Monday, January 25, 2016

Favorite Greek Bean Soup (Fasolia Yachni)

Let me first just say, this isn't a "Soup." 
Fasolia Yachni (Greek Bean Soup)

It is a hearty "Ospria" dish (Ospria being Greek for Legume). In English, it is sometimes called "Red Beans" - not because the Beans are Red, but because the White Beans are cooked in a Mild, Red Tomato Sauce.

But, to my American mind - growing up with all sorts of Soups that had almost no Broth, like Chili and Appalachian Soup Beans, it seems proper to call it soup.

Whatever you want to call it, it's a favorite recipe in our house : )

This is one of those rare recipes that I consider it well-worth chopping fresh veggies for, rather than using the frozen short-cut veggies from the grocery. Since the veggies provide the central character of the dish - both flavor and texture, "Fresh" really makes a difference here!

It's a homey, satisfying, unpretentiously healthy dish, easy to make.

Greek Bean Soup (Fasolia Yachni)
Saute until vegetables begin to get tender
2 Tablespoons Oil (Oil is traditional, but optional - it may be omitted, or greatly increased, as you prefer)
2 Cups Chopped Onion
2 Cups Chopped Carrots
2 Cups Chopped Celery
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic (I use the kind from a Jar that I buy in the produce section)
Then Add
1 Can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes with their Liquid
2 Cans Water (refill Tomato Can to measure)
1 (48 oz) Jar Randall Great Northern Beans (or 3 cans, 14.5 oz each, any brand) with their liquid
2 to 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Pinch Cayenne
Simmer till Veggies are tender - about 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve with Crusty Bread, Salad & Olives.

Tips for Dining with Omnivores: This is a hearty dish that is filling, so Omnivores won't leave the table feeling hungry if this is all they eat. It is a hearty dish that will even appeal to the "meat-and-potatoes" diner. BUT, if you have an Omnivore who cannot leave the table without having eaten meat, consider offering a Cheese & Cold Cuts tray alongside. Tuna also goes nicely with this meal.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

The ONE Sin God Doesn't Care About

Offering our time is one of the main ways we show Love.
There is one sin that everyone assures me that God doesn't really care about. It is probably the most popular sin for modern Christians to commit. The one everyone thinks is so unimportant that no one even talks about.  Most of us have committed this sin recently, and didn't even give it a second thought.

Most modern Christians think that this sin has no consequences, and that they can love God just as much without obeying it. Since most of us commit it, we've decided that it's easier to just say it's not a sin than to try to change our ways.

Yet let me describe what the effects of this sin are. This sin:

  • It keeps your non-Christian neighbor from going to Church if you invite her. In fact, she'll probably tell you that this sin of yours is why she won't go. And you won't even think to feel guilty about it. This one sin of ours demonstrates that we're not as concerned about that lost sheep as we should be.
  • It keeps your Christian neighbor from being as close to God as he'd like to be.

  • This sin might demonstrate to our Children that other priorities - such as School Exams or Sports, or Social events, are more important to us than God is.  And - consequently, it is probably a primary, but unrecognized reason that many teens leave Church.
  •  It may indicate that money on the throne of our lives - where God should be. 
  •  It makes our Churches cut back their programs and offer us less Spiritual nourishment.
  • Because of all the above effects, it may well be the number one reason that our world is growing Spiritually cold.  
  • It makes the work we do for God less productive, and it keeps us from receiving the Blessings He wants to give us.
  • Every denomination or group of Christians worldwide thought that this sin was of central importance 100 years ago or so, and the Bible emphasizes it over and over again - but now it is almost universally disregarded - and it's rare to even hear a sermon against it. In fact, many clergy endorse it.
  •  None of us in the modern world is innocent of it.

But, is it possible that God does care about this sin, even though everyone tells me He doesn't?

People tell me that He cares A LOT about the sins the world commits outside the Church - but this one sin that Christians commit doesn't matter to Him. Despite all the damage it does, people assure me that God doesn't mind. But, He gave us a commandment about it

What is this "minor" sin?

Failing to Honor the Lord's Day. 

  • This sin keeps your non Christian neighbor out of Church because she has to work on Sunday morning so that you can shop or eat out after Church. The local Grocery tells me that their busiest time all week is Sunday late morning/early afternoon. This means that many Christians are planning to do their shopping on Sunday after Church - thereby keeping their neighbors who don't know God from ever attending Church!
  • A professional sporting event that takes place on the Lord's Day keeps thousands of people out of Church for an entire season every year (players, coaches, stadium personnel, broadcasters, concession stand employees, parking attendants, and of course, spectators)
  • It also keeps your Christian neighbor out of Church because he has to work on Sunday too - even if he doesn't want to (and, of course, I'm not speaking here of work that must be done on the Lord's Day with God's blessing - such as Priest, Trauma Surgeon or Police officer!)

  • It may show our Children that God isn't as important as studying for exams, playing that soccer tournament, or going to a school dance late on Saturday night, because we choose those things in preference to the Lord's Day over and over again. We can't expect our teens to stay in Church when we've clearly demonstrated to them that God is a lower priority than these other commitments & entertainments.

  • When we work on the Lord's Day for money what does that say about our priorities? Many jobs even offer a bonus for doing unnecessary work on the Lord's Day.

  • Have you ever heard a clergyman say, "Church has to be done by 11:00 (or 12:00) so that people can enjoy the rest of the day." and for that reason not offer more teaching or programs? I have - in lots of different denominations or religious groups. God doesn't say that we should devote 1 hour of the week to Him - He says we should devote one day of the week to Him!
  • When we have other plans for the remainder of the Lord's Day, those plans often occupy our minds, and steal our focus from our Worship of the Lord, even if we don't physically leave services early to go engage in other activities.
  • If we, as Christians,  don't put God first in our lives on the First Day of every week, is it any wonder that our Country is growing away from God?

  • If we don't have enough faith in God to rest like He commands on His Day, and let Him see to it that our work is productive and our needs are cared for instead of stressing ourselves out trying to produce, is it any wonder that we are consumed by stress?

In our modern culture, this is a VERY hard sin to avoid - for me as much as for the next person - but each of us can start by improving in this area!

The Lord's Day is supposed to be a day of Worshiping Him, Rest, Joy & Refreshment - not a day of burden as some wrongly suppose. Remember, God gives us rules for our good. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

And, there aren't any sins that God doesn't care about - because God LOVES us, and sin HURTS us.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make it a top priority to go to Church on the Lord's Day.
  • Eat at home or at Church on the Lord's Day - avoiding restaurants when possible.
  • Insist that your kids put away their school books on the Lord's Day. This will make the rest of the studying they do more productive, as God will bless their efforts to obey Him. It will also give them joy in the Lord's Day.
  • Ask your boss about trading Sunday work for some other time. Often, if you're willing to trade and work on Friday or Saturday night - when others want to go out - you can get Sunday off!
  • Re-examine any family commitments - such as sports - which take place on the Lord's Day. If something is scheduled on the Lord's Day in an activity that doesn't normally take place at that time - then speak up - don't just let your Faith be trampled on.
  • If you blog, consider taking a break from your blog on the Lord's Day.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

A Week of 15 Minute Soups for the Stove Top (GF, Vegan)

So, you come home in the evening, and you want a hot, comforting, satisfying meal. Healthy, not heavy. And, you'd like to eat in the next 15 to 20 minutes, without having a lot of hassle. Did I mention that you didn't think ahead and fill the slow cooker this morning? 

With these recipes, you can be sitting down to eat in 15 to 20 minutes - just add salad and bread and you've got a quick, home made meal!  

Of course, you don't have to eat these all the same week - but you can if you want to! 

Besides being easy, quick, and healthy, these soups are also frugal AND can be part of your lower-calorie diet plan, if you like.  

Broccoli Soup


 Mediterranean Zucchini Soup  

 Moroccan Carrot Soup

Vacation Soup  
(for a gluten-free option, substitute rice for pasta, or use your favorite gluten-free pasta)

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