Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Year's Resolutions....

I'm not a big resolution person....
I would make them when I was a kid and forget what they were a few weeks later.
Similar in HS, college and beyond....
BUT this year my husband and I decided to set some resolutions, goals - maybe the new year was an excuse to do so? Here they are. Just to put them out there. Maybe for me to review them again and for the accountability factor of writing them out and posting them?
I truly cannot believe that January is already coming to an end. So a belated happy new year and a blessed 2013 to you all.

1. Pray much more. For my family, friends, my kids, my husband and myself (trust me, I need it!)
2. Consistency in bible reading. Thankful for my email bible accountability group for this. Helps A TON.
3. My husband. Wow - he is SO wonderful. I truly don't deserve him and yet when I'm tired, down, overwhelmed - whatever the excuse, I'm so quick to be irritated, disrespectful and rude. And this should not be. Why do we treat the people closest to us the worst? And yet we'd never treat a stranger this way?! So I desire to respect him more and show this to him everyday and in every way.
4. UGH. you had to know it would be on this list. get. in. shape. whatever that means.....
For the record I have been running on a treadmill in the basement. a few times a week. It's not been that fun but it's gotten easier thankfully. My biggest desire is just to be more moderate and self controlled. In eating, exercise, etc. Wasn't easy on the body to have 2 babies in a year and a half. So just want to gradually get back in shape. and with that TRY not to compare myself to others or to myself in old pictures.......sigh.
5. Live more simply & spend less money. Every magazine has new ideas, new products we "need," new outfits to buy, new home decor - it will never end, so it's on me to be content with what I have and know in my mind and heart that the next purchase won't satisfy me and it will never be enough. I have to find this contentment in the Lord. He is all I need! So with that I want to be more creative with food, home, clothing purchases and just spend less in general. The American way tells us we need WAY more than we really do and I'm finally seeing that....

Ok there's my list. Should you want to share any of your resolutions, comment away :)

(photo from here)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

MUST try recipes

First - two stand by recipes that I make that Joe often asks for and Always turn out well. Second, two new soups I just tried while at home visiting my parents and they were DELISH! (As my mom would say :))

Four Cheese Bacon Mac
Four Cheese with Bacon Mac

1 box (1 pound) cavatappi 
6 slices bacon, diced 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2 cups 2 percent milk 
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
1 cup shredded colby-Jack cheese (4 ounces) 
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces) 
8 slices Kraft Deli Deluxe American cheese (6 ounces) 
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. 

2. Cook cavatappi 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain. Meanwhile, in medium-size saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Carefully pour off drippings, returning 2 tablespoons to pan. Add butter. 

3. Whisk in flour until smooth. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. In large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-Jack and mozzarella. 

4. Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 11/4 cups of the cheddar mixture. Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese. 

5. In pasta pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with a generous cup of the bacon-cheese mixture. Repeat layering. 

6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil and broil 3 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving. 

Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika


  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 pounds Stew Meat
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can Beer, 12 Ounce Can
  • 4 cups Beef Stock (or 4 Cups Water + 4 Beef Bouillon Cubes)
  • 2 cups Water (additional, If Needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 4 whole Carrots, Washed, Unpeeled, And Roughly Sliced
  • 4 whole New Potatoes, Quartered
  • Minced Parsley (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. Cut pieces in half. Set aside.
Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
*UPDATE: The liquid should cook down to a thicker state. If it gets too thick/reduces too much, add additional water as needed.
Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. (If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water at a time to replenish the liquid.) Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve in bowls next to crusty French bread. Sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired.

Simple Crab Bisque

1 lbs fresh crab
8 T butter
1 c carrots [optional]
1 large onion
½ c flour
32 oz/1 qt chicken broth
1 small can of tomato paste
2 pinches of cayenne pepper
2 pinches of nugmeg
½ t salt
pepper to taste
1 t smoke paprika
1 can of evaporated milk/coconut milk/cream
½ c sherry [optional]
siracha chili hot sauce [optional]
1. Melt butter in a 8 qt stock pot.
2. While butter is melting, put carrots and onions in a food processor. [I turn mine into mush – but you can chop as much as you’d 
3. Add the carrots and onions to the butter.  Cover and let simmer until vegetables are tender. [~4 min]
4. Whisk in the flour to create a roux.  Allow the flour to cook-out a bit, stirring continually.
5. Gradually add the broth.
6. Add the tomato paste and whisk until smooth. 
7. Bring to boil while stirring almost constantly. 
8. Add the cayenne, nutmeg, salt, pepper, milk of choice, and sherry. Add siracha chili sauce to taste.   [I’ve also added all spice, 
ginger, garlic – whatever you’d like!]
9. Stir in the crabmeat and cook until it is heated through.  Do not boil. 
10. Serve!
Notes:   If it gets too thick, add broth, milk or cream to add more liquid.  

Cathy's Sherried Tomato Soup


  • 6 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 bottle (46 Oz.) Tomato Juice
  • 2 cans (14 Oz. Cans) Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon (up To 3 Tablespoons) Chicken Base
  • 3 Tablespoons (up To 6 Tablespoons) Sugar
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1 cup Cooking Sherry
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Chopped Fresh Basil

Preparation Instructions

Sauté diced onions in butter until translucent. Then add canned tomatoes, tomato juice, chicken base, sugar, pinch of salt, black pepper and stir. Bring to a near boil, then turn off heat. Add in sherry and cream and stir. Add in parsley and basil to taste.
Adjust other seasonings and serve with yummy, crusty bread on a cold blustery, dreary, depressing, rainy, snowy day. Then close your eyes.
And give thanks for soups like this.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gospel + safety + time

Read this on Ray Ortlund's blog recently and wanted to share. This is definitely our desire of what to foster for our youth group kids.

It’s what everyone needs.  Everyone.  Gospel + safety + time.  A lot of gospel + a lot of safety + a lot of time.
Gospel: good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit.  Multiple exposures.  Constant immersion.  Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.
Safety: a non-accusing environment.  No finger-pointing.  No embarrassing anyone.  No manipulation.  No oppression.  No condescension.  But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls.
Time: no pressure.  Not even self-imposed pressure.  No deadlines on growth.  Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly.  A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level.  God is patient.
This is what our churches must be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time.  It’s where we’re finally free to grow.
p.s. not sure why this is in all isn't on my screen, sorry :(

Monday, January 14, 2013


Just a little read to warm me up. Sitting in the basement, my toes are freezing and looking at this post makes my mouth water. Only wishing I had the ingredients in the house for any of these soups......Yum!

(pic from PW)

Friday, January 11, 2013


Just thinking about Prayer. About my desire to spend more time in prayer and be more intentional in praying in this new year. I'm thankful for my email accountability group who encourages me to read and pray faithfully and who shares trials they are going through and requests for prayer. It's such a blessing to see into people's hearts and struggles and know that I'm not alone in mine.

On my heart right now -
1. Reading about Hobby Lobby and wondering how long we will have some of the freedoms we have always enjoyed and taken for granted, particularly as Christians...

2. Abortion...........

3.And a sweet boy named Chase who is just 3 years old and has a rare type of cancer. I try to pray for him often, especially at night (along with other pregnant ladies & new moms at our church) because I love the idea of thinking of this boy being showered in prayers from people all over the country and world even, literally around the clock. Oh that this boy would be healed and that this whole thing would bring much praise and honor to the Lord. You will see that it is already if you read Ellie's blog (Chase's mom). They are an amazing family and have handled this whole amazingly hard situation as only people can who know the Lord and trust in Him fully for their & their son's future.

A picture of Chase helping his nurse with labs

UPDATE on Chase - his most recent spinal tap revealed that it was negative for cancerous cells! Though this doesn't speak to the state of his tumor and cancer as a whole, it's SUCH encouraging news. Praying this treatment continues to work on his little body and all the cancer present in it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

4 month check up

I guess our "big boy" isn't so BIG after all?! Maybe it's that round head and kissable cheeks that are deceiving....But he's 13lbs 14oz - only 19% for weight and 23.25" - 50% for height
Hmmm......well, he's perfect we think :)
Noah has been SUCH a good man. His naps & night time routine are very predictable these days which is good, but makes him less mobile, so we are stuck at home more, but guess that's better in the winter anyway? Also, he's a really happy little man. Smiles, laughs and coos SO much. LOVE getting him out of bed. He's so, so sweet and SO happy to see me. And he loves watching Lucy talk and dance and play. It was also amazing to see how happy he was to see his Daddy after he was gone for a whole weekend. The little guys wouldn't stop looking at him and smiling! Preciousness. Anyway, here's a few pics of our "round man" who apparently isn't too round! :)

3 months

 4 months

Thursday, January 3, 2013


A little late, but just got the photos from my dad :)
Proof that we celebrated it and just a reminder again of how much we are thankful for this year.