Embrace Your Layers

Welcome It’s Two-For-Tuesday and since I’m talking about layers today, I have to share some layered recipes. I’m going to talk about embracing the layers of who we truly are, and then share two classic recipes. We have a southwestern spin on a cornbread layered salad and the always-popular 7-layer cookie bars. Thanks for stopping by! Note–I may receive a small compensation from affiliate links seen on this blog post. For further information, please see my Terms and Disclosure page.

Food For Thought  Have you seen the animated movie from Dream Works, Shrek?  Odds are, you probably have.  Do you remember the part when Shrek and Donkey are walking and Shrek says, “For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.”?  He then compares himself to an onion, not because he stinks or makes people cry, but because he has layers.  “Onions have layers.  Ogres have layers.”  Donkey informs Shrek that not everyone likes onions, but cakes have layers and everyone likes cake.  Shrek says, “I don’t care what everyone likes!”  I like this dialogue.  We’re not ogres walking around with talking donkeys, but as people, we do have layers.  And I’m going to go along with Shrek here with the onion comparison for a couple of reasons.  First of all, to imply that our layers are like cake, makes me think that all of the layers are sweet and pleasant.  If I’m going to be completely honest, I have some very unsweet layers!  I may not necessarily be proud of them, but oh, they’re definitely there!  My second agreement is when Shrek says, “I don’t care what everyone likes!”  Yes, he is being grouchy and cantankerous, but to speak personally, some of my “best” layers are the layers that not everyone likes.  Going against the grain to avoid gossip, materialism, and standing up for what is right are often the layers people don’t like and cause others to turn against you.  But for the sake of being an upstanding citizen and Christian, it’s worth embracing the layers that not everyone likes.

We are all complex individuals, with different layers to our personality and who we are and how we try to portray ourselves to others in different situations.  But even when you peel away the layers of the onion, it’s still an onion…smells like an onion, tastes like an onion.  When my layers are peeled away, I should still be a Christian, and my Christian faith should permeate every other layer of my personality and life.  I have not always allowed this to happen, but I’m working on it.  Some of my layers I have tried to keep deeply hidden and not let others see them, for different reasons.  But every layer makes up who I am as a whole person, and it’s time to embrace those layers!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my husband and I shared a five hour car ride, giving us plenty of time to talk.  One of the things we talked about was how long it takes us in our life to figure out what we really want.  I’m brushing up against turning 40, and I told him that I finally feel like I know what I want in life and the direction I want to go, but it would have been incredibly easier if I had known 20 years ago what I wanted and what was most important.  It turns out, instead of embracing my own layers, I was trying to make my layers fit everyone else’s expectations.  I thought what other people wanted was what I wanted too.  My husband says chalk it up to maturity and wisdom.  So now I’m embracing all of my layers, and like Shrek, I can say, “I don’t care what everyone likes.”  My layers are about worshipping and serving a God that has given me infinite love and grace.  My layers are about being the best wife and mom I can be, knowing perfection is unattainable.  My layers are about finding my own happiness and joy and not feeling guilty about it.  My layers are about having conservative opinions and values because I feel it’s what is right.  My layers are embracing simplicity and letting go of pretention.  Embracing my layers is allowing me to laugh heartily, love genuinely, forgive deeply, and live gratefully.  Embrace your layers…you are exactly the way God wants you to be!

Today’s Scripture  Even our Bible scriptures recognize that “one body has many parts.”  When we think of the church as that one body, we know that there are many different individuals that make up that one body.  I don’t think the inspired word of God would have compared the church to something that doesn’t already exist, as so many illustrations in the Bible are given in such a way that our human mind can comprehend His Word.  Today, I’m going to share an excerpt from 1 Corinthians that talks about one body with many parts.  I recommend reading chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians in its entirety when you get a chance.

1 Corinthians 12:14-20  “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  if the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

Today’s Recipes  While I do love onions, and cake, I decided to offer a couple different recipes for layered food.  Do you love 7 Layer Salad?  Have you ever tried Cornbread Salad?  My first recipe today will combine the best parts of these two classic sides to give a hearty meal salad…Layered Cornbread and Chicken Salad.  My second recipe is for the classic cookie bar first brought to us by Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  I have found many of the “Seven Layer” bars to count the melted butter as one of the layers.  That just won’t do for me, I have an additional chip layer to make it officially seven layers!

Cornbread and Chicken Layered Salad
Combine the classic flavors of seven layer salad and cornbread salad for a hearty meal salad with chicken.

Layered Cornbread and Chicken Salad  This is a great make-ahead dish for a potluck or family gathering.

  • 1 Jiffy cornbread mix, prepared according to package directions, and cooled (you’ll probably only use about 2/3 of the cornbread for the salad)
  • 3 small boneless, skinless marinated chicken breasts (I used chipotle-lime marinated chicken breasts from Aldi, but you can marinate your own with some lime juice, olive oil, and taco seasoning, too)
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bag frozen peas, thawed and drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 3 multi-colored peppers, diced
  • 16-oz carton sour cream
  • 1-oz pkg ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In large skillet, fry bacon strips until crisp; set aside to drain and cool.  In same skillet, cook chicken breasts, about 7 minutes per side.  Remove cooked chicken to cutting board and let rest a few minutes, then chop into small pieces.  In large glass bowl layer lettuce, celery, peas, corn, beans, and peppers.  Crumble half to 2/3 of the cornbread and place on top of the peppers.  Add chopped chicken to the cornbread layer.  In small bowl mix sour cream and ranch dressing until completely combined.  Spread on top of chicken layer.  Add shredded cheese and crumbled bacon to the top of the dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Use long-handled spoon for serving.

7 Layer Cookie Bars
Classic cookie bar recipe with a little of everything!

7 Layer Cookie Bars  An easy treat that follows the dump-and-bake philosophy!

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and combine with graham cracker crumbs.  Press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  On top of the crumbs, add the coconut flakes, all of the baking chips, and pecans.  Drizzle the milk over the entire pan, going back and forth to get all the toppings covered.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.

Suggested Products  When I make layered dishes, whether salads, trifles, or other desserts, I love to use glass dishes to show off the beautiful layers.  Here are some products that can help show off your next layered dish. (Links verified 11/28/17 at 11:30 a.m., CST):