Monday, December 26, 2011


So today as I sit back and think about all the family fun we've had the past couple of days, I also have been praying for each of you as we celebrated Jesus birthday.

I bet many of you are like us starting Christmas Eve starting our progressive Christmas festivites going from house to house, visiting with family with lots of laughter and sharing stories of the past year, weeks or months since we last got together, enjoying delicious food and exchanging gifts. Christmas is my favorite time of year, the joy of the season, the anticipation of watching the children celebrate, and now it's over for another year but we are able to take Jesus with us and celebrate Him in our lives each and every day. I was blessed this Christmas to spend time with many of you and yes, Santa was very good to me as well.

We are off to enjoy some non-traditional Christmas food, Spaghetti!

Hope you all enjoyed Christmas with family and friends and celebrated the birth of Christ.

Have a blessed day and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the Season of Sweet Treats!

As Christmas draws near I know many of you, like me, find yourselves making your traditional sweet treats to take to every house you visit during the holidays and/or to give as gifts.

This year I cut back my sweet treat selections and made a couple of my favorite and easy recipes that I would like to share with you and I added Reindeer Cupcakes for all the little ones in our family. Unfortunately our camera is broken and can't locate the usb adapter for my phone so no pictures to go along with my post today.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter (soft but not melted)
2 cups peanut butter
chocolate bark

hand mix your peanut butter and butter together, place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds, take out and stir, heat for 30 more seconds, take out and stir. Add powdered sugar, stir until all sugar is blended, it will be stiff. Roll into small balls and place on wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour if not longer.
Heat your chocolate bark in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute, stir, heat for 35 seconds, stir, 30 second, stir, 25 seconds stir until melted but not burned.
Using two spoons, place your peanut butter balls in the chocolate roll over and place covered balls on wax paper. Once all are done, refrigerate until serving. Makes approx 60 balls.

Orange Coconut Balls
1 can frozen orange concentrate
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 stick butter soft
1 package fresh shredded coconut

Stir together and roll into balls. Roll in coconut and place on wax paper. Refrigerate until serving. Makes approx 40-50 balls depending on size of balls.

Reindeer Cupcakes
1 box milk chocolate cake mix (follow directions, use hot water for your water measurement and add 1 large heeping spoon of sour cream to cake mix).
chocolate icing
1 pkg vanilla wafers
1 pkg small prezels
2 single pkgs of m&m's (need brown and red ones)
1 pkg. mini marshmellows

Make 24-30 cupcakes (fill 1/2 full so don't overflow on top when baked). I used holiday cup cake liners. Lightly ice with chocolate icing. Add prezels for antlers. Add a vanilla wafer to each cupcake. Using icing place mini marshmellows for eyes on each vanilla wafer. Add a red or brown m&m, m side down with a dot of icing to hold in place and you have Rudolph and Friends.
Super cute and easy to make. 1 box of cake mix made 30 cupcakes tonight.

Bon Appetit and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hello friends, family and bloggers. Sorry it's been a while since my last post. Life has just been so hectic lately.

Family Update:
Mother and Terry were both in the hospital same week. Terry is fine, Mother is still dealing with prolapse issues but saw a new doctor today and was encouraged. My car is now running to get me to and from work only but at least I can do that. Greg had a setback with his recovery from his auto accident this summer and Mike is doing better with all his heart issues. Brad is busy traveling with work so all is well in his world.

Thankful and Giving Back:
As I hear news of so many friends and family losing jobs due to cut backs and losing homes due to hard times and even have a friend who lost his car to theft, I pray and thank God for all we have and for giving us the ability to help others when we can. So many times I think wow, how much more can I take, really dropping something else in my lap is more than I can handle, but I am still very lucky and have to remind myself of that and know God is by my side at all times. If you are feeling down, know that God is by your side, holding you hand or holding you up. Sending prayers and blessings your way.

Have you thought of others this Christmas Season? Bless others around you! Your coworker may not be able to have christmas for their child or even pay their utilities-help them out; your neighbor may not have family in town and would love an invite to join your family for Christmas; invite your coworkers, neighbors, family and friends to join you at Church. Think of others and how the little things make go a long way in anothers life. Give back this holiday season!

Hope you remember the reason for the season and have a blessed day!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Praising God (especially when you think you can't take anything else)

The old saying "when it rains, it pours" comes to mind when I think of the past week. It's one I don't want to re-live ever again. I'm praising God and thanking him for renewed strength. Here's a brief look into my week...

My car died - officially as of last Sunday, time to look at replacement but new isn't in the budget so going shopping for a gently used SUV in the mean time and then maybe in the next year or so upgrading. With this said, Terry has been taking me to and from work for almost two weeks. This too is getting old. I like the independence of my own transportation.

My Mother has had uterine and bladder prolaspe since October and has he outpatient surgery postponed twice. An ultrasound showed irregular findings which turned into a D&C and Hysteroscopy (camera view), her BP has been very high so the cardiologist required admission and overnight stay at house. The "C" word has been discussed by the doctor prior to this week’s procedure but we won't know anything until the biopsy results come in next week. The good news is the Doctor said her uterus looking good considering the ultrasound results. If all is well and nothing contains the big "C" then she will be scheduled to get a bridge device to set things back where they belong. She is very uncomfortable and has lots of pain in the back and legs because of the 2 displaced organs. Please remember her in your prayers.

So I get home Thursday evening from being with Mom at hospital and the first time I've been home since Monday to find he needs to go to the ER with his heart. So off the ER we go at 9:30 pm Thursday, he is admitted at 2:30 am and his heart was in a-fib, irregular racing heartbeat. They were able to trip it back to normal rhythm with medication and we didn't get home until 10:00 Friday night.

I am praising God that Terry's heart is back in rhythm and that my Mom is home recovering. I am really praising God that I actually got a good night’s sleep last night, first time in 5 days.

Remember God never gives us more than we can handle, even when we think we can't take anything else; he is there for us to lean on and renew our strength. Today I am renewed and ready for a new adventure, hopefully one that does not involve a doctor or the hospital.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What are you Giving?

It's here, the Christmas Season! We all have been busy decking the halls, checking out black friday deals and wrapping the gifts we already purchased just to get them out of the closets and under the tree. We are working on our Christmas Cards and working on the Christmas Shopping List. Have you thought to take time to Remember the Reason for the Season?

I ask each of you to take a few minutes, read the Christmas Story (Luke Chapter 2) in the bible, share this story with your family and friends. This IS the REASON for the Christmas Holiday Season.

We were given a Gift, the son of God, Jesus Christ born in a stable to Mary and Joseph. How are you sharing this gift? Not only is it our responsibility to share the story of Jesus with others, we need to think about others.

I just read a blog by a woman who is doing just that; she is passing it forward ( She recommended taking a bag of goodies with you wherever you go this holiday season and spreading God's love. Give the person that gives you your order at the drive-thru window a piece of candy with a sweet note attached. Give the "cookie lady" at the grocery store a bundle of flowers. Give the person checking you out in that busy department store a candy cane and a smile. It doesn't take a lot of money, it's the little things that go a long way to make someone smile and make them feel appreciated. You can make gift tags and add to your tokens you hand out with the Scripture reference for the Christmas Story or just add God Loves You - Merry Christmas!

Give of yourself this holiday season. We all get busy with work, kids, church activities, parties, shopping and family gatherings. I encourage each of you to Remember the Reason for the Season and Pay it Forward! Share the love of God this holiday season with your kind smile, sweet spirit and gifts of sweet nothings.

Have a blessed day and remember God Loves You!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You've got to try this!!!

Good Evening!

Sorry it's been a few days since my last post, started work a week ago today and it has been busy. I really like it so far so hope that continues. It's one of those jobs where you don't really get a lunch hour, you eat at your desk which makes the day go by fast, you save on eating lunch out and you tend to eat healthier meals. It's a good thing!

I have been trying a variety of recipes from the Skinny Crock Pot group on Facebook and this one is by far my favorite. I never used to like to cook in a crockpot, not really sure the reason why other than recipes I tried never turned out. When we first moved to Florida, we in the move found the crock pot we received as a wedding gift and I decided to make my delicious pot roast recipe in it. Terry said to cook it on low for 8 hours, well it took about 2 days to get tender and it didn't taste anything like the one I made in the oven so I immediately gave up on the crock pot. With age and being adventurous, I have since made many delicious meals.

So back to this recipe. It's for Balsamic Chicken. This morning I put everything in the crock pot before I got ready for work, I have to say it took about 15-20 minutes for me to do it all (I had just woken up so that may have had something to do with the timing). When I left for work at 7:30 I turned the crock pot on low and 9 hours later when I returned home it was perfect, we actually didn't eat until 6:30 so it held up nicely for being in the crock pot all day. I made one change to the Skinny Crock Pot recipe, in lieu of adding the 2 cans of diced tomatoes at the end, I added 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth.

So here is the delicious recipe, be sure to put your items in crock pot in the order of the recipe, it is amazing how it turns out.

4-6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (OR SUB 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth)
1 onion thinly sliced (Not chopped)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
ground black pepper and salt to taste


Pour the olive oil on bottom of crock pot
place in chicken breasts, salt and pepper each breast
put sliced onion on top of chicken
then put in all the dried herbs and garlic cloves
pour in vinegar and top with tomatoes (OR skip the tomatoes and top with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth.

Cook on high 4 hours or cook on low (like I did) for 6-8 hours.

Absolutely delicious! Serve it over pasta or rice. If you'd like you can shred the chicken and serve like a soup. The flavors are incredible. BTW,I used fresh rosemary and a peeled a whole garlic bulb and added all the garlic cloves.

Hope you try it and like it. Have a great week.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sharing a Gift - Snickerdoodles

Sharing a Gift – Snickerdoodles

As you may have read in an earlier post how thrilled I am for my Better Homes & Garden’s Cookbook given to me by my dear friend Tammy Storms many years ago.

I used to make Snickerdoodles from this cookbook on a regular basis for the Storms boys as well as my CPI friends and coworkers when we would go out of town on events. I thought I would share the recipe.

½ cup butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon

In a mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add about half of the flour, the 1 cup of sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat till thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Combine the 2 Tbsp. Sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls into cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake on 375 for 10-11 minutes or till edges are golden. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Makes about 36 cookies.

Snickerdoodles are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. 

Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sharing a Gift - Pumpkin Bread

My dear friend Tammy Storms gave me one of my most favorite gifts ever many years ago in Charlotte, my very first Red & White Checked Better Homes & Garden's Cookbook. Tammy made the most delicious recipes from this cookbook and one day she said she had a surprise for me and had gotten me a copy of my very own.

One of the first things I prepared was Pumpkin Bread which now I like to make as muffins. I am not a big fan of the flavor of pumpkin but love this recipe because it's not too sweet but full of the flavor of the season with added spice. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have over the years.

Pumpkin Bread:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I add 2 tsp. cinnamon)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
14/ tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins(optional)

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, the brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs, shortening.

Beat with electric mixer on low speed til blended, then on high speed for 2 minutes. Add remaining flour, beat well. Stir in nuts and raisins (raisins optional).

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake on 350 for 60-65 minutes ot til toothpick insert in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from the pan, cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

For Muffins, do the same thing except place in greased muffin tins and bake for 35-40 minutes checking center of muffins with toothpick to be sure they are done. Cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes then remove from muffin tin. Makes 12 muffins.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family Traditions - Family Thanksgiving Recipes

As Thanksgiving draws near I thought I would share some of our Family Holiday Recipes with you. Maybe you will try one of ours for your next holiday celebration.

At every family gathering we always seem to be blessed with more food than we can eat at one sitting. We have a family of wonderful cooks and we have several traditional items that we have grown to look forward to each Thanksgiving.

This is the first Thanksgiving since 2005 that Terry and I will be sharing with my family. Over the past 5 years we hosted Thanksgiving with your Destin friends and family, anyone and everyone was welcome each year and it became a tradition. At our Destin Family Thanksgiving we made our family traditional recipes and shared with all that came. With that in mind, there may be new recipes brought to Thanksgiving Dinner with my family but here are just a few that I know are always requested.

Sandra's Corn Casserole
2 cans cream style corn
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tsp. Milk
1 tsp. Flour
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, (crushed)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Mix corn, eggs, bell pepper, milk, flour, and onion well and place in a greased casserole dish, bake on 350 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven add crushed Ritz crakers, then add shredded cheddar cheese on top, back in oven for 5-7 minutes uncovered. Serves 8-10.

Scarlet's Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
5 lb bag of red or white potatoes, washed, peeled cut into pieces)
8 oz cream cheese softened (use 4-6 oz, depending on how creamy you like)
Cavender's Greek Seasoning (to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes on high in a large stock pot for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain water. Add 1/2 of cream cheese mixture and mix with electric mixer, adding milk as needed. Add remaining cream cheese. Mix until creamy, add salt, pepper and Cavanders to taste. You can leave potatoes lumpy if you like. You can also use a hand potato masher in lieu of mixer. At the holidays I typically use my Great Grandmother's Hand Masher to make the mashed potatoes. Optional: Add shredded cheddar cheese on top or sprinkle Paprika on top for a splash of color. Also, you can add fresh pressed Garlic cloves to your cream cheese mashed potatoes as well.

Scarlet's Green Bean Bundles
1/2 stick butter
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Garlic Salt
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 cans whole green beans, drained
1 pd bacon, cut in 1/2

Melt better in sauce pan; add brown sugar, garlic salt and worcestershire sauce. Heat until sugar is melted. Drain beans in a colander. Take a handful of beans (3-4) and wrap with bacon (I cut my bacon in half) tightly securing with a toothpick. Place bundles in a greased casserole (9 x 13) dish in rows. Pour hot butter sauce over the top and bake uncovered on 375 for 30 minutes or until bacon is done.

Grandma-ma's Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (make like reg mashed potatoes)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Mix together and put in a greased casserole dish. Spread *topping and bake uncovered on 350 for 35 minutes.

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 stick butter, softened
1 cup chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts
Mix together crumbly and sprinkle on top of casserole prior to baking.

Grandma-ma's Traditional Cornbread Dressing
1/3 cup butter
1 Tbsp. Sage
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups of cooked crumbled corn bread
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
4 slices of torn white bread

Melt butter in a skillet and saute celery and onions. Combine cornbread, bread, cooked celery and onions, sage, and pepper. Stir in broth and eggs and blend well. Pour into greased 9 x 13 casserole dish and bake until golden brown on preheated oven on 350 for 40-50 minutes. Watch and check to be sure center is done, may take longer, you just don't want the top to burn.

Grandma-ma's Chocolate Eclair Pie/Cake
1 can Milk Chocolate Icing
1 large box of Graham Crackers
1 large box of Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 large cool whip
Milk (according to Pudding recipe)

Mix together vanilla instant pudding as directed. Add in cool whip. Ice graham crackers to fit in bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add 1/2 of pudding mixture. Add another layer of iced graham crackers, add remaining pudding mixture. Add a thick layer of iced graham crackers, covering top of casserole dish. Refrigerate prior to serving. Tastes better if made 12-24 hours in advance.

Sandra's Lemon Ice Box Pie:
1 can Eagle Brand
juice for 6 lemons, squeezed good
2 egg yolks (yellow)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 graham cracker crust (or make your own from crushed vanilla wafer/butter)
8 oz cool whip
Mix eagle brand, lemon juice and egg yolks together. Add vanilla. Pour into graham cracker crust and refrigerate. Top with cool whip.

Jennifer's Homemade Rolls
5 cups flour, separated
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 pkg yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter

Mix 4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix yeast in warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut shortening into flour mixture. Add yeast. Mix just until moist. Add the leftover cup of flour and egggs to the flour mixture and stir vigorously. Rub top of dough with melted better, cover and let rise in a warm place free of drafts for 1 1/2 hours.

Dump dough out on well floured surface (the dough will be really sticky). Sprinkle top of dough with approx 1/4 cup of flour then roll out to 1/4 inch. Cut with a 1 1/2 or 2 inch biscuit cutter. Dip one side of dough in butter and fold over with buttered side out. Put in (4) 9" pans or (2) 9 x 13 pans. Put pans in warm place free of drafts for an hour. Cook at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

I know we have lots more family recipes that we prepare for Thanksgiving but these are just a few to wet your appetite. Remember my challenge, to give thanks each day of November for at least one thing you are thankful for. More recipes to come in future posts, keep reading!

Bon Appetit!

The Spirit of Celebration, Loveliness & Thankfulness

The spirit of celebration finds a natural expression in parties and get togethers, in times of laughter. But the celebrating spirit need not limit itself to party time. The spirit of celebration is for all of our lives.

This means that celebration shows itself in little moments of grace as well as in rambunctious revelry. It smiles in a geranium on a sunlit windowsill as well as in a picnic on the beach. It sighs in satisfaction over a humble task done to God's glory and exhilarates over a creative task completed. Most of all, celebration shines in quite gratitude that God has blessed our homes and our lives with the spirit of loveliness. We celebrate because our lives overflow with things to be thankful for, and because God gives us the eyes to see how incredibly we have been blessed.

There are so many ways to celebrate God's gifts of our lives and our relationships and of himself. We celebrate through our willingness to share, to love each other, to grow. And we celebrate by opening our lives to the Lord and letting His spirit fill our lives with loveliness.

As we approach thanksgiving, many of us have thankfulness on our hearts and minds. Yes, we should be thankful each and every day for all we have and the many blessings God has bestowed on us but sometimes we wait until a holiday like Thanksgiving to give thanks. I challenge each of you to take a moment each day, let's say for the month of November to give thanks for one special thing in your life.

Today, I am thankful for my heavenly family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and thankful that the Lord fills me with His loveliness.

What are you thankful for today? Have you been filled with His spirit of loveliness, His spirit of celebration?

As you ponder what you are thankful for today, tomorrow, next week, next month, remember that His love endures forever and He loves you, just as I do my friend. "I thank God every time I remember you." Phil 1:3.

"Give THANKS to the Lord, His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."
Psalms 107:1-2.

Have a Blessed day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Excited about our Christmas projects this year! As the years go by we have more family, friends and coworkers in our life that we want to share the joy of the season with but are limited with our gift giving.

We decided on homemade gifts for many of our family, friends and coworkers this year and Christmas Project No. 1 is complete and so far looks successful with only one injury - I burned my thumb this morning (thank goodness for silverdine (sp).)

Christmas Project No. 2 to begin this afternoon but already appears I need more of one ingredient.

Christmas if my favorite time of year if you haven't already guessed it by now. I love to celebrate the birth of Christ and share HIS joy, love and peace with others. My goal is to lead by example and hope others see HIS joy in me.

I'm a giver if you haven't noticed by now and I love to give tokens of joy to others to see a smile or make their day, that's just who I am. This year we are sharing our Joy with others in many ways.

I am already in the mood to start playing Christmas music and start decorating the house but will wait...Typically after giving Thanks and spending time with family and friends on Thanksgiving, we pull down the tree and decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving; we will see if I can hold out that long this year.

I had a good 2nd interview today with a Plumbing Company, I know nothing about plumbing but know everything about keeping their Finances and HR straight for them so we will see if this is God's Plan for me. I should hear back by the end of the week.

With that in mind, I am thankful that I started our Christmas Projects, one less thing to worry about. Just have to come up with creative labels, gift tags and wrapping this year. Yes, I am one of those that like themed gifts so they all coordinate under our tree.

Well, I'm going to start working on C/P No.2 so need to go.

Have a blessed day!

I'm going to start posting Thanksgiving Recipes each week between now and Thanksgiving so keep reading the blog. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1 - Getting started!

Happy November First!

Well, the kiddos in our neighborhood last night were less than appreciative but we made it through with only a small amount of candy leftover.

After my interview this morning, I started OPERATION CHRISTMAS PROJECT. As it is November 1 and I may actually have a full time job soon, thought I should get our Christmas Project underway, plus it will taste better (whoops, don't want to give too much away).

This year I am trying something new to me. I am a quick learner but only time will tell on this project. I have to let this sit 24 hours before trying it out so hopefully by this time tomorrow I can give a thumbs up or down. I may have to start a different project if this one is unsuccessful but I am keeping the faith that these will be just marvelous! I'll give you an update tomorrow....

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cruising Results - Week 1

The Amos', Jen and Geoff, along with Terry and I set a goal to start our Lifestyle Plan together as couples on 10-20-11 and our reward is a Cruise together. May we have week 1's results please?

Cruising Results - Week 1: 10-27-11

Team Jenkins (-) 13 pounds
Team Amos (-) 18 pounds
Total Lost (-) 31 pounds, week 1.

Great Job! We lost a 2 year old!!!!

We made a commitment to change our lifestyle and live healthier. We are making healthy choices and seeing results. We are not dieting but committed to a healthier lifestyle.

Keep up the good work Team Amos and I will keep motivating Team Jenkins as well.

Have a Blessed and Healthy Day!

Jump Start

I love getting a jumpstart on holiday gifts so I can enjoy the month of December without spending time in crowded stores, standing in line and hoping they haven't sold of the one thing I was looking for.

After lots of research and creative thought, I have made a decision on the Jenkins Christmas Gifts that will be made and given out to family and friends this holiday season. They are both affordable, practical, scrumptious and will definitely be used!

I'm excited because that only leaves me with having to come up with gifts for Terry, my Mum and a few children's gifts.

If you need help this holiday season with gift giving ideas, shopping tips or even a personal shopper and gift wrapper, look me up! I am available and would love to help you make your holiday season easy and enjoyable.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Share the Joy!

Today Pastor Ben talked about Joy. Phil. 1:3-8. He asked if we were filled with Joy? Do you think of others first? Do you pray for others before you pray for yourself? What is your talent? Are you joyful in everything you do?

I felt like sharing with you some of the points he talked about today and I pray that you find your Joy!

We should:

1. Focus on goodness, kindness and the success of others.
God gives us Grace so we don't find fault or harbor on the faults of others.

2. Focus on the needs of others. Pray for others often even before we pray for ourselves. Make requests to God for others.

"Talking to Men for God is a great thing but talking to God for Men is greater still". E.M. Bounds.

3. Focus on furthering the Kingdom of God. Partnership=Fellowship, Communication.

Pastor said "People who drink crave the emotion they get from it; they don't crave the drink itself. There is a lie connected with the High. This kind of Joy is short lived; the high is tied to the low." (I never thought of it like that.)

There is something fundamental about making a difference in the life of others. What are you doing to make a difference? What are you doing to exude Joy with yourself and others?

We all need to live for something other than ourselves. Do everything with Joy!

4. Focus on the fact you cannot fail.

5. Focus on loving others.

Be affectionate to others, especially your spouse. Let him/her know you have them in your heart, whether you tell them, text them or leave them a sweet little love note, share the JOY!

Relationships are worth investing in. Are you getting a return on your investment?

Live in Joy!

Praying for you today and that you find Joy in your life and share your Joy with others.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back to the Basics

Life has a way of getting busier and busier and over a short amount of time I found myself off my plan. It's time to get back to reading my daily devotionals and get back on my lifestyle plan. I know better but let the various situations in life take control rather than being committed to myself and my goals. It's time to get back to the basics!

Thursday of this week Terry & I along with Jen & Geoff officially started the Lifestyle Plan as couples so we can encourage one another to reach our goals, make healthy choices and feel better. Once we meet our goal, our reward is a cruise together. We think that is a win, win for all. My husband has been on blood pressure medication for several years and now he is going the herbal route and with that he needs to get in shape and make healthy food choices so he can prolong his life. We all have something that is driving us to be better, do better and make better choices.

I'm personally miserable and have to make the right choices for my life that includes making healthier choices, making myself eat small portions 4-5 times a day, remembering to take my daily vitamins and get moving to keep my metabolism up, I have no natural metabolism. I've been busy but down in the dumps about the job situation. We are not going to be able to make it if I don't get a full time job soon. With the downturn in the economy, after being laid off in Destin, I found myself working 4 part time jobs and I literally ran myself into a physical stew-per and can't do that again. My feet and legs still have not recuperated from all the work I did on my feet for the past couple of years. I’m praying for a full time job offer with benefits in the near future and hope you will pray for me as well.

Jen & Geoff recently married and want to start their marriage off right with the lifestyle plan so they will be healthy for life!

So as we embark on another adventure in life I am going to "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice" as I work my way back to a happier, healthier me! I have written recipes, planned our menus and already have tomorrow's lunch in the crock pot so I don't have to worry about cooking after church. It's Mexican Chicken Soup, very light, very healthy and delicious. I will share some of our healthier recipes with you over the next few days, weeks and months and let you know our Couples Plan Status.

Jen & I are having a hard time keeping the guys on plan, but we are sticking to it, we will see who the biggest loser at the end is. Jen suggested a Cruise Jar...$5 for every pound lost; $5 every time you cheat on the plan and husbands to match wives weight loss with $5 /per pound lost. This way we can earn our Cruise Fund while getting fit, eating healthier and reaching our goals.

Hope you have the courage to get back to the basics in your life if you have found yourself off your plan or not achieving your goals. My hope is that we can encourage each other with the power of prayer and friendship.

I've gotten back to the basics, how about you?

Have a blessed day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apple Brine Pork Chops with Baked Apples

Do you love Pork and Apples? This is so easy! Below you will find an easy Apple Brine Pork Chop recipe that you can grill after brining and delicious, easy Baked Apples...

Apple Brine Pork Chops with Baked Apples
4-6 pork chops (boneless or bone-in, your choice)
2+ cups Apple Juice, Apple Cider or Mulled Cider
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
Can of Apple Pie Filling (regular or sugar free)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
Cooking Spray

Wash, tenderize and season your pork chops. In a large flat container or Pyrex dish, place your seasoned pork chops, pour your apple juice or cider on top (need to have enough liquid to cover the pork chops). Cover the container and refrigerator for 1-4 hours. You are brining your pork and infusing the apple cider/juice flavors in the meat.

After Brining 1-4 hours, remove container from refrigerator. Remove pork chops from brine mixture. Season with a little salt/pepper (just a little) and grill pork chops until done (pork needs to register at 145-150 degrees), approx. 20-25 minutes. You do not want to over-cook your pork, it will dry it out.

While cooking pork chops, in a separate glass container, spray with cooking spray. Add your uncooked apple pie filling, top with your brown sugar along with a few shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Add a few squares of butter on top and cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes on 350.

Serve your pork chops on top of a heaping spoon of baked apples. I typically also serve with fresh green beans steamed with a little garlic and onion.

I take the extra baked apples the next night serve them hot in individual parfait glasses topped with a little cool whip for dessert.

This makes a very easy, delicious Southern Fall Dinner.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Be Creative - Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

Be Creative! Money is tight for a lot of us these days and as our holiday gift list grows larger and larger, I thought I would share some easy and inexpensive gift ideas. Go ahead and get started, many of these ideas can be started now so you have more time to enjoy the holiday season.

Recipe Books:
You can take postcard printer paper, print out your recipes from your computer and make personal recipe books or just give out a single recipe to go along with a homemade treat. You can put your index printed recipe cards in a recipe book binder or you can hole-punch the cards in the top, with two holes, add rings and you have an index sized recipe book. Check out

Homemade Sugar Scrub:
These are so easy to make. Check out recipes and photos at

Homemade Bath Salts:
Easy to make using Epsom salts, fragrance oil, etc. Use decorative bottles, mason jars, or any other container with lid. You can decorate the container or just tie a ribbon around it. Here is a website for more details:

Make your own spices, bbq dry ribs, dip mixes, etc. place in airtight containers, personalize and makes easy delicious gift ideas. Google what you would like to make and you can find container ideas and even recipes, inexpensive yet delicious. My husband makes the best dry rub so who knows, we may be making a large batch and placing in decorative containers and placing your Christmas gift...You can be creative, and print off decorative instructions or ingredients and attach to each container of suggested use or mix with xyz to make 8 oz. dip, etc. Again, personal, unusual and delicious!

Sweet Treats: You can make up batches of your favorite holiday treats including cookies, brownies, etc. and place in clear bags with decorative ribbon or in decorative boxes, tins, etc. this holiday season. Add recipe cards noting the recipe for each type of treat and personally delivery. It's easy, fun and delicious. Just be sure not to let them melt in hot area or let them go stale if you make too soon in advance.

Popcorn Bucket Baskets: Right now Dollar Tree has the plastic Popcorn Bucket $1 with 4 popcorn cups $1, add some microwave popcorn or old fashion popping corn, a dvd or movie gift card, you can add bottle cokes, m&m, etc. and it makes a fun FAMILY gift idea. Get some clear cellophane and wrap it up like a basket gift once you have filled the popcorn bucket up. We gave these out a couple of years ago, fun gifts for guys, girls, and families.

Gift Certificates: Do you like to take the easy route and just give gift certificates for the holidays. They make great gifts. Why not dress up that G/C and either add a little something creative with it or wrap it up in a decorative bag with ribbon so the loved one you are giving it to has something to open and then they have the joy of spending your G/C at a later day. Be creative!

Photo Books: you can go through your photos from the past year of you, your family, your children, your animals, etc. and upload to a photo center and create a very unique photo book. It's inexpensive, personal and a fun gift for all. You can also create fun photo calendars for 2012, coffee cups, t-shirts, etc.

Art: Are you or your children artistic? Draw a simple picture, have copies made on cardstock, frame and give as gifts to each family member.
You can get plain white note cards and have your children draw/color on the front of each notecard. Tie up the set with their matching envelopes and you have a great gift of personal art stationary for your loved ones.
Painting, get a few inexpensive small canvases, have your kids or yourself paint on them for gifts. It can be as simple as a Cross, or put the family's initial in the center and add dots around it, it's creative, simple, inexpensive but would mean the world to the person you are giving it to. Think of their home colors and use coordinating paint colors so it will coordinate with their decor.

Mixed CD: Do you love music? You can make personalized mixed CD for your friends and family...

Photo CD: you can take family memories from the past year or for many years and make a photo cd, add a framed family photo and make a neat family gift basket.

Personalized Trivet: you can take small tile squares, add felt to back and with paint, paint designs, family initial, etc. on the front of your homemade trivet and give as a family gift.

There are many more things you can make, put on your thinking cap and remember to be creative...As I run across more ideas I will share them with you.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I can't believe the holidays are drawing near and that gets me to thinking about decorating for each season, special recipes that I love to prepare and parties, events, and time together with the family.

I am going to host a Sip 'n Shop at our home in Jackson, Sat. October 22th from 10-2. Buy now; have it delivered to your door in time for your holiday event or to put under the tree. No need to take it home and have to hide it, I will personally wrap it and deliver it to your door.

I will have gift baskets and gift bags put together with various BC products for easy shopping. You will be able to purchase and place your holiday gift order at the Sip 'n Shop and I will personally wrap and deliver your bags/baskets to your door in December. You can purchase gifts for work parties, teachers, family, and friends for him or her from $10 up. Gift Certificates for BC products will also be available, gift wrapped and delivered to your door. Accepting Cash and Credit Cards.

Ladies, be sure to let your husband, sons, daughters or significant other know what you would like for Christmas and they can come as well or contact me directly to place an order or even better, then can go ahead and purchase a gift card for you so you can place an order of the products you need or want. Be sure to remember to write your own personal Christmas list this year and include your BC SPA products.

I am setting goals for myself with my SPA business to make cash this year to pay for Christmas (btw, let me know if you want to make your Christmas shopping budget in cash $$ this year-I'll tell you how you can), help me and I will help you with your Holiday Shopping in one easy step.

I know I will be making delicious Holiday Cider for the Sip 'n Shop and making a few of our family treasured recipes as well. Hope you will come by, visit and shop on the 22nd!

It's time to start making your Christmas list out so you can get a jumpstart on the holidays. Check out my webpage for more holiday ideas at

As soon as I get the holiday gift bags/baskets put together I will photograph and place on the blog for advance orders if you are interested.

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Renewing your Strength

The Lord put in on my heart to share with you and invite you to take a few minutes for yourselves today. Life continues to get busier but your mind, body and spirit need renewing on a regular, daily basis.

Are you exhausted today? Are you taking pills or drinking drinks for energy just to get throught the day? Or are you on a nervous high and need something to slow you down? Perhaps what your body is crying for is rest and relaxation. Is there rest for anyone in this tension filled world?

Just as the disciples returned from a missionary journey, they were elated with their success. They gave glowing reports of how God had worked. Jesus was glad to hear their accounts, but he knew they needed physical rest after their journey. He invited them to come and rest with him in a quiet place.

We, too, need to refresh ourselves to maintain our physical and spiritual strength. Our schedules are demanding. They drain our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life. I believe God plans for us to include times of rest and relaxation in our schedules. If the disciples needed rest, so do we.

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25

As you think, how in the world I am able to take time to rest and relax with my busy schedule, it only takes a few minutes. Did you know 10 minutes of relaxation is equivalent to 1 hour of sleep; 20 minutes of relaxation is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep. You make take a few minutes for yourself each day, even if it's just a hot bath, light candles, close your eyes and relax for a few quiet minutes during your busy life. For others it may be reading a book in bed or getting a manicure or pedicure.

I have been given the opportunity to help you Relax, Rejuvenate and Renew. While seeking work, I went to a Bridal SPA night that my friend Jen won. During this one hour of relaxation I feel in the love the SPA products that were used on me. I have very sensitive, dry skin and I'm allergic to everything. These products felt wonderful on my skin and I had no reaction. I wanted to purchase some items but with no income it just wasn't in our budget since the move back to TN and about that time I got a call from Mother and she asked what I was doing and I shared my experience from the Bridal SPA with her, she said get the starter kit, I will get it for you, you deserve to have beautiful skin and you rarely find anything that you are not allergic to. That night, I bought the specially priced SPA Facial Starter Kit and a week later started my new skin regiment. Then I found out if I went to a 4 hour class on a Saturday I would receive a FREE Microderm Abrasion Set worth $150. Well I can give up a Saturday morning for free products. I was certified as a SPA Consultant that day and have been using these amazing skin care products ever since. My goal is to make extra money sharing these products with friends, family, coworkers, church members, etc. I believe in this company and these products and welcome the opportunity to share them with you.

I am not a salesperson and my DBT blog will not become a blog for simply selling products but I feel that we all need rest, relaxation, a few minutes to rejuvenate and renew our body, body and spirit. Reading God's word helps me renew my spirit, relaxing in a hot bath with a few drops of Detox Bath Soak helps me renew my body and enjoying a few minutes of quiet time with a warming green tea facial and cucumber nourishing eye pads help me renew my mind and skin.

Whether you have a SPA day with me or take time for yourself on your own, be sure to find a few minutes daily if possible to take time to relax, rejuvenate and renew your body, mind and spirit.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40":29-31

If interested you are welcome to check out my webpage

Have a blessed and relaxing day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's for Dinner? Pork Chops, Green Beans & Cinnamon Apples

What's for Dinner tonight?

As I think of fall recipes, I thought of pork chops and cinnamon apples. Terry had boneless pork chops thawing and I decided to add some cinnamon apples.

I tenderized and seasoned the chops with Cavender's Greek Seasoning, rubbed them with mustard, honey, a dash of balsamic vinegar and apricot preserves (sugar free). Put them in greased casserole uncovered on 375 to bake for 25-30 minutes.

I took a can of apple pie filling, added cinnamon,6 small pats of butter and 1 TBSP brown sugar. Cook uncovered on 375 for 20 minutes. BTW, you can use sugar free apple pie filling and Splenda Brown Sugar for a healthier version.

Whole green beans are cooking on the stove with Cavender's Greek Seasoning, Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder and Balsamic Vinegar, on medium heat for 20 minutes, drain and throw in a hot skillet sprayed with Pam, add a shake of crushed red pepper and a sprinkle of brown sugar, sauté and serve.

Give it a whirl, it's delicious and super easy dinner in 30 minutes...

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures... I just love the smell of a pot roast throughout the house. I put a roast on earlier and can't wait until it is done for us to enjoy this evening.

Roast, potatoes and carrots is the simplest one pot meal. You have options of cooking in a crock pot or in the oven. Today I am cooking mine in the oven so it will cook faster at a low temp. I season the roast, brown it on both sides on the stovetop to seal in the juices and it will naturally make some beef stock, then remove the roast, add my potatoes, carrots, onion, dry seasonings and can of French Onion Soup (Campbells) and 1 cup water, place the roast back on top of veggies, put lid on the stock pot and bake on 300-325 for 3 hours.

For crock pot roasting I also start on the stovetop to brown roast and seal in juices, make some natural beef stock then transfer to a hot crock pot, add vegetables, seasons and soup and cook for 6-8 hours depending if you are cooking on hi or low. Always delicious!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This morning as I went to put some BC items in my guest closet, I saw in the cureo the book my Grandmother made for me it's called "Grandmother's Memories". Today I would like to share some of the things she wrote in this book with you.

"When I was a baby...
I was born April 19, 1920 in Covington, TN Route #1. I was named Dorothy Gertrude Walton. I was born with blonde hair and blue eyes. When I was a baby, some people said that I only weighed 3 1/2 pounds but that in my Mother's words "I growed off real good".

A story my family tells about me when I was a baby is that I was so small that I could fit in a shoe box. When I was six weeks old I had a cist removed from my leg and that I was the youngest baby that Dr. Sale had ever put to sleep. They said that after that I was a healthy, happy baby. I had loving, caring parents who took care of me.

When I was a child
One of my earliest childhood memories is of my Grandfather rocking me and siging to me a song about angels watching over me.

My nickname was Dot because it was a shortened version of my name, I do not know how early I was called Dot, but most of my life.

The most popular games then were hide and seek, jump rope, hop scotch, annie over, marbles and of course playing with our dolls and dishes and making mud pies.

My childhood favorites: Doll named Ruth given by our Auntie. Set of china dishes and cook stove and broom.
Favorite Songs: Jesus Loves Me, The Church in the Wildwood, Aint Gonna Rain No More, Uncle Bud.
Books - First Reader - Baby Ray, Sunday School Cards and books.
Movies - Tarzan of the Apes, Katz and Jammer Kids.
Activies - Going to church, visiting my grandparents and other relatives. I think the happiest place that we lived when I was a child was at the Walton home place in the house with Uncle Carl and Aunt Pauline. We did so many things there. One of my favorites was fishing in teh creek behind the house. Aunt Paulinemade us hooks from bending straight pins and tying them to twine strip and onto cane. She would make a float from the cork tops of snuff bottles. She always went with us and we caught lots of fish.

Some things from my childhood that I will always remember are the house were I was born and lived until after I started school. Mammy Jane, who helped Mama in the house and helped with us children. She was very black and very tall and real sweet and nice to us. Going to church in a top buggy. I sat between Daddy & Mama. Mam held Annie Mildred and Leno sat in the floor board. I remember Grandma's beautiful house, her chocolate cake and her little bed. Granddaddy cutting my hair in his shop. The button on collars that he wore on his shirts and what nice people they were.

When I was a Teen
I remember being a teenager as if it were yesterday. I had lots of friends and lot os fun. We worked hard in the fields chopping and picking cotton, but we played just as hard whe the work was all done. We could always have firends at home. I was happy throughout all my childhood and teenage years thanks to my parents and a God who has guided me all the way.

The most important events that I remember in my lifetime are visits to the Memphis Zoo. Going to the Reunion in Brighton, TN in the late 20's we carried a trunk of food and churn of lemonade. All the family and Uncle Carls family went from Walton Loop on a wagon, there were 10 of us. Going to Union University in Jackson, TN to the experimental station. Crossing o a ferry from the Reelfoot area to Missouri coming back through Arkansas into Memphis and then back home. The highlight of my life was coming to Charlotte to visit you (Scarlet).

Some of the things I most wanted for my children were that they would be honest, dependable and God fearing children. I tried to teach them to do their best and that happiness is not having or getting everything you want but to be content in all things and make the most of everyday.

I remember when my allowance was .25 cents a week. I could buy an ice-cream cone for .5/cents, a candy bar for 3 for .10 cents and soda pop for .5 cents. A movie ticket cost .7 cents and popcorn was .5 cents. A hamburger only cost about .10 cents and a new bicycle was less than $10.00. When I was teen and young woman, a good salary was $20.00. A nice pair of shoes cost $2.98 and I could buy a nice dress for $5.00. A typical date costs less than $2.00. New cars sold for about $600.00. A nice apartment rented fror about $10.00 per month and a typical new house sold for about $1,000.00."


WOW have times changed. This memory book is chopped full of so many more memories, these are just a few that I shared with you today. My Grandmother loves the lord and her family. She has instilled in us all the love for the Lord, the love for our family and each other, the love for our neighbors and friends. She has shown throughout her life that hard work makes you stronger and that you can get through anything with the Lord by your side.

I just felt like sharing a little bit of her childhood and history with you today, more to come on another day. I'm off to get ready and go visit with Grandmama today.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Did you 94 days?

Did you know that as we are thinking of fall festivials, Halloween costumes, hay, mums and pumpkins for the front yard, that Christmas is only 94 days away?

Oh my goodness, I haven't decided what we will be giving this year as gifts. I don't know about you but I love to make home-made treats for friends and family, just a little something sweet along with the recipe to share with others. Christmas is time of celebration to me and my family, it's not about the gifts or how much you spend, it is a celebration of the birth of Christ.

We also will give to families in need during the holiday season. Terry has always found families that are in need and we work with our co-workers to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners for them. I am sure we will do the same here in Jackson. It is such a blessing to help others especially in their time of need.

With all of that said, it's time for me to put my creative hat on and start to think of what we would like to share with our family and friends this holiday season. I have a couple of thoughts on that but need to talk with Terry before I start working on our christmas gifts. Now, when I say home-made let me clarify, I don't make tacky gifts, I've given Family Cookbooks (with family recipes), decorative boxes filled with delicious homemade christmas cookies and candies, personalized stationary, note cards and address labels, decorative bottles with fragrant bath salts and products, painted pictures, etc.

Time to think outside the box and see what I can come up with in the next 94 days.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Leftover Dip...

Did you know that when you have leftover dip from a party or event (i.e. spinach dip, artichoke dip, etc.), you can use that dip in your next family dinner recipe?

Add to Chicken or Pork Chops:
Pound (with a mallott or meat tenderizer) boneless chicken breast or boneless pork chops til flat, add a spoonful of your dip in the center, roll up and tie with cooking twine (or toothpick if not to thick), continue til you run out of meat/dip then bake until your meat is done (20-30+/- mins on 350). Your leftover dip will add flavor and makes a delicious meal. Serve with flavored rice, pasta or potatoes (if you like starches) or with fresh or grilled vegetables and a side salad.

Add to your Bread:
If you are making fresh bread with dinner like cresent rolls, lay the triangles flat on your greased cooking sheet, add a spoonful of your dip, roll up the dough and bake according to directions. Adds flavor to your dinner bread.

Salsa leftover:
If you have leftover salsa, add your salsa on top of chicken breasts in a greased casserole dish and bake until chicken is done. Salsa chicken can be served with spanish rice, refried beans, black beans or just with a side salad. Delicious!

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you so please let me know what recipes you created with your leftover dip.

Bon Appetit!

p.s (the spell check icon is missing from my blogger site, if there are typos please excuse me)

Fall Favorites

As the temperatures fall outside (daily up & down) I am starting to think of all the wonderful Fall Recipes that I love to cook this time of year. Here's a start, just to name a few...

Roast, Potatoes and Carrots
Rotel Chicken Spaghetti
White Beans & Ham
Chicken and Dressing
Baked Pork Chops with Apples
Roasted Pork Loin with Apricots
Sweet Potato Casserole
Baked Sweet Potatoes (sprinkled with brown sugar & butter)
Carrot Cake
Pumpkin Bread
Spiced Cider

Over the next few weeks, I hope to make one or more of these each week and will post photos as well as my recipe for each.

This is such an exicting time of year, the changing of the seasons. We are heading to the attic this week to get our fall decor out and then will make a trip to get our hay and mums and as soon as it's safe temperature wise, we will get our pumpkins too.

Off to put on my creative hat to come up with a new fall design of our DR table decor, the beach theme is done for the season, time to warm the house up with fall colors and smells.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pantry Recipes

So today I went through the pantry, fridge and freezer to come up with our dinner tonight. Sometimes you just need to be creative.

I got out the crock pot, took two big frozen chicken breasts out of the freezer, turned crock pot on high, placed frozen chix breasts in crock pot, added a can or Rotel Original Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, 1 cup water, 1 bag Spanish rice, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper. I let them simmer on HIGH for 2 hours, removed chicken breasts and shred them, put back in c/p and then turned it down to low the last 2 hours. I topped it with shredded cheddar cheese and we have Chix Mex as I call it. I served it with soft taco flour tortillas and we have enough for Terry to have some nachos tomorrow too. You could easily add another can of tomato sauce and some tortilla strips and make a Chicken Tortilla Soup with this mix.

I also took a container of frozen strawberries (thawed) and mixed with lite cool whip and 1/4 box of cream cheese and whipped all together with mixer. Took a bag of graham cracker crumbs, placed in a pie dish and added my strawberry fluff, placed it in the freezer and its easy Frozen Strawberry Pie. I didn’t really do any measuring so I will have to make again and measure to give you an exact recipe but you should try it.

Take a look in your pantry and see what you can come up without a recipe and let me know, I might try your recipe out one day soon!

Bon Appetit!

Catching up...

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. I have been in Covington helping with family illnesses the past few weeks and without my computer.

So today I have gathered items from the pantry and thrown them in the crock pot creating what I call Chix Mex (a chicken Mexican) recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out and will share the recipe.

Also, started my SPA Escapes business. I am now a Certified Spa Consultant. I have been using these amazing SPA skin care products and my face is glowing and my I promise I look younger. They have this product that I call "botox in a bottle" a firming serum and it really is helping. My neck is an area that I would like tightened so I've been using this product on it and in 4 days it's already firming up. I ordered another new product that they nick-named "skinny butt" that is a body firming treatment that should help firm up giggly or dimpled areas like your bottom, tummy, thighs, arms, etc. I can't wait to try it out. If you would like to host a SPA Retreat for your girlfriends in your home and relax, rejuvenate and renew, just let me know. I have my first SPA booked for this Sunday and can't wait. I've spent today working on SPA marketing flyer's, email invites, ordered FREE business cards from, and send Alicia her hostess package.

Now that I am back home and getting back into my normal routine, I will be posting more recipes. I am going to work on our menu plan for this week and will share recipes with you.

Hope you are all doing well and have a blessed day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

According to plan...Who is in control?

Does everything in your life work out according to plan? If you are like me it doesn't always go according to plan unless God is in control and it works according to His plan.

I read this today:
"Remember – God already has your next new job all set up and planned out for you. All you have to do is simply wait for His timing to bring it to you!".

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:4,7)

God was in control when we made a decision to relocation from sunny Florida to Jackson, TN, it was His plan. God was in control when I wasn't able to find a job immediately because it has allowed me time to help with my Grandmother and help Emily with her children from time to time.

He was in control, when I received the lead on the sales rep position I interviewed for, it just so happens the owner is taking his time in making a decision on who to hire and I know that God is control.

Today, He was in control when my friend Judith sent me a lead on a college friend of her's that owns businesses in Jackson and through a simple message on FB, I am now meeting him next week to discuss a sales rep position for his magazine and a possible p/t position assiting his PR director.

If you let go of your plans and ask God to take control and are willing to live your life according to His plan, you will be amazed at what might happen. There will be no need for your worry, He will take care of you.

I am trusting in the Lord, acknowledging Him, and allowing Him to guide my steps. I pray you will do the same.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Does your job define you?

I've been pondering if a job defines me. I haven't worked the last 6 weeks since we relocated to Jackson. I am steadily seeking a new job, have interviewed and have my resume out there but this is a new concept for me. I have always been very independent and enjoyed working. The break was nice the first couple of weeks and then have spent the last two weeks mainly in Covington with my Mother, Aunt and Grandmother whose health is failing; I am so blessed to have this time with her. I have had time to visit with Emily and the kids as well (which I missed when Jonah was Georgia's age) and I cherish the times we have together, soaking up Jonah's take on life and Miss Georgia's growth and sweet smile.

I run into people everywhere I go and they ask "so what do you do" or "where do you work" and I am baffled and have to come up with a response. If I had an endless supply of funds, I would love not working and be able to go for lunch dates with friends, get mani-pedi's, hair appts, new shoes or a new fall outfit now that is starting to cool off but that is not in the budget. I'm finding it hard to ask my husband for cash or if I can schedule a hair appointment, is that in the budget this payperiod?

When we made the decision to move from Destin to Jackson I was working 4 jobs at the time. No, I am not a workaholic just doing what I had to help make ends meet and keep some pocket change for me. With the downturn in the economy I found myself out of work in my field of expertise a couple of years ago and started picking up part time jobs until I had 4 going. To say that I was exhausted all the time was an understatement but I enjoyed each and every job. I love the opportunity to meet new people and make a connection. For 16 years when someone asked "what do you" my response was "I'm in architecture" as the Director of Operations or Project Finance/HR Administrator, etc.  and for the last two years the response was "I'm in marketing" for a restaurant in Grand Blvd. Town Center, as well worked for Chico's, an architect in Destin, and a concrete contractor.

I've recently interviewed for a architectural sales rep position with an Italian tile company in Memphis. I would have a territory and call on architects and interior designers within that territory. Last I heard, the owner is still making a decision on who he is hiring for this position and I'm still in the running. I have submitted my resume for a Construction Project Analyst in Millington and for a variety of positions at Regional Hospital of Jackson, Operations Manager for a new Dental clinic in Medina, and numerous other positions in the Jackson area. I have sent emails to area architects along with my resume in case their firms are looking for someone as well. I have made contact with many business associates between Nashville and Memphis just to see if anyone knows of anyone hiring with my skill set. I honestly don't want a 8-5 M-F job but can't afford not to have one. I am praying that the right job for me, a job that I will enjoy and excel at, will be available to me soon.

To answer my question at the start of this blog, NO a job does not define you. Sometimes a job is just a job, a way to provide income for you and your family and a way to connect to the outside world. Today I am going to seize the day and be proud to be a Housewife. I am going to clean my house back up after having family over yesterday, do laundry, and try to relax while checking out indeed, simply hired, monster, craigslist, etc. for new job postings.

Happy Tuesday and hope you do something fun and creative today. Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Picnic Recipes

Today we had the Shanklin Family over for a Labor Day Cookout. Everyone brought a dish so we only made a few things. Thought I would share a few easy recipes along with you.

Grilled Hamburgers  (As a rule, 1 pound of ground meat will make approx four (4) 1/4 pd burgers.)
Ground Beef (ground chuck, sirloin or turkey)
Worcestershire Sauce (1/4 cup per 2 pds of meat)
Dry Onion Soup Mix (1 pkg per 2 pds of meat)
Patty your meat and refrigerate until ready to grill. Add different cheeses to give a different flavor like Colby, Monterrey, pepper jack, sharp cheddar, blue cheese crumbles, Gouda, feta, etc.

(We had hot dogs and smoked bbq bologna too)

Easy Cole Slaw
2 pkgs shredded cabbage/cole slaw mix
2 TBSP Cavender's Greek Seasoning (garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, ground mustard)
3 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
3 TBSP Sugar
1/4 bottle coleslaw dressing (or mix together yellow mustard, mayo and dijon)
Mix together, cover and refrigerate until serving (I don't like runny or really wet cole slaw, if you like yours really wet, add more cole slaw dressing).

Chocolate Eclair Pie
1 box graham crackers
2 cans chocolate fudge frosting
1 lg pkg instant vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 lg Cool Whip (thawed)

In a 9 x 13 pyrex dish, ice one layer of graham crackers with chocolate frosting. With mixer, mix your vanilla instant pudding with 3 cups cold mix. Gradually add cool whip. Spoon 1/2 this mixture on top of the bottom layer of iced graham crackers. Then add another layer of iced graham crackers. Add remaining pudding mixture. Top with iced graham crackers, adding extra icing to cover top like a cake all the way to the edges. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, September 2, 2011

September - The start of Fall

It's September, the month of my birthday, the month that we start to see the changing of the season and the weather, we attend football games, hear about and attend hertiage days, festivals, and fairs.

This is the first September in 5 years that I will get to experience the fall season first hand. Fall was the only season of the year we didn't really experience in Florida. Our leaves didn't change, we had football, festivals and fairs but I can't wait to see the beautiful fall foliage, changing leaves and crisp evenings between now and Thanksgiving. I also can't wait to get my bales of hay, pumpkins and mums out front in celebration of fall (we never could get bales of hay, had to use bales of pine straw for our fall yard decorations).

Thinking of fall, I remember back to the days that I would go to my Grandmother's on Saturdays and we would play in the stacks of raked leaves, knowing that we would have to help re-rake them in piles after playing in them. It also reminds me of my Grandmother's apple cake. She made the most delicious apple cake. My Great-Grandmother had a delicious carmel icing recipe. This September I'm going to make my Grandmother's Apple Cake and Ice it with my Great-Grandmother's Carmel Icing, yum! The picture on the cover of the September Southern Living magazine gave me the idea to combine the two recipes.

I have been taking many of our family recipes that are "from scrach" and modifiing them to "semi-homemade" to make them easier to make and allows me to save time in the process. I am hoping to have time to write and share some of the semi-homemade family recipes soon. When I make the two "from scratch" recipes for the apple cake and carmel icing, I will see if I can modify the recipes to make "semi-homemade" and keep the same delicious flavor profile. Photos to come as well.

This week I spent a lot of time at the Assisted Living with my Grandmother, Aunt and Mother. We told stories from our childhood, stories from my Grandmother's childhood and just did lots of reminising. Family is so important to me. Always remember to LOVE your family, tell them that you LOVE them, show them that you LOVE them. We all may have disagreements or hurt feelings from time to time but you have to forgive and love them. You need each other. Remember to always hug your children not matter how old they get, tell them you love you, tell them your proud of them, support them in all they do. We (Terry & I) don't have children but we LOVE our nieces and nephews like they are our own and their children are like grandchildren to us and we LOVE them all unconditionally.

Labor Day is coming up on Monday and we are planning a cookout with our Shanklin Family here at the house with Fresh Grilled Burgers, Hot Dogs, and Smoked BBQ Bolonga. I've got a tub of outdoor game supplies in the attic. I know we have the rope for tug-a-war and hope we have the potato sacks for sack races, we have a children's horseshoe game but the adults can play it too and not sure what else so need to go to the attic when it's cooler tomorrow morning to see what I can find. It should be a fun day filled with Family and new memories.

Happy September and enjoy the long weekend! Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Grandmother's Love

As many of you have read, i consider my Grandmother my rock. She is and always has been a very important person in my life. Since moving back to TN just over a month ago, I have been lucky enough to be able spend time with my Grandmother each week. Sometimes it's just an hour but lately it's been several days in a row and I am so grateful for this time.

I always LOVED spending time at my Grandmother's house. I asked my Mother, as an adult, why I spent so much time at Grandma-ma's house growing up, did she and Daddy take lots of trips or what? She said, well you loved spending time at Grandma-ma's. You always asked to go and visit and wanted to spend the night and wanted to spend weeks in the summer.

I encourage each of you to reach out to your family and grandparents, they love you. If you just spend a few minutes with them every now and then it will add a smile to their face and they will talk about it for weeks. Please ask your children or grandchildren to make them cards, letters, etc they will cherish them and look back on them when they are feeling lonely or sad and it will brighten their day once again. If you have single family members that are older, remember them as well, they may not have children or grandchildren to say Hi, I love you, I miss you, here's a special made card for you, etc. Just acknowledging them will make their day.

My Grandmother is fading each and every time I see her. Last night as we sat in her room, just she and I, she said "you know Scarlet, everything happens according to God's Plan, in His own timing, I think he planned for you to move back here and have time to spend with me right now. I am so thankful for Him and His timing". She is such a remarkable woman, even in her state of mind, she is thanking God. She never fails to tell me she loves me and thanks me for visiting and I never fail to tell her that I love her too.

I know God has a plan for my Grandmother. I know that soon she will be walking, running and skipping the streets of Gold. She will be pain free, will no longer need a walker, wheelchair, or even her ankle and knee braces. She will be wearing a smile and living in a mansion in heaven. Having just read "Heaven is for Real", I know she will be celebrating in Heaven with so many family and friends and she will sit with Jesus. I am so thankful for my faith and the faith of my family. I am praying for Grandma-ma to be pain free, lucid and content until she draws her last breath. At 91, I would love for her to live forever but know she will live eternally in Heaven.

Please join me in praying God's peace over my Grandmother, Dorothy Gertrude Walton Gatlin McDaniel today.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 2, Day 8 Lifestyle Plan Update

Today I am starting Week 2, Day 8 of my Lifestyle Plan and have lost 6 pds. Life is good.

This weekend we had some dear friends come up for dinner and honestly had a couple of things not on my plan but still lost 6 pounds last week. YAH! This week I have good meals planned and even brought my lunch with me today as I visit with my Grandmother at the Assisted Living in Covington.

If you are on the Lifestyle Plan or doing your own Plan, be sure you are staying hydrated, drink your water, eat every few hours and get moving! Even a little exercise goes a long way, you just need to get your heart rate up.

When I got to the Assisted Living this morning my Grandmother and her friends were having their morning exercise with ball toss in a basket, so they all thought they were playing basketball from their wheelchairs. Grandma-ma did great, she made every basket, they kept moving the basket further and further away and she made everyone. Great Job Grandma-ma! Maybe I'll wheel her around outside to get my exercise in a few minutes plus give her a chance to get some fresh air.

Emily posted a passage from Proverbs 31 this morning and it made me think of my Grandmother. It says "She is CLOTHED in STRENGTH and DIGNITY, and she LAUGHS without FEAR of the FUTURE" Proverbs 31:25.

Grandma-ma and I are off for a morning push/walk around the property.

Have a Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 5 - Family Time, Lifestyle Plan, What a Week!

Sorry you haven't heard from me in several days, I've been out of pocket in Covington with my Mother, Aunt and Grandmother. We have laughed and cried this week. My dear Grandmother is 91 and suffering from a variety of issues including Congestive Heart Failure and CLL. She is getting quite forgetful on top of her illnesses. Crossroads was called in on Wednesday and we've spent a lot of quality time at the Assisted Living with her this week.

Yesterday was a like a scene from Steel Magnolia's, we took my Grandmother in the Beauty Shop room at the Assisted Living, Teresa cut and washed her hair, I dried and curled her hair and together we styled her hair. Mother took care of sweeping up the floors for us. It had been a while since my Grandmother had a hair cut so Teresa gave her a really cute stylish cut.

I have very few memories in my lifetime that do not include my Grandmother. Yesterday I found myself with a sewing kit and making her a decorative bag to velcro around the armrest of her wheelchair to hold her personal items. She had a decorative custom bag made for her walker several years ago but hasn't been able to use her walker since the first of the year. My Grandmother was a seamstress by trade, owned her own business and worked out of her home. Over the years, she's made me countless outfits, dresses, doll clothes, Halloween costumes, decorative pillows, tablecloths, etc. She could see a picture of something and make it without a store-bought pattern. She is so talented, it amazes me.

My Grandmother always believed in me, encouraged me, and taught me to be the person I am today. She read her bible and lived God's Word. I am so thrilled to be close enough to visit her on a regular basis now, several times a week. I always try to bring up stories from my childhood  and teenage years that she remembers and I love to see her face light up when she is thinking back on those times.

With the craziness of this week, I tried to stay on my Lifestyle Plan throughout the day as much as possible, I don't think I drank enough water but still feel good and confident on the Plan. Today is Day 5 and I have lost 5 lbs since Monday. I know that is mainly water weight but still makes me feel good. I try to weigh every 4 days, twice a week. For me, since I started the Lifestyle Plan on Monday, I will be weighing Mondays and Thursdays but this week, it was Mon/Fri.

I ask you to join me in praying for my Grandmother, my Role Model, my Rock. She is such an important person in my life, I pray she is rested, pain free and lucid for as long as she can be.

I will keep you updated on my progress and on my Grandmother. Have a blessed Friday and a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lifestyle Plan- Day 2

Good Morning!

Just to keep you updated, Day 1 went well. Day 2 is stating off with a bang as well. This is the day the Lord hath made, I will Rejoice and be glad in it!

Today's Meal Plan:

Breakfast = 2 eggs, 1 slice of light bread

Snack = Orange

Lunch = Grilled Chicken Salad with Fresh Strawberries

Dinner = Blackened Tilapia with Peppery Green Beans and for dessert, Baked Cinnamon Chips (40 cal flour tortilla, cut into triangles, sprayed with cooking spray, sprinkled with splenda/cinnamon mixture, baked at 400 until crisp).

Snack = Granny Smith Apple

Today I plan to drink another 96+ oz. of water. Water is key, flush your system and keep yourself hydrated.

Tip: You can make your own blackening seasoning with dry spices as long as you do not include salt or sugar. It just so happens, Terry made a big batch of blackening seasoning during his taste testing last week for Hadley's and it's salt free so we will try it on our Tilapia tonight.  Yum!

Today, I am heading back to the home office to finish the Employee Handbook for Terry.

Day 2 in my devotional: Interested or Committed? I'm Committed, how about you?

Happy Tuesday and have a blessed day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 1 - Lifestyle Plan

Good Morning All! Started my day on the scale, check.

Planned my meals for today. I always like to plan ahead, prep anything in advance to keep it easy and keep me from changing my mind. This afternoon I will be planning my meals for tomorrow and maybe the next day. I'm super excited and can't wait to see the results!

Today's Meal Plan:

Breakfast = slice of Sara Lee Light Wheat w/Honey Bread, toasted in skillet with cooking spray and cut fresh slices of cheddar cheese = Cheese Toast. Yum! Working on my second glass of water and we are off to a great start.

Lunch = Homemade Tuna Salad on mixed green Salad with fresh Fruit.

Dinner = Grilled Chicken Breasts with fresh Vegetables.

Tonight Terry and I will take the dogs for a walk then come back and do our nightly bike ride through the neighborhood. We are really enjoying our new neighborhood.

Remember, to email me if you would like a to start the Lifestyle Plan

Today I am working for my husband on his Employee Handbook so it's off the Home Office on the other side of the house to do a little work. I have a desk in the Kitchen, my hub of the house, where I sit and write my blogs.

Praise Report - I received a text this morning from the Architect I worked freelance for in Destin, he still needs assistance and I am going to work for him remotely a few hours every week. Translation, I'll make some pocket change while seeking a new job.

I am praying that you all have a FABULOUS Monday! I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lifestyle Plan

Make a commitment today to change your life! It’s as simple as starting your Lifestyle Plan, making healthy food choices, making the decision to be good to your body and reaping the benefits full circle.

When you eat healthy foods, it can not only help you lose unwanted pounds, but your completion will be healthier, your energy levels will go up, and you will find yourself more inclined to smile and enjoy life.

In 2007, I had a life changing event. I had to have an emergency hysterectomy. Following my recovery and purging my body of all the hormones and medications I had been prescribed the previous years I made a decision to change my life from the outside in. After years of dieting, I sat down and wrote my 07-07-07 Lifestyle Plan. While on the plan I lost over 60 pounds, averaging 3 pounds a week, losing over 65 inches overall.  My family physician in Florida gave the Lifestyle Plan a thumbs up and was very impressed my progress. My skin looked beautiful, I felt amazing, had energy and was excited to start each and every day.  I followed my Lifestyle Plan for a couple of years before I allowed stress, working multiple jobs and life in general to get in my way. I fell off the Lifestyle wagon.  

Today, I made a decision to start my Lifestyle Plan fresh and new.  I’ve recently made a few modifications to the plan and very excited to start it up again. I welcome any of you to join me on the Lifestyle Plan. I will give updates on my progress. If you are like me, you don’t like having your picture made, you do not discuss your weight, what size you wear or anything personal like that with others and I will not ask you to do that either. I do ask for your own benefit you take a photo of yourself before you start the plan so you can have a before and after photo. I also ask that you measure yourself or having a family member, friend or medical professional take your measurements. You will be tracking your progress and I hope you feel confident to share your progress with me.

The Lifestyle Plan is simple; you eat 3 meals a day with 2 snacks. You watch your portions and eat fresh, healthy and delicious foods. There are no boxed mixes or liquid only meals to purchase. You eat real food at home or in restaurants. If you do a lot of traveling, not a problem, you can still stay on plan.

You will keep a food and exercise journal. Don’t be nervous, I am not athletic and do not do extensive exercises. I am not a member of a gym so I get my exercise in my home and neighborhood. You do whatever works best for you as long as you get your heart rate up every day and get moving.  You can walk the neighborhood, ride your bike, do WII or DVD exercise videos, turn up the music and dance or follow a zumba routine, just get moving for at least 20 minutes a day (more if you can).

Did you know you burn calories doing housework, loading and unloading the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, etc.? There are many websites were you can get a free pedometer that you can clip to your waist and keep track of your steps. You will be amazed how many steps you take in a day from getting ready in the morning until you go to bed at night.

I will pass along recipes and you can create your own delicious meals on a regular basis, like Honey Mustard Chicken, Peppery Green Beans, Turkey Meatloaf, Mashed Cauliflower, Simple Salads, Mini Cheesecake desserts, etc.

I can honestly say I eat more while on the Lifestyle Plan than I ate before I started my plan. If you are like me, you need to maintain metabolism and the easiest way to do that is to feed your body on a regular basis even when you are NOT hungry with healthy, portion controlled foods.

My heart is telling me to share my plan with others so they can change their life, one bite at a time.  Email me at if you are interested in receiving The Lifestyle Plan program. I will email to you at no charge.

Join me and make a commitment to make a Lifestyle change that is achievable. I am back to Day 1 tomorrow, Monday, August 22, 2011 and can’t wait to get started. I will keep you updated on my blog so stay in touch.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who is in your heart?

Yesterday, I was watching Emily's two children, Jonah and Georgia while she attends a church conference in Memphis. Jonah is 2 1/2 and Georgia is 6 weeks old. Jonah told me he wanted to do arts and crafts (i.e. make something for Mommy & Daddy) and I suggested we learn a bible verse to go with our arts and craft project so he brought me his bible and we started talking. He told me Jesus just wasn't in his heart today. I asked him why and he said he's just not. So I read and sang Phil 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice", we drew pictures of a tree, birds, flowers and the sun and he said Jesus made all of these things. I asked him again if Jesus was in his heart and he said "nope, not today", so we talked so more, I read more bible stories from his children's bible and we had a time of worship, we both started singing while we worked on pictures for his parents. After his afternoon nap he ran into the den and told me that Jesus was in his heart now.

It is amazing to me what children pick up and learn from their parents, family, Sunday school class, friends, radio and TV at such an early age. Jonah has been memorizing and quoting scripture and singing christian songs for months. When his parents got home yesterday afternoon he sang his bible verse for them, only he said it was Phil. 12:12 instead of Phil 4:4, gotta love a child that can memorize a verse and song that quickly and sing it in tune.

Today, I ask you to think like a child, who is in your heart?

The Help (along with a family recipe)

Mother and I went to see "The Help" Wednesday. What a great movie! It made me think about my childhood. I was raised in Memphis, TN not Jackson, MS, but still a southern town. I went to Little Miss Manner's class and was raised as Southern as they come, my name says it all (my Mother loved Gone with the Wind).

Just like many of you, I grew up with "help" in our home. My Mother had help during my childhood until we lost my Father when I was in high school. Lela Franklin was a part of our family and we loved and respected her. Lela had 17 children, the youngest were in high school by the time she started helping my Mother when I was a baby. She would cook, clean, and watch my brothers and I when Mother had to leave the house. Her husband was a Baptist Minister and I remember going to their church for special events, it was always fun, they had "live" music as my Mother called it and danced around a lot during their worship service.  When Lela was sick or had a commitment with her family or the church, she would send one of her older daughters, Maylena or Josephine to come in her place. They never cooked as good as Lela but we still loved and respected them. One of my favorite memories with Lela growing up was in the afternoons, Lela would wait to do the ironing until her "stories" (aka soap operas) came on and would set up the ironing board in front of the TV. She watched channel 13-ABC so All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital (and I think The Edge of Night). When I would get home from school, she would let me sit with her and I got to iron the pillow cases (yes she ironed our sheets)... I loved sitting and watching her "stories" with her and ironing the pillow cases. I always loved and respected Lela and her role in my family. She was like a member of our family and I will always cherish our time with her.

My Great Grandmother had help from Miss Willie throughout my childhood as well. Willie would come during the week and many times during family gatherings to help my Great Grandmother out. She was part of the family. Willie was always there every Christmas Eve, she chose to come and help my Great Grandmother set up dinner, serve and clean up then my Great Grandfather or an Uncle would take her home to be with her family. Growing up with someone of different colored skin in our home was not weird, different or uncommon. We saw that she loved us and we loved her and treated her with respect. Willie will always be remembered as part of my Great Grandmother's family.

Many of you have someone that comes into your home and cooks, cleans and/or is a Nanny to your children today. Always be sure to respect them, treat as you want to be treated, pay them appropriately, and show your appreciation to them especially in front of your children. We all come from different backgrounds and have different monetary income, so no matter your financial status or situation, always treat those in your home like you would want to be treated. If you haven't seen "The Help" I highly recommend you read the book and see the movie.

I would also like to share our family Southern Chocolate Pie recipe with you. Now this is not Ms. Hilly's Special Chocolate Pie that Ms. Minnie made for her in the book/movie but a delicious Southern Chocolate Pie. Give it a try next time you want to make something chocolate.

Southern Chocolate Pie:

1/4 cup cocoa
4 TBSP self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (set aside sugar for your Meringue, see recipe below)
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 stick butter
1 TBSP vanilla
pinch of salt
Pillsbury Refrigerator Pie Crust (or any ready to bake pastry pie crust)

Brown pie crust at 400 degrees and set aside. Mix sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Separate eggs (reserve whites). Mix egg yokes and milk together. Then mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan. Start cooking on high temperature stirring constantly. Reduce heat when mixture begins to thicken. When thick add butter and vanilla. Pour into browned pie crust.

Beat egg whites in glass bowl until stiff. Add 2 TBSP sugar per egg white. Pour Meringue on top of chocolate pie and let brown at 350 degrees.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grilled Pineapples Anyone?

If you are like me you love fresh pineapple. Have you ever tried Grilled Pineapple?

We take a fresh pineapple, core it, cut into thick rings, brush it with melted butter and grill it to along with our pork chop, steak, chicken breast or burger. There is noting like Grilled Pineapple. It is a unique texture and adds great flavor to your meal along with a pop of color to your dinner plate.

We also use the pineapple juice (you can use canned or bottled pineapple juice as well) as a meat marinade. Tonight we are marinating a T-Bone steak in pineapple juice with a little Cavender's Greek Seasoning, after first tendering the steak to make it tender and delicious.

Try Grilled Pineapple the next time you fire up the grill...

Bon Appetit!

Do you SHINE?

Do you SHINE?

1. to give forth or glow with light; shed or cast light.
2. to be bright with reflected light; glisten; sparkle.
3. (of light) to appear brightly or strongly
4. to be or appear unusually animated or bright, as the eyes or face.
5. to appear with brightness or clearness, as feelings.

1. a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object or idea.

Today I read a devotional on "Beauty" and it made me think about things. I asked myself do I Shine? I thought I would share this with you. 

"We all have imperfections. We live in an imperfect world. Our created purpose is to let God's light SHINE through every facet of our being, expressing His colors and beauty through us in ways no one else can.
If you look at a ring under a microscope every day and you become very familiar with every flaw, you might be embarrassed by it. But that is not how God meant the beauty of diamonds to be seen. The beauty of a diamond is seen when someone else holds it up to the sunlight and everyone can see it sparkle.
We are created to SHINE with the light of God's creative genius. When you appreciate yourself in all your uniqueness, you will dare to hold your life up to the light. You will dare to live out the beauty you were created to express...cleaned and polished with the forgiveness of God." - Connie Neal.

I am inspired to SHINE in everything I do today and every day; how about you, do you SHINE?