All posts by Catherine Daugherty

I love to cook and after a half century under the sun, I am blessed with the freedom to decide each day what I want to read, think, cook and eat! This blog — a few of my favorite things — family and friends recipes and the words of scripture that guide my thoughts and actions. My hope is that through Pray Cook Blog, you will find inspiration today for your daily bread, body and soul.

10 Days In The Land of Jesus, Day 1 and 2!

October 2017.  It started out a typical fall Sunday. Typical in that the weather was beautiful, cool, crisp, with the leaves turning glorious shades of orange, gold, and red. The unusual part of the day began with a visit to a church about 25 miles from our home. My friend attends church at The Rock and suggested we come for a visit.

The morning worship was inspiring and the message particularly meaningful. Following the service, my husband along with my sous-chef dish-washing mom and me had lunch at a local café. Nothing much to write home about the café fare, but my husband did say, “Did you see the information about the trip to Israel on the video board?”

“No,” I replied, wondering how I could have missed that.   A trip to Israel has been my heart’s desire for some time and I usually have my radar up when it comes to trip information!

That is when our typical Sunday turned into a Sunday I won’t soon forget. “I think you should check it out,” hubby said.

He didn’t have to tell me twice. That very day I emailed the church about the Best of Israel trip they were planning.

Five months of planning (and payments) we are ready to go.

Mail put on hold. Check.

One large bag packed for me, one small bag packed for Lee. Check.

Carry-on luggage including toiletries and an extra change of clothes packed. Check.

Passports. Check.

House cleaned, well sort of. Check.

Water turned off. Check.

Drop sous-chef dishwashing mom off at our friend Margaret’s. Check.

We spent the night before our flights in a Nashville airport hotel. A 2:30 a.m. wake up call began our marathon trip to Israel. At 3:45 a.m. we met our travel agent in the hotel lobby. The bus, scheduled for 4 a.m. to take us to the airport, a five-minute ride. The bus arrived at 4:30. Still, a 5-minute ride and we joined others in our group to check in at the American Airlines counter.

My husband is the best traveling companion I could have! ❤ He insists on toting the entire carry-on luggage allowing me to walk along unencumbered by “stuff.” He is a fast walker and always alert to moving us through the airport process quickly. We were soon at our gate waiting for a 2-hour flight to Miami.

Half of our group had flights through New York City and the other half through Miami. We were to meet up in London Heathrow airport and travel on to Tel Aviv together.

All the planning in the world can’t make up for airline delays.

After an excruciating layover in Miami, British Airways departed on our over-night flight about 30 minutes late.

“Not to worry,”  we were told, “30 minutes won’t be a problem on the other side of the pond.” Famous last words.

Nine hours later we arrived at London Heathrow, 30 minutes late. That wouldn’t have been a problem except for some reason we must have surprised the airport workers because they were not ready for us at the gate! It was a 45-minute delay before we got off the plane. As we deplaned my watch showed we had been up almost exactly 24 hours. It was hurry-hurry to catch a bus that took us on a 9-minute ride to Terminal 5 only to race on foot through empty hallways turning this way and that way towards the elusive “Flight Connections” area.

Twenty-two of us arrived rag-tagged and a little out-of-breath at security only to discover the plane had left for Tel Aviv without us.

Sadly, day 2 in the land of Jesus was spent in the London Heathrow airport.  We have flown through Heathrow Airport before and the last time we did I remember saying, “I will never fly through Heathrow again!”

Huh.  Now here we are – again.  Did you know that many large shopping malls are disguised as airports?  It is true.  Here are just a few of the shops available to us during our 8 hour-layover at the Heathrow Airport.

As the day wore on, we walked through the mall several times, holding hands as if we were exactly where we wanted to be. Our smiles were a little lopsided due to the increasing exhaustion of 30+ hours since the last time we had slept.  You might be wondering about the 9-hour flight across the pond.  “Surely you slept during that time?” you might ask.

No.  The flight took off at 5 p.m. Miami time.  After reaching altitude and getting everyone settled in, the flight attendants came through with beverages.  That’s nice.

Then came the evening dinner meal.  Not as nice, but we ate some of it anyway, after all, it was dinner.

Sometime later a bed-time “snack” was served.  There was some hope we were going to sleep.  The lights dimmed, earplugs in place, shoes off, mask over my eyes, ahhh – wide awake.  That’s right.  Awake.  No sleep for me.  My Chief Traveling Companion was watching a movie and dozed off and on.  I guess I should have watched a movie to get some sleep!

Just about the time we should have been enjoying our first glimpses of Israel and a walk along the sandy beach of the Meditteranean Sea, our flight left London headed for Tel Aviv.

We arrived in Tel Aviv in the middle of the night.  The airport was quiet and the hush was a little eerie. A fresh bit of excitement pushed through the exhaustion as we claimed our bags at Customs and headed for a one-hour bus ride to Netanya arriving at 3 a.m. local time.

Netanya, Israel

Three hours of sleep later this was our morning view from a lovely hotel room.

We are both terrible at taking selfie photos and we really can’t blame sleep deprivation for this photo.  However, I did want to commemorate the moment before we headed to breakfast and up the coastline for our first day of walking in the land of Jesus.

Israel was the new name given to Jacob, which means “ruling with God”.

Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  Genesis 32:28

The twelve tribes of Israel were created by the descendants of Israel’s twelve sons. These tribes became known as the nation of Israel.  The Northern Kingdom later became known as Israel.  Israel was a term used to refer to God’s true and obedient people in the New Testament.

Day 3 Walking In The Land of Jesus!

Until next time,
~Blessings, Catherine






We’re Ad Free!

About a year and a half ago I succumbed to the pressure by some Ad agencies to put advertising on this blog. I rationalized that the money the ads bring in would help offset the cost of blogging. (Yes, there is a cost to write a weblog!)  However, the nominal payments have not come close to making up for the frustration I get every time I try to find a recipe and have to close out 3 or 4 ads first.

I’ve wondered if you experience that frustration too?  Wanting to actually read what someone has written, but having to stop every little bit and dodge a pop-up ad or close several ads so the page will load faster.

As I thought through it I realized if it bothers me, maybe it bothers you too!  So, as of today, we are Ad-Free!

There is a freedom and a peace that comes from making a decision and then making it happen. So today, I cleaned up the blog, got rid of the ads, and began breathing ad-free air!

Have you ever floated in The Dead Sea? No feet on the bottom of the lake, no hands paddling to keep you afloat. Just lay back and float – freeee!

In April my husband took me on the trip of a lifetime. These are just a couple photos from that trip. I’ll be telling you more about it soon!

In the meantime, surf for a new recipe or two, enjoy a few stories and stay right here!

Ad-free and lovin’ it!

P.S.  Last night I treated my Chief Traveling Companion and my sous-chef dish-washing mom to Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken.  This is one of the easiest and best recipes I’ve ever made.  click here.

No Bake Layered Lemon Pie

Sometimes I just make myself so mad!  I made this luscious, creamy, sweet and tart pie in March when our friends Maribeth and John came to dinner. (Note: St. Patrick’s Day celebration tablecloth!)   But did I take time to share it with you?   😳  Uh, no.  Fast forward 2 months.  I can blame my sharing error on a fast and furious spring — but I’ll bet you can say the same thing!

Sous-Chef Dishwashing Mom and Me!

I am so blessed to have my 87-year-old mom living with us and still spending time in the kitchen with me! Today I was uploading this Mother’s Day photo to my computer and I ran across the yellowy-lemon pie pictures.

My first thought was, “I wish I had a piece of that pie right now.”

I remember it being particularly easy to make using canned lemon pie filling!  That is when I clicked over to this very blog and searched for the recipe.  No recipe.  Huh. How can that be?


The next search was on my computer for the recipe.  Huh. No lemon pie recipe.  How can that be?

From there I went to my office and searched through a stack of food-stained recipes waiting to share with my blogging world.  I am a messy cook and almost always the paper the recipe is written on takes a splatter, spill, or gob of something during the creative process.

Layered Lemon Pie.  Nope, no recipe in the stack.  But I have the pictures!  Where is the recipe?

Think, Catherine, think.  Okay, that didn’t work.

If you (or your family) love lemon then this is the recipe for you!  It is easy to make, doesn’t use a ton of ingredients and it is guest-worthy!  It took a while for me to re-discover the recipe but alas  Taste of Home does it again.  The original recipe is from Elizabeth Yoder, Belcourt, North Dakota.  How cool it would be if she were a  reader of My Daily Bread Body and Soul!  I would say thank you for sharing such a light and tasty delight!

Lucky for us we can now easily find the recipe from here on.  Posted below!

Happy Baking and God Bless,

No Bake Layered Lemon Pie
Prep time
Total time
A Taste of Home recipe by Elizabeth Yoder, Belcourt, North Dakota! This sweet and tart, light and tasty, fast and easy no-bake pie is packed with flavor and looks pretty too!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 can (15-3/4 ounces) lemon pie filling, divided
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  2. Beat in half of the pie filling. Fold in the whipped topping. Spoon into prepared graham cracker crust. Spread remaining pie filling over cream cheese layer.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer before serving.
* Store bought graham cracker crust works well or you can make a graham cracker crust, which is what I did.
1½ cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well blended. Press mixture into an 8 or 9-inch pie plate.
Chill for about 1 hour.


Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Am I the only cook on the planet who hasn’t heard of Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole?  Apparently, when it comes to church food Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole has been a hit for a long, long time!  My friend, Lila, made this casserole for a Community Bible Study fellowship lunch this spring.  At first, I thought I must have just been really, really, hungry because I couldn’t get enough of this creamy, crunchy, tasty casserole.  Other members of our class seemed equally hungry, because I noticed most of us had second helpings!

I couldn’t figure out all the ingredients my first time around, but by the second helping, I discovered a layer of Rice A Roni that seemed a lot more flavorful than I ever remembered for Rice A Roni.

If you are not familiar with Rice A Roni it is a pilaf-like boxed food mix that consists of rice, vermicelli pasta, and seasonings. To prepare, the rice and pasta are browned in butter, then water and seasonings are added and simmered until the water is absorbed.

“I’ve had this recipe for years,” Lila told our group as we ooh’d and aah’d quite appropriately!

Although lately, she has had trouble finding the exact rice called for in the recipe which is Rice-A-Roni Fried Rice with Almonds.  I couldn’t find that exact flavor and so I used a mixture of one box chicken and garlic and one box chicken and broccoli. Whew!  I highly recommend the chicken and garlic. The garlic creates a flavor layer that really adds to the overall taste of the casserole. The broccoli gave me that false sense that I was eating healthy! 😜

The Rice A Roni is made according to box directions and then becomes the bottom layer in a 9″x13″ baking dish.

I always start any chicken casserole with gently boiled chicken breast, trimmed to remove any fat or stringy pieces.  Then I shred it and the resulting chicken is so white, fresh, and ready for my casserole. (For speed and ease, canned chicken breast will work well in this recipe also.)

Mix the cooked chicken with soup and sour cream for the next layer.  Crushed Ritz crackers and poppy seeds top the chicken layer.  Lila’s recipe calls for a cup of melted butter mixed with the crushed crackers.  I omitted the butter and sprinkled the top with slivered almonds.  Oh my goodness!  Can you just taste it now?  

I know our vegetable should be about twice the amount of the main dish, but I promise, you can start with a smaller amount of casserole but you will be back for more before the broccoli cools off!

Thank you, Lila, for the outstanding recipe!  Keep ’em coming!

Blessings and Happy Cooking!

P.S.  Can you taste poppy seeds? My Chief Casserole Eater husband says he couldn’t taste the poppy seeds.  I don’t think they are meant to be tasted as much as they add texture and color.  What do you think?

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Love it! Packed with flavor, very versatile and especially easy to make.
Recipe type: Main Dish, Casserole
Serves: 12 servings
  • 1 to 2 lb. chicken breast, cooked, chopped or shredded
  • 16 oz. light sour cream
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups Ritz crackers, crumbled
  • 1 cup butter, melted *Optional
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 boxes Rice-A-Roni (Fried Rice with Almonds or any favorite flavor)
  • Slivered Almonds *Optional
  1. Cook rice according to the package directions.
  2. Heat oven to 350⁰. Spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan.
  3. Spread rice in bottom of 9"x13" baking dish.
  4. Combine chicken, sour cream, and soup. Spread on top of rice mixture.
  5. Mix melted butter and crushed Ritz crackers. Layer over chicken.
  6. Top with poppy seeds and slivered almonds.
  7. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, uncovered.
1 lb. of chicken works fine, originally recipe calls for 2 lbs.
Any flavor of Rice A Roni will work well.
May use canned or fresh chicken breast.
Poppy seeds and almonds optional.
Melted butter mixed with the crushed crackers optional.