Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday Night Meal @ Michael's

Mark 8

1 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2 "I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat.

3 "If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance."

4 And His disciples answered Him, "Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?"

5 And He was asking them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven."

6 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people.

7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well.

8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces.

9 About four thousand were there; and He sent them away.

God provides!
Grocery budgets are very low, pantries are found with more and more shelf space and time has been a huge issue in our kitchen. Even so, when we call on GOD for our supply, He answers.
Last night’s dinner proved this.

We had toasted turkey and cheese sandwiches (darling little toaster oven friend again) and served them with homemade brownies (not so great) and pickled okra. Some of us enjoyed pickled peppers with ours. ;)

We went to our oldest son’s house and shared some time watching “The Office” shows on demand and bouncing the little ones from one lap to another. It was a nice evening --- even if we did get back home late for a school night --- and everyone had plenty to eat.

We didn’t care for these brownies. They have very high ratings on allrecipes but I don’t plan on making them again.

There are three reasons I can guess at what could have made these be such a waste of ingredients:

1. I used half sucanat and half brown sugar in place of the white sugar because I was out. I do this all the time and rarely see a significant difference. Some of the reviewers did this anyway with white and brown sugar so I tried it. Could have contributed to a change in ingredient balance and made them dry.
2. I think an entire cup of cocoa powder for one pan of brownies is just too much. I love cocoa powder, love rich, rich chocolate desserts and this just seemed a little much.
3. I cooked them 35 minutes and think it could have made a difference to bake for 30 or maybe less.

Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
4. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 10/20/2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Focused Homemaking

This is so good!
I read it awhile back and was going to gather notes to go with it but there really isn’t need.
It is a lovely call out to homemakers in my opinion.
We care for and we carry, we clean, cook, organize, plan, and many other things every day.
In whatever form we do it, we must see it as our calling and manage it accordingly.

Here is Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs (certain places in Proverbs from what I can tell by my not-so-neat notes. Also, I will include my notes in brackets from here on out).

Pro 27:23-27

Here is, I. A command given us to be diligent in our callings.

It is directed to husbandmen and shepherds, and those that deal in cattle, but it is to be extended to all other lawful callings; whatever our business is, within doors or without, we must apply our minds to it.

This command intimates,

1. That we ought to have some business to do in this world and not to live in idleness.

2. We ought rightly and fully to understand our business, and know what we have to do, and not meddle with that which we do not understand.

{We should learn what is important in running our homes, know what WE need to do to accomplish those things. I don't think the not meddling with what we don't understand should imply we shouldn't learn more than homemaking. I think it means we need to do our best to learn all we can about what we are called to do and on anything God gives us interest in to learn. If there are things we have no desire to learn in or force ourselves to know about and we are trying to do that just because we feel we "should" ... it becomes a waste of time. If we have an interest in learning something... no matter how complex it is or how much we don't understand it... we can learn it and the Holy Spirit will teach us.}

3. We ought to have an eye to it ourselves, and not turn over all the care of it to others. We should, with our own eyes, inspect the state of our flocks, it is the master's eye that makes them fat.

{We should be the overseers of our households. We should know it better than anyone and we should not turn the entire care of running our homes over to others. We should be involved with it at all the main levels. We need to delegate, train and teach ... certainly. We also need to check and inspect and have a handle on what we assign for others. }

4. We must be discreet and considerate in the management of our business, know the state of things, and look well to them, that nothing may be lost, no opportunity let slip, but every thing done in proper time and order, and so as to turn to the best advantage.

{Looking well to the ways of our households. This is what I always fall short from but aspire to ANYway! To know the state of things from my home, the building... to all the goings on in it. We want to be organized enough so we are prepared for blessings, God's service and every other opportunity He gifts us with. We need plans for meals, shopping, house cleaning, serving others and so much more to keep everything running smoothly.}

5. We must be diligent and take pains; not only sit down and contrive, but be up and doing: “Set thy heart to thy herds, as one in care; lay thy hands, lay thy bones, to thy business.”

{We need to keep busy. Keep at it. There are times for rest, yes! We all need rest and we have one day a week God even instructs us to take specifically for that rest. In the meanwhile? There is work to be done! We are wise to set our hearts to this and lots will be kept on track this way.}

A few more notes from the same commentary I just couldn't not share:

The profit of good husbandry in a family:

“Keep thy sheep, and thy sheep will help to keep thee; thou shalt have food for thy children and servants, goats' milk enough (Pro_27:27); and enough is as good as a feast.

Thou shalt have raiment likewise: the lambs' wool shall be for thy clothing.

Thou shalt have money to pay thy rent; the goats thou shalt have to sell shall be the price of thy field;” nay, as some understand it, “Thou shalt become a purchaser, and buy land to leave to thy children,” (Pro_27:26).


(1.) If we have food and raiment, and wherewithal to give every body his own, we have enough, and ought to be not only content, but thankful.

(2.) Masters of families must provide not only for themselves, but for their families, and see that their servants have a fitting maintenance.

(3.) Plain food and plain clothing, if they be but competent, are all we should aim at. “Reckon thyself well done to if thou be clothed with home-spun cloth with the fleece of thy own lambs, and fed with goats' milk; let that serve for thy food which serves for the food of thy household and the maintenance of thy maidens. Be not desirous of dainties, far-fetched and dear-bought.”

(4.) This should encourage us to be careful and industrious about our business, that that will bring in a sufficient maintenance for our families; we shall eat the labour of our hands.

{I will now leave the computer for a bit to finish up my laundry, check the work I gave the girls' earlier and pull out our food for dinner prep tonight!}

Gathering As We Go . . . .

I am gathering little notes I’ve jotted down over the past few months to remind me of posts I wanted to share and/or articles I’m working on. I need to add more info to some of these so I can recall events, recipes, and reviews a little more clearly!

The following meals were on a day a few weeks ago when our grown kids and their families came to eat with us. We all talked, laughed, ate and just enjoyed being together so it was wonderful.

Here was our dinner:

Spaghetti sauce

I thawed some venison and added it to a cast iron skilled with some organic olive oil drizzled into it. I let the meat cook with some chopped onions and green peppers on medium fire so it would cook evenly and give me time to keep breaking it up because I like it better that way.

When the meat was cooked all the way, I added spaghetti marinara sauce from a jar, tomato sauce, tomato paste and enough water to make it the consistency I wanted.
I stirred in some Italian seasoning blend, parsley, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Meanwhile, I had a skilled of diced zucchini sautéing in another cast iron skillet and spaghetti boiling in another pot. Garlic toast got crispy and fragrant in the oven and when the pasta was drained… everything was grabbed from the kitchen and taken hot to the table.

We topped our spaghetti and meat sauce with the zucchini and it was delicious!
If I remember correctly, we also had a huge bowl of salad with this meal as we do as often as we possibly can!

Later that night, long after the dinner mess was cleaned and visiting had been going on for another three or four hours, I made a “snack” from the left overs in our meal.

I pulled the leftover pasta, and tossed it in a skillet where I had already sautéed some chopped onion in olive oil. It went in with some of the l/over zucchini. As soon as it got hot, I added heavy cream and kept heating on a low to medium heat until it was how I wanted it. Right before taking it off the heat, I added 2 T. of pesto from a jar I got at Sam’s and tossed in some freshly shredded parmesan. I took it off the heat and grated some more parmesan over the top. It was SO delicious!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Best-Brownies Ever

My daughter named these brownies Best-Brownies Ever because she fell madly in love with them. She is a brownie lover and these are her ALL TIME FAVES. We made them for a dear friend who was craving something chocolate and preferably in the form of a brownie. We tried these and I almost lost the two in brownie bliss!

Best – Brownies Ever AKA: Rich Chocolate Brownies

Servings: 12

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add butter; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to batter and mix well.
2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until brownies test done with a wooden pick. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
3. For frosting, combine butter, cocoa, water and coffee; mix well. Gradually stir in sugar until smooth, adding additional warm water if necessary to achieve a spreading consistency. Frost the brownies.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 10/5/2009

Charlotte's Chicken Casserole

My mother has cooked for as long as I can remember.

When she was a SAHM with a husband and four daughters, she made breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I could probably write a book on all the things she came up with over the years!

To this day, she cooks some of the most amazing meals with little time to plan but they all taste as though they were. She and Papa are raising my twin niece & nephew (had them since birth) and have my sister and her little boy living with them right now. Nana still cooks up delicious dishes and every time we go, she serves something from her kitchen.

My oldest son gets to visit with them once a week and Nana makes him a lovely lunch each time.

Anyway, my daughter and I made an unplanned visit to Nana’s one evening when we stopped by on our way home from an appointment. She pulled out a casserole they had eaten for dinner and insisted on heating some up for us.
It was so scrumptious … we each had two helpings and had to stop ourselves before eating three! I scribbled down her recipe as quickly as I could and simply must share it with you. Smile.

A note from Nana: She told us it was one of the quickest meals she has ever made!

Charlotte’s Chicken Casserole

Oven cooked chicken tenders (battered and baked with olive oil drizzled on the pan) that are hand cut… across horizontally.
Egg noodles (whole grain, Mueller’s) Cook al dente (or slightly less) and drain.
Cream of chicken (2 cans)
Carnation Evaporated milk (1 can)
Shredded cheddar

Pour the two cans of soup into a bowl and fill the soup cans with evaporated milk (add water to make two full cans) and add that to the soups.
Whisk together the soups, milk and water mixture. Stir in chicken and pasta. Put in greased pan and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake until bubbly. Probably around 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes.
Top with shredded cheddar and heat until it is melted.