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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Local Church Publishes New Cookbook for Ecuador Missions – A Great Mother’s Day Gift!

By Sherrie Norris

Just before the coronovirus pandemic became a household phrase, the folks at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Zionville were gathering recipes for their second cookbook to help with a mission project near and dear to their hearts. And, they didn’t let anything get in their way.

Thanks to the efforts of the cookbook team, the High Country – and beyond – will benefit greatly from this publication that comes at a special time in our lives. And, what a great Mother’s Day gift it will be!

It’s no secret that kitchens are busier than ever these days, so it’s a win-win for the church and local families, not to mention how the proceeds from the cookbook sales will help missionaries and the people they serve in the South American country of Ecuador.

According to Jackie Lawrence, who works fervently behind the scenes of the mission project itself, this latest compilation, “Favorite Recipes, Volume 2,” is a follow-up to the original, published in 2014.

“I had thought about doing it last year, but decided to wait,” Lawrence said. “Early in January this year, I felt that the timing was right, so I began the recipe collection process, and enlisted the help of my youngest daughter, Jaleesa Newman. After collecting the recipes, Jaleesa and I typed all the recipes in the publishers Typensave Program.”

Lawrence explained that the program provides a wonderful way to save on the printing costs by doing your own typing.

“It is a time-consuming process, but for a fundraiser cookbook, it is great,” she explained.

A special thanks, too, to Karen Haury for offering her proof-reading skills, and all who contributed to the project.

The new cookbook contains 220 recipes with seven typical cookbook categories, and one special category for Ecuadorian Recipes. It is dedicated to Steve and Carol Thompson, missionaries to Ecuador since 1987, “whose lives exemplify faith through their dedication and commitment to God, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Ecuador.”

Because both cookbooks have been fundraisers for the church’s Ecuador partnership, Lawrence wanted to include pictures and an entire section of Ecuadorian recipes, which Diana Martinez helped coordinate, along with submitting several recipes herself.

Lawrence explained that Diana and her husband, Esteban, are staff members at Camp Chacauco in Patate, Ecuador, to which Pleasant Grove has sent a group to join God in His work for the past 11 years.   “Our dear friends, Esteban and Diana, along with their young son, Pablo, were able to come to Boone last fall to visit with us, and share with our church about the ministry in Ecuador,” Lawrence said. “Another dear friend, Mauricio, who we met the first year we traveled to Ecuador, also helped with some recipes, and in translation, as well.”

Mauricio now lives in North Carolina, where he is a middle school teacher.

“We feel very blessed to have Mauricio close by,” Lawrence continued. “Mauricio is a very talented young man who speaks several languages, is working on his second master’s degree, and is an excellent cook.     We have been blessed, and our lives greatly enriched by the friendships of Esteban, Diana, Mauricio, and so many others who God has placed in our path as a result of our Ecuadorian partnership.”

Because of the Covid-19 situation here and in Ecuador, Lawrence said, her church group will likely be unable to make their annual trek to Ecuador this year.

“We are just leaving that up to God and whatever plan He has for us,” she said. “Regardless, we have decided to send the proceeds from our cookbook sales to our ministry partners in Ecuador to help with the camp ministry needs now, since they are unable to hold camps this summer.”

Lawrence said the need is great for them right now, due to this situation and their inability to generate any income from the camp season.

“As you might imagine, it takes several staff people to run a camp ministry, along with all the expenses, such as utilities, etc., involved. The camp staff are finding many avenues of ministry, though, during this unusual time, by conducting online worship services for the many Ecuadorians who are unable to have church services on Sunday mornings; they also conduct worship services in English on Sunday evenings for their US partners, as a means to help those who may not have online capabilities, and also to help keep us updated and included in the ministry there. Just last week, the Ecuadorian worship service had over 6,000 viewers.”  

Cookbook sales are going fast, which is a good thing for the fundraiser.

The cost is $10 if picked up or $12 if mailed.  

Contact Lawrence today to arrange your purchase and delivery methods by calling 828-964-0408, or emailing pleasantgrove7820@gmail.com.

Now, for a sample of the delicious treats found inside the cookbook:


Chicken Taco Soup

Submitted by Lydia Townsend

1 lb. chicken

1 can Mexicorn

1 can Rotel

1 can corn

2 cans black beans

1 jar salsa

Cook chicken and then shred into pieces. Mix all ingredients and let simmer 1-2 hours. Can top soup off with cheese, sour cream and/or tortilla chips.


Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

Submitted by Joy Lawrence

1 (3.4 oz.) box cheesecake or white chocolate pudding mix

12 oz. whipped topping

2 (6 oz.) containers strawberry yogurt

1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced

3 bananas, sliced

3 cups miniature marshmallows (optional)

Place the whipped topping, pudding mix and yogurt into a large bowl. Whisk together. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving (at least an hour). When ready to serve, slice the bananas and strawberries. Remove whipped cream/pudding mixture from refrigerator and gently fold in strawberries, bananas and marshmallows. Stir gently to combine. Serve immediately.


Crock Pot Corn

Submitted by Becky Ballew

2 sticks butter or margarine

8 oz. cream cheese

4 lbs. whole kernel frozen corn

2 Tbsp. sugar


Put 1 stick of butter and ½ the cream cheese in the bottom of crock pot. Add corn, sugar and salt. Put remaining butter and cream cheese on top. Cook for 2 hours.


Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

Submitted by Louise Greene

1 ¼ lbs. boneless/skinless chick breasts

1 lb. bacon

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds., wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with wooden pick. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bacon is crisp.


Ecuadorian Bean Rice

Submitted by Lita Bella Cevallos Munoz

1 lb. of rice

½ lb. of black beans or lentils


Greene and red pepper

White onion

Cook beans in pressure cooker. Dice peppers and onions, and fry them together. Cook rice with a little salt. Mix the cooked rice, beans and fried peppers. Serve with rotisserie chicken or steak.