April 19, 2013

Where Do You Get Your Recipes From? ~ A Heart for Cooking

So glad you have continued to join us for a month dedicated to cooking!

What have you been cookin' up today? Did you make a meal from scratch or did you use a recipe book? Maybe you've made a particular dish so many times that you don't even need to reach for that book anymore. ;) But just in case you need some "new" ideas, I'd like to share with you some favorite recipe books my mom and I use along with a few websites that have been helpful in our kitchen adventure.

The Homestead Blessings Cookbook: Home Cooking with The West Ladies
This is such a sweet recipe book made by Vicki West and her three daughters. Their love for the Lord and serving others is shown throughout this spiral bound book. They homestead in Tennessee where they live out their passion of growing their own food. So these recipes are either traditional family recipes or a collaboration of their friend's favorite recipes. I think you would be blessed to own this beautiful recipe book!

The New Best Recipe
What a great resource this one is! If you are a new cook or would need to know just the right way to make a juicy holiday turkey, this recipe book takes you through a detailed explanation as to how to accomplish whatever it is you would like to make. I especially like how they have step-by-step pictures.

Nourishing Traditions
Sally Fallon takes you back to the basics of nutrition and how our ancestors used to eat. She does a great job in explaining what fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are, and how they benefit our body. If you aren't familiar with fermented foods or what the importance of sprouting grains is, this book would be very helpful! Ms. Fallon provides recipes for main dishes, luncheon and supper foods, grains and legumes, snacks, desserts, and even beverages. It's a big book, so she covers LOTS of material. Our family has really enjoyed her recipes for roasting/dehydrating fruits and nuts. :)

Deliciously G-Free: Food So Flavorful They'll Never Believe It's Gluten-Free
This one is by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and, as you may gather from the title, it contains all gluten-free recipes (you're so smart :))! To be honest, if I want to make a gluten-free dessert, this is the recipe book I would turn to, but she offers recipes for breakfast, main meals, and appetizers as well. If you are suffering from celiac disease,  it may be very helpful for you. Elisabeth does a great job explaining many, if not all, gluten-free flours that are typically used to help make up your own recipes!

Betty Crocker Cookbook New Edition: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today
I really like this recipe book (and should really spend more time in it) because it contains a lot of the basics to cooking. For example, facts about food thermometers, how to properly set a table or buffet table, menu planning, a chart for the amount of food for a crowd, emergency substitutions, a chart about picking apples and what kinds are good for certain desserts, grilling basics, etc. That doesn't even scratch the surface...this is a very informative book and a great place to find a recipe for any time of the day.


Some websites that may be helpful, or just plain fun to explore, are listed below:

Brie and Vanilla: A Food Blog
All Recipes
Simply Vintage Girl
Gluten Free Mommy


Lately, I've been intrigued to try lots of gluten-free recipes and, thankfully, it's been a really fun, life-changing experience! It's amazing the creativity others have used to put together these recipes and how the simplest ingredients can make a great dish. :) Please check out the handy "Recipe Swap" tab above that Chelsea has made for us to share our favorite, yummy recipes with you.

Thank you for stopping by today my fellow cooks and friends. :)

Praying you enjoy this day that the Lord has made, for His grace is sufficient.~

Only because of Jesus,

April 15, 2013

Hearts for our Homes in the Kitchen: The Simple Recipes I love :)

Recipes are a great friend.  They help in times of trouble when preparing for dinner seems too hard. They can also permeate our homes with good smelling fragrances that both capture attention and send good feelings of comfort, and home to our families and friends.  Recipes are great. However some are not so simple, still good to have around, but just like the varying degrees of friendships, they are not always simple.  

I am pretty sure I have stated before that I LOVE SIMPLE! :) yes, you are remembering now... ? 

Simple: I can love only because He loved me first, and only when I remember this can I love the way He calls me to:)

Simple: recipes that "throw and go":) - AKA crockpot recipes 

So, two VERY SIMPLE recipes I love, from the crockpot list of creations. Yes love is a strong word and I am only beginning learning to use it correctly... sometimes failing...  it means "willing to die for", well- some days I may have died without my faithful crockpot partner and a good recipe, so I think I will call it safe to use the word "love" here, are you all good with that? > Thank you.


1. An old favorite - Chicken Tacos
2. A new favorite - Sirloin... in a sweet sherry-soy sauce

Both so simple with great, permeating smells:) mmmmmmmmm.

First up: Chicken Tacos
(I apologize, no picture:( if you would like a visual just google "chicken tacos" that will have to do for your eye inspiration today.)

What You need:

3 or more chicken breasts, depending on the size of your family or the crowd you are feeding. I currently feed a grown man, 2 small boys, myself and a sweet new blessing with just 3 and have leftovers, sometimes.

A jar of salsa, whatever flavor or hotness you like.

Taco Seasoning, you can make some simple homemade or use your favorite blend. If its not pre-measured I would go with about 1/8 of a cup for 3 chicken breasts, really it's up to you and your taste buds.

Your tortillas, we still use plain old flour tortillas here, you can use regular corn, gluten free special, or homemade :)  
(I would love to hear your variations!) 

The fixin's, we like cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream, I am the only one who uses tomato or sour cream, and once in a while I splurge and add avocado- yum!! You can use taco sauce too if you like extra moisture:) 

Are you ready for how simple this is? I don’t think you really are, but I'll go ahead anyhow.

What You do: 

1. Put your chicken breasts in your Crockpot, frozen is even okay:)

2. Sprinkle in your seasoning

3. Dump on the salsa :) If your chicken was thawed you may choose to add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, depending on the thickness of your salsa.  You may end up watery if you choose to do this, but I guess that is better than drying out your meal if you will not be there to keep an eye on it.  I never add water, since the first time my tacos were swimming:) sometimes frozen chicken and sometimes not.  My salsa is somewhere closer to the thick side I would say, and I have not dried them out:) 

4. Turn your crock friend on Low and walk away for 6-8 hours. You can do whatever else you need to do, but promise to sit for just 2 min and thank God for how easy that was > Okay? You owe double thanks if your chicken was frozen, I think anyway.

5. Shred your chicken somewhere after the 6hr mark, simply with two forks. Then let it soak in the juices.

6. Prep your fixin's and serve em up!! Usually with chips and more salsa and black beans or rice;) Fresh fruit is also a favorite "side" with this dish, I usually serve it beforehand, its a good digestion aid, depending on your choice, or afterward as a dessert.

I knew you would love that simplicity! You did, right?

Second- The New Favorite

What you need:

1 Sirloin Tip Roast, I can usually find one for $8 or less that is "natural" and feeds my family (mentioned above) and a friend or two:) plus a lunch for my husband, bonus!

3-4 cups beef broth, I like the better than bullion in a jar, yum yum yum! whatever you like is perfect:)

Salt and pepper

1/3 cups sherry dry or sweet...beef broth is a great sub for the sherry if you don’t have it around;)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2Tbsp red wine vinegar 

1 Tbsp sugar, you could fool around with the type of sweetener, I am not well practiced in this but it could be a good thing for you:)

2 cloves garlic, fresh minced, I usually use a few scoops of the already minced kind from Costco- questioning the freshness yes but > simple.  

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to add a tiny kick, just a tiny one;) Feel free to keep on shakin' them in if you like heat in your dishes!

What you do:

1. Salt and pepper the roast, rub it in:) 

2. Plop it into the crockpot and add your broth.  It may not cover your roast but no need to fret, just try and turn it in a few hours, and guess what! If you don't get to it- it still tastes great! (If you're using better than bullion you would need to boil your 3-4 cups water and add that with your bullion paste and give it a little whisk.)

3. Turn the crock on low and cook for 8 hrs, I actually cook this through the night, sometimes longer than the 8hrs. Then I can have plenty of time to cool it and slice it up before dinner.  

4. Slice your meat into strips, go with the grain not against or you will end up shredding it, but it will still taste good:) 

5. Create the sauce- turn low to medium heat under your frying pan and throw the remaining ingredients in. Stir it up and cook for a few minutes to thicken it up:) 

6. Toss in your sliced meat and simmer for a few minutes stirring to coat the meat.

7. Serve over rice, over noodles, or next to steamed veggies. Add in a bread or a biscuit and you have a delicious gormet style meal from your simple crockpot friend!

I pray that these two simple recipies can be new friends of yours in the kitchen, friends that help and encourage you to slow down and enjoy each minute of the beauty that God has placed within your home.  Maybe you don't like these, I encourage you to search "crockpot recipes" and remember that a heart for your home can be simple:) 

Share your favorite simple recipes with us? 

Much love because He loved me first,

April 3, 2013

Have you had a Kitchen Scavenger Hunt? - April Overview

Has this happened in your house? 

6:45 pm.  Eating dinner with my brother.  He nonchalantly says, 
"So...I have a potluck lunch tomorrow  for work and  
I need to bring something."  

Wheels start turning...

"Well, do you need a main dish, an appetizer or a dessert?  How many people will be there?  What are others bringing?"

Little did he know the importance of these details.  But time was running thin and neither of us wanted to go out to the grocery store if we didn't have to.  We needed a plan.

"Let's do a kitchen scavenger hunt."  We both agreed, it was time to move to the center of where all the yummy goodness comes from...the kitchen.

At first glance in the refrigerator and the pantry, it seemed hopeless.  But the motivation to NOT go to the grocery store was so intense, we checked and double checked.  Finally the hunt led us to the perfect solution.

We were scarce on the exact amount of chocolate chips, but we had enough...we also had eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt.  These are staples that are used so often it's something we make sure to have readily available.

At the end of the hunt, we were quite pleased and the chocolate chip cookies we made allowed my brother to show his face without shame at the office potluck lunch.  Phew.  Disaster avoided.  :)

Because of situations like this one, let us present to you this month's topic...


More specifically, go-to recipes, staple items and conversion charts we can all use on a regular basis to help us on our "kitchen scavenger hunts"

Our hope is that cooking is not always as hectic in our homes.  Our time preparing meals and feeding our families is time to honor the Lord and give thanks to Him for all He has provided for us.  It's a time to enjoy creating and using our hands to serve those in our family and any guests that may stop by.

In modern day homes the beautiful art and joy of cooking has been lost or replaced with "eating out".  We are too busy with other things that when it comes to preparing a meal, we are lost.  We don't know how to do it and end up spending a lot of money at a restaurant or buying precooked meals that (once in a while are okay), but lack certain nutrients and LOVE that cooking from scratch in our kitchen does.

In Proverbs 31, we find a beautiful description of a virtuous woman.  Please take time to read the whole passage.  In regard to food and not being idle in our homes, in verse 15 & 27 it says:

"She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens...
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness."

It takes time to prepare and cook meals, it's hard work. But it's work that is pleasing to the Lord and our hope is this month's topic will be an encouragement for you and give all of us the tools we need to help in organizing recipes and planning meals so we can have hearts for cooking in our homes.

Would you like to help encourage other women to have hearts for cooking?  There is a tab marked Recipe Swap at the top of the blog. Click here to view the Recipe Swap page.  As you come across recipes you enjoy or if you are a blogger and have links to recipes you've blogged about, share them with us in the comments.  We will then add them to the page in the appropriate category.  We especially love to see recipes that are gluten-free, organic, raw or non-dairy!  

We are so excited you're here with us this month!!  Check out the recipes we've posted so far in the Recipe Swap and head over to Facebook and Pinterest for even more ideas!

Because He is Love,
~ Chelsea

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