Almond-Pesto Crusted Salmon

Delectable!’ This just might be my favorite way to enjoy salmon, with pesto and almonds. It was quick and simple to prepare.img_6492

This is like nearly 4 months into the stay at home and we’ve only went to dinner out once during that time. You must understand, we like dining out. We like the experience, the break from the kitchen, yet we are always looking for flavorful and healthy dishes.

Let me tell you, this doesn’t just qualify for a #stayathome meal, this is more like a #finediningmealathome !

It was a blessing to use our own fresh basil pesto from our garden on the salmon and also from the garden was the cilantro on the green rice, fresh lemon juice, and fresh green beans which was our first tender harvest! Always the best!      

We have created this recipe for two!

Ingredients

2 4-6 oz. salmon fillets

1/4 cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tbsp crispy panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup basil pesto

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Instructions

Turn oven to LO broiler.

Combine the chopped, sliced almonds with the panko crumbs.

Lightly spray foil lined baking sheet with olive oil and place each salmon fillet on baking sheet, leaving space between the 2 pieces.  If your salmon has skin, remove it or place salmon skin side down on baking sheet.

Spread the top of the salmon with basil pesto, evenly distributing the pesto to each piece of salmon.

Sprinkle almond/crumb mixture on fix and press it onto each salmon fillet using all the mixture.

Lightly spray the tops of the almond crusted salmon with olive oil spray.

Broil on middle rack of oven for about 9-11 minutes. (Using the middle rack keeps almonds from toasting too quickly)  (Salmon should flake with a fork)

Never Buy Pesto Again!!!

I found myself initially concerned about the availability of food and coupled with my lack of desire to frequent the grocery store during the pandemic, I decided to quickly plant a few herbs in my little garden space.

We were still enjoying some basil pesto and also some fennel pesto that we made last year from a friends abundant garden harvest. And as I looked at my few small basil plants I feared that they wouldn’t produce enough for me to make pesto and freeze for later use. That’s when I decided to propagate more plants from the plants I had. I remembered that when I had brought a few stems in from my garden and put it in water, they had formed roots! So that’s just what I did! It was simple!

I cut off the growth, put it in a little glass on the counter for roughly a week until I could see roots developing, then I planted the new plants. I’m also rooting some right now to give to a couple of my friends who typically don’t garden. Basil plants are so easy. And the smell of fresh basil is simply delicious! They can find a window or a small place outside, then just keep it watered. It’s not difficult at all!

I have now made several small “cubes” of pesto I decided to make it without the cheese so I can just add it in during dinner preparation perhaps months from now! This way it also is more condensed and takes less room in the freezer.

Here is the recipe I followed:

Freeze in ice cube trays !

Ready for the freezer. Once frozen, I will take them out of the ice cube tray and place then into a freezer bag. This allows me to determine exactly how many cubes I want to use based on my recipe. I’ll heat it up and add the grated cheese! It’s amazingly delicious over pasta and only takes a few moments to prepare!

Here is the recipe I used for the Fennel Frond Pesto too!

Are Vitamins Really Worth the Investment?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  I certainly have!  I’ll tell you that there were many years that I didn’t take any vitamins or supplements.  My mother always told me to take calcium in my early 40’s as she was suffering from osteoarthritis.  Wow, have we learned so much about bone health since then!   I tried to incorporate the calcium into my life but it was a struggle.  Then, over time I started to learn that I could not depend on my whole food nutrition to meet my nutritional needs and that it was up to me to determine how and what to incorporate into my daily regimen.  Now that was difficult!

I read up a lot about the daily recommendations and came to realize there were flaws and that they are intended to be minimal requirements not optimal recommendations!    I then slowly incorporated several components from a daily women’s vitamin, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, B-Complex, and Vitamin C, and E.  The one thing that really bothered me was that I didn’t really know if the brands I was selecting were providing the best quality or what I really needed and in the form that my body could actually absorb and utilize.  I also did not like the effort to keep them all in supply.  When ordering on-line there were always sales, and deals, and options, and incentives to buy more.  I would get sidetracked and waste time too!

It wasn’t until I found this health and wellness company and experienced the result of consuming some of their products, that I found the right vitamin solution.  A solution that I know is definitely worth the investment.  

As a matter of fact, I don’t spend nearly the time or the money on my vitamins and supplements anymore.  I love the convenience as they come in a daily AM/PM pack and the fact that I can take them all on an empty stomach because they are pure, clean, of top quality, continuously tested for quality and content so they deliver exactly what they promise.  And unlike most other brands, there are no fillers.

So here are the details!!!!!

When taken daily, Complete Essentials™ Daily Pack gives you the equivalent amount of vitamin C found in eight oranges, the chromium found 10 cups of broccoli, the magnesium in four dark chocolate squares and the biotin in a half cup of almonds.

Each time you take both an AM and PM packet, you will also get:

  • Calcium at the equivalent bone-building daily dose found in three cups of milk and the vitamin D found in eight hard-boiled eggs.
  • Vitamin E — including in its new 21st-century form as tocotrienols, for brain and heart health—at a dosage you’d normally only achieve from eating more than a cup of peanut butter daily.
  • CoQ10 at the equivalent dose of what’s found in 115 ounces of beef.
  • Resveratrol at the equivalent dose of what’s found in more than 100 glasses of red wine (without the extra calories or damage to your liver).
  • Plus, long-chain DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids at the equivalent dose that’s achieved by consuming 6 ounces of wild-caught salmon to meet American Heart Association’s recommendations.

But even solid nutritional supplements come with myths, and we are here to break them down.

Myth: It’s not necessary to supplement for optimal health.

Fact: While a nutrient-dense diet is a key aspect to living a healthy lifestyle, even experts agree that it’s difficult to achieve the recommendations for all vitamins, minerals and bioactive ingredients from food alone. Here are the statistics:

  • Only one in four adults in the U.S. eats five or more fruits and vegetable servings daily (1).
  • Only one in five adults eats the recommended two servings of fish per week (2).
  • The majority of Americans are deficient in vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, calcium and magnesium (3).

Taking Complete Essentials™ Daily Pack removes the guesswork out of making sure you’re covering your necessary nutritional gaps, helping you lead a healthier lifestyle without the overload of calories from trying to get everything from food.

Myth: Complete Essentials™ Daily Pack is just like any everyday multivitamin.

Fact: Most multivitamins give you 100 percent of the recommended daily value established by the Institute of Medicine. But Isagenix focuses on providing you with dosages, delivery formats and forms that are in line with the latest, most advanced nutritional science for leading an active, age-defying lifestyle.

The AM and AM packets are comprised of up to five different products with dosages spread over the course of the day:

  • Essentials for Women™ and Essentials for Men™ – Targeted nutritional support by gender
  • CytoActives™ – Special bioactives (coQ10, vitamin D3, resveratrol and tocotrienols) to support optimal cellular health
  • IsaOmega™ – Maximum-concentration supplement of fish-derived EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health
  • C-Lyte® – A high-dose vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoid for flexible arteries and blood vessels
  • IsaGenesis® (optional) – To support integrity of telomere length, which is a biomarker for healthy aging.  These are supported by Nobel Prize winning science too!

Myth: Complete Essentials™ Daily Pack is too expensive.

Fact: When you consider how much it would cost to purchase the foods and supplements you need to meet your nutritional goals for the week, Complete Essentials™ Daily Pack starts looking like a deal. Not only are our products affordable, we also source all of our ingredients with high-quality purity standards.

Myth: You get all the nutrition you need from IsaLean® Shake.

Fact: IsaLean Shake is a nutrient-dense meal replacement that’s clinically supported to help with weight loss and muscle maintenance. However, it alone cannot provide all the nutrients and bioactives that your body needs daily for an active, healthy lifestyle.

One of the major reasons the shake isn’t able to supply all your daily recommendations for nutrients and bioactives is because those nutrients can give off a bitter, unappealing flavor.

For a full perspective of all of the nutrition that’s provided by CEDP on a daily basis, refer to the table below:

Nutrient Amount in CEDP for Women and Men Food Equivalent
Vitamin A (beta carotene) 11,666 IU 11,666 IU 5 ¼ whole mangos (2,240 IU/mango)
Vitamin C 666 mg 666 mg 13 oranges (51 mg/small orange)
Calcium 900 mg 800 mg 3 cups milk (305 mg/ glass 1%)
Vitamin D3 5,000 IU 5,000 IU 11 hard boiled eggs (441 IU/ 50 g egg)
Vitamin E (+ tocotrienols) 84 IU 54 IU 1.2 cups peanut butter (4.35 IU/ 2 tbsp)
Vitamin K2 80 mcg 80 mcg 6 chicken breasts (13 mcg/ 3 oz serving)
Thiamin (vitamin B1) 7.5 mg 7.5 mg 9 ½ cups cooked black beans (.4 mg/ ½ cup)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 8.5 mg 8.5 mg 7.7 cups cooked oats (1.1 mg/ 1 cup)
Niacin (vitamin B3) 20 mg 20 mg 6 ¼ cups cooked green peas (3.2 mg/ cup)
Vitamin B6 10 mg 10 mg 25 bananas (.4 mg/ medium banana)
Folic Acid 600 mcg 600 mcg 12 cups raw spinach (58 mcg/ cup)
Vitamin B12 54 mcg 39 mcg 60 oz Swiss cheese (.9 mcg/ 1 oz serving)
Biotin 500 mcg 300 mcg 8 ½ cups almonds (29.4 mcg/ ½ cup)
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 45 mg 10 mg 21 avocados (2.1 mg/ medium avocado)
Iodine 200 mcg 200 mcg 35 oz tuna (17 mcg/ 3 oz serving)
Magnesium 200 mg 200 mg 4 squares dark chocolate (48 mg/ 15 g square)
Zinc 15mg 15 mg 6 cups cooked chickpeas (2.5 mg/ cup)
Selenium 100 mcg 100 mcg 8 ounces shrimp (56 mcg/ 4 oz serving)
Copper 2 mg 2 mg 10 cups kale (.2 mg/ cup)
Manganese 2 mg 2 mg 3.6 cups strawberries (.56 mg/ cup)
Chromium 200 mcg 200 mcg 10 cups broccoli (18.5 mcg/ cup)
Molybdenum 75 mcg 75 mcg ½ cup lentils (148.5 mcg/cup)
Potassium 50 mg 50 mg *Best from foods like banana, potato or avocado
Boron 500 mcg 1 mg *Best from foods like chickpeas, almonds or beans
Vanadium 5 mcg 5 mcg *Best from sunflower seed, peanut or olive oil
CoQ10 100 mg 100 mg 115 ounces beef (2.6 mg/ 3 oz. serving)
Resveratrol 50 mg 50 mg 125 glasses of wine (.03-1.1 mg/ 5 oz. glass)
Omega-3 fatty acids 1200 mg 1200 mg 6 oz of wild salmon (500-1000 mg/ 3 oz. serving)

*Source: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

References

  1. Krebs-Smith et al. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. J Nutr 2010; 140: 1832-8.
  2. Attitudes and Beliefs About Eating Fish: A National Opinion Survey Conducted for The Center for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Policy.
  3. Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr. 2003 Sep;133(9):2879-82.

Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Bowl with Chicken

This recipe features a refreshing combination of flavors from the salad ingredients and the vinaigrette that will surprise you.  Enjoy!

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 8-10 oz. chicken breast, seasoned with black pepper

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup fresh, grilled, or frozen organic sweet corn
  • ½ cup cooked low black beans (rinsed and drained)
    – (seasoned with 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1/8 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp chili powder, 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced small
  • ½ large ripe avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ tsp maple syrup, or raw honey
  • 1 tsp harissa sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ tbsp fresh minced cilantro
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions: (Serves 2-3)

  • Grill chicken on medium-high for 15 minutes.
  • In medium sauce pan over low heat, gently warm the black beans stirring in the seasonings.
  • Add corn, stir to warm, remove from heat.
  • Prepare vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients until well combined.
  • Gently toss all salad ingredients together in large glass bowl.
  • Toss with vinaigrette immediately before serving.
  • Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

A Wild Supergreen Growing Voluntarily in my Garden?

I was so happy to find more purslane growing in my garden! This is a key ingredient for making one of my favorite soups!

Right now is a great time to look for this growing like a “weed” in your garden. I cut it or pinch it from the plant while ensuring to leave some behind so it will keep growing. From my experience you will want to keep harvesting because at some point it will dry up and disappear fairly quickly! Then I wash it and cut it into pieces (keeping both leaf and tender stem), and then toss it in the freezer for later use in my soup and stews). Here is a link to my soup recipe too!

Chicken Tomatillo Soup With Purslane

Here are some details I found about why it is so good for us!!

What is Purslane? (Also called Verdolagas)

Purslane is an herbaceous plant from purslane family. The body is flat on soil, leaves are oval, smooth and fleshy. Stems are yellow and reddish.

They usually have yellow flowers. Purslane growing in summer months can easily be encountered in fields and gardens and mountain in slope.

Usually grow in thin and bare areas between cultivated areas. Maximum benefit is obtained from wild and freshness.

Small green leaves and straw stems are eaten. Consuming as raw, allows us to benefit more from nutritional value. There are many uses from salad to food in the dinner.

Vitamins, Nutritional Value and Calorie Value of Purslane

• Purslane omega-3 is rich in single green leaf vegetables. Vegetarians and those who do not consume fish can provide their omega-3 needs.

• Contains zinc, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium minerals

• It is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. B-rich in complex vitamins

• Contains powerful antioxidant compounds.

• Calories are one of the lowest vegetables (only 16 kcal/100g).

• Contains high fiber.

What are Benefits of Purslane?

1. Protects Cardiovascular Health

Plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in content of purslane helps to reduce amount of bad cholesterol in body and can prevent risk of heart attack. In content of potassium blood pressure, ie, blood vessels can reduce tension on heart.

2. Accelerates Blood Circulation

Iron and copper minerals in contents of purslane help in production of red blood cells.

Both of these minerals are needed to accelerate circulation by giving more oxygen to important parts of body and increasing healing rate of cells and organs. Also, iron and copper helps to grow hair.

3. Helps in Treatment of Some Digestive System Diseases

It can prevent constipation by relaxing digestive system. It is especially recommended for people with stomach upset because of is good for ulcers.

It is also useful against hemorrhoids. Vitamin A helps protect healthy mucous membranes. It is especially used to treat many intestinal problems in Chinese medicine.

4. Prevents Cancer

High amounts of vitamin A and C found in purslane can act as antioxidant and help prevent lung and oral cancer in particular.

In addition, specific color of betalin pigment group of vegetables, free radicals in healthy cells to cause mutations and thus prevent development of cancer.

5. Strengthens Bones

It is a healthy option for those who want to prevent bone loss. It contains calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese, all of the minerals needed to improve bone tissue and speed up healing process of bones in our bodies. This rich mineral variety protects bones against osteoporosis.

Tuscan Peasant Soup

I was so hungry for some Tuscan soup as we had to cancel our trip to Italy due to the current travel restrictions.  I reveiwed lots of recipes, evaluated what I had in the pantry, and created this amazing soup!  It was so good.  Before the first bowl was consumed my husband requested that I not freeze it all!  He was already anticipating eating it again the next day!  Now that’s a great dish!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pound Cannellini Beans (Or Combination of Beans),
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 4 Medium Garlic Cloves, Unpeeled
  • 2 Bay Leafsimg_5898
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled And Finely Chopped
  • 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 12 cups water or stock of choice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, And Cracked Black Pepper To Serve
  • Finely Chopped Fresh Herbs (Parsley)
  • 4 Ounces Pancetta  Cooked and Crumbled (You Can Use Bacon if desired)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oil in the stock pot, and add the img_5901onions, garlic, celery, and carrots and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the beans (drained), bay leafs, thyme sprigs, and 12 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for about an hour and a half, or until the beans are almost tender.  (I choose to use 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 water with some bone broth with collagen for my optimal health)! Collagen Bone Broth
  3. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaves,  and thyme sprigs.
  4. Return the pureed beans to the pot, and mix bringing back up to desired level of heat.
  5. Serve the soup in bowls, with a drizzle of the extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkling of cracked black pepper on each.
  6. Sprinkle a little fresh herbs just before serving.
  7. Top with Pancetta/Bacan crumbles if desired.

 

Ancient Grain Bowl with Salmon

As we are still attempting to stay satisfied with our food experiences during this pandemic, we were remembering a wonderful ancient grain bowl with salmon that we had at True Food Kitchen.  It was fabulous!

We explored recipes on the internet, looked through a few cook books at home, and took inventory of our ingredients as we had not been to the grocery store in about 3 weeks.

As a result, we came up with this flavorful and healthy dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Harissa
  • 1-2 Tbsp of water

Bowl Ingredients

  • 2 – 4oz. pieces of salmon
  • 1/2 cup uncooked or 1 cup cooked quinoa or any superfood grains
  • green veggies (broccoli, snap peas, asparagus, cucumber—anything you have on hand)
  • 8oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp basil pesto
  • lemon wedge
  • sesame oil
  • small handful greens

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread potatoes in an even layer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once.
  2. In a sauté pan, combine the remaining sweet potato ingredients— soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, sesame seeds, syrup, harissa and water. Bring to a simmer and let thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, season salmon with a bit of sesame oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Once potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, add salmon and mushrooms to the sheet pan. Flip potatoes, and cook 12 minutes (or until your salmon is cooked how you like).
  1. In the meantime, cook your grains.
  2. Sauté veggies in a little bit of olive oil and squeeze some lemon juice on them.
  3. When sheet pan is done cooking, add sweet potatoes to the pan with the glaze, toss to coat.
  4. Then plate! Start with grains at the bottom, then add the other vegetables in sections, (mushrooms, sweet potatoes and green veggies) top with the salmon (I also found the skin could easily be removed from the salmon during transfer).
  5. Garnish it with avocado, and a spoonful of  basil pesto!

 

Turbocharge Your Workout Results

Multiple investigations suggest that a higher protein intake has a significant impact on strength and performance. Even endurance athletes can benefit from a higher level of protein intake. Adding protein to a carbohydrate-rich beverage during exhaustive endurance exercise suppresses markers of muscle damage and decreases muscle soreness after your workout. In addition, combining protein and carbohydrate consumption during a prolonged bout of endurance exercise promotes a higher whole-body net protein balance.

Our Tri-Release Protein contains a blend of three types of protein: whey protein isolate, which is rapidly digested, egg white protein, which has an intermediate rate of digestion, and milk protein concentrate (a source of casein), which is digested slowly. Protein variety is key for immediate and sustained amino acid release. Our product also contains patented Velositol®§, for sustained muscle protein synthesis [MPS].

MPS is a normal part of metabolism the body goes through to either build or rebuild proteins in the body. Muscle growth occurs when rates of MPS exceed that of muscle breakdown. This is important because if the rate of muscle breakdown is faster than muscle protein synthesis, loss of lean mass can occur. This can hurt performance outcomes and worsen overall health.

Velositol® is a patented amylopectin chromium complex designed to improve the efficiency of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to maximize MPS when combined with protein. In a clinical study, researchers showed that MPS was enhanced when participants used Velositol® after exercise compared to protein alone (1). Chromium supports fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism in the body.

Our Tri-Release Protein is also a good option for those looking to lose weight or add more protein to their diets as well as those who work out regularly. Increased levels of protein can support weight loss goals by maintaining lean muscle mass and increasing satiety (2). This product can assist in the building of lean muscle when combined with regular resistance training and a healthy balanced diet.

If weight loss is your goal, this protein will not derail your weight loss progress. As part of a healthy lifestyle designed to support weight loss, consuming targeted amounts of protein throughout the day can support weight loss efforts, help keep you satisfied, and improve body composition (3). In a clinical research study using our products, researchers found that consuming a diet higher in protein helped participants lose more body fat, more body weight, and more abdominal fat all while maintaining lean body mass (4).

Tri-Release Protein is Informed-Sport certified, meaning every batch is tested by an independent laboratory under strict specifications to detect substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Informed-Sport also ensures that products have been manufactured to high quality and purity standards, which is in line with our no-compromise commitment.

For more information or to purchase click HERE and use the “Sign Up and Save” option (no cost) to receive 25% off retail pricing.

Three-Protein Blend Descriptors

References

  1. Ziegenfuss TN, Lopez HL, Kedia A, et al. Effects of an amylopectin and chromium complex on the anabolic response to a suboptimal dose of whey protein. J Int Soc Sport Nutr. 2017; 14: 6.
  2. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, and Westerterp KR. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr. 2012; 108 Suppl 2: S105-12.
  3. Leidy HJ, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Effects of acute and chronic protein intake on metabolism, appetite, and ghrelin during weight loss. Obesity. 2007; 15: 1215-25.
  4. Arciero PJ, Ives SJ, Norton C, et al. Protein-pacing and multi-component exercise training improves physical performance outcomes in exercise-trained women: the PRISE 3 study. Nutrients. 2016; 8: 332.
§Velositol® is a registered trademark of Nutrition 21, LLC and is patent protected.
This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Chicken Tomatillo Soup with Purslane!

Chicken, Purslane, and Tomatillo Soup

This is absolutely one of my favorite soups! I love it! It’s kind of like Chicken Tortilla Soup but better due to the addition of the purslane and the tomatillos!

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Purslane, if you’re not familiar with it, is the top known plant source of omega 3 fatty acids.! It’s a low growing, fleshy-leafed plant with a flavor that is mildly acidic and vaguely lemony. Purslane is also among the most common of weeds. If if you have a garden there is a good chance you have purslane growing as a weed. In much of the world however, this is a cultivated and much loved vegetable. In this country, if you don’t have it available to you as a weed, I understand it is sometimes sold in Mexican markets under the name verdolaga. There is also a cultivated variety which can be grown from seed, though I have not yet tried that method.

Purslane

Several years ago, I discovered this super green in my garden and have been enjoying it ever since. Last year after moving across the county, I was very thankful when I found some in my elderly friends garden that I was tending. I harvested all that I could. It tends to die out when it gets really warm so if I see it, I grab it! I leave some of the plant in hopes that I can go back for a second harvest. I wash it and separated the leaves and then chopped the tender stems and freeze it. Then I can used it all winter in my soups!! A couple of weeks ago I spotted some in my garden. Did I get excited! I also realized that I had some extra jalapenos and tomatillos that I needed to use from my last trip to the grocery store which was a couple of weeks ago due to the stay at home. Realizing that it’s been quite warm, the decision to make and serve hot soup on a warm June day might be in question. But the tartness of the tomatillos along with the slightly lemony flavor of the purslane actually makes this a refreshing soup for a hot day.

Ingredients:

1 Chicken breast, fully cooked and shredded 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (or more) jalapeno peppers, deseeded and minced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
10 oz (about 5 medium) tomatillos, husked, washed, roughly diced
3 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 large boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups packed fresh purslane, chopped into 1-inch pieces (I use leaves, plus the thin stems at the top of the plants)
Salt
Cilantro for garnish, add some chips, cheese, and a dab of sour cream if desired!

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook until they’re softened. Add the tomatoes and tomatillos and cook until they are almost dry.

2.  While cooking the above ingredients, cook the chicken breast and after cooling shred/pull with a fork.  Set aside.

3. Add chicken stock, potatoes, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Simmer until the potato is tender.

4. Add the chicken and purslane. Simmer until tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Common Questions About Creation

As I was looking for a way to stay productive during the COVID-19 epidemic, and to prepare for additional quiet time over the next few months, I decided to spend some extra quality time in the Bible.  I ordered a couple of study guides online and one of them touched on the first book of the Bible, Genesis.  Now many of us have read the first couple of chapters in the Bible, so I was a bit surprised when I was drawn into the details of creation in more depth as I was looking over each day of creation.  Towards the end of the first chapter, my exercise activity from the study guide was to respond to a handful of statements based on my readings in Genesis. They were as follows:

  1. This world as we know it was formed by chance as new forms of life developed from matter that spontaneously became more complex.
  2. The sun, moon, and stars influence a person’s destiny.
  3. God is one with nature.
  4. The human body is inherently evil.
  5. Everything and every day are equally sacred as well as ordinary.
  6. God was lonely, so he created people.

I have to say that I felt confident that I had all the answers already.  Then when I considered expressing my point of view to others, my perspective, and my belief along with supporting scriptures, that’s when realized I had some more studying to do.  So, I went to work!

I will start with the fact that I believe the Bible, the whole Bible — not parts and pieces, not just the easy parts or good parts. The whole Bible.  In my opinion, if I do not trust the whole Bible to be true then I could not trust any of it to be true. I understand at a high level, all the Old Testament prophecy and the extreme probability of the 300+ prophecies not coming to fulfillment.  Yet, the fact that every single one of them have been fulfilled up to this point is amazing!!! I also believe the Bible to be true because I personally have experienced a relationship with God and I have seen first hand how God has worked in my life in many ways!

Now, let’s get started with each of the statements in question—-

  1. This world as we know it was formed by chance as new forms of life developed from matter that spontaneously became more complex.

The bible tells us that all things were created by God.  Created means to be made of nothing.  When we create a beautiful painting, work of art, or a fabulous new recipe – we are using pre-existing materials.  And as much as science would try to influence us to believe that life evolved by itself over time, many scientists have come to realize that though they may not be able to see God’s presence and activity directly evident in the science, they realize that God is the artist of the natural mechanisms that sustain life.   Additionally, we must come to realize that no new creation is taking place. Mutations occur but only within a species and do not cross over to another species.  More complex does not necessarily mean better either—as frog cells are more complex than human cells I am told!  And though matter is constantly changing the trend is deterioration not new creation!

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”.

John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made”.

Colossians 1:16,17 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”.

Hebrews 1:3 “He (Jesus) reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word.”

So, no, I do not believe that the world was formed by chance as new forms of life develop from matter that spontaneously became more complex! God created the world and everything in it!

2. The sun, moon, and stars influence a person’s destiny.

Now I must say that this is the question that probably drove me to document my efforts.  I am exhausted with the worshipping of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the universe from people I know and people with whom I have relationships!   I want to sit people down and talk through it ….but of course we all need to be politically correct these days and that would not be socially acceptable in most situations and in today’s environment.  We can continue to find ways to share God’s word so that it can reach others and pray that they accept and receive the wisdom of God.

Ok, back to the question. The bible not only tells us that God created these heavenly bodies and named them, but it also tell us the purpose in which they were created. Don’t you think that if they were designed to influence our destiny, that God would certainly have told us?

Genesis 1:14, 15  “God said, ‘I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons….I command them to shine on the earth”.

Deuteronomy 30:19 “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God”.

Genesis 1:14-19  And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights-the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the fourth day”.

When we worship the sun, moon, and stars and do not acknowledge God who created them, It angers him. This is called worshipping idols in the Bible. God is a loving, merciful, and a just God. When we worship other things like people, money, possessions, or power for a few examples, we are worshipping idols too.

Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived:  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction: whoever sows to please the Spirt, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”.

The Bible says that what we need to learn, to train us in righteousness and good works, is the Bible itself!

2 Timothy 3: 16,17 tells us that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

So again, no.  I do not believe that the sun, moon, or stars influence a person’s destiny! Turning to the Bible is the most optimal focus to impact our own destiny! As the Bible is sufficient to teach us all that God intended!

3.  God is one with nature.

The Bible tells us that God created nature, not that he is one with nature!  This included the sky, dry land, water and the sea, vegetation, seed bearing plants and trees that bear fruit.  And that through God’s creation of nature we can see God’s invisible qualities!

Genesis 1:9-12 “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.  And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.  And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities –his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Psalm 19: 1,2 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Nature itself attests God’s existence.  Nature is not identical to God–but rather that God communicates and reveals himself through nature that us humans may not otherwise know. 

Flame skimmer California dragonfly (AKA Firecracker)

Like his attention to detail and his imagination that we can see in the intricate beauty of all creation. Just take a walk in a garden. The flowers with so many different colors, shapes, and kinds! I saw a beautiful dragonfly a few weeks ago that was just breathtaking! Take a look at this detail! Wow!

What about the beauty of the sunrise, the sunset, and the clouds?  The beauty of the moon, the stars, and the night sky?  You can see God’s love and kindness in creating such glorious beauty for all to see and enjoy!

The diligence and consistency in which God sustains life through the placement of the sun, the rotation of the earth to provide the warmth we need –yet not too much to burn everything up! 

These “messages” that are delivered to us day in and day out leave us without excuse.  Mankind suppresses the truth of God every single day in the choices we make, the way we live our lives, the way we do not acknowledge or give thanks and praise for every single blessing we have in our lives! 

James 1:17 “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”.

Next time your eyes look upon a marvelous sight, offer a prayer of thanks to our Creator!

I believe that God created and sustains nature.  God is not one with nature! And that we can learn so much about God through nature!

4.  The human body is inherently evil.

We need to stop for a moment to just consider the fact that God made us in his image and that God breathed into us His breath of life!  We were infused with the most significant and magnificent substances.  We were created beautifully and in the image of God! This means that we have a spirit and that we are eternal beings just like God!  Just let that sink in! 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart!”

In the whole of Genesis 1, God uses the word “Good” seven times and on the last day it was “Very Good”.   When God created, formed, and filled the world he stepped back to look and evaluate his work.  God deemed it all “Very Good”!  God is Good!  The world was created Good.  I was created Good!   You were created Good!  It was not until the fall of man when Adam and Eve sinned when the image of God in them became distorted.  God also, through Jesus Christ, provides a remedy to resolve the implications of the fall which restores our relationship with God when we trust in him and acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior!    ***I will cover that in more detail in the last portion of the article below.

Genesis 1: 31 “And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

The human body was created GOOD!  The human body is not inherently evil.

5.  Everything and every day are equally sacred as well as ordinary.

The bible tells us that this is not truth.  After God finished creating, he gave us an example of the blessing of rest.  He set a pattern that man would enjoy and rest in our Creator.   It signified the completion of the creating work that was done.  We remain on a seven-day cycle because God is on a seven-day cycle.   God then blessed the seventh day and made it sacred.

Genesis 2:2,3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done”.

We also learn in Colossians that there is no room for judgment or legalism with a life that is centered on Jesus.  The focus needs to be on Jesus not practicing a perceived religious requirement!

Colossians 2:16, 20 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath Day!  Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules”. 

So, no; everything and every day are not equally sacred.

6.  God was lonely, so he created people

We were created in God’s image that we might be God’s representatives in his creation to do exactly what he had done.   We were created in his image to work, to fill the earth by being fruitful and to multiply, and by bringing order to creation by cultivating the earth and exercising dominion over every living thing on earth!   

Just like God filled the earth through creation and brought order to it!  We must understand that we were not the main focus in creation but rather it is the glory of God which is at the heart of creation.  We were created to glorify our creator and enjoy him forever.   

Genesis 1:28-31 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

The bible clearly tells us why we were created and does not say that God was lonely. 

7.  What makes a person good is how he or she treats the people and the world around him or her.

This is the most important question in this entire article.  I hear many people shut down the discussion regarding a relationship with God or knowing and needing Jesus with a statement that they are good people.  They say they do not need Jesus.  They say that they are kind, they treat people right, they give to the needy, they do not cuss, they do not drink, they do not steal, they have never killed anyone, and on and on!  Those are wonderful behaviors, but they also do not qualify to make a person good by God’s righteous and just standards…they do not make a person righteous or blameless in God’s sight.  These are current earthly human standards. Being righteous and blameless in God’s sight is what really matters considering that we were created with eternity in our hearts and we will live in eternity somewhere forever.   We have a choice to make because God created us with free will.   Do we need a personal relationship with God? Do we need Jesus or not?  How will this decision or lack of a decision impact each of us?   Let us find out.

Now we have already covered that each of us was created good.  Then I mentioned “the fall” when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden–***(Genesis 3).  God created us with the ability to make choices – they executed their choice of free will!  Adam and Eve made a choice to disobey God.  The result was that the image of God in them became distorted but was not lost completely.  And the scriptures tell us that their relationship with God was destroyed.  Because God is a righteous and just God.  The same as when you and I get angry when we see injustice in the world today.   God gets angry when he sees injustice! 

Through this sinful choice of Adam, all of humanity has ‘inherited’ our sinful nature through our bloodline…. from Adam!  The good news is that all of humanity can progressively grow in our likeness of God through redemption in Christ Jesus and be reconciled to God once and for all eternity.

The scriptures tell us that we are all sinners through Adam and that our relationship with God has been disrupted and broken! 

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all people, because all sinned”.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

You see God has been holding back his wrath for all the sin and sinners in this world.  He has been mercifully waiting for humanity to recognize and acknowledge our glorious creator, savior, and redeemer.  

One must understand that:

  • We are eternal beings
  • We have all sinned
  • We were created with free will and need to make a choice.  With God or without God for eternity
  • Being a good person with today’s human standards does not make a person good in God’s eyes

So, no, the way we treat others does not make a person good!  What makes a person good is to be reconciled to God through His only son Jesus Christ who paid the cost for our sins on the cross. This justice satisfies the wrath of God for our sins.  But we must make the choice. 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.

John 3:3 “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’”.

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father except through me’.

You can make that choice right now if you have not yet done that!  Thank Jesus for paying the penalty for your sin and ask him to be your Lord and Savior.  The amazing thing is that when you do this, God will hear you and draw you near to him. Your relationship with God will be reconciled forever!  For eternity! Your new life starts right away!

Romans 10:10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith”.

2 Corinthians 6:15 “And he died for all, that those who no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again”.

Revelations 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me”.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

God will also work in your life and the Holy Spirit will show you the way as promised…..Pick up your bible and start reading it. God teaches us through his word, the Bible!

John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”.

Thank you for reading my article!

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. 2 Corinthians 13:14