Kitchen/Recipes, Sanctification, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ A Recipe for Success

Originally published June 19, 2014

saturday-mornng-cinnamon-rolls

As you’ve probably noticed from some of my posts, I recently started blogging for the fantastic Christian women’s blog, Satisfaction Through Christ. It has stretched me as a writer and opened an article door I’d never considered knocking on before: writing recipes. And I love it! I like to cook and experiment with different foods and techniques. I like to collect existing recipes and tweak them until the’re my own. And sharing that with others is just plain fun!

Not long ago, I posted a recipe for cinnamon rolls that got a great response, social media-wise. People shared it on Facebook and Pinterest, the article itself got several comments, and it was even the most viewed post of the week on another blog that linked to it. It was awesome, and I’m so grateful to everybody who shared it.

But it got me thinking.

That recipe got tons more attention from Christian women than anything else I’ve ever written about the Bible, salvation, or any other gospel-centered topic. In fact, recipes, memes and viral videos comprise a lot of what comes across my news feed. God’s word? Not so much. And, as a Christian woman, I had to stop and ask myself a question:

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Reading and collecting (and, for me, writing) recipes is fun, and can help me serve my family, friends, and church better when I cook for them. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, and I’m planning to continue doing so (watch for my next recipe coming out in late July on STC!).

But how much time am I investing in things like reading and sharing recipes or playing Facebook games or watching TV or reading novels or any of the thousands of things we do every day that take up time but have no eternal significance? None of those things draw me closer to the Lord or train my children in godliness or feed my marriage or evangelize and disciple others or build up the body of Christ.

Am I spending too much time on fluff and not enough on the things that really matter?

We all need some down time. God made that clear when He set aside the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship back in Exodus 20:8-11. He doesn’t prohibit relaxation, He commands it and calls it good. But God’s ratio of work to rest is six to one. One day of rest for every six days of work. And as with so many of God’s other good gifts–food, money, fun, fellowship–my sinful flesh will knock things completely out of proportion in order to gratify itself.

My cinnamon rolls are phenomenal (just sayin’!) but only as an occasional treat. If they constituted a major part of my regular diet, I’d be very unhealthy. It’s the same way with what I feed my spirit. If I’m constantly feeding on mental and spiritual junk food, I’ll be a very unhealthy Christian. I won’t have the time or the desire to exercise by serving God and those around me. Worse, I won’t have an appetite for what is supposed to be the staple of my diet: the Bread of Life– Christ. But if I keep Christ as my main dish and all of my side dishes, snacks, and desserts in healthy proportion to Him, I’ll be fit and ready to take up my cross daily and follow Him.

And that’s a recipe for success, in God’s eyes.


Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls:

Who doesn’t love a lazy Saturday morning? It’s a great day to lounge around in your jammies with the family and enjoy a relaxing breakfast together. These cinnamon rolls are a hit with my kids. They ask me to make them nearly every weekend. The great thing about them is that they don’t take very long to make and they also freeze well, so you can make them Saturday morning or in advance.

Ingredients:
4 c. baking mix (eg: Bisquick)
1 1/4 c. milk
2 T. mayonnaise (Optional, but I’ve found that the rolls are much drier without it, especially when using skim, 1%, or 2% milk. If you leave it out, increase the milk to 1 1/3 cups.)
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
cinnamon
Icing (see below)
Yield: approximately 18 rolls

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine baking mix, milk, and mayonnaise to make a soft dough. Dust your counter top (don’t forget to clean it first!) or pastry mat with baking mix and knead the dough for about a minute. (If you don’t have a timer but do have more than one child, just time it from when Child A wanders into the kitchen and asks, “What’s for breakfast?” to when Child B walks in and asks the exact same question. That’ll be about a minute.) Roll the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 14″ x 18″.

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With a rubber spatula, spread a generous layer (more than you’d use to butter toast, but less than you’d use to frost a cupcake) of softened butter over the dough, being sure to go all the way to the edges. Crumble the brown sugar over the butter spreading it as evenly as you can (it may take a little more or less than 3/4 cup), and sprinkle cinnamon over the brown sugar.

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Starting with one of the longer sides, roll the dough up, jelly roll style.

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(If you want to freeze the dough this is one good place to do it, especially if you don’t have much freezer space. Wrap the rolled up dough well in plastic wrap, or cut in half or thirds to put in gallon sized freezer bags.)

Slice the roll into pieces that are 3/4″ to 1″ wide.

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These things will come out of the oven absolutely cemented to your baking sheet, so grease it up any which way you can. I’d recommend spraying a non-stick pan with cooking spray, putting about 72 layers of parchment paper on top of that, and then spraying the whole thing again. Seriously, they are VERY sticky, so spray your pan really well or use parchment paper. Lay each piece flat on the baking sheet and bake until the edges start turning brown (about 10-15 minutes).

(Here’s another spot where you can freeze the dough if you have room for a baking sheet to sit flat in your freezer. Instead of baking, just cover the unbaked rolls on the baking sheet with aluminum foil and freeze.)

While the rolls are cooling slightly on the pan, make the icing. (If you put the icing on as soon as they come out of the oven, it will melt and run all over the place.) Depending on how many rolls you ended up with and how much icing you like, you might need more than one batch.

Ingredients:
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 t. vanilla

hot water

Whisk all ingredients together except for the water. Add the hot water a few drops to a teaspoon at a time to bring the icing to a stiff but spreadable consistency. If you don’t mind the extra calories (Hey, we’re already at about a scrillion of them– will a few more really matter?), soften up about half a block of cream cheese and beat that in there, too. (You’ll probably need to add more sugar and a little more hot water if you do.)

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Spread the icing over the top of the rolls. (If you have any left over, just spoon it into a freezer bag or container and freeze for next time.)

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Chisel them off the pan, and enjoy!

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THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.

Kitchen/Recipes, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Chick-Fil-A Knock-Off Recipe

Originally published July 21, 2014

Just when you get a hankering for Chick-Fil-A, it's Sunday, and they're closed. What to do? Make your own! Here's a great recipe.

We’ve all been there. The church service is over and everybody is caught up in the “after church hang around and fellowship time.” You hate to leave, but you’re getting awfully hungry. And so is everybody else. “Why don’t we all go grab something to eat?” someone suggests. And, of course, the one place everyone has a hankering for, the place that fries up the gospel bird better than anybody else, friend of hungry Christians everywhere, our beloved Chick-Fil-A…is closed on Sundays.

Now, I am a huge fan of this fine Christian-owned establishment. Not only is their food great, but they do a lot of amazing things at both the local  and national levels. So, I would never do anything to take your business away from them, and I encourage you to eat there Monday through Saturday. BUT, if you need your CFA fix on a Sunday (or if you’re one of those poor souls that doesn’t live near a CFA– How is this even possible? You should strongly consider moving.), this knock off recipe should tide you over until you can “eat mor chikin”.

Chick-fil-a Knock Off Recipe

Ingredients:
Enough vegetable or peanut oil to fill your favorite frying pot a few inches deep (two to several cups)
1 egg
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 1/2 t. powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
2 t. salt (if you like yours a little spicier, make it 1 t. salt + 1 t. Tony’s)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I’m telling you right now that this is not going to be enough if you’re cooking for more than two or three people. I have two tweens, two teens, and a husband, and I usually use at least 4 full chicken breasts, more if I want leftovers, which I definitely do. This stuff is awesome!)
Hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
Dill pickle slices

 

1. Cut up your chicken breasts. For sandwiches, use a whole breast, or if you like nuggets or strips, cut into smaller pieces accordingly. (Can I just say that some “popcorn” sized pieces thrown into a salad with honey mustard dressing is TO DIE FOR.)

Chick-Fil-A Knock Off Recipe - cut up chicken

 

2. Whisk egg and milk together. Add the chicken to this mixture and  let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes if possible (if not, this isn’t crucial, but let it sit as long as you can so the chicken will be juicier).

Chick-Fil-A Knock Off recipe - marinate chicken

 

3. Mix dry ingredients in a plastic zipper bag, bowl or plate.

Chick-Fil-A Knock Off Recipe - dry ingredients

 

4. Heat oil to 375 degrees (medium high- if you’re a hack like me who doesn’t have one of those fancy thermometer thingies). Dip your chicken pieces out of the milk mixture with a slotted spoon and dredge several pieces in the flour mixture. Fry until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack over newspaper.

Chick-Fil-A Knock Off Recipe - finished product
This is four full breasts (minus the half dozen nuggets I snacked on before taking the picture).

 

5. Serve on toasted buns with a pickle slice. (Be sure to rummage through the glove compartment of your car to see if you have any leftover Polynesian sauce to go with. If not, honey mustard or barbecue sauce are acceptable substitutes.) And don’t forget a side of waffle fries or french fries!

Chick-Fil-A Knock Off Recipe - final

 

Want some great (not nearly as great as CFA’s, of course) lemonade to wash it down with? Mix 2 cups of lemon juice (bottled or fresh squeezed), 2 cups of sugar, and 13 cups of water. Makes 1 gallon.

I’d love to hear back from you if you give this recipe a try.
Let me know what you think!


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.
Kitchen/Recipes, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Top 10 Money Saving, Time Saving Kitchen Hacks

Originally published October 30, 2014kitchen hacks

I’m a stay at home, home schooling mom with a large family, so we’ve had to make some -completely worth it- financial sacrifices to make that happen. We rarely eat out, and lots of convenience and froo froo foods are crazy expensive. Consequently, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, which I happen to love. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of fun finding creative ways to “beat the system” of spending too much money and wasting too much time. Here are my top ten favorite kitchen hacks:

1. Make your own “convenience” foods and items instead of buying them at the store.

It’s usually cheaper, often more healthful, and you can make larger or smaller batches than the store’s pre-packaged convenience size depending on your family’s needs. Here are three examples from the Satisfaction Through Christ blog: Haylee’s taco seasoning, Lauren’s home made cleaning products, and my copycat Chick-Fil-A recipe.

mayo-e14140868289102. Baked goods just tend to be moister and better with a little fat in them.

If you use low fat or skim milk, mix in a dollop (1-2 tablespoons) of mayonnaise or sour cream when you’re baking brownies, cakes, biscuits, or instant mashed potatoes. (A little cream cheese in the mashed potatoes is also good!)

 

3. If possible, make friends with your store’s stockers, butcher, etc.

First of all, making friends is a great way to share the gospel with them. Second, they can often alert you as to when items will be marked down or go on clearance. My husband often shops for me and has made friends with employees at a couple of stores. One employee explained to him how and when his store marks down meat. The employee from another store actually calls him whenever they’ve got a good clearance deal.

breadcrumbs-150x1504. What do you do with your bread ends, leftover dinner rolls, garlic bread, etc.?

I use them to make my own bread crumbs for breading pork chops or chicken, as filler for meatballs, and as garnish on top of baked pasta. Just put that bread through the food processor (I’ve found that it works better to freeze it first, so I save up a bunch of bread in the freezer until I’m ready to make a batch), and voila! You can also season it by adding powdered ranch dressing, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, or other spices. I like to mix in Italian seasonings and parmesan cheese and bread chicken breasts with it for chicken parmesan.

5. I have a bad habit of heading off to the store and forgetting my grocery list, so every time I update my list, I take a picture of it with my phone.

That way, it’s always with me, even if I decide to make an impromptu stop at the store while I’m out doing other errands. I also text the picture of the list to my husband to keep in his phone for when he stops by the store. There are several free grocery list apps available, too, if you like that method better.

10006923_861042400603362_8453181981795771252_n6. Large families with lots of kids would be better off just buying a cow.

Unfortunately, my neighborhood is not zoned for that. I also don’t have time for frequent milk shopping, plus the store with the cheapest milk prices isn’t very close to my house. What to do? Every month or so, I go to the store with the lowest prices on milk, buy five or six gallons and freeze them. You have to pour a little off the top of each gallon so the jug doesn’t crack (water expands as it freezes), but it works beautifully.

7. Substitutions are your friend.

They’re often cheaper and create less waste than buying the ingredient the recipe calls for and having most of it go bad because you only need a smidge. My two favorite substitutes are for buttermilk (add 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar to 1 c. milk and let stand 5 minutes) and baking chocolate (3 T. baking cocoa plus 1 T. shortening or oil).

taters-150x1508. “Leftovers” is such an unimaginative way to think of extras. I “upcycle” my left over food.

Leftover pork roast, ribs, brisket, and barbecued chicken can be boned (if necessary), then cooked down into pulled pork (or chicken) sandwiches. Strain mushrooms and onions out of your extra gravy or sauce to use in casseroles and roasts. Leftover baked potatoes can be made into mashed potatoes or potato soup. Extra vegetables go great in soups, too. Leftover baked or grilled chicken can be used in pasta or casseroles. I save my ham bones to stew into my red beans and rice, and the bones from whole baked chickens to boil for chicken stock (much better than the canned stuff).

9. Buy in bulk (when the per unit price is lower- sometimes it’s not), then repackage and/or freeze.

Large packages of ground beef can be reapportioned into one pound bags and frozen. Pork chops, chicken breasts, and leg quarters can be individually frozen (side by side on a large baking sheet, and covered), then repackaged. Buy produce, such as onions, bell peppers, and carrots, when they’re on sale, then chop and freeze. We buy large bags of cereal instead of boxes, then put smaller portions into plastic containers that are easier to pour and keep closed.

clearance-225x30010. Meat and other food items that are on clearance are not only a great way to save money, but they can really inspire you to cook imaginatively.

A clearance can of cheese soup “recipe starter” recently became a home made mac and cheese in my kitchen. Some thin sliced steak -which I’d never worked with before- led me to a recipe for steak sandwiches. Both were big hits with my family, and they always look forward to the next mystery meal. Also be aware of your store’s day old bread/bakery rack. Why make or buy expensive dinner rolls when you can get a loaf of french bread (or other great items) for a dollar or less?

First Corinthians 10:31 says:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

All. That means kitchen hacks, too. But how can kitchen hacks glorify God? When we save money and time in the kitchen, we’re able to invest those resources into Kingdom purposes, whether it’s something as simple as a few extra minutes to pray with your child or something as far-reaching as giving more money to missions. God gives us lots of opportunities each day to steward every moment for His glory.


this article was originally published at SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.