Posted in Uplifting

You are Unique

Growing up I did not want to look or act like anyone else. I went to great lengths to look like what I thought was unique and in my young mind if I looked unique then that must be what I am, no label for me. Over time and growing up of course things change but it got me thinking a lot about how in this world everyone is striving to be unique but some how when it comes right down to it most would prefer to be like someone else.

People, me included at times look at someone and see their talent or looks and think…if only I had that ability or those looks how nice it would be, how easy life would be.

To see a talented artist and acknowledge their talent is great. In fact to be grateful for what they bring to the world is a good thing but it can start damaging us if we start the if only, if we start to covet. Then we start to not be happy with our own unique selves.

I was reading the story of David and Goliath ( 1 Samuel 17 ) I know this story from childhood but what got me was that David used what he had. He used what was his own way to defend his sheep. He didn’t go up to one of the soldiers and ask for a sword because he knew that he could use a sling shot better. He was happy with what he had, with out second guessing himself. He owned that sling and stones. He knew that God would use what he was good at to deliver the giant over to the Israelites.

So I am happy to embrace my little sling shot. Yes I might only have a sling shot instead of a bold beautiful sward but I am good with that. I know that no one else has one quite like it. I am unique, I have talent that no one else has and I am so blessed to be able to share what I only can offer. I know when I am looking at the world to share my uniqueness then I am able to fully enjoy other people and the unique talents that they bring.

“There is an abundant need in this world for YOUR exact brand of beautiful.” Lisa Terkeurst

Posted in Recipes

Black Bean, Quinoa and Eggplant Tacos

I  know  that there are a lot of recipes for black bean and quinoa tacos but I love to grill my marinated eggplant that seems to work so nicely with the black bean and quinoa plus grilling white corn tortillas at the end to warm them as well as giving a nice char makes this a nice summer grilled taco.

For the marinate think 3-1 ratio with your oil to vinegar. The amounts are up to you depending on the amount of eggplant you are using and always season per your taste.

Eggplant washed, peeled and sliced into small strips

Olive oil

Rice Vinegar

Garlic diced and minced

The following seasoning will give a nice southwest flavor to the eggplant.

Red chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder and finally just a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Mix the above ingredients in a zip lock bag or container that has a lid. Let eggplant set in marinate for at least 6 hours.

While the eggplant is marinating cook your choice of quinoa per package directions.

I use canned or freshly cooked black beans depending on what I have on hand. Place black beans in foil next take cooked quinoa and put on top of beans then add 3-4 garlic cloves that are diced and a handful of green onions diced placing both on top with a splash of lime juice. Fold the foil so that it is completely closed because this will go on the side of the grill to stay warm as you cook your eggplant.

On hot BBQ grill place marinated eggplant, cook until it looks cooked and you have nice grill marks.

As you are cooking eggplant lightly grease both sides of white corn tortillas with your choice of oil( I like to use coconut oil) then when the eggplant is half done start placing you tortillas on the grill. This wont take long and you will want to put the tortillas in foil to keep warm.

When the eggplant is done. Assemble your taco using the quinoa and black beans as your base then place eggplant on top.

I like to add avocado, salsa and plane Greek yogurt on top. Then enjoy your taco. This meal is great when camping or just a BBQ with minimum clean up.

 

Posted in Uplifting

Feeling Drained

On Sunday my service was on Matthew 14:13-21 the feeding of a great crowed with five loaves and two fish. I have heard this story so many times but on Sunday when I was feeling sluggish and drained I couldn’t help but notice things that I hadn’t before.

Frist I noticed from the beginning that Jesus was trying to make an escape and get away from the crowds. He was just told of his cousin’s death and yet everyone was needing more of him, all he wanted was to mourn his loss.

I have felt the same way, the need to be alone so I can just heal from some hard parts of life that have drained me and left me mourning.

My ears perked up again at another part in this reading. Jesus went in a boat to get away now my favorite part ” When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them.”

Yes the rest of the story is the feeding of the people with just five loaves and two fish and that is amazing but what I found so comforting is not only did he have compassion but knew they needed food and met their need.

I thought how many times do I get so wrapped up in me that I forget to see people with eyes of compassion, then take action.

I found that when I do help others even when I am feeling low that by the time I am done helping them the person that was really helped was me.

 

Posted in Recipes

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Balls

I love anything pasta but from time to time I will take a brake and substitute spaghetti squash for my pasta.

Spaghetti Squash is harvested in the early fall and maybe I am getting a jump on all things fall but its a great time to start thinking of all those great fall recipes.

I have found a great way to cook spaghetti squash, all you need is your crock pot. Wash it slice it in half then put the squash cut side down in a small amount of water. Turn on low for 3 hours.

While you have your squash cooking

Lentil Balls:

Preheat oven to 350 While the oven is getting hot put your baking sheet in the oven with a small amount of oil on your baking sheet this will make your lentil balls nice and crispy on the outside.

1 1/12 cup cooked lentils ( any color)

1/4 cup of bread crumbs

1 egg

1-2 Tablespoon of coconut oil

Per your taste – Garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, onion powder, salt and black pepper

Mix together smashing the lentils some what. Roll into balls, place lentil balls on hot baking sheet. Cook for about 45 minutes turning them after about 20 minutes. Cooking times may vary depending on the size.

Marinara Sauce:

1-2 8 oz cans of low sodium tomato sauce

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1 small onion

Olive Oil

Oregano, Parsley, Basil, salt and black pepper. The amounts are up to you and depending on how many cans of tomato sauce you use.

In sauce pan sauté garlic and onion in olive oil add herbs, salt and pepper sauté a few minutes longer then add tomato sauce. Simmer on low for the remainder of the time it takes for you spaghetti squash to cook.

When it has been 3 hours or your squash is soft take the squash out of crock pot. With a fork scrape out the flesh of the squash onto a platter, place the lentil balls on top then the marinara sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

Letting Go Of Your Blankie

I am surprised that I was not called Linus. Yes the nerdy kid that was naïve and carried his blanket everyplace not caring what others thought or said, in fact with his blanket he could take on the world or use it to help others.

As a very young girl that was me, I had a green knitted blanket that I loved. It went every where I went and over time this blanket got ripped and so thin that I bet no one wanted that ugly thing near them but I did not care to me that blankie was the essence of comfort and my sail for my imagination when I needed a retreat from an average life, what adventures I had with it.

I loved my green blankie, so when the day of going to Kindergarten came I just assumed I would have my beloved green blankie with me. I mean who could go to school with out it. By that time it was so small from years of washing and falling apart it would have fit fine in a back pack.

I was told I could not bring it! I had such a hard time giving up my friend. I mourned the loss of it.

It sounds so funny now to say that but to me at the time it was if I had to say good bye to my best friend. I also had no idea of the freedom that would come to me when I didn’t have to look for it.

I eventually grew and wouldn’t trade my new independence and freedom for even a moment to have my blanket back.

Looking back on this got me thinking on how we all carry a blanket.

A blanket of :

Anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, self-pity, self-condemnation, grumbling or complaining.

It can be so hard to let go of that blanket that has kept us warm. It almost feels that if we were to let go of that comfort what would we have left.

How easy it is to let go if thought of as a childish thing but just as I had to let go of my beloved blankie, in life I have had to let go of my other blankets that I would fold nicely and put on the shelf to bring down when it suited me.

So all those blankets we carry or put away,  how about getting rid of them for good and in turn we get so much more.

Galatians 5:22-23a New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23a gentleness and self-control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

One part of summer that I enjoy is all the BBQ and picnics with such a lade back atmosphere mixed with all sorts of creative food.

Sometimes I like to bring traditional recipes with a twist. Todays recipe is just that. My grandmother never had a family gathering without deviled eggs. So when I am having a picnic or BBQ I usually have them but growing up in the southwest had me think of combining them with my favorite dip and that’s todays recipe.

One dozen hardboiled Eggs

2-3 Avocados (depending on size)

1 Tomato

3-4 cloves of Garlic diced and pressed

1 Lime ( juiced)

4 green onions

The following seasoning per taste – red pepper, cumin, Salt and black pepper

 

For the deviled eggs, peel eggs and slice in half placing them on a platter but saving the yolk in a bowl.

In the bowl with the yolks add the avocado with the yokes making a paste. Now add the rest of the ingredients blending all together.

To assemble take the eggs you sliced and fill with the avocado/yoke mixture. This will make a good amount and sometimes I have a little left which I love to make a sandwich with.

 

Posted in Uplifting

The Body Snachers

For the last few years off and on I have found my self in what I can only describe as the 1950s movie The Body Snatchers. I have gone from my normal easy-going bubbly happy-go-lucky person to in brief moments of insanity becoming a conformational angry let you have it kind of person with no mercy.

I will give you an example, the other day I was singing and driving along when out of no place a car comes into my lane cutting me off and almost hitting me. Now normally I would just me grateful to have come out unscathed but no I acted like a crazed person yelling and giving  jesters that should not be used when driving, my mouth did not stop yelling angry words for minutes.  When I did take a breath I felt instant sham of my behavior. I continued driving all the while behind the person that cut me off and almost hit me and not only did they drive to the same store but parked right by me. I took longer to get out of the car because I felt horrible and just didn’t want to have to admit my wrong. I finally got out and walked up to the store but I didn’t get far because when I looked up I saw a white hair man who could hardly walk waiting for me. He smiled and apologized for almost causing an accident. Swallowing the piece of humble pie I apologized.

I will never forget that life lesson.

I know I am not alone with my actions of anger. In fact it seems that the whole world is at times nothing but anger. What if one by one we decide not to hold onto our anger and let anger rule but we start taking ownership of our anger and our actions. For every time we say or act unkind out of anger we continue the hurt and suffering of ourselves and others.

A quote that I like by an anonymous person is so true.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

 

Posted in Recipes

Healthy Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

Like most people I enjoy sweets and one of my favorite is German chocolate cake.

I also like to eat healthy so todays recipe is a healthy chocolate cake, yes I said healthy but the frosting is not. I found the Cake recipe on healthyindulgences.net but my love of German chocolate and my desire to save time I thought to do something different.

Healthy upside down German Chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake:

1 15 oz Black Beans

5 Eggs

1 Tablespoon of Vanilla

1/2 Sea salt

6 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup of Honey plus 1/2 Teaspoon of pure Stevia

6 Tablespoon of Coco Powder

1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

Rinse and drain beans, place beans, 3 eggs, vanilla, honey, and salt blend together then add coco powder, baking soda and baking powder mix a little longer. In a separate bowl add remainder eggs, stevia and coconut oil together until fluffy then add to bean batter beat on high for about 1 minute.

Now in a 13×9 pan Add:

1/4 Cup of Melted Butter

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

1 Cup of Pecans

1 1/2 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Now that you have added the above ingredients in the pan pour the black bean cake batter on top. Bake at a low temperature of 325 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

Before the cake is all the way cool place the cake upside down over a platter to remove the cake from the pan, serve the cake on the platter but if it is easier you may want to just serve in the pan. Either way it is delicious.

 

Posted in Uplifting

A French Drain

I love to garden and work in the soil or to landscape. Yes it is hard work but just to be outside with my hands in the dirt even pulling weeds, that is one of my happy places.

Years ago I worked for my in-laws in the office of their landscape company. I enjoyed the fact I could take my children to work and have a flexible schedule plus I had a friend in my brother in-law that always took the time brighten my day with a joke or to explain things and help me learn about landscaping and on one occasion I found out about a French drain. It is not named after the country but after a person that came up with an idea to use the concept of how water flows down hill. It is a slightly sloped trench filled with small rock or gravel and pipe that diverts the water away from your house or other place you don’t want to flood then is collected and used.

This basic idea of collecting water that could damage property or hurt people if not done the right way got me thinking. What if in life we have French drains when hurts happen and our tears fall.

In my life as with everyone hurt will happen and tears will fall. I have had things happen that have left me crying my river of tears. I can look back and see those tears were collected and now used for good. I know that even when life hurts my tears are seen by God I am not alone He makes a French drain that keeps me safe in the middle of what would be damaging to me but stores those tears to be used for something good later.

Psalm 56:8

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)

 

Posted in Recipes

Greek Bow Tie Pasta

Todays recipe came from me wishing to go to Greece and wanting to use up what I had in my refrigerator.

I use the basic Greek salad dressing recipe then add my ingredients to make this a very easy side or a light dinner.

 

Greek Dressing:

2-3 cloves of garlic minced then crushed

5 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar

1/2 Cup olive oil

1/2 Teaspoon of sugar

2 Tablespoon of lemon

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1/2 Teaspoon of basil leaves

1/4 Teaspoon of oregano leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix the above ingredients in a container, store in refrigerator.

 

Now that your dressing is chilling in the refrigerator assemble your salad.

Pasta Salad:

4-5 Cups of Bow Tie pasta cooked according to the box directions

1 can of Chickpeas ( rinsed and drained)

4-5 Green Onion diced

1-2 Tomatoes cut in bite sized pieces

1 Cup of Kalamata olives diced (or in a pinch black olives work)

1 Cup of crumbled Feta Cheese

1 Cup of baby Spinach

Mix the above ingredients in bowl, add the dressing. This can be eaten immediately or saved for later. I like it better after it has had time to sit refrigerated for a few hours.