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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Great Book for Mom and Baby

It is fact, and I am realizing it more and more, that our great grandmothers knew volumes more about food than the science-savvy food technologists of today. That is why I really like Nina Planck's new book, Real Food for Mother and Baby...The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two and Baby's First Foods. She gets back to that wisdom of the ancients in this very helpful work.

Nina's first book, Real Food, is a general treatise about traditional food to benefit anyone and everyone. Sometime after writing Real Food, she had a baby. During her pregnancy, Nina discovered that the bulk of information available now really misses the mark as far as diet is concerned, even perpetuating many myths that keep women and children eating a substandard diet. Of course, she was compelled to do something about that. And so Real Food for Mother and Baby came into being.

Nina's book is quite refreshing and just makes sense. It is so freeing to be told that it's alright, even the best practice, to eat the very things your body craves and requires to be nourished (real butter, good meat, etc.) during pregnancy and beyond. As she chronicles her own journey with baby Julian, she lays out what real food is and how it nourishes, builds, strengthens, satisfies, heals and energizes you and your little one.

Nina also provides sound counsel concerning fertility - what to eat that encourages conception and, once pregnant, the nutritional needs of the little one nurtured within the womb.

Good simple food will do it. Eat it and flourish - both you and your little ones! Read Nina's book. You will be all the better for it.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Kneading to Answer the Phone

It never seems to fail that while I am in the middle of preparing dinner (or lunch or breakfast), just about the time my hands are messy from mixing meatloaf or dredging a chili pepper in flour, kneading dough or any of a number of other messy food prep jobs, that is when the phone rings. Now that will no longer be a problem since I discovered this tidy tip:

Before you start cooking, always lay out a gallon-size plastic bag near the phone. Any empty bread bag will do or even those bags the newspaper comes in when it rains. When you need to answer the phone, just slip the bag over your hand and grab the handset. Now there will be no need to pull off plastic gloves (I use these when I have a messy prep job to do, such as mixing meatballs or meatloaf) or wash your hands, nor anymore missed calls. And best of all, no more bread dough, meatloaf, etc. to have to clean off the phone.


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Friday, April 24, 2009

Normal - Isn't That a City in Illinois?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an unrealistic idea that has persistently reemerged in my thinking. That is the pie-in-the-sky notion that goes something like this: “When I get past this (name whatever irritation or inconvenience you are currently experiencing – “both children in diapers”, “not enough kitchen counter-top space”, “pain in my knee”, “a house that never stays clean”, “a temporary commitment and deadline”, “doing my laundry at a laundromat”, etc.), things will be “normal” again and life will get easier.”

But what is normal? I know of a city in Illinois that is named “Normal”. And I once heard a woman say that “normal” is really only a setting on the dryer. I’d have to agree with that. Life happens during all of our little and big abnormalities. In fact, those inconvenient abnormalities make up life. Life requires a constant adjustment to all the “whatevers” that the Lord chooses to use for our sanctification. If we put living on hold until after the circumstances pass…well, we will just be missing out on what Jesus called the abundant life.

How we handle these “abnormalities” is what matters. Job 5:7 says, “…man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” Jesus told us that each day would have enough of its own trouble and therefore not to worry about tomorrow. This world is not perfect. How could it be…you and I live in it?

Why not, instead, look past the annoyances to the One who said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Instead of wishing the trouble away, welcome it as an agent for your change toward Christ-likeness. Don’t contemplate life beyond the trouble, instead find your life and your joy there amidst the trouble for the Joy Giver is there with you.

This calls for a radical adjustment to our thinking. Thinking “inconvenience or nuisance” implies that my life is interrupted. Rather think this is an “opportunity to depend upon God” for I am His - my life is not my own. Ask Christ for His strength in the task and thank Him when He gives it, then recon that you will be doing this all again tomorrow (each day has its own trouble). Do not be surprised; rather know that amidst all the changes, the unchanging Savior is present – Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. Can you praise and worship Him there in the midst of the annoyance? If so, you will have joy that transcends the disturbance and goes way beyond the desired “normal”.

Once this ever-changing, non-normal, whatever-life is past, we will dwell in the presence of unparalleled perfection and consistent beauty for we will be forever with the Lord. We will never have the desire for “life just to be normal again”. Who would want mundane normalcy in the stunning and indescribably majestic presence of our Lord?

What we must remember is that we can experience His stunning and majestic presence here, even in the midst of the routine irritations of an imperfect world. Dwell in that Presence now for the honor of the One who is perfecting you for that splendid, never ending, glorious day. Why settle for “normal” when Christ and heaven can be found in the midst of our mundane inconveniences?

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Partiality - Not an Attribute of God

Most of you, by now, have heard about Susan Boyle and her incredibly beautiful singing voice. I wanted to embed the video of her performance on Britain's Got Talent on my blog, but it is no longer available for display other than on YouTube. Click here to view the link in case you have not seen it.

However, I was able to get the vocal of Susan singing Cry Me a River embedded here.

But the reason I decided to make a post about Susan Boyle is based on a text in James. The women's Bible study that I co-teach has been studying the book of James this past year. James 2:1-5 says:
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
After having seen the reaction from the judges and the audience when Susan Boyle appeared on stage for her audition for Britain's Got Talent, it became even more clear to me how fickle the human heart can be. It was only after she began to sing that everyone who had disgracefully judged her just seconds before, realized what they had done. It really was a sad exhibition.

Some apologized. But what if she had croaked out her song? The following comment, from a secular blog, pretty well sums up what I am thinking:
The unspoken message of this whole episode is that, since Susan Boyle has a wonderful talent, we were wrong to judge her based on her looks and demeanor. Meaning what? That if she couldn't sing so well, we were correct to judge her on that basis? That demeaning someone whose looks don't match our impossible, media-reinforced standards of beauty is perfectly okay, unless some mitigating circumstance makes us re-think our opinion?
It is sad to say that we, in our churches, do this very thing. If someone does not come up to our preconceived idea of what a person should look like, talk like, dress like, etc. we have no intention of going any further to discover who that person really is. We remain in our comfort zones, excluding that one from the grace God would display through us were we willing. And then we are relieved and think we are vindicated if that person turns out to be what we judged them to be in the first place.

No, the sin of partiality is wrong no matter what. We become judges with evil thoughts when this happens. God is no respecter of persons. He looks upon the heart. Since we cannot do that, we must give way to love, compassion and mercy.

And consider what it means that God sees the heart. That is a very frightening thing. He saw me for what I really was. We were all unlovely to Him. All of us were guilty in His sight. All of our works were as filthy rags. We were altogether unclean, haters of God, lovers of sin. This is the condition we were all in when He chose to redeem us from our vain manner of life.

Had God been a partial being, such as we are, He would never have chosen to save any of us. We would all face His wrath. And He would have been justified in doing that. No, God saved us in spite of ourselves.

Knowing that, can we, as followers of Christ, learn from what we saw of Susan Boyle's appearance? Can we learn to look on others with compassion and kindness as our Heavenly Father looked upon us in our forlorn and ungodly state? Can we then decide to offer mercy and Christ-like love to the ones we find unlovely?

As for me, I have been very convicted by all of this and am stunned when I think of it in terms of my acceptance before God. He has taken a poor, ragged sinful wretch and given her heaven and all the blessings in the heavenly realms. In Him I have redemption through Christ's blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on me with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-9)

I pray like Paul for those of us making a claim to know Christ:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Once this kind of knowing is reality, there is no telling what would come of it in our churches and who we would welcome, just as our Lord has indeed welcomed us!


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Meatloaf Muffins?

Last week, because of circumstances beyond my control, I was delayed in getting the meatloaf put into the oven. It was a large recipe (2 1/2 pounds of ground beef) and I knew it was going to take at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours to bake, which meant dinner would be too late. So I put on my thinking cap and remembered that I have a very nice ceramic muffin pan (has six recesses). I rarely use it because I just do not do much baking. Anyway, happy that I had not given it away, I pulled it out, filled each recess with enough meatloaf mixture to make a rounded top (like you see below) and popped in into the oven on a cookie sheet to catch any juices that might spill over. The meatloaf muffins only took 45 minutes in the oven and they were moist and delicious.

After having baked meatloaf this way, I am almost sure that I will continue this method. I served only what we would eat and the remaining "muffins" I packaged and put in the freezer. When the time comes to serve meatloaf again, I can take out just as much as we will eat and still have more for another serving at a later time. And my muffin pan will finally be put to good use!

So here's to meatloaf muffins - not exactly what you expect to come out of the oven in a muffin pan, but nevertheless, a very doable way to serve meatloaf.

By the way, this was the best meatloaf I've ever made. It is called Flavors of Thai Meatloaf and you can find the recipe at Franziska's Pantry.


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Monday, April 20, 2009


Aren't I cute?

If you've wondered why there had been no posts for nearly two weeks, it's because we have a new addition in our home - a little "chug" puppy. "What", you ask, "is a chug?" A chug is a cross between a chihuahua and a pug.

So, now I lug-a-chug around with me in the house. This little guy's name is Tucker and he is nine weeks old now and weighs all of two and a half pounds. Sophie (our two year old beagle mix) is learning to love Tucker. The two of them have a great time romping around in the living room in the evenings.

I will be posting some pics of the two dogs at a later date.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Cheesey Post

This question came to me today via a comment:
Just found your site. Lots of good information here. Recently read Schwarzbein and she makes a lot of sense. But I'm grappling with her contention that aged cheese has harmful fats. Is this always true, or does it depend on the processing? Where can I find more information on this issue specifically?
Dear Reader,

I would tend to agree with you on the issue of damaged fat in cheese, having grappled with this myself. If you think about this, however, it may be that Dr. Schwarzbein is not accurate on this. On page 237 of The Schwarzbein Principle 2, she says, "Since most cheese is heat treated, which damages the fat contained in the cheese, all cheese should be used in moderation. In addition, aged cheeses are damaged fats. Whenever possible, choose white cheese over yellow. Most yellow cheeses are colored with artificial coloring."

In thinking this statement through, the first question I asked myself was, "What kind of fat is in the milk or cream that is to be made into cheese?" The answer: butterfat. Butterfat is predominantly saturated fat. Saturated fats are the best fats for tolerating heat. It is safe to cook in butter, coconut oil, lard, tallow, etc. since they are saturated and sustain the least amount of damage due to heat.

We eat butter without ever wondering if this fat has been damaged by the heat of pasteurization. The heating process of pasteurization, in fact, does not damage or make rancid the butter cream. This could only happen if the temperatures involved were extremely high so that the product smoked and burned. Obviously, this cannot be the case. The heat does, however, kill enzymes, alter amino acids, makes proteins less bio-available and reduce the amounts of calcium, vitamin C and other nutrients, but it does not damage the fat.

Of course, it only stands to reason that raw butter (as well as cheese) is still the most optimum choice as far as nutrition is concerned since heat is not involved and the product retains all the enzymes and nutrients. I quote from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, "Cheeses made from raw milk contain a full complement of enzymes and are therefore more easily digested than cheeses made from pasteurized milk."

Pasteurized cheeses have been consumed for many years. Raw milk cheese is a traditional food that has been consumed for thousands of years. (Now remember that I am not talking about processed cheeses here, like American cheese or those spreadable cheese-like substances that are full of preservatives, dyes, and chemicals to enhance flavor and texture. These fake cheeses should be avoided at all costs.)

So really, what this comes down to is that you shouldn't be afraid to buy and eat good cheese. The best to get is, of course, made from raw milk. The next best cheese is organic made from pasteurized milk and cream or at least from cows that have not been given the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbST).

I find raw milk sharp cheddar and Parmesan Reggiano, an aged cheese, at Trader Joe's (click here to find a Trader Joe's near you). Anytime I can find raw cheese at a decent price I opt for that rather than cheeses from pasteurized milk. But I do not hesitate buying cheese as long as it fits the bill mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Another thing about Dianna Schwarzbein - I do know that since she wrote The Schwarzbein Principle 2, she has changed her stance on soy products (now does not recommend them at all) and now endorses raw milk and raw milk products. She may also have a better understanding of the topic of this post also.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed her book, I still read it and all other books in light of what the Weston A. Price Foundation teaches. In my opinion, they more closely align themselves with Biblical nutrition than any other source I know of (though they may not say it that way and are not a Christian organization).


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

You Will Suffer

Please take ten minutes to watch John Piper remind you of your calling in Christ to a life that so magnifies Him that you will know what the Savior meant when He said, "A slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you..."


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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Safe At Shore

My husband, Robert has taught a midweek Bible study for many years. He recently assigned some extra reading - a small booklet written by C. H. Spurgeon entitled Around the Wicket Gate. What a great read - so encouraging and motivational.

I offer this excerpt from chapter two, Jesus Only:

Faith saves us because it makes us cling to Christ Jesus, and He is one with God, and thus brings us into connection with God.

I am told that, years ago, above the Falls of Niagara, a boat was upset, and two men were being carried down by the current, when persons on the shore managed to float a rope out to them, which was seized by both men.

One of the men held fast to it and was safely drawn to the bank; but the other, seeing a great log come floating by, unwisely let go of the rope, and clung to the great piece of timber, for it was the bigger thing of the two, and apparently better to cling to.

Alas! The timber, with the man on it, went right over the vast abyss, because there was no union between the wood and the shore. The size of the log was no benefit to him who grasped it; it needed a connection with the shore to produce safety.

So, when a man trusts to his works, or to his prayers, or alms givings, or to sacraments, or to anything of that sort, he will not be saved because there is no junction between him and God through Christ Jesus; but faith, though it may seem to be like a slender cord, is in the hand of the great God on the shore side; infinite power pulls in the connection line, and this draws the man from destruction. Oh, the blessedness of faith, because it unites us to God by the Savior, whom He has appointed, even Jesus Christ!
If this has encouraged you and you would like to order Around the Wicket Gate for yourself, go here to Chapel Library.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Stain Removers for the Kitchen

Yesterday I let a pot of water go too long on the stove (thought it had been turned off - oh, this is bad to admit). To my amazement I discovered that you can burn the bottom of a pot by doing this. The results were almost impossible to scrub off so I put on my thinking cap. My conversation with myself (this too, is not so good to admit) went something like this: "Since vinegar can soften clothing and feet, perhaps it could loosen up the burn stain on my stainless steel pot."

So into the pan went hot water and perhaps 1/4 cup of white vinegar along with a drop of dish washing liquid. This I put on to boil (didn't forget about it either) for about 20 minutes.

It worked like a charm. The stain practically melted off with a little help. So here is yet another use for vinegar.

The other stain remover is for cups that have caffeine stains. We drink tea and it does discolor our cups. The best thing I've found that is non-toxic is homemade soft scrub (basic recipe is baking soda mixed with good laundry detergent). You can find the recipe for my soft scrub here.


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Monday, April 6, 2009

Fluoride, Anyone?

Here is a very good video on the fluoridation of our water and from a dentist's point of view. I have been concerned for some time about this issue, ever since I read that fluoridated water causes gingivitis. Since then I have used toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. But I still brush my teeth with unfiltered, fluoridated tap water. Now that will change also.

Please watch this video, especially if you have infants or children under six years of age.

Also, visit Dr. Mercola's website for more information on this danger (you will see the video there also, but scroll down the page for Dr. Mercola's input).


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Friday, April 3, 2009

Surprising Video About Good Fats

Here is a video that puts the claims of healthy oils to the test. Two women agree to exchange the bad oils in their diet with good oil. This is the basic change they made and the results are quite surprising!

Note: As you watch the video, be aware that Nutiva, though it is an excellent source for coconut oil (and the other oils mentioned as well), is not the only good source. For the best price I've found for a great quality coconut oil, go here.


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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Home Grown Spaghetti and Flying Penguins?

In 1957, on April 1, the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a documentary program, Panorama, featuring a Swiss family harvesting their annual spaghetti crop. Spaghetti was a rare food - considered a delicacy - in Britain at this time so thousands were fooled. In fact, some viewers were so convinced and intrigued they wanted to find out where they could purchase their very own spaghetti bush according to the BBC. Here is a portion of that original documentary:

And then there is this clip put out by the BBC in the recent past:

Of course by now, you have realized that these were both April Fool's jokes, right?


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