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.

Fast meal · Help for busy moms · Meal planning

Homemade Meals for Busy People

You’re busy.  I understand!  Life gets crazy, doesn’t it?  But I firmly believe that supper at home is possible, even in the midst of busy lives.  All it takes is a little creativity and some good planning.

The recipes I’m sharing are all on my blog, but sometimes when you go looking at a list of recipes it’s hard to know which ones you could make in a hurry, so I thought I’d make a list this week of some of my favorite meals that are quick.

Let’s start with Breakfast.

  • The homemade Pop Tarts  (pictured above) can be made with purchased pie dough if you opt out of the homemade dough.
  • Baked Oatmeal can be made the night before and baked off in the morning! 
    Baked Oatmeal Recipe
  • Make a stack of pancakes or waffles on the weekend and freeze them.
  • Pre-cook a pound of bacon until it’s half way cooked.  Put it into a freezer bag and put it in the fridge.  When you need it for breakfast it will take half the time necessary.  You could cook it all the way done, too!
  • Double a batch of muffins and freeze them .  That way everyone doesn’t get tired of blueberry muffins because you’ve had them for three days in a row. 
  • Breakfast burritos can be made ahead of time. These are so good! Scramble eggs.  Add cooked sausage, bacon or ham.  Spread on tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Wrap tortilla in Saran wrap. Place in fridge.  When needed, heat at 30 second intervals until warm.  Add salsa, if desired.

Lunch:At home:

  • Pizza crust in the freezer is a huge help.  Take it out at breakfast so it’ll be ready to bake off.
  • English muffins can serve as pizza crusts, too.  spread with pizza sauce, cheese and other toppings.  Broil.
  • Grill extra chicken at supper and use the extra for wraps or chicken salad.
  • Chicken or veggie Quesadillas

At school or Work:

  • Corn Dog Muffins 
  • Tortilla filled with veggies and cheese.
  • Homemade Lunchables.  Making lunch for children that is appealing is all about doing it creatively and in small portions.  Get a divided lunch container or use cupcake liners.  Put crackers in one, pepperonis or salami slices in another.  Add grapes, blueberries, strawberries or orange segments.  Other “little” items you could add – Grape tomatoes, baby carrots, celery and peanut butter, 
  • Freeze crustless sandwiches.  Peanut butter and jelly work great.  Just put peanut butter on both pieces of bread; it’ll keep the jelly from making the bread soggy.

Supper:

I hope this list helps you the next time you’re in a rush for a meal!     With love from my country kitchen,

Christmas · leftovers · Meal planning

Dealing With Christmas Leftovers

Wow, Christmas ham or turkey goes a lot farther than that one dinner, doesn’t it? You feed eight people and there’s enough ham left over for a week of meals, but who wants to eat repeats of that dinner over and over?

No one.

What to do? Here are a few suggestions for dealing with that leftover food in your fridge:

  • Ham
  • Place slices in small freezer bags and freeze to use for another supper meal in a couple weeks.
  • Make scalloped potatoes and ham.
  • Chop up ham and use in omelets
  • Mix cubed ham with shredded cheese. Place inside a rolled out canned biscuit. Fold over like a turnover and seal. Bake. Serve with honey for a delicious breakfast.
  • Turkey –
  • Make a cream gravy and add turkey. Serve over warm biscuits for supper
  • Turkey salad – Use this recipe for Chicken salad, substituting turkey. Here’s a version of Hot Chicken Salad that you could also use substitute with turkey.
  • Make a Turkey pot pie.
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If you have leftover Green Bean Casserole or your creamed corn, you can freeze it! Place the vegetable in small Freezer bags, press flat and freeze as a flat package. It is easier to store in the freezer and also thaws quicker.

Leftover rolls – Use for a baked egg casserole, breakfast sandwich, filled with ham and an egg. They can also be frozen for a week or so.

Leftover cookies, cake or pie – Most all of these can be frozen beautifully, if packaged well. I place mine in tins, covering the inside with syran wrap. You could put ice cream between two sugar cookies and make it a specialty ice cream sandwich! Crumble cake layers for a Trifle. You could even mix pie pieces into plain ice cream for an awesome holiday flavor!

Refreshment treat
Use your leftover sprinkles as toppings for the sides of the Ice cream sandwich!

Cranberry – Make a salad dressing with it. This is Cranberry Vinaigrette is my favorite!

Make your own Frozen Dinner! Place the individual servings of the meat, potatoes, and veggies in a small disposable tin. Cover well with foil. Freeze. Pop into the oven for the best kind of “frozen dinner” ever!

You spent lots of time and money on that meal; utilize it; don’t toss it!

How do you make wise use of Christmas leftovers?

Refresh those leftovers by “reinventing them into something delicious!

Family life · Meal planning

Meal Management

I have a love for anything to do with the kitchen.  I love to cook and bake.  I love to try new recipes.  I love to set a pretty table. I love to work around a time schedule. I love to feed hungry people. I love to fill my table with people and good food where God is thanked and lives are encouraged just because they shared a meal at our table.

However, I know not everyone feels the same and for varied reasons:

It’s a struggle to cook a meal that everyone will eat.  

It’s hard to find the time to prepare.

It’s overwhelming to clean up the mess afterwards.

It’s intimidating to invite people over.

I Cor. 10:31 reminds us that our eating and whatever we do should glorify God.  That would include meal preparation.

What that doesn’t mean:

Everything has to be made from scratch.

Everything has to look it was prepared by a Food Network chef.

That you can’t take help from quick foods.

That you can’t ever go out to eat.

That you have to fix a different meal for everyone in the family.

What it does mean:

  1. God should be honored in your heart attitude about meal prep.  Remember Martha begrudging her work?
  2. It’s more about the people we’re serving than trying to impress them. We;re filling a need.
  3. Because we’re the managers, we must plan ahead so we’ll be able to prepare in advance.

Remember our mantra – We must plan our work and work our plan!  This applies maybe even greater when dealing with meals and with food preparation!

  1. Prioritize eating together at the table. If you’re not doing this much at all,  why not plan on having supper as a family at least three nights a week?  Or bump up what you’re doing to five nights a week.   

    Elevate the ordinary to something sacred. This simply means to make it highly valued and important. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

    Quiet hearts by turning on soft music. 
    Make the table inviting. 
    Add placemats or a tablecloth, napkins and all three pieces of silverware.
    Put something pretty in the middle of the table.  A pitcher with flowers.  A candle. Add conversation starter cards to the centerpiece. 
    Make it fun
    . Laugh at the table.  Teach manners.  Talk. Listen.  Slow down.  Sit back. Read a chapter book together at the end of the meal. Sing a hymn. Pray.

Memories are made around the table. Some of my favorite memories of my girls’ childhood revolve around events and conversations around a meal we shared together. We all remember the evening there was “blue milk” on the table (let’s just say there might have been a little too much laughter!).

This one habit can strengthen your home in so many ways.

But how do we get it done? Next Wednesday we’ll talk about the management part and how to simplify the process. But for now, will you just ask the Lord to help you make family mealtime (one meal a day) a priority? Apply one or more of the ways I shared to elevate the ordinary to something sacred.

Refresh mealtime at your house this week!
If you’ve missed any of this series, you can find the other posts here.

baking · Coronavirus · Meal planning · refreshment at home

Ideas for Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping During Covid 19

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Simple strategy in managing food for our families is always important, but certainly so in our current situation.  I’m going to share with you five things that I’m doing right now to plan wisely for our meal planning and shopping.

  1. Each week after I pick up my on-line order at Kroger, I go ahead and immediately start another on-line order and schedule it for the next week. The time slots fill up quickly, so this way I know I can go back a week from now and get what I need.  Also, I can go back on the Kroger app and modify my order up to midnight the night before I pick it up.  So even if I just put in an order for milk, initially, I am able to add whatever else I need before my actual pick up.

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  2. I’m shopping for two-week menus at a time (that is aside from dairy products and fresh fruit. Last week my Kroger order was under $15, for milk, yogurt and a few other essentials). I have planned ahead so that we only have to make minimal trips out.  I’m blessed to have a large freezer in the garage, so I have plenty of meat stored away (which is my normal way of life!). I also have breads, frozen vegetables, and ice cream in that freezer (ice cream isn’t a necessity, but a nice treat when you can’t stop at Chick-Fil-A for a cone!).
  3. I’m buying fresh fruits and vegetables that have a long shelf life.  Broccoli, apples, lemons, small colored peppers, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, carrots, potatoes and onions have served us well!  I even pickled red onions and have wondered how I ever got along without them!! They are delicious on tacos, salads and sandwiches!

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  4.  We planted some fresh lettuces and broccoli.  I have three raised beds and have grown tomatoes and cucumbers, but never these greens.  I’m excited about trying my hand at it and am hopeful for some delicious salads as result!
    I’m wondering if there will be a rise in gardening this year.  What’s better than growing your own vegetables?! It’s so cost effective and the time outside is refreshing!
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5.  I’m praying and not panicking.  Matthew 6 has become a much read and reviewed chapter for me.  There are so many wonderful reminders about how God provides for us and will care for our every need.  Why should I worry?  I’m resting in God’s promises. I’m planning and preparing as wisely as I know how, then I’m leaving it all in the hands of a  sovereign God.

How are you doing at getting what you need for your family?  If you have any tips to share, please leave them in the comments below!

Refresh yourself and your family with some wise planning, but most of all, trust in a God Who loves you!

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