Friday, March 21, 2014

My Ode to Green Chili Mac n' Cheese

I love Mac n' Cheese! I mean LOVE! If there were three foods that I would want as a last meal they would be mac n' cheese, nachos, and ice cream. So, the other night I was wanting mac n' cheese and we didn't have any boxed kind in the house, so I resorted to making it from scratch. I was inspired by this incredible mac n' cheese that I had last summer while on vacation at the Manito Tap House, in Spokane, WA. Their's is a green chili mac n' cheese, and it is amazing. I know, cause I still think about it almost a year later. That is how I know if a food is good, I think about it later. Mmmmmmm............mac n' cheese bliss. Here is my ode to that mac n' cheese. 

Green Chili Mac n’ Cheese

  • 3 slices of bacon (reserve 2 Tbs. of the bacon grease)
  • 1 16oz. box of mini rigatoni
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 4 Tbs. flour
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded muenster cheese (or whatever white cheese you prefer that melts well)
  • 4 Tbs. green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1 green onion sliced thin
  • salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cook bacon until it is crisp. Crumble into small pieces. Remember to save the bacon grease.
  2. Cook the mini rigatoni according to the directions on the box.
  3. In sauce pan, on medium heat, combine butter and bacon grease.
  4. Add garlic and flour and whisk until combined. Cook for a minute or two.
  5. Add milk and continue to whisk. Sauce will thicken quickly.
  6. Add cheese, whisk until it is completely melted.
  7. Add green chili enchilada sauce, salt, and pepper, and whisk again.
  8. Combine mini rigatoni with sauce.
  9. Sprinkle bacon and green onion on top.
  10. Eat and enjoy! 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sewing Project -- Apron

Super Simple Sewing Project - Restaurant Style Apron

Here's the story. Gerrit decided that he needed his own apron for when he works shifts at a Mexican restaurant. Of course I agreed to make him one. Originally we wanted to find some chili pepper fabric (figuring that would fit well with a Mexican restaurant.) Couldn't find any, so he settled for the next best manly thing, pirates. Actually it is a really cute... er, um, uh I mean manly, print. The project was really easy and quick. No pattern needed and only basic sewing skills. Also, as you can see Gerrit looks oh so swashbuckling in it. ;) Here are the directions.

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 30 - 45 minutes
Materials Needed:
  • 3/4 yard print fabric
  • 3/4 yard sold fabric for lining
  • thread (I used a heavy weight thread to make it more durable.)
  • scissors
  • pins
  • marker
  • ruler
  • sewing machine
  1. Cut two pieces (one from print and one from solid) of fabric 24 inches wide x 14 inches long. You can easily adjust the size for what you need. Since you won't see the markings, I used a marker to mark where to cut.
  2. Cut two pieces (one from print and one from solid) of fabric 24 inches wide x 8 inches long.
  3. Cut 2 inch strips of material for the tie. Use either print or solid material and use as many strips as needed to make the tie the desired length. 
  4. With right sides together sew, 1/2 inch seam, the top of the pocket material together. 
  5. Turn and press the seam flat.
  6. Sew a 1/4 inch seam across the top of the pocket.
  7. Put pocket on front of apron material, then put apron lining material, right sides together over that and pin it. 
  8. Sew, 1/2 inch seam, around sides and bottom of apron.
  9. Turn right side out and press.
  10. Sew, 1/4 inch seam, around sides and bottom of apron. 
  11. Divide the pocket into four equal sections, or desired pocket sizes. 
  12. Sew a seam down each section of the pocket.
  13. Press the tie material in half, then press each half in half. It will look like bias tape. 
  14. Pin the tie to the top of the apron. Put apron material between the two sides of the tie material. 
  15. Sew 1/4 inch seam down the entire tie. 
  16. And your done! Finished apron.  

Rachel & Leah

Leah and Rachel were the original sister wives. They were the wives of Jacob. One was loved and wanted as a wife; the other became a wife through the deception. Jacob was honorable and fulfilled his role as husband to both, but he truly only loved one. Rachel was the woman that Jacob had asked for and worked seven year to have as a wife.
Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his live for her.  Genesis 29:18-20
The problem with Jacob having Rachel for a wife was that she was the younger daughter. It was customary back then for the oldest to marry first. This is why Laban deceived Jacob and gave him Leah as his wife instead.

Now, the Bible says that Leah “had weak eyes” (Gen. 29:17.) When I read this my first thought is that she had some sort of eye condition, or was partially blind, and therefore less desirable to have as a wife. That is how I would interpret it. After doing some research though, I found some other opinions of what “weak eyes” meant. A lot of Jewish commentaries said that “weak eyes” is referring to her lamenting. Her eyes were red and swollen from much crying. They say that she was lamenting at the possibility of having to marry Esau, the older brother of Jacob, which she did not want to do. Leah is said to be a righteous woman. Jacob did not love Leah as he did Rachel though.

Rachel on the other hand “was lovely in form, and beautiful” (Gen. 29:17.) Rachel was the sister that Jacob intended to have as a wife. She was pleasing to him. So much so that Jacob was willing to work for Laban for another seven years in order to have her as his wife. After all, “he loved Rachel more than Leah” (Gen. 29:30.)

God saw Leah and knew that she was not loved, so He allowed her to have children (Gen. 29:31.) Leah gave birth to a son. Having a child and particularly a son was important. Leah was blessed by the birth of a son.
“It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:32
Leah had four sons before she was no longer able to have children, or at least it seemed. One of which was Judah. This is significant because Judah is in the lineage of Jesus (Matt. 1:3.) Leah played a part in the genealogy of Jesus, and that is a very blessed thing.

The fact that Leah had given Jacob four sons and Rachel was not able to have any children made Rachel jealous. Rachel was real dramatic about it too.
            So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die.” Genesis 30:1b
Jacob knew that it wasn’t his fault, even though she tried to blame him. Rachel took matters into her own hands and gave her servant to Jacob to bear children for her. Rachel’s servant bore two sons. Her response to the second son was, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won” (Gen. 30:7.) Then Leah seeing that she couldn’t have more children gave her servant to Jacob, and her servant bore him a son.

At this point I have started feeling sorry for Jacob. He is the man in the middle of two sisters at war. Then the story gets a little crazier. They use Jacob as a bartering tool for mandrakes (which are orange to red berries that resemble small tomatoes.)
During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. Genesis 30:14-16 
Leah then gave Jacob two more sons and a daughter. 

After this, finally Rachel had a child, Joseph. As you may remember Joseph became a pretty important guy and the favorite son of his father Jacob.

Rachel later made a big mistake though. When Jacob decided that it was time to leave Laban, his father-in-law, and return to his homeland, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. Laban found out they were stolen and wasn’t happy about it. God warned him to not harm Jacob or his family though. Jacob and no one else knew what Rachel had done. In fact Jacob said that if anyone in his family took the gods that they should die. Rachel was clever about her deception though.
So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maid servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing. Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.  Genesis 31:33-35
The Bible doesn’t mention if the gods that Rachel took were ever found. But, why did Rachel take them? They weren’t the God that Jacob served. Was she holding on to her old traditions, her old family ways? It seems that way. Rachel was deceptive in what she did though. This doesn’t shed a light of righteousness on her.

There is a contrast between Leah and Rachel. Rachel may have been outwardly beautiful, but she doesn’t seem to be a woman filled with righteousness. Leah on the other hand may not have been as beautiful, but she was righteous. So often the greater emphasis and importance is put on the outwardly beauty. God on the other hand cares more for what is on the inside. Righteous living will always outweigh beauty any day. There is nothing wrong with being beautiful, but always pursue righteousness! Be a Leah, not a Rachel.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Give Away -- Heart Wide Open

As a disclaimer, I have not read this book......yet. Sounds good though, and I would like to read it. Anyhow, the author, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, is giving away a fantastic gift basket in celebration of her book release. Anyone is welcome to enter the drawing. I have entered. Why not? Give aways are fun! Here is the book trailer for Heart Wide Open. 

Here is a note from Shellie about the give away.
Hello there!

To those of you that will be requesting and reviewing my book, Heart Wide Open I just wanted to say bless your heart and many thanks.

So, the big news is that we are inching ever so close to the book launch on March 18th. I'm in the middle of more details than you can shake a stick at as I try to juggle the lovely chaos of a book launch along with the regularly scheduled chaos that is my life. But, then, I'm thinking your life is probably equally full and you'd appreciate it if I would get to my reason for being in your inbox. Good point. I'll go there now.

Since hopefully you will soon review Heart Wide Open on your blog, there's good news straight ahead. All bloggers will be able to offer their readers a chance to win my Heart Wide Open Gift Basket. They can register by leaving a comment for you on your blog and filling out this simple online form that will allow me to collect all the names for the big drawing to be held on the first day of April. And that's no April Fool's!

What’s in the Heart Wide Open Gift Basket, you ask?
  • A beautiful wallboard inscribed with these words from the Song of Solomon, "Come and awaken love and when I find him I won't let him go."
  • A beautiful coffee mug bearing this sentiment, "Heart you to the moon and back."
  • A Bird of Paradise heart shaped candle
  • A Heart Shaped Keepsake Box
  • A Red and White Chevron Design Scarf
  • Heart Wide Open T-Shirt (winner to designate size)
  • A $50 Amazon Gift Certificate
  • And, of course, a copy of Heart Wide Open
Now, that, my friends, that is a gift basket! Am I right?



Happy Friday & Happy Give Aways! Remember leave a comment on my blog if you enter the give away.