Shoot! Did it again…..

You guys! I ruined yet another meal and had another kitchen-freak-out-moment. So much so that our eight year old wrote out a prayer for me to put in her War Room –  “Dear God, help my Mom not to be so frustrated. Amen.”

Arggghhhhhh!!!!!! I hate it when that happens.

I mean…..I’m ever so thankful for the opportunity of growth and maturity that lies before me. (bull)

So here’s the lowdown – I was making an easy but good meal for a family in our church who just had a baby. I wanted plenty of food so they could have leftovers. So I made a fail proof roast – or so I thought. Rice and green beans.

Put the roast on high for four and half hours and it was hard as a rock as I was cutting it. I had no back up plan and didn’t have time to pick up something at the store. This was my only option at this point. I doubled the gravy recipe which ended up overflowing all over the stove sending me into sheer frustration. I had ten minutes to pull this meal together and be at Sunday night church. I thought the double gravy might make up for the toughness of the roast????? Maybe it did – perhaps? Okay, so we all know it didn’t.

So there I was again – showing my true colors and serving less than stellar food to people I love. And yeah, I was frustrated about it. Nobody wanted to be in that kitchen with me during those moments of meltdown. To top it off my crockpot cracked. Ha! No really it did and I promise it’s not because I slammed it against the wall. Just a perfect ending to a disasterous meal.

I took the fixings to the family and explained that the roast would be a little tough. Very tough in fact. As in I’m-praying-your-teeth-don’t-break tough. But it was made with love. The beans and rice would be good. She assured me the roast wouldn’t be tough and it would be wonderful. I just accepted that and knew she was in for a surprise.

I just finished a great book called “Come to My Table” by Sue Donaldson. She gives great tips and hints for serving and welcoming people. She has opened my eyes to so many new things in this area of hospitality. I simply love this book. Soon I will be giving away a copy of it because I want others to know about her too. It’s too good to keep to myself. Sue texted me after my latest fail (last night) and reminded me nobody is super mom or super servant and that’s why we have Jesus.

Good words for me. Maybe good words for you too.

Let’s not let the mess ups and mistakes keep us from what God is calling us to do. It’s just another opportunity to remind us of how much we need him.

Dinner tonight? TACO TUESDAY on Monday because I know I won’t mess it up. Ahaha!!!!

Linking with Kelly, Laura, and Jen and mentioned over at Sue’s place today.

I freaked out and told him he should’ve married someone else.

It was a fabulous Missions Conference at our church this past week. I love it so much every year. And every year I say it’s the best one. This year we decided to have the small group of Missionaries and  pastoral staff over to our house for lunch.

So fifteen minutes before the Missionaries get to our house for lunch I exclaimed to my husband who was frantically helping me get the porches cleaned off and the house picked up, “You should’ve married someone else. I can’t do this. I suck at this!”

No lie.

We both laughed and soon enough I was over my freak out moment. It was the first time I had bought most of the food for our guests. I’ve always prided myself in making the food. It’s what my Mom and Mother-in-law always did. It’s what I want to do for our guests because we all know homemade food tastes better than store bought food. But this time around because of unexpected circumstances and being out of town four days prior to our Missions Conference I was way behind in things.

I knew if we kept our lunch plans I would have to buy the food even though several people had offered to help. I turned it down because I still thought I could swing it myself. See why I have to pray for humility? This.right.here.

I reached out to a new friend who is helping me through her book and blog. She gave me some great ideas and tips which helped a lot.

Sue asked me for an update on how things went. I shared the truth about the pre-company freak out moment but how once they got there we had such a great time together and how awesome it was. How we loved sitting on the front porch hearing stories of how God was working in their countries.

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She asked me these 3 questions:

What did you learn about hospitality? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? 

I’ve been thinking about these things ever since. As I read her book I realize I’ve been missing some major pieces to understanding true hospitality. But don’t worry – this isn’t the kind of book that makes you go away feeling like a heap of condemnation just came barreling down on you. Quite the contrary. It makes me jump at the thought of doing this hospitality thing with different eyes.

I’ll talk more about her book in another post. I’m going to be giving away her book and another book that I’m digging right now and want you to dig with me. So check back soon for the giveaways!

Have a great week!

 

Hope for Hospitality

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed at the thought of having people over to your house for dinner? Like you want to really bad but you’re pretty certain you’ll burn the beans, send the twice baked potatoes flying across the room (true story) or forget to put out silverware along with sending your guests home with salmonella?

Confession: I do.

I haven’t always felt that way but in the last few years I’ve grown more inhibited in the area of hospitality. It took a few epic kitchen fails to put me in a, “I’m not good at this anymore. I can’t do this” attitude.

A few weeks ago I was thanking a sweet lady in our church for the ice cream dessert she brought us when I was down with my leg and asked her for the recipe. She said, “Melody, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you the recipe but I’ll also make it for you when you have company over sometime.”

I said, “Yeah, well, about that…. I’ve not been doing much of that lately because I’ve lost all confidence in cooking and being a good hostess. But I really want to get back into it. Will you pray for me in this area.” She agreed to do that for me. I thanked her for the offer to make dessert and told her I would take her up on it hopefully sooner than later.

Since that conversation we’ve had several families over for Sunday lunch and guess what – I didn’t kill any of them! I found a few things that made it easier on me to serve and lessen the stress. I purposed in my heart ahead of time that this was not about the food or how I entertained. It was simply about being with people and enjoying the time together. And it worked out just fine. Sure, I forgot to put out the napkins but someone else got them for me. And actually the green beans needed more salt but it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t make a dessert but someone showed up with two pies. It all worked out.

So a few things come to mind:

1) God hears our prayers. Even the simple ones from the kitchen sink.

2) Hospitality comes in all forms – sometimes it’s offering to make a dessert for someone else’s  dinner party. And sometimes it’s inviting people over for a simple meal.

3) Having people over doesn’t have to be a huge deal especially when we get our thinking right.

Check back for more on hospitality this week. We’ll talk about easy recipes, ways to keep it simple and alternative meal options. Hope you’ll join us and always feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment.

Linking withKristinHolley and Jennifer today.

 

 

Plantation ferns, cucumber sandwiches and peonies = Simply Southern

I’ve never done one of those home parties before where you have a representative come and sell their product and people that are interested come by and look and purchase if they want. I have a friend who asked me about hosting one for Jamberry Nails and I agreed and asked if we could also combine it with a Silpada party and so we did. And it was a lot of fun!

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Sophie was a really big help in the process. She was excited about this party herself because she got to have her nails done ahead of time by the Jamberry Nails Rep/Friend and she LOVED her soccer ball nails and her other funky ones too. She was excited about the potential of getting to pick out some wraps herself. She helped make the cucumber sandwiches which I got from here. They were really good even if I did make them! Now my lemon squares? Not so much. Let’s not talk about that.

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There were a lot of great give-aways and fun games. I regret I didn’t get any pictures of the Silpada table because there were some really nice pieces and the rep/now friend (I didn’t know her before) also did a great job making people feel comfortable but was not pushy in any way. I like that in a sales rep. Just tell me about your product and why you love it but don’t push me to buy it thankyouverymuch.

I think my favorite part of the day was preparing for it – flowers oh my goodness, I could eat them petal by petal. Seriously I love them. So arranging them was a fun part for me. Also, giving away door prizes is always so.much.fun. I love it!

 

 

I’m that ‘well she tries’ girl in the kitchen

It was a long-time-waiting warm Spring day outside yesterday. And those kinds of days make me do crazy things all in the name of warm weather. I dreamed up this visual in my head of our family rocking on the rocking chairs of our Southern front porch eating warm pound cake with strawberries and watching traffic drive by. As if any of us have time for that but it sure sounded great. So I whipped one up real quick while prepping dinner.

While the cake was in the oven smelling quite divine I decided I would be super Mom and let the kids do what they’ve been dying to do ever since we’ve lived here. Make a mud pit with quicksand. After all it was warm and Springy feeling outside. I even went to say out loud (which was a mistake) to the kids, “You know, sometimes playing is more important than homework!” I do believe it’s true to some degree but really should have kept that thought to myself because boy did they ever latch on to that one. I dread what the teachers might hear today at school from our kids. An exaggerated, “My Mom said that playing is more important than school or homework ever will be!!!!” Oh dear.

So the kids are doing this:

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while I’m cooking dinner and smelling the cake in the oven and running out every 15 minutes to be sure nobody was drowning in mud.

Randy came home to this…..

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Thankfully my man is cool with things like this. He wasn’t worried about the grass because there was none to begin with. This is the spot where our trampoline has been for several years but we moved it to a different location.

I assured Randy I would make all this up to him by pulling out a beautiful warm pound cake. He  excited about that. I don’t have a light on my oven and knew better than to open the oven – it might make the cake “fall”, whatever that meant. I’ve never had a cake to fall and have never understood what that means really. So I just waited the hour and a half to pull out the cake.

Finally we heard the long awaited ding of the timer while we were finishing up dinner.  I jumped up and grabbed my oven mitts and swung open the oven door to find this:

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I let out a shocked scream. The kids said, “What’s wrong Mom!” Randy could see from where he was sitting the damage. My mouth fell to the floor in complete shock. I’d never seen a cake do this before. I looked at the oven to be sure my temperature was right and it was and then it hit me….

I swung open the cabinet door and yanked down my flour bag and sure enough I had accidentally bought “self rising” flour instead of plain all purpose.

I took the cake over and put it on the table and looked at Randy and said, “This is what happens when I try too hard to be all domesticated.”

Sophie said, “Well, then don’t try so hard.

Mitchell quips back immediately and says, “Actually, try harder please!!”

And that’s when we all busted out laughing and started scraping off the sides of the cake. I was ready to pitch the thing but Randy scooped it up into bowls. Yes, bowls for cake. Let’s just pour the salt on the culinary wound why don’t we.

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And you know what? It was was actually delicious! We loved it. Randy said, “I think this is the best cake you’ve ever made!”

Have I mentioned that I love my man? He’s so sweet. The cake was good but really now, it wasn’t the best cake I’ve ever made.

So yeah,  I’m the “well she tries” girl occasionally. Not all the time because generally I can pull together  decent meal and dessert but when I blow it I blow it big. Ha!!

So, care to share any of your “well she tried” kitchen episodes? Dare you to. 

 

 

 

 

 

I Quit Sugar

Okay, no I didn’t quit sugar but I read the book I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. And honestly, I was disappointed in this book. It’s more like a magazine/cook book of impossible recipes. This author’s perspective of eating too much sugar meant  eating a lot of fruit and sweetened granola in a day. Okay, let me get this straight, she’s addicted to fruit and granola and that’s a bad thing? That’s like one of my life goals….to be addicted to good-for-you-foods.  I would consider that an accomplishment. But the overall negative effects of sugar on her body led her to quit sugar altogether and in this book she lays out an 8 week plan for coming off sugar.

While there were some helpful articles and bits of information I found the cook book impractical and unrealistic for me personally. I just don’t see myself making Lavender ice cream. I’ve never felt the need to add a smell-good relaxing agent to my ice cream. And I don’t even know what to say about the recipe for Summery quinoa tabbouleh. All I can think of is the Taliban. I could never eat it for fear of terrorists. Unless I ate the lavender ice cream first. Then I might could swallow or chew or whatever you do to tabbouleh.

This book was not a good fit for me but I feel that there are others who would enjoy this book and love it. Just not me. Sigh. I hate giving negative reviews.

WaterBrook Multnomah provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

A few things I never thought I’d see in our kitchen

1) Ground Flaxseed

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I don’t have a clue what this stuff is I just hear it’s good for you. Apparently I overdosed the family on it though when I put waaaaaay too much in a fruit smoothie. It didn’t exactly go over so well and was very grainy. It was evident nobody like it. I’ll cut back the next time I make one. Nobody knows this is in the cabinet but me. I tried one of those sneak over deals but I put in like five times as much as your daily amount. Oops. Ha! So we got our weekly amount in one morning. That’s called planning ahead.

2) Chick Peas

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We are not a big bean family. Thank goodness because the results could be seriously explosive with my crew, however, I’m learning that certain ones are a good source of protein and are good for you. My Sister-in-law made a fabulous salad out of these over vacation. I plan to do the same with purple onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh mozzarella cheese.

3) Avocado and Mango

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Never bought an avocado before. High in fat but the good kind of fat. Whatever that means. Lowers cholosterol and actually tastes really great.  We put it in our salad once this week and I had it on a sandwich as well. Randy prefers it in guacamole instead of  plain slices. I’ll be making some this week but not sure how to use it really…….like what do you dip in it besides chips? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

We are attempting to eat healthier and it’s a culture shock that’s for sure. I’ve alway mocked organic eating vegetarian tree huggers. “Paleo” sounded more like an Italian artist with paintbrush in hand and sporting a little black hat than a way of eating. Whole Foods was for skinny chicks who inherited lots of money and plant based eating was for women who never cut their hair or shaved their legs. I know, I know….gross misconceptions on my part. I’m not exactly ready to throw on birkenstocks and go clean and green but I am ready to eat more responsibly for a greater purpose than to simply fulfill my desires. And right now that involves getting healthier food in the house – food I’ve never purchased before or know what to do with. But we’ll figure it out. I’ll make lots more mistakes but I am trusting that God will bless this next step of obedience for our household. That He will give us the strength to walk this healthy road. I keep telling myself I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can eat a flippin’ flaxseed through Christ who gives me strength. I can choose carrots over nutter butters through Christ who gives me strength. Ha! It sounds ridiculous and funny but it’s the truth. I can. I am and I hope to continue. We have an amazing God.

 

 

Culinary Disaster

Introducing my most recent culinary disaster….. char grilled, char-colate chip muffins.

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It’s easy. All you do is cook them on 425 for about ten minutes longer than they should be and whah-lah there you have it.

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Let’s just put it this way – the pans are still soaking in my kitchen sink. And these were the muffins I was supposed to offer at Bible Study last night. Our first night of our new Bible Study.  And that’s what my contribution was looking like.

Let me paint the picture…..

Mitchell had been in the dining room doing homework. He comes running in the kitchen and says, “Mom, are you roasting marshmallows?” I resisted the urge to say, “Yeah buddy, I whipped us up a campfire and I’m puttin’ on some roasted marshmallows for dinner.” The only way we roast marshmallows is by totally enflaming them with fire where they get that awesome burn smell – well, that’s exactly what you’ll smell with chargrilled muffins. I pulled these suckers out of the oven and Mitchell says to me, “Cool, atomic bombs!!!!” He was just cracking jokes left and right about my muffins. Sophie was very serious about the ordeal. She said, “Mom, you CAN’T take those to Bible Study tonight!” I said, “I know!!!!!” in the most gently motherly way I could.

And then the thought hit me……how many times do we feel so unworthy to bring anything to the churchy table – or embarrassed to bring anything. We feel like we have nothing to offer and when we feel this way church or Bible Study may be the last place we want to be at because suddenly everyone around us looks and feels more spiritual, more put together.

And so I brought my muffins to Bible Study. And there they sat on the beautifully decorated table as a reminder that there is always a place for us at the table. Always. And even when we feel absolutely beat up by the world, our family or friends even, there can be a community of believers that will bear our burdens and pray for us. That is what church is. It’s a place you can bring your petrified muffins and still be okay. Ha! Ha! That just sounds so cheesy and wrong but it really is true. Or I should say it’s becoming more true of our church. And I love that.

Cake Fail

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It looks like a scene from a Halloween movie. Ha! It’s beautiful on the inside though ………creamy red velvet, perfectly round cake but the outside just took a bad turn at the end. Randy entered the kitchen and this was our conversation:

Me: (laughingly) Hey take a look at the cake

Randy: Awwww, that’s so nice – looks great!

Me: No, really, look at the cake

Randy: I did

Me: Then you didn’t mean what you said

Randy: Yes, I did. I just didn’t want to be like “oh awful cake” and hurt the kids feelings with them standing right there

Me: The kids didn’t make the cake

Randy: Oh.

We both laughed out loud and he agreed it was pretty bad.

Note to self: Don’t use red cookie icing on cakes unless you’re going for a Vampire theme.