Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday, Drop Dumplings Recipe, “Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone”

Food carries not only taste and smell, but sometimes memories. Certain dishes remind me of a loved one, holiday, or place. It can also provide comfort. Do you have a favorite comfort food? How about a food that takes you back to your Mother’s table or the school cafeteria? Do you have one of your own?

My aunts each made dishes that were unique and special. Same with my two grandmothers and especially my Mother. No one could make the recipe quite as delicious as they could. Aunt K made the best sugar cookies and Red Velvet Cake. No one at all could hold a candle to Aunt M’s cobblers or ribbon salad. Aunt J did butterscotch meringue pie and noodles. Yes, the rolled out homemade ones. Aunt E made rolls that no one can duplicate. Light, fluffy rolls. My Mammaw made oatmeal cookies that were a winner with people that disliked oatmeal. Perplexing but true. She made sugared popcorn on the stove that tasted like love. Grandmother made Christmas candy to rival the kind you buy in fancy stores. She also made a cheese spread for celery or crackers that she made up herself. It was delicious and unduplicatible. My Mother would need a page, or book, all her own to list her best dishes. Comfort food for me is still anything she makes. Her Christmas Salad is phenomenal and apple dumplings simply out of this world. My kids love her drop dumplings, any flavor. Blackberry, peach, or cherry are all favorites with them but only if Grammy makes them. Actually my daughter says that about a lot of Mom’s recipes. “Did Grammy make this?” What about the ladies in your family? I would love to hear their specialties in the comments if you would share.

Our bodies need food to survive. Our mind sometimes wants food for comfort. What does our soul need? Do you ever think about feeding it? Scripture tells us in Matthew 4:4 that “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.’” So, our soul needs much more. It needs God and His Word, the Bible. Just as often as we eat food and drink something, we need to read our Bibles, worship Abba, and communicate with Him through prayer. We need spiritual food. Are you feeding your spirit?

Be careful what you feed into your mind, too. Lyrics from certain songs, scenes from some television shows or movies, and passages from magazines and books might not be the clean food your mind deserves. In fact it might be poison. A lot of sin is made acceptable and glamorous in the media. Just like we watch what we put in our mouths, we need to be mindful of what we put in our souls and brains. Then we will be healthy in all areas of our lives. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Choose Him. Choose life. Live for Him.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 ESV

Mom’s Blackberry Drop Dumplings

4-6 c. blackberries* & 1 c. sugar
Water to cover
2 c. Bisquick baking mix
1/2 c. milk
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

*or substitute another fruit or berry.

Place blackberries in large covered pot, add 1 c. sugar, and cover berries with water. Bring to a boil. Boil softly for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix Bisquick, milk, vanilla and 1/2 c. sugar to form a dough, (not as thin as pancake and not as thick as biscuit dough).

Into boiling berries, drop dough by spoonful spacing over top of pot. Reduce heat immediately to medium low and cover. Steam for approximately 15 minute covered so dumplings will cook through. Serve topped with whipping cream or ice cream.

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday: “God is Always Available to Chat” and Aunt T’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

My husband had an aunt that was like a second mother to him. She was a delightful woman and had a strong faith. When talking about death Aunt T often said she hoped she went to sleep one night and woke up dead the next morning. Funny lady. She lived into her nineties and almost got her wish.

The entire family misses her, and the impact she made on its members is remarkable. Aunt T took time to talk whenever someone needed a listening ear, send a card if you were sick, go to all church and family functions, and not only was the family historian but honorary grandmother to all of the children. If family or friends needed money or a place to stay, she freely gave without hesitation.

Many days my husband and I wish we could call and talk to her. There might be a family question that only she could answer. Perhaps we are just lonesome for her. Do you ever get like that? Lonesome to talk to someone? If we do can you imagine how much God does? Surely He longs to hear from us, His children through prayer. While we might not be able to talk to friends or family everyday, God is available all of the time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He is just waiting to hear us call out to Him.

Think about that. God, the powerful maker of the universe and Creator of all things is waiting on us to reach out in prayer to Him. Wow! Why are you waiting? Start now even if it is just to acknowledge His power and who He is. The more you pray the more you will want to pray. You will long to talk to Him like He longs to talk to you. Amazing, isn’t it? My husband and I might not be able to talk to Aunt T anymore but we can always talk to God. So can you.

“Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:12 NIV

Aunt T’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

1 cup flour, all purpose
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup oatmeal, uncooked
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups diced rhubarb*
2 cups diced or sliced strawberries
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
*If you are too skittish to try rhubarb, use 2 cups of another berry or peaches.

Preheat oven to 350°.
In bowl, combine flour, sugars, oatmeal, butter, salt, and cinnamon.
Mix until crumbly and press half into a greased 9″x13″ baking dish.
Cover with rhubarb and strawberries.
In small saucepan, heat water, cornstarch, and extracts over medium-low heat until thick and clear, (approximately 5 minutes) stirring frequently.
Pour over the fruit layer.
Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 60 minutes. Watch to make sure it is not getting too brown. If it is, cover with foil.
Serve warm. Good with ice cream for dessert or for breakfast without.

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday: What Kind of Pie are You? “Lemon Shoofly Pie Recipe”

Do you enjoy pie? My hubby would much rather eat a piece or two of pie than an entire cake. There is something about the crust and filling or artfully piled and swirled meringue that really appeals to him. Hmm, me too. In fact I could go for a piece with my coffee right now. How about you?
Do you have a special flavor that is your favorite? One that you cannot resist or that takes you on a trip down memory lane? On Facebook there is a myriad of tests to determine what color you are, what your hippie name is, and even what kind of dessert you might be. Have you done any of those? Yep, me, too. I don’t know that I would agree with the results, but it is fun.

So, what pie are you? Are you a good old American Apple pie? Do you stand up for what you believe and cannot be swayed? Would you be like Peter and deny Jesus or not be swayed by the crowd? How about a banana one? Does it drive you crazy when someone hits those pet peeves of yours or doesn’t color in the lines? Would you be like the Pharisees and nit pick everything Jesus did, like healing on the Sabbath being a sin? A pecan pie? A bit nutty on top but deep down you are complex. Maybe you are more like a blueberry pie. Do you leave a mark on places, events and people? Is the mark you leave a positive, lasting, and good one? Are you a good role model?

My favorite pie is lemon. Any kind of lemon. Meringue, frozen, Shaker, or Amish, I like the citrusy tart, tangy flavor of lemon. Lemon can keep you on your toes waiting for the pucker and calm you with its cleansing taste. You know what you get with lemon. I love the deep rich yellow gold color, too. Lemon pie reminds me of both grandmothers and my Mother. All three liked lemon pie and made melt in your mouth delicious ones. Maybe you are like a lemon pie and my three matriarchs. Are you the real deal? Do people know that you will keep them on their toes if they start to back slide? Do you calm people in times of trials and distress? Are you good as gold?

Think about what pie you want to be. Will people recognize you as being someone that stands up for convictions? Someone that is a bit bananas or nutty? A role model, or someone that offers spiritual guidance? Whatever you are be a sweetie pie and spread love, grace, joy, and Jesus.

“Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matt. 7:20
Amish Lemon Shoofly Pie
Ingredients for crumbs:
1 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda mixed in
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening or butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and work together like crumbs.
Ingredients for filling:
1 egg
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons, strained
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup boiling water
1 unbaked pie shell
Combine all the ingredients together and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle crumbs evenly on top of filling. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
From “Amish Friends Cookbook One” by author Wanda Brunstetter

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday: Sand Dollars, God’s Message from the Ocean & Cookie Recipe

God has not only left us an instruction book of 66 love letters but He also has left subtle little reminders all throughout nature. It is like a treasure hunt finding them. A certain one can be found on the beach. It is the sand dollar. This is a flatish burrowing sea urchin that lives on the bottom of shallow sandy waters along the coasts of ocean waters in the Northern Hemisphere. They get washed up on beaches regularly. Perhaps you have combed a sandy shore and found one yourself. On a recent vacation my granddaughters did and were thrilled. After the urchin is washed up on the beach, it is bleached by the sun and looks like a large silver coin. That’s why it got the name Sand Dollar, but that’s not what’s so special about it. There is religious symbolism in this small shell.

There are five cuts or slits which represent our Savior’s wounds on the cross. Jesus was nailed through his hands and feet, and then he was pierced in his side with a sword. One side shows an image that looks like an Easter lily with a star in the middle. The Star of Bethlehem. On the other side is a poinsettia or Easter Lily. When a Sand Dollar is broken there are five doves inside representing peace and good will.

All around us are subtle reminders of God’s love and His Son Jesus. Plants, trees, shells, and flowers. If you take time to really look at nature you will see the multitude that Abba has given us to show His love. These also remind us that He sent His Son to die for our sins. He has a plan of salvation that is free for the taking. We don’t deserve it. Can’t earn it. It is just there for us to pick up. Like finding a Sand Dollar on a beach only this gift offers eternal life.

” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 KJV

Sand Dollar Cookies

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon White Vanilla or 1/2 tsp. Almond
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Soda
1 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
4 1/2 Cups Flour

Cream sugars, butter and oil until fluffy.
Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients to mixture and mix well.
Roll into balls, about a teaspoon of dough, and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Press down with a sugared glass bottom* or cookie stamp. (Thinner is better.)  Add slivered almonds to represent the flower.  Make 5 small slits with knife or toothpick.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool. These are very delicate so handle carefully and don’t over pack in container.

*can use cinnamon sugar for a Snickerdoodle taste

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday:”Pot of Gold” Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish Recipe

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Are Irish really lucky? With St. Patrick’s Day coming tomorrow, I have been hearing a lot about pots of gold and luck of the Irish. Me? No, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, he was the Way or rainbow to my riches. My gold happens to be at the end of my earthly life. My treasure is in Heaven. That is where my heart is. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold. My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21 NIV

Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday: “Little Acts of Kindness are Big” Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had a nice lunch or dinner? Things were going well until the check came….or didn’t come. Then things got even better. What a treat to find an anonymous person had paid your bill. Someone you didn’t even know. And they added on dessert as a bonus. What was going along as a normal day just became a special one. That little thing is called an act of kindness. Doing something nice for someone without expecting anything, even a thank you, in return.

We have a neighbor with five children. She and her husband have taught this lesson to them well. Frequently there is a soft knock on our door. We are excitedly presented with a homemade loaf of banana bread, biscuits, or jar of strawberry jam that the kids have made themselves. Sometimes there is a bag hanging on our mailbox that has a yummy treat in it. Their mother is teaching them service and acts of kindness. What an excellent teacher and students.

There are so many opportunities to share acts of kindness. It doesn’t need to be for a stranger. We hear about leaving coupons on grocery shelves or paying the toll for the next car.  The kind acts from our neighbors bless us, too.

How about your family? Is Mom having a busy day at work? Make dinner for her. Kids having a rough time at school or with friends? Do one of their chores or leave an encouraging note under their pillow. Is Dad’s car dirty. Wash it for him. Call Grammy to let her know you love her. Send Pappaw a funny card. Take a neighbor some peanut butter cookies. Pass the 25 cent Aldi cart on to someone and do not take their quarter. Send someone something without signing your name like flowers, coffee, a gift certificate, or anything to brighten their day. Leave a gift on someone’s porch. Hold the door open for someone. Smile and greet someone you don’t know. If it’s raining, grab an umbrella for someone. Think about making someone else happy. Be nice. Be kind.  Share Jesus’s love.

This Lenten Season are you spreading kindness? Putting a smile on someone’s face without wanting credit? You might never see the person again but the impression you make will stay with them. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask God. Pray that He will lead you to be a blessing to someone today. Let Jesus shine through you. Be gracious to someone. You might like it so much you’ll do it again tomorrow and the next day! Acts of kindness are limitless. The joy they bring is limitless, too. Spread some joy! You’ll get it back, tenfold, at least.

“Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
Matt. 6:4 NLT

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 egg whites
Optional: 1/4 c. chocolate chips

By hand, beat egg whites until frothy; add peanut butter and sugar; blend well. May stir in chocolate chips. Drop on cookie sheet by spoonfuls. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Do not over-bake.

Let’s Get Cookin’ Thursday: “Family is Forever” Amber’s Cornbread Salad

Does your family have big get togethers? The kind where everyone brings a dish or two (or three) and the celebration of just being together with family lasts a long time. Mine does. It started years ago with my Mammaw and continues today. Although it was easier when the children were younger and we didn’t have so many obligations. We still hold fast to our traditions and our family.

Occasionally there will be a squabble or two, but that’s not unusual in families. Large or small families disagree.  The key is not to allow it to get out of hand. Forgive and yes, forget.  Easier said than done, you say?  Well, do you ever ask that same thing?  When you pray the Lord’s Prayer, do you mean it when you ask to be forgiven as you forgive? Or do you want God to forgive you, wash away your sins clean, and forget them? I want that kind of forgiveness. Isn’t that how you want God to forgive you?

What does family mean? It means everything to me. Family is where we go when we don’t know where to go. Family loves us because we are family. Unconditionally.  Whether mad or glad.  Family shares sadness and joys. We share tears of all kinds. Family is forever no matter what. Family is a blessing from God. You do not choose your family. God gives it. Treasure your gift.

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 ESV
Here’s one of our favorite salad recipes. It is requested at every family pitch-in and is in my family cookbook.  You might want to add it to yours.  Enjoy!

Amber’s Cornbread Salad

3 boxes of Jiff cornbread (be sure to add sugar) made a few days ahead of time, cut up and allowed to stale a bit in a big bowl
1.5 pounds of fried, crumbled bacon
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (drained very well)
1 white onion diced
1-2 green bell peppers diced
2-3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Mayo, about 2 c.

Combine all ingredients and add just enough mayo to make it moist (2 cups or so), without being drenched. Garnish with parsley.

This is the original recipe and delicious.  It is also good with a variety of add ins.  Try one or two for a little different taste.

Optional add ins:  corn, black or pinto beans, red pepper, cucumber, celery, black olives