Music Monday: Awakening

Worship.  Most people think this means going to church when there’s a service being held.  I used to think this.  I believed I was worshiping my God by being present in His house.  My pastor and friend, Charlie Herring, delivered such a great sermon yesterday about worship that I had to share the highlights.

His text was Psalm 96.  Here are these thirteen verses in the Easy-to-Read Version:

Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole world sing to the Lord!
2 Sing to the Lord and praise his name!
Tell the good news every day about how he saves us!
Tell all the nations how wonderful he is!
Tell people everywhere about the amazing things he does.
4 The Lord is great and worthy of praise.
He is more awesome than any of the “gods.”
5 All the “gods” in other nations are nothing but statues,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 He lives in the presence of glory and honor.
His Temple is a place of power and beauty.
Praise the Lord, all people of every nation;
praise the Lord’s glory and power.
8 Give the Lord praise worthy of his glory!
Come, bring your offerings into his courtyard.
9     Worship the Lord in all his holy beauty.
Everyone on earth should tremble before him.
10     Tell the nations that the Lord is King!
The world stands firm and cannot be moved.
He will judge all people fairly.
11 Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be happy!
Let the sea and everything in it shout for joy!
12 Let the fields and everything in them be happy!
Let the trees in the forest sing for joy
13 when they see the Lord coming!
He is coming to rule the world.
He will rule all the nations of the world
with justice and fairness.

The four “Es” of worship:

  • EXALT His Name (verses 1-2a)
  • EXTEND His Kingdom (verses 2b-3)
  • EXPRESS His Greatness (verses 4-9)
  • EXPECT His Coming (verse 10-13)

Here are some of his quotes:

  • “We are called to wait and worship”
  • “Why do we have trouble with waiting?  Because in our society the need for instant gratification causes a ‘fail’ in our sense of waiting.”
  • “Are we afraid to wait?  Are we afraid of what God will say to us?  Does the silence scare us?”
  • “Who are we to worship?  The Lord God.  What are we to do when we worship?  Fall down on our faces and bow down.  How are we to worship?  Through music, proclamation, glory, offering, coming into His courts, and living holy lives.  Why do we worship?  Because we are saved.  Where do we worship?  In His sanctuary — and that means in His whole creation.”
  • “When our lives are full of His presence, we can’t help but declare His glory.”
  • “We should be proclaiming salvation every day to everyone.”
  • Bored Believer should be an oxymoron.  If you are bored in worship, you are not worshiping.  You are simply passing time.”

As bowed at the altar during our closing hymn, “Awakening” by Chris Tomlin was my prayer.  Here are the lyrics that became my prayer:

In Your presence, in Your power
Awakening
For this moment, for this hour
Awakening

For You and You alone
Awake my soul
Awake my soul and sing
For the world You love
Your will be done
Let Your will be done in me

For You and You alone
Awake my soul
Awake my soul and sing
For the world You love
Your will be done
Let Your will be done in me

Like the rising sun that shines
From the darkness, comes a light
I hear Your voice
And this is my awakening

I have two pictures to share with you today.  They were taken at a baptismal service.  The man on the far right is my friend, Jimmy Crayton, the youth pastor at Greater Heights United Methodist Church.  If this had been posted by someone I did not know personally, I would have cried, “Photo-shopped!”  But I know Jimmy.  He would never let anything other than the truth be posted.  If it would hinder God’s Kingdom, he wouldn’t be a part of it.  So these pictures depict something real happening at this baptism.

Photo Source:  Jimmy Crayton

Do you believe?  Will you worship the one, true God?  Will this be your awakening?

shr

Awakening” (Chris Tomlin)

 

Advertisements

Music Monday: He is With Us

In life, there seems to always be a flow of people and things coming into our lives and going out of our lives.  In the past six months, I have experienced a loss in the closeness of two friendships.  It’s painful, especially when I don’t fully understand why the friendships changed.  The absolute worst part is that neither of the friends is completely out of my life.  They are on the fringes and sometimes we all act as if nothing has really changed.

But it doesn’t mean that the change hasn’t taken place.  I’ve cried over this so many times.  I’ve prayed for God to restore the friendships.  I do not know what the future has in store for us, but I read this in an online devotional:

Image Source:  www.kootation.com

Right now, I just have to let go.  There is nothing more that I can do.  For right now, it seems the Lord has put a “period” at the end of these friendships.  So, I’ve removed the question mark and I am living in His peace about the situation.

How fortunate that in the same span of time, God has brought me closer to two other friends:  an old friend of mine and a brand-new friend.  These friendships have just blossomed and I am thankful for God’s love and care.  These two women have brought a new depth of love and devotion in my life.  We work closely together for the Lord and we find joy in serving others.

Image Source:  www.idlehearts.com

The one constant in my life is my Lord.  I love the book of Joshua.  In the very first chapter, God is assuring Joshua of His love, support, and constant presence.

No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you. ( Joshua 1:5 NCV — emphasis mine)

So on this Monday, I share a song that is relatively new and has quickly become one of my favorites.  I find myself singing its chorus throughout the day.  Let it remind you, that no matter what is happening in your life, God is there.  He is our salvation and strength.  But He is also our Friend.

Sandy

He is With Us (Love & the Outcome)

Letting Go (with No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken Recipe)

I remember a conversation I had with my husband, Kelly, so vividly it’s like it was yesterday.  This was just a few months after we were married in 1987.  We’d decided that I’d come off birth control and we’d start our family.  I said to him, “By next year, we’ll have a new Rosser to take to big family Thanksgiving dinner at your Aunt Ruth-Marie’s house.”

In the same conversation, we were discussing the longevity of my teaching career.  I was teaching at Eastover-Central Elementary School and was honored as their “Teacher of the Year” for 1987.  That was huge for me because I’d only been teaching for three years.  To have my peers vote to give you, a virtual newbie, an honor like that was overwhelming for me. “Yes,” I said confidently. “I will be teaching until I am blue-haired, squint-eyed, wrinkled beyond recognition, and walking with a cane.”

As confident as I was that day, neither of those things came to pass.

Image Source:  www.getv.org

Instead of getting pregnant, we found out about our infertility. “One in a million chance,” was what the doctor told us.  Of course, I told him that God was the Great Physician, and without much consulting with the Great Physician, Kelly and I decided that our journey included donor sperm and monthly visits to Duke Fertility Clinic.

Within the next year, I injured my back at school while moving a science kit.  It only weighed ten pounds, but something happened that morning that I can’t quite put my finger on.  All I knew was that I was in excruciating pain.  Five years and seven surgeries later, I was medically retired from a profession I thought I’d be a part of until I was…well, you know what I said in the first paragraph.

After six unhappy months of in vitro at Duke, Kelly and I finally let God have the infertility issue, and we adopted.  It was the oh-so-right thing to do.  We could not love our children anymore if they were our biologically.  At nearly 25, 23, and nearly 16, they bring us so much joy. They like to tell me that they may not have grown in my womb, but they grew in my heart.  I kinda think I’ll keep ’em.

The one thing I fought God on at every turn was the fact that I was not in the teaching profession anymore.  I spent YEARS filled with anger at how that dream of mine had taken wings and flown. Even with the joy of adopting my children and the absolute miraculous ways He brought each of them to us, I held God accountable for not healing me physically and returning me to teaching.

In 2002,  I did let most of the anger go and for the most part, I was able to move on with my life and be relatively happy. But the little sliver that I harbored in my heart, kept me out of God’s will.  Seven years ago, I really had a come-to-Jesus moment that forever eradicated any anger I had and brought me to my knees to beg for His forgiveness.

I walked into a church where I was not a member because we were looking for a new church home.  At the end of the service, a woman came up to me and said, “You know, we need someone to work with our children and when I saw you walk in today, I knew my prayers had been answered.”

That woman was my Aunt Melba Rosser.  We were visiting the Kelly’s home church.  I was just visiting to be nice.  I did not think we’d really choose to become members of Culbreth Memorial UMC.  For heaven’s sake, I’d been a Baptist for forty-four years!  But this is where God led us, the church family He chose for us — and even though He hasn’t healed me physically (yet — I’m not ever ruling it out!), He healed me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

This church  took me just as I was, knowing that some Sundays I might not be able to show up because of my chronic pain.  I have a fantastic group of parents that pitch in and do things that I can’t physically do.  We started with a very small group of five children.  Now I work with fourteen: one children’s choir, one youth choir, and a drama team.  We’re growing every year.

The one thing I realized I’ve always been teaching — God gave me three children to teach.  And that I’ll still  be teaching for years to come, just in different circumstances.

Is it the life I envisioned that day back in 1987?  No…it’s better!

What had you envisioned that was not in God’s plan for you?  What did He lead you to instead?

shr

No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken (Serves 4-6)

009

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds

1 bottle of McCormick’s Rotisserie Chicken seasoning

1/4 cup of water

Nonstick Canola Spray

008

Directions:

1.  Remove the giblets and neck from chicken.  (I freeze them to use for making chicken stock.)

2.  Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out.  Pat dry.

3.  Spray crock pot with nonstick spray.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Turn on crock pot to “low.”

4.  Use the McCormick Rotisserie Chicken season and coat the chicken liberally with it.

5.  Place chicken in crock pot.

6.  Cook chicken on low for 6 hours.

7.  When done, remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

8.  Skin and de-bone chicken.

Serve with vegetables or salad or use in a sandwich.  I freeze the chicken diced or chopped in 1-cup portions in quart bags to use on salads throughout the week at lunchtime.  This is moist, delicious, and cost-effective.

Tips:   I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and checked the deli prices for one of their rotisserie chickens — $8.88 for one not nearly as big as the ones I cook.  I try to find whole chickens on sale and buy them in bulk.  They will keep in the freezer up to nine months.  On sale, I can usually get whole chickens for about $ .69/pound.  (Aldi has frozen chickens for $ .89/pound every day — which is not a bad price either.)

Nutritional Information (1 cup cooked chicken):  231 calories, 5 g fat, 119 mg cholesterol, 104 mg sodium, and 43 g protein.

Choices: Low-Carb Pepperoni Pizza (Really Good!)

I’m conducting an experiment.  I have shared with you my weakness for all ice cream-related things — that I cannot keep ice cream at my house without eating it.  In recent days, I’ve come to realize that I’ve used that as a crutch.  It’s huge cop-out.  At this point in my relationship with my body and my decision to be healthy, I should be able to store a little ice cream in my freezer without it controlling me body, mind, and spirit.

Image Source:  www.thefranchiseking.com

My treat this past Sunday was Ben & Jerry’sRed Velvet Cake” ice cream.  It was on sale at the grocery store two pints for $5.00.  So, I bought them.  I hadn’t had ice cream as a treat for over a month.  My experiment is two-fold:  to see if I can keep from eating that second pint and to see if I can keep the fact that it’s in there from completely controlling my thoughts.

Image Source:  www.beforeitsnews.com

It’s not enough to just not eat it.  If I’m constantly thinking of it being there, opening the freezer, contemplating the eating of it, and shutting the door again without tearing it opening and consuming it in an ice cream frenzy, then I still lose.  I lose myself to worldly thoughts — thoughts that are not God-centered, thoughts that will eventually lead me down the path of over-indulgence.  I’ve been there before.  You know the thought, “If I just go ahead and eat it, it’ll be gone and it won’t tempt me.”

Sow righteousness, reap love.  It’s time to till the ready earth, it’s time to dig in with God, until he arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest. (Hosea 10:12, The Message)

I’ve decided that in order to keep my mind on God, I’m making a choice to “sow righteousness and reap love.”  I am pursuing Him and what He wants me to do.  I’m going about my business as if that pint of ice cream in my freezer didn’t exist.  I believe that if I do this, God’s going to give me His thoughts and His actions — and that neither will have anything to do with Ben & Jerry’s.

Image Source:  http://jodyfisher.wordpress.com

Will I be able to do it?  I’m going with a big, resounding “Yes!”  It’s been there for nearly three days.  I’ll let you know if I’m successful or not.  While we’re waiting to find out, let me share with you some words that have enlightened me about my journey to health:

“As we make an offering of our work, we find the truth of a principle Jesus taught:  fulfillment is not a goal to achieve, but always the by-product of sacrifice.”  Elisabeth Elliot

“Although God causes all things to work together for good for His children, He still holds us accountable for our behavior.”  Kay Arthur

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I’ve written these words of wisdom on colorful index cards and placed them in various places around my house that I frequent as I do housework and spend leisure time.  And no, one of those places is NOT on the freezer!

What thoughts are keeping you from making the transition from wherever you’re at now and the pathway to a healthier you? I’d love to hear from you.

shr

P. S.  Here’s a little treat I made on Monday night.  I promise you it’s good.  It passed the taste-test with my family!  My father, who isn’t even a pizza fan, loved it.  So make it, enjoy it, and feel good about you!  (Coming Friday:  Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken and Skinny Chinese Chicken Salad)

Low-Carb Pepperoni Pizza  (4 servings)

Ingredients for Crust:

3 cups very finely grated cauliflower (about 1 medium head)

1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons liquid egg white

Ingredients for Pizza Topping:

17 slices, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni

1 cup Prego Spaghetti Sauce, Original

1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

For Crust:
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Put cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, cover loosely with a paper towel and microwave for 7-8 minutes (cauliflower will appear translucent). Let cool completely.
3. Mix cauliflower, liquid egg whites, cheeses, garlic powder, and salt. Make sure the egg whites are well-distributed in mixture.
2. Turn crust mixture onto nonstick pizza pan. Pat into a 10-12″ round. Press firmly, cleaning up edges, and make the crust as thin as you possibly can.*
4. Bake crust for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. Before adding pizza toppings, loosen the edges of crust with a spatula, moving spatula underneath crust until all of crust is loose.
*Cook’s Note:  The thinner you make the crust, the less “cauliflower aftertaste” you have. If the crust is crispy and covered completely with sauce and cheese, the fact that this has a cauliflower crust is nearly indistinguishable. You can make any of your favorite pizzas this way
Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser
To complete pizza:
1. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
2. Make sure crust is in the center of pizza pan.
3. Spread 1 cup Prego spaghetti sauce onto crust using the back of a large spoon. Make sure crust has sauce, even out to the edges.
4. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese evenly across pizza crust.
5. Top with turkey pepperoni.
6. Return to oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and pepperoni is crisp.
7. Cool slightly on rack. Cut into 8 slices.
Nutritional Information (for 1/4 of a pizza):  358 calories, 18.2 g fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1769 mg sodium, 18.2 g carbohydrates, 4.1 g dietary fiber, and 28.1 g protein
 
Related Articles:

Music Monday: Hurricane

Life has recently felt a bit disjointed, a little crazy, a little out of control, and a lot nonstop for me.  When I arose this morning, I felt run-down and a bit like an over-done steak.  Ever been there?  Are you there right now?

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Once, I ran out of gas driving my little blue Subaru in the days when I was first teaching school.  That was way before cell phones.  It wasn’t dark, but it was close.  I was on my way home from school and just about half a mile from my exit on Interstate 95 when the car sputtered, puttered, and I guided it off the road as it rolled to a stop.  Yep, the needle was below “E” if that’s possible.

Image Source:  www.automopedia.org

I sat for a few minutes, wondering what to do.  I decided to get out and walk to the exit ramp, go to the Exxon station and call my daddy.  Before I took more than ten steps, a pick-up truck slowed down and pulled up in front of my car.  It was the grandfather of one of my students (and the janitor at Eastover-Central Elementary School).  Once I told him what the problem was, he advised me to get back in the car, lock it, and he’d be right back.  In about twenty minutes, he was back with a full gas can and poured it all into my gas tank. The car started right up.  He wouldn’t even let me pay him!  Leon Patterson was an angel that day.  (As I later found out, he couldn’t really afford to be as generous as he’d been that October afternoon.  So, I made sure he always got extra goodies from me at Christmas and any other holidays that came throughout the year.)

I could have run out of gas on another road or at a different place along the highway that Mr. Patterson might never have passed.  Or I could have been driving my parents’ car that day, which Mr. Patterson would never have recognized.  But it was just the right spot and in the car Mr. Patterson knew belonged to me.  He found me along a highway in a situation that could have been dangerous.  In my heart, I know God sent me Leon Patterson that day.

Image Source:  www.touch-the-flame.deviantart.com

God sees us running around under our own steam.  He sees that our tanks are getting to that dangerous “below empty” level.  He’s just waiting for us to run out of gas and turn to Him for strength and solace and comfort — to give up the burden and take His lightness to our souls.

So, today — even though there was a storm raging in my heart — I just took a little time for Him.  I let Kelly run a couple of errands for me on his way home from work instead of dragging myself out of the house to do it.  I sang as I swept the kitchen (and grimaced at the amount of dirt that can accumulate in just a couple of days) and in between songs,  I spent a lot of time praying.  I sat down and played hymns on the piano.  I listened to my favorite Christian radio stations.

Image Source:  www.amerigas.

And Natalie Grant was singing my song.  So, I thought I’d share it with you, even though it’s late.  Who knows?  Even though the calm has finally come to my house, the storm may be raging at yours.  Just remember God made those winds, and He can control them.  Just let Him.

shr

Hurricane” (Natalie Grant)

Make Accountability Work for You: Skinny Cowboy Caviar (Low Carb Recipe)

Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  (Colossians 3:17, GW)

Image Source:  www.yunbootcamps.com

Have you been at this weight loss thing a while?  I have.  I’ve battled it off and on for twenty years (read: yo-yo dieter).  Last year in our Bible studyMade to Crave, I read some interesting statistics.  When setting a goal and having accountability for setting that goal, the probably of reaching that goal is:

  • 10% when you hear an idea
  • 40% when you decide you will do it
  • 50% when you plan how to do it
  • 65% when you commit to someone else to do it
  • 95% when you have an accountability appointment with the person you’ve committed to

What do you think?  Has this been true in your life?  It certainly has in mine.  I’ve had the most success in my weight loss goal in the last ten months because I actually made myself accountable to some important people.

First, I made myself accountable to God.  This body of mine is His temple.  I had horribly abused His temple.  It’s important for me to show God that I love Him and want to obey Him by getting my temple healthy.

Second, I made myself accountable to two other people who also made a commitment to God:  my mom and my good friend, Michele.  Even though it was only the three of us who completed the Made to Crave Bible study last fall, we made a commitment to weigh/measure once a week and share our trials and triumphs.  When we’re having a rough time of it, we pray for each other.  When we have victories, no matter how small, we celebrate with each other.  We keep in touch.

Image Source:  www.warriorsofweight.com

We’ve all had great success in the past ten months.  My mom is five pounds from her goal weight and Michele is losing every week, getting fit and healthy.  Our success seems to be based on the last three statistics listed above:  we planned our goal, we committed to each other, and we keep our accountability appointments every week.

I want to let you know that all three of us are reaching our goals in different ways.   My mom is watching her portions and eating foods from the low glycemic index (my dad is a diabetic) and being more active.   Michele is doing Weight Watchers and walking.  I am carb cycling, eating from the low glycemic index, and exercising.

There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to get there — you just have to find a plan that works for you.  There’s no one plan that works for everyone.  To find what works for you takes, well, work. It takes research.  It takes talking to others who are on their weight loss journeys.  It takes trying out some different eating plans.  But it does not include FAD DIETING!  Remember, you didn’t put on your extra weight in two weeks and it won’t come off in two weeks.  It’s not how our bodies work.

Whatever you decide to do, do it for the glory of the Lord.  If you place your faith in Him, commit to Him, and find at least two other people you can REALLY commit to, you will see successful results.  In fact, I invite you to partner with ME, personally, and make a commitment to me.  I will, in turn, make a commitment to YOU — to share what I’m doing each week, how I’m doing each week, and be your encourager!  I will be honest with you.  There’s no reason we can’t work together.

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

Today, I’m giving you another personal favorite low carb recipe, Skinny Cowboy Caviar.  The first time I made this, I had it as a meal over mixed salad greens, but it can be eaten as a morning or afternoon snack as well.

Skinny Cowboy Caviar  (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

2 large avocados, pitted and peeled

1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced

1 medium sweet onion (I love Vidalia), finely chopped

1/2 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen — avoid canned because of the sodium)

1 cup canned black beans (rinsed well and drained well)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder (or ground cayenne pepper)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons salsa

1 Tablespoon, chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Juice of a small lime

Jalapenos or green chilies (optional, you decide how hot you’d like it)

Directions:

1.  Cook hamburger or turkey over medium heat.  Cook thoroughly, then drain.  (Weight Watchers trick:  while meat is in the colander, rinse a couple of times with boiling water to remove even more fat!)  Return to pan and add dry seasonings (garlic powder, chili powder/cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper).  Add onion, corn, beans, and salsa.  Mix until meat is coated with the spices and the salsa is bubbling.  Cook until onions are slightly translucent, but still a little firm.   If mixture seems a little dry, you can add more salsa, but you don’t want a soupy mixture.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2.  Roughly mash avocados into chunks in a medium bowl.  (Save the pits.)

3.  Add tomato, meat mixture, lime juice, and cilantro.  Stir well.  Mixture should be a chunky, like a dip.

4.  When storing, place the avocado pits on top of the mixture and keep in an air-tight container.  This helps keep the avocado from turning brown.  Mixture will keep in refrigerator 2-3 days.

Serve over a bed of mixed greens (my favorite way) or with carrot sticks, celery sticks, green pepper slices, crackers, toasted French bread, or tortilla chips.

Nutritional Information (per 1/2 cup serving):  225 calories, 15 g fat, 325 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrates*, 12 g dietary fiber, and 30 g protein.

*By now you’re probably screaming at me:  YOU SAID THIS WAS A LOW CARB RECIPE!  THIS SAYS 18 GRAMS OF CARBOHYDRATES IN A HALF-CUP SERVING!  Truly, this is considered a low carb, low glycemic index recipe.  You have to look at all of the nutritional information.  Most of the fat in this recipe is considered good fat (from the avocados — click here to find out about good fats).  Yes, it has 18 grams of carbs, but look at the dietary fiber!  When the dietary fiber content is higher, it means that you’re eating healthy carbs (click here to find out about good and bad carbs).  Black beans and corn are two of the most fiber-rich foods you can eat.  If you just can’t justify 18 grams of carbohydrates in a half-cup serving, feel free to omit the beans and corn.

That being said, you cannot snack on this recipe more than once a day.  Moderation is the key.  It always is.  This recipe has all the makings of a great snack:  good fat, some good carbs, and protein.  The combination of these three nutrients will keep you feeling full because it takes longer to digest them.

Now, will you make that commitment?  Drop me an email at lbtk1@aol.com or leave a comment below.  I promise to answer. I promise to partner with you and increase your accountability!

Have a blessed weekend!  Get out and move your body!  Enjoy!

shr

Satisfying a Craving Sensibly: Low Carb Zucchini-Spinach Lasagna

“I determined to make God, rather than food, my focus.  Each time I craved something I knew wasn’t part of my plan, I used that craving as a prompt to pray.  I craved a lot.  So, I found myself praying a lot.”  Lysa TerKeurst, from Made to Crave (Zondervan Publishing)

Image Source:  www.bing.com

I love Italian food.  Lasagna is my favorite Italian dish, but it is filled with carbs.  (And carbs are not my friends!)  Every nutritionist I’ve ever heard speak about exchanges and lowering carbs has suggested using zucchini slices for lasagna noodles.  I don’t miss a lot of pasta, but I do get a craving for lasagna once in a while.  So, I did a little research, found some recipes, and tried them.  Some of the recipes were just not tasty.  So I decided to tweak the recipes – take the best of each one and make a recipe that was my own.

I think I hit the jackpot with this recipe!  My husband agreed to try it and my daughter gave me a funny look, but she tried it to please me.  Surprise, surprise — they loved it!   My older son had a serving when he came in from work and gave it his seal of approval as well.   In fact, there was only one serving leftover that night (and that became my lunch for the next day).  Here is what it looked like as it came out of the oven:

Photo Image:  Sandra Hall Rosser

This is so yummy and satisfying!  So here is the recipe for you to try.  As you make this, let me caution you to make your meat sauce chunky and the cheese mixture creamy (I did this by adding a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or milk if the cheese mixture was too thick).  These two hints will make all the difference in the world.

Skinny Zucchini-Spinach Lasagna (serves 6)

Ingredients:

3-4 medium zucchini, sliced in thin rounds or in long thin strips (I used a mandolin to make even slices)*

1 cup of baby spinach leaves with the stems removed (washed and drained well)

1 pound of lean ground beef

16 ounces  non-fat, small curd cottage cheese

3/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup

1 egg (or 1/4 cup liquid egg white)

1 cup part skim, low-fat mozzarella cheese

Dried Italian seasonings:  basil, oregano, parsley (1 teaspoon each)

4 teaspoons garlic powder (divided)

4 teaspoons onion powder (divided)

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons of heavy cream (or almond milk/skim milk), as needed

1 24-ounce bottle of low sugar spaghetti sauce, 1 cup reserved (I used Hunt’s)

1 Tablespoon stevia (optional)

An 8″ X 8″ pan for baking

Non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

1.  Cook hamburger on medium heat in a fry pan until meat is no longer pink.  Strain the meat so that most of the fat is removed.  (An old Weight Watchers trick I use it to pour two cups of boiling hot water over the meat to remove even more fat.)  Let the meat drain completely.

2.  Add meat back to fry pan and add most of the spaghetti sauce (reserve about 1 cup to use when layering).  Meat sauce should be chunky.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 2 teaspoons onion powder. Add stevia.  (Stevia gives the low sugar spaghetti sauce a rich, marinara-style taste, but this can be omitted according to your tastes.)  Cover and let mixture simmer on  low.

3.  Wash and slice your zucchini.  Zucchini have high water content and to keep my lasagna from being soggy, I lay the slices of zucchini in one layer on some paper towels.  I salt both sides of the zucchini and cover with another paper towel and wait about an hour.  The salt leaches the water from the zucchini slices, making them more firm.  (I also do this with egg plant slices.  It makes them firm, not mushy, when you bake them.)

4.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5.  In a mixing bowl, add cottage cheese, egg, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, the dried Italian spices, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons onion powder.  Use a hand mixer to cream the ingredients together.  It may be slightly thick.  I add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream to make it a bit creamier, which will make it easier to spread.

6.  Divide the zucchini slices (2 groups of slices) and divide the spinach

7.  Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Put 1/2 cup of the reserved spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan.

8.  Start layering the lasagna in this way:

A.  1/2 cup spinach, first group of zucchini slices, half the cheese mixture, half the meat sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

B.  1/2 cup spinach, second group of zucchini slices, remaining cheese mixture, remaining meat sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, the remaining 1/2 cup of reserved spaghetti sauce, and finally the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  (In the picture, you will see a bit of baby spinach at the top — I had about 1/4 cup left over from the bag, and I put the rest of the spinach in a layer right before the plain spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese at the top.)

9.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Bake for 40 minutes covered.

10.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.  Cheese should be lightly golden brown.  Set pan on a cooling rack and let rest 15 minutes before cutting.

*Having made this several times now, I have found that I really like the zucchini slices cut the long way.  They actually have the feel of a lasagna noodle when you eat the lasagna.  Also, using spinach is optional. (In fact, you can add any vegetables you like to this recipe.  If you add a lot more vegetables, I’d suggest a 9″ X 13″ pan.)  If you have a chunky meat sauce and a creamy cheese layer, this will keep the lasagna from being soggy.

Nutritional Information (1/6 of the pan):  275 calories, 5 g fat, 600 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, and 22 g protein

Serve this with a generous portion of tossed salad filled with veggies and Lite Ranch dressing (or vinaigrette dressing).

Enjoy!

shr