Eating the Bible: Mortar and Memories

Tonight’s post comes from Exodus 1:14

And they embittered their lives with hard labor, with mortar and with bricks and with all kinds of labor in the fields, in all of their work they worked with back-breaking labor.

I felt that this passage fits nicely with the journey of Lent. Maybe not in the literal sense, unless your Lenten observance is to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity (hey, that’s a good one!), but in the sense that honoring and serving God and the community does require hard work. Spiritual labor, although probably not physically taxing, can break you down and build you back up.

Rena decided to do a play on “mortar and bricks” by cutting meatloaf into the shape of bricks and stacking them, using a sauce as the mortar. I used my mini loaf pan to create mini meatloaves.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp ketchup, plus more for topping
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 egg

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute onions in olive oil for 2 minutes. Season with S+P. Add garlic and stir, 30 seconds. Add carrots and cook another 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine turkey, breadcrumbs, ketchup and egg. Add in the carrots, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  4. Form meatloaf into 7 mini meatloaves and place in greased mini loaf pan or on a greased baking dish. Top each with extra ketchup and bake 35-40 minutes.

*This recipe is modified from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Mini Turkey Meatloaf

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Eating the Bible: Gifts of Contrition?

Rena created beautiful chicken packages filled with pistachio and almonds to complement Genesis 43:11.

“And Israel their father said to them: If it be so, then do this: take from the best of the land in your vessels and bring the man a gift: a little balsam, a little honey, some gum and resin, pistachios and almonds.”

The definition of contrition is sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation.  The gifts given to Joseph from his brother were not gifts fit for a king, but rather a care package from home. The foods native to Israel are considered to be a symbol reminding Joseph of his betrayal; an effort to make him feel guilt.

Contrition is not a concept I agree with. And a God to be fearful of is not one I want to believe in. I can understand that religion and God is often used to impart “right” and “wrong”, especially on children, but I do not believe in using fear as a way to teach morality.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” by C.S. Lewis. And that philosophy is how I view God. I don’t make my decisions based on fear of God, I don’t do what I think it right because God would want it to be that way. I’d like to think that God is judging me on who I am, not who I am because of a fear. I think genuine actions are the most important.

Pistachio Almond Chicken Parcels

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 C ground toasted shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 C ground toasted almonds
  • 1/2 C plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 C honey, plus more for drizzling

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half to create 6 thinner breasts.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients.
  4. Spread 1-2 tbsp of nut mixture on each chicken breast. Roll chicken and place in a greased baking dish. Top with any remaining nut mixture and drizzle with honey. Bake 30-35 minutes.

*This recipe is adapted from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Image

The nut mixture would be great placed in crescent rolls too!

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Eating the Bible: Eternal Dust

Each year during Lent I try to reconnect with my faith. I am not the most religious girl, and I don’t often enter into conversations regarding religion and in no way offer to convert someone. I have an almost all-encompassing view of God. I was raised Catholic and when I do go to church I attend the local Catholic Church – I like the rhythm of mass. And while I don’t always agree with the Catholic viewpoint, I still get something out of each homily.

I see religion as a human’s way to understand life, as a way to provide a purpose to human existence. I do believe that there is a God – I don’t have an image of God, and I definitely don’t provide Him with a human quality – more of a giant ball of light and energy. I believe that every religion is actually one in the same (not I’m not trying to spark a debate here), and that different cultures and peoples choose to understand and believe in their vision of God differently.

With my blog I have decided to take a different outlook on my Lenten journey this year. It’s been a long time since I’ve given something up (candy, soda, fast food, etc) and instead I look to adding something to my life – usually it’s going to Church each Sunday (as I don’t do that weekly) or reading the New Testament. But with the blog I thought it’d be great to add a food aspect to my journey. I’ve never failed a Lenten promise and I don’t want to set myself up for failure here, so two times a week (Wednesdays and Sundays) I plan to cook a recipe from Rena Rossner’s Eating the Bible.On those days my posts will be in the evening after supper.

Rena took it upon herself to enrich her bible study through food. These recipes are inspired by the Old Testament. And even though Lent is about the 40 days Jesus spent wandering in the desert, renouncing the Devil and Temptation and ends with Holy Week which marks the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Easter!), I can still find Rena’s cookbook to help me slow down and think about God. While she references many stories from the Old Testament, she provides “food for thought” both in recipes and in questions to ask about God.

The first recipe that I’m trying from Eating the Bible is Eternal Dust which was inspired by Genesis 13:16. 

“And I will make your progeny like the dust of the earth: so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then your progeny could also be counted.”

I feel this recipe applies greatly to Ash Wednesday. During Ash Wednesday mass, ashes are placed on our forehead in the shape of a cross while the words from Genesis 3:19 “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” are said.  Ash Wednesday serves as a reminder of earthly mortality and repentance to God.

Rena decided to make a spice rub, or a spice “dust”, as a compliment to this bible study. She titled her spice blend “Earthly Seasoning”.  I used this “Earthly Seasoning” on roasted shrimp and broccoli which I served over rice.

“Earthly Seasoning” is a mix of 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, and 1 tbsp sugar.

Earthly Seasoned Shrimp and Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 3/4 lb broccoli florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 2 1/2 tsp “Earthly Seasoning” (recipe above), divided use

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss broccoli in 2 tbsp of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Season with 1 1/2 tsp “Earthly Seasoning”. Roast for 10 minutes.
  3. Gently toss shrimp in remaining olive oil and seasoning. After broccoli has been roasting for 10 minutes flip broccoli and add the shrimp to the baking sheet. Cook another 8-10 minutes, turning half-way.
  4. Serve over rice with a squeeze of lemon.

*This recipe is modified from Adam at http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2009/02/roasted_shrimp.html*

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

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