Monday, February 18, 2013

Chopped At Home

Posted by Paulette

It's the last few days before you go grocery shopping and you look into the fridge, freezer and pantry and wonder to yourself, "what am I going to make for dinner?"
These are the days that new recipes get invented in our house. I say that I am playing the game Chopped.

Have you ever watched that show? I am fascinated that chefs can take ingredients that are so in-congruent to one another and make something fantastic! I don't go out and buy the ingredients to make their dishes, but I do get some inspiration from their thinking outside the box.

Last night I put on a pot of black beans in the crockpot to cook all day while we were at church. Beyond that I had no plans for what to do for dinner. I had some produce that needed to be used before it went bad, and I knew we were out of corn tortillas, my usual stand-by to have with beans. So I pretended I was a fabulous chef, and made something up.   

I had 2 avocados, 3 red bell peppers, and a bag of spring greens. 
One avocado was chopped up and layered over the spring greens, and the 3 peppers were roasted on the stove element until they were black. Which as always, set off the smoke alarms. My kids love to have fire drills! Once they were blackened (the peppers not the kids, silly) I wrapped them in paper towel to sweat while I made the salad dressing.

I looked up a recipe for Avocado dressing and tweaked it a bit. Hey, it was from Paula Deen. Can we say, "Fattening?"

Here's her recipe:
1 large avocado, peeled and mashed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper


Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill and serve.

And here's mine:
1 large avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
1 cup fat free Greek Yogurt
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 garlic cloves
1/2 small onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup water

Throw into a blender, and blend until smooth

You can do it without the water, but it's really thick.

Now back to the salad. Rub the black off  the peppers with the paper towel, slice and throw into the salad. I have to tell you. It's like eating candy when you get to a piece of pepper. YUM!
I also served the black beans with the  Jalapeno-Cheddar-Corn Muffins
I would say that I won this round. Now, where's my $10,000?

Gluten Free Jalapeno-Cheddar-Corn Muffins

Posted by Paulette

What do you do on a Sunday when you run out of corn tortillas to eat with your black bean soup? You pick up a recipe book and make some improvements to a recipe, and voila! You have some delicious muffins.

Jalapeno-Cheddar-Corn Muffins
Dry Ingredients
2/3 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c cornstarch
1/4 c sweet rice flour
1 c cornmeal
2 teaspoons (or 2 packets) Truvia sweetener
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic

Wet Ingredients
1 large egg
1/4 c canola oil
1 1/4c milk

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with papers or spray with a non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and the whisk them.
Add wet ingredients, and mix well, by hand. Add cheese and peppers and mix in. 
Spoon batter into muffin cups to 2/3 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

The original recipe was taken from Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone. I made a few changes after making it for the first time. Don't be afraid to use both Jalapenos. they aren't hot at all after baking. To add even more flavor, I may roast the peppers first, and add them including the seeds. My additions include the extra salt, and the garlic powder. 

My kids loved these. Usually they complain if something is too "spicy" but they had no problem gobbling them all up.

I guess it was a good thing I ran out of tortillas!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Image of Christ

Posted by Paulette

What picture comes to mind when you think about Jesus Christ? Is it a painting that hangs on the wall in your church that you've seen since you were a child?

Is it a more recent painting by a famous artist?

In countries all over the Earth, people have a different image of Christ.
One of my  favorite artists depicts Christ in every day situations with his friends and playing with children.

And I am pretty sure that that is not what Christ looked like.
When I sculpted a doll for my mother, I looked at pictures of Semitic people.

If you Google images of "Jesus Christ", you get several different pictures. Everything from first century paintings to photographs of actors portraying Him. BBC even hired a forensic anthropologist to make an educated guess as to what Jesus may have looked like.

But what does it mean to have "His image in our countenance?"
How do we change as we try to live his teachings? And how does this happen?

A favorite story illustrates this process.

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi,
and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

While reading Malachi chapter 3, a group of women in a Bible study came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
One woman spoke up and said the verse was intended to convey the sanctifying influence of the grace of God. Then she said she would visit a silversmith and report to the other women what he said on the subject.
She went accordingly and, without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which the smith described to her.
"But, sir," she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am," replied the silversmith. "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
The woman at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." God sees it needful to put His children into a furnace: His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random: "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
As the woman was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way to know when the purifying process is complete is . . .
 . . .when he can see his own image reflected in the silver.
Author Unknown

It is through adversity, and obeying His commandments that we change. There is a softening of our features as well as our hearts as we learn to love ourselves and others.
When we begin to follow in His footsteps we will encounter stumbling blocks; maybe even boulders that we will have to move, or climb over. They can harden us, or make us softer to the will of our Father in Heaven.
It's our decision.
And when we pray, and listen, and study His word, we come to know Him. No matter what He may look like, we will know Him, the way we know a close family member or friend.
And more importantly, He will know us by our fruits.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

XOXO blocks

Posted by Paulette

Sometimes you just gotta make something! I had some 2X4 leftover pieces from revamping the swing just sitting in the garage. 
Of course, being a chronic crafter, I have all kinds of crafting stuff tucked away. So this project cost me nothing to do.

They are in the girl's bedroom. 

Sorry about the fuzzy cell phone pics.
These were made by applying a light wash of black paint all over the block, and then sanding the front edges.
Then I measured the blocks and made the paper cut outs 1/2 an inch smaller all around. Then, using my finger dipped in the watered down paint, I used them like a distressing ink pad, around the edges of the scrapbook paper.  
The paper was then sprayed with adhesive and applied to the blocks. 

The letters were conceived in a similar fashion. After cutting out  a piece of scrap paper to the correct size, I drew the letters how I wanted them, and then cut them out and traced around the paper. The letter inside was free hand painted using a script liner. You can color the back of the scrap paper to create a graphite transfer, if you don't want to free hand it.
When the paint was dry, I used Mod Podge over the the front of the block. When it was mostly dry, I added the hearts and smooshed some more Mod Podge on them. the just tied on the ribbon. 

An easy cheap project!
Here's some of the other decor in the girl's room.

  Some day I will repaint that head board. So many projects, so little time! Sophia helped me make the heart pillow. I let her stuff it.

 The wall hanging took way longer than I thought it would! It's made using the leftover hardware cloth, and then using 4 inch by 1.5 inch strips of fabric, I filled it in like a rug. 

I am now making and stashing away stuff for decorating for the summer.