Friday, August 26, 2011

My week....

This past week I stayed busy with preparing foods and baking! I thoroughly enjoyed these tasks!

 Sunday afternoon I made 2 batches of pesto! I had a large basil plant I wanted to used so I wouldn't have to worry about keeping it alive. ;)
I've only recently become acquainted with Pesto. I remember reading about it along with several recipe variations in one of Taste of Home's magazines from last summer! This year I was able to grow my own herbs and vegetables. So I decided to try it! So far only used it twice, both times it added a lot of flavor and I really liked it.
 Having recently found a great Target Daily Deal, I bought myself a food processor that was marked way down from original price! It's a great tool!

I also tried more fruit leather. These were strictly pureed fruit, with nothing added. The Crunchy Cantaloupe were good, but the added coconut, and nuts gave it a weird texture and I think affected how it dried.

I first tried Strawberries and Bananas! Which my husband said had a "kick to it, and for flavor guessed apriocts/melon/ and something else. He didn't know what fruits were used. After telling him it was strawberry and banana, he said that explained the "seedy" texture. I thought his guess and description of it was interesting!

I later made peach and strawberry fruit leather, also!

I've recently come across a new frugal living website It's rapidly adding to my list of new things to try and experiment with. Including pantry and freezer inventory lists. Making meal planning easier as you can at a glance know what you have, how much, and where it's located in freezer/pantry! Will also help with making grocery shopping lists.
I've been wanting to start making homemade bread. We don't eat a lot of bread, occasionally I'll make french bread or dinner rolls for meals, but other than that, we don't eat sandwiches or toast or anything like that often. However, sometimes it's nice to have bread on hand for those times when you do want a quick PB sandwich.
I strongly covet my mother in law's secret bread recipe. She said I will inherit it someday.... so in the meantime, I'll have to settle for something else.
This new website explains how to make homemade bread, along with her recipe. I have made bread and am familiar with how it goes down. But I did learn a few new technics. Such as spraying measuring cup with oil before adding honey so it won't stick and none will be wasted. And kneeding with oil instead of flour. This keeps the dough moist and makes less of a mess!
I tried the recipe! It worked wonderfully! I'm very pleased with how nicely my 2 loaves turned out (also have one more dough ball in the freezer for pizza crust).

Our Church Pastor and family have been gone for the past 3 weeks on vacation. They returned home Wednesday night, so after baking bread, I made a batch of cookies to welcome them home with.

The remainder of this week has been spent preparing for a road trip this weekend. My husband and I are headed up to the Pacific Northwest for 5 days. Sunday and Monday my man is attending a Larry Vicker's Carbine Training course! He's super excited. Once he completes that in North Washington, we're headed to the coast, and will head back down, taking the scenic route home, with some planned stops along the way to do some site seeing, and meet up with friends! I'm excited for a beautiful drive to new places, time spent with my man and opportunity for uninterrupted conversation, camping on the beach (which is something that would be on my bucket list if I had one), and whatever else comes up!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A delusion??

"Surely, if Christianity be a delusion, it is a blessed delusion indeed; and he who attempts to destroy it is an enemy to mankind. It is a delusion which teaches us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Mic. 6:8); and delusion which teaches us to love our Maker supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves; a delusion which bids us love, forgive, and pray for our enemies, render good for evil, and promote the glory of God and the happiness of our fellow creatures, by every means in our power; a delusion, which, wherever it is received, produces a humble, meek, charitable and peaceful tempter, and which did it universally prevail, would banish wars, vice and misery from the world. It is a delusion which not only supports and comforts its believers in their wearisome progress through this vale of tears, but attends them in death, when all other consolations fail, and enables them to triumph over sorrows, sickness, anguish and the grave. If delusion can do this, in delusion let me live and die; for what could the most blessed reality do more?"       --Edward Payson.

Taken from Legacy of a Legend,
"Objections of Sinners Answered"

Friday, August 19, 2011


Earlier this year my very gracious mother in law loaned us her dehydrator. We were interested in making healthy, cheap backpacking foods and snacks. I have dehydrated a few different fruits and experimented in the past. Being an older model, it doesn't have an adjustable thermostat so I'm not sure what temperature it is at. Makes drying times difficult to figure out for someone not familiar with it.
I haven't used it in a while. Decided to pull it out and give Apple Chips and try. 
 I cored, sliced, and dipped in lemon water.
 And filled 5 of the 6 trays I had. Using 6 large apples!
I sprinkled 2 of the 5 trays with cinnamon. Decided to only use cinnamon on part of them in case I we preferred plain over cinnamon, and also to have options!
I did a little research to find out about how long apple chips should dry. I discovered 8-10 hours at 130 degrees was recommended. But, like I said, I have no clue what the temperature on this dehydrator is. So, I did like the manual to the dehydrator said, check after 4 hours. Were still very soft. I checked again at about 6-7 hours. The small ones were dry, the larger ones were still squishy in the middle. So I went and took a bubble bath! When that was finished it had been just shy of 9 hours.
Which was PERFECT!!!  They weren't chewy (like some prefer from my research), nor were they crisp and crunchy, (like others prefer). I wasn't sure which I preferred, so I'm really pleased they came out just right, dry enough to not be chewy, yet, not so dry they were crispy! I love the texture!

I plan to save these for our upcoming road trip to Okanogan, WA in about a week. My man is taking a LAV carbine course. Will be a long 13+ hour drive so, something to munch on in the car will be nice. Much better than stopping at conveniences stores on the way and paying wayy too much for junk food.
I am very excited about this upcoming trip, BTW!! :)

These are soo delish! I'm really pleased and encouraged that they turned out so well. Will be doing it again in the future. Apples should be coming into season here very soon. Hopefully will have an opportunity to stock up and preserve lots this way!

As I was looking through the dehydrator manual, I came across fruit leather instructions and recipes!
I remember my mother in law saying they tried the Crunchy Cantaloupe leather. Since I had a fresh cantaloupe I hadn't used yet and had all the other ingredients. I decided to give it a try since the dehydrator was already out!

apple sauce
flaked coconut
slivered almonds

Very strange combination of flavors, to me. But I had everything available, and figured I could at least experiment. I only made a small batch.
Pureed fruit with nuts spread on trays (lined with plastic wrap).

Crunchy Cantaloupe Fruit Leather!! Was a success! Tastes very good too!

So that's what I've done this week with the dehydrator. Plan to use it a lot more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

...but only God who gives the growth.

I'm having so much fun with my first garden this summer. It's so fascinating planting, watering, and watching things grow. Seeing how the begin as a tiny blossom and within days/weeks are a fully ripe fruit or vegetable! I find it amazing!  
This was taken awhile ago. Everything is much more mature now, and my garden appears as a "jungle".

  I have so far harvested a lot of zucchini and green bell peppers. Some tomatoes, (lots more on the way) and a little bit of garlic.

I spent the afternoon shredding and bagging zucchini that had been sitting on my kitchen counter. Just today got around to freezing it.

I used some of it to bake Zucchini Chocolate Cake with Orange Glaze. Found a recipe on Taste of Home's website that was some-what "healthy", for being a chocolate cake ;) Has applesauce, zucchini, walnuts, and I cut down on the sugar and used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose.

This evening as my cake was baking I went back out to my garden. Found 3 more ripe bell peppers (btw, other than making and freezing spaghetti sauce I'm not sure what to do with all these peppers. Any suggestions??) And dug up some of my potatoes. Obviously some are very tiny! I think they're kinda cute! Planning on making beef stew here soon, so I'll just throw the ity-bity potatoes in there.

Also found a little toad while digging up potatoes!

Another great thing about my garden is all the plants that are there that I didn't plant! Previous renters or last people who planted a garden probably planted them. These things include lots of gorgeous sunflowers scattered randomly throughout. And a pumpkin plant! While I am thankful for these surprise additions, I wasn't planning on them being there when I planted everything else. So they are somewhat in the way, and taking over other plants. Not sure how to deal with this. Tonight, a very large, beautiful sunflower plant was making it difficult to get to my potatoes. So I decided to cut down the flowers and get rid of the plant! So I will be enjoying these lovely sunflowers for a few days! :)
As I was harvesting, weeding, watering, digging, and plucking tonight. As well as filling my freezer with fresh zucchini this afternoon. And in light of the my post earlier today, I couldn't help but think of our dependence on God. While I can till, cultivate, plant, water, weed, tend and labor over my small little garden. I really can't cause anything to grow! My awesome God is who makes my zucchini, peppers, potatoes, and sunflowers grow!
I thought of Paul's analogy in 1 Corinthians 3:7 speaking of souls being saved through the ministry of apostles: "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth."

I am very thankful for my God's provision of food by blessing my work and causing it to grow!

Man's Utter Dependence

I've been reading through "Legend of a Legacy; Spiritual Treasure from the Heart of Edward Payson"
Each section being only a page or so long, reading only one a day (or trying to), as there is soo much to consider and meditate on just in a single page.

The section I read today is titled Man's Utter Dependence. Was a good reminder of our daily, hourly, need of God just for a basic necesities of life. Yet we often take Him for granted, and believe ourselves to be independent and capable of anything.

I hope you are blessed by this reminder of our dependance on our Creator. And it causes you to be in awe of Him and thankful He has given you life!

Man's Utter Dependence
" If men are truly independent of God, it may, with safety, be asserted, that he is almost the only being or object in the universe, on whom they are not dependent. From the cradle to the grave, their lives exhibit little else than a continued course of dependence. They are dependent on the earth, on the water, on the air, on each other, on irrational animals, on vegetables, on unorganized substances. Let the sun withhold his beams, and the clouds their showers for a single year, and the whole race of these might, independent beings expires. Let but a pestilential blast sweep over them, and they are gone. Let but some imperceptible derangement take place in their frail but complicated frame, and all their boasted intellectual powers sink to the level of an idiot's mind. Let a small portion of that food, on which they daily depend for nourishment, pass but the breadth of a line from its proper course, and they expire in agony. An insect, a needle, a thorn, has often proved sufficient to subject them to the same fate. And while they are dependent on so many objects for the continuance of their lives, they are dependent on a still greater number for happiness, and for the success of their enterprises. Let but a single spark fall unheeded, or be wafted by a breath of air, and a city, which it has cost thousands the labors of many years to erect, may be turned to ashes. Let the wind but blow from one point rather than from another, and the hopes of the merchant are dashed against a rock. Let but a little more, or a little less, than the usual quantity of rain descend, and in the latter case the prospects of the husbandman are blasted, while, in the other, his anticipated harvest perishes beneath the clods, or is swept away by an inundation. But in vain do we attempt to describe the extent of man's dependence, or enumerate all the objects and events on which he depends. Yet all these objects and events are under the control of Jehovah. Without His notice and appointment, not a hair falls from our heads, nor a sparrow to the ground. O how far is it, then, from being true, that man is not dependent on God! "

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"May Jesus Christ be Praised"

I've been considering starting a blog for the past week or so. I don't know why I have the desire to blog as I do not enjoy or desire to write. However, I enjoy sharing with others.

At this point I am unsure of what the content of this blog will be, other than a 'journal' of sorts of my projects, thoughts, dreams, plans, hopes, and life in general.

The title of my blog comes from Proverbs 31:27. "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." I thought a long time about what my blog title would be. What would sum up the very broad, general content that will most likely be posted here. And I finally chose this portion of Proverbs 31 because I believe that is what my God has called me to do at this point in time. While I believe I am to be and do all things listed in Prov. 31:10-31, I felt verse 27 summed it all up nicely.

My desire is, and always has been, to be a homemaker, to serve my husband and make and keep our home. And that by serving Christ in this way, He may be praised!

This morning in church, the first hymn we sang was "When Morning Gilds the Skies" or May Jesus Christ be Praised.
Since starting a blog had been on my mind, and as I was singing this hymn during worship, I was reminded that in everything we do in life, and every motive should be that Jesus Christ be Praised, it was convicting as well as refreshing! I hope you are as blessed by it as I was.

When Morning Gilds the Skies

When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised. 
Alike at work and prayer to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised.

When sleep her balm denies, my silent spirit sighs:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
When evil thoughts molest, with this I shield my breast: 
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this: 
May Jesus Christ be praised.

In heav'n's eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
The pow'rs of darkness fear, when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Let earth's wide circle round in joyful notes resound:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Let air and sea and sky, from depths to height reply: 
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Be this th'eternal song, through all the ages on:
May Jesus Christ be praised.