Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Life Changes’

hotbrownc

“All change comes from deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out the changes that understanding creates in your heart.” ~ Tim Keller

. . . Because Cooking can be so much more than just cooking. . . .

I adore the Louisville Hot Brown Sandwich. For a long time, I rarely ever made it. Not because the recipe was difficult, but because I believed that it must be served it on individual, stainless-steel Hot Brown plates in order to oven-broil until the sauce puffed up just a bit and turned a hint of golden brown.

Being a Louisville girl, I had to do it more right, than, say, someone not from Louisville. . . right. . . ?  But what newlywed can afford little stainless-steel Hot Brown plates? Should I have bought them one at a time. Then “Poof,” we were a family of seven and buying them just wasn’t on top of the necessary list. Since I couldn’t afford the plates, I didn’t make the dish.

It didn’t seem . . . seemly. . . to serve it any other way. Any other way wouldn’t be authentic, genteel southern. . . the right way. Besides, it smacked of wrongness to take something with a bit of white linen grandeur served with a bit of horse racing kick to it. . . and put it in an everyday ordinary casserole dish, kind of like taking a Derby winner and turning it into a plough horse.

Preconceived Notions of how things should be done are sometimes the biggest self-imposed Stop Signs preventing everyday ordinary experiences of goodness.

An it’s-just-not-done-that-way kind of mentality can sometimes make it hard for the good things to grow in life – good things like God-designed skill sets needed to build God-designed dreams, or strong, comfortable-in-their-God-designed-skin kids, life-long love, a life-changing relationship with the Father who creates and the Savior who saves.

Sometimes, I have learned, I need to let go of preconceived notions of how I think things should be – and just do them in a way that enables me to do them.

Tradition and innovation are not easy friends.

Maybe I don’t always make homemade Alfredo sauce over pasta. Maybe I buy the pre-made sauce and add garlic and parmesan, while sauteing the chicken in olive oil and Italian seasoning.

My oldest, he came home from college one day, walked through the door, saying, “We’re not like other people, Mom.”

I answered somewhat cheekily, “We’re called to be a peculiar people” (referencing 1 Peter 2:9).

I don’t think that’s what he meant. He never elaborated. Maybe that is something we could have sat long and talked much about – but, probably, it’s just that our family, my husband, me, five sons, living in a town where our extended family was hours away –  preconceived notions of what some traditions ought to be didn’t allow our ideas of life, faith, love and family to thrive, so we made adjustments to our life recipe for the outcome our hearts sought.

Maybe I don’t make homemade bread. Maybe I buy biscuits in a tin, brush them with butter mixed with pressed garlic and salt, and when they come out of the oven, brush them again.

Maybe we don’t always sit down around the kitchen table for dinner because there’s a college student, a high school student and one who works still living at home – and maybe we sit more often at the counter some evenings and have individual conversations about big and little things. Sometimes we’re all at the counter, some finishing up, some coming in, some in the middle – and the conversations intertwine in an oddly real, sweet, out-of-the box meaningful way that is soul food in itself – all because I let go of Preconceived Notions of how I once thought things should be done – and in order for an environment to be created that makes room for God with us, in us, around us, in the good and the bad, the wins and the losses, the overcoming and the misses, the hard challenges and the celebrations.

I’m not angling for a t.v. show, though I’m into “good things” and “best dishes” for my family. I’m angling to make those who sit at my kitchen counter or table content, satisfied, comforted, filled with stuff good for the body with side dishes of soul food – both love and truth, the sweet and savory, the easy and the hard, the veggies and the meat – and I want them to come back for more. . . even when their mail doesn’t come anymore to this address.

Yes, after 36 years of marriage, almost 33 years of parenting, I am still weeding out preconceived notions of how to do things – or maybe they’re inappropriate expectations of how things ought to be done – and making changes for better-hearted, God-designed living.

So I finally gave up on the most authentic way to serve a Hot Brown Sandwich – and turned it into a casserole – much to my sons’ delight! I hope it gives you an opportunity to sit long and talk much with those God gives you to sit at your table or you kitchen counter!

“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”
~ John Henry Newman

hotbrown2cMuddy’s Hot Brown Casserole
The crux of the sandwich is the sauce, which, oddly enough, is a combination of two sauces

Sauce One or Bechamel
½ cup butter or margarine
½ medium-sized sliced onion, minced
1/3 cup flour
3 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of red pepper
A couple of sprigs of parsley if you have it, but parsley isn’t a must
A dash of nutmeg

Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add onions and cook slowly until a light brown, about 15-20 minutes. Add flour and blend until the flour makes a smooth paste(you will see the browned onion minces in the paste). Add milk and other seasonings and cook 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly and briskly at first until the sauce of thick and smooth. When it is thick and smooth. Some recommend straining the sauce. I never have.

Sauce Two or Mornay
2 cups of sauce one
2 egg yolks
½ c. grated parmesan cheese (more doesn’t hurt)
1 tablespoon butter
8 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream Whipped

Combine egg yolks with a 1/2 cup of room temperature Sauce One. When combined, add to the rest of Sauce one. Heat, stirring constantly and remove from stove when starts to bubble. When hot and thick add cheese and the butter. The sauce must not boil or it will curdle.

hotbrown3cThen for every ½ C. sauce that is to be used for the sandwich, fold in 1 tablespoon of whipped cream. For this it would be 8 tablespoons whipped cream. The cream gives a lift to the browning-off under the broiler.

hotbrown4c.jpgTo assemble, cut the crusts office 2 slices of bread for each sandwich. Toast the, lining with toast either a casserole dish or a cookie pan (I use a 15X21 when we have a house full to feed)  On top of the toast, layer a slice of country ham topped with a layer of chicken. Enshroud with a goodly portion of the sauce. Place in a very hot oven or under the broiler until the sauce slightly puffed with a little bronze to the top, but not too bronze.  Top each piece of toast with a half a slice of cooked bacon and parsley.

Ingredients List:

Bread (one long loaf of white bread)
(20 slices of bread for a 15X21 cookie pan)
Bacon (a half a slice for every piece of toast)
1 lb. sliced turkey or chicken
1 lb. ham or country ham
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups hot milk
½ cup butter + 2 tablespoons (or 10 tablespoons total)
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of red pepper
A couple of sprigs of parsley
½ medium-sized sliced onion, minced

hotbrown5c.jpg

Linking with these blogs this week:
Trekking Through – http://www.trekkingthru.com/
http://www.richfaithrising.com/ Unite the Bloggosphere
http://purposefulfaith.com/ Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp
http://www.messymarriage.com/ Messy Marriage
http://holleygerth.com/ Coffee for Your Heart
Mary Geisen/ TellingHisStory
abounding Grace/Graceful Tuesday/
Creativity with Art

Inspire Me MondayLiterary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdayPurposeful FaithTell His StoryRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdayEncouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementMoments of Hope Faith and Friends Faith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

salt2c_edited-2
I’ve been filling the salt shakers
– pepper shakers, too.
Wiping off finger prints
and dusty build-up,
Crazy Gluing bunny ears,
digging into cabinets
match-making pairs
lost to each other,
finding peace that one snow-woman shaker
found in a what-not box
given when my mother moved to warmth
and wholeness
cannot be reunited with her pepper
snow man

I’ve been filling salt shakers
after the tearing
of growing where I was planted
for a season in uncomfortable
soil
because He called me to it
to be planted there
until right timing
His big and little hands of timing
pull the roots of myself loose
shake out the soil
and carrying me
to a new place where
I am to grow where He plants me.

As He pulls me,
shakes me,
moves me
to a different way to live
the daily
I’ve been left wordless
silent
awed by His faithfulness
His plan
His protection
in this journey
to this place where
filling salt shakers
is so much more than
filling salt shakers

Salt: seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange. Salt symbolizes permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification.

“a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak (Ecc 3:7)

Store after the poem coming up. Be patient with me. I’m not used to silence. When my 5th son was born, the anesthetist, after the planned C-Section, said if I was in distress to let him know and he would, “take me out.” A few minutes after my son was born, I became quieter and quieter. My husband told the anesthetist, “She must be in distress. She’s not talking.”

I think I’ve been living a situation where God was definitely in the driver’s seat. It was a harrowing time, a heart-bruising time. I held on to Him, kept focused on Him. I still don’t have a lot of words. It’s a time for mending, a time for silence – but there will be a time when the words come – and I cannot wait. Right now, I’m going to immerse myself in this time of silence, in doing things like filling salt shakers, crazy gluing broken things, baking chocolate chip cookies and finding the carpet beneath the laundry, shoes and backpacks, walking Sadie – and, one day soon, following an idea down a rabbit hole to its conclusion.

Read Full Post »

I don’t really have a story right now. After I drop the boys off at school, I go to a job that I asked God for. I have a window view onto trees, shrubs and sunshine. No teaching, just processing information and tucking it away in a computer. Being a part of a team, too – I like that. My job is a blessing, the answer to a prayer. Sometimes, answered prayers come at a cost, a sacrifice.

Blackberry tea in an “I love you Forever Cup”, Pecans in one candy jar and mini-Cadbury eggs in other.  Got pictures of my boys, their art – and Maddie MacMath’s of Sweet Tea and Me, God Art Calendar and Scripture on my computer. I’m making a mini-nest.

Mothering is a little different. Homemaking is reorganizing itself. The time for writing – well, it’s like my energy and hours need stretchy pants at the end of a day because there’s just not enough room – or, maybe I am learning how much time waste existed in my day.

It is an intentional sacrificing, this job, a dying of the old ways to make room for the new ways.

I told God today I missed being able to write all morning. I missed the way stories and thoughts of Him would settle like clouds fallen on a mountain top for me to catch and pull substance from.

I miss the emptiness He would fill with ideas and thoughts.

Border-line to a self-pity decline born out of confusion, he whispered to me, this sacrifice, this giving up of the old ways – it’s part of His plan for my life. To trust Him.

“I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps”(Jeremiah 10:23).

He told me today, not to worry about the stories – they will come. That for now I am to sacrifice, to die to self.

It is through this sacrifice, this dying to self where rebirth and new growth happen.

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8)

I still look for Him, everywhere.  Everyday, I bring my Father with me to work – sometimes He’s there right beside me. Sometimes He’s right outside my window. In the corridor. On a sidewalk. Yesterday, I prayed for someone at work, took her hands and prayed strength and faith over her challenge. Maybe that’s why I am there – because He needs to be there.

This dying to self is really the only way to live – it just requires some adjustment. I’m glad He knows that.


Read Full Post »