Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saltines - Gluten Free

Pregnant with no saltines?  Can you imagine such a thing?

My co-workers and I had a total of six kids in about four years.  One of us was always pregnant.  It was easy to figure out who was pregnant by the saltines in the desk drawer.  Seriously!  I remember one day B was looking in D's desk for something and discovered the saltine stash.  Oops!  B showed me the evidence and we both felt a little guilty for the discovery before the big announcement had been made.

Kidlet One has been pretty sick in the early stages of her pregnancy.  She has to eat gluten free and she wasn't finding saltines.  So I went digging on the internet and found a recipe for gluten-free saltines.  In the event you know someone with celiac disease, you could make them saltines with this easy recipe, whether they are pregnant or not.

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum
6 T. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cold water
Kosher salt for sprinkling

I purchase the dry ingredients at a local health food store.  The flour is ground and in bins.  Patrons are able to scoop and weigh the amount they want to purchase.  It really is a less-expensive way to purchase these different flours. Here's a tip:  I keep the flours in a tub in my freezer.  When I'm ready to bake gluten-free, I grab the tub!

Whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl or food processor.  Whisk or pulse to combine.

Add cold butter and pulse until butter is the size of baby peas.  Add water and pulse until a dough forms.  Dough will be firm.  If dough is dry, add an additional tablespoon of water.
Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper (at least 12 x 16 inches).
Roll dough about 1/16-inch.  Mine was too thick as you can see in some of the photos.
Remove top piece of parchment paper.  Slide dough onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Prick dough all over with a fork.  Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into cracker-size pieces.
Generously sprinkle kosher salt all over the top of the dough.
Bake until crackers are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and allow crackers to cool.  Once cool, break crackers apart, if needed.  Crackers usually break apart while baking.
Mine were more like a shortbread, because I didn't roll them thin enough.

I was surprised that saltines are pretty easy to make.  And they were a salty, crunchy snack for me!

An amazing recipe for our gluten-free friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Conversation with God

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11

Note:  the conversation was forwarded to me in an email so I don't know the author to give credit

Me:  God, can I ask you a question?

God:  Sure.

Me:  Promise you won't get mad?

God:  I promise

Me:  Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?

God:  What do you mean?

Me:   Well, I woke up late.

God:  Yes.

Me:  My car took forever to start.

God:  Okay.

Me:  At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.

God:  Hmmmm.

Me:  On the way home my phone went dead just as I picked up a call.

God:  Okay.

Me:  And on top of all that, when I got home I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax.  But it wouldn't work!  Nothing went right today!  Why did you do that?

God:  Well, let me see.  The Death Angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life.  I let you sleep through that.

Me: (humbled):  Oh.....

God:  I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Me: (ashamed)

God:  The person who  made your first sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what he has.  I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.

Me:  (embarrassed):  Ok...

God:  Your phone went dead because the person who was calling was going to give you false witness about what you said during that call.  I didn't even let you talk to them so that you would be covered.

Me:  (softly):  I see, God.

God: Oh, and that foot massager had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight.  I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me:  I'm sorry God.

God:  Don't be sorry, just learn to trust me in all things, the good and the bad.

Me:  I will trust you.

God:  And don't doubt that My plan for your day is always better than your plans.

Me:  I won't God.  And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.

God:  You are welcome, child.  It was just another day before your God, and I love looking after my children.

What an Amazing, Loving Heavenly Papa we have!  I choose to trust YOU!!!!  Praise God.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Golden Birthday

Happy Birthday Kidlet Two!

Kidlet Two is 24 today...on the 24th!
It is his Golden Birthday!
 His name means Gift from God and he lives up to that name.
 He carries joy with him wherever he goes.
He has always been the one to crack a joke
or say something witty to make us laugh.
Yet he is insightful and asks questions with depth.
 Music, fishing, hockey, tennis,
disc golf, riding his scooter and cooking...
he has many passions.
 His friends are many and it is because he
is such a great guy.
He is a hard worker and a mighty fine chef.
 Your dad and I are so proud of you, Kidlet Two.
We wish for you a very Happy Birthday!
And remember the first Bible verse you memorized:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
Lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge Him
and He will make your path straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pssst....did you hear? isn't a secret anymore...

I am a grandma!

Kidlet One and Favorite-Son-In-Law are having a baby in March of next year!  

This week they heard the heartbeat of their baby.  They recorded it so we could hear it as well.

What a joy to hear my grandbaby's heart beating.  

Poor Kidlet One has been sick during this first trimester.  Mashed potatoes were one of the foods that she could keep down.   The fact that spuds were enjoyed by Baby early on will be a good thing.  The biggest platter/bowl of food on my family's table for any holiday is the buttery mashed potatoes.  We LOVE mashed potatoes and I'm so glad Baby is being inducted into the We-Love-Our-Spuds club.

It has been really fun to hear Kidlet Three talk to his sister now.  The two of them have a special bond in their 11-year age difference and that bond is the only reason he can get away with asking her this:

Are you fat yet?

He asks her this every time he calls her or texts her.  Bless her heart, she just giggles and answers him with a "not yet" answer.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed or understood the new set of emotions that were unwrapped when I heard the words "we are having a baby" from my daughter and her husband.  It is like a closet that has never been opened and when the door was opened, I was flooded (in a good way) with emotions.  There was such a strong sense of protectiveness that came on me...wanting to wrap Kidlet One in a cocoon and keep her safe during this time of growing a baby.  I also felt like my heart was going to explode with such love.  Oh my goodness I cannot explain it.  

Those of you that are already grandparents know this amazing chapter in life.  Those of you not grandparents, just wait.  Our Amazing God has kept a Special Love for Grandbabies tucked away in that closet I was alluding too.  When the announcement is made, He throws open that closet and all that Love washes out.

So, Baby Baby, we await your arrival!  Every single day you are being prayed for and you will be welcomed with such an overwhelming, amazing Love!  

Keep enjoying those mashed potatoes.  Grandma has more potatoes when you visit!!

Praise God...the miracle of a baby is in our family!

Monday, September 17, 2012

All I want for Christmas is A New Knee

All I want for Christmas is a new right knee and I get one!

My right knee has had no cartilage in it for several years.

Bone rubs on bone when I walk.

Oh, and I guess I have a 'spur', too.

I'm so special!

My healthcare provider tells me that my knee looks like that of an 80-year-old.  That is not something this 53-year-old needed to hear.

Over the past three years I've had multiple cortisone injections but now I get limited relief from them.

I've had two SynVisc injections (a gel injected into the knee) to cushion the bones.  This does work for about four months.

The opportunity of a new knee has been offered to me for a couple of years.  There were a couple of deciding factors for me.

First, I saw the bill from my latest SynVisc injection.  Over $2000 for each injection and I have had two already this year.  This adds up!

Second, our health insurance is changing for next year.  It will be cheaper for us to have it done this year.

The third factor in my deciding to have the surgery now is, well, I am going to wait to tell you the third reason in a future post.

The fourth factor is that the arthritis in my knee is going to be removed and I'll be able to walk more than two blocks without being in pain.  And, boy, do I look forward to that.

The appointment with the surgeon is scheduled for November 1.  Will you walk this journey with me?  I'm really, really, really, really, really NOT looking forward to the post-surgery pain and healing.  In fact, that has been the reason I haven't had this done sooner.  I guess I'm a pain weenie!

My mom has offered to come help me post-surgery.  Isn't that cool!

Hopefully after the November 1 appointment I can get in and have the surgery the same week.  That would put me at being able to walk by Christmas.

Thus, all I want for Christmas is a brand, new right knee.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wind & A Good Papa

I have a great, loving, and kind earthly Dad. 
Tonight I want to talk about my heavenly Papa.
Over and over again He reminds me of His Love
and of His Presence in my life.
The night I was so sad about the house
we were trying to buy, there was a
huge wind storm.
Around 1 a.m. the wind awoke us all and
then the power went out.
Standing in the kitchen looking out to
the backyard, with the lightening, I could
see the trees doing a frenzied dance.
The sky was remarkably bright for a
middle of the night storm.
The trees were being whipped to the left
and then to the right.  
It was almost like they were conflicted
as to which direction to bend and stretch.
Never had I seen such wind and never had
I seen our trees move in such a crazy fashion.
In fact, I realized one of those trees could come
crashing down on our house.
Our house.
The day I was so sad that we couldn't buy a
different house, I realized how thankful I am
for my current house.
In the midst of the storm, My Papa spoke
to me in His God Nudge way...

"A house is sticks and concrete 
with windows and doors, it is people
and relationships that are important"

Yes, I agree with that Nudge.
Never would I want a house to be the
most important thing in my life.
The joy and peace that I went to bed
praying for came in the midst of a storm.
Losing out on the purchase of a
house is NOT the most important thing
in my life.

My Papa used the wind to get my attention.
Once He had my attention He spoke to me.
He flooded me with His joy and peace
He is so cool and faithful.

In the morning, we did have clutter on the deck... 
 The neighbor's tree...

If you don't know God as a loving Papa, 
I'm going to be praying for you.  
He is wildly, passionately, crazy for you.
Papa, thank you for the wind storm.  Thank you
for reminding me of what is important 
in my life.  I love you, Lord!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm so sad

Tonight I am just so sad.  So very sad.  Yet as I get ready to sleep, I'm asking God to give me His joy that is new every morning.  I only want to be sad this one day and I want to move on.

The Husband and I would love to live in a ranch or rambler-type home.  And we love our neighborhood.  There are not many 1-story homes in our neighborhood.  In an amazing, too-good-to-be-true set of circumstances, we found a really neat ranch home for sale in the neighborhood.  We walked through the house multiple times with a realtor-friend and decided to make an offer.  This was in July.  

I really felt this was The House.  There was such a peace that came over me in that house that I cannot explain.  The way all of the events played out, we felt that God was throwing open the door and almost putting the house in our laps.

We did our wheeling and dealing with the realtor and the seller would barely budge from their price.  So mid-August, we walked away.  Maybe we thought they'd come after us since the house had been on the market for a year and we were their first offer.  I guess we thought the price was so high it would sit there for another six months and we'd make an offer in the spring.

I drive by the house at least two times a week.  In my mind I already knew how I was going to arrange the kitchen cupboards and what flowers I wanted to plant in the front.  The Husband admitted just yesterday that he drives by the house multiple times a week, too.  So we contacted our realtor again late yesterday to see about putting in another offer and found out we are too late.  There is an accepted offer on the house.

And tonight my mind is playing the "you should have offered more"..."you should have tried harder"..."every other house you look at you compare to this one"..."you snooze you lose".

I trust God.
I believe God has a great house in mind for us.
If this was The House and we missed the opportunity, we aren't going to be punished for it.
God wants to bless us and not punish us.

Yet my feelings are valid and I'm just so sad.
How could this be the ending when it felt that everything was falling in to place.
We did feel we were supposed to wait and walk away.
Yet, this isn't the ending I dreamed of.

Can any of you relate to this?  

In between my tear storms, I have been able to  pray and ask God to bless the new owner and hope that they feel the peace in that house that I felt.

And very importantly, I have spoken out to God my trust in Him.

And I look for the hope of joy coming in the morning.  I don't want to stay in this sad funk for more than this one night.  

If you are in a funk, I am going to pray for you.  I'm going to pray that you would be able to acknowledge your feelings and then ask God to give you the strength to move one.  That He would open your eyes to see the amazing and wonderful things around you.  

So as I ramble on and on here...know that I am sad for the loss of this house...but I am looking forward to the miracle of joy that I know awaits me in the morning.

Luke 6:21 from The Message:

"...You're blessed when the tears flow freely. 
   Joy comes with the morning."

May  your joy come in amazing floods in the new day.  I know mine will because He is Faithful.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ginger Pear Muffins

Just typing the name and seeing the picture of this muffin caused a reaction in my taste buds.  This moist, fruit-filled delight will cause a party in your mouth.

I bought a  lug of pears and have been keeping them in the refrigerator.  This keeps them from ripening at the same time.  Daily I reach in and pull out a pear to carry to work for a snack.  By the afternoon the pear has softened up to munch on.  These are Colorado pears and oh so delicious.

Yesterday I decided to make Ginger Pear Muffins.  This recipe is from Canadian and is a recipe I've made many times.  If I owned a bakery, I know these muffins would be a top seller.

Ginger Pear Muffins
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk *
2 cups chopped, peeled pears

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

*To make your own buttermilk, fill 1-cup measuring cup almost to the top.  Use white vinegar or lemon juice to make 1 cup.  This additional liquid is usually about 1 or 2 tsp.  Let the mixture set to make 'buttermilk'.

In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, salt and cinnamon.

In separate bowl, whisk brown sugar with oil; whisk in egg and buttermilk.  Pour over dry ingredients; sprinkle with pears and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Spoon into greased muffin pans.

To make the topping:  in bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and ginger; sprinkle over each muffin.

Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy these amazing muffins!