Sunday, October 31, 2010

Menu: November 1-7

I am still thinking about what to make for dinners this week...
  • Monday - Lasagna, side salad, and French bread (I do add a little 2 tablespoons olive oil to this recipe)
  • Tuesday - We will be going out to dinner with my parents before they head home.
  • Wednesday - We will probably be at my MIL and FIL's house for dinner.
  • Thursday - Pork Loin Roast, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes.
  • Friday - Steak with mushrooms and onions, grilled potatoes, and grilled veggies (zucchini, red & green peppers, onions, and garlic)
  • Saturday - We have a college/career's activity doing a "Dinner Impossible" mission for a church function. I am really looking forward to seeing how the "chefs" pull this one off!
  • Sunday - I had planned to make Roast Sticky Chicken, mashed butternut squash (with a little brown sugar, butter, and spices), dinner rolls, and corn. But if my oven is still not in working order by Sunday, I will plan to make a double batch of White Chicken Chili and then freeze half of it for a meal in the future.
For more meal ideas, check out my complete listing.

31 Days of Praise: October 31

I have been thinking this week about how truly blessed we are as a family. We have three beautiful, healthy children, a roof over our heads, running cars in the garage and driveway, clothes on our backs, shoes on our feet, food on our table, and money in our bank account. We have more "stuff" than we could ever need! Today I praise God for His overall blessing on our family even though we do not deserve it.

I am reminded of a song that my grandpa used to sing to us - "Thank You Lord, For your Blessings on Me"
(written by The Easter Brothers).

Verse I
As the world looks upon me, as I struggle along
They say I have nothing, but they are so wrong
In my heart I’m rejoicing, how I wish they could see
Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me

Chorus
There’s a roof up above me
I’ve a good place to sleep
There’s food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me

Verse II
Now I know I’m not wealthy, and these clothes , they’re not new
I don’t have much money, but Lord I have you
And to me that’s all that matters, though the world cannot see
Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me

Repeat Chorus, then:
Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 Days of Praise: October 30

Today the hubby and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. I am so thankful that God was the One who brought us together and has really given us a wonderful marriage. We can honestly say that we have never truly argued over anything (bickered - yes, argued - no). I love my hubby more today then when we got married and believe that I will love him even more in another 6 years.

We did get to go out for dinner and shopping, just the two of us, while my cousin watched our munchkins. It was a nice time to be alone with each other! :o)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

I have been wanting to try my hand at red beans and rice for a while and finally got the chance to make some for dinner tonight. I got a basic recipe from allrecipes.com and made some changes - turned it into a one pot dish and made some lower fat changes.
  • 1 pound dry kidney beans
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable stock + 2 cups water (I prefer beef)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or 1 whole cayenne pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 3 cups hot-to-boiling water
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • hot sauce to taste (I used 1 tablespoon during cooking and then added some to my bowl later)
Directions
  1. Rinse beans, and then soak in a large pot of water overnight. Or bring them to a boil with some water in a large saucepan, boil for 2 minutes, cover, and remove from heat. After 1 hour, drain and rinse the beans. 
  2. Rinse beans, and place in a large pot along with the stock and 2 cups water. Season with bay leaves, cayenne pepper, thyme, sage, parsley, Cajun seasoning, salt, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Stir rice, sausage, onion, bell pepper, garlic, celery and hot water into beans, cover, and continue to simmer for 60 minutes. Serve with some fresh bread.

    31 Days of Praise: October 29

    Today I woke feeling very sick (probably just morning sickness) but the Lord answered my prayers and all 3 munchkins took their naps, which meant that I got one too! It may seem like such a small thing to be thankful for in this day and age, but as the mother of a 3, 2, and 1 year old it is rare to have the chance for a nap even when it is necessary to your well-being.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 27-28

    October 27 -
    I am thankful for God's faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23 reminds us, "...great is Thy faithfulness." He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear with His help - "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." I Corinthians 10:13
    October 28 -
    I am thankful for opportunities to minister to others. Throughout my lifetime, God has blessed with people who have ministered to my needs. These people have ministered to me beyond what I could ever deserve and because of it I look forward to ministering to others. It's like a domino effect, someone ministered to someone else, who then ministered to me, and I, in turn, seek to minister to someone else. As the song says, "There IS joy in serving Jesus!"

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 26

    The weather is a bit dreary today - lots of wind and rain off-and-on. I had to run a couple of errands earlier today and was reminded to be thankful for two running vehicles that are completely paid off. I do enjoy walking to both the store and post office with the kids when the weather is nice but I don't think I'd like having to do it all the time because of not having a second vehicle.

    Acorn Squash Slices

    I wanted to try something new with squash as a side dish. I've made sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash, mashed squash with brown sugar and butter, etc. I came across this idea from allrecipes.com but made some changes to it.
    • 1 medium acorn squash
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
    • 1-2 tablespoons water
    Directions
    1. Wash squash. Cut in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. 
    2. Cut each half crosswise into 1" slices. Place slices in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
    3. Sprinkle with seasonings. Combine syrup, water, and butter; pour over squash. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until tender.


    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Baked Potato Soup

    One of the ladies from my church brought this delicious potato soup to the Ladies Retreat over the weekend. I am a huge fan of potato soup and have never been able to get it quite right. I am very glad she was willing to share this recipe so that I could finally make some great potato soup!
    • 4 large baking potatoes *(read "Note" below)
    • 2/3 cup butter
    • 2/3 cup flour
    • 6 cups milk 
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
    • 12 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled, and divided (I use a whole pound)
    • 4 green onion, chopped and divided
    • 1 (8 oz) carton sour cream
    Directions
    1. Wash potatoes, prick several times with a fork. Bake at 400 for 1 hour or until done; cool. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, and reserve. Discard shells.
    2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute; stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.
    3. Stir in potato, salt, pepper, 1 cup cheese, 1/2 cup bacon, and 2 Tbsp green onions; cook until heated (do not boil). Stir in sour cream; cook just until heated (do not boil). Sprinkle servings with remaining cheese, bacon, and green onions. Yield: 10 cups
    NOTE: I have used baked potatoes (most time consuming), boiled yukon, gold, red potatoes, and even a bag of frozen hashbrowns (thawed) when in a pinch. I usually just peel and dice up a lot of potatoes, cook them all by boiling in water with chicken bouillon for added flavor, and put some through a "ricer", adding bulk and creaminess to the soup base. I like lots of potato chunks, so I use more than 4 potatoes, but I don't know exactly how many to tell you. Honestly, as long as there are potatoes in the soup SOMEHOW, it will be fine. FInd what works for you. (You can also use a jar of REAL bacon bits in a pinch.) One and a half times THIS recipe will fill a large crockpot (like at Ladies Retreat) to the top.
    I have shared this recipe exactly as I received it. I used 3 cups evaporated skim milk and 3 cups regular skim milk, turkey bacon, and 6 oz. light sour cream (instead of the 8 oz. regular)  to cut down on some of the calories. I also cut the butter and flour down to 1/2 cup each. It was just a tasty as the original with a little less calories and fat. 

    31 Days of Praise: October 24-25

    On Sunday (October 24), I was reminded to be thankful for my freedom to worship. We had a special speaker at church who spoke on getting involved in our government to help maintain this freedom.

    Today I am thankful for a cancelled fitting. I had a fitting scheduled for 10:30am and woke up feeling pretty icky with morning sickness (and that's even after going back to bed when the hubby left). I quickly tried to finish straightening up the house and finished at about 10:10am. Then my fitting called to say she wouldn't be able to make and was calling to reschedule. Now my house is fairly clean and I can take some time this afternoon to get a little rest and hopefully feel better. :o)

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Menu: October 24-31

    I shall try to get this week's menu up before Monday but I haven't gotten a lot of sleep in the last couple of days...

    31 Days of Praise: October 23

    I spent over 24 hours away from the cares of home. It was a great time of spiritual refreshment and fellowship being at our church's Ladies' Retreat. I got to spend time with some great women who are wonderful examples of godliness.

    I am thankful for all of the godly women in our church who have been great examples to me in my walk with God. These women have encouraged me as a young wife and mother, and I cannot say in words how much I truly appreciate them.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 22

    While reading Psalm 51 this morning, I was reminded of God's mercy and forgiveness. Being human, I mess things up, I sin against others and against God, and I am not perfect. I need forgiveness many times a day, which is why I am so very thankful that God forgives and shows mercy. I was reminded of Psalm 103 when thinking about and praising God for His forgiveness to me.
    The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.               Psalm 103:8-18
    I have another thing to be thankful for today. I am extremely thankful for my husband (I know that I've mentioned him before) and his willingness to take care of all three of the munchkins so that I can go to our church's Ladies' Retreat today and tomorrow. I did bake a Caramel Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake to bring with me and will post the recipe later. I also made some Chocolate Cheerio Treats to leave for the kiddos (same recipe as Rice Krispie Treats, only using chocolate Cheerios instead of Rice Krispies).

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 21

    I was reading in Psalm 49 today during my devotions and saw something that I have never noticed before. This particular Psalm speaks of the brevity of material gain and its worthlessness in eternity. In verses 6-7, we are told that our riches cannot redeem us. Then verses 9-20 remind us that earthly honor, social stature, and material wealth only last until we die. At death we can "carry nothing away" with us.

    I've said all this as a background to what I am thankful for today. Psalm 49:15 says, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah." It matters not what earthly gain or prestige I may amass on this earth as I cannot take it with me. The grave may take away these earthly riches but it has no eternal hold on me because of my salvation. One day I will be received of God to spend an eternity with Him in heaven, and for this I am thankful.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 20

    Psalm 48:14 - "For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death." 


    As I was reading Psalm 48 in my devotions, I was encouraged by this last verse of the chapter. I am so thankful that God will guide us if we submit to Him. God always has our best in mind and will never lead us astray. He may allow us to go through heartaches and hard times, but it is always for our ultimate good and the glory of God. There is such peace in knowing this and allowing Him to direct my steps.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 19

    As some of you may have guessed from my Name that Sound post, we are expecting child #4. I am not due until the end of June 2011 so I have a long way to go. I have been really struggling with "morning" (more like all day) sickness and fatigue, which shouldn't, but is, making it difficult for me to remember to praise the Lord by "In everything give thanks."

    To help remind myself of the need to be thankful and praise the Lord I have been trying to praise Him for the very thing the I am struggling with each day. Today I am thankful for the gift of being able to "grow" a new life. I truly believe that the ability to bear children is a special gift that God has given to women. I am not in any way demeaning women who are barren or have never been able to carry a child full-term. I am, however, reminding those of the female gender that they have been uniquely and specially created by God.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 18

    Today I am thankful for technology. I like having hot water at the turn of a knob and indoor toilets. I'm glad that I don't have to wash my clothes by hand and can dry them in a dryer if I so choose. Having the option to send a note to someone instantly versus waiting months for a letter from overseas, and a million other things. There are many things my great-grandparents did not have that I often take granted and for these I am thankful.

    Name that Sound

    Here is the sound of something in the oven. Can you guess what it is?

    Hint: I always over-bake this and it often causes heartburn, but it's worth it.

    video

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 17

    I am thankful for the love of God. He knew me and loved me before I was even conceived. He knows the number of hairs (including grays) on my head. His love is unconditional and I was reminded of this in one of the Psalms I was reading.

    Menu: October 18-23

    I'm starting the menu a little earlier than usual because I actually have a couple of ideas for this menu. I promise to finish it before next week.
    • Jambalaya - I substitute Smoked Turkey Sausage for regular Smoked Sausage to cut down on the fat content.
    • Stuffed Peppers (Piggly Wiggly has green peppers on sale this week for .99/lb and red peppers for $1.49/lb, which aren't the best prices but pretty good for this time of the year.)***
    • We may be eating dinner with my MIL and FIL on Wednesday like we usually do.
    • Crustless Spinach Quiche and roasted potatoes - I love doing "breakfast for dinner" and quiche is one of my favorite things to make for it. (Yes, I moved this here from last week's menu.)
    • Friday night I will be at a Ladies Retreat (YIPPEE) so the hubby will be making dinner for the kiddos and watching them from around Noon on Friday until Saturday afternoon. :o)
    • Saturday night we may be going to a missions dinner that some friends from the hubby's work invited us to.
    • California Medley Soup and dinner rolls - I love this recipe but haven't had a chance to make it since we started watching our calories. I am going to attempt to alter this recipe to make it lower in calorie than it currently is. All of the veggies needed for this recipe are on sale at Piggly Wiggly and Pick-n-Save this week. 
    ***Spur of the moment menu change. I decided to switch our the stuffed peppers for Curry Chicken Soup and Naan (I am going to attempt the kneading/rising stages in the bread machine to help save me some time).

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 16

    Today I am thankful for the added strength God provides when we ask for it. The hubby and I have been working really hard to lose weight, eat healthy and get in shape over the last 4 months. We have both struggled with being overweight most of our lives and this summer we came to realize that it was due mainly to our inability to say "No" to ourselves. We have since really worked at learning and praying for temperance. God has given us the strength to control our bad eating habits and this week we both hit milestones. The hubby hit the 54 lb mark on Thursday and is almost halfway to his final weight loss goal. Today, I hit the 21 lb mark and am a third of the way to my final weight loss goal.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 15

    I have been cleaning out my girls' closet - putting away the summer clothes and replacing them with the Fall and Winter ones. I have packed up 3 large diaper boxes for the attic and have 3 even bigger boxes to hang up or put in their dresser. 

    Today, I am thankful that my children have more than they really need as far as clothing goes and especially that I did not have to pay for 90% of their clothes. God has worked it out that one of my sister's daughters and one of the girls at church are about the same size and give most of their hand-me-downs to me for Miss Evelyn. I also get lots of clothes for Miss Amelia as one of my sister's girls was born at the same time of year only 3 years earlier. There is also a little boy at church who is a year older than Reagan and we get most of his hand-me-downs. All this and my kids still get new clothes for Christmas and Birthdays from our immediate family! God has surely provided for us above and beyond what we need.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 14

    Yesterday, I got a phone call from my dad. He was just calling to let me know that he was proud of me. Today I am thankful for a Dad who has always been a patient and steady rock to lean upon. He is one of the best listeners that I know of when you need someone to talk to or share a problem/burden with. He is full of wisdom and gives good advice. He has always encouraged me to do the best that I can with what I have.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 13

    How time seems fly lately. We are almost into the middle of the month already.

    October 13 - I am thankful for the power of prayer. James 5:16b, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Throughout my life there have been many times where I have witnessed the power of prayer. Here are just a few.

    I had to have a couple of emergency surgeries and a week's stay in the hospital my sophomore year of college. As a poor college student, I didn't have the money to pay for it and our insurance only covered 75% of a over $40k medical bill. God heard my prayers and the hospital's charity agreed to cover all but $3,500 of the bill.

    When our first child was born, he wouldn't stop bleeding after his circumcision and was rushed to a NICU almost an hour away from our house. My husband and I were terrified and I still get a little choked up thinking about it. Our family, friends, and church family began praying with us for his recovery. The doctors ran so many tests but couldn't figure out what the problem was. Miraculously his blood started clotting after only 2 platelet transfusions and he was able to come home at a week old. The doctors told us that there was no way he should have recovered as quickly as he did. We know that it was all God's doing.

    Twenty-six months ago we decided to stop using credit to buy things and to start paying off debt with a vengeance. I was scared to do it as we'd just had our second child and with two in diapers it wasn't cheap. We want to be debt free by the time we enter full-time ministry and have been praying that the Lord would help us to accomplish this goal. We've gone from over $34k worth of debt (not including our mortgage) down to $16k in that time and have not used a credit card or taken out a loan since September 2008. God has supplied with pay raises, bonuses, etc. to help us get this far and to help us continue our endeavor to be debt free.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 12

    Today I praise God for the friends that He has placed in my life throughout the years who have helped to strengthen and encourage me. I know that I would not be where I am today if it had not been for these faithful friends.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Menu: October 11-17

    After all the hurry and scurry of last week and still cooking almost every meal, I almost feel like not cooking at all this week. However, I know that would not be a wise decision for our wallets or waists so here is the beginning of the menu for this week. I did have one meal from last week that I did not use because I had forgotten that we would be attending a birthday party on Saturday.
    • Spinach Feta Pizza - I will be using pre-made dough this time but if'd like to make your own here is my recipe for pizza dough.
    • Spinach and Tomato Tortellini - I will try to get my version of this recipe up this afternoon but cannot make any promises. Here is the original recipe for now.
    • Wednesday - my MIL made a delicious pan of Chicken-n-Biscuits. Yummmm!
    • Slow Cooker Venison Steaks, garlic mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots.
    • Grilled tuna steaks (salt and peppered then grilled on a cedar plank), grilled turkey bacon wrapped asparagus, tossed salad (spinach, green leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, carrots, and sliced mushrooms), Mushroom and Spinach Soup, and Slow Cooker apple crisp (I'll try to post the recipe later this afternoon) - I sent the breakfast-for-dinner meal over to next week's menu because the hubby is going to be grilling tonight. We are having some friends over for dinner. :o)
    • Peppery Beef Sandwiches - I'm using the leftover venison steaks and shredding them for the sandwiches.
    • Saturday we will be taking our college/career group to the symphony and out for dinner. I will be making some type of pasta dish for the sitter and kiddos - either taco-style Mac'n'Cheese or a spaghetti bake.
    Interesting Fact: Did you know that eating cooked spinach can be more nutritious than eating it raw? Also, adding some form of citrus into a dish along with spinach helps with absorption of its nutrients. 

    Your Turn: What are your thoughts on spinach? Love it? Hate it? Cooked or raw? Got a yummy recipe with spinach you'd like to share?

    31 Days of Praise: October 10-11

    It has been a busy and fun filled weekend, which is why I haven't posted anything until now.

    • October 10 -
      I am thankful for God's provision above and beyond what we need. While I was attending Bible college quite a few years ago, I would hear of these stories where a school bill would be miraculously paid off by an anonymous donation or something very similar to that after the student had prayed for God's provision. I would always pray about God supplying the funds and He always answered my prayer...with more work hours, a new sewing job, etc. 2 years ago we stopped using credit cards completely (trust me, it was not an easy step for me) and started budgeting (something neither my husband or I had ever done). We have been working really hard to pay off our debts as well and have now paid off over $17,000 of it. There have been times where God would allow my husband to get bonuses at work and then others like what happened on Friday. Yes, you guessed it, I got another sewing job. I have a very simple FREE website for my sewing business, Sew Me Creations, and also a few FREE listings on wedding planning sites and web directories. With all of these being freebies, I don't generally get a lot of business from them. With that said, I received a phone call on Friday from a lady who lives over an hour away who was in need of a seamstress but couldn't find anyone in her price range close by (most were between 2 and 3 times higher than her budget allowed). She asked if I could send her an estimate and said she would call me back after she'd looked it over. I sat down, looked at the photographs she'd sent and wrote up an estimate, which was much higher than I thought she would be interested in paying but to my surprise she called back almost begging me to work on her dress. Over the last month, I have received a minimum of one sewing job a week. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
    • October 11 -
      I am thankful for the wonderful family that God gave to my husband and now to me. I'm pretty confident that I have the world's best set of in-laws a person could have. Many times I know that I take them for granted but was reminded today of how great they really are.

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 9

    Yesterday was a bit rough as my 3 1/2 year old decided that he did not want to take a nap. Yes, he did need one. There were a few times when I lost patience with him. We didn't get home till late and then he was up this morning by 7:30. I was thinking to myself how frustrating it was and then the Lord reminded me of His mercy and grace - that His mercy is NEW every morning. I am so thankful for God's mercy toward me and that it is new every morning. Take a look at Lamentations 3:21-26.

    Your Turn: What are you praising God for today? Is there a specific attribute of God that you are particularly thankful for today?

    Chicken Tortellini Soup

    I love homemade chicken noodle soup but have never gotten quite right when making it myself. I decided to give it a try again but to try a few new things this time.
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 3 carrots, washed and chopped (don't peel it)
    • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
    • 1 small summer squash or zucchini
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil)
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley)
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano)
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 9 oz. Buitoni Tortellini
    Directions
    1. In a stock pot or large saucepan, heat oil in saucepan, then add the onion, carrots, celery, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for 8-10 minutes.
    2. Add seasons, spices, and broth. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Add summer squash/zucchini and tortellini. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and enjoy.  
    A bowl of Chicken Tortellini Soup along with some Parmesan (Herb) Bread.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 8

    Day #8 - I praise God for the messes that my kids create.

    Today is my major cleaning day of the week. This is the day that I try to get all of the rooms swept, dusted, straightened up, etc. so that they are nice and clean for the weekend, which is generally when we have people over. While trying to vacuum the rugs this morning with a fussy, teething 1 year old clinging tightly to my leg, I was reminded of something that an elderly lady from church shared with me one day.

    I had a particularly rough week this spring with the munchkins and happened to bump into this dear lady from church. She mentioned to me how cute the kids were and I commented a bit negatively on the work it takes to raise 3 children that are 3 and under. She replied with a story about a time when she was a newly saved young mother of 3 small children. She was attending a Bible study with another church lady and commented to the hostess on how immaculate the home was and how she wished she could get her home to stay that clean. The hostess thanked her for the compliment and then very graciously replied that she was never able to have children and would love to have a few to clean up after. She reminded me to be thankful for the messes because it means that I have people in my life for which to care.

    Your Turn: What will you choose to praise God for today?

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Homemade Mushroom & Spinach Soup

    I came up with this recipe as a side dish for my soup and sandwich combo (Mediterranean Chicken Wraps).
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2/3 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 
    • 3 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves (about 2 cups)
    Directions
    1. In saucepan, heat oil, add mushrooms, garlic, onion, and pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent (5-8 minutes). 
    2. Add salt, pepper, beef broth, and soy sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.
    3. Add spinach and stir until coated with broth. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
    You can also add carrots and celery if you prefer.

    31 Days of Praise: October 7

    I love to cook, bake, sew, and many other "domestic" things. Today, I am praising God for a mother who took the time to teach a very inquisitive and pesky little girl how to do these things. She was very patient with me and let me experiment with dinner on many a night.

    Your Turn: What are you praising the Lord for today?

    Southern Sweet Potato Bread

    I was looking for a way to use up some leftover sweet potatoes and decided to attempt some Southern Sweet Potato Bread. I had to put a "northern" girl's spin on it but they still turn out moist and flavorful, which equals delicious in my book!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 6

    Today, I was thinking of and praying for many friends and acquaintances going through major health problems. On this day 6, I praise God for my health and the health of my immediate family. In our almost 6 years of wedded bliss, God has spared us from many major medical issues and for this I am truly thankful.

    Your Turn: What are you praising the Lord for today?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    31 Days of Praise: October 1-5

    I am currently reading the Psalms in my daily devotions and with it being the month before Thanksgiving, I have decided to write down something to praise the Lord for each day of the month. I have been writing them down for my own benefit but thought I would share them with you as an encourage for you to praise the Lord. I will be posting days 1-5 in this post and then individual posts for the rest of the days.

    October 1 - God has provided me with home, a roof over my head and a protection from the elements.

    October 2 - We both have jobs and a steady income. I know so many families that have been affected by job loss or pay cuts.

    October 3 - I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who works hard to support our family so that I can work very limited hours and be home with our children most of the time.

    October 4 - I read Psalm 32 today and verse one was such a great reminder to me of something that I am truly thankful for, my salvation. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."

    October 5 - I am so thankful for the children that God has entrusted to my care. They are normal kids and, yes, they frustrate and tire me out, but I am reminded that they are a gift from the Lord. I know so many women who have been unable to carry children of their own and experience the joy of hearing a little one say, "I love you, mom," for the first time. All too often I find myself complaining about these little blessings instead of praising God for them.

    Your turn: What will you praise the Lord for today and each day of this month?

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Menu: October 4-10

    I'm not sure if anyone has noticed but I have started planning my menus from Monday-Sunday vs. Sunday-Monday. I am finding it harder to write menus on Friday or Saturday than on Sunday or Monday mornings. Also, our church's Missions Conference begins on Wednesday and goes through Sunday so I will be making a few dishes that can be transported for consumption away from home. Here is my menu for the week:

    **I ended up making Chicken Tortellini Soup instead.

    Mediterranean Chicken Wraps

    A friend and I went out to lunch today (yes, I took the kids with us). We decided to eat at Noodles & Company as neither of us had been there in quite some time (it is also fairly kid friendly food-wise). I had their Med Duo (a Mediterranean chicken flat-bread with choice of soup or salad - I did the tomato bisque, YUM). I want to attempt this dish so bad because you can make it fairly healthy and it is so delicious. Here is the list of ingredients:
    • 1 batch flatbread (10-12)
    • spinach
    • spicy Greek yogurt sauce (Tzatziki)
    • grilled/baked chicken strips (just a few)
    • sauted red peppers, mushrooms and purple onions
    • cilantro
    • feta cheese
    Layer the ingredients on the center of the flatbread or wrap in this order:
    1. 8-10 Spinach leaves
    2. 3-4 Chicken strips
    3. Yogurt sauce (no more than a Tablespoon)
    4. Pepper, mushroom, and onion mix (about 1/4 cup)
    5. Cilantro, minced and sprinkled sparingly
    6. Feta (no more than a Tablespoon)