Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chicken, Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper Panini

I was in the mood for a "good" sandwich. Good meaning more than just a few slices of lunchmeat and cheese between two pieces of bread. But, I didn't want to go out and buy one.  So, I came up with this.  It was a lot of chicken, bacon, pesto, roasted red pepper, honey mustard goodness!  :)

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was too excited to get it made before I thought about pictures...ha.  Also, it tastes so much better than it looks, I squished the bread a little too much. :)

2 slices of french bread
1 chicken breast, sliced in half length wise
2 slices of bacon
A small amount of cheese ( I used shredded cheddar, it's what I had, but any kind works.)
2 pieces of roasted red pepper, store bought in jar
A small amount of pesto, store bought
A small amount of honey mustard
A small amount of butter

Cook the chicken breast in a skillet (season as desired).  When chicken is almost done add the slices of bacon to the same skillet, cook.  When chicken and bacon are done cooking place chicken and bacon on a piece of paper towel to absorb the grease and wipe out the skillet.  Or I used a flat cast-iron tortilla warmer/cooker. 

Spread a small amount of butter on one side of one slice of french bread. Don't over do the butter or it will be soggy.  Place butter side down in skillet.  Spread the other side with pesto. 

Place chicken on top of bread in skillet.  Top with cheese and red pepper slices. 

Spread butter on one side of the other slice of french bread.  Spread honey mustard on other side of bread.  Place honey mustard side down on top of pile in skillet. 

Press down on the sandwich or place a heavy pot on top of it for a few minutes.  Flip the sandwich and toast on other side for a few minutes. 

That's it!  Adding onions or  fresh spinach to this would be great too.    

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wives submit, Husbands love...Ephesians

Read the verses here: Ephesians 5:21-33

Ephesians 5:21-33
vs. 21-24 -- The biggest thing I pulled out of these verses wasn't that wives should submit to their husbands, but that submission is done "out of reverence for Christ".  Like my concordance says, "Submitting to another person does not mean becoming a doormat." "When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others, that is, to subordinate our rights to theirs." --We submit to God first and then to others.

But even though I am not a "wives", I still believe that I can apply these verses to my life.  Submission is not just in a marriage.  Submission can be done in small ways, in other types of relationships as well.  The biggest one being submitting to Christ.  In my mind it is much much easier to submit to Christ than to another human being.  With Christ you know that he means what he says and that he's doing everything for your good...period, that's it.  His words are true and trustworthy.  And with another person, weeeell, we all have our faults. 

vs. 25-30 -- I love how in these verses that Paul compares the relationship between a husband and his wife to the relationship Christ has with the church.  How highly honored/viewed does that mean marriage is in the eyes of Christ?  Wow, that's serious stuff.

Are wives told to submit and husbands told to love because those things are difficult for each to do?

Another thing I noticed is "...cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word...".  Follow my thought process here.....God's Word cleanses us making us holy and blameless, without stain or wrinkle -- God's Word is Christ -- I need to spend time in God's Word, getting to know Christ because that is how he makes me holy and blameless, by getting to know Him through His Word.  Follow me?

vs. 31-33 -- 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Feta and Rice Stuffed Peppers

I've had stuffed bell peppers before but not without meat.  So, I thought I'd try a different version of a stuffed pepper.  I'm glad I did.  Sooo good! I love that this is so versatile and can easily be added to or changed up.

Note: I used diced tomatoes and green chili's which made it spicy (I knew it was going to be spicy but it would be a nice surprise if you didn't know it was going to be spicy, its not something that looks like it would be spicy...make sense? lol)  If you do not want spicy, use regular diced tomatoes instead. 

Ingredients: 1 packet of boil-in-a-bag rice, enough water to boil the rice in, 2 bell peppers, seeded, 1/4 cup chopped onion OR 2 green onions chopped, 1/2 cup black beans, drained, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, drained,  1 teaspoon italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 cube of garlic OR 1 clove, minced, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of black pepper, 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil the rice in the water.  Considering it was 10 min rice, it only took 10 minutes to boil. :)

While the rice is boiling -- Cover a baking sheet, (or in my case, a cake pan..ha) with foil, makes for easy clean up.  Put the bell pepper sliced side down on the sheet (pan).  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they turn slightly brown. 

When the rice gets done drain the water and set aside.
While the peppers are roasting -- In a skillet, swirl the pan with a few turns of olive oil, heat.  Add the onions, basil, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes.  Then add the diced tomatoes and the black beans.  Add the rice to the skillet and move heat to low.  Keep warm.

When the peppers are done roasting they should look something like this.

Carefully flip the peppers over and fill with the rice mixture.  You can mix the feta  in with the rice mixture just before filling the peppers or just sprinkle it on top.  I sprinkled it on top but I think next time I will mix it in. 

Put back in the oven for about another 5 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese. 

Plate and eat!

Annnd for dessert....

I didn't feel quite so bad about eating it after I read this.....oooook you talked me into it....ha :)

View a written version of the recipe here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Goodbye Old, Hello New...Ephesians

Ephesians 4:17-32  Read it here: vs. 17-32
Ephesians 5:1-20  Read it here: vs. 1-20

There is alot in these verses but I will keep it short this time. :)

Ephesians 4:17-32
1) We don't have an option if we are in Christ, to live the old life we once knew.  Through Christ we have a new life, new heart, new desires, new everything (and he does that in us! WOW!) Paul is saying to the Ephesians that he "insists on it" and that they "must" no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of there thinking.  But the great thing is that not having an option is AMAZING!  The fact that Christ creates in us the desire and the ability not to live that way any more is once again, AMAZING!
2) The Ephesians had no excuse for living like the Gentiles because they knew better, they had been taught differently, they had been taught the truth of Christ. 
3) Our old self's are "being corrupted by it's deceitful desires".  Man, I don't want that at all!
4) Our new self's (through Christ) allow us "to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." -- There's something to be thankful for! 
5) "To be made new in the attitude of your minds." -- It all starts with our minds and our attitudes.  You can choose what attitude you are going to have.  Yep, it's a choice. 

vs. 25-27 -- Paul is saying (at least this is my interpretation) that to have unity they cannot tell lies (falsehoods) and they must speak truthfully to one another.  Lies create conflict and no real relationship is built on lies. 

Paul is saying that we must not sin in the way we handle our anger.  Anger itself is not sin, but how we handle that anger can make it become sin.  Sure, you're going to get anger from time to time, but how do you handle that anger, how do you react?  Does that anger cause you to sin?  -- This is where the practice of "Counting to 10 (before reacting)" can come in handy.

vs. 28-29 -- I must focus on others not myself.  "...must work doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need."  "Do not let any (did you catch that? Do not let any....yikes, hard to do.) unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs." "...that it may benefit those who listen."  Do I use my words to build others up?  Do others benefit by hearing what I have to say?

vs. 30-32 -- "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of ALL bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." 

My words, actions and attitudes can "grieve the Holy Spirit." Get rid of all, not some, ALL.  Paul gives them something to replace those bad attitudes with, kindness, compassion and forgiveness.

Ephesians 5:1-20
1) Follow God's example, walk in love.
2) "Not even a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed..." Why? "because these are improper for God's holy people.  "No obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place..." But replace those things with ..."thanksgiving."
3) "No immoral, impure, or greedy person...has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."  But remember as believers, we have been forgiven of our immoralities, impurities and greed.  We are living that NEW life through Christ! :)  Annnd unbelievers can have that too!
4) I should be careful of the people I surround myself with.  I can be deceived, and influenced by others.  I want to make sure I have positive influences surrounding me, not negative. 

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of the light."

vs. 15-17
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. -- Live wisely, not foolishly.  Get to know God through His Word so that you will make the most of every opportunity and understand what His will is. 

vs. 18-20
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. -- I should be characterized by my "joy" that Christ gives me, no matter what the circumstances are.  Be thankful in everything, good and bad.  Trust God in everything and find joy through Him.  Focus on God not circumstances.  Circumstances change, God doesn't.   

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cooking Creme

This week I didn't cook a new meal completely, but I did try something new.  I tried the new Philadelphia "Cooking Creme".  I had seen this advertised, and decided to try it out.  The things I liked about it were that it was super quick, easy and is sooo versatile.  I mean really, you can add it to just about anything - or add just about anything to it, just let your inner chef come out. :) 

The only con was that it didn't have much flavor.  I guess I should say that it had flavor, just not enough for my liking.  It smelled awesome while it was cooking though (that's a pro not a con).  I semi-copied the recipe on the back of the container an added some additional seasonings (garlic powder, salt, italian seasoning) to it for more flavor.  Overall, it was good, quick and easy.  Definitely worth trying out the other flavor's. 

I started with this: About a cup (dry) of cooked and drained pasta ( I used garden rotini). 1 chicken breast cooked and cut into bite size pieces, half of a green bell pepper, sliced. 

Added about half of the container of the Creamy Pesto Philadelphia Cooking Creme.  I also added a splash of milk because it was a little thick (and the recipe on the back said to if it was thick..ha). Cooked it for a few minutes, just long enough to heat thoroughly.

Add this was the result!

This made enough for me for a couple of meals. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rooted and Established in Love...Ephesians

This is two weeks in one post.  Sorry, I know its alot of words at once.
The verses were Ephesians 3:14-21 and 4:1-16 

The main things I noticed in these verses:

1) vs. 3:14-15:  Paul is "kneeling before the Father".  I so often, ok pretty much every day, forget to "kneel" before the Father.  When talking this over with a friend, she said that kneeling is a sign of honor, submission and reverence.  This is the fear of God that I am suppose to have.  But I get so busy talking to God about my wants and needs and the needs of others that I don't praise and honor Him nearly as much as I should.  I pray, but how much of that prayer is praise and worship to God for his love and his creation?

2) vs. 16-17:  Christ strengthens us with power in our "inner being" through the Holy Spirit.  Paul is praying for inner strength for them as they put their faith in God.  "Rooted and established in love..." -- everything we do should eminate love.  Love should be the basis.  The message says "with both feet planted firmly on love.." BOTH feet.  Where your feet go the rest of your body follows...clever huh?

3) vs. 18-19: My commentary says, "God's love is total, says Paul.  It reaches every corner of our experience.  God's love is WIDE - it covers the breadth of our experience and reaches out to the whole world.  It is LONG -  it continues the length of our lives.  It is HIGH - it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation.  His love is DEEP - it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair and even death.  When you feel shut out or isolated, remember you can never be lost to God's love." 
Can we really "grasp" the love that God has for us?  Nope, it "surpasses all knowledge".  That's one of those mystery's of God I love. :)  And should cause me to praise God for all he has done.  Makes me think of:
Psalm 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, to great for me to know.
4) vs. 20-21:" Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us."  -- God can do ANYTHING, even the things that seem impossible to us.  He can do anything through us by the Holy Spirit living in us.  Yep, God can do the impossible. Woohoo!  Do I truly believe that God can do absolutely anything? Anything through me? And that he can use me to bring him glory?  I pray that when I face a situation that seems impossible I will hold on to the faith that he can do the impossible.  And He not only does the impossible, but He does it even more or better than I could imagine. 

5) vs. 4:1-3: Paul is telling them to live a life focused on God.  Being humble, gentle, and patient with each other.  Working through differences to keep the unity in Christ.  Paul is saying "You have been given this awesome gift and opportunity, now go live your life in a way that it will be seen and bring glory to God.  Don't let what you don't have or envy of others keep you from doing this.  You fool, can't you see that differences are a good thing, not a bad thing?  The difference are what makes this work!  And don't forget that you are united to everyone in the body in Christ.  We are all given different gifts, strengths, roles. 
Differences are strengths not weaknesses. 

6) vs. 4-6: There are alot of "one's" in these verses.  One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.  Paul is continuing to remind them that they are one body united by their faith in Christ.  There is only one way to salvation, not many -- just one, God.  God is over all, working through everything, and present in everything that happens.  
"Everything you are, think and do is permeated with oneness." -- The Message  

7) vs. 7-13: To be honest, verses 7-10 confuse me.  I guess I interpret that as Paul saying that God is all over the place, he fills the whole universe with his presence.  Verses 11-13: The spiritual gift that God GAVE us is all his doing.  It's not something we create ourselves.  And the point of these gifts is to prepare God's people for works of service, to glorify God, to be able to share the gospel with everyone in different ways.  All of these gifts work together and we can accomplish more working together in unity than we can individually, because where one person maybe weak, another person can be strong -- we build each other up.  We should work together to mature in Christ, to reach unity in the faith, to attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  What is/are your spiritual gift(s)? Are you using them? Are you working with the body of Christ to use your gift?  Are you respecting the gifts of others?

8) vs. 14-16:  Paul is saying if we work together in unity, using the gifts God has given us and building each other up in our faith, we will stand firm in our faith.  We won't be "blown here and there by every wind of teaching".  And we won't be deceived by the schemes of men.  Instead we will ignore their schemes, knowing that they are all lies.  We will "speak the truth in love".  We should always speak the truth to each other but....only in love.  This isn't an excuse to go ranting and raving at someone because they have made you angry or hurt you and they deserve to know what they are doing to you.  Wait until you calm down, then if it is something that could really benefit them in their walk with God, go to them "in love" and tell them about it - it has to be for their benefit, not yours.  I guarantee they will be more willing to accept what you say if you come at them in love rather than in anger or selfishness.  (got off on another branch on that one, sorry)
We need to rely on each other to grow up in Christ. 
As iron sharpens iron....right? :)

Note: I need to add here that I am by no means "preaching" at you.  I am preaching at myself in the things that I say.  So please don't feel like I am telling you what to do or well....that I am preaching at you.  I AM NOT!!!  Trust me, I am the last person who needs to be preaching to people. I definitely don't have this all figured out, but am just trying to learn and grow and it helps me to type out my thoughts as I go.  The above is merely my thoughts on the scriptures and you get to read them.

Lucky you...ha! :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chicken Taquitos - Super Easy

These are super easy and great snacks - or if you're like me,  even a meal.  What I love about them is that they are baked and not fried.  Yay for healthy-er.  Not saying they are healthy for you, but baking is definitely better than frying!

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup (or more) cheese, shredded
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
12 corn tortillas
Small amount of olive oil

Note: To be honest, the measurements are guesstimates.  I didn't actually measure anything. So this is my guess of how much I used of each.  It's very forgiving, so go ahead, just eyeball it! :) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

I boiled the chicken breast in about 2 cups of chicken broth until cooked through.  Then shredded.  You can use any left over chicken you might have (rotisserie or even canned chicken).  It was about 1 (generous) cup of chicken, once shredded.

In a bowl, mix the chicken, onion, cheese, green chile's and taco seasoning together.

Heat the tortillas one at a time in a skillet over low heat, just warm them up a bit until they are pliable.  I didn't try this but you could probably also heat in the microwave for a few seconds in between damp paper towels. 

Spoon a small amount of the chicken mixture onto the tortilla.  Roll up and secure with a toothpick. 

Brush the rolled up tortillas with olive oil.  This helps to keep them from drying out.  Place on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy.  (Might not take the full 30 minutes)

Serve with your choice of dipping/topping.  Yummy!! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Earring Hanger Project

I made this a while back to hang my earrings and necklaces on. I started with making the earring hanger and eventually added the hooks for the necklaces.  I am thinking about adding knobs to the bottom of the picture frames to hang the necklaces on and getting rid of the hooks below....just thinking. 

I used two old 8x10 picture frames that I had and painted them white.  I took a few pieces of picture hanging wire (double the length of the width of the frame  - when twisted, long enough to reach from side to side of the frame on the back.) twisted the wire together to made one wire and then attached it with a staple gun to the back of the frame. And repeated that for each wire.  I just spaced them out to match what earrings I have.  
The hooks are "key hangers" from Target, mounted on the wall.

It was a good weekend project. :)