Meet the Jackson Women (and try their favorite recipes)!

Betty & Wayne Jackson
Betty & Wayne Jackson


This week we’ll be interviewing three amazing Christian women.  They’re all married to Jackson men!  You’ll enjoy reading about them, their families, and their work with The Christian Courier.  We’ll begin with BETTY JACKSON.

Betty is married to Wayne Jackson, and they are celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary this month!  They have 3 children, 10 grandchildren, 1 great grandson, and another on the way.  Wayne is a writer, and Betty proofreads most of what he writes.  She enjoys spending her time by keeping the books for their congregation and teaching children’s Bible classes.

How long have you lived in California, and what do you love about it?

I was born in California. Most of all I love the church family here, for we have been here for over 50 years.  California is unique in its landscapes. There are different topographies in each direction. For example, to the west is the beautiful Pacific Ocean, and to the east are the Sierra Nevada Mountains. ”

We appreciate your efforts with the Christian Courier.  Please tell us about it.

“The Christian Courier started with Wayne typesetting on an IBM Selectric typewriter. Because of the spacing of words, he had to type each article twice. He burned his own negatives; also, he did the printing. When our children were at home we all helped to address and sort according to the post office requirements. Now, our sons manage all of that. I proofread the paper every month. Their children now help with the mailing, fifty years later!”

*If you haven’t already, you’ll want to check out The Christian Courier.

What’s your go-to company meal?

“A pot roast meal is probably my go-to meal.  Enchiladas are another dish that we like.”

*You can check out Betty’s favorite pie recipe at the end of this post.

Would you mind sharing something about yourself that others might never have guessed?

“I was not reared in a Christian home.”

If you could give only one piece of marriage and/ or parenting advice, what would it be?

A marriage ought to glorify God. Applying the golden rule in every aspect of married life will do just that, and create an atmosphere of peace, understanding, and love.

Setting boundaries and showing our offspring love helps train them according to the Scriptures.Teaching children to put the Lord first, and living the same before them will affect their spiritual lives to the Lord’s glory.”

What do you do to stay motivated and encouraged in your ministry work?

For me, it is the realization that there is little time left to accomplish anything lasting. While some of the little things may not seem important (visits, teaching just a few children in Bible class, notes of encouragement, etc.), they are. Teaching either by example or by word can be everlasting to the beneficiaries of one’s efforts.”

*Here is Betty’s favorite recipe.  She said they make it once a year at holiday time.  Sounds delicious!

HERSHEY BAR PIE

6 reg. Hershey bars with or without almonds
20 lg. marshmallows
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring (without almonds substitute 1 tsp. vanilla)
1 graham cracker pie crust
Melt the candy bars and marshmallows in the milk in a double boiler Cool. Whip cream and fold into the creamed mixture. Pour into crust and chill for about 8 hours or overnight.

Know the Family–an interview with preacher’s wife, Carla Moore (and a recipe)

I’m encouraged by the righteous acts of the saints (Rev. 19:7,8).   I love hearing about Christians who are striving to be Christ-like in their actions and attitude.  Periodically I’ll be interviewing someone I admire for their humble service in the kingdom.  My hope is that these interviews will be an opportunity to “consider one another to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24).

I’m very excited about sharing this first interview!  Carla Moore is beautiful and down-to-earth.  She is genuine through and through, and I know you will love her insight and sense of humor as much as I do.  Pour a cup of coffee, if you like, and think of this as a comfortable chat at the kitchen table.  You’ll smile, you’ll be encouraged, you’ll get to know a member of your Christian family, and you might feel as if you’ve gained a new friend.

Thank you, Carla, for agreeing to this interview and for sharing your time with us.  First, please tell us a little about yourself–where you’re from, where you live now, what you do, etc.

I’m a Texan, born and raised! I was born in Corsicana, not far from Dallas, and we moved to central Texas when I was 8. I’ve only lived in three different communities: Corsicana, San Marcos and now Dripping Springs (which happens to be where John was born and raised.) Pretty unusual for a preacher’s kid and preacher’s wife! We’ve been blessed to stay in one area while our boys were growing up. Although I think it would be interesting to live in another part of the country someday!

As far as what I “do” – it seems to change daily! I stayed home with the boys while they were growing and did a lot of babysitting and odd jobs (like selling on eBay) to help with expenses during that period of time. For the past 13 years, I have worked one day each week with my brother and his wife, who own a heating and air conditioning business. (No, I don’t service air conditioners, ha! I help with bookkeeping and office work.) In addition, I love working every Tuesday with my daughter-in-law and her mother at their monogramming and gift shop – what a great job, to be able to be with people you love AND fancy machines AND great fabric! I work at my friend’s fun quilt shop here in Dripping Springs when she needs me. I stay pretty busy, but thankfully my employers are flexible with my schedule!

You also blog.  What’s it about?

Well, it has evolved from my original plan! John and I each lost about 75 pounds in 2011, and we had quite a few questions from people about how we managed it, and how we stayed motivated. So I started the blog, nomooreofmeplease.wordpress.com, with a post called “Hefty” describing what began my personal weight loss journey.  My intent was to hold myself accountable by publicly logging my food intake daily (with the idea that public shame would keep me from eating a funnel cake…ha!) Even though we have maintained our weight loss, the daily log fell by the wayside. I’ve written other posts about weight-loss related topics but more of them have had spiritual applications. Other posts I’ve written just for fun, like the one describing our kitchen/dining floor remodel. It was a huge project (we used garden tools, boiling water, hair dryers, 3 different irons and a blowtorch to get the linoleum off the cement floor- and I’m not kidding!) and we unashamedly took advantage of having all of our kids here to help – so I put lots of pictures of that “makeover” on the blog. And Micah and I had fun one night putting together a silly Pioneer Woman style pictorial step-by-step “how to make a sandwich” post. To answer your question, the blog is about whatever I have the urge to write about – things that move me or inspire me, and that I hope will have the same effect on others.

How did you and John meet, and how long have you been married?

Our paths crossed when we were young, but we didn’t really get to know each other until he came to college at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos (now called Texas State University.) The University congregation there has a Bible Chair program, the McCarty Student Center. At that time my father, Carl Garner, was the director, so I was blessed to take part in most McCarty activities even though I was still in high school. John and I had a lot of discussions sitting on the grass outside McCarty, and he liked my mother’s home-cooked meals….so we became friends. I also thought he was pretty cute, so I asked him to go with me to a “Sadie Hawkins” picnic in the fall of 1984. By the summer of 1985, we knew “this was it”. I graduated early from high school and enrolled at Southwest Texas, and we got married on June 14, 1986. Marrying at 18 (gasp!) may not be the best choice for every girl, but it was just right for me – I have never regretted any part of my life with John!

What do you enjoy most about being married to a minister?

I enjoy going along with John and meeting other Christians when he travels to speak. I’m able to do a little more of it now we only have Micah left at home (sniff) and he’s pretty independent (sniff sniff). I also enjoy the extra opportunities to invite people into our home. I’ve heard a few ministers’ wives complain about “living in a glass house” and their lives being wide open to criticism, but I’ve honestly never experienced that! Of course we have had situations where feelings have been hurt, just because we are human. But I could never attribute that to the fact that John is a minister.

What I love the most about being married to MY minister is that he is truly interested in the soul of every person he meets: no matter their age, their background, their history, their station in life. He completely believes in the mighty power of the word of God, and he does his best to get that word into the heart of the people with whom he comes into contact. He is the most encouraging, unselfish, kind, busy, sincere person I know. Of course he is human, but he learns from his mistakes. He’s my hero. (Thank you for letting me gush about my minister, can you tell that I love him?)

 Yes, I can tell that you love him, and isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?  And I love how you appreciate the blessings of being a preacher’s wife.  Your boys are so handsome!  What are their ages?  As a mother of three sons myself, I can guess you might have some cute memories treasured in your heart.  Care to share one?

Oh, my boys! My favorite subject! I could talk for hours about them!

Jordan is 23, a super-smart, sober minded, hard working, athletic, serious outdoorsman. He will graduate on May 10 with a degree in Wildlife Biology from Texas State University. He and my favorite girl Erin have been married for almost three years, and we have two grandpuppies: Harlie and Nilla.

Jacob is 21. He is outgoing, a natural leader, and a reluctant but excellent speaker! He recently became engaged to his sweetheart, Alyssa (my other favorite girl) and we are so excited to add her to our family. Jacob plays football for Harding and is working towards a business degree. He is headed into the real estate field.

Micah is 15. He is a funny, friendly, tender-hearted, easy-going kid who loves football and understands math, but is completely confused by girls!

Above ALL, we are so blessed to see our sons walking in truth, growing in faith, active in the Lord’s work and forming faithful Christian families of their own. There truly is no greater joy!

Memories…too many to choose one. I will always be glad that we had Micah when Jordan and Jacob were a little older. Jordan was 8 and Jacob was 6 – old enough to be more interested in Lego sets and action figures than a baby brother, but they were both so loving and protective of him. I think they began to understand unconditional love because of how they felt about him. Micah would occasionally get a little irritated with their authoritativeness; one time he didn’t like how his brother was instructing him, and in his little 2 year old voice said “DON’T SAY TO ME!” But they are still Micah’s heroes and role models. Other memories – I’ll never forget Jordan’s face as his bride walked down the aisle toward him, and seeing Jacob standing next to him. Jordan jumping a fence to get to Jacob when he was hurt on a football field. It used to crack me up how 8 year old Micah would boss his big brothers’ football buddies around (and most of the time, they would do whatever he told them to!) Memories can be a blessing or a curse. I’m thankful that God trusted us with such wonderful boys who have made our memories a blessing.

As a foodie, I have to ask, what’s your go-to company meal?

Hmmm, probably Chicken Spaghetti, because you can stretch it and almost everyone likes it, plus I usually have all the ingredients in my kitchen. With a green salad and garlic bread, you’re good to go! Taco soup is another favorite that feeds a lot and is inexpensive and easy.

 Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with us?
Just one? 🙂 This is my newest favorite, adapted to have a little less fat than one I found on Pinterest.

 LASAGNA SOUP

1 ½ lbs extra lean ground beef (if you don’t mind extra fat, you can substitute or add sausage…the Owens or Jimmy Dean kind.)

Chopped onion, to taste

4 minced garlic cloves

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 small can tomato paste

28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

4-6 cups chicken stock

8 oz your choice pasta (I like shells)

½ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

salt & pepper

CHEESY YUMMY: 8 oz cottage cheese (or ricotta) ½ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ tsp salt, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown your meat in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions & cook until they’re softened. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, stir for a minute or two. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate, until the tomato paste turns a rusty color.

Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock (I start with about four cups and add more if it doesn’t look “liquidy” enough…) Stir to combine, bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Cook your pasta separately (if you cook it in the soup, it gets mushy.) A few minutes before serving, add your fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh, you can use dried) and cooked pasta, and season to taste with salt & pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, combine all of the cheesy yummy ingredients. To serve, place a dollop of the cheese mixture in each soup bowl, then ladle the hot soup over the top. If you have extra mozzarella, you can add more to the top.

Next step: INVITE ME OVER!

 That sounds so good, and I can’t wait to try it!  Carla, what is something about yourself you wish others knew or understood?
I’m shy and I’m terrible about remembering names. When I’m meeting someone new, I’m a little nervous and too busy thinking of what I’m going to say next to remember what their name is. I’m trying to do better!
I have a sense of humor and love to laugh and tease. Sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone has my same sense of humor…
I do fight a tendency to be sarcastic and cynical. I don’t like having that cynicism in me – I want so badly to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4) and I don’t want to be “irritable or resentful…or rejoice at wrongdoing” (1 Cor. 13) so it is a daily battle with me. Some might say that sarcasm is just part of one’s personality but I think it’s a character flaw. I might not be able to change my personality but I can change my character (and I believe God expects me to.)
 Thank you for opening up about that.  I think many of us can relate.  What are some of your favorite blogs, websites, or books?
I don’t read too many blogs. Not because I don’t like them, but because I like them too much…when reading one, I usually get pulled into reading 30 more and then three hours has gone by and I haven’t even brushed my teeth or changed out of my pajamas. I do love Come Fill Your Cup, and this other blog called Life and Favor (maybe you’ve heard of it?) 🙂 I often go to the Colley’s website to print articles to share in Bible class. I like Facebook, because I love being able to stay connected to faraway friends as well as making NEW friends! To me, Facebook can be tremendously encouraging social media. Yes, sometimes we see more than we want to but we CAN control of the buttons on our keyboard!

 Books. I love to read! Historical fiction favorite: the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. I’ve read the series several times and each time is better than the last.  Also, Redeeming Love by the same author (Francine Rivers) is excellent. It’s a novelized account of the book of Hosea. I thoroughly enjoyed the book Claudene Connally wrote years ago called “I Walked By His Side” about their years as missionaries in Africa. We’ve used so many of Lottie Beth Hobbs’s books in ladies Bible classes, but I think my favorite was Choosing Life’s Best. And we loved studying through Celine Sparks’ Because I Said So – it was a hoot and very practical!

Thank you.  🙂  What do you do to unwind?

I love to get lost in a book! I know we’ve already chatted about books, though. (One more thing…I especially love to read about things that I would NEVER have the nerve to actually do – like climbing Mt. Everest or underwater cave exploration!)

Never in a million years did I think I’d ever say this, but exercise is a great relaxer! Really! If I have a headache or tension in my shoulders or if I’m just stressed out, I can get on the elliptical or take a good, brisk walk and leave the gym with a clearer head, feeling much better. That doesn’t mean I WANT to go do it – it just means I feel better when I do! 🙂

Music is another great way to unwind. There aren’t many genres of music that I don’t enjoy. Growing up, Mom always had the stereo on, playing her old record albums – so I love Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. I love barbershop, and beautiful instrumentals like Yo-Yo Ma and Yanni (or, as the boys call him, Yawni!) My new favorite is a group called the Piano Guys. And of course I love gospel songs! I can’t imagine life without music – it just does something to my heart.

 What do you love most about the Lord’s church?
I love that we are a family. I love having sisters in New Hampshire and Illinois and Alaska and Japan and Singapore and all points in between, some whom I have never actually met face to face, but I still feel a kindred spirit with them. I love that there is a plain, simple pattern for the New Testament church that can be easily found in His word, and followed all over the world. I love that the Lord’s church belongs to Him, and not to a mortal man. I love seeing God’s wisdom in His organization of the church. I love the fellowship and the common bond we share. I love that the Lord’s church gives us a goal and a reason to serve. And I love that there is a place and a purpose for every individual Christian. I love that it is my life.
 Amen to that!  Please tell us a little about the Searching for Truth video.
In 2004, John and Rudy Cain (World Video Bible School founder) began discussing the need for an inexpensive, effective tool for evangelism. Jesus’ disciples reached the lost by foot or by courier or by boat – and John and Rudy wanted to employ the most effective means possible to reach the lost in our day and age. That was through video. I think their vision was wonderful. Knowing that many people today are reluctant to commit to a one-on-one personal Bible study, SFT begins with a short fifteen minute introduction that hopefully will pique the interest of someone who is truly searching for the truth.  It is easy to just hand to someone. Many congregations give them to anyone who would like a copy. We know of car dealerships that have a rack full of them, available to anyone. My mother often leaves them in the lobbies of her doctor’s offices. Erin included them in “thank you” bags for the clerks who helped her on Black Friday. It’s free to view online (www.searchingfortruth.org and on YouTube) and Rudy is always thinking up new ways for people to access it! John recently got a letter from a child who had viewed it. He said “I believe in God. He is my Father and Saver. I love him more than anything and I know you believe in Him too. You really seem like a nice guy on TV.” It made me smile!
That’s wonderful and exciting!  Searching for Truth is very effective in sharing the gospel.  We keep a stack of them on the visitors’ table at Bear Valley.  Would you mind sharing with us what your personal Bible study time is like?
I’m embarrassed to say that I am easily distracted so I have to have quiet (which doesn’t happen regularly around here!) And I can’t sit at my desk at the computer or I’ll find my fingers wandering over to do something else on another tab. My best study time is sitting at the kitchen table with Bible, pen and paper during the middle of the day when no one else is home. Right now I am transferring notes out of my old King James that I love and have used since 1993. It’s a Thompson Chain Reference, filled with so many good helps and maps and notes! Moving my notes to my new ESV has been so interesting and a great study.

 You do quite a lot of public speaking.  In fact, you’re one of the ladies’ speakers at Focal Point this week.  When you were asked to speak for the first time, what made you say yes?  Do you still get nervous?

A long time ago Mom told me about one of their elders in Corsicana, Rollin Harris. Mom was trying to pass on teaching the high school girls class, and he told her to go home and read Matthew 25 (parable of the talents). He told her “after you read that, if you still want to quit teaching, you can.” Of course, she couldn’t! She has passed that along to me, even though I don’t feel like my talent lies in public speaking. There are so many others who are much more effective speakers than I. Sometimes I feel like there is some sort of disconnect between my brain and my mouth, and I can’t seem to get across what I am trying to say. I would much rather write than speak. When I am writing, I can back up and delete, and think some more about my words. When speaking, I am afraid that someone will misunderstand me, or that I will unintentionally take something out of context or that someone will not be kind in their assessment of me. But I try to seek only the approval of God and not man, even though I’m human and don’t want people to think badly of me. The benefits: the study and preparation are much more beneficial to me than anyone else. And I get to go places and meet friends. And YES, I’m nervous!

That’s a great story about your mom!  I’ve heard you speak, and I can tell you, there’s no “disconnect.”  When did you become a Christian?

I was ten years old. I remember knowing what I needed to do and feeling burdened by sin (even at ten, I knew right from wrong!) I understood that Jesus had died for ME and that was humbling to me. I remember telling a “little white lie” and recalling the verse which stated that I was crucifying Him afresh (Heb 6:6). I knew that baptism wasn’t an easy, inconsequential decision, but rather the “answer of a good conscience toward God,” (1 Pet. 3:21). I wanted to be obedient. On the Sunday afternoon after my baptism, I had a soccer game. I remember so vividly running around that soccer field knowing I had a clean slate and feeling lighter than air because I knew I had obeyed God and He had made me “white as snow.” What a great day!

Is there anything else you’d like to say or share with us?
I would like for YOU to answer all of these questions! 🙂
Thank you, Carla, for sharing your wonderful answers with us!  I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better, and pray that God blesses you as you continue to live for Him.
 Carla would love to hear from you.  You can contact her at carmoore68@gmail.com.
Carla & John Moore

Sunshine in Winter (a recipe post)

Today, because there’s snow on the ground, the sun is shining, and because the Pioneer Woman arrived in Colorado with her family, I decided to make my favorite dessert.  It’s called Lemon Milk Sherbet.  When we first moved to Denver, Carol Stephens (a very sweet elder’s wife) served this sunny dessert in pretty glass dishes, along with a plate of shortbread cookies.  The very best recipes are the ones you try when someone has you into their home for a meal!

I love this simple dessert for many reasons.  First, the fresh, yellow citrus offers a spot of sunny brightness, perfect for winter days.  (Did you know that we get more sunny days than Miami, FL?)  Second, the first sweet spoonful in my mouth makes me close my eyes, every time.  It’s that good.  It’s a light dessert, but a hit with teen boys.  Third, the recipe is super quick and easy.  And finally, making it is sheer pleasure because of the wonderful scent of lemon zest.  Smelling citrus is supposed to be a natural mood lifter, you know.  If you make this recipe, you might find yourself singing, “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today!”

LEMON MILK SHERBET

1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (4 or 5 lemons)

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. lemon zest

4 c. very cold milk

1/4 tsp. salt

Zest a couple of the lemons before you juice them.  Combine sugar, lemon juice, and zest.  Add cold milk.  I always use skim.  Freeze immediately.  If you’re impatient (like we were), you can serve it semi-frozen in a couple of hours, and it’ll still be delicious.

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for Your many gifts that brighten our lives.

 

Easiest Sunday Dinner

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me over 10 years ago and it’s been a staple in our house ever since.  Not only is it super simple, it’s absolutely delicious!  It’s perfect for Sundays because it can be thrown in the crock pot that morning and it’s ready by the time you get home from worship.  Plus, it can be easily doubled, and then you’re prepared to invite guests home with you for a special lunch.  Simply add a tossed salad and crusty bread (and a lemon ice box pie) and you’ve got a complete meal in no time!  This is also my go-to menu for taking to someone who needs a meal.

Parmesan Chicken

In crock pot, layer:

3- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, and 1 package of shredded parmesan cheese

Crock pots vary, so determine whether or not to set it on High or Low based on your crock pot.  Mine needs to be set on High in order to be done by the time we get home from worship.

When you get home, shred the tender chicken using two forks.  If you super shred it, your sauce will be thicker.  I like to shred it just until it’s in bite-size pieces because I prefer bigger chunks of chicken and saucier sauce.  Serve over penne pasta.

Variations:

-Cook chicken with salsa verde, then shred for tacos.

-Cook chicken with red enchilada sauce, then shred for enchiladas.

-Cook chicken with barbecue sauce, then shred for sandwiches.

Prayer for Today:  May we always take advantage of modern conveniences that make it easier for us to be hospitable.

Buttered Hot Cocoa

Am I genius or what?  Don’t answer that.  You might ruin my fine moment of patting myself on the back.  I was making hot cocoa for the boys and trying to think of something to add as a foil for the sweetness.  Sea salt?  A cinnamon stick?  I was perusing the pantry and fridge looking for inspiration when I saw the stick of butter.  My mind conjured up images of other delights that I love involving milk and butter–creamy grits, oatmeal, soups.  Oh yes.

The hot cocoa was pretty basic.  I used cocoa, sugar, dash of salt, whole milk and vanilla.  Then I put a pat of butter in each mug before pouring in the hot cocoa.  I have salted and unsalted butter, but chose salted thinking it’d be a lovely contrast to the sugary cocoa.  The pat of butter floated to the top and slowly began to melt.  Truly, it was delicious.  The boys declared it the “best cup of cocoa they’ve ever had.”  Next time I just might try that sprinkle of sea salt on top of the butter.

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for the sweet and simple pleasures of life, especially those involving chocolate.

Summer Supper Recipes

I’m so thankful for my “baby” sister.  In addition to being a genuine Christian, Kristy is beautiful, witty, and just plain fun.  We laugh till we cry when we’re together.  She has always been one of the greatest blessings in my life.

In addition to enriching my life with her sparkle and wisdom, Kristy often enriches my palate with her creative cooking.  Every time we go to Oklahoma for a visit, I come home with at least a couple of new recipes jotted down.  For instance, did you know you can make homemade sherbet with just a 2-liter bottle of orange soda and a can of sweetened condensed milk?

A couple of weeks ago I posted some pictures on my facebook wall of a meal I made which I called “Summer Supper.”  The pasta dish was invented by my sister.  Not only is it delicious, but you can easily adapt it to suit your tastes.  Here are the recipes:

Garden Pasta with Chicken

I’ll describe this dish by layers.

Bottom Layer- Cook your pasta of choice, such as spaghetti, penne, or bow tie.

Sauce Layer- Saute some shallots (or onion) in a little olive oil, then add your favorite jarred sauce.

Veggie Layer- In olive oil, saute whatever fresh vegetables & seasonings you like.  I chose zucchini, squash, artichoke hearts, banana peppers (because they were ready to pick from my garden), scallions, and garlic.  I seasoned it with Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.  Saute till crisp-tender, then toss in some fresh basil ribbons.

Chicken Layer- Marinate some chicken breasts in whatever floats your boat (I used pesto), then grill and slice.

To Serve- Top the spaghetti, sauce, and veggies with sliced chicken and shaved parmesan.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Variations:  Instead of doing a skillet saute, you can throw the vegetables on the grill (as Kristy does) along with the chicken.  Also, Kristy recently made this dish using leftover parmesan-crusted chicken.  Yum!

This is the Artisan Bread I served with the pasta dish.  The recipe can be found at:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Artisan-Bread-in-Five-Minutes-a-Day/

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for the heart-filling warmth of dear family, and the belly-filling comfort of good food.  May I never take your constant blessings for granted.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

On Saturday, I made this sauce.   I enjoy the depth of flavor that results from pairing rhubarb with strawberries.  The interesting thing about making this sauce was finding the right balance of sweetness.  Rhubarb is tart, so I started out with a whole cup of sugar.  My mouth puckered when I tried it, so  I added another half cup.  It was still too tart.  It took another half cup of sugar, and then it was just right.  The reason I added the sugar bit by bit was to avoid making the sauce too sweet.  Too much sugar in this sauce would’ve made our throats buzz, and would’ve also masked the flavor of the rhubarb.  I’ll include the recipe below, in case anyone’s interested.  We’ve been enjoying it with angel food cake, but it’d also be good over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.

It’s a challenge finding the right balance of sweetness in our speech.  If we speak without thinking, our words can be too tart, and therefore, unpleasant.  Or, the things we say can come across as too sticky sweet when accompanied by a saccharine smile.  The only way to know the difference is to taste our own words.  With a little thought, kindness, and sincerity, our words can be “pleasant like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Prov. 16:24).

Prayer for today:  It’s all too easy to snap at loved ones, or be fake with others.  May the words I say to my children, my husband, my neighbors, my church family, and to strangers that I meet, be pleasant and sincerely sweet.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

In large pot, combine 2 quarts of strawberries (sliced), 4 stalks of rhubarb (diced), 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water,  and the zest & juice of one orange.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn heat down to simmer, and cook until rhubarb is tender (about 15 minutes).  Add 1 tbsp. butter to reduce foam (optional).  Cook for a minute longer.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract).  At this point, you can pour into jars as is, resulting in a chunky, fruity sauce.  Or, you can use an immersion blender, as I did, to create a smooth and creamy, ruby sauce.  Enjoy!