A Charming Cafe – Suzie’s!

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Since my daughter went to college three years ago, I have visited her each year in February to attend her concert.  She plays clarinet for Valparaiso University’s orchestra.  This year was no disappointment, it was phenomenal as usual.  For lunch on concert day we went to Suzie’s Cafe.  As was the concert, it was a wonderful experience.

Their food is made from scratch, fresh and delicious.  It was my daughter’s first time to try this restaurant and had been advised to order a cinnamon roll.  I was shocked when they placed it on the table, it was not only large it was mountain sized.

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It was our “appetizer” and the three of us left a third of it on the plate only because it was too much for us to eat.  Two of us ordered the quiche of the day and the fresh ingredients shined, though a little more flavors would have been nice.  Baking fresh yeast bread is not my favorite thing to do, but eating it is!  The homemade wheat walnut bread toast was so good.

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My husband ordered a skillet breakfast leaving only a few crumbs.

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I highly recommend this charming cafe and bakery!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

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When I don’t have time to bake in December, I make up for it in January.  I tried a double chocolate chip cookie recipe and turned it into a triple chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Though the double was good, the triple has extra chocolatey goodness that doesn’t compare.  Of course, the more chocolate chips you put in, the better gooey factor you have, but you must leave room for the batter.

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1 cup butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate, melted

12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips, or more

2 1/4 c. flour

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in mixing bowl until creamy.

Add eggs and melted unsweetened chocolate.

Combine flour, cocoa, soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  Slowly add to batter, mixing until well blended.

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Stir in chocolate chips  by hand.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let set on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

I always have one right out of the oven, after they are cooled enough not to burn my  tongue, with a very cold glass of milk.

 

 

Random Thoughts on Family

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Talk about what?

Every evening finds our family eating together and catching up on our day.  When my children were younger it was a daily tool for teaching them manners.   As they grew older and the conversations grew in maturity, so did they.  Communicating with your children on a daily basis makes them feel important, loved and valued.  They are privy to the family schedule, they experience sharing life together and hearing how we as parents deal with everyday situations.

As parents it is very important to shelter our children from some details of life.  There are just some things they do not need to know until they are old enough to deal with it in a mature way.  As parents it is imperative that we discern what to share with our children and when.  Some details of life are too intense for young minds to decipher.  As life happens and we as parents deal with it in ways that are honoring and glorifying God our children will do likewise.

Lately our dinner conversation has become a little mundane, one night I asked, “what made you happy today” and that spurred on some light-hearted conversation that we needed.  It’s always good to change things up now and then and be intentional in keeping up good conversation.

*I have a friend who puts names of people in her life in a box and picks out a name each month and prays for them with her family at mealtime.  She then writes them a note and lets them know they are being prayed for.

*  We have a family friend who goes around the table each night and has everyone share a high and low of their day.

*  When our children were younger, we had a Bible Trivia book we would keep at the table and ask the questions during mealtime.

There are so many ways to conjure up good conversation and your children will benefit from it more than you realize.  What are some ways you get good conversation going in your family?

Wrap up a Salad

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When I think of January and wanting to shed a few “Christmas Vacation” pounds, vegetables come to mind.

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Roasted vegetables bring out a unique flavor, different then when sautéed or steamed.

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I began roasting vegetables as a side dish and later turned it into a salad with blue cheese, very tasty especially with fresh tomatoes sprinkled on top.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Romaine or Leaf Lettuce – 1 head (or a little of both)

Blue Cheese (I prefer the block of cheese better instead of crumbles but either one works) cut into chunks

Grape Tomatoes – 8-10 cut in half

Green, Yellow, Red and Orange Bell Pepper – 1 each

Onion – ½ of a large (purple or yellow)

Broccoli – ½ to 1 head

Olive Oil – 2 to 3 Tablespoons

Salt and Pepper – to taste

Slice the peppers and onions into ¼ inch slices.  Cut the flowerets off the broccoli head (leaving 2-3 inches of stem) and slice into pieces so they can lay flat on the sheet pan.  Place the peppers, onions and broccoli in a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over all.

Roast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, turn vegetables over and roast for another 10-15 minutes until desired roasting perfection.  I like them browned and soft but not flimsy.

Tear or cut lettuce and place on platter, arrange blue cheese and grape tomatoes over lettuce.  Place roasted vegetables on top and serve.  Makes 4-6 servings (This is an updated recipe from last June, this one has better pictures:)

I like the salad with only the olive oil and salt and pepper, my family on the other hand, added their favorite dressing.

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This week I tried it in a wrap and it was the same deliciousness snuggled in a tortilla.  I used the leftovers of the Roasted Vegetable salad, added it to a tortilla, sprinkled on some additional olive oil, fresh tomato and more blue cheese to make it the perfect combination of yumminess (is that a word?)

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Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day

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I absolutely love Christmas time, everything about it.  The Christmas trees, my favorite appetizers, cookies and desserts, parties, decorations, light displays, all wrapped up for one reason:   The gift that gives all year long, the Savior named Jesus.

There is a song I have become fond of “Don’t Save it all for Christmas Day.”  Some of the words are:  “Find a Way to Give a Little Love Everyday, Holidays have Come and Gone, Many People are crying, some People are Dying, how many People are asking for Love.”  It’s so easy to get engaged  in our own world, our own emotions, our own struggles and not notice the “crying” people around us.

As January abounds and fresh ideas swirl in my head,  my hope is that I spread “Christmas cheer” or rather the love that came on that first Christmas to those around me.  It’s much more important than all the diet and exercise schemes and organizational methods that make me think I will have the best year ever if I could only achieve those goals.  Effectively “giving a little love everyday” is a much better idea.  What do you think?

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…May it be to me as you have said

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… May it be to me as you have said

Luke 1:30 ff… “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High……For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant, “Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”

Mary’s world is rocked as she listens to the angel Gabriel report to her that she is to be the one to birth the Savior of the world. This is the beginning of the beloved Christmas story, the greatest story ever told. At this point, Mary probably couldn’t comprehend the meaning of all the angel said, but she, a faithful servant, is willing. She is willing to do whatever the Lord asked of her.

God knew Mary would do it. He knew who to ask, just as He knows what to ask of you. Are you willing as Mary is? Are you quick to answer, “May it be to me as you have said”? We may not fully comprehend everything that is to happen and we cannot predict the future, but God knows and will be there in the midst of it. He will not ask us to do something then leave us. He is with us always. I remember when my husband was first called into full time ministry. We left our home town, traveled 600 miles to St. Paul, MN for him to attend college. We knew without a doubt this was what God was calling us to do. There were times when we thought to ourselves, “What are we doing? Why did we do this? How are we going to survive?” It was at those times when we saw God provide all that we needed.

Sometimes it was strength that we needed, sometimes food and clothing, sometimes money for books or bills, but the fact is, He never left us. He always knew what we needed even before we did! We learned a lot in those years about God’s providence and love for us. We also learned more about giving and generosity. When God is blessing us, He also teaches us at the same time.

So what may God be calling you to do? It may not be a drastic move, but it could be a life giving message someone you know needs to hear. Don’t be afraid to ask, don’t be afraid to move, God will always be with you, blessing you more than you can comprehend.

Have you ever had a Bun Bar?

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A few years ago I saw a Bun bar in my home state of Indiana.  I was elated!  I didn’t know they made them anymore.  The factory that made them close to my home town had shut down years ago.  Apparently Clark bought them and then Pearson’s a few years later.  The Bun Bar began in the 1920’s in Fort Wayne, IN.  Not only is it delicious but it brings back the nostalgic memories of seeing the factory as a child and eating the yummy goodness of chocolate covered nuts and vanilla cream.

I not only saw them in Indiana but I also purchased one here in California, love those specialty candy stores!!  If you ever see one – you’ve got to try it!