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Christy Catherine Marshall

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March 13, 2007

The “spring forward” time change is hard for me to get used to. For one thing, it’s still LIGHT outside when it’s time for the kids to go to bed.

Last night, after supper, the clock said 7:30, but it just didn’t seem like bedtime yet. I went upstairs and rocked and read to the baby (almost 2!) and put her to bed. But then — I wasn’t in the mood to go start reading our nightly chapter of Harriet the Spy.

For some strange reason, I felt like watching TV. ME! I never watch TV. I can’t stand to sit still in front of a flat screen when there are so many good books to read!

For several years, we didn’t have cable or satellite, so all we could watch was PBS. But a few months ago, we finally got a satellite installed because I was tired of hearing the theme songs to Arthur and Clifford in the mornings. Now my four-year-old’s favorite show is “Little Einsteins,” and I love the classical music!

So I wanted to watch TV last night — something interesting, yet kid-appropriate since our TV is in the main family room. The Food Network — ah yes! I turned it to this show, Emeril. Do you watch this guy? He’s hilarious!

We had just eaten whole-wheat penne pasta with tomato sauce for dinner — and that’s what he cooked last night — except he made it look so exciting! Flipping the pasta up in the air from the saucepan — tossing in bits of olives and red onions. How fun!

My daughters heard me laughing — so they joined me on the couch. Then my sons, settled down from their waterhose fight out in the yard, came in to watch. And my husband, seeing us all gathered together, also joined us. We were all thoroughly enthralled by this guy — which of course got a joke from me, “Look,” I said to my husband. “Isn’t it nice seeing a man in the kitchen?” haha.

Is this on every night? I’d like to watch it again. Maybe I’ll try flipping my pasta up in the air and garnishing our humble meals with freshly grated mozarella and sprigs of parsley.

I checked his website, and he offers a database of over 6000 recipes. All you have to do is type in the name of the recipe you’re looking for or a main ingredient.

The older my kids get, the more energy I have — and cooking is something we can enjoy doing as a family. It’s not fun when you have a newborn screaming — or a whining toddler hanging on to your pant legs … but my elementary-age children are starting to be big helpers in the kitchen. I think we’ll start trying to be more creative with our meals … with a little help from our TV friend.

March 21, 2006

Here’s a recipe from Susan Thacker’s book, Supper Swapping, which you can read more about in our interview with Susan here and here. This recipe is printed with permission from the author as well as Chef/Owner Polo Becerra of Post Oak Grill in Houston. Please feel free to link to this recipe, but don’t copy it unless you ask for permission from the author. Thanks!

Blueberry Vinaigrette from Post Oak Grill
This beautiful deep purple vinaigrette perfectly complements Chef Becerra’s Blueberry Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese (from Supper Swapping, p. 78).

1 shallot, minced
1 cup blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar (Alessi is one brand.)
1 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients in an electric blender. Puree until smooth.
(Yields 1 Pint — enough to split with a friend.)

Blueberry Spinach Salad Topped with Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese and Grilled Chicken
(from Supper Swapping, p. 79)

8 cups baby spinach (a 5 ounce bag is about 5 cups)
1 cup blueberries
½ cup pecan pieces, toasted
½ cup (2 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled (not necessary for kids)
4 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
* Radicchio (purplish) leaves may be used as an optional garnish.

Measure ingredients. Divide the spinach between the plates. Garnish each plate with radicchio leaves if using. Top spinach with pecan pieces, blue cheese and grilled chicken slices. Drizzle desired amount of Blueberry Vinaigrette over each salad when ready to serve. (Yields 4 Large Servings.)

February 15, 2006

Thanks for your response to my desperate plea for vegetables yesterday. Now I can offer you a well-rounded buffet with a feast of recipes from eleven bloggers and two friends of Mom 2 Mom (plus one of my most often-requested recipes. And another blogger’s link I couldn’t resist passing along.)

I really enjoyed serving as your hostess this week. Once again, the biggest thanks goes to Sallie at Two Talent Living for sponsoring the Carnival — out of 27 million blogs out there, she’s helped us find some like-minded friends.

If I’ve missed anyone, please email me or send me a comment — my server seems to be a bit overzealous lately in blocking some messages — so I hope I haven’t missed yours.

Well, I wish I could spiff up this place a little bit, set out a tablecloth, or something. Hope you enjoy the potluck!

Thank you, Lord, for lavishing your love upon us through fellowship with other women who enjoy writing online. Your grace is overwhelming. Help us to continue encouraging each other to shine our lights into the world through our words. Bless our food today — and give us the wisdom and energy we need to prepare good meals for our families. Amen.

In her entry, Food for Body & Soul, Iris at Sting My Heart reminds us, “Although food for the body is essential for living, we as Christians need to feed on a different kind of food.” You’ll enjoy her mouth-watering recipe for Philly Steak Sandwiches here.

What better way to share a recipe than through step-by-step photographs? That’s what Bethany at A Picturesque Life has done for us, sharing a recipe she loves making with her children. In her post, Monkeying Around and Making Monkey Bread, their smiling faces will inspire us all to try this with our own families.

From across the Atlantic in the south of France, Mary of Relevant Prose sends us her Tres Vite Cinnamon Rolls, which she enjoys making with her teenage daughter. And in case that’s not enough for us, she’s also included a whole page of links to her favorite recipes, which are sprinkled throughout her blog.

For those of us with busy evening schedules, Trish of Simplifying Motherhood sends us her kid-friendly Parmesan Chicken Sandwiches. Even though her husband’s baseball schedule is hectic, she still places a top priority on sitting down for nightly family suppers.

And just when we were about to run out of ideas of what to do with a package of cream cheese, Marla of Just Marla offers us nine delighful recipes in her Ode to Cream Cheese. In case you’re wondering, she says, “Yep, the pictures were taken by me of actual food I made and ate.” It looks like she’s on her way to making her own cookbook someday.

Although Blair of Scribblings by Blair claims she doesn’t have a knack for cooking, she does have an incredible gift of writing. Get out your hankies when you read how she found the perfect way to enjoy Chicken ‘n’ Biscuits with her husband in A Valentine Memory.

In honor of her grandmother who recently passed away, Carrie from Of Christian Women shares a recipe for Pistachio Jello Salad. In her post, The Love in Food, she writes, “My Grandmother was a very family-oriented person who enjoyed showing her love through keeping her family well-fed. Being at my Grandparents house was like a never-ending feast … You really could almost taste the love.”

In her post, No Comfort in Chocolate, Carmen of Full Contact Christ-Centric Living once again delights us with her wit and wisdom. After a bizarre, chocolate-provoked experience, she learned why she finds comfort in foods that build her body and give her energy while tasting great. She offers us gorgeous pictures of God-made fruit, along with a tantelizing recipe for Fruit and Kefir Smoothie — yum!

Now, in case we’re feeling overwhelmed by nightly dinner preparations, Carol of She Lives shares her secret for keeping her family fed without a lot of fuss. She Lives, but not to cook. In her post, She’s Not All She’s Crocked Up to Be, Carol gives us several easy, down-home recipes that will entice us to dust off our crockpots and simmer something Texan.

Patricia of Pollywog Creek Porch shares a recent article that says, “Research now suggests that calling a food a comfort food has less to do with its qualities than with its ability to trigger happy memories and feelings.” On that note, her mind is filled with happy memories of serving her family Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins in her post, Comfort Food.

In her post, Connoisseur…of Good Food, Deb of Mountain Musings offers us a mouth-watering casserole that will inspire us to whip out the shoepeg corn and green beans. She does offer us this warning: “Unfortunately, I have learned that this dish is probably not for husbands and sons…so just take it to an occasional gathering so you can be sure to enjoy it every now and then.” A potluck club special here.

And rounding up this delicious buffet, I’m bringing you a collection of favorites from friends of Mom 2 Mom Connection. Lou Alice shares her Southern hospitality with a creamy grits recipe that is delicious paired with baked salmon. Lisa will keep you busy enjoying recipes she’s collected over the years from her family and favorite restaurants, including Chicken Divan, Roast beef with New Potatoes and Carrots, Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, Tossed Salad, Breakfast Casserole, Broccoli Salad, and Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.

I’ll also add in my recipe that brings me a ton of traffic from the search engines. Guess what most moms in the world are dishing up for their families? You got it — a new spin on good ol’ Macaroni and Cheese.

And I can’t let this Carnival go by without a link to one of my all-time favorite posts — I hope she doesn’t mind — it’s Sallie’s cache of homemade recipes from her classic post, My Quest to Eat at Home.

There you have it, ladies! A true Potluck Club. Let’s eat!

Here are several tried-and-true recipes that are sure to make you the Belle of the Buffet at your next Sunday School potluck.

Submitted by Lou Alice:


(4-6 servings)
1 can chicken broth
½ cup cream
2 T. Butter
½ cup quick grits (NOT instant grits)
Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese

Mix liquids in pan, Bring to a boil. Add grits and let rise to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add grated cheese. Stir until blended. Serve immediately. (4-6 servings)


Lisa has gone through her recipe file and compiled a list of her absolute favorites. This should keep us busy for a few meals!

Grandmama made this delicious recipe for many of her friends that were sick, tired, or just were in need of some good cheer. This is an excellent casserole to take to friends who are pregnant, sick, or that have a new baby.

2 (10 oz.) packages of frozen broccoli
2 cups of cooked chicken, cubed
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
package of silvered almonds
i tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Arrange cooked broccoli in greased casserole. Top with cubed chicken. Combine remaining ingredients, except for cheese and bread crumbs. Pour over chicken. Top with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy!

This is one of my husband’s favorite meals. I love it because it cooks all day in the crockpot, and when I come home from work, dinner is ready.

London Broil
4-6 New potatoes, washed, quartered, and with the skins remaining
1 bag of baby carrots
Meat tenderizer
1 bay leaf

Fill the crockpot halfway with water. Stab the London Broil with meat tenderizer. Place the roast into the crockpot. Wash and slice the new potatoes, and place into the crockpot. Wash the carrots and place into the crockpot. Place the bay leaf on top of the roast. Cook on high for the first hour then turn down to low. Cook for about 6-8 hours.

This is from a little restaurant in my husband’s hometown. They have the best chicken salad!

4 whole chicken breasts, bone in
Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s
1-2 T. celery seed
Pickle relish
Pepper (I use white pepper.)

Boil chicken until tender. Let cool, cut in bite-size pieces. Place chicken in mixing bowl. Add just enough mayonnaise to moisten chicken. Add 1-2 tablespoons celery seed. Add 1/2 cup of pickle relish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. If salad seems too dry add more mayonnaise or pickle relish. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. We serve a big scoop of chicken salad on a bed of leaf lettuce with fresh fruit and poppy seed dressing and a muffin. We also serve our chicken salad on a fresh croissant. Delicious!


1 1/2 c. white vinegar
2 c.. sugar
1/2 sm. onion, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. poppy seed
1 c. mayonnaise
3 c. salad oil (Wesson oil or Crisco oil)

Mix in blender or food processor on high speed. Great on fruit salads! We have many customers who request this dressing with other salads as well! Delicious on fried chicken salad. Make some extra for gifts at Christmas!

Mom made this salad for our engagement dinner, and it was wonderful! My mother-in-law insisted on getting this recipe.

1 head of Boston lettuce
As much Iceberg lettuce on hand
1 Carrot, grated
(Other raw vegetables as your refrigerator provides)

Have available:

Black olives
Cheddar Cheese


1/2 cup oil
1 cup salad vinegar
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
Pour dressing over salad. Add croutons, black olives, and grated Cheddar cheese. Toss and serve!

Mom & Dad always serve this wonderful casserole for Christmas brunch along with sparkling grape juice. It brings back fond childhood Christmas memories.

Chicken, sausage, or ground beef
Seasoned croutons
4-5 eggs
4 cups of milk
Cheddar cheese, grated

In an 8″ x 12″ casserole dish (Pyrex), layer cooked meat, chicken, sausage, or ground beef. Next, place a layer of seasoned croutons over the meat. Mix in a blender or beat by hand, 4-5 eggs, 4 cups of milk, grated cheese. Pour the mixture over the top of the meat and croutons. Let stand overnight. Bake in the oven for an hour at 350 the next morning (Christmas morning).

I make this for many family gatherings. Everyone always loves it — enjoy!

4 cups of chopped broccoli
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bacos or 4 strips bacon (I use turkey bacon)
i cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients tgoether except bacon. Stir in bacon just before serving. This salad can be prepared the day before serving.

Chocolate-dipped strawberries capture the essence of celebrating Valentine’s Day. In the spring, I love picking fresh strawberries and making this. This is a crowd pleaser!

One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or liquer (optional)
2 pints strawberries, washed but left unstemmed

1. Place the chocolate chips and milk in a 3-cup glass dish. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. If not completely melted, microwave for 15 seconds more; stir. Repeat if necessary. When completely melted, stir in the sweetened condensed milk or vanilla extract or liquer, if using.

2. When ready to serve, reheat in the microwave over low power untll warm. Place in the fondue pot over a very low flame and surround with strawberries and pound cake, if using. Have someone stir the pot as needed to keep the sauce from scorching.


This is a recipe from my aunt, who is a wonderful cook. It is easy to make and tastes divine.
1 can of sweet, cream corn
1 can of kernel corn
i pkg of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 pkg of sour cream
Cheddar Cheese, grated

Mix together and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

February 13, 2006

My table is empty … and I’m ready for a feast! A buffet of beautiful food writing. Recipes. Delicious ideas.

If you’ve never entered the Carnival before, this is your week! It’s sponsored by Sallie of Two Talent Living, but I’m the hostess for this week’s topic of Comfort Food.

Don’t be bashful. Remember the post I wrote about food writing? You can do this. I especially want your recipes if you don’t live in the U.S. Let’s make this an international potluck!

If you have a blog, post your recipe today or tomorrow, then send me the link in an email by 3 pm on Valentine’s Day, including a brief one- or two-sentence description. If you don’t have a blog, just email me your recipe, and I’ll post it with mine.
heatherivester at bellsouth dot net.

Let’s have a feast of great food and great writing!

February 11, 2006

Potluck Club

A novel? It’s about time. I don’t read much fiction, but I’m glad I discovered this one. If you love getting carried away in a good story, this novel is way too much fun. It’s ideal for a breezy weekend read.

The Potluck Club is co-authored by Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd, two ladies who keep my inbox brimming. Eva Marie sends me her newest articles on Crosswalk, and Linda sends me recipes. When I heard Eva Marie speak at a conference, I just had to get a signed copy of her book.

“How do two people write a novel together?” I asked her. “We each wrote three characters,” she whispered. “But it’s a secret which ones.”

What is the Potluck Club? It’s a tight-knit group of six friends who get together to share a home-cooked meal, spicing things up with the latest gossip prayer requests. These ladies find plenty to talk about in their small town nestled in the scenic Colorado mountains.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that the women are real. They’re funny and flawed, but have a heart for growing in their faith. As the plot unfolds, we enter into their joys and heartaches, frowning at the naughty and smiling at the nice. I laughed and cried — now, I’m hooked and can’t wait to read the sequel.

It’s about time Christian publishers gave us something to read that rivals best-selling chick-lit that won’t make us blush! This is a novel you wouldn’t mind your teen daughter or your grandmother picking up after you — pass it on. Forget the trashy romances — here’s a piece that’s good for your mind and soul.

If you’re looking for something fun and poignant to discuss at your next book club meeting, this book is the perfect accompaniment to the staples of food and laughter. Since all the recipes are included at the back of the book, why not try some out? Are Lisa Leann’s oven-barbecued brisket and cinnamon rolls really ALL THAT? Make them and see. Vonnie’s Mexican tamales will always remind you of that sad secret in her past. And Mother Dippel’s chocolate cake looks delicious — just watch out for hungry black bears!

As you can see in this author picture, the Colorado mountains make a gorgeous backdrop for a novel. And since I don’t live anywhere near mountains like that, it made me relish the story even more. I felt like I was on a little adventure — all the while I was curled up reading this book. It really inspired me! I won’t be surprised at all if The Potluck Club gets made into a movie — it’s one I’ll enjoy taking my daughters to see.

Speaking of Potluck Clubs, don’t forget to go through your recipe files this weekend and tell me about your favorite “Comfort Food.” I’m hosting the Carnival of Beauty here next Wednesday, and I need YOUR potluck dish. Click here for details. All you have to do is post the recipe in your blog by 3 pm on Tuesday, then email me the link. And you can be in our Carnival! Even if you don’t have a blog, email me your recipe, and I’ll post it with mine. Let’s break out of our winter doldrums and dish up something tasty.

Good books. Good food. Bon Appetit!

February 6, 2006

I’m very blessed to have a mom and mother-in-law who are both great cooks, and I’m constantly asking for their recipes and trying to soak up their tips. They make cooking seem so easy! For me, the constant challenge is to find meals that appeal to both kids and adults.

Well, here’s a good one. My mother-in-law makes this one every now and then, and it’s always a hit. She calls it simply “Black Beans and Rice.” It makes a beautiful spread if you’re feeding a group of people, and it’s especially nice if you’re in the position of needing to feed both vegetarians and meat-eaters (as in our case.)

In pretty serving dishes, sit these out as a serve-yourself buffet:

One big platter of cooked white or brown rice
One bowl of cooked black beans
One platter of cooked, sliced sausage
Small bowls of condiments: grated cheese, chopped onion, diced tomato, salsa, and sour cream
Green salad, to be served as a side dish

On the table, place big bowls of tostitos and fritos, so people can serve themselves while they’re seated and talking.

What makes this meal great is that adults can add the salsa and onions and make it spicy, while kids may go for more cheese and skip the salsa. The black beans are healthy and full of fiber, but the sausage is also filling for those who like it. You could also add tortillas and roll up the rice, beans, and cheese inside. Salmon or chicken could be substituted instead of sausage.

This meal is just plain fun, and it’s so much better than eating out at a restaurant.

January 26, 2006

I don’t know how the weather is for you these days, but here in Georgia we’ve had lots of rain. A rainy January — it’s been too muddy and cold to get outside much.

A reader from Alaska commented here last week about how she’s walking her treadmill inside while it’s 37 degrees below zero outside — and she’s rigged up a way to read her Bible while she walks. Now that’s amazing!

If you’re stuck indoors with kids, what can you do with them? Of course, the temptation is always there to let them watch TV — but I discovered having them around the kitchen can be handy.

Here’s something that’s very easy for kids to make — Jello N0-Bake boxed pudding desserts. We tried the Cherry Cheesecake, and it turned out light and smooth-tasting. The best part — I gave the box to my 9-year-old, and he made the whole thing himself. I plugged in the beaters; that was all. I think it tasted especially good to him because he was in charge — and we made a big deal of that when it was time to eat it.

The graham cracker crust is crispy and fun for even finicky eaters. I’m sure those of you who are talented in the kitchen could dress this up with white chocolate shavings, real cherries, or some other kind of topping. The Jello website has some pretty cute ideas for recipes you can make with jello. Hey, I’m always looking for something easy and fun that keeps kids busy. Check out these Snacktivities. I like the Chill Chaser that looks like Hot Chocolate (but it’s really pudding.) This might be a fun idea for a winter dessert — and your kids could definitely make it themselves.

January 14, 2006

DO NOT even go to this site until you have at least half an hour because you’re going to get hooked…addicted…completely. Talk about inspiration! Remember LJC FYI? I had not had a chance to visit her Projects Page until recently. How can a person be this creative and artistic — and not be too snobby to share it with the rest of us? I mean, she makes all this incredible stuff, then she describes it for us, like we can do it too. And her descriptions are so funny!

My husband had to leave the room because he got tired of hearing me say, “Oh, look at this! Can you believe this! This is so cute!!!” After a while, what’s a guy supposed to say about flowers and butterflies painted on a Puppet Theatre? (You’ve GOT to see what she and her husband made!)

Sometimes, I kind of miss my college roommates. Well, now I’ve got to find somebody who discovers this Projects Page and goes as crazy as I am over all these ideas. Please send me a comment! I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about this — I think I’m insanely jealous. But I’ll get over it because she blogged all of her secrets to me.

Go look at her Handmade Felt Hearts for Valentine’s Day — wouldn’t those be fun for kids to make? And the Harry Potter birthday cake is too amazing.

P.S. I missed this one — my sister wrote to tell me she couldn’t wait to try to make the Valentine’s Day Cranberry Body Scrub. Now there’s something useful to do with those baby food jars.

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging,Cooking & Recipes | Permalink | Comments Off on More Inspiring Project Ideas

January 13, 2006

Lanier wrote a beautiful post about how she makes her Winter Vegetable Pie. This kind of narrative writing makes me want to head to the store and look for those parsnips.

She writes:

This pie is made with a lovely assortment of roasted root vegetables and mushrooms. I even love buying the ingredients–how few recipes in our American repertoire call for parsnips! I always feel so ‘Mr. MacGregor-ish’…The whole process of this dish is delightsome. The rhythmic peeling and chopping and piling; the subtle sizzle coming from the oven as the vegetables roast and the intoxicating aroma that fills the house as the flavors intensify. Even the walk down to the hen house to toss out the trimmings as a special treat to the girls, and the happy, chuckling clucks of pleasure with the carrot peels and mushroom ends disappear before my very eyes.

That just makes me smile reading it. Even the hens get to partake in the pleasures of this pie. I think I’m feeling more inspired as I imagine the sounds of happy clucking. (I wonder if the next day’s eggs are a bit more tasty.)