“No Need to Stew” Stew

The word “stew” originated from a late 14th century Old French word, “estuver”, meaning “to bathe, to put into hot water”. Later in the early 15th century, the definition was expanded to include “to boil slowly, to cook meat and vegetables by simmering them in liquid”, and in the 17th century, the expression “stew in one’s own juices” was birthed, meaning “to be left to the consequences of one’s actions”.

Collins Dictionary goes on to define some of the “stew” phraseology and explains that when a person “stews”, it means they are angry, upset, agitated, anxious, or alarmed over something or someone. If someone is ”in a stew”, that person is in a difficult situation that causes them to feel worried or upset. And if you “let a person stew”, you deliberately allow them to worry about something for a while, rather than telling them something which would make them feel better.

I, however, have decided not to let you stew over the fact you have no decent “stew” recipe because this is one you will absolutely love!

“No Need to Stew” Stew
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 lb. beef top round roast, cut into 1” chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 white onion, cut into ¼” pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into ¼” pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon garlic salt
16 oz. beef broth
14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
14.4 oz. can old and white corn, undrained
1 large russet potato, scrubbed and cut into ¾” cubes
1 cup frozen peas

Lightly season beef with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a large soup pot, heat the butter over medium until melted. Add the beef and sauté until browned on all sides about 10 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until vegetable are tender about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, garlic powder, garlic salt, and 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the broth, tomatoes, corn and its liquid, and potato. If necessary, add additional broth to just slightly cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the meat and potatoes are tender, about 90 minutes. Add the frozen peas and simmer, uncovered, until the peas are cooked, but still bright, 5 to 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with a side of cornbread if desired.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

As followers of Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tell us “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” As I read this scripture, it reminds me of the mercy and sweet comfort I have experienced through Jesus Christ. What a loving Father I have that He would have given His only begotten Son just for me, knowing that “left to the consequences of my own actions”, I would have perished for eternity. I needed a Savior and by believing in my heart and confessing with my mouth His Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior, I shall not perish, but have everlasting life. I am now a child of God and with this privilege comes responsibility. We are not comforted to be comfortable, but to be comforters. We are called to comfort those who are in trouble, not let them “stew in their own juices to be left to the consequences of their actions”. Is there someone you know who is “in a stew” right now? Pull them out … and drench them with the Living Water of Jesus Christ!

 

–Cheri Henderson

On Guard, Mon Ami!

Folklore suggests Napoleon Bonaparte was the first to taste an omelet when, after travelling across southern France with his army, they decided to rest for the night at an inn near the town of Bessieres. Supposedly the following morning, the innkeeper created and served Bonaparte a fluffy egg concoction and named it the “omelet” in Bonaparte’s honor. “Omelet” or “omelette” is a variation of the French word “amelette” which means the blade of a sword, inspired by its curved, flattened shape. It is thought the omelet was created in recognition of Bonaparte’s successful victories using an unsheathed sword.

Who would have ever guessed an omelet was first created to resemble a sword? So, “on guard”, my friend! Let’s have some breakfast!

Mozzarella, Sweet Onion and Mushroom Omelet (Serves 2)

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
½ of a sweet onion, sliced into thin 2” strips
4 oz. of fresh baby bella mushrooms
6 eggs
4-1/2 oz. of shredded mozzarella

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a small, shallow frying pan. Sauté the sliced onion and mushrooms, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside.

In a small bowl, briskly whisk 3 eggs. In the fry pan, melt another tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Evenly pour the eggs into the pan and after a minute or so when the egg starts to bubble, lay half of the vegetables and 2 oz. of shredded mozzarella on half of the egg mixture. Slowly lift the other half and fold it over onto the vegetables and mozzarella. When the cheese has begun to melt, remove the omelet from the pan and onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with a bit more mozzarella. Cover to retain heat while preparing the second omelet.

Serve with sliced avocado and/or crisp bacon!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Bonaparte is also credited with this interesting quote about the sword: “There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.” Followers of Jesus know that Ephesians 6 explains our need to be covered in spiritual armor, and verse 17 specifically tells us to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

For most of Napoleon’s life, his personal religious beliefs might best be described as agnostic; however, near the end of his life, Bonaparte offered this commentary about Jesus Christ. “I know men, and I tell you Jesus Christ was not a (mere) man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of infinity. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and myself founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon sheer force. Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men will die for Him. In every other existence but that of Christ, how many imperfections!

From the first day to the last, He is the same; majestic and simple; infinitely firm and infinitely gentle. He proposes to our faith a series of mysteries and commands with authority that we should believe them, giving no other reason than those tremendous words, ‘I am God.’

The Bible contains a complete series of acts and of historical men to explain time and eternity, such as no other religion has to offer.

If it is not the true religion, one is very excusable in being deceived; for everything in it is grand and worthy of God.

The more I consider the Gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the Gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration.

What happiness that Book procures for those who believe it!”

So said Napoleon Bonaparte. To come to these conclusions, he evidently read a bit of the “sword of the Spirit”. The living, active word of God, sharper than any two-edged sword that Napoleon would have ever wielded during his life … pierced him to the division of his soul and spirit. And he recognized the truth of Jesus Christ.

 

–Cheri Henderson

Thanksgiving: An All-Year Event!

As you consider preparing this recipe, it is likely Thanksgiving Day, a time when this meal is most typically enjoyed. I’ve never been one who necessarily follows every dot and tittle of holiday menu protocol. For example, there have been years when I’ve been known to prepare cabbage rolls, chicken spaghetti, or pizza for Thanksgiving! Today, over 6 months away from Turkey Day, my husband and I were able to happily savor every morsel of this wonderful feast. And rather than wait months down the road to share this great recipe with you, I wanted you to have it now so you could also relish it whenever you wish throughout the year! Regardless of what day it is, this is a meal to be enjoyed all year long!

The Best Baked Turkey
(Serves 20-25)

Ingredients:
23-25 lb. turkey
½ cup and 1 tablespoon of garlic-flavored olive oil
12 oz. beer
½ tsp. and a pinch of cayenne pepper
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups chicken stock or broth
¼ cup corn oil
1 cup water

• Injection Liquid: Mix ½ cup garlic-flavored olive oil, 4 oz. beer, and ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper

• Paste: Mix 4 mashed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, pinch of cayenne pepper, and 1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil

• Baste: Mix 2 cups chicken stock or broth, 1 cup water, 8 oz. beer, and ¼ cup corn oil

The day before baking, empty the turkey cavity (saving and refrigerating the giblets in a zip-lock plastic bag), rinse and pat dry with paper towel, tuck wing tips under the back and tie legs together. Inject “Injection Liquid” with a kitchen syringe the turkey in a half-dozen places, moving needle around in each spot to shoot liquid in several directions. Massage “Paste” inside and out and under the skin. (Do not tear.) Place turkey in plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

The day of baking, remove turkey from the plastic bag and insert meat thermometer into thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone). Bake at 325 degrees. Cover with aluminum foil tent after turkey begins to turn golden. Baste bird every 30 minutes with “Baste”. Turkey is done when thermometer reads 180 degrees or leg moves easily in joint.

Remove from oven. Let stand for 15-20 minutes. Slice.

The Best Turkey Gravy
(Serves 20-25)

Ingredients:
Turkey neck and giblets
2 onions, copped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
4 bay leaves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
9 tablespoons of fatty juices from the turkey
9 tablespoons of plain flour
6 cups whole milk
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 envelope Pioneer Brand Country Gravy mix

While the turkey is baking, place the turkey neck and giblets in a saucepan with the vegetables, herbs, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Save 3 cups of the giblet broth, drain the rest, dispose of the vegetables, and chop and reserve the giblet meat. (Refrigerate if early in the day.)

To make the gravy, siphon 9 tablespoons of fatty juices from the turkey roasting pan into a saucepan and stir in 9 tablespoons of flour. Cook, stirring for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.

Stir in the chopped giblets, 3 cups of giblet broth, 6 cups of whole milk, 3 teaspoons of seasoning salt, and 1 envelope of Pioneer Brand Country Gravy mix. Bring to a boil, stirring and then reduce to medium high heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Season to taste.

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
Serves 16-20

Ingredients:
10 lbs. red potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled if you prefer)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cubes chicken bouillon
16 oz. sour cream
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, garlic and chicken bouillon cubes. Cook potatoes until tender, but still firm about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Mash or rice the potatoes and mix with the sour cream and cream cheese, adding reserved cooking water to reach desired consistency. Transfer to a large crockpot, cover, and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. Just before serving, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

For followers of Jesus Christ, thanksgiving is more that an eating extravaganza . . . and it’s more than a one-year event, isn’t it? Every day should be a day of thanksgiving for us because, as Psalm 92:1 tell us, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” Psalm 118:24 goes on to say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Notice, it doesn’t say we only rejoice and give thanks to the Lord when things are going well, the sun is shining, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It has nothing to do with a particular day, a happy celebration, or a wonderful life. It has everything to do with who He is and who we are in Him. It’s a life-long celebration of thankfulness that will continue into eternity.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

 

–Cheri Henderson

Craving the Same!

One of my very favorite movies is the 1987 romantic comedy, Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage. It’s a story about an eccentric and passionate Italian family and their daughter, Loretta, who finds romance through the intervention of the Manhattan moon, the “Bella Luna!” It’s a lighthearted movie my husband and I have watched many, many times and without fail, every time we do, my husband comments how watching the movie characters eat their Italian meals with such enjoyment makes him wish he had a plate of Italian pasta he could eat at the same time!

One of these “Moonstruck-watching” evenings, I think I’ll accommodate his craving … and serve him this wonderfully Italian meal!

Pasta Fagioli
Serves 24

Ingredients:
2 lbs. ground beef
6 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) beef broth
2 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 jars (26 oz. each) spaghetti sauce
3 large onions, chopped
8 celery ribs, diced
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups canned kidney beans, rinsed and rained
3 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp pepper
1 (or more if preferred) tablespoons of hot pepper sauce
12 oz. uncooked medium pasta shells
5 tsp. minced fresh parsley or 1-1/2 tsp. dried parsley

In a large stockpot, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add broth, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, onions, celery, carrots, beans, oregano, pepper and pepper sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered 30 minutes. Add the pasta and parsley; simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with hot garlic bread! And if desired, top each serving with a small dollop of sour cream.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

In the same way my husband craves a plate of Italian pasta every time he watches the movie, “Moonstruck”, oh how I wish the lost would look upon me in the same way! That they would consistently see the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that only comes from a life surrendered to Jesus Christ … and would hunger for the same. Hunger for Him!

Have you ever been out late at night, driving on one of those open stretches of country road, where the road seems to go on forever and there’s not a vehicle in sight but your own? Then, in the distance, the faint glimmer of a motorcycle headlight begins to approach from the opposite direction. As it draws closer, you feel a slight apprehension because it seems to be hugging the center line just a little too closely for your comfort. It isn’t until it’s about to zip past you that you realize it’s not a motorcycle at all, but a car with a burnt-out right headlight.

One evening after experiencing this misconception for probably the umpteenth time in my driving career, this time the Lord had something to say about it. “How many of my children are walking through their lives with only half of my light shining forth? When only half of my light shines forth, the ones in the darkness see you as something other than what you truly are. You are unrecognizable as my own and perceived to be something other than what I have called you to be.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – truly let the Spirit lead, guide and direct you so my Light will FULLY shine forth from you to every person who crosses your path. I have seen you as you worship me with abandon in the sanctuary. Worship me in the same way in your daily encounters with others. For I have called you to be the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Our lives are being noticed by friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors. They are watching us.

Let’s make ‘em hungry!

 

–Cheri Henderson

No Loafing!

Most of us have been under shelter-at-home orders for the past several weeks because of the Coronavirus threat and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s been very challenging to say the least. But it has also afforded us with some time to do things we perhaps haven’t been able to do in the past … like prepare scrumptious comfort foods and warm, nourishing meals for our loved ones! One of my husband’s favorite comfort meals is a thick slice of homemade meatloaf, lightly drizzled with some ketchup and cozied up to a hot side of macaroni and cheese and rich baked beans.

I once read a great quote about meatloaf in the magazine, Bon Appetit, that said “when we cook meatloaf, we’re connected to something bigger: a tradition. Meatloaf is elemental. It’s enduring. And if comfort foods are those that are not only an answer to hunger but also an existential balm, served without undue fuss or expensive implements, then meatloaf rules the category. It reigns supreme. It’s the fluffy caftan of comfort foods.”

So what do you say we quit “loafing” around, and get on with the business of delivering, as Bon Appetit would suggest, “an answer to hunger along with a little healing balm”? Let’s make a meatloaf!

Marvelous Meatloaf
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons salted butter
½ cup of finely chopped onion
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
4 ounces (1 sleeve) of saltines, crushed
1-1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, cooled onion, crushed saltines, cheddar, eggs, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. With your hands, gently mix the ingredients together until well blended. Don’t overwork the mixture.

Place the mixture evenly in a 6” x 9” loaf pan.

Drizzle the ketchup down the center of the loaf and brush it over the top to cover.

Bake until firm about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Meatloaf, though confined to a pan, is not meant to remain that way for hours, days, or weeks, wouldn’t you agree? Its design, its destiny, is to serve the hungry. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, even in the midst of a shelter-at-home environment, are also designed to serve the hungry, and we should not allow confinement to be an excuse for “loafing” around. A time of rest is a gift, and an initial, brief rest can be beneficial, but if we loaf too long, we can become spiritually weak, cold to the needs of those around us, and ineffective for the Kingdom.

We have an exceptional opportunity to let our faith shine right now, to live the gospel even from within the confines of our own homes. There are hungry people throughout the world right now who are confused, threatened, fearful and confined. We have the “answer to their hunger” and we know the One who is the healing balm, the Balm of Gilead.

Phone calls, social media messages, and handwritten notes, pre-marinated in worship and prayer, seasoned with truth, and delivered with love are examples of some great “work” we can do from home. Work can absolutely carry on from confinement! And with great effectiveness and power! A perfect example is Paul, who was quite the letter writer, wasn’t he? In fact, here’s a sentence from one of his letters: “For which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” (2Timothy 2:9) Paul spent most of his ministry “quarantined” in prison or under house arrest, and yet his correspondence with sisters and brothers in Christ yielded half of the New Testament! The gospel is never bound!

“Whoever loafs in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9) Time is too short for loafing and I certainly do not want to be associated with the one who destroys.

For such a time as this, we’ve been placed upon this earth, and work done for God’s glory lasts for eternity. What I do today can last forever.

Let’s work while it is still day, saints!

 

–Cheri Henderson

Feelin’ A Little Sour

 

I would expect that many of us are feeling a little “sour” at the moment as we face another week of Coronavirus confinement. One of the things, however, that has lessened the “sourness” for me and actually “sweetened” the experience is the lovely amount of time I have had to create some yummy meals. Here’s one that I think you’ll really enjoy. It’s easy to make and for those of you who aren’t sauerkraut lovers, this recipe really lessens the sourness by first draining and rinsing the kraut, and then adding brown sugar to the mix!

Smoked Sausage, Sauerkraut and Apples
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1-1/2 lbs smoked sausage
32 oz rinsed and drained sauerkraut
2 peeled and chopped Jonathan or Honeycrisp apples
1 small bunch of green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons of brown sugar (light or dark)

Brown the sausage in a skillet and then cut into 1″ pieces. Layer 1/3 of the rinsed and drained sauerkraut in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ ovenproof dish. Add 1/2 of the chopped green onion, 1/2 of the peeled and chopped apples, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar. Layer all again in the same order and then sprinkle the remaining sauerkraut over the top. Cover and warm in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Serve over mashed taters!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

In the midst of the “sourness” of our current situation, there is a “sweetness” that can bring us strength, peace, and yes … even joy! As we face chaos and uncertainty, the Lord reminds us He is always “ahead of the game” in every one of our situations. Revelation 1:8 says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.”

Think about that! The One who created us, our loving Heavenly Father, is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end. And 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.

And so Matthew 6:34 makes perfect sense when it says “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.”

1 Peter 6:9 speaks well to the trials that we face where it says: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an unspeakable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

And so my prayer for you and me is this:

Heavenly Father, we love you and praise your name above all names. Lord, we’re facing some trying times right now, things we don’t understand and uncertainty about what’s ahead. Please surround us with your presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to stand in strength and peace. We ask for patience and courage to wait upon you with faith and trust. We want to see through spiritual eyes full of faith in the face of all these trials and troubles. Lord, let us see your truth of what lays beyond these troubles. Let us keep our minds and hearts focused upon you and Heaven to come. We love you Lord and give you all the glory. And we ask all these things in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

— Cheri Henderson

A Stick-To-Your-Ribs Kind-Of Meal

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Autumn! The beginning of that wonderful time of year when hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soups and chowders slowly simmer on the stove, painting lacy patches of moisture on the kitchen windows and offering a warm, welcoming environment for cold, hungry visitors! Several days ago, the weather forecast called for the first chilly Sunday of the season, so I visited our local market and made sure I had all of the right ingredients on hand to create this splendidly delicious soup!

Hamburger Soup
Serves 12

Ingredients
:
2-1/2 pounds ground chuck or lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-1/2 ounce can whole tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
5 large red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
shredded cheddar

Directions
:
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, brown the meat with the onion, celery and garlic. Remove the pot from the heat and drain off and discard the liquid. Return the pot to the stove and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover and cook for 20 more minutes until the potatoes are tender. Soup should be somewhat thick, but you can add more broth if you prefer.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Serve with warm, crusty bread or rolls!
Food for Thought
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

There is nothing more gratifying than being able to offer a warm welcome and a hearty meal to a cold and hungry visitor on a chilly day. In a similar way, as followers of Jesus Christ, we can do the same. When we plan ahead and take the time to prepare by spending time in worship and prayer, reading scripture, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can be ready to offer spiritual nourishment to a cold and hungry world. When we open our arms and warmly “welcome them into our kitchen” (which is anywhere a divine appointment awaits) … we are honored to bless them with the love of God and, in answer to their needs, “feed them” warm and nutritious spoonfuls of His Truth! And when they depart, we will have no doubt the meal we’ve fed them is one that will “stick-to-their-ribs” … because “the word that goes forth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

— Cheri Henderson

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

Pretty Pinwheels!

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Colorful and delicious, this is one of my favorite appetizers! And the name, “pinwheels”, brings back warm memories of childhood fun! Pinwheels! Did you have one as a child?  I remember this young girl skipping through the front yard with my arm raised and my pinwheel spinning in the wind.  If you’re too young to remember them, it was a toy made of curved, brightly colored plastic blades, attached to the top of a wooden stick. The curved blades cupped the wind and caused the blades to spin rapidly almost as soon as the wind hit them. The gentlest of breezes would set the pinwheels spinning to display a beautiful array of color!

While these pinwheels don’t catch the wind or spin, they’re still great fun to make … so let’s get busy!

Pretty Pinwheels

Makes 35-40 Pinwheels

Ingredients:

(2) 8 oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature
(1) 1 oz. package dry ranch dressing mix
1/2 tsp. black pepper
5 large (burrito-size) flour tortillas
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lb. thinly sliced deli mesquite turkey

Directions:

Chop the peppers and onions and set aside in 3 separate mounds.

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and black pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon until totally combined.

Lay out the 5 flour tortillas on your counter and divide the cream cheese mixture equally among the tortillas. Spread the mixture in an even layer all over the surface of each tortilla, making sure to get it all the way to the edge.

Sprinkle the red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and green onions on each tortilla as equally as possible.

Lay the sliced turkey evenly on each tortilla.

Roll the tortillas up nice and tight. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

Before serving, cut them in to 1-inch slices and serve on a platter.

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Like the wind that animates a pinwheel, the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of those who love Jesus, nudging us along, constantly encouraging, comforting and empowering us. Scripture, in fact, refers to the Holy Spirit as a strong, driving wind!  “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, the disciples were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8, Acts 2:1-2)

Before Jesus was crucified and resurrected into heaven, he told his disciples (and if you have given your life to Jesus, that would be you):

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said.”  (Acts 14:15-17, 26)

So raise your arms, let the Wind blow, and be a beautiful, powerful representation of Jesus to your world!

— Cheri Henderson

Slowly Savoring Every Bite …

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There’s nothing better than a Chinese meal when it’s prepared in your own kitchen! As the recipe comes together, the fragrance of ginger, garlic, and soy, warmly sauteing in a bath of sesame and peanut oils, is an enticing preliminary to the joy of sitting down to a delicious meal!

Naturally, this meal would be well-served with chopsticks; however, this woman has never mastered that skill! I’ve been told that using chopsticks is actually a healthier way to eat because it forces you to slow down, eat deliberately, and take smaller mouthfuls of food, resting in between bites and giving your stomach time to tell your brain that it is getting full.

This method of eating would only serve to frustrate me, however. As my husband will avow, I am a very fast eater and can shovel down a meal in three-quarters of the time it takes a normal person to eat it. I believe this is something I learned from my childhood; as the oldest child of six, I discovered eating quickly usually guaranteed seconds! Unfortunately the trait is deeply ingrained, so hand me a fork, knife and spoon, please, and let’s have at it!
 
Beef Broccoli Lo Mein
Serves 4
 
Ingredients:
8 oz. lo mein noodles or spaghetti
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 Tbsp. peeled, minced fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped broccoli
1-1/2 cups sliced onion
1 lb. flank steak, trimmed and cut against the grain into long, thin strips
3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. chile paste with garlic
 
Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Combine pasta and sesame oil, tossing well to coat.
 
While the pasta cooks, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add broccoli and onion; saute 3 minutes. Add steak and saute 5 minutes or until cooked to a safe internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Add pasta mixture, soy sauce and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until noodles are thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Serve immediately, refrigerating any leftovers.
 
Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT
 
It’s true I don’t always slow down and eat deliberately like I probably should … and so I understand I’m not receiving the health benefits that go hand-in-hand with doing so. Sadly, there have also been times I’ve done the same thing when it comes to “eating the word of God”. And I’ve learned that to hurriedly read a few scriptures so I can say I’ve spent time with the Lord will absolutely lead to spiritual malnutrition. There is nothing spiritually nurturing about quickly fitting God into my day and treating Him as an afterthought or something less important than all of my other more pressing, “important” (not) daily activities. Just as our bodies need food to stay healthy and operate at peak performance, we need the word of God to feed our souls and strengthen us to resist temptation and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!
 
I encourage you, therefore, to daily imitate Jesus, and the manner in which He spent time with the Father. Go to a place where you can be alone with God, somewhere quiet and free of distraction. Talk to Him. Worship Him. Praise Him for all He is. Thank Him for all He has done. And then read His love letter to you, the Bible. Don’t hurry through it … savor it, think about it, enjoy it. The word of God is one of our greatest sources of spiritual food. In fact, the Bible talks a lot about how important it is to our lives. Here are a few: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
 
And here is one of my favorites: “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16)
 
Praying His word becomes … and remains … the gladness and joy of your heart!
 
— Cheri Henderson