Friday, November 21, 2014

Eggplant Stuffing

This is a favorite recipe of ours that is inspired from one of Steve's Mom's recipes.
This is a stuffing, a dressing, a casserole or a delicious side dish. I have, made it for our Thanksgiving stuffing on many occasion and it was enthusiastically devoured by family and friends.  This recipe makes me think of my friend Barbara, who always enjoyed it when I made it at Thanksgiving meals in years gone by.  I was thinking of her the day I made this recipe for the blog, and she called me that night.  When I talked to her she said she had been sorting through her recipes and found my Eggplant dressing recipe. It just amazed me, because I hadn't made it for a long time, nor had it with her for years, but the day I was making it and thinking of her, she found the recipe and was thinking of me.  It is interesting how our lives intertwine, and memories are weaved.. quite often around the table.

This recipe is a great way to eat eggplant when you have an abundance of it.  I have sometimes added chicken to it, and then I have a main dish. I grew quite a bumper crop of Eggplant in the garden this year, and so I have made this several times already.  But with Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to post it as a yummy "Stuffing" option… if anyone was looking for a little inspiration.

Peel, cube and boil 2 medium eggplant until tender (Its a good idea to soak your eggplant in a little salt water for 20-30 minutes before cooking, to remove any bitterness).


Drain and set aside.


Finely chop green peppers, onion and celery and place into a large skillet where you have melted 1/3 cup of butter.


Saute vegetables in butter until tender.


Add dry bread cubes or bread crumbs.  Stir and sauté until just lightly beginning to brown.


Add Eggplant and mix thoroughly.


Add 2 beaten eggs and pimentos and stir thoroughly.



Stir half the cheese into the mixture and add the milk.  Stir well.



Put all into a casserole dish.



Top with cheese.

I always seem to add more cheese than the recipe calls for.

Bake in a preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

Eggplant Stuffing
Ingredients:
2 mecium sized Eggplant
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green peppers (optional)
1/4 cup chopped celery (optional)
3 Tbsp. pimiento (1small jar)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 pound dried bread cubes or crumbs
3/4 cup evaporated milk or half and half
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. grated cheese (divided in half).

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.   Peel, cube and boil eggplant until tender.
2.   Saute onions, peppers and celery in butter. 
3.   Add cubed bread to onions and sauté until just beginning to brown.
4.   Drain eggplant well, and add to sautéed vegetables.
5.   Allow mixture to cool about 10 minutes.
6.   Pour beaten eggs over mixture and stir until well combined.
7.  Add Pimentos half the cheese and mix well.
8.   Pour and mix in milk. Stir until well combined.
9.   Place in a casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
    Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and Bake another 10-15 minutes uncovered (until cheese is melted).



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Tea Cozy Give Away

Good Morning Every One.  I wanted to share a give away with you that my friend Bevy is doing on her blog "Treasured Up and Pondered".  She is giving away one of the tea cozies I made last spring, and I thought you all would like to pop over there and read her lovely blog and enter her give away.  She always posts such sweet thoughtful posts and beautiful pictures, recipes, happenings, she sews some beautiful bags and shares with delightful guest bloggers that you will appreciate. I know you will love getting to know her.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Secrets to a Happy Marriage


Steve and I are getting ready to celebrate our 35th year of marriage.  We haven't felt like 35 years were going by in our lives, but yes they have.  It hasn't always been perfect, and we haven't always done the right things, but we have always worked at our marriage, and are blessed with a Happy Marriage.

I believe that the number one reason that we have a  "Happy Marriage", is that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the center of our marriage, and corresponding to that, we have tried to attain wisdom and understanding about marriage, raising children and life.   When it comes to wisdom and understanding, we have to pursue it, practice it, desire it, love it and get it. Those qualities don't just come to us on their own.

Proverbs 4:6-7 “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”


The old saying: "Practice makes Perfect" bears some merit.  I don't know about the "perfect" aspect, but I do know that  "Practice produces fruit".  Hopefully as we live our lives, we are constantly practicing what is good. In this we are improving as we go along.  In the New Testament we are told that we are going from glory to glory, and it is in that way that I like to think of my life.

I was at a bridal shower a while back and all of the ladies were asked to share some "Secrets to a Happy Marriage" with the young bride.  I've made a list today of some of those "secrets" that really are not "secrets" at all, but treasures of wisdom found and learned through my life and the life of others that I know, who have attained "Happy Marriages".  These secrets are simple, many of you have been taught them all of your life.  Its just everyday wisdom, in everyday words, but its what we learn from the Bible and much of it in Proverbs.  Some of it we learned in Kindergarten, and forgot. Its always good to remember again.

Secrets to a Happy Marriage

  1. Pray together.
  2. Honor each other.
  3. Never speak disrespectfully to each other.
  4. Support each other in front of the children.
  5. Go on dates; even after 35 years it is important to go on dates together, even if it is just a walk in the park, or a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
  6. Hold hands … even in public (yes, we're "those" type of people)
  7. Laugh  and LAUGH SOME MORE!!
  8. Don't take yourself so seriously; Crush that spirit of offense under your feet.
  9. Enjoy your children and grand-children together.
  10. Look at the other persons point of view. Sometimes we can get in a rut of our own way of thinking… stop pause and turn your thoughts in a different way.
  11. Stop complaining… please refrain from the moan, the complaint, the sigh, the sarcasm.  The Lord grew weary of the children of Israel behaving this way, and our fellow human beings get weary of hearing us do the same. Negative, frustrated, complaining expression of fear and woe takes a person out of the atmosphere of faith, and into the atmosphere of heaviness.
  12.  Resist having a critical,  negative, correcting or controlling, spirit  
  13. Speak gently
  14. Speak kindly
  15. Bring each other special things.. cup of coffee in the morning (my hubby does that for me), glass of cold iced tea in the afternoon (I do that for him), a late night snack, a pair of slippers, a blanket, a sweater, all these are considerate kindnesses that bless.
  16. Learn to become interested in each others interests.  Its not always easy to get my thoughts geared into tractors, motorcycles or trucks.. I make myself get up and look… listen and participate.  My hubby does the same for me.
  17. Look and smell nice for each other.
  18. Forgive… really, let it go.
  19. Don't expect each other to be the same as each other.. enjoy your differences, its okay; its natural to be very different from each other and  yet still be one of heart and mind.
  20. Learn the differences between men and women and allow these differences in each other.
  21. Men are men, don't resent them for it Ladies.
  22. Women are women, don't resent them for it Guys.
  23. Enjoy the differences that God gave you rather than allow frustration to enter in.
  24. Be an encourager. 
  25. Look for each other's gifts and talents and thank the Lord for them.  We create a blessing for ourselves, when we see through God's eyes the blessings of someone else.  I thank God every day for my husband, for his gifts, his strength, his goodness and kindness.  If you don't think you see these things in  your spouse, ask the Lord to show you all the good things that are there.  Pretty soon you will.  Cultivate those things with thanksgiving.
  26. Get rid of pride.
  27. Put on humility
  28. Be strong and helpful, not weak and needy.
  29. Its not about winning or being right.  Its about loving and being patient.
  30. PRAY!! I know, I said that already… its a good way to start and a good way to finish; I have found the only way to navigate anything in life is to Pray.

I have lived with this man of mine for 35 years… and he with me; we have worked through many difficult things throughout our life together, and have come out still holding hands and preferring one another's company to almost all things. These are the things we have learned. I pray that they will add something to your marriage and family life.



 James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pumpkin Torte


I made a double batch of this today for Steve to take to the men's ministry.  Its a perfect Fall dessert and I love an opportunity to make it for a crowd. I have sometimes made it in place of Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving, because it is a nice variation of Pumpkin pie, is just delicious and serves a lot of people.  Steve's Mom gave me the recipe many years ago, and it is one I have made and enjoyed many times over the years.




This is an easy recipe to do when you don't want to make a pie crust, but you still want some pumpkin pie.



Begin with your Cake mix in a medium sized bow.


Add butter and eggs and mix until well combined. Note: I made a double batch when I took these pictures, thus the picture shows two eggs instead of one.


Texture will be almost like cookie dough.


Press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.


Mix together pumpkin filling and spoon into cake batter base.


Mix together topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the top of the filling.


Place into an oven preheated to 350 degrees.



Bake approximately 1 hour, or until filling is set.



Cool, slice and serve.



Its a bit like Pumpkin pie and coffee cake combined.



Add a dollop of fresh whipped cream….




and enjoy!




Pumpkin Torte
Ingredients:
For the Base:
1 package yellow cake mix ( or 3 1/2 cups homemade cake mix) : out of this reserve 1 cup for topping.
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

For the Filling:
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup Sucanat, Coconut Sugar or Organic Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp  powdered ginger
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

For the Topping:
1 cup of reserved cake mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup Sucanat, Coconut Sugar or Organic Sugar
1/4 cup butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9X13 pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ingredients for the base.
  4. Spread and press the batter into the prepared pan; Set aside.
  5. In another bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients and mix well.
  6. Pour or spoon the pumpkin filling over the cake.
  7. For the topping, combine the first three topping ingredients.
  8. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
  9. Sprinkle the topping ingredients over the pumpkin filling.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until filling is set.
  11. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream.
  12. Enjoy~


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Under The Bathroom Sink


Sometimes its a scary thing looking under the bathroom sink…. for me anyhow.  I do love to be organized, but some places in my house get out of control quicker than I like to admit.  Tupperware cabinets and bathroom sink cabinets are always in need of attention.  This week, it was time to do some revamping in my bathroom.

We did a little "Fall Cleaning" all around the house last week. I had my friend Barbara coming for a visit, which was a treat that I have been looking forward to for a long time. Steve was away from home at a Conference ( I got to join him over the weekend), and Barbara and I had some much needed and thoroughly enjoyed catch up time Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday. Her up-coming visit inspired a goal to get my Fall cleaning done.

I began cleaning and re-organizing after I got back from North Carolina, by cleaning off my desk… the pile was huge. Once I began, I went through my closet and then under the bathroom sink… all in dire need. We were able to clean carpets and curtains as well, so I am feeling much more organized and much less scatter brained this week, and my sinus's are very thankful. I wanted to share my bathroom sink "re-organizing before and afters", perhaps it will encourage or inspire some ideas for you; I also want share a link to one of my favorite organizing inspirations.  I follow Alejandra Home Organizing on You Tube, and I just love her.  Here's what I did; as I began cleaning out, I put her videos on and listened to them.  It made me feel as if I had company while I worked… and she has some great ideas;
which I tried to implement.  I couldn't find the stackable organizers that she suggested, but found some clear plastic shoe boxes at the dollar store, which I used instead. I cleaned out, cleaned up, threw away, re-ordered and labeled my shoe boxes and turned my ugly duckling bathroom sink cabinet into an orderly, easy to manage cabinet.

 It appears that I have everything under here, but the kitchen sink, hehehe.  Yes, this is a very revealing mess.


Even after I begin to take everything out, there is still so much more.

Look at that not so pretty cabinet base.
A little scrubbing, a little cleaning …..
…and then… ahh much better.
I used some left over shelf liner from my kitchen make over to line the bottom of these cabinets, making it much nicer to look at, and much easier to clean up.

Next I organized all that I wanted to keep  under the sink, put it into the clear shoe boxes, and labeled the boxes.  I love this labeler… it has become one of my favorite tools of late.  I put all of those plastic bags into a ziplock (I use them inside my wastebasket).  Put extra cleaning supplies downstairs in the laundry room.



Now everything goes back in….

Its so much tidier… and I have room on the left to put my make up bag.  My drawers have more room in them also, so now everything is much easier to find and put away.  As Emily Barnes would say "From total Mess, to total Rest".

Click here to watch Alejandra's video: "How to Organize your Small Bathroom on a Budget".

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One Pot Chili Mac



It is "Chili Mac" weather.  We've  been getting out our sweaters and jackets, and enjoying a little fire in the evenings; both of which put me in mind of a pot of Chili Mac. It warms you and satisfies you when the nights get cool.   This comforting family meal is a one pot meal and easy to make with little mess to clean up.   My guys love it.




 Begin by browning 1 lb of ground beef in a pot or dutch oven.



 Stir in seasonings as meat browns (if you need to drain the fat off of the meat, do so before adding seasonings).

Add fresh chopped vegetables and simmer until vegetables begin to soften.

Add beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth.

Stir well, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.

Add Macaroni and stir well.


Simmer 8-10 minutes, or until Macaroni is tender, but not too soft.


 Cover with cheese. Place lid on top and simmer another minute or two….


 Until cheese is melted.

 Garnish with fresh tomatoes and green onions.





 Dish it up….



and serve.



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped 
1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 can pinto beans, drained (about 2 cups pre cooked beans)
1 can kidney beans, drained (about 2 cups pre-cooked beans)
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz size)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz size) 
4 cups organic beef or chicken broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 ounces macaroni of choice (whole wheat, brown rice, Dreamfields  or what ever you like to use).
2 1/2 - 3  cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
1.    In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. 
2.    Add ground beef and brown lightly.  I use a lean
       ground beef, so no need to drain… but if you use
       a fattier ground beef, it would be good to drain it at
       this point.
3.    Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  
4.    Stir and brown a little more. 
5.    Add green pepper, Jalapeño, onion, and garlic.
       Sauté until vegetables begin to soften - about 5
       minutes.
6.    Add beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and
       broth.
7.    Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
8.    Reduce heat to a simmer and add macaroni. 
9.    Cover the pot and simmer until macaroni is tender; 8
       to 10 minutes. 
10.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
11.  Simmer another minute or two with lid on, until
       cheese melts.
12.  Garnish with fresh tomatoes, green onions and cilantro or parsley.

Enjoy!