A different kind of taste

I took some time to ask a friend of mine some questions about how she uses cooking as a ministry. Rachel is the Main Cook at a youth camp in Wisconsin. She’s been working there for many years and has so much to share about the ways the Lord has opened opportunities for her using her cooking.

  1. Do you consider your food and cooking position to be critical to the ministry?

Yes. Very much so! Good food is good for morale, and one of our goals is for the campers to enjoy their time here. Generally speaking, if the campers are happy and taken care of, they are more attentive to God’s word. I think cooking for people is a simple way to show hospitality and care. One of camp’s verses, 1 Corinthians 10:31 ends with “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I think you can definitely cook to the glory of God!

  1. Do you purposefully cook or plan meals for specific events in effort to leave a different result or open door with the campers/visitors?

What comes to mind is a meal we try to have about once a year for our firefighters from Whitewater. They helped us a ton when a camp family lost their home in a fire, and we try to show our appreciation and build relationships with them. Also, I cook for a lot of people with food allergies, and even food limitations because of religious beliefs (Jewish, Muslim) and this is a good way to open doors to make friends. They are surprised that we will do this for them.

  1. Do you think people cooking at home can have a ministry too? In the actual making/serving of meals?

Yes, for sure, probably even more so than we do here at camp. I know it seems kind of old fashioned to have a good old sit down dinner and have your neighbors over, but I think it really speaks to people. The fact that you’re willing to give what costs you something is so foreign to many people. I know a missionary lady who has been welcomed into the locals homes because she’s learned how to make their kind of bread. They saw that she was making an effort to reach out and give of her time and talents.

  1. Are there other ways you get to minister or interact with people that have to do with food, but not limited to your position in the camp kitchen?

Not as much as I’d like. There are a few church things I’ve been able to help with, but not a lot of other outside things. Every now and then, I used to take something homemade to the orthodontist or ladies at the bank! J

  1. What is the greatest thing the Lord has taught you in your time as a cook/chef

Oh, man. This is hard! Ministry is glamorized, and I think I went into it with many false illusions. Cooking is definitely the easiest part of my job! I have failed so many times, in my relationships with people, in being efficient and dependable, in going the extra mile, doing my best, but God never stops using me. He enables those who he has called. Lamentations 3:23 says God’s mercies are new every morning, and he has taught me that though I am weak, he is strong…He is still God. He’s taught me that I can do nothing worthwhile without Him, but that I can do everything He calls me do through His strength. This all may sound trite and cliché, but I honestly never understood these truths before I came here and experienced God’s incredible working in my life.

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Crafty uses for those kitchen items

Looking for that really random food or storage idea? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I was recently in my kitchen and was trying to figure out how I could make a homemade frappe, when I remembered something someone told me: FREEZE COFFEE IN AN ICE TRAY! Of course, I’ve seen things like that on other sites and now was when I needed it.

So for those of you like me out there, here are some really awesome tips and tricks, because who knows what you could really do with a simple ice tray or muffin pan!

 

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Pour your coffee (probably a little cooled) into the trays and freeze them for whenever you need that cold coffee blend.

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Melt your chocolate on the stove or in the microwave and before it hardens, pour some into the ice cube tray and stick a washed strawberry in the center.

Citrusy-Summer-Ice-Cubes

 

Pour orange juice in the tray and freeze. Add the cubes back into your juice rather than watering your drink down with regular ice.

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You can do the same thing with lemonade or lemon water. You could even freeze them in a muffin pan so you can freeze whole lemon slices.

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Fill an ice cube tray with cookie dough and freeze it for when you absolutely need some cookies. Just pull it out, pop them onto a pan and there you go.

Condiments

 

Need something quick and easy for your barbeque? Just put all the condiments in a muffin pan.

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Put your meatloaf batter into a muffin pan. Would that make it a meatmuffin?

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If you’re in a rush and need a bunch of eggs for breakfast, do them all at once, in a muffin pan.

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When making cinnamon rolls, throw them into a muffin pan rather than a normal pan. Much easier to separate.

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You’ll never have to worry about cutting rice crispy’s into pieces if you put them into a greased muffin pan.

 

I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many places to find creative ways to use some of your most common kitchen items. Enjoy!

5 ways to save money on groceries

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Sometimes it can be so difficult knowing you’re spending way more than you need to spend on your groceries. It can be extremely frustrating, trust me, I know! But it doesn’t have to be that way. You could save money in many ways, not even mentioning apps or coupons you could use. Here are just 5 easy ideas anyone could use to help save money!

  1. Create a simple budget. Know what you’re able and allowed to spend on groceries and food each week or each month. Plan it and stick to it.
  1. Join their loyalty program or cash-back rewards. Find out if the stores you love to shop at provide any additional savings on types of purchases.
  1. Try to do your shopping on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Those are the best days to get groceries nearing their “sell by” dates and are typically marked down to their reduced midweek prices.
  1. If you are truly wanting to get more for your money look for ways to skip the overly convenient items: instead of a bag of shredded lettuce, get the whole head of lettuce. Instead of prepackaged, sliced fruit, get the whole fruit.
  1. Plan to do your shopping in a specific amount of time. If you slowly walk down each aisle you will be more likely to find more things to buy that aren’t on your grocery list. Get in and out.

A visit with Heidi from FoodieCrush.com

fc_photoI recently interviewed Heidi Larsen with FoodieCrush. She is a blogger about food and cooking and had some amazing ideas on her blog. I asked her only a few questions and she was kind enough to tell me a little bit about herself and her own cooking experiences. I know she would love for you to check out her blog here: http://www.foodiecrush.com/  I hope you enjoy reading about her professional and personal tips about cooking and blogging.

 

  1. Do you have a specific audience that you are trying to reach with your site?

That’s a great question and one that every blogger really needs to keep top of mind so they can find their audience and connect to it authentically. The audience I hope to connect with is the home cook who likes a little bit of a twist on classic recipes that are seasonal, fresh and tasty. As a busy mom I get that it’s helpful to keep ingredients shorter but still interesting. I like to cook as much as possible from scratch, or at least not from the box, so seasonal and fresh recipes that are attractive to families are what I find myself cooking, and posting on my blog.

 

  1. Where do you get your recipes (from scratch, cookbooks, others sources)?

Oh man, I get inspiration from everywhere! I’m always trolling food blogs and I’m a magazine fanatic so I’m constantly picking up Cooking Light, all of the Better Homes and Gardens special interest food mags that are theme specific (slow cooker, weeknight, etc.) plus Bon Appetit is doing a really great job since changing editors 2 years ago. I’m always picking up cookbooks for food photography inspiration. My latest favorites are the Williams Sonoma series with photographer Erin Kunkel. She does such gorgeous work. Donna Hay magazines and cookbooks are a perennial favorite too.

 

  1. Is there a specifically cooking item you think every college student or young married couple should own to survive?

For college students I would always suggest investing in a high quality chefs knife. That’s something you will have for the rest of your life and makes a huge difference in cooking. Plus, it makes a great Christmas gift from the parentals. For newly married couples who are looking for gift registry items, don’t waste your time on the cheap sets of pans at Costco or the like. Take advantage of others generosity and put one thing on your registry: a high quality All-Clad Stainless Steel Pan set. Sure, they’re expensive, but I’m telling you they are an investment you’ll never, ever regret and are so forgiving you’ll look like a chef whether you are one or not.

 

  1. Do you have ways you suggest for people to save money when shopping for food items?

I’m a huge fan of Costco, but for college students that’s a lot of bulk for single cooking. So for singles, I suggest you shop the bulk bin aisles where you can get so much more value for everyday staples and nuts instead of buying the packaged versions. Also, there’s absolutely no shame in buying store brand versions of your favorite ingredients. I’ve found some of my favorite ingredients are Kroger brand and purchase them over the bigger brand names. Be wary of Trader Joes too. Sometimes they’re cheaper, and sometimes not. Oh, and don’t discount the small ethnic stores. They usually purchase vegetables that are sometimes a little blemished but still just as healthy and fresh, but at a much cheaper price.

 

  1. When would you say you first started cooking (as a child, college, as an adult)? 

I had friends who wouldn’t eat because they were too lazy to cook something. That was crazy talk in my world. I started cooking as a child and really got into it in about the 4th grade when I took a 4-H cooking class. We baked bread, cookies and learned so many of the basics. It really infused the love of cooking into my veins.

 

Heidi started FoodieCrush in 2011 and has created an online magazine for viewers to use to learn about blogs, recipes and phtotgraphy. She loves hearing from viewers and would love to hear from you. Her email: heidi@foodiecrush.com

Helpful Cooking Apps

0786c7d8f3b630d0_couple_cooking_xxxlarge_1Welcome back, I have found that in college it can be extremely hard to plan meals and make my shopping list when I have work and homework to do. So I decided to research some cooking apps and see what is out there. I found some work better for me personally than others but here are the 4 I liked the most. Below each name I will include a link that gives more information about the specific app, how to get it, and how to use it. Please, feel free to check them out and download the apps. I hope these are helpful for you!

 

1.Big Oven is an app that has loads of recipes and is easy to use. It even comes with a grocery list and menu planner to use anywhere. It is one of the most complete tools to help people on the go.

http://www.bigoven.com/mobile

2. All Recipes App provides users with holiday ideas, a series of video cookbooks, as well as a way to search recipes by specific ingredients.

http://allrecipes.com/howto/allrecipes-apps-for-android-phones-iphones-and-windows-phones/

3. Nigella Quick Collection “is designed to make the most out of whatever is in your fridge.” The app has collections of recipes intended to help you use the ingredients you already have.

http://www.nigella.com/

4. Healthy in a Hurry app has access to over 200 hundred recipes that can be searched through by category. You can save favorite recipes and receive recipes for each day. In addition, you can also search for recipes by the ingredients.

http://www.eatingwell.com/shop/healthy_in_a_hurry_app_for_iphone_and_ipod_touch_ipad_android

 

I hope these are as helpful for you as they were for me. Let me know which apps you like to use to make cooking and meal planning easier and more efficient.

 

Treats for St. Patricks Day

Well, February has come and gone, and we are now in the month of March. Just around the corner we will be celebrating St. Patricks Day again. Well, I’ve found some pictures with some fantastic lucky green ideas you could use for your St. Patty’s party in a couple weeks.

Adding some green food coloring, or dipping them in green chocolate, these can be a lot of fun. They are some quick and easy ideas that would only take a couple of minutes to make festive.

Rainbow Fruit Tray

rainbow fruit tray

Green Rice Crispy Treats

Green crispy treats

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Patty dipped marshmellows

 Pretzel Bites

Pretzel bites

Green Chocolate Chip Cookies

green cookies

Green Fruit Sticks

wonton fruit sticks

Lucky Trail Mix

Lucky trail mix

Green Pancakes

green pancakes

Lucky Charm Crispy Treats

lucky charm treats

Dipped Oreos

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I hope you enjoy them, and please comment and let me know what foods you plan to make for St. Patty’s.