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What I’m Loving
The “spring” weather we’ve been having here in Louisiana! I do like cold weather, but that nostalgic smell of spring air reminds me of planting garden with my family, plumped up dark soil soft to bare feet. It reminds me of when we first got married and I moved here to Louisiana and was setting up my first little house and exploring the river walking trail and entertaining the neighbors by playing piano with the windows open.
Amazing how a smell can bring so many memories with just a whiff.
The earth is coming alive, and the sap is flowing, and the grass is green. There are a few golden minutes every evening when the sun illuminates the stately old pecan trees, gilding the still-bare limbs against a sky of puffy white and baby blue. Louisiana is beautiful this time of year. I’ll miss the winters.
As the earth comes alive, so does my mind. Fresh with the sap of creativity. God is Creator and Sustainer of all. God, the master Artist, paints with beautiful golden brush and reawakens minds that have been sleepy too long. Awake!
Reminds me of Ephesians 5:14-21.
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore (^^) be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
And those verses, specifically verse 16, remind me of the song that was running through my head in the beginning of January when everyone was talking about New Year’s resolutions. It’s called, “Teach Me, O Lord, to Number My Days,” and I grew up singing it in church. (It’s #723 in Hymns of the Church if you want a copy of the music.) CLICK HERE to hear it on YouTube.
This beautiful, sobering song takes its text from Psalm 90, and the recurring theme comes from verse 12:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
When I was in Israel on a study tour last September, our teacher told us that this verse carries the attitude of accounting for each day. He told us the story of an elderly rabbi who took this principle to heart and had a glass jar full of marbles on his desk, one for each day he had left before he had lived out his “threescore years and ten” (Psalm 90:10). Each day he would take out a marble, talk with God, put the marble in his pocket as he went about his day, and then sit down at the end of the day with the marble and give an account to God of how he had used the day he was given.
I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions because I want my whole life to be one path of continual learning and growing, but my current life goal is to do a better job of accounting for each day and redeem the time, because the days are evil.
My cute salt and pepper shakers from Hobby Lobby…
Other personal goals currently on my mind…
- Less phone/media time (especially for personal use and entertainment, since I do run an online business)
- More reading
- More Scripture time (My current favorite way to absorb Scripture is to listen to it read aloud via the dramatized KJV on the Bible Gateway app on my phone – one phone use that I don’t have a problem with. I often crochet while I listen, as long as the pattern doesn’t take too much concentration.)
- Consistent exercise and taking care of my body
- Getting better at my creative pursuits, namely practicing piano and crocheting
- Quit ignoring big projects because they scare me (hello, taxes and techy blog problems!) and just tackle them to completion
What about you?
What are your current life goals? It can be something you want to accomplish this week, this month, this year, or this lifetime.
The Instant Pot we were given as a wedding gift nearly two years ago. 😛 I’m an old fashioned kind of cook that enjoys lugging out the Dutch oven and standing over the stove adding this and that and stirring till it looks right, but I think I’m hooked on the Instant Pot for things that typically take a long time to make, like bone broth and dry beans. I’m having fun experimenting with other types of recipes too.
Question for y’all: I have the Mini, which is 3 quarts (I think). I know a lot of you with families probably have the 6 quart or 8 quart model. Do you happen to know if the different sizes use the same cook times? Does anyone have any experience with changing the recipe size for Instant Pot recipes? Say, doubling a 3 quart recipe for the 6 quart Instant Pot? Do you have to adjust anything?
Asking for a friend who would like to blog some recipes she made in her 3 quart Instant Pot and is sure she’ll get loads of questions from people wondering this very thing. 😛
And while you’re at it – what are your favorite things to make in the Instant Pot? Comment below and share your ideas; I’d love to hear them!
Also, chicken and dumplings. I’ve never had chicken and dumplings before but I know they’re a popular thing in some areas of the country, so I tried to make them with some of my yummy Instant Pot bone broth and sourdough starter (for the dumplings). Now I’ve never actually had anyone else’s chicken and dumplings, but I’m pretty sure my dumplings were too wet. All you chicken and dumpling experts out there, what am I looking for? What’s a great dumpling texture? Do you serve them in soup or gravy? Something in between? Help a gal out!
A beautiful array of Indian spices from a friend
My new blender! Well, new to me. I bought it used off of Ebay and it’s in great shape. It’s the same model that my mom has (which I used back before I got married and was still living at home). Let me tell you – there are few things more frustrating than a cheap blender – and few things more satisfying than a GOOD one. OK, slightly exaggerated, but wow – I forgot what it was like to be able to make smooth, creamy shakes. You can CLICK HERE to see the same model on Amazon.
Amazing bone broth veggie soup, which was my first Instant Pot experiment. I found an IP bone broth recipe online and basically used it to tell me how long to cook the broth and made up the rest on my own. I used a rotisserie chicken carcass (or two?) and added onion, carrot (OK y’all – carrots make the BEST broth. Just found this out.), tons of spices, salt and pepper, soy sauce, probably some other random stuff, etc….
Made my broth, added some soup veggies I had in the freezer, then cooked up some Dreamfields pasta separately and added it to my bowl (so as not to overcook it) because I wanted noodles in my soup. Honestly I could take or leave the noodles. The broth was the real star here. Theoretically, my bone broth had protein in it. The soup was probably a crossover because I left all the fat in the broth and my soup veggies contained a high ratio of corn and carrots.
Did I care? No.
Sourdough pizza. I love experimenting with sourdough, and although I am kind of sort of experimenting with recipes for the blog, I really enjoy the process most when I don’t follow a recipe and I don’t write it down. Sourdough by FEEL, y’all.
This particular amazingness was probably not completely on plan because I used all white flour. I wanted to get it right with the real deal before I moved on to experimenting with white whole wheat. It actually turned out pretty well but needs some tweaks.
I stuck with mostly low fat toppings to stay in E-ish territory, but probably went overboard on the fat from the cheese. I used part skim mozz and skim ricotta for most of it but did put some provolone on there as well. Those are turkey pepperoni, by the way.
Can’t beat eggs and bacon. Served with a side of collard (or turnip? can’t remember) greens, cooked in…bacon. And avocado and tomato, cuz yum. Full on THM S meal, y’all.
If Ohio doesn’t have greens, I am going to be sorely disappointed.
Simple roasted cauliflower
Lots of salads with all the toppings and the dressing stirred in so each leaf is coated
Buttery Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole from Necessary Food. I very rarely remake recipes, but I had chicken breast all cooked and cut up in the fridge so this casserole came to mind. I think I should remake recipes more often. Sooo good.
Served with sautéed cabbage and cucumber salad (recipe coming soon)
- skim ricotta on all the things
- cottage cheese with cinnamon and Sweet Blend
- unsweetened lemon lime Kroger seltzer water
- clearance deli meat and cheese from Walmart – one of my go-to snacks when I want that protein fix
- fresh pineapple
- green grapes
- soft set scrambled eggs (sort of like this) and egg spatulas
- straight up cheese and butter on warm sourdough bread
- cabbage salads (using thinly sliced cabbage in place of lettuce in salads for extra crunch. Warning: high fiber.)
- dried chickpeas for my salads, cooked in the Instant Pot
- salad bars for supper (greatly enjoyed by my husband and me alike): Ryan’s favorite topping is grated carrots. I dislike grating carrots so I grate a bunch at a time and keep the leftovers in the fridge.
- White Chicken Chili (Necessary Food, page 104)
- Cara Cara oranges
- honey mangoes
- using cardamom in everything: sourdough bread, yogurt, oatmeal, curries
- Kroger natural peanut butter
- La Croix tangerine sparkling water
Of course, I have my chocolate oatmeal every morning. It’s just so photogenic. I was actually on a baked oatmeal kick for awhile a few weeks ago. Make a pan of the Maple & “Brown Sugar” Baked Oatmeal Squares from Convenient Food and you have EIGHT BREAKFASTS all ready to go. It keeps great in the fridge. Top with some stevia-sweetened vanilla Greek yogurt and a little sliced banana and you’re in business with your THM E breakfast.
I know things have been quiet over here on the blog, but I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs. 😛 My favorite part of blogging is the recipe creation and photography part, not necessarily the hours spent on the computer editing pictures, writing blog posts, and keeping up with social media. Last year I got way behind on posting the recipes I was creating (you can read more about that in last month’s post about our GI fellowship application journey). I had pictures on my camera memory cards from recipes created in June. Whoops. Sooo, one of my big projects in the last two weeks was to get all of my old pictures weeded through, sorted, and filed away on my computer so I can hopefully get around to posting the recipes that go with them.
I was also working on taxes, and creating a bunch of NEW recipes.
The most amazing mint chocolate chip ice cream:
A minty “shamrock shake” that doesn’t taste like peppermint toothpaste (success!):
A Frosty Lime Shake kind of like my Ice Creamed Lemonade but with lime:
The best banana bread recipe ever. This was try #5. I just photographed try #6 this morning because I finally nailed the texture. Not that I minded retesting it. This stuff was amazing even when it wasn’t perfect. I still want to test it with frozen bananas to get the correct amount nailed down (I’ve been testing with fresh) as well as TRY to create a THM E version (the basic recipe is a crossover because BUTTER) and a dairy free version. Not sure if those will be successful or not, but I’ll try. In any case, the basic recipe will eventually make it to the blog.
A simple cucumber salad that I was really enjoying so I thought you might too:
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- The book of Job (dramatized KJV, Bible Gateway app)
- “The Deer’s Cry” by Voces 8
- The Bible Project Podcast: 7th Day Rest – Sabbath – Series
- The Food Blogger Pro Podcast (loved episode 236)
- “If I Can Help Somebody” by The King’s Singers
- “Out of the Ivory Palaces” by Oasis Chorale (also available on this CD)
- “No More Fear” by the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir
- Coronavirus podcast by Science VS
- Shepherd of My Soul CD by The Hamilton Family (you can also hear some of their music on their YouTube channel HERE)
Things You Should Check Out:
- My friend Hope’s Etsy shop featuring her homemade candles (and new spring releases!)
- Verse for the Day Calendar from Melt the Heart
- These stackable quart sized freezer containers
- Free music resources (articles and videos) from Shenandoah Christian Music Camp
- Great Lakes’ new flavored collagens: Vanilla, Mixed Berry, Apple + Cucumber, and Lemon + Lime
- Ray Vanderlaan conferences around the United States this year (RVL was the leader of the trip I took to Israel last September)
- Shari Zook – Making Time for Books in the Mommy Years
- Christy Fitzwater – Letting Go of the Word “Overwhelmed”
- My Jewish Learning – The Rainbow in Jewish Symbolism
- Shasta’s Fog – Does It Matter if I Read the Bible on My Smartphone?
- The Faux Martha – Intimacy and the Internet
- Ezekiel 3 – a bold faced, step-on-your-toes-uncomfortable reminder about the importance of sharing the Gospel
(Please note: just because I recommend an article or book doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with all of its content but rather that I found it thought provoking or enjoyable with discernment.)
Seasonal Recipes You Should Make:
- Lasagna Soup – using all the cabbage on sale
- Lasagna Cabbage Rolls or Enchiladas – ditto
- Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Crafting a Healthy Easter Dinner
- Peanut Butter Cups – even though candy has nothing to do with Easter…
I shall leave you with this:
“Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.”
Aragorn to Eowyn, The Return of the King
“Ah, happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.”
“Bartleby the Scrivener”, Herman Melville