Welcome A couple of weeks ago I shared my a little about my passion for road trips. Today, I’m going to share some of the memories I had on my recent road trip with my daughter, and give a little shout-out to my neighbors to the south with some Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham. Grab a cool glass of lemonade and recharge with me today! Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links found on this blog. For additional information, please see my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought I really used to struggle with doing things that I considered strictly for my enjoyment. I always felt guilty, like there was some way I could be using my time to be more productive or useful to others. This mindset can lead to some serious burn-out on work, service, and life in general. It is not uncommon as we approach middle age to begin wondering “is this all my life is meant to be?” I’ve been dealing with a lot of this over the past couple of years. Last spring, after I knew for sure I would not be returning to teaching this school year, I decided to take a road trip with my daughter across Arkansas in August. This plan was meant to meet several life goals for me. First, I have spent my entire life unable to plan anything in August because it always meant “back to school” and especially as a teacher this is a life-engulfing period of time where all else goes on the back burner, whether we, or our families, like it or not. So, I planned a trip in August because I COULD! Second, I went to a college in Arkansas and have several friends that make their homes there now. It had been almost 10 years since I had been on the campus of my alma mater to attend my brother’s graduation. Additionally, I had not seen some of these very dear and special friends in at least 10 years, some as long as 18 years ago! I felt God calling me to make this trip and spend some time with the people who made up such an important time in my life. Shortly after I told my husband my plans for this trip, I learned one of these dear friends had been diagnosed with cancer, and it became even more important to spend time with her and her family. Third, I felt a need to apologize to some for mistakes of my past, and offer some explanation since I now have more information regarding my mental health. And finally, but equally important, I wanted to spend some time bonding with my daughter before she becomes a teenager. One of the many blessings of quitting my teaching job is I finally feel like I get to put my own child and her needs before other peoples’ children.
So with all of these goals in mind, I really felt like I was making this trip for personal enjoyment and fulfillment. With my husband’s blessing (and sweet ride!), my daughter and I had six days filled with blessings in the summer sun. Oh, and rain, too, but in a good way-I love the way the steam rises up from the mountains! God used this opportunity to help me reconnect with important people, get back to my “bible belt” roots, and reevaluate my priorities. On this journey, we were blessed with cool temperatures, low humidity, and beautiful weather. If you have ever been in Arkansas in August, you will understand that those cool temperatures and low humidity were a miracle from God! We had safe travels and good visits, and positive news about my friend battling cancer! I took my daughter hiking at a spot that is very special to her daddy and I, and of course she fell in love with it as much as I hoped she would. She witnessed the beauty of the Boston, Ozark, and Ouachita mountains and felt the sun shine on her face and the smell of clean, natural air as we drove scenic byways with the windows down. Those are the moments when I feel so incredibly wealthy.
In the past few years, I put way too much focus on things, instead of people. I sadly wrapped myself up in keeping up with the suburbanites, wishing for a bigger and nicer house, fancier car, “better” vacations, and more stuff in general. In the couple of months leading up to the trip, I’ve been fretting with budgets and financial plans as we transition to a single-income household until my blog and writing plans come full-circle. But I’ve come home feeling secure and peaceful. Yes, I still have to budget and plan on how to best use our money as we work through “leaner” times. But I look around and I am amazed and incredibly grateful for the amount of blessings I have been given. Is our home perfect? No. Is my car getting older? Definitely. Do we have too much stuff already? Oh, my goodness, yes! Am I looking at the real blessings of my life? I am now–the first one I met 15 years ago today and I love to hear him snore; the second one was born 10 1/2 years ago and can’t keep her room clean! I am praying, every day, that I put people before things, and enjoy my time God blesses me with while I’m here on earth.
Today’s Scriptures Ecclesiastes is a book that has many memorable, quotable, and even sing-able verses. I also think this book can feel very familiar, too. We all have seasons in life when we experience doubts and so many things begin to feel trivial, or even meaningless, to use a word found frequently in the book. But I think God wants us to experience joy in our lives on earth. That is not to say we will always be happy, never experience trials, or live a life without hard work and toil. But true joy is found in experiencing day to day blessings from the Lord, and expressing gratitude for what we have. Here are some verses from Ecclesiastes that, I believe, illustrate this point.
3:11-14 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. he has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.”
8:15 “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.”
11:8-9 “However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth…”
Today’s Recipe I was fortunate to life in Arkansas for almost 5 years earlier in my life. Yes, I say fortunate…it’s a beautiful state and I met some beautiful people. My husband and I love to get in some hiking now and again, and there is no shortage of waterfalls in the northwest part of the state. I cheerfully declare Arkansas my third favorite state (sorry, North Carolina and Tennessee get my top two spots!) While I may not currently reside in Arkansas, I am a southern girl at heart, and I know a thing or two about southern hospitality and cooking. Today’s recipe is Southern Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham. I promise the true show-stopper here is the biscuits, but ham and biscuits have long been a southern specialty. And with football season coming up, these make great portable tailgate sandwiches, the recipe makes 3 dozen biscuits! And the neighborly thing to do is to share them, even if you are a Hog Fan! (J/K)
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham and Honey Butter
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 TBS baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 sticks butter, slightly softened
- flour for work surface
- cooking spray for baking sheets
- 2 lbs. pre-cooked ham, heated according to package directions, and sliced
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- Combine yeast and water in medium bowl; let stand 5-10 minutes; add buttermilk. In large bowl, combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until flour mixture has consistency of small pebbles or peas. With a fork, slowly stir in buttermilk mixture to flour mixture until dry ingredients are moistened. Sprinkle work surface with flour and place dough on surface, kneading 5-6 times, if necessary add a little more flour to prevent sticking. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll dough into rectangle between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in thickness…I don’t get out a ruler and measure! Using a biscuit cutter, or the top of a clean glass or cup, cut biscuits approximately 2 inches in diameter (I made mine slightly bigger and got 3 dozen biscuits.) Place biscuit rounds on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover with damp dish towel and let rise in warm space for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove towel and bake biscuits for 10-12 minutes in oven. While baking biscuits, mix softened butter and honey. To assemble ham biscuits, split a biscuit, spread a little honey butter, add a small slice of ham, and top with biscuit half. These are great for tailgates, appetizers, make-ahead lunches or breakfasts, after-school snacks…you name it, and the biscuit recipe can stand alone, without the ham, if desired.
Here are some products I recommend for this recipe (links were verified on 8/14/17 at 5:20 pm CDT)