Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Crazy Fast Recipes

So, lately, I've been tutoring a friend of mine from church. She and I have been talking about (and struggling with) being working moms with young kids. I made a comment that usually, my kids are in bed by 7:30. Much later than that and meltdowns start to happen, and sometimes, they still happen even before that. My friend reacted in amazement, and I asked why. She said that she was amazed that I could get home between 4:30 and 5:15 and still throw dinner together so that we could eat as a family, bathe kiddos, do the bedtime routines and get everyone down. It's a sprint; I'm not going to lie. Coming home exhausts me, but dinner is a crucial part of my homekeeping duties.

All that to say that I wanted to share a couple super easy, crazy fast recipes that might bless you in busy times. Because I know that working moms are not the only ones who need quick, able-to-be-thrown-together-with-stuff-in-the-pantry dinner ideas. And new recipes are fun.

Salmon Patties
Inspired by a recipe in Parents Magazine

In a bowl, combine 2 5 oz. cans of boneless, skinless salmon, 1 egg and some Italian bread crumbs. If you use plain bread crumbs, add some garlic powder, onion powder and paprika for some flavor. Mix the fish, egg and crumbs, form into patties and "dredge" through bread crumbs to coat (dredge was the word the magazine used, and I thought it was funny).  Cook in a skillet with oil, 3-4 minutes per side until golden and cooked through. Tonight, we had these with frozen fries and peas. Yum. The number of patties you make depends on how big they are; I usually make about 6.
I think the original recipe included ketchup in the mix, but that seemed gross to me, so I took it out.

Rigatoni (or any pasta shape you like)
Inspired by a recipe on the Martha Stewart show

This recipe can be meatless or have a meat sauce. Meatless is definitely faster.
Preheat the oven to around 400. If I'm in a hurry, I'll just broil to melt the cheese.
Boil water and cook your rigatoni. I usually use more than half of the standard sized box so that we have leftovers for lunch the next day.
Brown your meat if you are using it. Drain and combine with a jar of spaghetti sauce; I use tomato and basil. Pour into a baking dish and fold in 8 oz. of cottage cheese. Add the noodles and mix well to combine. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese (or layer it on, whichever...) on top and bake to golden, creamy perfection.

Country Chicken Casserole
From Campbell's Kitchen

You need cooked chicken for this recipe, which can be a drag unless you plan ahead. Also, if you're in a hurry, don't be afraid to heat the casserole without the stuffing in the microwave before finishing it in the oven. Preheat the oven to about 350.
Prepare a box of stuffing (we've been favoring Cornbread flavor lately, but Savory Herb is good too) using the package directions.
Combine 1/2 lb - 1 lb of cubed, cooked chicken with 1 can of cream of celery soup, 1 can of cream of potato soup, 1 cup of milk and 1 package of frozen veggies (any kind). Heat if you want here.
Top with prepared stuffing and pop in the oven to heat through - 15-30 minutes, depending on how warm your dish is when you pop it in.
This recipe makes great lunch leftovers too; I think I may like them better than the original dish.

Happy (super fast) Cooking!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Video Update

In the World, Not of It


But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 
2 Timothy 3:1-5

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

I thought about beginning this post with the sentiment that it is a tough time in history to be a believer. Then it occurred to me what a laughable sentiment that is. In a history that has included burned martyrs and includes persecution to death in the present day in other countries, for luxurious American believers, it is not so difficult to be Christian.

Here's the truth though: I spend most of my life in the world. As followers of Christ, we are called to be in the world, not of it, yet there is so much of our fallen world that surrounds us and threatens us in every detail of our lives. It is an easy thing to struggle with. How do we obey scripture's command to "not be conformed to this world?" It may be relatively easy to be an American Christian, but that doesn't mean that it's easy. Being a believer means facing ridicule from those around us who don't believe in Christ, and it means being under a microscope when bad things happen to see what we'll do. And what do we do? If you're like me, a lot of times, you freeze. You do the wrong thing. I do this; I say the wrong thing or act in the wrong way. I don't always stand up for my beliefs. And I know I'm not constantly being persecuted; I know that. But the majority of the people I interact with day-to-day are not saved. And that can wear me out.

Here's another truth. I don't spend most of my days working in an uplifting environment. Safe? Sure. With working water and electric? Yup. With the necessary tools to do my job? Sometimes, less and less in public education. But in my workplace, the place where I spend so much of my days, I feel like I am being assaulted on all sides from keeping Christ at the forefront of my mind. I don't work in a church or in my home; my work environment isn't something I can control. And it's not that it causes me to sin, so much as it makes it very easy to forget that Christ is in control and not me.

That I am such a good worker/teacher/friend/mother/wife because of Christ's grace.
That I have this job because of Him.
That I must do this job excellently to glorify Him.
Even if my job, my workplace and the people around me don't want Him there.
His Spirit is inside me the whole time.

So this is encouragement to you and to me who spend our lives in the world, but not of it. Take heart, ladies, and in the words of the writer of Hebrews, "run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (12:1). Races are difficult and tiring, challenging and rewarding. Our faith and our lives should be the same.

Soli Deo Gloria, y'all. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Funny Kids

 All right, seriously you guys. I'm going to try to start writing real blog posts regularly. So, we'll see what happens. In the meantime...

 My little fashionista in her church outfit. :)

 He's so happy, and always eating!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


craftapalooza's flickr photostream

There is so much to worry about in our world.
Sometimes, we don't call it worry. We call it anxiety or the desire for control. We call it frustration or being annoyed. We call it being overwhelmed. Our language has a knack for euphemisms that can get us into trouble.
Because the honest truth is that it's sin. That's it. I know, I know, that's so harsh-sounding. We make it sound so palatable and innocent when we say that we are anxious or worried, but here's what we mean.
We mean that we don't trust God to take care of us in this situation.
We think that we can take care of ourselves better than He can.
We think that if only one thing were changed, our lives would be effortless.
We want to decide what happens to us.
We desire a life of ease, relatively free of complications.
We think that God doesn't really love us, because if He did, we wouldn't be in this situation.
It's His fault we are worrying in the first place.

See how ridiculous that sounds? I hope so. Because honestly, the root of our worry is pride. So listen to the command of our Savior:
"Do not worry then, saying 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6: 31-33
I need this word today also, and I pray that you are blessed by it. Soli Deo Gloria.

Kiddo Update

For those of you (i.e.my parents) who are wondering how we're doing...

This is what we see every morning when we open Jonah's bedroom door.

And then, this is Charlotte working on her preschool homework. She had to color in all of the hearts that had the letter Q in them, and she did it with no problem.