Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

A week ago my friend and ministry partner Jan Hamil and I hosted the Spring Session of our Tasting Grace Mentoring Ministry. We went Southern all the way with homemade biscuits and delicious sausage gravy.  Tasting Grace is a “mentoring-in-the-kitchen” ministry of encouragement. It is our passion, and we have loved every single moment we’ve spent in the kitchen with the women who attend. All ages come! Women of all ages attend and that is part of the joy!

This past Saturday I was blessed to serve by teaching two sessions on Tasting Grace at the 2017 Georgia Baptist Women’s Spring Event.  I had the absolute best time! My husband Gary came and supported me and ran the book table. He was so much help and we sold 70 Tasting Grace books. I pray each and every attendee caught the JOY of Tasting Grace and will use it as a ministry outreach in her church and community.

I wanted to share the recipes here with anyone who happens to stop by.  As I shared with the girls last week, this is a moderation meal. Not something you eat often, but definitely enjoy on those occasions you prepare this delightful Southern delicacy.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS – Doubles easily!
(This makes about 10-12 medium sized biscuits.)
2 1/2 cups of White Lily self-rising flour
1/2 cup of Crisco shortening
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 stick of melted butter to brush biscuit tops when done

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a cast iron skillet or baking sheet pan w/Crisco.
  3. Mix flour and shortening together until the mixture resembles crumbs. You may use a fork or pastry tool, but I just use my hands and squish the flour and Crisco together.
  4. Next, pour in buttermilk and mix well. (I hold the bowl with my left hand and use my right hand to mix everything together – but you can use a large fork to mix if you prefer.)
  5. Now wash and dry your hands well and then “dust” your hands with more flour.
  6. Pinch off some dough, enough to fit in your palm  (you’ll get the size down as you make more and more biscuits) and roll it by cupping your hands with your palms sufficiently floured. Don’t handle the dough too much – my Grandmother always told me the biscuits would be tough if you overwork the dough. Just a quick knead is all you need! You will get better each time you make biscuits.
  7. Place the biscuits on the pan so they touch each other – this makes them softer. There’s a lesson here in staying close and working together! Amen!
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and serve.

The Fine Art of Biscuit-Making ~ “Roll & Cut Out” Biscuits OR “Pinching & Patting

  • I’m a pincher-patter-placer biscuit maker because that’s how my Granny taught me. I like to roll the dough and cut the biscuits out sometimes, but my go-to method is pinch and pat.
  • Accurately measure ingredients. Flour is measured by the “SPOON & LEVEL” method – spooning into a measuring cup and leveling off with a straight edge (like a butter knife). Sifting is not needed.
  • Shortening should be packed into a measuring cup so there are no air pockets. Then it is “cut” into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two knives or a fork. The result should be pieces the size of coarse crumbs.
  • Mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ones can be done effectively with a fork. First, make a well in the center of the flour. Using a fork to gently blend in the milk or buttermilk lessens the chance of over-mixing.
  • Rolling & Cutting: Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter top or use parchment paper. Knead gently only until dough holds together and can be rolled out – about 10 to 12 strokes or less. Please be careful not to not add too much additional flour when kneading and rolling.
  • Roll dough to about 1/2-inch thickness to ensure a biscuit with good height. Cut biscuits with a sharp-edged cutter. Cut straight down without twisting cutter to ensure tall, straight biscuits.
  • Place on a baking sheet 1-inch apart for crusty sides or almost touching for soft sides.

SAUSAGE GRAVY – doubles easily!
(Serves 4-6)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean pork sausage (mild, hot, sage flavored or a mixture)
[I like to mix the mild and sage and double the recipe by using a pound of each)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 cups milk (whole or 2% milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Crumble sausage and brown the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Sprinkle on half the flour and stir so that the sausage soaks it all up, then add more little by little. Stir it around and cook it for another minute or so.
  4. Pour in the milk, stirring constantly.
  5. Continue to cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it thickens. (This may take a good 5-7 minutes.)
  6. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and continue cooking until very thick and luscious!
  7. If it gets too thick too soon, just splash in another 1/2 cup of milk or more if needed. Taste and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Spoon the sausage gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately!

My friend, you will love serving your family this comfort food.  I plan to make this for breakfast when my family is together for our beach vacation this summer. I know my boys will love it and I hope to teach it to my daughters-in-law.  I’ve taught them both how to make biscuits, sausage gravy is next!

Happy May Day to all,

Gran Jan

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TASTING GRACE PRE-ORDER!

Today is a BIG day – a very BIG day – for several reasons! First, it is the inaugural day of GRAN JAN CAMP! That will be a post for later when my heart has calmed enough that I can even write. “Grandmother Camp” is something I learned about from Esther Burroughs years ago before I even became a grandmother. (She calls hers Nana Camp.)  Zeke is my only camper this year. The prerequisite to camp is finishing first grade. He just did! Next year I will have 3 campers – Zeke, Madie, and Jackson! And so it goes…until Emery & Abe are added. Gran Jan’s JOY runs deep. I can’t wait to post…Tasting-Grace-Pre-buy-800x671

Next, today is the day (Summer Solstice) that pre-sale begins for the book of which I am co-author with Leah Adams. TASTING GRACE is a woman’s mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry. It first began in the hearts of Jan Hamil and I. It has absolutely brought us so much JOY – the simplicity of Tasting Grace is so refreshing. Sharing the Word of God, teaching a cooking skill, sharing a recipe, and sweet fellowship together. Mentoring that is practical and precious in a day of drive-through, hurry up, social media hype!

And have I shared with you that BETH MOORE wrote the foreword for the book? What grace for Leah and me to have that blessing! Only God!

Tasting Grace is a book that offers women  a complete how-to guide to hosting their own event. The book includes four weeks of Bible study with a focus on biblical mentoring. There are five days of Bible study in each week of the study that will take about 10-15 minutes each day to complete. Also in the book are recipes, devotionals, and tips from Leah and me on how to host a Tasting Grace kitchen event in the reader’s home or church.

Tasting Grace will not be in bookstores until August 1st, but our wonderful publisher, Warner Press, is opening up for pre-launch orders. Beginning TODAY, and running through July 18th, you can pre-buy Tasting Grace.

If you pre-order the book, you will get some extras: a digital version of the book in addition to your print copy. TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!!!  You will also get access to a private Facebook page for the book. Also, in addition to the wonderful recipes contained in the book, pre-buy friends will receive a few extra special recipes that are mine and Leah’s favorites!

Please consider pre-ordering a book today! 🙂

Love & prayers and much thanks,

GranJan-BlogSignature

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A Time For Everything

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, and the first verse of Chapter 3 may be the most well known passage, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.”  Everything – all of life translates to seasons. From the beauty found in the four seasons of a year to the way the seasons of our lives change.  Everything.  To everything there is a season. 

Autumn may be my favorite season on the calendar, but I look forward to Winter and the joy the Christmas season brings, then there is the anticipation of a new year in just four weeks. I really love gardening in the Spring and Summer too. Each season brings its own beauty and joy. I want to savor some family memories here on Gran Jan’s Joy, so I’m going to post some pictures from our lives for the past several months…seasons and times for which I am so thankful.

Summer Family Breakfast with Four Generations at the Table!

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Zeke and Madie in the cornfield across the road from our farm.

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Sweet Emery in a dress I made for her…

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A trip to the Farmers Market with the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables…

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Gran Jan’s JOY – all five of them!

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Riding backroads…Georgia Red Clay

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My oldest son and his family enjoying time at our pond…

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My youngest son and his son fishing…

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Grandyounguns…there is nothing sweeter!  I love that they are all so close in age.

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Moonflowers from my summer garden…it was dark by the time the bloom unfurled.

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Sweet peach ice cream on a hot summer evening…

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Summer storms and rain puddles for grandsons to jump!

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Homemade Fig Preserves…

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Front Porch Swings on Summer Saturday Mornings…

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My dad and my youngest grandson Abe…I love this picture so much.

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Zeke’s First Day of Kindergarten…that season came too soon!

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Sitting by the pond and the firepit my husband built for me on a cool summer evening…

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Sweetest (and best) little soccer player…Jackson Morton!

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A ride with my parents and this…the house my Dad lived in when he was 15…a true memory lane trip.

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A painting party with some sweet friends…girlfriend therapy…

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Baby quilts I made for new grandchildren born to two special friends, Pat Boutwell & Joan Falldine…

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Emery’s Minnie Mouse 2nd Birthday Party…Delightful! (I made her shirt, made me so happy!)

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My youngest son ordained as a deacon at our church…no words to describe my joy.

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1 & 2 Thessalonians Bible Study, “For not all have faith, but the LORD is faithful.”

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A trip to the beach in October with my sweetie…it was so special!

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While at the beach we attended Sunrise City Church – a highlight of the Fall Season for us.

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Meeting Eric Metaxas at Covenant Care’s fundraiser and getting my book signed…

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A text with grandgirl Miss Madie sporting a GranJan creation…day made!

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White violas in a strawberry jar…one of my Fall traditions…

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Coming home to find love notes from my husband all over the house…what a blessed woman I am!

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Fall cotton fields…I love living in the country…

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Christmas dresses for my grandgirls, made at a weekend sew-in with my BFF Lanie!

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Babysitting our youngest grandchild, little Abe, two weekends in a row this past month!

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These pictures cover lots of time from this past Summer and Fall and each one is a sweet memory for me. I’m so thankful for my family and the JOY they bring to me. I’m also thankful for this season of my life…grandmothering these young ones. I can truly say I’ve loved and learned in every season of my life and I pray that continues to hold true for me as long as God leaves me here. He is so faithful.

GRANJAN

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The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst

I’m in a new job – I started June 1, so tomorrow will be four months. It’s a great job but a hard one. I’ve been working with my current employer for 25 years, but this is a new position – working as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. Even the title is, well, long. It has been so hard yet at the same time so rewarding. I’m learning so many new things and although it is challenging, I’m discovering that being stretched means I’m still flexible…and that is rewarding in and of itself.

I received a gift card a couple of weeks ago from Tammy Slayton for the Lifeway Bookstore. (Tammy was the Event Coordinator for the recent Priscilla Shirer Live conference recently held at Second Baptist Church, and she is a delight!) I went to our local Lifeway store and purchased a new book with my gift card. The title appealed to me because of the busyness of my new job and all that accompanies long hours… The book is by Lysa TerKeurst entitled The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.  Click on the title here THE BEST YES to read more about the book and order one for yourself.

This list below was featured on K-Love radio one morning last week with the author herself reading them. She is a marvelous speaker and I hope to hear her in person one day.  This book, along with what the Lord is speaking to me in my time with Him is more of the “Sacred Echo” in my heart and life.  I pray it encourages you too…I love her use of the word “seasons.”  And as I said, I’m in a very busy season of life right now.  Good, strong, blessed, healthy, and thankful – but busy.

TEN WAYS TO GRACIOUSLY SAY NO WHEN YOU FEEL PRESSURED TO SAY YES:

Personal:
1. While my heart wants to say yes, yes, yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.

2. I am honored by your request but I’m in a season of refocusing my priorities and have committed not to add anything new right now.

3. After living at an unhealthy breakneck pace for too long, I’m learning to realistically assess my capacity. Though I would love to say yes, the reality of my limitations means I must say no this time.

4. I so appreciate you asking me, but I must be brave and decline this opportunity. Saying no is hard for me but necessary in this season. Thank you for understanding.

5. I’ve promised my family not to add any new commitments to my schedule right now. Thank you for our friendship that allows me to be honest with my realities.

Professional:
6. Thank you for thinking of me. Your project sounds wonderful. However, as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give your project the attention it deserves right now.

7. While I would love to connect about your new project, I’ve discovered this is one of those activities I must give up while trying to ____________________ (write my book, start my business, stick to my project, etc.) Saying yes would just enable my unhealthy habit of procrastination. Thank you for understanding and helping me push through to the finish line.

8. There is nothing more that I love than helping others in my field get started. Unfortunately, I get so many requests for this that I’m no longer able to meet in person. So, I’ve created this attached document with my best advice. (Create a standard PDF for instances like this so you only have to type out your advice one time.)

9. While I don’t have time for a lunch appointment, I’d love to connect for a few minutes over the phone. I can talk from 8-8:30 AM.

10. Thank you so much for caring enough about me to want my involvement. Unfortunately, I’m not able to participate this time. But I’m certainly cheering for your continued success.

Blessings to you on this last day of September. We are entering the sweetness of my favorite “season” on the calendar…Autumn. I hope earlier nightfall and cooler temperatures will find me reading more of this book and embracing the truths Mrs. TerKeurst so wonderfully shares.

GRANJAN

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40 Days – Lent 2014

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard any mention of “Lent.” However, this marks the third year I’ve been intentional during this “40 Days” time.  Intentional for me in that I focus my mind and heart on why we as Christians celebrate this time of year.  For those of you like me, who did not grow up in a church that formally practiced this tradition, here is a definition of Lent:

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Holy Week/Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays.

We may not have observed Lent, but for over 20 years my church (under the direction of my wonderful husband Gary) presented “The Warner Robins Passion Play” for our community. Through music, worship, and drama, we depicted the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Some of the most wonderful times as a worship ministry have been during this Holy Season.  I love this time of year – everything shouts NEW LIFE!

I want to share the devotionals that I have used during the 40 days of Lent.  The first one is free and is from Ann Voskamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience.” Click here on “The Trail to the Tree.”  It is a beautiful devotional. This is how Ann describes Lent: “It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”

Another one is a book entitled Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  It is a 40 day devotional from the New Testament gospel of Mark.  It’s poetic and dramatic and I loved every page.

This year I am reading a book entitled Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge that his church (National Community Church) in Washington, DC has used during Lent.

Please let me share that I don’t see Lent as anything “ritualistic” or a way to garner favor with Jesus.  God’s saving grace is free and I can’t do anything to cause God to love me any more than He already does.  I won’t “give up” anything – He gave His all for me. And another thing – my faith is a daily faith – experienced minute by minute.  These 40 days are special to this time of year and the significance of Easter in the life of a believer – but EVERY DAY is a gift of grace to me!  I especially love this song by Keith & Kristyn Getty – “The Power of The Cross.” Here is the first portion…
Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us!
Took the blame, bore the wrath 
we stand forgiven at the cross.
I pray you will seek daily solitude these next 40 days – in prayer – in worship, thanking Jesus for His supreme sacrifice on the cross for you.
Gran Jan
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The Women of Christmas – Buy Books & Get Books Free

Christmas is less than four months away and the wonderful deal I’m sharing with you here is one of the sweetest blessings available for you and a friend TODAY!  It’s a great “Buy One Get One Free” (or buy 100 and get 100) beautiful Christmas book by none other than Liz Curtis Higgs!  I love to read seasonal devotionals during the year, especially at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas…and Liz Higgs is one of my favorite authors and speakers.  She is delightfully witty, and her teachings are always rich and full of her knowledge and love for God’s Word. The Women of Christmas

The book is called The Women of Christmas and explores the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna.  Each verse is unwrapped with tender care and introduces you afresh to The Women of Christmas. You will follow in their footsteps, so that you too may prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way this season. I don’t know about you, but I desire that EVERY Christmas season! This beautiful book also includes a study guide and suggestions for immersing yourself in the sacred season of Christmas.

So go ahead and buy one for a friend (or four) and get one (or four) for yourself FREE from the fine folks of WaterBrook Multnomah! Start your Christmas shopping early with this special offer for The Women of Christmas. There is no limit on the number of books you can buy, and the publisher will match one for one while supplies last. This offer is valid until September 16, 2013 for U.S. addresses only.  The book goes on sale September 17, 2013; and free books will ship at this time.

Go RIGHT HERE for all the details on ordering and receiving your free books!

I’ve already placed my order!

Merry Christmas and  Merry Shopping,

Jan

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1,000 GIFTS, #500 to #508

500. Home. A wonderful place to be on this cold wintry night. I love that this 500th gift – a tribute to my home – is right in the middle of my counting to 1,000. Our home is also a centerpiece of grace for our family, our ministry, HOME. A place to just be – a respite from busy lives. So very thankful for HOME. A gift of His grace, it belongs to Him.
501. A time of sweet fellowship in our HOME for the pastors and their wives from our church. We enjoyed time around the table for a meal, and then time just sitting together, laughing and sharing stories. A gift to be together – to serve together.
502. The Jesus Storybook Bible where “every story wispers His Name.”  We love this Bible for children and enjoy reading it to our grandchildren. I LOVE reading it for me!
503.  This book, “The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes”  was a favorite book to read at bedtime with our boys when they were small. My grandchildren have it and I gave a copy to our pastor’s wife and student ministry associate’s wife too.
504. An awesome time of prayer and planning with Cindy, Teresa, and Jennifer last week. I am so blessed to serve with these precious ladies in women’s ministry. Our hearts are knit together in His love and we had one of the best meetings in years. We are planning some missions projects and also some special events for the women in our church. 
505. Wednesday night Bible study is so special. I look forward to spending time with some very special ladies each week.  We are almost through with Duty or Delight by Tammie Head. I would have loved to have had this material 30 years ago when I was a young pastor’s wife caught up in “spiritual performance.”  Thankful to say today that my delight is in Him and serving Him is not a duty.
506. A very special time Saturday morning with my whole family here for breakfast. I really enjoy simple times the best and we surely enjoy each other’s company.  My three grandchildren are beginning to play together and it is delightful.
507. It was a joy to attend my church’s “Anna’s Banquet,” this past Saturday. The banquet is for widows. Our pastors and deacons serve the widows a meal and then we just enjoyed each other’s company. I loved sitting with Sarah, Sara, Aileen and Frances.  PRECIOUS!

508. I began my list with thankfulness for my earthly HOME, but I am very aware (and very sure) that my real HOME is Heaven. But until I take up residence there, I want to treat every day as special – precious – gifts of His grace, because as James 4:14 says…

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time,
and then vanisheth away.

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