Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jesus in Mom Jeans

I want to be like Jesus.

But, sometimes as a mom, I don't act like Jesus. And sometimes not so much because I'm mad, but because I have a hard time determining what type of parental choice Jesus would make, in the heat of the trials and drama of three small girls. And I get frustrated about it.

I want to know Jesus so well. And truly "get" Him so much, that even when my emotions and blood pressure feel like they are about to go through the ceiling, I can confidently answer the question WWJD? And then actually do it.

Jesus, what practical parental choice would you make when your 18mo old is screaming in the high chair covered in applesauce, while one 3 year old just fell on the floor in a pool of tears because you got her a little spoon instead of a big spoon, and another 3 year old is in the bathroom yelling for you to come and wipe her booty?

And please don't misinterpret my tone. I truly believe He has the answer.

My post is about my issue.

I'm staying home full-time now. And in my quiet time with God, I feel like He's asking me to be still. To accept His love for me and define myself simply as His beloved (rereading Abba's Child)(one of my all time faves!) I'm learning so much.

And then my kids wake up. And it's practical application time. I start my day (and my ministry) and pray that all this good stuff that's happening in my heart is ever-present in my day, as I lead my kids.

I think that's the true test of growth. Grace in the hard times. That in the toughest of trials, I could hold up a mirror and still see His reflection. I'm not sure that happens all the time here.

As I read the Bible and read about the life that Jesus' modeled. I'm so inspired. And challenged.

I feel confident that he's asking me to abide in this new season. And I'm learning to carve out times of solitude with Him.

And I think it's so that I can really hear Him in the stillness, when my life is so LOUD. And that as I hear him more, His voice becomes so familiar, so easy to decipher, that when the NOISE is at it's loudest, I can still hear it.

Because, I know He knows how LOUD it can get over here. And that it's not always the kids.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Asian Beef and Noodle Soup

If you're in the mood for some amazing Asian flavor combinations, this is the soup for you. However, if you aren't in the mood to flash back to college, livin on the cheap, eatin ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you might want to skip this one, or find a noodle substitution (which is what I plan to do next time).

I used a few ingredients for the first time in this recipe: fish sauce and Chinese five-spices.

I have to admit, the fish sauce weirded me out. It was a tan color and a water consistency. I pictured someone pulling a fish from the lake and squeezing it over a sieve. I didn't taste it directly, but the bottle said you can use it like soy sauce and it's popular in Thai food.

The Chinese five-spices is an interesting mix of spices, including cinnamon and fennel. Even a little clover. Heck, if you wanted to, you could probably put it in your pumpkin pie. That would be interesting.

The noodles were straight up ramen, although you didn't use the seasoning packet. But, I wasn't fooled and I have too many memories of eating ramen in my dorm room when there was nothing else to eat. So I think next time I'll try some chinese egg noodles instead or even vermicelli.

This recipe also includes flank steak and I was surprised that you cooked it by simply throwing it into the broth and not in a skillet ahead of time. I was pleased since I feel like I usually mess up steak when I try to cook it in a skillet. The broth method made for really tender steak.

All these flavors combined, plus fresh ginger and cilantro, made this soup a party for my taste buds, which is why I'm sharing it with you. Enjoy!

Asian Beef and Noodle Soup

8 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fish sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
4 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles, broken into large pieces, seasoning packets discarded
1 lb flank steak, cut lengthwise into thirds and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (see note)
1/2 medium head Napa cabbage, sliced thin crosswise (about 4 c)
1/4 c finely chopped fresh cilantro

Bring broth, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and five-spice powder to boil in Dutch oven. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until flavors meld (about 10 min).

Add noodles to simmering broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender (about 2 min). Stir in beef and cabbage and simmer until cabbage is wilted and beef is cooked through (about 2 min). Add cilantro. Serve.

Note: Freeze the steak for 15 min before cutting to ensure thin, even slices.