Monthly Archives: April 2012

French Breakfast Puffs

On Saturday, my husband and I went and picked up my oldest niece to keep her overnight for my sister while she was in the hospital with the new baby.  Shaylynn is two years old, and I knew that trying to make pancakes with her underfoot would be quite difficult, so I got up early and made these little muffins:  French Breakfast Puffs.  They are a simple, yummy little muffin that you can make with ingredients you probably already have in your cabinet.  I get this recipe from yet another Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, a recent one called Our Best Recipes, copywrited 2003.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Grease tweleve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, the 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork; stir in milk adn the 1/3 cup melted butter.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (the batter may be lumpy).
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.  Remove muffins from oven; remove from muffin cups.  Immediately dip baked muffins into the 1/4 cup melted butter, then into sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Serve warm.  Makes 12 muffins.

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Zoila a.k.a. Zoie

My niece Zoila

This little beauty is my brand new baby niece Zoila Carina!  She was born Friday afternoon to my sister Dawn and her husband Raymond.  She’s a healthy, happy baby, and we all adore her already.  Well, her big sister Shaylynn isn’t so sure about her yet, but given a bit of time, it will all be okay.  😉

Babies are one of the most precious gifts God can give us.  They are specially created by God himself with a bit from daddy and a bit from mommy.  A unique, tiny individual who is born completely helpless and needing everthing done for him/her.  However, they grow quickly and as they grow, they need us to teach them all they’ll need to know to grow into good, godly adults and law-abiding citizens.  Being pregnant for the first time myself has me doing a lot of praying and thinking about these very things.  I know that I can’t expect to be 100% prepared for parenthood, but that’s not to say that I can’t be a little prepared.  And I’m not just talking about being stocked-up on diapers, wipes, bottles, and clothes for the newborn.

I don’t suppose I have any parenting advice, having never been a parent myself.  All I know is a lot of prayer, patience, practice, and powerful amounts of TLC.  And not being afraid to ask other parents questions when you have them.  I know that I’ve got a lot to learn, and though I have moments I get rather scared, I say a prayer and start to look forward to it all again.  And until my turn rolls around in November, I will enjoy every moment I get with my two little nieces.

Zoila's big sister Shaylynn

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Times That God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

My husband and I moved to our current location early last fall.  Our first priority after getting here was to find a new church home, and we quickly did in Crystal Valley Baptist Church.  Soon after we started attending the church, we learned of a young couple dealing with one of the most difficult things in life:  cancer.  The wife, Amy, had learnt earlier in the summer that she had a childhood form of leukemia.  We only ever saw the couple one time, and we weren’t able to really get to know them any at all because she could not have people very close, physically, to her because her immune system was very weak.

We continued to hear updates from time to time on Amy’s condition.  At times things seemed to be going fairly well, and at others not so great.  The church prayed and wished there was more we could do for the small family (Josh and Amy also have a young son, about 2 years old.), but other than emails, cards, phone calls, facebook, and text messages, there was little that could be done.  Amy’s immune system did not allow her to have visitors.

A few weeks ago, Amy had to be admitted to the hospital, again, and things did not look good.  She had several infections, organs in her body were not functioning properly, and she was eating little.  She basically had no white blood cells, which are the immune system’s army.  Her husband Josh began to write daily blog updates on how she was doing.  Most days there were no changes, just more of the same, but a few days ago, things got worse, if that were even possible.  They had to put a breathing tube in, which helped, at first.  Then yesterday, everything just went wrong.  I received about three text messages with updates and pleas for prayer.  The same was on facebook several times during the day.  And her husband even updated his blog at least twice.  Things were going downhill and doing so fast.  Then, this morning, I saw in my email inbox yet another blog update from late last night.  Amy had passed away.  Cancer had taken yet another victim.  A young wife and mother, only a year or two older than me.

I never really knew Amy and have yet to know Josh or their son, but through praying for them for the past few months, I am saddened by the loss of Amy.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Josh to have to sit, daily, and watch his wife slowly slip away and not be able to do anything for her, to barely be able to touch her.  I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like for their little boy.  He will probably have no memories of his mother, and if he does, it will only be memories of a very sick woman who could do little for or with him.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for her parents and family to have to bury their daughter years before what we, on Earth, would consider to be her time.

There are times in life, when things happen, that we would never choose for ourselves.  We pray and ask, even beg, God to keep those things from happening.  I can imagine that Josh’s prayers for the past several months have been for God to spare his wife.  But for some reason, God chooses to do the one thing we did not want Him to do.  It’s times like that which shake our faith, and our loyalty, to the sovereign God.  In Isaiah 55:8, the Lord says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…”  We often cannot understand our Lord or His ways.  I have no answers as to why God chose to take this young, godly woman home, away from her husband, son, and family.  I somehow doubt that Josh or Amy’s family have answers either.  In fact, we all may go the rest of our lives wondering why, never to know the answer.  That may not sound very comforting; it does little to comfort me.  But it’s all I know.

I may not understand why God does what He does sometimes, but I take comfort in knowing that He knows why He does what He does.  He never does anything without a reason.  He is sovereign.  He is almighty.  Just like the song says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”  The Bible says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”  (Matt. 10:29)  Everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what that reason is.  I find that there is comfort in that.

Amy was a good Christian woman.  At some point in her life, she had turned her life over to Christ and received salvation.  Though she is gone from here, she is safe and completely well in Heaven.  And one day, when Josh’s time comes, he will be with her again.  As will all her brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is an hymn that I think of at times like this.  It’s titled “That Glad Reunion Day.”

Vs. 1:  There will be a happy meeting in heaven I know, / When we see the many loved ones we’ve known here below, / Gaather on the blessed hilltops with hearts all aglow, / That will be a glad reunion day.

Chorus:  Glad day, a wonderful day, / Glad day, a glorious day;  / There with all the holy angels and loved ones to stay, / That will be a glad reunion day.  (That will be a happy day, yes, a wonderful day, / That will be a happy day, yes, a glorious day; There will all the holy angels and loved ones to stay, / That will be a glad reunion day.)

Vs. 2:  There within the holy city we’ll sing and rejoice, / Praising Christ the blessed Savior with heart and with voice, / Tell Him how we came to love Him and make Him our choice, / That will be a glad reunion day.

Chorus

Vs. 3:  When we live a million years in that wonderful place, / Basking in the love of Jesus, beholding His face, / It will seem but just a moment of praising His grace, / That will be a glad reunion day.

Chorus

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Please keep the family and friends of Amy in your prayers.

To read Josh’s blog:  http://greenearsandsham.wordpress.com/

For information on Crystal Valley Baptist Church: http://www.crystalvalleybaptist.org/

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Buttermilk Pancakes

Growing up, Sunday mornings almost always meant pancakes.  Daddy would make the most dense, whole wheat, plate-size pancakes that I promise you’ve ever eaten.  They were so filling, you would be doing good to get just one down.  These pancakes, obviously, are not from his recipe, but I do my best to keep the Sunday morning pancake tradition alive.  These are just your basic buttermilk pancakes.  I get the recipe from my handy-dandy Better Homes and Gardens Quick Breads Cook Book.  They are fluffy and yummy and so very simple.  Serve them with milk, butter, and your favorite syrup, and you’re good to go!  Mmm-mmm!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

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  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl thoroughly stir together the all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another bowl combine beaten egg, buttermilk or sour milk, and cooking oil; add to dry ingredients, beating till blended.
  3. Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle till golden.  (I have gotten to where I cook them without putting oil in the pan, but you can do it either way.)
  4. Makes eight 4-inch pancakes.

*NOTE:  To make sour milk from fresh milk, place 1 tablespoon vinegar in measuring cup.  Add enough fresh milk to make 1 cup of liquid.  Stir well and let mixture stand about 5 minutes before using in recipe.

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Yellow Cake With Strawberry Topping

Ah spring!  The sun pops out, the flowers bloom, the pollen makes people sneeze, but more importantly, there are fresh strawberries!  I love strawberries!  They are so pretty, tasty, and perfect for hundreds upon hundreds of desserts.  Whether you’re eating them in your favorite fresh strawberry slushie from Sonic or eating them straight off the vine, they are just almost divine.  Mmmm!

We recently had a missions conference at my church, which, sadly, I was unable to attend, but I was able to contribute to the spaghetti lunch that was served.  I was to make a crock pot of spaghetti and a cake.  I bet you can guess what kind of cake I made.  Now, true to form, I made my cake from scratch, but you do not have to do that.  You can just as well buy a yellow cake mix and make this same cake.  I highly doubt anyone would know the difference once you get through with it.  But if you want to take on making it all from scratch, you’ve come to the right place.  I’ve got a simple cake recipe and the topping is even easier.  😉

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1-2-3-4 Cake

By:  Katie Stone from the Feeding His Flock cook book by the Ladies Auxiliary of Baring Cross MB Church

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. flavoring (your choice; I used vanilla.)
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Stir in milk.
  4. Mix baking powder and flour and sift into mixture.
  5. Beat until very smooth.
  6. Stir in one tsp. of you favorite flavoring.
  7. Bake in a large tube pan that has been well greased and floured.  (I just used a 9×13 pan that I greased well.  It worked fine.)
  8. Bake at 350-degrees for 50-60 minutes.
  9. This makes a big sized cake and can be baked in layers for company dinners.

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Topping

Ingredients:

  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, washed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand milk)

Directions:

  1. Once cake has finished cooking, remove from oven and poke holes in it using a butter knife.
  2. Drizzle milk all over the cake.
  3. Cut the tops off the strawberries and slice into quarters.  Place in a glass or plastic bowl.
  4. Mix sugar in with strawberries.  The sugar will not dissolve right then.
  5. Cover bowl, and let chill in refridgerator over night or for several hours.
  6. After berries have chilled and sugar has dissolved, remove from fridge, stir to ensure all sugar has dissolved, and top cake with berries.
  7. Serve!

*  You may prefer to fix the strawberries the day before you cook the cake.  That works just fine, too.  I cooked the cake a day early for time reasons.

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Lasagna Shells

Every now and then I get to wanting something a bit different from the regular Poe family fare, but that is difficult to manage because my husband isn’t so big on “different.”  He has a list of foods he likes, and he doesn’t like to deviate from that list.  Therefore, that often means that instead of something completely different, I get to see if I can take a favorite recipe and play with just enough to satisfy my desire for new and different yet keep it the same enough to keep my husband from running to the nearest Mickey D’s.  Well, pretty much my favorite kind of food is Italian, but my Honey doesn’t really care for much Italian.  He will eat spaghetti and some lasagna.  That’s it.

Recently, I saw a recipe for Mexican shells.  It’s basically a taco recipe that you put in the giant shell noodles and bake for a bit.  I thought I might try that, but Monday we did regular tacos, which left me with a box of giant shell noodles to play with.  That’s when I got the idea for Lasagna Shells.  I made them last night, and let me tell you, they were a hit!  I’m so happy!  My husband ate two big helpings and later declared them “so good!”  If I do say so myself, they aren’t half-bad, and they are no harder to make than regular lasagna.

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Ingredients:

  • about 18 giant shell noodles, cooked al dente (a little over half-cooked)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or turkey if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • about 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (8 oz.) bag shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Boil noodles until about half-cooked (al dente).  Drain and place in an ungreased 8×11-inch baking dish.  *If you use a bigger pan, you will probably need more noodles.
  2. Brown ground beef, with onions and garlic mixed in, over high-medium heat.  Drain.
  3. Carefully spoon about 1 tbsp. of ricotta cheese into each shell.
  4. Complete filling shells with beef mixture.
  5. Pour spaghetti sauce over top of the shells.  (You may not need to use entire jar’s worth of sauce.)
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of sauce.
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of everything.  Cover it as thick as desired.  (You may not need the entire bag’s worth of cheese.)
  8. Cover with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.

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Ode To Odors

I’ve always heard about a woman’s nose going haywire during pregnancy, and I always believed it.  But now that I’m experiencing it, it’s a whole new ball game.  Living in an older house in a lower-lying area, rains tend to bring smells that I’ve never really liked.  Now those smells have taken on a whole new intensity, and the past two days have been not so fun, to say the least.  In response to my nose’s response to all things foul-odored, I wrote this little poem.  It’s not my best, but I just had to get my frustration off my chest, or nose, as the case may be.

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“Ode To Odors”

Odors, aromas,

Scents, and smells

Oh the things

The nose knows.

Who knew the nose

Could know so much more

When your belly

Has held a baby

For a mere nine weeks?

Oh the odors

I’ve become

Accustomed to.

The hand towel,

Kitchen rag,

And dampness from the rain.

The smell on my hand

From the scrunchy

In my hair.

The trash in the can

While the lid is on.

The boiled egg scent

Lingering on the lip

Of my water bottle.

Oh the odors

I’ve become

Accustomed to.

I’ve employed the powers

Of baking soda,

Vinegar, and fresh spring air.

I’ve questioned my Honey

On what his nose knows.

I find I’m alone

In my nasal warfare.

It must be

That I’m smelling for two.

Oh for the odors to end

Soon.

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