Posted in Matters of the Heart

Building Hope

We sat on the floor of the newly constructed tiny house eating fried chicken legs. This was the first meal this little home would see. In a collaboration with families from California and a minister in Mexico, a young family would move from their cardboard hut to a house with screens on the windows to keep the flies out and a floor that didn’t turn to mud when it rained. It was an occasion to celebrate, the chicken along with tortillas and fresh salsa—our feast.

The day started early as we pulled up to the dirt lot where the house would be built. In anticipation of the new home that would stand in that location, red geraniums had been planted bring a pop of joy to the otherwise drab landscape.

Once decided where the house would stand, a frenzy of hammering and painting mixed with conversations in broken Spanglish and the laughter that comes with it began.  The whole process became the conduit for two cultures to come together.  And, as the house went up, so did hope for a better life.

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When noontime drew near, more friends and family arrived to witness the ‘house-raising’ and prepare a meal for its workers. The ‘kitchen’ in which the chicken was cooked that day was an open fire in the yard. This was where all the cooking happened for this family, and they were experts in dealing with open flame, creating chicken that was crispy, moist, and delicious. Every bite was savored, leaving nothing but the empty bowl at the end of the meal.

The experience of working side-by-side would change communities both sides of the border. The house, as great a thing as it was, was not the star of the day. Relationships were built with each nail that was hammered. Memories were created, and when looking back, they would be listed as some of the best.

We have always held to the hope, the belief,

the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 


 

Fried Chicken

The fried chicken served on this day was literally just chicken fried in oil over the open flame. No flour dredge. No nothing. But, YES on delicious.

! Not keen on boiling oil over an open fire? Simply bake or grill your chicken with a little seasoning for a yummy outcome.

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
  • salt to taste

Combine ingredients and chill for an hour.

Flour Tortillas

This a new recipe I tried using a food processor and a tortilla press.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1.  Place all ingredients into food processor. Pulse several times until a soft dough ball is formed.
  2. Remove, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Divide into eight pieces.
  4. Press each piece between parchment paper with tortilla press. Reposition a quarter turn and press again.
  5. Cook over medium heat in lightly oiled skillet about 1 minute each side, or until lightly browned.

Enjoy!


img_20130406_134407_508See more about this ministry at Hands of Mercy.

 

Posted in doing life with friends, Matters of the Heart, Warm the Soul

Blend Well

A loud ruckus could be heard  in Maria’s dining room. This was the first time the gals on the hospitality team that I am part of had met together outside of our regular Thursday mornings. Friendship was evident through the teasing and laughter that was happening around the table. We have gotten to know each other through working together every week. A friendship has grown while serving brunch and cleaning up after in the church kitchen.

Women's Small Group Hospitality Team

Today, however, was our turn to relax. Maria prepared a wonderful meal and the beautiful table settings made everyone feel special. Each of us took a turn to share a little bit of our stories with the others. This proved to create an even stronger bond between us. Our lives became richer through hearing personal challenges each could connect with. I came away from the morning thinking how lucky I was to know and serve with these women.  This group is a special blend of backgrounds, experiences and seasons that makes my life much more delicious.

The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. ~Joseph Addison


One thing that Maria served our group was a luscious Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. It was a grain free recipe and was oh, so yummy.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

prep: 20 minutes     Cooking: 40 minutes    Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

CAKE

  • 1/3 cup grass-fed butter (Kerrygold), plus more for greasing pan*
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour, plus 1 teaspoon for dusting pan
  • 1/2 cup raw honey**
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

GLAZE

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons finely ground raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons honey, melted
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.Make the cake.
  2. Grease a Bundt pan very well with butter, then dust with 1 teaspoon coconut flour, carefully checking that every crack and surface is covered.  This makes sure your cake will easily come out of the Bundt pan after baking.
  3. Place the first 9 ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and process for 15 seconds, until smooth.
  4. Add 1 egg at a time, blending in-between, until all the eggs have been incorporated.
  5. Gently stir in the poppy seeds and lemon zest by hand.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in oven, and bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then invert it onto the rack to cool completely.  If necessary, use a rubber spatula to gently release the cake from the pan.  A small chunk broke off on mine as I flipped it over, but it didn’t mess up the taste at all!
  8. Make the glaze.  Grind the cashews in a food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined and smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake before serving.

Enjoy!

  •  If you like this post, perhaps you would reading another blog I write.  Girl on Adventure is a collection of lessons God is teaching me as I travel along life’s road.