MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 8, 2013

Make time for ‘Crazy Busy’

Melony Carey
Food by the Book

— It was a friend’s email that coincided with my reading Kevin DeYoung’s “Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem.” She was saying it is a blessing to be so busy in a mission to which we are completely committed, but was wondering if we are sacrificing other pieces of our lives for the sake of helping others. DeYoung, who wrote the book as a way of working the problem out for his own too-busy life as a minister, would say unequivocally yes.

DeYoung, who was born in 1977 before technology ruled our lives, has seven diagnoses for our busyness that are aligned to Christ’s life and the Scriptures. These are not as heinous as the 7 Deadly Sins, but do include vices such as trying to do too much; over-parenting; too much addictive screen time with texting, social media, emailing, mindless television, and video games; and not enough rest. All of these are an outcropping of the fact that we have filled our leisure time, made possible by the very kind of technological advances that control us today, with more and more distractions and activities.

Furthermore, because life has become so much easier and an almost limitless opportunity abounds for us today, we are all the more shocked when we cannot do everything or help everyone. Dealing with this human limitation is most certainly a psychological and spiritual challenge facing the modern era, if we only slow down and unplug long enough to contemplate it.

Control the chaos in your crazy busy week with a crazy good make-ahead casserole. Your family will be glad you did.



Curried Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 8 ounce container baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

8 cups cooked chicken tenders

6 cups cooked jasmine rice

10 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli

16 ounce container sour cream

1 can cream of mushroom soup

3 cups grated sharp cheddar, divided

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 3 quart baking dish. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. In a large bowl, vegetable mixture with chicken, soup, rice, broccoli, sour cream, 2 cups cheddar, Swiss cheese, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper. Mix well; top with remaining cheddar. Pour into baking dish and cook 45 minutes or until browned and bubbly. If making ahead to freeze, place in freezer proof baking dish or foil pan, cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze until ready to bake. Source: Southern Lady, September 2013.



Butterscotch Toffee Blondies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

11 ounce package butterscotch morsels

8 ounce package toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil; spray with non stick baking spray with flour. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, beating to combine. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low until blended. Stir in butterscotch and toffee. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on wire rack. Makes about 2 dozen very delicious bars. Source: Southern Lady, September 2013.