Thursday, November 21, 2013

Old fashioned Beef Stew - Crock-Pot Version

What's for dinner tonight!

Beef Stew - Crock-pot version

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cups carrots, peeled and large chopped
2-3 stalk celery, large chop, with tops
1 can plain diced tomatoes with juice
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon real bacon bits or equivalent
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
a 6-inch stalk fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves

1 - 1 1/2 pounds beef cut into 2-inch cubes*
about 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and Pepper
1 can beef broth plus 1/2 cup water

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup frozen peas
  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients in the Crockpot. Turn pot to high and continue.
  2. Heat a sauté pan with some coconut oil in it. Drudge beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and sear meat in hot pan until brown. Remove beef, add to Crockpot.
  3. Deglaze pan with the beef broth and add the liquids to Crockpot. The liquids should come up to within 1 inch of the solids. If too low add a little chicken broth or water.
  4. Cover pot and cook for 4-5 hours on HIGH. About 3 hours before dinner, peel and cube potatoes. Add these to Crockpot with peas. Cover and cook an additional 3 hours or until all is tender.
  5. Remove bay leaves and rosemary. If a thicker gravy is desired, sprinkle top with 1-2 packages brown gravy mix. Stir into liquid, and return to simmer to thicken. Check seasoning after gravy mix as some can be salty. Alternately, if you don't want to use a mix, turn Crockpot to low, drain liquids from pot with a ladle or turkey baster. Make gravy as usual using these liquids, then return to Crockpot.
* can use any cut of beef, venison, etc. Steak tips work great too.

Monday, November 18, 2013

AMLW Chapter 11: Wonder

As your basic multi-tasking mom it is very hard not to live by a list, but I am trying to live among the wonder. It has definitely been something I've had to work at.


                 to be filled with admiration,
                                         amazement, or awe

I love the way Emily relates it to a child on page 176:

"A child sees the wonder, takes it in, picks it up, and walks among it."


A mom looks for certainty, stares at the mess, picks everything up and puts it away, and walks in the emptiness of a clean abyss....

Children haven't yet formed an opinion as to what has "worth" and what doesn't.

I am still working on that - not judging the worth before I experience the wonder... it takes practice to open my eyes without seeing the mess.

It's not too late to get your copy of Emily P. Freemen's book a million little ways you can still visit the incourage book club site and comment and see the discussion videos too. It's a wonderful book filled with eye-opening changes any mom (or dad) can make to help their Art to blossom.

Thanks for spending time with me:)

Friday, November 15, 2013

What I'm Reading this Christmas Season

Here are my picks for this Christmas Season. I hope you enjoy them!

P31 Reads - Christmas

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
 by Ann Voskamp famed writer of 1000 Gifts

The Women of Christmas
by Liz Curtis Higgs

You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times
 The new sensational read by Max Lucado

and finally,

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations
You just can't go wrong with a Lee Drummond recipe.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

5:16 Every day

Ephesians 5:16 says, "making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." The literal meaning is "redeem the time." We are seeking to redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity to seek the Lord with all our hearts. Why? Because the days are evil. We must prepare for battle each and every day - sometimes just to get through the day!

“I earnestly recommend that it be in the early morning, unless there are some extenuating circumstances. Entering the day without a serious meeting with God, over his Word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to your weapons. The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.”
John Piper

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recipe Remake - Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Olive Garden-ish

This is an amazingly creamy soup. We loved it and had to find a way to copy it. In an attempt to google it we were displeased with the results. Below is our version of it. We love it, hope you'll try it!

2 Chicken breasts, cooked and diced, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 celery stalk, small dice
1 large clove garlic, small chop
1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 onion, small dice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cans chicken broth plus 1 can water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 package potato gnocchi
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 package frozen chopped spinach, cooked, wrung out, and rechopped

1. Prepare chicken, this can also be made with perdue done it chicken if you're in a hurry
2. In a dutch oven or stock pot saute the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in the olive oil until they are soft. Add broth and water and bring to a boil.
3. Meanwhile, prepare gnocchi as directed. Cook until they raise to the surface of the water. Strain off and add to soup. Cook uncovered for 2-4 minutes until tender. Add thyme and chicken and reduce heat to simmer.
4. Make a slurry by combining 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with enough cold water to make it thin add this to the pot and stir to incorporate. Soup will not fully thicken until it comes to a boil. Bring to slight boil then turn down until it stops.
5. Slowly stir in heavy cream. Do not boil after this point as it will curdle the cream and become separated. Bring to temp and add chopped spinach. Stirring to dispurse.
Makes about 4 good-sized servings.

Monday, November 11, 2013

AMLW Chap 8 Show UP

Today we are studying Chapter 8 of a million little ways  by Emily P. Freeman.

The chapter outlines how and why we need to show up in order to make our art. There is no formula for living life with Christ only:

Showing up, 


                       and Believing (p. 129).

This really resonated with me. How often are we looking for that magic formula or "right way" of living in order to reap the benefits of the Christian life?? When, what we really should be doing is just simply: Showing up....

I can't help but pull apart words and phrases. As I write I see images and words move around in different ways than they were intended.

In this way I see showing up as showing UP. I see it as more than just being dressed and ready to go but being

                              ALL there, 

representing the Father and looking UP ready for whatever He has for me.

Can you see it? Are you representing God with your art? or are you keeping it to yourself.

Emily points to 8 statements we use to hide our art.
  1. I'm not cut out for this - this steals our art by thinking this is our own doing and in our own strength. Remedy - it is God's doing so use God's strength.
  2. someone else can do it better - yes, someone probably can, this attitude is a courage stealer. Remember God has called you and no one can do it better than you with His guidance
  3. people might not like it - this topic is so big that Emily focused on it for a whole chapter (6) and basically there will always be critics. Acknowledge it and move on. Listen to what/who matters and assess it based on the critics intention - to hurt or to help.
  4. I have nothing to offer - yes, yes, you do
  5. I hate my calling - another great quote came out of this bullet, putting to rest the greener grass theory. "There are no greener grasses, only different lawns" (p.140).
  6. It's a waste of time - God doesn't waste time only we do
  7. It's too much work - it takes work, a lot of time MORE work, to ignore or try to quite a Spirit-filled work within you.
  8. Who do you think you are? - the only remedy to this is to know who you are. Even if it means posting signs to remind yourself that you are chosen, holy, beloved. Made in the image of the one True God. Allow this to sink in when doubt sets in.
But, the most encouraging quote came at the end of Ch 7 on page 144:

"Lack of movement isn't because of fear or sin or lack of belief.
Sometimes it's simply God asking us to wait"

Maybe you've addressed all those statements and still no progress where you feel your art is. Don't give up. Keep making your art and wait with God. Ultimate beauty is well-timed!

Blessings, sweet sisters.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is there HOPE for America?

 I dare you to watch this and not get chills...

Watch Billy Graham

What ever you do you will not want to miss the latest and possibly the last special by the Rev. Billy Graham.

Billy Graham was my first connection to my Savior. He was a man my grandmother spoke of often. A Yankee, with roots traced to the Mayflower, she was a born and bread Congregationalist. But what few knew was that she never missed a Billy Graham Crusade. In a time, when religion wasn't spoke of publicly except on Sunday she was a voice to her grandchildren, the ones who would listen.

I listened Gram, and I will be thinking of you on Thursday night while I'm watching this!

Thank you Rev. Graham, Thank you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

AMLW ~ Critics & Crazy ideas

Today we are studying Chapters 6 & 7 of a million little ways  by Emily P. Freeman.

In chapter 7, Emily talks about Listening. She begins with a wonderful quote:


If God is speaking, 
then nothing else matters but listening. 
                                            ~Brennan Manning

It seems everything in this world is begging us to live BIG. But nothing is reminding us to live small.

How do we listen to what God has to say?

Emily points to 5 ways, some will hit all readers, other will not. Let's hear what means the most to you, dear readers.

Listen to your:
  1. tears - what brings you to tears. is it a song, a movie, a word, a picture
  2. questions - "Be with what is" - Ruth Barton. Let the day be the day without trying to run away from it.
  3. heartbreak - grief does deep, important sacred work.
  4. Tuesdays - paying attention to the now, the routine, the rhythm. the ordinary days, the days that keep it real. You cannot look forward until you live in the Tuesday.
  5. crazy ideas - Doubt and fear keep the ideas hidden. the crazy idea is not crazy to the adventurous it's just an idea. 


The listening section that made me think the most was the crazy ideas. I was raised by a very stable family. We didn't take risks because if we failed 'what would people say...' I married a very spontaneous man, of coarse, and have been trying to find middle ground ever since...we do manage to balance each other out quite well.

But, the point that resonated most with me was that to those who are adventurous, a crazy idea is just

                                      an idea.... wow! that hit home with me.

Finally, on that same topic, I have been carrying a few ideas 'in my pocket' for years. And, as Emily pointed out, if they were trash I would have thrown them away by now. The fact that they are still in my pocket proves they have life.

                                         It's up to me to give them wings.

 What can you give wings to today??

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