Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eggs In A Nest

Ever since I saw this breakfast being cooked in Moonstruck, I couldn't wait to try it out at home. It just looked sooooo delicious, especially to an egg lover like me. 

So far, I have made this several times in the last month with different kinds of breads and it is just as yummy as I hoped it would be. It is seriously scrumptious.  This morning my husband declared this meal his favorite non-meat breakfast.

But it gets better — you don't need many ingredients. In fact, in the movie, it looks like she only used bread, butter, and eggs. I added some toppings to mine, but I'm sure it's just wonderful in it's puritan form, too.


Eggs in a Nest

Sour Dough Bread
Real Butter
Large Eggs

Optional toppings:
Feta cheese
Tomato slices
Avocado slices



First just pull out some of the center of the bread to make a hole. 

Melt a good amount of butter (about a tablespoon) in a hot pan and fry the bread slices in the butter. 


Lift the bread up on a large spatula, melt more butter and flip.
Crack an egg into each hole and let cook for a couple of minutes.


Next, flip them over (like you would with pancakes) and cook on the other side for another minute or two.


Plate and top with Feta cheese, tomatoes and avocado slices. 


This is an easy breakfast but it looks a little fancy. 
Eggs in a nest — fast, healthy and absolutely delicious!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Healthy Chocolate

Chocolate is a staple at my house. Just a bite every so often and I'm good to go. And while chocolate itself is healthy and an antioxidant, the sugars and other added ingredients of grocery store chocolate are not. 

And fancy chocolates can get expensive. I bought a "specialty" chocolate bar at Sprouts for my husband as part of his Valentine's Day gift and it was over $3! Not my idea of a budget friendly treat. 

My solution: make my own at home using 4 simple, healthy ingredients: 

Coconut Oil
Cocoa Powder
Raw Honey
Celtic Sea Salt

optional add-ins include:

Shredded Coconut
Chopped raw nuts
Almond Butter
Peanut Butter
Dried cranberries

In terms of health, coconut oil outshines all other oils and has too many health benefits to list here. 
Raw honey is superior to processed and retains its many trace beneficial properties. 
Cocoa powder is loaded with health benefits and is a known antioxidant. 
And a pinch of celtic sea salt adds flavor balance and does not cause a mineral unbalance in the body as table salt does

An added bonus is that you can whip up a batch any time in the comfort of your own home. I love that phrase, don't you? "In the comfort of your own home." It's such a blessing to have a place to call home. :)

So these are the ingredients I used to make my healthy chocolate:


Then it gets really complicted. 
You dump them in a bowl and stir. :)


Sprinkle in any optional add-in ingredients you wish. I used shredded coconut. Unsweetened gets preferential treatment, but this is all I had so I used sweetened. 
Didn't bother my conscience a bit. :)

 

I then pressed the mixture into a silicone mold and chilled in the refrigerator. 


To the left over chocolate in my bowl I added about 1/3 cup almond butter and pressed into another silicone mold I had. 
Into the fridge it went to chill. 



In half hour or so they are ready to pop out and enjoy. 



Friday, April 17, 2015

Quick Lasagne

I normally make Lasagne with a long simmered meat sauce, but when I just want to get dinner fixed fast, I have no problem taking shortcuts. :-)

This is such a friendly meal to make and fairly easy. It assembles in under 30 minutes and I usually have the ingredients just hanging around in the fridge and pantry begging to be layered together. 


 Lasagne can be made with as many or as few different cheeses as you would like. I like to imagine how the first Italian wife must have stumbled upon this masterpiece one day in her kitchen. Maybe she was in a hurry and didn't have time to cut her noodles into the smaller sizes of fettuccine or spaghetti, and just made wide slits. Looking around her kitchen, she used leftover meat, cheeses and sauce and layered them together.  

In the same way, I like to invent or adapt recipes in my kitchen. So I swapped out the traditional mozzerella cheese for Monterey Jack in my lasagne tonight. I also used cottage cheese instead of ricotta. 

I had a stray tomato looking for a home so I sliced it and added it to the top. 

After I got dinner in the oven, I washed all the dishes because I believe in the "clean up as you go" method. Makes for a much less frightening kitchen after dinner's over. :)\

Next up was a quick tossed salad that I placed in the fridge while the Lasagne baked. And an hour later - voila! - dinner's ready!  :) 



Beef Short Ribs

Last night's dinner entree was beef short ribs and they were yummy! 


I think this is the second time I've attempted to make ribs and both times I have done so in the oven. The thought of making them always intimidates me because they are unfamiliar territory for me. I run to google and look up how to make them and then I remember with a smile that are easy peasy, so long as you've got the time to do it. 


I imagine they'd be great in a crockpot, too. But I haven't tried that method as of yet. Since I knew I'd be home all day, I just went with my oven routine. :)

First I marinated the ribs in bbq sauce 




Then into a 300 degree they went to slow roast for about 4 hours. (I started them around 2pm.) 
During the last half hour of cooking I brushed layers of bbq sauce over them every ten minutes to give them a nice thick glaze.  



While the ribs were getting happy in the oven, I got out my trusty corn meal and some fresh Napa cabbage to prepare some coleslaw and cornbread.


I baked the cornbread 1/2 hour before I put dinner on the table so it could be served warm. It turned out golden brown and yummy. (For extra moist cornbread add an extra egg!)



 My coleslaw was made by slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible and mixing it together with a simple dressing of mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. 


Then I made some stuffed eggs while the cornbread was baking. 



I made the bbq sauce from scratch about a week ago from this recipe. If you've never tried making your own bbq sauce, this one will not disappoint. It is delicious! I had all the ingredients in my fridge and pantry and it was so simple to whip up. I put it into a canning jar and stored it in the fridge. I expect it to keep for about a month.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Tax Day

It's April 15th and you know what that means: time for Uncle Sam to dig into the pockets of poor Americans.  Have you gotten your taxes all done and mailed? We are good to go on that front. My husband just taught our oldest son how to file his tax returns. Wow, they grow up fast!

So tonight, the chef (that's me) gets the evening off and we are going out to dine out at our local Sonic Hamburger stand. Do you have one of these places in your neighborhood? If you do and you like their burgers, they are offering half price cheeseburgers tonight on account of it being tax day.

There are several other tax day promotions going on at places like McDonald's, Burger King, Hard Rock Cafe and Boston Market.  (Just google it for details on the deals.)

It may not be much compensation for the annual government gouge, but considering these retailers are not at fault, it's awfully nice of them to serve up some special deals, isn't it?

Have a blessed day in Christ!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Does God Hear Your Prayers?

Have you ever wondered if God hears your prayers? The bible is God's word directly to mankind. It tells us that we can know whether He hears your prayers or if his ears are closed to them. Here's what Scripture says on the matter:
John 9:31 - Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
According to this scripture, who does God hear?

Anyone who is a worshipper of God and does his will.

Who does God not hear?

Sinners.  Sinners are those actively sinning. They know what they are about to do is wrong and do it anyway. They rationalize it. They say they are weak. They say they can't help it. There are a lot of excuses they have come up with to keep on sinning. They are sinners.

Notice that this verse does not say that God doesn't hear the heathen or unbelieving. It just says he doesn't hear sinners. Who are sinners? Sinners are those who know to do right and do not do it. A The difference between a Christian who sins and an unbeliever who sins is that a believer stumbles into sin (unintentionally, absent mindedly, accidentally) and an unbeliever sins with intent.

Unfortunately, popular preaching today says that Christians are sinners and that we're just "sinners saved by grace". But if this were true, then, according to the verse above, God would hear NOBODY. Instead, this scripture accurately divides people into two categories — the sinner and the saved.

Romans 6 declares that we WERE sinners. Past tense. That we were once slaves to sin, but NO MORE. If a Christian is still sinning (deliberate acts of disobedience) then something is wrong. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

 
Proverbs 28:9 - He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
Is your ear turned away from the law? Have you ever witnessed children whose hearing was suddenly faulty when their parents called them?  Their hearing was just fine. They just "turned away their ear" because they didn't want to answer. God's law shines light onto sin and makes sin "exceedingly sinful". If your ear is turned away from hearing God's law, then your prayers are like an abomination. Strong words.
Proverbs 15:29 - The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Who are the wicked? The wicked are those who do not fear God. The wicked are people who sin on purpose. God says he is faaaaaarrrr from them. The righteous are people who fear and obey God. In other words, when there's a hard choice before you, do you choose right? If you do, you're pleasing God and in turn, his ears will be open to your prayers. I don't know about you, but I need God to be near to me.
Psalms 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
How does your heart regard iniquity? Do you let it influence you? If you give thought to it and have desire toward any thing that God calls sinful, then God will not hear you. Have you ever noticed that when some people pray, nothing happens, but when another person prays for the same thing, God is quick to answer? (This reminds of the passage in the book of Job when God told Job to pray for his friends and then he would forgive them.)
1 Peter 3:12 - For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that DO evil.
Again, a clear-cut case of the righteous being heard, and the evil doers/sinners not being heard. Think of it this way — what if your husband was just a little unfaithful to you? (We all know there is no such thing as a little unfaithful, right?) What if he said he just couldn't help it? You'd be pretty insistent about that being hogwash.

God's got a cure for the sinner who claims he "can't stop". He says to simply remove the offending body part. If you're sinning with your eye, pluck it out. If it's your hand, chop-chop.

God's serious about sin. These are drastic measures to deal with sin, but he said it would be better to enter life (eternally in heaven) than be cast into hell with all your body parts intact. Whew!

Pulpit preachers do not warn the flock faithfully on this issue. It is despicable, but many clergy are ravenous sinners themselves. They will counsel you, but they will agree that it's just the "sin nature". And although popular, the Sin Nature teaching is completely unbiblical.

It may be unpopular to say that you can stop sinning (deliberate acts of disobedience toward God), but it's scriptural!

But God gives us all a choice whom we're going to obey and whom you're going to believe - God or man.

God gave his Son's blood to save us and free us from sin. The gospel is the POWER of God. This means that believers have the power to do God's will. When we read the Bible, and believe God, we renew our minds to our saved condition. The Bible says that I'm a new creature. The Bible says I don't have an "old man" anymore.

The Word of God is sharp and powerful and can "update your operating system" so to speak. I have read Romans chapter 6 carefully and I believe every word of it (and the whole Bible). The Bible says that when you repent and trust in Jesus, you are a blood bought, born again child of the living God. And it is the power of Christ within you to live a righteous and holy life.
James 5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Again, whose prayer availeth (profits, makes available) much? A righteous man's. Confess your faults...a fault implies a failing, a weakness or an error. This is different than a deliberate sin. A sin as I've said before, is a deliberate act. Have you ever accidentally robbed a bank or kissed anyone other than your husband? The courts differentiate degrees of murder by intent. Unintentional murder is dealt with differently than first degree murder. It's all about prior intent before the act.
Isaiah 59:2 - But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Are you seeing a pattern here?

The thing that hinders prayers is sin.

It separates us from God.

When you cross your conscience in a deliberate act of sin, you cut off the prayer line.

If your heart is toward the Lord, seeking the Lord, walking in Truth, taking the narrow way over the wide gate, turning from what is abominable to God and doing what delights him, then you are obeying him. This is the power of God to every one who believes! And it's exciting! God's power is awesome! And his ears will be OPEN to your prayers. It is very exciting to know that my prayers are reaching the ears of my Father in heaven!

Walk in holiness, dear sisters in Christ. Shun evil, and fight the good fight of faith. Do not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bedroom Care

There is a wonderful book for homemakers by Cheryl Mendelson called, "Home comforts: The Science and Art of Keeping House" that is full of pretty detailed homemaker stuff - have any of you read this? If not, I would encourage all domestic divas to get your own copy.

If you're like me, you appreciate books that organize the information by category so you can jump right to the subject you want information on, which this book does beautifully. Granted, it is not a skimpy quick and easy read. The author goes into great detail, and often times more detail than I would prefer. But the I find the details she offers always seem to make sense.  In other words, the details don't seem to be there just to fill up the book, but rather explain the whys and hows, which makes it much more bearable. (My tolerance for pretense and fluff is painfully low.)

Of particular intersest to me was the chapter on bedroom care on page 660. She points her readers to the age old custom of airing out the bed (& the room if possible) for an hour every day or more. Most of us fall into one of two camps: those who get out of bed and rarely make it up and those who get out of bed and make it right away. I'm from the second camp, but both are wrong. Who knew?


Cheryl writes:
"Each day when you arise, air the bed. Open the windows, if possible; throw the bedcovers back over the foot of the bed. (If the bedding will otherwise drag on the floor, stand a chair at the foot of the bed to support it.) Let the bed stand this way, unmade, while you shower and eat breakfast. The bed should air for at least an hour if you are going to work, or even longer if you are staying home. This helps immensely toward keeping the bed feeling and smelling fresh until you next change the sheets."

She goes on to present some very good reasons for this practice:

"While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odors and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup's worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room's oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bedcovers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen."

Um...yuck!

When I think back on all of the years and centuries that people did not have central air & heating and the average home was NOT air-tight. Whoever heard of cancer back then?  Ever watch an old movie or read in old books where people routinely opened their windows at night? Yah, I think they knew what they were doing. Doctors would prescribe fresh air as a remedy for various common ailments. My husband and I have been sleeping with open windows most of our marriage and now, I'm going to start airing out our beds daily. It's a pretty cool excuse for not making the bed, too, I might add.

Whenever the weather and temperature allows, our windows are open. In our previous house, our bed was positioned up against the window in the master bedroom and the sweet fresh air that billows in as I fall asleep is sublime and makes me drift off to sleep like a baby. Now our bed is up against a wall and I am really missing the fresh air wafting down on me.

So glad we're having an indian summer so I can throw open the windows at night and air our bed and bedroom out in the mornings!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Homemakers Need to Be Ready To Give an Answer, Too!

proofthatgodexists.org

If you're ever in a situation to direct an athiest to God, I recommend referring them to the website named above. It is simple, brilliantly constructed and has a pretty powerful impact, in that it "forces" the user to exercise logic and reason — the pillars upon which athiests have constructed their religion.

Just because we are housewives, mothers and homemakers doesn't excuse us from the Great Commission.  We can sprinkle seed wherever we go — the grocery store and other shopping venues, online forums, blog posts, comment boxes, and social media such as Facebook & Twitter.

Often the most committed atheists were once "christians". It's important to understand that a christian is not always equal to being Born Again. Christian simply means professing to follow Christ. There are non-born again Christians and Born Again Christians. But only the latter are saved and accepted by God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son:

John 3:7
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye MUST be born again. 

Is there visible JOY in your life? The reason that I am joyous has nothing to do with my situation or circumstances on this earth (because we'd all like to change at least something in our lives for the better) and everything to do with the fact that I am sealed and saved in Christ. My sins have been paid for, I have been washed white as snow and the door to my prison has been opened. I am free. THIS is the good news.

If you have not had time in the word of God today, I encourage you to simply open up your King James Bible (no other version for this exercise) and read Romans chapter 6. Read the reality of a blood bought Saint. Do you believe it? It is the literal description of the state you are in if you are saved. If you read that chapter and don't "update your operating system" (your brain) with the renewing of your mind, then you are missing the party.

It is because of the hope that lies within me and the glorious redemption bought by my Saviour, Christ Jesus that I can even smile. He is the reason that we are a witness to others. That we spread and share the good news of the Gospel. If you don't already have some, get yourself some good Bible believing tracts (recommended: Chick Tracts and Living Waters) and leave them around when you do your shopping, go to the library, Doctor & Dentist appointments, etc. You will be fulfilling your call as a homemaker AND the Great Commission!

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

This verse has a couple of interesting conditional phrases. The first is to answer those who ask. This suggests that someone has been prompted by something they have observed in you. What does this scripture imply that was observed? Hope.

A Sinner's life is fraught with doubt, trouble, despair and sadness. They don't have hope for their life here much less the one to come. But when they see a blood bought Saint exhibit Love in the face of  hate and Hope in the face of trials, it simply BEGS the question:

What is the reason for your HOPE??

The next conditional aspect for this verse is the spirit or attitude of the asker. A lot of people misread this verse to mean that the "meekness and fear" portion applies to the way the Saint is to give the answer. Wrong.

If you look carefully and read it with grammatical correctness, it is the ASKER who is to approach you with meekness and fear. That excludes the person who would ask facetiously, which is to treat serious issues with deliberate defiance or a flippant attitude.

Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine lest they turn and rend you (rip you apart). Be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. Remember to use discernment when you give an answer and if the asker has meekness and fear (sincerely), be ready to give them an answer! :)

Have a blessed day in Christ!