Welcome This is another post that I like to refer to as #reallife. There are days when I just want to say, “Stop messing everything up!” Have you been there? You’ve worked hard. You’ve made plans. Everything’s going along smoothly until… and then we have a choice.
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Food For Thought Last week was a little bit cra-cra at our house. We were just coming off of Thanksgiving break and the house was getting festive with Christmas décor. And then a mini-blizzard hit our metropolitan area. Church was cancelled, roads were shut down, and stores were closed. This led to two snow days for our daughter. And then my husband got sick. Bronchitis and coughing all day and all night, which meant little sleep for everyone and the absolutely necessary sick days he took for the week.
I didn’t want my daughter out on the roads going to school in the snowy conditions and I didn’t want my husband going to work out in the cold with his health compromised. But it totally messed up my schedule! The routine I thrive on each day to get things done was completely out the window, replaced by a loud television, Kleenex boxes, a scattering of medicine bottles and cups, and cries of “I’m hungry!”
But it’s not just the topsy-turvy schedule or the fact that I’ve had my husband and/or daughter with me 24/7 for the past two weeks. It’s other weird messes, too. Like when I just vacuumed the floors, and then we track in ice melt salt and sand or the slushy snow. We take our shoes off in the entry way, but yuck! You should see it right now. I would literally need to re-vacuum the space twice a day, every day to keep any sort of presentation about it. Or that toilet I just cleaned? Well, someone just clogged it…again!
I love when my daughter helps me with baking and cooking projects. Last week, as I was making all the cookie and candy projects for the blog, I invited her to help me with some of the cookies. As she was dipping cookies in white chocolate, then sprinkles, I noticed large clumps of hardening chocolate and sprinkles in the bowl. I reminded her to let the excess chocolate drip off before dipping in the sprinkles. Well, she took it a little personal and got upset, saying, “I’m messing everything up!” No, she wasn’t messing it up, but she knew it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, either.
If you’re a wife or a mom, you know what I’m talking about here. Sometimes it feels like we literally just finished cleaning, fixing, or making and then it’s all messed up, almost instantly. But like I said in the welcome, we have a choice here. We can focus on the “messing” itself, or we can find a blessing in the messing.
It was a blessing to have my family home, knowing they were safe from dangerous roads. It was a blessing that my husband had vacation days to stay home and recuperate from his illness. It’s a blessing to spend time with my daughter, creating memories as we bake and cook together. It’s a blessing to have a home that needs cleaned. It’s a CONSIDERABLE BLESSING to have my family, capable of turning schedules upside-down and undoing my cleaning efforts, because when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t trade my husband, daughter, and lived-in home for all the clean and routine in the world! I will choose to find the BLESSING in the MESSING, and I hope you will, too.
Today’s Recipes Looking for a dinner recipe you can’t mess up? These Oven-Baked Ranch Pork Chops, Simple Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Easy Spoon Rolls will meet that request with dinner on the table in about an hour. I serve this meal with a side of green beans. As a complete meal, I start the pork chops first, followed by the rolls, and then the mashed potatoes, and everything gets finished around the same time. But to be honest, I’m at an advantage because I have a double oven and the pork chops and rolls do not bake at the same temperature. If I did have one oven, I would compromise with a 400 degree oven and increase the roll time slightly and reduce the pork chop time by about five minutes. And, of course, you don’t have to fix these recipes together. You can mix and match with other delicious dinner options. This meal serves 6 to 8, with plenty of rolls left over.
Oven-Baked Ranch Pork Chops
- 3 lbs bone-in pork chops (about 6-8 chops)
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/4 milk
- 1/2 cup break crumbs
- 1 1-oz pkg dry ranch dressing mix
Set oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops. In a shallow dish beat the egg and milk together. In a separate dish, combine the bread crumbs and ranch mix. Dip each pork chop, first in the egg wash, followed by the bread crumb mixture and place on the prepared pan. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.
Easy Spoon Rolls (makes 2 dozen rolls)
- 1 pkg. dry yeast (1/4 ounce package)
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups self-rising flour (it must be self-rising!)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
Set oven to 425 degrees. Spray 2 12-cup muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. In large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add yeast water, egg, and oil and stir together with a large spoon. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans. Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes.
With this yeast bread, there is no need to let the dough rise and there’s no kneading or turning, just spoon the dough into the pans. This recipe has been handed down in my family for several generations!
Simple Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 8-10 medium Russet potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup milk
Peel and wash potatoes. Cut into even pieces and place in large pot. Add water to just reach the top of the potatoes. Add the salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until potatoes become very soft, 15-20 minutes.
Drain potatoes and add butter, garlic powder, and pepper. Use a hand masher to begin breaking down the potatoes. Add milk, 1/4 cup at a time, mashing after each addition, until desired consistency is achieved. You may use a little more or a little less milk, depending on your preference and the starch content of your potatoes. We prefer a more rustic mash, so you may want to add a little more milk.
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