The Artist's Scalpel
Several years ago, my husband and I were strolling along the shores of nearby Harrison Lake ,
admiring the wares of the vendors who had set up temporary booths on the sand.
One artist and his work caught my attention, and I stopped.
I learned that this French artist had been fascinated one day by slabs of slate stone,
the jagged edges begging him to paint them into mountain scenes.
He had numerous resulting pieces on display, but my eye immediately rested on one in particular.
It was as if he had sat in my family room and painted using the colours around him.
I loved it! I went closer and instinctively reached out to touch it.
The artist had been watching me, and as I reached out, he cried, "Don't touch it!"
Too late he added, "It's still wet!"
To my dismay, I had already left my thumb smudge in the wet paint, and the picture perfection was ruined.
His face severe, the artist handed me a scalpel.
"Now you have to fix it," he said.
I took the scalpel in my hand and looked at the painting. I knew I could not repair the damage I had done.
Then the artist's face broke out in a smile, his eyes twinkled, and he said, "I'll fix it!"
With a few deft strokes of his hand, the painting was as good as new!
He joked, "A hundred years from now, when they scrape back the paint, they will find your fingerprint and accredit you as the artist!"
Of course, I bought the beautiful slab of slate.
How like the artist God is, and how quick we are to mess up what He has done.
In the Garden of Eden, God said, "Don't touch!"
But Adam and Eve touched and ruined perfection with their sin.
God gave them the old covenant and said, "Fix it!"
But of course, man in his own strength could not do it.
Then God smiled, took the old covenant, perfected it through Jesus,
and offered us the new covenant!
When we receive His offer, our personal imprint of sin is covered over.
Eternity is ours at a price we can afford: our faith in the Artist's work.
But God continues to cover our "imprints", does He not?
We fail, we stumble, we touch, and He is ready, forgiving scalpel in hand, to make it right again.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!
I John 1:9 (NKJV)
One day when we are standing at heaven's door and are asked why we should be allowed in,
we will be able to say,
"Because the imprint of my sin is covered by the redemptive work of the great Artist!"
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Romans 4:7 (NKJV)
Prayer: "Dear Father, we thank You for Your willing heart to take scalpel in hand
and restore us to wholeness when we sin.
May we be quick to run to You in repentance before our hearts have time to harden.
Green bean casserole is a favorite on our holiday table and I'm bringing back a recipe I originally posted here in December of 2008. Most bean casseroles use a mushroom soup sauce; we prefer this variation with a basic white sauce. Fresh green beans are definitely the best but not always available. Water chestnuts and french fried onions add a little crunch.
- 3 (14.5 oz/398ml) cans green beans, drained or 1.5 pounds fresh green beans which have been trimmed, cut and blanched for about 3 minutes
- 1 can sliced mushrooms
- 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¼ cup finely chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon salt dash of pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can French-fried onions
- Melt butter in saucepan.
- Stir in flour and cook over medium heat about 1 minute.
- Add milk and cook until thickened, while whisking.
- Stir in salt, sugar, pepper, onions, and sour cream; heat through.
- Add green beans, mushrooms and water chestnuts; stir to coat.
- Transfer to casserole dish. (Can be made the previous day and refrigerated at this point.)
- Spread cheese over top and sprinkle with french-fried onions.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
It seems I came up with a new variation when I made this dish for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Without thinking, I added the grated cheese into the white sauce, rather than sprinkling it on top. Either way, it is great!
We own our own business and our shop is only a few hundred feet from our home.
So going home for lunch is an everyday occurrence.
For me that means coming up with something to serve for lunch each day.
I'm not much for planning meals ahead so lunch especially, is planned on the fly.
Here is a soup I came up with last week, using what I had on hand.
Harv enjoyed it so I thought maybe you would as well.
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 1 large stock celery, diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 wieners, cut into coins
- 1 284 ml tin condensed tomato soup
- 1 1/2 tomato soup tins water
- 1 398 ml tin deep browned beans (pork and beans)
- 1 114 ml tin mild diced green chilies
- 1 cup corn kernels - canned or frozen
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
- chili powder or hot sauce to taste (optional)
- Saute peppers, celery and onion in oil until soft
- Place in soup pot.
- Add wieners to fry pan (add a little more oil if needed) and fry until lightly browned.
- Place in soup pot and add remaining ingredients.
- Heat and stir until it comes to a simmer.
- Simmer 5-19 minutes to blend flavours, stirring several times to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Makes 4-6 servings.
These French Bread rolls added some fun to our Canadian Thanksgiving table, so I thought I'd share them for our American readers today.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups hot tap water
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour, white - can use half whole wheat or multigrain *
- 2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 egg white, beaten ( for egg wash)
- short cinnamon stick or pretzel pieces for stems (to be inserted after baking)
- Put sugar, oil, salt and hot water in a mixing bowl. You can also use a mixer that has a dough hook attachment or your bread machine.
- Add 1 cup of the flour mixed with the yeast, then the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Add flour until dough comes away from side of bowl or easily holds together in a ball shape and is not too sticky if you handle it with floured hands. Cover bowl with a dinner plate or tea towel and plastic bag.
- Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- With greased hands, take a handful at a time and, using thumb and forefinger, pinch off balls, the size of a small orange.
- With a sharp serrated knife, gently score each bun using an arched flex, so as not to flatten bun. Dip end of wooden spoon in flour and poke a hole in the center of each bun. Cover lightly with tea towel and plastic bag.
- Let rise about 30 - 45 minutes. Re-poke the holes and brush with egg wash.
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 400°F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden.
- Insert stems while still hot and allow buns to cool on wire rack. Yields 20 - 24 rolls
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 packet (1 ounce) ranch dressing seasoning mix
- 1/2 cup wing sauce like Frank's Wing Sauce
- 1-1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 6 - 10 inch flour tortillas
- Ranch dressing for dipping
- In large bowl mix together the cream cheese and ranch dressing until well-combined.
- Mix in the wing sauce.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir in the chicken, cheese and green onions.
- Spread mixture evenly across each tortilla.
- Roll and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- Slice and serve with a bowl of ranch dressing for dipping.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
Divide recipe in half for a smaller group.
Confession: When I made this recipe I forgot to add the cheese. Oops! We had very hot wing sauce on hand and the roll-ups were very spicy. I'd recommend medium or mild to please a larger crowd.
Last Monday I posted this and I had to chuckle at the comments to my statement about looking for something to go with your Monday morning coffee. Well, here it is. These jumbo oatmeal type cookies are sure to please on this Monday morning. Step the raisin goodness up a notch by using chocolate covered raisins. If you are a nut lover, add nuts of your choice. I happened to have a bag of seeds and dried cranberry mix in the cupboard that I used instead of nuts, and they added a great flavour and texture.
Yields: 12 large cookies. Freeze well.
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cups light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
- 3/4 cup chocolate covered raisins
- 1/2 cup nuts or seeds, or a combination of both
- Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla.
- Mix together dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture.
- Add raisins and nuts/seeds. Stir to combine.
- Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
- Bake in 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until the outside of the cookie is looking baked and have a nice colour but the middle is still barely soft to the touch. Remove from pans immediately after baking.
Peace on Earth
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27 ESV
For there to be peace among the nations, in our county, in our communities and in our families, it has to start in the hearts of individuals. It has to start with me. And you. Will we allow the King of Peace, Jesus Christ, to reign in our hearts?
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
I posted this recipe originally in 2009 here. This is an easy recipe to make and stick it in the oven or slow cooker and forget about it, especially using a less expensive cut of meat.
The flavors are like Rouladen with out all the fuss. My family was happy to see the roast at the dinner table again. I hope your family enjoys it too.
In this photo the meat is sliced up, placed over a platter of noodles, topped with crispy bacon to make serving easier at the dinner table.
In this photo the meat is sliced up, placed over a platter of noodles, topped with crispy bacon to make serving easier at the dinner table.
- 3 pounds of a roast, trimmed well so there is little fat
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 carrots cut according to your liking, sliced or in sticks
- 2 onions diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced (I didn't have any)
- 3/4-1 cup chopped dill pickles
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/3 cup German Style Mustard ( I used Dijon)
- 2 bay leaves
- coarse black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves ( I used only a pinch)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- Trim fat from roast. Brown in large Dutch oven, in hot oil. Cover with vegetables and pickles.
- In a small bowl, combine broth, mustard, pepper, cloves and bay leaves. Pour over meat.
- Bake in a 325 F oven for 4 hours or in a slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours/high for 4-5 hours. Remove meat from cooker and place on plate to keep warm.
- Gravy: Transfer veggies to another bowl. Put cooking liquid in a sauce pan or leave it in the dutch oven. Skim fat. Remove bay leaves. Stir flour and 2 tablespoons water or broth together. Stir in to pan and cook till thickened and the raw taste of the flour is gone, about 2 minutes or so.
- Serve sliced meat, surrounded by veggies, over Spaetzle or noodles. Garnish with crisp bacon if desired. I omitted that and served it over whole wheat yolk free noodles.
This summer I was running the race to pick zucchinis when they were still "garden small". Now that the garden is cleaned up, I'm continuing to purchase beautiful green zucchinis to make this easy and economical appetizer. Preparation time is about 10 minutes and baking time is just under 30 minutes.
- 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup panko (Japanese style) breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- purchased marinara sauce, heated
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Add oil and stir to combine.
- Dip each side of the zucchini in the crumb mixture, and place rounds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
- Use the remaining crumb mixture to pat about 1/4 teaspoon on top of each slice.
- Bake until the crumb topping is browned about 20 - 25 minutes. The zucchini itself will stay soft but the crumbs will be crunchy.
- Serve hot with warmed marinara sauce as an appetizer.
Yields about 35 pieces
from the kitchen of Lovella ♥
- 1 30 ounce (887ml) can of real pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 16 ounce (473 ml) can of evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup white sugar (I would recommend less sugar by a 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
- 2 eggs
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, milk, sugar, spices, and eggs. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a well greased 9x13 inch baking pan.
- Combine the cake mix, nuts and butter into a streusel and sprinkle over top of the pumpkin batter.
- Bake for 1 hour at 350 F and serve warm with lots of whipped cream!
I love refrigerator cookies. You can find many recipes with endless flavour combinations.
What I like is that you can mix them one day, store the shaped dough in the refrigerator
and slice and bake them the next day.
I recently made this version and I'll make it again.
The toffee bits in them seemed to mellow and
make the cookie even more flavourful several days later.
- 1 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup toffee bits (I used the packaged Skor bits)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- Cream butter.
- Add sugars, beating well until light.
- Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
- Add flour, salt and toffee bits, mixing just until blended together.
- Divide dough in half.
- Form each half firmly into a log about 2 inches in diameter.
- Sprinkle about 1/4 cup chopped pecans evenly on a 12x12 inch piece of waxed paper and roll cookie log until the outside surface is covered in pecans. Repeat with second log.
- Roll up each log in the waxed paper, twisting the ends to secure.
- Refrigerate logs for 3 or 4 hours, or overnight. They should be very firm.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap cookie logs and cut into slices - I made my slices about 5/8 inch thick.
- Place on cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. I check the bottom of one cookie to be sure it is also browned before removing from the oven.
- Store tightly covered in a cool place or freeze until needed.
It's Monday morning and you might have come looking for something to go with your coffee, but I'm thinking back to our Friday night casual eats. Mexican Smash Potatoes hit the spot for easy comfort food. Think of potato skins meets nachos for next weekend.
Recipe to feed two, but if you have more people just add more potatoes and toppings.
- 7 small potatoes
- 1/2 pound ground beef, fried
- taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large Roma tomato, diced small
- 1 green onion, diced fine
- 1/2 fresh jalapeno, diced fine
- 1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- Boil potatoes until fork tender. Do not allow to get mushy.
- Drain and place potatoes on a baking sheet or in a cast iron fry pan that has been sprayed with none stick spray.
- While the potatoes are still hot smash them with a potato masher. (see photo below)
- Drizzle potatoes with melted butter and lightly season with salt, pepper, taco seasoning and cumin. ** you can let them sit at this point till you are ready to bake and assemble**
- Place oven rack in middle of oven and turn oven to broil. Broil seasoned potatoes until they get a nice crust on them but are not dark.
- Remove from oven. Top with fried and seasoned (use any of the seasonings suggested in the ingredients to your liking) ground beef, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. Top with cheese.
- Once again place under the broiler until the cheese is nicely melted and bubbly.
- Serve with sour cream and salsa.
I need to go back each day to the one who is the truth. I need to open the Word of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit read it and hide it in my heart. I need to test the very words that are coming from pulpits and be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures to make sure they were being taught what was true. I need to listen to teaching that is Biblically sound. I need to know that there are popular false teachers in my circles. I need to be a disciple of Jesus, following him closely.
I need to meditate on passages like Psalm 19: 7-14,
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
I'll leave you with these verses from the book of Jude.
A Call to Persevere
17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Doxology24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
This is a tasty chili that will feed a crowd. Plan ahead because you need to soak the beans overnight. I first posted this recipe in early 2012 and you can find the original post here. This recipe originates from the Junior League of Seattle.
- 1 pound Great Northern white beans, rinsed and picked over
- 2 pounds chicken breasts (2 large half breasts are about 2 pounds)
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 – 4 ounce cans chopped mild green chiles
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons each of cumin, and dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded and divided
- sour cream
- fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Place beans in a large, heavy pot. Add enough cold water to cover by at least 3 inches.
- Cover and soak overnight.
- Spread a little butter on the skin of each half breast of chicken and season it.
- Place on shallow pan and roast in 375 degree oven till cooked through, 45-60 minutes.
- Let cool.
- Remove skin and bones and cut chicken into cubes.
- Drain beans into large colander.
- Heat oil in same pot.
- Add onions and saute over medium-low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and cayenne.
- Saute 2 minutes.
- Add beans and stock.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 hours.
- Add additional water or broth if necessary (Can be prepared 1 day ahead).
- When you are ready to finish the chili cover and bring to a simmer before continuing
- Add chicken and 1 cup of cheese.
- Stir until cheese melts.
- Ladle chili into bowls.
- Serve with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro leaves to sprinkle on top.
Of course it’s up to you which of these additional ingredients you add to your chili.
We also like to serve this with some warm cornbread.
Serves twelve to fourteen…
We enjoy warm caramelized bananas so I decided to try cooking up pears using much the same method. They were delicious served up this way. 'Tis the season for pears. Enjoy!
- 3 pears, peeled and sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- granola or nuts to sprinkle over (optional)
- vanilla ice-cream
- Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Saute pears for several minutes, turning over with tongs or lifter during the process. Remove pears gently from pan once they are of desired doneness.
- Add sugar to butter in pan and cook until melted, while stirring. Reduce heat to low.
- Gradually stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute stirring occasionally.
- Add pear pieces to caramel sauce and cook just until pears are heated through.
- Spoon pears and caramel sauce into four dessert dishes.
- Top with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
- Drizzle with additional sauce and sprinkle with granola or chopped nuts of your choice.
What do you do with a leftover ham bone after the ham dinner? Add to that a bag of fresh garden kale a friend brought over; I decided to make soup. Although we have several options on soups with potatoes and kale, I thought this one would have a slightly different twist, reminiscent of our Green Bean Soup.
- ham bone with some ham left on (or 1 lb mini smoked ham hock)
- 8 cups water
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red chili pepper, dried
- 10 whole black peppers
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 golden potatoes, quartered and sliced thin
- 4 carrots, sliced thin
- 4 cups kale, stem removed, chopped fine
- 2 teaspoons better-than-bouillon or bouillon cube
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- chili flakes, optional
- cheese, grated, optional
- Put ham bone in a soup pot and cover with water to cook.
- Add onion, garlic and spices (tied in a cheese cloth or put in spice infuser) and bring to boil.
- While it cooks, chop the vegetables. I kept skins on because they were thin.
- Add potatoes and carrots to broth and simmer another 1/2 hour, until tender.
- Remove ham bone. Taste soup. Add bouillon flavor if needed.
- Chop kale and add to soup along with any shaved off ham pieces. Simmer 15 minutes.
- Shake up flour and milk in a small jar and add to soup, stirring until it bubbles.
- Add cream just before serving. Serve with extra chili flakes and grated cheese. Serves 8