Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ORANGE CARROT MUFFINS



A picture alone may not be convincing but coupled with my
affirmation, leaves no doubt that this muffin is worth a try.
It has a tender crumb with a mix of delicious ingredients and
bakes into a delicious treat for breakfast or really anytime
one needs a snack.


Carrots, oats, whole wheat flour and orange juice mingle 
together in a nutritious soft clump.
A swirl of thin, cream cheese frosting is optional 
but gives an added sweet flavor.


 I used 12 large-size muffin papers which the batter filled
quite full.  On half I sprinkled some streusel and the rest I left
plain.  The streusel topping adds some crunch and frosting
adds sweetness .. it is all a matter of taste.


ORANGE CARROT MUFFINS

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup quick oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon

Stir dry ingredients together until mixed; set aside.

2 eggs
½ cup orange juice
grated peel of 1 orange
1 cup grated carrots
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup melted butter

In a mixing bowl, whip eggs with a fork or whisk.  
Add remaining ingredients and whisk together until mixed.
Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture just until moistened.
Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups.
* Top with streusel if desired
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean.
 This recipe makes 12 large muffins or 14 regular size.

*Streusel: combine ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flour,
2 Tbsp. melted butter until mixture resembles moist crumbs.






Sunday, January 19, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, MATERIALISM OF THE HEART


'Materialism of the Heart',  I have to confess I borrowed that
phrase from John Piper.
John was talking about Jesus and what He said about money.
I am not addressing money but something else that captured my
attention as I sorted my 'stuff'.
 Materialism .. hobbies .. heart ... is there a connection?


From the time I could hold a needle I have loved stitching and making
things that I thought were pretty.
My hobby treasure was a round tin .. a recycled object formerly full of candy.
It held a homemade pincushion, a metal hoop, a small scissors and recycled wooden
thread spools newly wound with brightly colored embroidery floss.
I learned to embroider ... on small pieces of fabric .. then dresser scarves
as they were called .. and on to pillow cases.
Were they pretty?  Yes, in a childish sort of way.
  I know because I still have some.


My fascination with handwork grew steadily over the years.
I continued on with crochet hooks and knitting needles.


Visits to a neighboring farmhouse where needlework flourished always 
whetted my appetite to learn more.
My eyes caught sight of this and I was hooked.


Learning to make beautiful things with thread and needle is not
a bad thing.  For me it was a creative outlet and a time for relaxation.
Sorting through the remnants of my stitching 'career' this past week
brought back so many memories of people and places.
My projects span over many many years and yet
they took up a good bit of time.
As I consider the concept of materialism of the heart and my hobbies
of the past, I have some regrets.
I cannot recapture the time it took to place the stitches on the fabric.
The desire and discipline to memorize scripture was not cultivated.
I didn't want to memorize .. memorizing was work.
Stitching was fun.
I love when God and I have these conversations.
And I reaffirm my commitment to Him!

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate
to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.
We sat down and began to speak 
to the women who had gathered there.
One of these listening was a woman named Lydia,
a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira,
who was a worshiper of God.
The Lord opened her heart to respond 
to Paul's message.
Acts 16: 13 - 14





Saturday, January 18, 2014

POTATO CHEESE GALLETTE


This red fluted deep baking dish was gifted to me at Christmas ..
The color grabbed me as did the heavy weight.  I noted the
 imprint on the back ... made in France .. another reason for excitement.
I couldn't wait to try it ... the first use was for a quiche .. it baked beautifully.
Then I needed a quick potato dish and again I was so impressed
with this quality product.
This is not a commercial for a dish but rather for a good, good recipe!
The potatoes were yummy .. tender but not mushy with a crisp top!


Some recipes instruct potatoes, seasonings and onions be stirred together.
I have done that but I have also used the layering method because I
can dispense the ingredients more evenly that way.
My recipe reflects my preference but either way works so use
whatever way you like best.



POTATO CHEESE GALETTE

2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup chopped onions or shallots
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Saute onions in oil until tender; set aside
Peel potatoes and cut into thin slices; toss with salt and pepper.
Layer half potatoes into buttered 9-inch baking dish.
Sprinkle with half of the sauteed onions.

½ cup half and half
1/8 tsp ground thyme
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Stir thyme into half and half; pour ¼ cup over potatoes in dish.
Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Layer remaining potatoes, onions, half and half mixture and cheeses.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes until top is golden
and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 5 servings.





Thursday, January 16, 2014

RASPBERRY and BLACKBERRY SLICE



January is my catch-up month .. the ideal time to stay inside
especially when the wind is howling as it has been relentlessly
for weeks on end.  I forget about the elements outside and concentrate
on doing things that have been pushed aside for a time.
Not having any deadlines, I can go through closets
and purge clutter.  I catch up on sewing projects and perhaps
even read a book for an entire day without feeling guilty.  My house is in need for
some redecorating so I keep busy and time is passing quickly.
Today the sun is shining, the snow is nearly all melted, wind is at a minimum
 and I want to blog the berry slice I made yesterday.


I couldn't resist a container of blackberries that were on sale,
and I wanted to use them with raspberries in my freezer.
The pairing seemed perfect to bake between a crust and a 
creamy topping.  I like it!


Colors of summer can help deal with any winter blues.
Someone put out a challenge to use up whatever is in your freezer
and I am very willing to make that a reality.


I couldn't wait to peel back the parchment paper to
see if the crust was nice and brown.


After cooling on a rack and chilling in the fridge,
they cut into perfect little squares .. or bars .. or slices.


RASPBERRY and BLACKBERRY SLICE

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup  flaked coconut
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. oil


Blend flour, sugar, baking powder and lemon rind.  Cut in butter until
crumbly using pastry blender or food processor.  Mix in coconut.
Add egg and oil and mix until well blended.
Pat into 8 x 8 -inch parchment-lined baking pan.

1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup heavy cream or half and half
2 eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Layer berries on top of crust.
Mix remaining ingredients until smooth.  Spread mixture on top of 
berries to cover and all around the edges.
Bake in preheated 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until 
the edges are lightly golden.  The center may still be slightly jiggly.
Cool completely in pan on a rack.
When cool, refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting to insure clean edges.
Yield: 25 small slices



Sunday, January 5, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, JANUARY 2014


JANUARY 2014

Hanging on my wall is this significant piece of art, a 
Christmas gift from my daughter.
Not only is it beautiful but also a cardinal point of consideration
for the next 12 months.
Calendars are important and useful for obvious reasons.
But for me they become more that.
My calendar will hang in a prominent place and needs to be
a reflection of myself and what I enjoy.
Much thought goes into choosing my calendar .. something like a 
pet owner choosing a pet.
Quite simply I have to love it.
I love this one!
I love the colors .. I love the theme.
Every day is reflected by a square to mark the date in time.
How time will be spent is still the mystery.
It will unfold as values give meaning to my life.
I embrace a prayer that was written by someone unknown.

Lord help me to live
                            this day quietly, easily
To lean on They great strength
                    trustfully, restfully
To await the unfolding of Thy will
                    patiently, serenely
To meet others peacefully, joyously
To face today and tomorrow
                                   confidently, courageously
Amen



For most of yesterday, light snow fell softly, gently covering every
inch of ground.  
Today my feathered friends scratched bare the sites they
thought would yield some food.


They come as a noisy little group always watching for an
enemy which to them could be me at the window.
I am very careful and manage to get quite close 
which delights me to no end.


Even though the sun was shining, it was very cold ..
Tonight they will huddle under the dry branches of a 
caragana bush.  Stay warm little birds.


This time of year the mountains reign supreme along the western
horizon.  Something about the cold air sets them loftier
above the mundane landscape.


They are a grand sight!  As you see the ground is brown which
means this was before the snow.
Today I was prepared to bundle up, sweep the snow off my vehicle, 
get it running, and drive beyond the trees to take 
pictures of the mountains in the snow.  
Alas, I was too cozy and warm inside .. I shrank from going
out into the bitter cold.


So I stayed inside and took a picture of the only light that
was visible in the moment.

Today is the first Sunday in 2014.
A worship song has been on my mind.
I will type the notable words but the refrain sung by
Robin Mark will take your heart to heavenly places.

Faithful One, so unchanging
Ageless One, you're my rock of peace
Lord of all, I depend on You
I call out to You
Again and again
I call out to You 
Again and again

You are my Rock in times of troubles
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone.