Soul Food

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Books I Am Reading

Books, they serve as mentors in my life!  I am always intrigued by the books that people I love and deeply respect are reading.  It gives me a window into their souls.  It’s like a clue to what makes them tick.  Why they think the way they do and the ‘how’ to some of  their guiding principles.

I have this burning desire to always be growing in my soul.  These are the books that are challenging me in this journey, as

of late.

Fervent, Priscilla Shirer

Cutting edge, practical and a powerful reminder that our prayers do matter.  We are moving Heaven and Earth when we enter the Throne.

The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers, Meg Meeker, MD

Seriously, the title didn’t grab me but this one is on!  She writes with tons of real life, client experience.  She is a pediatrician but her writing style is counselor.  I would not have picked up this book but when your husband sets 2 of her books in your lap because he has been reading her stuff,  you give it a try.  I wish I could retain half of her insight.  She is just that good!!  Tons of practical ways on how to over come fears, the control money has on us and on and on………..

The Life Giving Home, Sally & Sarah Clarkson

I love anything the Clarkson’s write.  Most of their books have been written to homeschooling momma’s but this one is practical in how to live life very intentional with your children, regardless of what educational route you choose.

Teaching From Rest, Sarah Mackenzie

  It’s a short book so if you don’t have a lot of time to read right now I would pick this one up.  I could not put it down!  I don’t know if it was because I was going thru the internal struggle ALL OVER AGAIN of what is required of me to walk this homeschooling journey and I just wanted to run, run far away.  It really gave me some perspective.

Cheers to a Fabulous weekend!  We hope to spend it in the great out doors with some family.

Dawn

 

Freezer Meals

I spent my 8th month of pregnancy focusing on freezer meals, I am so happy I did. I have already pulled from my stash just because my 9th month of pregnancy is always a bit rough.  This one has been exceptionally good but I still like the fact that I haven’t had to spend a lot of time focusing on food prep.

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I will share a few tips of what I find helpful in doing freezer meals but my best encouragement to you is to think thru what are things your family really likes?  Work with that menu. It might take you a month to come up with a list of some key items that would do well for you in the freezer.  It does take a bit of extra cash to make it work up front but it has been so worth the physical exhaustion I could be experiencing this late in my pregnancy.

Future Freezer Meal Chef

Future Freezer Meal Chef

Another simple thing I always do when I pull hamburger out of the freezer is pull 2 or 3 times the amount I would typically need for a meal so that I can just triple my recipe.  It could be sloppy joe’s, meatballs, meatloaf, taco meat or whatever.  With sloppy joe’s and taco meat I just get my big crock pot out and let the crock-pot do the work all day and then mid-day, add my seasonings.  At dinner, we eat what we need and then I divvy out the remaining in freezer bags. (Always keep plenty of freezer bags on hand – gallon and quart size!)

I was fortunate to have 2 wonderful woman from my church volunteer to help me at different days.  Rhoda, was such a blessing and probably helped me 5 hours one day and then I had young Gabi

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here for about 8 hours and did we pump out the meals that day!  Other then that I would just make a batch of something and super, duper size it.  I ended up with about 40 entrees for my freezer.  These will all come in very handy leading up to delivery and this fall after I have started school.  We are fortunate to be part of a ‘community’ of believers who provide meals for about 10 days post baby.  It’s always such a gift!!!  When someone else makes food for me, I feel so loved and cared for!

BEWARE: your kitchen is a wreck in order to make this freezer meal deal happen!!!  If you can wash dishes up as you go it won’t be quite as over whelming at the end of your project!

These are some of the items on my bucket list this freezer meal round:

Alpine Meat Balls, (I just googled for a recipe and combined two recipes that I thought I might like to create my own recipe), Poor Man’s Steak  (a family favorite) which I will share the recipe at the end of this post, made a Trim Healthy Momma Shepherd’s pie (which I got off of Pinterest), experimented with a baked Oatmeal from my cookbook (while baked oatmeal only takes 15 minutes to mix together in the morning, I figured if I would spend an hour and get 6 breakfasts in the freezer long term I would be better off) and finally I seasoned and sliced some round steak for fajitas’s.

These books however have been my 2 main sources for freezer meal cooking  and you can purchase them here:

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These are some of the items that came from the books that I made:

Savory Chicken Bundles

Donna’s Stromboli

Beef Pasta Bake (I used Dream Fields Pasta for this, only cook it for 3 minutes and not the full time the box says, immediately drain and do not return to heat)

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Chicken Enchilada’s

Smothered Breakfast Burritos (these are ok but probably would not do them again)

Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken Tenders

Baked Penne Tomato, Cheese and Sausage (here again I used Dream Fields Pasta and the reason is I am trying to follow the Trim Healthy Momma eating approach and have had great success with it so wanted to have some meals that really fit plan well!  This one might be border line because I added more cheese then it calls for).

Basic Mashed Potatoes (I was a such a skeptic on this one but am happy I did it)!

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One of the kettles that cooked up 12 lbs of potatoes

POOR MAN’S STEAK

3 lbs grass fed beef

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup milk

1/4 cup or more of flour

Butter for frying

2 boxes of mushroom soup (You could also sub 3 cans of regular mushroom soup)

 

Product Details

I buy it by the case on Amazon.

I like it because there is no MSG in it  and the packaging is  BPA free.

Mix together beef, salt, pepper, oatmeal, onion and milk.  Pat in a 9X13 pan and allow to chill for several hours or overnight (the time I made this I only did it for 30 minutes, I think it is so it cuts into pieces nicer, I am not sure it’s necessary).  Cut into squares.  Put several pats of butter in a frying pan; roll the meat in flour and fry for 2-3 minutes on a side.  Place in a baking dish and once you have the amount of pieces you think you need to feed your family consider that pan full and start filling another pan.  (When you do this many freezer meals you might want to buy some disposable foil pans so that you have enough containers).  Fill all your pans and then add some water (3/4 -1 cup) and  2 boxes of mushroom soup to the skillet.  Heat up your gravy and be sure to scratch off all those pan drippings on the bottom into the soup mixture.  Divide the soup over your meat and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 40-45 minutes.  This meat is so tender and so yummy.  

So the days I need some good, yummy food that reminds me of home, I will pull one of the 6  poor man steaks that are in the freezer with a bag of mashed potatoes from that same freezer and viola have dinner prompt o.  That is provided I remember to pull it from the freezer 🙂 but I usually remember because when it comes to dinner time, things at my house can be out-of-control!  We are so ready to see daddy walk in and rescue us all!!! 

I know this post is super duper long but I hope it will get you thinking about how you might be creative in your own kitchen and maximize some of your time.  Time is a high commodity and every minute I can save frees me to breathe a little deeper when tension is high or I feel pulled to thin.

I plan to take a little break from blogging over the next month or 2.  There will probably be a random post about the baby and my publisher and I are working together on a 24 hour free e-book promotion for the cookbook.  Stay tuned for that, it will come the end of this month!

CHEERS!

Dawn

Authenticity

This morning the fall candle is lit, the coffee steamy  (haven’t made a good cup like this in a long time, not sure what I did different-ha), the maple yogurt with pumpkin granola (made by a sweet friend) was divine, the children are still in bed and my husband and I came before the throne with our praises and our needs. The quiet was a gift!

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And yet my mind is cluttered, I sit with piles of summer/winter clothes in my sun room waiting for good homes.  The school room and the toy room have remnants of yesterday’s play. The dishes (thank goodness their clean) from last night all still need put away.  The laundry needs started, I have dead flowers sitting in vases that need taken out (days ago), the yogurt needs made (the milk will go bad if I wait one more day), Camden’s basketball form needs run up the street (TODAY because our Upwards fills up that quickly, today is opening day for registration), the rose garden project that I have been attempting to re-do is no farther advanced then it was 6 months ago,  the kids need loved on, school needs to happen (side bar, I had no idea it would be so hard to home school).  You get it, the list is long. I am sure your list is long  too……..

So how do I do life well in the midst of this?  How do I love well when life is pressing in? How do I connect with Jesus when there is no time to just sit for hours (like I used to do when I was single) before his face?

My wise mentor, Martha spoke these words as I bore my soul to her this summer! Today I am re-reading her words and taking them to heart.

She said, “Dawn, the seed (my ideals of a clean house, the longing for uninterrupted time with the Lord, the notion that the list will get done today, my own agenda) must die so that it can bring forth fruit (happy children, a joyful momma when the list isn’t completed-practicing joy even when I don’t feel it, children who are read to, children who have been shown Jesus in every day living).”  She said that all the time I had before children was a good planting but now the ‘Authentic Test of my Faith’ is being applied.   And that He, Jesus is more pleased with me living out of my sacrifice and service to my husband and my children then a perfectly peaceful heart because things went as I had hoped.  She said, “What if this is what HE wants more from you right now/the serving more then the long quiet time with Him?”  These were the words I needed to hear.  So often I get lost in what I perceive is holy and I sacrifice that for what is really the best…..giving of myself completely to my husband and children.  This she tells me is ‘Authentic Faith’.

She continues to speak truth to me.  She tells me to hold my hands open, lifted up in worship, in sacrifice to Him.  Somehow in the lifting up of my hands, I let something in my heart go, that frees me.  When I place in one hand all that Jesus is, He’s the perfect planner, the perfect organizer, the perfect civilizer of any domain, the perfect parent and the list goes on, you get it.  And I hold in the other hand me, myself and all the things that I deem inadequate about myself but when I bring both of my hands together and lift them (literally) in worship.  I find surrender.  I find tears.  I find release.  I am offering my sacrifice.  He receives me just like I am.  These days I am doing this a lot!! The seed is dying and it’s painful but I am trusting HIM to bring forth fruit!  He is able to sustain me because He has all the resources!!  I am not talking here about easy answers or cliche.  I am talking here about my ‘hard’ about your ‘hard’.  Placing them in the hand of myself but naming all the things He is in the other and offering it, really offering it!

What is HE speaking to you in the messes of your days? I would love to hear about it!  Just remember, don’t wear the names your giving yourself (i.e. inadequate, failure, most impatient momma on the planet, not-enough) run to HIM about the names you should be wearing.  They will make all the differnce in how you live your life. 

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My path is always open, please come visit!

Sweet PEACE my friend!

Dawn

 

Books as Mentors

they feed my soul.  They help me grow.  They give me perspective.  I have taken some time to read this summer, here are the 3 books that I am in the middle of.  I recommend them to you.

Someday I will write about my ‘real life’ mentors but for today it’s the books that are mentoring me.

Dancing with My Father, by Sally Clarkson

This book is so practical in how to CHOOSE joy in your life! I have read this book so many times and it is so marked up I would not lend it out to anyone at this point but every time I read it, I am just amazed at what I glean from it.

7 Men, Eric Metaxas  (He is the current voice for Break Point since Chuck Colson died).

This book is for the men in your life or the young men in your life who are wanting to become REAL heroes.  Or if your like me it’s also for the woman who wants to offer solid books to her boys, who will one day be men. My radar is up for books that I can point my boys to as they develop an interest in reading.

Kingdom Woman, Tony Evans and his daugther.

Ladies, this is such a spot on book.  Not a book about an easier life, but a book about getting ourselves in position with the God of the universe so that HE can use me/ you to radiate HIM thru our lives.  It’s just that good and filled with practical, every day life issues we face!!