Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

This winter has been much colder in Nova Scotia than the last few.  You quickly become unaccustomed to windchill temperatures of -30.  So I have been pinning lots of new homemade soup recipes.  My goal has been to try a new one every week.  When I saw Gail @ Faithfulness Farm post about this Cauliflower Cheese Soup from Panera (Oh my soul, I LOVE Panera), I knew this would be a great one to try.  So on the weekend I pulled out my favorite soup pot and made a double batch!  

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg 
1-1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese 
1/4 tsp salt

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Set aside 12 bite-size cauliflower florets. Coarsely chop remaining cauliflower and set aside. Drop the 12 florets in boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chopped cauliflower, broth, half-and-half, thyme, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese and salt until the cheese melts and the soup is heated through, 3 minutes. Serve topped with cauliflower florets. Makes 6 servings.

My Notes:  I used: 2% milk instead of heavy cream, orange cheddar instead of white, and salt free chicken broth.  

This is a delicious soup, and a definite "keeper" recipe in our family!  I hope you try it and enjoy it as well. 

Here are some other homemade soups we have made:

My Homemade Soup Pinterest Board is loaded with lots of great recipes!!

On The Menu Monday

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Hand Warmers

We could use many sets of these hand warmers
in Nova Scotia this month.  
Let's just's freezin!!!!

Gwyneth's daughter, Sarah, and her cousin Nicole
made up these sweet hand warmers.

Aren't they cute?
I knew you would like them,
so after getting permission from Sarah and Nicole,
I got my daughter, Nicole (different Nicole)  :)
to make up templates of the
mitten pattern and poem for you.    

  • fabric of your choice (fleece scarves from the Dollar store work perfectly)
  • sewing machine OR needle and thread
  • rice
  • scissors
  • ribbon


1.  Print off the cute little mitten template.  
2.  Cut two mitts out of your fabric, for every mitten you would like to make.
3.  Place two mittens together and sew them all the way around
     except for the hand opening. 
4.  Fill the mitten with rice.  Sew the hole closed.  
5.  Tie a set of mittens together with ribbon and a copy of the poem.
                           You are all set to give these as gifts!

In and Out of the Kitchen
Inspiration Board Party
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bread Machine Bagels~Paula

Everyone loves bagels, but
have you ever made your own?
Not me...until yesterday!
I found the recipe on a blog,
but it was originally posted on the website.
Don't they look delicious?
Believe me...they sure were,
and very easy to make.

Tanya took one look,
 and asked begged me to share
this recipe with you all.
It's definitely a keeper. 
I hope you love it too.  :)

Enjoy this Printable Recipe


1 cup warm water
3 cups of bread flour
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 TBS sugar
1 TSP cornmeal
1 egg white

Toppings if you wish:  shredded asiago cheese, poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, rock salt, cinnamon sugar...


1.  Put the first 5 ingredients, in the order listed, into your bread machine.  Set on Dough Cycle. When complete, place dough on a lightly floured surface. Shape into 8-10 balls, flatten them, and then poke hole in the middle.  (Make it big, because the dough will rise.)

2. Cover bagels with a clean dish towel, and let rise. I placed mine on a lightly floured cutting board, then in a barely warm oven with a bowl of hot water to rise.  Place a warm damp dish towel over them while they are rising. Mine rose for a full 60 min.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Dissolve 3 Tbsp of sugar in the boiling water.

3. Sprinkle an ungreased cookie sheet with cornmeal.  Heat oven to 375. Transfer bagels to boiling water.  (My pot holds about 4 at a time.)  Boil for 1 minute, turning halfway through.  Remove bagels and place on dish towel to drain.

4. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze top with egg white. I used cracked pepper and finely grated old cheddar for my toppings.

5. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Mine took 30 minutes.



Edited to say:  PS.  If you don't have a bread not despair!  Read my reply below in the comments to see how I plan on making them next time without my bread maker!! :)

Foodie Friday
On The Menu Monday
In and Out of the Kitchen
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Valentine Doilies

Have you seen Martha Stewart's valentine doilies?
They are all over Pinterest.
They are the cutest things...easy & cheap!

I bought a package of red and pink paper napkins, (Dollarama)
grabbed my scissors, and went to work.

Fold the napkin in half.

Fold in half again.

Cut out a heart free hand. 
 Or make a cardboard template and cut out around it.
I drew this heart simply to show you where I was cutting it out.
  The farther up on the napkin that you cut out the heart increases
the size of hole in the middle of your doilie.

Use them as a runner down the center of your table.

A place mat.

A great family activity in preparation for Valentine's.
Use these doilies to decorate tables, windows, bulletin boards! 

Have Fun!!

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Take 5 with Kathy - "Interference..."

During my study time this week I was prompted to reflect on the effect interference can have on daily life. Although it can take many forms and be examined from several different perspectives, I was particularly interested in how it can break down communication.
According to one website, "interference is anything which alters, modifies, or disrupts a signal as it travels along a channel between a source and a receiver. The term typically refers to the addition of unwanted signals to a useful signal." (1)  My engineer husband helped me understand this more fully! Together we thought of some everyday illustrations of how we experience disruptions that hinder us from receiving effective signals.

Lately when talking to people on my wireless phone they often say, “Your voice is beginning to fade away,” or “You’re breaking up.” One day mom suddenly couldn’t hear me. I could hear her saying, “Is she still there? I can’t hear her. What’s wrong with the phone?” I had no problem hearing her voice, but somehow the signal became disrupted and it interfered with our ability to communicate.

Something that happens occasionally is interference on TV. It’s frustrating to be watching a great program or movie when “checkerboards” or “white noise” prevent me from seeing or hearing clearly. It better not happen this evening (Saturday) when after the long NHL lockout I finally get to watch my two favourite rivals face off!

On our computers, a virus can produce interference interrupting normal operation which can prevent us from receiving and sending important information. Heavy snow or wind often knocks out power restricting electricity from reaching our homes. The use of certain drugs, prescription or illicit, can hinder our brain from communicating properly with other systems of the body causing illness, injury, or even death.

Not all interference is detrimental however. Antibiotics intervene on our behalf to destroy harmful bacteria that is infecting our body. Traffic signals interrupt the busy commute to work allowing for smoother flow and accident prevention. An air traffic controller may need to interfere with a normal flight path by instructing a pilot to take immediate evasive action thus avoiding a mid-air collision. Linesmen request the power company to temporarily cut electricity to avoid electrocution. Interference can sometimes help steer us clear from the path of disastrous consequences.

In my spiritual life, God has given me a very special gift to guide and direct my every thought, action, and attitude. That gift is His presence in the form of the Holy Spirit. For every person who has received God’s gift of salvation, through Jesus Christ, the Spirit is promised to reside in their inner being. As I Corinthians 6:19 (2) says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” Jesus Christ promised to “ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth…you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) In the book of Romans we read, “For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” (8:16, NLT) I often take this truth for granted and was reminded this week to be more appreciative of God’s ever-present gift.

The work of the Holy Spirit in my life is to teach me in all the things of God, to remind me of everything Jesus has said, to convict me of right and wrong, and to guide me into all truth (John 14:26, 16:8,13) He is continually transforming my inborn conscience to be a vehicle through which He can align my thoughts, desires, attitudes, will, and behaviour to be more like Christ’s. This requires me to open my ears and heart to listen for Him and look for how He is working in my life and the world. It means I must keep the lines of communication with Him clear from any interference that would hinder me from hearing His voice.

What kinds of interference? – unconfessed sin, physical and audible distractions, closed mindedness, pride, stubbornness, an unwilling spirit, refusal to change, relationship breaches, just to name a few.

My desire is to live my life free of that which interferes with my ability to be connected to God through the miraculous gift of His Holy Spirit living in me. I want to be so in harmony with Him that I don’t miss how He is directing my every footstep. As I allow Him to add to my faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love they will keep me “from being ineffective and unproductive in (my) knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 1:8)

Until next Sunday,


(2) Scriptures from the NIV unless otherwise noted
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Flour Cupcakes

Last week was my son’s birthday and he was 20.  I cannot believe how time has flown by.  I decided to make him his favourite chocolate cupcakes and even made them grain free.  I found this recipe on "Basic Ingredients" blog.  I have tweeked them a bit.  They are quite possibly the most delicious cupcake.  I sure hope Jess thought so!  God has blessed us with 4 wonderful children and Jess is second oldest and our only January birthday.  

You could easily carry this cupcake into February and share them on Valentines day.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut Flour Cupcakes

½ cup coconut flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs plus 9 Tbsp of liquid egg white
½ cup coconut oil or melted butter (I used ¼ cup butter
and ¼ cup coconut oil)
1 cup of honey

*Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl and then add eggs, egg whites, coconut oil or butter and honey.  Mix well and spoon into cupcake pan (I used cupcake liners) 
Bake 350 14 to 16 minutes or until done.  Makes 9 cupcakes. 

*When you whisk your dry ingredients it puts air into them and helps to make your baking lighter. 

My icing recipe:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Melt in microwave and stir in enough icing sugar until desired consistency.  1/2 cup would make a nice glaze and 1 cup would be a stiffer icing.

Frost cupcakes with my icing recipe or use your choice of cream cheese icing, chocolate mousse, or serve cupcakes warm with a delicious ice cream.  Enjoy!  

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Valentine Garland

While sorting through and organizing Christmas
decor after the holidays I came across this strand
of pink mini lights.  I think they must have been used
on one of my daughters little trees in their
bedroom at some point.  I just kept them out
and thought I might fit them into Valentine's
decor somewhere.  I'm not a big Valentine's
decorator.  Just a little touch here and there.

Pinterest to the rescue for inspiration!
Have you seen these Valentine's garlands?
This is my spin on them.  

Pink (or clear)  mini lights + heart paper doilies + hole punch

Gently fold over the doilie, being careful not to crease it. 
 Punch a half hole.

Gently push a bulb through the hole.  
It doesn't get much easier than that.  
You can alternate heart shaped and round doilies on your garland, 
or use clear lights and red doilies too!
The fun part about creative projects is making it
completely your own. 

Last week I spent some time putting away Christmas dishes
and pulling out some pink for Valentine's.
This was the perfect spot for my new garland.

So pretty at night.


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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Take 5 with Kathy - "Boxed in..."

Why is it that cats love jumping in boxes as you are trying to pack them? Friday evening I was sorting through my Christmas tree ornaments. At first Symba was off napping somewhere, but just as I began wrapping the ornaments he suddenly appeared on the dining room table pouncing on the tissue paper, pawing at enticing dangly things, and delicately tip-toeing among the array of tempting items. No amount of “shooing” or scolding could deter him as he hopped into one box and proudly claimed it. As you can see, he had every intention of staying there! It was a challenge but boxes are stored away until next Christmas.

In my quiet times with the Lord this week, I have been considering how I might be limiting God’s working in my life because of some of my own thinking. The catch phrase, “Don’t put God in a box” came to my mind and I began to reflect on what that really means.

We often hear people say, and I’ve said it myself, “I don’t want to limit God”. Really though, I can’t limit God or put Him in a box. The apostle Paul struggled with this too and he wrote, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36, NLT)

Perhaps the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, marveled at God’s hand, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)

As Job’s friends tried to comfort him in the midst of his incomprehensive suffering, Eliphaz said of God, “He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.” (Job 5:9, NLT) Zophar wondered, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (11:7, NIV) Elihu remarked, “The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power…” (37:23, NIV)

King David praised God with the words, “Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure His greatness.” (Psalm 145:3, NLT) Another psalmist wrote, “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him." (115:3) God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah saying, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (32:27, NIV) Jesus Christ testified to God’s unlimited power when He addressed His disciples regarding salvation, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

God is all-powerful and can do anything He desires…when He wants…how He chooses. When I “limit” God or try to box Him in, what I am really doing is limiting my own ability to see what He is doing, where, when, and how. It is my finite thinking, my preconceived ideas, my beliefs, my interpretations, my biases, my background and upbringing, my vulnerability to traditional viewpoints that may contradict biblical truths, my allowance of Christian legalism to shape my vision of how God shows His hand in my life and the world.

God is always working in whatever ways and means He chooses, but how open are my mind and spirit to actually perceive it? Sometimes I don’t see God’s hand because I simply don’t want to, because I have been taught He doesn’t work in that way anymore, or that it was only for a particular time or purpose. Who am I to try and manipulate the limitless resources at God’s disposal? Maybe when I attempt to do this I actually do hinder God from what He desires to do in and through me! I wonder how many times I have missed out on an opportunity for God to use me in doing something exceptional and beyond what my limited understanding permits?

When Job had enough of his friends’ “advice” God intervened and broke His silence. He wanted Job to listen to Him above all others and remind Job of the Almighty’s surpassing greatness. In humility of spirit Job replied, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!’...I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (42:2-5, NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)

Until next Sunday,

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Take 5 with Kathy - "Listening..."

I’ve been focusing lately on the topic of listening partly because it is the new theme for our church’s ladies Bible study. It is called, “Discerning the Voice of God”, by Priscilla Shirer. Previewing and preparing this DVD series has been really excit
ing. Already, I’ve been incredibly blessed and encouraged.

Listening, for many of us, is a skill that must be learned and developed. It plays a key role in effective communication. All of us have been either misunderstood or we have misinterpreted someone else because of the inability to listen well. Listening differs from hearing in that it requires conscious attention not only to what one is saying but also to what they communicate non-verbally. True listening is very satisfying and rewarding yet I’ve often found that I feel more tired after a long, meaningful, and in-depth conversation than if I had physically exerted myself.  I’ve heard that listening can actually even help to lower our blood pressure! I hope this is so. Perhaps we would be healthier if we listened more than we spoke.

Some of my pet peeves regarding listening include:

- being interrupted before I finish what I’m saying, causing me to lose my train of thought

- sensing the other person is hearing with one ear while mentally formulating what they want to say

- trying to carry on a conversation with someone who is reading, texting, or watching TV while they claim to be listening to me

- annoying background noises that distract me or the other person

I heard this quote as a child and I’ve never forgotten it,

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert McCloskey[i]

Now, there’s one that takes a little extra concentration! How easy it is to simply hear what one says but totally miss what they intended.

I’ve been observing my six-month-old kitten as he develops his listening skills. Usually, he reacts instantly to something he hears causing him to be startled or frightened. As he grows older, however, he is more apt to investigate what he hears and learn what made the noise and whether it is something to fear or not. He tends to sleep through sounds that once drove him to frenzy while other noises, such as my husband opening the garage door, are greeted with pointed ears and a soft swishing of his “feather-duster” tail.

Listening for the voice of God has occupied much of my thoughts over the past few months. It takes time and practice and is a life-long pursuit. No one ever gets it right all the time. But, it is something that God desires for us in order for our relationship with Him to be intimate, meaningful, and lasting.

In Jeremiah 33:3 God says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

When the apostles Peter, James, and John were with Jesus as He was transfigured before their eyes, God spoke to them from a cloud saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”

For those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, we belong to Him. He calls Himself the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

When I anticipate and expect God to speak, He often does so with a clarity that astounds me! This happened to me on Thursday morning as I was preparing to attend a meeting. I suddenly felt overwhelmed with anxiety and physical discomfort making it necessary to sit down. I cried out to the Lord and opened my Bible. As I read Psalm 95:6-7, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.”, I closed my eyes and asked God to speak. My mind was promptly flooded with verse after verse from His Word. Many I had learned as a child and teenager and they came to me with such accuracy I knew it was not just from memory! As the voice of God penetrated my soul I experienced emotional release and the tears flowed. A peace came over me and in spite of some physical discomfort, I was renewed with confidence that God would enable me to get up and do what He had called me to do.

I looked down at the next verse and simply marveled at God’s timing, “Today, if you hear His voice…”

Have you ever noticed that “silent” and “listen” are spelled with the same letters?

Until next Sunday,


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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kale Soup

Happy New Year my friends!

I have a delicious recipe to share with you
 that will keep you toasty warm in this snow and cold.  
It will go great with a batch of Coconut Flour Biscuits
that I shared with you this fall.  

Kale Soup

2 packs Italian sausage
1 onion
1 tsp garlic
Combine sausage, onion and garlic.  Cook it in a skillet, and transfer to large pot.

In a large pot add to meat :
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans kidney beans
4-6 potatoes diced
1 bushel of kale (6-8 cups chopped)
2 cups water or chicken broth (no salt added)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook 30-mins to an hour.


On The Menu Monday

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