Category Archives: Uncategorized

I surrender all?

A few months ago, our church was singing the hymn, “I Surrender All.” As I sang the words, I reflected on some of the times I had sung the song from my grade school years, to junior high school, to high school, college and after college. I asked myself if I really had meant those words throughout the decades that I had been singing the hymn. Here is a link for the lyrics. (By the way, I didn’t know until now that there were so many verses! I didn’t recognize the 3rd and 5th verses shown on this link. Perhaps the churches where I had been a member chose not to include those verses due to the theological content.)

That Sunday morning, I realized that I had intended to surrender all of my life during the previous years. However, there had been areas of my life that I didn’t realize I was still expecting to manage on my own. For example, when I was in high school and college, I was willing to serve the Lord whole-heartedly in my life, but I didn’t realize that I was only willing to serve Him joyfully in certain roles. I imagined my life would turn out a certain way after college, and I didn’t even realize that I was adding those reservations to my “surrendering all.” I only discovered that I had had those reservations when God didn’t allow for my life to follow the exact plan I had in mind. My severe disappointment showed me that I had originally planned to “surrender all” only under certain circumstances!

Disappointments, difficulties and trials of various levels of pain show me areas of my life that need to change. I know from Hebrews 12:4-11 that the difficult times orchestrated or allowed by God are not to punish me, but to train me for my good. The emotion of disappointment helped me to understand how my desire to serve God in certain ways had become a god in itself to me. I realized that it was possible to make a god out of what I thought my calling in life should be.

I have found that as I meditate on God’s character and what He has done throughout history, especially with respect to His work to redeem a people for Himself, I experience more joy and peace. Rather than spending time and energy wondering why this or that is (or isn’t) happening in my life, I can choose to thank God for His saving work in my life. I can trust Him since He is good and because He is at work for my good, and His plan is best.

You can click on the reference for each verse to see the context for the verse at www.BibleGateway.com.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

 

Romans 8:28 

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.

I am gradually posting a picture of each recipe in our book! Below is Don Brody’s Beef Goulash, (page 124 in A Recipe for Survival), pictured with Grandma’s Green Beans (page 91 of A Recipe for Survival) and Basic Black Beans (Appendix B in A Recipe for Survival.)
Another one of our favorites from A Recipe for Survival

Another one of our favorites from A Recipe for Survival

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.

Chicken Noodle Soup and a Mother’s Legacy

How often do you consider how you were introduced to the truth?

We have some friends from Fiji, and I remember a sermon he preached in which he shared a little of the history of their country and how the Gospel came to his homeland. He expressed gratitude for the sacrifices made by those first missionaries who came to his country, bringing the Gospel. Because cannibalism was practiced at that time in Fiji, the missionaries were consumed. But before the missionaries died, God used them to share the truth with some of the Fijians, and eventually through the generations, our friends heard the good news of the Gospel.

In my case, I’m thankful for the Godly heritage on both sides of my family. My grandma’s mother, Dixie Lee Gabbard, raised her children faithfully, and now, four generations later, we see her devotion to the Lord in some of her poetry, and we continue to benefit from the cumulative effect of one generation passing the truth on to the next. My grandma, her daughter, says the following poem is her favorite…

THE TOP OF THE HILL

Some days, when I’m tired of my daily routine

And the urge of my heart I can’t still,

There’s a well-worn path my feet often take,

Past the barn, to the top of the hill.

Although I’m aware when I start on my way,

There’ll be numerous joys to thrill,

I’m never exactly prepared for the “lift”

That I get at the top of the hill.

All nature is hushed– ‘Tis the presence of God,

Why else so calm and so still?

And there’s sweetest communion and peace for my soul

Found in reverie here on the hill.

I’ve never had riches and never known fame-

I’ve no such desire to fulfill,

But, rather I’d see some tired, erring mortal

Find peace at the top of the hill.

When I’m gone and appraisal of my possessions

Reveals their value nil;

Then you’ll know they’ve not learned of this priceless enchantment,

That’s mine at the top of the hill.

Grandma remembers that well-worn path past the barn. We have some photos of the time that she took my mom as a little toddler back to Arkansas to visit Grandma Dixie on her farm. I imagine that the three of them took a walk to the top of the hill.

I enjoy photos which show multiple generations… they remind me of God’s faithfulness and grace which extend throughout the years to His creation in general, and to His people in particular.

In addition to our faith, I appreciate recipes being passed on to the next generation. I was glad I could modify Grandma’s famous Chicken Noodle Soup (pages 126-127 of A Recipe for Survival) to make it workable for Brody. Our family has so many wonderful memories surrounding Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup, including the evening when Brody’s siblings and parents arrived for our wedding almost 7 years ago.

That night, Grandma prepared a large quantity of soup and cornbread since I had told her many people would be arriving for supper… then when some travel plans shifted due to delayed flights and other reasons, she thought she had way too much soup and began sharing it with the neighbors.

Then later in the evening, most of us showed up, ready to eat! For the last serving, one family member only received roughly a half-cup serving with a little square of cornbread. The stick of butter I pulled from the fridge to offer with the cornbread was the largest serving of all the items I set before him! He was gracious and said the amount of food was just right!

Recently, I prepared a large batch of our version of Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Brody was satisfied with the results of freezing some of it. I didn’t have any after it had been frozen and thawed, but he assured me that the texture was acceptable.

Grandma's Chicken Noodle Soup

Have you enjoyed the results of modifying a favorite family recipe?

Psalm 145:4 (NASB)

One generation shall praise Your works to another,

And shall declare Your mighty acts.

Celebrating the Sweet with the Sour

The Lord supplied our every need in June as we faced some very busy days while helping Grandma prepare for and recover from back surgery. We are thankful for all those who supported us through prayer, and we praise the Lord for His grace to us. I was particularly amazed that I didn’t miss any work and also didn’t get any of my horrible headaches. We were very thankful that my aunt and uncle were here and able to assist Grandma quite a bit. We were also thankful for the many doctors, nurses, aides and others who served Grandma and who continue to serve her in her rehab stage.

So, we made it through June and then my neighbors heard the unfamiliar sounds of my dusting and vacuuming, and a day or so later, our company arrived! We enjoyed a week with Brody’s parents.

Since we had more hands available, I was able to take some photos I usually can’t take on my own. For example, here’s an action shot! 🙂

Our Special Gluten-free breakfast

On one of the mornings, Brody prepared our Pancakes from page 86 of A Recipe for Survival.

DSCF2110

We discovered a gluten-free chicken sausage at Costco recently, so he added that to the special breakfast. On most of the other mornings, we enjoyed Quinoa Cereal from page 87 in A Recipe for Survival. Lately, I’ve been enjoying it with ground flaxseed, rice bran, cinnamon, raisins, chia seeds and goat milk. This morning, I skipped the ground flaxseed since we had run out and I didn’t want to take the time to grind it.

A gluten-free breakfast

One day, we packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed some time at the beach.

Beach time

Brody found some shells to add to his mom’s collection.

DSCF2123

Mom graciously allowed us to use her head as pedestal for the food for this photo of our Crackers, Chicken Broccoli Kale Slaw, and Lemon Cake with Strawberries and Lemon icing. We still have a few paper plates from our wedding reception, so we used them for our picnic.

DSCF2118

Here’s a shot of the first time I made the lemon cake with strawberries some months ago:

DSCF2005

To make the cake, simply follow the directions for Chocolate Cake on page  174 of A Recipe for Survival, but omit the chocolate and substitute hot lemon juice for the hot water. To make the Lemon Icing, put roughly 2 Tbsp of lemon juice in a bowl and then add powdered sugar until it’s the consistency you prefer.

We love the combination of the slightly sweet and slightly sour! It reminds me of June this year for us … we had some difficult days, but the way the Lord gave us all that we needed at every moment added sweetness to the sour moments.

Blessed be the Lord,

Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;

Therefore my heart exults,

And with my song I shall thank Him.

Psalm 28:6-7

Our Short Lifespans and “Shorties”

Gluten-free Portable Shorties

Recently, Brody read The Conviction to Lead, by Albert Mohler. He read parts of it aloud to me and very few of Mohler’s points impacted me as much as his reminder of our short lifespans.  He shared in this book that he keeps a replica of a human skull on his writing desk to remind himself of the passing of time. What a great reminder! Our short time on earth will soon be over. I was challenged to consider what I’m doing with the rest of my time before eternity begins for me.

This year, I’ll turn 39, and since my mom passed away before she was 49, I recently wondered if I, too, had entered my last decade. In reality, any one of us could enter eternity at any moment as a strong earthquake reminded me a couple of weeks ago. Just as I can’t control the shaking of the earth, so also I do not have any control over the length of my life. I’m glad that the One who does control all things is good and righteous, and therefore, can be trusted.

So teach us to number our days
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

May I live more wisely each day, with the Lord’s help, applying His Word to my life.

Some years ago, I visited a friend in Asia. While there, I loved sampling the local cuisine. My favorite item was a snack, often served with tea, or carried on a day trip as a bite of on-the-go nourishment. I tasted a few different varieties, but they all had three things in common:

1) a filling of spicy meat

2) a breading holding it all together

3) a very cute appearance, either little cylinders, roughly 2″ in length or little cakes, roughly 2″ in diameter.

The tasty treats were either baked or fried and I still remember them fondly these 8 years later!

One day toward the end of my visit, my friend’s friend invited us to stop by for tea. I honestly thought I knew what these treats had been called in previous days. But, when my friend heard me say for the second or third time, “Please pass the shorties,” she whispered in my ear, “They’re called “Short Eats.” I was a little embarrassed, but not too much since I thought “Shorties” were an appropriate name – perhaps more fitting – due to the cute factor of the tasty treats’ appearances.

Recently, I had fun making my own version of Shorties, and thought I’d share the results with you.

I started with my Chicken Curry recipe, and then used my Tortilla recipe (page 115 in A Recipe for Survival) or Naan recipe to enclose the meat. The lighting in this photo didn’t show the deep color from the turmeric very well; I’m still figuring out the best ways to photograph the yummy food. It always tastes better than it looks!

Gluten-free Chicken Curry

The first time I made the Shorties, I melted some coconut oil in a frying pan and then tried to roll out my tortilla recipe.

Gluten-free Tortilla Dough

But, since I experimented with coconut oil as a replacement for some of the butter in the dough, the tortillas fell apart much more quickly due to the lower melting point of the coconut oil.

Tortilla preparation

Rolling out Tortillas

I also tried rolling out a rectangular shape of the dough in order to slice the long Shorty into many small Shorties.

Shorties Prep

That didn’t work out really well, so I tried making a little rectangle and making the Shorties individually.

Wrapping up Shorties

After a few attempts, I found the fastest way was to follow the basic pattern I used when making Birthday Danish (pages 164-166 in A Recipe for Survival.) I rolled out one circle of dough, added a little filling and then placed another round bit of dough on top of it, pinched the edges together and eased the Shorty off the counter and into the hot oil.

Filling Shorties

Frying Little Shorties

Frying More Little Shorties

I quickly gave up my attempts to make the Shorties super cute for a tea, and chose to make larger ones that still tasted great and took less time to create.Frying Larger Shorties

My neighbor answered my call for help to photograph my progress for the blog so I wouldn’t smear tortilla dough and chicken curry all over my camera. She suggested that some fresh cilantro would taste yummy with the Shorties; we tried it and loved it! Thanks to my friend and also to Brody for their help in the photography!

A few days later, I used the Naan recipe to make a different version of Shorties.

Shorties in Abundance

The bottom of anything made with the Naan recipe browns very nicely compared to the top.

Baked Shorties

Some tasty tea, cashew nuts and fresh fruit rounded out our mini meal of Shorties. My friend and I enjoyed the fruit of our labors and then shared them with our hubbies.

Shorties and Tea - a Great Mini Meal

These portable and nourishing snacks have a very short lifespan in our home!

 

Spicy New Experiences and Chicken Curry

I continue to make progress in memorizing Job 38:1-42:6. Earlier this year, Brody and I had a new experience for both of us when thieves broke into our rental car, and I had a new reason to be thankful for having memorized Job 38. The thieves got Brody’s carry-on bag with our computer, 3 copies of A Recipe for Survival and several other items, but Brody got their license plate! When I had some trouble falling asleep that night, I recited Job 38 to myself, and verse 15 took on a new level of meaning for me. When I think about the burglary or other situations, I remind myself that God is the One who sees all and knows all, and those who sin against me will answer to Him one day.

An undercover officer called the next morning to thank Brody for noting the license plate and to ask if we could pick the owner of the vehicle out of a lineup. We knew we couldn’t, but were thankful to have helped the officers a little on the cases they’ve been working on for two years.

If variety is the spice of life, then we had a spicy start to our year!

Here’s a spicy recipe we’ve been enjoying lately. When I first prepared it, I thought something crunchy would help improve the texture, so since then, I’ve served it with almonds or cashew nuts. We’ve received great reviews from friends and relatives who taste-tested it for us. I added the cashew nuts in a most unartistic way for the photo, but it tastes better than it looks. 🙂 And fresh fruit is always a tasty addition to a meal, particularly a spicy one!

 

Chicken Curry with Cashew Nuts and Grapes

Chicken Curry
(I used the techniques described in A Recipe for Survival to adapt this from my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1996, Meredith, Des Moines, Iowa, editor: Jennifer Darland Darling. I also used some techniques based on comments by The Gangrel on this recipe from All Recipes. My blend of spices was also influenced by a list of ingredients on Grandma’s old container of curry powder from Schilling. I chose coconut oil since my friend from Asia mentioned that she and her friends often use powdered coconut milk to thicken curries, and because I’ve heard that frying foods in coconut oil is better for us than using olive oil. I’m still learning about and experimenting with new oil options!)

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 big bay leaf
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp tapioca flour
1 Tbsp rice flour
1 Tbsp water

1. Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add all the spices and garlic, cook and stir 30 seconds.

2. Cook the chicken until browned, or use cooked chicken to reduce the cooking time.

3. Add chicken broth (I use the liquid from cooking the chicken in a crockpot) and celery.

4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

5. Combine the tapioca flour and rice flour in a small cup. Add water and mix well. Slowly add flour/water mixture to the skillet, stirring as you add the mixture.

6. Cook and stir for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is of the consistency you desire.

7. Serve over rice with cashew nuts or almonds.

 

 

Discernment and a New Family Favorite

About a year ago, I posted this photo when I was linking up with Deep Roots at Home. I had cooked this meal of broccoli, rice, and pork with pomegranate juice since someone had given us a couple of pomegranates.

This was my first time to process a pomegranate and I enjoyed a quiet time of removing the undesirable parts from the beautiful and tasty portion.

 

We exercise discernment when we put things into our mouths; shouldn't we also exercise discernment regarding what we take into our minds and hearts?

We exercise discernment when we put things into our mouths; shouldn’t we also exercise discernment regarding what we take into our minds and hearts?

I selected a couple of sermons which Brody had downloaded from the Grace To You website and benefited from listening to John MacArthur’s sermons on discernment.

Principles for Discernment Part 1

Principles for Discernment Part 2

Principles for Discernment Part 3

As I was making a physical distinction between the savory and unsavory parts of the pomegranates, I was listening to these sermons on the importance of distinguishing between truth and half-truth…. and I wondered:

How often each day do we exercise discernment regarding what we put into mouths…? Well, maybe not as often as we should! Right?

But, I suspect that we exercise even less discernment regarding what we accept into our thinking, or into our hearts.

May God lead us in His truth and teach us each day!  Psalm 25:4-6

Last year, when I ground up the pomegranate seeds and separated the seeds from the juice, I developed a new recipe to use the seeds. Brody liked it so well that I decided to share it with my brother’s extended family at Thanksgiving this past fall.

Once again, the desire not to waste anything that could be useful produced a companion recipe that was a real favorite among our family members! Enjoy!

 

Everywhere we look, we can see God's handiwork in His beautiful and orderly creation!

Everywhere we look, we can see God’s handiwork in His beautiful and orderly creation!

Family Favorite Appetizers

1. Prepare a batch of Crackers (See page 111 in A Recipe for Survival, or see the Sample Recipes tab on this site). Remember that you can omit the xanthan gum with perfectly acceptable results. You can opt for the variation that uses coconut oil, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. If you’d like to add the additional fun of shapes, use cookie cutters to shape the cracker dough before baking.

2. Exercise discernment 🙂 and separate the pomegranate seeds from the rest of the fruit. Enjoy the beauty of God’s creation! Brody always comments that the seeds remind him of my wedding set. 🙂 He chose rubies because I had memorized Proverbs 31 in the New International Version when I was in college. (Note verse 10.)

Rubies remind us of Proverbs 31 in the NIV.

Rubies remind us of Proverbs 31 in the NIV.

3. Grind up the seeds in a blender or Vitamix.

4. Strain out the seeds. The juice can be enjoyed as a tasty drink or as a marinade for pork.

5. Press a clove or two of garlic and combine with 1 stick of butter. Add a 1″ piece of fresh ginger root, minced.

6. Spread the crackers with the garlic-ginger-butter. Top with the pomegranate seeds, share with your family and watch them disappear! These were a hit among our family at Thanksgiving. Photo credit: Big Bro

I developed this recipe in order to use up the pomegranate seeds that were left after grinding them up and straining them out of the juice for a marinade.

I developed this recipe in order to use up the pomegranate seeds that were left after grinding them up and straining them out of the juice for a marinade.

 

 

The Earth is Full of the Lovingkindness of the Lord

A New Year's Day Tradition

A New Year’s Day Tradition

Some years ago, one of my employers gave each employee a Christmas gift basket which included an aebleskiver pan, a photo copy of a recipe for aebleskiver and a box of aebleskiver mix. The recipe and article were from Sunset Magazine’s February 2001 issue, page 138. The article featured the kit offered by Columbia Empire Farms which you can find here.

 Before I met Brody, I would often prepare aebleskivers as a New Year’s Day treat for my roommates or family. After I met Brody, the aebleskiver pan remained in a box in the garage for many years.

This New Year’s Day, I decided to find the pan, convert the recipe into a Brody-safe version and share the tasty cuties with my aunt and uncle who were visiting from Arizona.

Today, Brody and I both enjoyed a day off work, so we had a little extra leisure time. We enjoyed the aebleskivers again in order to take some photos to share.

Every time I make these, I usually suffer a few burns to my finger tips and mouth…. Be sure to let these cool sufficiently before tasting them! And if you don’t want to singe all the hair off your arms, be careful as you make these!

It’s kind of fun to make these with a filling, but it is much easier to make these plain and just break them open to apply butter and a topping as you eat them.

Here are the results of today’s fun in the kitchen.

Step 1: Find a recipe that works for you. I started with Sunset Magazine’s recipe and using the conversion method described in A Recipe for Survival, came up with a gluten-free, corn-free, potato-free version that worked for Brody.

 

Step 2: Oil your aebleskiver pan. Today, I used coconut oil. I used to use butter or olive oil for just about everything. That worked out great when I had a very limited budget for groceries. But as God has blessed us financially, I have been able to branch out and use a variety of oils and now am experimenting with some additional oils. A friend first alerted me to the health challenges that can come from heating oils beyond certain temperatures. So, I’ve paid better attention lately to the kind of oil I use for high temperatures. If you would like more information on this topic, you can read more from Dr. Pompa. I learned about his website from a friend who has had some great success in improving her health by using some of Dr. Pompa’s approaches.

 

Coconut oil for this experiment

Coconut oil for this experiment

Step 3: Mix up your batter, and if you want to add filling, you’ll want to have that close at hand.

 

Step 4: Heat up your aebleskiver pan. When a drop of water will dance on the pan, it is hot enough.

 

Step 5: Pour batter into each well of the pan.

 

So fun and tasty, too!

So fun and tasty, too!

Step 6: Allow the batter to cook enough to form a solid shell at the bottom and on the sides of each well. Add filling at this point if you’d like to. I used Blueberry and Strawberry Toppings (page 177 of A Recipe for Survival) for some of today’s batch. For the last round of pancakes, I chose to skip the filling.

 

Fun, but messy!

Fun, but messy!

Step 7: Using a sharp, thin knife or a wooden skewer, pierce the sides of each shell and lift it up 90 degrees to allow the uncooked batter to flow into the bottom of each well.

 

Like Ephraim, a Cake Half-Turned! :)

Like Ephraim, a Cake Half-Turned! 🙂

Step 8: Allow the batter to cook for about a minute. Then tuck the top of the aebleskivers into each well.

 

So cute!

So cute!

Step 9: If desired, dust the aebleskivers with powdered sugar, and then serve warm. If you spill the powdered sugar, I doubt anyone will complain! 🙂 This is a messy project, but fun….due to the mess and the frequent burns and singed hair I experience, I generally only make aebleskivers once per year!

 

These have a short lifespan in our home!

These have a short lifespan in our home!

Some of these turned out better than others! But they all tasted GREAT!

Some of these turned out better than others! But they all tasted GREAT!

We just celebrated our 6th anniversary! We still have some of the napkins from our reception, so I pull them out from time to time for a fun reminder of our special day. We also like a treat of gluten-free Canadian Bacon from Jones Dairy Farm now and then.

Jones Dairy Farm Canadian Bacon

Jones Dairy Farm Canadian Bacon

Brody makes the best scrambled eggs ever, so I always ask him to make them when we have a breakfast meal.

Breakfast for Supper is always a good idea!

Breakfast for Supper is always a good idea!

We are thankful for little joys of life – tasty, cute pancakes, gluten-free Canadian Bacon, and the best scrambled eggs ever… and we are also thankful for the bigger things in life such as our salvation and a marriage, that by God’s grace, has survived 6 years. The earth is indeed full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.

 

Psalm 33:5 He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Grace and Jury Duty, Part 4 (and of course, some tasty dishes!)

Jury Duty was definitely nerve-wracking for me. The initial jury selection was so serious and everything was so formal, simply being in the room scared me.

When a juror was 20 minutes late to the second day of Jury Duty, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The young lady beside me turned to me, wide-eyed, and said, “Wow – this is serious!”

When the late juror arrived, I noticed the bailiff repositioned himself to block the exit as the judge strictly informed the juror that he was in contempt of court for showing up late. But, he was vacating the bench warrant for his arrest and ordering him back to the jury assembly room and ordering that he be assigned to jury selection for the next case. Then he asked the juror if he understood. No one in the room ever wanted to be late for any phase of Jury Duty after witnessing that!

The seriousness, formality and severity of the atmosphere in the courtroom certainly increased my anxiety. However, as much as I wished I weren’t in the jury box, I was ever so thankful to be in the jury box rather than the defendant’s chair.

Later as the jury deliberated, I was surprised by something. Many on the jury voiced an interesting thought. While they expressed it differently from one another, many jurors said basically the same thing: “I recognize that I, too, break the law. I am not saying that I am better than the defendant. While I feel sorry for him, I still have to weigh the evidence, compare it to the law and vote guilty or not guilty.”

In the end, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. After the trial was over, the attorneys met with any of us who wanted to discuss the case in the hallway. They wanted to interview us a little to find out our thoughts on the case and some of us had questions for them about the process, as well. At one point in the hallway conversation, a fellow juror turned to me and said, “People can believe whatever they want to.” I responded, “Of course, people can believe anything they want to, but when actions break the law, the law has been broken.” The point is that even if a person thinks he is not breaking the law, if his actions are contrary to the law, he is, in fact, breaking the law.

The truth is that we are all lawbreakers and we will all sit in the defendant’s chair one day. When that day comes, we will all stand before The Judge, and we will give an account for even the idle words we have spoken. Most of the defendants will receive the just penalty for their violations of the Judge’s perfect law. Since the Judge is infinitely holy, even the smallest violation of His law merits infinite punishment.

The incredibly good news is that some of the defendants will not experience any of the Judge’s wrath because He has graciously chosen to wipe away their records as lawbreakers and replace their records with the perfect record of His Son. Since His Son lived as a human, without sin, fully keeping the Judge’s perfect law, He has a record as a law-keeper. The Judge, for the praise of His glorious grace, has chosen to give some of the defendants His Son’s perfect record.

How does one recognize who is in this second group of defendants? These are the defendants who have turned from their life of self-promotion and self-glorification and submitted their lives to the Judge. Their lives revolve around their Master-Slave relationship between the Judge’s Son and them. These are the ones whom the Judge will welcome into His home as He would welcome His own Son.

Spending a few hours in a human courtroom helped me appreciate the kindness of God in the spiritual world. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to help myself spiritually before God saved me. I was guilty and there was no way to hide from the One who sees everything. As severe and serious as the human courtroom was, standing before the Ancient of Days would be far more stressful.

But, when I was helpless, The Judge (who is both just and merciful) chose to change my heart to love Him; He replaced my sin-hardened heart with a heart that would be soft towards Him – a heart that would love the truth and the God of truth. And He poured out His wrath against my sin on His own Son, thus satisfying His justice against my sin.

I am thankful for the human courtroom experience for helping me see God’s grace to me in a new way. Most of all, I am eternally grateful that God has secured my eternity with Him. This Thanksgiving season, God’s merciful dealings with me top my list of “Things to be Thankful for!”

We prepared our Thanksgiving earlier than usual but I have been so busy with work and preparing for Christmas, that I have taken quite a while to post this! We used the recipes from last year and were thankful that we had tried and true recipes… no experimentation needed this year! And, I actually enjoyed the liver a little more since I put it on toasted Crusty Dinner Rolls. 🙂

We are Very Thankful!

We are Very Thankful!

Clockwise from top center: Sweet Potatoes, veggie smoothie in the little white cup, green beans, Slightly Sweet Cranberry Sauce, Aguantar Turkey Liver, gravy, turkey, fruit salad hiding under the rabbit-topped bowl, Candy’s Dressing. Not pictured here: Pumpkin Pie with vanilla ice cream.

(I’ll share more about the veggie smoothie eventually!)

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with those near to you!

 

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,

Your consolations delight my soul. Ps 94:19