Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh My Dickens, It's Butter Chicken

After Brian went to Shanghai several years ago for work, he fell in love with Indian food. Yeah, I was surprised, too. I expected a new love for egg rolls, maybe--but Tandoori Chicken?

We got to work after he returned, learning how to make certain dishes. I got a cookbook, and we tested a few recipes. It was daunting, as the recipes listed were multi-step with many ingredients...some I had never heard of. However, we had a great time cooking together and we developed a new appreciation for Indian Fare.

One day, I stumbled upon this Food Network recipe and it's gooooood. And amazingly easy. Have you tasted Chicken Tikka Masala? This is very similar.

One of the key characters in Indian cooking is a spice blend called Garam Masala. You can buy the ingredients, grind them up, and mix them into your own spice jar. Or, you can visit your local India store and find a very affordable package of it. I suggest the latter, as it is a treat for the senses to browse through the aisles surrounded by thick, swirling tones of cumin, coriander, and cardamom. Beautiful, resonating chimes fill your drums. The vast array of produce is a party for the eyes. It's really something to see the beauty of foods from other cultures.

This recipe was submitted by Carla Fitzgerald Williams, and she recommends using rotisserie chicken, as it "stands in quite well for the original tandoori chicken in this version of the simple north Indian dish...meltingly tender". I couldn't agree more. She suggests pairing this dish with spinach, quickly cooked in oil and garlic, however, we usually can't resist a jaunt to our nearby Indian restaurant for a couple of orders of garlic and lamb naan.

If you've never had the privilege of trying Indian fare, this is the perfect dish to get you started.

Butter Chicken

Spice Blend:
1 Tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Sauce:
3 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14-1/2 oz) can diced tomatos in juice
1 skinless rotisserie chicken, boned out and pulled into chunks
1-10 oz box of frozen peas, placed in a colander and run under hot water to thaw
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

hot basmati rice for serving
pita bread, warmed (though I suggest going for that naan bread instead!)

To make the spice blend: Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces just begin to turn gold--about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The spices will be fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir well. Add the chicken pieces, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes.


Stir frequently. Shake any excess water from the peas. Add the peas and cream to the sauce in the pan. Stir well and heat through. Do not boil. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve over rice.


Note: I generally use only a small portion of the chicken, saving the rest for other meals or soups. The Wieber's like lots of sauce and we don't like sharing it with the chicken! :o)

Note on feeding the kids: While this dish, like many Indian dishes, is too spicy for our girls, the ingredients are such that they provide a well-balanced meal. Simply reserve portions of it before mixing together in the skillet. Save out some of the chicken, then serve it alongside the plain basmati rice, peas, and naan bread.

Warning: your home will smell WONDERFUL while cooking this dish. Remember when I mentioned the fragrant delights in an Indian market? This is a small piece of that heaven.

Enjoy! And please share some of your Indian dishes with us!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pray for Healing

As most of you know, our entire married life (almost 13 wonderful years!) has been riddled with countless doctor visits, tests, medications, surgeries, and medical questions without answers. Somedays it is very difficult to be optimistic when surgery did not give the relief hoped for, when natural medicines and doctors can't help, when the very nature of the sickness has no determined cause. It's even more difficult to allow people to see the daily struggle that life is when health is an issue.

But isn't it wonderful to know a Savior who can heal? We are learning to embrace God as we surrender our own will and our own futures. Will He heal? We hope so! We don't quite know how to answer that. We know He may not heal.

But there are questions we can and should be able to answer:

Will we continue to serve and love Him if He doesn't? Will we give up on our faith and prayer life if He doesn't? Will we turn our back on God if he doesn't? Because in reality, our life is anything but destitute. We have MUCH to rejoice over. We have healthy children. Warm and dry shelter. Loving family. Fierce friends. A God who sees. And hears. and Loves.

What are we to complain about? There is nothing on this earth that is worth throwing away our faithful standing with God over.

I am grateful for a husband who, despite his battle with UC and the complications that come with it, has fine-tuned his skills as a boxer and jujitsu fighter to become an effective teacher and fighter....who has competed in countless races, including Ironman 70.3, who drags his body out of bed in the early AM hours to go for a run. But even more importantly, I am grateful for the man who patiently explains God's love to our girls, the one who likes listening to Johnny Cash recite the bible on his ipod, the one who delights in making me sushi--even at 9pm--and the one I found leaning over the side of our baby's crib, hand on her head, praying for the precious little thing.

I am on my knees in prayer for my sweet husband. For my friend Suz. My sister-in-law, Tami. For my nephew Tristan. for all you others out there who constantly deal with health issues. I pray that you all would be able to grasp how wide and long and deep the love of Christ is, (Ephesians 18-19), and that your faith would increase as you present your requests to God.

I wanted to share this amazing site--the portion dedicated to healing. I will post one section a week. I invite you all to pray with me for Brian, for your own health issues, for a loved one's health. Prayer is effective and is worthy of our time and consideration.

Healing Verses of the Bible

As a result of the curse of Adam and Eve that is still in full operation on this earth - disease, sickness and illness are all still part of the big picture that we all have to put up with. Anyone of us at anytime can get sick. We all know the different things that can happen to our bodies that can cause them to breakdown, and in some cases, seriously disable us. Just about any part of the human body can get hit with some type of cancer, and in some of these cases, these cancers can be terminal.

However, as Christians, we have an all-powerful God who not only has the power to fully heal us from any specific ailment that may strike us, but that He actually does want to heal us many of the time if we properly approach Him in our prayers.

In this article, I will give you 93 of the best verses from the Bible pertaining to being able to get a divine healing from God the Father. As you will see in some of these specific verses, not only can God heal us, but many of the time He actually wants to heal us.

I will break these Scripture verses down under their specific captions below so you can fully grasp the revelation that God is trying to transmit to us on being able to receive a divine healing from Him.

1. Our God is a Merciful God

The first thing you have to really grasp is how good and merciful God and Jesus really are. Every time God decides to heal someone, He is showing incredible mercy, love, goodness and compassion towards that person. So the first thing you will need to grasp from Scripture are the specific verses that will show us how merciful, kind and compassionate God the Father really is.

You have to realize that God the Father has these attributes in His personality. If you don't believe that God the Father is a good, merciful, loving, kind and compassionate God - then you may not be able to receive a divine healing from Him because you won't have enough faith and belief in His ability to even want to heal you in the first place.

Many people are scared to death of God the Father. They know that He does have a judgment and wrath side to His personality and as a result, they have become too scared to approach Him to enter into any kind of close personal relationship with Him. Then when they do get sick and need a divine healing from Him, they are too scared to try and approach Him for their healing.

So the first thing each Christian must really grab a hold of if they really want to try and press in for a divine healing from the Lord is that God the Father really does have a very loving and tender side to His personality - and that many of the time He actually does want to heal us and help deliver us out of any adverse situations that we may have fallen into. And any kind of disease, illness or sickness is definitely an adverse situation.

Study these first set of verses very, very carefully. When you read one verse after another, you will really see how loving, kind, good, merciful and compassionate God the Father really is - and as such, that He does have a natural desire in His personality to want to help His children out if they need any kind of help or deliverance from Him.

  1. "... But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness ..." (Nehemiah 9:17)
  2. "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." (Psalm 103:8)
  3. "But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth." (Psalm 86:15)
  4. "Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness ..." (Joel 2:13)
  5. "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works." (Psalm 145:8)
  6. "The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting ..." (Psalm 100:5)
  7. "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him ... But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him." (Psalm 103:11,17)

Notice the words "mercy or merciful" are stated in every one of these Scripture verses. Every time God decides to heal someone - He is showing incredible mercy towards that person. These verses are all telling us that not only is God merciful - but that He is "abundant and great in mercy." In other words, He is full of mercy and goodness.

For those of you who are too afraid to approach God for any type of meaningful personal relationship - notice that several of these verses state that God the Father is "slow to anger."

These verses are telling us that God has a long fuse. God doesn't blow as easily and quickly as some of us humans do. It really does take quite a bit to cause Him to lose His temper. All of these verses are showing you that you have absolutely nothing to fear in approaching God to enter into a close, loving, personal relationship with Him.

God is your perfect loving Father and He has nothing but your best interests at heart. If you have been struck with any kind of illness or disease - don't be afraid to approach God for a divine healing. You may be pleasantly surprised with what He might just do for you.


Thank you so much for praying with me! We love you. God bless you today.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wigged Wiebers

Sometimes, us Wieber girls lose our focus. All rationale and seriousness fly out the window, and we are left with the wild, un-tamed parts of ourselves, begging to do something funny. Even Gramma gets this way somedays.


Sometimes, we don't quite know what to do with all that pent-up silliness. In those instances, we usually run for our wigs and grab the camera.


I know....we don't understand it any better ourselves. We just try to work with what we have.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

True Conservation


My Brian is the most interesting person I know. And I say that with awe and admiration. He's never been one to hop on a bandwagon just because it's popular. It's because of this fact that you won't hear him talking about all the recycling he does.

Yet, he recycles everything.

Our kitchen has been remodeled using all recycled materials. He has fashioned medicine balls using sand and old basketballs. Our beautiful foosball table used to be the bed. Our charming goldilocks cradle turned into a table. You get the picture: If there is something extra lying around, he'll breathe life into it and give it a brand new purpose.

But this.

This.

This is taking things a step further, don't you think? Maybe I'm just overly sensitive. Some people might say that jealousy is spurring on this post. Maybe. Maybe I wish I could be as innovative.

Let's just say that Mr. Humbug-Why-Do-We-Needa-Tree-Anyway went and saved our green friend from a sour afterlife in a mulch bin. Who'd have thought he would have such a tender spot for our Christmas tree?

So remember, true conservation is when you pluck all the pine needles off your tree, throw that puppy on your lathe, and spin it around and around.

Voila!

Old Christmas Tree = two pine clubs.


Pudding Cake, Take Me Away!

Remember that 1980's Calgon commercial, Where the woman, evidently tired and run-down by the events of the day (though you'd never know it by looking at the perfect looking model, not a hair out of place, nor a hangnail to be had), leaves her daily troubles awash in the bubbles of her tub?

Well, move over Calgon, because there's a new escape in town: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

Pudding Cake--please, please take me away!

We at the Wieber home don't have a whole lot of restraint--definitely not enough to write home about. In fact, our pantry is missing the ready-to-eat boxes of oreos and potato chips. Purposely. We just can't handle having those things in the house. We end up eating them just to get rid of the temptation. Our lack of restraint is also the reason I've been known to cut a recipe down by eighths and make about 6 cookies at a time. Or keep the extras in our freezer (out of sight, out of mind). I suppose not having it in the house is a type of restraint. But I dare say the weakest type of restraint. There are times, however, when we feel remorse for our lack of ready-to-eats and we lose our cool and cave in at 8pm--and decide to whip up something that soothes our sweet palate.

This happened to us last night. Thankfully, I dog-eared this super easy recipe not long ago. This was the perfect last-minute dessert, as it had simple ingredients, simple instructions, and enough indulgence to tide us over for a few days at least. (Yes, mom, I do still dog-ear my books....:o).


This cake is super moist--no frosting is needed--as it makes it's own delicious fudgy topping while it bakes. But you absolutely do need to offset this delight with a dallop of fresh whipped cream. Yes, that is an arm-twist you are feeling. As if whipped cream needs an excuse to exist!


Oh my sweet tooth, this is tasty!


But really--could any recipe from this cookbook, NOT be tasty? It has "Hershey's" in the title for goodness sakes!

Are you ready to whip up some of this simple, one-pan indulgence for somebody special tonight? It's fast, easy, and ready to scarf down in under 45 minutes.

I think I'm slipping into a chocolate coma, just thinking about it.

So let's get started.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Ingredients:
1-1/2 C. granulated sugar, divided
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. Hershey's cocoa, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. butter, melted
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C. packed light brown sugar
1-1/4 C. hot water
Whipped topping

First, heat oven to 350 degrees.

Next, stir together 3/4 C. granulated sugar, flour, 1/4 C. cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour batter into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Stir together remaining 1/2 C. granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 C. cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Pour hot water over top. Do not stir.

Finally, Bake 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Let stand 15 minutes;


spoon into dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping. And since we're being honest here, let me just say that no dessert is truly decadent without chocolate shavings.


Makes about 8 servings, unless you're a Wieber, in which case it makes 4 servings.









Friday, January 22, 2010

Wieber Wild Eyes

Why does your baby make her eyes so big?
(asked by a lil guy named Gavin from church)

Hm. Well, I don't know what you mean.



O-o-o-h-h-h! Like this? Yes?


Well, this would be known as "Wild Eyes".

As in, "Uh, oh----she's got the wild eyes!"

It is used often to predict impromptu craziness which tends to explode in the Wieber home. It happens to the best of the Wieber girls when they are up to no good. Or thinking of being up to no good and was coined by the only male in our home. The only adult female in the home has been blamed for this passing off of genes.

Mmm. As if he had nothing to do with this mischievous gene.




Monday, January 18, 2010

Fashion Pioneer....of Sorts

This looks so cool.


No matter that it's on so tight, my brain's about to get a bunion.


Oh, did I mention I have my mom's elf ears? Well, I do.


Yes, that would be a comb tucked ever so carefully in my favorite knee-high argyle sock. Would you expect something different?


Another fashion-forward moment from Yours Truly.


Look out Madonna!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hats


I love hats.

I mean, I really love hats.

I've stalked people to find out where they got their hat.

I also dyed one of my favorite hats a different color to hid the sharpie artistically placed there by my middle child.

Hats hide bad hair days. And bad hair weeks. (Yes, I have bad hair weeks. What's it to you?)

And I think hats give me a place to hide when my cheeks redden from some of the silly things I do. If you'd have told my 9th grade self that I would still be blushing at age 34, I would've given my 2 weeks a long time ago. But alas, here I am--still blushing.

My girls got hats from Nanette and Aunt Bucky this Christmas. I don't know how they did it, but each hat is perfectly suited to each girl.

Holland's--with her dragon-fighting princess stitched onto the perimeter.

And Liv's--with her super-soft-no-scratchy-tags hat with colors complimentary to her wintery complexion.

And even Reese--who I had not figured as an "orange-gal" positively glows in her new hat.

I think it's safe to say there are no cold ears in the Wieber home right now.

Speaking of hats, read this delightful poem by Edward Lear. Alive during the 1800's, he was an artist, a writer, and a poet, known for his whimsical writing.

The Quangle Wangles Hat
A poem by Edward Lear

On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat,
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody ever could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.


The Quangle Wangle said
To himself on the Crumpetty Tree,
Jam; and jelly; and bread;
Are the best food for me!
But the longer I live on this Crumpetty Tree
The plainer than ever it seems to me
That very few people come this way
And that life on the whole is far from gay!'
Said the Quangle Wangle Quee.


But there came to the Crumpetty Tree,
Mr. and Mrs. Canary;
And they said, Did you ever see
Any spot so charmingly airy?
May we build a nest on your lovely Hat?
Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!
O please let us come and build a nest
Of whatever material suits you best,
Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!'


And besides, to the Crumetty Tree
Came the Stork, the Duck, and the Owl;
The Snail, and the Bumble-Bee,
The Frog, and the Fimble Fowl;
The Fimble Fowl, with a Corkscrew leg;
And all of them said, We humbly beg,
We may build our homes on your lovely Hat,
Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!
Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!


And the Golden Grouse came there,
And the Pobble who has no toes,
And the small Olympian bear,
And the Dong with a luminous nose.
And the Blue Babboon, who played the flute,
And the Orient Calf from the Land of Tute,
And the Attery Squash, and the Bisky Bat,
All came and built on the lovely Hat
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.


And the Quangle Wangle said
To himself on the Crumpetty Tree,
When all these creatures move
What a wonderful noise there'll be!'
And at night by the light of the Mulberry moon
They danced to the flute of the Blue Babboon,
On the broad green leaves of the Crumpetty Tree,
And all were as happy as happy could be,
With the Quangle Wangle Quee.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Seriously Folks





You can't pay this girl to stop smiling.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Get Nothing Done Around Here...


Maybe one of you could shed some light on some reasons why?



Maybe it's those delicious rubber-band wrists I can't stop kissing?


Or those cute little baby buns.


It couldn't possibly be those sparkly blue eyes that smile along with her mouth.


Sigh. It's gotta be the cheeks then! Those of you who know me, know I'm a sucker for the chipmunk cheeks.

Reese is 5 months already!

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