Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who Do You Want to BE In 2015?

Who Do You Want to BE in the New Year - The Cozy Nook

The time is ticking away. It’s hard to believe that the year 2014 is coming to a close very soon.

You can read a good load of articles and posts about making resolutions, goals, and vision for the New Year…. creating key words to fuel you into making some changes and striving for better.

It can be quite easy to think about what we want to do in the new year. At a simple level, we begin to think about what we want to accomplish, and the list begins.

  • However, as we proceed into the year 2015,
    I would like for you to consider who
    you want to BE in the next year.

How do you want to change?
How do you NEED to change?

Life is definitely about doing. Our actions and words and activities define us, but if we remember correctly, all of those actions and words and activities stem from who we are as people.

We say things because they are in our hearts to say them.
We do things because we are driven, interested, or tempted to do them.
We participate in activities because we like and choose to do them.

Everything we do starts with everything we are.

If we want to have noble goals and noble change in our lives, we must think about how we want to change as people.

Do you need to be:

  • More focused
  • More organized
  • More patient
  • More thoughtful
  • More kind
  • More loving
  • More consumed with loving and pleasing Jesus
  • More humble
  • More willing to give
  • Less anxious
  • Less consumed with the internet
  • Less bitter
  • Less affected by your past
  • Less angry
  • Less negative
  • Less selfish

Who do you need to strive to BE in the year 2015?

As the year 2015 starts, my heart’s cry is that God will make me to be more of the person I need to be, that all of my goals and good-intended projects will flow from a pure heart and surrendered soul.

Happy New Year! I wish you many blessings!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Cozy Nook–A Year in Review

A Year in Review

Thank you for being a part of my blog this year -- for reading, commenting, liking, and sharing my work. Without you, readers, this blog would be pretty lifeless, so I thank you!

I can not possibly review the past year of my blog without remembering the series I did in October: 31 Days to Becoming Less Stressed, More Refreshed.

31 days Less Stressed, More Refreshed 500

The series was a challenge to me, to not only write every day for the month of October, but also to become less stressed and more refreshed! I pray it was a blessing to you!

More highlights of 2014:

Faith/Personal Growth





I hope you were truly encouraged
by something I posted this year.

Do you have a favorite post from the year?
What posts encourage you the most?
Is there a topic you would like for me to address in the New Year?

I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!


From our family to yours,
we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Luke 2:14

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Runsas - The Cozy Nook

Runsas can be a delightful dish to have during the holidays. It takes a bit of effort to make the dough and filling, so it is a nice meal to have for special occasions.

The lightly sweet dough and comforting filling of ground beef, cabbage, and cheese pleases the taste buds and soothes hungry bellies.

These are absolutely delicious! Enjoy!

Recipe found here on Food.com
Printable Version

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons melted
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices cheese: Cheddar or American


  1. For the dough: Lightly grease large bowl with cooking spray. Mix water, sweetened condensed milk, oil, sugar, and egg in large measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer on low, add water mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn dough out onto heavily floured work surface, shape into ball, and place in greased bowl. (To make dough by hand: Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, make well in center of dry ingredients, add wet ingredients, and mix with wooden spoon until shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto heavily floured work surface and knead until shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  2. For the filling: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes, breaking up any large clumps. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to paper towel-lined plate.

  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and toss until just beginning to wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Return beef to pan and season with salt and pepper.

  4. To assemble and bake: Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Working on lightly floured work surface, roll each piece of dough into 7-inch circle. Place one dough round in deep cereal bowl and top with one slice of cheese. Spoon 3/4 cup filling over cheese and pinch edges of dough together to form bun. Transfer bun, seam side down, to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, cheese, and filling, placing 4 buns on each baking sheet. Cover buns with plastic wrap and let rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.

  5. Bake buns until golden brown, about 20 minutes, switching and rotating position of baking sheets halfway through baking time. Brush buns with melted butter and serve.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some Ideas for Planning Christmas Food

Planning Christmas Food - The Cozy Nook

Some people have their Christmas menus already planned. Maybe they have a menu they use year after year or maybe they have pinned and researched and planned and are ready to go!

If you are still planning your Christmas food, here are some ideas to help you get your menu set in stone.

Traditional Meal
Many people will serve the “traditional” holiday meal – meat, gravy, veggies, bread, and other sides. Sometimes a Christmas meal can easily duplicate a Thanksgiving meal with a little bit of a twist. Consider switching out some dishes to have more variety. Switch the meat from turkey to roasted chicken, ham, or roast beef. Change some of the vegetables or prepare them differently. Shake things up a bit!

Finger Foods
When we go to my in-law’s house, we always have finger foods – appetizers, veggies, fruits, Christmas cookies, desserts… Anything you can eat easily with your fingers! This is a great way to serve food for Christmas, especially if you will be opening gifts for a good amount of time. This type of menu allows you to forego the hassle of setting a large place setting for dinner and creates a nice, relaxed atmosphere where people can unwrap gifts and enjoy each other’s company. I love it! Cranberry Salsa is very festive and fun!

Something Fun, Like Personal Pizzas or Fondue
For our own family celebration with my hubby and kids, I am thinking about doing personal pizzas for one of the meals. This type of meal gets everyone involved, and you can provide a myriad of toppings from which everyone can choose!

Special Foods that Take Longer to Prepare and/or You Don’t Eat Often
For holidays it can be nice to serve meals that you don’t get around to making often in your home because they take longer or cost more. Runsas (which I hope to post later this week), Chicken Italian (breaded chicken with a wine sauce, covered with cheese), Chicken Piccata, Chicken with Cream (fairly easy and festive looking), and Crescent Roll Pizza Ring are some good examples.

Plan a Theme Dinner
You could always plan a theme dinner: Italian, Mexican, Soups and Breads, Middle Eastern. It’s fun to be different.

There are a lot of options for Christmas food. Whatever you do, make sure you plan something you will enjoy and don’t overdo it.

The important part is to enjoy the people around you, count your blessings, and celebrate Jesus!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Appreciate the Simplicity of the Season

Appreciate the Simplicity of the Season - The Cozy Nook

“Sleighbells ring. Are you listening?
In the lane, snow is glistening.
A beautiful sight.
We’re happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.”

Are you listening?

Are you looking?

Are you finding the simplicity of the season?

Amidst the hustle and bustle, packed calendars, and long lists, therein lie simple treasures for us to find.

Quiet evenings.
Giving hearts.
Glowing candles.
Fulfilling fellowship.
Hot beverages.
Warm treats.
Festive lights.
Cozy homes.
Crackling fires.
Fuzzy blankets.
Joyful music.
Solitary moments.
Faithful love.
Committed family.
Special friends.

It’s all there. Waiting for us. We just have to partake.

We have to slow down
and appreciate the simplicity around us,
the simple things in life that make life special!

Just the other night, after my children went to bed, I did just that…

After a long, hard day, I made myself a delicious, homemade mocha latte, nestled myself in my dim living room, lit solely by the luminous, adorned tree, curled up on the couch with my laptop, and blogged. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of my home, the dark night, the blessed warmth of my surroundings and just took it all in.

Are you “taking it all in”?

Are you able to enjoy your moments this season?

I pray you can calm your soul, focus your mind, and experience the simple joys of the season.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Life is a Bed of Roses

Life is a Bed of Roses - The Cozy Nook

I love roses. I really do.

Bring me a few, deep red roses and some dark chocolate, and you’ve pretty much stolen my heart. ~wink~

I think roses are one of the most beautiful flowers. They are delicate, velvety, smooth, rich, and intricately woven… sometimes they are absolutely breathtaking, in my humble opinion.

However, roses have a very unique feature – thorns. Ouch! Get your finger on one of those lovelies, and you have momentarily forgotten about the beauty you just adored.

Life is just like those roses. Life is full of so much beauty, so much good, so much blessing, yet it is also covered with a smattering of thorns – trials, heartaches, grief, pain, sin, and all sorts of disappointments.

The key to living a full, joyful life is for us to focus on the roses and their beauty rather than the thorns.

Life will always be a mixed bag – containing wonderful goodness and yucky messes. We can choose to focus on the goodness or abide in the messes.

If you are honest with yourself about your life, I am sure you can see that you are truly blessed. We have bounty galore, but oftentimes the difficulty of life snuffs out the remembrance and appreciation of that bounty, and our minds and hearts get stuck in the pit.

Will you choose beauty with me?

Will you choose thankfulness with me?

Will you choose joy with me?

It’s going to be work – a continual choice.

  • We’re going to have to set our minds on good things, think positively, and hope for the best.
  • We’re going to have to choose to leave the past behind, live the moment, and look forward to the future.
  • We’re going to have to make some effort, not be lazy, and live life proactively!

Are you with me?

If you forget how good of a life you have, read this post I wrote a few years ago and start lovin’ your good life.

May the Lord richly bless you with the abundant grace to live life wholeheartedly, not giving in or giving up, cherishing the great beauty in your life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Throw-It-Together Vegetable Soup

Throw-It-Together Vegetable Soup - The Cozy Nook

This recipe was originally created by me a few weeks ago, out of necessity, when I was running low on groceries. I had roasted a chicken and decided to use the carcass to make a broth and turn it into soup.

My family enjoyed it, and I took some to a friend also, who had been sick. She and her daughter had it for lunch and both of them enjoyed it as well. Not too shabby. ~wink~

This would be a great soup to make after you host a gathering over the holidays and have a turkey or chicken carcass to use up.

Throw-It-Together Vegetable Soup
printable version

Broth from roasted (or raw) chicken:
chicken carcass, water, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf, salt, pepper

3/4 box of macaroni
1 cup of broccoli, chop florets into small chunks
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery, chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen corn

salt, pepper
1 1/2 t basil
1 1/2 t parsley

First make your broth.

Place the broth ingredients in a large pot:
onion, peeled, and cut in quarters
garlic, 2 cloves, crushed
celery, cut in large chunks
carrot, cut in large chunks
1 bay leaf
1 t salt
several peppercorns or ~1/2 t pepper

Cover with water until the pot is mostly full.

Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple hours.

Strain the broth.

Put the rest of the ingredients (pasta, vegetables of your choice, and spices) into the strained broth in the pot and cook for another half hour.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

LET the Peace of God Rule in Your Heart

Let the Peace of God Rule in Your Heart - The Cozy Nook

Do you desire more peace in your life?

Do you even have the faith that it is available to you?

It is! The peace of God waits for us. It is like the image given in the book of Revelation of Jesus standing at our heart’s door, waiting for us to open.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him,
and he with me.
Rev. 3:20

God’s desire is for us to be at peace, to have peace, and to live with peace, and it is OUR CHOICE whether we have peace in our hearts.

The Bible says:

LET the peace of God rule in your hearts…
Col. 3:20

Take notice of that initial word – LET.

We are the ones who allow the peace of God to permeate our lives.

“LET” means to allow, give permission to, grant, approve…

We decide if our hearts are at peace or not. We are the ones who can make that choice for the holy peace of God to RULE in our hearts, not just reside, but RULE.

In the midst of life’s troubles, trials, and disappointments, may we choose to allow the peace of God to have authority over everything else in life, and may we live in peace!