Archive for the ‘Summer Bible Study’ Category

Summer Bible Study Wrap Up With Beth and a Special Guest!

Make sure you read all the way to the end, Siestas!

 

Hey there Siestas!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to put pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) and write you a post. I’ve been popping over and reading your comments for a long time now. Your community is beautiful and I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of it today.

Except…I’m kind of sad too.

See, your Siesta-momma and I had a blast shooting a video for you that we all fully intended to have up today but, lo and behold, all the wonders of technology didn’t work any wonders for us. We’ve spent the better part of three days trying to get the video from our computers in Dallas to the computers at Living Proof in Houston to no avail. My poor husband (who is the CEO and head-honcho of all things techie at GB ministries) has sat for hours upon end, staring into several different laptops and programs trying and re-trying to get that video to send sans glitches and freezing frames to no avail. It has simply refused to act right. He came home late last night with a glazed over expression and went straight to bed. . .fully dressed.

So, here I am writing to you instead…nearing midnight – as we’ve finally thrown in the towel trying to get the video to you.

But here’s living proof (you better believe that pun was intended) that we filmed something…

Ahhhhh, that makes me feel better at least.

We tried Siestas. Promise we did. And we had so much stinkin’ fun. Hate not being able to share our goofs and giggles with you.

In any case, I hope you’ll still allow me to congratulate you on a job well done in your completion of the Gideon study! I am so honored to have served you and pray that your spiritual life has been enriched and encouraged. I hope that it was as rich for you to read it as it was for me to write and teach it. Truly, Gideon went above and beyond my expectations giving me little surprise lessons along the way.

Isn’t that the way God’s Word always is – gift giving, surprising, blessing us with every page we turn?

This study didn’t disappoint.

I’m so anxious to know what most surprised you in your study of Gideon? How did God speak to you in a way that you didn’t expect?

I’ll be thrilled to read your responses!

Thank you again for allowing me to serve you. I pray that we can do it again sometime soon.

Blessings
Priscilla

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Y’all!  This little gem came to us this morning around 3:30a.m.  It is brought to you by the blood, sweat, tears…and sleepless nights of Jerry Shirer. Sometimes technology tries to get the best of us, but in the words of our Siesta Mama, he “perse-dang-vered”!  Jerry and Priscilla lived up to their ministry name in this little project.  Going Beyond Ministries. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard and frustrating work Shirers!!  LPM and the Siestas LOVE you guys!

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Letter From Your Terrific Teacher, Kelly Minter

Greetings Siestas! (I’ve always wanted to say that).

I can’t tell you how blessed I’ve been to be a small part of your online journey. When I heard Beth was going to facilitate “No Other Gods” this summer on her blog I was thrilled and simultaneously ignorant. I had no idea what this meant, and I can assure you I never entertained thoughts that included hair tips, how to protect my neck from the sun, or creative ways to use your oven mitt. But, alas, this is why we admire Beth – for her love for the Word and her knack for the unpredictable. So… many thanks to Beth for being the catalyst behind this amazing summer experience.

I also wanted the specific opportunity to thank all of YOU who have spent time with God this summer through the study of Scripture. Your dedication and comments have been inspiring! It has been a blessing for me to watch your fortitude in dealing with truly un-fun things like, well, idols. I understand that it’s not the feel-good-study-of-the-year but the blessings that come from obedience and surrender are immeasurable…

Several years ago when the Lord began to deal with some of the false gods in my life, I wanted nothing more than to cling to the very things He was asking me to relinquish. Perhaps you can relate. A lot of the verses and passages of Scripture that helped me let go were the very ones I used in the “No Other Gods” study – my prayer is that they encouraged you as well. Since having written the study I wanted to share something that has been a new reality for me – living in the purpose of freedom. For so long I simply wanted to be free from the things that controlled me. What I didn’t understand was what that freedom was for. Although I am still very much learning, I wanted to tell you that God frees us from our idols so we can be free for His purposes. We get free so we can move and be and do the things of God. I am now doing things that I simply couldn’t have done before because I was tied up by my false gods (and please don’t think necessarily grandiose things – they are humble and quiet things, but they are awesome and they are things I am thrilled to be part of).

I hope this makes sense, as it’s an infantile understanding that’s still forming inside me. I just wanted you to know that saying goodbye to our false gods offers a tremendous freedom that is not simply for the sake of hanging out with our “new free selves”, but it’s a freedom that allows us to engage in the moment by moment things of Christ. Keep pressing forward no matter how awkward the journey. We have a jealous God, and I will gladly take jealous over passive any day. It is for freedom He has set us free!

Thank you Siestas for blessing me so much this summer and honoring me by your presence.

-kelly

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Final Roll Call for Completed Summer Study!!!

Hey, Siestas! It’s time for that final roll call I told you last week to expect! Today I’d like every INDIVIDUAL who finished all her “No Other Gods” homework to sign in with her name and location. THE ONLY COMMENTS TO THIS SPECIFIC POST ARE THOSE CHECKING IN TO SAY THEY FINISHED. My goal is that the number of comments we have to this post will be an accurate count of the women who completed the study. Again, no condemnation for those who didn’t! Just want to give a huge shout out to those who did. It’s kinda like getting your “A” at the end of the semester.

THE NEXT POST, however, is for EVERYBODY who participated in any portion of the summer Bible study whether or not you completed your homework. It’s a letter to all of you from our beloved teacher, Kelly Minter. You are welcome to respond straight to her on that one and I feel confident she’ll grab a Starbucks and drink in every word. Be sure to watch the length so they’re reader friendly.

While you’re at it today, enjoy this picture of those darling women with perfect attendance from Washington State who “won” all the kitchen goodies. Aren’t y’all just the cutest things? Would you believe that God was so fun to make their prizes arrive on the Bible study day when I showed you all the items on video? I love Him like crazy.

I’m so not kidding when I say that I love you.

PS. As I prepare to leave work, we’ve already had well over 300 Siestas answer the roll call to say they finished! WAY TO GO, Girls!!! I’m so proud of you I can hardly stand it. You have God’s promise that not one word will return void. Keep signing in, Siestas, until we have a final count so our spirits can be encouraged and our celebrations sweet!

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Another Great Scripture Video

I was telling my NOG group last night that every time I go over my memory verse I picture or hear in my mind about four different videos that you ladies sent in for our contest. They really did help me! I had many favorites, but I think this one might have been my ultimate favorite. I’ll let y’all guess why. Thanks to Jennifer Kittredge and her Florida Siestas!

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Our Final NOG Session

Can you believe our final gathering has arrived? The summer flew by, didn’t it? As I told you in this video, you’ll make your usual comments to this entry after your gatherings but watch for a final roll call one week from today. I’m going to ask every single INDIVIDUAL (each solo participant or member of a group) who completed all her homework to sign in with her first name and location NEXT TUESDAY. You’ll recall that we did this as we launched the study and we’ll do it again next Tuesday to give a shout-out for those who made it to the last page. (No condemnation to the ones that didn’t! These kinds of disciplines can be extra challenging in the summer which is precisely why we did this.) Because we want to set up as many people as possible for victory, we’re putting off the roll call for one week to offer a little grace period to finish. You can do it!

OK, so here are our discussion questions or statements for our final gathering:

One from Week Seven:
1. On the bottom of p.148 and in the context of promised blessing, Kelly writes, “Sometimes the Lord immediately replaces what we have left [as in, said good-bye to], and other times we are left feeling empty for a time.” At several very important seasons of my own life I believe God deliberately let me feel that empty space for a while before He filled it…even with Himself. If you’ve had a similar experience, share it and discuss what purpose God might have had in it.

This line of discussion also brings to mind the segment of Jeremiah 15:17 that Kelly shares on p.167 in Week Eight: “I sat alone because Your hand was on me.” Keep in mind that God created each of us to be a very plugged-in part of the Body of Christ. We were created for relationship but sometimes God draws us into a time of aloneness with Him so that He can work something IN US that He desires to later work THROUGH US. If you’ve had a season like I just described that had a pretty profound effect on you, share it briefly with your group.

The next three from Week Eight:
2. The intro to Session Eight was so powerful and dead on. Revisit the testimony about the married friend realizing she needed to get rid of the cards, letters and emails from the first guy she ever loved. Another friend shared a similar story with Kelly that she references on p.178. We can hang on to all sorts of things from the past besides old boyfriends and, often, until we really say goodbye, we can’t say hello to something wonderful God has for us. As Kelly’s been telling us for weeks, we’ve got to make ROOM. Discuss a time you came to a similar conclusion and acted on it. OR, if you haven’t let go of something but you know you need to, ask your group members to hold you accountable and pray for you to have courage to follow through.

3. I loved Day Three! Revisit Kelly’s first paragraph on p.173. What is the “bridge between the old and the new”? THEN, take a good look at Deuteronomy 6:23 in the margin of that same page and note Kelly’s abbreviation of it in the second paragraph: “He brought us out…to bring us in.” Girlfriend, that statement deserves an index card! Why is it so critical to keep that concept (not the index card but the abbreviation!) in mind?

4. The last two days of study out of the Book of Ruth were so good. Didn’t you love the last line of Ruth 1 (V.22) where we learn that Ruth and Naomi, devastated and grieved, entered Jerusalem, just “as the barley harvest was beginning”? Read John 15:8. As we draw our journey to a close, having moved out some idols to make room for Christ, encourage one another to believe God to move in powerfully and purposefully. Speak these words over one another, emphatically and with authority: “Your harvest is just beginning!”

As you conclude, please thank God for Kelly and pray His richest blessings over her.

I’m so proud of you, Siestas! Thank you for taking this journey in the Word of God with so many of your Siestas. We made it through the summer without a famine of the Word sending us into the emotional abyss! I sure love you.

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Our Last Common Table

A HUGE thank you to Melissa for the time she spent compiling recipes for our common table this summer! Baby Girl, as much as I tease you about it, I know that your true love is the Holy Scripts and not the kitchen so I appreciate the willing distraction. Great job! Now, get back to research!

On our last Siesta Summer Bible Study gathering, it is only fitting that we have a CHOCOLATE FREE-FOR-ALL! So, the only requirement for our common table this week is c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e! Here are some ideas from Melissa if you’re game.

Make any main course or appetizers you desire, just be sure to end it all with a beloved chocolate dish!

Here are a few ideas:

First, for an easy and elegant dessert, follow this link to All Recipes for a fun chocolate mousse recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chocolate-Mousse-2/Detail.aspx

For those of you experimental types who may want a little less chocolate and a less typical dessert (Please see my comments below):

Tiramisu Affogato (from Gourmet August 2008)
Parfaits with Hot Espresso and Ladyfingers
Serves 6
Active Time: 20 min. Start to Finish: 20 min.

¾ cup chilled heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint coffee ice cream
9 savoiardi (Italian crisp ladyfingers), coarsely crumbled
1 ¼ cups freshly brewed espresso (10 oz)
Or 1 ¼ cups boiling water and 3 Tbsp instant-espresso powder
A small piece of bittersweet chocolate

Directions:
*Beat cream with sugar until it just holds stiff peaks.
*Divide vanilla and coffee ice creams among glasses, then top with ladyfingers. Pour hot espresso on top and dollop with whipped cream. Grate chocolate on top.

Melissa’s Notes: Each of these desserts should be served in individual clear cups or glasses. Also, savoiardi are a type of Italian cookie closely resembling lady-fingers. They are crisp, so if you substitute regular ladyfingers my guess is that the dessert will end up soggy. If you don’t have access to them or don’t care, go for the All-Recipes Chocolate Mousse.

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Summer Bible Study Gathering IV

Hey, You Darlin’ Things! It’s that time again: our Tuesday for Siesta Summer Bible Study and this is Gathering #4! Please take a few minutes to watch my greeting to you via another very professional, highly technical taping (I know LifeWay must be getting nervous). There is much more on the video than what I’m writing here but, as we’ve done before, I just want to make sure you have your discussion questions in print. Please also note that we have yet another contest. You’ll find out far more about it on the video greeting but I thought it might help to have the eligibility requirements here. You’ll find them at the bottom of this post. The prizes are things you simply do not want to miss. Hint: they may be things you cannot live without…but I can.

I love you guys like crazy and I love loving Jesus with you. Hang in there, stay in the Word, and let’s finish strong!!! Here goes:

Three Discussion Questions:

From Week Five:
1. Take a look at the bottom of p.103, starting with the question, “What word in Numbers 11:4 (NIV) is used to describe their desire for meat?” Discuss a number of specific ways craving something is different from wanting it. While you’re at it, continue a discussion Melissa and I started on a walk a few nights ago. We were talking about how you can tell you’re getting out of control with something when you start trying to be secretive about it. What do you think?

2. Take a look at the top of p.108 under “Personal Reflection.” I loved this line of discussion starting with this question: “Have you ever tasted or brought back fruit from a future promise that had not been fully realized?” Discuss that whole first paragraph.

From Week Six:
3. Turn to p.125 and reread (one of you aloud to the group) the excerpt Kelly included by Charles Spurgeon. What are a few things we often try to do rather than refer our doubts straight to God? Then, read John 2:1-5 and note how Mary approached the pressing problem. As you conclude today’s gathering, have a brief time of prayer, letting those that feel comfortable praying out loud simply state their need or problem to God in one statement, something like this: “Lord, there is no more _____________________.” Or, “Lord, I am ____________________________.” Then simply tell Him that you’re trusting Him to do something about it. Try to resist fretting over it this week but keep watching for Him to turn some water into wine.

I pray for Christ to show up in such a profound Presence in your gathering this week that nobody can miss Him!

NOW, about that contest:

THE INCOMPARABLE PRIZES: In keeping with our kitchen theme (please see video), the prize will be a compilation of several kitchen gadgets or serving dishes out of my own kitchen that I have never used, several of which are still in the box. Can you resist these kinds of prizes? I don’t think so.

ELIGIBILITY:
*A group of five or more Siestas who meet face-to-face on our Tuesdays. (We LOVE our groups meeting on-line and totally dig our solo siestas but I needed a way to narrow down the contest.)

*Perfect attendance at all four gatherings. In other words, every woman who met the first time in your group has come for all four gatherings. Way to go!

HOW TO WIN: Be the first group to sign in AFTER your gathering to say that you’ve had perfect attendance. Please identify your group to us (city/location) then watch for us to confirm the winning group in the COMMENT section. We’ll also tell you how to contact us with an address to receive your prizes. Please make sure you tell us how many are in your group because I will GLADLY send something out of my kitchen for each of you. The times on the comments are recorded so the first one will automatically win.

Whew! This contest is so great that I wish I could enter it myself! But I’m afraid I’d have to win it all back.

P.S. Thank you for remembering that your comments are meant to follow your gatherings! You’re the best!

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Friday Fun

Very snappy, ladies! Thanks to Royana Thomas and her group!

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Summer Bible Study Gathering III

Hey, my dear Summer Bible Study Siestas! I’m so enjoying our journey together! Hopefully you’ll be able to watch the (very rough, one-take, ridiculous-but-full-of love) video greeting, but I also like to make sure you have the discussion questions for each week’s gathering in print. Here they are!

We have four discussion questions for your Tuesday gatherings. The first two are from Week 3.

1. On p.62, Kelly quoted Michael Wells: “Satan will tell us what’s true, but he never tells us the truth.” Let’s have some examples of that. How has Satan ever told you something that was true but wasn’t the truth?

2. Kelly’s discussion about King Hezekiah and the attack on his faith on p.66 reminded me of a quote that I’d recently seen in the devotional classic, Streams in the Desert. “Genuine faith puts its letter in the mailbox and lets go. Distrust, however, holds on to a corner of the envelope and then wonders why the answer never arrives.” (p.168) What envelope have you been most prone to hold the edge of?

The last two are based on Week 4.

3. Reread the first couple of paragraphs from Kelly’s intro to Week Four on p.76 concerning people-gods. Then, look up Phil. 1:9-10 and read it together. How can these two Scriptures become a huge help to us in finding the balance between loving people and idolizing them? This came after I did the video: We did something in our small group that I found very encouraging. We shared some examples from our personal lives of idolatrous relationships that, with God’s intervention, actually transitioned into healthy relationships. These transitions are often rare because the relationship was fed by the idolatry and often can’t exist without it. Have any of you experienced one of those wonderful occasions when a relationship endured that positive transition? If so, share it!

4. Lastly, review p.87 and reflect on the whole Leah and Rachel madness. Reread the bold-print section at the top of the page. What are a few costs of desperation that you yourself have paid? And what is the solution?

I’m so honored to study with you, Sisters! Keep it up! We’re halfway through our summer series and God is faithfully keeping us from falling!

I love you dearly,
Your Very Own Mama Siesta

PS – Don’t forget that comments are meant for after your gatherings, if you don’t mind! Thanks, Siestas!

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Tuesday’s Common Meal!!!

Hey there ladies! Howdy from Atlanta! Here is this week’s Common Meal. The main dish is Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti. If you haven’t made this already, it really is a wonderful recipe and not to mention, it is very convenient for a group gathering. Convenient and good wins brownie points. I am listing two desserts to choose between: Barefoot Contessa’s Apple Crostata and Kimberly Meyer’s Banana Pudding. Kimberly Meyer is a super-employee at Living Proof and when I first tried her banana pudding, I passed out in ecstasy. Both desserts are wonderful, but obviously with the banana pudding, you won’t have to roll out a pie crust. And lastly, because I love you ladies with my whole heart, I want to add something for those meeting around brunch or lunch-time (in place of the Chicken Spaghetti). I am adding my favorite Mini Cucumber Sandwich recipe. I must admit that I am a sucker for Cucumber Sandwiches. I don’t particularly enjoy bridal showers but one thing I always look forward to is the Cucumber Sandwiches. As soon as the hostesses start making us play games like pin-the-tail-on the-Groom, I run to the Cucumber Sandwich Table. And if there aren’t Cucumber Sandwiches, I find my way to the exit door. A fun fact for you: when I got married a few months ago, I requested to have zero bridal showers thrown for me. No, I am not anti-social, I simply have played one too many bridal shower games. Enough banter…on to the recipes!!!

Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti

2 cups cooked Chicken
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup finely diced Green Pepper
1/2 cup finely diced Onion
1-4 oz jar diced Pimientos, drained
3 cups dry Spaghetti, broken into two inch pieces
2 cups reserved Chicken Broth (from pot)
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 additional cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (for the top of the casserole)

Directions:
Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick enough meat off the bones to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar. Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil)

Melissa’s Notes:
What sets this recipe above the average chicken spaghetti recipe is that 1) the spaghetti is cooked in the chicken broth not water 2) the chicken broth is not from a can but is reserved from the actual pot the chicken was boiled in. In my opinion, this recipe lacks without these two elements. The chicken spaghetti feeds approximately 6 people.

Apple Crostata (Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Directions:

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Melissa’s Notes: This is what some call a “free-form” tart or galette, which means simply that it isn’t baked with the support of a pie-dish or tart-pan. You just fold the 1 1/2 inch border up and crinkle it in about two inch intervals, to partially cover the fruit and then bake it straight on a baking-sheet. Try looking at pictures of similar recipes online if you have never made anything like this before. I think that this dough is pretty forgiving, though. I have made it numerous times and even when I think the dough has failed, it ends up tasting flawless.

Kimberly Meyer’s Banana Pudding
(seriously, it has the ability to change your life)

5 Bananas, sliced
1 14 oz Can Eagle Brand (Sweetened Condensed Milk)
1 Large Cool Whip
1 Large Instant Vanilla Pudding
3 Cups Whole Milk
1 Box of Vanilla Wafers
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Trifle Bowl or a REALLY deep dish (much prettier in a trifle bowl)

Directions:
-Put entire box of Vanilla Wafers on the bottom of a deep dish.
-Take can of Eagle Brand, 1 tsp. of Vanilla Extract & ½ of the large carton of Cool Whip and blend it all together.
-In a second bowl, mix instant vanilla pudding & 3 cups of Milk.
-Fold the two mixes together by hand (the pudding mix & Eagle Brand mix)
-Pour HALF of this mixture on the layer of wafers
-Put all of the sliced bananas on top of the layer of pudding mixture
-Put the other half of the pudding mixture on top of the sliced bananas
-Finish with the other half of the Cool Whip on top.
- Chill and Serve!

Melissa’s Notes:
I have found that this recipe makes a bit too much pudding mixture, so when I get to the step after layering the sliced bananas, I do not use the entire other half of the pudding mixture. Since I don’t like for it to be too sweet, I use a little over ¼ of it. Just make sure you taste it, and modify it according to your desires.

Mini Cucumber Sandwiches
Recipe from “Southern Entertaining for a New Generation” by Rebecca Lang

Ingredients:

1 8-oz package Cream Cheese, Softened
¼ cup of Sour Cream
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon fresh chopped Dill
¼ cup finely diced sweet Onion
20 thinly sliced white sandwich bread slices
1 Large English Cucumber (seedless cucumbers) or 2 Cucumbers, thinly sliced
20 thinly sliced wheat sandwich bread slices

Directions:

-In a medium mixing bowl stir the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add the salt, dill, and diced onion.
-Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the white bread slices. Top the cream cheese mixture with one slice of cucumber, then top with the wheat bread slices.
-Slice the sandwiches in half diagonally or cut with your favorite cookie or biscuit cutter.
-Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 hours before serving.
-Makes 20 Servings.

Melissa’s Notes:
I buy Pepperidge Farm “Very Thin Sliced” bread in the bread section of the grocery store. This brand has both white and wheat varieties and they fit perfectly together for this recipe (buy one loaf of wheat and one loaf of white) Sometimes I add one really thin slice of turkey if I am serving them around lunch-time. Using a really sharp cookie-cutter or a biscuit cutter makes them look the prettiest!

Until next time….Bon Appetit!

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