Good Food + a Contest

May 22, 2014

in the generous life

Never underestimate the blessing of a good meal.

Paul and I have been working hard in the yard (it’s that season). After mowing and tilling and doing battle with dandelions, it’s lovely to sit down to a hearty meal. It fills your physical hunger and the emotional need to be cared for and nurtured.

If you are like me, you didn’t learn to cook growing up. Not to worry, there are about a bazillion cooking sites and blogs. A simple search will turn up recipes and how-to’s galore. I would encourage y’all to create your own binder of recipes to make shopping and preparing meals easier. (I’ve moved all my recipes to Evernote, so I have access to them anytime, anywhere.)

Now to the contest …

Let’s share from the wealth of our culinary experiences. What blesses your family at mealtime? Your comment can be as simple as sharing your family’s favorite meal or a link to your favorite cooking site. Or you can share your favorite recipe or ideas for making mealtime special. Let’s get creative!

Please share your meal ideas as a comment to this post and on May 30th, I’ll pick a random number and the poster in that spot will win a Loaded Baked Potato Dip Mix (or the dip mix of their choice) from Heavenly Special Teas. (You mix it with 2 cups of sour cream and it makes yummy dip. If you can’t wait, click on the link to order, please put “Lori Byerly” down as the consultant. Thanks so much.)

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.  Luciano Pavarotti


Happy Wives Club: Creating the Marriage of Your Dreams (even when life begins as a nightmare) Don’t let your past dictate your future.


Darby Dugger: Walk a Mile in Your Husband’s Shoes Meet your husband with sympathy, a listening ear, and a teachable spirit.


Becoming Minimalist: One of the Best Things About Generosity We already have enough.


Links may be monetized.
Image credit © Lori Byerly / Heavenly Special Teas

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Su May 22, 2014 at 1:53 am

There are very few things that my whole family will all eat. However, besides pizza, they all do really like when I make stuffed shells or candy chicken(done in the crockpot…love the crockpot). One of the easiest meals I make is “Italian Chicken”. You buy whatever parts of the chicken you like; put it in a freezer bag and dump a bottle of Italian salad dressing in with it(the oil based kind/not creamy). Freeze. When ready to use, dump out of the freezer bag into the crockpot(yup, it’s still frozen). Cook high/low your choice. So stinking easy and they all eat it. thx


Emily May 22, 2014 at 4:54 am

I’m always looking for easy to cook meals so I can spend more time with my family. One of our favorites is cranberry pork. This is cooked in your crock pot. I place a boneless pork shoulder in my crock pot. In a small bowl mix together one can of whole berry cranberry sauce and one envelope Lipton onion soup mix. Pour over the pork shoulder and cook in your crock pot 6-8 hours. Yummy!!


Pussywillow May 22, 2014 at 5:03 am

My prince and I hold hands when we pray before & after meals, and conclude each prayer with a kiss. It’s become so automatic that I only realize how unusual that is when we eat with other people!

When it’s dark enough to notice, we eat in minimal light with a candle lit on the table (makes it harder to see the stacks of miscellaneous stuff that keep reappearing on the table!). At the end of the meal, we blow out the candle together & end that with a hug & kiss too.

And I love the fact that our after-meal prayer (a relatively recent addition) includes asking a blessing on anyone who’s ever done something good for us: “We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to reward with eternal life all those who do us good for Thy Name’s sake. Amen.”

Our food options are limited–lots of food allergies/sensitivities–but one thing my prince likes is when I puree cooked carrots or corn in the blender. The corn is a lot like creamed corn without the added sugar (it seems to digest better too).

These are a staple:
Sturdy Oat Crackers (texture is a bit like graham crackers, but not sweet)
Grind 4 3/4 cups oatmeal to flour in blender
(if you don’t blend the oatmeal, or blend only part of it, the texture will be different–more crumbly–but still good)
Add: 1¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup oil
1 egg + enough water to measure 1¼ cup (beat well–I’ve used an egg beater or the blender)
Mix just enough to combine ingredients. Dough should be soft but not too sticky (it thickens as it stands)–it should be easy to press into the pan without sticking all over your fingers. Adjust with a little extra oat flour or water, if needed. Press in greased 11½ x 16½ pan (extra large jelly roll pan) & cut into squares (Pizza cutter works great for this)…or roll out ¼” thick on a floured surface, cut into whatever shape you like and put on cookie sheets (cookie cutters are fun!). Bake 30+ min @400F or until crackers brown lightly & crisp. Refrigerate (otherwise they quickly go rancid). This is for “go with anything” crackers. For a standalone snack, try adding any or all of the following (or whatever seasonings strike your fancy!): 1 tsp. garlic salt, 3/4 tsp. basil, 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, 1 tsp. onion salt. I’ve also added spinach or other greens to the egg/water mix & pureed that in the blender–just keep the final amount of puree at 1 1/4 cup (creative way to get more veggies in the menu–the flour & spices blunt the flavor of the greens).

& this is handy:
Sausage Seasoning (makes ground pork or beef taste like breakfast sausage–for meatballs, burgers, pizza topping, etc.)
½ tsp. sage
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. (scant) cayenne
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (opt. I’ve been leaving it out)
1 lb. hamburger
granulated or powdered onion (¼ tsp./lb?) & granulated or powdered garlic (1/8 tsp./lb.?), black pepper & cider vinegar (1 tsp./lb?) are good additions too
Note: adding fennel makes it taste like Italian sausage


FarAboveRubies May 22, 2014 at 5:26 am

I have provided food for the family by growing it and raising it on our farm. One of the children’s favorite meals is pizza. I make the dough from scratch using one teaspoon each of oregano, basil, parsley, and rosemary. Yum!


Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort May 22, 2014 at 5:52 am

My husband’s favorite meal is turkey meatballs with gravy, served over egg noodles. His Midwestern taste buds just love this combo! Here’s the recipe I use:


Gaye @CalmHealthySexy May 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

Oh, recipes in Evernote! Now that’s a wonderful idea!

Like Far Above Rubies, one of my family’s favorite meals is homemade pizza. I like it because we can “customize” it for each family member – no complaints by the picky eaters! I also love my CrockPot for very busy days. One of our favorite CrockPot recipes is Spicy Italian Beef –


Laurie May 22, 2014 at 6:10 am

Menu planning is key to meal success here. I look at my calendar and note busy days and plan accordingly with a crock pot meal, or quick, easy meal. I keep meal plans in a spread sheet so I can keep track of what we have had and look back for ideas. (Note: this has developed over years, not weeks or days!)

Our family’s signature dish is chicken rice and peas. It can be prepared any number of ways, but it always says comfort and “welcome home” to my kids, whether they are just coming in for the evening meal or returning from Africa.


Rebecca May 22, 2014 at 6:36 am

Some of my favorite and nearly effortless recipes come from Stephanie O’dea at I love cooking with my crock pot because it gives me more time with my family.


Melissa May 22, 2014 at 7:52 am

Two years ago, our family took a pizza making class at a nearby cooking school (in Cannon Beach, Oregon). We learned how to make sourdough individual pizzas. Ever since, we’ve had Friday night as our family night making pizzas. We don’t miss it except on rare occasions when we have something we can’t change. We even named our house “Parcelli’s Pizza” and occasionally invite another family over to share in the fun.

My favorite everyday website for meals is The recipes are all excellent and healthy. Have not found anything there that we have disliked. I also use the Pioneer Woman website and cookbooks often too.


Michelle D May 22, 2014 at 8:05 am

I absolutely LOVE cooking! So many, many ideas that I get are based on trying new ingredients. One tip I think anybody can use is to Google “recipes using {insert whatever ingredient here}”. I’ve found so many new ways to cook the “same old thing” and recipes for ingredients I know nothing about. It helps me to broaden my cooking skills, plus it just keeps things fun.


ARBrown May 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

I grew up in household of cooks so have always enjoyed cooking HOWEVER it was not until God blessed us with a son who loves to cook that my cooking skill have expanded. Hands down favorite place to find new ideas and recipes is I have gotten good at googling ideas to find simple easy recipes that this creative budding chef wants to try.
One of our favorite dishes is roasted chicken. Take a chicken (or 2) rinse and pat dry. Next take oil (our favorite is extra virgin olive oil) add salt, pepper and poulty seasoning together-stir -the spices will settle. Using your fingers spread oil mixture all over the chicken then place in roasting pan or large cake pan -roast breast side down. Cook at 350 degrees until skin is crispy and meat is juicy-about2-4 hours. Serve with favorite sides. An easy dish that you fix and forget. One of my go-to dishes when I have a day of running and kids can watch dinner by themselves.


Candy May 22, 2014 at 10:53 am

We created a meal years ago when our boys were little and have always called it Family Nachos. Still a favorite/fun one for us – boys are 18 and 20 (girlfriends enjoy being included too).

I use a large cookie sheet to make nachos:
layer tortilla chips
drop taco seasoned ground beef (cooked, still warm) over chips
add a layer of cheese
add drops of salsa of your choice
top with black olives, jalapenos, etc.

Bake until cheese is melted then everyone gathers around the table and we all eat out of the same cookie sheet. This started when they were little and we ate around the coffee table. So many good memories. :)


valerie May 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

Haven’t tried this yet, b/c we haven’t got many in our yard. Maybe next year. It’s a “weed” you can eat!
Dandelion Salad:


Mama Rachael May 22, 2014 at 11:30 am

I have started using (has windows 8 app also), and am really enjoying it. Slowly getting all my recipes inputted. I have a lot.

Our favorite meal, aside from Pizza… is..oh, goodness, not sure we have one. Pollo Con Crema is a favorite, so are burgers. If I can produce corn on the cob, my newly turned 3 son will eat 3 or 4 ears and hubby will eat 5 or 6 ears, might count as dinner? We love beef and barley stew when its chilly outside… and a recipe I found last winter… The Best French Beef Stew (yeah, its pretty good).


Kim May 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm

You are right!! Didn’t learn how to cook!!!! And meals are a challenge with grocery prices. However, we do consistently practice taking the phone off the hook and turning off all electronics during family meals. This is our most precious time together each day.


Tammy May 23, 2014 at 3:26 am

I second using Saying that, one of my favorite recipes is: The ladies in my diet group all depend on it, and it’s my children’s favorite as well! My changes are 1/2 the chicken, twice the beans, no olives, and half the cream cheese. My kids eat them in a tortilla, I tend to have it over rice.


Tammy V May 23, 2014 at 5:42 am

My mom never taught me how to cook. I taught myself, and I really love it. No cell phones allowed at our table, and we often go around and share 1 good thing and 1 bad thing about our day (or 2 good things, but never allowed 2 bad things). That lets them acknowledge that things don’t always go right, but that there is always something good in your day.

My daughter and I watch the Pioneer Woman every Sat morning together–she loves the kids. Then, we choose something to make during the weekend. It is special bonding time for us. One of her fave dishes is what we call “homemade hamburger helper”:

Another good website is A fave recipe from there is: . Someone already mentioned Crockpot365. I love that website too!


Angie May 23, 2014 at 9:40 am

When we 1st got married, I knew how to cook desserts…YIKES, what do you mean, I have to make a WHOLE meal :) Hahaha

I love to cook, but hate the amount of time it can use up, so usually make a double batch…eat one and freeze one, works fantastic!!! Love pioneer woman, taste of home, all recipes, family recipes handed down, so many yummies ;) We all love cabbage rolls, slow-cooked on stove top and delicious…mmmmmmm!!! Again, make a double batch and freeze some (they taste delicious after frozen and reheated, maybe even better, as flavor melds!!!


Monique May 24, 2014 at 6:16 am

We have a few family fun night dinner ideas where we share “high point/low point” from everyone’s day. One is dessert for dinner where we have desert then have a life supper an hour later. But it think the favorite is quesadilla/taco night. The kids make the tortillas from scratch then we fill them with our favorites. This workers great since hubby is a vegetarian and my little ones like different things. Everyone is happy and the kids love it because they helped make the meal. ;)


diane May 28, 2014 at 4:50 am

Whenever my family of “men” go out to work on a project, I usually get busy in the kitchen.
Nothing shows them my love and appreciation like coming in to warm muffins or cookies from the oven. Fresh bread from the oven does the same on a rainy Saturday when people are restless or bored in side. It sets a good tone to the day!


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