Food for the Soul ~ Colossians 2:6-7

Happy Sunday to you! We just got back from picking up my son at my parents' house after a week of time with his Grands. We had a blast hanging out with them for a day and a half, eating good food, doing a little shopping and having lots of laughs. I hope your weekend has been wonderful so far. May you be filled with joy, strengthened in the faith and overflowing with thankfulness today and always!
Blessings to you and yours!

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocados and eggs? Sounded like a strange combination to me too. Let me tell you something, these two ingredients together make the creamiest Egg Salad you can imagine, and you're getting some great nutritional benefits too.
Avocado-Egg-Salad-by-Posed-Perfection
Egg salad brings back so many memories of childhood. I loved watching my parents whip up this delicacy for us. It started with the same base as my mom's potato salad...lots of mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, salt and pepper. Then they would serve it up on two slices of soft white bread. Mmmm-mmm. Delicious? Yes. Healthy...not so much.  I've been challenging myself for the last month and a half to eat better and make healthier choices.  This salad accomplishes both.
Here's what you need: hard-boiled eggs, 1/2 avocado, mustard, finely chopped onion or green onions, garlic salt and pepper (not shown).
Start by chopping the hard-boiled eggs and set aside.
Then, mash the avocado.
Add in the mustard and onions.
Stir in the chopped eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of greens in the avocado shell or on some nice whole grain bread. The mild flavors will pair well with whatever you put with it. I ended up using a homemade vinaigrette and eating it as a salad.
Avocado Egg Salad (serves 3-4)

5 eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 avocado
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion or green onion
salt and pepper to taste

Chop the hard-boiled eggs and set aside. In a bowl, mash the avocado. Add in the onions and mustard. Stir in the chopped eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of greens as a salad or with whole grain bread for a delicious sandwich.
The first day I had this, I prepared it and ate it with the greens and vinaigrette. The next morning, I spread some of this creamy salad on my toast and enjoyed a high protein, nutrient dense breakfast. Absolutely delicious and so easy to modify with spices if you'd like it to be more flavorful.
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Patriotic Shim Sign

Well, I'm at it again...crafting with my hand-me-down shims. Wanting to add a little red to my Summertime Blues Mantel, I came up with this Patriotic Shim Sign. The DIY Cherry Blossom Branches remind me of fireworks in this setting too.
Here's what I used: shims painted white and red, cut out images from a printable, ModPodge, red/white twine, and a glue gun

This printable that I had displayed last year had seen better days, so I cut out the words and the pennant banner of "America" to be adhered to the shims.
I used five shims for the "flag" and another glued diagonally on the back to hold them all together. (I forgot to take a picture of this step.) Using ModPodge, I glued the words to the shims and went over all the shims to give a little sheen to the project.
Finally, I stuck the banner onto some red/white twine using the hot glue and then attached it on the backside of the sign, draping it in the gap of the words.
There you have it! Another "upcycled" project using items from the crafting stash! If I had one of those awesome machines that cuts vinyl, I would have done that for the lettering. Since I don't,  I was happy to use what I already had. Oh, it's nothing fancy, but it does convey a beautiful message..."God Bless America". Now my mantel can be festive for the 4th of July (and maybe the rest of the month too)! For all my USA readers, do you do much decorating for Independence Day?
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Pantry Power Granola Bars

Hi Friends! I missed you last week! I had a fabulously rewarding and exhausting week with the Kid's Kampers at church and didn't have an ounce of creative energy left to put any time into posts. I did manage to spend a little bit of time in the kitchen this weekend to make these Pantry Power Granola Bars. Yay! Another treat that doesn't require using the oven!
Pantry Power Granola Bars by Posed Perfection
I have been looking for more ways to get some healthy ingredients into our snacks. While we love the No-Bake Granola Bites I make from time to time, I also like using up some other items in the pantry. So, after working with several recipes and combining and tweaking, I've come up with these Pantry Power Granola Bars.
The ingredients can be customized according to your pantry ;-) I had some Apricots and Butterscotch Chips I wanted to use up, so that's the flavor combination in these. Here's what you need: rolled oats, chopped nuts or seeds, crisp rice cereal, sunflower seed butter, honey, dried apricots, butterscotch chips and flaxseed (ground is probably better).
Start by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Microwave the sunflower seed butter and honey for 30-60 seconds and stir until smooth. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients...
...and stir until completely combined.
Pour mixture into a greased 8x8 inch pan.
Using a piece of waxed paper, pat the dough down evenly in the pan.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set up. Cut into 12 bars and do your best not to eat all of them by yourself...in one sitting. While they do have healthy ingredients, they also have plenty of calories. Moderation is the key.
Pantry Power Granola Bars
(can be changed up according to what is in your pantry)

1 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (Apricots)
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4/ cup chopped nuts (almonds)
2 Tbsp. flaxseed (ground is best)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup nut butter (sunflower seed butter)

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Microwave the honey and nut butter for 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into greased 8x8 inch pan and pat to uniform thickness with waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces. Store in air-tight container in refrigerator for best results.
This was a surprisingly delicious combination. The sweetness of the butterscotch went perfectly with the delicate tartness of the dried apricots. My daughter was even willing to eat the dried apricots this way. I'm not sure how my son will receive these, as he is off visiting Nana and Papa this week. I may need to make up another batch with some chocolate chips in it to satisfy his pickier palate. I still have plenty of items in the pantry. There's no telling what the next combination might be. What ingredients would you include?
 I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Food for the Soul ~ Psalm 27:14

Waiting...it's not easy to do, is it? It seems like so much of our lives are spent in these holding patterns of waiting. We wait in line at the supermarket and we wait in traffic. We wait to get the results of the tests that were done and we wait to get that phone call about the new job. For those brave enough to go to Disneyworld, you wait in long lines for hours for a ride that is 29 seconds of terrifying bliss (unless you pay for the speed passes). Sometimes it is excruciating to wait, especially when you are anxious about the outcome of the anticipated answer.

God's Word tells us that waiting shouldn't be a passive thing. When I am waiting for something to happen, I tend to just sit back and "worry" or fret over the outcome, becoming almost paralyzed by the uncertainty. The Bible reminds me that I am to wait by being strong and taking heart. How are we the strongest in stressful situations? Is it not when we know that God has overcome all things and is in perfect control of all our situations? Is it not when we humbly acknowledge that we are weak and it is only God's supernatural strength that pulls us through?

During these times of waiting...these trials, our faith is being tested. I love what James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  Our waiting has a purpose. It is to draw us closer to the One who created us and to make us more like Jesus.

I believe that all the waiting we do each and every day is a new opportunity to actively pursue the God who loves us so much and draw on His power and strength. It may not move us through the lines any quicker, but we can be an example of the joy that comes from a heart filled with the love of God.

Friend, whatever you are going through right now... whatever answers you are waiting for...I encourage you to wait with courage and take heart. Use the time while you are waiting to get to know this God who loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. He longs to be your Strong Tower and Refuge.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Happy Monday morning to you! I hope you had a great weekend. Ours was spent going to baseball practice, indoor soccer games and church. Hubby had to work on Father's Day, but I made sure I had a special treat for him when he got home... Chocolate Angel Food Cake.
Ever since his mother passed away 6 years ago, he has casually mentioned several times that he loved his mom's Chocolate Angel Food with Chocolate Frosting. I have never tried to make it before because I didn't have an Angel Food Cake pan, and I didn't have the recipe.
So, for Father's Day, I wanted to surprise him with this special cake. The one he remembered so fondly. Not having his mom's recipe, I texted my sis-in-law, Donna to see if she had it. Here was the conversation:
What?!?! She used a mix?!?!? How hard could it be?
I went on the hunt for a cheap Angel Food pan and even asked my mom, the estate-sale-queen, to see if she could find one. I ended up scoring one at Goodwill for a couple of dollars...not too bad...I saw the same one on Ebay for $34.99!
Anyway, I followed the directions on the box, except I added the 3 tablespoons of cocoa to the mix before baking.
I let it cool, just like the box said...upside down on a bottle. This was a bit foreign to me, as I've never made an Angel Food Cake before. An old friend on Instagram assured me that I was doing it correctly.
I was so excited it turned out. Then, I whipped up a batch of Hershey's Chocolate Frosting and spread the yumminess all over the cake.
Chocolate Angel Food Cake

1 Box Angel Food Cake mix and water
3 Tbsp. cocoa

Follow directions on box.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk. Finally, stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups of frosting.
So, the Chocolate Angel Food Cake turned out as well as I could have expected. It got the thumbs up from all the family members, especially the one I set out to impress. While it wasn't exactly like his mom's, it was pretty darn close and he liked it. I'll take that for a first try. ;-) Now that I have the pan, I may try making it from scratch one of these days. Have you ever made an Angel Food Cake from scratch? Should I just stick to the box?
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What Makes a Dad?

I saw this poem recently and thought it captured what qualities make up dads beautifully. It's neat how I can see these traits rolled up into the men in my life. And I see many qualities to build into my son for the day he becomes a father. 

What Makes a Dad?

God took the strength of a mountain, 
The majesty of a tree, 
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it...Dad.
-Author Unknown-

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! We love you and cherish you more than you will ever know! I want to wish my Dad, my hubby and my father-in-law all the best today!  Your position in our family is of infinite worth and we are so grateful for your presence in our lives. Thank you for all the times you've believed in us, you've been there for us, and all the times you've prayed for us and showed us a bit of the Heavenly Father's love.
Happy Father's Day!



Peanut Butter Banana Fudge Pop

Summer is in full swing here in the South. Our dashboard in the car said it was 101 degrees today. Yikes! Time to get the freezer stocked with cool treats. I was wanting something like a fudgesicle a couple of days ago and came up with this Peanut Butter Banana Fudge Pop to satisfy my craving.
Because I hate turning on the oven and heating up my house any more than I have to during the summer, I can see a lot of popsicles in our future. I saw these on Pinterest recently and knew I needed to try them. I had to make some substitutions, but ended up with these delicious fudge pops that are only 66 calories each. (according to My Fitness Pal)

Peanut Butter Banana Fudge Pops (makes 5-6 popsicles)
(adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe)

2 small bananas
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 cup half and half
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 packet or more of Stevia sweetener
dash of salt

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popscicle molds. Allow to freeze completely.

These pops are kid-approved and  totally satisfy any sweet craving I might have in the afternoon too. They won't set me back too many calories either. I love that in a snack! What's your favorite popsicle flavor? Are you a fudgesicle person or do your like the fruity popsicles?
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Shim-tastic Box

Sometime last year, we were visiting my parents in Lubbock when my mom, Moni, decided she was not going to use this pile of shims she had painted for a project. Never one to turn down a freebie, I gladly took the painted shims off her hands. They have been sitting in a box since then waiting for inspiration to strike. (Sometimes it takes awhile.) I had an empty box of trash bags recently and a lightbulb went on. Why not make a Shim-tastic Box to add a little color in my breakfast area?

Here's what you need: sturdy box, spray paint, shims (painted with acrylic paints), and a glue gun.
Start by trimming off the flaps on top of the box and spray paint it white (in case there are any gaps when adhering the shims to the box).
Paint your shims the desired colors and allow to dry. Using the glue gun, adhere the shims to the box alternating thick and thin ends of the shims.
This is a great craft to get the kiddos involved in, by the way.
When it's finished, you can use it as a planter box or whatever your imagination dreams up. I put a plant in mine. I also put a saucer underneath the plant to keep the inside of the box dry. I love the little pop of summer colors here on the window seats in the kitchen{which look like they are in need of a new coat of paint ;-)}.
I still have some shims left over...what should I do with them? Maybe make another box planter? Have you done any fun crafting with shims?
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Luscious Lemon Cookie Bars

After a grueling week of my son's baseball games and other family activities, I finally got to spend some time in the kitchen this weekend. I had some lemons that needed to be used, so I settled on making these Luscious Lemon Cookie Bars. In this house, if it's not chocolate, it's not considered dessert. I had my work cut out for me in making these tempting enough for my family to eat them.
 Here's what you need to make these Luscious Lemon Cookie Bars: flour, sugar, lemon zest, ground almonds, softened butter, brown sugar, baking powder, eggs, toasted coconut (optional), lemon juice and powdered sugar (not pictured).
Start by mixing up the cookie crust ingredients: 1 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and ground almonds.

Add in the softened butter and mix until crumbly. Press into a 9x9-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-24 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, begin stirring together the brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, baking powder and flour. Add in the eggs, 2 Tbsp. lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir in toasted coconut, if desired. Whisk the ingredients until all the sugar is dissolved.

Pour over the crust. Return to oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Remove from oven to cool.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and allow to cool completely in pan.

I made a mark so I would know which side I sprinkled the toasted coconut on. Certain members of my family will not touch coconut with a 10 foot pole.

Luscious Lemon Cookie Bars
(adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Crust
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup softened butter

Filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients for the crust, then add in lemon zest and softened butter. Mix until crumbly. Pat into a 9x9 inch baking pan. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown. While cookie crust is baking, stir together brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and baking powder. Whisk in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and coconut, stirring until sugars are dissolved. Pour over crust and return to oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and allow to cool completely in pan before serving.
These Luscious Lemon Cookie Bars were the perfect ratio of cookie to filling (more cookie than filling). I don't like for my lemon bars to have soggy bottoms. ;-) With the fresh lemon juice, they were not too tart either. Just right! There's no guarantee that my family will eat these up like they do chocolate chip cookies, but I was happy to introduce them to a summertime favorite of mine. Besides ice cream, do you have a favorite summer treat that your family loves?

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