Have you ever said, “I sure love you,” to your teenager only to be left verbally sliced and diced due to some hormonal language translation misconnection that screamed in glaring neon pulsating lights, “Insult. . . Insult. . . Insult. . . How dare you talk to me like that,” or a telepathic, silent, “Sure, whatever.”
When my nest was full, I scoured magazines for recipes, filled candy jars, baked and stirred pots simmering goodness that went straight to hearts, even if the road there was through their stomachs.
Over ten years ago, this is what the heart of cooking on my little mountain sprung from:
Well, if their love language at the moment is not words, or an I-love-you-bag” of Sour Jelly Bellys, or a freshly laundered stacked pile of laundry peeking prettily out of their drawers, or a quality time moment sitting on the sidelines of a game shouting, “Shake it and Bake it, Baby” when they score or maybe just someone who spends all their time chauffeuring them to their dreams, or a nice arm pat that releases happy phenomes (I read that in an article years ago) or a sneak-up-on-you hug because that is the only way to get one in, then just maybe you need my secret recipe that will bring a sparkle to those teenage eyes, a flash of that smile that makes the sun shine in that mom-corner of your world. Some people search for the Fountain of Youth. Not me! I just search for any way to break into my sons’ hearts. It was a Nuclear Weapon for Teenage-Heart Breakthrough.
Time marched forward, this particular recipe was forgotten in the schedules, and the nest emptied. I don’t think it emptied because the recipe fell off the menu, though. Life changes like that. Sometimes, people, activities, menu items are in the daily, the weekly – until suddenly, one day, you don’t bump into each other any more – and you don’t realize it until you do.
As the boys have moved out, cooking looks different at The Blue Cotton House. One winter day, I pulled out this recipe to stir in a pot – and my husband asked to leave off the rice and serve it as a soup. Yes! It’s that good on its own. We didn’t have to fill up hungry boys anymore. We just had to fill up ourselves. Filler foods like pasta, rice and potatoes have moved off the daily menu. . . because we’re only growing older, not up.
In early Spring, friends came for a weekend, and I remembered what a perfect companion this recipe is for a gathering. It’s not a labor-intensive recipe. Peeling the uncooked shrimp is the most time consuming task. It doesn’t leave me worn out, so enjoy the gathering. I can join in the sitting long and talking much at the table. The recipe is elegant, delicious, and time-friendly.
A scraped clean plate, a “May I have some more, please,” a “Cook that for dinner, Mom” – all these statements used to translate to, “I love you, Mom.” Sigh! Some dishes, soups or desserts were a secret weapon to break through the hard armor that risked developing in the hard challenges of a day. A dish like this softened that armor. Maybe they possibly felt like they could set it aside for a teen moment or two – and reveal a glimpse of hearts at the kitchen counter.
At some point, they dropped that hard armor they’d placed over their teen hearts, dropped it because they became comfortable with the soul in their skin. They walk through the door, hearts not hidden anymore. God’s silver linings for growing older – so many good things – some as simple as a grown-up child smiling and laughing freely at the family table or counter. I stir the pot on the stove, praying, “Lord, Jesus Christ, thank you for your mercy.”
The nest is almost empty. We’re learning to eat for two – in a healthier (but not less tasty) way. A new season is upon us. Thankfully, this is one recipe we will carry into this new season – either as a warm cup of soup (no rice added) or an impromptu dinner for sweet surprises that walk through our door. This recipe is one for all seasons – literally and figuratively.
It’s been a comfort and joy to welcome this old friend back into my kitchen. Maybe you will enjoy it, too.
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
- 2 cups parboiled long-grain rice such as Uncle Ben’s
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 pounds large, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/4 tablespoon hot sauce
- 2 cup whipping cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Lemony Hot Shrimp and Rice
In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat 1/2 of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and rest covered for 5 minutes.
In a large skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic. Add the shrimp, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Stir in the cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Using a fork, fluff the rice and arrange on a platter. Spoon the shrimp cream sauce over the rice and serve.”
Directions: Creamy Lemony Hot Shrimp Soup
In a large skillet, melt half a stick of butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic. Add the shrimp, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Stir in 3 1/2 cups Chicken Stock and the cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle into your favorite soup bowl or mug, curl up with a warm blanket and book, and enjoy!
Remember Me Monday: #91 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!