Kathy Ptaszek was our speaker in 2015. She challenged our women: Why settle for a handful of blackberries when you can experience burning bushes – daily encounters with the Living God? Whether writing or speaking, Kathy is passionate about motivating women to cultivate an intimate relationship with God through his Word.
Don’t let multi-tasking and every-day distractions cause you to trample holy ground. You don’t want to miss the burning bushes God has for you. God’s message to you is the same one He gave Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3):
I see your struggles. I hear your cries. I care.
I will deliver you. My presence goes with you.
In addition to her retreat and church event speaking, Kathy is available for general audiences with presentations that
are motivational and engaging, sprinkled with humor, and filled with practical applications. Kathy challenges her audiences to take charge of creating the life and happiness they dream of.
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes –
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Aurora Leigh (1857)
Cucumber roll-ups with Greek yogurt
- 1-1/2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
- tablespoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoons herbs, such as cilantro, if desired
- ham or turkey if desired
- Slice the cucumbers using a mandoline at a 2 mm thickness setting or using a vegetable peeler. Lay the cucumbers aside on a paper towel plate to allow excess moisture to drain.
- Mix together the yogurt, curry powder and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread the yogurt mixture across the cucumber slices and sprinkle with fresh herbs if desired.
- Spread thinly sliced ham or turkey across the cucumber slices if desired.
- Roll up carefully, using a toothpick to close if needed.
- Keep refrigerated until serving.
Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms
- 2 8 oz packages whole mushrooms, stems removed and chopped small for filling
- TB olive oil
- red bell pepper, chopped small
- 1 onion, chopped small
- garlic cloves, minced
- cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tsp Greek seasoning
- 1/2 cup panko (crunchy Japanese bread crumbs, can be found in Asian aisle in black box or now in breadcrumb aisle, look for Ian’s or Progresso brands)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non stick skillet. Add red pepper, onion, mushroom stems, garlic and Greek seasoning and saute 5-8 minutes until soft. Add chopped spinach to pan and cook until spinach is wilted and cooked down. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine sauteed vegetables with panko, feta and parmesan.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line up mushroom caps in a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Season mushrooms lightly with salt and pepper. Carefully stuff each mushroom cap with stuffing. Place in oven and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are browned.
- Note: depending on size of mushroom caps, you may have leftover stuffing. Use your leftover stuffing on larger portabella mushroom caps for a quick weeknight meatless meal.
Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizzas
- 1/2 cup sugar
- tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup water
- tablespoons lemon juice
- ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1-3/4 cups whipped topping
- 12 sugar cookies (3 inches)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup chopped peeled kiwifruit
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- For glaze, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, pineapple juice, water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a small bowl; refrigerate until cooled but not set.
- In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth; fold in whipped topping. Spread over tops of cookies. Arrange fruit on top; drizzle with glaze. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Yield: 1 dozen.
Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches (Canapés)
- 8 oz package cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp Mayo
- 1-2 Garlic cloves, pressed
- 1-2 Tbsp dill leaves, finely chopped (optional, but highly recommended!)
- More dill sprigs for garnish
- 4 oz smoked salmon
- long baguette
- Tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat your Oven to 350˚F.
- Slice bread into 1/3″ thick slices on the diagonal. Note: If your bread is very fresh and soft, you don’t need to brush with butter and bake. My bread was a little more stale so I toasted it and it helped. Place the bread slices side-by-side onto a large baking sheet.
- Brush the tops with butter. Flip the breads over and brush the other side with butter. I just use long strokes across multiple slices of bread at the same time. Don’t spend too much time on this step; no need for perfection :).
- Bake at 350˚F for 5 minutes or until edges are just barely starting to turn golden. The breads should still be soft in the center.
Antipasto Salad Kabobs
- (2) 7 oz containers fresh mozzarella balls (bocconchini)
- (2) 4 oz. packages prosciutto
- 1/2 lb. genoa salami, sliced thin
- 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers
- 6 oz can of black olives, or use the fresh cured olives from the olive bar at your grocery store
- bag of leaf lettuce, any kind you like
- Lay out all you ingredients on a cutting board.
- Alternate the ingredients onto the skewers on any pattern you like, adding lettuce leaves after every few ingredients.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette or serve with dressing for dipping on the side.
- 2 4.25 oz. cans crabmeat (or 1 8-oz. package lump crabmeat)
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 4-5 drops hot pepper sauce
- long and narrow Italian, French or sourdough bread, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 16 slices)
- Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil.
- Remove any unwanted pieces from crabmeat (most canned crabmeat doesn’t require this step).
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine crabmeat, red bell pepper, mayonnaise, parsley, chives, lime juice, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese and hot pepper sauce.
- Gently mix to combine.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture onto each slice of bread. Place the crostini on the broiler pan and broil about 4 inches from the heat for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cowboy Caviar Cups
- 1 can Bush’s Best Black Bean, rinsed and drained
- 1 can Bush’s Best Blackeye Peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 can Del Monte Southwest Corn w/ Poblano & Red Peppers
- 1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, drained
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 avocados, diced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup zesty Italian dressing
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Spoon cowboy caviar into cup shaped tortilla chips and place them on a platter to serve.
Salami, cheese, and olives. That’s it.
Watermelon, Manchego and Serrano Ham Skewers
- 1 1/4 lb. seedless watermelon
- 1/2 lb. serrano ham, thinly sliced
- 5 oz. Manchego cheese
- Freshly ground pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut the melon flesh away from the rind. Discard the rind and cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Cut the ham into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide. Trim the rind off the cheese and discard. Cut the cheese into thin squares to fit the top of the watermelon cubes.
- To assemble the skewers, place a piece of cheese on top of a watermelon cube, and then carefully top with 1 or 2 folded strips of ham. Secure each bite with a cocktail pick.
- To serve, arrange the skewers on a platter, grind pepper generously over the top and drizzle a drop or two of olive oil over each piece. Serve immediately. Makes about 40 skewers; serves 10 to 12.
Cream Cheese Pickles
- 8 kosher dill pickles, patted dry
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 2 1/2 ounces thin-sliced beef luncheon meat
- Spread or pat cream cheese around each pickle.
- Wrap 2 sheets of meat around each pickle. Refrigerate pickles overnight, slice before serving.
Blue Cheese-and-Pecan-Stuffed Celery
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries
- Celery stalks
- Cracked black pepper
- Combine cheeses, pecans and cranberries. Spread on celery; top with cracked pepper.
Angel Food Cake Churro Bites
- 1 Sara Lee Angel Food Cake
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cinnamon
- Let your Angel Food Cake thaw. Once thaw, cube the cake. My cubes were about 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches.
- Heat vegetable oil on low-medium heat. Fry cubes until golden brown.
- Once golden brown, immediately put them in the bowl with cinnamon and sugar and toss around. Continue doing this until they’re all done.
- For even more flavor, mix 1 cup powdered sugar with a tablespoon of milk, mix and drizzle over the bites. ENJOY!