Category Archives: Food Friday

Catching Up & Cake Batter Truffles


I appreciate all the sweet words from my last post. I am still feeling great and like myself again. Clearly there was something going on even if the doctors couldn't find it. But it's gone now and I am S.L.O.W.L.Y catching up on eight missing months of my life as well as trying not to fall too far behind on life now. Throw in a whole lot of moving and settling into a new home and you've got some long days and longer to-do lists. But I'm having fun and loving the old me!

One thing I did more of over the summer as I started feeling better was cooking and baking! I really love working with food. I love trying new recipes and I love sharing old favorites. We had a pot-luck type meal to attend a few weeks ago and I wanted to put together something easy since we were packing up our old house. My kids LOVE these easy and yummy (and not very good for you) cake batter truffles. They are the perfect choice for when you need something easy but you want it to look beautiful!


Cake Batter Truffles


  • 1 cup white cake mix
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • dipping chocolate (white or dark)
  • sprinkles/topping of your choice


  1. In mixing bowl, combine first three ingredients. Mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more condensed milk. If too wet, add more cake mix. It should be a fairly firm and sticky texture that will allow you to roll into balls.
  2. If you're in a hurry, roll into one-inch balls. I use a cookie scoop for this to ensure similar sized balls. If you have time, put mix into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it a little easier to work with.
  3. Melt dipping chocolate according to package directions. With a parchment paper lined cookie sheet next to you, dip balls in chocolate and place on cookie sheet. After 4-5 balls, add sprinkles (you want to add topping before the chocolate starts to harden). Keep working until all the mixture is in balls.
  4. Place in refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes or until firm.
  5. Wow your family and friends!

Homemade Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies

©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-4 I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to eat. Granted, I also love to exercise and play with my kids. So all that cooking, baking, and eating has to be done in moderation! In addition, due to continuing health problems, I have had to once again completely cut sugar out of diet. Oh how much better I do without it! But oh how yummy it tastes! I made these cookies sometime in June. They were so good! I've been experimenting with no sugar/low-glycemic cooking the past few weeks, so I will have to try these again and see if I can recreate them. But for now, here are the cookies in all their sugary glory.

©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-3I used the recipe HERE ©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-10©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-8©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-13©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-9 copy©janetphillips_june24_2015_web-10


Food Friday #5 — Macaroni & Cheese

Food for the Soul

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10

It's no coincidence that my Bible reading plan  has me in 2 Corinthians right now. God knew that I would need these words so desperately right now. The details aren't important, but suffice it to say, the last few weeks have been tough. God has -- in His grace and love -- given me a glimpse of my pride and has shown me what would happen if He stepped away even for a moment.  He has shown me that no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I sacrifice, and no matter how much I strive to learn and grow, it is still only by His grace that I stand.  It is HIS power working in me.  Does He want me to work hard?  Yes.  Does He want me to sacrifice my selfish desires and instead serve others?  Yes. Does He want me to learn and grow?  Yes.  Does He want me to believe that I did all these things in my own power?  Absolutely not. It is only by His grace that I can be the mother that I long to be.  It is only by His grace that I can homeschool five children while living in a 3rd world country.  It is only by His grace that I can open my mouth (or use my typing fingers) to share truth and hope with others.

It's a striving and His strength.  The two go hand in hand. I somehow lost sight of that and God let me see what I can do on my own.  And in my weakest moment, as I cracked open the life-giving words early in the morning as the call the prayer poured through my windows, He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."  It was, "Janet, I have big plans for you.  I see your heart, your desire, and your commitment.  But before we do this, you need a reminder that it is only in Me that you stand.  Only in Me will others be blessed.  This is not -- and will never be -- about you. You are weak...but don't worry...I am strong."

Food for the Body

Forgive me as I link you to a post I did a few years back.  My heart is still in healing mode and I am preparing for some time away.  But don't worry, I promise it is yummy.  My mom's macaroni and cheese is one my most favorite comfort foods. It's simple, it's delicious, and it is kid-friendly.  You couldn't really ask for more.

My Mother's Macaroni & Cheese.  Enjoy!

Food Friday #4 — Rainbow Pancakes

Food for the Soul

"Let us love our children by letting them see where our own hands and hearts are being filled." from HERE

Take an honest look around. Where do you go to find refreshment, nourishment for your soul, and peace for your heart? What fills your time? What people, conversations, and activities do you crave when you are tired, lonely, and confused? When your children see you in need of "filling up," where do they see you head?

What we are telling our children -- in deeds that speak so much louder than words -- is that these are the places that they, too, should look for enjoyment and refreshment. Let us be diligent in showing (not merely telling) them where true nourishment is found.

Food for the Body

Back in April, I surprised the kids one night with rainbow pancakes.  They LOVED them and ever since that time, when I announce that I am making pancakes, they always ask in a half-pleading voice, "Rainbow?"

And then after seeing some cute little pancakes on a stick on Pinterest, I knew there was a fun food night in the making. Rainbow pancakes + pancakes on a stick = RAINBOW PANCAKES ON A STICK.  Bonus points for a dollop of whipped cream with some optional mini-chocolate chips and fresh-cut strawberries.

After the sweet little mini-pancakes were consumed in about 3.5 seconds, we enjoyed some regular sized rainbow fun. And then the silliness began.


To make rainbow pancakes, I just make up my favorite pancake recipe and then split into six bowls.  I add a few drops of food coloring at a time until I get the color I am looking for. Easy, fun, and scores big points with cute little kids.

Food Friday #3 — Mini Snickers Cheesecakes


Food for the Soul

"People feel a drive to 'do something for society,' to undertake huge projects -- having been liberated from the 'limitations' of their homes and families.  What society needs more than anything else is a glimpse through a window into the family life of people who are becoming creative in amazingly diverse ways and who haven't time to be bored.  The natural sequence is a spilling over into a wider area affecting other people, even without meaning to do so."

-- Edith Schaeffer, What is Family?


Food for the Tummy

A few months ago I was cruising around Pinterest and saw a gorgeous photo of Snickers Cheesecake.  I pinned it even know making it wouldn't be a possibility where I live (no Snickers!) I figured that some day maybe I would be so lucky to find the chocolate-peanut goodness that is wrapped up in a Snickers  bar.

Well, that "some day" came sooner than expected.  We can now get Snickers bars and they are everywhere (not just the import store).  I won't even begin to try to guess how many I have eaten in the last two months. Three years without them makes a person go a little overboard.

And then, last week, I remembered about the cheesecake and I just couldn't wait!

Now, to be honest, I didn't follow any of the actual recipe that accompanied the gorgeous photo I had seen.  I had nothing against it, but I already had a great recipe that called for less ingredients (no whipping cream) and I had already made the recipe in mini-cheesecake form and knew they were amazing.  I just winged it for the topping.  Seriously, it's cheesecake.  You could put almost anything on top and it would taste good!  And boy did they taste good! So easy, so pretty, and so yummy!


Mini Snickers Cheesecakes

Yield:32 cupcakes Ingredients:

For the crust: 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 6 tbsp.  butter, melted 3 tbsp. sugar


For the filling: 2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature 1½ cups sugar Pinch of salt 1 tsp. vanilla extract 4 large eggs, at room temperature


For the topping: caramel sauce chocolate sauce Snickers bars, cut up into small pieces

Directions: Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.  Stir together with a fork until well blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  (Use a small drinking glass, like a sippy cup, to press crumbs down.) Bake until just set, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy.  Blend in the sugar until smooth.  Mix in the salt and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

To assemble, spoon 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner.

Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  (They will look quite puffed initially but will return to normal quickly.)  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

When you are ready to eat, just drizzle cheesecakes with caramel and chocolate syrup and top with cut up pieces of Snickers.

-- Cheesecake recipe adapted from this recipe which was adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes.

Food Friday #2

Food for the Soul

"While the world may judge our children against the temporal standards of intelligence, appearance, money, power, and fame, God will judge them by their hearts -- 'The LORD does not look at the same things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7b).  We are raising our children for God's approval." -- Clay and Sally Clarkson, Educating the Wholehearted Child

Oh how we need to remember this!  As we make decisions for our children -- how they will be educated, what activities they will be involved in, who we let them spend time with -- we need to always keep in mind that it is hearts we are cultivating. If our highest aspirations as parents is that our children will get good grades so that they can get into a good college so that they can get a good job and "be happy" then we have completely missed the mark of what parenting is supposed to be.  We have to ask ourselves where our parenting time and energy is going.  Is it to make our children look good on the outside -- good looks, popularity, fitting in, hopes of a good salary, and "happiness" -- or is it spent on our children looking good on the inside -- hearts that love the Lord, desire to serve others, and long to fulfill their God-given potential?

What are your deepest desires for your children? What are your deepest desires for yourself?

Food for the Tummy

Out of everything I have ever made, my husbands favorite -- by far -- is Homemade Soft Pretzels.  I am not sure why he loves them quite so much, but he does, and if pleasing him is that easy, I'm all for it!  We've now made these a number of times and I have to admit, they are tasty!

Soft Pretzels (from Martha Stewart)

  • 2 cups warm water, 100 degrees to 110 degrees
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse or pretzel salt
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  1. Pour warm water into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. In a small bowl, combine water and sugar, and stir to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.
  2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour, and knead on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour (this will depend on weather conditions); knead until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about 10 times, or until smooth. (Note from Janet: since I don't have a stand mixer and I read somewhere that a wooden spoon would work just as well, I tried it.  It turned out great! Just mix for a minute or two after it looks combined.)
  3. Pour oil into a large bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
  4. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.  (Note from Janet: I found that greasing a baking sheet does nothing!  I was constantly trying to scrape pretzels off the bottom.  Then I tried parchment paper and it worked wonders!) Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each), and wrap in plastic.
  5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip.  (Note from Janet: Again, at the advice of someone else, I rolled my dough out on an UNfloured surface. Perfect!) Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels; 8 will fit on each sheet. Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda. Reduce to a simmer; transfer 3 to 4 pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.
  7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for 2 days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.
While my husband loves the salted pretzels my kids prefer cinnamon sugar!  I skip the salt and then just brush melted butter on when they come out of the oven and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Apparently they taste even better when they are in the shape of your initials!
Next Post: Affirming our children

Friday Food #1

Although I am not usually one for blog gimmicks and I don't like having a blogging schedule that I have to follow, I did think I would enjoy posting Friday Food.  My thinking was that I could share a bit of what my heart/mind is enjoying and a little bit of what my tummy is enjoying.  So each Friday I plan to share a recipe and something that has my mind stirring and whirring.  And so I begin this week with Friday Food #1.

Food for the Soul

"I believe that much depression, discontent, and unhappiness revolve around the fact that individuals are not working, serving, or ministering in their areas of strength.  They fail to realize the spiritual dynamic at work.  God made all of us for a purpose and then wired us a special way to help accomplish His purpose.  We will feel truly content only when we are fully engaging our strengths."  -- Live Like You Mean It, T.J. Addington

I've been mulling over this idea for a while...reflecting on times of ministry in my life where I have failed (and there are many) and where I want to spend my time and energy now. Knowing my strengths, and being content and confident in them, will allow me to be more of who God created me to be and will pave a way to being more effective in the paths He leads me on.

I wonder, too, how this applies to us as mothers.  It is so easy to let "mommy guilt" come in for all the things that those "other moms" do. But God created each of us for a purpose.  He chose us for these kids. I feel at liberty to generalize the above quote to say that our contentment in mothering will only come when we are fully engaging in the parenting strengths that we possess.  I am pretty convinced that trying to be "that other mom" will only leave us feeling drained and defeated. We can't be the perfect mother, but we can be the perfect version of us.

The question is, though, what are your parenting strengths? What do you have to offer your kids?  How did God wire you in such a way that you are the best person for your children? Find your strengths and act on them with all your heart.  Only then will the contentment you long for in this parenting journey show signs of life.

Food for the Tummy

Cruising around Pinterest, I came across this recipe.  I have a slight obsession with all things peanut butter and even though my husband would be perfectly happy to never have a peanut butter baked good grace our kitchen again, even he said these were good.  And they were.  They were really heavenly.  And that's why, even though the title of them was originally Halfway to Heaven Peanut Butter Cookies, I took the liberty of getting rid of the halves, doubling the batch, and going all the way to Heavenly Peanut Butter Cookies.  In addition to this recipe making twice as many cookies, I also used a different filling recipe.  Something to do with me not believing her instructions to not use natural peanut butter.

Heavenly Peanut Butter Cookies

3 cups quick oats 1 cup flour 1 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup honey roasted peanut putter 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 eggs

Preheat an oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter, both sugars, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla. Pour oat mixture into peanut butter mixture, stirring until just mixed. Place rounded teaspoonfuls of batter on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 centimeters between each one. Using your finger, pat dough down so they form small flattened circles. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely on cookie sheet.

Filling (This is the recipe I used.  It was adapted from Wilton's Buttercream Icing recipe.You can see the original filling recipe here).

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups powered sugar

1-2 Tbsp milk

In large bowl, cream peanut butter and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

On a work surface, place half of the cookies upside down. Dollop 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each upside down cookie (I used a pastry bag and large circle tip).  Place second cookie on top of filling and press together until filling just comes to the edges.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Or a tall glass of milk (if you live in a country where you can get milk that tastes good if milk is your thing.)

I hope you have a great weekend!  We're heading off for a little getaway!

Next Post: Praise and correction...such a tricky balance!