Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Sometimes the more blessings we have the harder it is to see them.

Sometimes the very fact that we have so much makes it hard to be thankful.

I know I've shared this before but it seems a good time of year to share it again.

Our water here at the house has never been very good so for years we went to Mark's mom and dad's house and hauled our drinking water from the spring.

Good, clean spring water.

Years went by and we built the chicken houses which meant we dug a new well.

Now that water was good, it didn't smell and it had a good taste.

So we no longer had to drive to Pekin to get water, now we just had to walk down to the chicken houses.

I didn't even have to go get it.

That was one of the jobs the kids had, to keep water at the house.

That wasn't good enough for me though.

I clearly remember the day I went to the sink to get water and got mad because I wasn't like everybody else and able to simply turn on my faucet and get a drink.

Oh. I could turn on the sink to get water to wash the dishes or many other things but I couldn't drink it.

I was standing there being mad when all of a sudden I got a picture in my mind.

I know it was God getting my attention.

As I stood there at the sink I saw in my mind those pictures you see on TV of a mother walking five miles with a jug on her head to get dirty water to take home for her children and it will more than likely make them sick.

I saw God looking down at me and God looking down at her.

I felt awful.

We all know how it is to see an ungrateful person.

A complaining person.

I knew how God must feel when he had given me a clean well, just a couple hundred feet from the house,  and since he had also given me four healthy strong children I didn't even have to go get the water.

We are such a nation of complainers and one of the reasons is we compare ourselves to each others massive wealth.

Yes, massive wealth.

If you live in America you have massive wealth.

If we could learn to see what we have in light of what the world has instead of what our neighbor has or the people in the big fancy subdivision have instead of complaining we would be completely humbled and awe struck at the magnitude of what we have.

If you go to the store today and you find yourself wanting to get angry at the long lines, imagine yourself in another country.

Do you ever really look at the bounty on the store shelves or do we take it for granted?
Imagine no store to go to.

Imagine if there was a store there were empty shelves \or full shelves but you had no money to buy anything.

Imagine that  you had nothing and there was no Red Cross, no Salvation Army, no government programs, no churches to help you.

That is the reality of what most people live with everyday.

Purpose now that  when you are in the line at the store you won't complain you will see it for what it really is and not let Satan steal your joy by making you think what is a good thing is really a bad thing.

The fact that you are standing in line is a testament to just how good we have it.

You drove a car to the store, you got out and walked in,  you have a huge selection, you can afford to buy what you need and if you can't afford
 it there are ways to get help.

When you run out of counter room or table room and you want to complain, stop and think about what you are really saying, listen to yourself.

What you are really saying, is  "Oh God, you have given to much,  this is just a lot of trouble, I'm not happy about all I have."

We don't think we're saying that but it's what we're saying.

Why not say, 'Wow our table overflows or cup really does run over.

When the house gets so crowded and you want to start thinking about you could use a bigger house look around at all of those faces and think Wow, so many people to love, my house is busting at the seems with love.

Keep people in other places ever present to your heart.

We're weak and we tend to be ungrateful and sometimes we need to clear our minds and wipe our eyes so we an see clearly.

So every time you feel yourself wanting to complaining, stop and ask God to show you the truth, ask him to open your eyes and you will find yourself giving thanks instead of complaining.

Oh and just to show you how good God is and how he was really just blessing me before my time I now see that I was just ahead of the game.

I was into bottled water long before it was cool.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


We all know Cranberry Salad is the Queen of salads when it comes to the Thanksgiving Table.

It is just understood, even if you don't like's understood. It's just part of the tradition.

Mark's mom makes the best Cranberry Salad ever.

One year I made it.

I used her recipe.

Something went wrong.

It wasn't like hers.

No one said anything.

Not even to say, "Do you want to bring it again next year?"

No one said that.

I didn't bring it.

But I started making something we like just as much or dare I say even better.

I started taking it to other holiday dinners.

Everyone liked it because as I said, there are a lot of people who don't like cranberry but they like cherry.

So in honor of my Grandma Money, I'm going to share her Cherry Jello Salad recipe.

Its  on all our holiday tables.

We really like it and it's so pretty and so simple.

The picture I'm sharing isn't mine but is had the jello and had the coke so I thought it would work well.

I've never made mine in a mold, I always use a pretty glass bowl but this mold is pretty, I might have to consider that this year.

Here's the recipe and this is another one you can make a few days ahead of time to cut back on the stress of the big day.


1/2 cup sugar
1 large can cherry pie filling
i large box of cherry jello
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
6 oz. coke
1/2 cup water
nuts to taste, (optional)

Bring the water sugar and pie filling to a boil and boil for five minutes, stirring
Remove from heat and add all other ing.
Chill until set.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


This is one of my favorite fall recipes. There's something warm and inviting about pumpkin and cinnamon, and of course, everything is better with cream cheese! This originally had a cream filling but the idea of an airy cream filling with pumpkin just didn't appeal to me. I felt like it would be so much better with cream cheese because of the heavier,thicker consistency. I used the cupcake recipe but used the filling recipe for pumpkin roll. So glad I did, it pairs wonderfully. This would be a perfect Thanksgiving dessert or great for breakfast the next morning! Like most things pumpkin,these are better the longer they sit,which means they can also be made ahead of time...HUGE PLUS! Whatever you do this year, take time to really think about what you're making and why you're making it. So many times in the Bible we see where Jesus and many other people ministered with food. It's a tool to heal the soul and break down walls. I have often said that I enjoy cooking because it is a is unwavering. We somehow feel like all will be well when we sit down to enjoy something yummy or when we serve it to someone else. Be someone who shows love with something delicious this year...and what better to share than these wonderful,spicy cupcakes. Enjoy!


4 eggs
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. veg. oil
1 can  (15.oz)  solid pack pumpkin..not pumpkin pie filling
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon,  add to pumpkin mixture and beat until well mixed.
Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake at 350  for 18 to 22 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling
1 pkg. cream cheese,  softened
1 c. powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. butter,  softened6 Tbsp. butter,  softened
1 tsp.  vanilla extract

Cream all ing. together until smooth.

Using a sharp knife cut a one inch circle one inch deep in the top of each cupcake.
Carefully remove tops and set aside.
Spoon or pipe filling into cupcakes.
Replace tops.
Yields about 1 3/4 dozen cupcakes

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Heidi found this recipe in the Point of Grace cookbook.
We had them for the first time when we were on vacation a couple of years ago and we've making them every since for special occasions.
This picture isn't ours. It's from the Point of Grace facebook page.

You know what I mean   for those times when you want something just a little bit different, a little more special than  your usual green beans.

The recipe says they are best made a day ahead of time and that makes them ideal for Thanksgiving because as you know the more things we can get done the day before the better.

Here's the list of things you will need.

6 cans of green beans, drained,  any brand you like and it's just the regular size cans.
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 pound bacon
1 large onion cut into thin rings

1. Fry bacon
2. Remove from pan and take grease off of heat. Crumble the bacon.
3. Mix vinegar and sugar. Add to grease.
4. Transfer to a large pot. Place onions in grease mixture and saute until limp.
5. Add beans and stir.
Cook 30 minutes or more, stirring frequently.

I like to cook green beans a long time.
If you make them ahead and they  get a chance to sit in the juice all night they will be wonderful.
Just heat and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I don't know how I could consider myself much of a poultry producer's wife if I didn't offer a chicken recipe from time to time.

Thanksgiving is  a good time to share our chicken and dumpling recipe, of course I guess at Thanksgiving we should say Turkey and Dumplings.

So without futher delay, here it is.

2 cups water
1 stick butter (real butter)
4 cups self rising flour

Bring the two cups of water and the one stick of butter to a boil

When it boils remove from heat and pour over the top of the four cups of flour you've placed in a large heat proof bowl.

This will really foam. It will fluff up like a cloud sort of like it's giving you a sneak peak at how light and fluffy they're going to be when they're done.

Mix well with a large spoon.  It's going to be really hot and you need to be careful. I always have to get my hands in it to finish up as soon as it's cool enough.

Roll out dough and cut into strips and then cut the strips into the size dumplings you want.

Once they are rolled out you can lay them on a cookie sheet, freeze them and take them out as needed. Just add them to a boiling broth to cook.

If you find yourself in a hurry you don't have to freeze them and you don't have to roll them. You can always just make drop dumplings by pinching off a little less than a tablespoon size or so of dough and dropping it in your broth.

This recipe needs a couple or three quarts of chicken broth and of course I add the deboned chicken in at the end.

Some people add a little yellow food coloring to give it a golden color, I don't do that but it's totally up to you.

Enjoy your dumplings and remember...Eat More Chicken!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts German Chocolate Bread Pudding

Mom asked me if I wanted to contribute some ideas of sides/desserts for all the upcoming holiday dinners. I said I would...and this recipe is a new favorite. Most of our holiday meals are usually packed with rich food and rich dessert...both of the same is just too much. This recipe is the perfect ending to any kind of big meal. It has just the right amount of sweetness to offset dinner but not so much that its overpowering. We agree that it actually gets better the longer it sets It also might appear to be a lot of complicated steps but its not...its very simple and doesn't take a lot of time. My family always enjoys trying new food, we are not one to have the same old stuff. Of course we have the staples but there's always a little something different too  Plenty of good reasons to add it to your table this year!

German Chocolate Bread Pudding

For the Bread Pudding
1  Tbsp. butter softened
2  cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1  stick butter, cubed
1  cup packed brown sugar
2  cups milk
2  eggs
2  Tbsp. vanilla extract
2  tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2  tsp. table salt
10-24 slices Texas toast, (not the frozen,  get it in the bread section)
cut into 1 inch cubes    air-dry

For the sauce
2  Tbsp. butter
1/2  cup packed light brown sugar
1/2  cup heavy cream
1  egg yolk
pinch of table salt
1/4  cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4  cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

For the whipped cream
1/4  cup heavy cream
2   Tbsp sifted powder sugar
1-2   Tbsp brandy  (optional)

Preheat oven to 350  coat a  9 inch springform pan with the 1 tbsp. softened butter.

Melt chocolate chips,  1 stick butter,  and 1 cup brown sugar for the pudding in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir mixture frequently until its smooth,  about 8 minutes.

Whisk together milk, eggs,  vanilla,  espresso  powder, and salt.  Pour over bread cubes; toss well so bread  absorbs most of the liquid and begins to lose its shape.

Fold melted chocolate mixture into the bread mixture,  transfer to the prepared pan.  Bake pudding until center springs back when gently pressed.  60-75 minutes.
(Cover pudding with foil if it begins to get too brown.)  Cool pudding in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove the springform ring.

Melt the 2 Tbsp. butter with the 1/2 cup brown sugar for the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the 1/2 cup cream,  egg yolk,  and pinch of salt;  boil until slightly thickened about 1 minute.  Remove sauce from heat;  add pecans, coconut, and the 2 tsp. brandy.  Transfer sauce to a bowl;  cool to room temperature.

Using a hand mixer,  beat together the 3/4 cup cream powdered sugar, and the 1/2 Tbsp brandy for the whipped cream until soft peaks form.  To serve, spoon sauce over warm bread pudding and top servings with whipped cream.

Make Ahead Directions:
Cube the bread and set it out to dry 2-3 days ahead.  Make the sauce 1 day ahead,  then reheat before serving.  The pudding can be made up to a day ahead, chilled, then baked and served warm.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts........Oyster Dressing

My mother-in-law,  June,  is the best cook I know.

Her Oyster Dressing is the best I've  ever had.

Karen,  June's daughter,  my sister-in-law is as good of a cook as her mother and if you put their dressings side by side on the Thanksgiving table I couldn't tell them apart.

Karen wrote the recipe out for me and I have been following it faithfully for several years now.

To me,  it never tastes as good as theirs but my family assures me it is.

You know how it is though...someone else' cooking is always better.

If you don't like Oyster Dressing just omit the oysters and you will still have a wonderful dressing recipe.

So are you ready?

Let's go, you're gonna need:

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup butter
6 cups dry bread crumbs  ( you can buy the unseasoned packaged bread crumbs or tear up your own, I've done both)
I Tbsp, chopped parsley
3 cans drained, chopped oysters,  use more or less according to your taste, I use two.
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
Sage to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup liquid, I always end up using more than this, you know how moist or dry you like your dressing so just take your time adding and keep checking, you will more than likely have to add a little more.
June and Karen use a combination of broth, milk  and a little of the drained oyster juice.

Cook celery,  onion and bay leaf in butter until tender but not brown.

Discard Bay Leaf

Put the bread cubes and all the other ing. except for the liquid in a large bowl, pour the celery, onion and butter mixture over the bread cubes stir and then add the liquid.

Stir well.

Bake uncovered in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees.

Bake at least 30 minutes or until golden brown.