Friday, November 30, 2012


Eeeeek!!!!!  A rat!  Seriously y’all.  I sit every morning with a cup of coffee and my littlest kitty, Sweet Pea.  She likes to sit behind me on the back of the chair, nuzzle my hair and look out the window while I read.  This morning she spotted something out the window…a rat!  Sweet Pea and I ran from window to window to watch where it was going.  What is a rat doing out in the day?  They usually only come out at night, when I don’t see them and I can choose to pretend that they don’t exist.  YUCK!
We live on a canal, so when you live on water you have rats.  It doesn’t matter if you live in a shack or a palace, the rats don’t discriminate.  One of the homes we used to live at the fence ran right to the water line; we would have dinner parties, and everyone would watch the rats run back and forth along the fence.  Needless to say an invitation to the Lindsay’s for dinner was a hot ticket!

Speaking of dinner...are ya hungry now?  This salad is a refreshing break from all the heavy and rich dishes of Thanksgiving.  It’s crisp, light, low in fat and oh so tasty!  I also made this salad with fried tofu, for a completely vegan meal.  I'll show you how to make that later.

Here’s what you do.

This is what is needed for the dressing.

Slice the Serrano quite thin. 

I only used half of the Serrano pepper. If you like it really spicy then add the whole thing.  If Serrano peppers are unavailable, then use a jalapeno.

Whisk the lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, and canola oil together,
and then add the Serrano pepper.

I used my peeler to make strips of carrots, and then cut the carrot strips in half.

 Julienne is a fancy cooking term which means to cut into match sticks.

Now that you know what julienne means, do it to the cucumber and red bell pepper. 
Slice the radishes nice and thin.

Give some cashews a rough chop.

Grab a handful of bean sprouts.

Cook an 8 oz. box of Soba noodles according to the package directions.

When the noodles have cooked, drain them and rinse them with cold water.  

Toss the noodles with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing.

Season the peeled and deveined shrimp with salt and pepper.  

Sauté the shrimp in a tablespoon of canola oil over medium high heat for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp is opaque.

Put the lettuce around the perimeter of a bowl or platter.  Pile the noodles in the center of the lettuce.

Arrange the shrimp and the vegetables over the noodles.  Pour over a little of the dressing and sprinkle with chopped cashews and cilantro.

Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Serves 4

3              Tbsp.     Fresh lime juice
6              Tbsp.     Rice vinegar
3              Tbsp.     Honey
¾             tsp.      Sesame oil
3              Tbsp.     Canola oil, divided
½                         Serrano pepper, thinly sliced (jalapeno can be substituted)
1-8           oz.         Box of soba noodles
1               lb.         Medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
                            Salt and pepper
6              cups       Romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1              cup         Carrots, julienned
1              cup         Cucumber, julienned
1              cup         Red bell pepper, julienned
1/3           cup         Radishes, thinly sliced
1              cup         Bean sprouts    
1/3           cup         Cashews, roughly chopped
¼             cup         Cilantro, roughly chopped

1.        Make the dressing.  In a medium bowl whisk together the lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil and 2 Tbsp. of the canola oil.  Add the Serrano pepper to the dressing and set to the side.
2.       Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions.  When the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse them with cold water.
3.       Toss about 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the noodles and set them to the side.
4.       Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
5.       Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until the shrimp is opaque.
6.       Spread the lettuce around the perimeter of a large bowl or platter.
7.       Pile the soba noodles in the center of the platter. 
8.       Arrange the vegetables and cooked shrimp in an attractive manner over the noodles.
9.       Pour a little of the dressing over the vegetables and shrimp, and sprinkle the cashews and cilantro.  

 Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I know that you come here to for recipe inspiration, but truthfully I have not been into food the last few days.  You see on the night of Thanksgiving I said good bye to two of my dear friends who went home to the Lord.
My friend and neighbor Mary has been battling cancer and though she passed on Friday, I had said good bye to her on Thursday night.  I am so blessed to have known her.   Mary was a fun loving person, and even to the end she was having fun.  She loved the Lord and would tell everyone.  I remember when I went to visit her at work one day, and told her that Billy was being promoted from radio to TV and that he was a little nervous.  Well she took out a piece of paper and wrote down her prayer for Billy and put it in her prayer box.  Mary didn’t have a little prayer box; no, she had a giant prayer box, and I don’t doubt that she prayed for most of the people that came through her door.  She didn’t judge, she loved and was so genuine you just couldn’t help but love her in return. 
Mary’s adoring husband Mark and super cool sister Sandy were able to attend to her needs so that she could stay at home.  Their home was always full of visitors and while they would pray for Mary, she would also pray for them.  Sometimes she would be tired and close her eyes just listening to the chatter, but she would tell us that she was so at peace.  Her home was filled with joy and peace in a time that could have been filled with angst and worry.  I am so grateful that I got to be a witness to that.

I also said good bye to my kitty, Herbie.  When I came home from Mary’s that night he still hadn’t come home.  I was calling him and I found him across the road, he had been hit by a car, he was already gone.  Billy and I haven’t been able to have kids yet, so all that love we have in our hearts goes to our cats, they are our babies.  Needless to say, my heart is broken.  Herbie came with the house; the previous owners left him behind.  He was such a love bug.  He would climb up in my lap and knead my belly for a few minutes, give a couple of good head butts, and then he would snuggle in the crook of my arm like a baby.  He would just gaze into my eyes with so much love while I rubbed his cheek.  We would sit like that most evenings.  I had tried for months to make him an indoor cat, but he was depressed, so Billy and I had determined that it was better for him to be happy and allowed him to go out again.  He would almost always come in before dark and I, like a mother felt content when I knew that all my kitties were home and safe.  Our home feels quite gloomy and empty and we miss our Herbie so.

I have been thinking about my two friends and how I miss them, but that my experience with their passing is so different.  

I was able to prepare myself for Mary to go and while I miss her and am so sad for her loved ones, I have peace knowing that she is in heaven.  I just know that she is singing, dancing, and clowning around.

While Herbie was taken so suddenly and I don’t exactly know God’s plan for animals.  Is Herbie in Kitty heaven, or is he just gone?  This has been such a burden on me.  I have been searching for answers and while I haven’t read anything in the Bible specifically about animals in heaven, God is beginning to giving me solace.

Here’s the thing, if I am so burdened by the uncertainty of my cat’s eternal life, how much more will I burdened over the eternal life of my loved ones.  I like to think that nothing will happen, or that I will be able to prepare for it; that there is still plenty of time for them to know Jesus.  This past week has shown me, that they or I could be gone in the blink of an eye.  I now know the urgency of letting them know what I didn’t always know, but what I now know to be true.

I used to believe that I was a good person and that I would go to heaven, because I wasn’t a thief or a murderer; heck I was a whole lot better than a lot of people.  Ezekiel 33 tells us that the righteousness of a righteous man will not be remembered if he commits a sin; he shall surely perish.  The wickedness of a wicked man will be forgotten if he repents and does not sin again; he will surely live.
Does that seem just?  Here’s what God says: Ezekiel 33:20 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’   …I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”

Judge, judgment… what terrifying words.  I hate the thought of being judged (by anyone).  If I were to be judged what would the verdict be?  What would my fate be?  I probably sin every day, even though I have repented from what I consider my “wicked” ways I have not totally stopped sinning.
God does not want to judge us.  Most of y'all know this:  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 
No judgment?  Is it really that easy?  It wasn’t for me.

When I first started going to church, I felt unworthy, I felt judged, and I felt like everyone could see that I didn’t belong.  I felt like I needed to clean myself up before the Lord could accept me.  

Do you know the next verse:  John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved.”

I finally realized (I’m very stubborn) that God didn’t want to judge me and didn’t want me to feel judged.  He wanted me to feel worthy and loved, if I would just accept it.  I had to allow Jesus to clean me up.  Let me tell you that He’s a better cleaner than I’ll ever be, Jesus cleaned up things that I didn’t even know needed cleaning.

I am so grateful that I am able to feel fulfilled in my life, and have peace and joy, even in the storm.  I’m also grateful that I have confidence of where I will be in my eternal life; and that if I were to go tomorrow my family can have peace in knowing that I will be in heaven.

My hope is that I can have the peace and confidence in knowing that all of my loved ones will all be there with me.  If you have this same hope please share what you know with your loved ones while you can.  If you are unsure about your own salvation then please pray that you may know for sure, and that you won’t be judged.