Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cranberry Lime Cooler


It's always a treat to come across an easy, refreshing beverage recipe. I've been preparing this recipe for a number of years now, especially during the hot summer months. I like to serve it as family or friends arrive, as they are waiting for a meal to begin. A refreshing cold summer beverage ...

Print Recipe

Cranberry Lime Cooler


Course: Beverages
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 13 cup cranberry juice cocktail chilled
  • 4 12-oz cans Fresca
  • 4 lime wedges

Directions

  1. Combine juice and Fresca in pitcher.

  2. Pour into 4 tall glasses filled with crushed ice.

  3. Squeeze lime wedge over each glass.

  4. For individual serving ... fill glass 1/2 full with ice. Fill 3/4 full with Fresca; top with juice, then lime.

Powered by
Plan To Eat

What is your favorite summer beverage for family gatherings?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In the Kitchen


After a full summer, and also after being gone from home for two weeks in July, it was time the beginning of this month to stock my pantry again. So the first full week of August was filled with several grocery shopping trips with my stock-up-page list of items to purchase in hand. First stop was Aldi (the first time I have taken time to go there in quite a few months), then Sam's, and then several local grocery chain stores to fill in with the rest of the items (this month it was Family Fare, and WalMart - sometimes it is HyVee).

Meal prep goes so much better when I have a fully stocked pantry; a great encouragement to be more consistent with my cooking!

Sharing a few fun little things from my kitchen these past few weeks:


Yesterday I found room in our refrigerator for these freshly-picked garden veggies! More than we can eat, of course, and we've been sharing with our family who live nearby.


Summer lunches are so easy when there are fresh veggies in the house. This was yesterday's lunch, and one that we have fairly often. Chicken Wraps, using heated up chicken strips from the freezer, along with salad greens, tomatoes, and cheese. Add whatever else you would like for a quick and easy lunch.



This next recipe is a good one to use for a quick breakfast, and was on a recipe card that I had tucked away years ago. I pulled it out recently, and used it not just once, but on several mornings. 

Egg Cup Scramble - scrambled eggs for one, prepared in the microwave. Fast, easy, and a good source of protein first thing in the morning. 

The recipe is simple: just 3 ingredients, the number "2" for the amount of each ingredient, and 2 sets of 45 seconds for microwaving the dish. 

Spray some oil in a coffee cup, or a small dish ... put in 2 eggs, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix with a fork. Place in the microwave for about 45 seconds; remove and stir again with fork. Microwave again for about 45 seconds. Top with 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese. 

And enjoy, along with a muffin and some yoghurt (or your choice of other breakfast food).


It was also time earlier this month to replenish my bags of grated walnuts and pecans. I like to buy walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc., at Sam's in larger size bags; they are less expensive that way. Then periodically I grate up a bag of each to keep in the refrigerator, ready to use for recipes. 


Once in awhile I actually get around to making something that I have pinned on Pinterest! Here is a fun little pudding snack treat that I made this month for four of our grandkids when they were here for an overnighter. Click here for the recipe for Banana Split Parfait Jars! They were yummy, and the kids loved them. I ended up drizzling chocolate on all four of them, of course - though they were so pretty to take a photo of without the chocolate, too.  

What has been happening in your kitchen in recent weeks?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Remain in Me



Sometimes we hear things so often, and we think we've got it, that we have that thing all figured out. And then, so often, we find out that there is so much more, more than we ever realized. 

I love it that this is the case so often, most often in fact, with God's Words. We can read His Words to us and be impacted by them, and then later, when we read them again ... our eyes and hearts are opened to so much more. So much more from the same words that we have been reading over and over for so long.. 

His Words never grow old for they are alive, spoken by a living God.

And recently I have been captured, again, by the words in John 15. 

"Abide in Me ..." 
(John 15:4a ESV)

Isn't this what we long for ... to "abide" in Him? For He says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

I love how my ESV Study Bible describes this "abiding" ...

"Abide in Me - means to continue in a daily, personal relationship with Jesus, characterized by trust, prayer, obedience, and joy." (added emphasis mine)

Just as a plant cannot survive unless it receives nourishment continually - just as a newborn baby needs milk continually - just as we cannot survive and thrive unless we receive water and nutrition continually  - so, we need His Words continually.

"Remain in Me ..." 
(John 15:4a NLT)

And this "remaining" isn't just about going through the motions of receiving nourishment; it implies that we are allowing the nourishment to enter into us fully. And it implies that we are putting the nourishment to action. We are not only hearing the words, but are acting on them; we are obeying them.

"When you obey My commandments,
you remain in My love,
just as I obey My Father's commandments
and remain in His love."
(John 15:10)

We can sometimes recoil from the word "obey", but it really is key to remaining, abiding. As parents, we know that our young children are truly taking our words to heart when we see them acting on our words, obeying our words. So it is with us. If we truly are taking God's Words to heart, digesting them fully, we will act on them. We will obey them.

Loving Lord, thank You for reminders to abide, to remain ... to obey. When I read Your Words, may I digest them into the core of my heart, and may I turn them into action; may I willingly and completely obey You. Receiving and also living out Your Words. For Your glory, as the resulting fruit in My life will bring much joy, and much glory to You.

"Those who remain in Me, and I in them,
will produce much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing."
(John 15:5b)



Sharing the thoughts above as I have recently been reading through the book of John, along with reading the First5 devotionals each morning. God has been working on my heart in deeper ways as a result of these thoughts I have shared here about "abiding", "remaining", and "obeying" ... particularly in connection with a weakness of mine, which is ... worry. 

Don't we as mothers resort to "worry" so very often? Sometimes we excuse ourselves for this apparent obsession of ours at times with "worry", because after all, we are mothers, and mothers love and care so deeply about our children. But as I abide/remain in Him continually ... He is drawing me to more fully obey Him when He says: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything." (Philippians 4:6a) This only can come from His Spirit enabling me as I abide in Him. His Words, His nourishment and His strength in me. And I am experiencing the resulting joy, which is the fruit that will bless those around me, and will result in bringing more praise to God. 

Continual, daily nourishment ... 
abiding, remaining in Him.


For more posts on this topic:
FIRST LOVE: What We are Made For


Linking up with:
Tell His Story
Faith Filled Friday

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grilled Chicken Salad


Summer is the perfect time for salads, and when it is a main dish salad, that is even better! This Grilled Chicken Salad recipe has been in my collection for quite a few years, and it is always such a treat to make it again. It is as delicious as it is beautiful ...

Print Recipe

Grilled Chicken Salad


Course: Main Course
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 package macaroni penne pasta or ziti (16 oz.)
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper chopped
  • 2 12 cups celery sliced
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 14 cup minced fresh dill or 5 teaspoons dill weed
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijion mustard
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 14 teaspoon pepper
  • 23 cup olive oil
  • Leaf lettuce optional

Directions

  1. Grill chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for 5-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

  2. Remove from the grill and place in a single layer on a platter; sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, toss pasta, red pepper, celery, onion and dill.

  4. Remove chicken from platter; pour juices into a bowl.

  5. Slice chicken widthwise into thin strips; add to pasta mixture.

  6. To the juices, add vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper; whisk well.

  7. Whisk in oil very slowly in a stream until dressing is thickened.

  8. Pour over salad and toss.

  9. Serve in a lettuce-lined bowl or on individual lettuce-lined plates.

  10. Yield: 6 servings.

Powered by
Plan To Eat

What are some of your favorite main dish salads?

Linking up with:
Cheryl at I'm Lovin' It

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Turn Towards the Light


Are you like me, and need help to make it through each day? 

This world is a beautiful place, and this world is a difficult place. Everywhere we turn, we can see beauty, and also, everywhere we turn, we also see darkness. And in our day and in our changing culture, the darkness is becoming even darker.

There are the fears and concerns from outside our homes, and fears and concerns from within our hearts. How can there be such big changes in our country and nation? Always, something of concern in the news.

And how can there be such fears and insecurities in our own hearts? We doubt our worth, our abilities, our own strength. We are often disappointed and discouraged, and often just plain tired. This world is such a busy place, and we often try to do too much, even trying to do it in our own strength.

But there is Good News ...

I am the light of the world.
If you follow Me,
you won't have to walk in darkness,
because you will have the light
that leads to life.
(John 8:12)


There is a way to overcome the darkness. And it involves a turning.

It involves a turning towards the light. By the help of God, we have the power to turn towards His light. We have the power to call out to Him, to listen to His Words, and to follow Him. This turning towards the light, and this following Him is a gift, and it is a choice. 

It is a daily choice to call out to Him before our feet hit the floor each morning, to reach for His Words, and then, to follow. It is our priority to think on His Words each day, throughout our day. Following His light as He directs us through the moments of our day. 

For He says ...


Loving Lord, I choose to follow You, to read and listen to Your Words, to fix my thoughts on You each day. To depend on You alone even for the strength to follow. Give me an undivided heart to listen to You and to walk with You. You are the Light that leads to life.


For more posts on this topic:
FIRST LOVE: What We are Made For

Linking up with:
Laura at Faith Filled Friday

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Project Life: Week 32

Summer is winding down - and I took some time yesterday to capture a few more memories with digital scrapbooking. Here's a page holding memories from last week ... a week filled with multiple end-of-summer Cru meetings for my hubby, and also a weekend overnighter with four grandkids here!


The warmer weather will continue for awhile even though school starts up today here in our little town! How can summer go by so quickly?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Campfire Bundles


It is still grilling season, even though school has started up already! Here is a fun recipe that I came across a few years ago. We served it again one day when two six year-old grandsons were here this summer - they loved it! A meal all in one bundle!


Print Recipe

Campfire Bundles


Course: Main Course
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet onion sliced
  • 1 each large green, red, and yellow peppers
  • 4 medium potatoes cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 6 medium carrots cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small head cabbage sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds smoked Polish sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Place the first eight ingredients on three pieces of double-layered heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square).

  2. Top with sausage; dot with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold foil around mixture and seal tightly.

  3. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes (or less).

  4. Turn and grill 30 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. (NOTE: Total grill time has been as little as 30 minutes for me.)

  5. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.
Yield: 6 servings.

Note: Can omit cabbage and tomatoes.

Powered by
Plan To Eat


Instead of dividing up the ingredients onto three pieces of double-layered foil as the recipe suggests, I always make individual bundles for each person. It just makes it a bit more fun for each person to have their own little bundle.



I've always omitted the cabbage and the tomatoes for some reason, though I am sure these bundles would be delicious with these two ingredients, as well.

There's still time to grill out and enjoy these tasty Campfire Bundles before the fall comes; in fact, they would make a delicious fall meal, as well.

Linking up with:
I'm Lovin' It