Recipes and Stories for a Full, Filled Life

John 10:10 - Jesus said, "I came that they (you and me) may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance - to the full, til it overflows.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quick Tortilla Casserole

3/4 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1-2 tsp. chili powder, optional
1 1/4 c. salsa
2 c. frozen corn, thawed
3 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas
1/2 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
about 1/4 c. chopped cilantro, optional
about 1/4 c. chopped green onions, optional

Brown meat with onions and peppers in large skillet. Drain grease. Stir in chili powder, cook for 1 minute longer. Add salsa and corn; mix well. Simmer 5 minutes. Spread 1 c. meat sauce onto bottom of 8 x 8 inch pan; top with layers of 1 tortilla, about 1/2 c. meat sauce, sour cream and about 1/2 c. cheese. cover with 1 tortilla, about 1 c. remaining meat sauce, about 1/2 c. cheese; top with remaining tortilla and meat sauce. Cover with foil. Bake 25 minutes or until casserole is heated through. Top with remaining cheese and cilantro and green onions, if desired.

Bake 25 minutes or until casserole is heated through. top with remaining cheese, bake uncovered 5 minutes or until melted.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Farmer's Casserole

This casserole from my cookbook, is great to serve at a brunch or for dinner. It can also be frozen.

6 c. frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 c. shredded pepper jack cheese
1 c. cooked diced ham
¼ c. chopped green onion
4 beaten eggs
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. salt.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease a 13x9 pan. Arrange potatoes in bottom. Layer cheese, ham and onion. Combine remainder of ingredients. Pour over all. Bake 350˚ uncovered 40-45 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. OR: Cover well and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw. Then bake as directed.

Eggs have always been a “good thing”.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hot Cranberry Punch

This punch recipe, which is in my cookbook, is a comforting drink to serve on a cold day.

1 bottle (2 qt.) cranberry juice
6 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
Pour about half of the juice in a pan with the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
Simmer 45 minutes. Strain. Discard cinnamon and cloves.

Add the following:
1 c. sugar
4 c. orange juice
1 c. lemon juice
remainder of the bottle of cranberry juice

Warm to dissolve sugar.

Note: This can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, kept refrigerated and heated as needed.

Did you know that cranberry plants can live 150 years?


This Italian-type bread is a great gift during the Christmas season.

1 c. mixed dried fruit: cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.
½ c. limoncello liqueur
1 c. quick oats
½ c. vanilla yogurt
½ c. oil
¾ c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. grated fresh orange rind
1 c. flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375˚. In a small saucepan, bring dried fruit and liqueur to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix oats and yogurt. Set aside 5 minutes.

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder, set aside.

Add oil, sugar, egg, orange rind to yogurt mixture along with fruit and liqueur. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined—don’t over-mix. Divide mixture between 2-small (about 7 ½ x 3 ½ inch bread pans). Bake 375˚ about 30 minutes, until pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on wire rack.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.—Jewish prayer said before meals.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Meaning of The 12 Days of Christmas

I enjoy learning the history of food, songs and traditions. If you haven't seen this yet, enjoy!

The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Meaning Behind The Song

The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.
The Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" may sound silly and contrived to many of us. But it actually had its origins in religious symbolism - and with a serious purpose.
It dates from a time of religious persecution. The song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," was written as a kind of secret catechism that could sing in public without fear of arrest - a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact.
The song can be taken at two levels of interpretation - the surface meaning, or the hidden meaning known only to the Christians involved. Each element is a code word for a religious truth.

1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.
6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

If you think Jesus being symbolized as a partridge in a pear tree sounds blasphemous, remember:
"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so." (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34)
The "true love" in the song refers to God Himself.
The "me" receiving the gifts is every Christian.
So that "silly" song we sing at Christmas time has more meaning than we thought.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

On my very first post way back in May, I wrote about the 7 F's. Frugal is one of them! This cookie is definitely an inexpensive, yet lovely cookie to make and give for Christmas.

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
1 c. peanut butter (I like creamy-style best)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
about 1/2 pound chocolate coating

Cream butter, shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs; beat well. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate dough about 1 hour.

Form into balls about the size of a walnut. Flatten with a fork dipped in flour or use the "waffle" pattern on a meat tenderizer to flatten. Bake 350 for about 15 minutes. Cool on pan about 5 minutes; finish cooling on wire rack.

Melt chocolate over double boiler. Dip half of the cookie; dry on wire racks.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Story of the Snowflake

At this time of year, I get out my snowflake cookie cutter. After packaging the cookies in cellophane bags, I attach copies of the following, printed on pretty paper.

The Story of the SNOWFLAKE

It was 1885, that Wilson Bentley succeeded
in photographing individual snowflakes.
His bellows camera was fitted with a
microscope lens to capture the breathtaking
designs. As his curiosity grew, wonder set in,
as each one was different.

Each snowflake is special, no two are alike.
Snowflakes can be a reminder of just how
special you are, for God only made one of you!

“I praise You, because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; your works are
wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:14

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Cut-out cookies always seem to be the favorite for children and adults! I have a gazillion cookie cutters—and all colors of sanding sugar and sprinkles. For Easter, I make carrot-shaped cookies. In winter, snowflake cookies. In fall, apple, leaf, and pumpkin shaped cookies. For St. Patrick’s Day...

l c. real butter, softened
l c. powdered sugar
l egg
l ½ tsp. almond extract
l tsp. vanilla
l tsp. salt
2 ½ c. flour
powdered sugar for rolling

Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add egg, flavorings and mix well. Add flour and salt; mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Roll out ¼” to l/8" thick on powdered sugar covered board, cut as desired. Place on greased sheets. For best results, bake on parchment paper. Bake 350˚ 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Frost when cool.

1 c. powdered sugar
small pinch salt
milk to desired consistency
Mix frosting ingredients together. Frost cookies. Decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles, as desired.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Italian Stew

This is one of my man's favorite recipes!

¾ pound Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 c. low-sodium beef broth
1 can (14 oz.) stewed tomatoes, cut up
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
9 oz. frozen cheese tortellini
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 T. fresh parsley, or 1 T. dried
Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese for topping each bowl

In a large soup kettle, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender. Drain. Add garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Cover and cook about 10 more minutes or until veggies are almost done.

Stir in frozen tortellini and zucchini. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until tortellini is tender. Stir in parsley.

Top each bowl with cheese.
Learn how to make Christmas gifts from your kitchen! Taken from "Real Milwaukee" segment. Enjoy!

Today I was on the "Real Milwaukee" show! I showed how to make home-made food gifts--you know, the kind that always fit!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Gift Idea

This Christmas, how about giving a gift that is always the correct size and you don't have to remember to ask for a gift receipt at the register? It is something that everyone can use--and it's a gift that is economical and from the "heart"! I recommend making a gift basket, filled with your homemade mixes and add finishing touches like candles or Christmas decor. In this basket, I've added recipes from "Recipes for a Full-Filled Life" cookbook. They take almost no time to assemble and are always appreciated.
On the left side of the basket, I've got Cranberry Hootycreek Cookie Mix. Just that alone would make a nice gift--attach the recipe with a pretty ribbon or raffia. Then I've added "Dinner in a Bag" and a Chili Mix--both would be great time-savers on a busy day. has more ideas for gift mixes. Have fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sausage Corn Chowder

Enjoy this hearty chowder with a loaf of crusty bread on a cold day.

1/2 pound pork sausage
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped celery
4 c. water
5-6 red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2" cubes
3 tsp. Better than Bouillon* chicken flavor or 3 bouillon cubes
1 c. frozen corn
1 can (15 oz.) cream-style corn
3 T. butter
1/4 c. flour
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. milk
In a large saucepan, cook sausage, onion and celery over medium heat; drain
Stir in the water, potatoes and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add corn; simmer 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir into the sausage mixture.
Serves 4
*Look for "Better than Bouillon" in the soup aisle of the grocery store. It has a better flavor and fewer "chemicals" than regular bouillon cubes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Streusel Coffee Cake Mix

This makes a wonderful gift: In an 8 x 8 pan, add a pretty Christmas towel, a few mugs, a box of tea and this Coffee Cake Mix.

This will make 3 mixes.

Coffee Cake mix:
4 1/2 c. flour
2 1/4 c. sugar
2 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt

Streusel mix:
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the coffee cake ingredients. Mix well; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the streusel ingredients. Mix well; set aside.
In a quart zip measure 2 c. coffee cake mix.
In a sandwich zip measure 3/4 c. streusel mix.
Attach the following directions to each mix. Use within 4 months.


In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix,
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. oil

Mix well-but don't over mix.
Pour into greased 8-inch
square baking pan.
Combine streusel mix
and 1 T. melted butter; sprinkle
over batter. Bake 350 for 25-30
minutes or until a toothpick inserted
near the center comes out clean.
Serve warm.
Use by: (4 months)