Kurichan’s Japanese Sesame Dressing

[Check back later for pictures :-)]  


  A while back I heard a quote from Hippocrates “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”  This resonated with me so profoundly that I find myself thinking it almost every time I begin preparing food for my family.  With so many preservatives, hormones and….well, junk in the food we can buy off the shelf, I have begun a journey of trying to duplicate some of my favorite items.  My goal?  To achieve the same (or better) flavor, and skip the junk! 




     The following is a recipe requested of me almost on a weekly basis.  Thus, I figured it would be the perfect recipe to introduce myself to you all.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.



     Being married to a  wonderful (and handsome) Japanese man and having lived in Japan for a few years has afforded me the great privilege of expanding my tastes and recipes.   A traditional Japanese meal may have 5 or 6 small servings of a variety of foods, carefully balanced in protein, starch and heavy on the veggies. In many cases, each of those 5 or 6 items may have their own kind of dipping or drizzling sauce.  While that, at first, may seem cumbersome, let me assure you that the explosion of palate sensations is well worth the abundance of tiny little dishes that it requires! 

     Among their favorites is a light and flavorful “Goma Dressing” (“goma”=sesame). It can be drizzled over steamed veggies, a fresh green salad or even a grilled chicken breast.  It can also easily cost you $6 for a 4-6oz bottle and come loaded with high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, and several other preservatives and sugars….all of these things I’m quite certain would’ve made Hippocrates sick to his stomach. So, one day I decided it was time for me to have a go of it.  Here is what I came up with. (Not to toot my own horn, but I LOVE to tell Japanese people I made it and giggle as they look at me in disbelief!)  Enjoy!






Yield: approx 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds*

2 1/2 Tbls sesame oil*

1 Tbls white distilled vinegar

1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise (found at most Asian grocery stores. You can use a whipped mayo, but the flavor and texture will not be quite the same)

1Tbls granulated sugar

1/4 cup milk (can substitute plain soy, almond or coconut milk for dairy free options)



*Tahini paste may be substituted for fresh ground seeds and sesame oil but add a little more milk as paste will thicken mixture…and, again, this changes the texture and flavor a bit.



Start by grinding the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle until they are powdery and fluffy.



 Carefully pour ground seeds into a mixing container and add sesame oil.  Stir until seeds are wet.



 Add remaining ingredients in the order listed (this will keep the vinegar from souring the milk) and stir until well blended.



If mixture is too thick, add more milk (1 Tbls at a time). If too thin, add more mayo or ground seeds. Chill for at least an hour to allow flavors to coagulate. 

Store in refrigerator for about 5 days.  Mix well before each use.

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And then there were 5…

Well, the last few months have left me feeling a bit like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand.  *wipes forehead*  The end of a crazy pregnancy left me feeling dizzy most days and just plain sick other days.  Then, the glorious (but by far NOT glamorous) day to welcome our newest family member arrived.  So, now we have made the transition from a quiet family of 4 to a slightly more chaotic family of 5.  I know it sounds completely insane to many people, but we couldn’t be happier and never imagined the joy that our new little one has brought into our lives.

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It has been a strange mix of emotions as we have learned how to manage the insanity of being outnumbered. Haha, I never could’ve imagined how difficult it could be at times, but that has only served to draw me to my knees to seek wisdom and strength from the Giver of all good things.

To say that I am tired would be too obvious, but the reality is that I love my life.  I wouldn’t change a single thing.  I wouldn’t take anything back or even change the timing of it all. 

 

Each day is full of new challenges as I continue the journey of homeschooling, housekeeping, marriage and simply life in general.  The days of a quiet cup of tea while meeting with the Lord and pouring over His Word seem like a distant dream. However, I am encouraged as I am reminded of how short these days are and how quickly my children are growing. It seems only yesterday I was holding my oldest in a tight swaddle as he slept and I wondered how in the world I would manage this new role as a Mother of even one child.  And, now, here I am with 3!  

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Perhaps the most shocking thing about this journey has been the reactions of people when they see our family, or when they ask of our future plans.  When #1 arrived, everyone was thrilled and kept asking when #2 would come along.  When #2 DID finally come along (really #5 when considering our 3 that live in Paradise with Jesus) people spoke often of the perfect balance of 2 kids and the blessing that we had “one of each” to really give us a full experience in parenting. But, this time around, the most common thing I hear is “Are you guys done???” Sometimes the simple question is posed with gentleness and an open mind, while other people can hardly contain their disgust at the thought that we might want more.  

Pardon my own disgust at this approach, but the Scripture calls children a blessing and a sign of God’s favor and I choose to think of them as exactly that.  Ok, I’m getting my feathers ruffled a bit, but it is so sad to me that people can’t contain their judgement when looking at the family that I so dearly love. *sigh* And, while I know it isn’t that simple and that there are many valid reasons one might state for said judgement, that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

So, my response has become vague and simple: We will love and accept as many children as the Lord will give us. But, Lord forgive me if my inner rebel gets the best of me sometimes when I sense judgement from people and follow this with “Well, we actually hope to PAY to add children to our family someday since we have long prayed to adopt!” 

Ramblings aside, my sweet baby is sleeping but probably not for long so I must tend to the screaming mountain of laundry that awaits in the next room!  

*takes a deep breath*

Aaaand, I’m off and running again! 🙂

February Book Review: Totally Geekin’ Out~!

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Well, it’s been waaaay too long since my last book review, (yes, I AM aware that I’m posting a February review in the first week of June!) but, hey, I think I’m entitled to a little slack since I now have an amazing little newborn filling our home with new found joy. 🙂 So, without further delay, here is my latest read:

I’m always looking for a great book to help me totally “geek out” and it’s a bonus if said book is also a fairly easy read.  I am a firm believer that, if you can’t explain it so a 2 year old can understand it, then you don’t really understand it at all.  Well, this book has accomplished all of the above!  Within the first few chapters I was TOTALLY “geekin’ out” and yet learning and being challenged in a few areas that I thought I had totally figured out. (And, since I just recently had a baby, I’m functioning on such little brain power that I was thoroughly impressed that I was able to retain any new and complex information!)  As I read through this book I found myself reading a statement from the author and totally disagreeing and then, as I continued reading about that statement, realizing that I, in fact, completely agreed!  The author’s approach is perfect for helping the reader rethink concepts that we are so familiar with that we, unknowingly, block out any new information.  Whether or not you agree with all of the authors views, I can promise that he will get you to think about life, faith and the universe in a way you never have before….and maybe that was his original intent anyways!  🙂 So, go ahead!  Embrace your inner armchair physicist geek!  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this E-Book free from the publisher through Destiny Image Book Review Program. <http://www.destinyimage.com> Book Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

January review #2: A tool for the dreamer

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I am always on the look out for books like this one.  I have been having dreams of all kinds since I was a small child but learning to “interpret” them has always been scary since most books written are from a secular and/or pagan perspective….which can sometimes be a gateway into a spiritual realm that I care not to enter.  So, let me simplify this a bit by giving you the pros and cons about this book:

Cons:  Sometimes I feel like the authors approach certain subjects with an unnecessary air of controversy.  I was sometimes distracted by the shock of a statement only to continue reading and find out I agreed with them….at least most of the time.  This kind of approach may be needed for some people, but I found it distracting.  I also wish that there was a little more time spent on the how-to of recording dreams and identifying the “theme” of a dream. (Especially since the authors have extensive experience with this gift.) ….but then, I am an extreme detail person, always wanting thorough explanation of such concepts and you may feel their approach is perfect.

Pros: That being said, what I really appreciate about this book is the authors’ many references to the absolute necessity of knowing the Word of God BEFORE ever trying to interpret a dream, how key it is that the concepts of any interpretation MUST coincide with Scripture if it can be given any weight at all, and how learning these skills is, first and foremost, an exercise in discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit.  I also love their simple presentation of the dream symbol dictionary.  I love that they give the Scripture references that led them to most of the interpretations of the symbols. (Although I do wish they had included the “names and places” portion in the main dictionary for those of us using this tool on an eReader or tablet.)

All in all, this is a wonderful tool for the “seer” or “dreamer” who is keenly aware that dreams are more than just something that keeps our minds busy during the night.  I am thrilled to add it to my library.  I think it’s a worthy addition and decently easy to read.  I was challenged on many levels and blessed.  I look forward to using this tool as I seek a greater understanding of this gift I have enjoyed throughout my life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this E-Book free from the publisher through Destiny Image Book Review Program. <http://www.destinyimage.com> Book Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

January Book Review….amazing…a must read for sure!

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Have you become bored in your faith?  Have you walked in the supernatural realm for many years and yet find yourself stagnant and longing for the revival of the soul that you once experienced?  Have you wondered if the Christian life is for you?  Kevin and Chad Dedmon have a challenge for every one of these!  Take a risk!  Step out!  The Christian life, and our lives in general,  were never intended to be boring and mundane.  We were made to jump headlong into the arms of the Lord and step out to the realms where we may make fools of ourselves. I was made to risk it all, my dignity, my pride, that I might be used by Him and live a life that is centered in the supernatural…a life of supernatural adrenaline that is gloriously addictive!
Faith is a mind-set, a culture that comes from within…a willingness to pursue the impossible, yet with a promise that God will always go before us.  If you have been looking for a book to give you even a tiny bit of motivation to step out beyond “the chicken line” in your life, then look no further.  This is a book I will read and re-read.  It has become an instant and permanent addition to my home library. Read it and allow it to move you…I will personally never be the same!

 

 

My first EVER book review…..no promises of granduer!

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“Do you want more passion for Jesus? You have to first experience His passion for you.”
“…truly believing His affections will change you forever.”

This is an easy read, but certainly not short of challenges to take your faith to the next level. Thus, when you reach the end it leaves you hoping for the sequel! This book is a reminder that our relationship with Christ ought to be akin to a great love affair. It is in remembering God’s great initiation of relationship that we are made fully aware of  His passion with abandon toward us.  The author reminds us that we were not just made to love our Creator but our Creator is deeply passionate about us!  The author calls us to take an honest look at the “lenses” through which we view life and God. Is my life based on the lies and pain if my past? Or am I truly seeing myself, my life and my divine destiny through the eyes of the One who created me? The author guides us through simple exercises that, if given the proper attention, can help us realize where we might be basing our view of God and self on pain rather than through redemption. Who I am is entirely wrapped up in how God sees me & that is through the eyes of One who is truly Lovesick!  Read it.  Enjoy it.  Drink deeply…& allow it to lead you higher in your faith!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this E-Book free from the publisher through Destiny Image Book Review Program. <http://www.destinyimage.com> Book Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Bit of Rhema: On Loving One Another

“…love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” 2 John 1:5b-6

A question often posed and seldom answered in a practical, “take responsibility for your actions” way: “What is love?” And here is the answer.  Can it be any more simple than this???  It is a definition of loving one another that I have never taken note of, yet, in the moment my spirit was awakened to it, my thoughts on loving my neighbor were forever changed.

Loving my neighbor is here defined as walking according to God’s commandments.  We can best love each other by living a life that pleases and honors the One, true God.

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God…” 2 John 1:9a

And John continues by using this definition as a way of “proving” our salvation.  I can claim love, but do I obey Christ?  I can claim Christ, but do I live it out practically by loving people?  What an eye-opening truth about love!  A re-enforcement of the command to love God above all else, and in so doing, we fulfill the second: to love one another.  It seems clear then, that, although the Christian life is NOT to be lived or defined by formulas and rituals, that Christ gave us a simple equation to satisfy our human need for a formula to live by: If you love Me, you will obey My commands.  And if you love Me, I mean REALLY love Me, you will fulfill My second most important requirement of you.” (John 14:15) No long list of dos and don’ts.  No shame.  No bondage of slavery to some nagging being trying to control me. No! Rather, a list of the freedoms available to me as I live a life characterized by love…a Love that is a WHO, not just a what.  A love that runs screaming at the top of its lungs “Love me!!!!!!  You will be ruined for anything else!!!!”

It can clearly, therefore be reversed to say that, if my life does not consistently testify of my love for God through my love for people, then I must evaluate if I even truly know the God I claim to be rescued by.

O Lord, may my life ever be marked by, first, a love for You, void of any self-preservation or consciousness.  And, second, a deep love for the people You gave it all to rescue! Love, I am truly undone….and there is no going back! 🙂

 

A Paradigm Shift Moment….


“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:25

These words strike me on a deep level. It is the message I was taught in the middle of the agony of my third miscarriage. It was a paradigm-shift moment in my faith and it ushered in a revival of the soul.
How, in the midst of my deepest emotional valley, could I begin to say and believe that God is good? I mean, He could’ve prevented it, right? But here’s the point: God IS good. If I only loved my children when they behaved, then there would MINIMALLY be a 50/50 ratio of love to loveless. (And all the parents say a resounding AMEN!) So, if I can view my children with forgiveness and faith in who they are, in their immaturity and selfishness, with almost no wisdom of their own, how can I not trust the Lord in His infinite love, wisdom, and maturity? If I don’t let circumstances determine my love and commitment to my husband, why would circumstances determine my faith in the Lover of my soul? My Creator and King? My Lord?
With that in mind, we must acknowledge the two ways this verse might be interpreted and applied. The first is probably universal at a glance: God does good things for the people who’s lives please Him. Isn’t that the first thing that came to your mind? Well, while that may hold a nugget of truth within it, what about the times when that doesn’t seem, in our finite understanding of both our circumstances and of God, to fit or circumstances? Maybe it has nothing to do with what we might receive from Him, but have everything in the world to do with simply gaining an understanding of Him. An understanding that resonates in our spirit that God IS good regardless of my present circumstances. And maybe, just maybe, I can only understand His goodness when I resolve to wait on Him and seek Him….
Just a thought……

Counting days



So here I sit, with my belly so big I can barely reach the keyboard and breath at the same time. How is it that time in pregnancy flies by so quickly…until the last few days??? Haha, it’s a silly thing to complain about, but I really miss bending over with ease!

What a journey this has been. It’s easy to forget what miracle this little girl truly is. A year and a half ago, I would have laughed in your face had you told me that I would have such a problem free pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just imagining it all…not just this pregnancy, but all the tears leading up to this time of my life. I feel like the woman I was a couple years ago almost doesn’t exist anymore. I have learned infinitely more about myself than I ever thought I would in a lifetime…and even more importantly, I have learned infinitely more about my God than I ever dreamed. There were days that I felt completely rejected and betrayed by God and now there are days that I am in such awe of Him that I can hardly utter a prayer for fear that I will ruin that sense of awe. How can such a huge change happen in such a short time? I still don’t fully understand.

As I look back on it all, I remember a few moments that I’m certain were pivotal and I’m not sure if words can truly capture them, but I’ll try. A Sunday when I knew that the Lord was calling me to stand in front of my church and, tearful and trembling, give an impromptu testimony of what the Lord was teaching me in my bitter and hurt state. I found myself begging the rest of our church family to let go of whatever it was that they were holding against God or each other and to stop allowing fear or anger to control their lives. Uttering the words brought conviction on my own soul that I still had so much to release into His capable hands and yet, it seemed that the Lord was showing me, through my own testimony, that He was going to follow through on His promise to never leave nor forsake me. It was as if He was using my own words to reaffirm His promise of deliverance to my still frail and fragile heart.

Again, about 6 or 8 months later, I found myself sitting in church. This time it was a church we were visiting. I was praying and suddenly felt a fear come over me that I had never felt before. And then, a question. The kind of question that every parent dreads facing. The kind of question that Abraham must have asked while walking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice. “Will you completely release all of your rights to your child’s life into My hands? And if I choose to allow the end of that life, will you still trust Me and follow Me?” It was as if I was sitting there in the church service and my precious son was dying as I struggled with this question. I felt compelled to go peak at him through the window of the classroom door….and in nearly hysterical tears I did and stood watching helplessly yet relieved to see him happily playing and laughing. My answer to the question? I knew I couldn’t go look at my son without first releasing him into the only hands that can truly carry him through any given moment of life, and so release is what I did.

Why would such moments of utter and complete brokenness be so pivotal? I can only imagine that they are moments where I let go of things that were never mine to hold so tightly. What is that famous saying from Jim Elliott? “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Whatever the case, I am so thankful for each day. I am so full of life and freedom. I am experiencing the power of my God in ways I never dreamed possible and I am fully aware that it has nothing to do with me…except that I was willing to let it all go.

Oh the freedom and joy of a life lived for a greater purpose than success or money or even happiness! I am truly free indeed! I am forever broken for the good of my own soul….and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂