Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Menu Plan

I worked this out yesterday and went shopping last night.  I hate food shopping but now I'm ready for the week:

Monday - Tortellini Alfredo with peas and ham, salad
Tuesday - Ginger Chicken Stir Fry, rice
Wednesday - crockpot Swedish Meatballs, noodles, broccoli
Thursday - crockpot Taco Soup, salad
Friday - we're out all day so we'll do Wendy's or something - we'll see
Saturday - Penne Pesto with chicken, Italian bread, salad
Sunday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots/onions/broccoli

Yummy new recipe - Garden Chowder

I made this for dinner last night and it was really good, easy to make and I can see that it can use a lot of veggies that you happen to have around.  I bought a whole head of cauliflower, which we don't normally eat, and I used so little of it that next time I think I'll just use an inexpensive bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower instead of buying those two veggies fresh.  I used an old bag of frozen broccoli cuts that I had in the freezer for the broccoli since I THOUGHT I bought it but couldn't find it.  Oh well. Everyone loved the soup and with biscuits and salad, it was a filling dinner that was really tastey.  So here you go!

Garden Chowder
1/2 chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1 cup EACH diced potato, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and carrot
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. salt
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1-2 dashes of paprika, coriander and ground mustard
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a dutch oven, saute green pepper and onion in butter until tender.  Add vegetables, water, bouillon, salt, pepper; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Combine flour and milk until smooth; stir into pan.  Allow to thicken at a low temperature.  Add the parsley and other spices.  Just before serving, stir in the cheese until melted.

yield:  6 servings

Sunday, September 27, 2009

International Blasphemy Day

Al Mohler has a wonderful blog entry regarding International Blasphemy Day. I'm sure we've all heard about the "challenge" someone gave to send in videos of them blaspheming the Holy Spirit to show that God doesn't exist.  He's got some really wonderful, challenging words on what our response should be.  Muslims in some countries would kill someone for doing the same "blasphemy challenge" towards Allah.  How should Christians be different?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The H1N1 Vaccine hasn't been tested on children or pregnant women???

According to the US News and World Report:

"If the H1N1 flu outbreak doesn’t peak until midwinter, it could be curtailed with a staggered vaccination program that begins with children and ultimately targets 70 percent of the population, researchers report online September 10 in Science. "

"Current estimates suggest that between 45 million and 52 million doses of vaccine will be ready by mid-October, with another 195 million by the end of the year. Longini and his colleagues find that because children will experience the highest infection rates they should receive vaccines first. Vaccinating other at-risk groups, such as health care workers and those with compromised immune systems, is also important. Given the pattern of spread among connected people, the researchers suggest that vaccinating 70 percent of the U.S. population will contain the virus."

"If the pandemic flu peaks earlier in October, a vaccination program that targets children would need to be launched as soon as possible, the new analysis in Science concludes.
The new work is well done and highlights the importance of vaccinating children, says Jan Medlock, a mathematical biologist at Clemson University in South Carolina. Close quarters with multiple peers and more liberal personal hygiene policies make kids more likely to carry germs. Vaccinating kids protects them and reduces disease transmission, protecting others,  he says.
Compared with most influenza viruses, the H1N1 pandemic flu has also caused more disease in people under age 25 than in older people, perhaps because older people have some preexisting immunity to this strain. That offers another reason to focus initial vaccine efforts on younger people."

all from

Additionally, pregnant women should receive the vaccine:

ATLANTA - Swine flu has been hitting pregnant women unusually hard, so they are likely to be among the first group advised to get a new swine flu shot this fall.
Pregnant women account for 6 percent of U.S. swine flu deaths since the pandemic began in April, even though they make up just 1 percent of the U.S. population.
On Wednesday a federal vaccine advisory panel is meeting to take up the question of who should be first to get swine flu shots when there aren't enough for everyone. At the top of the list are health care workers, who would be crucial to society during a bad pandemic.

But pregnant women may be near the top of the list because they have suffered and died from swine flu at disproportionately high rates.

"Experts believe an effective vaccine would benefit not only a pregnant woman but also her unborn child."

from  "

However, here's from the vaccine insert:

8.1 Pregnancy
Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine or AFLURIA. It is also not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

8.3 Nursing Mothers
Neither Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine nor AFLURIA has been evaluated in nursing mothers. It is not known whether Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine or AFLURIA is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine is administered to a nursing woman.

8.4 Pediatric Use
Neither Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine nor AFLURIA has been evaluated in children. Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population have not been established.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

I was determined to get it done....

Back in May, we told our oldest that she HAD to clean up her room and I gave her my 1/2 of the garage to use to bring everything downstairs to sort then it all had to be brought back to her room in 2 weeks.  Of course that didn't fully happen and since it was summer and we had lots of things going on, I never got back to the garage to clean it out to get my car back in.  So I was determined to do it today and guess what?  It only took me an hour and an almost-asthma attack!  That's not that bad!  I didn't "clean" the garage but cleaned up all of the stuff that was right where my car goes and some stuff next to it (I guess someone found our sunflower seed bag since there was a nice hole and TONS of shells under/behind a box).  But I'm done and my car is in the garage!  Now the next goal is to clean out the other side so DH can get in there too.  He's not been in there for over 2 years.

MAN that feels good!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cranberry Pork Roast

Here's a recipe that is just awesome and a favorite around here.  It uses a pork loin roast which can be gotten on sale for under $2, which is a great bargain for boneless meat!   Yeah, usually I get 9 lbs. and cut the loin into 3 roasts so I'm set for quite a while to make this recipe.  I serve it over rice with a green veggie like broccoli on the side.  YUM!

Cranberry Pork Roast

1 (2.5-3 lb) lean boneless pork loin roast or rib roast
1 (16 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup port wine or cranberry juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 small lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden seedless raisins (I've used regular raisins too)
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. diced candied ginger
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water
cooked rice

Place pork roast in 3 1/2 quart slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, combine cranberry sauce, port wine or cranberry juice and sugar.  Stir in lemon, raisins, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper.  Spoon over roast.  Cook on low (covered) for 6-7 hours or until meat is 170 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.

Remove roast from cooker and cover with foil to keep warm.  Mix the cornstarch and water and pour into the cooker.  Turn cooker onto high.  Stir and cook the sauce for about 5 minutes until thickened.

Slice roast.  Serve with sauce and rice on the side.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

God is AMAZING - Look at these stormchaser photos!

These photos were taken by storm chaser Jim Reed.  Wowza!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

LIVE!! Menu Planning!

I still need to plan this out. I planned to today so that I'd be ready since I'm going riding later after Nicole gets home from school. I'm making roast chicken and then on the way home from riding, I'll pick up cheating mashed potatoes (don't have time to make them fresh at home since I don't even have potatoes in the house right now) and I'll serve it with broccoli and gravy.

Tuesday - Maybe I'll pick up some pie crust and make chicken pot pie for tomorrow and serve it with salad. Hmm - that sounds good.

Wednesday - Wednesday's are going to be tricky since we signed up Joanna for ballet which runs from 4:45 to 5:45 and I need to be at church by 6:30 to work (until around 9PM) and the kids go with me. So that leaves me about 15 minutes at home. I need to figure out something easy/quick for these nights. Hmmm - brainstorming here - maybe do the crockpot?? Country style ribs are on sale so maybe I'll make ribs and serve it with canned corn and sliced tomatoes. OK - that works for me for this week.

Thursday - I ride again which means I don't get home before 6:30 (leave the house at 3:30). Hmmm - maybe I'll make chicken tacos. OK - that works!

Friday - I'm out of the house all day working, so I need something easy. Maybe on Thursday during the day, I'll cut up veggies and make Pasta Primavera for tonight. I'll cook up some leftover sausages for DH since he HAS to have meat. That sounds good.

Saturday - Ugh - I hate all this planning but it needs to get done. Ummmm - not sure of the weather but maybe I'll plan to do some either baked or grilled chicken drumsticks. I have a bunch in the freezer. So I'd serve that with.....OH! I'll make the potato salad that everyone loves and then a nice big salad. DONE!

Sunday - I think I'll wait until later in the week to figure this one out.   Shrimp is on sale so I MAY do something with that - either shrimp scampi or teryaki shrimp and pineapple on the grill.

So there you have it - a real live figuring out the menu for the week! LOL  I do also have the option to bail on any given night and get one of three choices.  These are all relatively inexpensive choices for us and I allow each one once a month for my sanity. First we have a Mexican place that has a family meal deal for $20 which includes grilled chicken or steak, grilled onions and peppers, pico de gallo, guacamole, beans (black, pinto or refried), rice, sour cream and salsa along with 12 warm flour tortillas.  It easily feeds my family of 6.  The second place is Chinese which we can usually do for $30 with plenty of leftovers.  Finally, there's a pizza place that has a family special for $20 which includes a large pie (NY pies are big - 8 slices about 16 or 18" across), a hero of some sort (we usually get chicken parmesan), a large ziti and Italian bread.  I add in a salad from home and we have an awesome dinner.  These are wonderful "bail-outs" for those nights I am running late, don't feel well or just didn't plan well enough.  :)

Monday - Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli, gravy
Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie, salad
Wednesday - Crockpot country-style ribs, corn, sliced tomatoes
Thursday - Chicken tacos
Friday - Pasta Primavera, sausages
Saturday - baked/grilled drumsticks, blue cheese potato salad and green salad

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wine-Braised Italian Sausages

I just was looking for a recipe of mine on my blog because I really thought I put it here but I didn't. So here you go!

Wine Braised Italian Sausages

1 ½ lbs. mild Italian sausages, cut into ½” pieces
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
6 sprigs parsley, minced (I used dry)
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced (I always use more since we love garlic)
3 fresh sage leaves, torn (again, I use dry)
generous pinch ground cloves
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 (14 oz.) can whole tomatoes (I used diced)
1 lb. pasta (penne, fusilli or ziti) cooked al dente and drained
1 ½ cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese

In a 12” saute pan, slowly cook the sausage in the olive oil until it is well browned. Work over medium heat. Remove it from the pan, pour off all but 2 Tbsp. fat and add the onion, carrot and parsley to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat until golden. Add the sausage, garlic, sage, cloves and tomato paste along with ½ the wine. Simmer while you scrape up all the brown glaze from the bottom of the pan. Once the wine is evaporated, add the rest of it and cook very slowly, 10 minutes. Sauce will be clinging to the sausage. (At this point, you could refrigerate the sauce for up to 3 days). Add the tomatoes and cook at a slow bubble for 5 minutes. Toss in the pasta to thoroughly coat. Blend in half the cheese. Serve hot, passing the cheese separately. Makes 4-6 servings as a main dish.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A new chapter in our lives

Well, I'm ready to announce a new chapter in our lives that has developed over the last month. We're really excited about it and know that God had to use something humbling to get us here but we're ready for the future.

DH and I will be planting a church. Technically, it will be another campus of our church but the style and staff will be a little different, although we'll have the infrastructure of our current church to back us up. So here's the story.

Our pastor has had a vision of a church plant for a number of years but it's just not been the time to do it yet. He told us after the fact that he was waiting for one of the staff to come and say "I would like to do this" instead of assigning it to someone because it's going to be a lot of work and really needs someone with a vision behind it. So it's been on the back burner for a number of years.

Just before vacation, my husband met with the senior and senior associate pastor and they basically took him off of being in charge of all the worship and instead would be taking that responsibility on themselves. This left my husband still leading one of the worship teams but not having a say in the direction or leadership of the worship ministry. It was a hard blow for him. It wasn't due to anything he had done so it was confusing to us as we went away the next day to go on vacation. Now basically, my husband's only responsibility was the computers and, honestly, if he was going to be a computer guy, he could do that in a regular job, make atleast twice as much money and no longer be struggling so with finances, and then volunteer to lead the worship team. When we went away on vacation, it seemed that would be the way we would go. But we left ready to pray about it and see what God would have us do. No one else knew about this but one other pastor who my husband had spoken to as a friend but not even our children knew.

While on vacation, my husband came to me and told me that he felt God leading him to think about the church plant and he was beginning to see that maybe taking away the worship would free him up to be willing/able to do the church plant as it's leader and maybe that's why God let this happen. As we prayed about it, we both began to feel strongly that this was the road we were to take but we weren't sure how it would be taken back at home (church). When we returned, DH went to lunch with the senior pastor and told him what happened while we were away and Pastor sat quietly. He told DH that he had been waiting for someone to take this vision and be the "man" in the lead yet no one had come to him about it until now. He got excited as DH spoke to him and, over the next few days, began to see that this just might be it. So, from my understanding, Pastor will announce tomorrow morning in services about the church plant to the whole congregation. Wow.

The basic plans are so far that we've found a location where there are no duplicate churches in the area (there are some other churches and some pseudo-churches as well, but none with the same stance on the basics as we have), and it's a youngish community. DH was just looking at the census information and that area has a high population of young families and it's a growing community. There's a lot of land there so for the future building, we will be able to build but for now, there are a number of hotels and a movie theater that we can look into as well as plenty of store-fronts. It is an area of the intersection of two main highways so it would be easy to get to from many areas and it's about 40 minutes away from our current home/church so we'd not have to move (unless we feel lead in the future to go out there, which is always a possibility). We would use the "simple church" model where we'd have Sunday services and home groups during the week, encouraging families to not be running all over for programs or separating to do their own things. Our home church has plenty of programs if people would like additional resources (kids' activities, youth group, classes for adults, support groups, etc.), but it would not be done at the new church. We have 9 pastors at our church and only 2 preach regularly (our senior pastor preaching to the congregation and our recovery pastor who preaches to the deaf) so that leaves 7 who would be able to cycle through the new church for possibly a few weeks at a time to do series of messages. We have a few worship teams who would be able to come through to assist in the worship and the area is one where we have atleast 25 families who are closer to the new location rather than our home church. So that would mean they could help "seed" the new church AND have someplace to bring their neighbors rather than a church 40 minutes away. We'd plan to have a great nursery/children's program set up for Sunday morning right from the start so families will feel comfortable coming.

So we're at the starting gate. We're ready to go and begin the planning and vision casting for this new chapter in our lives. God is so good and I so thank Him for leading us and giving us a great church home to be launched from. It's going to be an interesting next year as we pull this off with God's help and I pray that this church would lift high the name of Jesus on Long Island. How humbling to be able to be a part of it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wow - what a story

It's long but a GREAT read.

Life lost....and found??

So today I got word that a dear woman from our church passed away last night after a very fast fight with leukemia. She was diagnosed at the end of June and it looked bad right from the beginning. The fact that she was on chemo within 24 hours of diagnosis told us this. But she's now home with the Lord and no longer in pain - and her family has the assurance that she walked with the Lord here and trusted Him as her Savior. Thank God for that comfort.

Now I just heard from another friend that a young woman who was in our youth group is within hours of her own death. She's leaving behind a husband and very young child (like a year old) and is also battling leukemia. I'm not sure where this young woman stands with Christ because, while she came to youth group, she fought a lot of the teaching and just really wanted friends there rather than Christ. But I don't know her heart and I haven't spoken to her in years, so I don't know. I'm praying that her heart is right with God and that God comforts her and her family during this time.

Then there's my older brother. My older brother is as self-centered as they come. He has refused Christ for over 35 years and did his own thing.

Apparently something is happening because he called our younger brother (who is saved) and started asking him questions!!! I'm in absolute 100% shock!! My younger brother called my husband to get some advice and I called him last night. Seems my older brother is not happy with his life and is seeming to think that there's something more. He was remembering my mom talking to him all those years telling him about Christ and now he wants to know more!! You can knock me over with a feather right now.

So my older brother will be in town tomorrow for who knows how long and I'm going to see if he wants to get together with us. He had mentioned getting together with DH and I to my younger brother so I think he's up for it (we NEVER see him - ever. He's never met my youngest daughter who is turning 7 at the end of the year).

Please pray that his heart will be softened. Pray that after all these years, that God will bring him into the family of God. Oh my word! I honestly cannot believe this in the LEAST!!

So death and dying - and the possible new life in Christ. That is what today is filled with.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Country Herbed Meatloaf

Here's a meatloaf recipe we love here in our home.

Country Herbed Meatloaf from Country Magazine

1/4 cup olive oil
8 oz. fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil

2 lbs. ground beef or combination of ground beef, pork and veal
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. milk
2 eggs, beaten

In a skillet, heat oil on high. Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic until softened. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper and sugar. Remove 1 1/2 cups. Add water, bay leaf and basil to skillet. Simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine all the meatloaf ingredients with the 1 1/2 cups reserved sauce. Press into a 9X5X3" loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and drain. Spread 1/2 cup of herb sauce over the top of the meatloaf and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with the extra sauce over the sliced meatloaf.

Book Giveaway at Jack of all Trades!

Bitsy over at Jack of all Trades is having a book giveaway! She's giving away DA Carson's book called "Jesus' Sermon on the Mount". Head on over and sign up!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Morning Glory Muffins

When we go to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, we love to get the muffins in the bake shop. This year, I got them the morning we left so we could have some yummy muffins and coffee as we traveled down the Mystic River to Fisher's Island Sound. I love their blueberry lemon muffins and the kids love the blueberry streusel and chocolate chip muffins but hubby loves a muffin called Morning Glory. Well, the other day I was going through an old coffee table book my mom had on table settings for different occasions and low and behold, there was a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins! So I wrote it down and I just got the ingredients today. I think I'll make them tomorrow after church and when I do, I'll let you know how it goes. They look really hearty and I think they'd be great for "running out the door to school without time for breakfast" kind of situations. So here's the recipe:

Morning Glory Muffins
from "The Perfect Setting"

Morning Glory Muffins

2 1/2 cups sugar
4 c. flour
4 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins, plumped in brandy and drained
1 cup coconut, shredded
4 cups shredded carrots
2 apples, shredded
1 cup chopped pecans
6 eggs
2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Lightly dust the raisins with flour. Add the coconut, carrots, apples and nuts and stir well. Add the eggs, oil and vanilla, stirring only until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Muffins should "ripen" for 24 hours for maximum blending of flavors.

A most amazing site - ANY Bible you can think of, pretty much!

Wow! What a resource! Here's a site with about 200 Bible versions on it! We're talking old Bibles, new Bibles and everything in between. Wanna see the Bishop's Bible from 1568? That was one of THE Bibles before the KJV was even a twinkle in King Jimmy's eye. How about Tyndale's Bible from 1534?? Or a Bible version from around the year 1000?? How cool is that? You think the KJV is the only Bible that is not copyrighted? Well, take a look at this site and be SHOCKED! LOTS of them - so many that they had to make 2 pages. This looks like it's going to be a wonderful resource. Enjoy!!

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