Great New Recipe

We had some family over to eat this past Tuesday evening. Though we were still in a rather unsettled state due to unpacking and laundry from our vacation, I felt compelled to try out a new recipe for our company, and so I hunted through my various cookbooks for something enticing. I hit upon what I was looking for in Our Best Five-Star Recipes From Southern Living that my sis-in-law gave me a few years ago (thanks, Jennifer!). Everyone (including me!) loved the end result so much and it was so different from anything I’ve prepared in the past, that I wanted to share it with you. Maybe someone else will be able to enjoy it too before this wonderful grilling weather is gone. Ok, here’s the recipe:

Chicken Bundles
6 whole chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
10 green onions, sliced

12 slices bacon
Vegetable Cooking Spray
Hot Cooked Rice

(I’m going to slightly paraphrase the directions for my own purposes!)
Pound chicken to 1/4″ thickness and place in a large shallow baking dish. Combine molasses and next 6 ingredients; stir well. Pour over chicken; cover and marinate in fridge 8 hours, turning chicken occasionally.
Melt butter in large skillet; add mushrooms and next 3 ingredients. Cook over med-high heat until liquid evaporates and veggies are tender, stirring often.
Remove chicken from baking dish, reserving marinade. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside. For each chicken bundle, place 2 slices bacon in a crisscross pattern on a flat surface. Place 1 chicken breast in center of bacon. Top with 3 tablespoons mushroom mixture. Fold sides and ends of chicken over mushroom mixture to make a square-shaped pouch. Pull bacon around chicken, and tie ends of bacon together; secure with wooden picks.
Coat grill with cooking spray. Place chicken bundles on grill, tied side up; grill, covered with grill lid, over low coals 30 to 45 minutes or until done, turning and basting with reserved marinade every 15 minutes. Remove wooden picks. Serve over hot cooked rice, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Tricia’s Notes:
IMHO, this recipe is too salty, and I say this having used low sodium soy sauce. Next time I make it, I would plan to still use the liter soy sauce, and also cut the amount of soy in the marinade, maybe as much as half. It’s just not needed given the great amount of flavor, and the additional saltiness the bacon adds. If you need to make up some of the liquid from leaving out the soy, throw in some wine for good measure!

Instead of green onions, I used garlic chives from my garden which worked well too. However, they might not be quite as strong tasting as the onions the recipe called for.

I added some white wine into my mushroom mixture while sauteeing. Just for fun!

Regarding the assembling of the bundles: I found that using a toothpick or two to secure the chicken BEFORE I tied the bacon around the sides was actually helpful. There were a couple more toothpicks in my bundles, but they stayed together beautifully.

A Delightful Breath of Fresh Air…

…has blown into our neighborhood. Has anyone else been awestruck by this amazingly mild weather we seem to be enjoying? This evening, the sky was a deep shade of blue with bursts of white fluffy clouds everywhere, and if you stepped outside to admire this canopy of beauty, you might have been a little surprised to feel a cool breeze!! What? In August? Yes indeed, and how lovely it was. The children and I chose to eat our supper of chicken tacos out on the patio while listening to birds and watching planes as the sun slowly set. We all had a wonderful time until finally (I am not joking) we got too cold to stay outside in our summer shirts and shorts. It was, after all, only 75 degrees! Brrrrrr!!


We have just returned from a week’s stay at the beach on Dauphin Island, AL. Grammy and Grandy Horne were brave enough to join us for our Island Adventure, and we all stayed in a great house on the Mississippi Sound, complete with our own private beach and pier.


Some of the week’s highlights included:

— Beautiful weather for which we were most thankful. We enjoyed lots of time outside every day, loved the ocean breezes, and even got to witness a couple of great thunderstorms Island Style!

— Frolicking on floaties with Abigail and Nicolas (Jonathan preferred the sand to the water). Grammy was quite an enthusiastic participant in the water activities, and she did a fantastic job of keeping up with the children’s antics. We think she had a lot of fun too!

— Eating fresh Gulf Seafood. YUM, YUM, YUM!!!

— Fishing! The men in our party used both poles and nets to land several creatures, many of which were thrown back or sadly, lost. (Ask Jay to tell you his “Fish Story”!) Grandy Horne, it turns out, can throw a mean cast net, and he caught enough mullet in said net to provide us a feast of fish which we all enjoyed eating. (It should be noted that Baby Nicolas was quite a fan of the tasty fish!)

— (More fishing!!) Abigail and Jonathan also spent a great deal of time with their Dad and Grandfather out on the pier. Abigail caught her very first fish all by herself, and Jonathan helped to reel in a sting ray. Jonathan also became quite the expert caster in his own right, and would do an exuberant “I did it” dance after each successful cast. That was fun to watch!

— The blessing of relaxation (well, the sort of relaxation which parents and grandparents of very young children enjoy!). Lounging around in jammies till late in the morning, eating pancakes all together twice in one week, reading, visiting, snacking ALL DAY, resting on the beach, sleeping very soundly at night.

We are most grateful we were able to have such an enjoyable week on Dauphin Island and hope you will have fun seeing some of our pictures from our time there.

And, now, introducing….

Mr and Mrs Bloggy Brunone!! You will notice that one of our links to the right has changed slightly. To our delight, our wonderful new sister-in-law, Jamison, has joined Andrew and they are now blogging together. (Jay and I think husbands and wives sharing a blog is oh so cool!!) Welcome, you two!

Oh, and we have been most remiss in not posting wedding pics of the wonderful day yet. We promise to get to it soon. For now, may we just say that we are so thrilled for the happy couple! May God bless them in their life together!

San Antonio

This past weekend, I took Friday off and we drove down to San Antonio sans Nicolas (who enjoyed a couple nights with Grammy and Grandy). There we had the pleasure of witnessing the wedding of Patrick and Aubree Shay. In 1994 when I led the 7th & 8th grade Wednesday night Bible study at TNPC, Patrick was one of my finest pupils, and it has been a tremendous pleasure watching him grow up into a fine young man.

Now, there is much more to this story, particularly regarding the dessert-only reception at which my 3 year old son Jonathan got hyped up on sugar like never before and went to another plane of existence, but I mainly want to post a couple photos from Saturday, so I’ll cut to the chase. Saturday morning found us at SeaWorld, where we spent a fun-filled, hectic, hot day before driving back to Dallas that same day… in the future, we’ll spread things out a bit more! Here’s a couple of my shots that came out well.

Abigail in the Kitchen

Our eldest has learned a very useful skill the past month: how to make her own sandwich. Her favorite way to enjoy lunch these days involves her pulling the stepstool up to the kitchen counter where she concocts one of her peanut butter and jelly creations. The interesting thing though about Abigail’s sandwiches is that she doesn’t stop with mere peanut butter and jelly. Feeling the need for a little something more between her two slices of bread, she experiments each time with a new ingredient. So far, she’s added various types of crackers, potato chips, chinese noodles and marshmallows (at different times, not together in the same sandwich!!). She wanted to try chocolate chips one day, but I thought that was taking it a bit too far.

I am truly enjoying seeing her creativity at work, and those of you like me, with several young children at home will I’m sure concur with my amazement and delight over her being able to prepare her own lunch every once in a while!!

The Summer of My Itch

It would seem in poor taste for me to go missing for some time on the blog front and then return only to post a whiney-sounding entry. Please know I do not wish to give offense by the following, however, I must tell you that among the more pleasant happenings this summer there has been a nagging little issue that just won’t go away. Oh, it fades into the background for a week here and there, but then flames up again in a most frustrating way. Today though, I feel we may have reached a turning point, so I shall recount my little woe to you now that I know there will be perhaps a tinge of hope interlaced with the grumbling.

Very early in June, during our week of VBS, I began noticing a strange amount of bug bites just under my chin. Every morning I woke up to find more of these, and within a couple days, the bites were no longer limited to my chin. My soon-to-be-sis-in-law commented that my bites looked more like a case of hives and soon others indicated to me that I’d best see a medical professional for their opinion.

Well, given the busyness of our week I did not make it to the doctor’s office until a week later, where I was diagnosed with a rather severe case of poison ivy and put on a dose of steroids to deal with it. What a mess I was. And boy, did I itch!! Happily, within a few days there were no new “spots” and in another week things were clearing up pretty well. I figured the steroids did their trick and was quite grateful for modern medecine.

Unfortunately, by a week’s time after this “cure”, I found evidence that the poison ivy was not actually all gone. And each day it got a little worse than the day before. Back to the doctor’s, only this time I went to a dermatologist, thinking a specialist would surely be able to help me. He confirmed the diagnosis, but indicated that my primary physician, who wrote the first steroid prescription, did not give me a strong enough prescription to wipe out the rash. “Oh good,” I thought, “all I need is a higher dose of the pills, maybe even a shot to get things started, and I will be rid of this problem!” After all, we were only two weeks from the huge family wedding of the summer, the arrival of tons of out of town company, and many events to see to and attend. I really did not want to continue dealing with poison ivy.

However, the dermatologist felt that another dose of steroids might prove harmful to me (too many steroids = not good) so better to wait it out (what???) and use some creams and such in the meantime till it clears. This was NOT what I was looking for. But I tried to remember he was the doctor, he went to school for the degree and all, and that I needed to follow his advice.

So I went home and obediently used my creams, and kept itching. Till another week and yes, admittedly, the rash did ease up again. I was hoping this was the last of it. The weekend of the wedding arrived and oh no!! New spots began appearing, again. As I complain about this, please know that I realize my little affliction is quite minor compared to the physical ills so many in this world suffer. And yet I admit I was growing weary of itching. And treatments that didn’t seem to work.

So, last week after the wedding was over (but while my grandmother was still in town to help watch the kids for me – Thanks Grandma!!) I went back to the dermatologist with my newest spots, seeking help and yes, drugs!! He was, I’m sorry to say, less than helpful, and actually tried to send me away again with no medicine for my plight. I wanted to cry, but instead I begged him to please try one more dose of the steroids because I felt at this point the rash just wasn’t going away, and was dubious that the creams were going to do any lasting good. He finally agreed to write a prescription, but then told me to stay out of my yard for the rest of the summer and let my husband do all the gardening while I attended to the inside chores. Helpful.

While his bedside manner and overall doctoring left me wanting, his rather insensitive comment did motivate me to try and locate what might be causing this outbreak. We’d already checked our plant beds for the wicked poison ivy but had never found any. Now we asked others to look as well, hoping someone might have some experience with the actual plant, or perhaps another form of poisonous vegetation which would help us. Today, my friends, that someone appeared, and we are very grateful he did.

The hero of our story??? David C. Good friend and veteran poison ivy hunter and sufferer. And he, upon my request, looked over our front yard, and found the evil little vine, growing happily in one of our plant beds where I had ignorantly mulched just a few weeks before. In fact, I’d carefully mulched AROUND the vine, giving it an optimum environment to grow and thrive (and yes, keep aflicting me)!! HAHAHA!!

David’s discovery of the actual plant has given me hope. Because until now we really weren’t certain where I was getting this poison ivy from, or even if it was poison ivy. Now that I know what is causing my itch, I shall wisely stay far away. This afternoon my husband went out armed with massive amounts of weed killer and obliterated the poison ivy, as well as everything in and around that nasty vine, hopefully eradicating the cause of my sufferings. He has promised to continue to fight the good fight again my plant foe, in hopes of preserving me from future itchings. And he has requested that I wait until next season to replant that particular bed with English Ivy (which was my master plan, folks), just to see that the danger has passed. So I guess a project has been lifted from my task list, at least for the time being.

After five days on this newest round of prednisone, I am still itching a lot more than I’d like. But I think things are calming down. I do hope perhaps the discovery today means that ultimately we’re seeing the end of the poison ivy for this summer. But I’ll do my best to be a bit more frequent with my blogging from here on out, so at least I can keep you all informed. Thanks for reading!!

Lord’s Prayer, Part 2

In an earlier entry, I offered some provisional thoughts regarding the Lord’s Prayer and its parallels with redemptive history. Now, I believe Jesus’ prayer is rich in references to the Lord’s work throughout history, but I was specifically intrigued by the somewhat chronological correlation of the first three clauses of the prayer. It went something like this:

Our Father: Israel called out of slavery and identified as God’s son (Exodus 4:22-23)

Kingdom Come: The tabernacle built according to the heavenly pattern that God should dwell among His people. Think too of John 1 in which Jesus is described as tabernacling among us. Whoever has seen the son has seen the Father. That sort of thing. Puts a heavy incarnational emphasis on this aspect of the prayer.

Daily Bread: The giving of manna and basic provision (i.e. their clothes did not wear out).

Here are some provisional thoughts on how this pattern might continue.

Forgive Us: I am more and more inclined to think Leviticus forms the parallel with its introduction of the sacrificial system and the associated atonement.

Deliver Us: Here I see a broad parallel with the book of Numbers and its repetitive cycle of testing, judgment, and deliverance.

Thine Is the Kingdom: The entrance into the land fits here, starting at the end of Numbers and carrying forward into Joshua. Of course, as we learn in Judges and I Samuel, the Israelites ultimately reject God as their king. But their very rejection implies the starting point was in fact the establishment of God’s as king in their midst.

Family Picture

Here’s a recent photo of the family, for those of you interested. Can you figure out the date of the photo from that which adorns our dog, Sid?

The Spirit as a dove

In Jesus’ baptism by John, the Spirit descends on Jesus as a dove (Matthew 3:13-17). Why a dove?

In the past, I’ve correlated the description of Jesus’ baptism with the description of Noah’s ark (Genesis 7-8), with the rough picture being the Spirit hovering over the waters (which also ties into Genesis 1). These are instances of a new creation theme, and the apostle Peter confirms the theme in the Noah account (2 Peter 3:5-7).

Today, as I was reading the account of the baptism, it suddenly hit me that the dove fit perfectly and confirmed the correlation between the Noah story and Jesus baptism, putting Jesus in the place of the new heavens and new earth. As the waters receded, Noah sent out a raven, and it returned. Then he sent out a dove, and it returned. He sent the dove again, and it brought back an olive leaf. He sent the dove out a third time, and it did not return. One can picture the new earth breaking through the water and the dove alighting on it.

Jesus “went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him.” The dove found purchase, for the waters had receded from the new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)