Side Dishes – Potatoes Au Gratin



On the Second Day of Christmas

Yuki watched TV!


I got an animal DVD from the Library, and while I walked on the treadmill, Yuki took in¬†America’s Greatest Animals for at least 10 minutes. ūüôā

Potatoes Au Gratin

This was a perfect accompaniment to our Christmas dinner. In past years, I’ve made Christmas Goose, an interesting if labor-intensive dish.

I’ve decided that turkey and ham are the easiest large meats to serve. Not only are they budget-friendly, but also feed a lot of people. When I make a turkey, I have meat for the meal as well as leftovers for at least a couple more.

Not so with goose. Goose is roughly a similar size to a turkey, but the meat from it feeds maybe 4 people in one meal. The end.

This year I compromised. I made duck and sea scallops. I don’t think I’d ever made scallops before, but I love them and order them often when we’re out. So I didn’t have a good recipe to start from. I found a chili-encrusted lime scallop recipe which I thought sounded good, but came out only meh.

And the duck? Sorta of meh too. It’s a lot of work trying to get the meat off the bird, though it’s easy to roast.

The au gratin potatoes (p. 31), though, worked out perfectly as a side dish. I used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and had lightened up versions of the cream of celery and cheese.

IMG_6542Jacob really liked this dish. It’s tasty!


Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the final product. But trust me it comes out really nice in the end because you put cheese over the top and the potatoes brown up nicely.

Give it a try!





Vegetables and Side Dishes – Patti’s Potato Bake

Julie here-
All Saints Day

One of the traditions I love about All Saints Day (usually celebrated around Nov. 1) is the tolling of the bells. Maybe it seems an unhappy reminder to some, but I find it a comforting commemoration of those in the congregation who have passed away in the previous year.

At Redeemer, and at Concordia in Brentwood, PA, the other congregation my husband served, he adds the names of those members who have died in the year before, and then a bell is tolled as each name is read.

For people outside the church, they may get together with family to celebrate a loved one’s passing on anniversaries, etc. But little compares to the whole congregation gathering together, to pray for those left behind at the funeral and on All Saints Day.

I didn’t lose a loved one this year, but as each new season rolls around, I miss my dog Lucy more and more. She was a rock star on Halloween, getting lots of oohs and ahhs from the kids who’d come to the door. “I love your dog!” I remember one kid squealing in delight as she petted Lucy last year.

The cats don’t really “do” Halloween. When the door opened on Friday¬†to a squad of trick-or-treaters, the cats just swish their tails and flatten their ears, thinking, perhaps, that this must be a break-in.

But Lucy loved it all–especially anything involving new friends.

People ask me when we’re getting a new dog. I don’t know yet. We’ve had a lot of little short trips this fall that have made it difficult. Plus, getting a puppy is a ton of work. I still remember the housebreaking, kennel-training, leash-training, don’t-tear-stuff-up-training, and of course, the get-your-paws-off-the-counter training.

But eventually we’ll most likely get another. Just not quite yet.

In the meantime, we’re enjoying the turning of the seasons. The Midwest really puts on a show in the autumn, blessing us with turning leaves and frosty nights. And as autumn loses the fight to winter, we’re still together at Redeemer, turning our thoughts again to our Savior and when He’ll call us all to our everlasting reward, like those saints who have gone before.

Patti’s Potato Bake

I love how Karen takes pics of all of the ingredients before getting things into the pans. It helps to break down the recipe into manageable steps. I mean, I look at that pile of stuff and think, hey, that’s not too hard to make. Nice! This recipe (p. 30) comes from Sheree and Patti Gehrke.



Here’s the mixture before baking.

IMG_0609And the final product.


Thank you again, Karen!



Vegetables and Side Dishes – Baked Mashed Potatoes

The Crazyness of Summer

Well, my crazy summer is nearly over. Here’s all that’s happened:

Jacob graduated from high school – check!

Youth mission trip to North Carolina – check!

Vacation and visiting family – check!

Glen workshop and work on my poetry collection – check!

Sending my new manuscript off to my agent – check!

Shopping for all of Jacob’s college stuff – check!

Depositing Jacob at college – still on to-do list, but will happen in the next couple of days

Everyone around me is saying that the summer has gone by so fast, but when I look at my crazy list of things I had to get done, it’s no surprise to me that the summer has whizzed by.

Still the fact¬†that our mild summer weather is going to soon turn a corner is something I’m in total denial about. Someone told me this week that forecasters predicted this coming winter would be even snowier and colder. Seriously. This is something I cannot accept.

But the days march on by, whether we want them to or not. I’m so grateful for a summer of great memories and warm family gatherings, of time together with friends, and time to dedicate to my writing. I’m grateful for the blessings of good weather and time spent outdoors. Fall is knocking on our door, and while I love the turning leaves and the cool sweater weather, I’m not prepared for that just yet.

Baked Mashed Potatoes

Since this is Jacob’s last weekend home, I decided to cook him his favorite foods. Since I’ve been eating and serving so much rabbit food lately, and he’s always whining about wanting more meat and potatoes, for dinner one evening this weekend, we’ll have steak and mashed potatoes. I’m making Dianne F.’s delicious baked mashed potatoes dish (p. 25).

You boil your potatoes in the normal way, and then I usually add milk and butter to the potatoes and fluff them up. This recipe calls for light sour cream and light cream cheese, plus salt and pepper with butter pats and paprika on top for garnish. I tasted a spoonful, and wow–these are yummy. I think Jacob will be a happy pre-college student!

photo 3-14

Along with the potatoes, I’m going to grill up some ribeyes. I found the marinade at Spark Recipes.

photo 4-9Here are the potatoes ready to go into the oven. They look and taste great! Thanks, Dianne, for this great recipe to spoil my son with.

P.S. Just figured out we have 137 days left until Dec. 31, and 94 recipes to go. That’s roughly 19 weeks, and so even with my being behind these last couple of weeks, I figure we should still be okay to make it to the end of the project if we get 5 recipes done per week. If anyone who contributed a recipe would like to make it and take photos, please feel free to volunteer! We are lining up the cooks. ūüôā


Salad – New Potato and Green Bean Salad

Hodgepodge of Pottery

Over the worst weather of the winter, I took an 8-week pottery class, which was such a great creative outlet. Now that it’s over, I’m slowly getting back the pieces I created after they are fired. Here are a couple of the best ones.


This is one of the small pitchers I made. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to hold, to be honest. It’s too big for a creamer, and too small for orange juice. But I made it with my own two hands!

And this is a fairly successful bowl.

The glaze makes a huge difference because clay is, by nature, pretty drab to look at. After glazing, but before firing, it’s sort of a different shade of drab. It’s not until the firing is complete that its shine and color come through.

New Potato and Green Bean Salad

I didn’t notice until just now that this is a second DiDi H. recipe in one week. How great is that?

In this recipe, DiDi calls for small red-skinned new potatoes. I saw some colored fingerling potatoes at the store, so I grabbed a bag of those instead of using red potatoes. Hopefully they’ll work out about the same.

If you like mustard, you’ll love this sweet-tangy dressing. What a delightful and interesting change from the average pasta salad dressing. (DiDi indicates in the recipe that it could also be used as a pasta salad dressing.) I chose to cut down the amount of olive oil by half, for a total of 1/4 c.

And I love this combination of potatoes and green beans. The fingerlings add some nice color as well.

Thank you, DiDi for another great entry.


Vegetable – Roasted Potatoes and Onions

Today is Epiphany, Jan. 6, the first day of a new church season after the 12 days of Christmas. On Epiphany, the church celebrates the coming of the Magi to give the Christ child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The themes of Epiphany are Christ as the Light of the world and light and the opening up of the gospel message to everyone, not only the Jewish people. The main reading for Epiphany Day is from Matthew 2.

In our home, what we’ve done for as long as I can remember is put the creche up in the dining room, on the hutch I inherited from my Gamma. In the beginning of Advent, we put the stable and animals out. Mary and Joseph then trek around the living room until they make their way to the stable on Christmas Eve during the day, and Baby Jesus appears after late service that night. I remember Jacob being very excited about getting Jesus out of the drawer after that late service when he was young.

Then it’s time for the three wise men to make their way around the living room to the creche for the twelve days of Christmas. They stop on the coffee table, the side table, the dining room table, and then finally on Jan. 6 end up at the stable. It’s just a small reminder of the church year in our family celebration. I’m partial to the Fontanini¬†nativity set. For several years, I was adding a piece each Christmas, but sadly, I’ve let that tradition slide. Must revive it next year.¬†For more information on the church year, go¬†here, and for the lectionary (the Bible readings for each Sunday of the church year), go¬†here.

Sadly, due to the severe cold in our area, our church had to cancel the Epiphany service scheduled for this evening. Last year we had a lively and festive Epiphany. It fell on Sunday, and on that day we welcomed several new families to our church. We toasted the Epiphany with champagne and a king’s cake. It was a joyous occasion.

Anyway, now to the potato dish. Along with the Russian Chicken, I decided to make these roasted potatoes (p. 25) to accompany the chicken instead of adding the suggested bed of rice. The theme of the day was onion soup mix!¬†I added the soup mix to the Russian chicken as well as to this delicious potato dish. I didn’t have a larger roasting pan, so I used my 9 x 13. The potatoes didn’t come out as crispy as if the pan had been larger, but they were still very tasty!