Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday


When I have people over, I write out a list of everything I am going to serve, including drinks and even things like pickles. Before making it a habit to write out the list, I would inevitably find something in the fridge I was going to serve AFTER everyone had left!

Have a great Holiday Season!

For more great Kitchen Tips, visit: www.tammysrecipes.com/taxonomy/term/53

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Break

We arrived safely in Illinois. I won't be bloggin this week since we will be spending time with family this week. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Think on These Things Thursday

Philippians 4:8--Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.

I love to read the Christmas story over and over the couple of weeks before Christmas. I am always struck with God's miracle of love for us. Over and over it says "that it might be fulfilled" or "as it was spoken by the prophet". How long He loved and planned for salvation for us, even though we are so unworthy. I also can not wrap my brain around the knowledge that God loved me so much He was willing to leave a perfect, beautiful place where He was loved and worshipped to come to the imperfect world to be scorned, doubted and murdured. All so that each of us, though unworthy and imperfect might live with Him in Heaven some day. Such love in uncomprehendable to me!

Let's keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas this year.

Busy week

I went to the FAR NORTH, as in almost to Canada, put in 9 hours driving in 2 two days. The nice thing is that I got to listen to Anne's House of Dreams AND get paid for it. Jealous, aren't you. :o) I had a nice time visiting with my fellow workers in Roosevelt, Bemidji, and Grand Rapids. Now I need to get ready for our trip to Illinois!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recipe Request

Reduced Fat Mocha Fudge

3 cups (18 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can Low Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
3 tablespoons chocolate-flavored syrup
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In saucepan over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condesed milk. Remove from heat; stir in syrup, coffee and vanilla. Spread evenly into foil-lined 8-or 9-inch square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Christmas Program

The kids had their Christmas Program today. They all did a great job. "T"and "K" had reading parts. "E" sang a solo and "Z" was a wise man who sang in a trio. The program went really well and no great tragedies occurred. We had several parents get saved which is the best thing about the day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gift Giving Stress

My post on Thursday was about Christmas being about giving. However, as a reader pointed out, the most stressful part of Christmas for many is gift buying. Most of us don't have an unlimited amount of money to spend and want our loved ones to have a nice Christmas and not be disappointed.

I have several thoughts:
  1. Remember that God has promised to provide for you and He is in charge. He has given us what we need, even for Christmas gifts. Philippians 4:19--But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.
  2. Pray about gift ideas, for God to stretch your budget and to help you find sales for what you need. Matthew 7:7--Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. I love how this verse even includes seek and ye shall find, I don't think the context is Christmas shopping, but you can claim the verse for this.
  3. Ask yourself what your motive is--love or pride. Often times, pride comes in, we don't want others to think our gift is cheap, not as fancy as theirs, shows we have a limited budget, etc.
  4. Be content with your budget, no matter how small.
  5. Remember that we often worry (which is a sin) about what others will think of our gift (pride) and really, they are just happy to have been remembered.
  6. Also, I don't know anyone who would want their friends or family to be stressed about what to get them! If you have someone who would want you to be stressed, I recommend taking them off the list completely. :o)
  7. Remember that when we get stressed about Christmas, we are losing sight of the real meaning of Christmas--God's gift of love for us!
  8. Remember that there are often seasons in people's lives--there are times when you may struggle financially and someone else gets to be the blessing and times when the roles will be reversed.
  9. Remember that the person we need to please is the Lord, not others. He asks us to rely on Him and He will do the rest. I think it makes Him really sad when we get stressed about Christmas.
  10. Read Matthew 6:25-34. I think He includes Christmas in this passage. :o)

Inexpensive gift ideas:

  1. Coupons to do something for them--could be raking leaves, babysitting, bringing them a meal, etc.
  2. Buy something small and then make a special card or find a way to make it special just for them. You could include a note about how this made you think of them and why.
  3. Buy one gift for the whole family--like a game.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recipe Request

2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
60 Rolo candies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and soda; blend well. In large bowl, beat sugars and butter until fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well.
  3. Slowly add flour mixture; blend well. Stir in nuts.
  4. For each cookie with floured hands, shape about 1 tablespoon dough around caramel candy, covering completely. *I didn't see any need to flour my hands. I put the dough in the fridge for 1/2 hour so it would firm up a bit.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from sheets. 60 cookies. **They are done when they start to crack a bit and look fairly dry on top.

Think On These Things Thursday

It is so easy to get caught up in what we will "get" for Christmas and to forget about the blessing of giving. It is also easy to allow Christmas to become a "duty" or burden instead of remembering that we are giving to others because of God's wonderful gift of Salvation. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."--John 3:16. God gave to us selflessly, knowing that what He would get in return was imperfect humans that ridiculed Him, served Him when it was convenient for us, talked to Him only when we want something from Him, were ashamed to tell others about Him, etc. We need to keep the true meaning of Christmas--giving to remind us of what Christ did for us in leaving a beautiful, perfect home and coming to an imperfect earth and then dying on the cross for our sins.Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Holiday Baking Tips
  1. ALWAYS wear an apron or clothes you don't care about. Inevitably, you will probably get something on you that will stain your clothes. I have several outfits I now have to wear for baking/cooking because I stained them previously while cooking/baking.
  2. Use parchment paper. I realize this may not be frugal, but you CAN reuse the same pieces over and over. It makes it much easier. You don't have to spray your cookie sheets with cooking spray or butter them! You also don't get that left over cookie film to scrape off all the time.
  3. Let your cookies sit for a couple of minutes before trying to move them to a cooling rack or waxed paper to cool.
  4. Start baking early. The holiday season is hectic enough. Almost all goodies--fudge, cookies, peanut clusters, candy can be frozen and will thaw nicely.
  5. Think ahead to what you will need goodies for, make a list and then divide up your goodies appropriately before you freeze them and then mark the container.
  6. If you like to give away goodies as Christmas gifts, keep your eye out during the year for nice containers for cheap to give them away in. I like to buy china or tins at second hand stores. This year I was able to pick up a 4 place setting of Christmas dishes for $2.50 at a garage sale. I've put goodies on them and given them away as gifts.
  7. Another cheap way to package goodies is in a ziploc bag placed inside a decorative lunch sack. They have them at Christmas time for a quarter, or better yet, you can buy lunch bags, decorate them yourself, punch holes for a ribbon and have just as pretty a container!
  8. Listen to something you enjoy. My kids were gone while I was doing some of my baking, so I listened to Anne of Avonlea on my phone. It was more fun to bake "with Anne".
  9. For more great kitchen tips, visit: www.tammysrecipes.com/node/3066

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Recap

Had a nice relaxing weekend. Baked 20 dozen cookies, which sounds like a lot, but when I realize how many places they need to go, they suddenly don't seem like so many! Also made another batch of peanut clusters and a batch of fudge. I managed most of this while listening to Anne of Avonlea and then Anne of the Island. I stayed up late last night and finally got Gilbert and Anne together. I couldn't start the week with them still not together!!! Managed to take a short nap yesterday while listening to Anne of the Island and even painted my nails. :o) Haven't had a chance to just relax in awhile. I probably really didn't have the time yesterday, but decided to do it anyway and ignore all the things calling my name for a little while. :o)

Have a great week, everyone.
I know I posted this last year, but still get a chuckle from it, so had to post it again. :o)

The wife was on my case to get the Christmas lights up for a couple of weeks. They're up now, and for some reason she won't talk to me...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Philippians 4:8--Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.

As the Christmas season approaches, I thought I would focus on a few names of Christ.

Matthew 1:23--Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

It is so great to have a God who is with us and helping us throughout our life!

Only Begotten
John 1:14--And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

It amazes me that God would leave a perfect place in Heaven and come to the imperfect earth to be despised, rejected and then beaten and crucified for me so that someone as imperfect as I could go to Heaven.