Sunday, January 28, 2018

Super Simple Pan Roasted Bacon Brussel Sprouts

     Making Brussel sprouts always seems to upgrade a meal. I'm not sure if it is just that I don't throw them in the microwave like so many vegetables, or if they're cooked rather than just tossing a salad,  but they feel "fancy".

   And my family loves them! Thankfully, they are ridiculously easy to make. So many of my recipes have "Super Simple" in the title, because to me, that is their chief attribute. Of course, they're delicious, but let's be honest: I'm not making anything on a regular basis that isn't stupidly easy. But that doesn't have quite as nice of a ring to it. ;)

 These take maybe 10 minutes from start to finish, and serve 2-4, depending on portion sizes.

You'll need:
-four strips of heat and serve bacon (you can use raw bacon, but it will take a bit more time)
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp. butter
-a cup of onion, sliced (I cut the onion in half, then slice it, then I cut the slices in half again)
-fresh Brussel sprouts, 8-10 oz.

    First, you will want to slightly steam your brussel sprouts to make sure you end up with a tender final product. I bought a heat-in-the-bag type from Trader Joe's and I popped it in the microwave for two minutes. If you prefer, you can also bring an inch or so of water to a boil in a saucepan and steam the brussel sprouts covered for two minutes until they are bright green. Cut sprouts in half.

 Since I don't prefer to cook raw bacon, I use the pre-cooked kind. It is easy to cut the slices into strip with my kitchen shears. I cut them right over my skillet. Cook the bacon until it begins to crisp-you don't need to cook it to done, as it will continue to cook with the sprouts and onions.

  Depending on how fatty your bacon is, you will want to add 1/2 to 1 tbsp. of butter. Immediately add the onions. Saute briefly, about one minute. Add the sprouts.

 Cook until the bacon is crispy, the onions are translucent and the sprouts are nicely browned, stirring occassionally. You can add salt and pepper, as you cook, or after. Sometimes I add a little garlic salt.

   Serve immediately! I find these to be preferable to pan roasting, as I can more easily control the tenderness of the sprouts, and I don't have to heat up my oven when it is warmer. These are so quick and easy, and honestly, even with the butter and bacon, they are still a great way to get your veggies in. Even my kids love them! I think it's the bacon. :)

  That's it! A super simple, healthy, "fancy" side? That's a big "yes" for me! We love to eat these with roasted pork tenderloin, steak, or grilled chicken. They're pretty good with almost anything. So, go! Eat brussel sprouts and feel fancy! 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Silent Night

     It's been quiet here on the blog. Usually that is a good sign that real life is CRAZY. That is definitely the case this year. I have had ideas for about five different posts. As you know if you follow me, I have posted zero. I even have photos taken for a post, but yet, nothing. The time just hasn't been right.

    I've been busy with Christmas stuff, preparing and planning, making and baking, running here, there and everywhere. But you haven't seen it (unless, of course, you're my husband). You have just seen....nothing. You haven't heard anything from me, but that doesn't mean I'm not here.

    And that is what I am thinking about tonight. Dwelling on the FOUR HUNDRED YEARS between the Old Testament and the New Testament. You know, the one or two pages between Malachi and Matthew in your Bible? That was lifetimes-generations coming and going. Waiting. Watching. For a while, at least...

    But waiting is hard. And we lose interest quickly. And days slip into weeks, years into decades. We lose track of time and we give up, forget, move on. But that didn't mean He wasn't there...

    That inter-Testament period? It is known as the silent, or dark, period. Pretty bleak. Quiet is nice at first, but after a while it can drive you crazy. You start talking to yourself, you start hearing voices. You wonder if maybe you are losing it, you wonder if you were confused about what you heard. Weren't promises made? A Savior. What was going on? Four hundred years...

    " The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9 NIV

   Quiet days turned into silent nights. Promises seemed unfilled, hope felt empty. Memories were short, and soon, for many, thoughts of the Messiah slipped into the oblivion of forgetfulness...

    Until another silent night soon became a holy night. The most Holy of all Nights. The Silence was broken with the most powerful Word ever spoken.

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among US..." John 1:14 
    The emphasis is mine, because I can't get over the beauty of ending that phrase with those two little letters that mean me, and you, and everyone. The Word, a clarion call that prayers were answered, promises fulfilled, not just after four hundred years but for all of eternity. At just the right time...

     We don't ever have to live in that uncertainty again. Hope was born, and the Word doesn't just dwell among us, He dwells in us.

"Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16 CSB
     If your night seems silent, I have a hard truth for you: you aren't listening. He is speaking, the silence is broken. He didn't just give us words at Christmas, He gave us THE Word. He spent four hundred years planning, preparing, perfecting. At just the right time, He tore the veil, broke the barrier, and glorious light and sound poured out, from Him to us. Christmas is Him speaking, flooding our ears with the most beautiful Voice ever heard, promising us that this Jesus was indeed, the One:

"While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”" Matthew 17:5 NIV
     We don't have to endure the silent treatment anymore, Jesus offered His life to free us to hear. He is speaking, we just have to stop to listen. He is there, He always has been, but now, His plans are apparent, His purpose clear. He fulfills all of His promises, no matter how slow the fulfillment may seem. I encourage you: if it seems like you are suffering through too many silent nights, remember that the Word is already here. We don't have to be wait, He has come.

    That is the beauty of Christmas. The Word that many in those hundreds of dark, quiet years died longing to hear, has come. Just listen: His name is Jesus.

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NIV

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart Day 30

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV
   So, this is the only verse in the plan that isn't in Biblical order, and it pained me a little to do that (it really should have been flip-flopped with yesterday's verse to stay in correct order) but I really, really wanted to end with this one.

   It is so perfect for the holiday season, and I'm sure you've seen it used on Christmas cards, but that isn't the only reason why I chose to place it here. It is just exceptionally fitting verse for the end. So, so short, but really the entire motivation behind this thing we do, with the praying and thanking.

I loved this commentary from Chuck Smith:

"So we're talking about giving to God, but yet, you think of what God has given unto us: that unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ. And what was the motive behind it? "God so loved the world that He gave" (John 3:16).
And so the motive behind our giving must be love. Our love for God. And any other motive is not really valid. Give because you love the Lord. Give what you purpose in your heart. What you can give hilariously, that give unto God and God will bless you abundantly for it. So the rule's really about giving. And I want that those rules should apply here." 
    See, that's the thing: we have to have love to be able to give anything, and especially thanks. And that indescribable gift? Well, that's Love, with a Name above all names: Jesus. I can't not put this Scripture here:

"7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:7-12 NIV 
    And this is what I want you to take away if you don't ever read any other words I write: if your thanks is based on something you totally understand and can completely describe, and you can do it simply and shortly, and be done with it, you have it all wrong. True thanksgiving-the kind that is an absolute outpouring of gratitude, a flood of gratefulness, appreciation without limit, isn't something you can write out for 30 days and be done with. It demands, He demands, your life, your soul, your all. He is Love, and He came down and He offered Himself and He can live within you. That kind of thanks... there are not enough words or days to ever express it. Because you can't really describe that kind of Gift. You can't put that type of sacrifice into human expression and really imbue it with the meaning it deserves.

   So here is the thing: indescribable gifts deserve endless thanks. Because you can't describe it doesn't mean you give up-it means you have to try every day for all of eternity. Not for 30 days in November, and certainly not for one Thursday a year. Every. Single. Day. For ALL of your life, with every breath if you truly have the slightest grasp of the weight of it.

   This gift...THIS IS LOVE. I can't write poetry, or music, and my words are stilted and limited and feeble. But I am going to keep trying because this is my offering of thanks. This is my sacrifice of praise. To try to share this indescribable gift until one day, perhaps, when I am finally in His presence and He will give me the opportunity to truly give Him the thanks He deserves.

Today's Reflection:
   Give thanks until your words fail you. This gift, it is indescribable, but we are allowed to offer our praise anyway. That is an awe-inspiring privilege, and one we should practice as long as we draw breath. Pray that the Lord will so fill your heart and mind with the awesomeness of that gift that you can't help but thank Him for it each and every day.

Looking for the printable scripture writing plan? Or another day of the "Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart" study? Find them here!

   It's almost Christmas! Another way to praise is through song, and I have a free printable devotional for December: your favorite Christmas carols paired with Scripture to celebrate the season. Find "Sing of His Birth" here

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart Day 29

"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16 NIV
     He's my person. When I think of him, I smile. When he's gone, I feel like a piece of me is missing. When I think of people I want to be with, he is at the top of the list. We don't get tired of being together, and we've been together for a long time-16 years since we started dating, almost 15 years of marriage.

   And when I think of things I'm thankful for, he's pretty darn near the top of the list. It's pretty much: 1. Salvation 2. Joel.  I have a wonderful family, they're really the best, and they're probably number 4 (my kids would be number 3) but he edges them out. He *knows* me, and he still loves me. Yup.

   So, truly, he is somebody I am thankful for. So thankful for. And because of that, he's in my prayers. All the time. I just want the best for him, because I love him. The Lord has used him to make me a better person, a stronger believer, not so self-focused. And I am so thankful for all of that. And I am thankful for who he is-a wonderful husband, terrific father, good provider, not to mention handsome, smart and funny. At least, I think so, and that's all that counts, right?

   And honestly, I think that the Lord appreciates when we pray for the things we are thankful for, but especially for the people we are thankful for. Over and over, we are reminded of the importance of prayer, and praying for each other. Jesus prayed for us, in the Garden of Gethsemane, right after He prayed for His disciples:

"20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one,Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:20-21 NIV

  He was thankful for us-for those who had followed Him, and those who would. And He prayed for us, remembering us in His darkest hours. How much more so, in times of joy in our lives, should we remember those we are thankful for? Yup, the people we are the most grateful for are the ones we should always be remembering in our prayers.

Today's Reflection:
    Who are you most thankful for? Are you constantly remembering them in your prayers-both thanking God for them, and thanking Him for His work in their lives? Today is a great day to start. And if you're feeling brave, share your prayers with the one you for whom you are thankful. Nothing is quite as wonderful as knowing you're in someone's prayers.

Looking for the printable scripture writing plan? Or another day of the "Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart" study? Find them here!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart Day 28

"You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV

   I love a good deal. Black Friday=totally my jam. I like the thrill of finding just the right thing at a better than right price. And if I find something that is really great? Well, you better believe I am going to tell everyone I know! I don't understand the concept of "full price". I love to share my finds-because I believe that everyone agrees with me.

    I want to share what I have when it comes to fab finds. And I try to put that into practice in other areas of my life, too. Every day is filled with opportunities to share, to give, to pour into others. Our lives are overflowing with opportunities to be generous. 

    And that inspires gratitude in others. When you bring a meal to someone who recently had a tough time, when you send a shoebox to a child overseas, when you put change into the red bucket outside the store, those things elicit feelings of appreciation in others. And whether in big things or small, God recognizes that and provides more opportunities, and means, to be generous. Which brings about more thankfulness! It is a wonderful circle of giving and thanks, or thanksgiving, whichever you prefer. 

  But that is the thing-giving, God giving to us, God giving through us, and our giving to God, all result in gratitude. Those who are blessed by our giving, we are blessed by giving, and God is glorified. It is really wonderful! And everyone involved will give thanks to God.

Today's Reflection:
    How can you be generous today in a way that will result in thanksgiving to God? Whose generosity can you be grateful for? Thank God for providing you with means, no matter how small, to be generous. That could mean with your time, talents, money or words-all these can be given generously and generate praise. 

Looking for the printable scripture writing plan? Or another day of the "Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart" study? Find them here!


Related Posts with Thumbnails