Galations 2:20-21

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." Galations 2:20-21

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Okay, so I LOVE cheesy noodley foods. Even though I don't look it, I do have Italian blood.

Friday I had a fun day making tortellini. It's actually quite easy. I'm not going to post the recipe, but here is what I did...

I whipped up some egg noodle dough.
(I love my Kitchen Aid mixer!)

After filling with a mix of delicious cheeses,
I formed a traditional tortellini shape.

Many trays of tortellini. I put most of them
in the freezer, but we did eat some fresh for dinner.

Here is a little taste tester snack with olive oil & Parmesan cheese...yummy!
Notice Byron's miniature robot thing in the background.

My Babe enjoying homemade tortellini w/ my homemade meat sauce.

Wednesday I'll be making Raviolis with my mom and sister!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Friends

Friday night Byron helped out with the youth group's outreach concert by doing "security" with some of the other men from our church. I thought of this as a great opportunity to hang out with one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.

Julianne and I have been friends ever since her father began pastoring Fox Valley Church about 13 or so years ago. Even though our lives have taken us in different directions (and we never got to rent an apartment together and make batches of cookie dough to eat right out of the bowl), we still have managed to keep our friendship going throughout the years. No matter how long it's been since we've seen each other...or how much has changed, it seems like we are still the two girls playing in her crawl space having secret meetings of our Lisa Frank club.

It was so wonderful to chat it up about boys (Byron and Calvin, of course), work, life, and even reminisce about the past. We also rented a chick flick, P.S. I Love You. Surprisingly, she didn't fall asleep this time (a common thing that would happen at childhood sleepovers). Sorry Michele...neither of us recommend the movie, but we had a great time anyway ;).

Even though the 'best friend' title now goes to my loving husband, Julianne will always be my 'best girlfriend' ;). So, here's to good friends....I love you, Jul!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sinner's Prayer

While Reading the book of Acts the other day, I realized the people who were believing in Christ were getting baptized right away-immediately. It's like the two went hand in hand. Baptism was their first confession of faith. I want be clear that I am NOT implying salvation by baptism. What I really want to point out is that it seems that salvation and baptism were very closely linked. It's like you wouldn't think of one without the other. I wonder if the "sinners prayer" has now replaced baptism or at least the significance of it.

A lot of times at the end of a sermon a pastor will say something this, "if you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and would like to today, please pray this prayer with me: 'Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen'"( Most likely this person will leave church that day without anyone else knowing they prayed this prayer.

I remember as a child I would pray a prayer similar to this every month or so for a while. I just wanted to "make sure" I was okay with God. Maybe the real question is what does it mean to be saved? But that's a different post for a different day.

Another thing to point out is that the first century Christians immediately starting telling everyone they knew and met about Jesus after being baptized. The gospel was just gushing out of these people. Why have we strayed from this practice? Why do a lot of Christians today wait months or even years to get baptized after being saved (me being one of them)? Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What to do with those pesky leftovers

Today I got to do one of my favorite things-cook the day away! One of the things I like to do with our leftovers is make "hot pockets." I really want to come up with a more original name for them, but I haven't come up with anything creative yet.

I like to use the crust recipe I used to make my pot pie. A recipe of dough makes about 8-12 pockets. I quadrupled this recipe today.

All I do is take about a handful of dough and roll it out into a circle (or something close to it). Then I take my filling in put in on one half of the dough and fold the other half over. I then press the dough all around for a good seal. I cut off the excess dough leaving a little extra dough around the edge. Next, I fold the edge and crimp it with a fork to make a better seal. You can make these as big or as small as you want to.

Today, I filled some with my leftover pot pie filling from the night before and added some cheddar cheese for extra goodness.

I also made breakfast pockets for Byron. I scrambled up some eggs (mostly whites & added low fat milk for more substance). I also add about 2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese. I added some proscuitto in a few pockets for a special treat.

I made pizza pockets as well. I cooked up some ground sausage and filled the pockets with pizza sauce, sausage and mozzarella cheese. So yummy. The picture below is a variation on this.
These are what I like to call
"Pizza 2-Bites"
When you have your pockets filled and crimped, you want to cook them right away. I tried freezing them and cooking them when I wanted to eat them, but that didn't work. Cooking it first works the best. I heat up a pan of about a half cup of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add pockets to pan, but don't crowd. Flip to other side when browned. Try not to cook too fast or the crust won't be done all the way through. I then lay some paper towels on a platter and let the pockets cool on the platter.

At this time you can either (1) Put them in freezer bags and freeze them up to a month (2) Put in freezer bags and into the fridge for up to a week (3) Eat them right away!

If you decide to use methods 1 or 2 here is how you reheat. Byron and I have a toaster oven, so this works out great. We put our toaster oven on "bake" mode and turn it to 400 degrees. We cook for about 10-12 minutes. Byron likes to cook his on "toast" mode for few more minutes for some extra crunch.
*Make sure that all your filling is cooked before using it in your pockets.*

Some other ideas:
Apple Crisp Pies: I had some leftover apple crisp a couple weeks ago and filled my pockets with that. When the pockets were done cooking and sprinkled a cinnamon and sugar mixture on top (you have to do this right away so it will stick). This makes a delightful little dessert.
Chili Pockets: I had some leftover chili and filled the pockets with chili and cheese. Yummy.
Turkey & Cheese: I used deli sliced oven roasted turkey, cheddar cheese and frozen broccoli (uncooked). These are a perfect lunch.

*The possibilities are only limited to your imagination*

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

Today was just the perfect day for chicken pot pie. I got up this morning to make the filling, crust, and put it all together before I went to work.

I'm not really good at sticking by a recipe when it comes to cooking. I usually find a bunch of recipes for a particular thing and then make up my own "recipe."

Here is how I made my chicken pot pie. It is more of a guideline than an actually recipe (oh no, I think I'm turning into my grandmother!).

Racquel's Chicken Pot Pie

1 medium sized yellow onion, finely chopped

About 3-4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

About 2 cups carrots, diced

About 1 cup celery, chopped

About 1 1/2 - 2 cups of frozen peas

About 2 lbs of chicken (white or dark meat), diced or shredded and cooked

About 2 cups water (or chicken stock, low sodium)

Chicken Bullion, low sodium (eliminate if using stock)

About 3 cups of low fat milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

Single pie crust recipe (I have searched for a long time for a versatile crust recipe that is quick and easy. I finally found a crust recipe that works for a number of different things!)

Okay, so here is how I do this. I heat the oil in a big stock pot on medium heat and then add the onions. I cook the onions until they are translucent. I then add the potatoes, carrots, celery. I add the water & bullion (or stock) and the milk. I let this mixture cook on low-medium heat for about 20 minutes. I then add the chicken and the peas and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes or so. After it starts to boil and thicken up a little, I add a few tablespoons of flower to give it some extra thickness. You can make it as thick or thin as you want. I usually add a little bit of salt and cracked pepper to taste. At this time, you can take the filling off the heat and let it cool for a little bit. Filling doesn't have to be completely cooled before preparing the pie(s).

While your filling is cooking, you can make your crust. I use a single top crust on my pot pies. I have used a top and bottom crust in the past, but the bottom one always seems be soggy no matter what I do. You can use your favorite pie crust recipe or the recipe I linked to above. If I double the recipe of dough, I can get 3-4 pies out of it. The filling recipe will make about the same. I almost always have a little filling leftover, but that's great. It can make a great second meal over some of your favorite rice.

Grease your pan(s) and scoop the desired amount of filling into your pie pan or any corning ware or other creative ways to do it work as well. Since I always make a big batch when I do this, I have get creative only having one pie pan. If you are planning on freezing, it is nice to purchase some of those aluminum disposable pans from the grocery store, so you don't have all your pans tied up.

After you put your filling in your pan(s) you can roll out your dough to cover your filling. Make sure you make it bigger than your pan. Lay over the top and crimp edge with a fork or your fingers. It doesn't have to be fancy. Make sure before baking you cut slits in the crust for ventilation.

Before baking, brush a little egg wash on the crust to give it a nice golden color. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. A good rule of thumb is to bake it on a cooking sheet in case of spillage.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add as much or little of a veggie at your hearts desire. You can different veggies that you like or not use one you don't like. It's all up to you.

You can freeze the extras for up to 1 month or so. I also have some other things I do with the leftover filling and other leftovers that will post in the near future.

I just love all the warm comfort foods that fall and winter brings. Oooooooh, I love cooking!

*This is actually a pretty low fat and healthy meal. I used olive oil instead of butter and low fat milk instead of heavy cream (like a lot of recipes said to use). Just keep the salt to a minimum and you have a warm, healthy fantastic meal.*

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Relaxing Weekend

I love weekends with no plans or agenda. Friday night Byron and I hunkered down and watched The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (I haven't previously seen any of these movies).

Saturday, we purchased some storage shelves for the basement and did some major "fall cleaning." Our house stays pretty clean and organized for the most part, but it always stresses me out when I open up a closet or cabinet door and stuff is either falling out or there isn't room for anything else. After a long day of organization, it feels really good. From time to time I've actually opened up a closet door just to admire it. I know-pathetic.

Saturday night we went to support my parents in hosting a college aged group through our church. Good fellowship and study on Matthew 5.

Sunday, we ushered during the second service at church, went out to lunch with the fam., and did some grocery shopping for Byron's breakfasts (recipe to be posted soon). Now we are just relaxing on the couch together and are going to watch The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers very soon here. The best part of the whole weekend was lots of cuddling with my hubby!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Book Recommendation

Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola & George Barna is one of the many books on my "to read list."

I finished this book yesterday. Although I do think the authors may have exaggerated some things in this book, I think it is a fantastic book for every Christian. They go from the 1st century to present day, from the roots of the steeple to the sermon. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore the roots of our church practices.

This book was both enlightening and helped me to think about why we do what we do on Sunday mornings in a way I never thought about before.

Monday, November 3, 2008


What is church? The Lord has impressed this question upon my heart as well as Byron’s. Byron’s had this question floating around in his mind for far longer than I, but within the last 6 months or so I have been on a “quest” or “journey”, if you will, to find out the New Testament/Covenant model of a church. What does the word church mean? Why do we do the things we do when we come together on Sunday mornings? Where do they all stem from? What does Jesus say about all this? What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

Of course, the first place we are searching is in God’s Word. We also purchased several books. One book we are reading right now is called Organic Church by Neil Cole. After surfing around the internet Monday night, I found a website for the Church Multiplication Associates (CMA) who’s Executive Director is Neil Cole. After looking around the website I found that they were having a conference at Moody Bible Institute THIS weekend (well technically last weekend now) about the organic church “movement”. I showed Byron the website and we decided to be spontaneous and go to the conference. I am not a very spontaneous person, so this was a little out of my comfort zone to do something like this.

We got some great insight and now feel that we are able to put words to some of our thoughts we’ve been having. It was about a classroom size of 30 people, so it was nice and intimate. We were able to meet and talk with some people (and make contacts) in our area who are practicing some of the principles we learned. Although our journey continues, we are looking forward to what the Lord has in store for our future as His disciples.

I know this post was a little broad, but there will be more posts to come on this subject in the near future.

Please comment with your thoughts.