Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gone All Day Beef Stew

This is one of the best beef stew recipes I've found.  All of the ingredients go in the crock pot before I leave for work and when I come in the door at the end of the day...ooohhh  la smells delicious in my house.

Take a look at "Gone All Day Beef Stew"
2 pounds cooked beef chuck, cut in 1-inch to 2-inch cubes.  I use leftover roast beef or steak.
3 medium carrots cut into bite-size pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup celery, cut in 1-inch chunks
Onion, to taste, finely chopped
Fresh mushrooms, sliced and optional
1 can tomato soup, undiluted
1 cup water or red wine
1/4 cup flour
Mix these three ingredients together and pour into crock pot.

Add 2 beef bouillon cubes
1 T. oregano
Salt and Pepper

Add the vegetables and beef. to the soup mixture. Stir everything really well. Cover and set crock pot on low.  Cook 6 to 8 hours.
Here is the completed stew.  I serve this with Artesan Bread.  It is delicious and amazing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ice Fishing

Last weekend I visited the Way North Frozen Tundra to visit my parents.  My brother and Dad invited me to go ice fishing with them on The Big Lake.  As we drove onto the lake, the only thing I could see was the one truck you can see here.  Otherwise, there was nothing but white.  Somehow Dad knew which direction to drive and after a couple of miles, he drove right up to the fish house he'd left out there days before.
Inside the fish house there is a furnace, with a nice blower to make it toasty warm.  And then six holes to drop our fishing lines into.
The black circle is the top that gets placed over the holes after fishing.  Here my brother is getting ready to fish.
I fished from two holes.  I held the pole for the one hole and here you can see I propped my pole on a 5-gallon pail.
Here I'm scooping the slushy ice from the hole.  Overnight the ice tried to freeze so this slushy stuff has to be cleaned out.
I caught the first fish.  This is a perch and we did keep it.
I caught the second and third fish, too.  These are jumbo perch and were fun to reel in.
Then I got the northern.  We figured it was about a 3-pound northern.
The northern was thrown outside of the fish house and then later we put it in pail so it wouldn't freeze to the ground.
Here is part of our catch.   The tiny minnow gives you perspective to the size of my jumbo perch.  It should be noted that I, the novice fisher woman, caught the most fish during our outing!  The tiny perch at the bottom right is one my dad kept as a joke.
The traffic on the lake picked up in the afternoon.  Ice houses were pulled out.
This man drove a snowmobile out on the lake.  He grabbed his auger to drill the hole in the ice in a random location away from all other fish houses.
Four-wheelers were driven out and the guys sat on the bucket or on the vehicle and would fish for awhile and then pack up and drive to another location, drill another hole and try their luck at that spot.
Because of a forecast of a major snowstorm, Dad decided we would pull the ice house off the lake.  Apparently it is too difficult pulling the trailer with deep, fresh snow.
We packed up and are ready to leave the lake.  Notice how barren it is behind us!  
This is an ice heave.  You avoid driving near these on lakes as the ice is thin near them.
This is the last picture driving on the lake and we are ready to drive up on the shore and start the trip home.
Back at the house, my mom is mashing potatoes and preparing a delicious supper.
All of our fish was cleaned, rinsed and covered with ShoreLunch.  Dad and my brother fried the fish outside in the deep fryer.
Jumbo perch.  An absolutely delicious meal.  Actually, it was an amazing meal.

Seek God Early

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed.  Mark 1:35.

When Jesus told us to abide in Him and in His Word, He used the Greek word meno, which is translated in Strong's concordance as "continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry."  We are to spend time with God--continually.  When we do, we get in the flow of His plan for our day.

We are not told to wish for everything to work together; we are told to seek God for a fresh word each day.  If we seek Him early in the day, we will have "a word in due season" to share with others (see Proverbs 15:23).  We can succeed at what God calls us to do, if we listen for His instructions.  He has said, "If you seek Me early and diligently, you will find me" (see Proverbs 8:17).
The above is from Joyce Meyer's Starting Your Day Right.

Words that stand out to me in this devotional are:
remain, continually, flow, seek, share, listen.

What words stand out for you?  Ask God to show you what you are to glean from this devotional and then read it again.

You might be amazed at what the second reading reveals to you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy 90th Birthday

This distinguished-looking man is my father-in-law.  The picture is from many years ago when our local newspaper wrote an article on the family business.

He is a man that is all heart.  I am pretty sure if we could see inside of his body that his heart would take up all of the room in there.  He is caring and giving like no one else I know.  He loves people.

Today is his birthday and he is 90.  He will celebrate in his skilled-care facilty room as he is recovering from pneumonia and dehydration.  I hope during his therapy sessions they go a little easy on him as a birthday present.

I am blessed to be his daughter-in-law.  He is an amazing man.  Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In the Midst...

Thank you for praying for my father-in-law.  He spent three days in the hospital and has been dismissed to a skilled care nursing facility.  His strength was reduced and he still has pneumonia.  Having some extra nursing care is certainly a good thing.  If you ask him, the physical, speech and occupational therapy he is getting is "for the birds".  He isn't as appreciative of the exercises but he is doing them. 

Kidlet Three's hockey team has placed first out of 12 teams for district games.  It has been such an exciting year.  In a tournament-style playoff, the teams play against each other, again, and the top two teams will move onto regionals.  They have won two of the last three games.  There is one more game left to be played and if they win...onto regionals they go.  If the lose, the hockey season is over.  So much is riding on that one game.  Next Sunday afternoon the future of this team will be decided!

So in the midst of all this, I've been cleaning.  Call it stress reduction or something.  The cleaning started in my china hutch.  It is a corner unit packed full of family treasures.

The china is a set my dad purchased in Japan in
the 1950's when he was in the Navy. 
I use these dishes for holidays.  The pattern
is simple and dainty.
The teapot, cups, saucers, cream and sugar bowl
are from my mom's side of the family. 
I don't use the tea set as they china is too delicate.
The angels are ceramics that my grandma made.
How in the world does dust get so thick inside of a china hutch?
Peeking through the doors into the hutch there seemed
to be a gray haze on my crystal.  It was dust! 
I took out all of the crystal and washed it up.
To let it dry completely I let each piece sit out for a day on my kitchen table.
I have started using the glasses and the water pitcher in my entertaining.
Too many of these pieces sit and pick up dust.  I've decided to start using them. 
In the midst of hospitalizations, hockey and hutches, God is good.  Grandpa is getting stronger, Kidlet Three is having some great life experiences and I'm getting some cleaning done.

What are you in the midst of?

Monday, February 13, 2012


I've had to prioritize and that means not posting for a few days.  We're heading into hockey play-off games, there was some serious cleaning that needed to be done in my house and my father-in-law has been hospitalized.

So even now, my priorities are to keep this post short and just ask you to pray for "Pat", my father-in-law.  He has pneumonia, is dehydrated and very weak.

God bless each of you.  When I can, I'll post again!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wi Fi Passwords

The Husband's Dad lives in an assisted-living home.  There is Wi Fi available but we've never asked for the password.  While we were waiting for Grandpa, Kidlet Three decided to figure out the password.  Here is the list of passwords a 14-year-old boy would pick for an assisted-living home wi fi access:




He sat there shouting out one password idea after another.  There were more than what I listed but some were less tasteful (hey, he is 14). 

We got the giggles and never did go to the front desk to see what the real password was.  It was just more fun laughing together!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God-man Jesus

Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!  Mark 4:41

He was, at once, man and God.  There he was, the single most significant person who ever lived.  Forget MVP; he is the entire league.  The head of the parade?  Hardly.  No one else shares the street.  Who comes close?  Humanity's best and brightest fade like dime-store rubies next to him.

Dismiss him?  We can't.  Resist him?  Equally difficult.  Don't we need a God-man Savior?  A just-God Jesus could make us but not understand us.  A just-man Jesus could love us but never save us.  But a God-man Jesus?  Near enough to touch.  Strong enough to trust.  A next door Savior.  A Savior found by millions to be irresistible. 

From Grace For the Moment by Max Lucado
I know this God-man Jesus and He is pretty amazing.  Check Him out...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Confession time.  We have eaten out almost every supper (supper is the Frozen Tundra word for evening meal) for over a week.  My excuse is hockey games that fall during the evening meal, a father-in-law that likes to eat out and is lonely and we can't say no to him, and then our small group had a meal together.  So it has been awhile since I've had to the opportunity to make a meal.  And oh does a home-cooked meal taste good!

For our Super Bowl meal, the boys (The Husband and Kidlet Three) voted on Creamy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.  An old Betty Crocker cookbook of mine has the best recipe for this casserole.  In fact, in the margin of the cookbook I'd written "Very Good" with at least three exclamation points several years ago. 

For some reason I was intimidated by "Scalloped Potatoes" for years.  Probably because my mom's recipe was so good and I didn't want to disappoint myself with some failure.  Thankfully I found the following recipe, which may in fact be the same one my mom follows!  Don't be intimidated, give this recipe a try!

2 pounds potatoes
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 T. butter

Heat 3 T. butter in saucepan over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Return to heat until boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.
I used turkey ham and cut into cubes, about 2 cups worth.
Slice potatoes.
Pour about 1/2 cup white sauce into the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole.
Layer on potatoes and ham.
Cover that layer with more white sauce.
Continue layering ending with sauce.
Dot the top with 1 T. butter.  (Second confession of this post:  I used a whole lot more butter to "dot" the top.  Paula Dean would love me).
Cover and bake 30 minutes in a 350-degree preheated oven.
Uncover and cook 60 minutes more (or until potatoes are tender).
Since I was in a slicing mood, I thinly sliced carrots and steamed them in water and another 1 T. of butter until they were crisp-tender.

Our meal consisted of carrots, apple slices and lots and lots of Creamy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.

It must have been an amazing meal.  There were NO leftovers!  Or maybe it was because everyone was so happy to have a home-cooked meal.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies - Gluten Free

Baking gluten free has proven to be a challenge for me.  Each cookie recipe I have tried results in a flat, crisp cookie when I'm looking for a soft, chewy one.  I found and subscribed to a magazine, Easy Eats, that is entirely focused on gluten-free cooking and baking.  In a previous issue was a recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  When Kidlet One was home for Christmas, we put on our aprons and spent the afternoon making gluten-free cookies.  This was one of the recipes we tried.

When we served the cookies to the rest of the family, words like "these are really gluten free?" or "these cookies are delicious" were heard.   For any of you looking for a tasty, gluten-free cookie, here it is!

1 cup Jeanne's Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 t. vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a small bowl, mix together the flour blend, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and beat in the melted butter and vanilla.  Increase the speed to medium and add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Beat in chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  When the dough is ready, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place confectioners' sugar in a small bowl.

Using a tablespoon, portion out the dough and roll into balls with your hands; coat with confectioners' sugar.  Gently shake off any excess sugar and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, until puffed and slightly cracked, 15 to 17 minutes.  Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Rub-A-Dub-Dub...reading the Bible in the bathtub. Soaking in those bubbles and soaking in God's Word.  Isn't she cute with her rubber ducky and all of those bubbles!

  It is what I do.  Seriously.  But before I get into that, this replica of me was made by Prairie Woman's daughter.  MB used that fimo clay and just look at the details!  Curls in my hair and toes on my feet.  The faucets on the tub look real.  I just love this because it makes me giggle and yearn for my quiet times with God.  In the bathtub.

Finding a spot to pray, read and spend time with God and not be interrupted is difficult for almost every woman/mom.  But it is so important.  Over time I have found the bathtub to be my spot.  I sing, cry, pray out loud and fill the tub with warm water when I've been in there long enough for the water to turn cold.   My family does tease me.  But at least my friend made me this Woman-Soaking-Praying-In-The-Tub gift because she knows the importance that this tubby time is for me!

SO (capital letters intended to give emphasis to the word), how excited was I when I read my daily devotion from Joyce Meyer the other day.  From her Starting Your Day Right devotional, here is what I read:

Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; for consider how great are the things He has done for you.  1 Samuel 12:24.

To have peace, keep your eyes on God.  Get alone to fellowship with Him.  If you have to get in a closet and sit in the middle of all your shoes and hang clothes over your head to hide in order to find it!  Then focus on all that God has done for you.

Jesus said to go to your most private room when you pray to the Father, and He will reward you openly for the time you spend with Him (see Matthew 6:6).  Don't miss out on God's abundant blessings for your life.

******** for your tub.  Get in there with your Bible and read His Word.  Then, sit back in the bubbles and praise Him.  Listen to what He has to say to you, too.  Or, if you would rather, run for your closet like Joyce Meyer.  Just do it.