Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yeast-free Wheat Pizza

Homemade pizza costs less than $3.00 each
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. milk
5 tbsp. oil (I prefer olive oil)
1/2 c. pizza sauce (I prefer homemade)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
Your favorite toppings
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flours, baking powder and salt. Add milk and oil.

Stir vigorously until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Kneed until smooth ball forms, about 10 times.

Roll out to within 1 inch of edge of pizza stone.

Pinch edges up to form a lip. Spoon on pizza sauce. Sprinkle with cheeses. Add your favorite toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until crust is golden.

Makes 8 slices. Recipe may be doubled. Variation: Substitute Alfredo sauce for pizza sauce. Sprinkle with chopped fresh spinach before adding cheeses.

The Harvest Begins

green beans

Thanks to our wonderful neighbors who watered our garden and fed our animals while we were out of town last week, I was able to begin harvesting some of our vegetables today.

We got more than a gallon of green beans and 8 cucumbers. Notice the smaller ill-shaped cucumbers in the front of the photo? This happens when the moisture level in your soil is inconsistent. They are still just as delicious as the "normal" cucumbers pictured in the back. If you've never had a fresh cucumber right out of the garden - Man-O-Man you are missing something!

As a thank you to our neighbors, we shared our eggs, green beans and cucumbers with them this week.

The Definition of Love

Because of Granny's funeral this past week, we had an opportunity to visit with family members whom, because of long distances, we don't see very often. I became engaged in a deep conversation with a young family member. In the course of that conversation the "What exactly is love" question was brought up. Unfortunately, when aggressively confronted with negative overtones my mind seems to "freeze up". I always have an "a-ha!" moment later, being left with, "Oh! Why didn't that come to mind during that conversation!"
What exactly is love? The young man I was conversing with went on to espouse all sorts of biology, physiology, sociology, and other ology definitions. He actually reduced his answer to love being nothing more than a chemical reaction within one's brain. I countered with examples of people who sacrifice their lives for others - specifically a mother's for her children. His response was that as an animal species we instinctively protect our offspring in an attempt to preserve our species. I also attempted to counter with the soul/spirit portion of all human beings and how we are created by God, in the image of God, placing us higher than other animals. This too was rejected on the premise that he doesn't accept "religious magic". He asserted that humans only have bodies and brains - he doesn't agree that humans have a soul/spirit. I of course, was caught off-guard with this young person's response and my mind, as it always seems to do, just froze. I was so disturbed that any person could accept such dead and hollow explanations, I began to cry.
For days I have sorrowed for this young man's wife and family. What are they to do when they no longer have the ability to spark positive neurotransmitters in his brain causing a chemical reaction? Will they be abandoned for others who have the ability to spark those neurotransmitters? How heartbroken would his young wife be if she knew his love for her would only last as long as she could spark a neurotransmitter? How devastated will his future children be to find that their father holds no stronger bond to them than a mere chemical reaction? If this young man's summation was true and correct, his parents and siblings would have absolutely nothing to do with him - as in past days, he's wrought tremendous heartache on them - there have certainly been times when he failed to envoked positive sparks onto thier neurotransmitters. However, his family continues to love and cherish him, just as they did in his infancy. I assert he has temporarily chosen to believe a lie.
Whenever something pulls at my heart, I find myself pondering until I have the "a-ha!" moment. Yesterday afternoon, I experienced the "a-ha". Yesterday I pulled out my Random House dictionary and looked up the definition of love - 1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment 3. a beloved person 4. a strong predilection or liking for something. The dictionary still doesn't convey what I was trying to articulate. However, as always, the Word of God does -
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV), Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
I pray this young man will forgive his family for the perceived wrongs he thinks they've done to him. I pray he will come to repentance for the jealousy he holds toward his siblings. I pray he will repent of the resentment he holds toward his father and step-father. I pray he will, in short order, repent of his rejection of God and accept the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray he will freely give his love to others. I pray he will soon accept and realize that all his life he has been experiencing love as described in I Corinthians 13:4-8.

Friday, May 30, 2008


This past week some of our family said, "Goodbye" while others said, "We'll see you later" to a very dear loved one. I so very much wish I could report that every member of our family could have said, "We'll see you later", but as of right now that is not the case.

My husband's beloved grandmother, Granny, went home to be with the Lord. Granny spent 94 1/2 years here. Her life was richly blessed by many, many experiences and with the Lord as her guide, she triumphed through many, many challenges.

Granny grew up in an era very different from ours. She was born and raised on a rural mid-western farm. By the time she was 12 years old she was her mother's right hand. At only 12 she was able to cook, clean, do laundry (by hand), sew, care for children and perform other various farm chores as well as any adult. At the age of 14 she met and, with her father's permission, married her husband of 24 years. He died in an auto accident when she was only 38. At age 16 Granny had a beautiful daughter and at age 18 gave birth to another - these two girls would be her only children.

Granny experienced a vast amount of life. As a young girl transportation consisted of a horse and buggy, at the time of her exit she owned an automobile that would go more than 120 miles per hour. As a child and young adult the toilet consisted of an outhouse several hundred feet away from the main house. At the time of her exit, indoor bathrooms, complete with flushing toilets & hot water supplied showers & whirlpool tubs, were standard in homes. When Granny was a girl airplanes were still being perfected, but by the time she departed us, not only could they fly around the world, some could fly into outer space. As a young woman, business was done with shorthand, manual typewriters and accounting was calculated by the brain with paper and a pencil. By the time she left us, we had computers to do the math and run the businesses. In the era of Granny's youth most folks communicated through the mail system, telegrams, and only the upper folks had party-line telephones. She lived long enough to see fiber optic instant messaging and multiple wireless telephones in the same house! In her youth, the majority of rural residents lived without electricity. In her lifetime she watched more than 99% of our nation connect to the "grid". As a child her family sowed, planted, and reaped a harvest step by step, hand by hand. Today's farms are managed using huge multi-tasking machines that can do a week's worth of manual labor in 1/2 a day.

She grew up during World War I and the roaring twenties; began a family during the Great Depression; lost loved ones and friends during World War II and the Korean War; during the "good ole days" of the 50's she mourned the losses of her husband, her own mother, and a granddaughter; in disbelief she watched the youth of the 60's "turn on and tune out" with illegal drugs. During the 70's she prayed to God while her grandson fought in Vietnam and praised His name when he came home and once again mourned as she lost a great-granddaughter; on her living room television she watched the Berlin wall come down in 1989; and saw personal desktop computers move into more than 70% of all homes in the 1990's and cried a river of tears over the loss of her younger daughter. She ushered in, not only a new century but a new millennium; celebrated with joy the birth of a great-grandchild on her own birthday and then had to mourn the loss of her eldest daughter.

Throughout her lifetime she had relationships with 8 generations of her family. Her life was filled with smiles, tears and amazement. Upon her departure she left her older sister, aged 96, four grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and 3 great, great-grandchildren.

Her older sister once told me that Granny was always an obedient child. Granny said the same about her older sister. Ephesians 6:2-3 (KJV) says, "Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with a promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth." I think Granny was a living testimony to this promise from God.

I'll see her later ...

Friday, May 23, 2008

What do You do When the Milk Sours?

Most folks figure that since it's soured it is no longer useful and toss it into the trash.

Soured milk is a wonderful baking ingredient. It can be used in all baked recipes that call for sweet (fresh) milk and buttermilk. The flavor of the baked product is just as wonderful as if made with sweet milk or buttermilk and often times the products are lighter and fluffier.

If we think about it, we are soured milk. God originally created us in His image. If we were created in His image, then we were created perfect and without flaw because God is perfect and without flaw. But then sin entered into us and soured us. Has God tossed us into the trash? No! For those of us who will allow Him, He takes the soured milk of our lives and creates wonderful and favorable products that He, once again, finds delight in.

Here are a couple recipes using soured milk. It is my prayer that if you try them, you will consider yourself and your relationship with God. Are you allowing God to create something wonderful and favorable from the soured milk of your life?

Soured Milk Hotcakes
1 egg
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. soured milk
1 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. melted butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Beat egg until fluffy, beat in remaining ingredients until just smooth (there may be a few small lumps). Grease heated griddle, if necessary. Pour batter onto hot griddle (griddle is right temperature when a few sprinkles of water will skittle around) to desired diameter. Cook hotcakes until puffed and bubbly. Turn and cook other side until golden brown.
makes about 5 6" hotcakes

Soured Milk Waffles
2 eggs
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. melted butter
1 3/4 c. soured milk
1 tbs. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat waffle iron. Beat eggs until fluffy; beat in remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour batter from cup or pitcher onto hot waffle iron. Bake until steaming stops, about 5 minutes. Remove carefully.
makes about 3 10" waffles

Soured Milk Biscuits
1/2 c. shortening or lard
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. soured milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut shortening into dry ingredients with pastry cutter or two knives until mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in soured milk just until dough leave sides of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky). Turn dough out onto flour surface. Lightly sprinkle top of dough with flour. Turn and fold dough 3-4 times. (Remember, the more you play with the dough the tougher your biscuits will be - A LIGHT TOUCH MAKES FOR LIGHT BISCUITS). Roll out to 1/2 - 3/4 in. thickness. Cut with floured biscuit cutter or rim of a glass. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, sides touching. Bake until golden brown 10-12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
makes about 1 dozen

Soured Milk Dumplings
3 tbs. shortening
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. soured milk

Cut shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in soured milk. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto hot meat or vegetables in boiling stew. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Gardening

baby cucumbers! - can't wait to make bread & butter pickles
green beans!
pears! - yummy pie filling, pear butter, pear sauce, vanilla pears, cinnamon pears
peaches! - not enough to put up this year, but enough for a sweet taste or two
figs! - fig jam, fig bars and just good ol' eatin'

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Crib Sized Patchworked Summer Quilt

Quilting is a task I truly enjoy. But, for many years I haven't had as much time to perfect the skill as I'd like to have. Just last week I completed a crib sized patchworked summer quilt. In my neck of the woods (zone 9) a summer quilt does not refer to the color scheme or pattern, it refers to the absence of batting. Now, I know there are many very fine professional quality quilters out there who would be appalled that anyone would even consider making a quilt without batting. Those same quilters most likely live in a much cooler climate than I. If they don't, they probably use air conditioning. You see, I grew up in zone 9 in a home that didn't have air conditioning. (Now that I'm an adult, I don't like it, but will use it VERY sparingly on the hottest of days). Thus, our family made summer quilts for use during the spring, summer and autumn. We made traditional quilts, ones with batting, for use in the winter.
I've yet to meet the person I will bless with this little quilt, but I am sure a lovely expectant mother will come along soon. With our temperatures quickly approaching the mid to high 90's with 80%+ humidity, I am sure this light weight version of an old favorite will be preferred during hot summer months.
Update: I recently found a new arrival for this baby quilt. I hope he enjoys it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Things to Think On ...

The blessing of technology has given birth to the information age. Absolutely everywhere I go I am bombarded with information. We have the radio, television, Internet, even while driving down the road with the car radio off we are constantly fed information through signs and billboards.

I ask, "What kind of information are we receiving?" Does this information lift our spirits and bring a smile to our faces? Does it bring thoughts of good and peace to our hearts? Does it edify our Lord Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, it seems that about 98% of it does not. Today's popular music, television programs, the Internet and even billboards are filled with violence, sexual immorality, ridicule of husbands and fathers, disrespect toward authority figures, etc. Even the news is filled with one negative story after another, if the news does produce something positive it's usually only a 30 second sound bite human interest story.

However, as Christians, do we even notice these things or have we become so desensitized it doesn't even affect us? I ask that because I am amazed by the number of Christian homes who CONSTANTLY have the television or radio on, even when they are not focused on it or actively watching or listening to something. How can we guard our hearts and minds from the negatives of this world when we aren't even paying attention to what we are being fed?

Because I have yet to convince my husband that we don't need it, our home has one television. For a couple of years prior to marrying my husband, I didn't have television - nor did I want it. People actually pitied me for not having one. I even had people offer to give me a television on THREE different occasions. I wish I had photos of their shocked expressions when I politely declined - they couldn't understand how anyone could live without television. People would always ask, "But what about the news?" My response was, "Anytime I want to know what's going on in the world, I just buy a newspaper and read it." Even though we have a television, I generally watch it less than 4 hours per month. Nowadays, if I want some news I just log onto the computer - it's easier for me that way as I can pick and choose what and how much negative information I'm fed.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 (KJV) - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, 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. This Scripture is the meter I use for gaging the information this world tries to feed me. It works very well.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our Garden is Beginning to Produce!!!

Baby yellow squash! - We have 5 plants
Baby bell pepper! - We have 6 plants
Green tomatoes! - We have 6 plants
We also planted basil this year!
Leaf lettuce! - We planted a 6'x5' bed

Our family absolutely LOVES fresh produce from the garden. No matter how many years I've been gardening, I always get very excited everytime I see new baby vegetables or fruits. We also have baby cucumbers and our pear and figs trees are LOADED with baby pears and figs. Our two 3 year old peach trees have a few tiny, fuzzy peaches - I look forward to the year our peach trees really begin producing. If I were asked to describe what summer tastes like to me, I'd have to reply, "a tree ripened, sun warmed, juicy peach - mmmm good!"

Stir Fried Noodles

We tried a new creation for supper this evening. Everyone loved this spicy dish and had a second helping ...

Cooked spaghetti noodles (enough for 6 people)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
6 slices cooked bacon, diced
2 lg. cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. English peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. kernel corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. green beans, fresh or frozen
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
6 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. lemon grass
2 tsp. salt
red chili pepper flakes to taste
fresh clipped chives

In a wok (I use a large cast iron skillet), heat olive oil over medium high heat until hot. Add onion, carrot, celery, and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until crisp tender. Add garlic, black pepper, paprika, cumin, turmeric, lemon grass, salt and red chili pepper flakes, stir well. Add English peas, corn, broccoli, green beans and zucchini. Continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until vegetables are crisp tender. Add cooked spaghetti and green onions. Cook, stirring constantly until spaghetti is heated through. Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with fresh clipped chives.
Note: Cooking a stir fry is always easier if you have all your ingredients ready for the wok or skillet before you begin cooking. When preparing this dish, I placed the onions, celery, carrots and bacon into a bowl, measured and combined all my spices into a small bowl and placed the peas, corn, green beans, carrots, broccoli and zucchini into another bowl. When it was time to add these ingredients, I just dumped them all at once into the hot skillet and began stirring.

Busy Work Day

I usually try to schedule our time so that we do not have to work on Saturday. Sunday is our Sabbath and therefore, aside from feeding the animals, we never work on Sundays. However, we had so many things come up this past week, we weren't able to avoid doing yard work today. Our yard maintenance is JP's responsibility. Today I decided to reward his consistently obedient and helpful attitude by mowing the grass while he did the edging. With us working together as a team we finished up in about 4 hours. This afforded us enough time reconfigure our outside walkway to the front door, something I've been contemplating for a while. It looks SOOOO much better and I am sure my husband will be very pleased with the results when he gets home - I know I am happy with the results. Now, umm about the back porch .....
Yesterday, EJ asked if we could play a game of kickball today. I told him we would and purposed in my mind to find the time to play outside with the children. When our yard work was completed and after a glass of cold water, we set up the bases (a couple 5 gal. bucket lids) and played for almost an hour. OG commented on how much fun it was to play kickball with mom. EJ, of course, didn't want to stop - he never does. Because I have a tendency to work, work, work, I am pleased that I took some time out for play.

Well, I must now sign off so I can get some supper on the table ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hello & Welcome ...

to my first entry. First and foremost I pray that my entries will bring glory to our Lord Jesus and they will bless you.

I am new to the world of computers and blogging, so please bear with me as I learn about these new and uncharted, by me, waters. I am not quite sure where this whole blogging experiment will lead, but I am confident I will have some fun and learn from the experience.

I hope to write again soon