Category Archives: Health Issues

Savory Cream of Mushroom Soup

After a fabulous buffet one night at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando (where Alan’s conference was held), Alan and I both agreed that our very favorite dish had been the creamy mushroom soup. “Shocking!” I thought to myself. How could something so simple be so delectable?  Well, after talking to the waiter, doing a little online research, and experimenting a bit, I’ve come up with a recipe that Alan and I think is at least a worthy competitor. Here it is:

Savory Cream of Mushroom Soup
(serves 2-4)

2 T. (Tablespoon) butter (Melt in an iron skillet.)
1 chopped onion (Choose your size depending on your love of onions.)
1 T. fresh garlic (or dried; saute with onions until starting to caramelize.)12 oz. sliced mushrooms (any type you prefer; saute until starting to brown.)
3 cups water
1 T. chicken bouillon powder
1 T. rosemary (fresh or crushed)
1/4 teaspoon basil
Pepper to taste
1 bay leaf  (Add all ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.)3 T. flour (easiest if whisked together with cream first; I failed!)
1 cup light cream (Heat entire mixture until it’s simmering but not boiling.)                             Serve immediately, while it’s still piping hot.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.” (Proverbs 15:17, NKJV)

God’s Compass: Have You Found True North?

God’s Compass, a 2016 release from Liberty University’s Cinematic Arts program, is truly outstanding. To my mind, it’s one of the best yet in the Christian film industry, particularly in the areas of acting, pacing, and script. Had I been an actress, it’s a movie I would have been honored to have been in! In fact, it even got a 7.2 rating from IMBd.  The story follows the life of a retiring high school principal, Suzanne Waters, who goes immediately from celebrating her retirement to coping with a series of crises surrounding the birth of her first grandchild, trying to help a juvenile delinquent (and her overly busy surgeon son), solving a mystery, and processing the recent death of her beloved husband.  There is definitely some suspense, and there’s a humorous plot twist,
but there’s also a great lesson to be learned.  By faith, Suzanne perseveres in in making godly, gracious decisions (which appear absurd by human reasoning), and there’s a warm and wonderful happily-ever-after ending
that made me sigh contentedly and lifted my spirit. God’s Compass: Finding Your True North,
affirms the rightness of following God through dark and difficult circumstances and sacrificing for the sake of others, only to find that joy awaits
those who are willing to put the needs of others ahead of their own. And, isn’t that the Truth? It’s certainly been true in my life. Besides all that, there’s no sex, no violence, and no profanity!   🙂I just loved it, and I’m already looking forward to their next release, Extraordinary. Way to go, Stephan Schultze and the Christian film industry!!!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Lenten Special: Ahi Tuna with Super Simple Aioli Sauce

I first experienced how delicious Ahi tuna is while visiting my son Michael’s family in Hawaii. Hawaiians make what must be the world’s best Ahi tuna sandwiches, bursting with flavor and smothered with grilled onions, lettuce, and an amazing sauce, which they called “aioli.” I was determined to learn how to imitate this succulent dish after we returned to the mainland.However, I was disappointed to discover how expensive Ahi tuna can be here in the middle of America far from ocean shores. At  our downtown “World Market,” it costs $20 per pound. 😦  To my delight, I’ve now found a source for fresh-caught Ahi from Vietnam at my favorite store: Meijer, and I can get it on sale for $6 a pound, which isn’t bad if you consider that 4 oz. can make a reasonable serving.  I guess technically aioli sauce is defined by garlic and mayonnaise, but at our house we’ve improvised with a recipe that my son Stephen developed.  First, just a word on cooking the fish. Ahi tuna is a very meaty fish and tastes great seared on your grill just like a beef steak. In the winter, try searing it in a hot pan for 2-3 minutes on each side with some sauteed garlic, salt, and pepper. If you overcook it, the steak becomes tough, so stop while it’s pink inside.If you really want to “go healthy,” Ahi can be served over a salad, although I prefer topping it with aioli sauce to bring out the flavor and add moisture.

Simple but Scrumptious Aioli Sauce (serves 2-4)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
(In honor of my research, you might want to add some garlic powder or fresh minced garlic. Experiment. I prefer grilling garlic cloves with the fish.)
      Stir everything together until it’s smooth. It takes just a minute to make!Use it to top your tuna, add a few fresh fruits and veggie sides, and you’ve got a Friday night Lenten Special dinner that’s very healthy and full of flavor. (Or, of course, you can always go out for a fish fry!  🙂 )

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me,
and I will make you to become fishers of men
” (Mark 1:17).

What Scares Toddlers?

We used to live in Ann Arbor when our four oldest were grade schoolers, and in those days, there was nothing more scary than our basement…at least, for the boys. Kathy, at age three, was the only one brave enough to go downstairs and bring me some milk from our second fridge, which used to make me laugh. What’s so scary about a basement? Well, there might be monsters, you know! I used to be terribly afraid to sleep alone at night for fear of monsters reaching up from under my bed and grabbing me. Were you afraid of “monsters in the dark”? Although I’m no longer afraid of monsters under my bed, it’s become  obvious to me that fears are age and perception related. For instance, loud sounds almost universally startle infants and make them cry, because infants have no clue what the loud noise means. One of the surprises for me as a young mom was the realization that all my toddlers were uniformly afraid of something that was totally harmless. Can you think of what it is? You’re driving along with your family, looking out the window enjoying sunshine and scenery, when all of a sudden you go into this dark tunnel and start creeping forward instead of flying along. Suddenly, you hear rain pounding on the roof and your entire car is engulfed in a flood.                                            Strange colors blot out your view, and then a great, hairy monster starts beating on the front windshield, trying to get in. For sure it’s going to break through and gobble everybody up! You and your mom and everybody bigger than you who might help take care of you are helpless against such a giant creature. Without a doubt you’re all about to be mercilessly eaten by a terrible monster!! Okay, so maybe not, but I’m pretty sure that’s what was going through my toddlers’ brains, because without exception, somewhere between age one and two each child would go through a time of terrible wailing in a car wash. Adults have different fears: finding true love, and once found, there’s always the fear of losing that loved one. Becoming and staying solvent. Surviving the chronic sleep deprivation and testing of character endemic in child rearing. As we grow older, health issues arise, and the fear of losing loved ones, or losing ourselves! Throughout life, there are constant anxieties and fears, and like toddlers, we’re often forced to go through frightening experiences against our choosing or will.                 However, it helps a lot to know that others have gone before us,                                 and that others are coming behind us. Like a car wash, we need the scares and the purging to combat rust…for maintenance and cleansing, so let’s not fear our trips through the car wash. Let’s remember that after God has cleaned us up, He’ll bring us through and let us go again…either here in this life, or up to heaven above!   Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13)

Saturday Recipe for Lent: How to Satisfy Your Hunger Cravings

mushrooms-onions-and-peppersUsually on Saturday I’ve been sharing recipes for food, but today I thought I’d rather share a recipe for satisfying hunger generally, which came to me from reflecting on a recent message referred to as “A Theology of Food.” sauteeing-veggiesThat sounded like a crazy title to me, but by the end of the message, I understood what our pastor meant. “Pastor Jim” is working his way through the book of Romans, and we’re on Romans 14 now, where the Apostle Paul discusses eating. basket-of-fruitIt had never occurred to me that man’s first prohibition concerned food, and that both Adam’s and Christ’s first temptations had to do with food. cauliflower-fresh-headAlthough Jesus taught in Matthew 15 that it’s not what goes into our mouth but out of our mouth that can defile us, still, eating food can be sinful if it’s done to please ourselves without respect to what God wants for us. chopping-up-cauliflowerGod intended food to be a blessing and to enable us to enjoy fellowship with one another and with Him, but we can make food into an idol when we allow eating to become an end in itself and use it for personal pleasure rather than for health and fellowship. spinach-salad-with-strawberries-and-pecansI am not making the ascetic suggestion that we shouldn’t enjoy food, or that we should only eat as little as necessary to survive, or that we should never enjoy the abundant array of foods that are available to us, but (as our pastor reminded us), overeating as a form of therapy or as a fattening reward we don’t need is just plain wrong. All too often (and I’m totally guilty of this), we eat because we’re bored or lonely or tired, or feel overworked or underappreciated, or because our friends are eating…the list goes on. steamed-cauliflowerWe train our brain to get an immediately gratifying buzz from the pleasurable sensations of hot chocolate or popcorn (or whatever), and we feel a little perk from the sugar or fat, with the net effect of feeling better in the moment but fatter in the morning…which is no different from any other addictive process! frying-steak-and-veggiesWhat we really need to do is train our brain to acknowledge need when we sense it, but to take that need straight to God, asking him to fill it with Himself or show us what He wants us to do to fill it. apple-pearInvite Him into the conversation: Why do I feel this way? What is it that I really need? What should I do? apple-pear-slicedI think if we all employed that strategy, and really listened for the still, small voice within our heart (God’s Holy Spirit), we’d quickly learn to let God fill us with just what we need…and probably most of the time (unless it’s actually meal time), it would not be more food!

steak-dinner-with-vegetables-and-fruits-2I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10).

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

 

Spaghetti from Squash? It’s Not Bad…and Really—It Tastes Just Fine!

bowl-of-spaghetti-squashDid you know that one cup of cooked spaghetti has 220 calories? How would you like to have a cup of spaghetti with only 42 calories instead? Ever try spaghetti squash as a replacement for the traditional types of pasta? Most pastas are made from semolina (which is wheat product—”wheat middlings of durum wheat”) or farina (made from milled wheat). spaghetti-squash I’ve served spaghetti squash for a long time but never really gotten up my courage to try it as a replacement for pasta until recently. Spaghetti made from squash has less protein than those made from wheat, but if weight loss (or control) is more in your view than adequate protein, then consider at least giving this tasty alternative a try! spaghetti-squash-prepared-to-roastTo cook the squash, split it in half, take out the inner seeds and pulp, and roast it (covered) in the oven for a couple of hours with one inch of water in the bottom to keep it  moist.  (Some people cook it cut-side down for more moisture.)strands-of-baked-spaghetti-squashLet it rest in the oven (still covered) with the heat turned off until time to serve. preparing-spaghetti-squash-after-bakingMake your favorite spaghetti sauce and whatever sides you want, and just before you serve everything up, carefully scoop out the strands of spaghetti into a bowl, top with a little butter and Parmesan cheese, and serve with salt and pepper shakers available. spaghetti-squash-dinnerAlan loves spaghetti, so I was afraid he’d hate it, but he said it tasted fine. Actually, covered with enough sauce, I almost preferred it, because I don’t normally like the noodles without lots of sauce, and this way, every bite seemed rich, savory, and “healthy.” If you try it, let me know what you think!

Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.  Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.  So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.  And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.” (Daniel 12:12-16)

P.S.—Someone asked if I am vegetarian or vegan. I am not, but I eat too much protein and too few vegetables, so I’ve been experimenting with ways to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. Being overweight is a personal problem and is becoming one of the biggest health problems in our world, both in developed and developing countries at this point. Many of us would profit from eating less and sharing more with those who are undernourished. purple-clover-on-losing-weight

Chocolate-on-the-Face Mousse…Guaranteed to Please

chocolate-on-the-faceWhen our kids were little, we had a secret password. Whenever someone knocked on our bedroom door, Alan would call out, “What’s the password?” If the child answered, “Chocolate on the face,” Alan would tell them they could come in, on the theory that any kid with chocolate on his (or her) face probably belonged to us.enjoying-chocolate-mousse                     Now we’re on to our next generation of chocolate lovers! baby-eating-chocolate-mousseI know I should be passing along healthy recipes for  things that are super nutritious, but given that last Tuesday was Valentine’s Day and today is Alan and my 44th anniversary, I thought it might not be too off side to share my favorite recipe for chocolate mousse, which is actually fairly healthy as far as desserts go, not to mention so elegant that people think it’s difficult to make (although it’s not, at least not the way I do it), and so delicious that kids will definitely end up with chocolate on their faces!

creamy-chocolate-mousseChocolate-on-the-Face Mousse

Boil 1/4 cup white sugar in 1/2 cup water until sugar has dissolved into syrup

Add 18 oz. chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but dark works well too),
1 stick of butter
, and a pinch of salt. Heat and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Beat 4 eggs (yes, I use the whites and the yolks) with an electric mixer until frothy, then add  1 cup heavy whipping cream and whip until soft peaks form.

Slowly add the hot chocolate syrup in a small stream to the whipped mixture, continuing to whip everything together until it’s of one gloriously frothy, consistent texture. Immediately spoon into individual serving dishes and chill thoroughly. You can garnish with more whipping cream and shaved chocolate or fruit, but it’s pretty yummy just by itself! Also, this can be divided into 6-8 servings, depending on how much room you think people will have for dessert.

Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
(Psalm 145:16, speaking of God)