Gluten Free & God Seeking

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Best Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie

  With fall here, it's time to cook up some comfort food!  My younger son had a birthday a few weeks ago and he asked me to make him shepherd's pie.  I thought for sure he'd ask for ribs or lasagna, but I thought okay I can do this. 

One trouble with making shepherd's pie is that there are countless versions out there.   He wanted the shepherd's pie that's made with a gravy instead of the one with tomato sauce.  My Heritage Cookbook (that's from a school I worked at) has the tomato sauce version. When I did a quick Google, I saw Rachel Ray had one, and everything I've cooked from her recipes have been amazing, so I just tripled her recipe for gravy in order to make enough for the large shepherd's pie you see in this picture.

My son loved it and so did our international students who have never eaten anything like this before.  I think that's a good gauge.

Shepherd's Pie - for 8-10

1.  Prepare vegetables:
(1)  Chop 1 medium onion
(2)  Mince 2 cloves of garlic
(3)  Chop 2 large carrots.
(4)  Scrub and chop 8 organic potatoes and cook in water to cover about 20 minutes.  

2.  Prepare meat gravy:
(1)  Put 1 pound of organic hamburger meat into a skillet and cook a few minutes.
(2)  Add the onions, garlic, and carrots  and cook for about 5 more minutes.
(3)  In a small mixing bowl put:  3 cups of water, 4 t beef Better Than Bouillon,  2-3 t gluten free Worcestershire sauce, 1  salt, 1 t black pepper, 6 T tapioca starch, and whisk together and  then pour over the meat and whisk the gravy until thickened. 
(4)  Taste and make any adjustments. I had to add a bit more Better Than Bouillon.

3.  Mash potatoes:
(1)  Drain excess water off the potatoes and put that liquid into a cup so you can use some to help mash the potatoes.
(2)  Add 1-2 T of butter to the potatoes and mash  them a bit.
(3)  Then add  1/2 cup of milk,  1 t salt and 1/2 t black pepper.and mash until smooth, adding a bit of potato water to get the right consistency.
(4)  Taste and make any adjustments.

4.  Assemble shepherd's Pie:
(1)  Pour the meat gravy into the bottom of a large 9 x 13 pan.  
(2)  Scatter two cans of drained green beans over the top of the meat gravy.
(3)  Mound the mashed potatoes over the top. 
(4)  Sprinkle with paprika.

5.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

List of other casseroles on this blog:

Mexican Casseroles:
Texas Style Gluten Free Stacked Enchiladas  (From my Come & Dine cookbook)
Acapulco Delight - A great Mexican Enchilada   (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Michelle's Favorite Vegetarian Enchiladas   (From my daughter)
Kathy's Baked Chili & Chips Casserole  (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Gluten Free Mexican Quinoa Casserole  (From an Internet search)
Authentic Chicken Enchiladas Verde  (From a church friend)
Fiesta Gluten Free Tamale Pie   (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Rebecca's Favorite Chicken & Chile Enchiladas  (From a church friend)
Delores's Chicken & Tortilla Casserole (Made Gluten Free)   (Come & Dine)

Pasta Casseroles:

Fantastic Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese  (Modified from Heritage School Cookbook)
Gluten Free Comfort Food - Downright Delicious Gluten Free Tuna Noodle Casserole  (From my Heritage School Cookbook)

American Favorites:

Breakfast for Dinner:
Hash Brown Egg Casserole  (From my friend Lisa)
Mexican Migas Breakfast Casserole  (Modified from a recipe from an airport cookbook)
Baked Zucchini Frittata  (I picked this up from a Whidbey Island farmer's market)
Jan's Sausage & Vegetable Frittata  (From a friend who was a home ec teacher)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Seeing God's Purpose of Life & Building in the Book of Genesis

    The Bible doesn't tell us so much about the garden of Eden.  I've been to some beautiful gardens with brick paths, artistic fountains, and  flowers of every hue.  But the Bible doesn't go into details like this except to tell us it was full of fruit trees, a river with 4 branches, gold, bdellium, and onyx stone.  So it's not your typical garden scene.  Is anyone going huh here? 

 Usually when I read something I don't quite get in the Bible, I just gloss over it.  So to be honest with you I never thought much about the lack of description here until I read chapters 11 & 12 of the Life-Study of Genesis!  

   When I was in college I heard for the first time that this description is actually very meaningful because it mirrors the end of the Bible!!  Here's Genesis 2:9-12:

And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  
   And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four branches.
   The name of the first is Pishon [Heb. Flowing free]; it is the one that goes around the whole land of Havilah [Heb. to cause to grow], where there is gold.
   And the gold of that land is good; bdellium, and onyx stone are there. 

     In Genesis 2 everything is in its natural state--we can see there's gold by the river, bdellium (which is a pearl-like substance formed from trees), and onyx stone, which is a precious stone.  Then when you turn to Revelation 21 you see a vision of a spiritual city that's built with gold, pearl, and precious stones.  I was like wow when I saw this correlation.  And in Revelation the city has a river flowing from the throne and on both sides of it grow guess what? The tree of life!  You can say wow again, because that's what I did.

   And it's really amazing to see that all of these things have meaning.  Witness Lee goes through all the typology--here's a quick paraphrase:  Most theologians agree that gold represents God's unchanging nature.  He shares that pearls show how Christ takes us as grains of sand and secretes His life essence over us to make us into something precious.  And that precious stones are formed either through pressure and heat or pressure and the flow of water.  

But how is this all going to happen in you?  In chapter 11 of the Life-Study of Genesis he shares that the gold, bdellium, and onyx stone are produced by the flowing of the river of life.  Now that really amazed me.  Here's some short excerpts from page 144 that show all the connections: 
In Romans 9 we are dust; in Revelation 1 we are gold. How can dust be replaced by gold?  The divine life must flow within us to bring gold into us.  This is even true of physical gold which is frequently found by a river….Now through the flowing of the divine life we had some gold within us. Something precious and weighty, the very divine nature has been brought into us….The flowing of the river also produces pearl….Furthermore, the flowing of the river brings forth onyx stone, which typifies the transformed man expressing God's glorious image (cf. Rev. 4:3; 2 Cor. 3:18)….The materials brought in through the flow of the river of life are for the building of God's habitation. They can only be brought in by the flow of the divine life. In other words, the divine life flowing within us makes us the materials for God's building" (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Genesis. Anaheim: Living Stream  Ministry, 1974, Print)
So every day take some time to read the Bible and  touch the water of life that's in the word of God.   I would really encourage you to read these online Life-Studies that Living Stream Ministry makes freely available to all God's people. 

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on  Genesis on Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.   You will enjoy listening to Program #91 it's called A Bird's Eye View of God's Building in the Scriptures. 

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Genesis:

From the Life-Study of Genesis - What is the Focus of the Bible?
What Happened Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?
Why Did God Create Man in Genesis 1:26?
What Does Genesis 2:7 Say About God's Creation of Man?
Why Did God Put Man in Front of the Two Trees in Genesis 2?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Gluten Free Twist on Tarragon Chicken

I've never had tarragon chicken before.  Not that that's monumental or anything.  I've wondered for a long time what this herb tasted like because I have some recipes that called for it.  So last year I planted some tarragon, but I never used it in anything.  

  This year wanted to try this recipe in my Come & Dine Cookbook.  Bit by bit I worked through the recipe, but I had the extra challenge of  making my own gluten free version of cream of chicken soup. It pretty much is a glorified white sauce with a lot of seasonings.  But don't let that fool you--it's good!

Trying out a new recipe always makes me a bit nervous.  You can tell from the picture of my dinner plate I was working to make this an extra special meal.   Ahhh, it was.  When we took our first bite of this tarragon chicken, we were like yum!  It tasted like something we'd order at a restaurant--it was that good!  

Tarragon Chicken  - Serves 6

1.  Prepare chicken -  This recipe says you can either use 3 whole chicken breasts split in half or 1 3 1/2 pound chicken cut in pieces.  I usually skin my chicken to remove excess fat.

2.  Make gluten free cream of chicken soup: 
(1)   In a skillet put 2 T of butter and whisk in 1/4 cup of tapioca starch until smooth.  
(2)  Then add 10 oz of milk, 1/8 cup of chicken Better Than Bouillon, 1/2 t basil, 1/2 t thyme, 1 1/2 t of  dried tarragon, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t black pepper.
(3)  Continue whisking until thickened.  Add extra milk/water to get the right consistency.  

3.  Prepare vegetables:  Coarsely chop 2 medium-size onions.  The recipe says it's optional if you want to add 1 can of mushroom  stems and pieces.

4.  Prepare chicken to baking:
(1)  Arrange chicken in a 9 x 13 baking pan.
(2)  Sprinkle onions and mushrooms if using over the chicken.
(3)  Spoon mushroom soup over the chicken.

5.  Baking instructions:  Bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of slivered almonds and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until meat near the bone is no longer pink when slashed.  

List of other chicken recipes on this blog:

Authentic Chinese BBQ Chicken  (From my friend Rose)
Gluten Free Soy Sauce Chicken   (Modified from Internet search)
Tasty Gluten Free Filipino Chicken Adobo  (Modified from Internet search)
Gluten Free Sweet & Sour Chicken (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)

Italian & Greek:
Chicken Souvlaki   (Marinade for chicken from my son-in-law)
Gluten Free Chicken Cacciatore With Peppers & Mushrooms  (Modified from my mother-in-law)
Delicious Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan   (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)

Pollo Guisado (Mexican Braised Chicken)  (From a church friend in Phoenix)
Belizean Chicken, Black Beans & Rice, and Belizean Coleslaw  (From my daughter's family)

American Favorites:
Amazing BBQ Chicken    (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
The Best Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken   (From my sister-in-law)
Fantastic Gluten Free Chicken Kabobs  (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Great for Summer BBQ - Lemon Rosemary Chicken Legs  (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Country Apple Curried Chicken  (From my church cookbook Come & Dine)
The Best Homemade Chicken BBQ Sauce  (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)

Chicken Casseroles
Chicken Divan  - From my Come & Dine Cookbook
Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie - A combination of 3 different recipes!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Why Did God Put Man in Front of Two Trees in Genesis 2?

  Everyone seems to know the story of Adam and Eve in the garden.  As a kid I learned that they disobeyed God and ate the apple that they weren't supposed to and because of that they were thrown out of the garden. But is that all this story is supposed to show us?  

   I've realized that in order to get this, I need to factor in the  events that occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.  It's amazing that  after Satan and his followers rebelled, God didn't annihilate them all.  I learned in chapter 7 of this Life-Study that God won't do this because it gives Him more glory if man (another created being) would defeat His enemy.  

   So right after God created Adam He takes him over to these two central trees in the garden and tells him he can eat every tree of the garden except one--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (who represented none other but His enemy Satan).  God doesn't even tell him anything about the epic battle that's been raging between them or  anything about what these two trees really symbolize.  

   He's going to leave the choice up to Adam because I'm sure you've noticed the fact that God in His greatness made man with a free will. In chapter 13 of the Life-Study of Genesis Witness Lee mentions this in the opening that only a small person forces someone to take his way, and a great person  allows you freedom of choice.  Surely our God is the greatest One in the universe!

   I guess what puzzles people a lot when they read this story is why did God leave this tree that represents the evil nature of Satan there in the garden of Eden?   I liked reading on  page 160 brother Lee's early thoughts on this:
When I was a young Christian, I was bothered by this.  I said, "Why did God put man into such a dangerous situation?  If I had been God, I would have removed the tree of knowledge of good and evil, I would have left the tree of life, placed man in front of it, and built a high protective wall to keep him safe. Why didn't God do this?  Why did God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden as  a temptation?  Every problem comes from this source.  Why didn't God take it away?  If He had removed the tree, it would have saved us a great deal of trouble."  I was not the only one who had these questions.  Many young people asked me the same thing.  However, if God had not given man a choice, He would have forced him to take the tree of life.  God is too great to do such a thing.  God is honorable and attractive.  In order to display His greatness and prove His attractiveness, He needs the second tree (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Genesis. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1974 Print).
Through Adam and Eve's disobedience, the evil nature of Satan entered into them and into all mankind after them (See Romans 5).   And in chapter 14 he mentions that  all of God's believers are now a miniature garden of Eden with Christ in our spirit as the tree of life and Satan in our flesh as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and  in the middle is our soul with the power to think, feel, and decide.  Every day the question before each of us is what "tree" are we going to "eat"?  

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on  Genesis on Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.  

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Genesis:

From the Life-Study of Genesis - What is the Focus of the Bible?
What Happened Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?
Why Did God Create Man in Genesis 1:26?
What Does Genesis 2:7 Say About God's Creation of Man?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pan Grilled Teriyaki Tuna Steaks

   This is not your ordinary tuna.  And definitely not like canned tuna.  This is tuna with amazing flavor!  Here's some background info.  We were picking apples over at our neighbor's house and he asked us if we liked tuna.  Of course I said yes, I had no idea he meant the real thing.  Then he brought out a bag with 2 slabs of tuna that his neighbor had caught just 2 days before. 

  After making our applesauce, I whipped up the marinade and got these tuna steaks ready to go.  When we bit into our steaks, we were definitely wowed.  They were served with these amazing creamed potatoes and peas like my grandmother used to make and some delicious cole slaw.  

   What a fantastic recipe!  I thought I was in a restaurant it was that good.  This recipe comes from a Japanese believer that's in my church Come & Dine Cookbook.  So it's the real deal.  

Teriyaki Tuna for Two

1.  Rinse 2 tuna steaks, 5 oz each.  

2.  Make the marinade - In a small bowl mix together:
(1)  2 T tamari
(2)  2 T dry Sherry or rice mirin (which I used)
(3) 2 T lime juice (I used lemon and it came out great!)
(4)  1 t grated ginger, 1 t sugar, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1/4 t hot chili oil

3.  Marinade steaks:  
(1)  Put the 2 tuna steaks in a pan and pour the marinade ever them and refrigerate for 2 hours.
(2)  Remove the fish from the marinade, but reserve it for later.

4.  Brush the sides of the fish with olive oil (you need just 1 teaspoon for this).

5.  Warm up a non-stick pan (I used a cast iron pan which I use a lot for pan grilling) over medium high heat with about 2 T of coconut oil.

6.  Pan Frying instructions:  
(1)  Add the fish and cook for 4 1/2 minutes and then flip and cook the other side about 4 1/2 minutes or until the fish is opaque and cooked through.
(2)   Then remove the fish and keep it covered.
(3)  Then add the marinade to the pan and brink it to a boil for 1 minute.  Put the fish back into the pan and t urn it gently to coat it with the sauce.  

List of Other Fish Recipes on this Blog:

Our Best Gluten Free Recipes for Grilling Salmon  - (Family & church cookbook recipes)
Crispy Gluten Free Oven Fried Fish Sticks   (From the box of Albers Cornmeal)
Great Cajun Cooking - Gluten Free Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya  (From Internet search)

Salmon & Vegetable Curry    (Modified from an Internet search)
Steamed Scallion Ginger Fish with Stir Fried Bok Choy  (From Internet search)
Fantastic Mahi & Vegetable Stir Fry    (From Internet search)
Make Your Own Sushi!    (A Korean church friend taught me how to make this)
Tasty Gluten Free Sweet & Sour Fish   (From my Heritage School Cookbook)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What Does Genesis 2:7 Say About God's Creation of Man?

God made man with three parts.  Everyone knows that we have a body and a soul, but you don’t always hear about the third part.  But it’s right there in the Bible:

I took this last month when I went on a
hike with my family.
     Jehovah God formed man [body] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life  [spirit] and man became a living soul.    Genesis 2:7

   …and may your spirit and soul and body  be preserved  complete and without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 5:23

I have a really great study Bible, and one of the footnotes on Genesis 2:7 says the word “breath” in Hebrew is neshamah, the same word translated spirit in Proverbs 20:27, which says:  The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the innermost parts of the inner being.  So from these verses don't you think it's clear  that God’s breath formed a spirit inside of Adam?   Have you ever heard that before?  I know I didn't. 

   There's an amazing verse in Job 32:8 that talks about our spirit:  “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.”  And here’s another  amazing verse in Zechariah 12:1 that tells us that God really created a spirit inside of man:  Thus  declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.

In chapter 10 of the Life-Study of Genesis Witness Lee talks a lot about Genesis 2:7 and on  page 127 he talks about how our spirit is like a receiver on a transistor radio:
 God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life that man may have a spirit as the recipient for him to receive God and as an organ to contact God and the spiritual things (John 4:24; Rom. 1:9).  Within a transistor radio, there is a receiver. When this receiver is damaged, the radio waves cannot get through.  Likewise, our body is an outward container and within us is a spirit made by God as a receiver to receive God as the heavenly radio waves.  By means of this organ we may contact spiritual things….Although there are many radio waves in the atmosphere, we cannot substantiate them without a receiver.  Likewise, we cannot substantiate God without the proper receiver, our human spirit.  If our spirit does not function well, we will be unable to sense God.  We need to tune our spirit. We need to exercise our spirit to contact God.  Within us there is such an organ called by the Bible the spirit of man (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Genesis. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1974, Print).

This chapter ends with him talking about why God created us with three parts. He mentions  that we're like a living bottle.  Throughout our lives we try to fill our bottles with different things in order to satisfy the deep hunger within us.  We may try different degrees, jobs, hobbies, and myriads of things to try to satisfy this feeling of emptiness.  We feel that way because God made us that way!  Our spirit is actually longing for God.  

    Society helps us to take care of our physical and psychological needs, but only God can satisfy the need in our spirit.  When we open our hearts to the Lord in prayer,  immediately He comes into our spirit.  It  always touches me how simple this is.  But that’s not all.  Every day God wants us to contact Him so we can continually receive Him until we fully express Him.  

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on  Genesis on Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.  

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Genesis:

From the Life-Study of Genesis - What is the Focus of the Bible?
What Happened Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?
Why Did God Create Man in Genesis 1:26?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Judi's Yummy Gluten Free Dutch Babies

  Sometimes you need a quick but delicious breakfast.  A few weeks ago when my son's family was visiting, I whipped up my friend Judi's recipe for a Dutch pancake--these are commonly called Dutch babies.  Anyway along with that I made some rice pudding, scrambled eggs with bacon, and a fruit salad. No one was complaining--they love it when Mom goes all out!!  Two of my other kids showed up to eat it all up!    

When I ate this pancake at Judi's house, I noticed how hers held its shape, and she told this was her secret!  As you can see in the recipe below, she says she uses 1+ cup of flour.  I think I put in 1 1/4 cups, and it still needs a bit more, so next time I will try 1 1/2 cups.  

These were delicious with a blackberry sauce and yogurt. 

Judi's Dutch Pancake

1.  Separate 5 eggs - Put 5 yolks into a blender and the whites into a  medium-sized bowl.

2.  Into the blender add the following:
(1)  1+ cup of gluten free flour
(2)  1 cup of milk
(3)  1/8 t of salt

3.  Put 1/4 cup of butter into a 9 x 13 pan or into a 9" cast iron skillet and let it melt.

4.  Fold the whites into the blended ingredients.

5.  Pour over the butter and bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

Other breakfast recipes on this blog:

Fantastic Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes  (From my daughter-in-law's family cookbook)
Gluten Free Banana Split Pancakes  (Another recipe from my daughter-in-law's family!)
Outstanding Gluten Free Oatmeal Pancakes  (From my Heritage School Cookbook, where I worked 3 1/2 years)
Family Favorite Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes (From my daughter's home ec teacher)
Yummy Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes (From About Gluten Free Cooking)
Crunchy & Delicious Potato Latkes  (From a flier in my sweet potato bag)
Tasty Gluten Free Swedish Pancakes    (From my Syre School Cookbook)
Protein Packed Gluten Free Ricotta Cheese Pancakes  (From my daughter-in-law's family)

Waffles, Crepes,  Fritters & Dutch Babies 
Rachel Ray's Pumpkin Spice Waffles Made Gluten Free & Dairy Free   (This is one I adapted from Rachel Ray)
Easy to Make Gluten Free Waffles  (From my Syre School Cookbook)
Incredible Gluten Free Crepes  (Mix of 2 recipes)
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Fritters   (My grandmother's recipe!)
Amazing Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby  (From home ec recipe plus Internet search)

Egg Dishes
Sweet Potato Hash With Poached Eggs  (From my daughter's Internet search)
Hash Brown Egg Casserole  (From my friend Lisa)
Mexican Migas Breakfast Casserole  (Modified from a recipe from an airport cookbook)
Baked Zucchini Frittata  (I picked this up from a Whidbey Island farmer's market)
Jan's Sausage & Vegetable Frittata  (From a friend who was a home ec teacher)
Huevos Rancheros - A Fantastic South of the Border Breakfast  (I learned this years ago!)
Beautiful Eggs Florentine (Adapted from an Internet search)
Gluten Free Crustless Zucchini & Spinach Quiche  (From my Syre School Cookbook) 

 Honey Almond Granola   
(From the Heritage School Cookbook)
 Gluten Free Baked Oatmeal   (From my daughter-in-law's family cookbook)

Breakfast Muffins
Banana Nutty Muffins   (From my daughter-in-law's family cookbook)

Bursting with Blueberries Gluten Free Muffins  (From the Heritage School Cookbook)
Gluten Free Tremendous Pumpkin Muffins  (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Scrumptious Gluten Free Blueberry Scones  (From Heritage School Cookbook)
Thanksgiving Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones  (From an Internet search)
Sassy Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins  (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Claudia's Blueberry Coffee Cake (Made Gluten Free!) (From a neighbor)