Gluten Free & God Seeking

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Orange "Beef" Tofu Stir Fry

  Tofu is a good source of protein, and it takes up the flavor of any sauce it's cooked in.  When I want a vegetarian meal, for the international students who board with us, tofu is a great option. Tonight I'm making this recipe again for a student who just joined us for spring quarter.  

   This recipe is a modification of one I found on All Recipes, I took the vegetable list from it, but I used the  orange sauce recipe from  Come and Dine, my church cookbook.  The trick to having the vegetables not turn soggy is to use your kitchen timer!  When I made this tonight, I put on 2 1/2 minutes on my timer, and they came out perfect!  The sauce was close to restaurant quality,  but you can taste it at the end and add more tamari or Sriracha or orange concentrate to tweak it to your own liking! 

Gluten Free Orange "Beef" Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry

1.  Prepare Vegetables:
(1)  Slice 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery on the diagonal.
(2)  Cut 1 zucchini in half and slice in half moons.
(3)  Slice 1 onion into thin slices.
(4)  Chop up 1 1/2 cup of broccoli florets.
(5)  Slice 1 red pepper into thin slices.

2.  Prepare orange sauce:
(1)  Put 1/2 of a cup of orange juice concentrate into a small bowl.
(2)  Stir in 1/3 cup of warm water and 1/4 cup of gluten free tamari
(3)  Then add 2 T of olive oil, 1 T of minced ginger, and 1/2 t of Sriracha sauce
(4)  Stir in 1 T of tapioca starch.

3.  Stir fry the vegetables:
(1)  Put 2 T of coconut oil into a large skillet and stir-fry ginger for about 1 minute and then add the rest of the vegetables and stir-fry for 2-3 more minutes.

(2)  Form a well in the center of the vegetables and add the orange sauce.
(3)  Slice one container of tofu into 1" cube and put on a plate.
(4)  When the mixture comes to a boil, bring down to medium-low and then add the tofu and gently stir it in and let it all cook for about 2 minutes until the tofu is warmed through. Try to time it so that the vegetables are crisp-tender.

List of Vegetarian Recipes on this Blog:

Oh So Good Gluten Free Vegetarian Italian Lasagna
Fantastic Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese
Making Pad Thai With a Thai Student  (Omit the chicken)


Cheese & Vegetable Enchiladas
Scalloped Potatoes
Amazing Vegetable Panang Curry
Make Your Own Thai Fresh Rolls
Oh So Bueno Gluten Free Vegetarian Fajitas!

Baja Salad with Black Beans & Quinoa
Gluten Free Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Tofu & Rice:

Gluten Free Tofu & Vegetable Stir Fry
Fabulous Gluten Free Fried Rice

Beans & Legumes:
Grandma Pitcher's Family Favorite Baked Beans

Sunday, April 20, 2014

What is Christ Doing at the Right Hand of God in Colossians 3:2?

Taken at a tulip field on April 15.
  What is Christ doing at the right hand of God?  There’s probably a lot of speculation out there about this. I know I’ve heard a few. Last week  I read some amazing chapters at the end of the Life-Study of Colossians that filled me in on what the Lord’s really doing based on Colossians 3:2:  

If therefore you were raised together with Christ, seek the things which are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 

   In Chapter  59 of the Life-Study of Colossians Witness Lee opens up this topic  by saying that’s Christ’s ministry has two aspects.  As most people are aware from the Gospels, Christ carried out His earthly ministry for 33 ½ years  doing things like healing the sick, casting out demons, and speaking to people. And he points out that the goal of Christ’s earthly ministry was to accomplish redemption so that He could be become the life-giving Spirit to regenerate people for the building up of His Body.

   Then he shares that after Christ’s ascension recorded in Acts, He has been carrying out His heavenly ministry.  And Romans 8:34 states clearly what Christ is doing at the right hand of God:  …It is Christ Jesus who died and, rather, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us But here’s a part that I never heard about before—The Lord needs us to join into His intercession! These excerpts  from chapters 59 and 65 really helped me get this:
To seek the things which are above and to set our mind on them is to join ourselves to the Lord in His ministry in heaven…..Do you not aspire to be one with the Lord in the heavenlies and to have a heart that is one with His heart?...We all need to care for the Lord’s interests.  While He is praying in heaven, we respond on earth….Christ works in heaven, and we work on earth….Christ’s ministry in heaven is all for the goal of building up the Body and forming His Bride. However, Christ’s ministry in heaven requires our response. We need to become on earth the very reflection of that heavenly ministry. When we seek the things above, we respond to the Lord’s heavenly ministry and reflect it.    
….By prayer we set our mind on the things above. In fact, prayer is the only way to have our mind set on the things in heaven….Through our prayer, Christ the Head, is given a way to carry out His administration through His Body. When we pray, we are a heavenly ambassador on earth  with the extension of God’s kingdom (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Colossians. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1979, Print).
   I really like the words respond and reflect because they show that our prayers need to correspond to God's prayer.  This makes me think about a message I heard a few weeks ago from the Crystallization of Genesis messages on Living Stream Ministry’s website covering Genesis 18. In this chapter God tells Abraham He is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah

    In response Abraham began to ask God questions that appealed to His righteous nature. Back and forth God and Abraham went until the Bible says “And Jehovah went away as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham,…" Through this example in the Bible I saw how Abraham responded to God's need for an intercessor on earth to pray what was on His heart.  The prayer that Abraham prayed  was a reflection of God's concern for Lot and his family. And I sense in my heart that this is what God is seeking from us today!

You can listen to excerpts from the Life-Study of Colossians given in 1979 on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee. The commentary is excellent. 

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Colossians:

What is God's Will in Colossians 1:9?
What is the Stewardship of God in Colossians 1:25?
What is the Hope of Glory in Colossians 1:27?
Have You Seen the Mystery of God in Colossians 2:2? (Part 1)
Have You Seen the Mystery of Christ Revealed in Colossians?  (Part 2)
The Great Mystery in Ephesians & Colossians
What is God's Intention for Your Life?
From the Life-Study of Colossians - Why Pray?
How Does God Get the One New Man in Colossians 3:10?
 Do You Know How the Believers Grow in Colossians 2:7? (Part 1)
Do You Know What the Goal of Spiritual Growth is in Colossians 2:19?  (Part 2)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easy Gluten Free Baked Taquitos

Mexican food is one of my favorites.  Maybe because I grew up in Southern California and it was everywhere.  Great spices, lots of vegetables, and some crunch make Mexican food amazingly delicious.

    Over the years I've picked up some great Mexican recipes (and many of them are in the list below)--I like to especially look out for the low-fat versions like this one for baked instead of deep fried taquitos.  This is a modification from a recipe a friend gave me from Family Fun Magazine.  

It has just the right amount of crunch and spice.  I cooked it with a pot of home made refried beans, Spanish rice, and pineapple coleslaw.

Easy Gluten Free Baked Taquitos

1.  Prepare vegetables:   Dice 1 medium onion and 1 clove of garlic.  

2.  Grate 2 cups of colby-jack cheese

3.  Warm up 24 medium size corn tortillas.  I had better results with putting 6 at  a time inside a damp napkin and micowaving them for 1 minute.  If you decide to warm them up in the oven, make sure they should be very pliable so you can roll them 

4,  Prepare meat sauce: 
(1)  Put 1 T of oil into a large skillet and sauté onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
(2)  Then add 1 pound of lean ground beef and cook until almost done.
(3)  Stir in spices:  1 T of chili powder, 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 t black pepper.  Then stir in 1/2 cup of salsa and cook over medium-low for about 8 minutes.

5.   Assemble taquitos:
(1)  Lay a warm corn tortilla out on your breadboard or plate.
(2)  Spoon 1-2 T of meat along one of the edges of the tortilla
(3)  Sprinkle cheese over the top
(4)  Begin near the meat sauce and roll the tortilla up tightly.
(6)  Lay seam side down on a baking sheet
(5)  Brush melted butter or oil over the top

6.  Bake at 350 for 10-12+ minutes until lightly browned.

Serve  hot with salsa and sour cream for dipping.

Other Mexican recipes on this blog:

Mexican Casseroles
Stacked Enchiladas - Texas Style
Acapulco Delight - A great Mexican Enchilada
Cheese & Vegetable Enchiladas
Rachel Ray's Chilaquiles
Baked Chili & Chips Casserole
Gluten Free Mexican Quinoa Casserole
Yummy Gluten Free Tamale Pie
Authentic Chicken Enchiladas Verde
Rebecca's Favorite Chicken & Chile Enchiladas

Tacos, Chimichangas  & Etc.
Rachel Ray's Recipe for the Best Fish Tacos
Fantastic Baked Chimichangas
Authentic Chicken Flautas

Beans & Rice
The Best Homemade Refried Beans
Texas Pinto Beans & Rice

Mexican Chicken & Beef
Pollo Guisado (Mexican Braised Chicken)
Fantastic Gluten Free Carne Asada!
Belizean Chicken, Black Beans & Rice, and Belizean Coleslaw

Mexican Chicken Soup- A Great Remedy for Colds & Flu
Bethany's Crowd Pleasing Tortilla Soup

Baja Salad with Black Beans & Quinoa
Mexican Salmon & Mango Salad

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Do You Know What the Goal of Spiritual Growth is in Colossians 2:19?

   Human and spiritual development are a lot alike.  I'm sure God's responsible for that.  Just like we begin our human life as infants, we begin our Christian life as infants in Christ.  And as strange as it would be to see a 50 year old baby, it would be just as strange for us not to grow and mature over the years of our own Christian life.  But what causes this spiritual growth?
A picture I took in the Sonoran Desert while visiting my father in early April.

     In Chapter 51 of the Life-Study of Colossians Witness Lee clarifies that true Christian growth is not about us acquiring more doctrinal knowledge. Colossians 2:19 gives us a window into what it's about: And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.  

     And then in Chapter 52 he talks about how we need personal spiritual growth for the sake of the building up of the Body of Christ.  I've heard it said many times that the age of spiritual giants is over because God's ultimate goal is to obtain a corporate Body that expresses  and represents Him (Genesis 1:26). For this growth to take place, the most important thing we need to do is eat!   That shouldn't surprise you because it's the same way for your human life--see how far you can go on just one meal. On pages 456-457 he talks about how this all hinges on our taking the time to be with God, listen to this:
Likewise, if we do not receive what comes out from Christ as the Head, the Body cannot grow. Holding the Head is, therefore, equal to begin rooted in Christ as the soil….As we daily take time to eat food, we should daily take time to absorb the Lord, take time to assimilate the riches of Christ. Our contact with the Lord should not be rushed. If we are in a hurry, we shall not be able to absorb much of His riches. We need to allow adequate time for prayer. This will enable us to absorb more of the riches of our God.  
  ….spend more time in your spirit to adore the Lord, to praise Him, to offer thanks to Him, and to speak to Him freely. As you fellowship with Him in this way, you will absorb His riches, and He will add more of Himself into you…..Only God can give growth. In my ministry the most I can do is to plant or water.  I cannot give growth to anyone, for I cannot give God.  Only God can give you Himself….God Himself is our food, and we need to seek Him as His dining table, where we need to take time to eat Him slowly. Then more of Him will be added into us. This addition of God into us is the growth He gives (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Colossians. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1979, Print). 
At the end of this chapter he connects Colossians 2:19 with Ephesians 4:15-16 "…according to the operation in measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love."  He points out here that these two verses show us that the Body of Christ is depending on us to grow!  Each day we all need to spend time alone with God so that we can grow, and this growth is what will help the Body of Christ grow and be built up. 

You can listen to excerpts from the Life-Study of Colossians given in 1979 on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee. The commentary is excellent. 

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Colossians:

What is God's Will in Colossians 1:9?
What is the Stewardship of God in Colossians 1:25?
What is the Hope of Glory in Colossians 1:27?
Have You Seen the Mystery of God in Colossians 2:2?
From the Life Study of Colossians - Have You Seen the Mystery of Christ?
The Great Mystery in Ephesians & Colossians
From the Life Study of Colossians - What is God's Intention for Your Life?
From the Life-Study of Colossians - Why Pray?
How Does God Get the One New Man in Colossians 3:10?
How Do the Believers Grow in Colossians 2:7?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spunky Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

   Muffins are so good! I try to make some every week.  And I'm always on the lookout for recipes or trying to revamp old ones.  I had a recipe in my school cookbook for Sassy Cinnamon Muffins, but when I made it gluten free it didn't come out right.  So when I bought a bag of gluten free flour from Trader Joe's I noticed there was a recipe for apple cinnamon muffins, and I wondered if I could salvage that recipe by mixing the two together.  

   By the way I like shopping at Trader Joe's because they are such a great gluten-free friendly store--besides having an incredible array of gluten free foods,  they put "g" labels on their shelves to help find them.  And they also provide a handout of their gluten free foods.  

    So this morning I decided to try this other recipe out! I added the cloves from my Heritage recipe, and as I compared them, I noticed they were very similar.  The only main differences were my school recipe used sugar in place of the agave and no applesauce. 

 Spunky Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

1.  Prepare dry ingredients - In a large bowl put:
(1)  2 cups of gluten free flour mix
(2)  Stir in leavening & spices:  1 t baking soda, 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t cloves, and 1/2 t salt. Next time I'm going to add 1 t of pumpkin pie spice!

2. Prepare liquid ingredients - in a small bowl put:
(1)  2 large eggs and 1 cup applesauce (Here's my recipe for  homemade applesauce.)
(2)  1/2 cup milk or alternative (I use coconut milk)
(3)  1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil and no it doesn't overpower my baking!) and 1 t vanilla extract
(4)  1/2 cup agave

3.  Stir in egg mixture into the flour mixture and just stir to combine.

4.  Put batter into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

Other Gluten Free Baking & Desserts on This Blog:

Gluten free and Low-fat Banana bread
Fall Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
Delicious Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
My Favorite Gluten Free Cranberry Nut Bread

Gluten Free German Apple Cake
You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free Carrot Cake
Judi's Super Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Judi's Gluten Free Orange Chiffon Cake
Delicious Gluten Free Rhubarb Cake
Grandma's Gluten Free Applesauce Cake
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Cake

Gluten Free Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
The Best Gluten Free Recipe for Snickerdoodles 
Gluten Free Rocky Road Brownies
Mark's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies - Made Gluten Free!
Judi's Gluten Free Oatmeal Craisin & Coconut Cookies

Cornbread & Rolls:
Beth's Amazing Gluten Free Cornbread 

Crisps & Pies:
Lena's Rhubarb Crunch (A crisp with a gluten free top and bottom crust!)
Delicious Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Ginger's Outrageous Apple Pie

Desserts with Fruit:
Sensational Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
Banana Nutty Muffins
Gluten Free Tremendous Pumpkin Muffins

Bursting with Blueberries Gluten Free Muffins
Toni's Outrageous Gluten Free Corn Muffins
Spunky Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Baked Coconut Pudding
Tangy Lemon Pudding

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How Do the Believers Grow in Colossians 2:7?

  With spring here again I'm thinking about gardening.  This time of year never ceases to amaze me.  After winter's freezing temperatures, it's simply beautiful to see purple crocuses pushing through the earth. And my fruit and ornamental cherry trees are all in bloom--shades of pink and white waving in the spring breeze. 

   Now I'm looking forward to my annual trip to get my garden  starts.  With all the beauty that spring brings to the earth, it doesn't surprise me that this is also a picture of my own spiritual growth.

   Paul tells us this quite clearly  that we are God's farm in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. Then as I’ve been reading through the Life-Study of  Colossians, Witness Lee has been expounding the different passages there about growing (1:10, 12, 28; 2:7, 19).   I’ve been seeing in these chapters of this Life-Study that many of these believers  were struggling with philosophies, religious observances, and ascetic practices. 

    Because of that  Paul  used this same metaphor of being a plant to remind  them that they were planted into Christ not Greek or Jewish culture.  Colossians 2:7 talks specifically about that, Having been rooted and being built up in Him….   In the chapter he says that Paul  was encouraging these believers to focus on absorbing Christ so they could grow. 

    Whenever I gather vegetables from my garden, I’m amazed that  small seeds can produce such big vegetables.  As you can see here some of my grandkids were pretty intrigued with watching things grow in my garden!  So just like plants have root hairs, this verse makes it evident that we also have spiritual root hairs that take in nourishment from God's word, from our times ofprayer, and from fellowship with other believers, etc.

  I found the exposition on this verse in Chapter 47 of the Life-Study of Colossians very helpful in understanding Colossians 2:7: 
  For us to be built up does not first mean that we are built up in the church, the Body. It means that we are built up in the Lord and experience an increase of stature....First we are rooted in Christ as the all-inclusive Spirit, and then we grow up in Him. We build ourselves up by growing up. Our being built up depends on our assimilating into our being the riches of Christ as the soil.  Having assimilated these riches into us, we shall grow and be built up…. Our growth depends on how much nourishment we assimilate into us by being rooted in Christ (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Colossians. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1979, Print).
 At the end of Chapter 47 Witness Lee talks about how we need to exercise our spirit in order to be more deeply rooted in God. And just like physical exercise is critical for human growth, spiritual exercise is imperative for our spiritual growth.  At the end of this chapter he says that's why Colossians closes with Paul exhorting the believers to persevere in prayer!