Nov 212012

I love to try new recipes, but there’s something about holidays that calls me back to our traditional favorites. There are some recipes that I only make for special occasions, and I think that makes them that much more special.

One of my traditional Thanksgiving favorites is a pumpkin roll. I got this recipe from a woman I worked with 19 years ago!

(Yikes, I can’t believe it was that long ago! Am I really that old?)

This is for the classic pumpkin roll or log. Yummy pumpkin spice cake is baked in a thin layer and rolled up with cream cheese icing inside.


3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup self-rising flour (I always substitute with all-purpose flour and add 1 tsp. baking power and 1/4 tsp. salt.)

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients, then add to wet and mix thoroughly.Bake for 15 minute at 375 on a well-greased cookie sheet. (It needs to be the kind with sides, obviously!) Remove from oven.

Please note, the recipe makes 1 pumpkin roll. I doubled the recipe because I needed 2. It would be better if I had 2 pans of exactly the same size.

 Sprinkle lint free towel with powdered sugar.

Lay out on towel.

Roll up.

Put in refrigerator and cool completely.


1 cup powdered sugar

6 oz cream cheese (I think there used to be packages this size. Now I usually just use the whole 8 oz.)

4 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Soften butter and cream cheese. Mix with mixer. Spread on roll.

Roll back up.

The frosting should not be lumpy like that. I don’t think I softened the butter and cream cheese long enough. Oh well, it was still yummy and once it’s rolled up, no one will notice!

Nov 192012

Sweet Potatoes

Here’s my recipe for sweet potato casserole. It’s from my aunt, but I think it’s a fairly common recipe.



5 or 6 large sweet potatoes (2- 29 oz cans)

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 stick or butter or margarine  -softened (can use 3/4 stick)

1 tsp. salt

1 ts.p cinnamon



1 cup pecans

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup self-rising flour (substitute 1/3 cup all purpose + 1/2 tsp baking powder + pinch of salt)

1 stick melted butter or margarine



Mash potatoes; add to remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour into 9″x12″ pan. For topping, mix brown sugar and flour; mix in butter. Spread on top of sweet potato mixture; sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Photo credit: Wally Hartshorn on Flickr

Nov 172012

We have for the last several years played host for Thanksgiving dinner for my husband’s family. It’s not a huge group of people (it usually just adds 5 people to our family), so it’s not that difficult. But it’s still a LOT more side dishes than I usually make for a typical meal. I started to panic when I realized that Thanksgiving was this Thursday and I hadn’t done anything to prepare. So I started with the menu and realized that we’ve got it pretty set now. I could add a different dish, but we’re pretty set in our traditions, so I think this year we’ll have the same menu as last. It certainly makes my planning easy!

Thanksgiving 2010-3

Our menu (I’ll be linking to my recipes as I get them posted):


Stuffing (this is not stuffed in the bird and my mother-in-law always prepares it at her house and brings it over.)

Rice Pilaf (Near East Almond flavored)

Spinach Salad

Orange  Cranberry sauce

Sweet Potato Casserole

Dinner rolls (Sometimes I make these, but this year it’s Sister Schubert!)

Pumpkin Pie (my mother-in-law makes this using the linked recipe except she substitutes brown sugar for the white sugar.)

Homemade whipped cream

May 212011

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. I John 2:16

Many years ago I heard a sermon that pointed out that the three things listed as being “in the world” in I John 2:16 —

  • The lust of flesh
  • The lust of eyes
  • The pride of life

are parallel with the way that Eve was tempted in the garden.

And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. — Genesis 3:6

The tree was good for food ==== The lust of the flesh

It was pleasant to the eyes ====The lust of the eyes

To be desired to make one wise ===The pride of life


You may be wondering how this is related to finances.

When we hear lust of the flesh, our minds tend to think of sexual lust. But Eve lusted after the fruit. Is it possible that our desire for food can cause us to overspend?

Obviously it is not sinful to eat. God created us to eat. He created us with taste buds so that we can enjoy our food. He created food that tastes good. But I think that many of us have trained our palettes to desire more and richer food than we need. (I think a look at the obesity statistics will back me up!)

One could also argue that excessive consumption of convenience foods and restaurant meals are a reflection of the lust of the flesh as well.

I don’t feel like cooking.

I’d rather relax and not spend time preparing a meal.

That is feeding our flesh. It feels good to go out and not have to do any cooking or clean up.

I want to be pampered!

I deserve to be pampered!

After a while, eating out can become an expectation rather than a treat.

So back to finances.

Take a look at your spending on food.

Do you eat out more than you should?

Do you buy more expensive food than you need?

It is entirely possible that a close look at your food buying habits could actually cause you to spend more. Fresh fruit and vegetables are expensive! My point isn’t as much about saving money as it is thinking and praying about whether we are spending the money that God provides us in a way that honors Him.

And just a disclaimer here. These thoughts are somewhat new to me. I would not like to display the contents of my refrigerator and pantry. I have some junk foods that I really like. I’m also not saying that to be truly spiritual you must eat in a certain way. But there are some things that I have considered “needs” that are really just “wants”. Recognizing them as wants instills a more grateful attitude when I have them, and may help me to sacrifice them to benefit our budget.

Is there something that is a staple in your house that you don’t really need?

This post is written for the Finances column at The Christian Home – Issue 16 on-line magazine hosted by The Legacy of Home.



Dec 022009

I like salad, but I really hate to make them. All the chopping and slicing tends to keep me from taking the time. Plus there’s the keeping a bunch of different vegetables around to use in the salad without them spoiling. I’m sad to say, I have thrown away way too many vegetables. Last year I got the recipe for my sister-in-laws famous spinach salad. I always thought it must be too hard for me to make, but it’s really very simple. I have served this for a real progressive dinner, taken it to church dinners, and fed it to my family ever since I got the recipe and it gets rave reviews every time!


Baby spinach
Feta cheese
Slivered almonds
Garlic powder
Balsamic vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

You can also add onion slices, pepper slices, and black olives but I’ve always left them out.

To make the salad I use pre-washed, organic baby spinach which is available at Sam’s for a MUCH better price than any grocery store. Add desired amount of spinach to large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder (a little goes a long way so unless you really like garlic go light or leave it out entirely), and crushed oregano. Add crumbled feta cheese. (I use about 3/4 cup for my family of 4 salad eaters.) Mix together balsamic vinegar and EVOO at a ratio of about 1 to 2. Pour onto salad and mix well. Serve immediately after dressing.

I wish I had thought to take a picture when I made this on Monday. It really looks good too! This salad is the only salad that Works for Me!

To find more salad and side dishes, or to join in the bloggy progressive dinner, visit The Happy Housewife.
Visit We are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday tips (This week is a theme week on gift tips, which I obviously didn’t follow!)

Sep 092009

Salads have never been a part of our typical menu. One of the reasons is that the ingredients are expensive. Another reason is I’m lazy about making salads. (And then those expensive vegetables go bad in the refrigerator. That makes the salad even more expensive!)

But, I know that they are very good for us. I was so thrilled to find that Sam’s sells organic baby spinach at an excellent price. That really leaves me with no excuse. Now I’ve got easy salad at a good price. Of course I just dump the spinach into the bowl because that’s one of the things that make spinach salads easier than lettuce. You don’t have to tear or chop the leaves.

But then my husband mentioned that he thinks the leaves are actually a little to big to serve as-is. WHAT? There goes my easy salad plan. But, a friend at church showed me a simple way to cut those leaves. It’s one of those so simple things that I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. (Maybe after you read it, you’ll wonder why I didn’t think of it either!)

Here’s the tip.

Kitchen shears

Just pour the spinach in the bowl. (She actually did it with spring mix, but I usually buy spinach). Take your handy kitchen shears. Point them down into the spinach and start snipping! Easy, bite-sized spinach leaves.

It is definitely working for me!