Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lessons from a snow birds...

The ice and sleet has blanketed eveything and brought a quiet rest to the house and to my spirit, as I watch the birds outside my window I am reminded of Matthew 6:26 "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
I know that He is telling me to be still and know that He is God and that there is nothing impossible to Him. He has told me in Isaiah 41:10 "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I      will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dessert Cheese Balls

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 box graham crackers

Set out cream cheese and margarine until room temperature. Mix together cream cheese, margarine, vanilla extract, both sugars and chocolate chips. Roll into a ball and refrigerate several hours.

Just before serving, roll ball in chopped pecans.

Heath Bar Cheese Ball
16 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (no substitutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup crushed Heath bar bits

Soften cream cheese and butter. Beat well, then cream in brown sugar and confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla extract. Fold in candy. Refrigerate in a bowl for 3 hours.

Form into a ball, then roll in chopped pecans.

Reese's Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Ball
16 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup mini chocolate chip
1/2 cup chopped peanut butter cups
1 cup chopped peanuts

Soften cream cheese and butter. Beat well, then cream in brown sugar and confectioners' sugar and peanut butter. Add vanilla extract. Fold in peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips. Fold in candy. Refrigerate in a bowl for 3 hours.

Form into a ball, then roll in chopped peanuts.

Cookies n' Cream Cheese Ball

16 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped Oreo cookies
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies

Soften cream cheese and butter. Beat well, then cream in brown sugar and confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla extract. Fold in chopped Oreo cookies. Form into a ball, and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Roll in crushed Oreo cookies.

This is not just for a party or guests this is easy to make and your family will think it is such a decadent treat and make them feel so special. I always carry one to our ladies Cookie Exchange; I also love the fact that when I do carry it somewhere there's never a duplicate. Use your imagination when selecting cookies, I use the regular or chocolate graham cracker cookie sticks , and sugar cookies. You can also use you imagination in deciding what to roll it in, candies, nuts, coconut, crushed cookies...Enjoy ya'll.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Trifle

This dish definitely has the WOW factor, but can also cause some confusion. Folks just don't know if it's just a wonderful side dish or decadent dessert.

Ingredients: 1 & 1/2- Pkgs Ritz Cracker/Crushed
2- Sticks Butter
1- 8 ounce Cream Cheese/Soft
1 &1/2-Cup Sugar
1- 8 ounce Cool Whip
3- Cups Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1- Tsp. Vanilla
Instructions: Combine crackers with one stick melted butter and press into bottom glass bowl or trifle dish that is oven safe. Bake for approx. 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven - to make a crust. Let cool completely. Now cream together 1 stick butter with cream cheese, mix well before adding 3/4 cup of sugar, after blending well fold in Whip Cream. Spread over crust. Mix 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes with 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until well blended. Spread over cream cheese. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
Topping: Toast 3/4 cup of crushed pecans with 1/2 cup of shredded coconut in 1 Tbl. of butter in a sauce pan on top of stove with 2 Tbl. brown sugar. This will make a nice crunchy praline topping for your sweet potatoes. Topping is optional, but the praline is my favorite, Aunt Judy just uses pecans and I have also topped it with a thin layer of Cool Whip.

Make sure you click on my Foodie Friday Label for 3 more Trifle recipes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook Monday 1~25

This is what I'm thinking...Belles

Outside my window...
Night has fallen and the quiet of winter has blanketed everything.

I am thinking.. About how blessed I am, and how seldom we are truly grateful for the things we have in our lives because we are too busy worrying about what we don't have.

I am thankful...For the relationships in my life that bring joy and love to even on my darkest days.

From the kitchen...The aromas of dinner simmering are almost intoxicating.

I am wearing...My favorite red pajama bottoms and my husbands white tee shirt.

I am creating...Memories that will keep warm in the winter of my life.

I am going... To bed earlier tonight; I need to start taking better care of should you!

I am reading...

A wonderful book, filled with adventure, and drama and a wonderful love story ~
I don't imagine I'll ever finish it though; My Bible.

I am praying and believing...That my husband receives favor with his employer; that God delivers a young man from a terrible situation; that God will strengthen a friend
who is going through radiation; and that I don't fail to do and be everything that
God wants me to.

I'm hoping...That I will get my bedroom starighten before my husband gets home so we can find bed (I've been rearranging today)

I am hearing... The sounds of laughter coming from the family room, where my sons and about their friends are watching football.

Around the house... There's a lot to be done, but I've decided to be still and put down my thoughts and possibly simplify the things in my life.

One of my favorite things...Is coming here to my blog and recording all my favorite things, so that I can come back to at any time and look at them.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Need to bake bread to carry to my dentist appointment Wednesday, they have all been so great to me the last few weeks; I want to start making cinnamon apple jelly for Valentines Day...Also plan to increase my time on the tread mill this week, if I reach the goal I've set it will bring my total weight loss to 80lbs.

A favorite picture and what I think when I see it... God has blessed me in so many different ways in my life, but these are three of the greatest blessings I have or ever will experience.
My three best friends;
one ~ the love of my life
one my rock and
the other my oak.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old Fashion Pineapple Trifle

1 Box Yellow or White Cake Mix: Prepared according to directions and baked in two 8 or
9" round cake pans. Set aside to cool
2 Large Cans Crushed Pineapple (in it's own juice)
1 Large box Vanilla Pudding
1 16 ounce Whip Cream
1 8 ounce cool whip
Mix 1 can of crushed pineapple with juice with pudding mix
Fold in 16 ounce cool whip into pudding mixture, divide into 4 equal parts
Divide 2nd can of crushed pineapple into 4 equal parts
Slice cake layers in half
Build Trifle~ In Trifle dish start with one layer cake, top with 1/4 pineapple with juice
Top with pineapple pudding mix
Repeat this step three more times. Top with cool whip (you may not need
all 8 ounces)
Refrigerate until serving.
Caramel Apple Trifle

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
6 cups cold milk
3 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
2 (21 ounce) cans apple pie filling
2 (16 ounce) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
1.Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cool layers completely. In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes. Let set.
2.Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-qt. punch bowl. Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer; gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture. Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with one carton of whipped topping.
3.Top with remaining cake and repeat layers. Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans. Refrigerate until serving.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family Time...Time To Eat!

Well you know how very excited I get when I have the priviledge of cooking for family, yes I did use the word priviledge; because I am so grateful for my family that I consider it not only a priviledge but an honor to have them at my dinner table. Today was on of those special days, my dad and family came to eat with me, there were about 15 of in attendance and I enjoyed every minute of it.
~Sunday Lunch Menu~

Ham, Chicken Pastry, Grill BBQ Chicken Wings
Corn, Cabbage, Blackeyed Peas, Candied Yams and Fried Potato Wedges

Did I mention I grilled wings, lets be specific here: I grilled 120 wings, and there are only 4 left and No Pastry! I think I'll make a Sweet Potato Pie out of the Yams that were left...

We had a wonderful visit, they all live from about 45 minutes to an hour and half from our home. The rain held off most of the day so we were able to get outside and have a cornhole tournament. My stepmom even got into the fun. Daddy looked wonderful, this is the furtherest he has ridden since his surgery in December.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It may seem "Trifle" but I love it!

My dad and family are coming to eat with me Sunday and I thought I would go ahead and start my desserts. This is not one of my prettiest Trifles but it is my dad's favorite. First I just baked a simple lemon sheet cake. Then I made a lemon mousse, whipped cream, and then made a cream cheese filling. The cream cheese fillings is nothing but, confectioners sugar, cream cheese and then a little cool whip to thin it out. Nothing very exciting about this one, but daddy likes the little bit of lemon tartness that I add. I make a lemon and confectioners sugar glaze and drizzle over the cake layers. It just takes the lemon flavor up a little and is a nice contrast to the lemon mousse. I could just go on and on about creating trifles, I will have to share my Oreo Blast and Brownie Explosion with you, now those are exciting! They are also much prettier because of the contrasts in them. I am so looking forward to Sunday afternoon...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Valentine Heart Give Away ~ AND THE WINNER IS...

I am so excited it is time to announce the winner of "My Valentine Heart Giveaway".
Sixteen of you left the sweetest comments on my blog to enter to win a monogrammed cake carrier. AND THE WINNER IS ~ Denise aka. mommyby3 from my MHH family!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Family Sunday Brunch Recipes

Hash brown Casserole
2 Bags frozen hash browns (shredded or home style)
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 pkg onion soup mix
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter melted

I don't mean to brag but this was absolutely the best casserole I have ever had, it is basically the same as every other hash brown recipe, but I substituted cream of potato and cheddar cheese soup for cream of chicken and mushroom; it made all the difference in the world! The potato soup enhances the taste of potatoes. I honestly liked it better then Cracker Barrels and I love theirs!

Combine all the soups, sour cream and 1/2 pkg of onion soup mix. Blend well with hash browns; shred cheese and fold together. Put into well greased casserole dish and drizzle butter over top bake at 350 approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown.

~If you like a stronger onion flavor you can use the whole pkg.
~I like making it the might before so it can honeymoon in the frig overnight!

Apple Crisp
6 to 8 Apples peeled and sliced (I like to use Fuji apples)
1/8 cup water
1 Cup Sugar
Cinnamon to taste
1 Cup Self-Rising Flour
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
6 Tbsp of butter
Pinch of salt

Grease medium casserole dish. Place apples in dish and cover with water. Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon to your liking. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture and mix well, it will be course and crumbly. Sprinkle over apples and sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes are until apples are soft and top is golden brown.

~Remember all apples are not used in baking make sure you use ones that will hold up.

January Hudson Sunday Brunch

~Hudson January Sunday Brunch Menu~
Sausage & Cheese Quiche
Hashbrown Casserole
Apple Crisp
Butter Pound Cake
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake
Fresh Fruit
Orange Juice
Hot Cocoa & Milk

My mother has a saying that you should go where you're celebrated and not where you're tolerated". I can't think about this without also recalling a favorite quote by Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I keep this foremost in my mind when it comes to family. I am a believer that we should treat our family as well as most of us choose to treat our friends. We have a tendency to forgive our friends for almost everything while holding the simplest of transgression against our families for an unspeakable amount of time, pain and injury. That is why I think our second Sunday Family Brunch is so very important. It is on these mornings that I go out of my way to do my very best to prepare a special meal for the people that I hold dearest in my life; my husband, my sons, nieces, nephews and in laws. God may have brought us all together and made us family but it is by choice they we have become friends. Although we may have our differences and we may not always agree, we choose to disagree and respect each other opinions. Coming together once on month gives us all a sense of belonging to something greater then ourselves and realizing that we are not alone as we sometimes feel. Our children benefit from belonging to an extended part of their parents and listening to stories that give them insight into who they were when they were younger. It strengthens our bonds to one another and enhances our feelings of belonging and feeling loved. One of our most common needs is to be accepted, especially by those that love us or at least say that they do. Accept your family with all their differences and all their quirks and just love them unconditionally. And when you get ready to do something to make them feel special remember it's not what you do for them, but how you make them feel when you do it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Lets make a Memory"

Tonight as I was driving home from Fayetteville, it was after nine and I found myself missing my family terribly. Not that they were out of place, Michael was on a date with Liz, Eric was home working on a paper for class and Randy was at work. But normally one of them is with me and my thoughts were drifting as I rode alone reflecting on how very blessed I am to be a part of their lives.

Over the years I have made a habit of grabbing one or all of them at random moments in time and saying "Lets make a memory", to this day you can ask them about this and they can each recall exactly where they were and the memories that were made.

So tonight I decide to call them each and make one over the phone, first I called Randy at work and since he wasn't busy when I asked if "he wanted to make a memory, he said sure". I instructed him to walk outside and look at the moon, when he finally found it we each looked at it for the same moment in time from where we were at.

Just knowing that we were doing the same thing at exactly the same moment gave me the a oneness with him that I find hard to explain. Memories don't have to be made on special occasions or vacations. They can be simple moments in time that you share with someone you love. Grab someone you love and make a memory today, it will last longer then a picture and remain untarnished in your heart forever.

Sweetheart Celebration Trees

Heart to Heart, my Valentine's Day Celebration Tree is almost ready for the decadent treats that will be placed up under it. With only 43 days till we celebrate the love of family and friends I want everything to be just right. This year I decided to leave up two celebration trees and after the Valentine's Day, they will be embellished with Easter Eggs and Bonnets. Celebration trees are a wonderful way to keep the spirit of the holidays all year.

Recipe for Strawberry Fluff

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Chocolate Covered Stawberries

Thinking about what I wll be serving at my Valentine Tea Party, and Chocolate Covered Strawberries are at the top of my list.

Will you be His Valentine, He has called you by name.

You Are Mine!Isaiah 43:1
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel:Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.

On Valentine’s Day isn’t it fun to dig through a bag of those little candy hearts that have the words printed on them? They say cute little things like “SWEET”, “CUTE” or “HUG ME”. But the one that I like the best says, “YOU ARE MINE!”

Isaiah 43 gives a beautiful picture of God saying those exact words to His beloved children of Israel. Even though they had wondered away from Him and He had to discipline them, He declares, “Don’t be afraid! I made you and I will take care of you. You are mine!” Then, as their loving Father, He gives them the promise of His presence, His protection, and His provision through it all.

Ephesians 1:3-14 says that as a believer in Christ, God the Father does the same thing for you. He created you, He redeemed you, and He calls you to Himself saying, “You are accepted in the Beloved — in essence, “You are Mine!” As a loving Father cares for His children, so He cares for you day after day, week after week, year after year. He loves you! You are His!

Father, what a thrill to hear Your words and to know that I belong to You! Thank you for creating me, for caring for me, for calling me Yours and for the security that brings.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Beginnings

This is actually a post from September 24, 2009, but I thought that it had meaning for today and wanted to share it again.

Tonight is my Circle of Faith meeting and here I am laying in bed with a fever and just had Randy call Donna and let her know that I can't make it. It makes me wonder if the lesson I planned was just for me. This meeting would mark the beginning of a new year for our group, and even though we normally associate New Years with starting over; the truth is life is full of new beginnings. Winter Spring Summer and Fall all mark the start of something of new. Even King David in the Psalms encouraged us to sing a new song, but a new song can only come from a renewed spirit, so maybe the devotion was just for me, as I lay here maybe it's for God to renew my spirit so I can begin to sing a new song. Lamentations 3:22 tells us that Gods mercies are new every morning. The truth is that each second is a new beginning and a choice. My choice to sieze or let it pass. Isaiah 43:18-19 Reminds us that God doesn't remember the former things; the mistakes we made yesterday and that He will do a new thing. My prayer today is for a new beginning, a renewed spirit that will create in me a new song.

My Prayer for the New Year

Dear Lord, as I close the door on this old year,
I ponder on the things I've done...
on the things I've said and the joys I've had...
then I wonder, have I lost or won?

I've thought of the new friends I have made,
and of the old ones staunch and true...
the path of the old year was made easier Lord,
because I have walked it with You.

I think of all the many times,
when my burdens were so heavy to bear,
and how my faith slipped away from me...
but somehow You were always standing there.

Now as I open the door to this New Year,
and carefully peep inside,
I wonder what it holds for me...
but I'll throw the door open wide

And whatever it brings to me and mine,
I'll meet it with a heart so true...
I know that, Lord whate'er it may be
You'll be there to carry me through.

My personal growth word for 2010 is...
...Deuterononmy 31:6
As we enter into this New Year and begin again lets embrace all that God has for us lets have courage to do more, accomplish more and love more this year then we have ever done before. Let's challenge ourselves to partner with God in every area of our lives and let Him have complete control so we can become what He in all His wisdom created us to be and touch the lives that He ordained us to touch. He has so many wonderful things for each of us but becasuse we do not allow Him to be Lord of every area of our lives we miss out on blessing and relationships that He has prepared for alll those He lovesw.