Recipe Friday: Beef Stroganoff Pressure Cooked

We’ve got a blizzard going on in our neck of the woods. This calls for comfort food.

I know, I know, stroganoff automatically goes over noodles, right? Well, you can do it that way, but this household likes potatoes. Hey, you can even serve it over rice or quinoa or whole grain barley or not over anything.

The Instant Pot (or a pressure cooker) and the coffee make the meat tender. The sherry or red wine adds “depth of flavor,” as I hear in all the cooking shows (well, it makes it better is what it does).

Ingredients:

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon (heaping) minced garlic

1 cup strong brewed coffee

spices to taste: cloves, basil, paprika, parsley, celery seed

salt to taste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup cooking sherry or red wine

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

1 cup hot water

1/2 – 1 cup instant potato flakes

1/2 cup sour cream

hot mashed potatoes

 

Directions:

Set pressure cooker to sauté. Sauté onions and beef until browned. In the last five minutes, add garlic.
Add just a bit of the coffee, and stir up the browned bits.
Add the rest of the coffee, the hot water, the spices, salt, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and sherry or red wine. Stir.
Push Cancel. Put the lid on, and seal.
Set the Instant Pot to meat/stew, set for 20 minutes.
At the end of the 20 minutes, allow natural pressure release for at least ten minutes. After ten or fifteen minutes, release the pressure. Remove the lid.
Stir in the potato flakes: add enough to thicken. (This should be a bit thicker than you want it to end up, as it thins out a bit after you add the sour cream.)
Push Sauté, and let the mixture come to a low simmer.
Turn off the Instant Pot.
Stir in the sour cream; stir until completely incorporated.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

I’m Better than You Because _____

Our Sunday School class has been going through some of 1 Corinthians. The theme recently has been division. Everything we read about and discussed from the Book was relevant to today.

The culture of the city of Corinth was that of a divided economic status. [I think of what I’ve heard of India and the caste system: whatever order you are born into is the order you stay in for life.] The wealthy of Corinth could pretty much do as they pleased (and they did) without concern for losing status. The poor of the same city could do whatever they were able, and never leave their poverty or circumstances. Into whichever level you were born, you expected to stay there always. It was accepted and understood, and no one considered mingling with others of a variant status.

Into this culture walked the apostle Paul, “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2.3). Happily, God had prepared for him some true friends in Aquila and Priscilla, and then also Apollos.

This small group, armed with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word and His direction, set out to change the culture of Corinth and set them free.

Corinth was an important city along a major trade route, with large numbers of sailors and merchants. It was also one of the wickedest cities of ancient times: immorality, scores of pagan practices and heathen religions

It must have been a shocking thing for Corinthians to hear that God created all men equal, that God loves everyone equally. Of course, hatred of God’s Word and violence against Paul’s messages were not new to Paul. It happened in Corinth, too. But in Acts 18.9, 10 God encourages and consoles Paul: “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” Was Paul surprised to hear that there were many people to be saved in such a city? I think not, as Paul had before seen the miracles of God’s salvation.

Paul shook his raiment when the Jews in the synagogues opposed the Christian group and blasphemed; Paul declared that he would go to the Gentiles.

Not having lived in Corinth at that time, I don’t know if the Jews living there were any more moral or kind or loving than the Gentiles. But God had given Paul a mission, and Paul knew he had the power of God to fulfill it.

I’m visualizing Paul making his tents, talking with people who pass by or want to purchase his wares. I picture him walking around to meet other people, speaking as often as the opportunity presents itself to declare Jesus Christ. He would invite them to hear more.

Christians of course did not have churches then; they met in people’s houses. Perhaps there was a group that met in and around the merchant stall where Paul and his friends had set up their tent-making trade. Can you imagine rich and poor and in-between, sitting together for the first time – no seats reserved for the mighty or the lowly, everyone taking a seat where there was one.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians often touched on the topic of division. He must have witnessed it. Even after he left, he still received ill reports of their behavior.

This is a hard thing to embrace! God thinks I’m just as valuable and loveable as that guy over there?

The rich may think: Impossible! I’m better than anyone else in here.

The poor may think: Impossible! I could never be as important as the rich and mighty.

How about us? Do any of these thoughts barge in, unannounced?

“I’m better than you because I’m married.”

“I’m better than you because I have children / grandchildren.”

“I’m better than you because I’m not poor.”

“I’m better than you because my fingernails aren’t dirty after I scratch my head.”

“I’m better than you because I have healthy foods in my cart.”

“I’m better than you because you’re fatter than I am.”

“I’m better than you because I still have my job / I have a better job / I like my job / I get promoted in my job.”

“I’m better than you because your house is a mess.”

“I’m better than you because my house is bigger / I live in a nicer neighborhood.”

“I’m better than you because I take more medications.”

How many more can you think of?

Philippians 2.3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

What a hard lesson this is! Most of human flesh depends on assuring ourselves that we are good, and the way we look good is by looking better than others around us. We fall into this trap so easily because it’s our weak point. Look at how easily Hitler gathered Aryan followers. Look at how easily advertisers sell their products.

Look at how easily our nation has divided. “I’m better than you because I’m right.”

In a book I’m reading, the author posed the question, Do any of us really understand how much God loves us? I thought, No, only Jesus did.

That’s how Jesus could look on every single person with love. Jesus knew how much God loved Him, because He loved Him equally right back. God’s love is perfect, infinite, true. It is impossible for God to love anyone with anything less than perfect love.

If we are looking upon others with the eyes God gave us, instead of our own, then we will understand that we are, indeed, no better than anyone else on any level.

This is why we are able, in Jesus’s strength and wisdom, to serve others. When we access the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2.16), when we work from the love that God puts within us, we receive special wisdom through the Holy Spirit to look upon others with tender hearts and with understanding. We can see that all other people are on the same level we are: in need of the grace of God.

Will God use you to serve that grace to others?

1 Corinthians 1.10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Romans 15.5 – 7 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Recipe Friday: Chicken, Quinoa, and Broccoli in a Pot

image from google

Quinoa, widely called an “ancient grain,” is actually a seed, originally from South America. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It is also a high-fiber food. Easy to cook, and very flexible, it fits nicely into many dishes. A few years ago it was hard to find, but now quinoa is commonly sold in grocery stores, usually in the rice aisles.
Any kind of bite-size chicken meat would fit in this recipe (even canned); or, any other kind of meat. Maybe even no meat.
Half-and-half, or cream, could be substituted for any of the milk.

This recipe reflects how I made this dish for a pot-luck. Really, make it any way you like. Certainly more veggies could be added, like chopped carrots or peas. Cheese might also be a tasty addition.

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hr +

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs

1 cup quinoa

2 cups salted water

6 green onions

1 pound frozen broccoli florets

1 cup dairy or non-dairy milk

salt to taste

Directions:

Place thighs in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 350° for one hour.
When chicken is almost done, put water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. You can stir it, if it needs it. Quinoa is done when you can see little circles.
Chop the green onions.
When thighs are done, remove from oven. Pour drippings into a large frypan or Dutch oven.
Sauté the onions in the drippings while you work with the chicken.
Remove skin from thighs; Remove meat from bone. Save skin and bones for stock or other use.
Slice the chicken meat into bite-size pieces. Add to the pan with the onions. Stir and brown a bit.
Add the broccoli to the pan. (If you prefer, you can thaw it in the microwave first; this will cut cooking time in the pan.) Cook and stir until broccoli is hot. (If you add it frozen, covering the pan helps to cook it faster. Be sure to stir once in a while.)
Add hot quinoa to the pan; stir to mix.
Add the milk and stir.
Salt to taste. Cook a minute or two more, until heated thoroughly.
Serve immediately, or put it all into a crock pot.

Random Thoughts about Heaven and the Garden

My Bible reading at the end of last year took me into Revelations, where John falls down as though dead when he sees Jesus (Revelations 1.17). On Earth, this was Jesus, his buddy: they walked together for three years, ate together, exchanged words and questions and deep thoughts. But when John saw Jesus in Heaven, he fell as though dead.

Now I’m reading in Genesis. There are Adam and Eve in the Garden, walking with God in the cool of the day, and talking with Him. Do they see God face to face? No (1 John 4.12). But they walk with Him and talk with Him and do not fall down as though dead. I think that’s because Adam and Eve were perfect at that time. They knew no sin. They knew God only as their Loving Creator, and had no terror of Him.

I think that might be a glimpse of Heaven. In our fleshly sinful bodies, our minds cannot contain what absolute holiness is. But in Heaven, we will see God face to face (1 Corinthians 13.12). We will finally know how to worship Him perfectly.

One other thing has me curious about Heaven. Genesis Chapter 3 says Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ”

Then Eve speaks in verse 2: The woman answered the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden…”

My thought: Why did Eve not whirl around to Adam and say, “Look, this snake can talk!”

Did Adam and Eve and God routinely speak with the animals in the Garden? And might this be a peek into Heaven?

Free Decluttering Webinar

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This is brought to you by Ultimate Bundles; I have signed up for several useful offerings from this group, and have never regretted giving them my e-mail address.

Recipe Friday: Yogurt So Easy

There are many health benefits of yogurt, such as boosting immunity, reducing yeast infections, and lowering the risk of colon cancer.

When you make yogurt, you will get thousands of times the benefits of nutrition if you use raw milk. This recipe is specifically for raw milk – it does not boil the milk, which would thereby destroy many of its nutrients and benefits. Be sure your raw milk comes from an impeccably clean facility with organic, pasture-raised cows.

Raw Milk Benefits:

“Raw milk is an incredibly complex whole food, complete with digestive enzymes and its own antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic mechanisms conveniently built into a neat package. It is chock-full of both fat and water-soluble vitamins, a wide range of minerals and trace elements, all eight essential amino acids, more than 60 enzymes, and CLA—an omega-6 fatty acid with impressive effects on everything from insulin resistance to cancer to cardiovascular disease. Raw milk is delicious medicine.” – from https://www.drdeborahmd.com/health-benefits-raw-milk

More information about the health benefits of raw milk can be found in a search of “weston a price raw milk.” This one is an easy read: http://www.realmilk.com/brochures/real-milk-brochure/

Another interesting and informative article can be found by Dr. Josh Axe, here: https://draxe.com/nutrition/raw-milk-benefits/ . Benefits include reducing allergies, improving skin health, and preventing nutrient deficiencies.

The addition of gelatin guarantees thick yogurt, and contributes nutrition. Be sure to only use pure, organic gelatin, as other types may be mixed with other ingredients, or may come from chemically-raised beef. Gelatin is another nutrition powerhouse. It’s great for gut health, it has collagen, and helps your body build strong discs, ligaments, tendons, skin, nails, and hair. It helps to strengthen joints and prevent against the development of injuries, or helps to heal them faster.

You can let the yogurt culture 8 – 24 hours. The longer it cultures, the tangier it gets. 20 hours was too tangy for me. I’ll try 12 hours next time.

I buy my yogurt starter in a box that has little packets; one packet per quart. You can also buy yogurt starter in bulk; read the instructions for amount to add.

 

My recipe cultures the yogurt right in the jar. You can also pour everything into the Instant Pot insert: this would be helpful if you’re making it by the half gallon or gallon. If you use the insert, you will need a good-fitting lid for it when it goes into the ‘fridge.

This recipe uses an Instant Pot. If you don’t plan to use an Instant Pot, you can culture your yogurt in any type of setting where the temperature is kept at a fairly consistent 110° – 115°. Temperatures above 125° – 130° will kill the beneficial bacteria. If you have an oven with a heat-producing light bulb, or a gas pilot light, that is an option. I’ve also seen folks use a chest-type cooler: heat the inside of the cooler by putting in a pan of hot water (with a lid on it). Make sure the water is below 115°, then put in the yogurt and close the lid. Check the temp every once in a while to keep it warm. I’ve also heard of wrapping the yogurt in a towel and a heating pad, or putting it on a heating pad (but you’d have to check the temp of the heating pad).

Raw Milk Yogurt

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 – 24 hours to culture; 24 hours in the ‘fridge

Yield: 1 quart yogurt

Ingredients:

1 quart raw milk

1 packet yogurt starter

2 teaspoons powdered beef gelatin

Directions:

Pour a small amount (maybe 1/4 – 1/2 cup) of the raw milk into a 2-qt saucepan.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in the pan. Let it soften 1-2 minutes.
Over medium heat, warm the milk to just under simmering. Take the pan off the heat. Whisk the gelatin in.
Pour the rest of the raw milk into the saucepan. Whisk.
Sprinkle the yogurt starter over the milk. Whisk.
Pour the milk into a 1-quart glass jar.
Put the jar of milk into the Instant Pot insert. (Do not put the lid on the jar.)
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to seal.
Press the yogurt function. If yours allows, adjust to show Normal.
Set how much time you want, from 8 to 24 hours (the longer the culturing time, the tangier your yogurt will be).
Once the Instant Pot recognizes the setting, it will revert to 0 for time, and count up to the time you set.
If you like, you can take the lid off any time to check on it or take it out. The Pot does not seal because it never goes above the low temperature needed to culture the yogurt.
When your yogurt is finished culturing, remove it from the Instant Pot, and turn the Instant Pot off. Put the lid on the jar, and put the jar in the refrigerator. Leave it there for 24 hours.
Now it’s ready.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

My readings this month have taken me into Revelations. Yeah, wow. The Dragon. The Beast. The plagues. The whore. The golden vials full of the wrath of God.

The wrath of God! Hebrews 10.31 says, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The wrath of God can be no less than bone-knocking, paralyzing, gut-wrenching terror. Look at the folks in the Bible who saw Heavenly beings – they fell down in fear. Anything that holy instantly reveals the depths and awfulness of our sinfulness.

Psalms 4.8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

How many times does God tell us to “fear not?” Isaiah 41.10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

How do I reconcile the awful terror of standing before Almighty God in my sin, with “fear not?”

By simple obedience. God says to fear not, so I will not fear. Hebrews 13.6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 4.16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus Christ is my Savior. My name is written in the Book of Life. I may boldly approach the throne of Almighty God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Since the Lord is my helper, I will also not be afraid of what God shall do unto me. God loves me. Because He first loved me, I love Him. I am precious in His sight, a part of the body of His bride.

I welcome with open arms what God will do unto me.

And I praise Him fully:

Revelations 15.3, 4

“Great and wonderful are Your works,

O Lord God Almighty!

Just and true are Your ways,

O King of the nations!

4 Who will not fear You, O Lord,

and glorify Your name?

For You alone are holy.

All nations will come and worship before You,

for Your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Recipe Friday: Chocolate Teff Balls

(wheat-free, gluten-free, egg-free)
Early in my post-allergy life, I found a recipe that called for 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, and one egg. Pretty simple, and probably delicious; however, I can’t have cane sugar or eggs, and, I wanted CHOCOLATE! These are my indulgence.

These yummy little balls can be made with or without the teff – they are SO good, either way. Without the teff, they have a texture and consistency of snowball cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes, which has been a point of contention in my family ever since I grew up). With the teff, they are moist and chewy. The photo shows with teff.

Teff info:

Teff is a delicious grain. It adds some chewiness and a little crunch to the cookie, as well as helping to hold it together. [Side note: To cook teff as a tasty porridge, mix 1 part teff to 3 parts water in a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; stir well when done. Mix with a little fruit and sweetener (if desired) of your choice.]

Teff is gluten-free, and is a good source of copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and selenium ( 1 , 5 ). Additionally, it’s an excellent source of protein, with all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein in your body.

Teff is known as an ancient grain, as it has been grown in Ethiopia for thousands of years. It is relatively new to American markets. It can be purchased as a grain (it is the world’s tiniest grain!), or as a flour. This recipe uses the whole grain.

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min

Yield: 15 – 20 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy; use the natural kind – peanuts and salt ONLY
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use sucanat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer, mixed with 1 tbs warm water (OR a real egg, if you can tolerate them)
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa (I use raw cacao powder)
  • 1/4 cup dry teff, simmered for 15 minutes with 1/2 cup water, and cooled enough to handle (teff is optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

If using the teff, cook it first.

Mix together the peanut butter, sugar, egg replacer, and cacao.

If you’re adding the teff, this is when. Mix really well.

Roll into balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Place sheet in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes.

Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on size; it will make more, if you add the teff.

Another way to use this recipe:

For moist, chewy brownies, cook 1/2 cup teff in 1-1/4 cup water for 15 minutes, and add that to the peanut butter/ cocoa mixture. Pour into a greased or oiled 8″ round or square pan, and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Anguish in the Palm of His Hand

As we live in the palm of God’s Hand, we often suffer pain from death, physical hurt, mental anguish, broken relationships, separation, inability to fix things, hurtful words, and broken expectations.

Sometimes we bring pain upon ourselves; but often there are circumstances we cannot avoid. God always has reasons for tribulation in our lives. The most basic reason is to bring us closer to Him. Whatever is going on, God knows all about it: He is close to you, He loves you, and He wants to be your Number One Comfort.

When you are experiencing trying times, resist the temptation to fear. Remember that you live in the palm of His Hand. Give your situation, your feelings, your confusion to God, talk to Him about it, explain why it hurts so much. He wants to be your Confidante. He is your closest and best Friend.

God feels this pain with us, and He gives us Words to express our feelings.

As you speak with God, explore how you’re really doing. Think of David’s example in Psalms 25:

16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

 David acknowledged his need to confess his sins and be forgiven in order to fully receive the peace and joy that God offers. Make sure you have no sin standing in the way of complete freedom before God.

In Psalms 103, we are reminded of all the blessings God showers upon us. He IS good! He DOES love us! Remember how good He is. Read the words, remember what God has worked in your own life, and praise Him:

1 {A Psalm of David.} Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

A few more verses to comfort:

Romans 8.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1 John 4.18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Psalms 56.3, 4 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

And a reminder in a precious hymn:

Tell It to Jesus

From http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/t/e/l/l/tellitto.htm

Words: Ed­mund S. Lo­renz, in Frö­liche Bot­schaft­er, 1876. Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Jer­e­mi­ah E. Ran­kin in Gates of Praise, 1880.

Music: Ed­mund S. Lo­renz

Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that to men’s eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Are you troubled at the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
For Christ’s coming kingdom are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.