Tag: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Away in a Manger Scene

We did it! We decorated for Christmas. We always do it the week of Thanksgiving since we travel on the day of and want our home to be Christmas-y upon our return. Bigs was SO excited! This will be a fun year with him. He “gets” it. Smalls, however, is just a typical one year old, plucking the Christmas balls off the tree, yelling, “BALL, BALL!!!”, and throwing them as hard as he can (and he’s freakishly strong) across the living room. I normally put a smaller tree up, as well, that is my “Sweets Tree”, where I put on only dessert and sweets themed ornaments. That one is, sadly, not up this year. I just don’t have the energy to watch Smalls around two trees. I have extra eyes on the back of my head to watch them, but they just aren’t enough. Perhaps next year.

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Bigs was very concerned that the Christmas tree would go away while he napped, while we were away for Thanksgiving and for any other event requiring us to leave the house. Which is a lot. Object permanence isn’t as ingrained as I’d thought. But that will make it more magical and more fun to show him as we get closer to the day. And for him, it’ll be like Groundhog Day, every morning! The tree will still be there, just like yesterday! It is just so wonderful to see this holiday through the eyes of a child. I know that is clichéd (I am shaking my own head at my own self right now), but it truly is.

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I just love that skinny little baby arm and hand (left), and that sweet toddler hand (right) coming together on an ornament, placing it on the tree in tandem. I am so in love with them.

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This is the first ornament Bigs made in church last year. I am only slightly concerned because it’s made of paper and you know, light-heat and paper don’t so much mix, but it was too precious not to put up. I love that he constantly sees the images of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Seeing it over and over will help him learn and then know, with certainty, the true meaning of Christmas. I am truly blessed and thankful for them and my husband.

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Jesus sure is the Reason for this season. Without Him, none of this would be. And that applies to just about everything.

Today I finished making my Coconut Cake. I used a different recipe this year. And as per the usual, I didn’t read the recipe the whole way through before starting on it. That’s how I do. It called for keeping an un-iced, filled cake in the fridge for three days. Luckily, I made the cakes and filling two days before Thanksgiving, so it still worked out. You really think I’d have learned, by now, to read a recipe all the way through before starting on it!

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http://www.cakeduchess.com/2013/11/coconut-cake-foodmemory-guest-post-magnolia-days.html

The only changes I made to the recipe were that I used sweetened coconut in the filling and used less sugar since it didn’t really specify that the coconut used was sweetened or not. I also added about a half teaspoon of coconut flavored baking emulsion to really enhance that coconut flavor.

http://www.amazon.com/LorAnn-Oils-Emulsion-Coconut-Ounce/dp/B001REJIJM

I love how when I pat the coconut on the frosting, it falls all around the plate like freshly fallen snow. It’s such a show-stopper of a cake (if I can be so bold to say so – I simply just followed the recipe!). So very festive. I cannot wait to eat that piece as big as my face, that I promise myself each year.

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I also got my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni Casserole made. It is a cinch to throw together and is so delicious. Here is the little beauty going in to the oven.

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And here she is coming out…melty, ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

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I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow.

Here is the recipe.

Bigs and I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast and snack tomorrow. It was a fun little activity for us to do together while Smalls was still napping.

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We used a shortcut and made them with a store bought cake mix (vanilla). We added one can of pumpkin puree to the vanilla cake mix and stirred like the dickens. We added some ginger and cinnamon and some pumpkin spice bakery emulsion. We baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/Lorann-Oils-Pumpkin-Emulsion-4oz/dp/B00BR25W9E

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I also put together a snack bento for Bigs for the Thanksgiving car trip. We aren’t going TOO far, but snacks make for a more pleasant ride.

Preschool Thanksgiving Road Trip Snacks

I packed a string cheese, a clementine some 5-grain crackers, a box of raisins, some Newman’s Own popcorn and one of our pumpkin spice muffins. Smalls will have less exciting snacks, in the form of Cheerios. 🙂 I will pack both of them an applesauce squeezy fruit.

Thanksgiving Subway

I hope you all have a VERY blessed, safe, thankful and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. And if that’s not how it’s going to turn out, it’s what you make of it! And to those going through hardships and heartache, may you feel God’s warm, loving embrace and presence, and may you find comfort in Him and the blessings (big and small) you have. There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. God Bless.

I am so thankful for all my friends and family, near and far. And I’m thankful to God for all the blessings He gifts us (and even those He does not!) And I’m also thankful for this blog and all who read it and support me. It means so much more than you can even know. So, thank you. Happy Happy Thanksgiving.

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Bible Study & Pot Pie

Thanksgiving Day1

I’m a thinker. I over analyze. I put too much emphasis on small things. I get very nostalgic and more self-aware around holidays. So, for me, personally, really deeply thinking about what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving comes as no surprise. I just want to make sure that I remember these things I am thankful for throughout the whole year…not just when we are faced with the holiday or a hard time.

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The Bible has a lot to say about being thankful and I’d like to delve into some verses. I need constant guidance in my faith journey and am hoping the study of some verses will help. Nothing better than learning from the source! Join me? I am in, no way, a teacher or in an authoritative position for this. I am simply a Christian wanting and needing to deepen my relationship with Christ.

thanksgiving bible quotes

It’s so hard to remember to thank God for things during tough times. It’s hard to see the “bigger picture” and know that those challenges are truly a piece of God’s plan for us. We question, “Why?” and “Why me?”, but easily forget to continue praising Him for the work He is doing behind the scenes.

Happy-Thanksgiving-website

C.S. Lewis wrote, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” I think this applies to more than just our worldly “fortune”.

The Bible says, in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” It’s easy to ask God for help during the hard times, but what’s not so easy is to also thank Him during those times as well. This is one of my go-to Bible verses because it touches on the topic of anxiety, of which I know very well. But I need to also focus more on the topic of thanks when presenting my prayer requests to God.

thanksgiving

So. Praying WITH Thanksgiving. Andrew Murray, a South African missionary and minister wrote, “Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” Boy, isn’t that the truth?

What I am getting from this is that, no matter the circumstances, no matter the hardships, no matter how easy it is to forget, I need to be thankful in all that I do. Thankful for what I have. Thankful for what I don’t have, for surely there is some reason for that. A small story: My oldest son, Bigs, shows his thankfulness in a way that can certainly teach me a thing or two. I told him a long time ago, when we saw and heard an ambulance rushing past us, that we should pray for those who are in need of the help and also thank God for our own safety. Years later, and yes, it was years ago that I told this to him, when he hears an ambulance, he comes running to me (or says to me, if in the car), “Mom! We need to pray for the ‘helf people’ [help people – that’s his word for anything with a siren]!” and he proceeds to thank God for keeping us safe. That is just a small act of giving thanks coming from a three and a half year old. But it’s not so small. It’s pretty big and I give God the glory for his empathetic heart, where the love of Jesus is evident.

Let me make an aside: my kids are no where near perfect in behavior or attitude and I am quite the opposite of perfect, so sweet stories of my children are not to come off in a way that I think my kids are perfection (which, in the Mommy sense, of COURSE they are perfection; they are fearfully and wonderfully made and hand crafted just for me to love). I hope you understand what I mean.

Thankfulness

God also tells us, in more than on verse, to show our thanks with praise and song! I adore hearing my Bigs sing his church songs with such gusto! “God our Father, God our Father, once again, once again, thank you for our blessings, thank you our blessings, Amen, Amen – yaaaay God!”

“Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.” – Psalm 147:7

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – Psalm 106:1

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4

I’m going to end on a note of dinner. Good note to end on!

Last night, I made a dinner to be thankful for! I mean, I am thankful for any dinner that makes it onto the table not burnt or smoking. I made a chicken pot pie from scratch, using a pre-made pie crust. Well, then, I suppose that isn’t entirely homemade, but that’s a minor detail. I have no time for making a pie crust from scratch if it isn’t being stocked to the brim with some kind of chocolate, fruity or nutty filling.

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I browned onions and celery in some olive oil with some salt and pepper. At the same time, I boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets in chicken stock. I cubed the chicken once it was cooked through. Once the celery and onion mixed were cooked, I made a quick roux out of 1 T of butter and 2 T of flour. Once the flour “flavor” was cooked out, I added chicken stock and a little bit of half & half. Once that gravy thickened up, I added the cubed chicken, celery and onions, and a bunch of frozen veggies (corn, carrots, green beans and peas). I then put it on top of the bottom crust, added the top crust and cut out a steam vent in the shape of a turkey. I baked it. It was delicious. Everyone ate it, except for Smalls, who is in a phase (short-lived, I hope) where he eats almost nothing. But if he were into eating, he’d have loved it too!

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Have a very blessed, very thank-FILLED day,

Kristin

Thanksgiving End

Srevotfel

Guten Morgen. Srevotfel. Sounds like a lovely German dish, doesn’t it? Um, it’s not! It’s “leftovers” spelled backwards. Sort of fancies it up, yeah? I was listening to the radio years ago, and the talk show host said that he grew up with his Mother calling leftovers “srevotfel”. I never forgot that because it made me giggle so!

Leftovers

Me (HAHAHAHAH No.)

I think there are two camps when it comes to leftovers. There are those that say YES! and those that say NO!. I am in the YES! group. I actually think most foods taste better as leftovers. It gives the seasoning and flavors a chance to really soak into the foods, making them more flavorful. Now, some meals should just never ever be leftovers. I am no stranger to those.

Inventing Leftovers

Sometimes, instead of reheating the same meal, I’ll turn parts of last night’s dinner into a different meal. Re-purposing. Re-furbishing. Those are nice because it isn’t just the same thing again. When I make a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie, I have a favorite go-to meal for the next day. I almost always make a chicken and rice casserole with a homemade cream-of soup. My boys really love it and I do too! I always add vegetables to it (butternut squash, peas, carrots and corn) and typically do not make the cracker topping, although it is good on there. Here is that recipe:

http://www.skiptomylou.org/2012/05/10/creamy-chicken-and-rice-casserole-without-soup/

Two nights ago, I made mashed potatoes from scratch and had a boatload leftover the next day with not a clue on how to serve them. I sort of made up a casserole and it came out REALLY good! Please please excuse the picture. I couldn’t get one of the plated meal (boys were in rare form!) and could only snap a picture after the leftovers (again HA!) were in my Corningware.

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I whisked 2 eggs and added them to about 2 C of mashed potatoes (I heated them up in the microwave to make them easier to stir). I browned some ham cubes in a skillet with a little bit of butter, fresh garlic and onion. I added that to the potatoes with 1/2 C shredded cheddar and 1/4 C mozzarella cheeses. I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes and then about 10 minutes more, after cranking it up to 400 degrees (added some browning to the top). It was delicious!! I served it with steamed veggies and fresh pear. Everyone ate it and that’s my marker of success. Although I will say that Smalls spit it out, but it wasn’t because he didn’t like it. He’s in a phase where he finds it hilarious to spit out everything he eats that could go flying and land on my face, his high chair, the wall, the floors (mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt). I mean, he’s so cute when he does it but dang. Don’t even get me started.

Also! Today is the last day of school for Bigs before Thanksgiving break. How cute is that! His first ever break in school. I love it. I am also the Helper Mommy in his class, for which I am so excited and grateful! I adore the opportunity to spend the day with him in his territory and it’s so lovely to get to know his classmates and teacher better. I REALLY enjoy their company! Since it is almost Thanksgiving, Bigs and I put together some goody bags for his classmates.

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Aren’t these little turkeys adorable? Gobble gobble! I found the idea for the bags on Pinterest (the answer to almost everything) and decided to put little snacks inside. I used snack-sized Ziplocs and put popcorn (healthier Newman’s Own), pretzels and some pumpkin spice M&M’s in there, labeling the little bags, “Turkey Dinner”. I think they came out cute and I hope the kids (and teacher!) enjoy them.

And I made lunches for Bigs and for me. So fun to make a bento lunch for me too! I loved Bigs’ turkey lunch from earlier in the week, that I just did a variation on that again. It’s the last of its sort for a full year!

Turkey Themed Preschool Lunch 2

Bigs has another turkey shaped PB&J. I used my Food Writers to add a beak, gobbler-thing, feet and feathers. I went a little crazy on the colors this time. What the heck! He also has a clementine, some dried mango, a few orange yogurt raisins, some corn-off-the-cob and a squeezy fruit. I am telling you – this kid eats a lot. The Babybel cheese is for snack (with a rice cake) and I’m not sure how it snuck into the picture. Well, obviously it was me. I haven’t had coffee yet. You can see that the box is crooked in the picture. I need coffee. Now.

And just for fun, I’ll show you my lunch too!

Mommy Preschool Lunch

My lunch is two rice cakes with peanut butter and a blackberry Shiraz jam (thanks Mom!), a Babybel cheese, a clementine, some dried mango and coconut (I found a cheaper bag of that brand I thought I could only find at Costco at Target!!).

Have a blessed day!

Kristin

Breaking Fast & Turkeys

Breakfast Anytime

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –Alice in Wonderland

I am un poquito different than Alice on that one. I AM a morning person, but I’d like to have a cup of coffee and something to nibble on before I start believing in six impossible things. But still, that’s cute, Alice.

Pancake Breaky

I live in a household that LOVES breakfast. Like…eats it at every chance. We eat it for dinner often. My youngest, Smalls, will eat just about anything, but my oldest, Bigs, is obsessed with pancakes…even more so if they have sprinkles on them! My husband almost always orders breaky when we go out to eat and it’s a place that offers it each day. All three boys (Hubs included!) can’t get enough. I love breakfast too. There isn’t anything breakfast-y that I won’t eat!

Breakfast Words

It’s also a quick meal. Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy or gumption to pull out something to thaw…which is sort of dumb, because how long does it take to do that? Like 2 seconds. But, I think I know I’ll have to then cook it (lol) and that will be my fate. So pancakes and eggs are a quick solution for me and it’s a bonus that it’s loved so much!

And my Bigs – he is a leeetle obsessed with pancakes, as I’ve said…since he was an itty bitty. He wants them all the time. We were driving past Perkin’s and he said, “They have sprinkle pancakes there!!”. Funny boy. 🙂

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My sweet Bigs as a teeny toddler, waiting patiently for pancakes. <3

Pancakes

I recently asked Bigs to talk to me about breakfast, in my prep for this blog post. He said that pancakes are his favorite and he likes them with butter, syrup and sprinkles (obvi). Then he said, “Let’s talk about waffles.”. This kid seriously loves breakfast.

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Here is Bigs’ 2nd Birthday breakfast – pancakes with sprinkles, of course!! I also put yogurt (with sprinkles) in a cake slice-shaped mold.

PancakesDarling

Yes. Yes I will.

So now, let’s talk recipes. Here are some delicious breakfast ideas!

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Amen to that.

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This Overnight Steel Cut Apple Pie Oatmeal was delicious. It was made even easier by doing most of the prep work the night before. We had this for breakfast on the 4th of July!

http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2010/10/overnight-apple-pie-steel-cut-oats.html

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This Baked Banana Oatmeal with a Brûléed Banana Crust went over wonderfully with my family. It was delicious! Please excuse my old grimey pan. It’s seen a lot of action.

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/03/22/banana-bread-baked-oatmeal/

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This is Eggnog Steel Cut Oats with a Cinnamon Cranberry Swirl. Uh…yes please!!

For this recipe, I just substituted eggnog for some of the liquid, while cooking the steel cut oats. I also added more to give it a creamy texture at the end of cooking. You can also use eggnog coffee creamer. For the cranberry swirl, I put frozen cranberries (frozen fresh) in a saucepan and when they started letting go of some of their juices, they made a sauce! I added cinnamon and let it simmer for a few minutes. I love the tangy cranberries on the rich, sweet eggnoggy oats. Delicious. Really good around Christmas time!

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Totally unnecessary and decadent Cinnamon Roll Waffles with an Apple Bacon Cinnamon Frosting.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/02/cinnamon-roll-waffles-bacon-apple-frosting-waffled-recipe.html

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Perhaps Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes will tempt you?

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/08/09/double-chocolate-brownie-batter-pancakes/

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Or Blueberry Muffin Pancakes? Katie, of www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com, calls them Blueberry Pie Pancakes.

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/06/09/blueberry-pie-pancakes/

Perhaps you want to go a little lighter…

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Here is a turkey made out of a pear half, mandarin oranges, grapes and raisins.

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Homemade whole wheat bread with homemade peanut butter?

http://mychocolatemoments.com/2012/07/14/honey-whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-no-bread-machine-needed/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-peanut-butter-recipe/index.html

Breakfast Words 2

Yes, indeed, breakfast is a fun thing to eat and make!

Oh yes! I also made a lunch for Bigs! Today is turkey day in school. They are reading T is for Turkey, so of course I had to make a turkey themed lunch. Of all the lunches I’ve done, I think this might be one of my favorites!

Turkey Themed Preschool Lunch

This turkey themed lunch includes a turkey-shaped PB&J. I used my Food Writers to draw on the turkey beak, eyes, gobbler-hangy-down-thing, feathers and feet. The container to the left has mandarin oranges (washed of their syrup). Bigs also has two little sandwich cookies, some dried mango, some candy corn and some real off-the-cob seasoned corn. Gobble Gobble!!

Hoping you find something here to tickle your breakfast (or turkey) fancy!

Kristin

Thanksgrateful

Psalm 1004

I am so thankful and so grateful. For so many things. While life is far from perfect (what is that, anyways??), for what God’s gifted us, I feel overly blessed and undeserving.

My family and I had the wonderful blessing of an opportunity to participate in the Operation Christmas Child this year, through my church.

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

They do it every year and it’s now going to be an annual tradition for us. It was really rewarding and humbling. I took the boys to the store and, together, we picked out lots of toys and goodies for two boys in the same age range as mine. And then on Sunday morning, we dropped off our boxes at the collection table at church.

Operation Christmas Child and Boys

My sweet boys putting their filled boxes on the collection table.

I am, by no means, “showing off” by sharing this. I simply what to share how humbled it made me. And Bigs told me, after dropping their boxes off, “Now someone else can have Christmas!!” and that gave me hope that he could feel part of the true meaning of sharing and Christmas.

I have…

Thankful heart

Last night, for dinner, I cooked a pork butt in the crock pot with some apricot jam and spices. I served it with my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni & Cheese (recipe here!) and baked beans.

Dinner

A lovely prayer to end on…

Prayer

I forget to do this a lot. I want to change that. I just got a new devotional. I am hoping to use that time of day to really thank God for his blessings to me. It’s called, “Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry”.

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Let-Your-Nail-Polish/dp/1935416219

May thankfulness and gratefulness abound,

Kristin

Thanksgiving Food Roundup

Turkey Time

Let’s talk turkey. Just kidding. Someone else is making the turkey.

Ain’t nobody (read: me) got time for that! Literally.

So let’s talk sides and dessert. That’s my forte.

And before that, let’s backtrack just a little. I want to paint my very fond Thanksgiving memories for you.

Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. Everything it embodied – the food, the fellowship, the family, the thankfulness. We used to travel to see my Dad’s family. They lived in the Deep South and the memories that were made in that old country house will live in my heart forever. When I think of Thanksgiving, this is what comes to mind:

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

Literally. And the dining room we ate in looked almost identical to this Normal Rockwell painting. My beautiful Grandma would have her long gray hair coiled into a bun, she’d wear a sweet little dress with stockings and slippers (it’s hard work cooking for so many!) and cover it all up with an apron that had seen many meal preparations. When she would see us, her whole face would crinkle up in a smile and she would always have this little sparkle in her eyes. My Granddaddy would always cry tears of joy when our family car would pull up that dirt and gravel-covered driveway. My Aunts and Uncles and Cousins would pour in through the tattered screened door in the kitchen, arms laden with covered dishes and hugs to hand out. My Grandma would be standing at the stove top, frying up her hoe cakes in her beloved old cast iron pan. There’d be field peas in a saucepan, a fried turkey, my Aunt Sue’s macaroni and cheese, shredded chicken and hard boiled egg dressing, and food for miles. And miles. Good Southern, comforting food. The dessert table always held the traditional pumpkin pies, cobblers, etc., but there was always something else that held my gaze. My Grandma would always make a multi-layered coconut cake. It always looked so tall from my shorter, younger (I’m tall, but my memories were made when I was young) stature looking up at it on the counter. It was iced with the most glorious white frosting, and then covered with stark, white coconut flakes, imitating that fresh first snow fall. I always ate a slice as big as my face. It was always my favorite. And my dear Aunt Sue’s macaroni and cheese. That is one of my all-time favorite recipes still. She passed that one on to me before she went to be with the Lord. While I never got the coconut cake recipe from my Grandma before she also went to be with the Lord, I did find recipes online that closely match these and my other heart-guarded dishes. I’d like to share some of these with you today. They may not be the healthiest or use the most “trendy” ingredients, but they are sacred in my heart. They equal hugs on my plate.

Thanksgiving Table

This is my dining room table last Thanksgiving. I prepared a few of my favorites. I made green bean and sweet potato casseroles (no favorite recipes here). The back right tray is my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni and Cheese and the front tray is my Shredded Chicken and Hard Boiled Egg Dressing.

Here is the recipe I’ve found that most closely resembles the dressing. I use only white meat (boiling chicken breasts or using a rotisserie can cut down on time), I make cornbread from Jiffy, and I do not make or use the giblet gravy or chutney.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-live/hazel-smiths-chicken-dressing-casserole-recipe/index.html

Here is my dear, sweet Aunt Sue’s recipe. I make my own “cream of” soups now, but I cannot bring myself to change her recipe AT ALL. This is a highly simple recipe, and quite humble. Even though it is such, it is one of my most prized and loved recipes. Please feel the love my Aunt Sue had for all of us when you make and enjoy this.

Macaroni Casserole:

1 8oz. pkg elbow macaroni, cooked

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 C mayo

1/2 C onions, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped and slightly cooked in microwave in a bit of water, drained

1/4 C pimento, chopped (or you can use canned, roasted red pepper)

1/2 lb. mild or sharp cheddar cheese

Combine the above ingredients and place in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Hoe Cakes are cornmeal based…pancakes, for all intents and purposes. The closest recipe I could find to match my Grandma’s could also be found from Paula Deen…go figure. These would be piled high in a pie tin on each table at Grandma’s house. And we’d eat our weight in them as we were waiting for the “big” meal to start.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/hoecakes-recipe/index.html

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The closest recipe I can find to match my Grandma’s Coconut Cake is another Deen recipe (lol – Southern at best!).

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/jamies-coconut-cake-recipe3/index.html

After our afternoon Thanksgiving feast, we’d go out in the backyard and shoot aluminum pie tins with Granddaddy’s BB guns. My brother and I had a blast. We’d go for rides on the riding mower. We’d go “moo” at the cows in the back pasture and go for a walk through the cotton fields flanking that country house with a porch swing. We’d sneak into my Granddaddy’s barn and look at all his old fashioned tools and try to guess what they were used for. How we loved those Thanksgivings spent there. As we grew older, we’d STILL enjoy the same traditions. After Thanksgiving day spent there, we’d go to my Mom’s family and have a second Thanksgiving with them (in a different state). My sweet Grandmother had (still has) her own recipe for macaroni and cheese (a recipe for another day!) and an amazing cream cheese topped, jellied cranberry and nut salad. I am going to have to get that from her again this year, as I’ve lost the recipe. Sadly, much of my family on my Dad’s side has passed on and so we’ve had to change traditions. Whether we spend the holiday with my Mom’s family or with my Husband’s family, locally, I always make it a point to make these recipes that are so fond in my heart so that I can feel that love miles and miles away from where it started.

I’ve got two other recipes that I’d like to share with you today. One is a scone that would make for a lovely, festive breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Imagine eating these little beauties with a cup of coffee or tea as you are starting to prepare your meal.

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I got the recipe for these Harvest Pumpkin Mini Scones from King Arthur Flour.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/harvest-pumpkin-scones-recipe

And here is another dessert recipe, but for the more daring home cooks!

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This Pumpkin Mochi Cake is REALLY good – not too sweet and sort of chewy in that lovely mochi way that I am so very fond of. I used Mochiko (glutenous rice flour) that I found at a local special store. I obviously didn’t use small molds for this, as the recipe calls for. I used an 8×10 dish and doubled the recipe.

http://kirbiecravings.com/2010/11/happy-thanksgiving-2.html

PS – My husband is home with us now. God is good!

I hope you can use and enjoy some of these recipes. Have a very blessed weekend,

Kristin

Don’t you carrot all??

What’s up, doc? Don’t you want another carrot recipe? You do? Oh good. Because I still have four pounds of carrots left.

carrotsinear

If only I had a girl…

(PS – I have a song that’s similar to one of Biggie Smalls’ – “Mo Carrots, Mo Problems”.)

I made another carrot dish. Because of all my carrots. Duh. I actually changed up a Martha Stewart recipe. Why, you ask? Do I think I’m better than Martha? Nope. Do I like order and everything in its place and themed parties like her? YES. And that is a good thing. Get it? A good thing? If you don’t know, then don’t even. It’s a Martha Thing.

Let’s proceed, shall we?

CarrotSpoonBread

I used Martha’s Carrot Spoon Bread recipe, altered. It was SO good! It came out like a bread pudding. So…yum.

Carrot Spoon Bread (Pudding):

Adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/331776/carrot-spoon-bread

3 C cooked, mashed (in food processor) carrots

1/2 C flour

2 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/2 t coarse salt

4 large eggs, beaten

1/2 C packed light-brown sugar

1/3 C real maple syrup

1 t vanilla

1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in eggs, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and butter until combined. Fold in carrots and pour into a greased dish. Bake for 60 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Or eat right away and burn your tongue. Like me.

I served it with meatloaf and green peas.

SpoonBreadDinner

You know what the best part of meatloaf is? Cold meatloaf sandwiches the next day. I love mine with mayonnaise and a thick slice of tomato.

Imma have that for dinner tonight.

With more of that spoon bread. Because it made a ton. Honestly. I love carrots.

Thankfully.

Hope one of you out there tries one of these carrot recipes and enjoys them like me and my family!

A-ba-dee aba-dee a-ba-dee, that’s all folks (on the carrots…for now),

Kristin

In the Cold November Rain

HelloNovember

Hello, November. I really am excited to see you. I love this time of year. You offer so many lovely things. I know it’s already the 5th and that I’ve already posted in this month. It’s just that I am excited that it’s November and I’m celebrating that. I do what I want.

I do what I want

I do what I want 2

Anyways. Autumn.

Autumn2

Even though this past summer was the most fun of my entire life, I am so excited to have this time of year upon us. I love most everything about it.

Autumn1

I love crispy fall weather and crispy fall leaves. I love wearing boots and jackets. And I REALLY love dressing my boys up in cozy, warm clothes. Kids’ winter clothes are so adorable.

Autumn3

‘Tis a most wonderful time of the year, indeed! And it’s a whole new set of kid lunches. They could be filled with Pilgrims, Indians and cornucopias…none of which I’ll do or you’ll see since I’m not that talented.

Sunflowers

Today, in Bigs’ class, they are learning about sunflowers and corn. It IS the month of harvest, after all. I made a PB&J and used circles to make a flower design (I couldn’t quite freehand the sunflower shape and to be honest, this isn’t even a sunflower shape, but he won’t notice!) and filled the circles with brown and yellow sprinkles. It IS my blog’s namesake. I put the circles of bread below. He also has corn, natch. And I put some pretzel sticks, mini Nilla wafers and three candy corn in the bottom compartment. Too bad they aren’t learning about CARROTS in his class. I have lots. 😉 He’s got those yummy homemade fruit snacks and a box of raisins for snack time.

Today, I am thankful for the gentle rain this early morning that gave me a few reflective moments of peace. Despite the song lyric as a title, it wasn’t cold. But it was peaceful.

And also, I’m thankful for Pinterest.

Hello, November. Please be good to us!

Kristin

Sunday Bunny Sundaaay

It has been a very productive Sunday, considering it is supposed to be the day of rest. We had a great sermon at church! My pastor even referred to one of my go-to Bible verses (Proverbs 3:5-6) that I used in my post yesterday. God is working…in me and through others to get to my heart. He is good! We went to Costco (I always want to spell it CostCo, but Husband “informed” me today that I was incorrect.) after church for a few (hundred) things and taste tests. I feel so terrible for the Taste Test Administrators. Is that what they’re called? I’d be so stressed. It’s like a bum rush of people and in the snap of a finger, all your hard work is gone! And then there’s more people! Anywho. In case you are wondering…and even if you are not, my favorite taste test of the day was Philippine Brand Dried Young Coconut Snacks. It’s like my new favorite taste test of life. It was SO good. You sort of have to try them if you like coconut. Mmm. I feel as though I could eat them by the truck load. Anywho again. So remember how I told you I can’t seem to leave there without a pallet of even one item? Well. I am now the proud(ish) owner of a 5 pound bag of organic baby carrots. Yikes. I’m going to use every single carrot in that (giant) bag. Tonight, I made a delicious side dish of carrots that would beautifully accompany a Thanksgiving meal. And my whole family enjoyed it. My older son, Bigs, enjoyed it the most. He gets a kick out of eating bunny food. I found the recipe on Pinterest, but changed it around a bit (ooooh, two recipe re-writes in one week!).

CarrotCasserole

Carrot Casserole:

Adapted from :

http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/carrots-a-casserole-and-a-skinny-secret

Ingredients
2.5 C carrots
1/2 C sugar
2 T honey
1 t vanilla
1/4 T flour
1/4 t baking powder
1 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs
cinnamon
I boiled the carrots until soft. I mashed them in my food processor. I mixed the remaining ingredients with the carrots and poured into a buttered glass pie pan. I cooked it in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 50ish minutes. SO easy!
CarrotCasseroleSpoon
I served it with a whole chicken that I roasted and corn off the cob.
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More carrots. I regret nothing.  😀
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed that casserole. I even think I could eat it cold. Standing in front of the fridge. While my children play in the living room. Yum.
I also made fruit snacks! This is a recipe I use often. I doubled the recipe today. I send them with Bigs to school for a snack. They can stay at room temperature for a while. Smalls is only just starting to have a taste for gummy things. What little kid doesn’t like gummies? So weird. It was rough for a while because I’d have to melt his daily gummy vitamin in his breakfast oatmeal for him to take it. But now he likes(ish) gummies. So he can enjoy these now too.
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This recipe is great because you can take your own liberties with it (what fruits, etc.).
Homemade Fruit Snacks:
http://thankyourbody.com/homemade-healthy-fruit-snacks/
Ingredients:
2/3 C frozen or fresh fruit
2/3 C orange juice or a mix of orange and lemon juices
1-2 T honey
5 packets of unflavored gelatin (I’ve used 4 and it works but they come out less ‘hard’ and I’ve used 6…I do what I want.)

Bring the fruit and juice to a simmer over medium heat, just enough to make the fruit soft. Place in a food processor. Pour back into pot and whisk in honey. Let sit off of heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, whisk in the gelatin packets. Pour into an 8×8 pan and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Cut into cubes!

I hope you all had as lovely a Sunday as me. Today, I am thankful for carrots, for without them, this four-eyed Mama would surely be needing Coke bottles for glasses. 😉 And I’m truly thankful for renewal in my heart. And for the cooler weather we’ve been experiencing. That makes me feel festively happy.

Peace and Blessins’ (Look it up. You’re welcome.),

Kristin

Campaign for Thankfulness & Marshmallows

ThanksgivingBooks

We are in full-fledged Thanksgiving mode here in my home! I was so wired on Halloween night (not from candy-eating, but from major anxiety, natch) that after getting the boys into bed, I took down all the Halloween decorations and put up the Thanksgiving ones. Bigs was so excited to see a new and different set of holiday decor out the next morning! Earlier in the week, we checked out a bunch of Thanksgiving books at the library, so we’ve been reading those too.  At almost three and a half, Bigs is starting to “get” the meaning of Thanksgiving – that we should give thanks always and be grateful to God for all He’s blessed us with, which is so much more than we deserve. During the month of November (and it really should be every day of every month), I want to participate in that ubiquitous campaign to say aloud what we are thankful for.

On Friday night, I made a Thanksgiving-y casserole (and wrote my own recipe! – Don’t get used to it.). It was fairly healthy and really quite good. It looks a little busted because of the ridiculous marshmallows on top, but I also think they were fun for Bigs, of course. And me. Who doesn’t want a twirly, swirly, pink confection on the top of absolutely everything?

SweetPotatoBefore

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Casserole:

Serves: A Lot (enough for leftovers!)

Ingredients:

3 large sweet potatoes (peeled, cut up and boiled until soft)

1/2 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1T honey

1/3 C milk

1/4 C pumpkin pie coffee creamer (optional)

1 beaten egg

Cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice (optional – I did not use these)

I used a hand mixer to incorporate all the ingredients together. I poured it into a greased dish. I put those fancy marshmallows on top (I’d have used regular ones if I’d had them. It was between these and fruit flavored ones…I think I made the right choice) and baked at a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about a half hour. It was very good!

SweetPotatoAfter

So. This next part is not as fun as casserole or marshmallows.

I have anxiety. And it’s mostly pretty bad. It’s an everyday struggle, even though some days are better than others. Some days, it isn’t bad at all, for which I am thankful.  I constantly have to work at getting “over it”. You get used to it (I’ve been a classic worry wort since birth), but not really. That doesn’t even make sense. But it doesn’t matter. It’s real. Some people don’t understand anxiety or why I have it or why I can’t just easily be over it. And that’s okay. I’m not looking for sympathy or for you to be sad for me. I don’t want to be a victim to this. I just want to productively coexist with it, if I’m to have it.

i-can-t-keep-calm-because-i-have-anxiety-15

anxiety

In my inconsistent struggle to pinpoint exactly who I am (sometimes I know exactly who I am, and then all of a sudden, I feel lost…and then freaked out, and then it’s okay again), I am grateful when I discover something about myself and accept it easily and also when God gives me answers. I look to God and the Bible for guidance and comfort. And besides prayer, lots of things help my anxiety: shopping at Goodwill, baking, donuts, putting things in their correct order, ROYGBIV (it’s strangely soothing!), schedules, hand sanitizer, spontaneous hugs from my babies, plucking out my random gray hairs, smiles from strangers (but not creepy ones), a sermon at church that speaks to me, my husband coming home for lunch…the list goes on (and I might argue that the list of what makes me anxious is just as long lol). I’m not unhappy, just anxious. I know I’m not alone, in both my life or in my struggles against general anxiety.

OCD                                grocerylist

handsanitizer                                    Unexpected call

I have to say that it took a lot of gumption for me to write this. Anxiety isn’t the socially taboo topic it once was, but it isn’t a fun thing to write about. Especially when it makes “one” feel and/or look like a total head case. This has been scary to put myself “out there” and definitely makes me feel vulnerable too. But it is strangely cathartic and freeing.

I will leave you with a few of my favorite Bible verses, ones I constantly refer to…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Be still, and know that I am God… (Psalm 46:10)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

…and a few song lyrics I hear on our local Christian station that remind me who is in charge and why I should not have any fear in this life…

“If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment…” (Sidewalk Prophets – “Help Me Find it”)

“We pour out our miseries. God just hears a melody…” (Amy Grant – “Better Than a Hallelujah”)

Today, I am thankful for a God that is Comforter, Healer and Friend. He does not judge me, but loves me.

Have a very blessed, very thankful, anxiety-free night,

Kristin