Happy (in)Dependence Day!

Happy (in)Dependence Day!

I love celebrating July 4th.  OK, I don’t love the random sleepless nights before and after Independence Day when our neighbors (legally in PA) set off fireworks unexpectedly… but Independence Day itself is a fun and exciting time.

I do enjoy grilling out, watermelon, fireworks, and pondering the great cost of liberty.

Fireworks are beautiful, but they never cease to ignite my imagination about the soldiers who lay in trenches through long nights watching lights overhead with courage, fear, resolve, and exhaustion.  I think about men who suffered the terrors and agonies of war to defend our declaration of and right to independence from the rule of Great Britain.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t read the Declaration of Independence very often, but I had a student taking Government a couple of years ago, and he had to memorize excerpts from several historic documents.

As I listened to his recitation of things like the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Thanksgiving Proclamation (among others), I was somehow aware for the first time of the utter dependence declared in all these documents.

Declaring independence from Great Britain was a result of dependence on God and they pledged their lives, fortunes and honor to obtain it.  It becomes obvious when you hear the names to which these great men appealed for their right to do so: Nature’s God, Creator, Supreme Judge, and divine Providence.

“We, therefore, … appealing to the Supreme Judge… solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states… with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence…

Do you hear it?

When the authors of the Declaration of Independence declared independence it was a declaration of their utter dependence upon God.

Are you ready to commit everything to God along with our Founding Fathers? As we celebrate Independence Day this year, perhaps we need to pray about where we need to pledge our lives, fortune, and honor to declare and defend such great dependence.

Happy (In)Dependence Day!

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

It’s Pi Day! {With a Giveaway!!}

It’s Pi Day! {With a Giveaway!!}

It’s Pi day.  March 14, 2016. 3/14/16. Pi = 3.1416. Get it? Anyway, I think it’s worth celebrating.  Any reason to celebrate, right?

Right about now you are likely asking yourself, “What does Pi have to do with pursuing life in Christ with creativity, wisdom, and grace”?

Give me a minute and you’ll get a little peek into my crazy head!

First let’s talk about Pi (I am a mathematician by education, you know!).

Pi.

Pi is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet {Hey! It’s 2016! There’s no correlation, but it is kind of fun, isn’t it?}

Pi is also the symbol assigned to represent the relationship between the distance around the outside of a circle and the distance across a circle if you cut it exactly in half.  For any circle – and I really do mean any circle of any size – if you divide the circumference of that circle by the diameter of that circle you will always get Pi.

Pi is predictable. However, Pi, as a number, is irrational.

Being irrational means there is no way to divide Pi by any other number and end up without a something left over.  As a decimal, it means that none of the digits after the decimal will repeat indefinitely or terminate.

It is similar to having an argument with someone who is irrational. They never seem to return to the same point twice, and if they do, it’s only briefly and they are off in another direction… You can never get to the end of an argument like that, can you? Likewise, you can never get to the end of Pi.

Math lesson ended, let’s move on to baking. {Yay! I like baking, too!}

Pie.

Pie is a baked dish which usually has pastry dough containing sweet or savory filling. Most people associate pie with a round pie plate filled with a sweet filling and served for dessert.  However, the American Pie Council claims fruit pie originated in the 19th century as a breakfast food to prepare for a particularly long day.

According to a 2008 survey by Crisco and the American Pie Council, pie is America’s favorite dessert. Pie is not just for dessert nowadays, either.  According to the same study, 35% of Americans have eaten pie for breakfast, 66% have pie for lunch, and 59% have pie for a midnight snack.

So what does all of this have to do with life in Christ, creativity, wisdom, and grace?

Probably nothing, but since my brain is driven to find connections, I came up with one:

Pi is a number which keeps going forever and does not look the same from one digit to the next.  Pie is a highly favored dessert that should be repeated often.

Pie is a great way to extend hospitality.  Hospitality doesn’t have to look the same for everyone; and, like Pi hospitality often looks very different from one instance to the next.

So…. hospitality is like Pi!  And Pie is a great way to offer hospitality.  Which means hospitality is the relationship between Pi (an irrational, infinitely extending number) and Pie (a delicious pastry filled with yumminess).

Lots of times we think of hospitality as entertaining, but it doesn’t have to be.

  • Hospitality can be taking a pie to a neighbor or to a pot luck dinner as much as having someone in your home.
  • Hospitality might be meeting someone for a picnic where you both bring part of the meal.
  • Peanut butter (or in our case, Wow Butter, since we have a peanut allergy) sandwiches are just as hospitable as Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Freezer pops on the lawn with neighborhood kids counts.  So does a big batch of snow ice cream (if winter.just.won’t.end where you are).
  • Hospitality can be delivering a bag of jelly beans or a handful of daffodil bulbs you dug out of your garden.
  • Hospitality can mean inviting a struggling math student to understand Pi.
  • Hospitality can be a cup of tea delivered to an elderly neighbor while you rake her leaves.
  • It can also be a bucket of fried chicken or a couple of pizzas you pick up on the way over.
  • Maybe hospitality is having kids over to play or going to a friend’s house to help them prepare for a garage sale.
  • It might be asking someone along for a grocery run or a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Hospitality could be inviting your kids to help you make a pie. 🙂

Really my point is simple: Hospitality is something we need to do.  Romans 12:13 instructs us to practice hospitality. 1 Peter 4:9 says to do it without grumbling. And since 1 John 4:18 reminds us perfect love casts out all fear and Philippians 4:6 tells us we are to be anxious about nothing (given that the Lord is at hand – Philippians 4:5), being afraid to have people over isn’t really an excuse either. You don’t even have to have anyone over.

So, how about it?  Would you be willing  to celebrate Pi Day with me? Or maybe Day-After-Pi-Day, if a Tuesday suits you better?

Why not make pie for your family? Maybe you could double the recipe and take one to a neighbor, co-worker, pastor, or friend?

Is making a pie intimidating?  Here’s an easy recipe you might enjoy.

First, Pie Crust:

If the definition of pie is a pastry filled with something, it all starts with the pastry, right?  I’ve adopted Pilsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts (they are egg free, and we have an egg allergy).  Talk about easy!  I do actually roll the crusts out so that they are thinner.  A thinner crust becomes flaky.  I can get two pies from one Pilsbury crust.  Rolling out a ready-made crust is completely optional.

Apple Pie

Apple pie

    • 5-6 apples, dipped in lemon (enough to double the height of the pie plate, I like Granny Smith or Stayman Apples)
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tbs. flour
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • one pie crust, rolled so the circle is several inches wider than the pie plate

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Roll the pie crust until it drapes to the counter when you lay it in the pie plate.
3.  Mix the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
4.  Peel and core the apples. Cut into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.
5.  Spread half of the apples in the pie plate, inside that beautiful crust you just rolled out. Sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture.  Repeat with the rest of the apples and follow with the rest of the sugar mixture.
6.  Slice the butter into thin pats and scatter them over the top of the pie.
7.  Gently turn the edge of the pie crust up and over the pie.  The center of the pie will be uncovered.  You can fold it prettily, but it mostly just “drapes” over the top of the pie.  This eliminates the need for a top crust, lattice top, venting, etc.  I like to sprinkle the top of the crust with a little white sugar or cinnamon sugar to make it pretty.
8.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 (without removing pie) and continue baking for 35 more minutes.  Let the pie cool for at least 10 minutes (if you can stand it!) so the juices thicken before serving.

Want More? How about a FREE mini-cookbook of Pie recipes!

Comment on my blog, Tweet about this post, share on your Facebook wall, or Pin it and I’ll send you recipes for Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Chocolate Pie,  and an exceptionally easy Fruit Cobbler (for when you don’t have crust!).

Send me an e-mail to let me know where you’ve shared and a mini-PDF cookbook will arrive in your inbox!

Bonus:  The Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Pot Pie have freeze-ahead versions!

You Are Invited! {And it’s FREE!}

You Are Invited! {And it’s FREE!}

I don’t know about you, but spring is a busy time and I have spent a lot of years rushing through school activities, yard work, playing outside, and planning & participating in Easter egg hunts only to arrive at Easter Sunday worn out and ready for the whole “event” to be over. But I need Easter! I need the message of Easter every day – and a special reminder at least once per year so I don’t miss it in my day-to-day experience.

I don’t like missing Easter.

Part of my plan to redeem Easter from the “event” it has become is to deliberately focus on Scripture in the weeks preceding Easter. This thought is not original with me – several denominations already observe a season called Lent. I think they are on to something… so this study corresponds exactly to the days in Lent.

Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study is an Advent-of-Easter Bible Study I wrote to focus myself (and my kids) on the gospel through the weeks leading up to Resurrection Day.

I’ve tried a lot of different “Advent traditions” over the years – and it all comes down to one thing: Is it doable? See, with seven kids ranging from four to sixteen, the busyness of the church calendar, the school calendar, the special events calendar, the sports calendar, and all the other things that crowd into the room during spring, if we don’t have something short and simple, it won’t get done.

So, I tried to make it manageable, with 2-5 minute scripture readings, song and hymn suggestions, fun memory tools, and activities to consider doing as a family.

This year you can join us in our quest to redeem Easter from being merely an event on the calendar; a date to mark the passing seasons. This year you can join us as we dig into scripture to understand, in a deeper way, the wonder and mystery of the gospel of grace – a sinless savior crucified and resurrected to redeem us!

I’ve added a Bible Study and devotion for the moms, based from the verses we’ll read as a family each day. I made some cute printables with a couple of ideas for how to create your own advent calendar. I’m still working on including sound files for the hymns and carols so you can sing along if the tunes are not familiar. And in 2016, you are invited to enjoy the whole package for FREE!

Enrollment is happening now!

Redeeming Easter Details

If you subscribe to Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study you’ll get:

Daily email with a brief devotion and directed Bible study for moms to dig into the scripture for the day.
FREE printables and instructions for creating your own Advent of Easter Calendar
Daily Reading Plan for the whole family
Suggested hymn or carol tied to the reading for the day (with YouTube link, just for fun)
Ideas for activities for the kids (and adults!)
Memory verses and principles to learn from the whole counsel of Scripture regarding the Messiah
You’ll also have access to the Facebook group to share ideas, photos, encouragement, and prayers as we study together.

PLEASE NOTE:

Subscribing to the Redeeming Easter Study is different than subscribing to The Blog at JuliaQuillen.com. If you subscribe to the study you’ll receive daily emails from February 10 – March 28, 2016, and then they’ll stop. It will not interrupt or replace your JuliaQuillen.com subscription. You’ll continue to get my blog posts as scheduled, year round, if you are subscribed to The Blog at JuliaQuillen.com. You will not get the Redeeming Easter Study emails unless you subscribe to the study itself.

Enrollment opens today, Monday, February 8, 2016. The printables and instructions for creating your advent calendar will come in the Welcome email after you confirm your subscription.  This gives you *a little* time to prepare before the study begins on February 10. Links to all printables will be included at the bottom of each daily email, too, in case you join late! Please feel free to join any time! It’s never too late to jump in. 🙂

I also encourage you to share this study with others! Share on Facebook, forward the email, pin it on Pinterest! Let’s get busy Redeeming Easter!

To subscribe to Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study, click here.

To subscribe to The Blog at JuliaQuillen.com, click here.

Poppies Grow Where Soldiers Fell – Reflections on Memorial Day

Poppies Grow Where Soldiers Fell – Reflections on Memorial Day

Did you know that Memorial Day began as Decoration Day? It was a day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers from the Civil War, both Confederate and Union soldiers.  In a war-torn nation, it was a day of remembrance and reconciliation as all sides decorated graves of those they lost during the years of the Civil War.  There was unity in grief. All Americans felt, and understood, great loss.

Later, Memorial Day was instituted as a day of remembrance for those who died in service to our country in any war.

The loss of life in military service is not unique to the United States.  An officer in the Canadian Army wrote a poem in 1915 which speaks to the ache of loss in battle.

Poppies

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Inspired by In Flanders Fields, in 1915 the American poet, Moina Michael, also penned a poem in remembrance of American soldiers.

Poppy

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies

Ms. Michael also started a tradition of wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day.  She sold red poppies to raise money to benefit servicemen in need.  It was a tradition taken up by a visiting Frenchwoman who carried the idea back to France as a fundraiser for war-orphaned children and widows.  The idea of selling red poppies returned to the United States in 1922 when the VFW started the “Buddy” Poppy Program to benefit Veterans in the United States.

Maybe this is a little different than the back-yard barbecue or the day off you have planned today.  I know it is different than our typical Memorial Day activities.

Here’s another little historical tidbit:  In December 2000 the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed asking all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps” at 3 p.m. local time.

In the Old Testament, God frequently calls for a pause to remember the past.  Whether the Old Testament saints set up ebeneezers or celebrated the Passover, the point was to remember and to teach their children of the mighty acts of God on their behalf so they would know how to live in the future.

Memorial Day is a little bit like that.  I think it is important to pause, to remember, and to teach our children about the past.  There are victories to celebrate and tragedies to lament.  It is all a part of who we are.  When we forget, we are in danger of repeating the mistakes of our fore bearers; we are in danger of acting in ignorance by not following the wisdom of mighty leaders from years gone by.

However you choose to spend Memorial Day, I hope you have some times woven into your family calendar to remember the fallen soldiers who died for our freedom, the ache of loss for those whose bodies have died before us, the gruesome atrocities of man’s acts in history, and the glorious deeds of our Lord, his might, and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78:4).

Have a great Memorial Day!

Poppy Poem

__________
By Alex Morley (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Lynn.art (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Background for poem by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Poppies Uploaded by tm) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Why I Need Easter

Yesterday we celebrated Easter.

Resurrection Day.

Greetings of “He is risen!” were met with, “He is risen, indeed!” in the halls of our church.  Faces were bright, happy, and hopeful.

Why I need Easter every day...

Worship was enthusiastic and joyful in a way it isn’t on other Sundays.  I’m good with that.  It is not unlike my daily delight in my husband being amplified on our anniversary or when we celebrate his birthday.

I need the annual reminder of God’s sacrifice and victory at Easter like I need the weekly reminder of the relevance of scripture for my days through Sunday worship, and a daily reminder of his presence in my moments through personal study and prayer.

But I don’t want to move on too quickly from the refreshment I find in an Easter service.

Easter is why we worship.

Easter is about the risen Christ who has set us free to live the life for which God created us.

On Good Friday we think about Jesus on the cross.  We should.

We think about him hanging there between two criminals – thieves.

Stop there a minute – theft earned crucifixion.  We don’t really think about stealing as a crime deserving the death penalty.  We barely view murder as deserving the death penalty.

God takes theft seriously, doesn’t he?  As a matter of fact, all sin deserves the death penalty.

Which is why Christ came.

If you think about it, all sin is theft, in a way.

  • We are stealing God’s glory when we sin.  We tarnish his name by taking the image of God in us and distorting it into something ugly.
  • We steal from his world when we abuse the earth rather than exercise dominion over it.
  • We take from his inherent creativity when we create vulgarity instead of beauty.
  • We take from his people when we hoard instead of giving lavishly to others.
  • We steal life through abortion, slander, gossip, and silence.
  • We steal joy through criticism and judgment, cruelty, envy, and anger.
  • We take innocence and fidelity with our clothing choices, language, and no-fault divorce policies.

I think that is some of what is behind the statement:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  — John 10:10

Jesus stands in stark contrast to the thieves on the crosses, because they deserved to be there, and because he came to give rather than take.

We don’t think too much about the thieves on the crosses with Christ because we know they at least did something wrong – even if we wouldn’t consider it worthy of the death penalty.

And I think sometimes we don’t think too much about ourselves in that light either.  Sure, we did something wrong, but is it really worthy of the death penalty?  If our sins came to light – the half-truths, the critical words, the judgmental heart, the coveting spirit, the contention, dissension – and we were condemned to death by lethal injection or electrocution – we’d be outraged!  It would seem unjust.

But it’s not.

God said, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

I need to be reminded of the death penalty I earned by my sin.  Not because I live condemned – for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

No, I need to be reminded of the great debt that was paid, the same way I need to be reminded of my wedding vows.

The annual celebration of our wedding anniversary is more than a nice dinner out and time alone without kids.  It’s an opportunity to remember what I’ve committed to, to celebrate our faithfulness, and to commit to another year of being married and walking together with Jesus.  Celebrating our anniversary inspires affection and renews desire.

The annual celebration of Easter is more than an Easter Egg Hunt and a festive service with like-minded believers.  It’s an opportunity to remember what God has committed to, to celebrate his faithfulness, and to commit to another year of being in his church and walking together with Jesus.  Celebrating Easter inspires gratitude and revives my weary heart.

Easter reminds me of a life characterized by theft, murder, and destruction (even in their lesser forms), and that I have been freed by someone else to live a different life.

I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

— Bono

It reminds me of the contrast Christ offers me – freedom to live life and to live life abundantly.  God is lavish with his grace.

Thank God, He doesn’t measure out grace in teaspoons. — Amy Carmichael

That is why I need Easter.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.

— Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! {{Plus, FREE Recipe}}

Happy Valentine’s Day from Cultivate Grace! As a special treat for the holiday, I want to share a pair of recipes people request a lot from me.

Chicken Tikka Masala (Slow Cooker) + Quick-Rise Skillet Naan

Our whole family enjoys this delicious Indian dish. We’ve tried dozens of recipes to make this at home and this was my final attempt to create my own. It’s great because so much of the work is done in advance and smells heavenly after simmering in the crock pot all day. Every person who has eaten this at our house has declared it restaurant worthy. 🙂

Warning: This recipe makes a ton! It fills a 6-quart slow-cooker to the brim.

We’ll be eating it tonight. With it’s pretty pink-ish, red-ish sauce, maybe you’d like to add it to your Valentine’s Day traditions, too?!?!

Chicken Tikka Masala (Slow Cooker) {Serve over Rice}

Chicken Tikka Masala (Crock Pot)

Ingredients

Marinade:

3-4 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into large pieces (2-4 pieces per breast is large enough to grill without having to use skewers))

3-4 pounds Chicken Thighs, Boneless, Skinless (cut into large pieces (2 pieces per thigh is large enough to grill without having to use skewers))

3 cups Greek Yogurt Plain

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 Tablespoon Ginger Ground

1 teaspoon Salt

 

Sauce:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Large Onion (cut into large chunks)

2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic

29 ounces Tomato Sauce

29 ounces Tomato Puree

2 Tablespoons Ground Ginger

2 Tablespoons Garam Masala

1 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

 

Last Minute Additions to Sauce:

1 Large Green Peppers Chopped (cut into large chunks)

1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin (optional, but adding a little at the end livens the flavors)

1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala (optional, but adding a little at the end livens the flavors)

4 cups Heavy Cream

 

Directions

Marinade:

1. Cut chicken into large pieces.

2. Mix yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, and salt.

3. Toss chicken in marinade & refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. After an hour, broil or grill meat on high heat for 8 minutes on each side (it doesn’t need to be cooked through, but should be grilled to just before edges blacken on the outside).

5. Begin sauce while grilling/broiling. (Grilling really does taste better!)

Sauce:

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

2. Sauté chunks of onion for 2 minutes.

3. Add minced garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.

4. Set onion/garlic mixture in bottom of slow cooker.

5. Place grilled/broiled chicken pieces on top of onion mixture. Do not stir.

6. Mix tomato sauce, tomato purée, ginger, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

7. Pour over chicken. Do not stir slow cooker ingredients. Let it cook in layers.

8. Cook 4-6 hours on high.

Last Minute Additions:

1. About 1/2 hour to 1 hour before serving, add green pepper, additional cumin & garam masala, and cream.

2. Now you can stir all the ingredients well, until the cream is well blended.

3. This is the perfect time to start cooking rice & Naan to have it all hot and ready at the same time.

(Basmati Rice is a great choice for Indian food.)

Quick-Rise Skillet Naan

Quick-Rise Skillet Naan

Ingredients
3-1/4 cups All-purpose flour

generous pinch Salt

3/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast

1-1/2 cup warm water

2-4 Tablespoons melted butter or olive oil

Directions

1. Add yeast to warm (not hot water).

2. Mix flour and salt until incorporated. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. (You don’t need to knead the dough – and it’s a REALLY sticky mess in the bowl.)

3. Generously flour a surface and your hands.

4. Tear off an lemon sized piece of dough. It is still VERY sticky. That’s OK.

5. Push (or use a rolling pin & roll) the dough out into a very thin oval. It should be just thick enough to pick up without tearing.

6. Heat skillet on medium-high heat.

7. Brush with olive oil or melted butter and place Naan, butter side down, in pre-heated skillet. (If desired, you may sprinkle with coarse salt or garlic powder, or some other spice before placing it in the pan.)

8. Cook for 2 minutes, or until bottom side has brown spots.

9. Brush with butter and add any seasonings to the top side during this two minutes. I also prepare the next naan while I wait.

10. Flip naan and cover pan.

11. Cook for 30 seconds more (longer if your naan is thicker) and remove from pan.

12. Cover naan with a clean towel while you cook the rest. It’s best served hot – not reheated.