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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Age Doesn't Matter

I am just so blessed.

Yesterday I had the honor of spending the afternoon with a young woman that is 20 years younger than me. 

But age doesn't seem to matter.

She is a delightful person that always has a smile on her face.

At her townhouse there is a beautiful pool so I brought Kidlet Three and a couple of his friends to swim while Young Friend and I visited.

Those 2 1/2 hours went so fast and we didn't get all of our topics discussed!

I am old enough to be her mother yet I get the privilege of being her friend.

She challenges me and I think I challenge her.

We share several common things.  First, we both love Jesus.  Second, diabetes has affected our lives. 

And Kidlet Three and her nephew play baseball and hockey together.

So we've sat together freezing in hockey arenas and sweating under the sun at baseball games.

I am so glad she is in my life. 

And I'm really thankful that age doesn't matter in our friendship!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes

2 slices white bread
 I love this counter-top food processor.  Process the bread into fine crumbs.
Dry on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes in a 200 degree oven until they are completely dry.  My picture makes it look they they got brown but it is is a shadow in my lighting.
Combine the crumbs with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 T. chopped fresh parsley, 1 t. kosher salt, 1/4 t. black pepper.

Blend 2 egg whites, 2 t. cornstarch and the juice of 1/2 lemon with a fork in a shallow dish.

I used three chicken breasts for this recipe.  Lightly pound the breasts to an even thickness. 

Dip both sides of the chicken in the egg mixture.
Place chicken in the crumbs and pat crumbs on both sides.
Place the crumbed chicken on a wire rack.  Allow to air dry for 20-30 minutes.
Heat 3 T. olive oil in a heavy, bake-proof skillet.  Saute chicken until golden. 
Carefully turn the chicken and brown on both sides.  Unfortunately, my crumb coating stuck to the pan.  Make sure you have enough oil in the pan and the crumb mixture has dried. 
Place the whole pan in a preheated 450 degree oven.  Bake until chicken is cooked through. 

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil in a large saucepan.

2 pounds unpeeled potatoes, cut into large chunks
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil, 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary in a small saucepan on low heat.  Do not let the garlic brown.

Boil the potatoes for one minute.  Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet.  Pour the heated oil mixture over the potatoes and stir to coat. 
Roast the potatoes for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes or until cooked through, browned and crisp.  Season with salt.

We recently enjoyed this meal with fresh garden green beans.  YUMMY!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Frozen Tundra is Baked

This summer in The Frozen Tundra has been unusual. We went from a very rainy spring right into the blistering heat of summer. Temperatures have been near 100 with a heat index nearing 120. The heat is one thing but we also get humidity. Those of us with any sort of curl in our hair have been experiencing new hairstyles on a daily basis. One day my hair wants to curl without the gel and then when the humidity starts to drop, I get flat hair.


I heard on the radio that the humidity was nearing similar levels to those found in the Brazilian rain forests. Maybe instead of trying to have flower beds that seem to be wilting these days, I need to investigate what types of plants do well in the rain forest. For two to three weeks every summer I could try to grow those plants!

Yesterday there was a welcome, cool breeze. The Husband and I turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows to get fresh air in our home. The silence was almost deafening. We had become so used to the hum of the air conditioner that silence seemed to shout at us.

Going to bed with the house cooling off was oh so appreciated. In the middle of the night, Kidlet Three yelled out in his sleep so I got up to check on him. His blood sugar was low! And oh how sticky, clammy he was, not just from the low blood sugar, but from the humidity that had crept back into the house. I gave Kidlet Three juice and some crackers and crawled back to my bed. Because of the low sugar, I set the alarm to go off in another hour so I could check him. By this time, however, I realized how hot and sticky I was, too, and that the breeze had left. Mr. Sandman was allowing me to fall back to sleep despite the sticky conditions. I’m grateful for that. After the second blood sugar check (which was good), I was able to slip back into my bed and fall back to sleep. Honestly, I was too tired to start going through the house and closing the windows.

This morning a light rain is falling. I’m wondering if any of that rain will be able to penetrate the baked Tundra. I know the plants must love this soft, refreshing liquid.

Aren't there times when our hearts and minds become like The Baked Tundra.  We set ourselves to not like something or someone, or to make judgments that we aren't going to budge from.  If we stay in that state, we become like the baked ground.  Because of His unending, passionate love for us, God will always, always, always send refreshing rain to soften us.  If we allow it too.  I believe we have a choice.

May God's love rain down on you today and soften any areas that have become like the Baked Tundra.  In His own amazing way, He wants to soften the ground called our heart and mind.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Treat Both Conditions with Worship

I've mentioned before that we have a devotion-for-the-day calendar in the bathroom.  You read that correctly.  In the bathroom where each member of the family is going to visit each and every day and can read these thought-provoking entries.

The name of the collection is Grace For The Moment, inspirational thoughts for each day of the year by Max Lucado.

The July 23 entry stopped me in my tracks.  This was an excerpt from Max's book, Cure For The Common Life.  The entry is as follows:

"You who fear the Lord, praise Him!  Psalm 22:23

Worship humbles the smug and lifts the deflated.  Worship adjusts us, lowering the chin of the haughty, straightening the back of the burdened.  Worship properly positions the worshiper.  And oh how we need it!  We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Five-talent folks swaggering:  "I bet God's glad to have me."  Two-talent folks struggling:  "I bet God's sick of putting up with me."  So sold on ourselves that we think someone died and made us ruler.  Or so down on ourselves that we think everyone died and just left us.  Treat both conditions with worship".

Worship.  There is that word again.  Every time I turn around it seems I encounter that word.  Worship is more than the words coming from my mouth, giving praise to my Lord and Savior.  Worship is the attitude of my heart and the thoughts going through my mind.  If any of these are not in alignment (my attitude or my thoughts), I need to start worshipping.  I need to focus On The One that deserves attention more than myself.

If I focus on myself, as Max states, I'm tempted to get haughty or too-self-inspecting.  And God doesn't want that for me.  I don't want that either but oh, the temptation is there.

Treat both conditions with worship.

Those are good, challenging words.  No matter where you are at today, choose worship.  If the kids are screaming, worship.  If the boss seems too demanding, worship.  If your "to do list" is overwhelming, worship.  If loneliness has trapped you, worship.  In all things, choose to worship God, who is absolutely crazy in love with you.

Treat all conditions with worship.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mushroom, Bacon and Fontina Pizza



Two posts in a row about food.  I do love my food! 

This pizza is from D'Amico & Sons.  It is the Mushroom, Bacon and Fontina pizza.  We got our food "to go" so I'm resting the box on my lap as I shot these pictures.

We were in The Big City about a month ago and needed to use up a gift card from this restaurant.  The Husband and Kidlet Three got cheese pizza but I splurged and tried this heavenly choice.

It was a very enjoyable ride home.  For the first 20 minutes after getting our pizzas, the only thing that could be heard in the car were statements like:  "oh my, this is the best pizza I've ever tasted", "I'm so glad no one else in the car likes mushrooms so I can have this whole pizza to myself", and then "wow, this is filling pizza, there is enough left for lunch tomorrow".

All three of us enjoyed our Supper-On-The-Go.  Maybe I'll try to make this pizza at home sometime in the future.  It was amazing!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Priceless Friends

Last night we met some friends at the restaurant called Noodles.  This was a first-time visit to Noodles for The Husband and I. 

I guess we've been missing out.  The line to get into the restaurant was outside the door at 7 pm, when we arrived.  The place was packed and we were fortunate to find a table outside.  The evening temperature was slightly humid and slightly-uncomfortable-warm but we made the best of it.  It was quieter outside with the busy hustle and bustle inside.

This was what I chose for my meal.  It was fabulous.  Anything with cilantro I love and this I will definitely order again.  I did have them add chicken to it, also.  Each bite of this meal was delightful and I found myself feeling cheated that we hadn't eaten there before!

I'm spending too much time talking about the food.  The best part of the evening was sitting and looking around the table at really important people in my life.   I saw two couples that have we have been friends with for 20 some years.  We've laughed, prayed, worked, confided, and cried together with these friends.  And they have done the same with us. 

Good friends are priceless. 

We spent time last night being honest with each other.  The patio had cleared out and we had the outside eating area to ourselves.  We went around the table and gave an update as to what was going on in our lives.  Each person shared in honesty.

I almost felt like pinching myself because these people were being so "real".  It seems many relationships are "surface" but these people aren't.  And that blesses me because I can trust them with what I want to share.

Last night we laughed, ate, listened, encouraged, and we actually prayed together on that patio at Noodles.  It was a fun evening.  We met at 7 pm and we closed up the restaurant after 10 pm.  And I know we could have gone longer.  Oh, and we did sing a song together on that patio with the stars overhead. 

They are amazing, priceless friends.  I hope you have friends in your lives like this.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Famous Author

Living next door to me for the past three years is a future Famous Author.  Jack was two when he moved in with his parents.  He has been such a joy to get to know.

I first introduced Jack to you in this Christmas Baking Post.  What fun it was to bake cookies with him.  As we baked he a taught me about trains.

Neighbor Jack has taught us about trains, sprinklers, firetrucks and ceiling fans.  He is so intelligent and has what I think, a super-genius memory.

After our Christmas cookie day, he sent me a thank you note.  In fact, the note still is displayed on our refrigerator.  Here is it.

He cut out the hearts and wrote me a personal thank you note.  I love this!

This spring Neighbor Jack moved away to Another-Big-City because of a job change for his parents.  He and New-Baby-Brother Charlie, along with their Best-Neighbors-Ever parents are missed already by us.  Before he moved, Neighbor Jack wrote and illustrated a book for me.  One day as I stepped off the City Bus after a day at work, Neighbor Jack was waiting for me on the sidewalk.  He was holding a gift for me.  His first book for Someone-Other-Than-His-Mom. 

He wrote fives pages about his life and our family.  In the story it was specifically noted that Our Dog was not included in the story.  See, Neighbor Jack and Our Dog didn't have a love-love relationship at first.

The story was illustrated also with very detailed pictures.  There is talent in this young man and I just know he is going to be published in the future.

His Neighbor Daddy took this picture of the both of us.  This could be a famous picture someday.  When Neighbor Jack is A Famous Author!
Neighbor Jack, who isn't my neighbor any longer, is one awesome, young man. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Good Road Map

We all need a good road map.  I'm not talking about MapQuest or the GPS system in your vehicle. 

I'm talking about someone or something that leads us, personally, forward. 

Because of my personal relationship (and those aren't just buzz words...I have a personal relationship) with God, He is my road map.

It seems that whenever I have questions or need direction, I can turn to my favorite verses in the Bible and find the answer or path that I need for that very moment.

My favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5-6.  I'm going to list those verses here in several different translations for you to be blessed by them.

Contemporary English Version
With all your heart
you must trust the LORD
and not your own judgment.
Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
for you to follow

King James Version
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths

The Message
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.

New Living Translation
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take

If you've never used God's Word as a road map, check it out.  Maybe these verses will show you there is "good direction" in the Bible.
 
His love for you and me is amazing!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Soft American-Style White Bread

The aroma of freshly baked bread is heavy in the air.

I find myself breathing in, very deeply, to get that scent into my very soul.

Newborn babies, spring rain, freshly washed hair and baking bread are smells that I absolutely love. 

If you close your eyes, can you smell the bread?

Seriously, I have fallen in love with this website.  I purchased their Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook and am enjoying each loaf.

Over the weekend I made Soft American-Style White Bread doughLast night I baked the first loaf.  First, the smell of baking bread was perfect.  The waiting to cut into that loaf was torture (the recipe states to wait until the bread is thoroughly cooled to make slicing easier).  But the wait was worth it.  The Husband, Kidlet Three and I stood at the kitchen counter with our slices of freshly baked and heavily buttered bread.  I think we all talked with our mouth full saying "oh my gosh this is good" and "this is the best homemade bread ever" and "I just have to have another slice."

The loaf rises in the bread pan for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  There is no kneading at all for any of their bread recipes.

And is baked for about 40 minutes.

It is too bad this picture is blurry.  I think I was shaking from excitement when I tried to take the picture.   During the picture taking I had a slice of the bread in the toaster.  I was waiting to slather that slice with my homemade raspberry jam for a bedtime snack!
I really want to give the authors of this book a big SHOUT of praise.  And to honor them and the work they've done, I'm not going to give you their recipe.  If you like bread, rolls, bagels, and pita bread, there are recipes of all of these in the cookbook I purchased.  Amazon.com had a great deal on the book right now so check it out!

If you are a carb-lover like I am....you will be amazed!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heavenly Hosts

Several months ago The Husband, Kidlet Three and I had the honor of attending the church where Favorite-Son-In-Law and Kidlet One worship.  There happened to be, at my best guess, around 200 people in the service.

Two hundred people that had one agenda.  A common agenda.  To worship God.  To bring glory and honor to the Author of Life, to the King of Kings, to the Resurrected Lord. 

The worship was incredible.  The multitude of voices joined together.  Talk about a "goose bump" service!

As we sang, I closed my eyes and could picture myself standing in front of Him.  Oh, He was looking at me with eyes that burned of love.  There was a twinkle in His eyes as I sang of my love and exalted His Name.  God.  In front of me.  My worship is to Him and only Him.

When I opened my eyes, there were women from the congregation dancing in the front of the church.  Dancing their joy with white, flowing robes.  Using dance as an expression where words just cannot say the depth of love and thanksgiving that is felt.  Around and around they swirled and, oh, how I wanted to join in with them!
I closed my eyes again and then I heard it. There was this background sound that I couldn't distinguish what it was.  It hadn't been there before.  I strained to figure out if the sound system was having a problem or one of the instruments from the worship team was louder than the others.  It then became clear.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

To my knees I fell as I realized the heavenly hosts had joined us to worship and proclaim God's holiness.

Very loud and very clear I heard a thundering Holy, Holy, Holy.

Never before have I had the privilege of hearing the worship of angels and heavenly beings.  It reminded me of the verse from Revelation 7:9 (The Message translation).


"I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb! All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals— fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing: Oh, Yes! The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, The honor and power and strength, To our God forever and ever and ever! Oh, Yes!"

This was one church service no one wanted to leave!  The Presence of the Living God was there and people found themselves lingering as if yearning for more time to spend with Him.

Only one word can describe this experience I had:  Amazing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Healthy Scrambled Eggs

Today was a day at home from work.  Here is what I made myself for lunch:
Two beaten eggs
1 diced tomato
1 thinly sliced green onion
3 mushrooms roughly chopped
A small handful of grated cheese
Scrambled together with about 1 T of butter (the non-healthy part of the meal)
The scrambled mixture was placed on one of these low-carb tortillas
Some freshly ground salt and pepper was the last addition.  This was way too big to "wrap" so I used a fork to enjoy each delicious bite! 

Give this amazing meal a try!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dusting...

Where does all this dust come from?
After all the busy baseball weekends the dust situation was out of control in My House.
I couldn't resist writing myself a greeting in the dust one morning and that is what you are seeing in the picture.

With the sports schedule slowing down a little, the dust has now been attacked.

There are a few essential supplies for dusting:  a good dust rag, spray and my iPod.
I have a playlist of favorite upbeat worship songs that I listen to when I need to clean.
So with my earphones in I start spraying and wiping away the dust of life.
And with worship ringing in my ears, the dust of my soul gets blown off as I focus on My King of Kings.

What a deal.
It makes dusting not quite so unbearable.
Amazing!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This makes a big batch of cookies.  With lots of sugar and shortening, you can't eat just one cookie once you get started....

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs (beaten)
2 tsp. soda (dissolved in small amount of hot water)
2 cups shortening
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla
nuts

Mix in order given.  Drop by teaspoonful on baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Makes about 8 dozen cookies (depending how big you make the cookies). 

I use dark baking sheets and I only baked this batch for 10 minutes.  I like a crunchy outside but soft inside on my cookies and the 10 minutes gives me this.

Amazingly addictive...


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh Those Boys...

Kidlet Three's baseball team is called The Falcons.  The Husband decided to make a "call" or a "sound" like a falcon and he would make this sound to encourage the boys during games. 

Some of the parents tried to make this falcon call as well.  In this video, The Husband is trying to teach another dad how to sound like a falcon. 

I'm sure you'll agree with me after watching this, all you can say is "oh those boys..."  Plus, this isn't what a falcon sounds like but these "boys" sure have had fun pretending!

video

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom

Happy Fourth of July! 

This is our day, set aside, to focus on the freedoms that we have as Americans.  And to remember how this freedom came into being and how this freedom continues to be protected.

Oh, America!  We are the land of the free and the brave.  Let us not forget our heritage.

Those early pioneers that traveled to America for freedom had to fight for what they believed in.  And they fought together.  Side by side they protected this land and the religious freedom they were hungering for.

Today, we fight each other.  State governments go into shutdown mode because of fighting and the inability to work together. 

What have we become?

Oh Lord, forgive us!  Thank you for allowing us to be born in the United States.  United.  United.  Lord, I declare that we will become a "United" States.  Restore our vision to that of our forefathers.  That we can work side by side to protect this land.  Forgive us for our selfish motives.  Forgive us for turning our face from You and thinking we could make better decisions.  God, please do not turn Your face from America.  I ask that You bless the United States of America.  In Jesus's name...Amen.

Today as you celebrate, would you remind a neighbor, a friend or a family member of the privilege we have in living on this land.  And then, thank God, for His of protection on us and His blessings on this country!

Let Freedom ring!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Molasses-Glazed Ribs

Every weekend in June we were at a baseball tournament  I slept in a different hotel in a different city each weekend.  I am not sick of baseball but I am sick of eating out.  Last weekend the tournament was in our home city.  Before the 8 am game on Sunday morning, I started marinating pork ribs so we could have a home-cooked meal for supper.  This is a recipe from Taste Of Home and is called Molasses-Glazed Baby Back Ribs.  It is finger-licking good!

4 1/2 pounds pork baby back ribs
Place ribs in a large, resealable plastic bag and add 1 liter cola (I used Diet Dr. Pepper).  Seal bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
 Drain and discard cola.  Pat ribs dry with paper towels. Combine:
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. garlic salt
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. onion powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
and rub over ribs.
Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan.  Place ribs over pan.  Grill, covered, over indirect heat for one hour, turning occasionally.
In a small bowl combine:
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 T. prepared mustard
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. salt
And stir together.
Side note:  this is the secret ingredient in the recipe.  Kidlet Two, the chef, was home for this meal.  As he was eating the ribs he could identify all of the ingredients in the sauce except for the molasses!
Brush the sauce over the ribs and grill an additional 10-20 minutes longer, or until meat is tender.

Bring the plate of ribs to the table and get ready to enjoy!
Our meal was completed with a salad full of fresh mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes.
I made two baguettes from the recipe for 5-Minute Bread (Artesan Bread) instead of having a potato with our meal. 
This is what was left on the table after our meal.
Give this amazing recipe a try!