Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wanna Try a Crazy Recipe?

My own Cheese-Broccoli Chowder
It's been a blast hearing from the fine folks who've tried the stress-free recipes in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook since its release in November.

Thanks so much for your terrific feedback and kind words - I read each and every comment and am very, very thankful that you take the time out of your busy day to write.

One dear elderly lady named Garnet Edmondson even sent me some interesting and quite unique recipes she had painstakingly copied by hand on index cards. I want to share a few with you today.

Hey, let's make this fun!

I hereby challenge you daring BBFF's (Blessed Blog Friends Forever) to try one of these recipes and send me a photo and the feedback of your fam (provided they live through it). The first ten I receive will be placed in a drawing and the winner will receive an autographed copy of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook PLUS your photo and comments be posted here on my blog for all the world to see.

*Disclaimer: I can't vouch for the quality of these dishes (I haven't tried them yet personally), nor can I claim they're quick and easy like my cookbook recipes; in fact, I'm pretty sure they're the opposite. So enter at your own risk and bon appetite!

This first one is 65 years old and involves a combination  of flavors I would have never imagined:

Tomato Soup Cake

3/4 c. Crisco                                      1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar                                     1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs                                                1 tsp cloves
1 can tomato soup (11 oz)                 1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda                               3 c. all purpose flour                                            
3/4 c. water                                        1 c. raisins + 1/2 c. chopped nuts

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; sift together dry ingredients and mix with first five, blending well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into greased 9x13 baking pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This next one was copied from a 1952 cookbook and doesn't include oven temp or baking time so you'll just have to boldly fly by the seat of your pants:

White Bean Pie

1 1/4 c. cooked white beans forced through a strainer ( Yikes! I don't even own a strainer!)
1/4 c. sugar                                         1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon                                1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger                                      1 slightly beaten egg
7/8 c. part milk, part cream (Deb's note: This would be called half-n-half today and good luck measuring 7/8 of a cup!)   

Mix all together in order given. Bake in a pie tin lined with pie dough. Tastes a lot like pumpkin pie.

And lastly but not leastly, this amazing recipe incorporates ingredients right out of the pages of your Bible. It's at least 70 years old (likely even older) and again, since many older recipes didn't state oven temp or actual baking instructions, you'll have to take your best guess and test with a toothpick. Only attempt if you're fearless and love a creative challenge (might even be fun to try with your kids)!

Scripture Cake (also called Old Testament Fruit Cake)

Amount                    Book                         Chapter                      Verse
4 1/2 c.                  1 Kings                            4                                22
1 c.                        Judges                              5                                25
2 c.                        Jeremiah                          6                                20
2 c.                        1 Samuel                        30                               12
2 c.                        Nahum                             3                               12
2 c.                        Numbers                        17                                 8
2 tsp                      1 Samuel                        14                               25
1 tsp                      Leviticus                          2                               13
6 tsp                      Jeremiah                         17                              11
1/2 c.                     Judges                              4                               19
2 tsp                      Amos                                4                                5
2 tsp                      2 Chronicles                     9                                9

Mix all together and bake slowly in moderate oven (Deb: I would guess this means 350 degrees). 


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

No Substitutes

Last Christmas as I prepared to host a dinner party, I was in a quandary about what to serve for dessert.

I settled on a low-calorie pie recipe that looked super scrumptious in the magazine photo. All the regular cheesecake ingredients had been replaced with fat-free, sugar-free substitutes, topped with fat-free whipped topping and drizzled with zero-calorie faux fudge sauce.

Hmm. Faux fudge. Shoulda been a red flag.

It turned out gorgeous! I was so proud to be serving my guests such a masterpiece that wouldn't add more wattle to their waddles.

At the first bite, I saw the faces all around the table fall. It tasted like soggy cardboard. Magazine-cover beautiful it might have been, but there's no substitute for the real thing.

Faith can be like that. Many religions look tempting on the outside, but once you get past the fluffy frosting, you find the ingredients have no real substance. They're inferior. Flat. Fake.

Jesus made it very clear that true faith is found only through Him. He, Himself is truth.

And the only way to a living, breathing, dynamic relationship with Papa God is through Jesus. Everything else is just a poor substitute for the real thing.

As worthless in the end as faux fudge.

Wishing you a joy-filled celebration of our Savior's birth this Christmas!

*Adapted from the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Stress-Saving Tips from YOU

Many thanks to all who entered my recent Cookbook contest; today I'd like to share with you some of the terrific cooking decom-stressing tips submitted by the fine folks who entered the drawing.

If yours isn't included, please forgive me. Wish I could include them all, but I didn't have enough pages.

Once again, congrats to the winners of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook drawing:

Grand prize package: Pamela Black

Autographed cookbooks: Carolyn Law, Sueann Walter, and Cheryl Greene.
(All of you need to get me your mailing addresses ASAP in order to receive your prizes by Christmas!!)

Stress-Saving Tips for the Holidays

  • From Kay: Make anything that freezes well ahead of time. Then you only have to thaw and reheat, or just serve. 
  • From Jen: Use a crock pot or even a few crock pots! Just throw everything in and you don't have a worry for hours. 
  • From Marie: I use lavender essential oil while I'm cooking. It adds to the aroma.
  • From Steph: (this one cracks me up; sounds just me, the sticky note queen!): My fave stress-reducing tip is writing everything down so I don't forget. I hope I didn't miss the giveaway. (Deb's comment: Oops! Forget to write it down, Steph?)
  • From Francie: I make several gluten-free pie crusts a month ahead and freeze them. They're easy to thaw, roll, and fill for my gluten-free grands.
  • From Cathy: I learned this the hard way. Now I make as many dishes as possible 1-3 days ahead of time (and freeze or refrigerate); it it's pies, HIDE THEM! Never will I save everything to make all at once again!
  • From Sandra: I enjoy the holiday with a group of friends - we are all seniors with no local families; each brings a different dish. After eating while talking up a storm, we play games and have a ball. 
  • From Pamela: My favorite way to de-stress for the holy-days is to eat the chocolate I'm baking with. (Deb's comment: Ah, you're a gal after my own heart, Pam!)
  • Also from Pamela: I say a morning prayer each day for the Lord to be with me in all situations that will arise. Keeps my stress level down knowing that I'm too blessed to be stressed in the first place. (Deb's comment: Hey, somebody should write a book with that title!)
  • From Alita: I make big pots of chili or soup in my slow cooker so we always have something to eat on hand without spending a lot of time cooking.
  • Adriana: My family and I make tamales every year, which can be prepared ahead of time. I also shop early in the morning and have everything ready to cook so there's no rushing or stress later. 
  • From Carole: Clean each bowl, utensil, and pan as you go. Then during the meal, you can relax knowing that only what is on the table will need clearing and cleaning. I'm all for enjoying time with family after the meal.   
  • Caroline: My recipe for quick and easy holiday meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350; 2-lbs ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 can onion soup, 1 sleeve salting crackers. Mix all together; I use my hands. Put into a loaf pan and bake about an hour, checking for doneness for the last fifteen minutes (cooking time varies with different ovens). 
Love these, don't you? Anyone have other ideas they'd like to contribute?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contest Winners Announced!

I'm happy, happy, happy
to announce that the winner of 
the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook
including some of my 
favorite kitchen stress-reducers, 
an autographed copy of the Cookbook,
a $25 VISA gift card
is ...

Pamela Black! 

Congrats, Pamela!!!

And the three winners of 
autographed copies of the
Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook

Carolyn Law
Sueann Walter and
Cheryl Greene

To receive your prizes
in time for Christmas, 
just email me your mailing address

Many thanks to all who entered!

Stay tuned for my next post,
which will feature 
terrific decom-stressors
sent in by you, those who
registered for the contest. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #6

Hey there, BBFF! I'm assuming you made it to this sixth and final tip in my Decom-stress Your Christmas series by reading the previous five posts (if not, there's no time like the present!).

I hope you've enjoyed them, and maybe, just maybe, you've found something helpful. If so, I'd love to hear from you! (Even if not, I'd still love to hear from you!)

So without further ado ...

Stress Buster #6: Family Feud? Change Channels.

Dodge friendly fire. Avoid triggers like politics, religion, and who will inherit Granny's prize pig. Especially if Granny is rockin' out in the heirloom Bentwood. Even if she's not, the birthday celebration of our Savior is not the time or place for a discussion about inheritance issues. If a spat erupts, divert attention elsewhere and turn up the Christmas carols. Music really does calm the savage beast.

Get away from the fray and play. Provide a physical outlet to relieve tension, i.e. a family football game, Frisbee, or horseshoes. Various options in different locations may be a good idea even if your name isn't Hatfield or McCoy.

Plug in a ceasefire. Have on hand funny or beloved Christmas movies to amuse and placate the masses if incompatibility persists. Laughter diffuses tension and puts the jolly back in "Tis the season to be ..."

Thanks again for scarfing this 6-spoonful serial (a little play on words for my word geek buds).

Oh, yeah - be sure to get your name in the hat for the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas prize package drawing ... only ONE DAY LEFT to register! Just hop over to my website and find details for entering on the contest page.

Winners will be announced right here on Thursday. I hope one of them is you!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #5

So glad you're here! This is the fifth of six tips to help decom-stress your Christmas season. I'd love to hear from you if you've had a chance to implement some of the other suggestions (scroll back to see the first four).

Stress Buster #5: Make it a Holy-day, not just a holiday.
Marinate in peace. Tape Philippians 4:6-7 to your bathroom mirror, fridge, and other hot spots where you'll see it frequently: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Ask Papa God for HIS peace. Not the veneer kind the world gives that's dependent on blue skies and tweeting birdies ... the deeper kind that transcends all understanding. Peace in the midst of chaos - how can it be? Yet it truly can. But hey, don't sit around waiting like a lump of linguine for the holiness pot to magically boil and plump you up. Actively practice this acronym:
P: Placing
E: Each
A: Aggravation at
C: Christ's feet,
E: Expectantly. Yes, expect Him to do what He promised in the Philippians 4 passage above ... "And the peace of God ... will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If you do your part (the first part of the verse: tell Him your needs and pray with heartfelt thanksgiving), He'll do His ... you can count on it.

Take a daily prayer walk. Immerse your senses in Papa's creation and focus on gratitude for everything you see, smell, touch, hear, and feel. Sincerely thank your Heavenly Father for each blessing He's given you, especially the incredible gift of His son.

Grab the popcorn. As a family, watch a quality biblical account of the Christmas story, like "The Nativity Story" (my personal fave). Just watched it last night, in fact, and it set a sweet, sweet holy-day tone that was much needed after being inundated by all the Rudoph's and Frosty's in my face.

Be intentional. Set aside time to pray every day. Make it a priority to communicate with you Savior and draw from His strength. You'll need it when Aunt Bertha arrives.

Celebrate Jesus' birthday. What do you do on your spouse or your precious child's birthday to show he/she is special to you? So why don't you do the same for Jesus? Buy or make a small cake and decorate it as a birthday cake for the babe in the manger (I like to bring the manger scene baby Jesus right to the table, and sometimes I even top the cake with him surrounded by candles). Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and let any children present blow out the candles. Before opening your gifts on Christmas morning, give Baby Jesus a present; have each person write on a piece of paper something in their life they want to give Jesus the following year (such as my pride, temper, talent for yodeling ... wherever your heart leads) and place it in a box with a bow. Present it to the holy child in the stable along with the Wise Men's gifts.

Okay, peeps - one final tip will be coming in a few days. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond; I've enjoyed hearing all the innovative personal stress-saving techniques from those of you entering the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook drawing (register on the contest page of my website, In fact, I'll be posting many of your great ideas - along with your names - in a post next week, so be sure to tune in!

Oh, yes - for those of you in the Tampa area, I'd love to see you at my Brandon LifeWay book signing this Saturday (12/12/15). Drop by between 10 am - noon to nibble some of the delicious delectables from my award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, and take advantage of the great sale (30% off the day of the signing only) to pick up some terrific Christmas gifts for the stressed ladies on your list.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #4

Welcome to #4 of a series of six tips for decom-stressing your Christmas season. This one you definitely should take personally, girlfriend!

Stress-Buster #4: Take time for YOU
Prevent BOOP (Boiling Oatmeal Overflow Phenomenon). I postulate that women are like little pots of oatmeal. At the beginning of the day, we simmer ... little manageable bubbles of stress rise to the surface and harmlessly dissipate. But as the day progresses, the heat escalates, and the oatmeal boils high and wilder and meaner until it overflows and spoils everything around it with an ugly, nasty mess. The trick is knowing when to remove the pot from the burner. The following suggestions should help you avoid an eruption.

Deep breathing. When you feel tension building, inhale to the slow count of three; exhale at the same pace. Close you eyes and repeat 3 times. Seriously, nothing floods those weary body tissues with rejuvenating oxygen like a few deep cleansing breaths.

Take a grown-up time out. Remove yourself from the source of stress, even if it means finding solitude in the bathroom or a closet for five minutes. Ten is even better. Step outside if you can swing it. Clear your head. Take a few deep breaths. Sip hot tea. Pray. Hum "Joy to the World." Whatever unzips your too-tight attitude.

Schedule quiet time. Remember, ain't nobody happy when you miss your nappy. Schedule a 30-minute (minimum) nap/rest time in the afternoon to revive and refresh. Don't usurp your regrouping time with something "more important." YOU are most important. And don't ever forget it.

Decom-stress with a 6-Pack. Nope, not talking Bud Light here. Take a few minutes to perform the 6-pack of tension-melting stretches found on page 157 of my book, Too Blessed to be Stressed. I honed this 6-pack (that can be performed anywhere, any time) during my 36 years in physical therapy clinics; my patients loved them for providing immediate stress relief. You can also find these simple but effective stretches in an 8-minute video on my website,; click on the Stress-Busters drop box, then Stress Buster #10, "Protecting Our Earth Suits." (Come back and enjoy all the brief videos when you have a free moment.)

Make your car a rolling cathedral. Play uplifting praise or Christmas music during the many hours you're in your car to knock road stress down a notch. Take along a small pad to jot down prayer requests; when you're cut off by a crazy driver or stuck in a traffic jam, pull out your prayer pad and spend productive time praying for the people on your list. And be sure to notate Papa God's answers; you'll have documented proof that He's there, He's aware, and He cares. A wonderful way to morph road rage into prayer and praise.

So, BBFF, that's it for today. Hang tight for Tip #5 coming your way in a few days. Please - feel free to share these posts with your stress-out besties.

Oh, and be sure to register for the awesome prize package in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas Drawing - it's overflowing with my personal favorite kitchen stress-reducing goodies, as well as a $25 Visa card to decom-stress your pocketbook too! Details at my website; click on the Contest dropbox and then the Cookbook Christmas Drawing. Super simple to win, win, win!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #3

Crispy Chicken Salad
Alrighty then - are you ready for the the third of six terrific tips to help decom-stress your Christmas season? (Scroll back for the previous two.)

Stress-Buster #3: Come and Get it! (Food Prep)
Look Ahead. Investing ten minutes of preplanning saves barrels of time ... and craziness. Make a menu plan and shop early to have everything on hand so you can breathe easier. Stock ingredients for your favorite go-to dish just in case. Having a feasible Plan B is a tremendous decom-stresser (believe me, I've had to go to Plan B a few times when a new dish flopped and it's a day-saver).

Determine your meal and cookie ingredient needs then watch for deals. Be flexible; adjust your menu to accommodate sales. For example, if you find a BOGO on peaches, tweak your menu to peach cobbler instead of plum pudding. Little Jack Horner might be disappointed, but he'll get over it.

Gorgeous Grape Salad
Cook ahead. Free yourself up to sit back, relax, and enjoy the holy-day. Many dishes can be assembled and/or cooked ahead of time. Here's a great tip I learned from a professional chef: cook your turkey or ham two days ahead. After the meat has cooled, refrigerate it. Then, the morning of your feast, you'll find the chilled meat slices thinly and beautifully. Place the slices in a baking pan with the broth/juices you saved from baking day (or store-bought broth) and reheat. You'll get the scrumptious aroma of turkey or ham PLUS moist, delicious meat you don't have to tend to.

Another good example of dishes you can prepare ahead is the Gorgeous Grape Salad in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook - it's beautifully festive with red and green grapes coated with a lovely cream cheese sauce and nut topping and will happily hibernate in your fridge up to five days. (By the way, all the dishes on this post can be found in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook - over 100 recipes, each requiring less than 20 minutes prep time!) 

Spend your precious time with guests, not casseroles!

Chocolate Eclair Cake
Host potluck buffets. Don't get crazy and try to do everything yourself. Trust me, nobody minds bringing along a favorite dish - they figure if they hate everything else at least they'll like their own. Do yourself a HUGE favor and delegate food preparation, set-up and clean-up. Really, what else is Cousin Elmer good for?

Paper or Plastic? Yes, please. Both. Snub that dishwasher and buy some pretty but sturdy disposable plates, cups, and tableware. My motto: An ounce of unused dish detergent is worth a pound of Christmas cheer!

Give the gift of giving. Gift each of your immediate family members with favorite restaurant gift cards; take turns treating the fam to a frolicking dinner out during the weeks before and after Christmas. It'll help you and at the same time help your kids learn the joy of treating their loved ones to a meal they provided.

Stay tuned for Tip #4 for Stress-Busting your Holy-days. And in the meantime, register to win a marvelous gift package and FREE copies of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. To enter, just click HERE

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days, Tip #2

Deb's Famous Chicken Salad
Hey there BBFF (Best Blog Friend Forever)! Got some great tips here to help you decom-stress your crazy-busy life during this hectic Christmas season. Scroll back for Stress-Buster #1.

And without further ado, here's the second of a series of 6 forged-in-the-fire tips I think you're gonna find bodaciously invaluable. Please feel free to share this post with your stressed buds.

Stress-Buster #2: Budget - Work it, Baby.
Decide and abide. At the beginning of the season (that would be now!), agree with your spouse - if you have one - upon a reasonable, workable budget; include hidden costs like stamps, grocery bills, and long distance phone charges. Now comes the hard part: STICK to your budget.

Haunt Dollar Tree. Any Dollar Tree junkies out there besides me? I see that hand! If you're not one of us, get on board. Everything's really a dollar ... good, bad, and cha-ching bargains. True, some things are worth only a dollar, but be selective. You can find decent quality gift wrap, tissue, bows, boxes and tags for a fraction of the price you'd spend elsewhere. You might even grab a few stocking stuffers while you're there!

Limbo under the bar. Buy multiple gifts only for children; draw names among adults for one gift each and agree on a price limit ahead of time. Augment with love-gift coupons (see next point).

Offer loving service. Create love-gift coupons promising a specific service you know that specific loved one will appreciate - a foot rub, two weeks off dish duty, an hour of lawn mowing. There's no shelf life in demonstrating your love through customized acts of kindness. It's the gift that keeps on giving long after batteries poop out.

Be blessed, not stressed: online or in bookstores
Make or bake. Use your special skills (stop that snorting!) to create something uniquely handmade: needlepoint, framed photos, pinecone potpourri, reindeer antler hat racks ... wherever your imagination leads. If you're culinarily gifted, bake what I call "growlers" for friends and fam - something yummy with the Christmassy aroma of cinnamon to induce growling stomachs. Or hey, nothing says Merry Christmas like Chocolate Crack! (You can find this simple, tantalizing recipe - called chocolate crack because you can't stop eating it - in my award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook.)

Shop online. Check sites like,,, and for free printable coupons, reduced prices, and deep discounts on your preferred brands and stores. Many items are cheaper online than in stores and gift-wrapping and/or free delivery may be offered. Here's a great tip for you: Plug "coupons" into your search engine and you'll find great everyday savings resources like and

Okay, BBFF, that wraps it up for today, but be sure you've hit the subscribe button on the right side of your screen so you won't miss Stress-Buster #3 later this week.

And register NOW for a chance to win your own Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook and a fabulous gift package including my favorite stress-reducing kitchen items and grocery gift cards (that's $$$) in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas Drawing. Just hop over to the contest page at my website for details on how to enter:

P.S. I'd love to hear from you - got any of your own tried and true stress-busters you'd like to share?