December 12, 2017

Gabriel’s Message – Sting

gchcarolsbloggraphic

The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow
His eyes as flame
“All hail” said he “thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

“For known a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel,
By seers foretold
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name.”
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

Of her Emanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn
And everyone throughout the world forever saved
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

Gabriel’s Message  ~  Sting

I first heard this song sometime in the ’80s.  Musically depicting the events told to us in Luke  chapter 1 (verses 26-38, 46-55),  I was originally drawn to the description of the Angel Gabriel and what it must have been like to have been visited by a messenger of God!  Now that I am older and in a different place in my walk with God, I am still drawn to this song, although now focusing on Mary and her obedience.

To me be as it pleaseth God.” – that line always brings goose bumps! In Luke 1:38, Mary says more specifically: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”  What beautiful humility!  What a servant’s heart! What a willingness to be a vessel (literally) for God. Surely she had to know the risks, the potential to be shunned and humiliated.  What would Joseph think?  What if he left her? She was a “lowly maiden” – what if she was financially unable to take care of herself and her child? What an amazing trust in God to fulfill His promise to her!  In verses 46-55 we see Mary’s beautiful song of praise:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.  His mercy extends to those who fear Him from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm, He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their throne but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers.”

To me be as it pleaseth God.”  Mary’s obedience brought our Savior into the world!  Do I say to the Lord, “May it be to me as you have said”?  May we follow Mary’s example and be as obedient, sisters!  When we do, God uses US as vessels for His divine purpose, and brings blessings to others!

Merry Christmas!

And may God bless you richly with rewards for your obedience to Him!

5 Ways to Keep Your Littlest Homeschoolers Busy

Homeschooling can be a challenge any day of the week. Add in a toddler or preschooler (or both!), and it can become downright difficult if you don’t have a plan for keeping them busy! Today I have some ideas for you that are engaging as well as educational, and should help corral those younger ones while you read aloud, help their sibling with math, or try to prepare a meal.

5 Ways to Keep your Littlest Homeschoolers Busy www.girlfriendscoffeehour.com #homeschool

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Littlest Homeschoolers Busy

  • Utilize blanket time (or room time/playpen time) while you read to older siblings. Place a blanket on the floor for each child; choose, or have your child help you choose, a few select toys to play with during this time (2 to 3 at most); set the timer for prescribed amount of time, 5 to 45 minutes (training will be needed, but you can teach your child to stay in one place for the full 45 minutes, perhaps longer, with a little practice).  During the learning phase, don’t expect to be able to get alot done, but after a few days to a week for most children, you will be able to get some good learning time in. Try this several times a day in short amounts, or a couple of times per day for a longer stretch of time!
  • Give your child his or her own ‘work’ to complete during your learning time. Find fun coloring or tracing pages, easy sorting activities, or books for your child to look at while you work with a sibling.  Have him sit right next to you while doing this to ensure that he stays engaged and you remain aware of what he is doing.
  • Take your lessons outside.  Set up for reading or doing math problems at a table near an area where your smaller children can safely play.  This is a great time during warmer months to introduce water or sand play, pull out the Play Dough and paints, or experiment with other messy play like shaving cream painting, tracing letters in cornmeal, or pushing trucks through a bin of corn kernels.
  • Have older children play with the younger children while you work with their sibling. If you have older children, you may find a way to schedule times for each of them to play with your younger children while you teach another sibling his English lesson or practice reading. Then switch and work with the other child.  Even younger children can be put ‘in charge’ of a sibling who is younger than them, if they are in a nearby room and have access to mama as needed.
  • Spend time with your youngest children first.  You may find it easier and more productive to take your smallest children outside, or to spend some time doing a special activity, first thing in the morning.  Your older children can use this time to complete chores and any independent work they may have (handwriting, silent reading, essays, research, typing, etc.).  This often helps the younger children be in a better frame of mind to play on their own for a bit while you spend some time with their older siblings. Their ‘tank’ has been filled and they are ready to get started with their day!

Still need some fun and practical ideas? Here are a few blog posts on the topic that you may find helpful.

How Do I Keep My Preschooler Busy? by Kendra over at Prechoolers and Peace.

Keeping Toddlers Busy During Homeschool & Baby and Toddler Busy Ideas by Karen over at Teach Beside Me.

Planning Busy Activities for Toddlers During Homeschool from Tabitha of Meet Penny.

Sensory Bottle Fun by Lara at Lara’s Place and a Cup of Grace.

Great Preschool Activities from Monique at Living Life and Learning.

“I AM” Week 3 – Day 5: Malachi: The Bridge

Memory Verse

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;  

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, 

he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:19

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We have been so very inspired (perhaps revived?) as we have spent the past three weeks considering the character of the Great I AM as He has made Himself known throughout the Old Testament.  How AWEsome is He!

The Great I AM deserves our all—our love, our obedience, our worship, our devotion, our service, our focus, our praise, our whole heart, our everything.  Actually, He requires our all.

When Moses gave the Law to the Israelites, he said:

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe…so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:1-4 (excerpts)

The prophet Jeremiah was given a compelling message to send to the exiled Israelites who had been carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar and his army.  Think about how comforted they might have been hearing God’s Words!

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord,
thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil,
to give you hope in your final outcome.

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.
Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity]
and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
I will be found by you, says the Lord….
Jeremiah 29:11-14

Our Lord also gave this same convicting message to His followers.

And one of the scribes came up…and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-32

We know from the Scriptures that God desires us to–

  • Trust Him with all of our heart (Proverbs 3:5 and 6)
  • Work heartily as if for Him with all of our heart (Colossians 3:23)
  • Seek Him with all your heart (Deuteronomy 4:29 and 30)
  • Serve Him with your whole heart (1st Chronicles 28:9)
  • Love Him with all our heart (Matthew 22:37)

Our author, Teresa, asks the following question today in our study…

What would it take for you to give service “your all?”
Go “all in?”  Be “sold out” for God?

Have you answered that question yet?  Would you share your answer (below in the comments) with all of us?

Friends, whether the anointed words of this song—this prayer—cause you to throw your hands in the air raised in praise, or fall on your face in humble submission, may you voice your commitment to the Great I AM with all your heart!  <3

Praying for each of you!

♥  coleen

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, You have heard the cry of our hearts…we each do SO want to love You with all our hearts; to serve You with our whole heart; to obey You with our whole heart; to seek You with all our heart; to trust You, and You alone, with all our heart!  We choose You, Lord…You are the Great I AM Who deserves our love with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength!  May our words accompanied by our strong conviction, and commitment be pleasing to You!

Amen.

At Home with GCH: More Appetizers

Here on our At Home with GCH blog, Monday’s are always focused on healthy but oh-so-yummy! recipes. And this month we are doing a series of looks at appetizers. Here in the NorthEast, we are in the middle of a snowstorm. So,  I thought…’summery food!’  🙂  This week’s appetizer selections are Caprese Salad and Zucchini Fritters. We enjoyed these as a vegetarian supper tonight!

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I hope you enjoy these fritters as much as we do! They go along with our healthy but oh-so-yummy category because they are loaded with zucchini, and a good shot of whole grains in the cornbread. And, even though lightly fried in a bit of oil, they are no greasier than your weekend pancakes!

As I confessed last week: I love appetizers! Whether you call them tapas, small bites, hors d’ouerves, antipasto, or simply appetizers; no matter what you call ‘em…I like ‘em!  I would love for you to leave a comment below sharing with us YOUR favorite appetizer!

Zucchini Fritters

1 box of Jiffy Cornbread mix  IMG_1404
1 medium zucchini, shredded (do not peel!)
1/2 cup milk
good squeeze of juice from a fresh lemon
1 egg
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
dash of ground nutmeg
Oil of your choice (but NOT olive oil)
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250. Place an oven-safe platter into the oven.

Shred zucchini into a colander; sprinkle with a small amount of kosher salt. Let sit to drain 5 minutes or so. Then dump onto a double layer of paper towels. Blot with a couple of additional paper towels, removing as much moisture as possible.

Stir milk and lemon juice together = buttermilk!  Lightly beat egg in a small mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk, zucchini, seasonings, melted butter and, finally, cornbread mix. DO NOT overmix; there might be a small lump or two. Let sit for 3 minutes.

While mixture is resting, add a small amount of oil to a large nonstick frying pan; bring up to medium heat; then reduce heat to low. Add the fritter mix by scoops, spacing apart for easier turning. When edges appear dry, and there are a few little bubbles on the surface of the fritters, carefully flip. Once cooked, remove to platter in oven, sprinkle with a bit of salt and keep warm while remainder of batter is cooked.

  • For larger size fritters: use 1/4 cup-sized measuring cup or a large cookie scoop.
  • For smaller, bite-size fritters, use a tablespoon measure or a small cookie scoop.

These can be served hot or warm. Serving options are many: Caprese Salad (recipe below); guacamole, sour cream, salsa…

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Continuing our “bit of summer in the midst of a snowstorm” theme, I prepared a quick Caprese Salad, aka Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad. Not much tastes more like summer to me than a yummy, ripe, delicious tomato. Not so easy to find in the wintertime though! However, I find that the tiny tomatoes (grape, cherry, mini—whichever varieties your grocery store carries) are usually very flavorful and yummy all winter long!

Caprese Salad

various sizes of fresh mozzarella from my favorite brand—Belgioso!

8 ounces fresh mozzarella
1/2 pint tomatoes
Basil * (fresh is best)
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil.   Easy-peasy!  Depending on the size of the fresh mozzarella you have bought, you might need to cut the mozzarella into small, bite-size pieces; halve the tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.  Thinly slice the basil*.  Add the sliced basil to the seasoned tomatoes and cheese.  Pour a small amount of olive oil over and gently mix. Serve immediately.*Gourmet tip: stack 3-4 basil leaves; tightly roll-up (like a tiny cigar!); then carefully slice into very thin slices. You have now accomplished the technique known as ‘chiffonade!’  You are amazing!

 

God loves you!    (Don’t ever forget that!)

coleen

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If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen concerning this series, you may email her at: Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 3 — Make the Choice

MAKE THE CHOICE

Choice 3: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Over the past two weeks we’ve been reading and sharing a lot about the issue of control.  It seems to be a common thread in our lives – control the world around us in our way and hope it all works out as we planned.  But as we’ve seen we don’t have the power to control our lives, despite what we may think.  It is only through surrendering to His control that we truly find life.

As I went back through my book for today’s blog, I was struck again by John Baker’s personal story on page 81.  I  felt as if I was reading my own story.  I was saved at 14, and did all that I thought I was supposed to do – Sunday School, youth groups, retreats, even Christian college.  But something was still missing.  In my youth, I surrendered all I thought I should surrender, but it wasn’t truly ALL of my life.  From college I made wrong choices with relationships, hurt people closest to me, and kept running from the one person who could truly set me free from my fears and worries.  God.  And, just like John Baker, no matter how bad my choices were, God was still waiting for me with outstretched arms.  I can think back to times He was trying to get my attention and pull me back, but I brushed it off and kept going “my way.”

When I ended an engagement at a young age, I heard God questioning my decision.  But He just didn’t understand.  When my husband said we were moving out of state, against my wishes, I heard God telling me to speak up.  But He just didn’t understand.  When I battled infertility, I cried out to God begging to know what I did wrong to deserve this trial.  I didn’t hear Him respond.  When I was starting an affair, God was calling me out.  But He just didn’t understand.  When my marriage fell apart and I was moving the next guy in, God tried to get my attention again.  But He just didn’t understand.  Do you see a pattern here?  Me, a little speck on this earth, telling the God of the Universe that He doesn’t understand!  Wow, talk about pride!

On May 11, 2001 the world came crashing down around me in ways that no one could have ever seen coming.  People I thought were friends left me.  Family no longer supported me because it was too difficult a reminder of what my ex had become.  There was no greater example in my life of how little control I really have over anything than at this time of my life.  But, I also heard God very clearly that night, “Do I have your attention THIS time?”  He wasn’t judging me, or giving me any “I told you so” type lectures.  He greeted me with open arms and the patient love only the Father can give.

God reminded me that He had been with me all the way, through every poor decision, every time I pushed Him aside because He didn’t understand my plans and way of doing life.  He also reminded me of one precious gift He had given to me, a little ray of sunshine I called my daughter.  She was the inspiration I needed to get out of bed and keep moving until I could think clearly during these rough days.  She had no one but me, so I had to keep going.  I realized that while He didn’t bring the chaos and pain to my life, He allowed it to happen for my good.    We are reminded of this in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

Two years later, I heard a song on the radio that brought instant tears to my eyes … another God-message for me.  Martina McBride released a song called “In My Daughter’s Eyes” and sings, “She was sent to rescue me”.  (http://youtu.be/eLS0Y40WwlA)   I truly believe that God sent my daughter to rescue me, and to return me to His fold.  You see, by medical standards she should not be here.  Doctors cannot explain how I was able to get pregnant and managed to carry a child to term with the health issues I experienced.  Seven years of infertility and suddenly, this miracle.  The last time my doctor said this to me was after my hysterectomy in 2010.  We were discussing the pathology report and his surgical findings, and he said, “I just don’t know how your daughter is here.”  I just smiled and said, “That’s because you didn’t create her.”  I knew she was fully and entirely God’s plan for my life.   But through her life, God gave me the wake-up call I needed to throw up my hands in surrender, and return to His open arms.

PRAY –

This week, we focused on committing ALL of our lives to Christ, not just the areas we think He should have, but ALL areas.  As I read Chapter 3, I was reminded of a song from my early church days, “I Surrender All.”  This clip is one of my favorite versions by Jaden Lavik.

http://youtu.be/uaTXNxUXcn4

Now is the time to ask Christ in to your heart if you have not already done so.  Admit you are powerless without Him, acknowledge His death on the cross for your sins, and the power of His resurrection for your eternal salvation.  Are you ready to make this decision for Christ?

If you are part of this study and do know Christ, use this time to rededicate your whole life to Him, asking Him to take full care and control over the areas of your life you’ve previously guarded.  As the song says, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.”  He won’t bully His way in and take over.  It’s a choice you must make to freely turn over your life.

WRITE –

1 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

What does this verse mean to you?

Go back to your notes from Chapter 1, how do you feel today compared to when you first made those notes?

What are you having a difficult time surrendering to God?

What are some things you will ask God to do in your “new life”?

 

SHARE –

 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Making a decision to commit your life to Christ is the most important decision you will make in your life.  Yes, more important than your choice of spouse, career, or home.  This decision remains with you for eternity, and what an awesome promise that is for us!

Take time this week to let others know about the reason for the changes in your life.  Share with them about the freedom, joy and hope you are learning to experience.  Encourage them to surrender to His care and control and allow Him to change their lives, too.

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Power Verses:

Ephesians 1:13 NIV

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:31 NLT

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

 Phil 4:13 CEV

Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

 

Lord, what a precious gift You have offered to each of us!  You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.  We admit that our choices haven’t followed Your plans for us, but we seek to follow You more closely.  We surrender our lives to You, placing ourselves fully in Your care and control.  We know that You desire the best for us, and we need to learn to trust this truth on a daily basis.  Thank You for Your awesome gift and the blessings You have given to each of us.  Amen.

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If you would like to send a private email to Amy in regards to this blog, please email her at:

Amy@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Lady in Waiting: Lady of Purity

 

My beloved girlfriends, I thank God each day for giving me this opportunity to take this amazing journey with you.  What a blessing it is to study with you.  This book is so full of life changing truths.  Each chapter is rich with honesty and makes one to really look at life in a different perspective.

Our chapter for this week, Lady of Purity is no different.  My prayer is that we will allow God to open our eyes and eyes of faith so that we can receive what He has for us.

Purity is a “sensitive” subject among us Christians because of the world we live in but as children of God we are to remain pure as the bride of Christ.  But what happens when we have given away our most treasured gift?  I don’t want to preempt things.  Why don’t you join us this week as we dig deep into this chapter?

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Here is our reading assignment for Week 7

November 5:

Lady of Purity, Deadly Deception – Michelle

November 6:

Why Wait / Physical – Jackie

November 7:

Emotional, Relational / Spiritual – Tonya

November 8:

Guarding the Treasure – Katie

November 9:

What if it’s Too Late – Diane

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LET’S PRAY

Our God and our Father, thank you so much for being with us in this journey.  Lord, may you be with us this week as we deal with this subject of purity.  We want to be Ladies of Purity in each and every area of our lives and we cannot do it without your help.  Holy Spirit soften our hearts to receive what you have for us.  In Jesus Name Amen.

Be Blessed

Jackie


For the “Lady in Waiting” Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website by clicking the “sign-up here” button at the top of our webpage; which is also where you can sign up to participate in this awesome bible study!

Lady in Waiting: Lady of Virtue

Girlfriends, I am so blessed to be on this journey with you.  So far it has been a rollercoaster ride with each chapter.  We are now going to Chapter Four, becoming a Lady of Virtue.

One verse stands out when I think of the word Virtue –

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”.  

Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)

I am so excited to read what is in store for us in this chapter which promises to be rich with truth about how we see ourselves.

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Here is our reading assignment for Week 4

October 22:      Lady of Virtue – Michelle
October 23:      Body Beautiful Trap – Jackie
October 24:      Fit for a King – Tonya
October 25:      To Tell the Truth – Katie
October 26:      Pearl Necklace  – Diane

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LET’S PRAY

Father, thank you for being with us on this journey.  We are learning with each chapter who we are and how much you love us and want us to become the best.  We are still a work in progress and we know that if we do not grow weary we will receive our rewards.  Bless each one of us and our families in Jesus Name.  Amen

Be Blessed

Jackie


For the “Lady in Waiting” Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website by clicking the “sign-up here” button at the top of our webpage; which is also where you can sign up to participate in this awesome bible study!

Please email Christi@girlfriendscoffeehour.com if you have any questions, or if you have a private comment that you would like to forward to one of our bloggers in regards to their post that day.

Balsamic Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

This week’s edition of ‘healthy…but oh-so-yummy!’ centers on another comfort food— meatloaf.  The way we have upped the healthy quotient is to use ground turkey along with <shhhh!> sliding in some veggies, like zucchini, mushrooms and onion. Also, this recipe works for gluten-free eaters as the bread crumbs are eliminated and instant mashed potatoes are substituted!   This might be a good recipe for the NON-mushroom lovers to try ‘cause you will never be able to detect them in the final product!  Balsamic Glazed Turkey Meatloaf  is also low in fat, high in protein, and simply delicious!   I almost always double this recipe ‘cause the leftovers make a great meatloaf sandwich.  Enjoy!

Balsamic Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

2012-11-27 19.17.58

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small zucchini

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms 2012-12-02 02.31.17

1 small onion

3 tablespoons chopped garlic in oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

1 pound ground turkey (15% fat)

1 pound ground turkey breast (7-10% fat)

1 cup instant mashed potatoes

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup ketchup, divided

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (alternately, I use 1 tablespoon molassses)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with foil.

Cut up the vegetables into a “small dice”-size, approximately 1/4″ cube (or use a food processor to chop them). Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and onions sauteing for 4-5 minutes; take care not to allow them to burn.

Add chopped garlic, reduce heat to low and saute for 2 more minutes.

Remove pan from heat, season well with salt & pepper; set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg and herbs in a large bowl.

Stir in the parmesan, 1/4 cup ketchup,  mustard, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

Add the cooled vegetables; mix until just combined.

Crumble the ground turkey over the mixture in bowl and add the instant mashed potatoes.

Using care to not overmix, combine all the ingredients.

Pour the mixture onto the foil-lined pan, and shape into a rectangle (or you could use a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan).

Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar/molasses  in a small bowl; brush the mixture over the entire loaf.

Bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hours.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Our menu this night included cauliflower mash (“mock” mashed potatoes), steamed broccoli and rosemary bread.  here is a good recipe for the mock mashed potatoes  to try:  <http://laurasglutenfreepantry.com/2012/08/mock-mashed-potatoes-nightshade-free-dairy-free-option.html> <3

God loves you !

And I do, too.

Coleen