A couple of years ago or so my dad grew these yummy but somewhat spicy banana peppers in our garden. I also had basil in the garden that year, so it was an easy matter to cut the pepper lengthwise, remove the seeds, spread with cream cheese and then sprinkle with snipped basil. Delicious. A great simple “salad” too. :-)
Use non-spicy peppers or spicier peppers
Use cheddar cheese paste instead
Use other fresh herbs: chives, oregano, cilantro, thyme
Add green onions
By the way, the cream cheese helps to moderate the heat.
June 8, 2008
Strength Only God Can Give
Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Not long ago, while going through a time when I was feeling quite strained in some ways, the Lord brought this verse to my attention. I "happened" to be reading Colossians 1 starting into a week when I really needed this verse. Isn't it amazing, even a luxurious comfort, to see how the Lord does this kind of thing for us? He truly is a kind and careful father. (Psalm 103:13-14)
The thing that particularly impressed me is that strengthening with all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness can only come from the Lord. There are people who are what we would call naturally strong or patient or longsuffering. But this goes beyond that. It is all patience. Wow, how tough is that? Humanly, it's impossible. And, it's all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness! This kind of strengthening can only come from God's glorious power! Human power has too many limits to produce such amazing results.
True, this is hard to live by. I don't know anyone who has this mastered completely, and some of us struggle with it much more than others. But, through our relationship to God in Christ Jesus, this kind of strength is available, and Paul was bold to request it on behalf of the Colossians. What a great thing to pray for our fellow believers, especially when they are going through a hard time. What a great thing to pray for ourselves! But, most of all, what a great and wonderful Father we have who can and will provide such miraculous ability to His own children!
1Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Recently I bought some mangoes for a treat for us, but to my disappointment, I discovered they were too sour to eat by themselves. I recalled the fact that I’d seen a recipe at some point for mango salsa and thought I’d look it up online. I found several recipes, but thought the combination of ingredients sounded a bit weird. My husband, however, thought I should at least give it a try. I picked one recipe that seemed the closest to what I wanted and then made it up to my own needs and tastes. So, here’s the basic “plan”:
Finely chopped mango (1 and half small mangos made about 2 servings.)
Snipped green onion
Red pepper flakes
A little snipped cilantro
(Add a little sugar if the mango is still too sour – but – add it only a tiny bit at a time or you may get too much. If your mangos seem too sweet, you may want to add a touch of lemon juice to add tartness.)
This salsa is good served with meat. I think it would be especially good with pork. It would be a zippy sauce to make a non-traditional hamburger topping. :-) And, an added perk is the lovely color this adds to a meal!
The Threefold Promise
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Oh, wonderful promises given
To those who wait on the Lord;
Strength for the faint who have fallen,
Power for weakness outpoured.
Blessed the threefold assurance
Thrilling the soul like a song:
They shall mount up as the eagles
On wide wings and swift wings and strong;
Run with the stride of the racer,
Leaping unwearied and free,
Till he comes to the end of his journey
And the crown of his effort shall see.
But the word for the worn and the weary,
Who know not the rapture of wings,
Who know not the joy of the runner,
What infinite comfort it brings!
Walk and not faint; the slow steppings,
The plodding dull round of the days,
The toil and the heat and the burdens,
The wearying halts and delays.
Oh, promise for those who are walking,
Who falter and stumble and fall,
The courage, the strength and the patience,
This is the sweetest of all.
Annie Johnson Flint
This was one of my Gramma Hoover’s recipes. It was one of my dad’s favorites, but others of us like it really well too. :-) It is rather pricey to make with the cost of Brazil nuts being what it is, but it makes a great rare treat. I haven’t made this cake for some years now, and I interpreted her somewhat cryptic method of writing down recipes the best I could.
Brazil Nut Sensation
3/4 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large bowl put:
3 C. shelled Brazil nuts (whole)
2 8 oz. packages pitted dates
1 C. well-drained maraschino cherries
Sift flour mixture over nut mixture. Mix with hands until nuts and fruit are well-coated.
In another bowl:
Beat until foamy: 3 eggs
Add: 1 tsp. vanilla
Stir this into nut mixture. Spread evenly in 2 9x5x3 bread pans, greased and lined with waxed paper.
Bake: 1 hr. 45 min. (or 1 hour to 45 minutes?) – or until cake tester comes out clean.
Cool, wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate up to 5-6 weeks. (Or freeze.)
My sister made some graham crackers once years ago. They were pretty good, but quite different than “store bought”. We never made them again. A couple years ago or so I told a friend I’d try to find that recipe for her. Turns out it wasn’t in the book my mom and I both thought it was in. I found this one in a magazine I’d saved, but I’m not sure it’s the one my sister made since there were no smudges or telltale marks to show it had ever been used before. ;-) Anyway, I finally got around to trying this recipe out this year, and here it is.
1/3 C. oil
1/2 C. honey
1 Tbs. molasses
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 C. wheat flour (presumably meaning whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C milk
Mix liquids first except milk. Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk. If dough is too sticky, add more flour. Roll into smallish walnut size balls and flatten with your hands. Place about 1/2 an inch apart on lightly greased OR parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Prick with a fork. Bake a 300F until edges are slightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets about 5 minutes before removing to wire racks. Can be frozen in airtight containers.
Note: I added a bit of lemon juice to this recipe to try to make it taste more like the graham crackers my friend and I enjoy at a restaurant. The change may have added some flavor, but it didn’t make these taste more like the restaurant’s variety. These are good, not very sweet, and quite filling.
I also changed the method of rolling them. The recipe calls for rolling them out and cutting them into squares. The dough seemed to me to be of the sort that would stick to the surface, so I opted for rolling them into balls and flattening by hand. It worked very well, and saved some frustration I suspect. :-)
June 5, 2006
The First and the Last
I have been enjoying the book of Isaiah very much lately. It amazes me how we can read through a book of the Bible over and over and still learn new and wonderful things! Truly it is God's book. Man could not have produced something like this!
In the book of Revelation when Jesus Christ said He is the first and the last, that statement alone is enough to assure us that He is God. Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. After all, if He is the first He must have been there before the beginning, and only God could start it all. This we know from other scripture as well. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Also see Eph. 3:9, Col. 1:16)
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
This passage shows very distinctly that Jesus is speaking, for He is the only one (so far) who was dead and is alive for evermore, and He is the only one who has the keys of hell and death.
But, even more interestingly, we find the LORD God (Jehovah) applying this same title to Himself in the Old Testament as well. In Isaiah we find it twice in the context of creation.
Isaiah 41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
Isaiah 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. 13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
Now examine another mention.
Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
In the same breath, the LORD (Jehovah) says He is the first and the last and that beside Him there is no God. Therefore Jesus Christ is God, for He has claimed the same name and title for Himself. If you do not call Him God in both the Old and New Testament you make God a liar! Heb. 6:18 and Rom. 3:4
So many people question that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, or that He was God in the Old Testament. These verses cannot be argued with by an honest person. Thank God for giving us such a clear revelation of Himself and His Son.
Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Hebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
The Heaviest Cross
It is not His cross that is heavy;
It is those that our hands have made
That hinder us on our journey,
On our aching shoulders laid;
There is strength for the load He gives us,
And balm for the thorn He sends,
But none for the needless burdens
And none for our selfish ends.
We bear a burden of sorrow;
We carry a weight of gold;
We cling to some treasured idol,
And will not loose our hold:
We bend beneath trouble and worries;
We drag a load of wrong;
And we cry that the cross is heavy,
And sigh that the way is long.
Let us drop the sin that besets us;
Let us cast aside our fears;
Let us give our grief to Jesus;
And break our pitcher of tears;
Let us learn of the meek and lowly
Who giveth the weary rest;
Let us take His yoke upon us,
And walk with Him abreast;
For His yoke is easy to carry,
And His burden is light in weight;
He will do His share of the labor,
For He is a true yoke-mate.
Are we weary and heavy-laden?
Are we anxious and full of care?
That is not the cross of His giving,
But the one that we make and bear.
Annie Johnson Flint
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.