Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Weekend

What do you do on a summer holiday weekend? Cookout. Okay, maybe you do that on any weekend, but especially so on a long one celebrating one of America's traditions. This weekend we honored all of the men and women who have fought so fiercely for our nation's freedom by cooking out, hanging with friends, and lounging around the house. It was fantastic. I appreciate all of their efforts with the privilege to do just that.

When you have a cookout what do you need besides burgers, hot dogs, ribs, or some other form of meat? Potato Salad. Yeah...its a must have. Its a definite must have when your mother makes the most wonderful potato salad in the world and she taught you all of her secrets! So with our burgers, with our brats, we had potato salad (and pie). Its one of those must-have American dishes that keep the folks coming back to the table for more! : )

Mom's Potato Salad
**This recipe is written for 4. Its easy to make it for 80, you just have to increase the quantities proportionately.


5 to 6 Yukon Gold or red potatoes
2 boiled eggs, chopped
3 to 4 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1/2 to 1 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 to 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
paprika for garnish


1. Chop potatoes in quarter inch size pieces.

2. Boil potatoes and eggs for approximately 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft, but not mashable.

3. Drain and rinse potatoes. Peel and dice eggs.

4. Pour potatoes and eggs in a large bowl. Add relish. Mix in mayonnaise and mustard until you reach your desired creamy texture.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. (The important part is to taste as you go!)

6. Sprinkle a little paprika for color and a little kick!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Its been nearly a month. In the last month I have worked till nearly 7:00 about 4 days a week, hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law with 40 folks, traveled to my parents house three times, prep my yard for summer, and so many other things. Sigh. But its now Memorial Day weekend, and most of my friends will be gone this weekend. So, I have NO PLANS until Sunday night. (With the exception of dinner out tonight and tennis tomorrow.) That means...I'm going to blog this weekend. My goal is to write several posts and space them out to post over the next few weeks. I hope. : ) I need to clean my house too...so we'll see how the blogging goes.

Anywayz...the thing cooking this weekend....probably fish and fresh veggies tomorrow, and then potato salad and some sort of pie for our cookout on Sunday. Allz I know is that its going to be delish!

I will get better about posting. Or at least I will try.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tools of the Trade Tuesday: Pretty Pie Plate

I haven't done a Tuesday tool tip in a while, so I thought I would post about my pie plate. I love my pie plate. Its perfect, and it bakes perfect pies. And quiches. And lots of other round things. I purchased this piece of bakeware for about $10 at the "Amish Walmart." Its not really a Walmart. Its just superstore that has all sorts of cheap treasures. And Amish people.

I will admit that the pie plate is probably the best thing that came out of Amish country. (No offense Julie...) Even though last summer's vacation was totally awesome...I have had enough farm tours for my lifetime! : ) However, the pie plate, that was a super awesome price, was worth the 19 hour drive to Pennsylvania. (Okay, maybe not...but its a pretty great pie plate.)

The plate, designed by Nordic Ware, is a sturdy aluminum design, with a spacious plastic cover. The company website says the aluminum allows the contents to bake evenly, and I can testify that is true. It is a very good baking dish, as with all of my Nordic Ware pieces. (I have the bundt pan too!)

If you are going to bake the perfect pie, I guess you need a recipe. Here's one I made this week:

Chocolate Chess Pie
From: Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies

1/2 Pie Crust Recipe
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
Pinch of salt
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the rolled-out crust.

2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt together, then blend in the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust.

3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (or even 60....), until almost completely set. The filling should be wobbly in the center when the pan is jiggled. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, and then chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or overnight, before slicing. Serve chilled.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We have purpose

I'm a fan of Glee, and this week on the episode it dealt with a topic that hits home to many individuals -- self image. In the show, Rachel, one of the leads, breaks her nose and considers having surgery to resize her nose before it heals. Many of her friends try to discourage the cosmetic procedure, and try to convincer her that she is beautiful just the way she was made. Quinn, another one of the characters, is encouraging Rachel to have the surgery though, and tries to convince Rachel that she would look so much better with a new nose. Rachel and Quinn sang a duet that I found quite moving that is a mashup between Unpretty by TLC and I Feel Pretty from West Side Story. Here is the video...

Self worth is something that a lot of women struggle with. From the awkward years of adolescence, to being a single adult, to being a middle aged mother and wife - it is a doubt or fear or insecurity that attacks the heart of people from every age, sex, socioeconomic standing, religion, race, nationality, etc. We all have times when we wonder "Am I worth it? Does anyone love me? Do I matter?"

This is a topic that was also covered in church this morning. Our pastor spoke on Ephesians 2:10 that says,

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The sermon centered around our worth in the Lord. In Psalm 139 it says that God created us and knew us before we came to be, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In Ephesians the idea is that we are created in the image of God, for His glory, and though we would fulfill the purposes He has set forth for us. A purpose that, in Psalms, was known by God when we were formed in the womb.

We have worth. We all have worth. And we have a purpose in the Lord. God created us for a reason, and if we seek Him and trust Him, He will guide us to that purpose. We are loved. We are the beloved to God. Each of us. Each of you. You are the beloved of God and you have purpose and worth in Him.

When I was younger, I received a phone call from a very good friend who informed me she was having a cosmetic procedure done. I really thought she was joking. I mean...we were in our young 20's. She is gorgeous, and I mean the kind of gorgeous where you stop and stare if you pass her on the street. I was completely shocked when I found out the surgery was not a joke, but something she chose to do.

This is a friend I cared for dearly. And, like I said, she is gorgeous. I didn't think there was anything about her that needed to change. She's extremely smart, successful, kind, laid back, outgoing, and caring. Why did she think she needed to change something about her body? She is perfect, just as God made her.

Because I had known this woman for the large majority of my life, I thought it would be okay for me to express my feelings about this procedure. I discouraged her, and tried to convince her this was the wrong decision. I tried to tell her how beautiful she was, and that God made her as she is for a purpose. I also expressed my opinion on the desire for cosmetic surgery being a heart issue. Its a self worth issue. And its conforming to what the world wants to impose on you as a model for beauty, not the beauty that God created.

I thought our friendship could survive me speaking my heart, even though it was hard for my friend to hear. But it did not. Do I regret sharing my opinions with her? Yes and no. Yes because she was a dear, dear friend and I miss her terribly. And yes because I know that sometimes I can share my opinion too much. But no because I stand by my convictions. I prayed about it after our initial conversation, and truly felt the Lord was asking me to share with her. I felt she needed to know how special she was to God, and that she didn't have to define herself by what is seen in fashion magazine, but who God created her to be.

God has created us to look and be just who we are. There is a purpose. He has made us each to be unique, beautiful beings. No matter our skin color, our size, our height, our age, our background...God made us to be who we are. Its hard to accept that sometimes when we are bombarded by images of these so called perfect, skinny, tanned, well-groomed and well-dressed individuals on TV, the Internet and in magazines. However, we must look past all of that and see who we are in God. Amazing, beautiful, purposeful creations.

My heart breaks for the men and women of the world who do not know their self worth. I long for a time when we are judged not by the outward, but by our hearts. It may not be until we reach the pearly gates, but when it comes to the end, when our life on this earth expires, we will be judged by our inside and not outside. So, its important now to work on what counts.

If you feel like you want to change something about yourself, I suggest starting with your heart. We all need a little heart surgery every now and then. And know with every part of your being that you were created by God for God and with purpose. You are worth it. We all are.

Below: Full video of sermon from church

May 1: Does my life matter? from Pinelake Church on Vimeo.