Saturday, April 30, 2011

Artesan Bread

South Beach diet people...don't read on.  This post is all about carbs.
Carbs as in bread.

I've been reading this web site Artesan Bread in 5 Minutes for quite awhile.  Finally, I made myself a batch of their bread.  Since that first batch, The Husband asks me to make a loaf of bread almost daily.  It is absolutely delicious!

Making homemade bread has this stigma that it is hard to do.  Not this recipe.  Let me show you how easy it is.

2 T. of yeast (All I had was bread machine yeast and by golly, it works)
Added to 2 T of kosher salt
Pour in 3 cups of lukewarm water
 6 1/2 cups of flour
Stir well.  Make sure the bowl is big enough to handle raising dough.

Let the dough sit on the counter, loosely covered for 2 hours.  After this time you could bake a loaf.

After the two hours, into the refrigerator it goes.  Make sure the cover isn't tight as gases from the bread need to escape.

When it is time to bake, pull off about a grapefruit-size amount of the dough.  Gently pull it into a ball (there is a great video on the web site to demonstrate this).  There is no kneading at all in this recipe.

Place dough on a corn-meal covered board and let raise 40 minutes.

Place a baking stone in the oven before preheating the over.  The stone needs to be hot before placing the bread dough on it.

Before baking, rub a little flour on the top of the dough.  Make 4-5 slices in the top.
Slide the dough onto the hot baking stone.
On a shelf under the baking stone, place a cake pan and pour in 1 cup cold water.  Steam from that water causes a crunchy crust!

Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.
 We can hardly wait for the bread to cool before we are cutting into it.
This recipe makes approximately 4 loaves of bread.  The dough can stay in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

Inexpensive, not-hard-to-make bread that tastes delicious.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Princess Kate's Last Name...

Isn't it interesting that we Americans call our President and leaders by their last name as in President Obama and Senator Nelson. There is the potential of never knowing the first name of these leaders!

The Brits call their leaders by their first name as in Queen Elizabeth and now, Princesses Kate. It made me stop and think, what is Queen Elizabeth's last name!

I had to goggle it this morning to find out!

Without looking it up....any guesses as to what Princess Kate's last name is?

You might be amazed as to what you learn!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Faith Meter

 Have you ever had a situation come up in your life for which there didn't seem to be a way out?  All the talking, analyzing, reviewing, searching and options seem to always lead to a negative dead end?

We had such the case recently.  Because it is so fresh in my mind and to protect the integrity of the people involved, I'll spare you the details.  For two weeks, every single day, the only topic that was discussed in our house was "it".  Over and over we talked, and cried, and yelled and then talked and cried and yelled only to end up at the same point each time.  The point of "there doesn't seem to be any answer."  The point of "oh my goodness, is this the way it is always going to be?"

After two weeks of this, The Husband, Kidlet Three and I were emotionally spent.  We were like zombies.  We weren't sleeping well so physically we became affected. 

Looking back, I am really embarrassed.  I am embarrassed that we let this "it" take over our lives.

Sunday I listened to a sermon that shook my faith meter and further solidified my embarrassment. 

The message started with this verse from Revelation 19:11 from the Amplified version of the Bible:
11After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The One Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgment and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice, and uprightness).
Faithful and True is Jesus. 

Faithful.  Trustworthy.  Loyal.  Incoruptible.  Steady.

In the sermon, a definition that was given for faith was this:  An assurrance, a settledness that no matter what...God is good and has our good in mind.

An assurrance.  A settledness.

That certainly was not a description of our lives the past two weeks.  Here was another statement from the sermon:

When anything in my life becomes bigger than God--that is a problem.  We have to learn to turn away from the "its" in our lives and renew our minds.  Learn to say "no" to the issues, the situations that become bigger than God.  We to have re-calibrate our way of thinking.

We certainly had let the "it" become bigger than God.  In fact, it wasn't until we were at the end of our rope that we sat down together and prayed.   

The faith meter was at zero in a house that proclaims that Jesus is Lord.  Oh, how embarrassed I am. 

Yet how thankful I am that The Faithful One, the One In Whom All Settledness and Assurrance is promised, gently did woo us into prayer. 

After prayer, the peace came.

The sermon came two days later.

And the answer to "it" came, and I tell you the truth, at the end of the sermon on Sunday morning.  The Husband's cell phone rang as we were leaving church and The Answer we'd been waiting for was delivered.  The answer was a miracle and to quote the caller "we've never seen a situation like this ever..."

The answer was delivered after we'd heard the message that Our Assurrance, Jesus, was Faithful.

My faith meter skyrocketed. 

I've repented for the two weeks in which I thought I had to figure out the answer.  Oh icky.  What was I thinking? 

The cry of my heart and with a re-calibrated way of thinking, I share the statement from Hebrews 10:23: 

So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the [a]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.

Hold fast to Assurance, Settledness, The Faithful One.

Where is your faith meter today?
He is The Answer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Warmth and Hope

The wind is blowing.

There was fresh snow on the ground this morning.

And it is cold.

Oh spring, where are you?

Was it just three weeks ago I was standing on the beach enjoying heat?

The sun was warm.

The waves were demonstrating their power.

I need hope.

Sun and warmth.

They will eventually make their way north.

This video I have replayed several times today to re-live the moment of hope.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Boring lunch...

I pack my lunch almost every day to eat at work.

One of my colleagues brought a small refrigerator to the office and we keep it in the closet. 

You read that correctly.  There was an outlet in a closet for us to plug in that dorm-sized refrigerator. 

This is a very old building, it used to be the courthouse.  It has been renovated for office space.  It would be interesting to know if this closet had always been a closet...

Back to my lunch.

This morning as I put my lunch bag into the refrigerator, I announced to my office mates that we should do something different today at lunch time.  I asked them for their thoughts on just picking any lunch bag to eat instead of eating each of our personal lunches. 

There was silence in the office.

I tried again.

"Wouldn't it be fun for one of you to grab my lunch instead of your own to eat today.  It would be like going to a potluck."


How disappointing it was when I went to the refrigerator just now and saw my lunch bag still there.  No one grabbed it to participate in my new idea.

So I ate my own boring lunch.

For excitement I put the potato chips ON the sandwich.

Amazing what a potato chip can do for a sandwich...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

BBQ Cups

One of our favorite meals are BBQ Cups. 
Basically this recipe are biscuits placed in muffin pans,
filled with BBQ-flavored ground beef, topped with cheese and baked.

Sometimes I make homemade biscuits, last night I used Bisquick.
 After stirring the mix and water, the dough is kneaded.
 Rolled out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
 And cut into circles.
 I use a large-mouth drinking cup as my biscuit cutter.
 Each biscuit circle is placed in a greased muffin cup.
 The ground beef was heated with the BBQ sauce.
A heaping spoonful of the heated meat was placed in each cup.
 Our neighbors are from Kansas.  They bring us bottles
of Jack Stack Barbecue sauce.  We love it and that is what I used last night.
 Place one large "pinch" of shredded cheese on each cup.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 10-13 minutes.
 These delicious BBQ cups are quick and easy to make.
They can be frozen and reheated later.
A quick, amazing supper.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Baseball Season Has Started...

The season has started and how can I tell:
  • The remote control has been programmed to the Major League Baseball (MLB) channel
  • Kidlet Three's team practices have started
  • My house is a mess because we aren't home to pick up
  • I find myself humming "take me out to the ballpark...."
Yes, the season has started and I can't wait for the games.

Peanuts, sunflower seeds and red licorce.

It's going to be an amazing season, I can tell.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lessons from a Puffer Fish

What a lesson I learned from a puffer fish.  I saw, firsthand, what I act like sometimes.

It wasn't pretty.

On vacation last week in Sarasota, Florida, we went on a Sea Life cruise.  A marine biologist was on the boat explaining and teaching about the sea life and birds in the Gulf area.  During the cruise, a net was dropped behind the boat to collect sea life.  The contents were brought on board and dumped in a cooler.  The biologist then spent about 10 minutes digging through the contents pulling out crabs, fish, sponges and a multitude of creatures.  One of the fish collected was a puffer fish.  All of the collected specimens were placed in an aquarium on the boat or in individual salt-water jars.

Back to the puffer fish.  It was about two inches long and looked like every other fish I'd ever seen.  My picture of it in the aquarium is blurry but you can see that it isn't anything spectacular.

It isn't spectacular until it gets irritated.  The biologist stuck her hand in the aquarium and started tickling the belly of that fish.  Within minutes, it started sucking in water and growing.  It grew and grew until it looked like this:
 It doesn't even look like the same fish from the one laying so still in the tank.  It's countenance totally changed when it was irritated.
The biologist held that puffer fish out of the water for just a short amount of time.  I was in the front row so she brought it right in front of me and just as I shot this photo, the fish spewed out its water contents all over me.  It had sucked in water to allow it to puff up and that water now ran down my purse!

Everyone laughed including me.  The timing was perfect! 

As I think about that fish, however, I realize I am very much like a puffer fish but not in a good way!  I go about my day looking like everyone else.  However, when I get irritated...when someone rubs me the wrong way...I suck in hot air much like that fish sucks in water.  And I hold that hot air in until I explode and the contents coming out of my mouth are not pretty. 

I'm sure God didn't create that puffer fish to teach me a lesson but I saw it on the boat that day.  I don't want to be a puffer fish.  I don't what to puff up in a protective manner and then spill my guts out on someone.

Romans 12 contains words like:  bless and do not curse, live in harmony with one another, live at peace with everyone, do not take revenge, if your enemy is hungry...feed him.

Oh God, when my belly is being tickled by someone; when I am feeling irritated, help me not to puff up like the puffer fish.  Fill my heart full of love and help me see people the way You see them.  Let my mouth speak words of blessings and not spew foul contents.  Thank you, Lord, for the puffer fish and the incredible lesson I see from Your creation.  You are amazing!  In the name of Jesus I pray...Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lazy Days

Yesterday was a day off from work for me.  Actually, I've been on vacation and yesterday was day 11 of not having to get up with an alarm clock, not having to put on office attire and head out the door to go to work.

Reality is just around the corner as I do have to head back to work and by the time you read this, I'll be at there.

But for today, I'm lazy.

In fact I am so lazy, I realized I put my elastic-waisted capris pajama pants on backwards last night.  There was so much more fullness in the front but I just crawled into bed.  This morning I realized they were on backwards and I didn't even change them around for the first hour that I've been up.  Laziness....

Now that I've been up for a couple of hours, I have switched the pants around which when I write that, will let you know I'm still in my pajamas!  And I just might stay in them all day. 

I made a pot of coffee this morning...eight cups of coffee.  I've been up for almost three hours.  I just poured that last cup of coffee from the pot.  That was scary.  Realizing how much coffee I've gone through already!

That coffee has helped me throw a load of laundry in the washer, pack Kidlet Three's lunch and get him out the door for school, upload pictures from my camera to the computer, listen to a sermon on my ipod and now, write this post.  Oh, and switch my pajama pants around.

So I have not been entirely lazy this morning.  I've emptied a pot of coffee!

Lazy days are amazing!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy 2nd Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Kidlet One and Favorite-Son-in-Law!

Today is your second wedding anniversary!  What a glorious day we had celebrating your becoming "one". 

In celebration, here are photos to remind us of the beauty and love shared that day.

We are so very proud of you and wish for you, years and years of anniversaries to celebrate!

You both are loved very much!

Happy Anniversary!