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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winner #5–Carol Laney

The final winner of the TCH holiday contest this year is Carol Laney. She wants to give her Colley House gift certificate to the originator of this recipe for mac and cheese. Macaroni and  cheese is a family-gathering-staple at our house.  What better time for a southern girl to overdose on dairy and starches than just before her New Year’s resolutions are made? (Yes, there’s a sad, but usually true implication about resolutions there!) Just click on this worn copy and you’ll have one more kid-pleaser for your holiday dinner! Congrat’s Carol and Marva!

From Carol:

Thank you for offering this contest! 
My recipe is the “BEST EVER Macaroni and Cheese”. If I win please gift the gift card to Sister Marva Johnson because it’s her recipe. She attends the LaFayette church of Christ in LaFayette GA. She is precious and I’ve used this recipe many times (as you can tell by the paper) with grand reviews and lots of lip smacking. I always “grade” my recipes after I make them so when I want to make something I know which recipe has been cooked, tasted and approved (not just by me but others)! 
Carol Laney
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winner #4: Tracy Parsons

My sweet husband loves to cook and when he surprises us with his amazing homemade rolls, the whole room lights up. The warm, buttery rolls bring us comfort on these cold, dark nights. It’s a reminder to always be thankful for your blessings. God is so good to us!
Yeast Rolls

1 stick of salted butter

Melt the butter to liquid

Stir in 1.5 tbsp of sugar and 2 tsp of salt 

In a separate glass mason jar add 2 cups of hot water and stir in 1 tbsp of rapid rise yeast. 

Add water and yeast mixture to sugar and salt in bowl. Mix in 3 cups of King Arthur all purpose flour, proof for 30 mins. After dough has risen, lightly dust the dough in the bowl with flour to make it workable with your hands. Roll it onto a floured baking mat, cut out individual sized rolls (we use a small mason jar for perfect circles).

Bake at 350 approximately 10 minutes and enjoy! 

Happy Holidays,

Tracy Parsons ?

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winner #3: Erica Grieves

Sometimes, keepers at home (and others, too) can evoke the most palatable and tangible memory of a loved one through the textures and tastes and smells of a kitchen. Erica’s submission is about that. I love it. She submitted it in photos and just a few words:

This is a comfort to my family even though it isn’t a “comfort” food:  Found in the pages of a cookbook that survived a house fire before I joined the family is the hard candy recipe I remember from my mother-in-laws each year at Christmas. We lost her too young over 4 years ago, and this is a simple way to bring Big Mama back to us each year. 

(I think it IS a comfort food. What a blessing in the reminiscing. Also, I think this would be one of those magical, fun recipes for kids!)



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Recipe Winner #2…Marsha York

           (the brew on my counter)

Here’s the second winning recipe.  I have this one brewing right now in a mini-crockpot in my kitchen. If this won’t put you in the Christmas spirit, you are a scrooge-grinch! It’s from Marsha York. She writes:

Here’s a great “recipe” to keep your home smelling great all holiday season. This also makes a great gift for a hostess. 

1 orange quarter
1 cup fresh cranberries
5 whole cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of cloves
Place all ingredients in a pot and add two cups of water. Heat to a simmer. Keep a careful eye on the water level. As it evaporates, add more water.  The ingredients will turn darker as days pass but no worries it will continue to smell wonderful. It should last though the holiday season.
(I sense that a few of your cents will be spent for these amazing scents.)
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #43–Cooking Times Four

Portrait of happy mother and her daughter cooking in the kitchen

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 43 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

I’m sure you’ve thought of doing this with your kids, but it’s been a real benefit to ministry on several occasions for this family. Every time I make a casserole, a cobbler or a soup of any kind, I multiply all ingredient amounts by four, prepare the ingredients, and then spoon them out into 4-6 casserole dishes (depending on dish sizes), cover them well with heavy-duty foil, and freeze all of them except the one we are having for supper. I usually place the wrapped dishes in individual giant zippy bags to help guard them from freezer burn. I also label the bags with the name of the dish and the instructions for cooking or re-heating the dish. The casseroles and pies are almost always placed in the freezer before the baking, so you can just grab them from the freezer, thaw them and bake according to directions. Soups only need reheating. This is great math for upper-elementary kids, as they multiply the fractions of cups and teaspoons, and it’s great hospitality and benevolence planning for kids (especially daughters) of any age.

I know I don’t need to explain the benefits of this, but here goes. It’s cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk.  It greatly reduces cooking time because it only takes a few more minutes to make four casseroles than it takes to make one. When you do four meals at the time, you have one mess to clean up instead of four. 

But the biggest plus for me is being able to take a dish to a grieving family on the spur of the moment or to enjoy time with visiting family or friends instead of spending all my time cooking and cleaning the kitchen. It’s great to be able to have food on hand for Sunday dinners or fellowship meals. It’s great to be able to take a meal to someone who has just gotten home from the hospital or to someone who has a sick child. Best of all, your kids are watching and absorbing this active freezer ministry which just becomes a part of your family’s routine. It would be worth the price of my deep freezer many times over just for the consistency of hospitality and benevolence that it afforded our family. Of course we were still not even close to thorough or perfect as we took advantage of having a deep freezer. But still, it was/is a very helpful tool. 

Here are some dishes that work particularly well in the freezer. I’ve included the most recent recipe that I prepared and froze as well. It was very good! Thanks to Diana Shafer in Collierville, TN for sharing! It has already gone to a couple of octogenarians in their home in Tennessee and  to a visiting preacher-student family around our table.

These work well: 

Any kind of soup



Poppy seed chicken casseroles

Chicken, broccoli and rice casseroles

Most pasta dishes (especially if they are creamy)

Ground beef and vegetable casseroles

Dumpling dishes

Cobblers of any kind 

Dump cakes

Enchilada casseroles

Casseroles with crescent roll type crusts/toppings

Homemade Bread (Wrap well in a couple of layers of heavy duty foil or plastic wrap.)

(If a casserole calls for a cracker or potato chip or corn chip topping, add this after you remove it from the freezer.) 

                                                                                  Creamy Chicken


4-8 chicken breasts or 1 chicken

1 pt. sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 8 oz. package Pepperidge Farm dressing mix (may use more)… (Also, I think I used a store brand and it was yum.)

1/4 c.milk

1 can cream of mushroom soup


Cook chicken (boil or cook in microwave). Cool. Remove skin and cut into bite-size pieces. Line 9×13 dish with chicken. (But you can really use any size dishes. cc) Sprinkle with salt. Combine soups, sour cream and milk. Spread this over chicken.Prepare dressing mix according to directions on package. Margarine may be omitted if you do not like rich dressing. Use broth from chicken or chicken bouillon for liquid required in dressing mix. Spread dressing on top of soup mixture. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. May be frozen before baking.  (This is easy and so very good!)


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. Number 15 – Signature Recipes

One of the most requested topics this year on my speaking circuit has been a lesson in which I list a hundred ideas for training our kids to be servants. Service oriented kids grow up to be productive adult servants in the kingdom and it’s those people to whom the Lord will say, “Come ye blessed of my Father,” according to Matthew 25. So it matters if I’m making a real effort, as a mom, to put the heart of a servant in my child. For this reason, I’ve decided to devote a post, every now and then, to a service suggestion—a simple idea for moms to make their homes busy service centers for young hearts and hands. I’d love to hear from those of you who try them. So here goes:

Signature Recipes

If you have a child who is seven years old or above, I hope you have taught him or her to make something to share from your kitchen. What I found to be very efficient when bringing up Caleb and Hannah was to really get them very adept at one or two super easy recipes. It helps if you let them choose to learn to make things they love to eat. That way it’s not a chore to coax them into the kitchen, particularly if you promise to let them lick the bowl or save a bit of the treat back for their desserts after supper. Below are a few of the favorite kid-friendly recipes from the Colley house. The possibilities are endless about how to share the blessings once your kids get cooking. The monkey bread wreaths are great holiday gifts for Bible class teachers. The dessert is a favorite when the youth group is coming over for a devotional or when you are having someone in for a Bible study or when a new neighbor moves in down the street. (Be sure to attach an invitation to your congregation’s services.) The macaroni and cheese is a hit for fellowship meals or taking to a mom with a new baby, especially if she has some older children to feed. And, of course, the cookies make great VBS snacks or take-along gifts when your children go to read the Bible to an elderly person. The best part about signature recipes is that, once you train your kids to make them and clean up the mess, you can keep the ingredients on hand and just send the kids into the kitchen at a moment’s notice whenever the need arises, even if it’s one of those days when you, personally, are out of pocket or very short on time. Notice that one of these recipes doesn’t even require turning on the stove. So…get cooking!

Hannah’s Signature Recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dessert

1 pkg. Chips Ahoy Cookies
1 medium tub of Cool Whip
1 cup milk

Pour the milk in a bowl and dip enough of the cookies to cover the bottom of your serving dish. Cover this with a layer of cool whip. Repeat till all used up (ending with cool whip) except a couple of cookies. Crumble these cookies and sprinkle on top. YUM!

Hannah’s Macaroni and Cheese

4 c. cooked and drained macaroni noodles
½ c. milk
3 TBSP butter
½ c. cream cheese
1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 TBSP sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all these ingredients in a big bowl while the cooked noodles are still piping hot. You can put it in the oven and bake for a few minutes if you want, BUT my favorite right from the bowl I mixed all this in!

Caleb’s Signature Recipes

Monkey Bread
¾ c. sugar
2-3 tsp cinnamon
2 large cans biscuits
1 stick butter

Cut biscuits into quarters. Combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Add quartered biscuits and shake till well coated. Drop in grease round pan and add 1 stick of melted butter on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or till golden brown. (Caleb made this in a Bundt type pan and so it came out as a wreath. He then would sprinkle green sugar or red and green sprinkles on the top and make a wreath to take to people at Christmas time. Sometimes he would put red hots and a green sprig at the bottom for a bow. You could do this, of course, any time of year using candy corn for fall or jellybeans for spring, etc…)

Honey’s Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup peanut butter
1 stick margarine
½ cup brown sugar
½ c. white sugar
1 beaten egg
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

Cream first four ingredients. Then add the rest. Chill this dough (or not, if you can’t wait!). Roll dough in marble sized balls. Mash with bottom of glass that has been dipped in sugar. (350 for 10-12 minutes)