It’s “Thyme” to Eat a Great Meal!

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The “thyme” has arrived to share one of the most incredibly delicious recipes I have ever tasted!

 

Cider-Braised Chicken, Sprouts and Apples
Serves 6

Ingredients:
5 slices of bacon, chopped
4 bone-in, skin-on on thighs
4 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts
2 red apples, cut into wedges
1 12-ounce bottle of hard cider
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, stripped from the stem
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups trimmed and halved brussel sprouts

Directions:

Strip 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme from the stem and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the whole grain mustard, kosher salt and hard cider and set aside.

In a very large skillet, cook 5 chopped slices of bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon, reserving drippings in pan. Add the thighs and chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook 8 minutes on each side or until browned; remove from pan. Add the apple wedges and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until browned on both sides and remove from pan. Discard the drippings. Add the mustard, salt, and cider mixture to the pan, scraping up the brown bits. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and return the chicken to the skillet. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the halved brussel sprouts and cook covered for an additional 10 minutes. Add the apple wedges and cook uncovered for 5 minutes or more or until the chicken is done and tender. Sprinkle with bacon bits and serve.

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT

Several herb guides suggest thyme has an earthiness that pairs well with pork, lamb, or chicken. This “earthy” description reminds me of a similar description for another kind of “time” … a lifetime. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust (earth) you are and to dust (earth) you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

How long do we have before such a thing will happen? “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)

I saw a Facebook meme yesterday, written by Samuel Decker Thompson, that said “We are all just a car crash, a diagnosis, an unexpected phone call, a newfound love, or a broken heart away from becoming a completely different person. How beautifully fragile are we that so many things can take but a moment to alter who we are forever” … even ending this life as we know it, obliterating it in an instant as our spirit man enters into eternity. Life is fragile, time is short, and eternity is forever. We need to be ready for this eventuality because no one will escape it.

For God so greatly loves and dearly prizes you, that He gave His One and only begotten Son, that if you would just believe and trust in Him as your Savior, you will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “And there is salvation in no one else (but Jesus Christ); for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (Acts 4:12 Amp)

If you haven’t yet bowed your knee to the One who died on your behalf so you could spend eternity in heaven with Him, you need to … and soon! “Behold, now is the favorable Time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

And if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the time in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13) “Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Time. It’s short. Use it wisely.

–Cheri Henderson

Glop Some Gołąbki on Your Plate!

Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls are the epitome of Polish nourishment, and being of Polish heritage, this dish is truly one my family’s very favorites.  Poles call them gołąbki, which literally means “little pigeons”, but they are actually pork and beef, mixed with rice, nestled in a cabbage leaf and typically cooked in a tomato-based sauce until tender.  Even my husband, who is not Polish, considers cabbage rolls to be one of his favorite meals … so glop some gołąbki on a plate and enjoy!

Cabbage Rolls (Gołąbki)
Serves 12

Ingredients

2 large cabbages
32 oz. sauerkraut, drained

4 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, chopped
32 oz. tomato sauce
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1-1/2 lbs. ground pork
2 cups cooked rice
2 white bread slices, crumbled
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon basil
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 can of tomato juice
1/2 lb. of raw bacon

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, in hot butter or margarine, cook onion 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato sauce, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (except the tomato juice and bacon) and roll (24-30) 1/4 cup portions into oblong segments, placing each of them on a sheet of aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

With a knife, carefully pierce the cabbage around the stem (2″ deep or so) and remove the center of the cabbage. Place in a bowl, stem side down, with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on high for 10 – 12 minutes. Rinse in cold water and then remove the cabbage leaves (12 to 15 of them) by rolling each leaf from the top to the stem.

Center each of the oblong meat mixtures onto the wide edge of a cabbage leaf, roll the meat mixture up in the leaf, and then fold in the two ends. Replace them, seam side down, on the sheet of aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Repeat the process with the second cabbage.

Chop any remaining cabbage into bite sized pieces and spread along the bottom of a large roasting pan. Mix the drained sauerkraut into the cabbage.

Place each roll, seam side down, on top of the sauerkraut/chopped cabbage mixture in the base of the pan.

Pour the tomato juice over the top of the cabbage rolls. Lay strips of bacon over the rolls.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Cover and continue to bake for another hour. Then lower the heat to 300 degrees and continue to bake for 4 more hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:

I found it fascinating that gołąbki literally means “little pigeons”. I suppose the reason for this is the cabbage roll must look somewhat like a little pigeon, though I’ve never seen a little pigeon … and the idea of eating one is incredibly unappealing to me! If this meal truly consisted of pigeon meat, it most definitely would not be one of my favorites!

However, since we’re now on this topic … did you know pigeons are considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet? The pigeon is able to recognize its reflection in a mirror and is one of only 6 species, and the only non-mammal, that has this ability. The pigeon can also recognize all 26 letters of the English language and is able to conceptualize, differentiating between photographs and even between different human beings in a photograph.

And, as you probably know, pigeons have often been used throughout history as messengers for delivering communications of great importance. The earliest, large-scale, communication network, using pigeons as messengers, was established in Syria and Persia around the 5th century BC. Much later, in the 12th century AD, the city of Baghdad and all the main towns and cities in Syria and Egypt were linked by messages carried by pigeons, their sole source of communication. Further, their successful use as messengers in wartime resulted in many pigeons being awarded honors by both the British and French Governments.

But did you know a team of Navy researchers recently discovered pigeons can be trained to save human lives at sea with high success rates? Project Sea Hunt has trained a number of pigeons to identify red or yellow life jackets when floating in the water. The pigeons are not only more reliable than humans, but also many times quicker when it comes to spotting survivors from a capsized or sinking boat. The pigeon can see color in the same way that humans do, but they can also see ultra-violet, a part of the spectrum that humans cannot see, and this is one of the reasons they are so well adapted to lifesaving.

Finally, and most importantly, did you know pigeons are mentioned in the bible as one of the offerings required by God to be presented by Abram before the Lord (Genesis 15:9), that pigeons continued to be included among the sin-offerings in Leviticus 1:14; 12:6, and that the Old Testament law permitted those who could not afford to offer a lamb, to instead offer two young pigeons (Levitius 5:7; Luke 2:24)?

Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin“.  So indulgent, kind, and merciful was God to every man, if unable to afford and purchase the better offering, the best he could get would be acceptable; so the poor man had as many offerings for his atonement and cleansing as the rich, and his reparation and forgiveness were as complete as theirs.

What an interesting correlation! In the Old Testament, God required the pigeon as a sin offering for impoverished man: a highly intelligent bird able to differentiate between human beings, the sole source of communication used to deliver a message of great importance, and one able to see and save drowning human beings from their sinking ships.

Doesn’t this sound very much like an Old Testament shadow of the One who was to come? The Only Wise One carrying a message of absolute Truth, the Savior, the Deliverer, and the final Sin Offering for an impoverished man … who even today sees us and is able to save us from drowning in our sins!

Who is this One? His name is JESUS! Hallelujah!

–Cheri Henderson

Say “Cheese” & Smile!

12733604_10208068439047056_7696966460834834525_nOkay; I admit it. I am quite the cheese lover!

Whether alone, breaded and fried, included within or melted over an entrée … it is a great pleasure to my palate! Macaroni and cheese, ham and cheese, grilled cheese, pepperoni and cheese, cheesy mets, etc., etc.  Yummo!!!

In that regard, the following recipe is one of my very favorites!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
(Serves: 8)

Ingredients:
2 cups boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken onto two-inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimentos, drained
2 cups reserved chicken broth from the pot that cooked the chicken
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup additional grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Cook two to three boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Cut the cooked breasts into ½ inch pieces to make two cups. Cook the spaghetti in the same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When the spaghetti is cooked, combine it with the 2 cups of chicken breasts and the remaining ingredients, except the one cup of additional sharp cheddar.

Place the mixture in a casserole pan and top with the remaining sharp cheddar. You can cover and freeze it for up to six months, cover and refrigerate for up to two days, or bake it immediately at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on the top starts to brown, cover it with foil).

Then say “cheese”, smile, and enjoy this scrumptious dish!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT

As you probably know, photographers for years have instructed their subjects to say “cheese” right before the picture is taken. Why? Because speaking the word “cheese” causes the corners of the mouth to turn up, cheeks to lift and teeth to show, giving the appearance of a smile whether genuine or not.

There’s also another word that, when said, can bring a real smile to our lips and genuine joy to our hearts. It is THE Word … the first Word, the only Word, the final Word … the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, the Word that has existed from the beginning, was with God, and was God. The Word is Jesus!  There is something about that Name!  And as we speak His Name, recognizing the power that’s in it and all that it provides, how can we not smile?

Eternal Salvation!

  • Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  – Acts 4:12 (KJV)
  • Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)

Strength, Healing, Deliverance, Restoration & Protection!

  • By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. Acts 3:16 (NIV)
  • And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – Mark 16:17-18 (KJV)
  • And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment. – Acts 16:18 (AMP)
  • The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10 (KJV)

Answered Prayer & Complete Joy!

  • Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.– John 16:23-24 (NIV)

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a lot to smile about, don’t we!

So say His Name … smile, and have a joy-filled day!

–Cheri Henderson

Ham It Up!

Ham, Taters & Cheese Casserole

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a chilly, rainy day with no scheduled events or plans (other than to kick back on the couch and watch my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes take on Xichigan!) It was a couple hours before kick-off and, still dressed in my nightgown and robe, I opened the fridge to consider what might be a good lunch option. The entire second shelf was still filled to capacity with ham … ham, ham, ham! Ham on the shank that still needed to be removed and another container, two-thirds full of thick ham slices, left over from our family Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. Friday’s lunch, of course, had consisted of a delicious ham sandwich, but the thought of ham sandwiches again on Saturday just wasn’t an appealing thought. And then I remembered a wonderful recipe that would fit the bill and be a perfect meal for a chilly, rainy day!

Ham, Taters & Cheese Casserole
(Serves: 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
  • 7 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring the potatoes, carrot, celery and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the ham, green pepper and onion in 3 tablespoons butter until tender. Add to the potato mixture. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; add cheese and stir until melted.
  4. Pour over the ham mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

My husband and I were able to fill our plates and enjoy this hearty, delicious meal as we watched Ohio State beat Xichigan! What a perfectly wonderful afternoon to “ham it up”!

Food for Thought
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The phrase “ham it up” evokes thoughts of funny silliness and laughter, doesn’t it? And this particular “ham it up” moment definitely brought a smile to our faces and joy to our tummies because it was centered around some great food! But there is a source of joy … a fullness of joy … that is available to us all day long, year after year and into eternity! The One Who created us wants us to laugh, to be joyful, and to have a merry heart! His Word says so!

“God has made laughter for me.” Genesis 21:6

“A joyful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

“A glad heart makes a cheerful face.” Proverbs 15:13

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Psalm 4:7

And why?

“Our mouths are filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy … because the Lord has done great things for us.” Psalm 126:2

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

I pray today and the rest of your life are filled with the laughter and joy that can only come from Him!

–Cheri Henderson

 

Saturday Mornings with Momma

breadknead  Blessed food

I am so blessed by the precious friendship that has developed between my Mom and me. Saturday mornings have become a wonderful time together as we share Starbucks, reminisce about Dad and the past, and look forward to our future adventures together. My Saturday mornings with her have become such a treasure as she shares so many precious memories and insights with me! Recently she handed me a beautiful devotional that a friend of our family, Chris Schonsheck, had given her and it so encouraged me and blessed my heart! I want to share it with you and hope that it does the same! Thank you, Momma. Thank you, Chris!

No Small Efforts
(Read John 6:8-13)

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” – Psalm 138:8 (NRSV)

Often I fall into the trap of comparing myself to other people. When I look at the impact they seem to have on the world, I feel as if I don’t measure up. One day, when I was feeling inferior, God gave me a new perspective on the familiar loaves-and-fishes story. Instead of focusing on the miracle itself or on the boy who offered up his lunch, I thought about the woman who might have made the lunch. I imagined her kneading the dough with work-worn hands, carefully wrapping the fresh loaves and fish in a cloth and handing the bundle to the boy with a kiss on his cheek. To her, these must have seemed such small, ordinary tasks. How could she have anticipated that the meal she had packed for her son that day would have such eternal significance?

That reminded me of the many ways that God takes our small efforts and uses them to feed people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So when I feel that I should be doing bigger things with my life, I remind myself of the loaves and fishes. My job is to do the tasks in front of me.. God’s job – God’s delight – is to use them to feed the world.

Dear Lord, help us to trust you to use us for your purposes. Amen.

–Cheri Henderson

The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair
The decorations are up and the holiday menu planning is taking place, but I can’t seem to keep my eyes away from a very special chair. The meals planned for this year and the years to come cannot compare to the meal that is ahead. Revelation 19:9: “Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

I look forward to sharing it with you, Dad.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

With each and every passing year
as we gather on Christmas Day,
we’re reminded of loved ones
who once were here,
but have gone on to another place.
We look at the chairs where once they sat,
reminded by the empty space
that our celebration will never be the same
until we’re with them once again.
To be “home”, truly “home” for the holidays,
to see again those gone before us
and realize the reality of the hallelujah chorus
as we sing to the One standing before us . . .
no longer an image on a Christmas card,
but our Savior, the Christ, face-to-face,
reunited with our loved ones, we’ll worship our King,
forever . . . truly “home” for the holidays.

— Cheri Henderson

Orange You Glad?

Juicy and sweet and renownedOrange Pie for its concentration of vitamin C, oranges make the perfect snack and add a special tang to many recipes; it is no wonder they are one of the most popular fruits in the world. The benefits of this wonderful fruit include antioxidant protection and immune support, protection against cardiovascular disease and cholesterol-lowering benefits! Granted, when they become part of a dessert, some of these benefits may be diminished, but sometimes the sweet treat is worth the trade-off, don’t you think? Alone as created, oranges are great! But mix them up with other ingredients, and you can have a delicious and appealing dessert!

Orange Creamsicle Pie
(Yield: 2 Pies, Serves: 16)

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup orange juice
1 (4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
1 (3 ounce) box orange gelatin
2 (6 ounce) prepared graham cracker crusts

Directions:
Soften cream cheese at room temperature starting a couple hours before making your pies; the cream cheese must be super soft in order to avoid lumps in the pie filling. Blend cream cheese and frozen whipped topping well; add orange juice and beat with mixer until very creamy; stir in pudding then gelatin and blend well. Divide filling between graham crusts; chill at least 3 hours before serving. Decorate with whipped cream and thinly sliced oranges if desired.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:Food for Thought
In this case, the orange was joined with other ingredients to make a delicious dessert, but the trade-off was the nutritious benefit from the orange alone.  Sometimes our desire to align with other people or other things in an effort to gain popularity or recognition is not in our best interest and may even injure those around us.

A Parable:  A lone orange tree, in the midst of a vast apple grove, was so impressed by the beauty and popularity of his surrounding neighbors; he yearned to be just like them. With great unhappiness, he looked upon his dimpled, tough exterior and then gazed longingly at the apples’ smooth, shiny red skins. “Surely”, he thought, “they are more palatable and easier to eat than my fruit which has to first be peeled before anyone can even bite into it!” So in an effort to become like them, when the wind would blow, he’d lean his limbs towards the branches of the nearby apple trees, rubbing up against them, hoping a transfer would take place that could change him … but nothing happened. So he pressed his roots further and further out towards the roots of his neighbors, thinking if he could intertwine with theirs, perhaps that would be the thing that would change him … but an orange tree he remained.

One day he saw a man walking past him carrying a ladder and a bucket of red paint. “Excuse me, sir,” the orange tree said. “Where are you going with that paint and for what purpose?”  The man replied “Goin’ up yonder to paint that barn on the hill. Why do you ask?” The tree, with much excitement, told the man of his desire to be like all the other trees around him and asked “Would you be so kind as to bless me with a little of your time and materials, and cover my oranges with that brilliant red paint you are carrying?” The man, feeling sorry for the tree and wanting to be of help, agreed to do so and climbed upon his ladder to begin the painting process. After several hours, every orange on the tree was totally covered in red paint. “Thank you, sir,” the orange tree gratefully cried. “You have satisfied the desires of my heart and now I am completely content and gratified.” The man smiled, nodded, and went on his way.

Many weeks later a group of children were walking through the apple groves, looking for the orange tree they had heard resided there. Because their town was surrounded by only apple groves and all of the orange groves were hundreds of miles away, oranges were very difficult and expensive to come by.  Though the children were looking forward to the unique and wonderful taste of a juicy orange, their primary purpose was to help a little boy who had accompanied them in their search for the orange tree.  For months, their beloved little friend had been battling scurvy, and as he struggled to walk upon weakened, bowed legs, his friends led him carefully along, filled with hope that a fresh source of vitamin C would bring healing to his body. With eagerness, they came to the place where they had been told the tree was located, but to their dismay, found only the remains of a withered tree with streaks of red running up its brittle limbs and down its splintered trunk. At the base of the tree lay shrunken circles of dimpled red paint.

Hungry, unfulfilled and with their hopes dashed, they held the hand of the sick little boy and made their way back to town.

The Parable of the Story:  Dissatisfaction with our God-given gifts, an unhealthy envy and misplaced longing (encourage by the good intentions of unwise “helpers”), can destroy God’s true plan and purpose for our existence, leaving destiny unfulfilled and lives impaired by the lack of spiritual “nourishment” we could have provided.

1 Samuel 16:7 says “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 says “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

“Orange” you glad you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, perfectly created to bring Him glory? Created in His image, He thinks you’re beautiful! Who are we to disagree?

–Cheri Henderson

The Main Ingredient

dried-apple-dollsLast weekend my darling husband came home with several bags of apples given to him by one of our friends from church. He knew I had already done my grocery shopping for the week, but sheepishly suggested I might want to come up with a way to use them so they wouldn’t go to waste!  I knew he wasn’t thinking I should use the apples to make one of those awesome Pinterest craft projects … like shrunken apple-head dolls …or a festive apple cinnamon wreath! No. Knowing my husband and his ever-present sweet tooth, there was no doubt about what he wanted. And as I quickly scanned my cupboards, he was pleased to learn I had everything necessary to make one of his favorites!

cobbler

Apple Cobbler
(Serves 12)

Ingredients:
9 cups tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced to 1/4 inch
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
ice cream if desired

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sliced apples in ungreased 13×9-inch baking pan. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in bowl; sprinkle over the apples. Combine remaining cinnamon, flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder and salt in bowl; beat at medium speed until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Pour melted butter over topping. Bake 45-55 minutes or until lightly browned and apples are tender.

Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Yes, this time, I had all the ingredients I needed, but have you ever made a recipe and left out a primary ingredient or worse, used the wrong one? As much as I would like to forget it, I clearly remember a time years ago when I made a chocolate cake and mistakenly added baking soda instead of baking powder! I couldn’t figure out why the cake didn’t rise, but when I tasted it, the salty taste was a clear indication of my mistake! Imagine if I had made the apple cobbler recipe, but forgot to include the apples? Or mistakenly used salt instead of sugar? I would have ended up with an unappetizing, inedible mess, worth nothing but to be tossed into the trash!

Life’s like that too. The divine recipe for our lives requires a primary ingredient, a life surrendered to Jesus Christ, for us to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for us here on earth … and for eternity. If the outside looks like the real thing, but a heart for Jesus is missing on the inside … if we have omitted or substituted something else for a true relationship with Jesus Christ … the end result will be nothing but eternally disastrous. Scripture says “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we can be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “I am the Vine, you are  the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) “Knowing the correct password – saying ‘Master, Master’, for instance – isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience – doing what my Father wills. I can see it now – at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.'” (Matthew 7:21-23 MSG)

There is a day coming when there will be no second chance for you to “correct the recipe” of your life if the main ingredient is missing, no second chance to make it right. It will be the day when you transition from this life to eternity. 1 John 5:12 says “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Are you prepared for that day? Do you have the right ingredient, a life surrendered to the Son of God as your Lord and Savior? If not, I pray today will be the day you do.

–Cheri Henderson

Another Boneless Chicken Recipe

BonelessChickenRanchAs I was preparing this recipe last night, I began to laugh as I remembered Gary Larson’s “Far Side” illustration of the “Boneless Chicken Ranch”.  When it first appeared in the newspaper back in the 1980’s, my husband and I thought it was so funny, we displayed it on our refrigerator for months! Those poor chickens!  What a terrible way to live!

But when it comes to making a recipe, I’m very thankful for the availability of boneless chicken breasts! I realize they are a little more pricey than buying bone-in chicken, but I find the ease and time saved from not having to remove the bones is worth it!

Crispy Cheddar Chicken
Crispy Cheddar Chicken
(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
2 lbs. chicken tenders or 4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Sauce:
1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Set oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

Crush crackers in a gallon-sized zip lock bag. If using chicken breasts and not tenders, cut each chicken breast into 3 large pieces. Pour the milk into a small bowl and in another bowl, stir together the salt and paper, cheese and crackers. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then the cracker/cheese mixture. Generously press and mold the cracker mixture around the chicken with your fingers and lay the chicken inside the pan. Once all of the chicken is in the pan, cover with any remaining cracker mixture and sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

In a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.

Delicious! And wonderful served with mashed taters and a vegetable or side salad!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
When Christians lack the power to stand, I wonder if the enemy views us in a similar way to the boneless chicken ranch . . . as “spineless little chickens”, prime for his recipe of destruction? In that scenario, what an easy target we would be for a good kick in the head . . . or perhaps a 40-yard punt into a territory we were trying to avoid!

When faced with a situation where we’re feeling a little “weak in the knees”, what is our best recourse? How do we remain standing?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  (Ephesians 6:10-17)

And the last verse of this passage is key:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6: 18)

The best way to remain standing is to first kneel.

“For this reason [seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ], I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name].  May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].” (Ephesians 3:14-16 Amplified)

Amen?

Amen!

–Cheri Henderson

Terms of Endearment

Pumpkin Apple Pie

I love the traditions of the holidays, especially those surrounding our family meals.  One, in particular, is Mom’s Pumpkin Apple pie.  It matters not whether it’s Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas (and although Mom has pretty much handed off the responsibility of creating it to one of the daughters or daughter-in-laws), it is still a “must have” at our family holiday dessert table.

Mom’s Pumpkin Apple Pie

Ingredients:
1 – 1 lb. can apple pie filling
1 unbaked 10” pie shell
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon powdered cloves or pumpkin spice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar
1 – 1 lb. can of pumpkin
2 tablespoons molasses
1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1-1/2 cup milk
2 eggs – slightly beaten

Directions:
Place pie shell in a 10” pie pan. Pour apple pie filling into shell.  In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, spices, salt and sugar. Add pumpkin, molasses, and melted butter. Blend well. In another bowl, combine milk and eggs. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Pour over apple pie filling. Cover crust edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 45 – 60 minutes.  (Insert a knife in the center and if it comes out clean, it’s done.) Cool. Top with whipped cream.

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
This particular dessert has always seemed to be such an appropriate creation for my Mom because my Dad’s pet name for my mother was “punkin”. I remember Dad using that term of endearment for Mom many times during my childhood, and whenever he used it, it was delivered with a gentle, loving fondness for her.

Did you know that God also has many terms of endearment for each one of us? He not only calls us by name, “I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1), but just as we use affectionate terms of endearment to assure our children and spouses of our love, so does Our Father.  When we become Christians and are adopted into the family of God, here are some of the names He calls us:

Child (John 1:12-13)
Friend  (John 15:14)
Heir (Romans 8:17)
Saint (Ephesians 1:1)
Chosen (Deuteronomy 7:6 & Colossians 3:12)
Dearly Loved (Colossians 3:12)
Beloved (Song of Songs 2:16)
Priest (1 Peter 2:9)
Son / Daughter (2 Corinthians 6:18)
His (John 17:24; Isaiah 43:1)

In the same way Mom would smile and lovingly respond to Dad whenever he called her “punkin”, our hearts are filled with joy when we “hear” our heavenly Father’s terms of endearment for us. With tears of love, we respond back to Him “Abba, Father”! (Romans 8:15)

— Cheri Henderson