My mother and two nieces came to visit me this weekend. I picked them up on Saturday, hoping beforehand to have made at least four out of six stops completed prior to picking them up from the train station. Well, I got three done. I had to talk myself down to the fact that I would have to make three stops with two little ones. It wasn’t that bad after all.
After all of the stopping and putting away groceries, we decided that it would be best to grill on Sunday after church. It rained overnight and Sunday morning. However, as the weather man predicted, the rain stopped at around 1:00 p.m. By 2:00 we were ready to grill.
Some of the highlights of my weekend were: 1) watching a two-year old dance and climb a flight of stairs with the look of joy on her face, 2) watching both nieces play with twigs and branches in the backyard 3) listening to 70s, 80s, and 90s slow jams, 4) watching movies, 5) baking oatmeal lemon nut and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my niece, and 6) grilling for the first time since living here. I hope and pray that you had a simple, functional grace-filled weekend as well.
Here is the recipe for the Summertime Salad that I made on Sunday:
5 medium beets
3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons of minced onions
dressing of your choice
3 medium green bell peppers
6 to 8 mini sweet peppers
1 tub of mixed green salad
6 tomatoes cut into wedges or slices
Roast the beets for 45 minutes on 350, pouring olive oil and wrapping them individually in foil and placing them on a cookie sheet beforehand.
When they are done, allow them to cool off for 15 minutes and then peel off the skin with a towel.
Cut the beets into wedges.
Dump the mixed green salad into a bowl.
Dump the tomato slices or wedges into the bowl.
Dump all the rest of the ingredients and sprinkle the seasonings last.
I am reading about six books at one time. This is almost always the norm as of the last couple of years. One of the books that I am reading is entitled, “I Thought It Was Just Me (But IT Isn’t) by Brene Brown. I just recently started this book. This particular read hones in on shame and perfectionism, how they work together, and how we can employ shame resilience.
Although I am only at the beginning part of the book, what stuck out to me is the correlation between shame and performance. We have all been guilty of using shame to get the end result of performance. This happens everywhere, including work, home, and in our churches. However, using shame to get this result only damages both side. It damages the shamer and it damages the one being shamed.
No one is left feeling good about themselves. Why is that? Shame reaches into areas of our lives that stirs all kind of unwanted emotions. In order for people to change, we have to have a motivator for ourselves, not from the pressure of other people via shaming or any other form of pressure. Change will not last in this manner. Consequences are not always enough to produce change. Understanding what our behavior does to others will.
Now, on to the recipe. This recipe that I made two weeks ago is a quick recipe for seasoned chicken breasts that can be made in no time and then placed on buns to make a chicken breast sandwich restaurant-style. Hope you enjoy!
Activity: Making Seasoned Chicken Breasts
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Parsley- 3 teaspoons
Onion powder-2 teaspoons
Chili powder -2 teaspoons
Black Pepper – 2 teaspoons
3 large chicken breasts
1/3 cup of olive oil
Rinse off three large chicken breasts.
Cut them up into chunks, season them on one side, and place them in a skillet of oil.
Turn them over after 13 minutes and season the other side.
Eat them paired with sides, alone, or in between two pieces of specialty bread.
In case you missed our last episode, “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2”, you can find that episode here. Today’s episode, Episode 27, is entitled Simply Grace. I hope that you enjoy this special poetry reading.
Simply Grace Podcast Outline:
Dissection of Topics and Reading of Poetry
Welcome to the Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Episode 27:
Simply Grace. The intro and ending song
that you hear on the podcast is entitled “Valley of Grace” and is song by
Timothy Horton. Today is a special episode. Why is that?
I will be ready poetry from a book that I published back in February
entitled, “Simply Grace”. It is
available on Amazon. Simply Grace is a
compilation of simple, healthy recipes that are mostly non-meat, along with
poetry that tackles tough issues that we face every day. However, these issues are seasoned with
grace. I deal with truth, so that the truth
brings healing. We are set free by
true. I also deal with raw emotions.
The first poem, entitled “The Quench” deals with Approval
Reading of the poem
The next poem, entitled “The Source of Self-Worth” dissects
our need for self-worth, and not just the need, but the struggle to get it from
things, rather than the main source.
Reading of the poem
The next poem, entitled” Coat of Favor” deals with the Life
of Joseph, his trials, and his redemption.
Reading of the Poem
Have you ever taken matters into your own hands, instead of
waiting on God? The next poem deals with
just that. It is entitled, “Oh, The Pain
Reading of the Poem
For those of us who have been through abuse, we must relearn
what love is. That is what” Abide My
Love, Dance with Me” is all about: God’s love poured out on me to reshape my
thoughts on abuse. Secondly, it describes
how I danced with my Heavenly Father during a period of trials and financial despair,
and how God “showed me his back” as his showed Moses, so to speak, by allowing
me to feel his presence for several hours.
Reading of the Poem
The last poem, “I am the Vine, And So Is It Time?” deals with
a combination of things: the Crucifixion
of Jesus on the Cross, John 15, and the Clematis vine that I attempted to tie
to the trellis last spring as I was getting bit by mosquitos. The first time that I attempted this adventure,
there were too many mosquitos out. The second and final time I was finally able
to do it. However, just within the few
days of break in between, the clematis vine had completely wrapped itself around
one of the heucheras. It was a wonderful
way to see the scriptures in action.
Reading of the Poem
Thank you for listening to Episode 27: Simply Grace, and if
you are enjoying the Healing Our Brokenness Podcast, please recommend a friend,
share on social media, and/or subscribe to hear us on Youtube, Itunes, Google
Play, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can
also listen to us on the blog.
For the last five days, I have been reading Remember God by Annie F. Downs. It is good. I believe that it is a combination of things that pulls the reader in: the style of writing, the rawness of emotions, and then the fact that it is written in story form. I can’t believe that I am already on page 130 after just a few days.
There are several things that resonated with me while reading this book. I am going to discuss two: I was deep into the story of her Job experience, where everything seemed to go wrong right before Thanksgiving. Why? Because that is exactly what happened to me this year. You can find that whole story here by listening to the podcast: Dancing in the Rain.
The second thing is when she talked about the sweet spot of her life at that time. I heard one particular message on the sweet spot about three years ago, and it still resonates now. Basically, our sweet spot is the spot where we push past our comfort zone into the pain and hard work, but right where God can use this pain and tension for his glory.
I made the recipe below for a Christmas Eve get-together that I had with some dear friends who are just like family to me. Have a blessed week!
Activity: Making Simple Stuffing
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 45 minutes
cumin – two tablespoons
basil – two tablespoons
onion powder – two tablespoons
garlic powder – two tablespoons
minced garlic – two tablespoons
one piece of a celery stalk
two boxes of cornbread stuffing
6 slices of honey wheat bread
2 cups of broth
Boil two cups of water with butter.
Saute the carrots, zucchini, and onions.
While the vegetables are sauteing, cut up six slices of bread into cubes.
Season with basil, and then place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Add the two boxes of cornbread stuffing mix and cubed bread cubes to the water.
Add the sauteed vegetables, celery, garlic, seasonings, and broth.
Throw it into a casserole pan at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
Since Christmas time is approaching, churches, organizations, and families everywhere are squeezing in the last of the shopping, get-togethers, and worship preparations. On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending the “Women’s Christmas Gathering” at another church. One of my favorite things to do during this season is to sing Christian Christmas carols to help me in reigning in my heart, mind, and soul into the reason for this season: reflecting on that precious baby who was brought into the world to bring hope in a weary land.
My second favorite thing to do is to watch Christmas movies on Lifetime, Hallmark, and Netflix. Because of the fact that my free time is mainly in the evenings, and it is usually when I am tired that I’m trying to watch these movies, I end up falling asleep about a third of the way. And of course, on the following day, I am trying to figure out where I left off. Even so, for some odd reason, just having these movies playing, as I am sitting on the couch with a throw in my comfy corner of the couch is enough for me.
The last recipe that I featured was “Simple Beans and Zucchini Soup. You can find that recipe here. Today, I have included a recipe for chili that I made a few days ago. It’s called “Simple Everything Chili”. Why the name? I literally dumped everything in it to make it work. Send me a line letting me know if you decide to make it.
Activity: Making “Simple Everything Chili”
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
4 tablespoons of cumin
4 tablespoons of turmeric
4 tablespoons of onion powder
5 tablespoons of chili powder
3 tablespoons of garlic powder
5 tablespoons of parsley
2 cans of vegetable soup
2 cups of pinto beans
1 cup of lentils
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
2 cups of vegetable broth
Dump the pinto beans into a pot of water, boiling them for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the lentils to the pot, boiling it for an additional 40 minutes.
Add all the rest of the ingredients plus 2 cans of water, boiling for an additional 20 minutes.
I have been reading a variety of books lately. Along with this fact, I’ve also been listening to a lot of sermons. Sometimes, I have listened to so many sermons, and read so many books at one time, that I start to second guess myself as to which book or preacher said what. At this point, I usually have to go back and double check that I am giving the right author credit.
In this season of my life, I have been hearing God’s small voice repeatedly encouraging me along the way. I can picture myself taking off at the starting point with my number on, and God on the sidelines with his flag shouting, “Keep running! You can do it! ”
Earlier today, I was reading more of the book on leadership by Brene Brown. The chapter that I am now focusing on is dealing with empathy. Later this evening, I listened to a sermon by Joyce Meyer. As God would have it, she was also preaching on empathy. The key points that were stated from both is the following:
Empathy means being able to connect through the emotion that someone else is feeling.
Empathy doesn’t mean giving advice.
Having empathy shouldn’t lead to a comparison game of who has had the worst suffering.
A few nights ago, I decided to make what I call Simple Chicken Burgers. They turned out super moist and required very few ingredients.
Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Simple Chicken Burgers
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 25 minutes
1/3 cup of oatmeal
cumin (1 tb)
onion powder (1 tb)
garlic powder (1 tb)
1 16 oz. pack of ground chicken
2 tablespoons of flax seed meal
3 tablespoons of water
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.
Dump all of the above ingredients into a bowl.
Make burger patty shapes with your hands.
Place the six patties into a skillet, or as many as you can at once. (use 2 skillets if necessary)
Take the burgers out when they are brown on both sides.
Top with hummus and garnish with basil or spinach if you like.
I have been reading Brene Brown’s new book, Dare to Lead for a couple of weeks now. If I was just reading that one book, I would be done by now. However, I am reading about six books at the same time. What I love is that the Holy Spirit has intertwined several themes across the board with all of these books: vulnerability, shame, joy, gratitude, dealing with the unexpected, hustling for self-worth, and filling our thirst.
There are several things that stuck out with me so far in this book. I would like to quote three of them:
“Embodying and practicing gratitude changes everything. It is not a personal construct, it’s a human construct-a unifying part of our existence-and it’s the antidote to foreboding joy, plain and simple. It’s allowing yourself the pleasure of accomplishment, or love, or joy-of really feeling it, of basking in it-by conjuring up gratitude for the moment and for the opportunity”. (Dare to Lead, Brene Brown, pg. 83)
This reminds of last night. I got together with a group of friends. I allowed myself to not dismiss the reality that my life has been filled with lots of drama and trauma within the last six months. However, my heart was full. It was so, so full. I thanked God for my friends, the food, the fellowship, time to decompress, and the laughs from the movie. I thanked him for all his goodness in spite of what my real life problems were.
“Something as simple as starting or ending meetings with a gratitude check, when everyone shares one thing they’re grateful for, can build trust and connection, serve as container-building, and give your group permission to lean into joy.” (Dare to Lead, Brene Brown, pg. 83)
The second quote was a Holy Spirit moment because just a week ago, I had an accident. I allowed myself to sink in anger about all the inconveniences, but then quickly gave myself a gratitude check. That post can be found here. The funny thing about it is that I titled the post “Gratitude Check” prior to reading page 83 of Dare to Lead. God knows how to bring all things together.
The last quote is from page 97, which was another Holy Spirit moment. It reminded me of my IT job from years ago, where I sought to prove that I could sit at the table with others who made a certain salary, instead of being discriminated against. I didn’t realize that the only table that I needed to have recognition at is the table of Christ. The “Heavenly Places” blog post can be found here.
“When people don’t understand where they’re strong and where they deliver value for the organization or even for a single effort, they hustle. The kind that’s hard to be around because we are jumping in everywhere, including where we’re not strong or not needed, to prove that we deserve a seat at the table.” (Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown, page 97)
A few days ago, I decided to try my hands at a simple spaghetti recipe. There were very few ingredients. It turned out pretty good. The only problem was that I put too many red pepper flakes. I would take a bite to eat, then feel flames at the back of my throat. This cycle repeated itself until the bowl was empty. Enjoy!
Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Simple Spaghetti
Total cooking and Prepping Time: 40 minutes
Servings: about 12
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of onion powder
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of basil
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 box of spaghetti
1 jar of pasta sauce
1 small can of tomato soup (low-sodium)
basil or spinach leaves (for garnish and eating)
Boil six cups of water with olive oil or butter so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
Drain the spaghetti.
Dump the pasta sauce and tomato soup into the pot.
I absolutely love turkey burgers and french fries with ketchup. For the last couple of months, it seems as though I have experimenting with all different kinds of ingredients for turkey burgers. I have finally decided that this recipe is the one that I like best. My teenage daughter says that she thinks that I just get a kick out of mixing things together. That is probably true. One thing that I noticed about this recipe is that if you add a little bit more water than what is required for the flaxseed mixture, then the burgers turn out really moist. Even more important than the recipe, is engaging and enjoying family and friends. This is one meal where everyone can get involved in the process.
Activity: Making Turkey Burgers and Potato Wedges with Tomatillo Sauce for Dinner
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 60 minutes
(1) 18 oz. container of oatmeal – $2.00
(2) 16 oz. packs of ground turkey – $5.99
four tablespoons of nutritional yeast (4.0 oz of nutritional yeast is $2.50 at Whole Foods)
4 tablespoons flaxseed meal – $3.79 for 16 oz. bag
1 container of oregano – $1.00
1 container of cumin – $1.00
1 container of parsley flakes – $1.00
1 container of onion powder – $1.00
1 container of chili powder – $1.00
(1) container of regular butter , vegan butter, or olive oil (for potatoes and frying the burgers) – $3.80
(1) bag of potatoes – $1.99
2 lbs. of tomatillos – $1.50
1 bunch of cilantro – $.50
1 jar of minced garlic – $1.90
2 packs of cheese – $5.00
2 lbs. of tomatoes – $1.99
2 loaves of bread – $3.50
Total Cost: $ 39.46
Cost per day: $9.87, family of three
Cost per day: $19.73, family of six
Estimated Duration of Food: 2 days for a family of 6, 4 days for a family of 3
Preheat the oven at 425 degrees.
Rinse and cut up about 6 potatoes into wedges, placing them in a bowl, and covering them with olive oil or butter, taking a wooden spoon, and turning them to make sure they are completely covered.
Sprinkle oregano and chili powder all over them, and toss with wooden spoon again.
While the potatoes are in the oven, cut up two pounds of tomatillos into wedges.
Pour olive oil on them, and place them into the oven, setting the timer for twenty-five minutes.
Place the following into bowls:
1/2 cup of cheese
1/2 cup of oatmeal
4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 lbs. of ground turkey
4 tablespoons of flaxseed meal mixed with 10 tablespoons of water – equivalent to four eggs
Dump the cumin, onion powder, chili powder and parsley on top of the ground turkey meat.
Add the oatmeal, nutritional yeast, and flaxseed meal mix.
Fold in the cheese and make the patties.
Pour oil into the skillet, and place the six patties in the skillet.
While the burgers are going, you can place the tomatillos, a bunch of cut-up cilantro, minced garlic, and olive oil into a blender or food processor to make the tomatillo sauce.
Toast the bread or buns.
Cut up the tomatoes.
Take the potato wedges out of the oven.
Once the turkey burgers are ready, place shredded cheese on top first, and then the tomatillo sauce on top second.
Place tomatoes on top.
Fellowship and enjoy!
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
Here at Valley of Grace, our main goal is to instill hope while you are in your valley, whatever that may be, and lead the way with ideas for living simple, functional, and grace-filled lives. That includes healthy, inexpensive recipes that will save you time and money. I cooked the following recipe of penne pasta with spinach the other night, and my daughter and I enjoyed it. As of lately, I have decided to make everything from a vegan base, since my daughter is vegan, and then, if we need extra protein for my son and I, I can always add ground turkey or chicken. This also helps to save money. However, for this recipe, I didn’t make any on the side protein additions. I hope that you will enjoy! Blessings!
Activity: Cooking Penne Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms for Dinner
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 40 minutes
1 box of penne pasta – $1.00
(2) 15 oz. cans of low sodium pasta sauce – $3.00
(1) .75 oz of parsley flakes – $1.00
(1) .75 oz of onion powder – $1.00
(1) .75 oz of oregano – $1.00
(1) 8 oz. of mushrooms – $2.20
(1) 13.5 oz can of cut spinach – $.80
1 container of butter or bottle of olive oil or vegan butter – $3.69
Total Cost: $ 13.69
Cost for two days: $6.85
Cost for four days: $3.42
Estimated Duration of Food: 2 days for a family of 4-6, 4 or more days for a family of 1-3
Boil the water for the pasta in a big pot or saucepan, along with one tablespoon of butter or olive oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick.
While the water is boiling, you can drain the can of spinach and add the spinach to a nonstick pan with olive oil or butter. If you like minced garlic, you can also add this to the spinach.
Heat up the spinach for about ten to twelve minutes.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, and after about 15 minutes to 18 minutes, the pasta will be ready.
Drain the pasta, and then add the two cans of pasta sauce, along with all of the spices above, and two tablespoons of olive oil or butter.
Rinse the mushrooms and place them in a skillet, or whatever pan you have, along with butter.
Cook the mushrooms for about 12 to 15 minutes, and then add the mushrooms and spinach to the pan of pasta.
Stir and eat!
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:
Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners:
The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:
The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.