Friday, July 27, 2012

His Grace is Sufficient

My friend Michelle is having her second round of brain surgery this morning.  Some of you might remember when I wrote about her brain tumor in a March post.  She had a two week old and was diagnosed with a baseball sized tumor.  They were able to remove half of the tumor then, but they wanted to wait to do the rest.  The growth of the tumor has been faster than they thought, and she started experiencing the headaches, forgetfulness and confusion she had before.  So Michelle is back in surgery again today to remove the rest of the tumor. 

The good news is that Michelle found out the tumor is benign back in January.  The best news is that Michelle is a strong Christian with her hope and trust in Christ Jesus.  She knows that God's plans for her are best for her spiritual growth and for God's glory.  She also has a Christian husband who is leading her in love and dependence on God.

Yesterday she wrote an amazing blog post about JOY in the trial she is facing.  She has three young children and is facing brain surgery, but she is finding joy by seeking God in the trial He has allowed in her life.  Scripture, church friends, family, and the Holy Spirit are ministering to her in amazing ways, and she is able to have an eternal perspective even in such hard circumstances.

If you are facing a trial today, remember that God provides for His children when they seek Him.  If your eyes are only on yourself and the difficulties of your situation, it will be very hard to find peace, joy and contentment.  When we read scripture, pray, and seek God, we find that he pours grace out all the more when we are struggling. 

Make a list of His blessings and faithfulness to you.  Keep a thanks list of all the encouragement He brings into your day--scriptural truths, sermons you hear, friends he send to you who reach out with encouragement, answers to prayer, and provision you didn't expect. 

For instance, when my husband was looking for a job last year, God kept anything from breaking or needing repair in our home.  We didn't even have a broken sprinkler during that time!  I could overlook that, or I could recognize God was taking homeowner responsibility and financial burdens off our plate while He allowed us to wait on Him for a job and an income.  That is just ONE small example of the grace he poured into our lives as He grew us in trusting Him.

Seek God.  He gives us grace, and His grace is more than sufficient for the trial you are facing.  Will you join me in praying for Michelle and her family? 

 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Seared Tuna

I've heard about this phenomenon.  People pin something and can't find the pin later.  I finally had it happen to me. 

I made this tuna recipe a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious!  When I went back to find it yesterday, it was gone!  I looked through 766 pins on my recipe board a couple of times, and it was GONE.  I found a couple of recipes completely out of order from when they were pinned, so I think my board may have had some involuntary changes from Pinterest.  It could have been me, though.  I'm never one to say I didn't maybe make the mistake.  I make them a lot!

Anyway, I remembered what was in the recipe overall, but now it has my own adaptations and tweaks.  It was still healthy, still delicious, and still worth a repeat!

Tuna steaks
Lime juice
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Chili Garlic Sauce
Splash of Sake (optional)
Sesame Seeds

Get fresh, sushi grade tuna steaks.

I marinated mine in a mix of all the ingredients above (minus the sesame seeds) for about 4 hours.  Use mainly soy sauce and put a splash of everything else together with the tuna in a gallon Ziploc bag.  The chili garlic sauce is REALLY spicy, so use more if you like kick and only a little or none if you are not a fan of spice.

Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a pan.  Take your tuna out of the Ziploc bag and coat each side in sesame seeds.

Lay the tuna in the hot oil for about 2-3 minutes per side.  You want to get a seared side.  The part of the fish on the pan will turn white.  You will know it is done when you have two white sides, surrounding a nice, red middle.

Remove the tuna from the pan.  Thinly slice the tuna.  You can serve it on a field of greens or just plate it plain, with a little soy sauce and wasabi on the side.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Catching Up

Hi, friends!  My, oh my!  I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off--as my mom sometimes will say.  Ew!  Every now and then her Oklahoma farm colloquialisms (she spent her childhood there) sneak through and clash with our Southern California colloquialisms!  I guess it has made its way into my vocabulary too.  The farm lives on . . .

Anyway, last week I spent each and every morning being a camp counselor at our church's vacation Bible school.  I had a 1st grade group, and I remember now how tired teaching elementary school made me.  I napped every day!  It probably didn't help that I chose THAT week to get up at 6 every morning to start a rigid schedule of exercising.  That's how I roll, folks.  I don't make sense sometimes.

Every night I had a meeting for something, and, this week, I taught a prayer lesson three times at my church's women's Bible study.  I finished by giving the third lesson this morning, and I am tired.  I'm moving slower than molasses in January my mom might say. 

I've been making signs . . . I had a handful of orders all at once.  Here is the newest one:  Soft pink letters on a black background for our church's women's ministry director.  I have two more that I need to finish before we leave on vacation. . . .

Tonight I'm feeding my constant sushi/Japanese food craving and making this yummy seared tuna dish that I made a week or two ago.  I didn't take pictures or post anything the first time I made it because I didn't trust myself with a new recipe.  I loved it!  Even my hubby liked it, and he isn't normally head over heels in love with fish.  I'll take pictures and post the recipe for you tomorrow.  It is easy peasy and deeeelish!  I can't wait to share it with you.

Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mexican Rice

We had one of our church's pastors and his wife over for dinner last night, so I made a homemade Mexican dinner--chicken enchiladas (recipe here), Mexican rice, black beans, an avocado and green leaf salad and Pioneer Woman's Pots de Creme.  It was delicious. 

A bunch of you asked for the recipe for the rice, so here it is! 

Mexican Rice (tweaked from a recipe)

12 ounces of tomatoes, ripe and cored
1 medium white onion
3 medium jalapenos
4 minced garlic cloves
(OR instead of top 4 ingredients if you don't have them on hand or want to make this faster, 1 jar of Pace medium chunky salsa and 1/4 cup of tomato puree)

2 cups of long grain, white rice
1/3 cup of canola oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (if using the fresh ingredients at the top)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
optional, lime wedges

Have rack in oven set at medium center of oven.  Preheat to 350.

Fresh ingredient directions: (skip if using canned salsa)
Mince onion and tomatoes until you have 2 cups of them combined
mince 2 jalapenos with ribs and seed removed and mince 1 jalapeno with seeds and ribs still inside

Put 2 cups of rice in fine wire mesh strainer.  Run under cold water for at least 2 minutes.  This extracts starch and makes the rice have that dry, fluffy consistency in Mexican rice.  Don't skip this!

Heat oil in a 12-14 inch shallow/oven safe pan with a lid (will use later) until hot.  Put rice in oil and pan fry until the rice is a nice light, golden color.
IF USING fresh ingredients, then add garlic and jalapenos to rice and stir for about 1 and 1/2 minutes.

Everyone:  Pour in broth, salsa OR fresh ingredients, and salt if using into the rice mix.
Bring to a boil.

Stir and put lid on top.  Put pan in the oven and bake the rice mix for 30-35 minutes.  Stir half way through.

When done, stir in fresh cilantro and pass out lime wedges for people to squeeze in fresh lime juice.

It is even better made a day ahead of time!  Yes, it is some work, but it is the real deal.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Children's Museum of the Desert (Palm Springs)

If you have young kids, and you are planning a trip to the Palm Springs, CA area, I recommend a stop at the Children's Museum of the Desert.  They have activities for toddlers to upper elementary aged kids.

We are currently weekend vacationing in Palm Desert, and there are only so many ways to beat the heat when it is in the 100's.  My older son and hubby spent the morning at Knott's Soak City Water Park, so I took my 3 year old to the children's museum.

It is 8 dollars for entry for anyone over 2.  In the back of the main building is a big area for toddlers--building blocks, books, a make believe grocery store and pizza parlour.  Upstairs is an area studying history hands on and a look at how things like type writers and sewing machines have changed over time.  Also, it holds a great dress up area, with firemen coats, dresses, boas, shoes, hats, and every dress up collection item your kiddo could want. 

They have a pretty courtyard with some outdoor play toys, and you can bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy it outside.  This is especially pleasant when the weather cools in the fall and spring. 

Across the courtyard is a new wing with displays for older elementary kids.  I found a lot of kids building their own "racecar" and trying it on the indoor track. 

It is a great spot for a couple of hours, and the air conditioning is plentiful!  Here are some pictures of our visit.

In front of the museum

Setting up a ball ramp

Going under and over the rope obstacle course

Hands on gears projects

Painting the museum's VW car

A look down at some of the displays

Grocery shopping in the pretend store

A line just like in the real store

Pizza Parlor

The race car track

Putting together our own race car

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chinese Chicken Salad

Summer is certainly here.  It posted high 90's today in our southern California home.  I wanted a summer meal, and I found a perfect one at Jamie Cooks it Up.  

I found the recipe for Chinese salad on Pinterest, and I just added some chicken to the mix and made it a meal.

Hubby liked it, and I wasn't sweating with the oven on all day.

I served fruit on the side and some bread.  I served cornbread, which isn't at all Chinese, but it is a family favorite. 

The recipe for the salad is at the link above.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July Projects

I love the Fourth of July.  My sister in law has started the tradition of hosting a party at her house where we can all enjoy the fireworks from her backyard.  This year I signed up for desserts, so I'll share with you the three treats I made.  I also made a hostess gift for her annual party decor.

First, I wanted to make marshmallow lollipops for all the kids.  I had left over straws from Micah's aqua and orange airplane party, so I used those to hold some marshmallows dipped in blue melting chocolate.  My red sugar and gel icing aren't the prettiest, but it will do for the kiddos.

I also made a monster-sized trifle using angel food cake drizzled in sweetened, condensed milk, vanilla pudding, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, and topped in whipped cream.

Finally, I BOUGHT (yes, not everything is made from scratch) a chocolate Costco cake and made it cute with bunting.  I'll display it on a white, ruffled cake stand at the party.

I thought it would be fun to add to my sister in law's Fourth of July decor, so I made her a canvas sign in red, whites and blues.  I sponge stamped some stars for the background and then cut out some paper for the writing since I was out of vinyl.  I just glued it onto the canvas.  Cute!

Have a fantastic, blessed Fourth of July!
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