Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Prayers

I very much enjoy reading Diane's blog, and decided to share her link to a list of active military soldiers. Being safe at home, and enjoying all the comforts, we sometimes forget about our Sons and Daughters overseas, who have very little in the way of comfort, and must live each moment on high alert and in danger.

It helps to put faces to the word 'soldiers'. We can see that they could be our own little ones we care for here at home. Most are very young, and those that aren't, they themselves have the burden of worrying about their own little ones back home, in addition to all they must deal with in Iraq or Afghanistan, for example. Every name we lift up in prayer, we know the Lord hears. That is why I found the web site so inspirational, we can pray for ALL these soldiers.
I focused on this young woman, Penny Zamora, because she has a desire to be of use to the Lord in sharing her faith, even while on duty. She wishes to share the Good news, the Gospel where she is serving. What a brave soul! It makes me think of me, how sometimes it's so difficult to muster up the courage to share the Gospel, because we know that in doing so, many times we are hated of men. Well, we can't say we weren't warned, were we? And here this beautiful young lady, sets an example to any seasoned Believer.

I add my prayers to these fine men and women's families. Lord, bring them home safe and sound! I also pray for the Families of those who have lost loved ones in this and all previous wars. No greater love than to lay down your life for others.

Flour Tortillas


Making flour tortillas really is easy as pie. In fact, easier than making pie. There's no filling to make, no baking involved, and they take far less time to prepare.


But first, you need a recipe. Some people use a tried and true recipe, perhaps one handed down through their families. Others, like myself, use a basic recipe, but never really take the time to fully measure each ingredient. Until very recently, I have always 'eyeballed' the amount of shortening and flour. The most traditional of ways involved using pork lard. Of course, that would be undesirable given what we know about animal fats. Vegetable shortening works just as well. I like to use Crisco. 'Eyeballing' your ingredients can be a recipe for disaster, but for me, it worked. There is a downside to it: you never get consistent results. Sometimes my tortillas would turn out rather tasty, and other times, I would be disappointed.


So I decided I would carefully measure the amounts until I found the recipe I was certain would give me the desired results. It merits mentioning that there is always room for improvement, and each person can adjust the amount of salt and shortening. You only use four ingredients besides water. The dough is made in much the same way you would make pie dough, except you use hot water instead of iced water. After tearing off pieces of dough to form small golf ball size orbs, you use a rolling pin to shape them into a flour tortilla. Cooking them involves heating up a cast iron skillet or pan, and placing the tortilla to cook until small bubbles appear, turn the tortilla once, cook until it has small brown blisters, turn one last time, and finish cooking until it puffs up. At this point you may enjoy them with a little pat of butter, or use them as you would bread in a meal. But probably the most popular way to eat them is as 'tacos' or 'mariachis' as we call them in our neck of the woods. A tortilla 'mariachi' is a taco with any filling; usually breakfast style fillings are used.

Around here I only make them about once a month, and sometimes I take even longer to make them. They are not exactly considered 'health' food. My dear husband does remind me though, that it's time to make them. I take his request as a compliment and happily oblige. And there you have it, another one for the recipe box.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Scripture

Job 28:28

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rejoicing!

Yesterday, after reading my dear friend Beverly's blog announcing the birth of her Grandson, I was overjoyed. A birth symbolizes a new beginning, a new start, a second chance if you will. A baby always gives one hope. At the same time, while reading her post, I was reminded of the significance of the day for me. For on that date exactly one year ago, my dear Mother passed on. She had been sick on an off for a while, but we had hoped that last hospital stay would only be temporary, and she would soon recover from one of her diabetes complications, as she had done in the past. Everyone in the family had hopes that she would feel well enough to celebrate the impending birth of my Grandson, Elias. We certainly did not anticipate that this would be the last chapter of her life on Earth. Ironically perhaps, although the baby was not due until the first week of June, that very day, my dear sweet daughter-in-law went into labor. My Son had to rush back to San Antonio to be with his wife, but not before saying his last goodbye to his Grandmother. On May 24, 2007, while making funeral preparations, we received the wonderful news that my Grandson Elias was born. So you see, yesterday and all day today, I was remembering the sad events of that day a year ago. But tomorrow, we celebrate a joyous event! It is a bittersweet joy for me still. My precious will be one year old, and oh how wonderful it is to have a little piece of myself unfolding and growing towards the future! God is merciful! God is good! Praise be to this name! In this I truly rejoice!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Scripture

I John 5: 20,21

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Recipe for Mole

After receiving a couple of requests for the mole recipe, I am most happy to share. I certainly wish I could say it was wholly made from scratch, but it's not. It's simply made from a jar. I do know a few women (not too many) from the old country who make it from scratch, which means grinding every ingredient necessary, such as the pumpkin and/or sesame seeds, the red chile peppers, as well as the addition of Mexican chocolate. Their mole recipes are very time consuming and are made with a long list of other ingredients as well. Of course they are worth the extra effort, but why not make use of convenience when possible. I use chicken breasts, but you can certainly use dark meat as well. In fact, traditional mole is made with turkey meat. I just happen to prefer white chicken meat.

NOTE: The ingredients in the mole list are for the most part added to taste. As you add them, if you feel it needs more of this or a little less of that, do it your way. It's not a cut in stone type of recipe. I have found that the jars of mole don't always taste the same. Sometimes they are sweeter than other times. I like my mole a little sweet, so if need be, I add semi-sweet chocolate.

Ingredients:

STOCK
3-5 lb split chicken
1 whole garlic head
1 whole onion cut in half
4 carrots
3 celery ribs
4 peppercorns (make sure you remove them when stock is ready)
Salt- to taste (about 1-2 tbs)
Water- enough to cover chicken

MOLE
2 jars of mole of choice
1/2 tsp whole cumin
3 peppercorns
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 bar of bakers chocolate or any brand of Mexican chocolate
1 tbs peanut butter

After cooking chicken, remove from pot to cool, discard vegetables, set broth aside. While chicken is cooling, you can cook your rice (you can use some of your chicken broth for the rice). When cool enough to handle, debone and shred chicken.

Grind peppercorns, cumin, and garlic using your method of choice. I use a mortar and pestle for small amounts of spice such as this. Set aside for now.
Over medium heat, using only enough broth to dissolve one jar of mole, (about 5 cups of broth)stir with a whisk, until mole is well dissolved. Add the ground spices, peanut butter and chocolate, and stir. As it heats up it will begin to thicken. Add more broth until you have a silky smooth sauce. At this point if you find that your sauce is too thin, then you add more mole from the second jar, carefully gauging the amount to add, for the thickness desired. Do not walk away from it, you have to stand and keep stirring, making sure there are no chunks of mole or chocolate undissolved. It also has a tendency to stick at the bottom, so stirring must be continuous. Mole should have the consistency of a good sauce, thick, but not too thick. Add your shredded chicken, and continue to stir, until thoroughly heated through. Serve with either Mexican or white rice and corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Makes about 8 servings

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This Is A Test, This Is Only A Test

I am beginning to see that there is definitely a need in blogland for a site that includes sewing projects for the pleasantly plump. Being a person of 'increased' size, I feel at liberty to use such benign terms. I have visited a few sewing blogs lately, all with beautiful pictures of very beautiful women with equally beautiful figures. Very inspiring sites, I might add. However, when the projects shown do not reflect the reality of how plus sized garments look, I am left feeling....unrepresented. I can see there is a need for pictures of real women with real curves, who can hopefully inspire that demographic which has been woefully ignored by the fashion industry. The only pictures you might see are those of professional plus sized models for the major retailers of those garments. Rarely will you see pictures of the everyday women with weight problems modeling her attire. It takes a lot of courage to even step out and be seen in public when you're overweight. It takes courage to face a world bent on criticizing those with weight issues, so modeling would be even more difficult.

Soooo... for starters, why not add a few patterns which I would love to sew and possibly model someday? Like this beautiful Retro house robe. I would use a dress length. I love vintage and retro patterns. Unfortunately, real vintage patterns can rarely be found in plus sizes.


Or this very lovely and feminine dress. The only thing I dislike about this pattern is it can only be sewn in knit or stretchy fabrics. My fabric of choice is usually cotton or linen. But, since I do have a stash of knit fabric, I could definitely work on this.

And then there's this cute jacket, depending on the fabric used, it works for cool weather or warmer weather.

This is just such a practical pattern. It has so many applications, I can see making several useful garments with it. I'd start with one of the tunics and the pants. All of these patterns are in the plus sized sections of the pattern companies.
And there you have it. A plan for the future. Sewing and modeling to inspire.

Thank YOU Gloria for your help in teaching me how to insert text between photographs!


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spinning




Of all the hobbies and crafts I enjoy, spinning fiber is probably my favorite. There's something so relaxing and ethereal about the feel of natural fibers against the skin. My favorite is mohair with its soft silky texture. Alpaca and merino wool are also favorites, but not as soft. In working with fibers, a spinning wheel is commonly used. I found out about this craft while visiting a
Fiber festival. I had been wanting to buy some hand dyed artisan yarns, and knew this would be the place for good selection. There were a myriad of booths and demos, and I became fascinated with how they turned wool rovings into beautiful yarn. At once I also realized I too could spin my own yarn with the simple use of a drop spindle. It took some practice, but once I learned, I had so much fun! My drop spindles were cheap too, under $15, so for me, that was the way to go. Of course, I long for a spinning wheel, but at around $500, I think I'll wait and save my pennies until I can afford it.

Now, with spinning comes the need for other items, such as a
niddy noddy. Although the name sounds strange and rather comical, it is simply a frame you need for placing your yarn from the the spinning wheel or the drop spindle. It forms the initial skein, after which you can wash and prep your raw yarn. Another item you might find useful is a swift which is used for winding your finished yarn into a skein. Of course, it is also expensive, so instead I use an empty paper towel roll, and proceed to wind my yarn into a nicely shaped ball. You could also use a nostepinne but to me they are still rather costly. The paper towel roll works just fine, you just have to rotate your wrist whilst winding. Spinning, as Ms. Martha says, "It's a good thing!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wholly Mole!



One of the reasons I embarked on keeping an online journal was that I needed a tool to find creative motivation within me. I felt that if I could just put into words all the ideas for projects that I wanted to pursue, "it" would come to me. However, days pass sometimes, and I am unable to find that creative spark. I'm beginning to see that I am putting great pressure on myself to 'produce'. It's as if I feel that if I don't come up with a project each and every day, I have somehow failed myself. Up until now, I have eased that pressure by chalking it up to my shoulder injury. Well, yesterday was supposed to be my last visit to the doctor. However, even with physical therapy, I still need about another 4-6 weeks before I can be released. I am to return to the doctor then, and if I still haven't regained full use of my arm, he will try injecting cortisone to facilitate increased movement. Well, I don't want that, as I've heard bad things about cortisone use. So I'm going to have to work harder to be at my peak when I return for hopefully the last visit to the doctor's office. Which brings me back to my lack of creative output. I will just have to continue to do the best that I can. And in that spirit of hope, I share a picture of a meal I prepared today: Chicken Mole and Mexican rice. Only the rice has a little bit of a Puerto Rican feel to it. I've added 'gandules'. Gandules are also called pigeon peas. Here is a good recipe for arroz con gandules. I've tasted Puerto Rican rice and it is absolutely delicious! It's made almost the same as Mexican rice, only it doesn't taste spicy. And as to the mole, what can I say, I love it for the same reason I love chocolate: it's silky, it's comforting, it's 'vintage' food. Did I mention it's made with chocolate? I also share my chipotle sauce made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and garlic as well as a can of chipotle peppers. After all, I did also say in the beginning that this blog would be about a variety of things, including cooking, crafting and all things domestic.

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