Archive for October, 2011

My Blue Ribbon Chili Recipe

October 29, 2011 9 comments

On a rainy, cold night this week I made a big pot of my chili, and when I saw the appetizing bowl sitting before me at dinner, I grabbed my iPhone and snapped a quick photo, later posting it on my Facebook page.  I think I got more comments about this post than any I’ve ever written, plus requests for the chili recipe itself, so I’m posting my Blue Ribbon Chili Recipe below.  I actually did win First Place at our church’s Chili Supper Contest one year, so that’s why I’m claiming the title.  It does have some unusual ingredients for chili, so maybe that’s why my husband claims, “This is the best chili ever!”  So, there’s an endorsement from a somewhat biased fan and here’s the recipe:


Blue Ribbon Chili Recipe

1 medium onion, chopped
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cans Bush Ranch Beans
1 can chopped green chilis
2 cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
2-3 small cans of tomato sauce (depending on how soupy you like your chili)
1 can kernel corn (optional, I don’t eat corn, so I don’t add this)
1-2 tsps of chili powder (I usually do 2 tsps.)
1 package of Taco seasoning mix
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix

Brown onion and ground beef together.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat or in a crockpot for 2-3 hours.  Makes enough for six big servings.

Do You Know The Way To Colorado?

October 26, 2011 2 comments

James and I have just returned from a vacation in Colorado.  I’m sure I’ll be posting several stories in the next few days about the incredible beauty we encountered and the interesting people we met along the way, but today’s post will have my iPad as a central focus.

Since my iPad has the ability to be connected to the Internet not only through Wi-Fi but also through a 3G network, I told James a few days before we left there really wasn’t any need for him to continue to ask people who had previously been to Colorado Springs the best way to get there because I could just map out the directions using Google maps and the GPS system that comes with the iPad.  Nevertheless, I noticed he slipped a Rand-McNally roadmap in the backseat of the car before we pulled out of the driveway. 

As it turned out, not long after leaving the Oklahoma City metro area, my 3G network began to have spotty reception, and, had it not been for his rather old-fashioned, out-of-touch-with technology insistence on bringing the roadmap, we could have found ourselves wandering around the panhandle of Oklahoma for hours.

But despite that minor glitch in the early part of our trip, the iPad proved useful in the following ways:

1.   As a touring guide: As we pulled off the interstate in southern Colorado and entered a small town to eat breakfast, we noticed all the buildings looked quite old.  As we passed the center of town, James pointed out a statue, “I wonder what that’s all about?”  I had my iPad already opened (playing Words With Friends) and quickly Googled the town’s name.  In no time, we were reading about the town’s history in the early 1800’s, its population and a myriad of other details.  From that point on, we discovered this was an easy and enjoyable way to pass the time and to learn something about the scenery and the cities along our way.

2.   As a means of Bible study:  Simply by accessing the websites of some of our favorite Bible teachers and by plugging a cord into our car’s speaker system, we could listen to God’s Word being explained and exalted when we were seemingly “in the middle of nowhere.”

3As a way to keep records:  I found the notepad on the iPad useful for writing down reminders of things to do when I got home, keeping track of receipts, remembering a book I wanted to read and noting the confirmation number of our hotel reservations.

4.  As a method of locating places:  I used different apps on the phone to find restaurants, a movie theater (with movie reviews), a shopping mall (of course) and a Starbucks.

And, as mentioned, I used it to navigate us to Colorado and back.  Sure, my iPad decided to take us on a route different and longer (maybe 70 miles) from one James later discovered on the roadmap, but on the Googled route we learned many unknown things about the towns we passed through—all because of my useful iPad.

Bits and Pieces 10/15/11

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Am I Boring You?  Here’s a blog that will let you know.  These 7 tell-tale signs are taken from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness ProjectRead the article here.

Paul First Describes Love As Patient:  Of all the words Paul could have chosen to begin his description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, he uses the word patient.  Jon Bloom writes, “Forget the rest of his list for a moment, my work is already cut out for me.”  Read Jon’s look at patience here.

The Only Infallible Sermon:  While I’ve heard many pastors quote large sections of Scripture from the pulpit in their sermons, I’ve never heard one preach the entire book of Hebrews from memory.  Even if you only have time to watch five minutes of this, doing so will bless you.  Watch it here.

Shall I Ever Fear? Shall I Ever Despair?

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Shall I ever fear?

Shall I ever despair?

Shall I ever sorrow?

wrapped in a
warm cocoon
of Your ever-

shrouded in the
of Your ever-

embraced with the
of Your never-

–Luana Ehrlich


Packing Away Summer Clothes

October 12, 2011 1 comment

Whenever I put away my summer clothes in the fall and my winter clothes in the spring, I always tuck a little sheet of paper between the folds of the clothes.  This piece of paper contains a list of people, situations, concerns I’ve been praying about for the past several weeks.  When I unpack my clothes and retrieve the prayer list at the end of a season, usually April and October, then I’m able to see what was on my prayer list the previous six months.  Since I’ve been doing this for about 10 years, here’s what I’ve discovered.

There are some very big changes that can happen in six months:  Praying about a surgical procedure, a house purchase or a trip during April could mean by the time October arrives each of these requests has already been answered, and I am now recovered from my surgery, moved into my new house and paying the credit card bills on my trip. In April of last year, I was praying about moving my parents to Norman; and in October of last year, they had been living here for two months while six months later, my mother had passed away.  In April of this year, James and I were praying about when to retire from Bethel, and now he has been retired for two weeks. 

There are some things that don’t change in six months:  I’m sometimes amazed to realize the problems or people or relationships for which I’m currently praying have been on my list not just once but twice, maybe even more, and nothing has changed.  Six months may not be enough time to see the salvation of a friend or family member.  The resolution of an ongoing conflict can creep along at a less-than-desirable pace.  There are health issues that continue to persist.  In addition, there will always be requests for myself and family members that involve similar petitions year after year for the Lord’s blessing and guidance.

There are some things that are insignificant after six months:  The details of a seemingly overwhelming crisis in the spring can hardly be remembered by the time fall arrives. 

There are some surprising things that can occur in six months:  I can never anticipate what I will need to be praying for in the next week or the next month, so when I open up my list and realize a BIG EVENT happened, and six months ago it wasn’t even on my prayer radar, I’m amazed at how often the unexpected occurs.

So what is my incentive in reviewing this prayer list after six months?  Outside of observing the discoveries I’ve just outlined, I believe it is foremost to see how God has worked in answering these prayers.  As James and I go over the list, laughing about some things, amazed at surprising events, sorrowing over others, we just naturally start giving God glory and thanking Him for the way in which He answered our prayers.  Plus, we acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him for anything yet to be resolved. 

Prayer is for the glory of God.  Jesus said in John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  As I put away the list this week, I did it with a prayer and a question, “What will you do, Father, in the next six months, to give yourself glory through these requests?”

Something Heavenly

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

This is really not a recipe blog, but I thought since the name of this dessert is Heavenly Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars, it might qualify for a post.  This recipe was included in the food section of our newspaper this past week, and when I took one look at the ingredients–chocolate and peanut butter together–I knew I had to try it.  They turned out to be just as I expected–delicious!  Two of my other taste testers, my husband and my Dad, also couldn’t keep their hands off of them.

Cookie Base

  • 2 (7.4 oz.) packages Martha White® Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsps of milk

Chocolate Topping

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Optional: chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom of  a 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Stir together muffin mix and 6 tablespoons butter. Spread into baking pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Beat 1/2 cup butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk in small bowl until smooth. Spread mixture over cookie base. Melt chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter. Cool 10 – 20 minutes. Spread over peanut butter filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set.

Bits and Pieces 10/5/11

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

 A Tale Of Four Alcorns:  Here’s an amusing personal story from writer Randy Alcorn.  His book Courageous has recently been made into a movie and is showing in movie theaters across the nation. Other readers may be familiar with his book entitled  HeavenRead the story here. 

Amazing View Of The Universe:  Here’s an interesting first look at pictures of  two galaxies colliding in a view no other telescope on Earth or in space could capture.  See it here.

Sharing The Gospel With Cooking:  Since winning Fox’s MasterChef contest last year, Whitney Miller has been sharing her love of food with her first cookbook, but new recipes and satisfied taste buds aren’t all this southerner wants to spread.  The Mississippi cook is using her fame to share the Gospel.  Read the full article here.

Never Too Old To Honor Your Parents:  In this article, James MacDonald writes about what it means for an adult to honor their parents.  Read his thoughts here.


Feeling Abnormal With Normal

October 3, 2011 3 comments

Every Sunday, for all of my life (yes, even as an infant), I have gone to church.  It’s the normal thing for me to do.  I would feel abnormal not doing so.  But yesterday, as my husband and I went to church, I felt abnormal.

It wasn’t a different kind of church.  It wasn’t a different time to go to church.  There weren’t different songs being sung.  There wasn’t a different gospel being preached.

The difference was the church we attended wasn’t the one we had been attending for 17 years.  It wasn’t the church where my husband had been the senior pastor.  Our normal Sunday worship experience felt abnormal because God had spoken, we had obeyed (a little reluctantly I admit), and we had retired from this church.

Making His children uncomfortable in the ordinary is one of the ways God works to make Himself known to us.  Moses experienced feeling abnormal with normal when he took his sheep up the mountain to graze as he normally did and encountered an ordinary bush not being consumed by the fire that enveloped it.  From that bush, Moses heard the voice of God, obeyed His commands (though not always willingly and perfectly) and came to know Him in a relationship that Scripture identified as “friends.”

For church members used to having the same pastor for 17 years, I suspect their normal seemed abnormal yesterday also.  Like me, they may have found the abnormal uncomfortable, strange and, yes, fearful.  What do we do with these feelings?

Moses told God his misgivings about these changes from his normal.  I believe that’s the pattern God intends for us.  As we lay before Him our insecurities, we can be certain of His plans for us.  “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

The abnormal can be very good indeed.  Moses probably thought so.  What could be more abnormal than being friends with God?

%d bloggers like this: