Charcuterie Boards · Fall · picnic food · The Scenic Route

Charcuterie Board Meets Scenic Route

These fall days will pass quickly and we’ll be experiencing cold weather that will push us indoors faster than garlic burns! Therefore, we are trying to enjoy these gorgeous days by taking some drives on the Scenic Route!

We met some dear friends up on a mountain last weekend and my husband and his buddy Rick decided we’d have a charcuterie snack board! You see, these two hike together and it’s become Rick’s new creation to use his bandanna as his “charcuterie board!” Dale has also become quite a good hand at creating great spreads on a board!

I keep a tablecloth in my picnic basket so when we want to eat a meal out somewhere, I already have a cover for the table.

Dale gathered the items he wanted to take and I helped with the presentation. I brought along one of my cutting boards and some cute napkins. I found those cute autumn favor cups at The Dollar Tree. I was impressed at how sturdy they are! They were perfect for the candy, pretzels and apple slices. The other additions to our board were a couple candy bars and muffins.

I failed to get a picture of Rick’s board, but he brought carrots, almonds, beef jerky, cookies, and cheese and as I said, he spreads his treats on a bandannas. His wise wife has purchased new bandannas strictly to use for his hiking charcuterie boards!

It was so much fun to sit at the picnic table and nibble off of the goods on the boards as we chatted and enjoyed the gorgeous views!

The Scenic Route is full of fun adventures and this kind of picnic was easy to pull together and fun to enjoy! The possibilities are endless. Consider:

  • Grapes
  • Cheeses
  • Chips & Salsa
  • Lunch meats
  • Crusty bread and Olive oil for dipping
  • Veggies
  • Hummus
  • Crackers
  • Olives
  • Nuts

Why not pack up goodies for a Scenic Route picnic and enjoy a charcuterie lunch or snack on the road? Make a special fall memory before the snow flies.

Refresh your picnics with something fun!

Encouragement · Pastor

Encouraging Your Pastor

When you think of your energy level on Sunday evening after a day of being in God’s house, where would you rank it? A 2 or 3? Yeah, It thought so. There’s a good reason for that, and its has to do with more than wrestling the patent leather shoes onto a three year-old.  

Every Sunday when you get yourself (and perhaps your family) ready and head out the door to worship, you are doing battle – a spiritual one. Satan doesn’t want you there where you’ll hear the Word of God. He doesn’t want your marriage strengthened and your children in a place where they’ll be taught Truth from the Bible, and so he fights us. Attitudes get out of whack, you fight to concentrate on the messages, your children are the crankiest on that day. By the end of the Sunday services, we’ve done real battle with the enemy  – and it’s exhausting!

If the believer in the pew is fighting a spiritual battle, imagine what your pastor is facing as he endeavors to stand in the pulpit and preach the Word of God! He sees people nodding off, passing notes, flipping through their phones, or looking uninterested, and the devil plants seeds of discouragement in him. He fights with just wanting to sit down and quit. He struggles to remember passages of Scripture or the next illustration. The power point is almost sure to fail during his most important point – even though he spent much time and effort putting it together to aid the preaching of the Word.

It’s for all these reasons and many more that every pastor desperately needs the prayer of the saints. I’ve made a list of some of my favorite passages of Scripture to pray for my husband or whoever will be in the pulpit at our church. Here are the verses I like to pray, with a brief description:

II Thessalonians 1:11,12 – For God to make him worthy of his calling to preach.

I Timothy 1:12 – Thankful for the calling to the ministry.

II Timothy 2:7 – That he might have understanding.

II Timothy 2:9b – That he might remember that the Word of God is not bound.

Titus 1:3 –  That he would remember that the Word of God is manifested through preaching.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 – That utterance would be given to him and he would preach with boldness.

II Corinthians 4:1-6 – That he would preach the Word with sincerity and to magnify Christ.

Colossians 1:9-14 – That he would walk worthy of the Lord.

After you spend some time praying through some passages of Scripture for your pastor, why not write him a note or send a text and let him know that you’ve prayed specifically for his preaching? It’s sure to refresh him and encourage him as he heads to the pulpit to deliver God’s Word.

Will you pray for your pastor and then let him know?

Refresh your pastor,

Comfort Food · Dinner

What To Do With that Ham Bone?

Holiday meals are creeping up on us, believe it or not! Last weekend I baked a Smithfield Brown sugar glazed ham (it’s one of the best I’ve ever bought!). After I sliced all the meat off, I tucked the bone into a freezer bag and put it in the fridge. I knew that bone had all kinds of possibilities! I usually always make Senate Bean Soup with our Christmas ham bone, but I wanted to venture out and try a new recipe.

I found this a recipe for Creamy Ham and Potato Soup and it sounded savory and delicious. It also didn’t take hours to make! The recipe suggested making ham stock with the bone and using that as the base of the soup. That’s exactly what I did. All that took was popping the bone into a stock pot with water to cover and simmering it for an hour. Easy peasy.

Here’s the simple recipe with my slight changes:

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

NGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 cups Ham Stock or chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chicken Bouillon
  • 3 cups milk 
  • 1 pinch of salt, if needed 
  • fresh cracked black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat the butter in a pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery until beginning to soften (about 4 minutes).
  • Add the potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  • Mix the flour through and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in stock and bouillon and ham, mixing all ingredients together. Increase heat and bring to a boil until potatoes are ‘just’ fork tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, add the milk and stir over the heat until thickened (about 5 minutes).
  • Add more and salt and pepper, as needed
  • Serve warm.

This was so savory! I was so happy to make such good use of that flavorful ham bone! It made a whole pot of ham stock, so now I also have more frozen for a couple more recipes of this wonderful soup!

To make your own ham stock, place the ham bone in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Discard bone. How easy is that?!

If you don’t have a ham bone on hand, you can purchase a bone at Honey Bake Ham! But I’d also encourage you to save this for those holiday hams in your future!

Here are a couple of our other favorite savory soups:
Sausage Corn Chowder
Chicken Gnocchi

Happy ham bone season!

home accessories · Home decor

One Decorating Tip To Instantly Enlarge Your Room

This summer I redecorated our bedroom and I am in love with the way it turned out. It’s so much more inviting and it functions so much better!

I’ve sung Myquillyn Smith’s praises before here on my blog, but that won’t keep me from telling you again that her decorating steps have transformed my house! In her book, Cozy Minimalist Home, she gives the order that one should follow when decorating a space. I won’t go through the steps, but I do encourage you to get her book if you’re looking to refresh a room you hate! The “fix” won’t be found in Target’s pillow aisle or Hobby Lobby’s canvas prints. Trust me…those things need to wait. Get the book; you’ll be so glad you did!

I will tell you one secret she shared that has transformed my bedroom when I redid it this summer. Ready?

Hang the drapes high and wide!

You won’t believe the difference it will make in the room. Let me show you my visual! When I was redoing our bedroom, I took a picture with one window where the drapes were on suspension rods in the window and the other window was hung HIGH and WIDE.

Does the window on the left look much bigger? It’s all because of the placement of the drapes!

The lighting was poor in the picture above, but you can definitely see the difference, right?! Just stepping into the room now there is a “Wow!” factor simply because the windows look so much bigger!

I’m on a mission now to rehang all the drapes in the house! It will take time because I’ll need longer lengths. Buying 96″ or 102″ is usually what is needed.

Here’s the bedroom to date. I’m still hoping to paint and hang replace the fan with a light fixture, but I’m loving where it is at this moment!

Let’s do a side by side before and after. I’m being vulnerable to show this before picture! Ugh! I’m just glad it’s much better now!

Next week I’ll share with you my bargain finds and more details about what went into the room makeover, but for today I hope you’re inspired to

Hang those drapes high and wide!

Are you drapes up high or do you need to make some changes?

Home making · Kitchen Tips · Meal planning · Spiritual Refreshment

Mid-Week Kitchen happenings

Kitchen is a busy place – not just when you’re cooking. It takes daily work to keep things organized, efficient and well-planned. This is an important part of the work in the kitchen.

I was away last week and then have been quite busy since returning home. That means things were lacking in the kitchen. I have been working to get things straightened up, freshened up and planned for the week ahead.

I love to gather inspiration for meal planning. I find lots of good ideas in the Relish magazine that comes in the Sunday newspaper.

How cute is that board full of fall treats? I’m definitely going to make a version of that this month!

These sliders look so good, too! They’d be perfect on game day, if you have some football fans! They would also be good for a weekend supper.

If you’re in a menu rut, pull out an old cookbook and flip through it for some fresh inspiration. You might even find an old recipe you haven’t made in a while that you need to recreate! Go to the library and check out a new cookbook or a food magazine like Taste of Home. You’re sure to get some good inspiration there! I know the Internet is full of great ideas, but sometimes I find it easier and more fun to use a printed form.

I am freshening up some kitchen decor. I’m removing all the red items in my kitchen and the last things to go were my red rooster canisters. I found clear glass jars at Home Goods and they were exactly what I was looking for! The opening is large enough for a cup measure to fit inside – a must, in my opinion!

I also took some time to clean out the drawers in my island and while I was at it, I changed out the drawer liner. It’s amazing what a little addition like that can do!

I love being in the kitchen, and keeping it inviting is important. It keeps me motivated and happy about being in there!

Let’s use all this to make a spiritual application. It can be so easy to be busy doing all the things that followers of Christ do – attending church, serving others, teaching a class, and attending a Bible study that we forget to maintain our own walk with God. Things get “messy” and overlooked. We must intentionally take time to just be with God. Spend longer time in prayer just enjoying communing with Christ, hearing from Him as you sit quietly and allow Him to speak to you. Sing. Confess. Worship. Fellowship with the God who loves you and rejoices over you because you are His child. You’ll find that you are energized for the spiritual works before you.

So, what is the mid-week activity of your spiritual life looking like? Are you too busy? Stop and focus on the Lord so then you can move forward in your tasks with purpose and joy!

In your kitchen, are you planning and also staying motivated for meal times? Are there areas you need to freshen up? It’s worth it to spend a little time taking care of those needs. You’ll probably find you’re more productive! But if you can only focus on one area, start with your spiritual needs and then ask the Lord to guide the work of your hands.