Breaking Bread

Over and over again in the Bible, we see the term “breaking bread”. The Bible uses this term for three different events. It is used for shared meals, Holy communion, and even talking about the Crucifixion. I loved my study of each of these specific events. Today we’ll be specifically talking about breaking bread in terms of sharing meals with others in our community for the purpose of meeting needs and providing fellowship.

Acts 2:46  “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”

Did you know that 20% of all American meals are eaten in the car? Another study shows that on average, nearly 50% of our meals are eaten alone. In 2010, a journal report showed that only 43% of American families eat together every day. This doesn’t even touch on how many families sit down with one another in fellowship to share a meal. As a nurse, I want to go into the negative physical and emotional health effects of our declining eating habits, but I’ll save that for another time and place. Today we’ll simply look at the importance of sitting down together and sharing a meal. I believe that in regards to fellowship and hospitality, sitting down together for a meal is one of the most important things you can do. Just the act of inviting someone to your table speaks volumes. It is a tangible way to extend love to friends and grace to strangers in need. Christ Himself extended that same grace over and over again, and we’re told that after He calls all Saints home for good, we are invited to sit at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19)  Not a church service, not a conference, not a seminar. But at the table.

Jesus didn’t run projects, establish ministries, or put on events. He ate meals”
Tim Chester “A Meal with Jesus”

One of the passages I turn to frequently to illustrate the importance of eating meals together is in the book of Acts:

Acts 2:42-46  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…”

caffeine-coffee-cuisine-15280133 things happen when you sit down to a meal together

1.) Physical needs are met
It’s no secret that we need to eat to live. Whether it’s a stranger who needs a hot meal, a friend who doesn’t feel up to cooking, or that new college kid at church who could benefit from some home cooking. Romans 12:13 tells us “Share with the LORD’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” If there is a need, we as Believers should be the first to jump up and say “I’ll do it!” It doesn’t feel natural at first, and that’s ok. Inviting people into your home can be scary until you have experience. That’s why we’re told to practice. Start simple. Ready-to-cook pizza and bagged salad is a great place to start. Once you start feeling more comfortable having people in your home, you can start cooking. But again, stay simple and work your way up to a “from-scratch” meal. God told us to practice hospitality, not practice fine dining parties with elaborate meals. It’s not about perfection and talent, it’s about presence and togetherness. If that’s a rotisserie chicken and instant mashed potatoes, so be it.

2.) Emotional needs are met
Looking at that same passage, sometimes those needs aren’t just physical. Sometimes there are emotional needs that need to be met in a non-threatening environment. What better environment than around your kitchen table? Those who eat alone can experience more loneliness, depression, and in turn reach for unhealthy options, or skip meals altogether. By inviting those people to your table, you’re not only providing for their physical hunger, but for their emotional hunger as well. Think about how nice it feels to be asked for dinner, or even just coffee. It meets the desire for fellowship. It makes your heart happy. Sharing a meal is about more than food. It’s about friendship, grace, and love. When we sit down around a dinner table, our emotional need for connection is met. “…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”

3.) Spiritual needs are met
Looking through the life of Jesus, we see over and over again where he would share profound truths and encouragement with people around a table. It was around a dinner table that He redeemed Zacchaeus from a life of dishonesty and thievery (Luke 5). It was around a dinner table that He extended grace to Mary as she washed His feet (Luke 7). It was around a dinner table that He taught Mary, Martha, and Lazarus the importance of fellowship with Him (Luke 10).  It was even around a dinner table that Jesus told us that He was the only answer to our greatest need (Luke 22). There are times when people need grace or encouragement. There are times when people need to hear a hard truth. There are times when people need to dive deeper in the Word of God and learn together. Through the example of Jesus Christ Himself, we learn that there is no better place than around our table.

Following the example Jesus set for us, we can be encouraged to reach out and extend may change their life. If you are looking for more information, an excellent book that talks about this subject is “A Meal With Jesus” by Tim Chester.  I would love to hear your feedback, as well as any tips you have for simple table hospitality. Drop a comment below!

cutlery-dining-room-flatware-269264

-Paige

Recipe for Homemade Bread:

Ingredients:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1pkg)
2 1/4 cup warm water
1 TBS sugar PLUS 1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS salt
2 TBS olive oil
6 – 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Butter for pans and plastic wrap

Directions:
~In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 TBS sugar. Let stand until bubbly and foamy.
~Add remaining sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups of the flour and mix until smooth.
~Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time to form a soft, smooth, and slightly sticky dough.
~Knead for 3-5 minutes until smooth and then roll into a ball.
~Place the dough in a buttered bowl and cover with buttered plastic wrap.
~Let rise for one hour in a warm place.
~When dough has risen, punch down and divide in half.
~Roll out each half into a long rectangle shape 8 inches wide. Then roll the dough up to form a log shape
~Place the dough logs seam down into a buttered pan and cover with buttered plastic wrap and a towel.
~Let rise for another hour in a warm place.
~Preheat oven to 375º. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and have a hollow sound when tapped.
~Remove to rack and cool slightly before serving.

This bread can easily be frozen by letting in cool completely and wrapping tightly in plastic wrap before putting in the freezer. I wouldn’t suggest keeping it frozen for more than 2 weeks for best taste. To use, take out and let thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Word for 2021: PEACE

Thinking back to this time last year I can’t help but laugh at the events that transpired. I was in the middle of choosing my word for 2020 and I was so excited about the new decade and what thrilling adventures it would bring. We were all excited about kicking off a new decade with “20/20 vision”. We were planning to push ahead with dreams, desires, goals, and achievements. We were going to travel more, spend more time with family, work harder, show more hospitality, learn new things, and really start enjoying life as it should be enjoyed. We were going to thrive.

We can all agree that the adventure that was 2020 can be described as anything but thrilling. Other events had been set into motion that none of us could have even imagined at the start of this new decade. Events that were beyond our control, events that would change our lives, events that would effectively bring our world to a halt.

2020 hit and had a promise of a good year…until we heard the word COVID-19. In early March our country was hit with this brand new virus and we shut down. Many lost their lives, many more lost their livelihoods. Churches were closed, schools and sports were cancelled, business shut down, families were separated, and we were isolated from everyone and everything. Fear set in and has only taken deeper root in the hearts of most. Graduations were missed, weddings were cancelled, birthdays were celebrated via Zoom, and we all got used to hearing “social distancing” driving a deeper wedge between each other. Depression and anxiety soared, fear gripped the hearts of all, and it wasn’t long before unrest set in. We then turned to face political turmoil, increased violence, angry protests and riots, and even natural disasters with devastating fires. It was easy to lose hope and give in to the darkness settling in around us.

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With the pain and suffering that 2020 brought, how do we go into another new year without fear and trepidation of what more we will face? How do we get excited about hope when we can’t see an end in sight to all of the heartache this year has brought? It’s easy to quote verses like I Peter 5:7 (“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”) at each other, but it’s a lot harder when it’s you having to do the casting. When it’s the person we look at in the mirror having to actually put in to practice what we’ve been preaching, well that’s a different story right? It’s easy to read stories in the Bible and say “well that was different” or “that’s not like this at all”. It’s easy to pass the story of Peter in the midst of the storm off as just a story, not to be taken seriously. It’s easy to say “well Jesus was right there with him so that’s different”. My friend, Jesus may not physically be standing in front of you today, but if you are a child of God you are not alone. He has sent another in His physical place and the Holy Spirit has just enough power to calm the storm as Jesus in the flesh had 2,000 years ago. You may look around at the turmoil in the world today wondering where in the world our Savior is, but friend all you have to do is look up. The curse that sin left on this world is dark, and tribulation is part of the effects that curse has had. While Jesus may not be calming the storm we’re in right now, He sure is standing with us in the thick of it.

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With this is the forefront of my mind, the word I have chosen to focus and meditate on for 2021 is the word

Peace

Peace is a word with many meanings. One definition is to represent the absence of war or conflict. Another definition refers to a state of rest, calm, or quiet. However, Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict or state of rest. It means completeness and it points to the presence of something, or someone, else. It points to our Savior and it is a peace only He can provide.

How then do we get to a point where we can experience His peace?

1.) Separate the Lies from the Truth

Fear is the biggest liar.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

We all have to be honest and admit that 2020 was a fear filled year. Some more than others, but all nonetheless. Fear will rob us of God’s peace by taking our focus off of Him and putting it on the circumstances surrounding us. Fear will lead us to believing the lies spread by media and news. Fear will have us believing that God is no longer in control, but that we have been abandoned. Fear is a liar.

The truth is that God is in control of every situation. While He may not stop the storm, he knows every outcome and every consequence. That alone should bring comfort to our hearts.

2.) Stop Trying to Gain Control

We cannot control the curse we were brought under, nor can we control the outcomes. When we learn to stop grasping for control that we will never have, we will find calm while the storm carries on. Instead of grasping for control, grasp the Father’s hand.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Cling to His promises for you and let Him carry you through.

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

3.) Realize the God is Sovereign

God may allow the consequences of the sin curse to play out in our world, but He is still sovereign over all. In the end, He gives and takes away. He allows and he halts. He creates and He destroys. He judges, and He loves.

 “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” Isaiah 45: 7

The most important thing to remember is that God does not work on our timetable.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, ”declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8-9

4.) Renew Your Mind Daily with Prayer and Meditation

Choosing to ignore the things of this world and choosing to focus your mind on Christ will bring calm and peace in troubled times. Read and meditate daily on the scriptures. Keep a scripture journal as you study and note the things God is showing you as you read through His Word. Put yourself in a quiet place and note the emotions your heart feels. Pray though and tell God specifics on what has you anxious, and then leave those things with Him. If we start each day like this, we will experience God’s peace and calm in a chaotic world.

“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.” Psalm 201:17

This year it is going to be really hard for people to want to set goals. It’s going to be hard to dream again. It may be hard to continue on with no knowledge of where this year will take us. Hopefully you found some encouragement in the above words. May you find God’s peace this year and experience it like you’ve never before. May your heart be calmed as you go about your days. May you find rest in God’s promises knowing that He knows the end of the story. May you learn to trust Him more and cling to Him during this storm. And may your 2021 be the start of a renewed relationship with our Savior.

This song has been an uplifting encouragement to me, especially as I wrote this. I hope it is the same encouragement to you as you start the new year.

Paige

A Thrill of Hope Far as the Curse is Found

Christmas week is finally here. I wanted to share something with you that encouraged me as we head into this week. With the darkness that this year has brought has also come the very painful reminder that we are living under a curse. A curse that was cast thousands of years ago during the fall of man. A curse that seems to be building as time marches forward. Heartaches of all shapes and sized remind us that this isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Genesis 3 tells the painful story of the fall of man that changed our future and cast humanity into shadow.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,“ Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it, ’“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

However, as the long awaited season of Christmas approaches we are reminded not only of the curse we live under, but we are also reminded of a promise. A promise of a hope. A promise of a Savior. A promise that one day that curse would be broken. A promise that we would be provided a way to restore fellowship with our Creator.

Isaiah 9: 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Matthew 1:20-21 …an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

As we approach and celebrate Christmas this year, let us not do so with fear and trepidation of where the year has led us, or where the next will lead. Let us celebrate Christmas under the hope of the fulfilled promise that we were given over 2,000 years ago. Let us approach the new year with confidence in our Savior and a hope like this world have never seen.

I truly hope you feel the thrill of hope that this reminder brings to us at this time of year. Take a break this Christmas from the presents and the food, and meditate on the greatest gift that we’ve received. The gift of a Messiah, a Redeemer, a Friend, a King, and a broken curse.

Merry Christmas friends,

Paige

A Different Kind of Christmas

I’m going to be honest with you, I am having a lot of trouble writing about hospitality this year. Whether it’s people to fearful to gather or governments imposing restrictions we all have to admit it’s hard to practice hospitality in 2020. I had my entire December posting schedule mapped out. It was breaming with hostess secrets and tips on Christmas dinner, bake-offs, parties, gift guides, open house events, and so much more. I have been pumped to write and share since last Christmas.

I feel lost friends. I’m sitting here realizing that Christmas is only 1 week away and there hasn’t been a single party, dinner, gift exchange, or bake-off. I’m even behind on my own Christmas shopping. I do have a little bit of an excuse as I announced the expected Summer arrival of our first child early this week over on my social media, but it’s hard to even use that as justification for slacking off this Christmas.

With the pandemic stealing so much from us this year, how do we go forward in love? As we quickly march forward into the holiday season and the new year that is waiting just around the corner, how can we still practice hospitality and kindness to those around us?

Here are 5 unconventional ways to show Christmas love and kindness to others without gathering together:

1.) Send a week worth of groceries or meal delivery kits.

Meal kits such as Hello Fresh will have great deals around Christmas time. Consider gifting someone a week of meals. If that’s not an option, consider going shopping and buying them a weeks worth of groceries instead. Items such as cereal, oatmeal, pasta, crackers, canned goods, and jar soups are great options for meals that will stay good for a long time.

2.) Send a Christmas card with a variety of gift cards.

If you have a larger blessing budget consider blessing someone with a variety of gift cards. Include establishments such as grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants to hit all essentials. If you’re sending them farther away, consider a Visa or Mastercard gift card to be sure they can be spent anywhere as some local chains might not be available across country.

Write a letter to include in that card telling the recipient how much they mean to you. Offer some encouragement and maybe a written prayer for them that they can go back and read when needed.

3.) Send a surprise box with games and activities.

I like sending packages from Amazon. I can shop and send straight to the recipient all while hiding payment information. There are many places that will allow you to send packages straight from the shop, so do a search and pick the best option for you.

Board games, card games, activity books, puzzles, and brain teasers are excellent choices to provide cheer and entertainment through the winter (and pandemic) months.

4.) Do a surprise porch drop.

Put together a cocoa bar basket with drink mix, peppermint sticks, mini chocolate chips, and marshmallows and drop it on their porch for a fun surprise. You could also do a basket with freshly baked breads and cookies.

This is an excellent choice for someone who is sick or recovering, new parents, single parents, older adults, and quarantining friends.

5.) Put together an essentials package for someone in need.

Include items such as toilet paper (a rare commodity these days), laundry soap, hand soap, toothpaste, sanitizer, Lysol wipes, diapers, etc.

This could mean the world to someone who has lost their job or part of their income for the holiday season. If no names come to mind consider reaching out to your local church and see if they have some people that need an extra blessing this season.

This might not be the Christmas hospitality we were hoping to share this year, but we can still be a blessing to those around us! So many are suffering in many ways this year. Whether it’s health, relationships, or finances, we don’t have to look long before we find someone in need of encouragement and help. This Christmas I encourage you to look around and ask God to show you who you can be a blessing to this year.

5 People That Need Your Hospitality

This world is full of people needing to be loved and ministered to, especially this year. This has been a rough season for so many with financial hardships, health scares, and social isolation. While everyone deserves our kindness and hospitality, I’ve realized that there are groups of people that sometimes need a little more than others. These are people that often feel loneliness first and it effects them the hardest. Maybe you’ve identified some of these people in your own circle. If so, that’s great! You can start extending hospitality to them in practical ways. If not, I’ve broken down into 5 categories the main groups of people I think we can start with. Out of these groups we can easily identify those who need a helping, or encouraging, hand. We can then use our talents and God given gifts to bless them while we practice hospitality as Christ commands.

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1.) College/Seminary students


Think back to when you were in college. You were broke, away from home, and sometimes just needed a hot meal and an ear to listen. Consider connecting with a local college or seminary. Work with student services and maybe offer to host a dinner one night for a few struggling students. Seminary is a great way to reach out to families that need a little hospitality. Care packages are another way to show some hospitality to college students. Little baskets filled with nutritious snacks, soaps, and office supplies are much appreciated. This is a practical and tangible way to be a huge blessing to this demographic.

2.) New parents


When you’ve just had a brand new baby, sometimes it’s all you can do just to survive. Offer to babysit the older children, or come rock the baby, while they nap. Consider taking them a meal a few nights during those first weeks. A great tool is a website called Meal Train. It helps set up meal schedules for new parents. See link and description on my Resources page for more information. Even just dropping off a package of diapers and wipes can be a huge blessing to overwhelmed new parents. Consider mailing them a congratulations care with words of encouragement, practical advice, or favorite parenting books.

3.) Church family


Our church family is in desperate need of our hospitality. Look around the room and you’ll see hundreds of faces crying out for help in some way. One family might need a meal or even a bag of groceries. One couple might be desperate for a date night without kids. A housewife might need to be invited out for coffee and a listening ear. Some teenagers may need a fun safe game night with friends. Visitors may need someone to sit beside them and ask about their story. There are endless opportunities to show hospitality and love in our church if we look for them. Pray as you walk int o your worship service and ask God to reveal someone that needs your hospitality this week.

4.) Out of town/country guests (for parties, weddings, or funerals)


I’ll never forget the time my husband and I had to unexpectedly drive to Florida for a funeral. It was last minute and we were searching for hotels are we were driving. We got a call that said a sweet lady that knew the family reserved a hotel for us. It was such a blessing, we wept at her kindness and praised God for His goodness. Maybe you have room in your home and can put someone up there instead of a hotel. Either way, it’s such a blessing for people to not have to worry about the hassle and cost of lodging while they’re coming in from out of town. It’s a special way to make them feel invited and welcomed.

5.) Your own family


We have to be careful that we don’t spend so much time offering hospitality to those outside our home that we neglect the ones inside our home. Our family needs our hospitality too. Your husband may need you to put down your dishrag and watch that movie with him. Your child may need you to cook their favorite meal or surprise them with their favorite dessert. Maybe it means packing a backyard picnic and leaving your phone inside to focus fully on them. It could mean a full on family vacation away from everything else. Whatever it looks like, be sure your family doesn’t suffer at your hospitable hand. Our family is, and should always be, our first mission field for hospitality. Our family should never feel like they are not as worthy of our love as our guests are.

As we practice the art of hospitality, it gets easier and we get more comfortable with it. We get more comfortable reaching out our hands, inviting in to our home, and opening up our hearts. Let us live a life of constant practice so that through us someone else may find love, healing, and rest. Keeping an open heart, and open door, is a beautiful way to fulfill our biblical command to extend hospitality.

Blessings,

Paige

4 Easy Meals for Guests

Hello and happy September! I love the Fall season so much. I love a cooler air, and color of the changing leaves, the clothes, and ALL THE SEASONAL FLAVORS! Fall is my favorite season to cook and bake (followed closely by Christmas but we’ll wait for that). There are so many warm and comforting flavor combinations and textures you can take advantage of during this season. I’m going to share 4 easy meals (with recipes) that you can whip up either very quickly, or ahead of time for company.

Last Minute Dinner Company

You got a call, dinner company coming in an hour. That’s great right? Of course it is! You’re already prepared and you’ve got a delicious fall inspired meal you can produce in less than an hour. You’re making:

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pumpkin Alfredo

For the Roasted Chicken Thighs: 6 Servings

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs (I always like to do a few extra in case a guest is really hungry)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 3 tsp Dried Parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400o F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl mix together dry herbs and spices.
  • Use a paper towel to pat chicken dry, then rub both sides of chicken with olive oil.
  • Rub the dry mixture all over chicken.
  • Arrange chicken skin side up on your baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165o F.
  • Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the Pumpkin Alfredo: 6 Servings

  • 1 LB Fettuccine cooked, reserve 1 cup pasta water
  • 6 TBSP Salted Butter
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (be careful not to grab the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup Half & Half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Parsley (optional for garnish)

Directions :

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add fettuccine. Cook until chewy, but firm. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and discard the rest.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat and stir in garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Stir in Half & Half, Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree, and nutmeg. Stir until cheese is full incorporated and mixture is heated through.
  • Stir in pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until sauce is your desired consistency. ( A thick and creamy sauce need only 1/2 cup, thinner sauces will need more.)
  • Add fettuccine and cook additional 2 minutes until pasta is well coated.
  • Serve garnished with fresh Parsley and additional Parmesan cheese.

*NOTE: Utilize frozen vegetables here to add brussels sprout or green beans. I always like to keep one shelf of my freezer stocked with bags of frozen veggies that I can pop in the microwave at the last minute. Aldi has a great selection of these bags!

Feeding A Crowd

You’re talking to your husband and he asks “hey babe, do we have plans for Sunday?” He wants to have his whole family over for a Sunday lunch and catch up. Great! Let’s pull out a Fall themed feast that won’t stress to the max having to cook for 10 people. We’re making:

White Chicken Chili and Cornbread

For the White Chicken Chili: 10 Servings

  • 1 1/2 LBS boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 TBSP Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (I like white pepper for this recipe, but you can use either)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (small) diced green chilies
  • 2 (15 oz) cans white beans (Drain and rinse ONE CAN ONLY. You want the liquid from the second can)
  • Desired garnishes (can include sour cream, cheese, salsa, tortilla chips, etc)

Directions:

  • In a 6-8 quart crock-pot, mix together chicken stock, spices, and chilies.
  • Add the white beans and place chicken in liquid.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Discard Bay leaves and remove chicken from crock-pot.
  • Using a hand immersion blender or stand blender, puree approximately 2 cups of the chili. You want the rest to be intact.
  • Slice or shred chicken and place back in the crock-pot.
  • Serve with desired garnishes and cornbread (recipe to follow)

For the Cornbread: 16 Slices

  • 2 cups Four
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 8 TBSP Salted Butter, melted (plus more more serving)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 3 Lg eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350o F and butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal. sugar, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  • In medium bowl, whisk together butter, oil, milk, and eggs.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Pour into baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out with no wet batter.
  • Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serve with butter.

*NOTE: You can use a store bought box of cornbread mix if you’d rather.

Meal Delivery for A Sick Friend

Your friend, or family, or neighbor, etc….is sick and you want to take them some Fall inspired soup that will be both delicious and healthy. You’re taking them:

Carrot Ginger Soup with Whole Wheat Bread

For the Carrot Ginger Soup: 4 Servings

  • 8 medium Carrots
  • 2/3 cup Red Split Lentils
  • 1 small Onion
  • 3 tsp grated Ginger (fresh)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Pumpkin seeds for crunchy garnish (optional)

Directions:

  • Wash, peel, and cut carrots into chunks. Rinse and drain lentils.
  • In large pot, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until onion starts to soften.
  • Add carrots and lentils. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add stock, salt, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add in coconut milk.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.

For the Whole Wheat Bread: 1 Round Loaf

  • 2 cups Water, warm
  • 2 tsp Salt (I like using flaky sea salt)
  • 1 tsp Yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Directions:

  • In large mixing bowl, mix together water, salt, and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add in flour and mix until well combined.
  • Cover dough with buttered plastic wrap or clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature overnight (or about 8 hours).
  • Place a dutch oven in your oven and pre-heat to 450o F. Once heated, carefully remove dutch oven and place on counter.
  • Flour you hands and shape dough into a circle. Drop into dutch oven.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove bread from dutch oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or wrapping in clean cheesecloth for transport.

*NOTE: You can always save yourself time and buy a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread from your local grocer or baker.

Overnight Guests

You had some company in town and you want to make them breakfast. You don’t want them to feel like they have to get up and come to the table to be able to eat, they need to relax. You make them:

Cranberry Orange Muffins and Coffee in Bed

For the Cranberry Orange Muffins: 18 Muffins

  • 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 TBSP freshly grated orange peel
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 TBSP cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 2 LG Eggs, beaten

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, crushed
  • 4 TBSP cold unsalted butter

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 TBSP orange juice

Directions for muffins:

  • Preheat oven to 425o F and butter a muffin tin (or you can use muffin cups).
  • Wash cranberries and drain off water. Place in medium bowl.
  • Add in nuts, orange peel, and 1/2 cups sugar and stir well to combine.
  • In large bowl combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  • Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender.
  • Add orange juice, eggs, and cranberry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and top with streusel mixture.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at 425o F.
  • Reduce heat to 350o F and bake for an additional 16-18 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to wire rack and drizzle glaze on top of muffins.

Directions for streusel:

  • Combine flour, brown sugar, and pecans in a small bowl.
  • Cut in butter with pastry blender.

Directions for glaze:

  • Combine powdered sugar and orange juice to make glaze. Use more or less orange juice as needed to reach desired consistency.

For the French Pressed Coffee: 4 servings

  • 8 cup (34 oz) French press
  • 10 TBSP Coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • 6 cups fresh boiled water
  • Milk

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil, then let sit for 2 minutes.
  • If grinding your own beans (highly recommended) grind to coarse grind.
  • Measure out 10 TBSP (can add more if you like stronger coffee) and place in French Press
  • Pour hot water over ground and stir to coat all grounds.
  • Let steep for 5 minutes, then push plunger down.

* NOTE: Place plate of muffins on a tray with French press, mug, small carafe of milk, and cloth napkin. Take to guest bedroom and leave on table just outside door.

Hopefully this guide will help you in someway this Fall season! Read through the recipes, or come up with some of your own, and then make a list of things to always have on hand for an easy quick prep. I love cooking for guests, and I really love cooking for guests in the Fall season. The delicious aromas that fill my house alone are worth inviting guests over! If you have any cool Fall inspired recipes or tips that you’d like to share, drop a comment below. I would love to feature your recipe here on the blog!

Happy Fall!

Paige