Thanksgiving Part II

We are thankful for a special day set aside to help us focus on thanking our Lord for His work in our lives! Today, we are thankful to have the energy to exercise. When I was single, I sometimes would try to get back into the routine of walking and running regularly, but without another person to hold me accountable, I never kept up with the idea very well. Now that Brody is willing to help me keep going, we are increasing our walking and jogging. I am thankful, too, for how he helps me be accountable in my spiritual walk. When I am prone to being worked up into a lather about various difficulties, he often helps me refocus on God’s plan from eternity past and how He is working it out (Psalm 33:10-11).

 As Christmas approaches, I am thankful for the soothing sounds coming from the piano as Brody practices several beautiful Christmas songs. On Thanksgiving Day, Brody and I enjoyed a good time with Grandma and Ole and then we also visited Quaker Gardens in Stanton that afternoon. The residents were pleased with Brody’s piano concert of Thanksgiving and Christmas songs, and we enjoyed spending part of the day with them. We never thought Brody might be able to earn a little extra income from his piano playing! We are thankful for the many different ways the Lord provides for us, and we praise Him for His kindness in choosing a pleasant way for Brody to earn the extra income.

 I am also thankful for our Thanksgiving meal turning out well! This year, my turkey turned out the best ever. I cooked it a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and this time, I took a more simple approach. I combined some herbs, spices and butter and spread them over the turkey. Instead of opening the oven regularly to baste the bird, I left it alone. Since I had one of my debilitating headaches, I stumbled around in pain for most of the afternoon, and forgot about the turkey in the oven! By the time I remembered the turkey was in there, the little red “pop-up” indicator had popped up and Brody and I agreed that the bird looked well-cooked. As I removed it from the pan for its photo shoot, a wing came off, and I figured that was another indicator that the meat was cooked through. This was such an improvement over last year’s result! (Last year, the turkey didn’t cook completely. The year before that, I made a stuffing that used the giblets, and decided I’d never do THAT again! I tried some other ideas for the giblets this year, and I’ll share them later.)

 I was particularly pleased with my first attempt at gluten-free dressing! Brody and I called Daddy and Candy for a pre-Thanksgiving chat a few days before Thanksgiving, and we caught her in the kitchen, preparing for the dressing she was making for (I think) 60 people. I quizzed her over the phone for her method of making stuffing, and decided I’d give it a try this year, making adjustments to make the dish gluten-free and Brody-safe. The result was wonderful!

 For the garnet yams and the green beans, I chose a simple method that I knew would work for Brody. I followed the Grandma’s Green Beans recipe from A Recipe for Survival (page 91), and for the yams, I steamed them and then simply reheated them with a bit of key lime juice, butter, salt and a slight drizzle of honey. The results were tasty side dishes without all the extra creamy and sugary additions often found on Thanksgiving tables – we felt good after eating – no pain from overeating nor from food disagreeing with us.

 The cranberry sauce turned out well, too! Using the relish dish from my great-grandma made it taste better … well, at least it made it look better! 🙂 It tasted really good, too. I’ll share that recipe eventually.

 The gravy was wonderful! I’m so excited about how everything turned out, that I haven’t decided yet which recipes I’ll save for a second book, (if the Lord wills) and which ones I’ll post now. I’m thankful for how our eating has improved over these 3 and ½ years! My initial recipes in 2009 kept us alive, but weren’t really worth repeating later as I learned more about cooking without wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, potatoes and onions. I am thankful for the improvements over the years! Be encouraged – if you are struggling right now to find foods that work for you or your family member, keep on experimenting! In time, you’ll develop recipes that work for your family, too!

 Not pictured are the pumpkin pie and the crusty dinner rolls. In our household, the half-life of crusty dinner rolls is approximately 20 minutes, and since I used much of the batch to make the dressing, not a single roll was available for the photo shoot. Brody made the pumpkin pie the next day while I was working, so we didn’t have that for the photo. But, you’ve seen Aunt Nellie’s Pumpkin Pie (page 163 of A Recipe for Survival and a Sample Recipe on this website) in previous posts anyway. The green salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing (page 154 from A Recipe for Survival) rounded out our gluten-free, tasty, economical and pain-free meal. These are wonderful reasons to give our gracious Lord much praise and thanks!

Thanksgiving Part I

A Gospel Primer, by Milton Vincent, continues to help me focus on the glories of God’s love. As we approach Thanksgiving Day this year, I remember God’s many blessings to me. Topping my list is God’s meeting my spiritual needs through Christ. I am also thankful for Brody and for improved health for both of us. We are thankful for our families and friends as well as the jobs God has given us. We are also thankful for a loving church family at Bible Church of Buena Park.

I experience countless other blessings each day which I know I take for granted. I pray I will notice God’s kindnesses toward me more readily each day. Since we discovered how much Brody’s health improves when he avoids even trace amounts of gluten, oats, corn, potatoes and onions, we have grown in our appreciation for recipes which 1) don’t make Brody sick, 2) are economical, 3) taste at least somewhat appealing, and 4) have a texture that is, at the least, not appalling! 🙂

 So, when I tried a new dinner roll recipe for him recently, and it turned out well, we were very thankful! Using a similar thought process as described in detail in A Recipe for Survival, I converted a normal gluten-filled recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook,* to make these gluten-free crusty dinner rolls. On my second experiment, I wanted to try a little more tapioca flour to see if the rolls would be a little more fluffy. The second experiment was well-received by my taste-testers last night, so now, I am willing to share the recipe with you! If the Lord wills, we’ll one day publish another book with more recipes. By that time, I imagine this recipe will have improved even more (I will try adding rice bran and flaxseed for my next experiment), but for now, we are thankful for this recipe! I hope you enjoy it, too – if you tweak it to meet your needs, I’d enjoy hearing what you did to make it work for your particular special food needs.

Crusty Dinner Rolls

Dry Mix:

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¾ tsp salt

½ cup rice flour

1 ½ cup tapioca flour

1 ¼ tsp yeast

 Wet Mix:

1 cup goat milk

1/3 cup raw cane sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 tsp yeast

Final Additions:

2 beaten eggs

1 cup rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

 Combine the Dry Mix in a bowl and stir well. For the Wet Mix, warm the milk, sugar and butter in a sauce pan until the butter is almost melted. Stir in the 1 tsp yeast. While the yeast is warming up in the Wet Mix, prepare the Final Additions by beating the eggs and also combining the rice flour with the tapioca flour in a bowl. Also, lightly butter a cast iron skillet for extra crusty rolls, or butter 18 standard-sized muffin tins for clover-leaf rolls.

Pour the Wet Mix into the Dry Mix. Using a hand mixer, mix well. Add in the Final Additions; you will likely have to finish stirring the dough by hand with a wooden spoon. Form the dough into a sphere in the bowl.

Melt 1 Tbsp of butter and then spread it on the top of the dough and as much as possible, spread some down the sides of the sphere of dough. The dough is quite sticky and more moist-looking than “regular” dough.

Cover the bowl with a moist towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Divide the dough into half and let it rest for 10 minutes. Form little spheres of the dough to make clover-leaf shapes if using the muffin tins, or place the spheres into a cast iron skillet. Cover the dough with a moist towel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.

Spread a little melted butter on top of the rolls and bake them at 375 F for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are a golden brown. Immediately remove the rolls from the pans and cool them on wire racks. We enjoy these with butter and honey.

*Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 11th Edition, Copyright 1996, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, p. 102.

Continuing to Celebrate Sweetness

I’ve started reading Milton Vincent’s A Gospel Primer for Christians Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love and understand why so many people refer to it in other books or when speaking at conferences. If you don’t have a copy, you may want to get a copy to keep on your bookshelf so you can refer back to it after reading it the first time. The book will help you see how Gospel truths permeate your entire life…. In recent days, I have struggled with my attitude about my daily grind, keeping up with responsibilities in the midst of back and neck pain. Vincent’s Gospel Primer has reminded me that my difficulties in this world pale compared to the eternal judgment I justly deserved from God due to my sin against Him. I am quick to thank God for His kindness instead of complaining about my pain when I remember that God chose to demonstrate His love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. When I focus on what God has already done for me spiritually and that Jesus has gone to Heaven to prepare a place for me, then my earthly difficulties do not overshadow my outlook and attitude.

 One challenge that arises regularly when cooking for special diets is the lack of convenience food. Sometimes both of us are quite tired and hungry, and the thought of exerting lots of energy to prepare a meal, totally from scratch, can put us into shutdown. There have been times in the past when I chose to skip a meal for me rather than exert the energy to cook. I reasoned that even if I skipped one meal, I was still eating more on a daily basis than people who were imprisoned around the world for their faith in Christ. Furthermore, I was more interested in resting than in eating.

 Now that Brody is healthy enough to help with the cooking in addition to working full time, I don’t go to bed hungry as often. 🙂 Additionally, since we have a better handle on what he can and cannot tolerate, we are willing to prepare larger batches since we are more confident that he will be able to eat the food that we are preparing. So, now we can cook large batches of Meatless Minestrone (page 131), Chicken Italiano (page 119), and chicken marinated with Tangy Garlic Marinade (page 160), some beans, rice and broccoli and have many meals of a variety of flavors waiting in the refrigerator for reheating.

 The last time we made Fried Chicken (page 125,) we made an extra large batch and froze part of the supply for future meals. We were pleased that the frozen nuggets “re-crisped” very well in the oven (roughly 15 minutes at 350 F). For variety in flavor, we used the Orange Sauce (page 153) this time instead of the Sweet and Sour Sauce from Scratch (pages 156-157). The result was another tasty, satisfying, economical meal that doesn’t make us sick! Yay! God is faithful – His people never face a challenge without Him, and He provides the way for them to bear up under the challenge.