Feast on Friday: West African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup–So Pretty AND Delicious

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I love an excuse for a good pot of soup – and this one sounded heavenly. My jazzercise instructor, Julie, told us (while we were huffing and puffing) that she was making it for dinner. My guess is if you can talk while jazzercizing, you are qualified to be the instructor. That will never be me.

She’s so cute – not a sweat bead about her.

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Fabulous, Julie – it’s a keeper! I crushed some peanuts for the top to please my Man-in-Plaid. He eats peanuts like I eat…M&M’s, with or w/o peanuts.

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I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes so they cooked faster than the suggested time. Zip Zip with my prized immersion blender and voila, I’m in West Africa. Delish!

IMG_1643The red cayenne pepper added its own zip – Ivon and Danny would’ve liked even more.

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Picked up this sweet tool at Mission Thrift. I thought it might be craft scissors, but a frequent knife-buying customer set me straight: it slices fresh herbs. So glad since I’m craft-impaired. Nifty.

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Rest easy. You really only need a pot and a knife to make this soup–don’t worry about the fancy tools – although Mother’s Day is coming.

Feast on Friday: West African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Delicious and healthy
Cuisine: West African, of course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
I peeled the potatoes the night before and set them in water so they wouldn't discolor -- to save time the next evening. I treated myself to an immersion blender years ago and I've never regretted it (see note on thick towel - nope, don't need it) I can just immerse my stick blender (thus the name - yes, you go and get one - they often come through Mission Thrift - those sillies who give them up or who don't make homemade veggie soup) into the pan and zip! Blended. All done. Very cool. Very good.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter, creamy or nutty
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, coriander and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the broth, water, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Turn the heat to low and cook, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor (place a thick kitchen towel and your hand firmly over the closed lid to prevent disaster) until smooth and then return to a clean saucepan.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the cilantro and serve.

 

 

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Lent Day#16: What’s Your Motivation?

Proud people desire to be a success.

Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.

                          –Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive Our Hearts.com (used with permission)

 

I think this is a tough one. Don’t we want to “be a success” – do our best, look our best, be our best?

Maybe the issue is the why behind the do.

Last week Liz asked me more than once: “So what is it you really want?”

A brief silence.  I’m still working on it. I added to myself: “And why? Why do I want that?”

Maybe we need to start with the “why.” Why do I want to do what I want to do?

Is it to be faithful? Why do I want to be faithful? When I’m faithful to God, isn’t that still about me? He promises to take care of the faithful.

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And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! Psalms 143:10

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalms 139:23, 24

I can’t seem to get around being proud. Whenever I’m faithful, He one-up’s me with blessing and level ground and personal guidance and a hundred other things. He would. No hrumpfing necessary.

I’ll leave it in God’s hands. Navel-gazing isn’t good for my soul. I don’t have time to worry, I’ve got too much applauding to do. Kudos go to (drum roll, please…) Maria!

Now, Maria is good for the soul.

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She stopped by Mission Thrift last week to buy a fishing net (and a hutch and some model trains–she loves trains.) She told me she’s a cancer-survivor and she let me know she knows God is getting her through. Kudos, Maria – for praising God in the midst. IMG_1533I have a feeling she catches a lot of fish. Adorable, no?

PS Prayers appreciated for me as I go on another “Road Trip With God” – speaking to the great ladies of Evangelical Free Church of Chico this coming weekend in Grass Valley. Pray that I’m successfully faithful to all God wants to say through me. I love a good Road Trip. Rest stops are included (Praise God.)

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Lent Day#15: The Lovely Look

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Proud people desire to be served,

Broken people are motivated to serve others.

                          –Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive Our Hearts.com (used with permission)

How do you describe a broken person? Disheveled? Helpless? Hopeless?  Down and Out with a few fries short of a Happy Meal?

According to DeMoss, it’s anyone who serves. Who served you last?

Wasn’t she (or he?) beautiful?

Jamie was. She just — as in-an-hour-ago– just helped me put together the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pillows for a retreat this coming weekend. I’ve been a little stressed (read: I’ve possibly signed up for too much…) As soon as I knew she could help, I relaxed. Jamie’s gift is service. Brokenness comes naturally. She might be the most beautifully broken serving person I know.

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She doesn’t look broken. She looks lovely. Maybe it’s the same thing.

Tessa and Jean dropped in today, as well. And pitched in for tuna salad sandwiches. More broken people. (I served by taking photos.)

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Looking for a new look? The broken look? Serve as Jesus served. All for love. Maybe all for the love of tuna. I love a good tuna sandwich. I make one, but these girls really know how to make one. They thought they were just getting coffee. Of course, they had to help. Grateful for the broken people in my life.

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Proud people desire to be served,

Broken people are motivated to serve others.

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Taste on Tuesdays: The Better Part

O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 34:8

IMG_1597When you’re old you value old friends even more. Mom used to say, “Your Dad and I have to keep getting new friends–the old ones keep dying.” They were good at having friends, the younger the better. One year she asked daddy if they could take a road trip and visit everyone on their Christmas card list. That was quite a road trip – from California to Colorado to Boston to Florida, Tennessee and parts in between. A funny mom, a patient dad–although I heard he enjoyed it as much as she did.

Keeping friends takes effort. I would say it’s worth the effort, but the busyness of life thins my efforts. It’s a shame. A shame I don’t need. It takes intention even if just an intentional text: “Can you meet at Starbucks in 45 minutes – the one by your house?” “Can you hike? I know it’s raining. We’ll just talk a little louder and drink tea after? Yes? Good.”

Yes? Need to write that note? Make that call? Good. It could be the better part of your day.

Liz and Casey welcomed me this last week. I’ve known Liz since we were infants (okay, college.) Love them.

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Then I met a couple of Mary’s new friends at U. of O. Some day (when old and gray but still funny and beautiful) she may say, “I’ve known Franny and Michelle since U. of O. days…”

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Of course, once kids leave the house they become like friends, right? It’s a blast. Mother/Daughter Pi Phi Weekend.

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And tonight we made some new friends. Joy and Juan came by on their road trip through the West before moving to Spain. Joy is Larry and Claretta’s daughter – Mark went to high school and college with Larry. So now we’re all friends. And now we’ll have more friends in Spain next time we go.

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It’s a taste of God when we have a good friend. You know that’s true. It’s a better part of life.

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”  

                                                                —  Jesus, John 15:12-15 NLT

Abe Lincoln was right. Mom and Dad were right. Keep making friends. An investment that keeps on giving.

O, taste and see the love of Jesus through a good friend; blessed is she who takes the risk, makes the call, sends the note and finds refuge in the better part of life. Today’s Psalm 34:8

 

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Lent Day#13: Protection Rackets

Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation.

Broken people are self-denying.

–Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive Out Hearts. com (used with permission)

Protection rackets are just that: a sham. You pay someone off (the MOB) to protect you from destruction. If you don’t pay (the MOB) you get destroyed.

When we protect ourselves with ourselves, we are headed for emotional and relational destruction. It never pays. God promises His protection. He paid for it at the cross. Step in under His wings and find refuge. You’ll be in good company.

This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:2-4


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Lent Day#11: Our Main Responsibility

Walt Gerber said, “The main responsibility of a Christian is yieldedness.”

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I’m not sure yieldedness is a noun. I am sure Gerber was right. I’m happiest when yielded to Christ. He knows best and loves me best. I can yield when I’m out of steam, out of strength, out of money and out of luck.

Proud people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit.

Broken people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit.

–Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive Our Hearts.com (used with permission)

If two people come up to an intersection and both decide to yield, won’t that stop traffic all around? That’s not my worry. God’s in charge of my traffic. He’ll figure it out. I’m in charge of my yieldedness. Maybe I’ll see you on the road. You can go first.

To yield means to give in to God. Lean into Him, heart and soul. Want to join me?

This kind of yielding isn’t as hard. Love those Girl Scout Cookies. 

ysAnd these girls!

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Feast on Friday: The Deluxe Humble Pie Tuna Noodle

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Debbie loves Tuna so Ces made this Deluxe Tuna Noodle Casserole for her birthday luncheon. You’d think she was born in Kansas (her dad came from Wisconsin so maybe that’s it.) My Man-in-Plaid (from Iowa) loves a good tuna noodle so I’m glad to pass on this California version a’la Ceslie. Enjoy and pretend you’re still in Kansas (in the summer.)

Feast on Friday: The Deluxe Humble Pie Tuna Noodle
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner or Lunch
Cuisine: American as Dried Beef Noodle Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ces actually substituted cooked chicken for Deb's party since not everyone loves tuna like Debbi does. Either way, you'll feel the comfort and the deluxe!
Ingredients
  • 16 oz. pkg pasta
  • 1 8 oz. pkg haricots verts (thin green beans cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 6 T. butter, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • ¼ c. flour
  • 3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 c. cheddar cheese
  • 6 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¾ t. kosher salt
  • ½ t. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 12 oz. can solid white tuna in spring water, drained (I used albacore from Costco)
  • 2 t. chopped fresh chives (opt.)
  • 1 T. chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
  • ¼ c. crushed potato chips
  • ¼ c panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 T. butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare pasta according to directions
  3. Cook green beans in boiling salted water or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain
  4. Melt 2 T. butter in a large skillet over med-high heat
  5. Add leeks, mushrooms and cook until slightly browned
  6. Transfer to a bowl and wipe skillet clean
  7. Melt 4 T. butter in skillet over med. heat; whisk in flour
  8. Cook, whisking 2 minutes.
  9. Gradually whisk in cream and broth
  10. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often
  11. Reduce heat to med-low
  12. Gradually whisk in cheddar cheese and 4 T. Parmesan cheese until smooth.
  13. Stir in salt and pepper
  14. Stir cream mixture into pasta
  15. Stir in tuna and next 2 two ingredients, beans and leek mixture
  16. Transfer to a lightly greased 9x13" casserole
  17. Stir together potato chips, next 2 ingredients, and remaining 2 T. Parmesan cheese in a small bowl
  18. Sprinkle over pasta mixture
  19. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.
  20. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  21. Pretend you were born in Wisconsin. Take seconds.

 

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Since tuna is the humblest of the fish category, it fits to use it for Humble Pie.

FullSizeRenderI made it work for dinner, for Humble Pie, and for two little ramekins – a guest was due for lunch a week hence. I wrapped them up tight and tucked them in the freezer and baked them the day of. Even tuna looks elegant in a ramekin and, with the help of salad and cake, I made a new friend.

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Lent Day#9: Humble Pie

Humble Pie:

To eat humble pie is to apologize and face humiliation for a serious error. Humble pie, or umble pie, is also a term for a variety of pastries based on medieval meat pies.

Proud people have to prove that they are right.

Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

                                  –Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive Our Hearts.com (used with permission.)

 

I had to do that recently: yield my right to be right. So I made a Humble Pie and hand-delivered it: the Humble Tuna Casserole. I think it did the trick. Recipe to follow.

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According to the definition I was to eat Humble Pie, but I thought it better to give it as a gift. It’s a keeper – deluxe Tuna Casserole – maybe better than a simple apology. Definitely better than the non-deluxe version.

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Taste on Tuesdays: A Gift for Gifting

O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is he who finds refuge in Him.

Psalm 34:8

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Ever wonder why we’re all so different? God’s got a gift for gifting, differently.

Get us five Moore sibs together in one room for five minutes or less and you’ll know it’s true. Different is good. Different is loud (in our case.) Different shows God’s variety-pack creativity and sense of humor (in our case.) Yours as well, I bet.

God made us different. And our differences can reflect the variety of God’s beauty.

Check out  I Peter 4:10 in the NIV–

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

And in the NLT–

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

And in The Message–

Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Oh, yes. Each of us. Great variety. Different things, passing them around.

God made us different, with different gifts — all to show off God’s bright presence.

This past week, Hyatt used his art to serve others at the Global Access International Conference sponsored by Joni & Friends. For some reason they didn’t ask me to do that for them. I’m not whining. It’s just fact: Hyatt, the painter. Me, not the painter. We’re different that way. God did that on purpose. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a glorious thing.

When I do that, I’m telling God He doesn’t know what He’s doing. Not real smart.

So rest and rejoice and run for refuge. You’ll be blessed.

You saw the beginnings of Hyatt’s work on the 17 ‘ mural here. Here’s the end result–love the blue metal ironing board. I think I have an ironing board. I still couldn’t paint this:

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Now it hangs in the headquarters in Agoura Hills.

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Oh, taste and see how God made you different – uniquely His – with beauty and gifts, not one the same; blessed are we when we revel in who God made us for His glory, service and delight. Today’s Psalm 34:8

View this video in your browser of the time-lapse painting and Hyatt’s speaking at the end. (We both like to talk, a lot. We’re the same that way.)

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Lent Day# 6: It’s Hard to be Un-American

Americans, known for self-reliance, know how to get things done. How the West was won and all that. God might even use an American. But He uses our dependence more than our independence. 

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.

Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.

–Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive Our Hearts.com (used with permission)

I love fireworks, the Lincoln Memorial and s’mores on a rainy day.

But God calls me to brokenness (not self-sufficiency.)

He calls me to to rely on Him (not on myself.)

And He calls me to rely on you. Or maybe you. (You there, in the back row – that’s right, you.)

When I answer that call–a call to dependence, on Him–on you; when I admit my need and ask you (or you in the back) to help out, that’s when He can use me the most. I love being an American. A used-by-God American. I may just call you.

Sometimes we just need a lift. Elliot answered Hy V’s call for a push in the right direction.

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I didn’t even need to call these girls. They always end up at my sink. (I do need them. I admit it. I like to host. I don’t like to clean. Need is the operative word. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow…at my sink.)

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I called on Ivon to help translate when I invited my new friends from U-Relax Foot Massage. It would’ve been a very quiet breakfast if she hadn’t helped out!IMG_1061

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” –Jesus,  Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

Need a blessing? Ask for help.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.

Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.

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