Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Brunch

 Well, happy Easter, friends!! I apologize for this long overdue brunch link up!! In honor of Easter, I thought that I would share one of my favorite crowd-sized breakfast dishes! I first tasted this yummy recipe at my Aunt Jean's house when I was probably around the age of fourteen...I begged her for the recipe (yes, at fourteen) so, she mailed it to me! This is the same wonderful aunt who introduced me to Martha Stewart and gave me my first subscription to MS Living when I was in high school.

Sausage Wild Rice Dish
1 lb Jimmy Dean Sausage
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced (I have also used canned mushrooms)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 pkg Uncle Ben's long grain wild rice, original recipe
1/2 Long grained white rice (I actually use the minute rice)

Brown sausage with onion and mushrooms.  Drain.  
Combine Uncle Ben's and White Rice and increase the water amount to 2 C, then cook according to package directions.
Combine meat and rice mixtures in large bowl.

Make the Cream Sauce:
Mix all together and pour over meat/rice mixture:
1/4 C Flour
2 1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 C milk
Oregano, Thyme, Pepper (to taste...I typically use about 1/2 t each)

 whisk the ingredients together.  they will be a little bit lumpy at first.

 Pour over meat/rice mixture and place in greased 9.5 X 13.5" casserole dish.  The mixture will appear soupy.

BAKE at 350* for 30 Minutes.  Sprinkle toasted almonds around the rim before serving (I actually never do, but, it is delicious that way).

This is one of those recipes that one can make ahead and bake the morning needed.  This makes about ten generous servings.

Care to share a favorite brunch recipe with us? Link up!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Brunch link up postponed

Hello friends! Happy Sunday!  I don't know if you've noticed that the past two Sundays have been missing their usual Sunday Brunch post, I apologize!! The stomach flu has hit our house...not fun! So, while we are on the mend after two weeks of miserable...none of us have felt much like preparing meals, let alone eating them...
Please check back this week.  I plan to open an Easter Brunch link up early on in the week and would love to have you share your recipes!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

preparing. activities for Easter.

Easter is in less than two weeks.  
I always do something for lent, however this year my life has hardly slowed down enough to get a meal in or a decent night's rest.
I know this has been a busy, emotional season for many of you.  Running running running often leaves one crumbling with little time to process...and, I don't know about you, but I need time to ponder all that is around me, because all too often the people and work and experiences become clutter in my life, and I find myself simply clocking in, rather than being.

This season of our life has been busy.  So busy, that it looks a tornado hit our house...and, sometimes, I feel a little bit like my wearied soul might just look the same.

With Easter just around the corner, I thought it might be nice to share some activities to do by yourself or as a family, as a way to prepare our hearts during this Lenten season.
These activities are all individual stations from an ash wednesday workshop  we hosted a few years ago.  

Carving Soap:
All that's really needed for this activity is a dollar store potato peeler and a bar of soap.  One can use carving tools, however, I think the potato peeler might be a safer tool for little ones.  I also particularly love using a cuticle trimmer to create details in my soap sculpture.


I love to show my kids how a sculpture can be formed from a plain bar of soap...but not without first carving out some chunks...much like parts of our lives, wouldn't you say?

In his beautiful book, Drops like Stars, Rob Bell describes suffering as the process of creating a beautiful sculpture: 

on tour, Rob handed out bars of soap to carve.  
(*original soap image taken from Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell  i added the words and tape)
(*Rob Bell, Drops like Stars)

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. Jeremiah 18:4-6.

Rock Hunt:
We love hunting for rocks in our house.  The little man started bringing home a pebble from his preschool playground everyday when he was tiny...then kindergarten started and he apologized because his new playground had wood chips, so, he would need to start bringing home wood chips.  We had a special box where he stored his rock collections and he would go and place each little pebble inside of it.  The other day, I pulled out his trundle to find a GIANT landscaping rock in it.  Um what?! I asked him where on earth he found this rock...oh, just the local rec. center.  again, what? I have no idea how he even got it into our car...I had to explain that rock hunts cannot take place on landscaped property.  and I digress.  

Our church in Dallas gave us each a rock to place in our pockets to remind us of Christ's time in the wilderness (Matthew 4) and that we are not alone in our own personal wilderness.  
Our kids love to hunt for a special rock to keep in their pockets during this season...while it may seem like such a simple idea, the whole outing provides for a way to discuss with our kids the symbolism behind each stone.  It is something, as they grow older, that they will remember during their own seasons of wilderness.

Weaving Pot holders
Everyone remembers the fun pot holder looms from childhood.  I loved those things, loved how a pile of stretchy fabric bands became a real live pot holder...even though, at eight or ten or however old I was, I didn't cook, had no need for those silly pot holders...I made them like they were going out of style.  

As an adult, I think this craft is a simple way of seeing and explaining how God works everything together for our good (Romans 8:28).  He takes our story...all of our experiences, our good our horrible...our triumphs and our utter tragedies and he weaves them into a beautiful tapestry.  Because, much like the elastic bands in these potholders , there are parts of us that we aren't proud of...there are things that happen that we wish we could take back (for me, it has been my illness and five thousand moves)...and yet, every piece of us makes us who we are, we would not be the same without it.  Each strand is needed to create each piece and to make it it's unique self.  Weaving a potholder with your kids is a perfect example of life and the beautiful and the horrible things that happen and the parts of our stories that are woven together to make us who we are. 

Also, please check out live fashionABLE, see the stories of these beautiful women weavers who are living examples of a beautiful woven life, and please consider purchasing one of their gorgeous scarves to help support them. (Naturally, I am in love with this one.)

Charcoal drawings
While this is a messy activity to do, especially with small children, it is incredibly symbolic.  One can liken charcoal to ashes, and with these "ashes" (charcoal) we can create a beautiful piece of artwork.  

I like to show that charcoal may have started as something entirely different, but, could not be used to create a beautiful drawing until it was burnt (Job 23:10)

aren't we all burning sticks snatched from the fire?

I'm not really sure what to call this activity.  We did something similar at our church in Dallas, and I loved it.  It's simple, all that's required is a black sharpie and black fabric like a cheap table cloth (or paper, but fabric is best).  Easter is about our Savior coming and dying for our sins, that we might have life (John 3:16-17, Romans 3:23 & 5:18, Isaiah 53, to name a few).  I have a really hard time really letting go of my sins, allowing myself to really give them up to the Lord, mostly because I cannot physically hand them to Him.  I love how I can physically offer up my transgressions with this activity.  Simply write these things down in sharpie on black fabric and they disappear.  (psalm 103:12)

Make a Play list
Lastly, make a play list.  Music moves me, so, to have a play list of songs to listen to during these activities is incredibly symbolic to me.  One of my favorite bloggers, Alison, is married to an equally talented man, who created the most beautiful album of hymns that will move you.  You might want to seriously consider adding this album to your music library.  

I wish you all a restful Easter week, and I hope you get a chance to try out one of these activities.
The theme of all of them is: making room for Christ to come in and work.  In order for the beauty that comes from the transformation to take place, we often must endure the painful sculpting, carving out, weaving, and sometimes a refiner's fire.  In the end we will come forth as gold. (or soap. or a potholder).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Puff Pastry Pockets

Hey Friends! Well, it's that time of week's the Sunday brunch series! This week's recipe came from an attempt to create a requested lunch box item that I don't necessarily approve of...
hot pockets.
seriously, gross.  I mean, no offense if you like them...I've just really swayed from all things frozen and we are dye free in our find myself trying to find quick alternatives, often.

Anywho, hang in there, b/c these are far from hot fact they need a dreamier more fitting name...I created this little recipe in hopes of freezing them to see how they taste re-heated...but, every single time I make them, they are devoured.  SO, without further adieu I give you:

Puff Pastry Pockets
1 Puff Pastry Sheet (these come 2 per box) cut into six pieces
1 C shredded cheddar cheese (give or take)
4 oz cooked breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
6 eggs beaten with a teensy tiny bit of milk
sliced green onions
2 T melted butter.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Cook sausage , add eggs and scramble.  I usually use egg whites in my scrambled eggs, however, for this recipe it is better to have heavier eggs.

Roll out each pastry square.  Place about 1/4 c of scramble in center of dough, top with cheese and a sprinkling of green onions.

Fold up sides and pinch dough together to seal.
Brush melted butter over top and bake for 15 minutes (one can brush with an egg wash as well, which creates a nice golden pastry top, we just like the way the butter flavors the pastry).  Top with a sprinkling of cheese and place back in oven for 1 minute, until melted. Voila!

These are seriously one of the fastest breakfast recipes ever, but, the beauty of these little buttery morsels is, one can add whatever toppings they would like...sausage can be replaced with bacon, cheddar with a little swiss and spinach, or add some mushrooms and tomatoes...
AND you can customize each pocket for each picky little individual at your table.

Have a yummy brunch recipe to share with us? Link up! Be sure and "grab the code" below and paste it into the html of your post so this list will pop up on your post too!
Happy Sunday, friends! xoxo

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sunday Brunch: French Toast Waffles

Good morning, friends! Is it SERIOUSLY Sunday already?! Wowsas, I find it sad that I have not posted since the last Sunday Brunch Series!! Sorry about that guys!
I am currently away at an athletic event for my kids, so, my contribution to this little link-up series is going to be a little bit more condensed than my usual post...

I do love a good brunch...weekends are my favorite because we can spend more time baking and most importantly, more time eating!! I love to sit and linger over coffee, good food, and good music...many a weekend we find ourselves seated at the farm table, still in our pajamas, eating and conversing long after the morning is over.

This little recipe is incredibly simple, however it is one of our family's faves!! I like it not only for the weekend but for a quick school day recipe, as well! It comes from my go-to cook book, Joy of Cooking

2 eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
dash of salt
1/4 Cup Melted butter
Thick sliced bread trimmed to fit in a waffle iron (our clan prefers sourdough)

In a shallow pie dish beat eggs by hand, add milk + salt and whisk together.
Whisk in melted butter, the butter will clump as it hits cooler ingredients, so be sure to continue stirring while coating bread.
Coat bread slices well on both sides in the batter.  Toast it for one and half to two minutes on waffle iron until bread reaches desired french toasty consistency.
YUMMY in my tummy is all I have to say about that!

Hope your Sunday is fabulous, friends!! Want to share your fave recipe with us today?! Link up!! Make sure to grab the code and insert it into your shared blog post.