A Taste of Fall

can’t beat a Pumpkin Spice Latte
from Starbucks!

view from my front porch

Nebraska sunrise on I-80

running 8 miles out around town and the slough!

I love Fall. Crunchy leaves. Feeling of cooling off after a heated summer. Crisp air. Pumpkin. and more Pumpkin. Warm days. Rosy cheeks. Striking harvest sunsets. Fall…

My recent endeavor has been cooking…and baking! First came meatballs, chili, cream corn, pumpkin bread, and Thai noodles and chicken. Enjoy the recipes…definitely fall favorites!



1 cup milk
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats (QUAKER)
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar

1. In a large bowl combine first 4 ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture/mix well. Shape into 1-in balls. Place in a 5 quart slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, water, vinegar, and sugar. Pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is no longer pink. (Makes 6 servings)


1 lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped green pepper
3 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 c water
28 oz can whole tomatoes cut up
1 can condensed tomato soup
4 oz can chopped green chilies undrained
15.5 oz can kidney beans, undrained
1/2 c chopped onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
6 oz can tomato paste

1. In a medium skillet, brown ground beef with onion; drain
2. Throw everything in the crockpot except for kidney beans, high heat for first hour, low heat for the rest of the day
3. For the last hour, throw in kidney beans (heat is still low!)

I also want to try this combination I got from a friend…
lots of smoked paprika, some curry powder, and a beer (I usually use PBR), Ground beed (used bison before–yum!), onions, canned tomatoes, regular Ranch beans, jalapeno Ranch beans, and other spices. Let simmer for an hour or two. Super simple!

Crockpot Corn

COOK TIME: at least 3-4 hours in crockpot
2 (20 oz pkgs frozen corn)*
6 T water
8 oz cream cheese (cubed)
1/8 c sugar
8 oz Velveeta cheese (cubed)
1/2 stick butter

Mix in crockpot and cook slowly until cheese is melted and corn is done.

*My family froze summer sweet corn- yum!

from http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-bread-recipe/

Pumpkin Bread
YIELD: 2 loaves
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 60 minutes
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons *pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pans.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This bread is a fantastic base for all sorts of additions. Get creative by adding in chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries or whatever else sounds good to you. 
***I added chocolate chips to mine! Delicious! 
Served best with Archer Farms Cinnamon Vanilla Nut coffee

*Pumpkin Pie Spice
YIELD: about 5 tablespoons
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
1. Combine spices in a small bow, mix well to combine. Store in a small jar or spice container.

Thai Noodles and Chicken

What You’ll Need:
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 package (6 ounces) refrigerated fully-cooked grilled chickenstrips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 package (16 ounces) vermicelli pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups coleslaw mix
1/3 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

How to Make It1. Heat the soup, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and red pepper in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Remove the skillet from the heat.
2. Add the pasta and coleslaw mix to the skillet and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro, if desired.

Lessons Learned on this cooking experience…

1. Know your family’s schedule
2. Read and re-read the recipe…the pasta takes extra time
3. Mom actually doesn’t like Thai food… 😉

Oh and less pasta will make it better! 
I came across this in my “New Day, New You” Devotion….Laugh. Find a Reason. Everyday. Just Laugh.

It’s Okay to Laugh
Many serious things are going on in this world, and we need to be aware of them and prepared for them. But at the same time we need to learn to relax and take things as they come without getting all nervous and upset about them. We need to learn how to enjoy the good life God has provided for us through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ (SEE JOHN 10:10). In spite of all the troubling things going on around us in the world, our daily confession should be, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Something we Christians need to do more of is laugh. We tend to be so heavy about everything – our sin, expecting perfection from ourselves, our growth in God, our prayer life, the gifts of the Spirit, and memorizing Bible verses. We carry around such heavy burdens. If we would just laugh a little more – be of good cheer, “cheer up” – we would find that a little bit of laughter makes that load much lighter.

In the world we live in, there isn’t a great deal to laugh about so we will need to do it on purpose. It is easy to find plenty to worry about. To be happy, we need to work on it a little. We need to laugh and have a good time.

Sunday November 11th

taken from my devotion…

But God…

There is a little phrase in the Bible that I get excited about every time I come across it. It is just two little words, but it is found throughout the Bible and is probably one of the most powerful two-word phrases in it. It is simply this: But God . . .

As we go through the Bible, we constantly read disastrous reports of the terrible things the devil had planned for God’s people. Then we come to this little phrase, But God . . ., and the next thing we read about is a victory. In the above scripture, the fact is mentioned that we are all sinners, a condition that deserves punishment and death. The phrase But God . . . interrupts the process. God’s love is brought into the situation and changes everything.

While we were sinners, Christ died for us, and by doing so, proved His love for us. He proved that His love interrupts the devastation of sin. When God called me into the ministry, people told me, “Joyce, a group of us have been talking, and we feel that there is no way you are ever going to be able to do what you say God has told you that you are going to do. We don’t feel your personality is suitable for such a job.” I still remember how awful I felt when they said those things to me.

I was hurt and discouraged . . . but God had called me, and He qualified me. What others thought was not even usable, God saw value in. He helped me, and He will do the same thing for you.

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2007 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

I just love this devotional guide…it’s been challenging me lately and gives me comfort as I continue to move forward to the next step… I recently was officially accepted into the English Opens Doors Program in Chile starting in April. It’s with the Chile Ministry of Education. I am so excited…though I don’t know exactly where in the country I will be placed, I do know I will be staying with a host family and teaching English. 
Yesterday I celebrated with a dear friend and her family, her baby’s 1st birthday! I was asked to be photographer…had to share a couple shots I took! Isn’t he a cutie???

before the cake!
“am I allowed to eat this?”

“smash cake baby!”

“what is on my hands??!”


Today was the toughest most enjoyable run I’ve ran in a long time. I pushed myself. I really did. Stopping for only two 30 second times just to catch my breath in the 27 degrees wind. Ran 4 solid miles. Even though it’s not many, I’m building up slowly. I have to run 9 miles later this week. I made a new mix and bundled up. I’m so determined to do this. I know I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. It takes hard work to keep it up. No I’m not on a strict diet, I just watch what I eat. Sometimes I don’t eat enough of the right foods and I consume under my daily limit with all the wrong foods. Start over the next day. Need to drink more water and less beer and wine. Need to eat less m/ms. Know it takes more than just diet to get into shape. It used to be a constant battle looking in the mirror and wishing I looked like X, Y, and Z, now it’s looking in the mirror knowing I can do more for myself and forget about what everyone else thinks. That’s why I run. Only for myself. For my health. For my self-esteem. For my confidence. Because I can. I know I am blessed to be able to run. Some people can’t. Some people can’t even walk. And I…can run. I run for other reasons too…to breathe. to focus. to get away. to catch my breath. to learn about myself. to talk to God. to jam out to music. to release bad energy and negative thoughts. On January 20, 2013, I’m taking my running to the next level. This week I signed up to run the full marathon. It’s actually really cool- I’ll be 26 and 2 months…so I’m going to run a mile for every year and month. Here’s to 26.2 miles. I know I can do it…just a matter of how much I’m going to push myself to run the time I know I can.

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