Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review - Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible


The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible is published by Thomas Nelson. Editors are Phil and Al Robertson.

This is a NKJV of the Bible. The devotional aspect and notes are by Phil Robertson with his son, Al, a pastor for more than 22 years. While many people recognize Phil Robertson and his sons from Duck Dynasty (A&E reality show), some might not be so familiar with Al, the oldest son who is rarely on the show.

Do not be misled. This is not a Bible with some backwoods religion mixed in the Biblical text. Rather, it is one with 125 articles on some of the most searched topics on BibleGateway. The Robertsons give practical life applications and Scripture references to help you with your study of God's Word. Testimonials and a reading plan are also included.

If you are a fan of the King James Version but have trouble with some of the archaic language (after all, the KJV was authorized in 1611), you might really want to check out the New King James Version. The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible is in this more readable language and is also beautifully presented. I have a certain son who is going to love receiving this Bible.

*I received a copy of The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible in exchange for my honest opinion.*


Gift Giving

Why do we give Christmas gifts? Through the years, I have struggled off and on with the whole gift exchange thing at Christmas time. One year, we bought our children tons of gifts (we felt sorry for them because, in the past, we'd been unable to afford much - as compared to their cousins and friends). We put these items on a store charge card. BIG MISTAKE! It literally took us years to pay off that card. Along with the other purchases we'd made through the years and placed on that store card - much of those items very needed - they added up to a whopping $5,000! How in the world could this have happened?

Little by little, bit by bit, impatience by the boat load. We neglected to wait on the Lord and we went full-steam ahead buying what we felt we, and our children, had to have NOW. In the end, we paid dearly. Those Christmas presents that we placed on our charge card were purchased almost 10 years ago. The pay-off date of the card? Last week. We paid off $5,000 (which includes interest at 23%) in almost 10 years. When I think about what I could have used that money for, I feel absolutely sick. When I think about my lack of faith and trust in a mighty God, I feel worse.

Today, my husband and I are doing much better at handling our finances. We do not charge Christmas presents, no matter for whom the gifts are intended or why. We still struggle in the winter to meet our monthly and weekly commitments (gas, electricity, food, etc.), but that is mostly because of my husband's lower sales at work (he receives commission) during the winter months - and rising costs at the grocery store and the gas pump. It is fair to say that it is NOT because we can't stop charging at the store.

An interesting article by Louise Bishop at Faith Gateway gets down to the nitty gritty of Christmas giving. I encourage you to read it, as it reminds us to take the focus off ourselves and toward others.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - November 24

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What a November this is turning out to be! We have had a few snowstorms that really piled up the white stuff and today it is raining and taking a lot of it away. Later in the week - more of the snow. It's not officially winter yet! It's time to break out the crock-pots and recipe books. Speaking of which, I have been having a lot of fun looking through both new and old cookbooks, many of which I checked out of our local library. Libraries are a great source of cookbooks and books about healthy living. I encourage you to look for them at your own library. 

Some of the titles from which I am drawing my menu this week are: The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC; Eat Well Live Well by Pamela M. Smith, R.D.; and Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger, M.D. 

Monday

Spaghetti & Meatballs
Tossed Salads
 Cherry Pudding Cake (made with G.F. flour blend.)

Tuesday

Marvelous Meat Loaf
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Baked Acorn Squash
 Home Canned Applesauce

Wednesday

Cheese Quesidillas
Tostada Chips with Salsa (Simply Tostitos are the best.)
Waffles with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

Thursday - Thanksgiving

Roast Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Stuffing
Roasted Butternut Squash Mash
Corn
Colorful Green Beans
Dinner Rolls
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Rolls (1 made gluten-free by using G.F. flour mix.)
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice Latte

Friday

Left-overs

Saturday

Spanish Rice
Cheese Enchiladas

Sunday

On Your Own
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - November 16

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Have any of you been blasted with snow yet? We have a foot of the stuff on the ground and are now bracing for up to 10 inches more with a predicted blast of more lake effect snow. It's beautiful, but it's also cold and treacherous on the roads. I am already looking forward to spring. For menu planning, warming soups and casseroles fill my mind. This week is to be a busy one for me, with extra work at my job, so it's really simple in order for my family to fill in when I'm not here to do the cooking. Here's the plan:

Monday

Cheesy Chicken &Rice
Snap Peas
Blackberry Cobbler (from Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger, M.D.)

Tuesday

Tacos
Sweet Corn

Wednesday

Baked Turkey Breast
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Thursday

Gluten-free Lasagna with Butternut Squash
Tossed Salads
Garlic Toast

Friday

Neapolitan Pizza (from Pizza Primer, Cole's Cooking Companion)
Gluten-free Pizza (using Bob's Red Mill crust mix)

Saturday

Burgers - Veggie, as well as beef
Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries (from 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC)

Sunday

On Your Own

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review - Beauty of Believing


Beauty of Believing is written by Nancy N. Rue, Allia Zobel Nolan, Lois Walfrid Johnson, Kristi Holl, Mona Hodgson, and Tasha K Douglas, and is published by Zondervan.

Beauty of Believing is part of the faithGirlz! collection. Written for tweens and young teens, it is a beautiful compilation of devotions for every day of the year. I enjoyed flipping through the various devotions and was pleased to see that there is a variety of topics tackled and in a Biblical context. A part that my daughter will like (I am giving this to her for Christmas), is the quotes and questions for real girls. Having a devotion that incorporates a real teen's concerns rather than simply coming from an adult's point of view is valuable. It makes it more "readable" for the girl herself.

Beauty of Believing is composed of "365 devotions that will change your life." I am hoping it helps to change my own daughter's life for the better. It's at least a good supplement to add to her devotion and Bible time.

*I received a copy of Beauty of Believing in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Monday, November 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - November 10

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Do you have snow today? We've had it off and on. It's time to warm up the kitchen with some home baked goodies. I try to keep them healthy, but it's a losing battle sometimes - my family really balks at nutrition. The trick is to make healthy, TASTEFUL, treats that everyone will eat. Just don't tell them what's in them.

Monday

Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Tuesday

Pork Chops
Baked Potatoes
Sweet Corn
Orange Cookies

Wednesday

Roast Beef
Potatoes & Carrots
Green Beans

Thursday

Rotini Pasta
Zucchini Shreds with Tomato Sauce (vegan)
Salads
Garlic Toast

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers
Home Fries
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Vegan Potato & Greens Salad

I am always on the lookout for good salad recipes. This is one I made on my own. On a bed of lettuce greens, layer raw broccoli florets, sliced cucumber, and some lightly roasted potato cubes (roast on a silicone mat on a cookie sheet), and avocado. Sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar. This was wonderful and filling.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Book Review - The Skeletons in God's Closet by Joshua Ryan Butler





The Skeletons in God's Closet is written by Joshua Ryan Butler and is published by W Publishing Group (an imprint of Thomas Nelson).

Before putting down my own thoughts on this book, I decided to read what other reviewers had to say. Some say Butler does a fantastic job while others say he has written something that is heretical and problematic. I kind of stand in the center.

I do not believe that the "skeletons in God's closet" of which Butler is referring is not really secrets or the tough topics that nobody wants to tackle, though that is what is said on the back of the book. Some of the tickly questions that Butler answers refer to God's mercy in allowing people to choose their own destinies: Heaven or Hell. At one point he refers to Hell as a closet that we get into and then shut the door from the inside. He then says, "We are the skeletons in God's closet."

This book deals with the issues of Hell and judgment. I believe that Butler does a good job of explaining, with the help of Augustine, C. S. Lewis, and other great faith writers, what and where Hell really is, how God is loving and just at the same time, and especially free will - something we don't hear so much about these days.

I have enjoyed reading this book and intend to go back over it, along with my Bible, and really dig into the thorny issues that seem to be causing reviewers some consternation. Joshua Ryan Butler gives a lot of references for his conclusions. Look them up if in doubt. That's something we should always do, with any teaching, anyway.

*I received a copy of The Skeletons in God's Closet in exchange for my honest review.*

Menu Plan Monday - November 3

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This week we had snow that accumulated - only an inch or so, but it was enough to remind me that many months of biting cold and tons of the white stuff are on the way. These are the kinds of days that almost demand slow cookers and thick stews. Last week I tried two more of Julia Child's recipes, revamping them a bit to suit my vegan and gluten-free tastes. The first was French Potato Salad. Julia's recipe calls for chicken broth. I deleted that from the ingredient list and added chopped celery. It was delicious. My husband insisted I make him a potato salad with mayonnaise. I made him his own tiny bowl.

The second recipe I tried was Braised Wild Rice. Julia's recipe calls for mushrooms, which I do not like. I omitted them. Again, this recipe calls for chicken stock. it also calls for wine. I don't use either, so they were omitted as well. The rice I made came out lovely and was extremely tasty. We live in the northern part of the lower peninsula in Michigan, and it isn't too far to go to get Michigan wild rice. I stock up now and then. Some areas might find it difficult, or expensive, to get it. In that case, I would substitute a brown rice. Below are the recipes I used with my own substitutions and tweaks. For the originals, you will have to purchase or borrow Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child.


 French Potato Salad





 Halve 3 pounds of white potatoes and cut into small chunks. Boil in lightly salted water for about 5 minutes or until barely tender. Drain the water and then cover the pan and let sit for 4 minutes. In a large bowl, fold the warm potato chunks with salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 cup minced onions, a couple of stalks of celery chopped fine, and enough olive oil to coat well. Sprinkle some chopped Parsley on top and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.   




Braised Wild Rice (above)

For 1 1/2 cups of rice (makes 4 cups cooked), rinse and drain the rice a couple of times to tenderize it. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes in 4 cups of water until softened, but an al dente texture. Drain and wash in cold water. Saute 1/4 cup of finely minced onion in olive oil until softened. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains seem milky looking. Stir in 2 cups of vegetable broth. Add one bay leaf and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes or so, or until the rice is soft. The last minute or so, take off the lid and boil down some of the remaining moisture. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf.


As for this week, I'm going to do over Julia Child's Cole Slaw. Here is the plan:

Monday

Rigatoni
Garlic Bread
Tossed Salads
Ice-cream 

Tuesday

Chili
Cole Slaw
Homemade Bread

Wednesday

Baked Chicken Breasts
Acorn Squash
Home Canned Pears

Thursday

Meat Loaf
Mashed Potatoes
Tossed Salads
Green Beans

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Enchiladas
Chips & Salsa
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own