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Women Living Well Blog: I Want To Be a Better Cook

Women Living Well Blog

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Want To Be a Better Cook

God created taste buds, the sense of smell and the eye that is drawn to beautiful things. He created the crunchy green pepper, the hairy peach, juicy watermelon, sour lemons and sweet potatoes!

Edith Shaeffer says in The Hidden Art of Homemaking, "Cooking should not be thought of as a drudgery, but as an art. Just as it is good to get one's fingers into the soil and plant seeds, so it is good to get one's fingers and fists into bread dough to knead and punch it. There is something very positive in being involved in the creativity which is so basic to life itself. Home-made bread, home-made cakes and pies, home-made vegetable soup from home-grown vegetables or from vegetable market purchases, home-made jams and jellies, home-made relishes and pickles - these are almost lost arts in many homes."

Let me be honest - the above list does not represent the cooking in my home and I want to be a better cook. That is why after 59 weeks of Tasty Tuesdays, I handed the baton to Janelle from Comfy in the Kitchen. I have a lot to learn in this area and as I share her recipes I am trying them. My family loved her Bow Tie Pasta with Italian Sausage and Vegetables and her Baked Caramel Apples. If you look back at some of my Tasty Tuesday's you will often hear me say - this is my sister's recipe, my mom's recipe or a friend's recipe. Very rarely had I discovered or created my own recipe. I tend to be a quick, easy, low fat cook...(meaning grilled or baked meat with a baked or steamed veggie and a boring carb of rice, noodles, or rolls!)

This week's challenge is an area I am working on!

Week #5 Challenge: Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home. Cook things with pleasant aromas. Pick a meal the family can cook together - include everyone in a task and take pictures so everyone can remember moments in the kitchen together - test tasting, being creative, laughing and loving. Remove discontentment with your home or family and give thanks to God.

First - let's focus on the spiritual side. Give thanks! In Luke 11:3, Jesus says to pray like this "Give us each day our daily bread." Do we pray and ask God for our daily bread? In America - we are so blessed we rarely have to ask. We should be abundantly thankful for the food we have! Give thanks! Give thanks for your food and give thanks for your family you share it with.

One of my favorite kitchen memories was a time when my mom had everyone in the family including our boyfriends make our own pizzas! Each couple made their own unique pizza and we laughed a lot that night! The kitchen is a place of connection!

So as I challenge you my reader and friend - I am challenging myself. And I know that for many of you - you have far surpassed me in your cooking skills - so this is not even a challenge. But for those like me, who need to spend a little more time in the kitchen experimenting and creating - this is a challenge.

The first thing on my list to make this week is Janelle's homemade Hot Cocoa in a crock pot! I have always used Swiss Miss packets (*blush* I am embarrassing myself a little here in hopes that some of you relate...). I know my family will love this!

Work hard this week to make meals appealing. Pull out those cloth napkins and china - just for your own family (this part of homemaking I love - I love making beautiful tablescapes for my boring food lol!). You don't need to have guests to pull those things out!

Edith Shaeffer says "Food cannot take care of the spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavour of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems."

Oh ladies, let's bless our families this week with special surprises from our kitchen!
If you are participating in this challenge leave a comment below with how it's going - if you are a blogger copy this button into your blog post, write about how it's going and link up below!

Thanks for the accountability and Walk with the King!

I am linking up here :



Blogger welcome to our wonderland said...

my first link up :) LOVE your blog!!!

the hot cocoa would go perfect with the pumpkin cinnamon rolls I linked up :)

October 31, 2010 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger DWYHomemaking said...

Courtney, thank you so much for this fall challenge! Thanks for pouring your heart out each week and encouraging us ladies to transform our homes into havens that are welcoming to our families and others! {hugs}

October 31, 2010 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Amber Noella said...

I'm almost 17 & lately I've been realizing that
And I want to learn! I want to bless my family now & my future family & this has helped!
Thanks ;)

October 31, 2010 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger momstheword said...

I am not a very creative cook and feel more comfortable falling a recipe, so I can totally relate.

The funny thing is that some of my family's favorite recipes are ones that I discovered in the last year or two!

I love what you said about being thankful to God and for our families!

Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

November 1, 2010 at 1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now you are speaking my language lol! I always have my little ones in the kitchen cooking with me. They are all going to be little chefs. Thanks for sharing this challenge with us. I no longer have a blog so I just left a comment :)

Sarah Lownsbery

November 1, 2010 at 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Rene said...

Courtney, I love to cook. I love to cook for others too. I love to make goodies for my husband to take to work. (They love it too!). When you think about 'comfort food' you think of homemade potatoe or some sort of cream based soups, mashed potatoes, desserts, etc. Why are only those foods labeled comfort foods. Generally, the food itself isn't what's comforting....its the fact that someone cared enough about you and showed their love by taking the time to make it and bring it to you. The act is the comforting part. When I married my husband, he already had two children. I grew up in a family that sat down every evening at the dinner table to eat dinner. They had not been raised that way. My step son finally one night looked up and said "Why do we do THIS every night?" I was puzzled and said, "Do what?" He said, "THIS. Sit down at the table and you cook every night". I was in shock. I just said, "Well, we have been away from each other all day, we need to catch up and see how each other's day was. What a better place to do it that over the dinner table eating a good healthy meal. And why do I cook every night, well, it's because I love you all and this is my way of showing that love". He just grinned and said, "ok" and kept right on eating. My step daughter was in complete awe too. During her visits in the summer, as soon as I got home from work, she was waiting for me patiently in the kitchen ready to through both hands in to help me cook. I loved it! Tonight...I am making Italian Skillet Chicken. YUM!!!

November 1, 2010 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Dayna (Spear) Guenther said...

Love the hot cocoa picture and I can't wait to try the crock pot recipe! I'm always looking for more crock pot recipes... Thanks.

November 1, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Janelle Nehrenz said...

Aww, thanks Courtney! Again...iron sharpens iron! I will keep cooking if you keep encouraging women! It is so nice to put our gifts boring would it be if everyone was good at the same thing?! By the way-I am not good at decorating and it drives me crazy! LOL Enjoy the Hot Cocoa!

November 1, 2010 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Lisa Grace said...

I haven't really been delving into the blogging world since the school year started back up, but it's funny to come on here and see the challenge you have issued be the same one that God has challenged me with! This week I am working on perfecting my bread baking abilities (which are pretty nonexistant).

November 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger The Working Home Keeper said...

This is an area of homemaking I love! I've grown so much in the area of cooking over the years. I love bringing things in from my garden and incorporating them into a wonderful meal for my family. Or shopping carefully for local, organically grown items at our farmers market. I've just started canning and I'm STILL trying to figure out breadmaking. Maybe one day I'll have a nice loaf instead of a brick LOL!

Thanks for the challenge!

Mary Ellen
The Working Home Keeper

November 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Benita Wicks said...

Have you read Nancy Campbell's study manual, The Family Meal Table and Hospitality from Above Rubies? It was such an inspiration to me.I went on to lead a study on the book. There is a dvd now too. Very encouraging as to why- biblically- we should care about food more than just slopping something down on the table. Gave me encouragement when cooking felt overwhelming.

November 1, 2010 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

I'm like you. I've always used Quick and milk and put the mug in the microwave. I know that being a good cook who truly loves the kitchen is such a blessing to the family. They love it when I make family favorites.

November 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

I'm happy to say this is the one area I come closest to "getting right." God laid on my heart several years ago to make dietary changes for the health of my entire family. It started with me (completely non-functioning gall bladder) and extended to family (dh's mother died of cancer and several of her siblings of cancer, MS, etc.) And for my children (my adopted son's birthfather and grandfather died at 52 and 48 of heart disease). And for my other three adopted children (who tested positive for drug exposure at birth).

We eat a whole foods vegetarian diet, vegan-minded (but not determined to be vegan for now). This has literally forced me to learn ALL about cooking. And I have so learned to love it. Right now, we have green beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and bacon simmering on the stove (yes, onv rare occasion I do cook with meat.) I posted "fruit chewies" on my blog not too long ago. I would definitely encourage others to try that recipe. 5 ingredients, very healthy, and my kids love them. Yay, Courtney. I'm pretty passionate about healthy cooking (after years of quick, processed food cooking) so I'm very excited to see you challenging us wives and moms to that end today.

November 1, 2010 at 12:18 PM  
OpenID ladyozma said...

I wish I wasn't behind, but that's life. I'm so grateful for the challenge you extended and my whole family is enjoying it! We start week 3 today. I can hardly believe that two weeks have come and gone! We used up our first candle and are well on our way through our second. The kids like it so much, it might just have to stay.

I'm always working on food issues. My husband is picky and my sons are teenagers. My family lives for food. :) I might need to make this cocoa in a crockpot... so thanks for posting it!

November 1, 2010 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Julie Bastuk said...

Stop blushing and apologizing! We all have to start somewhere, and let me assure you, my cooking when I first got married was sub par to say the least, but with a little practice and making small changes here and there, it has greatly improved. And even Swiss Miss offered in love is still a blessing to your family!

November 1, 2010 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Coffee and a Mop said...

I struggle somewhat in this area too. I didn't know how to cook when I got married but my husband is an excellent cook. Now being a stay at home mom, and a husband who works long hours each day, I have to cook dinner. It's really hard to cook for someone who can outcook you any day. Nevermind how picky he is. lol

November 1, 2010 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger homeschool101 said...

This has been stirring in my heart for a while. We have been working on this for some time but not as much as I have really wanted to. In the last month alone though we are getting better. Thank you for adding this challenge. I am sure it will get the motivation going.


November 1, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

oooh. this will INDEED be a challenge for me! I go in spurts with delicious cooking... sometimes FAST is the only word on my mind.

There is that great Art of Homemaking book again... I really do need to get it, don't I?

November 1, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Sally Clarkson said...

It makes me want to make the hot chocolate right now. Great post. hope you are having a good day.

November 1, 2010 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Gwen Toliver said...

I do love to cook, Courtney, but I really appreciate your reminder to make the table attractive as well. This is hard to do when I'm managing our big household, but it's not an excuse! My daughters love to make place cards and pretty centerpieces. They are such a good reminder to me that the effort is worth it!!

November 1, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Courtney, once again you are talking to ME, I just know it! Cooking has become a chore and I feel bad I am not taking care of my family like I used to. Things are going to change around here...with the hot cocoa in a crockpot! Yum:)

November 2, 2010 at 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Kayla H said...

Do NOT be embarassed, I have a big ole box of the same instant hot chocolate in my pantry :). Thanks for the encouragement, you are great!

November 2, 2010 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger kimmy said...

I'm so much like you:) I use the same hot chocolate packets and my dinners sound a lot like yours as well! We cant make five course meals everynight however I am learning that if I am prepared and have a plan each night it helps to make it a more enjoyable experience and it becomes a blessing to not only my family but myself as well...and guess who I learned that from?You! :) I definately dont love to cook yet but I am learning to more everyday!Thanks for the encouragement!

November 2, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Sherry Lauser said...

Hi Courtney,

I have not been saying much but I have been blessed with your challenge. This week's challenge is very timely for me.

We had lots of special food Monday evening celebrating All Saint's Day. Now normally, after a day long stint of cooking, I take the next few days off and try and get by with as little extra type cooking as possible. I will take your challenge and try and bake up some yummy, great smelling food this week.

The children love the lit candles and now remind me to light them. :) I am working on the music. With 4 teens in the house it is hard sometimes to get my own preferences in the play lists. :)

Thank you for all your encouragement and the stand you have taken as a "keeper at home".

God Bless you mightily,

November 2, 2010 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger HeathahLee said...

I don't have a post, but I wanted to just chime in and say that one of our favorite meals is homemade pizza, because all three of us (my husband, me, and our 10 year old son) are working in the kitchen at once. Sound Man (my husband) takes care of the meat topping, cooking sausage and/or bacon and spreading out pepperoni. Kiddo mixes up the pizza dough (and is really good at it!). And I make the sauce. We have so much fun!

November 2, 2010 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas said...

I just made a new recipe from Chicken Black Bean chili - it was a hit and will be added to our repertoire!

November 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

I really enjoyed this challenge, Courtney. From looking around your blog (and the blogs of some of your followers) it seems that challenges seem to be "your thing!" I'll be on the look out for the next one!

November 6, 2010 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Brittany @ The MamaZine said...

Courtney, it was such a blessing to hear you speak at Relevant! I am such a boring cook. I became a wife with very little homemaking skills and the kitchen is still biggest downfall. From your suggestion I recently asked my husband what things are important to him. He said he feels most blessed when dinner is ready when he gets home. I want to bless him with food but the meals I currently cook are so boring. I want to start working on this area, and I'm glad I'm not alone!

November 23, 2010 at 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Jen L said...

You mentioned in one post that you read a lot of books on homemaking. Would you share some of your faves?

December 1, 2010 at 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to ask, your fulltime job is in the home, and this is what I want, but I wondered about groceries. Is this something YOU go out and do or something your husband does?

This is a sticking point with my husband and I and it makes it very difficult for me to run the household.

Also, purchasing nice things to make the home beautiful, and having spending money. Do you have any advice or what works for you and your husband? Again, this is a sticking point for us. Since I am not making income, I can't purchase the things that would make homemaking more enjoyable for me, and in turn affect the whole family's moods and uplift our spirits.

Thank you for your time

March 29, 2011 at 2:51 PM  

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