Tag Archives: A Gospel Primer

Permeating Flavors

DSCF0037Milton Vincent’s A Gospel Primer (available on amazon.com) continues to influence my daily thoughts. In the Foreword of A Gospel Primer, Mike Bullmore compares the writing and reading of Vincent’s book to preparing and enjoying a tasty meal from a slow cooker. He makes a good point; a wise reader will not speed-read this book. Instead, just as time is needed for flavors to mix well in a crock pot meal, time will be necessary for the Gospel truths Vincent shares to permeate your thinking.

Here is an example of how Vincent’s book has helped me in my spiritual growth with respect to my view of trials in life. In the past, I struggled more often than I do now with the temptation to find someone to blame for every challenge that I face. Having spent some time reviewing A Gospel Primer, I more often find myself wondering how the Gospel relates to the details of a particular challenge instead of figuring out who is culpable. Sometimes my challenge is simply a difficult circumstance involving no other human being. Other situations involve another person. In these and various other situations, I have been helped tremendously by the principles which Vincent helps his reader consider.

For example, some mornings, I awake with a stiffness or pain in my neck or back that makes the beginning of the day rather slow for me. Other times, I am clearly reminded of my physical limitations when I cannot maintain a pattern of mixing rest times in with periods of working or socializing. It seems that I can’t participate in as many activities as “normal” people can without reaching the point of complete exhaustion or a debilitating headache after a couple of days. These kinds of challenges are simply due to my living in a decaying body in a world that is cursed from sin; no particular person is to blame.

In other cases, I may need to speak with someone to work out a misunderstanding or to address a hurt between us. That is uncomfortable for me, but maintaining any relationship will, at some time, require this difficult work of reconciliation. When someone has hurt me, I tend to be quick to anger; I also have struggled for years to obey the command not to keep an account of the wrongs others have inflicted on me. Sometimes I wonder, “Why do I even have to face this? I wish I didn’t have to address this difficulty with this person!” Vincent’s Gospel Primer has helped me to switch my thinking more quickly to, “What might God be teaching me about the Gospel in this situation? Or, is this an opportunity for me to grow spiritually by exercising faith in His promises as I obey His commands?”

Whether my trials involve other people or not, I am reminded from the Gospel that God is at work in the difficulty, molding me into the image of His Son. When I am firmly convinced that God is for me, then I truly can exult in my tribulations and count my trials all joy since I know that God is deliberately designing my circumstances for the purpose of changing me spiritually to be more and more like His Son.

One day recently, I wanted to try a new way to cook chicken for Brody, and he suggested a garlic/herb combination. Starting with ideas from about.com in the Frugal Living and Southern Food categories, I came up with this recipe. We put some of the chicken on a plate with our usual black beans, rice and broccoli just for the “photo op” one evening, so it does look like a lot of chicken for one serving! 🙂 We liked the taste of the crock pot chicken, even if it doesn’t look as pretty as our chicken taco meal does! At times, our work schedules and my need for rest make the crock pot a very attractive option for meal preparation. We’re beginning to experiment more often using the crock pot with the recipes we already developed in A Recipe for Survival.

 Herb/Garlic Crock Pot Chicken

 ¼ cup water

2 lbs chicken breasts

2 tsp dried parsley

3 large sage leaves

a sprinkling of dried thyme

4” fresh rosemary

1/8 tsp ground cloves

a sprinkling of ground nutmeg

salt

black pepper

10” fresh oregano

2 garlic cloves

Add everything to a crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Enjoy!Crockpot Chicken 1

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.

Celebrating Sweetness

When grapes went on sale at Sprouts’ Farmers Market in my area recently, I bought some to make Sweet and Sour Sauce from Scratch (pages 156-157.) This particular batch of grapes was so sweet that I didn’t need to add any honey in Step 6. I was pleased that Sprouts’ also had chicken tenders on sale that week, so Brody and I enjoyed some meals of Fried Chicken (page 125), with the Sweet and Sour Sauce. Brody likes to dip the nuggets in the sauce, and I like to pour the sauce over the nuggets on rice. However you arrange them, they taste GREAT! Also, the nuggets re-crisp nicely as leftovers!

You are probably noticing the frequent appearance made by the black beans and broccoli; often they are cast in a supporting role with whatever the star of the menu may be in our household. This is due to their high marks in my scoring system: no history of making Brody sick, high in nutrients, low cost in dollars, and minimal preparation required. You may think that unseasoned black beans and broccoli may be uninteresting, but if you take a long enough break from processed, packaged or fast foods (A.K.A. the Average American Diet) your taste buds adjust, and you may find yourself appreciating the actual taste of the FOOD, instead of the powdered cheese, preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients (as examples) which are added to so many packaged items. You may, in time, discover how wonderful real food tastes!

 In the last year, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with calligraphy in addition to my kitchen experiments. My next calligraphy project will be writing out Romans 5 for Brody to enjoy on his breaks at work. He recently was drawn to that chapter after reading Milton Vincent’s A Gospel Primer for Christians Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love. The sweetness of God’s love for His people, demonstrated in the gift of salvation, is even better to “chew” on throughout the day – it lifts our spirit better than a sweet snack of any kind, even the Sweet and Sour Sauce with Fried Chicken!