Pinterest Cooking Sleepover Recipes

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post.

Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!

Pinterest Cooking Sleepover Recipes

 sleepover1

It’s been a long cold winter in NE Indiana. The kind of winter that calls for lots of comfort food. (Thank goodness for baggy sweaters!)

Last Friday I invited all the girls at our church, ages K-12 grade, to a Pinterest cooking sleepover. It was a total blast and I can’t wait to share the recipes we tried! I’ve been collecting Pinterest recipes for a long time on my Pinterest board. I will never find enough time to make all of them, but having a cooking sleepover allowed us to make and try six different fattening and  delicious recipes! Some were a hit and others were so-so. All were kid-friendly and fun.

gods-hands-holding-child

Before we started our cooking activities, I reminded the girls how God made us with His hands and how special we are to Him. I asked them to remember as we worked with our hands, how God loves what He made just as we love what we make. I reminded them that they are royalty–the daughters of the King of Kings.

Recipe 1:

Pepperoni Roll-ups

Crescent-Pizza-Rolls-4

Bing free-use image. I forgot to take pics of our finished products but this is exactly how we served them up!

This was so easy and the kids loved doing it. They were delicious, too.

sleepover4

I spread parchment paper all along the table and after the girls washed their hands, gave them each two crescent roll doughs, five pepperonis and a handful of mozzarella cheese. Most recipes call for a stick of string cheese, but using grated cheese was less expensive.

sleepover2

I had the help of three other adults and the older girls pitched in and helped the younger girls. This activity worked for all ages and all abilities. One of our teens has autism and an intellectual disability and she had no trouble participating like everyone else. We all had fun eating the pepperoni and cheese, too, as we worked!

sleepover5

We used cupcake paper to put the spaghetti sauce in for dipping when we served them. The girls loved them. They were surprisingly filling, too! (Uh, the roll-ups, not the girls!)

Since we have a western theme going on for our Children’s ministry, while the roll-ups were cooking, I read them a cute little book about a little cowboy and a very bossy cowgirl who’s a know-it-all: Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door. We talked about how to be a good friend and the difference between being bossy and being a leader. The book also emphasizes forgiveness, so we were able to discuss that as well. (And yes, the teen girls were just as engaged. I find that teens love story books.)

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door

The next thing we made were loaded nachos! I modified a very spicy recipe for little girl palates so it wasn’t so hot. We used Scoops brand Tostitos for the girls to put the filling in themselves. (Adults mixed the filling.)

Recipe 2

Loaded Nachos (for kids)

sleepover3

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans refried beans
  • 2 cans whole kernel sweet corn drained (I think you could easily use frozen as long as it’s thawed and drained first)
  • 1 can nacho cheese sauce
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (2 could be used if your kids like spicier foods)
  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese

Instructions:

Mix together and put in Sccops shells (you could spread this over a pan of chips, too)

Other recipes include beef or chicken, jalapenos and avocados. Any mix like this can be modified to your family’s preferences.

After the shells are filled, sprinkle Mexican mix cheese (Colby and cheddar) over top. Put in oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted on the top. Serve.

NOM! Just typing this makes me hungry!

This recipe made two full cookie sheet pans. The picture above doesn’t do justice to how delicious this was! And all the adults agreed these would make great little hors d’ourves for a party!

Recipe 3

“Gourmet” Hot Cocoa

Hot chocolate is like a hug from the-1

Again, I modified a Pinterest recipe. If you do a search on Pinterest for “Crock-pot Hot Cocoa” you’ll find lots of variations. Here’s what I put in our 8 quart crock-pot (this is not diet-friendly by any means but it’s delicious!)

  • 2 bags chocolate chips (you can use any kind, we used bittersweet)
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups heavy whipped cream
  • 12 cups milk (almost a gallon — we used 2%)

Heat in crock-pot on low being careful not to scald it. Stir often as the chips melt. When I served it to the little girls I added cold milk to their cups to cool it off. I served the adults straight up and hot. We didn’t have any marshmallows but I think that would have ruined it, actually. It was so good!

Recipe 4

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Money talks.Chocolate sings!-1

We had beautiful red, juicy strawberries but my method of making dipping chocolate bombed. I’d read a blog from Pinterest that said you could just melt chocolate chips. Don’t believe it. I knew better because I’ve helped my friend make candy before and she’s super picky about “tempering the chocolate.” But, I thought I’d try it.

Chocolate-covered-Strawberries-for-Nailed-It-Valentines-Day

If you’re going to dip chocolate, get a dipping chocolate. That’s my number one recommendation. It really is a science. Bakers has a great dipping chocolate for the microwave that is super easy to use.  I’ve used it in a special education class before and you really can’t ruin it.

Next time I’ll use a chocolate fountain. I’ve successfully used those before without failure.

So what happened? I must have gotten the chocolate chips too hot and they hardened in the bowl. So I added butter and it helped some, but still it wasn’t thin enough for dipping. So I gave each girl a spoonful of chocolate in their own little bowl and plopped their strawberries on them. And, as it often does when you cook a flop, those strawberries and chocolate were the most popular treat of the night!  Everyone begged for more.

Recipe 5

Cherry Pizza

Why not go out on  a limb_ That is where-1

Who doesn’t love cherry pizza? The teen girls made this easy-peasy treat and we served it for breakfast:

Ingredients:

  • Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
  • Can of cherry filling
  • Cream cheese frosting (we made ours from scratch; recipe here)
  • Butter
  • Granola

Instructions:

Roll out the pie crusts (we used two pie crust to make two pizzas) and slather with butter. Bake until browned. Remove from oven and spread 1 can of cherries on each pie crust. Drizzle with cream cheese frosting and granola. Serve.

We didn’t put the frosting and granola on the pizzas until the next morning. (We re-heated the pizzas first.) They disappeared fast! Nothing was left!

Recipe 6

Cheesecake Cake Batter Dip

The girls’ favorites were the strawberries. But my favorite was this dip. I was exhausted by the time we got to this point and it felt so good to settle in with my hot cocoa and this dip with graham crackers. The teen girls mixed this one up themselves. It was sooo good! Instead of serving it dip-like, we frosted graham crackers with it for the little ones. Us older girls dipped to our heart’s content.

I found this recipe on Pinterest but the pin was taken straight IWashYouDry.com (see URL on the picture caption above). There are other variations on this recipe on Pinterest using Funfetti cake mix, so check those out, too. I chose this one because I love the tang of cream cheese and sour cream. Our first batch tasted “funny” and I think it was the vanilla. I think we got a bad bottle. So we threw that batch out and made another without the vanilla and it was scrumptious.

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup white cake mix
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sprinkles
  • Graham Crackers for dipping
Instructions:
  1. Place cream cheese in your mixing bowl and beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes, or until it becomes light and whipped.
  2. Bring speed down to medium and add the sour cream and vanilla, mix until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar and cake mix to the bowl and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then gently fold in the sprinkles.
  3. Serve cold with graham crackers, pretzels, or fresh fruit slices. Enjoy!

I can hear the Mommies of the Year yelling at me about how unhealthy these treats were. This is not something I recommend serving on a regular basis. These were party foods. One night of supreme, delectable indulgence.  And because there were so many of us, there was little chance of over-indulging.

Besides, I’ve promised the girls that at our next sleepover in the summer, we’ll have a pool party and consume copious amounts of fruits and vegetables to make up for it! I see lots of smoothies in my future.

If you have any cute raw fruit and veggie recipes, send them my way!

twitter07smallTweet this: Delicious recipes for a cooking sleepover!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

353128606_640

My church family gave us the most unexpected surprise Sunday when they presented all the pastors with gift baskets via our talented clown ministry team.

pastorappreciationmonth4

As you may or may not know, my husband is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in North Manchester, Indiana. It’s one of the smallest churches in town member-wise. It’s not the hip church or the popular church. It’s the only non-denominational church and filled to the brim with love.

163315455_640

A lot of people come to our church that are on the fringes of society and a lot of people come to our church who aren’t. Most of the kids in our youth group have disabilities. I’m not sure why God sends us those he does, but I’m so happy to say our church folks welcome people from all walks of life with open arms. Not just in words, either. You truly feel the love when you walk into the building. It oozes warmth.

love_like_jesus_small

My husband is a nurturing type of pastor. He visits the sick, builds wheelchair ramps at people’s homes when needed, helps do household repairs for widows and the aged, and genuinely loves people. He is very people oriented, whereas, I’m more task oriented. It’s a good thing, too. While my husband doesn’t have the gift of administration–a task-oriented gift–I do. Since we don’t have a church secretary, I can slide right in beside him and help with administrative duties.

pastoreddie2

Pastor Eddie Akins (Mr. Himself, as I fondly refer to him)

Small churches are much more labor intensive than large churches. But there’s also a real sense of family in a small church. I’m not saying you can’t get that in a big church. I know you can. I’m just saying that small churches have a lot to offer, too.

Our services are more casual, perhaps, than in a bigger church. For instance, we were clowning around when taking these pictures and that’s why I look silly in them:

pastorappreciationmonth3

Our pastoral staff, Pastor Eddie and me on the left end and me acting silly to get a laugh. Imagine that.

PastorAppreciationMonth2

At least I’m a little more refined in this pic even though I’m grinning like a Cheshire cat…

I was truly surprised to get the gifts Sunday. It’s hard to surprise me since I’m the administrator/secretary/social events coordinator/Christian Ed. director/piano player/choir director. I love being surprised this way! It truly sent the message to me that I’m valued and loved. It sent the same message to Mr. Himself.

What have you done lately to honor your pastor? A simple note of encouragement will take him through a difficult week. I know this very well. Never think a small token of gratitude is too small. Pastors and their families are drained dry at times and we hear much more complaining than we do encouragement.

thanks

Take a little time this month to say, “Thank you.”

twitter38smallerTweet this: Have you hugged your pastor today?

In defense of my handbag

K1SS08FLORAL4

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a handbag junkie. I don’t only like to buy handbags, I love shopping for them in my favorite colors: purple, copper, pink and black. I enjoy a variety types of materials, too, such as tapestry, cotton, straw, leather and vinyl.

aaahandbag2

The style of purse I prefer is the tote size. This is because I have so many things I can’t bear to leave home without. I often carry my iPad and kindle with me, so a bigger purse is definitely in order. Not to mention items I carry back and forth with me to church, which is a huge part of my life as a pastor’s wife.

I’ve actually won handbag contests before. In fact, the last contest I won in four categories: “Most Unusual,” “Silliest,” “Prettiest” and “Most Elegant!”

aaahandbagmine

My chicken handbag and matching baby chicken coin purse won “Silliest” and “Most Unusual” in a contest!

I try not to be obsessive but it’s hard when there are so many to choose from!

However, I’m thinking I may have a bit of a problem.

The other day when I put my handbag on the passenger seat, my car told my purse to put on a seat belt. Apparently my handbag is as heavy as a human!

aaaseat-belt-dashboard-light

After that happened, I became curious about the contents of my bag. Just what did I have in there? So I emptied it out and took a picture:

pursecontents

Now, admittedly, it looks like a lot. But let me explain the purpose behind it all:

  • Wallet — for holding items such as credit cards, cash, receipts and driver’s license
  • Hand sanitizer with a decorative little elephant on the outside of it
  • Keys
  • Flipper for my mouth (don’t ask)
  • Three colors of nail polish. Okay, I forgot to take two of them out when I wasn’t wearing those colors anymore
  • Sunblock–three containers. I only need one, I realize, but two of them were almost gone and I wanted to use them up. (I get sun poisoning and can’t have any exposed skin in the sun or I break out in boils.)
  • Three notebooks for jotting down ideas. I’m a writer, yo.
  • Business card case
  • The twins’ medications (I hadn’t taken them out since vacation)
  • Two pairs of glasses — one for computer, one for driving
  • A pair of sunglasses for reading
  • My kindle
  • Wipes for hands
  • Glass wipes for my glasses
  • Post-it tabs
  • Battery and cable to charge phone
  • Dental floss
  • Makeup bag in which there is two lipsticks, a compact, tweezers and blush
  • Business cards from other people
  • Glass cleaner for glasses
  • Seven tubes of hand lotion.
  • Large mound of receipts from vacation a month ago
  • Bottle of Advil
  • Latex gloves for taking my mother-in-law to the little girl’s room (it can get interesting)
  • Pens
  • My phone would be in there but I used it to take the picture.

Now, before you judge me for seven tubes of hand lotion, I didn’t know there were that many in there! I can’t stand for my hands to be dry. It’s a thing with me.

Renew-family

Hands down this is the best lotion on earth. Seriously.

Apparently I’m not the only one willing to divulge the contents of her purse. According to The Telegraph, the Queen of England (who is always seen with a handbag on her walk-abouts) has the following items in her handbag:

“…Buried alongside everyday items such as a mirror and lipstick, is always a crisply folded £5 note to donate to the church collection on Sundays.

Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind The Throne, claims that among the bag’s other secrets are a portable hook, which is used to hang it discreetly under tables.

The 85-year-old monarch’s church donation sometimes increases to £10 but apparently that is as generous a donation as she chooses to make.”

queenofengland2

So now I’m wondering–what’s in your handbag? If you decide to blog about it, I’ll edit this post and link to you! Just send me the URL  when it’s up!

If you’d rather just leave a comment, I’d love that, too. I’m snoopy that way.

knit-twitter-birdsmallsepiaTweet this: What’s in your handbag? @KarlaAkins wants to know!

   Or tweet this: Seven tubes of lotion? Who does that?

 

 

Autism musings: control freaks

autism-1

As autism parents, we may find ourselves seeking to control other things around us because we can’t control autism.

I’m guilty of it myself.

Fear1024x768

The incident that occurred recently with the young man with autism and the fake ice bucket challenge doesn’t help things.

Sometimes, because of the fear autism brings to our door, and the lack of control we have to change it for our kids, we may find ourselves trying to control other areas of our lives.

fearFor myself, I cope by being a workahaolic. I admit it. I’m happiest when I’m deep into my work as a pastor’s wife, writer, substitute teacher and full-time student (I’m pursuing a special ed. degree.) If I’m busy I don’t have to face the incessant worries of what my twins’ future may hold.

managing fearI need to remember that fear is a liar. Worrying about their future, or whether or not someone will talk them into doing something that will hurt them, is fearing something in my imagination. As a writer, I’m extremely imaginative. You have no idea the things my brain can dream up!  Thankfully, I’m not alone. Thankfully, I can tap into God’s peace when I’m afraid.

Inspirational-quotes-about-being-Strong

Corrie Ten Boom, holocaust survivor, wrote, “If God sends us on strong paths, we are provided strong shoes.” Sometimes it seems that some people are given more hardship than others. But I have no doubt that God will equip us for these difficult situations if we ask Him to.

fear-1_thumbBut do we remember to ask? And when we do ask, and He provides us with an answer that isn’t what we think it should be, do we turn that help away? Are we too proud? Too embarrassed?

I’ve had to give up a lot of control in my life in order to get the help I need. I’ve had to let go of being afraid of what people think, for one. The woman who comes into my home every day after school to help me with the twins, sees my house at its worst sometimes. She also attends our church. I have had to give up the fear of her telling someone what she sees.

Different-Types-of-Fears.-Be-Strong.-Mastermind-Coaching-And-Consulting.com_

“Did you know the pastor and his wife didn’t make their bed today? And there were dirty dishes in the sink? And the kitty littler box was full and she’s always behind on laundry? And they didn’t have supper until 8:00 PM?”

I run that risk because if I want to accomplish the dreams in my heart, I’ve got to be able to let someone help me. It’s scary and uncomfortable. But it’s not as bad as regret. I don’t want to lie on my death bed and regret I didn’t try to pursue the dreams God placed in my heart.

freed-from-fears

Psalm 34

I know a woman who has to control every single little thing her in her life and the lives of others around her. When she isn’t able to, she gets extremely upset. She has a big heart, but she has no idea how much pain she is in or how offensive she is to others. There’s something inside of her that feels out of control. Whether it’s pain from her past, a bad memory, or some other fear, something keeps her hand in every pie. I feel sad for her because it’s also not in her nature to accept advice or direction from anyone else. That would mean giving up some control, wouldn’t it?

keep-calm-and-let-it-go-1309

If you struggle with control, I encourage you to give up one thing this week that you obsess on and have a difficult time letting go of. Maybe it’s how the dishwasher is loaded or how laundry is done. Maybe it’s a pet peeve. Letting go and letting God is liberating and freeing. Jesus came to make us free. Give Him what it is His in the first place and give peace a chance.

What will I give up this week? I’m going to give up an extra hour of study time and work very hard to be in the moment with my family.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Share with me below what it is you will let go of. I’d love to celebrate with you!

twitter36small

Tweet this: Are autism moms too controlling?

God’s Unexpected Blessings

countblessings

A week ago today I was feeling rather low. I even blogged about it I was feeling so bad.

Then, one blessing after another flowed into my life in unexpected ways.

I got good news.

A check came in the mail.

And by sheer Providence, I got to meet Temple Grandin and interview her face to face for a full 45 minutes!

ManchesterU

Temple talking to me!

45 minutes, people! 45 minutes! ME!

Why? Because the other media failed to show up. So there I was, at the media meet and greet and it was just Temple and me, shootin’ the breeze about everything from autism to chickens to Australia.

I will be writing a series of articles on Temple and will share them with you as I get them published. There is a preliminary article here: Exclusive: Temple Grandin named Manchester University Innovator of the Year.

ManchesterUniversity

I forgot to tell her to smile!

If you read last week’s post, you know that I had a talk with the Lord and He assured me I could trust Him with my life and I agreed to put it in His hands. (Why I keep taking it back as if I have a better idea than God remains a mystery. I’m fallible. And badly in need of a merciful God.)

I guess more than I agreed to trust Him was that I agreed to stop fretting. I had to make myself rest in His assurance that He was in control and everything was going to be fine.

And then this happened.

10941226-temple-grandin-photo-c2010-dogtimecom

Publicity photo

I’m so glad I can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense.

This trust thing isn’t just for me. It’s for anyone who’s willing to rest in Him. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the things God has in store for you.

Just. Rest.

twitter02small

Tweet This: You’ll be amazed at the things God has in store for you!

Why kicking and screaming is not the best idea

On Sunday I was feeling like I wasn’t very good at much of anything I do.

Ever feel that way?

On this particular day, I felt I wasn’t a very good pastor’s wife.

2386609101_05ce301709_crop380w

It’s been a difficult year and a half or so of transitions at our church. And we’ve been through a lot of battles and broken hearts. And sometimes I think to myself, “I just can’t do this anymore.”

On Sunday I prayed, “Lord, I’ll keep doing this if you want me to, but I need your grace to do it. I’m just not feeling like I’m very good at it and I’m not sure I want keep on trying.”

lowesteem

You’d think after 32 years I’d hit my stride or something, but nope. I still have self-doubts. I still wonder if I’m doing something wrong.

I know that in my heart I’m doing the best that I can. But I do have a fear of growing bitter and not better with each struggle. It never gets easier. It’s always very difficult work. And God called me, the most unlikely of mortals, to do this loving-difficult-people thing. I don’t have a rhino skin. I’m a sensitive soul. Very tenderhearted. I get hurt easily.

index

Why on earth would God call someone like me to do His work?

Makes no sense, does it?

So I prayed and I felt the Lord nudging me. “You can trust me, Karla. I have a plan. You can’t see the big picture. I can.”

Oh, to rest in that trust.

hand of god visualisation 444IMG_0417

I tend to go kicking and screaming into rest. It’s not my nature. I’m a fixer. A doer.

Just rest in His plan?

Not as easy as it sounds.

But it’s a command, isn’t it?

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

jesus_holding_hands_with_child

God never intended for me to do this by myself. He never wanted to burden me down with His concerns. These kingdom things are all His to figure out, aren’t they?

I’m still learning how to trust Him with my life even when it doesn’t make sense. I thought I’d learned that lesson long ago. But apparently, I must still need some practice.

twitter12small

Tweet This: Come unto me and I will give you rest — Jesus.