Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Good O’ Snow Storm

I love a good snow storm.

The temperature drops as the wind picks up, blowing fresh snow, closing schools and roads.

Everything stops.

The calendar gets cleared.

My busy day turned into a vacation day.

I can hunker down in my nice warm house with my family around me and rest.

No schedule. No obligations.

There’s a bit of excitement in the air, almost a holiday atmosphere.

The kids sleep in.

Fresh scones for breakfast  – maybe some homemade hot chocolate later.

No traffic goes by.

We’re isolated in our little world – surrounded by a blanket of white.

The wind howls.

The furnace hums.

And my soul rests.

Later, when the wind dies down, we’ll pull out the sleds and the cross country skies.  Ready to slowly rejoin the rest of the world, reveling in the stillness and beauty after the storm. Refreshed after our unexpected day off.

But now is the time to cocoon.

For hot tea and warm quilts.

For jig saw puzzles and family games.

A time to savor home and family.

Oh yes, I love a good  snow storm!

Hot Chili Dip

ChiliI know that a “dip” is usually considered an appetizer or maybe even a snack.

But I have to confess that this is one dip we eat as a main dish!

My sister-in-law shared the recipe with me years ago and it’s been a family staple ever since.

The original recipe calls for a can of chili – but my favorite way to make it is using left-over homemade chili. Sometimes I’ll even freeze that little bit left in a batch just to make this dip.

You can bake it, layer it in a crock pot or even pop it in the microwave.  Don’t worry too much about exact measurements – just use what you have. It’s an easy recipe to double or triple if you’re feeding a crowd.

Chili Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 can refried beans
8 ounces sour cream
1 can Hormel chili (or homemade)
8 ounces cheddar cheese

Spread the cream cheese in the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 baking dish. Layer the remaining ingredients in order.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

Serve with tortilla chips and – if you want to be fancy – peppers, onions, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, and salsa.


Nothing Like a Trip to the ER

You know, there’s nothing like a trip to the ER to put a little perspective on your day!

Yesterday started out pretty normal for Jan. He was at work doing things he had done hundreds of times, using machines he had used for years. But one little slip, one split second, and his finger was smashed under 30 pounds of iron.

Two hours in the ER and several x-rays later, he was home with his finger in a splint, a doctor’s appointment later in the week and some pain meds that he, of course, said he didn’t need.


The finger injured was the ring finger on his right hand,  making it painfully obvious that he would need to make some adjustments.

You don’t often think about the ring finger on your right hand. It’s just there – a part of team of muscles and bones that God created in a miraculous way to allow you to do some important things.

Things like feeding yourself.

Ever try holding a fork with your ring finger in a splint? Doesn’t work.

He also can’t write his name, drive a manual transmission, or cut his own food.

Some things are possible, but much more difficult, like buttoning a shirt and tying his shoes.

Turns out that ordinary finger is pretty important.  It will be greatly missed for a few weeks while it heals.

It struck me this morning that some of you might be feeling as unappreciated and unimportant as the ring finger on your right hand.

Are you feeling a little down? In a bit of a January slump? Thinking that you’re not needed?

Believe me, you are. You were designed by God with unique talents and abilities that somebody in your corner of the world is needing today.

Maybe it’s time to break free of the splints of self-doubt and discouragement that are binding you.

Maybe it’s time to let God use your unique talents to do great things for Him.

Maybe all you need is a different perspective.

Shake and Bake Chicken


Since Matt is now living on his own and doing his own cooking, he told me that he actually reads my blog to find recipes!

Although he was quick to inform me that the majority of my food posts are for desserts!

So true. So true. 🙂

In an earnest effort to help my son eat a balanced diet – I have decided to do my best to share more main dish recipes.

To get things started right – here’s a family favorite that I got years ago from my sister Teresa. It’s a tried and true, super yummy chicken dish.

The spicy coating can be made in advance and stored in a cupboard till you need it, then you can use as little or as much as you need.

I’ve used it on boneless skinless chicken breasts, whole fryers that are cut up, cheap legs or thighs, and even pork chops.

Shake and Bake Chicken

1 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons poultry seasonings
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 teaspoons onion powder

Mix together and store tightly closed. It will last 4 months on the shelf.

When ready to use, you will need:

1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Pour some coating in a bag.

Mix the milk and egg together. Dip each chicken piece in the milk mixture, then into the bag. Shake the chicken one piece at a time until well coated.

Place in a greased baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Delicious with mashed potatoes. (But then – isn’t everything!)


Garden Dreams


I ordered seeds last night.

Lots and lots of seeds. Watermelon, tomato, peppers, lettuce, beans, peas….almost 30 different kinds in all.

I must be crazy to try again after the dismal harvest we had last year.

No rain, lots of bugs, coons in the little bit we did grow.

But just as soon as that Baker Creek Seed Catalog came – I became like a kid at Christmas.

I forgot all the failures of the past and could only see my dream garden.

No bugs.

No weeds.

No 4-legged critters.

Just enough rain when it was needed giving me a bumper harvest of produce that looks and tastes as good as the catalog says it will.

Just imagine a crisp lettuce salad topped with a juicy fresh-picked tomato, slices of crunchy cucumber and sweet peppers?

How about an ear of corn on the cob dripping with butter.

Or a slice of juicy watermelon.


Yep. Maybe this will be the year.

And there’s large packet of seeds coming to get things started.

Then, I’m afraid the reality of gardening hits.

But for now, I’m going to watch the mail for those magic little seed packs and enjoy my garden dreams.