Sunday, August 28, 2022

Autumn Spiced Cornbread Recipe

Here is a delicious cornbread recipe I began making for my family many years ago. They loved it but probably don't remember it now. Maybe I should make it again!  

Autumn Spiced Cornbread

3 Tb. melted butter

1/3 c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/4 c. milk

1 1/2 c. flour

2/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. cornmeal

1 Tb. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cloves

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk melted butter, oil, milk, and eggs.  (If you put the eggs in after the milk, they won't cook from the heat of the melted butter)  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into a buttered 9" square pan and bake 18-22 minutes at 350˚ or until done in the middle. 

Hope everyone is having a beautiful week

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Friendships and Mentors and Cans of Worms


"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-2

My Bible titles this passage, "The Value of a Friend."

A few years ago, I attended a women's event where the theme was mentoring. It reawakened some things in me that had been dormant for too long. I made some commitments to Yahweh regarding using more of my time on other people and I came away feeling energized in my calling to women's ministry. 

Shortly after, the Father tested me in those commitments---as is often His way! I was in a room with many women chatting and laughing and getting to know one another. I had visited with a few friends and was wandering around looking at decorations. (These kinds of events always make me feel awkward. I struggle with small talk---always want to get to the nitty-gritty!) I was just hanging out when the Father told me to start looking at the people more closely. 

I noticed a woman standing off to the side a bit, not talking with anyone. I'd only chatted with her briefly in the past and didn't know her well, so I went up to say hello again and see if I could bumble my way awkwardly through my normal kind of 50/50 introvert/extrovert conversation. 

I took her hand and said, "Hey (Friend), how's it goin' tonight?" 

She smiled and said, "Oh fine!" 

I could have stopped right there. I mean, right? That's the ultimate Sunday morning Christianese phrase: "I'm fine!" 

Sometimes it means, "I've got a lot of stuff going on but don't have the time/desire/interest/strength to discuss it with you." 

More often it means, "I'm struggling and I really do actually want to tell you but you're just making small talk and I don't sense I can trust you with my heart."

For a split second I thought about giving her the pat Christian response, "Oh great! I'm glad. Well, have a good night!" But, praise Yah, He spoke stronger to me than He had in a long time. So, I pulled out my can opener, looked her straight in the eye, and opened up that can of worms. 

"No really, Friend, how are you?"


When I read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, I think about all the lonely people out there. There's a lot of them, you know. I read, "For if they fall, one will lift up his companion," and think, "Who will lift up the one without a friend?"

I've had a saying for a long time that I once thought was clever---maybe it was, for its time. I used to say, "I've only got enough emotional energy to spend on a couple of friends."  

Wifing/mothering/homeschooling 10 people is tough, y'all, and there was a brief time there when it was absolutely all I could handle. The Father allowed my outside-the-home ministry to go dormant for awhile so I could put my focus in the right place. I think I allowed it to go on a little longer than He would have liked, though. I got comfortable in my solitude. I also got selfish.

However, now I think of that phrase and I know that time is over. I feel so driven to speak the Father's truth and encouragement to all those lonely women---cans of worms popping open all over the place! (Gummy worms, please. No pork gelatin.)

I want to be that friend that sticks close enough to lift someone up when they fall and point them to help and healing in Yeshua. I'm praying the Father will help me become more and more usable in this way, and that he will bring just the right relationships along. Who has time for small talk? Not this girl. But I've got lots of time---all the time He's given me---for cans of worms. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Journaling 101: How and Why I Use Journals Every Day


 I have several journals that serve different purposes: personal life, Bible study, and more. Watch this viewer-requested video to learn about the benefits of keeping a written record of your daily life and activities.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Autumn Ombre M&M's Cake & Vintage Hot Apple Cider

This post was first published on my former blog, in 2013 during a partnership with M&Ms. I am no longer affiliated with any brands---I just thought you'd all love the festive idea!

Ombre is one of the new big things in fashion and decor.  We see gorgeous ombre hair designs, long ombre-patterned skirts---even fantastically ombre-painted walls are making an appearance all over Pinterest.  When I had the chance to work with M&Ms fall candies, I thought, why not make an ombre-designed cake?! It's finally fall and I'm so thrilled to be making some delicious autumn treats to share with my readers!

Before I frosted and decorated my cake, my family couldn't agree on what it was supposed to be. Some of the boys thought it was a football. Avalon thought it was a fish. I was initially making a leaf--but once I got it decorated, I thought it looked more like an acorn. Either way, it was really easy for me to make the (obscure) design by tracing it onto a 13x9 cake and cutting it out with a sharp knife. In the past, when I've made more detailed designs, I've drawn the shape onto parchment paper, cut it out, and cut around the shape as a stencil.

Since the fall-themed M&Ms have beautifully coordinating colors, I thought they were the perfect thing to use to make my ombre design. After frosting the cake with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, it took about 30 minutes to make the design with the chocolate candies.

This is a great quick dessert idea, not just for fall baking, but for any season or occasion. The design options and color choices are endless.

Another delicious fall recipe is Hot Apple Cider.  Hot cider is a timeless treat---the earliest record of it having been made in 55 BC when Julius Caesar found the people of Kent brewing up a delicious hot apple drink.  I found the following recipe in my grandmother's cookbook from the mid-1950s. I thought it would be fun to write it out just like the book has it written.

Mulled Apple Juice or Cider 
(from The American Everyday Cookbook, 1955)

4 cups apple juice or cider

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1 small stick cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1. Put into a large enamel or glass saucepan the apple juice or cider, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar. Heat slowly, so it requires from 20 to 30 minutes to reach the simmering point. When this point is reached, remove the kettle from the heat.

2. Strain the liquid into 5 or 6 cups and serve immediately.

Variation: Hot Buttered Cider: Add 1 teaspoon of butter to the liquid just before removing from the heat.

What are some of your favorite fall recipe ideas?