Friday, February 27, 2009

Fruitful Friday - Dessert Spring Rolls

So the fast is over and I had a girlfriend over on Wednesday night for some "unfasting" goodies. I fixed a quick dessert I had been craving for months, that I thought I would share with you!

The concept is that of a Dessert in a deep fried Spring Roll Wrapper:

Take an orange Sweet Potato and peal the skin off with a vegetable peeler.
Click here if you are curious to the difference between Yams and Sweet Potatoes.

Cut the potato into pieces about 2 inches in length and about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.

Place potato slice onto a Spring Roll Wrapper and add about 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar on top of potato. (Spring roll wrappers tend to do better than egg roll wrappers, making them lighter and crispier.)

Fold wrapper over Potato and Sugar. Use a few drops of water to seal up the seam.

Heat Canola Oil (or your favorite frying oil) to a medium low temperature on the stove.

Place Roll in the oil and let cook, turning over half way through. The oil temp will need to be low enough to allow time to cook the potato without burning the wrapper (approx. 3-4 minutes).

Remove from oil and let drain in a metal colander. For a pretty garnish, you can sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.

Here is a link to a video showing you how to do this recipe using a Banana and Chocolate syrup instead. I have also done this recipe with a dab of Nutella. Just about anything would can't go wrong with deep fried and sugar being the combo!

(Yeah...I know there's not a lot of physical health value in today's post...but its packed with yummy, delicious value!!!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ah, Quiet Time

It's 4:15 p.m. and I am sitting here smelling the wonderful aroma of Homemade Chicken Noodle soup as it simmers on the stove. Since it's cold and rainy out, (and since I can't stop thinking about it since Karen's post about Chicken Noodle Soup last Friday) it just seemed like the perfect night to make a pot. 

As I was preparing it I was remembering back to a time when I had young children at my feet and how chaotic it seemed to get at this time of day. It was that transitional time of day when I was trying to make dinner, pick up the messes and have a happy, peaceful environment for the Hubs to come home to. Only thing is, it didn't always work out that way. Some days it felt more like 'kids gone wild' than the peaceful setting I was envisioning. 

I was just remembering back to a particular parenting tip I received from Suzie Anfuso, a wonderful mentor who had a great influence on my parenting. This particular tip worked wonders in our home, so I thought I would pass it along to you.

It went something like this:

When it was almost time to start dinner the kids and I would work together to pick up any messes and put away toys. Then they would each get out coloring books and crayons or books to read. They would sit on the couch reading or coloring while I was getting dinner started. The rules were that they had to stay on the couch and there was no talking or playing allowed. Just reading or coloring. The purpose of the quiet time was two-fold: 

The first is the obvious - I could get dinner started without the chaos.
The second is that I was preparing them to be able to sit quietly in church.

I don't know about you, but all too often I would get frustrated that my children were so antsy and would have such a hard time being quiet and still during church. This parenting tip was a huge revelation to me that I had to train them to be still. Yes, I really was that naive in my early days of parenting.

Let me assure you, success did not happen overnight. I think we first started with about 10 minutes and worked up from there. Eventually, over the next few months, we worked up to an hour of quiet time each afternoon. Ah, finally, the peaceful setting I envisioned. 

Do you have a tip that has helped you keep peace during the transition time? If so, just leave a comment. We'd love to hear about it.

Gotta run....soup's ready.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fruitful Friday - Comfort Food

As I write to you, I am sitting on the couch with my 9 year old son who stayed home from school due to the yucky sickness Susan was talking about in her last blog post. Yes, it is hitting all of our homes right now.

For a pick-me-up to all of those under the weather, I offer my favorite comfort dish recipe...

Chicken & Noodles

Start by boiling 2-3 lbs. of chicken in a full stock pot of salted water. (I prefer a whole chicken to get both dark and light meat, but you can use only one or the other if you like.)

Make the Noodles, while allowing chicken to cook until very tender. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from broth and take out all the bones. Before adding the chicken back to the broth, bring it to a rapid boil and slowly add the well-floured noodles.

Allow noodles to cook until done and add the chicken back in. Serve with crackers and sour cream if you like.

Home-made Egg Noodles

In large bowl, mix 2 Cups Flour and 1/2 tsp Baking Powder.
In a smaller bowl, beat 3 eggs and 3 Tbsp. Water.

Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour. Knead dough into a stiff ball. Pull of small golf-ball sized pieces and roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Cut into 1/4 strips. Toss with extra flour and add to broth.

For a more traditional Chicken Soup Recipe and to read about its healing properties, follow this link. How about you...what are your favorite comfort foods when you or your kids are not feeling well?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm finding myself thankful for simple things, like:

-I am over that flu bug and my energy has finally returned to normal.

-Waking up to sunshine on so many mornings this winter.

-My wood burning fireplace on chilly nights. (can you hear it crackling?).

-Christian music that ministers to my soul.

-Most of all I am thankful that God, the King of Glory, pursues me with His love. I was reminded of this today as I was driving home. I had the radio on and the song 'King of Glory' by Third Day began to play. 

Who is this King of Glory that pursues me with his love, 

 And haunts me with each hearing of His softly spoken words

My conscience, a reminder of forgiveness that I need
Who is this King of Glory who offers it to me

As the song played and I listened to these lyrics my heart was filled with such a gratefulness for all He has done for me. Not only does He pursue me with His love, He offers me the forgiveness that I need. 

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Believe God

Okay, so please bear with me as I'm still trying to  get a rhythm going with this whole blogging thing. I have all these ideas in my head and things on my heart that I want to share, but I just have one thing after another that keeps tripping me up. The latest of which, was this nasty flu bug that has been going around. Seriously, I am convinced that any day now it will have touched pretty much everyone in our church, since almost everyone I know has had this thing visit their household. How are you all holding up this flu season?

So anyway, to get on with what's on my heart today...

I'm doing Beth Moore's - 'Believing God' bible study at church and I want to share with you a couple of the portions of scripture we discussed this morning that really minister to me. I hope they will minister to you as well.

For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos.
"I am the LORD," he says, "and there is no other." I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner so no one can understand what I mean. And I did not tell the people of Israel to ask me for something I did not plan to give. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and right. Isaiah 45:18-19 NLT

Isn't it wonderful to know that God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it, is the same yesterday, today and forever; and that he has boldly and publicly proclaimed His promises? Oh, how it does my heart good to know that He never promises something that He doesn't plan to give. 

When I think of all the promises in scripture that God has made to me personally, and to you, it is so encouraging to know that He will follow through with what He has promised. 

One of my favorite promises from God is found in Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT: He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. they will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

I know that God never gets tired or weary. And I know that when I have no strength of my own, I have access to His strength. I know that whenever I am exhausted all I have to do is stop and wait on Him. If I do this, I will find new strength. How do I know this, you might ask? I know this because He has proven Himself faithful to me over and over. 

If you are finding yourself tired and weary today, I encourage you to do what His word says. Put everything else aside for a few moments and just wait on the LORD. Make a divine exchange with the Creator of the universe; give Him your weariness in exchange for His strength and power.  Believe God.

What promises has God given you that you are believing Him for? 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fruitful Friday - Meal Exchange Group

Hello Ladies! Today I want to share a crazy new thing I did this week...(for those of you who know me, you are rolling your eyes saying, "What now?"

I joined a Meal Exchange Group. Here's a breakdown of how this group works:

  • The group of consists of 10 ladies.
  • Each lady prepares ONE Main Protein Dish, 10 times.
  • The Dish needs to feed 6 adults.
  • On the 2nd Thursdays of the month, we meet at one of the ladies house and away 9 of our meals (keeping one for ourselves).
  • Food is fully prepared. If can be cooked or just ready to throw in the oven or crock pot to cook.
  • If there is any "companion" to the main dish, try to include it; i.e. for Sweet and Sour Pork, you should provide some rice that would naturally go with it;Sloppy Joe meat needs Rolls or Buns, etc.
  • Meals need to be in disposable containers and able to be frozen.
  • Meals can arrive frozen or cooked that day (meaning you can fit food prep into any day during the month if you have room to freeze them).
  • Instructions on how to serve or complete preparation need to be attached to the dish. A recipe would be nice too!
  • Each lady is asked to spend $80 total on all 10 Meals. If you end up getting the protein for less, you can throw in a side like a loaf of bread, can of beans or some other pantry item.
  • For this group, no one cooks with fish or mushrooms (other groups can ask for specific exclusions depending on dietary needs).
  • We have an email loop to communicate who is fixing what, so that there won't be any repeats.
I am excited to do this. For the season I am in right now, pre-prepared food is a plus and to have 10 Main Dishes for $80 goes great with my budget! All I have to do is add the sides. I participated for the first time this month and look at the meals I got: Mandarin Orange Pork, Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole, Honey Garlic Chicken, Enchiladas, Beef Curry, Macaroni Chicken Bake, Herb Chicken with Soup, Sweet and Sour Pork Chops, Spaghetti and Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

Now, once the fast is over, I'll be all set! I'll let you know how they ended up tasting and if this is something I'll do long term. Have any of you joined groups like this?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Confessions Of A Valentine Rebel

I have a confession to make....I don't know about you all, but I'm one of those people that rebels against the commercial version of  Valentines day. It just irks me that flowers double in price and it's almost impossible to even get into your favorite restaurant unless you plan a month in advance. So I rebel. Some of you will think this weird, but, years ago I let my husband know that I do not want flowers or gifts on Valentines day.  I would much rather get them some other day at half the cost. Nor do I want to go out and fight crowds to eat at a restaurant. Instead, we enjoy celebrating at home. Usually we will hang out with the grandkids so that their parents can go out on a date. This year we are going with the whole family to watch the Monster Jam at the Rose Garden.

Last year we had such a fun little Italian Restaurant Dinner Party (at home) that I thought I'd share it with you. 

First I had the boys help me plan a menu:

Spaghetti with Meatballs
Green Salad
Garlic Cheese Bread
Sparkling Cider 
Tiramisu and Cheesecake

To create the atmosphere my grandson and I went on to itunes and found Italian Restaurant music and downloaded it to my ipod, then we set a fancy table complete with multiple dishes at each place setting and candles. We invited a friend and her two daughters to join us for our celebration. This was a very inexpensive celebration and we didn't have to fight any crowds. Great fun was had by all.

I'd love to hear from you. How do you celebrate Valentines day? Do you have any fun ideas you have done in the past or that you're planning to do this year, that you would like to share? If so, just leave a comment.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am so thankful for the Bible and it's message reminding me of just how amazing God is...

1 Chronicles 29:10-13 (The Message)

David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation:
Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
the kingdom all yours! You've raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you, you're ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand 
to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God giving thanks to you,
praising your splendid Name.

Isn't it reassuring to know that everything in Heaven and Earth belong to God?  No matter what is going on around us, the victory belongs to God. 

Sometimes the circumstances around us blind us to the fact that God is in control. But I would like to remind you today that if  you are in the midst of a storm, do not take your eyes off Jesus. Remember Peter in the storm on the sea? As long as he was looking at Jesus and not the storm, he stayed on top of the water; but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the raging storm, he began to sink.

Here are a few of the many things that I am thankful for today:
I am thankful that my husband is home safely from Japan. 
I am thankful for the almost 7500 young people that had their lives touched through the Generation Unleashed conferences.
I am also thankful for the hundreds of volunteers that made the conference happen. You are amazing servants!!
I am thankful that this sickness that has been raging through our family looks like it has almost run it's course. (Now if I could just get rid of the lingering cough)
I am thankful for all the snow we've had this winter. Nothing like a blazing fire with snow falling outside. :)

What about you? What are you thankful for today?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fruitful Friday - Friendship and Soup

Who doesn't love a good soup?!?! What a great way to jam pack nutrition all in one bowl and preferably only one pot to clean!

Today's recipe is in honor of a dear friend of mine...Heather Schefter. For those of you who don't know this beautiful woman of God, her and her husband, Ed, pastor the New York City Church. They planted this church in Times Square over a year ago. She celebrated a birthday this week and I wanted her to know publicly, she is passionately loved and missed!

Thank you Heather for sharing this with me and many of your friends...

Carrot Soup

1/4 cup Butter
3 medium Onions - chunked
2 tsp. Ginger Root
3 lbs. Carrots - chunked
1/4 cup Honey
1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
3 tsp. Sea Salt
12 turns Pepper
5 pints Boiling Water

Saute Onions and Ginger in Butter until transparent. Add Carrots, Honey, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper. Stir until well mixed. Add Boiling Water. Boil gently for 45 minutes. Puree in blender (careful it's hot!). Serve!
Does anyone else have a great friend or soup recipe or both they would like to share with the group? If so, please leave a comment!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mom2Mom Cafe Resumes Tomorrow

Hey Ladies, just want to remind everyone that Mom2Mom Cafe resumes tomorrow from 10 to 12. 


Bring a neighbor or friend, buy a coffee or tea at our café and let the kids play while you enjoy some quality friendship time. Experienced moms are on hand to encourage and mentor.

For those of you who have never been, Mom2Mom Cafe is a playgroup style get-together that meets on all 3 campuses:

Rocky Butte
9200 NE Fremont
Portland, Rocky Butte CBC

11765 SW Pacific Hwy
Tigard, 217 CBC

Mill Plain
14311 E Mill Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, Mill Plain CBC