Preparing from the Pantry
sandy willoughby

Our Creator stirs within us anytime we create something. I have found this to be true in anything I produce. What kinds of things am I referring to bringing into being?

* Cooking a savory dish or placing a scrumptious meal on the table

* transforming laundry soiled with dirt and grime into freshly cleaned folded stacks

* writing something in my journal that sings to my spirit, typing the last words to an article and hitting "send", and writing encouraging notes to others

* cozying the home with a bundle of books tied with sheer ribbon

* decorating the home with a new duvet comfort I sewed myself (first


* painting for joy and as free hand therapy

* letters ---writing something that touches another right there in the world they are in

* gifts---in something put together by my hands for someone else

* schedules --- bringing order about in the home

* gardening ---seeing something grow after a little watering and nurturing

* making natural products to use on our faces, in our hair, for our skin, in our baths, and so on

This list could continue on forever!

The dictionary defines "create" in these terms:

"To cause to exist; bring into being."

"To give rise to; produce"

"To invest with an office or title; appoint."

"To produce through artistic or imaginative effort"

\Cre*ate"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Created; p. pr. & vb. n. Creating.] 1. To bring into being; to form out of nothing; to cause to exist. []

There is a place of created things that many times I fail to see God's breath in and that is my style of pantry cooking! When finances are so tight that we can't afford the gas to GET to the grocery store:) and our dinners must come from the wealth of our cupboards... it becomes quite necessary to get some creative cooking going on!

This is an area I've always said I wasn't "good at" and left it as something to admire from afar in other faithful meal makers. What I'm finding out, is that any one can be as good at this as they make themselves and I was hiding behind my lack of skill bec/ I didn't have to really worry about it!

My Creator is so kind and He warrants me worth working through me... praise His name on high!

We are having some scrumptious meals and the Lord just keeps surprising me with new lessons on a daily basis! Some nights I have a bounty to work with for one reason or another (usually if my in loves buy supplies for a dinner with us if we fix it:) and there are other nights when I want to run from the pantry and pray someone offers to order the kids a pizza or two!

My precious Savior sees this and provides in such beautiful ways. On top of His making sure we don't go hungry, He also reveals one lovely new idea after another to help me grow in this vital area of homekeeping.

Here are some simple samples of what I've been shown in my kitchen:

Gourmet Culinary Gifts that God revealed recently:

1. Roasted garlic can be quite expensive whether it is purchased in little jars or spread on Tuscan style bread in a nice eating establishment. Guess what? I found enough garlic left in our bag (we buy in bulk at Sam's) to fill a stone garlic baker I bought for a few dollars on clearance years ago. I followed the basic directions of cutting the pointed ends off of each head (keeping the head in one piece,) placing them cut side up, drizzling with olive oil, covering and baking until it squeezes out of the skin!

2. Homemade bread. I have already been making bread for some time now but I was worried about running out of grain to mill into flour as happened once before. That isn't living on faith! My husband and I discovered one full bucket of grain and one 1/2 full! Not only that, but I've realized that if we run completely out of grain... we can buy our flour until grain can be purchased again! I was browsing through a Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (old version) and found illustrations on how to form parkerhouse rolls, corkscrews, Jiffy cloverleaf, butter fans, bow knots, and more! Except for needing to get more honey, I have all of the simple ingredients needed for bread baking. We can eat a lot of healthy bread in a variety of ways!

3. Eggs! These are affordable and everyone here loves them. One night I made fried eggs to go with cheese grits, homemade soft wheat biscuits, steak gravy over some leftover steak our in love's provided, and tomato relish. Another night, we had eggs to chop up over a large salad.

4. Wraps provide endless meal possibilities from breakfast to dinner! We have had breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, cheese, and chopped tomatoes & lunch wraps with refried seasoned beans, a sprinkle of melted cheese, and any leftover meats or vegetables. For dinner, we have chopped leftover salads small enough (shredded) to roll up in the tortillas. I did this by pulsing the salad BRIEFLY in the food processor...worked great! We spread refried beans, a sprinkle of left over cheeses that I grated in the food processor, some salsa, and a small amount of sour cream. These were just some basics...we've come up with a LOT of these lately! Just about any vegetable can be rolled up with rice, a bit of melted cheese, meats can be added or other proteins, and so on. These look lovely sliced in slanted sections and displayed on platters.

5. Spaghetti dinners can be glamorous with few ingredients! We either make our sauce from scratch or start with jarred sauce as our base. Sometimes, we only have a sautéed onion and maybe some scattered vegetables to add to that onion and with some Italian seasonings, great results can be achieved. Sometimes we'll have meat and use whatever meat we have on hand: hamburger, cooked turkey breast, leftover chicken strips that I chop, grind, or shred, and just about any left over meat will work. Prepared pasta of any kind or actual spaghetti and we have a great meal every time! If we have salad ingredients and garlic bread it is wonderful!

These are very basic ideas, I know. The sharing here wasn't really with a focus on offering meal ideas but more to celebrate God's goodness. His creative breath moved through and allowed for nice family dinners. What appeared to be a very lacking pantry proved to produce a bounty of food. Modern day fish and loaves:) Creations with Christ... what could be better?

Isaiah 65:18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

Love,  Sandy:)   ©2003


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