Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When I get where I'm going......there will be only happy tears!

Christmas time brings back a flood of memories... and makes me look forward to the future. Right now I am holding close wonderful memories of my paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather. My grandma went to heaven this past summer and joined my grandfather who has been gone 8 years. This will be the first Christmas without her here with us. Hard. My maternal grandfather has been gone 14 years already. I have fantastic memories of my life with them. I also look forward to seeing them again someday and walking with them! When I get to heaven there will only be happy tears!! This is one of my FAVORITE songs and is by one of my favorite artists. I enjoy it year round, but especially right now. For some reason Christmas makes me long for my real home... heaven!!

What is for supper?? Eliminate this daily stress from your life! http://www.simplefamilysupper.com

Monday, December 20, 2010

Celebration Bread Braid and EASY, wonderful fudge

My husband and oldest son went ICE fishing over the weekend.... NOT me! I like to stay WARM and I can think of no better way to stay nice and warm than baking in the kitchen. The wood stove has worked over time this December.... Indiana has had a very unusually cold month. Never has my husband been able to ice fish before Christmas
(the pond he fishes had 8 inches of clear ice already). They brought home a nice mess of fish for us to enjoy.

I busied myself in the kitchen this weekend baking up some goodies to give for Christmas gifts. I made several batches of Celebration Bread Braid and pounds of candy! Gotta LOVE this time of the year!!!! Celebration Bread Braid is one of my favorite gifts to give. Home made bread is such a treat and this one is very beautiful to look at, too. My favorite fudge recipe is both fantastically wonderful to eat and is also easy on the budget. ENJOY! You will find both recipes below.

Celebration Bread Braid


  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cold water


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four pieces. Shape each piece into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes parallel to each other on a greased baking sheet. Beginning from the right side, braid dough by placing the first rope over the second rope, under the third and over the fourth. Repeat three or four times, beginning each time from the right side. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over braid. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf.

Pair up the Celebration Bread Braid with some Better Butter and you have a wonderful gift to share!

Better Butter
Set butter out and bring to room temperature. In blender whip together equal parts of butter and oil (I use canola). Whip till very creamy. Store in containers in the fridge... will stay soft and yummy!

Variations: Honey Butter.... simply add in some honey in replace of some oil.
Cinnamon Butter.... add in some brown sugar and cinnamon
Garlic and Herb.... add in some garlic powder and herbs

Amazing Fudge

Combine the following in a large bowl:
3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet is the best!)
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks

In Sauce pan measure:
4 ½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk

Mix together and stir constantly over med-high burner. Keep stirring until it comes to a full bubbling boil- NOT a rolling boil. Time for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over chips and butter in bowl. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, stir until chocolate is melted. Add nuts if desired. [Try dried cherries too- yumm-o!]
Pour into GREASED 9x13 pan and cool.
Cut into squares and serve. Keep refrigerated or at least in a cool place.
Warning: Very rich- you must have a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Eating more than 3 pieces at a time is known to give you sugar overload.

What is for supper?? Eliminate this daily stress from your life! http://www.simplefamilysupper.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Custom Ceramic Tile

My husband, Chris, is a Custom Ceramic Tile contractor. He has been in business on his own for 8 1/2 years. He does incredible work and is a man of integrity. He just started a face book page for his company. Hop on over to the Corbin Ceramic Tile, LLC facebook page to see pictures of some of his work (and LIKE his page, too). Look at how all those gout joints line up on this back splash! He goes the extra mile and we are blessed to have some of his handy work in our own home, too.

What is for supper?? Eliminate this daily stress from your life!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Old Paths....

~I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
~And sisters got married BEFORE having children!
Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.
~Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.
Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.
~Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.
~People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!
~Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.
~Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.
~The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!
~We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!
~Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!
~A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.
~Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!
~Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.
~God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected.
~Church was where you found Christians
on the Lord's day, rather than in the garden,
on the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.
~I still like the old paths the best!
~~Author Unknown~~

I came across this poem on "It's harvest Time". Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

What is for supper?? Eliminate this daily stress from your life!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What can I do now that will help me later?? (and 2 easy chicken recipes)

Are you naturally organized?? Just plain born organized?? NOT me!! I have to WORK to be organized. I have learned so many, many great things from FlyLady (any other fly babies out there?). One of the best things I gleaned from her knowledge is to ask my self this question: "What can I do now that will help me later?". I might only have a couple of minutes, but there is usually something that I can do that will benefit me later.

Training my mind to think ahead rather than always struggling to catch up has been a hugely helpful shift. Now, don't get me wrong, I still have days that I feel the constant stress of feeling about 3 steps behind. However, compared to what I used to experience, the simple act of thinking ahead and putting some action in work has been a major help in my choosing simplicity! I am trying to teach my kids to look ahead and be organized. (getting everything ready the night before really cuts down on the morning rush out the door for school.)

Thinking ahead and putting some plans into action have really helped our evenings. The evenings in our home ( I consider evening to be from the time the kids get home at 3:30) are busy. There is snack time, homework and chores to be completed, supper to be had, and right now during basketball season our oldest has either practice or games 4 nights a week. BUSY! We are blessed to be in a carpool so I don't have to drive every night. However, evenings are still a hectic time. I know I am not alone in the business of evenings. I also really believe that my kids need down time to PLAY so I try to keep things as simple as possible.

The number one way I plan ahead for the evenings is with supper. I have a menu plan (that alone is a HUGE help) and I usually start supper in the morning (by either using the crock pot or having everything ready to cook). This morning I had our supper in the crock pot by 9 am.... now all I will have to do is warm up some veggies, and cook rice. EASY! Choosing Simplicity. Tonight our son has a basketball game and our daughter is caroling with her school choir. My husband is going to the game and I am going with our daughter. We will all have to be out the door with full tummies.

We are having So Simple Salsa Chicken for supper. It is YUMMY and it is an "Efficient Cooking" recipe that will give me extra cooked chicken meat to use later. (another HUGE way to "think and work ahead". One of our favorite recipes to use the "Fast Track" chicken meat that we will have is in Buffalo Chicken Soup. Below you will find both recipes. These recipes come from the "MONEY WISE" Simple Family Supper menu. Enjoy!!

So Simple Salsa Chicken

**Efficient Cooking: Freeze remaining chicken and sauce and label

Crock Pot or Stove Top


3-6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken *amount depends on number of servings you will need for this meal and for the “Fast Track” meal. (if frozen increase cooking time)

1 (16 ounce) jar your choice chunky salsa

1 can diced tomatoes with or without chilies

2 cups shredded cheese

Opt: reduced fat sour cream

Rice (prepare according to package directions)

Crock Pot Directions:

1) Place chicken in crock pot.

2) Pour salsa and diced tomatoes over chicken

3) Cover and cook on Low 5-8 hours

4) Serve on rice and top individual servings with shredded cheese and sour cream

Stove Top directions:

Same as above except simmer in skillet for 30 minutes till chicken is no longer pink in middle of thickest chicken breast.

Side Suggestions: Rice (brown is the best health choice), steamed vegetables, salad

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Fast Track: Use frozen cooked salsa chicken from wk 3

Crock Pot or Stove Top


4 cups low-fat milk

2 (10 ¾ oz) cans reduced sodium cream of chicken soup

1 can reduced sodium chicken broth

3 cups fast track shredded cooked chicken

1 cup reduced fat ranch dressing

1-8 Tbsp. hot sauce, according to your desire for heat!

Optional: 1 cup small pasta of your choice

Crock Pot directions:

1) Combine milk and soup and broth in slow cooker until smooth.

2) Stir in fast track meat

3) Cover and cook on low for 3 ½ - 5 hours.

4) 30 minutes before serving stir in optional pasta, ranch dressing and hot sauce. **start with a small amount of hot sauce and then add more till it is the heat you want.**

Stove Top:

Same as above except mix and cook in large soup pot. Bring to boil on med/low heat and simmer for 15 minutes before adding pasta, ranch dressing hot sauce.

Side suggestions: dinner rolls, salad

What is for supper?? Eliminate this daily stress from your life! http://www.simplefamilysupper.com

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deer Butchering and Guys!

My husband LOVES to hunt, loves to talk about hunting, loves to watch hunting shows. I will admit that at times it is almost more than this gal can handle, but he provides us with great meat to eat. Last night we spent the evening helping one of his good buddies butcher up the nice doe he got Monday. Chris' friend was drawn to hunt at our local state park. It was a nice doe and all together he ended up with 30 pounds of (boneless) meat. 25 lbs was ground and turned into bulk sausage and the other 5 lbs was loin roast. Yummy! Some of our best investments have been our quality butchering tools. Our grinder has been one of the best things we ever bought.

After I helped them I jumped in the suburban and headed off to pick up our 13 year old son and 3 of his friends from basketball practice. I was on car pool duty last night. I am blessed that there are 4 boys the same age all living within our neighborhood (a few country miles) and can share the driving with all the moms. Anyway, when I jumped in the truck I turned on the radio and was scanning through the channels when I came across Brad Paisley's song "I'm still a guy"! I just had to laugh and I really like this song..... As much as all the "GUY" stuff sometimes gets old (in our house there are 4 guys to us 2 gals) I am so very much thankful and appreciative that my husband is a GUY! In our society all this 'guy stuff' isn't appreciated like it once was. Enjoy this fun song.

What is for supper?? Eliminate this daily stress from your life! http://www.simplefamilysupper.com