New Year Goals

New Year goals.
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With 2014 being over, and Christmas for the year done, I have decided on 2015 that I will set some goals.

My number 1 goal is to get off the couch and move. Beginning Monday I will walk 1 mile per day, minimum.
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My second goal is to buy nothing new. There is nothing we need to get. I have most kitchen appliances known to man as it is. We have computers and tvs and such and do not need any. Could probably get rid of a few if we really wanted to. We need no clothes, if we lose weight, at least mine can pretty easily be taken in.
My exceptions to this challenge are under things and gifts for others.
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My 3rd goal is the most important of the 3. More Bible reading and study. I already read a chapter each day for a month (January it is Mat. 5) in the morning and at night. My night chapter for January is Phil 4. I will add in the book of Ephesians, at noon each day. It is a short book and so can be read daily all month long.
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I also need to get back to blogging and crafting. My goal is to blog at least once a week. More if my life grows in interest!

I think those 3 goals will keep me busy for a while. I intend to add in other things along the way as I master these.

While 2014 was not a bad year, it was busy and full of ups and downs.
My Beloved father in law’s estate was finally settled. Enabling us to pay cash for our home. We have been in the house 7 months now and other than a few small things, I dearly love it. It suits us.

The fall for me was filled with sickness and pain. It seems as soon as I get one issue taken care of another pops up. My hope is I am done for a while after this last allergy attack, which has lasted now just over 2 weeks. I discovered Zyrtec and Mucinex in combination allow me to breathe without coughing fits.

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November saw Drew get a new car. A family gathering for Thanksgiving and fun Christmas prep and shopping.
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December began with Chris shopping for a motor home. I went with him and his girl Courtney on the search. We saw a Tesla car on the road and took pictures (yes we are like that).

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Once the motor home was purchased, picked up and set up on location, Chris and his girl and Spazzy the cat moved in. Just in time for a winter storm, the likes of which are rare here!

Christmas was fun, it lasted almost a whole week this year! The Houston brother came in on the eve and stayed over the day. then on the Friday after Chris and his girl came and stayed until Sunday. We had our big family doings on Saturday.
I was also blessed to get to spend 2 weeks getting to know my nephew. He is 4 and a very smart youngster. My only regret is that I have been sick the entire time and unable to play as I normally would have.

Well my friends that is all the news I can think of. Stay warm!
hugs
Melissa

PS. Just because they are cute…

Gideon
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Gideon

Katie
Katie

Using left overs

The other day I posted how I used a tip from Semi homemade to make meal prep later in the week easier.

Well after that meal I made Runza. Runza is a German meat pie. However instead of doing the traditional, with sausage and kraut, I use pizza fillings or things like turkey and cheese.

I took some of the bell peppers and mushrooms from the Chinese supper and added ground beef, tomato sauce, onions and cheese.

The celery became my lunch, I was just craving celery for some reason! I love its crispness.
Runza:
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Then last night I made Shepherd’s Pie, again not the traditional version with peas and carrots. This one used up the last of the left over peppers and onions, about ½ the left over ground beef, the shrooms. To those I added 2 small cans of salsa (bought at a dent and ding sale at HEB for .25c a can) 2 cups of instant mashed potatoes, which I made up as garlic potatoes and 1 ½ cup of cheese.
Cooked for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. So preps for 1 night, helped create 3 home cooked meals.

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Sheperd's pie 2

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what’s cooking at your place?
hugs y’all!

In the kitchen with Mel… again!

Reviews of recipes from Light and Easy for Two by Lee Harvey and Helen Chambers.

 

I inherited this cookbook from my mother in law. When I did groceries this week I geared my list specifically to items in the recipes in it.

 

Last week I discovered I had the ingredients to make the lemon Chicken. We really enjoyed this one. One thing I do like is the amounts are listed for 2 people. If I need a bigger batch I can double or triple or what ever. That to me is easier than cutting recipes down for some reason.

 

Last night we had the tamale pie. I really liked the flavor. I was out of chili powder so I substituted Mrs. Dash southwest spice instead. I did not so much like the tamale inspired topping, and will in the future make corn bread on top instead.

 

This morning I made the Banana muffins. They were ok. Personally I felt they needed more bananas in them. I couldn’t taste it very well. Served with cream cheese instead of butter, a very nice treat!

 

Since I wrote about the muffins we have tried the Hamburger Stroganoff, though I do use sour cream not yogurt and we really liked it.

The vegetarian potato pizza was a huge hit though this last time (we have made it twice) Beloved added meat to his! I add cheese to mine but my vegan son just piles on the veggies and thanks me for a nice supper!

 

We did the Mushroom and wine white fish. I used cod and honestly was not happy with the lack of flavor. I will try it again and use more sauce ingredients next time.

 

We had last night the pork stroganoff. This was my first experience using red wine in cooking. I was really expecting it to be an overwhelming and … dark, or perhaps heavy tasting dish and was overjoyed when it was not. I really liked it.

I will post more recipes as we try them.

What’s cooking on your homestead?

Making dinner.

Each week I plan to post in a segment called In the kitchen with Mel. In this segment I will write a post about a meal I prepare for my family. I will include recipes if there are any!

This week is Chicken Nuggets. 

In general I like to cook from scratch. There are somethings though I just can not make well. In those cases I like to take a store bought item and remake it into something special.

Today I felt inspired to make a favorite meal for my Beloved MJ. I wanted something a bit special to finish off the meal too.

I found Alton Brown’s recipe for vanilla wafers. It is what I call a basic recipe. Easy to make and in general I have the ingredients on hand. However I was not looking to make cookies.

 

No I wanted a cheese cake. So I took Alton’s recipe and instead of making cookies with it, I lined 2 pie plates with it. Using it to make a slightly sweet soft crust. For the filling, I used simple Jello instant pudding. Pudding is one of those things I just have not mastered.

 

Beloved is a chocoholic. He is also diabetic. Since there is some sugar in the crust (3/4 cup makes both crusts) I made his a sugar free chocolate pie. Mine is a regular cheese cake pudding mix. Once the crusts cooled I added the filling. 

 

Now for the main course I decided on Mel’s fried chicken nuggets. I began making chicken nuggets way before McDonald’s did. I use only chicken breast now days and have tweaked the recipe over the years. 

To begin with I take an idea I learned from Giada. I used to hate the mess involved in making these nuggets. When watching her show one day I saw when she is breading she uses a gallon sized ziplock baggie.Eureka! Simple and no more mess! I loved it.

 

Plus I can mix the eggs spices and milk in the bag, add the chicken, mix it well and let it marinade in there for an hour or more (it depends on when I get started. Today it will marinade about an hour.

 

Then in another baggie I can mix my flour and spices, yes I spice it twice, and still have little or no mess!

 

My sides will be onioned  smashed spuds, green beans and corn. I know corn and spuds are both starches. However they are 2 things that were together when I was growing up and I can not separate them and feel satisfied now!

 

Now for my spuds the onioning is easy. I add a lot of onion powder to the cooking water. For beloved and I, I will use 2 baking potatoes. I use oleo and sour cream to make my potatoes. I personally prefer butter but Beloved likes oleo.

Once the chicken has marinated at least an our in the milk, egg and spices mix I take the chicken out and toss the bag with the goo in it. Yes that is my  technical term for it. I have my next gallon bag with flour and spices all ready to go and put the chicken in there. I zip it up, and clean my counter and hands. I start some oleo in a frying pan while I squish the chicken and flour mix together and make sure the chicken is really well coated.

 

Once the oleo has melts and starts to sizzle just a bit I begin dropping in chicken pieces. I let them set, checking back every little bi to see if they look golden yet. When one side is golden I turn them over. Note, if the chicken is still squishy, it is not ready to eat yet!

 

The end result is a meal that might take a bit more than 30 minutes, but it is definitely satisfying.

 

For this supper I used 3 decent sized chicken breasts which gave us plenty plus left overs. 

As well as a dessert that will get a wow!

My Friend and I had a talk.


Every morning before my banana and cold iced water I have a talk with my friend. Sometimes my friend talks to me in a whole chapter, some times just a few verses. Some how it seems to fit my thoughts for that day or perhaps my thoughts seem to fit it. I do not know.
Today my friend and I talked in 1 Corinthians 10 verses 25-33. In this section of scripture Paul tells the Corinthian church not to worry about what they eat. He says “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness there in”.
This verse always strikes a cord with me. What this says in no uncertain terms is, I am at liberty to eat or drink what ever I choose. He continues on though to instruct me that I have that liberty as long as I do so with thanks to God. God should be glorified in what ever I do. This carries great responsibility with it.
Paul goes on to say, that if some one comes to me and is pricked because of what I am eating or drinking, that for their sake I should stop. So if I am eating pork and a sister is hurt some how feeling I should not be eating pork I need to stop for her sake.
Is it wrong for me to have pork? God says no. However it is wrong for me to act in a manner that is disrespectful to another. Disregarding how another feels is disrespectful. Later once this sister begins to understand the liberty we have in Christ to do or not do, that may change.
I have always heard these verses. Usually when some one is arguing about drinking alcohol. Yes we have that right. However, what is more important? MY rights or the soul of a sister who is not convinced of our liberty? If by drinking that glass of wine I hurt her, is the price really worth it? Paul says no. If my job on earth is to represent Christ who did no harm to any, what does it say about my conviction to follow Christ if I am willing to disregard the thoughts of another?
Now I do believe that a solid discussion of scripture is called for. Because a religion deciding we can not do that which God says we can, is false religion. They are adding to the law of God. However that is no excuse for doing something unneeded just because I can.
There are many instances of this. Look at the brouhaha over “holidays”. No where in the New Covenant are we told to celebrate feasts or special days, other than the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread. Yet every year around October folks get all antsy and riled because of the up coming festivals and holidays. If the earth is the Lord’s, then surely so are the days. Personally I do not celebrate any day as holy. Other than Sunday. I do have a feast and gifts and all on Christmas, and I do a feast on Thanksgiving. The rest I do not mess with. Colossians 2 is very explicit in it’s instruction. Judge no one for any respect of any day. We have liberty to do or do not, as long as what ever we do, we do with thanksgiving to God.
I am not sure why my friend brought this to my attention this morning, but he did and he asked me to share with you when I talked to him afterward.
Have a blessed day ladies!
hugs y’all

Something I have discovered lately

I know it seems odd. I have however just realized that one thing I keep doing is learning. I enjoy learning, but I keep learning things I thought I knew. I mean I know the skills but new ways of using them keep surprising me. For instance, cooking. I love cooking ( the clean up afterward… not so much but cooking yes) However food became a whole new realm for me when I began reading this blog by my friend Jess. Homemade with Love
Jess adds a whole new dimension to food and cooking for me. Plus her pictures are more drool worthy than any cookbook I have EVER read!

Being self sufficient is another area that I thought I had at least some ideas about. Then I met my friend Cat. Cat is a person like I want to be when I grow up. She is a true Proverbs 31 woman. She cans, gardens, keeps livestock, and innumerable other things. She inspires me to relearn gardening, I mean REALLY learn. I may even study on keeping chickens…You can read her adventures here Ten Things Farm

Crafting is another area of new exploration for me. I mean real crafting not gluing glass beads on a jar or something. I mean from scratch crafting. I have been awed, shamed and inspired in this area by 2 awesome women. Also friends of mine. One is doing wonderful work making art in cross stitch here at Tea Kettle Corner

The other is encouraging me to find time to sew and make wonderful things for my family here at Calico Prairie Another awesome crafts person is Leah. Leah is a world class quilter. You can see her garden of work here at Stitched With Love

A person who influences me to have fun in life, is Klutzy Mama. I adore the humor she pours in to her stories. My favorite of the moment is “Repenge”. You can read about that adventure and many others here
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I would be mournfully remiss to not inclue a woman who shines such joy on family for me. I love reading her posts and one day I hope to be able to be a “Sunny” to some one else. My cousin Christy (I think we may have been sisters separated at birth…) blogs about rural farm life here at Our Simple Lives.

Last but by no means least is a woman who may just encourage me in the most important learning experience of my life. Ella faces life with such a giving spirit and with so much love I have never seen its equal. No matter what confronts her family, her faith and her love for our Lord shines through. Her trust in Him is unrivaled. She KNOWS He will come through for her. If I never achieve any other thing in my life, it would serve me well to mimic this lovely lady of God. You can get to know her here At His Feet.

I know this may seem like an odd first blog post. However these women, and many others, have inspired me to post my learning journey on these Texas Prairies. These women, and many others have played a huge role in who I now am and who I am becoming.