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, March 31, 2008

Tickle Bone Tuesday

We know God has a sense of humor because we are created in His image and we have built into us the propensity to laugh, from infancy. When you think about what that is, it kind of bends your mind.

But, laughter is good for the heart. That has been scientifically proven. Take time to laugh today! Hopefully this week's Tickle Bone Tuesday will help you do just that!

Tim Conway is back. in this week's clip. He was the comedian in The Short Jockey that was featured here several weeks ago. In this piece he plays a very harmless dentist - harmless that is to his patient.

Watch Harvey Corman (the patient) in this clip. Television was live back then and was way more fun than it is now with all our new technologies and sophistication.

Dr. Klutz

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Real Food Recipes - Buttered Beets

1 bunch red or golden beets (you can usually find these at the local farmer's market)
Cut tops (greens) from beet root. (Use the greens another night. Cook as directed for Steamed Greens.) Place in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 45 minutes or until beets are fork-tender. Run under cold water and remove the outer layer. It will just peel off easily. Under that layer is a beautiful red or golden glistening gem! Slice beets and put back in saucepan with butter. Heat on low setting until butter is melted and beets are hot. Stir to coat beets with butter. Season to taste with real salt and pepper.

Note: Use these beet greens for Monday evening's "Steamed Greens".

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Real Food Recipes - Red Pepper Quiche

1 recipe yogurt dough (see below)
2 red peppers
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 T. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. sour cream or creme fraiche (organic from grass-fed cows)
real salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Start the yogurt dough the day before (see below). Day of: Wash and dry peppers. Place peppers under broiler pan to char skin. Check after 5 minutes and turn if skin has begun to blister and turn black. Keep under broiler until entire pepper is charred and blistered. Remove from oven and place in a saucepan covered with a lid. Let set for about 20-30 minutes till cooled. Dough: Meanwhile, reduce oven heat to 325 degrees. Roll our dough for a 9-inch pie pan. Line pie pan with dough and pre-bake for about 20 minutes. (When done, remove to a cooling rack and continue with quiche ingredients. While pie crust is baking, remove charred skin from peppers. Open each pepper and remove seeds, membrane and stem. Lay peppers flat and cut into thin strips. Set aside. Saute onion in olive oil until soft; add the peppers to onions and heat until warmed through. Beat egg yolks with cream, seasonings and half of the cheese. Strew the onions and pepper over the crust and pour the egg mixture over. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350degrees for about 30-40 minutes until egg is set. Makes 4-6 servings.

Tender, Buttery Yogurt Dough
1/2 c. plain whole yogurt
1/2 c. real butter, softened
1 3/4 c fresh whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. real salt
unbleached flour
To make dough: Cream yogurt with butter. Blend in flour and salt. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours. Roll out on a pastry cloth using unbleached flour to prevent sticking. Continue with directions above for Red Pepper Quiche. (To use for another recipe, for a pre-baked shell, prick well with a fork and place in a cold oven. Turn heat onto 350 degrees and bake for 2-3- minutes.)

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Traditional Bone Stock (Chicken or Turkey)

Go here to read about the healthful benefits of this rich traditional bone stock.
Raw or cooked poultry pieces or carcasses with skin
Apple cider vinegar (raw and unfiltered)
Place bones in a large, non-reactive pot, add water to cover and add 1 teaspoon vinegar. Let set for an hour to allow the vinegar to begin drawing the minerals out of the bones. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off. Skim off and discard any brown scum that rises to the surface.

Partially cover and gently simmer for a minimum of 2 hours and for as long as 24 hours. The longer the stock cooks the more flavorful and nutritious it becomes.

When the stock is cool enough to work with, strain through a sieve or a double layer of cheesecloth reserving all but the dregs.

Refrigerate the stock, tightly covered, for up to one week. Chilled stock is gel-like. Or freeze to keep longer and have when needed.

To use the stock immediately, remove excess fat (save fat and store in refrigerator to cook with). Season to taste with salt and seasonings of choice. Use as stock in soups, sauces and grains (use stock instead of water when cooking grains) or drink hot as a tonic.

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Real Food Recipes - Carrot Ginger Slaw

2 c. grated carrots or 1 1/2 c. grated carrots and 1/2 c. finely chopped cabbage
3 T. finely shredded dried unsweetened coconut meat
2 T. dried cranberries
2 1/2 T. chopped candied ginger
3 T. raw, unfiltered honey
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch real salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Chill and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Real Food Recipes - California Spinach Salad

1 1/2 pounds of fresh spinach, rinsed well
1 lemon, juiced
2-3 avocados, cubed
1/2 c. black olives, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 can mandarin oranges, drained and quartered
Place the spinach in a large serving bowl. In a medium bowl, generously drizzle lemon juice over the avocado cubes to enhance the flavor and prevent browning. Gently mix avocados, olives, onion and mandarin oranges into the spinach. When ready to serve, add vinaigrette.

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Real Food Recipes - Scrumptous Macaroni and Cheese

1/4 c. real butter (from grass-fed cows)
1/4 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 c. warm whole milk (pasteurized whole cream-top, never homogenized or ultra-homogenized)
dash pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 T. real soy sauce (brewed or fermented)
2 c. cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (optional)
1/2 c. sour cream or creme fraiche (organic from grass-fed cows)
12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (from grass-fed cows; not treated with rBST)
8 oz. organic brown rice elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add flour and stir with a wooden spoon 3 minutes or until roux is frothy. Gradually stir warm milk into roux. Turn up heat; stir until sauce is just at boiling point. Turn down heat and let simmer a few minutes. Add pepper, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce. Stir in ham and sour cream; simmer briefly or until flavors are blended. Stir 3/4 c. cheese into simmering sauce until melted. Combine cheese sauce with macaroni and pour into a greased 2-quart dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly golden. Makes 6 servings.

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Real Food Recipes - Sweet Broccoli Salad

1 T. red wine vinegar (raw, unfiltered - find it at Whole Foods)
3 T. agave nectar
2 T. mayonnaise (be careful not to buy mayo with bad oil - check here for a list of good and bad oils (scroll down page to the bottom of the Real Food post)
4 T. real sour cream (organic from grass-fed cows)
1 large bunch of broccoli, cut into small florets
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 T. raisins
Pour red wine into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add agave nectar. Stir constantly until mixture has a slight syrupy consistency, about 2 minutes. Remove form heat and let cool. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in syrup mixture. In a large salad bowl, toss remaining ingredients. Stir in mayonnaise mixture.Makes 4-6 servings.

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Real Food Recipes - Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 c. cooked chicken, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 c. Traditional Bone Stock (chicken)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 c. frozen corn kernels or 2 ears of fresh corn, cut from cob
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
tortilla chips to crumble on top of soup
sour cream to garnish
1 c. Feta cheese, crumbled to garnish
1/2 c. green onions, chopped to garnish
avocado to garnish
Place chicken and stock into a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, corn, cilantro, and cayenne pepper to pot. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Place some crumbled tortilla chips in each bowl. Ladle in the soup and top with garnishes as desired. Makes 6 servings.

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Real Food Recipes - Cucumber and Feta Salad

1/4 c. olive oil (extra virgin, cold-pressed)
3 T. lemon juice
1 T. balsamic vinegar (I use "white" balsamic vinegar which is clear)
3/4 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings
12 grape tomatoes, halved
1 c. frozen peas (they will thaw by the time the salad is served)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
12 Greek olives such as kalamata
8 oz. Feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, toss salad ingredients together. Pour dressing over the salad and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.

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Real Food Recipes - Pulled Pork Sandwich

Just a reminder to buy the onion, garlic, pepper, tomato paste, and ketchup organic when you can. Organic veggies contain twice as many nutrients as their conventionally grown counterparts with the added bonus that they do not contain the pesticide residues.
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pickled jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons of Chipotle chile powder
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered is best such as Mrs. Bragg's or Whole Foods brand)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup ketchup - look for one that is low in sugars
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup agave nectar or Rapadura whole cane sugar
1 bay leaf
3 lbs of pork butt shoulder roast (from range-fed pig, without antibiotics or
hormones), trimmed of excess fat (render this for lard - that recipe will be in a later post)
Alvarado St. sprouted whole wheat hamburger buns
Purée all of the sauce ingredients (everything except the bay leaf, the pork and the buns) in a blender until smooth. If you have extra time, marinate the pork in the sauce overnight or for several hours before cooking.

Put sauce, bay leaf, and pork into a large pot and add 1 quart of water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, covered, turning frequently, for 2 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork.

Remove from heat and cool pork in the sauce. When cool, remove the pork from the sauce and shred into small pieces. Cover and set aside.

Bring sauce back to a boil and simmer (without a lid), reducing it down to one third of what is was to begin with. Add the pork back to the sauce. Salt to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve hot on hamburger buns. Serves 6 to 8.

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Real Food Recipes - Steamed Greens

1 bunch of Swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens or other greens
2 T. bacon drippings from bacon that is range-raised, without hormones and antibiotics (Neiman Ranch is good)
Wash greens and remove the center rib. Chop coarsely. Place in a saucepan large enough to hold all the greens. Add the bacon drippings. Pour water enough to fill pan a fourth of the way full. Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until green are tender, checking occasionally to make sure there is plenty of water in pot. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 3-4 servings.

Note: For the week of 4/21/08, use the beet greens from the beets that will be served on Wednesday 4/23.

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Real Food Recipes - Herb Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken, organic or range-fed, without antibiotics or steroids is best
6 T. softened butter from grass-fed cows (this butter is very yellow)
3 T. fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, oregano or marjoram
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash chicken inside and out. Dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt in cavity. Separate skin of chicken from the breast meat being careful not to tear skin. On the inside of each breast (between the skin and breast meat), sprinkle with salt and rub 2 T. of the butter and half of the herbs. Fold wings back. Place on a roasting rack or in a Dutch oven (without a lid). Rub last 2T. of butter on outside of chicken breast, legs, wings and and thighs.

Bake for 60-75 minutes or until juices run clear (not pink) when knife is inserted into the breast and the thigh. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes before carving.

Important note: Save all of the carcass (including skin) to make chicken stock, which will be used for soup later on (or in brown rice). I even collect the leftover chicken bones and skin on dinner plates to add to stock. This is real recycling! There are lots of good nutrients including minerals and gelatin in those bones and skin (the boiling water will sterilize them in case you're afraid of the germs).

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Real Food - Optimum Food Choices: Part Two

In the last real food post, Real Food - Optimum Food Choices: Part One, though I mentioned that I would be covering fats and oils, cheese and breakfast cereals next, I will focus on fats and oils, and just give a brief review of cheese and breakfast cereals.

This post, hopefully, will help you to determine if a lipid (a fat or oil) is healthy to consume or not. (What I will post here about fats is not consistent with what we hear in the food industry, popular media and even from our doctors.)

When I first began to read about real food - fats in particular - I did a double-take in my mind and was very doubtful about what I was reading. If you have read my first post on real food, then you know that I was eventually convinced, and the wonderful healing results that accompanied eating real food for two months was all I needed to commit to embracing a complete change in lifestyle as far as diet was concerned. Good fats and oils have been part of that diet.

"But isn't any fat bad for us?", I hear you asking. We hear it everywhere that fat should be avoided and I used to believe that. While eating low-fat or no-fat foods, I had no energy, gained weight consistently, had unrelenting pain from osteo-arthritis, dry skin and more. Now that I eat more fat (all good fat) than is recommended, I have more energy than ever, have stopped gaining weight, my cholesterol is good, the pain has decreased dramatically and my skin is recovering.

This is simple, like last time with the apple. Think about building a fire. You start with kindling, then you add medium-sized branches, then you add the big, long burning oak logs. The kindling burns quick and hot, but is gone within minutes, yet not before the medium branches are aflame. These last long enough to get the big, oak log burning.

Carbohydrates or starchy foods (and I am talking about good carbs now, like brown rice, whole grains, legumes, beans, and starchy vegetables, etc., not sugar, white flour, white rice, etc.) are like kindling. They provide quick energy, but burn off fast in our bodies. Protein is like the medium-sized branches, which provide energy for a longer period of time. But fats, like the big, slow burning oak logs, provide sustained energy and also tell our tummies and brains that we are satisfied for hours. Every morning I eat a good breakfast at about 7:30, with plenty of good fat. I do not even think about eating again until around 1:00 in the afternoon. Food is not at all on my mind. Good fat really satiates our hunger.

Besides providing long lasting energy and satisfaction, fats are needed in the body to produce many functional, structural and energy biochemicals that are absolutely essential to your health. These include hormones, cells and cell membranes. Healthy fats are also needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and they slow down the rate of absorption of carbohydrates and protein that you consume. In other words, healthy fats keep the kindling (carbs) and medium sized branches (protein) burning longer. This is why you stay satisfied longer.

But not all fats are healthy. Generally speaking, fats will either build, repair and supply energy to our bodies or they will damage our bodies. There are good fats and there are bad fats. So how can you tell if a fat is good or bad? We will get to that, but first we need to review a little.If you remember in the last post about optimum nutrition, oxidation, free radicals, free radical damage, etc. was presented. (Read that now if you have not already done so by clicking on this sentence.)

Briefly, an apple, when cut in half and left exposed to air, heat and light becomes damaged. It turns brown. This is called oxidation. Free radicals are present in damaged food. For lack of being able to repeat the technical, scientific jargon, I think of free radicals as out-of-control, marauding rebel cells that go about causing harm to healthy cells. That is actually exactly what they are and what they do. Thus, damaged food, when eaten, causes damage to our bodies.

Now, back to determining if a fat is good or bad. This depends entirely on its stability - its ability to resist oxidation or not. Contrary to what we have been told for quite some time now, fats and oils are not good or bad depending on their saturation level, ie. all saturated fat (solid fat) is bad for you and unsaturated fat (liquid fats) are good for you. This is simply not true!

Diana Schwarzbein, M.D., a brilliant endocrinologist in Southern California says in her book The Schwarzbein Principle II - The Transition, "The definition of a healthy fat has nothing to do with whether it is saturated or mono- or polyunsaturated, but everything to do with whether or not the fat is damaged." (Read about Dr. Schwarzbein's experiences that brought about her successful treatment of degenerative diseases.)

The most unstable of all oils are the polyunsaturated oils - the liquid oils. A polyunsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and also when refrigerated. These oils react quickly and dramatically to air, heat and light, sustaining extreme damage when processed. I remember when polyunsaturated oils were touted as being the most healthful of all oils. I used them to cook with when my children were growing up and avoided saturated fats - the fats that have been demonized by the food industry, etc.

Processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils are some of the worst culprits for causing damage to our bodies. Just like an apple, when the seed - let's say corn seed - is broken open and exposed to air, heat and light, all parts of this oil begin to oxidize. The oil from the seed is extracted by high, prolonged heat. Then the last 5% of the oil that still remains in the seed is pulled out by a solvent called hexane gas (similar to gasoline). When all of the oil is extracted, the hexane gas is boiled off (residues always remain, however, and it is found in human breast milk).

After this destructive process, the oil looks gray and murky and smells rancid, as it is, so it is deodorized and bleached, for no one would buy it if it was left as is. This is the pretty, sparkling golden corn (soybean, safflower, etc.) oil that you pick up and pay money for at the supermarket. When you take it home and heat it in a pan, it is further damaged.

As damaging as heat-processed polyunsaturated fats are, there is one fat that is worse. Trans-fats are made from already damaged polyunsaturated fats. In processing polyunsaturated fats into trans-fats, the molecules of the fat are rearranged, making them even more dangerous to eat. Our bodies do not know what to do with these fats, also appropriately called "funny-fats", so they are always stored in the fat cells. Eventually, after eating this way for a period of time, our cells actually become trans-fatty in nature.

Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, are less susceptible to damage from air, heat and light. A monounsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and semi-solid when refrigerated. Good olive oil (this is defined below under Food Review) can be used to cook with, but only when using moderate heat. This oil does sustain damage from high-heat cooking and therefore should not be used for that purpose. (To read more great information regarding good and bad fats see these articles at westonaprice.org )

By far, the most stable of oils are the saturated fats. Saturated fats are solid (some softer than others) at room temperature and hard when refrigerated. Because of their composition, they are not easily damaged by air, heat and light.

Butter is stable and can be left unrefrigerated without it turning rancid (or being damaged). It is also highly nutritious. (To read about the remarkable nutritional value of butter see this article at westonaprice.org) It can be used to cook at higher heats than olive oil, but it should never be heated to the point of smoking. Any stable fat or oil that has been heated to that degree has been damaged and should not be eaten.

Other good saturated fats include:
Beef and lamb tallow
Chicken, goose and duck fat
Coconut and palm oils

Good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include:
Sesame oil
Cold pressed olive oil
Cold pressed flax oil (never heat)
Marine oils (from deep, cold waters)


Butter & Other Oils and Fats – Extra virgin, cold or expeller expressed oils, such as olive, flax seed, peanut, sesame, high-oleic expeller expressed monounsaturated safflower or sunflower oil (these two are good for making mayonnaise) (refrigerate all of the above in dark bottles); extra virgin organic coconut and palm oils (fine to keep at room temp); organic, (raw is best) butter from grass-fed cows, duck fat, suet (from beef); never processed polyunsaturated, including canola oil or partially-hydrogenated (or hydrogenated) oils, such as shortening and, margarine, and never soybean oil even if it is cold-pressed because of a myriad of toxins, carcinogens, and anti-nutrients, and phyto-estrogens. *WFM; TJs; FC; R

Breakfast Cereals
– organic whole unprocessed grains such as whole oats, (whole grain cereals should be soaked in water and lemon juice or liquid whey for 8 hours or longer to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients), brown rice cereal (does not need to be soaked); never processed cold cereals, even all so-called” healthy” ones – all are very toxic because of the harsh processing they undergo and have caused rapid death in test animals due to the toxins they contain.
*WFM; TJs; FC; R

– 1) organic, raw, whole milk or 2) organic, pasteurized whole milk cheeses made from cow, goat, and/or sheep milk; stay away from aged cheeses as the fats in them are compromised (rancid). *WFM; TJs; (Ask at WFM as there are several places where they are found.)

*WFM = Whole Foods Market
TJs = Trader Joes
FC = Food Co-op (email me about this if you want more info)
R = Raley's Food Stores

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Healthy Hygiene for Your Home - Some Fun

Here is a fun fill-in-the-blanks game for you - The Tale of Lawnderee. Read the story and fill in the blanks best you can with the names, terms and products listed that are related to laundry. I'll post the answers in a few days. Meanwhile, the products that are safe to use in your laundry room are highlighted in green.

The Tale of Lawnderee
by Sharon Kaufman

Use the following words associated with laundry to fill in the blanks (once only for each word) in the following story:

Arm & Hammer
Seventh Generation
Spray & Wash
Fresh Start

Once upon a time, on the _ _ _ _ _ _ Earth, in a bygone _ _ _ , there lived Lucy, a fair young maiden. She was _ _ _ alone in her small stone cottage that was situated by the seaside. The only company she had was her enormous, pink ox (what a _ _ _ she was), whom she called Oxy.

One day, Oxy got spattered with blue paint while she was redoing her room in the barn. So Lucy took her outside into the full _ _ _ where it was warm, intending to simply _ _ _ _ _- _ -_ _ _ _ her down with the hose. But instead, she decided on a bath. With her fleecy _ _ _ _ _ _ _ sponge in hand, Lucy tied Oxy to the fencepost and proceeded . This was quite an undertaking since the ox hated water. But, undaunted and with a _ _ _ _ _ _ in her step, Lucy _ _ _ _ _ -fully resolved to see
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

However, as Lucy started to fill the gigantic tub, the sea’s rolling _ _ _ _ began to come in. Now Oxy, hating water as she did, looked up and saw the _ _ _ _ _ -_ _ _ _ approaching and refused to cooperate. Hard-
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ to know what to do, Lucy soundly scolded her, “You know, you’re really beginning to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ me. Why, Oxy, I’m just about ready to send you to the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ !”

Just then the prince from the neighboring kingdom approached the fair maiden. He was quite smitten with her. He had seen her on several occasions, and knew that she had no idea that he even existed. He wondered why she did not know of him since Prince Gerald’s family had been on the throne of the Kingdom of Lawnderee from the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ back. And the royal family crest, with its _ _ _- _ -
_ _ _ _ _ _ motif was present in the nearby village, which she visited often.

It was for this very reason that Prince Gerald was prepared to ask Lucy for her hand in marriage that very day. She had won his heart. It was refreshing to him that Lucy, not at all_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and pompous, like so many of the other maidens in the village, had never attempted to impress him in order to become the queen of Lawnderee. With Lucy he knew he had nothing to loose and everything to _ _ _ _ . To him she was perfect - absolutely _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

As the prince drew near, he was awed by her beauty. Her hair, a
_ _ _ _ _ shade of lavender, glistened in the bright _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . Her teeth, as white as _ _ _ _ _ , dazzled him. He planned to pop the question as soon as her eyes met his – a _ _ _ _ -_ _ _ _ _ _ of proposal indeed.

But when he saw the predicament Lucy was in with Oxy he just had to help. He gave a _ _ _ _ _ to the ox, calling her by name. The big pink ox turned to see the prince and was immediately charmed and calmed by his authoritative voice. It impressed Lucy that this stranger knew her ox by name and had such a command of her pet. She wondered who he was.

Then something strange and wonderful happened. Oxy willingly did everything the prince commanded. She let Lucy bathe her and then hang her out to dry. “How wonderful!” Lucy thought. Anyone who could love her ox so and get her to cooperate in such a fashion had to be a great guy.

So as Oxy swayed gently in the _ _ _ _ _ _ on the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ , Prince Gerald proposed. (Obviously, he had to strike while the _ _ _ _ was hot.) And, of course, Lucy accepted.

After Oxy was completely dry and well- fluffed, and as the sun went
_ _ _ _ _ they rode off (on Oxy). As they journeyed toward Lawnderee, the sunset sweetly lighting their path with its pink and purple streams, Lucy dreamily mused, “What a _ _ _ day! Oxy is clean, I am no longer lonely, and the prince has his true love next to him (me). Today we have all had a _ _ _ _ _- _ _ _ _ _ !” The End!


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Tickle Bone Tuesday

God is happy and it shows by what He has created. He has given us much for us to enjoy and even be amused by. Animals are one of His best gifts, especially domestic animals which often make good companions. Dogs are said to be man's best friend. With that in mind, enjoy this week's clip.

Doggie English

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let no one say...

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. James 1:13-15

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Friday, March 21, 2008

All the Vain Things That Charm Me Most...

This post was actually written seven or eight years ago as part of a book I was working on at the time.

On Easter Sunday several years ago the Spirit of God ministered to me regarding Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. During the worship service there was special music - a solo that opened up to me a new view of the resplendent and multifaceted jewel of the gospel. I saw it from a new angle. The song was “Ten-Thousand Angels”. The last line of the chorus is, "But He died alone for you and me". This really hit me.

Lately, because of conversations with my neighbor, an elderly widow, I've been thinking about the agony of dying alone, one of her fears. On a human level it is a very frightening thought. To face death abandoned, helpless, loveless, deprived of comfort, sympathy and human touch is a nightmare we cast far from our thoughts. And yet, that pain becomes negligible in comparison to Christ's aloneness at His death.

He was sinless, not deserving of death for physical death is punishment for sinful man (Gen. 2:16-17). He not only died alone, but also was rejected by loved ones in His last hours. He died a most violent, agonizingly painful and humiliating death. He died to eternally benefit those who hated Him, the same ones He created and sustains. He died a criminal's death although He had committed no crime, was innocent of even the smallest offense, and had, in fact, brought only good into an evil world. He was mocked and spat upon by sinful men, the very ones He was dying for. He knew He did not have to die; He could have called ten-thousand angels.

And finally, the anguish that was by far the most grievous to Him - to be forsaken by the One with whom He had had intimate fellowship from eternity past (Mt. 27:46). This is the same One who now promises never to leave me, never to forsake me (Heb. 13:5). He died alone for you and me. Does this cause not you to wonder at so great a love (1 Jn. 3:1)?

Isaac Watts understood the significance of the cross in his song, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross":

When I survey the wondrous cross
Onwhich the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

What a glorious declaration of the miracle of the cross. It indeed is wondrous. And as Watts penned, it demands from us our very lives and loyalties; it calls us to sacrifice those vain things that charm us (Phil 3:7-9); and it compels us to hold in contempt the pride that robs our glorious Prince of the honor, thanks and praise that we owe Him and which is rightfully due Him.

The cross is emptied of its power when we make insignificant things our delight (I Corinthians 1:17). It is because we "forsake" Him again for mere idols or ideals. When we esteem something else as more important, of greater value than Jesus Christ and Him crucified, we forsake Him on the cross, so to speak, making the message trivial, emptying it of its power. If the cross is not of the greatest importance to us, then we make it an impotent message in our experience and in our witness to others.

"All the vain things that charm me most" can be anything good or bad. For Christian women, it almost always is one of the good gifts God has given that we then elevate to the place that only Christ should occupy in our hearts. It could be family, ministry, or husband.

Oh, Lord Jesus, what have You suffered on my behalf? I can merely glimpse it. You have not required my blood for my own transgressions against You. But You, sinless and perfect, imposed my sentence upon Yourself and bled in my place. Though I have forsaken You, You will never leave me. Now, even though I may die with no human fellowship, I will not be alone in that hour for You will be there closer than a brother to carry me through the veil to Your loving embrace.

May I always stay near to You, cling to You, never turn from You; may I never again forsake You for lesser things since I was the one who caused Your pain and justly should have received Your death sentence in my sinful flesh. Please forgive me for being captivated by things that can be understood, easily explained and produced with mere fleshly effort.

What can be more significant than the cross work of Christ? For us who are being saved it is a matter of life or death, of heaven or hell. We can never plumb the depths of it. Even in eternity the cross will continue to draw us and make us wonder. How great a Savior we serve; how indescribable His love for those whose rebellion caused His pain. It is unfathomable, too deep for me to understand, but I want to continue to ponder this supremely sacrificial act and the glorious One who willingly died for me. Now may I ask, what charms you most?

Celebrate the risen Christ by honoring Him as your most precious treasure! Have a blessed day remembering and rejoicing in His wonderous gift of love to you.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tickle Bone Tuesday

A merry heart does good like medicine. Pro. 17:22

Here are two nice videos. The first is not so funny as it is amazing and heartwarming. The second clip is cute, funny and also quite amazing. Have a great day rejoicing in the Lord!

Lion Hugs

Parrot Antics

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Theology - Necessary Soul Food for the Good Woman: Part Two

"For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." Ps. 107:9

Theology is a gift from God and His gifts are good for all His children, regardless of tribe or nation or tongue or people. In third-world countries, most women continue after salvation to be bound to the culture due to illiteracy and/or lack of resources, crippled by the superstitions and practices of their dark world. Not until God’s women have a steady diet of His nourishing word will they be set free from the worldly deceptions that bind them, regardless of whether those lies are sophisticated or primitive.

There is a real need for a consistent intake of theology in the lives of women who have broken from the world and are growing spiritually, whether that break was recent or many years in the past. If she is a new believer, a woman will remain bound to her culture unless she has a steady, earnest and comprehensive intake of the word of God. For those who have walked awhile with Christ, the yawn of complacency is always waiting to meander its way into our innermost being.

Each day should reveal more of God’s perfections to us, especially at times when our lives are unchallenged by trials. Psalm. 27:4-5b tells us why this is necessary, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in His pavilion….” Knowing Him now, while the waters of life are calm, will ensure that we will find Him to be our refuge when the winds howl.

Women, like men, can easily loose their sense of spiritual direction in the peak of a stormy trial. During the tumult, when our circumstances may seem to contradict our convictions, i.e. “How can God be good when this is happening to me?” are the times when our theology must really pass muster. When trials challenge our ideas about who God is, our theology must go to work for us like the anchor of a storm-tossed ship. Questions arise in our minds during trials and we begin, like Job, to dialogue ardently with God. If we are not anchored in the Scriptures, we can easily loose ground and be cast adrift on a sea beset with many "winds of doctrine". When we are sound in our theology, when we really know God, those questions will not hinder our faith but rather strengthen it.

In a world where there is no balance, stability will only be found within the pages of Scripture. The solid truths of historic Christianity, the whole counsel of God, the doctrines of the Bible – in short – theology, should be a Christian woman’s intake rather than the sweet, fluffy snippets, served up in dainty little devotional booklets that so often characterize a woman’s spiritual diet, especially in developed countries.

Consequently, in writing this article, it is important for me – rather it is imperative – to be able to not only recite the truths of theology, but also to demonstrate how they can be actualized in my life and in the lives of the women I teach, on any continent. Since God has given that opportunity, I must know how the theology I embrace here at home in my easy chair will prove to be practical also for women who work half the day simply to get a drink of water.

The truths of theology, when taken in as food for the soul, will change a woman’s perspective and way of living. Providing her with a solid foundation, these precious teachings will free any serious Christian woman from her worldly culture, provide balance and equip her for even the most difficult of circumstances. Armed with a real knowledge of God, she will be empowered to produce the fruit of righteousness in any situation or culture. Confidence, peace, joy, love, etc. will result and this fruit will ultimately resound to the glory of God.

Theology is necessary food - real food - for every Christian woman, no matter where she lives, or what her circumstances are. Dear Christian woman, what is your circumstance? Are you bound to destructive habits? It is because your worldly diet has malnourished you. Come to the table beautifully adorned with the sumptuous soul food prepared just for you by your Creator and Redeemer. He feeds the hungry, He heals the lame, He sets prisoners free. He is the very Bread of Life and the Living Water that our souls yearn for.

"Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David."
Isa 55:1-3

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Real Food Recipes - Chili Steak Tacos

One 2 lb. beef round steak
lard (not hydrogenated) or bacon drippings (from bacon with no nitrites or nitrates)
2 t. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
filtered water, as needed

corn tortillas
coconut oil
shredded cabbage
real sour cream
sliced green onions

Directions: Slice beef thinly - no more than 1/4-inch. Heat a skillet and add lard or bacon drippings. Brown beef strips. Do not boil off liquid. Add chili powder and cumin and stir to combine. There sould be a sufficient amount of liqud on beef. If not add 1 c. filtered water to pan. Put lid on skillet and let cook for several hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is plenty of liquid in pan. After beef is done, heat another skillet and add coconut oil. Cook tortillas in hot oil till they are completely heated through. Fold in half. Place several spoonfuls of beef in each tortilla. Top with the rest of the ingredients.

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Real Food Recipes - Sprouted Crust Pizza

1 Alvarado Sprouted Pizza Bread (crust)
1 jar Trader Joe's Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms (fat free)
3 T. extra-virgin, expeller-pressed olive oil
cheese, grated (whatever variety you like of real cheese)
other toppings of your choice such as pepperoni, bacon, ham or salami (no nitrites or nitrates in any of these), black olives, thinly sliced onions, pepperoncinis (sliced), sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (drained), Italian sausage, minced garlic, pineapple, mushrooms (sliced), red or green bell pepper (sliced)
more cheese, grated

Directions: Preheat oven to broil. Lay pizza crust on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on pizza crust. Spread sauce over top (as much as you like). Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese over sauce. Lay the other toppings on and then sprinkle more cheese over to top. Put the baking on a lower rack in oven to allow the toppings to bake before the cheese gets bubbly. Remove from oven when cheese is nicely browned.

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Real Food Recipes - Romaine Salad with Feta Cheese

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1 large ripe tomato
1/4 c. kalamata olives, (or black is fine also)
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. extra-virgin, expeller-pressed olive oil
real sea salt or Redmond Real salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions: In a large bowl combine lettuce, onion, tomato, olives and feta cheese. Chill until ready to serve. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper with a whisk. Just before serving, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Serves 4.

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Real Food Recipes - Lois' Lime Soup

12 oz. ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef, buffalo, Italian sausage, etc.), browned
64 oz. traditional bone stock (chicken) or purchased organic chicken stock
1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. chili powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 each, green and red bell peppers, chopped
6 oz. brown rice pasta shells,
4 small potatoes, washed well and cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 (16oz.) can red kidney beans
3 limes, squeezed for the juice
1 c. cilantro, chopped
Unrefined sea salt or Redmond Real salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions: Combine ground meat, stock, tomatoes, onion, celery, garlic, chili powder and cayenne in a large soup pot. Cook, covered for 30 minutes on a simmer. Add peppers, pasta, potatoes and carrots. Cook an additional 20 minutes. Add kinney beans, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Heat thorroughly. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve hot with sprouted bread and butter.

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Real Food Recipes - Thousand Island Dressing

To 1 c. mayonnaise, add 1/4 c. chili sauce, 2 chopped hard-cooked eggs, 2 T. eash chopped green pepper and chopped celery, 1 1/2 T. finely chopped onion, 1 t. paprika, 1/2 t. unrefined sea salt. Combine thoroughly. Makes 1 1/2 cups dressing.

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Why Does He hear Me?

"...the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and believed that I came from God." John 16:27
In my praying I am constantly battling the thought that I am earning "merits" so to speak - the thought that because I pray God is pleased with me and rewards my good behavior by answering my prayer. The negative side of that thinking is also present - that if I could word my prayer just right or pray longer or more often, then I could move God's heart to act.

Nothing could be further from the truth! God's answer does not depend on how good I can make my prayer or how often or long I pray. I am not earning kudos every time I bend my knee. The only reason He hears me in the first place is because of Christ's goodness. Jesus has made me righteous and acceptable in God's sight (Phil. 3:9). I cannot come to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).

So then, what is the dynamic of prayer? Why does God hear and answer me? He answers for His Son's sake - to glorify Himself and the Lord Jesus Christ. God is pleased to hear and answer me because I come in the name of Jesus. What I do will not impress God. How can I compete with the perfection of Christ or why would I want to? He hears me because I love His Son. That is what pleases God.

When I come into God's presence with adoration for my Savior, that gets God's attention. And I cannot fake that love. God knows when my heart is fervent with love for Christ. He also sees when I come with self-gratifying motives. Jesus said in John 16:27, "...the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God."

God's love for me is real. He loves me - the Bible tells me so! He delights to hear from me when I come to Him with such sincere devotion to Christ. Would you not love the one who adores your own child, the one who desires to see your child benefited and spoken well of to others? Would you not love the one who avails himself to see that your child's plans succeed because he regards those plans as good, needful and important? Would you not then offer to that friend your resources knowing that your child would be greatly honored ultimately?

This is why God avails His resources to me. I long to see Christ glorified, lifted up, benefited through my life, my body, my all. This is why God hears me. He knows when my heart is truly set on loving His Son and that is when I pray according to His glorious will. And He answers the prayer that is according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). When I pray this way God sees that my heart's motive is love for Christ's sake. He answers my prayer for His Son's sake - for His glory. He loves to hear and answer the prayer that is carried into His presence on the wings of love for Christ. It is music to His listening ear.

Praise be to God for this precious truth! Lord, may I love Your Son in this manner. May my every prayer be influenced, permeated and saturated with sincere adoration for the One through whom I come.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Good Woman Art Gallery

Most of these works of art have been used in posts here on The Good Woman. As far as I know, they are in public domain (use any you like as you wish). Many of these pieces have inspired me, so I decided to show them as a collection in a "gallery".

Should you want to read the original post that is associated with the art, just click on the picture itself and it will link you to the article. Some pictures have not yet been used in a post. Should you click on one of those it will not produce an accompanying post.


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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy written by Sharon Kaufman: By Sharon Kaufman. © The Good Woman. Website: the-good-woman.blogspot.com

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