Wednesday, March 5, 2014


My husband loves casseroles and Mexican food and anything covered in cheese, probably even cheese covered in cheese. His favorite dish growing up his Mom called "Oklahoma casserole". My mother in law told me how to make it early in our marriage and it was a staple in our home for over 20 years. My boys loved it as well. Since we eat less processed food these days, I had to find a way to keep an old family favorite, but make it a little healthier.

2 pounds ground beef 
1 can Spanish rice
1 can Ranch Style beans
Shredded cheddar cheese
FYI - I usually added a can of Rotel tomatoes

Brown the ground beef, add the rice & beans & mix well. Pour into casserole dish. Top with cheese and bake in 350 degree oven about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is hot and bubbly. 

2 pounds lean ground beef
onion, diced

1 cup brown rice
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 or 2 wedges of Laughing Cow garlic & herb cheese
1 can Ranch Style beans
Garlic, minced or garlic salt
Chili powder

Place ground beef and onion in skillet (if it's too lean add a little coconut oil to the skillet) and cook until meat is brown and onions are tender. I season my ground beef with garlic salt or add minced garlic and salt, just whatever I have on hand. 

SPANISH RICE - While beef is cooking, cook rice according to directions. When rice is done, add tomatoes (juice & all), Laughing Cow cheese and mix together thoroughly. Then add garlic salt (or just salt and pepper, whatever your taste buds prefer), cumin and chili powder to taste. I don't measure much. I just put a few dashes of cumin and chili powder then mix it all together and taste. If it taste like it needs more, I add a little more. But be careful a little bit of cumin goes a long way. You could also add cilantro if your family likes it. We do not like cilantro.

NOTE: Adjust it to your taste. You don't have to add the Laughing Cow cheese to the rice if you don't want to. And I know that it is more processed than all natural cheese, but I love it and I love the flavor that it gives to the rice. My family LOVES garlic, but maybe your family doesn't. You can also add more beans or more tomatoes, just whatever you want.

Add spanish rice and beans to the skillet and mix together with the beef. Pour it all in a 13 x 9 casserole dish, cover with shredded cheese (our favorite is cheddar and monterey jack) and bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is hot and bubbly.

Grant likes this casserole with "hoe cakes" or "griddle cakes". My Dad loved "hoe cakes" as well. My Dad fried them in about 2 inches of vegetable oil so they were very greasy. Then he buttered them! LOL. I don't use vegetable oil anymore and we really don't like greasy food so I just spray my pancake griddle with coconut oil spray. For "hoe cakes", I use the recipe on the back of the Quaker yellow cornmeal box, but I make these changes:

1 use more cornmeal and less flour (I ALWAYS use ORGANIC UNBLEACHED flour). On the box - I use the measurement for flour for the cornmeal and the cornmeal measurement for the flour. And instead of vegetable oil, I use coconut oil. I just melt the coconut oil in a glass measuring cup in the microwave about 15-20 seconds. I also use organic raw honey instead of the refined white sugar.

Get your griddle hot, spray with cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray - it is a LOT healthier) and cook them like you would pancakes.

I know that these are not the healthiest dishes, but we do live in the South and these types of dishes are what Southern people like to eat. We don't eat this very often anymore. I used to make it at least every 2 weeks, now I only make it a couple of times a year. But at least it has a little more nutrition in it than the original version. I hope you try it. If you do, let me know what you think.

Blessings to you & yours,

Saturday, February 22, 2014


WARNING - THIS RECIPE IS NOT HEALTHY! But, it is worth indulging in occasionally. This is one of my most requested recipes and I am expected to bring my sausage balls to certain get togethers. They are also my BCF, Larissa's, birthday treat every year. When my boys were little, I would make double batches about one weekend a month, put them in ziplock bags & on busy mornings I would pull them out of the freezer, take out a couple for each kid, wrap in a paper towel and microwave for a couple of minutes, throw the kids in the car and GO.  Isn't that the life of every busy working mom?

My family loves sausage. I know it is not healthy, but it is one of the foods that my family thinks is worth keeping in our diet. We try to eat clean 80-85% of the time. We are very diligent about refined sugars, food dyes, etc. but we love food too much to ever go completely organic and we are too busy to be obsessing about what to eat & what not to eat all the time.  So, we eat sausage once or twice a week and we enjoy it. We do limit our refined flours also. I have tried using gluten free baking mix and tried brown rice flour and whole wheat flour for the sausage balls and my guys said "NO! Do not mess with the sausage balls!" So here is how I make the sausage balls that my guys, my friends & my family love. I have eaten lots of dry sausage balls. My friend, Diane, told me to add a little milk to keep them from drying out and I have been doing that now for at least 15 years.  I hope you enjoy them.

And I have to add, since I take Plexus I can splurge more without having arthritis and neuropathy flareups. I've been splurging more than I should lately and even though I'm not hurting and I feel great, I'm not losing any weight, so I've got to get back to keeping my splurges to a minimum.

FYI - I am picky about the brand of sausage I use. I only use Blue & Gold sausage or Braum's sausage. We love Braum's Hot sausage & it gives the sausage balls a little kick. The only semi-healthy change I have gotten away with is sometimes I will make a batch with 1 stick of regular sausage and 1 stick of turkey sausage. When you use turkey sausage you have to be very careful about it drying out because it has no fat. You can add a tablespoon or 2 of plain Greek Yogurt to your mixture to help hold it together. Also, if using turkey sausage only use 2 cups of flour instead of 3.


1 pound of Braum's Hot sausage or Blue & Gold sausage
3 cups Bisquick
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk

OPTION - instead of milk, you can add 1/4 cup of Ranch dressing. Grant loves Ranch dressing & loves it in his sausage balls, but my husband does not.

Place sausage, Bisquick and cheese in a large mixing bowl. Pour in milk. Using your hands, mix together thoroughly (if it is a little dry, add a little more milk). Roll into golf ball size balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees about 25-30 minutes.

TIP - I wear disposal gloves to mix it up, then when I'm done, I just throw the gloves away and my hands are clean. :)

I hope you get to go out and enjoy the sunshine this weekend.


Sunday, January 19, 2014


We went to Kevin's Grandpa's 85th birthday yesterday. He has been a Pastor for more than 60 years and is still pastoring at 85 years old. He doesn't just talk the talk, but he walks the walk. He is a man of integrity. He is a very Godly man. He fasted, nothing but water, every Tuesday for most of his adult life. He tells the story that once he took the kids for an ice cream cone and got one for himself forgetting for a few minutes that it was Tuesday. He felt terrible. There is absolutely no doubt that one day he will hear God say "Well done, my good and faithful servant." All of his brothers are Pastors, most of his nephews are Pastors and 2 out of 3 of his sons were Pastors (Kevin's Dad is not a Pastor anymore, but his uncle still is). His youngest son and his family had a Southern Gospel singing group for years. My oldest son who loves going on mission trips, teaches Sunday School, leads a discipleship group and preaches whenever he gets a chance, really enjoyed talking with his Great Grandpa about his life in ministry. When Grandpa is gone, his legacy will live on.

4 Generations

One of my favorite songs is "Legacy" by Nicole Nordeman. It says "I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things? I want to leave an offering."  I think about that a lot. I want to leave a legacy my children and family will be proud of. When I get to heaven I want to hear God say "Well done my good and faithful servant". I want to love like Jesus loved. Boy, that's hard isn't it? People can be so mean, rude and hurtful. Our flesh says we should hate them or seek revenge or be bitter. But God's Word says we should love them, pray for them and BLESS them. What? BLESS someone that has hurt you? Be nice to someone that goes around purposely being mean to others? Yes. If we truly want to live a Godly life, that is what we have to do. I struggle with this and I know some of you do as well. We are not perfect, but we can strive for perfection and with God's help, we can leave a legacy our family and friends will be proud of.

Have a blessed day,

Friday, January 17, 2014


Our small town has suffered a lot of tragedy this last week. We have lost some very good people to complications of the flu. There are precious families having to figure out how to keep living without their dear loved ones. Last night the unthinkable happened. An 18 year old went on a shooting rampage. He shot police officers and a young lady and killed a young man. My heart is broken this morning for the Holt family and friends and our community. I don't have many words to say this morning, just lots of tears and "hold them, dear Jesus. Comfort them all and keep us all safe."

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Today's devotion from The Fasting Edge -

"When you draw closer to God, He draws closer to you. In the same way, when you get serious with God, He gets serious with you. There are two powers at work when you fast: the human will and the supernatural power of God. When you decide to exercise your will and put your flesh under submission to the Spirit of God. His supernatural power kicks in and helps you fast according to the level of commitment you have made. You can do far more in the anointing of God than you can in human zeal. God's anointing is not for thrills - it is for battle. When you go into battle, you fight to win. The anointing that comes through fasting and prayer gives you a fresh strength to fight for you family, for your kids, for your marriage, and to win! It gives you the ability to hear God's heart and pray forth those things that He desires to release in the nations.

You cannot do God's will with human zeal any more than you can effectively chop down a huge oak tree with a dull ax. Most of the time you will cause more damage than good by not waiting upon the Lord for His way, His direction, and His anointing. Our zeal can become a stumbling block based in our own pride. God needs empty vessels - not ones so full of themselves that He can't pour Himself out through them."

I have struggled with this for a long time. Being fiercely independent, I want to do everything on my own without help from anyone. God has really been working on me the last few years. It has not been easy! I have had to learn to put my pride aside. I have had to learn to be obedient to Him. This may sound crazy to some of you, but I have argued with God so much the last few years. I am an extreme introvert. I used to go to church. Sit on my pew and go home. I rarely talked to anyone and if I did they had to approach me first. I did not like going to church fellowships. Too many people and you were expected to talk and be friendly. I didn't like and being friendly. But my husband does! God began this season of growing by telling me to start going around and speaking to others at church BEFORE they spoke to me. What?! But, God you know I don't do that. That is very uncomfortable for me. He kept prodding me and I gave in. It is still not comfortable for me but it's getting easier. And when He told me to start a blog, I really argued with Him.There's no way I could blog. That means putting personal stuff out there for the whole world to see. I'm a very private person. I can't do that. Well, you can see what happened. Being obedient and putting my flesh aside has not been easy, but I am so glad that I did. I have a relationship with God now like I never had before. An elderly man at our church used to always say "Get self out of the way". That is what we have to do. Get ourselves out of the way, so that God can do His work through us.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling pretty weak. I don't function without protein and I did not eat enough protein yesterday. When fasting I try to get my protein from eggs, nuts and greek yogurt, since I'm not eating meat.

Today's devotional from The Fasting Edge was so good that I'm just going to share most of it with you today. It is titled "Surrender Complete Control".

"It can be so easy to come up with reasons not to fast or to cut short a fast after you have started - especially when it comes to jobs, sports, our overly worshiped entertainment, and, last but not least, convenience. Fasting breaks the routine, and that is inconvenient. We can either submit to God or submit to the world. Likewise, we are either resisting the devil or resisting God. If we are not drawing closer to God, we are drifting farther from Him. Fasting is a choice to break the allure of the world and all its trappings as we put our flesh under submission When you turn from the things of the world and submit yourself to God, He will give you the grace to stand strong and resist the temptations of the enemy.  Especially on an extended fast like this 21 day fast, you will discover that time spent fasting, praying, and meditating on God's Word cleanses and purifies your heart and focuses your thoughts on things above rather that the stuff of this world.

It takes work to get your flesh under submission.  Paul explained that the flesh wars against the flesh. So you need to ask yourself: Which one are you empowering? Which one are you giving access to control your life?

I understand that sometimes on a fast you can't hear God speak over the sound of your stomach growling. I've been there! You can't focus on your morning devotions for thinking about oatmeal. (It is amazing how, during an extended fast, even the most bland foods sound wonderful) You want to read the Word, but you have a headache; you are cold and probably tired from the toxins being filtered out of your body. You might feel like you are just physically falling apart, but stay the course and don't let your flesh or the devil shortchange your reward. Now you can see why Paul so urgently warns us to "walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). You can be victorious in the battle between your flesh and spirit - and fasting, prayer, and feeding your spirit on God's Word will help accelerate the process.

There may be situations in your life, your ministry, your calling, your business, or your marriage where it seems like Satan is so deeply entrenched he will never be ousted. Don't believe the lie. Fast, pray, and wait upon the Lord. As you do, you will change your inner man to line up with God's will. Think about that when the enemy tempts you to give up on this fast, and determine that this is the time to press in like never before."

Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." 

Hang in there! We can do this!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


We are in day 14 of our Fast. Woo hoo! We had a MAJOR prayer answered yesterday. I can't stop praising God! We found out a few months ago that our health insurance was going up over $500 in 2014. We have been very concerned and praying hard. There's no way we could afford $500 a month on top of all of our other bills. Our prayers were answered yesterday. God provided a way that most of it is going to be covered. Praise God! I feel like I got one elephant off my chest.

Don't give up! Persistence pays off.

From the Fasting Edge - "When you pray and fast, your persistence breaks resistance. It brings you to a place where you can feel God move powerfully in your life - but it also causes Him to feel your need. Whatever forces have been resisting what God had coming in your life, your persistence will break resistance. Fasting not only positions you to feel God - but it also positions God to hear your heart's cry as well.

You may have heard of the PUSH prayer model:  Pray Until Something Happens. It's a good reminder to be persistent in prayer. You may have other areas that need persistent prayer in your life, but today, if there is sickness in your body or mind, or in the body or mind of a loved one, begin to speak forth health and healing in Jesus' name. Begin to declare what His word says about healing. Your persistence will break resistance, just like the woman with the issue of blood. Her healing came about because she persisted and positioned herself where she could touch the Master. By your prayers today, position yourself to touch the Master. Speak words that release health and healing for your body, your family, your church, and others."

"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

FOOD - My family's favorite way to eat veggies is to take potatoes, onions, zuchini, yellow squash, carrots, bell peppers & whatever other veggies we've got handy. Slice them or dice them where they are even in size so they cook evenly. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spread veggies out on parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and I use my hands and make sure all the veggies are coated in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and whatever your favorite herbs are (we love basil). Place in 400 degree oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Roasting the veggies this way really makes them tastes delicious. We love it. You can also do this with sweet potatoes. YUMMY!

Have a blessed day!