Recipe Share Wednesday: Apple Crisp

 

I got this recipe from a kids’ cookbook published by Gold Medal flour when my kids were young. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yummy!

  • 4 medium unpeeled or peeled cooking apples, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking or regular oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I usually use pecans…and probably more than 1/3 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened (I always used salted butter)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the apple slices in an ungreased 8-inch square pan. Mix remaining ingredients with a fork (or your hands, like me); sprinkle over apples. Baked uncovered until the topping is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Throwback Thursday: The Importance of Friends

Good morning, y’all!

The last couple of weeks, I have seen some great examples of friendship illustrated in my life and the lives of those around me. And I keep seeing things on Facebook about “Throwback Thursday.” So…here is a post (from Thursday, January 24) about friendship that I am reposting today in honor of my wonderful friends and “Throwback Thursday.”

~ Lynne

 

Good morning! And Happy Thursday! Friday is just a day away. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…”

Today I want to talk about the importance of friends. Friendships – good ones – enrich our lives in so many ways. Now I’m talking about real friendships here, not surface ones. Those are called “acquaintances.” I’m talking about those few people in your life that you could call at 3:00 a.m. in an emergency and they’d be wherever you are as fast as their fannies could get there. You only need a few – a select few. Ones that you can tell a secret to and know that it won’t end up on Facebook before you’re done talking. Ones who say “I’ll pray for you” and you know that they will. Those who will walk alongside you through good times and bad times. No one needs “fair weather” friends – the ones who are around when all is good but hit the door running as soon as something bad happens. Nope, you don’t need those.

Last night, the ladies from my small group (from church) got together for our monthly ladies’ night. There were eight of us there. There was eating (duh!) and laughter and some serious conversation – and some not so serious. Hence the laughter. Every month when we get together, we learn a little bit more about each other. We open up a little bit more and share more about ourselves. We are a support group for one another. Each of us knows that the others are there for us. I hope that even the new ladies feel that way. Have a crisis? Call one of us. Need a meal? Call one of us. Need to hear words of encouragement? Call one of us. It’s that kind of group. I feel like we grow closer every month. (Our group also has a monthly guys’ night…I have no idea what they talk about. Hopefully, they are getting the same friendship base as we are. Guys need friends, too.)

Then there are those friends that you’ve had since you were young. I have two friends who were my first friends when I moved to South Carolina in the third grade. We were close all through high school and even through college. Now that we don’t live as close or go to the same church, we don’t see each other very often. But when we do, we can pick right back up like we saw each other the day before. I know I could call either of them at 3:00 a.m. and they know they could call me. We’ve been through a lot of good times and some tough times together.

Then there are the friends who really do life together with you. Your BFFs. You can have more than one. You can’t have ten. At least, I don’t think so. You should have a core group of friends that you interact with and converse with and share with on a very regular basis. The ones who will tell you that you have spinach in your teeth, or that the outfit you’re wearing does indeed make you look fat, or that you are being grouchy and need to chill. The ones who will walk with you through any crisis whether it’s yours or one of your children’s. The one’s who sit with you at the hospital through your dad’s surgery, or listen to you rant about one thing or the other without judging (or without laughing out loud…usually), who plan birthday surprises for you, whose kids know that they can call you if they can’t get their mom. These are the really deep and abiding friendships. You probably only have a few of these and that’s good. There are just some things you can’t share with your 1,247 Facebook friends. Or that you shouldn’t share. Seriously.

When you have kids – especially little ones – it’s sometimes hard to maintain any relationships outside your house. But it’s important. You’ll need someone to advise you, to guide you, to just hold you together some days. When you call them crying and blubbering because it’s been three days since you last got sleep, a really good friend will show up, take care of the kiddos, and send you to take a nap. And strongly suggest a shower. She’ll do a load of laundry and clean your kitchen And then have coffee ready for you after your “recovery period.” Don’t abandon your friends when your kids are young. You will definitely be needing them when those kids turn into teenagers. Just saying.

It’s so important to maintain these friendships! I can’t stress that enough. We need friends. The super close ones will be by you for a lifetime, I hope. The close ones will vary during the stages of your life probably. You’ll meet new people and will feel a connection and your friendship circle will grow a little. Don’t abandon your friends when life gets busy or hard. That’s when you need them most. Don’t be embarrassed to asked for help. Anything you’d do for them, they’d do for you. Remember that. You don’t always have to be the giver in a real friendship. Sometimes you’re the receiver of the love and kindness. Accept it.

I hope each of you has at least one friend who is going alongside you in your journey to simplify your life. One who is cheering you on at each success and accomplishment. Who comes over and praises you for your clean living room and diminishing laundry pile because they’ve seen the “before” in person and know what a big deal this is for you. They didn’t make you feel bad for the mess, but they sure make you feel good for the progress!

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! Be sure to reach out to a friend today…just to chat or to show them your before and after pictures of your challenge projects. If there’s coffee shared, all the better! :)

Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: My Favorite Chili Recipe

Waking up to this cool morning has me thinking of soups and slow cookers. This is my favorite chili recipe. I think I’ll be having it next week. I’d have it this week, but my menu is already planned. Don’t want to mess with that.

This recipe comes from Moveable Feasts cookbook. I cook it in the slow cooker; it can be cooked on stovetop for about an hour – but that requires frequent stirring so it doesn’t scorch.

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, undrained (use hot chili beans if you like it spicy; I do not)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (I omit because hubby doesn’t like green peppers)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you want some kick; I do not)
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

In slow cooker or large stockpot, mix together all ingredients. Cover and cook on low in slow cooker 5-6 hours. In stockpot, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Serve topped with shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Cooking Ahead/Freezing Meals

Happy Monday, y’all!

I hope you had a a great weekend! I certainly did – and an adventurous one as well! Hiked up a mountain in the dark (left the bottom of the mountain at 4:00 a.m.) and made it to the top about 30 minutes before sunrise. And then it rained a little and got chilly. We didn’t get a huge sunrise, but it was beautiful! We (my friend Kathryn & I) enjoyed our morning coffee sitting on the top of the mountain watching God at work. How awesome is that?

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top

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Waiting on the sunrise

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Seeing some pink…we didn’t get a lot, but it’s still beautiful!

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I’d like to live beside this mountain stream. I ❤ waterfalls!

I just knew you wanted to see these pictures! 🙂

So, anyway…just wondering if any of you make meals ahead of time and freeze them? That’s one of my goals now that I have a new freezer. 🙂 I’ve done some of this before and once – only once! – I made a whole month of meals in one day. I’m not sure I’d do that again, but maybe over the course of a few days I could do it. I have done things like pre-brown ground beef, stored meats in marinades in the freezer…but only once have I done the whole make ahead thing with any gusto. (And it wore me out!)

But it is something that I want to do and I’ve been scouring the internet for recipes that freeze well. So, if this is something that YOU do, can you please share with the rest of us how you go about it. What kind of planning does it take? Do you do it all in one day? Do you cook several meals over two or three days? AND…do you have any recipes to share that you have found to freeze well?

It’s time to share, share, share! This is definitely not one of my areas of expertise. (If I even have an area of expertise!)

Hoping to hear from you!

Lynne

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, y’all!

I’ll be back in “blogging mode” next week. It has been a busy-ish week for me this week, but I should be back to normal – or my version thereof – next week.

Tonight, my friend Kathryn and I will be hiking at Table Rock State Park, arriving at the top of the mountain just in time to see the sunrise. Pray for traveling mercies as we are to arrive at the park at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning which means I’ll be driving from Greenville, SC to the park and driving at night is NOT my favorite thing. But, I’m excited to see God’s handiwork in the morning from a different – and higher – perspective. Pictures will be posted, just so you know.

Have a GREAT weekend!

You all are the BEST!

~ Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: Chicken Spaghetti

Happy Wednesday!

I haven’t blogged for a couple of days. It’s not that I’ve been a slacker (really, I haven’t!), it’s that I have been doing that furniture rearranging that I’ve needed to do. The new freezer is in place and – yay! – my new dishwasher got installed today. Happy, happy, happy. 🙂

I am not a huge fan red sauce but I love pasta, so here’s one of my favorites: chicken spaghetti.

Happy cooking!

Lynne

 

  • 8 oz. spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a 4 oz. can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, milk, 2 tablespoons butter and seasonings. Add the cheeses, celery, onion and mushrooms. Stir in chicken and spaghetti.

Transfer to a greased square 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Combine cornflakes and remaining butter; sprinkle over top of casserole.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

Happy Friday, Y’all!

Happy Friday!

I hope your week has gone well! If not, it IS Friday, so the weekend is here and I hope you get some rest and relaxation in.

I haven’t posted about the 5-minute nightly walk through/pick up lately  or talked about leaving the kitchen sink empty at night. I have to tell you that I have never NOT wanted to do either of those things less than I have the last two nights. I just wanted to leave the dishes in the sink. Let the pillows on the couch be all out of place. Leave the TV remote out of its accustomed place. I just wanted to go to bed. I don’t remember why Wednesday night was like that. Last night, I went into work and didn’t get home until almost 9:00. Left my cell phone there. So I was just aggravated. Still, both nights I put away the dishes, straightened the pillows, put the remote in its place. And in the morning, I was really glad. I hate waking up to clutter! So I’ve gotten up both mornings to a relatively straight downstairs and taken my coffee and my Bible and enjoyed sitting on the back deck in the early morning quiet.

If you missed the post about the nightly walk-through, it’s simply this: Take five minutes every night before you go to bed to walk through your living areas (for me, the living room and kitchen) and straighten up pillows, magazines, etc. And take the time to empty your sink of dishes if at all possible. That way, you wake up to order not messiness, and order is a much better way to start your day. 🙂

My friends Kathryn and Lynn sat down with me today and we looked at cookbooks, food magazines, websites, etc. for recipes. We talked a lot about food and the changes we are trying to make and the challenges to those changes. (Husbands…ahem!) I don’t know what they’ve come up with, but here is the menu plan I decided on for the coming week. 

  • Friday – Grilled London Broil (It’s been marinating since yesterday morning!), Crash Hot Potatoes, Broccoli, Homemade Yeast Rolls (if I get moving!)
  • Saturday – Chicken Enchiladas, Homemade Mexican Rice, Homemade Refried Beans
  • Sunday – Chicken Pot Pie and Veggie Pot Pie, Cinnamon Apples
  • Monday – White Bean, Kale & Carrot Soup, Cornbread
  • Tuesday – Leftovers
  • Wednesday – Homemade Sloppy Joes on Homemade Hamburger Buns, Parmesan Potato Wedges, Baked Beans
  • Thursday – Homemade Pizzas: Spinach Alfredo; Beef & Mushroom; Cheese

What’s on your agenda for the weekend? I have some furniture rearranging to do to make way for the freezer I am (FINALLY!) getting. I hope I can enlist some help from my dear sweet daughter. (AHEM!!) 

Y’all have a blessed weekend!

Lynne

 

Recipe Share Wednesday: Quinoa with Black Beans & Corn

Adapted from a recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com.

When I finally got brave enough to try quinoa, this was the first recipe I tried. Love. It. Top with some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Yummy!

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I use canned or frozen, whichever I have on hand)
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

The original recipe also calls for 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, as well as a whole onion instead of half. So these are optional to me.

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned.

2. Mix quinoa in to the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper (and cayenne if you’re using it). Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. If using frozen corn, stir it in and continue to simmer for five minutes before adding black beans and cilantro. Once you add the beans and cilantro, heat through.

 

When You Just Don’t Want To __________________.

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset

Happy Monday!

How many times have you said, “I don’t want to _______”? I’ve said it more than once just today! Sometimes when I say it to myself – because I don’t usually say it out loud – inside my head I hear myself in a whiny voice and see myself stomping my feet like a little kid. 🙂 I did say it to myself this afternoon when I didn’t want to run because it was hot. As in, summertime hot and humid. Ugh! But…I ran anyway. And the picture above is what I saw while I was out there running. I would have totally missed that if I had stayed inside where it was nice and cool. How often do we miss out on beautiful, wonderful things because we just don’t want to do something? We miss out on blessings. On friendships. Relationships. Joy. Experiences.Opportunities. Accomplishments. Contentment.

I know I keep relating a lot of things to eating and exercising choices because that’s just where I’m at. I’m at a “certain age” where I’ve come to realize that it’s now or never. The longer I wait to make changes that positively affect my health, the harder it will be to make them. I then I’ll be a gray-haired lady stomping my foot like a four-year-old and yelling, “But I don’t want to!” when my doctor says that I have to exercise and eat better in order to feel better and live longer. I WANT to be healthy. I WANT to feel good. But I do not always WANT to do what it takes to get there. Having the knowledge about what you should do and actually getting motivated to do them are so so  very far apart sometimes. For me, anyway. Replacing a bad habit with a good one can be done.  It’s just not usually fun. And we don’t like to do things that aren’t fun for us. Human nature and all that.

So in my quest to be more healthy and active, I keep trying new things. More exercise. Different exercise. Running…gotta do it every day now. Yoga…love! Cutting out processed foods…research, label reading, planning ahead. So now – and this is all Kathryn’s fault! (and feel free to tell her I said so if you know her) – a 21-day cleanse/detox. Seven things to cut out for twenty days. Three weeks. Psh. Surely I can do that, right? Then…(insert dramatic and dark moody music here) – the list of things to eliminate.

1. Soy

2. Alcohol

3. Corn

4. Dairy/eggs

5. Wheat

6. Peanuts

7. Sugar

And #8 – which is optional – caffeine. As in coffee. Coffee, people! Because I like my coffee with half and half (#4) and sugar (#7), it would be three “no-no’s” in one cup. So do I drink it black (YUCK!) or go without for 21 days? I am (and I reserve the right to change my mind, possibly more than once) opting to do without. I’d rather not have it than have it and it taste yucky to me. Y’all should probably start praying for my family now. It’s entirely possible that I won’t be very nice for the next few days. I’m assured that that will pass. 🙂

Now, my challenge to you this week is not the same as mine. My challenge to you is to do two things. One is food-related; one involves the dreaded “e” word.

1. Make one positive change in your eating habits.

Cut out or reduce your soda intake. Drink more water. Eat fresh fruit every day. Try a new veggie. Try a day that you go meatless. Eliminate one processed food from your diet that you eat regularly. You decide. Just one thing. I know you can do that.

2. Make one positive change in your exercise habits.

If you don’t exercise at all, start. Walk around the block. If you can’t do that, walk half a block. Try a new class – yoga, Pilates. Start gently. Like…don’t start with a kickboxing class if you’ve been a couch potato for a while, I don’t want you to fall out in the gym. (As always, consult your doctor if you need to. Don’t jump in without taking your current health situation into account.)

So two changes. Small ones. You can do that, can’t you? I’m confident that you can! Totally and completely confident. And I know that you will be rewarded with blessings. A sense of accomplishment. Feeling better – both physically and about yourself in general. Some increased self-confidence. Get a walking buddy and watch your friendship blossom and grow. And you might just be blessed with a view like I had today.

Blessings,

Lynne

P.S. Should my next few posts seem crabby and snippy, remember: caffeine withdrawals. Just warning you. 🙂