With everything going on, it becomes very important to keep a routine, practice wellness/self-care, and continue to let our creativity juices flow. I have been continuing to make my weekly concoctions. For the last month now, Culver’s has been a Friday treat for me. It eliminates me having to cook, and I can immediately begin to enjoy my weekend.
On yesterday, I was talking to my mom, and I decided to look out the window. There were chipmunks chirping, and a bluejay flying mid-air. Before I got a chance to tell my mother about the blue-jay, I noticed a nice-sized animal in the yard. It appeared to get along with the squirrel that was standing there. I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. I ended up sending my mother and son a picture. Then, I sent one to my neighbor next. After tossing ideas back and forth, and googling their responses, I was able to come to the conclusion that what was in my front yard was a ground hog. Of all things! I told my neighbor, “There’s never a dull moment as far as what we will see on this property”. She agreed.
Well, here’s the recipe. I hope that you will enjoy it. Have a blessed rest of your Father’s Day!
Eggplant, Lentil, & Rice Casserole
2 eggplants cut into small chunks
1 cup of black lentils
2 cans of Hunts’s garlic and herb pasta sauce
5 tablespoons of cumin, onion powder, curry, turmeric, garlic powder, parsley, chili powder
2 cups of Mexican cheese
1 cup of rice
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup of quinoa
1/2 cup of avocado oil
Boil your lentils in about 5 to 6 cups of water for about 50 minutes.
While the lentils are boiling, boil your rice and quinoa for about 20 minutes.
Stir-fry the diced tomatoes and eggplant.
Dump all of the above into a wok and stir-fry for about twenty minutes, making sure to add the oil and seasonings.
Grab a casserole pan and dump all of the above ingredients into the pan along with the cheese.
Stir with a wooden spoon.
Pour the cans of pasta sauce on top, garnishing with parsley.
Through the earth and through the nation, the completion was heard.
“It is finished.”
Yes, he said it.
It was for you and for me.
The conniving and all the striving…
The shedding of blood…
Broke it free.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
On yesterday, I had a day of rest that was very much so needed. I had an extremely busy, drama-filled week, and on Friday I was feeling it. It is during times like this that I learn to lean more on God’s grace, mercy, blessings, and divine intervention to get me through. At the last minute, I decided to make a very simple nachos with cheese recipe. The meat turned out moist, and it probably took about 30 minutes to make. I hope that you enjoy it as well!
Total Prepping and Cooking Time
2 (1 lb packs of lean ground turkey)
1 can of fire-roasted dice tomatoes (salsa style)
2 packs of mild taco seasoning (vegan and low sodium)
Seasonings: 2 tablespoons of the following:
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 packs of 8 oz. Mexican cheese blend
2 bags of tortilla chips
After heating the olive oil in a large skillet or pan, add the ground turkey meat and all of the seasonings.
Once the meat is browned, add the taco seasoning and water that package instructs.
Add the diced tomatoes and 1 pack of cheese.
Place the chips in a pattern on plates, adding the mixture on top and in the middle.
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, 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?
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.
There are times in life when we don’t know which way to go. During these times, if we seek the Lord, then our mission, our purpose, and his will becomes clearer. Of course, it also means that we have to still do our part. Our part involves intentionality, setting goals, and aligning our will with his. We also need wisdom discerning in whom we should confide God’s great revelation.
This poem was written as a reflection of some of the different ways in which God speaks to us. We like to put God in a box. We often forget that God has an infinite way of relating to us, and allowing us to hear his voice. When Elijah was in the process of running away from Jezebel, God revealed Himself to him. Elijah had put God in the box of coming to him in a “great and mighty way”. Instead, he whispered to him in the still, small voice. God knows what we need, and when we need it. He is a God who meets us right where we’re at.
He Speaks! He Speaks!
But where will it be?
In a message, in a song, or the birds in a tree?
Will it be in the coolness of the wind blowing at night?
Will it be in the calmness of the crickets singing in flight?
Will it be in the morning when the rabbits talk to squirrels?
Or the munks tunneling through grass, and the robins dancing a twirl?
Will it be in the waves that are splashing at the beach?
Or the smiles of the saints as they’re waving “Hi” to me?
Will it be in the sun that is setting in the sky?
Or the swans overhead that are reaching by and by?
When he speaks, will I hear him, same voice as before?