Lately, I've been feeling a little bit like those three individuals. Who is the real Blessed Mama anyway? A few years ago I was the youngest mother with four small children. Then I was the young woman with four kids. Now, I am the woman with six children ages 20 months to 18 years of age. No longer do the fads and fashions matter so much. The desire for current looks has become much more balanced by the need of function. Immature and foolish perceptions have been replaced with truth learned while experiencing reality. Yes, much has changed. The young acorn is growing into an oak tree. Years from now, hopefully, I will look back at the young sapling I am now and wonder how such a large oak tree could have come from such a small and fragile plant.
Becoming the woman God created me to become is a never-ending journey from glory to glory. In spite of the often cold, harshness of life's journey, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am glad, so glad that I belong to God and that He is changing me into His likeness. Growth can be a painful process, but the results are worth it. Oh yes, God is good, and I'm glad to be His. Here's to small acorns and towering Oaks. The Real Me is standing up in the Grace of God. Love until next time, Blessed Mama
Today we are sharing a fun twist to one of the most basic recipes around, cornbread. Earlier in the week, we in the kitchen heating up soup and preparing to make cornbread. A random thought crossed through my mind as I wondered aloud whether cornbread batter could be cooked successfully in a waffle iron. Ever ready to try something new in the kitchen, the waffle iron was brought out and heated up. Guess what? It worked wonderfully! Not of This World mixed up the cornbread batter just like normal. However, instead of cooking it in the cast iron skillet, she cooked it just as if it were waffle batter. Delicious! Our cornbread waffles had a perfectly crisp but not too crisp outside. When eaten with a bowl of piping hot chili, the comfort factor went off the charts! We are certain they would be equally as yummy slathered in butter and topped with maple syrup at breakfast too. Cornbread waffles are our newest favorite thing. Our minds immediately began swirling with possible meals to use our new discovery in. And...in keeping with Living Large On Less tradition, they are economical and easy to make. Simply mix up a batch of your favorite cornbread batter and cook in the waffle iron just as you do traditional waffle batter.
The only question that remains is.....what else can we cook in our waffle maker? I'm wondering about chocolate chip cookie dough. That might make a really tasty desert when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with hot fudge sauce, and sprinkled with toasted nuts; maybe a mocha brownie served with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon or cocoa powder. Ahhhhhhhhh, so many pleasant possibilities to experiment with. Sweets are fun, but there are a number of savory combinations to taste too. One of the first that I hope to try is the classic creamed chicken over waffles. I'd also like to put a spin on the traditional hot beef sandwich by substituting waffles for the bread. Sometimes we put slices of bacon and shredded cheddar cheese in our waffles. There has to be a new recipe hiding inside our imaginations that will use those.
Before I get carried away with waffles, they are one of my most favorite foods---can you tell? I want to share another newbie in our kitchen, the cheesecake in a sheetcake pan. Preparing the cheesecake in a sheetcake pan enabled us to use small cookie cutters to create perfectly sized bites of cheesecake for us to "embellish" however the mood strikes us. Toasted pecans, drizzles of caramel and chocolate sauce are all definite possibilities in the future. A few adjustments were made to our standard 9" round pan recipe. The recipe for the cheesecake's crust was doubled. It was fairly thick, but this prevented the crust from breaking into pieces when cut with the cookie cutter. The filling for the classic flavored cheesecake was the normal recipe plus half. If using a flavor, such as chocolate, the requires additional ingredients, the normal recipe amount works fine. This is going to be so much fun!
Receptions for graduations, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and other occasions abound this time of year. If any of you have Living Large on Less tips for special occasions, send them to us in a comment. We at Living Large on Less will pass them on in a post. Tips and ideas for decor, gifts, food, and everything in between are welcome.
Thanks to everyone who responded to the granola challenge. Our Favorite Recipes recipe booklet is well on its way towards completion. You can begin looking for it by the end of next week. Until next week, Blessed Mama
Knowing that this is a busy season for many, we hope that this decision is a blessing to our readers as well. Thank you for being so faithful to send encouragement our way. Don't forget, the first 20 readers to send in a comment sharing their favorite way to enjoy granola will receive a booklet of our 20 favorite recipes! The booklet is "in the making" and is expected to hit the mail within the next two weeks. Until later, love & prayers from Blessed Mama.
Verse one of Romans chapter 12 speaks of offering our bodies as a living sacrifice. Isn't God good? He knew that the only way we could accomplish this was to experience a total transformation and renewing of our minds as verse two states. The greatest surprise came as I read on further in chapter 12. During our meeting today, the discussion had touched on what a comforting, powerful bond developes between those who study the Word of God together; how we need each other. OK, listen to verse 5 now, "So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]." Most, if not everything, that our study touched on today is in this one chapter of Romans! God is so good! Everything He brings about in our lives is perfectly orchestrated, right down to the littlest detail.
I am so very blessed to be His child. I pray that as we make a decisive dedication of our bodies we will immerse ourselves in the knowledge of His immeasurable love and care.
The recipe booklets are being typed up and will be mailed out within the month. Don't forget to include your mailing address with your comments so that we know where to send them.
- An empty spray bottle or even more than one
- Vinegar-white or apple cider, it doesn't really matter
We use an approximate ratio of one part vinegar to two parts water. If what you are cleaning needs a stronger solution add more vinegar or even use just straight vinegar. A few areas where you can use this cleaner are:
- The bathroom. To stop mildew and soap scum from building up in the shower/tub, leave a spray bottle by your shower/tub and have the last person to take a shower spray it and the shower curtain. This doesn't take much time and will cut down on the scrubbing time as well. Use this cleaner for the sink, outside of the toilet, floor, windows, and mirrors as well. Straight vinegar can be used for the toilet bowl. Flush toilet, then sprinkle wet sides with baking soda. Let soda set while cleaning rest of bathroom. When ready to clean inside of toilet pour in some vinegar and immediatly start scrubbing. The baking soda and vinegar do react with each other so be sure and not add to much of either one. If you do you might turn your toilet into a volcano :)
- The kitchen. Use this solution as a daily cleaner inside of refrigerators, freezers, the sink, counters, stove top, and windows.
- Laundry room
- Mud room
There you have it, an all purpose cleaner and some areas to use it in. I just listed a few areas and ways to use this cleaner, there are many, many more. Try and think of all the areas in which you might be able to use vinegar instead of cleaners containing toxins and chemicals. Not only will it be healthier it will also provide you with the satisfaction of being able to have a clean house and not spend tons of money on cleaners. Start enjoying your healthier, happier life today! -Not of This World
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 8 cups oatmeal
* One batch filled a 1/2 gallon glass jar.
* We added almonds, chopped dates, and wheat germ. Yummy, yum, yum. Raisins and coconut flakes are some other ingredients that have been suggested to try next time. Any dried fruit or nut would be delicious.
You may be wondering where the "less" part of living large is in this recipe. The actual recipe itself isn't that costly, especially for the coupon using sale shopper. The ingredients are much the same as those used in homemade cookies. We were able to add extras such as nuts and dates that we have accumulated through sales over a period of several months. Even with the added expense of nuts (they are outrageous at the grocery store), this granola is still easier on the budget than purchasing granola already made from the store. Granola cereal is definitely on the pricier side of cereals, and there's no way that it tastes as good as this homemade version. Another plus is how quickly this recipe stirs up.
Here are some uses for Yummy Homemade Granola (if it lasts long enough:D)
- Fill a pretty container for gift giving
- Sprinkled on yogurt for a quick and satisfying breakfast
- Topping for ice cream or pudding(think how delicious this would be combined with the rich creaminess of homemade ice cream)
- Sprinkled lightly over the top of muffin batter prior to baking
- As a topping for cheesecake or cream pie
I was going to try and retype the lost post to the best of my memory, but I can't recall a single thing. Wow. How did that happen? It's getting later into the evening, and my time on the computer is almost gone. So, I'll quit wasting time chatting and get right to the point of what I was sharing earlier.
Basically, the post told of the "pondering" I've been doing since my birthday Tuesday. The result of my "ponderings" is a renewed determination to live the life God has given me to the fullest. That doesn't mean that I'm going to go crazy and do wild things. What it does mean is that I am renewing my focus and outlook. I am going to make sure that I walk in the freedom provided by Jesus Christ at Calvary completely. I want to walk out the truth that Christ has set me free from the curse of the law of sin and death. (Galatians 3:13) Priorities and perspectives are being changed to match what God says. Traditions of men that keep me bound up in worldly opinions and philosophies must bow to the truth found in God's Word.
God has prepared good works for me to do. How can I be about the good works of God if I'm focused on the "yuck" of the world? Jesus is the Victor. He has defeated death, hell, and the grave. He not only triumphed over evil, He made a public spectacle of it. The Bible tells me that the resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. So why don't I live like it does? I'm a believer and the Word says that believers are to lay hands on the sick and they will recover. It also says that we will cast out demons in Christ's name. Miracles and signs are to follow them that believe. Where are the miracles and signs following me? Where are the sick that have recovered? Those who were possessed and oppressed that now are free? Where are they?
I need to be about my Father's business just as Jesus was. Yes, Jesus healed and set free, but the truth about Jesus' life that has been impressed most upon me lately is that Jesus enjoyed Himself. He laughed. Jesus loved people. He gave of Himself on a regular basis. Not only that, but He knew how to have fun. Jesus knew when to pray and when to relax and laugh. He led a perfectly balanced life. That is what I need, balance. What good is it for my house to be neat and tidy if I'm spreading dirty words of stress and irritation throughout it? As important as it is for my home to be clean, the importance of Godly, gracious words that honor God is even greater.
Balanced freedom. There's a term to ponder on. What does a life lived in balanced and complete freedom look like? Ahhhhh, now that's a question I know the answer to. It looks like Jesus. Isn't He just so good? I know that Easter and Resurrection Sunday have passed, but I pray that the realization of what Jesus really did for us at Calvary is only beginning. I pray that we experience the freedom He bought and paid for us. May we not merely experience this freedom, but may we daily walk free, just as Jesus did. Thank you Jesus for freedom.
"But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, an action)."
Romans has much to say on the subject of freedom and Colossians also contains instructions for walking freely, as does Galatians, Ephesians, etc. etc. Yes, the entire Word of God is an entire library that deals with freedom found in Jesus Christ.
What better time than Resurrection Week to get in the Word and find out what living and walking in the freedom Christ purchased for us? I'm thinking that another viewing of the movie The Passion of the Christ may be helpful in putting the value of this freedom in perspection as well.
Walking Free In Jesus
Walking free in Jesus
In the Life He bought for me
Walking free in Jesus
With Him I'll always be
Protected and loved
Cared for and kept
Never alone and
Through sunshine and rain
In sickness and pain
Forgiveness and healing I see
His blood frees from sin
His love is within
My healing His stripes they did buy
I'm bought with a price
Redeemed by His love
God's own, special daughter am I
Walking free in Jesus
in ways He has made
I'll tell of this gift
For salvation He paid
I'll sing the glad story
How He ransomed me
I'll tell of His love and His care
His healing I know
His love I will show
To others who now know despair
Walking free in Jesus
There's no greater place
Than here in His mercy
Smack dab in His grace
He is my Savior
He's Risen! He Lives!
To others I'll shout loud and clear
Walking free in Jesus
It's good, come and see
He loves you
Come close, He is near
Regular readers of Living Large on Less know that taking advantage of the best possible sale price is a given here on the blog. With that in mind, how frustrating is it to see a spectacular price on a perishable food item at the grocery store and have to walk away because the amount is too great to use before it perishes? Worse yet is the sinking feeling that comes when the rotten food item is found in the pantry or frig because instead of practicing good thrift, we were snagged by the "it's such a great buy" bug and purchased something that contained way too much product for our family to use. If either of these experiences is familiar, then today's thrifty freezer cooking tip will be just the ticket for you.
When bags of onions or peppers go on sale, go ahead and take advantage of the lowest possible price and purchase them; even if the amount of produce is too much for your family to use. Splitting the bags with friends is always an option, but today we are focusing on another choice, cooking for the freezer. Chop all of the onions. Now there is a choice available; the onions can be sauteed, cooled, and placed into freezer bags after being divided into individual recipe sized amounts OR they can be divided into recipe-sized amounts and placed into freezer bags without sauteeing. Either way works just fine. Pop the bags in the freezer and viola! whenever you need onion for the dish you are cooking, it is all measured and possibly even cooked up ready to go. All you will need to do is pull it out of the freezer and maybe reheat it. Some recipes won't even require that much preparation. Peppers can also be cleaned, chopped and put into freezer bags.
Even small amounts of pre-cooking prep work can provide huge savings of both time and finances. I promise the first time you go to the freezer and pull out a bag of onions and/or peppers to pop into whatever you are preparing, you will be hooked. Cooking for the freezer, it's today's thrifty tip for Thursday. Blessed Mama