Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turkey Meatball Gyros

Before I moved to the Chicago area, I had never heard of a gyro. They are pretty common on restaurant menus here-at hot dog/Italian beef places and family-style restaurants. While you can purchase traditional gyro kits at the store, I started making a version at home using meatballs. It is a meal that pleases the whole family.

This is a meal that I make from scratch, but you could purchase any of the main ingredients premade if you'd like.

Turkey Meatballs
(you can also substitute hamburger, ground chicken, or venison)
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
2 slices wheat bread
1 egg
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Grind bread into bread crumbs in food processor or blender. Mix all ingredients and form into small meatballs. Bake in 375° oven for 30-40 minutes, turning once during baking. Alternately you can cook them in a pan on the stove top.

Easy Pita Bread
from (Carol's Easy Pita Bread)
3 to 3 1/2 C. flour (I use whole wheat, but all purpose or a combo is fine)
2 1/4 tsp. quick rising yeast (1 packet)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. hot water

Combine 2 C. of flour, yeast, salt, and water in a large bowl. Beat well about 1 min. Mix in remaining flour, using just enough to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn out on floured board and continue to knead for 5 min. Divide into 8 balls. Roll out each ball to about 1/4 in thick and six inches in diameter. Place on very lightly greased cookie sheet. Let rise in warm place for 25 to 35 minutes. Bake at 450 for 4 min, turn over, bake for 4 min more or until lightly browned. Wrap immediately in dish towel for 3 to 4 minutes.

Cucumber Sauce (aka Tzatziki Sauce)
1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 C. cucumber, peeled, diced small
3 T. red onion, finely diced (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Optional: Fresh Dill (Traditional Tzatziki has dill, but we prefer it without dill)

Mix together all ingredients. Can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to serve.

Serve your gyros with sliced tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. I like to split the meatballs in half, but you could leave them whole. Sometimes the kids like to eat everything separate. Other times they make it into a "sandwich" too.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A View From The Garden

This week, many of our thoughts turn to the events of nearly 2,000 years ago. We are reminded of the sacrifice Christ made, of the gift that God gave to each of us. For me, I am also reminded of that this sacrifice and gift should make a difference in my life.

The night before Jesus' crucifixion he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray*. He knew the time of his death was nearing, and he knew that for that reason he had been sent to Earth. Still, he seemed to struggle with it. He prayed, "Father,...take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done." (Luke 22:43 NIV) We all know that things come our way in life that we don't like. We may find ourselves asking God to take 'this cup' from us, to save us the hurt of going through something hard. But just like Christ, we must realize that God has a bigger plan for our lives. It might not make sense to us, now or ever, but

I've been listening to a song about that very night in the garden. It's called "The Garden" by Needtobreathe. It's told from Jesus' perspective, what he might have been thinking and feeling based on what the Bible tells us. What I like is that the song then turns to us. It talks about how all we do should be a testimony to God's will for our lives. My life should tell a story of how God is working in me, it should be a demonstration of His love, and an offering back to him. And His will, not mine, should be done.

Let the songs I sing, bring joy to you
Let the words I say, profess my love
Let the notes I choose be your favorite tune
Father, let my heart be after you

You can see Bear and Bo Rinehart perform this song live here.

*You can read the full text in the Bible in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 32:32-42, or Luke 22:39-46

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Six Years

Last week we celebrated Levi's sixth birthday. How time flies when you're having fun! I know all moms say it, but it doesn't seem like it was six years ago that I became a mom. We hadn't found out the gender so the moment he was born was a big moment of surprise. I ended up having a C-section and as the doctor pulled him out she asked John, "Dad, what is it." He hesitated and then announced, "It's a boy!" We were overjoyed! My little boy has turned into an easy-going sweetheart and I am so happy we can take some time to celebrate him.

Levi chose a pirate theme for his parties this year. We had a family/friend party and then a party with a few of his classmates.

These pirates were ready to party!
We made sure all our guests could join in the pirate fun too, with bandanas and eye patches.
Cake time! John's dad once again helped me create an amazing cake. This time it was a pirate ship. I have to say it was one of my favorite creations so far.
Levi was born on Spring Break, so his birthday usually falls during break. This makes it the perfect time for a little birthday playdate with some of his school friends. We played games and made pizzas.

For his friend party, we made a cookie cake since Levi's favorite treat is a chocolate chip cookie. He loved it!
It has been a joy to be Levi's mom. I have watched him grow and change over the past six years. He makes me laugh daily and surprises me with his knowledge and wit. He is loving and generous with his hugs and kisses. I can't wait to see what God has planned for the little boy he sent me six years ago.