Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

…for His abundant blessings. The Hope of Heaven, a living God, a loving Savior, the Gospel free and clear, precious memories, a faithful husband, inquisitive children I get to spend my days with, family, dear friends, nummy good food, Bible time around the dinner table, a warm fireplace, toasty feet at night, hymns playing in my kitchen and a delicious Thanksgiving meal!

I am trying a couple new recipes this year and I am excited to see how it all goes!  We are having Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey, slow cooker mashed potatoes, Sourdough Stuffing (no mushrooms and lots of sausage & bacon added instead), Sweet Potato Casserole, Swiss Vegetable Medley and rolls.  For dessert the classic pumpkin pie, pecan pie and a new one…. Yummy Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie.  I have been experimenting with pie crust using the lard from our freshly butchered 1/2 pig.  The kids named him "Jimmy Dean"...  and he has been delicious!  I have never made pie crust (or anything else) with true lard for that matter.  I will echo every praise I have heard over the years about using true lard.  It is amazingly flaky, light and delicious…I have never tasted a crust quite like it!

Happy Thanksgiving

Here are a couple of the recipes from this year….

Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake: 3 hours + standing

Yield: 28 servings (3 ½ cups sauce)

3 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 turkey (14 lbs.)

1 medium orange

1 can (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce

¾ cup teriyaki sauce

½ cup honey

½ cup orange marmalade

2 T. soy sauce

4 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage

2 medium onions, cut into wedges

1.        Combine garlic powder, salt and pepper.  With fingers, carefully loosen skin from the turkey breast; spread half of garlic powder mixture under the skin.  Sprinkle skin with remaining mixture. 

2.       Juice the orange, reserving the rind.  In a large bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, marmalade, soy sauce and the juice from the orange.  Cover and refrigerate 3 ½ cups of the mixture for sauce.

3.       Rub remaining orange juice mixture under the skin.  Secure skin to underside of breast with toothpicks.  Place herb sprigs and reserved orange rind in turkey cavity. 

4.       Arrange onions in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place turkey over onions.  Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 3 – 3 ½ hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees.  (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.) Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. 

5.       Discard herb sprigs and orange rind before slicing the turkey. 

6.       Place reserved sauce in a large saucepan; heat through. Serve with the turkey. 


Yummy Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hr. 10 min.

Serves: 8

 -Pastry for a single crust pie


-1/2 cup sugar

3 T flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

Dash of salt

6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (I am using Granny Smith)

Crumb topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup flour

½ cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup butter

Final topping:

¼ cup caramel ice cream topping

½ cup chopped pecans


1.        Prepare pastry for a single-crust pie, being careful not to stretch the dough too much

2.       Place in a pie plate and trim and crimp the edge.

3.       In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.

4.       Add apple slices and gently toss until they are coated well

5.       Transfer mixture to pie plate

6.       FOR CRUMB TOPPING: Stir together brown sugar, flour and oats.

7.       Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until topping resembles course crumbs.

8.       Sprinkle over apple mixture in pie.

9.       To prevent over-browning while baking, cover edge of pie with foil.

10.   Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

11.   Remove foil and bake 25-30 minutes more until the top is golden.

12.   Remove from oven.

13.   Drizzle top with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans.

14.   Cool on wire rack and serve!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Much Love and Many Thanks …. Again

I know it has been a while since I last posted.  Things are so very different here; I am not sure how to put it all into words.  Some days are so much better and some days are very, very hard.  We decided to go ahead and make changes to “Papa and Gigi’s” part of our home.  I wrestled with moving too quickly but at the same time I could not handle going in there multiple times a day and have it all look the same…smells, stuff….everything. We packed things up, painted and made it into a family/school room and it is functioning quite well.  Still, so many visions pop into my mind every single time I go in and out of that room.  It is especially hard at night to have it so dark and hear nothing.  No quiet breathing or music playing, just silence. To leave and not kiss Papa goodbye, to back out of the driveway with his windows dark, to come home to an empty house…  so incredibly hard.   We all miss having Carren , our Hospice nurse, and her sweet self here every Wednesday. We miss our dear Ramona terribly. She loved Papa and Gigi and it showed in her tender care of them  over the years.  We did have her here for her birthday dinner last month and we love the fact that she has stopped by unexpectedly a couple times for a visit.  We miss her, she is part of our family and from her lips, we are part of hers.  
Once again we were overwhelmed with the love and care of those near and far as my Papa went home to be with the Lord. These words of gratitude are almost verbatim of what I wrote when Gigi passed away.  We have been abundantly fed in all areas….. physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have been so blessed by the words of love, sympathy and encouragement that came in the form of cards and letters from near and far… almost daily.   It has been a blessing to hear from people deeply impacted by my grandfather’s life.    

We were astounded again at the outpouring of love and service from our precious church family. The meals again came like crazy, children cared for, our family and extended family blessed by meals brought while they were here and an amazing meal served at the church after the memorial….genuine love in word and deed. Many details of the actual memorial service… programs, the fellowship and food afterwards, clean up….all of it diligently taken care of by our dear, sweet church family. Words cannot express how thankful we are to have Spring Creek Bible Church be where God has planted us for these last 11 years. We are especially thankful for our Pastor(s) and Elders and their example of loving and serving others in many practical ways. We thought we had known and experienced love at the hands of the body before, but again these last few weeks have far surpassed anything we could have imagined. What an encouragement it has been to our family as we are reminded how important it is to minister to others in their time of need or sorrow. Our church family is a beautiful gift from the hand of the Lord.

We are tremendously blessed. We know it, are grateful for it, and don’t take it for granted...thank you. We look forward to the opportunities to love others as we have been loved.

Romans 12:9-21

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."