What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

The Yellow Bows of Texas


I'm sorta stuck on Tex-Mex dishes these days.  Garlic, onions, salsa, black beans, chili powder, and cumin are sounding really good to me right now.  Throw in a some bowties, ground turkey, sour cream, and cheddar cheese and I'm thinking, "Most definitely!" A 'chili over pasta' concept.  Different!  Oh, and this also has carrots in it!  Interesting.... Chili with carrots is a new idea for me, but I admit it is a good one.

I honestly have no idea how this recipe with the catchy name showed up in my kitchen, photocopied from a Taste of Home magazine.   It originated from a cookbook with an equally catchy name: Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry.  A sweet friend must have thought we'd like it, and now I can't even thank her for thinking of us.  The fact is, we did enjoy this.  Like, 12 thumbs up....

I made a few change to the recipe.  The original recipe calls for whole wheat pasta.  As much as a dig health food, I just can't do the whole wheat pasta thing.  I mean I can, I just don't.  I've tried it, but have never found whole wheat pasta that tasted right to me.  So for this I substituted good old white bowties.  Also, this recipe was full of "light" dairy products and "no salt added" tomato products.  Hmmm,  no thanks.  Going for the real McCoy here.  Suit yourself, though, and make this as low-fat, low-sodium as your tastes prefer! 

I'll be preparing this tasty dish again soon.  Why don't you give it a try?


You start by browning the ground turkey with garlic then toss in the onions, bell peppers, and diced carrots.  Following this you add the salsa, tomato sauce, black beans, and spices.


Next, boil a big pot of water and cook the bowtie pasta. 

To serve, place the bowties on each plate and smother them with the bean and meat mixture, 
topping it all off with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  

The Yellow Bows of Texas

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup each chopped onions, chopped green bell peppers, and diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (your choice of mild, medium, or hot)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 oz uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Cook turkey and garlic in a large deep, non-stick skillet over med-high heat until turkey is no longer pink.  Break up any large chunks.  Add onions, green pepper, and carrots.  Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes, until vegetables have softened.  Stir in tomato sauce, salsa, beans, chili podwer, cumin, and oregano.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Divide pasta among 6 shallow serving bowls.  Ladle chili over pasta.  Sprinkle with cheese and place a dollop of sour cream in the center.  Sprinkle with green onions.



Valentine's Day Cookies


The girls made Valentine's cookies to give to their friends this week.  The recipe we used is our favorite one for sugar cookies that we bake every Christmas.


And the icing is butter cream from the same recipe.  
Of course, we had to add a touch of pink and red icing and colored sugar.




Afterward, they were busy crafting sweet little valentines to go on each bag. 


It's so much fun to brighten the day of someone you LOVE!

Happy Valentine's Weekend!!


Up on the Roof

My daughter, Abby, now has a blog.  Check her out at:

For the record:  Yes, I'm proud of her.


An Egg, A Bluebird, and a Little Nest, too.


As usual, Lacy's been busy with yarn, this time knitting.  For Christmas, she received the adorable book, Itty Bitty Toys, by Susan B. Anderson.  (Click on the link to go to her blog, which looks like a ton of fun.)  This book has lots of cool projects for beginning knitters to create adorable animals, dolls, and other playthings.  So far, Lacy's knitted a penguin, a teddy bear, and this very creative reversible egg/bluebird.  In the process, she's had a great time and has learned some new knitting techniques, such a knitting on four needles.

She says the monkey is next. 

I say I want the koala mama and baby!

And I always get my way.





In Which Practicality Wins and I Show You How To Make the Best Tasting, Ugliest Dish Ever....

I've debated for a long time about posting this recipe.  You see, I just love this dish.  My husband loves this dish.  I'm pretty sure both my boys loves this dish.  And I know my three youngest girls love this dish.  However, I'm going to be brutally honest:  it's NOT a pretty dish.  I mean, I serve it in a pretty dish, but to look at it, you'd know it wouldn't make the cover shot for a magazine.

Still, who are we to judge a dish on appearance alone?

Who's that shallow?

This recipe is called Lentil Rice Casserole.  And it falls into the super easy, super cheap, super yummy category.  I'd be willing to bet that I can put this together faster than anything else I prepare. And I know it's the least expensive main dish I rustle up.  Hands down.

I found it in Sue Gregg's Main Dish cookbook many moons ago.  It's a meatless dish, as the name implies.  You can't get much cheaper than a few lentils and some brown rice.  But the herbs and garlic just make this so delicious.  I throw some cheese on at the end, just for good measure. 'Cause seriously, what doesn't taste good with cheese all over it?  If you're a die-hard carnivore, feel free to serve it up with some meat.  It's not necessary though, because you're getting your perfect protein from the combination of grain and legumes.

I make this for dinner, and also for lunch every so often.  I can toss it together in, hmmm, I'd say about 3.4 minutes, and that includes prep and clean up time.  It cooks in a slow oven for a couple hours, covered.  About the time the house starts to smell really good, and we're at the end of the chapter in Charlotte's Web, and my children are so starved they can't remember their last meal, it's ready!

So, without further adieu, I give you:

Lentil Rice Casserole

  • 3 cups chicken broth 
  • 3/4 cup uncooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup instant minced onion flakes or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Stir first eight ingredients together in a casserole dish.  Bake covered at 300 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until tender and the water is absorbed, topping with cheese for the last ten minutes or so.

Oh, and if your kids tell you it looks like dog food, don't say I didn't warn you.


Banana Bread


Honestly, I never had any intentions of completely turning this into food blog.  It's just that I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking- trying new recipes, making old favorites.  And there are just so many good ones I want to share, like this recipe for banana bread I tried today from cookbook I mentioned in the last post.

Just on the off chance that you're starting to suspect I have a thing for banana bread, you'd be correct.  This will make the third banana bread recipe I've blogged so far.  The other two are combinations of bananas and something else...Carrot Banana Bread, and Blueberry Banana Bread , both delicious, by the way!

This one, however, is just plain ol' banana bread.  The other day, Abby was asking me for a plain banana bread recipe. I knew this would be luscious, since it was served at Johnston Street Cafe'.  Man, oh, man!  Is it good!  It's very moist and has a wonderful flavor.  The secret ingredient is the sour cream.  Well, that and the butter. At least that is my guess.  I just know you'll love it if you try it!

The recipe makes one big loaf.  I usually bake three smaller loaves because they are just easier to handle and cut. Besides, when we scarf one of these at one sitting, there is a whole lot less guilt!   It also bakes up faster, so we get to dive into it that much sooner. 

Not that we're in a hurry or anything.

OK, enough chatting.  It's time to get down to business!

Banana Bread

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (I pureed them in the blender.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix well all ingredients in the order listed.  Spoon into a greased and floured 5X9" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.

(If using smaller pans, adjust time accordingly.)