Monday, November 12, 2018

Candied Sweet Potatoes




I said before that green bean casserole was my favorite Thanksgiving dish, but that has to be a lie because I absolutely love Candied Sweet Potatoes. Perhaps they can tie, although, I really do love me some regular mashed potatoes.

Since sweet potatoes are already sweet, there really isn't a need to doctor them up, but when you make it this way, it just really enhances the flavor. It takes a regular side dish and makes it into a dessert and really, who doesn't love dessert. (Keep your hands down you naysayer!)

My motto for Thanksgiving is "If it isn't easy, I'm not making it" and this is certainly, a very easy dish to make.

Ingredients


  • 4 16oz cans of sweet potatoes (drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups margarine or 2 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups of marshmallow


Better pictures to come
Instructions

  • In microwave safe bowl, melt butter then mix with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add 2 cups marshmallows, stir. 
  • Pour mixture over the sweet potatoes. If you wish for smaller bites, you can mash them, but I usually don't and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Carefully pull sweet potatoes out of the oven and sprinkle remaining marshmallows over it and put back in the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes or until marshmallows begin to turn golden. 
Pull out and wait a few minutes before serving. It's super easy and delicious!

Have you tried your sweet potatoes, this way? Did you love it or was it just not for you?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Breakfast Pizza








I grew up in the Northwest part of Illinois where I was lucky enough to learn of this magnificent thing called a breakfast pizza. Since moving to the Eastern part of Illinois, there aren't really any Casey's (the gas station who introduced me to it) around here, I've missed out on ordering something truly magnificent.

I've had to learn to make some of my favorite dishes since moving here four years ago, and breakfast pizza was one of those things that I had to try for myself.

Since I already make my own homemade pizza (thanks pa-in-law for teaching me!), I started out with making my own dough. Since I've had kids, it isn't always practical doing that, so I've had to improvise from time to time if I want to make something really quick instead of waiting for the pizza crust to rise only to beat it and wait for it to rise again and a great alternative is actually the frozen/refrigerated dough in the biscuit aisle at the nearest store.

Ingredients


  • 1 refrigerated pizza crust
  • Jimmy Dean Sausage
  • Green Pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp milk
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. 

Instructions


  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Spray a pizza pan with cooking spray
  • Unroll pizza crust onto pan. Stretch it as much as you can over the pan without ripping it. Fold over edges to create a crust barrier.
  • Place small sausage dobs strategically on pizza. If you're going to use green pepper, cut into small slices and place as much as you want throughout. Do the same for mushrooms. If you wish to add bacon, I cooked mine and then crumbled it over the pizza.
  • Crack the 2 eggs into a small container, add the milk and beat them until they are pretty well mixed. Pour egg concoction over the pizza.
  • Add the amount of cheese that makes you feel happy.
  • Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. It always takes less time in my oven, so you may want to check it around 10 minutes. 
  • Enjoy!

This pizza is really great for those nights when you kind of want pizza, but also kind of want breakfast. It's also great for the holidays when you're looking for something easy to make for breakfast, but don't want to fill up too much before you have your big feast. 

So whether you have left over ingredients from an omelet that you don't want to spend the time carefully making or if you are just looking for something different than cereal or pancakes, try breakfast pizza!

Strawberry Jello Graham Cracker Surprise



This recipe was an accident that turned into something quite amazing. Has that every happened to you? I actually haven't thought of a clever name for it yet, so I'm totally up for suggestions.

Have you ever had that Jello Pretzel dessert that's pretty common at potlucks? The reason why it's so popular is because it's AMAZING and super easy to make.

This is how this Jello surprise came about. I wanted to make the Jello Pretzel dessert as a side dish for Thanksgiving two years ago, but I forgot to buy pretzels and didn't want to go out late at night to buy just one thing. Instead, I decided that I could make a graham cracker crust and it would be just as tasty, right?

Well, it was very tasty, but also very different! When I poured the Jello onto my crust, I forgot to have the jello set a little and the crust and the Jello mixed together. It was different from what I expected and I was upset, but it ended up becoming a great hit.

So they next year, I decided to try it again to see if it was a fluke. I mixed all of the ingredients together and cooled it off and the texture was pretty darn good and it has actually ended up being one of my husband's favorite dishes. If you've ever had a sea foam salad, the texture is a little similar, but the taste is amazing!

Ingredients


  • 2 packages of crushed graham crackers. (I always crush my own from a box with rolling pin)
  • 2 3oz packages strawberry jello.
  • 1 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 8oz tub of cool whip
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries


Instructions

  • In a mixer, mix together cream cheese, cool whip and sugar. Set aside. 
  • Crush graham crackers. 
  • Boil 2 cups of water and then mix in Jello. Once Jello is mixed, add a cup of cool water and stir. 
  • Carefully mix all ingredients except strawberries together with a mixing spoon until smooth. Fold in strawberries. 
  • Refrigerate until jello has set. Make this the night before in order to ensure this has time to set.
This is a very versatile dish. I've made it with cherry jello and cherries, but my husband's favorite is the strawberry. 

What do you think? Is this something that you think you'd make? Do you have any interesting names to give this?


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Green Bean Casserole


Green Bean Casserole is probably the most known Thanksgiving dish. I remember when I had cable (probably when I still lived with my parents) seeing the Campbell's commercials with the winter scene and this family has made the green bean casserole that is perfectly paired with French's french onion chips. I want to say there is a little snowman outside looking in and when he comes in, he eats a bite and turns into a little boy- ok, I actually think that's for an actual soup commercial.

What I'm trying to say is that green bean casserole is a great comfort food and would be an obvious choice to make along side a turkey or ham for Thanksgiving and Christmas- even Easter!

The best part about it is that it's so easy!

I made some, last night, and paired it with a Tuscan pasta and garlic bread. I made a smaller batch than I do with the holidays and since I was short on time, I put it into the microwave to save time. Surprisingly, it came out alright. I did bake it in the oven for 7 minutes to make the french onion chips crispy, but if you're short on time, you could do the same.

Ingredients


3 14.5 oz cans of cut green beans, drained
1 10.5 can of cream of mushroom condensed soup
3/4 cup milk
1.5 cups of french fried onion chips.

Just double for large groups


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Combine all of the ingredients except the french onion chips. Place in a medium casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. If you have a smaller dish that it fits in the microwave and you're short on time, you can place it in there and sensor reheat.
3. Remove from oven and carefully stir.
4. Sprinkle french onion chips on top of the casserole so it evenly covers the mixture and bake for 5 extra minutes.

Voila! You will have a delicious dish in a short amount of time! The hardest part about this dish is making sure it makes it all around the table. It's great to reheat too, IF you have extra's the next day.



Friday, November 2, 2018

The Day My Faith Was Questioned

A few days ago, I felt like my faith in God was being tested, but I realized that it wasn't being tested so much as others were questioning it.

Christianity is a touchy subject. Although there are rights and wrongs regarding it, there are many who believe that the rules all changed when Jesus died for us on the cross, while others still hold firm to the Old Testament.

There are those who believe that once Jesus died on the cross, all of the old rules in the Old Testament got thrown out the window because Jesus said that he was the new Covenant.

   Jeremeiah 31:31-34 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the one that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more. 

The Bible goes on and speaks of the new covenant in both the Old and New Testament.

Matthew 26:26-28 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." 

I'm not a theologian and I'm not going to tell you what you should believe.  This all happened after I saw a friend say on Facebook how he was keeping his kids home from school and going to a different place because he didn't want his kids to celebrate in the Halloween festivities.

That's ok, no problem. He's their dad and he has every right to do that. I know of other families who do the same thing. He believes that celebrating Halloween is asking for trouble and acknowledging that it's ok to sin. I understand that and I see why he believes that way.

As you've seen from my post the other day, I think it's fine to go trick-or-treating and many of my other Christian friends do the same. Some of them are even pastors. I won't speak for them, but to me, trick-or-treating is just a fun little thing to do. We don't place any emphasis on it as a holiday to bring back the dead or to worship the devil. In fact, that's the furthest thing in my mind.

My kids aren't allowed to dress demonically and be scary. If we are to be a vampire or a witch, we're just goofy. My kids don't even know that there is negative connotation to those things. Yes, we've watch Hocus Pocus, but they aren't rooting for the witches, they're rooting for the family. To us, it's just innocent play.

My friend didn't stop at saying that he was taking his kids to do something else. He went on to say (and I'm paraphrasing) "I don't know how Christian schools can be ok with celebrating Halloween. By doing anything with Halloween, you are participating and accepting the whole holiday."

My family and I had already went trick-or-treating days before and it felt like this was a personal attack. It felt like he was attacking the church who does trunk-or-treating.

We had some discussion and I thought that we were ok in the end. We agreed to disagree on some matters. Then something happened. Another person joined in on this conversation and shamed me and all of those others who partook in the conversation. That person said that we had little faith and that we needed to pray that it was strong like theirs.

That made my stomach lurch and my heart pound enough to make me sick to my stomach and angry! I wanted to say something right then and there, but decided it wasn't the time to say anything.

For once in my life, I practiced patience and not speaking with a loose tongue.

This is what I have to say about it, today:

John 14:5 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  
About a woman caught in adultery, John 8: 6-7 This they said, tempting him that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her."
Luke 18:10-14 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people-- robbers, evildoers, adulterers-- or even this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'"
13. "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'"
14. "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

Jesus was questioned and hated by the Pharisees because he did not look or behave like one. Instead, Jesus hung out with the sinners in order to show God's love and Mercy. We are called to be Christlike and Christ did extraordinary things. He dined with tax collectors and prostitutes.

  Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" and they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  

Many of what I written is up for interpretation and some of it can be used as arguments for other things, but this is what I believe: Christ died for my sins and he called me to go out and make disciples in his image. That image was love. He says to love thy neighbor and not hate thy enemy.

Trunk-or-treating is a way for the Church to evangelize to those who wouldn't partake in church otherwise. It's a chance to do what Jesus did and mingle with the sinners so that they may be saved.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoptions as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"
Romans 8: 38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

It's not up to someone else to tell me how big my faith is. The only person who will hold me accountable is God. Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

As Christians, perhaps our resources would be better spent going out and making disciples instead of telling each other what we are doing wrong.

I'm not angry anymore about what was said to me and the others. I don't believe it was done with malice and truly, I think their heart was in the right place, but better words could have been used. I forgive them and I hope that they can forgive me as well because I realize that I was still questioning what they believe when really, our end goal is to get into heaven and help save those who don't even know they need saving.

 I can let everything that was said really bum me out and feel bad about myself and my faith. I can hide under a rock and never speak about my faith again or do things because they may not be acceptable, but I realized something; No matter what someone says, my faith in God isn't small. My discipline may need some help, but my faith doesn't and shouldn't be questioned. I know who my Lord and Savior is and when it comes time to be judged, I hope that God will say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things: I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master's happiness." Then on that day, I will hear, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Traditions- A Shot of Rum for the Parents?

   

 The town that I live in does trick-or-treating for the kids the Sunday before or of Halloween, each year. Part of the reason is for safety since it's been getting darker, sooner and the other reason is so it's scheduled the same time every year.

      Unfortunately, that means that if the day of Halloween is in the middle or end of the week, it seems we are way ahead of all of the other families that I know and it's also kind of a let down for the rest of the month and it might as well just be November.

   




Halloween is my holiday. I don't go out and worship the devil or anything like that, but I LOVE to dress up. Growing up, I always wanted to be an actress and even acted a little in college for a drama group called Omega, so I really like to dress up and get into character. This year I was a vampire, the year before that, I was a granny.


      So, I love to go trick-or-treating with my kids and they enjoy having a crazy mommy taking them next door... soon, that will change. They'll be too embarrassed and ask me to stop, but until that time, I'm gonna dress up. 

      This year, we experienced something that never happened before. We had gone to a few houses on blocks that we hadn't been to before and it was really quite a let down. Houses had porch lights on, but they weren't opening their doors for us.  (For us, or at least when I was younger and growing up in a different town, a light on meant you had candy. It seems like if you have candy here, you're going to leave your door open or hang around outside.)

      After deciding to head back onto the road that we know does hand out some treats, my kids did their normal thing: "Trick-or-treat! Thank you!" but then we heard a twist. "Hey mom and grandma! They have a treat for you too!"

     I was like, "Oh really? Well thank you!" I headed up the stairs expecting a Snickers or something, but the guy gestures to some drinks with little shot glasses. He was offering us some pumpkin spice rum and vodka or something like that. I was so surprised. I thanked him and turned him down politely because, well, who hands our alcohol to parents?

     Apparently, this is something that people in Arizona do for parents and its not just a random person, it's like almost all of the houses. My bro-in-law who lives there was telling us all about it. 

     So this is an entirely new concept, something I had never heard of, but it makes sense that different places do different things for holidays. 

What traditions do you do? Are there a little rituals that you do differently? My husband's grandpa told me about what Halloween was like for him as a kid. Back then, they trick-or-treated the whole week of Halloween and if they didn't get treats, they really did do tricks. Apparently, the people of Arizona hand out alcohol. If someone could hand out cheesecakes and puppies, I might just move there.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Corn Bread Casserole


The holidays are near and even if they aren't at this time, people still enjoy comfort food that's easy to make. Corn Bread Casserole can really be made any time of the year whether you're eating chili, sausage and potatoes, or you just feel like eating something with corn bread.

Since it's so easy to make and you can make it with ingredients that you most likely already have, this is the perfect dish to take to a potluck or to eat at Thanksgiving time.




Everything pictured are just the ingredients I already had on hand. I am
not making any money by promoting, I probably just got them on a good sale.
Ingredients

1 Box of Corn Bread mix- I used Jiffy
1 cup sour cream
1 can of creamed corn
1 can of regular canned corn (drained)
1 stick of butter or a half cup

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.
Melt the butter in microwave.
In an oven safe casserole dish, mix all ingredients together. Stir well.
Pop into the oven for 40 minutes or until top is starting to brown.

For, what I hope are obvious reasons, don't eat until the casserole has cooled down and isn't mouth blistering hot. A nice warm will do fine.


Easy Peasy! It's ridiculous how easy it is to make this dish and it's sure to be a hit!

The Beginner's Bible

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