Thursday, January 31, 2013


But many who are first will be last, and the last first.  Matthew 19:30 

Huh, what the hey? When I read this statement on its own I honestly don’t know what it means; it could mean a great deal of things.  To read it on its own it hardly seems fair.  The parable of the vineyard gave me clarity.   I’m going to paraphrase it in the interest of keeping things shorter.  Please read Matthew 20 on your own to know the exact wording.

Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a landowner who went out in the morning to hire some day laborers to work his vineyard.  He agreed with them on a set amount that they would earn at the end of the day’s work.  They went straight to work.  
He hired more men in need of work at different hours of the day; and they agree that rather than a set wage, the laborers will receive whatever is right. 
At the end of the 12 hour work day the landowner instructed that the laborers be paid; beginning with the last to start work, and ending with the first to start work.  The laborers that had worked for only one hour earned the same wage, as the laborers that had worked for 12 hours. 

Those laborers who thought that they toiled longer felt entitlement to receive more, and were angered that the landowner would reward them equally. 

The landowner answered them that he was doing no wrong, they had an agreement and it is lawful for him to do as he wishes with his own things.  He basically told them that they were evil; and even though they worked really hard, I’m pretty sure that they weren’t to be asked to come back. 

So the last will be the first, and the first last.  For many are called, but few are chosen.  Matthew 20:16

If we are truthful we can admit that it’s easy to become resentful when someone who we deem underserving receives the same reward that we do.  That’s when we need to pray to ask that be taken from our minds and our hearts.

Sometimes “religion” makes us feel entitled.  Just because we lead a “holy” life, are very involved in our religion and know the bible inside and out; doesn’t give us entitlement to get more, or even to get into the kingdom.  

What entitles us to the kingdom is God's grace it's not our due.  It's our faith not our works.  It’s being grateful for what we have and not begrudging others for what they have.  It’s loving, the unlovable.  It’s reaching, the unreachable.  It’s being truly excited to know that the person, who has been down and out and who has done the unforgivable, is forgiven and that they will be receiving the same reward that we will.  

The reward is the same whether we’ve known the Lord all our lives, or only at the end of our life.  The reward is heaven!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013



Our poor kitty, Matilda must be wondering what the heck is going on in her life since we adopted her just a few weeks ago.  I bet Matilda feels like she’s been abducted by aliens.  In three weeks she’s been to the vet three times. 

She must be thinking, “First I get grabbed by the scruff of the neck and throw into a black bag that gets zipped up.  I can see out through the mesh so I know I get carried off in some weird machine that takes me to this scary place.  I know there are others there like me, I can smell their fear.” 

“The lights are really bright and I get taken out of the bag and on to a cold table.  Then some strange person pokes and prods me.”  

“The last time I fell into a deep sleep and when I awoke I was in pain and my teeth were all missing” (She had 12 teeth removed, she only has 9 remaining; boo hoo.)

“Today the stranger put an object up in a place that made me very uncomfortable” (She felt warm, so her temperature had to be taken, we’ll leave it at that.)

“I’m so confused!”

Little does my poor baby know that she has to return to the vet in ten more days because she’s a hot mess!  Did I mention our cheap cat is now a very expensive cat!

Any hoo…Since I posted a White Bean Turkey Chili  recipe last week, it’s only fitting that there should be a Vegetarian White Bean Chili, isn’t it?

It’s very similar to White Bean Turkey Chili, so some of the photos may look familiar.  The difference in the this chili from the turkey version (other than the meat of course) is the addition of dried mushrooms which adds a nice depth of flavor and texture, and the use of zucchini; which helps to balance out the heat from the chili peppers.

I was so excited that I had some left over chili to make a delicious Chili Taco Salad!

Here’s what you do.

Soak the cannellini beans the night before, according to the package directions.

Add to a Dutch oven over medium heat a table spoon of olive oil, the onions, jalapenos, garlic and some salt and pepper.
When the onions are translucent add the cumin, allspice and oregano, cook for 3 to 5 minutes more; this allows the spices to toast a little.

This is my little bottle of tequilla add it and cook until it's evaporated.

Now add the drained beans...

...The vegetable stock (low or no sodium please) and the water...

...the dried mushrooms go in now too along with a bay leaf.  I get a big ol' container of dried mushrooms at Costco and through them into all kinds of dishes.

Bring the chili to a simmer, then partially cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down to medium low.

In the mean time roast the poblano pepper.  There are full instructions on how to roast and peel poblano peppers on my post for White Bean Turkey Chili.  Dice the roasted pepper into about 1/2 inch pieces.
After the chili has simmered for an hour, season with salt and pepper if necessary and add the diced poblanos and the corn meal.  Put the lid back on the way it was, and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add the zucchini and cilantro.  Put the lid back and simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the beans are soft.

Vegetarian White Bean Chili tastes yummy on it's own...
But if you like; top it off with a little Monterey Jack, or white Cheddar cheese.


Serves 4

½             lb.             Dry cannellini beans
                               Olive oil 
1                              Small onion, medium dice
1                              Jalapenos, diced fine (with or without seeds it’s up to you)
2              cloves        Garlic, minced
2 ½           tsp.          Cumin
½             tsp.          Allspice
2              tsp.           Oregano, preferably Mexican
1                              Bay leaf
1/4           cup           Tequila
2              cups          Vegetable stock, low or no sodium
1              cup           Water
¼             cup           Dried mushrooms, chopped
                                Salt and Pepper to taste
1                              Poblano pepper
1 ½          cups           Zucchini, large dice
1 ½          Tbsp.          Corn meal
2              Tbsp.          Cilantro, chopped

  1.        The night before; soak the beans according to the package directions.
  2.       When you are ready to make the chili drain and rinse the soaked beans, set to the side.
  3.       Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven, along with the onions, jalapenos and garlic, season with a little salt and pepper. Do not add the poblano pepper.  Cook over medium heat.
  5.       When the onions are translucent, add the cumin, allspice, and oregano, stir and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  6.       Add the tequila, and cook until the tequila has evaporated.
  7.       Add the drained beans, the vegetable stock, water, bay leaf, and dried mushrooms.  Bring the liquid up to a simmer, check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.  Then partially cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat to medium low.
  8.       Meanwhile; preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  9.       Wash and dry the poblano pepper.  Rub the skin all over with a little olive oil.  Lay the poblano on a sheet pan.  Roast in the hot oven for about 15 minutes, turning half way through.  The skin should blister and char.
  10.   When the poblano has roasted, remove it to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 to 15 minutes.  This will make it easier to remove the skin and the seeds from the poblano.  Cut the poblano pepper into about ½ inch dice.
  11.   After the chili has simmered for an hour, stir in the roasted poblano pepper and the cornmeal.  Return the lid, and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  12.  Add the diced zucchini, stir in the chopped cilantro, and simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the beans are soft.
Serve Vegetarian White Bean Chili with corn bread, tortilla chips or rice.  Top with cheese if desired.
Vegetarian White Bean Chili freezes well.

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Monday, January 28, 2013


This pasta dish was inspired by all the flavors of an antipasti platter.  I know...totally an oxymoron since antipasti means without pasta; it's a crowd pleaser none the less, aaand it’s super simple to make.  Ya cook a box of pasta, dice some tomatoes & cheese, then just open up a bunch of jars and dump ‘em.  Okay, maybe don’t just dump the jars, but it’s almost that easy.  Farfalle Pasta with Marinated Vegetables can also sit out at room temperature and not poison any one; always important in a partaaay dish.  Oh yes I did…I said “partay”!

 Here’s what you do.

Farfalle pasta is the same as bow tie pasta.  All of the ingredients can be prepared while you are waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil.   I have olive oil in the pic but I ended up not using it, just pretend it's not there.

Be sure and get "marinated" artichoke hearts because you'll use the marinade in the pasta.

Drain the roasted red peppers and dice 'em up.  All of the vegetables will be diced into about 1/2 inch pieces. 

Cut the grape or cherry tomatoes in half.
Red onions give a nice bite to the pasta.
I had some pesto I had previously made in the freezer, but go ahead and use jarred pesto if that's what you have.

 When the pasta has cooked, drain it well, but don't rinse it.

Dice the artichoke hearts, and add them along with their marinade to the cooked, drained pasta.

Add the remaining vegetables, the roughly chopped olives and the pesto.  Give it a stir to be sure everything is incorporated.

By the time I add the cheese, the pasta has cooled a little.  That's good because I don't want the cheese to melt, I like the finding the nuggets of cheese in my pasta.

This pasta is loaded with veggies and cheese.  I chose to keep it vegetarian, but some cubes of salami would be a tasty addition.


Serves 8

1              box        Farfalle (bow tie) pasta; a box is 1 lb.
1              pint        Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
½                          Large red onion, large dice
1-12          oz. jar    Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped into ½ inch pieces; use the hearts and the liquid
1-10          oz. jar    Roasted red peppers, drained and chopped into ½ inch pieces
1              cup        Pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
¼             cup        Pesto sauce
16             oz.         Mozzarella cheese, diced into ½ inch cubes
                            Salt and pepper to taste
  1.        Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain the cooked pasta well.
  2.       Toss the pasta with the tomatoes, onion, artichoke hearts, the marinade from the artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, olives and the pesto.  Mix well.
  3.    Toss the diced mozzarella in at the last.
  4.       Taste for seasoning, salt and pepper if necessary.
  5.       Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Note diced Salami would be a nice addition to this pasta.

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