It’s hard to find meals that all five (or currently six) of my kids will like. I have frequently found myself stuck in a rut of always making the same meals over and over. And when I do venture out to try something new, I inevitably find myself making a handful of PB&J sandwiches halfway through the meal for the kids that don’t like my newest creation.
Rather than fighting at dinner every night about expanding their palates or making the same boring meals night after night, I decided to take what they like and shake it up every once in a while. Over the years they have grown to enjoy some new dishes, but I still have my handful of tried and true flavor combos that I know can produce any number of delicious meals my children will love.
The next few Kitchen posts will cover some of those flavor combos that they love, the basic recipe, and a number of dishes you can make from them!
First up- probably our family’s favorite- buffalo chicken!
*Cooked, shredded, boneless, skinless chicken breasts *Cream Cheese *Shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese, or a combo of both *Blue Cheese Dressing *Ranch Dressing *Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce *Blue cheese crumbles, optional *Chopped celery, optional
Forgive me, but I rarely use an actual recipe when I cook. I prefer to mix things together according to our taste preferences. So…. melt the cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in all other ingredients to form the flavors and consistency that you desire. Not a big fan of blue cheese? Omit it or only add a bit. Love your cheddar cheese? Be generous with it, then! This is your flavor combo. Flavor it up any way that you like! Add the buffalo sauce last and add it in slowly, tasting the mixture as you go. Consider the whiniest member of your family and how much heat they can tolerate.
Now you have the base of one of our favorite flavor combos! So what are you going to do with it?
Here are some suggestions that our family loves:
*Spread the mixture on top of homemade (or store bought, if you prefer) pizza dough. Buffalo Chicken Pizza! *Spread the mixture inside a tortilla shell. Roll tight. Cut in half. Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups!! *Put mixture in a dish, top with extra shredded cheese, bake until melted. Serve with chips. Buffalo Chicken Dip! *Add some chopped celery for crunch. Be generous with the ranch and blue cheese dressings. Spread on sandwich buns. Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches!
You get the idea! The possibilities are endless.
How would YOU serve up our buffalo chicken flavor combo??
Every well-built house started in the form of a definite purpose plus a definite plan in the nature of a set of blueprints.”
When I look back over the path of my 40 years on this earth, it is hard for me to imagine that any kind of strategic planning ever occurred before I drew my first breath and plunged head-first into my awkward existence. Like many babies, I was a surprise, and the plan and purpose of my life have remained unclear ever since I arrived.
Sure, I was taught that ultimately my greatest aspiration should be to bring glory to God in all that I do but I have wondered for years exactly what that should look like. It’s like telling someone that their assignment is to build a beautiful house without telling them what kind of design might appeal most to the future occupants of the home.
A few months ago I found myself in an overwhelming and frantic search for my dream kitchen. Water was leaking into my kitchen floor caused by a leaking pipe between my exterior wall and my kitchen sink. The initial assessment indicated that we would need to replace a wall, our cabinets, our countertop, and our flooring. In short, I needed a new kitchen.
While this sounded like an absolute dream come true at first, I quickly found myself overwhelmed and frustrated. My judgmental spirit is quick to decide if I love or hate something whether it is a piece of art, a book, or a tiled back-splash but I found that I have absolutely no earthly ability to design anything. None. I know what I like but I am not good at creating something from nothing.
This should not have surprised me because this has been an overarching theme throughout my life. I have strong opinions but I don’t know how to build anything out of them. I’ve struggled with my identity and been embarrassingly envious of women who have found their niche, their purpose, or their dream come true. I’ve prayed that God would give me something that would steer me in a clear direction. I’ve asked Him to pick a path and set me on it. Yet, for years I’ve felt stuck in the middle of the crowd, wandering aimlessly towards nothing.
Instead of meticulously sketching out my dream kitchen, I found myself pinning countless kitchen cabinets and counter tops to my Pinterest board declaring, “I like this one the best” about ten different times. Seriously. I made up my mind and changed my mind and made up my mind again over and over until I no longer believed in my own ability to make a decision. I took every “What Is Your Design Style” quiz I could find online and shook my head in dismay when the only style match that I received repetitively was “Eclectic”.
When the final inspection revealed that the massive air dryers in our kitchen had done their job and removed all the moisture from our cabinets, walls, and floor and that a kitchen re-model would no longer be necessary, I sighed with relief like a prisoner who had just been pardoned. Deciding what I wanted most was no longer my responsibility and I was relieved.
Over the past 20 years as an adult, I’ve embraced a plethora of architectural and decorative design styles for my life that have never felt complete. I’ve tried to paint myself as a military wife or a wounded warrior wife. I’ve attempted to drape my motherhood with my experience as a homeschool mama and co-op leader. I’ve wired my heart for being the mama of a child with cancer and for being a lupus warrior, myself. I’ve adorned my walls with this ministry and that ministry and many fun hobbies that I picked up along the way. I’ve furnished my life with everything from expensive investment pieces to flea market finds and nothing has ever felt cohesive.
And then I re-read this verse.
Through skillful and godly wisdom, a house, a life, a home, a family is built, and by understanding it is established on a sound and good foundation, and by knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasure.”
That’s when I realized my life wasn’t quite as disheveled and mix-matched as I thought. Yes, my interests and my choices have been quite eclectic over the years but that does not make me any less Me.
The rooms in my house match the rooms in my heart. They are varied in size and style and color but they are each uniquely and beautifully mine. I can change up the paint and the flooring and the furnishings as often as I like but that won’t change who I am because I will always have the same solid foundation.
My faith is my foundation and it is what my entire life is built upon, no matter what it looks like today or tomorrow. Storms have come and gone, knocking down walls and breaking out windows but my foundation has never wavered because my faith is built upon the Solid Rock. Jesus Christ is a “sound and good foundation” and by my hungry quest for more knowledge of Him, the rooms of my life are being filled with “rare and beautiful treasure”.
The foundation was poured years ago and I have fabricated rough walls and doors along the way, but they never connected cohesively because I wasn’t looking at the blueprints. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tie in my faith with my role as a mom or as a writer or as a student, when all along I should have been trying to figure out how to tie in each of those roles with my faith. A builder never builds a room first and THEN sets it on the foundation. A room is always built ON the foundation.
So today, with the launching of this blog, I’m unrolling the blueprints that God has given me. I’m not focused nearly as much on the decorating right now as I am with the foundation and the structure of each room. I have been neglecting the passions that God planted in my heart years ago out of fear that I could never make them match with the rest of the life I was building. Now I know that the passions of my heart are part of the foundation of my faith. They are God-gifts and if I don’t use them, I could very well lose them.
Welcome to She Builds Rooms of Treasure. I hope you will examine the blueprints of your own life as we do life together, filling the rooms of our lives with rare and beautiful treasure, for the glory of God.
May 25th will be my 41st birthday and with that, I will be making an exciting announcement. It will be the wall-raising of a new room in my life upon the foundation of my faith and I cannot wait to share it with you.