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!