Bible study · Christian growth · Spiritual Refreshment

Hang Onto Every Word

Enraptured. Listening to every word spoken from His lips.

That’s the way the crowd at the temple listened to Jesus speak. He had just cleared out the money changers. They were the ones who had turned the temple of prayer into a place where robbers lurked. The Scribes and Pharisees hated him and only desired to kill Him, and what do we find Jesus doing? Teaching there in that temple. He spoke with such authority in simple words they could understand with Truth they had never heard before.

Luke 19:48 says…

All the people were very attentive to hear him.

In the Greek it says that they were “hanging on to His lips.” We have a saying that is similar. We would say, “they were hanging onto every word.”

What a contrast His words were to the formal, boring, dry, powerless and over-their-heads teaching from the scribes! Jesus’ words were life-giving and life-changing!

They still are.

Is your ear bent down close to your Bible so you can hear Him speak to you each day? Oh that we would say with the psalmist in Psalm 119 ~

 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

When you get in your car and “tune in” to a radio station, you can only listen to one station at a time. When you open your Bible to read, or when you are sitting in church listening to God’s Word being taught, are you “tuned in” to only one station – that of hearing from God? Or are you trying to tune in to several stations at one time – your text messages, your email alerts, your Facebook notifications or other distractions?

Oh that we would love God’s Words so much that we would “hang on to every word” so we won’t miss a single thing He wants to say to us!

Refresh the way you listen to the Word today. Stay tuned in to only One voice. What precious words did He speak to you today?

Bread · breakfast · cakes · Crock Pot · dessert · Make-Ahead · Pie · Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner Favorite Recipes

Favorite Recipes

In case you need a little inspiration for your upcoming Thanksgiving celebration (or for Christmas), I’m going to share some of my favorite recipes for special holiday meals.  That doesn’t mean they’re difficult or fussy, they’re simply delicious!

Everyone needs a great start to the day.   What will you serve for breakfast?  Here are a couple delicious breads:

Breakfast

Nutty Orange Coffee Cake
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 C chopped pecans
2 tsp grated orange rind
8 oz. pkg reduced-fat cream cheese
2 (11 oz) cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 C butter or margarine, melted
1 C sifted powdered sugar
1 T orange juice

  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Place about 1 tsp cream cheese on half of each biscuit; fold biscuit over cheese, pressing edges to seal.
  • Dip biscuits in melted butter, and dredge in sugar mixture; place, curved side down, in a lightly greased 12-cup Bundt pan, spacing evenly.  Drizzle any remaining butter over biscuits; sprinkle with any remaining sugar mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done.  Immediately invert onto a serving plate.
  • Combine powdered sugar and orange juice, stirring well; drizzle over warm coffee cake.  Serve immediately. If you’re fixing this ahead, warm in oven or microwave before serving.

OR Pumpkin Scones

Now some other suggestions for your Thanksgiving Dinner:

Breads:

These are my favorite biscuits.  They’re Angel Biscuits done lighter! Now you can have another piece of pie!These are my favorite rolls.  You can make them ahead of time and stick them in the freezer to bake on Thanksgiving Day!  So easy!!

Salad:

This is a great salad that is also made ahead of time.  It has all the cranberry goodness that a Thanksgiving dinner needs!

Another easy Cranberry relish is to simply pour a can of Whole Berry Cranberry sauce into a pretty dish and break it up with a spoon.  Top with a drained can of Mandarin oranges, then topped with chopped walnuts.  So easy and so good!

Sides:

Here a few of my favorites:

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes make for an easy way to cook the potatoes while the turkey is in the oven.  You’ll mash them after they’ve been in the crockpot and just before it’s time to eat.  Leaving mashed potatoes in the slow cooker will make them runny…not the best.  But the instructions on the page I’ve linked makes it super simple and delicious!
Corn Cheese Bake is the best creamed corn you’ll ever taste!
Broccoli Corn Scallop is creamy and a nice change from the usual casserole.

Dessert:
Can we talk PIE????  This Peanut Butter Pie is over the top!  It’s also really easy!
If you want a show-stopper then Peanut Pie with Peanut Crust is for you!
Kentucky Derby Pie is our family tradition.  Someone might die if this isn’t on the counter when it’s time for dessert!I’ve shared LOTS of pumpkin recipes you can search here on my blog, but among the favorites for most people is the Pumpkin Roll.  My recipe shows step by step instructions.  You can do it!
An easy cake is the Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  It comes together in a few minutes and will remind you of a pumpkin pie in cake form!  Yum!!

Whether you’re doing the whole meal or just bringing a dish for the meal, you can cook with confidence with any of these recipes!  You know what else will help?  Pray and ask the Lord to help you make the most of your time, your resources and your heart!Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving, I pray you will give thanks to the God Who allowed you the blessings you enjoy.  He is a God who loves you and has given His Son so you can enjoy more than a happy turkey day – He wants you to enjoy a personal relationship with Him and an eternity in heaven through trusting Christ as your Savior. What joy He brings to my life every day!

With love and blessings from my country kitchen,

hospitality · Hostess Goals · Thanksgiving

Hosting the Holidays With Joy, Part 2

I love to have guests in our home and my guest book is reflective of that, but I also know that it takes a lot of planning, work and preparation. It’s my desire today to complete the list I started earlier this week and give you some tips about how you can have guests in your home this holiday season and do it with joy, rather than fear or dread.

  • Reason #5 why we dread hosting is that we don’t feel like our home is good enough or big enough.
    I can remember days when we lived in our ranch style home and didn’t have a big enough kitchen to host my whole family – I believe we had 14! What to do? We set up tables in our humble basement. It certainly wasn’t fancy, but we managed! I even had to use the church oven because at the time, my oven was so small the turkey didn’t fit inside! But all that isn’t what I remember! I remember that we had so much fun! At the end of the day we all piled into our church van and went to Bristol Speedway to see the Christmas lights! I think if we don’t make a big deal about being squashed together, our guests won’t either.
    If you don’t feel your house is “nice” enough, do what you can to make it fit for company –
    ~Clean the spaces you’ll be using. Make the bathroom shine. Unclutter all counters. Dust. Vacuum. Sweep off the front porch. Make sure the kitchen sink and stove are clean and ready for use.
    ~Don’t apologize for your house! If you start pointing out all its flaws and problems, you’re not going to make your guests feel welcome. Use what you have, make the most of it and be thankful. It’s God’s provision for you. Use it for His glory.
    ~Focus on your time together – not on the beauty (or lack thereof) of your home. Turn on a playlist of instrumental music for background beauty. Light the candles. Set the tables and turn your interest to your guests. That’s what they’ll remember.
  • Reason #6 why we fear hosting is not knowing what to do before or during the meal. Perhaps you fear “small talk” and not knowing what to say. Those gaps in conversation can feel awkward. Or if little ones are tearing through the house you feel your blood pressure rising.
    ~Planning ahead for children is your best option. Have a little box of things they can play with in a secluded spot. If it’s a pretty day, offer outdoor activities – balls or jump ropes to play with. If they’re older, you could set out coloring books, board games or puzzles.
    ~Share blessings. Why not plan on going around the table or the room and having everyone share three things for which they’re the most thankful? Again, focus on your guests instead of worrying you won’t know what to say. Ask them questions about their lives – “How did you spend Thanksgiving when you were a child?” “What family traditions did you family do on the holidays?” “What you favorite memory of Thanksgiving?”
  • Reason #7 – Fearing how to keep everyone entertained.
    ~Plan for some board games or group games for the time your guests hang around after the meal. Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese Pizza is a hilarious game that will loosen everyone up!
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Card Game

~Maybe everyone could work on a huge puzzle together. Set it up on a game table and let guests work on it throughout the day.
~Have a simple craft the children can work on. There are so many ideas on Pinterest!
~While the guys watch the football game, have the ladies work on crafting a simple Christmas ornament together.
~Don’t miss the opportunity to turn everyone’s hearts upwards to the Lord. Read Psalm 100 together. Stop and give thanks in prayer to the Giver of every good gift! Perhaps you could also sing a song together. Dear friends of ours always close our fellowship at their table by singing while our host plays the guitar. What a blessing that time always is!

I pray that these suggestions have been helpful. If you have other needs or questions, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me using the address on my contact information page.

Here is a detailed post about how you can be a gracious guest, and also tips on hosting. You’ll find hostess gift ideas that will be a small way to say, “Thanks for inviting us!”

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Here’s a favorite Cranberry Streusel Muffin you should consider for Thanksgiving morning breakfast!

hospitality · Hostess Goals · Thanksgiving

Hosting the Holidays With Joy

Hosting for the holidays can be associated with anxiety. There can be many reasons for that. See if any of these resonate with you…

  1. Tight Finances
  2. Stressful company
  3. Fear of a food failure
  4. Little time to prepare
  5. Feeling like your home isn’t good enough or big enough
  6. Not knowing what to do before or during the meal
  7. Wondering how to keep everyone entertained

I’d like to try to address some of these topics today and we’ll finish the rest later this week.

  1. Tight finances
    The meal doesn’t have to break the bank. Decide what parts of the meal are important to your family. Is it the turkey? Then get a good sized, good quality bird and add a couple of essential sides like mashed potatoes, Green Bean Casserole and some rolls.
    Enlist your guests to bring a dish to help. Get someone to bring a pie and Cool Whip and someone else to bring a relish tray.
  2. Stressful company – Sometimes the people that come are related and might be difficult to deal with. Pray about your attitude. If our heart is right, our responses will follow. Ask the Lord to give you His love for your guests. Don’t have expectations about what they should be to you. Only desire to be a blessing to them. It’s just a day – you don’t have to invite them to move in.
  3. Fear of food failure – Watch a You Tube video by Barefoot Contessa or another Food Network chef you love and watch them roast a turkey, bake a pie or make that great side dish. It’s like having an assistant in your kitchen with you. If you can try to make the dish ahead of time as a trial run, you’ll know what needs to be improved.
    Little things like setting a timer when you put the rolls in the oven, or putting reminders on your phone to thaw the turkey or put the casserole in the oven can help you avoid big mess-ups!
    My best tip is make dessert delicious! That’s the last thing everyone eats and that’s what they’ll remember! If you need to buy a Pumpkin Pie at Sam’s Club, do it, then whip up your own whipping cream and sprinkle the top with Pumpkin Pie Spice to make it beautiful!
  4. Little time to prepare –
    I think we’re all nodding our heads on this one! The best thing to do is PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME as much as you can. If you saw my recent post, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of getting as much done beforehand as possible. Here’s a detailed list from a few years ago about my day before preparations. It made everything so simple!

Remember to keep your focus on the why of the holiday! Don’t let yourself get sucked into the trap of trying to do everything. Make the menu simple, but delicious. Make your home inviting (we’ll talk more about this Friday), and keep your own attitude sweet, welcoming and brimming over with thankfulness.

Are there other stress factors about hosting the holidays that I overlooked? What triggers anxiety in your heart?

Easy recipe · Lunch

Bumping Up the Tuna Sandwich

If the words, Tuna Sandwich make you think of a dry, boring lunch, I want to introduce you to this version that I began making recently.

This flavorful version of Tuna fish is full of crunchy goodness, but is also light on calories! It only requires a little mayo to help hold it together! The choice of bread is key, but the addition of the cheddar cheese and tomato slice help bump up this sandwich that gets as bad a rap as canned asparagus. Here’s the simple recipe we’ve been loving…

INGREDIENTS – Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 1 packet of tuna (in water), drained
  • 2 Tbl carrots, minced
  • 2 Tbl minced celery
  • 1 tbsp red onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Bread of your choice – I used a light bagel – You could also do this open-faced with only one slice of bread
  • 2 slices 2% reduced fat cheddar or American cheese
  • 2 slices tomato
  • Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine tuna, celery, carrots, onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over low heat.
  • Spray skillet with oil, and place sandwich on top.
  • Top bread with cheese, then tuna salad and tomato. Cook on low heat until cheese melts and bread gets toasty.
  • Serve immediately.

You will not miss the normal heavy mayo in this sandwich. It’s perfect as is! Using a special bread like these bagels makes it taste really indulgent, so I would definitely check your Aldi for these! Toasting the sandwich makes it perfect for a fall or winter lunch!

Don’t settle for a plain tuna sandwich in the future! These simple ingredients will add the pizzazz your lunch time routine needs!

Need other lunch menu suggestions? Check here and here and here for other ideas!

Refresh you lunch!