Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fruit Smoothie

Around here we love shakes.  This one is one of my favorites.  Just throw a few ingredients in your blender and it  will take care of your sweet tooth!  I usually have this mid morning and it holds me over for a while.  Put in some frozen blueberries, strawberries, banana, kale, orange juice concentrate, (a tablespoon or add sweetness), and coconut much as you want.  That is it!  I love this one.  I also add some Chia seeds to help fill me up and add nutrition.  Try this one...I think you will like it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Girls

I came across this picture and had to share it!  It is hard to believe that Olivia was married three years ago in December!  We are awaiting the arrival of my first grand baby in May!!  Life has many changes..some easier than others.  Like the water that flows in a stream, so the course of our lives.  May we be moldable and fluid...ever flowing and changing...relying on Christ!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beef Stew and Shepherd's Pie (like you've never had before!!)

I have been cooking out of  The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I must say that I have made more recipes out of this one cookbook, than any other one I own.  If you are like me, you get bored with cooking...the everyday recipes.  I love reading different blogs, cookbooks, and cooking magazines.  You see, I have people who LOVE to eat in my home.  I mean....I never make a single recipe...NEVER!!! :)  Always double...then maybe we will have a little left over.  Last week I made her Beef Stew from our newly packaged "beef" that we have stopped calling "Patrick" and now call "beef".  
Here goes....

Beef Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds beef stew meat 
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
1 can or bottle of beer or beef broth
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 potatoes
4 carrots
2 tablespoons flour

Start by heating your olive oil and butter in dutch oven.  Place stew meat in and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes
Remove meat 
Place chopped onion in pot and reduce heat to low.
Stir onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes
Throw in garlic and stir for 1 minute
Pour in beer, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, paprika, and sugar, salt and pepper.
Finally, return beef to pot, cover and simmer over very low heat for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  I let this cook for at least 2-3 hours:)
Add potatoes and carrots and simmer for 30 minutes.
To thicken your stew, remove a cup of the broth and stir in the flour.
Pour the mixture back in and serve!  

I have to say that my entire family said this was the best beef stew they had eaten. I really believe that the quality of the beef makes a big difference.  A couple of weeks ago, I purchased stew beef from Sam's and made this same recipe.  It was good.  I made this last week with our grass-fed beef, and I could not believe the difference!  When I was browning the meat, it produced a beautiful, dark gravy!   The taste was so much better.  If you get a chance to purchase grass-fed beef, do it!  It is so worth it!

A couple of days later, I made Shepherd's Pie from the left over stew.  Oh. My. Goodness!!!!
This gives Shepherd's Pie a new meaning!  

All you do is take about 4 cups of the left over stew and put it in a pan.
Put your mashed potatoes on top and bake until the potatoes get a little brown on top!
Another keeper for the Winters!  

Shepherd's Pie


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Family Reading

We have been reading a biography on the life of Corrie Ten Boom as a family.  I love these times when we read together.  William, our five year old, usually falls asleep on my lap or beside me...I don't mind because I know he will always remember our evening read-alouds.  As I read a chapter tonight, I couldn't help but burst into tears.  This was the part in the book when Corrie, her sister Betsie, her father, and a couple of other family members were being separated and taken to prison.  She looked back at her father and he was sitting in a chair, waiting to be called.  He look so peaceful and she could not help but wonder if that was the last time she would ever see him again.  As I cried, Joseph asked me why I was crying.  I feel it is so important for our children to see our hearts break for others, so much so, that it may bring us to tears. And yes, we need to do more than cry, but sometimes just reading a book on the harsh realities can be enough...of course, I make sure it is age appropriate.   It may be a historical biography, or the child next door.  I regained my composure and finished reading that chapter...then the next!  My kids always ask for "just one more"!  Many times over the years that "just one more" has turned into an entire book!  After putting the children to bed I called my dad.  I love my dad.  He sacrificed a lot for all of us growing up.  I will forever be grateful for having a dad that raised me to love God, church, and people.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Harvest Party!

What better time of year to run around a be silly than in the Fall!  We decided that we would have a party for our church staff...chili, cornbread,(thanks to the Langs!), chips and salsa, and salad!  Then we headed over to Trewargy's Orchard and ran through the Corn Maze!  Talk about run...when you pair up with my daughter, Victoria, be prepared to RUN!!  She likes to win and so we ran like we were being chased by outlaws and then we.....lost:(  
We have been in pastoral ministry for 18 years.  You learn a few things through the course of time and hopefully mature and become more like Christ.  One thing that has really meant so much to me is the fact that God plans the seasons in our lives.  We can look back and see Him in everything, a strand of grace running through our life story.  I love our story.  I love even more the people He has placed in our story.  People who share a common goal, faith, and love.  Our church staff has become so special to my heart.  I truly love these people and am so thankful for the season we are entering into.  

The Maddens

 The Manns

 The Funaris

 The Langs

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gram Time!!!!

We got up bright and early Friday morning and went to the Common Ground Fair.

Victoria and Hannah

 The following week Kirk got his first "Bow Dear"...needless to say it was very exciting!

 This little baby brought me joy...Mocha Frappuccino!
...more than once!! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homeschool Family!

Cousins starting a two week adventure together!!

While Kim and Eric are away on a ministry trip to Africa,  we are keeping their four children!  So far things are going great!  The ages of the kiddos in our home right now are as follows: 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 16!!  I know this isn't the Duggers', but it is larger than I am accustomed to!!  Victoria and I made a menu for all meals...breakfast, lunch, and dinner...everyday!!!!  Children truly are a blessing from the Lord!  Stay tuned for more stories and pictures!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sunflowers, like the daisy, are such a happy flower!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yes, Mary, I Love Food!!!!!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I made my potatoes differently tonight...I added garlic!  Everyone loved them so I thought I would share the recipe.

Peel and cut up 5 pounds of potatoes along with 4-5 cloves of garlic.  Boil them together and drain when soft.

Place both potatoes and garlic in a mixer.  Add about 1/3 cup of milk (I used 2%).
Add 1 stick of MUST use REAL butter:)
Throw in some salt and pepper to taste.

Now mix all together and do a taste test!!!!!


Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

I started making this recipe about five years ago.  When the air starts turning crisp, that is when I feel the need to turn on my oven!  Don't use boiled's just not worth it.  This soup gets its rich flavor from the baked potatoes!  I always serve this soup with toppings which include: bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions.  Oh, breadsticks finish the deal!  Here goes...

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup flour
6 cups 2% Milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled.

*Preheat oven to 400 
*Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake for 1 hour or until tender.  Cool.  Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.
*Place flour in large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.  Don't worry if it is a little lumpy...this will thicken and be fine!
*Cook over medium heat (being careful not to burn) about 8 minutes...until thickened.
*Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of cheese, salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, stirring until cheese melts.  Remove from heat.
*Stir in sour cream, and 1/2 cup of onions.  Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). 
Serve in bowls, adding toppings as desired.

Yield: 8 servings ( I always double since this is wonderful the second day)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

School Has Begun!!!!

William loves doing his Math with Victoria!

The Boys were so excited to start School!

William made Play Dough for the first time.  He had fun measuring and pouring and then.....


Our first day of school lunch...Baked Potato Soup.       

We ended the week with a trip to Starbucks for our first Autumn drinks of the season!    

Saturday, September 8, 2012

These Days...

These are some of the days I want to remember.  My children playing, laughing, and growing.  

Toria and Camo

Our boys are protectors!!!