Isaiah 1:18

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bible Verse for Memorization

I am sitting here and wondering how long it has been since I have attempted to memorize scripture for my own benefit. I have learned them while working with my child and his schoolwork. I have learned them with my Sunday School kids. When did I last learn them for myself? What about you? Do you hide His word in your heart? Do you realize how important it is that you do this? Sometimes I wonder if there will be a point in my lifetime that we, as Americans, will no longer have access to a physical Bible, a book that is tangible, that we can look up scripture as we need it. Sometimes I get in a situation and later find that if I had committed a particular verse to memory, I may have been able to handle a situation differently. I want to learn verses and I would love for you to join me. Will you?
Our first passage is:

John 14:16-20
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
Even the Spirit of truth; who the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
The difference with this memorization program is that you will not just memorize a verse or passage, you will learn it's meaning and the context in which it is found in the Bible. I have always thought it important to learn a verse but, to me, the meaning of the verse and how you can apply it is so much more important than using the exact words. So, I will be using study Bibles, concordances and commentaries. I am not a theologian and therefor, there is no need for me to give my opinion.
These verses are found in the Gospels and were written by the Apostle John. It was written around 85-90 AD. It is within the boundary of Christ's private ministry to his own, the Believers.
From the Scofield Study Bible:
(vs. 16) The word comforter is the translation of the Greek word parakletos meaning: one called alongside to help, a consoler. It is also translated as an advocate. Christ is the Christian's paraclete with the Father when the Christian sins; the Holy Spirit is the Christian's indwelling paraclete to help his ignorance and infirmity, and to make intercession. (Rom. 8:26-27)
(vs. 20) The new relationship described in the words "ye in me, and I in you" introduces the New Testament mystery of the body of Christ. The position of the Church in Christ, as composed of members of His body and the truth of Christ as indwelling the believer are central features in the Pauline doctrine of the Church, and are here revealed to the disciples for the first time by Christ.
From The MacArthur Study Bible:
(vs. 16) The priestly and intercessory work of Christ began with the request that the Father send the Holy Spirit to indwell in the people of faith. The word another means another of the same kind, i.e. someone like Jesus Himself who will take His place and do His Work. The Spirit of Christ is the Third Person of the Trinity, having the same essence of deity as Jesus and as perfectly one with Him as He is with the Father. Helper means "one called alongside to help" and has the idea of someone who encourages and exhorts. "Be with you" has to do with His permanent residence in believers.
(vs. 17) He is the Spirit of truth in that He is the source of truth and communicates the truth to His own. Apart from Him, people cannot know God's truth. Abides with you and will be in you indicate some distinction between the ministry of the Holy spirit to believers before and after Pentecost. While clearly the Holy Spirit has been with all who have ever believed throughout redemptive history as the source of truth, faith, and life, Jesus is saying something new is coming in His ministry.
(vs. 18) In this veiled reference to His death, Jesus promised not to leave them alone.
(vs. 18,19) First, He was referring to His resurrection, after which they would see Him. There is no record that any unbelievers saw Him after he rose. In another sense, this has reference to the mystery of the Trinity. Through the coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus would be back with His children.
(vs. 19) Because of His resurrection and by the indwelling life of the Spirit of Christ, believers possess eternal life.
(vs. 20) In that day refers to His resurrection when He returns to them alive.
I pray that you will have the desire to hide His words in your heart so that you may recall them when needed. These verses speak to me and remind me that I am His, He is mine and that He will never leave me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's a contest!

Yes, friend, we are having our first contest. I happened to be surfing some of my favorite foodie blogs and I ran into a most interesting post. Crystal Paine of "Money Saving Mom" introduced a challenge of sorts to her readers just the other day. Her idea is to eat out of her pantry for four weeks. Can you imagine not running to the grocers every other day for that one or two ingredients needed for a recipe that you want to make today? I live out in the country and while we do have local grocery stores, I would just as soon stay home. It's really cold out and wouldn't it be nice just to be able to stay in front of your fire those extra moments that you would otherwise dedicate to food shopping? If you don't have a fire place, then I invite you to just take that time and meet me here. We can have coffee, my beverage of choice. We can talk about events of the world or swap recipes or tips, anything to keep me out of a stalled checkout line. Crystal's friend, Kelly, wrote within the article a list of some nuggets that you will take away from this challenge in the form of "discoveries." Some of them are: creativity, thankfulness and purpose. Please go visit Crystal at and I assure you that you will find something to enjoy.
Now, please, do not get me wrong. I think this is an excellent idea! As a matter of fact, it has been presented to me on other occasions! My husband has actually suggested that I try to do this. Oh, and yes, our son too - though I have to admit, I think he was just mimicking his Dad. I don't think he realizes that to follow this course would mean that his preferred frozen pizza would not be purchased beforehand and wouldn't make it to the house during the challenge if it is not already in my freezer.
Now, anyone that knows me very well at all or has been to my home knows that we have a surplus of food. I think the saying goes: "enough for an army." Yes, I am embarrassed to admit it but they say that the first step to recovery is to admit that you have a problem.
Here goes - I know I have too much food in my house. I know, as well, that in spite of this, I still go to the grocery store. Going to the grocery store is not the actual problem, it's going and buying more food that doesn't necessarily complete or complement a meal that you already have planned.
Ok, so I have decided to join the challenge, kinda, sorta. Umm...I just found the post and am not prepared to sign my name to the dotted line. I do hope to follow as closely as possible Crystal's guidelines and see how I do. I also hope that the next time "Money Saving Mom" hosts this challenge, I will be up to it and make it official. In the meantime, I will do it quietly and behind the scenes, in case I mess up royally. I will let Crystal know that I am on board, kinda, sorta.
Ok, your part! The contest!
I have an item in my pantry that I really need to use. It's:

As a matter of fact, I have three crispy pizza crust mixes. They really need to be used up. My problem is that I don't want pizza! Why in the world would I buy a pizza crust mix, much less three of them, if I didn't want pizza? C'mon, I know you are asking that or, at least, thinking it. I know that I am. At any rate, I want you to come up with an original recipe using this product as an ingredient in the dish. The only other rule is that all other elements must be common ingredients that you would normally find in an average southeastern pantry. You see, I need to be able to make this dish without having to go to the grocery. Crystal does set up some guidelines for what shopping you are allowed to do: you can only go shopping a maximum of three times during the challenge period, you can only spend a maximum of $75 per visit and you can only purchase dairy and produce.

Before I go any further with the contest information, you should know that there are benefits to this exercise. The most important is that you save time and money. My extra time will be invested in more research for our blog. The money saved will be handled somewhat differently. Crystal makes the suggestion that all extra money saved be donated to a local food bank. My extra money during this time will be donated to The Bethesda Center in the form of nonperishables that may be put on their shelves until needed for filling food baskets for the needy. The Bethesda Center is a local organization that has a store with marked down products and provides food baskets in times of need. They also help with utilities should the need arise.

Ok, now back to the contest. How do you benefit? What is your prize? Well, I am a brand new blogger who has not yet had any followers to join. I have not had anyone approach me with a prize to give away either. So, should you decide to take part in this, your prize will be bragging rights! Ok, maybe not that! Kind of prideful, isn't it? So what I will do, is publish your recipe along with your name and photo. Still have to learn how to do that from an email; that's how new a blogger I am. I will also publish photos of the recipe in stages as I make it. Just make a comment below with a name, email address that I can get in touch with you and the category of food that your recipe would fall under: breakfast, main dish... I will contact you through email and you can respond with your recipe. I will choose the one that fulfills the guidelines the closest with what I have on hand. Can't tell you what I have because I have so much I do not know what it is and because this will give everyone an equal footing. The contest will start immediately and run through February 15th, 2010. I will determine which recipe I will make and it will be published here end of February. I will be taking part in the challenge in February, a month later than "Money Saving Mom" but I feel that I will get as much enjoyment and knowledge as if I had done it in January.

To take part in this challenge or just to read the original blog, please go to "Money Saving Mom" at and key in Eat from the pantry challenge. I am sure she would love for you to join her.

Until later, keep cooking. Blessings. Linda

Friday, January 8, 2010

That red checked cookbook...

Did you have a favorite cookbook while you were growing up? I sure did! It was actually the "Better Homes and Garden Cookbook" but we called it the red checked cookbook and all the ladies had one. It's obvious why that was the nickname, but, in hindsight, nicknames are ususally shorter than than the original name. Not in this case. I think that is terribly funny, don't you?
I was thinking of this book the other day when I was planning my menu. It's winter, it's cold, it's wet and it is windy!! What better meal to serve than a warm, hearty stew? My son is a picky eater and you may have one too. Recently I found out that he likes my Mom's beef stew. I called her and asked her for the recipe. Do you know what she told me? "You have it! It's in the red checked cookbook". Ha, I have two copies, compliments of my Mama.

So, tonight, after my husband comes home from a long day of work, really hard work, we are going to sit down to a big bowl of beef stew. Hmmm...maybe some cornbread to go with it. Yummy, I can already smell it cooking and am getting hungry. Guess I better get up and get to cooking. Come on into my kitchen with me. You can help cut the veggies!! This is all you need!

Brown Stew
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes

2 tbsp fat

4 cups boiling water
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh, frozen, or canned (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 to 2 bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash allspice or cloves
6 carrots, quartered
1 lb (18 to 24) small white onions.
Thoroughly brown meat on all sides in hot fat; add water, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, garlic, sliced onion, bay leaves, and seasonings. Cover, simmer 2 hours; stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Remove bay leaves and garlic.
Add carrots, onion. (Cubed potatoes may be added.) Cover; continue cooking 30 minutes or till vegetables are done. Remove vegetables and meat; thicken juices for gravy. 6-8 servings.

I, of course, changed the recipe to suit my family's tastes. First, I mixed some flour, black pepper and seasoned salt. I then rolled the meat in the flour mixture before I browned the meat. This ensured that I had flavorful meat as well as self made gravy like broth. I left out the "gravy making" step.

I had to put this picture in because it shows all that fragrant steam. Can you see it? Look really close. It smelled so good while I was browning it.

This is the step where you can go read for a bit. The meat has to cook to tenderness before you add any of the vegetables. And, boy, was that meat tender. You could cut it with just a fork!

Now doesn't that look worth the effort? As you can see, I decided on homemade biscuits. they were so delicious!
Just typing in this recipe is making my mouth water. Why don't you make this and let me know how you liked it and what you changed. If you are like me, a recipe is a suggestion, not a law. I always leave out the salt. I roll the beef pieces in seasoned flour before frying. When everything is simmering together, this will make it thicker. I like my stew thick so that I can slop up the broth with cornbread or a biscuit. Mmmmm...maybe biscuits!
Until we talk again, happy cooking,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's a snow night...

My son was so excited to have it announced before he went to bed last night that school would be cancelled due to inclement weather. Nothing had happened yet. Sounds curious, doesn't it? Here in the Southeast, alot of cities are not prepared for the icy/snowy season due to the road layout and the lack of these conditions for the most part. Our area is really beautiful but remote, to a point. Lots of curves, valleys, hills and trees are around and the road is not exposed to enough sun to keep the roads clear. This morning we were to have 1-3 inches. We had a little dusting. We were to get more during the day. We had a little more dusting. Areas close by got more, but we got dust...and ice. It was still pretty coming down though. Above are some pics so that you can see.
When I was growing up, I think that we got more snow than my child normally gets to see in a winter. There is one thing that I just had to make sure was the same. Hot Chocolate...homemade hot chocolate. My mother used to make this for my two sisters, brother and myself when we would come in from playing in the snow. Sure would warm you up...from the inside out. I wish you could have been here today to smell the chocolate as it warmed on the stove. Ahh....comforting on such a cold winter day. We also had grilled cheese sandwiches. Everything was absolutely yummy.

Homemade hot chocolate is so much better that the premixed envelopes that you buy at the grocery. Now, the packets are much more convenient and I do admit that I will still buy them but when possible, I am making mine. If you have never made it, following is a recipe.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

This is all you need. Isn't that easy? Like me, you probably already have this in your pantry. Just milk, sugar and cocoa.
5-6 Tbsp cocoa

5-6 Tbsp sugar

3 cups milk
In medium saucepan, mix sugar and cocoa, add milk. Stir over medium heat until warm to your liking.

I doubled this recipe so that I would have some for tonights family night. Just refrigerate left over portion for later.

This is the sugar and cocoa.

This is after I added the milk. So rich!

This was our lunch. So yummy! The hot chocolate was so creamy and rich and Josh said he just loved it. The grilled cheese sandwiches were good, hot and gooey. The only thing missing was the salsa. I was out. I love to dip mine in salsa. I also love thinly sliced tomatoes and onions on my grilled cheese before I cook them. Since I was splitting the sandwiches with my picky eater, I didn't do that. Maybe next time.
After hubby came home, we had a simple dinner of shrimp and broccoli and settled in for family night (and the remainder of the hot cocoa). We watched a movie that was really family friendly and enjoyable. I think that we may have to watch it again to catch the end. Not really sure if it ended in a way that we understood completely. This is a picture of the DVD case.
This is a cute movie about a family under financial stress living in a community filled with need. The father makes a wondrous discovery and attempts to use his compassion and common sense as to how to exercise his newfound knowledge and the "moss". You have to watch the movie to discover how it ends. You can find a copy through the production company Feature Film for the Family at
Sorry about the flash on the cover. I am still new at photography and blogging but am enjoying the process as I go. Any tips that you can give me, would be greatly appreciated.

I would also love to hear what you do on family nights? Is there a game or a movie that strikes you as being one to bring those sweet memories of your own childhood to mind? Would love to hear about those as well. What about your favorite winter family beverages? Do you have a special one that you make for your family to enjoy? Please comment below and share the recipes. You know that you can never have too many recipes. Until next time, spend time with your family; make memories for your little ones so that they can pass on a heritage to their own precious little ones.
Until we meet again. Blessings and seek the Lord in all that you do.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I thought this was a cooking blog.

Well, it is and it isn't, but yes, it is. Now I'm confused. I think that I need another cup of coffee. Go get yours too. This time we will meet in front of my fireplace in the den. There is nothing better than a warm cozy fire, a fresh cup of hot coffee and a friend, new or old, on a cold winter morning. Be right back...

Ah, again, a perfect cup of coffee to get our day started off right. Well, there has been a question as to what my blog is about. Are we cooking or not?? Today we are going to discuss the purpose of this blog and why I started it.

First, the title, "The Cook in my Kitchen" and why I chose it. This title relates directly to me and to you as well. I am the cook in my kitchen. I love to cook all types of food. I love to read cooking blogs and will share some of my favorites as we go along, feel free to share yours as well. I also read cook books. While reading some blogs, I found that I was normal, I was a little worried that I read all of these cookbooks. I am now relieved. But, I do like to do more than cook...

This blog will also include things that I want to learn about and some things that I already like to do. We will get to do fun and entertaining things but we will also be challenged with some of the harder things. We are going to memorize Bible verses together. We are going to have a summer reading program. We already have a "reading the Bible in one year" program in action. We will have household tips; we will have money saving tips. We will cook together, laugh together, learn together and cry together. We will even learn how to blog together. This will be fun for all of us.

The reason that I started this blog was because I love to share and receive ideas. I also grew up watching Debbie Reynolds and Doris Day movies. The lady of the house always had a friend that she had coffee with. They met in the kitchen or at the white picket fence. Well, I always wanted a white picket fence. That is not practical for us at this point as my friends are scattered all over the states. This blog was born out of a need of fellowship with these same friends and to make new friends to share with. Please count yourself among my friends and get another cup of coffee...I am. Let me help you make this your blog. Come and visit with me. Make comments including suggestions as to what you would like more of. Give me insight as to who you are.

Until we meet again, this sounds like a plan.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a New Year...

Good Morning,

Well, we are now several hours into the new year of 2010!! How exciting is that? Right now, I am stirring my coffee so that it turns that beautiful caramel color that lets me know that my coffee is just right...while I finish stirring, you run get a cup of your favorite morning beverage and meet me in my living room.

Are you back? Get comfortable because I just want to visit with you a little while and enjoy the fellowship. I could hardly sleep last night thinking about last year, the new year, and you and I talking. I found myself tossing and turning in the early hours writing and rewriting in my head what I would say to you today. Finally I realized that since I am new at blogging, I would just learn to write what was on my heart as it was placed there. I kept thinking of how the new year reminded me of spring - a new beginning, a clean slate, new growth. I didn't think so much of what would occur as much as I thought about how God would change me this year.

So...the new year! Hmmm...lots of you are probably reminiscing about the events in your lives last year, many are thinking of what may lay ahead in the new year. Do you make resolutions? I used to and then I would see how quick I could break them. I was pretty swift at undoing whatever headway that I thought I was making. In my Bible reading this morning, I came across these verses:

Isaiah 1:16,17

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings before mine eyes; cease to do evil , learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

In thinking of these verses, I realized that I do not need to make a one year resolution but a lifetime resolution. The verse said to me: Be obedient to your Lord, your Savior. Being obedient to Him should be the foremost thought in my mind and heart; all else will fall into place. I also realized that to do this, I needed to depend on Him for this ability.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Notice, the emphasis is on Christ not me. I will have to go to Him at every bend in the road and for every decision to be made. So for now, I will do what I know to do, match it against scripture and pray for guidance.

This is pretty heady stuff but also pretty basic. What will your resolutions be?? Will you make any? Will you rethink your resolutions? Please pray for me as I will pray for you, for whatever God has in store for us.

In my next post, I will tell you the purpose, as best I can, of this blog and what you can expect. Until then, pray, pray and pray some more!!

Blessings and remember to seek Him first!!