A Not-So-Offensive Broccoli

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Broccoli, baby! It’s good for you … granted, probably more so when it’s served all by itself, but where’s the enjoyment in that?!

By adding some fried bacon and a sugary mayo dressing, you can change a plain, but healthy vegetable into an appealing, but somewhat fattening salad.

So, what do you say?! Let’s dress it up and gratify our appetites, shall we?

                                                                                                                      Broccoli Salad
Serves 9

Ingredients:
2 heads fresh broccoli
1 red onion
½ lb. bacon
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions
:

Fry bacon over medium heat until crisp. Cool and crumble.

Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash the broccoli heads thoroughly. Cut the heads into flowerets and the stems into bite-sized pieces.

Thinly slice the red onion and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Combine with broccoli, onions, raisins, and sliced almonds and mix well.

Mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT

Many would agree that adding other ingredients like bacon, mayo and sugar to a bunch of plain broccoli is a great way to make the broccoli more appealing. It becomes tastier and not as offensive to the senses of those who generally dislike broccoli, and really helps the food go down a lot easier!

Dressing up a plain, healthy vegetable to make it more palatable and pleasing to our appetites is one thing … but it is never something we want to do when it comes to the Word of God. God’s Word is enough. It is eternal – ever new, ever sure. If we add, change, or remove portions of God’s Word to make it “more palatable” and “less offensive” to the ones we are “serving”, we’ll likely be held accountable for feeding them an unhealthy and potentially deadly entree. I, for one, do not want to be responsible for contributing to the eternal death of anyone because I served them a tainted Gospel! “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)

Saints, it’s eternally imperative to us and to others that we always share the Gospel without compromise! Our interference, whatever the motive, can have deadly consequences … but serve up life-giving, undefiled Truth, and watch dry bones come alive!

— Cheri Henderson

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What Makes a Chicken Salad Mexican?

Mexican Chicken Salad
                                                                                                      What makes a Chicken Salad Mexican? Ingredients like taco seasoning, chopped jalapenos, and shredded Mexican blend cheeses, that’s what, mis amigos! Not your typical chicken salad, this recipe is a quick and flavorful cold chicken salad with a Mexican flavor!  
                                                                                                                                                Mexican Chicken Salad
Serves 4
 
Ingredients:
 
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped into 1/2″ squares 
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup Mexican shredded blend cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno peppers
1/2 tsp. taco seasoning mix
 
Directions:
 
In a small bowl, stir together chicken, celery, mayonnaise, shredded cheese, tomato, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper and taco seasoning. Serve wrapped in a lettuce leaf or on a crisp bed of lettuce, a warm tortilla, or on a piece of flat bread! Muy deliciosa!  
 

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Just as certain unique ingredients are the things that make a Chicken Salad Mexican, what unique ingredients make a human being Christian?
 
Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. What’s interesting is that Jesus himself never actually gave that name to His followers, and the early Church only a few times referred to themselves as Christians. In fact, the word “Christian” only appears three times in the entire Bible. The title which was most often used was “saints.” The Greek word for saints is hagios which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious”, and it is almost always used in the plural—“saints.” This reflects not just the individual, but the connection to a group of people set apart for the Lord and His Kingdom.
 
Unfortunately over time, even the word “Christian” has lost a great deal of its significance. Many people, in fact, consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a “Christian” nation. However, going to church or living in America are not the “ingredients” that make people Christians any more than parking in a garage will make them automobiles. Outward action without inward change is simply a “slather of salsa on an empty taco shell”. 
 
The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or “ambassador or follower of Christ.” So what are the specific “ingredients” that cause a human being to become a Christian?
 
Realize You Are a Sinner
Romans 3:23 tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No human being in his or her own strength can remain sinless. Why? Because God’s “mark” is absolute, total, complete, flawless perfection! Jesus said, “Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). 
 
Repent of Your Sins
To repent means to “change” or to “turn.” It’s like driving down the highway, doing a complete 180 degree U-turn and heading the other direction. It’s more than simply being sorry; it is a word of action. Many people feel remorse for their sin, but never truly repent. Remorse is being sorry; repentance is being sorry enough to stop. 
 
Believe in and Receive Jesus Christ Into Your Life
The Bible says, “But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). You believe in and receive Jesus Christ in your life because you realize that He is the very Son of God. He is the One who loves you so much that He died on a cross for you over 2,000 years ago to pay the penalty for your sin, and then rose from the dead three days later. 
 

That’s it in a taco shell, kiddos! Not only are these the ingredients that will help you recognize other Christians and be able to truly call yourself a Christian … it’s the complete recipe for eternal life!

 
— Cheri Henderson
 

Bleu, Bleu . . .

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Anybody remember the 1960’s tune, “Love is Blue”? “Blue, blue, my world is blue. Blue is my world when I’m without you.”  Well today I’m re-writing the lyrics a bit!  Everyone sing along!

Bleu, bleu, my meal is bleu. Bleu is the meal I’m about to serve you!

Bleu cheese is one of those unusual foods that people either really enjoy or totally dislike: a cheese that is spotted or veined throughout with blue, blue-gray, or blue-green mold and has a very distinctive odor. Understandably, some people can’t get past the appearance or smell . . . but, if you’re able to do so . . . or if you’re already a bleu cheese aficionado, you’re gonna love this meal!

Black & Bleu Salad
Serves 3

Ingredients
1 lb. of ground sirloin
Small head of chopped lettuce
2 cups of spinach leaves
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
2 carrots
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic
1 avocado
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tsp. of seasoning salt
Dash of pepper

Bleu cheese dressing (I use the Pine Club brand – delicious!)

Chop the lettuce and remove stems from the spinach leaves and then toss the two together.  Cut the red & yellow bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and carrots into ¼ inch wide and 2” long strips. Combine all and place in a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the crushed clove of garlic, chopped red onion, salt and pepper and then sauté for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  While the vegetables are cooking, make 3 ground sirloin patties and grill or fry until done according to your taste.

Divide and spread the lettuce & spinach mixture onto 3 plates. Top with the sautéed vegetables. Apply a circle of avocado slices and halved cherry tomatoes and place the grilled burger right in the center. Drizzle with bleu cheese dressing and enjoy!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
The song says “Blue, blue, my world is blue. Blue is my world when I’m without you”.  But as followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to be blue because we’re not alone when we face the trials of this life! Deuteronomy 31:6 says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  The One who created us, our loving Heavenly Father, is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end. He is already there in our tomorrows and He knows exactly what we’re going to be facing before we even get there.  Who better to be there before we even arrive? Psalm 46:1-3 says: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”


In Habakkuk 3:17-19, it says: “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.  The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.”  Habakkuk’s vision ended with a beautiful word picture: No matter what happens, I will find joy in the Lord and he will make me as surefooted as a deer. Habakkuk does not say that the Lord will make his way easy, but, rather, that the Lord will sustain him along his path.

And so Matthew 6:34 makes perfect sense when it tells us “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself”, and Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you”, and Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Blue, blue, I will not be blue. Jesus Christ is with me and He will see me through!

Life.
I can’t control it,
direct it,
correct it,
or perfect it;
but when I submit it,
commit it,
and to the Lord give it,
the burden becomes His and not mine
And whatever the situation that lies ahead,
He’ll give me the grace to endure it,
and someday quite soon,
I won’t even recall it
When the reality of eternity is mine . . .
and there’s great peace in the knowledge of that.

–Cheri Henderson

Missing Ingredients

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I don’t know about you, but Friday evenings at our house are usually slim pickin’s for finding anything in the cupboard, fridge or pantry that could make for a decent meal. Since I do most of my grocery shopping on Saturday morning, Friday evening is usually a good excuse for dinner out with hubby!

As usual, this past Friday, we’d planned a visit to one of our favorite restaurants, but when I arrived home from work, I learned my husband had gotten wrapped up in a home project. By the time he finished, it would be too late to eat out. So what to do for dinner?

I thought about running out and getting some fast food, but the thought was unappealing. I looked in the freezer, but found nothing that could be prepared in short order. The fridge revealed one leftover chicken breast and some mushrooms from Wednesday evening’s meal (https://cookinwithcheri.com/molto-delizioso/) and a single avocado in the crisper. Hmmm. The beginnings of a great salad . . . but no lettuce.

And then I remembered! At the close of last year’s summer, my husband had tossed the remains of our lettuce out of our raised garden bed and into the surrounding mulch. Much to our surprise this spring, large tufts of lettuce were growing out of the mulch. So with garden scissors in hand, I went out to snip away and, as I passed our strawberry plants, also discovered some large ripe strawberries ready for picking! A delicious dinner was soon to be served!

Summer Salad

Ingredients:
Butter (Boston Bibb) lettuce
boneless chicken breast
1 clove of crushed garlic
¼ tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white cooking wine
6 oz. sliced mushrooms
sliced avocado
sliced strawberries

Flour, salt and pepper the chicken breast and brown in olive oil. Add a clove of crushed garlic, ¼ tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white cooking wine, and 6 oz. of sliced mushrooms and sauté for 15-20 minutes.

Tear the lettuce into edible pieces. Slice the chicken breast, avocado, and strawberries and display each in a pretty circle atop the lettuce. Scatter the mushrooms across the salad and serve with an Italian vinaigrette. Very delicious and most satisfying!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
As a Christian, do you ever feel like your “pantry is bare”?  That you don’t have what it takes to make a difference in this world for Christ? You don’t have enough knowledge about scripture, or you don’t have the right words to say, or you’re a young Christian and you don’t have a lot of experience. You can’t see beyond your human lack, so you just don’t bother, and your neighbors, friends or family members “starve to death” because no one will introduce them to the Bread of Life!

You may think you don’t have the ingredients on-hand to make a difference, but if you take a look in the “garden” of God’s Word, “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching and training, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (Timothy 3:16-17)  “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will,” (Hebrews 13:20-21 ) “All things are yours … and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God”. (1 Corinthians 3:20-23)  “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work;” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

God has equipped us with every single thing we need to do what He has called us to do. He goes before us into every situation and has prepared the way for us. All we have to do is be available, willing, and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Our pantry is full and our garden is overflowing! So let’s get busy and “feed” the “hungry”. They’ll find it to be spiritually fulfilling and eternally satisfying!

–Cheri Henderson

The Tater You Choose

Tater salad

Spring is upon us and soon we’ll be planning our outdoor pool parties, games of croquet, badminton, or corn hole, and some great summer picnics! And there’s no better contribution to a picnic than a great bowl of potato salad!

As you begin to prepare your potato salad, keep in mind the most essential part of the salad is the tater you choose! Did you know the best varieties for potato salad are Yellow Finns, Yukon Golds, and red potatoes? Their high moisture content gives the salad a more pleasant texture when cold, and they hold up better to chopping and tossing with the dressing than drier, more mealy potatoes, like Russets.

So let’s make a bowl!

Tater Salad
Serves 10-12

Ingredients:
5 pounds red potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup Miracle Whip
1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 bunch radishes, cleaned and sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 kosher dill pickles, chopped
½ red onion, chopped fine
6 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
Paprika

Peel (if desired) and cut the potatoes in half. Boil until tender about 20 minutes. (They’re tender when you can easily stick a fork into the potato.) Drain.

While the potatoes are boiling, in a large bowl blend mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, milk and the mustards until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the potatoes into cubes and add to the dressing, folding carefully as you add them. Add green onions and radishes, celery, pickles, and red onion and blend well. Layer the hard-cooked egg slices on top for a pretty presentation. Sprinkle with paprika. Chill well to let the flavors blend and then serve!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Just as the type of tater you choose contributes to the quality of your potato salad, there are also “taters” that impact the quality of your spiritual life.

Are you an “Ampu-Tater”?  Often you’ll come across a tater with a bad spot and rather than throw the whole thing away, what do you do? You cut it out! Mark 9:47 says “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell”. When Jesus said this, I doubt it was his intention for this instruction to be taken literally because eyes, hands and feet cannot, of and by themselves, commit sin. Instead, Jesus is using a descriptive analogy to show us how important it is that we should not tolerate sin as a primary part of our lives. If we have a sinful habit, we should overcome it, even though the process may be as painful as the loss of an eye, because it is far better to forsake a sinful pleasure than to lose our salvation! We need to be “Amputators”!

Are you a “Spec-Tater”?  1 Corinthians 12:12, 15-18 says “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ I t would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” Jesus doesn’t want us to be “Spectaters”, sitting on the sidelines, not entering in, not sharing the gifts he’s given us to minister to and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. Without you, the Body is incomplete. Don’t be a “Spectator”!

Are you a “Reins-Tater”?  Have you ever gathered up a handful of taters to drop them into the cooking pot, and one falls on the floor?  Rather than toss it away, I rinse it with fresh water until it is clean and then toss it in with the others!  Matthew 18:15 says “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” And James 5:19-20 tells us My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  We are called to be “Reinstators”!

Are you a “Hesi-Tater” or a “Facili-Tater”?  I read a story not too long ago about a famous aerial acrobat who had lost his footing and fell from the high wire to the ground below. A reporter, who interviewed him after the accident, suggested that once he returned to the wire, he might be afraid of falling again. The acrobat responded “I did not fall because I was afraid. I fell because I hesitated. Hesitation is the number one killer in our business.” And it is the number one reason why people do not accept Christ. No one plans to perish. Many perish because they think there will be a better time or another opportunity or need. So, they hesitate.

There is another kind of hesitation that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, must also always keep in mind. There are some we know and love who may perish, not because they hesitated, but because we hesitated to witness to them and share God’s love and plan of salvation. As Christ’s messengers we must seize the moment. Rather than being a “Hesitator”, we need to be a “Facilitator”. Jude 1:21-23 tells us “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 says “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Let’s always be “Facilitators”!

—    Cheri Henderson