Monday, January 23, 2017

Rebecca's Hearth and Home Newsletter - January 2017

Greetings, Dear Friends!

It's a new year and a new day! And it's time to get back to what the Lord called me to do many years ago. It's time to get back to my writing and to get on with this blog!

The original Hearth and Home did not start out as a blog. It started out as a monthly (sometimes twice a month) newsletter published through Rebecca's Hearth and Home on Yahoo Groups in January of 2002. It continued in one form another on a consistent (and sometimes not-so-consistent) basis for several years with the last issue being published in July of 2013. 

I have decided that it is time to just pick up where I left off and revive Rebecca's Hearth and Home newsletter. At this time I cannot promise that it will be very large in content or published on a monthly basis, but I do promise to get an issue, however small it might be, out as consistently as I am possibly able to in the months ahead. 

Will you join me for the first of what I hope to be many new issues of Rebecca's Hearth and Home? Here we go...

DOLLARS AND SENSE 

- We have spent the past two decades plus digging out of debt...sometimes it seems with a teaspoon. In the past two and half years debt pay-off has drastically picked up steam since taking a part-time job at our local state park. Before starting I sought advice from someone who had recently achieved debt freedom for themselves (our youngest daughter) and incorporated Dave Ramsey's '7 Baby Steps To Financial Freedom', including putting back an emergency fund, developing a "cash only" mentality, and incorporating the envelope system. All of our credit cards, which were far too many, except one, are paid off in full, cut up, destroyed, and accounts closed. Praise the Lord! For the first time in 20 years we see light at the end of the tunnel and, with continued persistence, plan to be debt-free by January 1, 2018 or shortly thereafter. Yeah!!!

- I have been saving points earned on my KICKBACK card at Conoco for the past year or more. The last time I was in Lamar I finally used them and it resulted in a free fill-up at the gas pump.

- I took advantage of deep, after-Christmas mark-downs at Walmart this year, which resulted in several large, multi-roll packages of wrapping paper for $2.44 each, several large containers of plastic Christmas ornaments (to be used in upcoming craft projects) for $1.24 each, and 30 felt stockings (also to be used in upcoming craft projects) for 24 cents each. All of these will put me ahead of the game in preparing for Christmas 2017.


NEW RECIPES

CHICKEN WITH BLACK BEANS AND RICE
(Our youngest daughter recently shared this recipe with me and it was a big hit! Will definitely make it again and again! Thanks, Amanda!)

2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup rice
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
2 c. frozen peppers
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 3/4 plus 2 T. chicken broth
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in skillet. Add rice and seasonings; stir for one minute. Add all other ingredients, except cheese, and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Add cheese just before serving.

TURKEY AND LENTIL SOUP

(Had leftover turkey and bone broth in the freezer after Christmas, so turned it into this delicious and filling soup.)

2 pounds lentils
4 cups turkey stock or bone broth
8 cups water
1 large onion
3 teaspoons salt
black pepper
cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 squirts Bragg liquid aminos
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped

Soak lentils all day in a large pot. A couple of hours before serving, drain lentils and put back in pot. Add all ingredients above except turkey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to low and cook until lentils are soft. Add more water if the soup gets too thick for your liking. Toward end of cooking time add chopped turkey and adjust seasonings to taste.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD
(Absolutely delicious!!!)



1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar (I used crystalized cane sugar)
2 eggs
4 small bananas, mashed (approximately 1 1/3 cups) (I used 3 medium bananas)
1/2 c. chocolate chip

     Topping

1/4 c. half & half (I used cashew milk)
2 T. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 T. chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. (I didn't have a loaf pan handy, so I used an 8 x 8 square glass pan.)

2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in eggs and bananas. Add banana mixture and chocolate chips to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.

4. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

     Topping

1. Heat half & half and brown sugar over medium heat until brown sugar has dissolved and tiny bubbles start to form on the edges. Stir in vanilla and butter until melted and turn off heat. Add chocolate chips and do not stir, let sit 2-3 minutes.

2. Whisk chocolate chips until smooth. Cool completely and drizzle over bread.

(I shared the recipe above with my changes made in parenthesis. For original recipe go to SPEND WITH PENNIES by clicking here.)

Well...that's it for this time! It's not much, but it's a start! I wish you all a blessed and beautiful New Year!

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

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