Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Slow-Cooker Pecan Pie

This recipe was featured in our Nov meeting newsletter... looks delicious!


The Crust:

  • 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

The Filling:

  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

The Directions:

For the crust, place the butter, flour, brown sugar & salt in food processor. Pulse a few times until well-mixed. For the filling, whisk together corn syrup, sugar, eggs, salt & pecans in a medium mixing bowl.

Line the bottom of a slow cooker with foil so that the pie will be easier to remove. Spray well with cooking spray. Using the bottom of a glass, press the crumbly dough into the bottom of the slow cooker & up the sides about a 1/2-inch. Pour the pecan mixture into the crust & cook on high heat for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, turn the heat off & remove the crock from the slow cooker. Let cool completely. once completely cool, use the foil to lift the pie out of the crock. Slice & serve.

Friday, November 14, 2014

courage to be generous

At our November MOPS meeting yesterday, we talked about having the courage to be generous! Our fabulous craft team organized a service project for the Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic (known until recently as the Anderson Crisis Pregnancy Center). With your help, we collected 1000+ diapers & wipes, as well as other baby supplies for local moms who depend on the ACPC. Thank you, thank you, thank you, MOPS mamas!

Julie Dixon from the Pregnancy Clinic joined us & spoke for several minutes about the needs among young mothers in our area. Through several stories, she shared the importance of compassion for these moms & encouraged us to become involved, whether through volunteering as a mentor mom, donating time to the Clinic, or monetary contributions. The ACPC is funded strictly through donations, so every little bit helps.

If you're interested in learning more about the Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic, please check out their website & Facebook page.

Our moms also watched a MOPS International video featuring Alexandra Kuykendall on the topic of generosity. She shared that she wants to live a generous life, but fear of scarcity — that there won’t be enough for her or her family — often gets in the way. Another factor that often prevents generosity is insecurity... you may feel like what you have to give isn't good enough, especially in comparison to others. 

So how do we work toward living a generous life & teaching our kids to do the same? Alexandra recommends that we:
  • surround ourselves with people who offer perspective
  • challenge ourselves to give past the comfortable... to give until it hurts
  • identify material things in your life that hold you back from being generous. Are there things that you care TOO much about? (example: freaking out when the kids track mud in your fabulous new car? or not being willing to lend an item because it's too expensive?)
  • identify the areas or gifts that allow you to be generous. Generosity isn't only monetary... it can be giving of your time, inviting someone for dinner, or sharing something that you have in abundance. Do you have a special gift — like baking or hosting playdates or creating beautiful art — that you could share with others?
  • teach your kids about generosity through your own behavior. Too often we fall into the trap of setting up a "service project" activity for our kids & then checking it off our to-do list. Kuykendall suggests that while these one-time projects are great, it's the everyday attitudes & actions of generosity that truly teach children to serve


Mark your Calendars!
  • MOPS on the Town (MOTT) - Wed, Nov 19 at 10-11am. Time for your kids to get their wiggles out at Electric City Gymnastics! The cost is $5 per child, & a waiver will need to be signed for each child participating. Click here to download & fill out the waiver ahead of time. (Address: 502 Camson Road, Anderson 29625)

  • Moms Night Out (MNO) - Mon, Nov 24 at 7pm. Join us for coffee & a delicious dessert at Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill! (Address: 208 S Main St Anderson 29621)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

We went to the apple orchard this fall & ended up with tons of apples to use... which was the perfect excuse to make this recipe multiple times! It's delicious as a dessert or for breakfast with coffee... not that I would ever eat cake for breakfast, of course ;)


The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (substitute: 1 cup milk & 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups apples, peeled & chopped or sliced
Topping:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted


The Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees & spray 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, egg & buttermilk (or milk/lemon juice substitute). Then stir in baking soda & vanilla. Lastly, mix in flour & apples. Pour batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients, mixing gently with a fork. Spread it evenly over the batter.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. (If your oven is like mine, you might want to check it a few times toward the end by sticking a toothpick in the middle & seeing if it comes out clean). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

help your kids have a thankful heart

With Thanksgiving around the corner, now is the perfect time to try these tips to help your children develop a habit of thankfulness.


shop & share.
Trips to the store are great opportunities to think of others. Next time you're at the grocery store, encourage your children to pick one or two canned goods to donate to AIM (Anderson Interfaith Ministries). After a few trips, gather up all your donations & have your kids help deliver it. (Click here to learn more about AIM's hunger ministries.)


write it down. 
Regularly keeping a list of things you are grateful for can build a rhythm of thankfulness into your day. Hang up a chalkboard or a large piece of paper & every night during dinner brainstorm things to add to your list. A daily time to reflect will help keep the whole family on the lookout for things to add.


thank your kids. 
We all teach our kids to say thank you when they receive a gift, but sometimes we forget how important everyday thank-you's are. Set an example by thanking your children for small things. Saying "thank you for sharing your snack with me" lets children know their efforts are appreciated & reminds them that thankfulness isn't reserved just for gifts.


notice the small things. 
giving attention to the small details around us is a great way to remember thankfulness. Collecting colorful leaves or pointing out the full moon in the night sky are great ways to remind kids of the beauty surrounding them & how much there is to be grateful for in nature. 


practice giving compliments. 
Help your children learn to recognize the gifts of people you encounter everyday by giving compliments. When we focus on the unique things other people do instead of focusing on ourselves, we are more thankful of the people around us. 


write love notes. 
ask your kids to write a handwritten note or draw a picture for whom they're thankful. Ask them to pick someone who makes their lives brighter & to share with that person some specific things they appreciate about them. 

(Adapted from Fall 2014 "Hello Darling" magazine)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Are you carving pumpkins at your house this week? Don't throw away your pumpkin seeds!


The Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin seeds, washed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt (sea salt is delicious but not necessary)
  • Optional: cumin for a spicy snack or cinnamon & brown sugar for a sweet snack.

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wash pumpkin seeds thoroughly. Put seeds in medium pot, cover with water, add 1 tsp of salt & bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn heat down to low-medium. Allow water to simmer, uncovered, for approximately 10 minutes.

Drain seeds & dry with towel. Put in medium bowl & add olive oil. Toss until all seeds are coated with oil. Spread seeds in single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & any other desired spices.

Roast in oven for 10 minutes & stir. Roast for 10 more minutes & stir. Repeat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until seeds are done**

**Note: the inner seeds bake faster than the outer shells! To make sure your inner seeds aren't burning, you should break open a seed every 10 minutes toward the end of the hour to monitor the "doneness" of the inner seed. When your pumpkin seeds are done, the outer shells will be crispy while the inner seeds will be very light golden brown. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This recipe is from Abbey... it's quick, easy & delicious!


The Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs)
  • 4 tsp Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, combine mayonnaise with cheese. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake until chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

the Day I lost my Smile

Here are notes from....

The October Devotional
by Jennifer


So one morning recently, my seven-year-old Maggie informed my husband & me that she thinks she was placed into the wrong family by mistake. Just what every mom wants to hear first thing in the morning. This comes after two rough days for Maggie (which have been self-inflicted by her new-found 16-year-old attitude). After getting her out the door to school, I found this post. Wanted to share with any other mommies out there who feel on a daily basis like they are probably seriously screwing things up...

The Day I Lost My Smile, by Lysa TerKeurst

I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?”
Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.
I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn’t repeat yesterday’s mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn’t get out.
But the dog did get out.
As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.
I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out. I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.
We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.
I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: “I stink at this.”
Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: “I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I’d love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well.” I couldn’t believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.
I turned around to my kids in the back and said, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you’re at school today I’m going to do everything I can to find it.”
After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text. I shared with her. She shared with me. Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in. Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it’s okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands. Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful. Together, we found strength. Together, we regained our sense of dignity. And it wasn’t too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.
It reminds me Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.
We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, “together.” It’s such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this post today.
You are not alone.
Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders, like the truth of Proverbs 31:25 and that sweet time spent with my friend.
I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.
So, I slip this little encouragement into your life and whisper, you’re not alone. You’re doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.
Just don’t lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well? (see original post)