Category Archives: church

Snow is coming

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Sunday – From church – A vibrant spiritual life is full of faith filled anticipation and expectations. God is a God of forgiveness, no one is perfect; we all have our mountain highs and valley lows, that’s why God sent Jesus to come alongside us. Don’t run ahead of God – thinking you know what He wants, but also don’t be afraid to follow Him. Live your life, be awake, pay attention to God’s call, be patient and wait with wisdom on Him, not running ahead or falling behind – but walking where He leads. He comes with the things He wishes we would give to others – love and forgiveness, but even if people can’t give you those things – God can.
Psalm 130
1-2 Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.
3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.
5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
7-8 O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption…
Dinners this week – Olive Garden, grillin’ stuff, beef stew with zucchini tomato bread, black bean and sweet potato burritos with salad, sausage and fried cabbage with beet salad, lemon garlic tilapia with cream corn and brussel sprouts, grilled cheese and tomato soup
Zucchini bread with sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
4 small/medium zucchini
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (I am going to use less than that)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
Rind of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
Soak the sun dried tomatoes overnight in a bowl of water. Rinse. Grate the zucchini and mix with 1/2 tablespoon salt in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes, and then put in a cheese cloth and press to drain all the water. You should end up with about 1 cup of very well pressed and compacted grated zucchini. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.
Mix the butter, sugar, rosemary, lemon rind, eggs and water in another bowl. Add the zucchini and the chopped and rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes (you can chop up the tomatoes into even smaller pieces before doing this). Mix well. Incorporate the dried ingredients and mix well until it becomes a uniform dough.
Transfer the dough to a non stick 9×5-inch baking pan. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, and then start checking every five minutes until it’s ready. You’ll know it’s ready when you pinch it with a knife and it comes out clean. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edges and unmold.

Labor day was hot. There was a lot of smoke from a fire up in Ft. Collins, still, James, Jack and I went to the pond for a dip. We grilled hamburgers and steak, I made watermelon agua fresca, we watched some Perry Mason, took a drive and had a holiday drink at Phil’s.

Tuesday it rained, then started to snow, then stopped for a bit. Jack and I went for a walk, we haven’t picked plums yet and now we may not get to. If it snows too much they will just drop on the ground and I’m not sure how the ones left hanging will taste, so I may have missed my plum butter opportunity. James and Joel went to the range while the girls and I did some school and made zucchini tomato bread. After dinner we watched another Perry Mason while the snow fell.

Wednesday I went to NIA and Jack was not happy about the amount of snow we got. He did meet a little wren friend though (don’t worry it flew off after a few of Jack’s sniffs.)

We had a cosplay tea in the afternoon.

Thursday urban walk with Jack.

Weekend

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I found a HUGE tomato horn-worm, Grace took it in and is hoping to get it to grow into a moth.

James, Grace and I went to Breakfast Queen to try it out – it was GOOD! I need to go back because I saw they serve Monte Cristo sandwiches!

Grace made some art.

The hummingbirds flitted around.

James spent the afternoon wiping 3 computers, moving 3 desks and 3 chairs upstairs to get rid of.

Sunday I went to church and then we went to Stanley to hear LAPOMPE.

From church -A little help for my friends
Shame, how does the gospel address shame?
Godly sorrow based on truth is guilt that leads to change. Shame is based on lies that lead to hurt, isolation, self-loathing, destruction, feeling like you are unlovable or not important. Shame diminishes us and makes us feel like a failure. Shame speaks to our identity, how we see ourselves and how we think others see us. Only the gospel can remove shame and restore our true identity – children of God, created in His image, part of His plan to redeem us and restore us. Shame is not part of God’s creation, it is a barrier. What are you using to cover your shame? Will it ever be enough? The more you cover shame, the more you pile on, the more isolated you become and the farther you get from a loving God because you feel unworthy. Jesus invites us as sons and daughters to come into His presence, remove shame and cover ourselves with peace. What can separate us from the love of God – nothing.
Genesis 2:25 The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.
Luke 8: 43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”…..46 Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed. 48 Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
I was wearing my Popsicle earrings and Popsicle socks.
Grace made a mermaid costumed angler fish.
Dinners this week (starting today) – Shrimp and grits with cornbread and salad, chicken parmesan skillet with fruit salad, turkey veggie meatloaf cups with mashed potatoes and tex-mex salad, mojito lime pork tacos with jicama salad, corn chowder with pretzel rolls and salad, chicken apple walnut salad with veggie soup, out. Notice – a lot of frickin’ salad.
Corn Chowder Recipe
1 tablespoon butter
1 strip bacon, or 1 teaspoon bacon fat
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup small diced carrot
4-5 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved (see steps for taking corn off the cob)
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large (1-inch) diced (about 3 cups)
3 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Cook the bacon: Place butter and bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon renders its fat, 3-4 minutes.
Cook the vegetables (except the corn and potatoes): Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, carrot, lower the heat to medium low and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Add corn cobs and bring to a simmer: Break the corn cobs in half (after you’ve stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.
Add potatoes: After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, salt, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Finish the soup: Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and black pepper. Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Weekend

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Saturday – date drive (I could do these every weekend!)

We had coffee at our normal Saturday spot, then headed to Buena Vista to have lunch at River Runner’s grill.

A shady table with an Arkansas river view, some good drinks, music and food.

Then, we took the scenic route home which included a stop in Canon city to see the soon to be restored St. Cloud Hotel.

Then we headed toward Pueblo for a Bingo Burger stop. We had shakes and Brussel sprouts, Jack had a baby Bingo burger.

We finally made it home at 8pm, just in time for some Diners, Drive ins and Dives.

Sunday, From church – A little help for my friends – Anxiety and worry

People, humans, have this desire to be in control, but we live in a world full of uncertainty. This is not the only time in history that we have been on information overload and living in uncertain times – but now more than ever people are anxious and worried, people might feel like their particular worry is something no one else has to deal with. Our culture emphasizes self sufficiency, human nature itself leans to pride, but we were never meant to carry the huge weight of worry and be anxious about everything.

What is the first thing you do if you are worried, if it’s to post it to social media or try to muddle through it alone – there is a better way. Jesus promises to bear our anxieties and worries. He alone is all sufficient. We are told to cast our cares on Him, but just like casting a line for fishing – looking to Jesus and aiming for Him to cast our cares takes practice. Learning to lean on Jesus first means unlearning old ways of dealing with worry and practicing new ways. You aren’t the only one facing uncertainty, feeling anxious and worrying; everyone faces giants, suffering is universal, you are not alone. What we face here is temporary, though it may not seem like it at times, but in the end God will restore what is broken.

Realize that you are not alone, lean first on the Word of God, the promises of Jesus and then come together with others to support each other. Lean on Jesus, cast your cares on Him, pray with and for others, don’t let the information overload of the world drown out the Gospel message.

“Satan loves to fish in the troubled waters of a discontented heart.” – Thomas Watson

“He who is swollen with self-excellency and self-sufficiency—is not fit for Christ. He is full already. If the hand is full of pebbles—it cannot receive gold. The glass is first emptied, before you pour in wine. God first empties a man of himself, before he pours in the precious wine of his grace. None but the poor in spirit are within Christ’s commission. ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted’ (Isaiah 61:1), that is, such as are broken in the sense of their unworthiness”. – Thomas Watson

{I Peter 5:5….God has had it with the proud, But takes delight in just plain people. 6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.}

{Philippians 4: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.}

{Psalm 34:4 God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.}

Dinners this week (starting today) – chili and cornbread, stuffed green peppers with salad, tacos with ba’corn, brown gravy hamburger patties with fried potatoes and leeks , bringhe with naan, chicken, sausage and shrimp jambalaya with brown rice, out/grill.

Bringhe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 medium chicken leg quarters, meat removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
½ pound tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
½ pound cubed fully cooked ham
2 bay leaves
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup uncooked glutinous white rice

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the onion and garlic in the hot oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with the curry powder and stir to evenly coat. Add the chicken and stir. Cover the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Stir the prawns into the mixture and cook another 2 minutes. Add the ham and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Again cover the skillet and cook another 2 minutes. Pour the coconut milk into the skillet. Add the rice and stir. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Sunday

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I went to church and it was a pleasant 75 degrees with a slight breeze outside. I know that eventually we will have to move back indoors, but as long as the weather is nice – why not go outside? I had the walker with me just to get up from the bench, I don’t need it to walk.

From church – A little help for my friends

Loneliness – don’t find solutions to problems outside the gospel, those can cause more harm than good.

We had an epidemic of loneliness before the pandemic, it’s a human problem. God looked at everything He made each day and it was always good, until He looked at Adam and saw his loneliness. When He made Eve He now said that everything was ‘Very good,’ When He made us, He wired us to be connected; are there times when we need to be alone and disconnected? Yes, but there is a difference between being alone and being lonely.

What does the Bible say about loneliness? That God is trustworthy in this – He will never take His hand from you, never abandon you, He is with you in every circumstance. People can do nothing to separate you from the love of God and in that love is the unbreakable connection to Him. Through this experience of the presence of God in us we can provide His presence to others. The despair of loneliness can isolate us just when we need others the most. Part of loving others is to be there for them so that they aren’t lonely, in doing this we show them the love of God and show them that He will never forsake them, never leave them lonely.

Genesis 2:18
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Hebrews 13: 1-4 Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you…5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

Psalm 143:7-10
Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope… If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you. Save me from my enemies, God— you’re my only hope! Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

We sat around the house reading, I went by the library to get some books and I went grocery shopping with the girls. I made spinach enchiladas for dinner, they were so good.

The girls watched Jack so James and I could go out, we were going to Green Russell, but they are closed on Sundays now. So, Phil’s is was.

Dinners starting tomorrow –  blackened catfish with mac and cheese and salad, grilled chicken pitas with brown rice, hummus, onions, tomatoes, feta cheese and cucumber salad, keema aloo with naan, ham steak with baby brussel sprouts and pasta salad, brats with sauerkraut and roasted squash, out

Keema Aloo

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 sweet onion
2 tablespoons Water
2 pounds Beef, ground, lean, raw
4 cloves Garlic, raw
2 tablespoons Ginger root, raw
1 Pepper, serrano, raw
2 teaspoons Cilantro, raw
1 tablespoon Coriander Seed
1 ½ teaspoons Salt, table
1 ½ teaspoons cumin, ground
1 teaspoon Spices, pepper, red or cayenne
1 teaspoon Spices, turmeric, ground
1 (28 ounce) can Ready Cut Tomatoes in Juice
3 each potatoes, raw
1 cup Peas, green, frozen, unprepared
1 teaspoon garam masala

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion in the hot oil until soft and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. If browned bits of onion are stuck to the bottom of the pan, stir water into onion and stir to loosen the browned bits.

Mix ground beef, garlic, ginger, serrano chile, and cilantro into pan; cook and stir until beef is browned and crumbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir coriander, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, and turmeric into the beef; cook and stir until flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and potatoes, cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Mix green peas into dish and cook until sauce has slightly thickened and flavors have blended, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala over the dish, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Weekend

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Since we didn’t go to GJ we wouldn’t be headed home today and that means we wouldn’t get to eat in Frisco. But, I was determined – so we went to Frisco for lunch at Pure Kitchen and it was so good.

Later we sat on the porch and the dogs kept watch for bunnies.

From church – Reboot – the need to love and be loving.

The sustained pressures of trauma, stress and grieving make us withdraw into ourselves to conserve our energy and compassion; this can create a layer of hardness. Compassion fatigue happens when there is so much stress and you have given so much to others that there is nothing left. But, when we pull back from others we are hurting not only them, but ourselves too.

What can we do to keep from becoming hardened? Don’t compare yourself to others, fill up with Jesus and then pour Him out. A Christ centered person will look to build others up, they will remember what Christ has done for them and do the same for others. We need to restore/reset what is broken by sin, but remember to do it gently, with love. Either we need to be lending a hand or we need others to help us. We need to stow pride and ask for help when we need it and show compassion when others need it. Our world needs more compassion and love, not more discord and contempt.

Galatians 5:22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. 25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

6: 1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

We had to run by the auto parts store to get a new light for the van’s headlight, Jack loves the floor in there.

And Englewood Grand to finish out the weekend.

Tips – try to use a crock pot or instant pot for days when it’s really hot outside and you don’t want to heat up the house with the oven (or grill outside.) You can always make twice as much and put a dinner in the freezer for later.

Dinners this week (starting today) – grilling stuff, chicken piccata with risotto and asparagus, lima beans over brown rice with sausage, chicken quesadillas with spanish rice, dijon pork, apples and cabbage with spinach salad, beef vindaloo with mashed potatoes and carrot slaw, out/leftovers.
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Beef vindaloo

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup garlic paste
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground red pepper
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 onion, chopped
4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Whisk the vinegar, garlic paste, ginger paste, yogurt, salt, black pepper, and red pepper together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the beef cubes until evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 30 minutes). Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions in the hot oil until they soften, turn translucent, and begin turning golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the beef cubes, and cook, stirring frequently until the meat is no longer pink on the outside, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the water, and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until the beef is tender, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro to serve.
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Dijon Pork with Apples and Cabbage (sorry the amounts are weird, it’s for 4 people)

3/8 head green or red cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1-1/4 large apples – cored and sliced into thin wedges
3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1-1/4 (16 ounce) pork tenderloins
2 teaspoons coarse-grain Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

(Follow directions below or throw everything in the crockpot on low for 5-6 hours.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place 1 rack in center position and another 4 inches from broiler. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray. Toss together cabbage and apples with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on prepared sheet pan and arrange in an even layer. Pat pork dry and season with remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons oil with mustard, vinegar, honey, and thyme in a small bowl. Spread over all sides of pork and set pork on top of cabbage and apples. Roast on center rack until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of thickest part of each tenderloin registers 130 degrees F, about 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and turn oven to broil. When broiler is hot, put pan on top rack and broil until pork has a golden-brown crust, thermometer registers 145 degrees F, and cabbage and apples have a light char, about 5 minutes. Cover pan loosely with foil and let pork rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve pork warm with cabbage and apples, sprinkled with parsley (if using).

July Fourth weekend

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Image may contain: stripes and sky, text that says 'Happy 4th of July!'

We started our day by going to the Paris street market, they had the booths spread out so it looked like there were more tents. Lots of cool junk to look at.

Then we dropped by Connections church to play a round of putt-putt. (We had Malia with us.) Jack went nuts when he saw the golf balls and twice he got close enough to grab at the ball and move it and once he had my golf ball in his mouth and I had to pry it out. We ended up with a 4 way tie (21) and James had 28.

James grilled a late lunch, we ate, I read, Grace chalked.

Then we put in an appearance at the neighborhood block party, I went and met my neighbor 2 doors down and then said I needed to leave because I’m having surgery and there were too many people there. The HR fireworks were canceled since we had 2 fires in the past week, but that didn’t stop the block party from popping off fireworks until 11pm. I told people to just look at pics of past fireworks – but it seems no one did.

Image may contain: fireworks and night

Image may contain: fireworks and night

Image may contain: fireworks, night and outdoor

Image may contain: fireworks and night

Sunday I had a surprise at church, they made some permanent shade instead of having to put up and take down the tents each week. I think it’s a good improvement and gives some much needed shade for the back area.

From church – Reboot: trust

Where do we place our trust in difficult times is the wrong question – Who do we place our trust in and who are we relying on to get through difficult times?

Our natural tendency is to trust in what we can see. God will never ask you to pretend like everything is okay when it’s not. When things are not okay we need to be reminded of who we put our trust in and we need to exercise the spiritual habit of trusting God. Control what you can and let God handle the rest. Remember that things are stronger when they are broken – growth often happens under pressure.

Fear can make us less loving, it steals the ability to make good choices. Fear and anxiety spread from person to person faster than any virus, the antidote to fear is trust.
Are you weary and burdened? We see problems as an absence of God, but God is drawn to weary, broken, burdened people. Remember that a yoke seems heavy, but it doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Jesus is paired with you and with Him the yoke is easy, the load is shared.

Psalm 20 1-4 God answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach, Send reinforcements from Holy Hill, Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies, Exclaim over your offerings, Celebrate your sacrifices, Give you what your heart desires, Accomplish your plans. 5 When you win, we plan to raise the roof and lead the parade with our banners. May all your wishes come true! 6 That clinches it—help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out. 7-8 See those people polishing their chariots, and those others grooming their horses? But we’re making garlands for God our God. The chariots will rust, those horses pull up lame—and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I went grocery shopping after church and had just enough time to sit for a bit before we headed out to the pet store and Stanley. Marley is staying with us for a week, he’s a good dog.

Jack is not used to sharing his bed though.

We had a nice shady spot to eat lunch and listen to David play with his other band (David Lawrence and the Spoonful.)

Then it was back home so James and Joel could go to the gun range. I read and gathered up my stuff I’m giving away at the park (school stuff, games, books, toys) and listened to my Nina Simone station. We had leftovers for dinner, sat on the porch for a bit and watched an episode of Godless.

Tips – make a grocery list (I love lists!) I make mine according to the layout of my King Soopers – Heaven help them if they ever remodel again. Clean out your fridge/pantry BEFORE you shop for the week (throw out leftovers, move things around, get rid of trash) this way when you get home you can quickly put away groceries. SHOP WITHOUT CHILDREN (if you can, call it Mommy time and have your husband watch the kids, it’s cheaper that way.)

Dinners this week – leftovers, tacos and elote corn, butternut squash lentil curry with brown rice, fettuccine alfredo with ham and peas on the side, BBQ pork sliders with coleslaw, pizza, out/grill

Butternut squash lentil curry

2 cups brown lentils
8 cups water
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tomatoes cored and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons curry powder, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups peeled, cubed (1-inch), seeded butternut squash
2 each potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cups packed fresh spinach, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and diced

(follow below for stove directions, otherwise soak lentils overnight and throw everything into a crockpot for 4-6 hours on low.)

Place the brown lentils in a pan with the water and turmeric. Cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until tender and transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Mix in the curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cloves. Add the cooked lentils, reserved cooking liquid, squash, potatoes, and carrots. Cover, and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Stir in the spinach and apple. Cook until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes more. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over rice.

Weekend

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I decided that today (Saturday) was a good day to go to Urgent care. I think my kidney is infected again (I was right) and I’d like some pain relief so my heart can have a break. The nurse was about to give up on her first try for an IV, but I told her to fish around and shove that needle deeper and it worked. One try for an IV, gold star for her!

I refused a scan (because I just had one on the 15th) and got my pain meds and an antibiotic. 2.5 hours later I was having brunch with James at The Lazy Dog. Jack loves the hamburgers there, but he never eats the rice and veggies (unless you hand feed him, but even then he gets to a point where he won’t eat them and just spits them out.)

James grilled for dinner, I had a nap and we sat on the porch for a bit.

Sunday I went to church, then we went to Stanley to hear LAPOMPE live! It was awesome, see them here and here and here. (I have short FB live recordings because my phone was dying.)

From church – Rebooting relationships

Social distancing has reminded us that we need other people in our lives and we need good, healthy relationships. Even introverts need people, they may have a smaller circle, but it’s still there. Why did God design us to need people? Because in our relationships we can glorify God, uplift others and shine as a light for the lost.
Heart of the Gospel – your relationship with Jesus has changed your relationship with God. We can’t have healthy relationships with others if we don’t have a good relationship with our Creator.
Healthy – urge each other to do good, urge each other to love others, encourage each other.
We need people who will draw us closer to God (not push us away), help us to hold on to the hope we profess (not speak discouraging words) and encourage us in everything we do (not hold us back and keep us from running forward.)
When life wears you down, you need people who will pick you up, not hold you back.

Hebrew 10:19-21 So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. 22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

I took a nap (that is becoming a daily occurence) and we went to River run to check on the water level – perfect for tubing.

Dinners starting tomorrow – chicken apple berry spinach couscous bowl, chicken creole over brown rice, pecan coconut tilapia with roasted squash, eat out, three cheese and ham/spinach quiche, turkey veggie meatloaf cups with salad, cook out.

Turkey veggie meatloaf cups

2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 pound extra lean ground turkey
½ cup uncooked couscous
1 egg
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup barbecue sauce, or as needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 20 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Place zucchini, onions, and red bell pepper into a food processor, and pulse several times until finely chopped but not liquefied. Place the vegetables into a bowl, and mix in ground turkey, couscous, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard until thoroughly combined. Fill each prepared muffin cup about 3/4 full. Top each cup with about 1 teaspoon of barbecue sauce.

Bake in the preheated oven until juices run clear, about 25 minutes. Internal temperature of a muffin measured by an instant-read meat thermometer should be at least 160 F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Weekend

Standard

James drove out to GJ Friday and came back Saturday (he was dropping Bethany’s stuff off at her house she’ll be in this semester.) I used my Saturday morning to binge watch Twilight Zone episodes, then I dropped Jack at the groomers. He spent 3 hours there getting a shave, bath, teeth and ear cleaning, nail trim and face trim. He looks like a baby and his legs look weird because usually you can’t see them, but now you can. We had dinner and watched some TV before bed.

Before –

After –

Benefit of outdoor church –

From church: What our culture needs is not superficial people, it’s deep people, people who think and act like Jesus.

What does it mean to think/have the attitude/mindset of Jesus? The Gospel is more than what saves you – it’s what shapes you. Does Jesus change the way you conduct yourself? What we do should flow out of who we are: be united and humble – which is simple to understand, but not as simple to put into practice. Satan uses our behavior to turn people away from the Gospel, it’s his easiest go to tool – let people use their words and actions to divide, sow discord, drive wedges instead of creating unity. Social media is the biggest tool of discord, it creates isolation and disconnect, division and anti-social behavior. It’s easy to attack and spew divisive things under the cover of a faceless relationship. What does it mean to have the mindset of God? Look to Jesus, give away your power and privilege, don’t look for ways to gain the upper hand, make yourself a servant with a servant’s heart, be a person who unites, strive to be a continually better version of yourself aiming to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. What do we want the world to see from Christians? A group of people that aren’t organized by politics, race, economic standing, looks, religion – the only thing we have in common is the cross of Christ and the yearning to be more like Jesus to serve a broken and hurting world.

Philippians 1:27 Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against….

1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Baby Biscuit –

Happy Father’s Day! I don’t have any living dads anymore, so it was all about James today. He and Bethany went for coffee, he grilled: pork chops, chicken, sausage and watermelon for lunch. We went on a ‘find the outdoor chairs’ scavenger hunt (to no avail.) He got a card and Starbucks car from all the girls and an ocean painting from Grace. He and I went to Phil’s for a drink and we had pizza for dinner and watched Gaffigan. I’d say it was a good day.

Dinners this week – Chicken and eggplant parmesan with spaghetti, beef tikka masala over rice with sweet potatoes, chicken carbonara pasta with spinach salad, shakshuka, Thai orange chili pork over lo mein noodles with broccoli, eat out,

Shakshuka

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes, or other high-quality plum tomatoes
½ cup water, or more as needed
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Step 1
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt. Cook and stir until mushrooms release all of their liquid and start to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in bell peppers and jalapeno pepper. Cook and stir until peppers begin to soften up, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, and cayenne. Stir and cook to “wake up” the flavors, about 1 minute. Pour in crushed tomatoes and water. Adjust heat to medium and simmer uncovered until veggies are softened and sweet, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Add more water if sauce becomes too thick.

Step 2
Make a depression in the sauce for each egg with a large spoon. Crack egg into a small ramekin and slide gently into each indentation; repeat with the rest of the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until eggs are to your desired doneness.

Step 3
Top with feta cheese and parsley.

 

 

 

Weekend

Standard

We saw that Frisco was closing off part of Main street so eateries could spill out into the street and we haven’t been there in a while and it was a nice day, so.

We walked around the outdoor museum and then went to get lunch.

We split up with the girls going to a pizza place and James, Jack and I going to Lost Cajun. We all had a very long meal, it was nice sitting outside in the shade. We had just enough time after eating to go to a few shops before the afternoon thunderstorm rolled in with a vengeance. The wind pushed some of the wooden barriers that then broke some cinder blocks that were sectioning off areas, toppled huge planters, and I’m surprised that a vendor tent didn’t blow away. We walked back to the car and right before we got there another gust pelted us with sand and gravel, Jack was not happy. I have to say the weatherman was spot on about the storm and timing (today.)

Sunday church was outdoors, but I got there too late to get a shady spot.

We started a new series, Reboot, and today was about reconciliation and peacemaking. The church should be leading the way in peacemaking. People can know how to live in peace and make peace even while disagreeing, but the power of Christ in us makes us empathic peacemakers. We are to pursue the lost to be reconciled, just because things are awkward or we feel inadequate doesn’t mean that we should not strive for reconciliation. The real systemic problem we have is sin, it’s at the root of every problem, every relationship that is soured – sin is there.

How do we reconcile? Widen your circle. Choose active listening, which is – zip it (listen and don’t speak), lean in (an attitude of ‘help me understand’) and pray (break my heart for what breaks Yours Jesus.) Educate yourself, choose grace and empathy, don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, speak out against what is wrong. If you are listening to someone and are more concerned about building your response and winning an argument than truly listening and building a relationship – take a step back.

Ephesians 2:14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. 16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals.

I John 3:11 For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.

Matthew 5:9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

2 Corinthians 5:14 Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.

 

A beacon of goodness

shining out for the lost,

the storm tossed,

overwhelmed and desperate souls,

looking for a safe harbor,

a hand to hold on to,

a gentle caress on a weary brow –

and they are looking now.

Searching for a peacemaker

to calm the waves.

A guide to sort out

the truth.

 

Worn out people,

emotionally drained,

rubbed raw with life,

looking for hope.

 

So, shine bright –

speak words that heal,

throw out rays of kindness,

sparks of goodness,

that shine in the darkness,

to light the way.

Be the path that leads

to the healer of hearts,

the hope for the lost,

the salve for every wound,

the peace for the brokenhearted,

the changer of men,

Jesus.

-L

We stayed inside in the afternoon, it was hot. We took naps, watched some TV, and James grilled an early dinner. Then, we went to a live Buntport theater show. Well, we were in our cars with a speaker listening to the play that was pre-recorded, but the action was live. They had some interactive events, like coming to the car to throw grasshoppers at us, sticking a poem to our window, showing us a film about giant grasshoppers destroying a city, and dance-offs. My favorite – the ‘documentary within the documentary’ zoom call. Buntport has some very creative people, who knew that a show about grasshoppers could also be a metaphor for the duality of humans, social change, making progress forward and lots of low brow silly stuff too. I think the remaining shows are sold out (or close to it), so the people have spoken – we want live theater! As with all live theater, it was hilarious in person, the videos don’t really do them justice, but you can get a glimpse of what was going on.

Dinners this week – golden coconut curry shrimp and rice, BBQ jackfruit tortillas, chicken and mushroom skillet with mashed potatoes, Cajun butter steak bites with asparagus, grilled chicken pineapple wraps with watermelon feta salad, chorizo stuffed spaghetti squash, grill or out

————————————————————————–
Chicken and mushroom skillet

2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 oz sliced brown mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1 brown shallot, chopped
1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Mix well and sear chicken all over until browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate; set aside and keep warm.

Heat remaining oil in the same pan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, while stirring, until just beginning to brown and soften, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the remaining butter to the pan. Let melt and sauté shallots and bell peppers until just soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the chicken back into the pan along with any juices released while resting. Mix through all of the ingredients to evenly coat in the pan juices. Continue cooking until all vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 1-2 more minutes.

———————————————————————-
Cajun butter steak bites

For Cajun Seasoning:
1 tablespoon mild paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder, add more if you like heat
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar KETO: use brown sugar substitute
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, add more if you like heat
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper to taste

For Steak:
23 oz (650 g) steak, cut into 2-inch cubes (Sirloin, Rump, New York Strip, Porterhouse or Ribeye)
1-2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/4 cup butter
4 cloves garlic finely chopped

Combine cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl. Add the steak bites and toss to evenly coat. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet or pan over medium-high heat until hot. Sear the steak bites in batches for 2-3 minutes each side until edges are crispy and browned, adding extra oil as needed. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add butter to the skillet and heat until melted. Sauté the chopped garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds), while scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Take the pan off the heat. Throw the steak bites back in and toss through the garlic butter to evenly coat.
Serve warm.

————————————————————————
Chorizo stuffed spaghetti squash
(You can just add chorizo and skip the spicy spices instead of making turkey chorizo)

Turkey Chorizo:
1 pound lean ground turkey
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon dried chipotle chili pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Spaghetti Squash:
2 (2 1/2 pound) spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup fire-roasted frozen corn
¼ cup canned mild diced green chilies
1 (14.5 ounce) can Hunt’s® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine turkey, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked and sweet paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for flavors to blend.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and brush cut sides with olive oil. Place squash cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven until squash is soft, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chilled chorizo mixture. Cook and stir, breaking up lumps, until cooked through and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add onion and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until onion becomes translucent, stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder, salt, and cumin.
Stir in beans, corn, diced green chilies, and tomatoes; cover and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Fluff spaghetti squash strands with a fork, keeping them in the shells. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees .

Divide meat mixture among 4 squash halves. Top each half with 1/4 cup of cheese. Return to baking sheet and bake until cheese is melted 5 to 6 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro

Weekend

Standard

Saturday was a lazy day due to storms. We had planned on going to the Paris street market, but strong winds canceled it. James was trying to mow and it took a long time because we have an electric mower, so he had to keep stopping and starting as the rain came and went.

Sunday was my first time back at church (outdoors) in 2.5 months. We had pre-packaged communion, which I don’t really like, but we had a tent and there was a breeze so that made up for it.

From church – How are we modeling Christ to a fractured world? We are first Christians, what does that mean in this generation? Live with confidence, knowing your standing before Him. To understand Him, look through the lens of Jesus and the cross – the sacrificial love of God. Sin follows a predictable path to destruction, sin separates us from what God has planned for us. God loves you so much that He won’t influence or manipulate you, you have free choice to run to Him or run away. But, as children of God, it is our duty as believers to shine as a Light, to promote the gospel of love and to work and strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a weary world.

2 Peter 3: 3-4 First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, they’ll mock, “So what’s happened to the promise of his Coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything’s going on just as it has from the first day of creation. Nothing’s changed.” 5-7 They conveniently forget that long ago all the galaxies and this very planet were brought into existence out of watery chaos by God’s word. Then God’s word brought the chaos back in a flood that destroyed the world. The current galaxies and earth are fuel for the final fire. God is poised, ready to speak his word again, ready to give the signal for the judgment and destruction of the desecrating skeptics.

8-9 Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. 10 But when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment. 11-13 Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.14-16 So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. Interpret our Master’s patient restraint for what it is: salvation.

Dancing

You turn my mourning

into dancing.

You turn my bruised ache

into a worshipful hymn.

You speak gentle words

that soothe the soul.

 

The light that conquers darkness

is the spark that guides us,

through the pain,

through the

broken,

fractured,

line in the sand.

 

You uplift the crushed and weary

recesses of my heart.

You turn the night into day,

You take my voice away.

The words I can not speak

you turn into a prayer –

in my very being

oh, my soul to sing –

for you turn my mourning

into dancing,

again.

-L

Littleton was supposed to have the Main street closed off for a ‘not a street fair’ type fair (because, of course, Covid has canceled the street fair), but when we got there it was not going on. I think they may start next week. So, we walked around, saw a few shops and got a soda at the General Store.

We watched The Asphalt Jungle, an old 50’s crime drama, it was a bit long and no one ended up with a happy ending.

Dinners this week – Cuban ropa vieja with plantains, rice and black beans, chicken parmesan with spaghetti, vegetable soup with peasant bread, chicken enchilada casserole, b-day dinner, meatballs and pesto pasta, chicken and waffles, out (or grill.)

Cuban Ropa Vieja

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef flank steak
1 cup beef broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 green and 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with tortillas or rice.