Keeping God Off The Back Burner

Weather changing. Finals. Graduations. Wedding season begins. A lot of things happen this time of year. Spring and summer can be two of the busiest seasons for many people.  If you aren’t hosting a graduation or wedding, you are buying gifts and attending receptions. Not to mention finding clothes to wear in the ever changing weather.  Do my bathing suite and shorts from last summer still fit? Maybe if I hit the gym a little more.

In all of the craziness that this time of year brings, it is easy to push a few things to the back burner. For me, my prayer life seems to take a hard hit in busy seasons of my life.  It is horrible and completely uncalled for.  I rationalize and make excuses like every other human being on the planet.  “I just don’t have time, my mind isbusy with other things,” being the  most common of my excuses.  In times of busyness, I believe that if I set time away to refocus my life on God I will somehow become more stressed.

This couldn’t be farther from true. Here are five verses that show God is with you through the busy and stressful times.  I hope they help you to take a deep breath and refocus.  They always help me to realize that there is a much bigger picture.

5 Helpful Passages

5 Bible Passages to Help Refocus in Busy Seasons of Your Life

  1. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  –Matthew 12:28-30
  2. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Phillipians 4:4-7
  3. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” –Phillipians 4:13
  4. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about to tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” –Matthew 6:25,33-34
  5. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:30-31

This week I challenge you to pick one of these small passages, and memorize it. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it every day.  This way, in times of trial the verse will be there, forever in the back of your mind reminding you to refocus on God.

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

It is April and Spring is in full swing! Today we were blessed with a rainy spring morning. I absolutely love it! There is nothing better than baking on a cool, rainy morning.  This morning I made some scrumptious Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Don’t they look delicious?  I can never pass up a chocolate chip muffin.  They are the perfect excuse to have chocolate with your breakfast.  Today I sat down and enjoyed them with a cup of hot tea.  It was heavenly!

I had normal sized chocolate chips for my muffins.  However, you may want to use the mini chips in yours.  The larger ones have a tendency to sink to the bottom.  Let me know what you think of the muffins in the comments below.  If you give them a try share pictures on Instagram with #dreamanddishes. Happy baking!

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes: 1 dozen         Time: 30 minutes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 500°F if using a light muffin tin or 475°F if using a dark non-stick muffin tin.  If you are not using muffin cups grease the muffin tins.  If you are using muffin cups, place the muffin cups into the muffin tin, and lightly grease them with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips (flour, baking powder, salt). In a separate mixing bowl (small or medium) whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, oil).
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until they are just combined. Do not over mix.  The batter will be lumpy, but resist the urge to beat all of the lumps out! It is very important to not over mix  muffin batter. Muffins that are only mixed until wet and dry ingredients are combined have the best texture.
  4. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Place the muffins in the oven and reduce the heat to 400°F for a light tin or 375°F for a dark tin (dropping the temperature like this will help your muffins get the desired peaks). Bake for 20 minutes.

What you’re doing is not important.

This man is brilliant. I really needed this reminder today. What we do does matter, but perhaps it isn’t quite as important as we often make it out to be. Take a deep breath and enjoy the “less important” things as well. Happy Friday everyone!

Lanny Fuller - A Boy With A Pen

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Starbucks recently launched a campaign called “Race Together.” If you didn’t hear about it, here’s a recap:

In hopes of initiating a conversation about race equality, Starbucks baristas were instructed to write “Race Together” (along with your misspelled name) on your latte cup. This campaign was a colossal failure. It received heavy scrutiny on every social media channel. And was pulled weeks after its launch.

At first glance, why would this fail? Doesn’t almost everyone agree human equality is generally a good thing? Especially the hip people frequenting Starbucks?

What can we learn from this?

Simple. Starbucks isn’t as important as they thought they were. No one wanted to be thrown into a political chat initiated by their college-aged barista.

Which got me thinking.

Starbucks’ marketing snafu is fairly indicative of our generation. Yeah, millennials. I’m calling us out.

That sweet selfie you posted, only receiving a fraction of ‘likes’…

View original post 341 more words

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of course I would recommend pairing them with and ice-cold glass of milk.

These cookies were always a huge hit in my house when I was growing up. Every time a batch was baked the cookies would disappear in a flash!

This weekend my parents were visiting, and my dad requested I have some on hand.  He didn’t have to do a lot of convincing as they are definitely my favorite. It has been far too long since I have made any. If you haven’t ever tried these cookies, then you are truly missing out. I suggest you try them immediately. You will not regret it!

The ingredients are added in three sets of three (except the chocolate chips which are mixed in at the end). Once the cookies are spooned onto the cookie sheet they must be flattened because they do not spread much. I use the bottom of a glass and dip it in sugar to keep the cookies from sticking to it too much.

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Here is the recipe so you can see for yourself just how great they are! I hope you enjoy! I would love to hear any questions or opinions in the comments section below! Happy baking!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup margarine (softened)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cook oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream together the first three ingredients until they are fluffy.
  2. Add in the next three ingredients (water, egg, and vanilla) and mix well.
  3. Measure the oats, flour, and baking soda into the bowl and mix until everything is combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop round spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar flatten the cookie a little. Bake for 10 minutes, or until they just start turning golden brown.  Let them cool for a few minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.  They are extremely gooey when warm.

Maple Scones

Maple Scones

Four more weeks of winter! It has remained appropriately cold here and even snowed a little.  I continue my final weeks of winter series with some wonderful maple scones. I have always used the cooler months of fall and winter as an excuse to do some excess baking. The oven heats up the small apartment nicely when it gets a bit chilly.

These scones have a light and crumbly texture with a rich maple flavor.  They go wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee. (I would also recommend a book and a blanket if you have the time :-)).  What more could one need on a cold, winter day?

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Scones

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold, cubed butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 Glaze

  • 5 cup Powdered sugar
  • 3/8 cup Milk
  • 2 tablespoon Melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Strong Coffee
  • 2 teaspoon Maple extract
  • Pinch of salt

Scones

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1.  Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter or fork to work the butter into the flour mixture. Continue until the mixture resemble coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, egg, maple extract, and vanilla. Once the wet ingredients are mixed together, pour them into the dry ingredients.
  4. Gently stir until it comes together. The dough should be a fairly dry and a little crumbly. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball in the bowl.
  5. Turn the ball onto a floured surface. Using your hands, press the ball into a circle (about 9 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick). Cut the circle in 8 wedges like a pizza.
  6. Using a spatula, transfer the wedges onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake 20 minutes or until they are just beginning to turn golden-brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.

Glaze

Measure the powder sugar, milk, melted butter, strong coffee, maple extract, and salt into a small bowl. Whisk everything together until it is well combined and there are no lumps.  Drizzle the desired amount over each scone and enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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When people ask me what my favorite season is, I find it difficult to reply.  Such a simple question has a complicated answer in my mind. There are things I love about every season.

I love that spring is a happy season; things are blooming, and it’s neither freezing cold nor stifling hot.  Summer lays claim to the most beautiful nights and majestic thunderstorms.  In Fall the colors are warm and it begins to cool down a little.  In winter we have cozy clothes, warm drinks, and soup. How on Earth does one decide?

I will put my inner debate over my favorite season aside for the moment. My point is, spring is only a month away and I would like to celebrate the last bit of winter. The next few weeks I am looking forward to capitalizing on warm food and drinks.  This week I have decided to share with you a delicious soup!

This Chicken Tortilla Soup is creamy, cheesy, deliciousness.  It is great served with corn chips or in a warm bread bowl. I made some homemade chips with some of the extra tortillas. They went quite wonderfully with the soup. Let’s get to the reason you are here – the recipe! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did.  It was perfect on a cold, winter day. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast (cooked and cubed)
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz)
  • 1 large can salsa con queso (23 oz)
  • 1 can cream of chicken (10.5 oz)
  • 1 can milk*
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and green peppers (10 oz)
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs Weber Kick’n Chicken seasoning
  • 4 corn tortillas (cut into 1 inch strips)
  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the chicken, onion, and garlic in the oil until the onions are transparent.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the tortillas. Simmer together for fifteen minutes.
  3. Add the tortillas. Keep warm on the stove until you are ready to serve.

*For the one can of milk—fill the can that contained the cream of chicken with milk, and pour into the pot. It’s that easy!

Turkey Pot Pie

Last weekend I roasted a turkey for the very first time! It went quite well. The recipe I used can be found here: http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/11/06/juicy-roast-turkey-recipe/ 

It took me an entire afternoon, but it was well worth it. The recipe was simple and perfect for my lack of experience.  I had a small dinner party because there was no way my husband and I could devour an entire turkey.  While we did put a dent in the bird, there was a lot of meat left over. I needed to find a way to use it.  I entertained a few different ideas before deciding on a turkey pot pie. I thought it would be a wonderful comfort food during the winter season.

Turkey Pot Pie

This pot pie is fairly simple.  There aren’t a lot of seasonings, but it still has a wonderful flavor.  While I only used salt and pepper you could certainly add some rosemary, celery seed, or even some fresh chopped parsley for extra flavor. As far as vegetables go, there are many options.  I didn’t include peas as my husband isn’t a huge fan of them.  I used corn instead.  However, feel free to add some frozen peas or even some chopped mushrooms.  I used whole milk in my recipe because that is what I had on hand, but heavy cream would provide a richer filling to the pie.

Up to this point I have always found refrigerated pie crusts are the easiest to work with. You can use any two crust pie recipe that you like.  Also, while I used my leftover turkey, cooked chicken would work just as well in this recipe.  I hope you enjoy. Comment with any questions you might have.

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Turkey Pot Pie

Makes 1 pie          Prepare: 40 minutes          Bake: 1 hour

  • 1/3 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup carrot (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1 & 1/4 cup turkey or chicken (cooked and cubed)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a sauce pan, saute the onion, celery, and carrots with the butter until they are soft.
  2. Add the flour. Stir constantly and allow the roux* to bubble and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and milk/cream. Bring the mixture to a boil while constantly stirring.  Once it is boiling reduce the heat. Add salt, pepper, corn, and meat. Continue to stir the mixture and let it bubble for two minutes or until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the pie crusts.
  4. Place one pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate. Trim the crust so it is even with the edge of the dish.  Pour in the filling. Lay the second crust over the top. Tuck the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust. Crimp or flute the edges.  Cut slits in the top of the pie to vent.  Place foil on the rim of the pie so the edges don’t burn.
  5. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden-brown.  Let the pie cool for 15 minutes before serving.

*A roux is a mixture of fat and flour. In this case the fat is butter or margarine.

Tips

If you are having problems with the filling getting lumpy when you add the broth and milk/cream, try heating the liquids before you add them. 

If you are adding mushrooms to the recipe, saute them with the other vegetables; however if you are using frozen peas, add them when the corn is added.