Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Munchies - Summer Berry Cheese Pie

Can you believe Memorial Day is next week?  Where has the month of May gone?!?  This month in Jackson has been awesome, and every weekend brings a new adventure!  I've made some awesome friends, gone on some great hikes, biked a bunch, walked along beautiful lakes, survived my first night of Wyoming camping (lows in the 20's, brr) and practiced up on my country swing moves at the Stagecoach each week.  I have loved every minute and can't wait to see what adventures the rest of the summer brings, I hear Wyoming only gets better as the summer goes on!

Back to food!  This delicious berry pie would be a great addition to your Memorial Day festivities. First of all, it's red, white and blue...I'm all about the colors!  Second, I don't know about you but I've been very eager to eat some good ripe strawberries, but in Jackson, they're still pretty tart and hard.  I buy them (one of these days I'll learn better) but am always disappointed.  This recipe is a great way to get an early berry fix because you add enough sugar that even gravel would probably taste good!

Summer Berry Cheese Pie
1 pint strawberries, sliced, divided
1 T. lemon juice
2/3 c. sugar, divided
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 t. grated lemon peel
1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust
2 T. cornstarch
3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)
1 pint fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine half of the strawberries and lemon juice.; mash berries (a sharp edged pastry cutter works great for this).  Add 1/3 cup plus 2 T. sugar; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon peel, and sugar; beat until smooth.  Spread into the crust.

In a large saucepan, combine cornstarch and reserved strawberry mixture until blended.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened.  Stir in food coloring if desired, cool slightly.

Fold in blueberries and remaining strawberries.  Spread over cream cheese mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Source: Taste of Home Magazine

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Munchies: Vacation

Monday Munchies is on vacation today due to lots of work, a crazy fun weekend, and a road trip.  Be back next week!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Response to "The Story of Ian & Larissa"

If you haven't seen this video, you need to watch it.

The Story of Ian & Larissa from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Here are some of my favorite Piper quotes from the video:
"Marriage is mainly about displaying the covenant keeping love between Christ and His church"

"The beauty of the covenant keeping love, between Christ and His church, 
shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain"

And my favorite quotes from Larissa:
"As long as Ian could talk to me, we could make it work."

"When we're walking out our marriage practically, Ian can't do the secondary things, like working or making a meal for me, everything that's primary though he can do, which is leading me spiritually.  
Ian always comes back to the foundational truths of who God is and kind of reels me back in from my emotions, and that's the most important thing."

"We've been able to help them see that maybe the little things that they're excited for about marriage are worth being excited about, but they're not the end all and be all of their marriage."

"We're able to love each other, with I think, a more Christlike love because of Ian's disability, and understand that picture a little better than if you were healthy."

I think that this video is a must see for our culture, because we see very few marriages that so clearly reflect Christ's love and a pursuit of holiness through trials.  So many times we make marriage about us, when really and ultimately marriage is about Christ and His love for us, it's only because of His perfect love that we can truly love others.

I'm young and single which gives me very little credibility on this subject, but in my 26 years I've seen several friends who proclaimed to love the Lord, get married, and then a couple years or even months later get divorced.  They claim they "never loved her/him" that they "weren't compatible" or that it just wasn't what they expected, that their husband/wife changed.  I absolutely despise how lightly the covenant of marriage is taken in our culture.  When you say your vows you are making a covenant before God and the people at your wedding.  The definition of a covenant is a binding agreement - but people treat the covenant of marriage more like a piece of gum.  When they've chewed all they want and it's lost some of the flavor they just spit it out and look for another piece.  They turn marriage into a "what's in it for me" or "how does it make me feel" game instead of a serious commitment.  Many people look forward to the "secondary things" that come with marriage more than the "primary things", and I would guess many people even get married based on the appeal of secondary things.  This is why Christians date and marry people who aren't believers, because they are attracted to the idea of marriage so they compromise primary things for secondary things.  I also believe this is why there are a plethora of relationships that are not centered on the Lord.

Hollywood paints a glamorous picture of marriage that's all fun and full of "happily ever afters", but that's not reality.  Contrary to the Beatles' song, love is NOT all you need, Christ is all you need.  Marriage is hard.  Relationships are hard, because we're all sinners.  Marriage requires selflessness like you have never had to display before.  As a sinner entering into a marriage covenant, you can't expect your sins to lessen, in fact they will be amplified.  This isn't all bad because when dealt with correctly this will lead to your sanctification, but it will not be easy.  Your life is bound to another and you are to love, serve, and sacrifice for your spouse, even when it's not fun, even when it's hard, even when it's painful.  This video is a great example of loving, serving and sacrificing when it's not fun, when it's hard, and when it's painful.  I think that this picture of marriage is much more accurate and gives us hope that although they may never have a picture perfect "happily ever after" that they can find a "joyfully ever after" in the midst of trials because of their understanding of God's sovereignty, and through an understanding of the love that God lavished on us.  As an outpouring of that love, we see a selfless relationship that points others to Christ.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Munchies - Quick Eggplant Parmesan

This week's recipe is another meatless main dish - don't worry, the Jackson hippies haven't gotten to me yet, although there are a bunch of cute hippie skirts for sale around town, and I think it's only a matter of time until one of those makes its way into my closet!  Eggplant Parmesan is a great weeknight meal, quick and easy, but tastes like you spent a lot more time on it.  Also, with the exception of eggplant, all of the ingredients are things that I keep in the pantry so it doesn't require a lot of extra thought or planning.  I like eating these as patties, but they would be a good pasta topper as well!

Quick Eggplant Parmesan
Serves: 2
1 egg
1 T. water
1 small eggplant cut into 3/4" thick slices
1 c. dried bread crumbs, seasoned (I would probably start with 2/3 or 3/4 cup next time, I had quite a bit leftover that I had to throw away, and if you start with less you can always add more if needed)
1 and 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella

1/4 c. spaghetti sauce
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl beat the egg and water together.  Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish.  Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs, being sure to coat thoroughly.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add eggplant slices and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and tender.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over eggplant during the last minute of cooking to melt.

While eggplant is cooking, combine spaghetti sauce and pepper flakes in a microwave safe measuring cup.  Cover with plastic wrap and cook at high power for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Top eggplant with sauce and Parmesan cheese to serve.

Source: My mom's recipe box - other than that I have no clue!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's About Time

I've been thinking a lot about time lately - how we choose to spend our time, how time reflects our priorities, and how much of it we waste.  All of us experience life events which remind us that life is a vapor (James 4:14) and we don't know how much time we have on the earth, and many times this temporarily motivates us to make the time we do have profitable, but we so quickly seem to forget.  Time is a valuable commodity and the way we spend our time reflects the goals and priorities of our hearts.  I think that it's important to keep in mind that our time is really not ours to spend, but rather it belongs to God, the giver of all things.

When I was at TMC I read a really good book called "Shopping for Time" by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters (and they have an awesome blog too, check it out, you'll be encouraged).  They make the point that we often don't treat the time that God has given us with intention or purpose.  It challenges us to plan how we use our time to make the best use of it, bringing God glory.  It also talks about the need to discern the best opportunities life has to offer and make them our priorities.  I discipled a couple of girls in Missouri and as a part of a book study we were doing I had them memorize this little saying: Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better best!  Many times it's the good things that distract us from the best things.  Planning and discerning how to best spend your time requires a great deal of discipline, exercised in reliance upon God's grace.

2 Corinthians 4:18 says "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal."  What are your eyes fixed on today?  It's so easy to get so caught up in "life" that we cease to live for what's important, for things that will make a lasting impact.  Think about some ways that you can be purposeful in loving and serving others, sharing the gospel, prioritizing time in the Word, talking about spiritual things when spending time with friends, spending more time in prayer, granting the forgiveness we've been given to others, growing in grace and holiness.  What are you doing to cultivate an eternal mindset when it comes to spending your time?

"Now Lord, I would be yours alone and live so all might see 
the strength to follow your commands could never come from me.  
Oh Father use my ransomed life in any way you choose, 
and let my song forever be my only boast is you."