Inspiring Vegetables for Frigid Days

Last November Dale and RuthAnn were asked to teach a ten-week course on cooking at First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. Now fourteen of us are gathering every Wednesday night in the Staff Kitchen.

   We have finished four weeks of the course and feel God is on the move. In our hour and a half sessions we are using chapters of our cookbook to demonstrate how to prepare certain dishes. Then our students enjoy samples and meditate on topics like Hospitality and the Colors of God. We’re finding it is great fun for all. It is something tasteful, something beautiful, something creative. We need evenings like this in these desperate times.


Dale’s World:

 Autumn Medley  

This colorful mixture of cold weather vegetables will brighten any dinner plate, and the flavor harmonization may be something new for you!


You will need:

2 medium Rutabagas                                    ¼ cup of Water

2 medium Sweet Potatoes                        3 Tbs. Butter

16 Brussels Sprouts                                    3 Tbs. Honey

2 Tbs. chopped Chives                        ½ tsp. Salt

Winter Vegetables

Winter Vegetables


  1. Peel and julienne the rutabagas.
  2. Peel and julienne the sweet potatoes.
  3. With a paring knife trim the dried stem end from the Brussels sprouts and remove any discolored leaves.
  4. Chop the chives into ½ inch sections.
  5. Wash the vegetables.



  1. Place all the vegetables into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Add ¼ cup of water.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and punch 3 or 4 small holes in the plastic wrap to permit excess steam to escape.
  4. Use the full power of your microwave and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. When the vegetables are fork-tender drain with a colander.
  6. Place the vegetables back into the cooking dish.
  7. Stir in the butter, honey and salt.
  8. Toss with the chives and serve.


Food for Thought:

A Season for Everything

For the best taste, the gourmet chef makes it a rule to use vegetables and fruits when they are in season. A tomato, for example is tasteless in the winter months, and so it is with strawberries. The flavor of the rutabaga and sweet potato, on the other hand, are at their best in the cold months, and they contain vitamins and minerals that help us manage freezing weather.

The Word says, “There is a time (or a season) for everything” Ecclesiastes 3:1. Nature’s seasons lend rhythm to our lives: There’s spring, then summer, then autumn, then winter. This is true not only of Nature but also of the span of a person’s life. Childhood is our spring; young adulthood our summer; the middle age years, our autumn, and the elder years our winter. It is in these elder years that we scramble to accomplish the things we’ve left undone, and begin preparing for death.

It’s important we not ignore the seasons of our lives, but learn from each one so we can grow in wisdom and come into maturity in Christ.

In Psalm 90:12, Moses models a prayer for us I’ve often used as my own. “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Teach me, Lord, to number my days that I may apply my heart to wisdom.

Consider the different kinds of times or seasons Solomon writes about In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

“There’s: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot.

A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build.

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them; a time to embrace and a time to refrain.

A time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

As we discussed these seasons in our Inspiring Cuisine class,we thought of how sometimes a plant that grows tall and beautiful in our garden may turn out to be a noxious weed. We need to have the wisdom to uproot it. We discussed the idea of urban renewal where dilapidated buildings are demolished to make room for something that will better meet the needs of the community. We thought about how important it was to learn discretion, to know when to speak and when to be silent; we discussed the season of suffering. There’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”(Ecclesiastes 3:4).

C.S. Lewis said, “We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities,” when things are going well, “but pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but SHOUTS in our pains: it is his megaphone to arouse a deaf world.”

One winter I had a season of such severe depression that I had to be hospitalized for two long weeks, and when I returned home, I was still delusional, and I couldn’t eat. My husband rose to the occasion and watched over me, helped with my meds, cooked for me (which was a miracle since my husband hates cooking) and coaxed me into eating.

Soon I began seeing a counselor. The medicines, the counselor and my husband’s loving care carried me to a fresh place in my spirit and desires. God was making me a new creature, taking away my tendency to isolate myself, giving me a desire for more social interaction, a new heart for serving, and unexpected chances to do the creative work I so enjoy.

God is a God of second chances. How grateful I am!

Our father God is a God of seasons. He is also the God of Hope.

May God make you wise to number your days, evaluate the happenings and lessons in each season, and find joy in his goodness.

I pray this for each of you:

“May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope” (Romans 15:13, The Message).

—RuthAnn Ridley

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