Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thankgiving!

Our front entryway during this season

I hope that all of you have a lovely Thanksgiving Day as we take time to reflect on the blessings we've been given. And may we not confine our gratitude to one day out of the year. Let our hearts always be thankful, rejoicing in the Lord and His goodness.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Menu Plan November 25 - December 1

Happy Thanksgiving week! For the first time ever, our family isn't going to have a big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We actually had our Thanksgiving back in August with some dear friends.
We're going to eat out because the next day, we're headed to Walt Disney World! Whoo hoo! A couple of college girls from our church are going to house and dog sit for us, which we've also never done. Usually we board our dog in a kennel when we go on vacation, which she absolutely hates. Thank the Lord, we found some sweet young ladies to stay with her while we're gone.

So because we're leaving the day after Thanksgiving, we'll eat at a local buffet restaurant so we don't have to worry about leftovers. And we'll be packing so I won't have time to cook a huge meal.

As you can imagine, this week's menu plan is rather brief. We're going to eat on the road, then take advantage of the Disney dining plan while we're in Florida. I'll give a full report when we get back.

Here's what we've got planned for this short week:

One Pan Cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta Skillet, broccoli

Homemade chicken patty sandwiches (from the freezer), fries

Cheeseburger soup, pretzel bread

Happy Thanksgiving!

Disney World, here we come!!!

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Menu Plan November 18-24

It's the last full week for Thanksgiving! And only 37 days until Christmas! But despite the busyness of this season, it's one of my favorite times of year. I enjoy cooking and baking for friends and family. I like spending time with those I love. And I'm grateful for the opportunities to reflect on how good God is to me. As we start into this hectic holiday season, don't forget to count your blessings, too!

Now on to this week's menu plan.

Cheesy crockpot cowboy casserole, green beans

Hamburger and fries

Roast beef and potatoes in the crockpot

Cheddar Chicken Potpie

Homemade pizza

Hot dogs with West Virginia hot dog sauce

Brunswick stew, pretzel bread

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chicken Meatball Soup

Whenever I think of comfort food, chicken noodle soup immediately comes to mind. It soothes a sore throat and warms a person up on a cool day. It's just comfort in a bowl, ya know?

And while I do make pretty good chicken noodle soup, it gets a little routine at times. This yummy soup recipe is a great alternative to traditional chicken noodle soup. It's got a burst of flavor from the dill and uses small pasta instead of noodles. My family couldn't get enough of it.

My recipe inspiration came from a lady at church who brought a similar dish to a church dinner. She got the recipe from the Ukraine where she's been on several mission trips. I searched online and found this recipe at Will Cook for Smiles which is very similar to the Ukrainian one. I added a few tweaks of my own to the prep and ingredients and this is the result.

First, you need to make the chicken meatballs, so here's what you need:

1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teas minced garlic
1 egg
1 teas dried dill weed
1/2 teas sea salt
1/4 teas pepper

Combine the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl. Form into small balls (you should get about 30-35 meatballs) and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center.

While the meatballs are baking, you can get the rest of the soup ready. You'll need:

1/2 onion, diced
1 cup shredded or finely chopped carrots
2 teas minced garlic
4 cups chicken stock (1 32-oz carton)
4 cups water
1 1/2 teas dried dill weed
1 1/2 teas sea salt
1/4 teas papper
1 cup orzo or other small pasta like ditalini

In a soup pot, cook the onions with a little olive oil. Add the carrots and allow to soften. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients except the pasta. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the chicken meatballs are cooked, carefully add them to the simmering soup. Stir in the pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Menu Plan November 11-17

Last week was so gorgeous around here. The leaves were a myriad of colors. It's been so lovely to step outside to see God's creation in all its beauty.
This week we're supposed to have some cold weather, including the possibility of snow showers mid-week. In the Deep South. And that means these pretty leaves will soon be gone. But we are certainly going to enjoy it while it lasts!

Now on to this week's menu:

Chicken and noodles, broccoli

Spaghetti, garlic bread

Italian sausage sandwiches, fries

Quinoa burrito bowls

Chinese 5-spice beef and broccoli, rice

Chicken shawarma, fabulous flatbread

Chicken and corn chowder

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Bars

It's the first week of November and I just realized I hadn't posted any pumpkin recipes yet this season! Pumpkin is one of my favorite things about fall. I love pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars, you name it. This recipe produces a lovely pumpkin bar that's not too sweet and is simply delicious.

Here's what you need:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teas vanilla
2 cups flour (I used half unbleached and half white wheat)
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1 teas baking soda
3/4 teas salt
1 pkg white chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. (You can use a hand-held electric mixer for this, too). Beat in the egg, pumpkin and vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Add to the pumpkin mixture slowly, making sure everything is combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips.

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, leaving an overhang that you can use to pull the baked bars out of the pan. Brush the foil with a little oil or butter. Spread the batter into the pan. It will be thick and sticky.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Using the foil, lift the bars out of the pan and set on a cutting board. Peel the foil away, then use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into squares.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Be Still

Last week was to be an extremely busy week for me. We had planned a soup supper for two of our church's Sunday School couples' classes to be held on Saturday, November 2. Everyone was invited to bring their favorite soup to share and either a dessert, bread or drink. We love opening our home to our friends and fellowshipping apart from church.

I had a daily to-do list because I was trying to avoid the last minute mad dash to get the house cleaned and ready. I was so pleased with myself for being organized. Believe me, it's rare enough of an occurrence that it should have been celebrated!

Then I fell.

What can I say? I'm far from graceful. I was standing still at my vanity mirror, then I stepped backward to turn around. I stepped right out of my backless shoe, lost my balance, and landed on my right hip.

Thankfully, my husband works from home. I was able to text him and tell him I'd fallen and I couldn't get up. Yep, I used those exact words.

For two days, I could do absolutely nothing. Sitting hurt. Lying down hurt. Bending down was impossible. Standing was a bit more comfortable. I iced the area non-stop and took anti-inflammatories. But I could do nothing to help prepare for the party.

I had tons of things to do and couldn't really do any of it. But I had a great deal of time to reflect on my misery. And I heard that still, small voice of God whispering, "Be still." Oh, that is so hard!

My family worked overtime to pick up the slack. The house was immaculate. Our friends had a wonderful time, if the amount of food consumed was any indication. Everything went off without a hitch.

Now I know I needed that time to rest. God knew it and even when I struggled to accept it, He extended grace to be still.

What about you? Do you need to be still and rest for a few minutes? Or even a few days? I know we're all busy. We're pulled in all different directions on a daily basis. But sometimes we need a recharge. Don't be afraid to take a few minutes for yourself to rest each day. And don't let an accidental fall be the reason you have to.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Plan November 4-10

Last week was a crazy week. We were preparing for our soup supper - lots of cleaning and rearranging. And then I fell on Tuesday. Hurt my back. I was out of commission for two whole days, then on very light duty until the party on Saturday. Talk about frustrating! I'll post more about that later.

But a huge shout out to my husband and children who picked up the slack and worked diligently to make sure everything went off without a hitch. (I knew having kids would one day pay off!) We ended up with 42 people in this house, including us. Sixteen of those were children. We had a dozen different soups, tons of bread, and lots of yummy desserts. Everyone sampled to their hearts' content. It was wonderful!

Unfortunately I kept busy most of the time and didn't get any pictures. I'll ask around to see if any of our friends did.

Now on to this week's menu plan:

Sausage tortellini soup (I know, you'd think after all the soup on Saturday we'd be sick of soup. We aren't.)

Steak bites, garlic roasted potatoes

One pot cheesy smoked sausage pasta, green beans

Roast beef with potatoes and carrots

Honey lime chicken bites, Parmesan couscous

Brunswick stew, homemade French bread


For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.