Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A thought about being a parent

Whatever you write on the heart of a child,
No water can wash away.
The sand may be shifted when billows are wild,
And the efforts of time may decay.

Some stories may perish, some songs be forgot,
But this graven record--time changes it not.
Whatever you write on the heart of a child...
Will linger unchangeably there.
--Doan, Speaker's Sourcebook p. 52

I got this poem (I think there are more stanzas however, but this was all that was written) in the book A Mom after God's Own Heart, which I am hoping to study more on this summer. This sometimes haunts me, but most of the time it encourages me to persevere through my day and pray that all that I say will be honoring to the Lord. I pray that all that my words and language that are given from my mouth to my child and to their heart, will be of encouragement to grow in the Lord, to show them love through correction and discipline and love above all from my heart to theirs. I pray that in our day they will learn that Jesus came for them, and they need Him as a Savior...I hope that is written on their heart most of all! I hope that through our words and actions they will know we have loved them from the beginning and God has loved them from the beginning of time. O I hope what I write on the heart of my child, that they will in turn write on the heart of their own children and each generation after will know of God's love, and their parents love for them! I hope in all things that I say and do it will honor God, because for Him is the reason I do what I do.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trying my hand at making bread

OK all you bakers out there...I absolutely love to bake! I have enjoyed it since I was a child, but I think an area of baking I dare darken the door to is making homemade bread. I have recently tried a recipe out of our trusty Grace Chapel cookbook for pizza crust, but essentially I have never really made my own. Pillsbury or the grocer's bakery has always been my necessity when needing a loaf of yummy bread to go with our homemade tomato soup and grilling cheese. Yes, I did say grilling cheese, not grilled cheese (I'll get to that in a minute). Well, as I am realizing my need to again go through the house and toss and throw away, I am looking at all my cooking magazines that I allow to just sit on my shelf without looking through them again after I get them. As I wrote in another post, I read them like a magazine, put them on the shelf and then forget about them. So I have decided it is time to go through them. Look at all the recipes, find some to try in each issue or it's time to recycle, give or pitch them! So as I was leafing through my December and January 2010 Taste of Home magazine I came across this recipe: Mom's Italian Bread. ( What I liked about this recipe is that it only calls for 5 ingredients! Fantastic...and I happened to have ALL of them, amazing!! (Yeast, water, sugar, salt and flour, that's it!) I am not sure how it will turn out, as I am currently waiting for it to rise, but what I am excited about is that I made it myself. I didn't go to the store and spend the $2.5o or so for a loaf, when I had all the ingredients sitting in my pantry and it makes 2 loaves!! Wowsa!! So I guess I will have to let you know how it turns out!
Back to the grilling cheese...a few years ago, we embarked on a wonderful hometown discovery...we have a place close by, right in town to buy our own cheese. Blue Jacket Dairy sells their cheese at a home in town, but also at our weekly community farmer's market starting around spring through the fall. Their cheese curds are to die for and we buy mostly all kinds, but the chipotle, because it's too hot for me and for my kiddos. The first time we went they gave us a cheese tour, you must go! Try it out!! The best part of the tour was the Gretna Grilling cheese! You just put the cheese on a hot electric griddle and it toasts it on both sides for about one minute each side, or until brown, and those little squares of grilling cheese are to die for! To us it is like having grilled cheese sandwiches without the bread! WE LOVE IT! We always go to get our grilling cheese from Blue Jacket when we have our homemade tomato soup nights. I think this is one of my family's favorite meals...we have tomato soup, grilling cheese and bread! Yummo!! Kyle likes to help out with the meal and my daughter likes to participate too. I love this meal, because I already have the tomato soup canned and I just add my heavy cream and heat it. Tonight I am throwing in a twist by adding homemade bread! Today is such a cold day, this is a perfect grilling cheese-tomato soup-and-bread kinda day! Another reason that I love this meal is that it brings family unity to the table, then praying over our food to the Lord who provided it and enjoying our dinner together. I love that and I hope you enjoy a meaningful meal with your family tonight too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Refuge

Refuge- a place or state of safety.
I think my favorite word of describing the Lord in His attributes would be He is my Refuge. So many times I have felt the need of finding safety in His arms alone. Whether it be during trials at home with having to endure hard times with my brother. Nights where he was battling his self-abuse, due to his autism. Living with difficult roommates in college. Dealing with sickness, the worst pain I have ever felt. Losing a baby in a miscarriage and especially dealing with my own terrible dreams at night. I have found God as my refuge and strength in these times. I would never wish those times away, though they were difficult, because in those hard times, they have caused me to seek His Refuge and to fall at His feet once again! I long for those times of falling into His arms and I cannot wait to do that when I meet Him in heaven! I would encourage you as you are studying your Bible to circle in God's Word something that you want to draw your attention to. For me I have been reading through the Psalms, and circling any words that are names of the Lord. I also circle anytime I read the word Refuge. I just encourage you today to know the Lord better in your daily reading of His Word. It is vast and wonderfully written.
I know my small feats have no equality to David being delivered from the Gibeonites or from Saul. I cannot imagine someone trying to kill me and what fear that may cause a person, but I know God has delivered me from my own fears and difficulties and so to Him I seek Refuge and Strength in His eternal arms.
"He said, "The Lord is my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies." 1 Samuel 22: 2-4

New Menu

For Christmas I was given a great gift, one of my favorite things, a new cookbook. And generally like all the other cookbooks I have been given, I read them like a book and then add them to my shelf with maybe trying one or two new recipes. Well all except our Grace Chapel Church cookbook, which are wonderful recipes from many women and families of the church we attend. I am a proponent of starring or writing comments on recipes of corrections, additions or deletions I made while cooking the recipe. I also write, if in a cookbook if we liked, loved or it falls under a category of do not eat again. Which is rare, but there has been one recipe (and this is from a different cookbook, all the Grace Chapel ones are fantastic!!!) that my husband always laughs hysterically about, which was a terrible day of cooking: the pancake covered ham, sweet potato, apple pot pie. Eww!!! It was disgusting! A pot pie should always and forever remain a pot pie. Kyle was so sweet by taking seconds, but I threw mine away! And in that cookbook I put a big X on it! It is in the never ever again do we dare eating that category.
So for Christmas, I received Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I looked through, as I am thinking I am going to try to do a new recipe each week. I am seeing that most of the recipes I can get from our small town grocery store and they do not seem that hard either, which is a plus for this dream-only gourmet cook, with limited budget. So I tried first her Chicken Pizza (pg. 68). The recipe called for frozen whole-grain pizza crust, which I could not find in our frozen section of the grocery store, but I did find a Bobali (sp?) pizza that was whole-wheat and I thought I would try that (though I know whole-grain would be better, but sometimes you've got to improvise). I also bought a jar of Marinara sauce, but all the rest of the ingredients I had at home (wonderful!) The other ingredients included: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, garlic powder, sweet paprika, pepper, olive oil, carrot puree, mozzarella cheese.
What I love about this book is that you are adding more vegetables to every meal (yes every meal!) I know I am always short on the day from my veggie intake and I want to be sure that my kids are not. In the sauce I added the 1/2 cup of carrot puree. My puree though was not a puree, rather a chunky cooked carrot (I was impatient and did not allow mine to cook long enough), but it didn't matter in the end product. I loved having the texture of the chunky carrot in the sauce and we gobbled up the entire pizza. My husband wanted more and my daughter asked for seconds. Needless to say this wonderful Chicken Pizza is a huge hit with my family and I put a star on the page as a good easy go-to recipe on a night I need a quick one with a great amount of nutrition! And as in any pizza, you can probably add any toppings you would like, but keeping the basics the same would be just fine.
What I loved about this was the low prep time and cooking time, especially because it was Wednesday night, which is church night. The recipe called for two pizzas and I made one, and I definitely will make two next time. We would enjoy the left-overs the next day, if there are any. I think I might go wild and add some fresh basil, as I love fresh basil, but that completely relies on the grocery store if there is any available and if it appears fresh. I tried to puree my fresh carrots and next time I think I may even opt to use my own canned carrots. My carrots from the garden, and even after they are canned have a lot more flavor and I would like to find another use for them. So I think I might opt to using them the next time with the next recipe.
I think the only problem I may have with this book, is that I do have a problem cooking cauliflower. A few years ago, before I had our first baby, Kyle and I loved having smashed cauliflower, rather than eating so many potatoes. I remember after being pregnant for a few weeks I tried making smashed cauliflower again and it made me so sick just smelling it cooking and I have not been able to stand the smell of cooked cauliflower since. Now, I can eat it if someone else cooks it, but I can't if I do. So we will cross that bridge when we get to it!
I would suggest this book for great reading material and I am thinking it is a great option, so far as a great nutritional recipe book with great flavor! I will continue to update on new recipes tried and true!! Enjoy and happy cooking!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings...

As I look back on 2010 and reflect of how gracious the Lord was to me again...I stand in awe of who He is, but I realized, alas I pail (pale, err) in comparison of where He wants me to be. I do not make resolutions because as January shadows February, they are usually forgotten. I don't usually write anything down, because I know I am a person and I fail every year. But here we are in the season of resolutions and personal goals of staying fit, exercising, dieting, etc. And I feel like God has a new beginning for me in store. I don't know what it is just yet, but I want to find it. I guess my goal, as it is every year is one in the same...grow more in love with the God of this world, which will cause me to share that love with his creation, meaning my family--my husband and two blessings--my children. I pray that this year will be different in the fact that I will study His Word more, know His attributes that makes Him who He is and to find joy in Him as I do in His creation (my husband and my children) and that I find in reading a new book. I pray this year I will write more in my blog. I am not good at that...and I hope to do better. I do want to do better about taking care of myself through diet and exercise or at least exercise. I hope to play everyday more with my kids and spend time with my husband. I feel the time is just fleeting by with my daughter as she may start preschool next year...and that's a huge we're thinking about and praying I know I first of all want to dedicate this New Year of 2011 to the Lord and I pray that in the end come December, this year was about Him.