Thursday, January 28, 2010

Food, Food, Glorious Food!!!

Food to Eat
So during the month of December 2009, I was on a fast. From food. And not just any food...fastfood. Nearly every place that had a drive through was out for the entire month. Now some of you are probably like, 'Oh, no big deal.' Noooo, let me explain. I eat (well, ate) fast food all the time. May not be able to tell it from looking at me, but I am an addict to all things junky, fatty, and cheap!!! (Sad, I know.) Among those places that were hard to give up: Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Checkers. But alas, I got pretty convicted about the type of food that I put in my body (no, I don't think eating fast food is sinful! hehe. I just had no sense of moderation.)

Think about the Scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17:  "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."  An analogy I heard went something like this:  If you have a really nice luxury car that you spent a ton of money on, one with a state of the art engine and functions, would you put cheap gas in it? No, because that could lead to your car's engine dying out on you faster. So why put junk food into our bodies? So...does eating junk food all the time mean that I'll die  (okay, -muffles laugh- not funny). Actually, it is funny, at least I know where I'm going when I die (if you don't, ask me how I know!)!! But how horrible would it be for me to die at the tender age of 20 due to my heart/arteries giving out on me because of my, at best, unhealthy eating habits? Not so pleasant, huh? Okay, done rambling. Changing what I eat opened up opportunities to cook more, and also to discover new and exciting recipes made totally from scratch! Yum!

I had been craving some oatmeal raisin cookies since Thanksgiving!! But sadly, they weren't on the menu last year...but last month (yeah I know, it's been a while now), I finally got to make some!! I searched high and low for the perfect recipe (online of course, hehe), and settled on this one by Elise at VERY VERY good choice!! Not having a mixer made fixing the cookies a little harder to do (it got lost during one of the past 3 moves!). Let's just say, my arm muscles should be pretty strong from mixing that thick dough! One thing I did do in the recipe was soak the raisin in one egg and vanilla extract. The raisins did plump some, but weren't fat like I expected (which is sad, 'cause I love chubby/fat things!). Either way, the cookies were great. Later in the month I made a variation of the cookies (chocolate chips instead of raisins) per my younger sister's request for her birthday (which happened to be on Christmas!). Anyways, I encourage any and everyone who likes oatmeal raisin (or oatmeal chocolate chip) cookies to make them!

I made another type of cookie in..December? I think. Either way, I've used the recipe twice since then because I (and my family) so enjoyed them! They're sugar cookies, and they are yummy delicious and tasty! The recipe is really simple. I tweaked it a bit, and it's still awesome. :)

2 3/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
couple dashes of cinammon (optional)

1)  Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, stir together the flower, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
2)  In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until it's smooth. And egg and vanilla and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Gradually blend in dry ingredients (but don't overmix!). Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place in ungreased pan/cookie sheet.
3)  Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on the cookie sheet 1-2 minutes before removing.
4)  Enjoy! :)

I could really go on about food forever, but I think I'll try to stop soon! (Yeah, not yet, hehe.) A really nifty idea (at least I thought so) if you run out of chips to go with your did (and just so happen to have tortilla shells in your fridge!):  cut the tortilla shells into triangles, and fry lightly. Takes less than three minutes, and they're really tasty! I salted mine, and if you want to do the same, salt them while they're hot!!

Okay, last things (yes, I know, I'm such a fatty!). Something that super excited me was that I learned how to make eggs over hard! I already knew how to make them sunny side up and scrambled, but I hadn't mastered over hard. The trick, for those who'd like to try it, is to pierce the yolk before you flip it over! Ta daaa!! (Actually, you shouldn't have to flip it over, but I'm not on that level yet lol).  And since I'm on this cooking spree, hopefully I'll get to make these yummy looking and sounding lasagna rolls that I found on My Italian Grandmother, and maybe some Orange Oatmeal cookies (I'll keep you posted on that...). Mm-mm-good!

Spiritual Food
Right now I'm reading a book called Our Covenant God by Kay Arthur.(Shout out to the bestest for the recommedation!) Finished the fourth chapter today, and already it's been so great to be reminded of the promises God has made and keeps for His children!! It's a big encouragement to me, especially during this awkward, and sometimes frustrating stage in my life (more on that another time...). Other than than, I've been studying the book of James and the Lord has been teaching me so so much! (More on that later as well, otherwise this post'll continue forever!) Last thing with my "spiritual food." So I'd been looking into summer missions trips through Impact Movement and through Campus Crusade for Christ for a while. One of my goals for 2010 is to go on at least 2 missions trips, and what better time than the summer to go! With God's leading, I was able to narrow it down to my top four choices (Tennessee, South AfricaMexico, Indiana), and with much prayer, put Cape Town, South Africa as my first choice!! If you look reaaallllyyy closely at the picture, in the bottom left corner, you can see the little dot that's Cape Town. I'm already sooo excited about the summer (and I technically haven't even heard back yet, hehe)! Sometimes I wonder if this is how Jabez felt when God granted his request of enlarging his territory...Nothing like knowing the Creator of the universe wants to use me! (and you!). :)

Computer Food
I'm always on Facebook!! Alas. My freshman year at Howard, I was voted "Facebook Queen" by my floor in my dorm. Is that an award I should be proud of? I'm not quite sure... Anyways, you're probably wanting me to get to the point; what does Facebook have to do with food? Well. I have been playing this highly addictive game called Cafe World. Basically you gain points by "making dishes" and "serving" them to customers. Who knew that such a simplistic game could be so...well, addicting!! So there's my "computer food" for ya :)

Food for Thought
"Christians may not tell lies, but they do sing them." When I first heard someone say this, I had to sit back and think about the statement. I mean, to be honest, Christians do tell lies (though I hope it isn't habitual, and when it does happen that we repent and let our mouths and lives speak truth!). But when I stopped over-analyzing the statement, I was actually quite convicted. I can think of times in church services in times past when I found myself mouthing words instead of singing them aloud because I felt like a hypocrite. "I Surrender All" is an example. I definitely can't be singing that hymn if there are things in my life that I'm not allowing the Lord to completely take over! So yes, that's my food for thought; not only should we think before we speak, we should think before we sing.

And this is me, signing off on food for the day. Hope you were well fed! ;-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year, New Year, You're Finally Here!!

It was the last day of 2009. As that thought crossed my mind, my throat began to clog, and my eyes began tearing up. Why? Because I wasted so much of the year. Really. It should not have been that looking back, I thought, Wow, look at all those wasted minutes, hours, days, months, and now a year when I could've been serving Jesus but...I didn't! At this time of the year, sometimes it's easy for me to, instead of getting caught up in the celebratory mood of new beginnings and fresh starts, wallow in self-condemnation due to wasted time and regrets. Why didn't I do this instead of this? Why didn't I talk to that one person about Jesus? Why didn't I just go to that event instead of staying at home? Why did I say that to such and such? The list of questions could go on and on and on... Sad, huh?

Unfortunately, this story is not simply my own. I've met many people who, as the hours drew closer to New Years, only seemed to be down on themselves about how they lived their past twelve months. If I could put part of Romans 7 in the past tense for this situation, I’m sure it’d go something like this: I didn’t do the things that I wanted to do in 2009, but I happened to do all the things that I didn’t want to get caught up in! Instead of doing what I wanted to do, which was serving God the majority all year, I served my own selfish desires. This was not at all how at the beginning at 2009 I'd hoped to look back on the year, so I was quite down.

So, on New Year’s Eve, the day which had had turned so bleak in my eyes, the Lord led me to Romans 8:38-39 for my devotion, and how timely it was. I was at a low point, wondering why God was even bothering to bring me into another year (well...assuming I didn’t die or get raptured in the next few minutes.), especially since I had failed so miserably in the last. Why would God, the One who created the oceans, the planets, the birds, the elephants, the wind, the rain, the sunlight, the soul, the mind, and the heart, love me enough to give me a go at another year? The Word is just so powerful, and it brought me to tears He spoke the promise of an everlasting love, unchanged by anything in creation, including my imperfections and sorry attempts at pleasing Him in my own strength. What a wonderful God I serve!
So here I am, five days into 2010, and I am excited! Already God has been inspiring and challenging me with goals for this current year and decade. Here are a few of them: grow in my relationship with the Lord, learn to crochet, go on at least two missions trips, at least one being in a foreign country, cook more homemade meals, and get more involved at church. These are just a few of the things I aspire to do, but as the year goes on, perhaps I’ll share things as I’m accomplishing them! Overall, I really just want to "redeem the time," and make the most of every moment the Lord blesses me with! I definitely encourage any and everyone to make a list of goals you’d like to accomplish not only this year, but the future in general! The greatest goals are those inspired by Christ, so pray on it and get in the Word, and in His timing the Lord’s sure to reveal what changes should be made and things could and should be done.

Goals aside, I’ve really been enjoying myself! I had so much fun fellowshipping with my friend Alisha at Soul in Bloom  and another sister in Christ on New Year’s Day. My siblings and I also got to spend half the day with my older sister and her husband, and of course that was an awesome time (especially since we ate chicken and waffles, yummy delicious!). Then, after having a truly blessed time in church on Sunday, I got to practice driving the car with my dad! (Yes, another one of my goals for the year is to get my license and be driving myself around! ...and yes, I know I’m later at this than most, hehe.) There were very few close calls, and I don’t remember ever seeing my dad clench his fist against the door in fear! (Then again, I was focused on the road…) Oh, and a fresh batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, using a recipe I got from Elise at, was the perfect ending to the weekend and beginning of this week.

Well, it’s getting late, and two more goals come to mind: better sleeping habits and usage of computer time! So I must depart readers, but don’t worry, my next post will come sooner than a month this time. :) Happy New Year!