Friday, September 30, 2011

Five Minute Friday - FRIENDS


Friends...we've all had them...we've all got them. Some friends are really good friends. They're the kind of friends that stick with you through thick and thin and love you no matter what (Proverbs 17:17). They are the kind of friend that the Bible tells us sticks "...closer than a brother..." (Proverbs18:24). Other friends are friends for a season. They're friends that God has allowed to come into our lives at a specific time for a specific purpose and when that purpose is fulfilled, they're gone...leaving only precious and treasured memories behind. And, then, there are those people that are really little more than acquaintances, yet we still refer to them as 'friends.' In all of these situations, relationships are formed...some for a lifetime, some for a season, and some for just a moment...and in all of these relationships we are commanded to love. The words of Christ found in John 15:12-13 tell us, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend."  Do you love your friends with the love wherein Christ has loved you? Are you willing to lay down your very life for them? Friends...we've all had them...we've all got them. Let's do our best to look at them through the eyes of Christ and love them the way that He has loved us. 

Living On A Dime - Delicious Homemade Recipes For Using Apples!

Delicious Homemade Recipes For Using Apples!
by Jill Cooper
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

I've always dreamed of having an apple tree in my backyard. You know the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for?" Now that I actually have my own apple tree, I stand in my yard watching the apples piling up around me thinking, "Oh no -- What do I do with this mess now?"

If I could make gasoline out of apples, I could retire, but since that is not an option and my frugal mind will not allow me to waste one apple, I have had to come up with some yummier "apple disposal" methods.
If you find that you have a few dozen more apples than you know what to do with, or if you just can't resist the great sales that stores have on apples this time of year, these recipes from Dining On A Dime will help settle your frugal dilemma.

Apple Tips:
  • When you have a partially eaten apple, save the good part and chop it into pieces. Place in a microwave safe dish. Blend together 1 tsp. each brown sugar, flour, oatmeal and margarine and a dash of cinnamon. Top the apple with the topping and microwave until tender.
  • Core and slice apples very thin. Dehydrate and use in granolas, eat alone or soften in warm water to use in recipes.
  • Slice apples and use in pancakes or waffles.
  • Freeze extra apples for later. Peel, slice and core them and then store in 2 cup portions in freezer bags.
  • Use soft apples in cooking.
  • Cut apples into small pieces and add to salads with a fruit based dressing.

Homemade Apple Butter

9 to 10 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. salt
Place everything into a crockpot. Stir, cover and cook on high 1 hour. Cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thick and dark brown. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. Stir with whisk until smooth. Refrigerate or Freeze. Makes 2 pints.

Apple Pie Filling

9 cups baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
5 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apples and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender (6-10 minutes). Cool for 30 minutes. Then ladle into freezer containers or bake immediately. Makes two 9-inch pies.

Fried Apples

4 large apples, cored and sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Heat butter in a large skillet. Put the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the skillet and cover. Over medium-low heat, cook apple slices 7-10 minutes or until they begin to soften and the syrup thickens. Serve coated with excess syrup on top. Serves 4.

Baked Apples

apples, cored
raisins (optional)
1 tsp. margarine
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
(These ingredient amounts are per apple.)
For each person, use 1 apple. Fill the center of the apple with all the ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees until tender or put in a Dutch oven on top of stove and simmer on very low until tender.

Apple Snack

2 qts. apples, peeled, cored and halved
Coarsely grate apples. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 225 degrees until dry. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Apple Crisp

6 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon and/or nutmeg
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange apples in a well-greased baking dish. Blend all remaining ingredients except water. Spread evenly over top of apples. Pour water over the topping. Bake 45 minutes until apples are tender and top is crisp. Serves 6.

Peach Crisp
Use peaches in place of apples.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Fall Recipe - Roasted Vegetables With Lentils

I saw this dish on the cover of the latest issue of Whole Living magazine (below) and couldn't wait to try it. I made it for supper last night and it was a big hit! I plan on serving it again soon as it is a perfect autumn meal.


ROASTED FALL VEGETABLES WITH LENTILS

Serves 4

1/2 lb. carrots, halved lengthwise
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 small acorn squash, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed (I used just regular lentils)
1 shallot, halved
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustart
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced, plus leaves

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. On two baking sheets, arrange carrots, onion, and squash; drizzle with 2 Tbsp oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, place lentils and shallot in a medium saucepan and cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; discard shallot. Season with salt and pepper. 3. Combine vinegar and mustard. Pour remaining 3 Tbsp oil in a slow steady steam, with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over roasted vegetables. Garnish with celery leaves.

(Note: The recipe in the magazine says that you can incorporate any fall vegetables into this recipe...brussel sprouts, turnips, cabbage, etc. Just make sure you cut everything to about the same size for even roasting.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!


It's that time of year again! Cool days...crisp nights...leaves falling...squirrels chattering in the walnut tree outside our backdoor...walnuts kerplunking against the roof of the house on their way to the ground...acorns pinging against the shed's tin roof...pumpkins on my doorstep...beans in the crockpot...cornbread in the oven...the smell of clothes fresh off the line. HAPPY FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN!


Five Minute Friday - GROWING


Today's 'Five Minute Friday' writing assignment is on 'growing'. Three things come to mind immediately...

          ...growing families,  
                          ...growing gardens, 
                                          ...and growing in Christ.

- Growing Families - My husband and I have known each other nearly all our lives, and we both grew up as only children. Who would have believed, if it had been told us years ago, that someday we would marry and that between us (his, hers, and ours) we would be blessed with seven children and ten beautiful grandchildren? And how fast the grandlittles are growing! This past weekend our oldest granddaughter celebrated her 13th birthday! Wow!

- Growing Gardens - Our garden didn't do so well this year, but, in years past, my husband has managed to produce some beautiful gardens! We look forward to the growing season each year and put up what we can for winter. This year, because of extremely hot temperatures and dry conditions, we only managed to put up a few things, but we'll still enjoy them. "Canned sunshine!" That's what I call my home-canned goods! 

- Growing In Christ - Without physical food the human body becomes malnourished and eventually dies. Likewise, without spiritual food, a born-again believer will not grow in Christ without being in fellowship with Him on daily basis through prayer, fellowship with other believers, and the reading of His Word. God's Holy Word...The Bible...is our spiritual food and it should never be neglected.

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby..." (1 Peter 2:2).

Until Next Time,
~Rebecca


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe - CHILI CHEESE ENCHILADAS

I had about 3/4 of a large peanut butter jar full of leftover chili from yesterday's lunch and just a small amount of leftover shredded cheese and I was trying to think what I could do with it. Here's what I came up with for lunch today...


CHILI CHEESE ENCHILADAS

leftover chili
shredded cheddar cheese
6 corn tortillas
one recipe of enchilada sauce (below)


I prepared the enchilada sauce first.

Enchilada Sauce

1/4 canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chili powder
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder; reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly to prevent burning; reduce heat. Mix the tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and gradually add to the chili powder, flour, and oil mixture. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until sauce begins to bubble and is slightly thickened.

While the oven was pre-heating to 400 degrees I sprayed a large baking dish with pan spray and coated the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of the enchilada sauce. Next I divided the chili into six equal portions and spooned it into the 6 corn tortillas, added a layer of cheese to each, rolled them up, and placed them, seam-side down, side-by-side, in the baking dish. I topped the whole thing with the rest of the enchilada sauce, making sure that each tortilla was completely covered in sauce, and sprinkled the top with just a bit more cheese. I baked in the hot oven until the enchiladas were heated through, the cheese was melted, and the sauce was bubbling. It was VERY good and I will definitely make this again!

Crockpot Recipe - WW Creamy Ranch Potatoes and Chicken

This recipe was shared with me by my daughter-in-law, Angie, many years ago and it's one of our family favorites. In fact...it's in the crockpot right now!

CREAMY RANCH POTATOES AND CHICKEN

20 oz. potatoes, peeled and cubed
dry ranch dressing mix, 1/2 package
1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cubed
1 (10 oz.) can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Mix potatoes, ranch dressing mix, chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion, salt, and pepper together. Place mixture in crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Total Fat 2.6 g
Total Carbohydrate 22.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Protein 22.2 g

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday - JOY



Today's 'Five Minute Friday' writing assignment is on 'joy'.

I think that 'joy' is often confused with 'happiness.'

'Joy' is 'the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good'. 'Happiness' is 'the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good.'

'Joy' comes before the good thing happens. 'Happiness' comes after. 

Happiness is comparative. When a person is in pain, relief from that pain brings happiness. Happiness therefore admits indefinite degrees of increase in enjoyment or gratification. Perfect happiness is not attainable in this life, whereas joy comes from within and cannot be contained. 


"... the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23).

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:13).

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11).

~Rebecca






 



Living On A Dime - Feeding A Family For $400 A Month?


Feeding a Family for $400 a Month?

by Tawra Kellam

http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Tawra Kellam, editor of LivingOnADime.com , does something that most people think they can't do today. She feeds her family of 6 for $400 a month. Most people say that's an impossible feat but what's even more impressive is that she does it without using coupons.

How does she do it? First, Tawra says, "I use what I have. If I don't have milk in the house, I don't make a special trip to the store for it. The kids won't die from malnutrition if they miss drinking milk for a day or two. If I'm out of bread, I'll make some cornbread or muffins. If I'm out of fresh veggies, I will use canned or frozen instead. Stop going to the store for one or two things. I shop for food 2-3 times a month and that's it."

Shop the clearance sections. "I regularly find milk on clearance for $1.75 a gallon. My store marks the milk down a few days before the "sell by" date. The great part is that milk stays fresh for 1 week after it's opened. I just throw several in the freezer and then I don't have to make a special trip for milk. Just thaw, shake and serve."

Purchase meat only on sale or on clearance. Again, butchers mark down their meat a day or two before the "sell by" date. Generally, meat is good for 3-4 days after the "sell by" date in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. Tawra says "I never buy meat unless it's on sale for $1.99 or less a pound. If it's not on sale, we don't eat it. You can get some great unadvertised deals just by watching the meat counter's clearance items. I found 5 lb. rolls of hamburger for $2.95 each after New Year's Day. Of course we stocked up and will have enough hamburger to last 6 months. I can get "soup bones" with enough meat on them to make a great vegetable stew for under $2.00 for the entire family! Add some rolls and you have a complete meal for 6 for less than $3.00. When chicken is on sale for under $2.00 per pound, I stock up. I do this with all my meats. This way we can always have a variety of meats."

Ask. Most people are intimidated by asking, but Tawra regularly asks when things will go on sale or be marked down. By asking, she found out that bananas, milk and meat are marked down each morning. She tries to shop in the mornings to get the best deals. She says, "When we lived in another state, they marked things down in the evening so that's when we went shopping. Adjust your shopping times to find the best deals."

Serve your family proper portions of food. "Most parents give their kids way too much milk, juice and soda. My kids get soda on special occasions only. They eat milk with their cereal. For snacks, they eat a piece of string cheese, fruit or one or two cookies. The kids don't sip on milk or juice all day long. They drink water and are just fine with it. As a general rule, I try to give them one vegetable and one fruit for lunch and dinner and then a piece of fruit with cookies or cheese as a snack. This gets their "five a day" in very easily. Stop letting kids just "graze" on chips and other snack food all day. My kids get one small "bowl" of chips a day and that's it."

So what do the Kellams eat? Tawra shares some of their menus with us:
  • Slow cooked roast, brown gravy, onions, carrots, potatoes, buttermilk muffins and a fruit plate
    (The next day, the leftovers from the roast are used as BBQ beef along with potato salad, green beans and strawberries or grapes.)
  • Pizza (homemade), tossed salad and fruit
  • Maple glazed chicken, scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, applesauce and dinner rolls
  • Sloppy Joes, cucumbers and tomatoes
  • Tacos, refried beans, green beans, sliced apples and tortilla chips w/ honey
With savvy shopping, you too can cut your grocery bill even when prices are going up!

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Praise! Praise! Praise!

We just got back from the hospital and we bring good news! Shannen is doing much better and is progressing rapidly! In fact, the doctor was impressed with how much progress he has made just today and announced that they are expecting a full recovery! (Thank You, Jesus!!!) Shannen still has a ways to go, so please keep the prayers on his behalf coming, and, please, join us as we lift up praise to our Heavenly Father and give Him all honor, glory, and praise! Thank you all so much for praying over Shannen!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Calling All Prayer Warriors

I have an urgent call to prayer for Shannen Evans. Shannen is one of the young man in our church, the son of my closest friend, and one of my youngest son's best friends. Shannen was life-flighted to the hospital Sunday night due to injuries sustained following an artillery shell explosion near his head. Please pray the Lord's hand of healing down over him and stand with us in agreement as we believe for a full and rapid recovery in Jesus' name! Thanks so much!
~Rebecca

Saturday, September 3, 2011

HEARTH AND HOME - September 3, 2011

Greetings, Dear Friends! And HAPPY SEPTEMBER!

Warm, sunny days, cool, crisp nights, colorful leaves, bonfires, corn shocks, apples, and pumpkins! All of these things remind me of FALL! And, hopefully, here in Southwest Missouri...after experiencing triple digit temperatures for weeks on end...it is finally on its way! Today is supposed to be the last day of really hot temperatures and a big cool down is expected as the tropical depression moves in. The extended forecast looks heavenly as daytime temperatures are supposed to drop into the 70's and low 80's with nighttime temps dipping into the lower 50's! What a blessed change!

I hope that you enjoy this latest issue of HEARTH AND HOME! Let's get started...shall we?
 
 HOUSEHOLD TIPS

* To freshen and  fluff pillows throw them into the dryer and run them through without heat (just air) for a few minutes. The tumbling will get rid of the dust and freshen pillows at the same time.

* Don't buy expensive buttermilk. Instead, mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, shake, and you're all set!

*To clean and freshen drains pour 1/4 cup baking soda in drain. Pour 1/2 cup vinegar in drain. Tightly close the drain. Let rest a few minutes. Then flush with boiling water. Repeat until clear. To keep the drain free of buildup, flush weekly with 1/4 cup salt, then boiling water.
 

* Something that a friend shared with me recently, and something I also read about recently, that I would like to learn how to do and put into practice is flash-freezing. My friend already does this with summer squash. She says she pre-breads it first and she and her husband enjoy fresh fried zucchini all winter long. According to the article that I read I can snap up large quantities of meat, veggies or fruit at a deep discount, then use this process to freeze items at the peak of freshness. Later I can scoop out individual or family-size portions later for consumption without having to thaw the whole package. THAT sounds wonderful! To flash-freeze dice meat, vegetables, or fruit into small pieces. Place on cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and place in freezer for one to two hours. Once food is frozen, transfer to freezer bags, get all the air out, and return to the freezer. Viola! Ready when needed!

* Another thing that I read that I'd like to try is this: "Blend fresh herbs in a food processor, adding water until the bits come off the sides. Measure and spoon herbs into an ice cube tray, freeze, then dump the cubes into a freezer bag. Pop one out when a recipe calls for fresh herbs."

(Note: Thanks to my friend, Cheryl, for sharing the idea about flash-freezing the zucchini, and both of the other ideas and instructions were found in the September 23, 2011 issue of ALL YOU magazine.)

DOLLARS AND SENSE

* Financially we have had a lot of ups and downs over the years. At one time our credit payments were low  and we had a fair amount of cash put back for emergencies (actually...at one time our credit cards were non-existent because we didn't believe in them), but a couple of major catastrophes and within a short period of time all our resources were gone and our credit cards were maxed out...ALL OF THEM! We, who had always encouraged others to stay out of debt, suddenly found ourselves drowning in it with no way out. Unfortunately, we've not got our footing yet, but we're trying. August of this year is the first month that we've not had to put SOMETHING on a credit card to make it through the month in over two years. It's going to be a long, slow process, but we're optimistic. Here are some of the things that we're trying to incorporate at present:

1) First and foremost we're trusting in God. If there's one thing that we're certain of it is this...where there's a will...there's a way...and even in today's economy with God's leading and help we can and WILL overcome every financial difficulty that we are experiencing.

2) As a family we are going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Revisited and boy! Are we learning (or should I say 're-learning') a lot! At the moment we're trying to rebuild a small emergency fund while snowballing our debt on a small scale.

3) We're learning to prioritize. When life happens and things get all out of whack, it's amazing how fast common sense and good reasoning can go right out the window! That is...IF you let it...and we let it! We're learning to put first things first and we're learning to say, "No!" Never allow other people to force you into making bad decisions through guilt and fear. In the end YOU will be the loser.

4) We're cutting back on everything that isn't absolutely necessary. At least...that's our goal. We still get tripped up occasionally, but, overall, we're making progress and we're learning to do without a lot!

5) We're planning and strategizing...and this is hard for me. It seems that every time we make a plan, something happens and everything falls through, but, this time, we decided that, by the grace of God, and in the name of Jesus, and by the power of His Blood, we are forging on full-steam ahead! Nothing is happening anyway that He's not fully aware of and in control of, so what do we have to fear? Amen?



HEARTH AND HOME QUESTION

"Is your dream to be debt-free? 
If so, what are you and your family doing to make that dream a reality?"

For those of you who are already debt-free...
"What advice do you have for the rest of us who are trying to get there?"
If you don't mind me sharing your answer in an upcoming issue of HEARTH AND HOME send it to me at: [email protected] and, please, put DEBT-FREE on the subject line. Thanks so much! ~Rebecca


IN THE GARDEN

* With the higher temperatures our garden ended up burnin up and we didn't get nearly the produce out of it that we had hoped for. For awhile we had an abundance of peppers and tomatoes, but, alas, even they are gone now. My husband has planted a few things for fall and hopes to get a better harvest then. By covering with plastic he is usually able to keep a few things coming in (spinach, lettuce, turnips, etc.) well into the new year.

* When raking leaves on a windy day, dampen the leaves slightly with a fine spray from the garden hose. They will not blow all over the yard, will be easier to put into a trash bag or container, and more leaves can be stuffed into the bag.

* My mums haven't fared to well this summer, but I do think I'm going to get to enjoy them a little bit anyway. For those of you who enjoy mums, here are a few tips...
MUM'S  THE WORD
*Plant mums in fertile, well-drained soil where they'll receive at least half a day of sun.
*Mums can be planted in spring or fall. Those planted early in the growing season have a better chance of establishing roots and are more likely to survive cold winters.
*In cold climates, mulch with leaves, straw, evergreen branches, peat moss or other organic materials after several hard frosts.
*In spring, use a rake to gradually remove mulch and old stems.
*Fertilize monthly during the early part of the growing season.
*Pinch back shoots when new growth is 4 to 6 inches tall. This encourages branching and helps develop more compact and bushy plants. Repeat pinching throughout summer as new shoots reach 3 to 5 inches. Stop around mid-July in Northern states and late July in Southern states. Then prepare to enjoy weeks of vibrant fall blooms.


RECIPES

* Friends have kept us well supplied with summer squash this year...zucchini, yellow crookneck, and patty pan...and those we have enjoyed to the max! Our favorite way to have them now...any of them...is oven-fried. We just slice the squash into 1/4 inch slices or french fry-shaped pieces, roll them in flour, lay them out on a pizza pan that has been drizzled with olive oil, drizzle a little more over the top, and bake in a hot (450 degree) oven. Turning once, bake until the squash is golden brown on both sides. When they come out of the oven sprinkle with a little salt and enjoy. We have used this as a main dish with other vegetables and bread accompanying, or, more often, we enjoy these as a side dish taking the place of oven-baked potato wedges (french fries) along side sandwiches, etc. Either way they're delicious!

* This luscious dip can be made up to two days ahead. Keep it tightly covered in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy it.

CREAMY GREEK FETA DIP

1/2 c. low-fat Greek yogurt (I make my own)
1/2 c. Miracle Whip Light
1/4 c. crumbled feta
1 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
4 cups assorted vegetables (celery sticks, carrot sticks, red or green pepper strips, mushrooms, etc.)

Combine yogurt, Miracle Whip, feta, dill, garlic powder, pepper, and hot sauce, if desired. Chill until read to serve. Serve with vegetables for dipping. (Serves 4)

* I've been enjoying smoothies for breakfast and snacks a lot here lately. This is my favorite combination...

STRAWBERRY FLAX SMOOTHIE

1 cup 8th Continent Original Soy Milk
2 tsp. milled flax seed
a handful of frozen strawberries

Place all in blender and blend until smooth. Delicious and refreshing!

* I think I've run this recipe every fall for years, but it truly is one of our special autumn treats. This year I'm running it with all the fat and calorie-reducing ingredient changes that I've made to it over the years.

PUMPKIN STREUSEL MUFFINS
1 3/4 cups unbleached or naturally white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
1 package (3 ounces) fat-free or low-fat cream cheese cut into 12 cubes
STREUSEL:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold light butter
In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, beat the egg; add milk, pumpkin and  oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill 12 muffin cups that have been sprayed with pan spray half full. Place a cream cheese cube in the center of each. Top with remaining batter. For streusel, combine brown sugar, pecans  and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack. Yield:  1 dozen.
Well, that's it for this time! It's been a joy to be with you again. I pray each of you a beautiful, blessed, and healthy holiday weekend!
Until Next Time,
~Rebecca

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Minute Friday - REST

This is my very first attempt at participating in The Gypsy Mama's "Five Minute Friday" and the topic is REST.

The first thing that enters my mind when I think about REST is the rest that we enter into as Christians when we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

That makes me think about a little song that our five older children used to sing when we were part of the Free Will Baptist Church back home and they were small. The song was "Fishers Of Men" and the second verse went like this...

"Hear Christ calling Come unto Me
Come unto Me Come unto Me
Hear Christ calling Come unto Me
I will give You rest
I will give You rest
I will give You rest
Hear Christ calling Come unto Me
I will give you rest"

My five minutes are up so I will stop here, but before I go, I pray that all who read this will enter into the rest that can only be found by making Jesus Christ Lord and Saviour. Have a beautiful and blessed weekend!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Linking Today With

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Calling All Families, Moms, and Homeschoolers!



Sally Clarkson of I Take Joy has asked for help in supporting her son, Nathan, and his dream of influencing Hollywood. Nathan's goal is to send a message that quality, wholesome films with a good, moral message are important to us, and I'm passing Sally's call to arms along to you!

Here’s how you can help:

1. Nathan has had an opportunity to work as a consultant on the movie Dolphin Tale, which releases in theaters (US and Canada) on September 23rd. The goal is to get 150,000 people minimum in attendance to the movie on release day. You can be one of those 150,000 plus!



2. Blog about it and/or e-mail your fellow homeschoolers and Christian friends about this fantastic opportunity. Encourage them to get involved, spread the word, and attend the movie.

In case you’re wondering, Dolphin Tale is a fantastic family movie which will “inspire, instruct, and bring you to tears because of the great story line.” And...can you believe it? Two home educated children play the main roles!

Bonus: Sally and her husband, Clay, are giving away Dolphin Tale prize packs as a thank you for helping to spread the word. To find out more and enter visit Sally's site, I Take Joy today!