Friday, March 04, 2011

Delicious Rice!

Hi all,

Here's an interesting way of cooking rice that I've tried and liked recently, it's especially good for plain white rice like Tastic, and I was delighted to discover that it also gets (usually chewy) brown rice SOFT! It's a double-boiling method.
I was skeptical at first thinking it was going to take longer, need more attention, too fussy, etc but was pleasantly surprised. No more soggy, flavourless rice for me!
Now its soft, but firm, with a delicious buttery taste.
Brilliant with curries, stews, stir-fries, etc. Suitable for all types of rice. For traditionally longercooking, long-grain rices use more water. I find it shorter in cooking time, and not much more effort - just the rinsing which isn't a big deal - and definitely worth the flavour. My son and husband completely endorse this way of cooking rice now :) :)

First, wash rice well, use a whisk, and quickly rinse 2 or 3 times until water runs clear.
Then fill pot generously with water: 1 part rice, 3 or 4 parts water.

Boil on high until water completely/mostly evaporates, just keep an eye on the last bit so rice doesn't burn!
Being very careful of heated pot, and using whisk again, rinse rice a few times thoroughly with cold water, until discarded water runs clear.

Now add just enough water to see it through the top of the grains, ie: just under surface of rice.
Mix in a tablespoon of butter or margarine, a pinch of salt, and boil again. Stir a few times until marg/butter has melted into water.
As water nears bottom, part the rice carefully with fork/spoon to see if water's all gone, fluff up rice and enjoy!

You can also save on more expensive rices, but increase the nutritional value and get a pretty presentation, if you mix ordinary white rice with brown rice in a half-half ratio, or with rice mixes - brown rice, lentils, split peas, sundried tomatoes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What exactly is Grace?

The late pastor and Bible scholar Donald Barnhouse perhaps said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

To show grace is to extend favour or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she really deserves. Favour is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

One more thing should be emphasized about grace: It is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Most of us have trouble with that thought, because we work for everything we get. As the old saying goes, “There ain’t no free lunch.” But in this case, grace comes to us free and clear, no strings attached. We should not even try to repay it; to do so is insulting.

Imagine going to the house of a friend who has invited you over to enjoy a meal. You finish the delicious meal and then listen to some fine music and visit for a while. Finally, you stand up and get your things as you prepare to leave. But before you leave, you reach into your pocket and say, “Now, how much do I owe you?” What an insult! You don’t do that with someone who has graciously given you a meal. Isn’t it strange, though, how this world is running over with people who think there’s something they must do to pay God back? Somehow they are hoping God will smile on them if they work really hard and earn His acceptance, but that’s an acceptance on the basis of works. That’s not the way it is with grace.

And now that Christ has come and died and thereby satisfied the Father’s demands on sin, all we need to do is claim His grace by accepting the free gift of eternal life. Period. He smiles on us because His Son’s death and resurrection.
Amazing, this grace! Remarkable, the freedom and release it brought. And it came in full force from the only One on earth who has unlimited power, The Son of God.
My plea is that we not limit it to Him. We, too, can learn to be just as gracious as He. And since we can, we must... not only in our words and in great acts of compassion and understanding but in small ways as well.

 - Taken from Chapter 1, The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll

Earliest Grace Killers

The human heart cries out to be free.
Everything within us fights against the bondage of tyranny and oppression. Our souls were not made to live in cages of fear that restrict us from the joys of liberty. Once we get a taste of such relief, our appetite for more becomes consuming. It is every bit as true for God's people who have existed too long in the suffocating grip of legalistic demands and expectations.

There are killers on the loose today. The problem is that you can't tell by looking. They don't wear little buttons that give away their identity, nor do they carry signs warning everybody to stay away. On the contrary, a lot of them carry Bibles and appear to be clean-living, nice-looking, law-abiding citizens. Many are so respected in the community, their neighbours would never guess they are living next door to killers.
They kill freedom, spontaneity, and creativity; they kill joy as well as productivity. They kill with their words and their pens and their looks. They kill with their attitudes far more often than with their behaviour. The amazing thing is that they get away with it, day in and day out, without being confronted or exposed. Their intolerance is tolerated. Their judgemental spirits remain unjudged. Their bullying tactics continue unchecked. And their narrow-mindedness is either explained away or quickly defended. The bondage that results would be criminal were it not so subtle and wrapped in such spiritual-sounding garb.

John puts the capstone on his introductory remarks by summing up the difference between contrastive styles of ministry: "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17) Let's look at the example of the Pharisees.
Obsessed with duty, external conduct, and a constant focusing only on right and wrong (especially in others' lives), they promoted a system so demanding there was no room left for joy. This led to harsh, judgemental, even prejudicial pronouncements as the religious system they promoted degenerated into external performance rather than internal authenticity. Obedience became a matter of grim compulsion instead of a joyous overflow prompted by love.

But when "grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ", a long-awaited revolution of the heart began to set religious captives free. Fearful bondage motivated by guilt was replaced with a fresh motivation to follow Him in truth simply out of deep devotion and delight. Rather than focusing on the accomplishments of the flesh, He spoke of the heart. Instead of demanding that the sinner fulfill a long list of requirements, He emphasized faith, if only the size of a mustard seed.
The change spelled freedom, as the Lord Himself taught: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Rigid, barren religion was, at last, replaced by a grace-oriented relationship - liberating grace. His followers loved it. His enemies hated it... and Him. Without a doubt, the earliest grace killers were the Pharisees.

- Taken from Chapter 1, The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll