Flavor Combo #2: Greek Chicken

I got very excited about sharing with you some of the tried and true flavor combinations that I switch up every now and then to make our dinner meals a tad more exciting… and then life got in the way and all I shared was our Buffalo Chicken favorites.

Well, that’s going to change right here.

Introducing…. GREEK CHICKEN. I know. That doesn’t sound any more exciting than Buffalo Chicken. But my kids love all things “Greek chicken” making it worth the effort to find multiple ways to serve it up. So, here we go…

I. Mission: To create a basic Greek chicken recipe that can be used in multiple dishes.

II. Service Support:

*Chicken! Baked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (whole or shredded, depending on the recipe)
*Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
*Feta Cheese
*Red and/or Green Onion, diced
*Fresh (or dried) dill
*Cucumber (optional)
*Tomato (optional)

cavenders

III. Execution:

It’s amazing how many things these simple ingredients can make. Here are a few of our favorites:

*Pizza! Use your favorite homemade (or store-bought, if you roll that way) pizza crust. Spread some warm cream cheese mixed with a little ranch dressing and some fresh dill on your crust. Drop a few generous handful of shredded chicken down and sprinkle with Cavender’s. Top with feta cheese, onion, and maybe a little mozzarella or Colby Jack cheese…whatever you have on hand.

This is probably our kids’ favorite. It’s rich and creamy and while you’re eating it you think to yourself, “Why aren’t all pizzas this rich and creamy.” Trust me. You do.

greek chicken pizza

*Roll-ups! My kids are obsessed with these. Mix some shredded chicken, Cavender’s, dill, onion, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, and cream cheese together in a bowl. Spread onto a tortilla wrap and roll up. Yummmmmmmmmmo. Use warm chicken. Use cold chicken. It doesn’t matter. These are fast, easy and great on the go.

*Greek chicken salad! Mix chicken, Cavender’s, dill, onion, cucumber, and feta with a little greek yogurt and/or light mayo. Add chopped olives if you’d like or a little sugar to make it sweet. Serve on your favorite roll. We like it on croissants. We like everything on croissants.

*Greek chicken! Yep. Just good old Greek chicken. Throw the chicken breasts in the oven, coated in Cavender’s. Top with some red onion slices and feta cheese and throw it in the oven.

*Pita pockets! Let the kids make their own combination of the above in their own little pocket. Maybe add some lettuce, spinach, or olives to the line-up. And some easy tzatziki sauce on the side. Sooooo good.

And there you go! Greek Chicken five different ways!

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Why I Don’t Pray for My Husband to Join My Ministry

I’ve heard countless women…good women, humble women, godly women… pray for God to please move in their husbands’ lives to bring them to a place of ministering together. I love that thought. I love the idea of husbands and wives in ministry together and I’ve been blessed by countless husband/wife duos who serve God together, arm in arm. I love the husbands and wives that co-teach Sunday School. The husbands and wives that co-lead Celebrate Recovery teams. The husbands and wives that open their homes together for small group Bible studies. I love it.

But I’m not going to pray for that anymore. Ever. I’ve been guilty of that before.

My husband is not what you would call a social individual. He’ll talk to anyone who approaches and he’ll give them the shirt off his back, but he won’t seek out someone to talk to. In fact, he’ll do his best to stay out of the way by himself. So, praying for God to bring him to a place of ministering with me in church, in groups, was just asking God to make my husband someone who he isn’t. But God stopped me in my tracks. In one weekend God managed to show me three different ways that He was using my husband, right where he is.

First, we got a message from a soldier that Bob and I met on the WWP Soldier Ride last November. My “I don’t need friends” husband had befriended a younger Vet on the ride and talked to him at great length about overcoming some of the obstacles that he had in his life. He shared candidly about his own problems and how slowing his life down and focusing on God had saved him from a world of hurt. This young Vet wrote us to thank Bob for believing in him and for sharing with him and to tell us that he’d gotten himself squared away and was going to church. Bob ministered to this guy – not in our church, not in our home, but right where he was.

Second, we got a phone call from a very good friend of ours who happens to be a Captain in the Army. One of the men he had served with in Iraq was out of a job, living in a very poor community, and needed help. He asked Bob if he would call him and see about helping him find some work. Bob immediately got on the horn and called this young man, offering him some hope. Again, he didn’t meet this soldier’s needs in our church or in a Bible study in our home, but he used Bob right where he was.

And last but not least, we attended a minor league baseball game with some military friends of ours one very hot, steamy, Florida evening in July. The heat index was well over 100* in the shade and we were already feeling miserable before the game began. A few rows above us on the other side of our section we heard a woman start screaming for help. Her elderly mother had passed out in the heat. My husband did not hesitate to join the first responders that came to her aid. Although he never had a chance to put his schooling into practice, my husband graduated from med school a few years ago at one of the best med schools in the country. He never thought twice about being bothered to help her. He knew what to do. He knew how to help. And he didn’t give it a second thought. Not in a church. Not in a Bible study. But at a minor league baseball stadium.

I will never again pray that God will form my husband into the man that meets my expectations of ministry. God’s plans are so much better than mine and He has a much better idea of how to utilize my husband in His kingdom work than I do. Maybe he doesn’t speak to congregations. Maybe he doesn’t pray over large groups. But to the individuals God has used my husband to reach, he was a blessing. And what more could a wife truly ever want than to know that her husband is right where God wants him?

Conflicting Comments

They say that men are like waffles; women are like spaghetti. Men can easily compartmentalize things while women tend to connect and intertwine every thought, event, and action like a big ole pile of slippery spaghetti.

It seems like everyone from your mother to your mechanic has advice to offer on a daily basis. We love to criticize the media for their role in negatively impacting our self-esteem but the same barrage of criticism in the form of advice often comes from the pulpit, the women’s Bible study, and our own posts on social media. And not all criticism is bad. Constructive criticism has saved me from many poor decisions. Yet, how do I sift through the onslaught of advice I receive every day?

I wish I was a waffle.

But I’m not. It takes me forever to detangle the mess of critical remarks that the world throws my way… especially when they are conflicting comments. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

*It’s good to get up early before your children so you can pray, spend time with the Lord, and enjoy alone time before your day begins.

**A tired mommy does nobody any good. Get plenty of rest so that you can be the mom they need.

*We need to cleanse our bodies from the impurities that we put in them. It’s important to drink water, eat healthy foods, and get plenty of exercise every day.

**It’s harmful to compare ourselves to others. Be happy with who you are and what you look like. We can’t all be a size 4. Embrace your body the way it is and stop living for the acceptance of others. Besides, God loves you just the way you are.

*If you make a commitment, you should keep it.

**Your family should always come first. If they need you, you should break all other commitments.

*It’s our job, as parents, to protect our kids from the outside world.

**If we shelter our children, we are not providing them with opportunities to learn and grow.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

That’s why it’s so important to have Truth to filter such comments through. While it’s certainly a blessing to have experts in the fields of medicine, marriage, health, children, employment, and so on, there’s only one Expert that I know will never give me conflicting advice.

God.

It’s not easy to know what to do. It’s not easy to make decisions as a mother, a wife, a woman. It’s not easy to muddle through the piles of advice we receive every day and to clearly discern which advice is worth applying to our lives and which advice should line the bottom of the bird cage.

And often both sides of conflicting advice are good…. given the right circumstances.

Only God knows the plan He has for our lives. So ultimately, it should only be Him that we seek when we are unsure of what to do.

Only he can make a waffle decision out of my pile of spaghetti.

Amish Cinnamon Bread

This recipe has been floating all over Pinterest. So, like usual, I took it and gave it my own twist.

This “bread” is much more like a cake than a bread. I like baking it in a bundt cake pan or a 8″x8″ cake pan.

Last week our family made some homemade butter during our homeschool study of colonial America, so I whipped up a quick batch of this bread so we’d have something to apply our creamy butter on. It did not disappoint.

butter 1

Here’s my twist on the popular Amish Cinnamon Bread recipe that makes 2 pans.

Batter:
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/Sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream together the butter, sugars, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of the batter into 2 greased loaf pans, square pans, or bundt pans (1/4 of the batter in each pan). Mix the cinnamon/sugar mixture together in a separate bowl. Sprinkled 3/4 of this mixture on top of the batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans. Sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min or so until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with delicious, creamy butter for best results.

Everything’s Better with Butter

Ft Tabers Christian Academy (what we call our family homeschool) kicked off in full swing last week with all things new and exciting. It’s hard to believe I have a sophomore in high school, two 8th graders, a 6th grader, and a 2nd grader. I have THREE KIDS in middle school. Pray for me.

But all kidding aside, we had a great first week – even with an extra kid in the house since we were watching a sweet little friend of my youngest’s while her parents were out of town.

The highlight of the week was making homemade butter during our review of life in Colonial America.

butter collage

Making homemade butter is fun, easy, and oh so yummy. Here’s how we did it.

1. Fill a mason jar 1/2 – 3/4 full with heavy cream. I also suggest throwing in a pinch of salt. We made a batch of salted and a batch of unsalted. The salted butter tastes better.

If you have a couple of marbles, or an agitator like this one which is used in health shakes, you can throw it in to speed up the process, but that’s totally optional. If you DO add an agitator, you’ll have to dig it out of your butter later.

butter 2

2. Start shaking your jar of cream. Shake it up and down. Shake it sideways. Shake it in your right hand. Shake it in your left hand. Pass it around the table so everyone gets to shake it. Just keep shaking. Eventually, it’ll look kinda like this.

Butter 3

3. Once it’s real thick, you’ll still hear a little sloshing around. Feel free to drain off some of the liquid. That’s buttermilk. Feel free to save it for baking, if you’re into that sort of thing. But you have to use it fairly soon ’cause it won’t stay fresh very long.

butter 4

4. Continue shaking until you have a solid lump of butter. Ours was extremely soft and delightfully creamy.

butter 5

5. I couldn’t help but make some homemade Amish Cinnamon Bread to slather it on. The kids approved and we all decided that while it’s cheaper and easier to grab a tub of Country Crock at Walmart, nothing beats the taste of real, homemade butter.

butter 1