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Some new summer recipes


Are you looking for a good side dish for your next cookout? I tried a new pasta salad this summer which turned out to be very attractive and tasty.

BroccoliBaconRanchPastaSalad
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

2 cups broccoli florets, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces (I used 1/2 bag of the MW steamable kind)
a few slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup peas, cooked (I added these the last 2 mins. of pasta cooking time)
1/2 cup chopped red onion or sliced green onions
2 cups dry pasta (I used elbow macaroni but small shells or rotini would work well)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsps. dry ranch dressing mix (about 1/2 a packet)
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. Johnny's seasoning (optional)

Cook pasta according to directions. I cooked the elbows about 10 minutes and added the frozen peas the last 2 minutes of the cooking time. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool somewhat. In large bowl combine the mayonnaise, milk, dry ranch dressing mix, and Johnny's seasoning. Add the broccoli, bacon, cheese, tomaotes, peas, onion, and pasta. Taste and see if it needs salt. Chill before serving and enjoy. I often find pasta salads dry out after a day int he refrigerator. To remedy this add a little more milk and stir gently before serving.

Here is a picture of the Johnny's Seasoning. I get it at Costco.

JohnnysSeasoning

I served this salad one night with another new menu item. I wanted to try this recipe because we had eaten some similar burgers that were a frozen product from Costco.

ChickenSpinachFetaBurgers

Turkey Spinach Feta Burgers

1 pound ground turkey or ground chicken (I used ground white meat turkey)
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 cloves garlic,minced
about 4 oz. fresh spinach
1 egg
1 1/2 Tbsps. olive oil
3/4 cup bread crumbs

Saute spinach in olive oil until wilted and then add the minced garlic and cook briefly. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl mix together the turkey, cheese, egg, crumbs, and cooled spinach mixture. Form into 4-6 patties. Chill or freeze until ready to cook. Grill the thawed patties 7-9 minutes on each side or until well done.

We really enjoyed these and I plan to make them again.

The pressure’s on


In May our churh held a ladies' luncheon. I helped to prepare chicken salad for the event by cooking about 40 pounds of bone in chicken breasts in the crock pot. This generated quite a bit of chicken broth and then I cooked the bones with some vegetables to generate even more.

During this time Rob was out of town helping a friend move cross country so I had some free time in the kitchen. I put a new gasket and vent on the pressure canner and canned six and a half quarts of the broth, made a batch of soup and then froze the rest.

Later in the week I tried another new canning project, pressure canning great northern beans and pinto beans. They do have to process for over an hour but the actual preparation of the dry beans was no different from actually cooking them for soup or some other purpose. All but one jar sealed properly. I was kind of glad the one jar did not seal because I was curious to taste the finished product. The beans were perfectly cooked and had a nice creamy texture. It will be convenient to have them on hand for quick meals in the future.

CannedGNPintos

I used that one pint jar of great northern beans to try this new soup recipe from Southern Living:

CabbagePotatoWhiteBeanSoup
Cabbage, Potato, and White Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsps. olive oil*
4-6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced
4-6 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 cups chopped cabbage
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil in large soup kettle and then saute onion until tender. Add garlic and cook briefly before adding broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are nearly tender then add the cabbage and beans. Cook until the cabbage and potatoes are tender and then season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

*This would also be delicious with bacon grease and a little crumbled cooked bacon added to the soup.

These successes have made me want to try pressure canning a few other items that I have never tried canning before.

What's been going on in your kitchen lately?

Why it’s been so quiet over here


Before school ended for Rob in May I made a list of things we hoped to accomplish this summer. We did accomplish a few of the things on the list but many of them had to be abandoned because of some medical issues for both of us.

The week of graduation Rob got up during the night and collapsed in our bedroom. This began a series of hospital and doctor visits and ended with him having a heart ablation on July 12th. He details his saga in this blog post called I Greet You Wholeheartedly. His procedure went very well and he has had no more episodes. Fortunately he recovered from his procedure quickly and has felt great ever since. He went for his post-op visit this week and has been released from the cardiologist. He does have one more stress test scheduled next week just to further check things.

Two days before his procedure we decided to spend the day up in the Charlotte,NC area. On the way home that afternoon I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold or something. The cold progressed to the point where I felt like I had bronchitis and after two weeks I tried to see my doctor. Unfortunately she was unavailable so I saw a nurse who after a very brief examination said she thought I had a virus and just to let it run its course. As time went on I was not feeling any better and at the urging of my family and some friends I made an appointment at an exigent medical center (since I still could not see my doctor). The doctor there was very compassionate and really listened as I explained what my symptoms were and how long I had been sick. He ordered x-rays and in a short time told me that I had pneumonia. I was given a shot, an inhaler, antibiotics, and cough pearls. Within a few days I started feeling better. I have now finished my medications and am almost back to normal.

I am thankful for Rob, our children, and friends from church who faithfully prayed for us and prepared meals and brought us meals to help out during this time. The Lord used many people to meet our needs these last few weeks. I have a much greater compassion for those who have lung and breathing problems.

I have a few blog posts that I had started before our medical saga began that I hope to update and add pictures to so I can post them while they are somewhat relevant.

Becka

Chocolate and Peanut Butter


We recently had some server problems which resulted in my last post being deleted. Fortunately it was still in my draft folder so I am reposting it here for any who might actually want to try this recipe sometime. 🙂

ChocolatePBEclairDessert

At Christmas I made a dessert which I had never made before. It is a recipe that has been around for years and I had eaten it but had just never made it myself. It was called a Chocolate Eclair Dessert and was made with graham crackers, instant vanilla pudding, and a chocolate sauce. You refrigerate it overnight and the flavors meld and the crackers soften a bit making a tasty dessert that the whole family, including the little children seemed to enjoy.

Around Easter time I saw a recipe for a chocolate peanut butter version so I just had to try it since the regular version was so popular with the fam. I did sort of combine the two recipes so I will post the recipe as I made it. I did have to go to a couple of stores to find the chocolate graham crackers. I have found them at Ingles, Bilo, and at Publix here locally. They are around $4 a box if you pay full price but I have discovered that some of the stores do have them as one of their BOGO (Buy one get one free) items.

Peanut Butter Eclair Dessert

1 box chocolate Graham Crackers
2 small boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 1/2 cups milk
8 oz. whipped topping

Chocolate Glaze
1/3 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsps. butter
2 Tbsps. corn syrup
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsps. milk

Line the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan with a layer of graham crackers. Combine the 3 1/2 cups milk, peanut butter, and instant pudding mix and beat for about 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Layer half of this mixture onto the crackers. Add another layer of crackers and then top with the rest of the peanut butter pudding mixture. Add a final layer of crackers. Prepare the glaze by melting the chocolate chips and butter. Stir in corn syrup, powdered sugar, and milk. Spread on top of crackers. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy!

Finally Home


Last week my mother-in-law left her earthly life and entered into glory. The last couple of years were particularly hard ones for her physically. She had many challenges in this life which caused her great sorrow and sadness but a few years ago she opened up her heart to the promises of Jesus and willingly humbled herself and accepted Him as her Savior. Her physical life did not get any easier but she now had the peace that her sins were forgiven and that she would spend eternity with Him in heaven.

We are greatly comforted with this knowledge and thankful that we will see her again when we leave this Earth. We are also thankful for those who have prayed for us, those who attended the funeral, and those who have expressed their condolences to us. We have been comforted and blessed by many.

Shortly after we returned home from the funeral in Ohio our daughter Megan learned that a close friend of hers passed away rather unexpectedly last week. Sara was a young woman in her mid-thirties. A couple of days after that a man from our church who is about our age also passed away after a long battle with cancer. All of these recent deaths are a reminder that our times are in God's hands and that our life here on earth is short but eternity with Christ will be never-ending.

Rob was able to give the message at his mother's funeral and he ended the message by singing the following song:

It Is Not Death to Die

It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God.
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

CHORUS
O Jesus, conquering the grave,
Your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die.

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just.
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore.

Originally in French by Henri Malan
Translated by George W. Bethune,1847
No. 828 in C.H. Spurgeon's "Our Own Hymnbook"
Chorus and Alternate Words by Bob Kauflin

This is a blessed thought as we consider our lives here on earth and our future beyond the grave.


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