Proverb 16:9 In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (NIV)
Planning is one of my strong points—especially planning vacations. Although asking God’s help and guidance on big things, big plans in my life were not ever a question. When planning the events of the day, or laying out the course of a vacation, I did not (and sometimes still need a reminder) always seek God’s guidance on the small things.
However, on our second trip to Italy, third year of marriage, God showed me in a gentle way, that He is definitely in charge of all of our hours, minutes—and that each day of ours is important to Him.
If you’re anything like me you’re rushing around a bit to get all your Christmas baking and shopping done. Isn’t it such fun?! Sigh…
In actuality, I LOVE every single bit of it. This past weekend all my available sisters, nieces, sister-in-law, etc.. got together at my Mum’s house for our annual family Lady’s Holiday baking day together. There is something very special about these days. We take every single day together as the gift that it is. I hope we never underestimate the blessing we have been given to have each other and to share time together.
It is that wonderful time of year in which pumpkins are everywhere. I am in love with Autumn/Fall! (this is no secret to my regular readers) Although, I do not participate in all things Halloween, I do so enjoy the Harvest time. So many wonderful and different varieties of vegetables are available (as long as you are not intimidated by them).
After I became “differently-abled” I volunteered at our local food pantry and soup kitchen for about 6 or 7 years, every time the loads would come in from the stores and local farms, with a variety of beautiful squash, most everyone looked at me and said, “Theresa, we have more ‘gourds’ for you.” They thought them only good for rustic, harvest-themed table decoration and never did add them to our food give away. Very seriously, the public’s loss was my gain.
One time, I even offered to print up recipes to go with the ingredient, but I was overruled as it being “too difficult” of a fruit/vegetable for most people to work with. So, now, finally, I have the voice, and platform, here to tell the Public, that the opposite is true! They are very easy to work with!
With the morning and evenings, finally beginning to get crisper, my mind automatically begins to turn to memories of wonderful, comforting soups. My mother and grandmother were famous for their hearty chicken and beef stews, I, on the other hand, have been more known for my various rustic vegetable or squash “cream-style” soups. My Savory Roasted Pumpkin Soups is one of my personal favorites and most requested recipe.
This is not your standard Pumpkin Soup recipe, with only a few ingredients, highlighted by some spice you would normally associate with pie, it is wonderful and very savory and quite hearty. These pumpkins are also packed with nutrition. According to Nutriondata.self.com: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Mind you, you aren’t using a jack-o-lantern pumpkin here, you need to buy, specifically, a baking pumpkin or maybe your store calls it a pie pumpkin. I get mine from our Trader Joe’s, just because they have a large variety, you can buy yours wherever you can find them. Local farms carry a great variety. The average cost for these beauties is between $1.99-2.99. Be sure and grab some before they are gone again until next year!
You may notice they are just a tinge darker than the “regular” pumpkins that you might buy for decoration. Still, they are quite sweet and unassuming.
The task of cooking them, that people are SO concerned by couldn’t be easier truly if you tried.
Simply cut in half remove seeds and stringy membrane with a metal ice cream scoop, cut in quarters or eighths, depending on the size, brush the flesh side lightly with some olive oil, place flesh side down on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
When you can easily pierce through the pumpkin skin with a dinner fork they are done! That’s it! Not so complicated, right? Another wonderful feature to these little gems; no peeling necessary. As you can see, when left for 5-10 minutes after roasting the skin simply pulls off leaving you with all that scrumptious pumpkin meaty goodness. A couple turns in a bowl with your wish and you have made your very own organic pumpkin puree. Each 1-1/2 to 2-2/2 lb pumpkin yields about 2-1/2 cups of this beautiful puree. you are going to use it all in this soup.
This is your basic mirepoix with a few additions and how you begin to make your soup.
1-1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cup chopped celery
1-1/2 cup chopped carrots
1-1/2 cup chopped potatoes
1-1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
Saute the above ingredients in a saucepan with the lid on for about 15-20 minutes, be sure not to let then brown.
Add to vegetables
1 can of Chicken Broth (I’m partial to Swanson’s, but you can use your favorite, here) Replace lid and increase heat to medium-high and let cook down for another 30-40 minutes.
This is a perfect time to be roasting your pumpkin. Once you have your fresh pumpkin puree, add it to your vegetable mixture and add 1 more can of chicken broth.
Let the pumpkin cook in with the vegetables for about 20-30 minutes on medium low. Now you’re ready to blend!
I use a blender but you could easily use an emulsifier here, as well. Your soup will be approximately 2-3 blenders 2/3 full of soup. While blending, add in divided portions, 2/3 cup of Whole Milk and 2/3 cup finely shredded Colby jack cheese (or half cheddar, half jack cheese)
You want to do this at this step because your mixture will be hot and will easily melt your cheese and combine well with your other ingredients. Return your blended mixture to a soup pot and keep on a very low setting, be careful here and when reheating. You don’t want to let your soup boil or you may get some separation of your milk and then it just loses its wow.
I love to toast my pumpkin seeds well and toss a few on top for texture and taste, along with a few crumbles of bacon, and chopped green onions. You can top it any way you like! I’ve also simply tossed some yummy garlic salad croutons on top with the leftovers, equally yummy!
(As far as the seasoning for this soup, I always say season to your taste. But, as a guideline, I’m adding my seasonings, here for you to try or play with)
While cooking your vegetables, add 1/2 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp each minced, dried chopped onion/garlic, 1/2 tsp of sugar, add any desired additional salt, 1 tsp of Mrs.Dash original seasoning. It’s a wonderful and flavorful blend.
I hope you enjoy my recipe as much as we do! I pray that you are dry and warm and able to enjoy and share this soup with your friends and family too.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and cook with me today!
Since we decided to try spaghetti squash, it seems that we’re starting to be a bit more adventurous in our cooking, and I’ve even been looking for easy cooking recipes and wondering . . . what’s happening in YOUR kitchen? Our old crock pot is really, really old. Like really, really, really OLD, so I might need to invest in a new one if we’re going to be experimenting with all these great new crock pot recipes I found.
On these hot summer days it sounds like a good idea to pop something in the crock pot early in the morning and then I won’t have to think about FOOD again for a few hours. I was actually looking for a few things besides just supper dishes, so I found a couple of breakfast ideas as well as a super chocolatey dessert recipe. Might save that one for some special occasion, but all the other ones look like meals that my family would like. So here’s what I found . . . .
My girls LOVE pasta, and especially the kind with lots of cheese. And Buffalo Chicken is the latest favorite of at least one of the girls, so this one looks like it will be a winner for sure. Grab the recipe and pick up all the ingredients the next time you are at the grocery story and give it a try. I’d love to hear how yours turns out!
Breakfast is usually kind of rushed around here during the school year, but right now things are quite a bit slower in the mornings. Since I work here at home with my online teaching jobs very early in the morning, this would be perfect to have ready to go when the girls get up and I’m still working. Then, when I’m finished for the morning, I can have some of this yummy blueberry oatmeal, too.
We really LOVE the spinach artichoke dip that we get when we go out to a restaurant for dinner. But since we don’t do that very often, I’m thinking my little family would love to have this right here at home. On a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon, this would be great with a bowl of crispy tortilla chips. That’s all we’d need for a weekend meal! Have you ever tried making spinach artichoke dip? Well, here’s your inspiration!
We’ve made the Panera recipe for cheesy broccoli soup and we love it . . . but it does take a bit of fussing around, so when I came across this recipe I thought it would be a good one to try. With or without the chicken, we love this soup, and making it in the crock pot really takes away all of my anxiety about spending hours in the kitchen fixing supper. Gotta try this one!
And then there’s this masterpiece. We don’t eat dessert often, and chocolate really isn’t my favorite dessert even when we do have it. BUT this looks like something that we really should make, at least once, just to see how yummy it is. This would be perfect for a carry-in dinner or a potluck dinner with friends. No last minute scrambling to get it finished if you start it out early in the day. Then, when you are ready to walk out the door, it’s ready!
So who doesn’t LOVE macaroni and cheese???? My family loves it, and I think my girls would eat it just about every night for supper if they could. This is definitely one that we will be trying, not just for summer days, but this one would be great once the weather cools down and we get back on our autumn schedule with homework, athletic practices, music lessons, orthodontist appointments . . . . STOP, I don’t want to think about all of that yet. It’s still summer!
Do you have any favorite crock pot recipes that your family loves? We would love to have you share them with us here in the RUBY community – and we are always looking for new recipes for the RUBY magazine too. Hope to hear from you soon!
Are you in the kitchen all day long? Have you heard about KITCHEN SHOES? If you are on your feet for long periods of time, you just might need your own pair of KITCHEN SHOES. Check out this article from The Babble Out: Everything You Have to Know About Kitchen Shoes
It seems that as we draw closer to the end of March, the pull towards all things spring is inevitable. We’ve bundled up and enjoyed our autumn breezes, we’ve celebrated with our family and loved ones for the holidays, looked, longingly, at our fireplaces and snuggled with a good book or old movie, now we look to the promise of spring.
No matter, I have the perfect, refreshing, welcoming spring, cheer up your winter, or refresh your summer recipe right here! I have seen versions of this recipe in Allrecipes, Bon Appetit and other periodicals. The funny thing is, everyone had their own tips, twist and tricks to it, so it never reads exactly the same. I, actually, really love that.
I am no exception. I made changes to it, as well.
I think you will find this one of those recipes that you will make over and over again and your family will be asking you for your recipe or to make them some! (At least, that’s what happened to me! More so, too, I think, than anything else I’ve made).
I can’t argue with them, because I just LOVE them, too! It seems I’m making them at least a couple times a week. Okay enough prelude, here it is….. This is that recipe, “The Fresh Squeezed Orange Muffins” (aren’t they beautiful?!)
It actually tastes even better than it looks! Okay, so you ask, what’s the recipe?! I’m going to give you my version and suggest some of the options others have used. It’s all about making it your own and using what’s available to you. They still will turn out phenomenal, even with alterations!
This recipe will make you one wonderful pan of 12. I can almost guarantee you will be making them again and probably very soon after your first batch. Isn’t that wonderful?!
Make sure you give them some good pokes! You sure want to make sure they soak up all the fresh juice glaze you can get into them!
Then, just look at what you end up with!! Don’t worry; there is no way these will be around long enough for you to be concerned that there is just too many for you!
I really should be calling these “Vanishing Muffins of Sunshine”!
This is what your orange juice, pulp and zest should look like for your glaze. In no way thin or see through. No straining out the best ingredients of all!
You have all been wonderfully patient with me, and I appreciate it, here’s the recipe. I do hope you enjoy them.
What you will need:
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar (save 1/3 cup aside for your glaze)
- 1-1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1 cube or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (others use oil, I prefer butter)
Now here is where you have some choices
My favorite & what I use, now, is:
- 1 container of honey or blood orange yogurt
- 2 Tbsp of sour cream.
(others have used 1 full cup of sour cream or 1 full cup of greek yogurt plain)
The first time I made it, I didn’t have any of the above ingredients and I used 2 Tbsp of cream cheese, filling the rest of the cup with buttermilk, It was wonderful!)
- 1-1/2 Large eggs, (if you’ve never done this, simply whisk your first egg and add it to wet mixture, do the same with the 2nd, only pour half of it out and use the rest, 2 really is too much and I didn’t find 1 to be enough!
- 2 oranges, juice, pulp and zest, added to the wet mixture
Preheat your oven to 400F.
- Combine dry ingredients and use a whisk to combine and aerate the flour mixture.
- Set aside.
- Combine your Orange juice, pulp and zest, with your melted (and cooled) butter, eggs, with yogurt and sour cream preference.
- Pour over your dry ingredients and, with a spatula, fold together until just combined. do not overwork your muffin batter.
- Butter or line your 12 muffin tins and divide the dough into all 12 tins. Don’t worry they grow.
- Bake @ 400 until toothpick comes out clean, approximately 13-16 minutes. Depending on your oven.
- Remove and place tin on wire rack and lay a warm, clean towel over them for 5-10 mins. (the towel prevents any cave ins!)
- While your muffins are cooling, some, you’re ready to make your glaze!
- In a saucepan, combine the juice, pulp and zest from 2 oranges, med sized or 2 tangerines if you like.
- Add your remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and,
- 2/3 cup of powdered sugar on medium heat until you get a nice glaze consistency, about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
Set aside, briefly.
Now, with a toothpick, poke the tops of your warm muffins about 4-5 times each and then spoon your orange glaze over them. The little holes will allow some of the yummy goodness to soak into the muffin.
Cool and Enjoy! If you can’t wait for them to completely cool, just enjoy!
Recipe adaptation by Theresa L. Begin
Theresa Begin lives in Northern California, where she was born and raised. She is a Christian who loves her family and says, “I have been blessed with the world’s best parents!” She has three sisters and one brother, as well as 16 beautiful nieces and nephews who “mean the world to me!” She is “differently-abled,” and chooses not to allow her limitations to define her life. She loves to write and share her various projects on her blog, “Shoestring Elegance,” which came about as she discovered that living on a tight budget did not mean compromising on style. “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 NLT
About this time of year, everyone starts thinking, and planning, and contemplating, and doing all kinds of things to focus on losing weight. We plan but then often times we get busy or distracted and we don’t follow through with whatever weight loss “plan” we decided to try this year.
We think about it and what it would take to lose a few pounds and get healthy in the process. Some of us even sign up for a gym membership or exercise classes, and we get started . . . only to realize that, unless our “weight loss” plan is really a “healthy living” plan that makes sense for our “real” lives, we just can’t keep up with it, no matter how much we really, really, really want to.
One of the lessons I’ve learned along my journey through life, is that we have to remember that we live in the “real” world, with all that comes with the everyday demands of our roles as wives, or mothers, or sisters, or daughters, or friends. So it is important to make small adjustments along the way, forgive ourselves when it just doesn’t work out, and don’t give up if we slip up on our plans.
My seventeen-year-old daughter might be able to decide that she is going to go to the gym five times a week, right after school, or right after her job at 6:00 p.m., but I don’t have that option realistically. I decided to shoot for ONE afternoon of exercise each week, just to get started, and see how I do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it is realistic. Then, if I get that down to a routine, I’ll add a second day.
That’s why when we are making an effort to create healthy, nutritious meals, we don’t start out by throwing out all of the regular ol’ food around here (like breakfast cereal, bread for sandwiches, coffee creamer, and peanut butter), and go on a wild shopping spree for tofu, quinoa, and celery juice.
We started by adding a few “healthier” choices to begin with and then added a few things as we went along, then gradually eliminated some things (like Little Debbie snack cakes!), replacing them with other options like the yummy Banana Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups. Perfect for popping in the girls’ lunch boxes!
If you are considering making some changes in your menus, here are a few ideas that are sweet and savory, and will help you take the first step on your journey to self-care in 2018. Remember, a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step . . . even if that is a baby step, get moving!
from Betty Crocker
This isn’t just any ordinary tomato soup! It’s super simple because you do use canned soup, but there is so much other yummy goodness in it that your whole family will absolutely LOVE it! And they will know you LOVE them, too! Visit the Betty Crocker website for lots more recipes that are quick and easy, and budget-friendly.
from Skinny Ms.
Does your family love fried zucchini in the summer? We sure do, but I’ve always been rather hesitant to fix them too many times because the only way I ever knew to cook them was breaded and fried. I hate frying anything, so I have avoided it. And really missed having those yummy fried zucchinis! So when I came across this recipe from Skinny Ms. for the oven-baked zucchini chips on Pinterest, I decided that I’m just going to have to give it a try!
from Mom Endeavors
Even though apples are usually thought of as an autumn fruit, it’s still winter and apples are one of the easiest fruits to find in the store at a good price. If you love apple sauce or apple pie, here’s a great option for cooking apples right on the stove top. Just cut up a batch of apples and toss them in a skillet with some butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and you’ve got a quick and easy dessert that is (kinda) good for you! You could even substitute the butter with just a splash of water and steam the apples if you want to avoid the extra butter. Just a thought! Pop on over to Mom Endeavors for the complete recipe for the Easy Skillet Fried Apples.
from Betty Crocker
Using reduced fat ingredients, this family favorite is one they will ask for again and again, and you will feel good about giving them all a dish that is heart-healthy. A deluxe cheeseburger in a dish includes everything you would expect from your favorite burger, but so much easier to prepare and serve. Find this recipe and so many more on the Betty Crocker website.
All images and recipes are the property of the original websites. RUBY magazine does not own any of the images in this article and they are used only as part of a featured collection. To find any of the original articles, please visit the websites which are linked to each image.
This issue of RUBY magazine is literally packed with great resources for you and your family!
You’ll find watermelon recipes from Joan Leotta; a sweet love story by Gloria Doty; a book review by Michele Morin of Women who Move Mountains by Sue Detweiler; pineapple recipes from Vintage Mama’s Cottage; another article in the Vintage Book Treasure Hunt series by Kathryn Ross; an interview with author Debra Gray-Elliott about her new book From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose . . . and so much more!
Be sure to check out the current issue of RUBY magazine for daily encouragement and inspiration for you and your family.
Linking up this week to the Create Link Inspire Party!
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to treat mom. And my favorite meal is brunch! But that doesn’t have to mean heading to a restaurant. Fill your home buffet table with a variety and foods that can stand up to the heat of a chafing dish.
Remember to feed the eye first by arranging the food attractively on platters set at different heights, alternating colors and garnishing. Your guests will think you had the party catered! Offer fruit juices, hot and cold beverages, milk for the kiddies, a coffee or tea bar and you’ve got it made. Try these easy recipes at home.
Gluten-Free, Nut-free Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream from Jackie at C.A.F.E.
from Barbara at The Spruce
from Marilyn at Marilyn’s Treats
from Barbara at The Spruce
from Marilyn at Marilyn’s Treats
from Marilyn at Marilyn’s Treats
Visit Marilyn’s Treats for more seasonal and holiday recipes
RUBY magazine and Marilyn’s Treats do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated.
Click on the links to be taken to the published recipe.
If you are looking for new recipe ideas, the very best place in all of blogland is Marilyn’s Treats! Every week Marilyn shares new recipes that are perfect for families at the holidays, birthdays, every special day you can think of, and just for every day. Here is a collection of special Easter recipes from Marilyn’s Treats – visit Marilyn soon and you’ll find something perfect for your next family meal.
from Cathy at
This beautiful spring candy is easy to make and it just looks like SPRING! It is made from melted white / pastel colored chocolate, covered with pastel colored sprinkles and M&Ms. Visit Cathy at Three Kids and a Fish for more fun springtime recipes.
Sweet Little “Bunny Butt” Cookies
So adorable and so simple to make, these little “Bunny Butt” cookies are sure to delight all of the kids in the family! Everyone can join the fun of making these cuties, using Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies and a can of fluffy white frosting. Add a few marshmallows and candy sprinkles, and there you have a batch of sweet little “Bunny Butt” cookies.
from Gina at Kleinworth & Co.
Here’s another quick and easy, but oh-so-pretty treat for your family’s Easter celebration. Made with just four simple ingredients, you can make a batch of these sweet White Chocolate Bunny Fudge quick as a . . . bunny! Visit Gina at Kleinworth & Co. for more fun, seasonal, and holiday recipes.
RUBY magazine and Marilyn’s Treats do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated. Click on the links to be taken to the published recipe.
Visit Marilyn’s Treats for links to all the other recipes in this collection.