Recipe of the Week: Bibimbap

In addition to being fun to say, bibimbap is delicious, and I’m told it’s a great way of using up any veggies you have on hand. The word “bibimbap” is Korean for “mixed rice,” and the recipe I used included rice, marinated ground beef, seasoned cooked spinach, seasoned cooked bean sprouts, fried julienned carrots, fried mushrooms, egg, and sauce. While the carrot, spinach, and bean sprouts are pretty standard for bimbimbap, I think you could use just about any vegetable to mix in with your rice. The sauce, however, is pretty key here; the primary ingredients are gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) and sesame oil, and before eating, the idea is to mix all the toppings and the rice in your individual bowl with the sauce. You can buy gochujang at Asian grocery stores.


Bibimbap, picture © of Khánh Hmoong at

After making this for lunch on Friday, I got a hug from our Korean friend, so I think the recipe I used from is a winner. I would definitely make this again, but probably not on a Friday, as I am generally pretty wiped out by this point in the week. There’s a decent amount of prep work involved (if you have a food processor, now is the time to use that julienne attachment!) with chopping veggies and making various seasonings, but I imagine it would be pretty quick to cook for a small group or family, as opposed to the 20+ crowd I’m cooking for. Make sure you have the gochujang, and stock up on sesame oil, because every seasoning/sauce involved in this dish includes this ingredient. Enjoy!



Mountain Venture Discipleship Training School (DTS)


Last Summer through Fall, YWAM Turner Valley ran its first Mountain Venture Discipleship Training School. In the lecture phase of the school, students and staff participated in all sorts of great outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and white water rafting, while focusing on lectures themed with the nature and character of God, Bible study, prayer, godly relationships, evangelism, world view and missions. Each week consisted of lectures taught by various speakers, small group discussions, one-on-ones with staff, work duties around the campus, corporate worship and prayer, as well as adventures in the Rocky Mountains. The school was a great success, and Michael and I had such a great time getting to know the DTS students before we headed off on our own adventure with Titus Project in Mexico.

This year, YWAM Turner Valley will be running the Mountain Venture DTS again, and it’s been exciting to see applications come in from various corners of the world, as a new group of students comes together to participate in what God is calling them in to! DTS is a five month program; the first three months are considered the “lecture phase,” while the eight-week outreach phase that follows gives students the opportunity to put what they’ve learned in action, serving in missions in SE Asia.

If you’re wondering what’s next for you, whether you’re graduating high school, taking a university break, or simply want to take a step into missions (whether you’re young or young at heart!), DTS is a great way to grow in God and serve His Kingdom. This year’s school begins July 13th and wraps up December 4th. Check out YWAM Turner Valley’s DTS page for more information on how to apply!


Recipe of the Week: Call-the-Midwife Coconut Cake

Family Day Monday was a holiday here in Alberta, so Michael and I spent the day with our family of friends by hosting a “Call the Midwife mini marathon.” We watched four episodes of our fave show (well, one of our fave shows), and of course, had goodies to match the fifties/sixties era the show is set in.

In the very first episode of Call the Midwife, newly trained midwife Jenny Lee comes to Nonnatus house, an abbey where both nuns and nurses live as midwives, serving the East London community, Poplar. In this first episode, Jenny is greeted by Sister Monica Joan, the most elderly of the nuns, and likely the most mischievous. Sister Monica Joan has a great love for sweets, and she entices Jenny into the kitchen where, between the two of them, they polish off an entire coconut cake meant for supper. Because of the nun’s penchant for cakes, the other inhabitants of Nonnatus had taken to stashing cakes in pots and pans for safe-keeping, but this doesn’t stop dear Sister Monica Joan.


Coconut cake, picture © of Edward Kimber at

Given the history of the coconut cake in Call the Midwife, of course we had to have some at our mini-marathon! In my hopes to find treats that would match all the charm of the show, I borrowed The Life and Times of Call the Midwife: The Official Companion to Season One and Two, by Heidi Thomas, from the library. While this book has an entire chapter on food, it doesn’t have many recipes, but two of those few recipes are for variations on coconut cake. The following recipe comes from the book (Heidi Thomas is also the writer of the Call the Midwife series), but it was included in the form of an old newspaper clipping, complete with spelling mistakes and scant instructions. Because of this, I’m not really sure who to attribute the recipe to. I’ve quoted the recipe below, and have put my interpretation of some of the ambiguous instructions in parentheses.

INGREDIENT. -1/4 lb of desiccated coconut (I used medium unsweetened), 1/2 lb castor sugar, 1/2 lb. of margarine (I used butter), 3/4 lb of flour, 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls of cream of tartar, 1/3 flat teaspoonful of carbonate of soda (baking soda), 3 eggs, milk (I used 1/4 cup).

FOR THE BUTTER ICING. – 12 oz. of icing sugar, vanilla flavoring, 6 oz. of butter, desiccated coconut.

METHOD. – Grease a cake-tin and line with greased paper in the usual way. (I used a 9 inch round cake tin, lined the bottom with parchment paper, and greased the side with butter.)

Sieve the flour with the cream of tartar and carbonate of soda. Whisk up the eggs. Cream the fat and sugar. (I creamed the fat and sugar in a stand mixer for several minutes after I used the mixer to whisk the eggs. I would do this in the other order next time, so the eggs would hold the air a little better.)

Gradually stir in the flour, etc., and coconut alternately with the eggs, and some milk as required (I used 1/4 cup of milk. I mixed the coconut in with the flour and alternated the dry ingredients with the eggs and milk as I added them to the mix).

Mix all together and beat well, put into the cake-tin and bake in a moderately hot oven (I went with 325 degrees F) for about one hour and a quarter, lessening the heat as the cake begins to brown (I turned the temperature down to 300, and yes, I did bake it for the whole one hour and a quarter).

When cooked, turn out carefully and leave on a sieve (cooling rack) until cold.

TO MAKE THE ICING. – Roll the lumps out of the icing sugar and rub it through a fine sieve (I skipped this step).

Add the butter and beat both to a cream.

Flavor with vanilla. (Note: I found this frosting very hard to spread; after I had mega troubles with the first layer of frosting, I added a little milk to loosen the mix, and it was a much happier experience from there on out.)

TO ICE THE CAKE. – Split the cake into three and spread some of the icing between each layer, then sandwich together again.

Spread a layer of icing on the top and all round the sides of the cake, then coat with dessicated coconut.

Note: this is a very forgiving cake as far as cake-decorating goes. I often make a total mess of cakes, mixing the crumbs into the frosting, which isn’t a good look, but dessicated coconut covers a multitude of cake-related sins.

Book Review: A Million Little Ways, by Emily P. Freeman

I wasn’t sure how I felt about A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman throughout my reading of it. I purchased this book after skimming its rave Amazon reviews, but as I read through it, I found myself not entirely joining in with the reviewers’ passion for this work. I really loved the message of this book, and I found Freeman’s points to be valid and thought-provoking, but I found the writing style a bit on the wordy side.


When I read Multiply by Francis Chan, I found it helpful to ask and answer some questions as to my thoughts on the book; that book was also a bit unexpected in its format, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I’ve undertaken the same style here as I process what I read in A Million Little Ways.

What is the book about?

If I were to identify a summary statement for this book, it would be this: “Every moment is packed with artistic possibility because, as an image bearer with a job to do, there is potential to reveal the glory of God in every circumstance, no matter how I feel, who I’m with, what my hands hold, or what’s gone wrong. God with us lives within us. And he will come out through us in a million little ways” (A Million Little Ways, p. 191). The premise of the book is that, as those who bear the image of Creator God, we are called to create, and in that creation, we reflect God to the world around us. The book is divided into three parts: 1) Who is the Artist? 2) Uncover the Art You Were Born to Make, and 3) Release the Art You Were Made to Live. This promo for the book does a great job of highlighting the major themes of the book (I actually really love this video):

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone, but I think it will especially speak to women who feel their day-to-day life is not contributing a great deal to the Kingdom, and to artists who are hesitant about sharing their work with the world. The majority of the examples are of women, and motherhood is referenced often. The message of the book is certainly applicable for anyone, but the style and illustrations would probably speak more to a female audience.

Favorite parts of the book?

There isn’t a particular part of the book that I think back to as a “Yes! I loved that part!” portion. Overall, the message of the book was encouraging and has made me think about how I can live out my own passions, and live on purpose. This weekend I watched a film with a similar theme, and the combination of the book and movie are causing me to examine how I think about my work, and how I can put more of my heart into it. Throughout the book, the Scripture references were interpreted in thought-provoking ways I really appreciated.

Least favorite parts of the book?

Again, there wasn’t a particular part of the book that stands out to me as something I disliked or even disagreed with. The writing style was a bit wordy for me. At the close of the book, the author summarizes each main argument of her work, and I feel I could have read that and understood the messages of the book. Considering the reviews on Amazon, however, this seems to be my personal preference – others love Freeman’s writing style, and it was compared to Ann Voskamp’s work (I have not read anything by Voskamp).

Would you recommend this book?

Because of the great reviews, I actually went into this book thinking I might purchase it for some friends’ birthdays coming up. Now that I’ve read it, I think I would gift A Million Little Ways to others, but maybe not as widely. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it, and there are probably a few people I would specifically recommend it to, but for the more practical, give-me-exercises-to-walk-through sort of person, I would probably recommend it with the disclaimer of my thoughts on the writing style.

I do want to stress that I loved the message of this book, but the style did not click with me. If you like a more poetic, descriptive tone, this might be the book for you, especially if you’re an artist with a fear of sharing your passion with the world, or if you feel you have nothing to contribute to the Kingdom. A Million Little Ways is an encouraging read.

Recipe of the Week: Pulled Pork on Pretzel Rolls

I (Helen) had a hunch this would be the recipe of the week when someone wrote “YAYYYY!!!” next to “pulled pork,” on the menu I posted outside the kitchen. The hunch was confirmed when I walked into the dining room to cheers after serving this meal. To be fair, Michael was the one who actually “pulled” the pork, and massaged the rub into the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. I give him all the hard jobs. I get the fun jobs, like baking the pretzel rolls!

This is really a double recipe of the week, as the slow cooker pulled pork recipe comes from, and the pretzel rolls are the brainchild of Smitten Kitchen. As per usual, I didn’t take any pictures, so you’ll have to picture something like this:

"Paleo Pulled Pork" by Sarah-Rose on Flickr.

Paleo Pulled Pork” by Sarah-Rose on Flickr.

Smothered in barbecue sauce, and sitting atop these:

Pretzel Parker House Rolls by Smitten Kitchen.

Pretzel Parker House Rolls by Smitten Kitchen.

Sort of like this:

"Pulled Pork on Pretzel Roll" by Mark H. Anbinder on

Pulled Pork on Pretzel Roll” by Mark H. Anbinder on

Except the buns were quite a bit smaller. Like pulled pork sliders.

Next time I’d multiply the rolls recipe by six (I multiplied it by three to feed about a dozen people), and make them way bigger. Dainty doesn’t quite cut it for pulled pork, but judging by the round of applause, I don’t think anyone minded having their pulled pork sitting on two small rolls, rather than one large one.

Make pulled pork on pretzel rolls for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day! (Well, maybe not if it’s only your first date. Hand-holding could be a little messy following this meal.)

Would You Pray?

The following is a copy of the text from our latest newsletter/update; it outlines our prayer requests and a brief summary of our time with YWAM Turner Valley since returning from Mexico in December. Would you consider praying for us this year?

Michael and I have been back in Canada for almost two months, after being in Mexico with Titus Project throughout the Fall. We had a relaxing Christmas break, and since the beginning of January have been getting back into the swing of things at YWAM Turner Valley. We’re both teaching in the School of Biblical Studies (Michael taught Genesis, I taught Leviticus), and outside of that, I am running Food Services, while Michael is contributing his talent and ingenuity to the Facilities department, as well as helping out in the kitchen. Through teaching and working in Critical Services, we’re happy to be supporting the ministry of YWAM Turner Valley in a variety of ways that keep our work weeks dynamic and rewarding as we see practical tasks completed!

In addition to contributing to the ministry here, this season is a time of a) discerning God’s next steps for us, and b) growing and preparing for leadership. Now that we’ve completed Titus Project as participants, our next step is to staff a Titus Project somewhere in the world; then we can pioneer Titus here at YWAM Turner Valley. Pioneering a school will be a big step into leadership for us; we are so thankful we are being trained and equipped prior to this, so we can be more ready for what God is calling us to.

In this vital season, we have some big prayer requests. Would you pray with us? Here are some of our prayer requests for 2015:

  1. Pray for discernment as we ask God about where He would have us staff Titus Project. There are several Titus Project programs running in different parts of the world. We want to staff somewhere where we will receive mentorship and training so we will be equipped for bringing Titus to YWAM Turner Valley.
  2. Pray for us as we grow in leadership. We have been appointed the leaders of the Ministry Team here at our campus, meaning we lead a small group of department heads in making practical decisions which affect the everyday running of our facility and ministries. We are also processing leadership questions with the Leadership Team here, working through some of the major challenges we can be expected to face in the coming years.
  3. Pray for us as we teach. We will be teaching in the SBS in the Spring, and later this month, we are teaching an Inductive Bible Study seminar at our church here in Alberta. Pray God would speak through us, and that we would be transformed as we study to teach. Pray we will be effective communicators and that God would capture people’s hearts with a love for studying His Word.
  4. Pray this will be a rich season of growing in the Lord. We feel stretched and busy and know the need to make the most of this time; pray we will lean into God in everything we do. Pray this season would be a time of deepening our love for God, and our love for those He has placed around us.
  5. Pray for YWAM Turner Valley. Our SBS students are half way through their school, and the Discipleship Training School will be starting up again this summer. Many of our staff are shifting into new roles, and our Administrator/Accounts guru and our Facilities/Vehicle care director are moving to Thailand in the Spring! This is a season of change for YWAM TV, and we need to trust God for many things in this time. He is our Provider and Sustainer.

Your prayers are valuable to us, and the Lord hears them! If you feel God is giving you a word for us or our ministry, please contact us! We would also love to pray for you; let us know what’s going on in your life, and how we can be partnering with you and praying for you in what God is walking you through.

If you’d like to receive our newsletters/updates (we send a minimum of four a year, with a few extras when we are on outreach), you can sign up here. We’d love to keep you updated on what God is doing in and through us!

Purnaa Wholesale: Ethically Made, Sustainably Sourced, Creating Fresh Starts and Fulfilled Lives

Back in May 2014, I (Helen) posted about a Kickstarter opportunity to support Purnaa, a social enterprise in Nepal that seeks to create jobs for survivors of exploitation – those who have experienced human trafficking, bonded labor, and discrimination because of caste, religion, or disease. The Kickstarter campaign’s goal was to raise $7000 and create work for Purnaa employees, by providing rewards for backers, including beautifully made bags, t-shirts, scarves, and hats. The campaign was a wild success, raising $31,313. As a backer I received a lovely Anita canvas leather bag, so I can vouch for the quality of the products of Purnaa; I love that my bag was a small part of supporting Purnaa’s mission as a force for change, improving lives and communities locally and globally. Nepal captured our hearts when Michael and I were there in the summer of 2013, and we’re proud to know one of the families that founded and directs this social enterprise.

To my delight, I recently discovered Purnaa is continuing to produce their own line (previously they were mainly manufacturing garments for other clothing lines). They’ve expanded their line to include not only the products offered as part of the Kickstarter campaign, but other beautifully crafted garments, bags, scarves, and even home decor! While they are not selling these items individually online, Purnaa hopes to capture the attention of shops and boutiques, and sell their line wholesale to business owners who can act as distributors of their quality products.

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Though business owners are the target audience of Purnaa’s Fall line (the products will be shipped by July 15th), the minimum order for a wholesale purchase is $500 USD, which means you don’t have to be a business owner to purchase Purnaa products wholesale! You can gather a group of socially-minded friends together to purchase these products, or maybe even let your church know about the opportunity to support a social enterprise in Nepal! This is a great opportunity to purchase Purnaa’s beautiful new items at wholesale prices (the suggested retail price is obviously significantly higher), and because Canada and the EU enjoy duty free status for items made in Nepal, the only extra costs are sales tax and shipping. Do keep in mind that the prices listed in the catalog are in USD. The deadline for ordering is March 1, 2015.

My favorite items from the catalog are the Priya tunic, Rama hoodie, Mingma scarf, and Annapurna pillow. The fall line also includes men’s wear, as well as several items made out of 100% cashmere. Cotton products are 70% bamboo, making these products not only socially responsible, but sustainably sourced. The Kalpana sari scarf is made out of 100% re-purposed saris.

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If you own a business and are interested in selling Purnaa’s products, or if you’d like to get a group together to make a wholesale purchase of minimum $500 USD worth of items, check out Purnaa’s Fall 2015 Catalogue. You can also learn more about Purnaa by going to their website,, and discover what God is doing through this social enterprise in Nepal.