The day of the nations

Today we celebrate Pentecost. And our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Shavout.

I love this holiday!

The First Pentecost was about the Nations

The rabbis tell us that on Shavout, God descended in fire on to Mt. Sinai and gave Torah. There was lightening, thunder, smoke, horn blasts, and trembling. It was such a powerful experience, Exodus 20:18 says

“…the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke…”

People saw the thunder!

The rabbis also teach us that God’s voice split into 70 tongues all the languages of the nations of the earth at that time.

I grew up thinking the Torah was given to the Jewish people on Sinai. I love that Midrash discusses how every nation received God’s commands from Sinai.

Fire and Wind and Foreign Languages

As a follower of Jesus, knowing the rabbinic conversations adds so much more depth to Pentecost. God descending in fire descending, sound like a violent blowing wind…and people talking in the languages of all nations.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I love that.

God’s heart has always been for the nations. And God continues to extravagantly reach out to us. In our own language. Busting out all over.

I love that we are being pursued by a such a loving God.

Palmetto Winter Solistice – an Imperial Stout

Brewing my first beer in five years is a solid sign that we’re really settling in to our new home here in South Carolina!

My fifteenth homebrew over all, I decided once again to try my hand at a “big” beer. Previous attempts, even odd attempts, still produce “normal” ABV. So this time, I based my recipe off one in Extreme Brewing.

I must say, I love living in Greenville. We have lots of great homebrewing resources. It having been five years, I needed to replace some supplies. I was even able to add kegging equipment for the first time ever in my brewing. The folks at Upstate Craft Beer Company and Thomas Creek were amazing. I also got helpful advice and supplies at The Southern Growl and Grapes & Grain.

I used the Imperial Stout recipe from Avery Brewing but had to make changes given the reality of local supplies. Like all the previous brews, this was a partial mash. Here’s the recipe I used.

Palmetto Winter Solistice Imperial Stout – a partial mash


5 gallons of water and 2 grain bags


  • 6 oz Cara 10 malt
  • 5 oz Black malt
  • 5 oz Chocolate malt
  • 5 oz Dehusked Carafa III
  • 12 oz Honey malt
  • 12 oz Cara 60 malt


12 lbs of extract

  • 2 x 3.3 lbs can CBW Traditional Dark
  • 2 x 1 lb Dry Briess Dark Traditional
  • 2 x 1 lb Dry Briess Sparkling Amber


  • 3/4 lb Turbinado crystals (60 min)
  • 1/2 oz Magnum Hops (60 min)
  • 1/2 oz Magnum Hops (30 min)
  • 1.5 oz Sterling Hops (end of boil)


Wyeast 1056
One week later I added another Wyeast 1056.

OG: 1.100

FG: 1.029

ABV 9.3%

Very pleased

I’m quite pleased. Not only did I learn about brewing big beers, but I learned about kegging! This was such a good experience – and such a great beer – I’m already making plans for my next beer. 🙂

Pitman Imperial Irish Meat Pie

Imperial Irish Meat PieOur first meat pie in our new house called for a new recipe. So in addition to all the meat pie recipes I’ve done in the past, I incorporated parts of an Irish Stout Pie and BBC’s Proper beef, ale, & mushroom pie.

Here’s what I did!

Pitman Imperial Irish Meat Pie

  • 2 pounds of chuck
  • Flour
  • Bacon fat
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • Beef bullion
  • 12 ounces Lagunita Imperial Stout
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 pie crusts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Cut the steak into 1/2 inch cubes and sprinkle with flour. Then brown in bacon fat in a skillet. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer the steak into a pot.
  3. Sautée onions in skillet (add more bacon fat if necessary). Add carrots, celery, and mushrooms in skillet and let cook. Add bullion, beer, and garlic cloves. Let all simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the brown sugar and raisins.
  5. If you got a bigger bottle of beer, sip some of the extra.
  6. Pour skillet contents into pot with steak.
  7. Cover pot and cook in oven for 2 to 2.5 hours. Stir occasionally.
  8. Once the stew is done, take out and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Place one crust in a pie pan and put in oven for 8-10 minutes until somewhat brown.
  10. Spoon stew into pie and cover with second crust. (I cut slits in the top of the second crust.)
  11. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes until brown.
  12. Let sit for a few minutes. Then cut and enjoy!

The Pitman Imperial Stout Meat Pie is definitely a great pie. I liked the mushroom mix I picked up at the new Lowe’s grocery store near us. It included shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Next time I will probably sprinkle on cheddar cheese before putting the second crust on top.

Yes, there will definitely be a next time!

Will this be cute in 10 years?

Thanksgiving 2015As the kids were growing up, when they’d do something slightly naughty or disrespectful we often asked ourselves, “Will this be cute in ten years?”

It wasn’t hard to guess. Emily was the assistant house mother for around 40 teenage girls. And there were a couple hundred teenagers at the boarding school. We could easily imagine our kid’s behavior in “teenage clothes” and realize that it wasn’t something we wanted to encourage.

And it has paid off. Big time.

Our kids are now 16, 13, and “almost 11.” And they are a blast.

Take our dinner conversations for example. Yesterday was my birthday. Our conversation ranged from:

  • Different forms of birth control – I shared my mother’s womb with a Dalkon shield so that tends to come up on my birthday
  • To a quote from the IT crowd – Moss’ “My ears are not a toilet!”
  • To lines from “The Banana Song – “Guac-amole, Gauc, Guac-a-mo-oh-oh-le”

Sure they’re human. But they are nice humans

In thinking about our dinner last night, I remembered that “Will this be cute in 10 years” question. Sure, our kids are human. Like the rest of us so they have good days and bad days. But I’m really glad we asked that question all those years ago. Because our kids are a delight.

And if you’re interested in that last song…here it is. You can’t un-hear it.

Wandering or following a calling? Thoughts in Advent

“While other people wandered the mall wondering, our kids were following a calling.”

My friend Jon Swanson wrote this about the treasure hunt they led their kids on in a mall. But today, I’d encourage you to take a second look at the wandering person you care most about. Could it be that they are following a calling that you simply don’t understand?

Wandering and following may look the same from the outside

They might not understand the calling either. They may just be trying hard to figure out the next clue. And they may be feeling incredibly lonely and exposed doing it.

Might that help turn your with and nagging to kindness and trusting silence this Advent?

Read Jon’s entire post at

Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffin Recipe

Wondering what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Yesterday, I wondered about using some Thanksgiving leftovers to make muffins.

Today, I created some! My base for the recipe was a Savory Sausage, Cheese and Oat Muffins recipe over on But I made some modifications.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffin Recipe

1 1/4 C unbleached flour (we like King Arthur)
3/4 C old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (heaping)
1 tsp onion powder (heaping)
1/3 C butter (melted)
1 egg (beaten)
1 C milk (we use skim)
1 – 2 C leftover turkey (cut into small pieces)
1/2 – 3/4 C grated extra sharp cheddar (we like Cabot New York Extra Sharp)
Some cranberry sauce (the canned variety)

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (but wait to add the turkey and cheese).
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Fold in the turkey and cheese.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
    • Put some batter in to cover the base.
    • Add a spot of cranberry sauce.
    • Cover over the cranberry sauce with batter on top and sides.
      Putting the cranberry sauce in the Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffins
  7. Put the tin in the oven until the muffins are brown. I found this took about 15 minutes.
  8. Let tin cool on rack for 5 minutes.

The results? Yumminess!

Since it’s basically a turkey and cheese sandwich, I tried one with mustard. That made a nice lunch.

Thoughts for the next time I make the Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffins

These are moister than the normal chocolate chip and oat muffins I make every week. Next time I will let the muffins cool out of the muffin tin but on the wire rack before putting them on a plate.

Also, next time I will try using vegetable oil instead of melted butter. And I think I’ll add more cranberry sauce – the sweetness was nice. (I didn’t want to over do it this time and was very pleased that none of the sauce leaked out!)

To see more goofy pictures of the Lego muffin guy, look out for the #weeklymuffin on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffin Success