On the 3rd day ’til Christmas. . .

Today is the first day of winter, and the weather outside certainly cooperated.  The past few days have been springlike, but today a cold front blew in and the temperatures have dropped drastically.  Appropriate to the weather and the first day of winter, I decided to make taco soup and cornbread for dinner. Actually, Tommy made the cornbread – he is our resident cornbread maker!

Taco Soup –

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and seasoned with garlic salt & pepper

1 chopped onion

2 pkgs. taco seasoning

2 pkgs. Ranch dressing mix (dry)

2 cans hominy

2 cans stewed tomatoes (I used roasted garlic variety)

2 cans pork ‘n beans (can also use ranch style beans)

1 can water

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-4 hours.

We sprinkled cheddar cheese on ours – it was yummy!

I got this recipe from a dear friend a few years back, but today I tried it in the crockpot, which I had never done before.  It turned out great and was good to have cooking by itself while I baked Christmas goodies.

The baking today included 2 batches of fudge (one with pecans and one without) and peanut butter/butterscotch haystacks.  The girls wanted me to make magic cookie bars, but I ran out of time – we’ll try that tomorrow!  My fudge recipe is a simple one, handed down from my mother.  I’ve been making the haystacks for many years now, ever since a friend gave them to us for Christmas and we loved them and requested the recipe.

Chocolate Fudge –

3 1/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups evaporated milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 cups mini marshmallows

1 cup chopped pecans

Combine sugar, salt and milk in a large saucepan.  Over low heat, bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly,  for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla, chocolate chips, marshmallows and pecans.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Spread in a greased 13 x 9 pan and allow to cool.  Cut into squares.

Peanut Butter/Butterscotch Haystacks –

1 cup peanut butter

1 11oz. pkg. butterscotch chips

1 can peanuts

1 small pkg. chow mein noodles

Melt peanut butter and butterscotch chips in the microwave for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Add peanuts and chow mein noodles.  Drop onto waxed paper and let set about an hour.

Jeff and Laura played Santa Claus this morning and delivered presents to family members that are leaving town for Christmas.  He also mailed all of the Christmas cards, which he sweetly helped me finish last night.  Now I have just the cards for our church family to do, which we will take with us in the morning to hand out.

Ask me if I’ve gotten around to wrapping yet. . .you might as well, my kids have been asking me for days  – “are you going to wrap, now?”  Well, the answer is no – except for the few that Jeff needed to deliver today.  I will try to start that tomorrow. 

Now ask me if I’ve finished the Christmas stocking for Michael – you know, the one I was going to be finishing up today.  The answer is …no.  I am thinking that I will need to come up with plan B.  He could have used the Mickey Mouse stocking that he’s been using since he was a baby, except that our cranky old lady cat decided to have an “accident” (?) on it, and we had to throw it away.  (Don’t even get me started on that cat right now – it’s a whole other post – suffice it to say that she has been refusing to use the cat box at least once a day lately and it is about to drive me crazy!) We will come up with something in time for Christmas Eve.

I don’t have words of my own for you tonight – you’ve already read a lot so far!  I will leave you with God’s words from Isaiah to ponder in the quiet of the night (after the kiddos are asleep!).  This passage speaks of Jesus and the reason He came to us.  (Remember this was written down hundreds of years before He was born in Bethlehem!)

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. 

Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.  By oppression and judgment He was taken away.  And who can speak of His descendants?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken.  He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.  After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.  Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Isaiah 53




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