More Hospitality and a Recipe

As I mentioned in the last post, one of my favorite authors is hosting an online book study on her blog based on her book "A Life that Says Welcome."  Karen Ehman is a spectacular at giving practical advice to make daily life special.  Pop over here to see today's guest post and enter the giveaway.  If you haven't been joining in, it's not too late!  Read each post this week and you can still enter the giveaways until the end of the study just before Easter. 

Today she is doing a link up for everyone to share their favorite "company" recipes.  I do make this for my family, but it is especially nice for company.  While it is not hard, it does take a bit to prepare and cook.  However, the payoff is that unless you have a TON of guests staying for a REALLY long time, you do the work once and reap the benefits for several days.  It is very filling and a little goes a long way.  I usually make this unique breakfast casserole on the first morning after our overnight guests' first night (usually anywhere from 3 to 5 people) and then refrigerate leftovers.  I serve the first day with biscuits and sometimes I add gravy for those.  Then everyone morning thereafter I set it out cold with saucers and a variety of pastries and fruit for everyone to reheat as they wish.  Before you get up in arms about serving leftovers to company, I can promise you they all enjoy me getting to visit, they still can have a hot breakfast, and we can get out the door to do the fun stuff we have planned quickly. Most times we can eat off of it three days at least and it reheats fabulously.  No one has EVER minded getting to have it three mornings in a row, and they have other options with the fruit and pastries if they want. 

So, here it is.  I cannot take full credit.  I used to live in Arkansas rice country and this was the rice queen's winning recipe one year.  A co-worker shared it with us at work one morning, and I have adjusted here and there to my family's tastes.  Don't let the ingredients scare you.  It is REALLY good!

Crispy Rice Breakfast Casserole
6 cups crispy rice cereal
5 cups of cooked rice
2 lbs cooked breakfast sausage
8 eggs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8oz package of shredded cheese (more if you wish)

Mix sausage and cereal, then layer sausage mix, rice, and cheese in a prepared large baking dish.  (I usually have enough left over to do a second 8x8 dish to freeze....just depends on how large you "large" dish is. )  It works best if you start with sausage, then rice, then cheese and so on.  I have also done this mixing the rice, cheese, and sausage mix in a large bowl and dumping it all in the pan at once and it work fine.  This recipe is full of grace!  ( You might want to bake on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.)

Next, mix the eggs and cream soup in a bowl and beat well.  Pour over the rice and sausage and bake at 375 for 1 hour or until set in the middle.  These are the official directions but give yourself plenty of time.  I have to cook it in my oven at 400 for 1 hour and 15 minutes... just keep and eye on it until you see how it works in your oven.  If it gets to brown on top before it is set in the middle, cover with foil until done.  Once set, sprinkle more cheese on top and put back in the oven until melted and just browning.

You can add in mushrooms, black olives, bell peppers, or just about anything you want.  We have made it with ham cubes too, but with less grease for it to absorb, cut the cereal down to 3 or four cups for this.   If it is too thick, dry, or whatever for your tastes just play with the rice/ cereal measurements until you get what you want.  A word of warning however; be sure to do all of this BEFORE you try it for company:)   Enjoy!





Hospitality

Karen Ehman is beginning her online study based on her book "A Life That Says Welcome."    She is going to lead us through the book and offer practical ways to open our homes to others, which I am positive our lady in Proverbs 31 did.  There will be special guests and giveaways each day(see who and what here), and on Friday there is an idea swap and link up party.  Check out the first lesson which just posted today here.  I think you will be blessed. 

When your done, I hope you will come back and share.  I am doing the study, so I will be posting some thoughts on it here since it is in line with the topic of this blog.  I would love to hear from you.  Today Amy Bayliss is talking things that made her feel welcome as a child and how to use that to make others feel welcome today.  When I was little, I loved going to my grandpa's house.  My grandmother died when I was very young and he was single for a long time, but he always had me over anyway and we had something fun like Coke floats.  He was also the only person I knew with a satallite dish (it was HUGE), and he would sit through HOURS of the Disney Channel just so I could watch. Though an older widower is not normally what we think of when it comes to hospitality, the point is to consider what made US feel welcome, so we can get in that mind frame of making others feel the same way.  Now head over here to join the conversation.   I just know you'll be blessed.  If you still need a book, the publisher is releasing a new print that should be available this week.  Until then Karen is making it easy to join in without a book...so don't let they stop you!


"Strength and Dignity"



"Strength and dignity are her clothing." 

So, okay, I am pretty sure this isn't talking about actual clothing, but if it were, what do you think strength and dignity would look like?  I think it applies.  Us moms are notorious for the stereo type of not showering before noon, spit up all over our sweats, and make-up being only for special occassions... like leaving the house, lol!  If you work outside the home, chances are this is not an issue for you.  It wasn't for me just a few short months ago when that was my life.  But if you work at home, as I do now, or being home IS your work, which is enough of a job in and of itself, then you may struggle with this.  I doubt dignity looks like a ratty pony tale, gray sweat pants, and your husband's white under shirt. 

I understand more than you know that sometimes it cannot be avoided, but other times, well....not so much.  I plan to write later on being clothed in strength and dignity, but for today, check out the new e-book release by Sarah Mae.  She is offering "Frumps to Pumps" for free today for those who subscribe to her blog, which is a great read also!  It is a month long challenge to get dressed everyday.  While I can say I do dress everyday, it is often just before my husband comes home.  I think I would be much more productive if I did it FIRST!  Let's see what Sarah Mae has to say about it:)  See more here.



Practical Ways to Follow God's Command to Help the Poor

"She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:29

This verse has always troubled me as a young mother.  I would read and have visions of serving in poverty riddled tent camps in Africa, or giving money monthly to the people who advertise and show such scenes on T.V.  Other times I would envision working in a soup kitchen or handing out blankets and water after a natural disaster.  Then I would look around my home and laugh and wonder how I could ever help anyone else when I could barely keep up here.  I would look at the clock and see that neither myself or the kids were dressed, the dishes were still in the sink, and the check book barely made it to the next week above zero as it was.  If I didn't have time or money, what on earth could I do for the poor or needy?

Well, things are not always as it seems.  First, I realized I needed to take a careful look at my life.  Realize that this is a process that has happened many times over the years.  Often my time was not always well spent and I had more time than I thought to help out those less fortunate.  At other times my money was not always well managed and I had more than I thought to give to someone in need. 

There have also been times when things were exactly as I saw them.  There was very little wiggle room in the areas of time or money.  I knew I had so much more than so many, but still saw no way to give.  I asked the Lord for some practical ways to share my blessings.  I was somewhat surprised at the big reveal.  Maybe it would have been obvious to others, but to my humanly thick skull and sinful heart, it was an eye opener.

While we didn't have a lot of extra, we didn't lack anything we needed either.  All those clothes I had grand ideas of selling at a yard sale or on Craigslist could be given away.  Yes, even the expensive boutique clothes in GREAT shape.  (That we received as gifts ourselves by the way.)  Even those that would make a great extra deposit into our slim savings account.  I could offer them up for free to someone I knew, or take them to the local mission.  Our's here in Knoxville is outstanding.  You can donate clothes that are sold for very cheap to anyone, so in one way those who need to can shop there and stretch their money further.  Then the proceeds go to help feed the homeless.  The beauty is that I can even shop there (and I do) and not only does it help my pocket book and allow me to be frugal, but I can help those in need at the same time!

Please understand I am not saying that you should not be frugal, or make the most of what you  have, or be wise with your money.  It is okay to have a garage sale or sell items online.   I am just saying this one way the Lord showed me I could follow his commands to help the poor and needy, manage my home more efficiently (declutter), and manage the financial blessings he has given us at the same time!  Praise His name! 

If you are struggling with this command today I encourage you to take an honest look at how you spend your time and your money.  Is it in line with God's will?  If so, and you see no room to do anything else, ask Him to show you how he would have you follow this specific command.  He will answer.