Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beyond the Kitchen - The Author


Malcolm and I have been trying to listen to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne – cause I wanted to listen to an adventure and it sounded adventurous to me. It has been the biggest struggle to try to get through, and I honestly don’t know if we’ll do it because it has been SO BORING!! Jules Verne going into so much detail about how this submarine would work, and what kinds of creatures they see – and not only that, but he uses all the technical terms – like such and such mammalia such and such (I can’t even give you an example because my mind can’t even remember such Latin words).

I was a humanities major… I was that kid in any science and math class that was at the desk for every question because I just couldn’t retain what I was suppose to be learning! My friend Joseph would probably love this book, because he totally does the same thing as Verne does – but me? I feel like my little brain is going to explode, so I instead shut down and fall asleep.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Jesus is called the Author of Life (Acts 3:15) – which has stuck out to me since I was kid. But now God has been tying so much scripture to that description of Himself.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” 
Genesis 1:1

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 
John 1:1

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. “Hebrews 12:2

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." 
Revelation 4:11

"’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” 
Revelation 1:8

God is an Author – a well-known, published author!! Though to some His works are plagiarized, or observed but deceived into thinking they are the most beautiful cosmic accident, God makes it clear that they are His.

“For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” 
Romans 1:20-23

Not only through His creation here on earth, but also there are galaxies and the universe in entirety that God has spoke into being! One of the reasons I love sci fi is because the writers have to think big – which I truly believe to be a gift of God. When the Voyager crew is traveling through the Delta quadrant, faced with this seemingly impossible to get back to the Alpha quadrant, they face all sorts of unimaginable phenomenon and beings. 

I think that’s how God wants us to think to give Him glory! “THINK BIG PEOPLE!” He shouts through the truth of the vastness of space! And what do we do? We attribute the amazingness of the final frontier to big accidents of the unknown – WHAT?! That’s like telling the NASA space shuttle engineers that the space shuttle came together by a lot of random accidents! How insulted would they be if they heard that day after day? That the news daily advertised the great space shuttle as this complex process of something simple to complex that had no designers, no thought, no endless hours of work to make it work properly – do you think someone would let that go for very long?

Not only through His creation of heaven, earth, space and everything in-between, but He also has authored an incredible work over the span of 1,000s of years, with 66 writers, that all come to the same message and intent. (For more on the reliability of the Bible, click here or here.)

God has written the most epic narrative of all time – one that isn’t finished yet in our span of mind, but He has already completed. If J.R.R. Tolkien can write 4 super well-known books with incredible detail – with descriptions of forests, songs, people and history – of a place that doesn’t exist, then how much more does God have written about earth, universe, heaven and hell?!  

The biggest adventure, the most beautiful romances, the greatest stories of success and failures – the ultimate masterpiece of literature, science discovery, mathematical possibilities, anthropological exploration, humanitarian work is all given to One Author, Publisher, Pioneer, and Finisher – 

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Yesterday I made these really delightful almond cupcakes (I didn't have time to take pictures - I had a lot to do while making cupcakes... oh multitasking), and the recipe called for a salted caramel frosting. Anytime I hear "salted" and "caramel" together, it make me think of the salted caramel hot chocolate you can get from Starbucks (which is DELICIOUS). So I was all about trying this new caramel frosting.

I will shorten the caramel frosting story: 3 tries, 2 different recipes, and a text message later I finally asked a friend to buy me caramel frosting! I just plain fail to make my own caramel frosting, and I think I will stick to my own recipe I found last fall... you don't have to boil sugar.

Malcolm (the wonderful man that he is) asked me if I had taken pictures for the blog. He has asked me this before after fails, and whether I have or not their is a piece of me that wants to go, "Why on earth would I show the entire internet world (my 3 followers) what a failure I am? I have plenty of success that are way more worth the time to blog about." And almost every time, this wonderful man I married reminds me of what a great correlation their is between our failures in light of God's grace - I can't help but agree.

 (I will just post pictures of the fails I have documented... please enjoy.)

Ah yes, apple fritters. I don't think I had the oil hot enough, so they just soaked up a ton of it (as you can see the powdered sugar soaking it up). Malcolm and I felt sick after eating them.

I think all of us have at least a little portion of us that doesn't want to fail. We all want to show that we put together people who don't need help or don't mess up. We don't want people to see that we trip, slip, fall, dribble (I dribble water all over my face quite often) our way through life because that's simply not cool. 

But if we step back and take a look at the big picture we will see that EVERYONE has failed! Romans 3:10-12 says, 
"As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one;there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.'"

I think I blogged about this one already, but it's alright. I made 5 jars of chicken broth and put them in the freezer. I didn't leave enough space at the top (like the directions told me to), so when they expanded in the freezer the jars cracked. We lost 3 good jars to cook's error that day...

And if that wasn't blatant enough, it goes on to say in verse 23, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."

It doesn't matter how smooth we are (or seem to be), because we can never be smooth enough. 
It doesn't matter if we try to be really (even REALLY) good people - it's just never enough. I have a handful of examples, but one of my favorite examples is if all of human kind lined up on the east coast of the U.S. and we're all going to swim to Spain. Olympic swimmers could probably make it farther than any other, but could they make it all the way across the Atlantic Ocean? (Answer - NO) I would make it up to my knees in water before I would give up! Either way, it doesn't matter how much or how little good we do - we just can't be perfectly perfect that is required to get to God.

I was really into reading Chronicles of Narnia (still finishing the books), but I was inspired to make Turkish Delight after reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It was suppose to be sticky, but solidified. After a week in the refrigerator, mine stayed runny. After some research, I found out that it is really hard to make, and homemade Turkish Delight is a rarity. I was bummed.

It's not enough that we have had Godly people raise us or even in our lives because in the grand scheme of things we are responsible for ourselves. The first part of Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death..." Just like if you work a job and earn wages for your time their, your money is yours. It may go towards and effect (or affect? I'm terrible with English) others around you, but the check is made out to you. It's the same with our wrongdoings (or sin). If you have sinned (which we all have), then you have earned death - which is a spiritual separation from God and an eternity headed to hell - to be honest and frank with you all.

Baking cookies usually require a dainty touch or even a hint of carefulness to hands - which I swear I just don't have! Here is a keen example of this. These were candy cane cookies I baked last Christmas. It is a lot harder to twist cookie dough to look all pretty like than it looks in the books! I don't know how my mom made so many beautiful cookies at Christmas.

Talk about a fail blog! We have failed miserably! But, it doesn't have to end there. Romans 5:6-8 says, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

We didn't do anything to earn God's favor, or to even prove that Jesus should die for us. He just did it! 

You know Romans 3:23 I mentioned earlier? Want to see the verses that sandwich them?

Romans 3:22-24, "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

(*gaping mouth*)

Now let's finish Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

These were some of my favorite cookies as a kid. (I will probably blog about them sometime, because they do turn out to be tasty.) But I feel like every time I make them I forget to grease my cookie sheets - which I have decided that if a recipe says you don't have to, I will ignore them. These cookies ALWAYS stick to the cookie sheet and then I'm forced to serve them in crumbles rather than cookies!

 We don't have to stay in the failure of our sin! God has a marvelous gift ready for us all, but we need to receive it. We must individually chose to open this gift.

Romans 10:9-13 explains how we open this gift,
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

Opening this gift is not just agreeing with what I've been talking about intellectually. It's a personal choice to put your faith in Jesus Christ and to follow Him as an act of your will. Though emotions may follow your choice, opening God's gift is not a mere emotional experience. 

If you haven't made this choice to open this gift that God is presenting to you, you can make that choice today. Choosing to follow Christ doesn't mean every day will be rosy and perfect, but He does promise to give you a full life of meaning and purpose, filled with true peace, satisfaction,  and love that is beyond what anyone or anything can offer you.

I was into this big fresh fruit into cupcakes phase last spring (which I had some AMAZING outcomes), but after this fail I took a step back. These are blackberry mango cupcakes. I took a recipe for mango cupcakes and adapted them. I really am no good at trying to figure out my own recipes! As you see them here, they came out looking a lot like they do now, just more brownish (which made them look even worse)! They didn't even taste all that great. This is by far one of my biggest fails in cooking!!

If you want to make that choice right now, you can pray right now. Prayer isn't anything fancy - it's simply just talking to God. God knows your heart. He really isn't concerned so much with the right word combination as much as is with the attitude of your heart. Here is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I'm a failure when it comes to being good enough. I want to have a real relationship with you - one that I can know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I ask you to come into my life as Lord and Savior. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life with you. Please make me the kind of person you want me to be.

If you prayed that, you can know right now that your eternity is set! You have a relationship with Christ that can't be taken away, and you have entered into a big family of people that will love you - me being one of them! I also encourage you, if you have made this decision, please tell someone today - tell me if you feel comfortable doing so!!

Here are some links to help you get started:

•If you still have questions about making a decision or if you made this decision but have a lot of questions go to or

•If you want some resources to help you get started in this new relationship you have begun today, please visit

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bearing Fruit

I am so proud of my garden! My garden this year has been through some "hard knocks" (or however you would write that) this summer, but they are fighters! I lost my first batch of plants to a great misunderstanding (I wrote my instructions wrong, and my lovely plant sitter gave everything 2 tablespoons of fertilizer every day for a month - needless to say they were fried). So these got a late start to the year.

The tomato plant almost completely died after having it in my possession for about 12 hours (close to the quickest kill ever), but was completely revived! Now I have many many green tomatoes growing. 

AND I HAVE BANANA PEPPERS COMING IN!! I have only recently developed a taste for banana peppers (and pickles for that matter - no, I'm not pregnant). They have really made my Subway sandwich near perfection, and I'm excited to see what I can do with some home grown ones.

And I just saw a little bell pepper come in too!

I have really enjoyed watching these plants produce it's produce. And knowing I get fresh chives when I want them, and strawberries are possible to have, it's been a highlight to the end of my summer.

Why am I blogging about my garden on my baking blog? Well... it fits better here, and I might bake with them sometime. But more over, I wanted to share what God showed me with the plants today.
I was sitting on my couch thinking about how cool my plants are, and how I'm proud of them like they were small children getting 100% papers and a smiley sticker on their spelling test.  I was just thinking about how excited I get when it produces fruit. I don’t get angry at the plants when they don’t produce fruit in my timing, but instead I wait in anticipation for when it come along. I get excited when I see a new flower starting to open on it, because it’s the sign of a potential tomato or pepper. And I rejoice at the growth it takes. Rushing it won’t help anything – only the time it needs will do.

God is the same way with us. He doesn’t get angry when fruit doesn’t come up in a certain time frame – because He knows just what we need to see fruit happen. He doesn’t get anxious to see the flowers turn to peppers or tomatoes. He simply rejoices in what takes place, knowing that fruit will come and will be best in it’s timing. 

All we need to do is abide in Him, and we will produce much fruit (John 15:5). But we can't expect fruit in our timing - only is God's. Don't beat yourself up, like I often do, when I think I'm not meeting up to God's standards. For the fact is we can't meet up to God's standards, that's why God sent His son.

Romans 5:6-8 says,

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

And Jesus said in John 3:16-18 says,

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

See? Jesus has already taken care of the standard we couldn't take care of. If we truly believe in Him, then we don't have to worry about meeting the standard. We can instead can live in His power to produce what He desires of us. Here is another promise:

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

Isn't that good?! You don't have to worry about your growth. JESUS is in charge of it!

Here's the best one in my opinion:

"What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Ham What I Ham and That's What I Ham

So I JUST did a post, but I have all this free time (well, at least I did... today is the last day of it for a little while) and I just want to share the fun things I've learn with cooking! In my previous post, I talked about cooking chicken ahead in the crock pot. I also wanted to tell you about the wonderful world of cooking ham ahead as well.

A couple years ago was when I REALLY started getting in cooking, not just baking. I was fairly fresh into the "real world" after graduating from college, and I actually wanted to learn things that actually interested me (crazy how that works out) in a non-classroom setting. Cooking has always been one of those things for me. Anyway, though I had a little more time than when I was in school, I didn't usually have time to cook still. So I made time!

Hanging out at my old apartment

Sundays were the only free day of the week to give me enough time to cook. I started with inviting a few friends over to eat what I would make, and it kind of grew to a family dinner time with my friends on campus. We would eat, play games, and chat the night away - I LOVED it!!

During these times, I began this relationship with the crock pot. She was so laid back, so caring to my food, and she didn't mind if I left food in her all day (and still is, by the way). Since dinners were growing to more people, I needed ideas on what to feed people. Two of the recipes I share today are from those times - so good and easy, I just keep coming back to them!

Easter Ham


• 1 whole ham (that can fit in your crock pot)
• 1 20oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
• 1/3 cup maple syrup

If you want, start by lining your crock pot with aluminum foil - sometimes it helps with clean up. Put your ham in there, dump the pineapple and syrup on top, and cook on high for about 6 hours. 

Easy, right? And super good! I usually have us eat ham for dinner that night. One time I made homemade mashed butternut squash to go with it - Oh Mylanta, seriously SO GOOD!!!

After we have had our fill that night, I take the meat off the bone, stick it in a freezer baggie and freeze it for meals later. These are my favorites!

Potato Soup with Ham and Cheese

  • 2 cups red potatoes (which I usually use 3-5 potatoes, and not always red), peeled & cubed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • cayenne pepper (haven't used because I don't have any in the cupboard)
  • black pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked, cubed ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (at LEAST one cup - add more like 2 cups if you love cheese like I do!)
  • fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish, if desired (which I never have on hand, so I also haven't used yet)

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain; reserve 1 cup of the boiled potato liquid for later. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in your onion to cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in flour, then sprinkle pepper on it. Cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring. Add potatoes, reserved liquid, milk, and salt. Mix it good. Add ham chunks and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Ham Sandwiches

I've tweaked this one a lot, so here is what I would say for ingredients:

• Ham
• Mustard
• Brown Sugar
• Some sort of roll or bread
• Maybe cheese - like provolone slices

Here is what I did: I defrosted enough ham that would fit in my Little Dipper (a mini crock pot - kind of cute in a kitchen appliance sort of way, and this was my first time using it so I was excited). 
How cute!!
I started with 2 tablespoons of honey dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons brown sugar and let it cook for a while. I would keep coming back to it to taste and add mustard and brown sugar enough to thoroughly cover the meat enough. I had a hard time keep away! I kept eating pieces of the meat all afternoon!

I had it in the crock pot for about 4 hours, but you can do less than that. Everything is already cooked, so it's simply a matter of warming it all up and making the flavors blend together. The original recipe can give you a full crock pot of this you need to make it for a lot of people and don't have a whole ham already cooked up. But the Little Dipper size was PERFECT for feeding just Malcolm and I!
Pre-melted cheese on the sandwiches

Anyway, after it was all done, and Malcolm came home from climbing, I heated the oven to about 300º or so (doesn't really matter, it was just to melt cheese) and toasted slices of bread. I situated the bread on a cookie sheet, piled on the ham goodness, and added a slice of provolone cheese to each pile of ham. I bake them in the oven just so the cheese would melt, and then gobbled those piggies up! These are definitely up for tweaking to your delight, but a great recipe to use that ham up!

Split Pea Soup
(from Yahoo!


• 1 package dried green split peas
• 1 large onion
• 2 tsp minced garlic
• 3 large carrots, diced (Can I be honest? I admit I don't exactly know what "diced" looked like. I just kind of chop them up to fit my fancy. Kuddos to you who actually know!)
• 3 celery stocks, diced
• 5 cups (40 oz) chicken broth - which you can make yourself!
• 1 or 2 potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
• 1 package ham hocks OR use the ham hock/bone thing from the ham you cooked up for the meat
• salt and pepper

Put everything in your crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 11 hours - go until the peas are very soft and falling apart. Remove bone, but keep the meat in there. To be honest, I haven't quite got how long everything should cook for down yet. I usually cook it all too long or don't add enough liquid or something because it almost always has turned out kind of pasty. Don't get me wrong, it's still good!

This was one of my discovery recipes for family dinners. I still make it! What good memories! It brings me back to seeing a glimpse of what the early church was like in Acts 2:42- 47,
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." 
Did you notice how they devoted themselves to breaking bread (essentially sharing meals) together? That when they opened their homes to eat together as the body of Christ that they had glad and sincere heart, they praised God, and simply enjoyed one another? I think we all desire to have that kind of fellowship! I think, if we are honest with ourselves, we may not want to always be social or get outside of our comfort zones to let people into our homes (I know I'm not - I always put forward the excuse that my house it too tiny to have people over). But the reality is that, when we actually do let people come into our homes and into our lives for the purpose of sharing a meal and sharing our lives with one another, then our hearts actually expand to see the grander picture of Who God is, what He's doing, and actually be thankful for what He has given us!

Hebrews 10:25 says, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." We need to be in a habit of coming together and encouraging one another - why?

Hebrews 3:13, "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." The reason we need to keep coming together is to keep us from being jaded to sin in our own lives! Maybe that's why the Church that I've seen developing all of America is one of "self-feelgoods" and focus on all those other non-essentials other than the reality of Jesus and what He has done for us. Maybe to fight the urge of the American dream, we need to eat more meals together! Okay, maybe stretching it a little bit, but you do get my point? God created us to be social people in need of one another - whether we think so or not - so we can encourage one another to running after our ultimate need of God.

So, a small tangent, but one that I think is important. Last fall I did a study on fellowship, and it opened my eyes more to what it really is. I suggest studying for yourself what the Bible has to say about fellowship.  Ask HIM what your next step to developing fellowship is. And if it's sharing a meal with some brothers and sisters in Christ, you at least have some ideas from here on what to feed them!
Okay, this is what my split pea soup looks like. Like I said earlier, it tastes better than it looks!!

The Chicken Crossed the Road to Get to my Crock Pot

With going on campus, and even with being home in Durango more consistently & making meals for the Hubbers and I, I've been looking into making easy, affordable meals. I've discovered the best thing for cooking on a busy schedule - precooked meat! But not precooked in the store, precooked at home.

Malcolm and I on vacation - I don't think there is a better picture that captures the true us!

Today I wanted to tell you about cooking chicken. I buy a whole chicken, which is usually around or below $5. At home, I stick the whole shebang in the crock pot, sprinkle it with paprika, then let it cook on high (or low) until it's done - which I usually peel away at the chicken with a fork: if the meat peels away easily and I don't see any pink then I call 'er done.

After it's all cooked, then I pick away the meat and stick it in a freezer baggie. After that I stick the chicken in the freezer and take it out when I need it. When I do need chicken for something, I usually stick the bag in the microwave for 1 minute increments until it has thawed enough to loosen enough chicken that I need. Then I stick the rest of the chicken back in the freezer until I need it.  

The bones and everything else (I mean EVERYTHING that is not meat) in a bag to save for later. The reason I keep the leftover stuff is so I can make my own chicken stock - and it's not difficult AT ALL!! 

 Chicken Stock:
(original recipe I found at


• Chicken "leftovers"
• Water
• Salt
• Pepper
• Bay Leaves (I've done both crushed and full leaves)
• Parsley
• Carrots
• Celery
• Onion

You can add or subtract whatever you want to, but the point is to infuse the water with flavor. (You can't subtract the chicken carcass, however. If you take that out, then you don't have chicken stock. :)

What I do is put everything in a pot, then fill it with enough water that it won't bubble over when you start boiling it it won't get all over your stove top. Once you get everything in the pot, set it on high and let it boil for a while (to be honest, I have no clue how long I let it simmer/boil, but for at least a few hours).

Once it's been cooking for at least 3 hours, then strain it out. I usually set a big bowl in the sink, then a colander on top of that. I dump the whole pot through the colander into the bowl, then I strain the liquid a couple times to eliminate any major bothersome chunkies.

Bowl of broth... in case you were confused.

Following that, I can it. I've done both water bath and pressure canning, and pressure canning is suppose to be the safer route. Some sites say to freeze, then other don't say anything. So I'm trying with this new batch not freezing (I lost a few jars to the freezer last time). If we die of some sort of food poisoning, you'll know what happened.


Chicken stock has become one of those things I need to keep on hand because it is SO versatile in cooking. My FAVORITE easy recipe that needs chicken stock is....

20-Minute Noodle Bowls (for about 2 people)
(from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook 15th Edition - click here for a similar online recipe)


• 14 oz chicken (or beef) broth
• 1/4 teriyaki sauce (the best is Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce)
• 1/4 water
• 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
• 2 3oz packages ramen noodles (any flavor, cause you don't use the flavor packet)

Combine broth, water, and sauce in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Then add you veggies and your noodles. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 3 minutes. Then serve it up! That easy and they are really tasty too! 

I usually add chicken too. If raw, I let it marinate in a bowl with teriyaki sauce and a little apple cider vinegar for about an hour or so before I cook it up in a pan. I like to leave some of the marinade in the pan so it kind of does a boil/fry thing. Then, once the noodles and veggies are done and served up in bowls, I add the chicken on top. If precooked chicken, I douse the chicken in teriyaki sauce for a while, and then stick it in with the rest of the the noodles and veggies for the last minute of cooking (since the chicken is done, but usually not hot from coming out of the freezer - go figure).

With the rest of your already cooked chicken, you can make many a different meal. Our usuals around these here part are chicken enchiladas, homemade chicken and green chili mac n cheese, and this potato/chicken country gravy/ cheese thing (sounds weird, but tastes decent enough - and cheap). But you can replace it for various meals that need cooked chicken - like pot pies, pasta, etc.

Next time, I'll tell you about ham... oh so delicious! Sorry Israelites, you probably won't be able to eat those meals!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Let Them Eat Cupcakes

I haven't blogged in a while - I figured this would happen. After going into the full swing of campus ministry hasn't left me much time to think outside of ministry (which is completely fine to me)! Adjusting back to ministry has been a little bit of a challenge - including my first couples weeks coming home and crashing on the couch. I would barely want to cook, let alone blog about it!

Students at DCC
Though the work has been exhausting, I still am blessed and excited to have outlets to bake!

One of the new challenges this semester has brought in my baking has been baking dairy-free. Both my good friend, Hedy, and dear student, Meghan, can't have dairy - thus I gladly adjust! I could be selfish, look at all the recipes that need dairy, and tell myself, "Well, it's only going to be one person who can't eat them. Everyone else will like them!"

Hedy with her reason for not having dairy - totally worth it!
But what if I have that attitude in other areas of life? For example, almost any time I prepare for a talk either at Connect or at a retreat, I struggle with myself on whether I should or shouldn't share the Gospel - even if it's only a few verses on what Jesus did for us. "Everyone here is already a Christian, " I think. "They know this already. I could use the time to speak on the main point."

The main point?! Jesus IS the main point, right?! Why on earth would I leave out the Good News just because the majority already knows? Not to mention, should we as Christ followers ever be tired of hearing how God Himself came to earth, lived a perfect life in the midst of temptation, died for OUR imperfect lives, and rose HIMSELF from the grave to conquer death?! I think not! (If I were an old English man, I would say NEIGH!)

So, just like I would accommodate any talk I have to share the Gospel for even that one who needs Jesus' free gift, I will gladly find and bake recipes without dairy! And boy have I found some GREAT recipes!!

First, I said earlier how I would tell you about the Babycakes Mini Cupcake Maker - today is the day my friends.
Behold, the cupcake maker!

I REALLY LIKE my cupcake maker! Seriously, baking is so easy and fun. I don't have to worry about preheating and then, even more important, turn the oven off before leaving the house. You plug it in, let it warm up (which takes about 5 minutes or less), and then dump in your batter. You can make around 40 or so cupcakes for one cake recipe. In the summertime, it makes baking in the heat far more tolerable then turning on the oven. AND you can make more than just cupcakes! Sometime I'll add some of those recipes at a later time, but now, unto the dairy free goodness!!

Applesauce Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce (I kind of make these heaping, or even add an extra 1/4 or 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used regular oil)
  • 2 eggs
I just dump it all in a bowl and mix, then bake it up at 350º! There is a frosting I tried once that you can also try that you can find on the link above. It's a little too tart in my opinion for the "spiceness" of the cake.  Make sure if you go off the website's recipe that you read the comments below.

Nairobi Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water (I used mint chocolate soy milk once and it was great)
1. Preheat oven to 350º and grease either your cake pans or line cupcake pan or do what you need to for what your making.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, 3/4 cup water, and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl and beat it up (with a mixer not your fists). Then add the eggs, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup water and beat it again.
3. Baking  it in oven should take about 30 minutes in cake form, and shorter as cupcakes I imagine (I make these in the cupcake maker, and they take about 5 minutes). Bake until an inserted tooth pick come out clean.

Then I made this frosting with it, which I changed from this recipe:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) shortening (Crisco)
  • ¼ cup chocolate soymilk (or almond milk, but I bought a mint chocolate soy milk)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder
  • ½ t. vanilla 
Mix it all together to where it's well mixed and fluffy looking.

Pie Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 (21 ounce) can pie filling
Mix it together and bake in a greased pan at 350º for about 40 to 50 minutes. I really love this recipe! It's easy and tasty, and you can use any can of pie filling - I've used cherry and mixed berry so far. If you want more of the fruit, make sure you fold it and not use your mixer. I use the mixer - I like the broken up fruit stuff. 

Chocolate Crinkles Cookies:
(from The Great Cookie Book, but you can also find the same recipe here)


  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º.  I greased my cookie sheets. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Let me tell ya, these are AMAZING and a huge hit! PLEASE make them!!