The first time I made this recipe I had the most amazing light filter into my kitchen. Now to be honest I do have one of those solar tube lights so having really great natural light in my kitchen is the norm. (My Mother has actually spent five minutes trying to figure out which light she needed to turn off :-) But, as I was saying, on the day that I made this recipe for spaghetti squash the light had a just a little extra somethin' something.

Sadly I made a terrible mistake though.

It was tragic to say the least.

Somehow I was so carried away with the light that I forgot one of the main, if not the most important, ingredient.

I forgot the bacon.


Shocking isn't it? It was still quiet delicious with the feta and vidalia and my family gave it the thumbs up as a make it again recipe.

Here's what you'll need:
1 medium size spaghetti squash, baked and shredded
1 vadalia onion, sauteed
1 small container feta cheese
6 to 8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Here's what you'll do:
Toss spaghetti squash with onion.
Sprinkle feta and bacon on top.
Serve and enjoy!

Let me tell you, it was good before but with the bacon? Absolutely fabulous! And I kid you not...there was a rainbow in the sky when we sat down to dinner. Coincidence?

I think not.

You may remember a few weeks back I posted a recipe for brownies the color of sunshine that some people did not like. And by some people I mean a couple of friends that gave me a hard time both here on the blog in the comments and also on facebook. Because I love them dearly and because they were coming over that same day I also decided to try out the red velvet brownie recipe I had pinned a while back. You know. Just to be funny. Turned out the joke was on me because frankly, in my opinion, red velvet and brownies should not get together and try for a love child because it just isn't happening.

If you click through on the above link you'll notice that the recipe under the picture is not the same as the one that the actual pin will lead you too. I will confess that I didn't follow through to the real recipe, I used the quickie under the picture one and I don't have any idea if that makes a difference or not but as for the one I did follow...bleh, not so much. It just tasted...weird. There was something odd about the texture. Or the flavor. Or maybe both.

I'm still sharing the recipe because frankly my children liked them Plus, to be fair my little sister made them and her family really enjoyed them. The brownie snobs from my previous post were no more impressed than they were with the lemon brownies but their brownieometer is clearly off anyway should bake them and be the judge.

What you'll need:
Red velvet cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 brown sugar
2 eggs

What you'll do:
Combine all ingredients together until well mixed.
Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

I'm not normally a frosted brownie kind of gal but I did decide to pair these with a delicious cream cheese frosting. (Which all agreed was very tasty.) I make it from scratch and don't have a real recipe I follow. I start by combining 8oz of softened cream cheese and a stick of softened butter until smooth, and then I add confectioner's sugar until I get the desired taste and consistency that I want.

I'd love to know if you have already made these before and if you liked them, or if you decide to make them, come back and let me know how they turned out. Right now I'm not in a hurry to repeat them but I also don't know if I should follow through and use the actual full from scratch recipe the original pin links to and see how they turn out. She seems pretty happy with them and from the comments on her post, others do too.


Marvelous Monday    Sweet Sharing Monday   Melt In Your Mouth Monday    I Gotta Try That! 

I'd like your opinion on something. I really enjoy linking parties. I've gotten some great ideas, recipes and wonderful information from being a part of them. However, I do get pretty discouraged when I go to link up a post and there are literally hundreds of other links already there. I know I'll never be able to visit them all and I also am aware that more than likely mine will probably get lost in the shuffle. I realize we all want traffic to our blog but I hope that it's because we feel like we have something worth sharing and not just for the sake of numbers.
So here's my question. Would anyone be interested in participating in a link party that had a limited number of links? Like maybe only fifteen or twenty so that it's a manageable number. I'm just thinking out load...the sheer number of links being shared in some of these parties is just so overwhelming and I think some good stuff is probably getting missed out on because of it.

Beautiful light + little paper umbrellas + overexposure = some dreamy photos a la island get away style. Seriously, can't you hear the waves in the background and smell the coconut suntan oil? You'd never know that all around these little cuties there was party aftermath. Sometimes the magic quietness of photographs is that they can create a world all their where I can grab the girly drink in my mind and head down to the shore to put my toes in the sand.
Just for a minute...before cleaning up...and laundry...want to come with me?

When I started the series on courtship I wasn't sure what kind of feed back I would get, if any at all. I've been pleasantly surprised and happy to hear of the conversations people have been having on the topic because honestly, I think it is vital that Christians recover the ground lost on this front. I had planned to be finished after last week's post but a friend read all three of the posts and brought up a couple of really great questions that I think warrant some discussion.
The first question is what does the young man do when the father of the girl in whom he is interested does not have as high of standards as the young man in terms of the courting process, the purity rules, etc.?
The idea of courtship for most of my generation (the forty something parents of the coming of age children) is a foreign one. Our parents came through the turbulent sixties and seventies during the so-called sexual revolution, and questioning and rebelling against authority was just all the rage. That doesn't mean everyone was amoral, but the culture did shift - along with the way dating and marriage were viewed. Gaining a father's permission was, and for the most part still is, a hat tip to a quaint old fashioned custom and really doesn't mean much more than that.  For a young man with a courtship model in mind to approach a father who doesn't share a general understanding of courtship probably isn't that far fetched. 

I haven't seen this directly addressed anywhere, but I believe the young man's approach will be the same even though he may need to guide the process more firmly than he necessarily would if everyone was on the same page. I think he would do well to acknowledge his interest in the man's daughter and ask if it would be possible for the two of them to meet on a regular basis so that, man to man, he may present his case as a worthy suitor. This is a respectful way to place the responsibility in the father's court, with the knowledge for it to progress any further requiring the father to give his consent. Any young man who has a desire to court a young lady must do so with open hands, realizing that while he may be attracted to her, his own emotional attachment must be kept in check so that at any time the father may tell him no. He must be willing to go in with humility, understanding that the father has the right to deny him if he sees fit to do so. 

It's entirely possible that the father may just shrug and say, "Sure, you can date her."  I think wisdom would dictate a frank conversation with the father, and possibly the daughter as well, with regard to the structure of the relationship. Just because the father may not be taking his responsibility as seriously as he should does not relieve the young man of his responsibility to behave honorably. He would have to be willing to set the boundaries in place that would protect both himself and the young lady. 

Interestingly enough, we have some friends who have experienced this very situation. The father loved his daughter and wasn't abdicating his authority in her life, but courtship was just a new idea to him. The story is that if her parents weren't home, Justin would sit on a bar stool outside the kitchen window and talk with Jessica while she made cookies or tinkered around in the kitchen. When their families were stationed in different states and he would go for a visit he would always stay in a hotel instead of their home, and he never allowed Jessica to take him back to the hotel. He was protecting and honoring her from the very beginning even though it was a new way of doing things for her family. 

A follow up question was, what can a young woman who has a higher standard than her father do to both honor her father and her conscience? I don't believe it would be dishonoring for a young lady to refrain from dating if she sees the value in preparing for marriage differently than her father sees it. She should offer him every opportunity to be as involved as he is willing to be. If her father has no definite opinion on the matter, then she must think very carefully about what she wants it to look like. She can be very clear in her standards and expectations with any potential suitors and only welcome the attention of the ones who are like minded. Again, as things progress she should be careful to include her father as much as he is willing to be involved, keeping communication open and honest between them. 

We're not all going to have perfect fairy tale love stories. We don't live in a perfect world. Life is messy, people are messy, relationships are messy. But somehow, when we seek to honor Christ in all we do, He is pleased to use our messiness to show His glory. 

Guarding Hearts Part One, Part Two, and Part Three

I love bread. All kinds...sweet, doesn't matter. I just love that doughy goodness and if it happens to have melted cheese on it? And be pipping fresh from the oven? I am all over it! Seriously, I can pass up the cookies, cakes and brownies but I have a hard time leaving the bread basket alone, or in this case the bread pan.

I came across this recipe a few years before pinterest was around although I have seen it on there since. It is good stuff and perfect paired with a delicious pasta dinner. Normally I make this in a bundt pan but this time I used two round cake pans and did more of a parker house style roll. Either way is good but the cake pan version does get done more quickly.

What you'll need:
2 Pillsbury Crusty Italian loaves
1 stick butter, melted
Italian seasoning
shaved Parmesan cheese

What you'll do:
Melt butter and season to taste.
Cut each loaf in half lengthwise. 
Repeat so that you have 8 lengths of dough. 
Cut each one into chunks.
Toss pieces n seasoned butter and layer in pan.
Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Repeat process until all the bread is used. (One loaf per cake pan usually has two layers.)
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake at 350 degrees until brown about 12-15 minutes for cake pans or 25-30 minutes for bundt pan.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
~Job 38:4-11

There's not really much more that I want to add but I thought some final thoughts were in order as well as a couple of resources that could be helpful. I enjoyed the conversation and hope that it has been helpful to read and maybe jump started some conversation for you too.

In the very first post on courtship that I shared  a couple of weeks ago, I stated that just because you do or don't date doesn't mean you love Jesus any less than those who do or don't court.  My aim has not been to draw lines in the sand and demand that we all do it the same way. What I want, what I'm after in these three post, is for us, the Church, to redeem the process of preparing for marriage. With recent court decisions and the way the political wind is blowing we must show that Christian marriage, and how it comes about, is sacred and holy. And that means we cannot do it the way the world does. 

Here's the thing: Whether it is a redeemed way of dating that rejects the casual shallowness of the world or a more structured courtship, we have been given freedom to shine Christ into a dark world that does not know Him or His ways. No matter which mode you use, the process should cause the world to pause and question. It should look starkly different from what they experience and practice.

We all should be starting at the same point. Our lives, everything we do, is to bring honor and glory to our King. Our first thought in the process of finding and taking a wife or husband is that we glorify Christ...that we seek His good pleasure and use godly wisdom in dealing with matters of the heart. 

The building of a home has a common beginning...a strong structurally sound foundation. The layout, design and decorating of that home will not necessarily be the same as the one next door. I may not care for a particular floor plan in one house. Or I don't like the design flow from one room to the next or the paint color in the kitchen. But if it isn't my house it doesn't matter whether I like it or not. I cannot insist that they move the front door over by six inches or use my favorite color of paint on the walls. There is no sin if their house just looks different from mine.

And there will be differences. Every family has a distinct culture that will shape the cultures that flow out of it. While there are some indisputable truths that should pass from generation to generation there is a lot that is just preference and "the way we've always done it." We must be careful that we don't judge one another based on those preferences but only take a stand when it contradicts those indisputable truths.

I say all of that because our hearts are prone to pride and self deceit. Our duty is to wage war against a world that says family doesn't matter, that marriage is meaningless, that it doesn't matter what we do with our bodies as long as we don't hurt anyone else. The enemy sought to destroy the created order but Christ has come and through His death has put it back to rights. Our calling as His followers is to continue the now and not yet process of redeeming the culture.

I mentioned earlier that I would share a few resources that deal with dating and courtship. One of my favorite books on the subject is Her Hand in Marriage by Douglas Wilson. Several years ago Rob and Sarah read this together and we've all since reread it separately. This is a great book if you think that anyone who speaks of courtship automatically slams dating...Pastor Wilson doesn't and it's full of sound Biblical wisdom.

Another good read is Voddie Baucham's What He Must Be...If He Wants to Marry My Daughter. This book is a good read whether you have a daughter and you want her to know what sort of young man to look for, or a son that you want to train up as a godly husband.

There is more that can and should be said on this topic. My prayer is that you will start the conversation in your world, with your family and your church...and that we would all enter the battle armed and ready to fight because family does matter, marriage does mean something, and what we do with our bodies is important.

Guarding Hearts Part One
Guarding Hearts Part Two

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