Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

On the rare morning that I prepare a breakfast casserole, I wonder why I don't do it more often. It is so nice to have a casserole to slide in the oven with no prep - especially the past months when I'm trying to feed the baby and make breakfast at the same time.

This recipe is a variation of a couple other recipes and a winner at our house.

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

12 slices of bread
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 eggs
2 cups milk
2-3 T honey
2 cups blueberries

In greased 9x13, layer bread. I use one whole loaf of homemade bread, cutting it in six pieces and wedging in the pan. Spread cream cheese over the entire top of the bread. Mix eggs, milk, and honey. Pour over bread. Sprinkle blueberries and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

Watch happy faces surround your table.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Favorite Bread Baking Gadget

I'm in a bread baking binge right now. I've probably made more bread the last two months than the whole year before. My family loves it. They have missed homemade bread. 

I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I hate cluttered drawers so if a gadget doesn't earn its keep, it joins the giveaway pile. I love that I can make bread without much more than a mixer and measuring utensils.

But I'm adding a new item to my list of necessary gadgets.

Ed's boss (who doubles as his brother) gave him an instant-read thermometer for Christmas. While Ed looked forward to using it the next time we made pork loin, I wondered if it would help my bread baking.

Even though I've made bread for many years, I have one problem I can't seem to improve. I often under-bake bread. I think my oven must run a little hot because if I bake as long as some recipes require, the result if over-baked bread. But in my fear of over-baking, I pull bread out too soon. Far too often I watch bread sag on the cooling rack as it collapses into a doughy center. I've had loaves that had an awful gummy hole in the center from under-baking. Such a disappointing end to an afternoon of baking.

But this winter, though I've made a number of new recipes, the loaves have been perfectly baked every time. Except this week, when I forgot to use my new handy-dandy thermometer and pulled the sticky buns (a recipe I've made many times) out of the oven too soon.

Ed's new thermometer (which I've claimed, but he enjoys the results from) is a ThermoPop. I've been impressed by its ease of use. One handy feature is the light which allow me to read it easily in the shadows of the oven. Just this week I picked up the latest issue of Cook's Country magazine and saw they were reviewing instant thermometers and ThermoPop received the very highest rating.

Just a note, though I love Amazon for many purchases, the ThermoPop is far cheaper when purchased directly from the company (ThermoWorks) than from Amazon. This is one time you can't assume that Amazon is cheaper.

What kitchen gadget do you consider indispensable?

Monday, March 14, 2016

The King's Daughter magazine

It is March and my eleven-year-old daughter just asked if The King's Daughter will be coming soon.

I hope so. The King's Daughter is a small magazine published for young women, but I think I enjoy it as much as my daughter. It contains a variety of stories, poems, and articles with pretty pen-and-ink sketches. Though the magazine is small and simple, it always contains encouragement on living life for the King.

I asked The King's Daughter's editor, Sheila Petre, to share a little history of the magazine.

The King's Daughter was established in 2007 under the title The Girl's Budget. It was begun as a school-girl effort with the inspiration of Angela Zehr of New York. As the magazine grew, Angela was no longer able to tend it. After several interim editors in 2011 and 2012, we (Mr. and Mrs. Michael Petre) took over in summer 2013. We have been inspired to watch God's blessing on the work: The King's Daughter as grown from a 28-page magazine for seventy subscribers in June 2013 into a forty-page magazine which was mailed to seven hundred seventy households in December 2015. We hope to continue increasing both magazine thickness and subscriber base in the years to come, Lord willing. (Help us spread the word!) 
We are dependent on writers and readers from across the conservative Anabaptist community--Amish, German Baptist, Mennonite, and more --to supply us with stories, articles, poems, and discussions of interest to young women wishing to grow in the King's likeness.

Details: Published four times a year. Rates are $10 for one year; $19 for two years; $26 for three years. (Foreign subscribers, add $3 per year; payable in US funds.) Back issues #15 through #25 available for $3 each. Make checks payable to Sheila Petre and mail to The King's Daughter P.O. Box 127, Mercerburg, PA 17236

I've been thinking of sharing about several periodicals that are written by and for the Amish and Mennonite community. So look for more posts about other magazines in the future. I am not receiving payment to advertise for these magazines, but these magazines have published my articles so I do wish them to find more readers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Derby Car Race

Last week our children enjoyed making a pinewood derby car. We were invited to join the derby race at Allegany Boy's Camp on Thursday night. Ed is on the camp board and it was a special treat to be included in this event. Ed served as one of the judges for the most creative and realistic cars.

To make our cars, we bought a simple kit that included a block of wood and the wheels. The children carved out the kind of car (or truck or stretcher) they wanted.

Ed encouraged the children to do most of the work. Still, by the time he had helped four children with their cars, he had a new respect for the camp chiefs (counselors) that were helping assist nine or ten boys!

These are the results from our house. None of them were prize-winners but it was a fun project.

I'm not going to share any photos of the race. Instead, to see oodles of photos of the race and the massive amount of creativity that went into the cars, go to the Alleghany Boys Camp page.

Don't miss the video of the final race where you catch a glimpse of the camp excitement. The noise was deafening. I'm sure there were many hoarse throats the next day. But I loved to see the campers cheering for each other and having a great attitude when they lost.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Book Review - Going Till You're Gone


I've enjoyed several books in Gary Miller's Kingdom-Focused Living Series. But I didn't plan to read Going Till You're Gone.

The subtitle is "Rethinking Retirement; A Kingdom-focused vision in midlife and beyond." Though I might not what to admit it, I'm squarely in the mid-life years. But retirement seems too far away to even contemplate, much less read a book about.

But my dad gave us Going Till You're Gone. He said that he wanted us to reach his age and not have regrets.

And now I'd recommend anyone, whatever their age, to read Going Till You're Gone by Gary Miller.

Going Till You're Gone includes the expected advice on wills and estate planning but contains much, much more. The majority of the book is a call to evaluate your life, get a vision for living for the Lord, and change your priorities to live a life with no regrets. I found the book convicting, inspiring, and encouraging. Almost every chapter revealed a new area in which to evaluate my present life according to God's Word. Gary encourages each of us to set an example of godliness to those younger than us. (And we all have someone who is younger than us.)

If you are willing to examine your life and be encouraged to use all your remaining time on earth to build the Kingdom of God, I highly recommend Going Till You're Gone. Available from TGS International.


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