Haste Makes Waste

BBQ Ribs ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

BBQ Ribs ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

RECIPE FOLLOWS

Slow and sure wins the race.  The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.  These sayings roll by on the ticker tape of my brain as I process the events of the day.  These events revolved around a small gig at a nearby Lake.  Combine my gift of food with my desire to serve others and I am at my happiest preparing and sharing wonderfully delicious food with others.  Not slighting my other helpers but this was especially sweet for me as my Best Girl – my daughter – was my right hand helper.

Pork Spareribs rubbed and ready for the Barbe ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Pork Spareribs ready for the Bar-b ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Hindsight lends me thinking that it was providential happenstance that I was asked to ‘help’ at a local senior independent living facility slash community events center.  What first began as helping, turned into cooking and morphed into Catering Manager.  Living in and serving a small mountain community necessitated the facilities diversified usage; from wedding receptions to service group breakfast and dinner meetings to hosting Elderhostel.  During the devastatingly heavy snows of 1992-93, it became the center for housing and feeding work crews digging out fire hydrants and such….fixing food for 50 sans power is an adventure.  Grateful for such adventurous memories…breakfast by kerosene anyone?  That’s the morning that the wheels on my Suburban froze up.  Dig myself out of that rabbit trail in the snow and get back on track here….

Ribs on the Barbe ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Ribs on the Bar-b ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

The gig went well with many compliments.  Music to a foodies heart, eh.  Back home, clean up in the works as I process the event, I lament not having a smoker that would have resulted in even better ribs.  Lower and slower is best.  My mouth waters as I recall my friend’s smoker that turned out all manner of deliciousness at her Smokehouse.  Her Thanksgiving turkeys flew out of that place and I enjoyed her brined and smoked pork chops! This truth – haste makes waste, ie. high heat results in burnt, dry, tough ribs lends me thinking how haste makes waste in my life.

BBQ Ribs ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

BBQ Rib Deliciousness ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Lack of planning.  Laziness.  Or my M-O…procrastination, results in me placing myself under unnecessary pressure to meet a deadline or performance standard in haste.  My lack of self-discipline succeeds in me falling short of what is best.  What is best for me.  What may be best for others too.  Haste makes waste – wastes time, opportunities, possibilities.  Slow and steady or perseverance wins the race.  One step at a time.  One foot in front of the other.  In my life this boils down to trust.  Trusting Thee One who is the creator of time, opportunities and possibilities for my good, for others good, for what is best.  In the case of tasty BBQ Ribs, slow grilling at moderate temperatures results in succulent and flavorful ribs.

Lip-smacking good BBQ Ribs ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Finger-licking good Ribs ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

My mama did teach me to not smack my lips nor lick my fingers at the dinner table but there really are a few times when such rules of etiquette are meant to be bent!  I like my ribs with sauce.  One of my favorite bottled sauces is Sweet Baby Ray’s Chipotle Raspberry Barbecue Sauce…yes, I do not make everything from scratch.  I think that a used napkin with minimal sauce residue is indicative of finger-licking good ribs!

Sheryl’s BBQ Ribs

Racks of pork spareribs (allow 2-4 ribs per person), I usually leave them in big sections but will separate them if need be prior to grilling.

Dry the racks with paper towels.

Use your favorite rub, often a combination of savory and somewhat sweet.  Here are a few links for rub recipes:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bbq-with-bobby-flay/rib-dry-rub-recipe/index.html

bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/tp/aatp042607a.htm

Or as I did this time due to time limitations (really it was not procrastination, this time!) use a packaged rub.  I used two: McCormick’s Grill Mates, Sweet & Smoky Rub along with Smoky Mountain Smokers Chipotle BBQ Seasoning.  If I could remember where I learned about Smoky Mountain Smokers products, I’d give a shout out to them, but it has been a while and I’ve forgotten.

Prepare your gas grill to med-hi heat.  Using tongs and an oiled paper towel, grease the grate.  Lay your racks of ribs on the grill grate and grill.  Watch for flare ups and turn and grill to desired doneness. (Pork is safe cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Farenheit as tested with a food thermometer, followed by a 3 minute resting period).  Ribs being the cut that they are need this slow and steady cooking process to break down the sinewy fibers.  Pour yourself a nice cold glass of Iced Green Tea Lemonade and enjoy the clear summer sky as you grill your ribs.  Slow and steady takes a bit of time.  Giving you time to toss together a side dish or salad.  Maybe scrub a few red spuds and add them to the BBQ. Better yet, remove the silks from ears of corn and add them….grilling corn on the cob imparts a delightfully delicious smoky flavor that I don’t add butter.

Enjoy, and remember this is one of those times where it’s okay to bend some etiquette rules.  So go ahead, you know you want to, lick your fingers!

As always ~ Bless and Be Blessed

Posted in Cooking, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Pickles and Jams

Jam

Pickles and Jams ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Why is it that my thinking is drawn to food?

It is my experience that sometimes a gift can become a curse of sorts, if not properly tended.  When misappropriated we can find ourselves in all manner of Pickles and Jams!

For example, I have a strong nature which, for too long, I misused in co-dependency.  It is, as would be for the substance abuser, a long road of recovery.  It is a road which I shall not master until the number of my days comes.  For only then, upon my graduation, will I, as an adopted daughter, become whole.  Whole and free of the Pickles and Jams that my old nature concocts for me.

Pickled Green Beans ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Pickles and Jams

Court this afternoon.  In all honesty, I sit here battling two wills: one old and one new. When I run the events of this day through my processor the old will wants to filter it through my 85% backpack filter…you know, 85% of what I perceive of a situation is from my backpack of life experiences.  Only 15% of what I perceive is based on the current circumstances at hand.  Thus when I have believed so many half-truths and outright lies for so long it is a might bit of continual work to undo such doings!  This race that is set out before me certainly is not a sprint, most definitely a marathon of perseverance. Pulling on, pulling up and trying to get comfortable with my “Big Girl Panties” (as my riding girlfriends and I say) is a daunting task for each court date since I am in pro per and I come away spent.  Again, nothing really happened.  Another scheduled court date.  Another opportunity for me to grow.  To be refined.  To trust even when there is no light illuminating that next step.  Reminds me of how I snow skied. Always wanting to see what was coming up so I could plan how to handle it.   Unscathed.  Pride in tact.  Lauding my abilities.

Ambrosia Conserve ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Ambrosia Conserve

Generational bondage.  Where the dysfunctional behaviors of parents are patterned. The cycle repeating itself.  Until an individual gets sick and tired of being sick.  I reached that bottom about 10 years ago and though it feels like grueling work at times and I do a fair share of whining about this refining process, I can with all honesty and gratitude say that I am thankful for the outstanding recovery assistance that I have received on this road.  I am, despite stepping into tar pits along the way, thankful that this is the road that has been ordained for me.  As such, it is my desire to come alongside others to share my journey in hopes that they too may choose the high and narrow road.  That they too may find healing, peace and joy.

Pickled Green Beans ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Pickled Green Beans ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

The roads of life carry me along paths shrouded by dark, ominous draperies of storms, their hems touching the tips of grass blades stretching skyward.  Yet, I can walk through the strongest of  gales in full peace.   Soon, just around the next bend in the path, I walk in that eye-blinding brightness that is discovered in the scrubbed skies after a storm. I am learning, howbeit slowly, to be grateful for the strong gales as I have a greater appreciation for the calm seasons.  To walk the stormy seasons with full peace requires me to unfurl my tight-fisted grip of wanting to control my life.  Of wanting what I want, when I want it and how I want it.   Isn’t that the message of our narcissistic, instantaneous culture?!

Ambrosia Conserve ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Ambrosia Conserve

A continual flow of instant gratification is like a thief in the night.  I may not be aware that I have been robbed until light is shed.  Robbed of the richness that is garnered from patience; robbed of discovering great strength that is not my own; and the worst would be robbed of experiencing an other worldly Love.  To my great delight I arise each day to new mercies, new possibilities, new strength to draw from – new Hope.

As the gift of my strong nature can be misappropriated so too can my love of and appreciation for the beauty and flavors created in that which sustains our physical bodies!  However, sharing a little Pickles and Jams is appropriate ….

A dear and wise friend, our church secretary, forwarded this recipe for Pickled Green Beans from Country Woman.  Tho I see the link takes me to Taste of Home for the recipe.  I have included a picture of a salad, I’ll call it as we enjoyed it chilled, where I added some BBQ’d bacon pieces.  My daughter loved it.

Pickled Green Bean Salad ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Pickled Green Bean Salad ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

The Ambrosia Conserve hails from my purchase of an updated Preserving book last summer. Nothing like a well-done photo of food to convince you that you must try a recipe or purchase the cookbook, huh!

Ball Blue Book Preserving ~ cordelectatio@wordpress.com

Ball Blue Book – Preserving

Ambrosia Conserve     Yields: about 6 half-pints

1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped

1/3 cup grated orange peel (apx. 2 medium)

1 cup orange juice (apx. 2 medium)

5 cups sugar

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped maraschino cherries

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Combine pineapple, orange peel and juice in large saucepan.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Cook rapidly almost to gelling point.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat; stir in coconut, cherries and almonds.  Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Bless and Be Blessed~

Posted in Cooking, Food | Tagged , , ,

Peeezza! Pizza!

Oh, I cannot say Pizza without remembering a very dear young woman.  She is a mama herself now and thankfully re-connected with me via Facebook.  We lived in the same apartment building for a time and she was the perfect mama’s-helper to me with my two small children.

So many memories of her playing with my son and daughter; upstairs at her family’s apartment or downstairs in ours; out in the jacuzzi or running after them in the courtyard.   Later when we moved north she would come spend time at our home in the mountains and we enjoyed canning together.

Such a delightful young woman – then as now!  Love ya’  L— Pizza!

Portabella Pizza

Portabella Pizza

But this post is to be short and sweet as YES, I have court again on Monday.  I will be relieved when this is all finalized.  Kind of doubting that with the abusive nature of the Respondent that I will be left alone even then but at least I may be finished with this court battle!

I believe it was my daughter that “Pinned” a picture of a mushroom pizza back in January of this year that got my creative juices flowing.  As a toddler my son loved mushrooms so much that I had to place the package of mushrooms at the farthest point from him in the grocery basket or he would tear it open and eat the still ‘horse-y’ ‘shrooms….if you get my wift drift.  My favorite mushroom’s are Portabella and their baby cohort’s Crimini.  So upon seeing the picture of a Portabella Mushroom Pizza, I had to give it a try.

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

I did not have nor use a recipe.  Use what YOU like so it tastes like what YOU want it to taste like.  Or like I did, use what you have on hand.

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

1 large portabella mushroom                                4 crimini mushrooms

4 slices salame                                                              1/2 med. red pepper, roasted

1 ring of red onion

some sliced olives                                                       1 slice provolone

some shredded parmesan                                        some chopped spinach

breadcrumbs from a slice of  toasted baguette

chopped pepperoncini peppers to taste

Turn oven to 425 degrees.  Clean the portabella and crimini’s.  Place portabella cap side down – fins up – on baking sheet.  Chop the crimini’s, salame, onion, red pepper and combine with the spinach.  Set a skillet to med-high and add in some Lucero Garlic Olive Oil.  Add chopped ingredients to the skillet and saute until al dente.  Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs.  Bake portabella until it is sweating and slightly roasted.  Remove from oven and spoon in filling, pressing down a bit. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes, watch that it doesn’t get to brown. Remove and place slice of provolone on top of filling and a few sliced olives; return to oven to melt cheese.

Remove and plate up.  You can see that I enjoyed mine with a nice cold Corona beer.  I am not a dark beer person despite the best efforts of my friends!

Certainly before eating…Give thanks and Bless and Be Blessed…

Posted in Cooking, Food, Pizza | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Floating on the Clouds

There in the vast fathomless summer sea it felt just like I was floating on the clouds.  Any scuba divers reading this?  Then you can relate to that sensation of floating on the currents in the open seas.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an avid diver nor a real fan of the ocean.  Something about those fathomless depths that set my nerves on edge!  I have the thoroughly irrational thinking that if a massive creature is to eat me I would rather see it coming then be taken by surprise!   What, so I can die of a heart attack first?!

I can’t recall now how many years it has been since I went diving.  However, this was a wonderfully adventurous, for me at that time, week long dive trip aboard Blackbeard Cruises in the Bimini Islands, Bahamas.  I wanted to experience up close and personal the wondrous Creation under the sea!  My appetite had been wet when my children were a twinkle in their dad’s eye and one in utero, my family would make the luxury backpacking trip out to the Northwest side of Catalina Island, camping at Little Harbor.  Luxury backpacking, cause we took a ferry over, then a bus to the campsite so we could take an ice chest, dive gear, an inflatable raft and deep sea fishing gear and when kids came along a few other ‘luxuries’. Two people were certified and enjoyed the calm water diving of Little Harbor.  One brother towed my mother and I around in the inflatable as we laid end to end with mask and snorkel to take a peak at the beauty beneath the surface.

Garibaldi – California State Fish

Bear with me here and I will link these thoughts…..With addiction leeches sucking the life-blood from the one I had covenanted my love to coupled with my co-dependent (C-D) behavior to rescue, we made a toxic soup of dysfunction.  The crazymaking that accompanies addictive behaviors and my longing for ‘normalcy’ and ‘safety’ proved the perfect lead-in for me to feel the need to control some things to feel safe amidst that chaos.  While I had tried some C-D support groups before with no luck, when I was introduced to Divine Wine Ministry at a local church….it literally saved my life.  As part of my recovery I realized that I needed to learn to trust the Lord more than I had been.  Thus, when the opportunity to become certified to Scuba Dive and take this trip into the Atlantic ocean arose, I chose to do it to push myself out of my ‘box’.  This is how I came to be diving in the Bimini Islands.

All of my scuba training took place in fresh water so my first giant stride off the boat into those fathomless depths of the Atlantic was my moment of truth.  Well, my truth was that I was sceered!  There I was at the rope, hyper-ventilating and doing a might fast bit of talking to the Lord.  Not only did I know that I needed to do this for my own growth, I wanted to do this.  I was on the road to C-D recovery and ready to do the hard work of transformation. For anyone who has walked a road to recovery from anything, you are familiar with hard work. Let me share six things we committed ourselves to:  1.  We commit ourselves to work hard towards healing. 2. We commit to the long haul.  3. We commit to seek the Lord.  4.  We commit to never use guilt to motivate change.  5.  We commit to being honest at all times even if it hurts. 6.  We commit to maintain, as best we can, a safe place in order to work through our issues.  (Divine Wine Ministry)  So you see, this dive trip was part of my hard work on the long haul to recovery.

I learned that week that the Bimini Islands are one of the top rated dive destinations in the world and that is just like the Lord God to bless obedience. Obedience that took me well beyond my strength and deep into dependence upon His strength.  Obedience that blessed me with the memories of a shark dive; night dives; opportunities to observe Manta rays burrowed into the sand on the sea floor, huge sea turtles snuggled into a wreck for the night and the wonder of His mighty hand in Creation with the ‘painted ladies’ of the deep.  I am unable to bring to recall at the moment the name of  this particular species of fish but I do recall their unique nocturnal self-defense mechanism.  This fish was vulnerable at night as it did not hide amongst the rocks and coral nor burrow itself into the sand.  Rather it would exude this slimy substance that would surround it’s body and was distasteful to likely predators.  However, it could only produce this ‘slime’ once every 24 hours so on night dives we had to be careful to not disturb them causing them to loose their protective ‘armor’.

Okay, okay so I got to go on this amazing trip, what does it and slimy armor have to do with floating on the clouds?  The longer I live and thus the the longer I have desired to walk with the Lord, the more I see His hand of blessing in my life.  Yes, even in the midst of some of the toughest roads of my life, of which I am now traveling on.  It has to do with the fact that when I step out, placing my faith in the God of the universe, the God of all Creation, the God and Father of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, He provides ALL that I need.  I not only float on the currents of the sea but I soar like an eagle as He lifts me above the fray to float on clouds of peace with Him.

Bless and Be Blessed,

Posted in Addiction, Bahamas, Beauty, Bimini Islands, Christianity/Lord Jesus Christ, Co-Dependency, Hope, Nature/Natural Created World, Personal Growth/Maturity, Scuba Diving, Travel/Adventure, Trials | Tagged ,

Should’ves and Could’ves

Possibly the shortest post this wordy, spaghetti brain will ever post.

A date that should’ve/could’ve been spent revelling in a 30 year milestone, instead is spent mourning the painful losses that come when one refuses to choose recovery but continues to live in denial about the truth of substance abuse and the consequences to all whom love the abuser.

As always, even in the hardest of times ~ Bless and Be Blessed!

All Praise, Honor and Glory to Thee One

Posted in Abuse, Addiction, Heart, Personal Growth/Maturity, Trials | Tagged ,

The Road is Lonnggg

a long road?

The Road is Long, with many a winding turn…the words from the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” come to mind.  Sometimes it’s a long road home.  Most times we must travel for a season, or two, or three in the deserts of this life before we can soar on mountain tops.  Ever hike a tall mountain?   How was it?  Were you in shape for it, prepared, with the proper tools or equipment?  If so, did you still have moments when your body was rebelling and wanting to quit, were you feeling pain and had to fight through it?  If not, did you really struggle with every step to keep pressing on?

Departing our vehicle at the 9,000 foot elevation we begin the arduous task of hiking the Whitney Portal area and I am struck by the rugged, rugged windswept barren moonscape.  All which this environ endures on a yearly basis; winter day upon winter night of rock-fracturing freezing temperatures; snow packs bending ancient Bristle Cone Pines low as from the crushing weight of an elephant on ones chest.  This seeming barren and lifeless landscape nonetheless holds a unique and amazing beauty born out of the very harsh conditions that would seem to kill all beauty.

Mt. Whitney juts up from the desert floor of the Owens Valley to a breath stealing 14,505 feet.

Bristle Cone Pine

Some lives might appear to pattern this environment that I describe.  Unconquerable heights, long stints in dry, barren and hot deserts; long, cold and dark winters where life seems to have come to a halt as it lays under a deep blanket of snow.  The naked eye – maybe just the untrained eye – is unable to see all the life and budding beauty being created in these conditions.  Come spring and the blanket is rolled away, come the rainy season and water flows in the desert and watch and be amazed at what you see.  Beauty!  Amazing beauty!  So it is with each one of us.  There will be seasons when we feel as though all life within us has ceased; we will be unable to see the end of the road, the end of the trail; all that we see before us is a rough road in a dry and barren place. However just as the Snow Flower bursts forth each Spring, we too shall burst forth with  great beauty when we allow what has been ordained for us to wrought it’s work in us.

Seems that some people who have traveled the toughest roads; that have lingered in the hot, dry desert; that have endured the long cold seasons blanketed in solitude, at their appointed times spring forth with breathtaking beauty for all to see.

We each travel a road.  Some roads appear, from a distance, to travel through green pastures – meadows with a cool stream flowing through and trees for shade along that way; much like the photo above.  Some roads seem to travel too often and too long in the desert.  Sometimes we even travel the same road more than once.  Possibly we did not learn what we could have on that road or possibly we were not ready to learn all we could. You know, peel back the layers to reveal what is hiding at a deeper layer! Being a foodie I think about working with a raw onion, it makes me cry, but when I put an onion to the fire, to heat, it sweetens and releases a sweet aroma.  Like the rugged beauty of Whitney Portal, the road home can feel long and arduous….but oh SO beautiful and worth every step needed.

I had thought to add some Onion recipes but am finishing this up at 2AM and with heavy lids I am not inclined to search my recipe file…I may come back and update with recipes…or not.

Bless and Be Blessed~

Posted in Beauty, Bristle Cone Pine, California, Hiking, Nature/Natural Created World, Seasons, Sports & Recreation, Travel/Adventure, Trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

W-O-W!

How many words can be attached to this acronym?

As I was riding, yet once again up the interstate,  the usual thoughts and ponderings jostling around my cranial cavity, this acronym paused before my conscious awareness as it paraded by via my personal ticker-tape.

WOW – Women On Wheels.  Kind of obvious I think, but then I have ridden with some very fine lady riders from this organization.  And her sister – HOW – Heels On Wheels.

WOW – Wonder Of Wonders. A phrase infrequently used but having a double meaning for me as I pause to consider the handiwork of the Creator.

WOW – While not an acronym; might be the expression used by some of  opposing genders referencing their enjoyment of one another as they pause to consider the handiwork of the Creator!

My original WOW! thought was regarding what a year it has been, like “What O What!” and pondering  what the remaining 4 months might hold.  Solar power was finally restored Monday.  However, I am needing to update my refrigerator and upright freezer since they lack Energy Star ratings and consume too much power.  Things are still not working 100% as one inverter continues to not be fully functional and then changes it’s read-out to Spanish and I live north of that border.  So I’m living on the miserly power consumption diet now! Keeps my mind ticking….like heating my morning water-milk mixture for my coffee-hot cocoa drink in an iron skillet on the BBQ.

The other WOW comparison is regarding a study I had the pleasure of facilitating with some most delightful ladies.  This WOW affects nearly every waking moment of every day for every human.  Created for the most intimate area of our lives!  Do tell, you insist!!!

Well, if  I must….it is the War of Words.

Words were originally created for our most intimate of conversations, the ones with our Creator.  Like most of what has been so graciously and generously given to us we are hell-bent (pun could be intended) on greedily grabbing them  for our self-serving purposes.

Oh how many times have I misused words to wage war on someone I deemed to be deserving of a tongue-lashing, unleashing my pent up frustrations on that final person that did not dot their i’s nor cross their t’s; the one who dared not meet my expectations; deemed to be un-deserving of words that edify, words that come alongside, words that build-up, words that encourage on to the better road rather than words that slam the door of their heart shut as they batten up the shutters of their ears.

Monday is court.  A big day to me as I have no legal representation and so in my mind feel as tho I enter with stone in leather sling against the giant with armor and weaponry.  We know that story ends with a thunderous ka-thud as the giant falls dead to the ground before his dumb-struck legions.  While I cannot know the outcome as I walk into this valley, I do know Thee One who goes before me, beside me and round about me.  I do know Thee One that created my mind and can guide it.  Thee One that created words.  Thee One who loves and battles for, righteousness.  I am exceedingly grateful to be blessed by a brother gifted with a bright and disciplined mind in the matter of Law that is walking alongside of  me as I prepare for this battle…this War of Words!

I had a picture to insert here that I had taken a few years back in my old yard as I was working to dig out patches of weeds that had taken over from the wild hogs rooting around, but alas I accidentally deleted it and do not have the time now to browse my recycle bin to retrieve it.  It showed the mass of tangled, overgrown weeds – choking out the life of everything around it and yet itself dead and lifeless!  Ugly, barren of beauty.  But there in the midst of that ugly barren, seemingly lifeless tangle of weeds was a rock in the shape of a heart.  And as would be ordained, my thoughts began to whirl with an analogy….how even in the seemingly worst, deadest (if that is a word) of situations, hope is alive.

A courtroom is filled with words.  Will they be words of truth or words of lies?  Will they be words that tear down – birthed out of a bitter and malicious heart?  Or, will they be words that direct righteousness – born out of a heart that’s source is otherworldly?

Thus my long silence has been out of necessitation, buried deep in legalese.  Stretching my mind as if it were some pliable piece of salt-water taffy…(hmm, what flavor would it be?).  Reviewing.  Rehearsing.  Role-playing.  How I need Recall!

I desire to hold no ill-will towards the one I stand in battle against for it is one that I once covenanted my love to.  It is one that, oh so sadly, has lost his way and the life blood is being drained from him as so many addiction leeches continue their assault devouring every corner and cranny of the person he once was.

With this I close as I must return to preparations…..I ask or rather I ponder?  What measure of a person’s character when they can pray goodwill for the very one that seeks to destroy them?

As always, Bless and Be Blessed!

Posted in Addiction, Court, Heart, Hope, Salt-water Taffy, Uncategorized, War of Words, Weeds, Words | Tagged , , ,

Really…more lemons? no, not that title. Screaming Banshee, not that one either. Rolling with the Punches! yes

Laying blanketed under the midnight blue sky shot full of stars those are just some of the thoughts that tumbled around my head last night as I could not fall asleep.  Ever stare at a single bright star so long that it appears to begin swaying?  It looked like a miniature pin light dangling from a cord from Heaven, swaying with the rhythms of the galaxies.

Why, you ask, was I sleeping under the stars?  Was I camping, backpacking, or….?  Or.

If you are following my blog and are someone who does not yet, know me, you would be unaware of the changes in my life this year.  One of those changes has been a character stretching move.   Due to a number of circumstances, I had to be out of my home in 15 days and am now living in half the square footage that I had been.  I count my blessings, in these times, that I am not under a bridge or on the streets…thanks to a supportive family and the family of God. My living quarters are really quite comfortable too.  However, there are adjustments.  No dog run for the dog’s yet so they sleep inside, tracking the red dirt in and leaving it bundled up with their fur….icky!  As yet, no hot water for the shower but during our sizzling summer months that too is do-able.   The gravel/dirt road coats my motorcycle with each trip out to the paved road….think Pig-pen!  It’s my excuse for getting on the throttle as I pull away from the ranch, eh!?

The kitchen is very limited…you know kind of making ‘zones’ in the place and there is no stove/oven.  Having honeymooned some, uhm 30-ish years ago, in the Trinity Alps backpacking, I am adaptable and up to making things work.  Thus I have been creating yummy food stuffs with a Hot-Plate, microwave and BBQ’s.

Thankfully, but also proving to have a learning curve, is that I am on solar power.  Love that there is no power bill, living on the restrictive income that I am at this point.  The power went down early yesterday.  The generator was hooked up and there was power for a while.

Let me insert further information to bring this all together.  My daughter recently returned from a stint down under (Australia) and is staying with me.   Since graduating University, she has been traveling the world, working here and there and to my delight is stateside for a bit.  She too is adaptable so no power does not stop her either.  She boiled up some eggs on the BBQ and set some vegetables to marinating for dinner before going about her day.  I loved receiving a text from her that she had dinner in the works – feeling the love.  We had power upon our arrivals home but just after putting the generator away, down we went again.

She set the BBQ blazing and was grilling squash and red bell peppers, add a few red spud halves and some left over roast beef.  Then grilled a few slices of Jalapeno-Cheddar bread she picked up at the Farmer’s Market.  Topped the bread with the beef, veggies and some mozzarella and let them melt together.  A drizzle of Lucero Oil’s, Garlic EVOO, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and a scrumptious dinner was served.  

Loosing daylight and the house being hot we opened the tailgate on my truck, laid out a towel and perched on our ‘table’.  The only thing missing as we filled our tummies with such yummies and took in the setting sun was a nice glass of white wine.

Like I mentioned the house was hot and no fans running so we stole up to where we could get some power and aired up the airbed, made a ‘bed’ in the bed of the truck and slept under the stars.  I think the dogs wondered what we had done wrong since they slept inside and we slept outside!  I counted my blessings to have one of my best mates by my side.

So … what food items came to mind as I lay there under that beautiful midnight blue sky batting around blog ideas?  That’s in part why the struggle with today’s title, when ‘Rolling with the Punches” came to my mind I began searching my recipe files for Punches.  The Screaming Banshee is thrown in because the daily challenges of my life lately leave my natural flesh and bone wanting to behave like a “Screaming Banshee”, but thee One within me redirects my focus and I work to cooperate in finding delight in that which may not at first glance appear delightful!

Screaming Banshee – This one first so we can get the goin’ nuts done and overwith!

2 ounces half’n’half

1 ounce vodka

3/4 ounces creme de cocoa

1 ounce creme de banana

Some ice and run through blender.

Summer Cooler – You could use the Limoncello Sugar Preserved Lemons from my “Lemonade in the Rain” post.

8 ounces Limoncello

8 ounces orange juice

8 ounces cranberry juice

8 ounces pineapple juice

Blend with ice into a slush and pour over ice into a tall glass.  Garnish with mint leaf.  (But I think that’s too much ice and prefer it just blended).

As always…Bless and Be Blessed

Posted in Cooking, Food, Lemons, Mediterranean, Recipes, Sugar Preserved Lemons, Trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lemonade in the Rain

“Crisis brings us face to face with our inadequacy and our inadequacy in turn leads us to the inexhaustible sufficiency of God.  This is the power of helplessness, a principle written into the fabric of life.”  Catherine Marshall, Beyond Our Selves.

Late Friday, after running from here to yonder in the north valley heat, I happened on two girls that were exercising budding entrepreneurial skills with a lemonade stand.  At first, I rode past them sitting on the street corner, rain umbrella perched over their heads, tho quickly found a driveway to turn around to support their efforts AND enjoy a tall, cool glass of lemonade.  (Riding in nigh triple digits, my face was looking like a ripe tomato!)

Life ever ‘Rain on YOUR parade’?  Or have you lived in or are you now living in a season of an abundant harvest of lemons?

If so, what did you do to thrive?  How do we take the unpleasant sides of life and make sense of them?  Or better yet, make something sweet out of them, such as that tasty, cool and refreshing lemonade.  (Or Lemon Cookie Bars or Lemon Ice,  Recipes below).  How do we make sense of these trials?  And for Pete’s sake what do we do with them? I mean it…..what can we do with the tough stuff?  It seems that we have a few choices.  Anger, bitterness, a hard heart, seclusion, rage against everyone and the world, resignation, fear, denial, escapism, lack of trust, hopelessness and an “I don’t care anymore” attitude.  Through my own seasons raining down lemons I have learned that I have two choices:  fear or faith.  We all believe in something; we all place our faith in something.  So when the rainy season comes, and we all will experience them sometime, what keeps you afloat?    Without belief in something man is without hope and it is my observation that the very nature of man is hopeful.

Do you see and feel the rain and decide to not go out (hide away in your hurt and disappointment) positioning yourself firmly on the pity pot and pulling the covers over your head?  Been there, done that!  Do you bundle up in your ‘protective’ layers; thermals, sweater, raincoat, hat and trepidatiously step out into the world; seeming to partake of life and be engaged, but really just masking your hurt and pain.  This sort of rain gear we see all too often and more and more in our society.  Individuals masking their hurt and pain under the guise of alcohol, pot, narcotics – all manner of substances..…even success, anger, depression and the list goes on.

So for Pete Sakes, what are we to do with the rainstorms…sometimes downright thunderous deluges where you feel like you are being swept away and unable to keep your head above the flood waters?  Do you like thunder storms?  I don’t mind them when I am safe and warm indoors.  However, getting caught outdoors, especially on my motorcycle, is outside my box.  I loved walking in the rain as a young girl, even had a ‘boy’ friend, yep, back when we exchanged St. Christopher medallions as a sign of ‘going together’ (I just dated myself, didn’t I?) that would come the block or so to my house, we’d  don our Pea-coats and go for a walk in the rain.  I share this portion, cause I wonder how many of us just step out into the rain.  Let that deluge, if that be the case, wash over us.  What is it that we fear so much about getting drenched?  Ah, the unknown; how long will this storm last; how high will the waters get; what might I loose; how will I be inconvenienced?  So I see in my life that it has been a matter of control.  As a child in a safe environment, I did not feel the need to control and so what did it matter to me to get drenched, what did it matter to me to step in a puddle of water or even to slog through a mudhole…and so what if that mud stuck to my shoes and I left tracks/traces of where I’d been.  Sadly many adults and too many children’s lives do not feel and are not safe.

A matter of wanting to control MY life, so that I get what I want, what I deserve, so that I can live how I want to and do what I want to do.  American society reinforces this narcissistic worldview.  We hear it everywhere.  We see it everywhere. We read it everywhere.

Looking to Creation leads me to the Creator and His Instruction Manual.  So then, why does it rain on the earth?  What was rain created to do for the earth? Maybe a better question would be: what happens when things on the earth do not get rain? Lakes dry up and aquatic life dies.  Watering troughs dry up and livestock dies.  Plants dry up and humans eventually would die.  Without the rain, everything ceases to exist.  To make things grow, to make things flourish, rain is required.

Have you ever planted a seed and watched it grow?  How it is buried in the soil and with water and sunlight in just a matter of days it pushes up through the soil and with continued water and sun, it grows and flourishes.  So then, have you ever seen the video snippets of how that happens?  Can you imagine the strength it takes for that tiny seed to sprout and push against that, comparatively heavy soil, to reach heavenward.  Without the rain, the seed cannot grow.  Without rain the seed cannot do what it was created and designed to do….GROW and FLOURISH!  Each seed is created and designed to produce something different than the next seed.  Even two tomato seeds are going to produce two individual tomato plants with tomatoes of differing shapes, colors, sizes and flavors.  But without rain, none of this would happen.  Without rain, everything withers and dies.

So what about you?  Do you withdraw and hide from the rainstorms of life?  I have at times, but God is patiently teaching me to stand firm in His loving grasp in the midst of the deluge, letting the waters wash over me and in that deluge I find that the yucky, sticky mud that I picked up from the mud holes of life, get washed away.  As I stay my focus on Him, as I trust in Him to walk with me through the storm, as I pry my fingers off the controls of my life and say a prayer of relinquishment…peace comes and I am able to walk triumphantly in the downpours.

I get it, the rainstorms never seem to come at an opportune time….but when would I think they were ‘opportune’??!!  Really!  Literal raindrops seemingly mess up MY plans.  Likewise with the trials and struggles of this life, my human nature would like to do without them all together.  My thinking is that life would be ‘all good’ if it was always sunny, no dark storm clouds and certainly no raining on MY parade!  However, back to the seed sprouting and we see that the seedling gained strength from it’s struggle.  We know that trees that endure some wind grow stronger roots, a stronger trunk and flourish.  Look at the baby chick equipped with a special egg beak for the sole purpose of the hard work it must endure to be freed from it’s shell.

Or the butterfly breaking out of it’s chrysalis….if the butterfly does not do that hardwork…step by step, bit by bit…it will lack the strength to mature – to flourish – and become the beautiful creature it was designed to be!

And so it is with man; if I do not learn how to trust, how to walk in the rain letting it wash over me and cleanse me, strengthening me in the process; I cease growing and maturing, I do not gain strength nor do I flourish.

No doubt there are times of great deluges and seeming total destruction.  It would appear that all is lost…that there is no hope, no future, why try to build, to plant, to hope.  But with perseverance, there is hope, there is a future.  And from each trial, each struggle, I emerge, as the butterfly does, stronger and better.  Better equipped to do exactly what I was created and designed to do.

In seeking God’s words on ‘Lemonade in the Rain’, I learn that when I complain and whine about these occurrences in my life that I am actually raging at God about what He has ordained to be in my life to transform me into the Butterfly He created me to be.  Therefore, I learn that I need not plan, plan, plan, but release, release, release.  I can tell you that coming out of a long term toxic and dysfunctional marriage where as a co-dependent I felt the need to control to try to maintain some sense of sanity, this releasing does not come easily nor consistently.  YET.  I am a work in progress, as each of us thankfully are.  God is a God of mercy and grace and it is His desire that I be transformed.  Thus, each time I slam my fist closed on the controls of my life, He gently reminds me that it is always best for me to relinquish ALL to Him.

So what in the world does food have to do with Lemonade in the Rain???  Well, because that is how ‘uniquely’ (I choose uniquely over strangely) my brain works and of course being gifted a Foodie, food is never far from my creative processes.  Also, early this year some dear friends shared their abundant Meyer Lemon harvest with me and I made batch after batch of sensuously delicious Lemon Curd for my freezer.  As well as Sugar Preserved Lemons,  some with vodka and some with limoncello.  The Preserved Lemons made wonderful gifts and make a bright and tasteful cocktail mixed with cranberry juice on the rocks.  I made a discovery too that when the liquor is drained and the sugared lemons remain; if you add water to the container and place it back in refrigerator to steep a few days, you can get more flavor out of them that is delightful when added to tea.  I was able to do this about 4 times before they lost all flavor.

Lemon Ice is a summer treat that I believe my daughter found in the Laura Ingall’s Wilder Cookbook and her grandpa loves her to make.

Lemon Ice Recipe

4 lemons

1 orange

4 cups water

1 1/2 cups water

Cut lemons and orange in half; juice into a bowl.  Combine water and sugar in saucepan. Over medium heat, boil rapidly for 10 minutes. transfer sugarwater to large bowl and strain lemon juice in. Stir well. Let cool. Transfer to a plastic container, cover, and freeze several hours till hardened.  remove from freezer and scrape with a fork so it has the appearance of granita.  Delightfully light and refreshing on a scorching triple digit northstate summer day!

Lemon Cookies is courtesy of one of my dear friends, Molly.

1 box lemon cake mix

8 ounces cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 stick butter

2 Tbsp. butter flavored Crisco or 1/2 c b f crisco and 2 Tbsp lemon yogurt

Beat cream cheesed until light and fluffy/  Add egg and beat.  Add butter and crisco and beat. Add cake mix and mix on low, until incorporated.  Then beat. Drop onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees 10-12 minutes.

Watch closely and remove when edges have barely begun to brown.  Leave on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes to firm up before removing to cooling rack.

Of course, good cooks can’t leave a recipe alone and these are her adaptations: she used 6 ounces cream cheese and a couple Tbsp. lemon yogurt then iced with 2 ounces cream cheese, yogurt and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and powdered sugar.

I made a batch of these today and made them into bars:  I added a 12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips and then while they were still warm I glazed them with a glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar. YUM!

Bless and Be Blessed.

Posted in Cooking, Food, Lemon Cookies, Lemon Ice, Lemons, Rain, Recipes, Sugar Preserved Lemons, Trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Taiwanese Running in America

Being a wi-fi nomad and having a busy week teaches me that I need to learn to prepare ahead of time as I have been on the run this week with my regular clients and teaching Cultural Cooking Workshops to 30 Taiwanese students here on an English Immersion Program.  I have been busy and lacking the stamina come the end of my day to blog.

I enjoy cultural exchanges:  languages, lifestyles, food experiences and watching the delight or horror of experiencing a different culture.  When we grow up only knowing our watermelon slice of  the world we miss many wonderful experiences and the opportunity to expand our heart.  My daughter is a world traveler and I am of the opinion that she may have been influenced by her first exchange, through our local 4-H program, with Japan.  We have been blessed to host 7 or 8 Japanese students, 2 Austrians and 1 German student.  All but one exchange was a completely positive experience and we learned much.  What an opportunity to grow our hearts for the people groups of the world.

One of my friends, who has worked alongside of me this week in the workshops, and I have taught the students how to make homemade ice cream in an old fashioned hand crank machine.  As I anticipated, the students found the ice cream too sweet.  Asian ‘sweet treats’ are much less sweet than in America.  Thumbs down to the sugar lobbyists, eh!   No surprise America is having an obesity epidemic, huh!   We learned the role that the rock salt plays in transforming the liquids in the churn into soft serve ice cream.  It drops the temperature of the water and ice to 8-12 degrees by transferring the heat (energy) from the liquids in the churn to melt the ice, thus transferring the chill of the ice into the liquids.  I think I made that as clear as mud!

The next day we journeyed to the Mediterranean with a salad of fresh mozzarella, diced red onion, combined with sunny yellow pear tomatoes, red-red grape tomatoes and the deep dark red with a swipe of green of another variety.  Tossed with chiffonade of basil, freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt.  At last we drizzled on a bit of  Lucero Olive Oil – Lemon Infused EVOO.  A good number of the students enjoyed this, though some were not fond of the mozzarella.  (Recipe below for Mediterranean Salad.)

Wednesday my friend brought in 2 of her Rhode Island Red hens for show and tell and we made Deviled Eggs.  We instructed half of the group and had them take a partner and give the instructions in English.  They did fairly well and seemed to like the eggs for the most part.  My friend did decide that chickens were not the best show and tell animals as each one left their ‘calling card’!

Thursday the students had a field trip so we did not do cooking class and on Friday my friend brought in her homemade pizza dough (recipe below) and we made pepperoni pizza.  Again we instructed them and had them share in English.  This was the biggest hit of the week!

Members of the church I attend hosted the students and today in church we were blessed to have a translator.  It was an experience to listen to someone give a sermon through a translator.

After church we all went to Shasta Lake for a fun time of swimming, boating and hamburgers and hot dogs.  I really enjoyed getting to ride my motorcycle somewhere other than just between two towns on the Interstate!  Wish I were riding somewhere that is cooler and greener…

Our students have another week here.  This week they will be studying Spanish in the afternoons, so no more cooking.  It is quite the experience coming to such a different culture and they are on the run the whole time they are here.  Yet, they are so polite and great friendships are sometimes forged.  I still have contact with one of our Japanese students…who is currently studying in Australia and one of our Austrian students, studying to be a Pediatric Oncologist and our German student.

In the midst of this busy week with Taiwanese Running in America,  I made like fondue and had a melt-down, but that may come in a later blog….after you have gotten to know me better!! hehe

I am truly blessed with a wonderfully supportive circle of dear, dear friends and I pray that you are too.

Bless and be blessed.

Mediterranean Salad

This is one of those things that I just toss together, so non-cooks, please forgive me as I do this to taste and quantities are according to how many I am serving.

A variety of colors and sizes of fresh garden tomatoes.  Fresh basil.  Fresh cracked pepper.  Kosher salt.  Cucumber.  Red Onion.  Fresh mozzarella.  Lucero Lemon Infused olive oil.

Cut the tomatoes to bite-size if needed.  Chiffonade the basil leaves.  Peel and dice the cucumber.  Peel and dice the red onion.  Use the small size ice cream scoop (or a melon baller) to make small round pieces of fresh mozzarella.  Sprinkle on the pepper and salt and drizzle with some Lemon EVOO.  (If you do not have lemon olive oil – then zest some lemon and squeeze a bit of juice with good quality EVOO).

This is a very yummy light summer dinner and I enjoy it with a glass of Merlot setting on the veranda taking in the sun as it dips below the horizon and shines it’s last ray for the day.

Pizza Dough – Makes 1 large pizza

1 package yeast and 1 cup warm water; combine and let set for 10 minutes.

1 teaspoon salt, 3 Tablespoons EVOO, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon +/- minced garlic; combine this with the yeast mixture.  Add in 1 cup of bread flour at a time until you have added 3 cups.  Knead dough fro 10 minutes.  Place in large oiled bowl, turning to oil both sides, cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Press out to fit your pizza pan.  Heat oven to 450 degrees, put your desired toppings on and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Posted in Cooking, Fishing, Food, Mediterranean, Motorcycle Rides, Pizza, Recipes, Rhode Island Red Hens, Taiwanese, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,