax paper, and knead it until it smooths out, about 1 minute.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces and roll them each into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll them out to about 6-inch circles. Fill each circle with 2 Tablespoons of apple mixture. Fold the dough in half over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal. You can flute the edges or use a fork to crimp them. If the edges aren’t sealing properly, wet them with a little water.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to 350 degrees. You can test to see if the oil is ready by sticking a wooden spoon into the center of the pot. If small bubbles form around the handle, you’re ready to go.
  5. Place the pies in the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to dry.
  6. Repeat with remaining pies.
  7. While the pies fry, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. It’s best to glaze the pies while they’re still warm. I use a pastry brush to brush the glaze on one side then let it dry, flip them over, and glaze the other side. You can put two coats of glaze on for extra sweetness if you like but wait for the glaze to harden in between coats.
  8. Pies can be stored uncovered for 2-3 days. If you want the glaze to remain hard, do not place the pies in a plastic bag or sealed container. Just leave them on a wire rack or pan.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 17

Genesis 5020, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 18

For the Love of Literature, May 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 19

The Avid Reader, May 19

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 21

Blogging with Carol, May 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 23

For Him and My Family, May 24

Hallie Reads, May 24

Inklings and notions, May 25

Blossoms and Blessings, May 25

Older & Smarter?, May 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 27

deb’s Book Review, May 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 28

Maureen’s Musings, May 28

Simple Harvest Reads, May 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

She Lives To Read, May 30

KarenSueHadley, May 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10bbd/shielding-the-amish-witness-celebration-tour-giveaway


My Beloved Auntie June

It has often been said that it takes a village to raise a child. This is absolutely true. Between parents, grandparents, other family, and friends, children are nurtured in many ways. I was fortunate to have a large village caring for me. One of the leaders of my village was my aunt, Eva June Wilson. I affectionately called her Auntie June. I treasured her. A few days ago she was called home by Jesus. Yes, I am broken-hearted that we are now separated, but I know with certainty we will see each other again.

Auntie June was my father’s elder sister by two years. She was a delightful, quaint, lovely woman. From my earliest memories of her, I knew that she loved me. I recall being rocked in a rocking chair and swung in a porch swing by her. She liked to be in motion and passed on that love to me. Her husband, my Uncle Sam, was a jokester and teased me relentlessly. Both of these relatives have special places in my heart. Everyone that knew my aunt loved her and sang her praises. She was one of a kind, the best kind.

I learned many things from my aunt. She had a sharp mind and gave sage advice:

a. Family is forever. Always be ready to help them. Never forget their stories.

b. Forgiveness is a requirement and not an option. Do not withhold it.

c. There are certain words a lady doesn’t say, and always remember you are a lady.

d. If you can’t say anything nice, then be quiet.

e. If you don’t know what to do, pray. You can’t go wrong talking to Jesus.

f. Don’t go where you aren’t invited. If they wanted you there, you would know.

g. If it’s not your story, don’t tell it. That is called gossip.

h. Be nice to everyone. You don’t know what they have been through in life.

i. Look for the silver lining in each situation. There is alway something good

j. Make sure your lipstick is fresh. Somebody might take your picture.

k. No one loves you like your family. Always tell them you love them.

There are many other things she taught me. She and Grandmother were skilled in the kitchen. They could cook, freeze, and can until the cows came home. Chicken tasted better fried in lard. The best thing to drink was iced tea. It was okay to use paper plates so you could spend more time with your guests. German tomatoes were fine raised besides the patio, and a yeast roll was better than a cookie anytime. Angel rolls were fluffy and great to have on hand for surprise company. If you had more than enough, share with someone. When you hug someone, close your eyes and savor it. Let your love seep through to them.

Auntie June was fun. She loved playing games and winning. When she lived on her farm she had peacocks. They were beautiful but squealed like a cat or baby. Since she had received a teaching degree, she was the best person to explain anything. Her patience was unmatched. She was a natural born story teller. We had no trouble talking for hours. I could call her and chat for an hour, unless her Kentucky Wildcats were playing ball. Then I needed to wait until after the game. She was frugal but not stingy. Things were cared for and lasted years. I remember the same family room loveseats, living room set, bedroom set, and even lamps at her house. Perhaps being content was her secret.

Auntie June grew up in Southern Indiana, but moved to Kentucky to live with family there after her sophomore year. She skipped her junior year of high school to graduate early with her cousin, Phyllis Ann. After graduation they attended college together. My grandmother was anxious that if she did not have a college buddy, my aunt might not go. She went and graduated with a bachelors degree in business. Like many others in her family, she became a teacher. Learning was important, and she continued to read and educate herself. I valued her opinion.

She was an animal lover. When she lived in Louisville, I remember her dog, Smoky. It was a black cocker spaniel, and I thought it was the most beautiful dog ever. A few years later they moved to the big farm house after her father-in-law died. She had a gorgeous collie. I remember cattle, a calf, a pony, kittens, a dog, and the peacocks at that stately place. I was certain the country estate had seen some civil war action and had many untold stories itself. Like my granddaddy, she was petrified of snakes and passed that right along to me. She had a few heart stopping stories of being trapped inside her house by a big, very big, snake.

My family lived in Clarksville, Indiana. Once when Auntie June had surgery she came to our house to recover. Grandmother stayed as her ever attentive nurse. I remember sneaking to chat with her. She would pat the side of the bed and wink. I quietly asked her if this surgery meant she could have babies or could not because she would be a wonderful mother. She told me that she was praying God had the right baby He would send just for her. Well, He did. In fact, in His generous way, He sent her three, twin sons and a daughter, my cousins: Kevin, Gavin, and Ruth Ann. She was devoted to her children, grandchildren, and greats.

Not only did I love her, but I respected her. Her life was full of trials, but she managed each one with a smile. The glass was always half full for her. She had a life full of hard work, but she also volunteered at church and other places. She was very giving. Others were more of a concern to her than herself. Mother and Auntie June remained close after my daddy died. Many times they chatted and laughed like schoolgirls. They shared precious memories.

I was the first grandchild on Daddy’s side so obviously I was spoiled rotten. Many nights and weekends were spent at my grandparents and later my aunt’s. I was like a sponge wanting to soak up every bit of information I could about the Winburn branch of my family tree. Now that Auntie June is gone I can no longer glean any more information.

Auntie June was a Woman of Faith. She walked her faith as well as talked about it. She loved church and her church family, too. There are many story of God’s blessings in her life. He healed her from breast cancer and various other maladies. He kept her safe during the many (many) storms in her life. She live a long life of 91 years. Auntie June worshipped and praised God for guiding her through them all. She told me that her deepest desire was that all of her family would know Jesus and be saved. She would laugh and say “you know there will be enough room in Heaven.”

During our last conversation she spoke to me a lot about our family: her parents, my parents and sister, her children, grandchildren, and greats. Family was important to her. She spoke a lot about her brother, my father. This was the first time she had talked about Daddy in a very long time. We talked of the goodness of God. She always told me she loved me before we hung up. I assured her of my love, too. The very next day she got sick and after a week went to Glory. People I tell me “I’m sorry you lost your aunt.” Dear friends, I did not lose her. I know exactly where she is. She has gone home and is happier than she has ever been. I miss her more than mere words could express, but I will see her again in Glory. Maybe our rooms will be close together.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.

With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?

Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.

This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.

This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.

You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.

Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.

Thanksgiving, a Time for Family, Food, and Thanks, or is it?

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? The obvious is giving thanks. Right? We are blessed in so many ways that most of them often are overlooked. We can not give thanks for blessings we do not realize came our way. Even this year, I am certain we have all had a plethora of things for which to be thankful.

Family comes to my mind. Thanksgiving is usually a big deal in our family. We have an abundance of people, food, laughter, and noise. Everyone brings a dish or two, and sometimes more. Games are played, football watched, shopping lists made, and family catches up on what is going on in everyone’s life. I love it!

This year a few beloved members left us for their eternal home. While we are rejoicing that they are pain free and reunited with loved ones, we are saddened that they will be missed at our table this November. Others will not be able to join us due to the pandemic and quarantine. What historically is a gathering of fifty-ish family members has dwindled to considerably less than half that number. My sister is hosting, and I am going to make a cranberry salad. Do you like cranberries? I do!

I have heard that the senior generation is the glue that holds families together. There is truth to that, but our family has plenty of glue left in its bottle. My cousins are like siblings to me and their children like nieces and nephews. We always get together for holidays. Things are not normal this year which adds a new twist. Our crowd is dwindling. The rise in Covid cases makes even healthy people want to stay home and away from possible germs.

Do not allow Covid to control your family relationships. Like all relationships, family needs to be nourished. Young children need to know extended members. Adults need to continue feeding and strengthening the bond that began years ago. We need to explain why we gather as a family and why we are thankful.

Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children will remember going to family gatherings and having fun with everyone. It will become a way of like for them that will get passed on to each generation.

Let’s pray the pandemic is over soon. Hopefully we will learn from what it tried to teach us. It taught me never to take family for granted. I miss seeing my family and hugging. Oh how I miss hugging.

I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with at least part of your family this year. Remember all of the many things that we do have even in a year that has not been the kindest to us. I am thankful for my family, friends, and especially for Jesus. What is on your list of things for which you are thankful?

Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 Book Tour and Giveaway by Celebrate Lit

My Thoughts

Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 is written by author Vickie Burns. It is a devotional, study on Proverbs 31, and cookbook all combined into one God glorifying book.  The author has written this to help women understand how precious we are to God and offer helpful kitchen recipes for the family.

I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover.  It speaks more to the devotional side of the book.  The rich color and jewel are inviting so I wanted to see what was inside.

This 246 page book contains a variety of themes for the devotionals.  There are A Mother’s Love, Working Hands, and Be a Blessing along with three other weekly topics.  Each week contains five daily lessons and a weekend wrap-up.

The daily lesson opens with a one page devotional thought based on a topic from 31.  The next page follows with six questions to ponder and draw deeper.  The seventh question is an activity or question for life application along with space to journal.  Concluding the day is a menu with recipes.  The recipes are accompanied with a personal memory or story.

I extremely enjoyed this devotional.  The writing was nice and easy to understand.  It helped bring Proverbs 31 to  an attainable level.  I felt more self-worth after doing this study.

This would make a lovely women’s small group selection.  Women of all ages will benefit from reading this.  The recipes are an added bonus.  I highly recommend it. My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by a Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

 

About the Book

Book:  Priceless

Author: Vickie Burns

Genre: Devotional/Cookbook

Release Date: November, 2019

Front cover Priceless

Priceless: A Devotional Cookbook Based on Proverbs 31 is a Bible study and cookbook combined. The author, Vickie Burns, takes the reader verse by verse through Proverbs 31, showing them how precious and loved they are. At the end of each day’s study, meal suggestions and recipes are provided to fill their homes with tantalizing aromas and great food. Even young children can help with meal preparation so they learn that dinner doesn’t just magically appear on the table.

For women who’ve read Proverbs 31 and felt inadequate, like they could not possibly live up to God’s description of the perfect woman, Priceless reveals that they have more in common with her than they ever imagined.

“Today’s busy mom rarely finds time to steal a few moments of peace and quiet to spend with the Lord each day,” Vickie says. “On top of that, she most likely does not take the time to flip through endless sections of cookbooks to plan a unique evening meal. Priceless encourages women to view their tasks as God’s call to an abundant life, empowers them by providing a daily word from Proverbs 31, and eases their minds by providing a full menu for the evening meal each day.”

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

About the Author

Vickie Burns is passionate about showing women how to love and live the abundant life that Jesus Christ offers. Through Bible study, public speaking, and writing inspirational cookbooks, Vickie inspires women to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength; to see and love themselves as Christ does—PRICELESS; and to love others through genuine hospitality. She lives in Texas with the love of her life, Todd Burns, and they have two daughters.

 

More from Vickie

This book, Priceless, is not my story but it was birthed from it. I was raised in a single-parent Christian home after my parents divorced. I watched my mom handle everything: cooking, cleaning, bills, homework, a full-time job, etc. I had no idea until I became a wife and mother all that she must have been through while raising three children on her own. I do know that she had a strong relationship with the Lord and that she had friends and family support.

Today, I look back at my childhood with renewed respect for my mom. My husband, Todd and I did our best to raise our two girls to honor the Lord while we went to school for our master’s degrees and tried to keep our household running smoothly. I had the help of a husband and was still overwhelmed while working as a teacher, trainer, coach and administrator in public education. On top of that I was still a wife, mother, friend, sister, chef, chauffer, nurse and more. Over the years, as I have gotten to know other women, I realize that I am not alone. We all long for ways to balance work and family, cooking and cleaning, physical busyness and spiritual warfare.

As my heart broke for the busy women in my life (to whom I totally relate) I longed to try and make life a little easier for all of us. I began to study God’s Word for answers. As I studied, I learned that God created us for relationship with Himself and with others. I learned that sharing our burdens with one another is His design. I found out that love should drive every word and action as we relate to others. I discovered that the crazy life that we are trying to balance is actually our ministry to our families and communities. I also realized that hospitality isn’t just something that was dreamed up by Martha Stewart. God ordained hospitality from the beginning when He created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in the garden of Eden. God touches the heart of mankind with a piece of His own. There are examples of this throughout scripture. The biggest deposit of God’s heart within us is the gift of His Spirit. This gift is what makes genuine hospitality possible today. When we touch another person’s heart with a piece of our own, we are showing hospitality, sharing the love of Christ, and making connections that impact our world. This revelation was the birth of my ministry. I call it The Heart of Hospitality. Through my writing and speaking engagements, I share with women how to see the tasks and responsibilities of our daily lives as a calling from God. Beyond that, I help women understand that viewing their lives in this way is what Jesus meant when He said He came to give us “abundant life”.

My prayer for you, as you read this book is:

  • that you will be touched with a piece of God’s heart.
  • that hospitality will come to mean something new to you.
  • that each devotion in this book exposes your pricelessness in Christ.
  • that you will know beyond the shadow of any doubt that you are rare, unique and have significant meaning to your Creator.

May God richly bless you and your household.

 

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, January 1

For Him and My Family, January 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3

Jacquelyn Lynn, January 3

Older & Smarter?, January 4

Texas Book-aholic, January 5

Mary Hake,January 5

janicesbookreviews, January 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 7

Inspiration Clothesline, January 7

Inklings and notions, January 8

Blossoms and Blessings, January 9

For the Love of Books, January 9

She Lives to Read, January 10

Quiet Workings, January 11

Godly Book Reviews, January 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 12

A Rup Life, January 13

Emily Yager, January 13

KarenSueHadley, January 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Vickie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Priceless and a $50 Amazon Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f425/priceless-celebration-tour-giveaway

Cooking in 2020, A Healthy Recipe

One of the most popular resolutions for the New Year is to cook and eat healthier.  Anyone trying to do that?  Me, too!  There are many recipes, cookbooks, blogs, and sites out to offer us help.  Honestly, if I used more common sense and less sugar I believe I could figure this thing out myself.  Well, with prayer, too.  Couldn’t you?

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First off, pray for guidance.  Secondly, I know I need to eat more vegetables.  I love them so that should not be a problem.  Right?  Well, it can be.  Creativity is the issue with me.  Do you get bored with the same old way of fixing veggies?  It is time to experiment.

Do you like cucumbers?  Have you tried them in a salad with tomatoes, green peppers, and feta?  Delicious!  With a light dressing this fresh salad comes alive with flavor and has very few calories.  Winner!

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This Fresh Cucumber, Tomato, Feta salad comes from Pampered Chef.  Yes, I’m a Pampered Chef Lady.  My daughter-in-law brings a praise-worthy version of this to family gatherings.  This would make a nice lunch choice.  Even adding a lean protein and doubling the portion of the salad the calories would total less than 500.

The three lowest calorie cheeses are feta, Swiss, and mozzarella.  Bummer about cheddar, I know.  My cheese of choice is Swiss which I substitute in this recipe.  I am an onion fan so occasionally I will toss in a few.

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If I would just eat what God has given us, I know my body would be healthier.  Just look at the historical account of Daniel in the Bible. CEADFDB9-773B-46D3-87EF-4553A1B55134God has provided so many fruits, vegetables, and proteins for us.  Absolutely I love desserts, but I do not need them as often as I indulge.  They will be reserved for a special occasion or treat.  (I may need you to remind me of that later.)

My body is a temple for the Holy Spirit so I need to make 2020 a year of repairs on it.  What about you?  What shape is your temple in now?

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Enjoy the salad recipe!

Salad

  • 2   seedless cucumbers, cut into 3″ (7.5 cm) pieces and in half lengthwise
  • 4   plum tomatoes, tops removed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1   yellow bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 4 oz (125 g) chunk feta cheese, cut in half lengthwise
  •  Black pepper

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp (7 mL) sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  •  garlic clove, pressed

DIRECTIONS

  1. For salad, cut cucumbers with the Quick Slice, place in a large serving bowl; repeat with remaining ingredients, except pepper.
  2. For dressing, combine all ingredients in Measure, Mix & Pour®. Mix until blended.
  3. Drizzle 1/3 cup (75 mL) dressing over vegetables; toss.  Refrigerate remaining dressing for another use. Top with black pepper, if desired.

Yield:

  • 12  servings of about 3/4  cup /175 mL

Nutrients per serving:

Calories 45, Total Fat 2.5 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 170 mg, Carbohydrate 4 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 3 g

 

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Christmas, Cookies, and Memories

Christmas and cookies just seem to go together.  Kids of all ages love cookies.  Don’t you?  From the simple chocolate chip and peanut butter to fancier bonbons and cookie press spritz, a tray of cookies is always a welcomed delight at any home.

I remember making Christmas candy with both of my grandmothers but not cookies.  My mother and I made those along with treasured memories.  Mother is a wonderful cook and baker.  She is also a true Proverbs 31 woman even to this day.  I am blessed to have a Christian mother to teach me many things, especially about Jesus.

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One of our family’s favorite cookies is Spritz or Cookie Press Butter Cookies.  A hint of almond mixed with pure buttery goodness in small shapes of wreaths, Christmas trees, stars, and hearts give the kitchen a heavenly aroma when baking.  These are scrumptious any time of the year.  The best thing about them is the fun I have when making them with a loved one.

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Christmas memories don’t need to be about a gift you received.  Make sweet memories this year by making cookies for family and friends with your mother, daughter, sister, or friend.  Actually, that will be a gift in itself.  I still smile when I travel back in time to a little red brick house and am making cookies with my mother and little sister.   The smiles on faces of friends and family when we gave them a tin of homemade cookies warmed our souls.  Yes, the gift we gave became a gift returned to us.

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Need a cookbook for some great recipes?  Amish author Wanda Brunstetter has a Christmas cookbook that even has a recipe for these cookies:

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I love the Amish cookbooks.  If you are not familiar with Amish, they love to cook, bake, and eat!  Now that is a recipe for a great cookbook.  Get it at Amazon or wherever you normally buy books.

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Secret Ingredient is Love, Bread Recipes

Do you enjoy cooking and baking?  I certainly do.  There is something about taking a number of different ingredients, mixing them together, and creating something yummy.  A creation that makes the house smell warm and inviting.  Homey.  Love wafts out of the pan.  It is so calming.

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For me baking is a way to destress and also to show my family and friends that I love them. I love it when my parents stop by and I have made a big kettle of soup to share.  It warms my heart when family pops by and I just happen to have made their favorite pie.  Sometimes it lightens their load and gives them a smile if only for a short time.
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Does it work like that for you, too?  Do you enjoy cooking?  Do you have happy memories from Times in your kitchen?   Most people that love to cook and bake have precious, “sweet” memories of time spent in the kitchen.  The women in my family taught me to cook.  I loved being with them and they were always in the kitchen.  It seemed natural that the kitchen was a place I would love.  My mother and hers were the two women who taught me the most about cooking.
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Everyone has something special they make or a special added ingredient that like to toss into their dishes.  If I’m cooking a savory dish, garlic is my secret ingredient.  Even if it’s a smidge, I love garlic.  Now baking, that’s a toss up.   Depending on the dessert I will reach for vanilla or cinnamon.  Mmmmmmmm.  They both smell heavenly.  However, the most powerful secret ingredient is love.  People can tell if you made something lovingly.  My Grandmother always told me “if you cook with love, you will always love to cook.”
God makes sure we have all of the things we need for our daily bread.  He sees that we have money to buy ingredients.  There are cookbooks and family members to guide us.    We have been given the ability to put the ingredients together to make all different kinds of wonderful dishes.  All we need to do is have faith it will turn out and add our secret ingredient of love.
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He has given us every thing we need for faith, too.  We have all of the things we need.  The Bible is our instructional book.  Church is our classroom, and other Christians are there to help.  God has the ultimate secret ingredient . . . Jesus.  There is no greater love.

Best Banana Bread Ever

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1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
3 bananas, mashed
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk
1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350º. Beat sugar, eggs, oil, and bananas. Stir in dry ingredients, nuts, vanilla and milk. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Happy Birthday America! Patriotic Desserts for All!

Happy 4th of July to you and Happy Birthday to America!   This is the 243rd birthday for this country of ours.  The United States of America is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  Each year on this day we celebrate by throwing a big birthday party!

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What are you giving America this year?  Peace, harmony, and respect might be on her list.  She deserves all three and much more.

Usually the party ends up being a picnic or pool party.  Family and friends gather from near and sometimes far to celebrate living in the extraordinary country.  We celebrate freedom, our freedom.  Summer is in full swing.  The weather is hot with the nights warm.  Fireworks light up the skies to celebrate.

When my family gathers to celebrate we usually have a pitch-in.  Does yours?  We have some favorite dishes and try to make at least one patriotic dessert.  What are some that you make?  Here are a few from our recipe box:

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Recipe for above:

Take any flavor of cookie dough and spread in the Pampered Chef round white stone. Bake according to directions for a big cookie. Let cool. Frost with white icing and decorate with red, white, and blue M&M’s.

Below:

The following is a luscious, light dessert that pleases everyone.  It looks gorgeous, too.

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Flag Red Velvet Cakes:

These Red Velvet Flag cakes are really a hit at the party.  They are easy to make and eat!  Kids and adults love them.  They work for more than Flag Day.

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Today is about much more than red, white and blue desserts, fireworks, and picnics.  Far more.  It is about freedom, liberty, and justice.  Blood was shed so that we might live free.  Never take that for granted.  Our forefathers planned and organized to make certain this would be the best land for them and their descendants.  Their blood was given for it.

While you are celebrating the birthday of this land that I love today, please lift this country, her leaders, and her protectors up in prayer.  They need our prayers daily now just like our founding fathers prayed for them.  Our country and each one of us needs God.  Let’s start with prayer.  That would be a precious birthday gift for America.

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