Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meatloaf & Ten Pounds of Love

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength."
Isaiah 40:29

"Mama!  Meatloaf!"
Zach yelled, as he ran down the hall towards our room,
after peering into the oven
and seeing what was baking this morning.

Zach loves his Mama's meatloaf, (recipe at end)
and bless his and Kevin's hearts,
they have been scrounging for whatever they could find to eat for days now.
I haven't felt like standing up for more than a few minutes at a time, literally.
Doing what I have to do has been just about all I can manage,
so my normal amount of cooking has been out of the question.

This morning, I felt a bit stronger,
so I decided to get up and use what strength God was so graciously giving me
to make them a decent meal.

Hearing the excitement in his voice, made it all worthwhile.

How I praise God that I was able to actually make a meatloaf,
peel, clean, boil, and mash potatoes,
make gravy,
heat some canned greens and canned corn,
and present a homemade meal to my little family.

It tasted extra-good today.

You don't realize how blessed you are to be able to do the common things,
until you find that you cannot do them at all.

It about wore me out and did me in, but thankfully, I got it done.
Tonight, I'm pretty much totally spent, but I feel so good about knowing
God helped me to accomplish all of that.
I was even able to help with the dishes and other little chores.
To God be the glory!

As I was standing by the counter today, reaching in to remove the potatoes from the bag,
I noticed the strangest thing.

Almost every potato I pulled out, nearly every, single one of them,
was in the shape of a heart!

I know...I know...the cross on the counter (click here to read the story) was so unusual...
now heart-shaped potatoes?
You must be wondering if I have really gone off the deep end and
if I'm completely off my rocker by now.  :)
Can I just tell you that I still haven't been able to bear to clean that cross off the counter?
It is still there...right where I first spotted it that night.
I am very careful to not allow water to splash on it or a cleaning rag to come into contact with it.

So today....
I stood there, not hardly believing my eyes.
I don't know, maybe this is common to other people.
Perhaps you are used to reaching your hand into a bag of potatoes,
only to pull out potatoes that have naturally grown and formed into the shape of hearts,
but as for me, this was a new experience altogether!

I took pictures, because I knew it would sound too absurd to believe.
This is exactly what was spread out on our kitchen counter today.

I couldn't believe it.
I reached for the bag to read and see if they were any unusual type variety,
but, of course, they weren't....just plain-old, russet potatoes.
In a ten pound bag.

I went online to research "heart-shaped potatoes"
and found this interesting tidbit here, in case you're interested.

Did someone actually try to make these potatoes come out heart-shaped?
Would someone go to all that trouble, only to allow them to be sold at an everyday grocery store?
One article I found online told of an elderly lady who had found one heart-shaped potato
in the bottom of her potato bag and had taken comfort in feeling like it had somehow been
sent to her from a deceased loved one.
Our ten pound bag was almost full of heart-shaped potatoes...
nearly every time I pulled one out, I found one similar.

I don't know how it happened or what caused it or if it was just a fluke.

But, me.....
I just had to stand there and smile today....
thinking of God's love and how He chooses to show it in a thousand, little ways.
Who would have thought?
To me, every one of those hearts were tangible tokens...
that I could hold in my hands...
that were so unusual there was no way I would...or could overlook their peculiarity.
The message they brought to me was
that He is with me, He will give me the strength I need,
and He will pull me through this trial.
To me, those heart shapes, every one of them, was from the dear Lord...straight to me.

Here I was, weak as a kitten, hardly feeling like standing up,
but bound and determined to cook today,
and God dropped these tokens of love
ten pounds of them in all....
potatoes in the shape of hearts...just to make me smile.:)

It definitely gave me a much-needed boost.

It seems I feel better one minute, then overdo it,
and I can be right back to square one...wheezing for all I'm worth, the next minute.

We've been laughing around our house...calling ourselves Zach and Wheezie!
Remember those two characters in Dragon Tales?
When Zach was little, he used to enjoy me reading the books to him.

God is with us, and we are pressing on...hoping for brighter and healthier days in 2014,
and thanking Him for all the love He continuously showers us with....
including sweet, unexpected blessings....like heart-shaped potatoes!  :)

As for me...I am still learning...how to be still.
taking life at a much-slower pace,
heading back to my recliner...frequently,
and listening closely to His still, small voice...
however He is choosing to speak.  :)

Now, about that meatloaf.....
Back before I was married, while still living in Ohio,
I used to work the evening shift in the proof department of a large bank in downtown Dayton.
On my break, I would often walk over to Elder-Beerman Department Store
to eat supper in their cafeteria.
They had the BEST meatloaf.
After we moved away, I tried for years and years to find meatloaf that could compare
to the kind I ate there, all to no avail.
I, myself have tried numerous recipes, various strategies, and different concoctions,
but I just never could quite replicate that wonderful taste.
That is, until a while back.
I kept experimenting, and this is about as close as I could ever get.
All three of us love this recipe.
It is a keeper...and oh, so simple and easy to make!


2 pounds of ground beef
1 egg
Breadcrumbs (to taste, I use probably about 1/4 cup or so)
1 packet of meatloaf seasoning mix
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped

GLAZE for top:
Approx. 3 Tbsp. Ketchup, mixed until smooth with approx. 3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

Mix all ingredients (except glaze) together with hands, until well-blended.
Form into a loaf and place in a glass or casserole baking dish.
Spread glaze all across the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Let sit for just a moment or two, then slice.

Some other tidbits....
if you want a less greasy meatloaf, try adding some canned milk to the recipe.
It seems to really help absorb the grease.
Also, I sometimes add a packet of dry Lipton Onion Soup Mix, if I have it on hand.
Some people add shredded carrots and other things.
But, honestly, making it plain and simple like the recipe above is our favorite at the Smith house!
It is as close to Elder-Beerman's recipe/taste as I have ever been able to find....or make.


  1. Great blog, Sister. Your blogs are very inspiring, and encouraging. The heart shaped potatoes are very unique. The recipe for meatloaf sounds very scrumptious! Can't wait to try it. Hope you are feeling stronger today. praying for you all. Hope to see you soon. Love you more then you know! Your sis,

    1. Oh, it was SO nice to get on here and see your sweet comments today! You are so precious to me, and so many times, you are the wind beneath my wings. We hope to see you all soon, too, and are praying for God to send the healing we all need. I love you more than you will ever know and always cherish you in my heart. Love, Cheryl

  2. I make a similar meatloaf, but use ketchup/brown sugar combination in the meatloaf as well. In fact, I may make that for dinner now...thanks for the idea! Those potatoes are unique and, well, lovely! So glad to hear you are feeling better!

    1. Thanks, Jess! Glad you are inspired to make meatloaf...we just finished ours up last night! It is so great leftover, too. :) So thankful to be feeling better, too...and so thankful you stopped by! God bless you. Love, Cheryl

  3. Hi Cheryl! "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I am 100% sure it was no accident you had heart-shaped potatoes. I think God knew what would make you smile, and that you would share this, making more people smile. At any rate, I'm sure He knew you would be blessed! Thank you for sharing my sister. So glad you felt like making a meal, which sounded very yummy. Love, Debby

    1. Yes, my dear friend! How true! I don't think there are any accidents with God, either. I needed to smile...needed a boost...needed desperately to feel His love! And that is exactly what those potatoes did for me. LOL! It was yummy...wish you lived close enough to share. Maybe one day we will get that chance....well, if not here, I'll meet you around God's table! How about that? Love to you, Cheryl

  4. Those look like some "hearty" potatoes! lol! How wonderful to have them grow like that. They'll be perfect with that meatloaf! Now I'm getting hungry...

    Blessings, Joan

    1. They were HUGE!! I hated cutting the "hearts"! I had to cut them right down the middle in order to peel them. They definitely served their purpose....and redefined the words "comfort food"!! LOL! Hope you find something good to eat. Thanks so much for stopping by here...love, Cheryl

  5. Cheryl, I am so happy to hear you were feeling some better to bless your family with a favorite meal. And those potatoes were certainly God's sign that he loves you more than you can ever imagine. I pray that you continue to heal and grow stronger every day. Our WA group is praying for you!

    1. Oh, Linda! It was so nice to get your comment and encouragement today! And what a HUGE blessing to know that you and your group are praying! Oh, that touches my heart so deeply! God is seeing me through, and I am holding tight to His nail-scarred hand. Still so weak, at times, but so much better than last week at this time! God is faithful. You are such a blessing to me. Thank you so very much for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind. Love to you, Cheryl

  6. Hi Cheryl....Those heart shaped potatoes were amazing! Sounds like you've been sick, too. Not fun. Hope your day today is blessed. Thanks for your visit. Susan

    1. Hi, Susan! I so appreciate you stopping by, and may your day be just as blessed! Love, Cheryl

  7. This post made me teary eyed. I just can feel the love of God in those potatoes. we really have a loving God who comforts us when we needed it the most. I wish you well and thank you for your words of wisdom that comes from God. Precious.
    About the meatloaf, I am sure that it tastes very good:)

    1. Thank you so much, Joy! You brightened my day by stopping by...as always! Love to you, Cheryl

  8. Cheryl, I was so blessed by this sweetness this morning! My MIL has a farm, and we sometimes help her dig up potatoes - we've dug up some strangely shaped tubers but never heart-shaped ones, that I've seen! And you got a whole bagfull! :) I'm often amazed at how the Lord can use such simple objects to help us recall to mind that He loves us and is faithful always!

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post!

    1. Thank you so much, Lisha! I am so happy you stopped by and were blessed today. It is so nice to meet you. God's blessings be upon you and yours throughout this new year! Love, Cheryl

  9. I know what it is to feel exhausted most of the time. I hope you're seeing better days! Love the potatoes - never saw any like that before.

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! So glad you stopped by today! So sorry you suffer with exhaustion, also. I don't know what we would do without our dear Lord to see us through! God bless you. Love, Cheryl

  10. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story," about being able to find strength to fix meatloaf which appears to be a family favorite. Finding the heart shaped potatoes is amazing and one of the simple ways God has to let us know we are loved. I believe he sent those just for you!

    1. I believe He did, too, Hazel! So happy you stopped by today. May the dear Lord bless you! Love, Cheryl

  11. I don't believe there are coincidences. Obviously God thought you needed to SEE His love that day and send you the heart-shaped potatoes. I hope you're feeling better.

    1. I think you are right...God knew. He always does! Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. I am so happy you stopped by today! Love, Cheryl

  12. Hi Cheryl!
    This is my first time visiting your blog and oh how I enjoyed reading this post!
    Isn't God awesome to send us little reminders in the everyday things like a sack of potatoes!

    I'll be bookingmarking your page and coming back again,


    1. Hi, Marissa! So happy to have "met" you today and thankful you stopped by! Please come back anytime. Thank you for your kind comments. I am going to check out your blog, also! God bless you! Love, Cheryl

  13. Thanks for sharing this story! I LOVE your heart-shaped potatoes! I appreciate you linking up to my Marriage Monday!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by today and leaving encouragement behind! So thankful for you and the link-up! Love, Cheryl