Monthly Archives: October 2012

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Dear Jesus, Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go, flood our souls with your Spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus. Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from you. None of it will be ours. It will be your shining on others through us. Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching not by words, but by our example by the catching force the sympathetic influence of what we do the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you. Amen.

~Mother Teresa

A Shining Prayer by Mother Teresa

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Fish Tacos

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Don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It may have several ingredients, but you basically just throw them altogether in a bowl, throw a couple of pieces of fish in a pan, and you’re done. It can all be put together in half an hour and the results will make you glad you went for fresh. Even my non-fish eaters like these. Bonus: Nutritionally sound and low calories.

Caramelized Onions and Green Peppers
1 green or red pepper, julienne
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
salt and pepper
spray oil

Spray a non-stick skillet with oil. Sprinkle veggies with salt. Cook peppers and onions on medium heat until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and use hot skillet for fish. While veggies are cooking, make sauces.

Chimichurri Sauce
1 ½  cup fresh Italian parsley
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup cilantro (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. cumin
½ sea salt
¼ lime, juice only

Process all ingredients in a blend/food processor until finely chopped.

Avocado Sauce
½ avocado mashed with a fork
¼ cup sour cream
¼ light mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ lemon, juice only
¼ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt
1 green onion, sliced fine
3-4 shakes of green Tabasco
¼ cup cilantro, minced (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Slaw
1 ½  cup green cabbage chopped fine
1 ½ cup red cabbage chopped fine
1 TBS. sugar
1 TBS. cider vinegar
¼ to ½ cup Avocado Sauce

Combine cabbage in bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar and sugar. Toss with Avocado Sauce. (You can speed this up by buying a bag of slaw from the market.)

Fish
1 lb. Tilapia fillets
Salt and Pepper
Spray oil

Heat non-stick skillet on medium heat. Salt and pepper each fillet. When skillet is hot, spray with oil. Cook fillets about 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Fish should flake easily and be moist. Remove from heat. Using a fork, gently cut fillets into large chunks.

Garnishes
Sliced avocado, sliced tomatoes, lemon or lime wedges, cilantro.

Assemble
Fill each tortilla with 1/8 of fish. Top with about 1/3 cup slaw, sauces, and garnishes. Two tacos with slaw and 1 TBS of each sauce have about 400 calories. Serves 4 people, 2 tacos each.

Well Watered

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My backyard is brown and dying. It is so sad. The grass was already brown from the drought and now with the temperatures dropping the foliage on the plants has all withered away. But before it changed to the color of mud, I had living, vibrant, tomatoes growing back there. On one of those rare days when it rained I was able to capture the beauty of it. Remember that?

My prayer today is that I never become a dry, dying Christian. I want to always have the joy of God dripping from my soul so that anyone taking the time to look will see a healthy, well-watered believer. God provides. I soak up the blessings.

Life is beautiful.

Optical Illusions

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This morning as I was heading home after dropping one of the teenagers at her job, I saw a small bright, sparkly puffy-looking thing floating in the sky. Being a person who has seen my share of  UFO shows on the History channel, my first thought was, Wow, is the mother ship coming? Luckily I’ve seen enough scientific shows to dismiss that idea almost immediately (almost). I recognized the object as a small cloud reflecting the bright morning sun. The angle was just right to make that little fella look magical in the midst of an otherwise gloomy sky.

It made me think about how many times I’ve been fooled by illusions. Friendships. Love. A sale at Archiver’s. There are so many things in life that look bright and sparkly that are really nothing more than puffed up air.

A friend recently told me about a conversation she had about making good decisions. She said we have to depend on the three Ws:  the whispers of God’s Spirit, the authority of His Word, the wisdom of trusted advisers. When we encounter things we don’t understand, opportunities that seem too good to be true, or shiny objects that make us forget our budget, the Ws can save us from making big mistakes.

Listen. Read. Ask for advice. That sounds easy enough. Maybe if I keep doing that I can avoid becoming one of those people who wear tin foil hats while sitting on their car waiting for the mother ship.

Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion; wise realists plant their feet on the ground.
Proverbs 14:18 msg

Chocolate Bottom Macaroons

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This is the recipe most requested from friends. The macaroon recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa. The chocolate addition comes from being married to a chocoholic for 28 years! Enjoy.
1 (14 oz.) bag flaked coconut
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla (I use clear vanilla)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large egg whites
4 to 6 oz. Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 325. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (this is an important step as they stick to the pan otherwise and will tear).Mix coconut, vanilla, and condensed milk in a bowl. In another bowl whip egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into coconut mixture until well mixed. Using a large melon baller, scoop dough into equal mounds on baking sheet. Cookies don’t change shape or size, so you can put them fairly close together.Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.Line a cookie sheet or tray with waxed paper. In a small bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat again at 15 second intervals until melted and smooth (be careful not to over cook). Dip the bottoms of the cookies into chocolate and put on wax paper. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Store in an airtight container.

Transformed

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Isn’t it crazy that no matter who we were before, we can be transformed into a miraculous thing of beauty? God is amazing. Just as He takes creepy, crawly grubs and metamorphoses them into fragile wisps of wondrous insects, He changes us from dull, selfish slugs into awesome children of light . He is crazy lovely like that!

We all…are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
~2 Corinthians 3:18

Laugh Out Loud

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Today we had a comedian speak at our church, Michael Jr. It was weird to be laughing at jokes and thinking about God’s saving grace at the same time. But why should that be so weird? The Bible says a lot about joy and cheerfulness. It says laughter is good medicine. Believing in God should bring glorious, inexpressible joy.  If the light God put in you is laughter, shouldn’t you let it shine for all to see? Even at church? YES.

I’ve had a few people tell me in my life that there was something different about me…a joy that surpasses what is going on around me. I pray that is true. I love to laugh. I am always looking to share a joke or find the humor in the situation. Michael Jr. said that God has taught him that he is not only to use humor to receive laughs, but to bring the light of laughter into others’ lives. Laughter reflects God’s light. He wants us to laugh! That makes me enjoy giggles, chuckles, and guffaws even more.

It also reminds me that laughter is from God just like His other gifts. When it is used to degrade, make fun of, or hurt others, it has been corrupted into something God never intended. Laughter is outward evidence of joy. It should be shared with all those we love. It is something we should be seeking daily.

Not only is it good for the soul, it is also good for the body. Research reveals that laughing is as good for the heart as exercising. Just think, by having a good hearty laugh you can be improving your health. Laugh it up! It reflects our God-given joy. Let it bubble up from your soul and out into a world that needs more joy-light. 🙂

Your Great Name

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Isn’t this book beautiful? Michael Neale wrote the book based on the song written by him and Krissy Nordhoff. The song, as sang by Natalie Grant, won a Dove Award earlier this year.

The book is broken into chapters that highlight the names of God and give biblical detail and stories from Michael’s life to further illustrate the name. It is beautiful inside and out.

While working with Michael, I realized that we are both Evangel University alumni! I thought it was cool how we were able to work together. Go, Crusaders!

Grandma Dunn’s Chicken & Dumplins

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One of the happy places I go in my mind when I’m feeling sad or overwhelmed is my Grandma Dunn’s kitchen. When I was little we lived just down the holler from her and I was in her kitchen, in her way, daily. She was always in the kitchen and always had something cooking…a pot of beans, a pan of cornbread, a pineapple upside down cake, a kettle of chicken and dumplins. And there were always sides. Lots and lots of sides…fresh tomato slices, crocks of apple butter, fresh green beans, fried potatoes, cole slaw.

Grandma lived on a farm that had been self-sufficient for years. All she needed as an occasional visit from the Watkins man. There was a time every year when we killed her chickens and cleaned them in her kitchen. I hated plucking the chickens. But I did it without too much whining because I knew we would take one of those big fat hens and boil it up for dumplins. I still remember the spewy sound of her pressure cooker ticking away on the stove. The sound of love.

When I was old enough, she would let me help her with the dumplin’ making. We would roll the dough out very thin and cut it into strips.

Then we would drop the dumplins in the broth and let them simmer while it thickened. I don’t remember sitting down to eat them. But I have vivid memories of making them.

All these years later I’m still making Grandma’s dumplins. The recipe has changed a little over the years. But they are still basically her recipe.

RECIPE

Stock
1 whole chicken, cut up (don’t use all breast, dark meat makes better broth)
12 cups water
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
3 carrots cleaned and cut into one inch chunks
1 small onion

Put all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim foam off the top. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for an hour or two. Strain broth. Remove chicken to cool. Set aside one cup of broth to cool. Return remaining broth to pan. Add water if necessary to make 10 cups of broth. Pull chicken from bones and shred or chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside. To broth, add

1 packet of Swanson’s Flavor Boost (Chicken flavor).

Turn down heat to a very low simmer. Make dumplins.

Dumplins
1 cup broth from pot
2 eggs
2.5 cups of self-rising flour (extra for board)

When broth is cool, add eggs and mix thoroughly. Stir in flour. It will be sticky but should hold together. Turn out onto a floured surface. I use my trusty Tupperware rolling mat. Knead a few times, adding in flour to make a soft disk. Roll dough out to a 24 by 24 inch square (I use the whole area with measuring marks on the mat). With a knife or pizza cutter cut into two-inch strips. Then cut strips into one inch rectangles. I use a pastry scraper to cut them and scoop them into the broth a few at a time. Stir gently as you drop them into the broth. Stir half of the chicken back into the pot (save the rest for another recipe). Simmer for 10 minutes. Serves 8.

Quote

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

The Twenty-Third Psalm