Thursday, January 03, 2008

a new favorite When I babysat for a missionary family awhile back, the mom made oatmeal casserole. It was the first time I've ever tried such a thing. You eat it warm, but pour milk over it kinda like cereal. I am an oatmeal lover, so this new twist to an old favorite was a welcome treat. I decided to make it for my own weekend-before Christmas guests who were spending the night. Like many casseroles, you can put it all together the night before, leave it in the fridge and just pop it into the oven the next morning. Here's what I did: 1/3 cup butter 2 eggs 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed 2 tsp. vanilla 2 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. nutmeg 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 cup raisins 2 small apples, chopped skin on 1/3 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans 1 cup plus 2 TBSP. milk 3 cups quick-cooking oats Grease a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish (I don't have a casserole dish, so I just used a cake pan). Preheat the oven to 177C or 350F. Drop in the eggs and beat them slightly. Add the brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well, and make sure there are no brown sugar lumps. Whisk in the melted butter and the milk. Stir in the oats. Stir in the optional raisins, apples, and nuts (although optional, these make it oh so scrumptious). Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. The top should be starting to brown. Remove from oven. Spoon into bowls and pour milk over the top. I just mixed everything right there in the casserole dish. This fed six of us, even with going back for seconds. I also happen to know that it is good warmed up in the microwave the following day. Next time, I am going to experiment with using Splenda instead of the brown sugar, I know it will give it a slightly different taste, but that'd be ok. Also, the original receipe I followed was slightly different. One difference is that it called for 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder; I didn't have that so I left it out. I didn't miss it, but you might.
worship Reading through the biblical account of the Creation and the Fall get me excited. They are my second favorite part of the Bible "to story" to people who have never heard it before. There is some really great stuff in there that as people who've grown up with the story just totally miss. (Note to self: this is a post topic for another day.) But, the other day, in the midst of being excited about reading the opening chapters of Genesis, I saw something I'd never noticed before: it was during Seth's lifetime that men began to worship (call upon the name of the Lord or be called by the name of the Lord). I read my Bible with colored pencils near by so I can mark themes (kinda my own version of Kay Arthur's inductive study). One of the things I love marking is worship. So, perhaps that is why this time I actually saw this verse. This verse left me pondering much and asking lots of questions. I did look it up in a commentary, so I could get some of my questions answered. All this thinking about worship reminded me of a post I wrote last January . . . I share it with you again: Do you wanna know what verse my kid-brother (13 yo) counts as his favorite verse in the Bible? I'll give you a hint: it comes from today's chronological Bible reading. Sam's favorite Bible verse (if memory serves me right) is Job 1:21: "And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'" (And this is coming from a kid who had all of his birthday presents and all of his Christmas presents from 2005 stolen during multiple break-ins in the course of just a few months.) I, however, tend to favor the verse right before Sam's favorite: "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped" (Job 1:20). In a matter of seconds--in the time it takes to utter a few sentences--the greatest man of all the people in the east tragically lost each and everyone of his ten children, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and all but four of his very many servants. And what does the grief-stricken guy do? He worships. I love that word: w o r s h i p. It has become so much more meaningful to me living here in Taiwan. I have seen people worshiping great, big, HUGE idols, people worshiping tiny 12-inch tall idols, people worshiping old trees, people worshiping even the stumps of old dead trees, people worshiping stones and tablets, people worshiping ancestors (both those from generations long ago and those recently deceased). My idea of what is worship has changed so much since living here. Before it was only something I did with others....

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