Posted in Recipes

Christmas Snacks

Every Christmas I enjoy baking special treats and giving them as presents. I would bake with my mom when I was little and carried on that tradition with my own children. My daughter who would leave me to do the cooking became my shadow with baking and my son who enjoyed cooking with me would leave to go play, coming in only as things came out of the oven or to steal a taste from the bowl.

Today I was thinking of a recipe I make every year, it is from my mom. I am not sure where she got it and I have had some versions from other people but this recipe I make with such great memories of baking this simple recipe with her.

I am the queen of the wing it and not measure, this recipe is made yearly passed down so please remember this is a guide for the amounts you may need to adjust them to suit your needs.

Christmas Snacks:

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of melted butter

1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips ( 10oz bag)

1 14oz of sweetened condensed milk

1 to 1 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

1 to 1 1/2 chopped walnuts

Pour graham cracker crumbs in bowl add sugar stir together add melted butter mix together then pour into bottom of 13×9 pan patting down to make a crust. Pour chocolate chips on top of graham cracker crust then add coconut and walnuts. Finally pour the sweetened condensed milk on top. Bake in oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.

 

 

 

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Posted in Recipes

Wild Rice with Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Pecans

As a distributor with Youngliving I receive “The Essential Edge” which is a news paper with interesting articles and a recipe. I was reading the November’s, I know a little late but with the holidays I am behind on all my reading, anyway todays recipe comes form Novembers addition.

Silvie Shirazi is the mastermind behind this great recipe, you can find this and many more at GourmandelnTheKitchen.com, so a big thank you Silvie Shirazi.

Wild rice with mushrooms, cranberries, and pecans:

1 cup wild rice

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 medium stalks of celery, finely sliced

1/2 pound mixed mushrooms (cremini and shitake) stems removed and thinly sliced

1 Teaspoon of fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup of mushroom or vegetable stock

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 drops of celery seed vitality essential oil

1 drop sage vitality essential oil

2 Tablespoons flat parsley, chopped

2 green onions, finely chopped

Corse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Yields 4-6 servings

Cook Rice according to package instructions, until just tender. Drain any excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

While rice cooks, preheat oven to 350 place pecans on baking sheet and toast until browned and fragrant, 4-5 set aside and let cool.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced celery and saute, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining oil along with sliced mushrooms, salt and a generous pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice, stock, cranberries, golden raisins, and essential oils. Cover and simmer until liquid has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Add toasted pecans and green onions. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room Temperature.

 

If you would like any more information on Essential oils, or to purchase them please visit my site at

https://www.myyl.com/gwynsch

or from Youngliving.com Distributor # #2575673, This link will also take you directly to Youngliving and it has my distributor number in the link. Thank you

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/new-start?sponsorid=2575673&enrollerid=2575673&isocountrycode=US&culture=en-US&type=member

 

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

Loving the Unlovable

I was a very young preschooler when my mom left the east cost and my biological dad. It was just the three of us. My mom, older sister and I went to make a new start in the west. My mom having so much courage to start new, to make a great home for us with little to no money.

This did not stop her, she worked tirelessly giving not only a roof over our heads but giving us attention becoming mom/dad to my sister and I . My hats always been off to my brave mom but I didn’t always act this way. Being so young I had no idea what was really going on. Because I did not understand or know much at the time for a while I acted out. That’s putting it nicely, I did everything that would make the average person want to pull their hair out.

To my moms credit she kept her hair. She did what is so hard to do, She showed me love and kindness in spite of my actions. She would hold me tighter even during my fight.

I am sure time dragged on for my mom but her loving actions paid off BIG time. I finally gave up the fight I allowed my mom to love me. I accepted what was going on, I was still hurting but I knew I had a soft place to fall.

I not only had my mom and sister but down the road I had a man who chose us, he married my mom and gave my sister and I his last name. Talk about love.

I reflect on this today because I have people in my life that seem to be so unlovable but I know I need to show love just like I was shown.

I not only was shown such awesome love by my mom and dad but my heavenly father as well and because that I get to live loved and when I live loved my actions are not based on those of other people. I just love the SO unlovable.

 

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

 

Posted in Recipes

Creamy Turkey Taco Soup

For most of us that have turkey left over I thought todays recipe could come in handy, you could even replace the turkey with tofurky  giving this a meatless Monday meal.

I think everyone has had taco soup but I do some of the things different.

The seasonings will differ depending on taste.

 

Creamy Turkey Taco Soup:

2 cups of shredded turkey of diced tofurky

2 cups of veggie broth but if using turkey you can use chicken broth

1 cup of milk ( I use almond or soy I just make sure they are sugar-free )

1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2/3 cup of Salsa any kind that you like will do

A can of black beans

1 small Onion diced

4 cloves of Garlic diced

About 1/2 cups of flour

About 1/2 cups of grated cheese

The following seasoning per your taste: Salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin

In a large pot add olive oil, onion, garlic and sauté then make a rue by adding your flour and cooking a minute longer. Add salsa, turkey ( if using tofurky wait to add until the last 10 minutes) black beans. Next the veggie or chicken broth, milk, seasonings and stir together. Let simmer on low about 30 minutes or 20 if making this with a tofurky. Add cheese last stir until melted then serve.

Toppings: Crunched up corn chips, diced avocado, spoon of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and just a little more grated cheese.

 

Posted in Uplifting

Gratitude Garden

I love Thanksgiving! It has always been my favorite holiday, with all the good things that come from the kitchen. The recipes that are only done once a year it brings excitement and joy to me. While I am in the kitchen cooking or in the dinning room setting the table with all the colors of autumn I can hear laughing and yes even the arguing. I wouldn’t change any of it.

This is so pleasing to me and gives me an appreciation of my life and reminds me of what gifts I have been blessed with.

Even in my darkest of times when my children were growing up, their dad was with us drinking or using, I still could see the little bit of joy this holiday would bring. It might not last long because with an addict you never know how much time you have of peace but I would embrace it while I could and make the most of it so my children would have happy memories and I would have some of my own.

My life has changed so much from those days and my grown children have complemented me on having good holidays but I must give credit to God for he was with us even in the darkest of the days and we can enjoy today for what it is.

With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up I reflect with gratitude on my life. I think of how I like to garden and how it compares with life.

As you plant you prepare the soil, plant your seeds then water but in doing so you also know that weeds will be coming as well as what you planted. It takes work to keep the weeds from over taking, in fact it is easier to grow weeds than the plants you want.

Isn’t life just like that, it takes such hard continuous work to keep healthy.

Unhealthy thoughts of ungratefulness, anger, unforgivness, worry….the list can go on with thoughts that can over take us and still our joy. If we don’t keep up on our weeding we lose our joy making it so easy to only see the problems in our life.

In my past with those dark days I couldn’t let the weeds over take me and I’m sure not going to now. I have to do my daily weeding in the morning when my mind is fresh and before my day gets going. As I have my prayer, medication and devotions I have to mentally pull out my weeds, even the ones that are just coming up or they could so easily take over. I choose daily to have a garden of gratitude not one of whiny weeds.

Do you have some weeding to do in your garden before the big day of thankfulness comes?

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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Growing up my mom would at times substitute spaghetti squash with our pasta. I was definitely not a picky eater but I never fully appreciated this until I grew up and enjoy having a change from pasta.

On a night of wanting a fast dinner and needing to use up spaghetti I would as many do turn it into a casserole.

With this thought in mind, I had squash that needed cooked up and tomato sauce so I decided a casserole it will be. As I mentioned in another recipe a great way to cook spaghetti squash is to cut in half, clean out the seeds/guts put in crock pot flesh side down add a little water cook on low for about 3 hours.

Spaghetti Casserole:

1 medium spaghetti squash (cooked and removed from the flesh with fork, put in bowl and set aside)

Marinara Sauce about 3 1/2 cups ( I make my own but store-bought will still be good)

1 cup of Italian blend cheese shredded or a little more if you like a lot of cheese

In 13×9 pan add half of your squash and marinara stir together sprinkle half of cheese on top. In bowl that has the remainder of the squash add your sauce, mix together. Add this to the casserole and top with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for about a half hour.

 

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

Change of Direction

I am one of the millions that look forward to Tuesday nights just to tune into “This is Us”. Over the summer I looked forward to the start of season two with such anticipation and so far it has been just as good as the first season. I laugh, I cry and discuss the show with my fellow viewers. My son tells me its my soap opera but I don’t care its just that good.

As I watched last night one of the main characters Kevin who by all accounts has it all, looks, money, career a loving family. It shows him spiraling down. It shows him reliving the major event in his life that changed every dream he had of being a star football player, he gets injured and has to face saying good-by to what he wanted. I found the part in the show when his loving dad tells him yes he has naturel talent for football and he was awesome at it but that he has other things he is great at too, how true.

Yes its just a show but I thought how many times life changes in a blink of an eye. That job, marriage, house, relationship or good health becomes no longer.

We are left feeling like the rug was pulled out from under us. The questions of what will I do or become now? How will I go on?

I know from experience that it’s in those times when I feel the worse if I turn to God he is there. If I allow him to lead and comfort me things will be as they are but my attitude will be better and in time even get good again.

That wonderful cycle of life, the ability to move forward and grow is what makes us better people. If I never had pain I would never be able to know the feeling of such delight and joy or have as much compassion as I do.

To embrace our changes in our directions and enjoy the detour, we might realize we are better off.

Psalm 30:5b

“..weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

Good Advice

Colossians 4:5-6

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

 

What great advice! If you wonder like me on how to live or treat others this is one passage that tells us. I find this so needed now more than ever. For me to live in such a way that my experience, knowledge and good judgment is shared in a loving manner to those around me who may not have the same faith or value system but that are in need of what I can offer without judgment. Notice it does not say walk in judgment and as if you know it all toward them that are with out, big difference! The passage says to share the quality of being wise not share you options.

Next it says how to speak. If we speak with unmerited favor (grace) what major problems can be eliminated if only that pinch of salt is added.

Salt when added to a dish adds flavor, makes you thirst for more. It also has a chemical way it helps, when added to baking it helps slow down the other ingredients so they can do what they should so the dish turns out.

So when we talk with “salt” if will add a positive good feeling leaving others wanting more not less and in time things turn out.

Pretty simple  yet good advise but can be so hard to do but it can be done if we just keep trying.

 

Posted in Recipes

Apple Caramel Roll

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With my LOVE of all things APPLE and wanting a quick dessert for my dinner one night I decided to make what I call an “apple caramel roll.”

I had one puffed pastry on hand making this even faster and easier. I also only had Gala apples but I thought they worked just great but I am sure any you have will be nice also.

Here are some of the best baking apples that I have found:

Cortland, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, I could go one because the list is a long one but this gives you an idea of some.

For todays recipe you will need:

1 puffed pastry

2 Medium Apples peel and core removed then sliced

Cinnamon to sprinkle on top of apples

1 egg ( for the egg wash on top)

Sugar ( just a pinch or so for on top)

1/2 cup of Brown Sugar  ( I used dark brown sugar)

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

1 Tablespoon of real unsalted Butter

1 Teaspoon of water

Unfold your puffed  pastry, lay apple slices in the center, sprinkle with cinnamon.

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In saucepan melt butter add brown sugar, vanilla and water stir until it bubbles and is thicker than syrup, remove from of heat source and pour over apples.

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Fold the sides of your puffed pastry over top folding together with a slight pinch and twist. Brush egg wash on top sprinkle with sugar.

 

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Place of  baking sheet ( can be lined with foil or parchment paper) bake at 350 for about a half hour. I didn’t time this, I just did the watch the clock and smell test so the time could be longer or shorter.

You may want to add more apples if you like a fuller pastry but all in all this is a quick dessert with ingredients a lot of us have on hand.

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Posted in Uplifting

When Motivation Takes a Vacation

I woke up today realizing that my usual motivated self could have just stayed in full jammies mode, doing nothing all day sounded like music to my tired ears. I thought how is it that my motivation just up and went on vacation. It packed up and just went without any warning, I mean really how rude.

I went to bed felling happy and ready to take on the world. My many plans that were in my head seemed so doable.  I smiled at some and thought of others as I cant wait to cross those ones off. I left them as plans falling asleep not realizing that upon waking I would be lacking my motivation.

Another time in my life I would have thought what is wrong with me? I am learning that some days my normal take on the word self is not there anymore. I am ok with just doing what I can, accepting what can’t be done and if I get the blessing of another day I can and will do better then.

My body that would be able to train for and run a marathon at times reminds me its ok to rest. I am not lesser than because I might need to reschedule somethings for another time. I now have compassion for others that I might have looked down upon for not being motivated. I somehow thought that REST was a four letter dirty word.

Rest is not a weakness. It is much-needed to enhance your life and brings peace. I take a lesson from the nature. I love the autumn, it is natures last celebration before the rest of winter.  In winter almost all is resting and getting ready for the new growth of spring and the full action of summer.

Today my motivation may be on vacation but it didn’t pack all its bags, I know it will be back. I will rest and be ready for its return.

Isaiah 26:3

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”