Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Monday, December 29, 2008

Whoops!!!

I can't believe what I just did! I went to make a change on an experimental blog that I'm working on and accidentally made the change to this one blog instead. I wiped out a bunch of stuff with that fatal click, so you won't find most of the widgets that used to be on the sidebar. What a blunder!

Normally the program refuses to make such a change (on a blog with so many "widgets" - but I thought I was working on the experimental blog where there are no widgets). However, the unfortunate transition went as smooth as butter. Amazing! A classic example of Murphey's Law, if ever I saw one.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I was planning to open a new blog called Franziska's Pantry after the new year. It looks like I'll open it earlier than I thought, (right now as a matter of fact) seeing that I messed up my recipe index on this blog (along with who knows what else). I was planning to phase out the recipes on The Good Woman when I opened Franziska's. So now I'll just have to boogie on it.

So, you may want to look for my recipes on the new blog. They are all there. Just go to the very top of the page and look for "Recipe Index". Click on that link and you will have access to all the recipes that have been here. Click here to get to Franziska's Pantry.

From now on there will be a link on the sidebar for Franziska's.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas or Happy Holy Day!

There is so much in the news now about Christ being removed from the holiday we call Christmas. We see it everywhere, "Happy Holidays" in stead of the age old greeting "Merry Christmas". But it seems to me that the two are the same. The word holiday is a compound word derived from the words holy and day. Christmas is a holy day. So when folks say to me, "Happy Holiday", I say in return, "Yes, Christmas is indeed a holy day - the day God became a man for the salvation of men."

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

Here are several videos of the a capella group called Straight No Chaser singing The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Carol of the Bells and Silent Night. Notice all the references to Christmas in these songs. So even if there is an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, He can't be taken out of the songs that express the fact that He is what this holiday is all about. And He certainly cannot be taken out of the new song that lives in the hearts of those who know Him.



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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Real Food Recipes - Blog Nog

Here's a good and simple recipe for eggnog. It does use raw eggs - the healthiest way to eat them. If you are hesitant to use raw eggs because of food borne illness, you should know that the only pathogens (illness-causing bacteria) that can be found with eggs is always on the shell of the egg (never inside).

If you clean the outside of the egg with an efficient pathogen-killing cleaner, then there is no way you can contract salmonella or any other food borne illness. I keep one spray bottle filled with full-strength hydrogen peroxide and another with full-strength white vinegar. To clean the outside of an egg, spray first with either the vinegar or peroxide and then spray again with the other solution. Wipe with a clean paper towel and use as directed in the recipe below:

Blog Nog
4 cups milk (cream-top or raw milk, not homogenized or ultra-pasteurized)
2 cups half and half
6 eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup or palm sugar
4 teaspoons stevia
dash salt
8 ice cubles

Directions: Place ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely combined. Serve with extra nutmeg sprinkled on top. Makes 6 twelve-ounce servings.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

You Do Not Always Have Me

The study of the book of James has been quite an eye opener for me. In chapters one and two, James brings up the topic of the poor several times. The rich and poor are mentioned in verses 9-10 of chapter one and as Christians, they are instructed in what their real treasure is - faith in Christ. In verses 26-27, James reminds us of what true ministry is - to visit orphans and widows in the distress of their grief and extreme poverty.

In chapter two James exhorts his Hebrew flock not to show partiality by catering to the rich man and neglecting the poor man. He reminds them that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the needs of the poor. Robert and I have had opportunity to help with a ministry in Uganda - a school for street children (the poorest of the poor) started by a dear friend of ours. And then there is always the reminder at this time of year of our own physical comfort as we hit the malls in search of that perfect gift. This contrasts so sharply with the needs of the poor all over the world. I just learned last night that worldwide, one child dies of starvation every three seconds. There are so many desperately needy people!

Of course, we are compelled by Scripture to minister to the needy. When we become aware of the reality of the poverty that exists, it often happens that our hearts are so touched that we get real busy - organize this and that, cover this need, don't forget that need. But the poor are everywhere. Where do we start? How do we meet the needs of so many? How do we even begin to really raise one such person out of the degrading dust of their poverty?

We begin with the One who became poor for our sakes. We begin at Jesus' feet. In Matthew 26:6-13 we read about a woman who came to Jesus with a vial of very costly perfume, equal perhaps to a year's wages. She broke it open and poured it on Christ's head in worship of her Lord. The fragrance filled the room. But when, "...the disciples saw this, they were indignant. 'Why this waste?' they asked. 'This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.' "

These disciples were so concerned for the poor (supposedly) that they actually berated the woman for worshipping Jesus. But Jesus commends the woman for her good deed toward Him and then says to the disciples, "For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial."

Worship of our Savior must come before our work for the poor. If it doesn't, we do not have Jesus with us in that work! We will always have the poor, the Lord tells us. The opportunities are countless and demanding. But these very demands can crowd Christ out. Busyness will always grab our attention, but will we set aside those demands to worship the Savior first and foremost? Will we recognize that He is with us and fall at His feet in adoration?

Jesus kindly calls to our hearts, "...you do not always have Me." All too often we do not have Him in our day. Like the innkeepers in Behlehem, because of our busyness (perhaps in even serving the needy) there is no room in the inner sanctum of our hearts for Him. Then it doesn't really matter what we tackle - how many poor we feed - for we do not have Him with us. Our busy work is of naught - wood, hay, stubble.

What a joy, however, when we do welcome Him adoringly. The fragrance of His life permeates our own life and spreads to others. He so motivates us and empowers us that nothing is impossible. When Christ is our most precious treasure and priority, we wll be sent to His poor that they may become rich in faith, rich in Christ for eternity. No time, no resources, no energy will be wasted for we will be directed of the Lord, clothed with His compassion and love for the needy, and supplied with His strength and wealth. And how will this all end? As it began - in worship for our Savior for He will receive all the glory and honor.

As you enjoy this Christmas season of the year of our Lord, 2008, please remember the poor. But first of all make sure that you have Jesus with you. May this be to what you are committed. Then indeed you will have a joyous Noel!
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Polyester Batting for Snow


Let it Snow!
If you've had trouble making a snow scene with polyester batting, try this trick:

When I set up this snowman scene, I had one large piece of batting that I laid down on top of white Christmas lights. I just couldn't get the effect I wanted. It looked hokey (is that a word?). And it was impossible to make "snow drifts".

So I put on my "thinking cap" the way Captain Kangaroo (now I'm dating myself) used to tell me to and it worked. I had the idea of cutting the batting into strips about 2 inches wide. I could then manipulate the strips anyway I wanted to make snow drifts. You can see the results. It was easy and looked just the way I had imagined. You can see the strips in the second photo.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Deck the Halls and Walls and Doors and More!

This is the first Christmas for The Good Woman (now you know she's not me - I've seen 59 Christmases). Anyway, after decorating the blog, I'm getting into the mood to decorate my house. In the past few years I opted not to do that because the decorations were in a tiny crawl space in the attic.

With that having been the situation, as Robert and I get older, we find it more and more difficult to get motivated to climb ladders, squeeze into small spaces, lift heavy boxes and carry them down the ladder, unload paraphernalia, untangle Christmas lights, move furniture, put decorative pieces into boxes, take out other decorative pieces and put them in the place of the ones we just packed away, etc. and then turn around four or five weeks later and do all the same again, only in reverse. Whew!!!

Well, if that's how you feel too, here are some quick and easy ways to decorate without all the fuss. And, by the way, we did get all the decorations out of the attic last year and move them to a storage space under the house. We just pulled it all out and I have a festive decorating fervor that I've not had in three or four years!

Here are the quick tips for decorating your house:

1. Tie narrow red or green ribbon to Christmas cookie cutters and use as ornaments which can be attached to garlands, or placed on house plants, or door knobs.

2. Top wall hangings or mirrors with a swag of greenery, sprig of holly and a big red bow.

3. Fill mason jars with wrapped Christmas chocolates (dark chocolate of course). Wrap lids in calico to match and tie with ribbon. Use as decorations or give away to guests.

4. Make a table cover with five or more red and green bandannas stitched together.

5. Hang small ornaments on house plants to create a festive look.

6. Make pretty bows from red or green ribbon and use for tie backs on your curtains.

7. Stack a collection of Christmas books on a side table, with the top book wrapped with a ribbon and pretty bow.

8. For a lighted greeting, cover a lamp shade with several layers of white tissue paper, taping down edges to inside of shade (keep paper away from light bulb). Cut fat, freehand letters out of red or green tissue paper to spell a holiday greeting - "Joyous Noel" or "Merry Christmas", etc. Attach the letters with pieces of double-stick tape.

9. Replace an aquarium background with a piece of holiday gift wrap or Christmas art by your child.

10.Wrap an assortment of empty boxes, small, medium and large, with gift wrap from last year. Add bows and ribbons. Stack these in a corner, starting with the largest on the bottom to the smallest on top, from floor to ceiling.

11. Gift wrap interior doors in holiday paper and attach a ribbon and large fabric bow.

12. Tie throw pillows with ribbons and bows to resemble Christmas packages.

Get the kids or grandkids involved and may your days be merry and bright!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Handy Uses for Duct Tape

If you are wondering why there have been so few posts this past week, it is due to the fact that I have been ill. For the first time since last Monday I have my voice back. I didn't really loose it, but over the past week I have been a bass, a high soprano and a croaky frog. Today my voice is back although the volume is somewhat diminished, which I am sure Robert is loving.

Anyway, here are some nifty uses for duct tape for today's tidy tip post:

Some Out-of-the-Ordinary Uses for Duct Tape

Remove lint on clothing
To remove lint from clothing wrap your hand with a length of duct tape, sticky side out. Then roll the sticky tape against your clothing in a rocking motion until lint has been picked up.

Reseal bags of chips
To keep a half-finished bag fresh, fold up the top over and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape, turning one corner under to make a grip to remove tape to open again. After opening the bag again, reseal with the tape.

Keep a secret spare car key

To prevent getting locked out of your car, affix an extra key to the undercarriage with duct tape.

Hang Christmas lights
Use duct tape to hang your lights and the removal job will be much easier. Tear duct tape into thin strips. At intervals, wrap strips around the wire and then tape the strand to the gutter or wherever you hang your lights.

Replace a shower curtain grommet
To repair a torn grommet, first make sure that the curtain is dry. Then cut a rectangular piece and fold it from front to back over the torn hole. Carefully slit the tape with a scissor, and push the shower curtain ring back in place.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Funny "Father and Son Moments"

Take time to laugh by watching these funny homemade videos. They were produced by a father and son team (Greg Reed and his son Jonathan) from the church that I attend. In fact, the Reed family watched our dog, Sophie, while we were in Hawaii. (Thanks again, Reeds!) We gave them a CD of Hawaiian music upon returning. You can hear that music in at least several of the videos. It looks to me like Greg and Jonathan had way too much fun working on this project.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Freezing Chicken Pieces


For today's tip, I thought I'd elaborate a little more concerning the chicken post I wrote several weeks ago.

If you would like to freeze the chicken that you cut up (refer to this post), there are two ways you can do it so that the pieces remain separate in bags in the freezer.

The easiest way to freeze chicken pieces is to lay them out on a large flat baking pan, making sure that the pieces do not touch. Cover the pieces with plastic wrap and set in the freezer so that tray is flat and chicken does not travel to the side or off of the tray.
Once the chicken is frozen, remove from tray, place in gallon-size bags and return to the freezer.

If you are like me, you do not have the freezer space to do this, thus the second method. Place each individual piece of chicken in a sandwich-size baggie and then in a gallon-size bag and freeze. The pieces will lift out easily.

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Some of My Favorite Products

Anne commented...
I am making a "Cookbook" for myself of all your Healthy Home Hygiene Recipes and in doing so, realized that you haven't posted the recipe for hand soap or dish soap. I'd like to start using Dr. Bronner's but the directions are sooo... small (and a bit confusing) that I find myself going cross-eyed! I remember you mentioning that you use it, so could you give us some direction? Riding my cleaning closet of toxins...
Anne

Thank you once again, Anne, for your interest. And what a great idea to have all the Healthy Home Hygiene recipes in one notebook!

The reason I haven't given a recipe for hand soap or dish soap is because I don't make either one of them. As far as liquid dish washing soap is concerned, I really like ULTRA Concentrated DAWN Plus Bleach Alternative.

The bleach alternative is natural enzymes. The soap itself is biodegradable surfactants and is clear (without any coloring agents). I like this soap well enough that I've never considered developing a recipe of my own.

Though I believe that it is relatively safe, if anyone knows differently, I would sure appreciate a comment with your information.

As far as Dr. Bronner's is concerned, you can dilute the liquid soap - 1/3 water to 2/3 Dr. Bronner's. I keep this soap in pump bottles at the kitchen and bathroom sinks for hand washing.

In the shower we use Dr. Bronner's bar soap (as seen above). It lathers much better and seems to last longer, making it a more frugal choice.
Hope this has been helpful, Anne, etc.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - A Method Born from a Mistake

This tip is a result of something I did by mistake:

Last night when I was putting food away from dinner, I couldn't find the lid to the sour cream (never low-fat, by the way). I looked and looked, but no lid. So I gave up and went to put something else in the refrigerator. When I opened the frig, there was the lid to the sour cream, on the shelf where it had been taken from. I had removed the lid and set it back in the frig without realizing it.

Then I thought, "Hum...leaving the lid in the frig in the place where the product came from might make things a bit easier and tidier. I would know where the lid is and not have to look for it, plus, it would not be cluttering up the countertop (sometimes there are lids to 3 or 4 food containers out at a time). So that is what I will do from now on. Simple, huh?
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soft & Scrumptious Whole Wheat Pancakes

This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook with a few of my own variations:

Basic Whole Wheat Pancakes
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt, cultured buttermilk or kefir
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon real sea salt or Redmond Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon stevia extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda (without aluminum)
butter or coconut oil for griddle

Directions: The day before: Stir yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir into flour; cover bowl and "soak" for 12 - 24 hours in a warm place. In the morning, stir in eggs, salt, stevia, butter and baking soda. Batter will begin to increase in volume as soon as baking soda is added. Batter will also be thicker than other whole grain or white flour batters, but if it seems too thick to ladle, add a little milk to thin. Cook on a hot, oiled or buttered cast-iron griddle or skillet (for best results). Since these pancakes cook slower than other recipes, be careful not to burn. Serve with melted butter and pure organic maple syrup, or with fresh fruit sweetened with stevia, honey or maple syrup, topped with whipped cream. Makes 8-10 four-inch pancakes.

Variation One:
Oatmeal Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 1/2 fresh whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking type)
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt, cultured buttermilk or kefir
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon real sea salt or Redmond Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon stevia extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda (without aluminum)
butter or coconut oil for griddle

Directions: Prepare as with the basic recipe above. However, add oatmeal in with the flour to soak. Continue on with basic recipe above.

Variation Two:
Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 recipe for Basic or Oatmeal Whole Wheat Pancakes
2-3 ripe bananas

Directions: Make Basic or Oatmeal Pancakes as directed above. Immediately after ladling batter onto pan, place 3-5 slices of banana onto pancake. Flip pancakes as usual. Makes 8 - 10 four-inch pancakes.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Knife Sharpening Info

The tidy tip for today comes from my sister, Kathy. She responded to the video that was posted a few days ago, "How to Cut Up a Chicken" from the post entitled, "Let's Talk Chicken". Thanks, Kathy, for this important tip.

Hi Sharon,

I noticed that the lady in the "How to Cut Up a Chicken" video was sharpening her knife before beginning the cutting process and she did not clean the knife after sharpening it. I've read that after sharpening a knife, it should be rinsed before using it to cut anything. The sharpening process leaves the edge of the knife with miniscule metal fragments and those fragments, when not rinsed off, will end up in our food - whatever we immediately cut with knife (if it hasn't been cleaned). Professional knife sharpeners use mineral oil to wipe the blade just after sharpening becasue it helps to remove the metal fragments that are left after the sharpening process. This may be a tidy tip to pass along and also a health tip as well.

Kathy

A closing note: My sister also tells me that there are some grocery stores that will sharpen your knives (one at a time) for no charge. Raley's is one of those stores. Does anyone know of any others that offer this service?
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Question About "Let's Talk Chicken"

Anne had a question about the "Let's Talk Chicken" post (see below). She left a comment asking where I buy whole chicken.

The answer:
I get whole chickens at either Whole Foods Market or Trader Joes. At Whole Foods, they are sold unpackaged out of the meat case. The butcher will cut them up it you like, though I do not like their odd way of doing this and almost always cut them up at home myself. I do not buy organic chicken. Rather, I get "Rocky Range" chickens at Whole Foods; specifically, I get the ones called Rocky Juniors, though they are not small, usually 5 pounds or heavier.

The other place I find whole chicken is at Trader Joes. Here they are pre-packaged, but run just about the same price. Trader Joes offers two kinds of whole chicken - one is called "natural" and the other, which is what I get, is called "free range".

Like I said in the "Let's Talk Chicken" post, I prefer buying about a 5-pound bird (there are only 2 of us). For a larger family you may want to buy a heavier chicken or two smaller ones (4 to 5 pounds) and treat them as one in preparation as the post below describes.

Happy shopping!

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's Talk Chicken!

Yesterday I posted a recipe for chicken. What I did not tell you is that I always (without exception) buy chicken whole. Why? Because:

1. It is much, much cheaper. I pay about $1.69 - $1.99 per pound for free-range chicken raised without hormones or antibiotics.

2. The less processed food is, the less possibility for food-borne illness.

3. With that purchase I get chicken breasts and dark meat also. From one chicken breast I get about 8-10 chicken cutlets for 6-10 servings (Parmesan Chicken, Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo, etc.) From the dark meat I get another meal that makes 6-8 servings.

4. I also get the carcass which I use for stock. The stock will easily make up one very large pot of soup or one average pot of soup and two or three bases for other recipes, such as sauce for Chicken Divan.

5. All in all, I can get anywhere from 4-7 meals out of one chicken (depending on leftovers). I also get sauces that would cost me big bucks to buy. And the store bought sauces are not at all made from real food (so they are not healthy) and do not taste nearly as good. On average I pay about $10 for a five pound chicken. That's pretty cheap eating but the meals made from a whole chicken are meals you would find only in an upscale restaurant, dishes such as Chicken Divan, Chicken Parmesan, chicken curries, stir frys, and delicious soups, even main dish salads, etc.

It makes so much more sense to buy the whole chicken! The problem is that so many women nowadays do not know what to do with a whole chicken, nor do they know how to cut up a whole chicken and the best procedures to get the most money out of a whole chicken.

So I looked on YouTube and found lots of good demos on how to cut up a chicken, how to make stock, how to make chicken cutlets from a chicken breast, etc.

Some Helpful Videos

The following video is the way I've always cut up my chickens. My mom taught me this when I was still at home and learning how to cook. (Don't pay too much attention to this lady's sanitizing method at the end of the video, however. Instead, wash the cutting board with hot soapy water, dry it then spray it with straight hydrogen peroxide followed by a spray of straight white vinegar. It is more effective but not at all caustic):
How to Cut Up a Chicken

I really like this way too and want to try it because the chicken breast, when cut this way, comes out boneless:
How to Fabricate a Chicken


Here is another video about how to prepare chicken cutlets. I do it like this, but use a mallet (I will have to try my knuckles though). And I also cut the flattened cutlets in half, to be about the size of the palm of my hand. The chicken goes further this way. Chicken cutlets cook really fast. Use them in the recipe I posted yesterday (Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo) and in Chicken Parmesan, etc. Preparing Chicken Cutlets
Here is a video about making chicken stock, although I cook it much longer and start out a little differently, so read my comments below after you watch the video: How to Make Chicken Stock

Comments on making stock:
1. I do not trim off the fat. It goes into the pot as well, along with the bones and any skin removed from the breast or other parts. After the stock has chilled I do remove the fat. But I keep it as it is a very good fat to use in cooking. Keep it covered in the refrigerator.

2. Put only the chicken and water in the stockpot to begin with. Cover the chicken with water and then add 2 more inches of water. I also add chicken feet - about 4 for a large stockpot, as they add wonderful gelatin to the stock. Pour 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar into water and let this set with the lid on for an hour at room temperature. The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones.

3. Turn on the burner and bring to a boil (still without the veggies and herbs). Remove any scum as it forms. After removing the scum, add veggies and herbs, though sometimes I do not add anything as I really like the taste of stock without anything else added. Try experimenting to see how you like it.


4. Cook for several hours, then remove any meat from the bones. The meat gets dry if you leave it to cook any longer than several hours.
5. Continue to cook the stock much longer than suggested - up to 24 hours as this draws all the good minerals, glucosamine, collagen, gelatin, etc. out of the carcass.

6. Did you notice that when the chef in the video was removing the fat from the chilled stock, that the stock was liquid? A really good stock gels (like jello) when it is chilled. That's a result of cooking it longer and with the chicken feet (I find them frozen at Whole Foods Market).

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo - Yum!

One taste of this dish and the tummy sighs, "Ah, comfort food" (yes, even with eggplant). If you are not a fan of eggplant, do not - I repeat - do not let that stop you from trying this wonderful recipe. One of my friends was here for dinner when I served this luscious dish. She commented that she did not like eggplant, but she willingly tried what I had made and couldn't stop raving about how good it was, including the eggplant. I hope your taste buds rejoice as well!

Ingredients:
2 large organic eggplants, sliced in 1/2-inch thick rounds
real sea salt or Redmond Real Salt (I really like this salt)
coconut or olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk (cream-top, non homogenized)
5 cups dry bread crumbs from sprouted wheat, or barley bread (Alvarado Street is good) or 3 to 4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 half breasts (from free-range chickens, free of hormones and antibiotics), skinned and boned, and cut into small 1/2 thick pieces (the size of your palm), then pounded to 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1 recipe Alfredo sauce (see below)

Directions: Lay out eggplant slices in a single layer on large dish and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let set for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make Alfredo sauce as directed below.

After eggplant has set for 30 minutes, rinse with water and dry. Heat several tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Blend eggs with milk together in a dish with a flat bottom dish (I like to use a loaf pan to egg mixture and another to hold the breadcrumbs or flour mixture). Mix breadcrumbs (or flour) with Parmesan cheese and place in another flat bottom dish. Dip eggplant slices first into breadcrumbs (or flour), then into egg and then into breadcrumbs again. Brown in batches, turning for even browning, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat process for all the eggplant and chicken. As eggplant and chicken get done, transfer to oven to keep warm.

Spoon a small amount of Alfredo sauce onto bottom of a 13x9 pan. Arrange eggplant in bottom of pan, then lay chicken on top, then shredded mozzarella. Top this with the remaining Alfredo sauce. Place in 225 degree oven and immediately increase the heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 20-30 minutes longer or until heated through and beginning to bubble. Makes 6-8 servings.

Alfredo Sauce:
1 stick butter
2 T. cream cheese (not low-fat)
1 pint heavy cream (organic)
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Directions: Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese. Using a wire whisk, incorporate cheese into butter. Add heavy cream and garlic and stir into butter mixture. Bring to a simmer and keep at a simmer for 15 -20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Christian's Mandate After the Election

As we consider the implications of what yesterday's election will mean, for all who truly call upon the Name of the Lord, I, like the Apostle Paul:

First of all...urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:1-5

This text makes it clear that the way Christians will be able to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity is through God's saving work among all classes of people - the great (kings and those in high positions) and the small (the working classes).

Living in godliness means that we seek His kingdom and righteousness here on this earth - that we support what God supports and stand against what He stands against. One of the things we must stand against is the daily slaughter of innocent lives. We are commanded to defend the innocent.

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Ps. 82:3-4

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy." Prov 31:8-9
We should be actively concerned (without making political issues an idol) that President-elect Obama has promised to make the signing the Freedom of Choice Act his first order of business in the White House. With a Democratic Congress, he will have no problem in overturning all of the advances made for the protection of the unborn and to somewhat limit abortion since 1973 (click here, then scroll down on the page to see the list of these successes that will be undone). He is even opposed to administering protection and nourishment to a child born alive during an abortion. It would be considered a crime to assist such a baby.

We should begin today to pray earnestly that God would have mercy upon our new leader - to turn his heart against this legalized slaughter of the "least" among us, and even more, that God will cause Him to be born again. It is God's desirous will for men and women to be saved. It is also His will for His people to be able to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.

Since we have a promise in 1 John 5:14-15 that if we pray according to God's will (His desirous will is all we can know and that is the expressed thing we are commanded to pray for in the 1 Timothy text), we should have great confidence that He will answer.

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that if He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him. " (1 John 5:14-15)

Let us ask with confidence for our new President and other governmental leaders! In this we will be found faithful to the call to ask God that we might live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is how we should pray so that ultimately we may openly, (even in public) declare the glories of Christ, the only One who can right all wrongs and forever change the hearts of those who slaughter the innocent for personal convenience and forgive their sin as He has our own. All for Christ's honor and glory! (For more from John Piper in this regard, click here.)

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Laundry Redeemed


The tip for today comes from a faithful reader:

Anne writes:

If you leave the laundry in the washer too long, and it gets that mildewy smell, you can remove it with vinegar! Just put 1/2 cup in the washer and rewash without soap. It works great! Not, ahem, that I've ever . . . Anne

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Thinking Biblically About Homosexuality

This theme has so been upon my mind, that I would like to address it here from several different Biblical angles. Following are eight Biblical truths that I have been mulling around in my mind. These are truths we need to remember as we face the ever-increasing tide for society to not only accept, but also celebrate, homosexuality as a normal and moral sexual appetite and lifestyle.

1. The Christian's struggle is not against flesh and blood (other men and women), but against the powers of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Homosexuals are not the enemy.

2. The current surge to define homosexuality as a relationship worthy of the sacred union of marriage should be a wake-up call to the church to pray for revival, that God would pour out His mercy and grace in salvation upon the individuals who are enslaved to this lifestyle that is a deviation from God's design (2 Chronicles 7:14).

3. The current trends in our country that are leading to the dissolving of religious freedoms in favor of allowing sexual freedoms are just the natural outcome of a society bent on removing God from their corporate conscience (Romans 1:18-32).

4. Homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin, nor is it a greater sin than any other sin. Jesus died for and actually redeems those caught in this sin, just as He does those whose habit it is to destroy lives through malicious gossip (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 3:5-10).

5. Marriage is designed by God to be a sacred union that expresses through both one man and one woman His image. As such, God therefore designed marriage to be very specific in its conditions. This Divinely defined model of marriage has been recognized by all cultures for all time. Since it is exactly the opposite of homosexual unions, these unions (gay) cannot fulfill and therefore can never come under the universally recognized Divine definition and intent of marriage (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:18-25).

6. Committed marital love on earth, as designed by God, is also to be a picture of the wedding of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) to the church in eternity (Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:9). The enemy of our souls seeks to distort this picture and thus do damage to God's good design, which in turn dishonors the church and her union to Christ.

7. We are to work and pray for a society in which we have the freedom to love and obey God. Our work: As Christians, we are called to hold up God's standard of holiness, not only in our personal lives, but also in society by not taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness and by exposing those unfruitful works for what they are (Ephesians 5:11). The privilege and responsibility of voting is one way we can do this. Our praying: We are also to pray for our governing leaders so that we may lead a tranquil life in all godliness and dignity (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

8. Come what may, God is still on His throne. He sovereignly raises up and takes down nations and leaders (Dan. 2:21; Psalm 9:5 & 20; 10:16; 22:28; 33:10; 47:8; 72:11). As Christians we must do our part to hold up His standard in order to protect or bring about religious freedoms. But when the tide turns against those freedoms, we must remember that God is still in control and He is bringing about His purposes. During times of religious persecution, the church is purified and the Christian made more fervent in his love for Christ and more bold in his witness of Him.

That's it for now from me. But please watch this excellent video addressing these concerns (click here for video).
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Home From Hawaii

What a great time we had with our family in Hawaii! During our vacation we had our own personal live-in tour guide - our son Jeff. Though he has only lived on the island for about 6 months, he already knows it like the back of his hand. He and the rest of the family entertained us and were such wonderful hosts and hostesses. We are truly grateful for their kind attention to us.

We loved every minute. Every moment, that is, until the last day, when, as we were leaving Hanuama Bay, we discovered that Robert had lost his wedding ring while he was snorkeling. We were and still are so saddened by that. He had worn that ring for nearly 32 years. In a moment it was gone (a good picture of life itself, I guess).

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words so I am going to stop with the words and start with the photos.



We got up early to watch the sunrise from one of the most scenic spots on the island. It was a little chilly and Robert could not find his coat, so he wore his robe.
At the beach. Joy tried really hard to bury her grandpa in the sand,
but he kept popping up.
From left: Jono, Joel, Grandpa and Jake
at Shark's Cove for snorkeling.
Jeff, our son, at Shark's Cove (you
can see the coral reef under the water).
Our grandsons, Jono, Joel
and Jake at Shark's Cove.
That's me at the
Polynesian Cultural Center.
Robert on the U.S.S. Missouri during
our tour there at Pearl Harbour.
Out on the water in a
catamaran off of Waikiki.
The main sail
of our catamaran.
The catamaran cruise was at sunset.
Beautiful sight at the end of the day!
Diamond Head
from the catamaran.
The only photo of Robert and me on the
catamaran. Good likeness, don't you think?
Standing in front of one of those
crazy looking trees at Waikiki.

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