Festive Friday #2

Festive Fridays are for counting blessings, recapping posts, announcing giveaways, and sharing special treats with you.

Special Treat

Since I plan to be at the She Speaks 2017 conference on my daughter’s birthday, we are celebrating her half-birthday with a snowman party this weekend.  Even though the temperature is forecasted to be in the 60’s, we’ll have a snowy, girly holiday inside with four of her friends.  I kept my Christmas tree up and replaced the red and gold decor with snowmen and snowflakes.  We’ll decorate wintry butter cookies and create snowmen crafts.

Here’s my recipe for Ultimate Baked Potato Soup, in the lineup with all the white foods at our party.

  • 6 large Russet potatoes, or 3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes (your choice)
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 t. seasoned salt (I like Penzey’s 4S)
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 cups milk (I use skim)
  • 1 14-oz. can fat-free evaporated milk
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings:  shredded cheddar or Colby cheese, sour cream, crumbled bacon, sliced green onions

Scrub baking potatoes.  Wipe dry with clean towel.  Rub with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until tender when knife is inserted, about 1 hour.  Cool until able to handle.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out insides and set aside. Reserve the skins for other use (great for potato skin appetizers, and they freeze well in resealable bags).

In a large stock pan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in flour, seasoned salt, and pepper.  When roux is light brown, slowly whisk in 2 cups milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture is incorporated.  Pour in one can of fat-free evaporated milk, which gives the soup wonderful body and richness.  Season with nutmeg and cayenne pepper.  Heat through on medium-low heat, stirring often with whisk.

Place potatoes in milk mixture.  Heat through and emulsify with an immersion blender, or put batches in a blender and pulse until mixture is smooth, adding more milk as needed.  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Recap of This Week’s Posts

On Monday I shared a fresh batch of book reviews.

On Tuesday I wrote about a time to cry and a time to laugh.

On Wednesday I wrote about grieving and dancing (memoir poem included!).

On Thursday I shared my past struggle with idol worship.

Questions for reflection: (please comment below)

Which post from this week resonated most deeply with you?

Have you joined the online Bible study?  If not, please visit the link now!

Counting Blessings

  • I am currently in second place in the Fear Fighting Bloggers Contest.  If you will take 30 seconds and vote for me, I will be so grateful!  Vote 17 in the comments section on this link (click here)! One vote per email/IP address. Please comment if you voted for me.  I will have a special prize drawing for all my voters at the end of February.
  • My new book Newness of Life is priced at 99 cents through Sun. 1/22.  If you have downloaded the book, please post a review to Amazon and consider reviewing it on your blog, thanks!
  • January is more than halfway through, and this is the first time in years I haven’t succumbed to serious winter blues.  My passion for writing is apparently giving me a great boost of endorphins!


Congratulations to Mary Ann H.,

this week’s giveaway winner!  Thanks for your comment in the online Bible study group!

Mary Ann will receive a copy of Jen Wilkin’s book None Like Him and a magnet set of these beauties:

More prizes will be given on Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, so please join the online Bible study today!

Congratulations to Meghan W., winner of a free download of Newness of Life!  Thanks for entering the giveaway!

My new book Newness of Life will help you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so you can understand God’s plan in your current season.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him.  We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.

I look forward to hearing how God is working in your current life season.  I hope you will join in the fun and discussion on the online Bible study.

Please spread the word about Newness of Life on social media, using the buttons below to share this post!

This post will be linked up at #dancewithjesus, #faithnfriends, #freshmarketfriday, #graceandtruth, and #fridayfive. Visit my linkups page to find links to these wonderful blogs.


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4 thoughts on “Festive Friday #2

  1. What a fun post, Sarah! I, too, was blessed by None Like Him — and I was able to use it with children (if you can believe it!) to teach the incommunicable attributes of God. Truly,the book has even shaped my prayer life.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Michele. Jen Wilkin has such a clear, refreshing voice in this noisy culture.
      Blessings to you!

  2. What a great idea to make sure your readers stay updated and get a behind the scenes look at your life as well! I already voted in the Fear Fighting contest, but I’m still praying for you there.

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