A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Corn Bread and Chili on a Cold Winter Day

It’s been a cozy, relaxing, peaceful Sunday.

On most mornings we wake up at 5:45 a.m., but this morning everyone slept in until 8:00 a.m. The rule in our home is: once one person gets up and makes sufficient noise, everyone gets up. On weekends the older children beg and sometimes even pay the younger children to stay in bed and be quiet. Even with all the bribes and begging, we rarely have a lazy morning. We enjoyed the extra sleep today.

One day we are having spring weather and the next day its winter. This morning, it took a little while for anyone to recognize that the ground was covered with snow. The children really enjoy shoveling snow. Jared, Joshua, Jonathan, and Marianne grabbed snow shovels and cleaned off the sidewalks before they even ate breakfast. After we plowed the driveway, there was a glaze of ice on the asphalt. Little Marianne was walking along pushing her plastic snow shovel and both feet went out from under her. Luckily she isn’t very tall and has plenty of padding.

Some of the children preferred sitting in the living room by the warm fire. We heat our home with wood and haven’t had to use the furnace all winter. We enjoy the kind of heat that comes from a fireplace. If you’re cold, go sit by the fire. If you’re too hot, go to a different room or downstairs. Every room has its own temperature. The warm blooded and cold blooded are both accommodated.

When the thermostat in the hall reaches 80 degrees, the temperature in the living room is probably 90+ degrees. At this point, many almost start chanting, “No more wood! Turn off the fireplace fan!” Sometimes we have even opened a few windows just to get some relief. Today, the fire just felt cozy.

This afternoon, the younger children went out to play in the snow. They had fun until they were almost frozen. When they came inside, they huddled around the fireplace while they “defrosted”.

We were planning to have chili and cornbread today but didn’t know it was going to snow. It turned out to be the perfect meal. This is another one of Sandra Sorensen’s recipes. We’ve made a few adaptations so we can use ingredients from our food storage. This is how we make it:


This is enough to fill a 12-quart stockpot. It’s a cheap and easy food storage recipe.

Soak 2 quarts of kidney beans overnight in 1 gallon of water. In the morning, drain, rinse, and put the beans in a 8-quart crock-pot. Cover the beans with fresh water and add 2 tablespoons of salt. If you’re eating chili for lunch set the crock-pot on high (4-5 hours). If you’re eating chili for dinner set the crock-pot on low (8 hours).

Brown 4 pounds of hamburger and drain off excess oil.

Add 1 quart of tomato juice, and 3 quarts of frozen tomato puree (thaw tomatoes overnight)

Add ½ tablespoon of salt, ½ tablespoon of pepper, 3 tablespoons of chili powder

Add 5-10 cloves of garlic (optional), 4 medium onions (You can puree the onions and garlic in the blender with some of the tomato puree. Or you can mince the garlic and chop the onions.)

Add the kidney beans (don’t drain the water)

When the chili is done, taste it. You can add more salt, pepper, and chili powder if needed.

Joseph said he likes everything in chili except the beans. He really likes the cornbread.

Marianne helped Rachel make bread. She loves to be involved. Being very independent, she demands, “Me do it by myself.” We made zucchini bread and cornbread today.

Our favorite cornbread recipe is the one shared by Beanie Lofthouse.


1 cup flour (white or whole wheat) – We use 100% whole wheat.

1 cup yellow cornmeal – We make our cornmeal out of popcorn.

¼ cup sugar – We use brown sugar.

4 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoons salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

¼ cup oil

Mix all of the ingredients and pour into a 9x9 greased pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick. We usually make a triple batch for our family.

For the last month we’ve held little Emma almost 24/7. She likes being held, and we’ve enjoyed accommodating her wishes. Our family is at the perfect age and stage to honor such a request. We have a lot of willing hands that want to hold a baby sister. We’ve never given this kind of attention to any of the other children when they were babies. We were just too busy. We started thinking that we might be creating an unrealistic expectation. Today was the first day Emma was content without being held. She sat in her seat while we prepared and ate dinner. She even fell asleep.

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