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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recycling.....well, sort of....

I have started to recycle much more seriously now. No, I'm not trying to "save the planet". There is no need to do that as far as I can see. I don't believe man can destroy this earth anyway. God specifically said that He has reserved that privilege to Himself, and rightly so - He made it in the first place.

We are told in more than one place in the Bible that the Lord God Almighty intends to bring this earth to its' final end Himself. I will only quote one instance since it seems most appropriate to me for this discussion. Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

I like that! We don't need to fret over what "might" happen to the earth in 200 thousand years if we drive too much or throw our plastic wrappers away carelessly or incinerate the old newspapers we cleaned out of our grandparents' house. There is great liberty in those verses from the scare tactics that are forced upon us today.

Ought we to be good stewards of God's creation? Yes. But, man, whether capable or not, is not going to be permitted to destroy this earth! God will attend to that Himself; and, by the way, He intends to destroy this place He created out of nothing with a Big Bang (evolutionists just got theirs at the wrong end) and one huge fire (think, major "pollution").

Whew! Now that we don't have to sweat that any more, why am I recycling?

Well, first off, I'm not recycling according to the "accepted" method. I am not dividing my trash into several piles and making trips to dump certain types at "special" recycling locations. If you want to do that and feel it's a good use of your time, go ahead. You're welcome to it. I have enough sorting with just our laundry. ;-)

What I am doing is what my parents and grandparents did in the past. I'm saving things and reusing them for other purposes. Now, before you visualize cupboards full of flimsy butter containers, piles of old pizza boxes, and bags and bags of bags and bags let me say this - that's not exactly what I'm doing either. :-)

My main interest in reusing things effectively is to save some of my husband's hard earned money for other things. We're talking budget conscious recycling and reusing, not fanatical collecting or saving the earth. My aim is to save a little money, but not go to excessive effort nor to collect things randomly just because they "might" be useful sometime. Most of my ideas are probably pretty well known in general, but I thought it might be interesting to share some of my little projects in that line here with you. I also may include some other ideas for "waste management" in the home. :-)

I am reminded of an old poem I first saw in one of my craft books:

Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Do without.

This pretty much sums up my "recycling program".

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Strawberry Coffee Cake

A week ago on a Saturday morning my brother called over the two way radio and asked if any of the rest of us had eaten breakfast yet. None of us had, so he suggested that we combine all our breakfasts and eat together. This is one of the great perks of having three households in a 10 acre area! It was a great family time.

On the spur of the moment I decided to make a strawberry coffee cake to contribute to the meal. It was something I'd had in the back of my mind for a while, and I just decided to see if I could pull it off in time. It made us a little late, and we got some ribbing for that, but it was a big hit with the family. :-)

I used the Banana Brownie recipe and made some changes using some frozen strawberries that I had thawed. (They were home frozen and were quite mushy when they were thawed out, which probably helped.)

Anyway, I thought I would share my changes here so you can try them if you like. Or maybe it till inspire you to venture your own alterations to create something "new"! :-)

Strawberry Coffee Cake

Mix together:
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 C. frozen strawberries, thawed and mashed
1/4 C. quick oats
2 eggs lightly beaten

Pour into a greased 8x8 inch pan. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Cut and serve warm directly from pan.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Strawberry Craft - Fabric Berries

Here is a link to a cute craft that can be adapted for the kitchen. The instructions are for making these fabric strawberries up as pincushions, so they call for filling them with emery or sand for sharpening pins. However, since I've been working on decorating my kitchen with strawberries, I thought they could easily be made up with polyfiberfill instead. My thought is to make some and either fill a glass bowl with them or make a sort of garland to hang over the white valance at my kitchen window - or maybe both! Anyway, you might enjoy making some of these, either as the pincushion/sharpener or as kitchen decor. They could also be made into some cute fridge magnates without too much effort.

Strawberry Pincushions:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mary's Fake Caramel Dip

I invented some dip tonight after looking online for a recipe for caramel dip for apples and realizing that I didn't have time or the ingredients to make "the real thing".  It turned out really well, if I do say so myself.  My husband, Peter, and I had eaten a fairly large dinner in the middle of the afternoon so we weren't very hungry tonight.  I thought a nice plate of apple and cheese slices, some crackers and pretzels and some caramel dip would be just about right.  It was.

Here's the recipe for the dip.

Quick "Caramel" Fruit Dip

2/3 C. sour cream
2 Tbs. packed brown sugar
Slightly more than 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
1/2 tsp. of lemon juice

Mix all ingredients till brown sugar is dissolved.  Add more sweetening (artificial, sugar, stevia, etc.) if it isn't sweet enough for you.

Makes 2-3 servings

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sack Lunch, Brownies and Predestination

One evening last week I had occasion to call a friend of mine. At that hour on a week day I'm usually working on my husband's lunch for the next day. She was cleaning up her kitchen after having made brownies for her husband. So, while we both worked on our projects hundreds of miles apart, we were having a kitchen visit at the same time. The kitchen really is a pleasant place to visit with friends. :-)

In the course of our conversation, she was telling me a bit about her parents' and grandparents' situation at this time. (Her parents are caring for her grandparents in their own home.) Now, her father's family has a Mormon background and not surprisingly, there are hereditary genetic problems in the family. The Mormons have been noted in the past for their intermarriage with close family members (and still are in some instances) and the consequences have been quite devastating and long lasting in some cases.  My friend's extended family is one of those.

However, the thing that was remarkably interesting to me was this:  Of all the members of her father's family who left Mormonism, her father was the only one who became a true Christian. He has showed no signs of the genetic problems that are common in his family. None of his children have either. And, so far none of his grandchildren have. This struck me very much.

I know there are some people who think that predestination and the sovereignty of God are exclusively "Calvinist" teachings and that they are, therefore, somehow not correct. I have seen and heard enough to know that God is sovereign and that He does things based on predestination which is according to foreknowledge, just as the Bible says. (NOTE: If John Calvin gets something correct from the Bible it is not "Calvinism" - it is Biblical!)

1Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Now, I may be mistaken or proven wrong eventually, but as things stand at this time it is interesting to note in this case that God seems to have been keeping this man from before his birth, knowing in His foreknowledge that he would eventually be saved. God does not always work things this way, but in this case He chose to protect this man and his family from the genetic problems that so easily could have troubled them. Why? I do not know. But, the thing that it shows me so clearly is that God does work according to foreknowledge and predestination. He knew when this man was conceived that he would turn from Mormonism and later from the hippy lifestyle and put his faith in Christ Jesus alone for his salvation. God also knew that he would try to train his own children in the ways of the Lord.  And so, in His mercy, God preserved him and them from the very earliest moments of this man's life!

Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which incontinuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

The thing is that this man was not a special case for God's special attention. God makes no mistake. He knew us before we were born, and knew who would come to Him in faith through Christ Jesus. For those of us who believe, He prepared us even then to do His will. This is comfort. This is assurance. This should help us to accept whatever He deemed best for us and give us hope that He has a plan, and did have a plan from the start, regardless of what our "disability" may be.

Psalm 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chocolate Pies

This recipe came from the mother of a friend.  She was known for these delicious chocolate pies.  I will also include my own variation.

Mrs. Jackson's Chocolate Pies

Pinch of salt
1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
4 Tbls. cocoa powder rounded
2 eggs
4 1/2 C. milk
2 Tbls. vanilla
1/3 C. butter
2  prebaked 8-9 inch pie crusts (either pie dough crusts or graham cracker crusts)

Mix dry ingredients until very smooth with NO lupms. (I recommend a whisk.) Add milk and whisk very thoroughly. Add eggs and stir in. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Quickly stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into two prebaked pie shells. Allow to cool. Refrigerate 1-2 hours at least before serving.  (16 or more servings)

My variation:

Chocolate Cloud Pie

Pinch of salt
1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
4 Tbls. cocoa powder rounded
2 eggs
4 1/2 C. milk
2 Tbls. vanilla
1 tsp. almond flavor
1/3 C. butter
2/3 C. miniature marshmallows
2  prebaked 9 inch graham cracker crusts

Mix dry ingredients until very smooth with NO lupms. (I recommend a whisk.) Add milk and whisk very thoroughly. Add eggs and stir in. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Quickly stir in vanilla and butter. Sprinkle marshmallows over the two pie crusts.  Pour filling into pie shells. Allow to cool. Refrigerate 1-2 hours at least before serving.  (16 or more servings)

Other ideas: 
Try coconut or nut crusts instead of the graham cracker crusts. 
Sprinkle toasted coconut on the top of the pies. 
Top with whipped cream and marchino cherries.  
Top with canned cherry pie filling and whipped cream.
Use colored mini marshmallows for the Chocolate Cloud Pie instead of the white ones for a more colorful pie.
Use goat's milk for people with cow's milk intolerance.
You could try substituting some cream for part of the milk for a richer, creamier pie.
Quickly stir in Andes® mint baking bits or red and white swirled peppermint baking drops just before pouring the filling into the shells.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baked Oatmeal: Breakfast or Dessert? You decide.

I made this last Saturday and we really enjoyed it.  It's like eating a crumbled up oatmeal cookie! Delicious with milk/cream or without!  I altered the recipe since I don't have quick oats on hand, but I'll include both recipes. I think mine tasted better, personally. ;-) It's gotta be better with chocolate!

Baked Oatmeal

1 1/2 C. old fashioned oats
1 Tbl. whole wheat flour
1/4 C. white sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. + 1 Tbl. milk
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 chocolate chips
Pecan or walnut pieces

Combine the all ingredients except the nuts and chocolate chips. Mix well. (I suggest stirring in the melted butter before adding the milk, if the milk is cold.)  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread evenly in a greased 9x13x2 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with nuts.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or till edges are golden brown. Serve immediately in bowls. Top with warm milk. Add fresh fruit and brown sugar if desired. (Makes 6 smallish servings, or 4 larger ones.)

Other changes you could make to this recipe - swap out the chocolate chips for dried cranberries, blueberries or raisins. If they are very dry I'd recommend soaking them in warm water for 5 minutes before mixing them into the batter. Also, you could add cinnamon, especially with raisins.

The Original recipe was something like this....

1 1/2 C. quick-cooking oats
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. milk
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine the all ingredients. Mix well. Spread evenly in a greased 9x13x2 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or till edges are golden brown. Serve immediately in bowls. Top with warm milk.  Add fresh fruit and brown sugar if desired.  (Makes 6 smallish servings, or 4 larger ones.)