Uncategorized

Family Friday – As Different As Day and Night

winter lights 1

The saying “as different as day and night” could describe lots of things – the temperaments in our children, the physical difference in a sick person after medicine, the change in a house after renovations.  But could it be used to describe the extreme contrast of your Christian family compared to a household full of unbelievers?

After a person accepts Christ as their Savior, old things are passed away and all things become new.  We’re radically different than before our salvation!  Therefore, our homes should be radically different, too.

In the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt we remember the ten plagues that came over the Egyptians because the Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go worship their God.  One of those plagues was darkness for three days.  They couldn’t see one another, they couldn’t leave their houses, and the Lord said the darkness would be so heavy, it would even be felt.  Here’s what Scripture says –

Exodus 10:23
They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days:
but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

They had physical light.  They could see.  There was a huge difference between their homes and the ungodly Egyptian’s homes.  That extreme contrast should be just as visible in Christian homes compared to those who don’t know Christ.   The light should be see in families by:

  • The way we treat one another.
  • The way we forgive one another.
  • The way we stay together, no matter what.
  • Our patterns of going to church to worship each Sunday.
  • The honoring of the Lord in the way we conduct our lives.
  • What they hear coming out of our mouths.
  • How we spend our time.
  • In how we respond to trials.
  • In how we care for our spouse.
  • In how we treat our neighbors.

Just as the Israelite’s lights shone, virtually everything we do or say should be like a light beaming from the windows of our home shouting out that there’s something different that gives us this light!

Indeed, our homes should be as different as day and night in comparison to the lost world around us.  Is it perfect?  No way.  But when we fail, we know we have an Advocate to Whom we can run for forgiveness.  We confess it and get up and continue to shine on!!

Ask yourself, How does my home look different than the families around me that are without Christ?

Refresh yourself by being in a Bible preaching church this weekend.  Let your light shine!

Refresh your family life,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

bagels · baking · Bread

Two-Ingredient Bagels With a Delicious Twist

flavored bagels 1

Oh, friends!  I’ve been playing around with the Two-Ingredient Bagels and I’ve come up with a couple of delicious ideas!  More about that in a minute!

Not only did I find this bagel recipe on Skinnytaste’s  site, (and on MANY other web sites!), I also found a recipe for the Everything but the Bagel seasoning on Two Peas and their Pod.  It’s pretty pricey to buy this jar in the stores.  I went to a bulk food store, found the ingredients and now I make my own!  It’s delicious!

bagels-4

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt or course salt

DIRECTIONS:

Mix and stir.  Store in an air-tight jar.

Use on these bagels, baked potatoes, avocado toast, eggs…the possibility is endless!

I had hoped to share a video tutorial with you today, but after LOTS of trouble and time, it simply wasn’t happening.  So, I’ll share that next week, Lord willing!

bagel 7

If you want to make the Blueberry or Brown Sugar bagels, here’s what I did:

Blueberry Bagels – To half of the dough, I added about 1/4 cup frozen blueberries.  I folded the berries in, then cut the dough in half.  I made a ball of dough out of each half, then cut a hole in the middle, using a melon baller.  I placed them on the silpat on a baking sheet.  Brush with egg white. Sprinkle lightly with white sugar.

Brown Sugar Bagels –  To half of the dough, I rolled it out on the counter, sprinkled it heavily with cinnamon and about 1/4 cup of raisins.  I folded the dough over a couple of times, then cut it in half, made two balls of dough, cut out the center and placed on a baking sheet covered with a Silpat.  Brush with egg white. I then sprinkled about a tablespoon of brown sugar over the top, as well as a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Next time I may try putting the brown sugar on both sides!

Bring to room temperature (about an hour) and then bake at 375° for about 20 minutes.

flavored bagels 2.jpg

I split them open, brushed them with soft butter and broiled them until toasted.

Photo Feb 21, 8 36 29 AM.jpg

Wow, these are good!  I hope you’ll try them soon!

I’ll hope to get the video posted next week.  In the meantime you can visit my You tube channel for other videos.

Which of these flavors appeal most to you?

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

 

home accessories · Home decor · Pre-Spring

Kicking Winter Out Of the House

spring 2018 6a

Who cares what Punxsutawney Phil saw on February 2nd?  If the Lord allows winter to keep residence in our current location, we can still bring a little bit of spring inside without using tulips and daffodils.  It will cheer your heart and encourage your spirit!

Here’s what you can do to freshen up your house and get it ready for spring – no matter the temperature outside.

  1. Get rid of Christmas decor. Make sure to scour the house for any and all traces of Christmas decor still left out. It can hide in places where it’s easy to overlook, can’t it?!  Store it away and get it into its rightful place so it will be ready for next year.
  2. Use greens.  A boxwood wreath is a great intermediate wreath for your front door.  Add silk herbs and succulents throughout the house.spring 2018 2
  3. Add colorful fruit – real or faux as a pretty spot of color in your kitchen or dining area.spring 2018 4
  4.  Remove heavy throws and blankets that you used as decor.  If you live in a place that’s still cold, put those within reach, but don’t use them as decor.
  5. Change things up!  This would be a good time to rearrange furniture or decor pieces a little.  I added a mirror on my piano so it would reflect the windows that are opposite it.  It brings in extra light and that’s a huge plus in my book!spring 20187
  6. Refresh your entry way.  Make it bright and airy feeling.  Remove boots, scarves and such from this area.  Add brighter colors and touches.spring 2018

I hope this gives you a few ideas as to how to add some pre-spring touches to your home and lift your winter doldrums!

Is it still cold and snowy where you live? Or are you like us and are having 70 degree weather?  I know it won’t stay, but we’re loving it!!

Denise Signature 150 px

Encouragement · Responding to trials

Read This Only If You’re Discouraged

country road 1b

If there has been one request that has been repeated in my prayers it has been, “God use my life!”  I truly desire that my days and years count for Christ.  I want treasures to lay at His feet. I want to make a difference in others’ lives for the sake of eternity. But the means in which God will accomplish that request has not been part of my request.  You see, God’s school is often through hardship, trials and difficulties.  Who wants that?

Did Jonah enjoy the fish’s belly?

Was the widow woman excited about having only one more portion of food left for her and her son?

Did Moses relish being berated by his own people?

Did Elijah’s bucket list include being chased by a wicked queen?

Was Paul looking for people to persecute him?

The answer to all of these situations is, “Of course not!” But the result of every one of those trials was that God used them in mighty ways!  It came after.  After what?

After a mess.

After being frighteningly low on daily provision.

After ugly threats.

After pain.

Then blessing came.  Then provision.  Then nearness to God.  Then usefulness.  Then their stories were written in Scripture for our encouragement. Then they became our examples, our heroes!

If you’re in a difficult time right now, let me share a truth with you that I heard Sunday night from one of our dear missionaries –

 

The most important thing that God wants to accomplish
through you might still be in your future!

What if our Bible heroes had quit during their hardship?  We wouldn’t have their example, and God couldn’t have used them to encourage us and bring glory to Himself.  What if you and I quit in the midst of our trial?  We, too, could miss out on the most important thing God wants to do in our lives.

So…

DON’T QUIT!

Denise Signature 150 px

baking · Bread

The Easiest Bagels Ever!

bagel 7a

I’ve always wanted to make bagels, but the making of the dough, then boiling, then baking just seemed too laborious.  But when I came across a recipe for Two-Ingredient Bagels that require NO BOILING and had awesome reviews, I knew I had to give these a try!  They were:

  1. Made of only flour,  Greek yogurt (and leavening agents if you don’t use Self-rising flour)
  2. Fast!
  3. Easy
  4. DELICIOUS!!

One word of caution – you have to let the dough come to room temperature, so leave time in the baking process for them to sit out an hour.  You can make the dough the night before, let them set out, then bake them.

bagel 7

The savory topping is so good!  We had a wonderful toasted sandwich using these bagels and I’m telling you, it was a gourmet-tasting lunch!  Here’s how to make them:

Two-Ingredient Bagels

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (5 oz) unbleached all purpose flour, whole wheat or gluten-free mix*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s not expired or it won’t rise)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (use less if using table salt)
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (not regular yogurt, it will be too sticky)
  • 1 egg white, beaten (whole egg works fine too)
  • (optional toppings: everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic flakes, dried onion flakes)**

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment paper, spray with oil to avoid sticking.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well. Add the yogurt and mix with a fork or spatula until well combined, it will look like small crumbles.
  3. Lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 15 turns (it should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away).
  4. Divide into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball into 3/4-inch thick ropes and join the ends to form bagels. (or you can make a ball and poke a hole in the center then stretch it slightly)
  5. Top with egg wash and sprinkle both sides with seasoning of your choice. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
  • You can wrap leftover bagels in plastic and reheat the next day without refrigerating, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, slice open and wrap individually with foil or plastic wrap. To reheat pop them back into the oven, toaster

bagels 2

bagels 1
Ready for the oven!
bagel 6
Lovely, brown bottoms!
bagel 7
How good does that look?!

These are only 152 calories, friends!  You will love these soft, savory bagels!  There’s a seriously delicious breakfast or lunch in your future if you make these!

Guess what?  My weekly video on Thursday will be a step-by-step tutorial on making these bagels!  So if you’re not sure you can pull this recipe off, be sure to tune in for some simple instruction!

Happy baking!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Marriage · memories · Refreshment in marriage

Family Friday – Invest in Time Away

This week during our Valentine’s dinner, I pulled out a dating journal that my husband and I kept for quite a few years.  We recorded lunch dates, overnighter’s, and weeks away that we were blessed to share during the years our girls were home.  Wow!  It was filled with special memories we had forgotten.  But one thing rang true – we missed our girls while we were away, but those times alone helped shape our relationship.  It made us better parents, and it made our marriage stronger.

We literally had to scrape together every dime  to go on these outings, but it was so well worth it!  I’m thankful we have that journal to remind us of the joy those times away were for us.  Some dates were simply a shared ice cream cone, or a picnic lunch at a nearby park.  As a matter of fact, most outings were minimized in extravagance, but maximized in enjoyment AND effectiveness!   It was always profitable for our relationship.

For any married couple to spend time away together so they might invest in their relationship, will require an investment.  That simply means it is costly.

  • It could require a financial investment.  There are lots of things to do that don’t cost, but most overnighters aren’t free.
  • It will require time – time away from family, away from work and away from all other distractions.
  • It will require a willingness to get honest with one another so you both can make changes that are necessary.
  • The sacrifice of your pride is crucial so you can listen to your spouse without thinking about what you want to say.

After 36+ years of marriage, I would have to say that time away from pressures and demands – even for an hour – is time that helped build our marriage.  It’s so easy to get on two separate tracks when things are so busy.

May I ask you – are you making a true effort to spend time with your spouse – just the two of you so you might talk in depth, pray together, have times of rest, laugh, strengthen one another in the daily grind, and pour into your marriage so you can both be ready to move forward?

Let me encourage you, if you’re wanting to share these times but your husband is reluctant, plan a short outing.  Do something you know HE would love.  Keep it lighthearted and encouraging.  Pour into him.  Bless him with what he needs.  Pray about it, asking the Lord to make your time special.  Keep doing these little outings and work your way into a weekend away.  Allow the Lord to move in his heart.

God has a plan for your marriage and you can trust Him to make it what it needs to be.  But again, time with just the two of your is one important ingredient.  Even though there are no longer children in our home, my husband and I have to get away to really have time to talk and share uninterrupted.  We still need it.  We still love it!

Let me end by sharing some photos of the weekend Sweetheart Retreat my husband spoke at last weekend at The Wilds.  It was a wonderful blessing to our hearts to gather with 80 couples and pour into their lives for two days!  If you’ve never experienced a couples’ retreat at The Wilds, you don’t know what you’re missing!  These pictures will give you an idea of the fun we shared!

img_1634

img_1639
My favorite speaker!
img_1643
Fun Time is always full of the good medicine of laughter!!

img_1648

img_1665
This baking skit…oh my!
img_1679
Old friends surprised us!

 

img_1678
Does this look like CAMP FOOD?!
img_1642
More old friends that blessed our time there!
img_1681
Love the bookstore!

Valentine’s day is behind us, but you live in your marriage every single day.  Make the most of it by making investments that will benefit your relationship for years to come!

Refresh your marriage – Why not start planning now for an outing?

Who attends couples’ retreats?  Where do you go?

Denise Signature 150 px

Family life · Kitchen gadgets · Marriage · Tips and Tools

Some of My Favorite Things

Today’s video is a compilation of some of my favorite things.  They’re a bit random, but from laundry duties to kitchen needs, we all have our favorite tools.  I’m also sharing a couple of favorite ideas to show care and love for others. Watch the video below or you can view it on my You Tube Channel...

 

Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean

Milk frother

Magnolia 

To  Be Where You Are – Jan Karon

Taco seasoning recipe

Friendship ball 

Did you have a favorite from the things I shared?  

Thanks for stopping to watch!

Denise Signature 150 px