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Uniquely Valuable?

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I have been wrestling recently with a desire to be uniquely valuable.  I only want to be part of a team, if there’s something I can offer.  I want to make sure the things that I’m doing offer more value than any random animal or person could offer.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  While I think it comes from a good place of wanting to recognize my own uniqueness and how to utilize that best, I think I can also get caught in the pride of only wanting to do something where I am uniquely valuable.  The problem there, is at some point, it becomes all about me.  Now, I am an only child and grew up with a lot of my world being all about me, and really, let’s face it, as humans, generally we do see the world that way, but I don’t think that’s really how we were designed.  In fact, what I’ve come to appreciate is that it actually has very little to do with what I can bring to the table and much more with what God is going to do.  I get to participate in something great He is doing, and He gives me the opportunities, the circumstances, the gifts to witness and marvel.

So how does this pondering relate to this blog or to food?

Well, mostly it helps explain a long absence.  See, I started writing about a certain subject or food or recipe and then I would go off reading other blogs.  There’s plenty out there to enjoy.  And honestly, food blogs are a dime a dozen.  But the great ones are fun.  The writers are captivating, the photography is inspiring and the food, is well, reliable, predictable and delectable.  So I could write a fun post, but then I got caught in the pattern of comparing myself to others.  I’ve worked hard to challenge my 5 year old to stop doing this, but to just try to be her best, improving on yesterday or the time before.

So what is my unique value?  What about yours?  What makes us unique is that we are who God created us uniquely to be.  We are where God intended us to be and we have opportunities with neighbors, friends and family to grow, to teach and to serve.  So this fall, when I wrestled with the large questions of what made me uniquely valuable, I came to the conclusion that first and foremost, I am a daughter of God, then my husband’s wife and my children’s mother…everything else comes into place when I set things in order.

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And as it relates to food, cooking and this blog in particular?  I know there are dozens of blogs out there, some with better features, but mine is this one.  My unique value is my friends, this circle, that I get to cook for.  My unique value is the creative ideas to tinker with a recipe.  And for me, this blog offers and outlet for me, a resource of recipes and a chance to share with close friends and those afar, some of the dishes I love most.

I hope you’ll take a chance to consider your unique value.  Who did God create you to be?  Where is your identity?  Love that, own that.  And then   come back and enjoy a favorite recipe.  To tempt you, I’m on a bread baking mission, so this week, I’ll highlight some of my favorite homemade breads.  Hope you’ll come back.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Chicken Pot Pie

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On a cool day  , Chicken Pot Pie is a satisfying warm, protein and vegetable rich hearty meal.  My kids like that we get biscuits with pot pie – just one more conduit for honey!  It’s also become a favorite for me to take to families when we deliver meals.  It’s an easy meal to scale, larger or smaller and easy to freeze.

So the basic idea is to cook up some chicken, make a roux (butter, flour and milk), cook some vegetables and mix it all together.  Put it into a pan, top with your crust of choice, bake until bubbly and serve.  I recently picked up some sweet potatoes (just after Thanksgiving, when they were on sale), and thought they would make a nice addition, so I peeled, cubed and roasted a sweet potato and added that in.

Chicken Pot Pie
2 large chicken breasts
3 thighs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup milk

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 large celery stalks
3 large carrots
1 small onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 sweet potato

1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspon salt

Braise chicken in hot oil.  Cook in 2-3 Cups chicken broth.  (cook about 30-45 minutes).  Strain, reserve.  Let the chicken cool and cut into small pieces.

Preheat oven to 450.  Peel and cube sweet potatoes.  Spread on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.  Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy on the outside.

At this point, you can prepare biscuits or spciy crumble or crust to top the pot pie with (see recipes for options below)*

On the stove, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add carrots, onions, celery.  Saute about 5 minutes.  Set aside.  Melt butter, add flour, cook.  Add in milk, chicken broth, lemon juice, spices.  Bring to boil, cook about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vegetables, frozen peas and diced chicken.

Pour mixture into pie dish, bake at 425 for 15 minutes until bubbly.  Add topping.  Bake another 5-10 minutes.

Spicy Crumble
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup cold butter, diced in small cubes
1 cup packed parmesan
1 3/4 cup cream

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Preheat oven to 450.  Whisk flour, powder, salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne.  Cut in butter.  Stir in Parmesan.  Pour in heavy cream and mix until combined.  Drop on to baking sheet (2-3″ size – mini biscuits).  Bake 10-12 minutes.

Alternative: sweet potato or traditional plain biscuits.

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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Absent?

I apologize for my absence.  I’ve been trying to catch up on lots of things, but I’ve also had my nose buried in a few cookbooks I picked up at the library.  It’s been fun to read new recipes, new techniques, new ideas!  

I’m prepping for Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving dinner and really, just having fun in the kitchen.  Hopefully lots more recipes to come.  Just fyi, I’ve been reading Green Market Baking Book, Homemade Pantry and the King Arthur Cookie Companion.  

Finally, as we approach Thanksgiving, and then swiftly move into preparing for celebrating Christ’s birth, have you paused to consider what are you most thankful for?  

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Garlic Bread – Monkey Style

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I love the idea of monkey bread.  It’s balls of dough, baked together to make a lumpy, pull apart loaf.  Typically it’s sweet and cinnamon-y and starts with refrigerated cans of biscuit dough.  I’ve always wanted to take this concept and make it savory.  There’s plenty of recipes for this idea or box mixes you can buy to get started, but I wanted to try homemade dough.  So I took a half recipe of my pizza dough, let it do the first rise.  Then I had a bowl of melted butter, egg, Parmesan cheese and spices.  We took balls, rolled them in the “batter” and stuck them in a pan together.  The result was beautiful, garlicky bread.  It wasn’t overly greasy or gooey, which sometimes is fun to have but it had great flavor and pulled apart into dunk-able chunks.  We were having spaghetti, so there was plenty of sauce to sop up with yummy bread.

Garlic Monkey Bread

2 teaspoons yeast

2 teaspoons honey

3/4 cups warm (tap) water

1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour (I used 2 cups bread and 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup almond flour)

Take 1/2 cup of the hottest water you can out of the tap (it should be hot to the touch, but not burning). Sprinkle yeast and honey over the water and stir to make sure your yeast is active. It should get frothy in a few minutes. Meanwhile mix together flours (all purpose will work just fine), salt, and spices. Once yeast mixture is frothy, add in oil, mix into flour. If you soaked whole wheat flour, now is the time to add it in. Otherwise, just add an extra 1 cup warm water to flour and yeast mixture.

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Knead. For as long as you can stand, but at least 5 minutes. It’s messy at first, but then it comes together. If it’s too sticky, sprinkle with a bit of flour. If it’s too dry, keep kneading! Take a clean bowl, coat it with oil and place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic and wait until it doubles in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

 After the first rise, mix together

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1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 egg

Stir together in a bowl.
Roll dough in batter, place in greased loaf pan.

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Bake 375 for 25 minutes. After about 15 minutes, cover with foil so it doesn’t burn the top.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Uncategorized