Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Our Favorite Chow Mein

Aren't we fortunate to have flowers in the dead of winter.  : )

We have had this Chow Mein recipe for almost 25 years.  Hope you can give it a try.

Here it is:


2 lbs. ground pork
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can bean sprouts (drained, but save the juice)
Box of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced or you can use a can of mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 beef bouillon cube in 1/2 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp. molasses
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 can mushroom steak sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Brown meat, seasoning it with quite a bit of pepper, but no salt.  

Add remaining ingredients, except cornstarch.

If you see  little dirt on the celery and mushrooms, this picture was taken BEFORE I washed them!

All washed and sliced and diced.  : )

Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours.  Thicken with the cornstarch and bean sprout liquid.  

Serve with rice and chow mein noodles.  Hot tea and fresh orange slices complete it.  : )  Enjoy!

*It's important, for a recipe (like this) that has a lot of ingredients, to have everything cut up and all the cans opened and everything else measured out before you begin to cook.  It just makes everything go so smoothly and you're not rushing around trying to find things while something is in the pan beginning to cook.  I love the look of having everything out and ready to go - just more organized that way.

I hope you are cooking up something good in your home too!  If you have a family favorite recipe, please don't hesitate to share it - I'm always looking for new recipes.  : )  God bless you!!!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Really Good BBQ Sauce

This morning I made a BBQ sauce to go with our leftover pork from yesterday to make BBQ pork sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.  This IS a sauce that you have to make the day before so if you're going to try it you'll have to plan ahead.  : )

Here it goes:


Heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat; add 1 medium chopped onion and saute for about 3 minutes.  Then add 4 cloves of minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add in 5 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper; stir for 1 minute.

Add remaining ingredients: 2 cups ketchup, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/3 cup prepared yellow mustard, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, and 3 tsp. liquid smoke (this ingredient adds a lot to it so I'd recommend using it).  Bring to a boil stirring to combine all the ingredients.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for 1 hour over low heat.  (Do not cover)  This will splatter so if you have a screen I'd recommend it (I don't so I had a little bit of cleaning up to do).  

Cool to room temperature and then pour into jar and refrigerate for 24 hours before using it.

It really reduces through the cooking time and becomes wonderfully thick.  Seriously, I think you will find this to be one of the best homemade BBQ sauces out there.  Looking forward to those pork sandwiches tomorrow!!!  This would also make a wonderful gift for someone but you would want to put it into a smaller jar for better presentation.  : )

And something different other than cooking.  A project I've been working on.  I took a thrift store top and cut it up the middle front:

Then I added some lace to the front and sleeves:

I'm trying to decide whether or not to put a clasp at the top or just wear it open.  But I did find this scarf I made a couple of years ago and seems to look nice with it:

So, that was quick and fun and it motivates me to do more.  I think this top was $3.99 at the thrift store and I already had the lace in my stash, so I think that's pretty cool.  : )

That was pretty much it for today.  Making the house smell like BBQ and getting creative with sewing.  

Thanks for dropping by - I DO appreciate it when you take the time to visit.  God bless.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Praying Through Scripture

More beauty.  : )

When I have my time with the Lord in the early mornings, I find that reading His Word first before prayer is very helpful to me.  It is in His Word that I'm convicted.  It is in His Word that I find attributes to praise Him for.  It is in His Word that I find prayers spoken through others that gives me the words to pray when I can't seem to find them on my own.  

For a few days now I have been in 1 Chronicles in the Old Testament and have come across passages that, after I'm done reading, I can pray through.  For instance, in 1 Chronicles 14:15, towards the end of the verse it says "God has gone out in front of you......" - I immediately underlined those words because they grabbed my attention.  And after I finished reading, I prayed that the Lord would go out in front of me that day.  Asking for God's protection over me and those I love and care about.

Another example is in 1 Chronicles 16: 7-36 where Kind David prays a prayer of thanksgiving  to the Lord.  I won't write it down because it is lengthy and I hope that today you will look it up for yourselves.  : )  But it's a prayer that the majority of the verses we could pray as well.  We could re-read it during our thanksgiving part of our prayer time to remind us just how much God does for us and how wonderful He really is.

In still another part of 1 Chronicles 17:20 - "There is no one like you, O Lord, and there is no God but you......." can be a part of our praise part of our prayers.

And lastly, for this post, in 1 Chronicles, Chapter 18, there are a couple of verses (6 & 13) where it says "The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went."  And we could pray for that very same thing!  Where would we like to see victory in our lives today?  Victory over drinking?  Victory over watching things that we shouldn't watch?  Victory over anger?  Victory over illness?  Victory over fear? Victory over painful memories?  Victory over strongholds in our life?  We all have challenges that only God can give us victory over.  And through His Word we learn that we can ask Him for it.

So, I would encourage you to read God's Word every morning before you begin your prayers for the day.  I know that not every day will you find something to commit to praying to from your reading (if you do look at 1 Chronicles today, you will notice that the first few chapters are historical records and descendants and clans that are interesting, but I have yet to find a way to incorporate them into a prayer!).  But the Holy Spirit has a way of touching our heart with something that we read in the Bible that is applicable to us as well.

May God bless this day for you.  Put Him first in all you do.  : )  Love to you all.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Cozy Day


It was a cozy day today.  Cold, breezy, and cloudy outside.  Warm and comfortable on the inside.  I had a lot of laundry and ironing to take care of this morning.  And while doing my chores I put our Sunday pork roast into the oven to keep the house warm and smelling good.  I say this often but I think it's true - a home needs to have good smells coming from the kitchen.  Even long after whatever it is you've cooked or baked, the aroma lingers for hours afterwards that gives a calm and nostalgic feel just like Mom or Grandma would have done.  Here is how I make my pork roast:


Place a 2 - 4 lb. pork roast in pan (I bought two for leftovers).  Add 1 cup water and 1 can beef broth (see below).  Top with seasonings - salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika, celery salt, and garlic powder - again, no specific measurements) along with 1 bay leaf and 1 pat of butter.

If this looks like a lot of liquid, it's okay.  This roasts in a 300 degree oven for 5 hours and it needs the liquid as it will cook down.  Plus, I will re-heat this tomorrow for our Sunday meal and it needs to re-heat in the delicious liquid to keep it moist.

Also, I know I have mentioned this before, but I often use this product:

when the recipe calls for beef broth and I've been very satisfied.

For tomorrow's meal, I will serve the pork roast with baked sweet potatoes, green salad, and these:


3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Toss these together in large bowl - mix well.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare muffin tins with spray or liners.

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar

Whisk together until well combined.  Add:

1 cup milk (buttermilk preferred)
1/2 canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Again, mix well and fold the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing everything by hand being careful not to overmix.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries.

The batter will be thick and lumpy.  Pour into prepared tins.  Top with coarse sugar if you'd like (we like) and bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes and then about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Store these at room temperature in airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Some cooking shows don't like it when the blueberries "bleed" throughout the batter.  It doesn't matter to me.  I just called them Blueberry Swirl Muffins.  : )

That is it from here.  Thanks so much for dropping in and I hope you have a wonderful Sabbath tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Weekend is Here

At the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in DeSmet, South Dakota.

Well, the weekend is here.  Fridays always feel different.  The beginning of a time of maybe slowing down?  Or, having friends or family over for a special meal together?  Or, staying up later than you usually do during the week?  Or, knowing you can sleep in a little later the next day?  It's just the feeling of doing things a little differently than the routine of the week.  I thrive on routine so that's okay, but I also like a little break from it too.  : )

I need to keep reminding myself to take full advantage of these winter months and to do things in the house that I won't feel like doing when the warmer spring days come upon us and then eventually summer.  Keep going through those closets and drawers and cupboards.  Organizing rooms.  Work on sewing projects.  Whatever the "indoor work" looks like I want to keep at it and be thankful that we have these cold winter days to motivate us.

I, once again, tried a new recipe that I wanted to share with you because it went over very well last night:

GROUND BEEF ENCHILADAS (this makes a lot!!)

2 lbs. ground beef
1, 4.5 oz. can of diced green chilies
1, 1.25 oz. taco seasoning mix (I used 2 Tablespoons of my own homemade mix)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
16 oz. container of sour cream
8 flour tortillas (the only flour tortillas I had on hand were small ones so I made 10)
3 cups of cheddar cheese (I had the Mexican blend on hand)

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.  Drain off the grease and then add 1/2 the can of green chilies and the taco seasoning mix.  Mix until completely combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 can of green chilies, cream of chicken soups, and sour cream.  Pour 1/2 of this mixture in 9 x 13 pan.

In each tortilla, spoon beef mixture in the center and sprinkle with a little cheese making sure each tortilla has an even amount.  (Like I said above, I had small tortillas so I was able to make more with this recipe and I even had meat left over, so you'll have to discern whether you want a pan full of 8 large, or a pan full of 10 small).

Roll up each one and place seam-side down in the pan.

Pour remaining cream mixture over the enchiladas, and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes until heated through and the edges start to brown.  Can you believe that I forgot to take a picture of these right out of the oven?  It looked like the above picture only all melted and yummy looking.  We were just in a hurry to get down to the business of eating it.

Like I said before, this makes a lot so it would be a great dish to make for a large family or a party or if you're like us, to have as leftovers for lunch the next day.  : )

I served this with tortilla chips and salsa and fresh orange slices on the side.  Hope you can try it!

And, I hope you can have a good upcoming weekend.  Try to remember to do something for someone else, keep reading your Bible, keep praying, and worship the Lord on Sunday!!!!  : )  God bless.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday Afternoon

Along the mighty Mississippi.

I tried two new recipes last night that I wanted to share with you because they were very tasty, easy, and quick.  I admit that I was a little nervous at first because these recipes don't have exact measurements.  I like to cook, but I'm a cook that needs a recipe.  A little of this and a little of that scares me, but I tried it and it worked out just fine.  I hope it does for you too.  : )


Cut up whatever amount you want or need of fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms, and fresh red peppers and put into a large bowl.  (For the three of us I used about a pound of green beans, six large mushrooms, and one red bell pepper and it gave us three healthy portions).  

Mix together in a small bowl:
Sesame oil (from the looks of it, maybe about 1/8 cup)
Soy sauce (maybe another 1/8 cup)
Salt and pepper (this is to taste - I used sea salt and freshly ground pepper)

Pour this over the vegies in a large bowl and toss to coat.  Pour out onto a baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the doneness you prefer, stirring every so often.

I really like what happens to vegetables in the oven.  They get such a deep, sweet flavor to them.

The next recipe is:


Combine marinade in a small bowl:

Sesame oil
Rice wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Minced garlic
Grated ginger

Pour over salmon in a ziplock bag and marinate for about 1/2 an hour.  After that, put salmon on parchment lined pan.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or till salmon flakes.

The finished product.  : )  So tasty.  The only time-consuming part was the cutting up the vegetables and even that didn't take long at all.

Just because I was curious about sesame seeds (since I sprinkled them on top of the salmon) I looked them up on-line to see what the nutritional value was.  They contain calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B1, zinc, selenium, fiber, and copper.  Wow!!!  

And then while shopping yesterday I picked up red grapes (which I served on the side with the salmon).  I usually buy seedless grapes but didn't look very closely and grabbed the seeded instead. So, again, I was curious as to what the nutritional value of eating grapes seeds would be.  Well.....they are high in antioxidants, resveratrol, flavinoids, helps inflammation, and more.  My goodness.  Who knew?  We still aren't that crazy about eating the seeds because they have a dry feeling while chewing them, but knowing they are so good for us maybe we can kind of get used to it.

I hope you'll give these recipes a try.  A VERY healthy meal that really does taste wonderful.  : )

Thanks for stopping by - you are always welcome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Crockpot Chili

With all the photos of northern Minnesota, I think I'm ready to go!

I love all the crockpot meals and soups and stews and casseroles that winter brings.  Here is our favorite chili recipe:


Brown 1 lb. of ground beef and transfer to the crockpot.  Add:

1/4 tsp. garlic powder
28 oz. can undrained diced tomatoes
2 medium chopped onions
1 medium diced green pepper
1 stalk of celery, diced
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf

Mix well and cook on Low for 8 - 9 hours.  Remove bay leaf.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top (if you'd like).  : )

I was going to bake cornbread to go with this, but I had cheese and crackers that needed to be used up.  And I cut some apple slices as well.  A nice hearty but healthy meal on a cold winter's eve.

We just received a nice blanket of fresh snow overnight and in the morning hours.  It's very pretty and white again.  It's Wednesday, so that meant marketing this morning.  Still buying a few things to keep the pantry stocked and all the items from the grocery list I made out yesterday.  This week's menu looks like this (with a couple of repeats from last week because of changed plans):

Tonight:  Sesame ginger salmon with oven baked vegetables, fresh grapes
Thursday:  Beef enchiladas, chips & salsa, fresh oranges
Friday:  Shrimp with Scampi sauce, rice, green salad
Saturday: our take out night but making part of Sunday's meal
Sunday:  Pork Roast with oven baked vegetables, homemade blueberry muffins, ice cream for dessert
Monday:  Crockpot chow mein over rice, steamed broccoli 
Tuesday:  Taco soup topped with sour cream and Fritos, fresh apple slices

That's about all I know from here!  I hope this is finding you doing well in your home.  God bless your efforts in making it a safe and peaceful place to be for your friends and family.  : )  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Quick and Easy Dessert

Thunderous waterfall in northern Minnesota.

I had Peppermint Bon Bon ice cream in the freezer since Christmas.  It was time.  I had to use it.  I made a pie:

Either purchase or make a chocolate Oreo-type crust and fill it with the ice cream.

Make fudge sauce (recipe below) and let it cool.  Pour over top of ice cream.

Pop into freezer until ready to serve.

Yummy.  : )

Quick and easy and tasty.  Of course you could let your imagination go wild and try different crusts, different ice creams, different sauces.  

Here is my recipe for the fudge sauce:


1/2 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. corn syrup (I really don't like using corn syrup but this gives it the silky look)
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients into saucepan (except vanilla) over low heat.  Stir frequently as it melts and then begin whisking for a smooth mixture.  Bring to a low boil and reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Do not let it get to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour into a quart jar and store in fridge.  This keeps for quite a long time.  

A jar of this would make a good gift for an ice cream lover!

I wanted to show you something that I did in our house.  I had a little dresser from when I was young and we had little bookcase from a long time ago.  I kept looking at the two to see if I could make them one.  I measured and found it would work.  I just put the little bookcase on top of the dresser and it looks like they belong together.  Fun.

I wish I would have thought of this a long time ago.  It works out wonderfully.  : )

It's Monday and that meant lots of laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, and my project this week is the kitchen.  Once again, going through all the drawers and cupboards and finding stuff that I don't use or need and getting rid of them.  Slowly I am purging and giving away things that someone else can use.

That's it for now.  I hope you are enjoying your day.  God bless.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Northern Minnesota

As I've thought about today's post, nothing really jumped out at me.  The week went by as it usually does.  Other than, of course, we have a new President.  But I really didn't want it to be about that either.  We are inundated with it.  I can't watch the media coverage of it anymore.  Protests, riots, mean-spirited people bent on making this seem like it's the most horrible thing that has happened in the history of our country.  How quickly we forget.

I think what we all need to do is take a step back and take a deep breath and then move FORWARD. What I really pray for is conviction in every human heart that who we REALLY need is GOD.   Every month I receive a little prayer booklet from the Samaritan's Purse organization and each day of each month has a specific prayer request for people around the world.  What I really wish for is that every person on this earth would receive this little booklet because it puts everything into perspective. And I think that is something we've lost - perspective.

Let me give examples of what the prayer points are just for the month of January:

*pray for Haiti where the people are dying from cholera because of hurricane Matthew
*pray for a woman in South Carolina where hurricane Matthew destroyed everything she had and then on top of that she had a major heart attack
*pray for people in Liberia who are still dying from Ebola
*pray for children in Bosnia where families have been torn apart from the civil war
*pray for people in Zambia who still believe in curses and other pagan ideas
*pray for people in northern Iraq who are trying to start over from terror attacks
*pray for children in Kenya who are learning and growing and are starting to have hope 
*pray for women in the Philippines who are changing their lives as they learn about Christ
*pray for Namibia where a young woman is determined to change the lives of children
*pray for Alaska as teams are building churches in remote towns and villages
*pray for people in Mongolia who are hearing about the transforming grace of Jesus and are rebuilding their families

That's just for one month.  

So, I don't want to see riots.  I don't want to see the protests.  Compared to the REAL needs around this world?  

Let's get back to God.  Let's get back to prayer.  Let's get back to thinking of people who need our help.  We met a woman at Walmart who told us when she gets up every morning the first thing she does is kneel by her bed and asks the Lord to use her in some way every day to be a blessing to others. We all agreed that that's why we're here.  Not only for ourselves (for we DO have our own needs too), but to be a blessing in the life of someone else.  

Can you imagine the breakthrough in this world if every single person thought that way?  The very first thought of the morning is how we can be a blessing to someone?  Wow.  Let's strive for that tomorrow.  And then the next day.  Then the next.  Until it just becomes a part of who we are.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Fun Meal

From a floral arrangement.

I know that I have mentioned in a past post about the Stromboli that I have made and that we actually like it better than pizza and forgive me if I shared this recipe already, but lucky you (LOL) I have photos this time!!!  : )  So here it is:


16 oz. loaf of frozen bread dough (or your own homemade), thawed
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb. pepperoni, sliced
3 oz. sliced provolone cheese
1/4 lb. thinly sliced ham
1 Tablespoon butter
sliced green olives
pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place bread dough on a lightly greased baking sheet and pat to a 15" x 10" rectangle.  (Actually, this part takes the most time, stretching dough that wants to shrink back, takes a while - but be patient!)

Arrange Mozzarella cheese lengthwise down the center;

layer with pepperoni;

then provolone;

then ham;

and lastly, sliced green olives.

Moisten edges of dough w/water and bring each long edge of dough to center; press edges together securely to seal the ends.  Brush loaf with melted butter.

Bake for 20 minutes or till lightly browned.  

As you can see, I tend to fill mine to the point that the edges do come apart while baking, but that's totally okay.  You will need to let this sit for 5 - 10 minutes before cutting into it so the cheese has time to cool down a bit.  If you cut into it right away, all the yummy cheese will run out.  I have also found that an electric knife works like a charm to cut into this.

Fun slices to just pick up and eat!

You will notice that pizza sauce is in the recipe.  But it is not for INSIDE the Stromboli, it is used for a dipping sauce.  

I make my own pizza seasoning mix and here is the recipe for that (no pictures, sorry):


1/2 tsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. oregano flakes
1/4 tsp. parsley flakes
1/8 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine well and add to an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.

I prepare this early in the day so the flavors have a chance to come together.  I have also noticed that, when serving this with the Stromboli, it's best to heat the pizza sauce a little instead of serving it cold. 

I just provide a simple green salad and fresh cut apple slices with this and it's good to go.

I hope you will try it.  And I hope you experiment with it.  I have just followed what the recipe said, but you can try any ingredients you like.  Anything you like on a pizza should be able to work in this. Make it your own and have fun with it.  Let the kids help.  I think they would enjoy layering the ingredients on and folding it up.

That's it for today!!!  I hope you can enjoy your Saturday.

God bless you.