From my readers…

*I thank each and every one of you who take the time to e-mail me. At times, I will go through letters and post them here. I make sure to leave out last names for privacy purposes. If at any time you do not want your e-mail published, just let me know and I will gladly remove it. Love to you, Janelle

 

Hi Janelle,

Thank you so much for your blog- I look forward to your new posts all the time.  As a twenty-something young professional, I truly enjoy cooking but I oftentimes find that many recipes call for a complicated list of ingredients (i.e. expensive), which at times can be discouraging because that doesn’t necessarily work within my budget.  I appreciate your blog so much as you feature tasty recipes that look appetizing, but are reasonable and economical!  Thank you!

On an unrelated note, I absolutely LOVE how you style your hair!  How do you do it? Would you ever consider making a hair tutorial- I would love to learn!

Thanks again for everything!

Warmly,
Lindsay

Hi Janelle,

  I’m a follower of your blog and love your recipes.  I found you by also following Courtney’s Women Living Well blog.  Not too long ago I mentioned to you that I made your crescent chicken for an expecting Momma and you asked if I took any pictures.  Well that got me thinking, I’m part of a spouse group for military women whose husbands are attending flight school and we have a “Meals for Moms’ group that we make meals for expecting/new Momma’s.  So anyways, I made another crescent chicken today for an expecting Momma who is on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy and remembered to take some pics this time.  I don’t know if its something you’re looking for on your Meal Ministry Mondays or if you were just looking for more pics from your blog followers.
  I also brought her some homemade banana bread, strawberries and angel food cake for desert.  I do blog myself but keep it set for private family viewing.  So let me know if you would like to see the pics.  Hope you are having a great week!!
~Lindsey
Dear Janelle,
3 years ago I heard about a local sleep over ministry that intrigued me.  Anyone who knows me knows how I am a fanatic about throwing birthday parties, so why not take this passion and give it a purpose.  The more I prayed about it the more God revealed a straight path of His will, in encouraging these young ladies to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ. As moms of then 2nd and 3rd graders we were already fretting about middle school.  At the same time our church had a burst of growth that left our children feeling like a number.  Thankfully our church has since remedied the problem, but at first it was a call to action for us moms.  God revealed a group of girls who already knew each other from church but attended everything from public school to homeschool.  We wanted these girls to grow in Christ and accountability to each other. Every time I turned God revealed ideas, games, crafts, even ten perfect t-shirts to kick off our little group.  We began with a devotional book the girls could do at home with their moms, but as we came together once a month for a sleep over, God gave me words, lessons and verses to guide these young minds.  I am not a writer, always despised it in school, but writing this curriculum just flowed like it was coming from God himself.
We are now completing our third year, meeting once a month, and sending off our oldest girls to middle school.  This past year we stepped it up preparing them for serving at church and in the community.  Each month, as we dove into and dissected scripture (yes we moved on from devotionals to large passages of scripture), we served someone in the community.  We made bread for homeless, packed food boxes, made blankets for children’s hospital, raked rocks preparing a large garden for fall, made spa products for an outreach program and most recently made dinner for our local police department.  I had no idea how 12, 10-11 year olds would handle themselves in my kitchen making dinner.  They were fantastic.  We had stations to make sauce, cheese, stuff shells, make bread and gooey butter cake.  It went so smooth, that we fit in our Bible lesson about carrying the name of Jesus to the world before delivering the dinner.
Earlier that day I called all the surrounding police departments asking if there was anyone we could specifically pray for by name, and to let them know we would be praying for their departments.  I had no idea how this idea would be received. Surprisingly each department was so open and grateful for my phone call. We went to the station and as the dispatcher waved us into the lobby a 911 call came in about an accident.  We had the opportunity to drop everything and pray for those in the accident and the officers and paramedics that were pulling out of the parking lot with lights and sirens.  An officer came and showed us into the break room where we left the dinner and another call came in.  As he left we prayed, for the department for all those by name other departments gave me and the girls, so they would grow to always respect the officers in authority.  It was an amazing experience made possible only by God’s hand and perfect timing.  I attached some pics.  I hope you enjoy them.

Jen

Hey Janelle!  I’m fairly new to your blog, but am loving it & have been buying ingredients to try some of your yummy goodness!  I have a couple of questions, though.
1- I take meals to folks pretty frequently, but just use a few one-dish, stand-by recipes (pastas & casseroles).  I had never considered sending baked potatoes until I saw that you had done that.  Do you go ahead & load your potato w/ fixins & mash them up in the potato?  Also, does the aluminum foil help hold the heat?  I do not cook mine in foil & am wondering if I should to send them out?  Does this question even make sense?  Basically, I’d like to know how you do your loaded potatoes to send them to other families.
2- I’ve searched, but can’t find the how-to for the baked apples that you sent to the new mama.  I thought they were fried apples (like Cracker Barrel’s), but saw that you wrote ‘baked apples’ in the card.  I know I can search the internet for a trillion baked or fried apple recipes, but I’d like to know how you make yours (if you don’t mind sharing).
Thanks for your time!!
In HIM,
Tonya

Janelle,
I am so excited that I am looking for more opportunities to serve others through the making of meals.

Over the past month, I’ve developed a monthly meal plan with some family members to take meals to my aging grandpa. . .the young neighbor across the street had a liver transplant. While babysitting her three kids is an offer I’ve made, dropping meals off to a dad who is doing his best, feels like they are blessing ME!  Sometimes, even if a whole meal isn’t possible, something small let’s them know they are on your mind.  For example, St. Patrick’s Day–we picked up another box of Lucky Charms and milk for them so they had a little something special that day. I especially ike how my kids jumped at making cards to go with the gift!

After witnessing a horrific car accident in which two kids were critically injured on Tuesday–one with brain trauma (please pray for them). I first called 911, prayed immediately, and came home and made brownies for our crossing guard.  In three years, I had never thought to specifically express my thanks to her for helping to keep our kids safe. I will try to find out more information about the injured kids’ families and do something for them when the time is right.

It seems that making meals has become my way of blessing those in need. I never really looked at it like that before. I did it on occasion, but now I’m looking for opportunities  to help and bless people. I noticed a neighbor down the street is pregnant. While we say hellos as we pass, I do not know her but I am going to make an effort to minister her through food when the baby arrives.

I am finding most of the recipes you equip me with are not only delicious, but easy to follow. The meals I try out for my family are suitable for others and I appreciate how you are ministering to us!!

I can’t wait for the wedding soup recipe!!

Blessings,

Janene

 

Dear Janelle,
Isn’t God amazing? – I was just this morning thinking about doing some more posts on hospitality and I opened up my email and found your request. I would be honoured to share at your blog which focuses so much on a subject I am passionate about.

I have been opening up my home to the people who God sends our way for over 20 years and now I have a big family, I love to involve them all – it really is a family ministry. We have had people in our home from all walks of life and I thank God for the people who live in our neighbourhood we can reach out to – it is amazing who God places just down the road and all are so receptive to us when we take gifts of food (and ourselves!) to them. I mentioned the widow at the comment at Suzanne’s blog. She lives just across the road and it has been an honour to serve her – she knows she can always call on us for anything. My other neighbour is the lady who owns the new age store in my town and God also placed on my heart to visit her and invite her to our home. I’ve been told that she does not like Christians – I didn’t know that when I called on her – too late!
At my blog you can read some of my hospitality posts under the label ‘the hospitable family’. There are about 6 posts there which tell you my story. The most recent one ‘Tea and Honey Sandwiches’ gives you an idea of my heart and thoughts on the subject – I used to think only the talented cooks could offer hospitality and that you needed the right resources but God has taught me some important lessons about hospitality over the years.
Please let me know on what aspect of aspect of hospitality you want me to share – involving the whole family in hospitality perhaps? I love to encourage others to look beyond their circumstances and not use excuses (house too small, not enough chairs, not a good cook, limited finances etc) and just start somewhere! I try to imagine what could happen if Christians everywhere took seriously the command to offer hospitality without grumbling!

I’m so interested and excited to find out more about your meal ministry. Do you use a certified kitchen? How do you approach issues such as insurance and food safety when you are cooking meals for people outside of the church? I’m finding out about the legislation here that really prevents our church from having a wider ministry as my daughter is setting up her own little dessert business at the local community markets. She cannot cook out of the home and must find certified premises. She has big plans, she is an incredible baker – and this will also be an amazing ministry opportunity for her too – the widowed neighbour who has tested many of her desserts over the years is so excited about this and is going to tell all her friends. And this all started with her stirring bowls of cake mixture at the kitchen bench when she was two years old. Only councils and food safety legislation stand in her way but she wants to do it ‘right’ from the start.

I’ve visited your blog and will be back. It is so wonderful to find someone who shares my passion for hospitality and really believes in the power of a ‘ministry of food’ (I wish Jamie Oliver had not started using that term first!)
Please let me know exactly what you need for a post and I’ll do my best to come up with something that will be of encouragement to others.

Lovely to meet you,
Love, Ann

Janelle,
 I just wanted to send a quick email to let you know what an inspiration your website has become for me.  I had lost the excitement for cooking and you have helped restore it.  I have made a few of your meals the last three nights and my family has been so excited to see what I’m making next.  I grew up in an Italian family as well but one that didn’t like to share recipes.  :)  My mom could never tell me the recipe because as she says, “I just make it, its hard to write down the recipe.”  I do have quite a few meals that I make but it was getting redundant.  Since reading your blog I have also been inspired to talk to our pastor about starting a meal ministry.  It is something that we need so badly at our church.  We are currently relying on that person’s community group to handle meals and if that person isn’t in a community group then I’m afraid that they may go without the much needed care that goes into receiving a meal.  Any tips that you have or any advice that you have to help get me started in this ministry would be much appreciated.  Thanks again for all you do and for how encouraging your Blog is.  This is definitely the gift that god has bestowed on you and you use it well.
Blessing,
M.
Hi Janelle, I found your blog via Courtney’s.I am interested in beginning my own meal ministry… I love to cook, and am probably an intermediate level cook. I love the idea of blessing other people in simple ways… I have no idea where to start. I work 4 days a week and have 2 teenage daughters (one in college, one in HS). I know I would need to be a “nights and weekend” cook, but feel up to the challenge, just have no idea where to begin… I appreciate any suggestions you have!! Maureen

Janelle

Thanks for the quick reply and the nudge… I am composing an email to 2 friends asking them to join me in praying for discernment in what this might look like…

In the meantime, I have 1 loaf of blueberry bread in the oven, blueberry Bundt cake ready to follow (1 for a neighbor, 1 for the lady who always greets at church). I have also thought of 2 families I will cook for this week (both have a husband/dad deployed to Afghanistan).

I go to a large church, and believe it or not there is no formal meal ministry. Most people belong to small groups, which is where meal prep seems to be initiated.

I’ll let you know how this week turns out…

Blessings,

Maureen

Well, I did it! I made your BEST Banana Bread Ever recipe. It was a HIT!!! He (the hubs) loved it. I believe his exact words were, “this is delicious, absolutely delicious!” Thanks again for sharing your journey of cooking as a ministry with the rest of us. *sigh*…very inspiring.

Living a Seasoned Life,
Thea