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Sabbath Reflections ~ The Lord Looks at the Heart

Puerto Rico

“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” – the human heart, with its conflicting emotions of joy and sorrow; the wandering, wayward heart, which is the abode of so much impurity and deceit.  1 Samuel 16:7

He knows its motives, its very intents and purposes. Go to Him with your soul all stained as it is. Like the psalmist, throw its chambers open to the all-seeing eye, exclaiming, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23,24

Steps to Christ, Chapter 3, 34.3

Have you ever done something and afterwards had a sense of horror about what you had done?

Sometimes it’s as if we don’t really know what we are capable of. Yet, the God who created us knows every inch of our soul, every yearning, every defect of character.

That’s why when I read the verses above it touched my heart ~ I can go to God at any time because there is nothing I can tell Him that He doesn’t already know.

There’s a peace about this knowledge ~ He loves me even though He knows what my failures are and will be.  He stands with me and says “this is My child.” He opened His heart wide enough to be willing to die for me and all my defects.

Have I done enough? I hear Him say.  What more can I do?

And my response is, Nothing Lord.  You have done it all.  You took on mortal flesh, laughed, cried and guided us, gave up your place in heaven so you could die for my wretchedness.  You did it knowing that I might not even choose to love you back.

But … I do choose You. For there is no one else who loves me so completely.

Thank you for your sacrifice ~ thank you for for unconditional love.

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

These were one of the best Chicken Mole Tacos I have ever tasted.

I found the original recipe in a Better Homes & Garden Magazine and have searched the internet for it but for some reason it’s not found.  The original recipe was created by Robby Melvin but I have adapted it and you get to be the recipient of it’s deliciousness.  Yay for you!

Alright so ~ a disclaimer here ~ I don’t like very spicy sauces so you’ll need to add extra adobo sauce if you want it spicier.

One of the things that I normally do NOT have in my cupboard because I enjoy them way too much are tortillas.  In this recipe I used flour tortillas because the mole sauce is so juicy and the flour tortillas hold up much better.

Flour Tortillas

Here’s a peek at what your slow cooker will look like when the chicken is almost ready …  Uh, shoulda made more, eh?  Well, this is 4 chicken thighs for two of us.

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

It was, well, pretty close to perfection … 🙂

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

I decided to use Manchego Cheese which is a white cheese that I find at Costco but, you can use any cheese your heart desires.

Ready to see the recipe?

Here you go ~

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

2-4

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 14 ounce can unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 ounce semi sweet baking chocolate finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins (1 small box)
  • 1/4 chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp canned adobe sauce (from the chipotle chili can)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 chipotle chili, canned in adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs with no skin (or remove skin once cooked)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ounce cheese, shredded (I used Manchego)
  • Tomatoes
  • Flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Make the mole sauce in a food blender by adding the following and blending until smooth:
  2. tomatoes, onion, almonds, chocolate, raisins, chicken stock, cumin, adobo sauce, cinnamon, chipotle chiles and garlic
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper then place it in your slow cooker.
  4. Add the blender mixture over the chicken.
  5. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  6. When the chicken is ready, remove them from the slow cooker and remove the bones from the chicken.
  7. Shred the chicken into pieces and return them to the slow cooker.
  8. Discard the bones.
  9. Heat the tortillas on a skillet one at a time on medium heat.
  10. Add the chicken mixture, cheese and any other toppings you'd like to the tortillas and enjoy!
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http://www.simplynorma.com/2018/01/12/slow-cooker-chicken-mole-tacos/

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God’s Will and Obedience

Como Zoo Conservatory

A statement I read this morning while doing my devotionals had me pause and absorb its meaning:

“God does not require us to understand His will, just obey it, even if it seems unreasonable.”  Charles Stanley

It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to understand what God says and/or what He wants us to do in our lives.  Yet, He who made us knows what the best is for us.

We can try to “reason” with Him, as if we know what’s best.  Yet, in all the times I have “reasoned” with God for Him to let me do it my way, I have come out the loser.  Yes, He respects our choices but I can visualize Him shaking His head as we plod along in our decision. There are no “I told you so’s” that come out of His mouth when we finally realize that the course we chose was not the best. He waits until we come to our senses and helps us get to where we should be.

For His way is always the best even if sometimes it is the most painful for us to go through.

Trusting Him who created me, knows every cell in my body and wants the best for me is not always easy but I’m trying to live every day doing just that.

 

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It Feels Warm In Minnesota

Ahhh ~ from the negatives to 1 degree above zero Fahrenheit.  Yes!  1 degree!

Minnesota Temps

It’s really a mental thing, don’t you think?

From dressing with a coat, hat, scarf, thermal underwear, gloves and covering up your face when you go outside … to …

Coat unzippered, no hat, no scarf …

Yes, it’s definitely a mental thing.

The brain has a strange way of behaving.

Thankful for the sunshine and the above zero temps in Minnesota.

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Of Bitter Cold and the Bluest of Blues

Normally in Minnesota, we have our really really cold snap in January.  Not so this year. The bitter cold came in December.

Waking up to -15 yesterday morning (and no, that was not the wind chill) and -17 today, I will be happy when this arctic blast, as some call it, continues on its way.

Looking on the brighter side of life, the skies in the Minnesota skies are the bluest of blues.

Minnesota Winter Blue Sky

It is simply breathtaking to see the sky brushed in a large patch of the most beautiful blue.

Minnesota Winter Blue Sky

 

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The Path of Life

Stairs Upward

“You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  Psalm 16:11

Sometimes the path we’re on seems overwhelming and we just can’t take one more step.

Yet God is always there ~ He walks in front of us to guide us, He walks beside us to encourage us and He stands behind us to catch us lest we fall.

He’s just faithful that way.

But if we decide we don’t want Him to walk with us at all, He stands aside. And if we happen to fall and call out to Him, He’ll rush to help us up.  He’ll heal our bruises and give us His shoulder to cry on. And He will comfort as no one else can.

He’s just faithful that way.

May you lean on the faithful God of the universe in your journey.

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Of David and Purity

Winter Lake

One of the stories in the Bible speaks about a man named David who was a king and abused his power.

David saw a woman bathing ~ a woman, named Bathsheba, who was the wife of one of his soldiers, and decided to take her for himself.  Then he had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed so he could have her permanently.

There’s a lot more to the story of David and you can read this particular one here, and an interesting story it is.  For David commits murder, adultery ~ his heart is full of greed and selfishness.  YET, God uses David and forgives him of his sin.

The question is ~ why?

A small book I’ve been reading makes a very powerful statement regarding David:

“It was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart.”  Steps to Christ, pg 24

David didn’t just want forgiveness, he wanted a changed heart.

You see sometimes we do things we know are wrong and we regret it.  Regrets are a start, but if we don’t want to change the direction of our lives what good are they?

God is able to work with me when I not only regret what I have done wrong, but when I allow Him to help me turn from doing it again. That’s what David experienced in his life ~ true repentance. A desire to turn from his wrong and do what is right.

And because of this, David was able to write in Psalm 32:1,2

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

Yes, the Lord can “cover” us ~ but like David, we need to want purity of heart.

May the Lord bless you on your journey ~ may He turn your face towards Him ~ the One who can transform hearts.

 

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Turkey Cashew Chili

Turkey Cashew Chili

What to do with all the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving?

Actually, we were fortunate to have had all the turkey and fixings provided because we headed out of town to socialize with 40+ relatives.  And when a person is from out of town, they aren’t obligated to bring anything.  Pretty cool, no?

We did take some chips and dip though as that was “travel easy” and they were eaten up quickly.

When we returned home though, we went to Costco and they had a large turkey breast with dressing already prepared at half off the original cost.  So ~ we purchased it and my husband has been eating turkey sandwiches all week.

But that can get boring, no?

So I searched the world wide web (there is a lot out there) and found a recipe that I adapted and included cashews also ~ because I think cashews should always be included in chili.

This Turkey Cashew Chili, although it has beans, is more tomato-y tasting.  Just so you know …  UNLESS, you let it sit for awhile.  Then the beans and tomatoes blend perfectly.  That’s the best way.

So ~ here’s the recipe for you.  Enjoy!

 

Turkey Cashew Chili

Category: Entree

6

Turkey Cashew Chili

Turkey Cashew Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (crush them while cooking)
  • 1 teapoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 15 oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups of shredded, cooked turkey meat
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • Possible toppings: chopped green onion, sour cream, shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Add then saute the onions, pepper, garlic, and spices (including the salt and pepper) until the veggies are soft.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, cooked turkey, tomato paste, and kidney beans.
  4. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low for approximately one hour.
  5. Add the honey and simmer another 10 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!
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http://www.simplynorma.com/2017/11/30/turkey-cashew-chili/

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Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria and Disaster Relief – A Christmas Project

Ever since hurricane Maria pounded the island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, it has not been able to get anywhere near recovery.

Early on I found a non profit organization by the name of ADRA Puerto Oeste who was working diligently in the community of Mayaguez and the surrounding areas providing meals and food boxes.  Through the US postal service, I have shipped them food and hygiene products.

Currently they are collecting toys for the low income children in that area.  In addition, they accept monetary donations for the toys and other items like mattresses, tarps (a lot of people don’t have roofs on their homes still), Ensure Glucerna, powdered milk, etc.

Feel free to head over to their Facebook page to see the work that they are doing.

And if you’re interested in helping, here are a couple ways:

1) Give a donation to them directly through PayPal and mark it Proyecto Navidad and they will do the shopping on their end. The name of the Director is Adelina Reynoso and you can search for her name on PayPal. If you’d like a charitable receipt, just put your name, address, email and phone number in the notes section and advise her how you’d like to receive your receipt either via email or regular mail. I have sent several donations their way from friends and they are very responsive with sending receipts.

2) Mail your donations/toys to them directly. You can shop/ship for yourself or order through Amazon. The address to ship to is:

ADRA Puerto Rico Oesta

Barrio Algarrobo

Sector Cuba 1060

Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, 00681

(Note: Amazon can take up to 3 weeks for delivery, USPS is taking about 2 weeks so time is of the essence)

Most of the children in that area do not read English so any items donated shouldn’t have any lengthy English instructions. All ages are in need.

Thank you for your consideration in helping the children of Puerto Rico.

 

 

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Chili with Cabbage and Fresh Tomatoes

Paleo Chili with Cabbage and Fresh Tomatoes

Have you ever purchased a food item from the grocery store that was too much to use in one meal?

Well, as you can see, I purchased a whole schlew of tomatoes.

Grape Tomatoes

Since I had chili on my mind, I decided to use these tomatoes in my chili ~ good paleo chili recipe with cabbage and fresh tomatoes.  I couldn’t go wrong.

I decided to use chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin and oregano as my seasonings.

Seasonings

Since everything pretty much got thrown in a large skillet, this recipe is on my list of “simple and easy chili recipes.”

Chili with Cabbage and Fresh Tomatoes

Make sure you adjust the seasonings (spices) to your taste.  Some people like spicy chili but I prefer mine mild.

And … here’s the recipe.

Chili with Cabbage and Fresh Tomatoes

Chili with Cabbage and Fresh Tomatoes

Chili with Cabbage and Fresh Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground garlic
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, melt the olive oil then add the onion, pepper and cabbage.
  2. Cook the vegetables until they are soft.
  3. Add the beef and cook until it’s browned.
  4. Add the spices, salt, and pepper then stir.
  5. Taste and adjust spices if you'd like.
  6. Allow to cook through for about 20 minutes then add the tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with a baked white sweet potato.
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http://www.simplynorma.com/2017/10/26/chili-with-cabbage-and-fresh-tomatoes/

Enjoy!

For more paleo recipes, click here.

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