Wednesday, January 29, 2014

That's Crazy!

Each night before bed, Karen or myself are in a habit of reading with Isaac. The books change slightly as Isaac comes to prefer one book over the other. We were in a smooth rhythm of Thomas the Train - Troublesome Trucks, Jonah, and the finale with David & Goliath. I enjoy listening to Isaac quote the various stories and ask questions along the way. David & Goliath seems to be a staple in our nightly repertoire. When we get to David & Goliath the conversation goes,
"Is David listening?"
"Yes, David is listening."
"Is Goliath listening?
"No, Goliath is a pagan. Pagans don't listen."
It's great to hear him now say "Goliath isn't listening; Goliath is a pagan."

For a three year old, the story of Jonah isn't outlandish. Isaac asks the same sort of listening questions for Jonah, the sailors Jonah attempted to join, and the Ninevites. When Jonah is in the fish, Isaac wonders if it's dark in there. I assure him it is dark in the belly of a fish and a bit stinky too. For many of us, though, the reality of a man being swallowed by a large fish, whale perhaps, is crazy. There's no way a story like that could be literally true. Stories like that must have only been written to convey . . . uh, faith or . . .  the reality of a Sovereign God whom people should turn to or He'll wipe out?

It is crazy to think of a man being swallowed by a fish. When that's observed in nature, game over. No more observation. But in a world that supernatural intervention takes place, miracles happen. A man is swallowed by a fish, prays for God's mercy, and holds onto his hope in God.

Even if this story is discounted, it's interesting to hear Jesus' thoughts on Jonah. When people demanded Jesus to perform a sign so they would know He was the Messiah, he turned their attention to Jonah. Just like Jonah was really in the belly of a fish for three days, so will I be dead for three days (my paraphrase Matt. 12:38-40).

That's crazy to think of a man being in a fish for three days and living. Yes, it is. It's even crazier to think a man can be brutally killed and after three days rise from the dead.

Jesus says all of this is true. Are we listening to His words?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Taking God Seriously

When a man of wisdom and reputation stands up with an indictment against those who make up the church, self labeled Christians, I think we would be wise to listen.

J. I. Packer's new book, Taking God Seriously

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Your New Favorite Burger

Here is a Hutcheson family favorite. You may get as far as the title or the recipe source and automatically put it in the "no way" category. I would say that's just like Isaac saying no to cookies. No matter how much I tell him that he'll like the treat, he's missing a great treat. Although, now that we've started potty training, the word treat has a marvelous ring to him. He'll eat mostly anything with this sweet bell of a word.
(On a budget note, this recipe is the priciest of the ones I've listed.)
Nutty Veggie Burgers from Dreena Burton Let Them Eat Vegan
Makes 5 to 6 Patties
1 ½ cups raw almonds ½ cup raw walnuts ½ cup raw pecans (or more walnuts) 1 small clove garlic, cut into quarters ½ teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon ketchup 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 1 tablespoon tamari ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning, or ⅛ teaspoon each of dried thyme and dried sage ½ cup (packed) finely grated carrot ½ cup (packed) finely grated zucchini ½ to 1 cup rolled oats A smidgen of oil, for panfrying
In a food processor, combine the almonds, walnuts, pecans, garlic, and salt. Puree until the nuts are finely ground. Then add the ketchup, nutritional yeast, tamari, poultry seasoning, carrot, and zucchini, and pulse until the mixture becomes dense and is starting to hold together. Pulse in the oats. Remove the blade and shape the mixture into patties.
To cook, lightly oil a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties for 5 to 7 minutes on the first side, and then another 3 to 5 minutes on second side until golden brown, working in batches, if necessary.

John Mark simple recipe  There's no simplifying this recipe. It's all good and worthwhile as it is. I'm sure there's some substitutions or variations that you could experiment with for your tastes. I hope you've enjoyed some delicious new and healthy meals in your home, or plan on enjoying once the next grocery trip rolls around. Eat together and enjoy!
(For the record, I'm not anti-McDonalds. The recipe above is my preference over Micky-Dees fine double cheeseburgers.)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Coconut anyone?

After yesterday's post for a phenomenal kale salad, here's another recipe - Karen's coconut lentils. Here's the good news about lentils, you can do whatever you want with them. Feel free to throw an onion and a couple of carrots in a food processor for this recipe. Typically that's the base for our lentils regardless of the additional spices. You can use garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, berbere, sriracha, thai red curry paste; I think you get the point that in whatever you cook lentils they absorb. On a side note, red lentils cook a little faster than green or brown lentils, but the latter are slightly cheaper. 

  • 1 lb. (2 cups) red lentils 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt 
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric 
  • 1 (15 oz.) can light coconut milk 
  • 1½ cups water 

  1. Place the lentils in a medium pot and gently rinse 2-3 times or until the water runs clear. Drain as much water out after the last rinse as possible.
  2. Mince the garlic and add it to the pot along with the salt, turmeric, coconut milk, and 1.5 cups of water. Give it a gentle stir to make sure everything is mixed.
  3. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat (use a lid to make this faster). Once it is boiling, remove the lid and let it boil gently for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. When most of the liquid is absorbed, turn off the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes to continue to absorb. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
John Mark's simple recipe
It's really the same just not measured exactly. True cooks, my wife included, don't measure teaspoons, tablespoons, etc. They know it when they see it. If you want to expand your cooking knowledge, measure out a teaspoon or tablespoon then pour it in your hand. Get to know the feel of it and what the approximate size is in your hand. 

As for this recipe, I do like to add thai red curry paste. Depending on your taste, one jar might last two or three various recipes. It's an additional cost for this recipe, but turmeric might be an additional cost for your spice draw as well, if you don't use it in any other recipes. Turmeric is a great spice that adds flare to many recipes and is a great antioxidant. The bottom line is that lentils provide excellent nutrition. Plus, you can tailor them according to you tastes AND satisfy your palate. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

What to eat?

In light of my sermon this past weekend on fitness, nutrition, & self-control, here is one of Karen's fabulous (& easy) recipes - kale salad. Before you dismiss it, let me reassure you it has mouth watering flavor and satisfies the salt craving you want in a meal.

Kale Salad:
2 bunches of fresh kale (or 1 bag of pre-washed/cut kale)
1 avocado (sometimes i use more avocado, especially if it's for people who have never tried kale before!!)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1TBS black or cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 diced red onion (optional)
8oz cashews ground in food processor
sea salt to taste
tomatos (optional)
diced green peppers (optional)

trim or pull kale from stalks & wash thoroughly. if using bagged kale, simply rinse & spin
if you are using fresh kale, check closely when rinsing as there are often little worms hanging out
spin kale in salad spinner or let dry thoroughly
in small bowl whisk lemon juice, olive oil, & pepper
place kale in large bowl
add onion & lemon/olive oil mixture to kale
scoop avocado into bowl
add a few dashes of sea salt
add ground cashews
use your hands to mash/massage everything together (it gets a bit messy)
the kale should shrink substantially with the dressing
sometimes i'll add more cashews on top or diced tomatoes on top

For the John Mark simple version:
1 bag of kale
1 avocado
1/4 cup lemon juice
just enough olive oil
a spoonful of pepper
sea salt to taste