Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Annual MOPS Recipe Swap!!

Here it is... the fabulous Great Recipe Post of 2014! Thanks so much for sharing your tastiness with us!


Saltine Toffee Bark (from Margaret B)


Ingredients:

  • 50 saltine crackers (approximately)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup topping - M&M's, sliced almonds, sea salt, or anything you like

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 9x13 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with cooking spray & line pan completely with saltine crackers. You may have to break some in half to fit, but try to fill the pan.

Place butter & sugar in a medium pot over low-medium/low heat. Stir until butter is melted. Once melted, bring to boil for exactly 3 minutes. Stir constantly. Once it's nice & bubbly, remove pan from heat & pour evenly over saltine crackers. Spread mixture with a knife... however, it doesn't have to be perfect. Try to move fast during this part so the toffee doesn't harden.

Place pan in oven & bake for 7-8 minutes. The toffee mixture will spread evenly over the crackers as it bakes. Remove pan from oven & then sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the toffee while it's still hot. Let the chocolate chips melt for a few minutes & then spread all over the toffee with a spatula.

Sprinkle topping on top & then place in fridge for 30 minutes. Once chocolate has hardened, break pieces off the foil & store for up to 2 weeks

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Potato Salad (from Jenine A)


Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs russet potatoes
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup dill relish or large dill pickles, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 can black olives, chopped
  • 3/4 jar real mayonnaise (more if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp salt 

Instructions:

Boil potatoes about 45 minutes, then cool completely. Peel & chop potatoes into large chunks. Chop & pour all ingredients onto potatoes; mix well. 


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Lemon Icebox Pie or Dip (from Emily W)


Ingredients:

  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup lemon juice (adjust depending on how strong you want lemon flavor to be)
  • graham cracker crust, if making a pie
    or
  • graham cracker quarters, if making a dip

Instructions:

Whip cream until stiff. Stir in condensed milk & lemon juice. Pour into crust or bowl & chill. If prepared as a dip, serve with graham cracker quarters.


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Fudge (from Jayla V)


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa

Instructions:

Mix milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar & salt in heavy pan. Cook at medium heat until boiling. Boil exactly 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & add vanilla extract. Pour into mixing bowl; add cocoa & confectioners sugar. Beat with mixer until smooth & thick. Pour into buttered pan & freeze 20 minutes. Cut into pieces. Makes 1 pound of fudge.


                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Easy Egg Casserole (from Becca H)


Ingredients:

  • 6-10 eggs, beaten
  • 6-8 slices of bread, leftover hotdog buns, etc, torn into pieces
    **if you use more eggs, use more bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 - 9oz Jimmy Dean precooked sausage
  • salt to taste (approximately 1 tsp)

Instructions:

Night before: Pour eggs, milk & salt in 9x13 casserole dish. Add torn pieces of bread. Stir. Add cheese & sausage. Stir. Cover & refrigerate overnight.

Next morning: Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. When knife comes out clean in center, eggs are done. 


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Vegan Banana Bread (from Jamie L)


Ingredients:


  • 4 medium ripe or over-ripe bananas
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup coconut oil or sunflower oil (more oil results in softer texture)
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt (optional) 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan with coconut oil. Mash bananas well or puree them with hand blender. Add oil, sugar & vanilla to banana & blend well. Sieve flour with baking soda & baking powder. Fold sieved flour very well (this folding step is important because you want the bread to be evenly mixed). Add sunflower seeds (optional).

Pour bread mixture into pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature or chilled. If stored in fridge, warm before serving.

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Buffalo Dip (from Kassi A)


Ingredients:


  • 8 oz cream cheese, farmer's or neufchatel cheese 
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (or low-fat sour cream)
  • 1.5 tbsp spicy ranch dry salad dressing & seasoning mix (or regular ranch dry mix)
  • 1/2 cup wing sauce (more or less depending on desired heat)
  • 1.5 cup chicken, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or blue cheese)

Instructions:

Place chicken in slow cooker with buffalo sauce. Cook until chicken can be shredded. Once shredded, add all other ingredients except mozzarella cheese. 

Cook in slow cooker until creamy & then spoon into baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese (or blue cheese), then bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with veggies or chips.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Ham & Cheese Sliders

These little ham & cheese sliders go really well with the potato soup from last week's "Tasty Tuesday"! If you need to get a head start on dinner, the sandwiches can be assembled ahead of time & refrigerated... then just add the sauce & pop in the oven about 20 minutes before you're ready to eat!


The Ingredients:

  • 12-pack sweet hawaiian rolls 
  • 1 lb thinly sliced cooked deli ham
  • 1 lb thinly sliced swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Without separating the rolls, slice through the middle horizontally to separate the roll tops from the bottoms. Place the bottom half of the rolls in the prepared baking dish. Layer half the ham, the cheese, & then the other half of the ham. Top with the upper half of the rolls.

In a bowl, mix together butter, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds & dried onion. Pour the mixture evenly over the rolls.

Cover with foil & bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil & bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown & slightly crispy.

Slice between individual rolls & serve while hot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Slow-Cooker Potato Soup

This potato soup is actually a combination of several recipes. It's easy & one that my family has requested be on the menu again!


The Ingredients:

  • 5-lb bag of russet potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 2-3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 (14-oz) cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 tsp white pepper 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream or half-&-half
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can evaporated milk (optional)
Topping options:
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream
  • Green onions or scallions, sliced
  • Pickled jalapenos, sliced (these are my favorites!... you can find them at publix) 
  • salt & pepper

The Directions:

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter & add chopped onions & celery. Stir until they are slightly browned & softened. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.

Add diced potatoes to slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, salt, dill weed, & white pepper. Cover & cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Check potatoes with a potato masher... cook until they're soft enough to be easily mashed. Mash potatoes until they reach the desired consistency (some people prefer chunkier potato soup, or use an immersion blender if you prefer completely smooth soup).

30 minutes before you plan to eat, whisk flour into heavy cream or half-&-half in a medium bowl until completely dissolved. Pour into soup, cover & cook on low for 30 more minutes. If too thick, add evaporated milk until you reach desired consistency. Before serving, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese & stir until melted.

Serve with toppings. YUM!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Dump Cake

This cake was a "Tasty Tuesday" recipe last November, & the week of Thanksgiving just seemed like the right time to share it again! It's good. So, so good.  And easy. So, so easy.


The Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 10-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 cup graham crackers or pecans, coarsely crushed
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (optional... if you like toffee, you NEED to add these!)

*If you don't have 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice, substitute the following:
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg

The Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, egg, & pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan.

Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix on top of pumpkin mixture, followed by pecans or graham crackers & toffee bits (if desired). Then pour melted butter evenly on top.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set & edges are lightly browned. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or as is... it's delicious any way you eat it!

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)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Courage to Find Significance in the Everyday

Yesterday was our second meeting of the 2014-15 year, & it was really great! So good to see you all!

We were excited to welcome Rozalynn Goodwin as our speaker this month. A very successful businesswoman & entrepreneur, Rozalynn talked about balancing the demands of her professional life with her role as mother & wife. She shared her personal journey of the last year & how she has learned (& is still learning) to find the significance in the everyday moments. Recently someone asked "So how do you do it all?" Her answer: I don't.

On her blog, Spit Up on my Blazer, Rozalynn writes:
"I am in a constant state of rebalancing -- adjusting commitments to best meet the needs of my first priority, my family. I've stepped down from various positions to help create the right work-life blend. Not to mention how many times I've said "no" or "not now" to opportunities. No one can "do it all" or "have it all," at least not all at the same time." (click here for full post)

As mothers, we all make personal & professional sacrifices. It's part of being a mom. We may find ourselves feeling discontent or unsettled or insecure with where we are in life. Or we may have a birthday & suddenly feel panicked because we're "getting old" & we just haven't accomplished enough.

Rozalynn reminded us that there is beauty in the seemingly mundane motherhood moments.. that there is opportunity that we may not even be tapping into. There are seasons of life -- & as mothers of young children, we are in a season of nurturing & developing others. There is joy & peace in submitting to your season... embracing where you are & seeing the significance of those small moments.



Mark your Calendars!
  • MOPS on the Town (MOTT) - Thurs, Oct 23 at 10am. We're heading to the Hardy Berry Farm & Play Patch again this year! The cost is $10 per family, & this includes admission, a baby pumpkin & a hayride. There will be tons of fun activities for the kids, including a corn maze, animals, go-carts & a giant jump pillow. It's sure to be a great time! (Address: 232 Strawberry Road Anderson SC 29626)

  • Moms Night Out (MNO) - Fri, Oct 17 at 7pm. Pamela S, one of our lovely Steering Team members, will be hosting a dessert & game night. Please come for a chance to get to know some mamas better in a small group setting!

Business Info:
  • The Tupperware fundraiser & fall wreath raffle went really well... thanks so much to all of you who participated! Every little fundraising dollar counts to keep our Anderson MOPS up & running & we truly appreciate your help!

  • REMINDER: Please bring diapers (sizes 4 & 5) & wipes to our November 13th meeting. As we head into the season of giving, we are excited about using our November meeting as an opportunity to show generosity to the Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic!
  • Sign-ups are happening for family fall photos! Sessions are $40 for a 30-minute session & a CD of edited images. Please contact Margaret if you would like to sign up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This recipe is from Becca. Pair with crackers, bread bites, pita triangles or chips for the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer!


The Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian shredded cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained very well
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease small baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix first 8 ingredients (everything except spinach, artichokes & mozzarella). Then gently fold in spinach & artichokes.

Transfer to baking dish. Top with mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly & lightly brown.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: (Maybe Meatless) Taco Bake

This recipe is from Emily, who writes, "This is a common meal in my home! I love it because it's so versatile. I started making this with taco meat, but with meat prices being so high, I started adding some filler ingredients & eventually just left out the meat altogether. You can use any combo of filler ingredients, or go with only meat."



The Ingredients:

  • 1 can refried beans
  • shredded cheese
  • 2 boxes corn bread mix
  • taco seasoning
"Filler" Options -  you can use any combination of the ingredients below:
  • 1 can black beans
  • approximately 1/3 bag of lentils, cooked
  • approximately 1.5 cups of rice, cooked
  • ground beef, cooked

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray & spread refried beans to cover the bottom. It will be just a thin layer.

In a bowl, combine desired filling ingredients & add taco seasoning to taste, then spread over refried beans. Cover with shredded cheese to taste.

Mix corn bread according to package directions, then spread over the filling & cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Side Dishes

Many of our Tasty Tuesday recipes focus on one-dish meals.... but sometimes you need a new side dish to jazz up your meal! Here are a few side dishes recommended by Anderson MOPS mamas!

Roasted Corn on the Cob

... this is the easiest way to cook corn EVER. And it's delicious. Trust me. :)

The Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ears of corn for each person, still in their husks

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line ears of corn up on a baking sheet & put in oven for 30-40 minutes (when you smell it & the husks start to look crispy, it's done). Allow to cool & shuck... the husks & silks will peel off easily. Enjoy!


Sweet Baby Carrots

Easy & kids love 'em!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby carrots, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp canola oil or 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
  • pinch of salt

The Directions:

Boil carrots in medium saucepan until tender. Drain. Pour orange juice over carrots & toss. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in butter or oil, brown sugar & salt. Cook while stirring until salt & sugar are dissolved into a syrup.


Roasted Broccoli

... it's been called the best broccoli you'll ever eat! You be the judge :)

The Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh broccoli (or more, if you have a big family)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt (sea salt is preferred)
  • grated cheese (optional)

The Directions:

Cut broccoli into bite-size florets. Put broccoli & olive oil in a gallon-size ziplock bag & shake it until thoroughly coated (or you can put it in a large bowl & toss). Spread on a baking sheet & sprinkle with salt. Put in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until broccoli is slightly crispy. Sprinkle with cheese (if preferred) &  serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Sour Cream Enchiladas & Rice

At our house, we have "Mexican Monday"& this meal is a favorite... for Monday or any day or the week!


The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped or 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 8 large tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese blend
  • 4 oz can diced chilies (optional)
  • 2 cups mild salsa
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups brown or white instant rice

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water & add chicken breasts. Boil until cooked thoroughly, then use a fork to shred. Coat 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, mix together sour cream, soup, milk & cilantro. Heat through, stirring constantly. (This boils quickly, so please keep stirring!). Once heated, set aside. In a large skillet or pan sprayed with cooking spray, combine chicken, Rotel tomatoes, onions & green chilies (optional). Heat until onions are thoroughly cooked & transparent. Sandwich tortillas between damp paper towels & warm in microwave for 10 seconds, or until flexible.

Divide chicken mixture into 8 equal parts (will be approximately 2 tbsps). Spoon chicken mixture onto each warmed tortilla & wrap. Place in 9x13 baking dish, with seam side down (or they'll unravel). Pour sour cream sauce over enchiladas & sprinkle mexican cheese on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly & cheese is melted.

While enchiladas are in oven, combine salsa, water, & taco seasoning in a sauce pan & bring to a boil. Remove from heat & stir in rice. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Rice & enchiladas should finish about the same time.





Sunday, September 14, 2014

out of the comfort zone

This year, I'll be sharing the notes from each month's devotional on the blog... just in case there's someone who missed the meeting or who wants to go back & reread afterward.

September Devotional
by Sarah


At our Steering Team retreat this summer, the devotional sign-up sheet went around the room & I passed it on without a second glance because, um, I don't really do devotionals. Then the sheet made it's second round & September was the only month available. And I suddenly realized that ok, so devotionals aren't in my comfort zone. But this year is about brave, right?

So here I am.

This year's theme, "be you, bravely," is about pushing yourself. It's about going a little bit beyond your normal. It's about doing a new thing. Our theme verse reads:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

Isaiah 43:18

So at risk of getting a bit vulnerable (because we're being brave, remember?), I'd like to tell you a quick story.

In 2006, when I was 28 years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died 10 months later. And y'all? It was really terrible. Like, REALLY terrible. I tried & tried but I couldn't fix her. And when she died, I was devastated.

A year later, I was still reeling. I went from talking to my mom on the phone 3 times a day to nothing & I didn't even know how to process that. Then I found out I was pregnant & it felt like maybe, just maybe, things were looking up. Except then I had a miscarriage. And then next year, another miscarriage. And the year after that, another miscarriage. And by this time, I was a scary, bitter person. Like the kind of person you avoid because, yeah, that girl? She's got the issues.

So then in 2011, I was doing fertility treatments & jumping through all these hoops & my husband was still hanging in there, & I got pregnant again. And this time, it actually worked. My daughter Rose was born in September of that year.

When Rose was 5 months old, I found myself in a MOPS meeting. I was still in a bad place emotionally... I had this baby that I loved more than anything, but my mother was still gone & I had no idea what I was doing & nothing was like I always thought it would be. So I walk into this MOPS meeting & there were all these moms who really had themselves together. They're laughing & cute & nice & happy & skinny & pretty much awesome. And I thought "dude, this is not going to work. These people are WAY too happy." I felt like a total fake... like at any moment, someone was going to tap me on the shoulder & escort me out.

But then when I got home that day & started thinking about it, something happened. I realized that if I was ever going to progress, to change, to move forward at all, I HAD to take a chance. So I came back to MOPS the next month. I showed up. I took a risk.

There have been times when I just feel awkward. There have been moments when I feel totally disconnected, like I don't fit in. I think if we're honest, everyone in this room has had those feelings, even if we hide it really well. Whenever you open yourself up to new people, or a new group, or new experiences, there is risk involved. Risk brings vulnerability.

But when I came back to MOPS, I found something totally unexpected, something fabulous & healing & beautiful. I found relationships... real, honest relationships.

So this morning, I just want to challenge you -- & myself -- to do a brave thing this year. You get to decide what your brave thing is... whether it's coming to next month's meeting, or inviting someone else, or picking up the phone & making that phone call you've been dreading, or coming to a mom's night out even if you want to stay home & rock your yoga pants. Let's gather our courage & our guts & try something new.

In closing, I want to read an excerpt from the feather handout that you'll find here... I think it's beautiful & so appropriate:

A bird will fail to experience all it was made for if it fails to fly. 
{The same is true for us} 
May this year change your life.  
May you hear whispers of hope stirring in your soul.  
May MOPS remind you to breathe in & breathe out,
because we're all in this together.  
The first step may test our bravery, but courage is the key around our necks. 
Be you, Bravely. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Be you, Bravely!

(source)
Yesterday was our first meeting of the 2014-15 year, & it was fabulous! So, so glad to see y'all again... thank you to everyone who came!

Mark your Calendars!
  • MOPS on the Town (MOTT) - Wed, Sept 17 at 10am. Bring lunch & a picnic blanket for a playdate with the kiddos at Grace Episcopal Church's playground (address: 711 S McDuffie St Anderson SC 29621).

  • Moms Night Out (MNO) - Thurs, Sept 25 at 7pm. Come enjoy a sweet treat, sitting under the stars & great conversation at Figs Beanery & Creamery (address: 200 N Main St Anderson SC 29621)

Business Recap:
  • If you haven't paid your dues yet, they are due at the October 9th meeting. It's $35 per semester or $70 for the year. If you'd like to apply for a scholarship or payment plan, please click here.

  • Sonia R is sponsoring a Tupperware fundraiser for Anderson MOPS, which is awesome! Each mom was given a flyer, & whatever we sell, MOPS gets 40%. Woohoo! If you'd like to sell or order for yourself & need a fundraising brochure, please let us know. Orders are due by our meeting on Oct 9th, & products will be given out at our Nov 13th meeting.

For our kick-off meeting, we watched a wonderful inspirational video featuring Sherry Surratt of MOPS Int'l. The topic was facing our mom fears, which often prevent us from being our best brave selves. Sherry encourages us to put a name to our fears... that labeling it with a finite word makes it more controllable & less scary. Also, leaning into other moms & talking about our fears will help. It's often the unspoken fears that grow in our minds until they are larger than life. In closing, Sherry encouraged us to "step into the brave mom that God designed us to be."

need help with dues?

We don't ever, ever, EVER want finances to be the reason that you can't join Anderson MOPS!

If you'd love to be a part of our MOPS community & the dues are just not possible for your family, we have full & partial scholarships, as well as payment plan options.

. . . because accepting help from your fellow mamas is sometimes the bravest thing you can do!

Click HERE to download our scholarship application & contact our Finance Team (Sara or Sarah).



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Pork Chop (or Chicken) & Rice Casserole

This recipe was shared by Shelley, who writes, "This is an easy one-dish recipe... I love it!"


The Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 6-8 boneless pork chops (or 6-8 boneless chicken breasts or thighs)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
  • 1.5 cups water
  • garlic (optional... I add it because I love it!)

The Directions:

Pour uncooked rice in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over rice.

Lightly brown pork chops or chicken, then put on top of soup mix & rice in a single layer, covering fully so juices from meat help cook the rice.

Pour cream of mushroom or celery soup over meat. Add water. Cover with foil & bake at 375 degrees for one hour.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hey Mama, you are amazing!

During the past few weeks, I've published daily introductions of this year's Steering Team.... & to get all those fascinating facts & stories, each member was asked to fill out a questionnaire.

One of the questions was "Who has influenced your life the most?"  And there was one answer that kept popping up: "my mom."

So here we are, in our 20's & 30's, all grown up with jobs & degrees & responsibilities & mortgages & families of our own... 

and the influence of our mothers is still so very prevalent. 

It's easy to get caught up in the minutes of the day... staying on schedule, cleaning, planning, worrying. But reading these responses reminded me that now I AM the mother. And even if you're running late & your kid's shoes don't match & your family has fast food for dinner tonight, 

you, me, WE really are amazing in the eyes of our children.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

ST Intros: meet Kelly!

KELLY

I'm on the Anderson MOPS Outreach Team this year! 
This is my 3rd year on Steering Team...
I love meeting new people
& ST is a great way to make friends!
I have three kiddos - Trace (age 6), Zack (age 4), & Brinkley (age 2). 
My fav is Mexican! 
I order #11. It's the same at most restaurants... burrito, enchilada & taco. YUM!
The last song I sang was "Let It Go" with the kids in the car
... LOUDLY!
In the last week, I've realized that
it's impossible to have a Pinterest- or Facebook-perfect life. 
People only post the good stuff, ya know?
My childhood celebrity crush?
Joey Lawrence... I loved "Blossom"!
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd go to dinner with friends. 
My favorite time of day is bedtime.
After the kids are in bed, I can snuggle up with my husband & watch our TV shows.
The worst place to be stuck waiting?
A doctor's office with three kids!
Those facebook quizzes? Nope, I skip 'em...
My fav dessert is chocolate chip pecan pie.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
The friendships & fellowship & knowing that I'm not alone!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ST Intros: meet Anita!

ANITA

I'm on the Anderson MOPS Outreach Team this year! 
This is my 1st year on Steering Team...
one of my goals after leaving my full-time job was
to volunteer & get involved wherever my girls go.
MOPS is our group!
I have two kiddos - Ellyana (age 3) & Emilia (age 1). 
The last book I read was "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst. I actually heard about it at MOPS
& I would really recommend it to any mom.
My favorite book is "The Glass Castle"
by Jeannette Walls.
The last movie I saw was "Oblivion"... yes, I would recommend it. It's great!!
My fav movie is "The Princess Bride"
My fav is Chinese food. I always get shrimp fried rice with no onions & an egg roll.  
The last song I sang was "God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man" with the kids in the car. We were all singing loudly :)
In the last week, I've learned that
if I manage my time correctly & stay focused,
I can finish big tasks that might seem impossible.
My childhood celebrity crush? Menudo & Hombres G
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd buy a pretzel & big drink from QT,
head back home & watch "The Big Bang Theory."
My favorite time of day is naptime! From 2-4 in the afternoon, I have quiet time, make phone calls & get lots of stuff done.
Something I've been meaning to do?
Learn to sew
& finally use the sewing machine I got for my birthday three years ago!!
Most random thing I've done?
My husband & I, along with two other couples,
TP'ed a friend's yard while he was visiting his secret girlfriend. ;)
My favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies. YUM.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
the love each person has for the Lord, 
their family 
& their community!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ST Intros: meet Becca!

BECCA

I'm a member of the Anderson MOPS Outreach Team this year! 
I've been on Steering Team for several years...
because this will be my last year at MOPS, I wanted to help make it the best year yet!
I have three kiddos - Cailyn (age 10), Lydia (age 7), & Evan (age 5). 
My least favorite chore? Housework of any kind!
My (new) favorite restaurant is FOGO de CHOA in Atlanta... I recently went for the first time & it was amazing! 
The last song I sang was John Legend's "All of Me"... it's been in my head for months.
I can't get it out. Help!
If you hear me singing it, you have my permission to punch me.
Thanks.
In the last week, I've learned that
I can't do all that I want to do & achieve perfection... 
something always gets neglected.
(For example, if I want to read my Bible every morning, I won't get around to exercising. If I want to play with the kids & take them somewhere fun, I won't get around to cleaning the house. If I want to actually print out photographs or mail a birthday card, I'll neglect the laundry.) 
It seems that something important gets left undone everyday.
But in the end, very few of these things actually matter.
So I'm not choosing perfection... I'm choosing people & God.
Most random thing I've done? I've gone through the underground tunnels from one side of my college campus to the other. It was strange & full of
many, many creepy crawly creatures. I was into caving, so
it made perfect sense at the time. 
My favorite time of day is the morning when I drink my beloved coffee & snug with
my kids.
I would love to learn how to ballroom dance with my husband.
If I were one of the Seven Dwarfs, I would be Bashful.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
There are so many amazing women at the meetings. I enjoy meeting new moms tremendously... if I haven't met you yet, please come find me &
I'd love to get to know you!

Tasty Tuesday: Crescent Sausage Bites

This recipe is from Katie, who writes, "This is one of my favorite go-to meals... seems to please everyone!"


The Ingredients:

  • 1 package of your favorite Jimmy Dean sausage (I like Hot, but the Sage is also good)
  • 2 tubes refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 2 packages cream cheese, slightly softened (I use reduced-fat... doesn't seem to make a difference in the taste & you can save a few calories!)

The Directions:

Preheat oven according to package directions on crescent rolls.  Brown the sausage, then drain fat. Mix the cooked sausage with slightly softened cream cheese.

Unroll crescent rolls out flat on a baking sheet covered in foil. Spread the sausage & cream cheese mixture on the crescent rolls. Place the other tube of crescent rolls flat on top of the spread, pinching the edges as you go.

Bake according to directions on crescent packaging (approximately 11-13 minutes).

Monday, September 1, 2014

ST Intros: meet Ashlee!

ASHLEE

I'm a member of the Anderson MOPS Craft Team this year! 
This is my 1st year on Steering Team...
I wanted to join because I love serving others & I believe that by serving others, we can become more like Christ. 
I have four kiddos - Teigen (age 8), Jasmine (age 8), Brookelyn (age 5) & Landyn (age 2). 
The last book I read was "Jesus > Religion"... it was awesome!
My favorite books are The Twilight Saga, Of Mice & Men,
Island of the Blue Dolphin, & anything by Nicholas Sparks.
My fav movies include "A Knight's Tale," "Forest Gump," "The Notebook," "Titanic" & "Shawshank Redemption"
My fav restaurant is Carabbas! I love Italian food... my fav thing to order is
the Polo Rosa Maria. Yummm!
The last song I sang was "Let It Go." Loudly. My kids are addicted to Frozen, so if I hear "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" or "Let It Go" one more time....
I may just let it go.... right out the car window going 65.
In the last week, I've learned that Goo Gone is an 
excellent clothing stain remover... it's awesome!
My childhood celebrity crush?
John Stamos. ummmmm, loved me some Uncle Jesse. (still do... shhhh)
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd SLEEP!! I love to sleep. I miss sleep. Oh my, & when the sheets are fresh out of the dryer?! 
My favorite time of day is bedtime. When everyone else goes to bed, I can
finally relax & enjoy a show, pee in private or take a bath.
But let's face it... by bedtime, I just want to sleep.
Something I've been meaning to do?
Clean the house. Maybe I'll get around to that one day...
Yep, I love those facebook quizzes! If all the quizzes I've taken were true, I'm Ariel, I should be married to Eric, my villain alter ego is Cruella de Vil, & my old lady name is Pearl.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
I love Anderson MOPS... it's amazing!
I have met some wonderful friends & love being in a group that loves everyone & tries to make our community better!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ST Intros: meet Margaret!

MARGARET

I'm a member of the Anderson MOPS Craft Team this year! 
I've been on the Anderson MOPS Steering Team for several years...
I love serving MOPS mamas & I NEED the friendships & support of other ST members.
We're like a family!
I have three kiddos - Caleb (age 6), Cooper (age 4) & Lucas (age almost 1). 
The last book I read was "The Artist's Daughter" by Alexandra Kuykendall...
YES, I recommend it!
My favorite books are the Hunger Game & Twilight series &
anything by Nicholas Sparks.
My fav movies include "You've Got Mail," "Steel Magnolias" & "Tommy Boy."
My fav restaurant is California Dreaming! I get the house salad & potato soup with a croissant.
The last song I sang was "Let It Go."
Loudly, of course!
In the last week, I've learned that
God wants us to serve shoulder to shoulder as we face OUTWARD.
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd take a nap, watch Downton Abbey or read.
My favorite time of day is naptime & bedtime.
Do I need to explain why? :)
I've always wanted to learn to play the guitar.
Craziest thing I've ever done?
I climbed out of a moving vehicle to ride on the hood...
& by "moving," I mean 45 miles per hour!
My favorite dessert is salty & sweet combo, like peanut butter & chocolate.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
My husband is in ministry & MOPS gives me a circle of support
outside of our church where I can be myself & have my own "thing"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ST Intros: meet Amanda!

AMANDA

I'm a member of the Anderson MOPS Hospitality Team this year! 
This is my 1st year on the Anderson MOPS Steering Team...
last year was my first year attending MOPS & I fell in love.
Having awesome mom friends
who can share struggles, accomplishments & memories is the best!
I joined ST to become more involved in this wonderful organization!
I have two kiddos - Mattie Grace (age 2) & Mollie (age 1m). 
The last book I read was "12 Hours in 12 Weeks," a book about
getting your newborn to sleep.
Yes, I recommend it... although I have to be honest in saying
I'm not actually following it... :)
I love anything by Nicholas Sparks... LOVE the happy love stories!
I watch Frozen probably every other day & it's great... just maybe not every other day!
Romantic comedies are my favorite!
My fav restaurant is El Patron! I almost always get a beef burrito & cheese quesadilla. Oh, & definitely cheese dip or guacamole! YUM.
The last song I sang was "Jesus Loves Me." It's Mattie Grace's favorite to sing at bedtime... I sing it softly so I can hear her trying to sing it. SO sweet! 
In the last week, I've realized that I should just not even try to plan
because when it doesn't work out, I get stressed out...
take every day as it comes, especially when you have two young children.
My favorite childhood celebrity was Mariah Carey. Loved her!
I've been meaning to order my wedding pictures!! We have been married almost 4 years & I haven't even gotten my bridal portrait yet. Can we say slack?!? Ha.
My favorite time of day is 5:27pm! 
That's when the husband gets home from work. 
Weirdest thing I've ever done?
I once got on stage at a drag queen fashion show in NYC...
& no, I don't think I was supposed to :)
My favorite dessert is ice cream! I never feel bad eating a bowl of ice cream!
My fav song lyrics are:
don't worry 'bout a thing, 'cause every little thing is gonna be alright!
My favorite thing about MOPS?
the relationships for sure! You can't beat it! It's so great to have mom friends 
in the same place in their lives as you...