Quick and Easy Rice Based Recipes

Since the beginning of our marriage, I have often prayed for “creativity” in the kitchen. Basically, that “creative” part means cost efficient ways to produce tasty meals.  I can recall days when I stood in the middle of our kitchen, staring at an empty stove and praying, “God, please help me be creative with what we have in our cabinets.” And, viola, He pops an idea into my head. Well, that’s basically how these two recipes came to be. We’ve been eating a lot of rice lately, and I just have to say – these two recipes are winners!

Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans with Kielbasa

Rice and Beans (serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 medium onion diced

Olive oil

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 can chicken broth

¾ cup water

½ tsp. smoked paprika

1 cup uncooked rice

1 can black beans – drained and rinsed

½ package of kielbasa – diced

Directions:

Sauté onion in olive oil; add garlic and sauté about 2 more minutes. Add one can chicken broth, uncooked rice and smoked paprika. Allow rice to cook until soft (approximately 15 minutes depending on the type or rice) Add black beans and kielbasa. Cook 5 more minutes. Serve. Sour cream and/or cilantro could be added to the top when serving.


Chicken Fried Rice (4 servings)

The beautiful thing about this recipe is its adaptability. You can modify it to match the ingredients you have hanging out in your cabinets. Use one, two or all three veggies. (I apologize for not getting a picture of this recipe. I didn’t think about writing it down until long after it was all gone.)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (You want your rice to be fairly dry after its cooked. If the rice is overly wet during the frying process, it could cause it to become clumpy.)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (pork or steak would work, too)

Olive oil

¼ cup diced onions

½ (or so) cup peas

½ (or so) cup corn

½ (or so) cup diced carrots

2 eggs

Soy sauce

Salt/Pepper

Directions:

Sauté onions in olive oil; add cooked rice. Allow rice to get warm; use a spatula to push the rice to the edge of the pan so that an empty circle is left in the middle of the rice. Crack eggs into this circle; allow eggs to begin cooking; add soy sauce to eggs; begin scrambling eggs right in the middle of the rice, when the eggs are fairly cooked begin working them into the rice. Add vegetables, meat, salt and pepper. Stir well. Additional soy sauce can be added to final dish.

A Prayer for Teachers {and those serving in the education field}

Education

Recently, God gave me the opportunity to pray for a few educators in our local area. It was at our church picnic and the opportunity was an incredible honor. I was greatly blessed; however, my small prayer holds no comparison to the work of our nation’s teachers on a daily basis.

Today, I’m offering another prayer for our teachers and those serving in the education field. Whether you are a teacher or you know a teacher in the home, private or public arena would you join me in lifting these amazing individuals up to our Lord. Education is not just another profession – it’s the profession by which we find all others

Heavenly Father, today I come to you on behalf of our nation’s educators. As these individuals return to their classrooms I pray you come in like a flood to meet their needs professionally and personally. As they perform their duties, I pray they see you at work in their lives like never before. For each one I pray:

Mercy – When they arise in morning and prepare for their day, I pray for your divine favor and compassion upon them.  Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)

Energy – As the days progress and the demands increase I pray you proliferate the energy and stamina of each teacher. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Rest – As our teacher’s give and give may they find moments of true refreshment in you. Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (NIV)

Creativity – I pray you give each teacher fresh ways to accomplish the tasks set before them. May their instruction be fortified with meaningful illustrations that make lasting impressions upon their students. I pray you open the mind of every student to receive with clarity the instruction of their teacher. Psalm90:17, “And may the Lord God show us His approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! (NLT)

Love – God, you are love, and I pray you fill the love tanks inside each educator. May they first and foremost know your love, but also may they find it easy to give your love to others. Ephesians 3:19, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (NLT) 1 Peter 4:8, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (NLT)

Wisdom – Whether it is to meet the unique needs of a student, for a lesson or a meeting, I pray your wisdom is abundant and made clear for each teacher. Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (NLT)

Courage – On days when my brother and sisters feel like sinking into a chair; when they don’t know the next step to take, I pray you provide them courage to stand and give it their all, confident you will direct their efforts.  Joshua 1:9, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.” (NLT)

Protection – As the world grows painfully dark I know you heart is for righteousness. I pray you protect these vessels from any evil that would attempt to come against them. Please under guard them and give your angels charge over each one. Psalm 91:11, “For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.” (NLT) Father, would you also place a hedge of protection around every classroom this year, please?

Encouragement – If at any time, my brother and sisters feel weak and unable to continue may they find reassurance in you. Will you lift their spirits, please, and charge them to continue? Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Thank you, Father, for hearing our prayers. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen

I’d be happy to pray for any teacher specifically by name. If you would like me to pray for you personally, leave a comment, and I will add your name to my prayer list.

A Girl and her Grandma {lessons from days gone-by}

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One of my favorite pictures with my Grandma.

{Author’s note: This post is a reflection of my Grandma who passed on May 7, 2015. I love you Grandma!}

Growing up in the eighties I came from a single-parent home. While seen more often today, single-parent homes were rare at that time. Sure, I knew a few others who also had only one parent in their home, but for the most part, my friends had both a mom and dad who tucked them in at night or whom they yelled good-bye to as they ran out the door for school. Not me.

My mom is my hero when it comes to parenting. First off, I know the ups and downs of the one she raised. Whether it was a good day or bad, she was wholeheartedly committed to me. The love and care she gave me still brings a smile to my face today. She never had a day off (what momma does??), but for her, there wasn’t another ear to bounce parenting thoughts and questions off of, nor was there another income to help with my needs. It was her, and often, my grandma stepped in.

Grandma retired early in my childhood; for me, this meant lots of quality time. I spent countless days and nights with my grandma. Riding in her blue Chevy Nova, standing at her side in the kitchen or following her through a store; those days afforded me many precious memories and lessons.

Grandma was a master gardener.  She had a small piece of land behind her home where she grew a luscious vegetable garden, but this space wasn’t enough for her. She spread her gardening skills out across the county where she lived. From her children’s homes to her neighbor’s, she would plant, care for and harvest vegetables all summer long.  If you caught her in a conversation about gardening chances were she would offer you one of her personally harvested seeds, along with some advice on how to plant and grow the seed.  A few years back when I realized grandma’s memory and health were starting to fail I called her on the phone and picked her mind about everything gardening. The notes I took from that conversation will always be a treasure to me.

Speaking of her garden, I can still smell her half-runner beans simmering with bacon on the stove. Still today, my favorite summer meal is what grandma fondly called a garden meal: half-runner beans, fried squash, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers in vinegar and oil and fried potatoes. That’ a lot of “fried,” but oh was it good! Does anybody ever cook like your grandma?

With all that home grown food came grandma’s love for canning. Tomatoes, green beans, jams, jellies, even venison. If it could be preserved in a jar, she probably tried it. I remember sitting at her feet as she sat with a large white dishpan on her lap stringing green beans in preparation for canning. She’d give me a bowl of beans to string, too, but she’d always check my work when I was finished. No strings were permissible in grandma’s beans.

When it came to tomatoes, I spent many late nights at her side as she stood over her large white kitchen sink peeling, juicing and packing jars full for the canner. I’m thankful for those days; in fact, I treasure them! What grandma was doing back then was more than preserving food; she was instilling in me a life skill that will forever live on in each jar I can for my family today.

If I gained anything from my grandma I hope her spirit of perseverance is at the top of the list. Grandma had a spirit of perseverance and determination like no other. Whether it was getting a stain out of a shirt, cleaning her home before a family dinner or pressing on after a negative health report. Grandma never gave up! She kept on, and while she never said it, I am pretty sure her life motto may have been: “nothing is going to stop me.” She passed at the beautiful age of 89, long after her doctors said she would live.

There are many more things I hold in my memories of grandma: her beautiful crocheting, working jigsaw puzzles, going fishing, Christmas dinners, walking across town to pay her bills, late night runs to Hardees for a roast beef sandwich or daytime trips to Wendy’s for a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, and so much more.

I never remember Grandma telling me “no.” I am sure she did, but it just doesn’t stand out in my mind. She wiped my tears as a child and gave me advice about life’s challenges until the early years of my adulthood. Her wisdom always seemed to make sense. She was the only grandparent I ever had, and today, I am grateful to be able reflect about our time together with joy.

As a child I never envisioned the day grandma would no longer be living. She was my “Super-Grandma,” and don’t all super heroes live forever? But, as time has passed I now have a greater understanding of life and the words pinned in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” 

Yes, Lord, let us learn well.

I love you grandma! Thank you for investing in my life!

You Were Meant to Conqueror

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No friendly hellos were exchanged and little eye-contact was made as I placed my items on the counter. Having made made numerous transactions in this store before, I was surprised by the frown and disgruntled spirit coming from behind the counter. When my order was complete, I gathered my bags and walked away not knowing what to think.

I could have huffed and puffed, after all, I had been a customer in her store and nice had not happened. But instead the Holy Spirit nudged me and said: everyone we meet is going through something.

How true! There have been days when my own hurts have kept me from smiling. Days I didn’t want to talk to anyone. And, days I thought the darkness would never end.

Recently, I trudged through a broken relationship and God reminded me of a promise He made to his children.

“But, in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NASB)

What are your “all these things?”

Is it an illness? A broken relationship? A lost job? Less than healthy eating habits? Failing finances?

When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we are not guaranteed a fairy tell life. However, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are guaranteed He will walk with us through our “all these things,” and bring us to a place of victory in Him.

May I pray for you today? Leave a comment with whatever your “all these things” is or if you’d rather just keep it between you and God, just say, pray for me.

Blessings to you my friends!

 

Photo Credit: http://www.lifeofpix.com/gallery-items/sea/page/3/