Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cooking in College

As a college student living off campus, I value the cooking skills that 4-H taught me. My roommates and I take turns cooking and they are also very good cooks!

Beef, Potato & Pepper Skillet

  • · 1 package (about 17 oz.) fully-cooked beef tips with gravy
  • · 2 cups frozen seasoned chunky-style hash brown potatoes
  • · 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • · 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • · 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • · ½ cup water
  • · 1/8 tsp. pepper, or to taste

Combine all ingredients in large, nonstick skillet; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 14 minutes, or until peppers are tender, stirring occasionally.

After-Class Beef Pot Roast Dinner

  • · 3-3 1/2 lb. boneless beef roast
  • · 1 envelope (0.7 oz.) Italian dressing mix
  • · 2 large onions, each cut into wedges
  • · 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • · 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • · 1/2 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
  • · 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • · 2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
  • · Salt and pepper, to taste

Press dressing mix evenly onto all surfaces of pot roast. Place onions and garlic in 4 1/2 to 5 1/2-quart slow cooker; top with pot roast. Add bell peppers and broth. Cover and cook on high 5 hours or on low 8 hours. Add zucchini. Continue cooking, covered, 30 minutes or until pot roast is fork-tender.

Carve pot roast into slices; season with salt and pepper, as desired.

I like to cook with a lot of beef around my apartment. According to the Texas Beef Council website (, “a 3 ounce serving of beef is an excellent source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus and a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin.

“This is quite a nutritional bargain, as a 3 ounce serving of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet while providing 51 percent of the protein, 38 percent of the zinc and 37 percent of the vitamin B12 we need every day.”

Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8b) I thank God for cattle! If you have quick and easy recipes, I would love to try them!

Happy Trails and God Bless!

To contact Kristen with questions or comments, email her at

Thursday, October 22, 2009


In August, my good buddy Carly and I checked one item off our Bucket List. We went skydiving. Yes, we jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

I was extremely nervous before we arrived at the location, but once I saw that it was a legitimate skydiving facility and we would be jumping tandem with professionals, the excitement set in.

My instructor has been a professional skydiver for more than ten years and makes between 10 and 12 jumps a day. He has a record of every jump he has ever made and I accompanied him on his 13, 420th jump. Knowing this helped keep my nerves calm.

The training was very short. We watched a video about body position when exiting the plane, the freefall position and the landing position. We each had to practice these and then we were ready to jump.

The jump plane was cramped so I was definitely ready to get out of it. Once we reached 13,500 feet, it was time to jump. We scooted to the door, I crossed my arms over my chest, looked up, and away we went.

The feeling was more of a flying sensation rather than falling. It was truly amazing to see the earth while falling through the clouds.

During the freefall, which lasted about a minute, we exceeded 120 mph. Once the parachute was pulled, the canopy flight lasted about four minutes. Carly and I both had a nice soft landing on our feet in the landing zone.

Over Fall Break, a few weeks ago, Carly and I, along with 23 other friends made a trip with the intentions of going skydiving again. However, due to 100% cloud cover, we were unable to jump. The group traveling with me also planned to camp and cook out, but it was chilly and wet.

I had been working on details for the skydiving trip for several weeks prior to leaving. Out of all the plans I made, not one of them worked out.

An amazing friend of mine had to remind me (several times) to not stress and just enjoy the trip and I’m so glad he did! The trip gave me the opportunity to become acquainted with new friends and get to know old friends better.

A famous quote by Robert South says, “A true friend is a gift of God.”

Happy Trails and God Bless!

To contact Kristen with questions or comments, email her at

Thursday, October 15, 2009


While sitting in the Student Union Building one day, waiting for my next class to start, I flipped through my student planner. It includes information about Texas Tech and various other important facts that college students may need to know.

The Listening Skills section caught my attention. The following is what the Texas Tech University Sophomore Year Experience planner says about listening:

“Listening (unlike hearing, which is a physical process not requiring thinking) gives meaning to the sounds you hear. It helps you understand. Listening is an active process that requires concentration and practice. In learning, the instructor’s responsibility is to present information; the student’s responsibility is to be “available” for learning. Not listening means you will be unable to learn the material.”

I had never thought about the difference between listening and simply hearing. When we listen, we engage our brain and actively understand. We may be storing new thoughts away or linking new points with old knowledge.

Do you truly listen to your daily conversations? What about truly listen to lyrics in songs? Do you truly listen and engage your brain in church?

I am guilty of sitting in class, hearing the lecture, and my mind is a million miles away from the subject being discussed. I have learned that in order for me to focus and listen, I have to take notes. Therefore, when I’m in church, I take a little notebook with me and take notes. My notes are a nice reference to be able to go back and mediate over. Also, I enjoy looking back and remembering what God pointed out to me that day.

This week God has put listening heavy on my heart. The verse that keeps coming to my mind is- Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

In the next few days, I look forward to spending quality time with God and simply listening to Him. I’m going to work on making an active effort to hear what He has for me.

The words ‘listen’ is mentioned 413 times in the New International Version of the Bible. I believe that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!

Happy Trails and God Bless!

To contact Kristen with questions or comments, email her at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Total Money Makeover

Over the past week, I have visited with several people around campus, and the number one stressor of those I talked to is money.

When I graduated from high school in 2008, a family very dear to my heart gave me the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I had been reading chunks at a time and just recently finished.

The Total Money Makeover taught me so much! Dave writes, “The proven Total Money Makeover plan I teach has become very successful not because I have found the secrets of the rich. Not because I have some revelation that no one else has ever had about credit cards. Not because I am the only one with a ‘Debt Snowball’ plan.

Instead, this proven plan is having a national impact because I realized that to change your money thing, you have to change. You have to change your life. When you change your life, you will get out of debt, give and invest at an unbelievable rate.

When you read the stories in this book, you will not read about mathematics or magic systems, but about changed lives. You will read about transformed marriages and relationships. You will even read about people losing weight! Because when you change your life, you really change your life.”

I found this book very inspiring. It includes baby steps to getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, saving money, investing and giving. Dave Ramsey not only teaches about how to stay out of debt and handle my money, he includes God as part of the process and the importance of joyful giving.

Romans 12:2, which Dave includes in his book, says Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The Total Money Makeover motto is “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else. “ I believe this motto can apply not only to our finances, but to our Christian lives.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone, especially students and young adults!

Happy Trails and God Bless!

To contact Kristen with questions or comments, email her at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Procrastination and Prayer

Procrastination seems to be a common occurrence for college students. Some tend to procrastinate doing homework, studying for tests, doing laundry and everything else as well.

This week, I definitely fell into the category of ‘procrastinators’. Classes are in full swing, homework is being assigned and tests are starting. With a busy week, writing my column was on my list of ‘things to do’, but as the week progressed, it continued to be moved to the next day.

Late at night, when I finally sat down to type it, I worked for a decent amount of time before I opened another file on my computer. Technology is too good sometimes and after closing the second file, everything I had been working on was gone.

Frustration was the first to set in, but after taking a second to just sit there, looking at the blank screen, I concluded that those were not the words that God wanted me to share with you this week. So after a good nights sleep and time with God, here is Kristen’s Corner for the week-

Philippians 4:4-7 says Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Life can be rough and to rejoice always, in every circumstance isn’t easy; but the Lord is near and that is how we have ability and the hope to find joy in every situation.

Stress is a big issue in our society. Jobs, money, school, grades and relationships all can cause worry in our lives. But, as Christians, we have the peace of God, which goes beyond all our understanding, to guard our hearts and minds.

There is nothing like the power that is in prayer. This week, reflect on what stresses you out and surrender it to God through prayer. It may have to be a daily or even hourly act of surrendering, but the joy and peace that come with God being in control is truly amazing.

Happy Trails and God Bless!

To contact Kristen with questions or comments, email her at