Tag Archives: Tortillas

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!

 

Grace and Jury Duty, Part 3 (and Chicken Tortilla Soup!)

The second day of Jury Duty concluded with a vote at 5 p.m. in the deliberation room. Since the votes were not unanimous, we knew that we would have to return for at least one more day. I think it’s safe to say that many in the room were disappointed that we had to return for another day.

As I drove home that night, I felt angry when I considered the possibility that the final outcome would be a hung jury. This presented an opportunity for me to recognize my pride from a new angle. True, I cared about justice being served.

 

However, after a little thinking, I realized that I also was angry about the possibility of a hung jury because I felt as if I would be part of a failing effort if we didn’t reach a verdict. I didn’t want to be a part of “losing” team.

Since I couldn’t discuss the topic with anyone outside the jury until after the case closed, I reasoned with myself. (Yes, I talk to myself under other circumstances, too. 🙂 Don’t you?)

 

Anyway, just as I had meditated on God’s Word on Day 1 of Jury Duty to counteract my anxious feelings arising from fretful thinking, I reminded myself of the truth to assist in addressing my anger. The truth was that I was only responsible for my own decisions, not the decisions of other human beings. I was only responsible to God for how I voted based on the evidence presented in court and the judge’s instructions to the jury. How the other jurors voted was their responsibility. I was being prideful in thinking that I should be in control of, and responsible for, the final vote of the jury.

The possibility of a hung jury also cast in a new light my prideful feelings that I deserve always to be on a “winning” or “successful” team. My feelings of shame at the thought of being a part of a “failing” effort were evidence that I was prideful. I needed to repent of my sin of pride. In the event that we never reached a verdict, I needed to be prepared not to feel shame for having served on a hung jury.

 

As far as the more noble reason for my anger, that of justice being served, I made myself remember that God is the ultimate Judge.

I reminded myself that even if a human being “gets away” with breaking laws during his life here on earth, God sees everything and each of us will give an account to Him one day. Hebrews 4:12-13

 

Furthermore, God may graciously choose to grant even the “vilest offender” repentance of his sins here on earth, and that sinner, like me, will praise Him for His grace in saving us. All of us humans are sinners before God, and our only hope for a relationship with God and eternal life with Him is in God’s mercy and grace.

 

At the end of the 3rd day, we jurors concluded that further deliberation was not going to change the outcome. We took a final vote and informed the judge that we had been unable to reach a verdict. Shortly after that, we were all done with our responsibilities as jurors and were free to go our separate ways. One of the attorneys still remembered that the court had changed the schedule to allow me to take our trip, and wished me “Happy Anniversary!” as we parted. 🙂

 

Brody and I were able to take our trip as planned for our 5th anniversary. I was sick before the trip and afterwards, too, but during the trip, I was headache-and-respiratory-infection-free! God was gracious to give us that special time to reflect on the gift of 5 years of life together. We really enjoyed our stay aboard the Queen Mary, even with the excitement of a fire alarm at 7 a.m. the last morning we were there. We’ve returned a couple of times to visit the Queen Mary, and we are always pleased with how the restaurants on board the ship work with us to accommodate Brody’s dietary restrictions. Here’s a picture from our stay on the ship:

Our 5th Anniversary Aboard the Queen Mary

Looking back on those 3 days of Jury Duty, I am now thankful for the experience.

  • Now I’m glad that God didn’t give me my first choice of reading a good book in the jury assembly room for a day and then being sent home since I wasn’t needed to serve on any cases. Had I missed out on the experience of being on the jury, I would have missed out on all the ways that God showed His understanding of my physical limitations.
  • I am glad that I had practice in using Scripture to take control of my growing anxiety – anxiety that was making me physically ill!
  • I am thankful for another view of my sin of pride so that I could become aware of it and repent. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is working in my life, gradually using the truth of Scripture and the circumstances of my life to mold me into the image of God’s Son, Jesus.
  • I am thankful that one of the jurors purchased a copy of A Recipe for Survival! 🙂
  • Finally, I am thankful for the courtroom experience giving me a fresh view of God’s grace in His redemptive plan. I’ll write more about that soon!

 

I hope I remember for a long time how anxious I had been on Day 1 of Jury Duty in contrast with how God showed me through the next few days that He’s at work for my good. And while He’s at work for my good, He’s lovingly making it possible for me to endure the troubles and grow in my relationship with Him.

 

Recently I thought about Chicken Tortilla Soup and decided it’d be fun to try making a version that would work for Brody. I reviewed this recipe to get a starting point for making the soup.

Then I considered the recipes I already had been using for Brody that could serve as building blocks for this tasty meal. In time, I came up with two different ways to achieve this final state of yumminess.

 

The first way helps me use up some leftovers from a Chicken Taco meal. Often, cooking the chicken in the skillet as described in A Recipe for Survival (page 123) results in some very flavorful drippings that would soak the tortillas too much to use in the tacos. We use a slotted spoon to serve the chicken on the tacos, leaving behind the drippings. Instead of throwing away all that good flavor, I now use those drippings, along with the leftover Sister’s Salsa (page 155) to be the base of my Tortilla Soup. I add some water, if needed, to make the final product “soupy” enough along with some cooked chicken and bring the mixture to a boil. The leftover tortillas from the Chicken Taco meal are an excellent chewy side to enjoy with the soup. Or if I have time, I enjoy frying up those leftover tortillas in some grape seed oil to make our own chips.

 

The second way I make this soup is to cook some chicken in the crockpot, along with salt, pepper, minced garlic cloves and water. I save the liquid from the crockpot and use that as the chicken broth for the base of the soup. If I don’t have leftover salsa, I simply add some frozen or fresh tomatoes along with the seasonings from the Sister’s Salsa and Chicken Taco recipes, along with some cooked chicken and bring the mixture to a boil. If I don’t have leftover tortillas, I can prepare a batch of Tortillas (page 115 in A Recipe for Survival) and then instead of cooking them on a griddle, I roll out the dough and then cut it into strips and fry them up in a little grape seed oil. The resulting chips are fantastic!

Either way, we enjoy topping our soup with cheese, fresh cilantro, and avocado. We munch on the chips as a side to the meal instead of placing them at the bottom of the soup bowl since we don’t want soggy chips.

 

One day I wanted to prepare a photogenic bowl of our tasty soup to have on file for whenever I got around to posting the recipe. I specifically bought avocados and carefully sliced them for the presentation. Then I prepared the bowl of soup and took several photos so I could select the best one. I thought I was done, and then turned around and noticed the avocados hadn’t made the photo shoot!

A tasty way to use up leftovers from a Chicken Taco meal!

A tasty way to use up leftovers from a Chicken Taco meal!

By then, the soup was cooling off and I wanted to eat, so I tossed them on the soup in a most unceremonious fashion, took one more shot and then joined Brody for our meal. That’s why the avocados are not posing as well as they perhaps could, but I am sure that they were smiling for the camera as well as any inanimate portion of food can. 🙂 This Chicken Tortilla Soup is now one of our favorite meals!

Avocados make anything taste better! :)

Avocados make anything taste better! 🙂

Making Level Paths or Watching Our Ways

Our experience with food often reminds us of a spiritual truth. In my case, I know that I show very little restraint once I start eating chocolate candies. This reminds me of what I used to tell my Sunday School students before we settled in for the lesson portion of the morning. I suggested that they choose not to sit next to someone they would be tempted to talk with. I gave the class a little time to choose seats that would be most helpful for them to listen well. Some of my students chose to sit in the far corner of the room with my helper since that was the least distracting place for them. I encouraged my students to make it easy for themselves to follow the rules of the classroom. 

With chocolate, I choose to make it easy for myself to avoid overindulging simply by not buying much chocolate in the first place. I stop my overindulgence at the point of purchase in the store. If I had more self-control in this realm, I could stop my overindulgence at the point of serving myself chocolate in our home. I know that eating too much chocolate will make it difficult to accomplish what I need to each day, so I prefer to avoid too much of it. For Brody, he knows that he feels and functions best if he completely avoids the ingredients that really affect him negatively and also does not overindulge in the food we make. Even food that is designed to avoid his problems will cause him difficulties if he overindulges. These weaknesses of ours may not be your weaknesses, but you can substitute your example from your life.

The very real physical ramifications of our food choices serve as reminders for us in other areas of our life. There are times I struggle more with complaining that God has not blessed me the way I want to be blessed in my life. If I continue down the path of self-pity, I know I won’t be able to function well since a lack of joy quickly corresponds to a lack of physical energy for me. Either too much chocolate or focusing on self-pitying thoughts will hinder my ability to serve God throughout the day. So, when the first thoughts of self-pity begin, I can choose to change my focus through meditating on the Bible verse I’m memorizing or by praying for others facing challenging times.

These kinds of choices remind me of Proverbs 4:25-26 – if you haven’t read these verses lately, they may also help you as they have helped me. Consider your ways – make level paths for your feet! Make it easy for yourself to turn away from temptation! Of course whether or not I’ve “done well” today to avoid my besetting sins has zero impact on whether God loves and accepts me today. His love and acceptance of me are based completely on His choice to give me the perfect record of Jesus of Nazareth and to credit me with Jesus’ payment for my sin. I simply want to serve Him well out of love for what He’s done for me; I’m not earning His favor or smile today.

When we went to Montana in July, we were thankful that Brody’s dad had set up appointments for us to visit with 3 stores who were willing to display our book! For those of you who are near Lewistown, MT, you can still find a few copies available at The Pantry and Keystone Christian Supply, both on Main Street and also at Albertsons. We heard from The Pantry yesterday that they would like more copies! So we are thankful to partner with them and looking forward to fulfilling that request. To celebrate the good news that they need more copies, Brody and I made one of our favorites from A Recipe for Survival: Chicken Tacos (page 123) with Sister’s Salsa (page 155) and fresh Tortillas (page 115). Since this is one of our favorites, I asked Brody if he wanted me to put away the leftovers before we finished our first serving. (We had learned on previous occasions that we regret a second helping even though we really enjoy the taste and texture of the food.) Brody said yes, so we made it easier for ourselves to eat what we needed and instead of eating simply for pleasure – I put away the leftovers before we ate our tacos… and the result was satisfaction without the pain of overeating! 🙂  And of course that also meant… leftovers for tonight so there is less work for today’s meals!