Background on Holiday Stuffing: It’s that time of year again. Time for cooking and baking to the max. Time for comfort food, movies, books, and cuddling up with a throw on the couch. And even with all the grief and sadness that this week has held for me, God’s daily blessings of grace and mercy have come out on top.
I was blessed to have four Thanksgiving celebrations this year: one with friends, one at work, and two with family. The number of celebrations was a surprise, as well as the fact that my son made it home to visit. This served as a constant reminder of the goodness of God.
Except for the Thanksgiving celebration at work, fore each celebration, I decided to make Holiday stuffing and cookies as my contribution to the meal. The concoction that I had in my head and put into action didn’t disappointment. Sometimes my mind starts going, and after cooking and tasting the end result, I am left with thinking, “Oh, this didn’t turn out the way that I thought.” However, that wasn’t the case this time.
What I realized is that the spicy kick of the seasonings helped to make this stuffing a hit. I hope that you’re feeling adventurous enough to try it for yourself.
Here is the recipe for Holiday Stuffing:
2 bags of Whole Foods 365 Multigrain vegan stuffing
small bag of petite rainbow or orange carrots or 1 large bunch of orange or rainbow carrots
1 bunch of celery
2 bunches of purple or red kale
a container of broth
4 tablespoons of each of the following: onion powder, cumin powder, curry powder, turmeric, thyme, sage, parsley, and chili powder
Directions for Holiday Stuffing
Prepare the vegan stuffing in a large saucepan as directed on the package.
Saute the onions, kale, celery, and carrots in a separate large saucepan, adding 2 tablespoons of the above seasonings into the pan.
When both are done, add 2 tablespoons of all of the above seasonings into the stuffing, and then dump the vegetable mix into the vegan stuffing mix.
Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon, adding 2 cups of broth and stir.
Place the Holiday stuffing into a casserole pan or two, and then into the oven.
Background on Almond Cookies-Lately, I have realized that baking and cooking does the same thing for me that writing does. First, It helps to open up those creative and healing juices. Secondly, it helps me to see the unending possibilities of connecting certain things together.
When you are writing, one thought can connect to five other thoughts, and then, in turn, inspire you to a Holy Spirit-infused bible story and revelation. When you are cooking and baking, one ingredient can get the wheels turning to the possibilities for other ingredients. And with me, this starts the whole beginning of my concoction madness.
Within the last week, I have baked over 120 cookies. It was therapeutic, as I was using my hands, measuring, adding a dash of this and that. And then at the same time, praying that everything came out fine.
I finally tried out my “head idea” of making almond cookies. Of course, as you know me, I added oatmeal of course. However, these Almond cookies turned out so “almondy”, and of course, that isn’t a word, that you don’t even notice the oatmeal. The slivered almonds added a nice, extra crunch to the cookie.
A week ago, I made the recipe again. However, I substituted the slivered almonds for pecans just to try out something different. I promise you, they didn’t disappoint.
Here’s the recipe:
Yields about 24 cookies
Almond flour -1 1/4 cup
Oatmeal – 1 1/4 cup (Rolled Oats give a chunkier look and feel!)
Brown sugar – 1/2 cup
Almond Extract- 1/2 teaspoon
Slivered Almonds- 1/3 cup (Can also substitute with pecans!)
Almond Oil- 2 tablespoons
Almond milk- 3/4 cup
Flaxseed Meal – 2 Tablespoons
Mix all of the above ingredients into a large bowl using a whisk
Use a small cookie scoop to make the balls, making sure that you press the side of the bowl with the cookie scoop to get any excess liquid off
Place scoops on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets
Bake at 330 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes depending on your oven.
Last week, we had our first surprise snow. Of course, no one was prepared for it. There were several jokes going around on social media due to the fact that the snow, along with the temperatures that trailed soon after were replicating that of what would be going on in the month of January. Surprisingly, even with all the snow and cold temps, I still had about ten kids to come to the door for candy.
Last week, I made another concoction. It turned out good, and the best part about this particular one is that it left you feeling energized and overall in good spirits after eating it. I hope that you enjoy it as well. Have a blessed weekend in the Lord!
Total Cooking and Prepping Time:
1 bag of French lentils
1 1/2 cups of brown rice
1/2 cup of red quinoa
2 bunches of asparagus
2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 pack of tortillas
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 bag of frozen cut-leaf spinach
Optional: 1 bag of cheese (vegan or non-vegan)
chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, curry, turmeric, parsley, (5 tablespoons of each)
Directions for Lentil Asparagus Tacos:
Boil one bag of French lentils.
While the lentils are boiling, boil the brown rice and quinoa.
Also, while the lentils are boiling, saute the diced tomatoes, asparagus, and spinach in a skillet with olive oil.
Add 1/3 cup of olive to the boiling lentils.
Once all the ingredients are fully cooked, dump all of them into a separate large-sized pot, adding the nutritional yeast, and all of the seasonings.
Heat up your tortilla and add the mixture to the inside.
Last week, I had a sweet tooth for cookies. And so, on Friday I purchased some pecans, and got to making this desire a reality on Sunday after church. I was surprised that they came out pretty good since it was my first time trying out the oatmeal raisin cookie combination.
I will definitely have to make these cookies again. If you are feeling adventurous enough to try them out, send me an email and a picture letting me know what you think. Have a blessed week!
Total Prepping and Cooking Time
oatmeal- 1 1/2 cups
raisins- 1/2 cup
almond milk – 1 cup
chopped or whole pecans – 1/2 cup
sugar – 1/2 cup
almond flour – 1 1/2 cups
flaxseed meal – 3 tablespoons
Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl using a whisk or wooden spoon.
Using a cookie scoop, grab one scoop at a time, making sure that you press against the side of the bowl to rid of any excess liquid.
Place the scoops on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
As our kids are in the process of becoming young adults, it gets more and more challenging to carve out connection time. They have their lives. You have yours. And to top it off, if both of you are working, then you are presented with even more of a challenge.
About a week and a half ago, my son was home to visit. We were both working and extremely busy. However, we were able to carve out some connection time together a little bit before he left, and we decided to explore listening to French music, catch up on each other’s lives, and make vegetarian meatballs.
I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did.
Here’s the recipe:
1 pack of Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican crumble (little bit of a spicy kick to it) per bowl
4 teaspoons of chili powder, garlic powder, parsley, cumin, curry, onion powder, and garlic powder per bowl
1 pack of shredded cheese
1/3 cup of oatmeal
2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal
4 eggs (2 per bowl)
Place one pack of vegan meat in two medium sized bowls.
Add 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal, oatmeal, seasonings, and desired cheese amount per bowl.
Mix the ingredients in each bowl.
Grab two cookie sheets and line with parchment paper.
Use one cookie sheet per bowl.
Use a cookie scoop the size of your choice to scoop the meatball mixture, carefully leveling off and pressing the scoop against the side of the bowl to solidify the mixture.
Place the cookie scoop as close to the parchment paper as possible and then release the ball onto the sheet to reduce crumbling.
Heat on 325 degrees for about 25 minutes and drizzle with barbecue sauce when done.
What are some of the things that you like to do for fun with your young adult children?
Over the weekend, I attended a women’s conference at my church. It was a Holy Spirit-filled good time. Because of having a busy weekend, I decided that I wouldn’t cook on Saturday evening. I ordered two build-your-own pizzas, watched movies with my mom, and took it easy.
On Monday night, I decided to cook dinner for the week. I loved the end result. The dish has a little bit of a spicy kick to it. It is just enough for you to enjoy the dish, and at the same time not be overwhelmed.
I pray that you are having a blessed week so far, and preparing to embrace the weekend that is upon us.
Here is the recipe for Pasta with Black Lentils:
1 box of fettuccine
1/2 cup of quinoa
1/3 cup of oil
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 pound of black lentils
4 tablespoons of onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, parsley, cumin, and curry
Boil a pot of water, placing some oil in the water to avoid sticky pasta.
Boil the black lentils for about 30 minutes.
Place the pasta and quinoa into the boiling water.
Cut up the zucchini, and then saute the zucchini and tomatoes together.
Add the seasonings to the vegetables.
Dump the vegetables into the pot of pasta and quinoa.
If you know me by now, you know that I love coming up with all kinds of fun food concoctions. And the other day was no exception to the rule.
Before I give you the recipe, I want to talk about some of the benefits of creating a weeknight routine.
Routines help to center, direct, and structure/stabilize/ground us. They also give us predictability for our minds and our bodies. Weeknight routines give us grounding and investment for a good night’s sleep. When we make time and space for the things that we are gifted/good at, and love to do, we are caring for our souls.
This past week, I decided to be even more intentional in adding some things back to my weeknight routine. One of these things is walking. The benefits of walking are endless. The fresh air, automatic feel good hormones that run through your body, the blood flow, lowering of blood pressure, etc. Walking makes me feel good and keeps my mind creative and flowing with ideas. It also helps me with my writing and allows me to really appreciate nature and how great God is.
Other things that I do for my weeknight routine are listening to podcasts/preaching, dancing, reading books, showering, and drinking tea.
As an exercise tonight, think of all the things that you love to do and are gifted at. Circle all the important things that you wouldn’t want to do without. Make these things a part of your weeknight routine and see how much of a difference that they make in your overall well-being.
Here is the French Fry A La Mode for the Family Recipe
1 bag of french fries
4 Dr. Praeger’s super green veggie burgers
1 container of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
1 bag of cheese
Bake a bag of french fries.
While the fries are baking, fry 4 Dr. Praeger’s super green veggie burgers.
Grab bowls and add a couple of servings of fries into each bowl.
Cut up the veggie burgers and evenly spread them on top of the fries in each bowl.
My mother and two nieces came to visit me this weekend. I picked them up on Saturday, hoping beforehand to have made at least four out of six stops completed prior to picking them up from the train station. Well, I got three done. I had to talk myself down to the fact that I would have to make three stops with two little ones. It wasn’t that bad after all.
After all of the stopping and putting away groceries, we decided that it would be best to grill on Sunday after church. It rained overnight and Sunday morning. However, as the weather man predicted, the rain stopped at around 1:00 p.m. By 2:00 we were ready to grill.
Some of the highlights of my weekend were: 1) watching a two-year old dance and climb a flight of stairs with the look of joy on her face, 2) watching both nieces play with twigs and branches in the backyard 3) listening to 70s, 80s, and 90s slow jams, 4) watching movies, 5) baking oatmeal lemon nut and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my niece, and 6) grilling for the first time since living here. I hope and pray that you had a simple, functional grace-filled weekend as well.
Here is the recipe for the Summertime Salad that I made on Sunday:
5 medium beets
3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons of minced onions
dressing of your choice
3 medium green bell peppers
6 to 8 mini sweet peppers
1 tub of mixed green salad
6 tomatoes cut into wedges or slices
Roast the beets for 45 minutes on 350, pouring olive oil and wrapping them individually in foil and placing them on a cookie sheet beforehand.
When they are done, allow them to cool off for 15 minutes and then peel off the skin with a towel.
Cut the beets into wedges.
Dump the mixed green salad into a bowl.
Dump the tomato slices or wedges into the bowl.
Dump all the rest of the ingredients and sprinkle the seasonings last.
It is amazing how we are all are wired up differently, and with this wiring, we all have different things that take us back to childhood. For the last few nights, I have been taking a quick five minute walk in the neighborhood in order to get a whisp of the slightly cool, fresh air and to hear the sound of the crickets. These two things have been my favorite since I was a kid. They remind me of visiting my relatives in Memphis and hearing the calming effect of the crickets at night.
About a week ago, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. My mind landed on the box of pasta that was still in the cabinet. I decided to jazz it up with my two favorite ingredients for most meals: spinach and diced tomatoes.
Here is the recipe:
Total Prepping and Cooking Time:
1 box of penne pasta
2 jars of tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 tablespoon of thyme
3 tablespoons of parsley
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of cut-leaf spinach
1/3 cup of quinoa
1/4 cup of oil
Boil a pot of water, adding the oil to the water to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Add the pasta and the quinoa once the water has started boiling.
While the pasta and quinoa are cooking, saute the spinach and diced tomatoes.
Drain the pasta and quinoa in a colander and dump them back into the pot.
Dump all the rest of the ingredients into the pot and stir.
Eat and enjoy!
Food for thought:
What foods do you eat, or activities do you participate in that take you back to your childhood? Would love to hear your comments!
I am reading about six books at one time. This is almost always the norm as of the last couple of years. One of the books that I am reading is entitled, “I Thought It Was Just Me (But IT Isn’t) by Brene Brown. I just recently started this book. This particular read hones in on shame and perfectionism, how they work together, and how we can employ shame resilience.
Although I am only at the beginning part of the book, what stuck out to me is the correlation between shame and performance. We have all been guilty of using shame to get the end result of performance. This happens everywhere, including work, home, and in our churches. However, using shame to get this result only damages both side. It damages the shamer and it damages the one being shamed.
No one is left feeling good about themselves. Why is that? Shame reaches into areas of our lives that stirs all kind of unwanted emotions. In order for people to change, we have to have a motivator for ourselves, not from the pressure of other people via shaming or any other form of pressure. Change will not last in this manner. Consequences are not always enough to produce change. Understanding what our behavior does to others will.
Now, on to the recipe. This recipe that I made two weeks ago is a quick recipe for seasoned chicken breasts that can be made in no time and then placed on buns to make a chicken breast sandwich restaurant-style. Hope you enjoy!
Activity: Making Seasoned Chicken Breasts
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Parsley- 3 teaspoons
Onion powder-2 teaspoons
Chili powder -2 teaspoons
Black Pepper – 2 teaspoons
3 large chicken breasts
1/3 cup of olive oil
Rinse off three large chicken breasts.
Cut them up into chunks, season them on one side, and place them in a skillet of oil.
Turn them over after 13 minutes and season the other side.
Eat them paired with sides, alone, or in between two pieces of specialty bread.