Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Recipe #98 - Hard Cider Braised Chicken

I had these hard cider bottles left over from a football party a while back, and I wanted to get rid of them. You can use one bottle along with a cup and a half of chicken stock to tone down the apple sweetness if you like.

Pinch of salt
grind or two of black pepper
pinch of pepperoncini
pinch of oregano
one red onion diced
three cloves of garlic minced
six chicken thighs
8 oz mini bella mushrooms
24 oz hard cider

I seasoned the chicken on both sides, and then started with the oil, onion, and garlic in my favorite fry pan.

The shimmering oil - it is ready!

I just sweated the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about five minutes...

...and then removed them to a bowl.

I then cranked up the heat, added another turn of the pan of oil, and seared the chicken on both sides for about five minutes a side. (Actually, you can go longer, I was impatient and couldn't wait to pour in that cider)

After the sear, turn down the heat to low, and then add the onions and garlic and cider.

I let that go for 25 minutes covered...

...and then added the mushrooms.

23 more minutes covered, and the whole house was smelling of sweet apple.

The chicken was perfectly braised, moist, juicy, and very apple-y. The mini bella mushrooms took on that apple flavor also, and the pair made a fine Wednesday night meal. Baste with a spoon or two of the braising liquid when serving.

Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful meal tonight. Thank You for always taking such good care of us, and for loving us so much. Thank You for Jesus, Whose praise we sing!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

TLH #134 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

1. Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,
Manifested by the star
To the sages from afar,
Branch of royal David's stem,
In Thy birth at Bethlehem.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.

2. Manifest at Jordan's stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,
And at Cana, Wedding-guest,
In Thy Godhead manifest;
Manifest in power divine,
Changing water into wine.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.

3. Manifest in making whole
Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
Manifest in valiant fight,
Quelling all the devil's might;
Manifest in gracious will,
Ever bringing good from ill.
Anthems be to Thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.

4. Sun and moon shall darkened be,
Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
All will see His glorious sign;
All will then the trumpet hear,
All will see the Judge appear;
Thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in man made manifest.

5. Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
Mirrored in Thy holy Word;
May we imitate Thee now
And be pure as pure art Thou
That we like to Thee may be
At Thy great Epiphany
And may praise Thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #134
Text: 1 Peter 1:20
Author: Christopher Wordsworth, 1862
Composer: George J. Elvey, 1858
Tune: "St. George"

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Recipe # 47 Easy Spring-form Taco Salad Cake

I got the idea for this one from Steven Raichlen's Project Smoke, as seen on your favorite public television network. This guy barbecues everything, and is always coming up with new recipes for different ways to grill and smoke great food. Considering it was about four degrees outside when I made this dish, I thought it best to use my trusty Whirlpool gas range, instead of my Char Griller grill and smoker out on the deck.

For the meat ~
Just over a pound of 70/30 ground beef
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced green, yellow, orange, and red peppers
Taco seasoning: chili powder, ground cumin, ground black pepper, garlic powder

For the cake~
canola oil spray
corn chips smashed into small pieces
about a cup of your favorite salsa
2 cups of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 jalapenos, sliced
fresh vegetables diced up: bell pepper and red onion
dollop of sour cream
Several tablespoons of Wishbone Deluxe French salad dressing

For serving~
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

I then added the meat, vegetables, and seasoning to my best T-Fal fry pan, stirred it frequently and broke up the meat until cooked through, about 15 minutes. I drained the grease before creating the cake.

In a ten-inch spring-form cheesecake pan sprayed with canola oil, I began the first layer with the crushed chips,

then the meat,

then the fresh vegetables and salsa,

then the shredded cheese.

I did another layer of all the items, and then topped it with the remaining meat.

About a half hour at 275 and the cheese had melted just enough. You could go longer if you want but keep an eye on it - you don't want anything to burn.

I took the side of the cake pan off and served each wedge over a bed of shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes, and topped with sour cream. The dressing is optional, sometimes I like it and sometimes (like when the cheese is good and melty) I don't need it.

Steven Raichlan adds black beans to this dish, and I would have also except I didn't have any when I made it.

Blessings and peace to you and yours; let me know if you liked this one!

The Epiphany of our Lord

Saturday, January 6, 2018

morning prayer

Holy LORD and King of kings we praise Your Name!
You alone are worthy of praise, You alone are worthy!
All glory and honor and blessing to You almighty God and Father!

Thank You for this new day. Thank You for the beauty of the morning, for the warm bed we were able to sleep in, for getting us up and for all your provisions. Thank You for Jesus, for Your plan of salvation, and for Your daily care. 'Morning by morning new mercies I see!'

I confess my sins to you Lord, sins of word, thought, and deed, and I ask for mercy and forgiveness in Jesus' Name. All praise and glory to You and to the Lamb!

I lift up all our concerns regarding finances, health, our home and vehicles, our retirement - we trust You and You have never ever forsaken us.
I lift up to You my beautiful bride Monica, that You would protect her and keep her safe, forgive her sins, heal her body, mind, soul, and spirit, give her peace in her heart, and let her know to-day how much You love her.
We do pray also for Francis and all the priests and bishops, and for Your Church all over the world, especially where there is persecution. We pray for President Trump and his family, and for all the elected officials at the state, local, global, and national level - may they make decisions that please You.
We pray for John and the Bible Christian Society, and for men of good will everywhere.
We pray for Bill and the team and candidates of the Via de Cristo weekends.
We pray for every child, and for every one who does not yet know You, for the naked and the homeless and those in prison; and those suffering pain, mental anguish, addiction, depression and loss.
We pray for Stan and Rita, for Stan, Charlotte, Kathy, Justin, Dana, Aaron, Joseph, Mary, Grace, Stosh (may he rest in Your peace), Stacie, Carter, Ryan, Emily, Mary Ann, Dean, Court, Rusty, Drew, Mason, Meggie, Jake, Quinn, Cameron, Deacon, Kacie, Brett, Bob, Jon, Jay (may he rest in Your peace), Jen, Joslin, Liam, Pam, Ken, Kenny, Kendall, Carolyn, Doug and his family, Terry, Jeannie, her dad, Ty, Sophia, Trent, Kevin, Justin, Tori, Kaylee, Kristine, Mike and his mom.
We pray for mom and dad and their families, Nancy, Ruben, Ray, Ric, Ben, Alex, Belle, Beni, Carlos and Cheyenne, Gary, Susie, Josh, Taylor, Jeremy.
We pray also for Tommy and Shelly, Ninnie, Peggy, Vic and AJ, and John and his family, for Roger, Sheri, Ben, Marty, Denada and their kids, Adam, Peggy and their kids, Tony, Doreen Liam, Aiden, Kevin and Hilda and their families, Kathy, June, Randy and his family, Sam and his family, Robert (may he rest in Your peace), Audwin, Kathy and Kathy and Christa and Stephanie and Chris and Crabby and Carlton and Rodney and Rodney, and Hyman (may he rest in Your peace) and Carolyn and the Schultz's, Kenney's Filiatrault's, Scharfenbergs, Nagels, Blakemores, Debelaks, Williams, Trapps, Palmreuters, Marx's, Faith and her family, Scotty and his family, Zach and his family, John and his family, Ron's family, Gina, Maria, Sophie, Nina, Cas, Drake and Termors, Fournier and his family, Michelle and Bryan and their families, Tim and his family, Marilyn, Jen, Jen, and Nicole and Jeff and thier families.
We pray for those who are missing someone this day.
We pray for those who are in the hospital or prison.

Come, Lord Jesus; come.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Here am I, send me, send me!

1. Hark! the voice of Jesus crying,
"Who will go and work today?
Fields are white and harvests waiting,
Who will bear the sheave away?"
Loud and long the Master calleth,
Rich reward He offers thee;
Who will answer, gladly saying,
"Here am I, send me, send me"?

2. If you cannot speak like angels,
If you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
You can say He died for all.
If you cannot rouse the wicked
With the Judgement's dread alarms,
You can lead the little children
To the Savior's waiting arms.

3 If you cannot be a watchman,
Standing high on Zion's wall,
Pointing out the path to heaven,
Offering life and peace to all,
With your prayers and with your bounties
You can do what God demands;
You can be like faithful Aaron,
Holding up the prophet's hands.

4. Let none hear you idly saying,
"There is nothing I can do,"
While the souls of men are dying
And the Master calls for you.
Take the task He gives you gladly,
Let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calleth,
"Here am I, send me, send me!"

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #496
Text: Is. 6: 8
Author: Daniel March, 1868, stanzas 1, 2, 4
Author: unknown, stanza 3
Composer: Joseph Barnby, 1883
Tune: "Galilean"

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Recipe #62 - Good Winter Cheesecake

This one is a conglomerate of what I've found I really like in a good hearty cheesecake. It's got that classic rich, dense New York style taste and consistency, and goes good by itself or with divers toppings.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbs of butter melted

For the filling:
3 bricks of cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint of sour cream
3 eggs
Juice of one lemon - about a quarter cup

I like to start by setting out the eggs, cream cheese, and sour cream so they can get close to room temperature.

I line the bottom of a ten inch spring-form dish with wax paper and give the inside a good spray with canola oil.

Melt the butter in a small mixing bowl and stir in the crumbs, sugar, and vanilla.

Dump the crust into the pan and spread out nice with the bottom of a jar or something of that nature.

Place the crust in the fridge while you make the filling, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

I juice the lemon and then crack the eggs into the same container while I work the creamy items...

Our house is pretty cold so I nuke the cream cheese to help soften it up - about 90 seconds typically. You just don't want it to curdle.

Beat on low speed until creamy smooth, then add the sweetened condensed milk. Continue to mix until well blended.

Add the sour cream and beat until smooth.

Then add the eggs and lemon juice and beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter into the crust and smooth out the top with your favorite spatula.


I don't bake the cake in a water bath, but I bake it directly over a casserole dish with water in it. Don't know if it makes a difference, but I haven't had one crack in the cake since I started doing it this way.

Bake at 300 for one hour.

Then, turn off the oven, and let the cake cool in the oven for another hour. Don't open the oven to look at it - it's fine.

Then, pull it out of the oven and let it cool for one more hour on top of the stove.

Then, let it finish setting up in the fridge overnight uncovered - to let the moisture evaporate and not condense and fall back into the cake.

Tomorrow, carefully remove the pan sides and bottom and put it in a cheesecake holder., Then cut several pieces for dessert... be sure to share.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Another couple of inches yestreday and overnight, i will be shoveling after I do up the morning dishes. Episode 8 later and then some local college basketball from Little Caesars Arena.

Praise God for His creation!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chicken Soup Variation #3

I threw this together on a blustery December Sunday in Whitmore Lake. I had some cabbage and broccoli I needed to use up, so I grabbed some chicken from my favorite meat market on the way home from morning Mass and used our newly refurbished Whirlpool range to create this comfort food delight.


3 split chicken breasts
seasoning for stock: kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, parsley, sage, oregano, basil, tarragon, sage, bay leaves
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic
2 ribs celery diced
6 chicken bouillon cubes - (thank you, Ree Drummond)

4 tbs flour
4 tbs butter

1/2 head cabbage shredded
3 crowns broccoli diced
4 carrots sliced
1 onion sliced
3 ribs celery sliced
I can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

I started with the chicken in my favorite stock pot covered with cold water, and added the bouillon cubes, seasoning, onion, celery, and garlic. The chicken was a bit frozen when I began boiling it, so I let it go about an hour total, at a rolling boil.

When the chicken was all cooked, I pulled it out, and poured the stock through a fine mesh strainer - discarding the solids. The meat I removed to a platter to let cool before taking out the skin and bones.

The stock I then put back on the stove at a medium simmer and added the can of soup, celery, carrots, onion, cabbage, and broccoli - in that order.

In my favorite Copper Chef pan, I melted the half stick of butter and whisked in the flour to make a nice roux, then added this to the simmering stock.

As soon as the meat was cool enough to handle, i removed it from the skin, bones, and cartilage, and chopped it roughly before adding it to the stock. With everything in the pot now, I let it simmer for about a half hour covered and stirring frequently (with that roux, the flour will cause it to stick to the bottom of the pot - be vigilant!)

The mushroom soup was the secret ingredient, adding enough saltiness and flavour to give this dish a ten stars rating.

Thank You, Father, for a wonderful meal; thank You for providing enough to share this afternoon. 
God be praised!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming - Mormon Tabernacle Choir

1 Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-spent was the night.

2 Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind:
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright
She bore to men a Savior
When half-spent was the night.

3 This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load

Sunday, November 5, 2017

DB, are you listening?!?!?

Via Father Joe, as outlined in the October 2017 issue of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing's Faith magazine:

... So, I'm going to share with you three things: the name of each of the heavenly virtues, what those virtues look like, and the deadly sin they counter.

Virtue: Humility
'Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.' - CS Lewis
Putting others first.
Not drawing attention to yourself and what you do
Recognising that all yo have comes from God
Counters pride

Virtue: Chastity
Holding fast to our knowledge that we are children of God and that our body is a temple
Other people do not exist for my secual gratification
Not reducing other people to things I must have
Counters lust

Virtue: Patience/Forgiveness 
Enduring situations and/or people with dignity and a good spirit
A sense of peaceful stability and harmony
Giving the wounds other people have inflicted on us to God and asking Him to forgive them
Counters wrath

Virtue: Kindness
Compassion and friendship for others, empathy without prejudice for its own sake
The refusal to do harm to others
Counters envy

Virtue: Temperance
Constant mindfulness of others and one's surroundings
Self-control, moderation, delayed gratification
The proper response at the proper time
Counters gluttony

Virtue: Charity
Generosity, self-sacrifice, loving with our actions
Giving of ourselves
Counters: greed

Virtue: Diligence
Giving all we have in that hich we are given to do
Strong work ethic
Not giving up on our tasks because they are challengin
Using our time well and being on guard against laziness
Counters the sin of sloth

Read the list slowly and carefully, asking god to help you pick one (not two or more, just one!). Take your time on this. Clear your head. Don't 'run ahead' of God and decide which one you want to go after, wait for his voice in your heart to show you. When you feel that you've got the one you are to go after, write it down and carry it with you. Pray every day that God will strengthen that virtue within you. Ask Him to bless you as you pursue it.
Next, make sure that each day you practice the virtue in some practical concrete way.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Do this every day and realize two things:
One, sin is rarely, if ever finished in us. I don't know that any of us will get to a point where we can say that we have safely put a sin behind us. Be vigilant!
Two, don't give up. Never, ever give up. God will not give up on you When you fall, if you fall, get right to confession. Tell the priest what you are doing with these virtues and wait for the mercy and grace to come pouring down.
I pray that God bless your efforts and that you find great life and joy in taking these first steps toward becoming a saint.
Enjoy another day in God's presence.