Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Individual Brownie!!!

Brownie in a Cup for 1
yummy recipe for all the single ladies!
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
2 tbsp. Ghiradelli hot cocoa mix
2 1/2 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. flour

In a 12 oz. mug, add water, oil, and vanilla. Whisk well.

Add cocoa, sugar, and flour… And mix it all up!

Microwave for 90 seconds. 
Center should be
slightly molten. {MMMM} 
Happy mouth.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Cooking for one (+1)

Cooking for one is lame. But when one invites friends over to lunch, one has the opportunity to make fun in the kitchen!! My friend Kasey posted a recipe on facebook the other day that I really wanted to try: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili. So I decided to make it up!! At least one + one = two and left overs = freezer meals for other days. The recipe turned out AWESOME (if you wanna try mine, come over. There's plenty in the fridge for tomorrow and in the freezer for whenever you stop by!!). Here's my version of the recipe followed by the original!!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili a la Julie

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 small chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz can precooked chunk chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cook black and kidney beans in a pressure cooker per pressure cooker directions while preparing veggies.  Combine all ingredients in crock pot. (Drain beans and canned chicken) Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Top with fresh cilantro. Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream. I served it over fresh cooked brown rice.

Original Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili
 Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 10 Size: 1 1/4 cups Old Points: 3 pts Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 203.7 • Fat: 1.4 gCarb: 33.3 g • Fiber: 10.0 g  Protein: 16.9 g


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can black beans
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • chili peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (extra points).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hitting a home run

I am home and resting. Well, supposed to be resting. I'm learning I'm not so good at this resting and waiting thing. I think that's what God is trying to teach me. 

I felt like when I was originally called to Costa Rica I had hit a home run for Jesus. Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. Crowd cheering. Jesus called my name to bat for Team Kingdom. Awesome smack of bat against ball. Running full throttle all the way around. No reserves. Each base getting closer to scoring for the Kingdom. Aiming toward coming home, I was still at an all out tilt. There was always that small possibility of getting out, so I was making sure I was giving it my all the whole way around. Finally sliding in to home plate I had made it. SAFE!!! TOUCHDOWN!!! GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAL!!!! BUYAH!!!! Although sliding home from an all out sprint, as any baseball player knows, can leave you bruised and pretty banged up from the impact with terra firma.

Now I'm back on the bench. Now what? Is the game over? When's the next game? What do you mean it hasn't been scheduled yet? I want to talk to my manager! Oh, wait. He's telling me I need to rest. The bruise on my soul from my victory lap needs to heal. 

I never expected the reentry to be so intense. In talking with some of you who have come down on short-term trips, though, missions over seas no matter how long you're gone has a way of marking us and changing us and how we view the world forever. 

Here are some of the resources that I am finding helpful in readjusting back into North American life (Thanks, Cindy Schmidt!!!):


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hello, Kitty!!

God always demands obedience. But the obedience is always for our benefit and His glory. Some times God asks His people to step into the raging rivers before they will part, to walk around the wall 13 times before it will fall, to wait for years for the fulfillment of the promise of a baby, or to get rid of their pants. Okay, so that last one is not in the Bible, that one's from my life. 

Back story: when I left Costa Rica, I knew I couldn't take everything I had brought with me. I wanted to donate things to the store. Many of my clothes were now full of paint and had faded from being line dried and just needed to retire. Plus, let's be honest, I wanted room in my suitcase for coffee and Lizano sauce. I had been a faithful steward of my toiletries: body wash with one shower left in the bottle, contact cleaner solution gone two weeks pre-flight, last squirt of toothpaste the morning of departure. As I was deciding what stayed and what would go with me, I had frequent running dialogue with Jesus..."Should I take this or just leave it?" He would usually tell me one way or the other. To make what could potentially be a very long story short, Jesus told me I had to leave my favorite jeans. They were now covered in pant and frayed along the edges, but they were still my favorites. Six years of memories, you have no idea what those jeans have seen!! I also had to throw out the slippers my dad had given me. They were beyond washing. But I had to go on faith that Jesus knew what He was talking about.

Fast forward: I am back stateside and re-integrating into North American life. But now I am without a favorite pair of jeans, most of my toiletries, and slippers to keep my feet warm in a chilly Michigan fall. (OK, it only feel chilly to me because I am no longer living 4 inches from the sun). My feet had not warmed up since disembarking in Detroit. I asked Jesus to replace what He asked me to get rid of. 

Tuesday morning I knew I would be in town and close to stores. I asked Jesus specifically for a new favorite pair of jeans for under $20...a pair that fit perfect on try on, in the color and cut of my favorite jeans that I left in the Rica...and a pair of slippers for $4. As I was driving I asked Jesus where I should find those items. I needed to change my address and ran to the Secretary of State, which happens to be in a mall.There is an Old Navy there and I felt Jesus nudge me in that direction. Old Navy?!??! I NEVER find jeans at Old Navy!! They are way too short and never fit right. Their tags marked "tall" LIE!!! I don't own a single pair of Old Navy pants. But okay, Jesus, I will trust you. As I was perusing the clearance racks, I came across a pair of jeans in my size that had "long" marked on the tag. I grabbed them and prayed. As I pulled them on, THEY FIT PERFECT!!! They were the color and cut of my favorite jeans AND they hit the floor!!! When I checked out the clerk told me I was very lucky to find these jeans. They were an online return that they don't carry in the store. They only carry "longs" (which are legitly long) online. I told the guy that I prayed for those jeans. AND they were only $17!!! CRAZY!!

Now for the slippers. Again, I asked Jesus where I should go. Target. Okay. I like Target. I was on the hunt. I knew my budget for slippers was $4. I mean, slippers for $4 is almost unheard of. They are usually at least $10-25. That would HAVE to be God. Slipping into the sleepwear section, the end cap caught my eye. There were three pairs of slippers hanging on an end rack. But they were Hello, Kitty. Sparkly. Puffy. Hello, Kitty slippers. They looked small, but I held my breath. I pulled them off the rack and they were my size (ladies 10). Surely not. I looked at the price tag. Yup. You guessed it. The Hello, Kitty slippers were $4!!! NO WAY!!! But, Jesus!!! Hello, Kitty?!?!? How old am I???!? Surely not. I looked at all the other end caps for another pair of slippers. All the other clearance slippers were $6-15, and they were all the sleek, ballet slipper type, or the fuzzy flip-flop kind. Ok. Hello, Kitty it is. 

 Later that night I was grumbling a bit as I put on my new slippers. Seriously, Jesus? Yet wearing my sparkly, puffy, Hello Kitty slippers, my feet were warm for the first time since leaving Costa Rica. Maybe Jesus knew what He was doing in having me buy those puffy slippers.

Hear me on this, Jesus is not a pop machine. You cannot put in enough prayer change and expect exactly what you want. Neither is He a genie that grants wishes. I knew He was asking obedience out of me in Costa Rica. Stateside I put my specific request before the Lord, but then dialogued with Him about it. I asked Him where to go followed His leading. This is something God wants to do with everyone!! God loves this type of dialogue!! Try it out! Let me know your story!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pray for a sister church

Hey, everyone!!! I wanted to pass along a huge pray for another Vineyard church in Costa Rica. They are raising a new church building in another community about an hour and a half or so from Los Anonos. Please pray for the funding they need to raise to complete their building project!! I have many good friends at that church and would love to see them blessed!!!!!

Deer in the Headlights

So I have gone from one extreme to the other. I went from living in 24/7 community in a city of a million people, surrounded by constant doorbell ringing, team hosting, and home visits to living in the schticks about a million miles from civilization. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I live between a lake and a park. I can't see my nearest neighbor. And the only thing making noise in my yard are Chip and Dale chasing each other around the pine trees. The familiar valediction from my phone calls with my parents of "watch out for deer" has once again become routine. Thanks, mom.

Actually, I was reminded of that all-too-familiar ending to our conversations tonight as I was coming home from a book study. On one of the back country roads, my shortcut home, I caught the glimpse of three deer crossing the road about 100 yards in front of where I was heading. They were already across and heading away from the only man made path in sight. As I crested the next hill, though, I saw a long stream of single headlights coming in the opposite direction. A herd of motorcycles enjoying a night ride. I did the only thing I could think of to warn them, I flashed my lights. The first motorcycle flashed back, probably thinking he had left his high beams on or something. So I did the only thing I could think of to do next: pray for their protection of more deer crossing the road in front of them. Deer + motorcycle = never a good idea.

I am usually a cautious driver on the country roads at night, anyway, but my mother's advice had been ringing in my brain since the time I lost sight of street lights and I was prepared in the event of a Bambi spotting. In seeing the deer on the road and avoiding danger, I had experience on that stretch of road that I wanted to share with others traveling the same road. From their point of view, though, it was merely another beautiful night for a ride and were unaware of what could spell disaster.

How true is this in life? On our life's journey, we may see and avoid danger before it happens, due to good advice from people who love us. When we are headed in a path or direction and see others traveling the same road, we should try to warn them of the danger we see ahead of them to try to protect them from needless harm. And when we can't make our message clear, the best thing to do is always pray protection over them.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Elijah passes the mantle... Julie passes the bag.

After my recent blog post about passing the bag, I am sure you´re curious about the final result...SHE SAW ME GO!!!! 4:30 in the morning. Jessie was left with the inheritance of the Mary Poppins bag (or the Barney Bolsa as they called it in Spanish).
And for all of you who are curious about what will happen to my blog...
My life is still in tupperware, so I will continue writing the blog! I still have so much to tell about Costa Rica and many other things the Lord is telling me these days. 
More posts to come!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

God of the details

I started my transition home.after an eventful Saturday morning flight which included a truck that wouldn't start, a random security check, a broken security machine that needed repaired before I could get on the plane, and a dead car battery in Detroit. I finally arrived back at "home". (I say "home" because while I am back stateside, I still feel like I am in transition and not quite yet at my final landing stop.)

Through all of this I have still seen the work of God in the details. I will share more soon, but there is no internet at my house yet and typing on my phone prooves a bit tedious. For now I will share just one story of God's curious grace and love in what seems like and insignificant, and better yet vain, detail.

I finished my time in Costa Rica being a good steward of my resources. That to say i used the last of my body wash the night before I left, I squeezed the last drop of tooth paste on the morning I flew out, and my contacts had been scratchy for two or three weeks from me not wanting to buy anything new. Selfishly I wanted ALL extra space in my suitcase to be for coffee and Lisano sauce and not by toiletries I could buy in the States. When it came time to do the last of my packing I did debate about throwing in the last of my shampoo and some bottles of lotion and perfume. In my debate of "to take or not to take", I asked Jesus what He thought I shoul do. He told me to leave it. OK, Jesus (this from the guy whose cousin ate bugs and was on the fashion police's top 10 most wanted list...) But I trust that voice and left it.

Back stateside I was in the shower Sunday morning using borrowed shampoo from my mom who was in town for the holiday weekend praying about what to do now. I told Jesus I needed the things I had left behind (I really don't want to be known as the stinky missionary.) Since I had been obedient in leaving my thongs in Costa Rica, I also knew I could be specific in my request (Psalm 37:4).So I asked God for the toiletries I needed and each for less than $1.

We went to church and in our way home stopped at a gas station. I walked in and the very first display was chuck full of toiletries, ALL for only $0.75!!! There was literally everthing on my list all on one display!! God us a God of details!!!

All this for less than $5!!