Friday, December 9, 2011

Just thought I would share a few pictures of my Christmas decorations this year.  Not much changed, but they are still fun to look at if you are like me!  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas to all.  Hope you are enjoying this time of preparation for the big day as much as I am!
Have a Blessed Season!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Texas Corn Bread

I am bad and I didn't take a picture, but I so wanted you to have this recipe!  It is absolutely the best corn bread you will ever eat.  At least I think so.  My mother bought the little cookbook around 50 years ago.  It is "LBJ Barbeque Cook Book" by the caterer to the LBJ Ranch - Walter Jetton.  The actual writer is Arthur Whitman.  Be sure to read the entire recipe.  It is quite comical since it was originally made to be cooked out on the open range.  I added my more modern version at the end for all us Southern City Folk. 
I had not had this recipe in a rather long time and I still had memories of this recipe being the one that turned me on to corn bread. My mother is 83 now and has been cleaning out and giving things away for several years now.  She was giving away some of her cook books since she rarely uses them these days and I told her that was the cook book I wanted.  It might be the oldest thing she has that reminds me of my childhood.  I remember the day trip to the LBJ Ranch and her purchasing the cookbook.  Was the recipe as good as I remembered?  It ABSOLUTELY was!!

Here is the recipe.

Texas Corn Bread
(LBJ Barbeque Cook Book)

Read entire recipe before starting!

1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup sweet milk (that is plain milk to you young readers)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon soda
1 Tablespoon baking powder

Mix corn meal, flour and salt. Add all the other ingredients and let stand at least 15 minutes without
mixing. Grease the skillet well and heat it. Now stir the mixture and pour into the skillet. Cover the
skillet and bake in the coals, checking every few minutes to see that the heat is right. It is cooked when the top crust is a golden brown color. You will find that the bottom is somewhat moist at this time.
That is fine, for it should be.


Put ½ stick butter in cast iron skillet in a 400° oven and let it melt. Mix corn meal, flour, 4 Tablespoons powdered butter milk and salt in mixing bowl. (I use powdered buttermilk all the time since we don’t drink regular butter milk. Keep it in the refrigerator after opening the container so the powder won’t turn to a hard brick). Add all other ingredients plus a cup of water (to replace the liquid for the buttermilk) on top of the powdered mixture. DO NOT STIR! Pour the hot melted butter on top of all the other ingredients. Let stand for 15 minutes without mixing. This is a very important step. At the end of 13 minutes, return the cast iron skillet to the oven to get hot again. After the full 15 minutes, stir the batter, pour into the hot skillet and bake in 400° oven for 18 – 20 minutes (uncovered) until the corn bread starts loosening around the edges and the top is starting to turn golden and the bottom is really brown. This is so good when it comes out of the oven that you don’t even need to add butter to it! Might want to make two recipes so no one will know you ate the first one all by yourself!

I also made this today with white corn meal because my mother's recipe for corn bread dressing says to use white corn meal.  Works great with that too.  Hope you enjoy!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I am so excited! My daughter upgraded her camera, so I got her old one which is more complicated than a point and shoot type camera, but hopefully, I will be able to do better pictures for my blog! I am starting with my fall decorations. Everything was done on automatic since I was learning about tripod usage. I am really basic. :)). Enjoy the fall pictures and hope they inspire you to do something seasonal at your house. I do think if you decorate for the seasons it says you love your home.

I can see those last two are really dark. Oh well, hope they inspire you nevertheless. Hope you have a Blessed week!

Friday, October 14, 2011


What kind of friend are you? 

What kind of friend do you prefer to have around you? 

One that always agrees with you or one that can help you to see other ways of looking at issues? 

I have found too many times we want friends that will agree with us no matter what the issue.  For instance, your other half, better known as a spouse, husband, wife, etc, does something that really sets you off.  It is just infuriating or maybe frustrating or so dumb.  You get my drift.  They are just so opposite of the way we think they should be.  We have all been there. (If only everyone were as perfect as we are.)  Girls are really bad about this....they run to their best friend and start ragging about their husband.  The friend so many times starts agreeing and may even add fuel to the fire.  Something that may have started out a small issue suddenly becomes major.  It may eventually make you want to give up on a marriage!

Is this the kind of friend you really need and is this the kind of friend you ought to be?  I want to suggest the answer to that question is a rather large NO!  A friend should be there to help you see the issue clearly and maybe even help you see the spouses view point - no matter what her view point is.  Sure she may agree he is a jerk, but she shouldn't tell you that right at this moment. 

A true friend would try to give you positives to look at, help you calm down, and work with you until the situation becomes better.  She would think before she speaks negatively.  She wouldn't add fuel to the fire.   She would pray for you and with you.  After all, a true friend would want to do all she could to help you keep your marriage together.

Think about the kind of friend you are.  It could change your world.

Have a Blessed day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Life's Challenges

Building character.  How does that happen?  How long does it take?  What is the process one must go through?  I really don't have the answers, but by the time you reach your mid 50's, I guess you have developed character whether it is a good character or bad.  The past month, I had an opportunity to reflect on the type of character I have built.

I am not exactly the best at getting my mammograms done in a timely fashion.  One year suddenly is two or three and then I decide I must go.  This time and the last time also, I got called back in for a second look.  This time, it was inconclusive after 7 films and an ultrasound, so I was on my way to UAMS in Little Rock to try and get a conclusion with a MRI.  Now that was an experience! But that isn't my story.  My story is about all the days between all the procedures.

From the first mammogram to the second one was a wait of over two weeks.  During this time, I got aggravated having to wait so long and decided I was going to tell the radiologist about it.  (He is a friend.)  That is a long time for someone not to know if they are sick or not.  However, as I was sitting in the waiting room waiting on the second one, I realized if they did it all in one day, you wouldn't have time to reflect and see your real character.

I am not one to really worry.  I truly believe the Lord is in control and He will see me through wherever my journey in life takes me.  (Now if it is my child, I might not be as strong, but with me, I am pretty good at handling things.)  While waiting on the second mammogram and ultrasound, I sensed that I would need the next step, but I know from countless other women, that this does not mean there is a real problem.  Sure enough, the doctor came in and told me quite honestly, that he could not make a call whether what he was seeing was anything or just a false something and that he would like for me to have an MRI.  I am a logical person, asked where I go for that and he gave me a list of options and said it would be best if my OB/GYN made the appointment for me.  This had been going on for 17 days, so I drove straight to the gynecologist office (another friend of ours) and got the appointment made for 2 days later in Little Rock.  (If I went to Little Rock, I could take a bumper my husband needed to have chromed and see my daughter too!  So that was a logical place to go for a logical thinking person. ha)

Went on a Friday for the MRI expecting the results the next week but it actually took 15 days.  (No one told me to take the films with me so they had to be mailed.  If this ever happens to you, TAKE THE FILMS.)  This is when I had time to reflect.  What if the worst case scenerio happened and I had cancer.  I truly didn't believe that would happen, but you have to prepare.  The worst ending (in the world's eyes) would be death.  Was I ready for that?  Without any hesitation, I said yes.  I know where I am going when I die, and I know who will be waiting for me when I get there.  For a Christian, it is the ultimate reward and healing and I truly believe for a Christian, death is not a bad thing when you face it.  In my heart, I knew that would not be bad at all, EXCEPT for the husband, the daughter and my 83 year old mother that I would be leaving behind.  These three people depend on me for lots of things (at least I tell myself that.)  That would be the hardest part because I would feel I was letting them down and not carrying my load til the end of time which should be many years from now.  But I know, people die all the time and the ones left behind learn to deal with it, each in their own way.  By day 13 of waiting for the MRI results, I knew deep in my heart all was clear.  I had a real peace that only comes from the Lord.

The biggest blessing from this whole event, was not finding out that everything was ok and I did not have cancer.  The biggest blessing was seeing that I am truly not a real worrier even in the midst of a situation like this and seeing the true peace one can have during such a time.  It is a peace that only comes from truly knowing the Lord as your personal Saviour. 

A quote that came across facebook today:
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are." - Bernice Reagon
Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Learning from Trees

 Jeremiah 17: 7 -8
"Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."  

This is one of my favorite scriptures and so applicable today with the drought going on in Texas, but even if there were no drought, it still speaks to our hearts.  We all have times of drought in our lives.  Our nation is facing the largest debt crisis in it's history.  Some have lost their jobs, their homes, their businesses and maybe even their retirement due to this economy.  Some face medical issues where God is the only answer.  Where is your confidence placed?  Do you feel it is up to you to solve the problems you face today?  Or, is your confidence in the Lord?

Matthew 6:27-29 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are

Matthew 6:30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

If you are a person of great Faith, share it with others who may not be so Blessed.  God is good ALL the time.

Have a Blessed day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salty Lessons

Everything is better with salt and sea salt is even better for you, but that is not what this blog is about.  A little salt makes most things taste better, but too much salt can ruin the best dish.  Ask my son-in-law.  The first meal my daughter ever cooked for him included my mother's peach cobbler recipe.  I suggested she double the recipe so they would have plenty.


Cream together:
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar

Sift together:
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in:
1/2 cup milk
and margarine mixture until smooth

Pour into greased baking dish.  Drain juice from 1 large can of peaches; reserving the juice.  Place peaches on the batter.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and pour juice over sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Easy enough!  Double the recipe for a 9x13 dish. 

Not easy when you have never cooked a dish, practically, and you are cooking for someone that could possibly turn out to be your future husband, and you are doubling the recipe.  What if you double the salt and read the measurement as cups rather than teaspoons!  I won't repeat what the son-in-law said, but he had to spit the dessert out of his mouth. 

Fast forward to this past month - about 4 years later to this picture:

That is the same daughter TEACHING a group of my friends how to cook some new dishes!  She is a Pampered Chef hostess now in her spare time.  Who would have ever thought that she would have come so far in 4 years.  The fact that she moved to a small town with 1 1/2 restaurants (one is only open for breakfast and lunch), a pizza place, Sonic and now a Subway has contributed to the need to learn how to cook, as well as being married to a hard working farmer who works long hours in this awful heat and needs a substantial and good meal at the end of the day.  She can make the most awesome dishes now and even has learned to bake home made bread!  Move over Pioneer Woman!  Look closely at that first picture.  She is even making that food look pretty!

Moral of the story:  Read the recipe carefully.  Cups mean cups and teaspoons mean teaspoons.  A little salt does wonders in life.  Too much can ruin a good thing.  Nothing is life is hopeless if you set your mind to do it.  You too can become a good .................. whatever it takes to fill in that blank, if you try.  And, it doesn't hurt to make mistakes if you learn from them.  God is a forgiving God and you too should forgive yourself and move on and accomplish your goals.  And, last but not least, I am one proud mother! 

Have a Blessed day!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Something to ponder.  For those of you with young children, you cannot fathom the amount of love that you have for your child or children.  No one can explain it to you before you give birth to your own children, but it is truly amazing love.  No words can describe the depth of  love you have for them.  Am I right?

So think on this, that same love you have for your child, your parents have for YOU.  Yes, maybe you don't see that love or feel that love coming from your parents, but it is there.  As a parent, you don't lose that love for your children, ever.  Your parents would die for you just as you would die for your children.  Please don't forget that.  Maybe they have not always been there for you.  Maybe they haven't always exhibited their love for you in a way that you could see it, but it is there.  Maybe (surely) they have made mistakes, but these mistakes were not intentional.  Being a parent is always a learning process, even when your children have children.  But they love you still.

Include them in your lives.  Forgive them when they do not do or act exactly the way you think they should.  Forgive them for not loving you they way you think you ought to be loved.  Treat them the way you would want your children to treat you one day when the roles are reversed.   Don't put higher standards on them than you would want your children to put on you one day. 

Pray for them. 

They are your parents.

Have a Blessed day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

For those of you who live in Texarkana, have you been to the Mixing Bowl?  It is one of my favorite stores - one of those stores where you can find any kitchen gadget and I love kitchen gadgets. One thing I bought my dear 83 year old mother was something that looked like a plastic tomato.  It is made to store left over tomato.  Since my mother lives alone and eats salad almost daily, I thought she would love that.  She told me today she was storing 1/2 of her apple in it as well as tomatoes.  (not at the same time...ha)

My latest find was the small bundt pans.

One recipe makes two cakes.

Those are on small plates so don't be deceived.  I used my mother's recipe for Cream Cheese Pound Cake and made two.  One we had for Mother's Day with strawberries and fresh whipped cream and one got frozen for a weekend of camping.  It is a simple recipe and doesn't take pounds of butter like most pound cake recipes.  I thought you might enjoy having the recipe.  Yes, you definitely can make one large cake, but the two small ones were fun!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 yellow butter cake mix
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs

Cream together cream cheese, butter and water.  Beat until smooth.  Add cake mix.  Blend.  Add oil and sugar.  Blend.  Add eggs one at a time mixing in between each one.  Add vanilla.  Pour into greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

I also used a sugar free cake mix and substituted Splenda for the sugar with this same recipe and it turned out just as good.  That works great for anyone who may need to watch their sugar intake. 

A good way to spruce up a cake mix and an easy recipe for those of you who are not used to baking.  Enjoy!

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


This week I celebrated a birthday. When you are young, that is a very special day in your life - one where you expect the whole world to take note. There has to be a party, gifts, friends, cake, etc. Then you become a parent and the world doesn't stop for your birthdays in quite the same fashion as when you were the child. But, you are newly wedded and hopefully someone will remind your hubby to do something for you! Fast forward 30 years into marriage. These are pictures from my birthday.

Do I fly radio control airplanes? NO. Does my husband fly radio control airplanes? A big YES! This is the weekend for his club's Big Bird Event. People started coming in on Wednesday for this weekend event. Since Gary is president of the club, he was out there waiting on them. He even took our camper out so he could stay with them.

Since my birthday interfered with this event, I went by Ironwood Grill - got HIM a rib eye and me their wonderful quesadillas and we ate at the flying field for my birthday. When I was 25, I might have been upset about this lack of attention, but at 57, it was actually very relaxing. I had a very busy week designing houses and since I work from my home, it was a nice break to get out of the house.

The lesson from life this week......don't sweat the details. Don't think the world has to center around you. It is such a Blessing when things like this do NOT bother you anymore. You learn to just go with the flow. Take what life hands you and have fun with it. Setting expectations may lead to disappointments. It is more Blessed to
give than to receive. Living life with that attitude is a sign of maturity.

Have a Blessed day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Do You Need a Boost?

Do you have trouble getting good cell phone service in your home?  Do you have AT&T cell service?  Well we sure have that problem!  When we built out home, we used foil backed decking on the roof and the walls.  The utility bills are great, but the cell service was terrible.  If you called us on our cell phones, we either had to go outside or ask that you call us back on our home phones.  Sometimes I had to resend text messages up to 10 times to get them to work and the phone had to be in certain areas of the house.  Sooooo annoying!

Yesterday we got a letter in the mail from AT&T offering us a free product to correct this problem.  Free?  Made me skeptical so I went on a hunt to see what the catch was.  Turns out, there was NO catch.  It really was free and there was no monthly charge for it.  All I had to do was take the letter into my AT&T store and they would give me this product.  I don't know why or how we were chosen to get this product for free, but I am certainly glad we were!  It is call the  3G Microcell.
It hooks into you wi-fi or internet service.  You have to be on high speed internet.  I opened that letter about 3:45 yesterday afternoon and by the time night fall came, Gary had it installed in our home.  Simple installation.  Just a couple of cords to plug in.  It is amazing.  We are like normal people now.  We can sit on the couch and talk on our cell phones!  The only negative that I can see is that if YOU come to my house and want to use YOUR cell phone, it still will not work well.  It will only work for up to 10 REGISTERED phones.  You go online and register the numbers you want and those phones will have the boosted service.  But hey, how many times are you at my home wanting to use your cell phone?  If you come to see me more often, I will add you to my list of registered phones.  :)

Hope this helps someone out there with the same problem that we had. 

Have a Blessed day! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 Gary has talked about having a garden this year.  Groceries are so expensive and we have all of this land.  I remind him that we also have large rabbits, a ton of birds, at least 10 deer, geese, armadillos and multiple other varmints roaming around at night.  And, I am usually thinking to myself  (I don't say it out loud to him)  how he will not get out there and work a garden.  He has radio control airplanes to fly, houses to build, meetings to attend.  He dreams of things like........


and, I think of bulbs that will bloom one day!

Don't those all look wonderful!  We have such a green thumb!  Well, actually, all of these are inside our house.  I pull them out every year in the Spring to make us look like we have green thumbs. 
I like to keep our island seasonal and it is large enough to have all those pots on there along with various other things.  Everyone that comes into my house asks if the tomatoes are real. 

I did feel the Spring in the air a couple of Saturdays ago and made the trek to Lowes and planted my garden.

Two plants total.

with three blooms already

Not sure this was exactly the garden my husband was dreaming of, but it will be all I want to take care of.  Four plants to be exact in the flower bed right off of my screened porch.  There won't be any need to pull the old canner out of the closet.  But we will have fresh tomatoes and peppers one day if the birds don't enjoy them first.

Have a Blessed day!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Questions on Heaven

Reading is something I  never really did until I was in my forties.  I used the excuse that it put me to sleep which was really the truth.  Then the Left Behind series came out and I started after about 4 of the books had been written so I really got into the habit of reading.  Did it still put me to sleep?  Well, sorta, kinda, but I learned if I got drowsy to get up and go to the bathroom or get a drink or do a few jumping jacks to get my blood flowing and I could read longer.  (Well, I really didn't do the jumping jacks, but I probably should have!)  The books were really good too, so they kept my interest.  Now, it is hard for me to go to sleep at night if  don't read.  And it is even harder to go to sleep if the book is really good.  I am to the point I almost wouldn't need a television to exist.  I know, that is drastic!

Last night I started a new book and just let me tell you, I finished the book before I could go buy groceries today.  It was GOOD!  Less than 200 pages on the Ipad.  One that I couldn't wait to blog about.  It is called Heaven is for Real  and is wrtten by Todd Burpo, the father of the 4 year old that experienced heaven and survived to tell about it in his own way.

(Yes I captured that picture from Amazon so we have the little arrow wanting you to open the book and look inside.  ha)

Have you ever wondered what we will look like in heaven?  Have you ever wondered if there will be animals in heaven?  Have you ever wondered if you will still need glasses in heaven?  Have you ever wondered if your family members will know you?  Or will you know the baby you miscarried and never got to meet?  Have you ever wondered if when you pray, someone is really listening?  And, does it really help the situation you are in when you pray?  And the most fascinating part is have you ever wondered what Jesus really looks like? 

You know, if you never think about heaven, then you might need to think about whether you will really be there or not?  The book answers that question too!  Even if you aren't a reader and think you don't have time to read a book, please buy this book and read it.  It is very enlightening.  Who knows, you may get hooked on reading too. 

Have a Blessed day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Reactions

I was just asked by Google to give them my phone number.  If I don't, I could lose all my information if I forget my password or get hijacked.  I think I will take my chances.  I don't need anyone else trying to sell me anything by phone.  I don't think I will forget my password.  If I do, then so be it.  Have any of you ran across this?

That is not why I signed on to my blog.  I had a thought that crossed my mind the other day about dealing with spouses.  We have been married 31 years and I do think it has finally gotten somewhat easier.  Don't let this discourage those of you that haven't been married but just a few years.  I am sure it won't take you as long to figure out your spouse and their wierd  different ways.  As I posted earlier, Gary and I have both started trying to use a treadmill faithfully.  We turned Gary's office/guest bedroom into an exercise/guest bedroom.  We moved Gary into my real office which is another whole story in itself that I really can't post about since Gary reads my blogs.  Life goes on.

Since the room has a treadmill now, it must have a tv.  Purchase number two (treadmill being number 1).  Then the tv needed a home so we made purchase number three.  (Maybe it would have been cheaper to join a workout center!)  I looked the internet and local businesses over and finally found the right media cabinet for our room.
I absolutely love the finish it has.  It so goes with our house and the decorating style I have used.  We had to wait weeks for it to come in.  Finally, it arrived.  Of course, where we have this sitting in the room, it blocked a huge G. Harvey print that was hanging on the wall.  The print needed to be on the opposite wall and that is where life's lesson came into play. 

The room is pretty tight on space and due to the weight and size of the painting, I had to have Gary's help to hang it.  I had a small metal table in the room and I put it over next to the new media cabinet to get it "out of the way".  When Gary picked the painting up to see where I wanted it, the painting bumped into the little metal table which fell into the new media center.  Metal against wood.  Not good.  How would you have reacted to your husband sending your precious, one of a kind metal table flying into your new, precious media cabinet?  Precious, or .......

Would you tell him how stupid he was?
Would you yell at him?
Would you go balistic?
Would you point out for him to be careful because he could be damaging something?
Would you have said, "Babe, you need to watch what you are doing"?
Would you have called him something you wouldn't want your children to hear?

That is my point today.  He is an adult.  He didn't pick the painting up and say to himself, "Let's see how many things I can destroy while this is in my hands."  He knew, as well as I did, the consequences of what just happened.  I didn't need to point out his mistake.  He is an ADULT.  He could figure that out for himself.  He didn't need me helping him make that judgement.  What he did need was my assistance to pick up the little metal table, move it over just a little more (and even possibly while moving it, I could check out the new media cabinet for any damage, for which I am thankful to report to you, there was no damage.)  What good would it have done for me to complain?  None whatsoever.  Would it have changed any thing? In fact, the next time I needed help, he might not want to help me.  It was a time to keep my lips sealed and to say nothing and show no disgust on my face.  Stay calm and collected.  IT WAS AN ACCIDENT AND HE IS AN ADULT!  He didn't need a lecture or one of those looks that would kill.

So many times in life, we need to keep our mouths closed.  We don't need to say everything that is running across our minds.  None of us are perfect. 

Matthew 7:12 reads, "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

This one verse could save a lot of relationships.
Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bacon Grease

It stinks getting old, especially when your life centers around food, and the doc (God love him - he is a dear true friend) tells you that you have to change your eating habits.  Actually, it is probably more like you have to give up ALL your eating habits.  What makes it even worse is when you have the opposite problem that your spouse has.  I am not suppose to eat fat - he is not suppose to eat sugar or carbs.  The only thing left that we can share are green vegetables.  Not good.  But you know, it isn't near as bad as even a few years ago.  New products are coming out all the time to make your life better when you have to eat healthier. 

I grew up where you never threw out the bacon grease (yes, we really ate bacon and still do when the babe and the farmer come to town).  Bacon grease was a necessity if you were cooking in the South.  It was used for cooking almost all vegetables, making gravy, scrambling eggs, greasing the pan for biscuits - you name it.  We stored it in a jar and never ran without.  And if a little flavored the pot, a whole lot made it wonderful.  This was like Paula Deen and her butter.  A real Southern cook had to have her bacon grease.  I am here to share with you that you can get the same flavor without the grease.  I have found three wonderful new seasonings that bring back the flavor in cooking.
This little box is a life saver!  It comes with 6 or 8 little packets.  Just dump one packet into the vegetable you are cooking along with the broth or water that you are using and you will never know you didn't have the bacon grease.  It is wonderful in peas, green beans, and last night I made cabbage in a skillet with this and my next product and water.  NO grease, olive oil, butter, PAM whatsoever.  And it was just as good as the real thing.  And it has all zeros in the nuitrition label except for sodium.  You may not even need to add much salt when using this product. 

I added this to the cabbage also.  It is J&D's Bacon Salt - Original.  This is Gary's favorite new thing to cook with.  He adds it to everything!  Sure glad he doesn't make desserts!  (Oh, we aren't suppose to have those anymore.  oops! Dr. Gabbie - sorry)  It is a low sodium product or so it says on the label.  It is another way to add the flavor of bacon without the fat.  I found both of these products at Super One Foods in the seasoning section.  If you can't find them in your favorite grocery store, you can always order them online.

This last product was actually the first one I found out of the three.  Boy does it make hamburgers taste better, even if you are grilling them.  It is also great in a lot of vegetables.  It just gives them a hint of out doors cooking.  And have you noticed how Wal-Mart is getting new things all the time.  I found mini cucumbers there that looked about the size of a wiener.  They are wonderful and crisp.  No large seeds in them.  They also had mini colorful sweet peppers to add to the salads.  They look like miniature bell peppers.  Use one or two of these when cutting up your salad and you don't waste the other half of a large one.  We love those in our salads.  You know salads and broccoli are about all Gary and I can share these days besides the treadmill. 

Have fun cooking healthy and have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guard Your Heart

My heart suddenly became burdened today for young couples.  I know that problems can happen in all marriages, but it was young couples that spoke to me today.  I just wanted to take a moment and say, "Guard your hearts and your families."  Don't take any family member for granted.  Treat them as special as you would if you knew that you would never see them again after today. 

Recently, I saw a young couple that you would consider the ideal young family.  They are successful, have a darling family, go to church, involved in the name it, they are the epitomy of what you think a young family should be.  But I was told, rather matter of factly, that the young father was known to have cheated on his wife.  My heart was BROKEN!  The family is together and I don't really know any circumstances or details or even if the rumors are even true, but it got me to thinking how easily life can change. 

We sometimes get wrapped up in our children, our jobs, the community, the church and let those closest to us fall by the wayside.  Take time today to tell your spouse how much they mean to you.  Do something, maybe weekly, to make them feel special.  It doesn't have to be big - just special.  And, most of all, never put yourself in a situation where you can be tempted.  Married people do not need to go on a regular basis where singles hang out.  Does that sound anti-social?  Old fashion?  Maybe it is, but maybe it will save a marriage.  Is your marriage worth it?  Don't you think it would be better to do activities with married couples who have healthy relationships?  Why put yourself in the position of having to say "No" to something that could break your marriage apart?  Life is hard enough when you avoid these situations all together.  Sunday school is the best place in the world to find friends trying to make a great life for their families.  They will have more in common with you than anywhere else you might look for friendships.  It is a great place to start life long friendships with people all working for a common good - family.

On another day this past week, I was around a young couple who is doing it right.  They started their marriage by joining a church and getting involved.  I mean really involved.  Before they started their family, they were teaching in the childrens department at their church.  They had made many wonderful friends in their church and you could tell, the church loved them.  When they had the birth of their first baby, the hospital room was proof that the church loved them.  They had visitors coming and going from the church. Lots of young couples visiting.  It gave me chills to see how this young couple has grown in the Lord.  They are guarding their hearts, serving the Lord and trying to do things right and I told them how happy it made me to see how their lives were going in such a wonderful direction.  They are not my biological children, but they are my children in my heart. 

You choose the life you want to live.  Learn from other's mistakes.  Keeping a family together for a lifetime takes work.  It is hard work sometimes.  And, it is even harder when you don't allow the Lord in to help.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible speaks to this.....

Proverbs 4:23  "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gold Dust

Should I assume that those of you who did not comment on the last post actually got your feelings hurt?  (SMILE).  We all have that happen occasionally.  I decided I needed to make a neutral post so I am going to give you a wonderful recipe for a seasoning mix.  It is from a dear friend of  my mother's.  This lady is now in a nursing home with Alzheimer's which makes this recipe all the more special.  I will give you the recipe and then tell you how I have used it.

MaMa's Brisket Rub
8 - 11 lb. brisket, trimmed
1 cup meat tenderizer
1/2 cup hickory smoke salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
3/4 cup chili powder
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/3 cup paprika

Mix all ingredients together except for brisket.  Store in a jar.  Rub brisket liberally with seasoning mix.  Bake, covered at 200 degrees for 14 - 16 hours, OR,
Bake, covered at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 250 degrees for 4 hours. 
You can also put it in a browning bag when cooking this way.

Now for my story - I couldn't find the hickory smoke salt so I made the mix without it.  I had a pork loin and wanted to smoke it so I added the rub minus the hickory smoke salt to the loin, put it in the smoker for 4 hours and served it to Gary for dinner.  I had tasted it right when it came out of the smoker and thought how good it was!  Gary was eating it for dinner and said he thought this was the best meat he had ever had in his mouth.  Score one for me!  The flavor was outstanding!!

A couple of weeks later, I decided to grill some hamburger patties.  I added this rub to the meat along with some frozen chopped onions and a small amount of real bacon bits.  As Gary was eating his patty (no bread), he said this is really a great hamburger patty.  I confessed I had used the same rub as I used on the pork loin.  Score two for me!  We have started calling it gold dust, because it was really making meat taste better.

Then, I decided to finally use it on a brisket.  Gary has always loved watching cooking shows that deal with barbeque.  He has never quite perfected the art of cooking a brisket.  The last one he tried, he marinated for days in some concoction and then sent it to the smoker.  He ordered me to mist it with apple juice several times during the day.  It was a major ordeal.  I smelled like mesquite wood all day.  The brisket turned out ok, but not perfect.  Really too black on the outside (duh - the sugar in the apple juice burned).  We ate it, talked about what he should do different.  He wasn't quite there yet on perfecting a brisket. 

Well......I decided to cook MY brisket a few weeks later.  I sprinkled the rub on the brisket liberally (still minus the hickory smoke salt) and put the brisket in the smoker. Nothing more, nothing less.  I never misted it.  I totally let it cook on its own.  I cooked it 8 hours and we brought it in.  You guessed it.....a great brisket!  I do think you need to add some salt to the brisket rub if you don't have the hickory smoke salt.  That was all this brisket lacked.  And, if you don't have a smoker to cook the meat in, you would really need the hickory smoke salt to give it that wonderful smoked flavor.  But I think this rub will make any meat taste better.  It was also suggested that the rub be applied the night before cooking to allow it to work better, but I am here to tell you, it was good even when it didn't have time to "work". 

Gary says he is giving the meat smoking up to me.  I assured him it was not me, but a simple rub.  Don't you find most of the wonderful things in life are simple - not complicated. 

Have a Simple, Blessed Day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I have a real pet peeve that I am going to rant on today - people who think of themselves as responsible adults yet they get their feelings hurt over and over and even worse, they are always telling people they got their feelings hurt.  I just want to go up to them and say "GROW UP!" Someone doesn't come over to speak to them - they get their feelings hurt.  Someone did this for one person and not for them - they get their feelings hurt.  Someone forgot their birthday - they get their feelings hurt.  Someone has some material possession which they cannot have - they get their feelings hurt.  Someones children treat their parents better than their children treat them - they get their feelings hurt.  Someones child is a starter on the team and their child is surely better than that one - they get their feelings hurt. (That one really bothers me because they teach their child to react in this same way.) Someone is asked to participate in something and they weren't - they get their feelings hurt.  The list can go on forever.  They get their feelings hurt over the small and the not so small.  No one or no thing in life is quite good enough for them - ever. I know the Lord must have blessed me with the gift of over looking most things in life that people do that annoy or should upset me and for that I am SO thankful!  My motto is life is too short to get upset over the little things.  But I also feel life is too short to let the rather large things in life upset you too. 

I think this concept came across to me probably after having a child.  I realized then that life is NOT about me.  So many parents never realize that.  They still want life to be all about them and their children take second place.  Excuse me!  If you want to have first place, then don't conceive children.  Once you have a child, you move on to second base.  They are your responsibility and they should come first.  You should WANT them to be first.  They need their clothes washed, their tummies fed, their minds stimulated, their bodies hugged, their souls loved, their bottoms spanked, their attitudes corrected - the list goes on and on.  It is your job, your duty, your hearts desire to do these things for them.  More than likely, there will not be any time left for you for at least 18 years.  Does that sound awful?  Then you are probably getting your feelings hurt on a daily basis.  You should have so much love in you for that child that it is no more about you, but about caring for them.  When you become selfless like this, then you stop getting your feelings hurt.  That is the beginning of this process. 

You begin seeing your life as how can I help those I love, and maybe even those I don't love, rather than how can everyone help me. Selfishness is the root to getting those feelings hurt.  It is not all about you. You should want to help others and be glad they do not have to help you! There are lessons to be learned when you feel you have been wronged and that is how I try to look at life.  Maybe the Lord put that unjust thing in my life to teach me something.  Don't get your feelings hurt.  Learn from it. You are responsible for making YOUR life good or bad.  NO ONE ELSE is.  Not your spouse, not your children, not your co-workers - YOU.  If you find yourself in the position of having hurt feelings more often than you should, look at yourself for the solution and not to others.  Maybe keep a log of when you get your feelings hurt and what the situation was.  You may be surprised at how often this happens.  When reading over the log, you may even be surprised at how childish the things are that hurt your feelings.  If it were someone else getting their feelings hurt over this, would you think they were being petty?  Concentrate on helping to make others happy.  Forgive the person that hurt your feelings. Ask Jesus to change you. Acts 20:35 says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  I say, if you concentrate more on giving, you will have less hurt feelings.  Life is not always fair.  It is how you deal with the unfair times that shows the world the real you.

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Removing Mundane

I wanted to share with you a few new decorative items I have added to my house in recent days.  Thought it might prompt a new idea for your house!

The first one is with apothecary jars.  I have always had an attraction to jars.  I love how there are so many shapes, sizes and colors.  And apothecary jars are even more wonderful.  They just shimmer and make the house feel so clean.  I know that might be weird but that is what they do for me.  Now mind you, if they aren't sparkling clean, they won't give me that feeling.  The nice thing is the large variety of things you can put into the jars to make them work in your home.  Most of you know my home is not a girlie home.  Every man that walks into my home says how much they love my house.  I know.  My husband is blessed to have a wife like me.  (Smile)  I have always had some tomboy in me and that comes out in my decorating style.  So apothecary jars didn't quite fit in.....until now.  I finally found something that would make them work in my home!
Old games!  I found this old bingo set at a garage sale for 10 cents!  I bet the lady would want it back if she could see it now.  As a child, I played hours of bingo with my family and friends.  This brings back warm and fuzzy feelings for me every time I look at those jars sitting right above my office desk.  Another thing I found was this -
Old wooden dominoes.  A piece or two was missing but that didn't matter to me at all.  I found these at the Canton, TX Flea Market and because of their large size, there were enough pieces to fill this jar and a jar for Whitney too.  If you have never been to this flea market, and you love looking at junk and even new things, it is touted to be the largest flea market in the world.  Honestly, if you stay close by (which is hard to do due to the size of this event) and shopped the entire weekend, I dare say you could not walk the entire event.  To find the really neat things, you have to shop the outside vendors.  These dominoes came from a little elderly black couple that had set up shop.  He was so sweet about telling me there was a missing piece.  I am thinking I don't care cause I am decorating with them, but I acted disappointed.  Then when I got ready to pay, he sent me to his wife.  That was one smart little old man! ha  Still looking for old Scrabble games.  Those little wooden letters would look so cute displayed in another apothecary jar.  Never think they are only for lemons, plums and apples.  Think outside the box.  That is what makes a home unique.

The next item I got was from Pottery Barn and was a lot more than 10 cents for sure and my husband posted on Facebook that it looks like the old time dryers women used to dry their hair.  It is my touch of contemporary added to my relaxed home.  See what you think.

Sorry the second picture is dark.  I am not a professional photographer and don't really care as much about the quality as the affect on the look of my room.  That lamp is so heavy that I could barely carry it from my office, where I assembled it, to my living room - maybe 20'.  It is real quality.  I think it has to weigh that much due to the boom arm that sticks so far out.  If you like this lamp and want to order it, make sure you read the size and know for sure it really is 52" wide!  It takes a rather large space to display this lamp but I think it updated the living room just a bit.  I think every house needs a mixture of styles.  Nothing bores me more than a truly traditional house that is matchy, matchy.  I look for the unusual and figure out how to make it work in the house.  Speaking of unusual, take a look at this.

It is an old, stained window frame that my LOVING husband so GRACIOUSLY hung for me.  Another heavy piece, hung in a difficult place, but I knew he could handle it. I put some hooks into the frame before he hung it and have plans to change the things hanging on it from time to time.  Of course, it would look good with nothing hanging, but it gives me an outlet to change things around.  That piece may stay with the house should we ever sell.  It took quite a bit to get it into place. 

Hope this inspires you to look for something besides a painting to add to your walls.  I love paintings, but a house full of one type of thing gets mundane and boring.  Kind of like people with only one interest in their lives!  Broaden your horizons whether it is in the home or in your self.  The more things you try, the more chances you have of getting it right.  We all fail sometimes but it is those who learn from failure that go further in life.

Have a Blessed day!