Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Recently written Jess songs

So…the last two Sundays have actually been Songdays for me.

The first one I started singing in the car on my way to pick a lady up for church. I kept singing it over and over and over and over and, well, over, to try to lock it into my brain before I got to her house and needed to start conversing. Apparently, it’s chock full of minor chords – which is no surprise to me since I was singing the opening song to Prince of Egypt every time I had the chance.

Centered

To be centered in Christ Jesus is my heart’s desire,
Filled from within by the Holy Spirit’s fire.
Filled with compassion and my Father’s love
To be made over in the image of
My Lord.

So…okay, it’s not a full song. It’s  more of a verse or a chorus or…I don’t know. But the melody is sticky and has adhered to my brain.  🙂

The second song was written before we left the house last Sunday. I’d gotten the kids into the van and words kept pouring out of my pen, even as my three year old was yelling at me that it was time to go. /snicker

I explained that Mommy needed to write before driving, because she couldn’t write while driving. This temporarily placated her. You know…temporary to a three year old is about 72 seconds – if that long. So, this was penned while behind the steering wheel, buckled up and sitting in our driveway.

Faith Enough to Follow

Chorus:
I need faith enough to follow You
Faith enough to follow You
Faith enough to follow
Faith not to wallow
Faith enough to lay down my pride
I can’t do life without You by my side

Verse:
Another gray day again
Where my eyes and my heart agree
Life doesn’t seem worth living
Hearts are hard and unforgiving
And no one has a second look for me

But your words are different
And sweet to my ears
They warm my heart
And allay all my fears
I know in my head
And I’m telling my heart
That I am not alone.
Give me (faith enough to follow you)  (proceed on to rest of chorus)

So…yeah. Obviously, it had been a rough morning, where my faith felt more like the mustard seed than the mustard tree. Still, it’s amazing what perspective a week of cooldown on the “latest, greatest song I’ve ever written” brings. I’m already critiquing and remembering a blog post I read earlier in the week that compared most Christian music to poorly written “Top 40” love songs. I could see that – especially in the second one. Still, in the interest of transparency (and getting another post up! hehe…I’ve challenged myself to keep it up), I figured I’d go ahead and post them, adding revisions as they occur, and welcoming revisions from my loyal peanut gallery. (That’s you, by the way!)  😀

We recently had a guest pastor who challenged us to move forward in the gifts God had placed within us. I’ve been stifling this one for a long time – although, stifling isn’t really the best word here…it’s more like I was “not sharing” this one for a long time. I had shared some songs in the past and while they were positively received by a few, they were not well-received by others. I allowed that to turn me inward in this area and build up a deposit of wounded pride. I was “wallowing”, if you will, and needed “faith enough to lay down my pride”.  So, maybe the second song is just for me – a reminder to trust in God and not in man.

(Remember how I mentioned that writing is rather therapeutic for me? It’s an adventure in self-discovery as I have to slow down long enough to form thoughts and sentences and verbalize them. I thank God for this gift! I would be really, really messy on the inside without this down time.

31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)

Writing forces me to wait…something that’s extremely difficult for me. Not only because of my sanguine nature, but also because I am busy being a wife and a mommy and all of the other hats that I wear on a regular basis. Thankfully, the melancholic part of my nature helps with actually digging in and writing when I get to that point. heh…ironically, I need to stop writing at this point as 5:30 will come awfully early in the morning.)

May God bless you, my reader, and help you live out His word, in spirit and in truth.

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7, NIV) (emphasis mine)

Keep in mind, if you will rejoice in God no matter what your circumstances look like, resisting the anxiousness that would seek to nip at your heels, His peace will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.* It says that His peace “transcends” or surpasses understanding. What a testimony of the grace and power of our God, when we, as His sons and daughters, can have peace in the midst of difficult circumstances!

But, yes, to bed I must go. Must. stop. writing.  ;D

Be blessed and don’t forget to critique/offer revisions!

Jess    😀

*When I was recently re-reading this, the word ‘guard’ jumped out at me. The picture that came to mind was of the angel that God set to guard Eden with the flaming sword. His peace will guard us if we can rejoice and trust him with every situation and circumstance. How cool is that! Truly, our God is a mighty God!

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MSG-free taco seasoning

A couple of days ago, Wal-Mart had turkey burgers on sale. I don’t remember the brand name, just that they’re relatively new to WM, hormone/antibiotic free, humanely raised turkey products.

They were also delicious.  😀

We had a couple of burgers left over and, in the interest of COST (Cook once, serve twice), I crumbled the remaining burgers to make taco salads. The meat went into the skillet with a little water and several dashes of our bottle of Mexican Spice Blend.

Mexican Spice Blend – I found it in a sidebar of the first cookbook I ever bought – don’t laugh (too much) – Susan Powter’s “Hey Mom, I’m Hungry”. It’s super easy, inexpensive and versatile. Basically, it’s equal parts of: garlic powder, ground oregano and ground cumin. As I can buy larger containers of garlic powder and cumin, I let the size of the ground oregano container determine how big of a batch it will be. I mix them all together in a bowl and then use a funnel to pour the blend into a spice jar with a rocking packing tape label. In the size of batches that I make, it’s enough to fill one whole spice jar (labelled “Mexican Spice Blend”) and part of an extra jar (labelled “Mexican Spice Blend overflow”). I work off of the overflow jar first and then move on to the primary.

This spice blend can be used for taco seasoning, fajita seasoning, chili seasoning…sheesh, if I’m making a Mexican style pizza, I’ll even add the spice blend to the dough as outlined here.

So, versatile? Check.

Easy? Also, check.

And, given how many different things you can make out of one batch of this taco seasoning as opposed to needing two packets of store-bought taco seasoning, it’s inexpensive. Check!

(Plus…you know me, the ingredient control freak? By rolling my own, I know that there aren’t any sneaky excitotoxins hiding out in there – a definite win in my book!)

Do you have a different taco/chili/fajita seasoning recipe? Please share! 😀

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Take one bunch of kale and add a dash of India

So…my parents have come and gone. The power was gone and now is back. Routines that were broken are being renewed and revised. And…it’s time to start writing again. 😀

The recipe that I’m sharing today is one that I created by merging two different recipes and adding a splash of Jess. As titles are generally not my gig, I’ve called it (the not terribly creative) “Coriander Kale and Potatoes”. My original plan had been to submit it to the Vegetarian Times recipe contest, but I’m not sure that the submission went through. Firefox was acting a bit loopy that day and I never heard from them as to whether or not they recieved it. /shrug

My taste testers all enjoyed it though, and it’s been a fairly recurrent staple in our home. My oldest and youngest kids still don’t like it very much, but Nathan, Sarah and I enjoy it immensely. Also, it’s extremely versatile – as you’ll see in a moment!

Coriander Kale and Potatoes

Look at all of the pretty colors!

Coriander Kale and Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into slivers
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into ¾ inch cubes
  • 2 c. of water
  • 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt and dashes of sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T. Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 T. Coriander seeds, slightly crushed (the link shows where I buy my coriander seeds locally)
  • 1 large chicken breast or block of firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieces (optional) (If not using chicken or tofu, add another potato)

Tools:

  • A large skillet with lid
  • A 2 or 3 Qt. saucepan with lid

Directions:

1. Pour the potatoes and water into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. 
Jess note: Feel free to play with this! I’ve used a combo of potatoes and sweet potatoes (as pictured below), potatoes and butternut squash (delicious!!!), and a combo of all three.

2. On medium heat, add olive oil to the skillet and let it warm up for a few minutes. Add the onions, garlic, chicken or tofu (if using), a couple dashes of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook until onions are soft or the chicken is mostly cooked.
Jess note: Again, don’t be afraid to tinker with this! If you like mushrooms or peppers, this is where you would add them. Just slice, add and cook until soft – not squishy.

Laying the Foundation of Yum

Laying the Foundation of Yum - I subbed some sweet potato for some of the potato in the recipe

3. Add the potatoes, the sea salt, the turmeric and more olive oil, if necessary. Mix well and re-cover. Cook for about 4 minutes.

4. Remove the lid, stir once or twice and add the kale (see the pictures below), distributing it evenly over the top of the mixture. Now add the coriander seeds, distributing evenly over the kale. Do not stir, just drizzle a little more olive oil over the top and re-cover. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Jess note: You DO NOT want to overcook the kale. Check out the pictures below to see the transformation you’re looking for.

5. Remove lid and turn off heat. Lightly drizzle lemon juice over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Jess note: Or let the flavors mingle for about 5-10 minutes before serving. It’s delicious either way.  😀

If using as a whole meal, it makes 2 good (as in huge!) sized portions. If using as a side or main dish, it makes 4 – 6 servings.

Raw Kale with coriander seeds on top

Raw Kale with coriander seeds on top - Note the silvery color

 
Cooked Kale

Cooked Kale - Note how it's greened up nicely

 
 
Let me know what you think! Also, please share any other tasty kale recipes that you’ve run across.
 
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Songs in my Head

I’m working on some different posts, but

1. It’s getting late, and

2. There are some absolutely gorgeous songs stuck in my cranium.

So, in an effort to still get something posted at least every other day, I present two beautiful songs that I think will bless you.

As we’ve been watching bits and pieces of this movie over the last few days, I just keep getting taken aback at how Moses was perfectly positioned to do what God wanted him to do. It is a wonderful reminder of God’s sovereignty and his ability to weave everything together to further his designs for the timeline of humanity.

Enjoy the music and may our gracious God and King put his song in your heart and in your head today. May it continually be bubbling up to the surface of your thoughts in such a way as to be repeatedly turning your heart back to him throughout the day. May you hear his voice as you rejoice in him.

17 The LORD your God is with you,
   he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
   he will quiet you with his love,
   he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

And, as I frequently get songs stuck in my head, do you? If so, what are some of the common ones?

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Hummus!

So…this is for my dear friend, Cecilia, the Frugal Frau.

Oh…if only I had a picture to help convey the sheer yumminess of this recipe. Soon, soon! (Like, probably tomorrow.)    😉

Here is the original recipe from active.com.

Here are my modifications:  (because…well…there *have* to be modifications – what fun is there in making a recipe the way it’s written?)   😀

  • The beans don’t have to be great northern. I made this with pintos and it was fabulous. Tomorrow, I’ll be making it with garbanzos. I’ll report back as to how it goes.
  • I don’t use the soy sauce. I’ve been reading some disturbing things about soy that’s not properly fermented and then there’s the whole GMO-soy debate.
  • The last two times, I have not used the checca recipe. Instead I added some of Tomato Chutney by Kerala Curry. (I stumbled upon this at Amazing Savings in Asheville – I ❤ that store!) Nathan actually prefers it with the chutney instead of the checca.
  • When I have made the checca, it’s not always been to the recipe specs. Once I made it normally; the next time I used a combination of sundried tomatoes in olive oil with tomato pesto and fiddled around with the other ingredients. That iteration was absolutely amazing.

You don’t have to have pita chips; it’s equally awesome with tortilla chips or fresh veggies: sugar snap peas, carrots, celery, etc.

Do you have a favorite hummus/veggie dip recipe? What does it look like? Please share!

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So…FB Food for Thought

Duty Calls

/snicker – this one always makes me chuckle. As it is, Nathan’s in bed, sleeping. I’m…well, I’m at the computer.   😉

“But…but…if someone’s wrong, shouldn’t we try to correct them?”

Maybe. Maybe not. I think it depends on what we’re talking about.

I mean…I don’t know that I’m going to try to correct someone who thinks Elvis, Marilyn, JFK and Hoffa are all still alive and well, sharing a condo on the moon. It doesn’t have any practical spillover into…well, reality.

But…if it’s a spiritual thing (not a hair-splitting, nitpicky kind of deal) that actually could make  a difference in someone’s life, I would hope that I would do this:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15, NIV)

(Where “correctly handles the word of truth” equals looking at the whole counsel of  the Bible and not just one or two out-of-context verses.)

“So…what is it that brought this up?”  I’m so glad that you, my dear reader, are going to let me pretend to put words in your mouth.  😉

Someone posted this on Facebook this evening.

 “christians are sinners (like we all are) who have been saved by the grace of God through Jesus”

I see where she’s coming from. I appreciate her heart and her desire to evangelize and show that Christians are real people who still mess up. What concerned me was the wording, so I responded.

 “We were born sinners. We were reborn saints. When Paul addressed his epistles, he never once said ‘to the sinners’ of a particular church. He wrote ‘to the saints.’  Thank God for his grace and his compassion! :)”

I think it’s an important delineation. If we continue to think of ourselves as we did BC (before Christ), then we’ll continue to behave in destructive patterns. If we view ourselves the way that God now sees us: saints, sons, ministers of reconciliation, etc., then we will see that the bar, the standard of behavior by which we gauge ourselves, has gone up. We will conduct ourselves differently.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  (Galatians 5:16b-21, NIV, emphasis mine)

If you claim Christ, but you are having sex with someone you are not married to…you will not inherit the kingdom of God. If you claim Christ and you go out and get drunk*/high all the time, you will not inherit the kingdom of God. If you claim to be a Christian, yet you gossip about the church/pastor across the street while trying to draw people to your church, you’d better go check your medication.

If you are behaving in ways that are contrary to God’s laws of love, operating in the sinful nature, yet you claim Christ as your savior, fix it. Either repent and make your heart/life right with God or stop claiming to be a Christ-follower when you’re not.

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:1-3, NIV, emphasis mine)

“offer your bodies as living sacrifices” – he didn’t say that it would always be easy. It won’t. I guaran-dog-tee that it won’t always be easy. What it will be is worth it. Following God is always, always, always worth the cost.

________________________________________

hehe…now, after an extended rabbit trail, is a brief (i.e. “non-exhaustive” — I do need to go to bed tonight! hehe) listing of Paul’s references to the saints: 
Many thanks to BibleGateway.com for being an awesome resource!

  • To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
  • And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:27)
  • For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. (Romans 15:26)
  • Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them. (Romans 16:15)
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: (2 Cor. 1:1)
  • All the saints send their greetings. (2 Cor. 13:13)
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:1)
  • Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons (Philippians 1:1)
  • Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
    (Philippians 4:21, 22)

Understand, then, that saints are not dead people with big yellow circle halos in a goofy religious painting. They’re not statues in a Catholic church before which we light candles. They’re people. They are us. If you are a Christ-follower, you are a saint. If you are a Christ-follower, then when you die, should Jesus have not returned yet, you will join the other saints in what the writer of Hebrews referred to as the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).

With that great destiny in mind, let us look up toward God and not down in shame. Let us gaze forward to the finish and not poke along near the beginning. Yes, we were born sinners. But, we were reborn as saints. Let us, by God’s grace, live up to this high and holy calling today.

May God bless you as you pursue Him this week! As always, thanks for reading,

Jess 🙂

* Note: Drunk does not mean a drink here or there or even one a day. The Bible does not condemn drinking. The Christian folks who founded this country enjoyed drinking. They understood that having a drink is different from “falling down drunk.”

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Pizza! Pizza! – Part Two

So…I figured that I should follow up with the other pizza crust recipe that we use. You know…a normal pizza crust recipe.    🙂

I’ve had this recipe (printed out in 2007) hanging on my fridge for a couple of years now. It is my go to for a quick, tasty pizza crust or for what I lovingly refer to as “oven bread”. Oven bread is what I make when I’m craving a freshly baked artisan loaf, but don’t want to fork over the money for it. I still follow the procedures that I outlined in yesterday’s post, adding herbs and garlic to the olive oil.

It’s quite tasty and oh so easy.

Happy Friday!

Jess

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Pizza! Pizza!

My, oh my, what a tasty pizza pie!

My, oh my, what a tasty pizza pie!

 
 
(To the tune of “The Brady Bunch” theme song)
It’s the story of a store named Sav-Mor
And the portobellos that Sav-Mor had on sale
They were lovely and they needed eating
So I bought them and now have a Pizza Tale
 
A pizza tale! A pizza tale!
I marinated these portobellos for a pizza tale.
 _______________________________
 
Yes, it’s corny. These are the types of things that pop into my slighty bizarre cranium. Have I mentioned that my husband knows this and still loves me? 😀  😀  😀
 _______________________________
 
 So…I’ve gotten really, really bad about not having anything resembling a monthly menu plan over the last few months.
 
I know, I know…I’ll get better about it. It’s June 2 and I thought about doing a meal plan a few days ago. That counts for something, doesn’t it?
 
/sigh
 
All too frequently, dinner isn’t thought of until, oh, 4:30 – 5. And, yeah…it’s kind of hard to do anything more elaborate than the dinner of champions: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
 
I kid, I kid. We had that for lunch. (And, the West Swain 4-H club’s strawberry jelly is amazing!)
 
Pizza. Pizza is the dinner of champions. Especially if it’s homemade…no preservatives, no sugar, nothing goes in that bad boy except what you put into it. (Control freak much?) 😀
 
 Also, making pizza can be a family activity. My girls come running when it’s time to press out the pizza dough. 🙂
The rising pizza crust

The rising pizza crust

 
So…let’s get started on how to make an amazing pizza!
 
 Step One: Ze Crust
 
 I’ve been maintaining a sourdough starter for the last couple of months, primarily out of sheer stubbornness. My family doesn’t like the sourdough pancakes I tried, they’ll maybe eat the Honey Whole Wheat bread, and the last pizza crust recipe was a bust.
 
So, it was with great relief that I found a Sourdough Pizza Crust Recipe on the GNOWFGLINS website. Even better? It’s an easy recipe. Four ingredients, five to seven minutes and then nothing for a couple of hours during the rise time…my kind of recipe!
 
Now…I do personalize my dough. Those specks that you see are a little bit of dried basil and oregano that I added at the beginning, during the kneading process. I like my pizza savory – the more herbs, the better. At this point, though, maybe 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. of each. We’ll add more later. 🙂
 
Cover your dough, set it in a warm place and prepare for…
 
Step Two: Portobello Marinade
 
And, here’s where we come back to our Pizza Tale theme song. Catchy, isn’t it?
 
$0.99 for a perfectly good package of pre-sliced portobellos? Yes, please!
 
While Nathan was in Alabama helping with tornado recovery, I had made the Vegetarian Times recipe, “White Pizza with Broccoli and Mushrooms” as my first test of the sourdough crust linked above.
 
YUM!
 
However, it was so tasty that there was none left for him when he got back. So…as Sav-Mor also had broccoli for $0.99/package, I thought I’d make him a special one. Enter the Portobello Mushroom Burger Marinade.
 
Confession: I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I guestimated on ingredients. I layered the mushrooms in a small tupperware style container, pouring a little balsalmic vinegar over each layer. Then, after I looked at the recipe again, I added the various ingredients (oil and spices) on top of the shrooms, put the lid on and flipped it over and back several times. I also left them to marinate for about 45 minutes to an hour, flipping and shaking it every time I came near it. (Make sure the lid fits tightly!)
 
While your mushrooms are marinating, you can begin to…
 
Step Three: Prep ze Veggies!
 
Chop your broccoli. Cut your onions. Finely chop your sundried tomatoes. Mince your garlic. Mmmm…garlic.
 
Step Four: Prep ze Crust
 
Prepping the pan

Prepping the pan

 
 Here is the key part to a deliciously savory pizza crust:
 
Pour some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) onto your pizza pan. Add basil, oregano, course sea salt or kosher salt and a minced garlic clove or two. (You can add other herbs if you like. Rosemary is always a nice addition or you can use an Italian herbs seasoning mix. The mix can be whatever you like or you can base it around what kind of pizza you’re making. If it’s a Mexican-style pizza, leave out the green herbs and add cumin instead.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Adding the dough

Adding the dough

 
At this point, you just plop your dough into the mix.
 
Roll the dough ball around in the oil.
 
You’re doing a couple things here:
 
1. Oiling your pan, and
2. Working some of those yummy flavors into your dough.
 
You have to be a bit careful, though. You don’t want to start tearing the dough. It’s very delicate and elastic at this point. I’m sure there are technical terms for the feel and condition of the dough, but I don’t know them. :p
 
Regardless, don’t go overboard and rip the dough apart. We’ve already worked some herbs into the dough before it started rising. We don’t need to do it again. 
 
The finished crust

The finished crust

After you’ve coated your dough, begin to gently push on it and ease it to cover your pan.
 
My girls LOVE to help with this part. 🙂
 
After you’ve finished with the crust, briefly admire your handiwork and proceed to:
 
Step Five: Cook Your Veggies and Prep Your Sauce
 
Here we pretty much follow the recipe, except:
 
1. Always use butter or EVOO. Margerine is not good. Ugh.
2. Don’t put your pizza crust in the oven while you’re getting everything else ready. Just preheat and put the finished pie in when it’s topped.
 
 
Oh, the veggie goodness!

Oh, the veggie goodness!

 
Veggies 
3. Before you add your marinated mushrooms to the skillet, put your sundried tomatoes and onions in first. Let them saute for a few minutes. Then, dump your bowl of mushrooms and marinade into the skillet. Breathe deeply of the wonderful smell. Ahhhh!
4. Proceed as normal until the optional sauce addition.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
White sauce with spinich = bliss!

White sauce with spinich = bliss!

 
 White Sauce
5. If you want to boost the nutritional content/flavor a bit more, add some thawed frozen spinich to the sauce as it’s beginning to bubble.
 
 
 After your sauce is done, grab a spatula and spread it out onto your crust. Then, get a slotted spoon and fish your finished veggie mix out of the marinade. You can toss or, if you want the vitamin content, drink the marinade. (It might also make a tasty salad dressing if you are going to have salad with your pizza.) Evenly distribute the veggies on the sauce. Top with the parmesan and mozzarella (or other cheese).
 
The recipe says to bake it at 425* for 18-20 minutes. Our pizza was done at 15 minutes…but your mileage may vary, depending on how hot your oven bakes.
 
 
Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

 
 
 
There…now, wasn’t that worth it?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 One last thing…

Why can't washing dishes be as much fun as getting them dirty?

 
 Now that we’ve polished off the pizza, who wants to help polish off the dishes? ;D
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hope you like it!  Be sure to tell me how it turns out for you.
 
As always, thanks for reading,
Jess
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Worship: the gift that keeps on giving

“Unplug that iron
Put down that dish
Come spend some time with me
Your heart is aching
Your brain is straining
Come spend some time with me

Come live and love and laugh in my light
I am the only one who can make it all right
Be still and hear me
Draw near and fear me
Come, my love, and spend,
Spend some time with me

Come sit in my presence
Revel in my essence
Come spend some time with me”
(Song fragment on the back of a shopping list, c. 2010)

So…no need to raise any hands, but who gets a little wierded out at the thought of biblical worship? Maybe not where you are now in your walk, but back in the beginning…come on. Be honest now. 😉

Raising hands? Bowing? Kneeling? (Okay, as someone who was raised Catholic, I’m totally used to the concept of kneeling – on a pew, when everyone else was kneeling…not spontaneously or by myself.) Singing a song that wasn’t in a hymnal or on a screen, but making one up (gasp) as I sang it? And clapping? Yeah, right.

I’m not going to go into great detail about how wonderful and varied biblical worship is – Bob Sorge did an amazing job in his book, Exploring Worship. (If you’ve not read it, please do yourself a favor and get it. Read it. Incorporate it into your walk. Worshiping God will change your life.)

Instead, I want to take a moment and point out that while worship is all about God, it’s also about us. Yup, us. Hear me out before you dub me a heretic and close the page.

You see, when we worship God, we are declaring several things:

  1. God is worthy of worship. (Duh.)
  2. We are not worthy of worship. (Duh, again.)
  3. God is really big. So big, in fact, that he is bigger than any situation that may be going on in our lives. So big that our boss that doesn’t like us or our neighbor who’s out to get us or whatever our trial or tribulation may be, when compared to God…it’s not really that big of a deal. Sure, it’s uncomfortable or unpleasant or some other synonym of those two, but…it can never and will never measure up to how big God is.

What an amazing gift that is to us!

Any time we need a perspective shift, something to take our eyes off of our anthill and fix our faces firmly back onto God, all we have to do is worship!

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Today was the day that Nathan was coming back from Alabama. While there had been some rough patches over the last few days, it really hadn’t been that bad. I even sent him a text message saying so. XD
Then, mysteriously, my children began having meltdowns, one after another after another. (le sigh)

Here’s where that nifty perspective shift comes in. You see, one of the ladies that I follow on FB (Stephanie at Keeper of the Home) is currently visiting her Compassion International sponsored child in the Phillipines. And…oh my. Read about it if you get the chance. Dirty. Poverty-stricken. Six families in one house. Etc., Etc., Etc.

The thought hit me today, as little ones were melting down faster than Chernobyl, “At least I know where our next meal is coming from.”

That did it. I dropped out of my pity party before I could send out invitations. Thankfulness began to pour forth from my heart and my mouth and I was able to love on my kids, snot, shrieks and all.

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Closing remarks:

  • 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17, NIV)

Worship is one of God’s good and perfect gifts to us. I mean…it’s not like he needs to be reminded of how awesome he is. He doesn’t have memory problems. Frequently, we do. We need to be reminded of how amazing our God is and how strong, powerful, loving and just he is. Why else do you think he told the Israelites to keep telling the stories of the Exodus to their children? Why record God’s deeds in the psalms? So we could be reminded! So we could be refreshed! Oh, how high and wide and long and deep is the love of God in Christ Jesus! He made us…he knows our weaknesses and built in failsafes to remind us. Woot!

Having trouble worshiping? Keep a Bible with you. Keep it in your car or your purse or wherever you will have convenient access to it. Bookmark Psalm 42. Why Psalm 42? Because this will be your model for entering into worship when your struggling. Read it. Now, observe in verse five:

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and 6 my God. (Psalm 42:5, 6a)

Dude is talking to himself! He is telling himself what he needs to do to worship God. He’s adjusting the attitude of his heart by changing his words. He’s doing what James tells us about in James 3, adjusting his course by adjusting his speech.

So, the next time you need an attitude adjustment to worship, start talking to yourself and don’t stop! Not until you can say wholeheartedly:

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
   let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
   and extol him with music and song.

 3 For the LORD is the great God,
   the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
   and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
   and his hands formed the dry land.

 6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
   let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:1-7a)

What’s an area that you struggle with seeing as being bigger than God? Confess it to him and remind yourself of how truly amazing he truly is!

Thanks for reading!
Jess 🙂

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