Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comfort Foods That Really Do!

(Ahem, I borrowed the pix. My photographer daughter has YET to teach me how to upload photos...technologically, I'm challenged. But, not in the kitchen. Amen.)
My mom's Molasses Spice Cookies were just the ticket that filled my young heart with the joy of forgetfulness. For some reason we called these "Joe Froggers". But, when I went through my mom's (majorly huge) collection of snipped and clipped recipes last year I found another recipe for Joe Froggers. That particular recipe didn't appeal to me at all. Mom handed me this recipe and said,
"This is what you're looking for." I don't know where the mix-up in the name happened. But, when I followed her recipe I realized...these beauties were indeed just what I was looking for. Oh, the childhood memories flowed.

Rod's dad had a nasty fall last Thursday. Meals On Wheels called us saying that he was covered with blood from the bridge of his nose to his knees. He wouldn't let them in and he shut the door in their face. Not like Kert at all. So, Rod went right over. After a four day stay in the hospital and many tests and prayers the decision was made that Kert needed to move from his home-alone situation into Assisted Living. My husband (and his sister) are both shocked and emotionally worn out from these last days turn of events. Kert's joyful disposition in his new home has eased a lot of the guilt. I hate to say these cookies could help also, but I have to.

But, there's more, too. We can't live on sweets alone. (Unfortunately.) So, this recipe is my solution to the need for additional comfort. My sixteen year old is my greatest testifier about this soup. Last year I made this chili recipe one morning while she was at school. I waited at the bus-stop for her and the minute she got in the car she said, "You made White Christmas Chili, didn't you? I can smell it on you. Can I have some when we get home or do I have to wait for dinner?"

If you are in need of some other kind of spicy comfort, this is it. I think this is one of my very favorite recipes. I got it out of the Southern Living November 2002
issue. My family is a bunch of cilantro-shy folks. Not me, I love, love, love it. If you like cilantro use it, if you don't...skip it (your loss).

If you're in need of comfort: these foods do the trick!


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (PLEASE do not ruin your cookies with anything else)
1 1/2 cups sugar (1/2 cup for rolling cookies in)
1/4 cup molasses (I use Grandma's brand)
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

MELT butter in medium saucepan over low heat, set aside to cool to room temperature.

STIR 1 cup sugar, molasses, and egg into melted, cooled butter.

SIFT together flour, soda and spices.

ADD to butter mixture and mix well.

COVER dough and chill in fridge 45 minutes.

PREHEAT oven to 350.

SHAPE dough into 1" balls and roll in remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

PLACE 2" apart on UNgreased cookie sheet.

BAKE for 8 minutes until cookies are deep golden brown and crackled.

COOL on wire racks and keep yourself from eating every single one of them.



4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
5 cups water
1 large onion (I use yellow, less tears), chopped and divided
2 Tablespoons butter
2 celery ribs chopped
3 16 oz. cans Great Northern Beans (I actually use two of GNB and one of Chili Beans)
3 4.5 oz cans green diced green chilies
1 cup chicken broth (canned or boxed)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

TOPPINGS: sour cream, shredded colby jack, tortilla chips, salsa, MORE CILANTRO!

BOIL chicken and half of onion in five cups of water over medium-hi heat for about 18 minutes. Remove and dice chicken into bite sized pieces. SAVE the BROTH!

MELT butter in skillet, add celery and onion. Saute' til tender.

STIR chicken, celery mixture, 2 of the cans of beans, and next six ingredients into the broth.

COOK at medium-lo for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

PROCESS remaining can of beans in food processor, scrape down sides, until smooth.

STIR bean puree into soup and mix thoroughly.

REMOVE Bay leaf and discard.

THROW in CILANTRO (if you have no pickie-younies in your home), otherwise use it as an optional topping.

SERVE with toppings. I pray God's wondrous blessings on you and yours as you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Being still

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10a

It is a quiet time for me. I am having a season of firsts. This is the first time in my life that I am alone in the daytime. Both of my girls are (thankfully) attending school. One, a sophomore in high school; the other in Kindergarten.

My life has been all about my children these last seven years. First homeschooling Rachel the year after I recognized the LORD and then bringing sweet Gracie home from the hospital to foster and then adopt. My days have been full to the brim and overflowing these last years. Now, after a whirlwind of bacon, eggs, cinnamon-honeyed toast, vitamins and milk, lunches made, papers signed and a drive to school I return to dirty dishes and a silent dog who no longer greets me when I walk in the door. "She's old," I tell myself, "it's not personal."

My grandmother encouraged me to get a little part time job somewhere. "Call the Mayor's office and get your old job back. They liked you, you were good there. They'll hire you back." Poor Grama. She doesn't understand the way the world works now. I'm old and out of date, technologically speaking. I'm no longer useful to anyone in an office environment where computer skills are necessary. She makes it sound so easy...like they'd be getting a good deal. I laugh at that.

My mother tells me to rest. "You've earned it. You've spoiled your family rotten with all that cooking that you've been doing over the years. They've been eating eggs and bacon for breakfast EVERY DAY of the WEEK and a "gourmet" meal every night! They won't know what to do with themselves once you have your surgery and you HAVE to be in the bed to recuperate for two-plus weeks. And I'm warning you, Jennifer, you BETTER STAY IN THAT BED! You'll be sorry if you don't!"

Surgery. There's another reason I need to be still. Yes, I got through "all the emotions" associated with signing that horrible paper acknowledging that after my hysterectomy on October 26th, I will never be able to bear children again. At least I thought I did.

And then a couple of weeks ago I was doing my normal weekday afternoon routine. Picked Gracie up in the lower school building and was waiting outside the upper school building for Rachel to emerge for the ride home. Here comes a woman just a little younger than I am with the coveted treasure snuggled sweetly up against her chest and neck. He was probably about two months old, if that. Such a tender package. I could almost smell him. I could almost feel the incredible softness of his newborn skin and then right there something inside me died all over again. Why, God, does it STILL HURT SOOOO MUCH????

Now, I try to avoid the upper school building. I don't want to see her and him again. But, yesterday there was another one. Her baby was older. He had one one of those sweet long-sleeved button-up rompers where all of his limbs were nestled inside soft stripey cotton. They're everywhere, these little marvels. To me, they're like forbidden chocolate. I want one sooo bad. I can't have one, though.

Enter Satan. He's ruthless, in case you didn't know. He loves to plant wicked seeds to see what will grow. Since they didn't schedule my surgery until the end of October that means I have to endure two more cycles until then. When I saw the first bundle of joy it was the beginning of September. I spent two weeks believing that faint little false-hope that he had planted...maybe I will shock everyone and get pregnant right before my surgery...AT LAST!!! Everyone will laugh with me and I will have the joy of calling my doctor and saying..."nevermind about taking out all these broken parts...turns out we were wrong!" I held onto that hope and dared to believe it until last week when just like clockwork my cycle began. I rejoiced that it was my "next to last one". I cried because I believed the lie, AGAIN.

So, this week I've told myself again all the reasons why I don't want another baby. They aren't any of the reasons you're thinking of, I'm certain. Because I love changing diapers. I love getting up in the wee hours of the night to have a "visit". I love the cuddling and the laundry and the bathing and bottle-washing and formula prep. I love, love, love the absolute routine of caring for a baby. No, all those are reasons other people have for dreading babies.

I dread the raising part. The discipline and the worry. I dread the constant feeling of being completely inadequate to be a good mother. I dread the fear that something horrible will happen to them (because of my neglect somehow). I dread the anguish associated with raising a person who loves the LORD more than themselves and their sin nature. I am smack dab in the middle of these dreads with my other two. And honestly, I see no end in sight. I know my Rachel is a year and half away from walking out our door for good. I should rejoice but I can't. I wish I had done so many things differently for her. But, I was not walking with the LORD for her first eight years and I only gave her a wicked foundation to grow on. I know only God can fix our past. And I do know He is working "all things together for good" somehow.

Okay. Enough uncontrollable weeping. Be still. Be still. Be still.

I may never give birth to another child again. My parts may very well be broken. However, I have confessed my desires to my husband for another baby to hold. Another life to guard. Another chance. And I have confessed it to Him, too. He knows the desires of my heart. And it's funny that I never got to do all those things for the child that I DID give birth to. But, I got to do all those things for the child I DIDN'T give birth to. So, giving birth isn't the real key issue here (even if Satan wants me to believe it is). Maybe one day down the road I will be picking up my precious daughters at school with a new bundle nestled against my neck.

For now, I am being still and I know that He is God.