Category Archives: Cooking and Food

Gluten-free, egg-free Brownies and Blondies

These recipes are for my gluten-free friends…Mary B, you especially!

This is my friend Jane’s specialty. She is allergic to eggs so she came up with this fudgy delicious substitute to regular brownies. The secret ingredient will most likely surprise you…canned beans! There are many recipes for gluten-free Black Bean brownies and White Bean Blondies on the internet, but these don’t have eggs.

IMPORTANT: in my opinion, these brownies need 24 hours in the fridge to meld the flavors to perfection. In fact…the first time I made them I was really disappointed. We ate them while still warm from the oven, and they really didn’t do much for me. In fact, blech! But by the next morning…WOW–they were amazing! Everyone said so. So take my word for it, and save the majority of them till the next day. (because I know you will have to sample at least one straight from the oven…)

You can thank me later for that tip. *Smile*

Another IMPORTANT thing: you will need a food processor or good blender for this recipe.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup chocolate chips (we think dark chocolate is best!)
  • more chips on top for presentation, if desired (you will so desire!)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Drain beans. Combine all ingredients (except chips) in a good food processor, or blender, and blend till completely smooth. Stir in the chips, then pour the mixture into a greased 8×8″ pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the brownies 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Then let them cook 10 minutes or more before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies.

Chocolate Chip Blondies

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas or white beans
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*F. Drain beans. Blend all ingredients (except chips) until very smooth in a good food processor or blender. Mix in chips and pour mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chips over the top. Bake for around 30 minutes. They will look a little undercooked when you take them out, but they will firm up as they cool, and you don’t want them to get hard.

A note about Gluten-Free…

Those of you that are deathly allergic to gluten know what is and isn’t allowable. I do not claim to know the ins and outs of Gluten-free…so before making these and blessing all your GF friends with them…do some research. For instance…I know that gluten-free oats and gluten-free chocolate chips exist…but I don’t know if that’s just because the GF movement is taking advantage of the fact that most normal people don’t have any idea that chocolate chips contain gluten. ?? I know gluten is found in some very strange things, like certain soda-pops. So use your discretion.

If any gluten-free folks can shed some light on the ingredients in this recipe, I’d sure love to know!

Thanks, and enjoy this healthy recipe!

 

Cookbooks and Food Miracles

Today I picked up a large cooler full of ground venison from the meat locker. Tonight we’re celebrating “red meat in the hoose” by utilizing The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook…her bacon-wrapped and bbq-tomato-gravy slathered meatloaf (page 150) to be exact. And her PW’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes (page 146) made from Yukon Gold potatoes from our very own garden. I haven’t been immersed in such a delightful cookbook since my mom gave us the Two Chicks from the Sticks cookbook. Another must-have. Hint. Many of our best-selling farmer’s market recipes have come from that last one.

But the real reason I’m blogging tonight (besides having t.i.m.e. and no one else competing with me for our one and only computer…) is that we had another miracle recently! We have them quite often actually. I wish I had time to blog about each and every one.

This miracle occurred one chilly morning a couple weeks ago. I was down at our field pens, doing chores for the 30 little chickies we’re raising…when a hunter pulled up. He’d been hunting and successfully bagged his buck and wondered if I could come take a picture of him with it. Just FYI, we’d met him the previous weekend when he’d kindly let us know he had permission to hunt the forested area north of our property. So he’d be driving through our place in the wee hours of the morning and didn’t want us to be alarmed. Heh, if he only knew how familiar we are with the “wee hours” of the morning, getting up at 3:55 am every day to milk. But I digress. Nice guy, from out of state. He waited on me to run up to the house and pull my banana nut bread out of the oven and then we were off for a photo shoot.

The drive was through pasture, a little rough. By the time we got done with the pictures, I could tell he was anxious to get the deer gutted and his deer stand dissembled, so I offered to help. That was a fun ramble through the woods to the deer stand…he pointed out a bobcat lair, among other interesting things I didn’t know were within a half-mile of my home!

The blessing of this adventure is that we got a large cooler of ground venison for our freezer! Because this guy was from out of state, he couldn’t take his deer home with him. He asked if we happened to like venison…we LOVE venison. Not only that…but less than two weeks before, I’d announced to my family that I was praying for God to dump some red meat in our laps so they better watch and see how He was going to provide it. We had been out of everything but our broiler chickens for a while, and I sure was missing the versatility of having ground red meat at my disposal. We just don’t buy beef from the store…we process our own beef here at home because we like to know what we’re eating! I’d even begun grinding some turkey so we’d have ground meat…but turkey is just meant to be roasted. An added blessing of venison is that it doesn’t contain any antibiotics or vaccines….which is a hallelujah side bonus! *grin*

We are truly thankful, and excited to enjoy this first meal made from this venison gift tonight. I guess I’d better go mash up some potatoes!

Have you got anything in particular you need to take to the Lord in prayer? Another thing you should know…the same day this hunter relayed his intention of giving us the meat from his deer, my in-laws stopped by with a grocery sack of beef from their freezer. What a double blessing! Meat to eat while we waited on the locker to process the venison. God loves to knock our socks off…but so often…we “have not because we ask not”…

What miracles has He done in your life recently?

Ginger Peach Lemonade Recipe

Farmer'sMarketLemonade2It’s Farmer’s Market season again! Every week amidst the last minute packaging of treats we bake, and whilst my husband and middle daughter are feverishly loading the vehicle for market, my youngest daughter and I are busy in the kitchen concocting the “perfect fruity lemonade”. This is a last minute affair because we want it as fresh as possible, you see. This is 8 year old’s contribution to the market–a lemonade stand.  You can pretty much juice any fruit and add it to a substantial amount of lemonade. Watermelon. Pink Lady apples. Plums and Oranges. Strawberry Kiwi. Cherry Limeade. These are a few of our favorite ones.

Well, we happened upon a real peach this past Tuesday night. My oldest knew we were planning on Peach Lemonade…as peaches are in full swing around here, and when possible, we love doing lemonade with whatever fruit is in season. She suggested “Ginger Peach Lemonade”. Oh man. Around here we lo-ove fresh ginger…

And a recipe was born.

Peach Lemonade with a hint of Ginger

  • 12 peaches, with pits removed
  • 2 cups Lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • around a gallon of water
  • ginger syrup: boil 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and about 3 inches of peeled and sliced ginger root till sugar is dissolved. Cool, remove ginger pieces.

I have a Champion Juicer–love it. Someone asked me if they could just throw the peaches in the blender…well, I’d say no, because a juicer separates the juice from all the pulp. But if someone with one of those fancy-schmancy Vitamix blenders wants to set me straight, please do so. It could work! I slice my peach halves into chunks that will juice easily and juice them all. You’ll get 16 oz (at least) of peach juice, depending on how juicy they are. Mix up a gallon of lemonade (your two cups lemon juice, 1 cup sugar and almost a gallon of water). Brew your ginger syrup…and mix all three delights together. Ta-da! Serve it up on ice for a fantastic summer bonus!

This sold out in the first 45 minutes of market…I’m making it again next week! Good stuff…and it’s so much fun to hear people’s comments.

“Wonder what flavor they’ll have this week?”

“I LOVE this stuff!”

“I come to the market just for my lemonade!”

My youngest daughter was able to save all of her lemonade money last summer and used it to purchase a lovely mandolin, which she now plays at market once the lemonade is sold out! Fun times.

I also have a Peach Lemonade Concentrate recipe that cans up great if you want to take a look at that one.

Happy Summertime everyone! Do you have a favorite fresh summertime drink? Do share it in comments!

 

The Health Benefits of Eating Whole Organic Foods and How They Can Aid in Preventing Illness

What is your opinion of organic food? Do you think of it as overpriced? Do you think of it as unnecessary? Maybe you have looked at the organic foods in the grocery store and thought the produce didn’t look as robust or oversized as the “regular” stuff.

It is interesting to note that there are many benefits to eating whole organic foods, and that many people remain entirely unaware about the ways that these foods will prevent illnesses on many levels.

Food and Health

Let’s start by understanding two of the terms we used above: whole food and organic food. These are two very different things. Whole food are those that are unprocessed and unaltered to a great degree. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains can be called whole foods.

Organic foods are those that are grown to very specific standards and which use no dangerous chemicals in the growing, harvesting, and processing stages of market preparation. In the United States a food cannot simply be labeled as organic without first passing the standards designed by the USDA.

So, why is it that whole and organic foods will prevent illness? Let’s start with nutrition.

The Nutrients in Nature

Because whole and organic foods are grown under relatively ideal conditions and are left as intact as possible, their nutrient levels are superior to the more “traditionally” grown foods.

Need an example? Let’s say you want to buy a bag of apples at the market. These are whole foods, right? Yes, but when they are not grown organically they are fairly saturated with some hefty chemicals. In fact, there is a list known as the “dirty dozen” and it identifies the foods that are the most heavily contaminated when not grown organically. (The list includes peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, strawberries, grapes, pears, lettuce, potatoes, and spinach)

Now, if you buy the regular, non-organic apples it means you are ingesting large quantities of pesticide residues. It also means that the nutrient properties of the fruit are likely to have been compromised too. This is because the compounds sprayed on the growing apples are intended to make them more marketable. So, the bag of luscious red-skinned apples may look far more appealing than those less glamorous organic apples, but you are going to get a lot more nutrition and good food value from that bag of organics.

Fighting Illness

In addition to upping the nutrition value in foods, buying whole and organic foods also means that you are eliminating compounds that have strong links to diseases such as cancer and immune malfunction.

Of course, there is also the very obvious link to a whole food diet and better health. Because whole, organic foods are low in fat, sugar, and sodium it means that they are less likely to cause any subsequent health problems. For example, if you avoid non-organic and processed foods and opt for the healthier whole foods you are not likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or to become obese.

Lastly, if you did a blind taste test of organic versus non-organic foods, you would usually choose the organic as the better tasting food. This is because farmers have to grow specific varieties if the non-organic food can survive the shipping and marketing processes. Often this comes at the cost of taste and nutrition. Organic farmers don’t work that way and will grow less attractive varieties because they are guaranteed to be packed with flavor, color, and nutrition.

Going organic and eating a whole food diet makes sense if you want to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Best Healthy Cornbread Recipe

It’s a cold ‘un out there today! My husband works outside so we’re fixing one of our favorite meals–chili and cornbread. My chili is a thick one, made with browned hamburger, pinto beans, black beans, a diced onion, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, a little homemade salsa and seasonings like chili powder, cumin, and garlic. If you soak your beans overnight and let the above ingredients simmer about 6-8 hours, you’ll have a thick, hearty, stick-to-your ribs meal. Perfect for a cold day!

Our cornbread recipe is a tweaked version of one we got from the back of a Bob’s Red Mill package of wheat germ. Instead of making it into the corn muffins for which it was intended, I double the recipe and put it in a 9×13″ pan, and substitute the white flour the recipe calls for, with freshly ground spelt flour. And because we try to avoid most corn products (because conventionally grown corn contains GMOs), I get organically grown popcorn from our neighbor’s CSA farm, and grind it into cornmeal. Mmm! We love this stuff…

Whole Wheat Corn Bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and grease a 9×13″ pan. Recipe may be halved for a 8×8″ square dish. And, if you’d rather make it into muffins, it should make about 24 muffins.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (we like Spelt berries, freshly ground), if you prefer, you could use white flour, or a mixture of the two.
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 eggs, beaten (nothing compares to our own home-raised organic eggs!)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 TB sugar (best is “evaporated cane juice”, if you can find it!)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder (buy “aluminum free”)
  • 1 tsp. salt (sea salt is wonderful!)
  • 2 cups milk (we love us our raw cow’s milk!!)

Stir together flour, wheat germ, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, and melted butter; add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter should be lumpy. Transfer batter to greased 9×13″ pan, and bake at 400*F for 20-25 minutes, till lightly browned on top. Serve warm, of course! (it’s especially good with organic local honey on top!)

(FYI–the pic above is a freebie from morguefiles, not my own, just trying to add color to the post! My own chili and cornbread look quite a bit different…)

Homemade Yogurt

I’m always looking for great breakfast alternatives to cereal. Typically, our breakfasts consist of our own organic scrambled eggs and fresh fruit, occasionally muffins, blender waffles, or baked oatmeal. But homemade yogurt is a real treat–it’s easy, and we love it. We use raw whole milk in ours, and Activia yogurt for starter. Not all store bought yogurts are equal, by the way. Be sure you check the wording. It should say “CONTAINS” active cultures, not “MADE WITH” active cultures. If it was simply made with active cultures, then those cultures were killed off in the pasteurization process, and it won’t work for making homemade yogurt. You need those live good bacteria for good health, and for good yogurt!

This recipe works best with whole milk, but I’ve scoured the net for variations, and you can use lower-fat content milk with this method. For it to be nice and thick, however, you should add one packet of unflavored gelatin to the mix after stirring in the yogurt with active cultures. It seems that some have been successful mixing non-fat milk powder in as well. FYI–I have not tried adding in gelatin or powdered milk–so experiment at your own risk there!

Here’s the recipe and how-to’s. It makes around 2.5 quarts–but it won’t last long if your tribe likes it as much as mine does!

Homemade Yogurt

  • 8 cups (half-gallon) of whole milk–raw, or pasteurized and homogenized is fine, but do NOT use ultra-pasteurized.
  • 1/2 cup store-bought natural, live/active culture plain or vanilla yogurt (You need to have a starter. Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter)
  • frozen/fresh fruit or jams for flavoring
  • thick bath towel
  • crock pot

**Note: This takes a while. Make your yogurt on a stay-at-home day so you can monitor your yogurt.

  1. My crockpot holds 4 quarts. Plug in your crockpot and turn to low.
  2. Add an entire half gallon of milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Unplug your crockpot. Leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours.
  4. When 3 hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Then dump the bowl contents back into the crockpot. Stir to combine.
  5. Put the lid back on your crockpot. Keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation.
  6. Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.

In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened—it will not be as firmly thick as store-bought yogurt, but it still has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt. And differing batches might have varying results. I’ve never had a batch mess up, but I’ve had some yogurt that was better added to smoothies than eaten with a spoon!

Chill your yogurt in the refrigerator. Your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. You’ll want to save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch.

To serve, blend in your favorite fruit, either fresh or a tablespoon of jam per serving. We have access to fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, so these are our favorite additions. We usually just pull  out a container of homemade organic freezer jam and stir a little of it into our yogurt. Mmm! You could also just add a little honey. Voila!

Labor Day Pizza

Labor Day is here, and with it, wide open windows and highs in the 70’s! And we’re LOVING it. After all, July’s never-ending line up of 105+ degree scorchers is still very much alive in my memory! Whew. Dare I hope fall is really arriving? Happy dance!

My little girls celebrated by digging out their jackets, and raking up a huge leaf pile. After about a hundred leaf-splattering dives they came inside for hot cocoa and marshmallows! Ahh…the rosy cheeks of fall!

There is something about billowing curtains and chill temps that fires up my creativity. That and my oldest daughter telling me that home-made bread was a must on this day. So out came the grain mill and the prairie gold wheat berries and my favorite pizza dough recipe, which doubles up nicely for rolls or buns, and we got to work. Pretty soon my younger girls were rolling out individual pizzas and adding their favorite toppings, and in the end, we had a delicious pizza lunch and since I doubled the dough recipe, we’ve also got buns for supper. We’ll cut them open, butter the insides and grill them on the griddle, then serve them with bacon and cheesy fried eggs! Mmm! Mine will have fresh basil leaves on it as well…are you hungry yet? *wink*

Here is our favorite pizza dough recipe, it’s easy, FAST, and a real joy to mold around in your hands…just add a little olive oil to your hands first, and fall in love!

Pizza Dough

  • 2 packages of yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 5 cups flour (I use 100% whole wheat home ground flour, you can also use half whole wheat and white flours)
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 2 tsp sugar.
  2. Pour into a mixing bowl with remaining ingredients.
  3. Knead (I have a dough hook attachment to my mixer, that’s what I use, and it doesn’t take but 4-6 minutes of kneading for this recipe)
  4. Let rise in a greased bowl, in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Punch down, and use for pizza crust, or let rise again another 20 minutes and make into rolls or buns.

Sometimes we make pizza pockets instead of pizza…those are fun. Roll out chunks of dough into circles, and fill half the circle with  your favorite pizza toppings: hamburger, onions, black olives, cheese, etc. NOTE: NO SAUCE! It will leak out the edges. Fold your circle of dough over and crimp edges to seal. Make a slit in the top for steam to escape and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, and serve with sauce for dipping. We love these.

Happy Labor Day!

Homemade Ice Cream, Anyone?

Finally.  After almost 18 years of marriage, we have become the happy consumers of our very own homemade ice cream! We were so excited about a month ago, to stumble upon a used-maybe-once White Mountain 6 quart ice cream maker–hand crank, even! JUST the machine we have always wanted, but could never afford! God is good, He must have realized how much we LOVE ice cream! *wink*

I don’t know what we love more. The fact that we’ve got such a terrific way to use up our raw organic milk, cream, and farm fresh eggs, or the satisfaction of yet another family pastime…sitting in the shade of a warm almost-summer evening taking turns at the crank. Or, the awe on my children’s faces after 23 minutes of cranking…as we all hold our breath and lift the cannister’s lid, can it be…YES, WOW, thick, perfect ice cream!

Oh boy.

My mouth is watering.

It’s sure hot in here.

I’m so glad we picked up more ice at the grocery store the other day!

HUBBY???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are our two favorite recipes, so far. ;O) Care to share yours in comments? I’m looking for a fresh peach ice cream recipe if you have one!

Strawberry Ice Cream (one bowl of this is NOT enough)

  • (2) 3 oz strawberry jello dissolved in 2 c boiling water–cool
  • 4 eggs beaten**
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. cream
  • 1 qt milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • (2) 12 oz strawberries (or 3 cups chopped berries), thawed (add last)
  • milk to fill cannister to 3/4 full

Vanilla Ice Cream  

  • 4 eggs well beaten**
  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • Vanilla extract (may also add a little lemon juice or extract if desired)
  • 1 qt cream
  • 2 qt milk
  • May add 1 large box instant vanilla pudding for flavor

Again, add milk till your cannister is 3/4 full, crank and enjoy!

My only other tip, is that it is a lot cheaper to go to your local feedstore and pick up a 50 lb sack of livestock salt, rather than “rock salt” from the grocery store. Works just great!

I think ice cream is a must on these 96 degree days, don’t you?

Thanks to my wonderful friend, Bonnie, for sharing her recipes with me!

**Special note, we don’t cook our eggs…since they are fresh as can be from our own chicken gals, and no danger of salmonella…if you are using store eggs, you might need to find a recipe with cooked eggs…fair warning!

Love your family with Baked Oatmeal!

Joy fills my heart every morning, knowing my days have purpose. There is no more fulfilling job in this world, than that of wife and mother. God has been so gracious to allow us to raise our family 100% ourselves. What a blessing!

I love waking up before the kiddos, our open bedroom window carrying in a fresh breeze and birdsongs, the nanny goat’s merrily tingling bell, the happy neighing of baby colts–all beckoning me outside while it is still blessedly cool!  I check the indoor/outdoor temp, making sure it’s still cooler outside than it is inside, and leave the house with its billowing curtains, preferring instead, my great big tree-shaded hillside with its billowing leafy branches and the white rope hammock that has found its two tree stands for the summer.

But first things first…the laying hens need me to fling their barn door open so these gals can scritch-scratch and forage the day away, and hubby and I must amble down the driveway and beyond the grain bin to move the two field pens full of young chickens to fresh green pasture. Once fed and watered, the Cornish-cross broilers and little layer chicks release me to some quiet time in the hammock with God’s word and my handy Bible pen. I can rest easy for a while, knowing that one of my family’s favorite breakfasts is in the oven.

Baked Oatmeal w/dried Cherries

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries (we love dried cherries in this!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F (175*C)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries (or cherries). Spread in an ungreased 9×13″ pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Serve with milk in bowls.

We are a family of five, and can easily demolish three-fourths of this filling dish. But we have country life appetites going for us as well!

Do you love the life God has given you? He can fill your cup to the brim and over with love for your husband and children, and joy as you live for their well-being. Just ask Him.

According to Titus 2, we women are to be teachers of *good things*, keepers at home, loving our husbands and loving our children…obedience in these things m’dears, brings lasting joy!

Easy Baked Salmon

Friday mornings are usually reserved for Bible study luncheons with my parents. With our hectic schedule, we haven’t had any semblance of regularity with our studies, but it worked out today! Dad taught on Matthew 24, regarding the signs of the end. Riveting stuff, as we see it come true all around us. We followed our study up with one of our favorite treats: Baked Alaskan Salmon. Wow. We absolutely love this recipe, so it’s about time I shared it here at the blog!

I always double this, and go heavy on the spices and cracker crumbs. But here is the original recipe.

Baked Wild Salmon Fillets

  • 4 salmon fillet
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1/2 of an onion diced
  • 1 cup (or MORE)  cracker crumbs (we like Back to Nature cracker rounds)
  • juice of 1 lime or lemon

Preheat oven to 350″F. Blend seasonings together and rub into fish. Roll seasoned salmon into the cracker crumbs, packing the crumbled crackers onto the fillets. Put in 9×13″ glass dish. Sprinkle each fillet with diced onions and drizzle with lime or lemon juice, about 3/4 TB per fillet. If you have crumbs leftover, go ahead and add them to the dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes and dig in!

These were AMAZING with fresh steamed garden asparagus, tossed salad and homemade Texas toast! My mom likes to bring her double burner cast iron griddle and a loaf of French bread, which she and the girls slice and butter (real butter all the way, man!) both sides, then grill on the griddle. Ta-da–Texas toast, and is it ever delicious.

Fun way to round out the family time: Quiddler. If you like word games, such as Scrabble and Boggle, you’ll love this one.

Why not schedule a Bible study luncheon of your own?