Sunday, July 15, 2018


 Do you like devotion books?  I love them.  There's something about a book filled with short and concise essays.  Start them off with scripture and I'm all in.

I think I like devotion books because there's no commitment to finish a whole book in a timely manner so that you can actually remember the beginning when you get to the end.  Can I get an Amen on that one.  If I had a dollar for every book I started, but never finished because I lost interest over time I'd be wealthy, like really wealthy.

That brings me back to devotionals.  I can open one up read the page or two for the day, ponder it for a few minutes and go about my life.

Front Gate Media sent me Never Too Much | Always Enough by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan to review and they are kind enough to offer a giveaway which I'll link to at the bottom of this post.

From the publisher:  We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.

Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God's truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you  banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.

When I opened the book I dove right in and read "Even When You Make Mistakes" then I took a look around the book and found that it's a flip book.  I was on the Always Enough side.  One look through the tables of content told me that the Never Too Much side was definitely for me.

I'm truly enjoying the style of these essays...Never Too Much....Even When You're Like a Tornado.  Well was this written for me or what?  How about another....Even When You Cry Easily.  These essays are great reminders that we are all created by God for a purpose.  Some of us are meant to be tornadoes and cry easily and that's ok.

You do you and own it is my biggest takeaway from this book.

So if you're a devo junkie like me why not enter the giveaway. You could be the winner.

* indicates required

And if you can't wait you can buy it at Amazon here.

Have you seen my other giveaway?  You could win Paul:  Apostle of Christ DVD or Blu-ray.

PAUL Apostle of Christ | REVIEW & GIVEAWAY #PaulMovie

I have to confess I am not a movie buff, movie fan, movie critic, movie anything.  I find myself getting pretty antsy midway through most movies wanting the storyline to "just get to the point."

So when FrontGate Media offered to send me a review copy I thought twice before responding back with a "yes, please do."  But, you see, my family is full of movie buffs.  The kind of people who watch a movie once and can recite line after line making them even funnier than when said in the movie.  Those are the kind of people who would be all like:

What?  You could've gotten a free movie and you turned it down.  Are you nuts?

As you can tell from the blog post title I did indeed agree to view the film, form an opinion, write about it and offer a giveaway.

Let's get on with this, shall we?

I actually watched this movie at 5:30 a.m. because it's not for young kids and after the kids are in bed I'm tired and there's no way this non-movie girl is going to stay awake at 9:00 p.m. for any movie.

Here's proof

Computer, DVD, coffee, and in bed

Paul  Apostle of Christ
Affirm Films

The basic premise of the movie is Paul has been imprisoned by the Romans for apparently contributing to the devastating and city destroying fire because of his belief in Jesus Christ.  Nero is in charge and is clearly not a Christian for he believes in multiple Roman gods and wants Christians to be persecuted.
Luke visits Paul in prison to write another book.  They have thoughtful conversations about staying true to their faith despite the difficulties.

Then all kinds of things happen.  I know that's very vague, but I don't want to spoil it for you all.

This book that Luke writes is the Acts of the Apostles.  I loved how I recognized many scripture passages and watching the events unfold helped to solidify the meaning of the scripture in my mind.

Movie checklist

thought provoking ☑
elicit intense emotions ☑
provide education ☑
high interest ☑
quality acting ☑

There's definitely a risk in sharing my takeaways from the movie.  We are all different.  Many people can watch the same movie, but what they actually see can vary greatly. 

My Main Takeaways

1.  Evil must be fought with love.

2.  We bring others to Christ not by convincing them of Christ's love, but through our witness to Christ's love.

3.  Being a Christian is hard - often isolating, uncomfortable, and confusing to others, yet we forge on in faith.

I also found myself asking a few questions:

Who can I love more?

Who needs more of my love?

Have you seen Paul Apostle of Christ yet?  Why not?

Now for the details of the giveaway.

Fill out the form below and you could win 1 of 5 copies of Paul Apostle of Christ on DVD or Blu-ray.

* indicates required

Giveaway form also found here.

Don't want to wait for the giveaway?  Paul Apostle of Christ can be found at Amazon in PrimeVideo ($5.99), DVD ($14.96) and Blu-ray ($22.79).

Find Paul Apostle of Christ on social media:

Watch my YouTube channel for the video version + a Sunday family vlog. C O M I N G  S O O N


Saturday, July 14, 2018

BULK COOKING Large Family Style {June Edition}

Bulk Cooking is totally my style especially when summer takes over and we have so many activities pulling us in multiple directions.  Rarely are all nine of us sitting down to supper at once which makes having multiple meals in the fridge and freezer a godsend.

In this edition of BULK COOKING Large Family Style I make:

x5 Pancake Mix  Click here for this old-fashioned recipe
x3 BBQ  Click here for the cookbook

x4 Taco Meat  Click here for a video of my homemade seasoning mix

x2 Pepper Steak  Click here for the Stove top version

x2 Beef Short Rib Soup  Click here for the cookbook
x2 Ham, Bean & Potato Soup  Click here for this giant batch soup recipe

24 Hamburger Patties  Click here for the hamburger press I use & patty papers

10 pounds Twice Baked Potatoes  Click here for the recipe

All these recipes can be seen in video format, too.

Large Family BULK COOKING🌮🥔🥞🥩 Soup, BBQ, Taco Meat, Twice Baked Potato, Pepper Steak, Pancake Mix

A Country Life - My YouTube channel

Slow Cooker Ham, Bean & Potato Soup

Making food in large quantities makes me happy.  If it makes you happy grab a giant Nesco and let's make some soup. 

If you like smaller quantities then cut the recipe in half and it'll fit nicely in a 7 quart Crock-Pot.

Slow Cooker Ham, Bean & Potato Soup

2 pounds dry navy OR great northern beans, rinsed
2 large onions, diced
6 celery stalks, diced
8 potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
8 cloves garlic, minced OR 4 tsp. jarred minced garlic
4 large carrots, sliced
2 ham hocks OR 1 ham bone
4 bay leaves
2 T. oregano
16 cups chicken broth (I use water and Knorr seasoning powder)
4 cups chopped ham (I use Sugardale Diced Ham for ease)
Salt & Pepper to taste (usually doesn't need much salt)

Place ingredients except diced ham in Nesco.  Cook on medium high for 6 hours or until beans are soft.  Stir often.  Remove ham hock or bone.  Pick meat from bone.  Use immersion blender to cream the soup a bit leaving plenty of vegetable chunks.  Add all ham to soup, season with salt and pepper, serve warm.  This soup really holds its heat.

Serve this up on a cold and snowy evening or do what I do and annoy my family with soup in the summer.  Any time of year it tastes great.

Twice Baked Potato {Freeze Some For Later}

Potatoes, Spuds, Russets - whatever you call them they deserve to be baked, scooped, mixed with bacon and spooned back into their skins.

I'm talking about making up a pile of twice baked potato and here's how I make it happen.

Twice Baked Potatoes (large batch style)

10 pounds Russet or Baking Potatoes
1 pound bacon (save the grease)
1 stick butter
2 cups sour cream
1-2 cups milk
chopped onion to taste (1/2 - 1 cup)
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Start by baking the potatoes in your usual fashion.  I baked mine at 350 for 1 hour + until they were tender.  Allow potatoes to cool just enough to handle them.  Slice in half the long ways and scoop out potato.  Don't worry about cleaning it out perfectly.  Leaving a little potato behind will keep the potato skin sturdy.

Fry up the bacon until it's fairly crisp.  Save the grease because you're going to use it later.  You're welcome.

Add butter, milk, and sour cream to potatoes and mash well.  Stir in chopped bacon, onion, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Now comes the fun part.  Pour in some of that bacon grease you've been saving.  Not all of it, just enough to add good flavor.

Spoon back into the potato skins.  Sprinkle with a little cheese.  Set on large cookie sheet and flash freeze.  Once solid place in zip top bags.

To use immediately: Bake at 350 until hot and slightly bubbly - about 20-30 minutes.

To use from frozen:  Thaw slightly and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

🦌Mini Cheddar Meatloaves | Cooking With Venison | Large Family Freezer Meal

Meatloaf sure does get a bad rap.  But it shouldn't.  If you haven't had meatloaf since childhood it's time to give it a try now as an adult.  There are so many yummy recipes out there for meatloaf, but if you like cheese as much as I do this is the one you'll want to try.

If you've been following along with me on YouTube you'll know that I rarely make a single recipe of anything.  This is another large family sized recipe.  Enough to make some for tonight's supper and then flash freeze the rest.  Pull those out of the freezer on an exceptionally busy day for an easy supper.

Mini Cheddar Meatloaves (makes 42-48)

7 pounds ground venison (or meat of choice)
6 eggs
4 1/2 cups milk
6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups oatmeal
3 cups onion
6 tsp. salt (regular, seasoned, garlic - whatever you like)

Mix together in giant bowl with clean hands.  Shape into small oval loaves.  

Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and freeze.  Transfer to freezer bags.

If making some tonight.  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and top with ketchup topping.

Topping: (enough for about 8 loaves)
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard

Whisk together and spread over mini meatloaves.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

If preparing from frozen I set out a bag at lunchtime to thaw slightly.  Make ketchup topping and bake at 350 for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

For the full YouTube video tutorial click here.  

Sunday, July 1, 2018

How to Make a Rhubarb Pie & Homemade Pie Crust

Who doesn't love pie?

I love pie so much.

And if you love pie as much as I do you are going to want to learn how to make them homemade because have you looked at the price of a bakery pie?  OMG - they are crazy expensive or unthinkably small.  

Does baking a pie scare you?  It shouldn't.  It definitely isn't difficult, just a little time consuming.  In an effort to be always efficient today we made TEN pies at once.  It helps to enlist a few extra hands and in my case I grabbed three unsuspecting TV watching nappers and put them to work.  It wasn't long and we were filling the freezer with rhubarb pies.

Let's talk about crust.  It needs to be flaky and light.  The best way I've found to get the most desirable crust is to use lard.  Yes, lard.

This recipe makes enough crust for 2 double crust pies or 4 single crust pies.  It also freezes well so if you don't use it all just shape a crust size amount of dough into a small round, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.  

Best Ever Pie Crust

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup + 2 T. lard
5 T. water
1 T. vinegar
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in lard until crumbly.  Whisk wet ingredients and stir into flour mixture.  Stir together just until mixed.  Divide dough and roll out using a little extra flour.

That's it.  I'm sure you can do it, just don't over mix or you'll get tough dough.

On this particular day I made two different rhubarb pie recipes so we could compare and see which one we liked better.  Since this was my first time freezing rhubarb pies I wasn't sure if they would get too juicy and need a little extra flour.  (They didn't)

Rhubarb Pie

3 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
sprinkle of nutmeg
1 egg
3 T. flour

Mix all together and pour into unbaked pie crust.

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter

Mix flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  I use my food processor to make quick work out of this.  Spread over rhubarb mixture.  Place in 2 gallon freezer bag and freeze.  May stack after all pies are froze solid.

(Repeat for each pie you're making.)

Rhubarb Nut Pie

3 cups rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup flour

Layer rhubarb, nuts and brown sugar in unbaked pie crust.  Beat together eggs and melted butter.  Add white sugar and flour.  Mix well and pour over rhubarb.  Place in 2 gallon freezer bag, freeze, may stack once completely frozen.

Baking frozen pies

Do not thaw.  Place frozen pie in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Turn off oven; leave pie in for another 10-15 minutes.  Both pies can be served warm, room temperature or cold - whatever you prefer.

If you'd prefer to watch the making of these pies in action check out my YouTube video.  Click here.

Tell me, are you a pie baker?  What's your favorite pie?
Haven't you taken the plunge into baking pies?  Why not?