Friday, September 30, 2011

Dear Carnita.. where have you been all my life?

Ok, hands down , these are the best tacos around.. I was skeptical, I like my beef tacos.. Unfortunately, these are WAY better, and I will never look at tacos in the same way.. Just sayin', they are THAT good! And the raja's recipe at the bottom was perfect compliment! Nothing else was even needed for the tacos..
Carnita's ( Tacos )

Enjoy!

Ingredients

3 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces (or buy pre-cut pork stew meat)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 jalapeños, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup chicken stock

16 corn tortillas, warmed

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Toss pork with garlic, jalapeños, cumin, salt and pepper. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to roasting pan and add orange juice, lime juice and chicken stock. Cover tightly (you don't want to lose the steam from a loose fitting lid) and place in oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until meat is very tender. If juices cook out, add more chicken stock.

Allow pork to cool and absorb remaining juices. Shred meat with a fork.

To serve, pass warmed tortillas and allow each person to make their own tacos.

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Basic Chile Poblano Rajas

You can use different peppers or seasonings but this is a good basic recipe, by Rick Bayless.

I N G R E D I E N T S
4 medium, fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled ( I used canned whole green chiles, cut into strips )
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2/3 cup crema, whipping cream, or broth
1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (thyme, Mexican oregano, marjoram)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon (to taste, adjust as needed if using broth with salt)

I N S T R U C T I O N S
Chiles: Stem and seed the roasted chiles. You can remove the veins if you want a more mild rajas. Slice the chiles crosswise into 1/4" strips.

Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat and fry the onions until they brown, about 7 -8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chile strips, cook 2 minutes.

Add the cream or broth, herbs, and bay leaves and simmer until the liquid reduces enough to just coat the vegetables. Remove the bay leaves, taste and adjust salt as needed.

Our Last Great Hope...

In reading Ronnie Floyd's latest book, " One Last Great Hope",
I was both glad to read it, as I have read a few other books he has penned ,and enjoyed reading them. But at the same time, in this latest book, it just didn't quite meet the flavor if you will, of his previous books.

I have met the Pastor on several occasions, while visiting friends of mine who attend his very large church in Arkansas. I have enjoyed during those times, drawing wisdom, biblical knowledge, as well as encouragement in my own walk with Christ. I very much appreciate his desire to bring others to Christ, in Northwest Arkansas, and the world, as he often says .
However, this book, I have to honestly say , was not just about finding the reasons to share Christ with the world, but it was seeming to bring the man, Ronnie Floyd , in more of the equation than I am comfortable in reading. Don't get me wrong, his heart is to serve the Lord, and minister hope to the nations. But there just seemed to be to much " me " in his writing this time, and that made it very difficult for me this time to want to complete reading the entire book. I did that, yes, but honestly, it was hard..

I do find it very convicting in what he shares, and it has drawn my own thoughts closer to what is the real deal for the church as a whole. Do we sit in the same pews, waiting on others to share the Gospel, or do we get moving ourselves, and live out what the Great Commission is really about?

While I don't necessarily believe I can fully endorse this book as a " great read" , I can say it will in some ways, challenge the reader , to look beyond their comfort zones of spirituality, and think for themselves what it means to " Be Jesus" to those whose only hope is to see others living faithfully, and honestly for the Lord. Sometimes, it is US who is Jesus to those who won't step inside the church door - whether because of personal shame, and experiences in life that Christians shy away form , or from experiences INSIDE the church where the only thing they might see, or hear is about money, or the " me, me, me's " that often times pastors project from the pulpit.

For a book to inspire, or to sit and read as you would any other reading , then this is good for that. But for a deeper read, using more scriptural references, then I would have to honestly say, it is not a great read for study.. It just seemed to me, to be , another man's views of what he feels the world of believers needs to hear..this is not a bad thing.. it is an important part of what readers need to hear from true , and strong believers in the Lord Jesus Christ..open transparency about the faith they have, and why it is lived out in the every day world in which they take part in.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a free copy of this book as part of their bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Scrappy Happy Heart..a Friendship in the making..

A dear friend of mine loves dragonfly's.. she has MANY dragonfly's all over her house, her office, and I would suspect, in her dreams.. she simply loves, loves, loves those flittery ( is that a word? lol ) little creatures that make me smile in thinking about them.

I decided to do what my passion calls, and that was to make Jenn a quilt, because that is my passion. I might not be THAT good at it, yet, or proficient at making perfect seams, and mitred corners, but one thing I am good at is loving to create out of scraps for someone special.. even if I have not met them in person, or if they are recipients of quilts for donations which I have done to various organizations.

Jenn, well she is my very DEAR friend, whom I laugh with sometimes, vent to sometimes, threaten a tear with,sometimes.. She is one that relates to me, and I relate to her.. She is my friend whose presence in my life has greatly encouraged me every time we talk..

This quilt is for her

She loves blues, greens, and I love purple, so using my favorite way of cleaning house, I did it in a scrappy technique.. I had an old flannel sheet with a hole in it, and cut that up into squares to use as my foundation block. I then turned a pretty shade of " green" as I went thru my scrap basket , pulling out all the shades that eventually made up this strip quilt. I hope she likes it.. well I know she does, since I already showed her a photo of it. lol.. good thing too, because I am not wanting to re-clean my sewing room by her giving back all those pretty little scraps making up the colorful blocks. Shes my friend, yes, but I don't want her scraps!

Doing Well at Being Sick.. A book review

In reading the book, " Doing Well at Being Sick: Living with Chronic and Acute Illness", the author, Wendy Wallace , hit on topics that hit close to home , both medically, and emotionally in my own journey of living with physical hardship.
Questions that I have had many times , about how my day to day struggles with health issues can allow me to do things that bring me joy, and fun - when knowing that some days I am so wiped out, I can't do anything but bring frustration to those I might disappoint.
Wendy Wallace writes , from her own struggles, which are MANY, of what to do with that guilt that comes when having to disappoint, or burdening her own loved ones. This topic/ question is one that ANY who live with chronic illness of any kind, whether it is physical or emotional in nature can fully say " I feel that guilt , too. How do I get rid of it? "..
This book, written from half personal experience, and half scholastic, will bring those hurting, or their caregivers/ family/ friends a deeper awareness of how to embrace the trials that we have in a journey of illness. Though the book is written from a Christian standpoint, it is , however, a book that speaks deep to the heart of anyone, Christian or not.
It drew me, as a reader, into the practical, honest, and heart rendering view of how best to deal with struggles that I have struggled with in the past, and gives me hope, to deal with struggles in the future - and it is with encouragement in Ms Wallaces' transparency, that I know I will make it day to day, with the steps of personal growth that I have found in between the two covers of this book. A book, difficult in the reason it was written, but so easy to read by the writing ease that Wendy Wallaces' style of writing takes her reader on.
The book was provided to me through the publisher, Discover House for review. I am writing my own thoughts, as they are, as I am under no obligation to post only positive remarks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet Hour of Prayer.. a journey in Song...

In reviewing for Discovery House Publishers ( thank you Katy Pent) , the CD " Sweet Hour of Prayer" which included devotional readings from Oswald Chambers , author of " My Utmost for His Highest" ,and selections from hymns of old, I was led on a pilgrimage of spiritual lessons from the daily writings, and classical musical pieces of well known hymns such as:

Sweet Hour of Prayer
Take my Life and Let it Be
When Morning Gilds the Skies
and the favorite, I Need Thee Every Hour..and 9 other beloved hymns of the Christian faith.

Narration was quiet, gently flowing readings that led me to thinking about what Oswald Chambers was conveying in his writing. Not one to like "books on tape" for the fact they put me to sleep, I found myself both quieted in spirit, yet fully alive to wanting to be in the presence of God, as each song, complimented the entire CD. From gentle flowing musical selections, to powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in each writing,this CD, and it's contributors ,ministered great peace to my soul, even in the busyness of life.

Each reading selection, taken from the book I currently am using as a daily devotional, was shared with the listening audience, knowing that each one would be quick to listen to, yet powerful enough in it's presentation to remember, and think about the entire day. Because of my own personal time of reading the actual book, listening to the songs in the background just heightened the experience of the morning knowing I was being ministered to in a deeper way.

I will say, in all honesty, it would not be one I would choose to purchase on my own. I found myself day dreaming to the classical ensemble, because I like classical music - and as the premise of the CD was to me, a daily devotion, I found it hard to concentrate on the message of Oswald Chamber's writing.

This would be a very good devotional project for those that are home bound, and who would like music, as well as listening as a " book on tape" would be for their quiet time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Call Away.. A Journey of Strength

"One call away" , written by Brenda Warner, is a true-life story written from the heart of a woman, whose challenges in life , from a child with extraordinary needs, to the death of both parents by an act of nature, all show the true character of one woman who took life by the horns, and turned hardship into a personal success story.
This memoir, of Brenda Warner, mother, wife of well known NFL player, Kurt Warner, showed that even through devastating events in life, or challenging, and painful hardships in an earlier marriage, and subsequent divorce, her life by her choice, was willing to be rebuilt because of faith in God, and personal choice to live to the best of her ability. Brenda Warner showed true grit , just as the Marine attitude that began to be instilled in her since her high school years, as her story led me, as a reader, on her personal journey into healing, and personal ministry to many others who hurt as she once hurt.
This book made me feel as if my struggles in life are conquerable, and if I pull myself up by the same sorts of bootstraps that Brenda wore, I , too , can accomplish whatever my mind sets out do to, no matter the situations that life might present to me in that journey.
Brenda , as a down to earth, detailed, and straight forward writer, is clearly a strong woman, made stronger by her faith. God gave Brenda Warner a purpose and a plan, and as she walked by faith, and probably by a little guts thrown in, she earned her place of true Godly character, and to me, that kept me glued to the entire 354 pages of her journey..I was deeply humbled by her honesty written about sensitive matters, while at the same time, I was inspired , strengthened, and also greatly blessed and encouraged.
This is a book , in my opinion , not for those that want some light hand holding as you read. It is a book that will challenge even the one whose life is difficult , and painful, to see outside the box, and begin to work steps to accomplish your own dreams, even through challenges.. Ms Warner instills strength ( by her faith in God ) to those that believe their lives are not worth the fight - she instills courage, and grace , and that only can come from one who personally experienced the same..
I have read this free book, from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.