Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day

I'm so proud of my nerdiness...















Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Power of a Praying Wife

For my first focus of the Lenten season I am reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  My intention is to read one chapter per day, so today I will be reading chapter 4.   I am very impressed by Stormie's straightforward approach and the way she speaks straight to the reader, be they the wife of a devout Christian or of an Atheist.   I find myself relating to a lot of the points she makes (who hasn't prayed for their husband to change and start putting his socks in the laundry basket on his own, or spoken to him out of anger instead of love?) and am going to make a concentrated effort to pray for him in the right way and let God bless our marriage in the way he intends for it to be blessed.   I'm really excited to finish the book and may even read ahead.

Here is an image of the book cover/link to it on Amazon if you are interested:


There is also an edition specifically for military wives, be they the wives of AD service members or service members themselves which is available for free through many military chaplains.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Back to Recipes - Clean Taco Meat

I know today is a Friday in Lent so may people won't be eating turkey tacos today (including me) however this is a yummy recipe for taco meat without the crazy sodium in the packaged seasoning...and I had all the ingredients in our spice cabinet!

I made a couple of batches of this taco meat and froze it so we can easily make taco salads or lettuce wraps whenever we have a Mexican craving (Have I mentioned how much we love Mexican food in our house??)

Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  •  1 teaspoon black pepper

    Instructions
    Combine the following dry ingredients into into a bowl to create your taco seasoning: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, sea salt, and black pepper
    Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat
    Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with the side of a spoon, until meat is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
    Stir in taco seasoning and cook 1 minute.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blessed are they who mourn



A lot of loss has happened around me lately and I know lots of families currently mourning their loved ones.  For them and everyone who mourns this is my prayer.  


Let them cry
Let them be sad
Let grief overcome their broken hearts
and when there are no more tears
Grant them joy
Grant them peace
Grant them the wholeness that only comes from you



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy (?) Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent on the Christian Liturgical calendar.   It is 40 days before Easter Sunday (excluding Sundays) and is a time of personal reflection, repentance and fasting in may denominations.  

The Lenten season is affiliated with Jesus' 40 days in the dessert before entering public ministry and Moses' 40 days on the mountain.

Roman Catholics have strict regulations that surround the Lenten fast whereas many protestant denominations take various approaches ranging from simply recognizing that lent is a thing through the same traditions followed by the Catholic church.  

Personally I tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  I appreciate the self-denial and focus on repentance that fasting can bring and as a result of my Catholic exposure tend to avoid meat on Fridays and Sundays.  However rather than taking the "give something up" approach to Lent I focus more on taking advantage of the chance to do things to draw me closer to God.  I have not yet decided how I am going to do that this year but and considering trying to read the entire New Testament during Lent this year.  

I will be attending Ash Wednesday services at lunch today at a Lutheran church near my office.  It's been a few years since I've attended a Lutheran church however my dad was Lutheran and in Georgia Hubby and were regular attendees at a Lutheran church.   I got out my old trust Lutheran Book of Worship Monday night and started flipping through to make sure I have the right words to the creeds etc.  

I hope that everyone who reads this who believes in Jesus has a blessed Lenten season and when we sing alleluia Easter morning that you remember the joyous reason being celebrated.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Theological Musings

I've recently been faced with some turmoil in my religious life.  There have been some changes made recently within the church hubby and I attend here and I have mixed feelings about them.  It isn't anything ground breaking, especially considering we attend a military church so having a regular transition in chaplains and chapel staff is the norm.  I'm just uncomfortable with a few things that have happened with the newest chaplain responsible for the services seems like he gives a lot of lip service.  On more than one occasion already he has said "we all have to compromise since we are dealing with a variety of faith traditions" then turn around and do things his way, this would be fine except some of his "compromises" feel to me more like he is forcing his beliefs on others and doing things that are blatantly against other traditions.
He hasn't done or said anything blasphemous or offensive, he is simply making me a little uncomfortable with some of his decisions.   This has called into question some of my own beliefs and I honestly believe his presence is being used by God to force me out of my comfort zone and to really do some deep soul searching.  
I apologize in advance if there are a lot of religious musings on this blog over the coming days/weeks/months.  I will probably be thinking "out loud" through this blog as is dive into what I really believe and what traditions I think are truly important to my faith.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hard Ginger Ale

Jersey pup is helping me write this blog post so I apologize in advance for any typos.  

No really...I know it's dark but she is is sitting on my arms, I took this from my laptop camera...

Hubby and I are watching Harry Potter and cuddling with the dogs tonight, it's an old person's dream night :) 
I decided to try the Henry's Hard Ginger Ale this week and it is really yummy...that is really all I wanted to say.  Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Colcannon Puffs

I love fried potato pancakes and latkes.  This recipe combines the delicious comfort food of my youth with an equally comforting Irish Colcannon recipe for fun bite-size puffs that would make a great (healthy!) appetizer for a party or carb/side for a family meal.   Hubby and I had them with veggie loaded meatballs and a salad for dinner last week and they were delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (I used red potato's and left the peels on them)
  • 6 ounces kale
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons milk(ish) (I used almond milk this time)
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch or corn starch

Instructions

  1. Cut the potatoes into small cubes (about 1/2-inch), put them in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, remove the center stalk from the kale and slice the leaves into strips. When the potatoes are done, lift them out with a slotted spoon and place in a large mixing bowl. Put the kale into the potato water and cook for 6 minutes or until kale is tender. Remove kale with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and pulse to chop fine.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Mash the potatoes and add the kale and all remaining ingredients. Stir well. Using a well-rounded tablespoon, form into balls about 1 inch across. Place them on an oiled baking sheet or, preferably, a baking sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully turn over and bake fore 20 minutes more, until lightly browned.
Number of servings (yield): 6

If Freezing you can freeze the puffs after step 2 then thaw them before baking (my preferred method) or pre-bake them before freezing and then reheat in the oven after thawing.  Personally since the potato's are already cooked I figure waiting to bake them until I am ready to eat is the most energy efficient method since reheating them in the microwave might make them soggy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Quick Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

I made this as a freezer meal but after seeing how easy it was I think it could be made just as quickly from scratch as from the freezer! (really the prep time was less than 10 minutes...amazing!)

Ingredients
  • 1 28-ounce can peeled, whole tomatoes (including liquid)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (water will do, in a pinch, or chicken broth if not vegan)
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1½ lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh basil chopped or 2 TBSP dried
  • Splash of soy milk (or cashew cream)
  • Salt and pepper
    Directions
  1. Place tomatoes, broth, garlic, nutritional yeast and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. If you’d like the soup to be warm, transfer to a medium-sized pot over low- to medium-heat, and warm to desired temperature. Alternatively, if you are using a high speed blender, simply let it run in the blender for a couple of minutes until desired temperature is reached.
  3. Serve garnished with fresh basil and a splash of soy milk or a dollop of cashew cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

We had this for dinner with grilled cheese made on homemade, high protein, relatively clean bread and it was a perfect comfort food. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chicken Piccata

I was surprised how easy this was to make.  The idea of pounding the chicken breast out so thin was a little intimidating at first but once I got started it was really fun!  We haven't eaten them yet but I'll post an update about taste once we do :)

Serves: Makes: 4-6 servings, depending on size of chicken breasts
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 extra-large eggs (preferably organic or local)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1½ cups panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
  • 1 cup dry white wine (choose one that you'd drink)
  • Sliced lemon, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving
    Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the eggs and 1 tablespoon of water together. Pour out the bread crumbs onto a third plate.
  4. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
  5. Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and heat over medium to medium-low heat. Add two of the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan. Wipe out the pan and add more olive oil to coat the bottom. Saute the remaining two chicken breasts for 2 minutes on each side. Place on the sheet pan with the others.
  6. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce. (Check for doneness by making sure there is no more pink inside the chicken breast.)
  7. For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2-3 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine.
  8. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
    Freezer Directions:
    Freeze the uncooked, breaded chicken breasts and fully cooked sauce, separately. When you're ready to eat it, thaw in the fridge over night and saute and bake chicken as directed, starting with step #5. Warm the sauce on low heat.