Monthly Archives: June 2012
All ready for an al fresco family Mexican feast!
Our family loves Mexican food and chicken fajitas are at the top of the list for favorites all around the table. Since slicing and frying the chicken is so time consuming, especially if you are cooking for lots of people at one time, I thought I would try making them in the crock pot. Voila! I think you will enjoy this version of a Mexican standby!
Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, fresh or thawed, rinsed and patted dry (can use frozen ones but I think they are better thawed), whole
2 Large white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 each, Red and green peppers, sliced
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 package taco seasoning
15-18 flour tortillas
lime for squirting
or whatever you like!
Place chicken in crock pot and top with vegetables and seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. (This is always so subjective and depends on the thickness of the chicken and the crock pot.) You can also cook for 6-8 hours on low. Before serving, pull apart the meat and warm tortillas. Delish! Such an easy peasy recipe for busy days. Finish off with ice cream sandwiches or cold watermelon slices.
Or perhaps you might like to try this amazing Mexican Chocolate Cake! Last spring, Stacie, Joe, and I ducked into a quaint coffee shop in St. Charles, Missouri and just had to try a variety of their pastries. The shop’s homemade Mexican chocolate cupcake was out of this world, just the right blend of chocolate, cinnamon, and zing! It was filled with chocolate mousse and topped off with fresh whipped cream. I won’t even tell you about the plum and cranberry tarts….. This is my version of a Mexican Chocolate Cake, as requested by Joe for his birthday a while back, a fun flashback to the great day we spent with Stacie!
Mexican Chocolate Cake
1 ¾ cup good white all-purpose flour (I love King Arthur)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 Tbs. cinnamon
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (for the zing)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup softened butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three round cake pans by greasing sides and bottom with butter and dusting with flour. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs and set aside. In mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla until mixed well. Add in dry mixture alternately with sour cream until mixed well. Bake about 26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for ten minutes then invert on rack and allow to cool completely. While cooling, make frosting.
Mexican Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
4 sticks butter, softened (1 lb.)
4 pounds powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
cream, evaporated milk, or milk to make desired consistency
Mix sugar and butter together on medium speed in mixer. Add extract and spices. Drizzle in milk until the frosting is the desired consistency; start with only a little at a time. To make a crumb coat for the cake before a final frosting, save out a cup or so of frosting and add milk until you have a glaze similar to what you would use on donuts or cinnamon rolls. Frost with glaze and allow to harden in fridge before final frosting. (Be sure to use regular frosting between the layers.)
“Yep, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth, too, Bud!”
Words mean things. They really do. And powerful words and admonitions bring about powerful life choices. Those words become even more powerful when spoken by celebrities, whether they come from those in politics or the arts within our secular culture. For believers, they leave the greatest impressions when they are spoken by Christian celebrities who are promoting a particular agenda. In these instances, your very salvation, or so they imply, is put into question depending on your “obedience” to these messages.
In yesterday’s blog entry I listed some of the degrading messages evangelical women receive and included a link to the podcast series I recorded on the militant fecundity movement. (If you think I don’t advocate for large families and their moms and dads, think again and listen to these!!!) Interestingly and providentially, two articles on this subject have been impressed on me that I think need to be placed in a broader context than homeschooling families.
The first one was originally circulated last November on the Dulce family blog and has recently been published in the Home Educating Family Magazine’s current issue in the audience soapbox section. This piece examines the Duggar family’s “cheerfulness,” helping us understand the theology and child rearing practices behind the behaviors. Since the Duggars were the highlight of the Hearts at Home National Conference in Central Illinois a few months ago and I have many friends who attended it just to hear Michelle speak, I feel it is important to share this information. As someone close to me has observed, you might have to have this sort of agenda in order to maintain their version of a “godly” atmosphere in a home. Tell me what you think.
The second article, hot off the press this morning, portrays teachings that are absolutely outrageous and wrong on so many levels. In her Portrait of a Lady article, Ingrid documents the story of Kelly Bradrick, poster girl for all Vision Forum devotees. For those of you who are anxious to fire off a letter to me accusing me of slander and gossip, let me point out that a film of the Peter and Kelly Bradrick courtship and wedding was shown in fundamentalist churches and conferences across the country to promote the VF, patriocentric view of womanhood. Most likely their target audience was young girls and their dads, since older women, the ones Paul talks about in 1 Timothy, the ones who are supposed to be teaching the young women, know better than this. Ingrid has masterfully organized her own history of this story using direct quotes along with now defunct pictures and commentary which she has saved. Combined with their inane views of women and ectopic pregnancy, these teachings are not just someone’s choice…they are life threatening for women. I would also like to hear what you think of this.
Many years ago I cross-stitched a sampler for a dear friend, its words resonating with both of us as we found our way through our parallel lives as homeschooling moms. It simply said “the heart of the mother is the schoolroom of the child.” Over the years I have come to realize just how true those words are, for good or for bad. It is especially something to consider in this postmodern world of ours where absolute truth is mocked and often altogether absent. It is heartbreaking when demonstrated through the overflow of a professing Christian heart that mingles statements of faith with an affinity for filth and corruption.
I had never heard of the book series Fifty Shades of Grey until a month or so ago when a friend had posted a warning about these books on her Facebook page. Billed as a “love story,” all reviews both favorable and not, are acknowledging that it is a story of a man, interestingly enough, named Christian, and his bizarre lust for perverted sexuality, female bondage, and masochism; it is graphic eroticism at its worst (or best). Dubbed “mommy porn,” it appears to be the equivalent of handing your husband an X-rated video to watch.
I am absolutely in awe at the number of Christians who see no problem with reading this series or encouraging their friends to do so. “You will have to reorient your thinking to accept the naughty,” one woman told a mutual friend.
Maybe or maybe not.
You see, women are hearing ludicrous teachings in “conservative evangelicalism” that may have already “reoriented” them. Women may be willing to accept the physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse from their lovers (in the case of Christian women, their husbands) because they are already getting these messages from within Christian circles:
- women are the weaker vessels, interpreted as a weakness of character and fortitude
- “help meet” is reinvented as the equivalent of a plumber’s helper who stands by her man rather than the actual meaning from the Hebrew word “ezer,” which is most often used to describe God in the sense of one who comes alongside in battle (spiritual warfare, I believe)
- submission is only a one way street and not for men
- women are more easily deceived
- a woman’s worth is found in her sexuality (militant fecundity, obsession with calling young girls “maidens,” and betrothal scenarios where a dad brokers away his daughters with their virginity being part of the deal)
- women have no callings of their own and are never to be considered leaders
- Christianity should have a “masculine feel”
- fundamentalists like Jack Schaap and young, restless, and reformed sexpert, Mark Driscoll, zero in on the outward appearance and physical value of women
How tragic is this! In 1 Peter 2 our value before the Lord is proclaimed in no uncertain terms: “As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Women are a royal priesthood, created for the purpose of proclaiming the excellencies of our Lord!!!
There are other reasons Christian women are reading and recommending this series of books without thought to how they are opening the door wide open for husbands to look at porn and children to allow “naughtiness,” ie, fornication and perversion, into their own lives. In a sex saturated culture where commercials for hamburgers and back to school clothing at Penny’s threaten the purity of the marriage bed, lust is never satisfied. Perhaps the simple beauty of a married and committed one man, one woman relationship seems boring if not antiquated but we are foolish to think so.
Solomon, the king who pursued lust to his own folly warned “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) And Jesus admonished us that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19) reminding us that “the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 9:45)
You may have a great stack of curriculum planned for your children this year but what will they be learning from the schoolroom of your heart?
Our house goes into Sam’s Club mode when we know the family is coming. This is what our kitchen counter looks like when we get ready for a crowd. I am always on the look out for large family recipes and here are a couple favorites:
Cordon Blue Casserole
simplier version of the classic dish; perfect “wow them” recipe for company
4# boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2” chunks and well rinsed and patted dry
1# chopped ham
1# Swiss cheese cut in bite size pieces
bread crumbs (I have used Panko or seasoned)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs. parsley flakes
8 cups white sauce
Whisk eggs until smooth. Dip chicken in eggs; roll in bread crumbs that have been seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry in oil until golden brown. Place in bottom of large baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese and ham; cover all with white sauce. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve over rice or alongside a potato dish or pasta. Very rich so can serve many people. A simple fresh leaf salad and crusty bread are the perfect complement to this meal.
1 stick butter
½ cup white flour
8 cups milk or combination milk and chicken broth
Melt butter over medium heat, stir in flour until absorbed. Stir in milk and whisk until you have a lovely, creamy sauce.
Linda’s Rotini Salad
My friend, Linda, who passed away many years ago, created this delicious recipe and shared it with me. I think of her fondly every time I serve it.
1# rotini pasta cooked al dente and well drained
1 small jar salad olives with all the brine
1 can black olives with all the juice
1 large red onion chopped
1 large red pepper chopped
1 large green pepper chopped
1 large cucumber chopped
½ cup olive oil
Toss all ingredients together, mix well. Chill for several hours before serving.
My discussion with Pastor Shawn Mathis on the topic of the family integrated church movement continues. You can also check out the current year podcast’s page for the first two in this series!
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Join me again this week as I welcome Pastor Shawn Mathis back to continue our discussion on the Family Integrated Church movement. If you missed the first podcast, be sure to tune in and feel free to join the conversation. We would love to hear from you. Shawn also has some great resources to share and has made an email available for those who would like to contact him.
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