Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

How does this sound – Hot, gooey, fudgy cake ready in 90 seconds?! Not only is it really delicious cake, it can also be assembled to give as a special gift for the chocolate lover in your life!  Can you think of anyone who would appreciate a hot little cake that is ready except for three little ingredients?  Mix it up, pop it into the microwave, and in 90 seconds the cake is ready to eat!

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I found this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake in the recent edition of Southern Living Magazine.  I whipped up four of these for my neighbors this week and they were super easy and cute as well!  Each mug makes a really generous portion – so you could even share, but hey, it’s Christmas, right?  You might want to enjoy the whole mug yourself!

Here are the ingredients:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients

DRY MIX

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons mini marshmallow

 

How to Make It

Step 1

For each cake, combine all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, unsweetened cocoa, chopped toasted pecans, bittersweet chocolate chips, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small food-safe gift bag. Place mini marshmallows in a separate bag. Place both bags inside a 12-oz. microwavable mug.

Step 2

To prepare each cake, stir whole milk, canola oil, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients in mug. Microwave on HIGH until cake rises and is cooked through, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from microwave; sprinkle marshmallows on top. Microwave on HIGH 5 more seconds. Serve immediately.

Here’s how I wrapped mine up to give away:

 

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You might not be able to have everyone you love over for chocolate cake, but with this simple recipe, you might be able to give them all a cake of their own!

You can watch a video of the process here:

Happy baking/Gift-giving!

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My Simple Christmas Decor 2017

We’re down to the Twelve Days of Christmas!  Rather than giving you  three french hens or six geese a-laying, I thought I’d share some pictures of my Christmas home decor.  I’ll give you a few glimpses into most rooms, which have just little touches here and there.  Step inside…

The entryway ~

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My foyer has no outlet on this side of the wall, but it needs a soft light, so I love using these battery operated strands to brighten up the hallway!

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Just a simple drawing on the closet pantry chalkboard. (You can go here to see how I put the chalkboard on the door.)

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My Gingerbread Coffee House is on the buffet.  After 10+ hours of work, I had no intention of eating this confection, even though everything about it is eatable! It still smells gingerbread-y and delicious!

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All the front windows of our house have a wreath, red bow and battery operated candle hanging from them.  You can see the back of the wreath from this guest room.  I’ve added just little touches in here – Christmas pillow, greenery on the shelf above the bed, and Christmas magazines in the tray.

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You may remember my post last week stating that I wasn’t putting up a tree this year, due to time constraints.  Well, when we were out of town last weekend, Santa’s elves came and put up this adorable and beautiful tree in our bedroom!  It was exactly what I’d hoped to do.  I guess I’ve been a good girl this year after all!

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Now you see what I mean by that fact that I was just adding small Christmas touches here and there.  But you know, I love it and it looks festive enough for us!  Simplifying is a good exercise!

Thanks for taking a tour of my home, via these pictures!  Was there a favorite spot you enjoyed?  Are you finished decorating your home for Christmas?

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Overshadowed

Because of our great height difference there are times when I feel absolutely overpowered by my husband. His frame towers over me and I feel very small and insignificant. In Luke 1:35 reads,

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

When Mary was told that she would be the mother of the Christ child she learned that the way this would happen would be because of the “overshadowing” of the Holy Spirit. She, too, felt small and insignificant, but He would come upon her and make this thing come to be.

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Have you ever been faced with a situation and wondered the same thing that Mary asked – “How will this come to be? How am I going to be able to do this?” The answer is the same for us as it was for Mary ; it happens by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. In a much greater way than when my husband’s presence towers over me, the Holy Spirit takes over and does the thing that no person could do.

Does a trial seem too difficult? He will overshadow you.

Do you feel alone? He will overshadow you.

Does a task seem too great? He will overshadow you.

Does the circumstance seem hopeless? He will overshadow you.

Then we’ll see, just as Mary did that with God nothing is impossible!

Here are the words to an old song that I love. It is entitled just that – “Overshadowed.”

Overshadowed
How desolate my life would be,
How dark and dreary my nights and days,
If Jesus’ face I did not see, To brighten all earth’s weary ways
I’m overshadowed by His mighty love
Rest is mine, serene, secure.
He died to ransom me from sin,
He lives to keep me day by day,
I’m overshadowed by his mighty love,
Love that brightens all my way.

If you know Him personally as your Savior,He will overshadow you, too, and He will do what only our great God can do.

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Simplifying Christmas

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Some years my Christmas prep and decorations are over the top. Everything is decorated!

Every room,

every inch,

every tree.

But then there are other years when I have to give myself a little chance to relax the decor and the time I put into getting my home into the holiday spirit.

This is one of those years.  We have had a very busy schedule.  We’ll be out of town some days, and we have events in the calendar that are going to fill the time from morning to night.  I also headed up a big event at church that took me away from home a good bit in order to prepare.

So, I decided this was a year to simplify .  If you walked into my house it would look like Christmas, even though there’s no tree up.  I have put touches of decor here and there over most of the house.  But to find time to do the tree, just wasn’t going to happen.  My baking has been scaled down, too, and instead of having tons of goodies on hand, I’ll prepare what I need just before the event.

This simplifying has been so helpful, but to be honest, I had to come to grips with it!  Can we say Guilt?  Wondering if my family would wonder what’s wrong with me was one thought.  But when I stopped to realize that I need to do what will help me focus on the most important part – the birth of Christ, I understood that it really is okay, and I knew my family would be good with it, too.

A less stressed me is better than a tree!

It’s a small sacrifice, really, but it has helped me to be able to do other things, and I look forward to the rest of this month and will be able to celebrate just as heartily without the evergreen standing in my family room!

Don’t get caught up in what you feel obligated to do.  If you need to simplify your prep this year, it may possibly be the best gift you can give to your family!

I posted a video last year about other ways to simplify Christmas.  I hope it will give you some ideas to help you make the most of these special days as we treasure the wonder of Christ coming to earth to die for our sins.

How about you?  Do you need to let go of some of your own set expectations?  You’ll be surprised how that will lighten your load and help you to focus on Christ this Christmas!

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From My Mom’s Kitchen

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The weekend after Thanksgiving found us in my parent’s home for a two and half day visit.  Spite the fact that I urged my mom not to fuss in the kitchen, she told me she was fixing a meal for Saturday evening that would not keep her in the kitchen for long.

When her meal began roasting in the oven, the smells made me even hungrier, and anxious for a peek at what she was cooking!  What she had prepared was a Pork Chop Casserole that made up pretty much the whole meal.  It had Pork chops, sweet potatoes, and apples layered inside the baking dish.  What a great combination of flavors!  It served up beautifully as she slid the spatula under each pork chop “stack” and placed it on our plates.

It was really delicious!!

She added a salad and bread to round out the meal.  There was no need for snacking that night!

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With the busy Christmas season upon us, we might be tempted to go out for dinner after busy days of shopping, wrapping, and a long list of holiday events, but with recipes like these, there’s no need!  This simple recipe would be a perfect prep-ahead dish so your family can eat a scrumptious meal at home.  I’ve renamed it from simply Pork Chop Casserole to Busy Day Pork Chop Casserole.  Here’s the recipe:

Pork Chop Casserole

6 Pork chops
4 Sweet potatoes
4 Tart apples
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1/8 tsp sage

Directions:

Peel and slice potatoes.  Without peeling, cut apples into thick slices.  Place the potatoes in a  greased baking dish and sprinkle with salt.  Add the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Arrange the pork chops on the apples and season with remaining ingredients.  Add 1/4 cup hot water and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until pork chops are well done.

My mom always sets a gorgeous table.

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It was delicious.  It was lovely.  It was typical of my mom’s kitchen.

She’s a great cook and a gracious hostess.

I hope you’ll put this dish on your busy calendar/menu!  The flavors are perfect and you’ll have it ready for the oven in minutes!

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Pie and Praise

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I’ve been scouring through pie recipes looking for something great to take to our church Pie and Praise Fellowship Tuesday night.  The possibilities are endless, but the success rate on some of them looks doubtful.

So many ingredients!

So many steps!

But there’s one thing I can take with me to that fellowship that is very simple – a heart of praise.  Why?  Because according to Psalm 103:

  1. Bless the Lord – There’s only one Person Who deserves my praise – it’s my God! I may struggle over which pie to make, but I can never wonder Who deserves my gratitude – it’s my wonderful God! To “bless the Lord” is to give Him praise.  This phrase comes with a heart of affection and a sense of gratitude.  There is none else who deserves my thanks and praise but the Lord!
  2. O my soul – My mind and heart are all in when I’m praising God! Some of these instructions in the pie recipes are confusing and so complex!  Failure seems inevitable!  I’ll never go wrong praising the Lord!  To bless the Lord with my soul is to use my mind and  heart, my emotions and my will. All I have to consider is how great He is, and it comes so readily!  My soul was made to have fellowship with God, to enjoy His favor and consider His attributes.  I was made to praise the Lord and I will praise Him with my soul!
  3. And all that is within me, bless His holy name. I can give praise with my whole being.  While I could keep back a piece of the pie I’m baking and savor it myself (which is tempting sometimes!) to bless God’s name with all that is within me is to praise Him with all my faculties, all my heart, all my will, all my emotions and all my affection.  God is worthy of all the praise that I can give Him with my whole being!  I will be “all in!”

My pie probably won’t win a prize, but I pray that my praise will be a beautiful delight to my God.  He alone is worthy.  So I say, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. 

I trust you’re preparing your praise to God even more than you’re preparing the food you’ll enjoy on Thursday!

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