spring

Spring Prep Bucket List

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Even if it doesn’t feel like spring where you live, the season is officially here. Shout hallelujah!  This is truly my favorite season.  Everything is coming to life again and that makes me so happy!

Here are a few things –  “bucket ideas,” if you will, of things I’d encourage you to do right now to get ready for spring to arrive in your area:

  • Layer up!  Get together some outfits that you can layer together.  I talk about this in the fall and spring, but it’s essential during the transitioning temps of the seasons.  You don’t have to wear your woolly winters just to stay comfortable.  Here are a few pictures of things I’ve worn this spring ~

Continue reading “Spring Prep Bucket List”

breakfast · Low Carb

Low-Carb Breakfast Burrito

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The winter months always do it to me…

  • Comfort foods entice me
  • A few extra pounds hang on me
  • Tight jeans strangle me
  • Physical Discomfort discourages me

When you’re only 4’9″, every couple of pounds really shows! But now that spring is here and vacation is in my horizon, I’m trying to kick those few extra pounds!  I’m not on any specific diet, I’m just trying to reduce carbohydrates.  That means no bread, no sugar, no potatoes, no pasta.  But you know what?  That doesn’t mean I’m not eating good food!!  The Lord made such a variety of great, healthy food for us to enjoy, didn’t He? You can eat healthy food that is delicious and filling!

  No fooling!

This past weekend Whitney was talking about Breakfast Burritos; oh man!  I used to make those when the girls were home.  But tortillas are off my list of low-carb foods.  What to do?  Make the outside of the burrito with an egg!  The result was delicious and I truly didn’t miss the tortilla!

It’s simple to do: Scramble 2 eggs with a couple tablespoons of milk and pour half of the mixture into a non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Coat the bottom of the pan with the egg mixture.  Add salt and pepper. Swirl the pan so it covers the bottom.  Cook until lightly browned on the bottom.

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Loosen the edges of the egg and then flip it over, using a large spatula.

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Cook for about 1 minute or until underside is cooked.

Remove from pan and add toppings.  I added bacon, tomatoes, and avocado.

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Roll it up like a burrito and enjoy!Yum!!

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Repeat the process with the other half of your egg mixture!  I made the second one and then wrapped it in waxed paper to warm up for the next day’s breakfast.  I heated it in the microwave on 70% power for 30 seconds.  Quick, easy, delicious, and LOW-CARB!

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Low-Carb Breakfast Burrito

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 Tbl milk
Salt
Pepper
Cooking Spray
Topping suggestions:
Bacon
Sausage
Peppers
Onions
Tomatoes
Avocado

Directions:

Mix eggs and milk.  Heat a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray.  Add half of the egg mixture and tilt pan to cover bottom.  Cook until bottom is lightly browned.  Flip and cook other side for about 1 minute or until set.

Remove from pan and top with fillings.  Roll burrito up and enjoy!

Do you battle with winter pounds, too?  It’s sure easier to take off a few than waiting until it’s overwhelming.  Why not jump start eating a little healthier and get ready to feel better?!

I hope you’ll try this recipe whether or not you’re going low-carb!  This is just plain ol’ yummy!!

With love from my country kitchen,

denise a

Dates · The Scenic Route

A Date Along the Scenic Route

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New routines in marriage can be so healthy!  Recently my husband and I have been enjoying Saturday night drives.  Our Saturday’s are typically busy getting ready for a busy Sunday, so by the end of the day, we both need a little time together and a drive as the sun sets has been so refreshing!

Our last drive took us towards Greeneville, Tennessee, about 45 minutes from our home.  Following our typical date night pattern, we took the back roads. We twisted along the Continue reading “A Date Along the Scenic Route”

Responding to trials · Speech

Coming Clean

Have you ever driven through one of those intense car washes?  They start by manually washing off the windshield and side windows with a brush.  Then the car gets pulled through the wash on the conveyor track while huge sponge-like fingers slide over every nook and cranny.  Colored bubbles, sprayers and cloth wheels continue the cleaning process. The end result is a car that is totally and thoroughly clean!  

Last weekend I had the blessing of attending the Ladies Prayer Advance in Roanoke, VA. It’s a three day event focused on the Word of God and times of prayer.  I came out of the weekend feeling like one of those cars that had gone through that intense car wash.  There truly was no area of my life unchecked. The Lord brought the searchlight of His Word to Revive, refresh and restore me. I came away feeling so clean.  

I also came away with one word as a take away – Rejoice.

That word came as a result of many different teaching/preaching sessions. Here’s how that word  is working its way into my life as I’ve come home.

I’m to rejoice in my circumstances – As I mentioned recently, I’ve been experiencing a trial for quite some time.  It’s been heartbreaking, but I can also see that God is working in my life as a result.  I must choose to rejoice and give God glory rather than bemoan my situation. He is using this to draw me to Himself.  That alone is reason to rejoice!

Rejoice through forgiveness – The Lord taught me how I can give forgiveness in the midst of my trial.  I’ve struggled with this because I’ve felt that I’ve given it all to Him only to turn around in a day or so with thoughts of my trial swirling in my thoughts and heart like a spring twister.  Ugh. I’d wonder how that bitter thought got back into my heart. Then I heard this illustration that made it absolutely clear.

Corrie Ten Boom, a prisoner in the Nazi Concentration Camps, had tried and failed to forgive those that had mistreated her and her sister Betsy.  Coming to a pastor at a church with the question about how she could forgive, he took her to the bell tower of the church. He gave a tug on the rope and the bells clanged loudly.  

“Each time you rehearse an evil action or cruel word spoken against you, you are ringing the bell, causing unforgiveness to remain in your heart.  What you must do is let go of the rope.

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Suddenly I saw myself with my hands tightly gripped around that rope of those bells as I rehearse or repeat the misjudgments, or evil deeds done.  Clang, Clang, Clang. The bell of unforgiveness begins to ring loudly in my heart.

But now when those thoughts come racing in, or the words start to form on my lips, I make a choice to let go of the rope. How freeing it is to live this way!

Lastly, I’m also applying rejoicing to my speech.  The weight of my critical words have profound effect on myself and those around me.  How much better it would be if I found things to praise God for, rather than complaining about life’s irritants! Yes, the car that darted in front of me, the slow person at the check out desk, the hateful person who took my phone call can be turned into times of praise instead of criticism or complaint.   It takes intentionality to overlook the negative and be thankful for the blessings. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn and re-learn over and over again!

I’m so glad I took the time and effort to go to Ladies’ Car Wash Prayer Advance! It’s sure great to be clean!

Is there an area of your life that could use a good scrubbing?  A point of spiritual defeat?  A sin that is on repeat? You don’t need a weekend away to get it right. Do it now, then you, too can rejoice.

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.  Philippians 4:4

denise a

Side dish

Creamy Potato Stacks with Thyme

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“You eat with your eyes first!”

Oh, I love it when simple food is made a little fancier and prettier for a special dinner.  I love Au Gratin Potatoes, but a casserole dish of them is usually too messy to set on a table in hopes for a pretty presentation.  However, recently I found a recipe for a bumped-up version of these delicious spuds.  The Au Gratin recipe is basically made in individual servings by putting stacks of potatoes into muffin tins!  It’s genius!  This tweaked recipe is also super delicious and pretty to serve, plus these cook faster than a whole pan of Au Gratin Potatoes!  That’s a win-win!

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I don’t own a mandolin for slicing, but my food processor does a fantastic job at making super thin slices of vegetables and it’s not nearly so scary to use!  These are creamy, delicious AND pretty!!

Creamy Potato Stacks With Thyme

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 lbs. medium russet potatoes (about 4-5), peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray 12 cup standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a small sauce pan, whisk together cream, thyme, garlic, and nutmeg. Bring to a slow simmer and remove from the heat. You want the cream just heated through. Discard the thyme.
  • Toss the potato slices with salt and pepper and layer into stacks in the prepared muffin cups, filling each one to the top but not over the top.
  • Spoon cream over each potato stack, filling almost to the top. You will have couple or so slices exposed. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are knife tender and golden brown on top.
  • Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen up the stacks and carefully remove to a serving platter.

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What dish can you think of that needs to be made a little prettier to set on the table?  Would individual servings help with presentation?

With love and little bit of carbs,

denise a

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Grace in Marriage

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We are so thankful for God’s grace to us in our daily lives, aren’t we? We know what it looks like – grace forgives, helps, restores, equips, guides, and restores. But what would grace in marriage look like?  Let’s put it in a practical light of how you and I can practice grace in our marriage relationship today.

  • Pray daily for your mate – Find Bible passages to pray for him and watch how God answers!
  • Regularly learn about him – Things are constantly changing. What do you need to learn?
  • Find new ways to serve him – Be the one with the biggest servant’s heart. If you want to be great, serve.
  • Look for ways to surprise him – Find something that would be a blessing and do it when he least expects it.
  • Withhold criticism about him – Keep it from your thoughts, conversations to others or him.
  • Touch him – No one else but you can.
  • Respect him – To his face, behind his back, tell others why you respect the man you chose to marry.
  • Affirm him – Remind him that you’re on his team, no matter what.
  • Forgive –Call a truce in a disagreement – Hold out both your hands to him, look him in the eye and say what you would want to hear…”I’m sorry. Let’s make up.”
  • Be cheerful – Be the reason he’s glad he came home!

You may have screamed, “He doesn’t deserve __________.”  That’s why it’s called grace.  Do it for him like God does it for you.

As I close out this blogging week, I’m going to share with you the first broadcast from Refresh Her that aired on WHCB Radio last Saturday.  You can hear the broadcast live each Saturday at 3:45.  This is 15 minutes long, so  find the best way to take the time to listen – perhaps on your phone while you’re doing another task or getting ready for the day.  Click below to listen!

Is this broadcast something you might like me to post each week?  I’m curious if there would be enough interest to find a way to post the broadcast after it has aired on the radio station.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Also, how will you show grace in your marriage today?

denise a

Responding to trials · trials

Spiritual Leg-Bouncers

 

Leg bouncers amaze me.  Do you know who I’m talking about? It’s those people who are totally oblivious to the fact that while they’re eating, watching a ballgame, or listening to music, their leg is bouncing 100 mph!  It seems like such a waste of energy!

No criticism here, but I’m married to a leg-bouncer.  Many times when sitting in a quiet setting like a service or at a table, I’ve gently put my hand on his leg.  He knows it’s my request for him to bring his energy into control so the table or pew will stop its shaking!

I’m pretty blown away at leg bouncers’ ability to do this vigorous muscle sprint!  I’ve tried it and it just isn’t possible. Oh, except in my heart…

Yes, when I’ve got a problem, my heart steps in and begins its flurry of mental activity at the speed of 100 mph!  With each thought is

  • How this issue could be stopped
  • How I might help it stop
  • Who else might give me a hand!

Like busy leg-bouncers, I don’t even give real thought to what I’m doing until the Spirit of God puts His loving hand on my heart, making me aware of my useless activity.  It happened just yesterday.

I’ve been in the midst of a hard trial for over a year.  At times I’m sure I’ve had “both legs bouncing” while trying to make this situation stop.  Then in my time in God’s Word, I came to Psalm 62 and read,

Verse 5 – Wait thou only upon God…

Beside that verse I had written,

While waiting be still and silently wait:

  1. Patiently – Stop all your activity of trying to fix the problem. Sit still.
  2. Trustingly – Stop any questions about why God would allow this. Don’t doubt His character or His promises.
  3. Expectantly – Start looking for what He will do. Be on the edge of your seat watching for His answers and His solutions!  It will be better that anything I could imagine!
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O my soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.  Psalm 62:5

In short, stop your leg bouncing and use that energy to be on the lookout for what an awesome God is up to.

Are you “bouncing your leg” while you wait for God to care for your trial?  Sit still and be patient, trusting and expectant.  Then you can say as the psalmist said in verse 6 – I will not be moved. There will be no temptation to fix things when we realize that God is at work.

Whew.  We can rest!

denise a