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.

Recipe Friday: Sweet Potato Pie

Here’s an idea for a Christmas treat: sweet potato pie. I came up with this recipe because one of my food sensitivities is pumpkin (sad, right?).

But sweet potatoes make a great substitute. And, sweet potatoes are loaded with health benefits like fiber and lots of nutrients. So that I don’t boil away nutrients, I bake my sweet potatoes, then scoop out the flesh. I used 3 good-size sweet potatoes, which made for more than 2 cups. I used the extra as a side dish.

But the best thing about this pie is that it’s quite delicious. I like plenty of spice in my pie, and this recipe fits me perfectly. But you can go up or down on the amount, according to your taste.

For sweetener, I used sucanat, an unprocessed cane sugar. Palm coconut sugar would also be good, I think. If you don’t have these, regular sugar or brown sugar would be fine. When I made this pie recently, I used ¾ cups sucanat and 1 tablespoon powdered stevia: yummm!

You can buy a deep-dish pie crust, or make one yourself. I tried following the directions on a pre-made crust. It told me not to pre-bake if it was for pumpkin pie. Bleh. The crust, even after 65 minutes of baking, was doughy. So I recommend baking the empty crust until it’s almost done, like for 15 – 20 minutes. You’ll need pie weights or dried beans, so the crust doesn’t bubble up. A good pie crust recipe follows the sweet potato filling recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups sucanat (sugar) (OR ¾ cups sucanat + 1 Tbs stevia)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter or oil
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 semi-baked, deep-dish pie shell

Directions:

  • Mash the sweet potatoes completely, then measure out two cups into a deep mixing bowl.
  • Add the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix well.
  • Mix the milk in until it has uniform consistency.
  • Add the spices and mix well.
  • Pour into prepared pie shell.
  • Bake at 350° 60 -65 minutes, until toothpick tests done. (You’ll likely need to cover the crust with foil in the last 20 – 30 minutes of baking, to prevent over-browning.)

For a good pie crust, use this recipe from https://www.inspiredtaste.net/22662/flaky-pie-crust-recipe/ (they offer an interesting pie crust read, and a video for the whole recipe). It makes enough for a double-crust pie. You can use half for this pie, and freeze the other half for later. For my flour, I used all-purpose einkorn.

Ingredients for pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ice water OR ice water half-and-half with vodka

Directions:

  • Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.
  • Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).
  • Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).
  • Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle ice water over mixture — start with 4 tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until dough comes together.
  • Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball.
  • Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).

To make a single-crust pie:
Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour work surface, top of dough, and rolling pin. Then use rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below; add a small amount of flour when necessary.
Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. To transfer dough to dish, starting at one end, roll dough around rolling pin then unroll over dish.
Gently press dough down into dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish.
Fold edge of dough underneath itself so that it creates a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevent air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil. (Be sure to push foil against the edges of the crust). Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Place pie crust onto preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey

Words: John H. Sam­mis, in Hymns Old and New (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: Flem­ing H. Re­vell, 1887).

Music: Dan­i­el B. Tow­ner

[In 1886] Mr. [Dwight] Moo­dy was con­duct­ing a ser­ies of meet­ings in Brock­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts, and I had the plea­sure of sing­ing for him there.

One night a young man rose in a tes­ti­mo­ny and said, I am not quite sure…but I am go­ing to trust, and I am going to obey. I just jot­ted that sen­tence down, and sent it with the lit­tle story to the Rev. J. H. Sam­mis, a Pres­by­ter­ian min­is­ter. He wrote the hymn, and the tune was born.

            – Daniel Towner

When we walk with the Lord In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
 
Refrain
Trust and obey, For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
 
Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
 
Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
 
But we never can prove The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, For the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
 
Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

From http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/t/r/u/s/trustobey.htm

This beloved hymn has been running through my head for weeks now. We sing it often at our Ladies Book Study, and we “happened” to sing it in this past Sunday’s church service.

If you don’t know the tune, you can listen to it at this site: https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/582

Read through the words of this hymn again. They offer much of the peace of God’s Truth. “To be happy in Jesus,” translates, to me, the peace that He offers when we give it all to Him and rest in Him. Truth trumps feelings, in my book. But sometimes God gives us both: when we abide in His Truth, He blesses us with the feelings, the satisfaction, of His peace.

In the last verse a picture is painted of sweet fellowship in Heaven. This is common among hymns of great faith: the last verses capture the certain hope we have of walking with Jesus in Heaven.

But I think that Jesus wants us to have Heaven on Earth with Him.

Luke 17.20, 21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” See also Matthew 12.28, Colossians 4.11, and Romans 14.17, among many others.

“What He says we will do, Where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.”

This is something we can have right here on Earth, and it’s what Jesus always wanted for us. When we set our minds on things above (Colossians 3.2); when we take on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2.16); when we put on the garment of praise (Isaiah 61.3); when we abide in Him (1 John 4.13, 1 John 2.27); when we lay it all on His altar (verse 4 of our hymn); then we can walk through any facet of our life here with the complete joy and peace of Jesus Himself.

I want the peace of Jesus. I imagine Jesus when He was walking here, day by day, in perfect peace with His Father. He offers us this peace: John 14.27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

So, whether we have sunshine and lemonade and roses, or whether we have cancer and fires and deteriorating relationships: “What He says we will do, Where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.”  We can walk in the light of His Word, and He will shed glory on our way.

 

Recipe Friday: Kathy’s Sandwich Bread

This is my new favorite bread recipe. It slices beautifully, is flexible when sliced, and it’s pretty tasty. It’s good for sandwiches or toast – whatever you use bread for. Since I rarely eat bread, I slice the whole loaf, put squares of baking/parchment paper in-between the slices; then put the loaf into a zip lock freezer bag to freeze. I can take out as many slices as I need at a time, and they don’t take long to thaw.

I’ve discussed soaking grains previously. This is a traditional method of preparing grains that our ancestors knew all about. How did we lose such important information??? Grains have a protective enzyme that benefits them while they’re growing, but are non-beneficial to us when we eat them. Effects of these enzymes on us include making the grain hard to digest, inability to absorb all the nutrients available in the grain, and gas and bloating.
Soaking neutralizes the enzymes, thereby opening up all the nutrients for us to absorb, and we digest them more easily.
When you soak grains, use a small amount of some type of acid such as apple cider vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir. When I soak rice (or quinoa), I add a splash of vinegar to the water the day before I plan to serve it. Understand, we eat a traditional Midwest “dinner” at noon. Grains should soak 8 hours or overnight; so, if you plan on an evening supper, get your grains soaking that morning. For the rice, I soak overnight, then drain and rinse it before adding the amount of cooking water needed.
Likewise, when I make my biscuits, I mix the flour, oils, and liquid the night before, making sure to add some kefir to the liquid.
For oatmeal (or any other “breakfast grain”) I use yogurt or kefir. It adds a delicious richness.

Remember to use high-quality, organic flours. Processed white flour is not good for you.

I did post my bread recipe previously (it’s in the Biscuit post as a bonus, and if you want even more to read about the health benefits of soaking your grains, you can read it there.). But I changed it up just a bit and am really pleased with the results.

This recipe makes two loaves.

Time: 10 min the night before + overnight soaking + 10 min mixing + 2 hours combined rising time + 30 – 35 min baking

Ingredients:

The first day:

  • 4 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 4 tablespoons chia seed
  • 6 cups flour * (I used 4 cups einkorn and 2 cups spelt flour)
  • 2 tablespoons egg replacer (this can be omitted, but it helps with texture)
  • 1/4 cup kefir, or other fermented liquid
  • 1 3/4 cups dairy or non-dairy milk *
  • 10 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil*

The second day:

  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sucanat or honey*
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

The first day:
In a coffee grinder, or other similar device, grind the flax and chia seeds until well ground, 10 – 20 seconds.
Add all the first-day ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix well enough that all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it sit 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.


The second day:
proof the active dry yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon sucanat.
Add the salt to the dough, mix in.
Stir in proofed yeast. It is easier (and less messy) to let the mixer do the initial mixing, with a dough hook, even though you may have to babysit it with a spatula for a while.
After the dough comes together, turn out onto a countertop (with all the oils in the dough, it didn’t stick, so I didn’t need to dust with flour).
Knead until smooth and dough doesn’t crack or come apart (10 – 15 minutes).
Return dough to the mixing bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm oven until double (about 1 hour, depending on your yeast).
Turn dough out and punch down. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 10 minutes.
Shape into 2 loaves and place into loaf pans.
Let rise in a warm oven until almost double (about 1 hour).
Bake in a 375° oven 30-35 minutes. Loaves should sound hollow when thumped (internal temp of 200°).
Turn out to let cool 15 – 20 minutes, then package.


* Pretty much any combination of your allowable flours / oils / sweeteners / milk will work with this recipe.

 

Answered Prayer

In conversation about prayers, we sometimes hear, “God answered my prayer…” or, “God didn’t answer my prayer…” depending on what the outcome was.

God delights in prayer, God answers prayer – always. He answers in the blessing of communing with your heart. He answers in the blessing of drawing you closer to Him (James 4.8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…). He answers with the blessing of peace in your soul, comfort from knowing it all rests in His loving, intelligent, merciful design.

And when you pray…

Jesus gave us the gift of His pattern of prayer in Matthew 6:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

In Jesus’ prayer, He does not mention asking for a list of what we’d like to see happen. Jesus’ prayer is about giving God glory, acknowledging Him as our holy King, asking for our needs (as He sees them) to be met, and asking forgiveness and protection. He ends with, again, acknowledging God’s sovereignty, power and glory.

As you pray, set your mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3.2).

Are we allowed to ask for stuff? Absolutely! If a friend is sick, we can ask for God to heal, and give the friend and doctors wisdom. But the bottom-line prayer is, “Thy will be done.” We can also pray that the friend receive God’s comfort and peace, and that the friend rests in the joy of knowing s/he is in the loving palm of God’s Hand.

We can always pray for salvation.

If someone is in danger of losing a job, we can pray God to intervene in the situation to either keep the job or that God will lead to another solution that none of us can think to imagine.

Maybe we are part of the solution.

I often pray, in supplication for others, for God to send good friends for support and comfort. Often God calls me to be that friend. Sometimes it’s not me.

As we pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5.17), we talk to God throughout our day. I may be looking for an item, and ask God to show me where it is. Yes, we can pray for big things and small. Life and death; keys and schedules.

What do we think prayer is?

Do not fall into the sin of believing that “God answered my prayer” is the same as “I got what I wanted.”

In speaking of our answered prayers, we can say things like:

“God answered my prayer. My cancer returned.”

“God answered my prayer. My friend died.”

“God answered my prayer. He said No to a new car for now.”

“God answered my prayer. A blizzard came in, and we couldn’t visit our family.”

All of these are answers to prayer. God gives us exactly what we need, when we need it. Thank Him.

James 4.3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

We are not called on, anywhere in God’s Word, to pray for our selfish wants. Yes, someone may want a new house or to win the lottery or to get a promotion. I think God wants to settle matters of the heart / soul / spirit first. He may answer with a No if your wish does not give Him glory, or if it would ultimately be to your detriment. When we pray and wish for things, we can only see a short-range, fuzzy picture of how things might turn out if it comes true (some of us have very active imaginations!). God sees the bigger, more perfect picture: He knows the future, He knows our hearts, He knows what is best for each of us, He knows what will bring us blessing, and He knows what will bring Him glory.

Consider prayer in James 5.14 – 16: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 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.

The Greek word used for “save” in verse 15 has the meaning “to save, i.e. Deliver or protect.” This does not necessarily mean the sick person is given bodily health. I believe God is interested in the spirit and soul more than the body. The prayer of faith shall save the sick. We pray in faith for salvation, salvation of our eternal souls. That soul shall God raise up, either to continue blessing those of this world (in sickness or in health); or raise up to eternity to be with Him. And, if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him!!! Oh, glorious Lord!

God’s Word contains perfect prayers. Here are a few that we can pray for ourselves and others:

Hebrews 12.20, 21 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 1.16 – 19  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.

Ephesians 3.16 – 19 I ask that out of the riches of His glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth 19 of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

And this great prayer from Revelation 7.12 Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen.

May God bless you richly in your prayers.

Recipe Friday: Turkey Casserole

Do you still have leftover turkey? I gathered up a bunch of stuff from the pantry and ‘fridge and cooked this up. Turns out, we like it!
These measurements are guesstimates – I didn’t measure anything. Use up however much turkey you have, throw in however much onion, celery, and carrot you like. (That was too much carrot for me: the picture shows three medium-large carrots, so I pared it down in the recipe.) The measurements I have here make up the 13″ x 9″ baking pan pretty well. [Chicken would also work well.]

I got to thinking that sour cream would be really tasty with this; maybe swirl some around through the top before adding the French onions. We used the sour cream as a condiment when we had some leftover casserole, and it was really good.

Yield: 13″ x 9″ baking pan

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 small carrots, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, with leaves, diced
  • 3 cups leftover turkey, diced
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked
  • 6 ounces broccoli florets, chopped (I used part of a bag of frozen broccoli)
  • 6 ounces egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used barley)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  •   salt, to taste
  • 1 3.5 ounce package French-fried onions

 

Directions:

I used a package of bacon and baked it at 350° until done while I prepped the rest of the meal.
In a medium fry pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Sauté carrots, covered, for a few minutes while you chop the onion, celery, and turkey.
Add onions and celery to the fry pan and sauté until tender. Salt to taste.
Put the diced turkey into a very large bowl. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl.
This is when I put the noodles into salted boiling water to cook.
Using the same fry pan, Make the white sauce: melt the remaining butter over medium-low heat. Add some of the bacon fat, if needed. Add the flour, and cook the flour.
Chop the bacon and add to the big bowl.
Add the chopped broccoli to the big bowl.
Add the cooked noodles to the big bowl.
Turn the heat up to medium-high under the white sauce. Cook the flour until it’s nicely brown. Whisk the milk into the butter / flour mixture, keep whisking until it boils and thickens. Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce. This sauce is thick; you can add more milk if you like it thinner. Salt to taste.
Pour the sauce and the shredded cheese into the big bowl. Using a big spatula, mix it all together.
Pour it all into a 9×13″ baking dish. (I buttered the pan first, with the butter wrapper.)
Cover with foil and bake (in the 350° oven) for 30 min.
Uncover, sprinkle with French onions, and bake another 15 minutes.

Recipe Friday: Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

My sister and I were chatting online yesterday, on Thanksgiving, about cinnamon rolls. She made my mom’s recipe, and I made a different recipe, one that wouldn’t make me sick. But I started getting all nostalgic about my old classroom. I taught in a differently-abled classroom for several years. I retired from this position, and really it was one of my favorites. We (by “we” I mean myself and the para pros who worked with me) had students ages 13 – 21 in our self-contained room. We had the students all day, and they were in our room for 7 or 8 years in a row. So, we got to know them pretty well, along with their parents.

Another teacher, in the same building, started a student-run coffee shop in school. It was the making of a perfect partnership: They made the coffee and ran the shop; my class made the baked goodies to sell. We made scones and granola and muffins, mostly. But the biggest seller was every Friday: Gooey Cinnamon Rolls. We started them on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning we baked them and walked down the pre-first-bell hallways to deliver the fill-your-senses, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. My students and I created this recipe; it got lots of tweaking (all with delicious results) until we got it just right. It includes cream cheese in the filling. (Yum!)

Although this recipe comes too late for this Thanksgiving, it comes in plenty of time for Christmas and a second batch for the cold winter months to come.

Yes, this recipe makes enough dough for two large batches (18 rolls). The filling also makes enough for two batches; the gooey part makes enough for one batch. You can make one batch now, and freeze the other half of the dough for the second batch.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 packages             active dry yeast 2.5 tsp each
  • 1/2 cup     sugar divided
  • 1/2 cup     warm water
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons        butter
  • 7 cups      white & whole wheat flour
  • 3                eggs
  • 1 teaspoon             salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup     butter softened
  • 8 ounces    cream cheese softened

Gooey Stuff:

  • 1/4 cup     butter melted
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup        corn syrup
  • 1 cup        buttermilk or ice cream, or milk
    • cinnamon sugar
    • more cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Dough:
    In a small bowl, dissolve yeast, 1 Tablespoon of the sugar, and warm water. This is proofing: you are making sure your yeast is still good. It should foam up.
  2. In a saucepan (or microwave) heat milk and butter, just until butter is melted.
  3. In a large bowl, mix 3 cups flour, the rest of the sugar, warm milk & butter, yeast mixture, eggs, and salt.
  4. Beat 3 min on medium speed.
  5. Add remaining flour; stir until incorporated.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured or oil-sprayed surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover with a damp towel; allow to rest while you make the filling and the gooey part.

Filling:
Beat together the butter and cream cheese.

Gooey part:
Stir together all the Gooey Part ingredients. Pour into a large baking pan (11″ x 15″). Note: If the baking pan is non-stick, you don’t have to grease it; if it isn’t, you should grease it first.) [Another Note: If you cut the rolls thick, then you can use a smaller pan.]
Sprinkle gooey stuff liberally with cinnamon (as much as you like).

Assembly:

  1. Knead down the dough. Cut it in half; freeze one half.
  2. Roll the other half into a large rectangle (like, 10 x 16ish). Spread with half the filling (refrigerate the other half of the filling, for the other half of the dough).
  3. Sprinkle the filling liberally with cinnamon sugar (as much as you like).
  4. Roll the dough up, starting from the long end.
  5. Slice the dough into ½-inch to 2-inch pieces, depending on how thick you like them, and how many rolls you want. Skinnier slices means more rolls. I usually get 16 – 20 rolls out of one recipe. (Note: these rolls rise pretty well.)
  6. Place each roll into the prepared pan, into the gooey part.

[You can refrigerate the whole pan until you’re ready to bake them: if you do, cover with foil or plastic. Refrigerate overnight. ]

Plan on an hour and a half between dough rising and time to serve.

Whether you bake right away, or refrigerate first:
Place into a warm oven (170°) to let rise: 30 – 40 minutes from the ‘fridge; 20 – 30 minutes if already at room temp.
With the pan still in the oven, turn the temperature to 350°. Let bake 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

To Serve:
Cut between each roll with a table knife.
Lift each roll out of the pan with a spatula, invert onto serving plate.
Drizzle gooey stuff from the pan over the rolls.

Give Thanks, Get Peace

Philippians 4.4-7 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Note the progression of events:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always.
  2. Rejoice!
  3. Let your moderation (gentleness, mildness, fairness – all of which come through Jesus) be evident to all. The Lord is with you.
  4. Be careful for nothing (like Matthew 6.25 Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.).
  5. Talk to God about your requests via prayer and supplication
    1. WITH THANKSGIVING
  6. And then what?
    • PEACE!
    • Peace which passes all understanding!
    • This peace shall keep your hearts and minds
    • How?
      1. Through Jesus Christ

~ sigh ~ Don’t we all want peace in our hearts and minds? Family, friends, the world may rage around us, but we can have peace in our hearts and minds. We can display that peace to all around us.

Have you noticed that peace calls to peace? Peace – as in “Jesus is our Peace” – is tangible and evident in our lives. When we encounter someone else who has that same Peace, we notice; it draws us. Others are drawn to us who have that Peace. We have kindred Spirits.

We can all achieve that peace in our hearts and minds through thanksgiving.

Talk to God. Bring Him your thoughts, your supplications, your fears and worries and dreams. And in all of it, give Him thanks. Give bountifully. We can thank God in all things and for all things because we know that He loves us infinitely and unconditionally. We know that He really is taking good care of us. Our perspective isn’t the same as His, so we don’t see it all. But He does. And He is wrapping His loving arms around us with everlasting tenderness.

Remember:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord
  2. Give it all to God
  3. Talk to Him
  4. Thank God for everything
  5. Receive His Peace.

Recipe Friday: Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

Boy, there’s hardly a better comfort food than good old-fashioned pot roast. You can use up an arm roast, a chuck roast, or pretty much any cut of meat you like. Using a pressure cooker almost guarantees a tender meat, and it cuts the cooking time needed to achieve that.

My pressure cooker is an Instant Pot. But if you have a stove-top pressure cooker, the directions are all the same. Pressure cooking (and the addition of some coffee) is the secret to moist, tender pot roast, no matter how tough a cut your meat is. The acid in the coffee breaks down those tough strands, and you don’t taste any coffee flavor.

Also, be sure to take the ten minutes (more, if you like) of natural pressure release: a quick release of pressure leads to dry meat. (Natural release = turn it off and leave the lid on; let it sit. After that, a quick release: move the vent to release the rest of the pressure.) Safety tip: Never try to remove the lid of a pressure cooker until all the steam / pressure is released through the valve, and the pressure pin drops.

Timing: Plan at least 3 hours from start to sitting down.
Amounts: I don’t measure anything by the pound. Our roast is maybe 2 1/2 pounds. Use 4 medium-large potatoes and 5 medium-large carrots (or the equivalents thereof). Just make sure everything fits in your pot without overfilling. For cooking time, chunks refers to a size of 1 – 3 bites, depending on your mouthful.

Tip: When I want thicker gravy, but don’t want to add more cornstarch, I sprinkle in some instant mashed potato flakes to the simmering gravy and stir, adding more until it reaches the desired consistency.

This recipe serves 4, generously.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup           olive oil

3                      stalks celery, with leaves, chopped

1                      large onion, chopped

1/4 cup           cooking red wine

3 pounds       beef chuck pot roast, thawed (mine includes fat, and a bone)

1 teaspoon    Himalayan pink salt

2 cups            beef broth, with a tablespoon

1 tablespoon instant coffee

                        dashes of Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and Tamari sauce

3 pounds       potatoes, cut into medium-small chunks

1 pound         carrots peeled and cut into chunks

1/4 cup           cornstarch mixed well into 1/2 cup beef broth

Directions: Turn the pressure cooker to sauté. Once hot, add in the oil, then chopped onion and celery.
Brown the vegetables, then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Sear meat on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove meat to the vegetable plate
Pour in red wine and scrape up any browned bits on bottom of instant pot.
Add roast back into pressure cooker, along with the cooked onion and celery.
Mix the instant coffee, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and Tamari sauce into the 2 cups of beef broth. Pour it all into the pot, over the vegetables and meat. Close and seal the lid.
Cook on high pressure for 45 min.
When the cook time has elapsed, allow for pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick-release the rest of the pressure.
Open instant pot and add in carrots and potatoes. Seal pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
Allow pressure cooker to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes before quick-releasing pressure. Remove the lid.
Remove meat, potatoes and carrots (along with the onion and celery, if you wish) to serving dishes; keep warm.
Set Instant Pot to Sauté. If needed, add more beef broth to make gravy. Let it come to a boil, then add broth and cornstarch slurry. Stir constantly until gravy comes to a boil again and thickens. Remove to a gravy boat.
Serve.