dessert · Fourth of July · Main dish. · summertime

Fourth of July Favorite Foods

With Fourth of July coming up next weekend,  I thought I’d pull some of my favorite menu items from my blog and make a few suggestions for your cookout, just in case you’re looking for some new ideas!

Let’s start with the main course:

You can’t beat a hamburger on the grill, and this Herb and Cheese Stuffed Burger is one of the best!  It takes the term “Cheeseburger” to a whole new level!  The cheese is inside the burger, and it’s not just some cheese-flavored slab, this is an herb cream cheese, friends!

Herb & Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Ingredients
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
I1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
4 rolls, split

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon mustard; set aside.
In another bowl, combine the onions, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt, rosemary, sage and remaining mustard. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Shape into eight thin patties. Spoon cheese mixture onto center of four patties; top with remaining patties and press edges firmly to seal.
Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Serve on rolls with lettuce and tomato if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
Lettuce leaves and tomato slices, optional

If you’re going to grill steaks, use a great marinade to make them even more flavorful!  Here’s my go-to recipe:

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tbl molasses
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp dry mustard
3 cloves, garlic, minced

Mix well, then marinate meat at least one hour.

Oh, and if you need a side for either the burgers or the steak, the Onion Rings pictured above are some of the best!

Golden Onion Rings
Combine 1 cup plus 2 tbl all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 slightly beaten egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tbl salad oil. Beat together just till dry ingredients are well moistened. Coat onion rings with batter. (I prefer a vidalia onion) Fry a few at a time in deep hot oil (375 degrees), stirring once to separate rings. when onions are golden, drain on paper towels. Just before serving, sprinkle with salt.

Now, let’s finish with a refreshing dessert!

Strawberry Pizza
Ingredients

Crust:
1 C flour
1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 C butter

Filling:
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Topping;
1 C fresh strawberries, mashed
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
8 – 10 strawberries sliced.
Instructions

Crust:
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and butter.
Form into a ball with hands and press into a 14 inch ungreased pizza pan (I used my Pampered Chef pizza stone) I floured my fingertips to keep it from sticking and I pressed it out with my hands.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool.

Filling:
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and lemon juice.
Spread on cooled crust.
Topping:
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries, sugar and cornstarch.
Simmer until thick and glossy. Cool.

Spread on top of cream cheese filling.  Cut fresh strawberries crosswise to make rounds that resemble pepperoni, place on pizza and serve.

I hope that inspires you to plan ahead for a fun and delicious 4th Of July menu!  

Anyone have a traditional recipe that you always fix for your family cook-outs?

Happy Independence Day!

Home making · refreshment at home

Managing Your Laundry

I’m half way through the day and I have done two loads of laundry, ironed linens and put them away, and also pressed our clothes for the weekend. Then I got brave and peeked into the clothes hampers in our closets. I saw more dirty clothes wadded and waiting for the the Laundry Lady (that’s me!) to rescue them from the basket and repeat the process of my earlier hours.

Laundry Never Ending Story Wall Quotes™ Decal | WallQuotes.com

It’s true, isn’t it? Laundry never stops. It could be really easy to get cynical and resentful, but as I shared recently in this post, we need to make sure our heart is right in regards to our home. Having a right heart will safeguard us from attitudes that can make us begrudge the work that is so repetitious, but also God-given.

Home began In the Garden of Eden. As a matter of fact, the only thing we have left from the Garden of Eden is the family. What a gift!

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Gen 2:15

The word, “dress,” literally means to work it; for though a paradise, the garden still had to be tilled and planted. Seeds needed to be sown. and the cultivated plots kept in order; but all this really added to Adam’s happiness, because Adam hadn’t sinned yet and responded willingly to the husbandman’s care. 

“To keep it.” The animals weren’t all so peaceful and domesticated that Adam did not need to fence his garden against their plundering. Ever had deer eat your garden?! 

God made the family – Adam and Eve. He provided the place for them to live, and also gave them the responsibility of caring for it. They were to WORK. Work was not a result of sin.  Sometimes we treat it as though it is a curse, but work is a blessing. Work is necessary in order to keep a home a suitable place to live. Someone needs to oversee that the work is done – they need to manage it all.

As the wife, it is our responsibility to be the manager – keep the order. That involves training our children to help, but we are to be busy managing the home so that those that live there can serve God best. If our home is only confusion, we will be hindered in serving God or doing what he calls us to do.

But how do we get it all done? Let’s look to the practical side of this management.

What kind of atmosphere do you want it to have? 

Inviting?

Restful? 

Peaceful?

None of that can happen if it’s mayhem.  

In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George gives a checklist for managing your time and your home. In today’s post, we’ll just elaborate on the area of laundry. I hope to give you some practical help here!

1. Plan! Nothing grand just happens – you have to plan. The more detail the better – the more you’ll get done.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.


Do you have goals for your home, or are they only wishes? We plan our work, and then we work our plan. How do we plan?

  1. If you don’t have some type of daily planning book, get one. It can be a spiral notebook or a formatted daily planner. If you use a plain notebook, list the days of the week on the page. 
  2. You will plan in the three areas – Maytag (Laundry), Messes (House cleaning) and Meals.
  3. Write down the major things you want to accomplish each day under each category.
  4. When the task is finished, check it off.
  5. Stay focused on your list and don’t get sidetracked by other chores. The list will help you do that!

Let’s start today with how you can plan for getting the laundry done

Maytag –
Plan when will you do the laundry.  Will you do one load each morning? Will you designate one day to do it all for the week?
Plan when you will fold the clothes. Note that if you leave the clothes in the dryer for hours after they’re dry, they will wrinkle. Help yourself by setting a goal to get to them as quickly as you can. This will keep your family from searching for their clean clothes and finding them still in the dryer, or spilled out on the living room couch.
Plan when you will put the clothes away, or who will put them away. Will you take each family member’s clothes to their bedroom? Will they each find their pile and put them where they belong?
Plan to teach your children to help. When they’re little they can help you sort. Folding wash cloths and sorting socks is another task they can do. As they grow older, make them more and more responsible for their own clothes. I know a mom who taught her girls to do their own laundry by the time they were ten years old. #smartmom

Whatever your Maytag goals are, keep moving forward and don’t check that chore off your list until it’s all been folded and put away. Seeing that chore on your plan will remind you that it still needs to be tossed into the dryer, or that it’s ready to be folded and put away.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t just wish you could get caught up on the laundry – have a goal AND a plan about how you’re going to tackle it. As with all of life, ask the Lord to help you have the right attitude and to do even the laundry for His glory. He gave you that family who dirties up all those clothes. If we could think of our laundry as a blessing because it represents the people who live there, would we have a better attitude? Pretty sure so.

Refresh your Maytag responsibilities and your attitude about it.

dinner in 30 minutes · Fish · Mexican Food · Side dish · Tacos

A New Twist On Taco Tuesday

If you grimace at the thought of Fish Tacos, it’s probably because you’ve never had a really tasty one! We are HUGE taco fans in any shape or fashion, so I am always willing to try a new recipe for our favorite fare because they come together in under 30 minutes, they’re healthy when broiled, and they’re so yummy!

Smoky Tilapia Tacos

I recently came across a new recipe for Fish Tacos in my favorite source – a Cooking Light Magazine. If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know I adore their recipes. They did not disappoint! This has become my new favorite Fish taco recipe! Their recipe has a little kick added, which I have found the fish really needs in order to be exceptional. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the seasonings, just wing it and enjoy! I’ll share my substitutions and omissions in the following recipe.

Smoky Tilapia Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika –I used regular paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander – I left this out
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets – I used frozen Polluck
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro – I’m not a huge fan, so I omitted this
  • 2 teaspoons canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 diced peeled avocado
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas – I used my homemade flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 lime wedges

How to Make It

Preheat broiler to high.

Combine first 4 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Brush fillets with oil, and sprinkle with spice mixture. Place fillets on a baking sheet. Broil 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cilantro, chilies, and avocado in a bowl; lightly mash with a fork.

Heat tortillas on a grill pan coated with cooking spray 20 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide avocado mixture and fish among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.

To accompany the tacos, Cooking Light suggested a recipe for Pinto beans which are canned, and are cooked very similarly to the way I share here. Then they are topped with the best cream! I added this cream to the tacos, too, which gave them such a full flavor! These take only Minutes to put together!

My husband declared he’d rather I never fix refried Beans again, and only serve these with Mexican food. I heartily agree! I bet you will, too!

Simmered Pinto Beans with Chipotle Sour Cream

Simmered Pinto Beans with Chipotle Sour Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce

How to Make It

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, cumin, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add stock, salt, black pepper, and beans; simmer 7 minutes. Stir in juice and parsley.

Combine remaining ingredients; serve with beans.

Pure heaven!

Refresh your Taco Tuesday by fixing a fishy version with a side of the BEST beans you’ve ever eaten!

Fourth of July · Home decor · seasonal decor

Red, White and Blue Decor

I’ve always been a fan of seasonal decor. I have scaled back in how much I use, but I still love to add a touch of the upcoming holiday around my home. This week it was time to pull out my patriotic things and add a few touches. Here’s what I added…

My entryway bench got a banner with my chalkboard design overhead.
My chalkboard is vinyl and I love it. It’s easy to write on and it also erases easily.
I put all red, white and blue in my cute tiered stand. I just went through my cupboards looking for anything with those colors. You don’t have to decorate with only purchased patriotic items!
The living room mantle was the other spot I added some patriotic decor.
I love vintage books with pictures like this one!

This year with all the things going on in our country, I feel especially patriotic and longing for our nation to be
One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

How about hanging up your flag, and then pulling out some red, white and blue decor pieces to add a patriotic touch to your home and your heart?!

Refresh your patriotism,

Home making · Wife's Role · Women's roles

Maytag, Messes and Meals, Part 2

I recently saw an Instagram video of a house that had been flipped. The months of work were finished and it was beautiful. Not only was the structure beautiful, but so was each room! They had a professional stager come in and place furniture and decor in each room to make potential buyers see its possibilities.  It seemed to have everything, but one thing it is lacking is people.  In its present state, it is a pretty house, but it is not a home. What will it take to turn it into one? People.

People make a house a home.

So as you and I step into our house with another person – just our mate, or perhaps also our children, we must realize that the most important part of that structure is not the beautiful hardwood floors or the vaulted ceilings – it’s the people who live there. Someone has to do some building of love, structure and routines to create a happy and comfortable place for that family to live. That “someone” is you and me. God has given us that nurturing, nesting nature to help us with the building of our home. How do we build? With God’s wisdom.

Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pluck down with her hands.
Proverbs 14:1

I can remember a time when I was a child that my mom was away from home for a week while she had surgery. Back then you were kept in the hospital a week or so to regain strength before returning home. My dad did his best taking care of me and my sisters, but my mom’s presence was missed so much. Things just weren’t the same without her cheery disposition. A wife and mother adds to a home what no one else can bring. We minister to our family in ways I don’t think we can fully comprehend. We must be deliberate about building the lives that gather there

Home should be the one place on the earth where everything will be alright. That’s our sphere – our responsibility, our role – to build the home. We’re not talking about a perfect family – there is no such thing, but a place where there is love and acceptance, forgiveness and encouragement, provision and rest.

Home needs to be a little bit of heaven on earth. Every man needs a place that is a refuge for him.  Every child needs a place that is a safe haven from the world. That is the kind of place we must build.

The negative part of Proverbs 14:1 says that the foolish pluck down their home with their hands. How?

  1. Actively – Anger out of control that throws things, slams doors, slams dishes on the table, rips things up, tears things up. It can tear up a little heart and mind and it can destroy and ruin a person and a home.
  2. Passively – This is simply a failure to work – it’s laziness! We’re to be building; it’s active. We can pluck down our own home just by failing to do the work. We just never get around to it.
    We watch too much t.v., spend too much time on social media, so things aren’t getting done, or we’re not home enough to accomplish the work.

We’re on assignment from God to build a house. We must steer clear of every act, every hindrance that would interfere in building that home.

We must make a decision or a commitment to build, or begin to build.
It’s not too late!
The enemy would want you too think it is, and it won’t make any difference, but that’s not true! You can begin today by asking God to give you wisdom about how to build and then do it.

Just do one thing for the people in your home. Build the atmosphere with your loving touch. Be there. Notice. Listen. Look. Love. Care. Make a difference in their lives.

Next time we’ll discuss some of the particular ways we can manage and care for our home. Until then, do the One Thing the Lord brings to your mind.

Refresh your home by building,