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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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scripture

St. Mark 9:23

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Waffles!

Anna over at Pleasant View Schoolhouse, shared this delectable waffle recipe. I have been wanting to try it, because she always posts very good recipes and helpful hints. Well, today I finally took the time to try making these great waffles. I prepared the batter last night, and let it sit overnight. It develops this wonderful mild sourdough taste. I hadn't used my waffle maker in a while, so I had to try and remember how long to cook them. In my machine, to get nice and crispy, I left them five and a half minutes. They're actually ready at four and a half minutes, but the added crispness is so good.




Another plus is the use of whole wheat flour, which is always an added bonus for healthier nutrition. So go over to her site and grab the recipe! It is a winner, believe me! Like she suggests, we enjoyed ours with pure maple syrup for an unbelievable feast. I'm going to see if the batter works for pancakes. The recipe is so worth trying!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Celebration!

Important events in our lives sometimes serve to remind us of our mortality and how fleeting time is. In the blink of an eye, an entire lifetime elapses, and every moment, both precious and trivial, is compressed in the recesses of our minds. One day you realize you wish you had taken more care in retaining every single moment, relishing each one as though it were the last. I would guess we are designed to live in the moment, and as such, much of our lives becomes a blurry segment of images from the past. For me, it is difficult to write about my memories. I cannot help but weep as I do even now. Oh, to be able to go back in time and be more gentle, more caring, to take back every cross word to my children. They are the most precious gift the Lord has given me, after my redemption. How I wish I could hold my precious babies once again, free to kiss their little cheeks and toes, to shower them with words of encouragement, to fan them with the breezes of Motherly love again. And so, I admit, regrets I do have a few. I regret I did not know that dishes and housework can wait, that when my babies' behavior was 'bad' it really wasn't, and that punishment was not the most important thing in the world to mete out. That discipline is good, but not when it means using angry words which hurt their feelings. Not knowing then what I know now can only be attributed to youth and a lack of wisdom.

And yet, when I look at my grown Son, now a Father himself, I am just bursting with love and pride at the man he has become. He is an excellent Son, Husband, Brother, and of course Daddy to my precious Elias. I am so full of gratitude to my Creator for all he has done for me and my loved ones!

I am utterly full of thanksgiving on my Son's 30th Birthday!


I look at Elias and he reminds me so much of my Son at his age.


Children know when they are loved, and thrive in the midst of caring parents, family and friends. As parents we are always looking to make sure they are safe and happy.

My youngest Son is also there to celebrate his Brother's day. Elias adores his Abuelito!


This time, more care in preserving memories is of the utmost importance.



We value each moment, always mindful of the sands of time. Such is life: a time to celebrate and a time to reflect and take stock. Onward we push, striving to finish the race, only this time, with more patience and wisdom!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Enjoying the Garden

Reflections from the water

KittyKat Perched Atop the World


Miss Kitty Enjoying the Sunlight

Mmmmm....Chinese Oregano


Dark Corner of the Garden

So much time has passed since I've puttered in the garden. And here in the middle of Summer, it shows. My plants are sadly in need of repotting and attention. I really have no excuse for the garden's neglect. My shoulder is considerably better, almost completely healed. I think now, though, it might be best to wait for a little bit of cooler weather to tinker with potting and such.

I needed to see the pretty greenery to lift my spirits. My garden is always a soothing balm to my soul. When I need to clear my thoughts or feel sad or overwhelmed, just a little time there will lift my spirits. All I need now are the chickens like the ones I used to have for my bliss to be complete. My little bantams, which had a knack for brooding continously, the beautiful white silkies whose feathers I treasured, the big Aracaunas which supplied the most beautiful eggs, and the barred rocks whose eggs we enjoyed so much- all of them gave me such joy! I wish now we had not sold them. At the time, a trip we needed to take gave us no other option. With no one who could care for them while we were away made it necessary to part with them. Since then, I have many times been on the verge of buying chicks again. And always I am reminded that having them really does curtail and restrict travel plans. Even so, I would have ordered more chicks last spring, but since I opted to keep the stray kitties, I thought better of it. That coupled with the possums which had taken up residence under the tool shed, made me fear for the welfare of any young fowl. I keep hoping that feeding these felines will curb any appetite they may have for birds. On occasion though, I do find the feathered remains of their victims. Fortunately, so far, it doesn't appear as though they were any of the songbirds I enjoy feeding, or even the purple martins we 'board'. So at least for now, for yet another season, having chickens must wait. At least the chicken house is ready and waiting also.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Revisiting an Old Topic

Puffed up and piping hot


The flour ingredients

The "testales" all lined up like little soldiers


Rolled out and ready to cook

Time to turn them


A stack ready to enjoy


Once again I find myself writing about food. That seems to be the topic of all my posts lately. I did want to try something a little different with a recipe I had posted about before. I'd never made whole wheat flour tortillas, so this was something new to me. I did worry the dough would be difficult to work with, as when I've made whole wheat bread. As it turned out, the dough was nice and easy to work with. To me, the taste was different somewhat, a little 'nuttier' and the texture a little 'chewier' than the usual tortillas of the past. The recipe itself remains unchanged, but I did substitute some of the flour with spelt flour. So essentially, these tortillas were made with four cups of whole wheat flour and one and a half cup of spelt flour. Next time, I'm going to try using flaxmeal. Did I mention I love whole flax seed? It has become my favorite snack, and the best way to enjoy it is straight out of the package. Mixing it with plain yogurt is also a nutritious way to enjoy it. My recipe yields about three dozen tortillas. What I do is cook the amount we need for a meal, and place the rest of the rolled out dough between square sheets of plastic sheet dividers, like the ones used to store hamburger patties. I don't know what they're called, but I bought a box from a restaurant supply store. You could also use wax paper. I place them inside a ziplock bag and store in the fridge. When we need freshly made tortillas, all I do is preheat the 'comal' and cook. What could be easier? For presentation, make sure you wrap them in a nice tea towel. I like to use the ones I embroider myself. I should clarify, I didn't hand embroider mine, I used designs I buy and use in my embroidery machine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Hot Day in Paradise

Cocoa curious about what's cooking.....

My trusty molcajete for grinding basic spices such as
garlic, cumin, peppercorns....

Ground beef simmering away....


Nothing fancy....end results

On yet another very hot day, I concluded the best thing to do was to cook something fast and easy for lunch. Something that would get me out of the kitchen quickly. Lean ground chuck would have to do, and what better way to make use of all the little 'extras' left over from previous meals than to make, once again, peasant food. Served with a couple of simple sides, it also happens to be my DH's favorite type of food. He likes simple 'guisados' or your basic Mexican day to day foods. Nothing fancy, he always says. My favorite foods are Italian dishes with cream sauces and breaded meats or grilled cuts of meat. We'll leave those for another day, perhaps a cooler day. I cut up the leftover cabbage and added it to a skillet of browned hamburger meat. Not my best effort at culinary greatness, I concede, but like I said, it was a very hot day, and it tasted good! Besides, anytime you can use up what's in your fridge, it's a good thing!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Catching Up with Pictures


While away for a few days earlier, I'm afraid I got behind on posting pictures I had wanted to include in previous posts. That and the fact that I FINALLY learned how to load the pictures from the camera to the 'puter. I'm afraid I still don't have the ability to upload them in the correct order. I need to learn how to do that. They're pretty much in reverse order at this point. The first set I'm including here are for the Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls I made.



I made them chock full of pecans, but I do wish I'd used more cinnammon. Wish I could make them look as pretty as the ones in the book photo.

I do like to used freshly ground cinnamon, crushing it in my electric coffee grinder, but which I bought just for the use of grinding spices. One of those helpful hints I learned from my favorite domestic diva, Martha Stewart.
Using the recipe from aforementioned book, you just cut off a chunk of dough and let it rise, then shape.


This is the bottom layer which will produce the 'self' glazing on the rolls. After baking and turning the buns out, the nice caramel glaze oozes over them.




And here you see the wonderful book I used for this recipe and which I'd read about on other blogs,"Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I just had to get to give it a try. Everyone who raved about it is right, it does make baking a lot easier and fun.


This is just a shot of the sushi I made. I am hoping with practice I can become better at rolling them. I think it's not too bad for it being my first attempt at making sushi.

And then the picture I have been wanting to share of the cute journal I received from Missy over at SpringBean. Isn't it the cutest fabric ever?! I'm going to have to get in on buying some Japanese fabric for some projects. I can see the quality is really good, and it just doesn't get any cuter than that. Using it for gifts would be a really fine idea!


So there you have it. After this, I should be finding it much more easy to load my pictures. I'm hoping that translates to more posts. I think pictures tell most of the story anyway. What could be easier?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thrifting

One of the reasons I enjoy reading blogs is that I can learn useful ways to save money. With prices on just about everything going up, I greatly appreciate any ideas that help stretch the dollar. While I understand how some women feel great satisfaction in buying expensive and trendy items, whether they can afford them or not, I feel sheer joy when I can a purchase something at a significant discount, as in a clearance sale. This is just a small way I try and contribute to help our budget and to be a helpmate for my Husband. It is a sense of family that makes me want to share helpful tips. Are we not all a family, in a way?

In the spirit of being thrifty, sometimes it really is nice to sit down to simple 'peasant' fare at the table. For example, yesterday, we had a simple supper of egg omelets with a delicious filling of diced apples and Swiss cheese. I also heated up some wonderful flour tortillas, and provided some delicious homemade hot sauce to 'zest' up our omelets. Eggs...they're not just for breakfast any more. Today's main meal consisted of ramen noodles that you buy 6 for a dollar. Since I always keep homemade chicken stock in the freezer, I simply added it to the sauted onions, garlic, and celery and julienned carrots in a pot. After some simmering, to that I added mushrooms, 1/2 cup of frozen peas, about a cup of sliced cabbage, a small package of raw shrimp, a little bit of chopped green onions as well as some chopped cilantro, and the noodles. I only used two packages of noodles, so it depends how much you want to make. I also added a little bit of oyster and soy sauce. Simmer until shrimp and noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes. We all keep most of these vegetables in our refrigerator, so all I had to buy was the shrimp ($1.84) and fresh cilantro. It was a very filling and satisfying meal. For supper, and to continue with the Asian theme, I made Sushi rolls. If you google sushi, you'll find quite a lot of videos that teach you how to make it. It's very easy and above all very inexpensive. The little mats cost around $3, but you do need to buy Japanese rice, which is not expensive either. The rice is seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. As to the fillings, I made mine simple. I used imitation crab, shrimp, avocado, 1 cucumber, 2 carrots julienned, and you can also use omelet, sliced into long strips and scallions. I garnished with black sesame seeds and masago, which are the little orange roe used to garnish the rolls, and of course you need the Nori, or seaweed to roll up your ingredients. I like to use soy sauce and wasabi for dipping, but that is optional. Most of these ingredients you will probably only need to buy once, and they'll keep until you make sushi again. I refer of course to the rice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and even your Nori. Everything else, you probably already have in your pantry. I did have to go out and buy the crab meat, shrimp, and avocado when I decided I was going to make sushi earlier in the week. That was the only 'additional' expense I had to make.

Tomorrow, for breakfast, I think I'll make 'Migas' which is a Mexican meal consisting of sliced and quartered corn tortillas which are lightly fried in oil,and to which you add onions, diced tomatoes, or a good chunky hot sauce, and of course your well whisked and seasoned eggs. You can top them with a layer of shredded cheese, any kind you have on hand. Served with a side of refried beans, it makes for a cheap inexpensive meal. As can be clearly seen, we don't necessarily eat a lot of meat. We do tend to eat more chicken than beef also.

What I do come away with during these difficult days of price increases, inflation, and soaring gas prices, is that the Lord is our Provider and everpresent help in times of need. Anything that we have needed, the Lord has given us and in abundance. Even those things which I have sometimes wished for but not needed, the Lord has seen fit to give me. Not always, mind you, for he doesn't spoil us. I sometimes marvel at the love and mercy of God, my creator, my Father. The funny thing, if you search long enough, you will find testimony of other people who have also seen his hand at work in their lives, especially in the areas of provision. I have read some wonderful stories of how he has provided things they could never have afforded, but somehow, the Lord provided. Glory to him!

I quite understand how some people might perceive this blog as belonging to someone who is overly zealous and religious. Far be it from the truth! I am not religious!! It just so happens that the Lord has dealt with me in ways that make it impossible to not want to shout from the rooftops of his mercy and love! I have felt the glory of his presence, and when that happens, it changes you forever! It truly does feel like rivers of living water wanting to gush out!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Scripture- Gleaning Diamonds Again


Isaiah 32:18

And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Good Times

It's amazing how fast time flies when you're busy. Especially when you're visiting your loved ones, and you know you must soon say 'goodbye'. Good thing this goodbye will be for only a short while. We were gone a few days helping our Son and his family move into their new house. The best part was spending time with my precious. He sure has grown since last we saw him! Grandpa of course took the camera and snapped a few pictures. So here is our little Grandson, Elias, sitting under the shade of a Magnolia tree, on a hot day this past weekend.

He is such a good baby. It's always a joy to spend time with him. His Dad's birthday is coming up later this month, so we'll get to spend more time with him then as well. Maybe we'll get to babysit, so his parents can go out for a little celebrating.
What a beautiful week we've had. Family time always makes me happy!

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