Friday, August 30, 2013

Soul Food

I love a good potluck (and what potluck isn't good?!), so when my co-worker asked if I wanted to join in, I was a huge YES. The theme: Soul Food.

Hmmm....what do I know about soul food?

1. It's southern -- I lived in the south for a total of 14 years, but I won't mention that my mother took her Pennsylvania Dutch cooking down there. Hmmm...the most southern I got was learning to put mayo on my egg sandwich. That and Bessinger's BBQ sauce (the BEST mustard-based sauce int he world).

2. It's comfort food -- My soul food would probably be pork and sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. 

Others were bringing fried chicken, cornbread, beans and rice. Then it came to me. Fried Okra or Collard Greens.  I didn't have okra (nor would I know how to make it), but I did have Swiss Chard in the garden. That would do, so I harvested all I had, which was a huge arm full and set to work washing and de-veining it. I looked up several traditional collard green recipes and made my own. It was a hit with my co-workers!

Soulful Swiss Chard

2 bunches Swiss Chard, washed with stems and veins removed
6 slices bacon and its grease
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper (red is pretty)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
2 splashes balsalmic vinegar
Seasoned salt (I use Emeril's Essence)
Red Pepper flakes or ground to taste

Wash and remove stems of Swiss chard and de-vein. Take a small stack of the chard leaves and roll them. Slice them 1/2 inch thick and chop a little. Fry up bacon till crisp. Remove bacon, set aside and crumble when cool. In bacon grease, saute onion and bell pepper. Set those aside. In bacon grease, add vinegar, seasonings, and saute chard in it for 4-5 minutes. Add bacon, onions, bell peppers. Stir well. Serve. (serves 8-10)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Warpaint

I’ve been waiting all summer to read “Warpaint” by Holly Lisle, knowing it would be good. I wasn’t wrong! This is the sequel to “Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood”, a sci-fi action book that kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t put the book down (I think I stayed up all night to read it). Ok…on to the review of Warpaint.

Dawn’s Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars

What I liked: While Warpaint wasn’t as graphic blood/guts-wise or as heart-pounding as “Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood”, it definitely delivers on sci-fi adventure. I love the impossible situations Holly Lisle puts her characters in. She’s got guts as a writer and that shines through in this series! The MC, Cady Drake, a freelance detective-of-sorts (she hunts for lost items) also has a lots of guts as she takes on the bad guys. I was very excited to see the new cast of characters that assisted her in her quest to rid space from Legends (aka vampires*). The places in the book are rich with details and you get a good feel for the unique space stations/worlds.

I liked the “Emergency Cookie” reference throughout the book – that added a smile to the story. I also really liked the ending with the character Herog and its future book possibilities (Man, it is hard to write a review without spoilers!). 

Can’t wait for the next Cadence Drake book! In the meantime, there are a lot more Holly Lisle books for me to read. ;0) She is fast becoming a favorite.

*I don’t usually read vampire books because most romanticize the dark and evil, but this series doesn’t. Here, Cady fights vampires to save humanity.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Song for Sunday - Hold Fast

In this world that seems hopeless, there is hope! 
Hold fast to the hope in Jesus, our Saviour.

Mercy Me - Hold Fast

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Photo by Julie Showalter, Capture Photography, 2011
Are you like me and pick a whole stack of books to read over the summer?  If so, what did you pick and how did it go? Did you make your goal? Did you find some treasures?

My stats:
Goal: 12 books (on the side bar)
Read: 11 (I'm reading the 11th right now, so it counts!)

Favorite Non-Fiction: Devos for Teen Girls

Favorite Fiction: Warpaint

The one I didn't get to yet: Light Between Oceans

I guess I'll need to set a Fall/Winter Reading Goal for myself (you should see the stack of books I've collected at book sales this summer!).

How about you? What are your summer reading stats?

Monday, August 19, 2013


I was going through old writing and found this from 2011.  Thought I'd share.
I am an individual, but my heart belongs to God.

God likes to see me use the gifts and talents He gave me.

For that is my purpose here on glorify Him.

My personality is unique, there is no one like me.

I have free choice, but I choose the path of Jesus.

I am an individual, but I do not choose the world.

There's enough sin. There's enough evil. There's enough hate.

I am an individual and I choose Jesus.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: Devos for Teen Girls

I was so excited to read Devos for Teen Girls by Dannah Gresh and Suzy Weibel that I couldn't wait for the book to arrive! 

I have a teenage daughter and I volunteer with teen girls and many of these girls, when younger, attended a fantastic Mother-Daughter retreat called Secret Keeper Girls (a retreat written by Dannah Gresh). I was eager to see how Dannah Gresh related to teen girls in her new book.

Overview: Ever wonder how to handle the big issues you deal with at school and with your friends? Like big sisters, Dannah and Suzy share from the wisdom they've picked up from their own lives and their work with teen girls.

Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars

I read some devotions alone and others I read with my daughter, age 14.

What I liked: First of all, I was thrilled to see that Dannah and Suzy talked to 100 college girls to get their input on the top topics that they had dealt with in high school. I'm sure this input helped them relate well to teens.

I loved the interesting stories! Dannah and Suzy share their own stories and lots of examples from the Bible and pop culture (one was about the inventor of Jelly Belly jelly beans). Each story was tied to Scripture and then ended with an Action Step that could be lived out. I found the devotions to be stimulating and challenging, encouraging me to go deeper in my faith. This book should be read by adult girls too!

Here is what my daughter said about the devotions that she read:
I liked the devotions. They told the truth -- they were accurate real-life stories. They are stories that can help girls with everyday problems. 

I loved the Action Steps. The challenges make you want to do them (like hang out with a friend, from "Friends Aren't What They Used to Be"). Another Action Step tells you to do one small thing, but that inspired me to do something big instead -- I want to help missionaries in China. I'm going to get with a friend and try to make that project happen!

So, in closing...we loved this book! Every mom and daughter and teen girl youth leader needs to get it!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.