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Gluten Free Vegetarian Lasagna

img_2479We do eat gluten in our house, but a lot of my friends and my kid’s friends do not, so I wanted to have a recipe for something we could all enjoy. I found gluten free rice pasta by a company called DeBole’s at our store and honestly I cannot tell the difference. I only buy oven ready lasagna noodles, and DeBole’s came through. Does anybody boil lasagna noodles first these days? I would never make the dish.

1 box gluten free lasagna, oven ready

2 jars marinara sauce, or 4-6 cups of homemade sauce

2T olive oil

1 large zucchini, sliced

1 large squash, sliced

5-6 portobello mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 c fresh spinach

1 1/2 large cartons cottage cheese

3/4 c parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1/4 jar pesto (small jar)

8 0z mozzarella

Place olive oil in a skillet and heat it up. Add the sliced and chopped vegetables and allow to cook 5-10 minutes, enough to become soft. Set aside.

Mix together the cottage cheese, parmesan, eggs and pesto in a large bowl. Set aside.

Pour 1/4 jar of marinara sauce into 9×13 pan. Place one layer of noodles over the sauce. Pour 1/2 of the cheese mixture onto the sauce and spread over the whole pan.  Scatter 1/2 of the cooked vegetables over the cheese mixture. Top with all the spinach. Repeat layers, ending with vegetables on top. Pour the second jar of marinara sauce over the top and spread it to seal the whole pan. Top with the mozzarella and any remaining parmesan cheese.

Refrigerate for up to 2 days and bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then uncovered for 30 minutes. If baking immediately, reduce uncovered time to 15 minutes. Allow to set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

Notice

swing

On the way home, taking a route that I drive 1-2 times a week and noticed something was different at an intersection. You know how you walk into a room and know something has been moved, but you can’t immediately put your finger on what it was? Just like that. I kept driving and it actually bothered me, it felt like it was important to remember and notice.

And then I saw it in my mind; an old house with a dilapidated porch rotting on the front, dirt driveway, no sign of life in the building but almost always a vehicle, maybe an old truck, was parked out back. Lots of junk and brush around the house, what may have once been bushes or landscaping. Then I remembered seeing someone walking towards the house one time. Man or woman? Had to be a man, no…..I don’t remember. But today this house, this structure was completely gone, as if it had never been there. In its place was a huge field ready to receive the grocery store that will be built there in the next few months.

As I put more distance between myself and this scorched earth, I tried to understand why it mattered to me. I have moved many times over the years, lived in 9 very different states, and each place holds so many memories. Each house was important. There are some that I haven’t seen in decades, that would be difficult for me to even find. But they are no less important, and neither are the memories made there.

I felt a strong need to remember that old house that was just torn down. It was so gone, there is not even evidence of the dirt driveway anymore. Nothing to show that it was just there. But I know that it was, and I am certain there is at least one family, if not several, who made memories between those walls. Yes, you mattered, and so did your time there.

Nothing that seems permanent in this world truly is. It can all be torn down, removed and replaced. But the very things that can seem so iffy – love, memories and relationships are what cannot be taken away. Just because life changes the details, doesn’t mean it never happened. I want to remember what is truly important and take notice, and feel the loss when something that was so real is gone.

Photo credit: John Clayton

 

Pork Roast with Apples and Onions

IMG_2430.JPGThis is a favorite in our house, and it takes time but is not difficult to pull together. The glaze that you thicken at the end makes it special! I got this from the Pioneer Woman years ago and we have it several times a year. We had this last night with  kale salad and Southern green beans.

Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Pork Shoulder Roast (also Called Pork Butt)
Salt And Pepper, to taste
4 cups Apple Juice
1 cup Beef Stock
3 whole Apples, Cored And Cut Into Wedges
3 whole Medium Onions, Sliced
1 Bay Leaf
2-1/2 cups Wild Rice
4 cups Water
3 cups Chicken Stock
4 Tablespoons Butter

To make the pork roast, heat olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Salt and pepper pork roast, then sear on all sides to give it some color. Reduce heat to low. Add apple juice, apple slices, onions, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 3 hours. (Or you may place in a 300 degree oven if you prefer.)

Toward the end of the cooking time, make the rice: melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add pecans and saute for a couple of minutes. Add wild rice and liquid, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until all liquid is cooked out.

When the roast is done, remove the roast, apples, and onions to a platter. Raise heat to medium-high (to high) and boil liquid, reducing it until thick and rich.

Spoon thick sauce over the roast, then cut the roast into slices. Serve with apples, onions, and wild rice. Serves 6-8.

 

X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

We have done something similar for years, but without spelling it out quite like this. Please parents, be this for your teens.

Bert Fulks

Friends, as most of you know, I get to spend an hour each week with a group of young people going through addiction recovery.  Yes.  Young people.  I’m talking teenagers who are locked away for at least six months as they learn to overcome their addictions.  I’m always humbled and honored to get this time with these beautiful young souls that have been so incredibly assaulted by a world they have yet to understand.  This also comes with the bittersweet knowledge that these kids still have a fighting chance while several of my friends have already had to bury their own children.

Recently I asked these kids a simple question:  “How many of you have found yourself in situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?”

They all raised their hands.

Every single…

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Special Effect

superpower Have you ever noticed how some people seem to get the good seats every time? The best parking places, tables at a restaurant, or just the permission to go where others cannot? I am not one of these people, but I am married to one, and it’s a great perk to join in with a person who has access. People allow him to go behind the curtain, or upgrade his hotel room, or tell him about some great deal that is only available to some.

And then there are those who can simply suggest an idea and before long it becomes a reality. You know this type; excited and excitable, kind of a cheerleader who can motivate the hearts of others. A person who has influence tends to have people around them most of the time, just waiting to see what’s going to happen next. We have a child with this tendency and it is fun to watch the wake.This person is often successful in sales.

There is another type that seems a lot like one with access, but it is the person who is often let in to the hearts and minds of others. This one is allowed to speak into people’s lives because they have permission to do so. You will often find this type sitting off to the side of a large group, talking with one person at a time, either giving encouragement or saying hard things.

Finally there are the people who take command of a situation, who speak in proclamation, not in questions and make statements with confidence. People rely on the one with authority to take a stand and point the way, bringing clarity and either relief or frustration to those around them. This person is often polarizing because they have the ability to see all the issues and comment on them while others are still processing the situation.

Which of these tendencies describes you best? This isn’t really about personality, it’s more of the effect you have, and I believe these are areas of strength that we use all the time, but not always for good. Have you noticed that you are allowed information or special circumstances more than most? You probably have access. What can you do with it? Do you find that you need to be careful endorsing ideas publicly because others are taking notice? That sounds like influence. What can you do with it? Maybe you are the type who people open up to and share their deeper hurts or fears, even those you don’t know well. That would be permission. What can you do with it? Or perhaps others rely on you to lead the charge and speak for them. This could be authority. What can you you do with it?

We can use these super powers for good or for our own good, it’s a daily choice.

Behind Every Great Man…

great

What were you thinking??

Are you serious??

I just don’t trust you.

Three statements that can crush a man. There are many more, but they all share similar characteristics; from the woman they love, these words inflict wounds that do not heal.

I don’t think most women understand how much impact we have on our men. There are so many jokes floating around about selective listening and how men tune out our words, but I think they listen very carefully. At least, early in the relationship I am quite sure of it. Over time they may feel forced to close you out in order to survive.

Your guy is looking for support, encouragement and grace that only you can give. He doesn’t need judgment or doubt, he hears that all day already. When he shares a crazy dream for your future together, instead of telling him all the reasons it won’t work and belittling his ideas, say something like, “I don’t think I understand. I’d like to hear more about that.”

When he asks if he has what it takes, instead of using the opportunity to share your doubts in his abilities, try, “I believe in you.”

And when he messes up and asks for your forgiveness, instead of reminding him of all the past hurts inflicted, respond with, “I forgive you.”

I have talked with so many men over the years who share that they feel paralyzed with doubt in their own abilities, afraid that they do not have what it takes. The difference can be the words that you are speaking into his life, detailing his strengths and potential.Your response to your man is incredibly powerful, that saying, ‘behind a great man is a great woman’ should be, ‘behind every great man is an encouraging woman.’

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

What Does She Want for Valentine’s Day?

img_2378Guys…..if you’re starting to feel some pressure from all the Valentine’s Day ads but have no idea how to proceed, I think I can help. You have the universal question looming right now….what does she want from me? Okay, here we go….

1. She doesn’t want you to ask her what she wants. Ever. If you have to tell someone what to get you, it doesn’t feel like a gift. And honestly, there’s a good chance she doesn’t expect something specific. She wants to see you looking confident and like you have this one covered. Seriously.

2. More than likely, she doesn’t want you to spend a lot of money. She is aware this is a cheesy excuse for a holiday, but deep down a token of your affection is much appreciated, even if she says otherwise. Want some ideas? If she normally secures the sitter, you do it, and have a plan for the evening that involves something she prefers. Or send her for a manicure and pedicure while you’re home with the kids. Or sign her up for piano/foreign language/cooking lessons – anything she has mentioned before that she is interested in. Or list out the Top 10 things you are most grateful for in your wife and read them to her over dinner in front of the kids, teaching them how to shower someone with love. Or buy her something in her favorite color and tell her why you chose it, and notice when she wears it.

Bottom line: she wants you to hear her, to see her, to love her and to know her. And then she wants you to communicate it back to her. And you thought we were complicated!

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