Category Archives: New Recipes

“It’s a Keeper” Salad and Psalm 121

We just returned from a trip to the MidWest to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday and to visit friends in the area. I started up our food supply again yesterday by picking up some boneless, skinless chicken breast along with some other groceries. Lately, I have been boiling the chicken breast and then using it in salads or in other dishes. I save the liquid to use as a base in soups.

Last night, I introduced a new set of flavors in our series of light, summery salads, and when Brody finished his serving, he said, “It’s a keeper!” So, here it is for you….

Light, Simple, Summery Salad

It’s a Keeper….Light, Simple, Summery Salad

 

“It’s a Keeper” Salad

Combine and enjoy:

Chopped cabbage, kale and lettuce

Diced carrots and hothouse cucumbers

Raisins and dried cranberries

Almonds and sunflower seeds

Diced chicken breast (fully cooked)

Salt and pepper

Lemon and lime zest

Notes: Since God gave the almonds and sunflower seeds enzyme inhibitors to protect them until they are ready to sprout, you may find it easier to digest them if you first soak and then dehydrate them. I soak and dehydrate these in small batches and then store them in a glass jar in the freezer. Several websites have suggestions for how to do this. Instead of buying a dehydrator, I have chosen to use my gas oven at a very low temperature (mostly the pilot light) to dehydrate the seeds and nuts. I find eating the nuts after treating them this way helps me digest them with less discomfort.

Also, lately I have chosen to buy a few limes and lemons, wash them, and then freeze them whole. When I want some zest, it is easy to zest a whole, frozen fruit. When I want the juice, I simply grate more of the fruit, beyond the zest. This way, I don’t waste any of the fruit, and it is easier to zest them frozen than when they are at room temperature.

After Brody’s comment about the salad, I started thinking about the word, “keeper,” and I was reminded of a thought I had while looking for shade on a hot day. Our trip to the MidWest reminded me of the heat and humidity that allow the land to produce such beautiful green scenery, but I am fairly sensitive to the sun and heat, so I really appreciate the shade. One day, as I was seeking the shade for relief, I remembered Psalm 121, in which the Psalmist compares the Lord to shade. Now that I am sensitive to the sun, I can more easily relate to this metaphor written by someone who knows the heat of the desert.

Psalm 121:5

The Lord is your keeper;

The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

You can read the entire Psalm at Bible Gateway here. While Brody was using the word, “keeper” to mean that we like the salad and intend to save the recipe for future use, the Psalmist is using the word to mean that the Lord keeps His people from harm… that He is their protector. Our safe, uneventful travels to the MidWest, consisting of two road trips in between two airplane flights, reminded me of the truth that the Lord guards our coming and going. And one day, He will take His people home to Heaven to be with Him forever.

Forget Not! and Basic Mexican Chicken Salad

The other day, I realized that I had been writing in a journal fairly regularly for just over 20 years. As I look back through my thoughts and prayers, I see some times in which I wrote a few times per week, and other times that I would miss 1-3 years of writing. The years of experiences which produced our book, A Recipe for Survival, are an example of one of those longer gaps.

Now looking back at the years before that gap, I see a prayer that showed up regularly: “Lord, draw me closer to Yourself.” I realized recently that one of the main ways we are drawn closer to Him are through trials…. so the very trials I resented were the answer to my prayer! I just didn’t think at the time that I prayed for a closer walk with the Lord that He would use temporary difficulties to show me my sin, and therefore, increase my appreciation for His eternal salvation of my soul. Seeing my prayers from years ago helped me gain a fresh perspective on trials.

Another good result from keeping a journal on a semi-regular basis is the reminder of how God brought me through past difficulties. I see how something consumed my attention in the past and how I prayed about it and now, years later, the issue is barely in my memory. Sadly, that may also mean that I easily forget how God graciously worked to either change my circumstances or change my heart to accept His will (with joy) in that particular situation.

Maybe the Psalmist also suffered from a poor memory when it came to remembering all that the Lord had brought him through, so he reminded himself to forget none of His benefits:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;

Psalm 103:1-2

May we remember all of the Lord’s benefits to us who are relying solely on Christ’s perfect life, death and resurrection for our eternal salvation! We, as rebellious sinners, deserved instant physical death and eternal suffering for our hateful rebellion against God. He kindly turned us from the path we were on, gave us hearts that love the truth and did all that was necessary to reconcile us to Himself. And He did this all for the praise of His glorious grace! What love He has shown!

Brody and I have started experimenting more with salads since they are satisfying, can be thrown together rather quickly after some previous, simple preparation, and they don’t require heating up the kitchen on hot days. Here is one of our latest concoctions:

Basic Mexican Chicken Salad

Basic Mexican Chicken Salad

Ahead of time:

Boil some chicken breasts; slice or dice them after they cool.

Prepare some Basic Black Beans (See Appendix B in A Recipe for Survival.)

Cook some quinoa (See Appendix A in A Recipe for Survival.)

Wash the lettuce and cilantro.

Store all the ingredients in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to eat the salad,

Chop the cabbage, shred the lettuce, chop the cilantro and dice the tomatoes.

Add all ingredients in the proportions you like onto your plate. Finish the flavors with salt, freshly ground black pepper, some lemon and lime juice or zest, a diced garlic clove and dried red pepper.

Cut the avocado and add this last.

Be filled with a satisfying combination of flavors and nutrients!

Loveliness of Companionship and Busy Day Crockpot Pork Roast

In celebration of 8 years of marriage

In celebration of 8 years of marriage

This year for our anniversary, Brody sent me a dozen red roses. Since he was out of town for a business trip, I took some photos so he could see what he sent me!

Being away from each other and missing one another reminded me of how believers long to be with Christ for all of eternity. Sometimes, Brody and I ask ourselves aloud why we don’t more frequently long for eternity with our Savior. We usually answer that we have become too focused on this earthly life, the desires we have for particular material things or the desire to accomplish certain goals here on earth.

While we don’t try to create difficulties in our lives, when trials come, we can rejoice in them since one of their benefits is that our gaze is redirected from an earthly focus to a Heavenly one. We more often long to be with our Savior when we are facing difficulties than when all is going smoothly.

Samuel Rutherford, a pastor during the 1600’s in Scotland, wrote many letters during his lifetime. The majority of the collection contained in The Letters of Samuel Rutherford  was written during a time of persecution he endured for his faith. His unwavering love for His Savior is clearly seen in his writings, and his beautiful choice of words reflects the beauty he saw in Jesus Christ.

A little over a year ago, while shopping for Christmas, I was buying some books for Brody from The Banner of Truth. The total for my selections was really close to the minimum purchase necessary to qualify for free shipping, so I looked through the options to close the gap…. and chose a beautiful, pocket-sized, leather-bound book, The Loveliness of Christ. This is a selection of quotes from Rutherford’s letters.

Over the past year, I had glanced at it from time to time, but just recently, I decided to read it through, from the beginning. Now I understand the choice of the title and beautiful binding…. This is a sweet little book, filled with precious thoughts presented in well-chosen words; a fitting, lovely way to preserve and present Rutherford’s quotes. I anticipate referring to it often as I encourage my friends.

It is always delightful to discover something new to me! While some of my discoveries are not new to others, I am happy to learn something new to me. The Loveliness of Christ was a new discovery to me, as was this arrangement of ingredients….

Our local Sprouts Farmers’ Market advertised pork roasts on sale, and we were invited to our friends’ home. Our friends had already invited us over previously and we had not returned the favor, so we asked if we could provide the meal if they provided the space.

That was a good plan for all of us, but I was working during the day. So, I decided to use our crockpot to make a roast with vegetables. I had often made the roast with beef, but thought I would try it with pork, using the seasonings we have enjoyed in other pork dishes. The result was super tasty – we took the crockpot meal, some rice and some steamed broccoli over to our friends’ home and enjoyed our time of fellowship and food. Our friends said they were happy to be my Guinea pigs as I work on various experiments.

Simple, gluten-free, satisfying and delicious

Simple, gluten-free, satisfying and delicious

Busy Day Crockpot Pork Roast

pork roast

carrots

celery

a few garlic cloves, diced

rosemary leaves

salt

freshly ground black pepper

The day before, I washed and cut the carrots and celery into two-bite pieces. I also prepared a blend of our favorite salt, RealSalt, freshly ground black pepper, and rosemary leaves. I washed and cut up the broccoli so it would be ready to steam just before we left for our friends’ home.

The morning of my busy day, I packed the the ingredients into the crockpot, added the seasoning, and about 1/4 cup of water. I had never packed so much into my little crockpot and was not sure if it would finish cooking by evening, but in answer to my prayers, the meat finished cooking in time and it tasted great! The next time pork roasts are on sale, I might do this again!

Since I stayed longer than planned at work, Brody checked on the crockpot and also steamed the broccoli and cooked the rice so we were able to arrive on time with cooked food. We have another simple, gluten-free meal in our list now!

A Season of Gratitude

Fall Bouquet

At this time of year, many people talk about giving thanks, and sometimes I wonder, “To whom will they give thanks?”

James reminds his readers of the Source of every good thing given:

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.         James 1:17 (NASB)

Now and then, I realize I should exercise my gratitude muscle more. Brody helps me remember how thankful we should be on a daily basis for our lives. Our holy, perfect God gives us so much better than we sinners deserve!

Here is one of our super simple gluten-free additions to any meal…. raw cabbage with mini sweet peppers. I used to dislike raw cabbage, but when I heard that it was good for us, I decided to try it, and my taste buds adjusted to enjoy it! Brody sometimes adds raisins to his cabbage for a simple side dish in his lunch.

Cabbage and mini sweet peppers

We can be grateful that God designed our eyes to see beautiful colors and gave us tastebuds with the capacity to enjoy various tastes.

Simply Beautiful

My dad works as a missionary among a North American Indian tribe in Oklahoma, and has enjoyed learning the art of making his own flutes from a reed or another piece of wood. His friends and family enjoy hearing him play various tunes or hymns at different events.

Some years ago, he and his wife, Candy, attended a Thanksgiving Service organized by several churches in their area. Members of the various churches each contributed in a different way; some signed up to play or sing a special number; others volunteered to serve in other ways. But, the exact songs each volunteer was planning to play wasn’t communicated to the others.

The next morning, my dad wrote the following:

Last p.m. Candy and I went to the McLoud Ministerial Alliance community Thanksgiving service. There were only two specials besides the big Baptist church's choir.
 My Tribute by Andraé Crouch was announced to be played just before me by the host church's flamboyant organist [with the help of a CD and full orchestra backup thanks to an electric organ key board set into what looks like a baby grand piano frame]. --Candy looks at me wide eyed and asks, "Is that what you're going to play?"
 The flow of a flowery intro started with a lavish and energetic display of key board excellence. --Candy turns to me and says, "That's okay, they won't know it's the same song."

After a flourish of cord exchanges, variations on the theme and a blur of fingers going furiously from one end of the key board to the other, the organist reached the grande finale.

 Applause.
 Silence.

I walked to the front with my music folder, fourteen inch cane flute in hand and a prayer in my heart.

I took a very deep breath and broke the silence by saying that I was glad that the host preacher had started the community service by saying, "The program is before you but the Holy Spirit has brought it all together; we preachers have no idea how this service is going to pan out."

"So," I said, "I'll be playing the second verse (there is no second verse) of what you just heard as if all creation were praising God. This (flute) is a piece of bamboo cane that was growing a few years ago over in Choctaw [a nearby town] and with God's help, He allowed me to make this into a Native American style flute." And with that being said, I played "To God be the Glory".

(For those who don’t know, To God be the Glory, is the same tune as My Tribute by Andraé Crouch.)

My dad’s note reminded me of the entry for November 16 in the daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, based on Oswald Chambers’ lectures and talks delivered from 1911 to 1917. Part of it reads, “It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us.”

A person living a simple life that glorifies God may be encouraged to remember that the simple tune created by a cane flute, as well as elaborate productions from full orchestras, bring God glory.

In 2009, when we were just beginning to cook from scratch without gluten, Brody developed a tasty dish. By the time we published our book, A Recipe for Survival, we had new favorites. This summer, I brought back this dish he created since I was looking for a different flavor and a simple dish during a busy season of our lives. I named it “Single Skillet Summer Supper.”

Single Skillet Summer Supper

Single Skillet Summer Supper

Coconut Oil, roughly 2 Tbsp

Oregano, 2-3 pinches

Basil, a pinch or two

Thyme, a pinch

Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

Fresh tomatoes, chopped

Zucchini, and if available, Yellow Squash, sliced

Cooked Chicken, broken into pieces

1. Melt the coconut oil in the skillet.

2. Add the spices, salt and pepper. Stir and heat for a minute, roughly.

3. Add the tomatoes and squash and cook until they are as tender as you prefer.

4. Add the chicken and mix well; when the chicken is thoroughly coated in the flavorful sauce, it is ready to be enjoyed.

5. Refrigerate the leftovers and enjoy several simple, satisfying suppers.

A simple meal can satisfy your need for nutrition even if it is not super fancy. And that is simply beautiful!

Better Hummus, Discoveries, and the Freedom of the Potter

Now and then, my mistakes in the kitchen result in new discoveries.

I tried following my recipe for Yummy Hummus one day and neglected to read the entire note on my recipe card… the result was the hummus was much too watery. Since I had wanted to try making falafel, I thought this might be an opportunity… I could take my failed rendition of hummus as a starting point, refer to the recipe my friend had drawn my attention to, and possibly develop something new! I decided to give it a try.

Another friend was visiting me that afternoon. I told her about the falafel recipe and my concern that Brody can’t handle fried food as well as he used to since he had his gall bladder removed. She suggested that I try to bake the little falafels. So, that’s what I did. I not only got to try a new falafel recipe, I modified the Yummy Hummus to become Better Hummus! Here is the result in both recipe and photographic forms!

Better Hummus with Crackers

Better Hummus

1 cup dry garbanzo beans

2 Tbsp ground flax seed

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1/2 tsp dried red pepper

salt, black pepper to taste

3 Tbsp chopped parsley

3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

 

1. Rinse and then soak the garbanzo beans overnight.

2. Cook the beans until they are tender enough to pierce them with a fork.

3. Add the beans and 1 cup of the liquid from the beans to the Vitamix along with the other ingredients except the salt, black pepper, parsley and cilantro.

4. Starting on low and then switching to high speed, blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

5. Add salt and black pepper to achieve the taste you like.

6. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, stir in the parsley and cilantro, and enjoy! We love this with crackers!

Freda’s Falafels

Better Hummus Ingredients

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup tapioca/rice flour blend (roughly 50/50 for the blend)

Sesame seeds

Butter for the cookie sheet

1. Prepare the Better Hummus recipe above, except use all the water that was with the garbanzo beans while they were cooking.

2. Combine the baking powder with the flour blend.

3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

4. Butter a cookie sheet.

5. Form the falafels into little patty-like shapes. Coat the falafels in sesame seeds and then bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

As I experimented with these, I tried adding more flour to the mix with different batches.

Falafel Experiment from Hummus Mistake

I decided I preferred more flour. My first attempt resulted in falafels which were a bit “wimpy.”

Freda's Falafels Take 1

More flour in the batter produced a better final product. The result was the falafels stood “taller” and didn’t collapse as much as they cooled after baking.

Another attempt at Freda's Falafels

From time to time, I struggle with discouragement and discontentment when I consider how my life is “turning out” as compared to how I had thought things would go. If I dwell on what I had planned to be doing by age 40, I can become quite sorrowful… but when I remember that God is the One in charge of my assignments in life as a member of His household, then I experience more peace.

I know that He is good and He does good, so I can trust Him as He is working in my life. Brody often reminds me that our lives here on earth are not about accomplishing certain things. Instead, God’s purpose for us is to prepare us spiritually for Heaven and to bring Him glory in our lives now and for eternity. We know His love for His people is measured by the sacrifice He made on the cross for us. So, even as we face difficulties and disappointments, we can know for certain that He is not being unkind to us; He is lovingly working in our lives for our spiritual good.

Romans 8:28-30 from www.BibleGateway.com

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

My aunt took this photo a few months ago in New Salem, NC. She couldn’t remember the name of the studio. I would love to contact the potter in this photo to confirm that it’s okay to share the photo on my site.

Potter at work

This photo is a beautiful reminder to me of God’s careful shaping of my life. He does not make a life out of failed experiments as I sometimes make a new recipe out of mistakes in my kitchen; rather, he is masterfully carrying out the purposes He has had for eternity past. My little lifespan is a tiny part of what He has designed for His creation. Even with the pains and disappointments, I can trust Him that He is molding my character to resemble His Son more and more. Since He is the Potter, He has the freedom to make whatever He chooses from each lump of clay.

Psalm 33:10-11 from www.BibleGateway.com

The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Some years ago, my church gave us Sunday School teachers a gift of the classic edition of My Utmost for His Highest, a daily devotional by Oswald Chambers. For many years,  I read it every day throughout the year. Then I took up other devotionals for some time. Perhaps on January 1st, I’ll pick it up again for this coming year. I remember a quote from Oswald Chambers about God helping Himself to our lives…. I found the quote below from a cached page from www.utmost.org.

Wisdom from Oswald Chambers

Is He going to help Himself to your life, or are you taken up with your conception of what you are going to do? God is responsible for our lives, and the one great keynote is reckless reliance upon Him.  Approved Unto God, 10 R

Thanksgiving/Christmas Recipe Collection

Over the past 2 years, I’ve posted some new recipes and photos of our book recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In order to ease your preparations for the end-of-the-year celebrations, I thought I’d collect all of these into one post for reference. For the recipes from A Recipe for Survival, I’ve listed the page from the book.  For the recipes I developed after we published the book, I’ve included the link so that you can read the original post. As always, let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like a recipe I haven’t included.

Gluten-free Thanksgiving Meal

The Main AttractionThe (un)Basted Bird

In 2012, I had the best results ever in preparing the turkey, and based on the post above, I suppose the success may be due to the simple approach I took that year. I couldn’t find any details about that year in my collections of scratch notes on recipe experiments, so I’m guessing what I wrote in that post is the most reliable account of what I did to achieve that beautiful and tasty result pictured above. I think the spices and herbs I used would have been some nutmeg, black pepper and salt along with the rosemary, sage and thyme which came as a potted trio from my local Sprouts. I’ve been able to keep some of the plants alive for the following years, but it may be time to update my thyme along with the rosemary.  🙂

Candy's Dressing

The Delicious Dressing (A.K.A. Candy’s Dressing)

We LOVE this dish!!!! Save yourself some stress later in the season by using the Crusty Dinner Rolls recipe to make a loaf of bread in advance. Wrap and freeze the bread for use later in the dressing recipe. Here are some tips for wrapping and freezing breads.

Gluten-free Thanksgiving with side dishes

The Enticing Ensemble of Side Dishes

The Savory Sweet Potatoes …. or are these Garnet Yams? I know there’s a difference, but whatever name they go by in the store, I buy them, fix them and we eat them! Simple, yet delicious, the results of following these directions pleased our palates and our insides!

The Grand Green Beans (A.K.A.  Grandma’s Green Beans, pictured above with the Savory Sweet Potatoes) We enjoy this recipe from time to time throughout the year, and it’s on page 91 of A Recipe for Survival.

Gluten-free, corn-free Crusty Dinner Rolls 2

The Delicious Dinner Rolls (A.K.A. Crusty Dinner Rolls)

This has become my favorite recipe for bread. Besides making rolls with it, I’ve used it to make loaves of bread which I can then use for making sandwiches or for any recipe calling for bread crumbs.

The Cranberry Sauce

The Slightly Sweet Cranberry Sauce is pictured above with the rest of the side dishes, and you can find the recipe here.

The Decadent Desserts

Gluten-free Almond Christmas Carol Cookies

Almond Christmas Carol Cookies

This recipe is in our book, A Recipe for Survival, on page 162, and it’s a sample recipe on this site.

Gluten-free Aunt Nellie's Pumpkin Pie

Aunt Nellie’s Pumpkin Pie

This recipe is on page 163 of A Recipe for Survival, and it’s also available as a sample recipe on this website. You can click on the photo of the sample recipe in order to increase the size of the font. It’s pretty hard to read if you don’t click on it first to zoom in on the text.

Gluten-free chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake

This recipe is on page 174 of A Recipe for Survival; and the photo above does not do it justice! This has been well-received at church gatherings…. even by those who don’t have to eat a gluten-free diet! The creamy chocolate frosting (page 175 of A Recipe for Survival) adds an exceptional extra tasty finish.

Gluten-free Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

These are perfect! Here’s the recipe!

Gluten-free sweet rolls

Sweet Rolls

These have been called “amazing!” The recipe is on pages 178-179 of A Recipe for Survival, and check this post and this post for tips on how to prepare them.

Enjoy your special foods for this special time of year when we remember all for which we are thankful to God… especially His gift of salvation! How wonderful that His kindness is everlasting!

Psalm 106:1 (NASB)

Praise the Lord!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Snickerdoodles and Memories of Mommy

Great Memories of Mommy

My family called my mom, “Mommy” all the years that we were blessed to have her in our lives.

Bible Time started when we were young

Bible Time with Mommy

I am thankful for the many ways she invested in my life and in the lives of so many others. Her investments into the spiritual lives of others will continue to produce dividends for eternity.

This year marks the 20th year since she passed from this life into the next, and I’m remembering many wonderful ways that her life affected so many. Thinking of her accomplishments, the most important was to work with my dad on the translation of the New Testament into Piapoco, one of the minority languages of Colombia and Venezuela. Below is a photo from the final checking of the text before the New Testament was formatted for the first printing back in 1986.

Final Checking of New Testament in Piapoco

Our Piapoco friends were very excited to have the New Testament completed in their own language! When the first copies arrived in each village, the leaders prayed with my dad, thanking God for the New Testament in their language….

New Testament Distribution

Thankful for the Piapoco New Testament

…. and then everyone wanted a copy!

Everyone wanted a copy of the New Testament in their own language

Let the Little Children Come!

We are thankful to be in contact with some of the Piapocos we knew in Colombia. They are still enthusiastically requesting copies of the New Testament and the book of hymns and choruses in Piapoco, most of which my mom wrote for them. This month, the New Testament is in the reprint process. We praise the Lord for this wonderful news that the Piapoco people still value God’s Word in their own language and continue to request it.

If you’re interested, you can see what the New Testament in Piapoco with Spanish section titles looks like here on Scripture Earth. This is a neat site to view various resources in many different languages from around the world. If you visit Scripture Earth, you can see some other results of my parents’ efforts – the three volumes summarizing the Old Testament.

Even as my parents were focused on their work as translators, they never let my brother and me feel as if we were less important than their ministry. Instead, they found ways to include us in their work. We listened as my mom taught people how to read and write and we joined in as my mom taught the villagers the new songs she had written for them in their language.

Teaching Literacy on the Front Porch

We also helped collate the pages of the hymn books when they were printed and ready for assembly and distribution.

Collating the Piapoco Hymnbook

My mom invested in my life in so many ways; the most important was her influence to trust and obey my Lord. She also encouraged me to learn to cook. She didn’t enjoy working in the kitchen very much and didn’t have a lot to teach me, but she encouraged me to read the recipes in the cookbook and follow them. Her contribution was to wash the dishes to keep me motivated! I enjoyed learning to cook and I appreciated her help with the clean up process.

She had a few recipes I remember fondly. One recipe I remember she would prepare almost every Christmas was for Snickerdoodles. I still have not located the old notebook of recipes that she and my dad prepared and collected while we were in Colombia, but I found a Snickerdoodle recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

Following the method outlined in A Recipe for Survival for converting a standard recipe to a gluten-free recipe, I developed the following:

Gluten-free Snickerdoodles

SNICKERDOODLES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup rice flour

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 Tbsp rice bran

1 Tbsp flax seed

2 Tbsp raw cane sugar

1 tsp cinammon

Directions:

1. Beat the butter for 30 seconds using an electric mixer.

2. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and baking powder to the butter and mix in well with the mixer.

3. Add the egg and honey to the mixture and mix them in completely.

4. In a separate bowl, combine everything else except the 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

5. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix well.

6. Cover the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

7. In a separate little bowl, combine the 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

8. Using roughly 1 -1/2 Tbsp of dough, prepare each little sphere of cookie dough. Roll the spheres in the sugar/cinnamon mixture and then place on a cookie sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.

9. Bake in a 375 F oven for 10-11 minutes. For my oven, I find it’s best not to preheat it for this recipe.

10. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven. After 1 minute of cooling on the sheets, remove the cookies from the sheets and place the cookies on a cooling rack.

Enjoy making your own memories with these tasty cookies!

What’s in a Name? And Queen Mary’s Salmon

For our 5th wedding anniversary, we enjoyed a couple of nights aboard the Queen Mary. Below is the photo I took of the booklet the hotel provided for our room keys.

Our room key holder

For one of our meals, I enjoyed the maple-flavored salmon dish.

Our 5th Wedding AnniversaryWhen we returned home, I decided to replicate it. Here’s the photo of my version, along with my recipe. 🙂 Brody likes to add black beans as a side dish to any meal, and the steamed broccoli and rice are often seen in a supporting role since for time’s sake, we like to prepare a large batch to keep in the fridge for snacks and sides.

Queen Mary's Salmon

Queen Mary’s Salmon

butter

1 pound of salmon

salt

black pepper

thyme

dill weed

1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup (The last time I made this, I used so little, I think it’s actually negligible… unless you have an extreme sweet tooth, you’ll like the dish just fine with very little or no maple syrup.)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Cut the salmon into serving-sized pieces.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet.

3. Sprinkle the fillets with the herbs.

4. Cook the salmon on medium heat for about 3 minutes.

5. Flip over the fillets and add the syrup and lemon juice.

6. Cook for approximately 3 more minutes. The salmon is done when the meat pulls apart easily, the meat is opaque and the juices are milky.

7. The skin comes off very easily after cooking, so I stopped removing the skin before cooking it. Now we just remove it as we eat. Here is a resource of tips for grilling seafood – some of these ideas translate well into pan-cooking, too. For additional tips, here is another site.

So, what’s in a name? I named the above dish based on our good memories of our 5th wedding anniversary trip. I’ve wondered from time to time how some items for sale in grocery stores came to be called “food.” This is especially interesting to me when I consider the conversations I’ve had with various people.

Some quote I Timothy 4:1-5 as reason to eat anything and everything.  True, these verses reinforce what Jesus taught in Matthew 15; that is, eating certain things does not defile us. Rather, the evil that comes from our hearts and proceeds out of our mouths defiles us. Based on these and other passages throughout the New Testament, we know that we do not need to apply to ourselves the dietary restrictions from the Old Covenant between God and the nation of Israel.

But, I do not think that I Timothy 4:1-5 extends God’s blessing to anything that someone has called “food.” For example, I could blend cardboard with water and spread the resulting mush on a cookie sheet and sprinkle sand on it. Simply labeling it “food,” does not mean that the concoction is nourishing. And I do not believe that such a mixture is included in the endorsement of I Timothy 4:4.

So, what to do? It’s biblical not to pass judgment on anyone for what he eats or doesn’t eat. While the topic is slightly different, we can find some principles to guide our thinking in Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8.

Romans 14 specifically is addressing a situation in which believers had differing views on eating meat which had been sacrificed to idols. Some believers could not eat meat without thinking about the pagan rituals and sacrifices which they had renounced. For them, their conscience was bothered by eating meat. So, for them, it was better not to eat meat. Other believers could eat meat without being uncomfortable at all since they no longer made the connection between eating meat and the idol sacrifices.

The Apostle Paul addressed this topic in I Corinthians 8 as well. He concluded both passages in the same way… if a person’s conscience is bothered by eating meat which was sacrificed to an idol, he should not eat meat. And if a person’s conscience is not bothered by eating meat sacrificed to an idol, then he can enjoy eating meat. But, he should be careful not to eat meat in front of others who may follow his example and then feel as if they had partaken of idol worship by eating the meat of the sacrifice. And neither the meat-eaters nor the non-meat-eaters should pass judgement on the other group.

So based on these principles, no one should pass judgment on others for what they eat or don’t eat. One of the verses my college Sunday School class memorized was Romans 14:17 “… for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So, I am aware that I should not evaluate someone’s life as being sinful based on what he or she eats.

But, I wonder if some of our Christian brothers and sisters would benefit from considering why they eat what they eat. For example, there have been times in my life that I have eaten for emotional comfort. The result of this, coupled with a lack of self-control, led to a significant gain in weight for me. If I struggle with a lack of self-control, I can ask God for help in overcoming that sin. And I can take comfort in the knowledge that Christ has already conquered that sin along with all other sins I struggle with.

If I eat for emotional comfort, I wonder why I’m turning to food instead of to God’s Word in times of sorrow or disappointment. According to Psalm 19, God’s Word is sweeter than honey, so why not pick up the Bible when I feel as if I need encouragement?

And if a believer is experiencing food-related health challenges, and refuses to change what or how much he/she eats, perhaps eating certain things or eating in a certain way has become a god to that person. That brother or sister in the Lord may benefit spiritually from praying for wisdom regarding his/her views of food. And making some changes in how he/she eats may result in some physical benefits as well.

Cravings and Cleansings

Refreshing Veggie Smoothie

Back in December 2013, I mentioned a veggie smoothie pictured with our Thanksgiving meal. I promised to share the recipe eventually and now I finally will! We have a friend who works full time, and has special dietary restrictions that are different from her husband’s specific dietary restrictions. This means that preparing food that will work for them takes a lot of her limited time.

Sometime ago, she had shared with us how she was enjoying a veggie smoothie every morning. Her goal was to get some good nutrients into her diet early each day in case she became so busy that she couldn’t eat a nutritious midday salad. I listened to her basic recipe and then added some other ideas of mine.

Later, when shopping at our local Mother’s Market and Kitchen, I received a flier about Spring Cleaning (Daily Detox) which was based on an article from Delicious Living Magazine. Now my current recipe includes some of my friend’s ideas as well as some ideas from the Delicious Living Magazine article which was summarized by Mother’s on their flier.

The first time I made this smoothie, I was not at all sure I could convince Brody that it was edible. Many of our friends initially have wondered if it could be tolerable, and I admit that it sounds and looks weird, but actually it is tasty and we think it’s helping us! At the least, it is a refreshing snack that does not give me the sugar crash and cravings that a sweet drink (popular among most of the population) may give me on a hot day. Sometimes, eating a small serving of veggie smoothie is a great way to finish a meal instead of eating a dessert and other times, we start a meal with veggie smoothie as an appetizer.

Whether or not a person likes a specific food may be more dependent on how he/she views food rather than on whether or not the food actually tastes or feels a certain way. For example, some people eat in order to live and some people live for the pleasure of the next snack or meal. Many live somewhere in between the two extremes. From my experience, I can focus on eating in order to function the best I can or I can eat because I want the pleasure of a certain taste or texture. I sometimes ask myself if I am craving something merely for the pleasure of the taste or if the dish or snack reasonably can be expected to nourish, and not harm, my body.

Interestingly, when I eat fewer of the foods that do not help me, for example, fast food or sugary snacks or drinks, my taste buds adjust and more healthful food tastes better than before. After this adjustment, I can taste the fillers, additives and preservatives which I couldn’t taste before in the processed, packaged foods, and simple fresh fruit tastes sweet enough to be dessert.

Initially, you may think this smoothie tastes weird, but if you continue to eat it and also decrease your intake of sodas, sugars, processed, packaged foods and fast foods, likely, you will experience a change in your taste buds and actually begin to enjoy the smoothie. If you have been struggling with your health in some way, you may also enjoy some healthier days if you are willing to develop some new tastes and choose to cut back or give up the items you currently love which may or may not deserve the title “food!” 🙂

So, here’s the current recipe for our veggie smoothie….

Veggie Smoothie Ingredients

The only two items I currently use which I forgot to include in the photo are apple cider vinegar and daikon radish. The Daikon radish is white and has a peppery taste.

Veggie Smoothie

1 bunch of kale, without the woody, end portions of the stems or a head of lettuce or a bunch of spinach

1 bunch of celery

2-3 carrots, skinned

2-3 cloves of garlic

a chunk of a small beet, perhaps 1/4 of the beet

roughly 4″ of Daikon radish

1 small apple, seeds included

1-2 cucumbers

a splash of apple cider vinegar (I think this lengthens the life of the smoothie in our refrigerator)

a splash of water to help the smoothie out of the Vitamix

Sometimes, I’ll include some cabbage and/or Brussels Sprouts

Sometimes, I remember to include parsley from my very determined little plant! It survives even though I neglect my potted herbs on a regular basis.

I often prepare the smoothie in two steps since my Vitamix can’t hold all of the ingredients. Hence the two colors!

DSCF2055

I use a spoon for the final mixing in the container. Many friends and relatives have remarked that this tastes better than they had anticipated!

As I was writing this, I remembered some other analogies I’ve heard drawn between our physical appetites and our spiritual appetites. When I have become “too busy” to read my Bible on a daily basis, my appetite for reading it diminishes over time. This reflects the physical world… I have heard that if a person stops eating, eventually, he will lose his appetite. That’s an extreme scenario which I have not tested, but intentionally making changes in what I eat has changed my tastes as I’ve detailed above.

That also happens with my spiritual tastes. If I neglect my Bible reading, I lose my spiritual appetite for my spiritual food. As I pick it back up and continue reading and memorizing Scripture, my appreciation of the Bible increases and my desire to read and memorize it grows.

Here’s a Bible reading program I’ve enjoyed for a few years now. I like it because I can keep the Old and New Testaments fresh in my mind. When I used to read from Genesis to Revelation, I would go for months without reading some portions of the Bible.

Prof. G Horner's Bible Reading System

The other benefit of Prof. G Horner’s reading program is that I enjoy reading the account of something in the Old Testament on the same day that I read a Psalm about that account and possibly read an allusion to it in Acts or one of the epistles.

For example, I may read Genesis 12 on the same day that I read Acts 7. Or I may read Numbers 11 on the same day that I read I Corinthians 10. Or, on one day, I may read Psalm 34 and I Samuel 21. Psalm 34 is the song David composed after he pretended to be mad in order to be set free from his captors. Since I don’t always read all 10 chapters each day, I don’t have the same exact reading plan as shown at Bible Study Tools. But, I like to continually progress through 10 different sections of the Bible regularly.

If you are on Facebook, you may try searching for Prof. G Horner’s Bible Reading System. When Brody accessed it there a few years ago, he was able to print out 10 book marks showing which books of the Bible were in each of the 10 lists.

Just as our smoothie is designed to nourish our bodies and cleanse us from toxins, reading my Bible nourishes and cleanses me spiritually.

Are you willing to try the veggie smoothie? I’d be curious to know if anyone takes the challenge and experiences a change in his/her tastebuds just as Brody and I have.

How about starting a Bible reading program (if that is new to you)? Maybe you’ll experience a change in tastes there, too!

One of Prof. G Horner's 10 Lists