Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Several of my books are being released in 2011, so keep coming back to find out more. I'll have recipes, helpful hints on living well without stress, and information on my books as they become available.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Quick and Simple Stuffed Peppers

Now is the time to relax and reflect on all of the Lord’s blessings. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, whip up this quick and simple meal that the whole family will enjoy.

Cooking spray
6 medium green bell peppers
1 pound of lean ground beef
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 small can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Wash and cut the tops off the bell peppers. Remove the seeds.
3. In a medium bowl mix the ground beef, onion, half the tomato sauce and breadcrumbs. You may add cheese to the mixture.
4. Stuff each pepper with the ground beef mixture and place open side up in the baking pan.
5. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over each of the stuffed peppers.
6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes.

Serve with rice and your favorite side salad.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As Christmas draws closer, don’t forget what we’re celebrating. Jesus made an amazing sacrifice for all who believe in Him. Love Him with all your heart and put Him at the forefront of everything you do.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Gift Baskets

One of the best last-minute gift ideas is a gift basket. Select a theme for the recipient and fill a basket with items he or she will enjoy.

Ideas for gift basket themes:
• Sports Basket – Tennis balls, golf balls, towel, sunscreen, healthy snacks, books about the sport, water bottle, gift cards.
• Fashion Basket – Scarves, hair accessories, stretch rings, bracelets, hand-held mirror, hosiery, coin purse, makeup bag.
• Spa Basket – Bubble bath, bath salts, lotions, scrubs, gel mask, loofah, shampoo, body splash, facial products, manicure-pedicure set.
• Gourmet Basket – Kitchen gadgets, mixed nuts, gourmet chocolate, cheese, crackers, cookies.
• Coffee or Tea Lover’s Basket – Variety of coffee or tea, mug or cup, chocolate candy, wafers, cookies, tea biscuits.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas

One of the most joyful ways to celebrate Christmas is to exchange gifts. Whether you’re giving presents to friends at a little get-together or coworkers at an office party, come up with a theme to make the exchange more fun and interesting.

Themes for gift exchanges:
• “Steal That Gift” – Have each person bring a wrapped gift within a designated price range. When the guests arrive, have them place their gifts on a table and pull a number out of a hat. The person with the number “1” starts by choosing a gift that she opens for all to see. The person with the number “2” can choose an unopened gift or steal from the person who has already opened a gift. If someone is stolen from, she may steal from someone else or select an unopened gift. This continues until everyone has a gift. To keep the game from going on too long, set a maximum number of times someone can be stolen from.
• “Green Gift Exchange” – Instead of going shopping for new and expensive Christmas gifts, have each person bring something “green,” meaning it is recycled, re-gifted or homemade.
• “Ornament Exchange” – Have each person bring an ornament or Christmas decoration to exchange. These can be store-bought or handmade.
• “Charity Gift Party” – Instruct each person to bring a gift for a designated charity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Easy Holiday Appetizers

Whether you’re hosting a party or bringing appetizers to a friend’s house, you can quickly whip up something tasty and fun. Add some chips, mixed nuts, cheese and crackers to make sure no one goes away hungry.

Here are some mouthwatering holiday appetizers:
• Deviled eggs – After boiling a dozen eggs, carefully cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolk and mash it with 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 cup of sweet pickle relish. Scoop the mixture back into the egg white halves and sprinkle the tops with paprika. Place on a tray garnished with large green lettuce or spinach leaves.
• Stuffed celery – Wash and cut celery into 3-inch spears. Place them on a tray with the open side up. Fill some of the celery spears with pimento cheese spread that you can buy in the dairy section of the grocery store, some with cream cheese mixed with an equal part of strawberry jam, and the rest with peanut butter.
• Cocktail sausages – Simmer one package of cocktail sausages in a cup of barbecue or chili sauce. Serve in a shallow bowl with enough toothpicks for each sausage.
• Stuffed mushrooms – Cut the stems off a package of fresh mushrooms. Fill the mushroom caps with a mixture of crabmeat, breadcrumbs, Cajun seasoning and shredded cheese. Brush them with butter and bake open side up in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining

Holiday entertaining can send a busy person over the edge if you let things get out of hand. If you’re the one hosting a Christmas party, find ways to make it as stress-free as possible.

Pick and choose from these suggestions:
• Have a start and end time on your party invitations so people know when to arrive and when to leave.
• Clean the house a couple of days before.
• Buy enough ice for the party. Put as much as you can into your freezer and have containers of ice near the drinks.
• Prepare all the dishes the day before. Heat them up right before the party.
• Have a music play list set up in advance.
• Keep the drink list simple by offering a choice of one special punch or a variety of bottled drinks.
• Purchase as much store-bought foods as possible and transfer them to your pretty serving dishes.
• Rather than hosting a sit-down meal, provide a buffet meal or appetizers.
• Position appetizers and drinks in varying locations to prevent a bottleneck in one area.
• Use warming trays to keep foods warm. If you don’t have the money for new ones, you can often find them for a steal at garage sales and thrift stores.
• Send guests home with leftovers in take-out boxes or plastic containers.
• If you have a laundry room, fill a tub with soapy water for soiled dishes. This makes cleanup easier after the guests have left.
• About fifteen minutes before the end of the party, turn the music down and blow out any candles you have lit to let people know it’s almost time to go home.
• After everyone is gone, take out the garbage so you won’t be faced with it the next morning.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick and Simple Christmas Decorating Tips

If you have time and a knack for elaborate decorating, have fun. However, most of us find ourselves stressed out by not having time or money to do all the things we’d like to do during the holidays. I love the festive mood created by Christmas decorations, so I’ve learned to find ways to cut costs and time.

Simple Christmas decorating ideas:
• Place a wreath on the door. This may be store-bought or handmade. I have French doors, so I have a couple of basic green wreaths that I lightly decorate each year with ribbons, beads or small ornaments.
• When decorating a Christmas tree, have ornaments in a basic theme and fill in with plain glass balls. About one-third of my ornaments are snowmen or bears, and the rest are gold or white balls. You still have the impact of the theme without having to spend a fortune on ornaments.
• As you receive Christmas cards, line them up on your mantle or pin to a streamer of ribbon around a doorway.
• Frame your house, shrubs or door with outdoor lights and have one focal point that can be as elaborate as a manger scene in the yard or as simple as the wreath on your front door.
• Fill glass bowls with colorful ornaments and place them on tables throughout your house.
• Hang empty stockings on your mantle or in a line across a buffet or china cabinet.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Delicious Potato Salad

Sometimes you want a single side dish to go with an entrée or sandwich. This delicious potato salad has the perfect blend of flavors to go with chicken or pork.

• 8 small red potatoes, washed and quartered
• 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
• 2 scallions, washed and chopped
• 1 small can of sliced black olives
• 1/2 cup of Italian dressing
• 1/4 cup of olive oil
• 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil quartered potatoes until they are tender. Drain and pour into mixing bowl.
2. While the potatoes are still hot, add the halved tomatoes, chopped scallions, sliced olives, Italian dressing, olive oil, and Italian seasoning.
3. Mix well. Taste. If it needs salt and pepper, add it.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator until chilled.

This recipe serves 3 to 4 people. For a larger group, double or triple the recipe.