Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gotta Love Those Links: January 29th

Everybody had a good week so far? Looking forward to the weekend? I am. I have been LONGING for a nice, warmish day to hike. It has been forever since we've been and I'm seriously contemplating bundling Kaelan up in everything from her closet and packing rain gear so we can just go.

Anyway, on to some neat things I ran across this week.

I love this cute makeup bag from Grace Violet. It would be perfect for the "baby junk" that occupies my purse (and keeps me from having to lug the whole diaper bag around). Maybe I'll win one. :-)

This is an awesome giveaway from Boogers, Screams, Headaches, and Dreams. There is so much to choose from! Congrats on the 200th post. I'm sure I'll be there someday.

This project looks like so much fun from Craft Stylish. They give directions for taking an old sweater and turning it into those cute mary-jane-like slippers you see at the store. Now, I've just got to learn how to crochet.

If you've already started thinking about Valentine's Day, here is a cute idea for a Valentine's vase from Good Housekeeping. I'd bet you could do the same thing using any recycled item (tin can, plastic container, etc.). Ribbon could also be substituted for the fabric.

This is a cute idea from Martha for a warm Valentine's tea treat.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creamy Turkey Vegetable Soup

Who likes using leftover turkey (or chicken) on sandwiches or even worse...plain?? I made this recipe with leftover turkey from Christmas that was too dry to eat alone. In the soup, it was absolutely delicious and so much better! My family will never suffer from dry turkey again. The recipe is very forgiving. I was able to make several substitutions and still render a wonderful soup. The soup is great with homemade bread or crackers.

You need:
1 large onion, finely chopped OR 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. butter
3 cups diced red potatoes (white potatoes work, too)
2 cans (29 ounces total) chicken broth
2 cups cooked cubed turkey breast (chicken would work, too)
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used green beans, corn, and carrots, but feel free to experiment)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper (I didn't have this, so I used black pepper, and it was fine)
3/4 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. thyme
2 cups milk

If you are using a real onion, in a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter until tender. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the turkey, veggies, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Cook 10-12 minutes longer or until veggies are tender. Stir in cream and heat through, but do not boil.

This post is part of the Nourishing Soups and Stews Carnival at The Nourishing Gourmet. Make sure to check out more great recipes!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gotta Love Those Links: January 22nd

Here are the links I'm loving this week. Some really neat ideas!

Apartment Therapy: How to build a simple indoor swing (for winter)--This one makes me want to go get the stuff and start today. It looks so easy, and I can just imagine how much fun Kaelan would have with this!

Photojojo: The Perpetual Photo Wall Calendar--Talk about everyday art! This could really spruce up any wall in your house. You could use any kind of picture that you could imagine. Can you see your kids holding up signs with the numbers on them? Or maybe pictures from your favorite places around the city. There's so much room for creativity here that it really becomes YOUR calendar.

Fit Brains: Scientifically Based Brain Fitness Program--Just for fun. Make sure you give your brain a daily workout in one form or fashion. This is a neat place with lots of FREE games in a variety of categories. Remember the adage: Use it or lose it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I have a new title: Book Review Blogger

I recently learned of a program through Thomas Nelson publishers in which bloggers are sent a free book in exchange for writing a review of the book and posting it on their blog as well as the Thomas Nelson site and a retail site. Not a bad deal, I thought. Free books for a book lover in exchange for sharing my thoughts. I submitted my application for the program and 3-4 days later (after the weekend), I heard that I'd been approved. My first book, or rather, set of MP3s is on its way. Out of the four selections they offered, I chose Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament MP3 Set. I immediately received an email stating my selection was on the way. So, we'll see how this goes. After I finish listening (to all 23 hours!), I'll be posting the review here, so stay tuned. If you are interesting in blogging about books for Thomas Nelson, go here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hold On!

In Psalm 91:14-16, God makes a huge promise! Here's what He says:
"If you'll hold on to Me for deal life," says God, "I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times. I'll rescue you, then throw you a party. I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!" (The Message)
Isn't that a great promise? No matter how big the problem seems to us, God is totally capable of handling it. He doesn't say, "If you try hard enough," or "If you do enough things right..." He says that if you hold on to Him for dear life, He'll pull you out. We just have to trust Him and know Him.

Are you going through a rough time? Does it seem hopeless? Know that there is always hope in our God. He will always come to our rescue. He promises He will and He keeps His Word!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Amish Baked Oatmeal

I found this recipe on one of my feeds and tried it the next morning (altered just a bit, of course). Love at first taste! Kaelan loves to eat this rolled into little balls (easy for little fingers to grab). To make the morning run a little more smoothly, I usually combine all the ingredients the night before, cover the dish with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator. The next morning, as soon as I get up, I turn the oven on, take the plastic wrap off, and stick it in (nope, I usually don't wait for it to preheat). I take a shower and get ready, and 30 minutes later, a hot breakfast is waiting for my family.

You need:

1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
2 t. vanilla
whatever you want to add in (canned pumpkin, blueberries, strawberries, raisins, cinnamon—you name it!)

Preheat over to 350. Grease 8x8 pan. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

So easy!! Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chocolate Cobbler

I found this dessert on the Blissfully Domestic feed and it turned out to be really easy and very yummy with vanilla ice cream. It makes a cakey (is that a word?) topping with chocolate sauce underneath.

You need:
  • 1 C self rising Flour OR 1 C all purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 T Cocoa
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 T Canola Oil
  • 3/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Cocoa
  • 1 3/4 C hot tap water
First, mix together the flour, sugar and cocoa. Add the milk, vanilla, and oil and mix everything really well. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan. Mix the brown sugar and second dose of cocoa together and sprinkle over the batter. Very slowly pour the hot water over the entire dish. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Enjoy with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where is God?

As I was reading this morning, I came across this verse:

"You walked off and left us, and never looked back. God, how could you do that? We're your very own sheep; how can you stomp off in anger?" Psalm 74:1 The Message

Have you ever felt like that? That God just totally walked out on you and left you high and dry? I know I have. The chapter goes on to explain that a town has been completely demolished by their enemies. There is nothing left that symbolizes God. Everything has been destroyed.

OK, so my life isn't quite that dramatic, but right now my family is going through a tough time. It has been really tempting to think that God has forgotten about us. That He has just left us to fend for ourselves. Thankfully, I know that's not true. I know because of what His word tells me and because of my life experiences. There have been many times when I thought all was lost, but God showed up and turned things around for my good...just like He promises He will do (Romans 8:28). He tells us that He will provide for our every need (Philippians 4:19). He promises that whatever we ask for (according to His will) He will give if we just believe we have received it (Mark 11:24) I keep these verses and others posted in my house so that I can keep my mind focused in the right direction. I keep hoping, keep believing that God is going to move in a big way in 2009 and turn things around.

Just a couple chapters later, the guy writing the psalm has a change of heart, too. He says,

"O God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God! You're the God who makes things happen; You showed everyone what You can do--You pulled Your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph." Psalm 77:13-15 The Message
I want to have a heart that God is pleased with. I want to be found faithful in the end, through the highs and the lows of life. I KNOW that God will bring us through tough times and we will be closer to Him and stronger in our faith in the end.

Has God recently brought you out of a tough time? What verses helped get you through?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blissful Brownies

I had been looking for a "made-from-scratch" recipe that really tasted homemade. I found several that tasted like a box mix and that just wasn't what I was after. This recipe is healthy (for brownies) and has the homemade yummy goodness.

You need:
EITHER 4 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate OR 3/4 c. cocoa and 1/4 c. oil
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
4 eggs OR 8 egg whites
1 c. flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 c. pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 13x9 pan with foil, with the ends of the foil extending over the short sides of the pan and grease.

Microwave the chocolate on high for 1 min. and stir until smooth OR stir together the cocoa and oil until smooth. Add oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in sugar. Add eggs OR egg whites. Stir until well blended. Add flour and pecans. Mix well. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until brownies pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely. Lift brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into 24 brownies (ideally).

Thanks Kraft!! I modified their recipe a bit. (Food & Family, Winter 2007, pg. 53)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Layered Pumpkin Bread

A while ago I found a recipe for layered pumpkin muffins. I made them, and while they were really yummy, they were really fussy. I think foods are fussy if they take a lot of ingredients or a lot of work. So, I searched around and found this recipe to make instead. I love that it is healthy and easy to make. My family loves it, so it is a winner for breakfast or snack at our house.

You need:

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c fat free milk (or whatever your family uses)
1/4 cup oil
2 cups flour (I use 1 c. white and 1 c. wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice OR cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 80z. pkg. cream cheese (I use the low fat version)
1 tsp. vanilla

First, preheat the oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and set aside. Mix the pumpkin, 1 c. sugar, brown sugar, eggs, milk, and oil in a large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Stir until just moistened. Set aside. Beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining sugar until well blended.

Spoon half the pumpkin batter into the pan, followed by the cream cheese mixture and then the other half of the pumpkin batter. Bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before you take it out.

Let me know what you think if you make it.