Saturday, April 29, 2017

Canning Tomato Paste



When I check out my pantry I like to see what I’m still buying in cans and evaluate if it’s something I could prepare fresh and can.  My shelf of tomato products looks great!  I have canned Spaghetti Sauce with meat, Tomato Sauce, Rotel Styled tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes, Salsa, Bruschetta, Tomato Soup, and  BBQ Sauce. So what could be missing? 

The only thing left on my shelves in a store bought can is tomato paste.  Tomato paste is a thick paste made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce the water content, straining out the seeds and skins, and cooking the liquid again to reduce the base to a thick, rich concentrate. 

Now when I say you cook the tomatoes down, I mean DOWN.  I started with seven pounds of Roma tomatoes which is 112 ounces.  After coring, peeling and seeding I had three quarts of tomatoes or 96 ounces.  By the time I cooked it down I was left with only 24 ounces of tomato paste!  The seven pounds of tomatoes was reduced by almost 80%!

Tomato Paste
7 lbs. of tomatoes
3 Red bell peppers died
2 bay leafs
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp salt
Olive oil for drizzling
(1/8 tsp Citric Acid add at the end to the top of each 4oz jar)

Be prepared this is time consuming but not labor intensive and most of the time it is hands off cooking time!

Rinse tomatoes thoroughly under running water and remove cores. Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down on a stainless steel cookie sheet.   Also, wash and remove seeds from your bell peppers and add them in slices to your cookie sheet.  Drizzle the tomatoes and peppers lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon of salt.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Skins will be pulling away nicely from the meat of the tomatoes.  For seven pounds of tomatoes this process took two batches in the oven, that’s why I split the salt in half.

Run the warm roasted tomatoes and bell peppers through a tomato press separating the skins and seeds from the tomatoes and peppers.  If you don’t have a tomato press you can use a fine sieve (or food mill with fine blade). (Do not use a blender or food processor, as these will incorporate undesired air into the tomatoes.)  With my tomato press I can run the ejected peels and seed mixture through twice to yield the maximum amount of juicy tomato goodness.

Next begin cooking the mixture down slowly on medium heat, uncovered adding the garlic clove and bay leaves.  Continue cooking until thick enough to round up on a spoon and volume is reduced again by half, about 2-½ to 3 hours.  Stir about every 20 to prevent sticking and burning, stir more frequently as the mixture gets closer to the desired paste consistency.  I cooked mine down in my Instant Pot on Manual – Low.  You can use a lid to reduce splattering but put it on askew so that steam can escape.

When the tomato paste is cooked down remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Fill hot paste into clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.  Add the citric acid to the top of each jar. Wipe jar rims with vinegar. Adjust lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath (212° F). Half-Pints 45 minutes.  Yes, 45 minutes, the University of Georgia Ag extension is the only site where I could find documented guidelines and canning times for tomato paste and they said 45 minutes.  


Now was 4+ hour worth it? Really, only yielding six 4oz jars out of 7 pounds of tomatoes?  In my opinion it tastes incredible compared to the canned version.  For price comparison, let’s look at a tube of tomato paste and not the tin can variety.  Target’s store brand tomato paste is $3.28 per 4oz tube would cost $19.68.  Compare that to my seven pound of tomatoes were $0.51 per pound, costing me a total of $3.57!  Yes it was work, but I enjoy it.  The tomato paste tastes great and it will be handy to thicken soups and sauces when needed.  

Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.  Genesis 41:36

Friday, April 28, 2017

Canning Rotel Styled Tomatoes and Green Chilies

Canning the bruschetta reminded me that we are out of Ro-tel, you know that yummy spicy tomato and green chili goodness that you mix with Velveeta to make queso?! 

Homemade Rotel

  • 9 cups chopped, peeled, cored Roma tomatoes (about 4lbs)
  • 2 large bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 jalapeno (or other hot) peppers, chopped
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. canning salt


Mix ingredients together in large saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. This will allow any water to steam/boil off and leave you with a thicker sauce. 

Fill hot pint jars with hot mixture, adding...
1 tsp. lemon juice per pint jar.

Tighten hot lids on to fingertip tightness and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. This recipe makes 8-10 pints of Rotel. Rotel brand doesn’t have onions, but we like it with the onions.

These jars will be fantastic in Chicken Mexican Casserole or Southwestern Chick Soup or Taco Salad or added to a cube of Velveeta!  And again, the benefit of home canning your own Rotel tomatoes is no tin can taste; fresh produce; low sodium; and yummy goodness! 

Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. I Samuel 17:18

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Canning Bruschetta

My name is Lisa . . . . and I'm addicted to canning!  I think in the last two weeks I have purchased almost forty pounds of Roma tomatoes.  Romas have more 'meat' and less juice so they are wonderful for canning.  We seem to have plenty of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. I would like to make tomato paste but it is very time consuming to make. 

So I turned to Pinterest for recipe ideas and came up with a recipe for bruschetta.  Bruschetta is a delicious appetizer to any Italian meal that consists of roasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella. 

Bruschetta in a Jar
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white cooking wine
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. dried basil
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
9 cups diced tomatoes

Begin by coring and dicing your tomatoes then set them aside. 

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine garlic, cooking wine, vinegar, water, sugar, basil, oregano, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 5 minutes, until garlic is heated through. Remove from heat.
Prepare half pint jars and lids, keeping them hot.

Cold pack tomatoes in hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot vinegar mixture into jar to cover tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary by adding more liquid.

Wipe jar rims with white vinegar and tighten hot lids on to fingertip tightness.

Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

To serve bruschetta, simply toast slices of a baguette brushed with olive oil for about 3 minutes on each side.  Your bread slices with be crunchy.  Next spoon the bruschetta onto your bread slices using a slotted spoon to drain off brine.  If you don't drain the juice, you will end up with a soggy slice of bread topped with pickled tomatoes!  Yuck!  I topped my bruschetta with sprinkles of mozzarella and returned it to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melted.  Jon enjoys it with the tomato mixture heated and no cheese. Either way, delicious! 


She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son 

Genesis 27:17

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Picture This




Abigail's softball team, the CHANT Chargers were asked to model for the Texas School of Professional Photography 2017 conference with Jeff Gump and his Sports and Event Photography classes. The girls had a very fun day with photographers from all over the U.S.

The girls took turns doing team shots, individual shots and action shots.  Due to the weather all of the photos were done inside against a green screen. 

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

CHANT vs. Dallas Christian


Time for a rematch with Dallas Christian!  This is the team we've battled before.  In fact we've learned a few reminders from this team.  The most important lesson is that if you are going to wear the name of Christ across your chest it's important to conduct yourself in a manner appropriate to His name.  

It's easy to get caught up in the game, in winning, in cheering on your team but our actions should reflect the name we wear on our jersey.  
Today the teams battled back and forth.  They have a D1 pitcher and only four of our girls were able to hit off of her and one of those batters was Abigail.  She had two hits, an RBI and scored!  Not too shabby. 

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world Philippians 2:14-15

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thank You for Your Donations

The food pantry where our family volunteers serves 130-150 families per week.  That can represent meals for almost 160 individuals each week. In the last couple of weeks I've sent out the call to friends for food donations.  Everyone came through in a big way and today Frankie, Abigail, Gracie, Ella and Tessa began sorting through the donations.  

They went through the cans marking the expiration dates and marking through UPC codes.  Each can is then sorted and stocked on our shelves.  Thanks to everyone for your donations, these things we do . . . .

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalm 107:9

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy birthday, friend!


Today Abigail got to celebrate the Sweet 16 of her dear friend friend Katrina.  We met Katrina and her sister Isabel over a decade ago through our home school group PEACH.  

The family have been great friends to our family.  We were even blessed to watch both Katrina and Isabel's baptism.  

Katrina's birthday was another great event to share.  It's hard to believe the two little girls in the picture could both drive and are taking college classes in the fall! The friendship is a sweet blessing to our family! 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14

TAIAO Softball Tournament

Today the CHANT Chargers played in the TAIAO tournament in Fort Worth.  TAIAO is the Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organization.  It is the state organization for the homeshool organizations across the state of Texas. The four teams played in tournament play for the state championship. 

Fort Worth's THESA took first and Plano's CHANT Chargers took 2nd Place.  THESA will now go on to represent TAIAO and Texas in the National Association of Christian Athletes Softball World Series in Dayton, Tennessee!  Good luck, THESA! 

Be of sound speech that cannot be condemned, 
so that an opponent may be put to shame, 
having nothing evil to say about us.  Titus 2:8

Canning Chicken Bone Broth

Making chicken bone broth is a two day process.  It begins with cooking whole chickens which I canned, see yesterday's blog on Canning Shredded Chicken.  It's fabulous!

Anyway, with my de-boned chicken I saved all fat, skin, and bones and wrapped them up in cheesecloth tying them up with cooking twine.  I made a separate cheesecloth bag with half an onion, two stalks of celery and two carrots.   I dropped the bag of bones and bag of bones into the crock pot with the drippings of the rotisserie chicken.  

Fill the crock put up with water. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar not for flavor, but for function. The apple cider vinegar is acidic, and helps to leach healthy nutrients from the chicken bones.

I generally cook the broth down for 12-24 hours. The straining process will be almost painless because I used the cheesecloth!! When your broth has cooked down you will have this rich yellow colored goodness.  Gently lift out the bag of chicken bones and bag of vegetables.  

Use a fine strainer when ladling your broth into sterilized pint jars leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint.  Wipe the jars down with vinegar to remove any grease before adding lids and rims.  Process filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 20 minutes for pints. 

You know have shelf stable homemade chicken broth for free! The cost of the bones was calculated in the cost of the shredded chicken yesterday.  You can also make your own beef bone broth or pork bone broth.  The chicken broth is great in a lot of recipes.  We like the beef broth in soup and stroganoff; and the pork broth is great in a pot of beans! 


It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 

Romans 14:21

Friday, April 21, 2017

Canning Shredded Chicken

Between softball games, Bible Bowl, and school many times our meals are on the fly.  I'm not a fan of fast food because it's no usually healthy and it can be expensive for a family of four all ordering off the adult menu!

There are options for quick meals but most of those options include prepackaged food but you usually don't know what ingredients are included!  So what's a girl to do?

Many of our favorite meals include chicken like Chicken Burrito Bowls, Shredded Tacos, Chicken Pot Pies, Chicken Club Sandwiches, even Chicken noodle soup.  All of these can be made with canned chicken. But have you ever wonder what pieces and parts make up a can of "store bought" chicken? Sometimes it doesn't even look like chicken. And sometimes there seems to be more water than chicken in those cans.

So today I'm canning my own chicken, something I've done many times I've just never put it on the blog. Now I have to confess, I started off with Kroger's Simple Truth rotisserie chicken.  It is fully cooked, it has no hormones, no preservatives, organic, grain fed, blah, blah, blah.  Here's what I like best is they are always 50% off at my local Kroger store on Friday mornings when I do my grocery shopping.  Today I picked up two whole chickens for about $8 total!

When I buy these on Friday morning they are cold because they were roasted the day before and then refrigerated.  To heat and re-hydrate I place the whole chickens in my 6-Quart crock pot along with two cups of water.  I let this re-hydrate and heat for about 3 hours.  The next part is to de-bone the chicken separating chicken from bones and skin.

Because it was re-heated on a low setting on the crock pot the meat is very moist and literally falling off the bone!  For now I bagged up the meat in gallon baggies and placed it in the refrigerator. I could go ahead and can it now with chicken broth. But I'm going to make chicken bone broth that takes 12-24 hours and can the meat with it's own stock.  So, the meat went in the frig and tomorrow I will can it.

To can the chicken pack the chicken into your sterilized jars, leaving at least a half inch of head space (I aim for where the threading area begins). Fill the jars with chicken broth. I removed any air bubbles using a plastic knife around the jar. If the broth is salt free, you will want to add 1/4 tsp canning salt to each pint. Wipe the jars down with vinegar to remove any grease before sealing with sterilized lids and rims.

Process the jars in my pressure canner following the instructions provided with the canner. For pints, chicken is processed at 10 pounds of pressure for 70 minutes.  Shelf life for canned shredded chicken is 18 months to 3 years. 

Each pint jar contains two cups of meat equal to about 1 pound of meat. 

I like to can because I find it relaxing, mostly.  I also feel great knowing what exactly I'm serving my family.  But if you are driven by numbers, here you go: 

My two half price rotisserie chickens cost $8 and yielded a quantity of twelve 16oz pint jars!  That's 192 ounces of meat!  If I were to purchase that much canned Wal-Mart's Great Value chicken I would need to buy sixteen 12.5oz cans at $2.38 for $38.   That's a $30 savings and mine will have more flavor and not taste like a tin can!! 

She looks well to the ways of her household,

And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27

Tomato Powder


I still have an abundance of Roma tomatoes so the simplest thing to make is tomato sauce that can be converted to pasta sauce, pizza sauce, soup or enchilada sauce.  Rather than re-post how to can tomato sauce you can check my recent link: 

This time I ran the cored tomatoes through my tomato press which removes the skins and seeds.  Most of the tomato goodness I ran through two or three times to yield the most pulp. 

The tomato press pushes out a pulpy mass of skins and seeds.  Now what to do with all that mess of seeds and skins left over?  I spread it out in my dehydrator and dried it.   Depending on how thick you spread it out on the dehydrator in about 12 to 24 hours you'll have a mass of crunchy tomato goodness.  Next, simply run it through the blender until you have Tomato Powder!

Tomato Powder can be added to soups and stews later for some additional thickness and flavor. The powder can be re-hydrated and added to any recipe calling for tomato paste, tomato sauce, or tomato juice,

Tomato Powder Basic Equivalents
Tomato Paste: 6 tablespoons tomato powder + 1/2 cup water = one 6 oz can
Tomato Sauce: 2/3 cup tomato powder + 2 cups water = one 15 oz can
Tomato Juice: 1 cup tomato powder + 8 cups water = one 64 oz can or bottle.

Pretty handy!! 

It was planted in good soil beside abundant waters, that it might yield branches and bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”’ Say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers—so that all its sprouting leaves wither? And neither by great strength nor by many people can it be raised from its roots again. Ezekiel 17:8-9


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Canning Hot Dog Chili


Remember all those tomatoes I purchased?  I'm still working through them.  First up was canning tomato soup, next up is hot dog chili.  What makes hot dog chili different than regular chili is that the meat is crumbled finer and the chili is thicker.  Regular chili usually contain beans, and chunks of peppers and onions.  Hot dog chili or hot dog chili sauce is a finer ground beef with a tomato base.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • 2 - 6oz cans of tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 3/8 cup chili powder
  • 90oz of tomato sauce/puree
  • 1/8 cup mustard


Directions: 

  • Place your meat in a large skillet, but do not turn on the heat.  What makes the meat turn out finer is cover the meat in the skillet with warm water, don't worry most of the water will boil off when you turn up the heat. Use your hands and a spatula to break up the meat.  Once the meat is broken up you can turn on your heat. 
  • Begin cooking your meat down adding the onions, garlic, black pepper, chili powder and mustard to season the meat. When the meat is cooked down use a spoon to remove some, not all, of the grease.  Some grease needs to stay because it contain the flavorings and spices. 
  • While my meat was cooking I washed and cored fresh tomatoes and ran them through my tomato press.  The press removes skins and seeds leaving just the tomato pulp and liquid.  You can used canned tomato sauce. 
  • As a last step to make sure the meat was a little finer I added my meat and tomato sauce to a deep pot, I used the liner pot to my Instant Pot, and ran my immersion blender on pulse.  I cooked the chili on simmer for about an hour to allow the chili to thicken and cook out any water.  Add the tomato paste in the last 15 minutes of cooking for additional thickening. 
  • To can the chili use a canning funnel to ladle chili into your hot sterilized jars leaving 1" head space.  Wipe down the tops of the jars with vinegar before sealing.  Process jars in a pressure canner for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. 

The pints are perfect for hot dog chili, Frito chili pies, chili cheese burgers, chili cheese fries, or tamales and chili.  And again these homemade jars of goodness have no fillers, no unpronounceable ingredients and will never taste like a tin can! 

Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble. I Corinthians 8:13

Tomato Soup


I’ve wanted to can my own tomato soup, mainly because I love tomato soup and homemade soup is so much better than anything out of a can! I also really like the idea of knowing what’s in my food.   This week I found Roma tomatoes on sale for $0.91 at Tom Thumb, plus I had a $5 off $20 purchase coupon. 

Roma tomatoes are ideal for making soup and tomato sauce because they are less watery than other varieties.  Armed with my coupon, we headed to Tom Thumb for 22lbs worth of tomatoes for $15! 

Next in my process was to find the perfect recipe.  I modified this pressure cooker recipe for Nordstrom Tomato Basil Soup served in the Nordstrom Restaurant.

Ingredients:  
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Carrots peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz Yellow Onion chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
  • 84 oz fresh diced & peeled tomatoes 
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock/Broth
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Citric Acid per pint jar (when canning) 


Instructions:
  • Begin by washing, coring, peeling and dicing your tomatoes. 
  • Chop up the carrots and onions. 
  • Set your Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker to Sauté.   Add oil, carrots, onions and dried basil. Sauté for 4 minutes or until vegetables start to caramelize and the onions become a bit translucent.
  • Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth.
  • Lock on Lid and close Pressure Valve.  Cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes.
  • When beep is heard, allow a full Natural Pressure Release.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend soup until it’s smooth.  Add salt and pepper. 
  • Using a funnel fill your sterilized pint jars leaving 1/2” headspace.  Add ¼ tsp Citric Acid to each pint jar.  Wipe the rims of your jars down with vinegar and seal with heated lids and rims.  Process the pints for 25 minutes at 10lbs of pressure in a pressure canner.  

Today I made three batches of this recipe yielding 12 pints of soup.  Plus I still have tomatoes left over!

When serving the soup, heat one pint of soup with 1 cup of cream (or milk) added.  It is not recommended to can milk products so you’re adding the cream when serving.  Garnish with fresh basil and a grilled cheese sandwich! 

Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.”
 Genesis 25:30

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Norma at the Dallas Opera


Tonight we enjoyed the final 2015-2016 Dallas Opera performance, Norma. It the story of the Romans occupying Gaul in the first century B.C. The high priestess of the druidical temple, Norma, has been having a love affair with a Roman officer, Pollione. 

Even though Pollione has fathered Norma's two children, he no longer loves her. Instead, he loves a young maiden serving in the temple, Adalgisa. After contemplating killing her children, Norma instead declares war against the Romans. When Norma discovers that Pollione has been seized, she secretly frees him and puts herself in his place to be burned alive. In the end, Pollione realizes that he still loves Norma, and joins her on the pyre of fire. Yes, as all great operas are, it was a tragedy.

Several of our friends were able to join us for tonight's performance making the evening more enjoyable! One of the great benefits of the youth getting to attend these student performances is the social exposure to the etiquette of an elegant event.  For example, there is no late seating at the opera, patrons are to be respectful of the performers and arrive on time.  Also, to hold applause until the end of an aria and to cheer "Bravo!" (for a male performer) or "Brava!" (for a female performer).

Common sense tips are sent out to students by the Winspear Opera like:  Please remain quiet from the time the orchestra starts (the overture is part of the opera, too!) so that everyone around you can enjoy the music. Don't open candy or gum wrappers, talk, or text during the performance. Be sure to turn off your cell phone or watch alarm when you enter the theater. There is plenty of opportunity to chat with people during intermission. Please do not sing along, tap in time, get up and move around or try to read your program while the performance is in progress - it's really distracting to the people around you!  


It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself
If his conduct is pure and right.  Proverbs 20:11

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Hero

It's a great day at Metro Relief today!  Mr. Arvid returned following his cataract surgery last week AND Mr. Jerry was back!  Mr. Jerry has been sick for several months but today he got his home health nurse to bring him to the pantry so he could volunteer.  Using his walker this wonderful 92 year old man helped our guest shop for groceries!! I want to be Mr. Jerry when I grow up!    

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is obtained by following a righteous path. Proverbs 16:31

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Time to Celebrate



Sunday evening service of Easter weekend is the opportunity for  our young men to lead the services and put into practice all their hard work and skills.  The young men led singing, prayers, and delivered their gospel messages.  It was so touching to see these young men serving in the Lord's body.


Following worship some of the other groups showcased their talent including sign language, puppets, chorus and drama groups. At the end of the festivities the kids are awarded their plaques and evaluations from each of the events they competed in over the weekend.  

Each division awards a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Participant medal.  It's a great memento of their hard work and a good incentive for the following year.  Next up, I Samuel! 


Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Galatians 6:9

Sweet Faces

Easter Sunday, Leadership Training for Christ weekend, what could possibly make it any sweeter? Nursery duty with my baby girl.  

So sweet getting to read and play and love on these sweet faces.  I pulled out my phone to silence it and the little girls came to have their picture taken.  Even this little they love to smile at their own reflection, not much different than when mine were small and loved to smile at their reflection in Granny's mirrored compact. 


For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 
I Corinthians 13:12

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sing Unto the Lord



The Church of Christ on McDermott Road where we attend brought 95 youth, grades 3rd-12th to participated in Leadership Training for Christ.  With so many great events to chose from, many of the kids are able to participate in multiple events. 

The video above is our 7th -12th grade chorus.  Abigail is center screen, front row. Thy sounded wonderful, I apologize that it isn't the best recording. 

If you've ever wondered why in the new testament God never included instruments in worship to Him, I think listening to this you will understand why.  Every parent in the room can pick out the beautiful sound of their child's voice, just like God know each of our voices.  The joy I get as a mom hearing one of my kids sing can't compare to the joy God must feel when He hears His children praising Him with the talent He gave them. I think that's why all New Testament examples of worship are singing and not playing.  

Sing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

Make Him Known



Each year at Leadership Training for Christ one of the other big events for our family has been Speech.  There are separate divisions for girls and guys.  The kids compete in their age bracket and with in their gender. If any of the young ladies are uncomfortable speaking with men in the audience the men are politely asked to wait outside. 

Each of the McDermott youth did a fantastic job!  Many of them have competed together for the last eight years.  It was great to see each of them in the audience encouraging each other. 

Mr. Cooner the gentleman in the top photo with the kids has been our speech coach for the last ten years and the kids adore him.  He works with Hope for Haiti's Children and I wouldn't be surprised to see some of these kids head that direction to do mission work with him. 

This year's LTC theme was 'Make Him Known' from the book of Acts referring to the great commission and the spreading of the gospel. 

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, 

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 13:47

Friday, April 14, 2017

Over 40,000 Church of Christ Youth Participate in LTC

While most families are up to their ears in ham-baking, spring dress shopping and basket filling, parents and youth workers are headed for an event to celebrate their skills in spreading the news of a resurrected Savior. 

Easter weekend marks the conventions of two major training programs for Churches of Christ youth in third to 12th grades. The two are Leadership Training for Christ (LTC), which primarily operates in the West and Southwest, and Lads to Leaders and Leaderettes, which operates in the Southeastern United States.

The programs events range from art to Bible quiz to scripture memorization to drama to sermon delivery — 18 main categories for Lads and 26 for LTC. Some events are completed before the conventions; but most are done over the three day weekend.  


And they are big!  The Christian Chronicle tallied participants as follows:  


Convention Participants
Southeastern LTC in Mobile, Ala. 900
Southwest LTC in Phoenix  1,000
Great Plains LTC in Rogers, Ark.  2,500
Western LTC in San Jose, Calif.  300
Lads to Leaders in Orlando, Fla. 2,064
Lads to Leaders in Atlanta  2,783
Lads to Leaders in Indianapolis 1,384
Midwest LTC in Indianapolis 1,000
Heart of America LTC in Kansas City, Mo. 1,200
Eastern Region LTC in Charlotte, N.C. 389
Lads to Leaders in Nashville, Tenn.  9,987
Lads to Leaders in Memphis, Tenn. 1,892
Central Texas LTC in Houston 1,500
Lads to Leaders in Dallas 918
North Texas LTC in Dallas 12,000
LTC Northwest Region in Richland, Wash. 400
40,217


Friday night kicks off with the pre-Convention events.  Abigail completed the requirements for Teaching Challenge; Outreach Challenge; Leadership Challenge; Daily Devotional Challenge; and Service Challenge, earning a Gold in each of these events.  Tonight she competed as an individual and as a team member in Bible Bowl.  

Events will continue over the next two days.  The youth have spent months developing skills they can use to minister in the Lord's body and in the community.  I can't imagine a better time to apply those skills than the weekend when the world stop to recognize the risen Savior! 

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:9-11

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chargers Grab the Lead

The CHANT Chargers defeated Greenhill 14-11 today after taking the lead late in the game. The game was tied at four with Chargers batting in the top of the sixth when Sarah Durham doubled off of #9, driving in two runs.

Hailey went 4-for-4 at the plate, including a home run in the fourth.

We scored four runs in the eighth inning including a double by Hailey, and a single by Heather and Abigail. 

Abigail player second base for the entire game and you can see her just behind the pitcher in the two picture on the bottom row.  I filmed one of her at bats, my apologies for the audio sometimes I get excited and forget I'm filming!  The wind was crazy today and the balls kept getting a lot of hang time giving the opponent plenty of time to catch the ball! 


After the game the team went out for rolled ice cream to celebrate their hard fought victory! 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Proverbs 3:3-4

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Picnics and Play Time


After several weeks of busyness we took off a few hours today to play! We met up with church friends at the park for a sack lunch and play time. 

The kids were some of the sweet kids that Abigail enjoys babysitting or as one of them calls it, his 'Abigail Date Night.' 

The older kids played a little baseball while Frankie and the younger boys hung out on the play ground equipment.  Later we all met up at the picnic tables for lunch and a couple of card games. 

Those who trust in their riches will fall,
    but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
Proverbs 11:28

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Canning Barbacoa Beef

Our family are big fans of Chipotle's Barbacoa Beef.  We love it on their salads, burritos and bowls.  Today I found a copy cat recipe for Mexican favorite. 

I had two four pound round bottom roasts in the freezer. With my Instant Pot I can cook them from frozen to shredded and falling apart in 90 minutes. 

Working with (1) four pound roast at a time, I added:
5 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
1 lime, juice
2-4 tbsp chiptoles in adobo sauce
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
black pepper
1 tsp oil

Place garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano, chipotles, cloves and water in a blender and puree until smooth.  I set the Instant Pot for meat at 90 minutes. Once cooked and the meat is tender, remove the meat and place in a dish. Shred with two forks, and reserve the liquid for later.

Because I was working with two roasts, I shredded the first and added it to the crock pot to keep warm while the second roast was cooking.  When all the meat was cooked and shredded, I strained the juice and placed the meat into sterilized pint jars with 3/4" inch head space, remove air bubbles, put on heated lids and caps, process for 75 minutes in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure.


These jars are now shelf stable for three years.  I can open a jar, heat and make street tacos, burritos, stuffed baked potato, or a taco salad!  

For He satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalms 107:9 

Canned Hamburger Meat

I like to keep food on hand that can transition to quick and easy meals. I've learned that about a pound of meat fits into a pint jar.  

I like to watch for a sale on high quality lean beef.  Today I purchased about eight pounds of beef.  To it I added two pounds of pork sausage, two chopped onions, two chopped bell peppers, one cup of banana peppers, six cloves of garlic, fresh cilantro, and fresh dill.  

I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, but no other spices. This way the meat could be used in enchiladas, spaghetti, chili, tacos, etc.  I drain the fat off the meat before packing it into jars and then pack into sterilized jars, seal and pressure cook them at 10# pressure for 60 minutes (for pints).  General health guidelines say this canned ground hamburger will have a shelf life of 3-5 year.  I prepared ten pints and this will probably last us a couple of months. 

the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself.  I Samuel 2:13-14