Sheila's Motto

"Endeavor to enhance the lives of others through education and encouragement."

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sweet & Savory Friday ~~ Idaho Russet Burbank Potato Salad

With Idaho's Potato harvest in full swing, there's no better time to prepare a tasty salad to accompany your lunch or dinner entree. I'm going to share my cooking secret in assembling the following recipe, so here goes:

  • 4 medium sized Idaho Russet Burbank potatoes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 of one medium onion, grated
  • 1 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground Kosher salt, optional
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • 3 Tbsp. dill pickle relish or finely diced dill pickles
  • 1 - 4 oz. jar diced Pimentos

  • After thoroughly scrubbing and rinsing the potato skins, you can either cook the potatoes whole or cut them up first and boil until tender. I prefer to leave the skins on the potatoes as this adds extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Cool potatoes to room temperature and cut in bite sized pieces.
  • Dice hard boil eggs and add to diced potatoes.
  • Here's my cooking secret ~~~ Using a separate small bowl, place the grater over the bowl and grate 1/2 medium onion.  Make sure to scrape the onion from both sides of the grater into the small mixing bowl.  When preparing and adding the onion in this manner, it really enhances the overall flavor of the salad without overpowering it.

  • Add the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, relishes and pimentos. 
  • Stir until well blended.
  • Add to the diced potatoes and eggs.
  • After your salad is fully assembled, you might have to add a little more mayonnaise to make certain that your dressing fully covers the potatoes since it's hard to guesstimate the exact size of potatoes.
  • Refrigerate to let the flavors marry up.
  • This recipe would serve about 4 people, so you can double or triple it for a larger family.

The real reason this salad is so scrumptious is because it does not contain any Classic Yellow Mustard!  :-)

Buy Idaho & Happy Dining!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sweet & Savory Tuesday ~~ Lentil Soup w/Parmesan Bread

When the calendar turns to Autumn, it's time to pull out the soup recipes!  Here's one of our family favorites for your enjoyment.


  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned in skillet
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pint jar diced tomatoes or 1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 - 1 cup salsa
  • 3 - 4 carrots, sliced or cubed
  • 3 - 4 Idaho potatoes, cubed
  • 1 - 2 cups lentils, rinsed in colander
  • 3 quarts of water - give or take - depending upon how thin or thick you like your soups.  I like them with a lot of broth and my ever lovin' prefers them much thicker, so I strive to find a happy medium.
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • Salt & pepper, optional


Place all ingredients in soup pan or stock pot on stove and cook 2 - 3 hours or until lentils are tender  ~~~ or ~~~

Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high setting for approximately 6 hours.

**** NOTE:  Some people opt to prepare this recipe omitting the ground beef.  It's delicious either way!


  • 1 1/2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. dehydrated minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp. leaf oregano 
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese


  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients except Parmesan cheese to a soft dough.
  • Spread dough in a greased round layer pan, 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes. 
  • Cut into wedges.  
  • Serve warm.

Here's to Healthy Eating & Happy Dining!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday ~~ Mexi-Chili Casserole

Savoring the last of the tomato crop from another successful season of gardening, I decided to garnish one of my long standing casserole recipes which dishes up a most delightful combination.  So, here goes:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Brown 1 pound of hamburger in skillet with one Tbsp. minced garlic, drain.
  • Rinse and drain one 15. oz. can of red kidney beans in colander.

  • Stir together in large bowl:
  • Drained and rinsed red kidney beans
  • Browned and drained hamburger and minced garlic
  • one 15 oz. can of enchilada sauce (either mild or hot)
  • one 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • one Tbsp. dehydrated minced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup corn chips (I used the Chili Cheese Variety)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (I used Cajun Sunshine)

  • Pour mixture into a two quart casserole baking dish.
  • Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until mixture is bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese on top.
  • Garnish with corn chips.

  • Place mixture inside tortillas and garnish with sour cream, diced green onions, guacamole, & fresh lime slices.
  • Serve as a regular entree with rice and/or corn.

Happy Dining!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Poetry & Prose ~~ "Beverly"

Whose name means
        dweller at the beaver meadow,
Walked into my life thirty-three years ago
        to say more than a mere hello.

Her sweet diligent spirit
        inside her five foot frame,
Keeps her working heartily
        as for the Lord without blame.

Green eyes portray kindness
        along with a gracious hospitality.
When you sit at her dining table,
        she treats you just like family.

Blessed to be a Christian from
        nine months in Lila’s womb,
Beverly remains rest assured
        during these days of doom and gloom.

She’ll be the first to encourage you
        to stay on the narrow road,
Leaning on your Lord and Savior
        will help to lighten your load.

We never encounter anyone by chance
        as God ordains every meeting.
My life has been enriched for decades
        by a blonde with a friendly greeting.

Our friendship was forged through
        laughter, prayer, and tears.
The Holy Spirit within us
        calmed all of our fears.

Thanks be unto God for His
        eternal gift of friends.
He has given us something
        that never really ends.

Happy Reading in Poetry's Presence.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sweet & Savory Tuesday ~~ Blueberry Swirl

I'm showcasing another family favorite of the dessert variety on this Sweet & Savory Tuesday. The reason I typically prepare this one in a 9 x 13 disposable container is that our guests usually eat everything but the container! So, here goes:


Blend the following ingredients together, press into a 9 x 13 inch pan, and chill in freezer for one hour or refrigerator for two hours.
  • 1 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together before adding the melted butter
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


Blend the following ingredients together with a mixer, and spread over the graham cracker crust.
  • 1 - 8 oz. container Cool Whip or prepared package of Dream Whip
  • 1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioner's) suger


Cover with one large can of blueberry pie filling or flavor of your choice.  I have tried the raspberry and cherry pie fillings before, but our family happens to prefer the blueberry the best!


If you prefer to use whole graham crackers or don't happen to have any graham cracker crumbs on hand, lay whole crackers between two sheets of waxed paper.  Use your rolling pin to crush the crackers into crumbs.


There have been many articles written about the health benefits of blueberries. Granted, marrying the berries with the remainder of the ingredients in this recipe might negate a few of the benefits.  It's okay to indulge every once in awhile, especially during family celebrations.  Here's one link regarding the benies of blueberries:

Here's to happy dining & enjoying family favorites!

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Answers in Faith ~~ "Three Challenging Words"

Do you find it challenging to say the following three words, "I am sorry"?

I think I can almost maybe hear your response, "Well, it depends."

Are there instances in which a person's actions can signal his repentance despite him not having uttered the words? 

To illustrate my questions, I would like to tell you a little true story.  Once upon a time in real life there was a woman who disparaged my children and me. She went to great lengths to use the foulest words she possibly could. This went on for quite some period of time.

As the years went by, the woman suffered misfortune from which it seems no one on earth is exempt. Proverbs 24:17-18 instructs us in the following manner:

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, 
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him."

During this difficult time, I supported the woman and her family.

After several years had elapsed, my father passed away. Prior to his death, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He had also asked me to recite Psalm 23 before his casket was lowered into the earth.   

Following the funeral service, my husband parked our car at the edge of the cemetery. I got out of the passenger seat and stood on the side of the road while I waited for him to join me. Seemingly out of nowhere, this woman rushed to our car, grabbed my hand and continued to hold it while we walked to the burial plot.

People express sympathy and condolences in many ways. While she could not bring herself to utter the words I am sorry or please forgive me, I am choosing to believe that by her actions she was trying to express the equivalent of the same. I deemed that she was at least trying to meet me half way, so to speak. And she literally did meet me half way from the parking spot to the burial spot.

The woman lingered for the longest time at the dinner following the graveside gathering.  It was as if she wanted to say something, but could not bring herself to do so.

The revelation that a person's repentance can be expressed in actions as opposed to words didn't come to me all at once. It arrived in gradual degrees or increments just as the forgiveness process itself sometimes does. In their minds some people may feel that they can't quite fully trust you, which may be real or imagined. If they can't trust you, they are not going to say those three challenging words. The most important thing is to extend forgiveness and get on with your life.  If another individual wants to keep you wrapped in the barb wire of his life, it's time to get out a pair of wire cutters and set yourself free. There could be some scarring in the process, however. It's time for another short illustration.

When I was in my mid 30's, I owned a sleek black Thoroughbred gelding named Blackjack. Prior to my acquiring him, he had run through a five strand barbed-wire fence as a colt. His chest bore massive scarring as a result. If we've experienced the cutting words, emotional insults and injuries, we will bear the scars as well, but are still able to live and function.  Blackjack could run like there was no tomorrow, scars and all.

What does Jesus have to say about forgiveness?  It's not an option. It's a command. In Matthew Chapter 6, He instructed His disciples accordingly during His Sermon on the Mount:

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."  [Matthew 6:14-15]

If you have a short story or testimony regarding this subject, I welcome your comments.  

In the meantime, extend forgiveness, and keep the faith since we walk by faith and not by sight.  [2 Corinthians 5:7]

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sweet & Savory Wednesday ~~ Cool Cake For A Crowd

Try this recipe the next time you need to bake a cake. It's a guaranteed winner since it's so flavorful, moist, and the frosting is a real surprise!


  • 1 cake mix, any flavor ~~ I used white cake mix
  • 1 small pkg. Jello, any flavor ~~ I used strawberry
  • 2 small pkgs. instant Jello pudding, any flavor ~~ I used vanilla
  • 1 - 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 1 1/2 cups milk


  • Bake cake according to package directions.
  • 2 minutes before cake is finished baking, dissolve jello using 3/4 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water.
  • Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack.
  • Using a large fork, poke holes all over the cake while it is hot.
  • Pour jello over complete surface of cake.
  • Put in refrigerator to cool.
  • Mix two small packages pudding and Cool Whip with the milk until pudding mixture is serving consistency.
  • Spread over cake.
  • Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

This recipe is one of our family favorites.  We have also dubbed it "The Earthquake Cake."  When our son was five years old, we planned a surprise birthday party for our friend, Tom.  When it came time to sing Happy Birthday and serve the cake, Matty David offered to carry the cake from the refrigerator in the garage to the dining area.  When doing so, he became so excited and distracted that he ran smack dab into the wall causing the cake pan to flip with the contents landing on the floor!  Yes, it sort of looked like the cake had barely survived a very small earthquake.  :-)

Some of my fellow bakers have used chocolate pudding instead of the vanilla and other flavors of Jello.  This is a great recipe to experiment with different flavors to determine which ones you prefer.

I prepared this cake for our family reunion this past weekend.  It received its normal raving reviews! 

When baking a cake for a crowd, what is your go to recipe?  

Please let me know if you enjoy this one.  Try it.  You'll like it!

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sweet & Savory Thursday ~~ "1/2 & 1/2 Hummus"


  • 1 - 15 oz. can Garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 - 15 oz. can Cannellini beans, drained 
  • 1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Cajun Sunshine)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic pepper seasoning
  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Drain and thoroughly rinse beans in colander.
  • Place beans in food processor.
  • Add yogurt, lemon juice, hot sauce and garlic pepper seasoning.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Place in serving dish.

  • Drizzle with slight amount of balsamic vinegar.
  • Serve with veggies, apple slices, pita bread, flat bread, chips, dill pickles, green olives, or other items of your choice.
  • By adding a swirl of balsamic vinegar before serving, it seems to provide a tasty balance.  
  • On a personal note, the flavor of this hummus was more enhanced when eating it on apple and veggie slices.
  • This is a great dish to serve at the start of an evening with family or friends as the 1/2 and 1/2 hummus seems to disappear much quicker than the normal variety.
  • Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Here's to happy dining & healthy eating!

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