Spinach Artichoke Dip

Who doesn’t love a good warm, creamy dip? This is a dip I love to serve with pita chips.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  frozen package of spinach thawed and drained or 1 package of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Swiss, mozzarella, or provolone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Saute the onions and garlic.

Sauteing garlic and onion

Add the spinach. If you are using fresh spinach, cook until it is wilted.

Cooking the fresh spinach

Add the remaining ingredients.

Adding remaining ingredients for the dip

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything is blended together.

Blending and melting the cheeses

Serve warm.

Muffuletta

If you are going to have a sandwich for dinner, you should make it something special. A good muffuletta from Central Grocery in New Orleans is one of my favorite sandwiches. This version certainly brings back memories of my last trip to Central Grocery and makes me long to return to New Orleans where the best food in the world can be found.

INGREDIENTS

  • ciabatta bread
  • mortadella
  • salami
  • ham
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • provolone cheese slices
  • olive salad

Assemble the ingredients for the muffuletta.

Muffuletta ingredients

Bake the ciabatta bread according to the instructions on the package. Spoon olive salad one slice of the bread.

Assembling the muffuletta

Place the meat and cheese on the bread.

Muffuletta–ready to eat

Put the sandwich together and enjoy.

Weathering the Storms

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, plant, outdoor and nature
Photo by Tamara Pittman

Mark 4:35-41 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

When I’m in a stormy part of my life I actually don’t pray for God to calm or remove the storm. Instead, I ask God to stand with me and help me weather the storms of life. Let me explain why I choose this sort of prayer.

  • First, if you notice in the account of the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was sleeping through the storm. The disciples woke him–not the storm. Also, notice that Jesus asked the disciples why they were so afraid. This indicates that the storm was not upsetting to God who can control the wind and the waves. Therefore, if God is with me in my boat of life, I have no cause for fear. He can control the situation and I should have faith in his ability to calm the winds and the waves when needed.
  • Secondly, I believe God knows how big to allow the storm to get before he intervenes.

1 Corinthians 10:13 New International Version (NIV)

13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

In this letter written by Paul, most scholars agree that the word temptation is used in the sense of testing. God knows how much to test us and provides us a means to withstand the storm. Therefore, I try to maintain faith in his judgement when life’s storms rage. The Bible gives us examples of other faithful people being tested–the most extreme example being Job.

  • Thirdly, sometimes, we wonder why we are being tested, but I recall that the disciples asked Jesus that question about a man who had been born blind.

John 9:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

I may not understand the purpose of the storm I am enduring, but again I must have faith that God has a purpose.

In conclusion, although the storms of life may rage at times, I remember that Jesus asked his disciples,”Do you still have no faith?” Then, I decide to have faith that God is in control of the storm, provides a way for us to endure the storm, and has a purpose for the storm. Therefore, I ask God to stand with me during the storm. The storm itself may not dissipate. However, I feel a calm and a peace within my heart.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, tree, plant, outdoor and nature
Photo by Tamara Pittman