Happy Easter my Friends!

On April 20, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

What an amazingly, incomprehensible gift we can share, today! .. Romans 5:8  -  ”But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Luke 24:1 – 8  -  ”On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they [...]

What an amazingly, incomprehensible gift we can share, today!

..

Romans 5:8  -  ”But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Luke 24:1 – 8  -  ”On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

empty tomb Easter message

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The Romans Road

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Jesus died to save us, so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price of our sin, and so we can be assured of eternity in His presence.  If you feel led to know more about how to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Bible shows us a simple path to understanding what that means and surrendering our lives to His leading and direction.  Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions; and if you accept Christ, today, let me know that, too, so I can praise Him with you and add you to my prayers, for you to continue to grow in grace and knowledge.  Have a blessing-filled, Easter!

,,

Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We all have sin in our hearts. We were born under the power of sin’s control.

Step 1 – Admit that you are a sinner.

 

Romans 6:23a  “…The wages of sin is death…”

A holy and righteous God cannot tolerate or be in the presence of sin.  With our sin we have “earned” death – a spiritual death that ends in eternal separation from God, from His love, from light – from anyone or anything – eternal emptiness, loneliness and despair.  Hell IS a reality.  We will ALL live for eternity.  The question is where will we spend it?  You decide that for yourself, when you decide if you will accept the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice to pay your sin debt.  God will never drag anyone kicking and screaming into heaven.  It is your free choice — a free gift.  Recognizing and accepting responsibility for your sin has to be your decision.  He won’t force you.

Step 2 – Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

 

Romans 6:23b  “…But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

It’s free!  You can’t earn it.  You and I can never be “good enough”.  Without Christ living in us, we could never keep the holy and perfect standards of Almighty God.  Even with Christ in us, as long as we live in this fallen world, we will still fall and have setbacks.  The promise is that Christ has already paid the price of those missteps and made a way for us to get up and begin, again, striving each and every day to become more and more like Him, through His amazing gift — not by anything we could ever do on our own.  When we recognize our sin we become so grieved by it, we just need to confess it, ask forgiveness and get it out of our lives. The word repent means “to turn away from”.  Repenting involves not just being sorry, but making a conscious turn away from our sinful habits.  Through Christ we WILL be strong enough to do that.

Step 3 – Ask God to forgive you and save you.  Tell Him your desire is for Him to lead and direct your life.

 

Romans 5:8,  “God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid sin’s penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that  we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life.  He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!

Step 4 – Give your life to God… His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change.  His love bought you out of being a slave to sin.  His love is what saves you —  not religion, or church membership.  God loves you!

 

Romans 10:13  “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord  will be saved!”

Step 5 – Pray in Jesus’ name.  Ask Him to save you.  Jesus tells us that no one comes to the Father except through Him. 

Romans 10:9,10  “…If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting  in salvation.”

When Jesus is “calling” you, it’s unmistakable.  Sometimes, we try to ignore it.  But, I promise, you won’t be able to get it out of your mind, no matter how hard you resist or try to forget Him. Once He opens your eyes and heart to the truth — reveals Himself to you — you WILL know it to be true.  You may have heard the Gospel dozens of times and, now, for the first time, it makes sense.   Jesus pursues you, because He loves you.  He wants a relationship with you.  

Step 6 - If you believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again on the third day to redeem and save you, ask Him to save you, pray for forgiveness, turn away from your sin (It doesn’t mean you’ll be magically perfect, but because He is perfect and sacrificed Himself for your sin, you will be forgiven. You will be consciously choosing a new way of living — turning away from past sin and moving forward in a new direction with Christ leading the way.)  Ask Jesus to be Lord of your life, showing you how to, and giving you the will to, live a life that is pleasing to God.  He WILL hear you.  You WILL immediately be saved!  You will become a brother, or sister, in Christ, adopted into the family of God and have eternal salvation!   

 

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How to Make Your Own Gyro Meat, a Simple Recipe with Delicious Results

On April 19, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

A gyro (yee-rō) is a Greek dish, usually a mixture of lamb and beef, roasted on a vertical spit; and is typically served as a sandwich built on a pita bread with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.  Gyros are definitely a family favorite, but a treat we rarely have since the meat is not commonly found [...]

How to Make Your Own Gyro Meat | Busy-at-Home

Warm, savory gyro meat, wrapped in a pita and topped with cool cucumber tzatziki, fresh tomatoes slices and slivers of red onion. Heavenly!  A delicious and filling meal, you can hold in your hand.

A gyro (yee-rō) is a Greek dish, usually a mixture of lamb and beef, roasted on a vertical spit; and is typically served as a sandwich built on a pita bread with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.  Gyros are definitely a family favorite, but a treat we rarely have since the meat is not commonly found here in the Midwest, without visiting a restaurant or our city’s 4th of July festival food court.  It never occurred to me that I might be able to make this wonderful, savory meat at home, until we were lucky enough to sample a variety of lamb meats from Shepherd Song Farm.  Seeing ground lamb got me thinking about gyros and if I might be able to come up with something similar.

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce to Serve with DIY Gyro Meat | Busy-at-Home

Tzatziki sauce is almost as important to the gyro, as the meat. The recipe for this cool cucumber-yogurt sauce is super simple and included for you, below.

I know, like me, you’ve seen those big vertical rotisseries, spinning slowly, roasting gyro meat, and then the chef stepping up with a large carving knife to shave off thin layers from the large rotating “loaf”.  To get the meat, which is obviously ground, to stay put on a vertical spit, I knew it would have to be packed pretty tightly in order to hold together, which meant the meat would have to be ground super fine. I wanted to recreate that almost summer sausage-like texture of gyro meat, without having a vertical spit of my own to roast it on. Since it reminds me so much of sausage, I decided to try and use a variation of my own summer sausage recipe, to create gyro meat at home. After Googling some information, I discovered there are a LOT of varying opinions out there about the ratio of lamb to beef in gyros.  I had one pound of each, to work with, so that settled the question for me – a 50-50 ratio it would be!  Turns out, that’s absolutely perfect!  :)

When I made the recipe the first time, I used the same Morton Tender Quick Salt that I use when making summer sausage.  Since it is used in the curing process, I thought it might help my gyro meat hold together well and help with that texture I was looking for.  It turned out delicious, but I don’t really think I need the meat to be cured.  I hadn’t thought ahead to the curing salt giving my meat that deep pink color.  They can’t really be using it in traditional gyros, because the meat is usually browned, not pink. I changed my recipe and will be making it with plain Celtic sea salt, in the future.  That is reflected in the recipe, below, even though the pictures have the Morton Tender Quick Salt in them.

Gyro Meat

Rating: 51

15 minutes

2 hours

2 hours, 15 minutes

8-10 servings

Gyro Meat

Ingredients

  • 1 lb hamburger (80/20)
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt, fine
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Instructions

  1. I chose beef with a slightly higher fat content than usual, since the lamb is so lean. The long cooking time will require the addition of the extra moisture and the extra fat will enhance flavor.
  2. I pulsed both the lamb and the hamburger in my high-speed blender, to create the fine texture, I was looking for. Do it in sections, so your blender doesn't "stress", or if you have a food processor, follow the instructions for processing the meat in there. The texture will be almost a paste when you are finished.
  3. Once the meat is ground as finely as you can get it, mix the lamb and beef together in a large bowl.
  4. Add all the spices and seasonings.
  5. Mix thoroughly and be sure your seasonings are well distributed throughout the meat.
  6. Press the meat firmly into a 9x5 loaf pan and bake at 275 degrees for 2 hours..
  7. Remove from oven. There will be a substantial amount of drippings in the bottom of the pan. I poured it off and then let the loaf sit in the pan for about 15 minutes before slicing.
  8. Slice very thin and use to make gyro sandwiches or add to salads.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes

We served the meat immediately after slicing it, but I have seen it suggested that you can achieve the crispy exterior layer that comes from roasting gyro meat on a spit, by slicing the meat very thin and then laying it in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and broil for 1 or 2 minutes until the top becomes crispy. I haven't tried that yet, but it sounds delicious and I will definitely try it out on our next batch.

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How to Make Your Own Gyro Meat | Busy-at-Home

This was tender and delicious — very savory with my choice of spices. The only thing we will do differently next time is to use plain sea salt, instead of the curing salt we used for the first batch. Curing salt gives meat a pink tint and a slightly more “compressed” texture.  I want it to be more like traditional gyro meat, so have edited the recipe to reflect that I will be using Celtic sea salt in all future batches.  SOOOOO good!

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 large cucumbers, seeded and minced
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh mint, minced fine

Instructions

  1. Seed and mince the cucumbers.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld. This gets more flavorful, the longer it sits.
  4. Enjoy it as the dressing in your gyro sandwiches or as a topping/dressing for any of your favorite dishes.
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I’m sure my recipe isn’t much like an authentic Greek grandma’s , but it is truly delicious and my whole family enjoyed my Americanized “Greek” food.  :)  I hope you’ll enjoy preparing it for your family, too!  What “eating out” dishes have you tried to make at home?  What were your favorites?  Can you share your secret recipe?  :)

How to Make Your Own Gyro Meat | Busy-at-Home

You can do this! Make your own gyro meat, at home. Your family will love it!

Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly – Getting Creative with Kool-Aid Fruit Drinks

On April 17, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

.. What says summer, more than icy cold  –  sweet and juicy  –  watermelon?  It’s definitely one of my favorite warm, weather indulgences!  Kool-Aid’s new ready-to-serve, 96 ounce bottles made it easy for me to meld that favorite flavor with some lime and jalapeno to come up with a kickin’ sweet Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly [...]

Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly | Busy-at-Home  #KoolOff #shop #cbias #recipe

This delicious Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly is a deliciously, grown-up spin on a summertime classic – Kool-Aid. Spread it on crackers with cream cheese, toasted English muffins or mix with cream cheese to make a delicious spread for wraps. It’s fabulous to brush on grilled chicken in the last 2 or 3 minutes of cooking.

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What says summer, more than icy cold  –  sweet and juicy  –  watermelon?  It’s definitely one of my favorite warm, weather indulgences!  Kool-Aid’s new ready-to-serve, 96 ounce bottles made it easy for me to meld that favorite flavor with some lime and jalapeno to come up with a kickin’ sweet Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly recipe for our family to enjoy, this summer.  It’s so quick and easy, you’ll have a batch put together in under 30 minutes and have jelly to enjoy as well as to share. What a great treat to add to an Easter Basket, to give as a hostess gift or as part of a gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!  Flavor builds upon flavor as your tastebuds experience, first, the sweetness of watermelon with the slight tang of lime; and then are called to attention with the slight heat of the jalapeno at the finish. Fruit drinks are more than just beverages, my friends.  You can get incredibly creative and make some fabulous summertime recipes!  Enjoy this one and then put your crafty pants on and create something spectacular in your own kitchen.  I know you can do it!

Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly

Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly

Ingredients

  • 7 Tablespoons pectin
  • 1 Watermelon Kool-Aid packet, (unsweetened powder)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups ready-to-drink Watermelon Kool-Aid
  • 1 medium lime, juice and zest
  • 1 jalapeno

Instructions

  1. Mix the sugar and pectin in a large, deep pan. Make sure to choose a pot with enough extra room to allow the jelly mixture to boil up double in height in the pan.
  2. Add the Watermelon Kool-Aid packet and stir to combine. (This picture shows three packets, but you only need one for the recipe.)
  3. Pour in the ready-to-drink Kool-Aid.
  4. Add the lime juice and zest.
  5. Cut four slits down the sides of the jalapeno without cutting all the way to the end. This will allow some of the heat from the veins and seeds of the jalapeno to cook into your jelly, without having to strain seeds out at the end.
  6. Bring the jelly mixture with the jalapeno, to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of your pan, being careful that it is immersed in the liquid, but not touching the bottom of the pan.
  7. The jelly should come to a full-rolling boil. You can reduce the heat slightly, if necessary to keep it from boiling over, but keep the heat high enough that it continues to vigorously boil. This is evaporating excess water and thickening your jelly.
  8. Boil the jelly until it reaches 225 degrees on your candy thermometer.
  9. Remove the jalapeno.
  10. Pour the jelly into clean, hot canning jars. I used 1/2 pint jars, but pint or quart jars will work, too. Be sure your jars are warm, so they don't break when you pour the hot jelly into them. The easiest way for me to prep canning jars is to run them through the quick-cycle on my dishwasher.
  11. Place the jar flats and bands on the jars and screw them on tight. At this point, you can decide to keep all your jam in the fridge. It will easily keep up to 6 weeks. As a matter of fact, the jars will probably seal on their own, as they cool. However, for long-term storage, outside the refrigerator, you will need to process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, or the recommended time for your altitude. For detailed information and pictures on how to complete this simple water-bath canning process, read the post I did about making Strawberry Jam. You'll be shocked at how easy it is!
  12. Enjoy!
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Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly | Busy-at-Home  #KoolOff #shop #cbias #recipe

Sweet and spicy delight to add flavor to your summertime snacks and dishes — Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly — made with Kool-Aid.

 

This recipe was even simpler because of being able to use the new Ready-to-Drink Kool-Aid.  It is available in three flavors, Fruit Punch, Watermelon and Grape.  It was a snap to find at my local Walmart.  At our store the display was right in the juice and beverage aisle next to the other Kool-Aid products.  Some stores will even have an island display in the center aisle, so check both locations at your own store.

Thanks to Kool-Aid, and their #KoolOff campaign, a few of our lucky Busy-at-Home readers may have Jim Dillard, pro fisherman, coming to their local Walmart, throughout June and August! There will be product giveaways, t-shirts, games, and more fun activities!  The participating stores and dates are: Friday May 30th 5-7pm: 13675 Highway 43 Russellville, AL WM SupercenterSaturday May 31st 3-5pm: 3100 Hough Rd Florence, AL WM SupercenterSaturday May 31st 6-8pm: 517 Avalon Ave Muscle Shoals, AL WM SupercenterFriday June 20th 5-7pm: 1210 Mineral Wells Ave Paris, TN WM SupercenterSaturday June 21st 3-5pm: 1225 Paris Rd Murray, KY WM SupercenterSaturday June 21st 6-8pm: 809 N 12th St Murray, KY WM SupercenterFriday August 8th 5-7pm: 360 Harbison Blvd Columbia, SC WM SupercenterSaturday August 9th  3-5pm: 1326 Bush River Rd Columbia, SC WM SupercenterSaturday August 9th 6-8pm: 2401 Augusta Rd West Columbia, SC WM Supercenter.

Kool-Aid display at Walmart - ingredients for Watermelon Jelly | Busy-at-Home #KoolOff #shop #cbias #recipe

The entire end cap display of the juice aisle was devoted to new Ready-to-Drink Kool-Aid in 96 oz. bottles.

The fantastic 3/4 gallon bottles of Kool-Aid fruit drink are an ingenious idea – not just for quick and easy recipes, like my Jalapeno Lime Watermelon Jelly, but as a time and mess saver at picnics and birthday parties in the park, or even at your neighborhood barbecue.  If you’ve ever tried to transport a pitcher of fruit juice or drinks, you’ll agree with me, that the size and shape of the bottle, along with the sealed lid, make it a much easier solution to the outdoor beverage problem.  And the hand grips molded into the bottle, make it super easy to handle and to pour.  I envision all kinds of quick and easy summer treats, like popsicles, cupcakes with Kool-Aid frosting and some Kool-Aid ice cream!

Kool-Aid’s Facebook page has some great ideas and tips for using Kool-Aid in recipes and craft projects.  Be sure to check them out!  What delicious ideas do you have for using quick and easy, ready -to-drink Kool-Aid, this summer? I can’t wait to hear what you would make!

 …

How to Make Your Own Squares of Chocolate for Baking

On April 12, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

Growing up, the most used cookbook in our home was one that had been my great grandmother’s.  She had given it to my mom, and as a child, it’s one of the first recipe books I remember reading and using.  I loved it best because it was old.  Even in my childhood I was fascinated [...]

Recipe to make your own 1 oz squares of chocolate | Busy-at-Home

Squares of chocolate chopped for use in a recipe.  I don’t, normally, keep them on hand.

Growing up, the most used cookbook in our home was one that had been my great grandmother’s.  She had given it to my mom, and as a child, it’s one of the first recipe books I remember reading and using.  I loved it best because it was old.  Even in my childhood I was fascinated with history and things from the past.  I was also captivated by the fact that my mother’s hand-written notes left a trail through all the recipes she had used. I could know how well she liked a recipe by the obvious wear on the pages, often splatters and stains that I suspect could more likely be attributed to we kids as we learned to cook, using her favorite recipes.

Hearth and home cookbook plus my squares of chocolate recipe

That first picture is what the original cookbook looked like. In some wonderful stroke of Divine providence, I discovered this copy for sale online and grabbed it up. I’ve never seen another since. The second shot is of our actual uber-loved volume, handed down through three generations in our family. The cover is gone. It’s been spilled on and stained. Notes are penned throughout. It has definitely been used. It’s a treasure-trove of childhood memories, for me, and a glimpse into history.  It’s usually secreted away in a sealed bag, to preserve what’s left of its pages and print, but I couldn’t resist pulling it out and sharing it with you.

Hearth and Home is a collection of recipes that I believe had been contributed by women from my great-grandmother’s church; and sprinkled throughout the text were quotes or “words of wisdom” from the recipe’s contributors.  I think it’s fun to see that back then, they wrote down a recipe, (that most likely had been in their head for decades); and they wrote them, as they were stored in their heads.  Many of the details were “just assumed”.  :) There was no formal format for writing down a recipe, as most were probably handed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next.  Often my mom’s notes in this cookbook were to add in an oven temperature and cooking time, as the contributors would naturally assume that those things would “just be understood”.  The other thing that struck me as I thumbed through the pages this evening, is that every page was HAND-written.  After comparing the handwriting on many pages, I’m convinced that the same person carefully copied each recipe into the book.  What a treasure it is!

cookbook pages plus squares of chocolate recipe

1. “Be careful of your thoughts.  They may break into word at any time.”  That tidbit of wisdom is timeless! 2. Three underlines under the title! I’m guessing that was a good one! 3. I remember Mom making ketchup and after seeing the condition of this page, I wonder if this was the recipe she used. The instructions also made me chuckle, as Mrs. George Biere obviously believed we would all understand to put the spice-filled cheesecloth into the pot with the other ingredients and then to remove the cheese cloth of spices, before we decided to thicken with cornstarch.  It’s just common sense, right?  :)

Some of Mom’s notes were more detailed than just temperatures and times, though.  If I look very closely, the faint outline of her homemade noodle recipe is penned onto the inside of the back cover. And though it has been missing for many years, the memory is so vivid to me of two recipes that always lived on the inside of the FRONT cover of our Hearth and Home cookbook.  The first was for my Grandma’s sugar cookies and the second was just a small note in the upper corner with the formula to substitute for a one ounce square of unsweetened chocolate.  That formula is in my head, now, as I saw it so many times over the years. But as I thought about it, I realized that I often do exactly what the wonderful ladies from the Bethel Evangelical Free Church did way back then.  I know it, so I assume everyone else does, too.  So much of what is second-nature to me, I take for granted that others will have already been taught.  Great pieces of knowledge,  heritage and wisdom are lost for that way of thinking; so today, I am determined to share with you the formula for a square of chocolate.  I’ll categorize it in our Kitchen Basics section.  And to further enhance your vast database of kitchen knowledge, I’ll give you the formula for semi-sweet chocolate, too. :)

handwritten notes in a cookbook plus a squares of chocolate recipe

It’s such a nostalgic moment to thumb through these pages and find my mom’s very familiar handwriting.

With the seemingly limitless digital age we live in, things like old cookbooks aren’t pulled off the shelves very often, any more.  We really have lost some of the magic and memories that they could hold for us, but the wisdom can definitely still be carried forward.  I don’t stain many cookbooks, these days, but I wonder if my flour-crusted laptop, Kindle and camera will hold any secret treasures or memories for my own kids and grandkids?  :)  I sure hope so!

What to Substitute for a 1 oz. Square of Chocolate in a Recipe

Rating: 51

1 minute

1 ounce (square) of baking chocolate

What to Substitute for a 1 oz. Square of Chocolate in a Recipe

Ingredients

    For 1 ounce of Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • For 1 ounce of Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Instructions

  1. For either recipe, simply melt the butter and combine the ingredients.
  2. I'm also guessing you could substitute coconut oil or olive oil for the butter. This is just the way I learned it and, back then, the fat of choice would have been lard or homemade butter. I use butter, today, when I make it.
  3. It doesn't get much simpler than that! :) Now, go make something fabulously chocolate. You have all the keys to the kingdom!

Notes

Some handy conversions to know, if you need multiple squares of chocolate:

4 Tablespoons = 1/4 cup, 8 Tablespoons = 1/2 cup, 12 Tablespoons = 3/4 cup, 16 Tablespoons = 1 cup

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Delicious and Simple Grilled Lamb Chops Recipe and a $50 Gift Card Give Away!

On April 9, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

Lamb, whether it is a roast leg of lamb, or lamb chops, or even a gorgeous crown roast (rack of lamb) is a variety of meat commonly associated with Easter, and yet, it is a wonderful choice for meals, year-round.  I had previously never eaten lamb, nor had I tried to cook it.  I am [...]

Shepherd's Song Farm logo  --  lamb chops recipe

Lamb, whether it is a roast leg of lamb, or lamb chops, or even a gorgeous crown roast (rack of lamb) is a variety of meat commonly associated with Easter, and yet, it is a wonderful choice for meals, year-round.  I had previously never eaten lamb, nor had I tried to cook it.  I am so excited to have been given the opportunity to learn more about cooking this delicious protein through a new found sponsor, Shepherd Song Farm.   Larry and Judy Moses Jacoby operate their artisan grown lamb and goat farm near Menomonie, Wisconsin.  Their animals are 100% grass fed, pasture raised and never confined.  They don’t use antibiotics, hormones, grains or animal byproducts.  After cooking and serving three different lamb products, from Shepherd Song Farm, my family is hooked!  The quality and care taken is obvious from the tender, delicate flavor of each savory morsel.

Shepherd Song Farm leg of lamb  --  lamb chops recipe

Moist, tender and succulent leg of lamb I prepared from Shepherd Song Farm quality, grass-fed lamb.  This recipe was also simple and required only a light marinade.  I’ll be sharing it soon!

Great care was taken in packaging my order.  The meat arrived packed in a styrofoam ice chest, inserted into a shipping carton.  (Minimum purchases of at least $50 in Shepherd Song Farm meat are necessary in order to ensure there is enough meat to keep the entire package cold, during shipping.)  Each package of lamb arrived, at my home, vacuum sealed and the meat was in prime condition!  I couldn’t wait to be able to try it!

Never having cooked lamb, before, I was excited that the Shepherd Song Farm website had so many recipe ideas and tips, plus Judy has been so kind and helpful in answering the email questions, I have sent.  The Shepherd Song Farm website has advice for everyone from beginners to veterans.  I didn’t end up using one of the recipes from their site, but since I am definitely a beginner, opted to start with something super simple.  Today, I’m delighted to share with you the easiest, juicy, succulent and flavorful grilled Lamb Chops recipe.  No special marinating was required and there’s no long, ingredient list to send you hurrying off to the grocery store.  From fridge, to table, this delicious main dish is simple and quick to prepare.  We served ours with baked potatoes and sweet corn and couldn’t have eaten a more scrumptious meal if we had paid top dollar at a fancy restaurant.  I can’t wait for you to give this a try and enjoy it yourself!

..

Simple Grilled Lamb Chops

Simple Grilled Lamb Chops

Ingredients

  • Shepherd Song Farm's lamb loin chops
  • Lawry's Seasoning salt
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Select the number of lamb loin chops needed for your dinner. I found that one was perfect for me, but that men enjoyed two.
  2. Place the chops on a platter or tray and sprinkle both sides with Lawry's Seasoning Salt.
  3. Allow the seasoned lamb chops to sit and come to room temperature, before grilling (30 to 40 minutes).
  4. Preheat your grill to between 450 and 500 degrees.
  5. The trick to juicy, tender lamb chops will be to quickly sear them on both sides and then allow them to finish cooking to an internal temperature of 130 degrees. It will only be a few minutes. Shepherd Song Farm lamb is grass-fed, meaning it will cook in even less time, than other lamb, since it is higher in protein and has lower fat content.
  6. Be sure to use tongs instead of a fork, when you turn the meat. This will prevent poking holes that will allow the juices to escape.
  7. When the internal temperature of your chops is 130 degrees, remove them to a platter, brush each chop lightly with butter and cover them, loosely with foil. Allow them to rest for at least 20 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise as the chops finish cooking.
  8. Serve with your favorite side dishes. We had baked potatoes and corn. DELISH!
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Shepherd Song Farm Lamb Chops recipe

An unexpected flare up, after turning my lamb loin chops had me fearful that they would be grossly overcooked and that I had ruined them. I was delighted to find that even though the fat layer around the edges had charred, the meat was still PERFECTION!  My husband and son raved over this delicious main dish and at its juicy, tenderness! I count my first attempt at cooking lamb a wonderful success!

 

The Jacoby’s take great care in selecting the sheep and goat breeds they raise.  They understand that those who feel lamb must be cooked with large amounts of garlic, to be palatable, have eaten lamb from a breed intended for wool, rather than those breeds specifically intended for meat.  It’s why I feel confident in recommending that if you have previously felt you didn’t care for lamb, sampling a cut from Shepherd Song Farm, will change your mind and make you anxious to try more.

Shepherd Song Farm is committed to humane care and handling of their livestock, to a 100% grass-fed diet, and the patience to allow their stock a natural growth-span, without hormones or grain.  While this means it takes longer for their animals to grow, the end result is superior-quality, pasture-raised meat whose delicate flavor is influenced by the natural and varied diet.  The meat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and beta-carotene.  On top of that, I can speak from personal experience that it is delectable and will be a joyfully received treat, whenever it graces your table.

To purchase this high-quality Shepherd Song Farm premium lamb or goat meat for your own table, visit the Shepherd Song Farm online store.  Leg of Lamb is currently on sale for 20% off (through April) and Busy-at-Home readers may, also, use this exclusive coupon code 24Chops to receive 15% off your order of lamb or goat chops!

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will win $50 in their choice of premium Shepherd Song Farm lamb and/or goat.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post, after visiting the Shepherd Song Farm’s website and tell me something new you learned there  -or- which cut of meat you would most like to try if you win the $50 gift code.  Leave your answer in a comment on this post and then register your comment in the Rafflecopter form.  I can’t wait for you to try these delicious meats!  Good luck!


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What’s In Season for April? Save Money and Maximize Flavor and Nutrition When You Buy Local, In-Season Produce

On April 4, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

One of the simplest ways to maximize our food dollars, and get the best flavor and nutrition punch for the money we spend, is to purchase foods that are “in season”.  In season means that those foods are most commonly harvested at that time and are at the peak of their flavor and nutritional values. [...]

One of the simplest ways to maximize our food dollars, and get the best flavor and nutrition punch for the money we spend, is to purchase foods that are “in season”.  In season means that those foods are most commonly harvested at that time and are at the peak of their flavor and nutritional values.  Supply and demand saves our budget when we purchase these produce items at their peak, because that is also the time when they are most plentiful and readily available.

My lists are for items you will find in the United States, and even then, some will be more plentiful in one area of the country, than in others with later growing seasons.  Use the list and walk through your local grocery store.  Note the items that are on the shelves in your produce department, and their prices.  Pick the ones that fit your family’s tastes, budget and geographical region.  Select from a wide variety of types and colors to maximize a healthy, well-balanced diet and don’t be afraid to try something new. You’d be amazed at the new “favorites” you’ll discover.

Asparagus in season is a powerhouse of nutrition! It's a rich source of glutathione which helps our bodies detox by breaking down carcinogens and free radicals. It's a natural diuretic, helps fight cognitive decline associated with aging and is loaded with antioxidants that help slow aging of our cells. It's great raw, in salads, grilled, roasted or steamed. If you don't have a patch in your garden, watch for great prices and the most tender stalks in early spring.

Asparagus is a powerhouse of nutrition! It’s a rich source of glutathione which helps our bodies detox by breaking down carcinogens and free radicals. It’s a natural diuretic, helps fight cognitive decline associated with aging and is loaded with antioxidants that help slow aging of our cells. It’s great raw, in salads, grilled, roasted or steamed. If you don’t have a patch in your garden, watch for great prices and the most tender stalks in early spring.

Look for These Fruits and Vegetables in April

Artichokes
Arugula (Rocket)
Asparagus
Avocado
Beans
Beets
Broccoli
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Chicory
Chives
Cucumbers
Dandelion greens
Fava Beans
Fiddlehead Fern
Horseradish
Leeks (end of season)
Lettuce (leaf and head)
Limes
Mangoes
Morel Mushrooms

fresh strawberries in season can be found almost year-round in most places, now. But there is a HUGE difference in taste and quality. Some warmer parts of the country are beginning to enjoy them, now, but even if that's not you, be patient and hold out for the local ones that will be coming in the next month or two. They will be of premium quality and flavor and so much less expensive.

You can usually find strawberries almost year-round in most places, now. But there is a HUGE difference in taste and quality. Some warmer parts of the country are beginning to enjoy them, now, but even if that’s not you, be patient and hold out for the local ones that will be coming in the next month or two. They will be of premium quality and flavor and so much less expensive.

Oranges
Parsnips
Papayas
Peas
Pineapples
Ramps

Rhubarb
Scallions
Shallots
Spinach
Strawberries
Sweet Onions
Turnips
Watercress
Zucchini

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What are your family’s favorite April fruits and vegetables?  Do they like them best raw or cooked?  What’s your favorite way to prepare them?  Is there a vegetable you’ve always been afraid to try, but might consider if you had an easy recipe?

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Beautifully, Unique and Delectably Delicious Easter Candy and a See’s Chocolate Give Away

On April 3, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

Chocolate is an Easter candy MUST at our house!  Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, chocolate bars, chocolate….well…..everything!  lol  and chocolate is plentiful during Easter season.    Most any store you enter will have at least a small display of chocolate sweets to stuff into bright-colored baskets filled with cellophane grass. Once in awhile something truly special [...]

See's Easter Candy in a splatterware bowl

A splatterware bowl lined with ivory burlap is more my style when it comes to creating Easter baskets. The baskets are DEFINITELY not the focus of attention, when they are filled with beautifully treats from See’s!

Chocolate is an Easter candy MUST at our house!  Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, chocolate bars, chocolate….well…..everything!  lol  and chocolate is plentiful during Easter season.    Most any store you enter will have at least a small display of chocolate sweets to stuff into bright-colored baskets filled with cellophane grass. Once in awhile something truly special is called for, though.  I always have a great deal of fun filling “baskets” for our children and grandchildren.  I use the term “basket”, loosely, as the containers vary from year to year and tend to be an item of practical use for the time after the treats are gone — mugs, bowls, water bottles, etc.  They aren’t necessarily glamorous or as festive as commercial Easter baskets, but I find they are usually as welcome as the treats inside.

See's Easter candy - Bunny Hop Box

This sweet Bunny Hop Box contains about 12 pieces of fine assorted chocolates from See’s. It is only $7.10 and the sturdy box can be reused for decorating or to hold Easter treats, next year.

I have discovered that I can marry my desire for practicality with festive and decorative containers, by gifting specialty boxes of chocolate from See’s Candy.  They are especially appealing when sending a gift to loved ones who live far away and won’t be able to share the holiday with us.  The decorated and sturdy boxes that delicious See’s candies are packaged in are perfect for storing treasures, when the treats are gone and I love using them in decorative displays and centerpieces, no matter what season or holiday.  See’s has always created beautiful holiday boxes for their confectioneries and Easter is no exception.  If you are looking for wonderful Easter candy, packaged beautifully to share with friends and loved ones, this Easter, look no further than See’s.  Use their sweets to create your own custom baskets at home or pick from their wide selection and have them shipped as a surprise for those you want to send a special rememberance.

See's Easter candy - Easter Treasure Egg

The Easter Treasure Egg from See’s is a beautifully decorated egg-shaped box (6 inches tall) filled with samples of their most delicious sweets! Again, it is a container that you will reuse and decorate with, and a fantastic value at only $11.20 for around 20 pieces of premium See’s candies.

 

See's Easter candy - Happy Easter Box

The Happy Easter Box contains Mini Milk Chocolate Bunnies, long-lasting lollypops, colorful Sugar Sticks and creamy Milk Chocolate Eggs. Decorated beautifully, it would be a delight in the hands of any child and they will be able to use the box for storing treasures when the candies are gone. It’s a bargain at only $6.80 for about 16 pieces.

 

GIVEAWAY:

What are your favorite ways to treat family and friends?  Are you an Easter basket traditionalist?  Or do you, like me, “think outside the basket”?  If so, there is plenty of time to avail yourself of See’s gloriously pretty and scrumptious Easter treats.  Check out their  Easter offerings and pick your favorite.  Leave a comment on this post telling me the name of the one you’d most love to try and then register your comment in the Rafflecopter form, below.  One lucky Busy-at-home reader will win a $25 See’s Candy Gift Code to purchase premium chocolate for themselves!

 

See's Easter Candy - Jelly Beans and Milk Chocolate Eggs

Milk Chocolate Eggs and Jelly Beans are Easter Basket staples and these generous bags of sweet treats from See’s would be welcomed by anyone on your gift list.

 

See's Easter candy - Easter Celebrations Box

The Easter Celebration Box bosts 2 white chocolate truffles and an assortment of fine See’s chocolates (approximately 14 pieces). This elegant, sturdy and oval-shaped box of premium chocolates is $13.30.

 


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Gluten-Free Blue Corn, Brown Rice and Oat Flour Blend Recipe

On March 27, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I love this Gluten-Free Blue Corn, Brown Rice and Oat Flour Blend Recipe for making muffins and quick breads, corn bread, waffles or pancakes. Using this gluten-free blend lets all your family and friends enjoy your baking talents. This is just one of several possible gluten-free flour blends, you can [...]

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Milling blue popcorn flour.

Milling blue popcorn for my gluten-free corn flour blend.

I love this Gluten-Free Blue Corn, Brown Rice and Oat Flour Blend Recipe for making muffins and quick breads, corn bread, waffles or pancakes. Using this gluten-free blend lets all your family and friends enjoy your baking talents. This is just one of several possible gluten-free flour blends, you can create in your own home, without the unwanted additives and prohibitive cost.  It’s a win for everyone.   If you’re looking for other gluten-free flour blend recipes, check out my Brown Rice, Amaranth and Oat Blend, with instructions for custom blending your own family’s favorite.  The blue corn is just a fun touch I added to make some treats for our granddaughters, Blue “Pixie Dust” Crepes filled with Honey, Berries and Yogurt and Blue Pixie Dust Tea Cakes (Gluten-Free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries).  You could definitely substitute yellow corn flour, in place of the blue.  I used blue popcorn to mill the flour in this recipe.

Blue corn flour milled from Amish Midnight Blue Popcorn - Gluten-Free Blue Corn

Blue corn flour milled from Amish Midnight Blue Popcorn.

Blue (or Yellow) Corn Gluten Free Flour Blend

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer.
  2. Use in muffins, quick breads, corn bread pancakes, waffles etc.

Notes

The links in the recipe are to the grain I use to mill my own flour, however you can easily find the flours already milled by clicking one of those links and then doing a search for that specific flour. Amazon has a great variety and typically some of the best prices.

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Gluten-Free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries

These Gluten-Free Blue Corn Muffins with Blueberries were made with this flour blend.

 

 

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You Can Win a Million in the Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contest! Are You Entered, Yet?

On March 18, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Lay’s. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating. The Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” contest is inviting you to submit ideas for the next great Lay’s potato chip flavor and a chance to win the $1 million grand prize. [...]

I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Lay’s. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Lays-Do-Us-A-Flavor-Contest-Logo

The Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” contest

is inviting you to submit ideas for the next great Lay’s potato chip flavor and a chance to win the $1 million grand prize.  See Rules. A judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts will narrow down the contest submissions to just four finalist flavors. Those finalists will then have their recipe ideas fully developed by Frito-Lay’s culinary experts and unveiled in summer 2014 to be sold nationwide! From there, it will be up to fans to vote for the finalist flavor they want to see stay on store shelves, and the finalist behind the winning flavor will take home the million dollar grand prize.  To top it off, you can even choose the style of chip you think your idea would work best for – Lay’s Original, Lay’s Kettle Cooked and/or Lay’s Wavy.  So, what’s your over-the-top, everyone will want to eat them, flavor idea? Don’t miss your chance to enter and win!

Lays-Do-Us-A-Flavor-Recipe-Collage

Some of my best recipes might hold the secret to Lay’s newest flavor profile for an amazing chip! What fabulous possibilities are hiding in your recipe box?

Where do you get your recipe inspiration?  Do you follow recipes to the letter or are you more like me and prefer to get “creative” with your own ingredients, substitutions and ideas?  I read recipe blogs, cookbooks and Pinterest the way some people read romance novels.  lol  I love seeing all the options for colors, textures and tastes.  For me, the most fun comes from combining some of the best tips and ingredient combinations I see in new and unexpected ways, to create a whole new dish.  For me it has to be packed with flavor, have a complementary variety of textures and be loaded with eye-appealing colors!  Some of my favorite recipes were born this way, like my Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells which were inspired by someone else’s shells stuffed with Buffalo Chicken.  With the exception of chicken, none of the other ingredients were the same, but the inspiration started there and grew into something brand new.

grilled-chicken-with-pineapple-salsa

Moist, juicy grilled chicken, marinated in pineapple juice and poblano peppers, then served up with spicy, cool and crisp pineapple salsa! Delish!

Pineapple Salsa that I ate on tortilla chips at my sister’s prompted my Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa.  I wasn’t sure of her recipe, but there were so many online, that I took inspiration from several, added some cool, crunchy cucumber and created a delicious topping for one of our favorite grilled summertime suppers. It was a taste, texture and color extravaganza!  Hmmmm… Pineapple Salsa Potato Chips.  What’ya think?

The recipe that really has me thinking it just might translate to a truly tasty potato chip, though, is my Chicken Teriyaki.  The salty, savory of chicken with the sweet tang of teriyaki sauce might be really amazing translated to a chip!  My mouth is getting sort of excited just thinking about it!  :)

Deliciously-Simple-Chicken-Teriyaki

Deliciously Simple Chicken Teriyaki

Ok, so put your thinking-apron on.  (You thought I was going to say cap, didn’t you?  Well…I’m creative like that.  Gotta watch out.  :) )  What is your favorite meal?  the best dish you cook?  the dinner your family gets most excited about?  Could that flavor be made into an everybody-wants-a-bite potato chip?  Do you have any interest, at all, in a million dollars?  See Rules.  (Seriously, think of the dream kitchen that could outfit.)  Then, hustle on over to the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Contest and submit your ideas. Somebody’s going to win.  Why shouldn’t it be you, my friend?  I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

 

Save with Great High-Value Coupons for Mars Bites: Snickers, Milky Way and Three Musketeers

On March 11, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification called #EatMoreBites for #Collective Bias and its advertiser. .. Grab these great high-value coupons, just in time for filling Easter baskets!  Plus, these yummy Mars Bites are great for baking into your favorite recipes, [...]

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification called #EatMoreBites for #Collective Bias and its advertiser.

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Grab these great high-value coupons, just in time for filling Easter baskets!  Plus, these yummy Mars Bites are great for baking into your favorite recipes, like my Snickers Cheesecake Truffles.

MARS_Bites_Coupon

The same brands you love are now in bite-size pieces…You’re probably wondering why we didn’t think of this sooner! Enjoy new 3 MUSKETEERS® and MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites. These little unwrapped morsels are perfect in any recipe or for snacking on-the-go. Save big on Bites with this coupon at Walmart. Hurry before coupons run out!

Save $3.00 off 2

Save $0.75 off 2

 

 

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