Weekly Dish: Brussel Sprouts with Sweet Potatoes and Honey

I have no picture for you, as this dish doesn’t exactly exude beauty. But it is pretty good! My 4-year-old said, “This is the best dinner ever.” Granted, he has said that a lot lately, and then hated the meal the next time I tried to serve it. But really, this is a great way to get these superfood veggies into your diet and onto your family dinner table without any groaning from the kids and/or slipping to the dog under the table.

4 strips uncured bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
2 pounds brussels sprouts, thinly sliced and ends and outer leaves removed
1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/3 cup raw honey (could also use Grade B real Maple Syrup)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Minced Italian parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400.

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to low; add onion and cook about 5 minutes until translucent.

Add brussels sprouts and cook, stirring frequently until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add reserved bacon, salt, pepper and pecans. Add Sweet potato slices to pan and cook until light brown, about 3 minutes per side (at this point you may need to add a little drizzle of Olive or Coconut oil or a splash or water to the pan).

In a small bowl, whisk together honey and butter.

Toss all ingredients in a dish and bake 20 minutes, uncovered. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Weekly Dish: Blue Cheese Dressing

If you’re thinking this is not the healthiest thing you could put on your salad… you would be wrong! Full of good bacteria, this version is. Especially if you can find Raw Milk Blue Cheese Crumbles like we can in these parts.

Here you go:

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

1.5 cups blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1-2 garlic cloves
3/4 – 1 cup  yogurt or sour cream*
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Using a fork, mash the blue cheese, buttermilk, and garlic together in a bowl until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. Stir in yogurt/sour cream, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. The dressing can be refrigerated up to 4 days; stir to recombine before using.

*Adjust buttermilk/yogurt for desired thickness.

Weekly Dish: Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Fudge

I know it’s not the holidays anymore. I should have posted this before Valentines Day in case anyone was looking for a real food dessert including chocolate. But because this is almost completely raw and there is not one compromise in the whole pan, feel free to make it for any occasion or non-occasion alike. And not feel guilty about eating half the pan!

I got this recipe around Christmas from Our Nourishing Roots and it is oh-so delicious.

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COCONUT FUDGE

1/2 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup thick, raw honey
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1. In a bowl with a hand mixer (or use a food processor), combine coconut butter, coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, peppermint, and vanilla until very well combined.

2. Spread mixture into a square glass pan, smoothing the top evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the pan, cut into squares (if it’s too stiff, then let sit 10 minutes at room temperature and try again). Using a small spatula, loosen the individual squares. Store in the refrigerator in a container. To serve, remove from the fridge and let the chill come off for about 20 minutes.

Weekly Dish: Thai It Up Chicken Soup

Wow, this soup has restaurant quality. I had two bowls and would have had a shameful third, but my stomach couldn’t handle any more broth…

This recipe is adapted from a new cookbook I have found, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen. Real food doesn’t have to taste like “health food”. This cookbook has gone four for five in my kitchen. Not bad stats. I have adapted the recipes to my food philosophy (Weston A. Price Foundation, traditional foods, properly preparing grains, etc…).

Here is the recipe, in all its glory:

Thai It Up Chicken Soup

8 cups homemade chicken stock
2 shallots, or 1 small red or white onion, peeled and halved
6 1-inch pieces of un-peeled fresh ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon real salt or celtic sea salt
15 oz. coconut milk (not low-fat)
2-3 cups already cooked brown rice or already-cooked brown rice noodles
1 cup peeled and finely chopped carrot
pinch of cayenne
2 organic chicken breasts, cut into slices or chunks (optional: add more or less depending on your broth-stuff ratio in soups)
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
2 Tablespoons sliced scallion, for garnish

Combine the broth, shallots or onions, ginger, lemongrass, lime zest, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a dutch oven over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out all the solids and discard. Stir in the coconut milk and continue to simmer, being careful not to boil, for another 10 minutes.

Stir the carrot and cayenne into the soup, simmer for 3 minutes, then add the chicken and simmer for an additional 7 minutes, until chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. Stir in the rice, lime juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Serve garnished with cilantro and scallion.

Variation: For an extra immune booster, add 1 cup of stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms when you add the chicken.

The Gospel and Apathy

An excerpt from John Piper’s new book, Bloodlines:

Apathy is passionless living. It is sitting in front of the television night after night and living your life from one moment of entertainment to the next. It is the inability to be shocked into action by the steady-state lostness and suffering of the world. It is the emptiness that comes from thinking of godliness as the avoidance of doing bad things instead of the aggressive pursuit of doing good things.

If that were God’s intention for the godliness of his people, why would Paul say, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12)? People who stay at home and watch clean videos don’t get persecuted. Godliness must mean something more public, more aggressively good.

In fact, the aim of the gospel is the creation of people who are passionate for doing good rather than settling for the passionless avoidance of evil. “[Christ] gave himself for us…to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The gospel produces people who are created for good works (Eph. 2:10), and have a reputation for good works (1 Tim. 5:10), and are ich in good works (1 Tim. 6:18), and present a model of good works (Titus 2:7), and devote themselves to good works (Titus 3:8,14), and stir each other up to good works (Heb. 10:24).

And when they set about them, the word they hear from God is, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Rom 12:11). The gospel does not make us lazy. It makes us fervent. The Greek for fervent signifies boiling. The gospel opens our eyes to the eternal significance of things. Nothing is merely ordinary anymore.

Christ did not pursue us halfheartedly. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the uttermost (John 13:1). His death gives the deepest meaning to the word passion. Now he dwells in us. How will we not pray for the fullest experience of his zeal for the cause of justice and love? “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).

June Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Hebrews 13:3 tells us to “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. We need to remember them in prayer.

China restraining churches

The Chinese government enacted new regulations this week in a further attempt to control its growing Christian population. Pastors must provide police with weekly reports detailing their whereabouts and how many people attend their church meetings. If Pastors leave their city, they must report their travel plans, and they are restricted to short trips. If they fail to report and police are unable to contact them, they are arrested. These regulations primarily target large house churches that organize under a specific name and meet publicly.

India Attacks Persist

Hindu extremists continue to target Christians in India with harassment, false accusations, beatings and even murder. The Global Council of Indian Christians believes Hindu extremists are behind two recent murders of Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the most recent case, 17-year-old Nirupama Pradhan was raped and murdered after school on May 12, 2011. Her father, Sitrian Pradhan, named the possible murderer, but according to Asia News, police have done nothing to find the murderer.

Police also have refused to give a post-mortem report to the widow of Saul Pradhan, a Christian preacher who was murdered on Jan. 10, 2011. Pradhan had taken a new job at a brick-kiln in another village. When he did not return home from work one day, his family searched for him and found his body near a pond. Police originally claimed Pradhan died from the “bitter cold,” but his employers, Hindu radicals, later confessed to the murder.

On May 8, Hindu radicals stopped Pastor B. Vijaya Kumar and his family as they walked home from a prayer meeting, according to Compass Direct News. After the extremists detained the family for three hours, police arrived and questioned Kumar. They told the family to leave the area and said they would accept no responsibility if anything happened to them. Earlier, local papers had falsely reported that Kumar had been converting people by offering them money.

Extremists in Madhya Pradesh accused another pastor of forced conversions. Hindu extremists stopped Pastor Shivraj Maravi from renovating his small house, where he sometimes holds Sunday services. After the extremists filed a police report on May 4, police arrested Maravi and charged him with forcible conversion under the state’s anti-conversion act. Compass Direct reported that Maravi stopped working on his house because he feared he would be attacked by extremists.

Hindu extremists in the state of Maharashtra also stopped construction of a church building and imposed a boycott on Christians in the area. When the Christians complained to police, the police told the group to get permission from the village head, who subsequently refused to help them. In the ensuing boycott, the extremist group prohibited Christian vehicles from carrying vegetables to market, cutting off their means of livelihood. The extremists ordered the Christians to leave the village and said they would not allow Christian children to attend the local school.

Violence leaves Christians dead

Hundreds of Nigerian Christians were killed and injured while more than 150 church buildings were burned in violence stemming from the election of a Christian as president of Nigeria. A Voice of the Martyrs source reports that 31,000 people also have been displaced by the rioting. The nation’s Christian president was re-elected over a Muslim challenger on April 16, sparking the violence, which continued into May. One report told of a pastor who prayed with his wife and daughter as they died from the violence. Pastor James Musa Rike’s wife, Dune, died after being shot and slashed with a machete by Muslims. Their 13-year-old daughter, Sum, reportedly told her father that the militants said, “See how your Jesus will save you,” before attacking her. Her response was that Jesus had already saved her.

Pray that God will use all of these difficult situations to the furtherance of His kingdom and for His glory! 

March Prayer for the Persecuted Church


We get a newsletter each month from our sharing network (a sort of insurance for Christians belonging to a Church). In it each month is this section on praying for the persecuted church. Since we typically aren’t informed via mainstream news or even FoxNews (there is a Christian World News once a week on TBN, though!) regarding persecutions happening around the world, I thought I would share it here so the rest of you may be blessed as you labor in prayer for these Believers that are sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

For more information and more news stories and updates, visit Voice of the Martyrs or Compass Direct News.

Iran: 70 arrested

Iranian authorities arrested more than 70 Christians in January after a roundup that occurred near Christmas 2010. 7 Christians were released in late January after a month in solitary confinement, while 26 Christians remained in jail. Sources told Elam Ministries that as many as 120 Christians have been detained since Christmas. Most were released after interrogations and reportedly were forced to sign statements saying they would not attend church again. It’s believed that the latest crackdown by the Islamic regime occurred following speeches by religious and political figures in summer and fall. The leaders condemned Christian home fellowships as a threat to the state.

Pray that the Iranian Christians would stand firm in their faith, be protected from the state, and continue to meet when they can. Pray also for ministries trying to help them covertly. Finally, pray for the conversion of religious and political leaders in Iran to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Eritrea: 100 Christians arrested

More than 100 Christians have been arrested in the African nation of Eritrea since December 30 in raids on churches. In one raid, December 31 on a church in the capital, Asmara, all 41 members present were arrested, questioned and beat. More than 60 more believers were taken into custody in raids on January 1 and 9. Another Christian, Seble Hagos Mebrahtu, 27, died in a military camp on January 1, reportedly because she was refused treatment for malaria. Sources say that Seble was “tortured after being found reading a Bible at her home.”

Pray that Eritrean Christians will persevere in faith and continue to glorify God while enduring this harsh persecution.

Pakistan: Woman still in custody

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani wife and mother sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming Muhammad, is still remaining in custody. Asia’s conviction and sentencing has led to turmoil and debate over the blasphemy law in Pakistan. A governor who supported Asia and called for the repeal of the blasphemy law was assassinated. The Voice of the Martyrs team in Pakistan is concerned for Asia’s safety in prison.

Pray for her safety and for the safety of her family. Pray also that the blasphemy law, frequently used against Christians in Pakistan, will be repealed. Finally, pray for Asia’s release if it has not already been granted.

Laos: Believers arrested during meal

11 Believers, including a pastor, were arrested on January 4 at the pastor’s home while eating a meal and taken away at gunpoint. 2 men were released the next day, but the others, including two children ages 4 and 8, were taken to a provincial prison and charged with holding a secret meeting without approval. Pastor Wanna was also imprisoned in 2010 for leading people to Christ. When he was released, he was told not to hold worship meetings in his home, but resumed doing so immediately, choosing to obey God rather than men.

Please pray for the Lao believers who were arrested, that their faith will not weaken and that God would use this experience to deepen their commitment to Him. Pray also for Pastor Wanna, who likely is receiving the harshest treatment.