Sheet Pan Pork Chops, Sweet Potato, Apple And Asparagus

To celebrate the second day of fall, here is a great sheet pan recipe loaded with autumn favorites. Not only is this incredibly healthy, it's also an easy-cleanup meal. And we all love that!

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
6 pork chops
1 apple, sliced
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
1 bundle of asparagus

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

2. Combine brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place each pork chop in the mixture and turn to coat. Lay them down the middle of the sheet pan.

3. Toss the apples and sweet potato in the mixture and fill the edges of the pan with them.

4. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

5. Toss asparagus with olive oil and the remaining spice mixture.

6. At the 20-minute mark, add seasoned asparagus to the sheet pan. Roast an additional 10-15 minutes.

Happy First Day Of Fall!

It may be hot and humid in southern Iowa, but the trees say that it's fall! We hope you enjoy a few pictures of the property celebrating the first day of autumn.

Words For Wednesday


Chalkboard Sandwich Board Signs

We're always trying to change things up in our displays when we go to art shows. Some of the display pieces get boring, while others are just out of date. The goal is to look more professional and more customer-friendly than the show before. With that in mind, last week we put together some adorable chalkboard signs to replace the folded pieces of paper we had been using.

To get started, I used a ruler to draw a rectangle with a notch removed for its little legs.

On the copier, I reduced the drawing to 75% and 50% so we would have three sizes of signs. Those copies were then turned into cardboard templates that we can keep and reuse.

From there we traced them onto wood and cut them out with the band saw and scroll saw. A note here: we used two hinges to hold the signs together. In hindsight, we should have chosen our wood based on the length of the screws. They were longer than the thickness of our wood, so we had to add a couple of steps to this process. More on that in a minute…

Facing Your Fears

Several years ago I had the opportunity to take a ride in an historic PT-19 airplane. The pilot took me all over town to take pictures and write an article for the paper. We even had time to fly over our house and see our property from the sky, which was incredible.
When we landed, I profusely thanked the pilot for taking such good care of me and returning me to the ground in one piece. Then I admitted that I have a fear of heights. After we had a big laugh, he said that I shouldn't have any more problems now that I had survived this flight.
I thought I was over it, too, until last weekend at a ladies retreat in northern Iowa. In between some of the most powerful teaching sessions I've ever heard, we had the chance to try several outdoor activities like archery, an incredible pallet maze and paddle boating. We even got to go out on the water in a pontoon boat and ride around the lake.
Right smack dab in the middle of the camp, though, was what I wanted to do more than anything…

Fall Fruit Crisp

Getting out of my comfort zone in the kitchen is a challenge for me. I rely heavily on the exact measurements of a recipe, and I need to know the specific number of minutes something is supposed to bake or cook. I trust the person who developed the recipe much more than I trust my own skills.

But when I read a recipe for an apple pear crisp that I apparently cut out of a magazine several years ago, I didn't like the way they made it. The ratios seemed weird and the combination of ingredients didn't sound good at all. So I did it my way, using the recipe as a rough skeleton.

When Danny tried it, he said it was wonderful my way and that I need to have more confidence in my own abilities. All this learning and growing from one crisp - who knew?

4 medium pears, diced
1 apple, diced
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup almond butter
1 cup honey and oats granola

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2-quart …

The Life-And-Death Power Of Your Words

She sat across from me at the table, swirling the straw in her glass of pop. Her concerns poured out of her like water from the pitcher the waitress brought.

Once the words are out of your mouth, they can't be put back in.

The plates of food began to cool as she told me about the social media post she wrote, just to vent her frustration. She hit send without realizing it would be read by the wrong people. What was once a personal complaint turned into a topic of public conversation. Heat-of-the-moment words sliced into a heart that was never supposed to see them.

Now she was convicted of the power of those words. Her heart was broken for the heart she had inadvertently broken herself.

Why is it so difficult to control the tongue, one of the smallest parts of the body?

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 10:11

Poorly chosen words do violence wherever they fly. They demoralize, destroy and demolish everything in the…