Day 313: January Cleaver

Ya know… I’m just gonna lay it out there…

I… don’t like to cook.

Nope… no June Cleaver here.

Maybe this will change when all my kids are in school (unless I have a job again…) and I’ll have time to prep dinner before everyone is home. But… currently, cooking only brings me stress. Plus… I have pretty much zeroooooooo cooking instincts.

But at the same time… I know that as much as I might not enjoy cooking… I need to cook.

Why?

Because I DO love to eat.

I love flavor. I love the taste. I love to savor things. I love the conversation around the dinner table.

And when I am missing out on those things pretty frequently, then… I start scrounging. I guess it is my body trying to find the nutrients that I am not getting in meal-snacking (meals that are made up of snacky type eating).

I have been provided an abundance of food, of recipes, of cooking utensils, spices, and the like. I have easy access to grocery stores. I have an oven that works (no, it’s not pretty… but it works!). I have a stovetop that works (also not very attractive – ha!). And most importantly, I have three (count em) three crockpots.

So, because of all of that, I also have no excuses.

And last night I decided to plan out my meals. Tomorrow I will go to the grocery store and get what I need. And I will cook. June Cleaver be derned. I will cook.

  • Thursday: Brenner (Breakfast for dinner)… eggs, hash browns, grits {for the boys… lil smokies sausage and pancakes}
  • Friday: Potato Soup (thinking of trying Paula Dean’s recipe that uses frozen hash browns because the store was, literally, OUT of potatoes).
  • Saturday: Fish tacos (it might not be fancy, but frozen tilapia works awesomely for this… with a litte cajun seasoning)
  • Sunday: Crock Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Monday: Veggie Paninis
  • Tuesday: Stir Fry
  • Wednesday: Vegetarian Enchiladas
  • Thursday: THANKSGIVING… yummy stuffing and sweet potatoes and my mom’s broccoli!
  • Friday: Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Saturday: Black Bean Burgers

*Ironically enough, I wrote out this post and then never went tot the grocery store. It was originally because I knew that I could stretch what we had in our pantry for a few days and since we are on a bit of a snug budget, I decided that was the way to go. But I have cooked every night! We had Brenner and then Friday we had Italian Bean Soup and last night we had Black Beans and Rice.

Recipe: Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

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This is one of the first recipes that I have ever made-up on my own, so I’ll admit that I had my fingers crossed hoping all day that it would be good! And it wassssssssss!!!

With this one, remember… just because it’s “vegetarian” (if you use two cream of celerys) that doesn’t mean we should super-chow on it. Eat when you’re hungry… until you are satisfied. Then stop. I’d even recommend serving yourself a bowl/plate of it and then immediately putting the rest of it in tupperware and in the fridge. Maybe make yourself a fruit salad to go with it… eat half of the fruit salad ahead of time and then the other half, if you are still hungry, after you finish the enchilada bake. Not trying to be preachy… more so just reminding myself of this for the next time I pull up this recipe to make! It’s always a good reminder for me of how to move away from gluttony!

Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup*
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of celery soup
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
  • 10 oz reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 bag of white corn (or similar) tortilla chips
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese (or similar)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine: cream of chicken, cream of celery, green chiles, sour cream, hot sauce, and cumin.
  2. Crush a few handfuls of tortilla chips and spread over the bottom of the crock pot.
  3. Grab a handful of the verrrrry cold corn and “sprinkle” it on top of the crushed chips.
  4. Place a layer of black beans and kidney beans.
  5. Spread a layer of the soup mixture.
  6. Over the soup mixture, place a layer of shredded cheese.
  7. Repeat the layers again. (I repeated them twice… it might vary based on the size of your crock pot)
  8. End with a layer of chips.
  9. Cooking options: Low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours (but you run a bit of a risk of your sour cream separating if you do this)

*Here you have the “easy/convenient” version, but you could totally make your own cream of chicken/celery, make your own tortilla chips, use fresh chopped green chiles, fresh corn, and cook your own black beans and kidney beans. Honestly, I hope to be able to do that someday but I’m not much of a cook, I don’t really enjoy cooking as some do, and I’m not good enough of a time manager to do all that with my toddler and preschooler with me!

And a quick shout out to this flavor combo… Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with ground cumin is uh.maz.ing. I use it in our black bean soup (which is double uh.maz.ing.) and now I use it in anything Mexicanish.

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Day 305: God Vision Goggles

I was thinking about yesterday’s post and as I tried to embrace the verseGod doesn’t see things the way you see them” I had this moment where it moved away from being all about my fauxfat and more about food…

Like, I was hungry this morning and was looking through my pantry for something and thought, “Oooooo, look… chips… yummay!” And then I thought to myself: Okay, this is when I need to come up with a verse to help me… and the verse that I focused on yesterday was God doesn’t see things the way you see them, but that doesn’t really apply to food… that was about appearance. But, well, really God probably doesn’t look at these chips the same way that I look at them. And God probably doesn’t look at a banana the same way that I look at it.

And then I really started to think about looking at my food options the way God might see them. I mean, remember Luke 16:15? “The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.” Like, I see Nacho Cheese Doritos and think “yummmmm” and He probably sees them as black gunk and tar. I see a bag of my mom’s famous chocolate chip chunk cookies and think “delishhhhhhh” and He… well, actually, bad example. I’m pretty sure even GOD knows how amazing those things are. So, let me try something else… I see an ad for a supreme chaulpa from Taco Bell and think “soooooooooo goooooooood” and he thinks “gonna suck your life away”.

And on the flip side, I see a banana and think… “{insert sarcastic tone} wow. a banana. that’s just so… healthy. woo hoo.” And He sees His creation, His gift of easier days for me physically, His blessing of a longer life.

(Okay, yes, this is me being heinously overdramatic… but go with it), what if God looks at the world and everything in it, like, in infrared like that picture of my fridge up there??? And all of the things going on that are pleasing to Him are in red and all of the stuff that is temporary and just eternally lame is in that green and blue color??? Wouldn’t that be RAD to be able to see the world that way!?!? To see the world His way?!?!

Cause here’s the deal… I spend so many of my days looking at the world and longing for those areas that are green and blue… areas of life that separate me from Him. Food. Popularity. Gossip. Fashion. Entertainment. Etc.

But His thoughts are not my thoughts… His ways are not like my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

So, this week one of the things I’m going to do is to put on my God Vision Goggles and try to seek out those eternal things that are glowing red hot with holiness. I’m going to look at my fridge and pantry with that vision and I’m going to reach out for those things that please Him. I’m going to look around at the people I see, and do as Jesus would do… I’m going to aim for those people that are blue and green on that infrared scan and I’m gonna let the blinding red of Jesus’s life and goodness shine through me… and maybe they’ll want to join in with the red crew.

And maybe, after I’ve worn those God Vision Goggles for a while… maybe they’ll just become, like, part of me. And maybe I’ll start to see like that all the time. And maybe I’ll love God all the more for the way He sees this world.

Hmmmmmm, probably not “maybe” on that last one… pretty sure that one will be a “definitely”.

Day 163: Just Food

I was recently having coffee with my friend Alice and we were talking covenant stuff. She mentioned that one of her struggles was that she felt the need to be strong enough to resist on her own. She said with a sarcastic note to her voice, it’s “just food”. She felt that she should be able to deal with “just food”.

And I have been really thinking on that a lot since then.

Cause really… she’s right. We so often feel a little extra dose of extra guilt because we can’t resist this stuff that is “just food”.

But as I have thought about it, a few thoughts have come to mind about “just food”…

Satan used food as the first form of temptation in the Garden.

Jesus performed his first miracle changing water to wine.

Christ compared his own body to bread and wine at the last supper.

It’s not “just food”.

And honestly, I thought and thought about WHY it’s not “just food”… WHY does it have more of a power than other things in our life?

And I’m thinking that it ties, in a weird sort of way, to our level of faith. Satan knew that Adam and Eve were provided every piece of vegetation in the garden except those apples (or whatever they were) from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And I think he played off of a small, tiny fear that has glowed in our hearts for all of time… the thought – the fear -  that we might not have enough. Not necessarily that we haven’t gotten to experience everything, but that deep down we fear that we might come across a time of… want. need. starvation.

And now I live in a time where most people in America live in a situation where there IS abundance like in the Garden. there IS enough for all of us. there IS plenty.

But we still have these images from the Holocaust. I can still remember stories of the Irish Potato Famine and the mass exodus that ensued. We see pictures pouring in from Africa, India, Asia, Russia of men, women, and children bare boned and sallow eyed.

And although we might grab another brownie it’s not typically because we are consciously thinking, “Oh, man, I’d better stock up on brownies tonight because we might all be starving tomorrow!” But in the ever increasing state of unrest in the world, it is more than likely in the back of our thoughts.

So, I wonder if much of this addiction and pull to “just food” is in response to our fear… and our subsequent need to control that fear.

But God has instructed us that food is now to become… insignificant. a non-issue.

I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:25-33

And He gives us a promise here… that if we run toward Him that He will give us everything we need. He doesn’t promise that we won’t starve, He doesn’t promise that we won’t be hungry, He doesn’t promise that we will even live. But He does promise to give us everything we need. And once we start to learn to trust that He will take care of us… then we can free ourselves from stressing over “just food” and then it can truly become exactly that… just. food.

Day 161: Best. Anniversary. Everrrrrrrrr.

Today was my 8th anniversary of my marriage to my husband… aren’t we cute?

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We met about ten years ago in the singles group at our church (despite the fact that I was convinced that once I joined the singles group that I would be single forever), dated for almost two-years and got married at that same church. We are truly the only two people in the world that could probably put up with each other… a match made in heaven! Haha!

Last summer, we went to Cabo to celebrate our anniversary (our first trip without kids, and our first real vacation since we got married) but this year it wasn’t quite in the budget to do something so extravagant, so we arranged for some childcare from my mother and father-in-law. We have been talking about our plans for days, and my husband was really open to the fact that Saltgrass probabllllly wasn’t going to be the best option for our anniversary dinner this year (he’s doing a similar covenant this month), and so I suggested that we go somewhere and get some seafood. Knowing that he was going to try to pressure me into sushi (which I like, but I just wanted something… different… this go round), I jumped on facebook and asked people what the best seafood places were in the area. I got tons of responses and narrowed it down to a place called the Oceanaire.

Now, he automatically gets some props because he was so cool about supporting my covenant during our anniversary, but his real props come from while we were actually at dinner.

The waiter offered us champagne, and when my husband locked eyes with me he could see the “I can’t” that I was transmitting to him telepathically, and he asked for a Pellegrino with lemon.

Later the bread came, and he deferred eating that as well.

The meal options were all within our range so that was no problem (but absolutely delicious to be sure)!

But when the waiter came over and said that he would be giving us a dessert, I got a little panicked. I have this difficult time saying “no” to gifts from people. How would I handle the situation. Just have a bite and be thankful and then let my husband eat the rest? But then, he was trying to avoid all of that stuff as well. After mulling over it for a few minutes, I just said to my husband that I was going to eat my dinner and enjoy it and then worry about it.

After a bit, I went to “powder my nose” and apparently while I was gone my husband had told the waiter that I didn’t eat sugar and so I…

wait.

Whole story… he didn’t just tell the waiter that I didn’t eat sugar. He told the waiter that I’d had a life changing experience with food and with God. He told the waiter that I was like an addict that had been freed.

And then he told the waiter that it would be cool to get me a fruit bowl for dessert instead of the Baked Alaska.

And it was the sweetest dessert ever.

Not because I drizzled it with honey (which I didn’t, by the way… I didn’t need to). Not because the fruit was amazing (which it was). And not because I felt svelte and thin and classy (which I did).

But because my husband was truly my knight in shining armor. He defended me. He defended my covenant. My covenant with God. He helped me to stand up against the world when I my defenses were crumbling. And he presented my covenant and my God shamelessly to our server.

Yep. My knight in shining armor!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Day 158: Sweet Treats

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Summer seems to be all about… life. When you even just look through the Target ads (which I do… I mean, come on, I have two boys… shopping is not something that I do… ever. So, looking through the Target ads is like my form of “window shopping”… and I can do it in my PJs), you can see that everything is happy and carefree and full of smiles and toys and… life!

And previously for me (and by previously I mean, like… my whole life), summer has been about ice cream, and brownies, and snow cones, and Oreos, and ice cream, and hot dogs, and milkshakes, and chips with dip, and ice cream, and ice cream.

Yeah, so apparently, I like ice cream.

But not this summer… but it’s all good. Cause this summer is going to be about REAL LIFE.

Instead of taking a moment to relax with a bowl of ice cream (and don’t forget the Hershey’s syrup on top), I’m going to take my book and a vat of OFF to keep the buggies away and I will sit in my patio chairs and enjoy real. peace. and real. life.

Instead of a snow cone, I might just take a bubble bath.

No chips and dip for me… I prefer to take a dip in the pool (and yes, that “cool dip” will be in my kid’s pool because that’s what we have, but honestly, cool water feels good whether it’s five feet deep or 1/2 foot deep).

I’ll save the milkshake for another year, and instead go for a walk (which is what I’m doing in that pic at the top)!

And the pièce de résistance, instead of a bag of Oreos, I will take a nap. An afternoon nap. Ahhhhh, the very word makes me get those relaxation goose bumps.

Because it’s not about the food this summer… and I don’t need food to relax, in fact, it’s usually MORE work to eat. Think about it… a bowl of ice cream must be prepared: scoop the ice cream (and dang, if the ice cream is super frozen then that is a Herculean effort sometimes!), chop up some peanuts, smother it in Hershey’s syrup, probably melt some peanut butter to drizzle on there too.

Pffffffff, no WONDER I want to relax when eating ice cream… I’m worn out from all the prep! Haha!

But back to my point, which I have kind of talked about before, but food really shouldn’t be my portal to relaxation (or fun, or comfort, or distraction, etc)… it’s like my husband says, “We eat to live. We don’t live to eat.” (By the way, he watches about three food documentaries a week, so he might have stolen that from someone.)

But I like that mentality.

Because if I want to “treat” myself to some relaxation, then I want to treat the INNER me… not the OUTER me. not my stomach. not my tastebuds. I want my SOUL to feel relaxed. to feel blessed. to feel treated.

So, those things are still treats, but they are sweet in an entirely different kind of way!

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10

Day 152: Me, Myself, And I

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I talk to myself a lot more nowadays.

I mean, I have always talked to myself quite a lot, especially right before starting the covenant, but the past few months it has been really noticeable… but both times it has been about food.

Before, most of my talking was more of a fight with myself as I tried to convince myself not to eat an Oreo, not another Oreo, please… please… not another Oreo. Or the convincing myself that another Oreo was no biggie, that I deserved it, that I needed it. Or it was the mean, mean self-talk when I did realize that I had eaten half a bag of Oreos.

Okay, okay, a whole bag.

But now the self talk is a bit more constructive and has a lot less of me battling… me. Now I think “Am I reallllly hungry? Do I realllllly need another bowl of carrots?” or “Would eating that bread with honey leftover from Saxon’s lunch realllllly honor and please God?” (And I write that one specifically because it is a struggle for me right now.)

Like, recently my husband had his last day of school and so we went and got him a “special meal” at Dickey’s BBQ. After he had eaten I kept eyeing his BBQ sauce… and here was my “self-talk”…

I can eat BBQ sauce, right?

Well, yeah, but will it honor God?

I don’t see why not. It’s not meat and I’m hungry. Besides, I may love meat but I really love the sauce that goes on it!

Then go for it!

So, I did! I ate the BBQ sauce with a spoon and it was yummy!!!

So, it is neat to see that God has truly transformed my mind. I mean, I like that my conversations with me are more… more about Him than they are about me fighting with myself.

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

Day 151: Fly Away

Recently, I heard a teaching about grieving when we sin. It was interesting… cause honestly… I don’t tend to grieve when I sin. I grieve when I have to bear the consequences of sin, but not often the actual sin itself grieves me simply because it hurts, disappoints, and angers God.

Like, for example, for a lonnnnnnng time I didn’t grieve when I ate too much food. But eventually, I did grieve when my favorite cute capris didn’t fit anymore (although that’s probably a good thing… cause I’m pretty sure they were out of fashion then and they would definitely be out of fashion NOW). I don’t grieve when I talk smack about someone behind their back… until I get caught.

But, I should grieve over sin… just because it hurts, disappoints, and angers God. Especially because I want to please Him. My entire existence is to please Him. Every single moment is to please Him. I am reminded of the old school praise and worship song…

Every move I make, I make in You… You make me move Jesus. Every breath I take, I breathe in You.

And that’s really where I am at… well, at least… where I want to be. And for so long I excluded food from my “every move”. Why? Not sure, maybe because it was something so… basic. But only in the past year or so have I become very aware that making a move for food is something that can make God very, very pleased if I chose to honor Him, or very, very sad should I bend the other way.

But allow me to bring up another change that I have had. I have had a change in the way that I view sin… habitual sin especially.

It should grieve our hearts, but really we should also long for that freedom from sin. I no longer view sin as something to weigh me down. Perhaps because I am still basking in the awesomeness of being freed from a habitual sin in my life. Now, my viewpoint toward sin is that it is less of a blockade and more of a hurdle.

I can get over a hurdle. Well, with God’s help, I can get over a hurdle (and in truth, I probably couldn’t get over a real track and field hurdle in real life without a miracle from God). And because of that, I have experienced a new kind of freedom from sin.

First of all… I am freed from the attempt to even TRY to overcome a sin by myself. I am too keenly aware of the abysmal failure that this was for me… trying to overcome the sin of gluttony. Ha! EPIC. FAIL.

But I am also, by the grace and POWER of God, freed from the sin of gluttony.

And it is the thought of the freedom from that sin along with the thought of eventually being able to please Him with my actions once that sin is gone… that thought makes me want to covenant every little sin in my life and allow Him to just rip through the ties I have to this world so that my soul is flying higher and freer than ever before… and then eventually my flight to heaven won’t be so far and it won’t be so difficult to let this place go. And truly, I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away…

Day Eighty-Four: Part II “Bad” Food Begets “Bad” Food

I was thinking of my post from yesterday about good food leading into more good food, and I think that it is the same for bad food. Now, I don’t like to really look at most food as “bad”, because I think that the gluttony is more of what makes foods “bad”. Like wine, for example… a glass of wine has little to no effect on me but I love the flavor of it. But, three glasses of wine… well, three glasses of wine will get me drunk. And, as much as a lot of people would like to ignore it, the Bible is clear about not getting drunk. So, the gluttony is what makes that particular food “bad” for some people.

Same thing with me and chocolate… I don’t think that chocolate is “bad” in and of itself… on the contrary, it is goooooooooood! Haha! But because it causes me to sin by leading me into gluttony, then, yes, by all means… it is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Because oftentimes when I eat a lot of chocolate, then I kind of get into this spiral where I eat (gluttonously) a whole bunch of other processed… stuff.

For someone else it might be chips… a lot of people can pass up a bag of m&m’s, but you stick a tube of Pringles out on the counter and they are done for. In that case, the Pringles are “bad” for them.

Again, it’s not about the particular food… but about the heart. It’s about making choices that please God. Whether it be covenanting from chocolate, sugar, coffee, wine, salt, chips, whatever.

And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:30

And like I like to do, here it is in the “me” version…

And if your food—even amazing tasting food—causes you to sin, pull it out of the pantry or fridge and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one thing in your pantry than for your whole body to become involved in the sin of gluttony.

Well, when I put it that way, I might need to schedule a pantry cleaning out around the time my covenant runs out!

Day Seventy-One: Better Than Sliced Bread

On Sunday, our pastor presented a really great message about how we tend to create our own Jesus… he called it our own American Jesus. And he also said that we oftentimes read more of what Paul has to say than what Jesus said in the gospels. I guess I kind of think that Jesus said all of it (through Paul… through Moses… through all of the authors), but I totally see his point. And he’s right… I often to turn to Romans and keep on going right when I am looking for guidance.

And as he went through what the gospels say about Jesus, he mentioned John 6:35…

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

I wrote it down and put a star next to it. Why? Because it had the word “bread” in it! haha! I’m just always on the look out for times that the Bible talks about food. And for some reason I had not yet thought about this verse. I guess it’s for… today.

Anyway, so like usual, I went through and looked at the rest of the chapter because oftentimes it is just as enlightening as “the” verse that I originally went to look at. And here is another verse in the same conversation that grabbed my attention…

But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. John 6:27

And I realized when I read that why some of my posts have started to lean away from food into just a regular ol Jesus devotional. Sometimes, I re-read an entry before posting and realize that it has absolutely nothing at all to do with food, or breaking addictions, or anything of the sort. I have to back track and remember what in my experience led me to discover that particular verse.

And that is spot-on what I want to happen!

The more and more that I start to turn my focus away from “perishable things like food” and onto “the eternal life that the Son of Man can give me”… the more and more that I find myself forgetting about the food and thinking only of the awesomeness of Christ.

And anyway… He says that whoever believes in Him will never be hungry again.

And that is wayyyyyyyyy better than sliced bread!