Thursday, June 30, 2011

Delicious Dinner!

I had time to do some experimenting in the kitchen this afternoon.  Dinner was delicious!  We had an Apple Bacon Meatloaf, Green Beans, and Mashed Cauliflower.  Everyone loved the new meatloaf recipe AND the mashed cauliflower.  At first, there was a little hesitation with the cauliflower, but the taste won everyone over. 

Apple Bacon Meatloaf

1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 to 1 pound Italian Sausage
2 Eggs
1 c. bread crumbs or crushed herb stuffing crumbs
1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
1 Gala or Fuji Apple, chopped
6 pieces Cooked Bacon, chopped
6 pieces Uncooked Bacon
1 c. Apple Butter (separated 1/2 c. for meatloaf and 1/2 c. for glaze)
1/2 c. Cinnamon Apple Sauce
6 Tbs. Hickory Barbecue Sauce (3 for meatloaf and 3 for glaze)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 2 loaf pans.  Line the bottom of each loaf pan with bread slices.  (This will soak up any grease from the cooking meatloaf.)  Set aside.  Combine meats, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, apple, chopped bacon, apple butter, apple sauce, and barbecue sauce using your hands to mix thoroughly.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  Mix thoroughly.  Separate and put into loaf pans.  Mix the rest of the apple butter and barbecue sauce to make glaze.  Spread over top of meatloaf mixture.  Place 3 slices of uncooked bacon on each loaf.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until cooked through.  Switch oven to broil setting.  Broil for 10 minutes or until bacon on top is crisp.  Let meatloaf rest before moving to serving plate.  (Remember, the bread is not for eating.  It is soaked with grease.  Just discard.)

Mashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 c. chicken stock or broth
1/2 container Philly Garlic Cooking Cream
1/2 stick butter
Salt and Pepper
Chives for garnish

Place cauliflower florets in a large pot.  Cover with chicken stock.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Then, leave covered and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover and bring heat back up to medium high.  Cook for about 10 more minutes.  Drain.  Add cooking cream, butter, salt and pepper.  Mix with a hand mixer until desired consistency for your taste.  Move to a serving bowl.  Garnish with a pat of butter and chives.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Answered Prayers...Do We Really Want God to Answer?

My pool time is often prayer, worship, and thinking time.  Floating around in the cool water listening usually to K-Love Radio.  This is a very personal time for me when I'm all alone in the pool.  Today while enjoying this beautiful day, a conversation I had last night with a very strong, wise Christian woman came back to my mind.  Basically, we talked briefly about our prayers (specifically for our children in this conversation) and whether we 1. really trust God to answer and 2. really want the answer we're praying for. 

Think about it.  We all know there are prayers we definitely want answered the way we are praying.  When we pray for a sick child (or anyone), we want healing.  Of course we want our child well...healthy...full of life.  As parents, when we pray for the salvation of our children, we truly want that.  After all, it is frightening to think of eternity with us in God's presence in Heaven and our children in Hell being tormented for eternity.  That is definitely a prayer I prayed for years.  Praise God!  He answered that prayer with all four of our children being drawn to Christ and being saved by genuine faith in Christ--His death, burial, and resurrection.

However, there are other prayers that we pray...and I believe we pray earnestly...that when God answers we start to question His answer.  I have prayed nearly daily since my children were young for God to call them to His work, whether this be in ministry or as a lay-minister in his/her field.  We all know our mission field is wherever God places us.  Over the last year, my prayers have become more fervent.  I've prayed specifically for God to call our children and use them for a called-out ministry.  I've seen glimpses of answers over the last several months in Cody.  I was (still am) excited to see what God was/is doing in his life.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago--youth camp.  This is an exciting week for the youth.  It is plain fun!  They get to fellowship with like-minded youth.  They build relationships with each other.  They are immersed in the Bible.  Oh what a wonderful experience youth camp is!  However, this time for me this was a week of sincere specific (well I thought they were specific) prayers for our boys.  Everyday they were at camp, I prayed something like "Lord, clearly call our boys to your work.  Make your calling on their lives so clear that they can't miss it.  Send people their way and speak messages just to them so they know without a doubt what you are calling them to."  I meant every word of those prayers!  I really did...didn't I?

Well, the day the boys came home from camp, I discovered my prayers had been answered.  Praise the Lord!  Right?  Of course, I celebrated with Cody as he shared that God had placed a specific call on his life to ministry.  He isn't sure where he is being called or to what specific kind of work, but he KNOWS God has called him.  Then, he says it--something like "Mom, it may be overseas."  Was that the answer I wanted God to give him?  When I prayed did I think God would send one of my babies out of the United States to minister?  Honestly, I hadn't thought of that being an option.  Silly of me, huh?  Anyway, I had the comfort that maybe that wasn't where he was being called because he had said he wasn't sure where.

Then, that same night, Blake needed to talk to me.  He had a lot on his mind.  As he talked, I found out AGAIN that my prayers had been answered as Blake described several experiences at camp that he believes confirms a call to missions.  And while he also isn't sure where, he feels pretty strongly that it could be the foreign mission field.  Praise the Lord!  Right?  Was that the answer I wanted God to give another one of my boys?  When I prayed did I think God would possibly send TWO of my babies out of the United States to minister?  Frankly, it scares me! 

You might think that since then I've prayed for God to keep them here...where it's safe...where I can see them often...where I can love on their children (I'm sure God is going to give us a BUNCH of grandkids one day...after all, I've prayed for that, too!)...where I will know what is going on with them.  Well, that was tempting.  Truthfully, that's what I wanted to pray.

Then, God spoke to me through His Word.  Romans 11:29  says"for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."  He let me know then and there, that His calling sticks.  Then, I found my way to Philippians 4:6-7.  6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  I chose to pray for peace.  I chose to pray for God to absolutely use Blake and Cody wherever He calls them.  With each day, seeing my boys' passion for the Gospel of Christ, God is giving me peace.

Now, I can answer the question "Do I really want God to answer my prayers?" with a resounding YES!  I wouldn't want anything less for my children.  Each day God reminds me that He has this!  He's in control!  He is faithful!

“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NASB


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recipes from Our Day of Cooking

One of my very favorite things to do with Brooke is cook.  We love to create new dishes together.  Most come out pretty good.  A few have been on the not-so-good side.  The great thing about it all is working with my precious baby girl, Brooke!  Here are a few recipes from today's cooking adventures.

(Salad pictured is a double batch.)

BLT Salad

1 bag of Romaine Lettuce Mix
1 carton grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
3 eggs, hard boiled, sliced
1/2 to 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped

Put lettuce in a large salad bowl.  Cover lettuce with the tomato halves.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon all over the tomatoes and lettuce.  Garnish with the egg slices.  This makes a really pretty and delicious salad.

Barbecue Dressing for BLT Salad (good on lots of other things, too)

about 1 cup mayonnaise
2-3 Tbs. barbecue sauce
1 heaping spoonful honey
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine (I use a manual food processor)
fresh ground pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon
lemon zest from 1/2 lemon (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly.  Refrigerate. Serve over BLT salad, on burgers, with fries, or anything else you please!

(Again, this is a double batch.)

Butterfinger Trifle

Butterfinger Cookies (Kroger carries these.), broken into pieces
1 package Chocolate Pudding
2 c. Milk
1-2 cans Whipped Cream
1/2 c.- 1 c. Peanut Butter, melted
2 Butterfinger Candy Bars, crushed
Peanuts (optional), chopped

Layer the following:
1.  Cookies
2.  Pudding
3.  Peanut Butter
4.  Butterfinger pieces and peanuts
5. Whipped Cream

Repeat layers until all ingredients used.

Happy Cooking!
Cindy and Brooke