Friday, October 11, 2013

Excited Newbie

This will be the first time I have done an online Bible Study. I have taken courses online before and really got a lot out of them, both in college, and recently for Lay Speaker classes (United Methodist Church). I look forward to this study based on A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises by Renee Swope.

The study is provided by Proverbs 31 Ministries. I first became aware of this ministry after purchasing Made To Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst. This book really spoke to me so I checked out the website, which also speaks to me.

Even though I will be traveling during part of this study, I still intend to be fully involved in it, and am looking forward to interacting with many different women from all parts of the country. I know that I greatly enjoy my weekly Bible Study through First Place 4 Health (for more information, go to  and all the support I get from my fellow attendees. I hope to find the same kind of fellowship and support through this study.

Thanks for making this available!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Auctions and BBQ Judging

          I really enjoy auctions. The thrill of trying to outbid someone for something you really want, but not going overboard is just fun for me. I go to Hesse's Thursday night auctions as often as I can. We have only been once this year so far --last Thursday. I didn't get some of the things I wanted -- cut glass bowls, display unit, or jewelry, but I did manage to get a roll top desk.
          I wanted to replace the big desk in my office/craft room because it took up so much room. The roll top desk is a bit taller, but is definitely not as wide or as deep as the old desk. Makes me happy. We just moved it in today. Lynn did all the heavy lifting while I helped as much as I could. I can't seem to lift things like I used to. Must be the carpal tunnel loss of strength in my hands. Can't be the getting older thing.
          Anyway, the desk is in now and all I have to finish doing is putting away all the stuff that was in and on the old desk. Nothing to it, right? And then, of course, trying to remember where everything is after it's in a new place.
          We have been having so much fun doing our new hobby of BBQ judging. We are CBJs (Certified BBQ Judge)s through KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) We took our judging class last July and have judged 14 contests since October 2012. We are aiming to become Master Judges which entails judging 30 contests and cooking with a BBQ Competition team. Luckily, Lynn's son, Mike, has a team and we look forward to cooking with him sometime soon.
          So, just what is it that we do when judging? First we go to the KCBS website and find contests listed under "Events" and decide which ones we would like to do. We then submit a judging application. Some events have online applications, others you need to snail mail. Then you wait to hear if you are accepted as a judge. I have found it very effective to follow up with an email. As it closer to the event and we have not heard back, I send an email to the organizer asking for an update. We have gotten in three or four contests that way when other judges that had been accepted had to cancel for some reason.
         Once we are accepted, then Lynn does some research (he's very good at that -- I don't have the patience, surprise, surprise!) and finds us lodging in the area. Then we pack our bags and go. And, no, we do not get paid to do this; just like people who golf don't get paid to do that (unless they are pros, of course).
         The KCBS competitions are always for the same four categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket. They try to make sure there are as many judges as there are competition teams. Each table consists of six judges and a table captain, and each table is assigned a number. There is always a judges meeting where the KCBS judging rules are reviewed.
          The turn ins from the cooking teams (who also have a meeting to review the KCBS rules for cooking) begin usually at noon. Each cooking team has been given a numbered take-out container box for each category. When they turn those boxes in, the number is changed, so there is no possibility of any of the judges knowing which team's box they are judging. So chicken is turned in at noon, ribs at 12:30, pork at 1, and brisket at 1:30.
          Each table generally gets six boxes to judge in each category. Each judge has a "plate" in front of them which is actually a thick paper placemat type of thing, with 6 large boxes where you place each sample. Each large box has a smaller box in the upper right hand corner to write the box number in for each sample. Each judge also has a score card where they record the category, the table number, CBJ number, and name. There are small boxes down the left hand side of the card where the entry box numbers are written down. Each box is followed by three columns: appearance, taste, tenderness, which are the three criteria we are judging each sample for.
          When the six boxes are brought to the judging table, the table captain reads off the box numbers which each judge records on their score cards and plates. Then the table captain opens the first box and shows the entry to each judge who then writes down their score for appearance. Each subsequent box is then shown to each judge and they score each one for appearance. The judges are not allowed to touch the box or the entry in any way when judging for appearance. The scoring system is 9 - excellent; 8 - very good; 7 - above average; 6 - average; 5 - below average; 4 - poor; 3 - bad; 2 - inedible. There is also 1 which is a disqualification, but that can only be used under the direction of the Contest Reps who are the ones who oversee the contests for KCBS (they don't organize the contests, but they organize the judging aspects of the contests). A disqualification can be given for things like illegal garnish, or not enough samples for each judge.
          Once each box has been scored for appearance, the table captain then opens the first box and passes it to the first judge who takes a sample and puts it on the appropriate square on their plate. They then pass it to the next judge, and so on until every judge at the table has a sample. Every box is done the same way. Once all the samples are on their plate, the judge can then taste each sample and score it for taste and tenderness. Between each sample they cleanse their palates by eating saltines and drinking water.
           When the judge is done with their scoring they pass their score card to the table captain who verifies that everything is filled out properly. Once all the score cards are in, the table captain brings them to the Contest Reps who enter the scores into the computer where all the scores are tabulated. And the judges are then free to discuss among themselves what they thought of the entries. They are not allowed to talk while doing the judging, nor are they allowed to make faces indicating how they feel about any particular sample, so as not to influence any other judges' scores.
          Comment cards are available for judges to complete if they scored any of the samples low for any reason. The purpose is to give constructive feedback to the cook teams as to why you scored them low. This helps them to improve their product in the future, if they so choose to take the comments to heart.
           The process repeats for each category. Once all the categories are finished and all the scoring is tabulated, that's when the cook teams find out who won in each category and who came out as the top two: Grand Champion (GC) -and Reserve Grand Champion (RGC).
           People often ask us if the ones we liked win, but we have no way of knowing because of the blind judging. Even if a team told us what their box number was to begin with (which would not happen because you are not allowed to fraternize with the teams before turn ins), that number gets changed once they turn in their boxes. And if a team "marked" a container to be identifiable, that entry would get disqualified.
          It really is a lot of fun to do for several reasons: you get to taste fantastic BBQ, you get to meet a lot of other people who are interested in BBQ and judging, and you get to meet some great people on the cook teams. And it's something that Lynn and I can do feels like little mini-vacations all year long.
          I know some of our friends may get a little upset that they don't see us as often, since we have been gone most weekend since we got back home, but I just say "we don't travel any more in the winter, so now we travel in the summer!" But, honestly, life is too short not to enjoy doing something you love to do. And if anyone misses us too much, they can take the CBJ class and come judge, too!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lorrie's Original Recipes - Appetizers

I thought I would start sharing my original recipes if anyone is interested in trying them. My first installment is APPETIZERS:

Dill Garlic Dip *

½ cup fat-free sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons chopped chives

Mix all together; refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.

* As a seafood mix (for lobster or crab rolls) add 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning to the above and mix with seafood to taste.

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Lorrie’s Mustardy Dip 

1 cup fat-free sour cream 
1 cup mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon creole or other hot mustard 
1 tablespoon yellow mustard 
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
½ teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon dill weed 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce 

Mix all thoroughly and refrigerate for at least one hour for flavors to blend. 
Good with pretzels, celery stalks and carrots, or with crackers. 

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Lorrie’s Shrimp & Cheese Roll-Ups 

Makes 8 appetizers 

8 slices turkey bacon 
8 steamed, deveined, peeled shrimp 
8 ½" cubes horseradish cheese 
barbecue sauce 

Place paper towel on paper plate, lay 4 slices turkey bacon on paper towel. Place another paper towel on top, place 4 more slices turkey bacon on top. Microwave on high (1300 watt microwave) for 2 minutes or until bacon is cooked, but still pliable. Set aside to cool. 

Once cool to touch, roll up one cube of horseradish cheese and one shrimp in each bacon strip. Secure with toothpicks. Place on glass serving dish and drizzle barbecue sauce lightly over all appetizers. Microwave on high for one minute or until cheese just starts to melt.

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Pink Banana

Mix in blender:

2 cups milk
3 bananas, broken up
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint cherry or strawberry ice cream
3 shots Puerto Rico white rum
2 shots Grenadine
ice cubes

Blend thoroughly. Pour into chilled glasses to serve.

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Seasoned Oyster Crackers

1 ½ pounds oyster crackers
3 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Preheat oven to 250o.

Place the crackers in a large bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients; drizzle over crackers and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

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Ranch Bacon Horseradish Dip

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Ranch dry mix
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons bacon bits

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and let sit for at least 4 hours for flavors to blend and bacon bits to plump up.

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Lorrie’s Taco Dip

Makes: 1 large appetizer

1 - 16 ounce can low-fat refried beans
1 - 8 ounce package low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 package taco seasoning
1 ½ cups salsa, any flavor
shredded cheese, any flavor
1 - 2.8 ounce can sliced black olives

Spread refried beans in bottom of pie pan or deep dish. In mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning until smooth. Spread this mixture over the refried beans. Add a layer of salsa. Sprinkle shredded cheese to cover salsa. Spread black olives evenly over all.

Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, or crackers.

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Lorrie’s Garlic Dill Dip II

Makes about 1 ½ cups

1 package (8 ounce) low-fat cream cheese
1 carton (16 ounce) low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons dill weed
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients on high speed until creamy. 

Great spread on crackers or as a dip for vegetables.

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Lorrie’s Baked Cherry Pepper Poppers

Makes 1 dozen

12 medium to large cherry peppers, (fresh, not pickled)
1 package (8 ounce) low-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon dill weed
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
oil spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Cut tops from cherry peppers and remove the insides, seeds and membranes. Discard tops.

Mix cream cheese, dill weed, and granulated garlic until smooth. Stuff each pepper with cream cheese mixture.

Spray muffin pan with oil spray. Place one pepper in each muffin cup. You can trim the bottoms of those that won’t stand flat.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown on top and peppers are tender. Serve warm.

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Garlic-Dill Stuffed Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Preparation time: 10 mins. 
Yield: varies 

1-8 ounce pkg. Nuefechatel cheese (or low fat cream cheese) 
1/2 cup low fat sour cream 
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic 
1 tablespoon dried dill weed 
1 large pickling cucumber 
8 small roma-type tomatoes 

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients until very smooth. Put the mixture into a ziploc sandwich bag and cut one corner off so you can use it like a pastry bag. Cut the cucumber crosswise into 8 thick slices. Using a small melon baller, remove the seeds from each slice being sure to leave some on the bottom. (The cucumber slices should look like little salt cellars). Pipe some of the cream cheese mixture into each slice. For tomatoes: slice a small piece off the bottom of each tomato so they will stand upright. Slice the top of each tomato off and using the melon baller, remove all the seeds, leaving a bottom so they can stand. Pipe cream cheese mixture into each tomato. Top both cucumbers and tomatoes with freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. There will be some leftover cream cheese mixture. Either make more cucumbers and tomatoes, or use it as a spread on your favorite crackers, it’s yummy that way too!

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Lorrie's Little Pizzas

Preparation time: 20 mins. 
Baking time: 20 mins. 
Yield: 2-4 servings 

4 English muffins 
Olive oil 
8 tsp. minced garlic (jarred), divided 
Shredded Mexican cheese mix 
6-8 small roma-type tomatoes 
1 small red onion 
Feta cheese 
Seasoned salt 

Split the English muffins and place on a baking stone (will make 8 mini pizzas). Drizzle olive oil over each muffin half. Spread 1 tsp. minced garlic on each muffin half. Place a pinch of the shredded cheese on each muffin half. Slice the tomatoes crosswise and place slices on each muffin half to cover. Sprinkle with seasoned salt (or any herb mixture you prefer). Slice the red onion thinly and place one slice on each muffin half. Top with crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle olive oil over top of all. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until onion is softened and feta begins to brown. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's been a while

Sure has been a while since I posted here. Mostly because I have kept in touch through facebook and emails.

We are having a fantastic winter in Gulf Shores, AL. Lynn has done lots of fishing. I kept busy with the chorus in the RV park and the choir at church. We switched from going to Bon Secour Morgan's Chapel to attending the church at the RV resort. It's definitely closer, and we are all snow birds here so we don't feel as though we are encroaching on anyone's territory. Plus we get to sit together for the service, and only get up to sing in the choir, whereas at Morgan's Chapel, I was seated up front all the time in the choir and Lynn had to fend for himself in the congregation.

I joined the music committee for the chorus at our RV resort, so have been able to have some input into the songs we will be singing. We just got through planning our January 2014 program of Country/Gospel/Bluegrass music. I won't say what we chose because it is all subject to change before then...

I also started attending the Ladies' Social Hour every Tuesday morning and have met a lot of nice women there. We all bring whatever craft project we are working on and just visit. It's been full of laughter, that's for sure.

The Women's Bible Study just recently ended. We studied the book of Revelation under the direction of Suzanne McGill, the pastor's wife. She did an excellent job on a very tough book of the Bible.

We lost a dear friend, Bonnie Anderson, while down here to cancer. Very sad. But she and her family's faith was amazing to witness. An incredible family. She will be sorely missed by a lot of people here as well as back home in TN.

I can't believe we only have about a month and a half before the winter is over and we are back home. I have mixed feelings about that. While I really miss friends and family back home, I definitely get used to the laid-back life down here in the sunny south. We have the best of both worlds by splitting our year up like we do. We are truly blessed to be able to do it.

We have both been really enjoying our new hobby of being KCBS Certified BBQ Judges. We did one two weekends ago in Mobile AL, one this past weekend in Tupelo, MS, and are doing one this weekend in Hammond LA. We have met so many nice people and eaten lots of great BBQ. And we are already booked up for two weekends in May when we get back home, and are on the wait list for one more. Luckily, the contests are on Saturdays, so I will still be available to preach in our church on Sundays when I am needed. (Our pastor, Norm Tiffany, is in Bassett with various health issues, awaiting surgery.)

Guess that's all for now. I will try to do a better job of writing here more often.