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We Have A Winner!

First, we want to thank all of you that took a few minutes to answer our survey questions. It will help us become a better blog and a better resource for you.

We know that it has been a long time since our last post. We have some things in the works that is taking up a lot of time, but keep your eye out for some new recipes coming up!

Without further adieu…

Winner-copy

 

Congratulations, Amanda Bryson! You have won the 2014 hardback Taste of Home Annual Recipes with over 500 recipes from real home cooks. We will contact you shortly to get your mailing information.

cookbook ar

Again, thank you all for your time and for your constructive criticism. We will put your ideas and suggestions to good use! You told us that you want more recipes, better pictures, and more how-to’s on gardening, canning, and freezing.  We will do that and we look forward to it.

God Bless,

 

Southern Gals

The Courage of a Virtuous Woman

The Courage of a Virtuous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

 

Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

 

This week, our church has had our annual Vacation Bible School. Each night we have talked about a few of the different character traits that are exhibited by the Proverbs 31 woman. We have discussed:

The Faith of a Virtuous Woman

The Wisdom of a Virtuous Woman

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman

For our fourth lesson, we discussed the virtue of courage.

As a Christian there have been times when I needed to do something that probably should have been easy, but yet I found it difficult because I lacked the courage to put myself in a vulnerable position.

I have found myself to be the only Christian in a group discussion about faith, Christianity, and or/moral issues.

I’m sure you’ve been in the same boat.

What did you do?

I tried to stand up for my beliefs and share my testimony of salvation. I don’t feel like I was effective, but I will leave that up to the Lord.

Sometimes God leads us to do a work. When that work means a life change, we can get nervous or scared. It may be your spouse that has been called to the mission field and it means moving the family hundreds or thousands of miles away. You may be called to leave your jobs and stay home with your children– losing an income is scary.

No matter what the transition, change is hard on most everyone but as children of the Great I Am, we have to be willing to go when He says go.

But do not fret.

We never go alone.

He’s there with us.

Why should we fear when our help comes from the Lord?

I had a talk with someone close to me not long ago. We were discussing something that needed to be done because the Lord was leading our hearts in a direction that meant change was/is in the near future. I had already had time to get used to the idea, but my friend was struggling. I told them that I was afraid that they would be so focused on the storm {of change and of the unknown} that they would be too afraid to get out of the boat {comfort zone}.

When the Lord is calling us out of the boat, we can find our courage in Him. We must keep our focus on Him and pay no mind to the storm. When He is ready, He will still the waters and the winds. The winds and seas obey Him.

Why should we fear?

It’s a comfort to know that when fear starts to bleed into the corners of our minds, we can ask God for courage and He will give it.

We are never alone.

We have no reason to fear.

Whether you are witnessing to an unbeliever, leaving your comfort zone to work for the Lord, becoming a parent, getting married, starting a new school, whatever it is: If the Lord has led you in the direction that you are headed–

Have. No. Fear!

Be of good courage.

The Master of the Wind and Seas will go with you.

He will not fail you.

And He will not forsake you.

The Faith of a Virtuous Woman

Faith

 

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

As I sit here thinking about how tired I am… that it’s only Tuesday… and that I need more coffee, I still can’t help but to look forward to teaching precious little cherubs about the character traits of The Virtuous Woman this evening.

Dana told y’all yesterday that this week our church is having our annual Vacation Bible School and this year’s theme is one that I hold dear to my heart. Every time I read and study Proverbs 31:10-31, I see how much I lack in being the woman who God wants me to be. It humbles me and reminds me that I need the Lord with me everyday. Every meal I prepare, every purchase I make, every song or show I allow in my home, every decision I make, I need God’s wisdom and guidance to be just a hint of a virtuous woman for my family and for my God.

Yesterday {Monday} our character trait was Faith.

Faith

Faith is such a simple, yet complex thing.

In one of my favorite family Christmas movies, The Santa Clause, a little elf tells Scott Calvin {played by Tim Allen} that “Seeing isn’t believing; Believing is seeing.”

Judy

Judy the Elf

I asked the kids in my class if they think that there REALLY is such a thing as a million dollars. They said “Yes!”. I asked, “Have you ever seen a million dollars?” Well, of course not. None of them have. So then I asked them, “Then how do you know that it exists?” They looked at me like I had two heads. Then I said, “I bet you’ve seen buildings that cost a million dollars to build– and roads that cost a million dollars to pave, right? You’ve seen people on t.v. that make millions of dollars.” They all agreed.

Then I asked them, “Is God real?” They all exclaimed “YES!” “What about Jesus?” “Oh, YES!” “And Heaven and angels… all of that is real?” “Yes, Ms. Tangi!!” “Well, have you ever seen God? Or Jesus? Or Heaven? Or angels?” “Noooo.” Their big, sparkly, cherub eyes looked at me with anticipation and trust. “Then…How do you know they are real?”

*crickets*

Finally, a little munchkin voice chimed “Because we just know, Ms. Tangi.”

Aw. Sweet baby chile.

I smiled and said, “And that, my dear, is faith.”

It reminded me of this:

Matthew 18:

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

—- Not gonna lie. I got a little teary eyed.—-

I went on to tell the children that like the buildings and roads that cost a million dollars to make, nature itself proclaims the existence of God {Romans 1:20}. And like there are people on t.v. that have a million dollars, there are people in our church and around the world that have been saved, felt the power of God, and have Jesus in our hearts.

Now… back to faith and being a virtuous woman…

I discovered just how weak my faith is during our adult Sunday School class this past Sunday. We side-tracked into a “What would you do?” discussion on a hot topic. I got very real and shared with my church family that if it were an extreme situation, it would be hard for me to not entertain the idea of doing something that I know in my heart is wrong, especially when it came to protecting my family.

Faith in God isn’t just about knowing whether He exists or not, but isn’t it also knowing that He is in control? Isn’t having faith knowing that if we follow Him and do what He has called us to do, that He will take care of things according to His purpose and His glory?

I pray that my faith grows so that when the “extremes” do happen, that I turn to Him– my Rock and my Salvation– and allow Him to take care of it… and that I don’t do anything stupid to make it worse. {Just keepin’ it real, folks}

Proverbs 31:21 says:

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

“…is not afraid of the snow…”

I heard a saying that goes something like… “Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell your storm how big your God is.” I think that’s what we are seeing in this scripture. Sometimes our storms can be snow flurries of everyday irritations and disappointments. Sometimes our storms are downright blizzards of death, deception, abuse, and desperation. But whatever the storm, God can calm it if we ask Him to.

I pray that God will increase our faith as we try to grow closer to Him. I pray that He will clothe our families in the Scarlet blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that our lives will proclaim His power, mercy, and grace. I pray that our faith won’t shudder at the cold of the snow, but that the snow will shudder at the power of our God.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned

 

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

I have a confession to make.

I. Am. A procrastinator… There! I said it.

It’s a sad truth and one that I am always trying to overcome.

But I have to say that sometimes it’s not my procrastination that gets in the way of my “want to’s” or “need to’s”– sometimes it’s just life! And nothing makes me more sick than having to throw away tomatoes that went bad before I had the chance to do anything with them. It takes time to can them and there are times when it will be more than a week before I have enough time to can a bushel or two of tomatoes. What is a girl to do?!

Needless to say, when I found out that you could FREEZE whole tomatoes to can later, I was elated! I have done this many times and each time I’ve canned them, the tomatoes taste as fresh as they did the day I picked them.

All you have to do is to wash them and let them dry completely. When they are dry, seal a single layer of tomatoes in a gallon-sized freezer bag.

I did notice that a lot of the tomatoes split when they froze, but as long as you get to them before they are freezer burned, you’re in good shape.

This weekend, in anticipation of the garden coming in and needing to freeze more veggies, I decided to free up some freezer space by canning the last of my tomatoes.

Here is how I take my tomatoes from the freezer to canned. In this case I made our favorite salsa {this recipe can also be frozen or eaten the next day}:

I used-

10 cups pureed/hand crushed tomatoes {most people use Roma, but these were beefsteak tomatoes}

1 pouch Mrs. Wages Medium heat Salsa mix

1/2 cup Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider

2 tbsp Granulated Garlic Powder

Tomatoes: From Freezer to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

 

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

1. Take out your precious rubies and inspect them. Make sure they aren’t freezer burned.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

2. The coolest part– when you run the frozen tomato under hot water, THE SKIN SPLITS AND PEELS RIGHT OFF!! It’s so much fun to do AND it saves a lot of time!

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

3. After you have gotten the skin off of the tomatoes, you have to let them thaw. You don’t have to let them thaw completely, but do let them thaw mostly. I set them out at 11:00 a.m. and they were ready to process at about 7:00 p.m.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

4. Once your tomatoes have mostly thawed, drain the water off of them, remove the stems and any unsightly spots. Now you are ready to puree and crush! Some of you may prefer diced. That’s fine. We like ours to be a little chunkier than what they serve in Mexican restaurants so a combo of pureed and hand crushed is perfect.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

5. In a large stock pot and over medium high heat, pour in your tomatoes…

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

… and stir in 1/2 cup of 5% Acidity vinegar {I chose Bragg’s ACV but the recipe on the Mrs. Wages package calls for distilled white} and 1 pouch of Mrs. Wages Medium heat Salsa Mix and granulated garlic powder. Bring to a boil and then back the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and then you are ready to can! Be sure to add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar if you are canning. As mentioned above, you could also freeze this or put in an airtight container, refrigerate, and serve the next day.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

I got 2 quarts and almost a full pint from this batch. I didn’t have quite 10 cups of tomatoes– more like 9, but that’s okay. It still tastes great! You can add in some jalapeno if you want to.

A couple of side notes–

1- Since your tomatoes lose a lot of liquid in the thawing process, it makes for a thicker salsa. We love it!

2- mrswages_2267_10043009

We are not endorsed by Mrs. Wages, but I love the product. It’s all natural AND it doesn’t have cilantro in it. I do not like cilantro. You could add it if you wanted to. The ingredients are: DEHYDRATED VEGETABLES (ONION, GREEN BELL PEPPER, JALAPENO, CHILI PEPPERS, GARLIC), SALT, SPICES. It tastes so, so, so, good. We add a pint to our chili instead of diced tomatoes!

3. acv

We are not endorsed by Bragg’s, but again, this is a product that I love and believe in. Not only is it awesome in recipes, but the health benefits are incredible!

If you have any questions about this recipe, leave it in the comments section below or email us at SouthernGalsCook@yahoo.com

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A Smiling Heart, Indeed!

1 Corinthians 9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Luke 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?  

 A Smiling Heart, Indeed: SouthernGalsCook.com

Growing a garden is a daunting task to say the least, but one that is well worth the effort come harvest time.

I can’t remember a time when my Daddy didn’t grow a garden.  Growing up there were gardens everywhere I went.  Seems as if every member of my family had a garden (and tobacco fields, ugh)!

My memory recalls a time when Grandmother would be in her garden early in the morning (before 6 a.m.) hoeing the weeds.  She always had on a dress and apron; she hardly ever wore pants.  I also recall my Daddy plowing his garden with a tractor that was referred to as the “Little A”

Actually, it’s an International Harvester McCormick Farmall Super A

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

 

Seems forever ago that my Daddy used the Little A to plow his garden.  He passed away in 2012.

This year the Little A is at my house and my husband is using the Little A to plow our garden.

THIS MAKES MY HEART SMILE:)

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

We have guestimated the tractor was manufactured in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.  If anyone can identify the year please let me know.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

It still plows just as good today as it did when my Daddy plowed with it for many, many years!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

I love this little tractor and the man plowing with it!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

While I was taking these photos I noticed a few little squashes already on the vines.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

I’ll have to watch these closely over the next couple of days.  They will be ready to pick soon.  You know how fast squash grows, almost over night!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

This is my son Landon doing what he does best, showing off!  How do ya like those muck boots with shorts?  Crazy kid …… but ya gotta love him!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

Of course, when Mo and Osa (2 of our spoiled dogs) seen me taking pics they had to have their pic made too!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

Mo is on the left, Osa on the right; Mother and Son.  Osa is a Great Pyrenees and Mo is a Great Pyrenees and ? mix.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

Mo can look mean {the worse he will do is lick you to death} but he is a real sweetheart.  Loves attention!  Has paws are as big as my hand and he is as tall as me {I am 5’6″} when he stands on his back feet!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

Mo can be funny when he sticks his tongue out at you!  Love his little heart!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

And sometimes he will just tell you like it is!  Right here he is saying, “put that camera down and pet me!”

Osa, well she is such a lady with a very gentle soul.  She loves attention as well but she isn’t as bold about it as Mo.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

Note:  The rock grave behind Osa belongs to our beloved Izzy, our chocolate lab that passed away this past fall.

Osa is also a prancer.  She is beatuiful.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

And then there’s Bandit.  He is the most spoiled of all.  He lives in the house with us and doesn’t know he is a dog!

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

Bandit is Mini Aussie Shepherd.  Mr. Personality has all of us wrapped about his sweet little paws!

And here is our goats and cows.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

This is just a few of our chickens getting ready to roost for the night.

A Smiling Heart- SouthernGalsCook.com

As you can see, we are very busy on our farm and we love and spoil all our animals.  Hope I haven’t bored you too much with all me ramblings.  But I do hope you have enjoyed meeting some of our farm critters.

God Bless,

Dana

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