Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rest For Your Soul

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30
In this fast-paced world I believe that we have lost the meaning of "rest". Even when we take a vacation we have to go here & there and do this & that. Then, when we arrive home after our vacation we need a rest from our vacation!  I looked up the meaning of rest - "peace, ease or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of work or an activity. Quiet relaxation."  I honestly can't remember the last time that I truly had that kind of "rest."
And what ever happened to Sundays being a day of "rest"?? - I can remember when every business (including the mall) was closed on Sundays.  Today - In many ways, Sunday is no different than a weekday.
In these verses from Matthew - Jesus is giving all of us an Invitation - "come to me."  Here we are again trying to handle all hardships and difficulties on our own and of course we become totally worn out.  Jesus is saying:  "Just come to me & I will take care of everything - no need to make yourself totally exhausted." (those are of course my words but that's what I believe that these verses are saying).
In the Bible the meaning of "yoke" is "servant hood."  We can make things so unnecessarily complicated - Jesus is saying that life doesn't have to be so difficult because of His sacrifice on the cross for our sins.   We still have to serve and there will still be problems and hardships but with God in control our personal burden will be light and our "yoke" will be easy.
Won't you please R.S.V.P. and accept Jesus' invitation to Find Rest For Your Soul? 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Smoothie Saturday #2 - Blackberry Apricot with Green Tea

Smoothie Saturday #2 - Blackberry Apricot with Green Tea
About one month ago - I shared with you my newest "gadget" find - well it's more of a small appliance really - The "NutriBullet"!
Today is the second "Smoothie Saturday" where I will share one of my smoothie creations.
In this recipe I included green tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants.  Many experts claim that green tea helps fight against cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, viral & bacterial infections and it is great for weight loss.  Green tea is processed differently than black tea - black tea is fermented whereas green tea is withered & steamed (again - I'm not a doctor - please see my "disclaimer" at the bottom of this post).

The feature Smoothie recipe below is very tart - I love tart foods.  If you prefer a sweeter smoothie then simply omit the lime & 1 apricot and add 1/2 of a banana instead.

2 small apricots (washed & pitted)
1/4 lime
4 large blackberries (washed & drained)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
1/2 cup Kefir (or yogurt)
1/2 cup green tea (cold) (I used Pomegranate & Acai Green Tea)
1/2 cup shredded zucchini (frozen shredded zucchini will work also)
1/8 cup almonds
1/2 tablespoon flax seeds
(This is very tart!  If you want a sweeter smoothie then omit the lime & subtract 1 apricot and use 1/2 banana instead)

Make the tea ahead of time and allow to fully cool before making this smoothie (I used "Biglow" green tea with Pomegranate & Acai - delicious!).  Begin with the smaller "NutriBullet" container and use the "nut & seed" blade to blend & chop the almonds & flax seeds.  Now place the remaining ingredients (including the processed seeds & nuts from the first step) into the larger "NutriBullet" container and use the "smoothie" blade. Blend for about 30 seconds.


IMPORTANT: All of my smoothie recipes on this blog are measured for the "NutriBullet" and are a single serving - if you have a different kind of blender that has a larger capacity then you may increase the amount of ingredients according to your desired smoothie needs. The ingredients in this recipe measure exactly up to the max line of the NutriBullet.


Other Beverages on this blog:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Making a "Gluten Free" Tabbouleh Salad

"Gluten Free" Tabbouleh Salad

I actually prefer this salad made the Gluten Free way with millet instead of Bulgar wheat.

3 or 4 medium tomatoes (washed and diced - with the stem base cut out first)
1 large cucumber (preferably an English cucumber) (peeled and diced)
1 medium vidalia onion (peeled and chopped)
1 large green bell pepper (optional) (washed, seeded and chopped)
2 cups of parsley (or more to taste) (washed and chopped) (measure the parsley before chopping)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil (or more to taste)
millet (usually available in the natural section of your grocery store)(see NOTE below on how to prepare millet)
sea salt or garlic salt (to taste) (regular table salt may be substituted)
ground black pepper (to taste)
NOTE: To prepare millet take 1 cup dry millet and place in a pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute/toast over medium heat until it is light brown in color (this step brings out the nutty flavor of millet).  Then boil 2 cups of water and pour the toasted millet into the boiled water in a saucepan (it's OK if there's still a little oil left in the pan from sauteing - just add that to the water also).  Place saucepan over low heat - stir & cover.  Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes - or until desired texture is achieved.  Allow cooked millet to totally cool before making the salad.

1.  Prepare the millet & set aside to cool.
2. Prepare the vegetables as described above
3. Stir the vegetables, cooked & cooled millet, lemon juice and olive oil together and then season to taste with garlic salt and pepper

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tomato Desperados

Tomato Desperados

A few months ago I shared with you my recipe for Zucchini Desperados (please click on the green title to view).  The Wikipedia meaning of "Desperado" is "a reckless or desperate person."  The same thing happens with tomatoes - I become desperate to find ways to use my homegrown tomatoes.  Instead of just letting them rott on the vine for future Tomato Throwing Wars I decided to create these "Tomato Desperados." 

3 tortilla shells
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
pepper to taste

Cut the tortilla shells into quarters (see picture above)(this makes a total of 12 quarters). Place each quarter in a muffin tin. Combine the melted butter, olive oil & herbs and then brush a thin layer on the inside of each shell that has already been placed in the muffin tin.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.

1 package cream cheese (room temperature)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon hot red chili pepper (ground) (I use Indian chili pepper)
1 small onion (peeled and finely chopped)
1 carrot (peeled & shredded)

Prepare the ingredients as listed above. With an electric mixer - combine all ingredients until blended.

4 or 5 tomatoes (washed & cut into thick rounds)
Cut the tomatoes. Now the "Desperados" are ready to be filled. First spread some of the filling (about 2 tablespoons worth) and then place a slice of tomato on the filling and finally top with a fresh sprig of cilantro, basil or parsley.

Serve immediately & ENJOY!!
(refrigerate any remaining "Desperados") 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Old Fashioned Sunday Hymn Sing #1

I miss the old hymns that I remember from my childhood - there were no drums, no electric guitar and no mind numbing beat.  It was just voices and maybe a piano or an organ.  The choir led the congregation in singing - and the words of these hymns are poetic.  I realize that there is a need for the modern "seeker oriented" worship music - but it is also necessary to have deeper songs (no offense intended to anyone who prefers the newer church songs).

I decided to have an "Old Fashion Sunday Hymn Sing" once a month on this blog. 
 I personally do NOT have a great singing voice - I used to play the guitar & piano but my voice is NOT an instrument.  That's the great thing about this digital hymn sing you can warble along without being embarrassed or without offending anyone else.

The hymns that we will be studying are taken from an old hymnal from a Baptist church that is no longer in existence - "The North American Hymnal" published in 1956 by "THE ROGER WILLIAMS PRESS"

I will also try to find a version of the featured hymn on "YouTube" to share with you each month.

Today's feature song is "In the Garden" by C. Austin Miles.  The words in this hymn are simply beautiful and so comforting:  "the dew on the roses", "God's voice is so sweet that the birds hush their singing" and the chorus - Oh the soothing chorus! - God is with us every step of the way.
To my fellow country men & women - I know that "Anne Murray" makes many Canadians groan with dread but please listen to the  "YouTube" video below - she (Anne Murray) performed this hymn beautifully.

Turn with me to number 488 in your hymnals and let's sing:

In the Garden
by C. Austin Miles (1868 - 1946)
1.  I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear, Falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.
2.  He speaks, and the sound of His voice Is so sweet the birds hush their singing, And the melody That He gave to me, Within my heart is ringing.
3.  I'd stay in the garden with Him Though the night around me be falling, But He bids me go;  Through the voice of woe His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own;  And the joy we share as we tarry there.  None other has ever known.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Frank's Flowers - The "Rolly" Rose

Frank's Flowers - The Eiffel Tower Rose
A few months ago I showed you how to Prune & Trim Roses and in that post I promised that I would show you how to start a rose bush from cut roses.......well, I just ran out of time this year. I do apologize - but this will be one of the first posts in the spring next year.
However, this year I will still feature a few of my father's roses.
Today's Flower Feature is The Rolly Rose.
My grandparents lived beside a man named "Rolly" - he used to walk around his backyard on his hands.  He was amazing!- he never faltered and would walk the perimeter of his property.  As a child I could watch him for hours - I thought that my grandparents lived next to a carnival man (no offense against "carnival people").  This rose was from his property:  Rolly gave my dad a cutting from his rose bush and my dad grew these rosebushes from that cutting (I will share that technique with you in the spring of 2013).  That is why we call this rose the "Rolly Rose."  This rose has the most sweet scent of all of my dad's roses - it is as sweet as candy.  This was the most difficult rose to photograph because it is all the same color - there is no white edge or color variation of any kind.  I noticed that the first and last picture that I included in this post show a little red & pink tints but that's not accurate- it is solid orange (it also didn't help that my parents have an orange brick house - as you can see in the second picture below).

I have just sent you a digital dozen of the "Rolly Rose" - please ENJOY these digital versions of this fantastic flower!


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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blueberry 5th Symphony Dessert

Blueberry 5th Symphony Dessert
This dessert is very musical - each layer is plain & simple on its own but together they make a scrumptious symphony of flavors!  This is my mom's creation and she graciously said that I could share it with all of you. 

The reason that I added in the "5th" into the title is because there are 5 delicious layers.
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 packet vanilla sugar (if you don't have vanilla sugar then use 1 tablespoon of sugar & 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract).

Using a pie cutter (or "pulse" using a food processor) - combine the flour, butter & vanilla sugar until it resembles a crumb topping.  Stir in the chopped pecans.  
Butter or spray a 13 x 9 x 2 Pyrex dish.  Press the dough into the Pyrex dish (ONLY press the dough on the bottom - do NOT go up on the sides - it should only be a flat layer of dough).  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes (or until desired "doneness" is achieved).  Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

On the left you will see that I pressed the dough into the pan and on the right it has not yet been pressed in.

Blueberry Layer
4 cups fresh blueberries (washed & drained) (if you are using frozen blueberries - you will need to cut back on the water below)
1/2 cup water (if using frozen blueberries - only use 1/4 cup water)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan - combine the blueberries, 1/2 cup water, butter and sugar and place on burner set at medium heat.  Stir constantly until it almost boils.  In a separate bowl, using a small whisk - stir the corn starch into 1/4 cup water (the water needs to be at room temperature - NOT cold) until all the corn starch is dissolved.  Add this cornstarch mixture to the blueberry mixture while still on the burner and continue stirring and boil for 1 minute (you will notice it thicken).  (see pictures below).  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whipping Cream Layers
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Using an electric mixer - whip the cream & vanilla sugar until peaks appear.  Place in fridge until assembly (see picture below).

Cream Cheese Layer
1 package of cream cheese (8 oz) (at room temperature)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup already whipped whipping cream

Remove 1/2 cup of whipping cream from the cream that you just whipped and set aside.  With an electric mixer - blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined.  Now gently fold in the 1/2 cup whipping cream with a wooden spoon until combined.  (see picture below).

To Assemble:
1.  The baked dough layer should be totally cooled by now (NOTE - it must be totally cool to the touch otherwise it will melt the cream cheese layer.

2.  Take the cream cheese mixture and place tablespoon size blobs all over the crust (see picture above left) (this will help spread it more evenly over the entire crust).  Using a knife, gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust (as not to disturb the crust) (see picture above right).
3.  Divide the whipped cream in half - spread 1/2 of the whipped cream on top of the cream cheese layer.
4.  Gently spoon the blueberry layer on top of the first whipping cream layer.

5.  Finally, top with the second half of whipping cream and swirl with a knife so that a little of the blueberry color mixes into the top whipping cream layer - therefore resembling a symphony (see picture above right).  Place in the fridge for about 40 minutes (or more) and then cut into squares.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Tag You're It!" - Blogging Game

Just in time for school - it's like an old fashioned school yard "tag" game with a modern twist - It's a "Tag you're It" blogging game. 
Heather from "A Mom, A Kid and Art" (please checkout her blog it's totally cool) tagged me and now "I'm It!"  (actually this was a very delayed reaction on my part - it took me over a week - sorry).  Here's  how it works:

Once you're tagged, you must follow the rules:
1.  You must post the rules
2.  Answer the questions the tagger set for you
3.  Create 8 new questions for the people you will tag
4.  Tag 8 bloggers with a link to your post
5.  Let them know they've been tagged

Here are the questions that Heather gave me and my answers:
  1. If you could visit anywhere in the world, regardless of cost, where would it be and why?  Vienna, Austria to visit the place where my mom once lived. 
  2. If you could eat only one kind of food for a month what would it be?   Dark chocolate
  3. What did you want to be when you were a little kid and why?  An artist because I loved (and still love) everything about being visually creative. 
  4. What's a bad habit you should give up?   Letting the pots & pans air dry instead of drying and immediately putting them away.
  5. Is there a celebrity or famous person that you are really sick of hearing about and who is it?  President Obama (I'm just being honest)
  6. What's your favorite author or book? Bible
  7. What's the worst piece of advice you've been given and followed? "Wheat Grass Juice tastes good - try it!"
  8. What is a funny or weird fact about yourself that no many people know?  I had many episodes of "sleep paralysis" well into my 20's. 

OK - here are the 8 bloggers that I have tagged and below this list are their questions:

The Questions for the 8 lovely Bloggers That I Tagged:
1.  What is your earliest childhood memory?
2.  What language do you think this word is: "Ausgezeichnet"?
3.  Bungee Jumping, Hot air balloon or neither?
4.  What TV show is this quote from: "Hi,  my name is Larry, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl"
5.  What is your favorite decade?
6.  Have you ever had a recurring dream or nightmare?
7.  What is the messiest room in your house?
8.  When you think about or look at the color "green" - name the first thing that comes into your mind________.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love the Father NOT the world

"Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."  1 John 2:15 - 17

I'm sure that we can all relate in some way to today's scripture from 1 John but we need to first differentiate between "the world" and "the people in the world".  Just as we learned last week in John 3:16 - "God so loved the world" John is referring to every single person in the world.  Today, in these verses from 1 John we are talking about "worldliness" which has to do with our moral mindset and our actions.  Another way of saying this is that God loves the sinner but hates the sin

Specifically we are talking about 4 different categories:

1. "The cravings of sinful man" - the lust of the flesh or anything that we desire that does not glorify God.

2.  "The lust of his eyes" - Since I am a visual person this category is both my weakness and my strength.  This doesn't just refer to sexual lusts - it could be a visual obsession to look or dress like some celebrity or some style that you saw in a magazine.  Or maybe your favorite TV show is on and you say to yourself "I'll pray later - after this show" - visual prioritizing.  I could go on and on - There are many other examples in this visually stimulating world.

3. "Boasting of what he has" - this is Materialism.  I looked up the meaning of "Materialism - preoccupation with material objects, comforts and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual or cultural values."  

4.  "Boasting of what he does" - this is arrogance in social standing, wealth and profession.  Bragging about how much money you have or boastful about your station in life - thinking that you are better than others because of what you do.  We are not saved by works - we are saved by grace & mercy;  having this arrogant attitude is anti-Christian and is detrimental to our spiritual life.

Verse 17 puts all of us in our place:  "The world & its desires pass away" - just like this fast paced changing digital world - all of our worldly desires fly by and are invalid in a second.  Then the glorious part of verse 17 -  "but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 

Does that ever put things into perspective -
an obsolete worldly desire or eternity with God -
which one will you choose? 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Enjoy Making Your Own Cinnamon Applesauce

Making Your Own Cinnamon Applesauce

I'll say it again - "Nothing is as good as homemade and homegrown."  The apples that I used for my applesauce this year are from my summer apple tree and they are very tart - they are also know as "Transparent Apples" because the skin is quite thin and light colored.  If you are using a sweeter apple like "Red Delicious" then you would add less sugar.

Cinnamon Applesauce                                               Printable Recipe
2 "six quart baskets" of apples (washed, drained & cut in half - see picture below)
about 4 to 6 cups water

Place the prepared apple halves in a large stock pot and add the water (the water will NOT cover the top of the apples - the purpose of the water is to prevent the apples from burning and to add a little more fluidity to the sauce).  Place the stock pot on a burner over medium heat until you see the water at the bottom start to boil - then cover and turn down the heat to simmer.  Simmer for 1 hour - stirring occasionally.
Before you heat the apples they should look like the first picture below - after simmering they should look  like the second picture below.

Allow the simmered apples to cool (I usually simmer the apples at night and remove from the heat and let them cool overnight).  Now you will need to use a food strainer ( click here to view the food strainer that I use).  This strainer will remove the skins and seeds from the sauce.  Continue adding the cooled & simmered apples until they have all been squeezed through the food strainer.

 Now your applesauce should look like the picture below - all skins and seeds have been removed & discarded/composted. 

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cinnamon
Juice from 1 lemon

You should have about 14 to 16 cups of applesauce.  Now add the sugar, cinnamon & lemon juice & stir.  Bring to boil over medium heat and then turn down and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (IMPORTANT - Make sure that you stir often).  While the sauce is simmering you should gather your canning jars, lids and rings (you will need about 8 pints). (see Canning Basics - Jar Sizes). Also, gather all other canning supplies: (see Other Canning Supplies)
Start the water boiling for Jar sterilization: (see Sterilizing Jars & Lids) .

By now your jars should be sterilized and ready to be filled. Take the jars out of the boiling water (I use my jar remover and make sure that the water is drained out of each jar).  Ladle the applesauce into each jar making sure not to go above the bottom of the threads on the jar.  Continue filling until all of the applesauce has been used up.  Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth making sure that any sauce residue is gone (any residue left on the rim can stop the jar from sealing).  Place a sterilized lid on each jar and then tighten a ring on each jar.  Place all jars in a "Water Bath Canner" and process (boil) the filled jars for 20 minutes (make sure that the water level in the Canner is 1 inch above the tallest jar)
After boiling for 20 minutes remove the jars and place them on the counter or table to cool (I always place them on a cloth because there have been a few times when a jar cracked and then the contents oozed out making a mess - the cloth will help if that happens). You will hear the wonderful popping sound of your jars sealing.


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