Street Corn Casserole

Last weekend, my middle son turned 12. (Shout out to all the other mommas out there coping with middle child syndrome ūüėČ ) To celebrate, we had a pool party, & of course I asked the guest of honor what he would like me to grill. He absolutely loves Mexican food, ALL the Mexican food, & immediately requested fajitas. I decided that, since we were grilling fajitas, some street corn would be a great addition, besides nothing says summer quite like the deliciousness that is the flavor of some good street corn.

As is the norm, people did not RSVP, & I can’t blame them, since this party was kind of last minute & most of those invited had about a weeks notice. In an effort to be prepared for the maximum number of possible guests, since I was unsure of the head count, I ended up with an abundance of leftover corn.

Then a friend (who provided some amazing Spanish rice for the party) told me about a street corn casserole she had tasted at a party once. I immediately took a look at a few recipes on Pinterest, & a couple days later, made use of all the leftover ingredients I had on hand.

 

I preheated the oven to 350, shaved the kernels off of seven ears of corn, & already had my Miracle Whip/garlic powder mixture made (you can use mayo, I’m a Miracle Whip person myself), along with sour cream, parmesan cheese, shredded Mexican blend cheese, an egg, chopped cilantro, chipotle chile powder, & lime wedges.

I mixed about 1/4 cup of the Miracle Whip & garlic powder that was already mixed, with about 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, one cup Cotija cheese, & the egg. Then I added the corn to the mixture, then placed it all into my casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray.

This went in the oven for 40 min. The dish I used ended up being too small, which I could clearly see & was just too stubborn to move it to a larger dish, & as the casserole baked, I had to add a baking sheet underneath to catch some of the dripping. I topped off my finished product with more Cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, chipotle powder, & the juice from four lime wedges.

Mmmmm… All the delicious flavors of Mexican street corn, baked to perfection, no toothpick required after!

Oh, & before you scroll down to the recipe, check out this custom chocolate cake my amazing aunt made! If you need a custom cake for ANY occasion & live around the Mont Belvieu, TX area, reach out to me & I will get you in touch!

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Street Corn Casserole

Seven ears of fresh corn

¬ľ cup Miracle Whip or mayo

¬Ĺ tsp garlic powder

¬Ĺ cup sour cream

¬Ĺ cup grated parmesan cheese

¬Ĺ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 cup crumbled Cotija cheese, plus more for topping

1 egg

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

¬Ĺ tsp chipotle chile powder

4 lime wedges

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 & spray 8×5 casserole dish with nonstick spray
  2. Shave kernels off 7 ears of corn
  3. Mix Miracle Whip, garlic powder, sour cream, parmesan, Mexican, & Cotija cheeses with one egg
  4. Add corn, mix well, pour mixture into prepared baking dish
  5. Bake at 350 for 40 min
  6. Top with cilantro, chile powder, & juice from the lime wedges

 

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Healed

Y’all, last week we only looked at the first part of 1 Peter 2:24. I just could not move on to the next post without continuing to dig into this. There’s¬† just so much more to the forgiveness He freely gives than “He bore our sins”- He bore them, that we might die to sin & live righteously, not only that, but to provide healing for us!

“…that we might die to sin & live for righteousness, by his wounds you have been healed.” -1 Peter 2:24

“Die to sin” can be a difficult phrase to understand, especially for a non-believer or a new believer, so let’s look at what this means. We know that spiritual death is separation from God- that is the death that Jesus saved us from. In Ephesians 2:1, Paul writes that we are all “dead in our sin” before we receive Christ- we were spiritually dead, separated from God, until we accepted Christ. This is because, since the fall of man, we are born with the sin nature in us. As humans, we can’t help it- sin is in us, a natural part of us. But Romans chapter six tells us that when we accepted Christ, the sin nature that was in us became crucified with Him, because He bore all sin on the cross- through faith, our spirit has now been resurrected into new life in Him, just as He was resurrected. We are now dead to sin- that sin nature is no longer our nature; we now have the nature of Christ Himself within us. That doesn’t mean that we will never be tempted with sin or even fall short sometimes- it means that committing sin will no longer sit well with our spirits, it will no longer feel normal & natural to us, our true desire is now to live a life pleasing to God, rather than to live a life that appeases the world’s standards or to please ourselves. Actually, what is pleasing to God is now what is pleasing to us, whereas before, what is pleasing to the flesh was what pleased us.

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Having the nature of Christ in us, means that the same life-giving power that raised Him from the dead, now resides in us. By His stripes, we are healed. What does that mean?

The stripes, are the beating He took. Before He hung on the cross, He was ridiculed & tortured. As was the Roman custom, they took a cat of nine tails, with sharps on the ends designed to rip & tear open the skin, & whipped Him across the back- 40 times, minus one for mercy- 39 stripes across His back. Guess how many categories of sickness & disease exist. Yup, 39. Each stripe He took, was to provide our healing.

You see, just as death entered the world with sin, so did sickness & infirmity. Do not take this to mean that, if you get sick, or have suffered some sort of chronic condition, then it must be your fault, something you did brought it on you. No, these things are a package deal with the sin nature, brought on by Adam’s sin. Just like we will continue to be tempted to sin, so we will continue to be tempted with illness.¬†God never wanted us to experience these things, & so He made provision for us to be delivered from them when we join His family.

Notice the past tense of this verse- “have been.” Healing was given to us when forgiveness was, it’s something that has already been done, something that already belongs to us, we don’t have to ask for it, we have to receive it, the same way we received our forgiveness- by believing in our hearts & confessing with our mouths. We don’t say “Oh God, if it be your will, please heal me,” we say, “Thank you Lord, You provided healing for me over 2,000 years ago, I know it is your will for not just my spirit, but my body, to be in good health, & I receive Your healing power into my body.”

As believers, it is important that we watch our words in all things, & this is especially true when it comes to sickness, disease, & reports from doctors. We must be careful what we claim as “ours,” because it is a basic human principle that we will have what we say we have. What you speak over yourself is what you will get, life & death are truly in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).¬†They’re not “my” migraines, for example, “I have been attacked with migraines.” That is what any physical ailment is, after all- an attack on our bodies from the enemy. Sickness & disease do not come from God; we know that He is good, & cannot contradict Himself- so how could anything bad come from Him? When symptoms come on us or we receive a diagnosis, we must not claim them as ours “I have.. I am sick…” Rather, “I am being tempted.. I have been attacked with.. I have been diagnosed with.” Our words, our confessions, are the key to our faith walk in such matters. God is not merely “The Great Physician”- physicians merely diagnose & treat, God is The Great Healer- Jehovah Rapha, the God Who heals us (Exodus 15:26).

The healing we have encompasses so much- when the woman with the issue of blood was healed, Jesus said to her “Your faith has made you whole” (Luke 8:48).¬† The original word for whole, in the Greek, used here, was “sesoken”, from the root “sozo,” which means to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. HELPS Word-studies tells us this was word was “…used principally of God¬†rescuing believers¬†from¬†the penalty & power of sin…”; Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it “to save a suffering one… to make¬†well, heal, restore to¬†health.” To be made whole then, is to be rescued from sickness, disease, & death- all penalties of sin. In Christ, we are healed & restored to health. There is so much more to be said on this topic, so many more verses, & I could just go on & on about all that the Word tells us about healing & all that it encompasses. Instead, I’d like to share a few personal testimonies with you:

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When I was in the fourth grade, I got my first pair of glasses. I also got my eyes dilated for the first time. When the ophthalmologist looked into my left eye, they saw something, quite possibly a tumor. Only five letters, but such a big, scary word. Tumor. This word put such fear into the hearts of my parents. But they had faith. They called the elders of the Mennonite church we were attending (Y’all, that’s a whole other story out of my life;) ), & they came to our house. They met with my parents, & they anointed my head with oil, laying hands & praying in agreement with the faith of my parents that this thing the ophthalmologist thought they had seen, it was nothing. I’m here today to tell you, that when I returned to that office, & they took a second look, they saw nothing! No tumor, no evidence of whatever it was they had seen before. It was gone!

That’s just one testimony, though. From the time I started getting monthly visits from Aunt Flo, I suffered migraine headaches, at least once or twice a month, usually around the time Flo was about to visit & during the visit. If any of you have ever had them, you know how awful they are. It’s not just a headache, it’s pain, nausea, & extreme sensitivity to light & sound. All you can really do, is curl up in a dark room & try to sleep it away. Doctors can give you medicine regimens to prevent them, but the side effects leave you hardly functioning. There’s a natural herb that can help, but that’s illegal- so you have to break laws & alter your state of mind to get relief when you get tired of putting man made drugs into your body that cause more side effects than the migraines you wish to cure. And then one day, I started taking my kids to church again. Not just any church, a Word teaching, Holy Ghost church. I went back to church for my kids, & God did something great in me. After about a year, I realized, I hadn’t had a migraine as long as I’d been attending my church! And that supernatural healing has continued. Recently, I was attacked, but I went forward one morning to receive the laying on of hands & prayer, & God blessed me not only with renewed healing, but a Word which I so needed! (You can find more about that on my IG @the_honey_seeking_mom or fb- The Honey Seeking Mom page). I am once again migraine free, by the healing power of God!

Finally, my greatest testimony. Last year, I had taken time to pray & meditate on something big. I wanted to be a surrogate. I saw it as a double blessing- a unique way to be a blessing to a family who needed that option, & my family would also receive a financial blessing out of it as well. I was ready, I just needed to have my well women visit. And then they called me back in for a biopsy. On October 6th, 2017 I was diagnosed with stage 1B1 cervical cancer. I was to have a partial hysterectomy & be out of work for at least six weeks. I could handle that. I could deal with that. I had enough vacation & comp time to cover six weeks, just nothing to cover the income that would be lost from missing hours at my part time job. But I had faith that God would provide, He would get us through this. I received prayer at church in agreement with my faith to accept this path to healing.

Then I got the MRI & PET scans. The cancer had begun to spread out from the cervix. Surgery was no longer the plan. The thing I said I didn’t want, the thing I had refused in my mind, was. I had to go through chemotherapy & radiation treatments. And I still refused it. I spoke out against it, I wanted my miracle. Where was my miracle? I’m a believer, why must I have to go through this?! But I didn’t get the miracle I wanted. I received the first of five chemo treatments on November 1, 2017. The next day was the first of 25 external beam radiation treatments, to be followed by four brachytherapy (internal radiation surgery) procedures.

I didn’t get the miracle I wanted, but I did get miracles & testimonies. Every day, before every treatment, I paced my apartment, with “God’s Creative Power” by Charles Capps in my hands, praying & speaking healing scriptures over my body. I declared every day “My body will accept what it needs for healing & reject the bad, I WILL NOT suffer extreme side effects from these treatments.” And the most extreme side effect I suffered was fatigue. There were other side effects, but none got as severe as the fatigue. Due to the location of the treatments, I did not have deal with losing my hair. I never looked like I was going through cancer treatments; if you didn’t know me, you never had a clue by looking at me. I actually gained weight! Every Sunday at church, someone would say “You look so great! You can’t even tell!” They didn’t see me that morning, having to pause to rest multiple times while getting ready for church, or through the week when all I wanted to do was sleep. They didn’t know the effort it took to make myself look like that on Sunday mornings. God gave me grace to walk through those months without breaking down, without losing faith. When I didn’t get the answer I wanted, I just kept walking by faith & trusting Him through the process.

Even greater than the grace He gave me through it all, is the testimony of provision. Medical leave went from being six weeks long, to three months long. Yet every bill was paid. I was on leave before Halloween, & didn’t return until January 31, 2018. During this time, we wanted for nothing. Two of my three boys had birthdays, & God blessed them, through His people. Every meal was provided, every need was met, the entire time, & I continued to tithe on every dollar He sent our way, & also give to missions. We wanted for nothing. God brought His people together, to be a miracle for us. I am forever thankful to Him & to those He used to help us.

My path to healing wasn’t the one I wanted, it was the one I needed. It was the one that built my faith up even greater than it already was, & made a walking testimony for all who knew me to see. Yes, I had to go through the treatments. And thank God for blessing me with the best doctors & giving them the gift to do what they do, but physicians treat, Jehovah Rapha, God alone, does the healing. He healed me as I went through those treatments. All the glory goes to Him!

This was all possible for me, because I chose to receive what Christ did for me. He bore our sin, He took our sickness & infirmity, that we might be made whole.

“…He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, & he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, ‘He took our sicknesses & removed our diseases.” – Matthew 8:16,17

 

Forgiven

As we study what it means for us to be forgiven in Christ, I’m sure y’all will forgive me for being a day late with this post. I was a little behind in getting started, & as I got into studying the verse for this post, it was just too good to rush through.

If you are “In Christ,” you are forgiven. Have you ever taken the time before, to sit & study & really learn what that means for you? Every time I do, it gets me so excited! To know that, in God’s eyes, none of the wrong choices I made in the past & any mistakes I may make in the future, even exist to Him, is so wonderful!

Maybe you struggle, like I once did, with forgiving yourself for the things you’ve done. Maybe you were once promiscuous. Perhaps you struggled with drugs. Maybe you sold them. Maybe you just chose to surround yourself with all the wrong kinds of people, allowing yourself to get caught up in the wrong kind of lifestyle & weren’t a very good parent. Guess what? You’re not alone. Many, like myself, have been through all of the above. Perhaps you’re one of many more who’ve done worse than all of the above. But God has a way of bringing us back to Him. Like the father of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15, He never stops loving us, & when we came running back to Him in sincerity, He was waiting with open arms to say “I love you, I forgive you, what sin? I have thrown it as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), & I’m here to celebrate your return & give you a new life.” Have you ever tried to go east until you start going west? It’s physically impossible! And if God doesn’t know us by our sins & mistakes, then who are we to judge ourselves by them? They no longer belong to us!

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He bore our sins in his body. It is said that as Christ hung on the cross, He became so disfigured that He didn’t even look like a recognizable human being anymore. All because He took on all of our sin- every sin you’ve ever committed, every sin that could ever be committed, every grotesque act of human kind beyond our imaginations- He took it on Himself in His body, to take the punishment for us, so that we might have the opportunity to be forgiven.

The Greek word for forgiven is “charizomai” or “xarizomai,”- to show favor, give freely; pardon, forgive, show kindness. HELPS Word Studies puts it this way: “God giving His grace to pardon. This is freely done & therefore not based on any merit of the one receiving forgiveness.” Again, I just love how Thayer’s Greek Lexicon explains things “…graciously restore one to another who desires his safety (e.g. a captive…), to preserve for one a person in peril, to give up to another one whom he may punish or put to death” (emphasis mine). This is what God did for us- we were in peril, undeserving captives to the law of sin & death, & He offered up His Son in our place (Romans 8:3), because He graciously desired to pardon us & keep us safe from death! WHOA! (Feel free to take as long as you need to run, jump, dance, praise & give glory to Him here ūüėČ )

Now, let’s define death- physical death is separation of our spirit from our bodies; spiritual death refers to spiritual separation from God. God wanted a family, & so He created people. People were not created to die- why do you think we fight it so hard? Death entered the world, when sin entered the world- the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). When we live in sin, which is the natural state of man (thanks to the events that occurred in the Garden of Eden), our flesh is dominated by the law of sin & death (Romans 7:23,24), our bodies are alive, but we are spiritually dead- separated from God. To be a sinner, is to be a slave to sin (John 8:34), living in darkness & separated from God. To be truly alive, we must be spiritually restored to Him.

We are spiritually restored to God when we receive (notice I didn’t say ask for- we don’t ask for what’s already been given to us) forgiveness from God, accepting Jesus as our Savior into our hearts. This is where religion will try to mess you up- they will give you a list of do’s & don’ts & tell you that you must follow the law & they will make it seem like you will never be good enough to earn the salvation God gave to you. And, on your own, you will never be good enough; there is nothing you can do on your own to earn your salvation. But you don’t have to. It’s already yours. No amount of effort to live up to a law that no person other than Jesus was ever good enough to fulfill, will save you. The law gives sin its power, & praise God, Jesus fulfilled the law & set us free from it, freely giving us victory over sin & death.

In Matthew 26:28, Jesus tells us that His blood is poured out for the remission of the sins of many. Merriam-Webster defines “remit” – “to lay aside partly or wholly… to release from the guilt or penalty of… to cancel or refrain from inflicting; to give relief from (suffering).” This tells us that, because of Jesus’ blood shed for us, our sins have been laid aside, we are SET FREE FROM GUILT, given relief from all suffering that results from sin. He took it for us, now we don’t have to suffer! Through Christ, you are good enough. You are worthy & you are made righteous.

Sweet child of God, you are forgiven. Whatever it is the enemy continues to try to hang over your head, let it go. Rebuke him in the Name of Jesus, & speak God’s Word over yourself, & forgive yourself, receiving your relief!

Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [ who believe in Him as personal Lord & Savior]. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin & of death. – Romans 8:1,2 (AMP)

Proverbs 22 Momma

Happy Mother’s Day Beautiful Momma! I pray you are enjoying a relaxing day of worship & rest today!

I recently completed a plan on the Bible App called “Planting Seeds of Faith,” which inspired me, to not only aim to be a Proverbs 31 woman, but to remember that, as a parent, the goal is also to be a Proverbs 22 momma.

To be a Proverbs 31 woman is wonderful- She is a spiritual, capable, intelligent, virtuous, valuable, & trustworthy woman. She encompasses all of the characteristics of a graceful & godly woman, an example to our daughters of what to become, & to our sons of what to look for in a future wife. Many of the characteristics of a Proverbs 22 momma overlap with those of the Proverbs 31 woman, & all encompass our role as parents to these children God has entrusted us with, to shape & mold them into adults who will fulfill His purpose for their creation.

It is our goal to “raise our children up,” to teach them to seek God’s wisdom & will for their lives. And we are promised that, even if they don’t seem to be getting it in the moment, when they grow up they will not forget what we have taught them. So, what is the best way to teach them? We walk with them, leading by example.

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We set an example for our children of how to be a person who seeks to live with the goal of fulfilling God’s purpose for us, demonstrating trust, reliance, & confidence in Him. We allow them to see us walking in humility, staying prudent to avoid sin, living a lifestyle of worship to the Lord, & guarding ourselves with godly wisdom.

Not only should we guard ourselves with godly wisdom, we should value it, along with moral courage & integrity. Our example should show our children that these things are more valuable than any earthly material possessions. We should let them see us being generous- out of a pure heart, not seeking recognition for our giving & helping, but giving & sharing our possessions, time, & selves with joy. (I’m not saying always say yes to people- Know your limits mommas!)

We teach our children what kind of friends to have, by the people they see us associating with. The old adage “beware the company you keep” fits here quite well. Just as smiles, laughter, & joy are contagious, so are laziness, immorality, & anger. We often think we are strong enough to withstand the influence of such people, or that by carrying on these friendships our lifestyle example will win them over to Christ, & we are setting an example of walking in love towards those who need Him – & maybe that is all true. But what our children see, is us saying that these behaviors are tolerable & acceptable in the people we surround ourselves with – & they are not yet built up in strength of faith to withstand the influence of such people in their lives.

As mommas, we are to keep knowledge in our minds & on our lips, as guidance & strength for ourselves & others, especially our children. Most importantly, to teach them to seek God’s wisdom & will for their abilities & talents, while administering discipline with godly wisdom & loving kindness; because no one is born wise & full of knowledge- these things are acquired with time & experience. Children have foolish hearts, & this is not their fault- that is the nature we are all born with. It is our job, to drive out foolishness by being Proverbs 22 mommas.

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Prayer

Lord, thank You for every momma reading this. Fill them each with your wisdom- the ability to see all things from Your eternal perspective, to understand the cause & effect of every decision, & to constantly be learning from every situation. May these women be strengthened by Your Holy Spirit, always trusting & relying on You, staying confident in Your promises. Give them gracious hearts, lips that speak truth & knowledge with grace. Lord, be their Supernatural Source of strength & energy, so they will always be able to fulfill their duties, not falling into laziness. Help them to always be humble & pure of heart, living a lifestyle of worship to You, always generous & willing to help others when able. May they walk uprightly with moral courage & integrity, lifting their children up to you, trusting Your guidance in teaching & disciplining them in all circumstances, so that they may grow into adults who live to glorify You. And especially the single mommas, Lord- let them know that they are loved & they are not alone. May they stand strong in faith, refusing to grow weary & give up in the struggles, knowing that their breakthrough is just around the corner.

In Jesus’ Mighty Name

Amen!

A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches; And favor is better than silver and gold.

The rich and poor have a common bond; The Lord is the Maker of them all.

A prudent and far-sighted person sees the evil [of sin] and hides himself [from it], But the naive continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin].

The reward of humility [that is, having a realistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord Is riches, honor, and life.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate [for their lack of honor and their wrong-doing traps them]; He who guards himself [with godly wisdom] will be far from them and avoid the consequences they suffer.

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.

He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble, And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.

He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor.

Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away; Even strife and dishonor will cease.

He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious will have the king as his friend.

The eyes of the Lord keep guard over knowledge and the one who has it, But He overthrows the words of the treacherous.

 

The lazy one [manufactures excuses and] says, ‚ÄúThere is a lion outside! I will be killed in the streets [if I go out to work]!‚ÄĚ

The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit [deep and inescapable]; He who is cursed by the Lord [because of his adulterous sin] will fall into it.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him.

He who oppresses or exploits the poor to get more for himself Or who gives to the rich [to gain influence and favor], will only come to poverty.

Listen carefully and hear the words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge;

For it will be pleasant if you keep them in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles]; Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others].

So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord , I have taught these things to you today, even to you.

Have I not written to you excellent things In counsels and knowledge,

To let you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may give a correct answer to him who sent you?

Do not rob the poor because he is poor [and defenseless], Nor crush the afflicted [by legal proceedings] at the gate [where the city court is held],

For the Lord will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.

Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts; Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man,

Or you will learn his [undisciplined] ways And get yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].

Do not be among those who give pledges [involving themselves in others’ finances], Or among those who become guarantors for others’ debts.

If you have nothing with which to pay [another’s debt when he defaults], Why should his creditor take your bed from under you?

Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property] Which your fathers have set.

Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work? He will stand [in honor] before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.

-PROVERBS 22 (AMP)

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Who doesn’t love spaghetti? I LOVE spaghetti, especially leftover spaghetti- it ALWAYS tastes even better the next day, after all those flavors have had time to marinate together overnight. YUM! It’s always hard for me to fathom the thought that there are people out there who do not know how to make spaghetti- it’s one of the easiest & simplest dishes out there! But I have had some BAD spaghetti before. So today I’m going to share a semi-homemade version I came up with the other day, when I knew that the jar of sauce I had wouldn’t be enough for my meat sauce, but I had some great ingredients on hand to stretch that jar into enough for my hungry boys & I to enjoy the wonderful¬†deliciousness that is¬†leftover spaghetti the next day.

I knew I had everything I needed on hand- these are just ingredients I tend to keep, because they can be used in many dishes, but since the jar of Emeril’s Roasted Gaaaahlic I had grabbed on sale wouldn’t be enough, I took a look in my pantry & found a can of tomato sauce, a can of cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, & decided that those, combined with a few of the Campari tomatoes I had on hand oughta mix well with my jar of sauce. I also had bought some Veggie Noodle Co. Zucchini Noodles, cause my favorite cash back app was offering cash back on those, & I couldn’t wait to try them, so I got those out along with all of my other ingredients.

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First, get your pasta pot started- I fill a large pot with water, drizzle about 1tbsp olive oil (to keep pasta from sticking together) in it, & add some salt. Heat that to a rolling boil. Next, place about five Campari tomatoes (you could¬†use any¬†small tomato, Roma are¬†my fave, these¬†happened to¬†be on sale)¬†in a small pot, cover with water, & place over high heat to boil. Don’t worry about the skins- they will come off as the tomatoes boil.

While waiting for the water to get to a good boil, warm the other 1tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mince garlic & dice about 1cup of onion, add to the olive oil & sautee. Dice a green bell pepper & add to the garlic & onion, which should just be starting to become translucent.

 

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Sautee the veggie mixture about three more minutes, then add 1lb ground beef or turkey. My local Kroger usually has ground turkey for a lower cost than beef, & it’s healthier & leaner. If using turkey, I like to give it a good dousing of Worcestershire & season it with Weber steak & chop seasoning for a beefier flavor.¬† During this time, your pasta water should be getting to a good rolling boil, so you’ll be adding your pasta to the water as well. The package pictured was for eight servings, I used about 3/4 of that. Return to a boil, reduce heat to medium,¬†& set a timer for seven minutes.

Break up the turkey or beef, then add your Italian sausage. Break this up & combine the meats & veggies well. Season generously with salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning, keep cooking until brown, stirring occasionally. At this point, the skins are popping off the tomatoes, drain, discard the skins, & return to the pot. When the timer goes off, drain the pasta & rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

While the meat continues to brown, use a potato masher to crush up the tomatoes over medium heat, then add the cream of mushroom & roasted garlic soup & mix well. Whisk in the can of tomato sauce, season generously with salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning, mix well & bring to a simmer.

When the meat is fully browned, drain, then return to skillet & add your jar of spaghetti sauce. Mix well & bring to a simmer, then slowly combine the cream of mushroom & tomato sauce mixture into the skillet.

 

This only needs to simmer for a few minutes, so while I let that simmer I got my zoodles out for my serving of spaghetti. I knew none of my boys would be interested in eating green noodles, so I only needed a small portion. I warmed some Extra Virgin olive oil in my schmedium (you know, not my smallest, but not quite medium) skillet, added my zoodles & sautéed them for about five minutes.

Remove the zoodles to a plate, & top with desired amount of meat sauce, & parmesan cheese if you like. Then, you can either mix the spaghetti & meat sauce in the pot, or serve the sauce over your noodles, my boys like it all mixed together, & it makes storing the leftovers a little easier.

Enjoy! As always, keep scrolling for the recipe in a more printer-friendly format. ūüôā

 

Semi-Homemade Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, minced

1cup diced onion

1 green bell pepper, diced

5 Campari tomatoes

1cup zucchini noodles

1lb ground turkey or beef

1lb mild Italian sausage

Thin spaghetti noodles

1 can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup

1 14oz can tomatao sauce

1 24oz jar spaghetti sauce- whatever flavor you like

2tbs olive oil

1tbs extra virgin olive oil

Worcestershire sauce

Weber steak & chop seasoning

Kosher salt

Peppercorn medley grinder

Italian seasoning

 

Steps

  1. Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions
  2. Boil tomatoes until skins pop off, drain
  3. While pasta & tomatoes are boiling, warm 1tbsp olive oil in large skillet, add garlic & onion. Sautee about 3 min, then add bell pepper & sautee about 3 more min
  4. Add beef or turkey- if using turkey, season with Worcestershire sauce & Weber seasoning to taste, break meat up & add Italian sausage, break up, season generously with salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning & mix well, brown fully, stirring occassionally
  5. Over medium heat, crush tomatoes, add cream of mushroom & garlic soup, mix well & whisk in tomato sauce; season generously with salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning & whisk again, bring to a simmer
  6. When meat is fully browned, drain, return to skillet & stir in the jar of spaghetti sauce, bring to a simmer, then combine the cream of mushroom & tomato sauce mixture into the skillet & simmer about 5 more minutes, then serve over your pasta or mix it all together & top with parmesan cheese, whatever you like!

 

For the Zucchini Noodles (this is for one serving)

  1. Warm 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil in small ‚Äď medium skillet
  2. Add about 1 cup of zoodles, sautee about 5 min, remove to plate
  3. Top with desired amount of meat sauce, & parmesan cheese if you like

Delighted In

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The Lord your God is in your midst, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  -Zephaniah 3:17

In the beginning, God created the heavens & the earth, the plants & the trees, the creepy crawly things & the livestock & the birds of the air, & man & woman. And on the sixth day He looked over all that He had created  & declared that it was very good (Genesis Ch 1). You are His creation, created by Him, for His family, & God loves you & calls you very good!

God delights in you. The One Who created all the beauty & wonder of this great universe, takes great joy in YOU. The original Hebrew text of this verse uses the word “yasis”- he will rejoice. The root of yasis is “sus” or “sis,” which means to exult, delight, rejoice greatly, be glad, make mirth. He GREATLY rejoices over you; He is excited about you! He cares about every little detail of your life (Psalm 37:23). He walks with you, provided salvation for you, takes away all fear, sings praises over YOU! We don’t just love¬†& praise Him, He loves & praises us- not only that, He loved & praised us first, before we even knew¬†Him!¬†I don’t know about you, but the knowledge of this one thing alone, puts a huge smile on my face.

Look at this verse again, & notice that not only does He delight in you, but He will no longer rebuke you. The amplified version says “making no mention of your past sins.” Think about it, do you discipline your children for wrongdoings & sing praises over them at the same time? That’s impossible, right? How then, could a loving heavenly Father, rebuke you for your past sins, when He is busy taking delight in you & rejoicing over you?

When you are in Christ, your past sins no longer exist. As Corrie Ten Boom once said, when you accepted Christ, God took all of your sins, past, present, & future, & threw them in a lake.. Then He put up a “No Fishing” sign. There is no fear of punishment here, only His grace &¬†love. And because He loves us so much, & rejoices over us, we delight in Him, living with the goal not to take advantage of His grace, but to please Him in our words & actions.

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Shrimp Stir-Fry

The past couple of weeks, & this week as well, have been for my family what I have dubbed “struggle weeks.” You know, those barely making ends meet, paycheck to paycheck, weeks. Those times when you don’t know how you’re going to make it, but you know your trust is in the One Who does know, so you take it one day, sometimes just one moment at a time, letting Him lead. It’s like this- God has brought me through some difficult times & into this amazing place, & everything has been going well.. & then boom, what¬†I thought added up¬†perfectly all of a sudden didn’t & here I was in a bind,¬†& unable to figure out where I had gone wrong with the math.¬†¬†Any other single parents¬†out there who can relate? I know I can’t be the only one who has¬†faced this occasionally.

Aaannywho.. in times like this, I am thankful for my natural abilities in the kitchen, to take whatever’s on hand & create something delicious. So, before we left for church Sunday morning, I looked in the freezer & the first two things I saw were a package of ground turkey & a bag of shrimp. I pulled the shrimp out to thaw & decided I’d figure out what to do with it later.

Time to cook dinner came, & I began rummaging around the kitchen to see what ingredients I had that went together. I looked at the veggies I had in the freezer; my middle son loves brussels sprouts, so I pulled a bag of those out. As I kept looking through the fridge, I had some lemon juice, diced onion, shredded carrots, & oyster sauce. My teen says veggies only taste good in Chinese food, & I knew I had some soy sauce, sesame oil, & jasmine rice in my cabinets, so it was time to gather what I had on hand & get a stir-fry started.

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By the time I got done gathering whatever was on hand, I had the following ingredients: shrimp, brussels sprouts, shredded carrots, diced onion, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry cooking wine, old bay seasoning, sea salt & kosher salt, peppercorn medley grinder, jasmine rice, & cornstarch. You don’t necessarily have to use brussels sprouts & carrots, you can use whatever veggies you like in this, those just happen to be the ones I had on hand & pulled out. I could have just as easily grabbed some green beans or broccoli out of my freezer that day.

I got my rice started, & warmed about a table spoon of olive oil in my large skillet, then added my thawed shrimp & sprinkled with old bay seasoning & a drizzle of sesame oil & cooked about 2 min on each side, just until pink, & removed to a plate & drizzled with lemon juice.

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Next, add minced garlic & diced onion to the pan & sautee until the onions begin to become translucent, then add the sherry & simmer to reduce, about three minutes.

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Add brussels sprouts & sprinkle generously with sea salt & pepper. Sautee about five minutes, then add your shredded carrots & sautee two to three more minutes.

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For the soy & oyster sauces, I filled a 1/3 cup measuring cup about halfway with oyster sauce, then filled the rest of the way with soy sauce:

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Add this mixture to you vegetables & stir, then add a little more sea salt & pepper. Bring to a simmer, then add the cornstarch & water mixture & stir. Add the shrimp, including juices, & combine well. At this point, I did a little taste test & something was missing, so I looked up & saw some ground ginger in my cabinet & said “that’s it!” I sprinkled some of that over the mixture, along with more salt & pepper, & my stir-fry was complete.

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About this time, your rice should be done (cook time for the rice is 15 minutes). Serve stir fry over rice, & enjoy!

(I’m including the recipe below in a more printer friendly format)

 

 

Shrimp Stir-Fry

 

Ingredients

1lb lg shrimp

116oz bag frozen brussels sprouts, thawed & halved (or vegetable of your choice)

1cup shredded carrots (or vegetable of your choice)

1/3cup diced onion

2 lg cloves garlic, minced

1tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2tbsp Lemon juice, separated

2tsp Sesame oil

Oyster sauce & Soy sauce- 1/3 cup combined

1/4c Sherry cooking wine

1tsp Old bay seasoning

Sea salt to taste

1tsp Kosher salt

Peppercorn medley, fresh ground, to taste

1tsp cornstarch mixed with 1tbsp water

1tsp ground ginger

1cup Jasmine rice

 

  • Bring rice, 2 cups water, kosher salt, & 1tbsp lemon juice to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover & simmer 15min
  • While rice is simmering, Warm 1tbsp olive oil in a large skillet, add shrimp & sprinkle with old bay, drizzle with sesame oil
  • Cook shrimp about 2min each side, just until pink. Remove to a plate, drizzle with remaining lemon juice
  • Add garlic & onion to juices in pan, sautee until onions start to become transluscent
  • Add sherry, simmer about 3 min, then add brussel sprouts & sprinkle generously with sea salt & pepper
  • Sautee about 5 min, then add shredded carrots (if using other vegetable, add at the same time as brussel sprouts), sautee about 2-3 more min
  • Add soy & oyster sauces & stir well, add light sprinkling of more sea salt & pepper
  • Bring to a simmer, add conrstarch & water mixture, stir, add shrimp, including juices from plate, combine well
  • Add ground ginger & more sea salt & pepper, to taste
  • Serve over rice

 

A Child of God

Last week, we learned that we are beloved by God- His dearly loved, esteemed, favorite children. This week, let’s look at what it means to be God’s children.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it- we’re called the children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. – 1 John 3:1 (Message Bible)

The original Greek word for “child” in this verse is “tekna”- child, daughter, son. I love the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon definition: “to be regarded as true, genuine children, accounted as children begotten by virtue of God’s promise…. in Paul’s writings, all who are animated by the Spirit of God and thus are closely related to God.”

“Animated” in this definition appears to mean “enlivened”- We are enlivened by the Spirit of God Himself, & therefore closely related to Him- His children. More than that, & more than being God’s adopted children- we are regarded as His genuine children- that puts us on the same level as Jesus in God’s eyes! Whoa!! If THAT doesn’t make you jump for joy!!

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. – Romans 8:14-17

What does this mean for us? Well, if through faith, we have accepted Christ, then He is in us, & we are in Him- we are God’s children, as Christ is God’s Son (Galatians 3:26), & we share with Him the wonderful inheritance of God’s glory! (Galatians 4:6, Revelations 21:7) That doesn’t mean the path to receiving our inheritance will be easy- as He suffered, so also must we. We will be confronted with trials & temptations; the enemy will do all he can to try to break our faith. But we have the assurance of God’s promise, that when we stand firm, He not only goes ahead to make a way for us, He carries us! (I could share testimony after testimony here¬†of how God has carried me through the trials- but let’s save those for future posts ūüėČ )

Because we, God’s children, are flesh & blood, Christ became flesh & blood to break the power of death over us (Hebrews 2:14 ). It is our responsibility in this world, to live our lives in obedience to God’s Word, being imitators of Him- working for peace & allowing His true character to be displayed through us, & not to become backslidden, falling into old behaviors He has delivered us out of (Ephesians 5:1, Matthew 5:5, 1 Peter 1:14). If we fall into those behaviors, we are not living lives that bring glory to our Father, & He will have to discipline us (Hebrews 12:8). That discipline usually comes in the form of natural consequences- i.e., if something’s going wrong in your life, ask God to show you where you’re missing it. When you come to Him with an open heart, He will show you what you need to fix, & how to fix it. He parents & corrects us in love & empathy. Even as we suffer the consequences of our mistakes, He walks with us¬†& guides in¬†correcting ourselves.¬†What a Good Father we have! How blessed we are to be called His children!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1

 

Ultimate Breakfast Biscuit

Recently, a good friend & fellow food lover of mine got married; and for their honeymoon, she & her new husband roadtripped to Colorado. While in Denver, she posted this deliciousness on Instagram, & immediately began craving one myself:

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Obviously, since I work two jobs & am raising some busy athletes, I can’t just pick up & go to Denver to get one, so I decided I would create my own version. And OMGoodness did it come out amazingly delicious!

First, after examining the image above, I gathered my ingredients: biscuits (Pillsbury Homestlye Honey Butter Grands are my fave!), thick cut bacon, sausage (two different kinds are pictured because I decided one roll wasn’t enough, & my local Kroger had their brand on sale, resulting in an empty shelf when I went back for more), eggs, flour, bacon grease, milk, cheddar cheese, & seasonings- kosher salt, peppercorn medley grinder (cause fresh cracked is so much more flavorful), garlic powder, & crushed red pepper. (Later I ended up pulling out my Tony’s Creole Seasoning, cause I’m a Cajun girl & I use that stuff in everything ūüėČ )

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If you’ve got all your ingredients together, let’s get started! Pre-heat your oven to 325, & warm a large skillet over medium heat. Line a large baking sheet with foil, & fill with 16 slices of bacon. Divide your two rolls of sausage into eight thick patties, add half of them to your heated skillet & place bacon in the pre-heated oven. Cook sausage patties 10 min on each side, repeat for the other four.

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After flipping the first four, take the bacon out of the oven- drain & save the grease, flip the bacon, & return to the oven for 10 more min. While the meats are cooking, spray another baking sheet with non stick cooking spray, & place biscuits on it. When the bacon is done, place the biscuits in the oven & bake according to package directions, until golden brown. I like to butter the tops of them during the last few minutes of baking.

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Once you have your hands free, you can start the gravy. I apologize for the lack of images for the gravy making process, but it goes quickly, & requires constant stirring to keep it smooth & creamy. In a small saucepan over med-high heat, add your bacon grease. For this one, I actually saved & combined all the grease from both the sausage & the bacon to use for my gravy. Have a good wire whisk ready. If you have a hand held electric mixer, I actually think the egg beater whisk attachment for that is PERFECT for this. Begin adding about 3/4-1 cup of flour, a little at a time, constantly whisking, to make a roux. Then, add up to 2 cups of milk, a little at time, still constantly whisking, until your gravy has reached the consistency & thickness you desire. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, & if you like, a little Cajun seasoning, to taste- I never measure these, so if you’re new to gravy making, always start with a little- you can always add a little more, but once you’ve added too much you can’t take it out. Keep whisking, bringing to a boil, then remove to a burner warmed on low heat.

Last, make your eggs. I do this after the gravy, because you want your eggs to be fresh for your sandwich, & my three boys & I all like our eggs different. I use bacon grease for cooking my eggs, may not be any healthier than butter, but adds great flavor to your eggs! Each sandwich only needs one egg, my youngest likes his scrambled- one egg beaten with a splash of milk or heavy cream. Next, my middle one likes his eggs fried hard, but he doesn’t want the yolk broken. My oldest son & I like our eggs over medium- with the yolk runny but the white fully cooked. All of our eggs get a light sprinkling of kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper.

Now, build your sandwiches:

Split your biscuits in half, & place the sausage patties on the bottom half of the biscuits. Place your eggs on top of the sausage patties, & criss-cross two slices of bacon on top of the eggs. Top generously with shredded cheddar cheese & a generous pouring of gravy. There you have it! The ultimate, most delicious breakfast sandwich you’ll ever have! I served mine with some smothered & covered hashbrowns, cooked in the unwashed pan from my sausage patties with- you guessed it, bacon grease, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, & some Tony’s Creole seasoning.

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I hope you all enjoyed my first MomChef entry! Bear with me as this blog is still in the start up phase, & I am unable to include a link for easy printing at this time, but I am including it below & you should be able to highlight & print or copy & paste to Word & print.

Ultimate Breakfast Biscuit:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can large biscuits
  • 16 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 lbs mild breakfast sausage
  • Grease from bacon & sausage
  • ¬ĺ-1 cup flour
  • About 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Tony Chachere‚Äôs Creole Seasoning

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 & warm a large skillet over medium heat. Line a large backing sheet with foil & place bacon on it.
  2. Divide sausage into eight thick patties, place four in the warm skillet & pan of bacon in center of oven. After 10 minutes, turn the patties, drain & save grease from bacon & flip bacon & return to center of oven. Allow both to cook for 10 more minutes & remove, saving the grease from both. Repeat for the remaining four sausage patties.
  3. While last four patties are cooking, bake biscuits according to package directions, until golden brown
  4. Optional: butter tops of biscuits during last 3 minutes of cooking

For the Gravy:

  1. Warm a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, add most of the grease saved from the bacon & sausage
  2. Begin adding flour, a little at a time, while constantly whisking, to make a roux. Whisk about a minute or two, then begin slowly adding milk, still constantly whisking, until gravy is smooth & thick but fluid.
  3. Add seasonings to taste, & continue whisking.
  4. Bring just to a boil, & remove to a burner set to low heat. Whisk occassionally to keep smooth & from beginning to stick to bottom of pan.

For the Eggs:

This is what you saved a little bit of your bacon & sausage grease for, or if you prefer, you can use butter or just spray your pan with non stick spray. Cook one egg per sandwich, according to your liking.

  • Scrambled- beaten with a splash of milk or heavy cream (for fluffiness), then cooked
  • Sunny Side Up- Never flipped, white mostly solid & yolk runny
  • Over Easy- Flipped once, yolk & white both runny
  • Over Medium- Flipped once, white fully solid, yolk runny
  • Over Medium-Well- Flipped once, white fully solid, yolk semi-soft- not runny
  • Over Well- Flipped once, white & yolk both solid
  • Over Hard- Flipped once, yolk broken & fully cooked

Build Your Sandwich:

Split your biscuits in half, & place the sausage patties on the bottom half of the biscuits. Place your eggs on top of the sausage patties, & criss-cross two slices of bacon on top of the eggs. Top generously with shredded cheddar cheese & a generous pouring of gravy. Place top half of biscuit on top of your sandwich.

(The inspiration sandwich pictured was purchased at Denver Biscuit Co)

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