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Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Sweet By & By by Rachel Hauck and Sarah Evans

What a great story these two have crafted! I can't wait for the next book in the series! A story of God's love and mercy, I was impressed by how this collaboration turned out!

About the book:
Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she's thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson's love.

But then Jade's hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade's wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past--the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love's rejection.

Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they'll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by.

Reviews:

"...heartwarming collaborative debut." - Publishers Weekly

"This Southern mother-daughter story is refreshingly well written and will easily engross readers of women's fiction." - Library Journal

Bios:
Multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans has garnered such honors as ACM's Female Vocalist of the Year, CMA's Video of the Year, named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," and she was the first country star to compete in ABC's Dancing with the Stars. This is her first novel. Sara has said that the redemptive message always attracts her to a given story. It's the story she's cares about most in the songs she records and sings; it's the story of her life; it's the story she looks for in the faces of those she meets.

"I've been a Believer since I was 21. My faith has been everything to me in my life since then. In my marriage, my motherhood, my career, and just dealing with everyday life, God is my constant companion and friend. I find myself praying constantly prayers of gratitude and guidance. As a mom and a career woman, my life is filled daily with choices and decisions to make that will affect lots of people. So I rely on God to guide me!" www.saraevans.com


Best selling, award winning author Rachel Hauck is known for well-written stories that paint real-life characters facing real-life challenges. She writes with depth and humor. As an author, worship and prayer leader, it's Rachel's heart to spread the love and fragrance of God to those she meets. In person or on the page. His plans for each individual are vast and good. "I have one goal in life. To seek His face. Everything has come together for me because of seeking Him. Even in my weakness, He is strong. I'd like others to know the same success."

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband, a teacher and pastor, and their ornery pets. www.rachelhauck.com

Buy the book!


Q: How did this collaboration come about?

RH: Really? God. Thomas Nelson approached Sara about a fiction project, then approached me about writing with/for her. My career was in a place of make-it or break-it, and I'd just prayed one of my "surrender prayers" to the Lord and was ready to go anywhere, do anything. Not having children, I am pretty much 100% available to pick up and go whenever and wherever. Knowing the Lord would take my husband and current writing and worship commitments into account, I was ready to go! It was very freeing to say, "God, I have nothing. What do you want to do? I'm 100% available. You're so good, whatever it is You want for me, I'll love it."

I've loved this journey writing with Sara. I struggled in some of my weaknesses from time to time, but this was one of the easiest books I've ever written even though I'd never written women's fiction. Never written flashbacks. Never written a continuing character series.


Q: What was Sara's part of the process?

RH: She cast the vision. We sat down and talked about what she wanted in the book, what kind of story she wanted to tell, and hashed out an overview. I went home and added the details and did the writing. If I was unsure about something, I'd email her and ask for her input. For example, we ended up dealing with a controversial social issue in this book and I wanted to know she was ready to assign her name to it.


Q. What do you want readers to take away from this story?


RH: God is good. There is always hope and redemption. While our past can impact our present, we don't have to carry the burden of pain and sin into the future. God truly does work all things together for our good.


Q. What's next for you and Sara?


RH: The second book, Softly and Tenderly, is written and releases January 2011. We are collaborating on two more books to be released January 2012 and 2013. They will be a continuation of the series. Book two is really exciting. Hit's the ground running.


Q. As an author, how did this book impact you and your work?

RH: I learned a lot about myself. Going back to the original prayer of surrender, I had to see that when God brought something to me to do it might not center around me! Maybe He wanted me to use my gifts and talents for others. At the same time, what amazing grace and peace He gave me.

My writing had to take on a different flavor and tone. I learned to write about two women instead of a romance with a hero and heroine. I had to develop back story that worked on stage instead of through dialog. This project forced me to work on a much deeper emotional level. I was exhausted when it was done. But I loved the process.


Q. Who is your favorite character?

RH: Well, Jade, the protagonist, of course. But her sister Willow really captured me. We had to back her up a bit or she'd steal the show! I also really had an affection for the character Dustin.


Q. What's next for you? Any solo projects.

RH: Yes! I have a late 2010 release from Thomas Nelson, Dining With Joy, about a cooking show host who can't cook.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Get in My Belly! Spicy Bacon Chicken Skewers

I have catered many Hors d'œuvres receptions and this is BY FAR MY MOST REQUESTED selection. It's legendary. It's so easy and So. Really. Yummy. Good.

Spicy Bacon Chicken Skewers
(sorry no photo for this one - I'm terrible about taking pictures of the food!)

2lb cold bacon cut in half (just by the thin 'cheap' stuff)

1 ¼ lbs. chick breast cut in 1 cubes/strips

2/3 c. brown sugar

2 Tbl. Chipotle Chili powder (I've also used Ancho Chili powder or Cajun Chili powder - Ancho is spicier and Cajun, milder)

Bamboo skewers medium length

Mix brown sugar and chili powder together and set aside. Wrap bacon around chicken and place on skewer. Dredge in sugar mixture and back on a rack (like a cooling rack) over a cookie sheet at 350 for 35 minutes.

That's it.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Holy Habit of Contentment ... post 3


Part 1 here and part 2 here!

Okay ... this is the last post on this topic. For now. :)

So, throughout the course of the retreat women gave their testimonies. I love seeing God at work in the lives of His people. I love hearing God's story through the story of others. One of the women who shared made this statement: God is so good. He takes care of us even when we choose sin. We are still His. I love that - His mercy is always available to us.

Contentment is choosing JOY. Joy not because everything is always rainbows and unicorns, but because no matter the circumstance (both good & bad) I know that God is at work, there is purpose and it is for good and His glory. There is JOY in that truth, a comfort, a resting.

Our speaker that weekend, Amy, shared three JOY stealers.

  • Greed (the never enough syndrome)
  • Un-focus (The Waiting Place)
  • Worry & Anxiety
1. Greed compares our life to another and allows seeds of discontent to be planted & cultivated when we see 'things' (stuff, people, opportunity, etc...) we don't possess, but think we deserve. When we begin to focus on what we don't have our eyes are focused on ourselves and not on God.

To combat this we need to acknowledge that All things come from God and from His own hand do we give to Him (paraphrase of I Chronicles 29:14b). If we don't have it, we don't need it. God gives us all that we need. What we do need is a heart shift - stop focusing on what God gives, and focus on God the Giver. (Psalm 62:10, Mathew 6:19, 24) We need to use our possessions, not love them (Luke 12:15). A.W. Tozer has said that 'things' have taken the place of God in our lives.

2. Un-focus or Incorrect focus or The Waiting Place wastes your life. It leaves you completely ineffective in the moment because you are waiting for the next thing, something better, or something bad to stop. You have stopped being of use because you're so focused on 'some' day. I have struggled with this in the past, in the present and I'm praying not in the future. I realized a while back that how I live my life is measured by the sum of my days. My life is summed up by what I do day to day, not by what I hope to do someday.

God has planted each of us exactly where He wants us, for specific purposes, to do His will NOW. His will is that we would glorify Him in each moment, in each little task. He did not plant me in Seattle, in this community, with these friends so that I could ignore what He's doing here and now while I look ahead with longing and hope of greater things to come. I've learned too, that wherever, whatever God has for me in this moment is but a stepping stone to the next thing. I love that adventure.

3. And lastly, worry and anxiety is something we choose to do. We choose to believe that we can control this or that and at its root is either pride or a lack of trust. I talked a lot about this in the last post, but I include it again here because I want to talk about choice. We seem to think that by worrying and obsessing we can control the outcome. That's a lie straight from the pit of hell. I know - such drama. But truly - Satan works through worry and anxiety by giving us the illusion that We can fix whatever it is we think needs fixing - that we don't need God. Satan wants us to do what Peter did in Matthew 14:30 - take our eyes off Jesus, doubt, give in to fear. Sink. Take your eyes off Jesus and you begin to see your circumstance as bigger than Jesus. The What If's and If Only's begin to play through our mind and we try to hold onto things that are not ours to control.

Sadly, these 'things' I'm trying to keep under control in my own life are my ideas of what's right/wrong, best, good - not God's. My worries and anxieties are born from pride - thinking I know best, my way is best. I can't tell you how many times I've been blessed by God's way, yet I still struggle with giving up the control. Our speaker Amy, shared with us that the Saxon word for worry means 'to choke'. Worry strangles the worrier. Chokes off my faith. Leaves me JOYless. Not to mention it's exhausting and does absolutely NOTHING but hurt me and often those around me, as I lash out trying to 'fix' things! We can choose to trust God, to give Him our anxieties.

So how do we keep from being joyless, useless, control freak, worriers? Glad you asked. :)

We can remain content through every season of life, in every storm, (gotta love the Christianese cliche's) only through prayer and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then we can form a Holy Habit of Contentment by committing to do a few things:

1. Confess the sin of anxiety (be honest with other people & hold each other accountable for not giving in to anxiety).

2. Have a heart of gratitude (thanking him for being the Blessed Controller). Live out of His love for you.

3. Choose to cast your cares on the Lord (I Peter 5:7). Tell Him your worries/fears, leave them at His feet.

4. Choose to trust Him. Put off anxiety and receive your cup with gratitude and trust. In Matthew 6: 25-34 Jesus says five times "Do Not Be Anxious".

I just want to make a side-statement here about prayer. This past Sunday we heard a sermon on Acts 1:12-26 and the pastor spoke to the importance of prayer. Without prayer, we can do nothing. Prayer is not direct access to God's ATM machine, it is not telling God how He can move/work/act to make our plans, dreams happen. It is not to change God's mind or to fill Him in on things He may not have noticed. Prayer is waiting on God, hearing from God and having God change our desires to His. Prayer doesn't change God's will, it changes our hearts. Prayer is getting to know God and having the humility to let Him change us. I confess that often times I don't stop and really pray because I'm so busy 'doing'. I just don't have 'time'. Totally convicted here. :)

I pray that you'll join with me this year and form your own Holy Habit of Contentment. I pray you won't get stuck in greed or anxiety or in The Waiting Place. I pray you'll make prayer a priority. And please share your own thoughts here. Ideas? Advice? Triumphs? Failures?

And ... remember: God is so good. He takes care of us even when we choose sin. We are still His. His mercy is always available to us.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get in My Belly! Italian Wedding Soup


We LOVE this soup. Friends of ours served this soup during a Christmas get together in December. We've made it three times since then. Super easy and YUM-O! It's not a traditional meatball Italian Wedding Soup, so it's a bit quicker to make.






Italian Wedding Soup

1/2 lb. pasta, uncooked (I use Barilla's Pasta Plus (high in protein, fiber and Omega 3s)
1 lb. Italian Sausage (I use Iserno's Italian Chicken Sausage)
1 tsp. Olive oil
1 C Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
3 C Water
3 tsp. Chicken Bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon organic - now available in a large size at Costco. Yeah!)
3 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
3 16 oz. cans Chicken Broth
1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
3 C Torn Spinach
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
3 T fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Cook sausage in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until browned, stir to crumble. Drain sausage, set aside.

2. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes. Add the sausage, 3 cups of water, and the next 5 ingredients (water through tomatoes);
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put torn spinach into each bowl, ladle soup into over spinach, sprinkle with cheese. Eat.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Get in My Belly! Baked Apple Dumpings

I've decided to start a new series here at sprightly, called Get in My Belly! (a nod to Austin Powers for the title. and an apology to those readers who know which character uttered this fabulous phrase and now have crude, grotesque and wrong (yet iamashamedtosay funny) images now running through your brains. sorry.)


GET IN MY BELLY will be recipes that I love and MUST share!

A few weeks ago I posted my Thai Basil and Beef Stir Fry recipe. Go here for some others I've posted over the years.

The latest and greatest recipe is one I snatched out of my latest Cook's Country magazine. For Christmas last year, I gave my dad a Pie of the Month club (12 pies *made with love* by me) and this year for Christmas he received the Supper of the Month club (1 meal each month (dinner/dessert) also *made with love* by me). This month's dinner was Mexican Beef and Hominy Soup, Cornbread and Baked Apple Dumplings.

This was the first time I've made Baked Apple Dumplings and they were so EASY. This recipe has you making your own puff pastry, but I knew I was going to be short on time because I also had a luncheon to cater that day, so I purchased the Pepperidge Farms pre-made puff pastry. It is a great substitute.

Baked Apple Dumplings
Cook's Country (November 2009)

serves 8

Use a melon baller or a metal teaspoon measure to core the apples. We like to serve the dumplings warm with vanilla ice cream and Cider Sauce (recipe below). Other sweet, moderately firm apples, such as Braeburns or Galas, can be used in this recipe.

Dough (or use pre-made puff pastry and skip to step 2)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
¾ cup cold buttermilk

Apple Dumplings
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
4 Golden Delicious apples (see note)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1. MAKE DOUGH Process flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter and shortening over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to bowl. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until dough is cohesive. Press dough into 8- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut in half, wrap each half tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

2. PREP APPLES Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. In second bowl, combine butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar mixture. (**note - here I combined all the cinnamon sugar mixture with the raisin mixture and just made extra cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on the top**) Peel apples and halve through equator. Pack butter mixture into each apple half.

3. ASSEMBLE DUMPLINGS On lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into 12-inch square. Cut each 12-inch square into four 6-inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush edges of dough square with egg white and place apple, cut-side up, in center of each square. Gather dough one corner at a time on top of apple, crimping edges to seal. Using paring knife, cut vent hole in top of each dumpling. (I did not cut a hole in the top of mine - and they turned out great.)

4. FINISH APPLES Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Following photo 4, arrange dumplings on prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until dough is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve with Cider Sauce.

CIDER SAUCE

Makes about 1½ cups

To make this sauce up to 2 days in advance, reduce the cider mixture until it measures 1½ cups, then refrigerate. When ready to serve, return mixture to simmer and whisk in butter and lemon juice off heat.

1 cup apple cider
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Bring cider, water, sugar, and cinnamon to simmer in saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to 1½ cups, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Drizzle over dumplings to serve.

Enjoy!!!

photo credit: Kander + Kander, Cook's Country

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Holy Habit of Contentment ... post 2


Part 1 here.

God is the Blessed Controller (thank YOU God!) not me.

God knows what is good and right for me, I don't, really (although I like to thing I do!). He knows what I need in my life to make me more like Christ, more useful, and just. plain. more.

As I told you in my last post, these are my reflections on a retreat I attended last weekend. One thing the speaker, Amy, asked us was, "What are your prison bars?" Are you looking up at Jesus or looking down and wallowing in the past or current circumstances. Am I filtering my life by looking out through the bars of my discontent? Um. Yes, sometimes.

For me, discontent happens when I slip into hopelessness. When the gap between reality (or what appears to be real) and what could/should be seems insurmountable. I see where I want/need to go/be - but the getting there seems impossible. If I'm hopeless/discontent then I have stopped looking at God, who is bigger and able to accomplish more than I can comprehend, and have started to focus on my circumstances or lack or hurts (in short, myself). I have forgotten that I AM NOT the Blessed Controller. His plans are way better than anything I could have come up with. When I'm discontent with what He has for me, then I miss Him at work, I miss what He's telling me, I miss His glory.

We are called to be content in the circumstances, not when they improve. We are called to be content in the circumstances, not when they improve. We are called to be content in the circumstances, NOT WHEN THEY IMPROVE.

At the core, discontentment is a lack of trust in God. A refusal to acknowledge God's sovereign plan for our life. As Peter says (I Peter 5:6) Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Only in humility am I able to cast my worries/anxieties/fears on the Lord. Discontentment leads to worry and anxiety, which leads to fear, which causes me to turn away from God and into myself. Which I hate to say - is pride. (oh, pride, I loathe you!)

Amy suggests using our worries/anxieties/fears as a catalyst for prayer. Stop and pray before you freak out. Stop and pray before you share a prayer request or praise with another. Here's the biggy. Pray with thanksgiving. This is hard - hard to pray with thanks for the hard stuff. The Psalmist says in 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. Thanksgiving is a sacrifice. An acknowledgement that God is the blessed controller of my circumstances - and that He is using the hard stuff to discipline and purify me.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I see that receiving peace is a choice we make over and over again by the power of the Holy Spirit:
~a choice to be anxious for nothing & pray with thanksgiving
~a choice to dwell on what is true and good

then our hearts can't help but be content. Every stage of our life, the good, the bad, the everyday is ordained by God. He has something for me to learn, to do, to share in each of those times. Peace comes through trust and acceptance of my circumstances. Contentment with my circumstances. Because, after all, God IS the Blessed Controller.

How about you? How have you learned to trust God in your circumstances?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I was hooked from the first line ...

Last year I had the privilege of reading the 2007 winner of the Christian Writer's Guild's First Novel contest, Jennifer Valent's Fireflies in December and was introduced to a wonderful new author. This year is no different! The folks at the Writer's Guild have again chosen a book that definitely stands out. C.J.'s book makes it's mark as a book from the heart, told with attention to detail and an eye for truth.

TitleTrakk.com Blog Tours Presents:

Thicker than Blood
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House


Winner of the
2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest!


Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late?

***My thoughts: I was hooked from the first line. A fast paced story of redemption, the struggle of 'real' life and the amazing Grace of God. Bravo C.J.! I eagerly await your next book.***

With careful attention to detail, emotion, and scene-setting, C.J. Darlington scores with her debut effort. Here is a special writer you won’t want to miss.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, New York Times best selling author

If you love a good read filled with adventure and ultimately redemption, I encourage you to brew the tea, settle into your favorite chair and pick up the page turner that is C.J. Darlington’s imaginative new novel of a modern day sisterhood that triumphs over separation and the raw challenges of life to find the real endurance of both family ties and God’s amazing grace.
--Rebecca St. James, Grammy award winning Christian singer and bestselling author

With Thicker than Blood, C.J. Darlington proves she's a novelist for the long-haul, a strong new voice in Christian fiction. This book speaks to the heart, from the heart, about the heart. Readers will not soon forget it.
--Sibella Giorello, Christy award-winning author of The Rivers Run Dry & The Clouds Roll Away

Watch the book trailer:



About the Author:
C. J. began writing the story that would become Thicker than Blood (her first novel) when she was a fifteen-year-old homeschool student. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over a decade, scouting for stores similar to the one described in the novel before cofounding her own online bookstore. Thicker than Blood was the winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel.

C. J. co-founded the Christian entertainment Web site TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. She makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website www.cjdarlington.com for more info.

QUICK LINKS:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Holy Habit of Contentment ... post 1


I'm not really a retreat gal, but a few friends from my Bible study group, begged me to come along. Actually, they made me a deal I couldn't refuse. (Thanks Cheryl!). As usual, God knew it was exactly what I needed and just what my heart longed to hear. This and the following posts are a bit of summary of what I heard.

The topic was contentment ... right away the topic pulled at me. As the speaker talked during our first session, I realized that 'the something's not right' feeling I'd been having was discontentment. I had somehow slipped out of the comfort of contentment a few weeks back. Not only was I discontent with my circumstances, but worse, I was harboring bitterness. I'm not sure when I turned a corner in my walk, allowing this bitterness to join my path, but that is where I found (find) myself.

Our speaker, Amy, began by talking about what contentment is:

* being centered on Christ
* appreciation for what God's done
* faith in what He will do

and what it is not (stoicism or Pollyiannaism). Contentment is not ignoring our circumstances and pain, or glossing over it by saying everything is "fine". It's okay to have a 'weeping heart' but don't loose sight of Jesus. There is a balance between having a heart that longs for what's to come and a discontent heart. Contentment is having a calm and quiet heart because your eyes are fixed on Jesus, not on your circumstances.

We can be content because better days are ahead - Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. We trust Him, serve Him, take our cup and portion from Him and be content. I'll get more into why we are to be content later, but for now, I just want to focus on Amy's accountability checklist she gave us. She took this from a missionary named, Ella (sorry didn't catch the last name):

Holding your self accountable to contentment by:

* Never allowing yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
* Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or place.
* Never compare your lot with another.
* Never allow yourself to wish this or that would've been different.
* Never dwell on tomorrow. Tomorrow is God's not ours.

This list made me pause and ask myself, which of these are my temptations, my tendencies? Doing anyone of these can slip me right into discontentment by causing wallowing and anxiety. It takes my eyes off Jesus and purpose and puts it on myself. It's looking inward, rather than upward. When we (I am) are discontent, we (I am) are useless to God. I want to be able to say, like Paul, I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil, 4: 11-13)

What about you? Do you struggle with contentment, bitterness, worry, anxiety?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Get in my belly | Thai Basil, Beef and Cashew Stir-fry



I posted a tweet yesterday about what I was making for dinner and a few of you requested the recipe ... well here you go. Enjoy - it's so yummy!


Stir-fried Basil Beef with Shiitakes and Cashews


Serves: 4

Ingredients

* 1/4 cup coconut oil
* 1 pound grass fed beef, sirloin or top round, cut into thin strips
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
* 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (either domestic or shiitake
* 1 small hot red chile, sliced (or I use a 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of garlic chili paste)
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne strips
* 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
* 1 teaspoon cane sugar
* 20 Thai or sweet basil leaves
* 1/2 cup roasted cashews or peanuts

Preparation

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat in a wok or large saute pan. Stir-fry the beef and garlic for 4 minutes and remove from the pan. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the onion, mushrooms, chile and red bell pepper for 2 minutes. Stir in the beef mixture and add the soy sauce, sugar, basil leaves and cashews. Heat through and serve over steamed jasmine rice.

Recipe by Lynne Vea, PCC Chef

photo from taste.com