The Way

I was studying this verse and thinking about Jesus, when He said, “I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One of my favorite Bible study tools is the Wonderful way to research! So I discovered that the word Jesus used in this verse was the Greek word “hodos”.

Strong’s G3598 – hodos

“You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I AM the Way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:4

The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. Hebrews 9:8
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised us is faithful.” Hebrews 10:20-23


Looking in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for the way is “derek”… check out the interesting thing I discovered in the NIV text note!

Strong’s H1870 – derek

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.   Isaiah 35:8

NIV text note: Isaiah 35:8 “the Way of Holiness: the way set apart for those who are holy; only the redeemed (v9) could use it. In ancient times, certain roads between temples were open only to those who were ceremonially pure.”

So by his instruction to Thomas, Jesus was not only showing that He was the Way into the presence of God – formerly the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place – but He was fulfilling Old Testament scripture again, by referring to Isaiah 35:8-10. He is the prepared Way, the “highway” to God’s temple in Zion, which the unclean/unredeemed may not walk upon. Only the ransomed, those walking His Way, will enter Zion with singing, everlasting gladness and joy, with no more sorrow. Sound familiar? Sounds like Revelation…


Pressure Canning Organic Dry Beans

To start off I have to admit that I didn’t come up with this nifty idea… just found it elsewhere online. But wanted to share… it’s fantastic!
I have previously been frustrated with my efforts to pressure can dry beans. Whether pinto or turtle, garbanzos or Great Northerns, the silly things always come out terribly messy and mooshy. The currently accepted method of home canning beans involves pre-soaking and then cooking for 30 minutes before loading into hot jars. By the time you finish the suggested 90 minute processing time, your beans are pre-fried. 🙂 Yuk. Not that I don’t enjoy refried beans as well as anyone who ever lived in Texas, but, I want my chickpeas/garbanzos to LOOK like chickpeas/garbanzos. I want a Great Northern to have a shape, a navy bean to salute, a black-eyed pea to wink at me. Well, you know what I mean.
Enter the PREVIOUSLY accepted method of home canning beans.

Ready for the canner

Ready for the canner

Yes, those beans are dry, uncooked, unsoaked… or they were, before they were loaded 1/2 cup at a time into clean pint jars (warm from a recent scrubbing bath, but not boiling hot), had seasonings added (in this case, the green-tinted jars had 1/2 tsp summer savory added), then boiling water poured over them. Seal them with your warm lids and rings, load them up in the canner.
Placed in pre-heated pressure canner

Placed in pre-heated pressure canner

Process according to pressure cooker directions (full steam vent for 10 minutes, apply weight – in my case, 15# due to elevation here in Montana, then begin timing) for 90 minutes for pint jars. I haven’t tried this with quart jars yet, as I expect that the more densely-packed beans may take longer to absorb liquid. Let the canner cool down on it’s own and release pressure before removing lid.

I just can’t bring myself to pay over $3/can for organic beans… but I use beans ALOT. And I like to cook what inspires me, so pre-planning and going through the process of cooking a pot of beans in the morning (having soaked overnight, or done the 2-hour quick soak method) doesn’t always work for me. I like to have beans to make a quick soup (or to bean-up the soup I’ve already made, or stretch leftovers), to top a salad, to provide a fast side dish… beans are inexpensive (if you’re not buying them already canned) and great for us. So spending an afternoon running the canner saves me time and money later.
From start (with equipment, beans, clean jars all assembled) to finish (pulling the bubbling jars from the cooled-down canner) takes me about 3 hours and 30 minutes. Since I have two canners (I’m rich! I’m rich!!) I can get 18 pint jars of beans in the same length of time! But even with a single canner, 9 pints is an excellent return on the investment of your time, since you can easily do other things while the canner is roaring away on the stove. It’s a great way to spend a wintery day… do try to keep outside doors opening and closing to a minimum, as you want to maintain a steady temperature in the kitchen to prevent pressure changes within the canner… these can result in liquid boiling out of the jars during canning.

Now that's a bean!

Now that’s a bean!

Pressure Canning Dry Beans

1/2 cup dry beans (of any type)
1/2 tsp sea salt or other canning-type salt
seasonings as desired (garlic, savory, black pepper, etc)

1 – Add ingredients to warm pint jars.
2 – Cover with boiling water or broth to 1″ from rim. Be careful to be no more or less than this for best results!
3 – Process for 90 minutes at pressure recommended for your elevation (10# for sea level, 15# above 3,000).

Remember when you reheat your beans to eat them that they love a little fat for best digestibility – a nice glug of olive oil, for example! Bon Appetit!

Homemade Pizza Sauce

16 cups tomatoes, diced
1-2 sweet onions, minced
4 tbs garlic, minced
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs parsley, minced (can substitute kale)
1 tbs oregano
2 tbs basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp summer savory

1 – Puree tomatoes in food processor.
2 – Add all ingredients to crockpot, stir well to combine.
3 – Cook on low with crockpot lid ajar (to allow steam to escape) for up to 24 hours! Liquid will reduce by half.
4 – Ladle into hot pint (or half-pint jars), add hot lids and rings, process for 30 minutes (at 3500′ elevation) in boiling water bath.

Stretching the Pesto

This is a yummy, nutritious way to stretch your basil into a great pesto!

2 cups kale leaves, stems removed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Briefly steam kale in steamer basket (about 30 seconds), then dunk into ice water to stop cooking. Drain.

Add kale, basil, walnuts and garlic to food processor. Process about one minute. Slowly add olive oil until pesto is smooth.

Stir in parmesan cheese.

Serve over pasta, or freeze in flat quart-sized Ziploc bags (as a thin slab of pesto).

Plain Canned Tomatoes

I make a bunch of jars of these tomatoes each year; I use at least 1 pint per week and sometimes several more. Tasty, easy, fast!

4 cups tomatoes per quart jar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (per quart jar)
1 teaspoon sea salt (I use RealSalt – per quart jar)

I do not peel my tomatoes, primarily because I can my own organically-grown fruit. If you’re using non-organic tomatoes, they should be dipped in boiling water for 60 seconds then into ice water, to peel.

Core tomatoes if necessary; quarter then dice roughly.

Heat diced tomatoes in juice in a large stock pot, stirring frequently. Boil gently for 5 minutes.

Fill hot, sterile quart jars with hot tomatoes, leaving a 1-inch headspace.

Add lemon juice and salt to each jar. Top with hot lids and rings. Process in boiling water canner for 60 minutes (at 3500′ elevation – 50 minutes for lower elevations, adjust for higher).

To use this recipe to make pint jars, use 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint jar, process for 45 minutes.

Homemade Tomato Paste

This is a great recipe to either can or freeze, when an abundant tomato harvest means that you need to utilize every possible option to use them up! It’s also more healthy and better tasting than store-bought. For organic or homegrown tomatoes, I do NOT skin them.

16 cups Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
1/2 to 1 cup onions, diced (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup dehydrated diced onions)
2-3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried basil)
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano)
1 tablespoon sea salt
4-6 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tablespoons jarred minced garlic)
1-2 tablespoons honey (optional, if you prefer it sweeter)

1 – Wash and chop tomatoes. I simply quarter them then slice sideways through the quarters 2-3 times so they are in rough pieces. It is NOT necessary to blanch and remove skin in this recipe!
2 – Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot, and cook on High for one hour, then turn to Low, prop the lid ajar with a toothpick to let steam escape, and let cook 12+ hours. I set this up during the day and let it cook overnight. The lycopene in tomatoes is released during long, slow cooking, so you are actually making your tomato paste more nutritious with a long cook time! The released steam will condense your tomato paste so it isn’t so watery.
3 – Let cool somewhat after cooking. (I remove the lid entirely)
4 – Remove the bay leaves.
5 – Process in batches through a food processor until smooth. This micro-minces the very soft skins so they are virtually undetectable in the final product. Dump batches into stockpot as you go, and reheat gently as you prepare 1/2 pint jars for canning (boiling them in hot water for 10+ minutes, and place lids in very hot but not boiling water to soften).
6 – Here in Billings, Montana we are at 3500 feet elevation, so I add a bit of processing time. Process 1/2 pint jars for 50 minutes in hot water bath.

Jill O’s “Chop It With The Hand GOD Gave You” Slaw

I just have to share this great recipe from my friend… it’s great for this time of year! I have to admit that it is presently the *only* coleslaw recipe that I actually like… can’t stand raw onions in my slaw, or sugar, or Miracle Whip (feeling faint). This hits the spot, especially when you’ve got a big, fresh, organic head of cabbage just begging for special treatment. We find it super delicious! Here goes:

Jill’s Slaw:
4 cups green cabbage, chopped
1-2 medium carrots, minced
1-2 green onions (or a few tablespoons minced chives)

1/2 cup mayo (thinking Hellmans or Best brands, or homemade)
1/2 cup sour cream (I use kefir or yogurt instead)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
pepper, to taste

She writes, “I use my vitamix to chop the veggies but you can use a food processor or the hand GOD gave you, ha. Blend the ingredients for the dressing and pour over slaw, mix with spoon. Enjoy!”

It’s super fast and really easy, and kefir/yogurt and apple cider vinegar are really good for you… let alone cabbage and carrots and green onions or chives! We’re having it tonight with roast chicken.