Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Booking it with Becca

Book Review: A Miracle for Jen

Who is the author of suffering?  Is it Satan, as some would have us believe?  Or does God ordain suffering to accomplish His purposes?

Jen Barrick was a godly 15 year old girl with talent and beauty.  She was shy when it came to sharing the Gospel, but she prayed desperately for God to help her with boldness and desired to be used for His glory. 

A drunk driver hit her family's van head-on, on their way home from church one evening. The family should not have survived by all accounts.  Jen experienced massive head trauma and was in a coma for 5 weeks.  Unable to respond to questions she began to express her thoughts and they were ones that glorified her Heavenly Father.  Her first words were prayers and praise songs.  It seemed while she was doing all these things she was not even hurt.  She was completely healed.  However, that was not the case.   

 Miracle for Jen is a book about the power of prayer and letting God use weakness to accomplish His will.  Jen's mom, Linda Barrick, authored the book with the help of John Perry and she provides detailed insight into Jen's slow recovery from a brain injury.  The accident gave Jen a boldness to share her faith in public.  Jen will never physically be what she once was, she will never do cheer leading or play sports, but God has used her into as a vessel He is able to use. 

I was very enthralled in this book. I could not put it down.  It does get a little long.  After about page 200 it is like, okay we get it.  I skimmed most of the last 100 pages or so, because it was basically the same story over and over but in a different place and time. It got exhausting.

I particularly like Jen's journals prior to the accident which were full of prayers and praise to God.  They revealed what was hidden in her heart.  The accident caused what was in her heart to be spoken.  Most brain injury's come out angry, cursing at the world.  Jen never experienced any of that.  I wonder how I would react, what would my true inner thoughts be? 

Booking it with Becca



Heaven's Lessons by Steve Sjogren

This book is about a man who went in for a simple procedure and "died" on the operating table. Steve happened to be a very unlucky man, it is rare, but only one in every thirty thousand are born without a gallbladder. So perhaps the biggest reason his surgery had such complications were because the doctors were laparscopically trying to remove something he didn't even have to begin with.

 Steve was pronounced dead for one hour and fifteen minutes. He says he saw himself floating above his body and watching the doctors work on him in the OR. Steve notes that he awoke with people in a circle around him, people he never knew, who died in that hospital in years before. He never saw God but heard His voice which sounded like a mixture of men's, women's and children's voices all mixed together.

This was not the first book I have read about near death experiences and I would not see it as one of the best books I have read on this subject. I preferred Todd Burpo in "Heaven Changes Everything". I was very turned off in the beginning where he talked about his time as extracting demons for others who were "lost."  I honestly almost did not finish reading this book.

 I received this book free through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mixes Part 2

Last time I talked a little about the pancake mix I made.  My kiddo's absolutely love pancakes and waffles.  I was spending a lot of Bisquick or making my own not so yummy homemade versions.  With this recipe I think we have finally found a keeper.  Inexpensive and easy to make large batches for those "oops we are out of milk" moments.

The website I adapted this from is FULL of mix ideas.  This lady has mixes from biscuits to tortilla's.  Any sort of mix you could dream up and she has it.  She is amazing.

adapted from HERE

Perfect Pancake Mix

8 C. Unbleached flour
2 C. Nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 C. sugar
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking soda
  1tsp. salt

In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together.  Store in large airtight container.

When you are done mixing them together find a large container to store it in.  I used a container I used for my bread flour.  It's a lock in lock so it is airtight.  I went ahead and taped the recipe on the outside of this one as well.  I have the directions for pancakes and waffles on there too.  I did not realize until very recently that pancakes and waffles are not the same recipe.  Who knew.  Now I know why my pancaked always turn out horrible!

Lets say my kids and husband are much happier now that I have that figured out. 

Simple as that.  I could not believe how easy these mixes are to make and have on hand! They used a few of the same ingredients so while it may have been costly to make initially, I think once I start making them more often that cost will go down.  I didn't realize the dried milk was so expensive.  Seriously!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Mixes Part 1

So my Pinterest idea's for last week and this week were to make the homemade pancake/waffle mix along with the cream of something soup mix.

The first one I worked on was the Cream of Something soup.  This is like the Condensed Cream of Mushroom, chicken, celery, ect.  Only it is a dry mix that, when you need some cream of for a recipe you just add water.  Living in this tiny village this version is MUCH less expensive then buying a $1.99 can of shurfine cream of something.  PLUS, it's a lot healthier and I know exactly what is in it. 

Recipe adapted from HERE:

Cream of "whatever" soup recipe
1 cup non-fat dried milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup bouillon (if you have cubes you have to smash them up)(I used Wildtree's Chicken Bouillon)
  You can use whatever kind you like (ie, beef, veggie)
4 Tablespoons minced onions
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
(For the equivalent of one can of condensed cream soup, mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Cook until thick)

Here is my container.  As you can see I just taped the recipe right on top. Another hint I got from the lady I adapted this from.  It's perfect because when I need my cream of soup, I can just look right on here for the recipe to make it, instead of searching through my recipe box.  Because let's face it, who is going to search when they need it?  I don't, and if I do I can't find it!  

Let me know if you give this a try! I have it all made up, but have yet to use it.  I am making a chicken recipe later this week that calls for some, so we shall see.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Booking it with Becca

 Hey Friends! Who has been keeping up on their reading this year?! I have not read near the amount of books I have wanted to.  I did however, receive a book in the mail and have been asked to review it.  I will be honest, I was crazy excited that someone sent me a free book and all I have to do is read it and write about it.

I was going to wait until I was completely finished with the entire book, but I am enjoying it so much that I wanted to give a little review on it.

Stumbling on Open Ground: Love, God, Cancer, and Rock ‘n’ Roll
Written By: Ken Mansfield
Stumbling on Open Ground is a true-life story of a man’s journey with cancer and his walk with God. The story starts out with one of his experiences in the music business, involving the death of John Lennon.  The book is from the point of view of the man going through these trials, while his wife puts in her thoughts at the beginning of each chapter. Almost as a diary entry. All through the book it talks about the battles and struggles along with his faith and how it all is related to his walk with God.

I was not into this book when I first started. The first couple of chapters where he takes us back to the death of John Lennon had me completely confused. However, as I kept reading, I became more  engrossed with the narrative by Ken Mansfield. I particularly liked reading about his wife's thoughts throughout this journey.
While I have not been through cancer, I have been through an experience that has had me struggling with my faith right along side Ken Mansfield.  I thought some of these thoughts and found his words to be such an inspiration. When I was struggling I did not have the kind of faith to just trust. I questioned time and time again my own faith.  Reading this story really took me back to that year and made me think about my own faith and how I showed it during that time. 
Whether you are going through cancer, or any other trial I urge you to read this book.  His words are a huge inspiration.  He will definitely make you ask those questions and really dig deep about your own walk with Christ.

BookSneeze® provided me with a copy of this book. I was not paid in anyway to write the review. All thoughts and words are my own.

Wildtree Winner!

I went to random.org and typed in 1-15, the winning number was 12 
Here is what she said: 

I love that the products do not have MSG---a migraine trigger for a family member. My favorite items are the basil pesto mix and the blueberry syrup! acgoad at comcast dot net

So if this is you, be sure to contact me within the next 24 hours to receive your gift!! :)  

You may have noticed I did not post this week so I could get some comments for the giveaway! I wanted it to stay at the top all week, so that more people had a chance to enter.

This week has been full of craziness. The eating habits have been horrible.  We ate in for every meal this week except last night.  We tried out a pizza from a lady that makes them here in town.  While it definitely is not Pizza Hut it wasn't bad.  

Why am I telling you about what we ate for supper?!  Well, the night before we actually had pizza as well. Only it was a "Wildtree Pizza."  I used the dough and the seasoning for pizza sauce.  I will say that compared with the two my kiddo's ate the ENTIRE Wildtree pizza, while there is over half of the other left!   That speaks for itself. 

 Our Cheese balls also made an appearance for snack again this week. Along, with some left over zucchini that didn't go on the pizza.  

What have you all been doing for supper/snacks?  Be sure to check in! There may be prizes in it!!! ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wildtree Giveaway!

So today I decided to do a product highlight.  Some of you may know I have recently started selling Wildtree.  What is Wildtree? Wildtree offers the highest quality herbs, spices and culinary blends that are FREE of preservatives, additives, fillers, MSG and promote a healthier lifestyle!  Wildtree recently became certified organic!!  And they believe in the value of making cooking a quicker, easier, and a more healthful project for those who are short on time, and a fun, interesting adventure for those who wish to be more creative in the kitchen!

Cooking with Wildtree is so easy and makes meal planning so much easier.  Simply add a protein and veggies to one of the delicious Grapeseed Oils and/or seasonings and you have a simple, all-natural dinner.  Wildtree's products are extremely diverse.  Lets not forget the amazing freezer meals you can make! With just a few seasonings, you can create a multitude of meals without cluttering your pantry with a multitude of spices.  For example, the Rancher's Steak Rub can be used on steak, hamburgers, veggies, chicken(MY FAVORITE), fish, shrimp, potatoes and pasta!}
Did I mention Wildtree's products are completely all-natural - no MSG, food dyes, or chemicals.  And Wildtree is also very economical as it is less expensive per serving than most grocery store brands - no fillers means you use less seasoning!

So what do they offer?  Over 150 items which span breads, soups, culinary blends, sauces, dressings, salsas, marinades, sweets and the finest expeller pressed Grapeseed Oils!

Who is ready to give some of these products a try?

Today's giveaway will give you the opportunity!!

Here are the details:
  • Giveaway is for one $25gift certificate good towards a Wildtree order placed with Becca!
  • Giveaway is open to US residents only.
  • Giveaway is will close Thursday January 31st at midnight.
  • One winner will be selected using random.org.
  • Be sure to check the blog next Thursday to see if you are the winner!

To enter {each entry requires a separate comment}:
  • Check out Becca's Website and leave a comment here letting me know what amazing products you would try if you won!
  • For a second entry, follow my blog {where you will find all sorts of great recipes, stay up to date on what's new with Wildtree}, and leave a comment back here stating you did.
  • For a third entry, share this giveaway on facebook AND pin to pinterest! *Leave a comment with the link!
  • For a fourth entry, go to http://www.mywildtree.com/shop/preshop.aspx and place an order under the Giveaway event! 1 entry for every $10 spent!

To many goodies to decide on?  Here are Wildtree's top selling items:
  • 10226 Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil
  • 10229 Natural Grapeseed Oil
  • 10416 Rancher Steak Rub (my all time favorite)
  • 10282 Natural Butter Flavor Grapeseed Oil
  • 10697 Fiesta Salsa Mix
  • 10759 Creamy Ranch Dressing & Dip Mix
  • 10643 Wildtree's Alfredo Extraordinaire
  • 10450 Scampi Blend
  • 10575 Taco Seasoning Blend

And last but not least, anyone who orders with Becca through her online giveaway show will receive a generous seasoning sample!!$25 minimum.

Thanks everyone and GOOD LUCK!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cheese Balls

Did I get your attention with that awesome title?!  I finally bit the bullet and tried out the cheese ball recipe I have been drooling over on Pinterest.  I did make a few adjustments though.  Obviously I had to find a way to incorporate my Wildtree product. So that is exactly what I did!  It is also VERY kid friendly. My kiddo's and I made these up in about 5 minutes before tossing them in the oven to become a melted ball of love. :)

Cheese Balls ala Wildtree:

5 Cheese Sticks (cut into 4 pieces each) (let kids do this with a butter knife)
1/2 bag of the Wildtree Crispy Chicken Blend
1/4c. milk

After cutting each piece of string cheese into 4ths, dip each one into milk then into the Wildtree Crispy Chicken Blend.  Place on a greased baking sheet. 

Bake of 425 for 10 minutes.

Serve with a side of Wildtree Perfect Pizza Sauce

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Who's menu planning?

Hey friends!  Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Sorry for no post on Friday the fam and I headed home for some extended family time.  I also had a Wildtree party!

Last week didn't go well, I did a lot of winging it when it came to meals.  Just not feeling it I guess. So here is the plan for this week:

Steak and Potatoes

Chicken Parmesan Muffins


Chicken Pot Pie

Slow Cooker Veggie soup (with left over steak for the beef)


Chicken Fingers using the Wildtree Crispy Chicken Blend

That is all for the day, but stay tuned because I have 3, yes THREE new recipes coming at ya this week!  PLUS a giveaway!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where has the week gone...

Hey friends!  How is everyone doing this week.  We have had a crazy busy week full of fun adventures and not some many fun ones.

L had her 6 month check up this week.  We tried our second doctor since moving and let me tell you, finding a new doctor is not easy.  We are 0 for 2 on finding a doctor.  I may or may not be a bit picky, however I have pretty realistic expectations that I look for in a doc.   For one if you have never met me you probably should introduce yourself to me and maybe shake my hand or even ask me what my name is.  I realize doctors see a ton of patients, but if you have to ask ME if you have ever seen my daughter there is a problem. Then to bash me for refusing 2 shots for my daughter when I have clearly said no, is not the way to win me over either.  Anyway, enough about that tangent. 

In other news this week, I finally got around to starting my reading list.  Who else is Booking it with Becca?
I started "The Bridge" by Karen Kingsbury.  I have only gotten in a few chapters, but already love the way she pulls you into her stories.  If you haven't read any of the Karen Kingsbury books, you really need to pick one up. They are addicting and written very well. 

What books are you reading this week? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Menu Plan

Hey Friends!  This morning will be a quick post as we are headed out for Rapid as the girls have Doctor appts and shots.  I never look forward to shots, but the baby Tylenol and saved breast milk are all packed so hopefully it won't be to bad for her.

So here is the plan for the week.
Monday: Today is left overs or fend for yourself day since we won't be home until late.

Tuesday: Nachorific Chicken

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan muffins (oh yes!)

Thursday: Sloppy Joes/Chips (we are feeding a big crowd this night)

Friday: Left Overs for Lunch, then probably Subway for supper :D

Saturday: Roast beef sliders (recipe to come!)

Sunday: We will be traveling, so honestly we will eat leftovers for lunch before we head out and then whatever is in the fridge when we get home!

Not to exciting, but you get the picture! Well we are off! What does your menu look like this week? Have a fantastic day all! :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Slow Cooker Recipe

Hello Friends! Hope everyone is enjoying their snow day! It is crazy out there.  In light of the cold I thought today would be the perfect day to share another soup recipe with you.  This is a weight watcher friendly recipe as well. I personally count it as 6pp for a 1 cup serving.  This should make approximately 6-8cups of soup. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
  • 2 heaping tsp of mined garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 -3 chicken breasts (about 5oz each)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes with liquid (if you don't like chunks throw this in a food processor and puree.
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth,  low sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed(totally could get away with 1/2 a can)
  • ¼ cup reduced fat cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)

Combine all the above ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours in a 4-6 quart slow cooker. When soup is almost ready pull out chicken and shred.  It should shred easily and then put it back in with the soup. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a little cheddar cheese and diced onion, if desired.
Note: My chicken was frozen when going in the slow cooker. If you already have cooked chicken, just add it about an hour before the end of cooking time. 
I adapted this recipe from HERE. Feel free to check it out.

Of course we paired ours with some amazing corn bread, but I highly recommend making some cinnamon rolls to go along with this.  Yes, I am one of those who loves cinnamon rolls with chili. <3 br="br">

***What is your favorite soup for cold days***

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pinterest Recipe of the Week

I don't know if any of you remember me saying I would like to try one recipe a week from Pinterest and blog about it.  We all know I love to cook and any excuse to use my Rachael Ray stuff works for me.

This week we tried a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I picked this one because the point value was fairly low.  You could have one cup for only four points.  That is a winner in my book.  Anyway, how was it? Fantastic!!!! There is a Mexican restaurant where I'm from and they buy chicken tortilla soup by the bag and this was so close to the real deal it was unreal.  Now I will give you a heads up as you are pouring all the ingredients into the pan you will be grossed out and it will look mushy and gross. .Give it a chance though, you will be so glad you did!  I did take a picture on my iPhone, but lets face it that picture is horrible so I used a photo from the original source up top.

Now for the recipe:
(adapted from Emily bites, which she adapted from food.com)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 oz cooked chicken breast, shredded or chopped
1 cup water
1 (15 oz) can fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 can Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery Soup
1 can Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese Soup
½ can of Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chiles I did not use this because the family is not big on tomatoes
½ cup chunky salsa (I used Medium)
½ onion, chopped Did not use this either, although only because I didn't have it.
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped Did not use. We do no like cilantro in our house
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ t red chili powder I didn't add this in the soup, but did add red crushed pepper flakes to my personal bowl, since I have 5/6 year old eating this it couldn't be spicy.
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
12 T of tortilla strips (the type found in bags by the salad toppings) – I prefer New York Texas Toast brand in Chili Lime, but Fresh Gourmet also sells something similar

1.    In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the tortilla strips and stir until mixed. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for one hour. When serving, sprinkle 1.5 tablespoons of tortilla strips over each cup of soup.

It says that it is 4pp per 1 cup serving (if you are keeping track) I personally always add a point to soups unless I have plugged it in myself, which I haven't had time to do with this one.

Now a picture: courtesy of EmilyBites.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Free Massages!

Be sure to head over HERE and sign up to win free massages for a year! :)
Then head over HERE and sign up for a free getaway!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Who has their week planned out!?!

I have worked on our weekly planner for a LONG time this weekend.  Needless to say, when you live in a small town and by that I mean village, there are not many options at the 5 isle grocery store.  I have been incorporating weight watchers into our diet pretty heavily so this week was tough.  I did two weeks in advance so that I could make a grocery list for when we go into the city next week.

Here is this weeks.

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tuesday: Crock-pot Chicken Chili with Cornbread

Wednesday: Left Overs

Thursday: 3 Cheese manicotti

Friday: Beef Enchilada's with Spanish rice (This is my cheat meal)

Saturday: Clean out the Fridge

Sunday: Chef's choice... which will either be leftovers or chicken wraps

Lunches I usually throw together leftovers and wraps of some sort these days.  Breakfast is always oatmeal or eggs.  I'm pretty boring around here.  What are you having this week?!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My DIY list so far...

This week I'm searching out my DIY projects for the year.  I am working on a list of 12 items (1 a month) that I want to try out.  The list so far?

1. Homemade Laundry Detergent
2. Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
3. Clay Impressions of ALL the kiddo's.  I mean how cool are these!
4. Family plaque of some sort 

5. A scrapbook cookbook.
6. Homemade Wheat thins.
7. Homemade Marshmallows
8. Bake Artisan Bread in 5 min.
9. Homemade Cheez-it's (total kids recipe ;) )
10. Make Homemade Hot Chocolate
11. Make all real baby food(sort of an ongoing DIY for 2013)

AND.... that is where I'm at! Notice I left 12 blank!! Make sure to comment with something you would like to try, but want me to do it first. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Booking it with Becca


My 2013 reading list is finally here. 

Redeeming Love

The Good Girl

Atrisian Bread in 5 min. a day

100 Thing Challenge

Million Miles in a 1,000 Years

Love Does

Thunder Dog

Calm my anxious heart

The Red Gloves Collection (4 books)

Husband Project

Rekindling Romance: Loving the Love of Your Life

Nineteen Minutes

The Bridge

The Big Miss

Blackberry Winter

Near to the Heart of God
Tell Your Time
First Time Bakebook
Simple Living
Long time Coming
Les Miserable

There ya have it!  I am sure I will add more as I see new ones pop up throughout the year.  One other series I would LOVE to get my hands on it the Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series.  Our little village doesn't carry it in the library here!
What books are YOU reading in 2013?!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

Happy New Years!  Hope you all had a safe and fun NYE.  Our family headed out to some new friends house.  Of course the women were all upstairs in the kitchen and the men were downstairs watching some sort of sports.  The kids, they played and played and played!  There was a mix from ages 6months to 17years old.  All the kids 5 and up were outside most of the night. It was freezing, but there were also fireworks involved so it helps!

Now, the goals I have made.  I usually have the same NYR as everyone. Lose weight, get healthier, etc.  This year I actually came up with a list of goals for different areas of my life.

Goals for 2012
Read through the Bible in a year.
Read through the 24 books on my list. (To be posted soon)
Run/walk in at least one 5K race.
Tackle 12 DIY projects
Go on one Marriage Retreat (overnight trips sans children).
Have monthly date nights.
Read 2 books together.
Read at least 2 books on marriage.
Continue regular dates/outings with each of the children individually.
Go on at least one family vacation.
Read aloud 12 books.
Write at least two handwritten notes every month to encourage someone.
Find a church. We just moved and the pickings are SLIM around here.
Attend a bible study group.
Blog at least 3 times a week.
Plan blog posts out.
Write and schedule blog posts.
Continue to eat healthy and set an example for my children.
Tithe 10% of our income.
Pay off hubs school loan (this is our big audacious goal)
Pay cash for a family vacation AND a mom and dad only vacation.

These are just a few of my goals I have for the year 2013. Obviously I didn’t share all of them, but this is a start!  What are your 2013 goals?  Stay tuned for my DIY projects and Books Lists!