Foodie Fridays

Obviously... it's not Friday. However, I am participating in "Foodie Friday" over at The Cooks Next Door. Their fabulous recipes have found way into many of our dinners over the course of these last few years.

This week we enjoyed a delightful progressive dinner with our church family, and I wanted to share the recipe I used for our appetizer contribution.

The idea for the presentation of this cheeseball comes from an issue of Healthy Cooking by Taste of Home sometime last autumn.

(from Kitchen Aid's Instruction and Recipe Booklet for Your Stand Mixer)

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup Swiss cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
2 tsp. Worchstershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Place all ingredients except pecans in mixer bowl. Beat about 1 minute, or until well blended. On waxed paper, shape mixture into a ball. Roll ball in chopped pecans. (At this point I used the handle of a table knife to shape the sides of the ball into a pumpkin. I had to press extra pecans into the groves to complete the coating. I then used a small stalk of fresh celery with the leaves still attached to create the stem.) Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until serving time. Serve with assorted crackers or raw vegetables.

Quick and easy, this recipe makes for a delicious snack or fabulous appetizer when hosting get-togethers. The cute autumn touch of the pumpkin shape was an added visual bonus!


From the Ends of the Earth...

As a part of my new position at school, I have the privilege of working with an exchange student from Japan. When first handed the schedule with this young woman on my class list, I inwardly balked.

"I don't know anything about teaching an ESL (English as a Second Language) student!"
"What will I say to a sixteen year old girl?"
"My knowledge of Japan is limited to Mulan and WWII!"
"How in the world am I going to begin to understand her college-level CCA textbooks?"

I have since come to realize that teaching this beautiful young woman has very little to do with my own knowledge or expertise. Sure, we work on English skills together. And indeed, I am gaining new insights into Japanese culture. And yes, I am tackling content material I myself did not pay heed to in high school.


I am mostly in the business of watching.

Watching her begin to understand the most basic elements of biblical history.

Watching as the truth of the gospel penetrates her mind.

Watching a young girl traverse the halls of a Christian school halfway around the world from her atheistic homeland.

Watching as our Sovereign God works to accomplish His purposes for His glory.

Will you pray?


Sweet Corn!

One of the joys of living in the Mid-West is the great abundance of harvest "goodies" available each fall. The annual Sweet Corn Festival in Normal marks the beginning of this delightful season, and we await it each year with eager anticipation. What a wonderful way to bid the summer "good-bye".

The sweet corn is cooked in this old steam-engine- converted- roaster. It even makes the whistle noise of an old steam engine train... how fun!

All the corn is piled into the middle of the street for shucking, cleaning, and cooking by a team of workers. They keep cooking for two days 'till every last ear is gone.

Kyle enjoys his hot, freshly-steamed corn. We had to bring our own pepper grinder to add to the flavor this year.

My favorite part of the festival is the lemonade shake-up, which I talk about for weeks prior to the event. The enjoyment of each delightful sip was everything I had hoped.

And so begins the harvest season in Central Illinois...