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Monday, April 30, 2012

Beans

Well, I said that I was going to attempt Black Bean Brownies and a White Bean cake last week.  I did just that. 

Hubby was leery of the brownies but gave me the green light to give them a try.  The first night he said that he could still taste the beans, but by the next day, he said that I could make that recipe my go-to for brownies.  They are great because they require NO flours of any time which brings the cost down in a wheat free/gluten free house.  They also substitute for a protein bar since they are full of protein and fiber from the black beans.  Many websites did warm to let the brownies sit for 24 hours so that they would lose their "bean" taste.  The hard part is not desiring a warm brownie right out of the oven!

I made the cake on Saturday night and we enjoyed cupcakes yesterday for dessert.  Right out of the oven, they were sweet with no icing.  I think they were better the next day when they dried a little.  The cake was very moist and dense, but we both agreed that the cake was primarily a good carrier for delicious icing:)  I found a recipe that used NO flour but did call for coconut oil (available at Walmart, but a little pricey) and honey for sweetener.  We have some in our church with wheat and dairy allergies and these would meet that need.

I am not going to list the recipes because they ABOUND on the Internet and each one has a little quirk that might suit you more than another.  If you are interested just GOOGLE IT.  These recipes would be perfect options if you are entertaining someone with an allergy and do not want to invest in pricey flours or flour mixes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fruit

Just watched a powerful thunderstorm move in ... and out. 
Oh, the speed and the power. 
We have definitely hit Spring with its ups and downs and it ins and outs. 
The blossoms on the pea plants tell me it is Spring as well. 

Today I am thankful for my new fruit plants.  I believe that I have become less and less attached to a physical home in the past years.  Home is wherever my hubby and I live and serve.  While I believe this to be true, there is one thing that I miss by not being "settled" in one place.  Fruit trees.  I watched my mom and dad plant fruit trees only to move in our 7 year cycle before they would produce.  I finally decided that I would do something and I purchased a patio blueberry bush and some strawberry plants.  I don't know if they will do anything ... but, I can take them with me if God moves me to another location :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At Home While at Home

I am sure that you have had someone right next to you ask you, "Where are you?"  Perhaps you are in another location mentality.  Perhaps you are dwelling on a problem.  You could be ANYWHERE! 

Hubby preached from Titus 2 on Sunday night.  I am always struck by the gravity of the commands given to the women.  I am equally impressed that while I can appear to meet the goals outwardly, it is possible to be far from those goals.  For example:  "keeper at home."  I stay home ... check!  Not so fast, Sandra.  I may be physically in the home, but is my heart and are my actions bent toward guarding my home from poor influences or am I checked out and just going through the motions.  Am I drawn in by the computer, by idle phone conversation, by anything that is secondary to the health of my home.

I want to renew my desire to be at home while at home.  Today, I need to make some bulletin  boards for church and get them laminated before the school goes on Summer break ...  I need to make some dessert ... black bean brownies, or a pumpkin or apple pie ...  I need to plan a menu for the week along with a shopping list for tomorrow.  I need to make the most of my time TODAY!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Faith in Action

2 Chronicles 14:11
And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said,
LORD, it is nothing with thee to help,
whether with many, or with them that have no power:
help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee,
and in thy name we go against this multitude.
O LORD, thou art our God;
let not man prevail against thee.

Asa knew where his help came from.
He knew that nothing was too hard for God.
He knew that God worked in masses and in individuals.
He knew it and he lived it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Adventurous Cooking

I am sure it would not be adventurous to most, but avoiding wheat and gluten is surely stretching my cooking skills and causing me to cook a lot more.  It is a cool day today.  The house was mid-50's this morning when we got up.  It was only supposed to reach a high of 58 outside today.  I figured that it was a good day to roast a turkey for supper.  I got the turkey in the oven and then began the debate ... potatoes, brown rice, or stuffing as a side.  Usually that is a no-brainer for me.  I would just rip open a bag (or two) of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing and you would only see my ankles as I dove in!  But alas, Pepperidge Farm will no longer do.  I had myself convinced to have potatoes, when my taste buds said ... "you can't have turkey without stuffing!"  So I quickly mixed up a batch of cornbread and pursued the new adventure of making REAL stuffing. 

The dinner was delicious.  Hubby was excited at the "feast" when he arrived home from work.  The stuffing was not hard and tasted good as well.  I appreciated all the leftovers for this week and some in the freezer as well. 

Funny story from the weekend:
Hubby and I woke a little earlier than usual on Sunday.  Hubby was teaching Sunday School and preaching both services, so we needed a little extra time.  I had also promised him some fresh pineapple, orange, mango juice with breakfast.  After juicing, I took the compost out to the newly dug garden.  While I dumped the pulp and peelings, a little bird flew into the house.  I think that it was more startled than we were and was eager to get out.  It didn't take TOO long to get the little bird out, but it did eat up much of that extra time!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Party Planning

While I clean today, it is time to plan another party.  As much as the Sunday School girls would like it to be for them, it will be to honor hubby.  Only 2 weeks until graduation.  I know, he has been done for 4 months now, but the school is so small that they only march in May.  This will be my first time entertaining wheat free, so it should be fun.  Since the day of the party lands on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), I am thinking Mexican!  For dessert - still up in the air ... flourless chocolate cake ... strawberry pie with nut crust or rice flour crust ... rice krispie treats ... or maybe I will attempt a regular cake? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thankful for a Firm Foundation in the Storms

Well, the new walkway and timbers held up in the storms we had yesterday. 
Hubby was relieved, of course. 
The transplanted tomato volunteers are starting to perk up after the shock of their move. 
I guess they enjoyed an overcast day to settle in to their new homes and build new root systems. 
(My mother-in-law thinks that I speak of my garden plants like one would their pets) 

Today I am thankful for a firm foundation in which to stake roots - not rebar driven to hold timbers, or roots sent out to bring life to a new plant - but the foundation of God's Word.  Life is not without trials and without convictions based on the Word of God, it would be so easy to be washed away into following the flesh and its desires.  I mentioned that the week started out a little rough.  It was a difficult start because both members in the house were fighting with where we are planted right now.  Did we really attend three years of school and move from coast to coast to stay in Shelby?  Our adversary saw the opportunity of our discouragement and seized the moment to attack.  Did hubbers really believe what he had preached a few weeks ago about the qualifications of a pastor from Titus?  There it was before us, the invitation from learned men, the vote of confidence in hubby's abilities, the cries of a struggling church ... but our God is bigger than all that.  He has not equipped us, at this point, for THAT ministry; but has a ministry for us right here, right now.  I am thankful for the 3+ years that He gave us to develop and settle into our convictions that we would have firm footing when the trials come!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Becoming Clearer

More than a year ago, I found that magnesium supplementation really helped me.  Primarily it calmed my nerves and helped me to have more energy.  Instead of sleeping half of the day away, I was able to rise with hubby.  Instead of leaning on hubby getting out of church (teaching and playing the piano really take it out of a person), I could walk out by myself.  What a blessing!

As I continue to research the symptoms of gluten intolerance and sensitivity, what should I discover, but ... magnesium deficiency.  Imagine that!  I am off of Magnesium now for about 2 weeks and so far have not had a return to the shakiness and racing heart.

While talking with my brother the other day, he asked if the damage caused by gluten was reversible.  Gluten (at least to a gluten sensitive person) wears aways the finger-like projections in the intestines making nutrient absorption difficult and creating deficiencies.  The good news is that our wonderful CREATOR made a body that often heals itself.  Within a month to 6 months, the intestines can be back on track.  This is the same creator that created bones that heal stronger after they are broken.  What a mighty God!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pleasant Upturn

The week had not started particularly well.  Oh, the moodiness was running rampant in me.  I was looking at circumstances and situations around me and allowing them to set the mood for my day.  But oh, the mercy of God to turn things around in unusual ways.

Sunday I tried to make rolls for our Sunday dinner.  While they were edible, they were not the roll that I imagined, but were more like a popover.  I decided to try a different recipe last night ... I am so glad that I did.  While I used the all-purpose gluten free flour that smells of garbanzo beans ... the rolls did not have the strange bean taste or the typical gluten free sponginess.  We sat down to dinner and as hubby started eating, he remarked - you could have just made the rolls!  Oh, does that thrill this wife's heart.  He returned to the rolls this morning and will also have a sandwich for lunch on homemade rolls.

Then this morning, we received feedback from 3 Spanish speaking Christians (from Spain, Peru, and Chile) about the Spanish translation of our friend's tract.  How thankful we are for those who use their abilities in God's service.  It was nice to be able to send off corrections to the translation and to feel more confident in the publication of the translation.

In the process of the Spanish translation, I was reminded of how God gives us tools along the way to help us in our service.  While I am far from fluent in Spanish, I could understand what our proofreaders were commenting on and once again I could thank God for the three years of Spanish class that he afforded at a small Christian School. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

mmmmm - Soup!

I love a nice hearty soup.  Last week was pleasantly cool and I enjoyed making some comfort foods.  I found this recipe for Baked Potato Soup the other day and had to try it.  I have made other potato soups, but we enjoyed this one because it actually began with actual baked potatoes and the skins are included in the soup (waste not, want not!)  We enjoyed it so much for supper that we finished it off for breakfast on Sunday morning!

Baked Potato and Bacon Soup

2 1/2 lb baking potatoes
4 bacon slices
2 1/4 c chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
3 3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2 T chopped fresh parsley (opt)
1/2 c sliced green onions
1/2 c finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400*
Pierce potatoes with fork and bake for 1 hour or until tender.
Cool slightly.
Partly mash potatoes, including skins, and set aside.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over med heat until crisp.
Remove bacon and crumble.
Add onion to bacon drippings in pan; saute 5 min.
Add salt, garlic, and bay leaf, saute 2 min.
Add potato, milk, pepper, and broth; bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Discard bay leaf.
Serve topped with bacon, green onions and cheese.

* Note - some chicken broth has hidden gluten in it.
If you are making this for a celiac, please purchase gluten-free chicken broth.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Weekend, Y'all!

We are enjoying a beautiful weekend in southern NC.  I spent yesterday cleaning both at home and at church.  This morning was a great morning for visitation and we caught many people enjoying the weather outside while passing out tracts.  Tonight I will be accompanying the violin students at their recital - I am very happy that I will not be one of the students this year!  I just tried a new "flourless" oatmeal raisin cookie recipe ... YUMMY!  I also made some pecan bars for the reception following the recital.  I wish that I had googled a wheat free recipe before making my old standby.  Oh well, I guess it will save my waistline!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend and have plans to be in your place at church tomorrow.

See you Monday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thankful in Fours

This morning had a very chilly start.  It is 9:30 and the house is finally up to 55*.  BBRRRRR!  It was a wonderful night  for sleeping (not so easy to get up) and I am thankful for a full night of good sleep.  I am thankful for the very long season  of moderate weather when we have not had to use the heat or the a/c.

I am thankful for the prospect of a get-away to Atlanta in May.  Hubby's new job requires training occasionally and in May he is going to Atlanta to learn how to deal with warranty claims.  His boss was supposed to go as well, but did not want to leave.  The boss asked if I worked and when hubby said "no," he said he could take me along!  Gas, lodging, and food paid for ... and this city-girl will be back in the city!  I love adventures.

My third thanks this morning is that the Spanish version of the "Two Appointments" tract arrived this morning in my email box.  I am thankful that all of the funds have come in to purchase this for our friend and for the new doors that this opens with the Spanish community.  Hopefully, we can find a proofer here and get this new tract published! 

Lastly, I am thankful for improved health.  It seems that I spent the first 2 months of this year in tears 50% or more of the time.  I literally thought that I was going CRAZY!  Since ditching the wheat, I have not had a day of tears unless to weep over sin or the heartbreaking situations of those around me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rebellion

Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
II Kings 18:20 b

This verse was part of my Bible reading last week.
It JUMPED right out at me.
I say that I trust in God,
but do my actions show it.
When I rebel against God and His Word,
I am showing that my trust is founded elsewhere.
Usually when I forsake God, I am trusting in self or other men.
... when I don't take care of my health,
... when I don't submit to my husband,
... when my tongue is unkind,
... when I am not daily in the Word and prayer,
... when I allow anxiety to take the place of resting in Christ,
... when I am wasteful with God's provisions.

How about you?
"On whom dost thou trust?"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Last Word

Psalm 58:11
So that a man shall say,
Verily there is a reward for the righteous:
verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

The preceding verses of Psalm 58 give a clear picture
of the judgement of God upon the wicked.
Lift up your heads, righteous servant, this earth is not the end.
God will have the last say!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Faster

Did my 3 miles today in 30:53

That is about a 10 minute 20 second mile!

Hope to make an even 10 minute mile soon.

And then, I have my eyes set on 9!

A Local Treasure - Wherever You Are

I am a big fan of the public library system. It is a great way to get a hold of those "one-time" reads, or to try a book before purchasing. While our library system here in Cleveland County leaves a lot to be desired compared to the expansive Snohomish County Library System in the Seattle area, I have found some helpful books to help learn how to bake without wheat-based flours.

One such helpful book is You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free by Roben Ryberg. The book includes common dishes that have been adapted. Typically each dish has 1-4 recipes that give an option for the "flour" used. There are actually 5 different brownie recipes ... one uses cornstarch, one oat flour, another potato starch, one rice flour, and the last - rice cereal! They all still required the use of xanthan gum, but I still have lots of that due to my find at the discount grocery. Hubby really enjoyed the brownies this weekend, after a series of wheat-free flops, which returns some joy to my baking!

Brownies

1/2 c butter, melted
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c cornstarch
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

Combine all ingredients.
Press into greased 9 inch square pan.
Bake for 25 -35 min.
Toothpick should test cleanly in middle and top will begin to appear dry.
Brownies have to cool a bit in order to "set."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Organic Mood Lifter

Today I am thankful for Spring.  It has been a GREAT week for being outdoors and much has been accomplished in the yard and gardens.  There is not much that lifts my spirits more than being outdoors.  I love to see the new life springing up.  I love to feel the dirt (or red clay) in my hands.  I love the pleasure of looking at a fresh cut lawn.  I love to see neat rows forming in the garden.  I love the smell of rain in the garden.  I enjoying reading a book in the shade of a big tree.  I am so thankful that God gives us so many things to enjoy. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Husband and Friend

I spent a large piece of today practicing with the violin students who are getting ready for their recital in two weeks.  While not taking lessons myself this year, I am the primary pianist at the church that hosts the recital, so I volunteer in this way.  I really enjoy playing the classics and seeing how each student has progressed in the year.

On busy days like this, I have to make a more concerted effort to be an attentive wife when hubby returns home.  Perhaps this is more on my mind this week.  It seems that in the past 3 years, I have been blindsided to find out the 3 or 4 seemingly happy couples are having serious marital troubles.  This always shakes me but also plants in me a firm resolve to truly embrace the Biblical role of a wife and a Christian in the home as well as out of the home.  Hubby told me that many couples just need a good dose of Song of Solomon - not as an allegory of Christ's love, but as a picture of enjoying love and marriage.  By God's grace, I always want my hubby to be both my beloved and my friend.

Song of Solomon 5:16
 This is my beloved, and this is my friend.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Grand Entrance


Before shot: rotting timbers and lost gravel

Before Shot: Gravel sinking


After shot: new timbers and plenty of white marble rock!
Very excited about the quick "freshening-up" that we just finished for our entryway. 
I am thankful for the fresh, clean-looking entry and the stronger edges to my gardens. 
The peas are grabbing on to the strings now and the onions and carrots are recognizable!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Decision Made

I was imagining that there would be a bit more struggle and conflict in deciding whether or not to leave wheat out of our diets indefinitely.  Seriously, I could not envision hubby giving up the fast food hamburger at DQ or Burger King.  No Cici's for their awesome pizza buffet.  And no frozen, breaded chicken nuggets or fish sticks.  I know, I am revealing some of our poor food choices.  But the decision is made.  After 3 weeks, hubby feels so good, he easily said, "I am not going back."  Joint pain ... gone, tummy troubles ... gone, and my moods ... definitely improving.  I picked up a pile of books at the library on allergy-free cooking and will begin to wade through them.  For now, we eat naturally wheat free foods (potatoes and rice) and make simple substitutions for foods we love.  We tried corn and rice based spaghetti on Saturday night ... YUMMY!

Goal Update: 
I have some serious work to do on my memorization of Galatians.  I am still about 1/2 way through chapter 2.

I missed Friday for running, but I am going on to week 8 of my training anyway.  I should pretty much be "wogging" the entire time now.

I got caught up on my gardening on Saturday.  Finally got the beets in (about 2 weeks late) and snuck in some seeds that should have waited another 2 weeks (but it has been so warm - I hope we are free of any hard frosts).  Hubby has fixed up my entry walkway and that makes the gardens look even better.

I am hoping to get another flower bed dug up in the backyard this week - maybe today!