Saturday, September 8, 2012

Relentless Pursuit by Ken Gire

I received another book from Bethany House Publishers. I always love seeing that manila envelope in the mailbox! It means another book for me to read and review.

This time it was a Christian Living book by author Ken Gire:

Relentless Pursuit, God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider In All of Us was intriguing to me. Don't we all feel like an outsider from time to time? I know that I do.

The book started out well with many examples from famous writers lives, including the life of C.S. Lewis. The author demonstrated well how God pursues us at a personalized pace perfect for each individual. Somewhere around the fourth chapter, the book seemed to shift it's direction and it threw my interest off course. I did manage to finally finish the book, but it felt like a little bit of a struggle for me.

One part that stuck is that I should look at the part of me that is far from God and allow God to capture and save it.

Overall, a nice book that takes a little persistence to stick with to the end.

This book was provided to me for free from Bethany House to review. The content of the review is entirely my own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson

I have been enjoying a steady stream of new books to read from Bethany House Publishers and I'd like to share the opportunity with you. You too can receive review copies by visiting: HERE.

Now on to the review.

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Tracie Peterson's Touching The Sky. This novel is set in the Civil War era which is of particular interest to me and my family. I have a nine-year-old son that knows more about that war than most adults, including me.

Tracie Peterson did a fantastic job of showing the strong feelings on both the Union and the Confederate side of the war. I was intensely attached to the characters and even felt compassion for those characters that don't hold the same political view as I do of the Civil War. It really was a tragic war and the author conveyed that very well through her characters. I especially appreciate how the main male character stood strong in his biblical convictions throughout the whole story.

I really do not like book reviews that spoil the story for future readers, so I do try to refrain from revealing too much. This is the second book in a series. I have not read the first book, but the second book certainly makes me want to read the first!

Very well done Ms. Peterson!

I was given a copy of this book to review by Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Unstuck

I'm finally back! This time, no food, but a book review instead.

Bethany House Publishers sent me the following book to review.

I was skeptical of this book. I don't normally read "self-help" books and I abhor what I call "psycho-babble". For the record, this is NOT a "self-help" book and I was terribly mistaken by thinking so. As for the "psycho-babble", it uses surveys and real-life stories from real people to make it's conclusions.

The most interesting thing is that the authors used surveys to compile data and they did a great job of keeping it lively, not dry as toast as so many "carefully researched" books are. I was able to relate to the authors and the people they interviewed.

This book offers more than a good read that inspires you to grow in your faith. They actually give you tools in which to do so. All the while, they never fail to keep God's word preeminent. That alone was refreshing to say the least!

I highly recommend Unstuck. Your Life. God's Design. Real Change.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Messenger, a review.

I used to read historical novels all the time, but after children, my life became busy and reading for pleasure was put on the back burner. The Messenger was a true pleasure to read. I found it to be historically accurate and was delighted to even learn some interesting facts about the Quakers and the Revolutionary War.

I enjoyed the author's way of alternating between the two main characters: Hannah and Jeremiah. It kept it interesting and helped to see the contrast in the two characters lives and the way that it affected their perspective of the war and of each other.

If you enjoy history, suspense and a good read, you will most definitely will enjoy The Messenger.

Bethany House Publishers provided me a copy of the book to review, but these thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. If you would like to review books for Bethany House Publishers, please feel free to contact them at

Happy reading!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Italian Fish Stew

I have never-ever-in-all-my-life, made a fish stew. Until tonight.

I WILL be making it again.

The whole family devoured the fish stew. Next time I will double the recipe!

A whole-hearted thank you goes to AggieKitchen Play and the US Potato Board for introducing me to fish stew.

Here is our stew before we gobbled it all up:

I followed Aggie's recipe and it was delicious!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beef, Potato and Vegetable Pot Pie

The children and I feasted on THIS the other night. My husband is traveling a lot with his new business right now and you know how it is when daddy isn't home to cook end up eating fried egg sandwiches, raisins, yogurt and dry Cheerios most evenings!

So this was a treat:

I realize it looks more like a deconstructed pot pie and I suppose it is. In the original recipe, the biscuits are laid on top and baked. Since my diet right now is gluten-free, I decided to serve the biscuits on the side and I ate mine with a piece of toasted gluten-free bread. It was delicious. I think that the children actually preferred having the biscuit separate from the pie as a few of them love their biscuits with butter and jam.

This recipe is just one of many at the Kitchen Play Progressive Party sponsored this month by the US Potato Board. There is a wonderful giveaway and the deadline to enter is April 15th. So you still have time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Marshmallow Pops - fun on a stick!

The children and I made these marshmallow pops to take to church on Sunday. The idea comes from Savory Sweet Life where Alice makes Rocky Road Marshmallow Pops. I wanted to make ours kid friendly (not all children appreciate nuts) so we sprinkled ours with rainbow sprinkles.

We made almost 40 of these and put them in the freezer until we were ready to travel to church. At lunch, we put the small styrofoam balls down in teacups and it made a lovely display on the dessert table. All the children loved them, and maybe an adult or two as well! There were lots of chocolate smiles that afternoon.


We had hail on Saturday!

We couldn't believe it. The children were shoveling it and playing in it like snow!

Mashed Potato Casserole

It is such a privilege to be able to participate in Kitchen Play's Progressive Party. I learn so much each and every time I participate.

This month's sponsor is the US Potato Board. Ahhh! The lovely potato or should I say potatoes. Did you know there are 7 types of potatoes? See? I told you I learned something.

This Mashed Potato Casserole was quick to whip up and very tasty. I served it with top sirloin steak and a salad. This is a very impressive dish! All of my children were oohing all over it and saying, "WHAT is that Mom??" As impressive as it looks, it tastes equally good.

This can easily be made ahead of time and I think you should try it! Better yet, try it and join in the fun at Kitchen Play!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gardens Alive! Giveaway

We love to garden around here and with five little mouths to feed, you can bet we plant as much garden as we can.

Right now I have 78 little tomato plants under lights. They are growing strong roots so they will be ready for the garden this Spring. There are also lots of pepper plants off to a good start!

I purchase seeds from many different seed companies, including Gardens Alive! 
Here's your chance to win $25 to spend at Gardens Alive. Head over to The Frugal Greenish Mama and enter to win!

I have Spring Fever, how about you?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Folks, This Ain't Normal Giveaway

Head over to Holistic Kid to enter this great giveaway.

We have enjoyed and gleaned much from Joel Salatin's wisdom. You can enter to win one of his books:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Apple, Pecan and Cherry Winter Salad

I really love participating in Kitchen Play's Progressive Party. Every course is a joy to make or recreate, but I do believe that I love the salad category the most! I really do love a good salad. This month's salad did not disappoint.

Bran Appetit created a lovely winter salad, which in my opinion would be a treat any time of the year.

I followed her recipe exactly and it was a delight.

Let me show you my new favorite salad mix:

I found this at Whole Foods and it is my new addiction. It boasts 5 super foods of baby greens: red and green swiss chard, tat soi, arugula and spinach. So good! I used this in the winter salad.

My husband's comment, "The cherries really make this salad." 

This coming from the man that has no knowledge that the Cherry Marketing Institute is the sponsor this month. His only job is to eat the food I create! Anyway, he really thought the cherries were the star of the salad and I agree with him. You really should try this salad!

Cherries, no longer just for pie.

I have a new love for cherries. Thanks to the Cherry Marketing Institute for sponsoring Kitchen Play's Progressive Menu this month. I now have a new fondness for all things cherry: dried cherries, frozen cherries, raw cherries and juiced cherries.

I've never tasted tart cherry juice until now - it is yummy! And did you know cherries are considered one of the "super-fruits"? This drink uses tart cherry juice and is a hit with children and adults alike.

U Try It created a Frozen Tart Cherrytini. I followed the recipe exactly and let me tell you, this is an extremely easy, spectacular drink to make and swallow. I love how she provided a non-alcoholic version as well.

Here is my Frozen Tart Cherrytini (please forgive my terrible photography skills!).

Did you notice?? NO CANNING JAR! I finally picked up some martini glasses! Fixed that problem didn't I? Now if any of you know of a food photography class, please let me know!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back from vacation and back to cooking!

I've been looking forward to making the recipes on this month's Kitchen Play's Progressive Menu. This month's sponsor is the Cherry Marketing Institute. My only real experience with cherries is eating them raw and spitting out the pit! This is true. I promise. I am not a cherry pie fan, but you can give me a raw cherry any day of the week.

This family loves salmon so it seemed natural to try the entree first. This recipe really got me out of my grilled salmon rut.

The Tart Cherry Salsa, complete with one whole jalapeƱo, was out of this world! By the way, do you ever wonder what it looks like around here while I'm preparing supper? There you have it, math homework and Polly Pocket right next to Mommy's sharp knife.

The salsa, paired with a salmon filet was simple perfection. I added apples, cherries and swiss cheese on a bamboo skewer for the children's delight. It was fun!

The deadline for Kitchen Play's menu this month has been extended to March 11th, so you still have time to participate! You really should give it a try!

Guess where we've been?


Time with Grandparents: Priceless!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Living a Legacy Conference

Sharing with you all today:

I'm making plans to attend! Head over there and check it out!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Country Livin'

I am always telling my children, "Just because we live in the country, does not mean that we have to act or look like country bumpkins." SO, it is with some reluctance that I tell you about my entry into Kitchen Play's Cocktail course of the January Progressive Party.

Introducing the Redneck Martini.

This is my version of Cooking With Books, Bloody Mary Martini.

I feel some explanation is in order. I desperately wanted to make this Bloody Mary Martini, but I had no dry vermouth or vodka or martini glass in the house. I try to be frugal by not making unnecessary trips to town (especially when I have to take 5 children with me) and let's face would it look if the homeschool mom shows up at the liquor store and Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase said liquors and said martini glass, during school hours with her children in tow?? NOT GOOD. That is a newspaper headline just waiting to happen folks.

So, being the resourceful woman that I am, I called my husband to tell him that I needed dry vermouth and vodka for a martini recipe and could he pretty please pick some up on his way home from work. I didn't dare ask him to pick up a martini glass too, I mean, that would have just been pushing it a little too far don't you think?

My adoring husband heard martini and brought home gin and dry vermouth so I had to roll with that. So my only variations to this lovely cocktail is that I used gin, rather than vodka and a canning jar, rather than a martini glass! Don't fret - it still tastes wonderful! Oh! The other variation was that my celery had gone limp in the produce drawer so I had to string the Lindsay Olives on a wood skewer! I think the wood skewer compliments the canning jar just perfectly!


Roasted Vegetable Greek Salad

This is another Kitchen Play Progressive Party entry. I am SO glad I decided to make this salad.
One word for this salad: GOURMET.
It was not hard to make and so very worth it!

Here are my veggies going into the oven, sorry about the shadow:
These veggies roasting in the oven, made the house smell divine. The children kept asking what was for supper and I was definitely salivating in anticipation.

This is the kind of salad you dream of serving your guests. Believe me, if you do, they will never forget it!

They are tossed in with the cooled roasted veggies and then tossed with the dressing.
Then the whole thing is topped off with feta cheese.
Presents well and tastes wonderful.

Here is the recipe. My only variation was that I added garlic cloves to the veggies before roasting. We love garlic and it just seemed like the thing to do!
Once again, Kitchen Play has provided me with another great recipe.

Why I love Kitchen Play.

Have you heard of the Kitchen Play Progressive Party Menu?

In a nutshell (from the Contest page at Kitchen Play):

Each Progressive Party at Kitchen Play features a giveaway designed to include as many bloggers in the fun as possible. To participate, simply recreate one of the original courses revealed that month and post about the experience on your own site. Variations, alterations and ingredient substitutions are allowed and encouraged. Only one recipe per entry is required (even if the original Kitchen Play post contains more than one).

Now, I love to participate because it forces me to make things that I normally would never even dream of making. I admit it, I'm in a menu-planning rut!

But, check out this yummy entree that I made just last night:

This was NOT my normal roast chicken. It was crunchy goodness on the outside and juicy deliciousness on the inside. The black bean relish on top was simply gourmet. 

Here's a close up of the relish. See all the yummy Lindsay Black Olives?

The breading on the chicken is really great. I hate breading things because the breading normally falls off during the browning, but this stuck and had great taste! I was able to make it gluten-free by using gluten-free bread crumbs and brown rice flour instead of white flour. You really must try THIS recipe. Thanks Kitchen Play for another great menu!

Buenos Dias, Mi Amigos!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Lindsay Olives

First and foremost, an apology for my long hiatus from blogging! The desire to blog is not lacking, but the time to do it is.

I love to cook, bake and create in the kitchen. With 5 children home with me, things can get a bit crazy while Mama is focused on a recipe. I try to give them all jobs or things to keep them busy, but sometimes they end up entertaining themselves. This is what they did while I pulled the Minestrone Soup together:

This was just one of the shapes they taught our 2 year old (she's the short one in the pink tutu!).

Okay, now back to the soup. This is my entry in Kitchen Play's Progressive Party Menu. January's sponsor is Lindsay Olives. You do know that I can not post a recipe whose star is olives without the "child-with-olives-on-fingers" picture, right??

Now that THAT is out of the way. We made the Minestrone and Black Olive Soup. Our only variation in this recipe is that we used spinach instead of kale and shredded mozzarella instead of sliced. The star of the show:

This month's sponsor: Lindsay Olives!

Can you smell the deliciousness?

This made a perfect lunch on a blustery-kind of day!

Thank you Kitchen Play and Lindsay Olives for this month's Progressive Party! I'm looking forward to trying the other recipes!