The Church is Not Always Equivalent to God

Published July 3, 2012 by cookinggamer

Before you read this any further, gentle readers, I warn you this is a very religiously fueled post. I am merely venting my personal frustrations at my own experience with my “home church” and not so much that of the churches in general. I still to this day consider myself a Christian and still struggling to find the right “home” for myself spiritually. If this in any way offends you, please stop reading now.

I grew up going to church. In fact there was never a moment in my stages of growing up where Church Life was not a huge part of who I am. As far and long as I can remember I have been going to church. There are pictures of me going to a church in Hong Kong and then a church we went to for a few years in the Toronto area before we moved into the quiet peaceful area of the Durham region where we attended a small Chinese oriented church that ended up being one of the biggest influences in my life. Ever since the age of 8, my life had revolved around this church. School life wasn’t always easy for me. Grade were but friends weren’t. I was a dork, I was a nerd, I was a loser. Grade school I don’t remember many happy memories. But when I went to church….it was different. It was like I was coming home. I had an extended family that loved me no matter what and I felt safe. Every Sunday as much as I grumbled about getting up to go to service, I looked forward to going because I was hungry to learn. I wanted to be a better person. I wanted to be above all the sadness at school. Most of all, I thought at that time I had a great group of brothers and sisters I could rely on who loved me unconditionally. I always thought that these people would ALWAYS be in my life and be there for me. Every Sunday after church, families would go out together for lunch and then usually congregate at someone’s house for dinner. Summers were filled with BBQs and winters with Chinese Hot Pot dinners. 3 generations would gather and split off to spent time with each other. Everyone else’s moms felt like another mother to me. It was exactly as I had always imagined a church should be like. Full of fellowship and love. Even when my family had problems, people were there for us. They encouraged and spent time with us so we always felt the love of Christ through them. It was going to be ok.

Then something changed. I went off to college. I didn’t just go off to college, I went to mere cooking school. I was thrilled to go and asked for advice on making sure I kept up to my spiritual needs while away at school. I was told to go to a local Chinese church where I went to school and that they will help me out. Accept me into their church family. Boy were they wrong. The first day I went to church I went to the college/university group service. One of the other students came over to talk to me and asked me what program I was taking at the university in town. I told her no I am taking Culinary School at the local college I don’t go to the university. At first she just looked shocked. “You go to just college?” she exclaimed. I nodded. “oh” she composed herself and walked off to join her friends. They whispered some looked over and then began to make after church plans to go to dim sum. I was never asked to go. First step into my disillusion of the Chinese church system.

But hey it’s ok I still have my weekends home to enjoy my home church right? Not really. As time wore on  I started to feel like my brothers and sisters were drifting away from me. After school was completed I decided I wanted to see more of Canada. So I packed my things and worked out in Jasper Alberta for a while. While I was there, no one from my church even bothered to write me an email or FB me asking me how I was doing. In order for me to keep in contact I had to make the first move which was followed by some very half-hearted answers. When I came home from Jasper, I moved to Niagara Falls to live with my then boyfriend. I made the 1.5 hour drive home every sunday morning right after I got off my 6pm-2am shift to make it to service. By then, everyone felt like strangers. The ladies who used to treat me like their own kids barely had time to talk to me. My friends who were like brothers and sisters to me were too caught up in each other to murmur a hi. I was heartbroken so I thought.

2 years ago, my dad got in a terrible accident. He still is recovering from it. He had be a huge part of this church for some time. He taught sunday school. He treated all the kids like they were his. At one point when I was away, he even let one of the kids live in my room for free so he can concentrate on school in the city instead of having to worry about the long commute home every day. My dad is easily one of my greatest inspirations on how to be a good person in this world. How to love completely and with a big heart. He can’t make it to church anymore. Since his accident, sure the first few months people visit. Now, no one from the church he once called home calls or visits. Just recently, one of the kids got married from my church. One of the kids he taught sunday school to. He nor my family was even invited. 

I am not disheartened with God. It’s not God who wills people to be the way they are. It is people who forget and stop caring that act the way they do. I know somewhere out there, there’s a church that is what I expect a church to be. Welcoming, warm, loving and won’t forget about you and what you have done in order to be a part of that church. Being a church goer doesn’t make you a Christian. I learned over the years that being Christian means having God in your heart when things are good and even more so when things are tough. God has seen me through some of the toughest times in my life. I have fallen on my knees many a time crying and praying because I know that only God can save me from myself now. I now don’t ask God to make things go away, I ask God to give me the strength to be that better person and to help me take care of the things in my life no matter how hard or how painful it is. I find joy in God because he has always been my only hope. That will never change. I just hope that someday, when I do find the right church and I am blessed enough to be active again in it, that I will not be like these people. That I will not forget. I will always love, always hope and always accept. 

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Back From Camp! Finally Time To Post!

Published June 26, 2012 by cookinggamer

2 weeks ago I left to work for a catering company that specifically catered to children’s camps. Though the experience was something unusual, I had to cut it short due to personal reasons. Before I had left, I had gone on a huge cooking spree to try and fill my freezer with reheatable friendly meals. I was so busy doing that I didn’t have a chance to actually post the recipes or pictures online for it. Hopefully as I try to get some catering business drummed up on the side for the summer, I will have time to post everything I have been doing again.

Camp was definitely an experience I will never forget. It was two weeks of busting my butt and seeing how differently people react as adults as oppose to children. We had the pleasure of serving both an adult group and a children’s school group while I was away. I was thoroughly shocked at the difference of behaviour in the two groups and how much of a constrast it was to serve.

I had fully expected the adult group to act in a mature, polite, pleasant fashion while the children’s group to be reminded of their pleases and thank yous. Not the case.

Thought the adult group was not 100% bad, we had some really nice ladies in there, the adult ladies group turned out to be very vicious and condescending. While serving this group of women, I swear some of them must have grown up without learning their manners! Some of these women were just out right rude. There was a lot of rolling of the eyes, pouting when they weren’t allowed to eat off the specialty diet menu, and all around snarky comments to the staff. Wow, you would think that middle aged women would be a little more educated and mature in how they conducted themselves but no! It took multiple warnings from the camp directors for them to realize they were in the wrong and should not be talking to staff in that manner.

Meanwhile, we had a group at the second camp I ended up working at from a Montessori school. My goodness, even their least behaved child knew to say please and thank you. They were happy and always excited to eat. We had a few specialty diet kids that we happily accomodated because they were just so gracious for us even going out of our way to create these meals specially for them.

It makes me wonder sometimes, how much can we learn from children? How much of what we learn as children are forgotten as we grow older and feel more entitled to things? Should we not as adults live as we say? I think we really need to look within ourselves especially when we are teaching the next generation and realize that do as we say not as we do is just not right and sometimes if we do  as we say, it would be a much more pleasant experience for everyone involved!

Pork Parmesan with Penne Noodles

Published June 4, 2012 by cookinggamer

When we were at the grocery store yesterday picking up the items that I was going to use in my freezer food idea, I came across a whole bunch of meat marked 30% off. Hallalujah! They all expire as of not yesterday but today. So what am I pose to do? Pick them up it was damn cheap! Since I knew they were going to be cooked off today and frozen any how I wasn’t concerned too much about the expire date as much. One such item was a pack of 3 boneless pork rib chops. I love this cut of meat. It is nice and tender with tons of flavour due to its exquisite marbling much like beef prime rib at a fraction of the cost. I got 3 with the 30% discount for less than $3.00! Bonus!

One of the top sellers at the cafeteria was always chicken schnitzel. I decided why not do it with the pork? I decided to add some stuff to it call it parmesan! 😀 I also was cooking my next post while I was cooking this one so I used some of the veggies from there to balance everything out. You can use whatever veggies you prefer. Hope you folks like it!

3 boneless pork chops, pounded thin for quick cooking

3/4 cup flour

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup bread crumbs

2 tbsp garlic plus seasoning or 1 tbsp garlic salt

3 cups cooked pasta

3 cups sauteed veggies of your choice

1 1/2 cup pasta sauce

Prepare 3 bowls for breading. 1st bowl put in the flour. 2nd bowl mix the milk with the egg and beat until incorporated. 3rd bowl mix bread crumbs with the garlic seasoning well.

Dredge the pork in the flour first, then egg mix then bread crumb mixture. Set aside.

Heat up a pan with about 5 tbsp of neutral flavoured oil. Try vegetable or canola oil.

Once heated, carefully drop in the pork. Let brown on each side for about 5 minutes or until coating is a golden brown.

Place pasta on the plate. Top with veggies and 1 pc of pork. Pour on the pasta sauce. And voila! Dinner is served! It also freezes well so this is how I set it up for freezing.

There are so many different things that we can bread and sauce up. What are some of your favourite combinations?

Pasta Roll Ups

Published June 3, 2012 by cookinggamer

One of my favourite things to have is stuffed pastas. Doesn’t matter if it’s manicotti, cannelloni, shells, etc. Anything goes when it comes to these treats. I usually buy these from the grocery stores pre-done because it’s less hassle. Since I am doing that make meals ahead project for my freezer, I decided to look through my cupboards and see what I could find. I found half a box of lasagna noodles sitting there from the last time I made lasagna. I also bought some ricotta on sale at the grocery store the other day. So, why not? Here is my recipe for pasta roll ups. They freeze amazingly well. I used up the last of my roasted chicken alfredo that I froze last time I made roasted chicken leftovers (recipe is in a previous post) but any type of pasta sauce works great in this recipe.

8 pieces of cooked lasagna noodles, cooled (burns if you try to work with it hot :D)

1 cup ricotta

1 onion finely diced

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp garlic salt

1-3 tsp chili flakes (depends on how spicy you want this)

3 cups of pasta sauce

2 cups shredded cheese

In a small frying pan, melt butter and cook onions until softened. Put into a mixing bowl and mix with ricotta, garlic salt and chili flakes. Set aside.

Cut noodles in half and lay flat on working surface.

Divide up ricotta mixture on to pasta and then roll pasta. Place into microwave safe dish seal side down.

Pour pasta sauce over the roll up and top with cheese.

Cover with lid tightly and freeze for up to 6 months.

To serve microwave until internal temperature hit 160F. This is all dependent on if you plan on eating it right away or cooking from frozen. I suggest defrosting it in the fridge over night before microwaving it so it doesn’t take as long.

1 dish down! More to go 😀

Brand New Cooking Project! :D

Published June 3, 2012 by cookinggamer

So, this summer I am going to be working up at a summer camp for kids as a camp sous chef. EXCITING 😀 I love being outdoors, I love kids and most of all I love cooking. This will definitely be a summer I won’t soon forget I am sure!

But with that being said, that also means that this summer I will not be home to cook dinners/lunches for my bf. He is most capable of cooking on the bbq or ordering out but just because I am concerned with how much junk he may consume, I have decided to freeze a whole bunch of meals for him so he can just reheat and eat! Hence my new cooking project.

I leave in a week, so within this week I plan on making a few freezer cook ahead meals for him to reheat and enjoy while I am gone. With that being said, I will be posting all the recipes I make before I go. Hopefully this project goes smoothly! If you have any ideas for me please feel free to leave them for me! It would help out a lot! 😀

Easy Peasy Sugar Cookies

Published May 28, 2012 by cookinggamer

When we were doing the cookies for the bridal shower this past weekend, I had forgotten where I had put my recipe for sugar cookies. As always, I looked it up on my trusty Ipad. Lo and behold, Martha Stewart to the rescue! This recipe was so easy to make and the best part is the dough is freezable. This makes a great news to me because I made extra dough now that I am home for whenever I have the craving for cookies! 😀

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 lrg egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffly.

Add in egg and vanilla, mix until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and a salt.

Gradually add dry mix into butter egg mixture. Do this in 3 batches and make sure it is well mixed in before proceeding to next batch.

Roll dough out into a flat disk, cover with saran wrap and refridgerate for 1 hour or freeze in freezer for up to 3 months.

To Bake:with parchmen

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough and let stand for 5-10 minutes.

Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment.

Cut shapes with cookie cutters and using a spatula transfer onto baking sheet.

Bake rotating half way through until edges are golden. 10- 18 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.

Let cool before decorating if desired.

Our cookies turned out perfectly. One of the other bridesmaids brought up some cute pans that we actually pressed the dough into in order to get the unique undering on the cookies. We also found some fun packaging tools to help us out as well to make them extra special for the bride to be! 😀

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Sunshine, Flowers, and Sweets

Published May 27, 2012 by cookinggamer

This past few days I have been in London, Ontario to spend time with my beautiful bride to be friend getting ready for her bridal shower. Wow, the amount of work that goes into one of these things is insane! I got super lucky. I am one of the friend bridesmaids so I volunteered to just do the favours as everyone else graciously got everything else covered. I had this idea I thought was super simple and but the idea in my head was still stunning. Wow was I wrong! Though the end result was as awesome as I wanted them to be, the amount of work to pull off this feat was much more than I anticipated! I was lucky enough to have enlisted the help of one of the other bridesmaids and the bride’s sister in law to help me out.

The idea was to make sunflower chocolate pops :

 

They turned out fabulous! 😀 I was so excited because it was the first time I had attempted chocolate molding ever! The sunflowers are going to the in bouquets for everyone in the bridal party because it’s a fall-ish wedding. I thought it would be a fun idea to just have that as a central idea for the wedding.

Then we baked up some delicious devils food cupcakes that we put into plastic cups and then covered them green food coloured cream cheese icing piped with the grass tip. Wanted to make them look like they were just a little potted plant. The result?

I loved the result! I really think I should go into party planning 😀

Tomorrow I will post the cookie packets and the recipe for the yummy sugar cookies 😀