Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kim: Garlic Lime Chicken

The title of this recipe is deceivingly bland. Trust me, it's not. Just typing the ingredients makes my taste buds water. This is my family's favorite chicken recipe. I could serve this a few times a week and Mike would be happy.

Garlic Lime Chicken

1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your family's tastes)
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (fresh or defrosted)
2 TBS butter
2 TBS olive oil
4 TBS lime juice (lemon juice works too)
1/2 cup chicken broth

On a dinner plate*, mix together the first seven ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.

*Kim's Time Saving Tip: Double (or quadruple if you end up loving this recipe) the first seven ingredients. Pour into a small tuperware container, close the lid & shake. Label container and store in your spice cabinet.

In a skillet heat butter & olive oil together over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and add lime juice & chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan and thoroughly coat and serve.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, or baked sweet potatoes. Cut leftover chicken into strips and place on a nice green salad. Mmmm!

Serves: 6
Fat: 11.0 g
Calories: 343

Recipe from Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely with minor alterations.

Kim: Silky Garlic Mashed Potatoes

These go perfectly with Garlic Lime Chicken. Yum!

Silky Garlic Mashed Potatoes

6 boiling potatoes (2 pounds)
6 garlic cloves, peeled or 3 tsp. minced (The potatoes are yummy without garlic too!)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Scrub potatoes. Leave skins on, if desired, or peel thinly and remove eyes. Leave whole or cut into large pieces. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Place potatoes and garlic in 2-quart saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes. Shake pan gently over low heat to dry potatoes if desired. Mash until no lumps remain. Add milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. (Amount of milk needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on kind of potatoes used.) Add butter, salt and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy. If desired, dot with butter or sprinkle with paprika, chopped fresh parsley, watercress or chives.

Left-overs? Use them to add thickness—and flavor—to your next vegetable soup.

For a "no last-minute" mashed potato casserole, spoon prepared potatoes into greased 2-quart casserole; cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. About an hour before serving, heat oven to 350°F, drizzle potatoes with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until hot. Stir potatoes before serving.

Fran: Spice of Life

Well, actually it's "How to clean the spice cupboard" but "Spice of Life" sounds a whole lot more exciting! ;) Warning; this is a little bit long but I wanted to do it in one post so you read it in order. Here goes:

Periodically I go through my cupboards to clean and organize them. I try to hit each cupboard at least twice a year when I’m ruthless about what stays and what goes in the trash. Recently I tackled my spice cupboard. For some reason I haven’t done this particular cupboard for a very long time (so you can imagine the condition it was in!)

Cleaning your cupboards may seem like a no brainer but I’m going to post some of my rules anyway. These are specific for my spice cupboard but they could easily be adapted for any other cupboard (pantry, fridge, etc).

1. Know you’re going to have a bigger mess than you started with but that it’s a temporary mess. Do not let yourself get overwhelmed by this!

2. One cupboard at a time! You are not allowed to even open another cupboard until the first one is done! (If you’re like me you’ll open the cupboard to put something away, see that the other cupboard is a mess, pull everything out of that one thinking you’ll get two done, see something else that needs to go in yet another cupboard and on and on and on…. Yes, I do have cleaning ADHD! If you’ve got something that goes somewhere else, put it on the table and deal with it later! A cupboard will probably take you between 10-20 minutes depending on how bad it is. If you take all the other cupboards apart too it’ll take you all day. You shouldn’t have to send the kids to grandma’s to get organized.)

3. Do one shelf at a time; take everything off that shelf, put what you don’t need in a discard spot (more on *discarding in a minute), wipe the shelf clean and replace what you’re keeping. Most used items in front, least in back. You shouldn’t have to go on an archaeological dig every time you need the cinnamon.

4. Do each shelf; leave all the things you’re getting rid of on the counter until you’re done with the cupboard and throw it all away at once. For some of you this part may be difficult because you’ll feel like you’re being wasteful. I have two reasons for doing it this way.

  1. So you can quickly (and I mean quickly!) glance at the throw away pile and make sure you’re not tossing something you use. (Don’t take your time on this! You’re not saying goodbye to a loved one, you’re cleaning the cupboards. Be ruthless! Do you really need that third bottle of whole cloves that you’ve had for ten years and never used?)

  2. I want you to see just how much junk you’re getting rid of. Seriously, you are unloading stuff you don’t need! Let yourself heave a sigh of relief and look at all the real estate you’re just opened up in your cupboard! Doesn’t that feel good?

5. Wipe down the outside of the cupboard and pat yourself on the back! (You are not allowed to get frustrated that you have ten more to do! You have completed the task in front of you and the next task is only one thing. )

*Guidelines on what to discard:

1. If it was once a spice but is now a solid brick, get rid of it! You should not need a chisel and hammer to get it out of the jar!

2. If you have more than one bottle of the same thing pare it down to one. (The exception being if it’s something you use a lot of. Not something you’ve carried around for the last 8 years because you got a 15 pack at Costco!)

3. If it’s more than six months old “they” say to replace it. Now, I use a lot of spices and I do go through some of them more quickly than others but I don’t keep this rule myself. (Spices are expensive!) That said; if you bought curry powder three years ago to try out one dish and haven’t used it since perhaps it’s time to let it go. Fresh really does taste better!

4. Stop keeping empty containers with the idea that you will refill them! I’m not sure if that was my intent or if I just didn’t know they were there but I had six (yes, six!) honey containers with one tablespoon of honey in each! I had a whole family of honey bears and they were still having babies! They have now been evicted. :)

5. Consolidate. I have a method for monthly menus that keeps me from having duplicates but if you should find three boxes of raisins in your cupboard, put them together. (This is assuming they’re fresh enough to eat without it ending in a trip to the dentist.)

I love, love, love using spices in my cooking. Cayenne, curry, Chinese five spice, sage, dill; I could go on and on! With as many as I use my cupboards can get overrun if I’m not keeping up with it. It may seem a tedious task but you’ll feel better when it’s done and if you need me to, I’d be happy to come over and help you! (But be warned, I will be ruthless. :) )

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cora: Pizza Porcupine Patties

This is my family's absolute favorite! Hope you enjoy it, too.

Pizza Porcupine Patties

1 pound hamburger
15 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/3 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon
1 cup boiling water
1 cup pizza cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Reserve 1 cup tomato sauce.

Mix remaining sauce, ground beef, rice, salt, garlic salt and oregano. Shape into 6 patties. Place into ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove patties from oven and drain.

Dissolve bouillon in boiling water. Stir in reserved tomato sauce. Pour mixture over patties. Cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Spoon sauce over patties. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.


Shannon: Grandma always said ...

You all know how much I love to cook (and bake). I can't ever remember a time when this wasn't true. When small, I used to climb up on a chair and watch my grandmother making Poor Soup (I'll post the recipe for that later) or red beans or breaded tomatoes. "How come you put that in there?" I'd ask, wondering at the giant scoop of bacon grease that went into just about every savory dish. "There's nothing like bacon grease for bringing out flavor," Grandma would say. I've thanked the Lord a hundred times that no one knew anything about cholesterol back then. I can only imagine what I would have missed.

Grandma was the one to teach me to cook. As she got older and I got tall enough to ignore the chair, more of the cooking duties fell to me. By the time rheumatoid arthritis had her firmly in its grip, all she'd have to say was, "Wouldn't scones be good today, Honey?" or "Boy, I've got a hankering for Rosettes," and off I'd go.

What I wouldn't give to hear about one of her hankerings just one more time.

Besides being grateful to Grandma for sharing her love of cooking with me, I'm also thankful that she taught me the most important of kitchen tips: Clean up as you go.

Doesn't that sound simple? And it really is, but for some reason, not everyone does it. If I could sit down with every young bride, every starting-out-new cook, this would be the one bit of advice I'd share (aside from a given: don't be afraid to deviate from a recipe. Experiment until it tastes good to you.).

If you don't already have this bit of wisdom tucked away in that brain of yours, start today. Go ahead and get the salt down to measure out a bit for your soup ... and then put it away. Pull the flour down from the cupboard. You can't make biscuits without it. But the second you've spooned that one and a half cups into your bowl, put the flour away. You might as well take a second to wipe up that light coat of dust you scattered in the process.

Clean up as you go. It works well with relationships, too.

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Laurie: Fear of the LORD (Pt.2)

But thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (II Cor. 9:15)

Father, when we realize we can't live up to Your holiness, when we can't be good enough, and know we could never bring enough animals to lay before Your altar to please You....And yet we desire to be holy, and see weakness, struggle and impossibility. Then we fall to our knees, knowing we need a Savior, (Jesus Christ), who willingly died because of His great love. And what we find in Him is our Great High Priest...who has compassion and sympathy with our weaknesses, because He was tempted in all the same ways as we are, yet He was without sin. (Hebrews 4:14, 15)

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:1, 2)

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified....and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 10:14, 17)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

Come, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Come, boldly to the throne of grace, to find mercy and grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Come, to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat...without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)

Come, and drink of the water of life freely! (Revelation 22:17)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Laurie: Fear of the LORD

This morning in my quiet time, I was reading the first few chapters of Leviticus, and the Lord started speaking to my heart. I had always thought that the priests took the animals from the people and sacrificed them, and then their sins were forgiven. But here it said they (the people themselves) were to bring their animal and slaughter it, skin it, cut it into pieces, and wash its inner parts and legs with water. Then Aaron's sons would sprinkle its blood on the altar, build a fire and arrange the pieces and burn all of it, as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

That really struck me. I used to think we'd be so poor if we lived back then, because as sinners we'd need to bring an animal every day for the priest to make a sacrifice for us. But now, Lord, You show me that I would have to kill that animal. I would have to cut its throat and hear its cries. As I thought about this today, I begin to see sin for what it really is.

"Horrible" isn't a bad enough word and yet we come to you day after day asking for forgiveness for the same sins. Animal after animal we would have had to kill. Are we really sorry? Or is it that we can just come and hand our sins to You, our High Priest and forget Your blood, forget Your innocence, forget Your crying out when we drove the spike through Your feet?

My hand did kill You!

Cora: Blessing Your Husband

Chris and I have been married for 16 years and it was only in the past few years have I come to truly understand what it means to bless my husband.

Chris and I are two very different people.

Chris is adventerous. He loves to be outdoors. He loves to take trips and experience new things. He is always on the go. He can never sit still.

I do not like adventures. I love to be inside. I like to stay around town and stick to what I know. I love being home. I can sit for hours.

I realized one day that I needed to stop being selfish and I realized that it blessed him to join him in the things he enjoyed to do.

One perfect example: camping. Now, as I stated earlier, I do not like adventures, I love to be inside and I love being home. As you can imagine, camping is a huge stretch for me. The outdoors, the creatures, the disgusting bathrooms, the not being able to take a shower. None of this appeals to me. But, for some reason, it appeals to Chris. So for his sake, I take a camping trip once a year. He gets to be outdoors among the creatures that he loves, and I get to be with him and it is a win-win situation for both of us.

Another example: Israel. This is a teaser for my testimony which you get to hear at the Lights of Christmas, so beware. Chris had a dream of visiting Israel someday. The chance was made available to him and he jumped on it. Of course, he wanted me to share it with him. So, reluctantly, I agreed to go with him. After my agreement, I realized that this trip was very important to him. I decided that I was going to do all I could to make this the best trip he ever had and he was going to have the time of his life. I never imagined what God had planned for me as I made my decision to bless my husband on this trip. (You will have to wait to hear the rest at the Lights :)

Sometimes we have to leave our comfort zones to bless our husbands. But in the end, we ourselves are the ones who are blessed.

I encourage wives out there who struggle with being the "opposite" of your husband to search your hearts and to seek God. Ask Him for motivation to spend time with your husband, for strength to step out of your comfort zone and to be the blessing to your husband God intended you to be.

Proverbs 31:12 says "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sylvia: In Him

Have you ever heard the expression, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle"? Well, I would like to know where that expression came from. It's not in the Bible, I can tell you that. Just recently that phrase was mentioned to me at different times by a couple of women who clearly had more than they could handle on their plates. They were believers so I was quick to add to their brave yet misguided statement, "IN HIM. God does not give you more than you can handle IN HIM."

I have come to realize that God invites and challenges us to lean on Him through the tough stuff that He allows in our lives. I have a few things on my own plate that I know I could not handle without the grace and wisdom and patience of my Lord because they are long term challenges. I am by nature a bullet biter. You know, one who gets in a jam and bites the bullet until it passes. Spiritually, it is a very unhealthy trait because it shows self-dependence and self-reliance instead of God-dependence and God-reliance. Victory over the difficulties that overwhelm us in our lives can only come by dependence and reliance on God.

Take for example the story of Gideon from Judges 6: Gideon's clan was the weakest of the tribe of Manasseh and he was the least in his father's house, meaning he had no authority, yet God called him to subdue the Midianites who had oppressed Israel for seven years. When they would come to raid Israel's crops, the Midianites were said to have been as numerous as the locust and without number, but God used an unknown man with no authority and gave him victory over them with just 300 men at his disposal. I would say that God had given Gideon a whole lot more than he could handle on his own and I'm convinced it is no different in our own circumstances and situations.

Consider Job, Joshua and the walls of Jericho, David and Goliath, Hezekiah and Sennacherib, and even Jeremiah who became so discouraged that he tried to quit! Consider the apostle Paul who was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned and even stoned and left for dead. All were given more than they could handle, apart from their faith in God, as a testimony to us who would also struggle and have difficulties in our lives.

So when confronted with something that is more than you can handle in your life remember this: Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yolk upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yolk is easy and My burden is light."

IN HIM ladies. Never forget, IN HIM.

God bless you!

Shannon: E.E.'s "How to Know God"

This morning in my quiet time, I was reading Elizabeth Elliot's A Lamp For My Feet and came upon this:

How to Know God

The order of the Christian's assignment is: hear, do, know. If we hear the commandments and obey them, the Father will make Himself known to us. It is no use trying to know Him without doing what He says. To listen to one word and go out and obey it is better than having the most exalted "religious experience," for it puts us in touch with God Himself--it is a willed response.

"If you really love me you will keep the commandments I have given you." It is perilously easy to imagine that we love God because we like the idea of God, or because we feel drawn to Him. The only valid test of love is obedience. Take one thing commanded and start doing it. Take one thing forbidden and stop doing it. Then we are on the sure road to knowing God. There is no other.

"You are my friends, if you do what I command you" (Jn 15:14 NEB).

"The man who has received my commands and obeys them--he it is who loves me: and he who loves me will be loved by my Father; and I will love him and disclose myself to him" (Jn 14:21). There is the order: hear, do, know.

* * * * * 

What wonderfully simple advice. All of us can stop doing one thing and start doing one thing. And if the end result is knowing God, isn't today a good day to start?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shannon: Easy Salmon

For years, I wished I could cook salmon. That was back when I thought that salmon cooks were born and not made. I honestly thought that some people just knew instinctively how to prepare it.

I really, really, really love salmon. Every time someone gives us a gift certificate to Anthony's, I get the alder-planked salmon with garlic mashed potatoes. But those visits are few and far between, so one day I decided that I would have to bite the bullet and learn to make my own.

Salmon is incredibly good for you. In fact, I've read that we should each be eating salmon at least once a week. That might not appeal to you, or it might not fit your budget (although I get mine from Costco and it's pretty affordable). Still, you should think about working this into your life on a frequent basis.

I sometimes do this with a beurre blanc sauce, but I'll just give you the quick, simple, no-fail recipe for now. Believe me, you can do this. You should do this. You must ...

Easy Salmon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take one salmon fillet, preferably without skin. Cut into serving size portions (about three-inch slices) and place on a prepared pan (I use my Pampered Chef stoneware jellyroll pan, so I don't need any oil or Pam. You might want to spray your pan if it's not well-seasoned).

Spray, brush or drizzle olive oil over the surface of each fillet. Pour a generous amount of lemon juice over each fillet. Sprinkle with dill, salt, and pepper.

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. We like ours darkened around the edges, so this is the perfect amount of time for us, but the fillets will actually be cooked through in a bit less time if you like them less cooked.

Now, let me ask you, is there anything simpler than that?

Fran: I'm in the mood for fall...

Okay, I promised I'd post a recipe so I thought I'd start with one my family really likes since I'm in the mood for Fall! (No groaning Cora! )

Cheeseburger Soup

1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
3 cups chicken broth (Cora, use vegetable or beef broth)
4 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 cup flour
4 TBS butter
2 cups cubed cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream

Melt 1 TBS butter; add beef and vegetables, cook and stir until beef is no longer pink. Stir in parsley, basil, broth and potatoes. Boil and simmer until potatoes are tender (10-12 minutes). In a separate saucepan or using the microwave melt remaining butter and stir in flour. Add milk, stirring until smooth. Gradually add to the soup, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Mix in cheese, stirring until melted. Add sour cream; stir until heated through (DO NOT BOIL).

This recipe can be slimmed down by using low or nonfat ingredients in place of the full fat version. It is very good with cheesey biscuits (which I will post later) and a salad if you want more than just soup. All of my kids and my husband like this soup (which is saying a lot!)

Shannon: Yesterday

I have to tell you, I woke up this morning still smiling from our meeting yesterday. Fran, Cora, Laurie, Tarri, Kim, and Sylvia--you blessed me more than you can know. I'm often struck by the "life" in our group. Sitting at Alfy's, watching your faces around the table and listening to the rhythm of our laughter, I was awed anew by the beauty God has brought to our church. You just can't even begin to guess at how much I love you all.

Thank you for your ministry to our women, and your obvious love of God, and for your friendship. What a treasure you all are!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shannon: Welcome!

For many years now, I've wanted us to start living out the Titus mandate in women's ministry by sharing what we know, encouraging one another, and spurring each other on to good works. I always thought we'd do some sort of binder-type format, offering recipes, thoughts on child-raising, ideas for blessing our families, etc. But this is 2007. We don't have to use binders ... we have the internet!

I hope you find this a helpful site. The key word for these posts is "practical." Some of the posts you'll find here (recipes come to mind) will seem less significant than others, but the fact is, as we seek to live out our calling as women, much of our ministry tasks do seem insignificant. However, nothing poured out for Jesus goes unseen. If we can offer a solution to tonight's dinner dilemma and in the process, your husband and children are blessed, then that recipe post is anything but insignficant.

As the Titus mandate says that "the older women are to train up the younger women," I've asked the women's ministry team (teachers, small group leaders, and administrator) to be the first contributors. These are women who have demonstrated maturity and who are bearing the fruit of walking with Jesus. In time (and as the Lord leads), we will no doubt extend more invitations to contribute (as our church has many, many Titus women), but we want to get the bugs out first and get a database going.

Ready to start posting ideas? We're open for business. When you join the site, use your name only (no nicknames or aliases, please :). When you post, we ask that you follow the title format you see above--your name, colon, title. At the end of your post, please add a label so we can begin building a database. Post labels will include the following categories: devotional life, marriage, parenting, home organization, ministry, recipes (let's be specific: recipes-crockpot, recipes-dessert, recipes-quick dinner, recipes-budget, recipes-soups, etc. If your recipe fits more than one category, go ahead and give it as many labels as you need), and sister-to-sister (articles on friendship and fellowship). I'm sure we'll think of others, but that's enough for now.

My prayer is that this site will bring God glory and build up the women in our fellowship (and any lurkers out there--we welcome you too! :).

God bless you!