The worship leader who stopped singing

The Heart | April 12, 2016 | By

stage

Some of my earliest memories include: a hairbrush, Amy Grant on audio cassette and a mirror. These three items respectfully standing in for my microphone, my hero and my best friend. By the time I was 6 years old I had found what I then believed to be my passion… I LOVED to sing. But if I’m going to be honest, I probably loved the recognition and affirmations even more. Since I grew up in the church, my gifting provided me opportunities to be on stage, in just a slightly different culture. Accolades sounded more holy but they soothed this approval addiction of mine just the same.

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Worth the weight

The Heart | April 5, 2016 | By

weight

I am going to do a socially taboo thing here and be the “skinny” girl that brings up my weight issues.  Yes, I have them.  You may or may not agree as to whether or not they qualify as legit issues, and that’s okay, I get it.  Just please hear me out, and please tread lightly on my vulnerability.

I grew up twiggy and awkward… sickly even.  My wrists as an 18-year old were smaller than those of most 10 year-old boys.  So while I didn’t grow up with insecurities about my weight, let there be no misunderstanding, I was definitely not comfortable in my skin.   

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True Love Hurts

The Heart | March 29, 2016 | By

crown-of-thorns

She bailed again! I had changed my schedule for her twice even knowing that one of those times she didn’t have a legit excuse.  And actually… I tend to be pretty gracious in this regard but it had hit a sore spot.  I knew the real reason I was so angry was because she had communicated to me time and again by her actions that I didn’t really matter to her and it hurt.  I should have walked away from this relationship a long time ago.  I was so done… until I had a conversation with God that sounded something like this…

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Beef Pho Soup

21 days of Soup | March 25, 2016 | By

151231_GTL_Soup_051

 

Beef Pho Soup
Serves 4
This slightly easier version of the classic Vietnamese soup has a number of ingredients that all have one purpose - to accentuate the broth. It's true. And once you make it you'll understand why.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 whole garlic cloves
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  4. 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. Medium-sized piece of ginger, peeled
  6. 1 chili pepper (thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño)
  7. 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  8. 2 whole star anise
  9. 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  10. 6 cups homemade beef broth
  11. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  12. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  13. 1 to 2 limes
  14. 1/2 pound sirloin steak or eye of the round beef
  15. 8oz dried rice noodles
  16. 1 cup fresh cilantro or basil
Optional garnishes
  1. Fresh bean sprouts
  2. Scallions, chopped
Instructions
  1. Bring the homemade broth to a boil and add the first 9 ingredients.
  2. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and lime juice. Reduce to simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Thinly slice the beef.
  4. Cook the noodles in a separate pot.
  5. Strain all vegetables and aromatics from the broth and discard (or save some for presentation).
  6. Arrange the raw beef in a single layer in bowls.
  7. Bring broth to a 2nd boil and slowly pour over the raw beef until it is cooked.
  8. Add the noodles, fresh herbs and garnish.
Notes
  1. I hate to say it, but if you aren't going to make your own broth... it ain't no pho! It is so worth the extra few steps... and the waiting. You'll most likely eat it all in one meal. But if you don't, store the noodles/beef/vegetables and the broth in separate containers, otherwise the noodles turn mucky.
Grace, Truth & Lemons http://gracetruthandlemons.com/

Jambalaya Soup

21 days of Soup | March 24, 2016 | By

151231_GTL_Soup_071

 

Jambalaya Soup
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 chorizo or andouille sausages, sliced
  3. 1 lb shrimp, tails removed
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 medium onion, chopped
  6. 2 stalk celery, chopped
  7. 1 carrot, chopped
  8. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  9. 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  10. 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  11. 4 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
  12. 1/2 cup uncooked rice or orzo.
  13. Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot
  2. Sear edges of sausages over medium-high heat, flipping once.
  3. Add shrimp and cook until red, flipping once.
  4. Add in garlic, onions, celery and carrot and cook until vegetables are soft.
  5. Add in bell pepper, tomatoes, seasonings, broth and rice or orzo.
  6. Simmer on low 20 minutes.
Grace, Truth & Lemons http://gracetruthandlemons.com/

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

21 days of Soup | March 23, 2016 | By

151231_GTL_Soup_117

 

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Serves 4
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  5. 2 carrots, chopped
  6. 1 cup of white navy beans
  7. 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  8. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  9. 1/2 teaspoon basil
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  11. 3 cups low sodium or homemade chicken broth
  12. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  13. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the peppers in half and broil them on the top rack for 10 mins. Flip and repeat then set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile warm up olive oil in a large pot. Add garlic, onions, celery and carrots over med-low heat until all vegetables are soft.
  3. Add beans, parsley and spices. Remove from heat.
  4. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove stems, seeds and charred skins. But save a few slices of pepper with skin on for garnish.
  5. With an immersion or upright blender puree the vegetables together adding broth for desired consistency. (I prefer thin and smooth.)
  6. Add heavy cream and garnish.
Notes
  1. Besides the obvious health benefits, the beans add a creamy taste and texture so you can keep the heavy cream to a minimum. This soup freezes great!
Grace, Truth & Lemons http://gracetruthandlemons.com/

Buffalo Chicken Soup

21 days of Soup | March 22, 2016 | By

151231_GTL_Soup_059

 

Buffalo Chicken Soup
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 2 stalks celery, chopped
  6. 2 carrots, chopped
  7. 4 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
  8. 1 cup milk
  9. 1 tablespoon bottled hot pepper sauce
  10. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Optional garnish
  1. 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  2. 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  3. Sour cream
  4. Green onion, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in frying pan.
  2. Add in sliced chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Set aside.
  3. Heat up remaining oil in large pot.
  4. Add in the mirepoix (garlic, onions, celery, carrots) over medium heat until vegetables are soft.
  5. Using an immersion or upright blender, puree the vegetables together with the broth.
  6. Return the mixture to the pot and add the remaining ingredients and the chicken.
  7. Simmer on low for 20 mins.
  8. Garnish as desired.
Grace, Truth & Lemons http://gracetruthandlemons.com/

Where Redemption Waits

The Heart | March 21, 2016 | By

 

cross

The arches of my feet stung with excruciating pain as I trudged up the snow-covered pathway – in ¾ inch heels. Oh yeah! There I was hiking up the Niagara Escarpment in the middle of January, sometime after 1 o’clock in the morning – in heels!

“Okay, this is ridiculous! I have to wake up early to sing at church in the morning AND I’m wearing a dress, Cam!  I’m wearing a dress – and heels – and it’s like -10 degrees out here! Can we please just turn around and go home? ” I begged.  

He took three more giant steps towards a platform that overlooked the city of Burlington and Lake Ontario. Just above the lookout point there was a ten-meter high steel cross that was lit up by a few dozen light bulbs. “Here we are! Just check out the view! Don‘t you think this was worth the trek up here?” he asked as he rubbed up and down my arms in attempt to keep them warm.  

I let the silence settle for about one minute before I answered. “Yup, terrific! Can we go now?” He took a deep breath and let out a long exaggerated sigh.  “I’m sorry. This wasn’t exactly like I planned.  But I really wanted to bring you up here, for a special purpose… I wanted to ask you something” he began as he slowly lowered to one knee…  

My heart lurched in my chest. No! No! This wasn’t happening! Not yet! I hadn’t had the chance to tell him!  I… I hadn’t even tried to tell him.   I was nearly twenty-one years old and we had been dating for exactly one year.  He had surprised me by repeating our first date; the Toronto Boat show, dinner at a jazz club and now a midnight stop at the old cross off Centennial Parkway.  Everything had been lovely but in the months leading up to this night I had absolutely no inclination that we had gotten this serious.  I hadn’t even considered the idea of marriage yet.  I wasn’t ready for this decision. I wasn’t ready for this much honesty!  And then suddenly before I could stop it, I was sub-consciously dragged back to the darkest, loneliest and most hideous part of my life.  A part I had been desperately trying to leave behind…

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Cream of Jalapeno Soup

21 days of Soup | March 20, 2016 | By

151231_GTL_Soup_035

 

Cream of Jalapeno Soup
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 2 stalks celery, chopped
  5. 2 carrots, chopped
  6. 1 green pepper, seeded & chopped
  7. 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  8. 1 cup navy beans
  9. 4 cups low sodium or homemade chicken broth
  10. 1/2 cup 2% milk
  11. 1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
  12. Salt & pepper to taste
Optional garnishes
  1. Cilantro
  2. Sliced jalapeno
Instructions
  1. Heat up olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add the mirepoix (garlic, onions, celery and carrots) stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add in all peppers and navy beans for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Using an immersion or upright blender (in small batches), puree the vegetables together with the broth.
  5. Add the milk and shredded cheddar.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. I used the beans to give this soup a creamier taste and texture otherwise you need heavy cream and lots of cheese to balance the spice.
Grace, Truth & Lemons http://gracetruthandlemons.com/

Beef Pot Pie Soup

21 days of Soup, The Kitchen | March 19, 2016 | By

151231_GTL_Soup_047

Beef Pot Pie Soup
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 lb stewing beef, chopped small
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  6. 2 carrots, chopped
  7. 1 potato, cubed small
  8. 4 cups low sodium or homemade beef broth.
  9. 1/2 cup frozen peas or corn
  10. 1 pkg beef gravy
  11. 1 cup 2% milk
  12. 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  13. 1 frozen pie crust
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add beef until cooked through.
  3. Add mirepoix (garlic, onions, celeryt, carrots) until softened.
  4. Add broth, potatos and peas or corn.
  5. Make gravy according to package. Add gravy, milk and rosemary.
  6. Simmer on medium-low for 20 mins.
  7. Meanwhile let pie crust thaw 5 mins, then flatten it over a cutting board.
  8. Using a small cookie cutter, arrange "crackers" over a cookie sheet and cook according to package.
  9. Salt & pepper soup according to taste.
  10. Garnish with pie crust crackers.
Grace, Truth & Lemons http://gracetruthandlemons.com/