Seeing the Potential in Your Heart & Home with Guest Jessica Zigenis

Welcome to our first swap and share Friday for our hospitality study!

Before we get to the recipe sharing and today’s giveaway, meet our current guest, my new friend Jessica Zigenis.

From her heart:

Hello new friends! I’m Jessica, and you can usually find me over at Monster Cakes where I blog about life with my handsome husband and our giant puppy.

When I first got married at the ripe age of twenty, I constantly compared myself to my amazing mother and other seasoned hostesses, ultimately letting anxiety take over and closing my door to any and all hosting possibilities.

Slowly but surely, God worked on my heart, humbling me and reminding me that opening up my home is about having a heart to serve, to love, and to fellowship with others.

When I stopped focusing on our second-hand furniture, my inexperience in the kitchen, the giant hole in the couch courtesy of our unruly pups, my lack of funds for decorations and food, and our tiny living room with carpet stains throughout, I saw the potential in my heart and home.

I let go of my insecurities and let God take over, ultimately finding my bravery and opening my door.

I threw parties for friends.

I started hosting a book club.

I cooked for friends and family.

Once I became willing, God took my chaotic, little home and blessed me through hostessing beyond what I expected or deserved.

What I’ve learned along the way?

Some simple truths that may help you to open your heart and home to others too:

Like….

~ At the end of the night, the fellowship and conversation is what truly matters, not the difficulty level of the meal or the messy guest room.

~ Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can always focus on making one thing really special and memorable: a photo booth wall, fresh flowers, a unique or homemade dessert, etc.

~ Most people are craftier than they know and have the ability to make affordable, easy decorations if they can muster up some confidence and creativity.

~ Once you stop comparing yourself and your home to others, you will find that contentment often leads to a deeper desire to play hostess.

Let God use you. You bring a willing heart, and He’ll do the rest.

Jessica

Great advice!

Now, for today’s giveaway and recipe swap & share!

The giveaway includes:

~ A collapsible colander–great for rinsing pasta or draining berries for muffins.

~ A reusable drink cup in a fun paisley pattern. You can sip while you cook. :-)

~ Two boxes of instant iced coffee. One hazelnut. One French Vanilla.

~ A handwritten recipe of our family’s favorite company dishes— stuffed crust pizza!

Okay–to be entered in the giveaway, either link up below to a post on your blog with a recipe to share or leave one in the comments section.

Can’t wait to try some new ones out!

And don’t forget, we’ll have guests both days over the weekend so be sure to stop by!

Okay–let’s see those company-pleasing recipe favorites!

{Bloggers, will you kindly grab the code for my hospitality button and place it in your sidebar so other can find us?}

{Non-bloggers, simply leave us your recipe as a comment!}

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  • I love making this pudding dessert especially for guests.

    For the bottom layer crush a small package of oreos. ( I use my food processor) Set 1/2 cup aside.
    Melt one stick of butter or margerine. Mix the remaining oreos and butter and spread it out to form a crust on the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan. Put pan in freezer for 10 minutes.

    The next layer take 1- 8 oz package of cream cheese softened and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix them together. Add 1/2 of a 16 oz cool whip. Mix until smooth. Carefully layer on top of the oreos and put pan back in the refrigerator.

    The next layer take two small packages of instant chocolate pudding and 3 cups of milk. Mix together for two minutes. Carefully layer pudding on top of the cream cheese layer. Put into the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

    The last layer spread the rest of the tub of cool whip carefully on top of the pudding layer. Sprinkle the set aside oreo cookie crumbs on top of the cool whip. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

  • The best Hershey cake ever! (I am not the originator of this recipe, but a dear friend of mine who also happens to be a fabulous homemaker is.)

    Chocolate Hershey’s Cake by J. C.

    Swiss chocolate cake mix
    ¾ c. oil
    1 ½ c. milk
    1 sm. Vanilla instant pudding
    3 eggs

    Mix cake mix, pudding, milk, eggs and oil. Mix until smooth. Bake at 325 degrees for
    20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before adding frosting.
    Frosting: Mix cream cheese and powered sugar until smooth. Add chopped Hershey’s
    bars (I use Hershey’s with almonds) and spread on the cake layers. Mix makes three
    cake layers.

  • Almond Flour Pancake

    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons honey
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons water
    Lemon zest of 1/4 lemon
    Lemon juiced from 1/4 of lemon
    3/4 cups almond flour
    1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
    1 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
    Fresh berries

    In a small bowl, mix almond flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and arrowroot powder.
    In a food processor or bowl, combine egg, honey, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until combined.
    Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
    Heat up a large skillet to low medium heat. Coat skillet with a non-stick olive oil spray. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto skillet. I do 3 pancakes at a time on my large skillet. Drop fresh berries on top of the batter. Be patient and let the pancakes sit in the skillet until the edges start to brown. Almond flour takes a while to cook so be very patient. Flip, then cook a little bit longer on the other side.
    Serve along with maple syrup and top with bananas and almond butter!