Friday, August 22, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Welcome Gracious Hospitality Class Fall 2008

God's grace abounds!! As we are reminded of the grace and mercy our Heavenly Father has shown and continues to show toward us we are truly humbled. Knowing that we are the vessels through which He has chosen to show his love and grace to a lost world changes us. Knowing His sacrifice, accepting His gracious forgiveness, awe struck by his power and mercy transforms us. It opens our eyes and hearts and we become more aware of those in need around us. As we define hospitality ("philoxenia" in the Greek), it literally means love of strangers. Developing a deeper relationship with God creates a natural out pouring of this kind of love for others and their needs. Our homes become a nurturing invironment for the gospel. Our daily walk glistens with joy of sharing His love with others. Hospitality is not a suggestion but a command, a way of life.
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. " (Hebrews 13:2)
"Use hospitality one to another without grudging," (I Peter 4:9).

How can we not be continually seeking ways to share His Gracious Hospitality?

We began our first class for Gracious Hospitality today. The herb garden is bountiful this year and continues to flourish. The summer sun's heat is still in the upper 90's and the herbs are loving it. This year's herb bounty has provided plenty of variety for our class and the experiments began. Yellow squash, zucchini, and white scalloped squash from the garden provided the perfect medium to show case herb flavors. Fresh aromas and delicious flavors filled the kitchen as we began our first cooking session. Quite the tasty fare as you can see.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cream Cheese and Dill Corn

1 1 lb pkg frozen yellow corn
3oz pkg cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 to 1 tsp dried dill

*Cook corn according to package directions.
*In microwave safe bowl, melt butter, stir in dill, add diced cream cheese.
*Microwave a few seconds until cheese is soft and blends well. (about 20-30 seconds)
*Add cream cheese mixture to corn
and stir till well blended.
*Salt to taste if desired.
*Serve warm.

Summer Squash and Fresh Herbs

3-4 medium summer squash, sliced
3-4 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, choose one or more of your favorites,
basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, etc.
2 Tbsp olive oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste

*Slice squash into uniform pieces for sautéing.
*Heat oil in sauté pan.
*Add squash and stir until tender crisp.
*Add chopped fresh herbs. Stir until flavors are blended.
*Do not over cook.
4-6 servings

Dill Peas and Walnuts

1 10 oz package frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons broken walnuts or slivered almonds, toasted

*Cook frozen peas according to the package directions. Drain.
*Saute' onions in butter until tender.
* Stir in dill.
*Add cooked peas.
*Season with salt and pepper
*Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

Toasting walnuts:
Break into small pea sized pieces. Toast in dry skillet or in oven just until fragrant and slightly brown. Watch carefully. May toast almonds with the same method.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Purple Basil

Purple Basil is a beautiful and colorful addition to the herb garden. One of my favorite ways to use it is in a fresh garden salad. The flavor is mild and adds a pleasing color to the salad as well and the subtle flavor of basil. You can make purple basil pesto for pasta or chicken or make a purple basil butter with garlic chive to spread on your freshly baked bread. Yum!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gracious Hospitality in Real Life

It was truly a blessing each week of class to read how each of you graciously shared your lives with those around you. I have asked some of you to share your hospitality experiences with the rest of us. The following is from the Jeff and Kristina Sims family. What a blessing they are to all of us.

Kristina and I have an open invitation to our S.I.B.I. class to come over and eat in our home every Wednesday night before church. We had no idea what a blessing it would be to our family. It started with fourteen people the first week, and it's been growing ever since. We've hosted as many as twenty-six. It has given our class a chance to talk outside of the classroom and to really get to know each other in a deeper way. We feel like we're making relationships that will last a lifetime, and we're having a blast at the same time. Our children have also gotten to know our friends very well and have enjoyed playing together with their children. We've had the chance to play games with each other, to share trials and joys together, and to encourage each other to keep going even when school gets tough. We've been really blessed in our support and know that some of our classmates really appreciate the free meal each Wednesday. Kristina has done a great job cooking and cleaning every week. She is able to try new recipes, and share some old favorites. I love getting to see her enjoy the company and share her recipes. I'm excited that she's getting so much practice in hosting. I know she'll use the skills she's learning now for the rest of our lives, and our family and friends are sure to be blessed for many years to come.

-Jeff Sims

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bed and Breakfast

Serving in ministry often gives us the opportunity to share our homes with fellow Christians, ministers, and missionaries. Sharing our homes is not just a blessing for the traveler but it is a special blessing for those who have opened their home. Not only do we help in furthering the gospel but as hosts we are richly blessed by the experiences of our guest. We are always looking for a way to make them feel comfortable and special as they stay with us. A place to rest and a simple meal is a welcome gesture for our guest. Often we have the opportunity to share the things God has done in our lives as we enjoy a leisure breakfast. But, sometimes it is grab a muffin and run.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pastries and Desserts

Sometimes I can not believe how good God is to us. His blessings abound even in times of trial. He does not just feed us He even brings dessert. Having a cup of tea (or coffee) and sharing dessert with a friend, old or new, is t me one of the "sweetest treats" God gives to us. What a blessing it is to share our hearts and build relationships with such a simple gesture of dessert. Take some time, bake a pie (or buy one) and invite someone over for dessert and enjoy some of the richest blessings God gives.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Homemade Bread

Bread baking is absolutely one of my favorite things. As the whole house gradually fills with the rich aroma of fresh homemade bread baking in the oven, guest seem to appear from nowhere. They always seem to know when it is bread baking day. I am especially fond of the free form artisan loaves with all their texture, color and variety of shapes. It does not seem to matter in what culture you live, bread is always a staple and often the center of the meal. Often artisan breads require few ingredients and very little equipment to prepare a beautiful and delicious loaf of bread. Presented here are some of the scrumptious breads we prepared. Move you mouse over the photo to view their description.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Food Preservation

Preserving summers bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables can be a real blessing in the cold winter months. Making Jams and Jellies has taught us that preserving food does not have to be difficult. Having friends in the kitchen makes memories and builds relationships. Not to mention what a delight it is to have a special gifts to share with others that has been prepared in your own kitchen.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Stretching our food budget.

When having guest over we often need to stretch our meals to feed a few more. We can still provide visually appealing and wonderfully delicious dishes on a limited budget with a little planning. Having the base of the dish prepared in the freezer cuts down of the meal prep time and gives us more time with our guest and our family. In our cooking session we prepared several flavorful and diverse dishes from a couple of chickens. Move your mouse over the photos for the names of the dishes we prepared.

Friday, February 15, 2008


What fun it is to look around our house to find new and creative tablescapes. Our table decor can reflect our personality or memories of trips we have taken, gifts that we have received from those who love us, or special collections of just about anything. I have seen quilts and scarves, photos and trinkets, rocks and shells, candles and books, and the list never ends. If it is in your home it could possibly be used to embellish your table. Table decor can be great conversation starters. I always enjoy learning more about my Host by the items she places on her table.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bean with Herbs

One of the best ways to try different types of herbs are with vegetables that often seem plain served by themselves. Adding different herbs can completely change the outcome of a dish. I have often heard people say they did not like beans. Maybe they just have not found the right combination that appeals to their pallet. The great variety of choices available make it impossible to know if you really do not like the taste or texture until your have tried them all. We probably have a lifetime of trying different combinations before we have tasted them all. So start experimenting!!!


I always get excited when we get to share about the many different types of beans, legumes and grains. God in his wisdom has given us a beautiful mosaic of wonderful, colorful, flavorful beans and grains. All around the world there are regional favorites. In our United States we probably have more varieties than we will have opportunities to taste them. If you do not think you care for a particular variety do not give up on it until you have tasted it prepared in a variety of ways. Then move on to other varieties. It it truly an adventure for the human pallet.

Our class explored different ways of cooking and preparing beans. Dried, canned or frozen they provide an affordable and convenient staple to our diet. The dishes we prepared included: Campfire Beans, Tex Mex Black Bean Wraps, Tuscan Bean Soup with Sage, and White Beans with Rosemary. The recipe for Tex Mex Bean Wrap can be found in an earlier post.