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Good Things and Recipes for Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Dear Sisters in Jesus---

I trust you're well and you all enjoyed "Mother's Day" this past weekend. If it was a difficult day for you, I pray the LORD is comforting you in your heart and study of His Word. One thing I'm sure learning and that is that in time, things will look much different than they do today. Time has a way of softening all the rough edges and fading scars.

Thank you for allowing me to continue to write to you sharing ideas, thoughts, recipes, etc. for you in your home. I trust all is well with you and that the LORD is blessing you and your family and that He is providing
all your needs. I appreciate the letters I’ve received regarding the
"marriage" messages I’ve sent recently. I so grieve with/for those of you who are going through relationship struggles... my heart aches for you. I am so sorry for the number of homes the enemy is sneaking in and attempting to destroy. I pray the LORD will guard and guide you and strengthen your resolve to "press on" in the days ahead.

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Over the years we’ve collected “Gift-in-a-Jar” recipes and ideas. Along with others you might have, perhaps you remember some I’ve suggested in the past.
Some years ago a friend sent me this great one and I share it with you in hopes that you might need a new gift idea. I'm thinking of making this one up and putting it out on the counter.

"A TIME FOR ALL THINGS" Gift Jar

This quart jar contains 10 walnuts and one cup of rice. The walnuts represent the things that God would have us do, and the rice represents the fun things that we would like and want to do.

If you pour the rice into the jar first, the walnuts will never fit.
If you put the walnuts in the jar first, the rice poured over and around the nuts fits perfectly. The lesson is if we set God's priorities first before the time for the things we want to do, we will have time for both. If however, we put the urgent before the important, we will never fit time in for God. May this jar be a constant reminder of your priorities in your walk with Him.

A Blessing Jar

You'll need a pretty jar with a lid. Then either write out or type little messages on strips of paper (or use little 3 inch folded cards). These messages might be messages of love, hope, peace, joy, thanksgiving, cheer, etc. You might include Bible promises, praises, affirmations, etc. Still other strips or card might include happy memories, anecdotes, sayings, encouragement's, plans, etc. Then you can write a tag for the jar which would say something like: As you begin each day, pull out a blessing and be on your way!

You can also make these on cards and place them in a business card holder or little box or basket and give it as a gift. Your imagination is the only thing that will limit you as to what you might do. ;-)

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Last week I shared our Garlic Chicken Pizza Recipe and this week I'll add the cooked chicken recipe.

This is a recipe that you adjust according to the number of chickenbreasts you're going to need (usually 2-3 per pizza). Place the chickenbreasts in a baking pan and rub with olive oil and minced garlic and a little garlic/parsley salt (both the garlic and the garlic/parsley salt can be purchased, along with boneless/skinless chickenbreasts from Costco); bake for 35 minutes at 350*, lightly covered with foil. Then spread each chickenbreast with ranch dressing and return to oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes---Kathryn usually broils them far from the broiler, I sometimes forget them and I'm sorry to confess over done chicken!! On the other hand, I sometimes check for "doneness" by slicing one of the chickenbreasts in the middle and looking to see that the center is no longer pink.

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This is from our friend, Katherine in Indiana, who writes: I was reading your fabulous recipe for garlic chicken and had to share a delicious, easy marinade for chicken breasts I had at a church supper last weekend.

Simply combine...
one bottle of A1 steak sauce
one bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce one bottle of ranch dressing
2 cloves minced garlic

Marinate chicken breasts in some of it for about six hours.  Then put the remainder (the rest that never touched the chicken) in a saucepan and cook for about ten minutes.  Put the chicken breasts on a barbecue grill until cooked through.

With this, she served cheesy scalloped potatoes, and this salad recipe that follows... again, another plate-licker!  We all got the recipe for this one, too.  I plan to prepare this for Mother's Day for my family and our mothers!!  It has a surprising twist!  (I heard her say she used half the amount of sugar to make it more healthy.)  Here it is:

Strawberry Spinach Salad
 
2 Tbsp sesame seeds        1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp poppy seeds         1 Tbsp minced onion
1/2 c. sugar               10 oz fresh spinach
1/2 c. olive oil           1 qt strawberries sliced
1/4 c. white vinegar       1/4 c. slivered almonds
 
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds through the minced onion. Chill.  In large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds.  Pour dressing over salad, and toss.  Enjoy!

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Snacks...
In looking through our snack ideas, I came across a recipe I have from a family friend --- everyone seems to enjoy snacking on it. You might also make some Chex Mix to have for your family nights or when friends stop in for a visit.

Helen's Spiced Oyster Crackers
2 12 oz boxes Oyster crackers
1 cup vegetable oil
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1-2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dill weed
Mix in a large bowl until all the crackers are coated and all the oil is absorbed. Keep in a tightly closed bag or Tupperware container.

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Chex Mix
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
6 tablespoons margarine or butter*
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt (I like Lowry's)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Heat oven to 250. Melt margarine in large roasting pan in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients until evenly coated.
Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool.
Store in airtight container. 12 cups snack.

For gifts, you could put these (or other recipes you like to make) in a pretty tin or a bag in a basket or a bag in a gift sack tied with a pretty ribbon or raffia.

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As I close for this week, I'd like to share a thought with you: We all have the great privilege to make a difference in our families. We have the awesome opportunity/responsibility to set the tone for our home. Proverbs
14.1 says that every wise woman builds her house but the foolish plucks it down with her own hands.
Wherever you are this year, what ever you do, I trust you will take measures to make an extra effort to live out the message the Lord has designed in your life... that you will praise the LORD for the great opportunity of *your life* and that you'll strive to live according to His Word. You are precious to Him and your life can be a sweet offering to Him.

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With love and thanks, pamela

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