Monday, August 21, 2017

quick vegetarian enchiladas for two

Who doesn't need a quick dinner recipe from time to time? This will be on the table in under 30 minutes. Enough to feed two hungry people with leftovers.

(Sorry, they're not photogenic, but I'm sure most of you have seen an enchilada before!)

1 Tbsp. butter
4oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 small tomatoes or 1 large tomato, diced
2 15oz. tins black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
15oz. tin enchilada sauce
6oz. cheese (cheddar, colby, or monterey jack), grated
6 tortillas (whole wheat, whole spelt or corn)
Ground cumin
Ground coriander seed
Salt

Handful of chopped fresh cilantro, if you're fancy
A dollop of sour cream or yogurt

Preheat the broiler on your oven. Heat a medium sauté pan on the stove with 1 Tbsp. butter. Toss in sliced mushrooms and brown gently. Add tomatoes, black beans, corn, cumin, coriander, salt, and 1/4 cup enchilada sauce and heat thoroughly. While this is heating, grate the cheese. Carefully spoon roughly 1/3 cup of the mixture into each tortilla with a slotted spoon. Add a sprinkle of cheese, roll the tortilla, and place in a baking dish. Once all the tortillas are filled, heat the remaining sauce in the sauté pan and pour it over the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Broil for a few minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and sour cream, or as is!

Optionally, you can add to the skillet:
Chopped chiles
Chopped green bell pepper
Fresh baby spinach
Chopped onion
Cooked chicken
Cooked sweet potatoes, cubed

You can make them as fussy or as simple as you like!

Monday, April 17, 2017

dayenu


On Maundy Thursday we celebrated Passover with a Seder. With family and a few close friends, we shared a Messianic liturgy and traditional foods. Passover is the celebration of the freeing of God's people from slavery to the Egyptians. It has been observed by the Jews for over 3,500 years. Those of us who believe in Jesus as the Messiah see how the promise of His coming is tied into so many of the ancient customs. When Jesus instituted "the Lord's Supper" or Holy Communion with his disciples, they were celebrating Passover. He showed them that he is our Passover sacrifice, our freedom from bondage, and our redemption.

Participating in such an ancient and somber celebration is truly meaningful for me. My family has observed the Seder every year as long as I can remember, and it was a pleasure to carry on the traditions and to share them with my new family. It's deeply meaningful to take on the role that my mother held for so many years (and still holds for her own household), cooking food for Passover and getting everything together. It's like when you celebrate Christmas in your own home as a young adult for the first time, except it is so much more.

My in-laws helped cook and made wonderful salad, roasted lamb and stuffings, and delicious cakes. They truly made over-the-top delicious food. I'm sure we all felt quite spoiled. I made the indispensable traditional foods: tzimmes, matzo ball soup, and matzo crunch cookies.

I suppose traditions are more important to me than I once thought. They provide a steadiness year after year, a sort of security in an ever-changing world. The holidays should serve to help us remember where we come from. The Hebrew people are a family into which we have been adopted as God's sons and daughters. With gratitude and joy we remember how God spared His people and kept them pure in order to bring forth our Savior. It's so good to set aside days every year to remind ourselves of His faithfulness, His goodness, His unfailing love, and His sacrifice. On these days we thank Him for what He has done, and we have an opportunity to teach our children. Ritual and tradition can be used to beautiful ends.

If you ever have a chance to take part in a Seder, I would encourage you to do it.
For my part, my heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness.


Next year in New Jerusalem!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ouabache Trails






Nate and I had a rare and unexpected shared day off on Good Friday, so after spending the morning getting some laundry and other work done we packed up our coffee making supplies and headed for Vincennes. Ouabache Trails park is small, but pretty and accessible. We spent a few hours walking in nature. Surely nothing is more therapeutic!

All the violets, dandelion, and many other flowers I can't name are in bloom, and the weather was mild. Hiking in the Spring is my favorite. Photography helps me get closer to nature and spend more time quietly paying attention.

A friend said something pretty profound this weekend that I have been mulling over. Our relationship with God starts with thankfulness first, then is cultivated through praise and worship. This trinity of discipline for us can bring us ever closer to knowing Him. It's always good to be reminded to spend more time thanking God for His blessings. I've been attempting to listen more closely, really longing to hear from God on direction and purpose for my life. I want to be part of His plan and to pursue a relationship with Him. And you know what? I've been hearing from Him. I had taught myself to tune out some of the nudging of my conscience, just in small things that I let slide (much to the detriment of my character). Sometimes perhaps we're not listening to God in the things we don't want to hear, and so we won't hear Him to be given larger encouragements or assignments. "Whosoever is faithful in the little things..."


Thursday, March 16, 2017

attitude



This has really been punching me in the gut lately. 

I've been looking through old photographs with the intention of working on my scrapbook, and the same thing keeps jumping out at me: It wasn't my situation that was terrible, it was my attitude. Sometimes that's difficult to control; like when I was really lonely and depressed and I didn't know how to receive love. Luckily I've gotten help with that. It just kills me that a lot of my problems were caused by my own bad attitude. I'm thankful that the people in my life are so forgiving.

I'm just writing this out in case it could help someone else, and also to serve as a reminder for myself.

Maybe it's not your circumstances. Maybe it's just your head.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

purim


One of my favorite traditions growing up was celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. This holiday marks the saving of the Jewish race from extinction by an unlikely hero - the young Jewish girl Hadassah, better known by her Babylonian name Esther. Some traditions include reading the story of Esther (marked with loud "boos" at every mention of the name of evil Haman), taking baskets of food to neighbors en masque (like a reverse Halloween!), and of course the making of hamantaschen! There are many recipes and customs for making hamantaschen, but in my family we always fill a sugar cookie dough with apricot or berry jam. Here is the recipe I used for the dough; it's delicious and buttery. I cut the amount of sugar down a bit, because it is very sweet.

What impresses me the most about the story of Purim this year is that God chose a faithful yet relatively powerless girl to become the wife of the king and thus to dispel Haman's evil plan to exterminate the Jews. Through her obedience, God's plan was accomplished. When God has a plan, it doesn't matter how small or insignificant you are. He can use you and me to do extraordinary things, if we are obedient and wait for His will. It is good to set aside times to remember the faithfulness of the Lord! Happy Purim!



Friday, February 3, 2017

resolutions



It's February. Any heady aspirations we entertained on December 31 have now had time to congeal, and we see whether or not our resolve was true.

What were your resolutions for this year? How are you doing?

I have a great many goals. I painted a picture of who I'd like to be at this year's end, and I have implemented habits to get me there. I've not yet excelled at some, as is to be expected when a long list of goals is attempted, but with others I feel I have really fallen into a rhythm.
Here are a few of them: 
Become a better housekeeper.
Keep up with holidays and birthdays and plan ahead for them.
Achieve a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Read more literature.

My method of attacking the first challenge was to create a weekly schedule of household tasks, and ruthlessly stick to it. Housecleaning day is Thursday, grocery shopping Wednesday, laundry Friday, and so on. If there are changes to our schedule, I make it up as soon as possible. This method has gone extremely well!

Tell me about your struggles and successes in the comments!