Today’s Bible Reading Challenge:

Colossians 1:21-23
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

In today’s Scripture reading, I am reminded and humbled that I was once engaged in evil deeds and that because of Christ’s death on the cross, He has made peace (reconciled), brought harmony in my relationship with Him.  Going back to verses 19-20, I see:

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,  and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

And now, verse 22 reveals the reason He reconciled all things to Himself, through the blood of Christ,  because of what God has done, I will be presented before Him as holy and blameless. Christ has overcome the evil deeds I did, and He made it possible for me to be presented before Him as holy and blameless. I have been declared righteous. I can joyously  give thanks to the Father, who has qualified me  to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Colossians 1:12).  I have been, am being, and will be, changed to live a life which will reflect the holiness and blamelessness of Christ.

Continuing in verse 23, there is an “if,” the condition… I must continue in the faith.  I am not to be moved.  I am to stand firm, to be “established.”  The definition of establish is to be set up on a permanent basis.  Not only am I to stand firm, I am to stand firm ALWAYS, permanently.

The next statement I see is a “wow” statement for me.  The hope of the Gospel, the fact that Christ was born, lived, ministered, was killed, and is living, risen from the grave, drawing us to Himself, THAT hope, is proclaimed in ALL of His creation.  I am reminded of Romans 1:20  

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 

Do you offer excuses for wavering away from the faith?  Can you see a difference in your “former” life and the life you now live?  Are your choices and your lifestyle one that can be presented before God as holy and blameless?

It is not impossible to live that life.  Here is the promise God has given to His people, that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can turn from.  He always offers us a way to get away from that temptation and overcome it.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I pray that as evil and sin from my former life still tempt and entice, that I can stand firm on the promise, the faith, God has granted to me, that with His wisdom, I can see the escape route to overcome the temptation and live a life that will allow me to be presented to Him, holy and blameless.

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Christmas Cookie Collection – Oatmeal Cookies

I know I have shared my Oatmeal Cookie recipe in the past, along with the recipe for Oatmeal Cream Pies. This was the second batch of cookies I made for this year’s “Make ahead cookies” for the freezer. This is the original post.

Today, I am just resharing the Oatmeal Cookie Recipe, because according to my hubby and Sportsman…. “They are just THAT good!”

Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick oats

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, cream together sugars and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour a little at a time, then mix in soda and salt. Mix well. Mix in oats, one cup at a time. Place 1 teaspoon of dough about 2 inches apart on a well greased cookie sheet. (NOTE: I spray my pan and then use parchment, which is also sprayed. I use a “cookie scoop” to get uniform sized cookies and it yields about 6 dozen cookies.) Bake for 7-8 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool.


If you want chewy cookies bake closer to 7 minutes.  I you want these a bit more crunchy, bake between 8-10.

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Christmas Cookie Collection – Pecan Butter Cookies

For several years, I hosted a cookie exchange.  It pretty much became a tradition of ladies and daughters gathering to share cookies, fellowship, games, and fun!  When I moved from my small hometown to a larger suburb, I was not able to find ladies who wanted to carry on the tradition.  We have moved, and I have hopes!!

Now that we have moved to a smaller town, I am hoping to get the tradition started once again, albeit not this year.  We are smack dab in the middle of renovation with bare studs on the walls.  If I think about it too much, it depresses me and I begin to have a pity party because I am “Miss Christmas Decoration and Party Hostess,” spreading that Christmas cheer and happy Spirit, celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Instead of despairing about what won’t be, I decided to turn it into a year long preparation for NEXT YEAR’S NEW BEGINNING COOKIE EXCHANGE!

I am going to share cookie recipes I find and make.  I am going to test them out, change the recipes, freeze the dough, bake and rebake, and find out the ones that hold up to my make ahead freezer cooking life style.  I want soft gooey cookies, nice crispy cookies, delicate cookies, chocolate cookies, all kinds of cookies, but they have to be rough and rugged enough to stand up to the test!!

As mentioned in my previous post, my food processor is no longer in business.  Hubby and I were shopping in Aldi and they had a 6 cup processor for $20, and our super frugal minds liked the price, so we decided to try it out.  We then went over to Costco, and as a cookbook collector, I was super excited that as we were leaving, they handed me a Costco Cookbook!!  Riding in the car, I began perusing the pages and in the desserts section a cookie caught my eye.  It was a Pecan Butter Cookie, and the first thing I thought of was one of my favorite childhood cookies, Keebler Pecan Sandies, and I decided right then and there, I was going to make this cookie.  The cookie in the cookbook is sponsored by Cuisinart, and I knew this little food processor would be helpful in making my first batch of Christmas cookies.  Now, this is where I should have been  thought this through… cheap food processor and thick cookie dough can be the makings for an adventure…a smelly one!!

Let’s see how this one turned out:

First of all, I took out my new food processor, washed all of the attachments, and started with the recipe.  I put 1 1/4 cup of pecans in the oven to toast lightly.

First, I put 2 cups of all purpose flour in the work bowl.

cookie2    cookie3
Then, I added 1 Teaspoon of salt and the lightly toasted nuts, and I pulsed it several times until I had a course mixture.  I reserved this mixture and set it aside, as directed….

And this is where the journey begins to become an adventure.  My number one rule is “read ALL of a recipe before beginning,”  and this time, I DID NOT!!  Next is says, “Process butter.”  No problem, right?  Wrong… as I reached into the fridge to get the 3 sticks of butter, I only have one!  The rest of my butter is frozen solid in the deep freeze!! I look back up at the ingredients and see written beside 3 stick of butter, “at room temperature.”  The oven was still warm from toasting the pecans, so I put the three sticks of butter in the oven… including the one from the fridge, and I went to relax a few minutes.  I came back to check on the three sticks and I had 2 soft sticks, still in the wrapper, and one half- empty wrapper… the stick that was in the fridge had melted down and leaked in the bottom of the pan.. but alas, the show must go on!!

We will pretend I live in the tropics with no Air conditioning, and this is my 3 sticks of room temperature butter.

Next, I added 1 1/8 cup powdered sugar and 1 TBSP pure vanilla and processed until smooth. So far, so good….

But then, it was time to add back in the flour/pecan mixture. I added a little at a time. The first addition of the mixture was fine. I stopped the processor and added a little more of the flour. This time, a strange, sweet, chemical smell came from the food processor and got stronger as it went. I was not going to give up now, maybe the smell is just because it is new…. I stopped it for the last addition of flour, put the top back on, and started that machine and as it incorporated the mixture, the smell was continuing and just as I turned the machine off, I could smell that chemical smell along with a burning smell, but the dough was ready!! I then began thinking, “Maybe this little machine just can’t hold up to cookie dough!” Hubby came into the kitchen to let me know something was burning… I pointed to the food processor. When I took the bowl off, the whole thing was warm. I figured I had just made the most expensive batch of cookies I have ever made, with the cost of pecans and a melted food processor motor, had the potential of breaking the bank!!

This is the dough just out of the processor.

cookie7 My rolls aren’t perfect, and next time I will make sure to flatten the ends to prevent the little odd shaped heels, but into the fridge they went…

I took the logs out and sliced the cookies.

This is where I veered a bit from the recipe. These cookies can be placed on a cookie sheet to cook, 350 for about 8-10 minutes, depending on how soft you want it.  For those of us who do freezer cooking, they can be placed on a pan lined with parchment paper, as you see in this picture.  I then place these in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Take them off the pan and put in a zip top bag labeled “Pecan Butter Cookies.”
This recipe made 3 dozen cookies.

When you want to enjoy one of the cookies, you can take out as many as you want to cook.  They do not have to be thawed, just keep them in the oven a couple of extra minutes.


I couldn’t resist! I had to bake a few, make a nice warm cup of coffee, and enjoy!!
These cookies are awesome and share worthy!!

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A Kink In The Plan…Already!

This was written yesterday and finished today with a photo:

Well, it the first day of my meal plan, as many of you may suspect, I have a kink in the plan from day 1! Sweet Pea, Music Man, and Sportsman have been with their mom during Thanksgiving holiday and because all of us, even the ones in another state, have been sick, we will go and get them today…around 6:00, which is dinner time.

I really don’t want us to have to spend money on the road when I have all of this food, and my plan doesn’t include anything that travels easily, so I decided to make Cheeseburger Pockets to pack and take with us for dinner.

We love pockets with fresh homemade bread and filled with yummy goodness, but they are such a hassle to make! I did come up with an idea to make it a little simpler.

For these pockets, I will be using my recipe for Light Oat Bread and my recipe for Cheeseburger Joes.  I will apologize now… I forgot to take pictures of the process, but I think it pretty self explanatory.

I put the ingredients for the bread in my bread machine on “dough” cycle, and do whatever I need/want to do for the next hour and half.  I do suggest during that time, begin browning your hamburger meat, if you don’t have it precooked, as I did.  The Cheeseburger Joes come together pretty quickly.  When it is done, set it aside.

When thy cycle ends, remove the dough and divide into two equal pieces.  On a lightly floured surface, roll both pieces into thin rectangles, as close to the same size as possible. Using a butter knife, lightly score one piece of dough to divide into the number of pockets you want to make.  I did 12 for our family of 5.  Spoon some of the burger mix into the center of each division, leaving room on the edge of each, to form a seal.  After putting meat in the center of each division, put the second large rectangle of dough over the first. Use your finger to press the dough together between each pocket, forming a seal.  Using a dough knife or pizza cutter, cut down the center of each seal and place on a parchment lined or sprayed baking sheet.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Rub butter over the tops and they are ready to eat or wrap for the road!!

PHOTO UPDATE:  The kids just cooked a couple of the left overs for snack this morning.  This is what they look like.

Cheeseburger pockets

For Breakfast or Make Ahead Meal:  You can replace the ground beef with sausage and make them the night before for breakfast pockets.  You can also add ham, bacon, scrambled egg, green pepper, onion, etc. for Breakfast Casserole Pockets. The morning you want to use them, just heat them in the oven.  These should keep in the fridge for about 3 days, if you are using egg, and a week if you do not use egg.  These also freeze beautifully.  I put them in a cold oven the night before I want to use them, go to bed, get up, and turn the oven on 350 degrees, make the coffee and breakfast is ready to go!!


Posted in Bread, Breakfast, dinner, Freezer Cooking, Frugal Recipes, large family Meals, Lunch, Make Ahead Meals, Meal preparation, menu, Quick Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Menopause, or Could It Be???

Menopause, or could it be “Men will pause'” because they have never seen the likes of a woman crazed like this. Or is it “mental pause,” because your brain checks out and takes a vacation and you just walk around in a daze of confusion.. Or maybe you are experiencing all of it… Yep, that is me, and this is just the beginning. I am in that beginning stage that is still called “peri”… I have to admit, while I blame a lot of things on this “menopause creature,” it doesn’t seem as bad as some have experienced, so for that, I am grateful.

So, just how bad is it? Yes, I have mood swings. Yes, I have hot flashes followed by icicles hanging off my toes. Yes, I wake up with the feeling of a dark cloud hanging over me and other mornings I wake up with so much energy I think I am going to explode. Yes, I can be having a wonderful day and one little, itty, bitty word can just make me turn into some “countryfied, red-neck” version of a female creature from the black lagoon… telling people off with the little neck pop and all… IT.IS.UGLY, people!!

My husband and I have done some research about natural helps for menopause. I have found that my diet can help with some of these side effects. There is also a wonderful herb that is called Maca (a relative of the radish family), and it has done wonders. I don’t take it every day, but on days that I begin to feel that I could snap somebody like a green bean, I take it. The days that I cry over absolutely everything and I my is swollen to the point I look like I have been beaten with a stick, I take it. For the days that I can’t figure out why I walked into a room, or can’t process thoughts, I take it, and it has been wonderful.

But more than any diet or any herb, more than ever, on those days, I have to begin with God, begin by putting my mind right. Some days, I have to do that over and over and over again, not just in the mornings. It starts when my eyes open by praying every morning with my husband, then listening to women of God teach (I am a Nancy Leigh DeMoss fan and have started listening to her podcast while cooking breakfast), and then listening to good, theologically sound praise and worship music (Sovereign Grace Music station on Pandora!), and then as I have conversations or listen to conversations with teenagers, I have to go back again to God’s Word and prayer.

Today, after praying, reading some Scripture, and listening to the podcast, it was time for the children to get up. I found myself feeling defensive hearing a conversation that I had no part of…the conversation was not about me, they were talking to their Daddy, and yet, I was some how feeling “riled up” and dreading how this day was going to turn out. I didn’t mention it, and in my mind, there arose a battle of “this is nothing, your mind is being attacked vs. no it isn’t , just listen to how they are acting”. I refrained from getting involved and decided to just keep it to myself during our breakfast/Bible study. However, the whole time, this battle just continued to play in the back of my mind.

After the Bible study, I asked my husband if he saw it this way or felt it was disrespectful and he thought about it, which told me right away that if he had to think about it, it didn’t register with him the same way, and he confirmed that by telling me he didn’t see it that way.  So I walked over to the medicine basket (yes, at this age, the “basket” stays by the bed) and took out the Maca…this would be a 3 capsule day!! And that familiar voice that was telling me my mind was being attacked, told me to look to God’s Word for Scripture on defending my mind from the attack.

I did a quick search for “Scripture about protecting my mind from bad thoughts,” and I found this page written by Priscilla Fryer and today, I am thankful for finding this. It is 12 verses to protect your mind. For me, this is the 12 verses that protects my mind from the enemy that opens a door for Satan to attack…and her name is “Menopause”!

I have copied these 12 verses onto a sheet that I can print and hang on my fridge to remind me throughout the day, that before I get angry, or emotional, or run to the fridge for something to make me feel better, I see this and begin reading it and praying.  I named it “DURING MENOPAUSE” and you can click on “DURING MENOPAUSE” and get your own printable list!!

I am just choosing a verse today to repeat over and over and ponder on:

2 Corinthians 5:10
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Even if you aren’t blessed enough to be going through menopause yet, these verses are just a great way to refocus, as moms, every day to keep our mind on Christ!

Have a super blessed day!!

Posted in Bible, Christian Marriage, Christian Submission, Godly Obedience, Menopause, Ministry, Uncategorized, Women's Ministry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lori’s Cranberry Salad

Do you ever have those moments that you need to get something done, but you just can’t make a final decision??  The older I get, the harder it is for me to decide.  Maybe it is because I am just getting “pickier.”

I make jams and jellies and this year, I decided to make my own Cranberry Sauce.  It was actually a cranberry jelly, but it turned out to be a product I was proud of.  Both of my grandmother’s made jellies and preserves.  My “city” grandmother really enjoyed making peach jelly, syrup, and preserves.  My “country” grandmother canned everything, and helping and watching both of them, I gained a love for preserving food.  My Aunt (from the country grandmother) carries on the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving at her house.  She and my mother asked me to bring a variety of jams/jellies home for them, including the “homemade cranberry sauce” for our Thanksgiving dinner, and she asked me to make a cranberry salad.

For nostalgic purposes, I didn’t want to search the internet for a recipe.  I took out one of my “city” grandmother’s old cookbooks that was just salads and began searching.  Every recipe I found had aspects that I found delightful, but none of them were exactly what I wanted. I found one that was close to what I wanted:


1 qt cranberries
6 apples, peeled and cored
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 sm can crushed pineapple
1/4 c. chopped nuts
1 pkg miniature marshmallows
2 c. heavy cream, whipped
Grind cranberries and apples; add sugar. Let set for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; freeze. NOTE: Chilled evaporated milk may be substituted for heavy cream. Yield: 12 servings.
This recipe was found in “Favorite Recipes of America- Salads” 1966; Recipe was submitted by Norma Stuart, Altoona, Iowa

Well, it was close… but I homeschool three teenagers, I am peri-menopausal, and most of all, I.AM.TIRED.  My food processor is broken, I didn’t have a quart of cranberries hiding in the freezer,  I just was not in the frame of mind, or the mood to cut and chop fresh apples, my wonderful husband had just bought me 2 lbs. of pecans and it was an insult to only use 1/4 cup, I didn’t have a small can of pineapple, and I was NOT whipping cream on that day!!  So, I took the original ingredients and tweaked them a bit to fit what I did have on hand and this is what I created:



1 jar cranberry jelly or 1 can jelled cranberry sauce
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 can apple pie filling, mashed
1/2 c. sugar or sweeten to taste
1 l6 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 (ok, I used 3/4) c. chopped pecans
1/2 pkg mini marshmallows
tub of whipped topping.
Mix together all ingredients except whipped topping, place in your favorite bowl or casserole dish, and chill. Serve with whipped topping.

Print this recipe here: cranberry salad printable

What did I like about my version:  It was quick and easy.  The spices in the apple pie filling was a huge plus.  It was yummy good, and I have enjoyed the left-overs everyday since Thanksgiving.

What could/would be better: It would have been much healthier with the fresh fruits and  cream.

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX:  I have this crazy idea that this would be the most awesome Chicken  or (left over) Turkey Cranberry Salad.  Leave out the sugar, marshmallows and whipped topping and add some shredded or diced chicken and maybe a Tbsp of finely chopped red onion.  MMMM, I can just taste it now…

And how much are my mom and aunt enjoying those jellies/jams?  Well, I guess we will find out at Christmas… if I actually remember to take them, that is…

Posted in Chicken Salad, dessert, dinner, Freezer Cooking, old recipe, Quick Recipes, Salad, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Two Week Meal Plan

Hi! I have not been around for a while, we have moved recently and are in the throws of renovation, we just finished up football season, and so many other things that keep life jumping!!

I recently joined a couple of Face Book groups where moms are sharing and searching for ideas on menu planning, freezer cooking, budgeting and frugal meals. I love to share on those groups, but recently I have been sharing the same things over and over… and then the thought occurred to me: “Duh, you have a blog…why not just begin keeping up with that again and share the link rather than typing it all!” So, I am back.

I do feel more organized when I am keeping up with my blog for cooking, Bible study, gardening, and lesson plans, and I love connecting with people through this, so, even in my chaotic life, right now, I am going to attempt to post on at least one topic each day!! Here is today’s: This is my two week meal plan and how I am prepping ahead of time to save on time, money, and energy each day!!

This is a printable copy of my menu.  week of 12:1 grocery list


White beans and sausage soup  (serve with cornbread or rolls)
Beans and rice w/ polish sausage
Beef/bean bake
Chicken and Dumplings
Beefy mac and cheese
Ranch pork ribs
Ranch chicken or turkey
Chili dogs
Frito chili pie with spices
Sausage/sweet corn chowder
Chicken rotel
Chicken noodle soup
* Note: I will slice enough for our dinner with a few leftovers for next day lunch. I will portion out the rest by dicing enough for a casserole at breakfast or dinner, and will use the bone with some meat left on it to put into a pot of beans or soup.
Leftover meal-Ham

Usually consists of left-overs, sandwiches, or when budget allows, they get to choose three items for lunch that are under $1. Sweet Pea usually chooses cans of pasta dishes, like ravioli, mac ‘n beef, etc. Music Man chooses the Asian dinners like Yakisoba, and Sportsman chooses $3 worth of hot dogs!!

BREAKFAST  I serve some protein (meat or eggs) with muffins, cakes, rolls, etc.
Grilled cheese/fruit (Slices of ham added, if available from lunch meat)
Sausage biscuits 1 lb, sliced into 10 slices
Bacon Biscuits 1 lb. of bacon 2 slices each biscuit
Breakfast pizza
Bacon Cheese Potatoes
Hash brown/ham casserole
coffee cake
breakfast burritos
cinnamon rolls
apple cobbler cake
Sausage Joes w/rolls

You will notice that I don’t assign days to my meal plan, because when I do, something usually happens to throw off the schedule so I just choose in the morning what I am going to have for that day…or the night before, in case I need something to thaw.

In preparation for at least 7 meals, I cooked 3-4 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, in the crock pot and will divide this into 3 zip top bags, labeled for: Chicken Rotel, Chicken/Rice/Broccoli, Chicken Stirfry.  I also put 4 lbs of beef in the crock pot, cooked until done, drained and divided that up into 4 equal bags labeled: Beef/bean bake, chili corn chip pie, Beefy Mac N Cheese, and Minestrone.  Now my meat is already cooked for 7 meals, saving me many hours at the stove!!


White Bean Soup:Bean Rice Recipes
Minestrone Soup Link
Beef and Bean Bake
Chicken and Dumplings
Beefy mac and cheese
Ranch pork ribs (I use boneless country ribs because they are usually cheaper than chops.)
Ranch chicken or turkey– place enough frozen (or thawed) chicken pieces in your slow cooker to feed your family.  Empty on top one pack of ranch dressing per 2 lb of chicken. I use 2 packs.  Place top on your slow cooker, and cook on high 4-6 hours until chicken is tender, but not shredding.  I serve with mashed potatoes (drizzle some of the sauce from the chicken over the top), and green beans!!
Frito chili pie with spices (I add a pack of chili mix and cook onions and bell peppers with the beef to give this a bit more flavor. Also, for my family of 5, I use 4 cans of chili beans and 2 bags of corn chips {99c at Aldi}.  We top with shredded cheddar.)
Sausage/sweet corn chowder
Meat/gravy/rice – Brown 2 lbs of ground beef (Option: add onion), drain, set aside.  Follow directions on 2 packets of brown gravy mix, add in beef.  Serve over toast, rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
Chicken rotel
Chicken noodle soup –  Boil  1 lb of chicken in 6 cups broth (or water and bullion) until done.  Chop or shred chicken.  Add back into broth.  Add in spices that you like.  I use thyme, basil, onion powder, anything I have on  hand that compliments the smell of the broth, add in egg noodles and cook until noodles are tender.
Stirfry–  1n 1 Tbsp, oil, saute 1 lb.boneless skinless chicken in small cubes until done, add frozen stir fry vegetables, add soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to your liking. Serve over rice.

This grocery list does not include the breakfast items and assumes you will need everything (including spices), except for salt/pepper/flour.  I also have not included groceries for side items for the “entree only” recipes.

Grocery List for blog

I will share pictures each day as I prepare the meals.

I can’t wait for you to cook along with me!!


Posted in chicken, Cooking tips, dinner, Freezer Cooking, Frugal Recipes, large family Meals, Lunch, Make Ahead Meals, Meal preparation, menu, Quick Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment