Gearing Up for 2014!

Hello, everyone!

Get your thinking caps on. We’re going to set some New Year’s goals – realistic ones – this week. Think of things you want to achieve in the following categories:

* faith/walk with God;
* marriage;
* family relationships;
* friendships;
* health/fitness;
* household management.

We’re setting goals and not making resolutions. More tomorrow!

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.



Merry Christmas!

“God’s presence with us is His greatest present to us.” And he sent it long ago in the form of a baby in a manger, not a shiny gift under a sparkling tree. Remember that amid all the wrapping paper and bows today.

Y’all have a Merry Christmas! Count your blessings and enjoy your loved ones – family and friends. If you’re traveling, be safe!


Recipe Share Wednesday: Chocolate Delight

One of my family’s favorite desserts. If you don’t like chocolate (???), you can use a can of cherry or blueberry pie filling in its place. Then it’s sort of like cheesecake. I like it that way, too.

1 stick butter (or margarine, if you must)
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup chopped pecans
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
2 1/2 cups milk (or whatever the directions say to use for making pie)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I like to put the stick of butter (I used salted butter) and pecans in the pan (13×9) in the oven while it’s preheating…makes the pecans nicely toasted. Remove from oven when butter is melted. Stir in flour; pat crust over bottom of pan when it is just cool enough to touch it. (You can just melt the butter and add the flour and pecans, then pat into pan.) Return it to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and cool completely (!!!) on wire rack.

NOTE: I usually make the crust several hours ahead of time, sometimes the night before. After it’s cooled, I move it to the microwave and let it site until I’m ready to make the rest of the dessert.

Beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth; mix in the powdered sugar and beat until well-mixed. On low speed, add in half of the Cool Whip until just mixed. Spread over crust.

Mix pudding according to package directions for making pie and let sit for about 5 minutes until pudding “sets.”. Spread over cream filling. Top with remaining Cool Whip.

I grate some chocolate over the top as well as add some finely chopped toasted pecans.

Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or until ready to serve.

Happy Monday!Good morning, friends! Hope you had a great weekend! I am taking a “mental health” day today to clean my house and finish my decorating. Otherwise, my mental health may deteriorate rapidly! I have ideas for Simplify in 2014!!! I’ll share them later this week…. See More becoming minimalist’s photo. Like · · Share · 5 hours ago

becoming minimalist's photo.

Good afternoon, friends!

Hope you had a great weekend! I am taking a “mental health” day today to clean my house and finish my decorating. Otherwise, my mental health may deteriorate rapidly! 

I have ideas for Simplify in 2014!!! I’ll share them later this week.

Praying you’ve had a blessed day!


Recipe Share Wednesday: Baked Ziti

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (26 oz) jar tomato & basil pasta sauce
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 (16 oz) box ziti pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Saute onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and saute 1 minute. Add beef and cook, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain beef mixture, and return to pan. Stir in pasta sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions in large Dutch oven. Drain and return to Dutch oven.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minue. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, the remaining salt, and the pepper. Pour sauce over pasta in Dutch oven, stirring until pasta is evenly coated.

Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Top evenly with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 8-10



Oops! Here’s how I made the potatoes!

For the potatoes:

I peeled and sliced five pounds (yes, five pounds!) of potatoes, boiled them until tender and drained them. I returned the pot to the stove and added 1/2 stick of butter and about 1/2 cup canned evaporated milk and warmed until the butter melted. Then add the potatoes to the mixer and mix until potatoes are breaking up. Add warmed milk and butter and mix until smooth, adding milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. I then turn my mixer up to high and whip those babies until they are fluffy. This isn’t necessary – I just like to do it. (Canned evaporated milk is my secret to creamy potatoes. Shh!)

Recipe Share Wednesday: Chicken Marsala Revisited :)

CM 1

Happy Wednesday!

Here is a picture of what we had for dinner tonight: Chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits, and garlic & parsley butter. I fed five people tonight and there are leftovers for tomorrow. One piece of chicken and a good bit of mashed potatoes and beans. Not sure the biscuits will make it through the night. In my quest to conquer my weekly grocery bill, I am trying to figure the cost per person per meal. This one seemed kind of expensive at just under $18, but with at least six servings, that’s $3 per person. At my favorite Italian restaurant, the Chicken Marsala meal costs around $20 per person.

Here’s the recipe for the chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (they need to be thin so either buy thin ones or slice a large one in half length-wise)
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms or fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine (I use the one in the cooking wine section)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried basil
  • flour for dredging chicken
  • 4-6 tablespoons of butter

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat; add mushrooms and saute until browned. Remove and set aside. Lightly dredge chicken breasts in flour; shake to remove excess. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter over medium heat; add chicken breasts and cook until lightly browned on both sides, adding additional butter if needed. Return mushrooms to pan. Pour wine/water over chicken; sprinkle with basil. Reduce heat; cover and let cook over medium-low to low heat at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (The longer it cooks, the more tender it will be.)


For the biscuits:

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup Crisco (the only think I use Crisco for)
  • 1 cup plus a couple tablespoons buttermilk

In large bowl, mix flour and Crisco together until well-combined and it feels like little tiny peas. Make a “well” in the middle and pour in buttermilk. Mix together by hand. You can either form the dough into balls and press onto greased pan or you can roll them out and use a biscuit cutter. I did that tonight so they’d look pretty; I don’t usually. 🙂 If I’d done it by hand, there would probably have been 10-12 big biscuits instead of these little ones.


For the butter:

Soften 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in garlic salt to taste and a sprinkle of dried parsley. Put on potatoes or biscuits – or both! (Like me!)



Let the celebrating begin!

Happy Monday! Happy December!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I LOVE Thanksgiving and I hate that it gets lost between Halloween and Christmas like it really doesn’t exist. I think it’s important to take time to remember all the things we have to be thankful for. And we shouldn’t do it just once a year!

And…I can hardly believe that December is here. Christmas is just 22 days away. And – in less than a month – it will be 2014. What?!? How did THAT happen? I’m trying to decide where to go with this blog in the new year. Obviously, it can’t remain Simplify 2013.Well, technically it could, but it might seem a little weird. 🙂 I know I want to keep it going but I’m not sure exactly how it will play out. I’ll let you know when I know. But I’m open to suggestions if you want to share.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, have you started shopping? I have not. Did not hit one Black Friday sale. (I don’t like shopping on a regular, non-crowded day. No way I’m going out there with those crowds!) I have not started shopping, but I have started a shopping list. This is one thing that I plan to work on every year and it just never happens. I plan to shop early – to have all my gifts bought by Thanksgiving. Still hasn’t happened. Maybe next year! 🙂

My challenge to you – and this is one for the next 22 days – is to not let the busyness of the business of Christmas get in the way of you remembering the reason for Christmas. Don’t let parties, shopping, dinners, etc., etc., etc. get in the way of enjoying and celebrating the little baby who came so long ago so that you could have the life you have today!

Now I’m off to watch the CMA Christmas show! Y’all have a great evening!