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Archive for January, 2014

Welcome!  Today’s post is the next installment of Book Beginnings which is a great link-up hosted by Rose City Reader.  If you love books, hop on over and check it out!

My book today is God’s Favorite Place on Earth by Frank Viola and the first line is this:

“In every generation, Christians face the same challenges-namely doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, division, rejection, and the struggle against consumerism and complacency.”

I cannot even begin to describe how much I was blessed by this book.  I found myself nodding my head and thinking how much sense it all made.  The author tells the story of Lazarus, Mary & Martha through Lazarus’ eyes and the storytelling is spot-on.  I devoured this book and was sad when it ended.  Each chapter of the book has a narrative, Scripture to back up his narrative and then what I would call “life lessons” to go along with it. 

This is one book that I am passing around to my friends and co-workers because I think everyone deserves the chance to read it.  I hope you do and are blessed by it as much as I was.

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Even though it is Winter, there is still plenty of natural beauty if you just take the time to look for it.

The dried seed heads are almost as pretty as the fresh version and the birds love them.

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Look at the new bud already forming right next to last years seed pod. I love the hope and renewal that spring brings after the cold dark winter.  Seeing this reminds me that everything is just taking a nice long nap, but there is still life flowing in those branches. 

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Wild rose hips…

 

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I even found a little bit of green in January. 

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I love nature.  It always make me feel closer to God to stand out in the middle of His creations and just let His goodness and grace wash over me. 

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Is it spring yet?  Our little neck of the woods turned into a winter wonderland on Saturday and now it is back to frigid temperatures.  I hate to wish time away, but I can’t wait for warmer weather!  I would even take our normal January high of 40-something.  It would feel like a heat wave right about now.  I really need to go to the grocery and had planned on venturing out Saturday, but the snow put a stop to that.  Hopefully, one night this week will turn into grocery night. 

All this cold and dreary weather sure makes staying on a healthy eating plan hard to do.  All I want to do is cook and eat and eat and eat…well, you get the picture.  I hope to have two new recipes this week if I can get the ingredients, but that might not happen either.  Can you tell that I am so over winter?  Yeah, it’s true.

Bubble up sloppy Joes (new) with fresh fruit

Taco pork chops with oven fries & salad

Easy deep dish pizza with salad

Tacos

Saucilicious slow cooker pork chops (new) with butter roasted potatoes

Grocery night

Pizza night

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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I LOVE bread of any kind!  One of my favorite winter meals is soup and cornbread.  I just can’t get enough.  I found these Maple Cornbread Muffins on Yesterfood and knew they had to be good.  How can you go wrong combining cornbread and maple?  You can’t because they are wonderful!

Cook up a batch of the Chuckwagon Stew from last week and fix these muffins.  Your family will thank you, I promise.

Maple Cornbread Muffins 1

1 cup sifted all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup milk (I used 2%.)

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup real maple syrup

2 tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled, for batter

3 tbsp. additional (not melted) butter for muffin pan

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put about 1/4 teaspoon of the non-melted butter into each cup of your muffin pan.

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In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a second bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined.  You don’t want to over-mix the batter.  The batter will be a little thin and have a few lumps left. That’s ok.  Let it rest for a minute or two before filling the pan.

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While the batter rests, put the muffin pan into the preheated oven until the butter just melts.  Remove it from the oven and swirl the melted butter carefully to coat the muffin cups. 

Evenly divide the batter into the cups, filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove.  Serve warm with whatever you want to eat with them. 

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Maple Cornbread Muffins 2

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A few shots from a beautiful January day in Kentucky…

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Ellie says that there is something in the air.  Is it Spring?  I wish!!

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Eenie in mid-roll.  He’s so rotten.

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Happy Monday and Martin Luther King, Jr day to everyone!  I need to apologize for the lack of activity around here, but my “day job” went a little nuts last week.  Shew, we had two different court sessions going on three days last week and, on top of that, we were working an hour or two over every day.  That makes for one tired food blogger so something had to take a back seat.  Unfortunately, that “something” was this little space on the internet.  Hopefully, we are back to normal this week!  Yay!! 

My father-in-law’s birthday was last week, but because of the crazy work schedule, I am making him a special birthday dinner this week.  That just makes the celebration last a little longer, right?  Anywho, along with that meal, most of this week is pretty simple with a couple of new easy recipes thrown in for good measure.  Have a great week, everyone!!

Famous pork chops, butter roasted potatoes, scalloped pineapple, crescent rolls and orange juice cake(new) (Birthday dinner!)

Taco ring with salad (2 nights)

Sliders with oven fries

Slow cooker vegetable soup (new)

Hot cheese dip with chips & veggies

Basic meatloaf with oven fries

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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It has been cold here in South Central Kentucky.  Now, I am not talking about a little ol’ cold snap where you may have to wear a scarf and gloves.  No sirree, I am talking about sub zero temperatures with wind chills of  –18, people!  I am not used to this at all!  Thankfully, the extreme temperatures were short lived and life is back to normal around here. 

If it is still frigid where you live, give this stew recipe a try.  It will warm you to your bones.  I started out with this recipe from Plain Chicken and adapted it to use what I liked.  Their idea of using chili powder in beef stew is nothing short of culinary genius.  So good!

Chuckwagon Stew

2 lb. stew meat

2 tbsp. vegetable oil (Oops, not pictured.)

1/4 cup flour

1 tsp. brown sugar

14.5 oz. can tomato sauce

14.5 oz. beef broth

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. chili powder (This is a great addition to beef stew. Great idea, Plain Chicken!)

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

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In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Toss the stew meat with the flour until coated.  Brown the meat in the skillet on all sides.

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While the meat is browning, add the remaining ingredients to your slow cooker and turn it on low.  Add the browned stew meat to the cooker as well.  Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.  Remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

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Chuckwagon Stew

Come on back next Saturday for a delicious maple cornbread muffin recipe that would be perfect with this stew.

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