Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Women in the Word Wednesday: Purposeful Acts of Kindness

We have all heard of "random acts of kindness."  I love the idea behind extending kindness to strangers and in unexpected ways--paying for the person behind you at the drive thru, sticking change in someone's parking meter for them, etc., especially if you can share God in the act of kindness.  However, I also am a BIG fan of planning out kind acts and following through on those plans.  God is a fan of that too.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

If God asks me to consider, or think about, how I can stir up others to love and kindness, I KNOW He wants me to do the same in my own life.  Galatians 6:10 says, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." 

Be purposeful in kindness to people today, especially to brothers and sisters in Christ.  My husband and I, though it seems quite uncreative, SCHEDULE time into our weeks to have people for dinner, to visit others in need, etc.  We even budget and plan for giving to people in financial need.  In fact, we are so busy, that if we didn't plan and be purposeful, we would fall short of what we could do.  Even in planning, I know we miss opportunities and get lazy.

Kindness doesn't always have to be a sudden emotional rush or in the moment decision.  Kindness can be planned and purposeful.  There is a place for both kinds of kindness, and we tend to rest on those "in the moment" opportunities, getting lazy with any effort to be the hands and feet of Christ to those around us. 

What kindness can you extend today?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Easy Chicken Kiev

This is one of those recipes that I think, "I can't believe I haven't shared this one!"  This is my go-to company dinner.  It is delicious, easy and always gets rave reviews.

I remember the first time I had chicken kiev.  I was at a well-to do friend's home when I was a little girl, and her cook--yes, they had a hired cook--made us chicken kiev for lunch.  It was the traditional chicken kiev--pounded thin, rolled around a cube of butter and dipped in bread crumbs and herbs.  I thought I had just tasted the most delicious thing in the world.

Fast forward a few years (or more), and I discovered a recipe for EASY chicken kiev in college.  My mom had bought me an easy recipe book, as I was just learning to cook, and this was one I could make without burning, mixing up ingredients or undercooking.  That is saying a lot--just ask the cumin coated chicken fiasco or the great chicken flauta flop back in my college days.

Here I am, married, years in a career, 2 kids and some years later, and this is still one of my favorite recipes.  I was bringing dinner to some friends, and I thought, "I have to SHARE this recipe!  It needs to be in other kitchens!"

So, here you go.  This is my adaptation.  It is rich and delicious and makes your belly happy.

Here is the infamous book--well loved and used, as you can see.  It is full of recipes from home economic teachers in CA.  The teacher who contributed this recipe is Bonnie Pius from Sanger High School.

Though the recipe calls for chicken breasts, I have started using tenderloins at times.  They cook faster and are very tender.  (When I use tenderloins, I change the cooking time to 20 minutes and then do the last ten minutes after adding the last ingredients).

Italian bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, and basil all ready to mix (fresh basil works well too). . .

Take each chicken for a butter bath.  Yes, this is a butterific recipe.

Cover it in the bread crumb mix until it is camoflauged!

Put in your sprayed pan and get ready to cook.

While it is cooking, cut up your green onion and parsley

Mix the left over butter with apple juice or white wine (I use apple juice and it works well) and pour over the partly cooked chicken . . . finish baking.  That last little naked chicken is my diet, breadcrumbless chicken in the back.  He is very sad.

Voila!  You will thank me! Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Kiev
(serves 4)

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (original recipe said 1/2 cup, but I always run short.  I use Italian seasoned bread crumbs.)
2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 chicken breasts (or I use 6 tenderloins)
1/4 cup apple juice or dry white wine
1/4 cup green onion chopped
1/4 cup of chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 375.  Melt butter in microwave.  In a different bowl, mix bread crumbs, cheese, basil, and garlic powder
Dip each chicken piece in butter and then roll in the bread crumb mixture.  Place in a sprayed 9 by 13 pan.
Bake breasts for 35 to 40 minutes or tenderloins for about 20 minutes.
While baking, combine apple juice with left over butter.
Cut up onion and parsley.
sprinkle onion and parsley on top of chicken.
Pour apple juice and butter mix over top of chicken.
Bake 10 minutes more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Women in the Word Wednesday: Strength in Weakness

I love the story of David and Goliath.  It is so often told by people the way we would read Goldilocks to our kids, but we have to pause and remember that this TRUE, BIBLICAL account happened.  Small, young David stood up to a mighty, GIANT warrior with complete faith in God and what he could do with the unequitable situation.  David knew God loved to take unfavorable circumstances and turn them into a success for His clear honor and glory.  His faith and trust in God was strong from a young age.

We too can practice trust in God when circumstances don't seem to be in our favor, but God is calling us to have faith in Him and trust there is a reason for what He allows in our lives.

Yesterday I had Micah's speech IEP.  He has severe delays in articulation but is actually high average in language expression and reception.  In other words, he talks all the time and also understands what is said to him, but he is having problems pronouncing the words clearly.  He is very hard to understand--even for Ryan and I who hear Micahnese all the time.  They aren't sure if it is a disconnect between mind and motor control in his mouth or if he is just needing to strengthen muscles to get some sounds he is missing.  Time will give us a better picture.

I am completely confident that this weakness of Micah's is all in God's perfect plan.  God can use this in Micah's life for so many reasons.  It could be to give Micah humility, it could be to have one of Micah's speech teachers come to repentance and faith through God using us in his or her life, it could be to grow ME in trust or humility, it could be to grow me in empathy toward families with any special education needs (I was a teacher prior to kids), it could be to show Micah that any success he has later in life is controlled and chosen completely by his Creator, or it could be to bring Micah, somehow, to salvation.  Maybe it is merely to remind us this world is flawed and failing--to have us keep an eternal hope and perspective.  These are all guesses or ideas.  We don't know, but I am confident I don't need to know but, rather, to trust.  God is sovereign in Micah's "weakness."

Wouldn't that be something if Micah was a teaching pastor someday, speaking from the stage with clear, articulate instruction from God's Word?  Who knows?  Perhaps God will allow speech to always be a struggle for Micah.  I can't control the circumstances, but I can be obedient to trust in God's plan.  God is able to allow and then overthrow any difficult circumstance.  Even if He allows the weakness to continue, as with Paul's "thorn", there is a sovereign reason.  What is your current Goliath?  Are you trusting God to be sovereign and omnipotent in every circumstance?

II Corinthians 12:7-10   "So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Weekend in Arizona: Schnepf Farms

Storefront to Schnepf Farms

Our family went out to visit my husband's sister and her hubby this weekend.  They got married in December, and we wanted to see their new home and hometown. 

We waited a bit long for a visit, and it was starting to heat up a bit when we were there.  It wasn't crazy hot, it was probably in the 90's, but we are Southern California wimps who only do well when the temps are somewhere in the 70's.  However, it was perfect weather for living in water all weekend.

I got to go see my cousin's wife, Amy, and her four girls while I was out there too, and our family had lots of time in the pool, which Carter loved--Micah, not nearly as much, but his crazy fear of water is another post, another time.  Ryan and Carter went to a water slide park near Phoenix while I stayed behind with napping Micah.  Carter and Micah have spent the last three days staring at the maps of the water park and talking about the different slides--Micah loves to talk about them, as long as he doesn't have to actually ever go on them.  Carter, on the other hand, is savoring each moment he was there and asking when we can go again.  He is my adventure craver.

While we were there, it was the Peach Festival at Schnepf Farms.  I fell in love with this cute, little farm.  They had a drool worthy bakery, free carnival rides, pig races, goats, playgrounds, a great little train ride all around the farm, hayrides, music performances, and local produce kiosks all around.  Because of the lines and crazy heat (I'm a heat wimp), I didn't buy any peaches, but I have made a goal to grill some peaches for dessert sometime in the next few weeks.  I might even add a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  Gasp!

Enjoy some pictures of our farm visit!

There was a vintage, country feel all over the farm

They had almost sold out of all their baked goods, and the peach filled cinnamon rolls were gone, but I enjoyed drooling through the glass as the buttery, giant cookies and golden crusted pies.

All the vendors had local produce and organic foods.  This was a grass fed beef company's kiosk.

Ryan holding Micah, who refused to walk in the heat.

This pic sums up it up.  Ryan and Carter are all smiles, Jon and Katie are having fun pretending to be on their phones, and Micah is throwing a fit.

Hay maze

A run on the big slide

The big tunnel slide

Seriously, this picture couldn't be any better.  Carter (in red and blonde) is laughing and smiling because he is riding a roller coaster (his FAVORITE), and Micah (in red and darker hair) is staring in horror and holding on for his dear life.

Guess who wanted to go by himself again and sit in the front?

Kiddie rides are more his speed.  Micah enjoying the kiddie planes.

Slowly walking to the car at the end, motivated by the fact we were going to lunch and getting nice, cool, ice filled sodas and iced teas to cool off.  We had fun at the farm!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fresh, Homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup

I am watching my carbs, so a creamy vegetable soup sounded so good to me--low carbs when you subtract the fiber and very filling!  I was at the store and just opened the Epicurious app on my phone.  Up popped this recipe gem from Gourmet magazine, 1993.  It looked easy enough, and it was!

First, I sauteed carrots, onions, salt, pepper and mustard seed in butter.  I was skeptical at the use of mustard seeds, but it MADE the soup.  Do not skip this ingredient.

I then added stock, water, thinly sliced carrots and chopped broccoli into my pot to simmer and soften.

After everything is nice and soft, you put it into a food processor or blender and puree.

Take the soup off the heat and whisk in some acid (lemon juice) and sour cream.  I sprinkled cheese over each serving and put a little dollop of sour cream on the top too. 

If you love fresh vegetables and creamy textures, you'll love this soup.  It is perfect for spring or summer, as it is lighter than most cheddar/broccoli soups.  I can't wait to try the recipe with asparagus or cauliflower.

The reviewers recommended some garlic and white wine to add more flavor layers to the soup.  I haven't tried this, but you might.  I found it absolutely delicious the way it was.  Click the link at the top to view the full recipe, view more pictures and read the reviews.


Women in the Word Wednesday: Second Fiddle

I was reading a small devotional* from John MacArthur the other day about humility.  He used the example of Andrew, which made me ponder church service.  Andrew was Simon Peter's brother, and we all know that Peter was an outspoken and take charge guy.  Many of us can describe Peter's personality and even quote many of his conversations with Jesus.  Because of this, Andrew often played second fiddle to his brother.  He is even described as "Simon Peter's brother" in the Bible.  (John 1:40)

However, we know that Andrew ran to tell Peter about Christ when he first encountered Jesus.  He wasn't interested in keeping the glory or discovery for himself, despite knowing his brother, Peter, would probably take center stage in any future endeavors for Christ.  Andrew had a true Philippians 2:3-4 heart--considering others better than himself. 

All of us have different gifts--some to be teachers and leaders, highly visible to others, and some to be the steady, hardworking servant behind the scenes.  Andrew was content and joyful to be the quiet follower, working hard alongside more visible and outspoken disciples.  Church tradition says that he was sharing the gospel and pleading with others to come to Christ even as he was crucified and martyred, hanging two days on an "X" shaped cross.  His eyes were off of himself, even at the end.

Where does God have you serving?  Are you one of the visible conductors in your church body, or are you quietly serving in a much less noticeable, but just as important, position?  Do you ever struggle with the desire for the glory that comes from men?  Confess any sin in this area and be encouraged!  Remember that a seemingly "second fiddle," Christian servant here on earth carries great reward and prominence in Heaven.  God values humility and contentment in our hearts as we turn all praise and sacrifice into glory for Him!

*John Macarthur's "Drawing Near" devotional, Crossway Books

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Terrific Tea: Thematic Party and Table Ideas

(My mock set up at home for the tea!)

I had quite the busy weekend!  Other than a busy Mother's Day on Sunday, I was able to attend our church's annual tea and host a table on Saturday.  The event, with the theme A Model Mom, was, and always is, spectacular!  We had a great luncheon, listened to musical performances and then had a lesson on Susan Wesley.  Each hostess is in charge of decorating her own table however she chooses for her 8 guests.    I believe we had between 500-600 women in attendance, so we had a lot of tea tables! It is fun and competitive, and everyone keeps their tables a secret until the event.  I hope you enjoy the creative fabulousness!

In perfect form, I started taking pictures with my DSLR and the battery ran out about two tables into the tour.  I will never get my act together with the pictures.  Sigh.  So, I apologize, but my cell phone took the rest of the pictures in a very dimly lit auditorium with no windows.  The photos still allow you to see how amazing the tables were!

This post is LONG with pictures, but each one is truly worth the time!

The first table is my western themed table.  I used burlaps, creams, pops of red, and a cowprinted table cloth as my color scheme.  Guests had "Happy Trails to You" trail mix in mason jars tied with red ric rac.  I also had red bandanas as napkins, and the cutlery was in the big mason jar/water glass.  A cow creamer and milk jug flower vases were in the center, with a hurricane lamp standing watch on top of burlap and red ribbon covered straw bales.  I used a "wanted" poster to do a play on the Model Mom theme and also had a burned-edges western sign with the list of "vittles" we would eat for lunch at  the event.  Finally, I made little burlap wreaths to hang on the back of each guest's chair.

 A candy themed table:

 A safari animal themed table:

A gorgeous cream and brown table.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

A succulent themed table.  I love the colors!

A silhouette themed table with silhouette cookie favors and silhouettes on each chair. . .

My friend made this bright, springy tablecloth herself!  So fun!

A circus themed table.  Those plates are awesome!:

Some tables were more traditional, but they were gorgeous!

A Hungry Catepillar themed table. . . So cute!

This picture doesn't do this beach themed table justice.  I loved the succulents and roses mixed into the big shell centerpiece. . .

A coffee themed table!  Yes, please!

A beautiful jeweled table

A music themed table:

There were a couple bird themed tables that were so pretty!

A Japanese themed table:

Another country themed table--great minds think alike!

I love the soft colors at this table!

This green apple themed table was right next to me and I LOVED it!

Living in CA, there are always beach themed tables . . .

This was a SEWING theme--so cute!  The favors were little sewing kits.

The stage was amazing!

The table below won for most creative, and it was AWESOME.  It had a school theme, with apple everything.  The hostess had gotten a school pic of each guest at her table for a placecard.  She had their names in scrabble letters too.  She had an apple fritter for a favor for each person.  The chairs each had a "backpack" with a little paper lunch hanging out that said, "Love, Mom."  The details were AMAZING! 

Another winner was this "Bee Attitudes" themed table.  It was gorgeous and so creative.  The hostess even wore a "bee" hive hairdo at the tea.

My friend had never been to the tea, and she hostessed a table.  She did such a cute job with her nautical theme!

If you made it this far into the post, you are probably amazed at the tables!  I am!  This was only a fraction of them too.  I KNOW you can glean inspiration for a party or a themed table from this post.  I can't wait until next year's tea!  What theme ideas do you have for me?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...