Feta Pull Apart Bread

Feta Pull Apart Bread

A few years ago, when we were visiting my parents in Orange Beach, my mom tried out a new recipe on us that she knew we’d love. She was right! She picked up a recipe for Feta Pull Apart Bread from a friend who had served it at a Sunday school party, and she knew it would be right up our alley. Feta Pull Apart Bread is so simple, but it is one of those dishes that taste like you spent hours on it. And it only requires a few ingredients, all of which are easily found in your local grocery store. We happen to like it with feta, but we also love to make it with bleu cheese – any type of crumbly cheese with a strong flavor will do.

Feta Pull Apart Bread

Start with a can of refrigerated biscuits. I use Grands jumbo biscuits, which come with 10 biscuits in the can. Cut each biscuit into quarters.

Feta Pull Apart Bread

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Put a stick of butter in the dish and put in the microwave long enough to meet the butter – mine takes around one minute. When butter is melted, toss biscuit quarters in butter to coat.

Feta Pull Apart Bread

Sprinkle about a teaspoon of Greek seasoning over the buttered biscuits. Top with a 4 oz container of feta cheese.

Feta Pull Apart Bread

Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bread in center of dish is baked.

Feta Pull Apart Bread

Pull apart and enjoy! We love Feta Pull Apart Bread with just about everything, but it is especially delicious with a good soup like my Spicy Tomato Soup or Lasagna Soup.

Feta Pull Apart Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can Grands refrigerated biscuits, 10 count
  2. 1 stick butter
  3. 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  4. 4 oz container of Feta Cheese
Instructions
  1. Start with a can of refrigerated biscuits. I use Grands jumbo biscuits, which come with 10 biscuits in the can. Cut each biscuit into quarters.
  2. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Put a stick of butter in the dish and put in the microwave long enough to meet the butter - mine takes around one minute. When butter is melted, toss biscuit quarters in butter to coat.
  3. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of Greek seasoning over the buttered biscuits. Top with a 4oz container of feta cheese.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bread in center of dish is baked.
  5. Pull apart and enjoy!
The Hill Hangout http://www.thehillhangout.com/

Spicy Tomato Soup

Spicy Tomato Soup

One of the best things about cold weather is that there are so many occasions to eat soup. I love soup of almost any variety, but I’m pretty partial to a good bowl of Spicy Tomato Soup. I first tried my hand at Spicy Tomato Soup when I came across Edie’s recipe at LifeInGrace. Edie is one of those people you wish lived next door to you because you’d really like the chance to discuss with her the important things of life like homeschooling, liturgy, the perfect recipe for pizza dough, and Loretta Lynn songs. And she makes a mean pot of soup.

While Edie’s was the first spicy tomato soup recipe I made from scratch, I have honed it over the years to the degree that it has become my own. Isn’t that the hallmark of any good recipe? I make this recipe for my gang at least once a month, and I always make extra so that I can have a couple of bags in the freezer. It is delightful with a grilled cheese sandwich, a pan of Homemade Loaded Cornbread, or as pictured with my Feta Pull Apart Bread. If you aren’t as keen on spiciness as we are, feel free to adjust the level of sriracha or leave it out entirely. But since I almost always have a hankering for sriracha in all its glory, I add in a couple of extra squirts.

*Note: For this recipe, you’ll need a submersion blender. If you don’t have a submersion blender, you can blend it in a regular blender, but DO NOT fill the blender more than half full. Don’t ask. Just trust me on this.

To make a big pot of Spicy Tomato Soup, here’s what you’ll need:

3 14-0z cans of diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
A 6-oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon leftover coffee
1 tablespoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion until soft.

Add the canned tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, coffee, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add in the can of tomato paste and stir until blended. Heat for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.

Blend with submersion blender until smooth.

Spicy Tomato Soup can be served immediately, but it is also good after being refrigerated. It freezes beautifully.

Spicy Tomato Soup
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 14-0z cans of diced tomatoes
  2. 1 can chicken broth
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  5. A 6-oz can of tomato paste
  6. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  7. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. 1 tablespoon leftover coffee
  9. 1 tablespoon dried basil
  10. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion until soft.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, coffee, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Add in the can of tomato paste and stir until blended. Heat for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.
  5. Blend with submersion blender until smooth.
  6. Spicy Tomato Soup can be served immediately, but it is also good after being refrigerated. It freezes beautifully.
The Hill Hangout http://www.thehillhangout.com/

100 Best Gifts for Homeschooling Families

Christmas Gifts for Homeschooling Families

Do you have a homeschooling family on your Christmas shopping list? While most homeschooling families enjoy the same things most other families enjoy, there are a few gifts ideas that would be especially thoughtful to provide for the homeschoolers you love. Here are a few ideas:

For the Whole Family:

Membership to the local zoo
Kindle Fire or other reader
Subscription to Netflix
Subscription to Amazon Prime
Target Gift Cards
Season passes to children’s theater
Season passes to the symphony
Movie tickets
Globe
Wall Map
A Subscription to Discovery Ed
A Membership to BrainPOP
Chess Set
Professor Noggin’s Trivia Games
Binoculars
Logic games like Qwirkle or Blokus
Carcassonne Basic Game
Any game by SET Enterprises
Classic, hardback children’s storybooks
Blink Card Game
Dominoes
Badminton Set
Ukulele Starter Set
Home Karaoke System
Sled
Tickets to a sporting event
Disc Swing
Brain Quest cards
Scripture CDs and Patriotic Songs CDs
Slackline Set
Fort Building Kit
Perplexus Puzzle
Katamino Game
IMAX Movie Tickets
Jim Weiss Recordings
A Subscription to Boomerang
Theme Park Tickets

For the Kids:

Minecraft – Xbox 360
Legos
Snap Circuits
Subscription to National Geographic Kids
Trampoline
Swing Set
Wooden Blocks Set
Hula Hoop
Jump rope
Board games
Floor Puzzle
Good Art Set
Dress-Up Outfits
Microscope
Telescope
Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden
Chemistry Set
Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit
Make Your Own Chocolate Kit
Mr. Root Beer Home Brewing Root Beer Kit
Create Your Own Pop-Up Books Kit
Klutz Craft Kits
Classes at a local museum
Art lessons
Mondo Bloxx Set
Schleich Animals
Groovy Lab in a Box
Art Easel
Plastic Pattern Blocks
Play-Doh
Punch Balloons
GeoTrax Railway
Hop Ball
Juggling Balls
PlasmaCar
Headphones
Rory’s Story Cubes
Spiral Art Book
Curious Chef Foundation Set
Lacing Cards
Wooden Food Sets
Magic Set
Skateboards or Roller Blades
Tetherball

For the Parents:

Gift cards to Starbucks
Gift certificate to local Parent/Teacher store
Gift cards to grocery store
Gift certificate for mani/pedi or spa visit
Offer to babysit for date night
Offer to be the maid for a day or send a maid service
Magazine subscriptions
Frozen homemade dinners to fill the freezer
Pretty Tote Bags for Mom
Cute Storage Boxes
Gift cards to book stores
Laminator
Dry Erase Board
Calendar and Weather Pocket Chart

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Yellowhammer Multimedia CEO Cliff Sims announced on Monday that the company is launching a branded product and clothing line called Yellowhammer Supply Co. I checked it out, and they have some fabulous gifts for the MEN in your lives – just in time for Christmas!

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Sims says, “Yellowhammer is about all things Alabama… We believe that (our) relationship (with readers of Yellowhammer News) will translate into a lot of excitement about Yellowhammer branded products, which we’re pleased to offer in time for the Christmas season. This is an authentic Alabama brand that represents the pride Alabamians have in our state and the way we present ourselves.”

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Yellowhammer Supply Co. officially launched on Monday with an initial product line that includes a variety of high-end polos, soft-shell vests, t-shirts, hats and iPhone cases.

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Yellowhammer Supply Co. products are currently available on YellowhammerSupply.com and are guaranteed to ship and arrive ahead of Christmas.

You can follow Yellowhammer Supply Company on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post for Yellowhammer Supply Company. All opinions are my own.

A Prayer for Advent

Today is the first Sunday in Advent, the season of preparing our hearts for the coming of the Christ child. I love this prayer from the Lutheran Book of Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Son of the Living God and Son of David, come. Come now to Your Church that You have purchased with Your blood. Come with Your gracious presence, that we may rejoice in You. Come and rule over us, that we may serve and follow You. Come with Your love, humility, and perfect obedience, and let Your lowliness become our glory. Come in the midst of Your people and bless us, for we are Your heritage. Forgive us our sins, and do not angrily cast away Your servants, for You are meek and gracious. Clothe us with the garment of Your righteousness, for You are the only righteous one and our helper. Satisfy us with the abundance of Your mercy, for You did become poor for our sakes, that by Your poverty we might be made rich. Hear us, Lord Jesus, for the sake of Your holy name. Amen.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Small Town America

Whenever we travel, I always enjoy getting off the interstate and taking the highways. You can see so much of small town America on the back roads that you miss when you take the quick and easy routes. It’s usually worth the time and effort it takes to travel lesser known roads because you get to see and experience the culture and flavor of the regions that make up our great country. God has made each part of our country to have its own unique personality, and we see so much of Him when we take time to enjoy other cultures.

We came home from Orlando through south Georgia, and its was all back roads for us! Here are a few of the local sights we would have missed if we hadn’t ventured off:

Small Town America

Magnolia Plantation has everything you need to feel like you’ve been through south Georgia! They are known for Vidalia onions, so the pepper sauce is abundant.

Small Town America

I don’t know Pappy, but I bet he makes a good White Lightnin’ sauce!

Small Town America

And who doesn’t need a pair of hot oink baby Minnetonka moccasins!?! Aren’t these the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Too bad my girls are too big for these!

Small Town America

Whether you’re a fan of GooGoo Clusters, salt water taffy, peanut brittle, or divinity, you can find it in south Georgia!

Small Town America

Sure, there’s the obligatory kitch like flamingo oil paintings and I heart Georgia shot glasses…

Small Town America

And you haven’t lived until you’ve had a cold Coke from the little green bottle!

Small Town America

After a few minutes at Magnolia Plantation, we scurried up the road to Carroll’s Sausage and Meats.

Small Town America

Not only do they sell the best hand crafted rockers (which I’m regretting my decision to leave behind!)…

Small Town America

But the meat selection is our kind of deal. We left $49 poorer, but with next week’s breakfasts planned.

Small Town America

The Big Guy was in his element choosing our smoked sausage, jerky, and hot breakfast sausage.

And we would have missed a real spectacle with these cotton fields, bursting with white. I so wish I’d had a pair of clippers to stop and snip a few branches. Do you think the farmer would have minded?

Small Town America

I’ve never regretted taking the long way home. We have had the opportunity to see so much more of what makes life have texture and purpose by taking the road less traveled. And you can take that as literally or as figuratively as you’d like.

Cake Mix Cookies

Cake Mix Cookies

I love to have fresh-baked goods on hand, but with our crazy schedule, who has time to bake? I love it when I can find a quick, easy recipe that allows me to make delicious treats for my family, while keeping it simple for me. Cake Mix Cookies are just about the simplest cookie in my repertoire, but they are always a big hit. They are so delicious, in fact, that nobody would ever know they are made with only four ingredients (cake mix, butter, eggs, and extract). I call that a win/win.

Cake Mix Cookies

You can make Cake Mix Cookies with just about any flavor of cake mix you like. We were craving a lemony dessert, so we went with a lemon cake mix and a little lemon extract. A week or so ago, I received in the mail a shipment of the newly reformulated I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®. It is made from real, simple ingredients you can recognize like a delicious blend of plant-based oils, purified water and a pinch of salt. Since the packaging states, “The new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® offers a fresh butter taste to add flavor to any meal, and can be used for spreading, topping, sautéing, cooking or baking,” I used it in my Cake Mix Cookies in place of the butter. They turned out perfectly delicious! They were just the right amount of chewy and sweet. I was very pleased with the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, and I will definitely use it again.

Cake Mix Cookies

To make Cake Mix Cookies, you’ll need:

1 boxed cake mix (Whatever flavor you want. We used lemon.)
2 eggs
8 oz I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon extract (Whatever flavor goes with your cake mix. We used lemon. Vanilla and almond are also good choices.)

With a mixer or by hand, cream together the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® and the eggs. Add the extract. While mixing, slowly add the cake mix until it is well blended.

At this point, I stick mine back in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the batter firm up a little. You can skip this step, but yours will cook about a minute or so faster.

Cake Mix Cookies

Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. As all oven temperatures vary, keep an eye on them so that they don’t overcook.

Cake Mix Cookies

Remove to a cooling rack to cool.

Cake Mix Cookies

Cake Mix Cookies aren’t as sweet as say, a chocolate chip cookie or a snicker doodle. However, they are perfectly light and airy.

I encourage you guys to try the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and see how great it is for baking. If you love it much as I did, be sure to leave a product review here so that others can find out about it, too.

 

Cake Mix Cookies
Yields 18
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Ingredients
  1. 1 boxed cake mix (Whatever flavor you want. We used lemon.)
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 8 oz I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!®, softened to room temperature
  4. 1 teaspoon extract (Whatever flavor goes with your cake mix. We used lemon. Vanilla and almond are also good choices.)
Instructions
  1. With a mixer or by hand, cream together the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® and the eggs. Add the extract. While mixing, slowly add the cake mix until it is well blended.
  2. At this point, I stick mine back in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the batter firm up a little. You can skip this step, but yours will cook about a minute or so faster.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. As all oven temperatures vary, keep an eye on them so that they don't overcook.
  4. Remove to a cooling rack to cool.
The Hill Hangout http://www.thehillhangout.com/
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Camry Bold, Auburn Bold

Y’all know I’m a sucker for an old classic made new again! Given the choice, I’ll take a remade classic over a new design anyway. The other day, Camry came calling to ask if I’d participate in a campaign featuring their 2015 model, and since it was all about putting a bold, new twist on a classic, I was in like Flynn.

The idea of the campaign was to take an old tradition (like the #1 selling car in America – the Camry), and be bold about doing it a new way. Since the 2015 Camry has been totally redesigned (a bold move, for sure!), we were to totally redesign our tradition as well. There’s nothing more traditional in the south than SEC football, so we went BOLD with a weekend in Auburn.

Camry Bold

Let me back up a little. I am an Auburn graduate, but my husband went to Mississippi State. Through the years, we have had a fun rivalry between the two of us, and we have passed it on to our children. Although I look back on my time in Auburn as one of the best seasons of my life, our roots have been planted in Mississippi State since we married fifteen years ago. We take our girls there, attend ball games there, and it has been our “home team” for years. In fact, we have been to countless Mississippi State games over the years, but I have NEVER, not even once, taken my family to Auburn for a ballgame. This year I decided to get BOLD and do a weekend in Auburn RIGHT!

Camry Bold

Of course, we needed a Camry for the weekend and Toyota graciously supplied us with a 2015 model to drive. Now, you know I drive a big ‘ole SUV, so I wasn’t sure how we would make it for a whole weekend in a sedan. Well, let’s just say we gained a whole new perspective about how well our family of four fits into a car. We had PLENTY of room, and I really enjoyed zipping around town in the Camry.

When I was a student at Auburn and people came to visit, the best place to stay was in one of the local hotels. Auburn wasn’t really known for having the best lodging choices, but how things have changed. Lake Martin is about 30 minutes away from Auburn, and it has really developed with tons of cottages that you can rent for ballgame weekends. So in the spirit of making BOLD changes to the old classics, we stayed at a precious home on Lake Martin.

Camry Bold

And the food, oh the food! It was so, so fun to take my family back to one of my favorite hangouts, Cheeburger, Cheeseburger. The atmosphere was exactly the same, but the food was even better than I remembered. It was also a blast to take them to an old classic which was new to us, Kowliga on Lake Martin. The catfish poboys were to-die-for, and I could easily see us driving down for dinner one night soon. And you gotta love a place that brings out a six-pack of sauces…

Camry Bold

But we upped the ante this time with a meal at Acre. You guys. I had no idea this place existed until I saw an article in Garden & Gun or Southern Living. But one look at the online menu, and we made a beeline right for it.

Camry Bold

Chef David Bancroft has built his entire menu around putting a bold twist on southern classic dishes. And y’all, it just WORKS! Everything on the menu WORKS. I’ll write another post all about Acre, but I’ll leave you with the Sweet Potato Bread Pudding…

Camry Bold

But the real highlight of the weekend was taking my family back to my old stomping grounds. I showed them my old apartment, which was in surprisingly good shape.

Camry Bold

Then we headed over to a VIP tailgate in the basketball arena. We enjoyed Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ while watching the ladies’ volleyball team practice. The girls even stocked up on TP, should we need it at Toomer’s Corner after the game. (Unfortunately, we got to take that TP home with us. Sadly, it wasn’t needed for a post-win celebration.)

Camry Bold

And then I tok my family to their very first Auburn game. It was the first time I’d been back since my college days, and it was definitely more fun to share it with these three…

Camry Bold

It was a bucket list experience to have them with me, and to see this guy in orange and blue was icing on the cake. It suits him, don’t you think?

Camry Bold

I have such respect for a company like Toyota that takes a classic like the Camry, which is the most popular car in America as it is, and totally re-invents it to keep it at the top of its game. That’s a bold move that inspires me to be bold. What kind of bold move do you want to make?

Toyota sponsored this post and the weekend it describes, including the use of a 2015 Toyota Camry for the events. All opinions about the car and the trip are entirely my own.

Work of Worth: Bringing Hope to the Hopeless

God is big. So big.

It’s such a mystery that in His bigness, He cares about the details and loves each of us individually. He is our Jehovah Roi, the God who sees it all. Each little things in our lives is seen and pondered by our big, faithful God who loves us so dearly.

Last year I began stepping up my work with Freeset, a beautiful organization that serves the poor and abused in India by providing them employment with dignity. Freeset offers women trapped in the sex trade the opportunity to walk away from that life and walk into a life of freedom. It’s big work. God-sized work. Work which can only be accomplished one life at a time, one day at a time.

My friend Kristi led the US division of that organization faithfully. She imported goods from India made by the Freeset women, sold them in the US, and returned the money to India so that more women could be employed. That in itself was big work. That in itself was God-sized work. But God was up to something even bigger.

Work of Worth was established last year by Kristi, a friend, and a college student with a good idea. The basic idea is simple: buy goods from artisans in poverty, and sell them to eager customers in the US. “Social entrepreneurship” is the big title given to this business model. The Bible calls it being the Church. Bringing hope and sustenance to the hopeless and impoverished.

Besides having a good business model that addresses one of the issues Jesus talks about most, Work of Worth brings American consumers what they want: excellent goods at excellent prices. I’m happy to share a few of those items with you because I know you will love them and want to purchase a few things. My favorite items from Work of Worth have been curated here:

Work of Worth

First up on the top right is the Sari Infinity Scarf. These are handmade in Bangladesh, the MOST impoverished country in the world, from old saris. The terrific thing about these scarves is the rich colors. Simply gorgeous. They are infinity scarves, but the fabric is light a gauzy, so they aren’t too bulky around the neck. These are great in every color!

The Leather Tote Bag is like butter! It is handmade in India by a gentleman who is a true artisan. The bags enable him to provide for his family, and they are daily rising out of poverty into a life of dignity. These bags are the real deal. They are made from genuine leather that is hand-stitched. The Work of Worth website has several styles available, including a few styles for men.

Working clockwise, the next item is the Decopalm Journal. This jade and gold journal is 30 pages, and it is made from recycled paper. These are handmade in India, and are available in several patters for only $15 each.

The Tribal Meets Regal necklace looks great on the site, but is even more stunning in person. They are made from hand carved and hand dyed wooden beads. And don’t miss the clasp. The details on this necklace are spot on! It is available in black, cobalt blue, and pink salmon. Each color is deep and fabulous.

The Summer Orchard Necklace is 36″ long, so it is GREAT to wear over sweaters and collared blouses. The colors are bold, and the beads are chunky, so it is truly a statement necklace, even though it is simple.

The Gypsy Relic Necklace is a terrific layering piece, but it is fabulous as a stand-alone necklace as well. It is made from a mix of glass and pearl beads, with an antique-style coin pendant. You have, no doubt, seen similar necklaces in boutique shops, but they certainly weren’t $20.00!!! This bargain necklace supports women in poverty in India.

And finally, a closing statement from Work of Worth: Work of Worth is an organization dedicated to utilizing the power of commerce to free the oppressed throughout the world. WoW exists primarily as an import and distribution company, for the purpose of connecting entrepreneurs and businesses in the developing world to the Western market. The result becomes people of worth who are transformed, sustainably employed, changing the poverty cycle, and freed from trafficking. Work of Worth is devoted to philanthropic entrepreneurship in impoverished regions of the developing world through importing manufactured goods from entrepreneurs in the developing world to markets in the United States. WoW supports and promotes entrepreneurs dedicated to treating their employees with dignity, paying a fair wage, and transforming lives. Entrepreneurial philanthropy is bold enough to bring fair wages to the villages and cities of the developing world. We invite you to see their product offerings and value their work so that they may sustain a future for their family’s and future generations.

10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know

10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know

Many of you know my friend Kari Kampakis and have read her blog posts about raising daughters. Now, you can dive deeper with Kari into raising preteen/teens with her new book out today called 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know.

This book is designed to help you and your daughters navigate the years when it’s easier to focus on what the world says than what God says. (And really, isn’t that ALL the years, including the adult ones?) I can’t recommend it enough as a resource for parents to use with your daughters. Put together a book club with your neighborhood girls, soccer team, or Sunday school class and work your way through these truths!

I am looking forward to studying it with my daughter’s soccer team, as they are at just the right age to be reminded, reminded, and reminded again truths like “Kindness is more important than popularity,” and “Chasing boys doesn’t make you cool. It makes you a nuisance.” But the truth I am most looking forward to studying with them is “You were born to fly.”

Yes, darling girls, you most definitely were.