Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A...B...C Casserole

I love to cook!  Very rarely do I cook from a recipe (except for baking) unless I just come across something that looks irresistible.  Instead I experiment A LOT!  To me, cooking is like science...a big experiment.  I throw lots of things together that I think will compliment each other and then see how it turns out.  Usually I'm pleased with the results.  I have had some disasters that have turned into some funny stories for my kids to tell.  So, really they weren't complete disasters because they add to our family's story!

This afternoon I was in a mood to experiment.  The result was an Artichoke, Broccoli, and Chicken Casserole.  (Sorry--I didn't think to take a picture of the end result before it was demolished.)  It was delicious.  I typically do not write down these experiments.  I'm not sure why; I just don't.  However, I thought I would share this recipe.  It's simple and takes only a few common ingredients.  The catch is I really don't measure so if you decide to make this you'll have to make it 'to taste' so I hope you are up to some experimenting yourself. :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Saute 1/2 package of pearl onions, 1/2 pound chopped bacon in 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add a bit of salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  I did this in a large dutch oven so that I had plenty of room to add other ingredients.  Once the bacon is browned and the onions have started to caramelize, add 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of bite-sized chunks of boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Add a bit more salt and pepper.  Add 1 to 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning and some lemon juice (today I didn't have lemon juice so I used lemon pepper was good, but I think I would have preferred fresh lemon juice).  Add 2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup (low fat/low sodium).  Stir often to keep from sticking. 

Once chicken is almost cooked through, add one package frozen broccoli florets and one can of drained, rinsed, and chopped artichoke hearts. 

Season one final time with salt and pepper to taste. 
Spray a deep dish, oblong baking dish with non-stick spray.  Line the bottom of the dish with 1 package of  flattened crescent roll dough.  Spoon the artichoke, broccoli, and chicken mixture over the dough.  Then, cover that mixture with another package of flattened crescent roll dough.  Bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown.

This was plenty to have as a one-dish supper.  My family loved it!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Heart of Worship

One of my favorite songs is Heart of Worship by Hillsong United.  It speaks about what true worship is really supposed to be about.  The topic of worship has been on my mind and heart recently for lots of reasons.  The main reason I would suspect is that God is dealing with me personally in this area of my walk with Him.  Another reason is that it has been a topic of discussion around our home recently.

It took me a long time to realize that worship happens anywhere at anytime when I make a choice to give myself over to the act of praising and adoring my Lord and Savior.  It is not something that only happens during the Sunday morning worship service, although that is certainly a high point of worship during the week.

Something else that I think is often misunderstood about worship or more specifically worship services is that the worship service is NOT about what we can get out of it but what we bring to give back to God.  Although our lives are enriched during worship services, that is not what it is all about.  We are there to give glory to God!

So who has the right to play an offer prayers and praises?  Only the most talented?   Do you have to be a certain age?  Should it change from week to week?  The debates over worship are some of the most heated debates in churches today.  How sad!  There we go again...thinking it's all about us, when it is not!  The people who play an instrument, lead, sing, pray, etc., are there to do the same as those of us who are in the give glory to God!  As that song says, "It's ALL ABOUT YOU, IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU, JESUS!"

The song I mentioned at the top of the post says:

I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

We're not fooling God.  He sees our motives...whether pure or impure.  How sweet the communion with Him is when we enter into His presence with pure motives and unhindered worship!

Blessings to you all and to God be the glory!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Whirlwind of a Week

In one week...

Dale 'graduated' from 8th grade and all our boys are now in high school!  He was awarded a Principal's award at the end of the year 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony.  We are very proud of him.

He looked so handsome all dressed up in his suit!  He wore some loud socks that day.  Apparently, he had some of his teachers a bit nervous as he rolled his pant legs up during the school day.  They believed he would attempt to walk the promotion line that way.  Truth is...if he thought they would have allowed it or if he thought he could have in any way got away with it...he would have!


Brooke graduated #1 in her class from Bullitt Central!  She gave a moving speech to her classmates with the composure of a professional!  Her boldness to include her Lord and to quote scripture brought tears of joy to my eyes.  We are proud of her for her many accomplishments!

The day after graduation, we celebrated with family and friends.  Brooke loves to have fun!

Just a few days after all this celebrating, Brooke turned 18!  Once again, we were celebrating.

Then, only two days later it was time to have some more fun as we celebrated with Blake and Cody as they turned 16!

To top off all of this fun, Blake and Cody went today to take their Driver's Permit Tests...

They both passed and are now officially drivers!  How exciting!  We're very proud of both of them for the young men they are and the grown men they are becoming.

God has truly blessed us!  Having 4 children this close in age has its challenges; but the rewards far outnumber those challenges.  Each day is an adventure to be sure.  There are times we have to remind one of them or all of them that our job is not to be their buddies, but to be their parents.  That's okay, though...because there are many times we just get to have a blast with them!  I am so thankful God chose me to be the mother of Brooke, Blake, Cody, and Dale.  Even on the most challenging of days, each of them gives me a reason to smile.