Tag Archives: trials of faith

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!

Sweet Rolls and the Sweet Exchange

Gluten-free Sweet Rolls

A few months before we decided to publish our book, a friend on a very strict gluten-free diet asked me to develop a sweet roll recipe she could enjoy. Usually, something unique has to occur for me to invest time, energy and ingredients in experimenting with a dessert. For example, both of the cakes I developed were for receptions for friends who were either getting married or renewing their vows. In this case, since my friend was craving the sweet rolls, I decided to work on the project.

A couple of years ago, I posted some tips for following the recipe in our book. You may want to refer to that post before beginning your sweet roll preparation.

In the event that you would like to try preparing the recipe on pages 178-179 of A Recipe for Survival,  I took some video to show how I work with the dough. I prefer to add the water in the recipe so that the dough rises better. It’s a very moist dough.

Gluten-free sweet roll preparation

It starts out as a small amount of dough,

Gluten-free sweet roll dough ready to rise

but then after an hour or so in my oven with the pilot light on, it rises very well.

Our gluten-free dough has risen!

But that means that I need to add more tapioca and/or rice flour just before and while rolling out the dough in order to make it workable.

This was the first time that I tried recording videos, so the results are not stellar as far as lighting and technical quality go, but I didn’t want to invest another day in making sweet rolls and videoing the process. Brody is good at editing videos and cleaning up the rough start I make to video projects; however in this case, he could not do anything with the footage due to how I saved the files off the camera onto the computer. So, here they are, in unedited form. To give credit where it is due, the CD you will hear in the background of the videos is Acoustic Hymns 20 Favorites Featuring Jack Jezzro produced by greentree records. It is one of my favorites to play while I’m at home, cooking.

YouTube Videos

Tea with gluten-free sweet rolls

Based on some conversations with my gluten-free friends, I suspect they dream of a stack of sweet rolls with a cascade of icing!

Gluten-free Sweet Rolls with Icing

A person who craves sweet rolls which don’t make him/her ill may consider this recipe and the results precious.  In fact, one person recently described these rolls as “amazing.” However, even more precious and amazing is the judicial transaction referred to as “The Sweet Exchange” in a 2nd century letter to Diognetus from Mathetes. You can find a helpful background for this letter and the English translation of the original letter at www.earlychristianwritings.com. The letter has been divided into chapters and verses for ease of reference. Chapter 9, verse 5 is the verse which has inspired sermons and songs mentioning “The Sweet Exchange.”

Even sweeter than the tastiest food here on earth is the knowledge that Christ took on my sin and God gave me Christ’s righteousness. Only through Jesus Christ is God both just and merciful. I see His justice in His punishment of my sin in Christ. He shows His mercy by not giving me the punishment I deserve.

All my daily pain, difficulties and disappointments fade into the background as I meditate on the kindness of God to give me Christ’s righteousness and take away my sin. God’s Word calls my good works apart from Christ “filthy rags.” Remembering those verses in Isaiah adds depth to my understanding of a new song, “His Robes for Mine,” our church learned a couple of years ago. This rendition of His Robes for Mine is particularly inspiring and encouraging to me. While preparing this post, I played this over and over. I discovered that I craved it just as I used to crave chocolate! The lyrics for the song can be found here.

Perhaps you’ll enjoy making these “amazing” gluten-free sweet rolls, but more importantly, I pray that you will be encouraged in your difficulties as you meditate on God’s truly amazing grace toward helpless sinners.

Romans 5:6 (NASB) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.