Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And we have to be at the ball park how many nights this week?

Ecclesiates 3: 1 - 8
There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

Time is about to be a issue here in Macon.  We are about to be in ball season. It is a phenomenon.  It is a high priority here and we are at the ball park several times a week depending on how many children you have.  Here are some recipes that can help with ball park night.

Beef Tips and Gravy
Brown one package of stew meat in a skillet.  Put into a Crock Pot and cover with a large can of chicken broth and 1 chicken broth can of water.  Set the Crock Pot on low for about 6 to 8 hours.  When you are ready to serve, take a potato masher and break the stew meat into small pieces and mix up the gravy.  Serve over cooked rice, cooked noodles or my favorite mashed potatoes.  Don't have time for real mashed potatoes, try Ore Ida Cut Russet Potatoes in the frozen food section.  Follow package directions.

Taco Soup
Brown one pound ground beef and put into Crock Pot.  Add 1 package of taco seasoning mix, and one package of Ranch dressing mix, 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (you can decide how hot you want it), 2 small cans of corn, 1 can of pinto beans, 1 can of black beans, and 1 can of light red kidney beans (drain all cans of beans) and one carton of beef broth.  Set Crock Pot to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours.  Serve with corn bread, sour cream and shredded cheese.  I purchased a small Crock Pot and I use this recipe when friends are in need of a meal.  I can just put all the ingredients in a ziploc bag and deliver the Crock Pot.  They have a piping hot dinner ready when they want it.


Irish Blessing
May the roads rse to meet you
May the winds always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon you face
The rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand

One of the most treasured memories that I share with my children is 10+ years of choir tours.  We have been from Canada, Mexico, San Francisco, Vegas to the Bahamas and all places in between.  One of my most fond memories is our dining experience at the Grand Canyon.  We had 50+ people on this trip and we decided to have a cookout.  We cooked hot dogs on small aluminum grills in front of our cabins.  Here are some of the dips we had on this trip.

Use one large container of sour cream, one large jar of salsa and 1 tbsp of garlic.  Mix well and serve with tortilla chips.  Just like the name says, it is a staple of the snacks we have at Vacation Bible School.

French Onion Dip
Use one large container of sour cream.  Mix in one package of Knorr French Onion Soup mix.  Serve with potato chips.

Another favorite dip of our family is Tha Dip.  My daughter has requested this for her birthday dinner for several years.

Tha Dip
1 large brick of Velvetta cut into cubes
1 can Rotel tomatoes (as hot as you like)
1 package of sausauge (use your favorite)  Take the casing off and brown like hamburger meat.  Use a slotted spoon to get the grease off before adding to Velvetta and tomatoes.
Put in a crock pot and cook on high until melted.  Serve with Tortilla chips.

My Fvorite Spinach Dip
1 10oz.package of frozen spinach thawed.  Squeeze out all excess water.  Put into a medium sized bowl.  Add 2 cups sour cream, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 package of Knorr French Onion Soup Mix, 1 8 oz can of chopped water chesnuts, 1/2 cup on chopped green onions and one dash of garlic powder.  Mix together thoroughly and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.  Serve with Fritos scoops.

Valentine Memories

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails.  I Corinthians 13: 4-8a

Yes, I know that Valentine's Day is over but I wanted to share these recipes with you.  I have a special Valentine's Day memory of a romantic dinner with my husband.  We got all dressed up to go out but as a surprise I had already bought dinner and brought it home.  It was from the Sassafras Tea Room on Ingleside Ave.  We had salad, quiche and chocolate chip pie.  Please enjoy these recipes.

Basic Quiche Recipe
1 pie shell (Use frozen and prepare according to unfilled pie shell directions - Kroger brand is the best)
Quiche mixture
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of cream, 1/2 and 1/2 or milk
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter

Beat eggs and rest of ingredients.  Place butter in small dots around the top of quiche.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Quiche Fillers
Cooked bacon, crumbles
Diced cooked ham
Diced cooked chicken
Diced cook steak

Squash, yellow or zuchinni

Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Parmesan Cheese

You can mix and match any of your favorites in this recipe.  Use you imagination.  Once the pie shell has come out of the oven, put in your meat, veggies and cheese.  Pour egg mixture over the top.  Dot with butter and bake like above.

I like to make these for gifts and make a bunch at a time.  I use asparagus and tomatoes to decorate the top.  Put a tomato slice in the center and use the asparagus in a spoke pattern on the top.  They look very gourmet and orignial.

Sassafras Tea Room Chocolate Chip Pie
1 cup margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
4 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
2 frozen pie shells

Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl.  Pour into 2 pie shells.  Bake at 350 degrees approximately 45 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

I like to make multiples of these recipes and sharing with friends.

Chocolate Raspberry Bars with White Chocolate and Almonds by Giada De Laurentis

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.  In a small saucepan, stir 2/3 cups of raspberry jam over low heat until pourable about 1 minute.

In a large bowl, blend together one box of Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1/4 cup of water and beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Spoon the melted jam over the top of the brownies. Using a spatula, swirl the jam into the brownie mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted 1 inch from the edge of the pan comes out clean.  Spread with 3/4 cup of melted white chocolate chips.  Srpinkle with  1/2 cup of salted chopped almonds.  Cool then cut and enjoy

More birthday party treats to take to school

Matthew 18: 2-5
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

One year when my child was in elementary school, we decided to make a special treat for the day.  My good friend Lisa and I made marshmallow pops.

Marshmallow Pops
You will need long sucker sticks, you can get these from Walmart or Michael's in the cake making section.  Put 3 large marshmallows on the stick.  Melt some vanilla or chocolate bark.  Dip the marshmellows into the bark and lay on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.  While pops are cooling, spinkle with colored sprinkles and put in refrigerator to finish cooling and setting.  When the pops are cool, wrap in plastic wrap.

Shaped Rice Krispie Treats
Make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats. (Melt 3 tbsp of butter or margarine in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add 1 package regular marshmallows or 4 cups of minature marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  Mix in 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal.  Stir until well coated.  Spread into a 13 x 9 pan coated with cooking spray.)   When the rice krispies are ready, use a cookie cutter to make the shaped design.  Put on a sucker stick.  Wrap in plastic wrap to complete the package.

I made butterfly rice krispie shaped treats for a Thumblina party.  I added pink and blue sprinkles to the mixture when I added the Rice Krispies to the marshmallow mixture.  They were adorable.  Just use your imagination!!!  An old saying says that people may not remember you but they will remember how you made them feel.. Spend a little time making something special for your child this week.

Birthday Cakes and Treats

For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13-14

Birthdays are a special time especially if you are a child.  I have a couple of birthday cake recipes that you might want to try for that special occasion. I got the first recipe from Vineville Baptist Church Preschool.  They had this cake for a Mother's Day event and it was so good, I had to have the recipe.  I got it the day of the event.  It is on a purple piece of paper in my recipe binder written with a lime green marker.

One box of Duncan Hines white cake mix.  Prepare cake according to package instructions except use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of water.  It makes it taste like homemade cake.  For the frosting, use one stick of unsalted butter softened, 1 box of 10x powered sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla.  Add milk as you mix it up to the consistency you like for frosting.

I have used this recipe for my children's cakes and just put different themes on top of the cake.  It has been a Spiderman cake, a dinosaur cake and even a dancer cake.

One of my chilren's other favorite cakes is a Cookie Cake.  I use a large tube of refrigerated cookie dough and spread it in a round pizza pan.  I cut the tube of dough into pieces and spread it out over the pizza pan with my fingers.  When the cookie is done, I spread ready made chocolate or vanilla frosting over the top and sprinkle with mini M&M's.  It is so yummy.  I always have a request for a cookie cake for someone's birthday.

Another cake that is a favorite for my family is a Caramel Cake.  I make the cake from above using a Duncan Hines yellow cake mix.  After the cake is cooled, I spread a caramel frosting on top.

Southern Living Caramel Frosting
3 cups of sugar, divided
3/4 cup milk
1 beaten egg
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, cut up

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan; place over medium heat.  Cook stirring constantly until mixture is a golden brown. Combine remaining 2 1/2 cups of sugar, milk, egg, and salt.  Stir well.  Add cut up butter and add to melted sugar.  Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until a it registers 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. (about 15 to 20 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.  Beat with a wooden spoon until it is spreading consistency (about 5 minutes).  Spread on cooled cake.  Work quickly because it tends to cool fast and is like candy.

Another favorite frosting is Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Cream 1 1/2 cups of softened butter at medium speed of an electric mixer.  Gradually add 4 cups of sifted powered sugar and 1/4 cup of cocoa, beating until light and fluffy.  Add 2 tbsp of milk; beating until spreading consistency.  Stir in 1 tsp of vanilla extract.  Spread on cool cake.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More Salads to Enjoy

Psalm 34:8  Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

One of my favorite salads is Cornbread Salad.  If you have had it, you know what I mean.  I can make the cornbread ahead of time and just take put it together in my office.  We have it for lunch in our office during the summer.  It is so good!!!

Cornbread Salad

Bake one box of Jiffy cornbread as directed on the box.  Let cool.  Put a layer of lettuce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan.  I use romaine but you can use your favorite.  Next open a can of black beans and drain well.  Put 1/2 the can over the lettuce.  Next open a can of your favorite corn and drain.  I like Green Giant extra sweet yellow corn.  Layer 1/2 the can over the black beans.  Next put 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the corn.  Next put another layer of lettuce, then the rest of the black beans, then the rest of the corn and then another 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Top salad with freshly made ranch dressing (or use a large bottle from the grocery shelf).  Leave refrigerated for about 3 hours.  Take out of refrigerator and toss salad.  Enjoy!!!

Another favorite salad of mine that is very old and I'm sure you've had it is 7 Layer Salad.  We had it at a Christmas party this past year and I remembered why I love it so much.

Seven Layer Salad

Layer lettuce (your choice) in the bottom of a pretty bowl.
Next slice up some celery stalks about 3 or 4.
Next chop up some onion.  I use Vidalia or sweet onions.
Next layer one bag of  thawed frozen peas.  (My favorite ingredient)
Next layer 10 to 12 crispy bacon slices crunched up.
Next layer 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
Top all the layers with ranch dressing.
Refrigerate for several hours.  Take out and toss salad together.  Enjoy!!!

This is versatile salad that you can customize to your taste.  I might add some peppers or tomatoes.  Yum Yum!!


1 Listen to my words, LORD,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
12 For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous;
 you surround them with your favor as a shield

Let the words from Psalm 5: 1-3, 12 wash over your soul and mind today.  I have set out on a journey to lose some weight and get more healthy.  I use this psalm as my prayer each morning.  I want the Lord to help me with my food choices for each meal of the day.  My mind wants to eat chicken nuggets, fries and nachos but my diabetes numbers need for me to eat veggies and limit my starches.  It is a daily uphill battle.  We are currently doing a Bible Study called Made to Crave and I would highly recommend it to you if you struggle with the same kinds of issues as me.  These verses came from the first few chapters and helped me tremendously.

Our recipes of the day are salads and I hope you like them.

Grilled Panzella Salad by Ina Garten

Place a sliced cucumber, 1 chunked tomato, 10 large basil leaves and 3 tbsp of capers in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Brush onion slices, red and yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces with olive oil and grill the veggies on a grill pan or regular grill.  Cut up grilled veggies into bite size pieces and put into bowl with cucumbers.  Take 1/2 loaf of french bread cut into 1 inch thick slices and brush the slices with olive oil.  Grill like the veggies and put into the cucumber bowl.  Toss salad with Girard's Light Champagne Dressing.  It is the bottle shaped like a triangle on the salad dressing row of the grocery store.

How to make the perfect salad from my friend Susan.

Pick a lettuce:  Spinach, Spring Mix, Romaine or your favorite

Pick a fruit:  Pears, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges or your favorite

Pick a nut:  Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts, Candied pecans or your favorite

Pick a meat:  Ham, turkey, chicken, grilled steak, tuna or your favorite.

Toss salad with Girard's Light Champagne Dressing.  Perfect every time.