…Awkward

MEMORY CHALLENGE:

AWKWARD
lacking dexterity or skill / lacking ease or grace / clumsy / inexpert / lacking social graces or manners

Recall a time when you felt the most awkward, and invite Jesus to reflect with you. What do you remember? How did you feel then, as compared to how you feel now, re-visiting that time?

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…At Peace

MEMORY CHALLENGE:

AT PEACE
free from anxiety or distress / a state of friendliness / unruffled / undisturbed / harmonious / serene

Recall a time when you felt the most at peace, and invite Jesus to reflect with you. What do you remember? How did you feel then, as compared to how you feel now, re-visiting that time?

…Alone

MEMORY CHALLENGE:

ALONE
isolated / separated from others / exclusive of anyone and anything else / incomparable / unique

Recall a time when you felt the most alone, and invite Jesus to reflect with you. What do you remember? How did you feel then, as compared to how you feel now, re-visiting that time?

“When I felt most…”

During this season of Thanksgiving, join me for a time of reflection – “where we’ve been”.  As we explore our most personal memories, my prayer for you, and for me, is that The Lord will apply His balm, His humor (Yes!  I absolutely believe laughter is a good, good gift from Him.), and His view of all the times that come to mind as we ponder the most vivid emotions we have emblazoned in our hearts.  May God also reveal His presence with you during these reflections, and may you find thanksgiving in them.  What a celebration we will have together…We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

The first challenge will be posted tomorrow!
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Love You, Mom

Recently, I found something that belonged to my mama. It was something I thought had been lost even before her death 20 months ago.  It was something very special to her, and because of that – especially because of that – it’s special to me.

This lead me to my Mama’s Box Of Stuff so I could place the item  where it belonged. When I opened the box to put the found item in, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. It was a bright yellow Dollar General bag.  How did I miss this little bag about a year and a half ago when I was sorting mama’s things, ever so carefully and in great detail, searching for and extracting memories from each picture, doodled on scrap of paper, address book and to-do list I could find?  I opened the small bag to find a signed, un-delivered birthday card…..from mama to me.  From my mama, to me!

I guess I don’t have to tell you there was a dramatic pause. Time.Stood.Still as I read every word in the card and felt the separation between the here and there caressed ever so tenderly.

LOVE doesn’t die. LOVE lasts. LOVE transcends. LOVE lives. On. and On. and On.

Mama didn’t know when she bought and signed that card when exactly it would be delivered to me…but God’s timing is always perfect, and better than anything we could ever orchestrate.  As I celebrate birthday 48, I am most thankful for the gift of eternal life…Hope in Jesus Christ….and know that a Heavenly celebration is yet to come!

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And thank you, Lord, for the gift of my mama’s love.

SomeKindOfGood Chicken

WHOLE30 Compliant

There’s a great little restaurant in our town that has the best Mediterranean food….and the best chicken I’ve ever had.  EVER!   Marinated in olive oil goodness, kissed with all sorts of herbs and citrus…

So I created a little chicken dish at home that resembles greatly the chicken I have come to love and crave so much.  I hope you’ll give it a try.  So easy.  Amazingly delicious.  And good for you, to boot!  The pic below shows the simple ingredients that make this chicken shine!

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INGREDIENTS

4 – 8 Skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
Olive Oil
Oregano – dried
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Red Potatoes
Olives – the Greek ones that start with the letter K
Lemons
Sea Salt

WHAT YOU DO

Put chicken into a large ZipLock bag, or pyrex dish.

Pour olive oil over the chicken (I don’t know, 4 – 6 Tablespoons, maybe more).
Dump some dried oregano in (Again, I don’t know!  A little, a lot – up to you).
Sprinkle in some sea salt ( -sigh- about 2 Tablespoons).
Zip up the bag and squish it all around.
Make sure chicken breasts are oily and season-y.
Place in fridge for 2o minutes to two days.
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Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Dump the chicken mixture onto a lined baking pan or dish.
Cook uncovered for about 40 minutes.
Open oven and add a handful of tomatoes & potatoes & olives.
Cook for about 20 minutes more.

Remove from oven.
Squeeze at least 2 fresh lemons over the chicken and veggies.

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EAT.IT.UP!

I make lots of this, every week.  Usually I do 8 chicken breasts at a time.  Love them cold right out of the fridge, or re-heated.  My 14-year-old likes taking this to school in his lunchbox, too.  Simply seasoned, and simply delicious!  Sometimes I add a handful or two of mixed greens (fresh or frozen) when I add the other veggies.  This is a great way to sneak in some Kale.  😉

Chicken Soup for your Mind, Body & Soul

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There’s something I must confess to you right up front.  When it comes to these recipes I post, you gotta know I don’t measure a thing. NOTHING!  I eyeball everything and have this motto, “the more the better” when it comes to dumping in herbs and spices.  Knowing that, take any measurements I note with a grain of salt.  Or a tablespoon full.  🙂

THIS SOUP has been in the making since 1995.  My husband and I have been tweaking and perfecting and adding stuff over the years, and we finally have this star soup where it belongs…..CAPITAL DEE Delicious!  It is like drinking a cushy, baby wool sweater, ’cause it cozies you up from the inside out…..except unlike a mouth full of wool, this tastes good going down!  We eat it ALL YEAR LONG.  Seriously!  And find that this low calorie, hearty brew is soul soothing in any season.  We hope you enjoy it as much as our family does and that you will come to consider it a “staple meal” in your home.
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INGREDIENTS

Whole chicken (I prefer All Natural from Food Lion)
8 large carrots
2 medium onions (or one giant one)
4 stalks of celery
2-5 turnip roots * (the white & purple ball thing)
Minced garlic – about 2 big soup spoons full (there’s that measuring thing!)
Dried tarragon  – a bunch of it (buy the big bottle at Sam’s or a kitchen supply store)
Salt
Pepper
Frozen block of chopped spinach (Pictsweet, Hanover….)

WHAT TO DO

Wash your chicken, and pull out that surprise bag inside and discard it.
Plop your clean chick in a large stockpot.
Cover with cold water.
Peel 4 carrots. Cut in half. Drop in with your chicken.
Peel & quarter the onions.  Throw them in the pot.
Wash & cut in half 2 stalks of celery.  Put ’em in, too.
Peel your turnip roots.  Halve them.  Put them in the pot.
Add the minced garlic.
Dump in some tarragon.  Literally.  Must be 4-5 TBSPs, at least.
Add salt & pepper.  You decide how much.
You’ll add more to your bowl later.

BOIL THIS STUFF.
Once boiling, turn it down to medium.
Cover with a lid, but tilted to allow for breathing room.
Cook this way for about 75 – 90 minutes.

Pull your chicken out carefully, and set it aside.
It should be falling apart.  So good!

Strain remaining liquid and vegetables into a new, clean pot.

Look at that!
That’s wonderful, health-filled liquid gold!

Throw away the strained out veggies when they cool.
Lord, please wait until they are cool!
I have melted many a trash bag by throwing them out too soon.

Put the “new pot” of broth back on the stove.
Medium-low.  Get it slightly boiling.

Dice remaining carrots (4 of them) and celery (2 stalks).
Add them to the “new pot”.
Cover, with a tilt.
Cook for about 35 minutes.

While this is cooking, you can start pulling your chicken.
Yay!  Touch that hot thing!
You will discard all the bones, skin, cartilage….all the gross stuff.
Sit chicken meat aside.

After your 35 minutes of cooking,
Add the spinach block to your broth.
Cook for another 15 minutes.

Turn off your stove!  You’re almost done!

Add the cooled, pulled chicken meat to the pot.

EAT.IT.UP!

Now this seems like a long, complicated recipe, but I assure you it is not!  Because of the cook times, you can do other stuff while it’s “simmering”.  Sometimes I begin this soup in the morning, and finish it in the evening.  Or prepare it over two days!  

This soup is WHOLE30 COMPLIANT

If you have children in the home, or a husband who needs some “substance” in his soup besides some floating green stuff,  you can boil noodles on the side and serve this soup on top of them.  This makes it NOT Whole30 compliant, but it really pleases a hungry group of teenagers and/or a needy husband (for the record, my man’s been eating this soup noodle free for the last 30-some days!).  This is also a great way to sneak greens into your family.  “Sneak”, because they can’t really pick them out and the greens are really incognito, except for their give-away color.

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Oh, and  a note about the turnip roots.  Almost forgot the 
asterisk.  *

Don’t be afraid of the turnip roots (see them in the right side of the picture below).  Root vegetables really get a bad rap.  Or is it wrap?  Anyhow – root veggies add a depth of flavor that is remarkable in broth.  The vitamins and nutrients are bar none some of the best you’ll find in the veggie market!  I use turnip roots because they are usually readily available in our grocery stores here year round, and pretty easy to peel and cut in half.  I’ve also used rutabaga, too, and that add’s a nice flavor.  A little more strong than the turnip, but nice, none-the-less.  If you’re not sure about the flavor, then add just 2 to your broth to begin with.  If you like the flavor of the broth, try upping it to 3 or 4 the next go around.  I use no less than 5!  Adjust the broth to suit your preference.  Personally, I don’t enjoy eating turnip root at all, but the flavor it yields in the broth is one I miss if I skip out on the roots.  

img_6669This is the chicken I prefer to use:  Nature’s Place, all natural whole chicken.  Get it at Food Lion.  It’s a little more pricey than run of the mill whole chickens, but so worth the difference in price!  Put good things in your body….and your body knows!

p.s.  That price doesn’t scare me.  Just a number.  Just a number.  Even on halloween, it’s just a number.   If it scares you, we need to talk.  Jesus is so much more than any number can ever pretend to be.  🙂